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Hermit
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #75 on: 2006-10-16 04:37:55 »
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[Iolo] Is this reasoning sound?

[Hermit] Exactly right. It is hardly a forecasting method at all. Even though it can make reasonable predictions in the right places, such predictions are of such short term duration (of the order of 2 months perhaps), that they are of extremely limited utility in making strategic decisions. As are most forecasting methods which deal with the chaotic perturbations that make our weather at the detail level. Yes, "trendcasting" and "nowcasting" have gotten spades better since the 1990s, but long term forecasting has not seen the same improvements.

[Hermit] The main reason that reliable long-term forecasting would be useful would be to allow the farmer to work out if he should plant this year or not, tell the seed producers whether they should be breeding for anti-fungals or drought resistance, tell the people of Louisiana if they should bother rebuilding, tell the people of Florida when they will need to move North, tell the White House whether the pilots will have the needed 2 week weather window to bomb Iran before the elections or if they have to wait for spring, or not, and so on. It is precisely here, where meteorology and "prophesy" get together that most of the action is happening - and where meteorology has both predicted the measured AGW and is predicting more of the same but worse. In other words, like short term (2 day - 2 week) predictions, really long term trend prediction is doing well. It is in between that the chaos happens. Europe drowning while the US burns, Detroit freezing, while the rest of the US bakes. etc.

[Hermit] Speaking of Detroit, their snowfall records go back to 1870 and 12 of those years saw snow in October (infra). They have also had major snowstorm (as in 1" to 6") in May (see http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dtx/talesmay.php). So claiming that a singleton snowfall event in October, in the middle of steadily rising temperatures (infra) and decreasing grain production, is a flock of ducks that proves - or suggests - or possibly hints - that climate change is reversing, isn't going to fly anywhere.

[Hermit] Speaking of grain production, have you been watching global wheat reserves? Corn reserves? Futures? Can you imagine the geopolitical effects of the predicted "source managed demand suppression" (as early as next year) as some people convert starches and cellulose into alcohols (it won't help much, we burn 400 times the energy represented by the entire global biota mass gain in fossil fuels every year, and growing the feedstock (appropriate term) takes vast inputs of fertilizer and other treatments - which are made from natural gas - fossil fuels) while others starve? What we are doing is converting a reasonably useful, high quality fossil fuel into something slightly more portable but of lower mass-energy-density, producing more CO2 for less power.

[Hermit] Well, if the medium term forecasts are right, and they seem to have been doing a fairly competent job of late, then you won't need to  imagine it for much longer. It is coming to a planet near you.

[Hermit] If the worst scenarios I have seen (and some of them are supported by very good logic, but then, some of the more optimistic scenarios are too, but neither is sufficiently research-based - yet), we may be around to document an extinction event, possibly including ours, in the near future. Perhaps we will see show trials as a kind of "turn the lights out" activity. If it came to this, I'd probably support doing it for real rather than for show. We have pissed away an awful lot of really good opportunities to get off planet and make fossil fuels irrelevant. I suggest that cheap fossil fuels, cheaper religion and cheapest of all, politicians are all playing very predictable roles in this drawn out tragedy, and I don't see anyway to write in a good ending for a story that has begun this dismally.

[Hermit] Harvesting methane is so difficult we haven't managed it yet on an experimental level. We have lost platforms and ships trying it - and released an awful lot of methane, but concentrating it for economical capture is very difficult. But just a little more thermal energy - are we already past the point of no return? - and the seas are quite likely to join the great tundras and begin to disgorge it. If that happens, our atmosphere could become horribly primordial horribly quickly. The resulting planet is unlikely to appeal to mammals.

Regards

Hermit

Another interesting weather site - http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/home.rxml

*According to these snow records for Detroit which go back to 1880, there have been 12 years between then and now in which it has snowed in October, yielding from 2.9" down to 0.3".

In addition:

NOAA OUTLOOK CALLS FOR MILD WINTER FOR MOST OF NATION
Most of the country will see above normal winter temperatures, though slightly cooler than last year's very warm winter, according to the winter weather outlook announced by NOAA. Weak El Nino conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific and are expected to persist through the winter, possibly strengthening during the next few months to an event of moderate strength.

Meanwhile,


U.S. HAS SECOND WARMEST SUMMER ON RECORD

Nation Experienced Warmest January - August Period On Record

Summer 2006 was the second warmest June-to-August period in the continental U.S. since records began in 1895. Additionally, the 2006 January-August period was the warmest on record for the continental U.S.

Above-average rainfall last month in the central and southwestern U.S. improved drought conditions in some areas, but moderate-to-extreme drought continued to affect 40 percent of the country. (Click NOAA image for larger view of June-August 2006 statewide temperature rankings. Please credit “NOAA.”)

U.S. Temperature Highlights

The average June-August 2006 temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) was 2.4 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 72.1 degrees F (22.3 degrees C). This was the second warmest summer on record, slightly cooler than the record of 74.7 degrees F set in 1936 during the Dust Bowl era. This summer's average was 74.5 degrees F. Eight of the past ten summers have been warmer than the U.S. average for the same period.

The persistence of the anomalous warmth in 2006 made this January-August period the warmest on record for the continental U.S., eclipsing the previous record of 1934.

A blistering heat wave in July impacted most of the nation, breaking more than 2,300 daily records and more than 50 all-time high temperature records. Additional high temperature records were broken during the first part of August.


The Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI) ranked this summer as the sixth highest index in the 112-year record. Using this index, NOAA scientists determined that the nation's residential energy demand was approximately 10 percent higher than what would have occurred under average climate conditions for the season.

Last month was the 11th warmest August on record in the contiguous U.S.

U.S. Precipitation Highlights

The summer's record and near-record heat, combined with below-average precipitation, worsened drought conditions throughout much of the summer for large parts of the country. But above-average rainfall in August helped ease drought conditions in some of the most severely affected states.

...

Drought conditions worsened in some parts of the country. Rainfall in August was below normal from Montana to southern California and the Pacific Northwest. This contributed to a continuing and already-active wildfire season. Through early September, the number of acres burned in the U.S. is nearing the record of almost 8.7 million acres burned during all of 2005, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Global Highlights

It was the third warmest June-August (northern hemisphere summer) on record for global land- and ocean-surface temperatures since records began in 1880 (1.01 degrees F/0.56 degrees C above the 20th century mean) and the fourth warmest August (0.0.97 degrees F/0.54 degrees C). The warmest northern-hemisphere summer and August occurred in 1998.
« Last Edit: 2006-10-16 04:39:24 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #76 on: 2006-10-19 04:35:12 »
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Dear Hermit,

After some consideration, I clarify my position.

[iolo] I did express the view that a valuable prediction has to beat chance or a well known probability from a simple strategy like "the weather will be the same tomorrow as today".

[iolo] As far as I know NOAA has not proven any skill in predicting climate, short or long range.

[iolo] A prediction has to be coupled with a probability since no prediction will be 100% sure but 90% might be more than OK.

[iolo] Such a probability is the basis for evaluating the quality of the prediction after a number of predictions have taken place.

[iolo] A "scenario" is merely guesswork avoiding the claim of responsibility that is associated with a prediction.  To see "scientists" adding 40 simulated "scenarios" from a spaghetti chart and taking the average of it is far beyond scientific methods for producing scientific results (refer to the recent Stockholm Climate Meeting – audio clips available here - http://gamma.physchem.kth.se/~climate/). That you have "seen" a scenario is an interesting statement - did you observe and experience it in nature?

[iolo] Your fear seems to be related to the assumption that "carbon dioxide" is warming the atmosphere and that such a warming is dangerous.  My opinion is that there is no scientific reason to support any of these assumptions and you should let your own fear abate.  I also state that my opinion can be proven by using scientific methods.

[iolo] I think you are generalising to an extent that is hard to accept or even understand. Take for example the Swedes - they were extinct 13000 years ago because they couldn’t live under an ice sheet one mile thick. They simply did not exist but there were humans around. Their young male population was cut in half due to the 30-year religious war in Europe in the 17th century. The forests in Southern Swedish were cleared away for the production of canons -for the same war. Poor governance of states does cause disasters but please, if you desire personal misery, keep it private and don’t export it   Climate extremes also produce disasters, especially in combination with poor governance. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide.  History is telling what will happen when emotions are ruling and common sense (based on science) is ignored. The Swedes were effective in burning witches until an aristocrat, a woman, was pointed out as a witch. The accuser was sentenced to death and witch burning disappeared.  "God save us from those who want to save the world" is a prayer that is again timely to employ.

Kind regards,
-iolo

-------------------

Here is the perspective of a South African scientist -- something that I thought Hermit and Blunderov would find of particular interest, for obvious reasons.


National climate change policy


W.J.R. Alexander Pr Eng
Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria
Honorary Fellow, South African Institution of Civil Engineering
Member, United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee
on Natural Disasters, 1994 - 2000
Email: alexwjr@iafrica.com

Introduction

It is the responsibility of all governments to give the highest priority to the welfare of their peoples. In the rapidly increasing levels of international trade it has become necessary for some countries to protect their own industries from foreign competition by imposing protective tariffs. The World Trade Organisation has not yet succeeded in obtaining international agreements on lifting these trade barriers.

It has now become obvious that some nations, particularly the United Kingdom and the European Union, appreciate that their own industries and their national welfare are under increasing threat from the rapidly growing production from the developing nations, particularly India and China and to a lesser extent from South Africa and the African nations. It is only a matter of time before Africa with its wealth of natural resources also becomes a threat to the economies of the established European nations.

It is less obvious that the United Kingdom and the European Union countries are now using the imaginary threat of global warming to impose restrictive measures that will put a brake on the competitiveness of developing countries including South Africa. There have been three major developments that support this view.

Last year the British government appointed Sir Nicholas Stern, a renowned British economist, to undertake an investigation into the whole global warming issue. He called for submissions. I responded but my views were completely ignored in a subsequent presentation here in South Africa. His final report has yet to be made public.

Within the past month the prestigious British Royal Society requested ExxonMobil to stop funding research that contradicted the view than global warming was the result of human activities. The Royal Society also wrote to the editors of UK news media requesting them not to publish these contrarian views. This is a drastic step and illustrates the panic that has set in now that the basic tenets of climate change are being challenged. My papers and reports fall into this category.

More recently a document drafted for the European Commission suggests taxing goods imported from countries that do not impose limits on the discharge of greenhouse gasses by their industries. If enforced, these will have far-reaching implications on world trade. South African exports will be at risk.

South Africa is now in a position that it will either have to impose costly measures to control the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from its coal-fired power stations and industries thereby increasing the cost of their products, or have punitive import tariffs imposed on its exports. Either way, this will reduce our economic growth and add to the unemployment of large sections of the peoples of this country.

