June 25th, 2008 by Rightsideup

I was pleasantly surprised by this article in the Guardian reporting on the horror of the global warming community to find that even the Brits are not convinced by the alarmism they’ve been spreading. The UK has always seemed to me (based on my frequent trips back and conversations with people there) to be much further along in its adherence to the global warming “consensus” and so this surprised me along with the warming lobby. From the article:

The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans – and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer.

The results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

I’m tempted to say that the British public is smarter than I thought: they don’t just buy this stuff hook, line and sinker as the media has attempted to suggest. Even 2500 scientists can’t persuade them! In reality of course, many ordinary people simply go by the headlines rather than the detailed analysis – what percentage of those surveyed could have told you how many scientists – to the nearest thousand – had authored/agreed that report? (They’d probably have a better answer for how many climate change scientists it takes to change a lightbulb.)

But in most cases most ordinary people who don’t spend their lives with noses buried in newspapers have to go on personal experience plus the occasional headline, tempered by an inherent distrust of the media. In this case, that’s won out over all the blathering by politicians on this subject and the massive buy-in from the media. Pretty impressive that that’s still possible in an age when most of the electorate seems disengaged from the political process in the UK. Now if only that would start translating to political policies…

June 7th, 2008 by Rightsideup

I’ve long been an admirer of Bjorn Lomborg and both his work and writing. His book The Skeptical Environmentalist was a fascinating read, and so down to earth about the subjects it tackled – neither alarmist nor vehemently critical of the global warming movement. And his work with the Copenhagen Consensus Project is also both interesting and refreshing. Both the book and the project are based in rational thinking but tackle subjects where so much of the discussion is political and therefore often irrational.

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial examining the latest round of the Copenhagen Consensus, which has thrown out results broadly similar to previous rounds. Global Warming is considered one of the least effective things to spend money on to improve the lot of the world’s poor in particular, while improved nutrition and other projects are considered far more worthwhile.

I found the video of his talk at the TED event provided a great summary of what the project is, the results it came up with and why it’s important. We need more people like Lomborg in the world – people who are willing to be rational and calm about the major issues we face, seeking out the best information and the best minds available, and bringing them together in a way that provides meaningful answers. We have quite enough Rush Limbaughs, Keith Olbermanns and the like already – shrill, over-simplistic and combative voices are plentiful in today’s world. Give me another Lomborg over another Hannity any day of the week.

April 9th, 2008 by Rightsideup

I have to wonder whether this was an April Fool’s joke. But then again, it’s coming from Ted Turner, so who knows:

Ted Turner in an April 1 interview with Charlie Rose:

TURNER: We have to mobilize the same way we did when we entered World War II in 1941. We have to fully mobilize everything we have and put it into changing the energy system over, and not just here in the United States, but all over the world. . . . not doing it will be catastrophic. We’ll . . . be eight degrees hotter in 10 – not 10, but in 30 or 40 years. And basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died, and the rest of us will be cannibals.

Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state like Somalia or Sudan, and living conditions will be intolerable.

The droughts will be so bad, there will be no more corn growing. . . . we’ve got to stabilize the population.

ROSE: So what is wrong with the population? . . .

TURNER: We’re too many people. That’s why we have global warming. We have global warming because too many people are using too much stuff. If there were less people, they’d be using less stuff. . . . we’ve got to stabilize population. On a voluntary basis, everybody in the world has got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it.

Does even the most extreme global warmist believe any of what Turner says here? Or has he completely lost his mind?

March 26th, 2008 by Rightsideup

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has the latest inconvenient truths on climate change, which appeared the same day as a scare story about a major piece of polar ice breaking off. No time now to cover it here but go see Ed’s piece for a great summary.

February 26th, 2008 by Rightsideup

GM’s Vice Chairman apparently said recently at a conference:

Global warming is a “total crock of ****… I’m a skeptic, not a denier. Having said that, my opinion doesn’t matter. I’m motivated more by the desire to replace imported oil than by the CO2 (argument).

Naturally, this has drawn criticisms from all over, although he made clear then and has done so since on one of the company’s blogs that he still believes GM needs to do what it can to reduce dependence on oil products:

General Motors is dedicated to the removal of cars and trucks from the environmental equation, period. And, believe it or don’t: So am I! It’s the right thing to do, for us, for you and, yes, for the planet. My goal is to take the automotive industry out of the debate entirely. GM is working on just that – and we’re going to keep working on it — via E85, hybrids, hydrogen and fuel cells, and the electrification of the automobile.

His own view on why we should do this, though, is to reduce dependence on imported oil, not out of any desire to save the planet. The upshot, though, is the same: reducing the amount of oil used by the automotive industry. This has been a theme throughout the presidential campaign so far too, although there hasn’t been anywhere near enough emphasis on the supply side of the equation, such as allowing more oil to be drilled and refined domestically – too much of the focus has been on the demand side: i.e. consuming less – including the misguided biofuels effort.

February 23rd, 2008 by Rightsideup

More stories this week about evidence which appears to suggest a counter-trend about climate change. I’m not an expert on these issues, and there may be good reasons why these trends are showing up, but at the very least there’s further evidence that global warmists will not fuss about bending or distorting the truth when it helps them get their message out. See the following quotes from the UK’s Daily Telegraph:

Sea ice cover had shrunk to the lowest level ever recorded. But for some reason the warmists are less keen on the latest satellite findings, reported by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the website Cryosphere Today by the University of Illinois.

