Climate Propaganda

Your One-Stop Climate Panic Resource

Absolutely classic video -- a must see:

From Marc Marano via Tom Nelson:

This 9 ½ minute video brilliantly and accurately (it is not a spoof!) shows the absurdity of today’s man-made global warming fear campaign. It appears to have been produced by a group called Conservative Cavalry. They really did their homework and put together quite a show. This video should be shown in classrooms across the country and in newsrooms!

The video is based on the website “A complete list of things caused by global warming.”

The website is run by Dr. John Brignell is a UK Emeritus Engineering Professor at the University of Southampton who held the Chair in Industrial Instrumentation at Southampton.

Be Cool and Prevent Cooling by Reducing Global Warming

I seldom highlight stories like this, because I am more interested in the science than the propoganda of climate issues, but I just couldn't resist this story.  Via Tom Nelson, from Belleville News Democrat:

Speakers at the public forum also addressed how global warming may directly affect metro-east residents, citing this summer's flooding and unusually cool weather, and future impact on agriculture.

"These are symptoms of global warming," said Kathy Andria, who represented the American Bottoms Conservancy at the forum.

Andria said she will help organize Belleville residents to work towards being a greener city and become designated by the Sierra Club as a Cool City.

So we want to fight global warming which is causing unusually cool weather.  If we are succesful, then we will be labelled a Cool City so that we won't have all this cool weather because we will have stopped warming.

Seriously, has there even been a more transparent "heads I win, tails you lose" argument than saying that unusually cool weather is evidence of global warming?

100 Months to the Tipping Point

Wow -- it turns out that after hundreds of millions or even billions of years of remaining stable, the world climate will, due to (at most) a few tenths of degrees of man-made warming and an increase of a trace gas composition in the atmosphere by about 0.01%, go past its tipping point or point of no return and run away to catastrophe.  I sure wish there was a prediction market where I could bet against this.  See this end of the world website here (HT to a reader). 

Given a bit more time, I will try to take on in depth the underlying article behind this site.  But for now, suffice it to say that underlying hypothesis is that the world's climate is dominated by positive feedback, a hypothesis, if true, that would set climate apart from nearly every other natural process that we know of.  In fact, the only major natural process I can think of that is dominated by positive feedback and tipping points is nuclear fission.  Here are many articles on how catastrophic forecasts assume large positive feedbacks and why this assumption is unlikely.

Because, You Know, All We Skeptics Are Fighting Against Settled Science

I saw Al's climate sci-fi movie, but I didn't read the book.  Via Tom Nelson, Robert Johnston has a refutation of some of Al's claims in his book.  This one caught my eye because it is a topic with which I am pretty familiar.  Gore writes:

"People who want to deny global warming because it's easier than dealing with it try to argue that what scientists are really observing is just the 'urban heat island' effect... This is simply wrong. Temperature measurements are generally taken in parks, which are actually cool areas within the urban heat islands... Most scientific research shows that 'urban heat islands' have a negligible effect..." (p. 318)

I can't believe we let Al Gore lecture us on science.  A few responses:

  • I don't think most skeptics deny that some warming has occurred in the 20th century.  Satellite measurement, which is not subject to urban heat island biases, has shown several tenths of a degree C warming since the late 1970's.  However, skeptics do tend to argue that surface temperature networks do tend to overestimate the 20th century warming signal due in part to urban biases  (not to mention over-zealous addition of fudge-factors by the alarmists running the data gathering). Of course, we also will dispute that "most" of this warming is due to anthropogenic CO2.
  • The statement that most temperature measurements are taken in parks is so wrong as to be absurd.  As Anthony Watts climate station survey process has shown, the vast majority of stations are actually located near buildings  (a predictable result of siting and cable length limitations of the most commonly used sensors).  You don't have to take my word for it, just scan the pictures yourself at random.  I have had a lot of fun participating in this project.  Here, by the way, is the Tucson station I surveyed.  As you can see, the station is definitely located in a park[ing lot].


  • We skeptics are often called "deniers" for not accepting that the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming is settled science.  But if you want to see real denialism in the face of facts, one only has to look at the alarmist's absurd position that, as Al Gore puts it, "urban heat islands have a negligible effect."  The fact is that urban heat islands are well-known to science, and can cause the center of cities to be as high as 5-8C hotter than the outlying rural areas.  It turns out that this is so horribly difficult to understand and prove that ... my 14-year-old son did it for a science project.  Here is the results of one of our data runs across town  (details described in the article).


  • Defenders of the surface temperature record will sometimes argue that they have successfully corrected for urban biases (leading to the cognitive dissonance of their saying that the biases have no effect and that they have fully corrected for them).  But here is the problem:  without detailed siting information, and surveys like that run by my son, it is impossible to make these corrections anything but guesses (ironically, many of the folks making this argument have opposed Anthony Watt's survey process and continue to maintain that they can make better adjustments blind than having data of station siting).  At most, the total warming signal we are trying to identify over the last century is about a degree F.  But as you can see above, we found a 6 degree urban heat effect on the first night of our study, and we found a 9 degree urban effect our second night.  You can see that not only does the magnitude of this heat island effect swamp the signal we are trying to measure, even the variability or uncertainty in assessing the urban bias is several times larger than the warming signal. 

Update:  Here is a new study debunking Gore's claim that man-made global warming was melting the Kilimanjaro ice cap.  This claim never made much sense, since even if temperatures were to warm by several degrees, they would still remain well below freezing all year long.

Climate Alarmists and Individual Rights

I am not sure this even needs comment:  (HT:  Maggies Farm)

I’m preparing a paper for an upcoming conference on this, so please comment if you can! Thanks. Many people have urged for there to be some legal or moral consequence for denying climate change. This urge generally comes from a number of places. Foremost is the belief that the science of anthropogenic climate change is proven beyond reasonable doubt and that climate change is an ethical issue. Those quotes from Mahorasy’s blog are interesting. I’ll include one here:

Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence. It is a crime against humanity, after all. –Margo Kingston, 21 November 2005

The urge also comes from frustration with a ‘denial’ lobby: the furthest and more extreme talkers on the subject who call global warming a ‘hoax’ (following James Inhofe’s now infamous quote). Of course there would be frustration with this position–a ‘hoax’ is purposeful and immoral. And those who either conduct the science or trust the science do not enjoy being told they are perpetrating a ‘hoax’, generating a myth, or committing a fraud....

I’m an advocate for something stronger. Call it regulation, law, or influence. Whatever name we give it, it should not be seen as regulation vs. freedom, but as a balancing of different freedoms. In the same way that to enjoy the freedom of a car you need insurance to protect the freedom of other drivers and pedestrians; in the same way that you enjoy the freedom to publish your views, you need a regulatory code to ensure the freedoms of those who can either disagree with or disprove your views. Either way. While I dislike Brendan O’Neill and know he’s wrong, I can’t stop him. But we need a body with teeth to be able to say, “actually Brendan, you can’t publish that unless you can prove it.” A body which can also say to me, and to James Hansen, and to the IPCC, the same....

What do you think? Perhaps a starting point is a draft point in the codes for governing how the media represent climate change, and a method for enforcing that code. And that code needs to extend out to cover new media, including blogs. And perhaps taking a lesson from the Obama campaign’s micro-response strategy: a team empowered with responding to complaints specifically dealing with online inaccuracy, to which all press and blogs have to respond. And so whatever Jennifer Mahorasy, or Wattsupwiththat, or Tom Nelson, or Climate Sceptic, or OnEarth, or La Marguerite, or the Sans Pretence, or DeSmog Blog, or Monckton or me, say, then we’re all bound by the same freedoms of publishing.

He asked for comments.  I really did not have much energy to refute something so wrong-headed, but I left a few thoughts:

Wow, as proprietor of, I am sure flattered to be listed as one of the first up against the wall come the great green-fascist revolution.  I found it particularly ironic that you linked my post skewering a climate alarmist for claiming that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects.  Gee, I thought the fact that objects of different masses fall at the same rate had been "settled science" since the late 1500s.

But I don't think you need a lecture on science, you need a lecture on civics.  Everyone always wants free speech for themselves.  The tough part is to support free speech for others, even if they are horribly, terribly wrong-headed.  That is the miracle of the first amendment, that we have stuck by this principle for over 200 years.

You see, technocrats like yourself are always assuming the perfect government official with perfect knowledge and perfect incentives to administer your little censorship body.  But the fact is, such groups are populated with real people, and eventually, the odds are they will be populated by knaves.  And even if folks are well-intentioned, incentives kill such government efforts every time.  What if, for example, your speech regulation bureaucrats felt that their job security depended on a continued climate crisis, and evidence of no crisis might cause their job to go away?  Would they really be unbiased with such an incentive?

Here is a parallel example to consider.  It strikes me that the laws of economics are better understood than the activity of greenhouse gasses.  I wonder if the author would support limits on speech for supporters of such things like minimum wages and trade protectionism that economists routinely say make no sense in the science of economics.  Should Barrack Obama be enjoined from discussing his gasoline rebate plan because most all economists say that it won't work the way he says?  There is an economist consensus, should that be enough to silence Obama?

Media Rorschach Test

This will come as no surprise to folks who attempt to follow climate science through the media, but a recent study really sheds some interesting light on how the media report science based on their pre-conceived notions, and not on the science itself.  Alex Tabarrok discusses media reporting on the relative math skills of men and women.  The politically correct view is that there are no differences, so it seems that was going to be the way the new science was reported, whether the data matched or not:

For the past week or so the newspapers have been trumpeting a new study showing no difference in average math ability between males and females.  Few people who have looked at the data thought that there were big differences in average ability but many media reports also said that the study showed no differences in high ability.

The LA Times, for example, wrote:

The study also undermined the assumption -- infamously espoused by former Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers in 2005 -- that boys are more likely than girls to be math geniuses.

Scientific American said:

So the team checked out the most gifted children. Again, no difference. From any angle, girls measured up to boys. Still, there’s a lack of women in the highest levels of professional math, engineering and physics. Some have said that’s because of an innate difference in math ability. But the new research shows that that explanation just doesn’t add up.

The Chronicle of Higher Education said:

The research team also studied if there were gender discrepancies at the highest levels of mathematical ability and how well boys and girls resolved complex problems. Again they found no significant differences.

All of these reports and many more like them are false.  In fact, consistent with many earlier studies (JSTOR), what this study found was that the ratio of male to female variance in ability was positive and significant, in other words we can expect that there will be more math geniuses and more dullards, among males than among females.  I quote from the study (VR is variance ratio):

Greater male variance is indicated by VR > 1.0. All VRs, by state and grade, are >1.0 [range 1.11 to 1.21].

Notice that the greater male variance is observable in the earliest data, grade 2.  (In addition, higher male VRS have been noted for over a century).  Now the study authors clearly wanted to downplay this finding so they wrote things like "our analyses show greater male variability, although the discrepancy in variances is not large." Which is true in some sense but the point is that small differences in variance can make for big differences in outcome at the top.  The authors acknowledge this with the following:

If a particular specialty required mathematical skills at the 99th percentile, and the gender ratio is 2.0, we would expect 67% men in the occupation and 33% women. Yet today, for example, Ph.D. programs in engineering average only about 15% women.

Both the WSJ and economist Mark Perry get it right.

Climate Global Warming Is Caused by Everything Our Interest Group Opposed Before It Came Along As An Issue

Many leftish groups have for years had a curious opposition to advertising.  Ralph Nader and his PIRG groups always made it a particular issue.  This always struck me as inherently insulting, as the "logic" behind their opposition to advertising is that people are all dumb, unthinking, programmable robots who launch off and buy whatever they see advertised on TV.

The global warming hysteria kind of sucks all the oxygen out of every other goofy leftish issue out there, so now its necessary to link your leftish cause to global warming.  So it is no surprise to find out that advertising apparently causes global warming:

AUSTRALIAN television advertising is producing as much as 57 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hour, and thirty second ad breaks are among the worst offenders, according to audit figures from pitch consultants TrinityP3.

Carbon emissions are particularly strong during high-rating programs such as the final episodes of the Ten Network’s Biggest Loser, which produced 2135kgs per 30 second ad, So You Think You Can Dance at 2061kg for every 30 seconds, closely followed by the Seven News 6pm news at 1689kg and Border Security at 1802kg.

TrinityP3 managing director Darren Woolley said emissions are calculated by measuring a broadcasters’ power consumption and that of a consumer watching an ad on television in their home, B&T Magazine reports.

“We look at the number of households and the number of TVs, and then the proportion of TVs that are plasma, LCD or traditional, and calculate energy consumption based on those factors,” Woolley said.

TrinityP3 is formalising a standard carbon footprint measurement of advertising, which it claims will be the first of its kind.

“Most companies have been obliged to think through their strategies on reducing carbon emissions and they need to remember that their marketing strategies do have an environmental impact that needs to be included. This is not something that is easily able to be measured,” Mr Woolley said.

“Reality television is interesting as the more viewers and voters that tune in, the higher the carbon footprint. The more people vote, the more it adds to the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Note that, oddly, the 54 minutes an hour of regular programming is OK, it's only the 6 minutes of advertising that has a carbon footprint.  That's OK, though, because I am going to start turning off the TV during advertisements and go out and sit in my idling SUV and listen to my commercial-free satellite radio instead.

Climate Re-Education Program

  A reader sent me a heads-up to an article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society ($, abstract here) titled "Climate Change Education and the Ecological Footprint".  The authors express concern that non-science students don't sufficiently understand global warming and its causes, and want to initiate a re-education program in schools to get people thinking the "right" way.

So, do climate scientists want to focus on better educating kids in details of the carbon cycle?  In the complexities in sorting out causes of warming between natural and man-made effects?  In difficulties with climate modeling?  In the huge role that feedback plays in climate forecasts?

