climate change

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Your host Richard Morrison teams up with collaborators Jeremy Lott and William Yeatman to bring you Episode 72 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We begin with UN climate hypocrisy in Copenhagen, presidential arm-twisting on health care and a cloudy look at government transparency. We conclude with the end of the tobacco road in Virginia and scandal of banking and nepotism in Venezuela.

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White House communications director Anita Dunn is in the news cycle for having said that Mao Zedong, the megalomaniacal Communist dictator of post-war China, is one of her “favorite political philosophers.”  Zedong’s ideas led to the death of scores of millions of human beings, so many people find it news worthy that he’s an inspiration for an important White House official.

I know that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can be a catty work environment because I’ve seen NBC’s “The West Wing” on television. As such, I know there’s a chance that Ms. Dunn is now being ostracized by her peers on account of her controversial affinity for Mao. With that in mind, I have a comforting thought for Ms. Dunn: You are not alone!

Ms. Dunn has a comrade in Carol Browner, Obama’s climate czarina, who’s also a card-carrying member of the Socialist International. In fact, she’s busily implementing socialist environmental policies in America. SI last week introduced a climate change policy eerily similar to the strategy that Browner is pushing here in the United States.

Read more about Browner’s red plan to green the economy here.

None Dare Call It Fraud

by Paul Driessen on October 19, 2009

What if we applied corporate standards to the “science” that is driving global warming policy?

Imagine the reaction if investment companies provided only rosy stock and economic data to prospective investors; manufacturers withheld chemical spill statistics from government regulators; or medical device and pharmaceutical companies doctored data on patients injured by their products.

Media frenzies, congressional hearings, regulatory investigations, fines and jail sentences would come faster than you can say Henry Waxman. If those same standards were applied to global warming alarmists, many of them would be fined, dismissed and imprisoned, sanity might prevail, and the House-Senate cap-and-tax freight train would come to a screeching halt.

Fortunately for alarmists, corporate standards do not apply – even though sloppiness, ineptitude, cherry-picking, exaggeration, deception, falsification, concealed or lost data, flawed studies and virtual fraud have become systemic and epidemic. Instead of being investigated and incarcerated, the perpetrators are revered and rewarded, receiving billions in research grants, mandates, subsidies and other profit-making opportunities.

On this bogus foundation Congress, EPA and the White House propose to legislate and regulate our nation’s energy and economic future. Understanding the scams is essential. Here are just a few of them.

Michael Mann’s hockey-stick-shaped historical temperature chart supposedly proved that twentieth century warming was “unprecedented” in the last 2000 years. After it became the centerpiece of the UN climate group’s 2001 Third Assessment Report, Canadian analysts Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre asked Mann to divulge his data and statistical algorithms. Mann refused. Ultimately, Mc-Mc, the National Science Foundation and investigators led by renowned statistician Edward Wegman found that the hockey stick was based on cherry-picked tree-ring data and a computer program that generated temperature spikes even when random numbers were fed into it. (1)

This year, another “unprecedented” warming study went down in flames. Lead scientist Keith Briffa managed to keep his tree-ring data secret for a decade, during which the study became a poster child for climate alarmism. Finally, McKitrick and McIntyre gained access to the data. Amazingly, there were 252 cores in the Yamal group, plus cores from other Siberian locations. Together, they showed no anomalous warming trend due to rising carbon dioxide levels. But Briffa selected just twelve cores, to “prove” a dramatic recent temperature spike, and chose three cores that “demonstrated” there had never been a Medieval Warm Period. It was a case study in how to lie with statistics. (2)

Meanwhile, scientists associated with Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) also withheld temperature data and methods, while publishing papers that lent support to climate chaos claims, hydrocarbon taxes and restrictions, and renewable energy mandates. In response to one request, lead scientist Phil Jones replied testily: “Why should I make the data available, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” Of course, that’s what the scientific method is all about – subjecting data, methods and analyses to rigorous testing, to confirm or refute theories and conclusions. When pressure to release the original data became too intense to ignore, the CRU finally claimed it had “lost” (destroyed?) all the original data. (3)

The supposedly “final” text of the IPCC’s 1995 Second Assessment Report emphasized that no studies had found clear evidence that observed climate changes could be attributed to greenhouse gases or other manmade causes. However, without the authors’ and reviewers’ knowledge or approval, lead author Dr. Ben Santer and alarmist colleagues revised the text and inserted the infamous assertion that there is “a discernable human influence” on Earth’s climate. (4)

