29 April, 2011

Learning the Impact of Climate Change: Project

The full text of a homework-project (described earlier) for a Tasmanian high school’s Grade 8 Society and History class on “learning the impact of climate change” (note that all spelling and punctuation is reproduced exactly):

Homework Project.
Scavenger Hunt.
During your current course of study on climate change you will be required to conduct a scavenger hunt as homework to submit at the end of the unit.
You will need to collect data or create as many of the projects on the scavenger hunt list as possible.  The person that collects the most points is the winner and will receive a prize, with runner up prizes as well!!
A point tally will be displayed on the wall over the duration of the scavenger hunt to keep a running tally.
Bring in your pieces as you go to display around the classroom...or school if we run out of space, I am expecting GREAT things!!
Rules of Scavenger Hunt.
  1. You can go anywhere that is appropriate to obtain your data, check with someone from home first and always let them know where you are going.
  2. Cameras and recorders may be used to record information.  Written summaries of TV shows, films, hand-drawn maps, diagrams etc are acceptable.
  3. Use primary sources when possible.
  4. The sources of ALL data must be recorded.
Items to Collect and Create
  1. Make a map of the world showing where climate change is most severe (10 points).
  2. Collect five pictures of areas affected by climate change (5 points).  Add 10 points if you label your pictures and include two facts about each picture.
  3. Collect two articles from magazines that explain efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (5 points).  Add 10 points if you include a written summary of the articles.
  4. Create a chart that ranks in order the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions (5 points).
  5. Draw a before and after picture of a place on earth affected by climate change. Could be lakes and rivers that have dried up, glaciers that are disappearing, Antarctic shelf ice that has disappeared, and farm land that has dried up, coastal land that is under water, deltas that have flooded and eroded.  Include labels and information about where and what has happened (15 points).
  6. Watch a TV show or DVD about the problem of climate change.  Create a chart or a poster that shares what you have learnt (10 points).  BONUS:  10 points for each additional show viewed.
  7. Make a chart that lists the organisations which concentrate on dealing with the problem of climate change.  Include the name, address and phone number (10 points).
  8. Choose one of the climate change problems from the list below.  Write a poem or song that includes at least five facts about the problem.  Mention the necessity for finding ways to solve the problem (20 points).
       a. Rising temperatures
       b. Glaciers melting
       c. Water shortages
       d. Animal species becoming endangered and extinct.
       e. Sea levels rising.
       f. Severe droughts
       g. Severe weather patterns including storms and cyclones.
  9. Create a timeline that shows the increase in greenhouse gas emissions to present day (15 points).
  10. Design and make a poster that informs others about air pollution (15 points).
  11. Make a list of the gases that make up greenhouse gas.  Explain what each is and where it comes from (10 points).
  12. Make a model of an environmentally friendly home, eg, north facing, passive solar design, solar power, water tanks, grey water system etc... (20 points).
  13. Research why some people are becoming vegetarian to lesson their carbon footprint.  Write at least a paragraph explaining (10points).
  14. Make a mobile of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere (10 points).
  15. Write an article for the school newssheet that explains the problem of climate change and give 5-10 suggestions for what individuals could do to help combat the problem.  Submit it for publication (25 points).
  16. Design a t-shirt or button that would make others aware of climate change (15 points).
  17. Draw a model of a catalytic converter and write an explanation of how it reduces car exhaust (15 points).
  18. Research what Tasmania is doing to reduce greenhouse gas and combat climate change, make a mind map explaining the efforts (15 points).
  19. Imagine a model community that is able to effectively eliminate greenhouse gases.  Write a story about how the community is able to achieve this (25 points).  BONUS 10 points if two or more illustrations included.
  20. Make a chart that explains the greenhouse effect and its increase. Demonstrate what might happen to our global climate if the greenhouse effect continues to increase (15 points)
  21. Make a greenhouse effect alphabet book that tells about the problem (25 points).
  22. Research what can be done around the the home to decrease carbon emissions and include how much carbon can be saved from the atmosphere (10 points).
  23. Locate on a map at least 5 major cities from around the world that suffer from smog. Write a description of the health risks as well as environmental risks (15 points).
  24. On a world map identify where both tropical rainforests and hardwood forests were once located, where they have been destroyed, and where they remain. Write a paragraph explaining how the clearing and burning of forests contribute to climate change (20 points).
  25. Sell deforestACTION land vouchers to combat climate change.  (15 points for every $2 voucher sold)
  26. Through the deforestACTION web site join the cause and register as a [...] High students (30 points, get 5 others to join through you and get 50 points). 

25 April, 2011

Learning the Impact of Climate Change: Tasks

Details of tasks for a Tasmanian high school’s Grade 8 Society and History class on “learning the impact of climate change” (note that all punctuation is reproduced exactly):
Climate Change - An overview
Choose 3 options from the list provided - one of each colour. Read through the short summary of expectations for that task. If you are not sure what a task is asking, talk to your peers about it or check with your teacher.
When beginning any task, we often try to just jump right in and start, thinking that if we wait we will run out of time. STOP!! It is always best to have a few questions to guide your research before you begin, and these questions often lead to more in-depth and focussed work. Whichever topics you choose to respond to, make sure that a) you are interested in that topic and b) you create 3-4 open ended questions to guide your enquiry.
One of your chosen three tasks will be presented to your class and/or grade. Each of your tasks will be assessed both by your peers and by your teacher.

