Category Archives: Environment

Mythical Attenborough Fail

New David Attenborough series on BBC2 has arrived (“Rise of Animals ep.1. Triumph of the Vertebrates“) with all the usual flashes and bangs, plus some colossal mistake of zoological proportions.

There starts another complaint to the BBC then….

Complaint Summary: ‘Tree of Life’ false, misleading and non-scientific

Full Complaint: The programme makes extensive use of a ‘Tree of Life’ pictorial device depicting species as branches on a tree, with the vertical dimension showing time. All thousands of branches are continuous and ultimately end up together in the present time. This is false, because we all know most species died out long ago (so the vast majority of branches shouldn’t reach the present). It is also misleading, as the viewer will think the present time is much richer in species than the past. It is finally non-scientific, using an antiquated metaphor long ago disproven by the likes of Stephen Jay Gould. Please insert a correction/disclaimer at the beginning of future broadcasts and for the rest of the first showing of the series.

I screen-shot three examples for future memory.

  • First image comes from 56’50” in the episode. As you can see all the branches above a certain line continue unbroken to the present
Rise of Animals ep.1: 56'50"
Rise of Animals ep.1: 56’50”
  • I went back to see wherever else the multicolored tree of life was popping up. Interesting, at 20’41” some branches give at least an impression that those species went extinct (look under the first L of “250 MILLION”)
Rise of Animals ep.1: 20'41"
Rise of Animals ep.1: 20’41”
  • No worries though, five seconds later those very same dead branches spruced forward again
Rise of Animals ep.1: 20'46"
Rise of Animals ep.1: 20’46”

One can finally visualize how entrenches is the idea that there is something special in our present time.

First they came for the lead

First they came for the lead,
and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t want to breathe lead.
Then they came for the gas mileage,
and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t want to breathe exhaust fumes.
Then they came for the particulates,
and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t want to breathe particulates.
Then they came for my car
and there was nothing left for me
but to live a sad, miserable, poor, unhealthy, freedom-deprived “green” life.

In Italy (presumably, elsewhere too) unleaded gasoline comes from green nozzles. The color was chosen at the time to indicate it was an environmentally friendly kind of gasoline. Try explaining that to a contemporary greenie??

There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating bluefin tuna

A comment “for the ages” by reader David Schalit after a curious NYT environmentally ambiguous piece:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating bluefin tuna.

Bluefin is a delicacy, not usually eaten as steaks. It is usually three small slices, certainly no more than five or six, on a plate containing three or four species of fish.

In the controversies surrounding fishery management and questions of species abundance in the US and Europe, environmental organizations may tend to overstate the issues, and for very good reason: Environmental organizations are essentially lobbyists and mostly depend on public donations for their livelihood. Therefore, they tend to overstate in order to attract the attention of the public to a given issue. And that is precisely how public opinion has been shaped on the issue of bluefin.

Anyone who reads the news knows that these days NOAA is not considered a compliant partner of US fishermen. NOAA’s decision to not place Atlantic bluefin under protection of the Endangered Species Act at the end of May 2011, was not a capitulation to the bluefin fishermen, but an historic decision based upon exhaustive study undertaken over 12 months and involving US and European scientists and fishery management specialists both inside and outside of government. Some of the best minds in bluefin science had input into this exhaustive process. There is no doubt that if NOAA had any way of validating the probability of extinction or even the threat of extinction, they would have listed the bluefin under ESA. The simple fact is that there is no creditable pelagic scientist who will sign their name to a statement saying that Atlantic bluefin is, 1/ endangered with extinction, 2/ threatened with extinction or, 3/ near [or “on the edge of..”] extinction.

As to the issue of commerce driving the bluefin to extinction, we can thank the media for this misunderstanding. There are no US bluefin fishermen who have Mercedes parked in front of their homes. Practically every article written on bluefin never fails to mention that bluefin sells in Tokyo for upwards of $150,000 “for one fish”. It is amazing to me that journalists have never even bothered to check on this. Auction data from Tsukiji Market for bluefin is available every day online. US bluefin fishermen receive approximately $4-8/lb for their fish, less than they would get if they fished for scallops. The US bluefin fishery is a small, artisanal fishery in which the fish are caught sustainably using hand techniques. The Pew has recently validated this statement. No industrialized fishing methods are allowed. Each vessel is a sole proprietorship, owned by its captain. The US bluefin artisanal fishery is the most highly regulated bluefin fishery in the world. The limit per day in season is three fish and the minimum size must be 73”. A fisherman would be very lucky to catch three fish in one day. It is true, however, that once every year or so, usually in Dec or Jan, an Asian restauranteur dramatically bids up the price of one bluefin at Tsukiji Market as a publicity stunt and this is what finds its way into the media.

As Green As Any Falsehood – Letter To The IHT and NYT

(click here for more details on the below)

From: Maurizio Morabito
Date: Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 8:32 PM
Subject: factual error in book review “Polar Distress” by Holly Morris (last weekend’s)
To: Letters IHT , Letters NYT

Dear Sirs or Madams

Please note that there is a factual error in Holly Morris’ “Polar Distress“, published last weekend in the NYT and the IHT and concerned with “The Magnetic North” by Sara Wheeler.

