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By Roy Spencer - June 30, 2006 12:00 AM

A recent AP news story by Seth Borenstein claimed to report on the science community's opinion of the accuracy of the science in Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth", coming soon to a theatre near you.

The story began, "The nation's top climate scientists are giving 'An Inconvenient Truth,' Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy."

Mr. Borenstein claimed to have contacted 100 "top climate researchers", including "vocal skeptics" of climate change theory, and of the 19 that had either seen the movie or read the book, all of them:

"...had the same general impression: Gore conveyed the science correctly; the world is getting hotter and it is a manmade catastrophe-in-the-making caused by the burning of fossil fuels."

All of the quotes he provided, however, were from well-known cheerleaders for planetary meltdown. Only one of the prominent skeptics I know was contacted by Mr. Borenstein; yet Borenstein implies that "vocal skeptics" made up a portion of the Gang Of 19. I suspect if that were true, he would have highlighted a quote from one of them, which he didn't.

The movie does indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios that have been dreamed up for what could result from manmade global warming. But the science is always changing. For instance, Mr. Gore claims that the Earth is now warmer than it has been in thousands of years. Yet the latest National Academies of Science (NAS) report on the subject has now admitted that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years, which is mostly made up of the "Little Ice Age". And this is a bad thing?

It is difficult to read his article without getting the impression that Mr. Borenstein could hardly contain his glee. How is it that, even with the errors that even the cheerleading scientists note in this news story, the reporter still gives the movie's science "five stars"? Is that on a ten-star scale? Enquiring minds want to know.

The article discusses "Washington's top science decision makers" and quotes Mr. Gore as saying that "They are quite literally afraid to know the truth.

"Because if you accept the truth of what the scientific community is saying, it gives you a moral imperative to start to rein in the 70 million tons of global warming pollution that human civilization is putting into the atmosphere every day."

Gore thus implies that only the truly uninformed (or misinformed) would conclude that his policy ideas aren't the correct ones for fighting global warming. He doesn't mention that the U.S. spends billions of dollars on energy research, including just about every alternative energy source you can think of.

Mr. Gore presents his ideas to fix the problem near the end of his movie. At least one of the Gang of 19 had enough insight to admit:

"..the former vice president sugarcoated the problem by saying that with already-available technologies and changes in habit such as changing light bulbs the world could help slow or stop global warming."

This economic and policy reality is a critical part of the debate. "Doing something" about global warming has been likened by many to buying insurance. But while it would be stupid not to have homeowners insurance, it would also be stupid to buy homeowners insurance when the price is more than your home costs.

Gore's quote also relies on the shock value of the "70 million tons" of carbon dioxide emissions produced by humanity every day. That way of phrasing it sounds much more threatening than what it really represents: about 0.00000083% of the atmosphere. Just by breathing, humans produce about 6 million tons of CO2 each day. The natural transfer of CO2 back and forth between the Earth's surface and the atmosphere is estimated to be closer to 7,000 million tons every day.

It is important that we distinguish specifically what the consensus of climate scientists is on the subject of global warming. Certainly, there is a consensus that globally averaged temperatures are unusually warm in recent years. But it is a huge leap to go from that observation to the conclusion that mankind is responsible for all of it, and that "it is a manmade catastrophe-in-the-making." I suspect Mr. Borenstein did not ask for concurrence on that statement from the Gang of 19, yet that is what he implies.

Dr. Roy Spencer is a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA's Aqua satellite.



Another insightful article by Roy Spencer - very well done!

The following Economist article helps to put the non-issue of global warming into perspective.

Please also note that Bjorn Lomborg, an economist, does not even question the exaggerated science of global warming - Lomborg assumes that the over-hyped warming projections by climate alarmists are correct, and he still cannot justify Kyoto-type CO2-reduction schemes.

Superimpose onto this scenario the very high probability that the climate alarmists, including the Mann hockey team, have greatly exaggerated the degree of current and future humanmade warming.

By now, it should be abundantly clear that the Kyoto Protocol and other such CO2 abatement schemes are massive wastes of scarce global resources that should be used to alleviate real problems, not squandered on fictitious ones.

Regards, Allan M.R. MacRae


The Economist, 22 June 2006

A question of priorities: hunger and disease or climate change?

TWO years ago, a Danish environmentalist called Bjorn Lomborg had an idea. We all want to make the world a better place but, given finite resources, we should look for the most cost-effective ways of doing so. He persuaded a bunch of economists, including three Nobel laureates, to draw up a list of priorities. They found that efforts to fight malnutrition and disease would save many lives at modest expense, whereas fighting global warming would cost a colossal amount and yield distant and uncertain rewards.

That conclusion upset a lot of environmentalists. This week, another man who upsets a lot of people embraced it. John Bolton, America's ambassador to the United Nations, said that Mr Lomborg's "Copenhagen Consensus" (see articles) provided a useful way for the world body to get its priorities straight. Too often at the UN, said Mr Bolton, "everything is a priority". The secretary-general is charged with carrying out 9,000 mandates, he said, and when you have 9,000 priorities you have none.

So, over the weekend, Mr Bolton sat down with UN diplomats from seven other countries, including China and India but no Europeans, to rank 40 ways of tackling ten global crises. The problems addressed were climate change, communicable diseases, war, education, financial instability, governance, malnutrition, migration, clean water and trade barriers.

Given a notional $50 billion, how would the ambassadors spend it to make the world a better place? Their conclusions were strikingly similar to the Copenhagen Consensus. After hearing presentations from experts on each problem, they drew up a list of priorities. The top four were basic health care, better water and sanitation, more schools and better nutrition for children. Averting climate change came last.

The ambassadors thought it wiser to spend money on things they knew would work. Promoting breast-feeding, for example, costs very little and is proven to save lives. It also helps infants grow up stronger and more intelligent, which means they will earn more as adults. Vitamin A supplements cost as little as $1, save lives and stop people from going blind. And so on.

For climate change, the trouble is that though few dispute that it is occurring, no one knows how severe it will be or what damage it will cause. And the proposed solutions are staggeringly expensive. Mr Lomborg reckons that the benefits of implementing the Kyoto protocol would probably outweigh the costs, but not until 2100. This calculation will not please Al Gore. Nipped at the post by George Bush in 2000, Mr Gore calls global warming an "onrushing catastrophe" and argues vigorously that curbing it is the most urgent moral challenge facing mankind.

Mr Lomborg demurs. "We need to realise that there are many inconvenient truths," he says. But whether he and Mr Bolton can persuade the UN of this remains to be seen. Mark Malloch Brown, the UN's deputy secretary-general, said on June 6th that: "there is currently a perception among many otherwise quite moderate countries that anything the US supports must have a secret agenda...and therefore, put crudely, should be opposed without any real discussion of whether [it makes] sense or not."

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the work and initiatives by CCNet-member Bjorn Lomborg, see

"We want you to die", Independence Day alien invader
"To Pianka, a human life is no more valuable than any other - a lizard, a bison, a rhino. And as humans reproduce, the demand for resources like food, water and energy becomes more than the Earth can sustain, he says."

Leading causes of the left: abortion, euthansia, animal rights.
They want to save Gia, not humans.


Reuters, 30 June 2006

by Alister Doyle

NORWAY: June 30, 2006

OSLO - Five years after berating Washington for pulling out, many backers of the UN's Kyoto Protocol are wavering in the fight against global warming.

Many European Union nations are giving high-polluting industries and power generators easier than expected targets in plans due to be submitted to Brussels by June 30 about how they aim to meet cleaner air goals by 2008-12.

And Ottawa gave Kyoto the worst snub to date in March, saying Canada would be unable to reach a goal of cutting fossil fuel emissions from factories, power plants and cars by 2012.

"EU member states seem to be competing with each other to give more beneficial allocations (to industry). It won't add up," said Terry Barker, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research at Cambridge University.

At the heart of much climate debate is who will pay -- and how much -- to curb what many scientists say could be drastic climate changes ranging from droughts to rising sea levels.

"Environmentalists said Kyoto would be virtually cost-free," said Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish Kyoto sceptic who heads the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Lax EU goals show "most countries are starting to realise that it will be very costly," he said.

Lomborg reckons Kyoto would cost US$150 billion a year if fully implemented and that fighting disease and hunger, ensuring clean water or promoting free trade would be money better spent.

Many other experts say costs are likely to be insignificant.


A study in the journal Nature last month estimated that even the toughest global climate goals for the entire 21st century -- far beyond Kyoto -- would only brake growth of the world economy by one percentage point by 2100.

"The price of Kyoto will be less than many people thought," said David Doniger, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington.

President George W. Bush pulled out in 2001, saying Kyoto would cost US jobs and wrongly omits poor nations. Many Kyoto supporters who bitterly criticised Bush at the time are now jibing at tough measures.

Among EU nations, for instance, both France and Germany on Thursday proposed plans that will allow rises in emissions.

Germany, Europe's biggest polluter, is proposing to cut its emissions by nearly 5.6 percent in 2008-12 from 2005-07. But it blew off the cap by offering all new power plants -- including those run on coal -- unlimited free emissions until 2022.

The EU Commission can reject schemes it considers too lax. Kyoto obliges 35 rich nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

"The Europeans will meet their target but the question is 'how?'. They are letting the large industrial sectors off easily," said Steve Sawyer, climate policy expert at Greenpeace.

He said governments would instead have to squeeze emissions by measures such as higher taxes on energy use -- muting the incentive for power stations to shift to cleaner technologies.

EU emissions overall rose by 0.4 percent in 2004 from 2003 but are 4.8 percent below 1990 levels thanks mainly to declines in eastern Europe after the collapse of Soviet-era industries.

Canada's new Conservative government has said it cannot meet its Kyoto goal. Emissions are likely to rise as it exploits oil sands made attractive by high oil prices above US$70 a barrel.

"As long as Canada is really keen on getting to these sands there is not much chance of reducing emissions," said Hermann Ott, director of the climate policy division at the German Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

He said that Canada's coolness to Kyoto was bad news for anyone hoping that the United States might eventually sign up.

If Canada -- bordering the United States and with a similar economic structure -- could manage Kyoto then Washington might be encouraged to follow, according to Kyoto fans. "At the moment Canada is pointing in the other direction," Ott said.

