Quote of the Week:
“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” –Thomas Jefferson
Number of the Week: 255 to 172
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
FIRST THE GOOD NEWS! Heartland Institute is sponsoring the Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-6) to take place in Washington, DC from breakfast Thursday, June 30, to noon Friday, July 1, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. This event will be more modest than in the past, yet as informative and, perhaps, even more challenging to the orthodoxy. Of course, SEPP is a co-sponsor. Details to follow!
The above quote from Thomas Jefferson is appropriate for political activities over the past few weeks in several countries, such as Australia and the US, as well as for international advocates of the IPCC. The defenders of the orthodoxy state that the public would accept their views if only they can communicate their views better. To do so, they have set up workshops, taken advice from experts, and, even, sent the head of the UN to Hollywood asking for its help.
In general, these actions have not succeeded. At least in Australia and in the US, it appears the public is becoming more skeptical to the orthodox view, as well they should be. Thomas Jefferson recognized the importance of reason for providing guidance in establishing public policy. Realists, such as Forbes columnist Larry Bell, report that, generally, the public attending their talks understand the issues. Such a public must be addressed with reason, not with tools of persuasion.
However for many years, the IPCC and others relied on the tools of persuasion rather than rigorous reason, or science. These tools of persuasion included the use of graphs with disappearing zeros where the Y axis is exploded to make a small change to appear very significant, the calculation of probability ranges without any statistical, empirical basis, the assertion of false certainty, the omission of salient facts, the misleading manipulation of language, and the use of outright propaganda tricks, such as, photographs of the chimneys emitting condensing water vapor accompanying articles on (invisible) carbon dioxide (simply misleading) and outright smear campaigns against the opposition (outrageous).
It now appears the defenders of the orthodoxy, who believe that the public would support them, if they could only communicate better, are further applying the tools of persuasion, rather than reason. Reason requires clarity of thought and precise definitions. Instead, defenders often resort to slogans that are intended to replace critical thinking.
This week, the Scientific Alliance featured an article by Martin Livermore on the manipulation of language. As one who believes action controlling greenhouse emissions is warranted, Mr Livermore explains that clear language is critical and discusses popular terms (slogans), such as “addition” to oil, and “sustainability,” to explain why such terms will eventually fail in public discourse.
Quadrant carried an article by Bob Carter in which he applies rigorous reasoning to analyze the first public meeting of Australia’s Climate Commission. He succinctly articulates lack of clarity by the Climate Commission in answering critical questions. As Carter demonstrates, one does not have to abandon reasoning to be persuasive – an attitude most “defenders” fail to understand. Please see Articles # 1 & # 2.
At the last minute, a short truce has been called in the Budget Battles in Washington with a further Continuing Resolution, but with larger budget cuts. As of this writing it is not clear when the battle will be enjoined again. For clarity of language, the cuts are small but are actual cuts in expenditures rather than a reduction in the amount planed to be expended. (Clever manipulators of language claim that if there is a proposed increase of 100 dollars and that proposed increase is reduced to 50 dollars, the budget has been cut, while, in fact, it has been actually increased by 50 dollars.)
Number of the Week: 255-172. In spite of the budget battles, Congress voted on bills to strip from the EPA the questionable power to regulate greenhouse gases to address climate change. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 255 to 172. Two years ago, the House voted to impose regulations on greenhouses gases in the form of cap-and-trade. Clearly, this House is very different than the past one.
A similar bill failed in the Senate by a vote of 50-50. Sixty votes would have been necessary to break any filibuster. No doubt similar bills will come back, perhaps in a slightly different form or attached to other legislation.
Many advocates of the orthodoxy, including legislative commentators in the press, stated opposition to the bill by falsely claiming it would severely limit the EPA to regulate harmful emissions under the Clean Air Act. Actually, the bill clearly addressed regulation of greenhouse gases (naming them) for climate change only. If the gases are poisonous, they can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. EPA has not established that carbon dioxide is poisonous.
Perhaps the timing and length of the bill confused commentators. For several years, the House would have a bill of a thousand or even two thousand pages reported out of committee and voted upon almost immediately, even if three hundred pages of amendments were added on the day of the vote.
The House bill for limiting EPA regulatory power was reported out of committee more than a month before the vote and was less than three pages long. Please see articles under “The Political Games Continue.”
