Category Archives: Politics

Science Manipulation Hides Reporting And Political Failures Of The New York Times

The more I read the “As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas” article (NYT, Nov 13; and on the IHT on the same day, with a full page dedicated to it, and the pride of place on the first page with a giant photo next to it), the more it looks like something halfway between the first salvo in the “war on science” against the GOP and “many newly elected legislators openly skeptical about climate change“, and a call to rally to the AGW Believer Troops.

(1) Apparently, author Justin Gillis and the NYT Editors don’t mind writing more than six columns about an issue that they readily admit might not be serious at all:

The missing information makes it impossible for scientists to be sure how serious the situation is […] the researchers lack elementary information.

As the saying goes then…glacier melting is a grave problem, but not serious.

(2) One has also to question Mr Gillis scientific knowledge if there is any (if there isn’t, then it’s hard to take the article seriously at all). We are treated to pearls of wisdom such as:

Hanging out the sides of the craft, two scientists sent a measuring device plunging into the water, between ice floes. Near the bottom, it reported a temperature of 40 degrees (*). It was the latest in a string of troubling measurements showing that the water was warm enough to melt glaciers rapidly from below.

(*) that’s 40F=4.4C. On the IHT the value is reported as “just above 4C or 39F”

Well, it happens that 4C is exactly the temperature where water is at its most dense, so there is no surprise at all that 4C is measure “near the bottom”.

Note that I am not saying that the scientists involved provided manipulated information: all I am saying is that, as reported, the measured temperature is no “troubling measurement” at all. And so if there’s anything “troubling” about it, it’s been Mr Gillis’ fault not to report it properly.

(3) Another point that shows a remarkable level of naivety concerns the consequences of the projected rises in sea levels, presented throughout the article as if the seas would raise of a certain amount the world over

Abroad, some of the world’s great cities — London, Cairo, Bangkok, Venice and Shanghai among them — would be critically endangered by a three-foot rise in the sea

That is worse than absurd: the NOAA map for 1993-2010 has its reds, blues and purples, not exactly uniformity. A worldwide effort to protect coastal cities would therefore result in a giant waste of resources to say the least.

Mr Gillis’ failure to get some more meaningful statements about the risk of sea level increases from his scientists/interviewees is quite glaring, to the non-credulous eye.

(4) The list of baseless statements by Mr Gillis and his interviewees keeps growing with every new reading of the article too. For example we have a “Robin E. Bell, a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University” saying

We’re used to the shoreline being fixed, and it’s not

Who’s used to the shoreline being fixed? The people of East Anglia? The guys and gals of the Netherlands? The city of New Orleans? Where are the remains of the ancient port-city of Ephesus (5km inland) and of much of ancient Alexandria in Egypt (underwater)?

Inches below that, it’s Mr Gillis’ turn:

But at all times in the past, when the shoreline migrated, humans either had not evolved yet or consisted of primitive bands of hunter-gatherers who could readily move. By the middle of this century, a projected nine billion people will inhabit the planet, with many millions of them living within a few feet of sea level

So we have primitive hunter-gatherers on the one side, and a worldwide technological civilization on the other…and the h-g’s win? Says who? Wouldn’t it be much more logical to consider our resource-rich global society at minimal risk from any change in sea levels?

How about previous dire predictions?

In the 1920s and ’30s, for instance, a warm spell caused many glaciers to retreat.[…] scientists say that the recent changes in Greenland appear more pervasive than those of the early 20th century, and that they are occurring at the same time that air and ocean temperatures are warming, and ice melt is accelerating, throughout much of the world.

Yeah. Right. How about “Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says“. It’s vintage NYT from 1947. And “Glaciers give hints of weather change“. It’s NYT again, 1955 (article reports of five decades of retreating glaciers, no less). And here’s the link to a 1978 NYT article blaming melting glaciers for beach-side troubles in Rhode Island. Looks like there haven’t been many decades without a “Fear the Glaciers!” article on the New York Alarmist Times. And all we get is a “it’s different this time around”. Not serious, indeed…

(5) And finally for the political punch that wasn’t. Mr Gillis laments the lack of funding for glacier research (again, we can’t tell if it’s his thought, or he’s just reporting), and doesn’t shy from placing the blame:

Several federal agencies and two presidential administrations, Democratic and Republican, have made decisions that contributed to the problems.

We are then told that, as if by magic:

Now, the Obama administration is seeking to chart a new course, abandoning the goal of returning to the moon and seeking a substantial increase in financing for earth sciences. It is also promising an overall strategy for improving the country’s environmental observations.

Any thoughts on why it would have taken two years to the Obama administration to understand the situation? Any comment on how this alone would be enough to show what a giant waste of time the Cap&Trade aborted bill was, when I am sure a new “strategy for improving the country’s environmental observations” would have received enough funding quite quickly with a lot less controversy?

I guess we can’t expect as much from Mr Gillis, as that would show the NYT itself greatly at fault in having pushed so hard and for so long for Cap&Trade to pass, blinded by politicking and its desire to yell “the science is settled” whilst polar research has been “slowly going blind in space”, in the words of  “Robert Bindschadler, a polar researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who spent 30 years with NASA studying ice

Why The Global Cooling Story Is So Important…In The Anthropogenic Global Warming Debate

On the face of it, the whole debate about “global cooling in the 1970’s” is a matter of despair. If we can’t agree on what has happened less than 40 years ago, and is still remembered by many people, despite the avalanche of available snippets of information, a great deal of them accessible to all via the Internet…then what can we agree on? And what is the meaning of “history” at all??

So the only way to rescue our knowledge of the Renaissance, Ancient Rome or the Pharaos is by establishing that there is something special about the “global cooling the 1970’s debate“, something the unfortunately gets in the way and prevents people from recognizing what has happened within living memory. What is it?


The story so far…Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling? Yes. A paper by Mitchell in 1972 consolidated the idea. The Peterson, Connolley and Fleck article usually paraded around, it says just as much. Here I quote them again, with some added emphasis for those hard of seeing:

By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972),


, albeit poorly understood

In fact, we now know that “the world” was not cooling at the time, but “the Northern Hemisphere” was. Only thing, the scientists in 1972 had no way to know it was just a Northern Hemisphere thing. All of this is actually quite inconsequential wrt the original question (once again: “Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling?“). Anyway: in the published scientific literature, the global cooling idea started in fact evaporating in 1975, and had been replaced by global warming at full speed from 1979 or so (curiously, in sync with the PDO…). The same happened but much more slowly outside the world of research, so most people have been exposed to “global cooling” (actually, to global cooling consensus) well into the 1980s.

I am not saying I have found the last word on this, but the story above makes much more sense than the usual worldwide newsmedia sensationalism conspiracy as suggested by those adamantly opposed to any memory of the global cooling scare. What is it, that they can’t digest, to the point of denying recent history even if it stares at them from the ink of their own writing?


If one believes in contemporary global warming, the most obvious and logical reply to anybody saying “there was a global cooling consensus in the 1970s” should be “Yes, but…” followed by a long explanation on why the consensus is right this time and was wrong at the time. After all some consensuses have been right in the past, and some wrong.