The African nations are still recovering from the scramble for Africa by the European colonial powers during the 1800s and the equally damaging withdrawal in the 1960s leaving these nations to their fate. They will have little sympathy for Europe’s present predicament and even less for the bullying tactics of their scientific institutions.   

Two fundamental questions

There is only one way out of this dilemma and that is to challenge the basic assumptions underlying the scientific basis of the whole climate change issue. This can be done by asking two fundamental questions.
1.   Whether or not there is a statistically significant 21-year periodicity in the South African annual rainfall and river flow records that is synchronous with solar activity?
2.   Whether or not there is a statistically significant correlation between increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and South African annual rainfall and river flow?


The answer to the first question demonstrates beyond all doubt that there is a strong causal linkage between solar activity and South African rainfall and river flow. Regrettably, South African climate change scientists continue to deny this despite the wealth of evidence and reports by South African civil engineers and scientists during the past 100 years and more.

Regarding the second question, despite its fundamental importance and the vociferous claims from South African and overseas climate change scientists, neither they nor their South African counterparts have produced one atom of numerical evidence to support this relationship. More than 50 years ago a South African civil engineer examined all available data starting with missionary records. He concluded that there was no relationship between increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and South African rainfall and river flow.

Now, fifty years later, I examined the largest climate-related database assembled for this purpose anywhere in the world. It included records of rainfall, river flow, floods, lake levels, groundwater levels, and open water surface evaporation. I found no evidence to support the allegations that greenhouse gas emissions were having an adverse effect on South Africa’s climate.

Therefore, from the time of the arrival of the first European missionaries in Africa, through to the present high level of industrial activity, there is no evidence of adverse climate changes that can be attributed to human activities.

Within the past month I submitted two more reports for publication. The first was the verification of my climate prediction model. The second was a joint report that confirms the causal linkage between solar activity and climate. Both are new to science and both discredit international science in these fields. 

These answers to the two questions completely undermine the alarmist predictions associated with global warming.

Serious decisions

The South African authorities will have to make serious decisions relating to climate change policy within the next few months. A recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report estimates the international costs of controlling undesirable greenhouse gas emissions will be trillions of US dollars. South Africa’s economy is heavily dependent on cheap electricity based on our abundant coal reserves. The only other source of energy on the required scale is from nuclear reactors. Despite the efforts of the environmental lobbying groups who have no interest in the welfare of the peoples of this country, Eskom is proceeding with its programme of upgrading of its existing coal-fired power stations and the construction of new coal-fired and nuclear power stations.

In particular the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism should be fully aware of the serious economic consequences should it agree to implement costly greenhouse gas emission control measures. The Department should be aware that the linkage between greenhouse gas emissions and adverse climate change is by no means proven. This is despite the false claims that there is a consensus of views of international scientists on this subject.

Claims that global warming will result in desertification of large areas of the subcontinent, and will result in the loss of endangered plant species, and will result in increases in the occurrence of droughts and floods, are all without scientific foundation or observational substance.

The Department should also be aware that vital information on this subject is being withheld from the South African public.

It is very noticeable that South African climate change alarmists have not presented the public with estimates of cost of either preventive or adaptation measures. Nor have they provided any information on whether these costly measures will have the desired effect of reducing global warming.

South African authorities should carefully consider the possibility of international pressures. They should recall the history of malaria in Africa. For the past 35 years scientists have spread false information about the adverse effects of DDT. The consequent banning of the use of DDT caused the deaths of millions of people on the African continent.  Earlier this month the WMO acknowledged the error and recommended the reinstatement of DDT for indoor spraying. 

Now the British Royal Society is making similar unfounded statements that will be equally damaging to the prosperity of the African nations.

If there remain any doubts then I strongly recommend that an independent, high-level scientific body that includes representatives of all the affected disciplines be appointed to evaluate current climate change science from a South African perspective. I will gladly cooperate in any such investigation. Climate change scientists, climatologists and environmentalists should be encouraged to present their views.

Loyalty

All South African scientists, including members of environmental lobby groups, should seriously consider where their loyalty lies. Is it to the improvement of the quality of life of tens of thousands of people in this country who are unemployed and living in conditions that no citizens of any country should have to endure? Or is it targeted at the unconditional preservation of the natural environment regardless of the consequences to the welfare of the poor and disadvantaged?

Claims that global warming, if not contained, will increase poverty and unemployment in this country are both false and shamelessly opportunistic.

May I suggest, with great respect, that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism should carefully consider its position in this regard. The Department should also consider the very real possibility that the UK and the EU nations are deliberately discouraging research that undermines the conclusion that global warming is solely the consequence of human activities. Their reason is that this will jeopardise the imposition of costly greenhouse emission control measures by the developing nations that will deliberately put a brake on their economic competitiveness. There is mounting evidence to support this view.

To continue along this line, the South African authorities will have to decide on whether they have a responsibility to take up the cudgels on behalf of the African nations, or meekly submit to the dictatorial edicts of the Royal Society and the European nations. 
The department could commence with a critical examination of the recent report of the Hadley Centre in the UK, and then ask why this patently alarmist document was published. The possibility that the intention was to intimidate developing nations into adopting costly greenhouse gas control measures should be considered.

Finally

I trust that the climate change alarmists appreciate the considerable damage that they have caused to the prosperity of this country and will continue to cause if they persist in denying the fundamental errors in climate change research. The DEAT scientists should be more cautious before accepting overseas research without questioning its motives.
I have done my best to resolve these issues amicably but without success. I reserve the right to make my views public should I consider this to be necessary.

WJR Alexander
15 October 2006

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #77 on: 2006-10-19 16:30:40 »
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Work In Progress - Do Not Reply

[hermit 77] Thanks for the response. Sorry I took so long to finish with this.

[hermit 77] I just had the realization (duh but I can be slow), that when we are working purely on the BBS (as opposed to when email is involved), I can use the thread index to identify where things were said. As I write this, the next post on this thread will be 78. The only major glitch would be if somebody else came along and posted while writing a response. I'm avoiding that (and saving myself from potential losses of data) by saving a version of this with a Code:
[color=red][size=5][b]Work In Progress - Do Not Reply[/b][/size][/color]
label at the top, and will then continue to edit on it. I'll remove the tag afterwards. I'd appreciate it if we can try this for a while to see where the catches are (if there are any). Use the previous hermitish formatting technique of simply adding decimals to break bits out and sub-number where needed if needed for cross reference. See [Iolo 76.1] in the discussion on "scenarios" (infra) for an example.

[iolo 76] I did express the view that a valuable prediction has to beat chance or a well known probability from a simple strategy like "the weather will be the same tomorrow as today".

[hermit 77] Of course. No need to clarify, it was quite clear.

[iolo 76] As far as I know NOAA has not proven any skill in predicting climate, short or long range.

[hermit 77] They often manage long sequences of good forecasts, long and short term, for the area I'm most often in, which is renowned for rapid perturbations in the weather (If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes, it will change). Summer and winter, METARS are usually good enough to pick weather windows two days ahead of time. Medium term, i.e. between 2 weeks and 2 months, not so good. A quick google for "historic accuracy noaa long-term forecasts statistical" turned up a wealth of references. Try this link for more  KWIC.

[iolo 76] A prediction has to be coupled with a probability since no prediction will be 100% sure but 90% might be more than OK.

[hermit 77] A thorough comprehension of the basis for the calculation is required to interpret this in a useful form (e.g. a 50% chance of rain means a very high (approaching certainty) probability of rain over 50% of the area. While this means the smaller the footprint of the forecast area, the higher the attemped forecast quality and usefulness for many purposes, but the lower the probability of the forecasts being perceived as accurate. This is a far from linear relationship). Of course this is all very dependent on so many factors that each case effectively still requires individual analysis. It is becoming more difficult to access this data in useful form as the Bush administration has done a wonderful job of pulling data that was public back behind firewalls, and sold the right to commercial entities to dribble tiny fractions of what was once public domain information out to people prepared to pay for such services. They are doing this sufficiently "cleverly" as to avoid being sued by simply claiming that the websites are "undergoing reorganization." Which for many sites seems to have been ongoing since early 2002. Go figure.

[iolo 76] Such a probability is the basis for evaluating the quality of the prediction after a number of predictions have taken place.

[hermit 77] Naturally.

[iolo 76] A "scenario" is merely guesswork avoiding the claim of responsibility that is associated with a prediction.

[hermit 77] Umm, I beg to differ. This may be a result of different terminology, or it may be a result of some deeper disagreement. Perhaps it will be helpful if I explain what I mean (and what I think the climatologists mean too).

[hermit 77] In my book, a scientific scenario may be regarded as scientifically respectable FI [i]if and only if[/i] it is based on something reasonable and FI contains the elements of falsifiability, coherence and predictive capacity. Such a scenario may have greater or less rigor or even stated degrees of greater or lesser indeterminacy, but the only characteristic which distinguishes a scientific scenario from a scientific theory is an uncontrolled sequence of conditionals and, or uncontrolled or as yet unidentified or uncorrelated modifiers, meaning that validation of any predictions it might make will probably require careful multivariate analysis by people competent in the field, or possibly even interpolation to avoid identified but uncharacterized influences.

[hermit 77] As I interpret this, a scientific scenario is beyond the stage of the hypothesis, may or may not have significant peer review (as for a scientific hypothesis or scientific theory, clearly the more the better), but has extablished the subject, field of applicability, mechanisms and major processes and preferably identifies its boundary areas and limits of predictive capacity. This is how we build good science from vague ideas. Indeterminancy and even mere stochastic predictive capability may not prevent the trasitioning from hypothesis or scenario to accepted theory.

[hermit 77] As an example, not even Heisenberg himself could identify the color and location of the same particle (our baryonic Universe precludes that) - but he could, eventually, suggest reasons why it wasn't possible to do so, and because of that we have Heisenberg's theory of indeterminancy (NB a theory which prescribes (precisely) when and where the dice are to be hidden. In other words, Heisenberg limits how much information, how much quantification, can occur.). The fact that their predictive capabilities are constrained by Heisenberg doesn't mean that elementary particle theory and quantum mechanics are not useful althogh there are limits to the total knowledge they can yield as well as the degree of detail they can disclose. In the same vein, we haven't produced particles over 12 TeV yet (hopefully the LHC will get to 14 TeV] so nobody has caught a glimpse of a Higgs boson, or at least, if we have, we didn't recognize it, as it isn't sufficiently characterized - yet, but we are still fairly sure how it will behave if we ever do capture one. Does that mean that QM is unscientific? No. We have scenarios - lots of them - and a lot of physicists have mutually incompatible scenarios and theories about them, all of which they will apparently defend to the death despite the fact that not all of them can be true, and it is quite possible (though unlikely) that none of them come even close; but it is all done under the color of and within the framework of the scientific method (In other words, these scenarios and their supporting models are clearly scientific even when it requires accepting 7 impossible things before breakfast). As a complement to that, there isn't nearly as firm a consensus about the Higgs as there seems to be about massive anthropic increases in CO2 levels, and measurements matching to a greater or lesser degree the scenarios predicting GW based partially on variance in CO2 levels.

