Climate change study had ‘significant error': experts

Climate change study had ‘significant error': experts

by Kerry Sheridan                    Kerry SheridanWed Jan 19, 11:33 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A climate change study that projected a 2.4 degree Celsius increase in temperature and massive worldwide food shortages in the next decade was seriously flawed, scientists said Wednesday.

The study was posted on the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was written about by numerous international news agencies, including AFP.

But AAAS later retracted the study as experts cited numerous errors in its approach.

“A reporter with The Guardian alerted us yesterday to concerns about the news release submitted by Hoffman & Hoffman public relations,” said AAAS spokeswoman Ginger Pinholster in an email to AFP.

“We immediately contacted a climate change expert, who confirmed that the information raised many questions in his mind, too. We swiftly removed the news release from our Web site and contacted the submitting organization.”

Scientist Osvaldo Canziani, who was part of the 2007 Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was listed as the scientific advisor to the report.

The IPCC, whose figures were cited as the basis for the study’s projections, and Al Gore jointly won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007 “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change,” the prize committee said at the time.

Canziani’s spokesman said Tuesday he was ill and was unavailable for interviews.

The study cited the UN group’s figures for its projections, combined with “the business-as-usual path the world is currently following,” said lead author Liliana Hisas of the Universal Ecological Fund (UEF), a non-profit group headquartered in Argentina.

But climate scientist Rey Weymann told AFP that the “study contains a significant error in that it confuses ‘equilibrium’ temperature rise with ‘transient temperature rise.'”

He also noted that study author Hisas was told of the problems in advance of the report’s release.

“The author of the study was told by several of us about this error but she said it was too late to change it,” said Weymann.

Scientist Scott Mandia forwarded to AFP an email he said he sent to Hisas ahead of publication explaining why her figures did not add up, and noting that it would take “quite a few decades” to reach a warming level of 2.4 degrees Celsius.

“Even if we assume the higher end of the current warming rate, we should only be 0.2C warmer by 2020 than today,” Mandia wrote.

“To get to +2.4C the current trend would have to immediately increase almost ten-fold.”

Mandia described the mishap as an “honest and common mistake,” but said the matter would certainly give fuel to skeptics of humans’ role in climate change.

“More alarmism,” said Mandia. “Don’t get me wrong. We are headed to 2.4, it is just not going to happen in 2020.”

Many people do not understand the cumulative effect of carbon emissions and how they impact climate change, Mandia said.

“This is something that people don’t appreciate. We tied a record in 2010 (for temperature records) globally. That is primarily from the C02 we put in the atmosphere in the 70s and early 80s, and we have been ramping up since then,” he said.

“So it is not good. We are seeing the response from a mistake we were making 20 years ago, and we are making bigger mistakes today.”

The public relations firm that issued the report on the UEF’s behalf said the group stands by the study and would issue a statement to that effect.

