Make your reservations by calling 877-632-9001 or 702-632-9000 or online here.
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About the Conference
Come to fabulous Las Vegas to meet leading scientists from around the world who question whether “man-made global warming” will be harmful to plants, animals, or human welfare. Learn from top economists and policy experts about the real costs and futility of trying to stop global warming.
Meet the leaders of think tanks and grassroots organizations who are speaking out against global warming alarmism. Don’t just wonder about global warming… understand it!
The event will start Monday, July 7, 2014 with a cocktail reception followed by dinner. On Tuesday and Wednesday, July 8-9, we will start with breakfasts featuring keynote speakers and awards ceremonies followed by sessions, lunch, more keynote speakers and more sessions. A preliminary schedule for the event is here.
Speakers already confirmed include Marita Noon, Anthony Watts, John Coleman, Lord Monckton, Joe Bastardi, David Kreutzer, Joseph D’Aleo, and Walter Cunningham. For more speakers and their bios click here.
The past eight International Conferences on Climate Change were unqualified successes. The conferences were extensively covered by the international media and allowed more than 1,000 experts to share information and ideas regarding the latest science, economics, and politics regarding global warming. More than 4,000 people have attended an ICCC; videos of the presentations are available online at http://climateconferences.heartland.org/.
DON’T MISS THE 9th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE
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Register for the event here, or call 312/377-4000 and ask for Ms. McElrath or reach her via email at email@example.com.
That slick expression you’re entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts, now has a deeper meaning in this latest stage of the post-enlightenment. If your facts plainly contradict someone else’s orthodox beliefs, then you are simply being “unhelpful” or even “harmful” and should therefore be suppressed. That’s to be done not by logical refutation or counter argument, but intimidation, bullying, shunning, character assassination and threats to a person’s career or livelihood.
Basically, the gloves come off and you get mobbed by a gang of like-minded thugs. Destroy the person, not the argument.
It’s the sort of behaviour one could expect of a medieval theocracy whose dominance is under threat by the advance of reasoned argument. Indeed, the humanists of Europe fought that battle from the late seventeenth century onwards, resulting in what’s commonly known as the Age of Enlightenment. There’s a lot more to it but from then on, a clear separation was to be made between things which could be proved by a process of reasoning and matters which were purely a matter of individual faith.
For the first time, a line between Church and State was being drawn. It was hard-fought by both sides since it was at heart more about who would control the minds of men; the clerics or what was called at the time the natural philosophers.
Last week, the distinguished Prof. Lennart Bengtsson, whom I’d term a warmist rather than an alarmist, resigned from an advisory committee of the GWPF, an unpaid post he’d barely been in for two weeks. The reason he’d been forced to resign was an intense campaign of vilification and intimidation. Former colleagues even refused to work with him and his papers in the publication process were suddenly being rejected for what was obviously non-scientific reasons. Bear in mind, he’d already had over two hundred papers published, so obviously knew what would be viable in terms of publication. Most tellingly, one of the rejected papers highlighted the glaring disparity between computer climate predictions and the real world data.
What’s most disturbing about the treatment of Prof. Bengtsson, is the people acting like common or garden thugs were supposedly men of science rather than outraged clerics stamping down on a heretic. As Marvin asked, what’s going on?
Even a casual acquaintance with the history of science teaches us one simple thing; it advances across a battlefield drenched in the blood of sacred cows. The Earth revolves around the Sun? Something falls to Earth because it’s being pulled by some invisible force rather than just having weight? Space can bend and time can run at different rates depending on where you are in something called a gravity well? Continents can actually move? Where’s your head? Are you insane?
Given that recurrent pattern of outrageous and heretical ideas becoming text-book orthodoxy, I do tend to think over carefully even the most startling ideas. More often than not, I see the flaw in the idea but I always examine the idea, not the person articulating it. If you don’t do that, you’re a believer rather than a person of reason.
