Perspective Amiss At @AmSciMag

Summary of the latest email edition of “Science In The News Weekly“, “a digest of science news stories appearing in the mainstream media. It is delivered every Monday afternoon (or Tuesday afternoon in the case of a Monday holiday) as part of Sigma Xi’s public understanding of science program area, in conjunction with American Scientist magazine

Science-y news

Another science-y news

Yet another science-y news

World to end(*)

More science-y news

More more science-y news

In particular the (*) bit is of the form:

Scientists say that if carbon dioxide emissions don’t begin to decline soon, the complex fabric of marine ecosystems will begin fraying–and eventually unravel completely.

Evidently reason takes a momentary leave of absence at American Scientist like in many other places, whenever carbon dioxide is mentioned.

BTW the link is to the study that used naturally-occurring CO2 seeps to try to figure out what might happen in 2100, an impressive collection of “might’s” if you ask me.

Humans Are Not Vermin

Letter sent to the IHT-

Dear Editors

So you’ve finally realized there’s a set of simple innovations that could save the lives of millions right now, help the environment and perhaps even slow down global warming (see John Tierney’s “A renegade climate idea that could work“, IHT, Jan 18, 2012).

The fact that those actions have been neglected thus far because of lack of “glamour” and an obsession with cutting carbon dioxide emissions tells everything one needs to know about the inhumanity sadly intrinsic to many environmental activist organizations.

Humans are not vermin. Children dying as we speak because of black carbon filling their lungs in windowless huts are not trade-offs to sacrifice in a fight to convince the world to use fewer SUVs.

Prof Roger Pielke Jr’s “iron law of climate policy” says CO2 emission cuts policies always lose against economic growth pushes. Such a rule ought to be expanded : because we’re humans, and we should remember our humanity. Therefore policies that save human lives have to take precedence over attempts at defining global environment-related treaties. Always.

If The Skeptic Society Were Not Fast Asleep On AGW (Anecdotes Do Not Make A Science)

This is what the Skeptic Society would write regarding the constant barrage of reports, blog posts, news items, peer-reviewed articles about the current and future (lack of) catastrophes related to man-made CO2 emissions – they would write it, that is, if the Skeptic Society were not fast asleep on the topic, most of the time – but not always – seeing itself as Defender of the Orthodoxy of Established Science rather than, shock! horror!, a society of skeptics:

Anecdotes Do Not Make a Science:
The ThisShouldBeWhatSkepticsAreAbout Reply
by non-Michael Shermer, non-Arthur Benjamin & non-James Randi

We realize that hour-long “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) demonstrations” do not a scientific experiment make, but there is no question that you warmists present them as if it were a scientifically known fact that “we are experiencing or going to experience Catastrophic AGW” to some degree. In your blog posts and articles, in fact, you state that these “physical phenomenon” is “something that is happening to us all,” thus stating your support of the “fact” of the existence of catastrophical man-made global warming. But scientifically speaking, the “facts” of the matter are that there is no positive evidence whatsoever for the existence of any of the increase in exceptional weather you discuss, when records are compiled in controlled scientific conditions.

Even the pro-AGWers who do serious responsible research on the matter are now admitting that their entire research program, after over fifteen decades of data collection, has produced nothing statistically significant. The few “blips” in the data that appear, quickly disappear when conditions were instead expected to replicate. This is one of the beautiful components of the scientific method—its self-correcting nature. For those who are corrected, however, it may not seem so attractive.

(Of course, Mr. Warmist, if your arguments for the validity of CAGW claims are based upon religious, rather than logical, scientific reasoning, many of these arguments may not apply to your statements. In that case we are arguing about a preferred belief system rather than a provable—or disprovable—claim).

Our position is not meant to be scornful or condescending. We only want to make the point that under controlled measurements over many decades, there has never been a proper and statistically significant finding of catastrophic increase in exceptional weather events. What CAGW people have are anecdotes about hurricanes or Arctic sea ice, and anecdotes do not make a science. Anecdotes are stories related by participants: “I saw a tornado and thought ‘this is what CAGW is about’.” Or: “I spotted some maybe-dead polar bears and made a guess about how many more have died because of CAGW.” And so on.

The simple fact is that thousands and thousands of CAGW stories, as impressive as they may seem, do not make a science. Ten anecdotes are no better than one anecdote, and a hundred anecdotes are no better than ten. Actually, a hundred anecdotes are worse than ten, if you do not also have statistically significant data showing a worrisome change in weather patterns and events somewhere in the world. It is a fact, Mr. Warmist, that NO results shown so far have been adequately obvious and clear-cut. In the case of old data—and the reputation of CAGW rests almost entirely on old, dubious paleoclimate data—those requirements often cannot be applied, obviously. But if your CAGWers are able to NOW produce data, we can show you how standard statistics can be applied. We await, with interest, your response to this suggestion.

Anecdotes are only useful to illustrate a phenomenon that already has been proven scientifically, in this case, statistically. If you do not have this, and as far as we can tell you do not, then all those anecdotes indicate is that there is something else going on that has absolutely nothing to do with CO2 emissions. To repeat the six-word phrase that should be memorized by every CAGWer and skeptic (it is difficult for all of us to understand), and repeated every night before bed:

ANECDOTES DO NOT MAKE A SCIENCE.

(freely inspired to the Skeptics Society reply to the Association for Research and Enlightenment, an ESP advocacy group)

(Failure at the New York Times and ClimateWorks) Why So Many People Are So Unperturbed

It says a lot about contemporary “green” journalism when a report that links the Permian extinction to “methane burps” using a Baltimore Sun article of Dec 2004 is described as “the best job I [Justin Gillis of the NYT] have seen of explaining, in layman’s terms, why scientists keep pressing the issue“.

Perhaps we simply shouldn’t have anymore laymen writing about environmental stuff.

Anyway, here’s my comments to “The Costs of Delay” by Hal Harvey and Sonia Aggarwal for the ClimateWorks Foundation:

—-

How many times can the same concepts be regurgitated before people recognize they don’t lead anywhere?

The report says “A delay—of even a decade— in reducing CO2 emissions will lock in large-scale, irreversible change“. Ironically, this same sentence has been heard first more than TWO decades ago.

It then goes on to “Carbon “sinks” are disappearing” but “the proportion of total emissions soaked up by the oceans between 2000 and 2007 _MAY_ have declined by as much as 10 percent.” I am afraid such weaselry with words is very 2008.

the more CO2 [the seas] absorb, the more acidic they become“: a physical impossibility due to all that salt. Seawater could become less alkaline, but to call that “more acidic” is again a trite, old way of playing with words.

The pages on “impacts” only deal with future stuff that “may“, “is likely“, etc etc happen. That means it “may not”. “Estimates” are so 2008 too.

It gets even more ridiculous when the Permian extinction is linked to a “methane burpby way of a Baltimore Sun article of 2004. Is that a joke? And the authors proceed to mention two studies that depict adaptation in worse terms than even the Stern Review, thereby forgetting all the research that points in the other direction.

In conclusion the Climate Works report shows exactly why so many people are so unperturbed. The case for mitigation against climate change should be made in a less amateurish, less partisan, and decidedly more scientific way. IF that’s possible, that is.

Will CO2 Cause Bieber Fever In Fish Worldwide?

No, I am not talking about this Fish. Or that Phish. I am talking about fish of the swimming variety, recently in the news as under multiple lines of attack by (you guessed it right) increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

Poor little ocean inhabitants will run out of breath, or go deaf. Or maybe not, as both papers compensate with novelty what they lack in robustness.

In the meanwhile, though, there are some indications that, at least for now, great white sharks are into AC/DC. That could be useful news (if under threat of attack, just convince a fellow diver to burst into a watery version of “Back in Black” and you’ll be fine. You, that is, not the fellow diver).

Why stop there, though? We can combine all these pieces of evidence to come up with a realistic scenario (as realistic as anything ever written by the likes of David Suzuki or Paul R. Ehrlich, that is): with human-caused CO2 emissions apparently unstoppable, fish the world over will experience irregular heartbeats, and hearing difficulties causing a decline in musical taste.

That is, they will all suffer “Bieber Fever“.

Please help prevent such a tragedy, by reducing your CO2 emissions.

