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Fritz
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #285 on: 2010-03-30 21:42:23 »
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I'm think'in; if even the bean counters are concerned, we do have a problem. The message for me; lets clean up our act is clear, each and everyone of us.

Cheers

Fritz


Source: The Economist
Author: n/a
Date: Mar 18th 2010

Spin, science and climate change

CLIMATE-change legislation, dormant for six months, is showing signs of life again in Washington, DC. This week senators and industrial groups have been discussing a compromise bill to introduce mandatory controls on carbon (see article). Yet although green activists around the world have been waiting for 20 years for American action, nobody is cheering. Even if discussion ever turns into legislation, it will be a pale shadow of what was once hoped for.



The mess at Copenhagen is one reason. So much effort went into the event, with so little result. The recession is another. However much bosses may care about the planet, they usually mind more about their bottom line, and when times are hard they are unwilling to incur new costs. The bilious argument over American health care has not helped: this is not a good time for any bill that needs bipartisan support. Even the northern hemisphere’s cold winter has hurt. When two feet of snow lies on the ground, the threat from warming seems far off. But climate science is also responsible. A series of controversies over the past year have provided heavy ammunition to those who doubt the seriousness of the problem.

Three questions arise from this. How bad is the science? Should policy be changed? And what can be done to ensure such confusion does not happen again? Behind all three lies a common story. The problem lies not with the science itself, but with the way the science has been used by politicians to imply certainty when, as often with science, no certainty exists.

What went wrong and what did not
When governments started thinking seriously about climate change they took the sensible step of establishing, in 1989, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It was designed to get scientists to work out what was happening to the climate, and to get governments to sign off on the scientists’ conclusions. It has done the job of basic science pretty well. There have been occasional complaints both that it has overstated the extent of the problem, and that it has understated it. Its reports trawl through all recent climate science. The wide range of the outcomes it predicts—from a mildly warming global temperature increase of 1.1°C by the end of the century to a hellish 6.4°C—illustrate the uncertainties it is dealing with.

But the ambiguities of science sit uncomfortably with the demands of politics. Politicians, and the voters who elect them, are more comfortable with certainty. So “six months to save the planet” is more likely to garner support than “there is a high probability—though not by any means a certainty—that serious climate change could damage the biosphere, depending on levels of economic growth, population growth and innovation.” Politics, like journalism, tends to simplify and exaggerate. Hence the advertisements that the British government has been running, using nursery rhymes: “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. There was none as extreme weather due to climate change had caused a drought.”

Such an approach may, in the short term, have encouraged some voters to support measures to combat climate change. But implying that Britain’s children face some sort of Saharan future is wrong, and dangerous. This week Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority slapped the government for its infantile advertisements. And there has been worse.

In November, shortly before the Copenhagen climate summit, a stash of e-mails from and to various researchers at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia somehow found its way onto the web. They revealed an unwillingness to share data which broke the spirit, if not the letter, of Britain’s Freedom of Information act, an aggressive attitude to the peer review of papers by opponents and an apparent willingness to hedge science in the face of politics. Around the same time it emerged that the most recent IPCC report had claimed that the Himalayan glaciers were going to disappear by 2035, instead of 2350. The panel’s initial unwillingness to address this mistake, and the discovery of further problems with its work, raised troubling questions about its procedures.

How bad is this? Sceptics point out that each mistake has tended to exaggerate the extent of climate change. The notion that the scientific establishment has suppressed evidence to the contrary has provided plenty of non-expert politicians with an excuse not to spend money reducing carbon. So the scientists’ shameful mistakes have certainly changed perceptions. They have not, however, changed the science itself.

As our briefing explains in detail, most research supports the idea that warming is man-made. Sources of doubt that have seemed plausible in the past, such as a mismatch between temperatures measured by satellites and temperatures measured at the surface, and doubts about the additional warming that can be put down to water vapour, have been in large part resolved, though more work is needed. If records of temperature across the past 1,000 years are not reliable, it matters little to the overall story. If there are problems with the warming as measured by weather stations on land, there are also more reliable data from ships and satellites.

Insuring against catastrophe
Plenty of uncertainty remains; but that argues for, not against, action. If it were known that global warming would be limited to 2°C, the world might decide to live with that. But the range of possible outcomes is huge, with catastrophe one possibility, and the costs of averting climate change are comparatively small. Just as a householder pays a small premium to protect himself against disaster, the world should do the same.

This newspaper sees no reason to alter its views on that. Where there is plainly an urgent need for change is the way in which governments use science to make their case. The IPCC has suffered from the perception that it is a tool of politicians. The greater the distance that can be created between it and them, the better. And rather than feeding voters infantile advertisements peddling childish certainties, politicians should treat voters like grown-ups. With climate change you do not need to invent things; the truth, even with all those uncertainties and caveats, is scary enough.
« Last Edit: 2010-03-30 21:45:33 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #286 on: 2010-04-16 15:31:09 »
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Listened to an hour interview on his book on CBC Ideas last night and was left with, that this is a Meme worth noting.

Cheers

Fritz


Source: Huffington Post
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
Date: January 11, 2010

'The Empathic Civilization': Rethinking Human Nature in the Biosphere Era


Two spectacular failures, separated by only 18 months, marked the end of the modern era. In July 2008, the price of oil on world markets peaked at $147/ barrel, inflation soared, the price of everything from food to gasoline skyrocketed, and the global economic engine shut off. Growing demand in the developed nations, as well as in China, India, and other emerging economies, for diminishing fossil fuels precipitated the crisis. Purchasing power plummeted and the global economy collapsed. That was the earthquake that tore asunder the industrial age built on and propelled by fossil fuels. The failure of the financial markets two months later was merely the aftershock. The fossil fuel energies that make up the industrial way of life are sunsetting and the industrial infrastructure is now on life support.