This would cut off all sorts of sterile polemics and actually contribute to an increase in reputation of the average warmist daring to launch into such an argument, facing reality rather than fudging it. But nobody goes in that direction. Why?


As far as I can understand it to date, there are two main reasons for such a peculiar behavior: the AGWers’ unhealthy attachment to catastrophism (that forces them into defending absurdist ocean-boiling claims), and their single-minded determination not to allow the mere possibility of anybody uttering any suggestion that anything about AGW could be wrong, unless “it’s worse than we thought!” (that forces them into trying to rewrite history, personally attack any disbeliever, blowing up schoolchildren in comedy videos, and all sorts of nasty stuff).

In the AGWer world it is worse than blasphemous even to try to remember that, not so many years ago, there was indeed a climate worry, only it was a worry about the world getting cooler, rather than warmer. With so many easy-to-spot mirror claims (eg Pakistan floods because of cooling then, Pakistan floods because of warming now) logic dictates that the wall of evidence needed to convince people to really care about AGW becomes taller by the minute. And the one needed to acquire the political will to work against catastrophic climate change, it becomes impassable.

This explains why the discussion about global cooling in the 1970s often degenerates with people stupidly claiming “there was no consensus in the 1970s about an ice age“. Yes, there wasn’t. But who cares? Even a cooling of a few degrees, not exactly an ice age, was presented as very worrying, and potentially as harbinger of catastrophes.

Hence, the “ice age” mention is pointless.


Like the “AGW is a logical impossibility” page, the discussion about the global cooling consensus in the 1970s on this blog by itself will never be enough to put the antiscientific claims about upcoming catastrophic AGW to rest. At the end of the day, those pages are “just” reminders that we should avoid leaps in the dark, and always be very aware of our hubris.

Anyway…for me at least, these two subjects are evolving into a kind of “litmus test” that will help to tell the honest warmers from the rabid ones. The honest ones, you see, don’t worry about facing reality, including history.

How To Get A Comprehensive, Serious, Effective Global Treaty About Climate Change

It’s so simple, no rabid environmentalist or holier-than-thou climate scientist will understand it…so I won’t explain it here, and leave it as an exercise to the (rational) reader starting from this quote:

“Now, if for the past 20 years we had been told that there is a probability of some change in the climate due to CO2, and a very small possibility that it is likely to lead to a drastic lurch, then I could join with you and the consensus. Instead of which I have been repeatedly told that trillions must be spent urgently because there are only a few months to save the world and it is the most urgent problem, more urgent than hunger, malaria and indoor air pollution, likely to lead to the collapse of the entire economy and moreover that the science is settled and to question it is to be equivalent to a criminal. So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year. Ask yourself if these emails had been within a drug company about a drug trial, whether the establishment would have been so determined to excuse them”

I shall rephrase it for the IQ challenged:

IF for the past 20 years we had been told that:

  1. there is a probability of some change in the climate due to CO2, and
  2. a very small possibility that it is likely to lead to a drastic lurch,

THEN I could join with you and the consensus.

INSTEAD I have been repeatedly told that:

  1. trillions must be spent urgently because there are only a few months to save the world and
  2. it is the most urgent problem,
  3. more urgent than hunger, malaria and indoor air pollution,
  4. likely to lead to the collapse of the entire economy and moreover
  5. the science is settled and
  6. to question it is to be equivalent to a criminal

So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year

Dear @Revkin: THIS Is The Science Worth Defending

Andy Revkin of DotEarth fame is not the only one worried about upcoming climate wars at the US Congress. However, compared to some deranged new initiatives (h/t SG), Revkin is at the forefront of public-policy sanity. How about trying then to remind him what kind of science is actually worth defending? Using a few quotes from a recent BBC Horizon episode, “What Happened Before the Big Bang?

(39m45s, by Roger Penrose)
Let me say that a change of mind is not something unpleasant, I find, it’s something exhilarating. Because you get stuck in a rut, that’s what I find, you’re thinking about certain things, and after a while you think you’re stuck into this rut. And a change of mind, you think, (slaps is forehead), “Ah, why didn’t I think of it like that?”, that’s extraordinarily exhilarating.

(56m35s, by Neil Turok)
I’m open to almost any philosophical point of view, as long as it works, and I want a theory that is ultimately tested by data and confirmed that this is the way the world works.

(57m34s, by Andrei Linde)
If you are not brave enough to ask strange questions, if you are not brave enough to believe your own answers even if they are unbelievable, then, well, OK, so you live your life, but then it is not completely fulfilled, If you take courage to answer questions in not necessarily the way which other people expects you, sometimes you
just end up saying stupid things, sometimes you end up saying something maybe wise.

For the slowest of readers, I am NOT putting that broadcast forward as an example of “good cosmology” (it most likely wasn’t). For me what is important is how three people with very different takes on the same topic, independently agree on the importance of the scientific method, that includes being able to change one’s mind, being open to what is confirmed by data, and being brave to stray off the mainstream’s pre-ordained path.

Little of that can be found among policy-obsessed climate scientists. The only consequence, and this should be clear to all by now, is that climate science has become a mediocre endeavor where a quest for “settled science” is preventing science from progressing, and from settling.

When nobody is allowed to say anything stupid, nobody is able to say anything wise.


It is supremely pointless to argue politics with the politicians as it would be to lecture the Pope on theology. Wouldn’t it be much more wise to take advantage of the new situation in Washington, DC to declare publicly and once for all that yes, there is no space any longer in climate science for fudging, bodging, refusing to share data, hiding uncertainties, preventing competitor colleagues from publishing, using journalists as puppets, etc etc etc?

Wouldn’t it, Andy?

Because otherwise, climate scientists and activists will only keep reaping disaster upon disaster. And nothing will get done. And then all “efforts to balance human affairs the planet’s limits” will go extinct even before those limits will be reached.

It's Official! There Will Not Be Any Climate Apocalypse! (For At Least Five Years)

It’s official! The WWF is wrong. Greenpeace is wrong. Avaaz is wrong. Prince Charles is wrong. The UN climate negotiators are wrong. James Hansen is wrong. Many, many people are wrong, including Bill McKibben, Joe Romm, John Holdren. Countless people and especially children are being duped, day in, day out, into believing that the end of the world is nigh.

Simply, there is officially no hurry about climate change, as stated by the “European Union’s rapporteur on climate change” (the European Union? Or the Council of Europe? Does anybody care, can anybody tell the difference?) about the upcoming Cancun meeting:

Let’s have a voluntary agreement. Let’s stop the clock. Instead of Kyoto having to be done by 2012, stop it for about five years, put in a voluntary agreement and a verification system.

Thus spake on Thursday Lord John (Two Jags) Prescott, having cycled to China (or maybe not). His words were uttered on the august microphones of the BBC’s Today programme, but for some reason failed to materialise in the Today’s “running order” page, or anywhere else at the BBC site apart from the direct link to the interview’s recording. Had it not been for the Telegraph, I would have had to re-type them myself (Carbon News and DeHavilland are hiding their reports behind paywalls).

