Saturday, April 18, 2009

[Excerpt from my Facebook wall in the last 24 hours, consisting of a back and forth I'm having with a former colleague]

Status: Chris likens the green movement to the Church's Indulgences during the Middle Ages. Keep sinning, but no Hell.

Colleague: Intriguing notion, but I can't connect the dots. Can you elaborate?

Me: Whether it's sustainability or lowering CO2 emissions, fear motivates us more so than desire to do right for right's sake. If we *were* acting on ethics/honor and not guilt, we wouldn't commit the eco sin of living the way we do in the first place. We'd choose *lifestyles* that are green rather than try to erase every material step we take.

Identical to the Catholic Church's selling of indulgences 100's of years ago. The church turned the supply of guilt (collectively perceived thanks to centuries of religious indoctrination + shorter life spans) into a source of revenue. The church knew people couldn't live up to the Christian ideal, and so it offered Get Out of Hell Free cards that people bought out of fear - not because it was right.

Same with today's environmental movement. Hypocritical eco-priests like Al Gore & Holllywood sucking on our guilty bones.

Colleague: Are all pollution credits BS, or just carbon credits?

Me: We know pollution is bad for us in the here and now, so we deal with it because it affects us. That's a social contract. Carbon credits, on the other hand (me selling you a carbon credit so you can keep operating a coal-fired choo-choo train, for example) is an Indulgence because even though I know it will have zero impact on what global warming *might* exist, I sell it to you so I can fund the growth of my cause.

Colleague: Thanks for the explanation. I understand your point now. You see carbon-trading as a useless activity that can in no way help reduce global warming. All that it reduces is guilt--or, more likely, what it does is allow a corporation to advertise that it is clean, thus creating positive PR for itself.

Do you object to the theory behind carbon trading, or do you merely think that it is poorly implemented? As I understand it, the theory is that environmental costs must be built into the marketplace and, when proper costs are assigned, the market will then self-correct. Further, as I understand it, when a corporation purchases a carbon offset, the money they spend actually goes to reduce carbon emmisions elsewhere, so that the net will be zero.

Me: Yes, and yes. I object to the theory because it assumes a) that we know what causes the planet's temperature to vary; b) that our math can accurately model climate; c) that climate variation is bad; and d) that there's anything we can & should do about it. And I object to the implementation because it gives the new fires every chance to burn and ... Read Morefocuses on the naturally dying old fires.

I also object to it because it's a fantastic racket that I unfortunately didn't think up; but I *am* thinking about building a global warming carbon offset iPhone app.

Colleague: Yes, I understand that you question the underlying assumptions behind global warming. But, suppose those assumptions were true: namely, that global warming is occurring and that's it's bad for the environment. Do you think carbon trading would be an effective way to combat it?

Me: Supposing all you ask me to suppose, I very, very much do think carbon trading would be a horrible way to combat it, for the simple reason that it would give CO2 emitters a perfect & easy way to avoid reducing CO2 while passing on the fees they pay straight to the consumer in the form of higher prices. At first glance, that's exactly what seems to ... Read Morebe happening.

A better way - and I hate even talking about this since to me the notion of climate change being caused by humans is preposterous - would be to give citizens tax *rebates* as they lower their carbon footprint. Lowered taxes as an incentive would be way more powerful an incentive to achieve the desired ends, and it would avoid the gross ineffeciencies that always result when citizens let govt manage money.

Colleague: Ah, but if you're willing to believe for a moment that humans *are* causing climate change...and you believe in supply and demand...then passing the cost of CO2 emitters to their customers is precisely the right thing to do---increased cost->decreased demand->reduced CO2

Rebates (lowered costs) are just the flip side of increased costs. All the ... Read Moresame coin, so all the same result.

The difference being---it's easy to measure the emitters and increase their cost. It's exceedingly difficult to measure those who lower footprints.

Me: *If* I'm willing to accept anthropogenic climate change, then please don't add insult to injury and make me accept that ballooning the federal govt or the UN to try and manage it top-down is the best way to mitigate it.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

(Note: In the chart below, positive sentiment accounts for blogs that acknowledge the existence of global warming, while negative sentiment includes comments that discredit global warming.)