In December 2009, world leaders from 192 countries assembled in Copenhagen to address the question of how to handle the accumulated entropy bill of the fossil fuel based industrial revolution-the spent C0₂ that is heating up the planet and careening the earth into a catastrophic shift in climate. After years of preparation, the negotiations broke down and world leaders were unable to reach a formal accord.

Neither the world's political or business leaders anticipated the economic debacle of July 2008, nor were they able to cobble together a sufficient plan for economic recovery in the months since. They were equally inept at addressing the issue of climate change, despite the fact that the scientific community warns that is poses the greatest threat to our species in its history, that we are running out of time, and that we may even be facing the prospect of our own extinction.

The problem runs deeper than the issue of finding new ways to regulate the market or imposing legally binding global green house gas emission reduction targets. The real crisis lies in the set of assumptions about human nature that governs the behavior of world leaders--assumptions that were spawned during the Enlightenment more than 200 years ago at the dawn of the modern market economy and the emergence of the nation state era.

The Enlightenment thinkers--John Locke, Adam Smith, Marquis de Condorcet et. al.--took umbrage with the Medieval Christian world view that saw human nature as fallen and depraved and that looked to salvation in the next world through God's grace. They preferred to cast their lot with the idea that human beings' essential nature is rational, detached, autonomous, acquisitive and utilitarian and argued that individual salvation lies in unlimited material progress here on Earth.

The Enlightenment notions about human nature were reflected in the newly minted nation-state whose raison d'être was to protect private property relations and stimulate market forces as well as act as a surrogate of the collective self-interest of the citizenry in the international arena. Like individuals, nation-states were considered to be autonomous agents embroiled in a relentless battle with other sovereign nations in the pursuit of material gains.

It was these very assumptions that provided the philosophical underpinnings for a geopolitical frame of reference that accompanied the first and second industrial revolutions in the 19th and 20th centuries. These beliefs about human nature came to the fore in the aftermath of the global economic meltdown and in the boisterous and acrimonious confrontations in the meeting rooms in Copenhagen, with potentially disastrous consequences for the future of humanity and the planet.

If human nature is as the Enlightenment philosophers claimed, then we are likely doomed. It is impossible to imagine how we might create a sustainable global economy and restore the biosphere to health if each and every one of us is, at the core of our biology, an autonomous agent and a self-centered and materialistic being.

Recent discoveries in brain science and child development, however, are forcing us to rethink these long-held shibboleths about human nature. Biologists and cognitive neuroscientists are discovering mirror-neurons--the so-called empathy neurons--that allow human beings and other species to feel and experience another's situation as if it were one's own. We are, it appears, the most social of animals and seek intimate participation and companionship with our fellows.

Social scientists, in turn, are beginning to reexamine human history from an empathic lens and, in the process, discovering previously hidden strands of the human narrative which suggests that human evolution is measured not only by the expansion of power over nature, but also by the intensification and extension of empathy to more diverse others across broader temporal and spatial domains. The growing scientific evidence that we are a fundamentally empathic species has profound and far-reaching consequences for society, and may well determine our fate as a species.

What is required now is nothing less than a leap to global empathic consciousness and in less than a generation if we are to resurrect the global economy and revitalize the biosphere. The question becomes this: what is the mechanism that allows empathic sensitivity to mature and consciousness to expand through history?

The pivotal turning points in human consciousness occur when new energy regimes converge with new communications revolutions, creating new economic eras. The new communications revolutions become the command and control mechanisms for structuring, organizing and managing more complex civilizations that the new energy regimes make possible. For example, in the early modern age, print communication became the means to organize and manage the technologies, organizations, and infrastructure of the coal, steam, and rail revolution. It would have been impossible to administer the first industrial revolution using script and codex.

Communication revolutions not only manage new, more complex energy regimes, but also change human consciousness in the process. Forager/hunter societies relied on oral communications and their consciousness was mythologically constructed. The great hydraulic agricultural civilizations were, for the most part, organized around script communication and steeped in theological consciousness. The first industrial revolution of the 19th century was managed by print communication and ushered in ideological consciousness. Electronic communication became the command and control mechanism for arranging the second industrial revolution in the 20th century and spawned psychological consciousness.

Each more sophisticated communication revolution brings together more diverse people in increasingly more expansive and varied social networks. Oral communication has only limited temporal and spatial reach while script, print and electronic communications each extend the range and depth of human social interaction.

By extending the central nervous system of each individual and the society as a whole, communication revolutions provide an evermore inclusive playing field for empathy to mature and consciousness to expand. For example, during the period of the great hydraulic agricultural civilizations characterized by script and theological consciousness, empathic sensitivity broadened from tribal blood ties to associational ties based on common religious affiliation. Jews came to empathize with Jews, Christians with Christians, Muslims with Muslims, etc. In the first industrial revolution characterized by print and ideological consciousness, empathic sensibility extended to national borders, with Americans empathizing with Americans, Germans with Germans, Japanese with Japanese and so on. In the second industrial revolution, characterized by electronic communication and psychological consciousness, individuals began to identify with like-minded others.

Today, we are on the cusp of another historic convergence of energy and communication--a third industrial revolution--that could extend empathic sensibility to the biosphere itself and all of life on Earth. The distributed Internet revolution is coming together with distributed renewable energies, making possible a sustainable, post-carbon economy that is both globally connected and locally managed.