Anyway…what can they mean? Remember, whatever his past Lord Prescott is now talking for Europe, and European politicans have always liked to be at the forefront of quasi-suicidal climate-change-fighting binding pacts. They are hardly a bunch of Koch-sponsored evil Deniers: and still, at this stage of the negotiations they’re happy to settle for a five-year hiatus in imposing anything to anybody.

In other words, the most pro-AGW politicians on Earth are pretty much convinced we are not facing the last chance to save the world, it’s not 99 months to the apocalypse, the 350ppm threshold in CO2 concentration can be crossed for several years in a row without any cause for panic. Etc etc.

I wonder if all of that will go in the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC AR5?

"World of Warmcraft" ("Fate of the World") – Why Skeptics Should Rejoice

There we go again with the Guardian trying to launch yet another warmist plaything, this time of course not killing anybody, or in truth, killing even more people than before.

I am talking of course of “Fate of the World“. a game that (according to Adam Vaughan)

puts players at the helm of a future World Trade Organisation-style environmental body with a task of saving the world by cutting carbon emissions or damning it by letting soaring temperatures wreak havoc through floods, droughts and fires

Obviously, with much less splatter to show there is not going to be an outcry like with Franny Armstrong’s disaster, yet there are many reasons to rejoice at this ultimately self-defeating propaganda piece. You see, the video game, renamed “World of Warmcrafton Twitter by the incomparable Ed Yong of Discover Blogs fame, is surely like a dream come true for many a skeptic.

As suggested by Vaughan, and then reported in an accompanying first-hand-experience article by Jack Arnott, gamers aren’t going to be presented pretty choices:

Put an emissions cap on a growing economy, stifling growth, and they’ll get fed up and throw your agency out of the area. Encourage investment and prosperity and there’ll soon be environmental consequences.[…] wars and natural disasters are often triggered inadvertently by your decisions, and you’re informed each time a major species becomes extinct […] If a regime is refusing to bow to demands, why not sponsor an insurgency force to take them out? Better yet, if a country has an unforgivably high population to emissions ratio (I’m looking at you, North America), why not covertly sterilise the population?

(Yes, yes, of course it’s all in the spirit of “dark humor“. Who would have ever thought, “dark humor” includes now playing mass-murders and genocide on a games console…let’s get out those Rwanda jokes and Hiroshima stand-up comedy!!)

What will people learn from Fate of the World, but that, according to mainstream AGW belief, hugely unpopular policies are needed to prevent “environmental consequences“, alongside forcing people to remain (or to become) poor, killing many of them by absolutely unlawful, violent regime-change sponsorships, eliminating the undesirables, etc etc? Even the existence of a “Dr Apocalypse” mode, “in which your goal is to raise temperatures around the world as much as you can without losing the political support of different regions” (in Arnott’s words) can be easily seen as a further manifestation of “AGW believer bloodlust”.

Why, if I will ever need to demonstrate that the average AGWer is a humanity-hating warmonger looking forward to inspire violence and ruin the lives of as many people as possible…I’ll do worse than pointing to a copy of “Fate of the World”.

Report From The Battle Of Ideas: "Can we trust the evidence? The IPCC – A case study"

(guest post by Fay Tuncay – slightly edited by the author)

I attended the Battle of Ideas event yesterday at the Royal College of Art in London, “Can we trust the evidence? The IPCC – a case study“. The answer is unequivocally NO! [BTW Fora TV – The world is not thinking, was there so a video will follow] It was interesting to note that there were about a dozen empty seats – certainly not your usual ‘wall to wall greens’, indicating perhaps that the IPCC and global warming, has gone off the boil and is not such a hot ticket any more.

And, I might add that, in a sense – from the greens perspective – this event was very much an opportunity for the them to publicly re-group, to wash their dirty laundry, to acknowledge and confess the past sins of the IPCC and to say: “Okay the IPCC is guilty of overt cheating and made mistakes, but essentially the science is sound and we just want to put all of that ‘Climategate’ affair behind us and move on.”

In a nutshell, this was the purpose of Fred Pearce (New Scientist), who argued this case, [and is obviously attempting to maintain his credibility and readership], and I must admit I do find him an able journalist, who sadly just hasn’t yet cottoned on to the fact that he has become a cheerleader for high-risk speculative capitalism i.e. carbon trading.

He is still under the delusion that this debate is about the science and the environment, which of course we know it is not – it’s about carbon taxes, sucking the wealth out of Britain; it’s about creating a new carbon/climate change banking system [lots more of our dosh going in to the pockets of the bankers]; essentially this debate is about power, greed, and the conflict, within capitalism between as I mentioned high-risk speculative capitalism v investment capitalism, and if the carbon traders win we will undoubtedly be further robbed of our democratic rights and freedoms, to say nothing of the imposition of devastating regressive carbon taxes on our poorest citizens.

The Best Thing About Joe Romm…

…is his ability to carry people over with him towards the realm of pure silliness.

Of course I still think that Gavin Schmidt should be considered as the best thing that ever happened to climate skeptics. But while Schmidt’s innate ability is to undermine his own arguments to no end (I am sure they guy would lose a debate about UFOs against an astrologer), Romm is becoming an inspiration for a great number of his followers to go along wherever he takes them.

There we have, for example, Tom Friedman’s obsession with praising Dick Cheney (!) and China (who cares about its treatment of journalists, when it’s investing in “clean energy”?). Yes, Friedman believes every word Romm says. Now however the game is reaching new heights, so to speak, with the most incredibly stupid rhetorical attack this side of Philipp II of Macedon threatening Sparta. The attack, that is, against solidly-warmist Scientific American for the one and only reason of having spoken about Judith Curry.

Romm takes a long long road around the problem, of course, but the main trouble (what? An article about Curry?) is never far…suffice it to say that the article’s own author, writing in Climate Central of all places, goes straight to the point, and tries to justify why he “wrote about Judith Curry” and if it is “irresponsible to discuss Curry’s views” (rather than deal with Romm’s empty complaints about online polls and the use of the IPCC AR4 report).

Lemonick keeps hammering on and on about his crystal-clear orthodoxy…of course, Curry’s “valid points” are “often points the climate-science community already agrees with”. And of course, “some of her other points are not very persuasive at all”. So for Lemonick, Judith Curry either talks trivial, or stupid. Tertium non datur. We’re back among miracles.

None of that will ever be enough now that Romm is on the case. And his believers: wonders about a “new barbarism” (cue the usual, trite conspiracy theory), whilst the FAIR blog denies there is any (any) “worthy argument” ever made by any climate skeptic (or Judith Curry). So for Jim Naureckas Scientific American did something pretty bad, as “skepticism” is “not a respectable scientific position” because everything the mainstream scientists do is right from day one, and everything the non-mainstream scientists do is wrong by definition. This will go into the miracles list as well.

