The Week That Was (May 10, 2008) brought to you by SEPP

Quote of the Week:


If an honest man is wrong, after demonstrating that he is wrong, he either stops being wrong or he stops being honest.  by Anon


More on the Cooling: data cancel climate models [ITEM #1]


Walt Williams reflects on Earth Day: Failed predictions [ITEM #2]


Costly climate policy threatens to bring down UK government  [ITEM #3]

Majority of Britons opposed to green taxation [ITEM #4], not as gullible as its political and media leaders.

Thieves fall out over Cap & Trade [ITEM #5]


Himalayan glaciers: Newsweek reporting fails again  [ITEM #6]


Antarctic ice shelf collapsing?  Much ado about nothing [ITEM #7]


Solar fantasies: Impractical schemes [Item #8]


Wikipedia  Trashing the bio entries of climate skeptics [ITEM #9]


An Australian colleague sent me a YouTube of my NIPCC talk at the March NY Conference.  He improved it with little pointers for the slides. Very effective.

View it and see why I don't accept a significant human influence on global warming

From the 2007 meeting in The Hague, see

Myron Ebell: Full-page ad on page A11 of today’s New York Times by NRDC in support of Lieberman-Warner.  The large headline states: THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN THAT CAN SAVE THE WORLD.  The sub-headline is even more outrageously false: HOW AMERICA GETS RICHER BY REDUCING GLOBAL WARMING.  It would be accurate if it said, how some Americans get richer by reducing global warming.

William Pizer, an economist at Resources for the Future and a lead author on the most recent report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said at a symposium earlier this week here in Washington: "As an economist, I am skeptical that [dealing with climate change] is going to make money. You'll have new industries, but they'll be doing what old industries did but a higher net cost.... You'll be depleting other industries."


News you can use:

Women face tougher impact from climate change.  Reuters, Tue May 6, 2008

Surge in fatal shark attacks blamed on global warming




nvestors Business Daily,| May 5, 2008

Climate Change: Proving the advantage of actual observations, German researchers say Earth will stop warming for at least a decade. It seems ocean currents, not SUVs, help determine the temperature of Earth.

When the United Nations World Meteorological Organization recently reported that global temperatures had not risen since 1998, the explanation given by WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud was that the cool spell was the effect of the Pacific Ocean's La Nina current, "part of what we call 'variability.' "

Well, oops, the Earth will do it again. According to a report by German researchers published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, shifting Atlantic Ocean currents will cool parts of North America and Europe over the next decade as well.

Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science at Germany's Kiel University says "in the short term, you can see changes in the global mean temperature that you might not expect given the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

The key to the Kiel team's prediction is the natural cycle of ocean currents called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO for those who aren't oceanographers or don't play Scrabble. The AMO is closely related to the warm currents that bring heat from the tropics to the coasts of Europe and North America. The cycle is not well understood, but is believed to repeat every 60 to 70 years.

According to the greenies, the Earth is supposed to warm continuously and disastrously without taking any rest breaks. Yet after taking actual data from the Labrador Sea where the Gulf Stream gives up its warmth before sinking and returning southward -- and projecting forward -- the Kiel team says the Atlantic currents will keep rising temperatures in check around the world, much as the warming and cooling associated with El Nino and La Nina in the Pacific affect global temperatures.

Howard Hayden, physics professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, has described the machinery of the computer models used by the IPCC and others to predict imminent and cataclysmic climate change as ones that take "garbage in" and spit "gospel out."

In a study published last August in the journal Science, U.K. researchers said:

"A common criticism of global climate models . . . has been that they only include factors such as solar radiation, atmospheric aerosols and greenhouse gases, which are affected by changes outside the climate system (while neglecting) internal climate change variability that arises from natural changes from within the system, like El Nino, fluctuations in ocean circulation and anomalies in ocean heat content."

Understanding the ocean's effect on climate took a quantum leap forward in 2003 when the first of 3,000 new automated ocean buoys were deployed, a significant improvement over earlier buoys that took their measurements mostly at the ocean's surface.

