Saturday, December 05, 2009
I've tried to speak to the people at UEA who are making the key decisions on the inquiry, but haven't managed to.So basically a transparent whitewash entirely run by "mainstream" ie alarmist scientists won't wash. It needs to do the absolute minimum to make one major sceptical figure say it is genuine. For this Lord Lawson is the obvious figure - while he has been a literally lone voice among UK politicians for years he is a member of the Lords, former Chancellor & having worked with the Civil Service he is, in the words of Sir Humphrey, "soundness" is the ultimate virtue & that somebody who is sound doesn't have to be told what to do - a sound chap knows. I am not accusing Lawson of being sound but I am saying he moves in such circles & will undoubtedly now be coming under immense pressure not to rock the boat.
So I've jotted down a few questions they might be likely to face when they announce their decisions.
Mainstream sic scientists may feel that many of these questions hand far too much power to climate sceptics, some of whom have tried to discredit them and their work - by fair means or foul.
But the inquiry will need to be supported by the global public in a wired world. So it will need to strive as far as possible to avoid reproach in the blogosphere. Here are some questions:
1 - What is the purpose of the inquiry? Is it to reach a judgment on the ethical conduct of the scientists involved, or on whether their activities affected the science on which the Copenhagen deal is being forged. Or both?
Professor Phil Jones, the researcher at the heart of the e-mail affair, insists that his science is clean. And most scientists I have spoken to sic again say that if any potential anomalies in the CRU data were to be uncovered they probably wouldn't prove significant because that data set is almost identical to other ones.
But the public will want to see both issues - science and ethics - fully addressed.
2 - How will UEA ensure that its chairperson is acceptable to commentators and the public, as well as to the mainstream scientists convinced of the risks posed by climate change and angry that media attention is being diverted by an apparent sabotage campaign?
Will the university find a way of seeking the opinion of key sceptics like Lord Lawson before they name the chair? My guess is that if key players like Lord Lawson don't support the chair's independence, the inquiry will be compromised.
How will the inquiry command international respect? Will there be an international element - perhaps from the US?
3 - Can UEA allow the chair to determine (with the university's agreement) the remit of the inquiry and to nominate other members of the inquiry panel? If UEA tries to control the remit, sceptics won't accept it.
4 - Will the university ask for the inquiry to report in a specific time period?
5 - Will the inquiry have to consider all aspects at once, or report in stages? Under the two-stage scenario, stage one might examine the key scientific question. This is important because politicians preparing to ratify any Copenhagen deal will be asked by their publics to ensure that the assessment of the risks of climate change doesn't need to be re-visited because of the CRU affair.
Stage two of the inquiry might ask broader questions about the peer review process and about procedures for dealing with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This has been discussed in my earlier column. Stage two is very important, but in my view it's not as urgent as stage one.
6 - How will the inquiry be run? They are expensive and need staff. Who will pay and will the funders be trusted by the public? Some bloggers appear not to trust anyone with anything, but they do not form the full court of public opinion.
7 - How will the inquiry team communicate with the public? This is a key issue. Any chair who turns up in a UEA hall for his/her press conferences will be described by sceptics as a patsy. But if communications are not to be arranged through the university, then who will do it?
This is a scary time for the people running UEA. There are big risks for them in floating the inquiry into total independence. But in my view, the risks of not doing it are far greater for the world of science and climate policy.
The timetable here is important. For the US climate bill to pass in its current form, it arguably needs to get through the Senate by June.
Republican climate sceptics in the Senate will demand conclusions from any inquiry before they agree to sign off any bill.
So what sort of enquiry should they do. Firstly & most importantly it must be open, taking evidence in public. This is even more important than who chairs it since there is an old unofficial legal maxim that no judge, however corrupt, behaves openly corruptly before an audience.
It has been suggested that a high court judge would be more impartial. I disagree as the Hutton Enquiry proved - they are all sound chaps. Moreover this has been a dreadful blow to the credibility of British science so British scientists must be seen to be the ones fixing it. Obviously we would oppose any scientist who has been on the alarmist side. While I personally have no doubt that Benny Peiser or Stephen McIntyre would do the job properly & that it would be insulting to say otherwise, I can see they must be ruled out.
I suggest that what we want is a very prominent scientist in one of the "hard" sciences, who doesn't work for the government (probably an emeritus professor), hasn't taken a stand publicly or privately, on the subject & isn't going to be impressed by honours. I suggest a British Nobel Prizewinner. I admit I don't know individuals in more detail than that but anybody in that group knows how science works & is unlikely to be overawed.
I must admit would prefer it to be a government enquiry as that could take evidence under oath & I would like to see Jones giving evidence on whether anybody in government ever told him that funding was available for alarmists & not sceptics with lying being a criminal offence. An enquiry which does not, without very good reason, match these standards will clearly have been nobbled.
And talking of nobbling - on Thursday the BBC evening news after spending 20 seconds on mentioning that East Anglia was going to conduct an enquiry they spent 5 minutes on the evening news assuring us that climate change was causing Saharan Taureg to replace their camels with trucks.
They were adamant that this was purely because of global warming making the desert a difficult place for camels to live rather than calling it progress. Presumably nobody at the BBC knows that Steptoe & Son don't use horses now either.
