|The Week That Was
Dec. 18, 2004
1. New on the Web: BIG GUNS ARE BASHING GEORGE BUSH OVER HIS LACK OF ENTHUSIASM FOR THE COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE YET ECONOMICALLY DAMAGING KYOTO PROTOCOL. British PM Tony Blair has been persuaded by his science adviser that "global warming is a greater threat than terrorism" and now plans to get Dubya to agree. He also wants to get W to agree that there is a scientific consensus" and plans to hold a 3-day bash next February in Exeter, the new home of the UK HADLEY CLIMATE CENTRE. WE PLAN TO SPOIL HIS FUN - MORE ON THAT LATER.
THERE ARE OTHER CHALLENGES: LAWSUITS FROM ESKIMOS AND ISLAND NATIONS, AND MORE OMINOUSLY, THREATS OF ECONOMIC RETALIATION THROUGH THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION.
MEANWHILE, ON THE DOMESTIC SCENE, THE SELF-STYLED "NATIONAL " COMMISSION ON ENERGY POLICY (NCEP) HAS ISSUED ITS REPORT, WHICH LARGELY ECHOES THE ELECTION PLATFORM OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: TO THE WHITE HOUSE:
2. LETTER TO THE ECONOMIST:
3. BRITISH PM WANTS TO PRODUCE A 'CONSENSUS'
4. NO SCIENCE CONSENSUS FROM RUSSIA
5. ESSAY CLAIMING 'SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS' FOR GLOBAL WARMING IS RIDICULED. SCIENCE ESSAY ON 'CONSENSUS' IS FAULTED
6. SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS UNIMPORTANT
7. BBC REVELATION: CLIMATE CHANGE 'IS THE NORM'
8. ARCTIC CLIMATE UPDATE: HARD QUESTIONS NEEDED ON ARCTIC CLIMATE
9. UK 'FAILING ON GREENHOUSE GASES': EMBARRASSMENT AND DESPERATION
Sir, Your endorsement (Dec 9) of the self-appointed "National" Commission on Energy Policy surprises. Their report panders to global warming alarmists but lacks the courage to propose any real steps for energy conservation, like a stiff tax on motor fuels.
Source: Number 10 Press Briefing, 9 December 2004
Asked how important it was to get the Americans on board, the PMOS said
that it was important that we got the world as a whole on board and that
we got a consensus, a consensus about science, a consensus about the possibility
for change and a consensus about the nature of the problem. That was what
we were trying to do with the Exeter conference and our G8 Presidency.
SEPP Comment: Lots of incoherent talk about "consensus"
- even about the science. We also think the PMOS should learn how to use
Next year the Kyoto protocol will be an international treaty. For those who heavily lobbied Russia to ratify it, this is cause for celebration. But for most of the world, it is bad news, says Andrei Illarionov, adviser to the president of the Russian Federation.. He says the Kyoto protocol is destructive for science and the environment, for public health and safety, for economic growth and for the international fight against hunger and poverty.
Fluctuations in climate have existed for thousands of years, he says:
o Temperatures were higher in the Roman and medieval "climatic optimums" -- periods during which no fossil fuels were burned -- than they are today.
o Historically, global temperatures have varied even more than the 0.6 degrees Celsius reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Furthermore, the Kyoto treaty will wreak havoc on nations around the world:
o Carbon dioxide (CO2) provides benefits to humankind through longer growing seasons and more productive agriculture, which would help fight famine; attempting to limit CO2 as outlined Kyoto would impede the fight against hunger.
o The 17 pro-Kyoto countries (including developed European nations) have slower economic growth rates than the 11 non-Kyoto countries (including the United States) --1.9 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 3.3 percent per year.
Even with Russia on board, the Kyoto treaty will do little, considering that 75 percent of the world's CO2 is emitted by countries not subject to Kyoto restrictions, says Illarionov.
Source: Andrei Illarionov, "Kyoto's Smoke Screen Imperils Us
All," Financial Times, November 15, 2004. as reported by EnviroTruth
(CNSNews.com) - A Science Magazine essay claiming there is a "scientific consensus" about human-caused "global warming" was ridiculed Monday by a British scientist, who compared such a "consensus" to the near-unanimous elections that existed in the old Soviet Union.
