The Week That Was (Dec 20, 2008) brought to you by SEPP
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Quote of the Week:
… they went on
"reputation," which is to say they acquired their faith in Mr. Madoff
more or less the way people acquire their faith in global warming … from people
equally as ignorant as they.
-- Holman Jenkins in WSJ Dec 17 on the Madoff financial fraud
While all eyes were on the contentious COP meetings in Poznan, Poland,
momentous decisions were made by EU ministers in Brussels [see also item 1]:
Excerpt: The Brussels summit symbolizes a turning
point. The watered-down climate deal epitomizes the onset of a cooling period
in Europe's hitherto overheated climate debate. It may lead eventually to the
complete abandonment of the unilateral climate agenda that has shaped Europe's
green philosophy for nearly 20 years. --Benny Peiser, The Wall
Street Journal, 16 December 2008 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122937766062908297.html
SEPP Science Editorial #16 (12/20/08)
sorry state of surface temperature data:
GW advocates are ‘spinning’ the ‘warmth’
of 2008, claiming it to be the xth warmest year since yy – all the while trying
to ignore the low temperature records being set worldwide [see Item #6]. I share the critical views about the quality
of the surface data, along with Courtney, d’Aleo, Gray, McKitrick, Watts and
many others who have looked into the matter.
I consider only satellite data truly reliable [See discussion in NIPCC report].
So I was struck by a short item about
2008 temperatures in the blog of NY Times writer Andrew Revkin
The top graph shows the geographic
distribution of 2008 mean temperatures, compared to a base period of
1951-1980. Two features are very
1. The base period is of course a cool
period just before the sudden temperature rise around 1977. This would explain why one sees so much
2. The most interesting feature is the
warmth of the FSU, and particularly the extreme warmth of Siberia. I was puzzled by that and then recalled that
during the communist period station managers were said to be under-reporting
temperatures in order to gain larger fuel allocations.
I’m wondering now what the pattern would
be like if we chose a *post-communist* base period, say 1990-2005. Would the pattern be preserved? Would Siberia still show strong warming in
[There’s the additional matter of the
closing down of many weather stations in that area after 1980.]
We can now look at the second GISS graph
and note two interesting features:
1. Unlike the Hadley surface data, and
unlike the satellite data, the graph shows 21st-century temperatures
that are higher than 1998. The reason
for that is not clear.
2. Close inspection also shows an
unusual temperature increase starting in 1992, which is not present in the
satellite data for the northern hempisphere.
This would seem to support the hypothesis that pre-1990 Siberian
temperatures might have been under-reported.
on Global Warming at EU -- WSJ
2. Reality bites in
Poznan and Brussels – Scientific Alliance
3. Letter from Poznan
-- NY Times,
4. Let's get real on the
Environment – The Guardian
6. The Day After
(Inauguration) -- The coming freeze
7. Paris pursues Electric
8. Global Warming hysteria
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Virtually all of the warming found in the satellite
temperature record has taken place since the onset of the 1997-1998 El Nino
[and before 2002]. Earth's average temperature showed no detectable warming
from December 1978 until the 1997 El Nino [and since 2002]. Climate Group, Univ
of Alabama, Huntsville
better URL for the 650 skeptics report of the US Senate EPW Committee:
scientists rap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7b-xtks0MA&feature=related
“We may be looking at 40
years of colder temperatures based on the length of the solar cycles.”
