The Week That Was (Jan 3, 2009) brought to you by SEPP


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Townhall Meetings for TWTW Readers

We have had many requests to meet in person with our TWTW readers  and hold discussions on the science and politics of the GW issue.  Thanks to the generosity of our donors – for which sincere thanks – we will have travel funds to arrange briefings in many cities.  All are invited!

Needless to say, we welcomed this idea and plan to start here in the DC area in January, and continue in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California (possibly in Feb), in NY and New England (possibly in March), and in Ohio/ Chicago in May.

SEPP’s initial conference will be on Saturday, Jan 10, 10AM to Noon, at the Marriott Gateway Hotel in Arlington, VA.  It's right at the Crystal City Metro stop (Blue and Yellow line) and there is also plenty of free parking.  It looks like we will have about 50 people attending.  There is no further need to reply.

After all this e-mail correspondence, I look fwd to meeting many of you in person during 2009.

We wish you a Happy New Year!


Quote of the Week:

"The liberal world order will not let go of their global-warming assault on free economies until hell freezes over -- by which point, obviously, the global-warming theory will be visibly disproven." -- Tony Blankley


The Big Motown Bailout – and Global Warming

There seems to be a consensus in Congress, and even in the White House, to bail out GM and Chrysler with a multi-billion dollar injection of cash.  What this will do is essentially transfer money from taxpayers to the UAW, the autoworkers’ union.  This will raise a question of equity, since there are many other deserving groups that will ask for financial support -- not least taxpayers themselves, and a future generation of workers who will be paying off huge federal debts. 

Some foresaw the demise of the Detroit Big Three.  But it came about more suddenly and sooner, in 2008, because of the oil price spike (which ruined the market for profitable SUVs) and because of the credit collapse brought on by the mortgage crisis.  (Actually, if the oil spike and credit crunch had never occurred, the auto companies might have been on track to recover.)  One can argue about whether past management or shoddy cars share much of the blame; but in any case, those reasons are no longer valid.  (Sales for all auto companies have fallen by like percentages in recent months, so product mix is not the problem.)  Instead, Detroit carries two major burdens: 1) the huge cost of autoworkers’ wages, healthcare and pensions; and 2) the strident (and costly) demands from Congress and environmentalists, with global warming as their latest excuse. 

The UAW burden on the average car was at least $1000 and made the Big Three uncompetitive with Japanese cars manufactured in the United States with non-union labor. 

The environmental burden is really two-fold.  The oil price spike could have been moderated (and may have never occurred) if the enviros and Congress had not insisted on stopping offshore drilling and oil development in Alaska.  But the other burdens are even more insidious.  The first round of fuel-economy standards, imposed in the late 1970s, cut into the market share of US manufacturers and gave foreign companies the foothold they needed to expand sales in the US.  Recent tightening of the standards for light trucks (including SUVs) are squeezing GM, Ford, and Chrysler much more than Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

What exacerbated the situation was that the domestic companies, who knew how to manufacture fuel-efficient cars overseas at reasonable cost, were not permitted to add them to average out their fuel-efficiency numbers -- an important concession to the UAW engineered by Congress.

Even more disturbing is the new fuel-economy legislation (HR6) passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2007.  Under the new law, an additional 40% increase in fuel economy is required -- whether consumers want it or not.  The only way to accomplish that while still selling full-size pickups and SUVs is with hybrid technology that consumers aren't willing to pay for.  In theory, "plug-in hybrid" vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt could pull up the average economy of more conventional vehicles, but they require large, expensive batteries and a price increase of over $10,000 to cover their cost.  Such vehicles do not make economic sense -- even with gasoline at $3 to $4 per gallon.

Although the new federal fuel-economy standards are bad enough, the state of California is bent on one-upmanship.  Within days of the federal bill’s passing, the California Air Resources Board announced plans to set carbon-dioxide standards that require even higher fuel economy.  Some in Congress have even proposed preventing manufacturers from suing states that adopt more stringent standards.  Of course, we all know that the impact on CO2 levels would be negligible and the impact on climate unmeasurable.  But here we're talking about ideology: “saving the climate” seems more important than saving the economy and jobs

The outcome does not look too promising.  So far, the UAW has not shown much willingness to compromise in order to save Detroit  -- and jobs.  Even if the bailout goes through as planned, the future of a government-run automobile industry appears bleak.  So bankruptcy may be inevitable -- perhaps even within months, or whenever the money runs out.