Story by Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent



NRO, 29 June 20006

Iain Murray

Fans of the European approach to greenhouse gas emissions should meanwhile consider what is going on in Germany, France, and Greece. The beloved cap and trade-based Emissions Trading Scheme, touted as "effective" by Al Gore, is proving to be useless. The UK's chief cheerleader for emissions trading, Michael Grubb, had this to say the other day:

"I have been a big supporter of the EU ETS, but hearing the German news I feel more depressed than I ever have done about our ability to tackle climate change...I really believed that Europe would lead the way through the EU ETS but now I wonder whether this will ever happen."
Friends of the Earth is even more upset:

Friends of the Earth Europe said the EU is "shamefully off-course to meet its international Kyoto Protocol obligations". Jan Kowalzig, climate campaigner of the organisation said:

"As these new figures embarrassingly show, our European leaders still haven't woken up to the climate crisis. Europe's governments make grand statements about their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, yet economy and industry Ministers continue to block or water down policy measures to switch to renewable energies, reduce energy waste or introduce fuel consumption standards for cars".

As Tony Blair has conceded, economic growth will always win out over fears about future weather when the two are put up against each other, wherever you are. Those who are worried about global warming have to suggest something other than an economic straitjacket if they want to be listened to. They have consistently failed to do this, becoming shriller and shriller in their rhetoric. Unfortunately for them, reality has a habit of winning out.




Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.


Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil. WE DO HAVE AN URBAN AIR QUALITY PROBLEM - IMAGINE THE IMPROVEMENTS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED BY NOW IF WE HAD FOCUSED THE HUGE KYOTO EXPENDITURES ON URBAN AIR QUALITY, INSTEAD OF BOGUS HUMANMADE GLOBAL WARMING.

Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity. REVIEW BJORN LOMBORG'S COPENHAGEN CONCENSUS. ECONOMIST LOMBORG EVEN ACCEPTS THE BOGUS PRO-KYOTO SCIENCE, AND HE STILL SAYS THERE ARE MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO SPEND THE MONEY.


Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment - it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution. SEE PREVIOUS COMMENT - THE MOVE BY INDUSTRIES TO "POLLUTION HAVENS" HAS ALREADY BEGUN.

Kyoto's CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.

Kyoto will be ineffective - even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming. THE PROJECTED REDUCTION IN WARMING DUE TO FULL KYOTO IMPLEMENTATION WAS 0.06 DEGREES C. EVEN THE MOST STRIDENT KYOTO SUPPORTERS HAVE NOW ACCEPTED THAT THIS STATEMENT IS TRUE.

The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply - the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels. CORN ETHANOL, WIND POWER, SOLAR POWER, ETC. ARE PROVING EXPENSIVE AND INEFFECTIVE. NUCLEAR POWER IS THE ONLY ANSWER TO REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS, AND KYOTO FANS ALSO HATE NUCLEAR - SO THEY OFFER NO PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS.

I've been amused by the lengths the AGW fanatics have gone to defend their beliefs
in earlier threads, eric has been claiming that the hockey stick always acknowledged the existence of the LIA and MWP. He states that they are both easy to see in the graph. He also claims categorically that the Mann did not switch from proxies to thermometer readings at the end of his "chart".

Can I put my obligatory tout of White Light LED's in here?
From what I remember, lighting consumes about 10% of the energy used in the US. Switching over to WL LED's would just about cut this in half. Right now, they are only being used in specialty items, like flashlights, displays and stop lights. As production goes up, the cost will come down. They use 1/5th the energy of an incandescent, 20 to 30% less than a flourescent. (With a corresponding drop in heat produced. Important for anyone who uses AC much. When I lived in Atlanta, the plant I worked in had to use it's AC, even when the temperature outside dropped below freezing, because of all the heat being produced in the building.)

I haven't seen life expectancy figures for WL LED's, but red LED's typically are rated for 100,000 hours. Most incandescents are only rated for a few thousand hours.

They last longer, use less energy, produce less heat, are smaller. What's not to love. I'll be buying one as soon as they show up in Wal-Mart.

AND they are a perfect example of how technology will solve the problem…
not strange agreements like Kyoto. i too will be buying them as soon as they are on the market. I already use the screw-in flourescent in all our home lighting. they cost 5-times as much, but they tend to last at least that much longer. Generally it has been a net savings over the past five years (in fact, I've only replaced five of these in that time, I have at least 10 others I have yet to have to replace, including two outdoors).

This is another very good article.
Gor's movie is about 20% real evidence, 20% solid science and 60% bullsh it.

The last company that I worked for made slot machines. We had recently switched over to LED's for all of our machine displays. We were able to downsize the power supplies and reduce the size of the power distribution cables. The old units had three cooling fans, the new ones, had one. When we calculated the amount saved on AC by the casinos, we were able to show that total cost of ownership went down with the new model. Even though the LED's cost 2 or 3 times more than the old incandescents.

What was the real evidence?
The part where he spelled Greenland right?

Kyoto is a SHAM.
It does nothing to actually reduce emmissions, just spread them around. It's called "Emissions Trading"

"The Kyoto Protocol will bind ratifying nations to a similar system, with the UNFCCC setting caps for each nation. Under the proposed treaty, nations that emit less than their quota of greenhouse gases will be able to sell emissions credits to polluting nations."

So, what good is that?

Compact Flourescents
SDG&E gives them aweay for free on a regular basis here. They also trade out halogen lamps for more energy efficient ones, as well.

Sing it with me...

"You... You light up my liiiife...."

I am surprised that the America-firsters have not seized upon this obvious opportunity.

Why not place high import tariffs on Chinese goods until they clean up their incredibly toxic air and water pollution? Not CO2 - I'm talking about real pollution - SOx, NOx and particulates, for example. And while we're focusing on China, why not push for a major improvement in human rights - now enjoyed only by the ruling elite.

Why are we allowing China to be a pollution haven and a human rights pariah and acting like none of this matters?

We have the necessary leverage - the western world buys almost all of China's manufactured goods.

Instead of all this ineffective Kyoto global warming hysteria, strong efforts should instead be re-directed to improve real air and water quality and human rights worldwide, and China is the right place to start.

Best regards, Allan


The Baltimore Sun, 29 June 2006,0,3842740.story?coll=bal-oped-headlines

By Peter A. Brown

Thanks to Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, the global warming debate is back on our political radar screen. We can let the scientists sort out the accuracy of his vision of a world tilting toward ruin.

But even if Gore & Co. are correct that the international community must immediately act to stem the increase in global temperatures, conspicuously absent is any acknowledgment that the Asian economic revolution has made whatever problem exists much more difficult to solve.

The folks who focus on U.S. noncompliance with the Kyoto agreement as the only impediment to a global solution are as outdated in their thinking as were the explorers of the Middle Ages who thought the world was flat.

Yes, the United States, as the world's largest economy, remains the biggest source of greenhouse gases, and any international solution would require American participation.

But for any global agreement to win approval in Washington, it must recognize the belief that the restraints on emissions required by Kyoto will cost American jobs.

China, and to a lesser degree India and the other Asian tigers, are industrializing at a frenetic pace. Any agreement to limit global warming must include their participation. An acknowledgment of that reality by the environmentalists is the required first step in any effort to deal with the problem of rising world temperatures.

The Kyoto agreement was signed in 1997 before U.S. companies began outsourcing millions of jobs to China and India. The pact exempted both and other developing nations from the requirements of curbing emissions. The rationale was that the United States and Western Europe had caused most of the problem, so they should bear the brunt of the sacrifice.

It was a noble but impractical idea. Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose nation signed the accord, acknowledged that "no country will want to sacrifice its economy" in the process. The United States refused to approve the agreement for that reason. Although Western European nations did, some of them have failed to keep the commitments they made.

That's why the idea that all the environmental folks have to do is show the Chinese how much they are polluting to get them to happily agree to the Kyoto limits is almost as naive as it is simplistic.

The New York Times reported recently that the Chinese are so dependent on dirty coal for their power needs that their "dangerous brew of soot, toxic chemicals and climate-changing gases" is ruining the air quality not just for their own citizens but also for those in neighboring Asian nations. In fact, the Times reported, the Chinese emissions are making the air in non-urban parts of the Western United States as dirty as ever recorded.

It is hard to see the Chinese easily agreeing to curb their emissions. Doing so would require expensive technology on their industrial plants that would make their products more expensive in the international marketplace.

Therefore, what American politician would support such steps at home with the knowledge that doing so would make U.S. products more expensive at the same time some of their global competitors are not complying?

It is easy for those no longer in the political trenches to take the absolutist position, but political death wishes are in short supply at the White House and in Congress these days.

That's why Mr. Gore and his buddies should learn to speak Chinese if they want to get an agreement that will be accepted in Washington.

Peter A. Brown is the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute and a former editorial columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. His e-mail is

Copyright 2006, Baltimore Sun

This sounds good, where can I sign up?
Actually, I'm a pretty big believer in advancing technology being the answer to most problems. No arguement from me.

Spitting into the ocean
I've been installing flourescent replacement bulbs, and they do save on my bills. But not a lot. They also have drawbacks, like slow starting. They are definitely NOT for locations where you switch the lights on and off a lot.

The real problem is this technology doesn't really impact the large uses of electricity, one of which is the semiconductor industry, which is needed to make these clever low energy lamps.

Other opportunities
Transmission lines. Imagine superconducting transmission lines and superconducting wire in the the generators.

Imagine near point of origin electicity generation with nuclear batteries or fuel cells.

Carbon nanotube batteries.

Solar power satellites.

Technology has, is and will have a big impact upon efficiency.

but that's one of the advantages to LED's. They come on instantly. Incandescents are also damaged by being turned on and off a lot. (Thermal shock)
Depending on how the power supply is built, frequent power cycling shouldn't hurt LED's.

The substrate (I don't remember if it's silicon or gallium arsenide) does have to be melted in the manufacturing process, but then again, you have to melt some sand to make incandescent and flourescent bulbs as well.

As I said before, lighting is about 10% of the US's energy usage. (If someone has a more accurate number, please post it.) Reducing the heat produced will also save on AC, though this will make more a difference to businesses than it will to homes.

In the past year
US GDP grew by around 3%, while our total energy usage grew by around 0.06%.

Add: My obligatory tout of insulating concrete forms (ICF) - a vast improvement in wallsystems.

"An ICF home keeps heat in during the winter and cool air in during the summer. This feature, combined with radiant in-floor heating, can save you as much as 50% on your annual energy bills."

The last time I looked, this particular ICF brand had ~70% of the Alberta market for all such ICF wallsystems. Full disclosure - I am a small shareholder of the manufacturer, PFB Corp (PFB.TO), and helped design this ICF - my name is on the patent. Just to demonstrate that we evil oil industry types can actually help improve the planet too.

