Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enviros are Depressed || December 7, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correction: First, let me correct a mistake in my first report from Montreal yesterday. I wrote that Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in reply to a question said that yes, she thought it was correct that India and China had joined the U. S. in objecting to a new round of formal negotiations on what is to follow Kyoto after 2012. What she really said was that she agreed that yes it was wrong to think that was the case. Thanks to Katie Mandes of the Pew Center for correcting my misunderstanding, and my apologies to Eileen Claussen and the Pew Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many thousands (ten?) of people at this year's COP/MOP (the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change–that is, the Rio Treaty–and the first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which went into force in February) in Montreal. The Palais des Congres where it is being held is a huge and impressive building, and the whole show has been organized with admirable smoothness. Yet the total impression is underwhelming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing substantive is expected to be agreed to by the official delegates. The main energy at COPs is provided by the environmental NGOS and the endless series of side events that are held. But this year the viros are depressed. They have good reason to be depressed, of course. It has become apparent that the EU, Japan, and Canada are not going to meet their Kyoto targets. It's hard to see how another round of emissions cuts beyond 2012 can be agreed to by the current parties. Convincing major developing countries to join the energy rationing club seems hopeless. So there is good reason why the life has gone out of the Kyoto party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another reason for the lack of joie de vivre here in Montreal is that the COPs are being increasingly dominated by the new Kyoto technocratic establishment. There are now many thousands of people employed in implementing the mind-numbing details of the Kyoto Protocol. A substantial portion of them are in Montreal to give presentations at side events and to look for grants and contracts to fund their programs and projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think this generally gloomy mood helps explain the curiously enthusiastic reception Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico and ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, received. Senator Bingaman appeared at an event late yesterday afternoon held in a large meeting room in the EU Pavilion sponsored by Resources for the Future and other groups. The room was packed and overflowing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Bingaman brought a message of hope from the U. S. Senate. The tide has shifted towards mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, according to Senator Bingaman. As evidence, he detailed his efforts to add climate provisions to the omnibus energy bill passed and signed into law this summer. Senator Bingaman developed an amendment based on recommendations from the self-anointed and so-called National Commission on Energy Policy. His amendment would set a very easy cap on emissions and set up an emissions credits trading system which would have the government sell additional credits whenever the price reaches a few dollars a ton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, this modest amendment wasn't offered on the Senate floor, because as Senator Bingaman admitted yesterday, they realized that it didn't have enough support to pass. So instead Senator Bingaman offered a sense of the Senate resolution that says the Senate should pass mandatory limits on emissions before the end of the year. This non-binding resolution was added to the energy bill with 53 votes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Coalition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Team Arrives || December 6, 2005
CEI's team (Marlo Lewis, Richard Morrison, Isaac Post, and I) arrived in Montreal at 8:35 this morning and, after checking in to our hotel, reached the Palais des Congres just after 10. After registering, we immediately went to an NGO side event held by the Pew Center of Global Climate Change to discuss their report on the results of their "Climate Dialogue at Pocantico."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dialogue was held on four occasions over thirteen days in 2004 and 2005 between 25 or so business, government, and "civil society" leaders. It was held at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's Pocantico conference center in Tarrytown, New York. Participants included representatives from seven big corporations, from the governments of Australia, Canada, Mexico, Britain, Argentina, Japan, China, Germany, Tuvalu, Brazil, and Malta, and top staffers from the U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The dialogue was chaired by Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center, and Ged Davis, managing director of the World Economic Forum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of the dialogue was to agree on recommendations for "International Climate Efforts Beyond 2012.". As far as I could tell, the most significant recommendation of the dialogue is that there needs to be a further high level political dialogue of fifteen to thirty key countries that would run parallel to new official negotiations within the Kyoto process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eileen Claussen said that the U. S. delegation's refusal to join a new round of Kyoto negotiations did not represent the American mainstream view. She expressed confidence that the next presidential administration (whether Democratic or Republican) would have a far more constructive position. Curiously, she also said that in the end countries will do what is in their national interests (which helps to explain why the Clinton and Bush policies have been remarkably similar despite their rhetorical differences). In reply to a question from Ron Bailey of Reason magazine, she admitted that India and China also appear to be blocking a new round of official talks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Greene of Senator Joe Biden's minority staff on the Foreign Relations Committee echoed Clausseen's views. He said that there was now a clear bi-partisan consensus in the Senate that President Bush' position is unacceptable. The official position of the U. S. does not represent the position of the Congress or state and local governments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In reply to a question from my colleague Marlo Lewis, Elliot Diringer, director of the dialogue for the Pew Center, said that some of the dialogue's participants helped frame the Clean Development Partnership created by the U. S., Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea. Claussen said that the dialogue was interested by the partnership but was waiting to see how robust it would be. I think that means whether it will agree to mandatory emissions cuts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A questioner gave four potential factors that contributed the America's rejection of Kyoto and asked the panelists to rank them. The factors offered were: the political power of the petroleum industry, the typical American attitude not to like what to be told to do, refusal to accept the science, and that Kyoto would be a job killer. Greene replied that there were very few "flat Earthers" left in the Senate, but many Senators were concerned about saving jobs in existing industries and were not focused on all the new jobs that would be created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Claussen ignored the influence of big oil (perhaps because several big oil companies belong to her Pew Center), but she said that the American people recognize that the science is no longer in doubt. On the other hand, a lot of people believe that cutting emissions would be a job killer, even though reasonable people (even some in the Bush administration) know this isn't the case if it's done carefully and slowly. She also said that many Americans really didn't like government or the UN telling them what to do. To which my own reply is, thank God for the sturdy character and good sense of the American people and their abiding resistance to authoritarian government.
–Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Coalition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last summer we took issue with Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) when he sought to gain political advantage by taking on some climate scientists. I’d bet that the loud reaction to his “investigation” was one factor in Rep. Barton’s apparent decision not to follow up as yet. Such external oversight of science and politics can play a positive role in limiting the politicization of science and its negative effects on policy making. Now we have a case of Democrats playing politics through climate science, and a similarly loud reaction would seem to be appropriate from informed observers. Will we see a similar reaction?