Global Warming Timeline
Research when global warming and/or climate change was first discussed as a possible future issue and the key events that have occurred over time. Some of these events could include the building or production of some of the major pollutants that have affected our atmosphere. When you place a date on the timeline, you need to provide a short paragraph of information explaining why that date is significant. You can develop your timeline into the future if you want to include some of the predictions of what life will be like by 2050 or 2100.

Fact or Fiction
Create your own quiz based around the facts and myths of climate change / global warming. You will need to research your questions and answers. This should be a minimum of 30 questions, as well as a detailed answer sheet (ie. not just the answer, but the research/reasons behind the answer you have given).

Fact sheet - Natural disasters - Cyclones, floods and tsunamis
Create a fact sheet related to one of the natural disasters listed above. Your fact sheet should include detailed information like - what is a ... ; how is climate change influencing these natural occurrences; what can we do to limit the damage etc. Any information related to the type of disaster you choose would be appropriate (you can even include a fact and fiction section is you’d like).

Picture Book
Create a picture book based around climate change for a chosen audience (select a grade). Think about what would be appropriate, how you would get their attention, what element of climate change you could look at that would increase their understanding of the possible outcomes of global warming and also entertain them. You will need to have pictures and text on every page of your book and create a draft copy first before your final presentation piece.
Eg. Looking at the plight of an endangered species and how they will be affected if global warming continues.

Changing our climate - How Can You Help?
Create a poster outlining how students of [the] High School can change our climate. What can they do at school and at home to reduce their impact of global warming? This can be presented as a poster that could go on display in the school. Create some visual reminders that can be put up in classrooms around the school to encourage people to work together to reduce our impact.

Climate Change / Global Warming lyrical task
Create a song raising awareness for climate change and how everyone can do their bit to help reduce the human impact on global warming. You could write the song about an endangered animal, people or land and/or describe the affects climate change could have if it is not stopped. Put this to music if you can.

Create a presentation - this might take the form of a PowerPoint presentation, a fact sheet or a report - that explains what DeforestACTION is, why there is a need for it and how individuals can take action to change our future for the better.

Create your own climate change crossword
Think carefully about your clues and try incorporating solutions as well.

Fact Sheet - El Niño/La Niña
Create a fact sheet related to both El Niño and La Niña. Your fact sheet should include detailed information like - what is a ... ; how is climate change influencing these natural occurrences; what can we do to limit the damage, how are the natural occurrences changing etc.

What Will the World Be Like in 50 Years?
What will the world be like if we do not address climate change? What will the world be like if we take steps to change our approach to climate change? Document your findings and explain how you came to this conclusion.

Greenhouse Effect Poster
Create a poster that gives a detailed explanation of the greenhouse effect. Your poster must include a detailed diagram that is labelled as well as information found explaining the effect.

Fact Sheet - From Agriculture to Industry
Create a fact sheet that looks at the significant changes in the way humans interact with the environment over the last 150 years. Your report must include a discussion of the Industrial Revolution - what it was and what effect it had on the environment.

Where in the World Mapping Task
Collect the appropriate worksheet that goes with this task from your teacher. This is a mapping task so you need to make sure you include BOLTSS.

Apparent Impacts of Global Warming
See above.

History of Cars
Be creative with this one! Make a presentation that looks at the invention of the automobile and how it has changed over the years. You might like to include some images and diagrams - the more creative you can be, the better!

24 April, 2011

Bill McKibben’s Fight with Reality

The alleged, slight, recent warming of the world attributed to the small increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide is, apparently, “the worst thing that’s ever happened”.  Anthropogenic global warming, it seems, is far worse that the Black Death, the devastations of Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot, concentration camps, any war, taxes, the designated-pitcher rule, paper-cuts, asteroid strikes, slavery, cancers, smallpox, syphilis, AIDS, malaria, institutionalised injustice, tyrannies of all sorts, the burning of the library at Alexandria, the rise of militant Islam, man’s first disobedience, reality television, candirus, the monster in Harry Potter’s chest, Jar-Jar Binks, or even boy-bands.  Bill McKibben, an awarmist and possibly criminally insane journalist, recently presented a speech packed with doom-laden but fallacious ravings at PowerShift 2011:
It’s tough, it’s grim, but the good news at least is that it’s clear, the science.  We have a number:  350 parts per million.  350, the most important number on earth.  As the NASA team put it in January 2008, “any value in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and which life on earth is adapted.”  Getting back to 350 parts per million will be very very tough, the toughest thing human beings have ever done, but there is no use complaining about it, it’s just physics and chemistry.  That’s what we have to do.  [...]
So far, we’ve raised the temperature of the planet one degree and that’s [...] melted the arctic [really? see this evidence], it’s changed the oceans. The climatologists tell us that unless we act with great speed and courage that one degree will be five degrees before this century is out. And if we do that, then the world that we leave behind will be a ruined world.
We fight not just for ourselves, we fight for the beauty of this place.  For cool trout streams and deep spruce woods.  For chilly fog rising off the Pacific and deep snow blanketing the mountains. We fight for all the creation that shares this planet with us.  We don’t know half the species on Earth we’re wiping out.  [...]
The only thing that a morally awake person to do when the worst thing that’s ever happened is happening is try to change those odds.
I have spent most of my last few years in rooms around the world with great people, many of whom will be refugees before this century is out, some of whom may be dead from climate change before this century is out.
So, many “great people” might not live to be much over a hundred years?  Many other centenarians will be refugees?  No!  Let’s halt all industry immediately!  The lunatic behind the nonsensical, NASA* team’s claim that “any value in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed”, by the way, is that bonkers boffin, James Hansen.
Notice that McKibben refers to a “morally awake person” who must take action to alleviate his spurious crisis.  As Maurizio Morabito says, it’s a short step from considering the rest of us as morally asleep to considering us subhumans—not that anyone need ever fear crazed monomaniacs with political power.

