The real environmental danger: pond scum

March 5th, 2015

Lindzen, yes that Lindzen:

Research in recent years has encouraged those of us who question the popular alarm over allegedly man-made global warming. Actually, the move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom.

Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn.

As to the science itself, it’s worth noting that all predictions of warming since the onset of the last warming episode of 1978-98 — which is the only period that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) attempts to attribute to carbon-dioxide emissions — have greatly exceeded what has been observed. These observations support a much reduced and essentially harmless climate response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

In addition, there is experimental support for the increased importance of variations in solar radiation on climate and a renewed awareness of the importance of natural unforced climate variability that is largely absent in current climate models. There also is observational evidence from several independent studies that the so-called “water vapor feedback,” essential to amplifying the relatively weak impact of carbon dioxide alone on Earth temperatures, is canceled by cloud processes.

There are also claims that extreme weather — hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, you name it — may be due to global warming. The data show no increase in the number or intensity of such events. The IPCC itself acknowledges the lack of any evident relation between extreme weather and climate, though allowing that with sufficient effort some relation might be uncovered.

World leaders (insert examples of world-class fools here and here) proclaim that climate change is our greatest problem, demonizing carbon dioxide. Yet atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have been vastly higher through most of Earth’s history. Climates both warmer and colder than the present have coexisted with these higher levels.

Currently elevated levels of carbon dioxide have contributed to increases in agricultural productivity. Indeed, climatologists before the recent global warming hysteria referred to warm periods as “climate optima.” Yet world leaders are embarking on costly policies that have no capacity to replace fossil fuels but enrich crony capitalists at public expense, increasing costs for all, and restricting access to energy to the world’s poorest populations that still lack access to electricity’s immense benefits.

Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy. So it is unsurprising that great efforts have been made to ramp up hysteria, even as the case for climate alarm is disintegrating.

The latest example began with an article published in the New York Times on Feb. 22 about Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Mr. Soon has, for over 25 years, argued for a primary role of solar variability on climate. But as Greenpeace noted in 2011, Mr. Soon was, in small measure, supported by fossil-fuel companies over a period of 10 years.

The Times reintroduced this old material as news, arguing that Mr. Soon had failed to list this support in a recent paper in Science Bulletin of which he was one of four authors. Two days later Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, used the Times article as the basis for a hunting expedition into anything said, written and communicated by seven individuals — David Legates, John Christy, Judith Curry, Robert Balling, Roger Pielke Jr., Steven Hayward and me — about testimony we gave to Congress or other governmental bodies. We were selected solely on the basis of our objections to alarmist claims about the climate.

In letters he sent to the presidents of the universities employing us (although I have been retired from MIT since 2013), Mr. Grijalva wanted all details of all of our outside funding, and communications about this funding, including “consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and any other monies.” Mr. Grijalva acknowledged the absence of any evidence but purportedly wanted to know if accusations made against Mr. Soon about alleged conflicts of interest or failure to disclose his funding sources in science journals might not also apply to us.

Perhaps the most bizarre letter concerned the University of Colorado’s Mr. Pielke. His specialty is science policy, not science per se, and he supports reductions in carbon emissions but finds no basis for associating extreme weather with climate. Mr. Grijalva’s complaint is that Mr. Pielke, in agreeing with the IPCC on extreme weather and climate, contradicts the assertions of John Holdren, President Obama ’s science czar.

Mr. Grijalva’s letters convey an unstated but perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense — and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress. After the Times article, Sens. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) also sent letters to numerous energy companies, industrial organizations and, strangely, many right-of-center think tanks (including the Cato Institute, with which I have an association) to unearth their alleged influence peddling.

It would be comical if it weren’t so serious. Decades ago some guys noticed a correlation between a tiny increase in a gas and a tiny increase in a temperature and turned it into a trillion dollar industry. And the cover-up began when the correlation stopped.