Providing ample evidence that the politicization of science by politicians is a bipartisan pastime, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and 150 fellow Democrats have introduced a rarely used “resolution of inquiry” to explore whether the Bush Administration has been hiding evidence that the current hurricane season has been caused by global warming. Kucinich said in press release last week:

“”The American public deserve to know what the President knew about the effects climate change would have, and will continue to have, on our coasts. This Administration, and Congress, can no longer afford to overlook the overwhelming evidence of the devastating effect of global climate change. It is essential for our preparedness that we understand global climate change and take serious and immediate actions to slow its effects.”

According to an InsideEPA.com news story, which Rep. Kucinich introduced to the Congressional Record (PDF), the “Resolution of Inquiry” is part of a strategy to try to divide moderate Congressional Republicans from the party. According to InsideEPA.com,

“A novel effort by 150 House Democrats to require that the White House turn over documents showing what it knows about climate change effects on U.S. coastal regions may force key Republican moderates to choose party loyalty over their environmental records, or risk leaving themselves open to attacks from conservative opponents in upcoming primaries, sources say… Kucinich’s resolution does not specifically mention hurricanes, but congressional staffers familiar with the effort say Congress is growing more concerned that climate change may have increased hurricane severity in light of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. ”This has been a brutal hurricane season and many think climate change will be the defining problem of our generation. We want to know what [President Bush] knew,” according to one staffer.”

InsideEPA.com describes the Democrats strategy as one that seeks to place a few congressional Republicans in a tight spot,

“Observers say the ROI will present House Science Committee Chairman SHERWOOD BOEHLERT (R-NY), Rep. VERNON EHLERS (R-MI) and Rep. WAYNE GILCHREST (R-MD) with a critical choice between siding with their party in deflecting attention from the president’s climate policies and their environmental records, which have won them praise and endorsements from environmental groups. Their decisions on the matter may prove crucial during their 2006 primaries, where at least one is expected to face a tough fight against a more conservative GOP candidate.”

The InsideEPA.com article goes into some details about why it is that Congressmen Boehlert, Ehlers and Gilchrest are ripe for a squeeze.

What to make of this? Congressional Democrats are playing politics, trying to gain some advantage in the upcoming congressional election, which is what they are supposed to do. With respect to the climate issue, because the Democrats are the minority party they don’t have the power to call hearings or otherwise set the agenda, so it might be appropriate to use the “Resolution of Inquiry” to access information. (For details on the congressional “Resolution of Inquiry” see this report (PDF) from the Congressional Research Service at the Federation of American Scientists website.)