UPDATE: as demented as McKibben is, he has at least realised that forecasts of doom are best made for the far away, distant future.  Compare, for instance, the deluded predictions of awarmists, such as the irrational James Hansen et al., with those of Harold Camping; they made the mistake of forecasting immediate doom.

* see “NASA keeps mum on data that could disprove anthropogenic global warming theory”, at the Hockey Shtick:  “The theory of anthropogenic global warming is based upon the notion that increases in the minor greenhouse gas CO2 result in increases of the major greenhouse gas water vapour, thereby supposedly increasing global warming to alarming levels of 2-5ºC per doubling of CO2 levels.  Without this assumed and unproven positive feedback from water vapour, there is no basis for alarm. [...] a 2005 paper based on the NASA water vapor data set [called NVAP] showed that water vapour levels had instead declined (with 95% confidence) between 1988-99.” 

22 April, 2011

No Acceleration of Global Sea-Level, I

The renowned, crazed NASA employee, Dr James Hansen, a notorious, irrationally misanthracist fruitcake, has predicted that sea-levels may rise five metres a century or (on days when his navel lint sends messages by way of his breakfast cereal, perchance) over twenty-five metres.*  The famed, award-winning profiteer of doom, Al. Gore, a serial liar, has predicted that sea-levels will rise by more than seven metres by the end of this century.  The late Robyn Williams predicted a rise of one hundred metres.  In the Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), however, Bindoff et al. (2007) project a global sea-level rise relative to 1990 of up to 79 cm by 2100.  The data suggest that even the less outrageous predictions of Prof. Bindoff et alii are unlikely to occur.
From J.R. Houston and R.G. Dean, “Sea-Level Acceleration Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge Analyses” in the Journal of Coastal Research:
The current sea-level trend of about 1.7 mm/y will produce a rise of about 19 mm [sic] over 110 years from 1990 to 2100, but a rise to 79 cm will require an acceleration of about 0.10 mm/y2 [...].
Our analyses do not indicate acceleration in sea level in U.S. tide gauge records during the 20th century.  Instead, for each time period we consider, the records show small decelerations that are consistent with a number of earlier studies of worldwide-gauge records.  The decelerations that we obtain are opposite in sign and one to two orders of magnitude less than the +0.07 to +0.28 mm/y2 accelerations that are required to reach sea levels predicted for 2100 by Vermeer and Rahmsdorf (2009), Jevrejeva, Moore, and Grinsted (2010), and Grinsted, Moore, and Jevrejeva (2010).  Bindoff et al. (2007) note an increase in worldwide temperature from 1906 to 2005 of 0.74ºC.  It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.§
UPDATE:  see “A Fairy Tale:  Jimmy and the Lump of Coal”.

*  Hansen, in “Climate Change:  On the Edge”, writes, “How far can it go?  The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today—which is what we expect later this century—sea levels were 25m higher.  So that is what we can look forward to if we don’t act soon.”
†  see, for example, earlier posts here and here.
‡  110 years of 1.7 mm a year would equal 187 mm or about 19 cm, not 19 mm.
UPDATE II:  James R. Houston kindly responded to an enquiring e-mail, writing that the “mm” is indeed an error for “cm”.
§  of course, one simple explanation could be that temperatures did not rise by 0.74ºC.

Grattan’s Disdain

The toadying Michelle Grattan, in “Once-burnt public goes cold on price for carbon”, bemoans the growing opposition to a carbon dioxide tax:
The globe may be warming, but the political climate for moving Australia to a lower emission economy seems colder by the day.  This week’s Age/Nielsen poll had support for a carbon price at 34%, a fall from 46% in February.  [...]
Gillard can take heart from this week’s Essential Research poll in which only 39% supported a carbon price, but this rose to 51% when compensation was mentioned.  [So, bribery works, and the PM should be gladdened thereby.]
But Gillard would be very lucky to get that sort of bounce.  Once the compensation details are released, fresh attacks will come.  Many people will be overcompensated but some will partially or fully miss out.  Even though this is perfectly reasonable, there will be screams.
It is perfectly reasonable to overcompensate some people, and to neglect others altogether, with funds raised by taxing efficient power generation, predicated on the ridiculous notion that a beneficent and essential trace gas is a pollutant!  What, we may well wonder, would this journalist consider unreasonable?  Notice the haughty, dismissive disdain for ordinary people’s pain; countless jobs could be terminated, the economy might be wrecked beyond repair and, for many, the daily costs of living may become unaffordable, but though lives be ruined, Michelle Grattan casually slights the likely and understandable protests as well as the anguish of suffering as “screams”, the unsympathetic, sycophantic cunt.

