Monthly Archives: April 2008

That’s A Mighty Thin Branch You Have Climbed Out On

Leo Tolstoy, obviously not writing explicity about climate science, but his words resonate nonetheless:

“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”

This is quoted in a very nice article by Dr. Tim Ball on how the UN IPCC operates to supress dissenting science and keep up the illusion of "settled science" behind global warming catastrophism.  An excerpt:

It is claimed the scientists set the final summary content, but in reality governments set the form. The SPM [summary for policy-makers] is then released at least three months before the science report. Most of the scientists involved in the technical or science report see the Summary for the first time when it is released to the public. The time between its release to the public and the release of the Technical Report is taken up with making sure it aligns with what the politicians/scientists have concluded. Here is the instruction in the IPCC procedures. “Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) or the Overview Chapter.” Yes, you read that correctly. This is like an Executive writing a summary and then having employees write a report that agrees with the summary.

The Benefits of Warming

Keith Sherwood and Craig Idso of CO2 Science, as published at ICECAP:

In the introduction to their illuminating paper, the authors (Zhang, etal 2007) say they previously studied “a long span of Chinese history and found that the number of war outbreaks and population collapses in China is significantly correlated with Northern Hemisphere temperature variations and that all of the periods of nationwide unrest, population collapse, and drastic change occurred in the cold phases of this period.” In their current study, they write that they “extend the earlier study to the global and continental levels between AD 1400 and AD 1900.” This they do by using high-resolution paleoclimate data to explore “at a macroscale” the effects of climate change on the outbreak of war and population decline in the pre-industrial era as discerned by analyses of historical socioeconomic and demographic data.

In describing their findings, the five scientists say their newest analyses, like their earlier ones, show that “cooling impeded agricultural production, which brought about a series of serious social problems, including price inflation, then successively war outbreak, famine, and population decline.” And they suggest, as they put it, that “worldwide and synchronistic war-peace, population, and price cycles in recent centuries have been driven mainly by long-term climate change,” wherein warm periods were supportive of good times and cooling led to bad times, some of which (in our opinion) could arguably be described as a descent into hell.

Frequent readers of this site will know that I have often pointed out how researchers who publish results that refute the catastrophist storyline often feel obliged to tag on to their paper a pro forma statement of support for the catastrophist position, even if nothing in their results support such a conclusion.  My sense is that this is similar to Copernicus singing the praises of the Catholic Church to try to forestall their wrath over his science.  Sherwood and Idso find something similar in Zhang:

Interestingly, after having presented an essentially ironclad case for their finding that warmer periods throughout human history have almost always been more conducive to good times than bad times throughout the majority of the Northern Hemisphere, Zhang et al. conclude their paper by suggesting just the opposite, i.e., that bad times would likely follow any future global warming that might occur, throwing all of their findings to the wind and listing as their reason for doing so the usual litany of unduly-catastrophic consequences that climate alarmists insist will follow any temperature increase that might occur, while stating that “the current high global average temperature (which has never been experienced in the last two millennia) is continuing to rise at an accelerated speed.”

Cost of CO2 Reductions

In this terrific little 7-minute video, Steven Hayward helps us understand just what a drastic task it will be to cut CO2 emisions by 80% in fifty years (the target advocated by many catastrophists and adopted by both Democratic candidates).  I don’t think hanging out the laundry is going to be quite enough.  He makes the same point I made a while back, that this target implies a per capita CO2 emission level this country last experienced in 1875, and one that can only be found in the dirt poorest countries of the world.  (HT:  Tom Nelson)

If Journalists Could Do The Numbers, They Wouldn’t Have Been Journalism Majors

From Dominic Lawson via Tom Nelson:

One thing is clear; the British public does need educating about this: even one of The Independent’s most intelligent commentators wrote here last week that "The mini-windmill on David Cameron’s new house is an economical way for an individual household to generate electricity, even contribute to the national grid". Well, that’s if you consider it economical to spend thousands of pounds on a roof-top turbine that produces – even according to its supporters – no more than 1 megawatt hour per year, worth £40 unsubsidised on the wholesale electricity market. As a contribution to reducing CO2 emissions it’s about as cost-effective and meaningful as cycling to the House of Commons while having your chauffeur-driven car follow you with your briefcase, suit and black lace-up shoes.

