Environment Archives

A Remark on Atlanta and Inclement Weather

One of the nice things about the Internet and blogging is you hear ordinary voices from all over. Atlanta recently had a few inches of snow a condition with which drivers in Atlanta are not experienced at driving and the road crews are not equipped with the supplies of shovels and salt or sand that we have in the north. So … before y’all get all cocky about how you don’t even blink at a few inches in your area and schools don’t close unless more is dumped. Consider. I read a few years back from an Alaskan blogger who pointed out that schools in her town don’t close unless more than 48″ are dumped on the town in less than 24 hours. So. Set your pride aside and consider how Chicago, Minneapolis, or New York (or your town) would react to having a few inches less than 48″ of snow on a Tuesday and remember those Alaskans would treat it as business as usual.

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    A Chilling Effect

    What if I told you that ice levels in Antarctica have reached 35-year record highs? What if I told you that the rise in the surface temperature of the earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that? And what if I told you that the lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace?

    Well figure out what you would do if I told you, because I’m telling you. And I’ll tell you this as well; many climate scientists aren’t sure what to do. They’re trying to come up with explanations, but so far they’re just theories plucked out of thin air.

    When the facts don’t fit the theories, scientists claim that they will rework the theories. Well, so far, we’ve seen little reworking and more digging in. And here’s another “what if”; what if the media gave this as much attention as they did stories of a spot here or a point there where warming is occurring? This isn’t weather, as they love to say; this is a pause in the warming of the climate that they’re having trouble figuring out. What if people were told about this, or is liberal orthodoxy in the media having a chilling effect?

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      Climate Models That Aren’t Modeling

      In October of 2012, I noticed an article noting that global warming had essentially stopped since 1997. Well, it’s still stopped, and Professor Judith Curry from the Georgia Institute of Technology is taking a closer look at it.

      A paper by her in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics not only explains the pause, it suggests that the scientific majority have underestimated the role of natural cycles and exaggerated that of greenhouse gases. This is the foundation on which the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC report we keep hearing about) is built, and she’s shaking it to the core.

      Imagine that; nature – the massive ecosystem that is our planet Earth – has more influence than man.

      Check out this article that includes a graph of what all the various and sundry climate models have predicted, and then a line showing reality. The climate is now at a point at the bottom of the lowest prediction model. On top of that, Professor Curry says that this is likely to continue until at least 2035. She presents evidence of natural cycles that can be documents for the past 300 years in making this claim.

      Now, accept or reject Professor Curry’s data or conclusions, we still are left with the nagging issue of predictions, used by the UN, that were presented with 95+% certainty. Somebody didn’t tell Mother Nature. Well, more likely, as Prof. Curry said, “The growing divergence between climate model simulations and observations raises the prospect that climate models are inadequate in fundamental ways.”

      “Inadequate.” That’s putting it mildly. Not unlike our climate, actually.

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        The Science Was Settled

        That is, during the 1970s, what they were saying about global cooling sounds quite a lot like what they’re saying today about global warming. Anthony Watts has compiled 65 stories from that era that talked up the dangers of a new Ice Age, including remedies like outlawing the internal combustion engine, population control, and the loss of democracy to save us from the coming disaster.  And these were just those available online from a time 20 years before the Internet.

        This includes findings from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, so it’s not just a bunch of journalists getting themselves in a tizzy. So this is something for a little perspective.

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          The Science is … Settled?

          If it is, it may not be in the way  you’ve been told.

          Don’t look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

          Is this some sort of sea change? Again, not necessarily.

          Another interesting aspect of this new survey is that it reports on the beliefs of scientists themselves rather than bureaucrats who often publish alarmist statements without polling their member scientists. We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe.

          An inconvenient truth, to be sure.

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            Without much fanfare, figures were released recently that shows global temperatures remaining flat for the past 16 years.

            The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.

            The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.

            This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.

            Three years ago, when this trend was becoming clear, Professor Phil Jones (director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and who was part of the whole "Climategate" scandal which leaked e-mails among prominent climate scientists at East Anglia) said this:

            Yet in 2009, when the plateau was already becoming apparent and being discussed by scientists, he told a colleague in one of the Climategate emails: ‘Bottom  line: the “no upward trend” has to  continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’

            But although that point has now been passed, he said that he hadn’t changed his mind about the  models’ gloomy predictions:  ‘I still think that the current decade which began in 2010 will be warmer by about 0.17 degrees than the previous one, which was warmer than the Nineties.’

