Friday, June 29, 2007

More cracks in the wall of the so-called scientific 'consensus'

Remember the IPCC climate change assessment reports, in which the scientists of the world (the credible ones, anyway) united in the opinion that the debate over climate change is finished? For a long time we've been led to believe (by the media and by the IPCC itself) that the reports themselves represented the consensus of the "2500+" scientists that contributed their expert reviews to the assessment.

The IPCC has now released the reviewer comments on the Fourth Assessment Report, which is the most recent. Read for yourself whether or not a consensus exists.

As the Heartland Institute notes in a press release:
Many of the comments by the reviewers are strongly critical of claims contained in the final report, and they are directly at odds with the so-called "scientific consensus" touted by Gore and others calling for immediate government action. For example, the following comment by Eric Steig appears in Second Order Draft Comments, Chapter 6; section 6-42:
In general, the certainty with which this chapter presents our understanding of abrupt climate change is overstated. There is confusion between hypothesis and evidence throughout the chapter, and a great deal of confusion on the differences between an abrupt "climate change" and possible, hypothetical causes of such climate changes.
Any document coming out of the United Nations can't help being tainted by political agendas, and the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report is no exception.

(Thanks to: NewsBusters)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Why the Darfur genocide is America's fault

Back on June 18 I commented on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's nonsensical assertion that climate change is ultimately to blame for the ongoing wholesale slaughter in Darfur, Sudan. If only you hadn't bought that SUV, none of this would have happened.

Fred "I'm gonna announce any day now" Thompson, on his daily commentary on ABC Radio, explains that the historical realities of the area are more than sufficient to explain what is happening:
Sudan straddles the line between Christian African and Muslim Arabic cultures, bordering Egypt and Libya on the north. Bloody regional warfare stretches back centuries but, in modern times, the country has been in pretty much of a constant state of war since the 1950s. It's safe to say that millions have died in wars that are often aimed at control of the rich oil fields in the South. Today, however, the vastly reduced African Christian population isn't even involved. Two Muslim factions, divided along racial lines, are fighting for control of Darfur.

Now it’s true that the return of cyclical droughts has made agriculture and life more and more difficult for the people in the region. The impact of the weather, however, doesn’t approach the destruction that generations of warfare have worked on the land and the people. With peace and freedom, the economy of Darfur could have easily adapted to any climate change – no matter the cause.

Thompson suggests that the SecGen's assertion really boils down to a time-honored UN tradition: anti-Americanism.

Blaming the Islamic government and groups that have manipulated events in Sudan will get him nothing but enemies. Blaming global warming, however, is basically the same thing as blaming America. America is by no means the only major source of greenhouse gases, but we've taken the most political heat. The reason is that congress rightfully balked at ratifying the Kyoto international climate treaties during the Clinton presidency.

There is simply no downside to blaming America, because Americans don't punish their ideological foes. From the UN, we don't even require sanity sometimes. And there might even be an upside to blaming us, since there are Americans who suffer from such ingrained feelings of guilt, they’ll support increased aid to both the UN and Sudan.

If the blame ultimately rests on America, the UN can absolve itself of any responsibility to act.

House passes bill affirming moon made of green cheese

Okay, they didn't do that, but such a pronouncement would have had as much effect on reality as what they actually did, as reported in the opening sentence of a June 27 Reuters article:
House passes bill affirming global warming exists

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, aiming to put an end to the debate over whether global warming is actually occurring, passed legislation recognizing the "reality" of climate change[...]
Well, all righty, then. That really does settle it.

Later, we see that (to nobody's surprise) the language was aimed at the White House:
By inserting a declaration in the bill that climate change is a "reality," the Democratic-controlled House was trying to move U.S. policy-makers beyond a debate, long stimulated by the Bush administration, over whether there was scientific proof that global warming really is occurring.
Did the Bush administration actually dispute that "global warming" (Hey, Reuters, didn't you get the memo? The correct term is now "climate change") is occurring, or did they dispute that human activity is the cause? The ground for the latter objection is a lot more solid than that for the former.

Speaking of rash conclusions...

In my post on the poison ivy study I criticized the researchers for drawing unjustified Real World conclusions based on what amounted to a lab simulation. I thought they should have at least gone out to see if poison ivy -- or any other plant, for that matter -- has shown any sign of biologically adapting to rising CO2 concentrations. Otherwise, all we have is what-if alarmism, on a par with a B-grade science fiction movie (like what we saw in The Day After Tomorrow).

In fairness, I need to admit that some researchers do try to come a little closer to Real World experimentation when speculating on the effects of rising CO2.

A reader on Free Republic brought to my attention a study conducted by the Marine Biological Laboratory of Woods Hole, Massachusetts that actually went through the trouble of conducting its simulation outside (in a North Carolina forest owned by Duke University). As summarized by, May 30, 2006:
In the study, Mohan and her co-workers pumped extra CO2 over three large circular plots of North Carolina pine forest. For six years, the plants inside were exposed to an extra 200 parts per million of CO2 over today's atmospheric concentration of about 380 parts per million, roughly what we might expect from pollution by the middle of this century.

Other research has suggested that vines tend to grow particularly fast in response to higher CO2 levels, and that vines are increasing in abundance all over the planet. Unlike trees, which use extra carbon to grow more wood, vines use it to produce more leaves. The extra leaves help the plant to harvest even more CO2, the cycle continues and the vines flourish.

Mohan's experiment sought to check whether the plants shoot up in the wild, as they do in greenhouse experiments. "Yes, dramatically," was the answer. The poisonous ivies grew at double the rate of plants grown under regular CO2 levels, whereas woody species on average tend to grow around 31% faster. The elevated CO2 also created a nastier version of urushiol poison, the team showed.

[...] By extracting urushiol from the plant's leaves, the researchers found that poison ivy grown in high CO2 churned out more than 150% more of one nasty, unsaturated form of urushiol and around 60% less of the mild, saturated form.

The researchers aren't sure why this chemical shift took place, but one idea is that the increased availability of carbon somehow favours the chemical reactions that produce the unsaturated forms of urushiol.
I think this team did a much better job of trying to approximate natural conditions than did the team in the other study. But... two thoughts come to my mind pretty quickly:
  1. The study was premised on the IPCC guesstimate that atmospheric CO2 would rise from the current 380-ish ppm to 570-ish ppm by mid-century. As much of IPCC's work has given me reason for skepticism, I decline to swallow this prediction uncritically.
  2. The planet's ecosystem is so complex, I don't think a study performed in this manner can authoritatively tell us what would happen in the Real World if atmospheric CO2 did rise to this level.
I'm open to being educated on this, if you care to give it a whirl.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Poison ivy study leads to rash conclusions

Tara Parker-Pope, writing today in the Wall Street Journal, leads off with an ominous pronouncement:
Poison ivy, the scourge of summer campers, hikers and gardeners, is getting worse.