Highly accurate satellite measurements show no significant global warming, whereas ground-based temperature stations show warming since 1978. However, half of the surface monitoring stations are located close to concrete and asphalt parking lots, window or industrial-size air conditioning exhausts, highways, airport tarmac and even jetliner engines – all of which skew the data upward. The White House, EPA, IPCC and Congress use the deceptive data anyway, to promote their agenda. (5)

With virtually no actual evidence to link CO2 and global warming, the climate chaos community has to rely increasingly on computer models. However, the models do a poor job of portraying an incredibly complex global climate system that scientists are only beginning to understand; assume carbon dioxide is a principle driving force; inadequately handle cloud, solar, precipitation, ocean currents and other critical factors; and incorporate assumptions and data that many experts say are inadequate or falsified. The models crank out (worst-case) climate change scenarios that often conflict with one another. Not one correctly forecast the planetary cooling that began earlier this century, as CO2 levels continued to climb.

Al Gore’s climate cataclysm movie is replete with assertions that are misleading, dishonest or what a British court chastised as “partisan” propaganda about melting ice caps, rising sea levels, hurricanes, malaria, “endangered” polar bears and other issues. But the film garnered him Oscar and Nobel awards, speaking and expert witness appearances, millions of dollars, and star status with UN and congressional interests that want to tax and penalize energy use and economic growth. Perhaps worse, a recent Society of Environmental Journalists meeting made it clear that those supposed professionals are solidly behind Mr. Gore and his apocalyptic beliefs, and will defend him against skeptics. (6)

These and other scandals have slipped past the peer review process that is supposed to prevent them and ensure sound science for a simple reason. Global warming disaster papers are written and reviewed by closely knit groups of scientists, who mutually support one another’s work. The same names appear in different orders on a series of “independent” reports, all of which depend on the same original data, as in the Yamal case. Scientific journals refuse to demand the researchers’ data and methodologies. And as in the case of Briffa, the IPCC and journals typically ignore and refuse to publish contrary studies.

Scandals like these prompted EPA career analyst Alan Carlin to prepare a detailed report, arguing that the agency should not find that CO2 “endangers” human health and welfare, because climate disaster predictions were not based on sound science. EPA suppressed his report and told Carlin not to talk to anyone outside his immediate office, on the ground that his “comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” which the agency supposedly would not make for several more weeks. (7)

The endless litany of scandals underscores the inconvenient truth about global warming hysteria. The White House, Congress and United Nations are imperiling our future on the basis of deceptive science, phony “evidence” and worthless computer models. The climate protection racket will enrich Al Gore, alarmist scientists who get the next $89 billion in US government research money, financial institutions that process trillion$$ in carbon trades, and certain companies, like those that recently left the US Chamber of Commerce. For everyone else, it will mean massive pain for no environmental gain. (8)

Still not angry and disgusted? Read Chris Horner’s Red Hot Lies, Lawrence Solomon’s Financial Post articles, Steve Milloy’s Green Hell, and Benny Peiser’s CCNet daily climate policy review. Go to a premier showing of Not Evil Just Wrong. (9)

Then get on your telephone or computer, and tell your legislators and local media this nonsense has got to stop. It may be that none dare call it fraud – but it comes perilously close.

____________

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

RESOURCES

(1) http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

(2) http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/01/ross-mckitrick-defects-in-key-climate-data-are-uncovered.aspx

(3) http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTBiMTRlMDQxNzEyMmRhZjU3ZmYzODI5MGY4ZWI5OWM=#more

(4) http://www.sepp.org/Archive/controv/ipcccont/ipccflap.htm

(5) http://WattsUpWithThat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf

(6) http://tinyurl.com/yk8uhws

(7) http://www.globalwarming.org/?s=alan+carlin

(8) http://AllPainNoGain.cfact.org/

(9) Horner http://www.amazon.com/Red-Hot-Lies-Alarmists-Misinformed/dp/1596985380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255463779&sr=1-1

Solomon http://www.financialpost.com/opinion/columnists/LawrenceSolomon.html

Milloy http://www.amazon.com/Green-Hell-Environmentalists-Plan-Control/dp/1596985852/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

Peiser: to subscribe, send email request to listserver@ljmu.ac.uk

Film http://NotEvilJustWrong.com

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) appeared on CSPAN’s Newsmakers this Sunday to talk about the Kerry-Boxer climate bill. The highlight of the interview was when Boxer said that recent behavioral changes led to a drop in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. She must have been referring to foreclosures and layoffs, because the ailing economy is the only reason that emissions have fallen.

Boxer inadvertently made a great point: Greenhouse gas emissions are causally correlated with economic growth. This is why her cap-and-tax energy-rationing bill is bad news for the American economy.