Leftist media in full court press backing warmism

Leftist media in full court press backing warmism

Russell Cook

If a major news story casts doubt on man-caused global warming, does it make a sound? If you are a promoter of the global warming crisis, those stories misdirect public opinion and prevent everyone from solving the crisis, while the rest of us see them as specks of gold in raging torrents of stories affirming Al Gore’s settled science.
Consider the ClimateGate story and its recent one-year anniversary. According to the Media Research Center,
Even though many considered it a huge scandal, the three broadcast networks didn’t think so. They ignored the story for roughly two weeks, and have only mentioned it in a dozen stories in the past year.
My own favorite mainstream media punching bag, PBS’ NewsHour did at least give the story cursory mention ten days after it broke, but then couldn’t be troubled to offer in-depth discussion of it until four months later, its solitary effort of lengthy analysis on the topic. This was noteworthy if only because it featured skeptic scientist Pat Michaels, the first such skeptic to appear on the NewsHour offering any opposing viewpoint of significance since George Taylor in 2007. That 2007 program was the NewsHour‘s first major foray into global warming skeptic opinion since the interview of an industry executive in 1997, and was one of just a few bits that prevented the NewsHour from having a 100% bias against presenting such viewpoints, as I quantified in a prior American Thinker article.
Yet, Joe Romm had this to say about ClimateGate’s anniversary in his 11/15 ClimateProgress blog titled “A stunning year in climate science reveals that human civilization is on the precipice” (hat tip to Michael Wiant),
The media will be doing countless retrospectives, most of which will be wasted ink…focusing on climate scientists at the expense of climate science…the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media…devoted a large fraction of its climate ‘ink’ in the last 12 months to what was essentially a non-story…
Meanwhile, we have the infamous recent op-ed in the NY Times in which the ‘science’ tells us to expect nasty snowstorms caused by global warming, and the NewsHour telling us about the ‘science’ of rapidly melting glaciers, and ‘studies’ of how to save polar bears
Romm’s efforts to frame the media as not doing its job properly are nothing new, Ross Gelbspan had this to say in his 2004 Boiling Point book about the media,
For many years, the press accorded the same weight to the “skeptics” as it did to mainstream scientists. This was done in the name of journalistic balance. In fact, it was journalistic laziness.
And for good measure, he said this about snowstorms in his 1997 The Heat is On, when speaking about a series of weather patterns being proof of global warming,
The severe weather has continued into 1996. My own back yard became a snow-buried casualty of New England’s 1995-96 winter from hell.
It’s a no-win exercise: excess snow is proof of global warming… unless someone in the mainstream breaks ranks and seriously asks if the prior “warming” from a few years ago couldn’t be proof for the original 1970s global cooling crisis.
Everyone knows how fickle the mainstream media is, and how they are ultimately driven to out-scoop each other for ratings gains. If they smell blood in the water of an imminent collapse to this entire so-called crisis, they will turn on each other and promoters like Romm and Gelbspan in a heartbeat, no doubt with yells of being hoodwinked or assumptions that other news outlets had initially checked the voracity of the “warming” science everyone else relies on.
2011 could turn out to be quite an entertaining year.
Russell Cook’s collection of writings on this issue can be seen at “The ‘96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists – or at least what I’ve dredged up.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/leftist_media_in_full_court_pr.html at January 03, 2011 – 09:31:41 AM CST

White House Plans to Push Global Warming Policy, GOP Vows Fight

White House Plans to Push Global Warming Policy, GOP Vows Fight

By Kimberly Schwandt

Published December 28, 2010 | FoxNews.com


HONOLULU, Hawaii — After failing to get climate-change legislation through Congress, the Obama administration plans on pushing through its environmental policies through other means, and Republicans are ready to put up a fight.

On Jan. 2, new carbon emissions limits will be put forward as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares regulations that would force companies to get permits to release greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Critics say the new rules are a backdoor effort to enact the president’s agenda on global warming without the support of Congress, and would hurt the economy and put jobs in jeopardy by forcing companies to pay for expensive new equipment.

“They are job killers. Regulations, period — any kind of regulation is a weight on economy. It requires people to comply with the law, which takes work hours and time, which reduces the profitability of firms. Therefore, they grow more slowly and you create less jobs,” said environmental scientist Ken Green of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Dan Howells of Greenpeace disagrees.

“I was looking at some advertisements from the 1970s where they were making the very same arguments about stopping acid rain. And that didn’t turn out to be a job-killer. In fact, it created jobs in some places,” said Howells, the environmental group’s deputy campaign director. “The more we keep making these decades-old arguments, the more we won’t be creating the jobs of the future and working towards the new energy economy.”

The administration says it has the power to issue the regulation under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that directed the agency to make a determination on whether carbon dioxide, blamed for global warming, was a hazard to human health.

Rep Fred Upton, R-Mich., the incoming House Energy Committee Chairman, penned an op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal along with Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips, and charged that Congress should act.

“The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules,” the op-ed read in part.

With Republicans taking control in the House, the GOP will be in a better position to take on some of these policies, and members are promising a fight if the Obama White House moves forward with any carbon crackdown. There was bipartisan support for a bill proposed this year that would have stripped the EPA of the power to set carbon emissions limits. GOP lawmakers could bring the measure back.

