The climate dominoes fall
- Ivo Vegter
- 16 Feb 2010 07:43 (South Africa)
Are you a taxpayer tired of coughing up for top salaries and expensive field trips to exotic locations? Are you sick of busybodies who dictate every trivium of daily life, and frown disapprovingly at your choice of car, light bulbs or toilet paper as if it's any of their business?
Are you concerned for the poor, and wish them the same freedom to develop that the first world enjoyed? Are you worried about the environment or about human health and well-being, but fear that angry activists, populist politicians and bed-feathering bureaucrats are distracting the public from the real problems that lie ready to be solved?
If so, the news keeps getting better.
Late last year, internal e-mails leaked from a university in England confirmed long-standing allegations against the high priests of climate science, on whose pronouncements the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies. It showed them in action: suppressing dissent, hiding documents, massaging results, privately gainsaying the public "consensus", and forging ahead despite the fact that their source data is a glorious mess.
Last month, a fairly minor story emerged about what initially appeared to be a fairly minor error about Himalayan glaciers. The IPCC had declared in its official report that they might well disappear by 2035, unless urgent action is taken to stop global warming.
Turns out this isn't so. This data did not come from the thousands of scientific papers the IPCC claims to rely on. It was a colourful claim concocted for a newspaper article, and has been roundly refuted by glaciologists, who say big glaciers take far longer to melt even in the most adverse circumstances.
Rajenda Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, at first pooh-poohed the problem, but soon was forced to admit and correct the error.
He told a British newspaper that "it cost us dear". "Everybody thought that what the IPCC brought out was the gold standard and nothing could go wrong," he added.
He said this with a straight face, despite being quite willing to lie to protect its reputation.
Exhibit one: He founded an outfit called The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), which advises the government and sets national standards in India, and is itself involved in glacier research, and consults to companies who seek to comply with emission regulations or take advantage of carbon trading. It used the glaciers-will-vanish myth, complete with resultant "widespread water shortages", in a funding proposal, claiming it was sourced from "an authoritative study". The proposal netted Pachauri's organisation ?310,000 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Exhibit two: He responded to a question whether he knew about this error before the UN's glitzy Copenhagen climate shindig in January, by saying: "That's ridiculous. It never came to my attention before the Copenhagen summit. It wasn't in the public sphere." Funny, then, that a journalist for the journal Science asked him about the glacier claims in November last year, and he said he had "nothing to add about glaciers".
While calls for Pachauri's head grow louder, even among those who never were sceptical of global warming orthodoxy, this case isn't the only fuel on the fire.
He has been inconsistent on whether or not he thinks there might be other errors in the report, at times flatly denying it, at other times conceding the possibility, but saying the chance is minimal.
However, another prediction, which Pachauri has personally often used in speeches and interviews, is that global warming could reduce crop yields in some African countries by 50% by 2020. The source of this alarming claim was traced to a report written for a Canadian advocacy group by climate consultants who profit from global warming fears. It, in turn, drew on reports from several north-African governments, including Morocco and Algeria.
Here's the thing. In the real world, those governments expect the exact opposite.
Algeria, for example, expects agricultural production to double by 2020. Only in serious drought years, said one report, might cereal yields drop to 50% of the norm. Thus, a worst-case prediction for worst-case conditions was given the IPCC imprimatur as the way the world would look by 2020.
Back in Britain, a review panel is girding up to investigate the scandal at East Anglia University's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Chaired by the Glaswegian civil servant and university administrator, Sir Muir Russell, it promised that its members would have no "predetermined view on climate change and climate science".
Not surprisingly, James Delingpole, writing in the UK's Telegraph, finds it odd that the editor of Nature, Dr Philip Campbell, would be invited to sit on the panel.
In an editorial, Campbell wrote a staunch defence of the very same CRU. He called sceptics "the climate-change-denialist fringe". He dismissed their claim that the emails constitute a smoking gun as a "laughable" and "paranoid interpretation". He described politicians who don't go along with global warmism "obstructionist". Ultimately, he declared that: "Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real – or that human activities are almost certainly the cause."