            Only if that did not happen would he seriously begin to  wonder whether something more profound might be happening. In other words, though five years ago he seemed to be saying that 15 years without warming would make him ‘worried’, that period has now become 20 years.

            Keep moving those goalposts, guys.

            The article is full of opinions, on all sides of the climate change issue, saying that the climate is still not fully understood. But it’s supposedly understood enough to want to create global economic upheaval in order to "fix" something that may not be broken. Fortunately, the current global economic situation has given politicians less of a stomach for huge taxes.

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              Friday Link Wrap-up

              Hobby Lobby could be the next Chick-Fil-A. "Hobby Lobby Sues over HHS Mandate"

              Reverend William Owens from the Coalition Of African American Pastors in an interview with John Hawkins: "Again that’s the reason I took such a stand against President Obama. In every election, in every campaign where the marriage amendment has been on the ballot, blacks in large numbers have been against it and Americans have been against it. But he’s not interested in what the people want. He’s interested in what a few people who can give him big money want."

              I don’t usually link to Sojourner’s "God’s Politics" blog for good examples of political opinion, but their non-political item — a discussion on the recent "Gospel of Jesus’ Wife" discovery — is quite good. "Five Important Questions About That ‘Jesus Wife’ Discovery"

              "Antarctic sea ice set another record this past week, with the most amount of ice ever recorded on day 256 of the calendar year (September 12 of this leap year)." I blame global warming.

              UN Secretary General George Orwell Ban Ki Moon: "Freedoms of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose," Ban told a news conference. "When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way."

              Bullying works. "The Christian-rooted fast food restaurant [Chick-filA] agreed to stop funding groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose same-sex marriage in a meeting with the Chicago politician who had been blocking the company’s move there."

              And finally, competing mottos (from Chuck Asay, click for a larger version):

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                So … You Believe Man Causes Global Warming and …

                Your neighbor across the aisle does not. Here is some unsolicited advice for the left wing on this topic. If you really think this is a problem, and you want everyone, not just your side of the aisle to push for it futilely … Here’s a newsflash for y’all. You’re selling it wrong.

                Look at us over here on the right. We think the space program was cool. We love going to flight museums and wistfully wishing we (as a nation) were still flying SR-71s (RS-71 dammit, stupid Presidents). We gawk at daisy cutters and talk about yields and payloads. While we might take up on those government goodies that are “free” it sticks in our craw and we wish that ‘ol time Yankee rugged individualism wasn’t dying out, killed by bureaucratic mind-numbing cookie cutter schools among other things. Read these two books, here and here. That’s good reading. So, do you like Bob? We do.

                In a past era, a Democratic President challenged his nation to go to the moon, not because it was easy but because it was hard. You want a nation to get behind you with a climate crises. Challenge them that way. Tell ‘em to go out and fix it, not by sucking back our economy and going all green-ified on us, scrimping out toilet paper curbing consumption of interesting toys and things to do.

                No. Fix it the old fashioned way, with a hammer, tongs, and big bad-ass technology. Challenge us that way, and you might get a rise out of us.

                Of course it might alienate you’re side of the aisle, but you can’t break an omelette without making eggs, or something like that.

                (with tongue firmly in cheek … and attempting to ignore the silly season somewhat)

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                  No, not Al Gore.

                  Lovelock is a world-renowned scientist and environmentalist whose Gaia theory — that the Earth operates as a single, living organism — has had a profound impact on the development of global warming theory.

                  Unlike many “environmentalists,” who have degrees in political science, Lovelock, until his recent retirement at age 92, was a much-honoured working scientist and academic.

                  His inventions have been used by NASA, among many other scientific organizations.

                  Lovelock’s invention of the electron capture detector in 1957 first enabled scientists to measure CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other pollutants in the atmosphere, leading, in many ways, to the birth of the modern environmental movement.

