Lest we forget even for a moment, a little collection of recent comments and developments in the Holy Global Warming Jihad ...
Here's Christopher Booker writing on 7th March in the Telegraph ...
How odd that, last Monday, none of our media global warming groupies should have bothered to report what was billed to be "the largest ever demonstration for civil disobedience over climate change". There was talk of hundreds of thousands of protestors converging on Washington to hear Jim Hansen, the scientist who talks of coal-fired power stations as "factories of death", call yet again for all coal plants to be closed. Perhaps the lack of coverage was due to the fact that, before Hansen arrived to address a forlorn group of several hundred hippies, Washington was blanketed in nearly a foot of snow.
It was generally another bad week for the warmists. The Met Office, which has been one of the chief pushers of the global warming scare for 20 years, had to admit that this has been "Britain's coldest winter for 13 years", despite its prediction last September that the winter would be "milder than average". This didn't of course stop it predicting that 2009 will be one of "the top-five warmest years on record".
US climate sceptics such as those on the Watts Up With That website, for whom the predictions of the UK Met Office have become a regular source of amusement, recalled its forecast that 2007 would be "the warmest year on record globally", just before global temperatures dived by nearly a full degree Celsius, cancelling out the entire net warming of the past 100 years.
Ever wilder wax the beleaguered warmists in their rhetoric. Our science minister Lord Drayson said last week he was "shocked" to find how many of the captains of industry he meets are "climate deniers". This was the same Lord Drayson who, as our defence procurement minister, assured Parliament in 2006 that Snatch Land Rovers afforded "the level of protection we need". The continuing death toll of soldiers in these unprotected vehicles approaches 40.
Even Drayson is outbid, however, by the groupies in The Guardian, who now suggest that people like Christopher Booker should no longer be compared to "Holocaust deniers" but consigned to even more outer darkness by branding them as climate "Creationists", the dirtiest word they know. Meanwhile at the University of the West of England in Bristol this weekend, a conference of "eco-psychologists", led by a professor, are solemnly exploring the notion that "climate change denial" should be classified as a form of "mental disorder".
I myself am off this weekend to New York, to join all the top "deniers", "creationists" and victims of psychic disorder at a conference organised by the Heartland Institute. It is an honour to be asked to speak alongside such luminaries as Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, Dr Fred Singer, founder of the US satellite weather forecasting service, and the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus (not to mention those two revered climate bloggers, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit and Anthony Watts). I shall report on this historic event next week.
The new battleground, it seems, is to be the oceans. But the "advice" of scientists is strangely contradictory ...
The oceans are thought to have absorbed about half of the extra CO2 put into the atmosphere in the industrial age. This has lowered its pH by 0.1.
pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity. The vast majority of liquids lie between pH 0 (very acidic) and pH 14 (very alkaline); 7 is neutral. Seawater is mildly alkaline with a "natural" pH of about 8.2. The IPCC forecasts that ocean pH will fall by "between 0.14 and 0.35 units over the 21st Century, adding to the present decrease of 0.1 units since pre-industrial times".
More than 150 top marine researchers have voiced their concerns through the "Monaco Declaration", which warns that changes in acidity are accelerating. The declaration, supported by Prince Albert II of Monaco, builds on findings from an earlier international summit. It says pH levels are changing 100 times faster than natural variability.
Based on the research priorities identified at The Ocean in a High CO2 World symposium, held in October 2008, the declaration states:
"We scientists who met in Monaco to review what is known about ocean acidification declare that we are deeply concerned by recent, rapid changes in ocean chemistry and their potential, within decades, to severely affect marine organisms, food webs, biodiversity and fisheries."
It calls on policymakers to stabilise CO2 emissions "at a safe level to avoid not only dangerous climate change but also dangerous ocean acidification". The researchers warn that ocean acidification, which they refer to as "the other CO2 problem", could make most regions of the ocean inhospitable to coral reefs by 2050, if atmospheric CO2 levels continue to increase. The also say that it could lead to substantial changes in commercial fish stocks, threatening food security for millions of people.
"The chemistry is so fundamental and changes so rapid and severe that impacts on organisms appear unavoidable," said Dr James Orr, chairman of the symposium. "The questions are now how bad will it be and how soon will it happen."
And yet it seems scientists are also serious about persuading the oceans to absorb even more CO2. James Morgan reported on the BBC News ...
Plans to curb climate change by using plankton to draw carbon dioxide into the world's oceans have been boosted. A spectacular natural algal bloom in the Southern Ocean helped to "lock" carbon away into deep sea sediments, according to a study in Nature journal. But the amount of carbon stored was not nearly as high as some artificial "geo-engineering" schemes had predicted.
