Monday, February 12, 2007

More Evidence That Tory Attack Ads Have Failed

The Latest Angus-Reid Poll shows that Dion still has a significant advantage over Harper when it comes to environmental issues:

In the survey, 31 per cent of respondents believe Liberal leader Stéphane Dion cares the most about the issue, while 13 per cent select Conservative leader and prime minister Stephen Harper. However, 28 per cent of respondents pick neither politician, and 27 per cent are not sure.

The poll also, I would argue, shows that the Fear-mongering on this issue from the Tories and their media allies has also failed, for two-thirds of Canadians support having the Federal government enact "laws that force individuals and companies in Canada to curb global warming", which, according to Mr. Harper et al, would be "economic suicide".

Full poll results can be found here. H/t to Eugene, whose take on the numbers is somewhat different than mine.


Anonymous said...

the ads have worked somewhere . . . the truth is leaking out from behind the IPCC firewall

From The Sunday Times
February 11, 2007

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change
Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.

Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.

* ‘Blame cosmic rays for warming up the planet’

* No excuse for soft climate change laws

* Jeremy Clarkson: Cornered by the green lynch mob

Related Internet Links

* New Scientist on Climate Change

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.

The Chinese population doubled then, while in Europe the Vikings and cathedral-builders prospered. Fascinating relics of earlier episodes come from the Swiss Alps, with the rediscovery in 2003 of a long-forgotten pass used intermittently whenever the world was warm.

What does the Intergovernmental Panel do with such emphatic evidence for an alternation of warm and cold periods, linked to solar activity and going on long before human industry was a possible factor? Less than nothing. The 2007 Summary for Policymakers boasts of cutting in half a very small contribution by the sun to climate change conceded in a 2001 report.

Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.

Thanks to having written The Manic Sun, a book about Svensmark’s initial discovery published in 1997, I have been privileged to be on the inside track for reporting his struggles and successes since then. The outcome is a second book, The Chilling Stars, co-authored by the two of us and published next week by Icon books. We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle it “A new theory of climate change”.

Where does all that leave the impact of greenhouse gases? Their effects are likely to be a good deal less than advertised, but nobody can really say until the implications of the new theory of climate change are more fully worked out.

The reappraisal starts with Antarctica, where those contradictory temperature trends are directly predicted by Svensmark’s scenario, because the snow there is whiter than the cloud-tops. Meanwhile humility in face of Nature’s marvels seems more appropriate than arrogant assertions that we can forecast and even control a climate ruled by the sun and the stars.

Anonymous said...

Wait 'till Stephi unveils his dollar per liter gas tax, they'll love him even more I guess.

Anonymous said...

by the same pollster

and I might add that their press release only mentioned the numbers that supported their theory that the ads had no effect- the rest of the numbers paint a different story- click on the pdf report at the bottom

Anonymous said...

I can only speak for myself, but I never saw the leadership debates. After seeing the 'ads' which appear to show factually what was being said, and in context as well, it doesn't look good for Dion. That performance is going to haunt him. I'm beginning to wonder if they made a tremendous mistake at that convention.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! BigCity, I seen the commentin' numbnuts who calls hisself "." left a bigass copy&paste job an' now I'm doin' the selfsame thing. Feel free t' delete my comment an' no hard feelin's if you don't want yer comments all clogged up with too many dang words.

Effects of Bush Climate Science Censorship Linger

By J.R. Pegg

WASHINGTON, DC, February 7, 2007 (ENS) - The Bush administration's political interference with climate scientists has done lasting damage to the nation's ability to prepare for the challenges of global warming, a former senior associate with the federal climate research program told a Senate panel today.

"Even if we succeed in lifting this heavy hand of censorship there is still the problem of getting the political leadership to embrace the findings put forward by the scientists," said Rick Piltz, who resigned his position with the Climate Change Science Program, CCSP, in 2005 in protest of White House interference with climate science.

Piltz appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee, which held the hearing to examine new allegations the Bush administration has censored federal climate scientists.

A report released last month by the Union of Concerned Scientists, UCS, and the Government Accountability Project, GAP, found that nearly half the 279 climate scientists who responded to a survey reported being pressured to delete references to "global warming" or "climate change" from scientific papers or reports and many said they were prevented from talking to the media or had their work edited.
The UCS/GAP report added to other allegations the Bush administration has repeatedly interfered with federal scientists who have tried to publish research or speak to the media about the reality and impacts of global warming and have edited climate change documents to downplay scientific consensus on the issue.