There are those who argue that the companies should be put into bankruptcy now rather than later -- and those who argue that no one would buy a car from a bankrupt company.  The answer, I think, is to have what might be called a “virtual bankruptcy.”  This is essentially an arbitration process, presided over by an experienced retired bankruptcy judge, whose decisions are binding on the companies, autoworkers, and all other concerned parties.  It would produce the same outcome as a Chapter-11 reorganization but without the stigma of a bankruptcy.  Whether such a plan – or indeed any alternative – will satisfy enviro-extremists, bent on demonizing CO2, is very much an open question.

SEPP Science Editorial #1-09 (1/3/09)


John Christy and Roy Spencer (Univ of Alabama, Huntsville -- UAH) pioneered the methodology of extracting climatologically useful atmospheric temperature data from the satellite microwave (MSU) instrument – a great achievement, since the instrument was not designed for this purpose.


The analysis requires many kinds of corrections.  A competing group, RSS, pointed to one correction that the UAH group had overlooked: the influence of a slight decrease in satellite altitude due to orbit decay [1998].  UAH immediately made this correction -- a small change in the analysis algorithm.  It increased the temperature trend slightly -- although it is still much smaller than the surface trend.


But the RSS trend, based on an independent analysis of the same basic satellite readings, continued to show a larger, more positive trend than UAH – with the independent balloon data supporting UAH.  This discrepancy between RSS and UAH became a hot topic -- which has persisted.  Neither group, both very competent, could pinpoint the exact cause.


In Dec 2002, at a CCSP workshop in Arlington ,VA, I heard a full presentation of the RSS results by Carl Mears.  I noticed that the RSS temp record showed a small 'jump' around 1993, where a transition occurred between two satellites, with only a short overlap in time.  I then e-mailed Mears and Spencer (and a few others), and suggested a comparison of RSS and UAH trends before and after 1993, to see if that might be the origin of the discrepancy.  It's really an obvious idea; I was not prepared (or capable) to dig into the detailed analyses of the two groups to isolate the actual cause.


Such a comparison has just been performed by Douglass and Christy (my co-authors in a 2007 paper) in an appendix to a paper on climate sensitivity (published in Energy & Environment, Aug 2008).  As I had expected, in support of the UAH result, they now find agreement between RSS and UAH trends -- although I will hold up until Carl Mears confirms this result.


Apparently, D&C do not consider their finding of great importance.  I beg to differ.  To see why, pls look at Figs 9a and 9b in the NIPCC report "Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate"  -- and move the RSS point to coincide with UAH.  Disagreement between greenhouse models and observed trends now becomes quite obvious – and strengthens the NIPCC conclusion that “Nature, not human activity, rules the climate.”


1.  2008: A sea change in the global warming debate?

3.  California’s new regulations on diesel emissions

5.  The best argument against Cap&Trade: Money and lobbyists hurt European efforts


Al Gore: The real Flat Earther  How many times in history has any scientific theory had as much dissent from scientists as global warming? Six hundred and fifty scientists from all over the world have challenged the global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and by former Vice President Al Gore.  See

Link should work: If not, try this one:


Two new valuable climate blogs appeared this week.  Dr. Roy W. Spencer, author of the best selling book, Climate Confusion, and Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, has started blogging at  Dr. Robert Bradley, author of Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy, and others now blog at

As reported in the Belfast (No Ireland) Telegraph, 31 Dec 2008:  Environment minister Sammy Wilson: “I still think man-made climate change is a con. Spending billions on trying to reduce carbon emissions is one giant con that is depriving third-world countries of vital funds to tackle famine, HIV and other diseases.”

The DUP minister has been heavily criticised by environmentalists for claiming that ongoing climatic shifts are down to nature and not mankind.  But while acknowledging his views on global warming may not be popular, the East Antrim MP said he was not prepared to be bullied by eco fundamentalists.

Solar Meets Polar as Winter Curbs Clean Energy: Many alternative energy sources like wind turbines and
solar panels experience problems in cold weather.  Old Man Winter, it turns out, is no friend of renewable energy.
This time of year, wind turbine blades ice up, biodiesel congeals in tanks, and solar panels produce less power because there is not as much sun. And perhaps most irritating to the people who own them, the panels become covered with snow, rendering them useless even in bright winter sunshine.