Richard Muller and his BEST team continue to receive criticism from both the orthodox and the challengers of the orthodoxy for Muller’s testimony before the House Science & Technology Committee. As discussed in TWTW last week, the testimony was in response to a request by the Republicans on the Committee and the testimony was premature, at best. Unfortunately, such a situation is the reward for the BEST team for trying to achieve transparency.
Some of the more interesting criticisms were directed at the Republicans, who now control the Committee and who failed to stack the witnesses with “deniers.” On her web site, Judith Curry pointed out that, prior to the change of control, she testified before the Committee at the request of Republicans and that she is hardly a “denier.” Is it possible that the Republicans are trying to elicit all reasonable views rather than stacking the witnesses on one side, which is the usual practice? No doubt, those who admire the way Al Gore, Tim Wirth, and others stacked witnesses, such as, James Hansen are disappointed. Please see articles referenced under “Seeking a Common Ground.”
In keeping with manipulation of language, the Senate Energy Committee has called for comments on “Clean Energy Standards.” No doubt, by “Clean Energy” the Committee implies the generation of electricity without the creation of carbon dioxide, which is now not clean. (The code-word carbon is usually used instead of carbon dioxide.) Although many of the questions for comment are reasonable, the context in which they are asked is not. Perhaps the members of the Committee should visit locations in China where rare earths are mined and processed for wind turbine components, and where photovoltaic film is manufactured before they consider what energy is clean. Please see article referenced under “Subsidies and Mandates Forever.”
The situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan remains serious, but reasonably under control. The new earthquake apparently, temporarily, knocked out outside power to several nuclear power plants elsewhere, but their back-up systems worked and no emergency arose. Work crews are slowly cooling the reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi, and the source of leakage of water with high radioactivity has been plugged. Questions still remain as to the extent of melt-downs in any of the reactors. Steps are being taken to prevent any possible hydrogen explosions within the containment vessels. As the situation is slowly being brought under control, planning is underway for the long process of decommissioning.
The power of the earth, as demonstrated by the earthquake and tidal wave, on the Japanese people and the Japanese economy is massive and its consequences on Japan’s nuclear power plants are significant. Yet, the largely imaginary fears in the West to incredibly small possible exposure to radiation may be more paralyzing. Please see articles referenced under “Nuclear Fears and Responses”
The US Energy Information Administration released a new report on the world reserves of natural gas from shale. As suggested in earlier TWTW’s, and confirmed in the report, the technological innovations by Mitchell Energy and Development, and others, have transformed the energy picture of the world. Will the politicians and the regulators ever concede it was done without them? Please see articles referenced under “Oil and Natural Gas – The Future or the Past.”
For the numbered articles below please see:
1. Misleading Language
By Martin Livermore, Scientific-Alliance, Apr 7, 2011
2. Climate Commission shirks debate
By Bob Carter, Quadrant, Mar 27, 2011
3. Why Fukushima Won’t Kill Nuclear Power
Today’s most advanced designs move toward the goal of ‘walk-away safety’ – reactors that shut down and cool themselves without electricity or any human intervention
By Richard Lester, WSJ, Apr 6, 2011
4. An Oil Market Of Our Very Own
Editorial, IBD, Apr 5, 2011
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Climate change to mean fewer cyclones and smaller waves, says CSIRO research
By Ben Packham, Australian, Apr 4, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
What really threatens our Future?
Beware of anti-energy policies claiming to prevent climate change
By Willie Soon and Barun Mitra, Canada Free Press, Mar 31, 2011,
Defenders of the Orthodoxy
Nations’ carbon cuts pledges likely to expire next year without new commitments, says UN
By Staff Writers, AFP, Apr 5, 2011
Google Wades Into Global Warming Debate
By John Brandon, Fox News, Apr 5, 2011 [H/t Debbi Wetlaufer]
Multitude of Species Face Climate Threat
By Carl Zimmer, NYT, Apr 4, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Projections made without the slighted acknowledgement of the earth’s climate history. “But equally as strong as the conclusion that global warming can push extinctions is the difficulty in linking the fate of any single species to climate.” Researchers will make great claims as long if they need not scientifically justify them.]
The role of atmospheric nuclear explosions on the stagnation of global warming in the mod 20th century
By Yoshiaki Fujii, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Jan 19, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: An explanation for the inconvenient cooling that started about 5 years before the first nuclear blast.]