On Friday they had their resident Climate expert Harrabin (degree in English) putting a short piece on how unquoted stuff in the emails had been damaging but implied it wasn't that important & then went on to much longer coverage of the Copenhagen shindig. He also mentioned that Saudi Arabia have specificaly said they now believe catastrophic warming a scam - but that is just Saudi Arabia & thus of no importance!!
I firmly believe that the broadcasting of a formal, public debate between both sides would inform the public far better than all the spinning. This is something the new Global Warming Policy Foundation could sponsor. With the BBC having spent many thousands of hours pushing warming & effectively none reporting the other side supportively getting a 1 hour balanced programme might allow the BBC to be able to claim, in arithmetical terms, to be merely 99.99% corrupt propagandists. So far neither they, ITN or C5 have felt any urge whatsoever to demonstrate any impartiality on anything, which I think is damaging to Britain's political culture.
Friday, December 04, 2009
An interesting interview with Space Elevator technology expert Brad Edwards on Next Big Future. I have highlighted:
"Question: Current nanotubes are not sufficiently strong to be used in a space elevator. How much progress do you anticipate in nanotube technology during the next decade?
Answer: Small quantities of some nanotubes have been made that are sufficiently strong to be used in a space elevator. We would obviously need to produce hundreds of tons of such nanotubes to build a space elevator. With sufficient funding, we could create a nanotube-based material appropriate for a space elevator within a couple of years.
Question: How much of an improvement is needed from nanotubes?
Answer: Nanotubes of lengths up to an inch can already be created. These materials can be bundled together to form arbitrarily long lengths of cable that would be appropriate for a space elevator. So the primary problems at this point are not technical but rather economic and political.
Question: Are any other materials, such as graphene, seriously being considered as ribbon material?
Answer: Graphene has some wonderful properties and will undoubtedly be used in a number of capacities, but nanotubes are the only material known that could be used in a space elevator. Graphene has edges that make it unsuitable as a building material. But nanotubes have a strength of 63 Gigapascals, which is greater than that of any other material, and nanotubes do not have any edges.
Question: To what extent are the space exploration prizes facilitating space elevator development?
Answer: These prizes are stoking interest in the concept, and have the potential to address some of the initial hurdles of the project. But what is really needed is a larger scale effort ...
Question: How difficult will it be for a space elevator to avoid satellites and space debris?
Answer: Any debris that is a centimeter or smaller will hit and damage the ribbon. Objects larger than a centimeter will be tracked & continuously monitored. The elevator, which will be located in the ocean, will need to be moved approximately once every 14 hours in order to avoid hitting larger debris. So these issues are by no means intractable.
Question: Current plans call for climbing vehicles to be propelled by lasers. How large, efficient, and powerful will these lasers need to be?
Answer: For a 20 ton climber, a 20 megawatt laser would be needed. Boeing has already demonstrated thin-disk solid state lasers that are 50% efficient, and Boeing is capable of bundling these lasers together to create a megawatt laser today. So by employing 20 of those megawatt lasers in concert we would have the requisite laser power.
Question: How long would these lasers need to operate?
Answer: They would need to operate fairly continuously for years. The aluminum-free lasers have operational lifetimes of years, so operating these lasers for years presents tractable problems.
Question: What about radiation issues?
Answer: The space elevator would employ both active and passive radiation shields. I did research on using a large toroid and that would eliminate most of the charged particles. A small amount of additional shield would absorb the remaining radiation. The weight penalty issues would be rather modest - only a few tons. Four tons of extra weight on a twenty ton satellite is not prohibitive.
Question: How many launches would be required to get a space elevator up and running?
Answer: The initial stage would require 4 launches of a heavy lift, Saturn V class rocket. After that it would take several years of sending up climbers. The initial rocket launches would put up two 10 centimeter ribbons. The climbers would attach additional ribbons, like a spider spinning its web. There are scenarios for 8 launches, but the general concept is similar.
Question: How long would it take and how much would it cost to develop and assemble the space station?
Answer: The entire process of building and deploying could be done within a decade. Initial estimates are that it would cost $10 billion to build. Even assuming cost overruns and delays, the project could be built in a dozen years for not more than $20 billion.
Question: Has NASA been supportive of the space elevator concept?
Answer: To some extent, yes. But NASA is driven by forces other than simply what is good for space exploration.
Question: Are any corporations or institutions funding space elevator technology?
Answer: Unfortunately, no organization is seriously funding this effort. Corporations are looking for shorter term returns and most other organizations are not willing to fund such a radical concept.
Question: Given proper funding, when is the earliest that you could see the space elevator becoming operational?
Answer: Given sufficient funding, I am confident that the space elevator could be up and running within 15 years. There are no insurmountable technical issues to the concept. The show stoppers at this point are funding and support. This is unfortunate given that the space elevator has the potential to reduce the cost of getting to orbit to perhaps $20 per pound, including human passengers. The space elevator, more than any other project or concept, has the capacity to quickly open up the field of space and create a massive space-based industry.
This is an extremely positive assessment. Even the 12-15 year timeframe seems to be based on doing it relatively cheaply. When Kennedy made his Moon speech about getting to the Moon "in this decade" possibly Werner von Braun thought it possible but no other expert was that certain. Kennedy simply decided it would be done "not because they are easy but because they are difficult" & inspired the nation to throw everything at it. One may argue that Kennedy had personal feet of clay & that the goal was not the best possible but his willingness to make America make the effort for greatness makes him an outstanding leader.