It’s that sort of thinking which ultimately makes the practice of science an unforgiving profession. You can propose a really beautiful theory, but it only takes one person to prove it wrong, just one. Most cruel of all, your beloved brainchild can appear to pass all the tests for years but is later found out to be wrong or nothing more than a special case of a bigger, more complete theory and there goes your life’s work. Your attempt at being a someone of historical note becomes at best nothing more than a footnote annotation of you being that rather silly person behind the subsequently discredited theory of whatever. Everybody knew it was a rubbish idea all along.
It’s a tough gig and it’s all too human a temptation to start bending the rules as you begin to see the whole house of cards you’ve invested so many years in starting to wobble. Their first stab was something called post-normal science, which when you strip off the sociology verbiage and oily sophistry, was nothing more than a proposal to abandon the scientific method. Your theory was so important, so crucial, that it simply fell outside the passe science processes of the last few hundred years. It didn’t need things like that tiresome phase of testing your theory’s predictions against reality. Not even a largely cowed science establishment would grovel on its knees in abasement and come around to swallowing that.
The next line of defense was declaring that it was all settled. It had been so thoroughly proven, incidentally an impossible thing for any scientific theory, that it was no longer an open question. Move along now. The proof had been done by taking a vote and the novel idea of science by consensus rather than scientific method was born. There was to be no debate but it fell foul of that rebellious child it largely shaped, the skeptic blogosphere, which insisted on taking a can opener to every hermetically sealed debate, and so often found Blake’s great red dragon of chaos ready to emerge from it grinning in triumph.
By now, they were increasingly desperate men in a hurry towards some finishing line only they could see, and acted accordingly. It’s not very hard to get inside that.
You start to cheat, but somehow you know it’s not really cheating. You massage the data by tweaking it a little bit, just a teensy weensy little bit, moving it in the right direction. Once on that slippery slope, it becomes all too easy to get imaginative with the methods as well. By then, you’ve slipped so far into that mortal sin zone of science, all that’s left is stopping your ears to any criticism, shutting your eyes and defending it desperately at any cost. It’s your own inner voice making those carping objections. Nobody will notice, nobody will check.
But they did.
In the end, you’ve nowhere left to go but denying anyone wishing to replicate your work the data or details of your methodology. It’s all way too far over their head and anyway, they only want to use it against you. Anything but that sort of cooperation, because then the whole sordid game would be up. All would be lost. You fudge, you delay, you tell them the data is lost, it’s protected by commercial IPR agreements, you hide behind FOI legislation and in the end you threaten to sue them if they won’t leave you alone. At the same time, you play the martyr card; why are they persecuting me?
That’s a delaying stratagem you can play for a few years but the day finally arrives when someone else demonstrates that the results of applying your grand theory simply don’t match up to the real world data.
When that happens, all you’ve got left is to attack them for threatening your theory with real world data. That’s the terminal madness, the final naked abandonment of any lingering threadbare pretense of being a scientist. Go after the man, and simply ignore whatever it is he’s saying. Threaten him, destroy him, eviscerate him, smash him down into the ground, stamp on his face and somehow all will be well again.
To answer Mr Gaye’s question, that’s how we arrived at the Bengtsson scandal.
Intolerant belief is clawing back the ground it lost in the age of enlightenment, but the people doing it this time around are actually crusading fundamentalists pretending to be scientists. They’re nothing more than a new age sect of clerics who’ve allowed their messianic beliefs to swamp their judgement to the point where they’ve essentially traduced a branch of science, but for the best of all possible intentions. They are, after all, on a mission to save the very planet.
What’s particularly appalling about what can only be termed this wave of counter enlightenment, is that it’s mainly being driven from the universities and centres of higher education, the very institutions which were the original driving force behind the age of enlightenment. In too many areas, there’s a rigidly orthodox view and woe betide any lecturer, never mind a sprog undergraduate, who dares question it.
This imposition of uniformity and stifling of dissent can only lead to a medieval academic sterility, and in my opinion it already has. Yes, our technology has advanced geometrically but that’s just been a simple process of engineering refinement; double the power, halve the size, go for the manufacturing economies of scale and consequently sell it to them cheaper and cheaper. It’s nothing more than Moore’s law in motion, if you’ll excuse the alliteration. There’s actually nothing fundamentally new coming out of what’s supposed to be our ideas factories.