New research shows the rash-inducing plant appears to be growing faster and producing more potent oil compared with earlier decades.
There's a word in the second sentence that should set off alarm bells, but let's set that aside for a moment and move along to the fingering of the culprit.
The reason? Rising ambient carbon-dioxide levels create ideal conditions for the plant, producing bigger leaves, faster growth, hardier plants and oil that's even more irritating.
Our old friend CO2! It is indeed a fact that CO2 levels have generally increased over the past century or two, and we know that plants love the stuff. The conclusion should be foregone.

So what did these researchers do? Did they send teams of scientists into the forests of America, collecting samples of increasingly aggressive poison ivy? No, of course not, silly! Climate researchers can form their conclusions based on computer simulations, so why should plant researchers have to go out into the field and actually observe the phenomenon their research purports to demonstrate?

No, what they did was gas a bunch of plants in a lab to see what would happen, and then used the results to assume what was happening in nature.
Although the data on poison ivy come from controlled studies, they suggest the vexing plant is more ubiquitous than ever.
The plant appears to be growing faster. The data suggest the plant is more ubiquitous. Unless I missed it, there's nothing in the article to indicate that the researchers have found a CO2-enhanced poison ivy plant in the Real World.

So why are they insulting us with the headline, Climate Changes Are Making Poison Ivy More Potent? Because AGW alarmism is not actually about science.

UPDATE: Here's a followup.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Carbon credits: turning vice into virtue

The Joy of Tech, May 21:

(Click to view full-sized image)

Desperate measures

In today's Wall Street Journal, science writer Robert Lee Hotz asks global warming's burning (pardon the pun) question: What if we aren't able to radically reorder civilization in time to prevent the destruction of the planet?

Apparently, many scientists are already looking ahead in fear and have judged that now is the time to develop geo-engineering contingencies that focus on deflecting incoming sunlight rather than reducing CO2 emissions. Among the ideas being proposed:
One now under more serious scrutiny was inspired by volcanoes. Climate researcher Tom Wigley at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, last year proposed that an overheated planet could be safely cooled by an artificial haze of sulfur particles, which would reflect solar radiation. The 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo spewed enough sulfates to lower the average world temperature by almost one degree Fahrenheit for a year, with no apparent ill effects. A sulfate sunshade might cost $400 million a year.

[...] "Nobody likes geo-engineering at all," added University of Arizona astronomer Roger Angel. Even so, Prof. Angel proposed a plan in the journal Science last year to cool Earth by orbiting 16 trillion tiny mirrors -- at a cost also in the trillions. "Just as insurance, we ought to be thinking about it," Prof. Angel said.
It's no secret that I am more sympathetic to the idea that solar variability is the driver of climate change, as I posted yesterday. If the AGW alarmists can't be shaken of their notion that humanity is suddenly responsible for climate change -- even though the planet has been warming and cooling without our help since the beginning -- I'd rather they pour a half billion a year into polluting the stratosphere than forcing the population of the world to become Luddite vegans.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I wonder how Al Gore would score on this quiz?

The Ecological Footprint Quiz attempts to answer the question, How many planets would we need to support Earth's current population if everyone lived like you do?

I realize this quiz is aimed at guilt-manipulating the average person into adopting a Luddite vegan lifestyle, but what about the above-average person? I scored a respectable 5.1 planets (which is slightly below the American average). How many planets would we need if everyone lived like eco-savior Al Gore?

The answer is blowing in the (solar) wind

What if it has all been a great big misunderstanding?

What if the AGW scare turned out to be nothing more than mass hysteria driven by leftist environmental zealots, aided and abetted by scientists whose computer simulations led them to the mistaken conclusion that they understood the infinitely complex machinations of our atmosphere and oceans?

What if, despite the ad nauseam claims of the CoGW, climate change really is a natural phenomenon not driven in any way by atmospheric CO2 concentrations?

Dr. Tim Patterson of Carleton University in Canada is among the ever-increasing number of qualified scientists giving the lie to the notion that a consensus exists regarding climate change.

In 2001 Patterson brought a research team to a British Columbia fjord on a government-funded mission to determine why fish populations varied wildly from year to year. Neither the Canadian government nor Patterson's team were thinking about anthropogenic climate change when this project was initiated. The government, in true form, was simply interested in doing a better job of regulating the fishing industry.

As part of their research, Patterson's team took mud core samples from the stillwater bottom of the fjord. The cores contained sediment from about 5,000 years of the fjord's history, and as the team analyzed the core data, they unexpectedly came across information that may help us better understand what's really going on with our climate today. As Dr. Patterson related in a June 20 article in the Financial Post:
Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.
It's clear from Patterson's mud core data that the climate can "flip" quite rapidly, without any help from us.

That's all well and good, but the mud core data had another story to tell that flies directly in the face of what Dr. James Hansen, Al Gore, etc. have been preaching: the climate changes recorded in the 5,000 years of sediment correlate very strongly with the increases and decreases of output from our sun. Patterson notes that his findings corroborate those of "hundreds of other studies" conducted around the world.

However, as Patterson notes, solar output doesn't tell the whole story. Mr. Sun needs a little help to effect the kinds of climate change we've experienced in our planet's history, and CO2 didn't get the job:
Despite this clear and repeated correlation, the measured variations in incoming solar energy were, on their own, not sufficient to cause the climate changes we have observed in our proxies. In addition, even though the sun is brighter now than at any time in the past 8,000 years, the increase in direct solar input is not calculated to be sufficient to cause the past century's modest warming on its own. There had to be an amplifier of some sort for the sun to be a primary driver of climate change.

Indeed, that is precisely what has been discovered. In a series of groundbreaking scientific papers starting in 2002, Veizer, Shaviv, Carslaw, and most recently Svensmark et al., have collectively demonstrated that as the output of the sun varies, and with it, our star's protective solar wind, varying amounts of galactic cosmic rays from deep space are able to enter our solar system and penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. These cosmic rays enhance cloud formation which, overall, has a cooling effect on the planet. When the sun's energy output is greater, not only does the Earth warm slightly due to direct solar heating, but the stronger solar wind generated during these "high sun" periods blocks many of the cosmic rays from entering our atmosphere. Cloud cover decreases and the Earth warms still more.

The opposite occurs when the sun is less bright. More cosmic rays are able to get through to Earth's atmosphere, more clouds form, and the planet cools more than would otherwise be the case due to direct solar effects alone. This is precisely what happened from the middle of the 17th century into the early 18th century, when the solar energy input to our atmosphere, as indicated by the number of sunspots, was at a minimum and the planet was stuck in the Little Ice Age. These new findings suggest that changes in the output of the sun caused the most recent climate change.
In other words, Dr. Patterson's research supports the idea that as solar output varies, so does the amount of cosmic radiation reaching the earth. Weaker solar output means more cosmic radiation, leading to more cloud cover, leading to a cooler earth. Stronger solar output means less cosmic radiation, leading to less cloud cover, leading to a warmer earth.

In case the implications for the current non-debate debate aren't abundantly clear, Patterson adds:
By comparison, CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet's climate on long, medium and even short time scales.
If you want to know what is driving the changes in our climate, don't look to the sky -- look beyond the sky.

Patterson closes by relating another profound implication of his research which is sure to be completely ignored:
Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Al Gore & co. aren't really serious about saving the planet

Otherwise, they'd be doing more.