                  But this father of a movement has some scolding for his children. In a previous interview, he noted, “the problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago.” This was in acknowledgement of the fact that global temperatures just haven’t gone up the way the computer models predicted. Acknowledging that error is certainly a step in the right direction, but let’s not forget that the massive drain on our economy that Greens the world over would have wanted to implement based on those flawed models would have made this recession even worse.

                  Now, he’s not renouncing man-made global warming, but he is asking folks who do agree with him to just calm down a bit and look at some realities. His advice?

                  • He’s for more nuclear power and natural gas "fracking".
                  • Ratchet back the whole green "religion" guilting.
                  • Modern economies will not be powered by windmills and "so-called ‘sustainable development’." That is "meaningless drivel".
                  • No, the science isn’t settled. That’s not how science works.

                  Read the whole thing.

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                    Friday Link Wrap-up

                    Mitt Romney, a real community organizer.

                    Record-breaking attendance at Canada’s March for Life. Over 19,000 people participated. Support is growing.

                    Around the world, Obama has become something of a disappointment. He talked a good game, but was a bit short on follow-through.

                    However, the President has certainly had his share of ‘firsts’ while in office. Doug Ross enumerates 3 dozen of them.

                    If you personally know thieves that otherwise live their lives with "goodness and holiness", does that mean thieving is, therefore, condoned? This press release from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC seems to suggest that.

                    RIP OWS. We hardly knew you (and I think you hardly knew yourself).

                    After being voted down unanimously in the House, Obama’s budget is unanimously voted down in the Senate. One word: Leadership.

                    An admission that environmentalists sat on their hands during the BP oil spill because Obama was in the White House. Again, for the Left, it’s always political. Principle always gets the back seat.

                    And finally, what’s next to "evolve"? (Click for a larger version.)

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                      Friday Link Wrap-up

                      A federal government out of control. Without any evidence, Attorney General Eric Holder took a woman to court for obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic. The judge threw out the case and ordered the government to pay $120,000 to the woman. Yes, it’s good that the woman was compensated, but this case should have never gone to court.

                      I think Julian Assange has been irresponsible for dumping secret data that, in many cases, has put lives at risk or tipped our hand to enemies. Still, it’s nice to know that, in all that, George W. Bush has been vindicated in his handling of the Iraq/WMD situation.

                      I agree with the sentiment that the teen’s shirt said, "Jesus Is Not A Homophobe". However, I also think that the folks he thinks need that message aren’t, for the most part, homophobes either, if, by "homophobe" you mean "someone who agrees with 2000 years of Christian teaching".

                      Global Warming Update: "The number of [polar] bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt."

                      James O’Keefe is at it again. He, a white guy, to prove that voter fraud really is simple, something that Attorney General Eric Holder denies, was able to (almost) vote in the primary as Eric Holder himself, a black guy. Extremely easy.

                      An atheist who threatened to sue over a Nativity scene, was helped in his time of need by the very Christians he had threatened. Result: He’s now a Christian preparing to enter the  ministry.

                      John Stossel, libertarian and (when he was at ABC News) a contrarian in the media, describes the liberal bias at his old network.

                      Ever since Jimmy Carter got snookered by giving food to North Korea in exchange for an empty promise not to pursue nukes, we keep hoping that they’ll change their mind about belligerence if we bribe them well enough. It hasn’t worked, and it won’t work. A dictator that will spend who knows how many millions on a missile program while his country starves is patently not concerned about his people. Period. No amount of appealing to his better nature will change that. Now that N. Korea has test launched (what Rick Moore calls) a "three-stage artificial reef", now we’re serious. Now we mean business. Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.

                      Civility Watch: "Moderate Caucus" chairman, a Democrat, tweets, "Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams."

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                        Friday Link Wrap-up

                        It has been said that we’ve not had global warming on the scale that we have it now, and therefor this time around it must be human-induced. The Medieval Warming Period, it is said (and reiterated by the IPCC), was merely localized and therefore can’t be compared with today. New evidence, however, shows that indeed the MWP was felt as far away as Antarctica. Not exactly localized.

                        Taxing the rich rarely lives up to expectations of the amount it will bring in. That’s because the rich have many options of where to put their money. Cause pain in one place, the cash moves to another place. (Some on the Left will inevitably say that this makes the case for a global tax. Well, when our government can’t get by on $4 trillion a year, it’s not the fault of the rich.)

