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Think globally, destroy locally September 21, 2009

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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

Scientist hits out at emissions bill June 26, 2009

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Scientist hits out at emissions bill

WRONG TERM: Bob Carter says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

The Bendigo Advertiser, June 24, 2009

A LEADING academic says the Carbon Pollution Reduction bill before Parliament is the single worst piece of legislation to be foisted on the Australian public.

Professor Bob Carter was in Bendigo last night to address a climate science meeting.

He said Australians were being conned, as the bill was aimed at carbon dioxide rather than carbon, and carbon dioxide was not a pollutant.

Professor Carter said the public should have access to balanced views on climate change.

Twenty years of intensive research and great expenditure had produced no compelling evidence that humans have had a significant effect on climate.

“I have been described as a sceptic. I am not a sceptic, I am a scientist, and all good scientists should be sceptical.

“I would rather be described as a climate agnostic.’’

Professor Carter is adjunct professorial fellow at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, Townsville.

He said the legislation would be fine if it meant positive outcomes.

However, it did not, and it was the underprivileged people who would be hit hardest.

“Everywhere else in the world similar legislation is called emission trading bills.’’

He said the use of the term “carbon dioxide’’ to indicate a pollutant was not correct in language, logic or science.

And “climate change’’ was a tautology, as the climate changed continually.

“If the bill is implemented, carbon dioxide emission will be reduced but the cost will be $3000 a head each year in taxes for every Australian.

“And the temperature change will be 0.001C by the year 2100.

“That is the science.’’

Why is it so difficult to answer three simple climate questions? June 22, 2009

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Why is it so difficult to answer three simple climate questions?

By Bob Carter, David Evans, Stewart Franks and Bill Kininmonth.
22 June 2009

Senator Steve Fielding recently undertook a well-publicised fact-seeking trip to a climate change conference in Washington.

Listening to the papers presented, the Senator became puzzled that the scientific analyses that they provided directly contradicted the reasons that the Australian government has been giving as the justification for their emissions trading legislation.
At the Washington meeting, Fielding heard leading atmospheric physicist, Professor Dick Lindzen of MIT, describe evidence that the warming effect of carbon dioxide is much overestimated by current computer climate models, and then remark tellingly: “What we see, then, is that the very foundation of the issue of global warming is wrong. In a normal field, these results would pretty much wrap things up, but global warming/climate change has developed so much momentum that it has a life of its own – quite removed from science”. Indeed.
And another scientist, astrophysicist Dr Willie Soon from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, commented that “A ‘magical’ CO2 knob for controlling weather and climate simply does not exist”. Think about that for a moment with respect to our government’s current climate policy.

Quite reasonably, therefore, on his return to Canberra Senator Fielding asked Climate Minister Penny Wong to answer three simple questions about the relationship between human carbon dioxide emissions and alleged dangerous global warming.

Fielding was seeking evidence, as opposed to unvalidated computer model projections, that human carbon dioxide emissions actually are driving dangerous global warming, to help him and the public at large better assess whether cutting emissions will actually be a cost-effective environmental measure.

After all, the passed-down cost to Australian taxpayers of the planned emissions trading bill is of the order of $4,000 per family per year for a carbon dioxide tax level of $30 per tonne. And the estimated “benefit” of such a large tax increase is that it may perhaps prevent an unmeasurable one-ten-thousandth of a degree of global warming from occurring. Next year? No, by 2100.

It was our privilege to have attended the meeting between Senators Wong and Fielding at which these three questions were discussed between ourselves and the Minister’s scientific advisors, Chief Scientist Penny Wong and Director of ANU climate research centre Will Steffen.

The three simple questions that were posed were:

1. Is it the case that CO2 increased by 5 per cent since 1998 whilst global temperature cooled over the same period? If so, why did the temperature not increase; and how can human emissions be to blame for dangerous levels of warming?

2. Is it the case that the rate and magnitude of warming between 1979 and 1998 (the late 20th century phase of global warming) were not unusual as compared with warmings that have occurred earlier in the Earth’s history? If the warming was not unusual, why is it perceived to have been caused by human CO2 emissions; and, in any event, why is warming a problem if the Earth has experienced similar warmings in the past?

3. Is it the case that all GCM computer models projected a steady increase in temperature for the period 1990-2008, whereas in fact there were only eight years of warming were followed by ten years of stasis and cooling?

Read the rest here

There’s none so deaf as those who will not hear June 14, 2009

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There’s none so deaf as those who will not hear

Professor Bob Carter

Professor Bob Carter

by Professor Bob Carter
Quadrant Online, June 11, 2009

It has been widely accepted amongst politicians and the commentariat that the global warming issue is a “poison pill”, and that to challenge it publicly is to commit political suicide.