I tell you, one day Romm or somebody in his coterie will come up with the equivalent of the GIA’s 1996 declaration that the whole of Algerian society (apart from a few people) were to be massacred as some kind of “fake Muslims”. Even Osama bin Laden could not stomach as much, and we only have to wait until even the most rabid AGWers will have their “Zouabri” moment and wake up to the only possible consequence of Romm’s scorched-earth policy: complete and absolute inaction about anything that is climate-related.

And that’s why Romm’s attack against Scientific American is so incredibly stupid.

Genocide As The Losers’ Choice

I have recently argued that “those who felt there was not enough time to save the world, went on to commit genocide“. Of course that’s not part of an effort to justify anybody or anything, rather a step forward towards recognizing genocidal conditions before the killings happen.

Is genocide a crime for idealistic losers then? Yes it is. Read for example from “Genocide – A Comprehensive Introduction, 2nd ed.” by by Adam Jones, Ph.D., Routledge/Taylor & Francis Publishers, August 2010 (p. 37):

in his 2006 book The Order of Genocide, political scientist Scott Straus [wrote that] “a dynamic of escalation was critical to the hardliners’ choice of genocide. The more the hardliners felt that they were losing power and the more they felt that their armed enemy was not playing by the rules, the more the hardliners radicalized. [In Rwanda they] chose genocide as an extreme, vengeful, and desperate strategy to win a war that they were losing.”

Straus’ book is on Amazon. Interestingly, at page 155 it reports that among the main reasons why they committed genocide, 47.9% of interviewed Hutus mentioned: Insecurity, war, “kill the Tutsis before they kill the Hutus”.

Actually, there is a clear link between the Shoah, the beginning of Nazi Germany’s defeat and a general initial state of panic from Hitler to all, about lack of time and resources. From Wikipedia:

the German defeat in front of Moscow in November–December led to a sharp change of emphasis. Euphoria was replaced by the prospect of a long war, and also by a realisation that food stocks were not sufficient to feed the entire population of German-occupied Europe.[8] It was at this time the decision to proceed from “evacuation” to extermination was made. Speaking with Himmler and Heydrich on 25 October, Hitler said: “Let no one say to me: we cannot send them into the swamp. Who then cares about our own people? It is good when terror precedes us that we are exterminating the Jews. We are writing history anew, from the racial standpoint.”

The point about insecurity has indeed become a historical trait of modern genocide. Writes Malcolm Bull in the London Review of Books (“Ultimate Choice“, Vol. 28 No. 3 · 9 February 2006, pages 3-6 – it’s the original source that inspired my quote above):

Reasoned defences of most genocides can be constructed on the basis of a conjunction of the just war and social exclusion arguments, for if there is an identifiable social group engaged in total war against you, then it has to be neutralised. The Armenian genocide in 1915 was justified on these grounds, for the Armenians were expected to fight with the Russians in the event of an invasion of Anatolia. Stalin’s classicide was an attempt to deal with counter-revolutionary elements who might have sided with the Whites in the event of a renewed civil war or foreign invasion. A defence of the Holocaust might be constructed along the same lines: the attack on Bolshevism was a just war against an outlaw state ‘driven by slavery and the threat of human sacrifice’; it became a total war in which Jews would probably have taken the Soviet side; their pre-emptive internment was therefore a natural precaution, and their execution an unfortunate necessity at a time of ‘supreme emergency’ when the Red Army threatened the Fatherland. If you accept the just war and social exclusion arguments, then these genocides can only be criticised on the basis that they relied on shaky political analysis. They were, in effect, misjudgments, failures of statesmanship, perhaps.


Genocides do not occur in stable, peaceful environments, but at moments of crisis when the state is in danger. So societies only go over the brink when the perpetrators of the genocide are radicalised by war.

Analogously, when the Center on Law & Globalization extracted from the work of historial Mark Levene “Nine Common Features” of genocides. here’s what they chose as feature #3:

3. The government or regime believed it was in extreme danger and that crisis was looming,

Finally, in “State Power and Genocidal Intent: On the Uses of Genocide in the Twentieth Century” (part of “Studies in comparative genocide“, edited by Levon Chorbajian, George Shirinian, Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), Roger W Smith
makes an explicit link between trying to make the world a better place, and genocide (p. 8):

contemporary ideology [of genocide]…aims at transforming society. With us the attempt has been to eradicate whole races, classes and ethnic groups…in order to produce a brave new world free of offensive human material…what Camus called a ‘metaphysical revolt’ against the very conditions of human existence: plurality, mortality, finitude and spontaneity. It is , as it were, an attempt to re-establish the Creation, providing for an order, justice and humanity that are thought to be lacking…often motivated by a profound desire to eliminate all that it perceives as being impure. […] How else explain the constant references in Nazism to purification and the Cambodian references to the cleansing of the people?

And so to go back to the original point…is genocide analysis at all applicable to people so desperate about human-induced climate change / global warming, they might get tempted into exploding a little more than fictional children and football players? Yes, in more than one respect. Unfortunately 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.

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 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


Hammer, Sickle, And Geoengineering

(many thanks to FM for inspiring this)

Good old Karl Marx had a saying in lots of things, and of course it is possible to find some reference about climate change too. Interestingly, it’s not necessarily what one would expect.

This is an extract from a 1868 letter to Engels:

Very interesting is the book by Fraas (1847): Klima und Pflanzenwelt in der Zeit, eine Geschichte beider, namely as proving that climate and flora change in historical times. He is a Darwinist before Darwin, and admits even the species developing in historical times. But he is at the same time agronomist. He claims that with cultivation — depending on its degree — the ‘moisture’ so beloved by the peasants gets lost (hence also the plants migrate from south to north), and finally steppe formation occurs. The first effect of cultivation is useful, but finally devastating through deforestation, etc. This man is both a thoroughly learned philologist (he has written books in Greek) and a chemist, agronomist, etc. The conclusion is that cultivation — when it proceeds in natural growth and is not consciously controlled (as a bourgeois he naturally does not reach this point) — leaves deserts behind it, Persia, Mesopotamia, etc., Greece. So once again an unconscious socialist tendency!

What does it all mean? One could start by guessing that the reported “conclusion” (explicitly defined as beyond Fraas‘ own grasp) is that “cultivation“, like all human activities, must be “consciously controlled“. Otherwise, desertification (or any other form of disaster) will befall us. Cue State-controlled economy moving into Stalinism, or nowadays a multi-trillion-dollar global programme of action to change everybody’s way of living. All manifestations of the double hell on earth that science-led policy can be.