Committee Chair Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat, said investigating the allegations is critical for lawmakers wrestling with climate change.

"To deny federal scientists the right to speak, to change the findings of their work, or to deny the release of their work, basically creating an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, is a great disservice to the public," Inouye said.
The acting head of the CCSP said the allegations were isolated incidents, adding that the Bush administration "takes the concerns of its scientists very seriously."

"To the best of my knowledge no one has suggested the science or the research findings have been interfered with," said Bill Brennan, deputy assistant administrator for international affairs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, and acting CCSP director.

The concerns that have been reported, he said, center on the "intersection of science policy and science and how that is communicated to the public."

The administration is taking steps to remedy the situation, Brennan added.

Bill Brennan is acting director of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. (Photo courtesy CCSP)
"Each department and agency is reviewing, and if necessary modifying, its policies to ensure government scientists do not face censorship on any scientific matter, including climate change issues," he said.
The Department of Commerce, which oversees NOAA, is readying a new policy that encourages, but does not require, scientists to go through the public affairs office prior to speaking with the media, according to Dr. James Mahoney, the former director of the CCSP.

"This revised policy should resolve most or all of the recent complaints by some NOAA scientists," Mahoney told the panel.

Tom Knutson, a climate scientist with NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, said he and his colleagues are "anxious to see how NOAA will interpret and implement the new policy."

Knutson, who has published studies linking global warming to increased hurricane strength, told the committee he has faced "unreasonable levels of interference with my communication with the media."

Neither Mahoney nor Brennan touched on what Piltz called the administration's "central climate science scandal," namely its treatment of a national assessment on climate change impacts.
Completed in 2000, the national assessment was mandated by the 1990 Global Change Research Act. It was intended to be continually updated and to serve as a centerpiece of the government's effort to inform the policymakers and the public in developing a national climate policy.

The administration effectively killed the program and suppressed discussion of it by participating agencies, according to Piltz, who now directs GAP's Climate Science Watch.

That action "has done, and continues to do, the greatest damage in undermining national preparedness in dealing with the challenge of global climate change," Piltz told the committee.

"It is clear that the reasons for this were essentially political, and not based on scientific considerations," Piltz added. "The White House through the Council on Environmental Quality directed this suppression, which was then implemented by the CCSP leadership."

The witnesses at the hearing were also asked about edits made to a 2003 Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, report by Phillip Cooley, a petroleum lobbyist who at the time was the chief of staff for the Council on Environmental Quality.
Cooley edited the draft document to eliminate a reference that human activities were causing global temperatures to rise and weakened language on the consequences of climate change - the edits prompted EPA officials to delete the entire climate change section from report.

"They were attempts to create a more moderate picture," Mahoney responded. "No doubt some people did interpret their jobs as to reducing the fear factor."

Piltz said Cooley "clearly had a political agenda" and his actions reflected a "tremendous amount of White House pressure" to suppress scientific concern about global warming.

Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, told colleagues the Bush administration's actions were "almost criminal."

"They take the science and tailor it to reflect their political goals," he said. "The interference is stunning … it is George Orwell at its best. It has to stop."

Piltz also urged the committee to examine the state of federal spending on climate science.

"The administration has cut the climate change research budget to its lowest level since 1992 and is presiding over what appears to be a growing crisis in the global climate observing system, thus undermining a critical national intelligence gathering process," Piltz said.

Unless funding is reinstated for the observation system, the number of U.S. satellites monitoring the Earth's climate could drop from 29 today to seven by 2017, warned Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a nonprofit consortium of North American member universities based in Boulder, Colorado.

Anthes told the committee, "We have reached the golden age of Earth observation from space if this trend is not reversed."

Anonymous said...

The two cultures

The more I think about “global warming”, in light of the most recent United Nations report, the more confident I become in averring that it is a fraud, a political stunt, a criminal imposture, that every intelligent journalist should be helping to expose. We need more reporting on the circular assumptions built into the IPCC’s ludicrous computer models, on their use of misleading and conveniently changing baseline years, and on the trends within their own trends. (For instance, they have quietly reduced their middle-range prediction of temperature rise in the coming century by more than one-third; their mean sea-level rise prediction by more than one-half, since the last IPCC report in 2001. Yet this was not the headline.)

