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“Kyoto will be disaster for Turkey, says State Planning Agency “



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Que Idiota



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Having dinner in Madrid last night with friends, I was informed that their local video-rental store — that is to say, yet one more poseur business and/or alarmist commentator whose livelihood depends entirely on the concept of people plugging things in and turning them on — has begun accompanying each rental with a gratis copy of “An Inconvenient Truth”, thereby “doing his part” in the struggle against catastrophic man-made global warming . . . also thereby marking the occasion by doubling each customer’s DVD-watching carbon footprint.

No word on how many squirrels they think it takes to run each customers’ DVD player.

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Green propaganda in academia



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Back in the saddle here in Detroit after a week touring college campuses in Virginia (Tech not among them). The Green religion (along with racial diversity, of course) has predictably taken hold in the leftist bastion of academia. “Save the Planet” flyers dot campus billboards at William & Mary and GW, the best parking spaces are reserved for hybrids at U. of Richmond, etc.

 

Still, I saw no evidence of the huge, Soviet-style propaganda posters or ubiquitous workplace signs that one sees at corporate facilities like Ford urging employees to be Green (or expounding on the virtues of diversity).

 

Academia may have met its match in the modern, politically-correct corporation.

Takin’ It (Global Warming) to the Security Council



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Part Two of Hayward’s Theatrical Debut



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Steve Hayward Gets His Turn: Watch Part One of Convenient Fiction Here:



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Global warming rally cut short by cold weather



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Yeah, I know this story has no logical relevance to long-term climate trends, but sometimes the cheapest shots are the funniest.

“More than two dozen demonstrators braved cold, wet weather Saturday in Reno to attend a rally designed to draw attention to global warming.

The event was cut short by heavy rain and sleet, said organizer Lisa Stiller of the Northern Nevada Coalition for Climate Change.

The storm prevented the use of solar ovens for a potluck picnic, Stiller said.”

I Seem to be in Good Company



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K-Lo’s recent post of an op-ed by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe is basically a platform for Richard Lindzen of MIT to express reasonable doubts about global warming hysteria.

Those who have read my prior article on this topic (hi mom!) know that I believe that any sensible reading of the technical literature leads to the conclusions that: (1) human activities are very likely causing some amount of global temperature increase, and that (2) nobody has been able to successfully quantify the magnitude of this effect with sufficient accuracy to predict reliably how much warming we will experience in the future.

In this op-ed, Richard Lindzen is quoted as saying very directly that long-range global-warming forecasts rely on computer models that are “inherently untrustworthy” because there is so much about climate dynamics that we don’t understand.


Freeman Dyson has repeatedly said virtually the same thing about global climate models:

“Concerning the climate models, I know enough of the details to be sure that they are unreliable. They are full of fudge factors that are fitted to the existing climate, so the models more or less agree with the observed data. But there is no reason to believe that the same fudge factors would give the right behavior in a world with different chemistry, for example in a world with increased CO2 in the atmosphere.”

It’s always encouraging to have your views on a scientific topic seconded by one of the world’s greatest living physicists. Of course, I’m sure he’s just a shill for ExxonMobil.

Jeff Jacoby



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Stupidity Tax



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The Washington Post today has an article about an online service that lets suckers bet on various global warming outcomes. The odds would make a Three Card Monte table look fair.

As an example, the site offers 150-to-1 that global sea levels will rise 6 inches within a year. Even Gavin Schmidt, one of the global warming theorists who lost the “Is Global Warming a Crisis” debate in New York last month, calls the odds of this “more like a billion to one” in this LiveScience article.

They say they’ve gotten thousands of wagers. I guess in about 12 months at least a few global warming fanatics will be bitterly converted to sanity.

Just a Little Irony on the Wire?



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AP:

Skiers unfurled a protest banner in April snow on Whiteface Mountain on Saturday to kick off a nationwide day of demonstrations aimed at drawing attention to global warming.

 

Where is Al Gore planting his carbon offset trees?



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From Russell Seitz in the Wall Street Journal (a sub. link):

The inconvenient truth — that ill-placed “carbon offset” reforestation schemes can backfire could give rise to a legal climate of fear. Will environmental lawyers chasing tree surgeons’ ambulances become the next big thing in torts? The climate modeling game affords few certainties, but it seems likely that carbon-offset lawsuits will sprout like kudzu from this fertile new research field. As it grows, will the green state attorney generals who took the EPA to the Supreme Court end up inviting the former next president back for an encore?