But let’s dig a bit deeper. The letter is mentioned in a review article of 2000, “Marx and the Metabolism between Humanity and Nature” by Peter Dickens, Journal of Critical Realism, Alethia 3.2 2000 pp 40-45:

[…] the key point here again is that Marx was trying to develop Darwin’s way of thinking. He was once more insisting that, as human beings work on nature to produce the things they need, they change themselves culturally as well as physically. […]

[…] Marx’s adoption of both Tremaux and Fraas in his attempt to upgrade Darwin can now be seen as problematic in a number of ways. More positively, however, it can be seen as a precursor to those current versions of Darwinism and evolutionary thought which emphasise not only the organism but its reciprocal interactions with its environment (Lewontin 1982, Dickens 2000). People finish up making themselves in making their environment. Similarly, the environment is indeed actively made and is not, as Malthus argued, an eternally fixed and morality-enhancing quantity. […]

In other words, a population changes its environment changes a population. This is obviously completely opposite to conservation-fixated contemporary environmentalism. Alas, that’s not what surfaced when Engels moved in on the topic:

[…] Main evidence that civilisation is an antagonistic process which in its hitherto existing form exhausts the land, turns forest into desert, makes the earth unfruitful for its original products and worsens the climate. Steppe lands and increased warmth and dryness of the climate are the consequences of culture. In Germany and Italy it is 5-6°C warmer than at the time of the forests […]

Where is this coming from then? Once again, the underlying mantra appears to be the belief that human reason would eventually come up with enough an understanding of the world as to be able to master it one way or another. Engels again:

at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature – but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly

Hammer, sickle, and geoengineering indeed.

Is This The Face Of Evil At The BBC?


He Who Questions Science
He Who Questions Science


Mukul Devichand…try to remember this name (well, it helps if you’re Indian, Welsh, or both)…why? Because Mr Devichand’s “The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?” programme on Radio4 tonight has surely been the most shocking BBC documentary since Oct 18, 1922.

You see, Mukul “Scourge of Science” Devichand HAS QUESTIONED A COUPLE OF SCIENTISTS’ THEORY.

The shock! The horror!

Yes, you’ve read it correctly. Rather than recording the usual regurgitated press release in order to reaffirm how any scientist that happens to be near a microphone is always right and always will be, Mr Devichand has done his job, what should be the normal job for every self-respecting journalist at the BBC and elsewhere: he has put forward interesting, probing, challenging questions to the scientists at hand, making sure the listeners understood the limits of the proposed theory, and going as far as to suggest some of the criticisms could be warranted.

Have you ever heard of a more evil person? (yes, I have)

The programme had no qualms in discussing the policy implications of the proposed theory, and didn’t try to paint opponents as anti-Science people. Finally, there was an open admission that (esp. in matters of public policy) things will always be interpreted according to one’s “heart”.


If only.

Just think, how many Jos Abbesses are out there, lurking in wait of another chance to metaphorically beat a BBC employee to submission at the first sign of doubt

Revealed: The Global Warmer's Secret Emergency Procedures

Toles and Michael Tobis agonize over the inability of American politics to do anything of substance about global warming. Too bad, isn’t it, that the actual practice of people that profess belief in upcoming climate catastrophes, has been following a madman’s emergency plan, hereby revealed:

  1. Make sure at every step and in every occasion that each and everybody showing any interest in the topic agrees with you completely and down to the last comma and exclamation mark
  2. Transform as many people as possible into enemies. Whenever feasible, throw insults to anybody asking any kind of question
  3. Inoculate vast numbers of people with fear, by talking about the need for a complete revolution of the whole humankind and its society
  4. Expect salvation from unlikely international agreements based on promises of many trillions of dollars, despite decades of experience with simpler agreements costing far less have consistently failed to deliver
  5. Organize practical climate-defence actions that everybody will understand are devoid of any serious effect, just for showing off. Focus on convincing people via impressive dance shows and uplifting public readings
  6. Hide the scientific data from people not belonging to the “right” network, in spite of all laws, regulations and established scientific practice
  7. Concentrate your efforts in fighting absurd worldwide conspiracies involving tens of thousands or perhaps even millions of people, all in the payrolls of Exxon and the Koch brothers, as if Shell and all the European oil and energy companies were angelic at heart.

Against Preventive Justice

The best thing that has come out so far from Splattergate is that (embarrassing self-absorbed conspiracy-obsessed holier-than-thou Italian University professors aside) at least some AGW believers are waking up to the PR and dictatorial horrors lurking within the “environmental” movement. Look at Revkin’s onetwo thrashing of 10:10, for example:

Personally, I’ve got to agree with a critique offered by a YouTube account holder who was one of many who took up the 10:10 invitation to download and repost the video — in this case with the environmental group’s “apology” superimposed on the imagery: If the same kind of video had been made about blowing up atheists, agnostics, christians, jews, muslims, whites, blacks, asians, homosexuals, left-wingers or right-wingers, it would have been met with understandable disgust; this video is a shameful display of DOUBLE STANDARDS.

And now there is also Tom Yulsman of the Center for Environment Journalism’s CE Journal: at first, wondering about “with friends like this, who needs enemies?” and then struggling to deal with a Steve Bloom ready to compare mass murderers and terrorists to climate change skeptics (one suspects, this category includes anybody not fully and precisely agreeing with whatever strain of climate catastrophism Mr Bloom adheres to).

I can’t fault Mr Yulsman really (apparently, his pivotal moment has been the realization that a good friend of his, however skeptical of future climate catastrophes, can’t possibly be an Osama bin Laden in disguise). Actually, I do not believe that it could ever be possible to respond to the likes of Mr Bloom, given the fact that he assumes that people in the present should bear culpability about “future large-scale death of people“.

Those deaths haven’t happened, but I guess it doesn’t matter, does it. It is also a well-known pinnacle of hubris to consider any future as if it had already happened (“forecasting is difficult, especially about the future“), but surely that doesn’t matter either. Preventive justice is a horrible nightmare of untold numbers of perfectly-honest people made to suffer at the mere hint of a risk, but hey, if one thinks about climate policy failures all day long, that’s (alas!) the final solution.

And so…radio has greatly helped in the Rwandan genocide, so let’s find a way to go back in time and put Marconi and Hertz in jail. Likewise for Messrs Benz and Diesel, the Wright Brothers, James Watt, etc etc. Come to think, with the incredible number of wars fought in the name of Christianity, Jesus’ turn on the cross must have been exactly the sort of punishment favored by Mr Bloom’s “descendants’ justice“.

Suddenly, Less Than A Week To Something Vaguely Sinister

Who would have thought, Eugenie Harvey’s motherly smile for 10:10 has all of a sudden rekindled memories of a different kind of child-carer, Matron Cofelia that is?

Royal Society Inspires Numerically-Proven Self-Debasement At Shameful BBC News Website

I know it’s hopeless, but today I have sent a complaint to the BBC for the shameful, biased coverage of the Royal Society’s “new short guide to the science of climate change”.

For unfathomable (ahr ahr!) reasons, much is made of the association between two Fellows of the Royal Society and the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). One is left to wonder if the remaining 41 Fellows “who called for” the new Royal Society pronouncement, are just stooges of the GWPF. Who knows, perhaps Pallab Ghosh believes the whole Society including Lord Rees are zombies manipulated by Lord Lawson?

Actually, it’s not just a matter of opinion. Keep in mind that the article is titled “Royal Society launches new climate change guide“. Therefore one would expect it to be dedicated to the Royal Society and its stance on climate change. Keep also in mind that journalists are painfully aware of the importance of dedicating the right number of words to the right topic.