Actually, no.  Interestingly, the curriculum advocated in the Journal of American Meteorology has very little to do with meteorology or climate science.  What they are advocating is a social engineering course structured around the concept of "ecological footprint."  The course, as far as I can tell, has more in common with this online kids game where kids find out what age they should be allowed to live to based on their ecological footprint.

Like the Planet Slayer game above, the approach seems to be built around a quiz (kind of slow and tedious to get through).  Like Planet Slayer, most of the questions are lifestyle questions - do you eat meat, do you buy food from more than 200 miles away, how big is your house, do you fly a lot, etc.  If you answer that yes, you have a good diet and a nice house and travel a bit and own a car, then you are indeed destroying the planet.

I could go nuts on a rant about propoganda in government monopoly schools, but I want to make a different point [feel free to insert rant of choice here].  The amazing thing to me is that none of this has the first thing to do with meteoroogy or climate science.  If there were any science at all in this ecological footprint stuff, it would have to be economics.  What does meteorology have to say about the carrying capacity of the earth?  Zero.  What does climate science have to say about the balance between the benefits of air travel and the cost of the incremental warming that might result from that air travel?  Zero. 

Take one example - food miles.  I live in Phoenix.  The cost to grow crops around here (since most of the agricultural water has to be brought in from hundreds of miles away) is high.  The cost is also high because even irrigated, the soil is not as productive for many crops as it is in, say, Iowa, so crops require more labor, more fertilizer, and more land for the same amount of yield.  I could make a really good argument that an ear of corn trucked in from Iowa probably uses less resources than an ear of corn grown withing 200 miles of where I live.  Agree or disagree, this is a tricky economics question that requires fairly sophisiticated analysis to answer.  How is teaching kids that "food grown within 200 miles helps save the planet" advancing the cause of climate science?  What does meteorology have to say about this question?

I am sorry I don't have more excerpts, but I am lazy and I have to retype them by hand.  But this is too priceless to miss:

Responding to the statement "Buying bottled water instead of drinking water from a faucet contributes to global warming" only 21% of all [San Jose State University] Meteorology 112 students answered correctly.  In the EF student group, this improved to a 53% correct response....  For the statement, "Eating a vegetarian diet can reduce global warming," the initial correct response by all Meteorology 112 students was 14%, while the EF group improved to 80%.

Oh my god, every time you drink bottled water you are adding 0.0000000000000000000000000001C to the world temperature.  How much global warming do I prevent if I paint flowers on my VW van?  We are teaching college meteorology students this kind of stuff?  The gulf between this and my freshman physics class is so wide, I can't even get my head around it.  This is a college science class?

In fact, the authors admit that their curriculum is an explicit rejection of science education, bringing the odd plea in a scientific journal that science students should be taught less science:

Critics of conventional environmental education propose that curriculum focused solely on science without personal and social connections may not be the most effective educational model for moving toward social change.

I think it is a pretty good sign that a particular branch of science has a problem when it is focused more on "social change" than on getting the science right, and when its leading journal focuses on education studies rather than science.

If I were a global warming believer, this program would piss me off.  Think about it.  Teaching kids this kind of stuff and then sending them out to argue with knowlegeable skeptics is like teaching a bunch of soldiers only karate and judo and then sending them into a modern firefight.  They are going to get slaughtered. 

Another Dim Bulb Leading Global Warming Efforts

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is chairman of the House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee.  He sure seems to know his stuff, huh:

A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels....

“In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine,” said Markey.

“That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down. There was this scene where we have all of our American troops under fire because they have been put into the middle of this terrible situation,” he added.


Extrapolating From One Data Point

Years ago, when I was studying engineering in college, I had a professor who used to "joke"  (remember, these are engineers, so the bar for the word "joke" is really low) that when he wanted to prove something, it was a real benefit to have only one data point.  That way, he said, you could plot a trend in any direction with any slope you wanted through the point.  Once you had two or three or more data points, your flexibility was ruined.

I am reminded of this in many global warming articles in the press today.  Here is one that caught my eye today on Tom Nelson's blog.  There is nothing unusual about it, it just is the last one I saw:

Byers said he has decided to run because he wants to be able to look at his children in 20 or 30 years and be able to say that he took action to try to address important challenges facing humanity. He cited climate change as a “huge” concern, noting that this was driven home during a trip he took to the Arctic three weeks ago.

“The thing that was most striking was how the speed of climate change is accelerating—how it’s much worse than anyone really wants to believe,” Byers said. “To give you a sense of this, we flew over Cumberland Sound, which is a very large bay on the east coast of Baffin Island. This was three weeks ago; there was no ice.”

Do you see the single data point:  Cumberland Sound three weeks ago had no ice.  Incredibly, from this single data point, he not only comes up with a first derivative (the world is warming) but he actually gets the second derivative from this single data point (change is accelerating).  Wow!

We see this in other forms all the time:

  • We had a lot of flooding in the Midwest this year
  • There were a lot of tornadoes this year
  • Hurricane Katrina was really bad
  • The Northwest Passage was navigable last year
  • An ice shelf collapsed in Antarctica
  • We set a record high today in such-and-such city

I often criticize such claims for their lack of any proof of causality  (for example, linking this year's floods and tornadoes to global warming when it is a cooler year than most of the last 20 seems a real stretch). 

But all of these stories share another common problem - they typically are used by the writer to make a statement about the pace and direction of change (and even the acceleration of this change), something that is absolutely scientifically impossible to do from a single data point.  As it turns out, we often have flooding in the Midwest.  Neither tornadoes nor hurricanes have shown any increasing trend over the past decades.  The Northwest Passage has been navigable a number of years in the last century.  During the time of the ice shelf collapse panic, Antarctica was actually setting 30-year record highs for sea ice extent.  And, by simple math, every city on average should set a new 100-year high temperature record every 100 days, and this is even before considering the urban heat island effect's upward bias on city temperature measurement.

Postscript:  Gee, I really hate to add a second data point to the discussion, but from Cyrosphere Today, here is a comparison of the Arctic sea ice extent today and exactly 20 years ago (click for a larger view)


The arrow points to Cumberland Sound.  I will not dispute Mr. Byers personal observations, except to say that whatever condition it is in today, there seems to have been even less ice there 20 years ago.

To be fair, sea ice extent in the Arctic is down about a million square kilometers today vs. where it was decades ago (though I struggle to see it in these maps), while the Antarctic is up about a million, so the net world anomaly is about zero right now. 

The Date You Should Die

A while back I wrote about a disgusting little online game sponsored by the Australian government via the ABC.  It appears that this game is being promoted in the public schools as well:

Professor Schpinkee's “date one should die” exercise is meant to be a “fun” experience for primary students of public schools associated with the Australian Sustainability Schools Initiative.” According to a 2007 Schools Environment newsletter, written by the government sustainability officer in New South Wales and sent to schools in this program, teachers are encouraged to lead children to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Planet Slayer website and use Professor Schpinkee's Greenhouse Calculator. The newsletter refers to the calculator as a “great game for kids.”

My original post has screenshots and more description.  Via Tom Nelson

Great Moments In Alarmism

Apparently a number of papers are "commemorating" today the 20th anniversary of James Hansen's speech before Congress warning of catastrophic man-made global warming.  So let's indeed commemorate it.  Here is the chart from the appendices of Hansen's speech showing his predictions for man-made global warming:


I have helpfully added in red the actual temperature history, as measured by satellite, over the last 20 years (and scale-shifted to match the base anomaly in Hansens graph).  Yes, 2008 has been far colder than 1988.  We have seen no warming trend in the last 10 years, and temperatures have undershot every one of Hansen's forecasts.  He thought the world would be a degree C warmer in 20 years, and it is not.  Of course, today, he says the world will warm a degree in the next 20 years -- the apocalypse never goes away, it just recesses into the future.

This may explain why Hansen's GISS surface temperature measurements are so much higher than everyone else's, and keep getting artificially adjusted upwards:  Hansen put himself way out on a limb, and now is using the resources of the GISS to try to create warming in the metrics where none exist to validate his forecasts of Apocalypse. 

By the way, if you want more insight into the "science" led by James Hansen, check out this post from Steve McIntyre on his trying to independently reproduce the GISS temperature aggregation methodology. 

Here are some more notes and scripts in which I’ve made considerable progress on GISS Step 2. As noted on many occasions, the code is a demented mess - you’d never know that NASA actually has software policies (e.g. here or here . I guess that Hansen and associates regard themselves as being above the law. At this point, I haven’t even begum to approach analysis of whether the code accomplishes its underlying objective. There are innumerable decoding issues - John Goetz, an experienced programmer, compared it to descending into the hell described in a Stephen King novel. I compared it to the meaningless toy in the PPM children’s song - it goes zip when it moves, bop when it stops and whirr when it’s standing still. The endless machinations with binary files may have been necessary with Commodore 64s, but are totally pointless in 2008.

Because of the hapless programming, it takes a long time and considerable patience to figure out what happens when you press any particular button. The frustrating thing is that none of the operations are particularly complicated.

Hansen, despite being paid by US Taxpayers and despite all regulations on government science, refused for years to even release this code for inspection by outsiders and to this day resists helping anyone trying to reproduce his mysterious methodologies.

Which in some ways is all irrelevent anyway, since surface temperature measurement is flawed for so many reasons (location biases, urban heat islands, historical discontinuities, incomplete coverage) that satellite temperature measurement makes far more sense, which is why I used it above.  Of course, there is one person who fights hard against use of this satellite methodology.  Ironically, this person fighting use of space technology is ... James Hansen, of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies of NASA!  In our next episode, the head of the FCC will be actively fighting for using the telegraph over radio and TV.

The Power of Government Schools

What does a good government technocrat do when the public does not support his expensive vision?  Why, he uses the power of the government education monopoly to try to do a little indocrination.  This is the summary from the climate education bill as proposed by Barrack Obama:

Climate Change Education Act - Requires the Director of the National Science Foundation to establish a Climate Change Education Program to: (1) broaden the understanding of climate change, possible long and short-term consequences, and potential solutions; (2) apply the latest scientific and technological discoveries to provide learning opportunities to people; and (3) emphasize actionable information to help people understand and to promote implementation of new technologies, programs, and incentives related to energy conservation, renewable energy, and greenhouse gas reduction.
Requires such Program to include: (1) a national information campaign to disseminate information on and promote implementation of the new technologies, programs, and incentives; and (2) a competitive grant program to provide grants to states, municipalities, educational institutions, and other organizations to create materials relevant to climate change and climate science, develop climate science kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum and supplementary educational materials, or publish climate change and climate science information.
This helps to explain why Obama opposes school choice -- because he sees the government schools not just as an education establishment, but as a re-education tool.

CBS Walks Away From Story Claiming Global Warming is Increasing Earthquakes

That fabled multiple-levels-of-editorial-review is at work again at CBS, this time with the story heaadlined "Seismic Activity 5 Times More Energetic Than 20 Years Ago Because Of Global Warming."  Now, only a journalism major who had assiduously avoided taking any science and math classes in his/her life could have possibly found this reasonable.  Half degee changes in atmospheric temperatures are hardly likely to affect seismic activity (the subject of the article, Dr. Tom Chalko, has also written that global warming might make the Earth explode).  Had CBS actually approached any other scientist in the world in any specialization for some kind of comment on the article, they would have likely been told that it made no sense.  But, of course, MSM editorial policy is not to ask for dissenting views in global warming alarmism articles.

Well, it appears CBS has walked away from the story without comment.  Anthony Watt has the whole story, including screen caps of the original article. 

This is Just Pathetic

I could probably fill this blog with examples of fact-challenged alarmism, but this one is so easy to debunk it is just staggering.  I am going to make the dangerous assumptions that the WWF is not just outright lying.  If that is true, this is a great example of how popular perception and hysteria substitute for facts and observations.  The WWF is just so convinced this is going on, no one even bothers to check to see if it is true.  First the story, from here, via Tom Nelson:

According to a recent report, endangered migratory whales will have reduced feeding areas due to the shrinkage of Antarctic sea ice from global warming.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) said this could threaten the species. The report, “Ice Breaker – Pushing the boundaries for Whales” says whales will soon have to travel up to 310 miles further south in search of food because the ice will retreat up to 30 percent in some areas.

The study also says the whales’ food supply will be further reduced because of the balance between cold sea ice and warmer sea water which causes an up swelling of nutrients that could further contract.

WWF officer Heather Sohl said, "Essentially, what we are seeing is that ice-associated whales such as the Antarctic minke whale will face dramatic changes to their habitat over little more than the lifespan of an individual whale."

OK, two problems with this.  First, the even the IPCC predicts Antarctic ice to grow, not shrink, even under a strong global warming case.  Note the Antarctic is below zero, actually contributing to a sea level drop and mitigating Greenland melting.

And, there is that problem of reality introding, because in fact Antarctica has been hitting 30-year highs for sea ice extent over the past year:


I will leave it to y'all in the comments to decide if they are outright lying or if they are just ignorant.

We are so Confident of our Positon that We Refuse to Tolerate Debate

Via Tom Nelson, this guy is certainly a fine example of enlightened scientific discourse:

Climate "skepticism" is not a morally defensible position. The debate is over, and it's been over for quite some time, especially on this blog.

We will delete comments which deny the absolutely overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, just as we would delete comments which questioned the reality of the Holocaust or the equal mental capacities and worth of human beings of different ethnic groups. Such "debates" are merely the morally indefensible trying to cover itself in the cloth of intellectual tolerance.

Wow.  It is amazing that the discussion of how trace atmospheric gasses might affect global temperature, and whether the climactic reaction to this is one of positive or negative feedback, has become a moral rather than a scientific question. 

