Free Markets, Free People
According to the Atlantic’s Rebecca Rosen, Greenland is in the middle of an “extreme ice melt”. You can read the article and consider the point. I’ll give her credit. She reports it pretty objectively including this as a reason for the melt:
NASA says that it is normal for Greenland’s ice to melt a bit in the summer; what is abnormal is the extent. Normally, only about half of the ice sheet’s surface sees any melting. This year, that proportion just about doubled. NASA additionally said that its satellites were recording uncharacteristically high temperatures over the island. Those warmer temperatures were brought by a bubble of warm air (a "heat dome"), the latest in a series of such ridges that have moved over Greenland this year.
In other words, a regional event.
She also mentions:
The last such melt event occurred in 1889, according to data from ice cores, and scientists say they would expect such an event about every 150 years. They’ll be monitoring the ice closely in the years ahead to see if this turns out to be a regular aberration, or an irregular one.
Got it. Thanks for noting the event which appears to have a history (I’ll cover how much of a history below).
The UK’s Guardian kicks it up a notch with the use of the word “unprecedented” in their title.
“Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July”
No. It didn’t. As we see from the Atlantic’s treatment, this event isn’t at all “unprecedented.” In fact, if I have any gripe about the Atlantic’s coverage is it stopped short of noting a longer history of Greenland’s ice melts:
Greenland, as you can see, has seen periods as warm or warmer than now in its history. One could logically assume then that it would have had the same sorts of weather events during those periods as it experienced during the recent week in early July.
BTW, here’s an explanation of the numbers you see above:
“Unprecedented” is obviously a incorrect characterization of the event. Why did the Guardian seize on the word?
Because some scientist conveniently used it:
However, scientists were still coming to grips with the shocking images on Tuesday. "I think it’s fair to say that this is unprecedented," Jay Zwally, a glaciologist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Guardian.
Again, no, it isn’t “unprecedented”. And obviously the Guardian didn’t take the time to find out if it really was. A simple Wikipedia check would have produced the above graph.
So why the acceptance of the scientist’s characterization without checking? I think that too is obvious – it’s scarier than admitting it has a long history of occurring, many times prior to the industrial revolution. It lends more immediacy to the story. The fact that throughout its history Greenland has seen a cycle of warmer and colder weather is “inconvenient” to the scare factor related to AGW. Certainly the Guardian is careful not to come right out and scream global warming, but by noting this “unprecedented” event, it certainly is clear that global warming, and specifically AGW, is the dot to which they want you to connect this to.
The NY Times, on the other hand, notes the melt and takes a different approach. While noting the melt and the high pressure ridge, the Times throws this into the mix:
Nonetheless, the scientists said, the melt was significant because Greenland’s ice sheet is unequivocally shrinking as a result of the warming of the world’s oceans, and the event could help broaden their insights into climate change and earth systems.
While they don’t claim that AGW is the cause for warming oceans (don’t worry, there are plenty of others out there that do), they don’t endeavor to explain why oceans have been warming for the past 100 years.
Here’s a pretty significant clue. It’s a 2,300 year Hallstatt solar variation cycles graph:
Anyone notice what has been rising for the last 1,000 or so years?
In fact, says Sami Solanki, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures… the brighter sun and higher levels of so-called "greenhouse gases" both contributed to the change in the Earth’s temperature, but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.
As it is turning out, it appears it may be the Sun. CO2 has always been a lagging indicator in warming history until it was recently elevated by some “scientists” to a leading cause. It has not shown the effect on temperature predicted by warmist models, however. In fact, it hasn’t even been close even while the ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to rise.
The point of all of this? It appears that those traditionally associated with the AGW scaremongering are toning down their rhetoric even while still attempting, through half-truths, incomplete reporting and implication, to push the AGW agenda, albeit much more subtly now.
Don’t let them get away with it.
UPDATE: And then, of course, there are those who don’t have a clue and don’t care, especially when they can use this to club the GOP.