21 April, 2011

Climate & Non-Falsifiable Hypotheses

Prof. David Flint asks, “Why aren’t we being told?” at Quadrant Online:
The Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama’s State Climatologist and the Director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Professor John R Christy, has served both as a Lead Author and Contributing Author of IPCC assessments.  He told Congress […] that it has become popular to try to  attribute certain “extreme events” to human causation.  […]
In his testimony, Professor Christy assesses a number of recent “extreme events” and the explanations that have been offered as to their cause.  […]
Professor Christy finds there has been a relative lull in Queensland flooding events after 1900, with only four reaching the moderate category in the past 110 years.  But fourteen such events were recorded in the 60 years before 1900.  He says the recent floods have been exceeded six times in the last 170 years.  Two of them recorded almost double the level of flooding last year.  And what exactly was the role of the emergency releases from the Wyvenhoe Dam in the recent Brisbane floods is yet to be determined.
Professor Christy also considers the floods in England, Russia and Pakistan and snowfall in the US.  His conclusion is that the history charts indicate that severe flooding and other extreme events occur from “natural unenforced variability.”  The climate system, he says, has always had within itself the capability of causing devastating events.  And these will certainly continue—with or without human influence.
What should we do?
He says nothing about a carbon dioxide tax, or a carbon price or bank induced carbon trading, instead we should plan for the infrastructure projects to be able to withstand the worst that we already know has occurred.
We must understand the obvious—that the worst events should be expected within such a dynamic system.  That is what anyone with common sense realises.  […]
Just as an exercise he pulls out some US statistics which would make you think the weather in the relevant states is in fact getting less extreme and colder.  But, he says, he is not trying to prove either.  His point is that extreme events are poor tools to use for detecting climate change.
Indeed it is by using extreme events to bolster a claim about any type of climate change, the proponents risk setting up a classic inverted “non-falsifiable hypothesis.”
Thus we were told by the IPCC that milder winter temperatures would increase heavy snowstorms.  But after the winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11, we are told the opposite by IPCC advocates.
He says the non-falsifiable hypothesis works this way.  “Whatever happens is consistent with my hypothesis.”  In other words there is no event which would falsify the hypothesis.
Such assertions, he says, cannot be considered science or in any way informative since the hypothesis’ fundamental prediction is “anything may happen.”  […]
Given that we are told that “the science” points only one way and everyone else is a “ratbag denier”, surely the Australian people are entitled to know of testimony by an expert which flies in the face of the establishment position.  The fact that it coincides with the common sense you find in the rank and file is not sufficient reason to censor it.

20 April, 2011

Disconnection between Climate Change & Reality

Terry McCrann, in his Herald Sun column*, writes, “When the wind doesn’t blow … which is nearly all the time”:
Eric Beecher’s Crikey, new media’s effort to make old media shock jocks look like voices of calm and reason, got it exactly and so deliciously right yesterday.
“There’s a bizarre disconnection between the climate change debate in Australia and reality,” was the email’s plaintive opening sentence.
Quite.  Collective warmenists like Crikey and its ‘intellectual’ peer The Age demonstrate the truth of that sentence every day—persistently, stridently and so totally unknowingly in their pompous condescending inanity.
If men are from Mars and women from Venus, generally speaking, then the Crikey people and their fellow warmenists are from a dark planet way outside our or indeed any solar system.
The first, biggest and all-encompassing disconnect from reality is their demand for a “price on carbon [sic] to tackle global warming”.  […]
Crikey & The Age & co. are the ones disconnected from reality.  […]
You want to see a disconnect from reality?  Look at the blithe belief of people like Crikey and The Age that we can close down our coal-fired plants and we’ll get the electricity from ‘something else’.[]
Here’s another reality from which the debate has been very deliberately ‘disconnected’.
Analysis [by Tom Quirk] shows the carbon tax will have to be at least $50 a tonne, not the $20 a tonne soothingly and deceptively promoted by Combet, to begin to force a shift from coal to that ‘something else’.  Principally gas.
Try connecting that with the ‘reality’ of the higher prices you face for everything.
The reality is that there is one big difference between the carbon tax and the GST.  The carbon tax will force up the price of EVERYTHING—including health, education and fresh food excluded from the GST.
This is the reality that needs to be disconnected from the rubbish and outright lies spun by Combet, Gillard and their obliging mouthpieces at Crikey and The Age.
*  The version of the column in the Daily Telegraph is truncated; it ends with:  “Analysis by Quirk shows the carbon tax will have to be at least $50 a tonne, not the $20 a tonne promoted by Greg Combet, to begin to force a shift from coal to other sources.”  The editors of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reckon that its readers are more easily vexed, perhaps, by offensive but accurate terminology (such as “deceptively” and “rubbish” and “outright lies”) than the readers of Melbourne’s Herald Sun are.
†  See also  “A lot of hot air: Wind farms ‘working at just 21% of capacity’”, by David Derbyshire:  “Britain’s wind farms produce far less electricity than their supporters claim – and cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on, a study from a conservation charity showed yesterday.”

UPDATE—from comments:  Official report says, “Wind-farms are totally useless.”