As timber grows more expensive, ICF will likely replace wood in low-rise housing and commerical construction.

ICF has many other advantages, including noise reduction, and ICF structures can be built to survive most natural disasters.

Well...even Joseph Goebbels had to have foot soldiers
...even if he didn't have a cool PowerPoint projector to spin his lies with.

can ICF be used with the new automated wall building systems?
I read an article a year or so ago about a machine that sprayed a thin layer of concrete. The spray head was held on a platform that could be moved to any spot on a plot of land. The head could be used to create walls of any shape.

After one layer was sprayed, it would wait for the material to set (depending on how big the building, it might finish setting while the layer was still being sprayed.) then it would spray the next layer.

Layer by layer, it would build all the walls of a house, even the interior walls.

I don't remember how it handled windows and door.

The idea was that you could haul the rig to a construction site. Set it up, then all you needed was someone to make sure that the hopper was loaded with slurry. After a day or so, with the labor of just one person, the building was ready for rafters and a roof.

Sorry to disagree...but emissions trading is a proven means
First, a disclosure: I am against Kyoto and happen to think the current AGW mantra is a fraud. I mention this so it is clear where I stand in relation to my response to your post from the get go.

The US implemented emissions trading, or 'cap and trade' for reducing sulfur dioxide emissions (the cause of acid rain). It worked spectacularly. When set up and managed correctly, cap and trade can do wonders to reducing defined externalizing of wastes (note how I avoid the term 'pollution' here) in the fastest manner and in the most economical way. It has been proven to be way better at producing bonafide results than old-style command-and-control regulation, as well. The US reduced its SO2 emissions drastically and way ahead of schedule.

It should be noted that during the Kyoto Treaty negotiations, the US insisted that it be the defined means of dealing with the CO2, but the Euros balked. Later, the Euros got religion on it and it was adopted (but it was also too late to keep Bush from pulling out anyway).

The EU set up their scheme, but they awarded way too much credits than emissions from the get go. And so it is failing to provide the correct incentives for CO2 emitters to reduce or compensate (buy buying someone else's credits or paying someone to plant trees, etc). So, its now becoming quite an obvious failure.

This outcome, of course, came about on purpose as the Euro politicians never negotiated Kyoto on good faith and had every intention of not really complying. Same can be said about Canada's past and current politicians.

Bush, it appears, was the only honest broker in the whole mess by openly stating the obvious and making no bones that we weren't going to participate in such a fraud.

But emissions trading itself works. It is that which I am defending here.

Wikipedia has a more 'get to the point' explanation of it in their acid rain article. As it is only one paragraph, I copy it here:

"An even more benign regulatory scheme involves emission trading. In this scheme, every current polluting facility is given an emissions license that becomes part of capital equipment. Operators can then install pollution control equipment, and sell parts of their emissions licenses. The main effect of this is to give operators real economic incentives to install pollution controls. Since public interest groups can retire the licenses by purchasing them, the net result is a continuously decreasing and more diffused set of pollution sources. At the same time, no particular operator is ever forced to spend money without a return of value from commercial sale of assets."

Yeah, and a few other small things like the earth is warming up…
Beyond that it is pretty much fiction… hmmmm, I guess 20% was an awful high number after all.

Answer to your ICF question.
Hi Mark,

I have enjoyed your posts.

I think you are describing a shotcrete-type system, which is quite different from ICF. I believe shotcrete wallsystems require a "one-sided" form - the shotcrete is sprayed against the form and most of the concrete sticks to it and sets quickly, creating the wall. You get a lot of "rebound" though - concrete that bounces off and is wasted.

And you have to insulate, stud, etc. afterward.

An ICF is like a conventional concrete form - "two-sided", so the concrete is poured into the form and sets, and no concrete is wasted. The forms are made of Styrofoam, so the forms stay in place after construction, becoming the insulation for the walls. Plastic studs are built-in to the Styrofoam at 8" spacing for attaching drywall and external finishes. No exterior tarpaper/moisture barrier or interior vapour barrier is needed, so much labor is saved here too. ICF structures can be built very quickly - a good crew, which can consist of only 1-2 skilled tradesmen and the rest unskilled labor, can complete a floor in a day - you don't usually use concrete for internal walls though, just for the perimeter shell.

Hope this helps - check out the website for more info.

Best, Allan

If it's an ice age, sell ice!
Warmer relative to what, 400 years ago when it was called a little ice age? That's was NAS will confirm.

"Salas and others (Nuestro Porvenir Climático, 2001) mention the Ebro freezing 7 times between 1505 and 1789. In 1788 and again in 1789 the river remained frozen for fifteen days. (Annoyingly, it doesn't mention where, though I think it implies that it occurred near the Mediterranean). The book also notes one of the best documented studies of the Little Ice Age in Spain: the presence of an extensive network of ice stores known varyingly as neveras, pozos de nieve, ventisqueros and glaceres , which were built and maintained between the 16th and 19th centuries along the Eastern Mediterranean, some in areas where it no longer snows even one day. The storage and distribution of ice was a lively business involving whole sections of the rural population."

Monolitic Domes use concrete spay
Uncompensated plug.

Gore's movie 5 out of possible 1,000
Kyoto is a sham! Man made global warming due to greenhouse gases is a crock! Science was never a consenus(laws of nature don't give a rats butt about consenus),Voting cannot change the truth when the global warming geeks are completely wrong. The present temperatures are not nearly as hot as the 20's and 30's. The only thing that has changed is Heat Island effect due to thousands of acres of asphalt being created yearly and the heat from burning fossil fuels, not from co2. We are now having milder summers and winters thus creating the illusion of higher temperatures. If you want to see what this winter is going to be just look at Australia, they are having the coldest winter in 50 years. The Cycles are going towards cooler temperatures, and this IS the inconvient truth!

Gore's movie 5 out of possible 1,000
Kyoto is a sham! Man made global warming due to greenhouse gases is a crock! Science was never a consenus(laws of nature don't give a rats butt about consenus),Voting cannot change the truth when the global warming geeks are completely wrong. The present temperatures are not nearly as hot as the 20's and 30's. The only thing that has changed is Heat Island effect due to thousands of acres of asphalt being created yearly and the heat from burning fossil fuels, not from co2. We are now having milder summers and winters thus creating the illusion of higher temperatures. If you want to see what this winter is going to be just look at Australia, they are having the coldest winter in 50 years. The Cycles are going towards cooler temperatures, and this IS the inconvient truth!

No Subject

Dear Benny

It's been a busy week for climate buffs and spin-meisters, as the National Academy of Sciences released its eagerly awaited report on past climate change.

The only firm conclusion is that it is warmer today than 400 years ago. The NAS panel might have stressed that 1600 AD is around the middle of the Little Ice Age. As Sen. James Inhofe, an outspoken opponent of warming scares, comments, it's like comparing summer to winter to show a catastrophic temperature trend.

But now the fun begins. CNN reports in anxious tones that the Earth has got a "fever' - implying sickness. Really? Do we want a return to the severe climate of the Little Ice Age? The New York Times reports "warmest in 1000 years," but CNN and AP up this to 2000 years. In reality, the NAS report has re-established the LIA and MWP, and broken the Hockeystick - although it never says so explicitly: "None of the reconstructions indicates that temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during the past few decades." The report might have added that Northern Europe and Greenland were much warmer than today. But the statement "improving access to data on which published temperature reconstructions are based would boost confidence in the results" is a polite rebuke of Mann and coauthors for withholding data.

Altogether, a good report - if you accept its straight language and reject extrapolations.

Best Fred

S. Fred Singer, President
Science & Environmental Policy Project
1600 S. Eads St, #712-S
Arlington, VA 22202-2907
http ://

CO2 Science - an interesting website.

This week's headlines:

Temperature Record of the Week
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Mammoth Spring, AR. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Mammoth Spring's mean annual temperature has cooled by 2.36 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here!

Is the Recent Greenland Temperature Increase Evidence of Man-Induced Global Warming?: A new study both asks and answers the question.

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Lake Teletskoye in the Altai Mountains of Southern Siberia and Russkaya Gavan' Fjord on the northwestern coast of Novaya Zemlya, Barents Sea. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary
Methane (Emissions to the Atmosphere: Natural Vegetation): Are ongoing environmental trends impacting methane emissions to the atmosphere from natural vegetation and thereby exacerbating global warming?

Plant Growth Data
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Black Poplar, Chairmaker's Bulrush, Saltmeadow Cordgrass, and Spring Wheat.

Journal Reviews
A 221-Year Temperature History of the Southwest Coast of Greenland: What was the warmest decade of the record?

The 20th-Century Behavior of Southeast Icelandic Glaciers: What does it tell us about the contemporary climate of the region?

The Thermal Effect of Anthropogenic Aerosols in the Arctic: How large is it? And what does the answer imply about claims of CO2-induced Arctic warming?

In Vitro Growth Responses of Ornamental Plantlets to Very High Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations: Would increasing the air's CO2 concentration by as much as 8-fold be physiologically detrimental to earth's plant life?

The Growth Response of Rice to Elevated CO2 at High Air Temperatures: Can the crop "take the heat" and register a significant CO2-induced stimulation of total biomass and grain yield?

Philip Stott's excellent blogsite.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Europe's hypocrisy and shame needs to be thrown in the Manneken Pis.....

For 10 years, ecochondriac Europe has been lecturing and haranguing the rest of the world about 'The Great Global Warming Scare'. Its hypocrisy knows no bounds. The reality is truly shame-making:

(a) Germany, Europe's biggest emitter of so-called 'greenhouse gases', has just announced that it will permit an increase in emissions, and the German cabinet has decided to exclude the coal industry from the EU's carbon-trading programme, permitting new coal plants to opt out [see: 'New German rule could increase greenhouse gas emissions' (The New York Times, June 29: log-in usually required); 'Berlin accused of capitulating to industry in carbon emission targets' (The Financial Times, June 29); and, 'Germany gives coal opt out under CO2 emission plan' (Planet Ark, June 29)];

(b) France is to keep its extremely generous CO2 allowances to support its struggling economy [see: 'France to cut but keep generous CO2 cap in 2008-12' (Planet Ark, June 29)];

(c) Greece is going to be a marathon off its Kyoto targets (forecasting that, by 2015, CO2 emissions will have increased by 47.7% from 1990 levels, and by 58.3% in 2020). It is facing a massive fine; just watch it run the marathon - away from Brussels. Nearly all other European countries, like Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, have equally appalling records [see: 'Greece fails on Kyoto targets' (Kathimerini, June 29)].