Al Gore Saved Biofuels

The NY Sun writes:

Mr. Senauer said climate change advocates, such as Vice President Gore, need to distance themselves from ethanol to avoid tarnishing the effort against global warming. “Crop-based biofuels are not part of the solution. They, in fact, add to the problem. Whether Al Gore has caught up with that, somebody ought to ask him,” the professor said. “There are lots of solutions, real solutions to climate change. We need to get to those.”

But Al Gore brags about being biofuel’s number one supporter, nay, their "savior:"

Vice-President Al Gore
Third Annual Farm Journal Conference, December 1, 1998
http://clinton3.nara.gov/WH/EOP/OVP/speeches/farmj.html

"I was also proud to stand up for the ethanol tax exemption when it was under attack in the Congress — at one point, supplying a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to save it. The more we can make this home-grown fuel a successful, widely-used product, the better-off our farmers and our environment will be."

Someone Actually Looked At The Finances of Climate Alarmists

After 12,241 articles questioning the financial motivations of skeptics, someone finally looked at the financial motivations of alarmists:

Amid its calls for individual sacrifices in the name of the environment and paeans to “green” legislation, the network once again failed to disclose prominently that its parent company stands to get rich off of “environmentalist” laws.

NBC Universal is owned by General Electric, which plays a regular role in this column because of how aggressively the company has hitched its profits to its lobbying successes. GE spends more than any other corporation in America on lobbying the federal government — more than $20 million annually over the past three years — and Green Week and Earth Week probably should be disclosed as lobbying efforts.

In many of GE’s businesses, the profit model appears to be: (1) invest in something for which there isn’t much demand; (2) then lobby to mandate or subsidize it.

Wind turbines are a great example. GE describes itself as “one of the world’s leading wind turbine suppliers.” Absent subsidies, however, there might be no windmill industry, because windmills cannot reliably produce energy, and certainly not as affordably as traditional fuels such as coal.

Germany’s energy agency examined its subsidized wind industry and concluded in 2005: “Instead of spending billions on building new wind turbines, the emphasis should be on making houses more energy efficient.” But making houses more energy efficient doesn’t make GE rich.

GE spends millions lobbying to protect and expand the cornucopia of wind subsidies that includes a “production tax credit” for wind farms, government mandates on utilities to buy wind power and local subsidies. In one case in upstate New York, the GE turbines will be powering a wind farm completed using eminent domain.

GE’s coal gasification, solar power generation, electric cars and biodiesel businesses are the same: Consumers and investors acting with their own money would not patronize these technologies, but Congress, acting with your money, will. GE’s $20 million annual lobbying budget sees to it.

Are Climate Models Falsifiable?

From Maurizio Morabito:

The issue of model falsifiability has already been a topic on the NYT’s “Tierney Lab”, daring to ask this past January questions such as “Are there any indicators in the next 1, 5 or 10 years that would be inconsistent with the consensus view on climate change?” and “Are there any sorts of weather trends or events that would be inconsistent [with global warming}?“.

And what did Gavin Schmidt reply on RealClimate? No, and no:

this subject appears to have been raised from the expectation that some short term weather event over the next few years will definitively prove that either anthropogenic global warming is a problem or it isn’t. As the above discussion should have made clear this is not the right question to ask. Instead, the question should be, are there analyses that will be made over the next few years that will improve the evaluation of climate models?

No “short-term weather event over the next few years” could ever disprove that “anthropogenic global warming“. And observations (events) and their analyses, in the RealClimate world, are only interesting to “improve the models“.

Convinient.  Convinient, that is, if you are after a particular answer rather than the correct answer.