http://www.warwickhughes.com/agri/The_Past_and_Future_of_Climate_May_2007_Lavoisier_Presentation_June_21_2007.ppt#256,1,The%20Past%20and%20Future%20of%20Climate Archibald lecture
sober assessment: Over hyping of Green
by Prof Wm Gray of Colo State Univ
new European movement, opposed to windmills:
Dr. Benny Peiser of Liverpool John Moores University has
written a brilliant seminal analysis of the slow death of ‘global warming’
across the world [“Is the tide turning on climate policy?”, Local Transport
Today, Nov 14, 2008: http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/LTTPeiser-Nov08.pdf
UNDER THE BOTTOM
Al Gore Speech, Poznan, Dec 13, 2008 "Massive flooding has
resulted at record rates on every continent"
It is "abundantly clear that increased CO2 emissions anywhere are a threat
to the integrity of this planet's climate balance everywhere." http://blog.algore.com/2008/12/speech_in_poznan.html
COOLING ON GLOBAL WARMING
Street Journal, 16 December 2008
Participants at last week's United Nations
climate conference in Poznan, Poland, were taken aback by a world seemingly
turned upside-down. The traditional villains and heroes of the international
climate narrative, the wicked U.S. and the noble European Union, had
unexpectedly swapped roles. For once, it was the EU that was criticized for
backpedalling on its CO2 targets while Europe's climate nemesis, the U.S.,
found itself commended for electing an environmental champion as president.
The wrangle over the EU's controversial climate package at a separate summit in
Brussels wrong-footed the world's green bureaucracy. The EU climate deal was
diluted beyond recognition. Instead of standing by plans to cut CO2 emissions
by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, the actual reductions might be as trivial as
4% if all exemptions are factored in.
The Brussels summit symbolizes a turning point. The watered-down climate deal
epitomizes the onset of a cooling period in Europe's hitherto overheated climate
debate. It may lead eventually to the complete abandonment of the unilateral
climate agenda that has shaped Europe's green philosophy for nearly 20 years.
The reasons for the changing political atmosphere in Europe are manifold.
First, the global economic crisis has demoted green policies nearer to the
bottom of the political agenda. Saving the economy and creating jobs take
Second, disillusionment with the failed Kyoto Protocol has turned utopian
thinking into sobriety. After all, most of the Kyoto signatories failed to
reduce their CO2 emissions during the last 10 years. There are also growing
doubts about the long-term viability of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme. The
price of carbon credits has collapsed as a result of the financial crisis. The
drop in demand and the recession are likely to depress carbon prices for years
to come. As a result, the effectiveness of the extremely volatile scheme is
Third, a number of countries have experienced a political backlash over their
renewable energy schemes. Tens of billions of euros of taxpayers' money have
been pumped into projects that depend on endless government handouts. Each of
the 35,000 solar jobs in Germany, for instance, is subsidized to the tune of
130,000. According to estimates by the Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic
Research, green subsidies will cost German electricity consumers nearly 27
billion in the next two years.
Perhaps even more important is the growing realization that the warming trend
of the late 20th century has, for the last 10 years or so, essentially come to
a temporary halt. The data collected by international meteorological offices
confirm this. This most peculiar fact is rarely mentioned in policy debates,
but it certainly provides decision makers with a vital respite to reconsider
their climate policy options.
Above all, Europe's politicians have recognized that green taxes have turned
into liabilities that may undermine economic stability and their chances of
re-election. As German radio Deutsche Welle put it last week: "With the
recession tightening its grip on the German economy, [Chancellor Angela] Merkel
is betting that job reassurance is more important to the average worker than
being a pioneer in tackling climate change."
Nowhere has the fundamental change of the political landscape been more
pronounced and less expected than in Germany. For more than 20 years, Europe's
economic powerhouse has been the major bastion of green politics.
In the 1990s, Angela Merkel steered and implemented Europe's Kyoto policy as
Germany's first environment minister. Now serving as chancellor, she was hailed
as Europe's climate savior after playing host to last year's G-8 summit in
Heiligendamm. Only 18 months later, however, she no longer wears a halo. As a
result of a concerted campaign by Germany's heavy industry, as well as growing
opposition from within her Christian Democratic party, Mrs. Merkel has been
forced to abandon her green principles and image.
The deepening economic crisis seems to transform the mood of the German public.
Next year's general election looms large, and voters right now are worried
about the economy and jobs, and not green issues. In early December, more than
10,000 angry metal workers and trade unionists -- most of them from Germany --
protested outside the European Parliament in Brussels against the EU's climate
policy, which they fear will increase unemployment.