Now, one wouldn't mind all this if Europe hadn't been so self-righteous and so 'holier-than-thou' over climate change. After all, readers of 'EnviroSpin' know too well that the Kyoto Protocol won't work, that governments will not be able to cut emissions, and that it is a nonsense in any case. Moreover, the hard economic reasons for failure have been recognised for a long time [see, for example: 'New studies reveal real cost of Kyoto Protocol' (PR Newswire, November 7, 2005)]:

(1) Kyoto targets will cause average rises of 26% in European electricity prices;

(2) Kyoto targets will cause average rises of 41% in natural gas prices by 2010;

(3) There will be significant job losses of at least 200,000 in most countries, rising to as many as 611,000 in Spain by 2010;

(4) There will be serious damage to European economies, with significant reductions in GDP below base levels by 2010: 0.8% for Germany; 3.1% Spain; 2.1% Italy; and, 1.1% the UK.

The truth is simple. There is no way that Europe can, or will, cut its emissions in any significant fashion. Why does it, therefore, try to tell us differently? It is surely time to come clean, and to throw the nauseating ecochondriac rhetoric into the Manneken Pis. There have been too many sops to the strident Green lobby, and it has to stop. In a globalising world, Europe cannot afford to lose its competitive edge. The thought of a declining France and Germany is not a "nappy one".

Philip, increasingly angry that, in Europe, we have been talking such codswallop and cant over climate. No wonder there is deep cynicism over the EU and its political pontificating. Still things are looking up - it's time for tea. [Hat tip to Dr. Benny Peiser for the above links].
Posted by: Philip / 1:51 PM

More Philip...
Sunday, June 18, 2006

Political ecology and environmentalism: Marxism through the back door.....

For a long time now, there has been an uneasy feeling that the grand narrative of environmentalism is morphing into the grand narrative of Marxism, but in a new guise. Of course, this is rarely admitted, or made transparent, the deep faiths of environmentalism being cleverly dressed up in pseudo-scientific gobbledygook, somewhat like Old Marxism itself.

The veracity of such observations are, however, beautifully exposed by the latest Volume [30, Issue 3, 2006] of the academic journal, Progress in Human Geography (Hodder Arnold), a frequent refuge for much plaintive Marxist, and anti-capitalist, academic rhetoric, and one showcasing writing that would sometimes do justice to Pseuds Corner in Private Eye. Try these for starters:

"In the writings of self-described neoliberal promoters... the micro- and macroscales of neoliberal rule are thus usually explained as fitting together naturally as some sort of synergistic adaptation of both personal imagination and social-regulation brought on by a global struggle for political-economic survival: a naturally selected, heteronormative, coupling, it would seem, as well as very convenient for business..." [p. 362]

"The first is to nuance rather than abandon our analyses of neoliberalism: a nuancing which... can be developed in part through the analysis of the context-contingent connections between neoliberal governance and neoliberal governmentality..." [p. 367]

Accordingly, I commend for your deconstruction two articles in the latest issue of PiHG, the first on 'Political geography: political geographies of globalization' [pp. 357 - 372], the second on 'Political ecology: where is the policy?' [pp. 382 - 395].

The latter, in particular, lauds the necessity "to expose the free market, anti-environmental agenda" attacked by one political ecologist at the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group during a recent conference of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

The article further plainly declares that the roots of political ecology lie in "Marxian political economy" [p.387] [a bizarre simplification!], and bemoans the fact that this "hardly opens doors in mainstream policy institutions". Quoting another political ecologist, the paper then admits that: "An overt Marxian analysis would make most policy makers bin the reporrt after page 2."

The article goes on to assert what readers of 'EnviroSpin' have long sensed:

"Some who have shed overt Marxian language perceive that these sorts of critiques of power can go a long way in the policy world and lead to important positive changes..."

"... The upshot of all this with respect to policy is that, while political ecologists will no doubt continue to argue among themselves about the appropriate place for Marx, the legacy of Marxian analysis on political ecology will continue to present a sometimes awkward choice" [p. 388].

You bet. Thus, the arrival of 'Neo-Marxian' political ecologists, and every flower blooming, so long as it is, of course, socialistic.

I am delighted to read such papers, because they present us with two clear warnings.

First, in the academic world, much 'environmental' and 'ecological' analysis is little more than discredited Marxist thinking dressed up as pseudo-science to look acceptable to modern policy makers (who too readily fall for its tropes). Secondly, environmentalism has become a back door for authoritarian Marxism and Socialism to sneak into, yet again, public policy-making, especially at the international level. Beware such at the UN.

These trends have to be resisted, and seen for what they are, and it is dispiriting that so many straightforward scientists are bedazzled by the Old Dictator's new clothes. For, as ever, the Emperor is bare.

I think it will all end in tears, like the demise of its parent grand narrative. 'Global warming', environmentalism's Berlin Wall, must be torn down, stone by stone. In the meantime, we must suffer the paradigm and its follies.

Philip, just returned from a most pleasant visit to Portugal, where the tripe is real, in marked contrast to much of academia. "Chilled white port, all round?" "Obrigado!"

Posted by: Philip / 11:03 AM

On University Marxists.
(Politically Incorrect Satire, for those who cannot recognize the obvious).

When I attended McGill University in the 1960's we had so many different Marxist parties on campus that they each needed names of six or more words just to differentiate themselves, one from another.

To simplify, we lumped them into two generalized groups:

The pacifist ones with the guitars and the beautiful, slender, long-haired women were the Harpo Marxists.

The angry ones who wanted to violently overthrow all capitalist society, with their fat, ugly, greasy-haired women, were the Groucho Marxists.

Leftist politics made simple - in retrospect, it is all so clear:
If you had to hang out with all those fat, ugly, greasy-haired women, you would have been bloody angry too. What those Groucho Marxists needed most was not just better-feeling politics, it was better-looking women!

Perhaps that is the problem with the pro-Kyoto types too - they are not really committed doctrinaire leftists - they are just hanging out with the wrong kind of women.

On Marxists masquerading as Environmentalists (the Watermelon Movement).
This is written regarding the comments of Philip Stott, above (in the post "More Philip").

In Canada the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is likely most outspoken on the subject of Marxists masquerading as Environmentalists (the Watermelon Movement). He has written as follows:

"There were always extreme, irrational and mystical elements within our (environmental) movement, but they tended to be kept in their place during the early years. Then in the mid-Eighties the ultraleftists and extremists took over. After Greenham Common closed and the Berlin Wall came down these extremists were searching for a new cause and found it in environmentalism. The old agendas of class struggle and anti-corporatism are still there but now they are dressed up in environmental terminology."

Not all my former colleagues saw things that way. They rejected consensus politics and sustainable development in favor of continued confrontation and ever-increasing extremism. They ushered in an era of zero tolerance and left-wing politics. Some of the features of this environmental extremism are:

They are anti-science and technology. All large machines are seen as inherently destructive and unnatural. Science is invoked to justify positions that have nothing to do with science. Unfounded opinion is accepted over demonstrated fact.

Environmental extremists are anti-trade, not just free trade but anti-trade in general. In the name of bioregionalism they would bring in an age of ultra-nationalist xenophobia. The original "Whole Earth" vision of one world family is lost in a hysterical campaign against globalization and free trade.

They are anti-business. All large corporations are depicted as inherently driven by greed and corruption. Profits are definitely not politically correct. The liberal democratic, market-based model is rejected even though no viable alternative is proposed to provide for the material needs of 6 billion people. As expressed by the Native Forest Network, "it is necessary to adopt a global phase out strategy of consumer based industrial capitalism." I think they mean civilization.

And they are just plain anti-civilization. In the final analysis, eco- extremists project a naive vision of returning to the supposedly utopian existence in the garden of Eden, conveniently forgetting that in the old days people lived to an average age of 35, and there were no dentists. In their Brave New World there will be no more chemicals, no more airplanes, and certainly no more polyester suits.

There was a lot of ice business elsewhere as well
The Flathead had several ice businesses; cut the ice off the lake in the winter and store it for the summer; big blocks of it!

I wouldn't even say warmer than 200-years ago, just warming as measured by the old thermometer over the last couple of decades.

More Philip, this time with Lomborg.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Despite the tabloid vitriol, in the real world Bjørn Lomborg is winning.....

The most recent ad hominem attack on Bjørn Lomborg ("Not again!", I hear you groan) by Johann Hari in The Independent (May 20) [available at Hari's web site] is one of the more disgraceful for some time, and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Such vitriol represents the worst type of tabloid journalism masquerading as high-minded comment. This lamentable piece is, thank goodness, excoriatingly exposed over at The Daily Ablution (May 30) by Scott Burgess: 'Disgraceful!'. How we need such bloggers.

I remain fascinated, nevertheless, to try to understand precisely why Lomborg [opposite: public domain] is still subject to such reptilian loathing. Bjørn is one of the nicest of men, and he is both thoughtful and careful in his use of evidence. He presents his material in the kind of way that one observes all the time at academic seminars across the world. I have met him on various occasions, and I have always found him to be courteous, interesting, and a most stimulating and friendly discussant.

My own interpretation is that the hatred stems from four factors:

First, he is seen as an apostate, and one that rabid journalists like Mr. Hari are now desperate to disown and to destroy.

Secondly, he dresses in a manner that once typified radical, leftist 'Greens', wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and trainers, even when speaking at prestigious events. Lomborg and I were the key antagonists in a splendid debate held only recently in London. The two 'Green' proponents wore business suits and ties, while Lomborg sported his usual t-shirt, and I dressed Cameron-style with open-neck. A nice lady came up afterwards to say that she found it somewhat amusing (and counter intuitive) that it was we who looked like the 'radicals'. She also voted for us because she didn't trust "the suits" - and these new "suits" just can't stand to be contradicted and challenged.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Lomborg did what the 'Greens' have been most dreading. He challenged openly for the first time, and using their very own statistics, their most fundamental, and often hidden, agenda, namely the usurping of normal economic processes by the imposition of carefully-manufactured ecological imperatives and disasters - and, don't underestimate it, 'global warming' represents the keystone of this arch plan. They were livid - their conceit was exposed.

Finally, his book was published, with strong accolades, because it was (quite correctly) treated as a tome by a statistician and an economist. He thus managed to bypass the ecomafia of referees who are desperate to close down true debate (all in the name of peer review, of course).

Yet, despite the vitriol and abuse, in the solid world, beyond the febrile and hysterical rantings of a few (surprisingly few, I might add) European 'Greens', and some of the 'liberal' media, like The Independent, BBC television (far less BBC radio), and Channel 4, Lomborg is quietly winning the debate.