The White House seems prepared for a fight.

The administration recently circulated a memo from the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren to the heads of all federal departments and agencies calling for “a clear prohibition on political interference in scientific processes and expanded assurances of transparency.”

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Al Gore’s growing carbon footprint

Al Gore’s growing carbon footprint

Thomas Lifson

The environmental impact of Al Gore is growing faster than his waistline. The warmist con game has been very lucrative for the king of carbon credits. He and Tipper have just added to their collection of energy-gobbling homes with a nearly 9 million dollar 5 bedroom, 9 bath Italian-style villa in the celebrity-studded coastal enclave of Montecito, California, home to Oprah Winfry and many other celebrities. Al certainly likes living large. The home comes complete with 6 fireplaces. How are Al and Tip going to use them without generating carbon dioxide?

Keeping the house functional while Al and family are on their private jet or in any of their other houses will eat up energy and resources.
Of course, as Ed Lasky notes, the Democrats are supposed to be for the little people. No doubt there are homeless people in Santa Barbara, next to Montecito, who really need shelter more than the Gores, who have other lavish residences. Let them eat carbon credits?
Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Electric Green Waste

Electric Green Waste

By Bruce Thompson

Green initiatives are costing hard-pressed Americans billions of dollars, in the form of higher utility bills, and squandered investment in inefficient electric power generation.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is about to institute the first of four rate increases for electric power planned to take effect within the next year. The increases are expected to increase power costs for businesses by 21% to 22%. Residential customers will see increases ranging from 8.8% to 28.4%.
The money generated by the increase would enable [Los Angeles Mayor] Villaraigosa to carry out a longtime political promise: securing 20% of the DWP’s power from renewable sources, such as solar and wind energy, by Dec. 31.
The political purpose of this is to replace coal fired generation with “green power.” The DWP website has a link to a report detailing its existing generation sources. It has a total of 6,991 MW of “net dependable capability” of which 1,515 MW is coal fired and 285 MW is from renewables and distributed generation. Therefore, “going green” would require de-commissioning about 21.6% of the existing dependable capability. The question ratepayers ought to be asking is why?
Let us examine the largest coal fired power plant. It is Intermountain Generating Station located near Delta, Utah. LADWP’s share of its output is 1,038 MW. The 2009 operating report provides this summary
Net Generation                  13,867 GWH
Net Facility Heat Rate      9,675 B/KWH
Equivalent Availability    92.1%
Forced Outage Rate          2.9%
Net Capacity Factor          87.6%
Net Output Factor             95.2%
The two units were put into commercial operation in June 1986 and May 1987.
The first conclusion we can draw is that the citizens of Los Angeles do not suffer from any pollution from the plant, the citizens of Utah are the ones affected. The purported benefit would be to protect Los Angelinos from “Anthropogenic Global Warming.” Spending huge sums on solar and wind power projects could not result in an 87.6% capacity factor (the capacity factor is the percentage of actual power output relative to the theoretical full power operation 24/7/365).  For comparison purposes Spain’s wind power has a capacity factor of only 21%. So it would take over four times as large a nameplate capacity to net out an equivalent amount of power. At about $2 million per MW for a wind farm, that works out to be $8 billion for 4,000 MW of nameplate capacity.
Now let us look at the situation from the perspective of the citizens of Delta, Utah. First, they do not want to lose the jobs associated with the plant. However, they would like to see the pollution from the plant decrease. Being from a “Red State” they likely have read Randall Hoven’s Graph for The Day of March 18 in American Thinker and have noted that due to the Clean Air Act of 1990 (Bush 41) and the Clean Air Mercury Rule of 2005 (Bush 43) the air pollution from coal fired power plants has been in a dramatic decline. Today’s coal fired plant would be dramatically cleaner (“Clean Coal”) than a plant built in 1987. It would also be much more fuel-efficient. The greater the fuel efficiency, the less emissions (including carbon dioxide). So what they might prefer is to have LADWP use its newfound money to build a modern coal fired plant in Delta. Let’s call it Unit 3.
As a notional design for Unit 3, we could copy an existing plant in Yuhuan Province, China. The Chinese have built and put into commercial operation four 1,000 MW ultra-supercritical boilers. According to Power-Technology.com, their estimated investment was 900 million Euros. That works out to be about $1.2 billion. The efficiency of the plant is shown to be 45%, which means the heat rate is 7,582 B/KWH. Reducing the heat rate of Unit 3 relative to Units 1 & 2 reduces fuel consumption by 21.6%. That directly reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 21.6%. An added benefit is that it would also reduce the demand for cooling water by 33.4% in the arid climate of Utah. So they would have one of “the world’s cleanest, most efficient and most advanced ultra-supercritical units” that would be repaying the capital investment through fuel and cooling water savings while also improving air quality and cutting “greenhouse” emissions.
The principal impediments to this happy result are Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who chair the Energy Committees in the House and Senate. So as the voters of Los Angeles pay those ever increasing electric rates, they know to blame. As Pogo so eloquently put it, “We have seen the enemy and it is us.”

