Icing The Hype
Jun 02, 2007
Scientists Rally Around NASA Chief After Global Warming Comments

Science and Public Policy Institute

Washington, DC June 1: NASA’s top administrator, Michael Griffin, speaking on NPR radio made some refreshingly sensible comments about the present global warming scare,” said Robert Ferguson, Director of the Science and Public Policy Institute. “Many rationalist scientists agree with him, clearly demonstrating there is no scientific consensus on man-made, catastrophic global warming,” said Ferguson. Griffin said he doubted global warming is “a problem we must wrestle with,” and that it is arrogant to believe that today’s climate is the best we could have and that “we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change.” While NASA scientist, James Hansen, was sharply critical of his boss, other scientists from around the world came to Griffin’s support. 

Among the many comments was one from Kansas geologist Lee Gerhard “Griffin’s statement focuses on the hubris that affects much of public policy. It is great to know that someone out there besides geologists understands that humans do not dominate earth’s dynamic systems.  Said Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph, “Claims of major, impending catastrophe are speculative and go far beyond what has been credibly established by researchers to date. Hence Griffin’s view is not at all controversial or out of step with available evidence, and he should be commended for having the courage to say it. The fact that it took courage, however, points to the deeper problem that questioning the catastrophic propaganda we hear so much is now considered politically incorrect.” Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl praised Griffin’s climate comments, calling them “sensible.” On his public blog, Motl said he applauds Michael Griffin and encourages him to act as “a self-confident boss of a highly prestigious institution.” “I have always believed that the people who actually work with hard sciences and technology simply shouldn’t buy a cheap and soft pseudoscientific propaganda such as the ‘fight against climate change,’” Motl added.  See all the comments here.

May 31, 2007
Two Radio Events Worth Listening To

One is a NPR radio interview which will be available today with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who although he agrees with Hansen that global warming is probably ocurring, admiits “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with”. See highlight and link to transcript and audio here.  See Hansen’s predictable overreaction to Griffin’s interview here. It included this comment. “It’s an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement,” Hansen told ABC News. “It indicates a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change.” And finally this comment on the Reference Frame for Griffin to hang tough.

“The Reference Frame applauds Michael Griffin and encourages him to act as a self-confident boss of a highly prestigious institution. Let me re-emphasize that it is Griffin, not Hansen, who is the boss of NASA and this fact should be taken into account if it turns out that one of them should leave NASA. Any sign of weakness, Dr Griffin, will be used against you. More precisely, I would recommend the boss of NASA to fire Hansen for his despicable comments about his boss as soon as possible.”

Also Dr. Bob Carter, Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, Australia debated Stephen Schneider in Australia. Stephen, once a global cooling proponent switched sides in the 1980s.  Schneider in an interview in Discover Magazine 1989 said “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but - which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” Listen to the debate here

May 31, 2007
What if AGW proves to be a fiction?

By Bob Brinsmead

What if AGW proves to be a fiction?  I would like to point out the some of those who are pushing AGW have raised this question themselves, and they have said that even if AGW proves to be groundless, the campaign will be a great benefit anyhow.  But the reason they have given is not advancement in technology, better energy sources, less dependence on politically unstable countries, etc. It seems that some of the leading proponents of AGW are thinking about achieving socio/econo/political objectives. 

The real hard green environmentalists and these people with socialist objectives don’t want America’s or the AP 6’s technological solutions. They are not the least impressed with the latest statistics that show that the US has been far more successful in minimizing growth in greenhouse emissions than the EU Kyoto group - I think the growth in the US emissions in the last few years comes in as about half of the EU emissions growth. If, or rather when the technological fixes and advancements come to the fore, these AGW crusaders will be as bitterly disappointed as the dyed-in-the-wool socialists were disappointed when there was dancing on the Berlin Wall instead of dancing on the grave of Western capitalism - and more importantly, Western freedom.  The Australian’s editorial was partly right when it opined that some of these climate advocates won’t be satisfied until we are all taking cold showers in the dark. 

