The Week That Was (Feb 7, 2009) brought to you by SEPP


Quote of the Week:

A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have. --- Thomas Jefferson



Tom Randall of Winningreen LLC reports (Feb 5):  Steven Chu, President Obama's new Secretary of Energy, held his first news conference last Tuesday, urging a propaganda campaign to scare the public into spending additional billions of dollars to combat mythical global warming. The eminent Dr. Chu told reporters that farms and vineyards in California, our most productive agricultural state, could disappear by the end of the century, the state's cities could become uninhabitable and 90 percent of the Sierra's snow pack would disappear if climate change isn't addressed.  He complained, "I don't think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen."  He then said he thought it was important to include billions in the Democrats' stimulus package to develop alternative energy and re-educate the American people about the "global warming crisis."
According to Randall, there seem to be four possibilities here. 1. Dr. Chu is actually a good scientist and knows there is no evidence to support man-made global warming.  2. He is a fraud of a scientist who actually believes this crap.  3.  He is simply hustling money for his favorite national laboratory, Lawrence-Berkeley, which he sent off on a global-warming fool’s chase while he was director there. 4.  He is just trying to please his new boss -- not Mr. Obama -- but his real boss, Carol Browner (Obama’s climate czar).

SEPP’s view:  Chu is a good scientist but uninformed about climate science.  Two questions:  1) Will he allow himself to become informed?  2) Will he then change his mind?  [To quote John Maynard Keynes: "If the facts change, I'll change my opinion. What do you do, sir? "



SEPP Science Editorial #6-09 (2/7/09)


Returning to the Antarctic:

You may recall our skepticism about reported Antarctic warming [Science Editorial #4-09 (1/247/09)]:

Recall that Professor Eric Steig et al last month announced in Nature that they had spotted a warming in West Antarctica that previous researchers had missed through slackness - a warming so strong that it more than made up for the cooling in East Antarctica.  Finally, Global Warming really was global.
The paper was immediately greeted with suspicion, not least because one of the authors was Michael Mann, ‘inventor’ of the infamous hockey stick, now discredited, and the data was reconstructed from very sketchy weather-station records.  But also, because the Steig result was contradicted by the much superior MSU data from satellites.


As reported by Australia’s Herald Sun (Feb 4), the warming trend 'arises entirely from the impact of splicing two data sets together'  Read this link and this to see Steve McIntyre’s superb forensic work. Why wasn’t this error picked up earlier? Perhaps because the researchers got the results they’d hoped for, and no alarm bell went off that made them check. Now, wait for the papers to report the error with the zeal with which they reported Steig’s warming.


University of Toronto geophysicists have shown that should the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) collapse and melt in a warming world, as many scientists are concerned it will, it is the coastlines of North America and of nations in the southern Indian Ocean that will face the greatest threats from rising sea levels.  The research is published in the February 6 issue of Science magazine
“This concern was reinforced further in a recent study led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington that showed that the entire region is indeed warming.”


Well now, not only is there no indication of a collapse of the WAIS – but it’s not even warming.  The researchers end their news release with:  “The most important lesson is that scientists and policy makers should focus on projections that avoid simplistic assumptions."   I agree fully.


1.  Lessons from Europe (for Obama on Global Warming) – Murray, Calzada, Stagnaro


2.  California: from green deal to economic suicide – Stephen Moore


3.  Laughing at global-warming talk – Deroy Murdock

4.  Poor benighted idiots – Richard North


5.  Speech at EU Parliament -- Roger Helmer, MEP


7.   A Global-Warming Scare Story – Chip Knappenberger


"Scare," a two-minute video highlighting the scare tactics of global-warming alarmists, has made its debut on the Internet.  The video is available at Heartland's Web site, on YouTube at: and on several other sites on the World Wide Web.  Heartland released the video in the wake of former vice president Al Gore's claim before a U.S. Senate committee January 28 that "scientists are practically screaming from the rooftops" about the threat of global warming.