Here's a survey CNN did showing that more blogs exist doubting human-caused global warming than supporting it. This confirms what many know, which is that once you step outside the mainstream media and the left-wing politicians, you find that most people have serious doubts as to whether or not global warming is happening, or whether it's caused/influenced by humans.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Arctic, getting warmer:

“The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and
in some places the seals are finding the water too hot,” according
to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from US Consul
Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and
explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate
conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

“Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met
with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth
of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great
masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones,
the report continued, while at many points well-known glaciers
have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are
found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and
smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being
encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.”

This morning's New York Times? No, the U.S. Weather Bureau, 1922.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The theoretical and practical evidence that anthropogenic global warming is a farce mounts every day. Today's revelation: iridium in 12-13K year-old charred sediment layer pointing to a comet being the cause of the extreme climate volatility associated with The Younger Dryas era.

Read this and spread the word. I think we're not more than 6-12 months from major news covering the demise of global warming as a religion.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

[The below is from the Ludwig von Mises Institute website, and is as strong a logical refutation of anthropogenic global warming as any I've seen. Please read and pass along in the hopes that cooler, more rational heads can start to prevail in the global warming debate.]

I Was On the Global Warming Gravy Train
By David Evans

I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened that case. I am now skeptical.

In the late 1990s, this was the evidence suggesting that carbon emissions caused global warming:

1.Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, proved in a laboratory a century ago.
2.Global warming has been occurring for a century and concentrations of atmospheric carbon have been rising for a century. Correlation is not causation, but in a rough sense it looked like a fit.
3.Ice core data, starting with the first cores from Vostok in 1985, allowed us to measure temperature and atmospheric carbon going back hundreds of thousands of years, through several dramatic global warming and cooling events. To the temporal resolution then available (data points more than a thousand years apart), atmospheric carbon and temperature moved in lockstep: they rose and fell together. Talk about a smoking gun!
4.There were no other credible causes of global warming.

This evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we are absolutely certain when we apparently need to act now? So the idea that carbon emissions were causing global warming passed from the scientific community into the political realm. Research increased, bureaucracies were formed, international committees met, and eventually the Kyoto protocol was signed in 1997 to curb carbon emissions.
"Correlation is not causation, but in a rough sense it looked like a fit."

The political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990s, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too.

I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; there were international conferences full of such people. We had political support, the ear of government, big budgets. We felt fairly important and useful (I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet!
But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence above fell away. Using the same point numbers as above:

2. Better data shows that from 1940 to 1975 the earth cooled while atmospheric carbon increased. That 35 year non-correlation might eventually be explained by global dimming, only discovered in about 2003.
3.The temporal resolution of the ice core data improved. By 2004 we knew that in past warming events, the temperature increases generally started about 800 years before the rises in atmospheric carbon. Causality does not run in the direction I had assumed in 1999 — it runs the opposite way!

It took several hundred years of warming for the oceans to give off more of their carbon. This proves that there is a cause of global warming other than atmospheric carbon. And while it is possible that rising atmospheric carbon in these past warmings then went on to cause more warming ("amplification" of the initial warming), the ice core data neither proves nor disproves this hypothesis.

4. There is now a credible alternative suspect. In October 2006 Henrik Svensmark showed experimentally that cosmic rays cause cloud formation. Clouds have a net cooling effect, but for the last three decades there have been fewer clouds than normal because the sun's magnetic field, which shields us from cosmic rays, has been stronger than usual. So the earth heated up. It's too early to judge what fraction of global warming is caused by cosmic rays.

There is now no observational evidence that global warming is caused by carbon emissions. You would think that in over 20 years of intense investigation we would have found something. For example, greenhouse warming due to carbon emissions should warm the upper atmosphere faster than the lower atmosphere — but until 2006 the data showed the opposite, and thus that the greenhouse effect was not occurring! In 2006 better data allowed that the effect might be occurring, except in the tropics.