As for the politicians cited or linked to above, they are either stupid or ignorant or lacking in common sense or too self-important or maybe con-men on the take — or maybe all of the above; hey, they’re politicians! You know our position on all of this: ban argon! HT: PL

They sow not, neither do they reap

March 4th, 2015

Wretchard: “It’s almost as if there were two parallel universes. The real one in which the rest of the world lives and the fantasy land bounded by the Beltway and the media capitals.” Don’t forget the universities too. The closer you get to these tenured or semi-tenured worlds the further from reality you get. After all, you’re living off the productivity of others, in a world where income and performance often bear no relation to each other. WRM: the government needs “to make foreign policy for the country they’ve got, rather than making foreign policy for a hypothetical country that exists only in their hopes.” They sow not, neither do they reap; but ah, how they dream.

Quote of the day

March 3rd, 2015

A smart fellow who knows a little history: “the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.” Gosh, that fellow is so smart we were shocked to learn that he hadn’t published his first autobiography by the age of 35.

Our recommendation

March 2nd, 2015

Of course we agree with VDH as usual. But how depressing is that? Our recommendation is the Brahms horn trio. Much better way to spend time.

Either or

March 1st, 2015

First, the feel good part. Up to Sept 7, 1966, Vulcan was the god of fire. After that, in short order, it became something else entirely. Pretty amazing accomplishment when you think about it.

Feeling good? Well, read these from David Gelernter and Clarice and you won’t be.

It’s clearly blue, right?

February 28th, 2015

See for yourself.

Super fun bonus: there’s a word for this and it is projection.

He’s dead, Jim

February 27th, 2015

Bones: “We’ve heard it a hundred times, that Bill’s getting fat and I’m looking like death.” That was 23 years ago. We hope that Spock enjoys a new life on Omicron Ceti III.

Sigh

February 26th, 2015

RIP, again and again and again and all the same story.

They blinded him with science

February 25th, 2015

Pielke:

Prof. Roger Pielke, Jr., at CU’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts. His 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.”

Powerline has more on this increasingly strange group of witch hunters. Ban argon!!

More chickens come home to roost

February 24th, 2015

Rajendra Pachauri’s hockey stick has a few problems, according to Mark Steyn. We noted some of the issues with this fine gentleman half a decade ago and more. Pull quote from 2007: “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late, there is not time.” Evidently the “action” he was talking about then was seriously misunderstood.

Woof!

February 23rd, 2015

Apropos of what we discussed just yesterday, dog bites man. (Like chooses like to be with and emulate; it is the way of the world.) On the other hand, man bites dog over at CBS. Woof!

Strolling down memory lane

February 22nd, 2015

Deep thoughts from a decade ago:

The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme. We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.

And from AP in early 2008:

At the press club, he jokingly offered himself as his running mate and embraced Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan even though he said he doesn’t always agree with him. He criticized the U.S. government as imperialist and stood by his suggestion that the U.S. invented the HIV virus as a means of genocide against minorities. “Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything,” he said.

So now you have one part of a 4-part answer to the question this man is asking. QED

Beware of ECBs bearing gifts

February 21st, 2015

Stratfor:

Greece and its lenders reached a temporary deal late Feb. 20. The agreement was carefully crafted to make both Athens and the reluctant governments of Northern Europe happy, but it comes at the price of postponing a resolution of the crucial issues. As a result, a “Grexit” from the eurozone will be deferred in the immediate term, but the crisis is far from over.

Greece and the Eurogroup agreed to extend Athens’ bailout program for four months. The agreement keeps Greece under the protective umbrella of the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The ECB will continue to provide liquidity for Greek banks, while the European Union and the IMF will make funds available should Greece need them.

However, this deal has left many questions unanswered. First, Greece promised to present a list of economic reforms — probably focused on cracking down on tax evasion and corruption and reforming Greece’s public administration — by Feb. 23. This list will be further detailed and then agreed upon with the European Union and the IMF by the end of April. In order for Greece to receive the next tranche of the bailout, the European Union and the IMF will have to accept these proposals. (This is probably the part of the deal that made the agreement acceptable for Germany.) Still, the key source of conflict between Athens and Berlin — the specific reforms that Greece will apply in exchange for the bailout money — has only been postponed.