Dilbert, June 19
(Click to view full-sized image)

P.S. Just kidding, sort of. The definition of "Earth hater" varies, depending on which green you ask. But there is a general rule of thumb, taking the stereotypical Mr. Green as an example: an "Earth hater" is anybody who does less than Mr. Green does on behalf of the environment.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why the Darfur genocide is your fault

In a June 16 Washington Post editorial, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon outlines a chain of events connecting the genocide in Darfur to.... your SUV.

Well, he doesn't actually connect the final dot, but the implication is certainly there.

Because you in particular, and the US and the rest of the industrial world in general, have been emitting far too much CO2, the Indian Ocean has warmed, leading to a drought-inducing monsoon disruption in Sudan. As the water supplies dried up, local farmers and nomadic herdsmen started fighting over resources. One thing led to another, and here we are.

Oh, and Somalia's your fault also.

I hope you can rest well knowing this.

UPDATE: Fred Thompson comments on the SecGen's assertion.

Handy guide to understanding our weather

(Click to view full-sized image)

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Al Gore Youth Corps

This article (called "Pending Doom"!) in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald reveals more about the teacher than it does about the fourth graders who supposedly wrote it. Near the end of the article the kids state:
All the facts we have presented are true, real, and will shape our future unless decisive action is taken.
Given that their recommended sites for further education are Stop Global Warming and An Inconvenient Truth, it's not surprising that some of the 'facts' they present are exaggerated apocalyptic predictions (such as the Greenland ice sheet and the "Arctic ice shelf" completely melting, leading to Manhattan soaking in 40 feet of water), anecdotal (warm temperatures in March) or simply untrue (such as the notion that the Atlantic/Gulf hurricane breeding grounds are unusually warm, leading to storms like Katrina).

One thing seems to be certain -- the kids aren't being taught critical thinking skills. By the time they graduate from high school they should be completely immunized against contrary data.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

There is no silver lining without a cloud

NASA chief Michael Griffin brought up an excellent point when he asked how we know our current climate is optimal. Even though the earth's climate has varied naturally throughout its existence, virtually all prognostications of the AGW alarmists promise The End Of The World As We Know It.

It is, therefore, surprising when an article comes along in the major media admitting that a one or two degree temperature increase won't lead to human extinction.

Associated Press, June 14:
It's not in Al Gore's PowerPoint presentation, but there are some upsides to global warming.

Northern homes could save on heating fuel. Rust Belt cities might stop losing snowbirds to the South. Canadian farmers could harvest bumper crops. Greenland may become awash in cod and oil riches. Shippers could count on an Arctic shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific. Forests may expand. Mongolia could see a go-go economy.

This is all speculative, even a little facetious, and any gains are not likely to make up for predicted frightening upheavals elsewhere. But still ... might there be a silver lining for the frigid regions of Canada and Russia?

"It's not that there won't be bad things happening in those countries. There will be _ things like you'll lose polar bears," said economic professor Robert O. Mendelsohn of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "But the idea is that they will get such large gains, especially in agriculture, that they will be bigger than the losses."

Mendelsohn looked at how gross domestic product around the world would be affected under different warming scenarios though 2100. Canada and Russia tend to come out as gainers, as does much of northern Europe and Mongolia.

This is largely because of projected gains in agricultural production in those areas. Many researchers believe that if the world warms up, the sweet spots for growing crops will migrate toward the poles. Some people claim the phenomenon is already manifesting itself in bountiful forsythia blooms in Vermont and maple sap flowing in upstate New York in January.

Mendelsohn's study is summarized with an interactive map here.

Of course, the article's author can't let the topic go without reminding us that there wouldn't be a silver lining if there wasn't a cloud:

Of course, the caveats are significant when trying to make any long-term global forecast. There are so many variables.

A longer growing season does a farmer no good if resulting rain patterns bring a drought. Mendelsohn said northern residents saving on winter heating fuel will end up spending more than that to keep cool in the summer. Great Lakes cities might enjoy balmier weather, but could suffer if lower lake levels cut off shipping lanes. And global warming could present deadly new opportunities for parasites and disease.

Some researchers stress there aren't really any winners in global warming because the planet will be such a big loser. Marginal gains in limited areas can't be stacked up on one side of the ledger, they say, when the negatives can include planet-wide food and water shortages, mass flooding and extinction.

"In the end, you don't find really large, really significant benefits," said Michael MacCracken, chief scientist at the nonpartisan Climate Institute in Washington. "I mean, loss of biodiversity is an irreversible thing for the planet. Saving a little money on heating in winter areas is a small economic gain for some people. How do you compare that?"

P.S. The Climate Institute may be nonpartisan, but that's hardly relevant to the AGW debate.

One last observation before moving on. As the AP article's author transitions from the good news to the YeahBut part of the article, we see the following:
While oceanfront cities might have to build seawalls to hold back the ocean in a warming world, some researchers believe the freshwater Great Lakes will evaporate a bit. But a projected 11-degree boost at the turn of the next century could be a boon for chillier cities like Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit and Buffalo, even knocking them into the "optimal" holiday range.
Eleven degrees? Where did that number come from? An increase of 11F (6C) is even higher than the IPCC's worst-case prediction. I guess we really are headed for extinction.

Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse manages to spin this news using socialist class rhetoric in this June 8 article:
Climate change is expected to have disastrous consequences for Earth but some areas will profit, notably wealthy nations in the northern parts of Europe, Russia and the US, scientists say.

On Thursday the leaders of the Group of Eight club of wealthy nations agreed to pursue substantial cuts to greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and said they would seriously consider halving emissions by 2050.

But they will remain the main beneficiaries of climate change, with the agriculture, shipping, and oil, gas and mining sectors among those that are expected to prosper as snow and ice melts in the north.

"The rich countries of the north are going to be winners of climate change, while the poor countries of the south are going to be losers," Jann-Gunnar Winther, director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, told AFP during a global warming conference held in the Arctic town of Tromsoe this week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The scourge of 'green' fuel

Surprise, surprise.

Ethanol, touted from sea to shining sea as a 'green' fuel, has a dirty secret. CNSNews, June 13:
Call it green pollution. The ethanol industry, which is marketed as environmentally friendly and has been called a "cornerstone of America's energy policy," is dirtying air and water supplies across the heartland, according to a Cybercast News Service investigation.

And industry watchers said pollution is going to get worse.

"There seems to be this mad rush toward expansion of the alternative fuels industry without sufficient due diligence," said Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA).

[...] A Cybercast News Service analysis of EPA records found 73 biorefineries - more than 60 percent of those operating - were cited by state or federal agencies for environmental violations in the last three years. The vast majority involve state or federal clean air laws.

"They've brought the enforcement actions against a number of ethanol companies and refineries for essentially sidestepping the law," said Frank O'Donnell, president of the non-partisan Clean Air Watch. "Ethanol refineries have the potential to pollute quite a bit."

Most of the companies have not been fined by state or federal government agencies, though some of the biggest ownership groups have been forced to pay millions for cleanup and anti-pollution devices.

