The Week That Was (July 12 2008) brought to you by SEPP


Quote of the Week:

It's better to say nothing and seem a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. –Anon


1. Warming or cooling? Is NASA-GISS manipulating climate data?

2. SEPP takes a cold look at current cooling

3. IPCC climate models still imperfect: Comments of a leading French meteorologist


5. New CCSP Report “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate”: Unfortunately, another biased assessment

6. Rebuttal to Newsweek on Weather Extremes

7. Scientist smacks down Activists at

8. When is a consensus not a consensus?  Europe is different

9. Foggy science in London

10. Polar bears spell intrusive government control

11. Cap&Trade: Its real cost—economic and political

12. And finally—the ‘endangered newt’ fuss in England



Edward N. Lorenz (1917–2008)  RIP

The pioneer of chaos theory had a remarkable ability to distill complex systems to their physical essence.

RETROSPECTIVE by Kerry Emanuel


GW believers are suckers:  Florida Power & Light customers gave the company $11.4 million over four years to develop green energy, but a report shows most of the money went toward administrative and marketing costs. According to a 19-page report written by the staff of Florida's Public Service Commission, FPL's Sunshine Energy Program suffers from several problems and "does not currently serve the interest of the program's participants." The voluntary program charges FPL customers $9.75 per month - on top of the regular energy bill - to help develop alternative power sources. Nearly 39,000 FPL customers participate in it. Public Service Commission staff said only 24 percent of the $11.4 million collected from customers went toward developing renewable energy. The rest went to marketing and administrative costs.



G-8 group agrees to cut GH gas emissions by 50% by 2050.  Enviro reaction:”Pathetic!”

La Scala (Milan) has commissioned composer Giorgio Battistelli to write an opera based on “An Inconvenient Truth,” to be performed in 2011.  Meanwhile, John Tierney has written a hilarious spoof, entitled “The Aria of Prince Algorino”


University of Bristol, 22 May 2008
Placing a 'sunshade' in space in order to counteract global warming was first proposed in 1989. More recent  studies concluded that such a scheme could be developed and deployed in about 25 years time at a cost of several trillion dollars.  Recent research at the University of Bristol indicates that contrary to popular conception, this kind of geoengineering would not re-establish a 'natural' pre-industrial climate. The results are published online in Geophysical Research Letters.


By Steven Goddard,  The Register, 2 May 2008

A paper published in scientific journal Nature this week has reignited the debate about Global Warming, by predicting that the earth won't be getting any warmer until 2015.  Researchers at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences [Germany] have factored in cyclical oceanic changes into their climate model, and produced a different forecast to the "consensus" models of the IPCC.

But how will we know whether the earth is warming or cooling? Today, it all depends on the data source. Two authorities provide us with analysis of long-term surface temperature trends. Both agree on the global temperature trend until 1998, at which time a sharp divergence occurred. The UK Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Studies [Had-CRU] data shows worldwide temperatures declining since 1998. According to Hadley's data, the earth is not much warmer now than it was than it was in 1878 or 1941. By contrast, NASA-GISS data shows worldwide temperatures increasing at a record pace - and nearly a full degree warmer than 1880.

The other two widely used global temperature data sources are from earth-orbiting satellites -- UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) and RSS (Remote Sensing Systems.) Both show decreasing temperatures over the last decade, with present temperatures barely above the 30-year average.

Confusing? How can scientists who report measurements of the earth's temperature within one one-hundredth of a degree be unable to concur if the temperature is going up or down over a ten year period? Something appears to be inconsistent with the NASA data - but what is it?

Looking at the NASA website, we can see that the person in charge of the temperature data is the eminent Dr. James Hansen -- Al Gore's science advisor and the world's leading long-term advocate of global warming.

See website for details.

Bottom Line

Both of the satellite data sources, as well as Had-CRU, show worldwide temperatures falling below the IPCC estimates. Satellite data shows temperatures near or below the 30 year average - but NASA data has somehow managed to stay on track towards climate Armageddon. You can draw your own conclusions, but I see a pattern that is troublesome. In science, as with any other endeavour, it is always a good idea to have some separation between the people generating the data and the people interpreting it.

Bear in mind that warming and cooling concerns are nothing new, as this alarming bulletin reminds us: 

“The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot,” according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from US Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. “Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.”

A RealClimate blogger? No, that was the US Weather Bureau in 1922.

We saw a global cooling scare in 1924, a global warming scare in 1933, another global cooling in the early 1970s, and another warming scare today. Perhaps future generations will be able to reduce the alarming increase in the number of climate alarms.