He has no predetermined view? I'd love to see what this lot would consider bias.
In Campbell's defence, he had the good grace to resign. However, that leaves grave doubts about the competence and impartiality of the panel's chairman, Sir Muir.
Meanwhile, Phil Jones, the suspended head of the CRU, gave an interview to the BBC's Roger Harrabin, in which he makes some startling admissions.
He concedes that today's rate of warming is not "unprecedented", contrary to a graph Pachauri showed in Copenhagen, in which data intervals were carefully picked to create trend-lines that suggest such an increase. (This is far from the only example of statistical sleight-of-hand by Pachauri and his IPCC cohorts. He does the same to raise a false alarm over tropical cyclones, for example.)
Today's warming is statistically indistinguishable, Jones admits, to the rate of warming between 1860 and 1880, and again between 1910 and 1940. Moreover, there has been no statistically significant warming for 15 years.
In 1995, the IPCC published chart of the millennial temperature record, which showed a clear Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age, suggestion both that temperatures were higher in the (fairly) recent past, and that instrument measurements began at a particularly cold point in time. In 2001, they replaced it with the now in-famous and discredited "hockey stick" graph. It made those features vanish. This, the CRU emails clearly show, was a common goal among climate researchers.
Now, however, Jones says: "There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not."
The reason for all this "debate" is that they simply don't know much about it. "There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions [the tropics and southern hemisphere]."
So, if we assume that the MWP not only existed, but was global in extent – an assumption just as valid in the absence of evidence as its opposite – today's temperatures would not be "unprecedented".
He says anyone can now recreate their own temperature record from weather station data, much of which was only released as a result of the CRU leak. This is (finally) true. But this doesn't solve another little problem, namely that many of those stations – whose locations were removed from public web servers by one of the CRU's two equivalents across the pond, NASA's GISS – are in hot parking lots or by aircon exhaust vents.
One recently-discovered station, at Rome airport, is right in the jet wash of passenger aeroplanes. No wonder the weather is a tad uncomfortable there. One might even suspect that the cause is that people are burning large amounts of fossil fuel nearby.
Ultimately, here is what matters: Jones's answer to Al Gore and all the other alarmists who yell that the debate is over and the science is settled.
"It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view."
Now you tell us "the vast majority of scientists" think there is "no consensus", Dr Jones?
- Chernodeal: Shopping for discount nukes
- Star Trek, 50 years on: A study in sexism
- Let me mansplain statistics to you
- Free the hippies! Don’t ban their drugs!
- Which principle: precaution or progress?
- How to kill a baby, naturally!
- Miserere mei, the Ebocalypse is here!
- Advanced technology or magic?
- Tourism: Still doing okay? Let’s fix that!
- Green-left messiah desperately seeking spin-doctor
- The gun genie and its bottle
- On energy, environment, and regulatory independence
- South Africa’s schools of witchcraft and wizardry
- Grab shale gas opportunity, but avoid opportunism
- It’s about who you don’t vote for
- Free markets as a moderate position
- Voting: there’s still time to change your mind
- Green tech is cool, but not because it’s green
- How Mmusi Maimane swindled a vote out of me
- The case to elect Malema to Parliament
- The intellectual gnome, Chomsky
- If Malema isn’t Pol Pot, is he still dangerous?
- Do Malema's followers understand ‘agrarian reform’?
- Look ma, I'm defending Shell's record in Nigeria!
- Any weather is evidence for global warming
- U-turn prof finds his fracking fears are avoidable
- Ramphele et al: The world according to angry feminists
- On HIV/Aids and scary-big numbers
- Cherry-picking ‘grey literature’ on rhino horn
- 350,000 reasons to kill a black rhino
- Eight myths about libertarians
- New Year’s resolutions for other people
- All I want for Christmas is a fire pool
- In defence of Donald Trump
- My old South African flag
- Fearful Fukushima fiction fatigue
- Do we tolerate private sector corruption?