19 April, 2011

Doubts Grow

Three recent stories (collected by GWPF) demonstrate that doubts are growing that climate-change will doom us all very soon.
At least three in four Americans surveyed in Gallup’s 2011 Environment poll say they worry a great deal or a fair amount about contamination of soil and water by toxic waste, pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, pollution of drinking water, and the maintenance of the nation’s supply of fresh water for household needs.  [...]
The poll was conducted March 3-6, prior to the emergence of an earthquake- and tsunami-generated nuclear crisis in Japan that has raised Americans’ own concerns about nuclear power.
The current levels of public concern about various environmental problems are essentially unchanged from 2010.  However, Americans are less worried today than they were 10 years ago about all eight issues Gallup measured in 2001.  The decline over the past decade spans a period when the public often expressed surging concern about terrorism, the Iraq war, gas prices, and the economy.
In The Ecologist, “Only a quarter of UK population concerned about climate change”, by William McLennan:
Twice as many people in India and Japan rank climate change as one of the most important environmental issues, highlighting the challenge facing UK policymakers and climatologists.
Only a quarter of Britons believe climate change is one of the most important environmental issues facing the UK today, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos MORI and released to The Ecologist this week.
Ambivalence in the UK is in sharp contrast to Asian countries like India, South Korea and Japan where 50% of those polled consider climate change to be one of the most important environmental issues.
The MORI poll involved more than 18,000 people across the world, who were asked to choose the three most important environmental issues facing their country.  Of the 24 countries surveyed, the UK was among the least concerned about climate change, with energy security, waste disposal and overpopulation listed as the most pressing environmental issues.  Other European countries showed similar results to UK, with people in Germany and Sweden principally concerned with sources of future energy supplies.
The number of British people who are sceptical about climate change is rising, a poll for BBC News suggests.
The Populus poll of 1,001 adults found 25% did not think global warming was happening, an increase of 10% since a similar poll was conducted in November.
The percentage of respondents who said climate change was a reality had fallen from 83% in November to 75% this month.
And only 26% of those asked believed climate change was happening and “now established as largely man-made”.
The findings are based on interviews carried out on 3-4 February.
In November 2009, a similar poll by Populus—commissioned by The Times—showed that 41% agreed that climate change was happening and it was largely the result of human activities.  [...]
Of the 75% of respondents who agreed that climate change was happening, one-in-three people felt that the potential consequences of living in a warming world had been exaggerated, up from one-in-five people in November.
Evidently, governments and environmentalist organisations need to spend even more money and other resources to convince sceptical people that the pseudo-scientific, doomday cult of looming-catastrophic-anthropogenic-global-warming really does require developed countries to wreck their economies and to ruin the lives of their citizens.

UPDATE:  see Anthony Watts, on the shocking news, “Democrats and Republicans increasingly divided over global warming”, and “Americans believe climate change is occurring, but disagree on why”, at WUWT.
UPDATE II:  see Michelle Grattan, of The Age, “Once-burnt public goes cold on price for carbon”.
UPDATE III (8 May, 2011):  see Robert Matthews, of The National, “The more famous the expert, the worse his predictions”.
UPDATE IV (10 May, 2011):  see Mike Haseler’s Scottish Sceptic, “Global warming is dead in the MSM”; and see Russell Cook’s “The ’96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists”.

Confusing Cause & Effect

Matt Ridley writes “When Scientists Confuse Cause and Effect”, in the Wall Street Journal: 
Scientists like to remind us not to confuse cause and effect.  But they’re not immune from making that mistake themselves.  [...] 
Whole districts of Freudian theory are confused about cause and effect.  [...]  Nor is medicine immune.  Some years ago epidemiologists found that women taking hormone replacement therapy had fewer heart attacks, but controlled trials found that HRT caused more heart attacks.  It turned out that the women taking HRT in the epidemiological study were from higher socio-economic classes, so they ate and exercised better.  Class caused both HRT and fewer heart attacks. 
Even climate science has encountered cause-effect confusion.  When in 1999 Antarctic ice cores revealed carbon-dioxide concentrations and temperature marching in lockstep over 400,000 years, many [...] found this a convincing argument for attributing past climate change to carbon dioxide.  (About 95% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is natural, coming from the exhalations of living things.  In the past, carbon-dioxide levels rose as the earth warmed at the end of ice ages and fell as it cooled at the end of interglacial periods.) 
Then four years later came clear evidence from finer-grained analysis of ice cores that temperature changes preceded carbon-dioxide changes by at least 800 years.  Effects cannot precede their causes by eight centuries, so temperatures must drive carbon dioxide, chiefly by warming the sea and causing carbon dioxide dissolved in water to “out-gas” into the air. 
Climate scientists fell back on a “feedback” hypothesis, arguing that an initial change, probably caused by variations in the earth’s orbit that affect the warmth of the sun, was then amplified by changes in carbon-dioxide levels.  But this made the attribution argument circular and left the reversal of the trend after a period of warming (when amplification should be at its strongest) still harder to explain.  If carbon dioxide is still driving the temperature upward but it falls instead, then other factors must be stronger than expected.

Greenhouse-Gas Theory Discredited, II

John O’Sullivan, on his own site, has “Debunking the Greenhouse Gas Theory in Three Simple Steps”:
A group of international scientists find that carbon dioxide is a coolant, the calculations in the greenhouse gas theory are wrong and humans are not killing the planet.
It may have taken the Climategate controversy to prompt a growing band of specialist scientists to come forward and work together to help climatologists get themselves out of an almighty mess.  But at last we know for sure that the doomsaying equations behind the man-made global warming new research shows the numbers were fudged, the physics was misapplied and group thinking perpetuated gross errors.