"Ethanol has been dramatically oversold as a green energy source," said O'Donnell.
I don't know how I missed this, since a quick Google search reveals that the ethanol pollution problem has been known for a long time. For example:
  • May 3, 2002 -- EPA Finds Worrisome Levels Of Toxic Air Pollutants At Ethanol Plants
  • September 2000 -- Does Ethanol Use Result in More Air Pollution?
  • 1997 -- Ethanol Causes Pollution, Too, Argonne Scientists Say
An NPR story from April of this year shows that many environmentalists are not very happy with this situation. There are cleaner ways to make ethanol, but right now corn is the most economically viable source. As long as this remains so, this may be another case of the cure being worse than the disease. Here is an extended quote from the NPR story:
Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program, and Elizabeth Marshall, senior economist at the World Resources Institute, share their concerns:

Corn Vs. Cellulosic

Corn ethanol is presently the only commercially viable means of ethanol fuel production. It's made by distilling fermented simple sugars derived from corn. The problem is, it's still an environmentally taxing process.

"With ethanol, the devil is in the details," says Dan Becker. "There are ways of making it that are quite clean, but that's not the way we're doing it."

Becker backs cellulosic ethanol. If researchers can streamline what's still an experimental process, then ethanol could be made from a variety of plant materials.

The benefit of that, Elizabeth Marshall says, is that cellulosic ethanol production would allow farmers to grow crops that work in their area, rather than forcing corn on lands that are not well-suited to support it.

A Decrease in Greenhouse Gases?

Some environmentalists also question whether corn ethanol will ultimately help combat global warming. Dan Becker says it's necessary to take into account the energy expended to produce the fuel.

"The way we make ethanol now," Becker says, involves "seven passes over the field with a diesel tractor, heating the corn to convert it into ethanol, and transporting the fuel in diesel-guzzling trucks."

Marshall estimates that producing 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol – less than half of Bush's projected goal for 2017 – would increase greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production by almost 8 percent.

Furthermore, Becker states, ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline, so to meet the same energy demands, more gallons of ethanol would have to be produced.

A problem often cited with ethanol is that, when the production process is taken into account, it will ultimately release more greenhouse gas than gasoline. Becker says more recent studies show that's not the case. Overall, he says, corn ethanol isn't a loser but, "it's not a big winner, either. The best thing that we can say about ethanol is that it is not gasoline – and that is damning with faint praise."

The Environmental Footprint

Elizabeth Marshall worries that attempting to curb greenhouse gases with increased corn ethanol production will ultimately come at the cost of the country's water and soil.

"Soil erosion, nutrient runoff, and pulling new land into corn production are all concerns," she says.

To meet the increased demand for ethanol, many farmers want to bring into use lands that are currently protected. Marshall also predicts that higher corn prices will give farmers incentive to revert to environmentally unfriendly practices.

Farming's environmental footprint has always been a concern, says Marshall. "Increased demand for ethanol will only exacerbate existing problems."
Back to the CNSNews article, there's at least one group that sees ethanol pollution through rose-colored glasses: The National Corn Growers Association. Referring to association spokesman Geoff Cooper:
Cooper said any problems with pollution are offset by the environmental benefits of renewable fuels being used in U.S. vehicles.
In other words, the polluted community surrounding the ethanol plant should be proud that it is sacrificing itself for the greater good of the planet.

Why vegans love AGW

AGW alarmism provides an excellent opportunity for vegetarians and vegans to push hard on their agenda, on the premise that everything involved in raising animals for food -- from cow flatulence to distance to market ("food miles") -- contributes to global warming.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that someone has already written a book called The Global Warming Diet (to be published later this year), promoting nothing but vegetarian/vegan fare. As the Washington Times reports, the book by San Francisco chef Laura Stec and meteorology prof Eugene Cordero is also liberally (heh) seasoned with the wit and wisdom of the radical environmentalist left:
The 250-page book is full of vegetarian fare, guides for relevant "discussion" parties, a few inconvenient truths and a cowcatcher full of scientific claims from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the United Nations and other sources.

"One of the most positive effects you can have on the environment begins on your dinner plate," said Miss Stec, who calls her diet "global cooling cuisine."
Stec and Cordero are not the only ones who see a chance to make a quick buck while hitching their wagon to AGW:
Nutritionists at Britain's University of Wales have developed a weeklong eco-diet with low food mileage, less processing and no red meat or chocolate, which they say have "a high impact" on the environment.

The District-based Center for Science in the Public Interest offers "Six Arguments for a Greener Diet," which advocates vegetarianism in the name of healthy living, not to mention less "food poisoning, water pollution, air pollution, global warming, and animal suffering," says author and CSPI director Michael Jacobson.
The nutritionists at U. of Wales will have a hard time selling people on a diet that forbids chocolate -- global warming or no global warming.

Note that two of the organizations at the forefront of the global warming diet movement are the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. ActivistCash provides abundant evidence that these organizations, far from being objective, have long been advocates for vegetarianism and veganism (is that a word?). Read more here: UCS, CSPI.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. My point here is to present further evidence that AGW is a golden opportunity for the various constituencies of the left to promote their causes (and for wily capitalists to make a quick buck).

Although the monkey dresses in silk, she remains a monkey

Prickly City, June 10:

(Click image to view full size)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Al Gore's Tennessee mansion finally going green?

It looks like Mr. Gore is finally taking steps to practice what he preaches regarding our sacred duty to reduce our carbon footprint. The renovations come quickly on the heels of public criticism of his energy usage ($1200/month for electricity), although he insists the changes are not in response to the criticism.

The Associated Press reports June 8 on the changes that are nearing completion:

Gore's renovation project, which he said has been in the works for months, seeks to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Once his upscale neighborhood changed zoning laws earlier this year, Gore was able to place solar panels on his roof, and he's now preparing to install a geothermal system that will, among other things, drastically reduce the cost of heating his pool.

Gore is also upgrading windows and ductwork, installing more energy-efficient light bulbs and creating a rainwater collection system for irrigation and water management.

Whether or not Gore was reacting to the criticism, it is good to see him try to walk the AGW talk, or at least as much as a rich jet-setter can. Then again, there is that business about the private jet...

Global Warming: The Game (coming soon to an X-Box near you?)

Even though the modern AGW movement is largely a vehicle for anticapitalists to achieve their goals, that doesn't mean that capitalists can't get a piece of the action as well. Microsoft, in an apparent attempt to show it is environmentally conscious, is sponsoring a contest, according to Ars Technica (emphasis added):
Though some would have you believe that games are nothing but a breeding ground for murderers, one of the current console contenders is hoping that some of the industry's up-and-comers can convince us that games can change the world. In association with Games for Change—a movement that strives to use games as a means for social change—Microsoft is hosting a competition called the "Xbox 360 Games for Change Challenge" that will seek out new talent for the purposes of creating a game based on the current socio-political climate of the world today.
Make no mistake -- "social change" is the goal of the CoGW, and exploitation of global warming (real or not) is how they intend to get there.

