Icing The Hype
Sep 17, 2007
Real Scientists vs. Media Darlings

By Samuel Aldrich and Jay Lehr in Environment News

Broadly speaking, there are two classes of academic scientists involved in environmental and safety issues. Group A are those who publish their research results and concepts mainly in scientific journals, but are seldom reported in the national news media. Before being published in a scientific journal, every article must be reviewed by fellow scientists (a process called peer review). Many articles are rejected. If accepted and published, they are still subjected to criticism by thousands of fellow scientists.

Among scientists, a person is judged objectively on the quality of research and the soundness of ideas and interpretations. But professional environmentalists are often judged by the media and some of their peers by whether their results and concepts support activist agendas.

Most professional environmentalists find themselves in Group B--those “scientists” who are often seen on TV, whose books are on bestseller lists, and whose opinions are widely found in popular magazines and newspapers. There are thousands of scientists in Group A, but a small number in Group B--people such as Lester Brown, Barry Commoner, Paul Ehrlich, Carl Sagan, Stephen Schneider, Irving Selikoff, and Samuel Epstein, to name a few. This group avoids peer review.

They write books on controversial subjects and use the news media as a forum for their views, the more sensational the better, whether to sell books or to generate invitations for speeches and interviews. They are alarmists, and it pays very well to be an alarmist. Most are distinguished scientists within their fields of expertise. They then move into the eco-environmental or health arenas, where their expertise no longer holds water, but their reputations cloud that fact from public view.  Read more here.

Sep 17, 2007
Ocean Science: Carbon Consumers

By Alex Thompson, Nature Geoscience

Bacteria growing in the low-salinity Amazon River plume waters, which stretch 3,000 km into the tropical Atlantic Ocean, are found to absorb significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere1. Because tropical oceans are warm, they hold less dissolved carbon than oceans elsewhere and so typically emit CO2 to the atmosphere. But research now shows that communities of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, reliant on the nutrients contained in the Amazon river run-off, can shift the air–ocean balance so that instead of emitting CO2 the ocean absorbs it.

Sarah Cooley from the University of Georgia and colleagues measured levels of dissolved carbon in the Amazon River plume during April and May of 2003. Combining their observations of ocean and river composition with those from previous studies and with satellite observations of the plume, they calculated the total annual CO2 uptake by the plume waters.

They found the CO2 uptake, driven by bacterial consumption of carbon, to be about 15 million tonnes per year — emissions equivalent to about 20,000 return flights from London to Los Angeles. Carbon sequestration comes as a surprise in a region thought to emit CO2 to the atmosphere.
See story and reference here.

Sep 14, 2007
Japan Sweats for Global Warming

By Steven Milloy, Thursday, September 13, 2007

Japanese office workers are being forced to sweat in the name of global warming. But before Americans consume too much “Green” Kool-Aid and suffer a similar fate, they may want to consider this week’s global warming developments.

The Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story (Sep. 11) that Japanese offices are keeping summertime office temperatures at a “steamy 82 degrees Fahrenheit” to help Japan use less energy and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. Offices are now so uncomfortable that the traditional suit-and-tie dress code has been abandoned even though “82 degrees can only be comfortable if you’re thin, naked and stay still,” according to a Japanese physiology professor.

Who should be sweating instead, however, are the climate alarmists, as the purported scientific basis of their campaign continues to melt from underneath them. A new study published in the journal Nature (Sep. 13) crafted to support the notion that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide drive increases in global temperature actually, if read carefully, casts further doubt on that idea. Read why here.

Perhaps Japanese workers don’t mind sweating and stinking their way through the workday because of politicized science, but it remains to be seen whether American workers will be willing to suffer the same discomfort and degradation for the same bogus reasons.

Sep 13, 2007
SPPI Exposes Fundamental Scientific Error in Laurie David’s “Global Warming” Book for Children

EON Business Wire

A fundamental scientific error lurks in a book calculated to terrify schoolchildren about “global warming”, Robert Ferguson, SPPI president, announced today: “The Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming”, by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon, is intentionally designed to propagandize unsuspecting school children who do not have enough knowledge to know what is being done to them.  A new SPPI paper briefly examines a cardinal error, found on page 18 of the David book, where she mousetraps children: “The more the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the higher the temperature climbed. The less carbon dioxide, the more the temperature fell. You can see this relationship for yourself by looking at the graph. What makes this graph so amazing is that by connecting rising CO2 to rising temperature scientists have discovered the link between greenhouse-gas pollution (sic) and global warming.”

What really makes the David-Gordon graph “amazing” is that it’s egregiously counterfactual. Worse, in order to contrive a visual representation for their claim that CO2 controls temperature change, the authors present unsuspecting children with an altered temperature and CO2 graph that reverses the relationship found in the scientific literature.

Graph with reversed curves corrected

The manipulation is critical because David’s central premise posits that CO2 drives temperature, yet the peer-reviewed literature is unanimous that CO2 changes have historically followed temperature changes.  Case in point, on page 103 of their book, David cites the work of Siegenthaler et al. (2005). However, Siegenthaler et al. clearly state the opposite, that CO2 lags “with respect to the Antarctic temperature over glacial terminations V to VII are 800, 1600, and 2800 years, respectively, which are consistent with earlier observations during the last four glacial cycles.”

“Parents and teachers should be concerned enough to demand that the publisher, Scholastic Books, recall, pulp and correct the error before mores copies reach innocent children,” said Ferguson.

