Number of the Week: 2006
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Climategate exposed more than just the actions of some authors to suppress the scientific data that contradicted the central purpose of their scientific article, as reprehensible as that was. Climategate also exposed how some scientists could, or thought they could, manipulate editors of scientific journals to suppress articles reporting research that contradicted their views.
It appears that the actions exposed by Climategate continue with editors of some scientific journals, including the Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences. The Proceedings serves as a convenient means for fellows of the Academy to publish papers without a torturous peer review process. Usually, fellows submitting papers recommend two peer reviewers.
Richard Lindzen, a fellow of the Academy, reports how the editors of the Proceedings have subjected him to a long process and refused to consider his recommended peer reviewers, even though they met all the published requirements. Instead the editors rejected the suggested reviewers, including noted physicist Will Happer, and are insisting that Lindzen’s paper be reviewed by members who are openly hostile to his views, as some of the proposed reviewers demonstrated in the Climategate emails.
Lindzen provided details of the exchanges to Chip Knappenberger who published in the blog, Master Resource. Steve McIntyre has made comments on the events. Please see articles referenced under “Climategate Continued.”
Fear of Famine: The general public in many western countries is becoming less moved by the shrilled headlines of the terrible consequences from global warming. At Copenhagen, in 2009, the international orthodoxy promised developing countries a goal of $100 Billion per year as payments for global warming. The poor economic performance in the western countries makes taxpayers less likely to freely acquiesce to the grandiose promises. Thus, a new crisis must be invented. It appears that the new crisis is that global warming, caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide, will cause massive famine in the tropics by shortening the growing season. Apparently, at higher temperatures photosynthesis shuts down, or at least slows down.
A first effort was discussed in the May 14 TWTW in which a study published in Science claiming declining production of the four major food crops failed to explain the increasing production of these crops by the world’s largest producers. A second report entitled “Is the food production system broken?” by Oxfam, a charity in Britain, was ably dismissed by Martin Livermore of The Scientific Alliance in an article referenced in last week’s TWTW.
Last Sunday, the New York Times published a lengthy, front page article by Justin Gillis entitled “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself.” Roger Pielke, Jr, who believes in significant human-cause global warming, demolished this article on his web site. Possibly to defend himself, Gillis sent Pielke a 2009 UN report by Fischer, et al, entitled “Can Technology Deliver on the Yield Challenge to 2050?”
Gillis suggesting the Fischer report is particularly strange because the report concludes that, cautiously optimistically, YES, technology can deliver the yield challenge to 2050. The authors examined, among other issues, changing technology and the failure of adopting the green revolution in sub-Sahara Africa. During this week, SEPP also reviewed another UN alarmist report by Ulrich Hoffman.
SEPP will leave to others the task of discussing the physiology of food crops and if the growing season in the tropics will be shortened by higher temperatures. However, the alarmist studies reviewed by SEPP embody three major errors.
One, all the studies use projections of ever increasing temperatures from models that have never been validated. Thus, analysis of the results of these models, no matter how detailed or rigorous, is little more than speculation.
Two, the models failed to project the planet not warming. Both the surface data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and satellite data from the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) show little or no warming since 1998.
Three, the thirty plus year satellite record shows that warming is largely in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere with little or no warming in the tropics. These observations contradict the assumption of strong warming in the tropics.
There is an interesting point in the cautiously optimistic report by Fischer, et al. The authors place two limiting factors on increasing production of critical food grains: fossil fuels needed both for equipment and fertilizer, and phosphorus needed for fertilizer. Interestingly, the authors use Hubbert’s Peak curve to estimate future supplies of phosphorus. The Hubbert’s Peak curve was developed to estimate future supplies of oil (and gas) which Hubbert insisted would be soon exhausted. Changes in technology and economics have made the limits of fossil fuels and the Hubbert’s Peak curve highly questionable.
Hunger remains a problem in much of the world, but to have charities and international organizations wasting resources in claiming global warming from fossil fuel use will intensify famine is worse than just a waste of resources, it promotes a continued misallocation of resources. Please see referenced articles under “Fear of Famine” and “Models v. Data.”