The first part of "Scare" shows President Barack Obama asserting that "the science is settled" on global warming and alarmist predictions of death and destruction. The voice-over suggests some of the alarmist propaganda is backed by "corporations heavily invested in so-called green technology."  With video footage of social and political unrest flashing, the video warns that the "cost of force-feeding these technologies into every corner of our lives could bankrupt a world already teetering on financial ruin."

The second half of the video features several science-based facts about climate change, including that the Earth has been cooling in recent years and global temperatures have been warmer than today for most of the past 10,000 years.  It concludes by inviting viewers to attend the International Conference on Climate Change, where they can learn the Earth isn't in crisis, and the presenters "have the science to prove it.  Approximately 1,000 scientists, economists, policy experts, elected officials, and civic and business leaders are expected to attend the ICCC on March 8-10 in New York City.   For more information, contact Dan Miller, (312) 321-4000 or
China Dams Reveal Flaws In Climate-Change Weapon

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on February 23, the first U.S. spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide, and hopefully define better its sources and sinks  A complementary Japanese satellite is already collecting data that may settle ongoing disputes about CO2.
Convenient Fibs about an Underlying Truth: Al Gore’s Tortured Brief on Climate Change’s Causes, Effects, and Solutions  by Prof Caleb Rossiter (American Univ):  Long but well worth reading

Dutch journalist Karel Beckman's 'Confessions of a Climate Doubter' has been published in the 'European Energy Review'.

Forthcoming book: "Heaven and Earth: Climate change - The missing science" (Connor Court Publishing 2009) by Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at The University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne where he was Professor and Head (1991-2005). His previous book, A Short History of Planet Earth, won the Eureka Prize.




As reported by the sensationalist BBC on Jan 27:  A mathematical model based on fading sea ice and the population growth of emperor penguins suggests their likely demise.  The ‘research’ is published in the journal Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences.   (I am not surprised)


A glimpse at Algore’s lecturing contract with UCSD    GORE_WalkerAgency_Contract2.pdf
(And that was before he garnered the Nobel Peace Prize)



Iain Murray, Gabriel Calzada, Carlo Stagnaro


The recent European Union climate agreement provides a useful warning to incoming President Obama and his team when they consider what to do about global warming. The rhetoric from the EU may sound nice, but when it comes to translating words into action, Europe has shown that the job is harder than it looks. EU member states have found it very difficult to reduce emissions, meet renewable energy targets or create lasting green jobs.


The European Union has had a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gas emissions in place for several years now, but has failed to make much dent in emissions. This is important to America, because a cap-and-trade scheme is President Obama's preferred policy vehicle for delivering emissions reductions. Yet the European experience with cap-and-trade should sound alarm bells.


The scheme has been repeatedly gamed and manipulated by industry and governments so that emissions have actually increased faster than the those of the United States, with none of the big reductions promised materializing. Industries have enjoyed windfall profits from emission credit trading, and some U.S. firms also have hoped to cash in - Enron and more recently Lehman Brothers were major proponents of American adoption of cap-and-trade policies.


For everyone else, however, results have not been so happy. European households have seen electricity bills rise. Europe has become more dependent on Russian gas. And a recent study by the British think tank Open Europe found the scheme's major costs accrued to essential public-service facilities like schools and hospitals.


Meeting renewable energy targets has been no walk in the park, either. Leaked British government documents reveal how meeting the target of 20 percent of all energy being from renewable sources by 2020 is next to impossible.


In addition, the massive conglomerate of subsidies and mandates necessary for such an energy supply transformation would create large distortions that would severely hamper sound functioning of the market. Indeed, former Business Secretary John Hutton hinted that Prime Minister Gordon Brown should join with more skeptical European countries, such as Poland, to lobby for a reduction in the targets.


Spain, meanwhile, faces the prospect of government-induced "green" unemployment. Spain's renewable energy sector expanded very quickly due to large government incentives - which the government has since realized are unsustainable, so the industry is now cutting back. While Spanish taxpayers and consumers will pay higher bills for years, the stock value of green energy firms has crashed more than the stock market index, even in these troubled times. Up to 40,000 jobs could be lost in 2009 as the number of "green jobs" contracts.