Though this may be obvious to readers, its worth repeating once in a while the chain of reasoning that must all be true for dramatic government action to be justified in reducing CO2.  That chain is roughly as follows:

  1. Can the presence of CO2 be shown in a lab to increase absorption of incoming radiation?
  2. If so, can trace amounts (370ppm) of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere be enough to absorb meaningful amounts of radiation and if so, how much?
  3. If CO2 in the atmosphere tends to provide a heating effect, do feedback effects (e.g. water vapor) tend to amplify (positive feedback) or damp (negative feedback) the resulting temperature change
  4. What would the effect of the temperature changes be, both negative AND positive.  Undoubtedly some things would be worse, while others, like longer growing seasons, would be better
  5. How are other natural effects, such as the sun, changing the climate and global temperatures, and how large are these effects compared to man's.
  6. If the effects in #4 are net negative, and they are large enough even to be recognizable against the backdrop of natural variations in #5, do they outweigh the substantial costs, in terms of increased poverty, slowed development, lost wealth, etc. in substantial CO2 abatement.

The answer to #1 is yes, it is settled science. 

The answer to #2 is probably yes, though the amount is in some doubt, but everyone (even the IPCC) agrees it is probably less than a degree per century. 

Most of the warming in forecasts (2/3 or more in the IPCC cases) comes from positive feedback in #3, but we really know nothing here, except that most systems are driven by negative feedback.  In other words, this is so unsettled we don't even know the sign of the effect.  (Video here)

#4 is the focus of a lot of really, really bad science.  The funding mechanism at universities has forced many people to try to come up with a global warming angle for their area of interest, so it causes a lot of people to posit bad things without much proof.  If you want to study grape growing in Monterrey County, you are much more likely to get funded if you say you want to study "the negative effects of global warming on grape growing in Monterrey County."  Serious science is starting to debunk many of the most catastrophic claims, and history tells us that the world has thrived in periods of warmer climates.  Even the IPCC, for example, projects only minimal sea level rise over the next century as increases in Antarctic ice offset melting in Greenland.  (more here)

We are beginning to understand that natural variability is pretty high in #5.  Alarmist might be call "sun variability deniers" as they refuse to admit that Mr. Sun might have substantial effects on the Earth.  They are kind of in a hole, though.  They are trying to simultaneously claim in #3 that the climate is dominated by positive feedback, but the same time in #5 claim the climate without man is really, really stable.  These two in tandem make no sense. 

And in #6, nobody knows the answer, but a few serious looks at the problem have shown that aggressive CO2 abatement programs could have catastrophic effects on world poverty.  Which is ironic, since the best correlation with severe weather death rates in the world is not CO2 level but wealth and poverty reduction.  No matter how many storms there are, as poverty has declined in a certain region, so have severe weather deaths, even while CO2 has been increasing.  So one could easily argue that CO2 abatement programs will increase rather than decrease severe weather deaths

So this is the trick people like this blogger use.  They point to good science in #1 and partially in #2 to claim the whole chain of reasoning is "settled science," when in fact there are gaping holes in our knowledge of 3-4-5-6.

As a note, I have never deleted a comment on this site (except for obvious spam), despite many that disagree strongly with my position.

Why They Changed the Name to Climate Change from Global Warming

From the Center for American Progress Action Fund via Maggies Farm:

This tragic, deadly, and destructive weather -- not to mention the droughts in Georgia, California, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, North Dakota, and elsewhere across the country -- are consistent with the changes scientists predicted would come with global warming. Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) called the three weeks of storms that gave rise to the floods in his state "historic in proportion," saying "very few people could anticipate or prepare for that type of event." Culver is, unfortunately, wrong. As far back as 1995, analysis by the National Climatic Data Center showed that the United States "had suffered a statistically significant increase in a variety of extreme weather events." In 2007, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is "very likely" that man-made global warming will bring an "increase in frequency of hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation." The Nobel Prize-winning panel of thousands of scientists and government officials also found, "Altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, together with sea level rise, are expected to have mostly adverse effects on natural and human systems." In 2002, scientists said that "increased precipitation, an expected outcome of climate change, may cause losses of US corn production to double over the next 30 years -- additional damage that could cost agriculture $3 billion per year." Scientists have also found that the "West will see devastating droughts as global warming reduces the amount of mountain snow and causes the snow that does fall to melt earlier in the year."

Beyond the fact that these folks could profitably learn about a writing concept called a "paragraph break,"  this analysis is hilariously bad.  The key fact not mentioned is that the first five months of 2008 have been the coldest in decades, both in the US and worldwide, and have been far colder than 2007, which saw much milder weather and fewer tornadoes this time of year (more here).  In fact one could easily, but probably incorrectly since it is such a short period of time, posit that warming would reduce tornadoes, since this year's cold weather has increased them so much.

Because we have not seen any global warming trend over the last 10 years, alarmists have switched to "climate change" as their bogeyman.  In particular, they argue that global warming will increase severe weather frequency.  There is a lot of evidence that this statement is incorrect, but lets accept it for a minute.  Their theory still requires an intermediate step of warming.  There is no mechanism anyone has ever described where increasing CO2 directly yields increases in severe weather without passing through warming first. 

But this is exactly what they are trying to claim, at least with the masses:  They are in effect claiming that somehow CO2 causes severe weather directly.  But this is simply impossible.  If the world has been colder this year, then severe weather, if it results from temperature change at all, is resulting from the cold weather, not warming.

In fact, the article goes on to imply that crop problems this year are due to man-made effects, that somehow global warming is causing these failures.  But crop problems this year are almost entirely due to cold spring tempertures and late frosts.  You have really got to be a master PR spinner to convert frost and cold issues into a global warming problem.

The whole thing is pretty funny.   More on tornadoes and warming here.

Update:  I could post a zillion of these, but here is one example of what is ailing crops:

Wheat, durum and barley crops are currently one to two weeks behind normal due to cold weather so far this spring, with temperatures 3° to 5°C below normal.

"A continuation of cool weather could lead to delayed development and increased risk of frost damage this fall," said Bruce Burnett, the CWB's director of weather and market analysis, in the board's release Thursday.

Update #2:  US Tornado fatalities graphed for the last 100 years:


Only Skeptics Are Driven By Money

Or not:

Noel Sheppard's got the goods on Al Gore.

For years, NewsBusters has contended that Nobel Laureate Al Gore is spreading global warming hysteria to benefit his own wallet.

On Wednesday, despite claims by one of Gore's representatives two months ago, it was revealed that his Generation Investment Management private equity fund has taken a 9.5 percent stake in a company that has one of the largest carbon credit portfolios in the world.

Can the IRS please tell me how Al Gore can get away with having the nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection do all the PR heavy lifting for his for-profit investments?

Note that carbon credits are a zero-value asset unless by government fiat they are declared to have some value.  In the absence of global warming legislation and cap-and-trade schemes, this company's portfolio is worth nothing.  Only the lobbying by Gore and his "non-profits" can make it have value. 

Interestingly, this carbon credit portfolio also has zero value even under alternative CO2 reduction alternatives, such as a carbon tax.  Under a carbon tax, there is much less opportunity for rent-seeking by powerful people like Gore, and carbon credit portfolios are worthless.  Interestingly, Gore proposed a US carbon tax 15 years or so ago.  My guess is that he would no longer support a carbon tax, as it would bankrupt many of his investments.

My Favorite Headline of the Day

Tom Nelson really sums up much of the global warming movement in one blog post headline:

Once again, the best way to avoid global warming catastrophe is to do whatever some special interest group already wanted done anyway

Specifically he was referring to this:

“Arguably, the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products..."

A Telling Statement

From the Daily Mail via Tom Nelson.  Note particularly the part in bold. 

The blueprint for the CO2 'scrubber' raises the prospect of a generation of machines which would help reduce the billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere by the use of fossil fuels.... 

The prototype, being built at a laboratory in Tucson, Arizona, by a company called Global Research Technologies, will cost about £100,000 and take about two years to construct. 

The devices – each nearly the size of a shipping container - would have to be produced in their millions to soak up human carbon emissions.

The idea is bound to be controversial, with environmentalists seeing so-called technological solutions to global warming as undermining attempts to promote greener lifestyles and industries.

Don't you understand!?  We don't care about CO2.  It is just a convenient cover for the socialist wealth reduction policies we really want.  If we found a way to produce wealth and energy without CO2, then we would have to find a new Trojan Horse issue.  That is why we oppose nuclear power, and will find something wrong with solar and wind power when they become economic.

Die Rich People, Die

Cross-posted from Coyote Blog

The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) web site has an absolutely horrible kid's game called "Planet Slayer."  In this game, kids answer lifestyle questions and the program tells them when they should die because they have used up their "fair share" of the world's resources.  The less politically correct kids are, or the wealthier they are, the sooner they are told they should die.  Accepting the default, average choices in the games tells kids they should die when they are 9 years old.

Yeah, I know you think I am exaggerating.  Because this is likely to get pulled down soon, I will show you a series of screenshots from it.  Whether it gets pulled down or not, a major media company (with all of its famed multiple levels of editorial control) thought this was a good game for kids.  I actually delayed publishing this, because I wanted to make sure this was not some kind of hack or joke site.  But you can get there right from the ABC home page by clicking "science" in the top menu and clicking on the planet slayer game icon at the bottom of the science page.  I still wonder whether it's a put on - it's that bad.

Here is the landing page (click on any page to increase the size):


Yep, that little sign does indeed say "find out when you should die."  Here the game is explained:


Here is the first question:


With each question, if you choose any answer that might not indicate that you are a subsistence farmer in Africa living on a $1 a day, your pig gets fatter.  I really encourage you to check out the whole thing.  It is one politically correct litmus test after another.  My pig got slightly fatter, until I got to this one:


Answering that you spend any more than $10,000 AUS (about a 1:1 conversion with US dollars), your pig will get really fat.  The wealthier you are, the more evil you are in a direct relationship.  It is a point I have made for a while:  global warming alarmists consider their preferred solution to environmental issues to be universal poverty. 


There is me, really evil, because I earn a good living.  And, as we can see with this question, since I spend my money on ordinary stuff that I actually want, rather than where the authors would like me to spend it, I really suck.  When you hit the final button, you pig is actually exploded in a bloody mess  (yes, the red is blood).  As it turns out, I should have been strangled at birth:


Hat tip to Watts Up With That.  Really, in some ways this is an awesome game.   Never have I seen such a pure combination of Marxist-style zero-sum economics with science-challenged warming alarmism.

I don't think I need to bother refuting any of this.  If you are new to the site, you can find a basic refutation of zero-sum economics here and a series of resources on global warming, from a book to free Youtube videos, here.

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.

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, 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."

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.

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 A prime time television special is currently in production.

Did I get it right?

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

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.

Using Climate Change as an Excuse

I think we are going to see more of this:  Using climate change as an excuse to cover failures that have nothing to do with climate change.  (via Tom Nelson)

Amidst the worsening political crisis hitting the Arroyo government brought about by ZTE-NBN scandal and all other issues raised since 2001, economic situation is also getting worst. For about 3 weeks, the country’s facing the issue on rice shortage. Ironically, government officials are singing different lyrics looking something or somebody to blame.

Senator Miguel Zubiri noted that climate change is a possible factor on low food production. While Senator Loren Legarda stated that without climate change Philippines can have higher agricultural production.

But available data from PAG-ASA show that the country’s recorded normal rainfall last year giving a very favorable condition for agricultural production. Also, few typhoons visited the country on the same year as compared to 2005 and 2006.

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator of KALIKASAN People’s Network believed that the government is using the climate change as escape goat on the real causes of rice shortage.

Interestingly, the author says that in fact it may not be climate change, but the government programs aimed at CO2 abatement and global warming reduction that are to blame:

He lamented the current policies and program of the government to combat climate change which will further threaten our food security. He stated that Biofuels Act of 2007 introduced the commercialization of biofuel production. This will aggrevate problems on food security and landlessness. Biofuel act of 2007 will further strengthen the convertion of agricultural land to commercial use.

In His Own Words

In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

Al Gore, 2006

Which, of course, reminds me of this one NOAA's Steven Schneider:

We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

Update:  Here is a question:  If Al Gore purposely exaggerates the problem to increase the value of his investments in global warming and carbon trading companies, how is he any different from what,say, the folks at Enron were accused of?

Media Coverge of Climate Exposed

I won't do a comprehensive roundup, but just focus on one quote, from the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

News of accelerating effects of global warming, such as the recent collapse of a massive chunk of Antarctic ice and worsening cyclones and flooding, has put even more pressure on the UN talks to provide decisive action.

There are only two ways that anyone with a lick of information about climate could call the recent ice shelf collapse "evidence" of accelerating global warming:  Bias, or abject ignorance.  Here are four key facts that the CBC article ignores but I posted here:

  • Global temperatures have been flat for 8-10 years, after being up substantially the decade previously.
  • Recent ocean measurement work as reported on NPR show ocean temps. over last 5-6 years to be flat to slightly down
  • 98% of Antarctica has cooled over the last decades and has built up ice pack -- 2% has warmed (in the Antarctic Peninsula). I will leave it to the reader to guess where Al Gore sent his cameras
  • In August 2007, or about a half year ago, sea ice extent around Antarctica was the largest ever recorded (since measured by satellites in 1979). So, within the last 6-8 months, Antarctica had record sea ice buildup.

Given this backdrop, it is astounding that one could interpret the collapse of an ice sheet that happened faster than one scientist predicted as "accelerating global warming." I can't think of any mechanism where the behavior of an ice shelf would be a more sensitive measure of the pace of global temperature change than would be the direct measurement of air and sea temperatures themselves. 

