Libertarian Hawk


Liberal Immodesty on Climate Change Threat Sets Record Highs

September 24, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

????????????????????????????????According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, summer 2014 was the hottest on record—a claim that President Obama gleefully trumpeted at the United Nations’ Climate Summit on Tuesday. Major news outlets have uncritically repeated the refrain.

NOAA reported, “The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for the June-August period was [a] record high for this period, at 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), beating the previous record set in 1998.”

Interesting. Did NOAA’s analysis highlight all the cold records broken this past summer, this past year, and in recent years, globally and regionally? Did the mainstream media hype all of those records when they were broken?

For example, the U.S. had its coolest summer in five years, and New York City its coolest in a decade. The UK and Austria saw their coolest Augusts in 21 and 8 years, respectively. New England recently experienced record early frost.

Even NOAA’s report inadvertently admits, when it cites 2014’s second-, third-, and fifth-place finishes in various warming categories, that the planet isn’t warming.

For example, their admission that “The global land surface temperature was 0.99°C (1.78°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), the second highest on record for August, behind 1998 [emphasis added]” reveals that the Earth has been cooling since 1998.

Their claim that “The June-August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 20th century average, the fifth highest on record [emphasis added]” discloses that there were four separate years when this period was hotter than summer 2014—which again means that the Earth has cooled since then.

Yet none of the global warming computer models that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cited in its late 20th/early 21st century reports predicted zero global warming over the next decade and a half, which is what we’ve seen since 1998. Not one.

Note that all of the above evidentiary exceptions to the global warming hysteria were cited by either NOAA or mainstream publications hyping the NOAA announcement. We haven’t even gotten to data reported by global warming skeptics, i.e. real scientists.

For example, Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That—the most popular climate skeptic site on the Internet—notes that record low temperatures were twice as frequent as record high temperatures in the U.S. this year, and three times as frequent in July. similarly documents the large number of all-time cold temperature records broken in the U.S. over our cooler-than-average summer.

And although shills for the NOAA report point out that summer 2014 was cool on the East Coast but warm on the West Coast, the winter of 2013-14 was the 34th-coldest on record nationally. Doesn’t anyone remember that painful phenomenon we experienced known as the polar vortex?

In addition, weather disturbances such as hurricanes and tornadoes—which climate change proponents claimed were increasing due to global warming—have been at record lows.

And we’re not even addressing the growing body of evidence, increasingly infiltrating the mainstream media, that factors other than anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are primarily responsible for global warming. We’re just trying to get some honest data on whether the globe is even warming—and, to put it mildly, environmentalists aren’t helping.

The lesson to be learned from all this partisan hype is that you can’t just pick the records you want to report on and ignore the rest, as liberals always accuse the right of doing on climate matters. You can’t arbitrarily decide on the timeframe and location to be examined, then crow because some record was set there. From 9am on March 4 until 3pm on July 15 in the Northeastern corner of Siberia, record high temperatures were recorded!

Honest metrics must be chosen and agreed upon beforehand—prior to a single measurement being taken—and assessed without bias, with no flashing quirky extreme results that you found after weeks of fishing through the data. In fact, real scientists try to disprove a phenomenon’s predominantly accepted explanation, even—or especially—if they espouse it, so they can see whether it survives rigorous scrutiny.

But according to liberal logic, if tank top sales are up in West Hollywood while the Antarctic witnesses record icecap growth, then the latter can be safely ignored while the former can be hyped as rock-solid proof of our urgent need for climate justice.

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Nothing Predicts Liberals’ Humility on Global Warming

January 08, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

article-2294560-18B8846F000005DC-184_634x427While the U.S. suffers a historic cold spell featuring Arctic birds flocking to Florida, airports colder than the South Pole, and the President using the weather to plug Obamacare, the nation’s news outlets are bursting with stories lecturing us that global warming can lead to extreme cold temperatures.

Why don’t the talking heads ever lecture us when it’s hot out that global cooling can lead to extreme hot temperatures?

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, many scientists warned that human-generated carbon dioxide emissions were causing an unprecedented increase in global surface temperature that could be halted only by drastic reductions in energy production, i.e. by dramatically slowing the pace of industrial civilization.