Icecap Note: Laurie David and Cambria Gordon have dedicated their new book, “The Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming” to their daughters, Mark Jabo thought that was such a great idea that he decided to write his own dedication to his only son to be used in his next book. See the two letters here.

Sep 13, 2007
Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

By Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle

FOR YEARS, supporters of global warming alarmism have repeated an odd refrain: Even if we’re wrong, we’re right.

Sen. Timothy E. Wirth, D-Colo., said it in 1988, as the National Journal reported. “What we’ve got to do in energy conservation is (to) try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

I regularly receive e-mails with similar arguments. Or as one reader put it, “If global warming is not real, and we spend money trying to fight it, what harm will come of our mistake? Cleaner air? If global warming is real, and we do nothing, what harm will come of our laxity? On which side should we err?”

The very question presupposes that the sacrifices that Americans will have to make are small. To go the distance supported by global warming alarmists requires big changes.
If the alarmists are right, the whole world will have to change and it will be onerous. If the global warming alarmists are wrong, much of the sacrifices they demand will have been for nothing.  Read more here.

Sep 08, 2007
NASA’s James Hansen Finally Releases Climate Data Computer Codes

By Noel Sheppard, Newsbusters

Much as when the organization he leads quietly made changes to the United States historical climate record at the prodding of Climate Audit’s Stephen McIntyre, James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies finally released critical computer codes scientists have wanted for years, but did so with absolutely no official press release. As a result, not one media outlet covered this occurrence that years from now could be seen as a huge turning point in the climate change debate.

Despite the secrecy, there was great celebration amongst anthropogenic global warming skeptics that have wanted these closely held codes to be able to identify how NASA and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration make adjustments to raw climate data collected by weather stations. One such skeptic is Anthony Watts, who happily reported Saturday: “Apparently us “court jesters” (as as Dr. James Hansen calls us) carry some weight after all.

I’m happy to report that NASA GISS has in fact released the computer code used to arrive at temperature adjustments for the USA and the world. The first task is to make sure it matches what has been seen, and to verify that we have all of it. This is hugely important in doing independent verification of the surface temperature record. Following that, an analysis of the methodology and replication of the computer program output to see if it matches the current data sets. Then perhaps we can fully understand why some stations that are in “pristine” condition, such as Walhalla, SC, with no obvious microsite biases, get “adjusted” by Hansen’s techniques. Shouldn’t good data stand on it’s [sic] own?” Yes, that sounds reasonable, Anthony, unless your goal is to manipulate the data to support your agenda. Of course, another happy skeptic was Stephen McIntyre who reported the news at Climate Audit.

Regardless, it seems a metaphysical certitude that the same media which ignored the changes to the climate record a month ago will be equally disinterested in reporting this information. Read more here.

Sep 06, 2007
Global Warming Faces Popular Backlash

By Thomas Lifson

Further evidence that global warming enthusiasts have jumped the shark comes with the box office disaster experienced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s film 11th Hour. Roger Friedman of Foxnews.com reports: “The 11th Hour,” has been a total bust at the box office. After 18 days in release, the film has grossed only $417,913 from ticket sales. The 90-minute snore-fest is playing on 111 screens this week, but that number is likely to be reduced this Friday. The film will be sent to DVD heaven after that.

I confess to being personally incapable of evaluating all the scientific evidence on climatology, physics, and the other relevant disciplines. But I am experienced in the scholarly method of evaluating alternative hypotheses, and well understand that accepted “consensus” views are often overturned by subsequent generations armed with better data. Thomas Kuhn wrote the classic book on the subject, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a work which I used to ask doctoral candidates to master, in order to learn the lesson that all hypotheses, no matter how widely accepted, remain but tentative models of reality, subject to being replaced by better ones as more evidence comes in.

I wonder how many years it will require for global warming’s snake oil faction to become ashamed of their role in pushing their dogma with their chosen methods. The public seems to have caught on, judging by the box office surprise Leo got, not to mention all the empty seats at various Live Aid concerts. By the way, have you seen Al Gore in the news recently? I haven’t. Maybe he and his obsession have become what Variety used to call “B.O. Poison”. Read more here.

Sep 05, 2007
Global-warming Believers Fear an Honest Debate

By Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle

If dissent is so rare, why do global-warming conformists feel the strong need to argue that minority views should be dismissed as nutty or venal? Why not posit that there is such a thing as honest disagreement on the science?

As for the overwhelming majority of scientists believing that man is behind global warming, former NASA scientist Roy Spencer, now at the University of Alabama, told me: “It’s like an urban legend. There has never been any kind of vote on this issue.” He referred me to a 2003 survey in which two German environmental scientists asked more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries if they thought humans caused climate change: Fifty-six percent answered yes, 30 percent said no.

What really frosts me about the Newsweek story is that it concentrates on industry funding for skeptics while ignoring the money that pours into pro-global-warming coffers. That focus ignores where the big grant money goes: to pay for crisis-mongering research. Or as Reid Bryson, the father of scientific climatology, told the Capital Times in Madison, Wis.: “If you want to be an eminent scientist, you have to have a lot of grad students and a lot of grants. You can’t get grants unless you say, ‘Oh, global warming, yes, yes, carbon dioxide.’”

True believers appear to be afraid of a fair fight. In March, when the audience was polled before a New York “Intelligence Squared U.S.” debate, 30 percent agreed with the motion that global warming is not a crisis; 57 percent disagreed. After the debate, 46 percent agreed with the motion, while 42 per cent disagreed. Read more here.

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