An even minimally thoughtful analysis would argue that the ice shelf collapse is either 1) a natural cyclic event or 2) the result of a very local weather phenomenon.

And don't even get me started on the "worsening cyclones and flooding."  Where?  By what measure.  I challenge anyone to point to a single study that shows worsening cyclones or flooding.  The only ones I have seen that have purported to do so (such as "an Inconvenient Truth") have done so by ignoring the improvement in detection technology or the increase in real estate value along coasts and flood plains.  When the latter are accounted for, no increases have ever been demonstrated.

There are reasonable ways to argue that the earth has warmed over the last half-century.  Citing an ice shelf collapse or increased media coverage on flooding (which creates the impression there is more) as evidence are not among them.

This is Pretty Priceless

I am sorry posting has been light of late, but in the mean time, this is priceless (via Tom Nelson);

“Sir David King, not realizing he had been ambushed, launched into his usual exaggerated, alarmist presentation (he actually knows remarkably little about the science of climate, and makes an ass of himself every time he opens his mouth on the subject). The six sceptics heard him politely until one of them, who told me the story, could contain himself no longer. When Sir David said that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because of “global warming”, my informant pointed out that, in the 30 years since satellite monitoring of the summit had begun, temperature had at no instant risen above –1.6°C, and had averaged –7°C (Molg et al., 2003); that the region around the mountain had cooled throughout the period (Cullen, 2006); that the recession of the glacier had begun in the 1880s, long before any anthropogenic influence (Robinson, Robinson & Soon, 2007); and that the reason for the long-established recession of the Furtwangler glacier at the summit was ablation caused by the desiccation of the atmosphere owing to the regional cooling. It had nothing to do with global warming.”

Sir David King, embarrassed at having been caught out, said he had never been so insulted in all his life. He flounced out of the meeting, followed by the rest of the British delegation. To Dr. Ilarionov, two conclusions were evident: first, that the supporters of the “consensus” position had based their argument on known scientific falsehoods and were accordingly unable to argue against the well-informed sceptics; secondly, that, as he put it at the time, the British Government were behaving like old-style imperialists. The breakdown in relations between the UK and Russia began at that moment.”

Why Do We Only Look At Skeptic's Money?

I would be happy to leave funding sources and related ad hominem attacks out of climate discourse completely, but, given these attacks seem to be an element of, oh say, 99% of all media articles on the topic, why is the scrutiny completely directed at skeptics?  Sure, ExxonMobil has probably spent a couple of million dollars funding skeptics.  But here is an example of $1.3 billion put behind the alarmist position.  And this is just one such example.  Gore just raised a $5 billion fund whose success or failure entirely depends on alarmists winning the political debate.  These are direct incentives powerful people now have to lobby the government for climate "action" of some sort, whether or not it makes sense, just as ADM lobbies Congress for corn ethanol subsidies that have been proven to make no sense environmentally or economically.

Great Description of the Climate Debate

Peter Foster via Tom Nelson:

The environmental movement has also been astonishingly successful in co-opting education systems, and highly skillful at exploiting universal psychological tendencies to social conformity and deference to "authority." The suggestion that climate change is primarily a "moral" problem has been a masterstroke, of which the masterstroker is Al Gore.

Invoking morality is a powerful weapon in shutting off debate. It employs the so-called "psychology of taboo" to place some claims -- for example, that climate change may be natural, beneficial, or practically unstoppable -- beyond the pale. Those who promote such notions must therefore be evil, or psychologically unbalanced, or in the pay of powerful corporations.

Invoking the authority of science and the democratic value of "consensus" are again both designed to cut off rational analysis. This leads to the strange phenomenon of the discussion of policy alternatives becoming delinked from likely results, as with the responses to Mr. Baird's announcement this week. Thus the finer points of carbon taxation and/or cap-and-trade systems are debated with little or no concern about the fact that they will achieve little or nothing in terms of changing the global climate.

It is clear that American public opinion is an outlyer in this great march towards green socialism.  Often, climate alarmists ascribe this to America's supposed disinterest in environmental issues.  But this argument does not stand up when one looks at the facts.  The US over the last 40 years has a much better environmental record than, say, the more pious Western Europe.  Our water and air are cleaner, our forests continue to expand, and the only reason Europe doesn't discuss problems with endangered species as much as the US is because they have already killed all theirs. 

No, the real reason the US is an outlyer in opinion is that it does not have the culture of blind deference to public authority that Europe has, which has led Europeans into the hands of one authoritarian after another over the last centuries.  In 1808 it was Napolean; in 1908 it was the Kaiser, and later Lenin and Hitler; in 2008 it is Al Gore.

Asymmetry in Press Coverage

It would be perfectly acceptable to me to solely cover the science associated with global warming, rather than having dueling ad hominem attacks.  However, since as hominem attacks and press coverage based on funding sources has become a staple of at least one side of the climate debate, I must observe the following irony:  Scientists who receive $2 million from Exxon are tainted.  But Al Gore is not, despite the fact that his net worth has increased by at least $35 million, mostly from being paid to speak on global warming or from investing in companies whose value depends on the expectation of government action on global warming.

Either leave the money out of the discussion altogether (my preference) or at least be symmetrical in whose money is being investigated.

More Evidence Climate Scientists Can't Measure Anything Correctly

Note this from Davos via Tom Nelson:

Friedman adds that Exxon Mobil has “done a number” on the debate with PR. Brilliant says that their role is to get information to people, as much information as they can. Page says that success is the best message — that is, if they had three-cent power, everyone would come.

Gore, from the audience, takes issue with Brilliant, saying that getting information out is no longer sufficient. “That’s the way the world used to work. The world doesn’t work that way anymore. The reason that the tobacco industry was able to continue killing people for 40 years ater the surger General’s report…. they understood the power of strategic persuasion. They went about it in a very careful, organized, and well-funded way.” He says we are “vulnerable to strategic persuasion campaigns if the other side assumes that we should just get the information out there.” He says Exxon Mobil has funded 40 front groups to “in their own words position global warming as theory rather than fact.” He concludes: “We need to take them on, Goddamnit.”

Using what rational metric could anyone argue that ExxonMobil and the oil/power industry is winning or dominating the PR war on global warming?  Gore and company are leading this race 1000:1.  Every media story is sympathetic to their side.  Every public school course teaches it their way.   The entire scientific grant process is tilted to make sure only global warming believers get fundingExxon has been outspent thousands to one in funding research.  Only a few lone bloggers and scientists even keep the skeptic's issues alive.   If climate scientists really have such a warped perspective on measurement, can we really trust them to be measuring temperature correctly?

Gore's frustration is that, despite this 1000:1 PR advantage, his side is still losing the hearts and minds of average Americans, who are far less likely to think in lockstep with their country's "elites" than are Europeans.  His definition of Exxon controlling the debate is having Exxon be able to excercise its free speech rights at all.  And since he "takes them on" at every turn, my guess is what he means by this exhortation is to actually use the coercive power of the government to shut Exxon and other skeptics up completely.

Off By a Factor of 300,000

From a summary of a speech by Al Gore:

The temperature of Venus is 455 degrees because CO2 floats in the air. This is where is we are heading because we are drawing it out of the Earth, trapping it and increasing temperature.

Using actual science, rather than an activist's alarmist logic:

The arithmetic of absorption of infrared radiation also works to decrease the linearity. Absorption of light follows a logarithmic curve (Figure 1) as the amount of absorbing substance increases. It is generally accepted that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already high enough to absorb almost all the infrared radiation in the main carbon dioxide absorption bands over a distance of only a few km. Thus, even if the atmosphere were heavily laden with carbon dioxide, it would still only cause an incremental increase in the amount of infrared absorption over current levels. This means that a situation like Venus could not happen here. The atmosphere of Venus is 90 times thicker than Earth's and is 96% carbon dioxide, making the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on Venus 300,000 times higher than on Earth. Even so, the high temperatures on Venus are only partially caused by carbon dioxide; a major contributor is the thick bank of clouds containing sulfuric acid [7]. Although these clouds give Venus a high reflectivity in the visible region, the Galileo probe showed that the clouds appear black at infrared wavelengths of 2.3 microns due to strong infrared absorption [8]. Thus, Venus's high temperature might be entirely explainable by direct absorption of incident light, rather than by any greenhouse effect. The infrared absorption lines by carbon dioxide are also broadened by the high pressure on Venus [9], making any comparison with Earth invalid.

Not to mention the fact that Venus is a lot closer to that big yellow thing that Al Gore denies has any real effect on changing temperatures on Earth.

Barney the Dinosaur Also Threatened

Apparently, global warming is so terrifying that it is killing off mythical creatures:

Nessie hunter Robert Rines is giving up his search for the monster after 37 years....

Despite having hundreds of sonar contacts over the years, the trail has since gone cold and Rines believes that Nessie may be dead, a victim of global warming.

This Explains a Lot

The following is about a study on Marijuana use, but it could easily be about the media treatment of you-know-what:

The saddest part of Mirken's article is this response from an American editor to his suggestion that reporters should have asked about the possible influence of confounding variables, such as dental hygiene and use of other drugs, on the link between marijuana and bad gums:

We are dealing with a peer-reviewed journal study, and I don't feel at all comfortable going beyond what they are publishing. That is not our role.

Any journalist who doesn't feel comfortable going beyond what appears in a medical journal to put a study's findings in context and offer caveats where appropriate has no business writing about science. Reporters can't be experts on everything, but they can ask smart questions and seek informed comments regarding a study's potential weaknesses. If news organizations refuse to do so on the grounds that the study was peer reviewed and therefore must be faultless, they might as well just reprint researchers' press releases. Which is pretty much what they do, all too often.

More on Chartsmanship

A week or so ago, I had an extended post on a number of issues I had with this chart from the GISS, showing "areas in 2007 that were warmer (reds) and colder (blues) than the mean annual temperature from 1951-1980:"


I had many issues with this chart, not the least of which was the fact that it fills in data for large swaths of the earth for which we have no data.  However, another point I made was that the GISS is essentially fibbing here by using a straight cylindrical projection of the Earth.  We all know from junior high school that there are a lot of ways to project the globe onto a flat sheet of paper, all of which are imperfect. 

However, for a chart like this, one really needs an equal area projection.  In an equal area projection, a square inch at the equator represents the same surface area as a square inch at the poles.  The GISS is NOT using an equal area projection.  In fact, in the projection they are using, the area at the poles is wildly exaggerated.  Since the north pole is the area of the earth with the most anomolous measured warming, the chart visually overstates the amount of global warming.

In my post, I did not know how to reproject the map, so I took a wild stab at it using manual skews in Photoshop.  I thought maybe the GISS did not show the map correctly because it was hard to reproject the data.  It turns out, though, that there are some good free tools available to do just this kind of task.  With these tools I was able to convert the chart above to an equal-area projection (using the Eckert IV method):


One can see that the visual message is certainly different when projected correctly.

This tool was so simple it took me less than 10 seconds to make this reprojection.  But here is the hilariously ironic part:  The source of this fabulous tool that the GISS should have used is ... the GISS! Here is the tool on the GISS site.  Its free and a lot of fun.

Chartmanship -- A Picture that Sparked A Thousand Words (of Criticism)

Note this chart used by Andrew Revkin:


The description of the chart is as follows:

Map shows areas in 2007 that were warmer (reds) and colder (blues) than the mean annual temperature from 1951-1980. (Credit: NASA/GISS)

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Let me see if I can come up with a thousand words as to what is wrong with this picture.

  • Every school kid knows that this sort of projection of the world greatly exaggerates the size of the poles and Greenland.  Since most of the red here is at the poles, then visually its impact is exaggerated.  For example, the top row of pixels at the top which constitute a fair percentage of the map actually represent a tiny plot of land at the pole.  That row of pixels represents an area at least 10x smaller than does the row of pixels at the equator.  I don't have with me at work a good graphical tool to apply a spherical transform to the map, so I approximated it with a couple of linear skews.  This would be a more realistic map, except it still  exaggerates the area at the pole (see here to confirm it is a decent approximation)


Flip your eyes between the two of them -- already we see a huge visual difference in impression.  (Update:  better version here, using a tool from the GISS no less!)

  • The coloring in and of itself makes a point.  The whole world has warmed a half degree or less in this period, but the dark red makes it look sizzling
  • Here is the next trick -- if you want to make a strong impression of growth, make sure to find the low point in the historical record and compare to that.  So, lets look at history:


Hey, what do you know?  1950 to 1980 represents a low point in the trend.  Since they were trying to make a point about warming accelerating, then it might have made more sense to look at the warming since, say, 1998 -- ie over the last decade.   Unfortunately, that chart would be all blue, since temperatures throughout this century have been lower than 1998.

  • There are four most frequently cited academic rollups of world-wide temperature anomaly.  They are:  GISS (surface), HadCrut3 (surface), RSS (satellite) and UAH (satellite).  Their current values are all shown here.  So, does the NY Times (and other catastrophists) take the average?  The median value?  No, silly.  They take the outlier which shows far more warming than the other three, which is the GISS.
  • The GISS surface measurement system is rife with errors.  But the one I want to mention here is that, outside of the US, the temperature measurement points are very spotty.  Some points in the ocean are over 1000 miles from a thermometer, but still are colored on this chart  (yes, there is some grey I suppose for "no data" but that gray should be a lot more prevalent. )  If you only plotted data for 250km squares where the GISS actually has the data do make this comparison, without the mythical extrapolation into unmeasured areas, the chart should look like this:


How did they fill in all that grey area?  You tell me because Hansen certainly isn't talking.