Jim Hansen is at it again, but now a little more confrontational than usual:  For comment see

For a rebuttal of the ‘facts’ in the Hansen letter to Obama, see this analysis by Richard Courtney

“German CEOs for Climate Protection” -- the modern alchemists, changing carbon into gold – for themselves, of course


When I began writing about global warming climate change, public outcry was tremendous.  Amid a sea of media stories about the sins of our wasteful lifestyle, no one wanted to hear about contradictory research, conflicting data, or skeptical scientists. Now, over two years later, a funny thing has happened. The roles have shifted. My stories are the staid and ordinary ones.  It's the fellows predicting flood, famine, and disaster who are generating all the controversy. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. What happened?

2008 was the year predicted to be the "hottest in a century".  Instead it became the coldest of the decade. It was the year the North Pole would "melt entirely, allowing you to swim to it".  Instead, nuclear-powered icebreakers became trapped in unseasonably thick ice. It was a year of record-breaking cold and snow, everywhere from Baghdad to the beaches of Malibu. It was the year the "Gore Effect" entered the public vocabulary, as whenever global warming protestors got together to march, they were met with blizzards and ice storms.

Let's hope schadenfreude isn't a sin. Polls are clear.  Despite the media's increasingly shrill tone and ever-more unrealistic predictions, the public has lost all faith in global warming. After all, how many times can you say that this time the science is now finally proven, without being laughed at?

In some respects, that's good.  It means less chance of implementing incredibly damaging policies, policies that will have disastrous impacts on standards of living, especially among the poor. In other ways, it's bad. The overselling of inconclusive conjectures as "proven science" is leading some to distrust science itself.

Given that, I think the year should conclude with a reminder of just what the scientific debate -- minus its alarmist media trappings-- is really all about.  As a moderately well known skeptic, I sometimes surprise people when I say I believe in global warming. If we define the term as, "man is having some impact on global temperatures", then the evidence is fairly clear. That statement in itself, though, means nothing. Are we impacting it enough to matter? Can CO2 cause catastrophic climate change?

That debate revolves around a single number, one so important we have a special name for it. Climate Sensitivity.  How much will the earth warm if we double the amount of atmospheric CO2, or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases? That value is called climate sensitivity. If all else remains equal, it’s fairly easy to calculate: about half a degree C, a figure accepted by most proponents and skeptics of AGW alike. It's also a value far too small for concern. With that sensitivity, the planet would warm by maybe a quarter of a degree by the year 2100. Yawn.

But there's a wrinkle in that simple calculation. As greenhouse gases rise, other things change as well. Some are positive feedbacks, which lead to more warming. Some are negative feedbacks, which counteract the warming. Scientists in the modeling community tend to believe positive effects predominate; they bandy about sensitivity values from 2C all the way up to 6C or more. Observational earth scientists (primarily geologists, meteorologists, and some atmospheric physicists) tend to believe negative effects dominate, and that the actual value may be even smaller than 0.5C.

The problem is that no real evidence exists for strong positive feedbacks. Worse, they seem contradicted by the paleo-climatic history of the planet, which has never experienced runaway warming even when CO2 levels were ten or more times higher than they are today. Over geologic time, CO2 correlates very poorly with temperature, leading one to conclude that it's a very weak greenhouse gas.

There is other evidence against a high sensitivity. But the real point is this. Whichever side is right, the media (and a few researchers) have forgotten one of the basic rules of science. Until a theory can predict the unexpected, it should always be viewed critically. The ancient Greeks knew the stars moved, and they had a thousand theories to predict why it would keep happening.  Until we can explain past climate shifts and successfully predict future trends, global models are educational toys. Not indisputable evidence.

Some pundits are calling 2008 the year global warming was disproven. I prefer to call it the year science triumphed to alarmism.

By Christopher Booker, 27 Dec 2008

Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph.

Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favor of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artifact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.