Now, there are 419 words in Mr Ghosh’s piece. Of those, 83 are dedicated to Bob Ward’s likely slanderous innuendos against the GWPF, a topic that is removed as far as it gets from the Royal Society and its stance on climate change:

…Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation […] campaigns against climate researchers and promotes inaccurate and misleading information about climate change

That’s 83/419=19.81% of the total. Now add the words in the previous paragraph in the article, just as well irrelevant to what the article was supposed to be about, and you get 125/419=29.83%.

In other words, 30% of Mr Ghosh’s writing has little to do with the Royal Society and its stance on climate change. Can anybody imagine what would happen at the BBC if, say, 30% of any political article were blatantly irrelevant?

Funny to see such a shameful behaviour in their “science” section of all places.

Has The US Establishment Got Any Confidence In Climate Science?

Yes, I know it was the day of the stupidest Friedman column ever (favorite quote: “There is really no debate about climate change in China“…yessssir, there is really no debate about anything in China, it’s a dictatorship, thank you very much!).

But then something else popped up in the news, to provide a ray of optimism against the advance of rabid climate change belief. Just like in the UK, the top American cheeses don’t seem willing to walk the global warming walk. Shock, horror, “Obama backs utilities in key climate change lawsuit“.

Yes, the POTUS too, he doesn’t believe climate change as it’s known today, would be able to resist to a proper analysis.

Thank you, Mr President!

Copenhagen Humor

Couple of year-old clippings from the NYT “Green Inc” blog. All humor as unintended as ever.

Nov 29, 2009:

[…] few failed to recognize that the Copenhagen plot line — after years, really, of stalemate, lowered expectations and continued scientific bickering — appeared to be moving forward. “As we head towards Copenhagen, the world’s two largest emitters have stepped up to the plate at the highest political level,” Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, said in a statement. “This shows that international engagement on climate change can produce real results.”

Dec 8, 2009:

The U.N. Climate Convention meeting needs to be a show‐stopper and a chart‐topper in the annals of international cooperation,” said Achim Steiner, head of the United Nation’s Environment Program, according to the Seal the Deal Web site. “As the negotiations kick off in Copenhagen, Dance for Climate Change can help energize action towards ensuring that nations hit the highest of high notes on the climate change challenge.” […] As show time approached, in fact, so few tickets had been sold that the price dropped to $15. And according to some local reports, tickets were actually handed out for free at the gates when the music began to play. Various reports put attendance at about 2,000. Amanda Orlanda, a spokeswoman for the Water for Life concerts, told the Danish music magazine Gaffa that about 10,000 tickets had been sold, though she conceded that somewhat fewer showed up, noting that many of the foreign delegates in town for the negotiations may have had a hard time figuring out how to find Parken Stadium, a communications breakdown on the organizers’ part, she said. “We could have done better,” she said.

Against Catastrophism, by Lord Stern

Couple of interesting quotes from Lord Stern’s review of the latest McKibben’s misguided PR coup, disguised as a stuck “a” on the keyboard:

[…] The opening three chapters of the book create an apocalyptic vision that almost begs the question why we should bother trying to reduce emissions now, and it is only in the final chapter that McKibben offers any glimpses of optimism. […]

[McKibben] risks undermining confidence that we can find a way forward. That is not McKibben’s intention, as he makes absolutely explicit. Nevertheless, he is too pessimistic about the ability of the world to respond. Such pessimism can be self-fulfilling […]

Three hoorays for the former Sir Nicholas’ conversion to the church of let’s-stay-practical (aka we-are-called-deniers).

ps as it happens, McKibben might be busy corralling his rather violent troops. Tough new planet indeed…

Sexing Up Dr Pachauri's Qualifications

Say, this is surely a minor point, but isn’t it worrying that IPCC Supremo Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s qualifications are not always unambiguously specified? And especially at his own “home”…

Take for example his resumé at the London Speaker Bureau, suggesting Dr Pachauri is that rare human, holding two PhDs

Dr. Pachauri began his career with Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi, India, before attending North Carolina State University where he gained a clutch of qualifications including PhDs in Industrial Engineering and Economics

Of course, and instead, the NC State’s Alumni website correctly mentions a “joint PhD”

Dr. Pachauri obtained both his graduate degrees from NC State, including a master’s degree in industrial engineering in 1972 and a joint Ph.D. In industrial engineering and economics in 1974.

Same on Wikipedia

Pachauri was awarded an MS degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, in 1972, as well as a joint Ph.D. In Industrial Engineering and Economics in 1974.

Move to TERI‘s instead, it’s two PhDs for “Dr Dr” Pachauri

Dr Pachauri joined the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, USA, where he obtained an MS in industrial engineering in 1972, a Ph.D. In industrial engineering and a Ph.D. In economics.

Same text at the IPCC, in line with the accepted exaggeration policy.

Here’s a take, BTW, on what it means to get two PhDs

Well, don’t take my word for it, as I’m hardly an expert, but i’ve never come across anything like that. I don’t think any university would be willing to award you two phds without you actually writing two theses (as well as registering and paying for two courses)

Somehow, I doubt that joint PhDs were invented to allow people’s qualifications to double overnight. But as usual I might be wrong on this, so perhaps we will get very soon yet another confirmation of Dr Pachauri’s genius.

Tony Blair Explains Why IPCC "Science" Is A Difficult Endeavour

Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interest of the bigger strategic goal demands it be done […] Without operating with some subtlety at this level, the job would be well-nigh impossible

One wonders what an InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel is supposed to do?

The End Of Road For Climate Looting

Russian heat and droughts and fire? Maybe it’s global warming. Pakistani (and Kashmiri) floods? Maybe it’s global warming.

Or maybe not.

Likewise for the European heatwave of 2003, and pretty much any flood or drought Revkin, Romm and friends have ever been able to hear about in the news. Expect the law of diminishing returns to kick in quickly.

Now, wouldn’t it make more sense to finally abandon the rather unpleasant rushing after the latest tragedies in the hope of being able to blame them on (anthropogenic) global warming? Rather than behaving like “climate looters”, it would be far more effective for AGW believers to figure out where in the world a “climate signal” might be materialising (eg where trends in disasters are present or on the edge of being detectable), in order to concentrate minds on forecasting what if anything might happen in those specific places also with the goal of pushing adaptation projects forward.

This is not all too different from what vulcanologists already do. And it looks like a good litmus test to tell scavengers from the rest.

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.

The Big Green Lie Exposed – Mandatory Reading

Thanks to Andy Revkin, here’s the link to Walter Russell Mead‘s blog post “The Big Green Lie Exposed“, that I believe vindicates all The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGE has been writing about since December 2007.