[hermit 77] I suggest that the above strongly suggests that we either need to scrap what I mean by "scientific," which I suggest is generally taken by those who "do science" to mean, "developed in conformance with the scientific method," not necessarily that the development is "complete" or "fully characterized" (the hallmark of a strong theory), or we accept that works in progress and even theories providing incomplete but statistically useful information may be scientific too. I'd suggest that the linking of anthropic increases in CO2 levels and global warming, each independently established and observed way beyond reasonable doubt, falls into this latter category. For good reasons based in well understood fundamental physics (i.e. the mechanisms are well understood) as well as in observation and sensitivity analysis we are sure there are linkages. The linkages are statistically significant and have been modelled. The models have allowed us to make predictions which are in turn on solid statistically grounds. Clearly there are many other attractors at work, but while I'm sure that we will eventually identify and characterise many of them, I also know I know of no effective method whereby we can reduce the number of variables involved or even currently  manipulate any of the already identified variables on a meaningful basis (beyond the strictly local). This limits the researchers to careful analysis to attempt to discover all of the controls - and simulation by numerical methods to attempt to quantify them. We have to recognise that no matter how competent the scenarios produced by such analysis that it is always possible that some unknown factor will appear in later readings, throwing off the predictive capability of the derivitive models until a new round of identification (usually significantly post hoc), modeling, predicting and analyzing predictive failures has taken place. Depending on how fast the real world readings change, this may well mean that the field may never develop a model capable of fully characterising the real world, but will always remain a scenario undergoing change at varying velocities - but always playing catch-up to reality. That we can achieve even this might well not be a failure of science, but a magnificent triumph.

[iolo 76.1] To see "scientists" adding 40 simulated "scenarios" from a spaghetti chart and taking the average of it is far beyond scientific methods for producing scientific results (refer to the recent Stockholm Climate Meeting – audio clips available here - http://gamma.physchem.kth.se/~climate/).

[hermit 77.1] It sounds exactly like how science "is done" most of the time. Almost as messy as sausage making. I confess to a lack of time and inclination unless the clip is really short and it is obvious from it what you mean for me to grasp by listening to it. Why not attempt to describe what you feel I would gain from listening to it in a paragraph or less?

[iolo 76.2] That you have "seen" a scenario is an interesting statement - did you observe and experience it in nature?

[hermit 77.2] I don't follow. Please expand on what you are asking. If it helps you, when I said I'd seen scenarios, I meant that I have seen presentations,  proceedings, papers, abstracts. The usual paraphernalia of academia. The numbers appear to me to be well supported at many points of the scientific method:
    Observation: Climate is changing
    Hypothesised Mechanism: Greenhouse gases are partially responsible
    Prediction: As the proportions of greenhouse gasses change, the global temperature will change and the temperature change will be partially dependent on, and ratiometric to the proportional and absolute changes in greenhouse gases
    Null Hypothesis: That temperature changes (observed) are not related to variation in greenhouse gasses.
    Observations: Greenhouse gases trended exponentially upwards. Greenhouse gas concentrations for all altitudes analysed of long periods using unexceptional laser spectroscopy methods confirmed by spot sampling. Thermal data lagged the greenhouse gas increases, but also tended upwards. The quality of the thermal data was disputed until long term calorimetry yielded consistent summed earth radiation data which supported the hypothesis (IIRC, cited previously on this thread, some 80 years after the initial predictions were made). Alternate observations tending to support the hypothesis have been discussed here at some length, e.g. reductions in glacial masses as measured using graviometry providing support for a warming trend; distributions of insects and pathogens altering as the extent of their adaptive thermal zones altered supporting assumptions of warming; changes in crop and flowering times  supporting assumptions of warming. The scope and increasing rate of  CO2 concentrations confirmed by measurement of actual CO2 levels in historic ice samples.
    Analysis: After smoothing, the null hypothesis was rejected.
    Publish: More than any other model I am aware of
    Consensus: The model, while incomplete (e.g. it omits aldebo and solar variations which together contribute up to 30% of observed variations) is regarded as competent and yielding predictions which match observation by the vast preponderance of subject specialists.

[Hermit 77] This looks rather like good science to me.

[iolo 76.3] Your fear seems to be related to the assumption that "carbon dioxide" is warming the atmosphere and that such a warming is dangerous.

[hermit 77.3] On a point of order, I would not say "fear" as in "terror," nor even as in "fear, uncertainty and doubt", merely in the sense of resignation that we won't attempt to correct the situation until it is so serious that it is obvious to any blue faced baboon who wouldn't understand a sigma curve if it were tied around his neck in a rolling hitch and pulled tight. Which, if some of the scenarios I've looked at are correct, may be way too late for any effective response. If such warming is as significant as I think, then the world will change. While humans have dealt with climate change before with variable success, we know that humans don't do a very good job of preparing for change, hence there is a serious risk that climate related change will cause major population stresses. We know that major population stresses tend to lead to war, and I expect that in a war of this nature, some clown with nuclear or biological capability will attempt to imminentize the eschaton with predictable results. As there is not much I can do about this expected outcome, I don't spend time agonizing over it, and certainly don't plan to change my life in any way because of it, but I still think it will be a pity if this is what happens.

[hermit 77.3] I know that we are at the outside borders of historic CO2 levels, that we are going to exceed them (although by how much is not predictable), and that we are on the edge of the limits for increased CO2 take-up for plants tested to date, which in turn suggests a coming knee in the curve with implications for temperature. In addition, there is a massive thermosink in the form of the oceans which are currently stabilizing polar temperatures. This produces a flywheel effect which means that temperatures could change very rapidly, particularly once methane (which is a much more severe green house gas than CO2) begins to be released.

[iolo 76.4] My opinion is that there is no scientific reason to support any of these assumptions and you should let your own fear abate.

[hermit 77.4] As we already knew, this is the crux of our disagreement. Perhaps you might try to break your opinion into small chunks, so that we can find those bits which are worth discussing further and agree to disagree, or tackle them without quite such massive documents flowing back and forth?

[iolo 76.5] I also state that my opinion can be proven by using scientific methods.

[hermit 77.5] You have intimated as much before. Might I ask you to "shit or get off the pot"?

[iolo 76] I think you are generalising to an extent that is hard to accept or even understand. Take for example the Swedes - they were extinct 13000 years ago because they couldn’t live under an ice sheet one mile thick. They simply did not exist but there were humans around. Their young male population was cut in half due to the 30-year religious war in Europe in the 17th century. The forests in Southern Swedish were cleared away for the production of canons -for the same war. Poor governance of states does cause disasters but please, if you desire personal misery, keep it private and don’t export it 

[iolo 76.6] Climate extremes also produce disasters, especially in combination with poor governance. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide.

[iolo 76] History is telling what will happen when emotions are ruling and common sense (based on science) is ignored. The Swedes were effective in burning witches until an aristocrat, a woman, was pointed out as a witch. The accuser was sentenced to death and witch burning disappeared.  "God save us from those who want to save the world" is a prayer that is again timely to employ.

[hermit 77.6] I'm not quite sure what you are getting at. Climate change, like shit, happens? If that is all this were about, granted. But it isn't.

[hermit 77.6] I am generalizing because I'm out of field. Nonetheless, the physics of greenhouses, of blackbody radiation, of gas spectral transmissive and absorption properties are well understood "classical science" and I can discuss those at length. Your statement [iolo 76.6] does not appear compatible with well understood classic physics unless I am missing a point. In other words, please enlarge on this.

[hermit 77] I have carefully sub-numbered the areas of disagreement, so please feel free to cut anything here including aside from your sub-numbered paragraphs and my responses. You are also welcome to cut both your paragraphs I have sub-numbered and my matching responses, but please treat them as being paired (i.e. don't cut just your, or just my half of a sub-numbered pair).

Kind regards,

Hermit

-------------------

[iolo 76] Here is the perspective of a South African scientist -- something that I thought Hermit and Blunderov would find of particular interest, for obvious reasons.

[Hermit 77] I'm going to snip this paper ridiculously brutally except for the stuff I disagree with enough to want to comment on, or where I plan to comment on things I may agree - or partially agree with. That which is snipped may be material I completely oppose, or completely support. If I did more, I would be forced to brutally restate his arguments, with all of the commensurate risks of being horribly unfair and establishing an army of straw men when he is not here to defend himself. I wouldn't dream of instigating such a thing myself, and would be annoyed by what may seem to be completely unethical behavior and unwarranted character assassination on the flimsiest pretext if somebody did it to me. That said, here are a few words, mostly unkind. I don't have the time to do any research at all. I don't have the time to do it justice. I don't have the time to do him justice. I shouldn't even find the time to do it injustice. I don't know the man, and after what I write here - on pure supposition - I wouldn't want to. That said... he strikes me as a cantankerous, conspiracy-driven contrarian with a whole hive of bees up his ass, most acting as unstated assumptions for what he writes here.

[Hermit 77] Tukkies never was particularly fussy about who they slapped with an 'emeritus' badge. It is much cheaper than a gold watch.

[Hermit 77] This is one very classical South African Engineer. Possibly a competent one at some stage, as that might explain his overinflated sense of self-worth. As an engineer his job was to find a way to make "things" work cost-effectively.  His job description probably did not include the consideration of the wider implications, of what he did, that being what scientists (and politicians) do, but being moderately intelligent, he probably did so in an ad hoc kind of way anyway. And of course he is welcome to do that if he wants to, and indeed, he does that here to a limited extent; from a sociological rather than from an ecological perspective, but it isn't his primary purpose, wasn't part of his training, and this shows. He also apparently does not have formal training in logic. This also shows. I suspect that the combination is probably more than enough to sideline any point that he might have wanted to make to the RS unless it were argued brilliantly and footnoted backwards, forwards and sideways. If the quality was akin to this paper, there was nothing brilliant about it. My reaction to this paper was to think of Oscar Wilde's advice. Given Alexander's discipline and apparent areas of interest, completely appropriate. "Why does not science, instead of troubling itself about sunspots, which nobody ever saw, or, if they did, ought not to speak about; why does not science busy itself with drainage and sanitary engineering? Why does it not clean the streets and free the rivers from pollution?" Why does not somebody give the man a golden shovel?

<chomp - balance of chomping unmarked>

[Alexander 76] It is less obvious that the United Kingdom and the European Union countries are now using the imaginary threat of global warming to impose restrictive measures that will put a brake on the competitiveness of developing countries including South Africa. There have been three major developments that support this view.