Before we all go overboard about the paper in Nature that predicts another decade of cooling, let’s stop and ask some questions:

The claim that natural climate fluctuations can and do overwhelm the ‘expected’ warming from an increase in GH gases is not only plausible but fairly certain.   But we already know that; see NIPCC report  “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate”

This means that the IPCC climate models have all overestimated the ‘expected’ warming.  The likely reason is that they all incorporate a ‘positive feedback’ from water vapor that amplifies the meager warming from CO2.  The actual feedback is likely to be negative.  The Nature authors don’t spell this out.

As I understand it, the claim is that by using a set of initial values of actual ocean data they find circulation changes that lead to a temporary (a decade or so) cooling.  But the accuracy and completeness of such ocean data is dubious.  So how sensitive is the result to small errors in the initial values?  More important, since models can be used to run time backwards, will the same initial values simulate the climate of the past decade.  [Note that over such short periods the GH effect is not relevant; the model tests mainly the dynamics of the ocean circulation.

Finally, if changes in ocean dynamics can produce cooling, then an appropriate set of initial conditions must exist that produces a warming (natural) trend.  It seems to me this shows that a warming trend per se cannot be used to support anthropogenic warming unless it persists for at least several decades. IPCC Climate models still imperfect.



Excerpts from a letter of the distinguished French meteorologist Prof Pierre Morel (Univ of Paris) -- based on a paper he wrote for GEWEX News (one of the World Climate Research Program publications) on the believability of past or current climate models and the role the "water cycle science" community could play in helping climate modelers clean up their act.

He agrees that “the line of reasoning used by the IPCC to buttress its statements on global change is fraught with unresolved problems and far from compelling - at least in my eyes.”  The over-interpretation (a fortiori the outright manipulation) of imperfect past records is not likely to allow the controversy to settle.  Incidentally, the same remark applies to somewhat tentative paleo-climatic reconstructions, anecdotal climate stories, etc... and also reconstructions of missing solar irradiance data.

“Irrespective of the multiplicity of known or yet to-be-discovered factors that may impact climate, I claim we should have a clear understanding of the impact of further CO2 loading of the atmosphere will have on global-mean tropospheric and surface temperature.  We know that doubling the atmospheric concentration of CO2 will also double the amount in the stratosphere where the energy balance is entirely determined by known radiation physics. Thus we can compute exactly the impact of the CO2 greenhouse on OLR [Outgoing Long-wave Radiation] at the tropopause level.  Everything else being the same, the extra stratospheric blanketing effect of doubling CO2 will require OLR at the tropopause to increase by some 4.3 Watt/m2 just for maintaining the planetary radiation balance [This is the famous or infamous forcing imposed on the "climate system" by the doubling of CO2].

[SEPP Comment: But the stratosphere is cooling, thus reducing the amount of OLR]

“Now, as mentioned in the paper there is no such thing as a specific "global warming response" to a small [e.g. 0.1K per decade], long-term shift of the main event, which is the seasonal cycle of each hemisphere successively [typically 5-10C variations in hemispheric-mean temperature].  There is no physical reason why the tropospheric response to slow change in the stratospheric blanketing effect should be much different from the undoubtedly very complicated but well-documented response to the much larger seasonal cycle in solar irradiance.  I explain how the same "fast tropospheric processes" operate in both cases and also draw attention to the little-noticed fact that the seasonal response of the Northern  hemisphere exhibits precisely the same sensitivity as that of the Southern hemisphere, about ~ 0.6 K/Watt.m-2.

“So quite independently of any effect that may be related to changes in solar activity through yet unknown mechanisms, we have (I think) good reasons to believe that doubling atmospheric CO2 will cause a global tropospheric warming ~ 2.5K, give and take maybe 1K in order to account for losses through transient North-South heat transfer (maybe not so much if one considers the meteorological rather than geographic equator), other smaller corrections and, of course, a whole slew of slower adjustment/feedback processes (involving the oceans, ice, etc.).  You yourself mention the fact that a large change in CO2 concentration is an essential component of the glaciation process.  As a matter of fact. I believe that, irrespective of the triggering cause, a global ice-age regime cannot be established nor sustained without a vast reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gas concentrations.

“So, while I share your doubts regarding the validity of climate model physics, I do believe that they get the main event (global warming) more or less right because they have been able to "tune" their "hand-selected" coefficients so as to match the existing seasonal cycle.

”In this respect, Lindzen "Iris" or tropical "heat vent" argument is moot. This process, if proven, will just be one among many tropospheric adjustments that contribute to increasing the OLR loss at the tropopause level, as required to maintain the planetary radiation balance under an increased CO2 greenhouse.