- In defence of a lion killer
- Save the rare wine and endangered craft beer
- Forever blowing bubbles: shale gas economics
- Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill: When “certainty” means “wait and see”
- This land is my land: a revolution
- The launch of SA's Libertarian Party: herding cats in time for 2014
- The African case against the ICC
- The fossil fuel subsidy myth
- Think of the little fishies!
- The hilariously misunderstood libertarian
- The sickly history of sweeteners
- Pants on fire, but they’re not mine
- The obstructionism of shale gas activists
- How mind-numbing numbers whip up fear
- Why pick on Khanyi Dhlomo?
- Half-measures will fail the rhino
- Malema’s righteous anger... and naïve confusion
- Lottery licence to go to one lucky winner
- Vaccinations: when the state stabs the people
- Do reusable shopping bags kill people?
- The long walk to serfdom
- The Karoo desperately needs development
- The trials of Samson Shuttleworth
- The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest
- Raping the discourse about rape
- Who is the reasonable man?
- Fracking: Debating a big deal
- Who needs the Queen’s English?
- Electric cars: Taking from the poor to give to the rich
- Business Licensing Bill: An indefensible defence
- Red-tape tourism
- The Big Business Bribery Bill
- On Thatcher and society, Vavi and the market
- Extinction: Let’s make up numbers and panic!
- Feeding the world is getting easier
- Stop talking shit: Build your own toilet
- Climate change is pseudo-science
- Anti-competitive competition law
- The Department of Less Government
- An open letter to President Zuma
- In defence of Kim Kardashian
- The world’s weirdest wildlife sanctuary
- Boycott calls are simple-minded
- In defence of vegans
- The population explosion implodes
- Environmental backpedalling picks up pace
- How Mangaung can help and hinder entrepreneurs
- The elusive libertarian enclave
- The Gathering: Ivo Vegter
- The hidden overemployment crisis
- The case for constructive environmentalism
- Privatise the Western Cape's shacks
- Tenders: Not open to employees or their families
- Hurricanes fuel climate sensationalism
- Next: Gross-out warnings on food
- No new deal: The failure of Zumanomics
- Benoni has a bright idea
- Was I wrong about acid rain?
- Public food gardens: Where dumb ideas thrive
- Rethinking the costly food label madness
- Give hunting a chance
- Fracking gets green light, but here's the risk
- Socialists, bless 'em, visit Cape Town
- Buy a 1Time ticket now
- Give the ANC credit where credit is due
- The myth of the competent apartheid government
- It's a disaster that 'peak oil' is not a disaster
- No Gravy: a label for sustainable business
- This lightbulb's going to blow
- Smokers? Get 'em up against the wall!
- Inflating the obesity scare
- Bring a Shotgun to School Day
- GMOs: Hacking genes to feed the world
- The hidden dangers of charity
- Fracking: the unread paper debated
- Fracking: The “U-turn” paper nobody has read
- Eco-cronyism is as dangerous as any other
- SKA: Be grateful Karoo residents didn't object
- Energy: Get cracking on fracking
- Fair trade, unfair trade-off
- Casual labour is only bad for Vavi's unions
- 'Externalities', the catch-all justification for regulation
- 'Externalities', the catch-all justification for regulation
- How do we fix our dismal education?
- Barter: the rebirth of sound money
- Rights are not entitlements
- Debunking 'limits to growth' inanities
- Tax: Why align with "most other countries"?
- Newspaper sensationalism doesn't help rhinos
- Rolling Stone reprises Gasland's fracking fantasies
- Cosatu's manipulative march move
- Why do 16 million people not constitute an economy?
- The age of smear politics
- Does fracking cause earthquakes?