What we haven’t had is an original Einstein-class theory emerge from academia for nearly four decades. It’s all been refinements. Given an agreement with that assessment, you either assume we’ve discovered every one of the big secrets of the universe, which would be a first in the whole history of science, or something is very seriously wrong.
Bengtsson had to be destroyed. Not only was he opening up a dialogue with the climate skeptics, which meant he was straying away from the teachings of the one true church, but he’d also called into serious question the ability of the computer models to generate credible climate predictions. They are taken to be oracles by the church, incapable of error and far surpassing such primitive efforts as Delphi. The fact that the models’ predictions have been demonstrably wrong for nearly two decades is irrelevant.
This is end of days behaviour. They’ve been cast out alone into the political wilderness, governments are backing away from green agendas, the media and general public are bored with climate scares, research grants are getting cut everywhere, nobody can afford the renewables, the common people hate windmills and are organising against them, carbon legislation is dead in the water, the annual climate conference has become a cynical joke and young people not only don’t give a damn about saving the planet, but have started to snigger at those who persist in lecturing them about it.
Their very public and violent intimidation of Bengtsson will probably ensure there won’t be another attempt at rapprochement by a high-profile warmist with the skeptics. They are in effect skipping over the bargaining phase in the death of their belief system.
As someone who’s a skeptic of catastrophic global warming, that suits me fine since since I think the only way we can now lose this struggle is to enter into negotiations to achieve some unnecessary compromise when to all intents and purposes we’ve already won. It’s just the trivial exercise of the endgame we’ll be playing out for the next few years. Mate in two with no way of stopping it.
As someone who loves science, I regret it won’t be possible to come up with some fig leaf deal of damage limitation for science as a whole, a way of letting them retire discreetly from the field in defeat, and will instead now have to stand and watch climate science becoming a complete laughing-stock, and undoubtedly by implication, science in general. The true believers will ensure this thing is doomed to go down all the way to the equivalent of Berlin, April ‘45, the last bullet and complete destruction.
I’ll take no pleasure in that, but it wouldn’t stay my hand for an instant. I’m quite happy to watch them burning themselves right down to the ground, and we’ll rebuild the seared reputation of science afterward. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s had to be done and it’s not a priority of mine.
There’ll be a week or so of tut-tutting but in the end the sect will get away with yet another Pyrrhic victory and continue to do so, until the leadership in science grasps the nettle and finally decides to stand up to them. The reality check for that leadership is that the cat is out of the bag. The window of opportunity to get your own house in order is fast closing and the standing of science as a whole is now downrange of the firing line. Wield the scalpel now and cut out the cancer, or prepare to lose the patient.
Inexorably, the general public have come to think global warming might have been nothing more than a bogus scare, but what they do know for sure is that it was scientists doing the scare mongering. That’s why for instance the Australian government can feel free to do a savage 90% chop of its spend on climate change, knowing there won’t be any great outcry from anyone other than the grant money junkies. Nobody else gave a peep. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of how much collateral damage mainstream science is going to take with the crash of climate science.
The indulgent “in” joke of how silly, corrupt and degenerate climate science actually is, has now moved well outside the smug and knowing smirks of the science club insiders. If you’ve any doubt about that, then you haven’t thought about the significance of last Friday’s front page of the Times.
As the Environmental Protection Agency prepares major new regulations on carbon emissions, the agency’s top watchdog is warning that fraudulent environmental data may be influencing its work.
The findings could provide fodder for critics of the new regulation, who warn that it could cost the U.S. economy billions and cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs.
“The EPA lacks a due diligence process for potential fraudulent environmental data,” the agency’s inspector general warned in a report released on Thursday. Existing processes for weeding out such data, the report said, are “out of date or unimplemented.”
“Our survey of EPA regional staff on their knowledge and use of the EPA’s fraudulent data policies and procedures found that a majority of respondents were unaware there was a policy, and approximately 50 percent expressed the need for such policies and procedures,” the report said.