Many Australian politicians are well aware of the inflated nature of global warming alarmism, but dare not express their scepticism in public for fear of electoral intimidation by ecosalvationists and their coven of media supporters.

From being nowhere on the political agenda a few years ago, the likely Senate defeat of Labor’s carbon dioxide taxation scheme has promoted the global warming issue into the prime political spotlight for the next election. Global warming policy has already caused a change in the Liberal leadership, thereafter destroyed the unity of the  Liberal-National coalition, and threatens next to split the wet, green liberals from their dry and more climate-realistic colleagues.

Yet the coalition need not be left staring at the ashes of its funeral pyre. For the next election is there to be won by a strong leader who provides scientifically well informed, economically realistic and environmentally sensible policies of adaptation to future climate change, whether those changes be of natural or human causation.

Recent polling shows a worldwide swing in public opinion away from warming alarmism, as citizens react to the huge costs, infringements of liberties and pathetic ineffectuality of the anti-carbon dioxide measures that are being mooted. In addition, the increasingly silly warming hysteria that is being generated by self-interested groups in the lead up to the December Copenhagen conference is now hurting rather than helping the COP 15 alarmist cause.

For example, that 60 national scientific academies, led by the Royal Society of London, have just signed up in common cause to the scientifically-hyped issue of “ocean acidification” is a sure sign that politics rather than science now dominates the message. Copernicus’s, Newton’s and Einstein’s insights became accepted in the face of such conventional wisdom, not because of it; it is only dream worlds like Lysenko’s that require the sanction of authority for their sustenance. Despite – or perhaps because of – the unabated stream of propaganda that continues to mark “official climate science”, the tide of public opinion is turning, and perspicacious politicians are going to ride it.

All of which makes it noteworthy that several U.S. politicians appeared on their surfboards to address the Heartland 3rd ICCC. These included congressmen James Sensenbrenner (Republican, Wisconsin) and Dana Rohrabacher (Republican, California.), both of whom have a history of climate scepticism. Congressman Rohrabacher commented to strong applause that those politicians who are supporting the Waxman-Markey bill are “stampeding the public and elected officials in the biggest power grab in the history of human kind”.

The third U.S. politician who participated, Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma), has for many years provided balanced commentary and information on global warming in his public speeches and on his website. This includes the famous and prescient warning that he issued to the Senate in 2003 that the threat of catastrophic global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.

More unusually, perhaps, Australian Senator Steven Fielding was also a member of the 3rd ICCC audience, and a keen participant in informal discussions and briefings between the sessions. Holding, as he does, a significant and perhaps casting vote when the Rudd government submits its emissions trading legislation to the Senate, Fielding had come to Washington determined to inform himself thoroughly about the scientific and economic arguments that swirl around the global warming issue.

Read the rest here

Science behind Garnaut Report flawed, inquiry told April 15, 2009

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Science behind Garnaut Report flawed, inquiry told

ABC News – April 15, 2009,

An inquiry into the Federal Government’s climate change policy has been told there are major flaws in the science underpinning Australia’s stance.

The Government commissioned economist Ross Garnaut to help shape its climate change strategy.

But an environmental geologist from James Cook University, Robert Carter, has told a Senate inquiry the basis for Professor Garnaut’s report is wrong.

He says there is no evidence humans are causing changes in climate patterns.

“The Stern Report and the Garnaut Report in Australia are both reports by distinguished economists – they have no basis in scientific expertise,” he said.

“It is never a good move to appoint someone to a review committee who is not competent to judge the basis for the whole review, but that is what the British and Australian Governments did.”

ETS defended

Meanwhile, Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has defended the Government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions.

A group of scientists from the CSIRO have criticised the Government’s emissions trading scheme because they believe the target is far too low.

But Senator Wong says the Government’s strategy is ambitious and recognises the need for urgent action.

“We are putting forward as a government, a scheme for the first time that will reduce Australia’s emissions,” she said.

“We are putting forward a scheme that will have targets which will see a very substantial reduction into the future in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.”


A New Policy Direction for Climate Change April 4, 2009

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A New Policy Direction for Climate Change

By Professor Bob Carter

Via Quadrant Online

Famously, during the 1992 US election Bill Clinton’s staff hung a sign on the wall of his campaign office that read, “It’s the economy, stupid!” It was no coincidence that Mr Clinton won the subsequent election, because focusing on real issues is what real leaders do.