Denver's mayor soft-pedals "green" plan, but doesn't back down

After Drudge highlighted Denver mayor John Hickenlooper's aggressive plan to cut the city's carbon emissions by the equivalent of a half million cars, his office (as well as the newspaper that reported the story) got an avalanche of feedback, mostly negative. Hickenlooper says he's not intimidated by the response, but he is giving mixed signals about how he's planning to move forward, according to the Rocky Mountain News:

Hickenlooper said the proposals are just ideas.

"According to most polls, 70 percent of the people in Colorado recognize there is global warming," he said.

The mayor said he would listen to public reaction before moving ahead but he aims to have a plan in place by the end of the year.

Some of the proposals in Denver's plan that might sound radical to residents are already in place in other states. California, for example, charges heavy users of electricity higher rates.

So, although these are "just ideas", he expects to have some form of these ideas in place by the end of the year, citing the fact that 70% of the scientifically literate (just kidding!) public have swallowed the AGW hypothesis, and thus likely would see the light on whatever his eventual plan is.

CoGW caught lying about Kilimanjaro's disappearing icecap

One of the reasons the AGW hysteria has advanced as far as it has is the fact that CoGW adherents are very skilled at promoting false interpretations of verifiable facts.

For example, Al Gore (in An Inconvenient Truth) and others have frequently pointed to the disappearing icecap of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro as proof positive of AGW.

While the icecap is indeed disappearing, this fact has nothing to do with global warming, anthropogenic or otherwise, as reported in this June 12 Reuters article:
The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania have been diminishing for more than a century but probably not due to global warming, researchers report.

While the retreat of glaciers and mountaintop ice in the mid-latitudes -- where much of the world's human population lives -- is definitely linked to global climate change, the same cannot be said of Kilimanjaro, the researchers wrote in the July-August edition of American Scientist magazine.

Kilimanjaro's icy top, which provided the title for an iconic short story by Ernest Hemingway, has been waning for more than a century, according to Philip Mote of the University of Washington in the United States and Georg Kaser of the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

Most of the retreat occurred before 1953, nearly two decades before any conclusive evidence of atmospheric warming was available, they wrote.

"It is certainly possible that the icecap has come and gone many times over hundreds of thousands of years," Mote, a climatologist, said in a statement.
The temperature atop Kilimanjaro never rises above freezing, so there is no chance for the icecap to melt. Instead, the snow is sublimating -- evaporating without first melting. This is due to increased solar irradiance (combined, I presume, with lower humidity).

Reuters is careful to throw in a YeahBut to hold on to the faithful:
"But for temperate glaciers, there is ample evidence that they are shrinking, in part because of warming from greenhouse gases."

Somehow, the credibility of Al Gore and the other saints of the CoGW never suffers when one after another of their claims proves to be false. Either they're lying, or they have no idea what they're talking about -- in either case a sane world would pay no attention to them.

Banish the burger!

It's amazing (yet predictable) to see again and again how nicely so many of the policy prescriptions offered in the fight against global warming just so happen to align perfectly with the goals of the radical environmental left.

CNSNews reports on an e-mail exchange between the Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (VIVA) and an official of the UK government's Environment Agency which suggests that the British government will soon be paying much closer attention to the food choices that UK citizens make:
A leaked e-mail message has led to speculation that the British government plans to promote vegetarianism as part of a broader strategy to fight climate change.

In a message sent earlier this year to a vegetarian lobbying group, the Environment Agency -- a statutory body set up under a 1995 law -- said it was considering ways to deal with global warming, one of which was to encourage people to eat less meat.

The agency said that it was unlikely that most people would swear off meat entirely and that the issue would have to be introduced "gently" for fear of alienating the public.

The official who authored the e-mail message also wrote that the potential benefits to the climate of a vegan diet could be "very significant." A vegan diet is one that shuns all meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products.

"Future Environment Agency communications are unlikely to ever suggest adopting a fully vegan lifestyle, but certainly encouraging people to examine their consumption of animal protein could be a key message," the official wrote.
This is the sheer genius of perpetuating AGW as a crisis -- it can be adapted to the agenda of any left-leaning organization.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Religious groups ally with CoGW in the name of "environmental justice"

TownHall's Amanda Carpenter writes on the various Christian and Jewish groups that have jumped on the AGW bandwagon, paraded in triumph by prominent Democrats:

Last Thursday, [Sen. Barbara] Boxer held a hearing that highlighted the growing role of religion in liberal political campaigns--particularly in the name of “environmental justice.” There, a coalition of 35 religious denominations called for an 80 percent reduction in global warming emissions by the year 2050, and bill S.309, sponsored by Boxer and avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.), calls for the same.

“Evangelical Christians, Catholics, African Methodist Episcopals, Jews, mainline Protestant Christians, and many other people of faith see the need for action on global warming as a moral, ethical and scriptural mandate,” Boxer said.

She explained, “People of faith contacted us recognizing that science says global warming’s effects will fall most heavily on poor people. All we have to do is look at what happened during [Hurricane] Katrina, even in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.”

(Not that Katrina had anything whatsoever to do with AGW)

This is a clever political move on behalf of the Dems, who appear ready to claim that any Republican that opposes the CoGW agenda hates the poor. Given the likely fact that many of these Republicans belong to Christian denominations that have swallowed the AGW pronouncements whole, they had better be ready to be attacked on moral and religious grounds.

Many of the religious groups that have signed on are longtime friends of the environmental and Marxist left, so no surprises there. But others are relative newcomers, such as Rick Warren and Joel Osteen.

One thing that unites these various denominations and persons is the fact that they know next to nothing about whether or not the AGW claims are actually true. They simply assume it's all true. Just as secularists use emotional pseudoscientific arguments to cut off debate, so these religious leaders use emotional moral arguments to cut off debate. In the end, truth loses -- and the cause of Christ is sullied.

Denver girds itself for battle against AGW, even as...

Okay, sorry, I can't resist one more example of the "proof by anecdote" that so annoys me when used by the CoGW. On June 8 the morning low in Denver was 31 (KMGH TV). This is only the third time since recordkeeping began that the city experienced a freeze in June. This event also goes in the record books as the latest freeze ever recorded there.

In response to this record cold, the city government is considering a series of measures that will lower carbon emissions by the equivalent of a half million cars (Rocky Mountain News, June 11):

The ambitious goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4.4 million metric tons by 2020, the equivalent of eliminating two small coal-fired power plants or taking 500,000 cars off the road.

[...] Much of the city's plan involves finding ways to encourage energy conservation by mandating efficiency standards for new construction and setting standards for older homes that would be enforced when the home is sold.

The city also would give incentives for car pooling and the use of hybrids and other low-polluting vehicles, possibly by giving them priority in parking.

To cut back on use of landfills - methane gas from landfills is a major contributor to global warming - the plan would encourage recycling and charge residents for the amount of trash they throw away.

Denver may ask voters to approve higher rates for "excessive" use of electricity and natural gas. The plan also floats the idea of using insurance premiums to penalize people who drive long distances.

Sounds like Denver is seeking to make the city a much better place to live and do business by making it much more expensive to live and do business there. I suppose they could go a little further and ban poor people, because they're much more likely to drive carbon-belching autos.