Moreover, most of these "green jobs" were transitory, anyhow, mostly connected with construction, not operation. A study funded by the German Environment Ministry shows the net effect on job creation - the number of green jobs created minus the number of jobs lost because of higher energy prices - can be positive only insofar as the country remains a net technology exporter. Thus, the net effect on net European job creation can easily be negative.


Considering all this, it should not be surprising that the recent negotiations proved difficult - and yielded results that environmental pressure groups described as "embarrassing." Those "embarrassing" results are due to a confused, self-contradictory policy that sets unrealistic targets, while it creates a way out of those targets.


The European Commission called for introducing tough rules to cut emissions and promote renewables, but a coalition of countries - including Italy, the Eastern member states, and, albeit less vocally, Germany and Spain - asked for and got exceptions to reduce the economic impact of the climate deal.


This means emission allowances will be auctioned, but most will be distributed for free by governments to the economic sectors most effective in lobbying. This all comes at a very high price - not just great economic costs but major regulatory uncertainty.


Hence, a greater degree of political interventionism is likely to come. National governments will be able to spend the revenues from auctions in subsidizing further green energy projects, adding to existing market distortions.


Given the huge amount of money that will be doled out directly or indirectly - by EU decisions over whether a sector can be exempted from buying allowances - one might expect the commission's efforts will boost not just the green industry, but also the industries that can provide gifts and junkets for officials in Brussels.


And what is the upshot of all these huge costs and market distortions? A minuscule cut in emissions - 4 percent by 2020, far below the ambitious 20 percent target. As the Romans said, the mountains went into labor, and gave birth to a ridiculous mouse.


It is often said American Democratic politicians are more eager than their Republican counterparts to learn from Europe. In the case of global warming policy, such learning would be welcome, because the lessons from Europe are clear: Rhetoric can outpace action, and the action itself can be much more painful than rhetoric suggests.


Iain Murray, Carlo Stagnaro and Gabriel Calzada are policy institute fellows in the United States, Italy and Spain, respectively, and are founding members of the Prague Network, an international coalition on energy issues chaired by Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic.



Green policies have a tendency to push states into the red.

By STEPHEN MOORE, The Wall Street Journal, 31 January 2009


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007 -- in anticipation of the new mandates -- California has led the nation in job losses.


The regulations created a cap-and-trade system, similar to proposed federal global-warming measures, by limiting the CO2 that utilities, trucking companies and other businesses can emit, and imposed steep new taxes on companies that exceed the caps. Since energy is an input in everything that's produced, this will raise the cost of production inside California's borders.


Now, as the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It's become clear to nearly everyone that the plan's backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. "We've been sold a false bill of goods," is how Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who has been the GOP's point man on environmental issues in the legislature, put it to me.


The environmental plan was built on the notion that imposing some $23 billion of new taxes and fees on households (through higher electricity bills) and employers will cost the economy nothing, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Almost no one believes that anymore except for the five members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This is the state's air-quality regulator, which voted unanimously in December to stick with the cap-and-trade system despite the recession. CARB justified its go-ahead by issuing what almost all experts agree is a rigged study on the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system. The study concludes that the plan "will not only significantly reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also have a net positive effect on California's economic growth through 2020."


This finding elicited a chorus of hallelujahs from environmental groups. The state finally discovered a do-good policy that pays for itself. Californians can still scurry around in their cars, heat up their Jacuzzis, and help save the planet. But there was a problem. The CARB had commissioned five economists from around the country to critique this study. They panned it.


Harvard's Robert Stavins, chairman of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's economic advisory committee under Bill Clinton, told me that "None of us knew who the other reviewers were, but we all came up with almost the same conclusion. The report was severely flawed and systematically underestimated costs." Another reviewer, UCLA Prof. Matthew E. Kahn, a supporter of the new regulations, criticized the "free lunch" aspect of the report. "The net dollar costs of each of these regulations is likely to be much larger than is reported," he concluded. Mr. Stavins points out that if these regulations are a net boon for businesses and the economy, "why would you need to impose regulations like cap and trade?"