As Canada's The National Post (May 30) points out in 'Ottawa's Kyoto plan wins backers in Bonn', the Kyoto Protocol is slowly and inexorably being ditched and abandoned:

"Ottawa won the unanimous support of developed countries at the conference in Bonn, Germany, for its reluctance to set new targets for the post-2012 period. It also received backing from several countries in arguing there should be no new commitments for countries like Canada until major polluters such as China and India sign up for their own targets."

And, of course, as we all know, and despite the constant rhetoric, not even Britain can, in practice, make the impossible work:

"Any sign of progress on Mr Blair's fabled low carbon economy? If anything, says Cambridge Econometrix (CE), the country's leading readers of the carbon runes, we may be going backwards. Their latest report says that despite recently announced new measures, the government is likely to miss its 20% carbon-reduction goal by 2010 by 'a large margin'. Even the new forecast of a 14% carbon reduction by 2010 requires prices of tradeable allowances under the Emissions Trading Scheme to rise sufficiently to reduce emissions, particularly from coal-fired power plants. That's very unlikely. In the past fortnight they have completely collapsed." (The Guardian, Society Guardian, 'Eco soundings', May 31).

In truth, carbon emissions are a proxy measure of economic growth. No government is going to sacrifice economic growth (nor should they, especially not countries in the developing world). Where 'Green' innovation can stimulate growth, it will be absorbed into the normal economic process. Utopian 'Green' nonsense, on the other hand, will be quietly eschewed, stabbed in the back, while praised in public, like Brutus lauding Caesar.

The economic imperative, coupled with dynamic adaptive innovation, will continue to thrive. Lomborg, in essence, has won. Hence the ill-tempered outbursts of Mr. Hari and his ilk. Sadly, in the meantime, such people have caused us to waste so much energy on sheer fantasies. As Lomborg says, we should be concentrating on getting the best outcomes for our money, especially for the poorest and the most disadvantaged in the world.

Philip, off for a tardy breakfast. Please can we have some 'global warming'? It is the last day of May, and it is still too chilly to sit out in the garden with my coffee.

Posted by: Philip / 7:14 AM

Repost of earlier comment.
Posted bu Fred Singer on
Fred was kind enough to get rid of all the CAPS. Thanks.

NAS report on “Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2000 Years”

Comments by Allan M.R. MacRae, 25 Jun 2006

The June 22, 2006 NAS report on climate reconstruction is a fairly reasonable technical document, although it is less than up-to-date and less than competent in some subjects. Regrettably, the Summary and Press Release are somewhat inconsistent with the Report and exhibit some bias, and the June 22 verbal comments of the panel exhibited strong pro-AGW bias by some members and should be ignored as not representative of the committee Report.

For example, the Report upheld virtually all the technical criticisms of Mann's hockey stick (MBH 98 and related papers) by McIntyre and McKitrick (M&M), but some of the panel members went so far in their verbal comments as saying the M&M criticisms were not material - in this regard the committee's verbal comments were hogwash, or more accurately, whitewash.

In truth, Mann's hockey stick eliminated both the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period from the historic climate record. The NAS committee report confirmed the existence of both these climatic periods, but somehow managed to ignore this important point with respect to Mann's conclusions.

Furthermore, the committee blamed the IPCC and the press for overemphasizing the impact of Mann's hockey stick on the global warming debate, ignoring the fact that Mann was a lead author in the IPCC report who promulgated such overemphasis, and also that Mann's supporting website "realclimate" further promoted such overemphasis of his flawed conclusions.

Finally, the committee failed to comment on Mann's reluctance to provide his data for confirmation by others and Mann's refusal to provide full disclosure of his analytical methods. These acts have been condemned by other scientists in the strongest possible terms.

Some panel members also felt the need to say that the modern warming was clearly human-made, but the committee report provided no evidence to back up this claim. Such statements should be deemed unsupported unless evidence is provided.

Some of my criticisms of the NAS Report are its failure to address the following important issues:

There are legitimate questions about the accuracy of the surface temperature database. Much of the current alleged warming is based on few thermometric measurements in the polar regions from Russia and Canada. However, the USA's NOAA dataset, which is likely the very best quality database in the world, shows slight Summer and Fall cooling in the USA from 1930 to 2005, and about 0.5 C warming only in Winter and Spring seasons.

The committee failed to recognize that the alleged rise in surface temperatures as measured by thermometry is inconsistent with the satellite/balloon records, which showed little or no net warming in the Lower Troposphere (LT) from 1980 to 2000 (including the 1998 El Nino spike which quickly reversed itself).

Attribution of recent warming to human-made CO2 ignores the amplifying effect of solar variation caused by cosmic rays. The net result is that the warming effect of a stronger sun is amplified by the cosmic ray effect, and the impact of a weaker sun is similarly amplified. See Veizer and Shaviv (2003) and Veizer (2005) .

The committee failed to recognize that NASA stated in their long-range solar forecast issued May 10, 2006: "Solar cycle 25 peaking around 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries."

I believe that this cooling will be much larger than the warming trends observed to date and could have significant negative impacts on Canada, the northern USA and Europe, particularly our agricultural sectors. Please note that I predicted that global cooling would start about 2020-2030, in my September 1, 2002 article in the Calgary Herald (based on discussions with Dr. Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist, of Carleton University).


Fred Singer's take on the US NAS Report on Climate Reconstruction.
Comments by S. Fred Singer - July 1, 2006 TWTW

The Hockeystick of MBH98 made two claims, adopted also in the Summary of the IPCC-TAR report (2001):
1) In the past 1000 years, temperatures declined smoothly (until about 1850) showing no significant natural variations, such as the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period (around 1000 AD).
2) Further, proxies showed higher temperatures in the 20th century than around 1000 AD.

The NAS report contradicts both of these claims. One needs to look only at the key graph of NAS Report in Brief at
[For the full report, see hytp://]

Look only at the four curves based on conventional proxy data; stripping away the curves based on bore holes, glaciers, and instruments -- and compare with the IPCC Hockeystick graph.

In addition, Greenland ice-core data of Dahl-Jensen (direct thermometer measurements in ice boreholes) and of Cuffey (based on oxygen-18 data) show warmer temperatures around 1000 AD than today. Unfortunately, no such data are published for the rest of the globe; but if the cause of
these century-scale climate variations is solar, then a global effect is at least plausible.

Algore's a liar anyway!
I vote a 5 too --- only on a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 scale --- and I'm being kind.

THERE IS NO 'CONSENSUS' ON GLOBAL WARMING - MIT's Richard Lindzen (Part 1 of 2).

The Wall Street Journal, 26 June 2006


According to Al Gore's new film "An Inconvenient Truth," we're in for "a planetary emergency": melting ice sheets, huge increases in sea levels, more and stronger hurricanes and invasions of tropical disease, among other cataclysms -- unless we change the way we live now.

Bill Clinton has become the latest evangelist for Mr. Gore's gospel, proclaiming that current weather events show that he and Mr. Gore were right about global warming, and we are all suffering the consequences of President Bush's obtuseness on the matter. And why not? Mr. Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over."

That statement, which Mr. Gore made in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, ought to have been followed by an asterisk. What exactly is this debate that Mr. Gore is referring to? Is there really a scientific community that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over, it has never been clear to me what this "debate" actually is in the first place.

The media rarely help, of course. When Newsweek featured global warming in a 1988 issue, it was claimed that all scientists agreed. Periodically thereafter it was revealed that although there had been lingering doubts beforehand, now all scientists did indeed agree. Even Mr. Gore qualified his statement on ABC only a few minutes after he made it, clarifying things in an important way. When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim -- in his defense -- that scientists "don't know. They just don't know."

So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the "consensus." Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template -- namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was

as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.

They are less so otherwise. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why.

The other elements of the global-warming scare scenario are predicated on similar oversights. Malaria, claimed as a byproduct of warming, was once common in Michigan and Siberia and remains common in Siberia -- mosquitoes don't require tropical warmth. Hurricanes, too, vary on multidecadal time scales; sea-surface temperature is likely to be an important factor. This temperature, itself, varies on multidecadal time scales. However, questions concerning the origin of the relevant sea-surface temperatures and the nature of trends in hurricane intensity are being hotly argued within the profession.

Even among those arguing, there is general agreement that we can't attribute any particular hurricane to global warming. To be sure, there is one exception, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who argues that it must be global warming because he can't think of anything else. While arguments like these, based on lassitude, are becoming rather common in climate assessments, such claims, given the primitive state of weather and climate science, are hardly compelling.

A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended -- at least not in terms of the actual science.

A clearer claim as to what debate has ended is provided by the environmental journalist Gregg Easterbrook. He concludes that the scientific community now agrees that significant warming is occurring, and that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system. This is still a most peculiar claim. At some level, it has never been widely contested. Most of the climate community has agreed since 1988 that global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, having risen significantly from about 1919 to 1940, decreased between 1940 and the early '70s, increased again until the '90s, and remaining essentially flat since 1998.

Continued in next post...

THERE IS NO 'CONSENSUS' ON GLOBAL WARMING - MIT's Richard Lindzen (Part 2 of 2).
... (continued from Part 1)

There is also little disagreement that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen from about 280 ppmv (parts per million by volume) in the 19th century to about 387 ppmv today. Finally, there has been no question whatsoever that carbon dioxide is an infrared absorber (i.e., a greenhouse gas -- albeit a minor one), and its increase should theoretically contribute to warming. Indeed, if all else were kept equal, the increase in carbon dioxide should have led to somewhat more warming than has been observed, assuming that the small observed increase was in fact due to increasing carbon dioxide rather than a natural fluctuation in the climate system. Although no cause for alarm rests on this issue, there has been an intense effort to claim that the theoretically expected contribution from additional carbon dioxide has actually been detected.

Given that we do not understand the natural internal variability of climate change, this task is currently impossible. Nevertheless there has been a persistent effort to suggest otherwise, and with surprising impact. Thus, although the conflicted state of the affair was accurately

presented in the 1996 text of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the infamous "summary for policy makers" reported ambiguously that "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." This sufficed as the smoking gun for Kyoto.

The next IPCC report again described the problems surrounding what has become known as the attribution issue: that is, to explain what mechanisms are responsible for observed changes in climate. Some deployed the lassitude argument -- e.g., we can't think of an alternative -- to support human attribution. But the "summary for policy makers" claimed in a manner largely unrelated to the actual text of the report that "In the light of new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50

years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

In a similar vein, the National Academy of Sciences issued a brief (15-page) report responding to questions from the White House. It again enumerated the difficulties with attribution, but again the report was preceded by a front end that ambiguously claimed that "The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability." This was sufficient for CNN's Michelle Mitchell to presciently declare that the report represented a "unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse and is due to man. There is no wiggle room." Well, no.