Sorry, that was a little too cynical. Some of the policy proposals are not unreasonable... if they were in response to an actual crisis -- the fact of which I remain unconvinced.

Rolling Stone pretends to be carbon neutral

NY Times, June 11:
Just about every major magazine has made some sort of nod to global warming, and Rolling Stone plans to do so in its June 28 issue: on top of the requisite interview with former Vice President Al Gore and an essay by the environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the magazine will start printing on paper that is said to have less of a negative impact on the environment.

But as Rolling Stone and others try to be green, they draw criticism from environmentalists who think that if this is walking the walk, it is doing so with a pronounced limp.

Rolling Stone will be printed on what it calls “carbon neutral paper,” because it is made through a process that the magazine claims adds no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The paper, which is considerably thinner than what Rolling Stone uses now, is made by a Canadian mill, Catalyst Paper, that the magazine says has reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 82 percent since 2005 and been cited by the World Wildlife Fund for its conservation efforts.

Catalyst offsets the small amount of carbon released in making the paper by planting trees that will not be harvested for more paper, but rather left standing to help cool the climate, said Lyn Brown, a vice president at Catalyst.
The article goes on to say that RS is drawing fire from the CoGW because of the fact that the magazine refuses to use recycled paper (which, they say, doesn't reproduce photos very well).

Catalyst Paper, the mill mentioned in the article, does an admirable job of being less wasteful of the wood fibers used to make pulp -- instead of buying freshly-cut trees, they buy sawdust, "waste" wood, etc. from other mills that would normally send the debris to landfills. Catalyst also tries to ensure that its suppliers are selling wood products harvested from "sustainably managed forests". All well and good -- about as much as can be expected from a paper producer.

The term "sustainably managed forests" usually means massive replanting to replace the trees that are harvested. Perhaps someone can answer this for me, because I don't know -- how many young trees are planted to replace each mature tree that is harvested? If the replacements aren't as much of a carbon dioxide sink as the trees they replaced, the process can't be considered "carbon neutral" in the short term.

If the climate "tipping point" is only 10 years away as the AGW alarmists warn, these trees won't stop it from happening.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Proof by anecdote

AGW alarmists are quite fond of pointing at individual weather events and proclaiming: "See? Global warming!" Although I reject proof-by-anecdote as a logical fallacy, I can still have some fun with it. In that spirit, I present the following story (Rocky Mountain News, June 7) about a current weather event and proclaim: "Neener, neener!"
Denver did a fair impersonation of Chicago Wednesday.

It was the windy city all over the place as a late spring storm moved into Colorado, bringing high winds to much of the state including the Front Range, and measurable snow to mountain locations.

[...] Skies were sunny east of the Continental Divide with highs in the low to mid 80s, but things were different in the mountains, where 2 to 4 inches of snow was forecast for some locations.

Snow fell along the Continental Divide and at the Eisenhower Tunnel earlier Wednesday, changing to rain later in the day before the clouds moved east.

Temperatures are dropping rapidly in the metro area this evening and are expected to reach lows in the mid-40s.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

NASA chief Griffin regrets airing personal opinion on AGW

...but he doesn't disavow the opinion he presented. From SciTech Today, June 6 (emphasis added):
NASA administrator Michael Griffin made headlines last week when he told a National Public Radio interviewer he wasn't sure global warming was a problem. "All I can really do is apologize to all you guys ... I feel badly that I caused this amount of controversy over something like this," said Griffin.

The head of NASA told scientists and engineers that he regrets airing his personal views about global warming during a recent radio interview, according to a video of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin said in the closed-door meeting Monday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that "unfortunately, this is an issue which has become far more political than technical and it would have been well for me to have stayed out of it."
Griffin recognizes why it's so hard to engage in an honest debate on this issue.

Blame it on AGW: Shelters overwhelmed with cats and kittens

I suspect I'll see enough of this type of article that it's worth launching a series with the title "Blame it on AGW". John Brignell has documented the fact that just about every modern ill is being blamed on global warming; LiveScience brings us another example:
Droves of cats and kittens are swarming into animal shelters nationwide, and global warming is to blame, according to one pet adoption group.

Several shelters operated by a national adoption organization called Pets Across America reported a 30 percent increase in intakes of cats and kittens from 2005 to 2006, and other shelters across the nation have reported similar spikes of stray, owned and feral cats.

The cause of this feline flood is an extended cat breeding season thanks to the world’s warming temperatures, according to the group, which is one of the country’s oldest and largest animal welfare organizations.

“Cats are typically warm-weather, spring-time breeders,” said the group’s president, Kathy Warnick. “However, states that typically experience primarily longer and colder winters are now seeing shorter, warmer winters, leading to year-round breeding.”
We've had maybe a one degree Celsius increase in temperature in the past century, and the majority of that increase happened early in the century. Apparently our feline friends have just now gotten around to noticing that.

China's one-child policy: the ultimate carbon offset

Further evidence that just about anything can be made virtuous if it can be recast as a carbon offset. From LifeSite, May 4:
Hu Tao of China's State Environmental Protection Administration praised his country’s One Child population control policy for its contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases. The policy, introduced in the early 1980’s, has been condemned by international human rights agencies for including forced abortion, infanticide and sterilization as well as heavy financial and legal penalties for having children.

Speaking last month at a meeting in Oslo on the UN’s Kyoto Protocol, Hu claimed that the coercive abortion and sterilization policy has had the side effect of slowing “global warming” by limiting the population to 1.3 billion.

“This has reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

(Thanks for the tip, Ray)

Former German chancellor Schmidt disses IPCC

Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt apparently doesn't think much of the fact that climate change is the prime topic at the G8 summit in Heilligendamm. The original interview was published by Bild (1, 2); the English translation was posted at The Reference Frame. Here is the part of the interview that directly addressed climate change:
It's the first time when the protection of the climate stands at the top of the G8 agenda. Is the situation as dramatic as the IPCC climate panel warns us?

This whole climate panel has invented itself and no one has asked for it. It is a severe exaggeration to call IPCC a council that should issue recommendations. The whole debate is hysterical and overheated, especially by the media. There has been climate change since the beginning of the Earth.

For hundreds of thousands of years we have seen ice ages and interglacials.

For example, people find tusks in Germany and prove that elephants once lived in this country during interglacials. Or in my garden in Hamburg's Langenhorn which is 15 meters above the sea level, I can find mussels that indicate that the ocean used to reach to Langenhorn and maybe even further.

Meanwhile, the reason behind these climate changes have been inadequately researched for the time being. And there is no reason to think that the climate change should suddenly stop. But to get upset about it and to believe that mankind could stop this climate change by making a resolution in Heilligendamm is pure hysteria, it is a nonsense!

It's Y2K all over again

In the late 1990s, the media was so overwhelmingly snookered by the "experts" regarding the looming Year 2000 disaster, you would think that they would be a little more skeptical about the next TEOTWAWKI scenario that was peddled.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

NBC networks join the Gore 2008 campaign

Al Gore hasn't yet announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election, but it seems inconceivable to me that he wouldn't leverage his worldwide exposure in next month's Live Earth concerts.