No matter where one comes out on the climate issue, it is obvious that the Democrats are playing their politics through science. The tone of his inquiry smacks of black helicopters and the trilateral commission. As a close observer of the hurricane research community in NSF, Navy, and NOAA over the past 10 years, I know that there is no hidden smoking gun waiting to be discovered in the bureaucracy that shows that the Bush Administration had forewarning that this year’s hurricane season would be particularly bad, and kept that information under wraps to appease their oil and gas friends. Perhaps the Bush Administration would do such a thing, but in this case it did not, for the simple reason that such information does not exist. It doesn’t.

The playing of partisan politics by Democrats through the science of climate change and hurricanes may come at a price in policy effectiveness. As we have stated here many times, there is simply no evidence to suggest that policy makers can modulate hurricane behavior, much less their impacts for the foreseeable future through energy policies. Representative Kucinich and his 150 colleagues risk focusing attention on bad hurricane policies and, as a consequence, overlooking good ones.

This would be a good time for leaders in the scientific community to discuss the policy issues associated with hurricanes and climate change. Is there a smoking gun on the science of hurricanes in the bureaucracy? Can energy policies be an effective tool of disaster mitigation? This would also be a good time for the “war on science” crowd to burnish their alleged bipartisan credentials. Call me a jaded cynic, but my guess is that both groups will be stony silent, reflecting their own committed partisanship. If so, then you will be seeing a very real consequence of the politicization of science – the abdication of oversight.

“Scientists’ Recent Comments on Global Warming and Hurricanes” examines recent claims that hurricanes are becoming dramatically worse, and that global warming is influencing the numbers, frequency and intensity of recent hurricanes in the busy 2004-2005 seasons. One focus is recent controversy over papers by Webster and Curry (Science, 2005) and by Kerry Emanuel (Nature, 2005), claiming a positive connection.

“This paper is a bit different,” says Ferguson, “because it presents the discussion directly from the participating scientists via popular press commentaries and unedited internet blogs. It makes for some highly interesting reading.” The paper demonstrates how disputes over the science of the hot topics of global warming and hurricanes are spilling over into the public arena.

 

Download the complete PDF.

 

A recently released report by Ceres (self-described as a national coalition of investors, environmental organizations, and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as climate change) suggests that the impacts of climate change to events such as floods, windstorms, thunderstorms, hail storms, ice storms, wildfires, droughts, and heat waves are already being felt in the United States and that their impacts will grow into the future as human activities continue to affect the atmospheric composition. However, the Ceres report derived from a paper by Mills published in Science magazine (Mills, E., 2005. Insurance in a Climate of Change. Science, 308, 1040- 1044. August 12, 2005), – fails to make its case in a scientifically defensible manner. Its analyses are inadequate and ill-formed, and it ignores a large, robust body of literature on the subject whose conclusions run opposite to those found in the Ceres report.

 

In this analysis, we provide a basic overview of the issue pointing out the primary scientific weaknesses underlying the conclusions in the Ceres report. In addition, we also include an extensive annotated bibliography containing summaries of major scientific reviews and findings that conclude that changes in extreme weather events are not the primary factors behind the observed increases in weather-related economic losses. This bibliography includes broad overviews, as well as papers on specific extreme weather-event types. By and large, the conclusions of these papers were not included, considered, or discussed in the Ceres report–a clear indication of the inadequacies and biases inherent in the Ceres report. Thus, the Ceres report does not fairly represent the state of knowledge on the topic of climate change and its effect on the insurance industry, and as such, should not be relied upon in decision-making processes.

 

Download the complete document (PDF) here.

WASHINGTON — Injecting synthetic “super” greenhouse gases into the Martian atmosphere could raise the planet’s temperature enough to melt its polar ice caps and create conditions suitable for sustaining biological life. In fact, a team of researchers suggests that introducing global warming on the Red Planet may be the best approach for warming the planet’s frozen landscape and turning it into a habitable world in the future.

Margarita Marinova, then at the NASA Ames Research Center, and colleagues propose that the same types of atmospheric interactions that have led to recent surface temperature warming trends on Earth could be harnessed on Mars to create another biologically hospitable environment in the solar system. In the February issue of Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, published by the American Geophysical Union, the researchers report on the thermal energy absorption and the potential surface temperature effects from introducing man-made greenhouse gases strong enough to melt the carbon dioxide and ice on Mars.

“Bringing life to Mars and studying its growth would contribute to our understanding of evolution, and the ability of life to adapt and proliferate on other worlds,” Marinova said. “Since warming Mars effectively reverts it to its past, more habitable state, this would give any possibly dormant life on Mars the chance to be revived and develop further.”