More recently, a study in the journal Science by the social scientist [Naomi] Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words "global climate change" produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 905 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 905 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.

Even more recently, the Climate Change Science Program, the Bush administration's coordinating agency for global-warming research, declared it had found "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system." This, for Mr. Easterbrook, meant: "Case closed." What exactly was this evidence? The models imply that greenhouse warming should impact atmospheric temperatures more than surface temperatures, and yet satellite data showed no warming in the atmosphere since 1979. The report showed that selective corrections to the atmospheric data could lead to some warming, thus reducing the conflict between observations and models descriptions of what greenhouse warming should look like. That, to me, means the case is still very much open.

So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.

First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists -- especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce -- if we're lucky.

Mr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

Copyright 2006, WSJ

Gorey Truths - 25 inconvenient truths for Al Gore (Part 1 of 2).

June 22, 2006, 5:35 a.m.

Gorey Truths
25 inconvenient truths for Al Gore.

By Iain Murray

With An Inconvenient Truth, the companion book to former Vice President Al Gore’s global-warming movie, currently number nine in Amazon sales rank, this is a good time to point out that the book, which is a largely pictorial representation of the movie’s graphical presentation, exaggerates the evidence surrounding global warming. Ironically, the former Vice President leaves out many truths that are inconvenient for his argument. Here are just 25 of them.

1. Carbon Dioxide’s Effect on Temperature. The relationship between global temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2), on which the entire scare is founded, is not linear. Every molecule of CO2 added to the atmosphere contributes less to warming than the previous one. The book’s graph on p. 66-67 is seriously misleading. Moreover, even the historical levels of CO2 shown on the graph are disputed. Evidence from plant fossil-remains suggest that there was as much CO2 in the atmosphere about 11,000 years ago as there is today.

2. Kilimanjaro. The snows of Kilimanjaro are melting not because of global warming but because of a local climate shift that began 100 years ago. The authors of a report in the International Journal of Climatology “develop a new concept for investigating the retreat of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, based on the physical understanding of glacier–climate interactions.” They note that, “The concept considers the peculiarities of the mountain and implies that climatological processes other than air temperature control the ice recession in a direct manner. A drastic drop in atmospheric moisture at the end of the 19th century and the ensuing drier climatic conditions are likely forcing glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro.”

3. Glaciers. Glaciers around the world have been receding at around the same pace for over 100 years. Research published by the National Academy of Sciences last week indicates that the Peruvian glacier on p. 53-53 probably disappeared a few thousand years ago.

4. The Medieval Warm Period. Al Gore says that the “hockey stick” graph that shows temperatures remarkably steady for the last 1,000 years has been validated, and ridicules the concept of a “medieval warm period.” That’s not the case. Last year, a team of leading paleoclimatologists said, “When matching existing temperature reconstructions…the timeseries display a reasonably coherent picture of major climatic episodes: ‘Medieval Warm Period,’ ‘Little Ice Age’ and ‘Recent Warming.’” They go on to conclude, “So what would it mean, if the reconstructions indicate a larger…or smaller…temperature amplitude? We suggest that the former situation, i.e. enhanced variability during pre-industrial times, would result in a redistribution of weight towards the role of natural factors in forcing temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact of anthropogenic emissions and affecting future temperature predictions.”

5. The Hottest Year. Satellite temperature measurements say that 2005 wasn't the hottest year on record — 1998 was — and that temperatures have been stable since 2001 (p.73). Here’s the satellite graph:

6. Heat Waves. The summer heat wave that struck Europe in 2003 was caused by an atmospheric pressure anomaly; it had nothing to do with global warming. As the United Nations Environment Program reported in September 2003, “This extreme wheather [sic] was caused by an anti-cyclone firmly anchored over the western European land mass holding back the rain-bearing depressions that usually enter the continent from the Atlantic ocean. This situation was exceptional in the extended length of time (over 20 days) during which it conveyed very hot dry air up from south of the Mediterranean.”

7. Record Temperatures. Record temperatures — hot and cold — are set every day around the world; that’s the nature of records. Statistically, any given place will see four record high temperatures set every year. There is evidence that daytime high temperatures are staying about the same as for the last few decades, but nighttime lows are gradually rising. Global warming might be more properly called, “Global less cooling.” (On this, see Patrick J. Michaels book, Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.)

8. Hurricanes. There is no overall global trend of hurricane-force storms getting stronger that has anything to do with temperature. A recent study in Geophysical Research Letters found: “The data indicate a large increasing trend in tropical cyclone intensity and longevity for the North Atlantic basin and a considerable decreasing trend for the Northeast Pacific. All other basins showed small trends, and there has been no significant change in global net tropical cyclone activity. There has been a small increase in global Category 4–5 hurricanes from the period 1986–1995 to the period 1996–2005. Most of this increase is likely due to improved observational technology. These findings indicate that other important factors govern intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones besides SSTs [sea surface temperatures].”

9. Tornadoes. Records for numbers of tornadoes are set because we can now record more of the smaller tornadoes (see, for instance, the Tornado FAQ at Weather Underground).

10. European Flooding. European flooding is not new (p. 107). Similar flooding happened in 2003. Research from Michael Mudelsee and colleagues from the University of Leipzig published in Nature (Sept. 11, 2003) looked at data reaching as far back as 1021 (for the Elbe) and 1269 (for the Oder). They concluded that there is no upward trend in the incidence of extreme flooding in this region of central Europe.

11. Shrinking Lakes. Scientists investigating the disappearance of Lake Chad (p.116) found that most of it was due to human overuse of water. “The lake’s decline probably has nothing to do with global warming, report the two scientists, who based their findings on computer models and satellite imagery made available by NASA. They attribute the situation instead to human actions related to climate variation, compounded by the ever increasing demands of an expanding population” (“Shrinking African Lake Offers Lesson on Finite Resources,” National Geographic, April 26, 2001). Lake Chad is also a very shallow lake that has shrunk considerably throughout human history.

12. Polar Bears. Polar bears are not becoming endangered. A leading Canadian polar bear biologist wrote recently, “Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear (sic) to be affected at present.”

(Continued in Part 2)...

Gorey Truths - 25 inconvenient truths for Al Gore (Part 2 of 3).
13. The Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream, the ocean conveyor belt, is not at risk of shutting off in the North Atlantic (p. 150). Carl Wunsch of MIT wrote to the journal Nature in 2004 to say, “The only way to produce an ocean circulation without a Gulf Stream is either to turn off the wind system, or to stop the Earth’s rotation, or both”

14. Invasive Species. Gore’s worries about the effect of warming on species ignore evolution. With the new earlier caterpillar season in the Netherlands, an evolutionary advantage is given to birds that can hatch their eggs earlier than the rest. That’s how nature works. Also, “invasive species” naturally extend their range when climate changes. As for the pine beetle given as an example of invasive species, Rob Scagel, a forest microclimate specialist in British Columbia, said, “The MPB (mountain pine beetle) is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand.”

15. Species Loss. When it comes to species loss, the figures given on p. 163 are based on extreme guesswork, as the late Julian Simon pointed out. We have documentary evidence of only just over 1,000 extinctions since 1600 (see, for instance, Bjørn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist, p. 250).

16. Coral Reefs. Coral reefs have been around for over 500 million years. This means that they have survived through long periods with much higher temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations than today.

17. Malaria and other Infectious Diseases. Leading disease scientists contend that climate change plays only a minor role in the spread of emerging infectious diseases. In “Global Warming and Malaria: A Call for Accuracy” (The Lancet, June 2004), nine leading malariologists criticized models linking global warming to increased malaria spread as “misleading” and “display[ing] a lack of knowledge” of the subject.

18. Antarctic Ice. There is controversy over whether the Antarctic ice sheet is thinning or thickening. Recent scientific studies have shown a thickening in the interior at the same time as increased melting along the coastlines. Temperatures in the interior are generally decreasing. The Antarctic Peninsula, where the Larsen-B ice shelf broke up (p. 181) is not representative of what is happening in the rest of Antarctica. Dr. Wibjörn Karlén, Professor Emeritus of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology at Stockholm University, acknowledges, “Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems.” According to a forthcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate models based on anthropogenic forcing cannot explain the anomalous warming of the Antarctic Peninsula; thus, something natural is at work.

19. Greenland Climate. Greenland was warmer in the 1920s and 1930s than it is now. A recent study by Dr. Peter Chylek of the University of California, Riverside, addressed the question of whether man is directly responsible for recent warming: “An important question is to what extent can the current (1995-2005) temperature increase in Greenland coastal regions be interpreted as evidence of man-induced global warming? Although there has been a considerable temperature increase during the last decade (1995 to 2005) a similar increase and at a faster rate occurred during the early part of the 20th century (1920 to 1930) when carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases could not be a cause. The Greenland warming of 1920 to 1930 demonstrates that a high concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is not a necessary condition for period of warming to arise. The observed 1995-2005 temperature increase seems to be within a natural variability of Greenland climate.” (Petr Chylek et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 13 June 2006.)

20. Sea Level Rise. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does not forecast sea-level rises of “18 to 20 feet.” Rather, it says, “We project a sea level rise of 0.09 to 0.88 m for 1990 to 2100, with a central value of 0.48 m. The central value gives an average rate of 2.2 to 4.4 times the rate over the 20th century...It is now widely agreed that major loss of grounded ice and accelerated sea level rise are very unlikely during the 21st century.” Al Gore’s suggestions of much more are therefore extremely alarmist.

(Continued in Part 3) ...

Gorey Truths - 25 inconvenient truths for Al Gore (Part 2 of 3).
(Continued from Part 2) ...

21. Population. Al Gore worries about population growth; Gore does not suggest a solution. Fertility in the developed world is stable or decreasing. The plain fact is that we are not going to reduce population back down to 2 billion or fewer in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the population in the developing world requires a significant increase in its standard of living to reduce the threats of premature and infant mortality, disease, and hunger. In The Undercover Economist, Tim Harford writes, “If we are honest, then, the argument that trade leads to economic growth, which leads to climate change, leads us then to a stark conclusion: we should cut our trade links to make sure that the Chinese, Indians and Africans stay poor. The question is whether any environmental catastrophe, even severe climate change, could possibly inflict the same terrible human cost as keeping three or four billion people in poverty. To ask that question is to answer it.”