For many international observers, the ease with which Mrs. Merkel overturned
her celebrated climate policy has come as a shock. But she was almost the last
member of her Christian Democratic party willing to accept that a change in
strategy was necessary given the immense costs of the EU's original climate
plans. In fact, her party demanded that Mrs. Merkel veto the climate package if
German industry did not receive an exemption from the Emissions Trading
Scheme's auctioning of carbon credits. The exemption was duly granted.
Perhaps the most critical factor for Mrs. Merkel's almost unchallenged
about-face is the vanishing strength of the Social Democratic Party, whose
members were once among the most forceful climate alarmists. Mrs. Merkel's
junior coalition partner has lost much of its support in recent years. And amid
growing fears of a deepening recession, there are also signs of a split within
the party on climate and energy issues.
At the forefront of the left-wing opposition to the EU's climate policy has
been EU Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen. The German Social Democrat has
been arguing throughout the year that the climate targets should only be
accepted if "truly cost-effective solutions" could be found. Other
prominent dissenters in his party include Hubertus Schmoldt, the head of the
mining, chemical and energy industrial union, who has recently called for a
two-year postponement of the climate package.
In part as a result of German -- as well as Italian and Polish -- objections,
Europe's climate package did not survive in its original form. The inclusion of
a revision clause, pushed by Italy, is particularly significant as it makes the
EU's climate targets conditional on the outcome of international climate talks.
If the U.N.'s Copenhagen conference in 2009 fails to seal a post-Kyoto deal, it
is as good as certain that some of the EU's targets will be further cut. By
linking its decisions to those of the rest of the world, Europe has begun to
act as a more rational player on the stage of international climate diplomacy.
Instead of yielding to the siren calls of climate alarmists, European governments
would be well advised to focus their attention on developing pragmatic policies
capable of safeguarding their industries, labor forces and environment at the
Mr. Peiser is the editor of the international science policy network CCNet.
Italy's demand for a revision clause that will
make the EU climate package conditional, was unanimously agreed yesterday at
the EU summit in Brussels. If the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December
2009 fails to agree on a post-Kyoto deal, it is almost certain that the EU
climate package and its conditional targets will be further watered down
accordingly. As a result of this new revision clause, the EU has ensured that
any enforcement of the EU climate package ultimately depends on the outcome of
future international climate negotiations. As Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio
Berlusconi stressed yesterday, his shrewd strategy seems to have paid
off. --Benny Peiser, 13 December
“The Commission shall submit to the European
Council in March 2010 a detailed analysis of the results of the UN climate
conference in Copenhagen, particularly in relation to the goals of reducing
emissions by 20% to 30%. The European Council will, on this basis, make an
assessment of the situation, including the effects on the competitiveness of
European industry and other economic sectors."
--Paragraph 23 of the EU Summit Agreement, Brussels,
12 December 2008
2. REALITY BITES IN
POZNAN AND BRUSSELS
The Scientific Alliance newsletter. 12th December 2008
As this newsletter goes out, the UN climate
change conference in Poznan goes to the wire. Starting on 1st
December with government negotiators and a wide range of NGOs present, the
final two days are given over to the high-level part of the meeting, attended
by ministers and top officials from all 186 participating nations. 10,000
people have attended this conference, with the aim of cobbling together a way
forward, which would result in a post-Kyoto (after 2012) package of mitigation
measures at the Copenhagen conference next December.
But the difficulties of coming to an agreement, which is credible and workable
are becoming increasingly apparent. One particularly ironic issue is that the
EU, which likes to see itself leading the charge when it comes to emissions
reduction, is also holding a Council meeting in Brussels and has so far failed
to come to an agreement on its own package. And in a further twist, the leader
of the awkward brigade that has frustrated negotiations is Poland, host of the
The problem lies first with the increasingly discredited Emissions Trading
System. By issuing a restricted number of credits which could be sold by those
organisations cutting their emissions and bought by those exceeding allowances,
politicians have sought to create a market such that the price of permits would
provide an incentive to reduce the use of fossil fuels. But this is a highly
rigged, centrally planned market which policymakers believed could be
controlled by issuing the "correct" number of permits which would
then find their own price level and force down emissions.