In contrast, Australia currently possesses leaders of both its government and opposition who are lost in an imaginary world of virtual reality about one of the most important public issues of the day. They need a new and different sign on their desk, namely: It’s natural climate change, stupid!

For, whether it reflects simple ignorance or the sophisticated seeking of political advantage, and it must be one or the other, both Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull have declared themselves in favour of the introduction of carbon dioxide taxation in order to help “stop” a wholly imaginary human-caused global warming. Their beliefs are supported only by speculative computer climate models already known to be wrong, and they will implement an emissions trading system (ETS) at their own political peril and to the great detriment of the Australian people.

Get this. First, there has been no recent global warming in the common meaning of the term, for world average temperature has cooled for the last ten years. Furthermore, since 1940 the earth has warmed for nineteen years and cooled for forty-nine, the overall result being that global average temperature is now about the same as it was in 1940.

Second, this lack of overall warming over the last sixty-eight years happened despite an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide of more than 20 per cent; which is actually no surprise, because, notwithstanding that it is a greenhouse gas, the increase in the warming effect of carbon dioxide beyond 1940 levels is diminishingly small.

Third, by planetary accident, in comparison with most of the Earth’s geological history we live today in a world that is in a state of carbon dioxide starvation, especially for optimal plant growth; just ask the commercial tomato growers who use enhanced levels of carbon dioxide in their greenhouses to expedite crop growth.

Fourth, experience in Europe shows emissions trading markets are unstable, and that a carbon dioxide tax is ineffectual as a tool for reducing emissions at any reasonable price level. Overall, therefore, Mr Rudd’s planned emissions trading scheme suffers from the double indignity of being a non-solution to a non-problem.

Read the rest here

Professor Bob Carter reports for Quadrant Online from New York March 12, 2009

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Professor Bob Carter reports for Quadrant Online from New York

Professor Bob Carter reports for Quadrant Online from New York

Tuesday March 10:

Lord Christopher Monckton: There was no climate crisis, there is no climate crisis and there will be no climate crisis. The correct solution to global warming is to have the courage to do nothing. 

The first plenary speaker of the final day of the Heartland-2 New York climate conference was Dr. John Sununu, Chief of Staff for President George Bush Snr. between 1989 and 1992. From that unique perspective he offered an incisive commentary on current environmental activism, including particularly that directed towards global warming.

Dr Sununu advised his audience to recognize that the climate change issue will never go away, no matter how much the false alarmism of global warming is exposed. The reason is that global warming is not the real target, but just a convenient demon around which anti-growth and anti-development activism can be mounted. Early demons for the same cause after the second world war were, first, the declared “population crisis”, and then the global cooling alarmism that became prevalent in the 1970s. In turn, climate cooling alarmism transmuted into the dangerous warming cult of the 1990s and beyond.

Read all Bob Carter’s outstanding reports on the Heartland-2 International Conference on Climate Change in New York, click here.

Glenn Beck interview with Professor Bob Carter March 11, 2009

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Glenn Beck interview with Professor Bob Carter

H/T Gore Lied website


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From New Zealand Climate Science, February 24, 2009

“The editorial in last weekend’s Australian, ‘Carbon trading is not the only answer’ (21/22 February), addressed the controversial issue of the government’s planned emissions trading legislation, commenting that ‘We need to hear other ideas on greenhouse gas reduction’.

Talk about missing the point! For the pressing issue that we need to deal with is the hard reality of natural climate change, rather than wasting money on futile attempts to ‘stop’ speculative human-caused warming.” Professor Bob Carter in Quadrant Online. LINK

Facts debunk global warming alarmism January 22, 2009

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Facts debunk global warming alarmism

Professor Bob Carter

Professor Bob Carter

By Professor Bob Carter

From The Australian, January 20, 2009

THE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that October in the US was marked by 63 record snowfalls and 115 lowest-ever temperatures.

Over the past few years, similar signs of colder than usual weather have been recorded all over the world, causing many people to question the still fashionable, but now long outdated, global warming alarmism. Yet individual weather events or spells, whether warmings or coolings, tell us nothing necessarily about true climate change.

Nonetheless, by coincidence, growing recognition of a threat of climatic cooling is correct, because since the turn of the 21st century all real world, long-term climate indicators have turned downwards. Global atmospheric temperature reached a peak in 1998, has not warmed since 1995 and, has been cooling since 2002. Some people, still under the thrall of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change’s disproved projections of warming, seem surprised by this cooling trend, even to the point of denying it. But why?