In the 21st century, hundreds of millions--and eventually billions--of human beings will transform their buildings into power plants to harvest renewable energies on site, store those energies in the form of hydrogen and share electricity, peer-to-peer, across local, regional, national and continental inter-grids that act much like the Internet. The open source sharing of energy, like open source sharing of information, will give rise to collaborative energy spaces--not unlike the collaborative social spaces that currently exist on the Internet.

When every family and business comes to take responsibility for its own small swath of the biosphere by harnessing renewable energy and sharing it with millions of others on smart power grids that stretch across continents, we become intimately interconnected at the most basic level of earthly existence by jointly stewarding the energy that bathes the planet and sustains all of life.

The new distributed communication revolution not only organizes distributed renewable energies, but also changes human consciousness. The information communication technologies (ICT) revolution is quickly extending the central nervous system of billions of human beings and connecting the human race across time and space, allowing empathy to flourish on a global scale, for the first time in history.

Whether in fact we will begin to empathize as a species will depend on how we use the new distributed communication medium. While distributed communications technologies-and, soon, distributed renewable energies - are connecting the human race, what is so shocking is that no one has offered much of a reason as to why we ought to be connected. We talk breathlessly about access and inclusion in a global communications network but speak little of exactly why we want to communicate with one another on such a planetary scale. What's sorely missing is an overarching reason that billions of human beings should be increasingly connected. Toward what end? The only feeble explanations thus far offered are to share information, be entertained, advance commercial exchange and speed the globalization of the economy. All the above, while relevant, nonetheless seem insufficient to justify why nearly seven billion human beings should be connected and mutually embedded in a globalized society. The idea of even billion individual connections, absent any overall unifying purpose, seems a colossal waste of human energy. More important, making global connections without any real transcendent purpose risks a narrowing rather than an expanding of human consciousness. But what if our distributed global communication networks were put to the task of helping us re-participate in deep communion with the common biosphere that sustains all of our lives?

The biosphere is the narrow band that extends some forty miles from the ocean floor to outer space where living creatures and the Earth's geochemical processes interact to sustain each other. We are learning that the biosphere functions like an indivisible organism. It is the continuous symbiotic relationships between every living creature and between living creatures and the geochemical processes that ensure the survival of the planetary organism and the individual species that live within its biospheric envelope. If every human life, the species as a whole, and all other life-forms are entwined with one another and with the geochemistry of the planet in a rich and complex choreography that sustains life itself, then we are all dependent on and responsible for the health of the whole organism. Carrying out that responsibility means living out our individual lives in our neighborhoods and communities in ways that promote the general well-being of the larger biosphere within which we dwell. The Third Industrial Revolution offers just such an opportunity.

If we can harness our empathic sensibility to establish a new global ethic that recognizes and acts to harmonize the many relationships that make up the life-sustaining forces of the planet, we will have moved beyond the detached, self-interested and utilitarian philosophical assumptions that accompanied national markets and nation state governance and into a new era of biosphere consciousness. We leave the old world of geopolitics behind and enter into a new world of biosphere politics, with new forms of governance emerging to accompany our new biosphere awareness.

The Third Industrial Revolution and the new era of distributed capitalism allow us to sculpt a new approach to globalization, this time emphasizing continentalization from the bottom up. Because renewable energies are more or less equally distributed around the world, every region is potentially amply endowed with the power it needs to be relatively self-sufficient and sustainable in its lifestyle, while at the same time interconnected via smart grids to other regions across countries and continents.

When every community is locally empowered, both figuratively and literally, it can engage directly in regional, transnational, continental, and limited global trade without the severe restrictions that are imposed by the geopolitics that oversee elite fossil fuels and uranium energy distribution.

Continentalization is already bringing with it a new form of governance. The nation-state, which grew up alongside the First and Second Industrial Revolutions, and provided the regulatory mechanism for managing an energy regime whose reach was the geosphere, is ill suited for a Third Industrial Revolution whose domain is the biosphere. Distributed renewable energies generated locally and regionally and shared openly--peer to peer--across vast contiguous land masses connected by intelligent utility networks and smart logistics and supply chains favor a seamless network of governing institutions that span entire continents.

The European Union is the first continental governing institution of the Third Industrial Revolution era. The EU is already beginning to put in place the infrastructure for a European-wide energy regime, along with the codes, regulations, and standards to effectively operate a seamless transport, communications, and energy grid that will stretch from the Irish Sea to the doorsteps of Russia by midcentury. Asian, African, and Latin American continental political unions are also in the making and will likely be the premier governing institutions on their respective continents by 2050.

In this new era of distributed energy, governing institutions will more resemble the workings of the ecosystems they manage. Just as habitats function within ecosystems, and ecosystems within the biosphere in a web of interrelationships, governing institutions will similarly function in a collaborative network of relationships with localities, regions, and nations all embedded within the continent as a whole. This new complex political organism operates like the biosphere it attends, synergistically and reciprocally. This is biosphere politics.

The new biosphere politics transcends traditional right/left distinctions so characteristic of the geopolitics of the modern market economy and nation-state era. The new divide is generational and contrasts the traditional top-down model of structuring family life, education, commerce, and governance with a younger generation whose thinking is more relational and distributed, whose nature is more collaborative and cosmopolitan, and whose work and social spaces favor open-source commons. For the Internet generation, "quality of life" becomes as important as individual opportunity in fashioning a new dream for the 21st century.

