Lene Johansen

No more meat for you!

by Lene Johansen on September 9, 2008

I you ever had any doubt that the global warming alarmism agenda was a "lower-the-standard-of-living" agenda, please listen carefully to IPCC chairman Pachauri. "Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there," said the Indian economist, who is a vegetarian. "That's what I want to emphasize: we really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy."

I seem to remember from statistics class that anything less than 95 percent probability is junk science. This is an editorial from the most recent issue of GEO, a Norwegian magazine about earth sciences.

"it is useful to remember that the IPCC concludes that there is only a 90% chance of a connection between global warming and the burning of fossil fuels. In other words, there is a 10% chance – which I consider significant – that there is no connection between the two."

In honor of the 33rd International Geological Congress being held in Oslo this summer, GEO's 04/08 issue is published in English, so the editorial is legible for people other than the maybe 5 million that speak Norwegian.

I have lost the count on the number of stories I have seen about coral reefs dying out because of global warming. A recent report in Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences details the corals warming adaptation strategy.

As the so-called climate change deniers emphasize continually: Climate changes, the only thing stable about the climate is that it changes. They are a modern day version of Heraclitus and his proclamation Panta Rei! for those of you who remember your western civilization classes. If climate change is permanent, it follows that the species alive today have a strategy for coping with the change.

We have seen this in papers published last year as well; one I remember quite vividly was about the migration of plants in the Arctic.

Now we have documentation about how the rich ecosystems around coral reefs adapt, so maybe its time to stop crying wolf and dedicate ourselves to an honest and meticulous examination of the actual effects of the changing climate?

Sad news from New York

by Lene Johansen on March 17, 2008

in Blog

A US carbon-trade exchange opened up for business today, amidst the financial chaos created by the Fed bail out of Bear Stearns. It is indeed nothing to celebrate, and I hope John Coleman finds some plaintiffs for his lawsuit.

Will Wilkinson had a very nice comment on NPR's Marketplace Morning. I once had an economics professor who started off his course by explaining that economics is the science of happiness, how to maximize happiness, and this comment reminded me of this.

I also thought about the argument from Vaclav Klaus at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change where he said:

"I am afraid there are people who want to stop the economic growth, the rise in the standard of living (though not their own) and the ability of man to use the expanding wealth, science and technology for solving the actual pressing problems of mankind, especially of the developing countries. This ambition goes very much against the past human experience which has always been connected with a strong motivation to go ahead and to better human conditions."

But back to Wilkinson, here is an excerpt from his speech, but spend the five minutes to listen to his entire commentary. It will be a feel good moment worth 5 minutes of your day.

"Now, if you're forced to choose between a rewarding job and a lot of money, choose the rewarding job. Happiness research doesn't say you should aim to be wealthier. What it says is that, if you hold everything else constant — the richness of your relationships, the joy of your work — a little more money tends to makes us feel a little bit better.

But the corollary for politics is that economic growth and public happiness tend to move in the same direction. The political choice to put a brake on growth is not the social equivalent of choosing a lower-paying, but more meaningful job. It's the choice to make tens of millions of people slightly less happy than they otherwise might have been.

Maybe something is worth that cost. I just can't imagine what it might be."

The Danish Energy Department paid a researcher to promote their climate policy strategy in debates with Bjørn Lomborg. Peter Laut billed about 500 hours of work to the Energy Department a year during the previous administration in Denmark. The other member of the Energy Department's climate advisory group was sued for libel after he accused a documentary film maker of being "paid for by the oil industry."

It is not unusual for scientists to be paid advisors to the government, but Laut wrote commentaries for the Minister of the Environment and promoted the government's climate policy in the media and in public debates. After a debate in Aalborg in 1999, he wrote in his invoice for the 80 hours of preparation time, that "the project was a succes, for once Lomborg was the one that looked like a fool." He presented himself as an engineering professor from The Technical University in Denmark during the debate and did not disclose his ties to the Energy department.

The Interior Department's Inspector General has started preliminary investigations into why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is delaying their decision on whether polar bears ought to be listed as a threatened species due to global warming.
Bloomberg even brings breaking news today that the greens are going to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the two months delay as compared to the initial projected processing time.

I can come up with two very good reasons for the delay:

1. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service do not consider the polar bear as threatened, but do not have the political cahones to just say so outright. The ostrich tactic of sticking their heads in the sand is not working, so they might want to consider just fess up to the lack of scientific evidence to support the claim that the bear is threatened.

2. The evidence for the polar bear status as threatened is shaky at best. It is based on selective use of statistics and models that assume that the current trends in climate change will continue perpetually, which is highly unlikely.