“I was amused by the story about Tuvalu. I actually met with the Prime Minister of Tuvalu in Geneva, when he made quite an eloquent plea for his beleaguered (?)  people on the occasion of a big inter-governmental bash on Global Warming in 1992 or 93.  It is quite true that transient ocean circulation changes, as well as regional orogenic effects, can easily overshadow the global sea-level trend at any particular location.  Nevertheless while global sea-level rise was ~ 20cm in the 20th century, the current trend extracted from 14 years of very precise TOPEX/JASON-1 observations is now 3.5mm/year or 35cm/century.

With my best regards.
Pierre Morel
Professeur Emeritus, Universite de Paris VI

By Bjorn Lomborg, The Washington Post, 26 June 2008

The bitter arguments in the Senate this month over the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill, which would have required major emitters to pay for the right to discharge greenhouse gases, proved that climate change caused by humans has come to the fore of U.S. policy debates. This fact may comfort those who believe that future generations will judge us on the zeal with which we face the challenge. It may even assuage the fears of those who believe that warming will end life as we know it. But political rhetoric is unlikely to put us on a path toward solving the problem of climate change in the best possible way.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the bill, has called it "the world's most far-reaching program to fight global warming." It is indeed policy on a grand scale. It would slow American economic growth by trillions of dollars over the next half-century. But in terms of temperature, the result will be negligible if China and India don't also commit to reducing their emissions, and it will be only slightly more significant if they do. By itself, Lieberman-Warner would postpone the temperature increase projected for 2050 by about two years.

Politicians favor the cap-and-trade system because it is an indirect tax that disguises the true costs of reducing carbon emissions. It also gives lawmakers an opportunity to control the number and distribution of emissions allowances, and the flow of billions of dollars of subsidies and sweeteners.

Many people believe that everyone has a moral obligation to ask how we can best combat climate change. Attempts to curb carbon emissions along the lines of the bill now pending are a poor answer compared with other options.

Consider that today, solar panels are one-tenth as efficient as the cheapest fossil fuels. Only the very wealthy can afford them. Many "green" approaches do little more than make rich people feel they are helping the planet. We can't avoid climate change by forcing a few more inefficient solar panels onto rooftops.

The answer is to dramatically increase research and development so that solar panels become cheaper than fossil fuels sooner rather than later. Imagine if solar panels became cheaper than fossil fuels by 2050: We would have solved the problem of global warming, because switching to the environmentally friendly option wouldn't be the preserve of rich Westerners.

This message was recently backed up by the findings of the Copenhagen Consensusproject, which gathered eight of the world's top economists -- including five Nobel laureates -- to examine research on the best ways to tackle 10 global challenges: air pollution, conflict, disease, global warming, hunger and malnutrition, lack of education, gender inequity, lack of water and sanitation, terrorism, and trade barriers.

These experts looked at the costs and benefits of different responses to each challenge. Their goal was to create a prioritized list showing how money could best be spent combating these problems.The panel concluded that the least effective use of resources in slowing global warming would come from simply cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
Research for the project was done by a lead author of the report of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the group that shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore -- who noted that spending $800 billion over 100 years solely on mitigating emissions would reduce inevitable temperature increases by just 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Even accounting for the key environmental damage from warming, we would lose money, with avoided damage of just $685 billion for our $800 billion investment.

The economists didn't conclude that the world should ignore the effects of climate change. They pointed out that a better response than cutting emissions would be to dramatically increase research and development on low-carbon energy -- such as solar panels and second-generation biofuels.

The United States has an opportunity to lead the world on research and development, which would give it the moral authority to demand that everyone else do the same. The world's sole superpower could finally provide the leadership on climate change that has been lacking in the White House.

Even if every nation spent 0.05 percent of its gross domestic product on research and development of low-carbon energy, this would be only about one-tenth as costly as the Kyoto Protocol and would save dramatically more than any of Kyoto's likely successors.

In the United States, this approach would open up new avenues for the nation's creative, innovative spirit and leave behind the political mess of Kyoto-type negotiations.  A low-carbon energy, high-income future is possible. Unfortunately, the political battles we just witnessed in Washington have done nothing to make it a reality.

The writer is an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Copenhagen Business School.

[SEPP comment: Anything is better than C&T. But Lomborg still doesn’t get it; still believes in IPCC science and in ‘pie-in-the-sky’ solutions to a non-existent problem]



By former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  June 20, 2008

Excerpt: Since this assessment is so clearly biased, it should be rejected as providing adequate climate information to policymakers. There also should be questions raised concerning having the same individuals preparing these reports in which they are using them to promote their own perspective on the climate, and deliberately excluding peer reviewed papers that disagree with their viewpoint and research papers. This is a serious conflict of interest. [] 

This report perpetuates the use of assessments to promote a particular perspective on climate change, such as they write in the Executive Summary: “It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences. The increase in heavy precipitation events is associated with an increase in water vapor, and the latter has been attributed to human-induced warming.”