The transition to biosphere consciousness has already begun. All over the world, a younger generation is beginning to realize that one's daily consumption of energy and other resources ultimately affects the lives of every other human being and every other creature that inhabits the Earth.

The Empathic Civilization is emerging. A younger generation is fast extending its empathic embrace beyond religious affiliations and national identification to include the whole of humanity and the vast project of life that envelops the Earth. But our rush to universal empathic connectivity is running up against a rapidly accelerating entropic juggernaut in the form of climate change. Can we reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avert planetary collapse?

This blog post has been adapted from Jeremy Rifkin's new book 'The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis' (Tarcher/Penguin; January 2010)
« Last Edit: 2010-05-05 17:40:30 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #287 on: 2010-07-01 20:22:56 »
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It interests me how little coverage this gets compared to the original alleged "climategate" which has substantively evaporated into so much media hot air. While I'd like to think that science wins in the end, it can be a long struggle against the political muscle and media sensationalism science deniers can cook up. Repairing reputations along the way gets much less attention than the original damage. While the right-wing noise machine made much of these now-apparent slanders, I somehow doubt they will now admit to this aftermath of their intellectual thuggery. In my memory the Rush Limbaugh show rarely devotes much if any time to "corrections and retractions" unless doing so flatters his dogma. -Mo

Climate Scientist Cleared of Altering Data
By JUSTIN GILLIS
Published: July 1, 2010


Quote:
An American scientist accused of manipulating research findings on climate science was cleared of that charge by his university on Thursday, the latest in a string of reports to find little substance in the allegations known as Climategate.

An investigative panel at Pennsylvania State University, weighing the question of whether the scientist, Michael E. Mann, had “seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities,” declared that he had not.

Dr. Mann said he was gratified by the findings, the second report from Penn State to clear him. An earlier report had exonerated him of related charges that he suppressed or falsified data, destroyed e-mail and misused confidential information.


full article and link-rich text at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/science/earth/02climate.html?_r=1
« Last Edit: 2010-07-01 20:49:37 by MoEnzyme » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #288 on: 2010-07-02 13:36:32 »
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So this dude was audited by the same organisation that employs him ... uhh ok then 

Not that I am disputing the findings.

I find the fact that this got no media coverage less interesting than the fact that the entire scientific debate refuses to accept that the greenhouse effect is not only a radiation phenomenon.

Each to their own I suppose.

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #289 on: 2010-07-03 00:15:42 »
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Quote from: the.bricoleur on 2010-07-02 13:36:32   
So this dude was audited by the same organisation that employs him ... uhh ok then 

Not that I am disputing the findings.

I find the fact that this got no media coverage less interesting than the fact that the entire scientific debate refuses to accept that the greenhouse effect is not only a radiation phenomenon.

Each to their own I suppose.

the.bricoleur


Not that you're disputing their findings, but this is a university and scientific research institution which ultimately relies on its intellectual integrity much more than any loyalty to any current dogma for its prestige and ultimately its lifeblood. If there was any truth whatsoever to the claims against the professor there are few if any liabilities to dropping him like a ton of bricks and many incentives to do just that. Doing so doesn't mean they take any position on climate science but only only the practices of this particular researcher. Indeed I can't think of any better less politically motivated organization which could audit him this way. Can you? If so, please share. While I'm not suggesting any perfection out of this institution, I can't think of anyone else better suited for such review. Certainly the University existed long before and independent from any current consensus among climate scientists, and would in its own interest continue to exist should such consensus cease. I think your casual dismissal citing mere employer/employee relationship is either simply an offhand ill-thought-out dodge or belies some more fundamental cynicism about the mere possibility of intellectual honesty, research, and the scientific method. Please feel free to share more.

-Mo
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #290 on: 2010-07-03 05:30:51 »
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My cynicism initially stems from having read the report. A PDF of it can be found here - Report

The process goes something like this:

1. Collapse it down to four complaints.
2. Discard the three most egregious, provable offenses.
3. Appear to ponder long and hard about the least provable and egregious offense.
4. Find the accused “not guilty”.

The process cannot involve cross examination and must rely heavily on the verbal testimony of the member of the association to determine culpability i.e.
Examiner: "Did you commit the offense?"
Offender: "No."
Examiner: "OK, not guilty."

The logic is wonderful. It basically concludes that if Mann had been guilty of misconduct, he wouldn’t have been able to bring in all that research money ($4.2 million since 2006), received all those prizes and been held in such high professional regard. Therefore, he must be innocent. That brings me to a monumental question: “Why is Bernie Madoff in prison?”

How about this from the report:


Quote:
‘Moreover, because he developed his source codes using a specific programming language
(FORTRAN 77), these codes were not likely to compile and run on computer systems different from the
ones on which they were developed (e.g., different processor makes/models, different
operating systems, different compilers, different compiler optimizations).’

Bullshit. Simply.

To summarise: We have the appalling Fortran77 error. We have the provable lie about the Excel files. We have the backhanded, but erroneous, defense of the hockey stick. We have the logic of the inquiry saying that Mann’s funding proves his worth and his popularity proves his ethics.

Who would have been better to investigate this other than the fox investigating the violence at the chicken coop? How about independent committees that have no ties to the institutions where the research was being conducted?

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #291 on: 2010-07-06 02:29:37 »
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Quote from: the.bricoleur on 2010-07-03 05:30:51   
My cynicism initially stems from having read the report. A PDF of it can be found here - Report

The process goes something like this:

1. Collapse it down to four complaints.
2. Discard the three most egregious, provable offenses.
3. Appear to ponder long and hard about the least provable and egregious offense.
4. Find the accused “not guilty”.

