Stevie had it Right…

The great prophet Stevie Wonder said “When you believe in things that you don’t understand you suffer.  Superstition ain’t the way.”

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Stevie Wonder (Photo CC: Wikipedia Commons)

Oddly however, (with a guilty nod towards Stevie), I find my self questioning the alignment of the cosmos over the past few days:  Several mainstream news items dared to state that the most public findings of the science of global warming are not a matter of debate anymore (among those who study it).

Well I’ll be darned.

Some refreshingly crisp stories and informed analyses managed to get some attention, based on their Google-search numbers last week…

Here is the New York Times offering a deeper look into CO2 levels and the end of the last ice age.  Worthy of  a full read.

Here is a good discussion of the real story behind the often cited solar-variability “theory” for recent warming (i.e., blaming it on sunspots, solar activity, etc.) from our friends at the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang last week. (Bottom line: Sunspots and quasi-decadal solar output changes add little to the surface temperature change signature.)

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Solar irradiance changes are dwarfed by manmade climate forcing. (cc:Wikipedia Commons)

And here’s a pleasantly frank discussion from the State of Kansas, that great bastion of (failed) evolution deniers who this time seem to be at wits end over all sorts of brazen bills and mandates.  In one case it seems they are trying to balance accepting grants for wind energy with the desire to ensure “debate” on global warming is amped up in schools.

Except, points out one University of Kansas teacher, Johannes J. Feddma, there is no debate:

“We’ve known for over a century about the greenhouse effect and how humans might change it. This is nothing new from a science perspective.”

One bill in the Kansas House would outlaw any activity that uses public money on “sustainability.”

You think we’re not in Kansas anymore?

Guess again.

We’ll keep hearing this nonsense until Stevie’s admonition is soundly addressed.

Rotten Cherries for a New World Order

I’ve had it with Forbes.

I seriously don’t know why I let their pack of nincompoops get my dander up this often.

The latest transgression comes this week from Mr. Larry Bell, infamous author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax.”

Bell has gathered enough loose cherries — all of them rotten — to make a pie.  And in this month of George Washington’s birthday, we would be well advised to leave rotten cherry pies to the liars who can’t throw a dollar across the Potomac or cut down a cherry tree with a little axe…or some such admonition.george_washington_and_cherry_tree

Bell’s thesis seems to be this:

People like Obama and sinister climatologists are trying to scare us with promises of more fires and floods and hurricanes and droughts if we don’t face climate change (we can assume he means global warming.)

…and the REAL reason the pols and grant-lusting scientists put forward an activist global warming “agenda” is that, wait for it, they want to start a New World Order!

…but there are other scientists – the real life kind who actually served on committees and write papers  —  who don’t buy into the manmade warming hoax.

Now, to be fair, the debate in real climate science circles on whether warming has indeed caused a statistically-observable change in hurricane intensity and other phenomena is real and ongoing, as it should be.

But Bell won’t acknowledge this “science in progress” discussion.  Instead he proceeds to recite a litany of no-context quotes and anecdotes from within the great climate change machinery that refute hyperbolic claims of the sinister liberals.

The trouble is, his citations are primarily from discredited sources, or are too dated to be relevant, or are cut so narrowly from a range of sources (including the stolen “Climategate” emails) that his arguments fail.

It is interesting and predictable that Bell doesn’t offer any substance behind the assertions of the quoted players. And he makes ample use of the stolen emails, removing them far from context, to show that the community is rife with disagreement and discussion and trickery and devious schemes to isolate IPCC members who weren’t ready to sign up to the New World Order.

Never mind that the stolen emails have been scrutinized again and again with no scientific or ethical wrongdoing ever exposed.  Never mind the repeated vindication of Dr. Michael Mann:  Bell really sticks it to the Unholy He,  Beelzebub of the Hockey Stick!

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Bell reaches far back into the 80‘s and 90‘s for some of his tripe.  Let me just reveal two quotes he uses to hold up his theory that dishonesty and deception hide the real agenda of massive global wealth distribution and the termination of capitalism:

“The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order.” 

        — Mikail Gorbachev (!), 1996

Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” 

        —  Stephen Schnieder, 1989 

Regrettably – but predictably – Bell leaves off Schneider’s next sentence:

        “I hope that means being both.”

Mr. Bell, it seems, has decided to be neither.

What Forbes doesn’t understand.

image001In a snarky “gotcha” style commentary today, Forbes Magazine blogger for energy and environment (and Heartland Institute stooge) James Taylor makes an entire column out of an admittedly lazy (and probably inaccurate) conclusion buried in a summary statement of the new, draft report of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

No, the facile statement in the report implying that there is statistical evidence that floods are more common now under a warmer planet is not going to hold up under review.

Mr. Taylor (no relation to Sweet Baby James), however,  is content to giggle and taunt (making a bizarre comparison — a real stretch — between the climate scientists and the con men in the movie “The Sting”), but doesn’t offer us any insight as to whether the remaining 100-plus pages of the report have fazed him at all.

He found his “lie” and blames it on a biased executive committee and Democrats in the White House.

Why put any intellectual energy into truly examining the remainder of the report’s valid and demonstrable claims?

To do so might threaten his worldview, and force him to lie awake at night wondering if he, and his Heartland cronies, might actually be missing something in the science.