[Hermit 77] First he states his conclusion, "the imaginary threat," then he wanders around it like a drunkard's walk in search of a feedback element, before concluding that his initial statement has been supported by the distance he has covered. He fails to recognize the conclusion he stated in the beginning when his massive perambulation finally brought him up against its backside. He follows this up with three apparently completely unrelated complaints, which while we can agree formed a triad, in no way, shape or form, "support this view." The fact that he does this while operating in clear opposition to the consensus position without being able to recognize his massive logical no-no above, leads me to suspect that he may have done the same in his unanswered letters. Which would explain a lot. Of course, given the notorious unreliability of the South African Postal Service his letters may never have left South Africa, let alone been delivered to the recipients. Indeed, in his shoes, my working hypothesis would be that it wasn't ever delivered, and that the assumption he leapt to is not necessarily supported by the evidence. However, having read the rest of this, he seems to have had a lot of practice at this.

[Hermit 77] When a letter like this is received from somebody who is, or at least was, an academic who may or may not ever have been respected, but who has apparently gone loopy (which may explain "emeritus"), it doesn't profit anybody to get into rude public exchanges tending to bring everyone involved into disrepute. Unless somebody knows the fellow and can drop a hint in his ear (apparently not), you ignore him. He will eventually go away, or after word is slipped into the right branch of the grape-vine, his home institution will sit on him.

[Hermit 77] He makes a lot of PC statements which he probably hopes will make him popular in Pretoria. They won't (or at least, such statements didn't), but he doesn't seem to know that. Given that if he is getting consulting work, likely from the government, his "poor oppressed black South Africa" statements should probably be somewhat discounted.

[Alexander 76] South Africa is now in a position that it will either have to impose costly measures to control the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from its coal-fired power stations and industries thereby increasing the cost of their products, or have punitive import tariffs imposed on its exports. Either way, this will reduce our economic growth and add to the unemployment of large sections of the peoples of this country.

[Hermit 77] It would have been much cheaper to have built nuclear power stations years ago. In 1990 and later, the plans for nuclear power stations were shelved, as South Africa had "more than enough power" and warnings about the 15 years it would take to build them to be ready for growth went unheeded. Pleas to establish industry in the Western Cape (which is the best place for heavy industry due to the Benguela , Sishen, Saldanha, and a skilled population) were ignored because it wasn't ANC territory. Now there will be a cost to pay. South Africa's economy will be hampered for 15 years or more likely much longer. I say much longer because if any capacity is built, it is likely to be coal based because nuclear power will cost more than coal (initially) and South Africa's government has other priorities that prevent any kind of long term vision. By the time it is built, Europe, China and the US (if any of these still exist) will almost certainly have barred goods which are connected to increased CO2 production and the money, and time, will both have been wasted. Sic Transit Afrika.

[Hermit 77] I would have a lot more respect for Alexander if he argued that the world will benefit if South Africa pumped less CO2 into the stratosphere (very special smokestacks designed to do exactly that) and argued that everyone else who will benefit should be making a contribution. Perhaps a huge trade subsidy to help pay for the nuclear power station.... err, wait a minute. If the people using coal are not competing, and the people using clean nuclear power are, won't the price go up anyway? Perhaps a course in economics would be in order. UNISA offers some very good introductory level material.

[Alexander 76] They will have little sympathy for Europe&#8217;s present predicament and even less for the bullying tactics of their scientific institutions.   

[Hermit 77] Africa needs Europe much more than Europe needs Africa. If the current SA government is really taking this attitude (and at the top level they hadn't and I don't think they will), then South Africa in 30 years time will be indistinguishable from the Zimbabwe of today. And they will have earned their poverty, tragic though it may be.

[Alexander 76] Two fundamental questions

[Alexander 76] There is only one way out of this dilemma and that is

[Hermit] Why only one way? Why not just build the nuclear power stations down the West Coast as planned 40 years ago? Idiot.

[Alexander 76] to challenge the basic assumptions underlying the scientific basis of the whole climate change issue.

[Hermit 77] Challenging the assumptions will do diddley squat. Only if the challenges were sustained would this be valid.

[Alexander 76] This can be done by asking two fundamental questions.

[Hermit 77] IMO his questions do not lead to sustainable challenges.

[Alexander 76] 1.  Whether or not there is a statistically significant 21-year periodicity in the South African annual rainfall and river flow records that is synchronous with solar activity?

[Hermit 77] Yes. Clearly Alexander is not an astronomer or he would know that this effect is not nearly as great as the overlapping 7 year/11 year sunspot cycle. This was already well known in the 1800s and was researched by Herschell who measured about 0.5% variability in visible solar output courtesy of sunspots - but only an 0.1% variation due to the 21 year cycle (which is caused by the Sun and Earths mutual dance (barycentric motion)). These numbers are still regarded as authoritative. Higher frequencies (UV and X-Ray) vary much more (100% to 1000%) but this has a minimal effect, as these wavelengths are reflected in the upper atmosphere. This and El Nino/La Nina events have a major effect on global - not just South African precipitation. Clearly Alexander is not an astronomer. Clearly Alexander is not a climatologist or he would know that while Sol's output has increased (and is increasing) and ocean temperatures track this, change caused by the sun is recognized as being responsible for not much more than 20% - 30% of the global warming effects, and that the correlation has weakened measurably in the last 20 years as the slope of the warming curve has tilted upwards.

[Alexander 76] 2.  Whether or not there is a statistically significant correlation between increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and South African annual rainfall and river flow?

[Hermit 77] He is looking for the wrong correlations in the wrong places. South Africa's rainfall is largely determined by three factors, all far from her borders. The temperature of the Moçambique Agulhas current, the strength and depth of equatorial circulation and the strength of Benguela which determines where it intersects with the Agulhas. Everything else is in the noise floor.

[Alexander 76] The answer to the first question demonstrates beyond all doubt that there is a strong causal linkage between solar activity and South African rainfall and river flow. Regrettably, South African climate change scientists continue to deny this despite the wealth of evidence and reports by South African civil engineers and scientists during the past 100 years and more.

[Hermit 77] Nonsense. This is a strawman confusing "South African climate change scientists" (everyone else calls them "Climatologists") rejection of solar activity as the only or even the principle cause of global warming (which they do) with rejection of correlation between solar activity, ocean temperatures and rainfall (which they don't). See e.g. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1992/91JD02189.shtml

[Alexander 76] I found no evidence to support the allegations that greenhouse gas emissions were having an adverse effect on South Africa&#8217;s climate.

[Hermit 77] Who the hell suggested that they were or he would? Alexander is confused again.

[Alexander 76] Both are new to science and both discredit international science in these fields.

[Hermit 77] And why would a "scientist" want to "discredit international science"? Oh dear.

[Alexander 76] These answers to the two questions completely undermine the alarmist predictions associated with global warming.

[Hermit 77] And this habit of making grandiose assertions which he cannot - or at least does not - sustain complete undermines any tolerance I was prepared to extend him.

[Hermit 77] The rest is largely waffle when it isn't demented conspiracy theory.

[Alexander 76] The Department should also be aware that vital information on this subject is being withheld from the South African public.

[Alexander 76] The consequent banning of the use of DDT caused the deaths of millions of people on the African continent.  Earlier this month the WMO acknowledged the error and recommended the reinstatement of DDT for indoor spraying.

[Hermit 77] Here he again doesn't know what he is talking about. Banning DDT had a cost. Millions of lives. Agreed. But Aldrin/Dieldrin is a much better answer to external mosquito control and works inside too (especially stabilized by mixing it in the paint). Meanwhile the huge cost of losing bird populations was shown by China's war on birds, and the external use of DDT was eliminating birds over vast areas of the planet. Not in Southern Africa though. We didn't ever use much DDT (or why we remain the largest malerial enclave) but  kept spraying Aldrin/Dieldrin over a strip 30 km wide on the other side of the border to control malerial ingress into South Africa until the ANC government stopped this program (and SA immediately developed a lethal malarial problem).


[Alexander 76] Now the British Royal Society is making similar unfounded statements that will be equally damaging to the prosperity of the African nations.

[Hermit 77] Oh dear. THe Bees, the beez!!

[Alexander 76] All South African scientists, including members of environmental lobby groups, should seriously consider where their loyalty lies. Is it to the improvement of the quality of life of tens of thousands of people in this country who are unemployed and living in conditions that no citizens of any country should have to endure? Or is it targeted at the unconditional preservation of the natural environment regardless of the consequences to the welfare of the poor and disadvantaged?

[Hermit 77] Is this the argument to patriotism or the argument to pity? Or both? Invalid either way.
« Last Edit: 2006-10-30 21:39:48 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #78 on: 2006-11-11 20:52:12 »
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Greenhouse emissions grow more rapidly

Source: Financial Times
Authors: Fiona Harvey (London)
Dated: 2006-11-10

Greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing four times as fast as in the 1990s, giving added urgency to international talks on climate change.

Research carried out for Unesco found on Friday that the rate of increase in emissions from burning fossil fuels between 2000 and 2005 was four times that between 1990 and 2000.

The research will be presented in Nairobi, where representatives from governments across the world are meeting to discuss the Kyoto protocol on climate change, which requires developed countries to cut emissions.

The accelerated rise is a result of rapid growth in developing economies such as China, India and Brazil, as well as the failure of developed countries such as the US to mitigate their greenhouse gas output. Even in countries such as the UK, which is on target to meet its Kyoto commitment to cut emissions by 2012 by 12.5 per cent compared with 1990 levels, emissions have been rising in recent years.

Despite efforts among some countries, such as those in the European Union, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the global growth rate was 3.2 per cent in the five years to 2005 compared with 0.8 per cent in the period 1990 to 1999, according to data from the Global Carbon Project.


Paul Crutzen, professor of chemistry at the Max Plank Institute for Chemistry in Germany and a Nobel Prize winner, said: “The jump in emissions is remarkable. One would expect a smoother transition but it seems there has been a tremendous shift in the past five years. The lower rate in the 1990s was most likely due to the collapse of the communist regime. Unfortunately, once emissions go up it’s very hard to bring them down again.”

The rate of increase will make it more difficult to hold levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere below 550 parts per million, cited by the recent Stern review on climate change as the limit of safety for the climate.


Ministers meeting in Nairobi will discuss ways of extending the Kyoto protocol beyond 2012, when current provisions expire, and to bring developing countries within the scope of mandatory emissions cuts.

The US and Australia are the only developed countries to have rejected the treaty. But some expect the US stance to soften following this week’s Democratic victory in the Congressional elections, while the language of the Australian government has also changed.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #79 on: 2006-11-17 16:45:32 »
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Warm weather wrecks Russian bears' winter slumber

[center]
A four-month-old bear cub looks around as it is released for the first time west of Moscow, April 12, 2005. Insomniac bears are roaming the forests of southwestern Siberia scaring local people as the weather stays too warm for the animals to fall into their usual winter slumber. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Source: Reuters
Authors: Not Credited (Reuters Moscow)
Dated: 2006-11-15

Insomniac bears are roaming the forests of southwestern Siberia scaring local people as the weather stays too warm for the animals to fall into their usual winter slumber.