The Obama administration is sending mixed messages on energy policy.  On the one hand, Obama’s top budget guru Peter Orszag told Congress last year that a cap-and-trade is designed to raise the price of energy.  On the other, the President says a cap-and-trade would spur economic growth.

Taxes and economic growth are mutually exclusive, so it seems as if President Obama is trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

To understand what the Obama administration is really thinking about energy policy, CEI’s Chris Horner filed a Freedom of Information Act request charging the Treasury Department to release all internal communications regarding cap-and-trade.

The Treasury Department responded on September 11th with 5 redacted documents, which were then released to the public by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CBS news reporter Declan McCullagh picked up the FOIA story and the eye-popping cost estimates-“equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation”-soon attracted massive media attention.

It turns out that those were only the low-end cost estimates. On September 18th, the Treasury Department released unredacted and previously withheld documents. These memos suggest that cap-and-trade costs would be “equal in size to the corporate income tax.”

Is there more? That’s a fair question in light of the Treasury Department’s suspicious partial disclosure on September 11th. It’s also curious that Treasury failed to include any e-mails. I would think that economic analysis of a major policy would have generated a few e-mails up and down the chain of command. After all, this is a federal bureaucracy-nothing is spontaneous in a federal bureaucracy.

To find out what the Obama administration is hiding, Mr. Horner today informed the Treasury Department of CEI’s “intent to sue” if Treasury does not come into compliance with its legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.

If President Barack Obama is serious about open and transparent government, he should press Treasury to release all communications on cap-and-trade. Only then will we know what energy rationing actually costs.

To see Mr. Horner’s letter informing the treasury Department of CEI’s intent to sue, click here.

Saluting Norman Borlaug’s scientific, agricultural and humanitarian legacy

“Since when did you become a global warming alarmist?” I kidded Norman midway into our telephone conversation a few weeks before this amazing scientist and humanitarian died.

“What are you talking about?” Dr. Borlaug retorted. “I’ve never believed that nonsense.”

I read a couple sentences from his July 29 Wall Street Journal article. “Within the next four decades, the world’s farmers will have to double production … on a shrinking land base and in the face of environmental demands caused by climate change. Indeed, [a recent Oxfam study concludes] that the multiple effects of climate change might reverse 50 years of work to end poverty.”

I mentioned that my own discussions of those issues typically emphasize how agricultural biotechnology, modern farming practices and other technological advances will make it easier to adapt to any climate changes, warmer or colder, whether caused by humans or by the same natural forces that brought countless climate shifts throughout Earth’s history.

“You’re right,” he said. “I should have been more careful. Next time, I’ll do that. And I’ll point out that the real disaster won’t be global warming. It’ll be global cooling, which would shorten growing seasons, and make entire regions less suitable for farming.”

I was amazed, as I was every time we talked. Here he was, 95 years old, “retired,” still writing articles for the Journal, and planning what he’d say in his next column.

The article we were discussing, “Farmers can feed the world,” noted Norman’s deep satisfaction that G-8 countries have pledged $20 billion to help poor farmers acquire better seeds and fertilizer. “For those of us who have spent our lives working in agriculture,” he said, “focusing on growing food versus giving it away is a giant step forward.”

Our previous conversations confirm that he would likewise have applauded the World Bank’s recent decision to subsidize new coal-fired power plants, to generate jobs and reduce poverty, by helping poor countries bring electricity to 1.5 billion people who still don’t have it. For many poor countries, a chief economist for the Bank observed, coal is the only option, and “it would be immoral at this stage to say, ‘We want to have clean hands. Therefore we are not going to touch coal.'” Norman would have agreed.

“Governments,” he argued,  “must make their decisions about access to new technologies … on the basis of science, and not to further political agendas.” That’s why he supported DDT to reduce malaria, biotechnology to fight hunger, and plentiful, reliable, affordable electricity to modernize China, India and other developing nations.

His humanitarian instincts and commitment to science and poverty eradication also drove his skepticism about catastrophic climate change.

He was well aware that recent temperature data and observations of solar activity and sunspots indicate that the Earth could be entering a period of global cooling. He had a healthy distrust of climate models as a basis for energy and economic policy. And he knew most of Antarctica is gaining ice, and it would be simply impossible for Greenland or the South Pole region to melt under even the more extreme temperature projections from those questionable computer models.

He also commented that humans had adapted to climate changes in the past, and would continue to do so. They would also learn from those experiences, developing new technologies and practices that would serve humanity well into the future.

