Political Climate
Feb 04, 2020
Rest in Peace my dear friend, Dr. Richard Keen

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

Jim lakely informed us that another warrior for climate realism, Dr. Richard Keen has passed away.

“Dr. Richard Keen, who has spoken at several Heartland climate conferences, was with The Heartland Institute in Rome in 2015 to confront the Pope’s climate activism, in Oakland to counter an Al Gore’s Global Climate Action Summit in 2018, and in Salt Lake City last September to counter the UN’s Civil Society Conference passed away on Saturday. Rich was battling pancreatic cancer, and the cancer finally won. ”


See the tribute by the Heartland’s Jim Lakely here. You get to see Richard in action presenting the science in various videos. Here is one example.

I first met Richard at one of those climate conferences attended by literally thousands of scientists from over 27 countries in 12 or more different venues. We corresponded over the years and he supplied posts for Icecap. I last saw Richard in Chicago at a smaller climate meeting a few years back. It was the last time I saw Richard and also my long time friend, John Coleman.

Richard was a teacher at the University of Colorado. He was a cooperative weather observer at his home high in the mountains of Colorado. He was also an astronomer who did some fine work studying the atmospheric aerosol loading by careful observation during total lunar eclipses. He used it to partially explains small changes in temperatures - in both directions.

“Since 1996, lunar eclipses have been bright, which means the stratosphere is relatively clear of volcanic aerosols. This is the longest period with a clear stratosphere since before 1960.”

As I said Richard contributed many stories to Icecap (insert Richard Keen into the search box on the left to see examples.

As a final effort for us, Richard jumped in to help with the Alarmist Claim Rebuttals

He was a great teacher, a real scientist and a gentle mountain man (and a mountain of a man).  I will truly miss him. We all will join him at some time. I hope, like Richard, to go out fighting for the truth to the very end. RIP my friend.

Jan 19, 2020
Driessen & Flanakin commentary: Fight fires with facts - not fake science

Note from Pail Dreissen

Many articles have been written recently about wildfires in Australia and California. My column this week with Duggan Flanakin, however, provides a lot of information, analysis and common sense that has not received much attention. In the end, it all comes down to controlling the two factors lead to big fires: ignition to start them and fuel to sustain and build them. If arson and other human causes can be minimized, fewer fires will start. If forests are thinned, dead trees are removed, and brush and grass levels are reduced, fires that do start won’t have enough fuel to turn into deadly, habitat-destroying conflagrations.

Preparing, preventing and stopping fires also means maintaining fire breaks and access roads; building and maintaining escape routes and warning systems; ensuring that families and communities have escape plans; and having enough equipment and personnel to respond to average fires and worst-case scenarios. California obviously hasn’t done that: its forests have over 129 million dead trees. Australia has also let fuel levels build up to dangerous levels. Neither has sufficient response capabilities. Both resort to copouts, by trying to blame “global warming” or “manmade climate change” for the fires. 

It doesn’t matter if average annual or summer temperatures are 0.1 or even 1.0 degrees warmer than 25, 50 or 100 years ago. Or that a drought is a day, month or year longer than X. We must play the hand we have been dealt. That means acting responsibly and intelligently to prevent and respond to wildfires under whatever climate, drought, dead trees or other conditions exist, wherever and whenever we live.

Thank you for posting our article, quoting from it, forwarding it to your friends and colleagues - and noting that Duggan is my co-author.

Best regards,


Fight fires with facts - not fake science

Eliminate fuel, prevent ignition, stop arson, end irresponsible land management policies

Paul Driessen & Duggan Flanakin

“We are all born ignorant,” Benjamin Franklin once said, “but one must work very hard to remain stupid.”

Greens are incensed over suggestions that anything but fossil fuels and climate change might be turning green California and Australian ecosystems into black wastelands, incinerating wildlife, destroying homes and killing people. The notion that they and their policies might be a major factor in these fires gets them so hot under the collar that they could ignite another inferno. But the facts are there for all to see.

PG&E certainly failed to maintain, upgrade and repair its transmission lines and towers, leading to sparks that caused multiple fiery cataclysms. However, California now has over 129 million dead trees in its forests - and a long history of refusing to thin them out, clear brush or permit others to do so. Fuel levels in Aussie forest, brush and grasslands areas have likewise climbed to near-historic levels in recent years.

The total area burned in New South Wales and Victoria is now approaching the area burnt in Victoria back in 1851, Australian scientist Dr. Jennifer Marohasy notes. 2020 summer temperatures in Australia may get as hot as they did back in 1938-1939. US climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer agrees.