- The Chinese model is morbidly obese
- Green tech: doubling down on a losing bet
- Rape, pornography, and hell's grannies
- Petrol taxes won't hurt the poor
- Jailtime mooted for bad weather warnings
- Let's ban bans, and start with CITES
- In defence of overpaid sport stars
- On the death of Kim Jong-Il
- COP17: Let's ban fire
- Cancer gets you when nothing else can
- COP17: The 'party on' agenda
- COP17: The Blue Line of Death
- New seven natural inanities
- Occupiers' anger is all that makes sense
- The Luddites and Technocrats live on
- Malema marches for economic slavery
- Profitable purveyors of pudendal prettiness
- Sense? Us?
- If they want rhino horn, let's sell them some
- "Stimulate" economy by ending telco abuses
- Executive pay makes nobody poorer
- Malema's real persecution
- Mogoeng: Lock up your daughters
- Don't mandate insurance, deregulate healthcare
- I sympathise with Malema's persecution complex
- Short selling: panicked pols ban proof of failure
- Don't blame those who saw it coming
- What's obscene about profit?
- In defence of Bombela
- Dear president Zuma, you are not above the law
- The economics of love
- Treasure the Karoo? Ban the SKA!
- Malema is right, you know
- Gautrain's PPP: political patronage profiteering
- Kumi Naidoo is no hero
- LeadSA fails to lead when it matters
- No logo means carte blanche
- The drug war: dopey but dangerous
- A response to fracking critics
- Don't vote. It's your right.
- Welcome Walmart
- If you're happy and you know it clap your hands
- Buy local, support poverty
- Ubuntu, the free-market way
- Karoo fracking scandal exposed!
- I'm ashamed for my profession
- The bill of bunkum
- Being gay: a brand new concept!
- Who's afraid of the nuclear wolf?
- The nationalisation canard
- Ogilvy should grow a spine
- The new robber barons
- A classy revolution: Why we cared
- Bombastic Bombela balks
- Liberty is more than mere democracy
- Gautrain has a law unto itself
- The irony of 'services for all'
- How to hire a hitman in SA
- Arrive alive and neurotic
- The oppression of taxis
- Protection of Information Bill and why WikiLeaks is so dangerous
- Fifa, Russia and Qatar deserve each other
- One day, we'll all hate WikiLeaks
- The cycling mafia strikes again
- What Julius got for Christmas
- Let's return the beads
- Away with fascist seat belt laws
- Tintin Mbeki in the Sudan
- How the ANC can make everyone happy
- Currency: the race to the bottom.
- Hurrah for national healthcare!
- Give Zimbabweans citizenship
- Carte Blanche has no carte blanche
- That finger-licking, lip-smacking taste
- Bomb the barbaric lot already
- Green tax: another raid is coming
- Do strikers deserve anything?
- The media will lose this battle
- Global warmism needs a fisking
- A glass half-full
- Go ahead, have a baby
- Stop the handouts - end xenophobia
- The right to fire
- FIFA's heart of darkness
- Have some self-respect
- I ordered an orange skirt
- Secretly, Match blames South Africa
- The stupendous Gautrain: a rare marvel!
- The Fifa conquistadors are coming!
- What's wrong with everyone?
- Leave poor BP alone
- The destructive power of government
- The bonsai economy
- The darkness of Africa
- Who is ripping off whom?
- Anatomy of a whitewash
- While FIFA takes over, we fight
- The pointless pretence of Earth Hour
- Ten reasons to reject climate alarmism
- Really, boycott the FIFA farce
- The climate dominoes fall
- Lessons in ethics from Dick Cheney
- Screw the consumer
- In defence of bankers
- Break the banking cartel
- Julius Malema, the walking contradiction
- Boycott FIFA
- Climate clarity
- In defence of Boney M
- Pray Copenhagen fails
- Capitalism is not unkind
- Climate fraud kills people
- Pop goes the hot air balloon
- Peace, love and schadenfreude
- The irony of the left
- Too late to cool it?
- Going cold turkey