jump to navigation

Think globally, destroy locally September 21, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Think globally, destroy locally

Professor Bob Carter

Professor Bob Carter

by Bob Carter
Quadrant Online, September 21, 2009

Giving Earth the benefit of the doubt
A common expression of human caution, often attributed to Rupert Murdoch, is that in matters of potentially dangerous human-caused global warming we should “give Earth the benefit of the doubt”.

Such a statement reveals profound misunderstanding of the real climatic risks faced by our societies, not least because it assumes that global warming is more dangerous, or more to be feared, than is global cooling. In reality, the converse is true.

Giving Earth the benefit of the doubt” is often further expressed as a desire to implement the “precautionary principle”.

This sociological, and not scientific, construct was rejected as a policy tool by the prestigious UK House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology as long ago as 2006.

They commented that

In our view, the terms “precautionary principle” and “precautionary approach” in isolation from …. clarification have been the subject of such confusion and different interpretations as to be devalued and of little practical help, particularly in public debate,

and added that

we can confirm our initial view that the term “precautionary principle” should not be used, and recommend that it cease to be included in policy guidance.

In any case, in order to take precautions, you have to know what you are taking them against. Some computer models (General Circulation Models; deterministic) project that the global temperature in ten years time will be warmer than today’s. Other computer models (statistical; based upon projection of past climate patterns) project that global temperature will be cooler ten years hence. The reality is, therefore, that no scientist can tell you with confidence whether the temperature in 2020, let alone 2100, will be warmer or cooler than today’s.

The only sensible precaution that you can take in such a situation is to plan for a continuation of the present climate trend, and recognize and plan also for reasonable bounds of future climate variability. As the temperature trend for ten years now has been one of cooling, since the unusually warm El Nino year of 1998, this requires a precautionary response to cooling rather than warming.

In either case, it is not soppy, feel-good precaution that is required to protect our citizens and environment, but hard-nosed and effective prudence.

The current commission of enquiry into the Victorian bushfires makes it quite plain that Australian governments’ preparation for, and response to, natural climatic disasters is inadequate. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for this is that the self-same governments have been distracted by the hysterical fuss created by the Greens, and other similarly self-interested groups, about entirely hypothetical and yet-to-be-measured human-caused global warming?

It is certain that natural climate change will continue in the future as it has in the past – including warmings, coolings and step events. In face of this, it is clearly most prudent to adopt a climate policy of preparation for, and adaptation to, climate change as and when it occurs.

Adaptive planning for future climate events and change, then, should be tailored to provide responses to the known rates, magnitudes and risks of natural change. Once in place, these same plans will provide an adequate response to human-caused global warming or cooling should either emerge in measurable quantity at some future date.

Instead, the current Labor government remains hell-bent on introducing an unnecessary, expensive and ineffectual carbon dioxide taxation scheme, in the futile hope that the measures involved will have an effect on future climate.

It is no surprise, and a credit to our parliament, that the Senate has rejected this bill once, for the estimate of the first-up extra direct costs it will engender is about $3,000/family/yr. The “benefit” – get this! – is a theoretical reduction of temperature of no more than one-ten-thousandth of a degree in 2100.

Read the rest here


Arctic Sea Ice Not Following Consensus September 20, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: ,

Arctic Sea Ice Not Following Consensus

By Jeff Id
The Air Vent, September 18, 2009

From the NSIDC, Sea ice reaches it’s annual minimum extent growing by 370,000 square miles over 2007.  An area 1 1/2 times the size of Texas.  The recovery is 220,000 sq miles above last year alone yet the NSIDC claims below that the scientists don’t consider this a recovery.

They cite younger thinner ice again and a lower level than the 30 year mean as the reasons this is not a recovery.  I have difficulty ignoring a near 400,000 sq mile increase in ice level.  So I hope they don’t mind if I do consider it at least a partial recovery.

From a post on CA SteveM posted a graph from the NSIDC’s compiled 2008 projections of sea ice by the different ‘experts’ in the field.  Since 2008 minimum is clearly marked and 220,000 sq miles is equal to 570,000 sq kilometers of increase.  We can determine where on the NSIDC graph the actual Arctic sea ice turned out.

All I can say is, be glad you’re not an expert on sea ice.  The linear trend is actually closer than the majority of the experts.

Untitled-1Various “expert” predictions of 2009 sea ice minimums. Green Line is Actual

Read the rest here

The Garnaut Cult September 19, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: ,

The Garnaut Cult

by Tom Quirk
Quadrant Online, September 9, 2009

Waiting for who knows what?