The process cannot involve cross examination and must rely heavily on the verbal testimony of the member of the association to determine culpability i.e.
Examiner: "Did you commit the offense?"
Offender: "No."
Examiner: "OK, not guilty."

The logic is wonderful. It basically concludes that if Mann had been guilty of misconduct, he wouldn’t have been able to bring in all that research money ($4.2 million since 2006), received all those prizes and been held in such high professional regard. Therefore, he must be innocent. That brings me to a monumental question: “Why is Bernie Madoff in prison?”

How about this from the report:

Quote:
‘Moreover, because he developed his source codes using a specific programming language
(FORTRAN 77), these codes were not likely to compile and run on computer systems different from the
ones on which they were developed (e.g., different processor makes/models, different
operating systems, different compilers, different compiler optimizations).’


Bullshit. Simply.

To summarise: We have the appalling Fortran77 error. We have the provable lie about the Excel files. We have the backhanded, but erroneous, defense of the hockey stick. We have the logic of the inquiry saying that Mann’s funding proves his worth and his popularity proves his ethics.

Who would have been better to investigate this other than the fox investigating the violence at the chicken coop? How about independent committees that have no ties to the institutions where the research was being conducted?

the.bricoleur



I read through the report link you provided a bit and it didn't seem quite as simple as you characterize it. It seems they interviewed other researchers from other institutions who had worked with the professor, and reviewed quite a lot of emails, some of which were illegally obtained initially and claimed in the media as evidence of much nefarious activity throughout the climate science community. The fact that stands out most to me is that the smear was conducted first through illegal hacking activity, and second through a very public media campaign based on the illegal discoveries.

No effort was actually made by these intellectual thugs to bring their concerns in the form of direct complaints to the research institutions against the individuals they claim were engaged in scientific fraud. That makes it rather difficult for these institutions to know exactly what evidence they should be looking at (other than the illegally obtained emails) much less to have an actually interested advocate who would conduct the kind of cross-examination which you bemoan lacking here, and even much less to have any input into who would make a sufficiently independent arbiter. You can't really cross examine yourself, and when the complaining thugs refuse to actually show up to fill that role themselves, or hire a lawyer on their behalf what can you do? Given the circumstances, I think they did the best anyone could expect.

The clown thugs want to start a media circus but refuse to show up for the trial, so you get a bit of investigation and a show trial in response. How could you really expect anything more? I don't think these criminals really wanted more in the first place when they first decided that breaking into other people's private emails without a legal warrant was a good idea. If they really cared about appropriate advocacy hiring a lawyer to show up was the least they could have done. Failing even that, they remain simply thugs, both intellectually and otherwise.

-Mo
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #292 on: 2010-07-08 08:45:08 »
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Another inquiry, another scientist, another finding this time from a UK civil servant. I think this should satisfy the.bricoleur's insistence on an independent auditor. I think I heard perhaps one mention of the previous exoneration story on NPR, but no mention whatsoever in the rest of the media, whereas as the intellectual clown thugs got a virtual media circus over their stolen emails and the wild conspiratorial speculations about dishonest science.

-Mo

Climategate scientists cleared of manipulating data on global warming
Muir Russell report says scientists did not fudge data, but they should have been more open about their work
David Adam, environment correspondent
The Guardian,    Thursday 8 July 2010



Quote:
The climate scientists at the centre of a media storm over leaked emails were yesterday cleared of accusations that they fudged their results and silenced critics, but a review found they had failed to be open enough about their work.

Sir Muir Russell, the senior civil servant who led a six-month inquiry into the affair, said the "rigour and honesty" of the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) were not in doubt. His investigation concluded they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism and that key data was freely available and could be used by any "competent" researcher.


picture: Sir Muir Russell

full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/08/muir-russell-climategate-climate-science
Muir review full text (160pgs): http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/07/findings-muir-russell-review
main findings: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/07/climategate-scientists-main-points
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #293 on: 2010-07-11 15:54:58 »
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-Mo. As much as I understand the situation it is not clear whether the emails were stolen or leaked.

Do you have confirmation that they were stolen?

Also, these stories got front page news here in the UK. In fact, the "media circus" is on the other hand over here ....

Lastly, no, it did not satisfy my "insistence on an independant" audit.

Call me hard to please 

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #294 on: 2010-07-11 17:16:30 »
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Quote from: the.bricoleur on 2010-07-11 15:54:58   
-Mo. As much as I understand the situation it is not clear whether the emails were stolen or leaked.

Do you have confirmation that they were stolen?

Also, these stories got front page news here in the UK. In fact, the "media circus" is on the other hand over here .... <snip>


Hmmmm. Interesting cultural difference there. Hardly a murmmer on this side of the pond. In fact I think the only radio news I've gotten on either of these last two stories was via a BBC partnership source. US media can really suck for science content regardless, however. When the story is all "international scientific conspiracy uncovered" it sells. But this, not so much.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #295 on: 2011-10-04 23:28:33 »
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Geoengineering, a term so controversial even a report urging its more study won't use it, is back in the news. The aforementioned report calls for the U.S. to seriously examine it as a "climate remediation" strategy with renewed vigor. (Hemera)

Bipartisan Group Wants U.S. to Get Serious About Geoengineering
Efforts at geoengineering to cool a warming planet are picking up steam.