This claim conflicts with the 2005 National Research Council report. National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp where a diversity of human climate forcings were found to alter global average radiative warming, including from atmospheric aerosols and due to the deposition of soot on snow and ice. The claim of an increase in atmospheric water vapor conflicts with a variety of observations as summarized on Climate Science. To further illustrate the bias in the report, the assessment chose to ignore peer reviewed research that raises serious questions with respect to the temperature data that is used in their report. As just one example, they ignored research where we have shown major problems in the use of surface air temperature measurements to diagnose long-term temperature trends including temperature extremes.

What the CCSP Extremes Report Really Says-

By Roger Pielke, Jr., professor in the environmental studies program at the University of Colorado and a former director of its Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.   June 20, 2008

Excerpt: In closing, the CCSP report is notable because of what it does not show and what it does not say. It does not show a clear picture of ever increasing extreme events in the United States. And it does not clearly say why damage has been steadily increasing. Overall, this is not a good showing by the CCSP. [] 1. Over the long-term U.S. hurricane landfalls have been declining. Yes, you read that correctly.

From the appendix (p. 132): The final example is a time series of U.S. landfalling hurricanes for 1851-2006 . . . A linear trend was fitted to the full series and also for the following subseries: 1861-2006, 1871-2006, and so on up to 1921-2006. As in preceding examples, the model fitted was ARMA (p,q) with linear trend, with p and q identified by AIC. For 1871-2006, the optimal model was AR(4), for which the slope was -.00229, standard error .00089, significant at p=.01. For 1881-2006, the optimal model was AR(4), for which the slope was -.00212, standard error .00100, significant at p=.03. For all other cases, the estimated trend was negative, but not statistically significant.

2. Nationwide there have been no long-term increases in drought. Yes, you read that correctly. From p. 5: Averaged over the continental U.S. and southern Canada the most severe droughts occurred in the 1930s and there is no indication of an overall trend in the observational record . . . [] What debate? The report offers not a single reference to justify that there is a debate on this subject.


By Marc Morano 6/29/08

Note: here are quick rebuttals to this Newsweek's latest silliness. 1) Sharon Begley of Newsweek unhinged. She really is trying to outdo her previous shoddy reporting. Her track record for climate reporting is comical. See: Newsweek's Climate Editorial Screed Violates Basic Standards of Journalism - August 2007 -

2) If only Begley had bothered to read the actual data contained in a June 2008 report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. A sampling of what the report reveals includes: Hurricanes declining, no long term increases in drought - There have been no observed changes in the occurrence of tornadoes or thunderstorms - There have been no long-term increases in strong East Coast winter storms (ECWS), called Nor'easters - There are no long-term trends in either heat waves or cold spells, though there are trends within shorter time periods in the overall record. But all of the above appear to be INCREASING in unverified climate models. Computer models predictions are not evidence. For full report see:



By atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh and a founding member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

Excerpt: Quoting as a reliable source of information on climate science is like quoting for reliable information on mouse behavior. "Real Climate" is a staged and contracted production, which wasn't created by "scientists", it was actually created by Environmental Media Services, a company which specializes in spreading environmental junk science on behalf of numerous clients who stand to benefit financially from scare tactics through environmental fear-mongering.

There you will find the word "model" used a million times, for the entire basis of the Global Warming Hoax is based on computer modeling ( not climate science ) which has thus far failed to predict anything accurately since day one. For example, one of their past clients, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, hired them to create the illusion that Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) was somehow dangerous, despite the fact that it had been fully tested and approved by the FDA. After a lengthy national fearmongering campaign by Environmental Media Services, Ben & Jerry's proudly announced that their ice cream was "BGH-free"... as if it made any difference.

Real Climate has become the Alamo for folks like the highly discredited Michael Mann, whose original analytical blunder led to the famous "hockey stick" curve, which helped kick off the Great Global Warming Hoax after it was picked up by science illiterate Al Gore and proudly paraded around the globe. The hockey stick was proven to be an absurd blunder, but by then you couldn't put the genie back into the bottle, and today we are wasting billions of dollars on a cure for a nonexistent disease. Perhaps the best summary of "Real Climate" was given by a Harvard trained atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Richard Lindzen, who said, "This website appears to constitute a support center for global warming believers, wherein any criticism of global warming is given an answer that, however implausible, is then repeated by the reassured believers."




 By Roger Helmer, MEP {Member of European Parliament from UK], June 24, 2008


At the end of the drafting process for the failed European Constitution, after eighteen months of deliberation in Brussels at a "European Convention" of MEPs, national MPs, government and Commission representatives, the Chairman Valery Giscard d'Estaing proudly declared: "We have a consensus".  My good friend David Heathcoat-Amory MP leapt up on behalf of his beleaguered handful of sceptics (who had somehow slipped in under the wire), and declared that there was no consensus, since his group took a different view, and indeed published a minority report.

