Lively Times at WUWT

November 24, 2010

We’ll never know how long Anthony Watts would have let the stench of his summer arctic ice predictions hang in the air, had I not prodded him with the most recent video.

Within 24 hours of the video upload, Watts finally found the time to admit that he and trusty sidekick Steve Goddard might have been a little too “ebullient” about the sea ice.

Anthony Watts and his Trusty Sidekick

There are some interesting comments, this one from “Bill the Frog” caught my eye.

It is intriguing to observe the continually developing meme that, prior to 1979, no reliable information was available relating to the extent of Arctic sea ice. This must certainly be perplexing for the scientists at the University of Illinois, many of whom have been at the forefront of polar research for decades.

As many readers will know, a considerable portion of the work done by the Polar Research Group at UIUC is publicly available on Cryosphere Today. One of the many datasets easily available from UIUC is the Walsh and Chapman Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Data Set. This displays the extent of Arctic Sea Ice since 1870,(emphasis mine – Peter) and, at 141 years and counting, is certainly long enough to show up any significant multi-decadal trend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Japan is one Step Ahead

November 24, 2010

Climate Deniers would have you believe that if you aren’t licking the boots of Big Oil, you’ll have to move back to a cave. These people don’t look like stone age people to me.

Plenty more example where this came from. The rest of the world is not standing still.  I’ll be meeting with top leaders in the burgeoning solar industry in coming weeks and months, and will be video blogging on solar soon.

A Tim Horton Doughnut

November 24, 2010

The Cost of Ontario's new energy program to ratepayers - one doughnut per month, eh?

Ontario’s ambitious renewable power plan will make the province a world leader and the cost to the average Ontario household will be the equivalent of less than 1% of their electricity bills each year – less than the cost of one Tim Horton’s donut per month.  That’s the message in a new report released by Clear Sky Advisors, as reported by Renewables Guru, Paul Gipe.

World wide, critics of feed-in tariff programs like Ontario’s have complained about the cost to ratepayers, and taxpayers, of new energy. According to Gipe, the Clear Sky conclusion is that the “Cost of electricity in the province will increase slightly to a maximum of about 1% of a typical household’s bill, then decline steadily as the initial contracts work their way through the system.” Read the rest of this entry »

I took the bizarre predictions of arctic ice recovery from the “Watts Up With That” blog as a topic for this week’s video. One reason was because, after prominently featuring unhinged forecasts of ice extent recovery,

“Conclusion : Should we expect a nice recovery this summer due to the thicker ice? You bet ya. Even if all the ice less than 2.5 metres thick melted this summer, we would still see a record high minimum in the DMI charts.”

the Watts blog had been strangely silent on the matter, as ice in the real world continued the ongoing death spiral.(see Joe Romm’s illuminating take here)

Read the rest of this entry »

Watts Up with Sea Ice?

November 22, 2010

In early summer 2010, the pseudo science blog Watts Up With That informed it’s discriminating readers that this summer would decisively show that northern polar ice had ended a long term decline.
They guaranteed it.

The numbers are in.

Sherwood Boehlert (a republican who represented New York’s 24th District in Congress from 1983 to 2007) wrote a piece in today’s Washington Post asking, “Can the Party of Reagan Accept the Science of Climate Change?”.
Of course, this is no longer the party of Reagan, who would be seen as a flaming, florid, flamboyant socialist by the current crop of Beck-ites and Palin-oids.


“I can understand arguments over proposed policy approaches to climate change. I served in Congress for 24 years. I know these are legitimate areas for debate. What I find incomprehensible is the dogged determination by some to discredit distinguished scientists and their findings.

In a trio of reports released in May, the prestigious and nonpartisan National Academy concluded that “a strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” Our nation’s most authoritative and respected scientific body couldn’t make it any clearer or more conclusive.

What is happening to the party of Ronald Reagan? He embraced scientific understanding of the environment and pollution and was proud of his role in helping to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. That was smart policy and smart politics. Most important, unlike many who profess to be his followers, Reagan didn’t deny the existence of global environmental problems but instead found ways to address them.”

..including, I might add, cap and trade, which was developed in the Reagan White House.

The Last Rational Republican

November 19, 2010

Republican Rep Bob Inglis spoke from the heart, and the brain, at this week’s House Science and Technology Subcommittee Hearing on Climate Change. Defenders of reason and fact have fallen into disfavor in Republican politics.

If you believe that the earth is more than 5000 years old, if you believe the scientists about climate change, if you believe there is something to be learned from scientific research, if you think education and technology have value – you are suspect in tea party gatherings that now set the Republican agenda.