22. Energy Generation. A specific example of this is Gore’s acknowledgement that 30 percent of global CO2 emissions come from wood fires used for cooking (p. 227). If we introduced affordable, coal-fired power generation into South Asia and Africa we could reduce this considerably and save over 1.6 million lives a year. This is the sort of solution that Gore does not even consider.

23. Carbon-Emissions Trading. The European Carbon Exchange Market, touted as “effective” on p. 252, has crashed.

24. The “Scientific Consensus.” On the supposed “scientific consensus”: Dr. Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, San Diego, (p. 262) did not examine a “large random sample” of scientific articles. She got her search terms wrong and thought she was looking at all the articles when in fact she was looking at only 928 out of about 12,000 articles on “climate change.” Dr. Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University in England, was unable to replicate her study. He says, “As I have stressed repeatedly, the whole data set includes only 13 abstracts (~1%) that explicitly endorse what Oreskes has called the ‘consensus view.’ In fact, the vast majority of abstracts does (sic) not mention anthropogenic climate change. Moreover — and despite attempts to deny this fact — a handful of abstracts actually questions the view that human activities are the main driving force of ‘the observed warming over the last 50 years.’” In addition, a recent survey of scientists following the same methodology as one published in 1996 found that about 30 percent of scientists disagreed to some extent or another with the contention that “climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes.” Less than 10 percent “strongly agreed” with the statement. Details of both the survey and the failed attempt to replicate the Oreskes study can be found here.

25. Economic Costs. Even if the study Gore cites is right (p. 280-281), the United States will still emit massive amounts of CO2 after all the measures it outlines have been realized. Getting emissions down to the paltry levels needed to stabilize CO2 in the atmosphere would require, in Gore’s own words, “a wrenching transformation” of our way of life. This cannot be done easily or without significant cost. The Kyoto Protocol, which Gore enthusiastically supports, would avert less than a tenth of a degree of warming in the next fifty years and would cost up to $400 billion a year to the U.S. All of the current proposals in Congress would cost the economy significant amounts, making us all poorer, with all that that entails for human health and welfare, while doing nothing to stop global warming.

Finally, Gore quotes Winston Churchill (p. 100) — but he should read what Churchill said when he was asked what qualities a politician requires: “The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.”

—Iain Murray is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Bjorn Lomborg in The Observor.

The Observer, 2 July 2006,,1810738,00.html

With $50bn, we could make the planet a better place but money spent on global warming would be wasted

Bjorn Lomborg

A city council has a £10m surplus, which it wants to allocate to a good cause. Ten groups clamour for the cash. One wants to buy new computers for an inner-city school. Another hopes to beautify a park. Each puts a persuasive case for the benefits they could achieve. What should the councillors do? The straightforward answer might seem to be to divide the cash into 10. But the obvious answer is wrong.

Some options will always be better than others. If we know which causes produce the greatest social benefits, then it is reasonable to propose the money goes to those causes.

On a larger scale, governments and United Nations agencies have massive - but finite - budgets to reduce suffering in the world. They, too, tend to distribute money thinly across different causes, often following the media's roving attention. A little extra is spent battling HIV/Aids, malaria and malnutrition. Some more is devoted to stamping out corruption and conflict. Other cash is set aside to holding back climate change and warding off avian flu.

After all, if politicians give everyone something, nobody complains. But like the council with a surplus, they, too, would do better with a rational framework which would help determine explicit priorities. For policy-makers, the list of spending possibilities is like a huge menu at a restaurant. But it is a menu without prices or serving sizes.

Currently, there is considerable momentum to ensure governments commit to combating climate change. Former US Vice-President Al Gore has turned movie-maker, creating a documentary called The Inconvenient Truth

Yet the really inconvenient truth, demonstrated by a group of economists who gathered in Denmark in 2004, is that combating climate change through the Kyoto Protocol has a social value of less than a dollar for each dollar spent. These economists, who included four Nobel laureates, took part in a project called the Copenhagen Consensus which compared the social value of solutions to different challenges facing humankind. The question that they strove to answer was: 'How could you spend $50bn to achieve the most good possible?'

The costs and benefits of different ways of combating HIV/Aids, starvation, global conflict, climate change, corruption and other challenges were studied in detail. With access to specially commissioned research, the team came up with a concrete, prioritised 'to do' list that outlined how policy-makers could achieve the most good possible.

The economists found that spending $27bn on an HIV/Aids prevention programme would be the best possible investment for humanity. It would save more than 28 million lives within six years and have massive flow-on effects, including increased productivity.

Providing micronutrient-rich dietary supplements to the malnourished was their second-highest priority. More than half the world suffers from deficiencies of iron, iodine, zinc or vitamin A, so cheap solutions such as nutrient fortification have an exceptionally high ratio of benefits to costs.

Third on the list was trade liberalisation. Although this would require politically difficult decisions, it would be remarkably cheap and would benefit the entire world, not least the developing world. A staggering GDP increase of $2,400bn annually would accrue equally to developed and developing countries with free trade.

The economists would then focus on the huge benefits possible from controlling malaria with chemically treated mosquito nets. Next on their list would be agricultural research and improving sanitation and water quality for a billion of the world's poorest people. The benefits of these ventures far outweigh the costs.

Forty dollars of good would be achieved for every dollar spent on HIV/Aids prevention. In other words, a dollar's worth of condoms in the right place would bring benefits an Aids-affected community would value at $40.

Some will ask why, then, that community doesn't spend the dollar itself? Typically, the answer is because the spending power lies elsewhere, in wealthier nations or with the UN. Information about risks are often hard to come by. Also, the effects of HIV/Aids are far-reaching. One infection today will cause more infections in the future and devastate families and communities. Yet the individual investment in prevention rarely takes these downstream costs into consideration.

The panel examined proposals relating to climate change, including implementing the Kyoto Protocol and taxing carbon dioxide emissions. All ranked badly. Spending the world's limited resources combating climate change would achieve good, but would cost more than it would achieve. That money could be better spent elsewhere.

That's why the Copenhagen Consensus economists crossed drastic climate change measures off the list of things that the world needs to do right now.

The prioritising exercise undertaken by these economists must go beyond being an academic exercise. It has to become part of the political discourse if decisions about reducing suffering are to have greater transparency and legitimacy.

Last month, at Georgetown University, a distinguished group of UN ambassadors gathered to come up with its own 'to do' list. The occasion brought together representatives from countries which collectively represent about half of humanity, including the US, China, India and Pakistan.

Their choice? They came out with a list of priorities surprisingly close to the Copenhagen Consensus economists. They agreed that the world's top spending priorities should be around the areas of health, water, education and hunger. And, perhaps more courageously, they also said what should not come at the top - financial instability and climate change ranked at the bottom of the list.

The project was a significant step towards putting the concept of prioritisation on the agenda for global decision-makers. And they were all keen on taking the exercise further, hoping to have 40 or 50 UN ambassadors participate in a similar exercise in New York in the autumn. But, at the end of the day, priorities are not the ones Nobel economists or UN ambassadors set; they are something societies debate and democracies decide.

In a world where politicians and voters are faced with ever-increasing and competing demands for time and money, the Copenhagen Consensus process can help decision-makers focus on those initiatives with the greatest benefits, rather than just the ones with the most vocal advocates.

The provision of a principled framework for decisions could ultimately ensure that the world's limited resources are spent doing the most for humanity. And that option is very hard to ignore.

Copyright 2006, The Observer

Medieval Warm Period Project.
Medieval Warm Period Project

MWP-CWP Quantitative Temperature Differentials:

Project Overview

What is it?

Our Medieval Warm Period Project is an ongoing effort to document the magnitude and spatial and temporal extent of a significant period of warmth that occurred approximately one thousand years ago. Its goal is to ultimately provide sufficient real-world evidence to convince most rational people that the Medieval Warm Period was: (1) global in extent, (2) at least as warm as, but likely even warmer than, the Current Warm Period, and (3) of a duration significantly longer than that of the Current Warm Period to date.

Why is it?

The project's reason for being begins with the claim of many scientists - and essentially all of the world's radical environmentalists - that earth's near-surface air temperature over the last two decades of the 20th century (and continuing to the present) was higher than it has been during any similar period of the past millennium or more. This claim is of utmost importance to these climate alarmists; for it allows them to further claim there is something unnatural about recent and possibly ongoing warming, which allows them to claim that the warming has its origins in anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which allows them to claim that if humanity will abandon the burning of fossil fuels, we can slow and ultimately stop the warming of the modern era and thereby save the planet's fragile ecosystems from being destroyed by catastrophic climate changes that they claim will otherwise drive a goodly percentage of earth's plants and animals to extinction. Believing all of these claims to be false, we felt that disproving the first of them was the best way of refuting all the rest, or at least making them moot. The course of action we therefore take in this endeavor is to demonstrate that approximately one thousand years ago, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was approximately 25% lower than it is currently, earth's near-surface air temperature was equally as warm as, or even warmer than, it is today, demonstrating that today's temperatures are not unnatural and need not be due to the historical rise in the air's CO2 content. Indeed, these and other data covering a much longer timespan suggest that a more logical cause of our present warmth is the recurrence of whatever cyclical phenomenon produced the higher temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period.

How is the project conducted?

As we discover new peer-reviewed scientific journal articles pertaining to the Medieval Warm Period, we briefly describe their most pertinent findings in the Study Descriptions and Results section of the project. The locations of all such studies are then plotted on a map of the globe, and the intervals of time they associate with the Medieval Warm Period are incorporated into a graph of the frequency distribution of all such time intervals, which is located just beneath the map in the project's Interactive Map and Time Domain Plot feature. In extremely rare cases where only a single year is specified for the MWP, we assign it a 100-year timespan centered on the year reported by the study's authors. For studies that allow the determination of an actual temperature difference between the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Current Warm Period (CWP), this number is incorporated into the frequency distribution of all such differentials in the project's MWP-CWP Quantitative Temperature Differentials section. For studies that allow only a qualitative determination of the temperature difference between the MWP and CWP to be made, results are presented in the project's MWP-CWP Qualitative Temperature Differentials section. Last of all, the names of all scientists and research institutions associated with the MWP Project studies we cite are included in our List of Scientists Whose Work We Cite and List of Research Institutions Associated With the Work We Cite.

When will the project end?