Principle of Exclusion: The excellent web site of Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That, contained an notable post by Paul Macrae on the principle of exclusion, from which the quote of the week was obtained. The principle of exclusion was one of many 19th century efforts to establish that scientific knowledge can be acquired by deduction alone, without observation. Simply put, if one asserts that there are only two possible causes of C, namely A and B; then, if one eliminates A as a possible cause of C, one must conclude B causes C. The fallacy is that one assumes he has complete knowledge of all the possible causes of C.
Such is the case of the UN IPCC in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). According to the methodology as stated: all the known natural causes “A” of temperature change “C” are calculated, thus all the remaining influences must be human caused, “B.” This methodology assumes all the natural causes of temperature change are known to the IPCC and delineated, which they are not. For example, El Niños are dismissed as being too short in duration to cause temperature trends, but frequency of El Niños may be very important.
At least, authors of the main body of AR4 state that many of the possible natural causes for temperature changes are poorly understood. The authors of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) included only one possible natural cause – changes in solar irradiance. Thus, the authors of the SPM greatly misled those the SPM was designed to influence, policymakers – and the public. Please see Macrae’s post referenced under “Challenging the Orthodoxy.”
Keystone Pipeline: Last week’s TWTW discussed the TransCanada pipelines called Keystone. Due to small leaks, the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) shut down the Keystone 590,000 barrels per day pipeline for having eleven small leaks in its eleven months of operation, the last one was 10 barrels that is easily removed. Apparently, the regulating agency, PHMSA, is satisfied with the rapid response of the owner, TransCanada, in reporting and cleaning up any spills and, on Sunday, allowed the pipeline to resume operations after a week of closure.
A major political and environmental fight remains over a second TransCanada pipeline, Keystone XL. This $7 Billion privately funded project is designed to carry about 900,000 barrels per day, following a different route, from the Alberta, Canada, tar sands to tie into the existing pipeline near the Kansas-Nebraska border, and then to continue to refineries in Texas. These refineries are among the few in the world that can process the heavy crude from Venezuela, which ships its crude oil to the US for refining.
The leader of Venezuela expresses contempt for the US, but the state-owned oil company must refine its crude in the US and the US is its major retail outlet. Since the new Keystone XL crosses international boundaries, the US State Department claims it must approve it. The play of international politics may be fascinating, but not the subject of TWTW. The play of environmental policy is.
Among those organizations insisting that they should influence this international decision by the State Department are the EPA, and many environmental groups, including, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). NRDC came into the national limelight with its very effective propaganda campaign in 1989 that falsely declared that Alar was a pesticide that caused cancer, causing great harm to apple growers. Alar is a chemical used for controlling fruit ripening and the cancer scare was as remote as the great cranberry cancer scare of the 1950s.
What makes NRDC’s involvement in pipeline issues informative is that President Obama appointed the current president of NRDC, Frances Beinecke, to the special commission investigating the BP Gulf Oil Spill and that his current nominee to head the US Department of Commerce, John Bryson, is a co-founder of NRDC.
In its opposition to the new pipeline NRDC states: “The Keystone XL Pipeline Undermines the United States Commitment to a Clean Energy Economy. To meet an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 …” (boldface added)
Is the Environmental Industry, such as NRDC, setting the energy policy for the United States?
Please see referenced articles under “Environmental Industry” and “EPA on the March.”
Number of the Week: 2006. According to estimates by Clive Best, during the year 2006 the “normalized projections” from the lowest projections by 1990 IPCC models exceeded the “normalized” observed temperatures from surface and satellite data. If SEPP interprets his estimates correctly, during 2006, the projections of the models became statistically different from the observations, thus the models are empirically contradicted. Please see referenced article under “Models v. Data.”
For the numbered articles below please see:
1. Sustainability and ethical investment
By Martin Livermore, The Scientific Alliance, Jun 9, 2011
2. A Gulf Drilling Revival
Notice how the energy breakthroughs are in oil and natural gas
Editorial, WSJ, Jun 10, 2011
3. Alaska’s Ebbing Oil
Editorial, WSJ, Jun 7, 2011
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Science: Is the Sun Rising?