Head of ‘Climategate’ research unit admits sending ‘pretty awful emails’ to hide data

Head of ‘Climategate’ research unit admits sending ‘pretty awful emails’ to hide data

By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 8:34 AM on 02nd March 2010

 
 

Scientists at the heart of the Climategate row were yesterday accused by a leading academic body of undermining science’s credibility.

The Institute of Physics said ‘worrying implications’ had been raised after it was revealed the University of East Anglia had manipulated data on global warming.

The rebuke – the strongest yet from the scientific community – came as Professor Phil Jones, the researcher at the heart of the scandal, told MPs he had written ‘some pretty awful emails’ – but denied trying to suppress data. 

Professor Phil JonesOn the spot: Professor Phil Jones being grilled by the Science and Technology committee in the Commons yesterday

The Climategate row, which was first revealed by the Daily Mail in November, was triggered when a hacker stole hundreds of emails sent from East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.

They revealed scientists plotting how to avoid responding to Freedom of Information requests from climate change sceptics.

Some even appeared to show the researchers discussing how to manipulate raw data from tree rings about historical temperatures.

In one, Professor Jones talks about using a ‘trick’ to massage figures and ‘hide the decline’. 

 

 

Giving evidence to a Science and Technology Committee inquiry, the Institute of Physics said: ‘Unless the disclosed emails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research and for the credibility of the scientific method.

‘The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital.’

Last month, the Information Commissioner ruled the CRU had broken Freedom of Information rules by refusing to hand over raw data.

But yesterday Professor Jones – in his first public appearance since the scandal broke – denied manipulating the figures.

Looking pale and clasping his shaking hands in front of him, he told MPs: ‘I have obviously written some pretty awful emails.’

He admitted withholding data about global temperatures but said the information was publicly available from American websites.

And he claimed it was not ‘standard practice’ to release data and computer models so other scientists could check and challenge research.

‘I don’t think there is anything in those emails that really supports any view that I, or the CRU, have been trying to pervert the peer review process in any way,’ he said.

Professor Jones, who was forced to stand down as head of the CRU last year, also insisted the scientific findings on climate change were robust.

 

Al Gore’s weird, disconnected op-ed on climate change

Al Gore’s weird, disconnected op-ed on climate change

Rick Moran

Reading this New York Times op-ed by Al Gore gives you the distinct impression that he has been off somewhere communing with the global warming gods and hasn’t been paying attention to the collapse of his “overwhelming consensus” on climate change:

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy – the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

A “criminal generation?” This from a Democrat whose global warming “fixes” would bankrupt the western world.

But the real problem with this little essay is that Gore is taking the now familiar tack of climate change advocates and tut-tutting about the series of revelations that have undermined the science he so confidently – and with the fervor of a religious zealot – believes in.