And, like all attempts at central planning, it has been a failure. Too many
permits have been issued for current market conditions and the price is too low
to incentivise a move away from coal and oil. The whole complex mechanism could
have been replaced much more effectively by a flat carbon tax, to be adjusted
like any other to provide the desired carrot or stick.
Poland - highly dependent on coal to provide its electricity - refused to sign
up to a deal which would place it at a disadvantage compared with western
neighbours. It has been joined in this position by a number of other newer Member
States from eastern and central Europe. But the problems do not end there.
Italy has demanded that the whole policy is subject to economic review in 2014
because of the potential damage to its industry. And Germany, with the biggest
manufacturing base of any European state, has succeeded in delaying the
introduction of tighter emission standards for cars and also demanded the issue
of more free permits for its industry. Angela Merkel, originally leading the
charge for emissions control, has reined in her enthusiasm when confronted with
the reality of harming key national industries.
Although we will not know the form of the final agreement until the Brussels
meeting finishes today, it looks increasingly likely that concessions will have
to be made to reach a deal that all Member States will sign up to. The issue of
more free emissions permits and the ability to reduce nominal emissions by
funding more projects in developing countries may lead to surface unanimity,
but the resulting lower carbon price will further reduce any chances of meeting
the target of 20% reductions by 2020.
The Kyoto targets themselves - costly but ineffectual - will not be met by many
industrialised countries. To have any chance of achieving an overall global
decrease in emissions over coming decades, not only would the much more
stringent commitments made by Europe have to be fulfilled, but China, India and
other rapidly developing economies would require enormous transfers of cash
from the West to give them any incentive to reduce their use of coal. Faced
with the harsh realities of economic life, it is no wonder that the prospects
for any meaningful agreement in Poznan are slim.
The consequences of alarmism
Views on climate change are highly polarised, but there are also many
moderate sceptics who genuinely want to understand what drives climate. Many
scientists who contribute the work of the IPCC are also by nature moderate;
they may be convinced that fossil fuel burning is the major driver of average
temperatures, but they are open to discussion. However, a number of their
colleagues are behaving as climate activists rather than scientists. Not only
are they personally convinced by the received wisdom, but they also think the
situation is far more serious than the measured tones of the massive summary
reports would suggest.
These are the people behind the scary headlines, and in this they have many
prominent supporters, from Al Gore down. They seem to have no shred of doubt
about their views, but what if they are in fact wrong? If in the meantime they
have managed to influence policy to the extent that decisions have been made
and implemented which will have negative impacts on citizens in Europe and
around the world, an already dubious public will be unforgiving. The consequences
could be disastrous both for science and politics.
Politicians are among the least-trusted people in a modern societies that no
longer feel much respect for authority figures. But scientists as a group are
still among the more trusted groups of professionals (unless, unfortunately,
associated with government of industry). This is one of the reasons why lay
people have been willing to accept the mainstream view on man-made global
warming and even the more extreme pronouncements of activist scientists.
For some true believers in the global warming story, alarmism has been
justified as a means to an end; a way to engage people and get general consent
for the stringent policies deemed necessary to avoid potential catastrophe.
But, although they may have fully won over most politicians and opinion
formers, this approach has singularly failed to capture the hearts and minds of
the general public.
The media have carried a series of "even worse than we thought" and
"only x years left to avoid catastrophe" stories. These are
reinforced when events such at the UN Poznan conference are held, and the
likely prospect of the financial crisis taking precedence over climate change
policy has engendered even shriller cries for action.
The problem is that most people see for themselves that, despite an undoubted
shift in weather patterns since the mid-70s, the last decade has seen little
which cannot be ascribed to normal variation. That in itself, of course, is no
reason to say that longer term trends to a warmer climate are not possible, but
it certainly makes the case much harder to sell. Hence the ramping up of the
But if, as it seems, this is not having the desired effect and if, as is very
likely, the hell and damnation messages of climate change - the "slow
cooking" of the Earth, the swamping of Pacific island states by rapidly
rising sea level, the "runaway" and "irreversible" warming
as tipping points are passed - are found to be gross and irresponsible
exaggeration, then public opinion will rapidly turn against the messengers.