I Was Wrong

It is important to admit when one has made a mistake.  The great thing about blogging is that it is a real-time media and allows for corrections and update.  So here is mine.

In my book, and numerous times on this blog, I wrote:

Something like 80-85% of the world’s ice is in Antarctica.  And no one really thinks it is melting or going to melt.  In fact, if you look at the marks on the IPCC chart above for the contribution of Antarctic ice to ocean levels, it has a net negative impact, which means the IPCC actually expects the Antarctic ice sheet to grow, not melt.

Whoa, that can’t be right!  Mr. Gore showed those videos of ice retreating in Antarctica.  Well, yes, sort of.  Scientists expect that global warming will make the sea currents that circle Antarctica a bit warmer, leading to more precipitation and more snowfall on the continent.  Besides, Antarctica is so damn cold that raising temperatures a few degrees is not going to melt anything. 

The one exception is the Antarctic Peninsula, which sticks out into the warmer oceans.  This land area, representing about 2% of the Antarctic land mass and even less of its total ice sheet, is expected to warm and lose ice while the other 98% gains ice.

Guess what?  Mr. Gore chose that little 2% to illustrate his movie.  Was he ignorant of the choice he was making, or did he know exactly what he was doing, telling the literal truth (that the peninsula is melting) but leading viewers to the wrong conclusion overall about Antarctic ice?

As shown in bold, for years I have (incorrectly) been saying that Al Gore used footage from ice melting in the Antarctic Penninsula (the only part of Antarctica that is warming rather than cooling) to misleadingly imply that Antarctica was melting.  Well, I was wrong.  In fact, Gore did not use footage from the Antarctic Penninsula, but rather special effects footage from a science fiction movie.

I am sorry that I said Al Gore was guilty of cherry-picking his filming spots to leave the wrong impresion about Antarctic warming.  I should have instead said that Al Gore was guilty of using entirely made-up and fabricated CGI footage to leave the wrong impression about Antarctic warming.

Thank you for the opportunity to come clean and correct this error.

Wow, What Planet Does This Woman Live On?

Amy Goodman, producer of something called "Democracy Now" had this to say as she shared the state with James Hansen of NASA the other day:

Goodman blamed the ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) for what she insisted was a lack of coverage of the global warming issue for investing in public policy think tanks.

“[E]xxonMobil for example has pumped more than $8 million into 40 think tanks, which then provide so-called experts to the media to dismiss problems as such as global warming,” Goodman said. “These corporate Trojan horses are staples of American broadcasting – both public and private – that helps explain the reluctance of the U.S. media to even cover global warming. The topic gets three times as much coverage in the British newspapers as it does American papers.”

“When global warming does get coverage by the U.S.press, it’s present in false balance with the views of industry-sponsored skeptics,” Goodman said.

I would normally just ignore this woman as living in cloud-coocooland except that so much of the media seems so committed to this "alarmists are out-spent" meme, a theory that made no sense even before Al Gore starting collecting $300 million in advertising money to promote his investment fund promote climate alarmism.  Heck, I have trouble even finding articles that mention the skeptic’s position, much less give it equal time.  The article makes the same observation:

However, unbeknownst to Goodman, a recent Business & Media Institute study found “a meager 20 percent of stories even mentioned there were any alternative opinions to the so-called ‘consensus’ on the issue.” The study suggested there’s a bias that only gives one side of the global warming debate, the alarmist side – not the skeptic side.

It is appropriate that Goodman made her comments along with NASA’s James Hansen.  Hansen is currently looking to set the Guiness record for most media citiations and quotes of a man who claims to be censored.  He also is quite a censor himself, using his government position to go after textbook makers who even mention the skeptic’s position.

Ms. Goodman and Mr. Hansen are very typical fascists.  They define media balance as "100% my position, and no time for the opposition."  Note the definition of media corruption as "false balance."