Pushing itself to the head of the line of True Believers, NBC Universal has announced that it will be providing an astounding 75 cumulative hours of Live Earth coverage on its various TV networks.

Brent Baker of Newsbusters describes the deal this way:

In what will surely be one of the largest ever, if not the largest, in-kind contributions to a presidential campaign if Al Gore decides to run, NBC Universal announced late last week that its networks will devote an incredible 75 hours of time on Saturday, July 7 to showing Gore's “Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.”

In addition to the entirety of NBC's prime time that night hosted by Ann Curry of NBC News, CNBC will carry seven hours of coverage from 7pm to 2am EDT; Bravo will show the concerts around the world for 18 hours starting at 8am EDT; and both the Sundance channel and the Universal HD channel will showcase the concerts for 22 hours each beginning at 4am EDT.

Rounding out the 75 hours, mun2 will run a two-hour show at 5pm EDT and Telemundo will air a one-hour special at 7pm EDT. And that's not counting how NBC's press release touted that “MSNBC will broadcast special coverage of this global concert event throughout the day with live reports from the concerts in New York and London.”

12 June update: To whoever it was at NBC Universal that just read this blog entry: HOWDY!

Why ice core samples are an unreliable proxy for CO2 measurements

An earlier post examined the AGW alarmists' abuse of CO2 data to falsely assert a steady increase in atmospheric concentrations of the gas in the past two centuries. They supposedly validated their conclusions through the analysis of ice core data.

The problem with the use of ice cores as a proxy for CO2 measurements is that the ice is unavoidably contaminated by liquid water. Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection (CLOR) in Warsaw, Poland, in written testimony submitted to a U.S. Senate committee in March 2004 said:
Determinations of CO2 in polar ice cores are commonly used for estimations of the pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric levels. Perusal of these determinations convinced me that glaciological studies are not able to provide a reliable reconstruction of CO2 concentrations in the ancient atmosphere. This is because the ice cores do not fulfill the essential closed system criteria. One of them is a lack of liquid water in ice, which could dramatically change the chemical composition the air bubbles trapped between the ice crystals. This criterion, is not met, as even the coldest Antarctic ice (down to -73°C) contains liquid water. More than 20 physico-chemical processes, mostly related to the presence of liquid water, contribute to the alteration of the original chemical composition of the air inclusions in polar ice.

Every modern ill is caused by AGW!

Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Blame it on global warming!

John Brignell has combed through scores of news articles where every unusual thing under the sun* is blamed on human-induced global warming. Here is the list he has compiled. Go to Brignell's website to see the news articles that link these Very Bad Things to AGW.
Agricultural land increase, Africa devastated, African aid threatened, air pressure changes, Alaska reshaped, allergies increase, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), ancient forests dramatically changed, Antarctic grass flourishes, anxiety, algal blooms, Arctic bogs melt, Asthma, atmospheric defiance, atmospheric circulation modified, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, bananas destroyed, bananas grow, bet for $10,000, better beer, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, birds return early, blackbirds stop singing, blizzards, blue mussels return, boredom, Britain Siberian, British gardens change, bubonic plague, budget increases, building season extension, bushfires, business opportunities, business risks, butterflies move north, cardiac arrest, caterpillar biomass shift, challenges and opportunities, Cholera, civil unrest, cloud increase, cloud stripping, cod go south, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), computer models, conferences, coral bleaching, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink , cold spells, cost of trillions, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, cyclones (Australia), damages equivalent to $200 billion, Dengue hemorrhagic fever, dermatitis, desert advance, desert life threatened, desert retreat, destruction of the environment, diarrhoea, disappearance of coastal cities, diseases move north, Dolomites collapse, drought, drowning people, ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, early spring, earlier pollen season, Earth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing down, Earth spinning out of control, Earth to explode, earth upside down, Earth wobbling, earthquakes, El Niño intensification, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilisation, logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirds, bats, pandas, pikas, polar bears, pigmy possums, gorillas, koalas, walrus, whales, frogs, toads, turtles, orang-utan, elephants, tigers, plants, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, penguins, a million species, half of all animal and plant species, less, not polar bears), experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, famine, farmers go under, figurehead sacked, fish catches drop, fish catches rise, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, floods, Florida economic decline, food poisoning, food prices rise, food security threat (SA), footpath erosion, forest decline, forest expansion, frosts, fungi invasion, Garden of Eden wilts, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed, glacial retreat, glacial growth, glacier wrapped, global cooling, global dimming, glowing clouds, Gore omnipresence, grandstanding, grasslands wetter, Great Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes drop, greening of the North, Gulf Stream failure, habitat loss, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, harvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay fever epidemic, hazardous waste sites breached, heat waves, hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late, high court debates, human fertility reduced, human health improvement, human health risk, hurricanes, hydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkage, inclement weather, infrastructure failure (Canada), Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, industry threatened, infectious diseases, insurance premium rises, invasion of midges, island disappears, islands sinking, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, Kew Gardens taxed, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, lawsuits increase, lawsuit successful, lawyers’ income increased (surprise, surprise!), lightning related insurance claims, little response in the atmosphere, Lyme disease, Malaria, malnutrition, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine food chain decimated, marine dead zone, Meaching (end of the world), megacryometeors, Melanoma, methane emissions from plants, methane burps, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom convulses, migration, migration difficult (birds), microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, more bad air days, more research needed, mountain (Everest) shrinking, mountains break up, mountains taller, mudslides, next ice age, Nile delta damaged, no effect in India, nuclear plants bloom, oaks move north, ocean acidification, outdoor hockey threatened, oyster diseases, ozone loss, ozone repair slowed, ozone rise, Pacific dead zone, personal carbon rationing, pest outbreaks, pests increase, phenology shifts, plankton blooms, plankton destabilised, plankton loss, plant viruses, plants march north, polar bears aggressive, polar bears cannibalistic, polar bears drowning, polar bears starve, polar tours scrapped, psychosocial disturbances, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall increase, rainfall reduction, refugees, reindeer larger, release of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice yields crash, rift on Capitol Hill, rioting and nuclear war, rivers raised, rivers dry up, rockfalls, rocky peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, Ross river disease, salinity reduction, salinity increase, Salmonella, salmon stronger, sea level rise, sea level rise faster, sex change, sharks booming, shrinking ponds, ski resorts threatened, slow death, smog, snowfall increase, snowfall reduction, societal collapse, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, spiders invade Scotland, squid population explosion, squirrels reproduce earlier, spectacular orchids, stormwater drains stressed, taxes, tectonic plate movement, terrorism, ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tourism increase, trade winds weakened, tree beetle attacks, tree foliage increase (UK), tree growth slowed, trees could return to Antarctic, trees less colourful, trees more colourful, tropics expansion, tropopause raised, tsunamis, turtles lay earlier, UK Katrina, Venice flooded, volcanic eruptions, walrus pups orphaned, war, wars over water, water bills double, water supply unreliability, water scarcity (20% of increase), water stress, weather out of its mind, weather patterns awry, weeds, Western aid cancelled out, West Nile fever, whales move north, wheat yields crushed in Australia, white Christmas dream ends, wildfires, wind shift, wind reduced, wine - harm to Australian industry, wine industry damage (California), wine industry disaster (US), wine - more English, wine -German boon, wine - no more French , winters in Britain colder, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers laid off, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, Yellow fever

and all on 0.006 deg C per year!
The list is also included in an article Brignell wrote last November for Spiked Online.