Not only would this mean a reaction against the influence of the European green
movement and a further deepening of the distrust of politicians, but science
will also suffer. Science is built on a foundation of careful experiment and
observation, coupled with rational and open-minded interpretation. The
hijacking of climate science by a clique of activists could reflect badly on
the whole scientific community.
The Scientific Alliance newsletter.
To subscribe contact firstname.lastname@example.org
3. LETTER FROM POZNAN
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, NY Times
POZNAN, Poland - Compared with last year's
climate negotiations - which ended with a
representative from Papua New Guinea
dramatically upbraiding the United States for its slow response - the talks
here ended with a whimper.
The gathered nations, as had been anticipated, agreed on little more than a
pledge to enter "full negotiating mode" to complete a new climate
treaty within a year and a legal structure for a new global fund to help poor
countries deal with the effects of changing climate patterns.
timing didn't help. The final plenary session wasn't called until nearly 11
p.m. Friday night (technically the last day of the conference) and most of the
contentious issues didn't come to the floor until after 1 a.m., so negotiators
were too exhausted to express much in the way of triumph or disgust. Remember
too, that, most had booked flights to leave Poznan early Saturday morning.
Still, there was a bit of theater in the wee hours Saturday.
First there were there was a round of high fives and thumbs up exchanged among
delegates from small island states as the chairman of the conference announced
that the money in the long planned adaptation fund would be controlled by the
states themselves, rather than doled out via some international organization that
could monitor the money, like the older Global Environmental Facility.
But moments later, that sense of triumph was followed by half an hour of
passionate protests on the floor, after it was announced that separate
negotiations had failed to increase sources of funding to support poor
countries in their quest to limit impacts from a changing climate.
Prodipto Ghosh of the Indian delegation berated wealthy countries for their
"refusal" to "experience a minuscule loss of profits" to
help poorer nations cope. "In the
face of the unbearable human tragedy that we in developing countries see
unfolding every day, we see callousness, strategizing and obfuscation. We can,
all of us, now see clearly what lies ahead at Copenhagen."
But his statement came after 2 a.m. Many of the senior delegates from richer
countries had already left, heading to hotels to pack their bags and then race
off to the airport.
[UPDATE, 8 p.m. from Andy Revkin: I only just caught up with coverage of
former Vice President Al Gore's mention in his Poznan speech of the
importance of focusing on this vital issue instead of on O.J. Simpson,
Paris Hilton, and Anna Nicole Smith. The comment seemed to produce more
Web news than the treaty talks themselves. Was the goal, in tossing those names
into the speech, to snag Web wanderers endlessly sifting for celebrity news?]
4. LET'S GET REAL ON THE
David Appell, The Guardian, 12 December 2008
After the failure in Poznan, it's time to be honest: the world is not going to
be cutting greenhouse gases anytime soon
The world's environmental leaders have spent the past two weeks meeting in
Poznan, Poland, pretending that they're carrying on the fight against global
warming first addressed by the Kyoto Protocol.
You recall the Kyoto Protocol. It was never ratified by the United States,
defeated 95-0 in the US Senate in 1997, in fact, and has proven just as
ineffective elsewhere around the world. It was supposed to be first step in the
world's cutback of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are warming our atmosphere.
The hard truth be told, essentially none of those who signed onto the treaty
have been able to cut back their greenhouse gas emissions.
People -- surprise, surprise -- demand to be warm at the cheapest prices.
Developing countries like China and India have ignored it completely, with
their emissions rising at 6% to 8% a year. China now emits more greenhouse
gases than even the United States.
Carbon dioxide emissions, which were increasing
about 1% a year in the 1990s, are increasing about 3% percent a year in this
decade. Leaders all across the world, including Barack Obama, continue to look
straight into the camera and proclaim that they are going to solve the global
warming crisis by 2020, or 2050, or 2100 -- or sometime soon.
The world desperately needs to get serious, including President-elect Obama,
Europe's leaders, and every UN bureaucrat who dined handsomely in the evenings
in Poznan. The truth is, the world is not going to be cutting greenhouse gases
anytime soon. If ever.