The authors note that artificially created gases–which would be nearly 10,000 times more effective than carbon dioxide–could be manufactured to have minimal detrimental effects on living organisms and the ozone layer while retaining an exceptionally long lifespan in the environment. They then created a computer model of the Martian atmosphere and analyzed four such gases, individually and in combination, that are considered the best candidates for the job.

Their study focused on fluorine-based gases, composed of elements readily available on the Martian surface, that are known to be effective at absorbing thermal infrared energy. They found that a compound known as octafluoropropane, whose chemical formula is C3F8, produced the greatest warming, while its combination with several similar gases enhanced the warming even further.

The researchers anticipate that adding approximately 300 parts per million of the gas mixture in the current Martian atmosphere, which is the equivalent of nearly two parts per million in an Earth- like atmosphere, would spark a runaway greenhouse effect, creating an instability in the polar ice sheets that would slowly evaporate the frozen carbon dioxide on the planet’s surface. They add that the release of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide would lead to further melting and global temperature increases that could then enhance atmospheric pressure and eventually restore a thicker atmosphere to the planet.

Such a process could take centuries or even millennia to complete but, because the raw materials for the fluorine gases already exist on Mars, it is possible that astronauts could create them on a manned mission to the planet. It would otherwise be impossible to deliver gigaton-sized quantities of the gas to Mars. The authors conclude that introducing powerful greenhouse gases is the most feasible technique for raising the temperature and increasing the atmospheric pressure on Mars, particularly when compared to other alternatives like sprinkling sunlight-absorbing dust on the poles or placing large mirrors in the planet’s orbit.

COPAP has developed a new detection device that will aid research into global climate change, environmental studies, life-science research and environmental monitoring and improve understanding on aerosols.

“It is now recognised that aerosols play a central role in a range of environmental problems such as respiratory diseases, climate change and decreased visibility,” says Dr Vidmantas Ulevicius, Head of the Environmental Physics and Chemistry Laboratory at the Lithuanian Institute of Physics, the project’s lead partner.

The problem arises because the majority of the mass in fine aerosol particles is not directly emitted but formed through numerous reactions with other gasses in the atmosphere. These reactions are extremely difficult to define as many reactions are short lived and others produce minute particles in the atmosphere. It is these secondary aerosol particles that create environmental problems; these can now be detected thanks to the research in this project.

The sources of each of the major chemical constituents of the aerosols must be known and their role in atmospheric processes must be determined, in order to regulate and reduce their detrimental effects. “In this sense, aerosol science is now at the same level as the measurement of most gaseous pollutants was over a decade ago,” says Ulevicius.

To help increase knowledge and thereby develop efficient abatement strategies, the EUROENVIRON COPAP project designed a new particle counter able to measure the concentration of these small aerosol particles. It can measure particles as small as 5 nm in diameter, in concentrations between 0.01 and 105 particles/cm3.

The new device will provide reliable aerosol data, the lack of which has until now hindered the understanding of the formation of secondary aerosols and evaluation of ways to regulate and prevent environmental damage.

Professor Markku Kulmala, who leads the Physics Department at the University of Helsinki, co ordinated the Finnish academic and commercial partners and supervised the theoretical, calibration and field studies. He says: “EUREKA was crucial. Without it, this work would not have been possible.”

Ulevicius agrees: “EUREKA not only helped in the development of the new instrument but also forged co operation between scientists and commercial companies in Lithuania and Finland.”

The project is set to increase the turnover of the commercial partners – Eltera Ltd in Lithuania and Dekati Ltd in Finland – both of which will manufacture and market some 50 instruments per year.

2500 minus one

by William Yeatman on February 1, 2005

in Politics, Science

Dr. Christopher Landsea of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administrations Hurricane Research Division at NOAAs Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, has withdrawn as an author of the Fourth Assessment Report under preparation by the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for release in 2007.

       Landsea has written more than forty articles on hurricanes and other tropical storm systems for refereed scientific publications during the last twelve years (see www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/landsea_bio.html for specific references). As an author, he contributed to the last two IPCC Assessments and had primary responsibility for sections describing the past, present and future behavior of tropical cyclones.

       He recently wrote and circulated an Open Letter among his colleagues to announce and explain his decision to withdraw from further IPCC participation. We have his permission to quote it. We have added bold-faced emphasis to certain section that are not in the original.

Dear colleagues,

      After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.