Thirdly, as banks collapsed and the global economy plunged into its worst recession for decades, harsh reality at last began to break in on those self-deluding dreams which have for so long possessed almost every politician in the western world. As we saw in this month's Poznan conference, when 10,000 politicians, officials, and "environmentalists" gathered to plan next year's "son of Kyoto" treaty in Copenhagen, panicking politicians are waking up to the fact that the world can no longer afford all those quixotic schemes for "combating climate change" with which they were so happy to indulge themselves in more comfortable times.

Suddenly it has become rather less appealing that we should divert trillions of dollars, pounds, and euros into the fantasy that we could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent. All those grandiose projects for "emissions trading", "carbon capture", building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to "biofuels", are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess.

As 2009 dawns, it is time we in Britain faced up to the genuine crisis now fast approaching from the fact that unless we get on very soon with building enough proper power stations to fill our looming "energy gap" - within a few years our lights will go out and what remains of our economy will judder to a halt. After years of infantile displacement activity, it is high time our politicians along with those of the EU and President Obama's US were brought back with a mighty jolt into contact with the real world.


UCLA epidemiologist Prof James E. Edstrom, PhD and MPH, who has exposed the shoddy science EPA used to link passive smoking to lung cancer, is Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health and Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research focuses on the epidemiology of cancer and other major chronic diseases  in well-defined populations within California and the United States. He is currently investigating lifestyle and environmental factors in several large cohorts, including the California Cancer Prevention Study and national samples available from the National Center for Health Statistics. Here’s his take  on California’s new regulations on diesel emissions. 

“On December 12, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the most stringent regulations in the nation governing diesel emissions, justified primarily by CARB’s contentions that diesel fine particulate air pollution causes about 4,000 premature deaths per year in California.  These regulations are estimated to cost more than $5 billion to implement and will add an unnecessary burden on the already struggling California economy.

Before the vote, I presented CARB with evidence from six different studies that there is no current relationship between fine particulate air pollution and mortality in California.  In addition, several other California professors and I provided CARB with substantial additional evidence justifying postponement and reassessment of these Draconian diesel regulations.

However, CARB ignored all of this evidence and instead relied on a CARB Staff Report with selective evidence not applicable to California.  In addition, the lead author of this CARB Staff Report falsely claimed to have a Ph.D. in statistics from UC Davis and made other serious errors.  I described my indignation at these new regulations and at CARB’s obfuscation regarding questions about its report in a December 24 San Diego Union-Tribune editorial.  Hopefully, CARB’s diesel regulations will be reassessed before California's economy is further damaged.”

By T J Olson, January 1, 2009

To check a letter skeptical of man-made global warming (by R. A. Geise, “Global warming: Bah, humbug!” Dec. 23), the editors of The Summit Daily quoted the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the high-level of certainty for the claim that recent man-made global warming is pretty definite to them. Authority in science was therefore invoked to counter an ordinary citizen’s doubts. But who checks the authorities? In science, evidence does, because if the science is any good, evidence always trumps theory. To our good fortune, the founding director of the satellite division of the U.S. Weather Service, S. Fred Singer, did so only a few days ago. Allow me to present “Keeping the IPCC Honest” below [TWTW Dec 27], editing his technical language only for clarity and general readability.

by Ann Henderson-Sellers
Former Director, World Climate Research Programme at the World Meteorological Organisation

Here I want to go back and check whether the first glimpse we received of the "real gut feeling" of some of the IPCC authors and coordinators as they finished up the humungous task of completing the Fourth Assessment Report held steadfast throughout the Sydney meeting process and the subsequent re-writings of views and clarification and sometimes perhaps cleaning up of opinions. I have done this because I believe it is essential for the climate change research community to be transparent and honest about what it can and cannot deliver and how, if ever, current inadequacies can be resolved.
What follows is the text I drafted one year ago which itself came entirely from quotes from IPCC lead authors responding to a questionnaire sent out by GCOS-WCRP-IGBP. The full details of the questionnaire and the replies submitted, some of which came in after this draft was written, have since been restricted but an early summary can still be found.
In this article I report what these eminent folks said,  Every bullet point comprises a reply submitted by an IPCC respondent in mid-2007 and the only editing has been to improve the English, clarify or spell out acronyms. .. . .
. . . Serious inadequacies in climate change prediction that are of real concern


The Earth has been warming ever since the end of the Little Ice Age. But guess what: Researchers say mankind is to blame for that, too.