The Sacramento Bee, which has editorialized in support of the new regulations, was aghast at CARB's twisted science. We have to "be candid about the real costs of the transition," a cautionary editorial advised. "Energy prices will rise, and major capital investment will be needed in public transit and new transmission lines. Industries that are energy intensive will move elsewhere."


The green lobby has lectured us for years that global warming is all about the sanctity of science. Those who question the "scientific consensus" on catastrophic atmospheric changes are belittled as "deniers." Now, in assessing the costs, the greens readily cook the books and throw good science out the window. "To most of the most strident supporters of this legislation," says Mr. Niello, "the economic costs don't really matter anyway, because we are supposedly facing an environmental apocalypse."


Mr. Schwarzenegger fits into that camp. He recently declared: "I recommend very strongly that we move forward . . . . You will always have people saying this will lose jobs."


Meanwhile, the state is losing jobs, a lot of them. California's unemployment rate hit 9.3% in December, up from 4.9% in December 2006. There are now 1.5 million Californians out of work. The state has the fourth-highest housing foreclosure rate in the nation, has lost more businesses than any state in recent years, and is facing a $40 billion deficit. With cap and trade firmly in place, the economic situation is only likely to get worse.


Other states are plundering the Golden State's industries by convincing businesses to pick up stakes and move out before the cap-and-trade earthquake hits. Governors and Washington politicians who want to reduce their "carbon footprint," but are worried about the more immediate crises of cascading unemployment, unbalanced budgets, and the housing-market collapse, would be wise not to follow California's lead. Green policies have a tendency to push states into the red.


Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page.



By Deroy Murdock, Ventura County Star ^ | 2/3/2009 |


SAN FRANCISCO So-called global warming has shrunk from problem to punch line. And now, leftists are laughing, too. It’s hard not to chuckle at the idea of Earth boiling in a carbon cauldron when the news won’t cooperate:


Nearly four inches of snow blanketed the United Arab Emirates Jebel Jais region for just the second time in recorded history Jan. 24. The local dialect has no word for snowfall.


Dutchmen on ice skates sped past windmills as canals in Holland froze in mid-January for the first time since 1997.


January saw northern Minnesota’s temperatures plunge to 38 below zero, forcing ski-resort closures. A Frazee, Minn., dog-sled race was canceled, due to excessive snow. Days ago, ice glazed Florida's citrus groves.


As Earth faces global cooling, both troglodyte right-wingers and lachrymose left-wingers find Al Gore’s simmering-planet hypothesis increasingly hilarious:


In terms of (global warning’s) capacity to cause the human species harm, I don’t think it makes it into the top 10, Dr. Robert Giegengack, former chairman of University of Pennsylvania’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, told the Pennsylvania Gazette. Giegengack voted for Gore in 2000, and says he likely would again.


Commentator Harold Ambler declared that he voted for Barack Obama for a thousand reasons. He added that Gore owes the world an apology for his actions regarding global warming. He called Gore’s assertion that the science is in on this issue the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of mankind.


Not only is it false that human activity has any significant effect on global warming or the weather in general, but for the record, global warming is over, retired Navy meteorologist Dr. Martin Hertzberg wrote on  The physical chemist and self-described scientist and lifelong liberal Democrat added: The average temperature of Earths atmosphere has declined over the last 10 years. From the El Nino Year of 1998 until January 2007, it dropped a quarter of a degree Celsius. From January 2007 to the spring of 2008, it dropped a whopping three-quarters of a degree Celsius. Those data further prove that the fear-mongering hysteria about human-caused global warming is completely unjustified and is totally counterproductive to our nations essential needs and security.