Weirdly, he mischaracterizes the document dump from East Anglia as an effort by Jones and Mann to push back against the “onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics.” These “make work” demands were citizens seeking confirmation of the science via Freedom of Information laws. In other words, Gore obviously believes we should sit down, shut up, and let him and his buddies reach into our pockets and remove trillions of dollars without demanding proof of the scientific basis for his power grab.

How very democratic of him.

This is an extraordinarily weak and idiotic defense. Poor wittle Jones and Mann. Let us weep for their workload. Let us gnash our teeth at the meanies who put them under so much pressure, that they felt they had not choice but to lie, cheat, cook the books, ruin the careers of fellow scientists who didn’t agree with them, and pressure formerly respected science publications to toe the company line on climate change. 

What a crock.

Gore evidently hasn’t read the recent literature:

It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists – acting in good faith on the best information then available to them – probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century,

Doesn’t he mean “overestimated?”

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

[...]

Siddall said that he did not know whether the retracted paper’s estimate of sea level rise was an overestimate or an underestimate.

Yes – but remember; the science is settled.

He blames the failure in Copenhagen, not on the common sense objections from China and India regarding the destruction of their economies if recommendations made by the IPCC were adapted, but because the US senate didn’t pass cap and trade.

Finally, this bit of weirdness that shows Gore for what he is; a megalomaniac:

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. After all has been said and so little done, the truth about the climate crisis – inconvenient as ever – must still be faced.

Al Gore sees himself as a redeemer – as Jesus Christ. And where is there room in a democratic republic for someone who thinks that the rule of law should be an “instrument of redemption?” Holy Mother, that is the scariest idea ever to drool from Gore’s mouth. The rule of law is just that – the rule of law. There should be no special qualities that animate the enforcement of the law – certainly not a drive to “redeem” anything or anybody. That smacks of titanic hubris to use the law to enforce your idea of “redemption.”

If the shoe fits, Al…

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/02/al_gores_weird_disconnected_op.html at February 28, 2010 – 11:30:32 AM CST

AL GORE FOUND–WHAT’S A FEW MISTAKES?

We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change

By AL GORE

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.

But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion. But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.

It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.

Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States. Yet from a global perspective, it was the second-hottest January since surface temperatures were first measured 130 years ago.

Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.

The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere — thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States. Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm.

Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.

Though there have been impressive efforts by many business leaders, hundreds of millions of individuals and families throughout the world and many national, regional and local governments, our civilization is still failing miserably to slow the rate at which these emissions are increasing — much less reduce them.

And in spite of President Obama’s efforts at the Copenhagen climate summit meeting in December, global leaders failed to muster anything more than a decision to “take note” of an intention to act.

Because the world still relies on leadership from the United States, the failure by the Senate to pass legislation intended to cap American emissions before the Copenhagen meeting guaranteed that the outcome would fall far short of even the minimum needed to build momentum toward a meaningful solution.

The political paralysis that is now so painfully evident in Washington has thus far prevented action by the Senate — not only on climate and energy legislation, but also on health care reform, financial regulatory reform and a host of other pressing issues.

This comes with painful costs. China, now the world’s largest and fastest-growing source of global-warming pollution, had privately signaled early last year that if the United States passed meaningful legislation, it would join in serious efforts to produce an effective treaty. When the Senate failed to follow the lead of the House of Representatives, forcing the president to go to Copenhagen without a new law in hand, the Chinese balked. With the two largest polluters refusing to act, the world community was paralyzed.

Some analysts attribute the failure to an inherent flaw in the design of the chosen solution — arguing that a cap-and-trade approach is too unwieldy and difficult to put in place. Moreover, these critics add, the financial crisis that began in 2008 shook the world’s confidence in the use of any market-based solution.

But there are two big problems with this critique: First, there is no readily apparent alternative that would be any easier politically. It is difficult to imagine a globally harmonized carbon tax or a coordinated multilateral regulatory effort. The flexibility of a global market-based policy — supplemented by regulation and revenue-neutral tax policies — is the option that has by far the best chance of success. The fact that it is extremely difficult does not mean that we should simply give up.