  • I am no longer going to accept any climate scientist as a serious scientist (and not just a biased mouthpiece) who insists on using the faulty and patchy surface temperature record over satellite measurement.  As I said previously:

Satellite temperature measurement makes immensely more sense - it has full coverage (except for the poles) and is not subject to local biases.  Can anyone name one single reason why the scientific community does not use the satellite temps as the standard EXCEPT that the "answer" (ie lower temperature increases) is not the one they want?  Consider the parallel example of measurement of arctic ice area.  My sense is that before satellites, we got some measurements of arctic ice extent from fixed observation stations and ship reports, but these were spotty and unreliable.  Now satellites make this measurement consistent and complete.  Would anyone argue to ignore the satellite data for spotty surface observations?  No, but this is exactly what the entire climate community seems to do for temperature.

  • Some of the data is just plain bogus on the chart, part of the GISS/Hansen "higher must be right" approach to measuring temperature.  The Satellites show Antarctica cooling:


The surface temperature record shows the same thing


There is one area warming - the relatively small Antarctic Peninsula.  It should be orange in the map above (and is) but the rest of the orange in Antarctica is a mystery.  Though this would not be the first time people tried to extrapolate Antarctic trends from the tip of this peninsula (Gore did it in his movie and 60 minutes did it the other day).  This is a bit like measuring US temperature trends from Key West.  More on Antarctica here.  By the way, the GISS chart without all the extrapolation that I show only has the hot area on the penninsula.  All the other hot zones comes from, where?  James Hansen's imagination?

Update:  Here is a similar map by satellite, which avoids the coverage issues as well as urban and other surface measurement biases.  The story here is much more interesting, particularly the very different experience between north and south, something not predicted by greenhouse gas theory.  One can see that there has definitely been warming, but mostly concentrated at the north pole.


Here is the last monthly image, for December, 2007:


Update:  I have been getting a lot of new readers of late, including a number of commenters who disagree with me fairly strongly.  Welcome.  Here are some general thoughts:

  1. Excepting some ads for Viagra and cell phones, I have never and will never delete a comment on this site.  Folks are welcome to fill up the comment threads with contrary opinions. For those distrustful of the motives of skeptics, may I observe that sites like RealClimate cannot make this claim and routinely flush comments that don't agree with the local prevailing doctrine, so make of that what you will.
  2. I almost never respond to comments in the comment thread itself.  I like to think about and digest the comments for a while, and then incorporate them or respond to them in later posts.  Trying to respond in real time in comment threads results in flame wars, not reasoned discussion. 
  3. Unlike many skeptics, I accept that atmospheric CO2 produced by man can warm the earth.  The IPCC and most climate scientists believe that the greenhouse gas effect alone may warm the earth about a degree over the rest of this century, an amount that would be a nuisance rather than catastrophic, and likely lost in the random noise of natural variations.
  4. However, I do not believe the earth's climate is dominated by strong positive feedbacks and tipping points.  It is this feedback hypothesis in climate models that multiplies warming to 3-4-5 degrees or more over the next century.  In climate models, the catastrophe comes from feedback, not greenhouse effects, and I think this is a bad hypothesis.  Believers in catastrophic warming have an interesting problem reconciling Mann's hockey stick, which points to incredible stability in temperatures, with a hypothesis of very high positive feedback, which should make temperatures skittish and volatile.  I also think that the hypothesis that aerosols are masking substantial amounts of warming is weak, and appears to be more wishful thinking to bail out model builders than solid science  (while there is some cooling effect, the area of effect is local and shouldn't have a substantial effect on global averages).
  5. I think the surface temperature record as embodied in the GISS analysis is a joke.  I cannot respect scientists who eschew obviously superior satellite measurements for the half-assed surface temperature record just because it doesn't give them the answer they want to here.  The fact that the leader in fighting for surface temeprature measurement over satellites is James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the ultimate dark irony.  It's like Bill Gates campaiging for increased abacus use in schools.
  6. I have built models of complex systems for years.  I have been guilty many times of allowing seamingly reasonable assumptions to compound into meaningless results.  Unfortunately and embarassingly, I have also been guilty of tweaking, plugging, and tuning models to better match history in order to build confidence in their future predictions.  I see all too many of these same behaviors amoung climate modellers. 

Six Degrees of Global Warming

No, not six degrees of actual temperature increase, but six degrees of separation between every activist's issue and global warming.  As pointed out by Tom Nelson, it should be increasingly obvious to everyone what some of us have been saying for years -- the global warming scare is not driven by science, but is a vehicle for pushing a broad range of socialist / progressive issues.  Today's example:  Dams on the Klamath River case global warming.  The mechanism?  Well, its a little hard to grasp because the article is so poorly written (don't they employ editors on this paper?) but apparently the dams increase algae which in turn off-gasses methane which is a greenhouse gas.  Of course, common sense says this effect is trivial, and ignores other effects in the entire system, but the author treats it like he is playing a trump card.

This is Six Inches

There is an old joke that goes "why do women have poor depth perception?  A:  Because men tell them [holding two fingers very close together] that this is six inches."

I am kind of reminded of that joke here, where the graphic on this eco-catastrophist page shows a 3-foot sea level rise engulfing the botton half of San Francisco's Transamerica building (hit refresh if you don't see anyting happening on the top banner).  Even the moderately catastrophist IPCC shows less than half of a meter of sea level rise over the next 100 years, not three feet.

By the way, memo to environmental activists:  If you want to sway middle America to your cause, complaining that global warming will flood San Francisco may not get the results you want.  HT:  Tom Nelson

Penn on Warming

This is pretty funny

Link emailed by a reader:

A new menace to the planet has been discovered and validated by a consensus of politically reliable scientists: Anthropogenic Continental Drift (ACD) will result in catastrophic damage and untold suffering, unless immediate indemnity payments from the United Sates, Europe, and Australia be made to the governments of non-industrial nations, to counteract this man-made threat to the world's habitats....

The continents rest on massive tectonic plates. Until the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid 18th century, these plates were fixed in place and immobile. However, drilling for oil and mining for minerals has cut these plates loose from their primordial moorings and left them to drift aimlessly.

The First Argument, Not the Last

The favorite argument of catastrophists in taking on skeptics is "all skeptics are funded by Exxon."  Such ad hominem rebuttals to skeptics are common, such as...

...comments like those of James Wang of Environmental Defense, who says that scientists who publish results against the consensus are “mostly in the pocket of oil companies”; and those of the, yes, United Kingdom’s Royal Society that say that there “are some individuals and organisations, some of which are funded by the US oil industry, that seek to undermine the science of climate change and the work of the IPCC”

and even from the editor of Science magazine:

As data accumulate, denialists retreat to the safety of the Wall Street Journal op-ed page or seek social relaxation with old pals from the tobacco lobby from whom they first learned to "teach the controversy."

Here is my thought on this subject.  There is nothing wrong with mentioning potential biases in your opponent as part of your argument.  For example, it is OK to argue "My opponent has X and Y biases, which should make us suspicious of his study.  Let's remember these as we look into the details of his argument to see his errors..."  In this case, pointing to potential biases is an acceptable first argument before taking on issues with the opponent's arguments.  Unfortunately, climate catastrophists use such charges as their last and only argument.  The believe they can stick the "QED" in right after the mention of Exxon funding, and then not bother to actually deal with the details.

Postscript:  William Briggs makes a nice point on the skeptic funding issue that I have made before:

The editors at Climate Resistance have written an interesting article about the “Well funded ‘Well-funded-Denial-Machine’ Denial Machine”, which details Greenpeace’s chagrin on finding that other organizations are lobbying as vigorously as they are, and that these counter-lobbyists actually have funding! For example, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank “advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government”, got, Greenpeace claims, about 2 million dollars from Exxon Mobil from 1998 to 2005. The CEI has used some of this money to argue that punitive greenhouse laws aren’t needed. Greenpeace sees this oil money as ill-gotten and say that it taints all that touch it. But Greenpeace fails to point out that, over the same period, they got about 2 billion dollars! (Was any of that from Exxon, Greenpeace?)

So even though Greenpeace got 1000 times more than the CEI got, it helped CEI to effectively stop enlightenment and “was enough to stall worldwide action on climate change.” These “goats” have power!

Most skeptics are well aware that climate catastrophists themselves have strong financial incentives to continue to declare the sky is falling, but we don't rely on this fact as 100% or even 10% of our "scientific" argument.

This is Science??

This, incredibly, comes from the editor of Science magazine

With respect to climate change, we have abruptly passed the tipping point in what until recently has been a tense political controversy. Why? Industry leaders, nongovernmental organizations, Al Gore, and public attention have all played a role. At the core, however, it's about the relentless progress of science. As data accumulate, denialists retreat to the safety of the Wall Street Journal op-ed page or seek social relaxation with old pals from the tobacco lobby from whom they first learned to "teach the controversy." Meanwhile, political judgments are in, and the game is over. Indeed, on this page last week, a member of Parliament described how the European Union and his British colleagues are moving toward setting hard targets for greenhouse gas reductions.

Guess we can certainly expect him to be thoughtful and balanced in his evaluation of submissions for the magazine.  "seek social relaxation with old pals from the tobacco lobby"??  My god that is over the top.

Thoroughly Appropriate Quotation

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamorous to be led to safety by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it."

HL Mencken, via Tom Nelson

Anatomy of a Global Warming Scare Story

I could consume myself debunking nutty links in the press between problem X and global warming, so I try to focus more on providing layman's views of various scientific discussions.  But this example by Tom Nelson is quite illustrative.

Climate Biases Still Solidly Frozen in Place

I thought this Google screen shot from Tom Nelson was pretty funny.  You actually don't even need the second article to see the irony.  The Daily Green headline reads "Arctic Sea Ice Freezes Slowly" while the actual text reads, as you can see even in the Google excerpt, "Arctic sea ice refroze at a record pace."  (click for larger view)


By the way, since this story came out, freezing no longer lags history and Northern Hemisphere snow and ice coverage exceeds the averages of past Decembers.  More on Arctic ice here and here.

Northwest Passage

The other day, when I mentioned the irony of the AP publishing a story about Artic ice melting on the same day it was announce the Artic ice was growing at a record rate, I forgot to deal with the bogus claim in the article that this was the first time the Northwest Passage had ever opened.

This myth is discussed here.   In summary:

the Northwest Passage was successfully navigated in 1906, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1944, 1957, 1969, 1977, 1984, 1988, and 2000.

2007: The Hottest Year for Climate Rhetoric

While 2007 will be one of the coolest years in over a decade, there is a 95 to 99% chance that it is the hottest year in the last one thousand for climate rhetoric.  If I had to bet, I would guess that Al Gore is probabaly going to be Time's Man of the Year, giving him the trifecta of politically correct recognition this year. 

The disconnect with actual science couldn't be any more stark.  While skeptics have been losing the media battles, the science in 2007 really helped add a lot of ammunition to the skeptic's arsenals.  Almost every major study that actually involved looking at actual climate rather than bits in a computer has tended to undermine or cast doubt on the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming. 

Bali Updates

I have had several emails asking me for more Bali coverage.  Which reminds me that I have never really explained what I am trying to do with this blog.  My goal is to be a reporter of the science side of climate.   There are many skeptics blogs out there, but I didn't see enough science on them for my tastes.  There are a number of good climate science blogs, but most cater to a knowlegeable community of insiders.  I am working to demystify some of the science and present it for the layman.  This does not mean that I never touch on issues like Kyoto or the Bali conference, but it means that I don't try to report all the blow by blows, particularly when I have not yet gotten my Christmas shopping done ;=)

If you want to follow all of the back and forth at Bali and day-to-day in climate from the skeptic's viewpoint, Tom Nelson has been very busy, linking away every day, of late acting like the Instapundit of the skeptic community.

Congrats to the Associated Press

I want to congratulate the Associated Press and the Arizona Republic for running this story:

Scientists fear Arctic thaw has reached 'tipping point'

On the exact same day that this was published:

Arctic Sea Ice Re-Freezing at Record Pace

The record melting of Arctic sea ice observed this summer and fall led to record-low levels of ice in both September and October, but a record-setting pace of re-freezing in November, according to the NASA Earth Observatory. Some 58,000 square miles of ice formed per day for 10 days in late October and early November, a new record.

Still, the extent of sea ice recorded in November was well shy of the median extent observed over the past quarter century, as the image from Nov. 14 (above, right) shows. The dramatic increase in ice is evident, when compared to the record-low amount observed Sept. 16 (below, right). In both images, 100% sea ice is shown in white, and the yellow line encompasses the area ion which there was at least 15% ice cover in at least half of the 25-year record for the given month.

The re-freeze continues in December, such that the ice coverage is pretty much at the median level today.  The AP/Republic article is admirably free of any new facts except the oft-repeated "Arctic ice at all-time low,"  all-time of course meaning not all-time but in the last 30 years that we have been able to observe by sattellite.  And neither article bothers to mention the high coverage record that was set in the South Pole this very same year.

The AZ Republic article is mostly made up of dueling catastrophists competing to see who can have the most dire forecast:

Just last year, two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.

This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

Anytime you see someone use the word "tipping" point in relation to climate, you should immediately be skeptical.  Tipping points imply runaway positive feedback, something that is a feature of nuclear fission but is generally not a feature of stable natural processes.  TJIC said it well the other day:

Wow, it’s almost as if there are negative feedback loops that keep the system centered, despite occasional perturbations.

Which is odd, because to listen to the global warming alarmists, one concludes that:

(a) the environment is a delicately balanced system that can be pushed, by the least little perturbation, into a runaway positive feedback loop, turning the Earth into another Venus.

(b) over the last 200 million years there have been asteroid impacts, brightenings and darkenings of the sun, and massive volcano eruptions, but the Earth’s environment has always returned to a slow oscillation around a moderate middle point.