The new buoys, known as Argos, drift along the world's oceans at a depth of about 6,000 feet constantly monitoring the temperature, salinity, and speed of ocean currents. Every 10 days or so a bladder inflates, bringing them to the surface as they take their readings at various depths.

Once on the surface, they transmit their readings to satellites that retransmit them to land-based computers.

The Argos buoys have disappointed global warming alarmists in that they have failed to detect any signs of imminent climate change. As Dr. Josh Willis noted in an interview with National Public Radio, "there has been a very slight cooling" over the buoy's five years of observation.

Actual observations trump computer models and as we learn more about the Earth we start to realize how puny and irrelevant man's contribution to climate change really is.

While irresponsible environmentalists panic over warming, the Earth cools and goes with the ocean flow.

Here the actual publication:

Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector

N. S. Keenlyside1, M. Latif1, J. Jungclaus2, L. Kornblueh2 & E. Roeckner2

Nature 453, 84-88 (1 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06921

Abstract:  The climate of the North Atlantic region exhibits fluctuations on decadal timescales that have large societal consequences. Prominent examples include hurricane activity in the Atlantic1, and surface-temperature and rainfall variations over North America2, Europe3 and northern Africa4. Although these multidecadal variations are potentially predictable if the current state of the ocean is known5, 6, 7, the lack of subsurface ocean observations8 that constrain this state has been a limiting factor for realizing the full skill potential of such predictions9. Here we apply a simple approach that uses only sea surface temperature (SST) observations to partly overcome this difficulty and perform retrospective decadal predictions with a climate model. Skill is improved significantly relative to predictions made with incomplete knowledge of the ocean state10, particularly in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific oceans. Thus these results point towards the possibility of routine decadal climate predictions. Using this method, and by considering both internal natural climate variations and projected future anthropogenic forcing, we make the following forecast: over the next decade, the current Atlantic meridional overturning circulation will weaken to its long-term mean; moreover, North Atlantic SST and European and North American surface temperatures will cool slightly, whereas tropical Pacific SST will remain almost unchanged. Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.

When asked, recently, the lead author replied "The IPCC would predict a 0.3C warming over the next decade. Our prediction is that there will be no warming until 2015 but it will pick up after that."


By WALTER E. WILLIAMS, IBD, May 06, 2008

Now that another Earth Day has come and gone, let's look at some environmentalist predictions they would prefer we forget.

    At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind."

    C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed."

In 1968, professor Paul Ehrlich, former Vice President Al Gore's hero and mentor, predicted that there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and "in the 1970s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death."  Ehrlich forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and that by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million.

    Ehrlich's predictions about England were gloomier: "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

    In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome warning that the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987 and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992. 

    Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book "The Doomsday Book," said Americans were using 50% of the world's resources and "by 2000 they (Americans) will, if permitted, be using all of them."

In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, "The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000."

   Harvard biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." That was the same year that Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in Look magazine, that by 1995 "somewhere between 75% and 85% of all the species of living animals will be extinct."

It's not just latter-day doomsayers who have been wrong; doomsayers have always been wrong.

    In 1885, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that there was "little or no chance" of oil being discovered in California, and a few years later they said the same about Kansas and Texas.

    In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey advised us that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the American Gas Association: There's a 1,000- to 2,500- year supply.

Here are my questions:

    In 1970, when environmentalists were making predictions of man-made global cooling and the threat of an ice age and millions of Americans starving to death, what kind of government policy should we have undertaken to prevent such a calamity?

    When Ehrlich predicted that England would not exist in the year 2000, what steps should the British Parliament have taken in 1970 to prevent such a dire outcome?

    In 1939, when the Department of the Interior warned that we only had oil supplies for another 13 years, what actions should President Roosevelt have taken?

Finally, what makes us think that environmental alarmism is any more correct now that they have switched their tune to man-made global warming?