It is a tribute to the scientific ignorance of politicians and journalists that they keep regurgitating the nonsense about human-caused global warming, left-wing commentator and columnist Alexander Cockburn wrote. The greenhouse fear mongers rely on unverified, crudely oversimplified models to finger mankind’s sinful contribution -- and carbon trafficking, just like the old indulgences, is powered by guilt, credulity, cynicism, and greed.


Some leftists believe the collective hallucination of warmism distracts from what they consider urgent progressive priorities:


The most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might, University of Ottawa physics professor Dr. Denis Rancourt has written. The global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth.


Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, previously Education Minister in France’s late 1990s Socialist government, denounced the prophets of doom of global warming. He sounded amused in a 2006 LExpress article. The ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people.


The so-called consensus on man-made global warming is not holding up, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told his colleagues Jan. 8. It is becoming increasingly clear that skepticism about man-made global warming fear is not a partisan left versus right issue.


So-called global warming has accomplished the impossible: It has united liberals and conservatives in laughter.


Deroy Murdock writes with Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail him at



Posted by Richard North, EUREFERENDUM Blog       5.2.09


It was in late January that [Christopher] Booker [Telegraph, UK] picked up on the ongoing saga of the "incredible warming Antarctic", the warmists' answer to the previous obstinacy of that region to conform with the creed that requires that we should all fry unless we reduce our carbon emissions.


Notwithstanding that the original figures were, shall we say, the mother of all inventions, extrapolating limited data from a few ground stations to provide "data infill" of the areas not covered, it now appears that even those data were flawed.


Courtesy of Watts up with that and diverse posts on Steve McIntyre's ClimateAudit, there unravels a tale so convoluted as to defy easy description. But it all points to the single observation that the temperature data on which the original warmist claims were based rely on unreliable sensors. They are not worth the snow they were buried in.


The broader point, however, is that while the findings from the Watts/McIntyre duo with their expert readers - are hugely entertaining and provide yet more evidence that the warmists are a bunch of charlatans, they will make no difference at all to the warmist creed and will have no effect whatsoever on the body politic.


The problem is that while the warmists jibber about the science being "settled", this is not about science. We are talking here about the scare dynamic, a social phenomenon which obeys its own rules, where science takes the back seat. It provides merely a patina of authenticity to confirm that which the warmists hold, with or without the science.


Such is the nature of the dynamic that the belief comes first and the "science" is then cherry-picked (and distorted) to provide the evidence to support the belief. And, in the nature of things, any "inconvenient truths" are automatically discarded. Watts and McIntyre fall into that category.


Thus, we get one of the High Priests of the belief system UN Sec Gen Ban Ki-moon, preening himself in New Delhi today at the start of a three-day conference on you guessed it "sustainable development".


Oblivious to the shaky foundation on which his belief system is based and entirely uncaring, he trots out the same old mantras, telling us that that "failure to tackle climate change will lead to major economic upheaval".


"Deserts are spreading. Water scarcity is increasing. Tropical forests are shrinking. Our once prolific fisheries are in danger of collapse," he intones. "Failure to combat climate change will increase poverty and hardship. It will destabilise economies, breed insecurity in many countries and undermine our goals for sustainable development."


The problem is, of course, that you cannot deal with other peoples' belief systems by rational argument or by other means. The Romans tried those, as did many after them, and look where that got them.


Oddly enough, the death of religion is not persecution -- faith is strongest where there are attempts to suppress it - but indifference and scorn. Few faiths survive both, and the latter is perhaps in this case more powerful. We should not resent the warmists, or fight them [We’ll bankrupt ourselves and freeze to death if we don’t! -cs] . We should pity them, in the same way one would the village idiot, for the delusions in which they are trapped, hoping that one day they are cured of their afflictions.


The nightmare is, of course, the damage these people are doing while in the grip of their delusions, which they inflict on all of us. But the derision of the crowd will eventually get through. These people need our pity. We should not stint in giving it to them.



Feb 4, 2009  by Roger Helmer, MEP


Mr. President,

Five hundred years ago, there was a consensus amongst scientists that the World was Flat.  They were wrong.  In the 1970s, after three decades of global cooling, there was a consensus among scientists that we were facing a new Ice Age.  They were wrong.