Ms Morris quotes from Ms Wheeler’s book about

one boggling case: Endocrine-­disrupting chemicals handed up the food chain have triggered changes in the sex of unborn children in the first three weeks of gestations, resulting in the birth of twice as many girls as boys in some villages in Greenland and among the Inuit nations of eastern ­Russia

That is an unwarranted claim that originally appeared in The Guardian in 2007 and was attributed to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), AMAP itself has distanced itself from that very same claim, for example writing in its 2009 SOAER report that

Systematic epidemiological studies, including all possible confounders and other relevant contaminants, must be performed before any conclusive statements can be made about contaminants and sex ratios in Arctic populations

And if you check, AMAP has been consistently reminding its reports’ readers about the preliminary nature of any suggestion of a link between pollution and sex ratios in humans, at least since 2006.

Neither Ms Wheeler, and worse, nor Ms Morris appear to have been curious enough to verify what they were writing about, and especially concerning such a “boggling” example. Please publish a correction as soon and as prominently as possible, otherwise your readers will find themselves severely mislead by a demonstrated falsehood.

Thanks in anticipation

World Exclusive: CIA 1974 Document Reveals Emptiness of AGW Scares, Closes Debate On Global Cooling Consensus (And More…)

(originally published on Dec 3 in my climate blog)

An eye-opening “global cooling consensus” CIA document dated 1974 has just been re-discovered in the British Library by Yours Truly and is extensively mentioned today in the (printed) pages of The Spectator (UK) and Il Foglio (Italy).

(the (suitably degraded) scan of the Spectator article is at the bottom of this blog)

(the PDF of the CIA document is now available online thanks to Guido Guidi and Climate Monitor)

A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems” will make quite an embarrassing reading, especially for:

  • the most obdurate catastro-warmists (when they will notice that almost all AGW scares are a search-and-replace job from “cooling” to “warming”), and
  • the history deniers fixated on ‘demonstrating’ that a scientific consensus about Global Cooling in the 1970’s were a ‘myth'(*)

And there is more (much more), from ever-improving climate models promising to become good in a few years’ time to the unsettling apparent ease with which Government agencies then (as now) could get scientists to agree on whatever they needed them to agree on.

Nobody aware of the CIA document’s contents should be able to avoid a good chuckle after reading any of the current AGW reports on famine, starvation, refugee crises, floods, droughts, crop and monsoon failures, and all sorts of extreme weather phenomena; on climate-related major economic problems around the world; on Africans getting in climate troubles first; and so on and so forth.

Why? Because it is all too clear that those scares cannot be real, since they have already been mentioned verbatim in all their dramatic effect, but about Global Cooling.

The whole lot of them, they are just empty threats, instruments of doom-and-gloom policy manipulation with no relation to reality.

It is deeply ironic that it takes a 35-year-old document, available on the web so far only in title, to show the absolute vacuity of the vast majority of pre-COP15 reports and studies. It is time to ditch everything we hear about collapsing ice sheets, disappearing glaciers, species extinctions, and each and every “it’s worse than we thought” report by “scientists”.

It is time to become climate adults.

As I wrote for The Spectator:

This might be the most important lesson of the 1974 report on global cooling: that we need to grow up, separate climatology from fear, and recognise – much as it pains politicians and scientists – that our understanding of how climate changes remains in its infancy.

(stay tuned for the full text of the Spectator article, and the PDF of the PDF of the CIA document)

(*) Anybody thinking about Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck’s largely mistitled “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Volume 89, Issue 9, September 2008, pp 1325-1337)? Well, think again after reading this little gem of theirs:

By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972), the notion of a global cooling trend was widely accepted, albeit poorly understood

As I wrote a little more than a year ago: “Widely accepted”: check. “Global cooling”: check.. There was a global cooling consensus among scientists, at least up to 1974. And it went on to appear in Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times and many more media outlets around the world, at least up to 1976.

CASE CLOSED.

=========

This is the scanned Spectator article

The CIA's 'global cooling' files (title)
The CIA's 'global cooling' files (text)

In the Obama Administration, Two Mutually Incompatible Takes On Climate Change

In the Obama Administration, Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants to start “addressing the scientific and technical challenges of climate change“. Meanwhile, Climate Czarine Carol Browner is on the record for stating that global warming is “the greatest challenge ever faced“.

But is that a vision shared by the President himself? Hardly so. Very recently at the Costa Mesa Town Hall Meeting in California (March 18) President Obama singularly failed to mention climate in a list of upcoming challenges including the cost of health care, the dependency on oil imports and education.

It appears that for the current President, “climate” is a useful but merely ancillary issue to “energy”. But how can “the greatest challenge ever faced” be subordinate to energy or anything else? And how long will the likes of Chu and Browner, and everybody else one the side of Al Gore, tolerate such a situation?

It will be interesting to see if the “doom and gloom” camp will be able to get any traction against President Obama’s very own “Yes we can” mantra.

Children as Enemies of the Environment? A Good Riposte

Joanna Benn ponders in the BBC web site if “baby decisions” are “adding to the world’s woes”.

Yeah, right.