In both California and Australia, people bemoan the loss of eucalyptus trees in fires. But many don’t want them removed or even thinned out. They don’t know (or won’t accept the fact) that fallen eucalypt leaves and bark create vast expanses of flammable material, while their spicy-smelling oil is highly flammable. A spark can ignite an explosive firestorm in air laden with gasoline-like vapors, followed by horrific crown fires among the trees and ground fires in the dead leaves and bark.

Rainy winters in both places cause rapid, lush plant growth that is aided by rising levels of atmospheric plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide. Long, hot, dry summers - or prolonged droughts - can follow, drying out the trees, brush and grass, and setting the stage for catastrophic wildfires.

Environmentalists, politicians, regulators and judges say removing trees and brush will damage habitats. But when the inevitable conflagrations hit, habitats are cremated and obliterated, down to soil organisms and organic matter. Subsequent downpours and snowmelts wash the remaining soil away. What habitats?

Some recent fires could be called “historic” or “unprecedented” - especially if monster fires of a century or more ago are left out of the calculation; or if conflagrations elsewhere are not included. Few people know about the Great Peshtigo, Wisconsin Fire of October 8, 1871, even though it killed 1,200-2,500 people, many of them turned into little piles of ash. The Peshtigo debacle was overshadowed by another big fire that day: the Great Chicago Fire, which burned 98% less land and killed far fewer people.

Yet another fact demolishes the all-too-typical claim that recent Australian fires are due to manmade climate change. Many (perhaps most) of those fires were caused by humans - some accidentally, but many deliberately. More than 180 alleged arsonists have been arrested since the start of the 2020 bushfire season, with 29 blazes deliberately lit in part of southeast New South Wales in just three months!

At least two dozen people have died in Australia’s fires, along with thousands of sheep and cattle, over 2,000 koala bears, and several hundred million other animals. US wildfires have likewise exacted horrific death tolls. A few years ago, Duggan hosted a benefit concert for the families of the Fallen Nineteen, the 19 City of Prescott firefighters who died battling the 2013 lightning-ignited Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.

Now, the Washington Free Beacon reports, “a media outlet affiliated with ISIS has been instructing the group’s radical adherents to set forest fires in the United States and Europe to cause mass ecological disasters, according to posts on an internet forum dedicated to the terror group.” The Middle East Media Research Institute has flagged four posters published in the pro-ISIS Quraysh media outlet. The first said (English translation): “Oh monotheists [followers of ISIS], ignite fires in the forests and fields, and we are addressing especially those who live in Europe and America, for the fires are painful to them.” The fourth poster got more specific: “Ignite fires in the forests of America, France, Britain and Germany, for they are painful to them.” Might some ISIS follower have viewed Australia as equally deserving of ecotage?

A recent report by Pulitzer Prize winning Los Angeles Times reporter Bettina Boxall may make greens even hotter under the collar: “Human-caused ignitions spark California’s worst wildfires but get little state focus,” the headline reads. Her key point is damning: “It doesn’t matter how dry the vegetation, how fierce the winds or how high the temperature; if there is no ignition, there is no wildfire.”

Noting that the 2019 California fire season was far less deadly than that in 2018, when the notorious “Camp Fire” destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 86 people, Ms. Boxall attributes the comparatively mind 2019 fire season to actions PG&E took to shut down power to many Californians, often for days. She quotes Stanford University researcher Michael Wara, who testified before a Congressional committee that Pacific Gas & Electric’s inspections of wind damage to its lines and equipment made it clear that, without preventive shutdowns, “we would have had a significant number of utility-caused fires” in 2019.

Boxall found that all of California’s 20 most destructive wildfires were human-related, with half due to power line or electrical problems. She also noted that a study of US records from 1992 to 2012 found that human activity (power lines, carelessness and arson) was responsible for 84% of wildfires and 44% of acreage burned nationwide. That’s the ignition factor. Two other factors are equally important.

Even if there is ignition, if there is insufficient fuel, there will still be no wildfire - at least not monstrous, deadly conflagrations. Thin the forests, remove dead trees, control brush and grass levels, especially in dry seasons and arid regions. It’s basic, intelligent land management; the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

Preparation also means maintaining fire breaks and access roads into forest, brush and grass lands; building and maintaining sufficient escape routes and warning systems, and making people aware of them; ensuring that each family and community has an escape plan; and having enough trucks, airplanes, helicopters, other equipment and personnel to respond to average fires and worst-case scenarios. It means educating children and adults about how to prevent fires, put them out, and get out of their path.