Summaries from CCNet 72/2008 - 6 May 2008 

LABOUR'S new green targets will cost every family in Britain more than UKL3,000 [$6000], a Government dossier has warned. The decision by ministers to sign up to "unachievable" EU pledges on renewable energy will leave taxpayers with a [UKL]75 billion bill. Most of this will be passed on to householders in higher costs.     --Jason Groves, Daily Express, 4 May 2008

People's electricity bills are going to soar because of this EU target. The EU have chosen the least effective and most costly way to go green and we are all going to have to pay as a result. Incredibly, the Government don't seem to have realised what they were signing up to. We are handing over a huge amount of money and it's not clear that we will get anything for it.    --Neil O'Brien, Open Europe, 4 May 2008

Five million drivers will pay UKL50 or 90 extra in road tax next year because of the Government's covert decision to include older family cars in new higher tax bands. Treasury figures show that a million of those will incur at least another 130 rise the following year, meaning that their road tax will have more than doubled over two years.      --Ben Webster, The Times, 3 May 2008

Ken Livingstone's decision to campaign hard on climate change was a strange lapse of political judgment. He may have won the dubious honour of being selected as the 'greenest' candidate by Friends of the Earth, but this has little resonance with the ordinary, cash-strapped Londoner.    --Phil Stevens, Adam Smith Institute, 3 May 2008

Recent polls suggest people are unwilling to throw money at global warming fantasies; no big surprise there. It is a surprise, however, to discover politicians (now in the UK, as in the US) are becoming aware of this. In the face of this Greenism rejection, the warmenist 'Independent' is suddenly sceptical: "We should be sceptical about the notion of radical shifts in mood in politics ... Now is the worst time for the Conservative Party to retreat from green politics." Why? They've just started winning.  --Tim Blair, 4 May

[Labor] Party sources confirmed Mr Brown will ditch the "bin tax" on householders who fail to recycle their waste properly and shelve the delayed increase in duty on petrol in the autumn. He will back away from "green" taxes until the economy improves.    --Colin Brown, The Independent, 6 May 2008

You can already foresee what could become a key theme in the next election: The Liberals champion a carbon tax and the Conservatives accuse them of punishing consumers, attacking resource-rich Alberta, stifling Newfoundland's fledgling boom and up-ending the Ontario economy just as it edges toward recession. If [these arguments] prevail, we could end up not only with a Conservative majority, but a deteriorating environment and a weakening economy.  --Susan Riley, Canwest News Service, 6 May 2008

After years of debate over global warming, a measure to dramatically reduce carbon emissions in the United States is set to come to the U.S. Senate floor in June. But Ohio's two senators are likely to vote against it, contributing to what many people expect will be the bill's failure.   --The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5 May 2008

Climate change has become the new orthodoxy for our times. It is the moral fable that justifies new limits and restrictions for our shiny 21st century. It provides, in a post-tradition world, a new internalised framework for individuals to govern their behaviour in the name of reducing their carbon footprint. In this battle, science and religion have united behind the same orthodoxy to lower our expectations (one with a secular, environmentalist but deeply anti-humanist pedigree). --Bruno Waterfield, Daily Telegraph, 5 May


By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor, The Independent, 2 May 2008

More than seven in 10 voters insist that they would not be willing to pay higher taxes in order to fund projects to combat climate change, according to a new poll.  The survey also reveals that most Britons believe "green" taxes on 4x4s, plastic bags and other consumer goods have been imposed to raise cash rather than change our behaviour, while two-thirds of Britons think the entire green agenda has been hijacked as a ploy to increase taxes.

The findings make depressing reading for green campaigners, who have spent recent months urging the Government to take far more radical action to reduce Britain's carbon footprint. The UK is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, a target that most experts believe will be difficult to reach. The results of the poll by Opinium, a leading research company, indicate that maintaining popular support for green policies may be a difficult act to pull off, and attempts in the future to curb car use and publicly fund investment in renewable resources will prove deeply unpopular.

The implications of the poll could also blow a hole in the calculations of the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, who was forced to delay a scheduled 2p-a-litre [15 cents per gallon] rise in fuel duty until the autumn in his spring Budget, while his plans to impose a showroom tax and higher vehicle excise duty on gas-guzzling cars will not take effect for a year. He is now under pressure to shelve the increase in fuel duty because of the steep rise in the price of oil.

The public's climate-change scepticism extends to the recent floods that inundated much of the West Country, and reported signs of changes in the cycle of the seasons. Just over a third of respondents (34 per cent) believe that extreme weather is becoming more common but has nothing to do with global warming. One in 10 said that they believed that climate change is totally natural.  The over-55s are most cynical about the effects of global warming with 43 per cent believing that extreme weather and global warming are unconnected.