The furry mammals escape harsh winters by going to sleep in October-November for around six months, but in the snowless Kemerovo region where the weather is unseasonably warm, bears have no desire yet to hibernate.

"Due to weather conditions, bears didn't go into the winter sleep in time," said Tatiana Maslova, chief expert at a regional environmental agency in the city of Kemerovo, about 3,500 km (2,190 miles) southeast of Moscow.

"Our teams are making sure there is no damage to farming and to local residents," she told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that every patch of land is watched by a specially assigned inspector.

To survive the prolonged winter rest, bears have to put on extra body fat -- up to 180 kg (396 pounds) -- and so spend the preceding months devouring as much food as they can find.

"At the moment there is enough fodder, so they are not wreaking any havoc," Maslova said.

Hunters, out in the woods stalking birds and hares now that the hunting season is open, need protection from restless bears the most, she added.

"We have observers who ensure there are no attacks on hunters."

Bears den in dry places usually covered by snow, and wet weather makes finding a suitable "bedroom" for the winter difficult.

Russian media reported that in the Kemerovo region and other areas, normally cold and snowy by now, there are fresh buds on trees and some flowers have blossomed for the second time this year.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #80 on: 2006-11-18 17:35:57 »
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[Blunderov] What is so nasty about the data that they don't want to release it? Seems we may finally find out quite soon.
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002011.php
McCain: Bush Admin Breaks Laws to Hide Global Warming Data
By Justin Rood - November 17, 2006, 1:35 PM
"They're simply not complying with the law. It's incredible."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) raised eyebrows yesterday with that comment regarding the Bush administration, made before a crowd of several hundred at a Washington, D.C. event.

At issue is a report on climate change that Congress requires every four years. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for producing the document, last filed a report in 2000. A new report -- the first to be filed by the Bush administration -- was due in November 2004, but to date the agency has not done so.

"When you get to that degree of obfuscation, then you get a little depressed," McCain said, according to several attendees. McCain's comments were also reported by the trade daily Environment and Energy.

McCain has rapped the administration before over the long-overdue report.

At a June 2005 hearing, McCain grilled Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Bush's appointed chief of NOAA, over a GAO report chastising his agency for failing to deliver their findings on time.

"Basically, they say you're not complying with the law," McCain told Lautenbacher.

"Yes, sir," the NOAA chief responded.

"Are you complying with the law?" McCain asked.

"I believe that we are complying with the law, yes sir," Lautenbacher replied.

"You know," McCain said a few moments later, "you are really one of the more astonishing witnesses that I have [faced] -- in the 19 years I've been a member of this [Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation] Committee."

Lautenberger explained that his staff was working on "pieces" of the report, and conceded the November 2004 deadline had been a "difficult requirement to meet."

McCain isn't alone in wanting the study. On Tuesday, a trio of environmental groups announced they are suing NOAA to release the document.

Update: An earlier version of this post stated that the Clean Air Act of 1990 requires a climate change report to be filed every 10 years; in fact, the law requires a report every four. The post has been amended to reflect this.

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #81 on: 2006-12-01 01:27:43 »
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[Blunderov] We finally went to see Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" last night. I spent most of the movie thinking what a terrible tragedy this is; here was the man who should have been president and look what we got instead.

Imagine.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #82 on: 2006-12-26 12:16:26 »
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[Blunderov] Somehow this report makes the global warming picture really real for me.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/122606P.shtml

Disappearing World: Global Warming Claims Tropical Island
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK

Sunday 24 December 2006

For the first time, an inhabited island has disappeared beneath rising seas.

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.

Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.

It has been officially recorded in a six-year study of the Sunderbans by researchers at Calcutta's Jadavpur University. So remote is the island that the researchers first learned of its submergence, and that of an uninhabited neighbouring island, Suparibhanga, when they saw they had vanished from satellite pictures.

Two-thirds of nearby populated island Ghoramara has also been permanently inundated. Dr Sugata Hazra, director of the university's School of Oceanographic Studies, says "it is only a matter of some years" before it is swallowed up too. Dr Hazra says there are now a dozen "vanishing islands" in India's part of the delta. The area's 400 tigers are also in danger.

Until now the Carteret Islands off Papua New Guinea were expected to be the first populated ones to disappear, in about eight years' time, but Lohachara has beaten them to the dubious distinction.

Human Cost of Global Warming: Rising Seas Will Soon Make 70,000 People Homeless

Refugees from the vanished Lohachara island and the disappearing Ghoramara island have fled to Sagar, but this island has already lost 7,500 acres of land to the sea. In all, a dozen islands, home to 70,000 people, are in danger of being submerged by the rising seas.

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #83 on: 2006-12-26 20:17:53 »
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Greetings, all of you in the Reason Appreciation Club. Despite my self-imposed absence, I thought I might contribute to what actually looks like an active and well-informed topic. It's an old article, but informative nonetheless. Always understand an argument's context. The link provided below isn't too shabby, either. Regards.



The Smoke Behind the Deniers’ Fire

It isn’t just Exxon which has funded the climate change deniers – Big Tobacco has also played a strange and disturbing role.


By George Monbiot. Published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site, 19th September 2006

It takes quite a lot to get Britain’s most august scientific body, the Royal Society, riled. But now it has had enough. It is trying to bring an end to a ten-year campaign of disinformation about the world’s most important scientific issue. Throughout that period, journalists who have no background in science, and who appear to know less about the subject than the average 12-year old, have been filling the pages of the Mail, the Telegraph and the Times with articles claiming that manmade global warming is a fraud.

In January this year, for example, the Daily Mail’s columnist Melanie Philips asserted that most of the atmosphere “consists of water vapour”(1). She now admits that this was a mistake, but she still maintains that the planet was two degrees warmer 1000 years ago, that there has been no overall rise in global sea levels and that as many glaciers are expanding as shrinking(2) – all of which are just as wrong.

In the Times last month, Tim Hames maintained that “if man’s activities were driving this warming process then one would expect the rate of that increase to have accelerated in modern times … This evidence has singularly failed to materialise, despite satellites having been available to measure the Earth’s temperature since the late 1970s.”(3) In fact, most of the global warming of the past 100 years has taken place since 1970 and the rate has accelarated rapidly(4).



In the Telegraph last week, Ruth Lea, the director of the rightwing Centre for Policy Studies, suggested that we need not worry about climate change because, when the earth’s climate changed before, it gave rise to civilisation(5). She was denounced by the man whose research she claimed to be championing. Nick Brookes of the University of East Anglia suggested that she had wilfully misinterpreted his work. “The distortion of science for ideological purposes,” he wrote, “has a long history, and the results are generally ugly.”(6)

On the whole, these journalists did not generate the false stories they have been spreading. They are the unwitting dupes of a deliberate campaign of distortion and confusion. As I reveal on Newsnight tonight, the Society has now attempted to strike at the heart of this campaign by sending its first official letter of complaint to a corporation – the oil company Exxon. And yesterday its president, Lord Rees, sent the Telegraph what must be one of the most damning letters it has ever received.

“In her sixth article in five months which misrepresents the science of climate change in the Business Pages of The Daily Telegraph, Ruth Lea erroneously asserts that “there is wide scientific disagreement” about the likely impact of climate change. In fact, the peer-reviewed scientific literature, of which Lea appears to be completely unaware, shows that continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions will lead to a rise in global average temperature of between 1.4 and 5.8 centigrade degrees by 2100….”(7)

But what the Royal Society didn’t know, and I reveal in the first extract of my book today, is that part of the campaign of disinformation was started not by a fossil fuel company but by the tobacco company Philip Morris. It’s a weird and profoundly disturbing story – the firm attempted to distract attention from its funding of a campaign to deny the effects of tobacco by funding people to deny climate change as well.

It provides yet more evidence that we have to be extremely wary of the groups and self-appointed experts campaigning against “risk-aversion” or “compensation culture” or “junk science” or “eco-fascism”. The chances are that someone is paying them to do it.

George Monbiot’s new book Heat: how to stop the planet burning is published by Penguin. He has also started a new website – www.turnuptheheat.org – exposing the false environmental claims being made by corporations and celebrities.



1. Melanie Phillips, 13th January 2006. Blame the trees! The Daily Mail.

2. Melanie Philips, 13th September 2006. Interviewed by me for Newsnight.

3. Tim Hames, 28th August 2006. Let’s look on the sunny side. The Times.

4. See the graphs on page 7 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report – Summary for Policymakers.

5. Ruth Lea, 11th September 2006. Costly futile gestures in the climate change debate. The Telegraph.

6. Nick Brooks, 13th September 2006. Global Warning. Letter to the Telegraph.

7. Lord Rees of Ludlow, 18th September 2006. Letter sent to the Telegraph.


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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #84 on: 2007-01-20 02:49:19 »
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[Blunderov] This via The Huffington Post

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2169176.ece

Big business joins greens to pressure Bush on climate
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 20 January 2007

An unprecedented coalition of blue-chip US companies and environmental lobby groups will urge President Bush next week to get serious about global warming, calling for caps on carbon dioxide emissions that would cut greenhouse gases by 10-30 per cent over 15 years.

The group, called the US Climate Action Partnership, will unveil the details of its plan on the eve of President Bush's State of the Union speech on Tuesday. The companies involved include some of the old-fashioned pollution-generating industries normally associated with anti-environmental policies and politicians - the chemical giant DuPont, the bulldozer company Caterpillar, the aluminium producer Alcoa and the US subsidiary of BP.

They, and environmental lobby groups such as Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, said yesterday they will call for "swift federal action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and speeding the adoption of climate-friendly technology".

The initiative was the latest of several indications of a big shift in US attitudes on global warming. The two-week-old new Democrat-led Congress has already generated a flurry of bills offering emissions-reduction targets. Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker, is setting up a dedicated climate change committee in the House of Representatives with the power to recommend legislation.

Ms Pelosi has also promised a legislative package on energy independence, to be delivered by Indepedence Day on 4 July. Her enthusiasm is mirrored in the Senate by Barbara Boxer, the incoming chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who has called the fight against global warming her number-one priority.

The change in attitudes goes beyond the political arena. The star feature of the Detroit Auto Show last week was a plug-in hybrid vehicle being developed from General Motors.

The age of global warming denial, meanwhile, also appears to be drawing to a close. Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, has cut its funding to groups who argue global warming is a hoax, and is now working to develop strategies it can accept for emissions reduction.

That's a huge change from just a few months ago, when Exxon Mobil's chief executive, Lee Raymond, arguably the world's most prominent global warming sceptic, was still at the helm, and the Senate Energy Committee was headed by the Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, who made it his business to dismiss scientific opinion on climate change as a conspiracy.