Luckily among the general doom and gloom, there is at least one reader making a very important comment to Benn’s absurdist thinking:

Hearing Ms Benn wonder aloud “how green it is” to have a child is chilling. My parents lived in a time when certain people asked each other, in deadly earnest, how “Aryan” some personal choices might be. One might turn and ask Ms Benn “how green it is” for HER to continue to walk the earth. After all, Ms Benn, with a residence of her own, undoubtedly consumes more valuable resources than an infant who simply
lives with its parents. But that is what we come to when we start running life by the numbers.
Seajay, Seattle, Washington

What Ms Benn does not realize, and what many people concerned about overpopulation don’t realize, is that it is one thing to wish a more manageable number of people to roam the world; but it is another, wholly different thing to behave and to reason as if children were things to hate.

And the latter is, frankly, monstrous.

Climate Change Activism’s Wreck of a Train

Observationally, they have nothing to show to support their claims of upcoming climate disasters. Scientifically, they got it mixed up and regularly distort what Science is and is not showing. In practice, they are using persuasion tools developed to save pandas and the Hudson river, and those are the wrong ones because Anthropogenic Global Warming is not a species in peril now or a river polluted at the present, but a risk for the end of the century.

No wonder then, Climate Change activists have been fighting a mostly political battle for at least two decades. And the main objective appears time and again to force their solutions upon us, and to stifle all forms of dissent.

In desperation, what else have they got?

My (Mauled) Letter Published on the IHT

From today’s ( Oct 8 ) printed International Herald Tribune:

I understand Thomas Homer-Dixon and David Keith (“The ultimate sun-block,” Views, Oct. 7) when they state that it is better to study global-warming-related geo-engineering now rather than waiting. But what I do not understand is the interest in “flooding the atmosphere with manmade particles.”

Throwing colossal amounts of particles more or less at random into the sky, with no chance of retrieval, is surely a recipe for environmental upheaval.

Maurizio Morabito Orpington, England

Of course the above is a brutally shortened version of my full letter, as published in blog “Only Controllable Geo-engineering, Please!” where I did make the point that it is vital for all human anti-warming interventions to be fully controllable.

And before anybody refers to the ongoing atmospheric experiment called “the emission of additional CO2 from fossil fuels” let me clearly re-state the following: if we really need to combat the effect of the “CO2 emissions experiment” it makes no sense to experiment with a different set of emissions.

Antarctica, Beyond Any Imagination

In this video (got it from the Bad Astronomy blog) a rather clear example of what “Condition 1″ is in Antarctica.

It gives the idea of the awfulness of the place, more than the standard definition (“wind speed > 55knots, or visibility less than 30 yards, or wind-chill temperature of -100F”).

Apparently it is forbidden to go anywhere out, under “Condition 1″. It is even forbidden to go rescue anybody.

I guess the penguins just get on with it.

Polar Bears: Has the Daily Mail Just Pulled a Deceiving Article?

In my “Maurizio Morabito” blog in Italian, I have been following for the last few days the developing story of drowning polar bears, lost at sea after “the ice float they lived on melted”.

The story (“The heartbreaking picture of the polar bears with 400 miles to swim to the nearest ice “) (UPDATED LINK) originated in the pages of the Daily Mail, likely on Saturday Aug 30, and was immediately distributed in Italy by daily La Repubblica.

Trouble is, that story is, shall I dare say this, “not true”. And tonight, it looks like it has been pulled off the Daily Mail website altogether. (UPDATE: it survives of course in hundreds more)

===

Actually, the story is based on something that has happened, and was reported by the WWF on Aug 22: nine polar bears have been spotted (by chance) swimming near Alaska. One of them was at least 60 miles from land.

But the Daily Mail article, by a Barry Wigmore, “embellished” the original story with so many incorrect details, the end result was abysmally not-true and deceiving.

A couple of days ago the WWF published some clarifying statements. From those it would be easy to spot where Wigmore’s article basically made things up. But as I said, the Daily Mail website has “lost” the page.

Here it is, saved from another website:

So which bits were patently baseless?

  1. 400 miles to swim to the nearest ice” (wrong: the WWF confirms nobody knows where the bears are, and when spotted, none of them was more than 60 miles away from the nearest land or ice)
  2. Struggling against the waves” (wrong: the bear in the picture is simply looking back to the helicopter where the pictures are being taken from, and whose rotors are causing the waves)
  3. polar bear faces almost certain death” (wrong: the WWF makes the point that polar bears are strong animals, and “a polar bear in the water, even one far from land or ice, is not always a polar bear that needs saving”
  4. becoming lost at sea” (made-up: there is no way to know if the bears were or were not just doing what polar bears have done innumerable times in the past)
  5. the creatures’ homing instinct has sent them north” (made-up: the WWF reports nothing on the direction the bears have been heading. Actually, there is no practical way to find any of them)
  6. the World Wide Fund for Nature, said it was considering asking the U.S. government to send a ship” (made-up: the WWF press releases say nothing of the sort)

===

Last night I did send a comment to the Daily Mail urging the article’s author to check his facts.

Anyway: now that the story is not there any longer, conscious that it will linger on for years on many websites, thinking about how many people are needlessly worried by this story sexied-up to the point of not being true any longer, one can only reflect sadly at the sorry status of English and Italian journalism, trying to pass a fiction piece as a real story and/or gobbling it up without bothering to check the original sources.