Reports of UK Demise Greatly Exaggerated – Just Don't Trust A Word The Government Says

UPDATED with BBC News link

Pray for Britain“? UK “off a cliff“? Yesterday, I thought not.

omnologos says:

Hey, it’s the UK Government, they’ll fiddle with the figures and tamper with the reports of independent panels appointed by them, declare “victory!” and move on without having achieved any practical goal at all.

omnologos says:

the UK has a long history of bummer pledges met by creative accounting. This’ll be another example.

And in fact…the BBC flagship “Today” programme had Roger Harrabin pondering a few hours ago how the new “legally-binding” emission targets can be dependent on what the rest of EU will do (mysteriously, there’s little on the BBC website as yet). And the FT reports that it’s all going to be about a fantastic “2030 target“, and Chancellor George Osborne made it known that “nothing has been agreed“.

So the rule is as usual…especially when “targets” are involved, do not trust a word that comes out of the UK Government. Ever.

Andy @Revkin Points To The End of The Line For The IPCC And Its Lot

Thanks Andy!

Beginning in the 1980s, [University of Pennsylvania Professor Philip] Tetlock examined 27,451 forecasts by 284 academics, pundits and other prognosticators. The study was complex, but the conclusion can be summarized simply: the experts bombed. Not only were they worse than statistical models, they could barely eke out a tie with the proverbial dart-throwing chimps. [...] The least accurate forecasters, [Tetlock] found, were hedgehogs: “thinkers who ‘know one big thing,’ aggressively extend the explanatory reach of that one big thing into new domains” and “display bristly impatience with those who ‘do not get it,’ ” he wrote. Better experts “look like foxes: thinkers who know many small things,” “are skeptical of grand schemes” and are “diffident about their own forecasting prowess.”

So there we have it…experts of the “big thing” called “climate change”, aggressive (to the point of hiding declines, preventing publication of competing ideas, inserting unsubstantiated critiques in the IPCC report, etc etc) and definitely “impatient” with us little humans wondering aloud about their certitudes (any post at RC, Connolley, Deltoid, Romm, etc etc keeps confirming this point).

Note how none of the above can be defined as “gross negligence” or “conspiracy”, and yet despite all the whitewashing by the Climategate inquiries, there is a scientific consensus, and the best of our scientific knowledge demonstrates, that all that bunch, and pretty much all the bigwigs around the IPCC, they ARE “least accurate forecasters”. QED.

For more discussion about “wrongology”: here and here. Read also here a critique-essay by Tetlock himself, listing a set of criteria suggested by David Freedman, author of Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us—And How to Know When Not to Trust Them as signs of claims we should be “especially wary of”

  1. dramatic (“claiming to have invented the psychological equivalent of the telescope qualifies”)
  2. a tad too clear-cut (“devoid of qualifications about when propositions do and do not hold”)
  3. doubt free (“portraying findings as beyond reasonable doubt and one’s measure as 100 percent pure”)
  4. universal (“implying that one is tapping into powerful unconscious forces that, hitherto unbeknownst to us, drive all human behavior”)
  5. palatable (“likely to appeal to one’s favorite ideological constituencies”)
  6. receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (“widely covered in the mass media and millions have visited the website”)
  7. actionable implications (“claims about what employers now need to do to guarantee true equality of opportunity in workplaces”)

Let me now make a statement that is dramatic, very clear-cut, doubt-free, universal, palatable (to most of my readers), yet likely media-ignored and hardly actionable: the “scientific consensus” on climate-change (rather, the unscientific stuff that constitutes the IPCC–led propaganda bandied about as “scientific consensus”), scores 7 out of 7 on the Freedman scale and therefore should lie at the bottom of anybody’s trust level:

  1. dramatic (having reached the computational power needed to project future climate just as CO2 emissions got to a previously-unknown “dangerous” level)
  2. a tad too clear-cut (with climate change almost completely due to a “thermostat” called CO2)
  3. doubt free (the IAC spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about the absurd IPCC policy of underplaying uncertainties)
  4. universal (everybody will feel the (bad) consequences of climate change, and everybody is guilty of it)
  5. palatable (as it happens, the usual evils of capitalism and freedoms are the underling cause of climate change)
  6. receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (shall I really comment this?)
  7. actionable implications (every ha’penny worth of a politician understands how many things can be pinned upon the bandwagon called “climate change”)

And I find one sentence by Tetlock as especially relevant to the climate debate:

Whatever may be the merits of the underlying science in the peer-reviewed literature, in the public forum, the ratio of pseudoexpertise to genuine expertise is distressingly high.

ps Yes, I might be wrong. On the other hand, I am not asking for billions of dollars for dubious research, have never attempted to restrict anybody’s liberty, don’t use the ‘net to show off my superiority complex, do let almost every comment free on this website, etc etc)

Disasters Caused By (Fear Of) Climate Change

Climate change has caused incredible suffering already.

Actually, climate change hasn’t done much, or perhaps anything at all (yet?). The reason for the “incredible suffering” has been the fear of climate change. For example:

How many more victims of AGWers are needed, before the catastrophists see what they’re doing to our world?

Nuke The Toxic Humans!

Recent entries from the Warmist camp:

  1. Genghis Khan was good regarding CO2 emissions, in particular due to his mass-killing attitude
  2. Nuclear war is good for global warming, as it reverses it for a while (no prob there, we can start a new war when needed)
  3. Exploding people including children is good for action against global warming/CO2 emissions/climate change

Who’s going to join the dots and push the appropriate nuclear button, for the good of the planet of course?

The Weather Is Really Changing (In 1953) (plus Attributions and CO2)

Yes it’s another old New York Times article, this time from July 12, 1953. Stories of unusual weather, retreating ice caps, extreme events (at the time it was tornadoes). Yada yada yada.

Couple of interesting details. Journalist Leonard Engel provides a list of past attributions to human activities:

Unusual weather  inevitably stirs up speculation as to the cause, in part, no doubt, because we like to talk about the weather anyway. And prominent event coincident with the exceptional weather is apt to be blamed. Heavy rains during World War I were popularly attributed to artillery bombardments in France. During the Twenties and Thirties it was fashionably to lay abnormal weather (along with other odd occurrences) to changes in the sunspot cycle. Today the popular villains  of freak weather are atom-bomb tests and the activities of rainmakers.

Engel mentions also greenhouse gases and in particular the concentration of CO2

In 1850 the air contained somewhat less than thirty parts of carbon dioxide per 1,000 parts of air. In the hundred years since, industrialized, urbanized man has poured unprecedented quantities of carbon dioxide out of home and factory chimneys [...] As a result, there are now thirty-three parts of the gas per 1,000 in the atmosphere instead of thirty.

Assuming Engel was just victim of some conversion mistake, and he meant 330ppm, it is curious to note that the figure is somewhat off Keeling’s original 1955 value of 310ppm.

Addendum to Skeptic's Dictionary: Hidden Persuaders Of Anthropogenic Global Warming

(original here of course, with plenty of links to explore each dictionary entry below in depth)

(the text outside < blockquote > is (mostly) mine)

hidden persuaders: A term used by Geoffrey Dean and Ivan Kelly (2003) to describe affective, perceptual, and cognitive biases or illusions that lead to erroneous beliefs.

A NOTE TO THOSE OF AGW-BELIEVING ATTITUDE:

The hidden persuaders sometimes seem to affect people in proportion to their intelligence: the smarter one is the easier it is to develop false beliefs. There are several reasons for this: (1) the hidden persuaders affect everybody to some degree; (2) the smarter one is the easier it is to see patterns, fit data to a hypothesis, and draw inferences; (3) the smarter one is the easier it is to rationalize, i.e., explain away strong evidence contrary to one’s belief; and (4) smart people are often arrogant and incorrectly think that they cannot be deceived by others, the data, or themselves

And now for some examples:

 

ad hoc hypothesis: An ad hoc hypothesis is one created to explain away facts that seem to refute one’s belief or theory. Ad hoc hypotheses are common in paranormal research and in the work of pseudoscientists. It is always more reasonable to apply Occam’s razor than to offer speculative ad hoc hypotheses.

AGW example: The discovery that aerosols have cooled the Earth just when the Earth was cooling, miraculously declining their action exactly when the Earth was warming due to CO2 emissions.

AGW example: The discovery that heavy (winter) snow and cold temperatures are exactly caused by temperature increases

 

affect bias: Our judgment regarding the costs and benefits of items is often significantly influenced by a feeling evoked by pictures or words not directly relevant to the actual cost or benefit

AGW example: Justifying reduction in CO2 emissions by way of how “green” things could become, and civilization “sustainable” in “harmony” with nature.