Imus comes to Planet Gore



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My colleague John Berlau has a useful post on the Don Imuses of the environmental movement.

China Syndrome



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OK, so the greens already trumpeted China’s recent assertion that it would undertake greenhouse emission reduction efforts…on its own, thank you very much, and conveniently coming mere days after influential Sen. Pete Domenici seemed to switch camps to reject the idea of supporting domestic US legislation unless China was on board some international program, or at least really looked like they were doing something, too.

Next up is a media-gasm over China purportedly agreeing to remove one of the two major Bush Administration objections to joining Kyoto, which are shared by a 95-0 Senate and then-Vice President Gore when he agreed with this standard on December 11, 1997: participation by key developing countries (not-so-secret code for China, India, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia, the giant economies all taking a free-ride on Kyoto as agreed). All available evidence indicates — contrary to John Kerry’s debate zinger to Newt that Europe just doesn’t know how to make carbon cap-and-trade work, but the US does, nyah nyah — that the other objection, that a pact must not substantially harm the US economy, can not be met under foreseeable technologies.

Those holding with a copy of the China-Japan statement referred to in the media (see here) inform me that “the media is spinning it. Nothing new there. China signed on to an ‘effective’ framework but with one with the common stockphrase from Europe ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ or something to that effect.”

To repeat: China did not agree to actual emission reductions, to becoming a covered “Annex I” Kyoto Party (though I suggest that is one major gambit that we should expect from them, for the following reasons), or even to changing the current dynamic. Remember, Kyoto’s extant structure is based upon the “common but differentiated responsibilities” loophole that allows anyone who insists on not threatening their economic growth stays outside of Kyoto’s rationing.

In brief, why we should expect China cleverly agreeing to become a covered Kyoto Party are as follow: the EU — facing no one to buy credits from post-2012 and thus the prospect of actually having to reduce emissions because cdm and ji aren’t capable of the necessary volume — will IMHO offer the Chinese a very favorable baseline and “reduction” (like Australia’s and much of Europe’s….that means an increase) in order to become Annex I. This would remove one major US objection and isolate us in a way we simply aren’t now.

China, of course, has no intention of ever reducing emissions or becoming anything other than a recipient of wealth transfers any more than does Russia. Russia, sage observers posit, will sell GHG credits to the best of its ability then hold out for another sweetie deal or walk…but will never agree to rationing (after all, as the argument goes, the richest countries still have yet to perform). It would just be the ideal way for them — and Brazil, India, SoKo, Indonesia and others — to play the game, getting paid even more simply to hobble everyone. This redefines foreign aid as Kyoto aid, but with far worse complications. Amazing if the US doesn’t aggressively find some way out of this trap first.

The Tyranny of Consensus



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The 18 Doughty Street program Clare Fox News discusses the use of “consensus” in the scientific debate over global warming. Guests are Professor Sir Colin Berry, Tony Gilland of the Institute of Ideas and Brendan O’Neill of Spiked-online. Full program available for viewing here.

Correlation Equals Causality



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The indispensable Roger Pielke highlights, in a recent post, a risible piece of analysis presented in the detailed work product used to support the most recent UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers.

 

The key analytical exhibit purports to demonstrate that global warming has caused escalating economic losses using a “gee whiz” chart that shows a rising trend in global temperature from 1970 to 2005 moving in rough lockstep with a rising trend in global economic losses from weather-related catastrophes over the same period. 

I’ll resist the temptation to take the low road in illustrating the obvious point that correlation does not equal causality.

 

OK, I won’t. What the authors don’t mention is that, obviously, ANYTHING showing an increasing trend over the past 35 years will show a great fit with the losses from weather-related catastrophes line. The variable “Jim Manzi’s Age” is statistically correlated with estimated losses at the 5% significance level – so apparently I am personally responsible for many billions of dollars of disaster costs.

 

The much more significant point is that it’s equally obvious, even to a non-expert like me, that the first thing you would have to consider in evaluating the chart presented in this report is the growth in global wealth between 1970 and 2005, the proportion of this represented by physical assets and the spatial distribution of this wealth vs. disaster-prone areas in order to start to normalize the trend in weather-related losses.