There are two fundamentally different ways in which computers can be used to project climate. The first is used by the modelling groups that provide climate projections to the IPCC. These groups deploy general circulation models, which use complex partial differential equations to describe the ocean-atmosphere climate system mathematically. When fed with appropriate initial data, these models can calculate possible future climate states. The models presume (wrongly) that we have a complete understanding of the climate system.

GCMs are subject to the well-known computer phenomenon of GIGO, which translates as “garbage in, God’s-truth out”.

Alternative computer projections of climate can be constructed using data on past climate change, by identifying mathematical (often rhythmic) patterns within them and projecting these patterns into the future. Such models are statistical and empirical, and make no presumptions about complete understanding; instead, they seek to recognise and project into the future the climate patterns that exist in real world data.

In 2001, Russian geologist Sergey Kotov used the mathematics of chaos to analyse the atmospheric temperature record of the past 4000 years from a Greenland ice core. Based on the pattern he recognised in the data, Kotov extrapolated cooling from 2000 to about 2030, followed by warming to the end of the century and 300 years of cooling thereafter.

In 2003, Russian scientists Klyashtorin and Lyubushin analysed the global surface thermometer temperature record from 1860 to 2000, and identified a recurring 60-year cycle. This probably relates to the Pacific decadal oscillation, which can be caricatured as a large scale El Nino/La Nina climatic oscillation. The late 20thcentury warming represents the most recent warm half-cycle of the PDO, and it projects forwards as cooling of one-tenth of a degree or more to 2030.

In 2004, US scientist Craig Loehle used simple periodic models to analyse climate records over the past 1000 years of sea-surface temperature from a Caribbean marine core and cave air temperature from a South African stalactite. Without using data for the 20th century, six of his seven models showed a warming trend similar to that in the instrumental record over the past 150 years; and projecting forward the best fit model foreshadows cooling of between 0.7 and 1 degree Celsius during the next 20-40 years. In 2007, the 60-year climate cycle was identified again, by Chinese scientists Lin Zhen-Shan and Sun Xian, who used a novel multi-variate analysis of the 1881-2002 temperature records for China. They showed that temperature variation in China leads parallel variation in global temperature by five-10 years, and has been falling since 2001. They conclude “we see clearly that global and northern hemisphere temperature will drop on century scale in the next 20 years”.

Most recently, Italian scientist Adriano Mazzarella demonstrated statistical links between solar magnetic activity, the length of the Earth day (LOD), and northern hemisphere wind and ocean temperature patterns. He too confirmed the existence of a 60-year climate cycle, and described various correlations (some negative). Based on these correlations, Mazzarella concludes that provided “the observed past correlation between LOD and sea-surface temperature continues in the future, the identified 60-year cycle provides a possible decline in sea-surface temperature starting from 2005, and the recent data seem to support such a result”.

Thus, using several fundamentally different mathematical techniques and many different data sets, seven scientists all forecast that climatic cooling will occur during the first decades of the 21st century. Temperature records confirm that cooling is under way, the length and intensity of which remains unknown.

Yet in spite of this, governments across the world – egged on by irrational, deep Green lobbying – have for years been using their financial muscle and other powers of persuasion to introduce carbon dioxide taxation systems. For example, the federal Labor government recently spent $13.9million on climate change advertising on prime time television and in national newspapers and magazines.

Similarly, the London-based Institute for Public Policy Research advised the British Government “ultimately, positive climate behaviours need to be approached in the same way as marketeers approach acts of buying and consuming … It amounts to treating climate-friendly activity as a brand that can be sold. This is, we believe, the route to mass behaviour change.”

Introduction of a carbon dioxide tax to prevent (imaginary) warming, euphemistically disguised as an emissions trading scheme, is a politician’s, ticket clipper’s and mafia chief’s dream. All will welcome a new source of income based on an invisible, colourless, odourless, tasteless and often unmeasurable gas. No commodity changes hands during its trading, and should carbon dioxide emissions actually decrease because of the existence of a carbon dioxide market (which is highly unlikely), the odds are that it will have no measurable effect on climate anyway. Nonetheless, the glistening pot of gold which beckons to be mined from the innocent public is proving nigh irresistible, and it is going to need a strong taxpayer revolt to stop it in Australia.

The present global financial crisis should be inducing politicians not to squander money on non-solutions to non-problems. Yet to support their plans for emissions taxation Western governments, including ours, are still propagating scientifically juvenile greenhouse propaganda underpinned only by circumstantial evidence and GCM computer gamesmanship.

Perhaps a reassessment will finally occur when two-metre thick ice develops again on Father Thames at London Bridge, or when cooling causes massive crop failure in the world’s granary belts.

Bob Carter is an adjunct professor of geology at James Cook University.