$20 billion (£12 billion) over 15 years is small beer. As projects go this is clearly much more important to space development than the Moon landings, though what they proved is that American missiles were bigger & tougher than Russian.
By comparison the Apollo programme & Moon landings cost ($25.4 bn in 1969 dollars. That is listed as $145 bn in 2005 dollars but that is the inflation cost. As a proportion of GNP. As a relative share of GDP the Moon landings cost $373 bn in 2009 money.
So a Space Elevator costs about an 18th, as a proportion of GDP, than Kennedy persuaded the US people to pony up, in what may or may not have been more adventurous, certainly more optimistic, days. By any objective standards the gains from a Space Elevator are far greater than the Moon landings could have been because once you have built it you have more than just photos, feel good & technical knowhow. You have an extremely valuable property that allows very cheap entry to space, indeed if the cable is extended outward you have a system, using the Earth's centripetal force, to reach anywhere in the solar system without using power. Also the builder of the first Elevator can very cheaply supply crew & materials to build lots of others. Sounds like lots of money for new rope.
In fact if the USA isn't willing to do that there are a lot of possible contenders for new kid on the block. $373 is 0.039 of 1 years US GDP, which is what was sacrificed for the Moon landings. $20 bn for an Elevator 5.4% of this so any country with an economy 5.4% of the current US economy could afford this as easily as the that. That is an economy worth $774 bn a year. That is the richest 17 countries down to Turkey. It easily includes Brazil (10th) through which the equator runs. Indonesia (19th), through which it also runs, would have a slight stretch. Singapore (44th), a tiny but extremely innovative country, through which it also runs would have to pay a 4 times higher proportion of GNP (but then they wouldn't have to fight the Vietnam war at the same time).
This makes 2 assumptions - that Edwards' costs are about right & that there wouldn't be lots of other investors eager to put in a little bit. The first, I suspect, may be optimistic & certainly is if money is a lesser object than getting it built in under 12 years. The second is unbelievably pessimistic. I suspect Ecuador (71st & 1/14th the optimum size) could afford this by [providing not much more than the site & a few guarantees). We may see China & Japan competing to finance one in Singapore. I suspect that any country putting up 1/3rd of this as an X-Prize will see it won.
Note that he specifically says that endpoint of this should be at sea so that it can move about. That puts it within the capacity of virtually any country. The equator is over 400 miles from Ascension Island so outside technical national waters but certainly close enough to provide a main base. the US has several Pacific islands suitable including Baker island which is 13 miles from the equator.
For the attention of British politicians note that this £12 bn is only double NERC's budget alone for 12 years producing reports of which the more valuable are about how bees enjoy their environment & the more useless pushing the global warming fraud. Or we could have it 2/3rds privately financed & only 1/3rd by a prize. If we can afford NERC we can easily afford to build a Space Elevator. Only one of these will bring on a massive economic boom.
So will somebody get on with it! Who wants to be the national leader who says "We choose to build this within a decade"?
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Sustainability was defined by the 1987 Brundtland Commission as the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Few would argue with this. However, the response to the need for sustainability has evolved into a modern orthodoxy with three key messages; the release of carbon dioxide due to human activity has been a catastrophe; we need to prioritise energy efficiency over energy production; we need to curtail energy intensive long haul travel. I believe that the thinking behind each of these ideas while well meaning is misguided, ultimately damaging and quite often misanthropic.
The growing availability of low cost energy since the industrial revolution has been an overwhelmingly civilising and liberating influence. By largely mechanising food production, replacing carbohydrate fuelled farm labour with hydrocarbon fuelled machines, most of us have been freed from agriculture to think, innovate, create and improve. A wonderful 1920s advertisement for a new kerosene tractor has a call to “keep the boy in school”, freeing the farmer’s children from manual labour to pursue education in a virtuous circle of enlightenment.
Humans are by their nature ingenious and in the future will continue to find a plethora of new uses for energy which we cannot yet even imagine. More importantly, we need to meet the current energy needs of almost half of humanity who still cook using wood or animal waste with appalling consequences for the health of families.
If our generation chooses to stagnate or reduce its capacity to produce energy then we will certainly compromise the ability of both current and future generations to meet their own needs, whatever they may be.
Our ability to generate energy has improved greatly since the industrial revolution, due to dramatic increases in the energy density of fuels with a transition through wood, coal, oil, gas and nuclear fission. A largely unacknowledged result of this increasing energy density has been a reduction in carbon emission per unit of energy produced and a continual decoupling of energy production from the environment.
Low energy, carbon rich wood from forests was abandoned for easily transportable coal and now energy dense, zero carbon uranium. The overall growth in carbon emission which we now worry about has been the result of these continual improvements in energy density and innovation driven efficiencies leading to greater energy use. This is human progress.
The reason that there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than in the past is that economies are developing, particularly those of recently impoverished nations such as India and China. The century-long rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is an indicator that poor people are becoming prosperous, and correlates with a rise in a host of other metrics such as life expectancy, health care and literacy.
We will however turn the corner on carbon emissions when decarbonising energy production through improving energy density and growing prosperity finally outpaces energy demand.
This is the same long-term process which enabled air and water quality to be greatly improved in the developed world once clean technologies were devised and our economy could afford the costs of the necessary stringent environmental regulation to ensure their implementation.