Updates:  New NASA study says Artic melting part of a natural cycle.  Post here debunking the myth that the Northwest Passage was never opened prior to 2007.  More on tipping points in this post.

Climate Activism is about Socialism, Not Science

The first is from Ronald Bailey, at Reason, in a dispatch from Bali:

Without going into the details, the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework (GDR) proposal foresees levying the equivalent of a climate "consumption luxury tax" on every person who earns over a "development threshold" of $9,000 per year. The idea is that rich people got rich in part by dumping carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels into the atmosphere, leaving less space for poor people to dump their emissions. In one scenario, Americans would pay the equivalent of a $780 per person luxury tax annually, which amounts to sending $212 billion per year in climate reparations to poor countries to aid their development and help them adapt to climate change. In this scenario, the total climate reparations that the rich must transfer annually is over $600 billion. This contrasts with a new report commissioned by the U.N. Development Program that only demands $86 billion per year to avoid "adaptation apartheid."

The second link comes via Tom Nelson, and is from Emma Brindal, "Climate Justice Campaign Coordinator" for Friends of the Earth Australia.

A common theme was that the “solutions” to climate change that are being posed by many governments, such as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and biofuels are false and are not rooted in justice. Another point was that as this current ecomonic system got us here in the first place, a climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources.

I would love to put Emma Brindal on stage and ask her even for a simplified explanation of a good median forecast for climate sensitivity and why.  I'd bet a million dollars she would flounder in any debate on the science.  Because it is not about the science.  Its about Ms. Brindal's long-standing desire to attack freedom and capitalism, and climate catastrophism being a convinient vehicle, at the moment, to reach that goal.

This Warning Could Be Attached to All Global Warming Reporting

The NRO has appologized for the reporting and editing surrounding W. Thomas Smith's recent trip to Lebanon.  But in reading their appology, it struck me that it could apply to nearly all global warming reporting.  Let me show you:

Having reviewed his work, we cannot vouch for the accuracy of his reporting. In general, too much of [the reporter's] information came from sources who had an incentive to exaggerate the threat [global warming poses to the world] — and these sources influenced his reporting for the whole of his trip. While we agree that that threat is very real, our readers should have had more information about [the reporter]’s sources so that they could have better evaluated the credibility of the information he was providing.

I apologize to all of our readers. We should have required [the reporter] to clearly source all of his original reporting from [Bali]. [The reporter] let himself become susceptible to spin by those [advocating the catastrophist global warming position], so his reporting from there should be read with that knowledge. (We are attaching this note to all his [global warming] reporting.) This was an editing failure as much as it was a reporting failure. We let him down, and we let you down, and we’re taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Don't Panic!

Albert Einstein's dream is now a reality.  We have a new unified field theory:  Global Warming causes everything bad.   Via Tom Nelson and American Thinker, comes this list by Dr. John Brignell of links to articles in the media attributing various bad things to Global Warming.  Currently, his list has over 600 items!  Some excerpts:

Agricultural land increase, Africa devastated,  African aid threatened, Africa hit hardest, air pressure changes, Alaska reshaped, allergies increase, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream endamphibians breeding earlier (or not)ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, Antarctic grass flourishes, anxiety, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic lakes disappear, asthma, Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty...

itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, Kew Gardens taxed, kitten boom, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, lake shrinking and growing, 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, lush growth in rain forests, Lyme diseaseMalaria, malnutrition,  mammoth dung melt, Maple syrup shortage...

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, World in flames, Yellow fever.

All I can say is:


Cross-posted at Coyote Blog

Ending the Human Race to Prevent Global Warming

The other day, in this post on an article to help make families more green by our local paper, I observed that the paper seemed to be stopping short of the real CO2 remedies, and should have had this advice for the two families who collectively had nine kids between them:

In the next generation, no one is going to be having five and four kids.  Certainly those green Europeans would never do something as damaging as having four or five kids.  If you had aborted a few of the little darlings, just think how much CO2 you would have avoided?

Now of course I was being tongue-in-cheek, in that I would never give anyone such advice.  My point was in part to demonstrate that cutesie little pieces of advice like getting the kids to recycle more helped to reinforce the false impression that CO2 rollbacks to 1990 levels would be relatively easy.  But several readers wrote me that I was posting a straw man -- that no one in the green movement was seriously talking about limiting children.  WRONG!  My father-in-law, as much as I loved the man, was a long-time greenie who believed having more than two children was close to immoral, and felt that population growth was the number one environmental problem in the world. 

And check out this new green hero:

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.

He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.

Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet". ....

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.

"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

Beware Media Exaggeration

The media wants you scared:

Spiegel talks about scientific teams, especially experts from GSF, that have analyzed several events that led to increased levels of radiation,

  1. Hiroshima in 1945
  2. Radioactive rivers and explosions in the Soviet Union preparing their nuclear bomb after 1949
  3. Chernobyl 1986

In all cases, it is found that the actual effects of "radiation illness", including birth defects and delayed deaths, were several orders of magnitude below the description available in the media. For example, almost all people who died as a consequence of the Little Boy did so either instantly or within a few hours, because of burned skin. Casualties who died after a long time because of radiation illnesses were very rare.

Similar conclusions hold for the contaminated river and the 1957 Chelyabinsk explosion of a tank with 80 tons of nuclear waste produced by the Soviet Union as well as for the Chernobyl tragedy. There doesn't seem to be any reliable source that would really prove an elevated frequency of birth effects and similar complications. Among 6,293 men who worked in the chemical plant preparing the radioactive material for the Soviet bomb (without masks!), only 100 died of lung cancer related to radiation. Greenpeace's proclamations that 50% of adults in those regions are infertile seem to be pure silliness.

Which is not to say that radiation is anything to screw around with, or that it is not dangerous, just that its dangers have been exaggerated by orders of magnitude.  Just like some other natural phenomena I can think of. 

I posted similar findings about Chernobyl over a year ago:

Over the next four years, a massive cleanup operation involving 240,000 workers ensued, and there were fears that many of these workers, called "liquidators," would suffer in subsequent years. But most emergency workers and people living in contaminated areas "received relatively low whole radiation doses, comparable to natural background levels," a report summary noted. "No evidence or likelihood of decreased fertility among the affected population has been found, nor has there been any evidence of congenital malformations."

In fact, the report said, apart from radiation-induced deaths, the "largest public health problem created by the accident" was its effect on the mental health of residents who were traumatized by their rapid relocation and the fear, still lingering, that they would almost certainly contract terminal cancer. The report said that lifestyle diseases, such as alcoholism, among affected residents posed a much greater threat than radiation exposure....

Officials said that the continued intense medical monitoring of tens of thousands of people in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus is no longer a smart use of limited resources and is, in fact, contributing to mental health problems among many residents nearly 20 years later. In Belarus and Ukraine, 5 percent to 7 percent of government spending is consumed by benefits and programs for Chernobyl victims. And in the three countries, as many as 7 million people are receiving Chernobyl-related social benefits.

Wow - exaggerated projections of catastrophe result in ill-considered government spending.  Who would have thought this could happen?

The Benefits of CO2

In the latest UN climate "warning,"  the UN argues that the costs of CO2 abatement are not all that high because we have to offset these costs with ancillary benefits of these actions.   Many, many folks have demonstrated that these numbers are way understated, but let's accept this premise for a moment.  If this approach is correct, then should we not also offset the expected harms from global warming with expected benefits, like a longer growing season, and this:

Carbon dioxide is not the dreaded greenhouse gas that the global warmers crack it up to be. It is in fact the most important airborne fertiliser in the world and without it there would be no green plants at all. In fact, a doubling of the levels of this gas in the atmosphere would bring about a marked rise in plant production -- good news for everyone, especially those malnourished millions who can't afford chemical fertilisers. Perhaps the time is ripe to really start worrying (again) about the fact that for the last 200 million years the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been falling. Indeed it dropped to dangerously low levels during recent ice ages. The Plant Kingdom responded to this potentially catastrophic (no carbon no food) situation by producing the so-called C4 plants that can survive low CO2 by using sunlight more efficiently.

Another Example of UN Alarmism

Via the Washinton Post (emphasis added):

The United Nations' top AIDS scientists plan to acknowledge this week that they have long overestimated both the size and the course of the epidemic, which they now believe has been slowing for nearly a decade, according to U.N. documents prepared for the announcement.

AIDS remains a devastating public health crisis in the most heavily affected areas of sub-Saharan Africa. But the far-reaching revisions amount to at least a partial acknowledgment of criticisms long leveled by outside researchers who disputed the U.N. portrayal of an ever-expanding global epidemic.

The latest estimates, due to be released publicly Tuesday, put the number of annual new HIV infections at 2.5 million, a cut of more than 40 percent from last year's estimate, documents show. The worldwide total of people infected with HIV -- estimated a year ago at nearly 40 million and rising -- now will be reported as 33 million.

Having millions fewer people with a lethal contagious disease is good news. Some researchers, however, contend that persistent overestimates in the widely quoted U.N. reports have long skewed funding decisions and obscured potential lessons about how to slow the spread of HIV. Critics have also said that U.N. officials overstated the extent of the epidemic to help gather political and financial support for combating AIDS.

"There was a tendency toward alarmism, and that fit perhaps a certain fundraising agenda," said Helen Epstein, author of "The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS." "I hope these new numbers will help refocus the response in a more pragmatic way."

Does this sound like any other issue the UN is working on?  Maybe this one?

The Hidden Message

The cost to abate CO2 production as much as climate catastrophists wish will be staggering.  One of the ways the catastrophists and their supporters in the media work to cover up this fact is to publish numerous cute articles about families recycling and such.  The hidden message is that this is all that it would take from us to make an impact on CO2.

This Sunday article in the Arizona Republic is a great example (last Sunday, the Republic had an article just mentioning, without letting us make our arguments, that skeptics like me exist in Phoenix.  However, even this violates the orthodoxy so the Republic has had pro-catastrophist and green front page articles every day since as pennance.).  In today's article, the Republic looks at a number of families and gives advice on how they could be greener.  Here is an example from the analysis of the Weinberger family:

WHAT THEY'RE DOING RIGHT: The family makes an effort to recycle. Brian Weinberger estimated that 20 to 40 percent of their recyclables make it into the recycling bin each week. They also avoid toxic pesticides and herbicides for their lawn and home. "We can never eradicate enough of these types of items," said Greg Peterson of the Urban Farm in Phoenix.

WHERE THEY CAN IMPROVE: With a little extra effort, the Weinbergers could boost their recycling rate to more than 80 percent, significantly reducing their weekly garbage. The family also buys a large amount of processed and packaged food, which consumes resources and creates more trash. When making purchasing decisions, Peterson suggests that the family only consider items packaged in recyclable materials, such as paper or glass.

First, they are dead wrong in their analysis of process an packaged foods.  Also, recycling saves us almost no energy, but doesn't it make us feel good.   Here is another example for the Erickson family:

WHAT THEY'RE DOING RIGHT: "This family gives me great hope," Peterson said. "Their actions (are) making a significant difference." Jasper, 10, and Eliot, 7, bring their water bottles and utensils from their packed lunch back home from school each day for reuse. The family recycles nearly all the recyclable items they use. The kids use a blank side of Todd's old office papers for drawing. Both parents bring their own bags to stores, buy secondhand furniture to avoid excess waste and try to buy organic meats and produce.

WHAT THEY COULD IMPROVE: Peterson suggests investing in a home solar system to reduce their reliance on conventional power supplies. He also recommends they take advantage of the free home-energy audit offered by their utility, Arizona Public Service. SRP offers a similar service.

Does the author sound like a priest talking about his congregation or what?  "This family gives me great hope"?  Barf.  Well, I hope the Ericksons are really, really wealthy, because his recomendation to put in home solar is really expensive.  Even with a 50% government subsidy and the best solar site in the world here in Phoenix, the numbers don't even come close to working.

OK, Ericksons and Weinbergers, here is what you are really going to have to do.  The catastrophists want you to cut your CO2 impact by 50-60%.  Here, for example, is a climate bill proposed in Britain:

The Bill does not say how carbon dioxide emissions will be cut. However, it commits the Government to a 60 per cent reduction by 2050. One method could be personal carbon-allowances, where everyone is given a fixed amount of carbon to use each year.

Each time they travel in a plane, buy petrol, go shopping or eat out would be recorded on a plastic card. The more frugal could sell spare carbon to those who want to indulge themselves. But if you were to run out of your carbon allowance, you could be barred from flying or driving.

So here is the new plan for the Ericksons and Weinbergers, who have five and four kids respectively:

  • Everything you buy requires fossil fuels to produce, so you may only have half as much.  That means food for you and your kids too. 
  • In the next generation, no one is going to be having five and four kids.  Certainly those green Europeans would never do something as damaging as having four or five kids.  If you had aborted a few of the little darlings, just think how much CO2 you would have avoided?
  • The article says all your kids play sports.  OK, pick half of your kids, and tell them they don't get to play sports any more.  Gotta cut that driving in half.  The good news is the other half of the kids can still play.
  • Those vacations you took last summer, to escape the heat in Arizona, well cut them in half as well.  That little play area in the mall makes a nice alternative to seeing Yellowstone, and all those tourists are just environmentally damaging Yellowstone anyway.

Actually, there may be an economic way to avoid all these cutbacks -- The backyard nuclear reactor is carbon free!

New UN Climate Statement

Under mounting pressure from climate catastrophists to ignore uncertainties in the science and to produce definitive statements that can be used as calls for government interventionism, the UN will apparently release a new "warning" this week:

Global warming is destroying species, raising sea levels and threatening millions of poor people, the United Nations' top scientific panel will say in a report today that U.N. officials hope will help mobilize the world to take tougher actions on climate change.

