The Week That Was
September 15 , 2007
Reid Bryson, speaking on Global Warming
Dennis Avery’s press release http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,176495.shtml
Lord Monckton on ‘Consensus’ in climate science [ITEM #7]
In Policy Forum: The Limits of Consensus [Science, 14 September 2007: Vol. 317, pp. 1505 - 1506 DOI: 10.1126/science.1144831] Michael Oppenheimer et al. fault the IPCC ‘consensus’ for ignoring scary GW catastrophes. Instead of full assessments every five years, emphasizing consensus, they recommend highly focused special reports that can be completed relatively quickly by smaller groups, perhaps even by competing teams of experts. You can guess who would appoint these teams: perhaps Oppenheimer, formerly with the Environmental Defense Fund?
Doug Keenan reveals troubling fabrication of temperature data
For our German-speaking readers:
SEPP director Dr. Klaus Heiss debunks climate hysteria in the Wiener Zeitung (Austria)
Swedish speakers will enjoy (after Sept 16) this debate
1. HOPES DIM FOR MEASURES TO CONSERVE ENERGY
By JOHN M. BRODER
The New York Times September 13, 2007
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 — The prospect of a comprehensive energy package’s emerging from Congress this fall is rapidly receding, held up by technical hurdles and policy disputes between the House and the Senate and within the parties.
This summer, both houses passed major bills meant to promote energy efficiency and wean industry from fossil fuels. The bills have gaping differences that are supposed to be resolved in a conference committee.
Democratic leaders in both chambers have signaled that conference committee members are unlikely to be named until late October, at the earliest. Others suggested that leaders may try to resolve the differences in the bills without convening a conference, which would create other problems, including the threat of a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
Although Democratic leaders proclaimed energy a top legislative priority last January, the issue competes with Iraq, appropriations, financial market turmoil and product safety for room on Congress’s fall calendar.
The Senate passed its energy bill on June 21; the House passed its on Aug. 4. The most significant provisions include increasing automobile fuel-efficiency standards to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, compared to 27.5 m.p.g. today. [The standard for light trucks is 20.7 m.p.g.]
Another section would require utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The mileage standard appears just in the Senate bill, having been squelched in the House by the opposition of Representative John D. Dingell, the powerful Democrat from Michigan. The mandate for renewable power is just in the House bill, having failed in the Senate.
Ordinarily, House and Senate leaders appoint conferees to reconcile bills. But because the Senate and House passed entirely different bills, not simply different versions, one or both chambers will have to pass the other’s bill before it can be “conferenced.”
An aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi said staff members were working to fashion a Senate bill to match the House version.
Senator Richard J. Durban of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said Republicans were threatening to block the appointment of conferees or to amend the bill to eliminate provisions they did not like, including billions of dollars in new taxes on the oil industry.
President Bush has threatened to veto the House bill, which he says does not have enough incentives for domestic energy production, and the Senate bill because it has penalties for price gouging by the oil industry.
“It’s not a pretty picture,” said Frank Maisano, an energy lobbyist. “That’s not to say that in time they won’t be able to craft a compromise. But they’re clearly not in any hurry.”
As Congress moves at its own pace, at least 300 bills have been filed in 40 states this year on energy efficiency, emissions of heat-trapping gases or climate change, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have adopted renewable energy requirements for utilities. California is leading 12 states trying to impose tailpipe emissions standards that will force manufacturers to produce more fuel-efficient cars.
On Wednesday, the National Governors Association announced a clean-energy initiative to speed passage of state measures to increase conservation and biofuel production and to reduce heat-trapping gases.
“This is the defining issue of our time,” said Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a Republican, “and there is great interest and momentum percolating in the states. While we have our problems and our conflicts, we’re relatively less polarized than Congress and thus can be more nimble.”
2. U.S. COURT BACKS STATES’ MEASURES TO CUT EMISSIONS
By FELICITY BARRINGER
The New York Times September 13, 2007
A federal judge in Vermont gave the first legal endorsement yesterday to rules in California, being copied in 13 other states, that intend to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles and light trucks. Ruling in a lawsuit against Vermont’s standards on those heat-trapping gases, the judge, William K. Sessions III, rejected a variety of challenges from auto manufacturers, including their contention that the states were usurping federal authority.
The ruling follows a decision by the United States Supreme Court in April that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide as air pollutants. The ruling in Vermont explicitly endorses the idea that California has the right to set its own regulations on the gases, and that other states, like Vermont, have the right to follow its lead.