17 April, 2011

The Risk of CAGW Is So Low

Dr. Alan Carlin, one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s senior research analysts, has determined that the low risk of CAGW means “that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it”;  see “A Multidisciplinary, Science-Based Approach to the Economics of Climate Change”, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health:
Economic analyses of environmental mitigation and other interdisciplinary public policy issues can be much more useful if they critically examine what other disciplines have to say, insist on using the most relevant observational data and the scientific method, and examine lower-cost alternatives to the change proposed.  These general principles are illustrated by applying them to the case of climate change mitigation, one of the most interdisciplinary of public policy issues. The analysis shows how use of these principles leads to quite different conclusions than those of most previous such economic analyses [...].
The risk of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming appears to be so low that it is not currently worth doing anything to try to control it, including geo-engineering.  [...]
According to Chapter 9 of the IPCC AR4 report all the IPCC climate models predict that there should be a hot spot in the upper troposphere about 5–12 km above the Earth’s surface in the tropics caused by increased evaporation from warmer oceans leading to the accumulation of higher concentrations of water vapor in the upper troposphere [...].  The feedback creates the hotspot and is responsible for much of the temperature rises predicted by the IPCC models.  If non-water vapour greenhouse gases are significantly warming the Earth, the first signs of it are supposed to appear above the tropics.  Since no such hotspot has been found, the models and therefore the UN’s hypothesis concerning feedback are wrong.  [...]
Although it is not always necessary for environmental economists to understand the physical science aspects of the proposed environmental control measures proposed and to determine whether there may be lower-cost means to achieve the benefits desired from the proposed mitigation, it certainly never does any harm and in most cases involving multidisciplinary issues it is vital if economists are to provide realistic and useful advice to decision makers.  Some may object that in this specialized world economists should leave such matters to physical scientists since it is believed that they will know more about them.  The danger, of course, is that economists may place their trust in physical scientists who are either not sufficiently knowledgeable or have a prior bias towards particular physical science hypotheses or mitigation methods to the exclusion of others.  What is needed on the part of economists is an inquiring and open mind, insistence on use of the most relevant observational data and the scientific method, and technical curiosity so as to determine whether there may be lower cost or more efficient alternative methods to achieve whatever the environmental control measures they are evaluating are supposed to achieve.  Economists do not have to carry out the physical science research involved or invent the lower cost control measures, but they do need to recognize which research and control measures meet their needs in these respects and particularly which have been validated by use of the most relevant observational data and the scientific method.

16 April, 2011

What Has Happened to Scientific Method?

Available at Quadrant Online is “Science without Method”, by John Nicol:
Global warming, and its euphemistic sibling “climate change”, remain much in the news.  Specialist research groups around the world continue to produce an unending sequence of papers aimed at demonstrating a litany of problems which might arise should global warming resume.  The authors’ prime expertise is often found to be not in atmospheric physics or aeronomy, as one might have anticipated.  However, the topic of climate change itself provides for abundant research funding, from which they feed, more easily than other areas of research of greater interest and practical use.  Most of these papers are, of course, based upon the output from speculative and largely experimental, atmospheric models representing exercises in virtual reality, rather than observed, real-world, measurements and phenomena.  Which leads to the question “What scientific methodology is in operation here?”
Though much has been written concerning the scientific method, and the ill-defined question as to what constitutes a correct scientific approach to a complex problem, comparatively little comment has been made about the strange mix of empirical and virtual reality reasoning that characterises contemporary climate change research.  It is obvious that the many different disciplines described as being scientific, rather than social, economic, or of the arts, may apply somewhat different criteria to determine what fundamental processes should define the “scientific method” as applied for each discipline.  Dismayingly, for many years now there has been a growing tendency for many formerly “pure” scientific disciplines to embody characteristics of many others, and in some cases that includes the adoption of research attitudes and methods that are more appropriately applied in the arts and social sciences.  “Post-modernism”, if you like, has proved to be a contagious disease in academia generally.