This movement at its core is not just anti free market, but it is profoundly anti-human.  Humans are depicted as the great enemy of mother nature (Gaia), the cancer of the earth, and the big rub is that human freedom cannot be trusted but must be radically curtailed.  Humans supposedly don’t know what is good for them, and at the end of the day, we will have to be told and directed in the matter of what is good for us and the environment.  Read more here.

May 30, 2007
NASA: Danger Point Closer Than Thought from From Warming ‘Disastrous Effects’

Bill Blakemore, ABC News

Even “moderate additional” greenhouse emissions are likely to push Earth past “critical tipping points” with “dangerous consequences for the planet,” according to research conducted by NASA and the Columbia University Earth Institute.  With just 10 more years of “business as usual” emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, says the NASA/Columbia paper, “it becomes impractical” to avoid “disastrous effects.” The study appears in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Its lead author is James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

The forecast effects include “increasingly rapid sea-level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods, and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones,” according to the NASA announcement. See full story here

Note: Blakemore told the Conference of Environmental Journalists last fall that he will only talk to people like Hansen and Erlich, the real experts on climate change after being misled years ago by another senior scientist who discounted the alarmist position.  Hansen had 3 years ago also noted we only had 10 years left to save the planet. The new warning comes even as many of the measures show we may have peaked in the global warmth anywhere from 1998 to 2001 and have leveled off or begun a decline since then. 

May 29, 2007
Web Journals Threaten Peer-Review System

By Alicia Chang, AP

Scientists frustrated by the iron grip that academic journals hold over their research can now pursue another path to fame by taking their research straight to the public online. Instead of having a group of hand-picked scholars review research in secret before publication, a growing number of Internet-based journals are publishing studies with little or no scrutiny by the authors’ peers. It’s then up to rank-and-file researchers to debate the value of the work in cyberspace.

The Web journals are threatening to turn on its head the traditional peer-review system that for decades has been the established way to pick apart research before it’s made public. Even some mainstream journals are toying with a tame form of open peer review. Last summer, Nature allowed authors whose papers were selected for traditional peer review to have their manuscripts judged by the public at the same time. Editors weigh both sides when deciding whether to publish a paper, and rejected research can be submitted elsewhere. Linda Miller, the journal’s U.S. executive editor, said she was encouraged by the participation. More than 60 papers have been posted on Nature’s site for open peer review as of mid-September including one that has been accepted for publication. Several others are on the path to being published.  Miller said Nature’s experimentation with the Internet is just another way the journal is trying to reach out to the public. Two of its specialized journals on neuroscience and genetics already offer a blog-like forum for researchers to post their thoughts on published articles, though they have attracted little attention, she said.  “If we don’t serve the community well, we will become irrelevant,” she said. See full story here.

Note: This story is a little dated (last October) but very relevant to scientists in this climate change field where some of the journals have editors and peer reviewers that are very like-minded on this issue. Along similar lines, more people read the more popular web sites and web blogs than will ever read a peer reviewed paper, so today, it is possible to reach many people with information the traditional media and journals are not reporting.

May 28, 2007
UK Rat Infestation Forecast Due to Global Warming - the Real Cause?

Life Style Extra - UK

Global warming will lead to a rat population explosion with potentially disastrous human health consequences, an expert warned today. Milder winters and hotter springs were already increasing the rat population significantly, he said. Oliver Madge, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association, warned the chances of rodents invading people’s homes increased greatly as a result, with sudden outbreaks of disease far more likely. He also claimed controversial fortnightly rubbish collections was a “bandwagon” for people to blame local authorities for rises in rodent infestation. See story here.

Friends this is another case of the law of unintended consequences. Just as the new fluorescent bulbs being given away or promoted as a positive energy saving step turn out to be a potential mercury hazard, the increase from 1 to 2 weeks for garbage pick-ups to save energy is the real issue.