Throughout the 1990s, mean global surface temperature rose a few tenths of a degree Celsius.  Doom-saying climatologists felt vindicated and started making ever-wilder predictions, including an increased rate of global warming and widespread environmental damage and wildlife extinction over the next 15 years.

(Spoiler alert: The Earth stopped warming for the next 15 years.)

Around the mid-2000s, when mean global surface temperature was slightly lower than it was in 1997, references to “global warming” were replaced with references to “climate change,” a more all-encompassing term that seemed less likely to be scoffed at by laymen who could clearly see the world failing to boil over around them.

By the late 2000s, when mean temperature was still stagnating, the public started to suspect that international spokesmen on climate change were crackpots.  As Lord Christopher Monckton noted, “Globally-averaged land and sea surface absolute temperature has not risen since 1998…  The models heavily relied upon by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had not projected this multidecadal stasis in ‘global warming’… nor 50 years’ cooling in Antarctica and the Arctic; nor the absence of ocean warming since 2003… nor the active 2004 hurricane season; nor the inactive subsequent seasons… nor the consequent, precipitate decline of ~0.8 °C from January 2007 to May 2008 that has canceled out almost all of the observed warming of the 20th century.”

In other words, global warming models predicted nothing.

In the face of a decade’s worth of colder-than-normal winters, increased snowfall, and Antarctic ice thickening, alarmed alarmists expanded the connotation of “climate change” to include extreme temperatures, their hastily-concocted theory being that increased carbon emissions could cause temperature to oscillate wildly.  Around the same time, climate change activists, less confident of their ability to snooker the public with temperature-related warnings, predicted a rapid increase in hurricanes, tornadoes, and extreme weather events.

Then the frequency of extreme weather events declined to historic lows.

Yet the scare-mongerers persist.  Take a look at this widely-distributed NASA graph, which shows global land-ocean temperature anomaly from 1880 to 2012.  Pretty frightening, huh?  Now look at the high dot around 1998, and compare it to the final dot from 2012, which is lower.  Or see what happens to the red trend line from 2003 to 2012.  It declines.  Not by much, but it does go down.  And not one of the 73 United Nations global warming computer models predicted this decline during the 2000s.

Are climate scientists crazy?  The theory that carbon dioxide emissions can lead to extreme high and low temperatures is not, on the face of it, raving lunacy.  Perhaps some climatological pattern involving amplification of feedback could result in extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter.  But the point is that this is just a theory, improbably and self-servingly based on 10 years of data that climatologists failed to anticipate.

When you preordain accelerated temperature increases, a melting Arctic, and the extinction of snow, and your predictions turn out wildly off-base, you’re allowed to take stock and come up with another theory.  What you’re not allowed to do—as any real scientist will tell you—is use the same observational evidence as data to form your hypothesis and to confirm it.  Go ahead and develop a new climate model; make specific, testable, falsifiable predictions; then wait for more data to amass.  If what you predicted happens over, say, the next decade, then you’ve obtained vindication for your theory.  That’s still not enough evidence to use as a basis for upending industrial civilization—I would prefer 30 years’ worth of on-the-money predictions—but at least you’ve generated some after-the-fact empirical support.

But that’s too long to wait for leftists who want government to stop rich oil companies and dirty coal manufacturers and greedy electricity producers from doing their jobs right now, or for scientists competing for millions of dollars in federal and private grant money to go out on a limb and do some open-minded research with the risk that it might take a decade or two for controversial theories to be proven right.

The next time someone lectures you about how global warming can lead to extreme cold and heavy snowfall, tell them, “That’s not what you people were saying 10 years ago.  Come back in a decade and we’ll see if you were right.”

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Climate Warnings, Growing Shriller

May 29, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

lean-protest0_1745341cDemonstrating their impeccable timing, liberals have been ramping up talk of global warming and carbon dioxide restrictions smack dab in the middle of a historic cold stretch that has obliterated spring across North America and threatened to engulf summer.

South Dakota is seeing its first May snowfall in half a century and Arkansas its first ever, interstates and schools are shutting down across the Upper Midwest, and cherry blossoms in D.C. are blooming a month late, but The New York Times proclaims in its piece “Climate Warnings, Growing Louder” that 2013 is the year we must finally get serious about the impending planetary meltdown.