As the Government continues to pursue the imminent introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme more and more questions are being asked about its scientific foundations by highly qualified scientists and others. Yet these doubts are simply being disregarded. This is a high risk path with no apparent ability to back-down if the entire edifice is built on sand.

What is the scientific basis used by the Government? In the Explanatory Memorandum to the Rudd Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill, we read the following:

Scientific evidence confirms that human activities such as burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), agriculture and land clearing have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As a consequence the earth’s average temperature is rising and weather patterns are changing. This is affecting rainfall patterns, water availability, sea levels, storm activity, droughts and bushfire frequency putting at risk Australian coastal communities, health outcomes, agriculture, tourism, heritage and biodiversity for current and future generations.

This statement comes in part from the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, a combination of Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO scientists. Their report summary highlights an increasing number of exceptionally hot years and exceptionally low rainfall years but also contains a caution about the uncertainties of the projections. The Minister for Climate Change appears to have ignored the warning in the report disclaimer that “Any person relying on the assessment does so entirely at his or her own risk”. Unfortunately it is our collective risk.

Although Garnaut does acknowledge the science has uncertainties, the Garnaut Report simply accepts this catalogue of impending climate extremes as the foundation for its recommendations on emissions trading. However there are some inconvenient facts that might indicate that this “weather” report is of little if any value.

In 1963, a study of 75 years of Australian rainfall by Professor Sir Samuel Wadham, R Kent Wilson and Joyce Wood concluded that “nowhere in the world is there such a huge area of pastoral land of such erratic rainfall as this pastoral country of Australia”, adding that “the immediate effects of violent fluctuations of climate on the development of agriculture are considerable, but their ultimate effects are much greater than are normally appreciated.” If this is the case how do we verify the predicted future given our erratic past?

You have only to compare the global and Australian temperatures over the last one hundred years to see our climate variability compared to that of the planet as a whole.

Read the rest here

More Smearing of Scientific Scepticism September 18, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: ,
add a comment

More Smearing of Scientific Scepticism(Part 1)

Via Jennifer Marohasy, September 18, 2009

IT was once the case that if you didn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and the climate crisis you were a scientist in the pay of big oil. That was also an accusation in Chris Mooney’s first book ‘The Republican War on Science’.

Mr Mooney now has a second book out entitled ‘Unscientific America’. I haven’t read the new book yet, but according to an interview Mr Mooney gave last night on Australian television if you don’t believe in AGW you aren’t even a scientist. Indeed he told well-known ABC journalist and television presenter Leigh Sales that while society hasn’t agreed on the facts, the scientists have.

Ms Sales initially queried Mr Mooney, suggesting that many claim there is no scientific consensus on AGW. But she didn’t then pursue the point when Mr Mooney reframed, side-stepped the question and then contradicted himself.

Much of the preamble compiled by Margo O’Neill and the interview by Ms Sales suggested that being a climate change sceptic was equivalent to being part of the minority against vaccinating children or part of the religious right that argues against the teaching of evolution. Their argument essentially went that there is always a part of a community that holds beliefs that are illogical.

Read the rest of Part 1 here

More Smearing of Scientific Scepticism (Part 2)

THERE was a most extraordinary feature story and then interview last night on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular late news program with well known reporter and television presenter Leigh Sales giving American journalist Chris Mooney publicity for his new book and a generous amount of air time to explain that anyone who doesn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming is scientifically illiterate and ignorant. A friend and colleague Andrew McIntyre send Ms Sales the following email in response:

Read the rest of Part 2 here


An inconvenient truth about global warming September 17, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: ,
add a comment

An inconvenient truth about global warming

By Tom Feilden
BBC, 16 September 2009

The global warming narrative – that mankind’s addiction to burning fossil fuels is rapidly changing the climate – may be about to go seriously off message.

Far from suggesting the planet will get warmer, one of the world’s leading climate modellers says the latest data indicates we could be in for a significant period of steady temperatures and possibly even a little global cooling.

Professor Mojib Latif, from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany, has been looking at the influence of cyclical changes to ocean currents and temperatures in the Atlantic, a feature known as the North Atlantic Oscillation. When he factored these natural fluctuations into his global climate model, professor Latif found the results would bring the remorseless rise in average global temperatures to an abrupt halt.

“The strong warming effect that we experienced during the last decades will be interrupted. Temperatures will be more or less steady for some years, and thereafter will pickup again and continue to warm”.