Seeking a Common Ground
Reactions to Muller’s Testimony
By Judith Curry, Apr 4, 2011
Critics’ review unexpectedly supports scientific consensus on global warming
A UC Berkeley team’s preliminary findings in a review of temperature data confirm global warming studies
By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, Apr 4, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Informative News Article by Margot Roosevelt in the Los Angeles Times on Richard Muller’s Testimony to Congress
By Richard Pielke, Pielke Research Group, Apr 4, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: Examining the incorrect claims in the above article.]
Separating natural and anthropogenically-forced decadal climate variability
By Judith Curry, Apr 7 [H/t Anne Debeil]
[SEPP Comment: Judith Curry reviews an otherwise orthodox article with the abstract beginning with: “Given that over the course of the next 10-30 years the magnitude of natural decadal variations may rival that of anthropogenically forced climate change on regional scales, it is envisioned that initialized decadal predictions will provide important information for climate-related management and adaptation decisions.” (Emphasis added.)]
Communicating Better by Changing Language
Agenda 21 In One Easy Lesson
By Tom DeWeese, Canada Free Press, Mar 31, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Sustainable development exposed.]
The Seas are Changing
Sea Level Rise; Still Slowing Down
World Climate Report, Apr 7, 2011
Temperatures and Extreme Weather
UAH Temperature Update for March, 2011: Cooler Still – 0.1. deg. C
Roy Spencer, Apr 5, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Falling for the first quarter. March 2011 Satellite measured temperatures are below the 30 year average for March.]
Extended Range Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Probability for 2011
By Phil Klotzbach and William Gray, Colorado State U, Apr 6, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
[SEPP Comment: A more active season than usual.]
The Political Games Continue
U.S. House Passes Repeal of EPA Carbon Rules Over White House Objections
By Kim Chipman, Bloomberg, Apr 7, 2010
Senate Rejects Bills to limit E.P.A.’s Emissions Programs
By John Broder, NYT, Apr 6, 2011
Capping the EPA’s backdoor energy tax
By Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Washington Examiner, Apr 5, 2011
Renewable-energy standards are unconstitutional
State mandates run afoul of Commerce Clause
By Paul Chesser, Washington Times, Apr 1, 2011
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Carbon Rationing by Other Means
After Congress fails to regulate greenhouse gases, the president hands the job to the EPA.
By Ronald Bailey, Reason, April, 2011
Secrecy hides taxpayer dollars used in Big Green lawsuits
Editorial, Washington Examiner, Apr 3, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A further example of how environmental policy is formed in Washington.]
Don’t let Big Green use government to mug taxpayers
Editorial, Washington Examiner, Apr 2, 2011
Environmental groups have spent major green since 2009 on advertising, lobbying and political causes
By Amanda Carey, Daily Caller, Apr 2, 2011 [H/t Timothy Wise]
EPA plan to clean air could cost Oklahoma residents
Oklahoma’s two largest utility companies could be forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on technology to clean up the emissions coming from aging coal-fired power plants under a plan proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
By Jay Marks, NewOK, Mar 8, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Another EPA mandate that has nothing to do with human health – visibility at federal wildlife area.]
Will a UCLA Prof Lose His Job for Sticking to Science over Politics?
By Emily Esfahani Smith, Blaze, Apr 1, 2011 [H/t Debbie Wetlaufer]
[SEPP Comment: Staggering but true.]
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Climate Facts Labor Overlooked
By Bob Carter, Alan Moran & David Evans, Quadrant, Apr 3, 2011
The Climate War Should be Declared Over
By Art Horn, Energy Tribune, Mar 31, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Did Australia’s Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery say it makes no difference?]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Call for Comments: Proposed U.S. National Clean Energy Standard
By John Droz, Master Resource, Apr 7, 2011
Global Warming Alarmist’s Long March through State and Local Institutions
By Peter Wilson, American Thinker, Apr 8, 2011
Cutting carbon: A better approach to energy policy
Editorial, Washington Post, Apr 1, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]
Power for the People
By Paul Driessen, Townhall, April 2, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A world without affordable, modern energy is bleak.]
Obama promised higher energy costs, He wasn’t kidding
Editorial, Washington Examiner, Apr 7, 2011
Obama on Energy: “None of this would have happened without government support.”