The report argues that only firm action, including putting a price on carbon-dioxide emissions, will avoid more catastrophic events.

Those actions will take a small part of the world's economic growth and will be substantially less than the costs of doing nothing, the report says.

For the first time, the UN is trying to argue explicitly that the cost of CO2 abatement is lower than the cost of doing nothing.  They are arguing that a cooler but poorer world is superior to a warmer and richer world.  I am glad they are finally arguing this point.  Because while we can argue about the truth of how much the world has warmed and how much is due to man, the UN is DEAD WRONG on this point.  The cost of aggressive CO2 abatement is far, far higher than the cost of doing nothing.

The report presumably will be released by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, who demonstrated his stunning ignorance of climate science, geology, and geography on a recent climate-junket to Antarctica.  Let's take it line by line.

Is man destroying or threatening species?  Absolutely.  Is this threat from CO2 and warming? No, and I have read every inch of the UN IPCC report and you can find no evidence for this proposition.  But saying this rallies the environmental base (the hard core environmentalists don't really care about poor people, at least when their interests conflict with animals).  Most of the evidence is that species thrive in warmer weather, and polar bears have survived several inter-glaciation periods where the north pole melted entirely in the summer.

Are sea levels rising?  Yes.  In fact, they have been rising for at least 150 years, and in fact have been rising steadily and at roughly the same rate since the last ice age.  We have seen absolutely no acceleration of the underlying sea level rise trend.  Further, the UN's IPCC does have a forecast for sea level rise over the next century.  Even using temperature forecasts I consider exaggerated, the UN does not forecast more than about a foot of sea level rise over the coming century, only a bit more than what the sea level has risen over the last 150 years.  This is a great example of the disconnect between the UN political climate reports and the science underlying them.  The guys writing the summary know that their report says only a few inches of sea level rise, so they just say it is rising, and then let the crazies like Al Gore throw around numbers like 20 feet.

Here is an interesting thought:  If I say the sea levels will rise 0" over the next 100 years, the UN will call me out and say I am wrong.  However, when Al Gore said sea levels will rise 20 feet in his movie An Inconvenient Truth, no one at the UN or the IPCC called him out, despite the fact that my forecast was only 12 inches different from theirs and his was 19 feet different.

And of course, there are the poor.  The number one biggest losers in any effort to abate CO2 emissions will be the poor.  In wealthy countries like the US, the poor will be the hardest hit by $10 or even $20 gas prices that would be necessary to rolling CO2 production back to 1990 levels.  In the third world, nearly a billion people just starting to emerge from poverty will have no chance of doing so if their economies are hamstrung with CO2 limits.  The poor will be devastated by aggressive CO2 limits.

Weighed against this economic disaster would be, what?  How would rising world temperatures hurt the poor?  Well, its not at all clear.  A foot of sea-level rise is very unlikely to hurt many poor people, though it might inconvenience a few rich owners of beach-front luxury homes.  Here is a clarifying question I often ask people -- would you rather fifteen Atlantic hurricanes each year, or sixteen hurricanes each year and Carribbean economies that are twice as rich and therefore have twice the resources to handle hurricanes.  This is the colder and poorer vs. warmer and richer choice.

It is often claimed that global warming will cause droughts, but in fact warmer world temperatures will vaporize more water in the atmosphere and should net increase rain, not drought.  And many of the farmers in the northern hemisphere would enjoy longer growing seasons and thereby more food production.

Glaciers and ice caps are melting at a rapid rate; animals and plants are shifting their range to accommodate warmer air and water; and planting seasons are changing, the report said.

Yes ice is melting in the Northern Hemisphere.  This is 15% of the world's ice.  85% of the world's ice is in Antarctica, which is increasing.  Seriously.  I know you don't believe this if you trust the media, but the ice that is melting in Greenland is tiny compared to the ice that is increasing at the South Pole.  In fact, the IPCC gets most of its prjected sea rise from thermal expansion of warmer oceans, not from ice melting.  And don't you love the "planting seasons are changing."  That sounds like its scary, or something, until you recognize the truth is that planting seasons are changing, becoming longer and more beneficial to food production!

On many occasions, I have discussed the bad science that goes into these apocalyptic forecasts.  But that science is of top quality compared to the economics that must have gone into the statement that:

The most stringent efforts to stabilize greenhouse gases would cost the world's economies 0.12 percent of their average annual growth to 2050, the report estimates.

This is absolute, unmitigated crap.  Though I have not seen specifics in this report, the UN's position has generally been that emissions should be rolled back to 1990 levels (the target embodied in the Kyoto treaty).  Such a target implies reductions of more than 20% from where we are today and well over 50% from where we will be in 2050.  These are enormous cuts that cannot be achieved with current technology without massive reductions in economic growth.  The world economy is inextricably tied to the burning of fossil fuels.  And, unlike ancillary emissions like SO2, CO2 emissions cannot be limited without actually reducing carbon combustion since it is fundamental to the combustion chemistry.  Even supporters of legislation such as the Bingaman-Specter bill admit that as much as a trillion dollars will need to be spent to reduce global temperatures about 0.13C.  And that is a trillion for the first tenth of a degree -- the law of diminishing returns means that each additional tenth will cost more.

Lets look at history as our guide.  Most of the European countries and Japan signed onto the Kyoto Treaty to reduce emissions to 1990 levels.  They have taken many expensive steps to do so, implemented many more controls than in the US, and have gas prices as much as double those in the US.  During the period since 1990, most of these countries, unlike the US and China and India, have been in a deep and extended economic recession, which tends to suppress the growth of fossil fuel consumption.  Also, the CO2 numbers for countries like Russia and Germany benefit greatly from the fall of the old Communist Block, as their 1990 base year CO2 numbers include many horribly inefficient and polluting Soviet industries that have since been shut down.  And, given all this, they STILL are going to miss their numbers.  These countries have experienced reductions in economic growth orders of magnitude greater than this 0.12 percent quoted by the UN, and that still is not enough to reduce CO2 to target levels.  Only outright contraction of the world's economy is going to suffice [note:  A strong commitment to replacing coal plants with nuclear might be a partial solution, but it will never happen because the people calling for CO2 controls are the same ones who shut down our nuclear programs.  Also, technological change is always possible.  It would be awesome if someone found a way to roll out sheets of efficient solar cells like carpet out of Dalton, Georgia, but that has not happened yet.]

The UN has gotten to such low cost estimates for their government controls because they have convinced themselves, much like the promoters of building football stadiums for billionaire team owners, that they will get a huge return from the government CO2 controls:

"There is high agreement and much evidence that mitigation actions can result in near-term co-benefits, for example improved health due to reduced air pollution, that may offset a substantial fraction of mitigation costs," said the report, which summarizes research over five years of more than 2,000 of the world's top climate-change scientists...

The U.N. panel embraced the arguments of British economist Nicholas Stern, who concluded last year that the cost of taking tough measures to curb pollution will be repaid in the long run.

Nicholas Stern?  Haven't we heard that name before.  Why, yes we have.  He is the man that said that all of the world's climate problems would go away if we forced all the western economies to look just like India.

Mr Stern, the former chief economist of the World Bank, sends out a very clear message: “We need to cut down the total amount of carbon emissions by half by 2050.” At current levels, the per capita global emissions stand at 7 tonnes, or a total of 40-45 gigatonnes. At this rate, global temperatures could rise by 2.5-3 degrees by then. But to reduce the per capita emissions by half in 2050, most countries would have to be carbon neutral. For instance, the US currently has, at 20-25 tonnes, per capita emissions levels that are three times the global average.

The European Union’s emission levels stand at 10-15 tonnes per capita. China is at about 3-4 tonnes per capita and India, at 1 tonne per capita, is the only large-sized economy that is below the desired carbon emission levels of 2050. “India should keep it that way and insist that the rich countries pay their share of the burden in reducing emissions,” says Mr Stern.

Which, by the way, is exactly my point.  I very much hope Mr. Stern continues to make this clear in public.  One of the ways catastrophists support their cause of massive government interventionism is to try to portray the answer as little cutsie actions, like your 5-year-old helping with the recycling.  This is not what is require to meet these targets.  What is required is ratchet down the US economy until we are all about as wealthy as the average Indian.  I guess that would at least take care of the outsourcing "problem."

One of the ways that the UN gets away with this is that no one has the time to read the detailed scientific report, and so reporters rely on the summaries like these.  Unfortunately, the same people who write the scientific sections are not the people who write the summaries.  Careful language about uncertainties, which are still huge, in the science are replaced by summaries written by politicians that say:

The near-final draft, approved Friday by representatives of more than 140 governments meeting in Valencia, Spain, said global warming is "unequivocal" and said man's actions are heading toward "abrupt or irreversible climate changes and impacts."...

"This will be viewed by all as a definitive report. It is the blueprint for the Bali talks," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who will be at the Indonesian U.N. meeting beginning Dec. 3 as part of a U.S. senatorial delegation.

Another technique used by the UN that we see in play here is their willingness to cherry-pick one author that follows the UN narrative to refute a whole body of science that is contrary to the narrative.  Thus, the UN latched onto Michael Mann's hockey stick to overturn a consensus that there was a Medieval warm period, and now they have latched onto Nicholas Stern to overturn the opinion of, approximately, every other economist in the world who think CO2 mitigation will be really expensive.

As always, you are encourage to view my movie What is Normal:  A Critique of Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming Theory or check out my book (free online) called A Skeptical Layman's Guide to Anthropogenic Global Warming.

My Cause is More Important Than Your Cause

Al Gore, Via Rolling Stone and Tom Nelson:

"It is a mistake to think of the Climate Crisis as one in a list of issues that will define our future. It is the issue. Everything else must be viewed through that lens."

Arizona Republic Hit Piece on Skeptics

My kids woke me up at 7:00 this morning (Yuk!) to tell me I was on the front page of the Arizona Republic.  I was quoted a couple of times in an article on climate change skeptics.   I have a couple of thoughts about an article that really has me depressed today.    If you want to know what I really think about climate, see my book and in my movie (both free online).

  • After interviews, I am always surprised at what the writers chose to quote, and this article is no exception. 
  • I spent most of the article trying to explain this simple data exercise, but I guess newspapers today are science-phobic and would rather write he-said-she-said articles than actually get into the numbers.  Unfortunately, the article leaves the impressions that we skeptics have problems with catastrophic global warming theory  "just because."
  • The article is not about the skeptics' position, because it is not really stated.  In fact, more space is spent on refuting skeptics than is even given to skeptics themselves.  Here is the best test:  The skeptic's position would have been better served by not publishing this mess at all.
  • Almost my entire discussion with the reporter was about the forecasts.  I said man is causing some warming, but there are simple tests to show it likely won't be catastrophic.  I even said that it was the catastrophists tactic not to argue this point, but to shift the debate to whether warming exists at all, where they have a much stronger argument. Despite this whole discussion with the reporter, the reporter allowed the catastrophists to shift the debate again.  They want to argue whether things are warmer, where they are on strong ground, and not about how much it will warming the future and whether this will justify massive government intervention, where they are on weak ground.

This article really frustrates me, and may pretty much spell the end for my ever giving an interview on the subject again (I will do a podcast on Monday, which I will link soon, but that is different because they can't edit me).  Despite it being an article about skeptics, the catastrophists are the only one that get any empirical evidence whatsoever into the article (however lame it may be).  This really ticked me off in particular:  I spent an hour giving specific empirical reasons why there were problems with forecasts and the theory.  The reporter then just printed a few quotes from me that made me look like an uninformed idiot, saying "just because."  Then they print this:

"There is clearly a group of thought that says because we're not seeing debate now, it never happened in the scientific community," Huxman said. "That is simply wrong. It did happen, and it's over. The debate now is over the idiosyncrasies, the internal workings."

Incredibly, they also credulously reprint the absurd Newsweek ad hominem attacks on skeptics

What also got my attention was the companion article on an ASU professor who is a climate skeptic.  Incredibly, in the whole article, not one sentence is dedicated to explaining why the professor is a skeptic.  What is the empirical evidence he relies on, or the analysis he finds most compelling?  We never find out.  All we get is an article on dueling motivations.  For example, the Republic writes:

Despite his notoriety as a hero of the skeptic crowd, Balling's research and lifestyle contain some surprising contradictions.

He is in charge of climate studies at the Decision Center for a Desert City, an ambitious ASU program that looks at how drought will affect the Valley.

He's a registered independent and lives a lifestyle that the hardiest environmental activist would recognize as green....

If there was a competition for living green, "put the cards on the table, and I'll beat 99 percent of the faculty here," Balling said.

He avoids driving and  doesn't own a cellphone.

He would even have liked to see Al Gore win the presidency in 2000.

So?  Why is this surprising?  Should we all naturally expect that skeptics all eat children for dinner?  And, of course, an article on a leading skeptic would not be complete without this:

Critics have assailed Balling's ties to industries.

Balling received more than $679,000 in research funding from fossil-fuel-industry organizations between 1989 and 2002, according to figures provided by ASU. He served as a scientific adviser to the Greening Earth Society, a public-relations organization founded by the Western Fuels Association to promote the benefits of global warming.

Uh, OK.  Here is a Coyote Blog challenge:  Find me one article in a mainstream newspaper or news weekly that even once checks the sources of funding for climate catastrophists.  This focus on funding and motivation and political affiliation for skeptics only is scandalously asymmetric.  But take a quick look at the article - 85% of it is related to motivation, either how good his green credentials are or how much money he gets from oil companies - and not any discussion of what he actually thinks. 

This final bit is especially funny.  Think of all the wacko professors out there that are warmly accepted by their universities and the academic community.  We're talking about folks all the way up to and including men who have gone to prison for torturing and murdering women.  But apparently having a climate skeptic on the faculty is just too much:

But his climate work has garnered the most national attention, which bothers some colleagues at ASU.