The Ice Ages doubtless encouraged people to unlock the secrets of fire and sew warm clothing. The Little Ice Age spawned changes in societal structure, housing design, heating systems and agriculture. The Dust Bowl gave rise to contour farming, crop rotation, terracing and other improved farming practices.

Norman’s dedication to science, keen powers of observation, dogged perseverance, and willingness to live for years with his family in Mexico, India and Pakistan resulted in the first Green Revolution. It vastly improved farming in many nations, saved countless lives, and converted Mexico and India from starving grain importers to self-sufficient exporters.

In his later years, he became a champion of biotechnology, as the foundation of a second Green Revolution, especially for small-holder farmers in remote parts of Africa. Paul Ehrlich and other environmentalists derided his ultimately successful attempt to defuse “The Population Bomb” through his initial agricultural advances, and attacked him for his commitment to biotechnology.

His response to the latter assaults was typically blunt. “There are 6.6 billion people on the planet today. With organic farming, we could only feed 4 billion of them. Which 2 billion would volunteer to die?”

The Atlantic Monthly estimated that Norman’s work saved a billion lives. Leon Hesser titled his biography of Borlaug The Man Who Fed the World. Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Greg Conko dubbed him a “modern Prometheus.” Science reporter Greg Easterbrook saluted him as the “forgotten benefactor of mankind.” And the magician-comedy-political team of Penn and Teller said he was “the greatest human being who ever lived.”

He deserved every award and accolade – and merited far more fame in the United States than he received, though he was well known in India, Mexico and Pakistan, where his work had made such a difference.

Norman was also a devoted family man and educator. He served as Distinguished Professor of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University into his nineties. A year and a half ago, he gladly spent 40 minutes on the telephone with my daughter, who interviewed him for a high school freshman English “true hero” paper – and did so just after returning from the hospital and on the one-year anniversary of his beloved wife Margaret’s death.

He told my daughter it was because of Margaret, “and her faith in me and what I was doing, that we were able to live in Mexico, under conditions that weren’t nearly as good as what we could have had in the United States, and I was able to do my work on wheat and other crops.”

I sent him occasional articles, and we talked every few months, about biotech, global warming, malaria eradication, some new scientific report one of us had seen, or some website he thought I should visit. As we wrapped up our early August chat, we promised to talk again soon. Sadly, he entered a hospice and passed away before that could happen.

His mind was “still as clear as ever,” his daughter Jeanie told me, but his body was giving out. To the very end, Norman was concerned about Africa and dedicated to the humanitarian and scientific principles that had guided his life and research, and earned him the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize.

Norman left us a remarkable legacy. But as he told my daughter, “There is no final answer. We have to keep doing research, if we are to keep growing more nutritious food for more people.”

The world, its climate and insect pathogens will continue to change. It is vital that we sustain the incredible agricultural revolution that Norman Borlaug began.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power ∙ Black death.

9/18/2009

CEI’s Chris Horner used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover internal documents from the Obama administration in which Treasury Department officials admit that a cap-and-trade would impose a steep energy tax on American families.

The Treasury Department’s admission contradicts claims by Democratic leadership that a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme would boost the economy. In fact, a massive new energy tax (Department officials suggest that a cap-and-trade would cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars) would depress economic growth by increasing utility bills and gasoline prices.

CEI long has warned Americans that policies to fight so-called global warming would harm American consumers and businesses by increasing energy costs. It’s great to see that Obama’s Treasury Department agrees.

To read more about these internal documents, read this Planet Gore blog post by Chris Horner, and this write-up by the Washington Times’s Amanda Carpenter.

To listen to Democratic Party leadership tell it, one would never know that a cap-and-trade has anything to do with global warming.

For example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) pitched the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme that narrowly passed in the House, as a “vote for jobs,” rather than as a vote for global warming mitigation. Of course, this is malarkey-government only “creates” green jobs by destroying many more jobs in other, less politically favored economic sectors.

Now Democratic leaders in the Senate are saying that cap-and-trade is all about national security. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), in particular, has been pushing the thesis that climate change is going to cause conflict over scarce natural resource, drought-induced famine, and massive population flows. Kerry’s idea is to give political cover to moderate democrats otherwise loath to vote for an energy tax-moderates tend to represent Americans who are concerned with national security, but skeptical of global warming alarmism. By framing climate change as a threat to national security, these moderates might escape the adverse political consequences of voting for a cap-and-trade scheme.

That’s a risky bet for moderates, because Kerry’s national security argument is bogus. To learn why, read this excellent blog post by my colleague Marlo Lewis. Kerry’s claims are also refuted Christopher Monckton at the Science & Public Policy Institute, available here.