Read the rest here

ETS will kill Tourism, Transport and Trade September 16, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

ETS will kill Tourism, Transport and Trade

By Viv Forbes Saturday
Canada Free Press, September 12, 2009

Emissions trading schemes proposed for the western world will guarantee another global financial crisis for tourism, transport and world trade.

All carbon control schemes have at their core two essential features aimed at reducing man’s production of the harmless gas, carbon dioxide. Firstly, increasingly severe rationing of carbon dioxide (CO2) releases. And secondly, taxes on all permitted emissions and punitive taxes on any excess. They are all Ration-and-Tax Schemes and they will all enforce arbitrary reductions by 2020.
But not one car, truck, bus, train, plane or ship can move without producing CO2. There is no possibility that this will change significantly before the doomsday year of 2020, just a decade away. Therefore neither Australia nor New Zealand can cut CO2 emissions by 2020 without slowly strangling all those industries that rely on moving people or goods.
Our politicians should be asked, individually, what food, mineral products and travel they propose doing without in order to meet the 2020 cuts specified in their Ration-and-Tax Schemes.

Australia and New Zealand comprise four lonely islands in the vast southern oceans which stretch from Africa to South America
However, world population, political power and finance are concentrated far away in the Northern Hemisphere.
Apart from a few stock horses used by drovers, the occasional sailing yacht, some suburban bicycles and some hydro power that moves trains, our transport fleets rely totally on petrol, diesel, gas and coal. There are no solar powered aeroplanes or sail powered ocean liners – all produce CO2.
Neither country can import tourists, get mineral and food products to their cities or export goods to world markets without producing CO2.
Already France has introduced travel rationing using a carbon tax and the UK Institute for Public Policy says that “the government may need to introduce carbon rationing to cut pollution from everyday activities such as filling up the car, using electricity and flying abroad for holidays”. A UK government committee even proposes that airline taxes should be raised progressively to “a level that would put people off flying”.
Our politicians should be asked what effect these measures and our local Ration-N-Tax Schemes will have on the South Pacific tourist industries.

Read the rest here

Alarmists Abandon Air Temps, But Oceans Also Show Cooling September 14, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

Alarmists Abandon Air Temps, But Oceans Also Show Cooling

By David Evans

There has been a change in direction by global warming alarmists, as shown by “Synthesis Report – Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions,” published in Copenhagen and released in June.

In that report, those claiming there is a human-induced global warming crisis have abandoned air temperature as a measure of global climate and switched to ocean temperature.

The change in focus from air temperature to ocean temperature was predictable given the sustained decline in global air temperature over recent years.

The new report claims ocean temperatures are rising, and fast.

This is rubbish, but it will take time to inform the public and politicians that it is rubbish. With the U.S. climate bill and the Copenhagen meeting of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change coming up, proponents of carbon dioxide restrictions need only to make the public believe these fables for a few months.

New Claims to Refute

All the public education the climate realists have accomplished regarding air temperatures will have to start all over regarding ocean temperatures. Here are some key points to be made:


* Ocean temperatures can be measured adequately only by the Argo buoy network. Argo buoys dive down to 700m, recording temperatures, then come up and radio back the results. There are 3,000 of them floating around all the world’s oceans.


* The Argo buoys have been operational only since the end of 2003. Before that, ocean temperatures were gathered by various methods – usually collected by ships in popular commercial shipping lanes – that lacked uniformity, sufficient geographical coverage, and the ability to measure temperature much beneath the surface. The Argo buoy system has added uniformity and greater reliability to ocean temperature measurements.

* According to Argo temperature measurements, the world’s oceans have shown a slight cooling since Argo became operational in 2003. In sharp contrast to model predicted heat build-up


* The Argo data contradict claims humans are causing rapid global warming, because ocean temperatures are not rising as fast as predicted by global warming alarmists. Read more here.

Icecap Note: to enable them to make the case the oceans are warming, NOAA chose to remove satellite input into their global ocean estimation and not make any attempt to operationally use Argo data in the process. This resulted in a jump of 0.2C or more and ‘a new ocean warmth record’ in July. ARGO tells us this is another example of NOAA’s inexplicable decision to corrupt data to suport political agendas.

When the sun goes quiet Earth shivers September 13, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in sunspots.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

When the sun goes quiet Earth shivers

Sydney Morning Herald, September 13, 2009

THE sun has gone quiet, with a sharp decline in sunspot numbers in the past couple of years – possibly heralding the start of a solar depression that could lead to cooler weather on Earth.