Benny Peiser, a United Kingdom social anthropologist, called the Dec. 3 essay, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," a "disturbing" study.
"A one-hundred-percent record of 'scientific consensus' on anthropogenic climate change would be a sensational finding indeed. In fact, such a total result would be even more remarkable than any 'consensus' ever achieved in Soviet-style elections," Peiser noted sarcastically.
The Science Magazine essay analyzed 928 abstracts containing the keyword "climate change," all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003. The essay found that not a single one of the studies showed climate change to be naturally occurring.
The essay was written by University of California professor Naomi Oreskes, a member of the University's Department of History and Science Studies Program. According to Oreskes, "None of these (928) papers argued that [current climate change is natural]."
"This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with [United Nations] IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies," Oreskes wrote.
"Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect," she added.
But Peiser, a senior lecturer in Social Anthropology & Sport Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University and the editor of CCNet (Cambridge Conference Network) webzine, labeled Oreskes' essay a "disturbing article.
"Whatever happened to the countless research papers published in the last ten years in peer-reviewed journals that show that temperatures were generally higher during the Medieval Warm Period than today, that solar variability is most likely to be the key driver of any significant climate change and that the methods used in climate modeling are highly questionable?" Peiser asked.
"So how did the results published in Science achieve a 100 percent level of conformity? Regrettably, the article does not include any reference to the [unpublished?] study itself, let alone the methodology on which the research was based. This makes it difficult to check how Oreskes arrived at the truly miraculous results," he added.
Iain Murray, a senior fellow in International Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote a letter to the editor of Science Magazine questioning why the study was even published.
"I was surprised to see Science publish an article crowing over the existence of a scientific consensus on global warming and then advancing the non-sequitur that political action is therefore needed. Neither is a point worthy of consideration in an objective, scientific journal," Murray wrote in his letter to the editor, dated Dec. 6.
"...the message of the article -- that politicians must act on the
basis of the science -- is clearly a political point rather than a scientific
one," Murray continued.
Science Essay on 'Consensus' is Faulted
To: Dr. Naomi Oreskes
I wish to make several comments in regard to your essay.
Antonio Regalado reported (WSJ Dec 17) on a recent Statement, Human Impacts on Climate Change, issued by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) council. Regalado's piece, Panel Shifts Stance on Global Warming, is an accurate report of the AGU Statement. However, the Statement does not necessarily represent the views of the 41,000 members of the AGU. The AGU council consists of 28 people, most of whom are not climate scientist, who speak only for themselves. This Statement was prepared by them in secret during a large meeting of the AGU in San Francisco but announced the next week at a press conference in Washington with no prior opportunity for the other 40, 972 members of AGU to see and comment on it.
The essence of the Statement can be characterized by the sentence: "... carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer." The rest of the Statement asserts that this is true but this is only a Hypothesis that must be tested against observations. The Statement goes on to say that the climate system is difficult to predict, yet computer models predict: mid-continents will warm; warming will be greater at higher latitudes; some polar ice will melt; oceans will warm; sea levels will rise; and hydrological cycle will change. Quite a list of catastrophes. These predictions are offered as evidence to support the Hypothesis. However, this is not evidence. These are only a manifestation of and an extension of the Hypothesis. A consensus of the 41,000 AGU membership implied or even honestly obtained is also not evidence.
What is the evidence that the Hypothesis is correct? The Statement only offers this: "... no single threshold level of green house gases ... at which the beginning of dangerous level anthropogenic interference with the climate system can be defined. Some impacts have already occurred..." What are these impacts? They offer neither examples of impacts nor any other evidence to support the Hypothesis.
Have the models been successful in predicting anything? They, of course, predict global warming. This is not surprising given the expressed belief of some of the model builders in the global warming Hypothesis and the many parameters in the model that need to be determined. However, the models also predict unambiguously that the atmosphere is warming faster than the surface of the earth; but all the available observational data unambiguously shows the opposite!