Earth Day Thoughts

Cross-Posted from Coyote Blog

Happy Birthday Vladimer Lenin Earth Day.  I have a few thoughts for the day:

Sucking the Oxygen Out of the Environmental Movement

Observe today how little of the discussion is about anything other than climate.  There are still many environmental issues in the world that can be improved by the application of man’s effort and technology — unfortunately, climate is the least of these but the issue getting the most attention.  Consider how the global warming panic has sucked the oxygen out of the environmental movement.  Ten years from now, I predict that true environmentalists will be looking back on the hysteria over trace amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere as a huge setback for real environmental progress.

Environmentalism and Socialism

If you attend any Earth Day events today, notice how many of the speeches and presentations and such are anti-corporate, anti-trade, anti-capitalist, anti-wealth screeds, and have little to do with the environment.  If you actually go to a live Earth Day event, you will see why the selection of Lenin’s birthday was no accident.  You will not see this on the network news, because the media is sympathetic to the environmental movement and tends to edit the socialist rants out as PR protection for the environmentalists, knowing that American audiences would lose sympathy for them if they listened to the whole package. (This is mostly an American phenomenon – I have found from my brief travels in Europe that the media there does less such editing, perhaps because they know their audience is more comfortable with socialism).

The Climate Denier Trick

There are a lot of reasons not to be worried about "inaction" on global warming.  To justify the enormously expensive cuts in CO2 productions, on the order of 80% as supported by Obama and Clinton, one has to believe every element of a five-step logic chain:

  1. Mankind is increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere
  2. Increased atmospheric CO2 causes the world to warm (by some amount, large or small)
  3. The increases in CO2 from man will cause substantial warming, large enough to be detectable above natural climate variations
  4. The increases in world temperatures due to man’s CO2 will have catastrophic impacts on civilization
  5. These catastrophic impacts and their costs are larger than the enormous costs, in terms of poverty and lost wealth, from reducing CO2 with current technologies.

Climate alarmists have adopted a rhetorical trick that no one in the media seems willing to call them on.   They like to wage the debate over global warming policy on points one and two only, skipping over the rest.  Why?  Because the science behind numbers one and two are pretty strong.  Yes, there are a few folks who will battle them on these points, but even very strong skeptics like myself accept points one and two as proved. 

Here are some examples of how this trick works.  If, like me, you do not accept steps 3-4-5 in the above logic chain, you will be called a "denier."  When asked what a denier means, a climate alarmist will often position this denial as somehow disputing #1 and #2.  On the other hand, if one publicly accepts #1 and #2, the alarmist will shout "QED" and then proceed to say that strong action on CO2 is now justified.  When an alarmist says that the a consensus exists, he is probably correct on points 1 and 2.  But he is absolutely incorrect that a consensus exists on 3-4-5.

Don’t believe me?  Think back to the early Republican debate, where the moderator asked for a show of hands whether [I can't remember the exact question] man was causing global warming.  The implication is that you either have to accept this whole logic chain or not.  One can see why Fred Thompson begged to have 90 seconds to explain his position, and why the moderator, presumably in the alarmist camp, denied it to him. 

Over the last year or two, skeptics have gotten a lot better at making their argument.  Most all of them, like I do, begin their arguments by laying out a logic chain like this and explaining why one can believe that man-made greenhouse gases cause warming without accepting the need for drastic climate action.  The result?  Alarmists have stopped debating, and/or have declared that the debate is "over."  Remember that last great Al Gore climate debate?  Neither do I.

The Single Best Reason Not To Be Worried About Climate

I could, and have, in my books and videos, made arguments on many points in 3-4-5 (links at the bottom of the post).  In four, no one ever considers the good effects of warming (e.g. on growing seasons and crop yields) and most every other problem is greatly exaggerated, from hurricane formation to sea level rises.  And in five, every time someone has tried to put a price on even small reductions in CO2, the numbers are so enormous that they are quickly suppressed by a environmentalist-sympathetic media.  Suffice it to say that even the climate-sanctimonious Europeans have not been willing to pay the price for even slowing down their CO2 growth (which has risen faster than in the US), much less reducing it.