Second, we should have no illusions about the difficulty and the time needed to convince the rest of the world to adopt a completely new approach. The lags in the global climate system, including the buildup of heat in the oceans from which it is slowly reintroduced into the atmosphere, means that we can create conditions that make large and destructive consequences inevitable long before their awful manifestations become apparent: the displacement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees, civil unrest, chaos and the collapse of governance in many developing countries, large-scale crop failures and the spread of deadly diseases.

It’s important to point out that the United States is not alone in its inaction. Global political paralysis has thus far stymied work not only on climate, but on trade and other pressing issues that require coordinated international action.

The reasons for this are primarily economic. The globalization of the economy, coupled with the outsourcing of jobs from industrial countries, has simultaneously heightened fears of further job losses in the industrial world and encouraged rising expectations in emerging economies. The result? Heightened opposition, in both the industrial and developing worlds, to any constraints on the use of carbon-based fuels, which remain our principal source of energy.

The decisive victory of democratic capitalism over communism in the 1990s led to a period of philosophical dominance for market economics worldwide and the illusion of a unipolar world. It also led, in the United States, to a hubristic “bubble” of market fundamentalism that encouraged opponents of regulatory constraints to mount an aggressive effort to shift the internal boundary between the democracy sphere and the market sphere. Over time, markets would most efficiently solve most problems, they argued. Laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carried a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated.

This period of market triumphalism coincided with confirmation by scientists that earlier fears about global warming had been grossly understated. But by then, the political context in which this debate took form was tilted heavily toward the views of market fundamentalists, who fought to weaken existing constraints and scoffed at the possibility that global constraints would be needed to halt the dangerous dumping of global-warming pollution into the atmosphere.

Over the years, as the science has become clearer and clearer, some industries and companies whose business plans are dependent on unrestrained pollution of the atmospheric commons have become ever more entrenched. They are ferociously fighting against the mildest regulation — just as tobacco companies blocked constraints on the marketing of cigarettes for four decades after science confirmed the link of cigarettes to diseases of the lung and the heart.

Simultaneously, changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. After all has been said and so little done, the truth about the climate crisis — inconvenient as ever — must still be faced.

The pathway to success is still open, though it tracks the outer boundary of what we are capable of doing. It begins with a choice by the United States to pass a law establishing a cost for global warming pollution. The House of Representatives has already passed legislation, with some Republican support, to take the first halting steps for pricing greenhouse gas emissions.

Later this week, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are expected to present for consideration similar cap-and-trade legislation.

I hope that it will place a true cap on carbon emissions and stimulate the rapid development of low-carbon sources of energy.

We have overcome existential threats before. Winston Churchill is widely quoted as having said, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes, you must do what is required.” Now is that time. Public officials must rise to this challenge by doing what is required; and the public must demand that they do so — or must replace them.

Al Gore, the vice president from 1993 to 2001, is the founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection and the author of “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.” As a businessman, he is an investor in alternative energy companies.

Senator Demands DoJ Investigation Against Climategate Scientists, Calls Gore To Defend His “Sci Fi Movie”

Senator Demands DoJ Investigation Against Climategate Scientists, Calls Gore To Defend His “Sci Fi Movie”

February 23rd, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.

al-gore-facepalm

Pajamas Media:

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) today asked the Obama administration to investigate what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation” — the actions of climate scientists revealed by the Climategate files, and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify.

“In [Gore's] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend himself and his movie before Congress.

Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

This report, obtained exclusively by Pajamas Media before today’s hearing, alleges:

[The] Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works believe the scientists involved may have violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, federal laws. In addition to these findings, we believe the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC -backed “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.