As I sit here in Manhattan shivering this Memorial Day weekend because my high-rise shut off central heating a month ago, even though it plummeted to 40 degrees last night, I thought I’d ponder, for all those liberals who claim to care about science, the string of questions that must be answered before our nation even thinks of passing expensive, intrusive legislation to regulate CO2 emissions:

Is global warming happening?

Contrary to the predictions of all widely publicized climate change models, there has been no increase in global surface temperature since 1998.  Global warming skeptics also note the absence of warming in satellite temperatures and ocean temperatures.  But that’s OK: According to liberals’ utterly specious, ad hoc, made-up explanation, global cooling is actually evidence of global warming, because global warming leads to extremes in temperature, which can include global cooling—although this differs from the actual global cooling that took place from 1940 to 1970, which was somehow evidence of global cooling.

Does CO2 cause global warming?

Physicist and global warming “convert” Richard Muller writes, of his examination of factors correlated with global temperature over the past 250 years, “By far the best match [is] to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice.”  Great—but how does Muller know that increases in atmospheric CO2 cause increases in global temperature?  He doesn’t.  In fact, evidence from ice core records indicates that CO2 levels lag behind global temperature changes, which implies that temperature alters CO2 levels.  In layman’s terms: The Earth warms, ice melts, plants thrive, animals and humans multiply, and presto!—there’s more CO2 in the air.

Is man contributing to global warming?

Perhaps not.  Skeptics point to the Medieval Warm Period a thousand years ago, when the Earth was significantly warmer than it is now, yet industrial civilization was centuries away.  They also note that most 20th-century warming happened before 1940, despite the explosive growth in industrialization that occurred after 1940.

Is man’s global warming contribution significant?

Even if man is contributing to global warming, there remains the question of how much.  Non-anthropogenic sources such as sunspot activity, cosmic rays, cloud cover, volcanic eruptions, natural cyclical variation, and even bovine methane emissions may be contributing much more.

Is global warming harmful?

Even if the Earth is warming and man is causing it, global warming may not be harmful to mankind and other animal species.  Looking on a scale of tens of thousands of years, plants and animals have typically thrived in warmer temperatures.  Ice ages, after all, aren’t known for their lush vegetation and tropical, carefree lifestyles.  So it’s not obvious that an increase of a degree or so every century would wipe mankind off the map.  Harrison Schmitt and William Happer recently argued in The Wall Street Journal for the beneficial effects of CO2, the most misaligned and misunderstood compound on the planet.

Can man reverse global warming?

Even if global warming would harm mankind, we may not be able to do anything about it.  The indispensible Lord Christopher Monckton has demonstrated how, using global warming advocates’ own numbers and projections, proposed climate change legislation would have a miniscule effect on CO2 emissions.

Is the cost of reversing global warming less than the cost of adapting to it?

Even if global warming is harmful and man can reverse it, it’s not clear that he should, rather than simply adapting to any changes it induces.  Until we can make trustworthy projections of which course of action is less costly, taking preventive action is premature.

Should the public bear, and the government oversee, the cost of reversing global warming?

Even if it’s cost-effective to change our way of life to hedge against global warming, it’s not obvious that our inefficient central government should make such decisions, and that taxpayers should succumb to their regulations.

Would CO2 emission reductions be offset by developing nations?

Even if developed nations decided our governments should regulate CO2, it would make little difference if our efforts were offset by the exponentially increasing emissions from developing nations such as China, India, and Brazil.

So to sum up: We should definitely destroy industrial civilization to mitigate the effects of global warming—if it’s actually happening, if it’s caused by CO2, if it’s caused mostly by man, if it’s harmful and reversible, if doing so is cheaper than adapting to it, and if our efforts are matched by the efforts of developing nations.

As global warming alarmist-friendly journal The Economist recently admitted, the jig may finally be up on global warming hysteria, and not a moment too soon.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Liberal Myths: Holiday Edition

December 12, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

three donkeys copyHow many liberal myths can a mainstream news announcer cram into one innocent, 90-second, top-of-the-hour news briefing?  On WABC’s New York affiliate one recent December evening, I counted eight.