There are simply no reasonable alternatives. Wind power is too scant. Nuclear
power is too controversial. Solar power is stuck in a dream world. It gets a
little better every year, but it will never be good enough. Nuclear fusion is
hopeless, perpetually 25 years in the future.
Not one of us == you, me, Obama, or the greenest activist anywhere in the world
– is willing to live without the comforts fossil fuels provide us: heat, light,
instant hot food, convenient transportation, modern agriculture and airplane
There are too many factors pointing strongly in the wrong direction: the
demonstrated refusal of western countries to sacrifice in the face of the
climate problem they created; the insistence of developing countries that they
be able to live at least as well as the US and Europe and their unwillingness
to cut back greenhouse gas emissions as long as first-world countries, who
largely created this mess, refuse to do so. The lack of any reasonable
alternatives, and our lack of interest in developing them, further hinders the
ability to find a solution.
We are never going to live as cheaply as we possibly can, especially here in
the US, and we simply do not have the wisdom to sacrifice for the sake of those
who will live decades after us. From the time we landed on the Atlantic coast
and pushed westward, it is simply not bred in the American bone.
Obama will not change this. Americans will not accept large increases in what
we pay for gasoline and electricity. President-elect Obama says he is going to
solve the financial crisis, the healthcare crisis, the infrastructure crisis,
the energy crisis, the climate crisis -- and perhaps even the intolerable
shortage of magic pixie dust. The man is
quite the optimist. But let's not be completely stupid.
Our problems, especially the climate crisis, are not going away anytime soon.
The alternative technologies we need to reduce our carbon emissions to
essentially zero -- as scientists are now telling us is necessary -- simply
aren't there, and won't be anytime soon.
Nor is the sense of crisis really there. Those claiming we are near some kind
of catastrophic tipping point simply have no science to back up their claims.
Those expecting that we are going to reduce our atmosphere's carbon dioxide
content to 350 parts per million are naïve activists, perhaps living off the
donations to their organisations. In any case, they are dreaming in la-la land.
There is no crisis that will change our minds: not heat waves in France, not
Katrina, not the disappearance of Arctic ice up north. We want what we want,
and our species is lousy at planning for the future. Even the world's climate organisers do not
hesitate to fly thousands of miles to Poland and live high on the hog.
Given this, what can we do? Be realistic, first of all. Let's fund
geo-engineering research to the hilt, exploring how we can someday modify our
planet's natural systems to produce a slight atmospheric cooling. It is our
But most of all, let's open our eyes and begin to be honest. You will fly to Jamaica
this winter instead of cutting your greenhouse gases. Fine. Can we please
accept this and begin to move on?
Copyright 2008, The Guardian
5. VIABILITY OF 'CLEAN
COAL' PROCESS QUESTIONED
by John Harborne (MIEAust,
CPEng, retired metallurgist) [email@example.com]Courtesy CCNet
For several years now, "clean" coal, involving carbon capture and
storage (CCS) technology, has been touted as the means of mitigating global
warming, supposedly arising from fossil-fuel-burning power stations. But, of
course, this necessarily comes at a considerable price increase for
It is not well-known that a huge drawback to the substantially unproven CCS
process is that every cubic metre of (solid) coal that is burnt produces about
six cubic metres of liquefied CO2. (The actual amount of super-critical fluid,
or near-liquid, CO2, is based on complete combustion of the coal, its complete
capture, and the actual carbon content of the coal ... an 80% carbon coal
yields six cu. metres of near-liquid CO2.)
It doesn't take an Einstein to realise the immense logistics and difficulties
of dealing with the around-sixfold increase in volume from coal to near-liquid
CO2. Unless power generators have a ready sink in which to inject the
voluminous CO2 (such as a depleted oil well), it won't take long before
multiple injection points have to be created, because the CO2 will readily
exhaust the brine-filled pores of a deep, geologically acceptable rock stratum,
such as sandstone (which must have an impermeable cap rock anyway). If the
geo-sequestration point is well away from the power station, huge costs in
infrastructure to transport the large volumes of near-liquid CO2 (pipelines or
tankers) will be inevitable.