                        A crowd larger than any OWS gathering protested in San Francisco, but the media ignored it. Why? (Wait for it…) Because they were religious people protesting Obama. Some news is clearly more newsworthy than others. Oh, that liberal media.

                        Liberals were so absolutely sure that their view of the "living" Constitution was right, they were predicting a near-slam-dunk for them in the Supreme Court over ObamaCare. But exhibit A of how they simply failed to take seriously the arguments against it is Jeffrey Tubin of CNN. He was sure it would be 7-2 or even 8-1 in favor of the ACA, and was just gobsmacked after day 2. Why? The very same arguments used against ACA had been out there for months. But the news wouldn’t give it adequate coverage. Mr. Tubin, you could blame CNN for your ignorance. But then, that would mean you have no responsibility as a journalist to find it out for yourself. Oh, that liberal media.

                        And finally, something for the "separation of church and state" crowd. A US Army issued New Testament with a letter from the President recommending that soldiers should read it.

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                          Links for Friday, 24 February 2012

                          NASA thinking about an Earth-Moon-Libration Point 2
                          Well it’s not quite Space 1999, but pretty cool nonetheless,

                          NASA is pressing forward on assessing the value of a “human-tended waypoint” near the far side of the moon — one that would embrace international partnerships as well as commercial and academic participation, SPACE.com has learned.

                          According to a Feb. 3 memo from William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, a team is being formed to develop a cohesive plan for exploring a spot in space known as the Earth-moon libration point 2 (EML-2).

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                          Do you know what a Mainframe is? Well, NASA just shut down their last one

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                          Even more Geek News:  Photos of Mars Landers from Mars orbit

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                          Abe Lincoln (on a penny) to be used as a quick size comparison indicator on the next Mars Rover

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                          NASA taking stock of Eart’s melting land ice
                          From the 2003-2010 observations,

                          The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth’s glaciers and ice caps during the study period was about 4.3 trillion tons (1,000 cubic miles), adding about 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) to global sea level. That’s enough ice to cover the United States 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) deep.

                          Yikes! That’s very unsettling news.

                          Yet, another report headlines us to the news that Earth’s Polar Ice Melting Less Than Thought. An excerpt (emphasis added),

                          Nearly 230 billion tons of ice is melting into the ocean from glaciers, ice caps, and mountaintops annually—which is actually less than previous estimates, according to new research by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

                          Further in the US News report researcher John Wahr states (wisely, in my opinion),

                          “Even with an eight-year estimate, it’s not clear how far into the future you can project,” he says. “A lot of people want to predict into the end of the century, but I think it’s too dangerous to do that … We don’t have enough info to know what’ll happen. There’s some ebb and flow to these things.”

                          Indeed, if anyone ever wants to sell you something now based on a prediction of what will happen 100 years from now, you’d better grab hold of your wallet (I think Michael Crichton said that). From the NASA news release, after they’ve admitted the same as the US News report, it reads,

                          One unexpected study result from GRACE was that the estimated ice loss from high Asian mountain ranges like the Himalaya, the Pamir and the Tien Shan was only about 4 billion tons of ice annually. Some previous ground-based estimates of ice loss in these high Asian mountains have ranged up to 50 billion tons annually.

                          Ouch!

                          Imagine if you had some remodeling work done on your home and the contractor estimated it would cost $50,000 but the final bill came in at only $4,000? Well, of course you’d be ecstatic, but wouldn’t you also be wondering why the contractor was so inept? Or what if a stockbroker claimed an investment would return $50,000 but it only came back with $4,000?

                          Yet we’re supposed to based governmental subsidies, regulations, etc., all on long-range “scientific” esitmates that, quite frankly, are “dangerous” to do.

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                            Well, this was just a matter of time. "New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security’s much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry, too, leaving it unable to pay full benefits as well."

                            A Jewish friend of mine give a report on Glenn Beck’s "Restoring Courage" rally in Caesarea, Israel.

                            "A pregnant woman, her husband and their three-year-old son were killed in a house fire early yesterday as police who arrived before the fire brigade prevented neighbours from trying to save them." Yes, you read that right. Read the rest of it.

                            Good news on the abortion front. Defenders of human life are advancing in the war of ideas.