The international research team behind the Crozex study say their findings have "significant implications" for plans to mitigate climate change. They come as scientists resume a controversial ocean fertilisation experiment in the Scotia Sea, east of Argentina. The Lohafex study had been suspended by the German government after environmental groups protested that it violates the terms of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. They fear that adding iron to oceans may damage ecosystems.
Using algae as a "biological carbon pump" has been touted as one of the more promising "geo-engineering" schemes for mitigating global warming. Plankton act as a natural sponge for carbon dioxide - drawing the greenhouse gas down out of the atmosphere and into the sea. When plankton die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean, locking away some of the carbon they have absorbed. Experiments suggest that "seeding" oceans with iron can stimulate the growth of plankton - particularly waters which are rich in nutrients.
But exactly how much carbon sinks to the sea floor, and how long it remains locked away, is still unknown.
In the Crozex experiment, an international research team sailed to the Crozet Islands, in the Southern Ocean, about 2,200km (1,400 miles) southeast of South Africa. These waters experience a spectacular annual plankton bloom the size of Ireland, 120,000 sq km (46,300 sq miles) fertilised by iron naturally supplied from the islands' volcanic rocks. The researchers used sediment traps to follow the passage of carbon from the sea surface to the ocean floor.
They found that seawater and sediment samples taken directly beneath the bloom were two-to-three times richer in carbon, compared to samples from a nearby ocean region which was rich in nutrients, but not in iron. "Our results have significant implications for proposals to mitigate the effects of climate change through purposeful addition of iron to the ocean," said lead author Professor Raymond Pollard, of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. "Our findings support the hypothesis that increased iron supply ... may have directly enhanced carbon export to the deep ocean. [However] our estimate of carbon sequestration for a given iron supply still falls 15-50 times short of some geo-engineering estimates."
Researchers on board the vessel RV Polarstern have now begun seeding six tonnes of iron sulphate over 300 square kilometres of the Scotia Sea, east of Argentina. "As this paper shows, much larger amounts of iron are being added daily by natural processes around the Crozet Island," said Professor Andrew Watson, University of East Anglia, "and that doesn't seem to have done the Antarctic ecosystem any harm."
It seems the carbon dioxide brigade are running scared because the original researchers are now coming out of the woodwork and refuting anthropogenic climate change, claiming their original reports have been grossly misinterpreted and exaggerated. Desperate to keep their research budgets, these pseudo science scare mongers have invented a new environmental disaster to con us with - Global Acidification.
Note the use of the word "change" in the text of the report - and the repeated use of the word "may". This suggests that they don't know what they're talking about or what they think, if anything, is going to happen and so won't commit themselves.
While this argument rages (well, not rages exactly. More like "flops feebly about"), the Met Office predicted one of the warmest winters ever for Britain - which would, of course, be strong evidence for Global Warming. Unfortunately they had to do a quick U-turn when the weather turned out to be particularly cold - and that, too, was evidence of Global Warming.
Meanwhile, journalist Stephanie Pain told us ...
People across Europe awoke on 6 January 1709 to find the temperature had plummeted. A three-week freeze was followed by a brief thaw - and then the mercury plunged again and stayed there. From Scandinavia in the north to Italy in the south, and from Czechoslovakia in the east to the west coast of France, everything turned to ice. The sea froze. Lakes and rivers froze, and the soil froze to a depth of a metre or more. Livestock died from cold in their barns, chicken's combs froze and fell off, trees exploded and travellers froze to death on the roads. It was the coldest winter in 500 years.
In England they called the winter of 1709 the Great Frost. In France it entered legend as Le Grand Hiver, three months of deadly cold that ushered in a year of famine and food riots. In Scandinavia the Baltic froze so thoroughly that people could walk across the ice as late as April. In Switzerland hungry wolves crept into villages. Venetians skidded across their frozen lagoon, while off Italy's west coast, sailors aboard English men-of-war died from the cold. "I believe the Frost was greater (if not more universal also) than any other within the Memory of Man," wrote William Derham, one of England's most meticulous meteorological observers. He was right. Three hundred years on, it holds the record as the coldest European winter of the past half-millennium.
Derham was the Rector of Upminster, a short ride north-east of London. He had been checking his thermometer and barometer three times a day since 1697. Similarly dedicated observers scattered across Europe did much the same and their records tally remarkably closely. On the night of 5 January, the temperature fell dramatically and kept on falling. On 10 January, Derham logged -12 °C, the lowest temperature he had ever measured. In France, the temperature dipped lower still. In Paris, it sank to -15 °C on 14 January and stayed there for 11 days. After a brief thaw at the end of that month the cold returned with a vengeance and stayed until mid-March.
Later that year, Derham wrote a detailed account of the freeze and the destruction it caused for the Royal Society's Transactions. Fish froze in the rivers, game lay down in the fields and died, and small birds perished by the million. The loss of tender herbs and exotic fruit trees was no surprise, but even hardy native oaks and ash trees succumbed. The loss of the wheat crop was "a general calamity". England's troubles were trifling, however, compared to the suffering across the English Channel.