Finally, since I criticized them in the past, I want to add that I appreciate the fact that the BBC News web site has not fallen for Wigmore’s drowning polar bear fantasy.

Ruining the Planet, One Toad At A Time

Cornelia Dean is right in pondering the risks inherent in experimenting with scientific fixes meant to save the planet from global warming but with “environmental effects impossible to predict and impossible to undo” (“Experts ponder the hazards of using technology to save the planet“, IHT, Aug 12, 2008).

Actually, that is not just an issue for the future. There are several examples from the past of enviromental cures that have turned out to be worse than the original problem. One of the biggest, and perhaps the best known, is the story of the introduction of Cane Toads to Australia.

Originary of South America, and imported to Australia in 1935 as a scientific way to control beetles that were destroying sugarcane crops, cane toads are still spreading to this day. They are harming native wildlife, poison household pets, and are unstoppably expanding their range at up to 50 kilometers (30mi) per year.

And of course the cane toads have failed to do anything to the beetles.

There is no need to repeat such a mistake on an even larger scale, by depositing sulphur in the upper atmosphere or dumping iron in the open oceans. It is high time we admit that natural systems are way beyond our control and our best bet is adaptation and the use of simple, clear technology.

Parallels between Lysenkoism and AGW

(originally published in my climate blog “The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGE“)

Timely broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s “In Our Time” series, about Lysenko and “lysenkoism”, the propaganda-based “science” that Stalin’s agricultural adviser managed to sell as “truth” from 1928 to 1962 at least.

In 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan – nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour.

Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.

Today, Lysenko is a byword for fraud but in Stalin’s Russia his ideas became law. They reveal a world of science distorted by ideology, where ideas were literally a matter of life and death. To disagree with Lysenko risked the gulag and yet he damaged, perhaps irreparably, the Soviet Union’s capacity to fight and win the Cold War.

The MP3 of the programme can be downloaded here.

What makes it relevant to the climate debate is the list of parallels that can be made between Lysenko’s “Soviet biology and genetics” and contemporaneous thoughts of Anthropogenic Global Warming:

(a) Results, and success are declared before an experiment has completed (at position 12m10s, in the mp3 file above). In AGW, just look at the innumerable papers that take AGW as established truth, even as the debate on “attribution” is still very much open among mainstream scientists.

(b) Proponents always declare “victory”, no matter what happens, and are always ready to shift the ground (mp3 position: 14m15s). That’s quite common in AGW circles: nowadays, if the planet warms up or cools down, it’s anyway compatible with AGW theory.

(c) Science is presented as a series of “solutions”, not simply as “knowledge” (mp3 position: 19m45s). AGWers cannot disentangle research from advocacy: for example, the IPCC is politically active, to the point of qualifying for a Nobel Peace Prize.

(d) According to the scientists, central planning is better than free capitalism (mp3 position: 35m45s). From Al Gore to London School of Economics’ Professor Lord Giddens, there is only one thought: free markets are not good enough, and a big State intervention is needed to save the planet from climate doom.

Ironically, the BBC guests laughed only up to a point to the witty remark made by one of them: that Lysenko’s personality and attitude would have made him a “guaranteed success in British science today” (mp3: 24m15s).

Even more ironic is the fact that Lysenko himself did come up with a geoengineering way to change the climate of Siberia (by planting trees in clusters, so that the weakest ones would sacrifice themselves to let the most resistant plants survive).

And in case you wonder: no, it didn’t work…

The Plus Side of Anthropocene

A group of British scientists has proposed to rename the current geological era as the “Anthropocene“, to register the fact that human activities are transforming the world.

The proponents, and many pessim-environmentalists all too happy to jump on the Anthropocene bandwagon imply no doubt that the aforementioned human activities are negatively transforming the world. But that is by no means a given.

If humans are transforming the world it may be the absolutely obvious, and thus ethically neutral if not positive, consequence of the fact that we have evolved brains: and it would look silly to feel cold in winter and hot in summer. Cue the discovery of fire, and the invention of air conditioning. Analogously regarding teeth: who would want to have them pulled without anaesthetic? Cue the history of medicine and dentistry, including metallurgy. And so on and so forth.

Or alternatively: could the Anthropocene be just one of the signs that the Technological Singularity is really going to happen, thereby possibly transporting humanity to a completely new way of living?

Those are only thoughts, of course: perhaps the doomers and gloomers are right. Still, it’s important to remember that seldom a word contains negative connotations per se. Those are more often than not, in the mind of the beholder…

Lester R Brown’s Plan B’s Shaky Foundations

The Earth Policy Institute has published an excerpt from the first chapter of Lester R Brown’s book “Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble“.

Why did they do that, one wonders? It is truly quite amazing to see how the egregiously flawed the whole thing is.

Among the citations that should be reconsidered: Paul MacCready’s computations need be replicated and carefully contextualized. The St. Matthew Island’s reindeer population collapse-by-overgrazing story has been seriously questioned by scientists and may be more relevant to indicate the dangers of a cooling climate instead (and the peculiarities of ungulate wild population sizes).

The same can be said for Easter Island, where population is unlikely to have reached 15,000 (let alone 20,000 as quoted by Brown), and the decimation was more likely caused by European germs and slave traders than anything else.