                            If unions can get their gravy train, they’ll just take their ball and go home.

                            The long obsolete Fairness Doctrine finally, officially, dies.

                            When Bush’s approval ratings were low, hardly a day went by when the media made note of it. Now that Obama is in the same territory, all of a sudden approval ratings don’t seem to be news. (Just like involvement in foreign wars and casualties from the same.)

                            The media will ask conservatives "Yes or no, do you believe in evolution?", but they’ll never ask a liberal "Yes or no, do you believe in the Bible?"

                            Could you escape a terrorist attack in 15 seconds? In southern Israel, where rockets from Gaza are a nearly-daily occurrence, they have to.

                            The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) (no, really, "CERN") published a report in the magazine "Nature" that shows the Sun really does have more influence over our weather, clouds specifically, and thus current climate models will need to be (and I quote) "substantially revised".

                            Sorry, no cartoon this week. Nothing really stuck out.

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                              We Consume Too Much!

                              I’ve heard this charge leveled at the US many times before, but recently I heard it leveled from a Christian from the left side of the political aisle. He adds, to the usual concern about wasted natural resources, that consuming so much in disproportion to our numbers is immoral and unjust.

                              But this is only one side of the equation. I came up with a parallel situation to demonstrate the problem.

                              I spend most of my money on a very few things. My biggest expense is no doubt my house. I pay so much money to one person; my mortgage banker. He and my grocer, between them, probably get the biggest chunks of change out of my annual income. I have a family doctor who, too, gets a significant portion of my resources. And, as my kids have started going to college, two colleges have been getting a bigger slice of the pie.

                              (At this point, I quote a paragraph from his post and apply it to my parallel situation.) As a matter of justice, it would not be reasonable to think that it’s morally acceptable for those few people to consume more than half of my resources. Even though the laws were written in such a way that they are allowed to acquire those resources legally, it makes for an immoral and unjust situation, does it not?

                              If all you’re looking at is the percentage of resources consumed (and that’s all his bullet points cover) and using only that criteria to determine whether it’s just or not, then my mortgage banker, my grocer, my doctor and two colleges are acting unjustly with my resources.

                              Except that, for those resources, I’m getting shelter, food, health care and education. I’m getting a disproportionate percentage of what I need to live from this small number of people. Perhaps they could charge less for some things and not take as many of my resources for their lifestyle, but on balance I’m getting some essentials from these few folks.

                              In the same way, while it is true that the US consumes a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources, and while it is also true that many of us could do with less, the world gets quite a bit out of the bargain. Medical advances for longer and better lives. Educational opportunities that people come from all over to take advantage of. Technological advances in energy production to bring a higher standard of living around the world (and higher standards of living almost always result in better health). Agricultural advancements that let vegetables grow in the desert and other inhospitable conditions. And on top of all this, when the world needs protection from enemies or help during calamities, who’s the first place they turn for a shield or a helping hand? And who has the armaments and money to help out?

                              We do. The world’s getting quite a lot for the money.

                              Ask the illegal immigrant risking what he has to come to America for work. Ask the African who now has a garden courtesy of a charitable organization. Ask the Libyan who may soon be out from under a dictator. Ask the Dani tribesman in Papua, Indonesia who won’t die from an infection that is now easily curable. Ask the survivors of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

                              So unless he’s ready to start laying into his grocer for the "unjust" use of his resources, it might be best to reconsider this pronouncement of immorality and unjustness.

                              Do you agree or disagree? My main point is that you can’t just look at the consumption side; there’s so much more to the question than that. While we consume more than our share, we produce so much from that consumption, and the benefits absolutely do not stay within our own borders. I believe the religious (question of how moral this consumption is) is being colored by the political. Not "going green" as much as you may wish me to is not, by itself (and this post isolates consumption by itself) a moral failing, or certainly can’t be used to solely just the overall morality.

                              I believe the Christian Left falls into this trap more often than they care to admit; conflating the political with the moral. Being against Cap & Trade or the Kyoto Protocol, or not following the Green Othodoxy is somehow immoral. We should be good stewards of our resources; I’m not denying that. But to look at the "bad" side of the equation without looking at the "good" side results in fatally flawed policies. We need to deal with the bad without damaging the good.

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