In France, the freeze gripped the whole country as far as the Mediterranean. Even the king and his courtiers at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles struggled to keep warm. The Duchess of Orleans wrote to her aunt in Germany: "I am sitting by a roaring fire, have a screen before the door, which is closed, so that I can sit here with a sable fur piece around my neck and my feet in a bearskin sack and I am still shivering with cold and can barely hold the pen. Never in my life have I seen a winter such as this one."
In more humble homes, people went to bed and woke to find their nightcaps frozen to the bed-head. Bread froze so hard it took an axe to cut it. According to a canon from Beaune in Burgundy, "travellers died in the countryside, livestock in the stables, wild animals in the woods; nearly all the birds died, wine froze in barrels and public fires were lit to warm the poor". From all over the country came reports of people found frozen to death. And with roads and rivers blocked by snow and ice, it was impossible to transport food to the cities. Paris waited three months for fresh supplies.
There was worse to come. Everywhere, fruit, nut and olive trees died. The winter wheat crop was destroyed. When spring finally arrived, the cold was replaced by worsening food shortages. In Paris, many survived only because the authorities, fearing an uprising, forced the rich to provide soup kitchens. With no grain to make bread, some country people made "flour" by grinding ferns, bulking out their loaves with nettles and thistles. By the summer, there were reports of starving people in the fields "eating grass like sheep". Before the year was out more than a million had died from cold or starvation.
The fact that so many people left accounts of the freeze suggests the winter of 1708/1709 was unusually bad, but just how extraordinary was it?
In 2004, Jürg Luterbacher, a climatologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, produced a month-by-month reconstruction of Europe's climate since 1500, using a combination of direct measurements, proxy indicators of temperature such as tree rings and ice cores, and data gleaned from historical documents (Science, vol 303, p 1499). The winter of 1708-1709 was the coldest. Across large parts of Europe the temperature was as much as 7 °C below the average for 20th-century Europe.
Oh well, that proves it, then. In 1709 it was far, far colder than it has been at any time since, so the Globe must be heating up.
But still these pesky climate-change-deniers, these Luddites, these flat-earthers keep coming out of the woodwork. The latest is Harrison Schmitt, a former astronaut who walked on the moon and a geologist who once served New Mexico in the U.S. Senate. He doesn’t believe that humans are causing global warming ...
"I don’t think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect," said Schmitt, who is among 70 sceptics scheduled to speak this month at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York. Schmitt contends that scientists "are being intimidated" if they disagree with the idea that burning fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide levels, temperatures and sea levels.
"They’ve seen too many of their colleagues lose grant funding when they haven’t gone along with the so-called political consensus that we’re in a human-caused global warming," Schmitt said.
Dan Williams, publisher with the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, which is hosting the climate change conference, said he invited Schmitt after reading about his resignation from The Planetary Society, a non-profit organisation dedicated to space exploration. Schmitt resigned after the group blamed global warming on human activity. In his resignation letter, the 74-year-old geologist argued that the "global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making."
Schmitt said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise. Geological evidence indicates changes in sea level have been going on for thousands of years. He said smaller changes are related to changes in the elevation of land masses — for example, the Great Lakes are rising because the earth’s crust is rebounding from being depressed by glaciers.
All sorts of things are blamed on the alleged Global Warming. Some have suggested that tsunamis may be associated with climate change, which ignores the true causes of these terrifying tidal waves. The tsunami that took such a toll in Asia - and which it is feared may be repeated soon - was caused by an earthquake under the sea, and that earthquake was caused by the shifting of the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's surface.
Many millions of years ago, India was an island. It drifted slowly north until it crashed into Asia - and kept going. One effect was to crush and crumple the land, raising it up and creating the Himalayas. The Himalayas are still rising - or would be, if they weren't being eroded at almost the same rate - because India is still on the march.
And it's been doing this for age upon age. During some of those ages the archaeological evidence shows that the Earth was largely tropical. During others the great glaciers covered everything. To suggest that a temperature difference of a degree or so could have any effect on this massive process is very silly indeed.
Now let's hear no more about it.
Still, it's nice to be able to report that there are some reputable scientists still prepared to tell the truth as they see it and hang the consequences. One story that hardly made the papers at all was that in Japan an academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields and acting as an advisory panel to the Japanese government has issued a report that says Global warming isn't man-made, and climate science is little better than 'ancient astrology'.
And in America ...
Award-winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer declared man-made global warming fears “mistaken” and noted that the Earth was currently in a “CO2 famine now.” Happer, who has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, made his remarks during today’s Environment and Public Works Full Committee Hearing entitled “Update on the Latest Global Warming Science.”