 

apophenia: Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. “The propensity to see connections between seemingly unrelated objects or ideas most closely links psychosis to creativity … apophenia and creativity may even be seen as two sides of the same coin”. In statistics, apophenia is called a Type I error, seeing patterns where none, in fact, exist.

AGW example: The propensity to see Anthropogenic Global Warming at work in each and every (bad) thing that happens anywhere on Earth, including in earthquakes

 

autokinetic effect: The autokinetic effect refers to perceiving a stationary point of light in the dark as moving

AGW example: The incredible inability of past and present temperature measures to record the actual values, leading to contemporary researchers having to continuously adjust the figures (lowering the old ones, increasing the new ones)

 

availability error: availability heuristic, determining probability “by the ease with which relevant examples come to mind” (Groopman 2007: p. 64) or “by the first thing that comes to mind” (Sutherland 1992: p. 11)

AGW example: The IPCC declaring in 2007 that tens of thousands of indicators were all compatible to global warming, even if the overwhelming majority of those indicators was about Europe alone

 

backfire effect: The “backfire effect” is a term coined by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler to describe how some individuals when confronted with evidence that conflicts with their beliefs come to hold their original position even more strongly

AGW example: AGWers patting each other in the back about climate science remaining totally unscathed by the Climategate e-mails

 

change blindness: Change blindness is the failure to detect non-trivial changes in the visual field.

AGW example: The obsession with computing linear trends, making it impossible even to fathom the step-function behaviors (=”tipping points”) the very same AGWers like to talk about

 

Clever Hans phenomenon: A form of involuntary and unconscious cuing

AGW example: Journalist AGWers crowding RealClimate to know how long to count for

 

Clever Linda phenomenon: A form of involuntary and unconscious cuing

AGW example: Climate scientists writing to journalists making sure they conform, because fortunately, the prestige press doesn’t fall for this sort of stuff, right?

 

clustering illusion: The clustering illusion is the intuition that random events which occur in clusters are not really random events

AGW example: All the global village idiots that will tell the world how climate change is upon us, as shown by the year’s news, rather than by relying on properly conducted scientific research capable to isolate climate-change effects from others such as poverty

 

cognitive dissonance: Cognitive dissonance is a theory of human motivation that asserts that it is psychologically uncomfortable to hold contradictory cognitions. The theory is that dissonance, being unpleasant, motivates a person to change his cognition, attitude, or behavior. What distinguishes the chiropractor’s rationalization from the cult member’s is that the latter is based on pure faith and devotion to a guru or prophet, whereas the former is based on evidence from experience. Neither belief can be falsified because the believers won’t let them be falsified: Nothing can count against them. Those who base their beliefs on experience and what they take to be empirical or scientific evidence (e.g., astrologers, palm readers, mediums, psychics, the intelligent design folks, and the chiropractor) make a pretense of being willing to test their beliefs. They only bother to submit to a test of their ideas to get proof for others. That is why we refer to their beliefs as pseudosciences. We do not refer to the beliefs of cult members as pseudoscientific, but as faith-based irrationality. The chiropractors’ misguided belief is probably not due to worrying about their self-image or removing discomfort. It is more likely due to their being arrogant and incompetent thinkers, convinced by their experience that they “know” what’s going on, and probably assisted by communal reinforcement from the like-minded arrogant and incompetent thinkers they work with and are trained by. They’ve seen how AK works with their own eyes. They’ve demonstrated it many times. If anything makes them uncomfortable it might be that they can’t understand how the world can be so full of idiots who can’t see with their own eyes what they see!

AGW example: Thousands and thousands of words written by journalists, scientists and activists about anthropogenic global warming, and not one of them indicating what if anything could falsify…anthropogenic global warming

 

law of truly large numbers (coincidence): The law of truly large numbers says that with a large enough sample many odd coincidences are likely to happen.

AGW example: Romm scouring the planet’s press agencies to list all sorts of disasters that might somehow be connected to anthropogenic global warming

 

cold reading: Cold reading refers to a set of techniques used by professional manipulators to get a subject to behave in a certain way or to think that the cold reader has some sort of special ability that allows him to “mysteriously” know things about the subject

AGW example: The popularity of climate models’ ensembles among politicians looking for something to confirm they need to be voted for, and in the process getting convinced science can really tell us something about the climate of 2100

 

communal reinforcement: Communal reinforcement is the process by which a claim becomes a strong belief through repeated assertion by members of a community

AGW example: The tendency of warmist websites to censor dissenting comments away, leaving readers (believers) with the impression there is really a huge huge number of them, and just a handful of nasty skeptics

 

confabulation: A confabulation is a fantasy that has unconsciously emerged as a factual account in memory. A confabulation may be based partly on fact or be a complete construction of the imagination

AGW example: The decade-long fight to remove from collective memory the substantial agreement among scientists about global cooling (potentially, an ice age), a consensus that lasted at least between 1972 and 1975.

 

confirmation bias: Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs

AGW example: Briffa’s uncanny ability to avoid for years any mention of the misbehaving trees he had himself published a paper about, in the Yamal saga

 

file-drawer effect: The file-drawer effect refers to the practice of researchers filing away studies with negative outcomes. Negative outcome refers to finding nothing of statistical significance or causal consequence, not to finding that something affects us negatively. Negative outcome may also refer to finding something that is contrary to one’s earlier research or to what one expects

AGW example: Extreme lack of interest among prominent climate scientists to publish anything (not even an Op-Ed) about the “travesty” that was (is) their inability to explain why temperatures (actually, the averages of the global temperature anomaly) have not risen since 1998

 

Forer effect: The Forer effect refers to the tendency of people to rate sets of statements as highly accurate for them personally even though the statements could apply to many people

AGW example: The worldwide phenomenon that sees most Ministers and Prime Ministers announce that their own particular country is being affected by climate change at twice or more the planetary average

 

gambler’s fallacy: The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken notion that the odds for something with a fixed probability increase or decrease depending upon recent occurrences

AGW example: Tamino’s (?) absurdist blog about the probability of having consecutive hot periods being astronomically low

 

hindsight bias: Hindsight bias is the tendency to construct one’s memory after the fact (or interpret the meaning of something said in the past) according to currently known facts and one’s current beliefs. In this way, one appears to make the past consistent with the present and more predictive or predictable than it actually was.

AGW example: The Met Office discovering in January how it had forecasted a cold December in October, as shown by a statement nobody did read, and nobody has read

AGW example: The silly notion that Anthropogenic Global Warming has been consensually recognized in the 1970’s or even earlier

 

inattentional blindness: Inattentional blindness is an inability to perceive something that is within one’s direct perceptual field because one is attending to something else

AGW example: Lancet publishing an incredibly misleading Climate Change report with little mention of the huge difference in the number and type of deaths of people during cold and warm snaps

AGW example: The complete lack of interest about linking the generalized Northern Hemispheric cold and the silent Sun

 

magical thinking: According to anthropologist Dr. Phillips Stevens Jr., magical thinking involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections. Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in many things that are seen as symbol. One of the driving principles of magical thinking is the notion that things that resemble each other are causally connected in some way that defies scientific testing (the law of similarity)

AGW example: CO2’s mysterious ability to free the Arctic from the ice, and to increase the amount of ice in Antarctica, plus its long hand into anything and everything that ever happens and has bad consequences.

 

motivated reasoning: Motivated reasoning is confirmation bias taken to the next level. Motivated reasoning leads people to confirm what they already believe, while ignoring contrary data. But it also drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong

AGW example: The Anthropogenic Global Warming’s crowd supernatural swiftness in explaining every (bad) phenomenon as a consequence of human CO2 emissions

 

nonfalsifiability: Scientific theories not only explain empirical phenomena, they also predict empirical phenomena. One way we know a scientific theory is no good is that its predictions keep failing. Predictions can’t fail unless a theory is falsifiable. Some pseudoscientific [theories] can’t be falsified because they are consistent with every imaginable empirical state of affairs. Karl Popper noted that psychoanalytic theory, including Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex, is pseudoscientific because they seem to explain everything and do not leave open the possibility of error. Even contradictory behaviors are appealed to in support of the theory.