As has been reported here at Pajamas Media over the last several months, the exposure of the Climategate files has led to a reexamination of the IPCC Assessment Reports, especially the fourth report (AR4), published in 2007. The IPCC AR4 report was named by Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson as one of the major sources of scientific support for the agency’s Endangerment Finding, the first step towards allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Since the Climategate files were released, the IPCC has been forced to retract a number of specific conclusions — such as a prediction that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 — and has been forced to confirm that the report was based in large part on reports from environmental activist groups instead of peer-reviewed scientific literature. Dr. Murari Lal, an editor of the IPCC AR4 report, admitted to the London Daily Mail that he had known the 2035 date was false, but was included in the report anyway “purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

Based on this minority staff report, Senator Inhofe will be calling for an investigation into potential research misconduct and possible criminal acts by the researchers involved. At the same time, Inhofe will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its consideration of an Endangerment Finding for carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Federal Clean Air Act, and will ask Congress to withdraw funding for further consideration of carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

In requesting that the EPA reopen the Endangerment Finding, Inhofe joins with firms such as the Peabody Energy Company and several state Attorneys General (such as Texas and Virginia) in objecting to the Obama administration’s attempt to extend regulatory control over carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Senator Inhofe believes this staff report “strengthens the case” for the Texas and Virginia attorneys general.

Senator Inhofe’s announcement today appears to be the first time a member of Congress has formally called for an investigation into research misconduct and potential criminal acts by the scientists involved.

The staff report describes four major issues revealed by the Climategate files and the subsequent revelations:

The emails suggest some climate scientists were cooperating to obstruct the release of damaging information and counter-evidence.
They suggest scientists were manipulating the data to reach predetermined conclusions.
They show some climate scientists colluding to pressure journal editors not to publish work questioning the “consensus.”
They show that scientists involved in the report were assuming the role of climate activists attempting to influence public opinion while claiming scientific objectivity.
The report notes a number of potential legal issues raised by their Climategate investigation:

It suggests scientific misconduct that may violate the Shelby Amendment — requiring open access to the results of government-funded research — and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policies on scientific misconduct (which were announced December 12, 2000).
It notes the potential for violations of the Federal False Statements and False Claims Acts, which may have both civil and criminal penalties.
The report also notes the possibility of there having been an obstruction of Congress in congressional proceeds, which may constitute an obstruction of justice.
If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal penalties.

By naming potential criminal offenses, Senator Inhofe raises the stakes for climate scientists and others involved. Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit has already been forced to step aside because of the Climategate FOIA issues, and Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State is currently under investigation by the university for potential misconduct. Adding possible criminal charges to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.

Senator Inhofe believes that Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann should be “let go” from their posts “for the good of the institutions involved.”

The question, of course, is whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow this investigation to proceed, in the face of the Obama administration’s stated intention to regulate CO2 following the apparent death of cap and trade legislation. The Democratic majority has blocked previous attempts by Inhofe to investigate issues with climate science

Top UN climate official resigning

APNewsBreak: Top UN climate official resigning

 

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Feb 18, 9:03 AM (ET)

By ARTHUR MAX

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AMSTERDAM (AP) – Top U.N. climate change official Yvo de Boer told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was resigning after nearly four years, a period when governments struggled without success to agree on a new global warming deal.

His departure takes effect July 1, five months before 193 nations are due to reconvene in Mexico for another attempt to reach a binding worldwide accord on controlling greenhouse gases. De Boer’s resignation adds to the uncertainty that a full treaty can be finalized there.

De Boer is known to be deeply disappointed with the outcome of the last summit in Copenhagen, which drew 120 world leaders but failed to reach more than a vague promise by several countries to limit carbon emissions – and even that deal fell short of consensus.

But he denied to the AP that his decision to quit was a result of frustration with Copenhagen.

“Copenhagen wasn’t what I had hoped it would be,” he acknowledged, but the summit nonetheless prompted governments to submit plans and targets for reigning in the emissions primarily blamed for global warming. “I think that’s a pretty solid foundation for the global response that many are looking for,” he said.

De Boer told the AP he believes talks “are on track.”

He recommended the next talks take a different tack. Rather than convene several negotiating sessions involving nearly 200 countries, Mexico, which is chairing the negotiations throughout this year, should prepare the November conference to work in smaller groups to lay the groundwork of a deal.