As we've noted, 2008 has been a year of records for cold and snowfall and may indeed be the coldest year of the 21st century thus far. In the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month of October.

Global thermometers stopped rising after 1998, and have plummeted in the last two years by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius. The 2007-2008 temperature drop was not predicted by global climate models. But it was predictable by a decline in sunspot activity since 2000.

When the sun is active, it's not uncommon to see sunspot numbers of 100 or more in a single month. Every 11 years, activity slows, and numbers briefly drop near zero. Normally sunspots return very quickly, as a new cycle begins.. But this year, the start of a new cycle, the sun has been eerily quiet. The first seven months averaged a sunspot count of only three and in August there were no sunspots at all zero something that has not occurred since 1913.

According to the publication Daily Tech, in the past 1,000 years, three previous such events what are called the Dalton, Maunder and Sporer Minimums have all led to rapid cooling. One was large enough to be called the Little Ice Age (1500-1750).

The Little Ice Age has been a problem for global warmers because it serves as a reminder of how the earth warms and cools naturally over time. It had to be ignored in the calculations that produced the infamous and since-discredited hockey stick graph that showed a sharp rise in warming alleged to be caused by man.

The answer to this dilemma has supposedly been found by two Stanford researchers, Richard Nevle and Dennis Bird, who announced their "findings" at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco in December. According to them, man not only is causing contemporary warming. He also caused the cooling that preceded it.

According to Bird and Nevle, before Columbus ruined paradise, native Americans had deforested a significant portion of the continent and converted the land to agricultural purposes. Less CO2 was then absorbed from the atmosphere, and the earth was toasty.

Then a bunch of nasty old white guys arrived and depopulated the native populations through war and the diseases they brought with them. This led to the large-scale abandonment of agricultural lands. The subsequent reforestation of the continent caused temperatures to drop enough to bring on the Little Ice Age.

Implicit in this research is that the world would be fine if man wasn't in the way. We either make the world too cold or too hot, a view held by many in high places.

In a speech at Harvard last November, Harvard physicist John Holdren, President-elect Obama's choice to be his science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, presented a "top 10" list of warming solutions.

Topping the list was "limiting population,"
as if man was a plague upon the earth. This is a major tenet of green dogma that bemoans the fact that the pestilence called mankind comes with cars, factories and overconsumption of fossil fuels and other resources.

R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre of Canada's Carleton University, says: "I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun … is the ultimate source of energy on this planet."

Indeed, a look at a graph of solar irradiance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows little solar activity during the Little Ice Age and significant activity during recent times.

Don't blame Dick and Jane; blame sunspots.

Posted on January 1, 2009 by nhiemstra   

Al Gore’s global warming philosophy has been debunked by many scientists and studies, and now it has met the same fate at the hands of children, in The Sky’s Not Falling video/essay contest, sponsored by World Net Daily Books, formerly World Ahead Media.

The contest was launched early in 2008 and was designed to highlight the absurdities, untruths and downright lies that children are being taught daily about climate change in public school. Russell Young, a Minnesota writer who captured first place in the essay competition, explained the importance of using celebrities such as Gore and the medium of movies to enhance the educational experience for students. Here are just a few other films schools might use for their teaching curriculums. The Polar Express could be used for instruction on transportation systems. Alien, could be used to teach students about anatomy and homeland security, all at the same time, he wrote.

Far fetched, you say. Maybe, but Moby Dick taught me all I ever needed to know about whales, and I’m a marine biologist, he said. Kids across America are being victimized by global warming hysteria, according to Holly Fretwell, author of The Sky’s Not Falling: Why Its OK to Chill About Global Warming. I wanted to know what kids just like mine are hearing in their classrooms, Fretwell said. Running a contest was a fun way to go about it. All of us, and our children in particular, are being confronted daily with half-truths and falsehoods about global warming, noted Fretwell. Its just plain wrong. She said that was her inspiration for the book in the first place. “I want kids to get excited about science and to understand that it’s human ingenuity and a can-do spirit, not government sanctions, that will lead us to a bright environmental future. I want kids to learn how to become critical thinkers,” she said.

Contest winners will receive a cash prize, a copy of The Great Global Warming Swindle DVD courtesy of, and copies of The Sky’s Not Falling for their local school library and their kids science classroom.