AGW example: Thousands and thousands of words written by journalists, scientists and activists about anthropogenic global warming, and not one of them indicating what if anything could falsify…anthropogenic global warming

 

positive-outcome (publication) bias: Positive-outcome (or “publication”) bias is the tendency to publish research with a positive outcome more frequently than research with a negative outcome. Negative outcome refers to finding nothing of statistical significance or causal consequence, not to finding that something affects us negatively. Positive-outcome bias also refers to the tendency of the media to publish medical study stories with positive outcomes much more frequently than such stories with negative outcomes

AGW example: The amount of time some highly-functioning minds have spent to justify scientifically the reasons for the “hide the decline”

 

post hoc fallacy: The post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this therefore because of this) fallacy is based upon the mistaken notion that simply because one thing happens after another, the first event was a cause of the second event. Post hoc reasoning is the basis for many superstitions and erroneous beliefs

AGW example: The Anthropogenic Global Warming’s crowd supernatural completeness in explaining every (bad) phenomenon as a consequence of human CO2 emissions

 

pragmatic fallacy: The pragmatic fallacy is committed when one argues that something is true because it works and where ‘works’ means something like “I’m satisfied with it,” “I feel better,” “I find it beneficial, meaningful, or significant,” or “It explains things for me

AGW example: The inane request to publish via peer-review a scientific alternative to mainstream Anthropogenic Global Warming theory because “it works”. One doesn’t need to be a leader or a tailor to see if the Emperor is naked.

 

regressive fallacy: The regressive fallacy is the failure to take into account natural and inevitable fluctuations of things when ascribing causes to them

AGW example: The general agreement that natural variability doesn’t count much for Anthropogenic Global Warming, even if the very same people go on to claim temperatures have not increased in a decade because of natural variability

 

representativeness error: In judging items, we compare them to a prototype or representative idea and tend to see them as typical or atypical according to how they match up with our model. The problem with the representativeness heuristic is that what appears typical sometimes blinds you to possibilities that contradict the prototype

AGW example: The sterile obsession with studying climate science by climate models alone

 

retrospective falsification: D. H. Rawcliffe coined this term to refer to the process of telling a story that is factual to some extent, but which gets distorted and falsified over time by retelling it with embellishments

AGW example: The abuse of Arrhenius’ “greenhouse gas” works, with the first one continuously mentioned exactly as the second one gets forgotten, being a more sober rethinking of the original ideas

 

selection bias: Selection bias comes in two flavors: (1) self-selection of individuals to participate in an activity or survey, or as a subject in an experimental study; (2) selection of samples or studies by researchers to support a particular hypothesis

AGW example: Mann’s obviously irrelevant pick-and-choose of which series to use for the Hockey Stick

 

selective thinking: Selective thinking is the process whereby one selects out favorable evidence for remembrance and focus, while ignoring unfavorable evidence for a belief

AGW example: Any post at Skeptical Science, with its incredible list of peer-reviewed all-mutually-consistent scientific papers

 

self-deception: Self-deception is the process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. Self-deception, in short, is a way we justify false beliefs to ourselves

AGW example: Connolley et al publishing an article about a “Myth” of global cooling consensus in the 1970’s despite providing themselves ample evidence to support the same “myth”

 

shoehorning: Shoehorning is the process of force-fitting some current affair into one’s personal, political, or religious agenda

AGW example: Also known as “decorating the Christmas tree”…at every climate negotiation for the UN, thousands of people try to add their pet project to the cause, including “forest protection, poverty alleviation, water equity, women’s and indigenous rights

 

subjective validation: Subjective validation is the process of validating words, initials, statements, or signs as accurate because one is able to find them personally meaningful and significant

AGW example: Anthropogenic Global Warming causing a (temporary?) shutdown in critical thinking among those worried about getting the world “greener”

 

sunk-cost fallacy: When one makes a hopeless investment, one sometimes reasons: I can’t stop now, otherwise what I’ve invested so far will be lost. This is true, of course, but irrelevant to whether one should continue to invest in the project. Everything one has invested is lost regardless. If there is no hope for success in the future from the investment, then the fact that one has already lost a bundle should lead one to the conclusion that the rational thing to do is to withdraw from the project

AGW example: The UN’s COP bandwagon, moving a lot of people a lot of times in a lot of different locations (but never in Moldova or North Korea, for some reason) even if everybody agrees it will never mean anything substantial

 

anecdotal (testimonial) evidence: Testimonials and vivid anecdotes are one of the most popular and convincing forms of evidence presented for beliefs in the supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific

AGW example: Monbiot’s famous February floral musings brought to the world as evidence of anthropogenic global warmings, back when Februarys were still warm

 

Texas-sharpshooter fallacy: The Texas-sharpshooter fallacy is the name epidemiologists give to the clustering illusion. Politicians, lawyers and some scientists tend to isolate clusters of diseases from their context, thereby giving the illusion of a causal connection between some environmental factor and the disease. What appears to be statistically significant (i.e., not due to chance) is actually expected by the laws of chance

AGW example:Pretty much any Al Gore speech

 

wishful thinking: Wishful thinking is interpreting facts, reports, events, perceptions, etc., according to what one would like to be the case rather than according to the actual evidence

AGW example:Pretty much any warmist blog or statement

=======

Obviously there’s much better examples out there, so do send them across if you see any…

Climate Change Minister Resigns "Because Of The Extremities Of The Climate"

On the irony scale, what has just happened in Scotland is on the par with if not better (worse?) than the record cold in Cancún during COP16: because Scottish “beleaguered Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson” has resigned after an extraordinary bad series of moves making the recent “Arctic blast” hellish for thousands of people.

Wait a moment…”Transport” Minister? Not exactly. Hidden away in the BBC report, that’s where the irony strikes: Mr Stevenson‘s job was “Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and…” (YES YOU GUESSED IT RIGHT!) “…Climate Change“.

A sign that “weather” is more important than “climate”? That’s irony #1.

It goes further. You’d think the person officially in charge of an issue that is officially already bringing “more extreme weather patterns in Scotland” might have been preparing his country a little about an extreme weather pattern. Well, apparently, he hadn’t (irony #2). Neither had the person officially in charge of dealing with transportation and infrastructure issues in Scotland, including what to do in case of an early snow.

Actually, that’s the one and same person spectacularly failing in a wondrous triple-act. That’s irony #3.

And now for irony #4. In Climate Change circles, Mr Stevenson might be mostly remembered for “shepherding the Climate Change Act through the Scottish Parliament” containing “the most ambitious climate change legislation anywhere in the world“, plus a series of perfunctory speeches on the topic, a now-lost opportunity to attend the Cancún Climate Change Summit aka COP16 and a bizarre (and rebuked) attempt to talk to the USA on a par-level (so much for being world-leading).

Trouble is, even First Minister Alex Salmond, still making excuses after the news about the resignation came out, might have not fully recollected the responsibilities regarding Climate Change action he himself had bestowed upon Mr Stevenson (around 0m32s in the video):

At the end of the day, you know, no man can tether time nor tide, and certainly you can’t control the elements. I am very sad that a decent man, a competent minister has been forced to resignation because of the extremities of the climate

(the same concept is repeated in Mr Salmond’s reply to Mr Stevenson’s resignation letter)

I can sense a bit of schizophrenic Governmental behavior in there so let me dare ask: Dear First Minister: either the climate change minister HAS to resign because of his inability to deal with extremities of the climate _OR_ you should finally agree with yourself that no man, and no Government, can tether time, tide, or climate. And if “urgent action is needed to cut emissions which cause climate change“, even MORE urgent action is needed to deal with the climate (changed or otherwise) we experience in the here and now.

D.I.Y. Climate Policy: My Official CO2 Emission Pledges (or It's A Farce in Cancún)

I hereby declare for myself a CO2 emission reduction target of 120% by yesterday, and can happily report I have met that same target already. And if anybody doesn’t believe me, well, you have no right to monitor any of that, and there is no penalty for failure anyway.

Because, as reported by John M. Broder from COP16:

Mr. Ramesh proposed a plan for bridging the gap between the United States and China on verification, by establishing a voluntary program known as international consultation and analysis. Under the plan, also known as I.C.A., countries would declare their emissions reduction targets and provide regular reports on how they were meeting them and gauging their own progress.

There would be no international monitors or inspectors, and no penalties for failing to reach stated targets. Smaller countries would have less frequent and less detailed reporting requirements than major emitters.

Broder continues:

Mr. Ramesh’s concept has been broadly accepted here

As a poet would say, no sh*t Sherlock. Indeed none.