Classical scientific method generally follows the simple protocol of first defining an hypothesis concerning the behaviour or cause of some phenomenon in nature, either physical, biological or chemical.  In most well defined areas of research, previous theory and experiment may provide such a wide and complex corpus of knowledge that a new hypothesis is not easily nor singly defined, and may even be left unstated.
This is most commonly the case when a number of diverse disciplines, all important for attaining an understanding of a particular problem, are providing results which lead to contradicting conclusions.  A contemporary example of this is discussions of the greenhouse effect, which is one of the most controversial topics ever to be considered within the scientific community.  Conventional thinking on the greenhouse effect is encapsulated in the IPCC’s statement that “We believe that most of the increase in global temperatures during the second half of the twentieth century, were very likely due to the increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide”.
Clearly this statement would be better worded were it to have been framed as a hypothesis rather than a belief, and treating the statement that way allows it to be rigorously tested (“beliefs”, which are unable to be tested, fall outside of the spectrum of science).  In the real scientific world, for such an hypothesis to survive rigorous scrutiny, and thereby to perhaps grow in strength from a hypothesis to a theory, requires that it be examined and re-examined from every possible angle over periods of decades and longer.
In conventional research, the next step—following the formulation of the hypothesis in whatever form it may take—is to select what measurements or analyses need to be done in order to test the hypothesis and thus to advance understanding of the topic.  Most often, theoretical reasoning as to why an hypothesis might be correct or incorrect is followed by the development of experiments in laboratories, or the making of careful observations in nature, which can be organised and classified, and from which measurements can be made and conclusions drawn.  [...]
Out of [a] cut and paste “history” of physics, comes the strongest criticism of the mainstream climate science research as it is carried on today.  The understanding of the climate may appear simple compared to quantum theory, since the computer models that lie at the heart of the IPCC’s warming alarmism don’t need to go beyond Newtonian Mechanics.  [...]  Yet in contemporary research on matters to do with climate change, and despite enormous expenditure, not one serious attempt has been made to check the veracity of the numerous assumptions involved in greenhouse theory by actual experimentation.
The one modern, definitive experiment, the search for the signature of the green house effect has failed totally.  [...]
In addition, the data representing the earth’s effective temperature over the past 150 years, show that a global human contribution to this temperature can not be distinguished or isolated at a measurable level above that induced by clearly observed and understood, natural effects, such as the partially cyclical, redistribution of surface energy in the El Niño.  [...]
So how do our IPCC scientists deal with this?  Do they revise the theory to suit the experimental result, for example by reducing the climate sensitivity assumed in their GCMs?  Do they carry out different experiments (i.e., collect new and different datasets) which might give more or better information?  Do they go back to basics in preparing a new model altogether, or considering statistical models more carefully?  Do they look at possible solar influences instead of carbon dioxide?  Do they allow the likelihood that papers by persons like Svensmark, Spencer, Lindzen, Soon, Shaviv, Scafetta and McLean (to name just a few of the well-credentialed scientists who are currently searching for alternatives to the moribund IPCC global warming hypothesis) might be providing new insights into the causes of contemporary climate change?
Unfortunately, the meretricious Ross Garnaut’s Garnaut Climate Change Review—in order, surely, to reach its premeditated, predetermined conclusion—relies on governmentally-approved, “settled science”, a fetish for peer-reviewed papers (but, of course, from only one sub-set of officially approved papers), and the fallacious argumentum ad vercundiam:
The Review took as its starting point:
... on the balance of probabilities and not as a matter of belief, the majority opinion of the Australian and international scientific communities that human activities resulted in substantial global warming from the mid-20th century (Garnaut 2008).
Also underpinning the Review was the knowledge from the majority science, that continued growth in greenhouse gas concentrations caused by human-induced emissions would generate high risks of dangerous climate change.  [...]
The Review drew extensively on the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2007.  The IPCC Assessment Reports are a consolidation of all the peer-reviewed science on climate change, its impacts, and mitigation.[*]  They represent the research and input of thousands of scientists and are the authoritative point of reference on climate change.
The same IPCC reports which derived claims that ice is disappearing from the world’s mountain tops from a student’s dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine; which based claims that the Amazonian rainforest is remarkably vulnerable on “anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group”; which first asserted that the Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035, but then admitted that the claim was completely unfounded; etc.

15 April, 2011

Greenhouse-Gas Theory Discredited, I

In his new paper, “Determination of the Total Emissivity of a Mixture of Gases Containing 5% of Water Vapor and 0.039% of Carbon Dioxide at Overlapping Absorption Bands” [Nasif Nahle] proves that in nature, [carbon dioxide] and water vapour mix together to decrease infrared radiation emissions/absorptions in the air.  This is the opposite of what conventional climatology has been saying for years.  [...]
Dr. Nahle completed his controversial study with the assistance of American physicist, Dr. Charles Anderson[...]
Nasif’s study looked at how well gases in our atmosphere convert energy from the sun to raise temperatures on the ground.  He went on, “In the case of carbon dioxide, its emissivity consists of its potential to emit the energy absorbed because it is not a primary source of heat.”
Nasif added, “the absorptivity coefficient of the carbon dioxide is equal to its emissivity coefficient, the gas can absorb only a limited amount of the energy received from other sources and then emit a limited amount of the energy absorbed.”  In simple terms, this means carbon dioxide cannot ‘store’ more energy than it emits.
The paper concludes:
Applying the physics laws of atmospheric heat transfer, the Carbon Dioxide behaves as a coolant of the Earth’s surface and the Earth’s atmosphere by its effect of diminishing the total absorptivity and total emissivity of the mixture of atmospheric gases.
Dr. Anderson and I found that the coolant effect of the carbon dioxide is stronger when Oxygen is included into the mixture [...] which is lower than the value [...] obtained by considering only the mixture of water vapor and carbon dioxide.
As John O’Sullivan observes, the paper by Dr. Nahle and Dr. Anderson—if verified—refutes the  doom-saying, global-warming orthodoxy.

See also Paul Clark’s  “Summary Disproving AGW”, and “The Fallacy of the Greenhouse Effect,” Part 1 and Part 2.

UPDATE:  John O’Sullivan, on his own site, adds “Debunking the Greenhouse Gas Theory in Three Simple Steps”.

Australia the Highest Emitter of Carbon Dioxide?