This body is committed to warmist orthodoxy and contributes to the work of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yet its graph of northern hemisphere sea ice area, which shows the ice shrinking from 13,000 million sq km to just 4 million from the start of 2007 to October, also shows it now almost back to 13 million sq km.

Still more inconvenient was the truth about an image that has been relentlessly exploited to promote this panic over the “vanishing” Arctic ice. It is the photograph of two polar bears standing forlornly on the fast-melting remains of an iceberg which has been reproduced thousands of times to show that there will soon be no bears left (ignoring evidence that their numbers have risen recently).

and Newsmax:

Are the world’s ice caps melting because of climate change, or are the reports just a lot of scare mongering by the advocates of the global warming theory?

Scare mongering appears to be the case, according to reports from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that reveal that almost all the allegedly “lost” ice has come back. A NOAA report shows that ice levels which had shrunk from 5 million square miles in January 2007 to just 1.5 million square miles in October, are almost back to their original levels.

It would be nice if this would get some mainstream coverage, even if only to point out that these findings are not as counter-cyclical as they appear.

February 13th, 2008 by Rightsideup

This has been well covered today, but one of the better summaries is here. In essence, scientists have discovered that the use of biofuels, which was to have helped in the global warming problem and has therefore been encouraged mandated by the government, is actually worse for the environment than what it’s replacing. The problem is that biofuels are derived from plants and other naturally growing materials, and harvesting those contributes far more to CO2 in the atmosphere than any study on the benefits of biofuels has previously taken into account.

So, can we please slow down just a little bit with our solutions to climate change? Even if there is “consensus” about the reality and causes of climate change, it appears we have rather further to go until there is consensus about which measures will help rather than hinder the cause.

This will also be an interesting test case of whether government can ever reverse itself and lift regulation it has imposed – it seems obvious at this point that it’s the right thing to do, but I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t happen…

February 11th, 2008 by Rightsideup

My previous post took the IBD to task for misrepresenting the views of one scientist – Ken Tapping – in its article on global warming. Dr Tapping had responded to my email by saying the article was “rubbish” and explaining that in his view CO2-caused climate change is the biggest challenge facing us today, and that solar cooling might only mask the effects for a few years.

There was a second scientist quoted in the paper – Tim Patterson. Unlike Dr Tapping he apparently doesn’t check his work email late on Friday nights or over the weekend and so only responded this (Monday) morning. His response – as I had assumed from what I’ve read/heard about him elsewhere – was that his positions had indeed been accurately characterised in the article.

He attached to his email two papers from colleagues (which I’ve posted here and here) which support his thesis. So it appears that not every source quoted / cited by IBD in this case was misrepresented, which is a small mercy.

February 9th, 2008 by Rightsideup

On the whole I’ve been fairly sceptical of the whole global warming thing and have tended to side with those who suggested that either:

  • Too little was known to be as conclusive as some are and want us to be
  • A mountain was being made out of a molehill in terms of actual temperature change, or
  • We didn’t know for sure what was causing rising temperatures and so attacking one cause might be a big waste of time and money.

I haven’t changed my views on this, and so I at first read this article in Investors’ Business Daily with interest. However, something about it didn’t ring true, and I eventually realised that it cited several people without actually quoting any of them. I figured the two people actually mentioned in the article shouldn’t be too hard to find, and sure enough I quickly dug up email addresses for both. I sent them each an email asking whether their views had been accurately represented and whether they agreed with the gist of the article.

Dr Ken Tapping, who is cited in the article as follows:

Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.

wrote back to my email. His first line is:

The article is rubbish.

An inauspicious start, to say the least. He goes on to say:

I believe that global climate change is the biggest problem facing us today. As yet we have no idea of exactly how serious it can get or where the tipping point may be.

The lateness of the start of the solar activity cycle is not yet enough to be something to worry about. However, even if we were to go into another minimum, and the Sun dims for a few decades, as it did during the Maunder Minimum, it could reduce the problem for a while, but things will come back worse when the cycle starts again.

So, in short, his views have been completely misrepresented (or, since he hasn’t actually been quoted and no views have explicitly been ascribed to him) he has technically only had his name used in a misleading way. Needless to say, he’s frustrated about this.

I note that the original article has no forum for comments of feedback so there’s no way to attach caveats to the article in a public place. In addition, it’s been picked up in other places across the web by global warming sceptics so it’s like any bad rumour and at this point very hard to rein in.

Since I’m largely sympathetic towards the thrust of the article, I find this all the more frustrating. Either there really are scientists out there who hold the views cited in the article, in which case they should have been the ones quoted, or there aren’t and therefore the article should not have been written. Either way, it’s extremely dishonest journalism. And it simply provides more ammunition for the global warming enthusiasts since it fits nicely with their narrative about scientific consensus.

April 26th, 2007 by Rightsideup

More on the carbon cap and carbon credits scam from the Financial Times. Further evidence that the global warming lobby and its supporters have been more interested in being seen to do something than actually doing anything that makes a significant impact.