The Mexicans should “engage more intensively early in the process, so that you don’t only rely on formal meetings but through bilateral contacts and frequent meetings in a smaller setting and an earlier understanding of how the process can be advanced,” he told AP.

“At the moment, it tends to be very much a stop-and-start affair with everything concentrated in the formal negotiations, where I think a much more continuous engagement by (Mexico) is needed.”

The partial agreement reached in Copenhagen, brokered by Obama, “was very significant,” he said. But he acknowledged frustration that the deal was merely “noted” rather than formally adopted by all countries.

“We were about an inch away from a formal agreement. It was basically in our grasp, but it didn’t happen,” he said. “So that was a pity.”

The media-savvy former Dutch civil servant and climate negotiator was widely credited with raising the profile of climate issues through his frequent press encounters and his backstage lobbying of world leaders.

But his constant travel and frenetic diplomacy failed to bridge the suspicions and distrust between developing and industrial countries that barred the way to a final agreement at the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

People who know de Boer say he was more disheartened by the snail-paced negotiations than he was ready to admit.

“I saw him at the airport after Copenhagen,” said Jake Schmidt, a climate expert for the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council. “He was tired, worn out.” The summit “clearly took a toll on him.”

Schmidt, speaking from Washington, said the Dutch diplomat was “very effective in pushing the envelope” and winning attention for climate change. “He’s done a powerful job … in getting the world to focus on this.”

During de Boer’s tenure, climate talks rose “to a standing item on the agenda of political leaders,” said Oxfam International, a nonprofit group that monitors the talks and advises delegations. World leaders “could learn much from de Boer’s perseverance as well as his uncompromising commitment to do what’s necessary – not just what’s easy.”

The German Green Party said de Boer’s departure presented a chance for a strategic reorientation of his U.N. office.

“The failure of the Copenhagen climate conference was due partly to bad preparation and organization,” the Greens’ climate change specialist Hermann Ott said in a statement. “Now a credible and experienced successor has to be found to make sure the international process to combat climate change continues without delay.”

De Boer, 55, was appointed in 2006 to shepherd through an agreement to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required industrial countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions an average 5 percent.

He said the high point of his efforts was the agreement by developing countries, reached at the 2007 conference in Bali, Indonesia, to join in efforts to contain global warming in return for financial and technical help from the wealthy nations.

The Bali meeting was so intense that during its final meeting, when he was accused of mishandling negotiating arrangements, de Boer walked off the podium in tears. He came back later to an ovation from the thousands of delegates.

His assertiveness sometimes led to accusations that he was overstepping the bounds of a neutral U.N. facilitator.

“They are absolutely right. I did that because I felt the process needed that extra push,” he told the AP.

When he was hired, he said, he told U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, “If you want someone to sit in Bonn and keep his mouth shut then I’m not the right person for the job.”

Yet De Boer habitually put a positive spin on events. Though he occasionally chastised governments, he did it in diplomatic tones. At times when his aides were describing him as “furious” – especially with the administration of George W. Bush – de Boer kept his public comments so modulated that it sounded like praise.

De Boer said he will be a consultant on climate and sustainability issues for KPMG, a global accounting firm, and will be associated with several universities.

“I have always maintained that while governments provide the necessary policy framework, the real solutions must come from business,” he said in a statement released later Thursday. “Copenhagen did not provide us with a clear agreement in legal terms, but the political commitment and sense of direction toward a low-emissions world are overwhelming. This calls for new partnerships with the business sector and I now have the chance to help make this happen,” he said.

De Boer, who comes from a diplomatic family, was born in Vienna and traveled the world before attending a British boarding school. He studied social work at university in The Hague, and one of his early jobs was as a parole officer. He worked for the United Nations in Canada and Kenya, then joined the Dutch housing ministry. He has been involved in climate change issues since 1994, and three years later became the chief climate delegate for the Netherlands.

Associated Press Writer Verena Schmitt contributed to this report from Berlin.

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