The text is incredibly jam-packed with quotable remarks, such as:

the reason that the Great Global Green Dream is melting lies in the sad truth that whatever the scientific facts of the matter, the global green movement is so blind and inept when it comes to policy and process that it has deeply damaged the causes it cares most about

(about Climategate) The greens were found innocent of inventing the science, but guilty of systematically hyping their case

excitable greens have oversold a wide variety of worst case scenarios — and underestimated the complex nature of the relationship between climate change and world politics

The Big Lie is that the green movement is a source of coherent or responsible counsel about what to do

Many leaders of today’s environmental movement are like the anti-alcohol activists before Prohibition

The green movement’s strategic failure is also reminiscent of the Peace Movement of the 1920s

You can diagnose a disease but have no clue how to treat it. You can be an excellent climate scientist and a wretched social engineer. You can want to do good and end up furthering exactly the evils you most deplore

The real and lasting damage that the green movement sustained in the last eight months has been the revelation that it is strategically and politically incompetent

Precisely because a growing body of science points to the existence of some serious concerns about climate, we must think carefully and clearly

Alcohol abuse was a real problem in 1918, but the Prohibitionist belief that there was One Big Legislative Answer only made things worse

At best, the green movement might be compared to an alarm clock: jangling shrilly to wake up the world. That is fair enough; they have turned our attention to a problem that needs to be carefully examined and dealt with. But the first thing you do when you wake up is to turn the alarm clock off; otherwise that shrill beeping noise will distract you from the problems of the day

And so on and so forth. Whatever one thinks of AGW, “The Big Green Lie Exposed” has to be mandatory reading!

Next Stop, Pyongyang (The New York Times vs. FOI)

to Letters IHT
date Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Dear Editors,

Is climate change a threat large enough to make you undermine the very foundations of your trade? That’s the most important question upon observing your cavalier attitude to Freedom of Information (FOI) in the editorial titled “A Climate Change Corrective” (printed on the IHT on 14 Jul 2010), regarding the alledgedly “manufactured controversy” also known as Climategate.

Forget science, and forget politics for a moment: Climategate, as established by every official British investigation about it, has shown a deliberate, concerted attempt at circumventing the letter and the spirit of the local FOI Act. In more than one circumstance, the Information Commissioner’s Office has found that FOI requests were not dealt “as they should have been under the legislation“. Lord Oxburgh’s and Sir Muir Russell’s reports say as much too, just like the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s.

A wide range of commentators of all scientific and political stances have remarked this, and the general consensus is that from now on science itself will have to change its practice, becoming more transparent and open especially to knowledgeable members of the public. We are talking FOI, after all, an extension to the freedom of speech, a right that people including journalists, and The New York Times, have successfully fought for during the past half-century.

It’s only because of the statute of limitations that there has been no prosecution in the UK regarding the attacks on FOI revealed by Climategate. And what do you have to say about that instead? Absolutely nothing, apart from an absurdly understated remark about “a timid reluctance to share data“.

And so you have sacrificed the right to FOI in an attempt to get “firm action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases“. Good for you. And good for Governments the world over: they will surely rejoice upon hearing that the most influential and authoritative global and US newspaper does not care about FOI. Why, all they have to do is claim “a timid reluctance” to open up their files: and all you will be able to print, will be regurgitated propaganda and half-truths.

I have heard the hamburgers are good, in Pyongyang.

maurizio morabito
journalist and blogger, “The Unbearable Nakedness of Climate Change”

Live Microblogging Of McIntyre and Holland At Climategate GWPF London Event

I just came out of tonight’s GWPF event in London, chaired by Benny Peiser and with Lord Lawson in the audience.  Guest speakers about Climategate were David Holland and Steve McIntyre.

(links added – most of them… I will put all the links tonight)

As usual, here my notes as published live on @mmorabito67 (my “main” Twitter account remains @omnologos):

(for clarity, my own remarks are in italic)

  1. Around 35 in the audience so far. Holland already seated
  2. Lord Lawson and McIntyre in the room
  3. There we go. Attendance around 50
  4. Peiser quotes damning article by Harrabin in December (and here’s the quote unless the UEA inquiry is demonstrably impartial it will fail, and a new fully independent enquiry will almost certainly have to be formed“)
  5. Holland first, about his data requests
  6. Holland details how nobody could have checked the data before Kyoto’s
  7. Holland “no poor soldiers, only poor generals”
  8. Holland’s tells a tale of obfuscation by MetOffice reminding me of opening chapter of HHGTTG
  9. Holland: Russell report full of factual errors, no investigation of effort to delete emails
  10. Room almost full now
  11. McIntyre’s title slide “The ‘Inquiries'”
  12. McIntyre: 98% emails about Hockey Stick
  13. McIntyre: independent temp reconstructions not so – same names keep appearing
  14. McIntyre: Jones, Mann, Briffa prodigious writers of HS-related articles also reviewing each other
  15. McIntyre: CRU secretive to protect funding without investing on quality control
  16. FOI at stake on this but many don’t get how important it is
  17. McIntyre: first upload of emails was to RealClimate, as if a prank
  18. McIntyre makes fun of counterterrorism involvement
  19. McIntyre: UEA not investigating in the open – parliamentary reporters too clever compared to environmental ones?
  20. McIntyre: parliamentary committee left science to Oxburgh
  21. McIntyre: “trick” needed to “preserve the message” by IPCC
  22. It all sounds like propaganda reports before the Vietnam war opened eyes of journalists to the now-obvious lies
  23. McIntyre: independent science Oxburgh commission sent email from UEA
  24. McIntyre: Oxburgh left no notes or any documentation – no science examined – articles chosen by UEA
  25. Why would Lord Oxburgh want to associate his name to such a disaster?
  26. McIntyre: mention “sleight of hand” quote by UK MP
  27. McIntyre: Russell’s findings not based on anybody else but UEA, (slightly nutty) reference to “natural justice”
  28. McIntyre: mentions Harrabin referring to him as the most knowledgeable about CRU science outside UEA
  29. McIntyre: Muir Russell did not go to Jones’ interviews – no rigour, no due diligence
  30. McIntyre: odd that interviews conducted by climate activist with years of UEA work
  31. McIntyre: Jones’ request to delete emails a day later FOI request
  32. McIntyre is steadily destroying Sir Muir Russell’s credibility
  33. McIntyre: no accountability in the system
  34. McIntyre: climate science is being depreciated among public by hiding of adverse data
  35. McIntyre: climate sensitivity an issue. We can’t wait for absolute certainty
  36. First q: did MWP happen?
  37. I asked about consequences on democracy and why bother at all. Upbeat answers by Peiser and Holland
  38. Peiser speculates scientists’ jobs at stake, grandees took credibility hits as no gross misconduct apparent
  39. IPCC is not following most/any of the recommendations
  40. McIntyre: grudging consensus against preventing the release of data – would be idiotic strategy in civil lawsuit
  41. McIntyre: EPA has hockey stick among evidence – very unwise (I can’t find where and when that happened)
  42. Climategate has put the EPA in “uncomfortable position”
  43. Peiser: GWPF’s push for effective policies is gaining ground
  44. Peiser: GWPF report by Andrew Montford out end of Aug 2010
  45. Sunday Times enviro journalist: have scientists tried to present a clean narrative where knowledge still fuzzy?
  46. Holland hopeful science community understands things have to change
  47. McIntyre sees no change, grand statements, critics being blamed
  48. McIntyre: if hockey stick won’t matter, get rid of it. Plenty of PhD’s in readership, IPCC should focus more
  49. Peiser concludes hoping Climategate has changed Science and made it more open and transparent

Climategate: It's Richard Black vs Roger Harrabin, Sir Muir vs Fred Pearce

UPDATE: Phil Jones reinstated at UEA within minutes of the Russell report being published. Final proof the Professors behave as absolute fools in matters of Public Relations.