October 4, 2011
By Michael Todd


(go to original article at http://www.miller-mccune.com/environment/bipartisan-group-wants-u-s-to-get-serious-about-geoengineering-36711/ for references and link rich text.)

Geoengineering is the somewhat Orwellian term for mankind intentionally changing the dynamics of the planet’s natural processes using technology. We stress “intentionally” because once man mastered the plow and fire, geoengineering on a slow scale commenced; spurred by climate change, geoengineering ideas these days are both intentional and, based on geological time frames, instantaneous.

Today, the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Bipartisan Policy Center issued a report that called for the United States to seriously examine geoengineering as a “climate remediation” strategy. The report makes a point of saying it won’t use the “controversial” term geoengineering because it is broad and imprecise.

The two technologies discussed are removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through sped up natural processes (say biochar) or a technological fix; and bouncing sunlight back into space through putting water or other particles in the sky, making clouds more reflective or even putting reflectors in orbit (or on roofs).

The center doesn’t call for actually implementing anything “because far more research is needed to understand the potential impacts, risks, and costs associated with specific technologies.” (For more in the center’s reception, check out Cory Dean‘s nice write-up here.)
Such precautionary rhetoric comes as researchers experiment on a small scale with technologies they think might be writ large. It all recalls the words of Robert Browning, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

Apparently, reflective particles.

In Britain last month, the Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering project started looking at recreating the cooling effects that the plume of an erupting volcano creates without all the mucking around with lava and destruction. Using a barrage balloon lofted a kilometer above the ground, the SPICE team will study the mechanics of releasing water into the atmosphere even as scientists on the ground research possible sunlight-reflecting particles.

Ultimately, the idea would be to release the winning particles into the stratosphere and knock down the Earth’s temperature a half degree or so relatively quickly. “We hope that by carrying out this research we will start to shed light on some of the uncertainties surrounding this controversial subject,” project leader Matt Watson of Bristol University was quoted, “and encourage mature and wide-ranging debate that will help inform any future research and decision-making.”

Both SPICE and Bipartisan Policy center’s proposals involve serious scientific firepower, something our Emily Badger wrote about two years ago in “Let’s Just Rejigger the Globe to Cool it Off.” In that article she examined the fears of going off half-cocked à la Tennessee Tuxedo, but she also wrote of the trepidation some have in even broaching the subject.

As Badger wrote then:

“The unintended consequences, though, are an argument against deployment, not research. Another argument opposes even that much: the idea that simply by putting geoengineering on the table, we may remove the sense of urgency for the world to mitigate.”

“If that’s the case, [geoengineering] is clearly a disaster in my opinion,” she quoted Paul Higgins, a policy fellow at the American Meteorological Society, which had just drafted its own cautious geoengineering statement. That statement “went to great pains to stress that geoengineering — if it is attempted — must be done in conjunction with aggressive mitigation, not as a substitute for it.”
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #296 on: 2013-03-12 12:47:37 »
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[Fritz]This adds another dimension to the problem and a wealth of controversy as well I assume.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI


http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/06/how-cows-could-repair-the-world-allan-savory-at-ted/

How Cows Could Repair the World: Allan Savory at TED

Posted by Andrew Howley of NG Staff on March 6, 2013

For decades people have pointed to overgrazing by cattle as the main cause of once-fertile grasslands turning to rapidly eroding, nearly lifeless deserts. These desertified landscapes are then incapable of supporting the livestock themselves, agriculture, or large wild animals who once lived in great numbers on the same land. This is leads to famine and conflict in different areas around the world.

Growing up in Kenya, Allan Savory was terribly moved by this. “I grew up loving wildlife and hating livestock,” he said at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California last week (watch his full TED talk in the video above). Two-thirds of the ear

The Pachyderm Paradox

As a young man he thought the blame also lay with an overpopulation of elephants, and so, despite a deep love for these animals, he recommended and supported the culling of large herds. Over the years this practice has resulted in the intentional killing of more than 40,000 elephants, but no real improvement in the health of grasslands.

Realizing what an error he and others had made, Savory confessed, “this was the saddest and gravest mistake of my life.”

“Clearly we have never understood desertification,” he added, “which now threatens us globally.”

A New Vision

Speaking with Allan Savory after his presentation I got some insight into the shift in thinking that occurred next. Our society in general has tended to try to solve problems by breaking them into pieces, isolating elements, and attempting to control complex situations through simple, forced measures. This is all wrong, the way Savory sees it. True, sustainable solutions are found by looking at whole systems, holistically, unconcerned with time, and focused on the restoration of natural balances.

For example, when I asked him (in insistent, fast-paced reporter speech) what I could do if I lived in the southern U.S. and had a field overtaken by invasive kudzu, he said very slowly and calmly, “Well… first… I would say ‘Andrew, what do you want out of this land? For yourself… for your children… for your children’s children…’ ” It was at this point I felt my own high energy settle down, and I understood how much of a shift in attitude Allan’s approach to problem solving in conservation really is.

People tell him he should put rhinos on the land he has restored. But with poor quality land all around, and a lack of value on conservation, people would just come and poach the rhinos for their horns, he said. When the land is restored, and people’s basic needs are met, and an appreciation of wildlife is the norm, then he’s willing to bring rhinos in. Not before. Allan Savory may be in his seventies, but he’s in no rush to force changes.

A holistic view of the problem. A natural source for the solution. Patience. These are the tools Allan Savory works with now.

Cows to the Rescue

So the failure of earlier attempts combined with his estimation that two-thirds of Earth is now desertifying inspired Savory to search for a new approach to protecting and restoring grasslands. And he found it by thinking naturally and looking backward, not forward.