The EPA relies in large measure on federal contractors to gather environmental data on which the agency bases its regulatory decisions. However, a lack of communication with those contractors and clear guidelines on investigative procedures has created confusion with respect to the processes by which fraudulent data is rooted out and corrected.
Similar problems plague interactions between EPA and state environmental regulators, the report found.
“The agency lacks policy on communicating case information with the states and other regulating parties during investigations,” the IG wrote. As a result, “potentially negative consequences for human health and environmental protection may be not be communicated or addressed.”
The EPA said it would initiate a number of corrective actions to remedy the problems. The IG was satisfied with the actions, saying “recommendations are considered resolved and open with corrective actions ongoing.”
Without those corrective actions, the report warned, the agency risks undermining public confidence in its regulatory work.
A lack of public confidence could be troublesome for the agency as it rolls out new regulations on existing coal-fired power plants that are sure to stoke controversy in Washington and around the country.
Aimed at reducing what the administration calls “carbon pollution,” the regulations could reduce U.S. gross domestic product by $51 billion and cause average job losses in excess of 200,000 every year through 2030, according to a study released this week.
“These carbon rules are another example of Washington bureaucrats picking energy winners and losers,” said Sean Hackbarth, a spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce, which commissioned the study. “The biggest losers will be Americans who lose their jobs and feel the brunt of higher electricity costs.”
Thought the report challenged the EPA’s justification for its decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act relied on politically-biased science that did not meet minimal federal Information Quality Act requirements for objectivity, the DC Circuit Court refused to allow lawyers to submit the IG report to the court for their evaluation of the EPA’s right to proceed with regulatory assault on moving and later stationary sources of CO2.
Not only has our administrative and legislative branches failed us but our legal system has stopped being the check and balance the founding fathers expected they would be.
NCDC USHCN in 1999 showed a nice sine wave in temperatures from 1895 to 1999 but no warming trend if you looked at peak to peak. The data was regarded as the best in the world with relatively stable stations (though as Anthony Watts showed increasingly poorly sited) and with adjustments for urbanization developed by NCDC chief Tom Karl, which offset some of this local contamination. Hansen in 1999 said after the super El Nino of 1997/98 (which was 1.1F cooler than 1934 that there was a lot of year to year variability but little long term trend with the 1930s clearly the warmest decade and 1934 the warmest year. Hansen posted a note on GISS that the US was only 1.6% of the world and local variances are always possible (even though it was known as GLOBAL warming).
This produced a dilemma for the modelers and policy makers as the global data set which unlike the US had no UHI adjustment because NCDC did not have the metadata (precise local siting info) to use the same adjustment. NCDC was pressured to make the US data consistent - and so in 2008 they removed the urbanization adjustment and substituted a new algorithm to ‘detect previously undisclosed inhomegeneities’ (station moves for example). Although this new algorithm might catch a few stations where moves had not been documented, the removal of the UHI adjustment and a final new step called homogenization resulted in a significant change so that 1998 suddenly went from 1.1F colder than 1934 to almost 0.0 to 0.1F warmer than 1934.
There have been a few more iterations for the US and global data - each increasing the computed warming. This March after a very cold winter had NCDC sweating, a new version of the US state data displayed at Climate at a glance took place.
See an example of what they did for one state - Maine. In 2012, I downloaded the annual data and it showed little change over time. In fact as of 2013, the NCDC Maine data showed a 0.03F/decade cooling since 1895.
The ‘Kill Keystone XL’ crowd isn’t little David up against a Big Oil Goliath. As usual, conventional wisdom isn’t wisdom when the mainstream media ask all the wrong questions with commensurate answers.
Behemoth Big Green outstrips Big Oil in expendable revenue by orders of magnitude - if you know how to follow the money.
The mainstream media don’t know how. Like most liberals, their staffs are afflicted with what 20th century futurist Herman Kahn called “Educated Incapacity” - the learned inability to understand or even perceive a problem, much less a solution.
They’ve been taught to be blind, unable to see Big Green as having more disposable money than Big Oil, so they don’t look into it.