Judge Sessions ruled that the auto manufacturers had not proved their claims that compliance with the rules in Vermont — clones of the groundbreaking standards adopted in California — was not feasible.
“Nor,” he wrote of Vermont’s regulatory framework, “have they demonstrated that it will limit consumer choice, create economic hardship for the automobile industry, cause significant job loss or undermine safety.”
The judge also rejected a claim that Vermont’s standards would intrude into the sphere of foreign policy, which is the unique province of the federal government. Though the ruling by Judge Sessions did not deal directly with the California law, it is expected to embolden efforts in California — a state with a three-decade history of subduing polluting industries and serving as a template for other states — to further reduce the emissions that many scientists say contribute to climate change.
In 2002, California adopted the first state law requiring auto manufacturers to begin reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. In 2004, it set standards for emission reductions. Vermont adopted the same standards, as did other states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Automakers sued to block the standards in Vermont and California. The Vermont lawsuit led to a trial in May and Judge Sessions’s ruling on Wednesday; the California case is pending.
The federal Clean Air Act gives California the unique authority to set its own emissions standards and allows other states to adopt California’s rules instead of the federal rules. But the California standards require a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency. A request for a waiver in the case of the emission standards was made in December 2005, and the E.P.A. administrator has said he will make a decision by the end of this year. None of the state rules will take effect unless a waiver is granted.
David Doniger, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group that supports the state standards, predicted that Judge Sessions’s ruling would “put a lot more pressure on E.P.A. to grant the waiver.”
In a statement posted on the Web site of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which brought the lawsuit, Dave McCurdy, the group’s president, said an appeal was being considered. Mr. McCurdy also said, “The alliance remains committed to working with policy makers to make certain that the E.P.A.’s judgment is based on credible, sound scientific data as to what policies truly impact California, its citizens and global climate concerns.”
Among other things, Wednesday’s opinion includes a lengthy analysis of why the federal Transportation Department’s authority over fuel-economy standards does not prevent states from adopting California’s controls over vehicle emissions. One central reason, Judge Sessions said, is that the California standards cover more than just fuel economy. They deal with carbon dioxide emissions, which are closely correlated with fuel economy, as well as other heat-trapping gases, including those in automobile air-conditioning units, which are not tied to fuel economy.
“The district court’s opinion is a sweeping rejection of the auto industry’s claim that California and other states” lack authority to regulate heat-trapping gases, Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Georgetown University, said in an e-mail message. Professor Lazarus added that the ruling by the Supreme Court in April that the Environmental Protection Agency had authority to regulate such emissions “plainly emboldened” Judge Sessions, who “takes the further step of endorsing an actual exercise of such authority by the states.”
But Patrick A. Parenteau, a professor at the Vermont Law School, noted that the decision might have jumped the gun, legally speaking, because the Vermont rules, pending the E.P.A. ruling on a waiver, have not yet taken effect. An appeals court could rule that Judge Sessions was premature in deciding the case — in legal parlance, that it was not ripe. But, while the question of ripeness could upend the Vermont case, the decision gives psychological momentum to the states aligned with California, which include Arizona, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.
Under the California law, the emissions reductions for cars in the 2016 model year could be 30 percent or more below current levels. California regulators have required that by 2012 emissions from cars and light trucks be reduced by 25 percent from 2005 levels. For larger trucks and sport utility vehicles, cuts of 18 percent were required.
Experts from the auto industry testified in the Vermont case that, because of the engineering and economic difficulties associated with meeting these goals, few if any of their cars and trucks would be sold in Vermont by 2016.
The judge noted many of the emerging technologies for reducing gasoline consumption and questioned the automakers’ pessimism. “It is improbable,” he wrote, “that an industry that prides itself on its modernity, flexibility and innovativeness will be unable to meet the requirements of the regulation, especially with the range of technological possibilities and alternatives currently before it.” He was also skeptical of an industry expert’s claim that 65,000 jobs would be lost nationwide if California and its allies prevailed.
See also http://www.spacemart.com/reports/Judge_hits_auto_makers_allows_Vermont_to_limit_emissions_999.html
3. GLOBAL WARMING? IT'S NATURAL, SAY EXPERTS
UK Evening Standard 14.09.07
[See also Global warming in natural. Daily Mail 14 Sept 2007.pdf ]
Some scientists have suggested global warming is due to a natural 1,500-year cycle Global warming is a natural event and the effects are not all bad, two respected researchers claimed yesterday. Authors Dennis Avery and Fred Singer looked at the work of more than 500 scientists and argue that these experts are doubtful the phenomenon is caused by man-made greenhouse gases. Climate change is much more likely to be part of a cycle of warming and cooling that has happened regularly every 1,500 years for the last million years, they say. And the doom and gloom merchants, who point to the threat to the polar bear from the melting North Pole, are wrong, the authors say.