Apart from the above, it is easy to gloss over other problems with the CO2,
once underground. The volumes have to be retained in the rock forever, which is
a huge ask, because near-liquid CO2 has extremely low viscosity and will sneak
out of any fissure. Also, the CO2, being acidic, is highly reactive to organic
and mineral constituents, possibly leading to fouling of aquifers for human or
"Clean" coal does not appear to be a realistic solution.
DAY AFTER (INAUGURATION)
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY, December 15, 2008
Press warns that the new administration won't have much time to save the planet
from a global warming apocalypse. Never mind that the "ticking time bomb"
is a dud.
The temperature at
Denver International Airport dropped to 18 below zero on Sunday, breaking the
previous record of 14 below set in 1901. White Sulphur Springs, Mont., reported
29 below to the National Weather Service, breaking the record of 17 below set
in 1922. Meanwhile, ice storms ravage the Northeast and the upper Midwest.
This is not a local
phenomenon. Hong Kong had the second-longest cold spell since 1885. Cold in
northern Vietnam destroyed 40% of the rice crop and killed 33,000 head of
livestock. The British Parliament debated climate change as London experienced
the first October snow since 1934.
Presumably this has
all been reported by the Associated Press. But according to a weekend AP
report, this is all an illusion and "2008 is on a pace to be a slightly
cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line." Rather than
being "evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how
fast the world is warming." Oh.
The report, which
includes no comments from any skeptic, says global warming "is a ticking
time-bomb that President-elect Obama can't avoid." It warns "warming
is accelerating. Time is running out, and Obama knows it." Especially if
he relies on AP wire reports.
Problem is, nature
didn't get the memo. Geophysicist David Deming found that for the first time
since the 18th century, in the days before SUVs, Alaskan glaciers grew this
year instead of retreating. Fairbanks had its fourth coldest October in 104
years of records.
Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia reported: "On the Juneau Icefield, there
was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late
July." It was the worst summer he'd seen in two decades. As the Anchorage Daily News reports,
"Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had
the Juneau Ice Field witnessed the kind if snow buildup that came this year. It
was similar on a lot of other glaciers too."
The consequence of
melting glaciers and sea ice is supposed to be rising sea levels. The poster
children for this phenomenon are low-lying coral islands such as the Maldives
and Tuvalu. Again, the facts are ignored in the quest for headlines. The satellite record shows the sea level has
actually fallen four inches around Tuvalu since 1993, when the $100 million
international TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite project record began.
As in other places
around the world, sea-level changes have many natural explanations, including
geologic changes in the land. The atolls
of Tuvalu rest on sinking volcanic rock on top of which new coral grows to
replace the coral die-off that occurs as the volcanic rock sinks deeper into
the ocean where coral does not survive. Sand is excavated for building material
on Tuvalu. Excavation for building material has eroded the beach, thus giving
to the casual, or biased, observer the impression of rising sea levels.
The strong El Nino
of 1997-98 caused the sea level surrounding Tuvalu to drop just over one
foot. Patrick Michaels, a research
professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and visiting
scientist with the Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C., notes that Tuvalu is
near the epicenter of a region where the sea level has been declining for
nearly 50 years. He has written that the decline has been so steep that, even
accepting the U.N.'s median estimates of global warming over the next hundred
years, Tuvalu would not return to its 1950 sea level until 2050, much less
disappear under the sea.
None of this, of
course, matters to the warming zealots and some major media outlets. If it's
too dry or too wet, too hot or too cold, everything is caused by global
warming. We believe, as do many reputable scientists, that the warming and
cooling of the earth is a natural phenomenon dictated by forces beyond our
control, from ocean currents to solar activity. We needn't worry about one day
mooring our boats to the Washington Monument
PARIS PURSUES ELECTRIC-CAR SHARING
Fairley, Technology Review (MIT), December 15, 2008
The concept of
selling mobility on demand rather than cars themselves may be finally gaining
some traction. Remember the stackable urban rental cars proposed by GM-funded
researchers at MIT last fall?