Economic growth and technical innovation should not be about crass consumerism, but having the resources and tools to improve the human condition and indeed improve the environment. A retreat to a low-energy 1950s lifestyle will only lock in inefficient modes of production and lead to declining standards of living for our children and ultimately regressive environmental degradation.
If we’re serious about displacing carbon from energy production we would be well advised to accelerate the trend of improving energy density. Large-scale adoption of nuclear energy has allowed France to deliver a carbon emission per unit of electrical energy production less than 20% of the UK while providing some of the cheapest electricity prices in Europe.
More importantly, we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with nuclear energy. The current generation of once-through reactors turn less than 1% of uranium into useful energy. What’s often classified as nuclear waste is in fact just partly spent fuel with vast quantities of untapped energy. Future generations of so-called fast reactors will burn almost all of their fuel, leaving extremely small volumes of short-lived waste products, while there is enough known thorium to provide essentially limitless energy into the far future. There is certainly no shortage of clean, high-grade energy, only a shortage of ambition in some quarters and a retreat from the idea of human progress through technical innovation.
Turning down the thermostat and putting on a sweater is a miserable and ineffectual response to the energy challenges of the future. While energy conservation is important, we should remember that the efficient use of energy has long been the result of technical innovation and ultimately leads to greater energy use. The Watt steam engine was significantly more efficient than the Newcomen engine, but this increased efficiency and improved utility led to a rise in demand for coal.
Rather than pursuing real growth in clean energy production, the orthodox interpretation of sustainability is leading to a socially regressive policy of enforced abstinence. A principal targets has been the continued popularity of air travel. Since the beginning of large-scale civil aviation in the 1950s, technical innovation has led to a reduction in fuel burn per passenger mile by an impressive 75%.
The effect of these continual efficiency improvements has been to reduce the cost of air travel and so increase and democratise its utilisation. Travel is an invaluable glue that binds together economies, cultures and nation states in a common future.
The way forward is not the stay-at-home policy of socially regressive taxation to suppress demand for travel, but continued technical innovation such as carbon-neutral synthetic fuels for long haul air travel and cheap electricity for ultra-fast short haul rail.
Sustainability has rightly become engrained in our thinking, but its orthodox interpretation risks a stagnating future of contracting material and intellectual horizons.
The truly sustainable course is to meet the needs of future generations by gifting them the intellectual tools of technical innovation to deliver an economically and culturally rich global society of shared prosperity in which human needs are decoupled from nature.
Human progress has of course never been easy, uniform or certain. However, we should be very wary of those advocating a transition to a low-energy, low-ambition society. This is a dangerous idea which will inhibit the undreamt of ambitions of future generations, ultimately harm the natural environment and risk consigning the developing world to the prospect of never-ending poverty.
Coincidentally yesterday the royal Phil had another lecture by Professor Simon Garrod of Glasgow University on how we recognise social clues in faces, body language etc.
This is their website - http://www.socialinteraction.gla.ac.uk/
Astonishingly it turns out that 70% of US elections were won by the candidate who, in decisions made in 1/5th of a second after seeing, were judged to look more competent! The same applies to CDEOs of companies & that the most profitable companies had the most competent looking CEOs. Since the correlation between actual trustworthyness & competence & our perception of it is far from perfect that last point gave me some problems. This decisionmaking is done in measurable points of the brain corresponding to parts used for hunting by animals.
One thing I found interesting is that professor Garrod said that most of the research in this area has been in the last 10 years because it depends heavily on computer measurement of the brain & very complex statistical analysis. It simply could not have been done without such advanced technology. This strikes me as another example of how technology is progressing ever faster & also that the ability to do such analyses may make it easier for the "soft" sciences (sociology, economics) to develop the rigour expected in physics.
In the Q & A section at the end I suggested that the reason CEOs of the most successful companies look most competent may be not effect & cause but a common cause - that companies with a culture of success are more successful & more likely to choose a successful looking CEO. This in turn implies that an awful lot of companies are run on the basis that so long as the founding family is still there & business is ticking over that is fine. Professor Garrod confirmed that that was his assessment too.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
This may be a first: a major political party has dumped a global warming believer as leader and replaced him with sceptic who last month called AGW “crap”. Tony Abbott has tempered his public pronouncements since, but has today become the new Liberal leader, toppling warmist Malcolm Turnbull, specifically because he was the only one of the three contenders today to promise to delay the Government’s emissions trading scheme.And immediately the government's cap & trade bill has been defeated
KEVIN Rudd has lost his bid to deliver an emissions trading scheme in Australia before talks in Copenhagen but won an early election trigger after the Senate formally rejected the laws again today.Fair dinkum.
Just two Liberal senators broke ranks with a clear mandate among Coalition MPs to delay an ETS and voted with Labor on an emissions trading scheme
Looks like that "early election trigger" will give the people a chance to express their opinion. Iain Dale has an article explaining that the British Conservatives haven't the balls to do this - doesn't phrase it like that but that Cameron has total control of the party. However strong your hold appears you can't stop the tide.
Here is an honest acknowledgement from a previously alarmist journalist of the clear extent of fraud.