In 1999, everyone believed that the Millennium Bug would create a global disaster by closing down computer systems across the world.  Weapons systems would fail, commerce stop, planes fall out of the sky.  They were wrong.  Nothing at all happened.


Today, there is said to be a consensus around catastrophic man-made global warming.  It too is wrong.

Nor is it a consensus.  The myth of consensus is a propaganda triumph for the Warmists.  But repeated surveys, both of the scientific literature and of working climate scientists, show a wide range of views on both sides, with many believing that there is too little data to be sure.


It is true that the world has warmed slightly, although slowly and intermittently, over the last 150 years.  But this is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate cycles that gave us the Roman Optimum, the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.


We are now planning to spend unimaginable sums of money on mitigation measures which will simply not work, and by damaging our economies will deny us the funds we need to address real environmental problems.


By Gretchen Randall,  January 26, 2009

Issue: James Lovelock, a British environmentalist who came up with the Gaia hypothesis in the 1970s, said in a recent interview, that most of the green stuff is a verging on a gigantic scam.  He went on to say, Carbon trading, with its huge government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It's not going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it'll make a lot of money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning.

He even criticized the push towards wind energy:  I am not against renewable energy, but to spoil all the decent countryside in the UK with wind farms is driving me mad. It's absolutely unnecessary, and it takes 2500 square kilometres to produce a gigawatt - that's an awful lot of countryside.

In addition, Lovelock  calls sequestering carbon dioxide dangerous and a waste of time and money.


by Chip Knappenberger, January 27, 2009


Wow. Could the Houston Chronicle have fit more distortions about climate change into a 420-word editorial than it managed to do in its January 25th piece, The heat is on: New data debunk claims that global warming is hype?


It’s hard to figure out how. The Houston Chronicle article proclaims that two studies unveiled in the past week provide powerful refutations to claims that climate change is either exaggerated or non-existent.


First off, I can think of basically no one who thinks climate change is non-existent; there is ample evidence that climate at local, regional, and global scales is and has been changing and will change into the future--in part from human activities. On the other hand, I’ll gladly list myself among those who think that the impacts of coming climate change are largely being exaggerated.


The Houston Chronicle and the two articles it makes reference to, do little to change my mind -- nor should they change anyone else’s. The first article was a pronouncement from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, headed by Dr. James Hansen, that global temperatures in 2008 ranked among the top-10 highest temperatures on record (beginning in 1880).


The Chronicle didn’t mention that each of the past 7 years were warmer, globally, than last year, or that the rise in global temperature has slowed considerably over the past 12 years or so, compared with the period prior. Hardly signs of a catastrophe brewing.


The second article highlighted in the editorial concerned a recent finding on temperatures across Antarctica. The editorial trumpeted that temperatures across the frozen continent were found to be rising during the past 50 years (something that had not been in doubt), but didn’t mention that, during the past 20 or 30 years, the icy temperatures had changed little. Again, little evidence that something terrible is afoot.


In fact, climate models project that, as Antarctica warms, more snow falls there, accumulating over time (because it is far too cold to melt in most places) and leading to a slowdown in the rate of global sea level rise. The Chronicle’s comment that a 16- to 20-foot rise in sea level could result from the melting of West Antarctica, while true, is simply something that is far beyond well-studied expectations.


Toss in a couple of throw-away lines about increasing ice loss across Greenland and expectations of stronger hurricanes (both of which have been greatly tempered in the recent literature, e.g. Nick et al., 2009; Vecchi et al., 2008) and you have the all the makings of a good scare story -- rich in imagery but lean on substance.

References: Nick, F. M., et al., 2009. Large-scale changes in Greenland outlet glacier dynamics triggered at the terminus. Nature Geoscience, DOI:10.1038, published on-line January 11, 2009.


SEPP Comment:  We tend to be more skeptical than Chip about human contribution and Antarctic warming