      With this open letter to the community, I wish to explain the basis for my decision and bring awareness to what I view as a problem in the IPCC process. The IPCC is a group of climate researchers from around the world that every few years summarize how climate is changing and how it may be altered in the future due to manmade global warming. I had served both as an author for the Observations chapter and a Reviewer for the 2nd Assessment Report in 1995 and the 3rd Assessment Report in 2001, primarily on the topic of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons). My work on hurricanes, and tropical cyclones more generally, has been widely cited by the IPCC. For the upcoming AR4, I was asked several weeks ago by the Observations chapter Lead Author Dr. Kevin Trenberth to provide the writeup for Atlantic hurricanes. As I had in the past, I agreed to assist the IPCC in what I thought was to be an important and politically-neutral determination of what is happening with our climate.

      Shortly after Dr. Trenberth requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4’s Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic “Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity” along with other media interviews on the topic.  The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Listening to and reading transcripts of this press conference and other media interviews, it is apparent that Dr. Trenberth was being accurately quoted and summarized in such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media sessions have the potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.

      I found it a bit perplexing that the participants in the Harvard press conference had come to the conclusion that global warming was impacting hurricane activity today. To my knowledge, none of the participants in that press conference had performed any research on hurricane variability, nor were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, either in the Atlantic or any other basin. The IPCC assessments in 1995 and 2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.

      Moreover, the evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon hurricanes will likely be quite small. The latest results from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Knutson and Tuleya, Journal of Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of the 21st Century (Michaels, Knappenberger, and Landsea, Journal of Climate, 2005, submitted).

      It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming. Given Dr. Trenberths role as the IPCCs Lead Author responsible for preparing the text on hurricanes, his public statements so far outside of current scientific understanding led me to concern that it would be very difficult for the IPCC process to proceed objectively with regards to the assessment on hurricane activity. My view is that when people identify themselves as being associated with the IPCC and then make pronouncements far outside current scientific understandings thatthis will harm the credibility of climate change science and will in the longer term diminish our role in public policy.

      My concerns go beyond the actions of Dr. Trenberth and his colleagues to how he and other IPCC officials responded to my concerns. I did caution Dr. Trenberth before the media event and provided him a summary of the current understanding within the hurricane research community. I was disappointed when the IPCC leadership dismissed my concerns when I brought up the misrepresentation of climate science while invoking the authority of the IPCC. Specifically, the IPCC leadershipsaid that Dr. Trenberth was speaking as an individual, even though he was introduced in the press conference as an IPCC lead author. I was told that that the media was exaggerating or misrepresenting his words, even though the audio from the press conference and interview tells a different story (available on the web directly); and that Dr. Trenberth was accurately reflecting conclusions from the TAR, even though it is quite clear that the TAR stated that there was no connection between global warming and hurricane activity at this time. The IPCC leadership saw nothing to be concerned with in Dr. Trenberth’s unfounded pronouncements to the media, despite his supposedly impartial important role that he must undertake as a Lead Author on the upcoming AR4.

      It is certainly true that “individual scientists can do what they wish in their own rights,” as one of the folks in the IPCC leadership suggested. Differing conclusions and robust debates are certainly crucial to progress in climate science. However, this case is not an honest scientific discussion conducted at a meeting of climate researchers. Instead, a scientist with an important role in the IPCC represented himself as a Lead Author for the IPCC and has used that position to promulgate to the media and general public his own opinion that the busy 2004 hurricane season was caused by global warming, which is in direct opposition to research written in the field and is counter to conclusions in the TAR. This becomes problematic when I am then asked to provide the draft about observed hurricane activity variations for the AR4 with, ironically, Dr. Trenberth as the Lead Author for this chapter. Because of Dr. Trenberth’s pronouncements, the IPCC process on our assessment of these crucial extreme events in our climate system has been subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost. While no one can “tell” scientists what to say or not say (nor am I suggesting that), the IPCC did select Dr. Trenberth as a Lead Author and entrusted to him to carry out this duty in a non-biased, neutral point of view. When scientists hold press conferences and speak with the media, much care is needed not to reflect poorly upon the IPCC. It is of more than passing interest to note that Dr. Trenberth, while eager to share his views on global warming and hurricanes with the media, declined to do so at the Climate Variability and Change Conference in January where he made several presentations. Perhaps he was concerned that such speculation though worthy in his mind of public pronouncements would not stand up to the scrutiny of fellow climate scientists.

      I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. Trenberth’s actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4.