Meanwhile our media continue to censor. Last night the BBC's important news about warming was that Antarctica is more doomed than previously thought (it isn't) & John Snow, on a warming junket to Rio promised thet "The Science" says we have catastrophic warming - not "a few people with no scientific principles, paid by government" as he would have said if honest, or "some scientists" if half honest, or "scientists say" if only 75% corrupt, or "some scientific results" if only 87.5% corrupt, or "science says" if only 90% a liar but "The Science says".
And in the personally pleasing stuff I found yesterday that somebody in Australia Googling "Professor Phil Jones" had got me as 8th hit in the entire world. Today it is down to 18th which I still find incredibly unlikely.
History of the CRU
There is also an outstanding article in The Register on warming & I am linking to page 2 of it which gives the history of alarmism & its connection to the CRU.
What I found that I hadn't known is that when the Climate research Unit was founded by Hubert Lamb "the father of climate science" he was not taken in by this. Compare & contrast his assessment of global temperature with the alarmist lies.
Lamb's original graph
As you can see not only was Lamb right about the Medieval warming period but he had even got the blip showing 1934 as the warmest of last century which Stephen McIntyre independently rediscovered hidden within America's GISS figures.
This means the fabrication overlays the correct assessment we knew of years ago. So what growth factors caused the fraud to overwhelm the known truth?
CRU was founded in 1972 by the 'Father of Climatology', former Met Office meteorologist Hubert Lamb. Until around 1980, solar modulation was believed to be the driving factor in climatic variation. A not unreasonable idea, you might think, since our energy (unless you live by a volcano vent) is derived from the sun. Without a better understanding of the sun, climatology may be reasonably be called "speculative meteorology".So that is what happened. "Policy makers" (aka politicians) decided, with the fall of the USSR, as detailed in Michael Crichton's State of Fear, to quite deliberately fund, push & demand a scare story which was completely opposite to that which the emerging climate science had already proven. With money & a very small number of buyable "scientists" such as Jones & Mann replacing a real giant & perverting his life's work & the obedient media, at least within the English speaking & NATO areas, to promote this false story they had deliberately manufactured this fraud.
But CRU's increasing influence, according to its own history, stemmed from politicians taking an interest. "The UK Government became a strong supporter of climate research in the mid-1980s, following a meeting between Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher and a small number of climate researchers, which included Tom Wigley, the CRU director at the time. This and other meetings eventually led to the setting up of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, within the Met Office," the CRU notes.
Lamb (who died in 1997), however remained sceptical of the greenhouse gas hypothesis to the end.
In addition to inheriting all the problems of climatology, the greenhouse gas hypothesis has several unique issues of its own, and addressing them is a challenge for the most scrupulous researcher. How CRU addressed them was to define climatology for two decades - and ultimately defined the public debate and policy, too...
The first IPCC report in 1990 used the established temperature record created by Lamb. It's very different to the one we're familiar with today ...we find Jones unambiguous in an email: "We will be rewriting people's perceived wisdom about the course of temperature change over the past millennium," he wrote...
'Climategate' raises far more questions than it answers, and one of the most intriguing of these is how a small group (backing a new theory, in an infant field) came to have such a huge effect on global policy making. Is it fair to hang CRU Director Jones and his colleagues out to dry - as some climate campaigners such as George Monbiot have suggested? If the buck doesn't stop with the CRU climatologists - then who or what is really to blame?
Poring over the archive, it's easy to find a nose here, and a large leathery foot over there - and to conclude that the owner of the room may have a very strange taste in furnishings. The elephant in the room can go unnoticed...
the very nature of the problem itself has led the "science" onto shaky ground - onto modelling (which has no predictive value) and anecdotal evidence (which merely demonstrates correlation, but not causation). That's why the 'Hockey Stick' was a very big deal: it substituted for hard evidence; if fossil fuel emissions affected the climate at all significantly, this remained a future threat, and certainly not an urgent one.
The demand from institutions, (principally the UN, through its IPCC), national policy makers and the media has taken climate scientists into areas where they struggle to do good science. Add professional activists to the mix - who bring with them the Precautionary Principle - and the element of urgency is introduced.
This goes somewhat beyond climate science. On another blog, where the reasons why climate science, social science & economics don't achieve the level of scientific accuracy that physics takes for granted. The conventional explanation is that these sciences are newer & have unique problems. One commenter explained:
This science has a lot of similarities with social sciences (like economics):I disagreed saying
(1) The system you're trying to understand is complex.
(2) Controlled experiments are difficult or impossible.
(3) The knowledge you can be somewhat confident about is qualitative, not quantitative.
(4) Given the inability to reach verifiable, quantitative conclusions, there will be a tendency for scientists to reach conclusions on a non-scientific basis (such as a desire to conform to the consensus).
A 5th similarity to social sciences & economics is that the main customer, usually government, is more interested in funding findings that support what they have already decided to do than which will, in due course, turn out to be accurate. I suspect this is the main thing holding all these proto-sciences back...I regard the accuracy of Lamb's initial graph as proof that climate science was & thus could be a real rigorous science before the politicians took control of it by their control of funding. The effects of state funding of science seem to be negative. The lesson for anybody who wants real sciences of sociology or economics is clear. I believe we could have accurate replicable sciences of economics & sociology if the funders did not simply want their interests catered too.