Finally, Brown advocates a yearly expenditure of $190 billion dollars just for global warming. I am sure you and me and everyone elase could do a lot more good with a lot less than that money.

=======

Is the planet under stress? Is civilization in trouble? Do we need a Plan B 2.0 to rescue either or both? Perhaps. Or perhaps not, based on how weak the foundations of Brown’s reasoning are.

Is your SUV Destroying the Universe?

Is your SUV destroying the Universe?

Supernovae data from the 1950’s to 2007 show trends very worrying for the fate of the whole cosmos.

The Magnitude (brightness) of observed explosions, after hovering for several decades around the 20 mark, has recently dropped to 15 (i.e. towards brighter supernovae).

Furthermore, the number of observed supernovae has been increasing at an exponential rate, again after many decades below 50 per year, to 95 in 1996 and a little less than 600 in 2007.

The fact that this is happening exactly as anthropogenic greenhouse-gases emissions are on the increase, cannot be just a coincidence. If this will not convince Governments about the importance of stopping CO2 emissions, nothing will!

There Is More Than One Pope

Listening to the Pope has become like looking at a piece of art. Everybody stares at the same thing, but few will agree on what they are actually seeing…

Who will ever believe that the news articles reported below are meant to be about the same person giving the same speech? 

(1) From Italian newspaper “La Repubblica”
The Pope on the environment, nuclear bombs and the Family in defence of peace and the poorest Countries” (Dec 11)

The Pope asks the international community to assume its responsibilities and to not postpone its decisions in matter of environmental protection of the atmosphere. That must be done, he reminds, “with precaution”, a collective engagement and “without ideological accelerations towards hastened conclusions”. It must be done – he adds – within a “dialogue” and not with “unilateral decisions”.

(2) From UK newspaper “Daily Mail”
The Pope condemns the climate change prophets” (Dec 11)

[The Pope said] “it is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances. […]
“Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken.”

(3) From Reuters South Africa
Pope urges prudence in environmental decisions” (Dec 11)

(4) From AFP
Environmental policies must respect needs of the poor: pope” (Dec 12)

(5) From UK newspaper “The Guardian
(nothing at all. Must be busy trying to figure out their own spin)

(6) From UK newspaper “The Independent
(nothing at all. Must be busy trying to figure out their own spin) 

(7) From “Pink News” (yes you guessed it…)
Pope’s message – gay weddings threaten peace” (Dec 11)

Global Warming May Be Just European

Readers of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report – Working Group 2 (AR4-WG2) may be forgiven to think a colossal misreading of available data may be at the foundation of contemporary Climate Change/Global Warming scares.

That report contains a map of “significant changes” (SC) already observed around the world. It is repeated throughout, and you can see it in the Summary for Policymakers, page 10, Figure SPM.1.

A total of 29,459 SCs are reported. An impressive number, at first glance.

Only, 96% of those changes regard just Europe.

The IPCC itself could not list more than 1,225 SCs not related to Europe.

——–

This enormous geographical bias does not get better when we count how many of those SCs are actually “consistent with a warming world”.

Planet-wise, there are 26,285. Of those, 96% are in Europe. Actually, 25,022 are European SCs related to “biological systems”.

That’s 95% of the total.

That means that outside of Europe, the IPCC could not find more than 1,150 SCs “consistent with warming”.

Compare that to the number of European SCs NOT-“consistent with warming”: 3,100

We have twice as many changes that are INCONSISTENT with warming in Europe, than CONSISTENT with warming in the rest of the world.

——–

Note also the distribution of the other “observed changes”. Only 7 for the whole of Africa, 114 for Asia, and 144 for the Polar Regions.

But what is most notable is that in the whole of North America (where, one would expect, a lot of researchers reside), only 810 SCs have been reported. Of those, 752 are consistent with warming.

That’s 3% of the total.

So for a summary: 96% from Europe. 3% with North America. Almost nothing for everywhere else.

How global can that be?

Preventative Nobel Peace Prize a Sign of the Times

After a (disastrous) preventative war in Iraq in 2003, we are going to see a (potentially disastrous) preventative Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Al Gore and the IPCC on December 10 at a ceremony in Oslo.

Why can’t we deal with real-and-present problems, and have to make up fantasies of new ones, I wonder?

======

What will people make of our climate change circus in 50 years’ time is anybody’s guess.

Surely though, they will still question what Al Gore and the IPCC had actually done, by the middle of 2007, to deserve a prize. No Kyoto-II agreement has been reached yet, no CO2 emission cutting program has been implemented by any Government yet, and no “smoking gun” for greenhouse-gas-induced climatic change has been found yet.

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Things are actually a-moving, and the still-ongoing Bali conference may come out with a document asking developing countries to develop rather less. Who would have thought that “global warming” rhymes with “neocolonialism”?

And yet, there is some hope. The bandwagon has become so huge, it will be next-to-impossible to steer. Expect ridiculous targets nobody will ever try to reach, set for times unbelievably far in the future.

Until one day, the Sun will cool us down, and so will die the mad dream of anthropogenic climate change.

Shame in Bali (Beware of the Gents!)