But in this logic chain, there is little need to argue about four and five if #3 is wrong.  And it is.

The effects of CO2 acting alone on temperatures are quite small — And everyone, even the alarmists, agree!  A doubling of CO2 concentrations, without other effects that we will discuss in a moment, will heat the earth no more than about 1 degree Celsius (though several studies recently have argued the number is much less).  This is not some skeptic’s hallucination — this is straight out of the IPCC third and fourth assessments [IPCC text quoted here].  In fact, the IPCC in their reports has steadily reduced their estimate of the direct contribution of CO2 on temperatures.  CO2, acting alone, warms the Earth only slowly, and at this rate we would see less than a degree of warming over the next century, more of a nuisance than a catastrophe.

But some scientists do come up with catastrophic warming forecasts.  They do so by assuming that our Earth’s climate is dominated by positive feedbacks that multiply the initial warming from CO2 by a factor of three, four, five or more.  This is a key point — the catastrophe does not come from the science of greenhouse gases, but from separate hypotheses that the earth’s climate is dominated by positive feedback. This is why saying that greenhouse gas theory is "settled" is irrelevant to the argument about catastrophic forecasts.  Because these positive feedbacks are NOT settled science.

In fact, the IPCC admits it does not even know the sign of the most important effect (water vapor), much less its magnitude.  They assume that the net effect is positive, and in fact strongly so – on the order of 60-80% feedback or more, nearly unprecedented numbers for a long-term stable physical system [more on feedback and its math here].  This is particularly ironic because alarmist Michael Mann, with his hockey stick, famously posited that temperatures over the last 1000 years were incredibly flat and stable until man started burning fossil fuels, a proposition that is hard to believe if the climate is dominated by strong positive feedback.   Note that when people like Al Gore say things like "tipping point," they are in effect hypothesizing that feedback is greater than 100%, meaning that climate can be a runaway process, like nuclear fission.

In fact, with the 100 or so years of measurements we have for temperature and CO2, empirical evidence does not support these high positive feedbacks. Even if we assign all the 20th century warming to CO2, which is unlikely, our current warming rates imply close to zero feedback.  If there are other causes for measured 20th century warming other than CO2, thereby reducing the warming we blame on CO2, then the last century’s experience implies negative rather than positive feedback in the system.  As a result, it should not be surprising that high feedback-driven forecasts from the 1990 IPCC reports have proven to be way too high vs. actual experience (something the IPCC has since admitted).

However, climate scientists are unwilling to back down from the thin branch they have crawled out on.  Rather than reduce their feedback assumptions to non-catastrophic levels, they currently hypothesize a second man-made cooling effect that is masking all this feedback-driven warming.  They claim now that man-made sulfate aerosols and black carbon are cooling the earth, and when some day these pollutants are reduced, we will see huge catch-up warming.  If anything, this cooling effect is even less understood than feedback.  What we do know is that, unlike CO2, the effects of these aerosols are short-lived and therefore localized, making it unlikely they are providing sufficient masking to make catastrophic forecasts viable.  I go into several reality checks in my videos, but here is a quick one:  Nearly all the man-made cooling aerosols are in the northern hemisphere, meaning that most all the cooling effect should be there — but the northern hemisphere has actually exhibited most of the world’s warming over the past 30 years, while the south has hardly warmed at all.

In sum, to believe catastrophic warming forecasts, one has to believe both of the following:

  1. The climate is dominated by strong positive feedback, despite our experience with other stable systems that says this is unlikely and despite our measurements over the last 100 years that have seen no such feedback levels.
  2. Substantial warming, of 1C or more, is being masked by aerosols, despite the fact that aerosols really only have strong presence over 5-10% of the globe and despite the fact that the cooler part of the world has been the one without the aerosols.