    "Well", replied Giscard magisterially, "We have a substantial majority, and that's a consensus in Europe".

    We see rather a similar position in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  We are constantly told that the IPCC represents the overwhelming consensus of the 2500 scientists on its various panels.  Indeed we are often told that the IPCC represents an overwhelming consensus of all scientists -- despite the 32,000 scientists who have signed the Oregon Petition, challenging the conventional alarmist view. 

    But not even the 2,500 IPCC reviewers have a consensus.  There are constant stories of members of the IPCC panel disagreeing with its findings, but being ignored by the small and zealous group of bureaucrats and civil servants who write the "Summary for Policymakers" (which is always much more hard-line than the supporting scientific documents -- but then politicians and journalists rarely read beyond the Summary).  One scientist actually threatened legal action to get his name removed from the reviewers' list because he disagreed with the findings.

    Two of these dissenting IPCC panellists spoke at a seminar which I hosted yesterday in the European parliament in Brussels.  Fred Singer is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and used to run the US meteorological satellite service.  He remarked that the IPCC accepts his corrections of their spelling, but never accepts his corrections of their conclusions.  Fred was wearing a lapel-pin given to all 2,500 members when the IPCC was awarded its Nobel Prize in 2007.  Hans Labohm is a Dutch economist, writer and former diplomat, who was once deputy head of policy at the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

    They and others have formed an alternative scientific forum, which they call the "Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change", or NIPCC, and they presented their report "Nature, not Human Activity, Controls the Climate".  They do not dispute the data.  Indeed they quote extensively from data published by the IPCC, and base their findings on that data.  Their key conclusions are first, that the pattern, or "fingerprint", of warming predicted by CO2-based greenhouse gas computer models is hugely different from the observed pattern.  The models predict maximum warming in the high atmosphere (10 to 12 kms), and mainly in the tropics.  Observations from both balloons and satellites show almost the opposite -- most of what little warming there is, is in the northern hemisphere, away from the tropics, and at the surface.  This is simply not the pattern of greenhouse warming.  The CO2 hypothesis has been falsified by the data.

    Second, they note that global temperatures over the short term correlate rather poorly with CO2 levels, but correlate very accurately with solar variations.

    Thirdly, while long-term climate records (from ice cores) show a striking correlation between temperature and CO2 levels, the CO2 levels lag the temperature by around 800 to 1000 years.  Clearly, therefore, the warmists have the cart before the horse.  It is not CO2 that causes warming.  It is warming (driven by the sun) that causes CO2.  And the mechanism by which it could do so is well understood, depending on large-scale exchanges of CO2 between the oceans and the atmosphere.  These exchanges are temperature-dependent.

    Hans looked at the economic and geo-political implications of climate policy, and concluded that the EU is boxing itself into a corner.  It may well posture and pontificate about moral leadership, but no one much will follow.  EU policies on climate will further impoverish a continent which is already slipping down global league tables for economic performance.  But those policies will do nothing -- literally nothing whatever -- to change the earth's climate.


The NIPCC report is available on Professor Singer's web-site at


By S. FRED SINGER, The New York Sun, May 23, 2008

Tomorrow, May 24, the G-8 environment ministers will be in Japan to commence their annual meeting. Back in London, though, the world's oldest science academy, the Royal Society of London, recently has become a vocal advocate of climate alarmism. RS fellows have included Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

But, under the previous leadership of Lord Robert May, the Society seems to have taken a wrong turn. They even tried to enlist other science academies into joining them in an alarmist manifesto. However, the U.S. National Academy, though sharing some of these views, decided not to sign up, and the Russian Academy of Sciences has taken an opposing position.

In June 2007, the Royal Society published a pamphlet, titled "Climate Change Controversies: a simple guide," designed to undermine the scientific case of climate skeptics. They presented what they called "misleading arguments" on global warming and then tried to shoot them down.

In countering the RS pamphlet, I have prepared a response that is being published tomorrow by the London-based Centre for Policy Studies under the title "Not so simple? A scientific response to the Royal Society's paper."

Throughout, the Royal Society has relied heavily on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which used to be regarded as a reliable source of scientific information. The RS thus adopts the IPCC claim that current warming is almost certainly anthropogenic (human-caused) but presents no independent evidence to support such a claim.