Second, the size of Greece’s primary surplus was also omitted in the agreement. The European Union and the IMF promised Greece to take its economic situation into account when setting a deficit target, a small victory for Athens. This issue will also become problematic again in April, when Athens is supposed to present the exact details of what it plans to do.

In the coming days, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will have to sell the deal to the most radical members of his left-wing Coalition

Alan Greenspan: “I believe they will eventually leave. I don’t think it helps them or the rest of the eurozone — it is just a matter of time before everyone recognises that parting is the best strategy. The problem is that there there is no way that I can conceive of the euro of continuing, unless and until all of the members of eurozone become politically integrated — actually even just fiscally integrated won’t do it.” He’s right of course; it’s just a matter of time. It will be interesting to see if Tsipras can sell this mini-deal at home.

BTW, a decade ago we thought the euro was likely to fail; our reasoning was what is playing out now.

Idiocy of the day

February 20th, 2015

Way beyond parody at this point.

Compare and contrast

February 19th, 2015

This and This. Ha.

It’s getting hard to overstate just how weird things have gotten. Weird. A parallel universe where 98% of bad things are either secular or the fault of some guy Kony. Of course the most interesting thing is that the crazy narrative of the administration carries no weight with most Americans, including for the first time the MSM, who now put serious people like Graeme Wood on the air.

Did we say weird? How about not backing Egypt’s play against ISIS? How about guys like Rudy Giuliani now saying openly and in public what a lot of people only thought or whispered a couple of years ago? (Final bonus fun from AT.) Weird.

More progress

February 17th, 2015

Graeme Wood, who teaches at Yale and speaks Arabic, in The Atlantic:

the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail…

ISIS follows a distinctive variety of Islam…The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not — cannot — waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam…

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments — the stoning and crop destruction — juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide…But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone — unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

Progress at the WaPo was a tentative thing, but this is really straight talk in an establishment publication.

It’s not Washington’s birthday, and other matters

February 16th, 2015

And February 22nd isn’t either. George Washington was born on February 11, 1731, according to the Julian calendar in use at the time. England and the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, which changed the DOB by a year and 11 days. The government moved the holiday to third Monday in the late sixties, around the time of other convenient scams. Will we ever learn?

Other matters include the enjoyable if very uneven and way too long SNL 40 show. Nice and sentimental to see the geezers. We recall that, if memory serves, NBC gave away tickets on the street for the first few shows, and we turned down tickets to show #2. That was a famous one with Paul Simon, but it seemed kinda late. Also, Jack Cashill notes what some of the now-geezers were doing back in the mid-70’s.

Life in the age of blather

February 15th, 2015

Somebody at Daily Beast:

the violence perpetrated by Christian terrorists in America. For starters, since 1977 there have been ”8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 181 arsons, and thousands of incidences of other criminal activities” targeting reproductive health care facilities here at home. With few exceptions, there were perpetrated by Christians

We wonder if the percent of Americans who agree and disagree with this has changed since the GZM controversy.

Final point: let’s count, hmmm, 1 murder every 5 years in the example above, versus, say, 21 a day in some other places.

Pictures at an exhibition

February 14th, 2015

We don’t usually go there, but hey, the WaPo did. And these folks just look so Feb 14 happy! That’s it. Have fun!

Hmmmm

February 13th, 2015

There’s a new book by Peter Wallison on the financial crisis of 2008. You know, Lehman Brothers and the expensive disaster that ensued. (We note in passing that Wallison seems to share our opinion of Dodd-Frank.) What’s very interesting is the range of views at Amazon. A lot of 5’s offset by a lot of 1’s. Most curious is that almost all of the 1’s come from people who have no other reviews of books or no other reviews at all, so they’re bogus. That in itself would seem to be a pretty good reason to buy the book. But here’s the question: who are the trolls???