The biggest hold-out against radical policy change is probably the Bush White House. Aides to the President have indicated his State of the Union speech will include some provisions on energy, notably championing the use of ethanol-based fuels. The administration remains opposed, however, to any mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions.

The White House is likely to come under increasing pressure to do something, however. One possible route has already been taken by Mr Bush's fellow Republican, California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has endorsed a 25 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases in his state by the year 2020.

The Schwarzenegger plan does not operate on a rigid system of emissions caps, but rather offers incentives to companies who move faster than their competitors, who can "trade" their margin of emissions reduction with companies lagging behind. The "cap and trade" system contrasts with a bill championed by Senator Boxer, to mandate a reduction in emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #85 on: 2007-02-11 02:19:30 »
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[Blunderov] One possible scenario of which I have read is that of small bands of humans hanging on for dear life in or near the polar regions by the end of this century with three-quarters of all other species extinct. This in 93 years from now. Our legacy to our great-grandchildren.

Already there is a beginning:

http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/a/envirorefugees.htm

Scholars Predict 50 Million Environmental Refugees by 2010

http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/a/ipcc_report.htm

Global Warming is Unstoppable and Humans are to Blame, says UN Report
From Larry West

Prompt action can slow global warming and reduce some of its impact
On Friday, February 2, 2007, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the leading international group of climate scientists—published a 20-page summary [pdf] of a much longer scientific report, which confirms global warming is now “unequivocal” and states with more than 90 percent certainty that human activity “very likely” has been the primary cause of rising temperatures worldwide since 1950.

The report summary also says that global warming is likely to continue for centuries, and that it is already too late to stop some of the serious consequences it will bring—even if mankind could somehow hold the line on greenhouse gas emissions worldwide starting today.

Despite those grim conclusions, however, the report does say that there is still time to slow global warming and to lessen many of its most severe consequences if we act quickly. At the same time, the IPCC report avoids prescribing specific strategies, leaving that to policymakers worldwide, the audience for which the report summary was prepared.

This article answers some of the most common questions about the IPCC report and its predictions for the future of our planet.

Q: What are the expected consequences of global warming based on the summary of the fourth IPCC assessment of climate change science?

A: Global temperatures are expected to increase 3.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, and there is a 1-in-10 chance that the increase could be far worse, a risk that many experts believe is too great to ignore.

Rising temperatures will alter global weather patterns that have a direct effect on water supplies and agriculture. Deserts will expand, the frequency and severity of droughts and deadly heat waves will increase, and snow will disappear in most areas—except on the very highest mountain peaks.

Sea levels worldwide are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches by 2100, and will continue to rise for at least the next 1,000 years.

Fierce storms, such as hurricanes, will become more frequent and more floods will occur, due to rising sea levels and heavier rainfall in some areas.

Continuing global warming will also lead to a rise in many diseases that are deadly to humans. Flooding will contaminate water supplies in some areas, giving rise to infectious diseases. Rising temperatures will also increase the range and breeding grounds of mosquitoes and other disease-bearing insects, exposing more people to diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis.

Q: What does the IPCC report say about the relationship between global warming and human activity?

A: In the strongest language ever used by the IPCC, the report says that human activity “very likely” has been the primary cause of global warming since 1950. (The term “very likely” indicates more than 90 percent certainty.)

The report summary also says that human activity has been a major contributor to climate change since the Industrial Revolution, which began around 1750.

Global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide—three of the most notable greenhouse gases—have increased significantly over the past 250 years as direct result of human activities. Concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases now far exceed any found during ice core research spanning the past 650,000 years.

The increase of carbon dioxide is due primarily to the use of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, and changes in land use, such as cutting down forests to make way for farming, housing and other development. Increases in methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture.

Q: What does the report say about the risks of rising sea levels due to global warming?

A: Sea levels worldwide are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches by 2100, and will continue to rise for at least the next 1,000 years. By comparison, global sea levels rose 6 to 9 inches in the 20th century, so the effects of global warming on sea levels are clearly accelerating.

Rising sea levels will create millions of environmental refugees as people are forced to leave their homes in coastal areas. Many nations will be unequipped to cope with the waves of immigrants looking for new homes.

Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will change the pH balance of seawater, making it slightly more acidic. Although the oceans will remain alkaline, marine biologists predict that a shift toward greater acidity could threaten the survival of coral reefs and plankton—an essential and fundamental link in the marine food chain.

Even a moderate increase in the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could easily push average global temperatures to levels last seen 125,000 years ago during a warm period between two ice ages. At that time, sea levels were 12 to 20 feet higher than they are today. Much of the water from that earlier period is now frozen in Greenland and Antarctica, but many of those ice fields are beginning to melt.

Because scientists are not certain how quickly polar ice will melt, the estimates of sea level increases in the report are based on how much warming oceans will expand and do not take into account anticipated runoff from melting ice on land in Greenland and the polar regions.

Q: What does the report say about melting sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica?

A: The report predicts severe melting of Arctic ice during the 21st century and significant melting of the Greenland ice fields over the next few hundred years.

At the same time, the Antarctic ice sheet, which is much colder, may actually increase in size because of increased snowfall in that region. The increase of Antarctic ice could offset rising sea levels slightly between now and 2100, but not enough to change the overall trend of rapidly rising sea levels.

Q: What can we do to stop global warming and avoid the consequences of rising sea levels, desertification, etc.?

A: The report doesn’t make specific recommendations to help policymakers combat global warming, but scientists and environmental experts commenting on the report have said that it will require an immediate shift away from the widespread and unfettered use of coal and oil and an aggressive expansion of clean, renewable energy.

But how much of a shift? Many scientists—including those who authored the IPCC report—are saying that the atmosphere now contains so much heat-trapping greenhouse gas that it is no longer possible to stop global warming. To stabilize the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for example, would require a 70 percent to 80 percent decrease in CO2 emissions. And a change that severe would plunge most of the world into pre-industrial living conditions: no cars or airplanes, no electricity, no factories.

A more realistic approach being advocated by many scientists and policymakers is to slow down the build up of greenhouse gases significantly through conservation, energy efficiency and a dramatic increase in the use of renewable energy and alternative fuels to reduce the use of coal and oil. By stretching the warming over centuries rather than decades, there could be a chance to mitigate many of the worst effects.

Achieving that goal will require consumers, corporations and governments around the world to make a lasting and meaningful commitment to change—a key ingredient that has been missing from previous attempts to reduce and mitigate global warming. The hope is that this new report will help to motivate people and governments worldwide to take action on behalf of themselves, the planet, and future generations.

Q: Do all scientists agree with the conclusions of the IPCC report?

A: Of course not. Absolute scientific agreement is virtually impossible to achieve, but this report is about as close to full consensus as the scientific community ever gets.

Nevertheless, some scientists will offer legitimate arguments against certain conclusions in the report, arguing that the authors went too far. On the other hand, many of the hundreds of scientists involved in producing the report and its summary argued for stronger language on several key points and still feel that the report actually understates the urgency of the problem and the extent of the dangers.

It is also clear that some “critics for hire” will continue to raise questions about climate change science, including this report. The day before the report summary was released, for example, it was revealed that an ExxonMobil-funded think tank and lobbying group was offering to pay scientists and economists $10,000 and more to write essays disputing the IPCC report. This is part of a longstanding effort by ExxonMobil and some other companies to create confusion among consumers and policymakers about the reality, causes and consequences of global warming.

Q: What will happen as a result of the IPCC report on global warming?

A: To begin with 113 nations, including the United States, have approved the report, so a large number of world leaders are taking it seriously. That’s a good start, but the question is whether the conclusions offered in the report will be able to inspire the kind of action that is needed to create meaningful change.

Although the United States approved the report, for example, U.S. officials quickly reasserted their opposition to mandated cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, citing fear of “unintended consequences” such as possible job loss if the government required Americans to use less fossil fuel. Nevertheless, many members of Congress are already working to introduce legislation to mandate or promote the increased use of renewable energy and to lower U.S. dependence on fossil fuels.

When the report was released, France immediately called for a new international environmental body aimed at slowing global warming, one that might also have the power to punish violators for non-compliance. Forty-five nations answered the call, and more are expected to follow. The first meeting of the new group is expected to take place in Morocco in the spring of 2007.

In addition, the issue of global warming and the conclusions of the IPCC report are sure to be major topics at the G8 summit in June 2007 and the United Nations climate talks in Indonesia in December 2007.

With the Kyoto Protocol due to expire in 2012, and with many nations expected to fail in their commitments under that treaty, world leaders and environmentalists have been eager to develop a new international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions—but those talks have stalled.

IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri told Reuters that he hopes the report will motivate people to act: "I hope this report will shock people, governments, into taking more serious action, as you really can't get a more authentic and a more credible piece of scientific work."







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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #86 on: 2007-02-12 16:38:56 »
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Quote from: Blunderov on 2007-02-11 02:19:30   

[Blunderov] One possible scenario of which I have read is that of small bands of humans hanging on for dear life in or near the polar regions by the end of this century with three-quarters of all other species extinct. This in 93 years from now. Our legacy to our great-grandchildren.

Already there is a beginning:

"The final design for a "doomsday" vault that will house seeds from all known varieties of food crops has been unveiled by the Norwegian government.

Doomsday' vault design unveiled

The Svalbard International Seed Vault will be built into a mountainside on a remote island near the North Pole."


Well it sounds like some preparation and construction has begun at the North Pole anyways.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #87 on: 2007-02-13 12:30:56 »
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Quote from: Blunderov on 2007-02-11 02:19:30   

On Friday, February 2, 2007, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the leading international group of climate scientists—published a 20-page summary [pdf] of a much longer scientific report,

The claim that the IPCC presents objective scientific opinion is quite disingenuous.

The IPCC is the government representatives who meet in plenary, as they did a few weeks in Paris. The Secretariat is the relatively small team of UN staff who support the panel and its work programme. It is hosted in Geneva by WMO and staff are funded by WMO and UNEP - WMO and UNEP jointly appoint the IPCC Secretary.

The IPCC Panel selects the Bureau to manage the work of the Panel from its 'members' but the Bureau are not UN staff. They retain their own government job, are paid by their respective governments, work by correspondence and come together in meetings.

The Bureau nominates the lead authors and work program of the working groups and these are put to the Panel for confirmation. For the first three assessments the UK had volunteered to host and largely fund the Secretariat for Working Group 1 and John Houghton was Co-Chair of the Working Group. Susan Solomon was co-chair of the WG1 of the fourth Assessment and the WG1 Secretariat was in NCAR. To be co-chair of a working group it is necessary to have your government funding to maintain the secretariat.