Three in 10 (29 per cent) of all respondents would oppose any more legislation in support of green policies, while close to a third of citizens (31 per cent) believe that green taxes will have no discernible effect on the environment since people will still take long-haul flights regularly and drive carbon-heavy vehicles


SEPP Comment:  A hint to politicians everywhere of things to come


Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 8 May 2008

You may have wondered why there has been no Congressional effort to actually legislate the "global warming" policies that will supposedly save the planet from itself. For six years, the Democratic minority indulged in often-nasty rhetoric, with the gist being: We know the problem. We know the solution. Your hearings are a delaying tactic. We. Must. Act. Now!

After winning the majority, Dems muttered for a while about how that mean George Bush would just veto their legi-salvation anyway: Why bother? We'll just work for a bigger majority - and the White House. Though, as I have noted on Planet Gore before, Bush had threatened no veto - and on those occasions since January 2007 when he did threaten a veto, in other policy contexts, the Dems typically took it as a challenge to pass something. So there seemed to be something missing from their political calculation, or at least their public rhetoric.

Today's E&E Daily (subscription required) has a hilarious apologia, "Sponsors lower expectations for Lieberman-Warner bill," offering a walk-through of the phenomenon afflicting our crusaders. Here as in pretty much every country in the world (posturing notwithstanding), global warming is such a grave threat that other people need to "do something." Given the inescapable price tag, lawmakers looked and discovered that anything they propose would actually be doing nothing - besides harming state economies. And if forced to choose, it seems they would prefer it be other states' economies that are harmed. 

   "The Lieberman-Warner-Boxer camp is facing increasing demands from all corners of the Senate to change the bill that would establish a cap-and-trade system with mid-century emission limits of 70 percent below 2005 levels.

   Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown told the Cleveland Plain Dealer this week he was holding out in his support for the Lieberman-Warner bill because it did not do enough to protect his home state's manufacturing jobs while still stimulating investments in alternative energy. "I have serious concerns about any climate-change bill that doesn't take into account energy-intensive industries like we have in Ohio - glass and chemicals and steel and aluminum and foundries," Brown said.

   "He's concerned," Brown spokeswoman Joanna Kuebler explained yesterday. "He's leaning toward a no."

   Sen. Maria Cantwell [NB: Democrat] of Washington said in an interview that she is also pushing for changes in the Lieberman-Warner bill to benefit her home state's abundant supplies of hydropower. "We want to make sure people who are already good at reducing CO2 emissions will continue to do that and not be penalized," she said. Cantwell explained that she has not joined the bill as a cosponsor because she wants to keep working on it.

   Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said he wants a more beneficial emission allocation system for his state's rural energy producers." Obviously, I represent a state that's a significant power producer," Conrad said. "Most people don't think of North Dakota that way. But we produce electricity for nine states. We have the largest coal gasification plant in the country. We have very large reserves of lignite coal." [Meanwhile], Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) maintained that he is a long way from backing the Lieberman-Warner bill. Instead, he is taking a close look at an alternative climate bill circulated from Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) that opens with tax incentives for new energy technologies but falls back on cap and trade if the other ideas have not worked by 2030."

That mean George Bush and those nasty filibustering Republicans are blocking a climate bailout. Or, maybe not so much. As my CEI colleague Myron Ebell characterizes this: thieves fall out when it comes time to split up the loot. 


By Chief Meteorologist Craig James, of a Michigan NBC TV affiliate)

[Note: For a complete report on Begley’s embarrassing climate reporting see]


Excerpt: In the May 5, 2008 edition of Newsweek, there is an article by science writer Sharon Begley trying to convince us that global warming isn’t good for crops after all. Her first example is a glacier in the Himalayas called the Gangotri glacier. She writes that over the last 25 years the glacier has shrunk about half a mile, a rate three times the historical norm. The implication is, of course, that this was caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 produced by human activities. Since this glacier supplies 70% of the flow to India’s Ganges River during the dry season, loss of the glacier would cause great harm to India’s crop irrigation. However, this article in the Times of India, contains the following quote: “According to Geological Survey of India data, between 1935 and 1996, Gangotri glacier receded at an average 18.80 metres per year. Studies by other institutions show that yearly recession dropped to 17.5 metres during 1971-2004 and further to 12.10 metres in 2004-05.”  The river flow may be falling and the glacier retreating, but is it really three times the historical norm? The Indian government calls it a natural phenomena that may have been exacerbated by the building of four dams.