Either A Climate Negotiations' Glitch, Or A New Business Opportunity for Selling A Bridge

In Andy Revkin’s “A ‘Shared Vision’ on Climate, With a Glitch“, our dear friend laments the distortion of the IPCC’s own conclusions in the Cancún “shared vision” draft, in particular in the statement:

Recognizes that warming of the climate system, as a consequence of human activity, is unequivocal, as assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report

OF COURSE, there is nothing of the sort in the IPCC AR4. Revkin writes “I’m not sure how the clause ‘as a consequence of human activity’ slipped in, but it shouldn’t be there” and concludes hoping “several [IPCC] scientists and Rajendra K. Pachauri” will “suggest a change” to correct such a “glitch“, even if “it’s minutiae“.

Here’s my comment posted at the NYT:

Andy – this is is not “glitch” #1, this must be “glitch” #267…say, have you ever tried to follow the trail from the IPCC’s 2007 statements on solar influences to what appears in newspapers and at policy conferences?

And all those “glitches” always go in the same direction. What more evidence do you need to realize that these “broken telephone” games:

  1. are biased from the start,
  2. make a mockery of climate science,
  3. undermine any effort to deal with future resource and disaster management challenges and
  4. (d) demean journalists that keep talking about them as “glitches” into the kind of people whom dodgy characters would like to sell a bridge to

Martin Luther, Here I Come!

The “AGW is logically impossible” list (aka Global Warming Miracles) has suddenly jumped to 52 items, doubling in size in a little less than three weeks. As commented at the Italian version of the page, I am now only 43 items away from putting a poster at the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Or perhaps I should find out where the bulletin boards are, at the University of East Anglia…

Microblogging of Roger Pielke Jr's London Debate With Benny Peiser

Roger Pielke Jr and Benny Peiser have been guests of London think-tank “Legatum” in the evening of Nov 16. This is my microblogging of the evening (I’ll edit it slightly when I have a few mins):

  1. Starts at Legatum Institute in London with around 40 in attendance
  2. There is a camera, and a lectern :-)
  3. Researcher from Legatum introduces mentioning Roger being victim of politicization of science
  4. Hubris of Kyoto process must be avoided
  5. Bob Ward wouldn’t be happy with Legatum’s approach to AGW
  6. Book available for 15gbp. Finally Roger’s turn. Laments how repetitive book tour is
  7. Book tour next at LSE on Friday night.
  8. Tonight’s talk about innovation policies for the energy sector
  9. Govts deeply involved in innovations. Makes example out of own trip
  10. Toll road =PPP. Airport. 757 Boeing American not British due to military investments. Etc
  11. Even shoes’ rubber tech due to military innovations ie government’s
  12. Govts invest in innovations already – question is how should do it
  13. Attitude to innovations depends on ideology
  14. China not USA recognizes international competition on innovation
  15. Free markets not always best, meddling Govts either
  16. Energy innovation seldom a priority
  17. Average 2. 5% reinvestment but only. 2% in energy
  18. Energy as something that pops out of the ground
  19. Six reasons to innovate in energy
  20. 1. Supply and demand 2. Security
  21. 3. Energy poverty 4. Existing subsidies 5. CO2 emissions 6. Mountaintop removal
  22. Also particulate emissions
  23. Germany: nuclear tax. India: coal tax. China: 700B$ in clean energy due to population
  24. Vast amounts of energy needed not a generic push to consume less
  25. Talks of possible future poverty in USA compared to China and India
  26. Peiser will talk about book. Disappointed that Roger did not.
  27. Govts see no prob with energy. India and China suffer from past mistakes
  28. Peiser again. Carbon tax is proposed as replacement to climate failures
  29. Euro Govts suggesting carbon tax but to raise money not energy r&d
  30. Billions in nuclear energy didn’t make it cheaper, actually dearer
  31. Every academic argues their sector needs more money to help growth but link is a myth
  32. Current green policies too unpopular, Govts under threat because of them
  33. No renewable energy company can stand on its own.
  34. Decarbonisation means switching to more expensive energy hindering growth as in Europe
  35. There is no Tea Party in Roger’s book
  36. Antigreen backlash is undergoing and will get worse
  37. Decarbonisation because of AGW? But it might be beneficial
  38. Perplexed Peiser: decarbonise to get cheaper energy? Makes no sense
  39. Not an easy night for Roger
  40. Climate agenda going down because economics don’t add up.
  41. Peiser makes example of useless r&d like fusion reactor
  42. Track record of Govts failure whilst shale gas is so low it makes no sense to find more
  43. Shale gas an example of private innovation
  44. Legatum researcher says book weakens case for govt involvement in energy r&d
  45. Legatum researcher unconvinced by book
  46. Roger replies. Climate not only point. Other reasons why innovation makes sense
  47. No global food crisis due to govt innovations. Health improvs too
  48. Innovation policy a spectrum not just r&d
  49. Importance of failures to find a success
  50. Roger talks about Germany and India again. Even tiny tax would generate billions
  51. Mentions long term
  52. My questions details later (*)
  53. Peiser: book doesn’t talk of economics. Germany example of middle classes paying the rich
  54. Roger: Germany as failure and success at same time. Peiser: no innovation in Germany
  55. Roger seems concerned about current USA politics
  56. Q: diversification but subsidies = huge overhead costs. How to get companies interested?
  57. Roger: companies won’t look out for national interests
  58. Peiser: companies already diversifying. Problem of protectionism.
  59. Roger: not in favor of protectionism – ends here
  60. Legatum researcher was Dalibor Rohac

Finally I have managed to get a copy of The Climate Fix, autographed by its author.

(*) I have congratulated Roger for disseminating the news about the $82B dodgy insurance deal, but then asked him and Benny why replace the humongous failed climate policy of old with some other humongous policy; why not concentrate efforts on small but significant issues like particulates; and what would prevent Governments from raising a carbon tax and spending money on something that has nothing to do with carbon.

Indications Of A Changing Arctic (Across The Centuries)

(h/t FM)

Is there anything peculiar happening in the Arctic in our time? Unfortunately, satellite-based sea-ice measurements only start from 1979, i.e. have just barely crossed the magic 30-year line that we’re told separates “weather” from “climate” (in other words, we have just been able to say that, according to mainstream climatology, the ice in 1995 was on the decrease).

A different way to look at the issue is to source information from relatively old books and newspaper articles. And there are good indications that their analysis will show quite large changes in the Arctic sea-ice extension across the centuries.

As it happens, I was sent yesterday the link to a very interesting  1818 compendium edition of mid-1770’s North-Pole-related thoughts and reports by Danies Barrington FRS of “young Mozart” fame: “The Possibility of Approaching the North Pole Asserted“.

Barrington goes at great length both in collecting as much evidence as possible from seamen claiming to have been further North than would have been expected; and in examining such evidence with a healthy dose of skepticism. His conclusions: several ships have been beyond 82N, and many of them have reported clear water to the North (see page 61). And yes, uncertainties were put in plain sight: finding a way to reach Asia without going around the tip of South America was considered very serious business, and even a strong advocate for Polar exploration like Barrington didn’t try to hide what he might have found uncomfortable. A quarter of a millennium later, we can be fairly certain ships at Barrington’s time were regularly reaching 81N.

Fast forward to 1858 and a “letter” on the New York Times by a Col. Peter Force, actually the text of a lecture at the New-York Historical Society on July 1st of that year. Col. Force appears extremely skeptical of any claim about the very existence of a Northwest Passage, going as far as to use that old saying, “if it were there we would have discovered it by now”. And if you look at the details reported, the 82N of 80 years earlier was then almost an unreachable goal, as there is plenty of mentions of sea ice going as low as 69N.

Arctic sea ice was therefore extending much further to the South in 1858 than in 1775. But were the CO2 emissions in 1775 higher than in 1858? I do not think so.

President Vaclav Klaus At The GWPF Inaugural Annual Lecture: Quasi-live Blogging

Since I couldn’t get enough connectivity in the conference hall tonight, here are my quasi-live notes about President Václav Klaus’ Inaugural Annual GWPF Lecture at The Great Room of Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce in London (UK):

(these notes are provided as they are, with very little corrections – I will post my own reflections later)

(UPDATE: see also Reuters)

(UPDATE: full text of the lecture at the GWPF website)

Atrocious weather getting worse…is Al Gore in town, by any chance?

Around 70 people. Klaus’ book free to all attendants.

I meet Rupert Wyndham of BBC’s Complaint Procedure fame

Packing up quickly. Many are diplomats, as I have later learned.