In its pamphlet, the Royal Society purports to speak on behalf of a consensus of scientists. But no such consensus exists. Direct polling of climate scientists has shown that about 30% are "skeptical" of anthropogenic global warming. More than 31,000 American scientists recently signed the Oregon Petition, which expresses doubt about the major conclusions of the IPCC, and opposes the drastic mitigation demands of the Kyoto Protocol and the proposed "cap-and-trade" legislation of the U.S. Congress.

My response to the RS is based on the work of some two dozen independent climate scientists from 16 nations who contributed to the report of the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change, or NIPCC, titled "Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate." NIPCC corrects many of the errors and misstatements made in the IPCC report, discusses evidence ignored by the IPCC, and cites evidence available since May 2006, the cut-off date for the latest IPCC Report of May 2007.

The science-based arguments for a more rational approach to global warming and climate change can be summarized as follows:

* The Earth's climate always has changed, with cycles of both warming and cooling, long before humans were a factor. The cycle lengths range from decades, to the 1,500-year cycle discovered in Greenland ice cores, to the 17 ice ages that dominated the past 2 million years.

* The NIPCC report presents solid evidence that any man-made global warming to date has been insignificant in comparison with these natural climate cycles. By contrast, the IPCC has no real evidence to support their claim of anthropogenic global warming.

* While recent man-made increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide may, in principle, make some contribution to temperature rise, the linkages assumed in order to predict significant future global warming are not proven.

*Contrary to the computer simulations of climate models, temperatures have not risen over the last decade — despite a continuing rise in CO2 llevels.

* Other factors, such as variable solar activity, solar wind, and cosmic rays, all seem to have a more significant impact on the earth's climate.

* Panicky reactions to exaggerated scenarios of global warming are bound to be costly and do great damage to world economic development.

* Adaptation, not mitigation, is a more appropriate response to climate change — particularly ffor poorer countries.

Fear of global warming is distorting energy policy. Urgent action is needed to secure future energy supplies: the closure of existing coal-powered stations and old nuclear stations over the next 10 to 20 years risks causing a serious energy shortage until new nuclear power can be brought on stream. Yet resistance by anti-fossil fuel protesters already is retarding the development of much needed conventional generating capacity.

The choices that are being made now about the use of resources and the costs imposed on global development will have a huge impact on both current and future prosperity. It is imperative, for the sake of rational policy development worldwide, that the debate on the true nature of global warming and its causes move from being a matter of assertion and exaggerated scaremongering to a more reasoned debate based on the scientific facts.

It is a pity that the Royal Society, rather than facilitate debate, has tried to misrepresent the honest views of those who are skeptical of what has become climate change orthodoxy.


Mr. Singer, a professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, is the former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. As a reviewer of IPCC reports, he shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. His most recent book is "Unstoppable Global Warming — Every 1500 Years.



By George Will, May 22, 2008

WASHINGTON -- A preventive war worked out so well in Iraq that Washington last week launched another. The new preventive war -- the government responding forcefully against a postulated future threat -- has been declared on behalf of polar bears, the first species whose supposed jeopardy has been ascribed to global warming.

The Interior Department, bound by the Endangered Species Act, has declared polar bears a "threatened" species because they might be endangered "in the foreseeable future," meaning 45 years. (Note: 45 years ago, the now-long-forgotten global cooling menace of 35 years ago was not yet foreseen.) The bears will be threatened if the current episode of warming, if there really is one, is, unlike all the previous episodes, irreversible, and if it intensifies, and if it continues to melt sea ice vital to the bears, and if the bears, unlike in many previous warming episodes, cannot adapt.

Because of restrictions on hunting, polar bears might be more numerous today than ever and might be twice as numerous as they were three decades ago -- when the media were fanning frenzy about global cooling. (Science magazine, March 1975, reported "the approach of a full-blown 10,000-year ice age.") As Nigel Lawson, a former British Cabinet member, writes in his new book "An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming":

"Over the past two-and-a-half-million years, a period during which the planet's climate fluctuated substantially, remarkably few of the earth's millions of plant and animal species became extinct. This applies not least, incidentally, to polar bears, which have been around for millennia, during which there is ample evidence that polar temperatures have varied considerably."

But Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne says the "threatened" label is mandatory because sea ice has been melting and computer models postulate future melting caused by human activity. So, now that human activity is assumed to be the primary cause, or even a measurable cause, of warming, the decision to classify the bears as threatened has become a mighty lever.

Now that polar bears are wards of the government, and now that it is a legal doctrine that humans are responsible for global warming, the Endangered Species Act has acquired unlimited application. Anything that can be said to increase global warming can -- must -- be said to threaten bears already designated as threatened.