Study finds global warming over past 400 years was due to increased Solar activity
Posted by Joanne Nova, June 9, 2011
Lindzen’s PNAS Reviews
By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, Jun 10, 2011
Lindzen-Choi ‘Special Treatment’: Is Peer Review Biased Against Nonalarmist Climate Science?
by Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, Jun 9, 2011
McShane and Wyner Weights on Mann 2008 Proxies
By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, Jun 9, 2011
["In my opinion, the problem is that you can't simply throw a bunch of inconsistent time series into a multivariate mannomatic and expect to get a statistically significant response. If a scientist cannot specify the sign of a proxy in advance, then the proxy shouldn't be used."]
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Alarmist climate science and the principle of exclusion
AGW theorists are being misled by the principle of exclusion
By Paul Macrae, WUWT, Jun 8, 2011
Warming, What Warming
By David Whitehouse, The Observatory, Jun 10, 2011
Defenders of the Orthodoxy
World Bank to suggest CO2 levy on jet, shipping fuel
By Gerard Wynn, Reuters, Jun 5, 2011 [H/t Catharine French]
Stanford climate scientists forecast permanently hotter summers
By Donna Hesterman
Stanford CA (SPX) Jun 08, 2011
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Fossils uncover a different take on climate change
By Jane Kennedy, ABC Mid West & Wheatbelt, AU, Jun 9, 2011 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]
Climate isn’t up for debate
Alarmists refuse to take on skeptical geologists
By Tom Harris, Financial Post, Jun 7, 2011
Higher density means world forests are capturing more carbon
By Staff Writers, (SPX) Jun 08, 2011
Questioning the European Green
‘We must stop pandering to climate scaremongers’: Ex-Civil Service chief blasts ministers for global warming ‘evangelism’
By Daily Mail Reporter, Daily Mail, UK, Jun 9, 2011 [H/t GWPF]
Why ‘vote blue, go green’ doesn’t sound quite so clever any more
It is time for Britain to walk away from its ridiculously stringent renewable energy plan
By Charles Moore, Telegraph, UK, Jun 10, 2011 [H/t GWPF]
EU climate policies are driving smelters out of Europe’
By Karel Beckman, European Energy Review, Jun 6, 2011
European energy companies risk missing out on a tremendous opportunity
The geo-economic blessings of shale gas
By Karel Beckman, European Energy Review, May 26, 2011
Problems within the Orthodoxy
The Self Corruption of Climate Science
By William Pentland, Forbes, Jun 9, 2011 [H/t GWPF]
Norway systematically hid EU demands for oil-law reform
Leigh Phillips, EUobserver, 31.05.2011 @ 09:26 CET [H/t Catherine French]
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate?
Naomi Oreskes, Conspiracy Queen
By Norman Rogers, American Thinker, Jun 7, 2011 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]
The Earth Is Full
By Thomas L. Friedman, NYT, June 7, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]
Portland should brace for ‘climate refugees’
Eco Thoughts – Climate disruption could be defining issue of the century
By Kat West, Pamplin Media Group, Jun 9, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
["Climate disruption will be the defining issue of this century and probably for centuries to come. No famine, no war, no plague, not even natural disasters will compare with the impacts of this event on human civilization."]
Models v. Data
1990 IPCC Predictions confront the data
By Clive Best, his Blog, Jun 9, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Ten Years and Counting: Where’s The Global Warming?
By James Taylor, Forbes, Jun 8, 2011
Crater Lake USHCN weather station-the GISS removal
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Jun 9, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Homogenizing the Data: Altering the historic record by removing long standing rural stations that do not show a strong late 20th century warming as compared with the early part of the century.]
Bringing Some Empirical Sense To All the Hurricane Hype
By Patrick Michaels, Forbes, Jun 3, 2011
China evacuates tens of thousands in deadly flood
By Staff Writers, AFP, Jun 6, 2011
[SEPP Comments: Before the dams were built, it may have been hundreds of thousands - dead.]
Deception from NASA: Satellites are true cause of sea level rise
Climate Sanity, Jun 6, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
[SEPP Comment: Deception may be too harsh a word, but it is apparent there is a calibration issue between surface tidal gages and satellite measurements.]