7:07 Lawson and Klaus

Peiser starts. There is a lectern this time and a microphone. Videorecording equipment.

Klaus introduced as political leader but also an intellectual, of the classical liberalism variety: individual liberty, limited government, freedom to dissent.

“couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate speaker”

Copenhagen failure, Climategate, IPCC debacle: change in the political atmosphere.

Pres Klaus has been calling for rational and freedom-loving people to respond to the threat posed by collective environmentalist hysteria.

7:10
Klaus’ accent sounds better than mine

Special thanks to Nigel Lawson. Large range of institutions that support those that doubt current-prevailing dogma. This is not enough. Bias, carefully-organised propaganda needs to be countered with rationality.

Cites Bob Carter. The issue is not the warming, but the “dangerous human-induced warming”. Scientific debate is not about the policy. Public-policy debate has enormous implications. Governments, politicians, lobbyists search to grab more decision power for themselves.

Response to climate change can become the most costly mistake in history after Communism.

Cites McKitrick. Nobody is an expert on global warming. Too many aspects. Every body is an amateur on many if not most topics.

There are many respectable but highly-conflicting scientific takes on the subject. We must resist the attempt to shut down the debate. Real risk is to end up renouncing democracy.

Need to separate environmentalist myths from theories.

Has followed the literature. Carbon dioxide is a minor player, not primary cause of global warming. Cites Nobel-laureate: carbon dioxide across geological scales. Planetary changes don’t ask for permission.

Dangerous public policy consequences: many have concluded the current hypothesis is very weak. Not sufficiently tested. Can’t be used for policy decisions without looking at alternatives, opportunity costs, etc.

That is why he wrote the book about “green shackles”. (humor: since you’ve all got it, no need to continue speaking). Published in 16 different languages including Japanese and Arabic.

A year after publication, “Appeal to Reason” by Nigel Lawson. Klaus wrote the preface.to the Czech edition.

We are not on the winning side yet, but looking back since the launching of the AGW propaganda at the Rio Summit in 1992 and subsequent general pickup of the hypothesis, things have been improving.

Reputation of the scientific integrity of some of the most prominent researchers has been undermined, eg the Hockey Stick that was the basis of the 2001 IPCC report: pseudoscientific mindset, faulty data selection, frenzied propaganda, unscrupulous campaign, dubious statistics, etc etc (it’s a citation)

Copenhagen 2009 showed heterogeneity of views,

Three simple facts GW armies should keep in mind

1- Global mean climate does change, has changed, and will undoubtedly change

Over last 10k years, climate has been much the same and average temperature has not changed. Long-term, slight cooling.
GW armies are presenting a few decades as a threat to the planet to respond to with a wholesale change of our lifestyles.

Why are they so successful? Doctrines usually take much longer. Specifics of our time? Constanlty online? Religions less attractive? Desire to refill the emptiness with a new noble cause, saving the planet?

Environmentalists discovered some “more noble” than our down-to-earth lives. Can’t be accepted by somebody that lived under “noble” communism.

2- Medium-term timescales, 150 years (joke about Keynes), temperatures have shown a warming.

This is since the Northern Hemisphere emerged from the LIA two centuries ago. Trend was repeatedly interrupted.

Warming is modest and everything suggests future warming and consequences are not a cause for concern and something to battle against.

3- CO2 in atmosphere sometimes precedes, sometimes follows temp increases. Not fully understood.

No need to dispute those facts. Dispute is when people claim the coincidence in time is a “proof” of AGW. This is the current doctrine. This has existed for centuries, always with nature as the “starting point” to go back to. People are considered a foreign element. But it makes no sense to speak of a world without people, because there would be nobody to speak to (laughter).

Mentions his studies of econometric modelling. No conclusion can be based on correlation of two or more time sequences. So simple correlations do not exist.

Eg CO2 emissions did not start to grow visibly until 1940s. Temperatures at times moved in the opposite way of CO2.

Statistical analysis doesn’t demonstrate anything. Two Chinese scientists used random walk model for global temp variations. Result shows the model perfectly fits the data. No need to add human effects. No other model has given a btter fit.

There are other aspects of the doctrine, not just the simple relationship between temps and CO2. Another is the idea that increasing temperatures will be detrimental to the planet.

Many environmentalists don’t want to save man, but nature. Economics for them is irrelevant. For example the Stern review and its unreasonably low discount rate (that was what prompted Klaus to join the debate). The choice of discount rate is critical (cites Lawson). High discount rate=little meaning in any intervention.

We should use the market rate, as it is the “opportunity cost” of climate mitigation. Stern and others do not want to do that.

Klaus doesn’t deny increasing temps will see losers and winners. Even if overall is going to be detrimental, with proper discount rates the consequences are too small to worry about.

Why do many people think differently? Many have invested too much in GW alarmism. Fear of losing out on the political and professional side. Biz people hoped to make a fortune and are not ready to write it off. There is a coalition of powerful special interests endangering us. (hence the subtitle of his book.

We need to stand up against all attempts to undermine our democratic society.

We need to be prepared to all kinds of future climate changes but never accept to lose our freedom

ends at 19″43

room is packed. >100

there is a video being taken

Peter Glover: Arctic forum. No engagement at all on the two sides. The “other side” never seems to have thought things through logically.

Klaus: Many scientists are engaged Journalist in The Times keeps receiving articles and books about the dogma. The fact that the other side doesn’t listen is not new to people that lived under Communism.

Q: Roll back the ETS in Europe?

Klaus: Cap-and-trade is one of the policy measures in the hands of the environmentalists. It’s not just the USA staying away from it. But the EU is post-democratic (laughter)

Hartwell (metallurgic engineer): Presentation is political. Royal Society published paper on climate change. Many scientists there are seriously interested. We should manage the risk of future rises in temperatures

Klaus: Not impressed by science established by committee or vote. Remember nobody is an expert in GW. Another quote from Bob Carter: wide range of disciplines among “climate” scientists. Most alarm from scientists from meteor and computer modelling. Geologists see no cause for alarm.

(argument ad providentiam)

Klaus says he has used computer models too. Computer modellers are not climatologists.

Q: Ecological modernisation used by many groups to look for environmental problems to push for technology. Amount of money in the academic community is very strong. WG-III is real push for IPCC.

Klaus: can’t understand sustainable development. Environment should be differentiated from GW.

Physicist: Comment on RS. Previous head didn’t’ give space to “deniers”. current document requires further revision. Draft Copenhagen agreement deals with putting together a world government (57? 58?). Why didn’t you use that?

Klaus: Only retirees dare write against AGW. COP-15 was so confused there was no point to go there. Details impossible to follow and not relevant. Documents have no writers and no readers

Q: Bloggers have changed the nature of the debate

Lawson: Yes. Extremely-expensive decisions should not be taken without a proper debate and there hasn’t been one. The RS has been obliged to move a little bit, not much, but more than nothing. Even the BBC says dissenting voice ought to be heard.

My questions

What would convince Pres Klaus that there is something to worry about? What would he choose, climate disruption or liberty?

Klaus: Empirical evidence is what is needed. Starting point still remains. Quality of measurements for example is important. Models are not convincing, too many mistakes in the methodologies, statistics, I am not convinced

Philosopher: The psychological side. Green lobbyists want to have cars and dirty industries banned. They found the scientific reason in AGW. Political agenda feeds on fear.

Klaus: One reason for scaring us disproved, another one pops up. My interests at the beginning of the 1970a. Could get only economical reviews and scientific publications. Couldn’t understand Club of Rome and Limits to Growth. That’s total nonsense. Same computer modellers of LtG continued with AGW. Same people.

Q: AGWers are organised by somebody?
Piers Corbyn: Prepare for extreme events…ask the UN to do that?

Klaus: Anybody controlling? People that have outlived communism are oversensitive regarding the issue of getting controlled

Q: Oxford Union debate, victory. Other side went for ad-homs. Wind farms are completely useless and evidence is transparent. How do rational politicians live with that knowledge?

Klaus`; Times journo asked if other leading politicians are against AGW? Many have similar views but are afraid to say it openly. Anecdote. Some nonsense is very evident. Solar energy during the night. Wind farm generation by electrical motors.

Lawson concludes. Mentions Klaus’ bravery as he is still in office.

end at 20:29

.

Are Global Warming Discussions Contributing To…Global Warming?