Rep. Inglis is a lame duck, having been defeated by a more conservative member of his own party last June. Here is part of his statement:

INGLIS: I’m very excited to be here Mr. Chairman, because this is on the record. And it’s a wonderful thing about Congressional hearings — they’re on the record. Kim Beasley (SP?) who’s Australia’s ambassador to the United States tells me that when he runs into a climate skeptic, he says to them, “Make sure to say that very publicly, because I want our grandchildren to read what you said and what I said. And so, we’re on the record, and our grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, are going to read. And so some are here suggesting to those children that here’s a deal: Your child is sick — this is what Tom Friedman gave me this great analogy yesterday — Your child is sick. 98 doctors say treat him this way. Two say no, this other way is the way to go. I’ll go with the two. You’re taking a big risk with those kids. Because 98 of the doctors say, “Do this thing,” two say, “Do the other.” So, it’s on the record.

And we’re here with important decision to be made. And I would also suggest to my Free Enterprise colleagues — especially conservatives here — whether you think it’s all a bunch of hooey, what we’ve talked about in this committee, the Chinese don’t. And they plan on eating our lunch in this next century. They plan on innovating around these problems, and selling to us, and the rest of the world, the technology that’ll lead the 21st century. So we may just press the pause button here for several years, but China is pressing the fast-forward button. And as a result, if we wake up in several years and we say, “geez, this didn’t work very well for us. The two doctors didn’t turn out to be so right. 98 might have been the ones to listen to.” Then what we’ll find is we’re way behind those Chinese folks. ‘Cuz you know, if you got a certain number of geniuses in the population — if you’re one in a million in China, there’s 1300 of you. And you know what?
They plan on leading the future.

So whether you — if you’re a free enterprise conservative here — just think: it’s a bunch of hooey, this science is a bunch of hooey. But if you miss the commercial opportunity, you’ve really missed something. And so, I think it’s great to be here on the record. I think it’s great to see the opportunity we’ve got ahead of us. And, I also — since this is sort of a swan song for me and Mr. Barrett I’d encourage scientists who are listening out there to get ready for the hearings that are coming up in the next Congress. Those will be difficult hearings for climate scientists. But, I would encourage you to welcome those as fabulous opportunities to teach.

Science Debate Dot Org

November 18, 2010

Science Debate is the organization that speaks to what a lot of us have realized – that the forces of reason are under attack – uniquely and unexpectedly, in the world’s most technologically advanced nation.

Acting on the maxim that we get more of what we celebrate, Science Debate is joining in celebrating the rollout of Rockstars of Science, pairing rockstars with science stars. I’d like to see more of this.

Fantastic AntiPlastic Classic

November 18, 2010

I found this in my mailbox this morning, from a group called Green Sangha, which has launched a Rethinking Plastics campaign. The website has found a creative way to remind us:

Shoppers worldwide are using 500 billion to one trillion single-use plastic bags per year.
This translates to about a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth. And the number is rising.

Plastic bags are made from a non-renewable resource: oil!
An estimated 3 million barrels of oil are required to produce the 19 billion plastic bags used annually in California.

Greenhouse gas emissions
Plastic manufacturing’s air pollution contributes greatly to global “weirding” (extreme weather of all sorts) we are experiencing is the result.

Plastic is food for no one. It never completely breaks down.

We see bags hanging on trees, along the roadside, slipping down the storm drain, and floating in the ocean. Even when we do put them in the garbage, they don’t always make it to the landfill. 47% of landfill blow-away trash is plastic.

Manufacturing plastic releases toxins in the air, as does recycling plastic. The additives used in plastic are often toxic and can leach into our food. The surface of plastic is chemically attractive to some of the worst toxins in our environment (e.g., PCBs and pesticide metabolites).

Harm to Marine Life
More than 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, one million seabirds, and countless fish worldwide are killed by plastic rubbish each year.

Choking the ocean
Beaches on every continent are littered with plastic scraps and particles. In a recent surface trawl of the North Pacific Gyre, 46 pounds of plastic were found for every pound of zooplankton.

We’re eating plastic
Fine particles of plastic are taken in by filter-feeders in the ocean. These plastic-laden small creatures are then eaten by larger animals and plastics work their way up the food chain, all the way to our seafood menu.

And, yes, I still forget, often, to take a re-usable bag to the store. But efforts like this help me to remember that it makes a difference.

Phil Jones outside the Climate Research Unit

Phil Jones one year later

Nature has done an admirable one-year anniversary follow up on the CRU hack affair.  The article is long, but this piece jumped out at me:

“.. More certain is the conclusion that the hack of the server was a sophisticated attack. Although the police and the university say only that the investigation is continuing, Nature understands that evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a leak from inside the CRU, as some have claimed. And other climate-research organizations are believed to have told police that their systems survived hack attempts at the same time.”

One of the least commented-on mysteries of this affair, is why so little attention has been paid to who the hackers were, and what were their motives.  The right wing noise machine has successfully propagated the “gate” suffix in the referencing the event, but in the original “gate” event, Watergate, the investigation focused on the burglars, not the victims.  It’s a testimony to what’s happened to our media that the idea of crime and punishment have been turned on their head, and truth tellers become targets of journalists, instead of the criminal perpetrators.