    Her next example is that of a diminishing snowpack in the United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Was she out of the country this winter? Take a look at these snow depth comparisons from the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center in Seattle, Washington. You can see that this year’s snow pack in the Northwest was between 133% and 330% above normal. In many locations in the central Rockies, the Midwest and northern New England, the highest snowfall amounts of any year were recorded. Of course, one year does not make a trend, but since the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has gone negative, this may indeed be the beginning of a trend.


Ice Cap, 25 March 2008

Icecap Note: Lets put this in perspective. The account may be misinterpreted by some as the ice cap or a significant (vast) portion is collapsing. In reality it and all the former shelves that collapsed are small and most near the Antarctic peninsula which sticks well out from Antarctica into the currents and winds of the South Atlantic and lies in a tectonically active region with surface and subsurface active volcanic activity. The vast continent has actually cooled since 1979.

    The full Wilkins 6,000 square mile ice shelf is just 0.39% of the current ice sheet (just 0.1% of the extent last September). Only a small portion of it between 1/10th-1/20th of Wilkins has separated so far, like an icicle falling off a snow and ice covered house.  And this winter is coming on quickly. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere winter and 6 months ahead of the peak. Wilkins like all the others that temporarily broke up will refreeze soon. We are very likely going to exceed last years record. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear.


By George Smith

The January issue of Scientific American magazine has a front page article on US energy independence from foreign oil, by building a large 2.94 TW photovoltaic power plant in the useless desert wastelands, of California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.  The authors are Ken Zweibel, James Maso, and Vasilis Fthenakis.  A smaller 558 GW thermal solar plant would also be required.  The PV plant would supply electricity at 5c/kWh, and cost $1.20/kW peak, which comes to around $4.20 per square foot; which is a very good deal if you are building any kind of structure capable of surviving that 100-year storm.

It's a somewhat modest undertaking that will be ready by 2050.  The required land area is only 30,000 square miles for the PV plant and another 16,000 for the thermal plant, which will sell electricity for 9c/kWh, and cost $3.70 per Watt to build.

Now 30,000 square miles is a quite interesting number and it converts into 19.2 million acres; which just fortuitously happens to be the area of ANWR.   But whereas drilling for oil in ANWR would require 2000 acres for the drill sites, leaving only 19.198 million acres for wildlife, the desert southwest plant would require the whole 10.2 million acres, plus of course the 10.2 million acres for the thermal plant; and it is for certain that the whole area would be strictly off limits to humans since just some ordinary rocks tossed onto the solar cells would be very destructive, so it would be constantly patrolled by armed guards if it was to survive even an amateur attack.

Silicon solar cells have a temperature coefficient of -2mVolts per deg C, and operate at 500 mVolts output Voltage, so cooling of the solar arrays would be crucial to good efficiency, so you would certainly want to have reflective type infrared filters on the surface to keep out solar rays which are beyond the bandgap of the silicon.  Actually they are considering even more exotic semiconductor materials, that would exploit a larger fraction of the solar spectrum but they are only talking about 14% efficiency for the cells.

Now I like the idea of using solar where possible, but what is the likelihood that environmental concerns that already fought to protect the desert south west from destructive practices, while allowing human usage, would sit still for the complete exclusion of personal use from nearly 50,000 square miles of very delicate desert habitat which is home to all manner of endangered species; even more so than ANWR is.

Now my only reason in pointing this comparison out, is to make the point, that renewable green energy (solar) is extremely diffuse, and gathering it up in large amounts is not as simple as it is cracked up to be.

And estimates of the construction cost are a pipedream.


SEPP comment:  And who will keep dust and sand – and the  little desert animals -- off the collectors?



Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, May 03, 2008

Next to Al Gore, William Connolley may be the world's most influential person in the global warming debate. He has a PhD in mathematics and worked as a climate modeller, but those accomplishments don't explain his influence -- PhDs are not uncommon and, in any case, he comes from the mid-level ranks in the British Antarctic Survey, the agency for which he worked until recently.

    He was the Parish Councillor for the village of Coton in the U.K., his Web site tells us, and a school governor there, too, but neither of those accomplishments are a claim to fame in the wider world. Neither are his five failed attempts to attain public office as a local candidate for South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council as a representative for the Green Party.

    But Connolley is a big shot on Wikipedia, which honours him with an extensive biography, an honour Wikipedia did not see fit to bestow on his boss at the British Antarctic Survey. Or on his boss’s boss, or on his boss's boss's boss, or on his boss's boss's boss's boss, none of whose opinions seemingly count for much, despite their impressive accomplishments. William Connolley's opinions, in contrast, count for a great deal at Wikipedia, even though some might not think them particularly worthy of note. "It is his view that there is a consensus in the scientific community about climate change topics such as global warming, and that the various reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summarize this consensus," states his Wikipedia page, in the section called "Biography."

    Connolley is not only a big shot on Wikipedia, he's a big shot at Wikipedia -- an administrator with unusual editorial clout. Using that clout, this 40-something scientist of minor relevance gets to tear down scientists of great accomplishment. Because Wikipedia has become the single biggest reference source in the world, and global warming is one of the most sought-after subjects, the ability to control information on Wikipedia by taking down authoritative scientists is no trifling matter.

    One such scientist is Fred Singer, the First Director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service, the recipient of a White House commendation for his early design of space satellites; the recipient of a NASA commendation for research on particle clouds -- in short, a scientist with dazzling achievements who is everything Connolley is not. Under Connolley's supervision, Singer is relentlessly smeared, and has been for years, as a kook who believes in Martians and a hack in the pay of the oil industry. When a smear is inadequate, or when a fair-minded Wikipedian tries to correct a smear, Connolley and his cohorts are there to widen the smear or remove the correction, often rebuking the Wikipedian in the process.

    Wikipedia is full of rules that editors are supposed to follow, as well as a code of civility. Those rules and codes don't apply to Connolley, or to those he favours.

    "Peiser's crap shouldn't be in here," Connolley wrote several weeks ago, in berating a Wikipedian colleague during an "edit war," as they're called. In such a war, rival sides change the content of a Wikipedia page from one competing version to another, often with bewildering speed. (Two people, landing on the same page seconds apart, might obtain entirely different information.) In the Peiser case, a Wikipedian stopped a prolonged war by freezing a continually changing page, to prevent more alterations until the dispute was settled. As occurs on such occasions, readers are alerted that Wikipedians are warring over the page, and that Wikipedia was not endorsing the version of the page that had been frozen. To Connolley's chagrin, however, the version that was frozen cast doubt on claims of a consensus on climate change. Although this was done within Wikipedia rules, Connolley intervened to revert the page and ensure Wikipedia readers saw only what he wanted them to see.

    Peiser is Benny Peiser, a distinguished U.K. scientist who had convincingly refuted a study by Naomi Oreskes that claimed to have found no scientific papers at odds with the conventional wisdom on climate change. The Oreskes study -- cited by Al Gore in his film, An Inconvenient Truth-- is an article of faith to many global warming doomsayers and guarded from criticism by Connolley et al. Peiser and other critics of Oreskes's study, meanwhile, get demeaned.

    Connolley and his cohorts don't just edit pages of scientists actively involved in the global warming debate. Scientists who work in unrelated fields, but who have findings that indirectly bolster a critique of climate change orthodoxy, will also get smeared. So will non-scientists and organizations that he disagrees with. Any reference, anywhere among Wikipedia's 2.5-million English-language pages, that casts doubt on the consequences of climate change will be bent to Connolley's bidding.

    Connolley no longer works as a climate modeller -- he now works as a software engineer for a company called Cambridge Silicon Radio. And as an engineer of opinion at Wikipedia. –


Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute, and author of The Deniers.    *************************************************