Morten Jødal, the chair of the Biology Society in Norway has criticized the World Wildlife Foundation's selective use of population statistics in this debate in a recent commentary in the largest newspaper in Norway. It is in Norwegian, but here is a translation:

" Polar bear populations has increased dramatically from the 1960's to our time from about 5,000 individuals to about 25,000 individuals. It appears to be stable."

"It is correct as they point out that the population is down from 1,200 individuals in 1987 to about 950 individuals in 2004. What they omit si that the same population increased from 500 individuals in 1981. That gives a different picture, which does not indicate a species on the brink of extinction."

"Another piece of information that changes the statistic is that 49 polar bears are shot annually in the Western part of Hudson Bay. 833 polar bears have been shot over 17 years from 1987 to 2004. That is far more than the ones assumed to have lost their lives due to global warming."

There is no doubt that the listing of polar bears as an endangered species will have an enormous symbolic effect for the alarmists, but I was not aware that the endangered species list was a political propaganda tool, I thought it was a conservation tool, but then again I am naïve when it comes to politics and the things people are willing to do in the name of a cause.

Finally some science applied to the scientific consensus on global warming, and guess what, it does not exist! Consensus studies are not uncommon in the world of economics, and the people that claim constituency in the discourse over climate policy ranges from every academic discipline in Hayek's grand tradition of being an expert in all areas once you established your "expertdom" in one.

However, the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, did canvas their members with a consensus survey and here is some highlight from the results. 99 percent thinks the climite is changing, 45 percent blame both human and natural causes, and 68 percent disagree with the statement "the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled." 26 per cent attributing global warming to human activity like burning fossil fuels and 27 per cent blaming other causes such as volcanoes, sunspots, earth crust movements and natural evolution of the planet.

For those of us that talk to scientists that have gag-orders, that fear retribution from colleagues that thinks skepticism jeopardize department funding, and that feel mistreated and ridiculed by the media; this does not come as a surprise. These results was not a surprise to APEGGA executive director Neil Windsor, but then again, the man is a scientist, not a media spin doctor with political credentials.

Czech President Václav Klaus was one of the speakers at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, and his message was unequivocal. It is not about climatology. It is about freedom.

“Future dangers will not come from the same source. The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical – the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence on the side of its proponents about their right to sacrifice the man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality.”

While most other politicians have gotten on the self-sacrifice-at-the-green-altar bandwagon, blinding themselves to the blood that is dripping from that altar, Václav Klaus has the intellectual decency to be Thomas Stockman of his peers. He was a dissident during the communist era, and now he is a dissident among international state leaders.

His recent portrait in the Wall Street Journal portrays several issues, where he chooses to stay off the bandwagons that other European politicians has gotten on, that includes climate change, Russia, and the Kosovo independence. It takes courage to be a lone voice of reason in a world of group think.

I adore Matthew Nisbeth's research but he is off his rocker in this comment he posted on his blog and that he presented in an interview on The World. I did not see him at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York, and this is not the first time I catch researchers I respect in their lack of actual grounding in facts before they present research on an issue.

The first ever research conference I attended as a graduate student, I attended a panel on the ethical issues on plant biotechnology. I won't mention names, but some old geezer that had not left his ivory tower for quite a few years was talking about the problem of having one genetically modified plant growing all around the world. He was a bit shocked to find out that the GMO trait was bred into more than 70,000 local varieties, because the corn that will grow in the Midwest will not grow in India quite as well. But that is the reporter in me, I call people, and I ask what they actually do.

A communication professor that I adore got into my car when I gave her a ride to a conference, and she saw a name tag from the Heritage Foundation with my name on it hanging from my rear view mirror (yeah, it's a quirky habit, but good for conversations). She said, "but Lene, aren't those conservatives?" Hell yeah they are, and I don't like them much for it, but every year they put on a conference where you meet everything from the pro-life think tanks from St. Louis (Phyllis Schlafly & Co.) to the hippie libertarian lawyers from San Francisco. At one of these conferences I got to have lunch with the guy that organize some of the bioconservative groups that Nisbeth is comparing the Heartland Institute with. I need to know those groups, it is my job and my research passion. An trust me, Nigel S. Cameron, David Prentice, or their left wing ally Wesley Smith would never publish any of my work, but Joe Bast would.

Nisbeth is off his rocker, cause he is applying theory as a map without checking the terrain. I am a reporter first, communications researcher second. I call the people that I don't think will ever talk to me again, and ask them to show me their way, I might have my facts wrong after all. So maybe, just maybe, I should challenge the guy to put on a climate change panel for AJMC in August, cause I know that I have access to enough data to prove that his point in the World segment is doggone wrong, and I think the coverage from the conference prove it. There is no way Heartland's view of climate change is the predominant frame on this issue, no matter how right those scientists and policy wonks are in their assessment of the consequences and lack of scientific justification for current public policy on the issue.