The only current "evidence" for blaming carbon emissions are scientific models (and the fact that there are few contradictory observations). Historically, science has not progressed by calculations and models, but by repeatable observations. Some theories held by science authorities have turned out to be spectacularly wrong: heavier-than-air flight is impossible, the sun orbits the earth, etc. For excellent reasons, we have much more confidence in observations by several independent parties than in models produced by a small set of related parties!

Let's return to the interaction between science and politics. By 2000 the political system had responded to the strong scientific case that carbon emissions caused global warming by creating thousands of bureaucratic and science jobs aimed at more research and at curbing carbon emissions.
"Science has not progressed by calculations and models, but by repeatable observations."

But after 2000 the case against carbon emissions gradually got weaker. Future evidence might strengthen or further weaken it. At what stage of the weakening should the science community alert the political system that carbon emissions might not be the main cause of global warming?

None of the new evidence actually says that carbon emissions are definitely not the cause of global warming, there are lots of good science jobs potentially at stake, and if the scientific message wavers then it might be difficult to later recapture the attention of the political system. What has happened is that most research efforts since 1990 have assumed that carbon emissions were the cause, and the alternatives get much less research or political attention.

Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. Climate change has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly blames carbon emissions, to the point of silencing critics.

The integrity of the scientific community will win out in the end, following the evidence wherever it leads. But in the meantime, the effect of the political climate is that most people are overestimating the evidence that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming.

I recently bet $6,000 that the rate of global warming would slow in the next two decades. Carbon emissions might be the dominant cause of global warming, but I reckon that probability to be 20% rather than the 90% the IPCC estimates.

I worry that politics could seriously distort the science. Suppose that carbon taxes are widely enacted, but that the rate of global warming increase starts to decline by 2015. The political system might pressure scientists to provide justifications for the taxes.

Imagine the following scenario. Carbon emissions cause some warming, maybe 0.05C/decade. But the current warming rate of 0.20C/decade is mainly due to some natural cause, which in 15 years has run its course and reverses. So by 2025 global temperatures start dropping. In the meantime, on the basis of models from a small group of climate scientists but with no observational evidence (because the small warming due to carbon emissions is masked by the larger natural warming), the world has dutifully paid an enormous cost to curb carbon emissions.

Politicians, expressing the anger and apparent futility of all the unnecessary poverty and effort, lead the lynching of the high priests with their opaque models. Ironically, because carbon emissions are raising the temperature baseline around which natural variability occurs, carbon emissions might need curbing after all. Maybe. The current situation is characterized by a lack of observational evidence, so no one knows yet.

Some people take strong rhetorical positions on global warming. But the cause of global warming is not just another political issue, subject to endless debate and distortions. The cause of global warming is an issue that falls into the realm of science, because it is falsifiable. No amount of human posturing will affect what the cause is. It just physically is there, and after sufficient research and time we will know what it is.

David Evans, a mathematician, and a computer and electrical engineer, is head of Science Speak. Send him mail. Comment on the blog.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Here's the real inconvenient truth.....

For Immediate Release: February 26, 2007

February 26, 2007

For Further Information, Contact:
Nicole Williams, (615) 383-6431

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own “Inconvenient Truth”
Gore’s home uses more than 20 times the national average

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient
Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the
Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a
gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville,
consumes more electricity every month than the average American
household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric
Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to
conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh)
per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore
devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than
twice the electricity in one month than an average American family
uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s
average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption
has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to
18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill.
Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080
per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore
has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it
comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research
President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and
natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's amazing how straightforward it is to show that anthropogenic global warming is a total farse. Please read and share the below article from the 'Outside the Box' column in the Wall Street Journal.

Plus Ça (Climate) Change
The Earth was warming before global warming was cool.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 12:01 a.m.

When Eric the Red led the Norwegian Vikings to Greenland in the late 900s, it was an ice-free farm country--grass for sheep and cattle, open water for fishing, a livable climate--so good a colony that by 1100 there were 3,000 people living there. Then came the Ice Age. By 1400, average temperatures had declined by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, the glaciers had crushed southward across the farmlands and harbors, and the Vikings did not survive.