First the news reader (as they more appropriately call them in Japan) cheerfully announced that seasonal hiring—inventory control agents, sales clerks, deliverymen—was way up this year compared to last year; that increased holiday spending was a sign the economy was improving; and that goods being purchased in the U.S. are unfortunately being made more often overseas.

There’s three myths right there: (1) elevated part-time hiring reflects economic health; (2) consumer spending drives growth; and (3) trade imbalances are harmful.

(1) That retailers are hiring more temporary help isn’t a sign the economy is thriving; it’s a sign there are more underemployed workers taking part-time work below their skill level.  If permanent, full-time employment were stable, we wouldn’t see such a leap in short-term hiring during peak economic season.  Increased part-time hiring also reflects employers’ reluctance to take on “full-time,” 30-hour-a-week employees whom they must soon provide health insurance per Obamacare.

(2) Consumer spending does not drive economic growth; investment and production do.  There’s nothing to consume if manufacturers don’t have the capital and the optimism that investing in productive enterprise will be worth it.  And manufacturers don’t think production will be worth it if they’re saddled with confiscatory tax rates, burdensome regulations, and long-term uncertainty.  Consumer spending is the last step in the economic chain of production, not the first.

(3) Trade imbalances reflect the fact that some countries have more stable economies and reliable currencies than others, the latter of whom must depend more on tangible production efforts to demonstrate they have something of value to trade.  Trade imbalances also signal advanced nations’ capacity to provide high-tech, intangible services and sophisticated knowledge transfer that aren’t as concrete or visible as shiploads of dry goods.

After this trio of falsehoods, the announcer chirped that gas prices were lower than they’d been in months—a boon for the economy—but higher than this time last year, which could reflect rising wages.

There’s two more myths: (4) seasonal fluctuations in gas prices reflect economic growth; and (5) high gas prices reflect improving wages.

(4) Gas prices are always higher in the summer; this is a reliable, cyclical variation, and gas prices declining from June to December say nothing about comparative economic performance at the end of the year.

(5) Our current high gas prices are less likely a reflection of increasing income—which we know is at historically low levels—and more likely the result of instability in the Middle East (due to our President’s weak foreign policy), forecast scarcity of oil (due to drilling restrictions), and looming inflation (due to the Federal Reserve’s currency devaluation).

After a commercial break, the reporter referenced the recent renewal of the Kyoto Protocol and uncritically repeated the news that (6) scientists are alarmed because 2012 is on track to be one of the hottest years on record.

(6) The Met Office in Great Britain recently released a report showing global temperature the same in 2012 as it was in 1996.  The period over which no global warming has been taking place (1996-2012) is thus the same length as the period over which it was supposedly taking place (1980-1996).  But never mind: news outlets such as The New York Times inveigle us to “Bundle Up: It’s Global Warming.”

The announcer then mentioned Obama’s recent trip to Michigan to grandstand on the end-of-the-year fiscal showdown, and parroted his claim that (7) spending cuts must be balanced with tax increases to balance our budget.  The announcer concluded that (8) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up slightly due to optimism over progress in the fiscal cliff talks.

(7) Liberals refuse to understand that revenue increases are not the same as tax increases.  One means more money going to the government; the other means a higher percentage of people’s income being taken from them.  Paradoxically, lowering marginal tax rates on high-income earners increases revenue, because then they don’t scale back their investment and hiring to avoid being gouged.  Cutting taxes increased revenue under JFK, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton.  Yet liberals forever believe Republicans want the government to run with no revenue.

(8) No one can say on any given day why the Dow is up or down, and analysts frequently project their prejudices onto such causal pronouncements.  It’s equally possible that the DJI is up because investors believe little progress is being made as the end of the year approaches, automatic budget cuts are going to kick in, and we’re finally going to start reining in spending.

At this rate, the mainstream media will soon be reporting flying reindeer sightings.

(For more liberal howlers, see Liberal Myths: Tax Day Edition!)

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Global Warming Fanatics: This Generation’s Flat-Earthers

August 31, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

flat earth

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

No longer content to compare global warming skeptics to mere Holocaust deniers, Al Gore recently implied that climate doubters will someday be seen as this generation’s Klansmen.