Climate science differs from proto-sciences like social science& economics in that it used to be a real, albeit boring, science, having liked day by day weather forecasting, because of satellites, it was making slow but steady progress in understanding underlying trends. Then it became politically useful & vast amounts of money were poured into it but only to climate modellers who produced the required scare stories. This enhances my earlier point that the thing holding back proto-sciences is not lack of information or their complexity (compare with quantum physics) but that they are funded by politicians who want their prejudices confirmed rather than accurate science.
...when Hubert Lamb established the CRU it was doing good, mathematically rigorous, science. Then the politicians & their political spinners moved in & it "just growed". Lamb's graph of climate differs in all respects from the present one, particularly in being far less jazzy looking & in being correct - not only showing the Medieval warming but also the 1934 peak McIntyre rediscovered by analysing GISS figures.
Political support has caused this Lysenko style perversion ...
This article has a similar opinion of the "Voodoo sciences".
UPDATE An interesting Wall Street Journal article on the government funding of alarmism & pressure to prevent any funding at all of anything sceptical. I think that supports the point made here entirely. H/T to Al Fin who links other articles too.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
"LAST week I watched a guest on Question Time talking about e-mails from the Hadley Climate Research Unit, the world centre for collating information on global warming, which show scientists there had been "juggling with the figures".
If this leaked material is faked or if the interpretation is entirely wrong, we should know. If it is right, the entire catastrophic global warming story, which has induced government to increase our taxes, regulate us and spend billions on subsidising windmills and preventing economic growth, has been a fraud. The e-mails show one scientist saying he received £13.7 million for his research. We need an immediate public enquiry."
I should also mention that I missed a letter of mine published by the Herald last Monday. It was another attempt to raise interest on the option, now that the SNP have cancelled the Glasgow Airport Rail link, of a monorail to Paisley Station. Since this would be a small fraction of the cost if other parties were to push for it I doubt if the SNP would have a serious objection. Labour are making capital of the SNP's cancellation proving that the SNP are anti-Glasgow & pro-Edinburgh so people who want the pork barrel rolled out for Glasgow should support Labour. This glosses over the fact that Labour & the other parties pushed through the expensive but pointless Edinburgh tram system. One might almost think that none of these parties had the people's interests in mind & merely wanted to maximise the profits of preferred bidders, particularly if they happen to be donors.
When the previous Labour/LibDem administration decided we should pay for Garl, it was costed at £130m, whereas anything up to £400m is now being ?quoted. It also had an offer to build a monorail connecting to Paisley Gilmour Street station for only £20m – which, since there are trains to and from Glasgow Central every few minutes, would have enabled people to reach their destination faster. It would also have allowed cross-connection to Prestwick, effectively turning the two airports into a regional hub.This is a short version of a previously unpublished letter (19th Sept)
Though the monorail offer is still available, the SNP has decided to cancel everything. The Conservatives and Greens, though well aware of the monorail option, refuse to support anything in any way innovative.
This is typical of the way Scotland is run. Public projects are on average 13 times more expensive than in other ?countries. There can be no dispute that Garl, a Forth tunnel, affordable modular housing and other projects could be ?easily afforded under competent government.
UPDATE - The Scotsman published the third of these letters (about Question Time) today (Tues) along with another on the same lines.
UPDATER - I was told last night, at an ASTRA meet, that the Metro published a warming letter, I assume the 4th of those listed, on Monday. 2 out of 100 is still not a wonderful publication rate but I should retract somewhat on my complaint of non-publication.
UPDATIST - I also find I had a letter in the Daily Record on Mon the 30th, thanks Rae.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sent Saturday 21st as soon as it broke - Hacking Reveals Massive & deliberate Fraud by Climate Alarmists
Hackers, identity unknown but quite possibly from Russia, have broken into the email records of the world's main "global warming" research centre, Hadley, & made public emails from numerous employees at all levels boasting of how they have faked the alleged warming evidence. Such remarks as "I've just completed ----- Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for ------ to hide the decline" & "I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that ...I don't think it'd be productive to try and juggle the chronology statistics any more than I already have" abound.
Since those involved have been receiving public money, in one case £13.7 million of our money, I trust anyone involved in fraud will be brought to justice. Science is, by definition, the search for truth irrespective of whether it is "inconvenient" or not & the truth is that global warming was never a real threat & that currently the globe is cooling.
I look forward to newspaper & TV coverage of this fraud in manner which is balanced with the decades of dubious alarmist stories we have read, though I note the BBC, while reporting the hacking online has unaccountably failed to report the news the hacking revealed.
Reference http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/11/warming-alarmists-deliberate-fraud.html which contains everything said here & links thereunto. I would understand if you decided to edit the last paragraph out though I hope you take note of the sentiment. I have already edited out names elsewhere.
Weds 25th As will be apparent this one involved cannibalising the last - CRUde & Not Real Science
Records of the world's main "global warming" research centre, Hadley Climate Research Unit, have been leaked. Numerous emails from employees at all levels boasting of how they have faked the alleged warming evidence have also been leaked. Such remarks as "I've just completed ----- Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for ------ to hide the decline" & "I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that ...I don't think it'd be productive to try and juggle the chronology statistics any more than I already have" abound. Real computer experts online looking at the computer files released have said of the CRU files "This isn't science, it's gradeschool for people with big data sets" yet these are the alleged world's top experts in climate computer modelling "science."