Sincerely,

Chris Landsea

            What Landseas letter illuminates is yet another example of what climatologist Patrick Michaels, our senior editor, calls the predictable distortion of global warming in his book Meltdown in which he argues that, in general, climate scientists are not policy-neutral. Professional advancement often is best-served by exaggerating threats of climate change in public discourse. A glaring example was the complete omission of the word satellite in the Summary for Policymakers of the 1996 IPCC Second Assessment. As a result, policymakers were not aware that orbiting temperature monitors show no statistically significant warming a difference with the surface thermometer record that nine years later is yet to be resolved.

            Ironically, previous IPCC report sections on hurricanes (for which Landsea was a major contributor) were accurate and comprehensive. In the Second Assessment, for example, Landsea provided the IPCC a graphic showing that the average maximum wind speed attained in Atlantic Ocean tropical storms and hurricanes declined between 1944 and 1993 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Annual average maximum wind speeds recorded in Atlantic basin tropical cyclones (Landsea et al., 1996).

            Updating this data through 2004 shows that even considering the recent upswing in hurricane activity over the past decade there has been no long-term change in the average maximum wind speed. This observation runs counter to proclamations that anthropogenic changes to the earths atmosphere have made hurricanes more severe. Landsea probably would have ensured such an updated figure became part of the upcoming IPCC report. Now it is unlikely to appear.

            As more scientists find the heavy-handed tactics of the global warming fanatics to be unsettling, the oft-heard claim that IPCC findings represent the consensus view of 2,500 scientists will need to be modified. If not, such a statement will fail to reflect the fact the remaining participants in the IPCC process are distorting climate science. What else can anyone conclude given the now abundantly clear fact the IPCC leadership encourages and participates in such activity. This latest flap over hurricanes, resulting in Landseas resignation, should signal IPCC participants theyd better prepare to reap the whirlwind if this trend remains unchecked by courageous acts similar to Landseas.

February 2, 2005

Reference

Landsea, C.W., et al., 1996. Downward trends in the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes during the past five decades. Geophysical Research Letters, 23, 1697-1700.

Michaels, P.J., 2004. Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media, Cato Institute, Washington DC, 271pp.

Living in sunny times 
American Scientist, Dec 25 2004
A publication in Nature last October by solar physicist Sami K. Solanki of the Max-Planck-Institut fr Sonnensystemforschung and four of his colleagues is bound to intensify the arguments. Solanki and coworkers attempted to estimate “sunspot numbers,” a general barometer of solar activity, for times long before the beginning of the observational record, which starts four centuries ago. Their main result is expressed in the title of their paper: “Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years.”

Evidence for sun-climate link reported by UMaine scientists
University of Maine, Dec 22 2004
A team led by University of Maine scientists has reported finding a potential link between changes in solar activity and the Earth’s climate. In a paper due to be published in an upcoming volume of the Annals of Glaciology, Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, and 11 colleagues from China, Australia and UMaine describe evidence from ice cores pointing to an association between the waxing and waning of zonal wind strength around Antarctica and a chemical signal of changes in the sun’s output.

Sun is more active now than over the last 8000 years
Max Planck Society, Oct 28 2004
Because the brightness of the Sun varies slightly with solar activity, the new reconstruction indicates also that the Sun shines somewhat brighter today than in the 8,000 years before. Whether this effect could have provided a significant contribution to the global warming of the Earth during the last century is an open question.

Dim Sun: Global dimming? Global warming?
Grist Magazine, Sept 22 2004
Until Ohmura poked his nose into the radiation record, nobody had noticed that between 1958 and 1988, a whopping 10 percent of solar radiation had disappeared.

Global warming: Tony Blair and other stellar effects
JunkScience.com, Sep 19 2004
Tony Blair has made much of enhanced greenhouse and global warming – the Central England Temperature record suggests his fears are groundless. You can either believe a 340-year temperature record or a politician – suit yourself.

UHIE? UHIE who?
JunkScience.com, Sep 10, 2004
UHIE is the acronym for Urban Heat Island Effect.

How strongly does the sun influence global climate?
Max Planck Society, Aug. 3 2004
As the scientists have reported in the renowned scientific journal, Physical Review Letters, since 1940 the mean sunspot number is higher than it has ever been in the last thousand years and two and a half times higher than the long term average. The temporal variation in the solar activity displays a similarity to that of the mean temperature of the Earth.

Chat transcript: The science (or lack thereof) in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ with Dr. James O’Brien
GlobalWarming.org, Jun 03 2004
Of course any variation in the sun will be felt in our climate. I am not an expert on solar variations. Recently however, I read that pollution from increasing pollution was reflecting sunlight and reducing short wave energy (light) from reaching the ground and ocean and turning into longwave energy (heat).