The Hon. Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia (and, miserabile dictu, a proven liar), says that Australia is the highest emitter of carbon dioxide, per capita, in the developed world.  See, for instance, “Labor’s Tax Strategy” paper (p. 2):


The Hon. Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, echoes Julia Gillard’s claims; he refers those who question his rather silly, deceptive statistics to the “Garnaut Climate Change Review”, which cites the Department of Climate Change as the source:
Only five countries in the world rank higher—Bahrain, Bolivia, Brunei, Kuwait and Qatar. Australia’s per capita emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times the world average [...].
For the calculation of per capita greenhouse gas emissions illustrated in Figure 7.1, the data source used for Australia was the Department of Climate Change [...].
So, with an economy of effort (which will surely please all environmentalists), and with exemplary circular reasoning (which will assuredly impress proponents of perpetual motion machines, and compulsory renewable-energy targets), the Department of Climate Change uses Garnaut’s biassed Review, which uses figures supplied by the Department of Climate Change, to suggest that the figures from the Department of Climate Change are correct.
What, however, are the UN’s statistics on the highest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita?

CO2 tonnes 
per capita
Aruba    23.02
Australia    19.00
Bahrain    29.58
Brunei Darussalam    19.58
Falkland Islands    19.68
Kuwait    30.21
Luxembourg    24.93
Netherlands Antilles    32.47
Qatar    55.43
Trinidad and Tobago    27.88
United Arab Emirates    31.02
USA     19.74

Now, it’s fair enough that we consider Aruba and the Dutch Antilles outside the developed world for, after all, they constitute only part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but Luxembourg and the USA?  Aren’t those two countries generally considered to be within the developed world?
Bahrain ranks thirty-ninth, Qatar thirty-eighth, Brunei thirty-seventh, United Arab Emirates thirty-second, and little Luxembourg twenty-fourth on the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) – 2010 Rankings; they are thereby classified as developed countries.  Julia Gillard and her unprincipled parrots, however, still say Australia is the highest emitter of carbon dioxide, per capita, in the developed world.
So, Julia Gillard, Greg Combet, and other ministers of this egregiously incompetent Government—backed by the predominantly proskynetic lickspittles in the media—are either willfully and unpardonably ignorant of the facts or mischievously, deliberately, wickedly deceiving the people whom they have sworn to serve faithfully.

UPDATE I (28 March, 2012): I see from the site’s statistics that some visitors hither searched for a list of the Member States of the United Nations, which are as follows:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Angola; Antigua and Barbuda; Armenia; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belarus; Belgium; Benin; Bhutan; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; China; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Costa Rica; Côte d’Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Fiji; Finland; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Islamic Republic of Iran; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Republic of Korea; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Federated States of Micronesia; Republic of Moldova; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; Nepal; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; San Marino; Sao Tome and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Tuvalu; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; United States of America; Uruguay; Uzbekistan; Vanuatu; Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Viet Nam; Yemen; Zambia; and Zimbabwe.  
UPDATE II (13 November, 2013):  even worse than the demonstrably false claim that Australia is the highest emitter of carbon dioxide “in the developed world” is the lie, repeated by members of the Australian Greens and the ALP in the last few days, that Australia is the highest emitter of carbon dioxide “in the world” (in an hysterical attempt to blame a recent tropical cyclone in Southeast Asia on the new federal government’s intention to repeal the previous government’s silly “carbon tax”).  You know, if the propagandists for CAGW have to lie with such easily disprovable claims, we can tell that they have no real evidence whereon they might support their silly conjecture.

14 April, 2011

Why the US Is Destroying Its Education System

Chris Hedges, at Truthdig, on “Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System”:
A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind.  It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy.  It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money.  It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state.  It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers.  It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.  [...]
Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence.  This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations.  They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions.  They want them to serve the system.  These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs.  The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them.  They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority.  Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.  [...]
Those who can ask the right questions are armed with the capacity to make a moral choice, to defend the good in the face of outside pressure.  And this is why the philosopher Immanuel Kant puts the duties we have to ourselves before the duties we have to others.  The standard for Kant is not the biblical idea of self-love—love thy neighbor as thyself, do unto others as you would have them do unto you—but self-respect.  What brings us meaning and worth as human beings is our ability to stand up and pit ourselves against injustice and the vast, moral indifference of the universe.  Once justice perishes, as Kant knew, life loses all meaning.  Those who meekly obey laws and rules imposed from the outside—including religious laws—are not moral human beings.  The fulfillment of an imposed law is morally neutral.  The truly educated make their own wills serve the higher call of justice, empathy and reason.  Socrates made the same argument when he said it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.  [...]
As [Hannah] Arendt pointed out, we must trust only those who have this self-awareness.  [...]  We must fear, Arendt warned, those whose moral system is built around the flimsy structure of blind obedience.  We must fear those who cannot think.  Unconscious civilizations become totalitarian wastelands.
“The greatest evildoers are those who don’t remember because they have never given thought to the matter, and, without remembrance, nothing can hold them back,” Arendt writes.  “For human beings, thinking of past matters means moving in the dimension of depth, striking roots and thus stabilizing themselves, so as not to be swept away by whatever may occur—the Zeitgeist or History or simple temptation.  The greatest evil is not radical, it has no roots, and because it has no roots it has no limitations, it can go to unthinkable extremes and sweep over the whole world.”