The UN Conference on climate change in a luxury resort in sunny Bali is likely to go down in history as the biggest waste of public money this side of Nero’s rebuilding of Ancient Rome. The idea that the only way to get less CO2 in the atmosphere is to organize the biggest event in UN history is beyond belief.

Anyway, as usual in everything called global warming, numbers simply never add up:

(1) the Sunday Times estimates 15,000 people, TV crews included

(2) Voice of America opts for 20,000, without the TV crews

(3) AP talks of more than 10,000 delegates, celebrities included

(4) Radio Australia says 5,000 police officers will be there, an extraordinary amount that will generate several tonnes of CO2 by itself (also, I didn’t think UN meetings could get rowdy?)

In truth, if anybody can manage to get anything meaningful out of 10,000/15,000/ 20,000 people in two weeks, either all those are there just to rubber-stamp something already prepared, or the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the wrong UN group

In any case…they better watch out when using the gentlemen’s lavatories

Twenty Missing, Three Dead, No Space on the Front Page

Letter To the Editors of the International Herald Tribune

As a long-time subscriber of the IHT I write to complain about your absurd choice of playing down both the death of 3 sailors during the recent storms in the Black Sea, and the fact that 20 more are missing and likely dead themselves due to the cold.

In the front page of the IHT’s paper edition of Nov 13, there is a short unsigned article titled “Counting losses in Black Sea storm“. In 59 words there is not a single mention of the human losses, and the reader is left with the impression that the ships’ captains and owners will be sued only for “environmental damage“. Has human life become as cheap as to be free to be taken?

True, there is a larger article at page 2, by Andrew E Kramer, where finally we learn of the human tragedy in the title “Black Sea toll: 3 dead and 20 lost“. This appears to be similar to an article on the IHT web site, again by Mr Kramer, although over there it is titled “Environmental disaster unfolding in Russia“.

The paper version starts “Three dead sailor and dozen of birds slicked with oil…“. Just a few words later “Another 20 sailors were missing“. Roughly a little less than half of the piece is dedicated to environmental issues (but again, there is no mention of any ongoing prosecution for the loss of human life).

The online version starts with “An environmental disaster began to unfold” and only talks about humans in the second paragraph. But then, dead and missing people are literally forgotten about, and roughly more than three quarters of the article is about environmental problems. For the third time, the only mentioned prosecution is about “environmental damage“.

Interestingly, in the paper article a Greenpeace Russia campaigner, Vladimir Chuprov, is said to have “called the spill a catastrophe of local rather than international scale“. No such a thing is mentioned online.

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All in all the above indicates a very poor choice by front-page and online Editors to find an excuse to push the “right buttons” about the environment, for some unfathomable reason deciding to play down the human cost of the Black Sea storm.

Shall we worship the Environment to the point of forgetting the people? That is a false dichotomy. We can take care of the environment and take care of humans too.

Please try.

Japan Shows the Way to Limitless Growth

Why didn’t anybody else think this before?

Alas…”some environmentalists and local residents are skeptical of the new projects. With no rivers left to straighten, they say, the authorities nowadays are simply starting to curve them instead

Actually, I have a recollection of Soviet tanks being shipped anew to be converted into scrap metal, in order to boost the production reports of both industries.

UK: The Abominable Cull of Badgers

Sir David King, the rather hyperactive UK Government’s Chief Scientist, has decided to forego the results of scientific research and propose a cull of badgers for the sake of stopping the spreading of Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB).

What scientific research? Three major aspects, for a start: first of all, the finding that only a complete and extremely expensive eradication of all badgers would work, as they naturally move away from areas where they are getting killed; then, the universally-accepted figure of 40% of cattle bTB cases caused by badgers, that is leaving 60% of them out of the picture; and finally, the fact that there is an ongoing trial for a vaccine that would protect cattle from bTB, so the destruction of wild animals may not be needed at all.

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We should ask ourselves, what would a cull be for? Let’s imagine a wholesale campaign of destruction of badgers were feasible: what kind of environment would the UK be left with? Do badgers spend their time spreading bTB, or rather do what badgers usually do, namely eat lots of other animals, and some vegetables and fruits?

How can the newly-found fashion of Being Green turn into the killing of animals?

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Sir David has come up with the ridiculous idea that “culling could be effective in areas that are contained, for example, by the sea or motorways“.

I can already see the badgers stop by the Big Road thinking, it’s too wide for us, let’s get back and get exterminated

Hopefully the UK Agriculture and Environment Ministry (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) will keep doing nothing, especially as 95% of the public has expressed itself against the idea of a cull of badgers.

But it is telling that the push to destroy so much animal life comes from the same Sir David that, in the name of Science, has already said that Climate Change is a bigger threat than Terrorism, and helped prepare a report on the basis of which it has been said that (yawn!) Obesity is as much a problem as Climate Change?

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As said by Professor John Bourne, Sir David’s reason to forgo the results of Science is “consistent with the political need to do something about [bTB]“.

That the same person may yell for the whole of humanity to change lifestyle to protect the environment in the future, whilst arguing to slaughter wild animals in the present, is a sad indictment of that politicised “Science” that can demonstrate everything and its opposite.

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ps: bTB is a problem for farmers. What should they do? It is true that “cows are also entitled to lives“, as a farmer told the BBC, but…are we sure that such an entitlement must signify the systematic destruction of another species?