Here’s what this means:  Man will cause, at most, about a degree of warming over the next century.  Most of this warming will be concentrated in raising minimum temperatures at night rather than maximum daytime temperatures  (this is why, despite some measured average warming, the US has not seen an increase of late in maximum temperature records set).  There are many reasons to believe that man’s actual effect will be less than 1 degree, and that whatever effect we do have will be lost in the natural cyclical variations the climate experiences, but we are only just now starting to understand.

To keep this relatively short, I have left out all the numbers and such.  To see the graphs and numbers and sources, check out my new climate video, or my longer original video, or download my book for free.

Update: Very relevant article by Roy Spencer on the over-estimation of feedback in climate models.

Many of us, especially those who were trained as meteorologists, have long questioned the climate research community’s reliance on computerized climate models for global warming projections.  In contrast to our perception that the real climate system is constantly readjusting to internal fluctuations in ways that stabilize the system, climate models built upon measured climate behavior invariably suggest a climate system that is quite sensitive – sometimes catastrophically sensitive — to perturbations such as those from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.  Unfortunately, it has been difficult to articulate our ‘hand-waving’ concerns in ways that the modelers would appreciate, i.e., through equations.   

After years of pondering this issue, and after working on our two latest papers on feedbacks (Spencer et al., 2007; Spencer and Braswell, 2008, hereafter SB08), I believe that I can now explain the main reason for this dichotomy.   Taking the example of clouds in the climate system, the issue can be introduced in the form of a question:

To what extent are climatic variations in clouds caused by temperature change (feedback), versus temperature change being the result of cloud variations? 

Interesting, but Surprising only Because it is Being Admitted

From La Marguerite, via Tom Nelson.  The comments are so honest and rational, I would fear they were fake if I did not see them in the original:

When I launched the TalkClimateChange forums last year, I was initially worried as to where I would find people who didn’t believe in global warming. I had planned to create a furious debate, but in my experience global warming was such a universally accepted issue that I expected to have to dredge the slums of the internet in order to find a couple of deniers who could keep the argument thriving.

The first few days were slow going, but following a brief write-up of my site by Junk Science I was swamped by climate skeptics who did a good job of frightening off the few brave Greens who slogged out the debate with. Whilst there was a lot of rubbish written, the truth was that they didn’t so much frighten the Greens away – they comprehensively demolished them with a more in depth understanding of the science, cleverly thought out arguments, and some very smart answers. If you want to learn about the physics of convection currents, gas chromatography, or any number of climate science topics then read some of the early debates on TalkClimateChange. I didn’t believe a word of it, but I had to admit that these guys were good.

In the following months the situation hardly changed. As the forum continued to grow, as the blog began to catch traffic, and as I continued to try and recruit green members I continued to be disappointed with the debate. In short, and I am sorry to say it, anti-greens (Reds, as we call them) appear to be more willing to comment, more structured, more able to quote peer reviewed research, more apparently rational and apparently wider read and better informed.

And it’s not just TalkClimateChange. Since we re-launched the forums on Green Options and promoted the Live Debate on Nuclear Power, the pro-nuclear crowd have outclassed the few brave souls that have attempted to take them on (with the exception of our own Matt from TalkClimateChange). So how can this be? Where are all these bright Green champions, and why have I failed to recruit them into the debate? Either it’s down to poor online marketing skills, or there is something else missing.

I Will Accept this Description

I think this description fits where I am pretty well:

Lawrence Solomon, a columnist for Canada’s National Post—and the victim of an earlier smear campaign—decided to ask who these “deniers” really are and what they really believe. What he found is telling: “Among all the deniers I have profiled,” Solomon writes, “I have never encountered one who disputes that there is such a thing as a greenhouse effect, or that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas…. The arguments are all about how powerful the effect is, especially when considered in combination with other factors, various feedback mechanisms both negative and positive, and other influences that might or might not overwhelm the effect of CO2.” In other words, Solomon found that the “deniers” are, in fact, not in denial at all. They are merely dissidents from the political orthodoxy of climate catastrophism.

Winning Video

My 3-minute climate video won second place in the Kids and Globaloney contest

The results surprise me a bit.  I found the 3-minute limit almost impossible to make work in the video contest, and thought my video, which I include below, was rushed.