Chat transcript: Iain Murray on ‘The Kyoto Protocol and its future’
GlobalWarming.org, May 27, 2004
I have no doubt that the solar wind and other cosmic phenomena affect climate, but I don’t think this particular research is precise enough to say that the temperature rises since 1970 were due mostly to cosmic ray flux.

Urban Heat Island Effect Still an Issue; McIntyre and McKitrick Praised; More Fiddling with Paleoclimatology
Cooler Heads Coalition, Dec 17, 2003
“The ice age reached its coldest point during a 70-year period from 1645-1715 known as the Maunder Minimum, which was named after the 19th century solar astronomer, E.W. Maunder, who documented a lack of solar activity during the period.

Hockey Stick Data Wrong?; Hockey Stick Crowd Dismiss Medieval Warm Period
Cooler Heads Coalition, Oct 30, 2003
German scientists from the Max Planck Institute along with Finnish scientists from Oulu University have reconstructed sunspot activity over the past millennium. They conclude that the sun has been in what they term a “frenzy” since 1940, which may be a factor in global warming.

Russian Scientists Question Alarmism
Cooler Heads Coalition, Sep 17, 2003
The Russians commend the work of Friis-Christensen and Lassen on the correlation between sunspot activity and climate and back it up with their own research.

Cosmic Influence on Climate
Cooler Heads Coalition, Jul 09, 2003
In new research published in GSA Today, a publication of the Geological Society of America, researchers Nir Shahiv and Jan Veizer conclude that cosmic rays emanating from dying stars account for 75 percent of the change in the Earths climate over the past 500 million years.

Troubling Lack of Science Behind Global Warming Claims
Cooler Heads Coalition, Mar 19, 2003
Essex also explained that the earths so-called greenhouse effect does not work like a greenhouse. “Incoming solar radiation adds energy to the Earths surface,” he said. To restore radiative balance the energy must be transported back to space in roughly the same amounts that it arrived in. The energy is transported via two processes infrared radiation (heat transfer) and fluid dynamics (turbulence).

Climate Variation is the Norm, not the Exception
Cooler Heads Coalition, Feb 19, 2003
The mechanisms include solar variation, emergence from the Little Ice Age, lunar energy variation, internal oscillations (such as El Nio), Milankovitch forcing (variations in the Earths orbit), ocean variation, biospheric variation, cryogenic variation (variations in the amount and distribution of ice), surface versus satellite temperature variation, and aerosol forcing mechanisms.

Solar Magnetism and Global Warming
Cooler Heads Coalition, Jun 10, 1999

Evidence that the Sun plays a major role in climate change continues to mount, casting doubt on the CO2-global warming link. A new study in Nature (June 3, 1999) has found that the Suns magnetism has increased dramatically over the last one hundred years.

Hansen Falls Back to Weaker Position
Cooler Heads Coalition, Nov 25, 1998
In 1988 James Hansen put global warming on the political map by exclaiming in a Senate hearing that he was 95 percent sure that manmade global warming was upon us. However, he now believes “The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.” His discussion of solar irradiance is important because he challenges the notion that “climate forcing due to solar variability is negligible because it is much smaller than GHG forcing.”

New Light Shed on Sunspots
Cooler Heads Coalition, Jul 12, 1998

Professor Terry Robinson and Dr. Neil Arnold at Leicester University have constructed a computer model that may provide an explanation of how sunspots effect the climate.

Sunshine, Cosmic Rays, and Climate Change
Cooler Heads Coalition, Apr 26, 1998
Its obvious to most people that the sun plays an important role in the climate of the planet. Recently evidence has been accumulating that the sun may have more to do with temperature variations than manmade greenhouse gases.

Sun, Sun, Sun, Sun, Sunshiny Day
Cooler Heads Coalition, Mar 13, 1998
A new study published by Switzerlands Federal Institute of Technology corroborates recent studies that find that variations in the suns brightness contributes significantly to climate change.

Sun Sheds Light on Climate Change
Cooler Heads Coalition, Mar 01, 1998

Two papers delivered at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) shed light on suns role in climate change.

A Climate Change Glossary
US Environmental Protection Agency, Jan 01, 2003

Carbon Sequestration. The uptake and storage of carbon. Trees and plants, for example, absorb carbon dioxide, release the oxygen and store the carbon. Fossil fuels were at one time biomass and continue to store the carbon until burned.