The two most powerful positions in the IPCC are the Chairman of the IPCC itself but more powerful is the co-chair of WG1 (Houghton and now Solomon). The latter can have great influence on setting the agenda, nominating contributors and finally editing the assessment. The IPCC Chairman (Bolin, Watson and now ?) get a lot of publicity because they are the front of the organisation, travel and speak publicly, and present the results of the working groups Summary for Policymakers agreed at plenary.

The IPCC Secretary located in Geneva really only has small influence with the agenda at the meetings of the Panel. It manages the IPCC fund which is donations by members to pay for travel and per diem of people going to the various non-panel meetings and publications. The IPCC is open to all UN Members but participation in the panel is at the expense of each country. There is however a fund administered by the Secretariat to pay the travel and per diem of developing country members. 

To put it another way:

The IPCC is not a body of scientists but of government officials who select scientific advisor's.

The IPCC is not selected by the scientific community but is a body selected and maintained primarily by environmental bureaucracies, including helpers from UN. These UN helpers (UNEP and WMO) are in the end also funded by governments, and in the case of UNEP have to fight for funding annually.

It is also politically important that the Bureau (selected not elected by the Panel, i.e. by governments), nominates lead authors who are indeed scientists, often in charge of large research programmes or 'on the make' to becoming science managers / government advisors at home. Working for the IPCC is a good career move.

Let us also not forget that the IPCC report is written and reviewed by 1,200 scientists and then “edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries” -- The presence of those bureaucrats is not a minor detail and should be clearly reported. In fact, as per the IPCC own rules, the science of Global Warming is subordinated to its politics, since the upcoming IPCC reports later in the year will be edited to reflect what the bureaucrats have just agreed upon!

So it works like this: The Summary for Policymakers, created by people appointed by the UN (the Oil for Food people), comes out, then the rest of the report will be edited to be consistent with it.

- iolo

============

A man-made morality tale

How the IPCC’s fairly sober summary of climate science has been spun to tell a story of Fate, Doom and human folly.

DATE: Monday 5 February 2007
SOURCE: Spiked - online

Introducing spiked’s coverage of the IPCC report, James Woudhuysen and Joe Kaplinsky look at how claims of scientific truth are being used to quash debate and limit our horizons.

On 2 February 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a summary of a report due to come out in three months’ time (1). Events surrounding it show how far both the professional drafting and media interpretation of science have become infused with today’s anti-humanist politics.

Politically spun and politically interpreted, science is first made incontrovertible and put on a pedestal; turned, in a word, into scientism. Then, science is used to close down political debate. Finally, it is said to confirm the folly, hubris, selfishness and general dirtiness of mankind. Whatever our pretensions, we are now supposed to be pretty loathsome compared with the grandeur of the polar ice caps that now face ruin at our hands. And, in the same spirit, what mankind could really be doing with technology becomes trivialised.

According to the Financial Times, ‘The world’s leading climate scientists on Friday swept away the last doubts surrounding global warming’ (2). Indeed Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a co-founder of the IPCC, says that the IPCC’s new report means that to resist laws making cuts in greenhouse gas emissions mandatory would now be ‘irresponsible’ (3).

So doubt, a key ingredient of the scientific method, is now out.

-- fulll article at link.

============

Here’s an interesting item from Iceland, courtesy http://www.fishupdate.com/

Ice packs (and polar bears) thwart Iceland fishing

Published:  06 February, 2007

FISH merchants on the Humber may be throwing up their hands in frustration at the worrying decline in fish supplies from Iceland since the beginning of the year. But the underlying cause is something they would never have guessed at - a massive deep freeze around the west coast of the country.

While the rest of the world shudders at the prospect of global warming and all that it threatens to bring in the form of floods and soaring temperatures, Iceland has been bucking the trend - and it is having a dramatic effect on fishing activity around the island.

Thick packs of ice, which have not been seen for almost 40 years, have been moving into the western fjords across some of the best fishing grounds, followed by bitter winds and plummeting temperatures. The ice has proved to be a serious handicap (not to mention a shipping hazard) for fishermen who supply the Humber and other important centres in Western Europe, simply because they have been unable to put to sea. This has led to a marked drop in catches, a fact that has been noticed on the markets of Grimsby and Hull since they re-opened after Christmas.

Communities living around the fjord of Dryafjordur, have noticed that their inlets have been filled with ice in recent weeks - ice drifting in from Greenland and carrying dozens of polar bears on their floes.

When chunks break off the bears become stranded, drifting helplessly on the floes. There have been a number of stories of bears making land around Iceland and having to be shot because they pose a danger to humans and livestock.

The return of pack ice to Iceland goes against all the forecasts of doom of global warming, although some forecasters think it may just be a climatic aberration.

-----

Keep warm or cool, according to your geography… 

==============

Some commentary on the IPCC and yet more disinformation from Al Gore ...

Dangers of Disinformation
by Prof. Paul Reiter

DATE: February 12, 2007
SOURCE: Campaign for Fighting Diseases

PARIS -- President George W. Bush's new international anti-malaria campaign has been greeted with enthusiasm by its victims, but with pseudoscience by commentators.

That is not unusual: Fallacies infect every debate about the environment and affect policy, taxpayers' money and victims' lives.

Scientists ask questions, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, look at the evidence, modify the hypotheses and probe further. Then activists, news media and politics take over.

Look at climate change: The public hears again and again that there is scientific consensus, that it's happening now and that we are on the brink of disaster.

This is nonsense. But if we scientists don't yell "Danger!" no one listens. For years, the public has been fed a lusty diet of climate doom and gloom, cooked and served by alarmists who use the language of science to push an agenda. Now, every politician of every stripe must embrace the "climate consensus" or be branded a callous skeptic.

I am not a climatologist, nor an expert on sea level or polar ice. But I do know from talking to many scientists in many disciplines that this consensus is a mirage. Every discipline has many critical, unanswered questions and many dangerous distortions.

I am a specialist in diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. So let's talk malaria. For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims that climate change is causing the disease to spread. We have failed miserably.

Recently, the Associated Press quoted an entomologist claiming an unprecedented outbreak of malaria in Karatina, Kenya, at 1,868 meters. The heart rending article began, "The soft cries of children broke the morning stillness as parents brought them in to the hillside hospital one by one...drained by a disease once unknown in the high country of Kenya."

But there's nothing new about malaria in Karatina. Between World War I and the 1950s, there were 10 disastrous epidemics in the region, and they extended much higher.

We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.

In November, I was in Nairobi along with thousands of people attending the UN's climate change conference.

I wondered how many had taken anti-malaria tablets because they had seen Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," which claims that Nairobi was established in a healthy place "above the mosquito line" but is now infested with mosquitoes — naturally, because of global warming.

Gore's claim is deceitful on four counts. Nairobi was dangerously infested when it was founded; it was founded for a railway, not for health reasons; it is now fairly clear of malaria; and it has not become warmer.

The town's first medical officer, Dr. D.E. Boedeker, wrote that even for the early ivory and slave caravans, Nairobi "had always been regarded as an unhealthy locality swarming with mosquitoes." In 1904, a committee of doctors "petitioned that the entire municipality be relocated, simply because it was a spawning ground of disease."

Things have changed. My colleagues have looked carefully at climate and malaria records kept by the management staff of nearby highland tea estates, and published their findings in the journal Nature.

They found no evidence of long-term climatic change and noted that epidemics of malaria were frequent until the 1950s, when DDT appeared. Malaria's return in the past 20 years has been due to many factors — the effective ban on DDT, deforestation, migration from highly malarious areas, drug and insecticide resistance and above all, poverty.

The alarmists constantly invoke as an authority the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yet none of those who wrote the sections on malaria have relevant research credentials and several have no scientific credentials at all.

And on it goes. The British government's Stern Review, released with much fanfare in late October, predicted increases in temperature will produce up to 80 million new cases of malaria.

This claim relies on a single article that described a simplistic mathematical model that blithely ignored the most obvious reality: Most Africans already live in hot places where they get as many as 300 infective bites every year, though just one is enough. The glass is already full.

The weather is largely out of our control, but malaria is not. While billions are spent on climate change prevention and by advocacy groups, malaria remains rampant, killing millions, making life a misery for hundreds of millions — like the children of Karatina where the epidemic could easily be eliminated cheaply.

We have to hope that the new "Malaria No More" campaign is based on sound science, unlike the UN's catastrophic current "Roll Back Malaria" scheme, which has presided over a marked increase in victims since 1998.

Pseudoscience will damage your health and your wealth just as surely as malaria.

Paul Reiter is an advisor the the Campaign for Fighting Diseases and is director of the Insects and Infectious Diseases Unit of the Institut Pasteur, Paris. He worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for over 20 years.

----

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #88 on: 2007-04-04 02:44:17 »
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[Blunderov] I was wondering whether to add the appended report to this thread or not - it is perhaps becoming a little unwieldy. Obviously, I have decided in favour of maintaining this interesting, and possibly unique, data set. It may be that the subject of global warming has attracted more attention than even Iraq in these cloisters.

Things are looking daily worse and the appended piece is more of the same I'm sad to say. Here come the water wars. I'm picturing a world wide Mad Max type dystopia in 25 years. (I'll be out of the picture by then. Maybe this is a good thing.)

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070416/davis_2

Denial in the Desert 
Mike Davis
 
The polar bear on its shrinking ice floe has become the urgent icon of global warming and runaway climate change. Even the flat-earther in the White House now concedes that the magnificent bears may be doomed to extinction as the sea ice melts and the Arctic Ocean is transformed into open blue water for the first time in millions of years. Humanity's "great geophysical experiment," as the oceanographer Roger Revelle long ago characterized the steeply rising curve of carbon dioxide emission, has knocked nature off its Holocene foundations in the circumpolar lands.

But the Arctic is not the only theater of spectacular and unequivocal climate change, nor are the polar bears the only heralds of a new age of chaos. Consider, for example, some of Ursus maritimus's distant relatives: the black bears that forage happily but ominously in the fabled Chisos Mountains of Texas's Big Bend National Park. They may be the messengers of an environmental transformation in the Borderlands almost as radical as that taking place in Alaska or Greenland.

While hiking en route to Emory Peak on a preternaturally warm day in January 2002, with my mind still haunted by the apocalyptic images of the previous September, I made the nodding acquaintance of an antic and harmless young bear in a trail camp. Apparitions of bears are always slightly magical, and I presumed the encounter was an affirmation of a still largely unspoiled wilderness. In fact, as I was startled to learn from a ranger the next day, the young bear was, so to speak, a mojado--the offspring of recent undocumented immigrants from the other side of the Rio Grande.





Black bears had been common in the Chisos when it was the quasi-mythical redoubt of Mescalero Apache and Comanche raiders in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but ranchers relentlessly hunted them to extinction in the early twentieth century. Then, almost miraculously in the early 1980s, bears reappeared amid the madrone and pine of Emory Peak. Astonished wildlife biologists surmised that the bears had migrated from the Sierra del Carmen in Coahuila, swimming the Rio Grande and crossing forty miles of furnace-hot desert to reach the Chisos, a promised land of docile deer and abundant garbage.