During the past millennium, whenever the sun experienced long periods of low sunspot numbers, Earth had equally long, cold snaps. The number of sunspots – dark and intensely magnetic blotches on the sun’s surface – are at their lowest since 1913.

”This is the quietest sun we’ve seen in almost a century,” said NASA solar forecaster David Hathaway.

”Since the space age began in the 1950s, solar activity has been generally high. Five of the most intense solar cycles on record have occurred in the past 50 years. We’re just not used to this type of deep calm.”

Sunspots cause other solar activity such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, radiation from which can interfere with Earth’s magnetic field, upper atmosphere and, many scientists believe, Earth’s climate.

There have been more than 200 spotless days so far this year and scientists expect the count to reach 290 by year’s end. Last year there were 266 spotless days, the previous lowest number recorded since 1913, when there were 311 spotless days.

Sunspot numbers move in regular cycles of 11 years, so the timing of this quiet spell is not unexpected. What is unexpected is the depth and length of the spell. Some scientists believe it may be the start of a long period when the entire cycle is depressed, as it has been several times during the past millennium.

The most famous depression was the Maunder Minimum of 1645 to 1715 in which sunspots nearly vanished for 70 years. It coincided with the coldest period of the Little Ice Age.

”People are wondering about whether we’re going into another Maunder Minimum or not,” said Iver Cairns, from the University of Sydney’s school of physics. ”I think the balance of opinion is that it’s too early to tell. But it could be very significant.”

Professor Cairns said the fluctuation in sunspot numbers was not fully understood but it was linked to the ”magnetic dynamo of the sun”.

It was equally uncertain how – or indeed if – changes in solar activity affect Earth’s climate.

”What some people think is that energetic particles from the sun get into Earth’s magnetosphere and some of them get down to the ozone layer – you’re talking 40 to 80 kilometres above the surface of Earth. They alter the chemistry of that layer … That changes the chemistry of other layers of the atmosphere, leading to winds and changes in temperature,” he said.

Global warming hotheads freeze out science’s sceptics September 12, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Global warming hotheads freeze out science’s sceptics

By Christopher Pearson
The Australian, September 12, 2009

GARTH Paltridge was a chief research scientist with the CSIRO’s division of atmospheric research before becoming the director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies and chief executive of the Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre.

His latest sceptical contribution to the debate on the dangers of carbon dioxide is a book, endearingly titled The Climate Caper.

Paltridge gives a crisp summary of the physics and economics of climate change, but I want to focus here on his account of the new green religion. “Perhaps the most interesting question in all this business is how it can be that the scientific community has become so over-the-top in support of its own propaganda about the seriousness and certainty of upcoming drastic climate change. Scientists after all are supposed to be unbiased in their assessment of a problem and are expected to tell it as it is. Over the centuries they have built up the capital of their reputation on just that supposition. And for the last couple of decades they have put that capital very publicly on the line in support of a cause which, to say the least, is overhung by an enormous amount of doubt. So how is it that the rest of the scientific community, uncomfortable as it is with both the science of global warming and the way its politics is being played, continues to let the reputation of science in general be put at considerable risk because of the way the dangers of climate change are being vastly oversold?”

Part of the answer lies in the way institutions find ways to silence their employees. Paltridge himself was involved in setting up the Antarctic research centre in the early 90s with the CSIRO. As he recalls: “I made the error at the time of mentioning in a media interview — reported extensively in The Australian on a slow Easter Sunday — that there were still lots of doubts about the disaster potential of global warming. Suffice it to say that within a couple of days it was made clear to me from the highest levels of CSIRO that, should I make such public comments again, then it would pull out of the process of forming the new centre.” The CSIRO, it turned out, was in the process of trying to extract many millions of dollars for further climate research at the time.

Almost the only scientists at liberty to speak their minds are retirees, such as William Kininmonth and Paltridge himself. He gives an example, Brian Tucker, a former chief of CSIRO’s Atmospheric Research Division. Tucker was “a specialist in numerical climate modelling and therefore knew better than most where the bodies are buried in the climate change game. He kept remarkably quiet about his worries on the matter. Then he retired, and for four or five years thereafter was the bane of the global warming establishment because of his very public stance against many of its sacred cows.” Eventually he was marginalised by being described as “one of the usual suspects, who was now out of date and in any event was probably on the payroll of industry”.