In an interview with the Climate Reality Project, Gore declared that the civil rights and climate change movements are similar in that both harbor a profound moral component.  (Honestly, Gore’s new comparison lacks the punch of “Today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin.”)

The bloated old walrus offered his awestruck, rosy-cheeked interviewer a two-pronged strategy that global warming believers should adapt from anti-racism protestors to “win the conversation.”  First, global warming fanatics should persuade non-believers through facts; second, they should confront “inappropriate” statements by expressing loud disapproval just as if they were racial slurs.

I could be wrong, but I think in order to “win the conversation,” you have to actually have a conversation first, at least one in which both sides are allowed to speak.  Yet the Goracle is notoriously reluctant to accept invitations to debate climate change skeptics such as brilliant mathematician and former Margaret Thatcher advisor Christopher Monckton—probably because he knows Monckton has enough logic and facts at his disposal to mop the floor with Gore.

In his Climate Reality Project interview, Gore claims that it is no more difficult for warming adherents to “win the conversation” on global warming than it was for pro-equality Southerners to “win the conversation” on racism.  In other words, put Gore on record as stating that it’s no more accepted fact that people should be judged by the content of their character than it is that the folks who overestimated the impact of Hurricane Irene on New York City by an order of magnitude can tell us how many degrees warmer the planet will be in 100 years.

Gore also chides Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry for claiming that the world’s scientists are in on a vast conspiracy to profit from preventive actions to halt climate change.  In fact, Perry said no such thing.  What Perry said is that climate change has become a politicized issue—which it has—and that key researchers have been caught shielding data from the public—which they have.  Perry also noted that scientists have been stepping forward en masse to express skepticism about climate change science—which is true.

It is also true that a prevailing orthodoxy has set in regarding climate change, such that skepticism is discouraged, and only research expected to confirm the outlines of preordained alarmist conclusions is deemed fundable by government agencies and even most private foundations.  It’s unlikely that scientists the world over think as objectively about climate change as they would if there were equally large gobs of money for research opposing the notion of manmade global warming.

But back to Gore’s ludicrous race-climate comparison: Since he brought it up, it’s worth noting that most climate change skeptics these days are Republicans.  In contrast, the most recalcitrant racists from the 1950s and 1960s were Southern Democrats—like Gore’s father, Al Gore Sr., who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Bull Connor, whom Gore cites for his brutal act of turning fire hoses on protestors.  So comparing Republicans to civil rights opponents may not be Gore’s best rhetorical move.

Meanwhile, noted climatologist Paul Krugman advances the skeptic-bashing on another front by sneering that Republicans are “anti-science,” “anti-knowledge,” and “anti-intellectualism.”

Let’s see: What does the science tell us about climate change?  For one thing, it tells us that there has been no statistically significant rise in global temperature over the last 16 years, even though CO2 emissions have increased.  It tells us that there has even been evidence of global cooling over the last 11 years.

The science tells us that 9 out the past 11 winters have delivered above-average snowfall and below-average temperatures to North America, Europe, and Asia.

The science tells us that H20, not CO2, is by far the biggest greenhouse gas—though I don’t recall Democratic politicians’ calling for a ban on sprinklers watering the neatly manicured lawns at their beachfront resorts.

If all of this were really about the science, then climate “scientists” would be aggressively working to falsify accepted hypotheses, challenge conventional knowledge, and test the rigor of their models—not toadying up to politicized government funding agencies that hand out taxpayer-funded research money like candy.

Far from resembling Gore’s smear of narrow-minded segregationists, climate change skeptics have demonstrated abundant open-mindedness and courage in their willingness to confront institutionalized wrongheadedness and public acceptance of falsehoods.  These qualities suggest that, if right, global warming skeptics will someday be seen as this generation’s moral heroes.

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Trusting Liberals Is Now Just a Thing of the Past

December 29, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

Aftermath of the Winter Storm

In 2000 the British paper The Independent ran a story with the wistful headline “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”

Faithfully advancing the theory of anthropogenic global warming like a good leftist media foot soldier, the author nostalgically declared, “Snow is starting to disappear from our lives.  Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture.”