They would never discover that the American Petroleum Institute’s IRS Form 990 for the most recent year showed $237.9 million in assets while the Natural Resources Defense Council reported $241.8 million.
Nor would they discover who started the anti-Keystone campaign in the first place. It was the $789 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund (established in 1940). The fund’s program is elaborated in a 2008 PowerPoint presentation called “The Tar Sands Campaign” by program officer Michael Northrop, who set up coordination and funding for a dozen environmental and anti-corporate attack groups to use the strategy, “raise the negatives, raise the costs, slow down and stop infrastructure, and stop pipelines.” Tom Steyer’s $100 million solo act is naive underclass nouveau cheap by comparison.
Mainstream reporters appear not to be aware of the component parts that comprise Big Green: environmentalist membership groups, nonprofit law firms, nonprofit real estate trusts (The Nature Conservancy alone holds $6 billion in assets), wealthy foundations giving prescriptive grants, and agenda-making cartels such as the 200-plus member Environmental Grantmakers Association. They each play a major socio-political role.
Invisible fact: the environmental movement is a mature, highly developed network with top leadership stewarding a vast institutional memory, a fiercely loyal cadre of competent social and political operatives, and millions of high-demographic members ready to be mobilized as needed.
That membership base is a built-in free public relations machine responsive to the push of a social media button sending politically powerful “educational” alerts that don’t show up on election reports.
Big Oil doesn’t have that, but has to pay for lobbyists, public relations firms and support groups that do show up on reports.
You don’t need expert skills to connect the dots linking Keystone XL to Alberta’s oil sands to climate change to Big Green.
On the other hand, you do need detailed knowledge to parse Big Green into its constituent parts. I spoke with CFACT senior policy analyst Paul Driessen, who said, “U.S. environmental activist groups are a $13-billion-a-year industry - and they’re all about PR and mobilizing the troops.
“Their climate change campaign alone has well over a billion dollars annually, and high-profile battles against drilling, fracking, oil sands and Keystone get a big chunk of that, as demonstrated by the Rockefeller assault.”
Driessen then identified the most-neglected of all money sources in Big Green: “The liberal foundations that give targeted grants to Big Green operations have well over $100 billion at their disposal.”
That figure is confirmed in the Foundation Center database of the Top 100 Foundations. But how much actually gets to environmental groups? The Giving USA Institute’s annual reports show $80,427,810,000 (more than $80 billion) in giving to environmental recipients from 2000 to 2012.
I checked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and found $147.3 million in assets while environmental donor Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation posted $5.2 billion.
Driessen pointed out another unperceived sector of Big Green: government donors. “Under President Obama, government agencies have poured tens of millions into nonprofit groups for anti-hydrocarbon campaigns.”
Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman adds, “The federal government is currently spending $2.6 billion [per year] on climate change research (and only those who support the “carbon dioxide is a pollutant/major greenhouse gas” receive funding).”
This web of ideological soul-mates, like all movements, has its share of turf wars and dissension in the ranks, but, as disclosed on conference tapes I obtained, it shares a visceral hatred of capitalism, a worshipful trust that nature knows best, and a callous belief that humans are not natural but the nemesis of all that is natural.
Lawyer Christopher Manes wrote “Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization.” Manes now practices tax litigation from his law office in Palm Springs, Calif., which he has not yet unmade.
The legal branch of Big Green is varied. Earthjustice, (formerly Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) raked in $133.8 million in the past five years - comparable to many similar law organizations. Highly litigative attack groups receiving federal settlements are numerous and thriving, such as the Center for Biological Diversity ($29.2 million in the past five years).
It’s not unusual for heirs of big money to dream of unmaking the source of their wealth: Laura Rockefeller Chasin of the Rockefeller Family Fund once said, “It’s very hard to get rid of the money is a way that does more good than harm. One of the ways is to subsidize people who are trying to change the system and get rid of people like us.”
The money reported to the Federal Election Commission is barely the beginning of what’s really happening. It doesn’t show you Big Green’s mobilized boots on the ground, the zooming Twitter tweets, the fevered protesters, the Facebook fanatics or the celebrities preaching carbon modesty from the lounges of their private jets.