It makes no sense that land that once supported untold millions of grazing animals on massive migrations should be destroyed by the overgrazing of fewer or comparable numbers of livestock in more recent years. And there were areas of the U.S. where cattle had been removed for decades, but the grasslands were still desertifying.
The key to restoring grasslands is to manage livestock to mimic the role once played by vast migrating herds. (Photo by James Duncan Davidson)

Allan Savory says the key to restoring grasslands is to manage livestock to mimic the role once played by vast migrating herds. (Photo by James Duncan Davidson)

“Clearly we have never understood desertification,” he said. “What we had failed to understand was that these areas developed with huge numbers of grazing animals [pursued by lots of huge carnivores]. Movement kept them from overgrazing.” This way of the past could also hold the key to the future.

“The only option left,” according to Savory, is “to use livestock on the move to mimic the ancient herds.” Keeping cattle more densely packed on smaller plots of land and moving them frequently keeps them from exhausting the supply of living plants, turns scattered droppings into a full blanket of high-quality fertilizer, and keeps the repeated trod of untold tons from packing down the dirt. He’s done it for decades, and the results (seen in the video above) are impressive.

“Holistic grazing” keeps more plants alive, adds nutrients to the soil, and creates soil conditions that hold and use water instead of letting it evaporate or run off. It is now practiced by thousands on five continents, and is the focus of the work of the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe, as well as the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

The Bigger Picture

In closing his TED talk, Allan Savory pointed out a critical part of this story beyond preserving complex grassland ecosystems to sustain livestock, agriculture, and wildlife. The amount of plant life lost through desertification over decades has severely compromised Earth’s ability to take carbon dioxide out of the air. Just as we have increased the amount we’re putting into the atmosphere, we’re reducing the amount we take out.

There is a remarkable upside to this however. With all of the difficulties of maintaining a productive economy while reducing our carbon output, and mitigating the effects of a warming climate, if we can implement holistic grazing on half of the Earth’s grasslands, according to Allan, “we can take us back to pre-industrial [CO2] levels… and feed people.”

It would be wrong to think of changing the way we herd cattle as a silver buller that will solve all of Earth and humanity’s challenges, but as a key step in promoting the kind of long-term, holistic view that Allan Savory has taken, it could go a long way towards repairing the land and our relationship to it.


http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Allan_Savory

(Clifford) Allan Redin Savory (born September 15, 1935) is a Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, soldier, exile, environmentalist, and winner of the 2003 Banksia International Award[1] and the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.[2] He is the originator of holistic management.

Political involvement

Savory was elected to the Rhodesian Parliament representing Matobo constituency in the 1970 election. After resigning from the Rhodesian Front in protest over its racist policies and handling of the war, Savory reformed the defunct Rhodesia Party formerly led by Sir Roy Welensky. Subsequently, all moderate white parties united in opposition to Ian Smith in what was known as the National Unifying Force (NUF) led by Savory. When Savory made a public statement that if he had been born a black Rhodesian, he would have been a guerilla fighter and although he urged white Rhodesians to understand why he would feel this, Ian Smith denounced him as a traitor. Because the NUF party would not stand by Savory, he relinquished leadership to Tim Gibbs, son of Rhodesia's last Governor. Savory continued to fight Ian Smith and his policies, in particular opposing the Internal Settlement under Bishop Abel Muzorewa. Finally, faced with detention by the Smith government, Savory escaped and went into self-imposed exile to continue his scientific work, as there was no more he felt a white Rhodesian could do to speed an end to the civil war.[3]
Holistic management

Savory had begun working on the ancient problem of land degradation (desertification) in 1955 in Northern Rhodesia, where he served in the Colonial Service as Provincial Game Officer, Northern and Luapula Provinces. He subsequently continued this work in Southern Rhodesia first as a research officer in the Game Department, then subsequently as an independent scientist and international consultant. When in exile, Savory worked from the Cayman Islands into the Americas introducing his new discoveries about both the cause of desertification and how to reverse it using increased numbers of livestock. He subsequently wrote up this work in the book Holistic Management: A New Decision Making Framework, written with his wife Jody Butterfield and published by Island Press (1989; 1999 2nd edition).

In 1992, he co-founded the Africa Center for Holistic Management with his wife Jody Butterfield and, in 2009, the Savory Institute, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, which he currently heads. The Savory Institute works globally with individuals, government agencies, NGOs, and corporations to restore the vast grasslands of the world through the teaching and practice of holistic management and holistic decision making. The institute's consulting and training activities are turning deserts into thriving grasslands, restoring biodiversity, bringing streams, rivers, and water sources back to life, combating poverty and hunger, and increasing sustainable food production, all while mitigating global climate change through carbon sequestration. In 2010, Savory and the Africa Center for Holistic Management won The Buckminster Fuller Challenge.[4] In a 2012 address to the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, on the urgent need to bring agriculture and conservation back together, Prince Charles lauded Savory's nature based approach.

Today, thousands of families, corporations, and businesses are using the holistic management framework developed by Savory to radically improve the quality of their lives and regenerate the resource base that sustains them. This includes conservation projects in the U.S.,[5] Africa, Canada, and Australia, where large tracts of land are being transformed as desertification is reversed through holistic management using livestock and holistically planned grazing as the main agent of change.[2]
Criticism

Land management researchers have heavily criticized the concepts of holistic management[6] because experiments conducted on grazed land in many different places in the last few decades have failed to find any scientific support for their validity.[7] Virtually no active academic rangeland ecology researchers have come forward to espouse holistic management principles.[citation needed]
See also

    Savory brittleness scale
    Rhodesian general election, 1974

References

Savory, Allan; Jody Butterfield (1998-12-01) [1988]. Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making (2nd ed. ed.). Washington, D.C.: Island Press. ISBN 1-55963-487-1.