You bet they are. Think about all those people traveling from one climate change conference to another. Think about all those tons of global-warming-related newspapers columns field-researched, produced, printed and then carried around in countless countries.

And think also of the countless discussions all over the ‘net about (yes) climate change and global warming. Some of them, admittedly, by the same people meeting up in somebody else’s blog like old friends singing the same old (counterpointed) tune. As commented at the Global Warming Infographic blog post by a “Kevin Ahern“:

I think it is marvelous that seemingly endless groups of people chase each other around the internet as soon as a blog about AGW crops up . It is obvious that these ‘discussions’ have been had before all around the world. In fact we are now getting to the merry-go-round of ‘cut and paste/ insert link here’ debate. The more I try to understand the issues the more I realise that MOST people with an opinion don’t understand the issues . And NO I am not going to follow link after link over and over to reach the opinion I have ……. I don’t understand the intricaces of the earths climate and nobody else does either.
I neither accept or deny , I can neither prove or disprove, and the burden of proof either way is probably beyond my,(and many many others) comprehension anyway.
So sorry if i don’t lose too much sleep over the issue.

(guilty as charged, Guv!)

Anybody in the mood of computing an estimate…what is the “climate forcing” caused by our collective “hot air”?

Cap-And-Trade, Killed By (Lack Of) Consensus

There’s much commentary of course about the recent “death” of climate-change related cap-and-trade legislation in the US Congress (eg by Krugman, Douthat and Wasserman at the New York Times).

It is not straightforward to follow all the various, complex reasonings used to apportion blame. And is all that really necessary? At the end of the day, in a modern democracy bills are approved because a suitable majority of Parliamentarians votes for them. And such a majority only comes together because a consensus is built around each bill.

In this context, Walter Russell Mead’s “The Big Green Lie Exposed” makes perfect sense. In fact, who has actually tried to build a consensus in the USA regarding cap-and-trade? Those activists liberally accusing the rest of humanity of “denialism”? Or those promising a Nuremberg-style trial to all “dissenters”? Or those more or less explicitly trying to manipulate primal fears in order to change society wholesale?

In the Bible, Qohelet says: “Whoever watches the wind will not plant – whoever looks at the clouds will not reap“. Indeed.

Is Anthropogenic CO2 To Blame For Increase In Women’s Breasts?

It’s a scandal! There are 760 “things caused by global warming” on Numberwatch, and not even one of them makes the obvious connection between the observed decadal increase in average bra size, and the vast amounts of greenhouse gases we humans have been pumping in the atmosphere for decades.

Who knows…perhaps somebody out there will try to score a “Cello Scrotum” against Nature or Science, or boobs (rather than tits of all sorts) will contribute to the IPCC AR5…

(Bastards!) Mass Manslaughter By AGW (CO2) Obsession

The EU policy on CO2 emissions has turned into a mindless, obsessed monster that cares not about climate, people or the planet. And it is getting its hands dirty with the lives of those it refuses to save.

In fact: the EU Commission has just let everybody know that the wholly preventable, daily killing of more than 4,000 people by black carbon (soot) is not a “top priority” and “should not divert attention away from carbon dioxide“.

It gets worse.

The reason for dismissing any attempt at limiting black carbon? It’s because “more research must be carried out to ascertain its impact more accurately“. Impact on what? On global warming. Yes: because, according to Frank Raes, head of the climate change unit at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), black carbon is “‘likely’ to contribute to climate change” but “the regional impacts of black carbon may be even more significant than its global warming effect” (my emphasis). Also, “the existence of both black and white aerosols, with warming and cooling impacts, makes it less straightforward to make a case for political action on black carbon“.

Talk about choosing the wrongest path.

Reduction of black carbon emissions is by far the easiest, clearest, fastest way to solve a lot of issues, in a win-win scenario that would include Himalayan glaciers and the rescuing of little children from certain death via easily-approved legislation:

1.  Black carbon has profound health effects, contributing to around 1.6M deaths every year. According to the WHO, for under-5s it is a bigger killer than malaria.

Even the “EU policymakers speaking in Brussels” on 22 June say as much. According to EurActiv.com, “the health implications of particulate pollution make a compelling case for tackling black carbon, speakers agreed. Like other small particulates, it causes premature death and respiratory disease, they claimed“.

2. Mainstream science agrees: black carbon contributes to warming.

The IPCC AR4 reported the radiative forcing of black carbon as a total of +0.3 W/m2, not far from methane’s. And “given black carbon’s relatively short lifespan, reducing black carbon emissions would reduce warming within weeks“. Why, “tackling black carbon [may] have a beneficial impact on the climate only 5-10 years after its emissions are cut“.

3. Black carbon is also an issue that could be tackled immediately.

Seventy percent of it comes from “Open biomass burning (forest and savanna burning)“, “Residential biofuel burned with traditional technologies” and “Residential coal burned with traditional technologies“. In South-East Asia, “the majority of soot emissions [...] are due to biofuel cooking“. There isn’t anything particularly difficult preventing drastic reductions, and in fact “developed nations have reduced their black carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources by a factor of 5 or more since 1950“. Sometimes, all it takes is a new stove, and access to better fuel than dessicated cow dung.

4. By dealing with black carbon, an example of future emission-related interventions could be set.

Policy-wise, the reduction of black carbon emissions is extremely easy: there is no “black carbon skeptic”, no “black carbon is natural” blog, no “alternative consensus on black carbon” international conference. No fossil-fuel-industry lobbyst has ever pushed against limiting black carbon emissions, and anybody and everybody can be easily convinced that there is something wrong in freeing up in the atmosphere notoriously unhealthy particulates.

Black carbon should be the “motherhood and apple pie” of environmental policy, and legislation and aid organization and distribution regarding the reduction in black carbon emissions could be in place in weeks.. Have a look at this video (from here):

=====================

And still…since black carbon may contribute to regional instead of global warming (as if anybody cared about the difference), plus it might or might not have cooling impacts in the form of “white aerosols”, then the cabinet of the EU Climate Action Commissioner simply does not want “the black carbon discussion to distract from the EU’s focus on cutting CO2 emissions“.

In other words: current EU policy is to cut CO2 emissions, rather than to do anything to the climate, or the well-being of anybody on this planet.

The monster of AGW/CO2 obsession is now fully in action.

ps What if the EU “is already dealing with the problem under its air quality legislation“? Well, so much for the global focus of climate action…also, somebody should be made aware of how far black carbon can travel from where it has been emitted…

pps Is any AGWer suggesting that black carbon emissions could be a good thing, regarding their cooling impacts, and who cares about dying children?

ppps Bastards!

Venus Awakening

Steve Goddard in WUWT, May 7, 2010? Luboš Motl in the reference frame, same date?

Sure, but what about Omniclimate’s 4-part series starting Feb 27, 2008? (Here parts 2, 3 and 4)

Or Omnologos’ now ancient Aug 17, 2007 post?

Alas, there was some mention of it in a July 2007 Elsevier book. But who cares? What is important is that the stale orthodoxy about Venus’ “runaway greenhouse effect” is starting to dissipate.

As forecasted in “Venus Forecast” 35 months ago: “In a few years, the old ideas of Fred Singer will come back into fashion.

Venus’ retrograde rotation, incredibly massive atmosphere and relatively young (<500 million years) surface will be elegantly explained by the crash of a massive satellite half a billion years ago (with subsequent melting of much if not the whole crust, and humongous outgassing).

Current lead-melting surface temperatures will be just as beautifully explained by simple adiabatic processes.

The role of CO2 in the heating of the atmosphere via some “greenhouse effect” will be seriously reconsidered and almost completely dismissed.

UPDATE May 10: WUWT has a new post on Venus. Among the comments, a link to another blog making a similar point (Oct 7, 2009) and to a brief communication by Carl Sagan in the pages of the Astrophysical Journal (1967) estimating the surface temperature without a single mention of the “runaway greenhouse effect”.

If It Looks Like UHI, Heats Like UHI, And Graphs Like UHI, Then It Probably Is UHI

by Guido Guidi and Maurizio Morabito

Our friend Teo has just expressed his personal and perfectly reasonable opinions about new, old publishing venture called “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“.

In fact, we find it hard to disagree with him.

The subject of Urban Heat Islands (UHI) is topical, and it is somewhat ironic that such a self-evident effect is so happily dismissed away by AGW proponents. One suspects UHI is extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable to consider to those strictly supporting only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory.

Who them? By sheer coincidence, only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory can be used to dictate deep societal changes. But that’s another story.