For farmers then, how about helping finding ways to improve testing for bTB, keep the badgers out, to vaccinate the herds, to manage/cure the disease?

There’s lots of things that could be solved by extermination, but who’s going to kill all cats and dogs to cut down the number of cases of zoonoses, the diseases that can spread from animals to people?

Pearls of Unintended Irony on The Economist

Editorial control must have relaxed at The Economist, of late, or else for a series of unfortunate circumstances nobody at HQ is reading the magazine end-to-end any longer.

That may be a couple of reasons to justify the following of pearls of unintended irony on those esteemed pages…

(1) From one kind of waste to another

Nuclear power-Atomic renaissance“, Sep 6th, where we are told that “the current expansion of nuclear power”, based on lowering emissions of greenhouse gases, “is unlikely to be slowed down by concerns about what to do with the waste”.

(2) Errare humanum, perseverare…

Jolly green heretic“, Sep 6th, where credit is given to a Stewart Brand who, having been wrong about “his alarmism over the Y2K computer bug”, and having thereby convinced himself that the world is “modular, shockproof and robust”, for unfathomable (and unfathomed) reasons considers global warming the “single most important environmental threat facing mankind”.

(3) Warming fantasy

Gambling on Tomorrow” and “Tomorrow and Tomorrow“, Aug 18th, where we are told that all current climate models are too simple, and were not really checked against reality. This from the same magazine that has recently changed its mind, and thinks global warming is “for real”.

A Fred Fisher Moment for Climate Supremacists

The beginning of the end of Senator McCarthy’s 7 years in the spotlight was surely and improbably his mentioning of young Boston lawyer Frederick G. Fisher, Jr.: whose left-wing past the Senator unwarrantedly used to undermine US Army’s attorney Joseph Welch. On live TV, June 9, 1954, Welch famously retorted “Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Having seen what excesses the Senator could reach in his campaign to uncover Communists, public opinion turned against him.

Are we witnessing something similar about Climate Change? Have the catastrophists finally overreached, to the point of toppling themselves over? The indications are all there: because after Newsweek’s 9-page-tirade against anybody that dares to doubt anything about anthropogenic climate change (Aug 13, 2007), the tide is starting to turn.

In fact, no less commentators than Jeff Jacoby on the Boston Globe, and Robert J Samuelson in the next issue of the very same Newsweek magazine, have recently denounced the absurd attitudes of people apparently allergic to any form of dissent in matters of climate change.

For years, in the best of circumstances one has been labeled a “skeptic” (as if there were anything wrong with that!) at the first hint of not following the exact line behind the likes of Al Gore, James Hansen and the IPCC. Some of us had to repeatedly answer charges of “denialism”, a slur meant to create the impression of equivalence between those skeptical of a _possible_ FUTURE catastrophic change in the climate caused by human activities’ carbon dioxide emissions, and those still doubting the historical, PAST _fact_ of the Holocaust.

Note that I haven’t even mentioned the veiled and not-so-veiled threats of future trials ‘a-la-Nuremberg.

Between that and a complete picture of Climate Change Supremacism, only violence appeared to be missing in the actions of those carrying out a hard-headed campaign bent on stifling any hint of opposition to upcoming grand, poorly-thought-out lifestyle-changing plans such as carbon-emission-rationing.

Who knows, perhaps crosses will start burning on somebody’s lawn as soon as a zero-carbon-emission flame becomes readily available? But then, psychological violence has already started creeping in. How else to characterize President of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Michael Eckhart’s threat of career destruction against Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute?

That must surely be the most egregious example of the poisonous atmosphere concocted up by climate totalitarians. But it is just the latest and the biggest in a series.

Martin Durkin, author of the Great Global Warming Swindle documentary found himself under an unduly heavy barrage of condemnations of various sorts, including highly-browed calls for censorship by esteemed Professors. Steve McIntyre, the blogger/statistician that has recently discovered a bug in the software used by NASA to incorrectly attribute the warmest of US years to 1998, has seen his website crushed by an apparent DOS attack just hours later.

My own views (a basic question: if the climate is changing, where is the change in weather, not just temperature?) have been abused at times to “demonstrate” I wasn’t worthy of engaging in a discussion in a completely different area.

We literally live in the middle of an escalation of tones. Even people genuinely worried about Global Warming must understand how dangerous and ultimately self-defeating the attitudes of climate totalitarians and climate supremacists are.

If there really is an upcoming disaster, shouldn’t efforts concentrate on getting the world prepared, rather tan on stamping out differences of opinion?

Jacoby is right when he specifies that good intentions are not an excuse. All revolutions are avowedly meant for the betterment of Humanity. But whilst the American one led to the Constitution, the French Revolution brought years of guillotined Terror.

There is no need to remind the horrors perpetrated by Italian Fascists, German Nazis and Russian Communists, believe it or not all in the name of great ideals of peace and prosperity.

Justice Louis Brandeis is quoted by Jacoby as saying “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

We are the children and grandchildren of the millions that either fought to contain and defeat dictatorships, or were misguidedly seduced into selling out their freedoms to monomaniacal, homicidal types with illusions of omnipotence.