The Independent cited Dr. David Viner of the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia, who predicted that in a few years, snow will be “a very rare and exciting event…  Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

That would be the same climatic research unit involved in last year’s Climategate scandal, in which a whistleblower released thousands of e-mails documenting researchers manipulating, covering up, and losing data used in the UN’s report on dangerous manmade global warming.

In The Independent’s story, one researcher at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research envisioned a world in which British children might have to settle for experiencing online “polar scenes” or feeling “virtual cold.”

Meanwhile, in the decade since, Brits, Americans, and the rest of the world have gotten to experience actual polar scenes and feel real cold in spades.

Eight of the past 10 winters have seen above-average snowfall and below-normal temperatures across North America, Europe, and Asia, not counting the cold spell of December 2010.

The entire Eastern seaboard of the U.S., most of the Midwest, and much of the South were recently rocked with a series of paralyzing storms that stranded Christmas travelers, crippled airlines, stalled vehicles, collapsed sporting complexes, cleared Times Square, shut down New York City’s mass transit system, halted Amtrak service, destroyed marine life in the Carolinas, and cryogenically froze a functioning lighthouse on Lake Michigan.

The British Transport Secretary recently sought the advice of the UK’s top science advisor regarding whether, in light of the massive snowfall that shut down Heathrow and other major European airports last week, extra levels of preparation and spending should be budgeted in future years for harsher winters.

Just as it was becoming clear that snow was not on the verge of extinction, global warming fanatics began to air the theory that climate warming actually predicted increased snow, because warm air “holds” more precipitation.  (The same could be said for liberals’ attempts to fool the public: the more hot air they spew, the more likely they are to wallop us with a snow job.)

Note that this cockamamie notion that increased snow results from global warming was conveniently produced after the harsh, snow-drenched winters of the past few years, not before—and certainly not back in 2000.

Global warming alarmists laugh at skeptics who point out that temperatures have not increased over the past 10 years, but rather have decreased.  Though there has been no measurable global warming since 1998, Al Gore worshippers insist that trends of a few years prove nothing, and that temporary ups and downs are to be expected when addressing a phenomenon that can be measured only over decades or centuries.

This is not, of course, what the alarmists were saying in the 1990s, when they cited every melted popsicle and bare midriff as incontrovertible proof that the globe was dissolving.

So we now know that global warming can eliminate snow (pace The Independent), but can also produce more snow and gargantuan, historic blizzards.  Global warming can lead to slightly above-average temperatures (as in the 1990s), but can also result in a 12-year decline in global temperature, cold and miserable springs, and brutal winters.  (See The New York Times’ recent op-ed “Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming,” in which the author explains that “the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes.”)

Global warmists are quick to give birth to a litter of ad hoc explanations about why “warming” has led to cooling.  But if the past 10 winters had been unusually warm and snow-free, the warmists inarguably would have cited that data as iron-clad proof of their prognostications.

Alarmists pull after-the-fact hypotheses out of thin air to compensate for their failed forecasts, but their routine is getting old.

Manmade global warming is, given our current state of scientific knowledge, and the way the majority of the world’s climate centers and media outlets treat the evidence, an unfalsifiable theory.

In liberals’ view, the only outcome global warming can’t lead to is mankind being let off the hook from the charge of destroying our natural habitat through the sin of industrial civilization.

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Are Volcanoes Subject to Cap-and-Trade?

April 20, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

Vista del glaciar de Eyjafjallajökull
Image by SurfCologic via Flickr

As the Senate gears up to introduce its version of the House’s cap-and-trade global warming legislation next week, it’s instructive to consider the impact of myriad geological, meteorological, and astronomic effects on climate change, as exhaustively chronicled in Australian scientist Ian Plimer’s essential new book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming: The Missing Science.

Plimer’s book, published last year, boasts 2,000 footnotes from an array of sources including top peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, and Geophysical Research Letters; journals on solar physics, hydrological science, and glaciology; books on climate change, environmentalism, and the history of science; and research by dozens of climate change skeptics.  Plimer also dissects the various contradictory iterations of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reports.