Truth in science is always determined from observational facts. One finds the truth by making a hypothesis and comparing observations with the hypothesis. It is absolutely essential that one should be neutral and not fall in love with the hypothesis. If the facts are contrary to any predictions then the hypothesis is wrong no matter how appealing. Truth by Assertion is not science
---end of letter---
Global warming: the debate heats up: Human influence on climate
change not widely accepted
Re: "Global warming skeptics are full of hot air: Scientific community agrees that emissions are changing the climate," by D.W. Schindler Letters, Dec. 7).
D.W. Schindler makes some extraordinary assertions in claiming that
As a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years
and one of the 11 climate scientists who signed an open letter to the
committee that held hearings into the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
(ACIA), I applaud Lorne Gunter for his superb column, "Science skimpy
on global warming," (Opinion, Dec. 5).
Lorne Gunter is correct that the recent Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
report is seriously flawed. As one of only a handful of true PhD climatologists
in the world, I am very disappointed with the media's sensationalist coverage.
I found Gunter's column a breath of fresh air.
As an atmospheric physicist, professor of environmental sciences at the
Even as climate experts and politicians meet in Buenos Aires to mark the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, many sceptical scientists will still be arguing that the international consensus on "global warming" has got it wrong.
Those of us who study the pre-human history of the Earth find the current debate over global warming difficult to fathom. Climate changes - this is what it does. To expect permanent stability in climate patterns displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the complexity and instability of weather.
If the global climate were not getting warmer, it would be getting cooler; stasis is not an option. Ice caps either advance or retreat, and thank goodness. Following the last Ice Age, the climate is warming, and sea-level is rising - but well within their historical ranges.
As environments alter, so fauna and flora either adapt or die out; nature is very unsentimental.
But for the now-infamous and discredited "hockey stick" temperature curve for the last millennium, used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to add body to the case for Kyoto, most observers would not have suspended belief over claims that today's weather is the "mostest" "on record".
This expression is simply a lie. We know from the geological (and archaeological) record that weather variations and extremes are the norm.
Such extremes occur gradually and rapidly, and obviously were not human-induced (anthropogenic). How then can they represent a threat greater than that of terrorism, as the UK's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, maintains, except to minds unwilling to accept the inevitability of planetary change?
The factors influencing climate and sea-level change are multiple and complex, whether slow or rapid. I still cannot comprehend how anyone can hope to model even present day phenomena, never mind into the future; we still cannot predict next week's weather with any accuracy.
The real question then is not whether climate and sea level changes are occurring and are good or bad things; they have been occurring naturally for billions of years. Nor is the question whether these changes are actually taking place; a moot point at best, as there are conflicting data, but the question is utterly dependent on the time frame.
Rather, environmentalists ask whether climate change is anthropogenic, and if so, can it be stopped. I have come across no rigorous proof that wasteful human pollution has caused any significant climate change.
One would be better off asking the question whether volcanic eruptions alter the weather; there at least we can answer "yes".
The only proof of anthropogenic climate change ever offered, which to my mind is fallacious, is that temperature has increased with Western industrialisation; before industrialisation, the hockey stick would negate the Medieval Climate Optimum and Little Ice Age.
There is a closer correlation between this latest warming and universal suffrage. In science, temporal coincidence between events is no proof of a causal link.
So, as we enter the third millennium, we should preoccupy ourselves not with the silly question of whether at outrageous expense we could predictably influence the weather, least of all by focusing on just a single component. Instead, we should consider how to adapt ourselves to the inevitability of natural climate and sea-level change.
The issue thus framed would completely alter the capital expenditure question facing policy makers, away from tinkering with the emissions from the cleaner, industrialised nations (thereby delaying modelled anthropogenic global warming by little more than a decade), and towards more pragmatic solutions.
These might include the abandonment of sub-sea level lands condemned to flooding (including the Netherlands), shifting to Mediterranean crops in northern Europe, the re-cultivation of cold terrains (eg Greenland), and the aggressive reforestation as a microclimate control strategy to rehabilitate dry lands.
Global warming is indeed a scam, perpetrated by scientists with vested interests, but in need of crash courses in geology, logic and the philosophy of science.