Want to build a power plant in Arizona? A building in Florida? Do you want to drive an SUV? Or leave your cell phone charger plugged in overnight? Some judge might construe federal policy as proscribing these activities. Kempthorne says such uses of the act, unintended by those who wrote it in 1973, would be "wholly inappropriate." But in 1973, climate Cassandras were saying that "the world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973). And no authors of the Constitution or the Fourteenth Amendment intended to create a "fundamental" right to abortion, but there it is.

No one can anticipate or control the implications that judges might discover in the polar bear designation. Give litigious environmentalists a compliant judge and the Endangered Species Act might become what New Dealers wanted the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to be -- authority to regulate almost everything.

What Friedrich Hayek called the "fatal conceit" -- the idea that government can know the future's possibilities and can and should control the future's unfolding -- is the left's agenda. The left exists to enlarge the state's supervision of life, narrowing individual choices in the name of collective goods. Hence the left's hostility to markets. And to automobiles -- people going wherever they want whenever they want.

Today's "green left" is the old "red left" revised. Marx, a short-term pessimist but a long-term optimist, prophesied deepening class conflict, but thought that history's violent dialectic would culminate in a revolution that would usher in material abundance and such spontaneous cooperation that the state would wither away.

The green left preaches pessimism: Ineluctable scarcities (of energy, food, animal habitats, humans' living space) will require a perpetual regime of comprehensive rationing. The green left understands that the direct route to government control of almost everything is to stigmatize, as a planetary menace, something involved in almost everything -- carbon.

Environmentalism is, as Lawson writes, an unlimited "license to intrude." "Eco-fundamentalism," which is "the quasi-religion of green alarmism," promises "global salvationism." Onward, green soldiers, into preventive war on behalf of some bears who are simultaneously flourishing and "threatened."


Copyright 2008, Washington Post Writers Group Page Printed from: at May 23, 2008 - 02:44:06 PM PDT


The Wall Street Journal, 27 May

[Note: Written before the cap&trade bill was withdrawn.  After tens of billions of dollars, endless international media hype, a Nobel Prize and an Oscar, even many Democratic Senators couldn’t bring themselves to support the recent global warming bill.]

The global warming debate arrives in the Senate next week, and it's about time. Finally, the Members will have to vote on something real, as opposed to their buck-passing to courts and regulators, and their easy trashing of President Bush.  The vehicle is a bill that principal sponsors Joe Lieberman and John Warner are calling "landmark legislation." They're too modest. Warner-Lieberman would impose the most extensive government reorganization of the American economy since the 1930s.

Thankfully, the American system makes it hard for colossal tax and regulatory burdens to foxtrot into law without scrutiny. So we hope our politicians will take responsibility for the global-warming policies they say they favor. Or even begin to understand what they say they favor. For a bill as grandly ambitious as Warner-Lieberman, very few staff, much less Senators, even know what's in it. The press corps mainly cheerleads this political fad, without examining how it would work or what it would cost. So allow us to fill in some of the details.

Almost all economic activity requires energy, and about 85% of U.S. energy generates carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. For centuries, these emissions were considered the natural byproduct of combustion. As recently as the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, they were consciously not even described as a "pollutant." But now that the politicians want to decrease those emissions, the government must create a new commodity - the right to create CO2 - and put a price on it. This is an unprecedented tax that would profoundly touch every corner of American life.

The policy preferred by the environmental lobby is called cap and trade. The government would set a limit on emissions that declines every year. The goal of Warner-Lieberman is to return to 2005 levels by 2012, and to reduce that by 30% by 2030.  "Allowances" for emissions would be distributed to covered businesses - power, oil, gas, heavy industry, manufacturing, etc. If they produced less than their allotment, the companies could sell the allowances, or trade them. Cap and trade limits on energy are thus sometimes misleadingly described as a "free market" policy that would create the flexibility for CO2 reductions how and where they are least expensive. But the limits are still a huge tax.

And for the most part, the politicians favor cap and trade because it is an indirect tax. A direct tax - say, on gasoline - would be far more transparent, but it would also be unpopular. Cap and trade is a tax imposed on business, disguising the true costs and thus making it more politically palatable. In reality, firms will merely pass on these costs to customers, and ultimately down the energy chain to all Americans. Higher prices are what are supposed to motivate the investments and behavioral changes required to use less carbon.

The other reason politicians like cap and trade is because it gives them a cut of the action and the ability to pick winners and losers. Some of the allowances would be given away, at least at the start, while the rest would be auctioned off, with the share of auctions increasing over time. This is a giant revenue grab. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that these auctions would net $304 billion by 2013 and $1.19 trillion over the next decade. Since the government controls the number and distribution of allowances, it is also handing itself the political right to influence the price of every good and service in the economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this meddling would cause a cumulative reduction in the growth of GDP by between 0.9% and 3.8% by 2030. Add 20 years, and the reduction is between 2.4% and 6.9% - that is, from $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion.  These estimates assume that electricity prices will increase by 44% above what they would otherwise be by 2030. They also assume that existing coal-fired power plants, which currently provide about 50% of U.S. electric power, will be shut down - to be replaced with at least 150% growth in new nuclear facilities, plus other "alternatives." Yet there are only 104 current U.S. nuclear plants, and the industry itself says it's optimistic to think even 30 more can be built by 2020.

