A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Monday must read (and wash day).....

Richard S. Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), brilliantly washes global warming's dirty linen and hangs it out to dry: 'Understanding common climate claims' (Draft of a paper to be published [.pdf]). Here is the Abstract:
"The issue of man-induced climate change involves not the likelihood of dangerous consequences, but rather their remote possibility. The main areas of widespread agreement (namely that global mean temperature has risen rather irregularly about 0.6C over the past century, that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have increased about 30% over the past century, and that carbon dioxide by virtue of its infrared absorption bands should contribute to warming) do not imply dangerous warming. Indeed, we know that doubling carbon dioxide should lead to a heating of about 3.7 watts per square meter, and that man-made greenhouse heating is already about 2.7 watts per square meter. Thus, we have seen less warming than would be predicted by any model showing more than about 0.8 degrees C warming for a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is consistent with independent identifications of negative feedbacks.

Alarming scenarios, on the other hand, are typically produced by models predicting 4 degrees C. After the fact, such models can only be made to simulate the observed warming by including numerous unknown factors which are chosen to cancel most of the warming to the present, while assuming that such cancellation will soon disappear. Alarm is further promoted by such things as claiming that a warmer world will be stormier even though basic theory, observations, and even model outputs point to the opposite.

With respect to Kyoto, it is generally agreed that Kyoto will do virtually nothing about climate no matter what is assumed. Given that projected increases in carbon dioxide will only add incrementally to the greenhouse warming already present, it seems foolish to speak of avoiding dangerous thresholds. If one is concerned, the approach almost certainly is to maximize adaptability."

Thank goodness for a voice of reason and for some sound, common sense science. How we need to heed this in the UK.

1930s mangle.Philip, it's time for 'global warming' to go through a thorough Monday wash, with hot tub, heavy beating and wash board, hard soap, Robin starch and dolly blue, mangle, and washing line (we have already had too much spin). "Ee Owr Philip, bring yon wash tub oot onto t' flags." Coffee first, of course (though it would have been tea in my mother's day). "Rub-a-dub-dub/Give 'global warming' a scrub!" [A note for non-Brits: up to the 1950s, Monday was the traditional wash day thoughout the back yards of industrial Britain, with wash tub, wash board, hard soap, dolly blue and Robin starch, the mangle (opposite), the washing line, gradely cups o' tea, and much gossip o'er t' wall.]

[Above right: a 1934 mangle, courtesy of Wikipedia - image under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2]

Sunday, March 12, 2006

'Global warming' is "Good News" for US agricultural profits, while 'global warming' fundamentalism terrifies Europe.....

Where 'global warming' fanatics are concerned, any Good News about the impacts of potential climate change is never popular. Here is a timely Report showing that 'global warming', as predicated on the Hadley 2 Model, could well be good news for American agriculture: 'The economic impacts of climate change: evidence for agricultural profits and random fluctuations in weather' (AEI-Brookings, January, 2006: .pdf).

And here is the 'Executive Summary' of the paper:
"This paper measures the economic impact of climate change on US agricultural land by estimating the effect of the presumably random year-to-year variation in temperature and precipitation on agricultural profits. Using long-run climate change predictions from the Hadley 2 Model, the preferred estimates indicate that climate change will lead to a $1.1 billion (2002$) or 3.4% increase in annual profits. The 95% confidence interval ranges from -$1.8 billion to $4.0 billion and the impact is robust to a wide variety of specification checks, so large negative or positive effects are unlikely. There is considerable heterogeneity in the effect across the country with California’s predicted impact equal to -$2.4 billion (or nearly 50% of state agricultural profits). Further, the analysis indicates that the predicted increases in temperature and precipitation will have virtually no effect on yields among the most important crops. These crop yield findings suggest that the small effect on profits is not due to short-run price increases. The paper also implements the hedonic approach that is predominant in the previous literature. We conclude that this approach may be unreliable, because it produces estimates of the effect of climate change that are very sensitive to seemingly minor decisions about the appropriate control variables, sample and weighting. Overall, the findings contradict the popular view that climate change will have substantial negative welfare consequences for the US agricultural sector." [my emphasis]

Read the full text [.pdf] for all the details and arguments.

Time also, I deem, to read our ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, writing in The Spectator magazine [free registration required to access this article via the link provided]. Mr. Lawson quite correctly determines the Kyoto Protocol as "... the most expensive and least rational insurance policy... the sooner it is abandoned the better".

He then goes on to explain Europe's faith [my italic] in Kyoto in the following terms:
"...in Europe...climate change absolutism has found the most fertile soil. For it is Europe that has become the most secular society in the world, where the traditional religions have the weakest popular hold. Yet people still feel the need for the comfort and higher values that religion can provide; and it is the quasi-religion of green alarmism and what has been termed global salvationism — of which the climate change issue is the most striking example, but by no means the only one — which has filled the vacuum, with reasoned questioning of its mantras regarded as a form of blasphemy ..."

As tasty as any recipe stirred up by Nigella herself (for it is She!). Well said, Nigel.

The more I ponder the current flap over 'global warming', the more I am convinced of its fatuousness, especially economically. And the political dangers are becoming increasingly apparent, as the Neo-Puritans try to employ 'the threat' to control and to manage our daily lives more and more, and at higher and higher costs. 'Global warming' is just the latest excuse for rampant authoritarianism, and it is time, in the UK, to send the 'global warming' faithful packing.

Philip, "A little something for lunch first? Of course, Pooh!" "Hm! Should we put on the patio heater to annoy the latter-day School Prefects?" "No CO2 emissions in the corridor, Stott Minor!" Call to all Conservatives - "I fear Old Etonians bearing wind farms on the roof!" ["'Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes', Stott Minor!"] Remember: the UK accounts for less than 2% of world energy. It is Notting Hill trendiness of the most Colour Supplement kind, and it could cost Britain dear."

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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