A better version is the 9-minute version here which covers the same subjects but with a bit more leisure and explanation.  This video, however, is a bit dated.  As I write in the YouTube comments, I want to take a better shot at explaining the issues around positive feedback.  I think I can fix it with just a rewrite of the narration.  That longer video is here and below.

My really long video, 60-minutes in 6 parts, is here.

Just Like WWII

From Climate Progress, via Tom Nelson:

I’m watching Morning Joe on CNBC — the joys of having a baby who wakes up at 6:30 am — and a guy from Time magazine is discussing their major forthcoming cover story that has a picture of the soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima, but now they are raising a tree.

Kudos to Time for making the clear analogy to World War II — that is the only way we are going to beat 450 ppm.

Just like WWII  — because it will cost trillions of dollars and left socialists in control of half the world?

For the Children

Jim Peden has a very funny comment to this post on Anthony Watts blog.  Since it is sometimes hard to find a comment in the middle of a long string, I will reproduce it here (I hope Jim does not mind).  I will also refer you to Jim’s web site, where he has a long and excellent summary of a number of the issues with global warming catastrophism.

The essential elements of an effective global panic consist of two parts:

First, one needs to identify a potential source of a world-wide catastrophe. Second, one needs to convince everyone that that actions of man are about to trigger that catastrophe. This is best illustrated by this following theoretical example:

It is well known that a “Super Volcano” lies under Yellowstone park. This volcano went undetected for many years, because its sheer size is so large it escaped notice when looking for something more familiar in size.

The consequences of another eruption of this monster can be fairly well predicted. First, it will simply blow away a fair-sized piece of Montana, and falling ash will bury cities for many miles beyond. The atmospheric ejecta will blanket a large portion of the earth, blocking out the sun and producing a “nuclear winter” for a significant portion of mankind. Crop failures and other effects of rapid cooling will lead to the death of untold billions of both human and animal inhabitants.

In fact, there are some significant geothermal and other indicators in Yellowstone that suggest this monster is again on the move. This has sparked at least one major television presentation discussing the potential for another eruption and the obvious catastrophe that would follow if it does. But this information in itself has not created much in the way of panic. Most citizens are resigned to the fact that mega-disasters, should they occur, can not be prevented by human action because they are part of the natural behavior of the planet and worrying excessively can not change anything. Don’t worry, be happy, we’re all in this together.

To turn the Yellowstone Super Volcano into a world-wide panic, we need a convincing piece of junk science as a trigger. Taking our cue from the “man-made CO2 is causing global warming” hoax, here’s one distinct possibility as far as Yellowstone is concerned:

Professor Wilfred Brimstone at the University of Mongolia has developed a model which clearly shows the buildup of human population on both the east and west coast of the United States is putting excessive pressure on both sides of the North American plate. The accumulation of vast amounts of additional weight in the form of people, buildings, automobiles, and other man-made items is creating such an excess of plate pressure at the edges, that magma is being forced laterally toward the center of the country, and in particular towards a weak crust zone in Montana centered at Yellowstone park. In the same manner as popping a pimple by squeezing from two opposing sides, the “coastal weight effect” is squeezing the magma beneath the crust and causing a rapid pressure buildup of the Yellowstone Super Volcano. Man’s greed to live near the ocean has tipped the balance of nature, and it is now only a matter of time until Yellowstone blows its top.

….. unless we take quick action to arrest and reverse this process.

It is critically important to immediately evacuate everyone from both coasts, and dismantle all heavy structures and begin transporting them to the center of the country, redistributing them evenly over a wide area until the overall plate pressure has been suitably equalized and the danger has passed. Senator Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill which will impose a stiff tax on any item weighing more than six ounces in order to pay for the weight relocation. A new $100 million Center for Building Weight Studies is currently under construction in Santa Barbara.