* Not that the sun has anything to do with climate change, mind you.

More lying with statistics -- Is today's atmospheric CO2 level unusual?

Has the average CO2 level been rising steadily since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution?

No, according to Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris, writing May 14 in the Canada Free Press. If you wish to lie using statistics, rule number one is: Choose your data points carefully.
While Antarctic ice core records supposedly 'prove' a significant increase in CO2 in this period, there are serious problems with this data. Besides the fact that ice bubbles take about 80 years to form and so cannot give a single year accurate measure, the continual freezing, refreezing and pressurization of ice columns may greatly alter the original composition of the air trapped in the bubbles. Nevertheless, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many others have accepted as meaningful the ice core results that indicate a pre-industrial CO2 level of 280 parts per million (ppm), in comparison with today's 385 ppm.

The most accurate way to determine the atmosphere's average CO2 content is to simply conduct a direct chemical analysis at many different places and times. Fortunately, there are more than 90,000 direct measurements by chemical methods between 1857 and 1957. However, in what appears to be a case of 'cherry-picking' data to fit a pre-determined conclusion, only the lower level CO2 data were included when the pre-industrial average was calculated (see below graph where data used in the averaging is highlighted). This is the average that was used to supposedly 'validate' the long term ice core records on which Al Gore and others depend.

[...] In a new scientific paper in the journal Energy and Environment, German researcher Ernst-Georg Beck, shows that the pre-industrial level is some 50 ppm higher than the level used by computer models that produce all future climate predictions. Completely at odds with the smoothly increasing levels found in the ice core records, Beck concludes, "Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated, exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942, the latter showing more than 400 ppm."

In a paper submitted to US Senate Committee hearings, Polish Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, a veteran mountaineer who has excavated ice from 17 glaciers on six continents, stated bluntly, "The basis of most of the IPCC conclusions on anthropogenic [human] causes and on projections of climatic change is the assumption of low level of CO2 in the pre-industrial atmosphere. This assumption, based on glaciological studies, is false."
The CO2 claim appears to be another con from our friends who fooled so many with the infamous "hockey stick" temperature graph (which purported to show a recent spike after centuries of stable temperatures).

As the authors note, the reason claims like this are accepted without question is that questions are not allowed. Nevertheless, scientists who love truth more than research grants should make sure their voices are heard.

Graph source

Monday, June 4, 2007

How carbon credits can INCREASE emissions

The incomparable Mark Steyn writes in NRO about an article in The Guardian describing how abuse and incompetence in the carbon credit industry have had the net effect of increasing carbon emissions:

You'd have to have a heart as cold as the pre-globally-warmed Arctic not to be howling with laughter at this, from The Guardian:

One senior figure suggested there may be faults with up to 20% of the carbon credits - known as certified emissions reductions - already sold. Since these are used by European governments and corporations to justify increases in emissions, the effect is that in some cases malpractice at the CDM has added to the net amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

I wouldn't be surprised if Katrina was triggered by Al Gore's carbon offsets.
The Guardian article focuses on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), one of many carbon credit brokers. As a broker, CDM will collect money from those (governments, businesses, Hollywood poseurs, failed presidential candidates) who wish to maintain or increase their carbon emissions, and will then pass the money (minus a commission, of course) to some entity with the capacity to reduce their emissions by an amount at least equal to the amount of the first party's excess.

How does a broker verify that emissions reductions have in fact taken place? Lacking sufficient personnel to do the job themselves, brokers will hire specialist companies to conduct inspections of projects in developing countries to ensure that the emissions reductions are in fact taking place.

Some of these specialist companies have been fraudulently certifying the reductions. While the brokers may not be engaging in the fraud themselves, they are putting their name on the certification, which makes them responsible for the results. Brokers like CDM can also be faulted for maintaining that, even though fraud and incompetence has tainted as much as one in five of the credits already sold,
The chairman of the CDM board, Danish energy consultant Hans Jürgen Stehr, insisted that in the end the problem was not bad enough to require any of the companies to be suspended.
Of course, this scandal isn't an argument for or against the scientific merit of AGW, but it does seem fitting that the Great AGW Con is attracting plenty of con artists who want a piece of the action.

There is no scientific consensus on climate change

Lawrence Solomon of the Financial Post (Canada) is writing an ongoing series called The Deniers, profiles of top-level, respected scientists who reject the findings of the UN's IPCC and who think the Kyoto Protocol is a dangerously silly idea.

Although Solomon began his series as someone who believed firmly the claim that a scientific consensus existed on climate change, he has long since abandoned that position.
Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists -- the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects -- and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position.
Well then, who are these mystery scientists that form this consensus? Solomon has been having trouble getting an answer to that question, and has in fact found that the IPCC has no intention of honestly reporting who truly supports its conclusions:

What of the one claim that we hear over and over again, that 2,000 or 2,500 of the world's top scientists endorse the IPCC position? I asked the IPCC for their names, to gauge their views. "The 2,500 or so scientists you are referring to are reviewers from countries all over the world," the IPCC Secretariat responded. "The list with their names and contacts will be attached to future IPCC publications, which will hopefully be on-line in the second half of 2007."

An IPCC reviewer does not assess the IPCC's comprehensive findings. He might only review one small part of one study that later becomes one small input to the published IPCC report. Far from endorsing the IPCC reports, some reviewers, offended at what they considered a sham review process, have demanded that the IPCC remove their names from the list of reviewers. One even threatened legal action when the IPCC refused.

Here are links to the articles Solomon has presented so far in his series:
Statistics needed -- The Deniers Part I
Warming is real -- and has benefits -- The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice -- The Deniers Part IV
The original denier: into the cold -- The Deniers Part V
The sun moves climate change -- The Deniers Part VI
Will the sun cool us? -- The Deniers Part VII
The limits of predictability -- The Deniers Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming -- The Deniers Part IX
Limited role for C02 -- the Deniers Part X
End the chill -- The Deniers Part XI
Clouded research -- The Deniers Part XII
Allegre's second thoughts -- The Deniers XIII
The heat's in the sun -- The Deniers XIV
Unsettled Science -- The Deniers XV
Bitten by the IPCC -- The Deniers XVI
Little ice age is still within us -- The Deniers XVII
Fighting climate 'fluff' -- The Deniers XVIII

Science, not politics -- The Deniers XIX
Gore's guru disagreed -- The Deniers XX
The ice-core man -- The Deniers XXI
Some restraint in Rome -- The Deniers XXII
Discounting logic -- The Deniers XXIII
Al Gore, be a man and explain why you claim a consensus for your view when the evidence says otherwise.