History will not and cannot forgive us, if we let that happen again.

Darfur Conflict Heralds Era Of UN Stupidity Triggered by Climate Change

The behavior of the UN regarding Darfur and the whole of the Sudan is nothing short of scandalous:

(1) The UN were unable to broker a peace between North and South Sudan, and had to rely on non-UN negotiators

(2) The UN could then do nothing at all apart from chatting, to prevent the Darfur civil war and genocide, started not by chance almost exactly when the North-South Sudanese civil war ended

(3) And now, the UN is trying to blame (global) climate change when it has nothing to do with Darfur, where the conflict is about the local vast, untapped underground resources, something that has bloodied Sudan for more than 24 years now (one wonders if this would be news for the “diplomatic editor” of a major British newspaper?)

There is absolutely no need to shove in “climate change”: look no further than the Sahel area in Niger, where rains have come back after the local government has finally decided to take care of its trees.

The downside of the absurdity of the UN intervention, its stupidity, is that time and money will be spent to tackle a non-problem, whilst the real culprits will get an easier ride simply by pointing out “climate change” is somebody else’s fault.

And so, as the actual issues are not taken care of, we can only expect failure about Darfur.

Grey-sky Hubris on The Economist

If the effect of clouds on climate is “obscure” and “little is currently known about where [aerosols] end up in the atmosphere” (as recognised on The Economist’s “Grey-sky thinking”, July 5, 2007), what kind of hubris is necessary to state, as at the beginning of the article, that “the general trends [of climate] are clear”?

Late-XIX-century physics looked pretty much complete too, apart from the obscure problem of black-body radiation, solved by Planck in 1900 by discovering the hitherto completely unknown world of quantum physics.

Environmental Cleanliness Isn’t A Novel Concept

Who could remember, 50 years ago they had the same concerns for the environment and fellow human beings as we do.

And so time and money was spent on the development of a… clean H-Bomb

William L. Lawrence, Construction of a ‘Clean’ H-Bomb Presents Formidable Problems for the Experts – June 23, 1957 – The New York Times

How comforting…perhaps after a future war, when scavenging for survival through flattened cities there will be little danger, at least of the radioactive variety.

The Death of Climate Change

G-8 leaders are preparing to go through the motions about “doing something against Climate Change” (presumably, with similar successes as their wars on poverty and drugs). Countless pacts, accords, international conferences have not meant much as yet, and in all likelihood they won’t make any perceivable difference in the future either.

In the meanwhile, the “science” of Climate Change is as clay-footed as ever. A leading IPCC reviewer publicly states “We should respond prudently to the threats from climate change“. The NASA top honcho Michael Griffin commits the cardinal sin of saying the obvious against all “consensus”:

I’m not sure it’s fair to say that [global warming] is a problem we must wrestle with […]

I would ask which human beings—where and when—are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we might have right here today, right now, is the best climate for all other human beings.

In a further sign that something is amiss, there is not even the suggestion of designing a satellite capable of collecting global data and possibly evidence of global warming / climate change.

GoreSat itself is not mentioned anywhere, despite sitting ready to fly for the past 7 years.

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The above clearly indicates that “Climate Change” as a real issue has died already, or is at a terminal stage.

At best, it has revealed itself as a proxy for something different, at worst a smokescreen, ancillary issue.

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Let’s give everybody involved the benefit of the doubt. What is the real problem they are concerned about, then, if “Climate Change” is just a proxy?

Possible candidates include: (1) the will to counteract the power of global companies by establishing some kind of (toothed) global government; (2) a general feeling tha Humanity must be cleansed of its sins, especially of greed and of disrespect for the Environment; (3) a way of keeping the development of places such as China and India in check, by making their lives difficult with newly-fangled emission caps.

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But the one trouble I am presently more inclined to consider, it’s (4) the worry that there simply are too many humans alive at the same time, and their numbers keep on increasing: at the same time, we have the attitude but not the tools nor the will to provide them all with a decent life.

That’s a much more interesting topic than silly measures of atmospheric carbon dioxide and unreliable, patched-up, secretive historical temperature recordings.

Nuclear Warming

Is this what months and months of Global Warming scares by the UK government were all about: building up a consensus towards the re-establishment of nuclear power stations?

Tony Blair’s very last contribution to the future of Britain may as well be this 343-page Energy White Paper, with all its customary “public consultation” that will inevitably result in confirming what was already written in the white paper. Check in fact what happens when the consulted people don’t provide the “right” answer: the Governments marches on regardless.

I am quite skeptical on the feasibility of large-scale nuclear power generation, and even more so when it is blatantly advertised as a way out of purported CO2-related disasters.

Shortly: it is not clear where the uranium will come from and how long it will be available; nuclear power stations are not built in a day, a month or a year, so we’ll be lucky to see any of them providing power before the middle of next decade; sizable pieces of land will be out of reach and contaminated for centuries to come; costs are way too high (if one takes them all into consideration, and not just the marginal costs as in the usual propaganda); there is no clear plan on where to safely stock radioactive waste for thousands and thousands of years; and finally, it can all very easily become a gif waste of time and money: all it will take will be another nuclear accident, and the mood against uranium power will be on the up again.

Are we sure we want to risk all of that just to protect ourselves from CO2?