Pity.

Free [George F.] Willy!

Now, I know the Fox News experts have no intent ever to better understand the phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming, but I would expect that some of the world’s truly accomplished journalists would at least try to get it right once in a while.

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I am talking about George F. Will, and his latest bungled attempt to prove he is smarter than everyone else in January 25th’s Washington Post [“Recipe for a Conservative Revival”].  Mr. Will pretends to be talking about ill-founded ideals and challenges mentioned by President Obama in his inauguration address, but skids dangerously into science, cherry-picking facts about forest fires and global warming that once again (Will has a habit of doing this) fail to tell the whole story – a very different story.

What’s up, George? Are you a propagandist masquerading as a fact-bound journalist?

My issue is that despite his clearly conservative viewpoint, Will is generally respected, so his transgressions are not questioned by a large reading base that may (even secretly) admit the Fox-folks are off their rockers.

Let’s look at two items in his missive and decode them:

1. Will doubts Obama’s assertions of climate change impacts:

“He says that “the threat of climate change” is apparent in “raging fires,” “crippling drought” and “more powerful storms.”  Are fires raging now more than ever? (There were third fewer wildfires in 2012 than in 2006.)”

Colorado Springs wildfire

Yes, George, there WERE a third fewer fires in 2012 than in 2006.  2006 was a record-breaking year with 96 thousand individual fires torching 9.87 million acres – a real outlier – but a quick look at some real statistics show that since the 1990s, the number of acres burnt per fire has been extraordinarily high compared with the last half of the 20th century.

Global warming doesn’t mean each year gets hotter and hotter or that the fires grow in number from the past year.

Rather than allow real science to speak, Will cuts the debate at its knees so as not to have to acknowledge the possibility that warming really can affect us.  This is a tired, impoverished play at journalistic authoritarianism:  “Listen to me! I am a writer, and I know the politicians are lying to you!”

2. Will says temperature data shows warming isn’t really happening, so we can ignore Obama anyway:

“Obama’s vow to adjust Earth’s thermostat followed the report that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous 48 states. But the Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins … has noted that although 2012 was 2.13 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2011, “2008, in the contiguous U.S., was two degrees cooler than 2006.”

(I should note that Mr. Jenkins, of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, is not trained in atmospheric physics, meteorology, or radiative transfer.)

Will continues, noting that other years of the new millennium were not as hot as 1998 (Correct again, George! 1998 was a screamer of an El Nino year and stands out as a strong outlier in the 1990s) and concludes with this idiotic tag:

“Such is the rigor of many who preen as devotees of science that they declared the 2012 temperatures in the contiguous states (1.58 percent of the Earth’s surface) proof of catastrophic global warming”.

There you go again, George.

By casually putting words into the mouths of climate scientists Will helps his conservative adherents keep their heads firmly planted in the sand.

He ignores the real story which is that global temperatures confirm the recent decades of warming – not just the temperatures of those steamy lower-48 states of the US of A.

Will seems convinced that the fallacy of warming is allowing Obama and the American liberal thought police to take us down the road towards hell and stupidity – though George doesn’t tell us which is worse.

Let’s offer to liberate him.

I am calling on real climate scientists to visit Mr. Will in DC before the baseball season begins (he gets rather occupied then…) and help him escape the bonds of convenient adherence to his comfortable position as know-it-all.

FREE WILLy!

Warming Denial: Deceit 101 at the Washington Times

It’s simple.

Just take a sentence — a fragment, even — out of context from a scientific report and shout it from the pulpit to the choir of the faithful.

Today’s editorial in the Washington Times (“Global warming takes a vacation”) offers a conspicuous and bold example.  In it, the Times quotes – quite out of context – NASA’s James Hansen:  “The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slowdown in the growth rate of the net climate forcing.”  The WT then proceeds to castrate the real story with this not-quite-false but blatantly incomplete extrapolation:

“Mr. Hansen has just acknowledged more than the lack of warming. His words confirm nature, not mankind, played the decisive role in directing global temperatures over the past 10 years.”

The WT then proceeds with the usual chorus of anecdotal pap (“Southern England is covered in snow. Los Angeles has been shivering…”), and piles on the liberal conspiracy charges.

Yet, a read of the real paper cited indicates Hansen said that, despite more frequent La Ninas  (large-scale cooling of the equatorial West Pacific), the globally averaged temperature in the past decade had not gone down. (Skeptical Science.com offers a taut video on this.)

The difference between what would have been short-term cooling and what is the tail of the hottest decade on record is almost certainly man’s increasing injection of greenhouse gases, most notably carbon dioxide.

Think about it: take away the natural cooling induced by La Ninas and we’d see a more continuous rise.  The other forcing functions on surface temperatures (including increased CO2 and other greenhouse gases) continue to do their work.

2008-2012 temp visuals

(Click image for video of recent-year temperature anomalies.)

And the current decade is the hottest ever recorded. As were the 2000s.  As were the 1990s. As were the 1980s…

Yet the Washington Times decided not to tell the real story behind the article and the press releases by NASA and NOAA about 2012. 

Instead they decided to arouse the deniers who choose not to let the full explanation of  global warming signatures into their closed minds.  The distortion — the deceit — is pornographic.

And it’s simple.

Class dismissed.