(California public schools offer multiple courses on climate change. Cool California lists even more. But as long as politicians and even industry leaders keep spreading the false gospel of climate change as the principal cause of wildfires, the need for personal and political responsibility will be ignored.)

Third, actual response to a fire means ensuring the political, social, financial and institutional support to get sufficient personnel, equipment and water to a fire before it turns into an uncontrollable inferno.

Do all that, and the recovery phase - rebuilding homes, businesses, habitats, wildlife numbers and shattered human lives - will be far less extensive, costly and traumatic. Difficult recoveries will also be minimized by not wasting scarce time and money on fashionable, politically correct,
“woke” issues like how many fire fighters are of a specific ethnic or sexual identity group. People and animals in the path of a roaring inferno care only that first responders are prepared, equipped and on time. So should politicians.

Every one of these vital matters is within our power to control - if we can muster the political willpower to take appropriate action. None of them involves climate change.

It doesn’t matter if Earth’s or California’s or Australia’s average annual or summer temperature is 0.1 or even 1.0 degrees warmer. Or that a drought is a day, month or year longer than X. Or whether the climate and weather fluctuations are driven by human or natural forces. Or that America, Australia, Britain, China, India or Indonesia is :not doing enough” to curb fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate change did not cause 129 million trees to die in California- or prevent the state and feds from removing the dead trees, thinning the forests, and clearing overgrown brush and grass. Ditto for Australia.

We must play the hand we have been dealt. That means acting responsibly and intelligently to prevent and respond to wildfires under whatever climate, drought, diseased and dead trees, or other conditions exist, wherever and whenever we live. Ben Franklin would be proud of us.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, climate, environmental and human rights issues. Duggan Flanakin is CFACT’s director of policy research.

Dec 19, 2019
Heat and fires in Australia and Drought in South Africa have natural causes

Joseph D’Aleo CCM

We have seen the expected stories about heat and drought it and resulting wildfires in Australia. The Australian Government was warned loud and clear FOUR YEARS AGO that the fuel load in the bush was at catastrophic levels. Willis Eschenbach commented “They were told in no uncertain terms (see below) that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target of 5 per cent of public land was doubled or tripled, a massive bushfire disaster would occur.

So of course, the Government did what governments do best-first they sat on their ... hands .... and now that the predicted and inevitable massive bushfire disaster has happened, they’re blaming it on something else.

In this case, they blame it on that wonderful multipurpose villain, “climate change”.


Massive governmental failure, predicted four years ago, and now the easily led are all screaming “IT’S THE CLIMATE!!” “


The weather relates to a stratospheric warming in the Southern Polar Regions like the northern polar warmings that affect the Northern Hemisphere patterns in our winters and springs.

Forecast temperatures next 10 days.


The precipitation anomalies the last 120 days:


Antarctica had a warm stratosphere which yields a negative AAO. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, “The Antarctic Oscillation (AAO), describes the north-south movement of the westerly wind belt that circles Antarctica, dominating the middle to higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere”


AAO 65S-90S Time/Height Section


It shows warming in the high troposphere and stratosphere build down as the southern spring advances.

See the AAO at 700mb dive starting in October in response.


A negative AAO is not unusual. Some episodes in the past have lasted for multiple years.


Temperature correlation with -AAO this time of year. The actual fits this to a tee.


Precipitation Anomalies correlation with -AAO. Again aligns with the actual.


The Indian Ocean Dipole may be also playing a role and may be influenced by the AAO. See how it spiked with the change in AAO and is now perhaps about to reverse sign.


The positive IOD has cold water in the Indian Ocean and warm water west. The cold water and pressure patterns associated produce drought - in this case their winter and spring.


Media and Hollywood has jumped on the heat and fires and of course blame CO2. By the way, as the AAO and IOD return more normal, rains even a tropical storm has returned.. It is causing the heat to ease or even abate from west to east over the next few weeks. Flooding may be in the news as nature compensates as it always does.

Meanwhile it has been dry in South Africa the last few years and is again. It is also correlated with a negative AAO.


It fits however the work of Dr Will Alexander of South Africa who showed how the three years up to solar minima are dry (low water flow on the Vaal River) and the three years after the minima are very wet.


See JoAnne Nova’s Story on heat talk which always seems to ignore history here and Tony Hellers similar story on how warmists either ignore the past or as comments show come up with different metrics to continue the illusion here.

And BOM shows no trend towards drought. In fact it has been unusually wet in recent decades.


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