If you do not want to be dislocated from your present home, former Vice President Al Gore has just formed a new company, Relocation Unlimited, in which you can invest in “weight offsets” and not have to move. For a price, Mr. Gore will arrange have an equivalent weight of ordinary dirt dug up and relocated instead of your own 3 bedroom ranch.

It is also of immediate importance that we educate our children in the nature of this pending disaster that their parents’ over-building has created. Children everywhere should quickly make costumes that resemble blocks of concrete and conduct ritualistic marches in the general direction of the central Midwest. This, combined with the waving of signs and the singing of Kumbaya will quickly spread the word throughout the public school system and draw the attention of the mainstream media which is also critical to this effort. Working together, we can all stem this rapidly looming disaster.

incidentally, you can purchase your STOP YELLOWSTONE NOW t-shirts by visiting our online store, and our book by the same name is available on Amazon.com. A prime time television special is currently in production.

Did I get it right?

James A. Peden
Shoreham, Vermont on a chilly Sunday Morning

Praying for Global Warming

We are currently trying to open our marina we run at Elk Creek on the Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado.  Last year, the lake was melted by about March 20.  Today, you can see the lake is still solid ice over 2 feet thick.  It is by far the latest any local can remember the lake being fully covered in ice, at least for the last 30 years.

Ec1

Ec2

Lessons for Climate Panic from the Y2K Panic

This is kind of interesting, and comes via Odd Citizen.  The author links this Australian study looking retrospectively at the Y2K scare, trying to understand why an irrational collective hysteria developed that allowed for no skepticism (seem familiar).  The whole thing is interesting, but here is the money quote:

From the perspective of public administration, the two most compelling observations relate to conformity and collective amnesia. The response to Y2K shows how relatively subtle characteristics of a policy problem may produce a conformist response in which no policy actors have any incentive to oppose, or even to critically assess, the dominant view. Moreover, in a situation where a policy has been adopted and implemented with unanimous support, or at least without any opposition, there is likely to be little interest in critical evaluation when it appears that the costs of the policy have outweighed the benefits.

The article is written without any reference to current climate issues, but wow, does this sound familiar?

My Brief Answer

In this article, a UK trade union makes the following demand:

Unison is proposing that chief executives responsible for climate-wrecking schemes should be hauled up before school children to explain their actions.

Here is my brief response:

I run my own business and would love the opportunity to explain to school children why those who try to frighten them about their effect on climate have more to do with controlling them than helping them. I would love to explain why global warming alarmism is hugely exaggerated. Unfortunately, this platform never exists because alarmists, beginning with Al Gore, evade and avoid debate at all costs.  Putting me in front of school children to tell my story on global warming is exactly what alarmists don’t want.

My son today asked me why we live in a world with so many problems.  I responded that he needs to check his perspective.  On a historical scale, compared to anyone from any prior generation, our life is a piece of cake.  The reason things seem so bad in the media is because politicians and others want us to give up our rights.  No one gives up their rights voluntarily, but sometimes can be tricked into doing so in an "emergency."  It is therefore in the best interest of those who want power over us to try to convince us that there is some kind of emergency out there.

As a counter challenge, I would love for global warming alarmists to explain in return to school children why our generation enjoyed the benefits of economic growth and near universal wealth (at least by historical standards) but our kids on the other hand must accept poverty due to a grand global fetish surrounding a trace atmospheric gas and a few tenths of a degree of temperature change.

The Benefits of Warming

The next alarmist study that considers possible benefits of global warming along with its downsides will be the first.  Many of us have observed that, historically, abundance has always been associated with warmer periods and famine with cooler periods.  To this end, note this:  (via Tom Nelson)

Rain, wind and cold weather have Eastern Iowa farmers stuck and waiting to start the planting season.

Many farmers tell TV9 they’re ready to go but the weather this year simply won’t cooperate.

In 2007, many Eastern Iowa farmers began planting corn by the middle of April. This year, it’ll take several weeks of sun and much warmer temperatures to even think about working in soggy fields. And getting a later start can present some problems.