And so when the Sir Muir Russell’s Climategate report came out, confusion reigned. Richard Black is now claiming “skeptical circles” had issues with the Oxburgh Science-but-not-science report (what are you implying, Richard, has your BBC colleague Roger Harrabin entered any “skeptical circle” of late?).

And Sir Muir (according to what is reported by Black) appears to have spent untold amounts of public money only to miss at least two of the “five key leaked emails” identified (at no cost to the taxpayer) by Fred Pearce.

There we are then: three Climategate Commissions, and the only thing that is clear is how important FOI is.

If this is the way climate-related stuff is publicly handled, Lovelock might have been right, after all.


Maybe not because of AGW, maybe not because of swine flu, but one day surely something serious is going to hit us, and all we’ll get will be obfuscation, retrenchement, delays, half-baked reports…

ps in the meanwhile…can I have my UK tax money back please?

Climate: Adulthood (Urgently!) Required

Whilst Phil Plait struggles with the first example of a non-cause causing a series of effects, and Andy Revkin finds himself for the n-th time marginalized by the rabid section of the Warmist Party, Rob Lyons manages to write a perfect synthesis of what would happen in a world where people were serious about the risk of climate change:

A new approach is required that takes a more grown-up approach to climate change, one that is based on dealing with a potential practical problem of rising temperatures rather than an existential crisis that demands the wholesale impoverishment of society in the name of ‘the planet’. Let’s keep working on the science, without any preconceptions of what the outcome will be. Let’s work on new energy technologies because we’ll need lots more power in the future. Let’s see what rising temperatures might mean and how we can best adapt to them, or even use them to our advantage. Let’s cut out the moralism and the name-calling.

How difficult a concept can that be? And yes, that’s exactly in tune with what I wrote in 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.

(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, “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!

Why "Denier!"-Obsessed AGW Believers Are At Risk Of Ruining Science

I have always been amazed at how easy it is to find AGW believers ready to casually toss the accusation of “denier!” to everbody and anybody not following their “party line” of impending human-cause planetary doom to be avoided via some unprecedented social and economic revolution (“denier” meaning of course all sorts of nasty insults).

The more the term is spread around, the less meaningful it becomes. Still, what are the effects of such a silly behavior?

The most obvious consequence is that they are killing any hope of a serious climate debate, and therefore any hope of seeing it seriously tackled. It makes one wonder what would push people worried about something to act in a way that makes inaction a certainty (one of many) , and the worry increase even more.

An even bigger risk we are running concerns the possibility that science itself will get damaged by professions of AGW belief. In fact, what exactly is a “denier”? According to many AGW activists, “denier” is somebody that “attacks” science, by refusing to acknowledge as Truth whatever the AGW consensus says at the moment. And of course, science must be defended from those “attacking” it…

In the real world instead, one could naively think a “denier” is somebody that “denies” something, but that’s definitely not the case in matters of climate. In my still-fresh Facebook quiz, I have reported the long, curious and illogical list of questions somebody has asked Roger Pielke, Jr. in order to establish the latter’s “denialism” or otherwise.

With the image firmly in mind of Cultural Revolution-style re-education labor camps for those providing the “wrong” answers, it is actually easy to spot the underlying misunderstanding: “denier!”-obsessed AGWers are completely missing the point of science.

Science is a process, not a collection of facts. There are innumerable web sites of different repute repeating that simple concept (many are .edu). One finds it in the US-National Science Education Standards of 1996. Even the US Supreme Court has accepted it:

‘Science is not an encyclopedic body of knowledge about the universe. Instead, it represents a process for proposing and refining theoretical explanations about the world that are subject to further testing and refinement’

(To be precise, science is also a collection of facts. But those “facts” can and will be easily changed with new “facts” as soon the process of science will show it as necessary. What remains truly unchanged, and what one should always refer to, is the process of science)

If the above were not enough, there are even more indications that what is important in science is the process, not the product. In his $1M Paranormal Challenge, James Randi goes at great lengths in order to focus the tests around a specific process, rather than simply dismissing everybody believing they can “provide objective proof of the paranormal“. And what about a video explanation by the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait himself (especially from 2m36s onwards)?

And finally: imagine having two people, one reaching the “consensus” conclusions through luck or guessing, the other one reaching conclusions different from the  “consensus” but by using the process of science. Which of the two is the scientist, and which the naive, or denier?


A “denier” of science has therefore to be somebody that goes against, or wrongly manipulates, or misuses the process of science: and not just anybody that considers as most plausible a different collection of facts than the current consensus.

Otherwise, if a “denier” were somebody that doesn’t agree with the “scientific consensus”, here’s a glaring “denier” then: Albert Einstein refusing the consensus on quantum physics (and more). Here’s two more: Dr. Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren, refusing the consensus on the absence of bacteria in the human stomach on their way towards winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Another “denier”? Martin Glaessner of Ediacaran fauna fame, refusing the consensus about pre-Cambrian complex lifeforms (or lack thereof).

This is so incredibly absurd…Einstein, Marshall, Warren, Glaessner and countless others have simply tried to push science forward using the process of science. Sometimes, they have been shown right: in other occasions (notably, Einstein’s) they haven’t. Still, nobody becomes a “denier” simply by getting the “incorrect” or “anti-consensus” answer. <sarcasm>Why, does anybody want to read about the “Dark Matter deniers“??</sarcasm>

And yet, most if not all calling against “climate deniers!” I have ever read, they focus on the “facts” of climate rather than analyze how do people reach their sometimes conflicting conclusions. They go down onto incredible minutiae, such as accusing of “denial” when one finds the IPCC predictions a little exaggerated, or admits being “slightly less” worried about methane in the permafrost than them.


Do “climate deniers” exist, in the definition of “denier” just provided? Of course they do (here’s an interesting even if a little over-the-top attempt at dealing with the details about climate skepticism and denialism, by what I would define a not-so-closet climate skeptic fed up with American global warming politics). The number of “deniers” is extremely small especially among the scientifically educated. They have as much a chance at damaging the process of science as a Kansas school board has to convince to Norwegian education minister to introduce the teaching creationism.

The real danger to science comes from the believer side instead, as it spreads around a completely incorrect idea of what science is about. The last thing we’d need at the moment, is an army of young researchers trained with the asinine idea that, in climate science and/or in any other science, the only way to be good scientists rather than “deniers” is to follow the consensus.

Nullius in verba, indeed. Let’s defend science from the Defenders of science