By Ronald Bailey, Reason, Mar 31, 2011
IEA: Coal Demand Eclipses Clean Energy Efforts
By Staff Writers, Power News, Apr 6, 2011
No to a New Tar Sands Pipeline
Editorial, NYT, Apr 2, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Another NO from “independence to overseas oil.”]
Nuclear Fears & Responses
How safe is nuclear power?
Scientific Alliance, Mar 31, 2011
From Safe Distance, U.S. – Japanese Team Draws Up Plan to Demolish Reactors
By Ken Belson, NYT, Apr 7, 2011
U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant
By James Glanz and William Broad, NYT, Apr 5, 2011
Japan to seek waiver from Kyoto Targets
By Staff Writers, AFP, April 5, 2011 [H/t Catherine French]
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
World Shale Gas Resources: An Initial Assessment of 14 Regions Outside the United States
Report, US Energy Information Administration, Apr 5, 2011
Shale Gas’s WOW! Moment
By Nick Grealy, GWPF, Apr 6, 2011
Statoil find puts arctic back on oil map
By Staff Writers, UPI, Apr 6, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
BP Oil Spill and Administration Control of Drilling
The fight for lower gas prices starts at home
By Sen David Vitter and Rep Rob Bishop, Washington Examiner, Mar 31, 2011
The Case for increasing Domestic Oil Production
Why America can and must produce more oil
By Jon Basil Utley, Reason, Mar 310, 2011
BP Seeks to Resume Drilling in Gulf of Mexico
By Julia Werdigier and John Broder, NYT, Apr 3, 2011
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy
Ritter drubbed in debate
By Vincent Carroll, Denver Post, Apr 8, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
Wind farm efficiency queried by John Muir Trust study
Wind farms are much less efficient than claimed, producing below 10% of capacity from more than a third of the time, according to a new report.
By Staff Writers, BBC News, Apr 6, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Paper Mill Struggles to Run on Logging Waste
Proposal to Switch to Alternative Fuel Hits Opposition on Olympic Peninsula
By Joel Millman, WSJ, Apr 7, 2011
[SEPP Comment: May be behind a pay wall.]
Why Electric Cars are Really Coal Cars
By Chris Rhodes, Oil Price.com, Apr 5, 2011
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see
The 1470 – Year Climate Oscillation on the North Pacific Gyre
Reference: Isono, D., Yamamoto, M., Irino, T., Oba, T., Murayama, M., Nakamura, T. and Kawahata, H. 2009. The 1500-year climate oscillation in the midlatitude North Pacific during the Holocene. Geology 37: 591-594.
All Coral Bleaching Is Not Bad
Reference: Suggett, D.J. and Smith, D.J. 2011. Interpreting the sign of coral bleaching as friend vs. foe. Global Change Biology 17: 45-55.
Are Economic Losses from Extreme Weather Events Increasing?
Reference: Neumayer, E. and Barthel, F. 2011. Normalizing economic loss from natural disasters: A global analysis. Global Environmental Change 21: 13-24.
Model Assessments of Warming-Induced Changes in the Frequency of Northern Hemisphere Summer Cyclones
Reference: Lang, C. and Waugh, D.W. 2011. Impact of climate change on the frequency of Northern Hemisphere summer cyclones. Journal of Geophysical Research 116: 10.1029/2010JD014300.
Food for Fuel
Rush to Use Crops as Fuel Raises Food Prices and Hunger Fears
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, NYT, Apr 6, 2011
Other News that May Be Of Interest
Manhattan Moment: Space shuttle program is a cautionary tale for ambitions infrastructure projects
By Pete Peterson, Washington Examiner, Apr 5, 2011
Waste Ash from Coal Could Save Billions in Repairing US Bridges and Roads
By Staff Writers, Science Daily, Mar 30, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Lenten sacrifice: time to give up plastic bags or incandescent bulbs
By Nancy Frazier O’Brien, Catholic News Service, Mar 4, 2011
House Dem: Climate change bigger health threat than AIDS, malaria
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Apr 6, 2011
Michigan vs. California: The global warming smackdown continues
Senator Debbie Stabenow joins the cripple-the-EPA crowd. Got to keep those tailpipes polluting!
By Andrew Leonard, Salon, Mar 31, 2011 [H/t Tom Sheahen]