“Many people don’t realize that over geological time, we’re really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as it has been in the Holocene (geologic epoch) – 280 (parts per million - ppm) – that’s unheard of. Most of the time [CO2 levels] have been at least 1000 (ppm) and it’s been quite higher than that,” Happer told the Senate Committee.
“Earth was just fine in those times,” he added. “The oceans were fine, plants grew, animals grew fine. So it’s baffling to me that we’re so frightened of getting nowhere close to where we started.”
Happer also noted that “the number of [skeptical scientists] with the courage to speak out is growing” and he warned “children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science.”
“The existence of climate variability in the past has long been an embarrassment to those who claim that all climate change is due to man and that man can control it," he said. "When I was a schoolboy, my textbooks on earth science showed a prominent ‘medieval warm period’ at the time the Vikings settled Greenland, followed by a vicious ‘little ice age’ that drove them out. So I was very surprised when I first saw the celebrated ‘hockey stick curve,’ in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC. I could hardly believe my eyes. Both the little ice age and the Medieval Warm Period were gone, and the newly revised temperature of the world since the year 1000 had suddenly become absolutely flat until the last hundred years when it shot up like the blade on a hockey stick. This was far from an obscure detail, and the hockey stick was trumpeted around the world as evidence that the end was near. We now know that the hockey stick has nothing to do with reality but was the result of incorrect handling of proxy temperature records and incorrect statistical analysis. There really was a little ice age and there really was a medieval warm period that was as warm or warmer than today.”
“The whole hockey-stick episode reminds me of the motto of Orwell’s Ministry of Information in the novel 1984: ‘He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.’ I keep hearing about the ‘pollutant CO2,’ or about ‘poisoning the atmosphere’ with CO2, or about minimizing our ‘carbon footprint.’ This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: ‘But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.’ CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving ‘pollutant’ and ‘poison’ of their original meaning. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million, or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth. Commercial greenhouse operators often use CO2 as a fertilizer to improve the health and growth rate of their plants. Plants, and our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of atmospheric CO2 were about 1000 ppm, a level that we will probably not reach by burning fossil fuels, and far above our current level of about 380 ppm. We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels.”
And we'll finish with an idea for one of our readers. J*** R****** admits he isn't a scientist or an engineer. Neither is he an eco-warrior or environmentalist. He describes himself as "just someone who sees what might be a useful resource going to waste", and in these hard times that, to him, is a sin ...
"Large amounts of methane (and probably other combustible gasses) are released into the atmosphere constantly from easily defined sources, such as dumps for household waste, effluent from farms and sewerage plants.
If these sources could be set up in such a way as contain and therefore collect this gas, then, could the gas be used as a fuel to supply heat and power to large users of energy? I am thinking in terms of hospitals, schools and other municipal buildings. Alternatively could this supply power to the national grid?
1. Methane is a greenhouse gas, and its removal from the atmosphere would help to keep the eco-terrorists happy.
2. Sewerage plants are already secure in terms of leakage at ground level to stop pollution. Only the top would need ‘fixing’, and the installation of pumps and tanks to receive the gas.
3. Farms that concentrate on animal husbandry should already have some measures in place for the containment and basic treatment of effluent, and would require some upgrading, but that should be easily defined. Operations that house pigs and poultry (as opposed to ‘free-range) should be easier to deal with as they tend to be a ‘closed’ environment.
4. Household waste dumps are more difficult because of their size, but if the idea was planned in at the initial stages, it becomes a possibility. One major benefit would be the reduced fire risk, another would be that the dump would have to be managed actively while dumping is going on, giving the chance to sort into different areas the types of waste that would produce high and low outputs of gas."
The GOS says: Nah, that’ll never work – much too sensible. We could try just shooting all the polar bears – they fart, don’t they?
Above I used the term "tidal waves" to describe tsunamis, and I await the first email taking me to task and telling me that tsunamis aren't caused by the tides, though waves like the Severn Bore certainly are.
So just in case you are one of those with digits poised to write the first email, let me point out that the word "tide" is by no means exact or exclusive. One use of the word is to describe the regular rise and fall of the oceans because of the gravitational influence of sun and moon, true enough.
But the word can mean other things as well. "There is a tide in the affairs of men" is a well-known Shakespearean quote which certainly doesn't suggest something that happens day in, day out, but a less regular opportunity that must be seized whenever it occurs. In the 1830s a "tide" of revolutionary fervour swept across Europe - but not twice a day.
And at Christmas when we sing of "glad tidings", we mean "good news". And sorry, but to anyone who lives near the sea or sails upon it, the flood tide and the ebb tide aren't exactly news. These glad tidings happened just the once.
So calm down, close your email, and go and make a cup of tea.
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