January 31, 2006

Hot Tip: Post Misses the Point!

Juliet Eilperin’s latest headline in the Washington Post (January 29, 2006) about how global warming is destroying the earth was “Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change.” The Post, which has been news-editorializing this story for a couple of years now, featured her article above the fold in the top-right corner of the Sunday paper. Obviously they are exercised. Our response: cool it.
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January 30, 2006

Hansen Revisited

Filed under: Climate Politics

We’ve been getting a bunch of hits from people searching on “James Hansen” since the New York Times and Washington Post have both run articles in which Hansen claimed he was being censored by the Administration.

So, to make everyone’s life a bit easier (and since there is really not much new here), we’ve provided the links below to a couple of particularly poignant World Climate Report articles in which we covered Hansen’s political activities, his recent findings, and his philosophy on the reporting on the global warming issue. If you want more stories like these, we invite you to use our “Search” feature located in the righthand sidebar to search recent articles or go here to search our back issues (e.g., enter, say, “Hansen” for best results!).

Blowing Your Own Whistle

Summary: Prominent scientist James Hansen criticizes President Bush’s climate change policy, despite the fact that the policy is in part based on Hansen’s own findings.

This is unheard of: A prominent scientist in the pay of the federal government attacks the President in a crucial state (Iowa) one week before the election. Not just any prominent scientist, either, but James Hansen, recipient of $250,000 in pocket change from the Heinz Foundation, run by Mrs. John Kerry. Don’t worry, though, he said he was speaking as a private citizen because he paid his own way. With Mrs. Kerry’s money, we might add, in his family nest egg.
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James Hansen Increasingly Insensitive

Summary: It seems that the longer NASA scientist Jim Hansen studies the climate, the more insensitive he, or should we say, his interpretation of the climate, becomes.
Climate “sensitivity” is the change in surface temperature expected for each additional Watt of energy that is re-radiated onto the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere by slight changes in the greenhouse effect. The main cause of these changes in the greenhouse effect, of course, is the increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.
You would think that it would be big news when Hansen—the guy who started all this mess with his incendiary 1988 congressional testimony—lowers his estimate for the sensitivity to two-thirds of the value he used back then.

After all, he does get a lot of ink. That’s what happened in October, 2004, when he traveled to hotly contested and environmentally sensitive Iowa the weekend before the election, and publicly berated his Boss’ global warming policy. Talk about insensitive!
Hansen’s most recent figure, just published in Sciencexpress, is that the surface temperature ultimately changes 0.67˚C per Watt per square meter (W/m2). In 1988 he said it was a full degree, and in 2001 he lowered it to 0.75.

The lower the climate sensitivity, the less that the global temperature will rise in the future (given the same amount atmospheric carbon dioxide) and the lower the threat of catastrophic climate change.
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Observations Not Models

Summary: Urging caution regarding “implausible” and “unduly pessimistic” IPCC climate scenarios, NASA’s Hansen opts for observations to guide his forecasts of a 0.75ºC temperature rise by the year 2050.

NASA’s James Hansen, who is widely credited as being the “father of global warming” recently wrote that the climate change scenarios put forth in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) “may be unduly pessimistic,” and that the IPCC extreme scenarios are “implausible.” In fact, he argues, the observed trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentrations for the past several years fall below all IPCC scenarios, so consequently future temperature rise will most like be about 0.75ºC during the next 50 years.
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Is soot, not CO2, to blame for the loss of Arctic ice?

Summary: There are three primary tools that global warming alarmists use in their arguments that anthropogenic enhancements to the world’s naturally occurring greenhouse effect are causing the climate to behave as it never has before and this will ultimately be catastrophic. They are 1) the “hockey stick” temperature reconstruction for the past 1,000 years, which purports to show that left to its own devices, the global average temperature changes very little, yet it jumps at the slightest provocation from mankind; 2) the IPCC 21st century temperature projections which show a range of possible warming by century’s end that spans 1.4 to 5.8ºC (of course, the alarmist attention is given to the high end projection); and 3) the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been steadily declining for the past several decades and will be entirely gone in the summertime in the next 50 years as a result of rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. With the latest publication by NASA scientists Dorothy Koch and James Hansen, the final of these arguments now joins the first two in being soundly repudiated.
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AAAS “all-stars” lead biased discussion

Summary: On June 15, 2004, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) convened what they described as an “all-star” panel of U.S. climate scientists to discuss climate change. Never before has such a biased look at the issue been put together by a group that supposedly represents the purest ideals of science.
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Joint Statement of the G8 National Academies: A Non Sequitur

Summary: On June 7, 2005, a joint statement on climate change was issued by the national science academies of the G8 countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan, and the United States) along with China, India and Brazil. The statement emphasized two primary points, 1) that climate change (as caused by human-induced alterations of the composition of the atmosphere) is real, and 2) something needs to be done about it.

As has been the case in the climate change debate for years, the second point simply does not follow from the first.
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January 20, 2006

Donald Kennedy: Setting Science Back

Filed under: Climate Politics, Hurricanes

Donald Kennedy, the Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine, lately seems more bent on setting science back rather than advancing it.

His editorial page rants on global warming are as predictable as the content of most of the climate change articles in his journal. It hasn’t been lost on many in the science community that he simply refuses to print any “perspectives” piece that doesn’t go along with his take on climate change. If other points of view are so uninformed, why doesn’t he let them out so that they can be held up to ridicule?

But now, observers of the global warming war are beginning to question Kennedy’s competence.
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January 18, 2006

Not As Bad As We Thought!

A couple of weeks ago we wrote a cute little piece titled “Proving Science Bias” that looked into the deluge of news stories on global warming and its impacts that were released on a single day last December when both the COP-11 meeting was going on in Montreal and the fall meeting of American Geophysical Union (AGU) was taking place in San Francisco. Of the 15 different findings that were released and covered by the press on December 7, 2005 about global warming, 14 of them were reporting that things were “worse than we thought” and only one of them concluded that things weren’t going to be as bad as originally forecast. Given an unbiased prediction, there should be a 50-50 chance that things turned out either worse or better than expected. Under such a scenario, there is only a 1-in-2,000 chance that 14 things out of 15 would be worse. But that’s what happened. So, either the original forecasts were not unbiased, a rare event did indeed occur, or, more likely, the interpretation and reporting went a bit over the top—that is, the press (and to some degree the researchers themselves) only like to hype the more extreme results.
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January 11, 2006

Jumping To Conclusions: Frogs, Global Warming and Nature (Revised)

Filed under: Extinctions

(This is a revised version of our original posting. It is been changed to correct for a misinterpretation of our original reading of the Pounds et al. Nature article. Please see the * and the footnote at the end of the article for more details. Our original conclusions remain unchanged.)

Me and my apparently few friends have been ragging on the review process at Nature for some time, which was once the world’s most prestigious science periodical for all subjects. While it still may be the best for certain biochemical and genetic topics, it surely has lost it on global warming.

My antennae went up on this one in 2003 when my colleague, Robert Davis, and I submitted a paper to Nature showing that, as our cities have warmed, heat-related mortality declined significantly as people adapted to the change. They declined to even send it out for review; but after it was accepted in International Journal of Biometeorology it was awarded “paper of the year” by the Climate Section of the Association of American Geographers. Something is clearly amiss.

Nowhere is that more clear than in a paper, “Widespread Amphibian Extinctions from Epidemic Disease Driven by Global Warming,” by J. Alan Pounds, that appeared in their January 12 issue. We’ll put it simply: with regard to global warming papers, the review process at Nature is dead. Gone. Kaput.
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