"For ASU, having Balling as such a prominent figure in the climate debate has been awkward, not so much because of his positions but because we have lacked scientists of similar stature whose work supports more widely held, opposing views," Jonathan Fink, director of ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability, wrote in an e-mail. "Hence we have been viewed as somewhat of a fringe institution in the world of climate-change research."

Wow, its terrible to see such ill-repute brought to America's #1 Party School.  And by the way, what the hell kind of strategy is this?  We want to make a name for ourselves in climate research, so to do so we think we should be just like all the other schools -- that's the way to differentiate ourselves!

I will post links to my podcast that is coming up Monday night.  After that, I am not sure.  I am pretty depressed about the state of the media on this issue.  I have a lot of interests and more than enough to do with my time that I may take a break from climate for a while.

Looks Like I Was Right

A few days ago, I wrote this about a recent academic hoax:

I have therefore come to the conclusion that this hoax is likely the work of global warming catastrophists.  My guess is that they wanted to make a point that skeptics were no such thing -- that skeptics would bite like a hungry bass at such a lure as long as it supported their position.  And certain folks in political circles did so, at least for a few hours.   My presumption is that if we had all trumpeted this fake study, then our judgement on other issues would get called into question.  My sense is that catastrophists have convinced themselves with their own propaganda that skeptics are all motivated by political and financial agendas.  But most skeptics are really interested in the science, and are motivated by the real fear that we are at the cusp of embarking on some really poor, near tragic, policy decisions.

Apparently, via ICECAP and Roy Spencer, this guess was correct:

An anonymous Brit has now admitted in a brief interview that he wrote the fake global warming research paper which is claimed to have fooled some of us “global warming skeptics”. His stated purpose was to “expose the credulity and scientific illiteracy of many of the people who call themselves climate sceptics”.

I would argue that he has done just the opposite. Several of us (scientists and non-scientists alike) were able, within a matter of seconds to minutes, to identify the paper as a fake. We then spread the word, warning others of the hoax. Therefore, we showed that we do not, as the hoaxer claims, “believe almost anything if it lends support to their position”. We did exactly the opposite.

Remember how I ended the original post:

Now, if you really want to have fun, create a similar hoax the other way, supporting catastrophic man-made global warming.  You will probably make the NBC Nightly News.  It would be fun to try something really nutty and see if people buy it, like saying the oceans will rise 20 feet in the next century... oops, its already been done.  Al Gore made that claim, among other truly absurd statements, in his movie An Inconvinient Trust, for which he not only made the NBC Nightly News but he also won an Oscar and a Nobel Prize.

Silly Climate Study Hoax

Earlier today I was forwarded an email about a climate study.  This was supposedly an excerpt:

Anyone who has read, say, one or more scientific papers know that this is not the usual language of academic papers.  The first line sounds more like a letter to Penthouse than a scientific paper (you know, the classic "I never thought something like this would happen to me, but last Saturday night...)  What caused me to delete the email (fortunately it was still in the trash so I could go back and find these quotes) was the line "findings in this paper could nt be more damaging to manmade global warming theory or the the thousands of climate scientists..."  No academic in his right mind would state his/her conclusions in this manner, and even if they did, not editor or advisor would let it slip by. 

The premise of the paper was apparently that something other than man (ie bacteria) was creating the CO2 that was causing global warming.  But that in fact does not really refute the core of man-made global warming theory.  The shakiest part of man-made global warming theory is that CO2 will really cause the dire temeprature rises that are often published (rather than much smaller increases on the order of 1C rather than 5C or more).  But the authors were accepting this part, and merely positing that something other than man was causing the CO2 rise.  But this makes no sense.   The 100 ppm rise of CO2 over the last 150 years may not be all due to man, but its pretty clear a lot of it is.  After all, if CO2 has risen from 280 to 380 ppm in the last 150 years, that is a trend that could only go back so far, unless there were such a thing as negative concentrations.

The rest gets even sillier:

We believe that academic intimidation of this kind contradicts the spirit of open enquiry in which scientific investigations should be conducted. We deplore the aggressive responses we encountered before our findings were published, and fear the reaction this paper might provoke. But dangerous as these findings are, we feel we have no choice but to publish.

That's the kind of thing you post in your blog, not in the paper itself.   Climate does unfortunately see a lot of ad hominem attacks back and forth, but seldom in the academic papers themselves.

So I assumed that it was some ill-concieved hoax by a skeptic, though I could not really understand what point they were trying to make.  Positing such a thing, only to have it quickly shot down, could only hurt the skeptic position.  If a skeptic made the hoax, it was a stupid strategy.  The point is trying to bring clarity and real science back to a politicized scientific debate, and this just does the opposite.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that this hoax is likely the work of global warming catastrophists.  My guess is that they wanted to make a point that skeptics were no such thing -- that skeptics would bite like a hungry bass at such a lure as long as it supported their position.  And certain folks in political circles did so, at least for a few hours.   My presumption is that if we had all trumpeted this fake study, then our judgement on other issues would get called into question.  My sense is that catastrophists have convinced themselves with their own propaganda that skeptics are all motivated by political and financial agendas.  But most skeptics are really interested in the science, and are motivated by the real fear that we are at the cusp of embarking on some really poor, near tragic, policy decisions.

Now, if you really want to have fun, create a similar hoax the other way, supporting catastrophic man-made global warming.  You will probably make the NBC Nightly News.  It would be fun to try something really nutty and see if people buy it, like saying the oceans will rise 20 feet in the next century... oops, its already been done.  Al Gore made that claim, among other truly absurd statements, in his movie An Inconvinient Trust, for which he not only made the NBC Nightly News but he also won an Oscar and a Nobel Prize. 

Climate Exaggeration

There is nothing unique about the following, but I include it as an example of the unbelieveable exaggerations that are being bandied about concerning climate.  I was doing some research on the Salton Sea for a post at Coyote Blog and ran accross this letter from the California Audobon Society.  It says, in part:

Although there is uncertainty about what the precise impacts will be, there is no longer legitimate scientific disagreement about the fact that the climate is changing and that those changes will accelerate over the next century.

One of the classic rhetorical tricks is to say "it cannot be denied that" followed by two statements.  The first statement will in fact be undeniable, setting up the reader to blindly accept the second, which is much more contentious.  In this case, there is indeed no doubt that Climate is changing.  Climate is always changing, else we would still have glaciers in Minnesota.  However, it is far, far from given that the changes will "accelerate" in the next century.  In fact, the relationship between CO2 and warming is in fact a diminishing return, making "acceleration" difficult in all but a looney universe dominated by positive feedbacks.

But the real whopper comes in the next paragraph:

According to recent analyses, California is projected to experience temperature increases of at least 4-8 degrees Fahrenheit (if global emissions are significantly curtailed) and more likely temperature increases of 9-18 degrees Fahrenheit (current emissions path) over the next centur

Really?  First absolutely impossible to reconcile 9-18 degree F with the approximately 1F (0.6C) warming we have seen in the last century.  CO2 rose 100ppm in the last century and produced 1F, but adding another 200ppm in the next century will produce 9-18F??  This implies an upward sloping curve that is exactly opposite of the relationship everyone agrees CO2 and warming have.  18F implies almost two degrees a decade, a huge number considering the warming over the last decade has been close to zero and no decade has had warming of more than about 0.3F.  Further, I am sure the Sierra Club found someone who actually produced such a study, but the IPCC "consensus", which I think is exaggerated, calls for only about 4-6F increases in the next century.  Five degrees F is probably bad enough, do they really have to outright exaggerate?

Scientific Analisis of the Day

From Greenpeace:


Gosh, its an amazing coincidence that the steps proposed to curb CO2 (reduce oil use, demonize oil companies, limit growth, increase government interventions in free economies, limit global trade) exactly match the political goals held by many leading climate catastrophists long before greenhouse gas theory was even born.  But I am sure its all about the science.  When I hear a climate catastrophist promoting nuclear energy to replace coal in electricity generation (the one no-brainer technology substitution we have available to us to reduce CO2 production), that is a person I can respect for their intellectual integrity.  Of course, I almost never hear it.

By the way, Greenpeace should have a picture of John D. Rockefeller,the founder of Standard Oil of New Jersey (and predecesor of Exxon) on the wall of every one of its offices.  Mr. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, by making Kerosene cheap and universally available as a luminant, did more than Greenpeace will ever do to save the whales.

Update:  The chart itself is kind of funny when you think about it.  It implies that increased prices for gas and oil, which increase profits, would also increase global warming.  But in fact, exactly the opposite is true.  As prices have risen, Exxon has made higher profits but demand has been reduced.  In fact, Exxon really "promoted" global warming the most in the 1980's and 1990's when they were making miserable profits and oil prices were low.

Al Gore and the Peace Prize

This morning I was all fired up to write something petty, like "Al Gore now has made the same contributions to peace as have previous winners Yassir Arafat and Henry Kissinger."  Later, I considered a long and drawn out post on the inaccuracies of "An Inconvinient Truth", but I really have already done that in long form here and in short form here.  In truth, the Peace prize process has for years been about a group of leftish statists making a statement, and often it has been about tweaking the US, rather than a dispassionate analysis of true contributions to peace made with the benefit of some historic distance (as is done with the scientific prizes).  Further, most folks I argue with don't really care about the specific inacuracies in Gore's movie, their response typically being something in the "fake but accurate" line of reasoning.

So instead I will say what I told a reader by email a few hours ago.  I tend to be optimistic about the world, and believe that we are approaching a high water mark (so to speak) for the climate catastrophists, where we will look back and see their influence peak and start unwinding under the presure of science and the reality of the enormous cost to abate CO2.  Gore's Peace prize, in the same year as his Oscar and that global warming music festival no one can even remember the name of 3 months later, feels to me like it may be that high water mark.   The Peace Prize certainly was the high water mark for Jimmy Carter's credibility, not to mention that of Henry Kissinger and a myriad of others.  Think of it this way -- if the guys who made the peace prize decisions were investors, and you knew what they were investing in, you would sell short.  Seriously, just look at the group.  Well, they just invested in Al Gore.

Update:  One thing many commenters have not pointed out is that Al Gore is really manuevering the US and China and India (and the rest of the developping world) into a position that, if he has his way, conflict is going to occur over who gets to grow and develop, and who does not.  CO2 catastrophism has the ablility to be the single most destabalizing issue of the 21st century. This is peace?

Eleven Inacuracies

A British Court, in response to a lawsuit aimed at blocking the showing of an Inconvinient Truth in British schools because it constituted political propoganda rather than good science, found 11 inacuracies in the film that the court said made the film of questionable educational value.  I could name a few others, but this is not a bad list:

  • he film claims that melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro evidence global warming. The Government's expert was forced to concede that this is not correct.
  • The film suggests that evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years. The Court found that the film was misleading: over that period the rises in CO2 lagged behind the temperature rises by 800-2000 years.
  • The film uses emotive images of Hurricane Katrina and suggests that this has been caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that it was "not possible" to attribute one-off events to global warming.
  • The film shows the drying up of Lake Chad and claims that this was caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that this was not the case.
  • The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice. It turned out that Mr Gore had misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned and this was because of a particularly violent storm.
  • The film threatens that global warming could stop the Gulf Stream throwing Europe into an ice age: the Claimant's evidence was that this was a scientific impossibility.
  • The film blames global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.
  • The film suggests that the Greenland ice covering could melt causing sea levels to rise dangerously. The evidence is that Greenland will not melt for millennia.
  • The film suggests that the Antarctic ice covering is melting, the evidence was that it is in fact increasing.
  • The film suggests that sea levels could rise by 7m causing the displacement of millions of people. In fact the evidence is that sea levels are expected to rise by about 40cm over the next hundred years and that there is no such threat of massive migration.
  • The film claims that rising sea levels has caused the evacuation of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand. The Government are unable to substantiate this and the Court observed that this appears to be a false claim.
  • Don't Confuse Children with Facts

    In other posts, I have discussed the 800-year lag between temperature and CO2 in the ice core histories.  For those not aware of the issue, ice core data, like that shown by Al Gore in An Inconvinient Truth, initially showed a very strong and compelling correlation between CO2 and temperature.  Not only did CO2 look like a driver of climate, it looked like the driver.  But Gore is very careful how he presents this chart in his movie (one of his Really Big Charts).  The reason is that by the time of the movie, better instrumentation and lab procedure had shown that temperature increases in the ice core data actually preceeded CO2 increases by 800 or more years.  CO2 was being increased by heating of the oceans and outgassing of CO2 from them, not the other way around.

    The Science and Public Policy Institute has found a pretty glaring fabrication in Laurie David's global warming propoganda book for kids.  The book shows kids this graph:


    Pretty compelling.  Every 75,000 years or so there is a CO2 spike, followed by a temperature spike.  But the SPPI folks found something interesting by going back to the original source:  Laurie David has reversed the legend.  They have called the red line CO2, when in fact it is temperature, and vice versa, reversing the causality back the way she apparently wants it.


    SPPI goes back to David's source just to make sure, and yes, the original study behind the chart confirms that temeprature rises before CO2.

    On page 103 of their book, David and Gordon cite the work of Siegenthaler et al. (2005), for their written and graphical contention that temperature lags CO2. However, Siegenthaler et al. clearly state the opposite:

    “The lags of CO2 with respect to the Antarctic temperature over glacial terminations V to VII are 800, 1600, and 2800 years, respectively, which are consistent with earlier observations during the last four glacial cycles.”

    (Siegenthaler et al., 2005, Science, vol. 310, 1313-1317)

    Oops.  Are lies OK if they are "for the children?"

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