We have, I confidently predict, a repeat of the “ozone layer” imposture. The ozone layer is like a cloud in the upper atmosphere, that thickens and thins, disappears and reappears, constantly. But by selective readings of it, a scare was put about that, “The ozone layer is shrinking!” That controversy has itself blown over, because there was nothing to it. Likewise, the extrapolation of long-term trends from short-term temperature variations will blow over. The studies only misstate a truism: that the earth’s climates are in constant flux. (It was warmer in Europe in the 13th century, than the IPCC now predicts it will become by the 22nd. Was that caused by uncontrolled CO2 emissions from rampant industrialization in the earlier Middle Ages?)

The good news is, that it should not take long for the latest environmental scare to join the “ozone layer”, “global winter”, the Club of Rome forecasts, and many other crocks on the shard-heap of history. The bad is, it will be succeeded by more Chicken-Little expostulations, with the same propagandist theme: “Unless the planet is delivered immediately into the iron embrace of the environmental bureaucracies, we’re all going to die!”

Once upon a time, there were two modes of journalism, called tabloid and broadsheet. The distinction was clear. The first (tabloid), aimed at the more ignorant and credulous section of the population, was shamelessly sensationalist, and indifferent to its own track record. The second (broadsheet), aimed at the more intelligent and sceptical -- businessmen, especially, with money on the line. It cultivated greyness and sobriety, and was fixated on reputation. Tabloids were for fun, broadsheets were for information.

In my own lifetime as a journalist I have watched this distinction evaporate, and the unrestricted triumph of the tabloid ideal.

But at the same time, there has been a swing, among the class of people who staff the media. Where before they were generally short on academic qualifications, but long on street smarts, now we have a broad creamy froth of journalism-school graduates with zero street-smarts, but thorough indoctrination in the art of attitudinizing. Or to put it another way, the political outlook has swung dramatically from right to left.

Nevertheless, so long as our (human) race can stay out of the trees, there will be a demand for good solid information and lively but responsible analysis. These have not disappeared, but gone largely underground, or more precisely, into the aether of the Internet. People who feel the need to know what is actually going on, are increasingly by-passing the “mainstream media” and going directly to the best sources.

This is not something that pleases me. I should prefer to be proud of my own vocation and trade.

So far as I can make out, there has been similar “progress” in the scientific world. The academic researcher, like the broadsheet beat reporter, was once a rather grey man who feared overstatement, but could give you a straight answer to a straight question, even if it was, “I don’t know.” The best were (in both cases), broadly grounded. That is, a researcher in some arcane area of, say, climatology, would have a good general science background, including the history required to contextualize his own work. He was therefore not naive.

The decay of standards is not subtle. The academic science world, persisting on tax money, has been intellectually flatlining. It becomes increasingly a closed camp of ideologues whose job security depends on their avoidance of apostasy. In a word, science is being swamped by an almost religious scientism. Whereas serious, open-minded research has retreated almost entirely into the corporate research labs, where a different ethos prevails.

This is the environmental scare that should worry us. That we are becoming, increasingly, the prey of sensationalism in the service of scientism.

David Warren
© Ottawa Citizen

Anonymous said...

who needs ads when you have the RCMP criminal investigators . . . you Lieberals are going down, dummy leader and all

Adscam & Basi
Two words that send shivers down the spine of certain high-level federal and Ontario Grits, particularly the pompous and the bombastic. Indeed, with ongoing RCMP investigations and upcoming criminal trials on both fronts, many high-flying Liberals are thinking twice about potential ramifications as takedown artists and gluttons for punishment seek a combo plate of red herrings and fall guys to usurp national media attention from past mis-deeds and forthcoming public indignations. Indeed, a perfect storm of Liberal horrors is on the horizon. As a longtime Liberal, one shudders in disgust.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, I don't think Harper said that enacting "laws that force individuals and companies in Canada to curb global warming" would be "economic suicide". I think he said that forcing the country to meet its Kyoto targets would be, and there's a difference. But I can stand to be corrected.