Well, Paris is
working hard to make that vision a reality. The French capital is gearing up to
offer the auto equivalent of Vélib, a distributed bicycle-rental scheme that
provides more than 20,000 bikes at more than 1,400 sites across the city and
the suburbs. Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced in June that the city will
place 4,000 small electric cars at 700 Autolib pickup points around Paris and
the suburbs starting in 2010. And according to business daily Les Echos, train
giant SNCF is vying to operate the Autolib points out of its train stations, which
are distributed across and around Paris.
And now, the city
may finally have a solution to a potential game-killing problem: the uneven
distribution of vehicles as cars pile up at popular destinations. Parisians are
well aware of this problem. By midmorning, for example, as Vélib stations at
the periphery of the city empty out and those downtown jam up, it's not unusual
to see trucks redistributing the bikes to counter the tide. That's easy enough
with bicycles but harder to envision with even small electric vehicles.
solution? According to a leaked document reported by auto-news website, the
plan is to simply have users declare their destination upon checking out a car.
In response, the system will determine the closest Autolib point with a free
spot for drop-off and reserve that space. No news on solving another potential
problem for Paris's Autolib scheme: the name. Lyon, which beat Paris to the
bike-share program with its own vélo'v, already sports a conventional car-share
program called Autolib.
Could a similar
scheme work in the U.S.? Issues of Forbes magazine that will appear on
newsstands next week tout the MIT City Car concept as the embodiment of a new
car-sharing direction for troubled automakers. City Car co-designer Bill
Mitchell of the MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities group adds to the drumbeat in a
recent editorial for architecture website BD. "People don't want cars,
they want personal mobility," writes Mitchell. He argues that, rather than
bailing out car firms, governments should be radically rethinking urban
transport around ultra-light-weight battery electric vehicles (Eves). To
provide mobility most efficiently, says Mitchell, we should
“. . . organize urban electric cars in
mobility-on-demand systems like the Vélib bicycle system in Paris. Racks of
public-use cars would be provided at closely spaced sites across the service
area. If you want to go somewhere, you walk to a nearby rack, swipe a card,
pick up a car, drive it to a rack near your destination, and drop it off.”
GLOBAL WARMING HYSTERIA
Paden – Excerpt from a letter
At the present time, nothing in the climate of
today or in the immediate past falls outside of the range of normal variability
of natural climate change. But the world has been sold the idea that
computer programs predicting global disaster should be believed above the
traditional scientific method. Part of it is simply due to the widespread
scientific illiteracy of the general public. Part of it is due to the
fact that 26% of the population is subject to some sort of mental defect,
according to NIH figures. And part of it is due to the fact that 50% of
the population is of below average intelligence. When you combine all of
those demographic factors... ignorance, stupidity, and mental illness, you can
well understand why such a large percentage of the population believes such a
Today I watched a History Channel production on the coming global
catastrophe. It began by saying, "Sea level has risen three
feet". They didn't mention how long it took to rise that much.
In fact, sea level has been rising since the last ice age, when it was perhaps
400 feet lower than it is today. For the last few centuries, the rising
rate has been an average of 1.6 millimeters per year. But if course, if they had said, "Sea
level has risen 68 inches in the past thousand years..." that wouldn't
even raise an eyebrow, and there would be no sensationalism coefficient. The rest of the program was based on the usual,
ever popular bullshit computer programs of the UN IPCC (mentioned several
times), which predict disaster right around the corner. I have come to
refer to all of this as "Hansen Babble".
Public School teachers have the 2nd lowest SAT scores of any college major, and
they are pumping our children full of Hansenbabble every day. The
History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and similar TV programs pump out
sensationalized science caca and are worshiped by the general public as a
fountain of scientific truth. It is a world gone mad.
Of one thing I am certain: Some years down the road mankind will look
back on this point in time and marvel at the mass hysteria that swept over
virtually the whole human race. The subject will provide doctoral
dissertation subjects for a whole generation of psychology students, and it
will take its place in the history books along with the Great Tulip Craze and
the Piltdown Man Hoax.