Since those involved have been receiving public money, in one case £13.7 million of our money, I trust anyone involved in fraud will be brought to justice. Science is, by definition, the search for truth irrespective of whether it is "inconvenient" or not & the truth is that global warming was never a real threat & that currently the globe is cooling.
Though this has been the major news story on the net worldwide & extensively covered by eminent publications like the Wall St Journal our newspaper & TV coverage of this fraud has been limited, keen to explain to us that "trick" is merely a technical term & concentrating on how dreadful leaking is rather than on how dreadful it is that people we pay for should conceal their evidence, or lack thereof & indeed should be openly conspiring to break the Freedom of Information law to do so. Surely this is, by definition, much more important than the news stories we do see about action at Copenhagen to cut CO2 since, if catastrophic global warming is the fraud it appears to be higher taxes, economic destruction & more government lives to "fight it" are, at best, useless.
Reference http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/11/warming-alarmists-deliberate-fraud.html which contains everything said here & links thereunto. I would understand if you decided to edit the last paragraph out though I hope you take note of the sentiment. I have already edited out personal names elsewhere.
"This isn't science, it's gradeschool for people with big data sets" from http://www.tickerforum.org/cgi-ticker/akcs-www?post=118625&page=13
Friday 27th - Global Warming Leak - We Need a Public Enquiry
Last night I watched a guest on Question Time talking about emails from the Hadley Climate Research Unit, the world centre for collating & proving catastrophic global warming. We have long been told "the scientific debate is over" but this documentation shows they had been "juggling with the figures" & doing everything to "hide the decline" in global temperature. Online, where this story has been heavily reported for nearly a week, examination of the data files, leaked at the same time & on which the entire global warming scare is based are described as "This isn't science, it's gradeschool for people with big data sets."
If this leaked material is faked or if the interpretation is entirely wrong then we should know. If it is right then the entire catastrophic global warming story, which has induced government to increase our taxes, regulate us & spend £100s of billions on subsidising windmills & preventing economic growth has been a, possibly criminal, fraud. The emails show one scientist saying he had got £13.7 million for his research. There must be an immediate & public enquiry, with witnesses on oath. We are entitled to know if we have been lied to & how far up the political & funding chain these lies go.
Sat 28th - Climate "Consensus" but nobody can name someone not paid by government in it
For years we have been told that there was a "consensus" on global warming. We see from the leaked email scandal that "climate scientists" have conspired to prevent publication of sceptical research, even to getting editors fired to pervert the "peer review" system. This is not how real science is done. It has also been known that the largest single expression of scientific opinion, the widely unreported petition of over 31,000 scientists, says that not only is there no catastrophic warming but that increasing CO2 is BENEFICIAL, because CO2 helps crops grow. It has long been obvious that a disproportionate number of scientists putting their heads above the parapet against warming were emeritus (retired) professors which raises questions answered by Dr Joanne Simpson (1st female President of the American Meteorological Society & has one of NASA's Cray supercomputers named after her) when she said on retiral “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receive any funding, I can speak quite frankly" & proceeded to demolish the alarmist case.
I have asked on a number of alarmist websites if it is possible to name 2 scientists not paid, directly or indirectly, by government or the likes of Greenpeace who actually say that catastrophic warming is real. So far none of them have produced even a single name so I appeal through your pages to see if anybody can. It is time to have an open & public enquiry, as with Iraq, taking evidence under oath to investigate all aspects of this campaign.
Ref Dr Simpson's statement http://climatesci.org/2008/02/27/trmm-tropical-rainfall-measuring-mission-data-set-potential-in-climate-controversy-by-joanne-simpson-private-citizen/Oregon petition of 31,000 scientists http://www.oism.org/pproject/Sites I have asked to name alarmists who aren't government paid http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/11/climate-fraud.html
Reader's letters are normally considered the last place where something that doesn't fit the editorial line will appear. Seeing the level of interest in this news online I simply cannot believe that there are not hundreds, probably thousnads, of people writing letters on this subject & seeing the online stuff, that they are not, by an overwhelming margin, critical of the eco-fascists.
I consider the theory that we are witnessing massive MSM censorship in the cause of big government fascism to be conclusively proved.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
CLIMATE FRAUD - ROUND UP
The Mail, easily the best journalistic newspaper in Britain if journalism is a matter of printing things that aren't just rewritten press releases from government & approved sources. Time & again they are the place where inconvenient truths get reported.
There are 3 different articles today, including a (new?) story suggesting that the CRU are going to release the data they held back:
The Telegraph's Tim Booker points out why this discredits the entire warming thesis
The reason why even the Guardian’s George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).On the other hand our own Scotland on Sunday lies, saying in its leader "That the scientific consensus is firmly behind the notion of man-made global warming is now beyond question", & "That the planet is getting gradually warmer was confirmed last week with a forecast from the Met Office's Hadley Centre that next year will be the hottest on record" which is also what Hadley said of last year & of the year before & of this year's "barbecue summer" so the "proof" of a prediction is simply that it has been predicted, by many of the same people, in exactly the terms they have previously been proven to get it wrong. Since it has been proclaimed by so many religious nutters over the years on assumes SoS are also proclaiming Armageddon as definitely about to hit us. Perhaps their very strangest remark comes, characteristically, from David Miliband "The idea that it is not getting warmer is untrue. When you see the evidence from the Met Office or from the Royal Societies, they are not in my pay. I'm not engaged in a conspiracy with them and it is far fetched to imagine that," The Met Office is, of course, government funded & the Royal Society gets £45 million from them.