 

Not surprisingly, competent analysts have considered these issues in detail. For example, see this, this and this. Not to mention this and this.

 

What these papers show is that once you normalize for population, wealth and inflation at the national level, there is a weak upward trend in normalized weather-related disaster losses only if you include the 2004 / 2005 hurricane season. The authors are explicit that that US losses dominate these numbers and that a shift in US population into more vulnerable areas in Florida probably accounts for any trend.

 

It took me 15 minutes on Google to find the relevant research, and maybe two hours to assimilate it. Apparently this was too much work for 2,500 scientists.

 

What’s so shocking is not that IPCC report doesn’t agree with these conclusions, but that it doesn’t even address them – it’s blind to the fundamentals of the analysis in this area.

Kyoto Vote, cont.



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George Will has another trenchant column on the politics of “global warming” today, noting that “Democrats could demand that the president send the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate so they can embrace it.” Yes, they could, but they won’t. President Bush could “transmit” the document to the Senate seeking a vote, which he won’t.

Neither step is a condition precedent to the Senate voting on Kyoto, however.

There is no requirement in the Constitution or statute that the President ask the Senate to vote on a duly signed treaty before the Senate may do so. Period.

The closest thing to such a requirement is the Case-Zablocki Act, which requires that the texts of international agreements other than treaties, entered into by the United States subsequent to August 22, 1972, be transmitted to the Congress as soon as practicable after such agreement has entered into force with respect to the United States.

Treaties quite clearly are not bound by this. Or by any similar requirement.

So, given the rhetoric about “greatest threat!,” Bush’s “irresponsibility,” and the like, such rhetoric– which, by the way, is used for full political effect overseas–one might think that at least one hand-wringing Senator would take the initiative to attain a vote on Kyoto.

That presumes that the rhetoric is serious. It isn’t. It is shamelessly political. It also presumes that Bush will not fight back. To date, that presumption is correct. Thanks to George Will mentioning the idea of Bush suggesting a vote at least twice, however, the relevant issues might just enter the parlance in the proper circles.

Frankly, were Bush to now, finally, transmit the treaty even without a recommendation of ratification or rejection, he would set himself up for (disingenuous) claims of “oh, well, it’s too late now. Nice job!” Instead, he ought to promptly and aggressively begin wondering aloud why no Senator who believes such things as are said about this issue has ever even asked him to send it up let alone asked her colleagues to join her in a vote.

This is like energy taxes as a policy response. Some of my esteemed colleagues apparently miss the nuance distinguishing “well, then let’s have big energy tax increases!” from “if you’re serious, please explain why you do not propose big energy tax increases?”

The same principle applies in this instance.

The Moralizer



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Iain’s colleague at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Marlo Lewis, spoke yesterday on An Inconvenient Truth at a luncheon in Asheville, North Carolina sponsored by my organization, the John Locke Foundation. I thought this line was one of Marlo’s best:

“Al Gore says global warming is a moral issue, but I really think for him it’s a moralizing issue,” Lewis said. “It’s a way he is able to impute guilt and responsibility into the inanimate workings of nature. So if there’s anything out there you don’t like happening — like Katrina — you can blame somebody. You can hold Bush responsible for not supporting the Kyoto Protocol.”

I think this captures the essentially religious nature of much of the climate-alarmist movement. They desperately need for their apocalyptics to be accepted as truth. For some, it’s a desperate attempt to save socialism from the dust bin of history. For others, apparently including Gore, the motivation is even weirder.

I’ll Be Sure to Wear My Parachute Pants



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Pulses are racing in minivans everywhere with news of the exciting plans for the Live Earth concerts sponsored by Al Gore to focus attention on global warming.

The Times of London reports today that:

Madonna and the Police will be the star attractions at a series of concerts stretching from London to Shanghai.

And goes on to say:

Red Hot Chili Peppers, the reformed Genesis and Madonna will be headline attractions at the British concert.

I guess Duran Duran and Flock of Seagulls are booked that weekend. Adam Ant has a prior commitment to deliver a lecture on “Global Climate Model Parameter Uncertainty Estimation: A Bayesian Perspective.”

Heresy in the UK



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When the Sunday Times of London starts running editorials questioning the IPCC, you begin to think that maybe reason will prevail in the end.  The link is here:

 

 

It’s interesting to note that the online comments run 9 – 2 in favor of the editorial.

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