Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

American Thinker Blog: Al Gore's weird, disconnected op-ed on climate change

American Thinker Blog: Al Gore's weird, disconnected op-ed on climate change

A perfect storm is brewing for the IPCC by Christopher Booker

Booker nicely summarizes the sudden unraveling of the various dire predictions of the global warming crowd. In particular he focuses on the errors that have been uncovered in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Put the errors together and it can be seen that one after another they tick off all the central, iconic issues of the entire global warming saga. Apart from those non-vanishing polar bears, no fears of climate change have been played on more insistently than these: the destruction of Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforest; famine in Africa; fast-rising sea levels; the threat of hurricanes, droughts, floods and heatwaves all becoming more frequent.

All these alarms were given special prominence in the IPCC's 2007 report and each of them has now been shown to be based, not on hard evidence, but on scare stories, derived not from proper scientists but from environmental activists. Those glaciers are not vanishing; the damage to the rainforest is not from climate change but logging and agriculture; African crop yields are more likely to increase than diminish; the modest rise in sea levels is slowing not accelerating; hurricane activity is lower than it was 60 years ago; droughts were more frequent in the past; there has been no increase in floods or heatwaves.

America's future could be all Greek to us

Mark Steyn: America's future could be all Greek to us

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A government big enough to give you everything you want isn't big enough to get you to give any of it back. That's the point Greece is at. Its socialist government has been forced into supporting a package of austerity measures. The Greek people's response is: Nuts to that.
Steyn concludes by drawing these parallels with the situation in Greece with various states in the U.S.

Think of Greece as California: Every year an irresponsible and corrupt bureaucracy awards itself higher pay and better benefits paid for by an ever-shrinking wealth-generating class. And think of Germany as one of the less-profligate, still-just-about-functioning corners of America such as my own state of New Hampshire: Responsibility doesn't pay. You'll wind up bailing out, anyway. The problem is there are never enough of "the rich" to fund the entitlement state, because in the end it disincentivizes everything from wealth creation to self-reliance to the basic survival instinct, as represented by the fertility rate. In Greece, they've run out Greeks, so they'll stick it to the Germans, like French farmers do. In Germany, the Germans have only been able to afford to subsidize French farming because they stick Americans with their defense tab. And, in America, Obama, Pelosi and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Warning in the Stars By David Archibald

This analysis does a nice job showing that there is a strong correlation to swings in the Earth's temperatures and the Sun.

If climate is not a random walk, then we can predict climate if we understand what drives it. The energy that stops the Earth from looking like Pluto comes from the Sun, and the level and type of that energy does change. So the Sun is a good place to start if we want to be able to predict climate. To put that into context, let’s look at what the Sun has done recently.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The great global warming collapse by Margaret Wente

This article in Canada's The Globe And Mail nicely summarizes the meltdown in the human-caused global warming camp. The article contains a sentence that captures the essence of this growing scandal.

By exaggerating the certainties, papering over the gaps, demonizing the skeptics and peddling tales of imminent catastrophe, they've discredited the entire climate-change movement.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Climategate Analysis by John P. Costella

Late in 2009 a story broke, quickly named Climategate, about e-mails that were either leaked or hacked from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. The initial stories that broke centered on the reference to using a “trick” to hide the decline in earth’s overall temperatures since 1998. But, if you’ll pardon the pun, this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see a more detailed discussion about this disturbing affair I strongly recommend reading the 149-page analysis published by the Science & Public Policy Institute. It details how a small cadre of scientists shaped their data to support the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), popularized by Al Gore in his An Inconvenient Truth. It also shows how these scientists routinely resisted requests from “deniers” to confirm their conclusions and methodology. Instead of freely sharing “their” data (funded by taxpayer dollars so the data wasn’t really theirs to horde) these scientists ignored the requests or provided the bare minimum information while deriding the requestors in the private e-mails with their fellow co-conspirators.

As I’ve said in earlier posts I see this as a consequence of postmodernism in which the “truth” is what we want it to be. The facts are shaped to match our conclusions, which are shaped by our politics. It also reflects the belief that the ends (allegedly saving the earth from humans) justify the means (distorting or changing the facts if they don’t match our judgments). In other words political ends trumps inconvenient truths.

Here are a few excerpts.

Instead of seeing large collaborations of meticulous, careful, critical scientists, we instead see a small team of incompetent cowboys, abusing almost every aspect of the framework of science to build a fortress around their “old boys’ club”, to prevent real scientists from seeing the shambles of their “research”.

Phil Jones to Ray Bradley, Mike Mann, Malcolm Hughes, Keith Briffa, and Tim Osborn, regarding a diagram for a World Meteorological Organization Statement:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temperatures to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Those thirty-three words summarize the hoax so magnificently succinctly that the Nobel Committee should consider retrieving their Peace Prize from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore, and re-issuing it as a Literature Prize to Phil Jones.

Again, Wigley perpetuates the arrogant myth that this small club of scientists should have the right to interfere with, and ultimately veto, the review and publication process for each and every paper published in their field. Such censorship is not how a healthy discipline of science operates; indeed, any discipline that operates in this manner is not “science” at all, but mere religious dogma.

Wigley continues:

I suspect that de Freitas deliberately chose other referees who are members of the skeptics camp. I also suspect that he has done this on other occasions. How to deal with this is unclear, since there are a number of individuals with genuine scientific credentials who could be used by an unscrupulous editor to ensure that “anti-greenhouse” science can get through the peer review process (Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Baliunas, Soon, and so on). The peer review process is being abused, but proving this would be difficult.

This is a damning admission by Wigley: he acknowledges that these skeptics have impeccable scientific credentials; the only reason that they should be banned from reviewing papers for journal publication is that they don’t buy into their dogma of global warming! This email dispels any doubt that this cozy club redefined “peers” to mean “scientists who agree with us”—which makes a mockery of the entire idea of “peer review”.

The ultimate irony in all this, of course, is that skepticism is not a scientific insult, but rather an essential tenet of the scientific method. Only fundamentalist theological debates brand skepticism a heresy.