Like the jaguars that have re-established themselves in the border mountains of Arizona in recent years or, for that matter, the blood-sucking chupacabra of norteño folklore who has reputedly been seen in the suburbs of Los Angeles, the black bears are part of an epic migration of wildlife as well as people al otro lado. Although no one knows exactly why the bears, big cats and legendary vampires are moving northward, one plausible hypothesis is that they are adjusting their ranges and populations to a new reign of drought in northern Mexico and the US Southwest.

The human case is clear-cut: Abandoned ranchitos and near-ghost towns throughout Coahuila, Chihuahua and Sonora testify to the relentless succession of dry years--beginning in the 1980s but assuming truly catastrophic intensity in the late 1990s--that has pushed hundreds of thousands of poor rural people toward the sweatshops of Ciudad Juárez and the barrios of Los Angeles.

In some years, "exceptional drought" has engulfed the entire Plains from Canada to Mexico; in other years, crimson conflagrations on weather maps have crept down the Gulf Coast to Louisiana or crossed the Rockies to the interior Northwest. But the semipermanent epicenters have remained the basins of the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers, as well as northern Mexico.

By 2003, for example, Lake Powell had fallen by nearly eighty feet in three years, and crucial reservoirs along the Rio Grande were barely more than mud puddles. The Southwestern winter of 2005-06, meanwhile, was one of the driest on record, and Phoenix went 143 days without a single drop of rain. Rare interruptions in the drought, like the Noachian monsoon of last summer (parts of El Paso received an incredible thirty inches of rain), have been insufficient to adequately recharge aquifers or refill reservoirs, and in 2006 both Arizona and Texas reported the worst drought losses to crops and herds in history (about $7 billion altogether).

Persistent drought, like melting ice, rapidly reorganizes ecosystems and transforms entire landscapes. Without sufficient moisture to produce protective sap, millions of acres of pinyon and ponderosa pine have been ravaged by plagues of bark beetles; these dead forests, in turn, have helped to kindle the firestorms that have burst into the suburbs of Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Denver, as well as destroyed part of Los Alamos. In Texas the grasslands have also burned--nearly 2 million acres in 2006 alone--and as topsoil blows away, prairies are reverting to desert.

Some climatologists have not hesitated to call this a "mega-drought," even the "worst in 500 years." Others have been more cautious, not yet sure whether the current aridity in the West has surpassed the notorious thresholds of the 1930s (the Dust Bowl in the southern Plains) or 1950s (devastating drought in the Southwest). But the debate is possibly beside the point: The most recent and authoritative research finds that the "evening redness in the West" (to invoke the portentous subtitle of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian) is not simply episodic drought but the region's new "normal weather."

In startling testimony before the National Research Council last December, Richard Seager, a senior geophysicist at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, warned that the world's leading climate modelers were cranking out the same result from their super-computers: "According to the models, in the Southwest a climate akin to the 1950s drought becomes the new climate within the next few years to decades."

This extraordinary forecast--"the imminent drying of the U.S. southwest"--is a byproduct of the monumental computational effort that has been mounted by nineteen separate climate models (including the flagship outfits at Boulder, Princeton, Exeter and Hamburg) for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPPC, of course, is the supreme court of climate science, established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988 to assess research on global warming and its impacts. Although President Bush now grudgingly accepts the IPCC warning that the Arctic is rapidly melting, he has probably not yet registered the possibility that his ranch in Crawford might someday become a sand dune.

Climatologists studying tree rings and other natural archives have long been aware that the 1922 Colorado River Compact, which allocates water to the rapidly urbanizing oases of the Southwest, is based on a twenty-one-year record (1899-1921) of river flow that, far from being an average, is actually the wettest anomaly in at least 450 years. More recently, they have gained an understanding of how persistent La Niñas (cold episodes in the eastern equatorial Pacific) can interact with warm spells in the subtropical North Atlantic to generate droughts in the Plains and Southwest that can endure for decades.

But, as Seager emphasized in Washington, the IPCC simulations point to something very different from the arid episodes catalogued in Lamont's North American Drought Atlas (a state-of-the-art compendium of tree-ring records from 2 BC to the present). Unexpectedly, it is the base climate itself, not just its perturbations, that is changing.

Moreover, this abrupt transition to a new, more extreme climate ("unlike any in the last millennium, and probably in the Holocene") arises not out of fluctuations in ocean temperatures but from "changing patterns of atmospheric circulation and water vapor transport that arise as a consequence of atmospheric warming." In a nutshell, the dry lands will become more arid, and the humid lands, wetter. And the drying of the West will be accompanied by blast-furnace heat: IPCC's new report includes an astonishing prediction that temperatures in the American West will increase by an average of nine degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century.

La Niña events, Seager added, will continue to influence rainfall in the Borderlands, but building from a more arid foundation, they could produce the West's worst nightmares: droughts on the scale of the medieval catastrophes that contributed to the notorious collapse of the complex Anasazi societies at Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde during the twelfth century. (To make the bad news from the super-computers even worse, enhanced aridity is also forecast for much of the Mediterranean and the Near East, where epic drought is a well-known historical synonym for war, population displacement and ethnocide.)

Yet mere scientific pronouncement, even to the thunder of nineteen unanimous climate models, is unlikely to cause much of a flutter in golf-course suburbs of Phoenix, where luxury lifestyles consume 400 gallons of water per capita each day. Nor will it stop the bulldozers shaping monstrous strip suburbs of Las Vegas (a projected 160,000 new homes) along US 93 all the way to Kingman, Arizona. Nor, despite possible pumping out of the vast Ogallala Aquifer, the underground water resource lying under eight states in the Great Plains, will it prevent Texas from doubling its population by 2040.

Despite a lot of recent sloganeering about "smart growth" and intelligent water use, desert developers are still stamping out burbs in the same "dumb," environmentally inefficient mold that has blighted Southern California for generations. The trump card of the free-enterprise Southwest, moreover, is that the majority of the water stored within the Colorado River and Rio Grande systems is still dedicated to irrigated agriculture.

Even if "peak water" has now come and gone, desert sprawl can sustain itself in the medium run by killing cotton and alfalfa, while the big growers stay rich selling their federally subsidized water to thirsty suburbs. A prototype of this restructuring is already visible in California's Imperial Valley, where San Diego has been aggressively buying water entitlements. As a result, an attentive air traveler will notice a recent increase in dead squares within the Valley's emerald checkerboard of alfalfa and melons.

More futuristically, there is also the "Saudi" option. Steve Erie, a University of California, San Diego, professor who has written extensively about water politics in Southern California, told me that desert developers in the Southwest and Baja California are confident that they can keep the population boom well-watered through the conversion of seawater. "The new mantra of the water agencies, of course, is incentivizing conservation and reclamation, but rapacious developers are casting covetous eyes at the Pacific Ocean and the alchemy of desalination heedless of the pernicious environmental consequences."

In any event, Erie emphasizes, markets and politicians will continue to vote for the kind of rampant, high-impact suburbanization that now paves and malls thousands of square miles of the fragile Mojave, Sonora and Chihuahua deserts. States and cities, of course, will compete more aggressively than ever over water allocations, "but collectively the growth machines have the power to wrest water from other users."

As water becomes more expensive, the burden of adjustment to the new climatic and hydrological regime will fall on subaltern groups like farmworkers (jobs threatened by water transfers), the urban poor (who could easily see water charges soar by $100 to $200 per month), hardscrabble ranchers (including many Native Americans) and, especially, the imperiled rural populations of Northern Mexico.

Indeed, the ending of the age of cheap water in the Southwest--especially as it may coincide with the end of cheap energy--will accentuate the region's already high levels of class and racial inequality as well as drive more emigrants to gamble with death in dangerous crossings of the border deserts. (It takes little imagination, moreover, to guess the Minutemen's future slogan: "They are coming to steal our water!")

Conservative politics in Arizona and Texas will become even more envenomed and ethnically charged, if that is possible. The Southwest is already sown everywhere with violent nativism and what can only be described as proto-fascism: In the droughts to come, they may be the only seeds to germinate.

As Jared Diamond points out in his recent bestseller Collapse, the ancient Anasazi did not succumb simply to drought but rather to the impact of unexpected aridity upon an over-exploited landscape inhabited by people little prepared to make sacrifices in their "expensive lifestyle." In the last instance, they preferred to eat one another.

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Climate predictions 'bleakest yet'

Source: Reuters
Authors: Jeff Mason
Dated: 2007-04-06
Dateline: Brussels

  • UN climate report released after all-night disputes
  • China, US, Saudia Arabia raised most objections
  • Report says planet fast-tracked to mass die-out
TOP climate experts  have warned that global warming will cause faster and wider damage than previously forecast, ranging from hunger in Africa and Asia to extinctions and rising ocean levels.

More than 100 nations in the UN climate panel agreed a final text after all-night disputes with some scientists accusing government delegates of watering down their findings in a draft 21-page summary for policymakers.

"We have an approved report," chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rajendra Pachauri, said.

The report by the IPCC, the top world authority on climate change grouping 2500 scientists, will guide policy in coming years on issues such as extending the UN's Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

[b]Objections raised


China, Russia and Saudi Arabia had raised most objections during the night to a 21-page summary which makes clear that the poor will suffer most. Other participants also said the United States had toned down some passages.

Some scientists objected, for instance, after China tried to eliminate a note saying that there was "very high confidence" that climate change was already affecting "many natural systems, on all continents and in some oceans".

China, the second largest source of greenhouse gases after the United States and ahead of Russia, wanted no mention of the level of confidence.

Still, delegates sharpened other sections, including adding a warning that some African nations might have to spend 5 to 10 per cent of gross domestic product on adapting to climate change.

Bleak assessment

Overall, the report is the bleakest UN assessment yet of the threat of climate change, predicting water shortages that could affect billions of people, extinctions of species and a rise in ocean levels that could go on for centuries.

It says human greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels, are very likely to be the main cause of warming. It also says climate change could cause a sharp fall in crop yields in Africa, a thaw of Himalayan glaciers and more heatwaves for Europe and North America.

In one section, the IPCC toned down risks of extinctions.

"Approximately 20-30 per cent of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5-2.5 degrees Celsius," the text said.

A previous draft had said 20-30 per cent of all species would be at "high risk" of extinction with those temperature rises.

US delegates rejected suggested wording that parts of North America may suffer "severe economic damage" from warming.

But it toughened some sections by saying "significant loss of biodiversity" was possible in parts of Australia such as the Great Barrier Reef by 2020.

The IPCC report says climate change is no longer a vague, distant threat.

"The whole of climate change is something actually here and now rather than something for the future," said Neil Adger, a British lead author of the report.
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