His evaluation of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis?  Pure, unadulterated waffle.

If “agnostic” is to “atheist” what “skeptic” is to “denier,” then Plimer would happily plant himself in the denier camp.

Plimer demolishes AGW by broadening the scientific timeline under consideration to incorporate thousands, at times millions, of years to show how climate has been changing through hot and cold swings much wider than anything we’ve seen in recent centuries, and all in the absence of disposable Starbucks cups.

In graph after graph, Plimer depicts the cyclical effects of sunspots, glaciation, tilts in the earth’s orbit, ocean currents, CO2 reabsorption by the oceans, plate tectonics, clouds, and volcanic eruptions on global temperature.  He covers the Medieval Warming period from 900 to 1300 AD, which was warmer than today, and points out the vastly higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere during previous Ice Ages.  He details the beneficial effects that warmer periods historically have had on crop growth, species survival, and human longevity.  He documents the inadequacy and inconsistency of land temperature measurements, relative to satellite measurements, the latter of which show global cooling.  He notes the utter failure of any global warming model to correctly predict that the earth would start cooling in 1998.

Plimer mentions Al Gore’s camp classic An Inconvenient Truth, and cites a British court’s 2007 ruling that there are nine major factual errors in the movie, and that in order to be shown in public classrooms the film has to be accompanied by a written manual and teacher instruction to correct all of the alarmist falsehoods.  One of the nine gaffes is the movie’s failure to note that CO2 emissions have not been shown to cause temperature increases, but rather have historically lagged behind temperature increases.  That’s right—a British court actually ruled that there is no evidence that carbon dioxide emissions, human or otherwise, cause or even precede temperature increases—only that they lag slightly behind.

And Plimer’s book was published before last November’s Climategate, in which a whistleblower in the UK publicly exposed researchers from one of the three leading climate data collection centers in the world as having evaded Freedom of Information requests, colluded to keep skeptics’ research from being published, and failed to be able to reconstruct tortuous data manipulations they had applied in order to generate the conclusions they wanted.

Lest closed-minded warmists dismiss Plimer as a religious, right-wing knuckle-dragger, Plimer has also authored books deconstructing the scientific case for creationism, and has received criticism from conservatives for this line of work.

Plimer’s thesis also happens to be perfectly embodied by last week’s historic volcano eruption in Iceland.  The eruption at Eyjafjallajökull, whose name is almost as long and complicated as the House’s cap-and-trade bill, left Europe covered in clouds of dark ash and shut down virtually all air transportation across the continent.

In his book, Plimer delineates the historic effects of volcanic activity on climate.  For example, in just a few days, a major volcano can spew more CO2, dust, and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere than humans can in a year.  Yet significant volcanic eruptions typically lead to years-long drops in temperature, due to the extra cloud cover and solar reflection they create, which means that skiing in St. Moritz should be lovely this winter.

Last year the Australian parliament considered and, in large part thanks to the efforts of Plimer and other skeptics, narrowly rejected a cap-and-trade scheme that would have crippled the continent’s energy production systems.

Due to U.S. Congressional Democrats’ politically suicidal stubbornness, cap-and-trade is evidently going to be this year’s health care reform.

To reiterate the point crystallized in Plimer’s book: if there’s so much uncertainty regarding whether human carbon dioxide emissions have any measurable influence on temperature increases, and a greater probability that temperature increases are beneficial than harmful, why are we rushing to shoot the world’s greatest economies in the foot?

Molecular biologist Henry Miller wrote in Forbes last week, “Every schoolchild these days seems to be a devoted environmentalist, able to spell ‘sustainable’ before ‘dog.’  However, much of the indoctrination about environmentalism—especially in schools—is of the passion-is-more-important-than-fact variety…  Too often the objective of student projects seems to be ‘empowering’ the kids and giving them a feeling of accomplishment instead of getting the right answer and learning scientific principles.”  In other words, the first step to “empowerment” in the natural world is learning what you can and can’t change through being empowered.  It seems many adults have yet to learn that lesson.

Though I regret the disruption caused by Eyjafjallajökull to Western Europe’s economies (such as they are), I have to chuckle at the fact that terrible, wasteful, carbon dioxide-emitting air travel has been suspended throughout the sacred Continent of the Greens—and during the same week as Earth Day, at that.  I only wish it had happened right before the Copenhagen summit.