Fear of Famine
A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself
By Justin Gillis, NYT, Jun 4, 2011
Flawed Food Narrative in the New York Times
By Roger Pielke Jr, Jun 5, 2011 [H/t ACSH]
Climate change in tropics poses food threat to poor
Higher temperatures will reduce growing seasons critical for crops needed to feed the world’s poor, a report says
By John Vidal, Guardian, UK, Jun 3, 2011
Can Technology Deliver on the Yield Challenge to 2050?
By R.A. Fischer, Derek Byerlee and G.O. Edmeades, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Jun 2009
Assuring Food Security in Developing Countries Under the Challenges of Climate Change: Key Trade and Development Issues of a Fundamental Transformation of Agriculture
By Ulrich Hoffmann, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Feb 2011
Growing a Better Future
Food justice in a resource-constrained world
By Robert Bailey, Oxfam, May 31, 2011
Mapping hotspots of climate change and food insecurity in the global tropics
A report by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Project team: Polly Ericksen, Philip Thornton, An Notenbaert, Laura Cramer, Peter Jones, Mario Herrero, June 3, 2011
Taking the EPA to Court
World Climate Report, Jun 8, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Summary of the first part of the litigation. The second part is EPA's claim that the power to control new motor vehicle exhausts gives it the power to control all greenhouse gas emissions.]
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Why raising the federal gas tax is smart
Editorial, Washington Post, Jun 8, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]
[SEPP Comment: The Federal gas tax was a user tax to pay for interstate highways. The last data available indicates that about 40% is being diverted to other projects.]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
China Ends Subsidies for Domestic Wind Equipment Makers after U.S. Files WTO Complaint
By Staff Writers, Power News, Jun 8, 2011
[SEPP Comment: After China cleverly captured the most modern technology.}
Chevy's Carbon Plan: Less Than Meets the Eye
The carmaker will buy carbon offsets if you buy a Chevy. But the carbon reductions may likely be less than promised
By Ben Elgin, Business Week, Jun 2, 2011
[SEPP Comment: The US has had weatherization programs since the 1970s. Isn't 35 years long enough to get the job done?]
Bailed-Out GM Spends Millions on Phantom Carbon Offsets
By Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, Jun 6, 2011
EPA and other Regulators on the March
The United Nations States Environmental Protection Agency
By Dennis Ambler, SPPI, May 26, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Details on the close interrelationships between the EPA and the environmental industry.]
Grant mischief at Obama’s Employment Prevention Agency
Editorial, Washington Examiner, Jun 9, 2011
[SEPP Comment: EPA Financing foreign activities and foreign governments?]
Environmental Protection (Or Propaganda?) Agency
By Paul Driessen and Willie Soon, IBD, Jun 6, 2011
EPA: State Department review of proposed pipeline is ‘insufficient’
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Jun 7, 2011
[SEPP Comment: EPA attempting to establish regulatory power over pipelines.]
The Hypocrisy of the EPA
By Rebekah Rast, Net Right Daily, Jun 9, 2011
BP Statistical Review: China overtakes USA as largest energy consumer
By Staff Writers, European Energy Review, Jun 9, 2011
Statistical Review of World Energy 2011
By Staff Writers, BP, 2011
[SEPP Comment: One of the most widely respected annual reviews of energy production and use.]
Free Market, Not Government Policy, Drives Energy Boom
By Michael Barone, Townhall, Jun 9, 2011
Nuclear Fears & Responses
Japan Nuclear Watchdog: Fuel Has Possibly Melted Through Daiichi 1′s Pressure Vessel
By Staff Writers, Power News, Jun 8, 2011
Germany looks to post-nuclear era
By Staff Writers, AFP, Jun 6, 2011
Nuclear energy vital for economic growth: Russia
By Staff Writers, AFP, Jun 6, 2011
NRC chief Jaczko in hot seat over critical Yucca Mountain report
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Jun 10, 2011
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Exxon makes major oil discovery in Gulf
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill – 06/08/11 02:24 PM ET
Administration Control of Fossil Fuels
U.S. Goes On An Energy Starvation Diet
Editorial, IBD, Jun 9, 2011
Oil Sands Project in Canada Will Go On if Pipeline Is Blocked
By Ian Austen, NYT, Jun 6, 2011
[SEPP Comment: If the oil does not come south to the US, it can go west to China.]