Let’s just add some considerations based on a Willis Eschenbach post on WUWT. It’s a simple but eloquent analysis of a dataset of temperatures, with measures coming from about seventy stations over Northern Europe. Interestingly, an analysis of the monthly data across the decades for the duration of the dataset, shows a warming trend to be occurring primarily in winter months.

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

And what kind of forcing is especially important in the coldest period of the year? No prize for guessing that one right. This is precisely what is expected from the UHI effect, and it is due to changes over time to the environment surrounding the measurement equipments. Roads, buildings, infrastructure are built, woods are fallen and so on. That’s “Anthropogenic” as well, of course, and it has all the potential for local and global consequences.

Data so heavily biased are simply not compatible with the currently fashionable “globalization of forcing“, the mistaken belief that temperatures overwhelmingly taken on land and in heavily urbanized areas, are representative of the thermal state of the entire Blue Planet.

Think of it for a minute. We are talking about temperature anomalies with a positive trend coming from winter months. We are talking of continental regions at high latitudes. We are talking about winters with little insolation, in areas with a high albedo (reflecting visible light!) due to large amounts of snow cover.

  • Temperature sensors, under those specific conditions, show a gradual Winter warming

In the summer, with a much lower visible-light albedo in the absence of snow, the incoming solar radiation is absorbed and then re-emitted as longer waves: exactly those “captured” by greenhouse gases.

  • Temperature sensors, despite the abundance of infrared radiation, show no Summer warming

How could the positive anomalies be ascribed to a greenhouse effect, that remains a mystery to us. It definitely looks like this is enough to ring more than a few alarm bells, no matter what has been said in the past and by whom.

And the problem of telling between the greenhouse gas contribution to warming, and all other anthropogenic and natural effects, does not just apply to urban setting. It remains to be seen about who’s going to care about it, bringing forward a better understanding of the climate, rather than continuing to run like headless chicken always after the next CO2 molecule, as if it were volcanic ash…

A Brief History Of Dashed UHI Hopes

by Teodoro Georgiadis – slightly romanced English version by Maurizio Morabito

And there I am, at the beginning of March 2010: me and the brand-new, Volume 1, Number 1 , January / February 2010 issue of “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)” . Editor in Chief: Mike Hulme.

Wow, a fresh journal on Global Climate Change!

Even better: according to itself, the journal is meant as

a unique platform for exploring current and emerging knowledge from the many disciplines that contribute to our understanding of this phenomenon – environmental history, the humanities, physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering and economics

Wouldn’t that be a welcome novelty, in a world post-climategate, post-submerged Holland, post-quickly disappearing Himalayan glaciers, post-Amazongate…in short, in a world that has seen an intense and compact series of scientific downpours on concepts perhaps too quickly assumed as established truth.

Downstream of Copenhagen, a new journal following WIRCC’s statement of intent would surely sport a truly different outlook: new style, new peer-reviewers, new structure all with the goal of providing science with the required level of objectivity, sadly and mostly missing in contemporary climate discourse.

I proceed therefore with all enthusiasm to select an article of surefire interest to me:

David E. Parker, “Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change” p 123-133, Published Online: Dec 22 2009 12:42PM DOI: 10.1002/wcc.21

That’s it then! Finally we can leave the “gates du jour” behind and improve our knowledge of climate change.

Or maybe not.

First reference: IPCC. Second reference: Jones et al. (with Wang).

Wait a sec…what’s going on?

OK let’s move forward…alas, only to find something truly amazing:

the influence of urban heat islands on estimates of global warming is limited by the fact that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean and is absolutely unaffected by urban warming

Say what? Oh yes, the Blue Planet, ever the envy of nasty aliens such as those in HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. But hang on…most of the network of temperature measuring stations is literally on solid ground…if you place them on a map they’ll be a bunch of dots almost exactly superimposed to cities. As for the ocean temperatures, we know very well how they are derived.

This isn’t looking good.

Anything better?

Exclusion of urban sites, or selective use of rural sites, requires information (‘metadata’) about the site and its surroundings

Yes, yes…ah, that refers to a 2005 J Clim paper by Peterson and Owen…isn’t that the same Peterson unceremoniously criticized for example by McIntyre on Climate Audit, regarding the peculiar classifications of urban and rural stations? There is a truly remarkable definition of “Parking Lot Effect” on that site.

How strange though, of all the past and present discussions and questions on the topic, Parker manages to mention exactly nothing. Well, at least that might explain the article’s conclusions:

The urban heat island has had only a minor impact on estimates of global trends”… The impact is small because assiduous efforts have been made by the compilers of global surface air temperature records to avoid or compensate for urban warming

Assiduous effort“? Amen to that.

Current and EMERGING knowledge?” Not by a long shot.

My conclusions: “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“? New journal, same old story.

Heaven To Hell

With apologies to Joel Pett…

What if it's a big hoax

What if it's a big hoax

A better world? You wish. As Karl  Popper once remarked, “Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell“‬‪.

Forget The Moon: Mostly Pointless Carbon Emission Satellite To Be Re-Flown Instead

From @NASA on Twitter

Good news for climate science in Obama’s NASA budget out yesterday: We plan to rebuild & refly the Orbiting Carbon Observatory.

Will that compensate for the indefinite postponement of any flight beyond Earth orbit? I guess not, especially after reading some wonderful details about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) (the first attempt failed to reach orbit on Feb 24, 2009):

  • flown in a near polar orbit [observing] most of the Earth’s surface at least once every sixteen days
  • OCO measurements would record changes in CO2 abundance over annual seasonal cycles
  • fly in Sun synchronous orbit so that all observations took place at about 1:18 PM
  • planned operational life of 2 years

Let’s forget for a minute that 2 years are nothing at all in terms of climate (a problem affecting most Earth observation platforms dedicated to climate science, it seems)….still, a quick computation reveals the grand total amount of observations from OCO for any particular spot on the planet is expected to be 45. That is, around 11 per “seasonal cycle”. And all of them, at 1:18PM local time.

No further comment is necessary.

Preternatural Climate News And Other Tweets

(If Revkin can do it8-)  – my Twitter account in English is ‘omnologos’)

1- @bbcworld there is something preternatural in seeing every good climate news invariably more than compensated by some badclimate news refers to “Temperature and CO2 feedback loop ‘weaker than thought‘” by Roger Harrabin, which includes:

The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises.

2- Total rout for AGW : UK Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change refers to “Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change

3- another case of gross misrepresentation of the literature, thereafter conveniently disregarded? refers to my comment “Himalayagate 2

4- Building a broad climate coalition of scientific/professional organizations reminds of “100 Scientists against Einstein” refers to “Climate change activists work to regain momentum” by Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle

5- Science : “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion? (answer: mostly biomass) refers to
Science 23 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5913, pp. 495 – 498 “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion?” by Örjan Gustafsson et al

6- ClimateDepot “warmists” have been scoring own goals for quite some time – and still they do – refers to “The Disastrous Setback for Climate Advocacy of Late 2009″ by Chris Mooney in “The Intersection” where I comment

I fully agree with redlink18…disparaging any comment that falls outside of the party line and concentrating on blaming a handful of well-paid individuals when there has been a clear and massive change in public opinion in the USA like in the UK, all of that will lead Mooney’s “camp” nowhere.

On the other hand, given that the “warmists” have been scoring spectacular own goals for quite some time now, no wonder they show no chance of getting anything right at the moment.

7- “try and change the Received date! Don’t give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with” refers to “East Anglia Confirmed Emails from the Climate Research Unit – 1189722851.txt

8- Using religious language to fight global warming refers to “Using religious language to fight global warming” by Helen Grady, Analysis, BBC Radio 4

9- @Revkin: Watts is at third of Gandhi’s four stages: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win” refers to “Poorly sited U.S. temperature instruments not responsible for artificial warming” on Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog

So That's What Obama's "Audacity of Hope" Is About…

A deal in Copenhagen? Hopefully. A meaningful deal in Copenhagen? Perhaps. Will there be substantive actions in order to stay within the 2C limit? Maybe. Is there going to be a plan to significantly reduce emissions? It’s a promise.

After all, what’s a President that is also the first preventative Nobel Peace Prize winner going to be good at selling? Hope, mostly hope.

Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

The real audacity is in pushing oneself forward almost exclusively counting on the fact that hope is the last to die.

And I hope the USA will get out of Afghanistan by 2011.