Professor Philip Jones, the CRU’s director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC’s key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it
On the BBC's Marr show he interviewed the leader of the Parasitic Eco-Nazi Grandparent Murdering Party (OK they call themselves Greens) & gave her a slow ball question about the fraud which she said was unimportant because it was only a few scientists, who implicitly ought to be sacrificed. Not a statement which she could honestly say if Booker were telling the truth (& he is). Marr naturally didn't try to lob that back at her.
Looking more to the future recently Professor John Brignal said "this is a phenomenon of group psychology. One of the best treatments of it in fiction is the spy novel by John le Carré, The looking glass war, in which an isolated intelligence outfit develops a fantasy world of its own, which is disrupted when its ambitions collide with reality. Such groups tend to become exclusive brethren, who avoid interaction with others who might threaten their beliefs. They develop a group paranoia and feel the need to defend themselves against what they see as hostile interest from outside. In this case, however, the “opposition” have acted to preserve the niceties of scientific discourse. Steve McIntyre, in particular, has gone to great lengths to maintain polite debate. Yet he has been foisted with the role of “devil incarnate” and subjected to outrageous ad hominem attacks and vilification. These groups lose their moral compass and excite each other to forms of behaviour that they might not have adopted as individuals. The formation of “peer review rings”, designed to deny a hearing for alternative opinions is a notorious case in point, which was comprehensively exposed in the Wegman report. As in the days of absolute monarchy, protection offered by the powerful is an incentive towards the abuse of position. In history, favourites of the king tended to have their days in the sun ended in ignominy or worse.
If, however, sceptics think that global warming is now simply going to fade away they are very much mistaken. It is now a political theory with a life of its own, independent of any support from junk science. Governments depend on it as an excuse for onerous taxation and the erosion of human liberties. Billion dollar industries are set up to exploit it. Hundreds of the new type of journalists who call themselves environmental editors need it to pay their mortgages. The first reaction will be to ignore this development and, with complete control of the establishment press, it is a viable one. It can already be seen in the silence of the press at these startling revelations. If that fails then expect a vicious counter-attack.
We live in interesting times"
However I think we have reached a tipping point. As says this fraud has been going on since the beginning "Nothing about the revelations surprises me. I have maintained email correspondence with most of these scientists for many years, and I know several personally. I long ago realized that they were faking the whole exercise.
When you enter into a debate with any of them, they always stop cold when you ask an awkward question. This applies even when you write to a government department or a member of Parliament. I and many of my friends have grown accustomed to our failure to publish and to lecture, and to the rejection of our comments submitted prior to every IPCC report.
Jones, P. D., P. Ya. Groisman, M. Coughlan, N. Plummer, W. C. Wang & T. R. Karl 1990. Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land, Nature 347 169- 172.
Wang, W-C, Z. Zeng, T. R Karl, 1990. Urban Heat Islands in China. Geophys. Res. Lett. 17, 2377-2380.
The first paper has been the major evidence presented by Jones in all of the IPCC reports to dismiss the influence of urban change on the temperature measurements, and also has been used as an excuse for the failure to mention most of the unequivocal evidence that such urban effects exist. The paper was even dragged out again for the 2007 IPCC report.
The second paper, which shared authors Wang and Karl from the first paper, used the very same data from China which the first paper used to demonstrate the absence of urban influence — yet instead concluded that same data to be proof of the existence of urban influence.
In 2007, the following paper exposed the whole business:
Keenan, D.”The Fraud Allegation Against Some Climatic Research of Wei-Chyug Wang. Energy and Environment, 18, 985-995.
The author Keenan obtained the original Chinese data and found the claim that the data referred to a continuous series was unfounded. He accused Wang of fraud — and it is interesting to read that Tom Wigley (of the CRU emails) agrees with him.
Wigley fails to say, however, that his colleagues Jones and Karl are guilty of much worse than Wang — as they continued to use their fraudulent paper to boost their constant and sometimes daily assertion that recent global temperatures are unprecedented."
The difference is that enough has come out & been seen by enough people that we all know there has been massive fraud. Therefore for the first time it means that anybody pushing eco-fascism is likely, usually correctly, to thereby be proving themselves also corrupt. At this point being part of the mob ceases to be fun. The pressure must be kept up but it can be kept up.
According to the BBC's "climate expert" (degree in English) East Anglia U is to do its own enquiry. The question being who runs it. Harrabin says "Scientists will be scrutinising the choice of chair and the terms of reference.
One senior climate scientist told me that the chair would have to be a person accepted by both mainstream climate scientists and sceptics as a highly respected figure without strong connections to either group.
BBC News understands that senior individuals at UEA have acknowledged the potential damage to the university's reputation from the CRU affair and are anxious to clear the institution's name.
But there is a risk that some people will not accept the findings of any inquiry unless it is fully independent, as demanded by the former UK Chancellor Lord Lawson earlier in the week. (he called for a High Court judge, others seem to be lining up the boss of the Royal Society Miliband denies gets government money)
And finally UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA PROMISES TO RELEASE CLIMATE DATE only problem being that if they are to be believed THEY HAVE ALREADY "ACCIDENTALLY" DESTROYED MUCH OF THE DATA.