We believe there are enough pertinent studies already published, in the pipeline to be published, currently in progress and yet to be conceived to enable us to continue to add to the project on a weekly basis for a long enough time to truly convince most rational people that the Medieval Warm Period was indeed both longer and warmer than the portion of the Current Warm Period experienced to date. When this degree of realization occurs, it will undercut the only foundation in real-world data upon which the world's climate alarmists are able to build an edifice to support their many doom-and-gloom predictions of catastrophic global warming and biospheric breakdown based on theoretical computer-based and scenario-driven simulations. Only at that time, when we have achieved our ultimate goal, will the project end.


The Sunday Telegraph, 2 July 2006

Companies have made millions selling excess permits - while hospitals and schools have to buy them, reports Robert Watts

When it was launched with a fanfare last year the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme was trumpeted as a way to curb the damage big business does to the environment. Today, 18 months after its launch, the farcical side-effects of the scheme are starting to become clear.

According to a report to be published this week, some of the world's most powerful energy companies - including BP and Esso - have already made millions of euros from the scheme. Meanwhile, -Britain's cash-strapped hospitals have been forced to spend an extra £1.3m a year at a time when they are being forced to sack nurses and other key staff.

"Not only is it expensive and an administrative nightmare, but this botched attempt at central planning is having all sorts of perverse results," says Neil O'Brien, the director of Open Europe, the Westminster think-tank, which conducted the study.

This, of course, was never the intention. Under the scheme, the European Commission gives member states targets for the quantity of carbon dioxide they can produce. The member state governments then set individual targets for companies and other organisations for how much carbon dioxide they are permitted to produce. The scheme allows those who exceed their pollution targets to buy carbon permits from companies that have not used their full allocation.

Overnight a so-called "carbon trading" market sprang into life, with banks, accountancy groups and other companies charging chunky fees to put vendors in touch with sellers.

"On paper it's been an extremely good system," says Professor Michael Grubb, the chief economist at the Carbon Trust, the organisation the Government set up to encourage businesses and other organisations to slash their emissions.

"It's just that the governments in all the member states nearly all have ended up being too generous in giving out these allowances. Most of the facilities ended up with surpluses last year. There was definitely naivety at the outset."

When the scheme started, the price of the credits was EUR8 (£5.54) and passed EUR30 two months ago. In May, however, after it became apparent that there were far more carbon credits in circulation than had previously been thought, the price collapsed to less than EUR10. The price has recovered somewhat since and so far, the average price of the credits has been EUR18.20.

So how much carbon dioxide has each company been emitting? A document on the commission's website gives a breakdown of every UK organisation covered in the scheme. This says how many tonnes of carbon dioxide the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs has allowed companies and other organisations to produce and, crucially, how much they actually produced last year.

For instance, GlaxoSmithKline's operations centre in Dartford used only a fifth of its allocation. Smith & Nephew, the medical giant, used only half of its total allocation. Corus's plant in Stocksbridge used only a third of its credits. Any surplus carbon credits, of course, could be sold on the open market.

Grubb suggests that some companies have deliberately overestimated the amount of carbon dioxide they will produce. There is also the suspicion within government that advisors and companies selling carbon credits have deliberately ramped their price. After all, the larger the carbon credit price, the bigger the commission.

So how much have businesses made from selling these surpluses? Open Europe's report highlights the enormous surpluses of the two oil companies, BP and Esso. Using the average price of EUR18 over the life of the scheme, Open Europe calculates that if they have sold all their surplus credits, the scheme has boosted BP's profits by £5m and Esso's by £5.8m.

The Carbon Trust is adamant that too many companies have made a fast buck from the scheme and want this stopped. "Those who were smart enough to understand the market and realise they had a surplus did very nicely," says Grubb. "And that does have to be fixed."

But the even grimmer irony of this scheme is the effect on the British taxpayer and our public services. Open Europe's report highlights the little-known fact that almost 150 schools, universities, military bases and even some prisons have also been obliged to sign up to the scheme because they have a power station or boiler with a capacity of 20MW or more.

Whereas most private sector organisations have surpluses, the opposite is true of organisations in the public sector. As a result, many hospitals, universities and army bases have been forced to buy carbon credits from businesses to meet their allocation targets.

Our tables show that, while some companies are making millions of pounds, a huge amount of taxpayers' money is being spent buying carbon credits from the private sector. Open Europe estimates that this astonishing situation will cost the NHS about £1.3m a year between 2005 and 2008.

Surely not-for-profit public services should be excluded from the potential costs and administrative burden of carbon trading? "I think one should look at whether some of those entities should be allowed to opt out," says Grubb. "These organisations are not part of the market economy and not used to hand-ling these kind of systems at all. It's a valid case."

An official at Defra admitted to The Sunday Telegraph last week that there were more sensible ways to get the public sector to cut its emissions than via the scheme.

One other issue for Britain is that unlike other EU member states, the UK has been far tougher in setting overall emission targets. "The UK has chosen very tough targets which use past emissions as a base line," says O'Brien. "Other member states - including some of the richest members - have given firms far more generous allowances. This means that UK firms have been buying carbon credits from rival firms in other member states."

The bar chart illustrates how some countries have made hundreds of millions of pounds from the scheme. So although some companies have made a lot of money out of it, UK companies as a whole could, according to Open Europe's report, be worse off to the tune of £470m because of it.

Last week, David Miliband, the environment minister, announced that the Government will issue 3 per cent fewer credits a year to UK businesses in the second phase of the scheme, which will run from 2008 to 2012. This should ensure that those UK companies that have been reaping enormous profits will not continue to do so.

But the Carbon Trust is adamant that the situation will not really improve until other member states slash the number of permits they issue to their companies.

"The UK government is going to be tougher," says Grubb. "But, unless other member state governments do the same, too many companies will still profit from a scheme that is supposed to be about improving the -environment."

Copyright 2006, TST


The Business Online, 2 July 2006

By Fraser Nelson - Political Editor

THE United States has frozen its carbon dioxide emissions at a time when signatories of the Kyoto Protocol are conceding that they cannot meet their own targets, according to official figures released last week.

While the American economy grew by 3.5% last year, more than twice the European average, its fossil fuel emissions were up by only 0.1% - with no growth in road pollution and a drop in aircraft emissions.

Its progress came as several members of the European Union (EU) missed the deadline to submit new targets to reduce their carbon footprint with Germany demanding an opt-out for its power stations and Spain and Portugal preparing to abandon their target.

The US Energy Department said last week that rising fuel prices had a profound effect on its economy, encouraging the shift to more efficient technology and seeing a decline in carbon usage, which many European countries would find enviable.

The oil price rises hit the US proportionately harder as its petrol is taxed at a lower rate. Pump prices in the United States jumped 19% to 61cents (35.2p) a litre while UK prices rose by just 3.6% to 89.4p a litre with similar rises across Europe.

Road pollution increases were halted across the US and aircraft CO2 emissions declined. American industry reduced its carbon emissions overall by 3.3% - a trend reflecting the economic shift from manufacturing

Since 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was first signed, the US has now made more progress in reducing its per capita fossil fuel emissions than the UK, France, Spain, Finland, Sweden and Japan - even before its economic growth is considered.

The US is frequently criticised for having the highest CO2 emissions in the world - 19.5 tons per person. This is more than twice the level of Britain, at 9.5 tons a head, which itself is sharply ahead of nuclear-driven France at 6.8 tons a head.

The Bush administration has said this is because the US generates more wealth than any country in the world, and it has instead said carbon emissions should be judged as a function of economic wealth created, not per capita.

Although President George Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, after a bipartisan vote in Congress, America has made substantially more progress than its European counterparts, which are still signed up to reach its targets.

The EU has moved to a new flagship environment policy called the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), and all 25 member states were due by the end of last week to have submitted their carbon reduction targets for the period from 2008 to 2012.

Those countries that went public with their plans had low ambitions. The German government said last week it would be able to reduce its carbon emissions by only 1% by 2012 and has said this will not apply to its new power plants.

David Miliband, UK Environment Secretary, acknowledged last week that the government is "off track" in meeting its own target of reducing emissions by 20% under the 1990 baseline set by Kyoto. It has met the 10% target.

Spanish carbon emissions were 48% above the 1990 base in 2004, more then treble the 15% limit of its Kyoto target. Portugal, Greece and Ireland - also Kyoto signatories - all have emissions at least 20% higher

Of the 30 industrialised countries which signed Kyoto, 17 were exceeding their targets at the time the last count was taken, in 2004. Japan pledged itself to a 6% drop in its 1990 emissions levels, yet has so far experienced a 7% rise.

The main US increase was registered from air conditioning, reflecting an economic boom in America's hotter states. Arizona's economy grew by an extraordinary 8.7% over the year and Nevada's by 8.2% - both on a par with the growth rates in India.

Copyright 2006, The Business Online


The Daily Telegraph, 30 June 2006

Credits cut 'will raise prices'

By Stephen Seawright

Business groups hit out at the Government for cutting its cap on carbon emissions which they say will push up energy prices and make Britain less competitive.

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, said the Government would issue 3pc fewer carbon credits, which give companies the right to emit carbon dioxide, from 2008 to 2012 under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.

Electricity companies are allocated less carbon credits than they need to encourage investment in environmentally friendly power generation and have to make up the shortfall by buying credits from others. Businesses believe electricity companies will be forced to buy even more carbon credits from 2008 with the extra costs passed on to customers. They claim Britain already has some of the highest energy costs in Europe.

CBI deputy director-general John Cridland said: "Such a demanding cut is likely to feed through to higher electricity prices, and with firms already struggling to meet energy costs, the Government is taking a risk with the competitiveness of UK business."

Business groups also fear that other European governments will dole out more credits than Britain which will keep down their electricity costs. Britain was one of the few EU countries last year to have issued fewer carbon credits than industry and electricity suppliers needed.

Martin Temple, the director-general of the manufacturers' organisation EEF, said: "These proposals will leave the UK significantly out of step with the rest of Europe and hurt our competitiveness when we can ill afford it."

Mr Miliband claimed the impact on electricity prices would be small. Industrial energy prices would have a one-off rise of 1pc and domestic customers 0.5pc.

About 7pc of the carbon credits will be auctioned by the Government from 2008. Currently it distributes carbon credits for free.

Mr Miliband said the auction at today's carbon prices would raise £150m a year with much of it earmarked for a new fund to invest in renewable energy. The CBI welcomed the fund but said it was unlikely to soften the impact of the proposed cuts in carbon credits.

However, the environmental group Friends of the Earth said Britain should have been more ambitious in the cap.

The Government will fall short of its own target of a 20pc cut by 2010.

Copyright 2006, TDT

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