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A Miscellany of Climategate Scenarios That Will Not Appear

December 02, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

If you, like most Americans, doubt that scientists will ever demonstrate a direct causal link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming, try wrapping your mind around any of the following deeply implausible scenarios in the wake of the recent Climategate scandal:

(1) The Climate Research Unit at the UK’s University of East Anglia, origin of the thousands of pages of leaked e-mails and computer code two weeks ago, will honor requests to release the CRU data used to produce results showing steady global temperature increases over the past 150 years.

Phil Jones, head of CRU, who resigned yesterday in light of the fraud, once e-mailed U.S. colleague Michael Mann, “[D]on’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them…  If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone…  We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”

(2) The CRU physically possesses the data it has collected over the years and the programs used to generate its previously published results, or can figure out how to reproduce these programs.

Here are a few nuggets from the infamous “HARRY_READ_ME” text file containing three years’ worth of notes (2006-2009) documenting one CRU scientist’s attempt to reconstruct published temperature data using the center’s poorly documented datasets and computer code:

“I immediately found a mistake! Scanning forward to 1951 was done with a loop that, for completely unfathomable reasons, didn’t include months! So we read 50 grids instead of 600!!!”

“Wherever I look, there are data files, no info about what they are other than their names…  [T]he filenames… are identical, but the contents are not.”

“I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases.  There is no uniform data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found.”

“I am seriously close to giving up, again.  The history of this is so complex that I can’t get far enough into it before my head hurts and I have to stop.  Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and semi-automated interventions…  I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections.”

(3) Phil Jones will come up with a convincing explanation for how his e-mail describing use of “Mike’s trick” to “hide the decline” references anything other than fraudulent manipulation of data to achieve a desired outcome.

The e-mail in question: “’I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature [journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 to hide the decline.”

Jones’ response to the leak: “The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste.”  Note to Jones: So was your lame defense of that shifty e-mail.

The defense offered by Michael Mann, originator of the long-discredited “hockey stick” graph of global temperature increase, was not much better: Mann claimed that the word “trick” referred to a clever method of solving a problem “and not something secret.”  Not anymore, it’s not!

(4) The University of East Anglia, the BBC, and the international mainstream media will get more agitated about the implications of the hacked CRU e-mails than the fact that they were hacked.

The criminal penalties lying in wait for the scientists who conspired to alter, misrepresent, or delete data after FOIA requests, while spending millions in public grant money, are far greater than for the hacker who obtained the e-mails.  The implications of falsified data for global climate change regulations, taxes, and government takeover of industrial economies render the hacker’s moral breech moot.

(5) The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin and other environmental “reporters” will admit Climategate is a big deal.

The CRU is one of two centers that compile global land temperature data; the other is the U.S. Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  Roughly 50% of terrestrial temperature data has thus been demonstrated to be worthless—more than 50%, if you take into account the greater weight given the CRU data in the IPCC report, the close working relationship between the centers, and the documented bias and possible fraud in U.S. data.  Yet Revkin claims, “The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument.”  Case closed!

(6) Climategate will backfire against skeptics.

Kenneth Trenberth, CRU crony and researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, insists—hold your laughter—that the hacked e-mails demonstrate “the integrity of scientists.”  Even George “Moonbat” Monbiot, global warming columnist for the UK Guardian—who bitterly wrote, “I apologise.  I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed.  I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely”—was ludicrously recalcitrant in his support for CRU researchers: “By comparison to his opponents, Phil Jones is pure as the driven snow.”

(7) Any climate change alarmists other than Monbiot will apologize for putting too much credence in CRU data without being able to independently verify it.

The shills at, for example, write: “There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research… no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist-communist-vegetarian overlords.”  Apology accepted!

(8) Global warming alarmists will view the halt in statistically significant global warming over the last 15 years, the demonstrable global cooling over the last 9 years, and the projected global cooling over the next several decades by skeptics whose models correctly predicted both of the above, as evidence that might prove their climate change theories wrong.

See all of the above.

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