Even if our climate is changing, it is not all bad, they suggest, because past cold periods have killed twice as many people as warm periods. Mr Avery said: "Not all of these researchers who doubt man-made climate change would describe themselves as global warming sceptics but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see. "Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people. It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine, plagues and disease."
Mr Singer said: "We have a greenhouse theory with no evidence to support it, except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events. "The models only reflect the warming, not its cause." The most recent global warming was between 1850 and 1940, the authors say, and was therefore probably not caused by man-made greenhouse gases.
Historical evidence of the natural cycle includes a record of floods on the Nile going back 5,000 years; Roman wine production in Britain in the first century AD; and thousands of museum paintings that portray sunnier skies during what is called the Medieval Warming, and more clouds during the Little Ice Age. The authors looked at a raft of studies which, they claim, undermine the "scare-mongering" by those blaming man for destroying the planet. In the current warming cycle, they say there is evidence that storms and droughts have been fewer and milder; corals, trees, birds, mammals and butterflies have adapted well; and sea levels are not rising significantly.
Mr Avery is a fellow of the Hudson Institute, an independent U.S. thinktank that tends to side with big business. He was a senior agricultural analyst at the State Department when Ronald Reagan was president. Mr Singer is a climate physicist. The pair spent months analysing scientific reports for their book, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, to counter claims made by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth.
They argue that variations in the Sun's radiation have far more influence on our climate than humans. Mr Singer said: "This can all be explained by the Sun's activity." He added: "The number of the Sun's cosmic rays hitting the Earth affect the number of low, cooling clouds that reflect solar heat back into space, amplifying small variations in the intensity of the Sun."
4. NEW DOUBTS ON GLOBAL WARMING IN REVISED NASA TEMPERATURE DATA
Excerpt: Imagine basing a country’s energy and economic policy on an incomplete, unproven theory a theory based entirely on computer models in which one minor variable is considered the sole driver for the entire global climate system.
This is precisely what former Vice President Al Gore, Senate Environment Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer and others want their nation to do. They expect Americans to accept on blind faith the thesis that human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing catastrophic climate change. Boxer, Gore and their allies readily resort to emotional bullying against anyone who dares question this dogma. Their pronouncements are merely displays of arrogance that expose their lack of basic science understanding, and their complete disrespect for public intelligence. The policies they advocate are wholly unjustified scientifically and have extraordinarily damaging economic implications for the developed world.
The scientific method, which even grade-schoolers know, provides that science advances through hypotheses based on a set of assumptions. Other scientists challenge and test those assumptions in what philosopher Karl Popper called the practice of falsibility. Trying to disprove hypotheses is what real science is all about. Yet the hypothesis that human addition of CO2 would lead to significantly enhanced greenhouse warming was quickly accepted without this normal scientific challenge.
Four of the 10 warmest years on record are now acknowledged to have occurred when human production of CO2 was minimal, in the 1930s. The past decade now includes only three of the 10 warmest years. Will Gore withdraw An Inconvenient Truth pending necessary corrections?
A second proof of human CO2-caused warming, according to the U.N.s IPCC, was a claimed increase in global temperatures of about one degree Fahrenheit over 130 years. This was asserted to be outside natural variability. But the uncertainty in the measurements was more than 0.3F, meaning possible values could vary by as much as 66 percent of the total change. The source of this temperature calculation, University of East Anglia’s Professor Phil Jones, has refused to disclose which temperature records were used and how he adjusted them. [In this connection, see also http://www.informath.org/WCWF07a.pdf] Clearly, the IPCCs conclusions must be viewed with considerable suspicion until they provide full disclosure on the Jones data.
The meaning of these revelations is clear: Computer models are the basis of all forecasts used by alarmists. These models used temperature data that is now known to be suspect or completely wrong. Will Gore, Boxer and the IPCC call for a rational re-evaluation of the global warming scare? Don’t bet on it accurate science was never a hallmark of this crusade.
5. CARBON TRADING COLLAPSES IN AUSTRALIA: IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN, WORKERS LEARN
September 13, 03:17 PM
Workers from a carbon-trading company are appealing to the NewSouthWales government to save them from unemployment caused by the state's failed carbon trading scheme. The Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS) is on the verge of collapse, with up to 1,000 workers in the carbon trading industry soon to be unemployed.