    ^ Banksia Environmental Foundation. "2003" AWARD
    ^ Buckminster Fuller Institute
    ^ "Bring Back the Buffalo!". The Washington Post. May 12, 1997.
    ^ John Thackara, "Seed Magazine", June 2010, "[1]", 8-6-10
    ^ http://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/sahara.htm
    ^ http://managingwholes.com/brittle.htm
    ^ D.D. Briske, J.D. Derner, J.R. Brown, S.D. Fuhlendorf, W.R. Teague, K.M. Havstad, R.L. Gillen, A.J. Ash, and W.D. Willms, "Rotational Grazing on Rangelands: Reconciliation of Perception and Experimental Evidence," Rangeland Ecology and Management, vol. 61, pp. 3-17, 2008.

External links

    Savory Institute
    Africa Centre for Holistic Management
    Savory's February 2013 TED talk "How to green the desert and reverse climate change"

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #297 on: 2013-12-11 11:31:43 »
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Just in case there was any doubt. Can we send the fossil fuel producers the bill for the air conditioning.

Cheers

Fritz


Global warming is unpaused and stuck on fast forward, new research shows

Source: The Guardian
Author: John Abraham and Dana Nanuccitelli
Date: 2013.12.10



A new paper shows that global warming has continued over the past decade, and been manifested in different ways

New research by Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research investigates how the warming of the Earth's climate has behaved over the past 15 years compared with the previous few decades. They conclude that while the rate of increase of average global surface temperatures has slowed since 1998, melting of Arctic ice, rising sea levels, and warming oceans have continued apace.

The widespread mainstream media focus on the slowed global surface warming has led some climate scientists like Trenberth and Fasullo to investigate its causes and how much various factors have contributed to the so-called 'pause' or 'hiatus.' However, the authors note that while the increase in global temperatures has slowed, the oceans have taken up heat at a faster rate since the turn of the century. Over 90 percent of the overall extra heat goes into the oceans, with only about 2 percent heating the Earth's atmosphere. The myth of the 'pause' is based on ignoring 98 percent of global warming and focusing exclusively on the one bit that's slowed.
Focusing only on surface temperatures

Nevertheless, the causes of the slowed global surface temperature increase present an interesting scientific question. In examining changes in the activity of the sun and volcanoes, Trenberth and Fasullo estimated that they can account for no more than a 20 percent reduction in the Earth's energy imbalance, which is what causes global warming. Thus the cause of the slowed surface warming must primarily lie elsewhere, and ocean cycles are the most likely culprit.

Trenberth and Fasullo found that after the massive El Niño event in 1998, the Pacific Ocean appears to have shifted into a new mode of operation. Since that time, Trenberth's research has shown that the deep oceans have absorbed more heat than at any other time in the past 50 years.

As a recent paper published in the journal Nature showed, the Pacific Ocean in particular appears to be the key component of the climate's natural internal variability, and the main culprit behind the slowed global surface warming over the past 15 years. However, another important recent paper by Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way showed that the global surface temperature rise has not slowed as much as some previously thought; in fact, the surface warming since 1997 happened more than twice as fast as previous estimates.

Trenberth and Fasullo's new paper also casts doubt on the conclusions a few recent studies that estimated the Earth's climate is less sensitive to the increased greenhouse effect than previously thought. These studies have been based on measurements of recent climate change, including the warming of the oceans. Climate contrarians like Matt Ridley have of course emphasized their results, because these few papers seem to suggest the climate won't warm quite as much over the next century as climate scientists previously thought.

However, the type of approach taken by these studies suffers from some significant drawbacks. Mainly the size of the cooling effect due to human aerosol pollution remains highly uncertain, and while the oceans have been warming rapidly, just how rapidly is another unsettled question.

Previous estimates put the amount of heat accumulated by the world's oceans over the past decade equivalent to about 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonations per second, on average, but Trenberth's research puts the estimate equivalent to more than 6 detonations per second. Trenberth and Fasullo note that using their ocean heating estimate by itself would increase the equilibrium climate sensitivity estimate in the paper referenced by Ridley from 2°C to 2.5°C average global surface warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and using other more widespread accepted values would bring the estimate in line with the standard value of 3°C. They thus note,

    "Using short records with uncertain forcings of the Earth system that is not in equilibrium does not (yet) produce reliable estimates of climate sensitivity."

In any case, the main point of the paper is that global warming is stuck on fast forward. Ice continues to melt, sea levels continue to rise, and the oceans continue to warm rapidly. While the warming of global surface temperatures has slowed somewhat, that appears to primarily be due to changing ocean cycles, particularly in the Pacific. However, these changes are mostly just causing the oceans to absorb more heat, leaving less for the atmosphere. As Trenberth and Fasullo conclude,

    "[Global warming] is very much alive but being manifested in somewhat different ways than a simple increase in global mean surface temperature."

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #298 on: 2016-02-03 11:27:12 »
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I can't believe I kept this up for so long and as late as 2010!

The embarrassment!

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #299 on: 2016-02-06 14:57:25 »
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Quote from: the.bricoleur on 2016-02-03 11:27:12   

I can't believe I kept this up for so long and as late as 2010!

The embarrassment!

I can't believe this thread will be 10 years old in May!
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