In fact, it is pointless to project so far out over multiple decades, since no one knows how markets and consumers would respond, whether the rules would remain constant, or what new technologies might come along. While moralizing about America, most of Europe has failed to meet its mandatory cap and trade goals under the Kyoto Protocol. But the U.S. isn't Italy; we will enforce our laws. So our guess is that these cost estimates are invariably far too low.

In a bow to this reality, California Democrat Barbara Boxer last week introduced 157 pages of amendments to Warner-Lieberman. Most notably, she sets aside at least $800 billion through 2050 for consumer tax relief. So while imposing a huge new tax on all Americans, she vouchsafes to return some of the money to some people. Needless to say, the Senator will be the judge of who receives her dispensation.

Ms. Boxer's amendment shows that cap and trade is also a massive wealth redistribution scheme - all mediated by her and her fellow Platonic rulers. Oh, and she also includes an "emergency off-ramp," should costs prove too onerous. This is really a political "off-ramp" to make Warner-Lieberman seem less dangerous, but you can imagine her reaction if some future Republican President decided to take it.

The upshot is that trillions in assets and millions of jobs would be at the mercy of Congress and the bureaucracy, all for greenhouse gas reductions that would have a meaningless impact on global carbon emissions if China and India don't participate. And only somewhat less meaningless if they do.

Warner-Lieberman has no chance of becoming law this year with President Bush in the White House. But the goal of this Senate exercise is political - to get Members on the record early, preferably before the burdens of cap and trade become more widely understood; to give Democrats a campaign issue; and to pour the legislative foundation that the next Administration could cite as it attempts to regulate carbon limits while waiting for Congress to act.

So by all means let's have this debate amid $4 gasoline, and not only on C-Span. If Americans are going to cede this much power to the political class, they at least ought to do it knowing the price they will pay.


By Philip Stott, Friday, 16 May 2008

It is one of those ‘Would You Believe It!’ stories. Leicestershire County Council in England has just had to fork out £1.2 million to protect great crested newts (Triturus cristatus). Unfortunately, there were no pesky great crested newts at the location in question [‘Newt Rules “Outrageous”’, Leicester Mercury, May 16; see also: ‘No newts is bad news as council spends £1m’, The Daily Telegraph, May 15/16]:

“A council leader has written to the Government to complain about rules protecting newts after a search for the creatures delayed a bypass and cost taxpayers up to £1.2 million.  Building of the Earl Shilton bypass was disrupted for weeks after evidence of the great-crested newt was found.  Leicestershire County Council put fences up around the site to keep the newts off the area to be built. Traps were put up on the site to catch them, but a month-long search found no newts were living on the site.”

A local MP speaks for us all:   Andrew Robathan, MP for Blaby, said the saga was ‘ludicrous’.   “There are estimated to be 66,000 breeding ponds for great-crested newts in the UK. Why are we bothering with this?  I’m very fond of newts but it is complete rubbish. They are not rare by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m a very keen conservationist, but that doesn’t mean we should be spending millions of pounds on a newt - or no newts.”

Pissed As Newts

What does this tell us about the avalanche of advice currently tumbling down on us from ‘environmental experts’ and their ilk? The Daily Telegraph comments:

“The action was taken on the strength of a report from environmental experts, which found there could have been between one and 10 of the 6 in amphibians on the site.”

Now, following that advice has cost a cash-strapped county council over 1 million pounds, at a rate of 1 million pounds per no newt found. Are we all becoming pissed as newts?  What, then, will be cost of ‘global warming’ policies - a trillion pounds per no ‘global warming’ effect or reduction?

‘Environmental experts’ and so-called ‘Green Gurus’ have become one of the curses of the age. They are frequently mere jobsworths, spouting ill-digested PC nonsense like pickled newts. Unfortunately, in the current economic climate, they are also too often a threat to our economy.  Perhaps we should make them an extinct species [such as Old ‘King Newt’ himself, Ken Livingstone, ex-Mayor of London] - all those well-meaning souls with soft, middle class ‘studies’ degrees, like ‘Environmental Studies’ and ‘Development Studies’. Yuk!

Oh boy! Macbeth’s three midnight hags would have a very expensive time of it these days: “Eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog".  “Cost an arm and a leg, love! I’d stick to a crystal ball like those ‘global warmers’!”