Another eye-opener is the story of how a committee of the Australian Academy of Science was dissuaded from its plans to respond to the Garnaut Report. Paltridge says: “While the committee was aware of all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of 100-year prediction of rainfall, it was aware too of the delicacy of saying so in an Academy response. But if indeed there is something of the order of a 50-50 chance that the forecasts supplied to Garnaut were nonsense, then it seems reasonable that the fact should be made known in plain English …” Academy members met Garnaut and “rumour has it that sometime during the meeting Professor Garnaut became very sympathetic to the need for vast new resources to address the need for basic research … In the end it seems that the idea of a response to the Garnaut Report was dropped altogether.”

Eventually the academy came out with a statement of priorities for climate research, which contained a brief reference to the fact that the rainfall projections Garnaut relied on were problematical, but most of the public were none the wiser.

Paltridge says that behind the climate change debate there are two basic truths seldom articulated. “The first is that the scientists pushing the seriousness of global warming are perfectly well aware of the great uncertainty attached to their cause. The difficulty for them is to ensure that the lip service paid to uncertainty is enough to convince governments of the need to continue research funding, but is not enough to cast real doubt on the case for action. The paths of public comment and official advice on the matter have to be trodden very carefully. The second basic truth is that there is a belief among scientific ‘global warmers’ that they are an under-funded minority among a sea of wicked sceptics who are extensively funded by industry and close to Satan. The difficulty for them is to maintain a belief in their own minority status while insisting in public that the sceptics, at least among the ranks of the scientifically literate, are very few.”

The Royal Society did its own reputation a disservice by sending a letter to Exxon-Mobil oil corporation declaring an anathema on dissident climate research. It said: “To be still producing information that misleads people about climate change is unhelpful. The next IPCC report should give the people the final push they need to take action and we can’t have people trying to undermine it.”

Paltridge says: “The staggering thing is that the society, which in other circumstances would be the first to defend the cause of free inquiry … seemed not to be able to hear what it was saying.”

He takes a gloomy view of the likelihood that the political class will soon come to its senses. “One suspects that a fair amount of the shrillness of the climate message derives from a fear that something will happen to prick the scientific balloon so carefully inflated and overstretched over the last few decades. But the IPCC doesn’t really need to worry. The difficulty for the sceptics is that credible argument against accepted wisdom requires, as did the development of the accepted wisdom itself, large-scale resources which can only be supplied by the research institutions. Without those resources, the sceptic is only an amateur who can quite easily be confined to outer darkness.”

In the last chapter, Paltridge lists some hidden agendas. “There are those who, like president (Jacques) Chirac of France, look with favour on the possibility of an international de-carbonisation regime because it would be the first step towards global government. There are those who, like the socialists before them, see international action as a means to force a redistribution of wealth both within and between individual nations. There are those who, like the powerbrokers of the European Union, look upon such action as a basis for legitimacy. There are those who, like bureaucrats the world over, regard the whole business mainly as a path to the sort of power which, until now, has been wielded only by the major religions. More generally, there are those who, like the politically correct everywhere, are driven by a need for public expression of their own virtue.”


To order the Climate Caper click here

Turning point in global warming’s war September 11, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Turning point in global warming’s war

By Thomas Fuller
SF Environmental Policy Examiner, September 10, 2009

The past ten years have seen the first round of the scientific debate about global warming. It has been accompanied by a parallel, but not equal, debate on the same issue in politics, popular media, law and engineering.

In 1988 the ‘first salvo’ (not the first mention, obviously) was fired at a Congressional hearing, when Dr. James Hansen testified that human emissions of CO2, a greenhouse gas, were leading to dangerously high concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that this would lead to global warming.

The past 10 years has been a fairly normal scientific debate where elements of the theory and its practical evolution in our environment have been charted, discussed and debated. We now have the equivalent of the opening arguments from either side done and dusted, and it’s time for Round 2. But because of the parallel debates and the partisan nature of politics today, it’s devilishly hard to score Round 1. Both sides are claiming victory, and both sides are premature.

The worried warmists point to evidence that the earth has warmed in tandem with our growing emissions of CO2, and that many elements of our planet’s climate have responded as predicted by the theory of global warming–for example, that the Arctic would warm first and quickest. Skeptics respond by noting that temperatures have stalled for a decade despite copious emissions of CO2, and many elements of global warming theory have not materialised as expected–such as the signature warm spot 10 km high in the tropical troposphere.

Read the rest here