Carbon sequestration by grasslands in a CO2-enriched world
CO2science.org, Oct 20 2004
Enough has been learned, however, to know that soils beneath grasslands will significantly increase their carbon-storing prowess as the atmospheric CO2 concentration continues its upward trajectory; and every extra bit of carbon storage helps, especially that which comes automatically, courtesy of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content.

No realistic way to stabilize CO2
Financial Times, Jul 02, 2004
“Energy rationing without tears”that should have been the title of Lord Browne’s column (“Small steps to limit climate change”, June 30). He imagines that the world’s nations, via a series of “small steps”, could stabilize atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) at 500 to 550 parts per million by 2050 “without doing serious damage to the world economy”. This is pie in the sky. A study in the November 1, 2002 issue of the journal Science, co-authored by 18 energy and climate experts, including several who worry about global warming as much as Lord Browne, examined possible technology options that might be used in coming decades to stabilise atmospheric CO2 concentrations, including wind and solar energy, nuclear fission and fusion, biomass fuels, efficiency improvements, carbon sequestration and hydrogen fuel cells.

U.S. carbon dioxide piped, pumped into Canadian oil well
Environment News Service, June 28 2004
A partnership among U.S., Canadian and European researchers has developed a new approach that is one of the first to successfully store carbon dioxide (CO2) underground. Carbon sequestration is being evaluated internationally as a means of long-term carbon dioxide storage.

Et tu, Edison?
Competitive Enterprise Institute, Apr 27, 2004
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association of shareholder-owned electric power companies, opposes the Kyoto Protocol, the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, and kindred proposals to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2), the inescapable byproduct of the carbon-based fuelscoal, oil, and natural gasthat supply 86 percent of all the energy Americans use. Why, then, is EEI pressing the Bush Administration to institute an early credit programthe accounting framework and political setup for Kyoto-style energy rationing? Edison has a lot of explaining to do.
 
 

Sequestration Appears Sustainable
Cooler Heads, July 23 2003
The idea that carbon sequestration via forests is a sustainable option for reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has come under attack in recent years. The theory is that new forest growth will quickly become saturated and will start returning stored carbon to the atmosphere by 2050. New research from Luo et al published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles suggests that this may not be the case.

Prospects of Stabilizing Emissions Appear Bleak
Cooler Heads Coalition, November 13 2002
In a major challenge to the conventional wisdom, a team of scientists has delivered a devastating blow to the Kyoto Protocol in a review of energy technologies published in the November 1 issue of Science.

CO2 Dumping: Are They Joking?
 Cooler Heads Coalition, July 24 2002
Environmental pressure groups are succeeding in their efforts to stop scientific experiments with long-term deep-ocean sequestration of carbon dioxide. On July 2, an international consortium gave up on its application to 5,000 gallons of liquefied CO2 into ocean 3,000 feet below the surface off the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The purpose was to determine its dispersal and effects on ocean chemistry.

 Where has all the Carbon Gone?
 Cooler Heads Coalition, July 11 2001
As environmentalists continue to harp on the evils of carbon dioxide, they may want to notice the lack of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Although carbon dioxide emissions are up almost 40 percent in the past 20 years, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has decreased or remained the same, according to an article in Science (July 6, 2001).

The Competitive Enterprise Institute today called on Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri to resign as chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the grounds that his political activism fatally compromises his IPCC responsibilities. 

Dr. Pachauris actions are those of a policy advocate, not an objective official, said Iain Murray, Senior Fellow in International Policy.  The world can no longer rely on him for accurate and unbiased analysis. 

Dr. Pachauri recently served as scientific adviser for a report written by a consortium of American, British, and Australian leftist advocacy groups.  The report, entitled Meeting the Climate Challenge, makes outlandish scientific claims that are not supported by the IPCCs previous publications and recommends a number of ineffective and economically unsound policies. 

Political activism is entirely inappropriate for the chairman of the IPCC.  Dr. Pachauri has abused his official position, which carries great responsibilities, and thereby forfeited the publics trust, said Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming Policy.    

 Dr. Pachauri has a history of associating himself with left-wing advocacy. He provided a foreword to an alarmist report from the United Kingdoms New Economics Foundation and told Reuters that he hoped the next IPCC report, due in 2007, would produce a much stronger message for the world.

 Last week, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane scientist Chris Landsea resigned from the IPCCs Fourth Assessment Report in protest at a senior IPCC scientists decision to utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming.  Dr. Pachauri did nothing to address Dr. Landseas concerns.

Under Dr. Pachauris leadership, the IPCC appears institutionally biased towards unscientific conclusions that support a particular political agenda, said Murray.