NSW Premier Morris Iemma admitted on Wednesday that GGAS was untenable, with credits for carbon emission reductions trading at only half the average price since GGAS started in 2001.
The low price means companies like Easy Being Green, which install energy-saving light bulbs and other devices, cannot make enough money by selling the carbon credits they earn from their operations.
Easy Being Green chief executive Paul Gilding said GGAS carbon prices began dropping dramatically on May 31 this year when a report for the federal government recommending a national carbon trading scheme was published. Prices dropped again on July 17 when prime minister John Howard announced plans for a national scheme.
6. OECD WARNS AGAINST BIOFUELS SUBSIDIES
"Governments need to scrap subsidies for biofuels, as the current rush to support alternative energy sources will lead to surging food prices and the potential destruction of natural habitats, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development will warn on Tuesday," reports the Financial Times. "The OECD will say in a report to be discussed by ministers on Tuesday that politicians are rigging the market in favor of an untried technology that will have only limited impact on climate change."
In "Wishful Thinking is No Magical Energy Elixir," Cato senior fellows Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren write: "President Bush and congressional Democrats have lately spoken a lot about alternative energy sources such as ethanol. According to the president, ethanol is a magical elixir that will solve every economic, environmental and foreign policy problem on the horizon. In reality, it's enormously expensive and wasteful."
7. LORD MONCKTON ON ‘CONSENSUS’ IN CLIMATE SCIENCE
There is a consensus that some warming will result from anthropogenic enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect, but no consensus on how much.
There is a consensus - though not unanimous - that more than half of the warming of the past 50 years was anthropogenic, but no consensus on how much warming there has been, nor on how much more warming there will be.
There is a consensus that deforestation is imprudent, but no consensus that unchecked greenhouse-gas emissions will do more harm than good, and only one of 539 learned papers recently reviewed contained any reference to anthropogenic warming as "catastrophic".
There is a consensus among climate modelers that, in order to justify the IPCC's very high climate sensitivity, the rate of atmospheric warming in the tropical mid-troposphere must be two or three times that at the surface, but 50 years of careful atmospheric observations do not demonstrate this characteristic signature of significant anthropogenic greenhouse warming.
There is a consensus that if anthropogenic greenhouse warming is significant, there should be continuing stratospheric cooling, but little or none has been observed during the past decade, during which the anthropogenic fraction of atmospheric CO2 increased by one-fifth.
The official probability that humankind will have any influence on sea level is little better than 50:50, and the official consensus is that melting of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice-sheets, which Al Gore says threatens existing coastal populations with a 20ft sea-level rise, will contribute just 1.7 inches to sea level, in total, combined, over the whole of this century.
There is a consensus that the Furtwangler glacier at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro has largely disappeared, but no consensus that the cause is anthropogenic, because the ablation of the glacier began 130 years ago; in the past 30 years, satellite monitoring of temperature in the vicinity of the summit has shown that it is broadly constant at minus 7 degrees Celsius, far too cold for melting; and the cause of the ablation of the glacier is known to be a long-term climatic shift towards dryer conditions in the region, exacerbated locally by imprudent post-colonial deforestation.
There is a consensus that Lake Chad and the Aral Sea have largely vanished, but no consensus that the cause is climatic warming, because the cause is known to be water-use changes in the vicinity.
There is a consensus that there are more diseases in warmer than in colder regions, but no consensus that malaria or yellow fever will spread because of anthropogenic enhancement of the greenhouse effect, because it is known that the Anopheles and Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes do not choose their habitat by reference to temperature. There is a consensus that warmer weather will cause some species to migrate poleward, but no consensus that this will do harm, and no consensus, for instance, that corals will suffer if the ocean becomes warmer - they have flourished since algal symbiosis was first achieved in the Triassic era 225 my ago. Nor are coral atolls threatened by rising sea levels, for corals can outgrow sea-level rises ten times what has been observed this century.
There is a consensus that we should be respectful of the environment, but no consensus that the climate would be appreciably altered by Kyoto or any conceivable successor treaty, because even if the West were to close down its economies entirely and go back to the Stone Age, without even the ability to light fires, the growth in emissions from China and India alone would entirely replace the entire CO2 footprint of the West within not more than a decade.
It seems, then, that there is much to debate, and that the only reason anyone might have for attempting to prevent both sides of the debate from being fairly and properly heard is a growing fear - well justified on the evidence in the recent peer-reviewed literature - that "global warming" is not, after all, a global crisis. The best way to oppose scientific opinions which one finds uncongenial is not to stifle them but to refute them.