It provides the media with a new scare story, which has been picked up
by the focus groups and turned into the new religion, offering us hell
if we don't all change our ways. However, believing in anthropogenic global
warming is not enough, but that is all it can offer.
As an atmospheric physicist, professor of environmental sciences at the
University of Virginia and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite
Service, I am contacting you to point out the critical flaw in the recent
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report that was missed by all
media covering the story.
The UK is set to miss a key target on cutting greenhouse gases, Tony Blair has admitted. The prime minister said the UK was not expected to meet its pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. But he stressed it was on course to hit the 12.5% cut demanded in the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases.
The 20% target is a self-imposed goal for the government, which is also outlining in its progress in a consultation on five-year climate change plans on Wednesday. The prime minister has said he wanted climate change to be a key priority during the UK's presidencies of the G8 and EU in 2005.
BBC environment correspondent Richard Black said the admission the 20%
target would be missed was a "very great embarrassment" for
the government ahead of its G8 presidency. It would be difficult to ask
developing nations to take action if too little was being done at home,
Growth in travel means Britain will miss its own greenhouse gas targets
TONY BLAIR admitted yesterday that Britain will miss its targets to cut greenhouse gases. This is largely blamed on the boom in air travel and number of vehicles on the roads, about 26 million, a figure that rises by half a million a year. Another is that utility companies have switched from gas to coal.
It is particularly embarrassing because the Prime Minister wants climate change to be the priority for both his presidency of next year's G8 summit and the European Union. His 20 per cent target was also a commitment in the 1997 and 2001 election manifestos.
It gave the Opposition and environmental organisations an easy platform to mock the Government's efforts to lead the world's clean up. Britain is, however, on course to meet the 12.5 per cent cuts in greenhouse gases agreed as part of the Kyoto protocol and Mr Blair said the country should be proud that it was one of the few in the world to meet its international obligations.
But Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, said that even the most ambitious targets may not be enough to avert the worst effects of global warming. By 2050 carbon dioxide emissions might have to be cut by 80 per cent to avoid catastrophic events such as the Greenland ice sheet melting, he said, with a 2C to 2.5C increase in temperature that would raise sea levels by more than 20 feet and put London under water. Heatwave summers such as last year could become a regular event, he said. Although many people enjoyed it, 30,000 people died, and it was the hottest since the 15th century.
Margaret Beckett, Environment Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, and Alastair Darling, Transport Secretary, called for greater efforts to reduce carbon emissions by improving public transport, investing in biomass and biofuels and for extra energy savings in homes and businesses. More incentives for cleaner cars and greener homes are almost certainly on the agenda.
Environmental experts last night suggested that the policy review was as much a wake-up call to all other government departments, public bodies and local authorities as to consumers. One said: "It's a desperate attempt to get some joined-up thinking across Whitehall."
Ministers are in talks with supermarkets to boost their recycling stations and for users to be rewarded with discount cards. New houses are to be more strictly monitored for energy saving devices.
Local authorities are also being urged to boost recycling in their own areas and to persuade households to segregate their waste. Some £255 million today is to be allocated to English councils as part of the purge on waste.
Defra [like EPA plus more] is also to take lead inside Government to offset the air miles (therefore carbon emissions) travelled by Ministers and civil servants on official business. This will done by investing in projects that will reduce greenhouse gases, such as biocooking stoves in Nepal or solar home systems in Bangladesh. Mrs Beckett wants other departments to sign up to similar schemes.
SEPP comment: They are getting desperate
Tim Yeo, Shadow Environment spokesman, said the Government was "all talk" on greenhouse emissions.
The Confederation of British Industry urged the Government not to make British business "a lone crusader" on climate change and said that business leaders were tired of "being the only ones to carry the can". John Cridland, deputy director general, said industry had cut carbon emissions by 6 per cent between 1990 and 2003, while during the same period household emissions were up by 10 per cent and those from traffic up by 4.6 per cent.
Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "The UK climate change programme is the last chance for the Government to demonstrate it is serious about taking a lead in tackling climate change. But time is running out.
"If it fails to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions,
the Prime Minister's ability to persuade other countries to take the issue
seriously will be seriously undermined."
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SEASON'S GREETINGS TO ALL