A short google exercise will yield stories about places where garbage strikes occurred and they all mention an increase in rodent populations. For example even in chilly Regina, Canada which suffered a boom in rodent population after a 26-day garbage strike. Similar tales were told after strikes in Gaza City, Toronto and in the U.S. in places like Chicago, and New York City. In this Boston Globe story, they recount “In 1968, John DeLury, the rough-and-tumble president of a sanitation workers union, took on New York mayor John Lindsay and Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The union went on strike, and DeLury went to jail. As tons of garbage piled up, the specter of rats invading wealthy neighborhoods may have hastened a settlement. By the 1970s, city sanitation workers were paid as much as police officers and firefighters.”

In Robert Sullivan’s book Rats. New York: Bloomsbury in 2005, he notes this scary thought: “The number of rats in an area depends almost entirely upon the food supply available to them. A single breeding pair of rats, with an unlimited food supply and no predation or other causes of mortality, can produce on the order of fifteen thousand descendants in a single year. That makes it pretty clear that a rat population will grow until all available food is being consumed.”

So Oliver, do your homework, stop looking to blame the problem on climate change and urge the return to more frequent garbage pick-ups.

May 26, 2007
Welcome to “Apocaholics Anonymous “ Join Me in a Crusade for Panic Free Living

Gary Alexander, Recovering Apocaholic, Speech at Atlanta Investment Conference

Hi, I’m Gary and I’m a recovering Apocaholic. I am currently Apocalypse free for nearly 18 years....Yes, I still feel the urge to proclaim the end of all things, from time to time, but I white-knuckle my way to a history book for a little perspective, and then I breathe easier. If you wish to join AA, the only requirement is that you give up the adrenaline rush of media-fed fantasies. (Note: Gary went on to describe some of those impending doom scenarios we have somehow managed to survive - here are some excerpts)

Rachel Carson (1907-1964) published “Silent Spring” in 1962, based on a compilation of articles she had written for The New Yorker.  Her book is credited with launching the environmental movement that culminated in Earth Day (1970), including a worldwide ban on the main villain in her book, DDT...which has caused the deaths of millions of Asians and Africans since then.  Many insect-borne diseases were on the verge of extinction in 1970, when the U.S. tied foreign aid to poor nations to their “voluntary” banning of DDT, to our great shame.

Then came Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” (1968), in which he opened famously by saying, “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of millions of people will starve to death, in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Over 65 million Americans would starve in the 1980s, leaving only 22.6 million starved Americans alive in 1990.  In 1990, he incredibly justified his claims as being right - a trait common to Doomsday prophets.

Then 30 Years Ago - Global Cooling and “The Next Ice Age”.Newsweek, April 28, 1975 said that leading climate scientists were “almost unanimous” (sound familiar?) in their predictions of global cooling.  Time Magazine had “The Coming Ice Age” on its cover, and the November 1976 issue of National Geographic had a lead article on the problem of global cooling.  Later on, physicists combined the threat of natural cooling with nuclear war to predict a “Nuclear Winter.” Our future was clearly frigid.  The trend from 1935 through 1975 was a gradual cooling of temperatures, since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. (Most record-high state temperatures, to this day, were set in the 1930s, not in the 1990s, Mr. Gore.)

Read full speech here

May 22, 2007
Australian TV to Air Global Warming Swindle Video

By Michael Gadd, news.com.au

A controversial British documentary which claims global warming is a lie will be shown by the ABC. The Great Global Warming Swindle, to be aired by the national broadcaster in July, is the ideological opposite to Al Gore’s acclaimed movie An Inconvenient Truth. The documentary rebuts mounting scientific evidence that global warming is caused predominantly by human activity, and says it’s the result of changes in radiation from the sun.

The film’s credibility, some of its contributors and its maker, Martin Durkin, came under heavy questioning by scientists and the media after it aired on Britain’s Channel 4 in March.  Channel 4 defended the film, as has ABC director of television Kim Dalton, on the basis that all sides of the hotly contested global warming debate deserved to be represented.  “Currently the issue of global warming is being debated around the world,” Mr Dalton said. “This documentary presents a controversial side to that debate.” See full story here. You may also see Great Global Warming Swindle from WAG-TV4 here

UPDATE: See uproar the decision has had in this Herald Sun story.

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