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy
The Gas Is Greener
By Robert Bryce, NYT, Jun 7, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Oil and gas wells cover less open spaces than windmills.]
Fitting wind onto the electricity grid (part 2)
By Ulrich Decher, Ans Nuclear Café, May 26, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A real problem.]
Scotland vows ‘green energy powerhouse’
By Staff Writers, UPI, Jun 6, 2011
Overestimating Wind Power Generation: From the UK to New York State
By Lisa Linowes, Master Resource, June 6, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
Post-Combustion Carbon Capture Center Commissioned at National Test Center
By Staff Writers, Power News, Jun 8, 2011
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see
Ocean Acidificaton and Calcifying Claims
Reference:Range, P., Chicharo, M.A., Ben-Hamadou, R., Pilo, D., Matias, D., Joaquim, S., Oliveira, A.P. and Chicharo, L. 2011. Calcification, growth and mortality of juvenile clams Ruditapes decussatus under increased pCO2 and reduced pH: Variable responses to ocean acidification at local scales? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 396: 177-184.
Plants Surviving Global Warming on Mountainsides
Reference: Scherrer, D. and Korner, C. 2011. Topographically controlled thermal-habitat differentiation buffers alpine plant diversity against climate warming, Journal of Biogeography 38: 406-416.
Maldivian Reefs: Fighting Back from Near Oblivion
Reference: Lasagna, R., Albertelli, G., Giovannetti, E., Grondona, M., Milani, A., Morri, C. and Bianchi, C.N. 2008. Status of Maldivian reefs eight years after the 1998 coral mass mortality. Chemistry and Ecology 24: 67-72.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Ocean Acidification and Ocean Noise
Reference Reeder, D.B. and Chiu, C.-S. 2010. Ocean acidification and its impact on ocean noise: Phenomenology and analysis. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 128: 10.1121/1.3431091.
Detecting the Footprint of Man in Tropical Cyclone Damage Data
Reference: Crompton, R.P., Pielke, Jr., R.A. and McAneney, K.J. 2011. Emergence timescales for detection of anthropogenic climate change in US tropical cyclone loss data. Environmental Research Letters 6: 10.1088/1748-9326/6/1/014003.
Health, Energy, and Warming
Report: ‘Green’ buildings could harm your health
By Julian Pecquet, The Hill, Jun 7, 2011
Say No to Tar Sands Pipeline: Proposed Keystone XL Project Would Deliver Dirty Fuel at a High Cost
By Staff Writers, Natural Resources Defense Council, March 2011
Cairn awaits ruling on eco warriors
By Christopher Thompson in the Davis Strait, Financial Times, June 6 2011 [H/t Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen]
[SEPP Comment: Greenpeace has received significant publicity for its invasions of private property. It is trying to do so again with oil platforms in Greenland.]
Court Rules Against Greenpeace in Drilling Protest
By Archibald Preuschat and Alexis Flynn, WSJ, Jun 9, 2011
[SEPP Comment: May be behind a paywall.]
Big Green donors give money, marching orders
By Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, Jun 9, 2011
Other Scientific News
NASA Spending Shift to Benefit Centers Focused on Science and Technology
By Staff Writers, SPX, Jun 08, 2011
Big news (not): Atrazine never caused cancer, and it still doesn’t
By Alyssa Pelish, ASCH, Jun 9, 2011
Experts’ riposte to chemophobia in The New England Journal of Medicine
By Alyssa Pelish, ASCH Dispatch, Jun 9, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Claims that 85 to 95% of cancers are caused by environmental factors cannot be substantiated.]
Egyptian Mummies Hold Clues of Ancient Air Pollution
By Owen Jarus, Live Science, Jun 3, 2011 [H/t Catherine French]
[SEPP Comment: Air pollution predated the industrial revolution?]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Greenpeace says Barbie doll is forest vandal
By Staff Writers, AFP, Jun 8, 2011 [H/t Catherine French]
The dangers of bone-headed beliefs
By Richard Glover, SMH, Jun 6, 2011 [H/t Timothy Wise]
PLEASE NOTE: The complete TWTW, including the full text of the numbered articles, can be downloaded in an easily printable form at this web site: http://www.sepp.org/the-week-that-was.cfm…