Such global temperature fluctuations are not surprising, for looking back in history we see a regular pattern of warming and cooling. From 200 B.C. to A.D. 600 saw the Roman Warming period; from 600 to 900, the cold period of the Dark Ages; from 900 to 1300 was the Medieval warming period; and 1300 to 1850, the Little Ice Age.

During the 20th century the earth did indeed warm--by 1 degree Fahrenheit. But a look at the data shows that within the century temperatures varied with time: from 1900 to 1910 the world cooled; from 1910 to 1940 it warmed; from 1940 to the late 1970s it cooled again, and since then it has been warming. Today our climate is 1/20th of a degree Fahrenheit warmer than it was in 2001.

Many things are contributing to such global temperature changes. Solar radiation is one. Sunspot activity has reached a thousand-year high, according to European astronomy institutions. Solar radiation is reducing Mars's southern icecap, which has been shrinking for three summers despite the absence of SUVS and coal-fired electrical plants anywhere on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, a NASA study reports that solar radiation has increased in each of the past two decades, and environmental scholar Bjorn Lomborg, citing a 1997 atmosphere-ocean general circulation model, observes that "the increase in direct solar irradiation over the past 30 years is responsible for about 40 percent of the observed global warming."

Statistics suggest that while there has indeed been a slight warming in the past century, much of it was neither human-induced nor geographically uniform. Half of the past century's warming occurred before 1940, when the human population and its industrial base were far smaller than now. And while global temperatures are now slightly up, in some areas they are dramatically down. According to "Climate Change and Its Impacts," a study published last spring by the National Center for Policy Analysis, the ice mass in Greenland has grown, and "average summer temperatures at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet have decreased 4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the late 1980s." British environmental analyst Lord Christopher Monckton says that from 1993 through 2003 the Greenland ice sheet "grew an average extra thickness of 2 inches a year," and that in the past 30 years the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet has grown as well.

Earlier this month the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a summary of its fourth five-year report. Although the full report won't be out until May, the summary has reinvigorated the global warming discussion.

While global warming alarmism has become a daily American press feature, the IPCC, in its new report, is backtracking on its warming predictions. While Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" warns of up to 20 feet of sea-level increase, the IPCC has halved its estimate of the rise in sea level by the end of this century, to 17 inches from 36. It has reduced its estimate of the impact of global greenhouse-gas emissions on global climate by more than one-third, because, it says, pollutant particles reflect sunlight back into space and this has a cooling effect.

The IPCC confirms its 2001 conclusion that global warming will have little effect on the number of typhoons or hurricanes the world will experience, but it does not note that there has been a steady decrease in the number of global hurricane days since 1970--from 600 to 400 days, according to Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Peter Webster.

The IPCC does not explain why from 1940 to 1975, while carbon dioxide emissions were rising, global temperatures were falling, nor does it admit that its 2001 "hockey stick" graph showing a dramatic temperature increase beginning in 1970s had omitted the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warming temperature changes, apparently in order to make the new global warming increases appear more dramatic.

Sometimes the consequences of bad science can be serious. In a 2000 issue of Nature Medicine magazine, four international scientists observed that "in less than two decades, spraying of houses with DDT reduced Sri Lanka's malaria burden from 2.8 million cases and 7,000 deaths [in 1948] to 17 cases and no deaths" in 1963. Then came Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring," invigorating environmentalism and leading to outright bans of DDT in some countries. When Sri Lanka ended the use of DDT in 1968, instead of 17 malaria cases it had 480,000.

Yet the Sierra Club in 1971 demanded "a ban, not just a curb," on the use of DDT "even in the tropical countries where DDT has kept malaria under control." International environmental controls were more important than the lives of human beings. For more than three decades this view prevailed, until the restrictions were finally lifted last September.

As we have seen since the beginning of time, and from the Vikings' experience in Greenland, our world experiences cyclical climate changes. America needs to understand clearly what is happening and why before we sign onto U.N. environmental agreements, shut down our industries and power plants, and limit our economic growth.
Mr. du Pont, a former governor of Delaware, is chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. His column appears once a month.

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