When self-righteous victims of Educated Incapacity insist that Big Oil outspends the poor little greenies, keep in mind the mountains of IRS Form 990s filed by thousands of groups, land trusts, lawyer outfits, foundations, and agenda-makers, just waiting for America to wake up and smell Big Green’s untold hundreds of billions.
The amount of nonsense in public debate on extreme events and climate change remains at a high level. This is great news for me because it provides plenty of opportunities to discuss what the actual science says and how we think we know what we know. As I have long argued, accurate representations of the state of science of extremes is far more important as a matter of scientific integrity than to the hyper-politiczed debate over climate change. Put another way, it is highly unlikely that misrepresentations of the state of science will do much to move action on energy policies, but they could damage the integrity of leading institutions of science.
This is a short post about drought, which simply summarizes the bottom-line conclusions of two of the most recent major scientific assessments of extreme events and climate change, one by the US government, released in 2008 under the Bush administration (PDF, and then reaffirmed in the CCSP Unified Synthesis under the Obama Administration, here) and the second from the IPCC.
First, from the US government’s assessment of extreme events in the US, here is what it concluded about drought (here in PDF, at p. 42):
The most widespread and severe drought conditions occurred in the 1930s and 1950s (Andreadis et al., 2005). The early 2000s were also characterized by severe droughts in some areas, notably in the western United States. When averaged across the entire United States (Figure 2.6), there is no clear tendency for a trend based on the PDSI. Similarly, long-term trends (1925-2003) of hydrologic droughts based on model derived soil moisture and runoff show that droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century (Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006). The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends (Groisman et al., 2004; Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006). The trends averaged over all of North America since 1950 (Figure 2.6) are similar to U.S. trends for the same period, indicating no overall trend.
Got that? Over the climate time scales “droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.” At the top of this post is Figure 2.6 from that report, showing drought incidence in the US (red) and North America (blue) from 1900.
The IPCC in 2012 conducted a survey of drought globally, and concluded with the following (here in PDF, at p. 171):
There is not enough evidence at present to suggest high confidence in observed trends in dryness due to lack of direct observations, some geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and some dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. There is medium confidence that since the 1950s some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts (e.g., southern Europe, west Africa) but also opposite trends exist in other regions (e.g., central North America, northwestern Australia).
Got that? Some places have become dryer, others wetter, and not much confidence in asserting the presence of any trends at the global scale.
Now it is of course true that the recent assessments of the US government and IPCC are not the last words on these subjects. They represents attempts by governments to have scientists systematically arbitrate questions that can resolved empirically, such as “has drought increased or decreased?”
Anyone who shows up in public debate (or the scientific literature) with an alternative view (e.g., droughts have become worse in the US or there is more certainty at the global level) had better come with some strong evidence. The need for strong evidence comes not simply from the authority of these assessments, but because they represent a condensation of a large amount of literature. To overturn the conventional wisdom expressed in the assessments requires overturning the arguments found in the literature on which the assessment is based. The same logic goes for people who would challenge other findings from such assessments, such as in making a claim that the globe is not warming.
The findings of assessments are not however received truth. As we have seen, those leading and participating in such assessments can err egregiously—where an error means a failure to accurately reflect in the assessment the underlying scientific literature. Here overturning the assessment is relatively easy, as it does not require over turning the literature, but simply representing it accurately. This is why the IPCC SREX came to different conclusions on extremes than did AR4.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts here to reliable knowledge - just because the IPCC erred on one subject does not mean that it necessarily erred on others. Each knowledge claim must be evaluated on its merits. Shortfalls in an assessment process may cause you (or me) to lose confidence in the integrity of that process, but it does not eliminate the need to evaluate knowledge claims on their merits using the methods of science.
The good news is that for extreme events and climate change there is a well-developed scientific literature on this topic, and it does not always jibe with what you might read in the news or hear from experts. Given the politicization of the climate debate, and the penetration of that politicization into academia, I don’t expect this to change anytime soon, if ever.