While the likes of warmist hacks like Paul Krugman and others try to make something more out of this summer’s heat wave and the drought being suffered in one region of the country (btw, here in GA, I’ve not seen it this lush and green in July in probably 10 years or more) into a “global warming” story, history simply doesn’t support their claims.
Worst heat wave ever?
Probably not (Via Pirate’s Cove):
Apparently, according to the EPA (yes, that’s right, the EPA), our worst heat waves came in the ‘30s. You know, the “dustbowl” ‘30s?
Oh. The ‘30s? “Dustbowl”? But, CO2!
Context and history continue to plague the warmists attempts to characterize what seems to be regional weather patterns (like the UK having one of the coolest and wettest summers in memory) into some sort of building global catastrophe.
I guess they’ve never read the story about the little boy who cried wolf too many times.
Not content to be a political hack, Krugman expands his field of hackery into climate alarmism.
Commenting on the hot summer, corn and the drought, Krugman says:
But that’s not all: really extreme high temperatures, the kind of thing that used to happen very rarely in the past, have now become fairly common. Think of it as rolling two sixes, which happens less than 3 percent of the time with fair dice, but more often when the dice are loaded. And this rising incidence of extreme events, reflecting the same variability of weather that can obscure the reality of climate change, means that the costs of climate change aren’t a distant prospect, decades in the future. On the contrary, they’re already here, even though so far global temperatures are only about 1 degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act.
The great Midwestern drought is a case in point. This drought has already sent corn prices to their highest level ever. If it continues, it could cause a global food crisis, because the U.S. heartland is still the world’s breadbasket. And yes, the drought is linked to climate change: such events have happened before, but they’re much more likely now than they used to be.
Facts are indeed an “inconvenient truth” when considering these alarmist screeds.
First, droughts in general, these findings from actual scientists:
Here is Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) in GRL (PDF):
[D]roughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, less severe, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.
Well never mind.
But those corn prices! Highest level ever! And, and … people are going to starve! We just aren’t going to have enough!
Economist Mark Perry disposes of that nonsense:
Then prices (inflation adjusted):
You’d think a Nobel laureate economist could at least manage that, right? Research inflation adjusted pricing on a commodity?
Well it depends, I guess, on which hat you’re wearing that day. Hack or economist. Krugman continues to wear the first much more often than the second these days.
Did most of you know about this?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) June energy report says that energy-related carbon dioxide fell to 5,473 million metric tons (MMT) in 2011.
That’s down from a high of 6,020 MMT in 2007, and only a little above 1995′s level of 5,314 MMT.
Better yet, emissions in the first quarter of 2012 fell at an even faster rate — down 7.5% from the first quarter of 2011 and 8.5% from the same time in 2010. If the rest of 2012 follows its first-quarter trend, we may see total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions drop to early-1990s levels.
Wow. Victory for the enviro crowd, yes? Regulation has succeeded, right? The government has turned the tide?
Nope. In fact it has nothing to do with the enviro crowd, government or regulation.
Two dirty words: Hydraulic fracking. Two more for good measure: Natural gas. And the dirtiest word of all: Markets.
Those three have combined, via a price point that has stimulated demand and made the conversion of coal plants economical to drive down emissions as they produce electricity more cheaply and efficiently. This trend began in 2007 and is now having a real effect:
Increasingly, power plants are turning to natural gas because it has become abundant, and therefore cheap. And though technology is improving our ability to reduce emissions from coal usage, natural gas is still a much cleaner source.
Natural gas, given the extensive finds and the exploitation, is much cheaper than coal now. In fact:
Indeed, natural gas has just passed an important milestone. As noted by John Hanger, energy expert and former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: "As of April, gas tied coal at 32% of the electric power generation market, nearly ending coal’s 100-year reign on top of electricity markets."
That’s how it works in markets, or is supposed too. The fact that emissions are down is an actual side benefit of the process. And it is a process that has managed to work despite government and environmental groups like the Sierra Club’s interference or attempted interference in the process (the Sierra Club has declared war on natural gas and fracking after accepting millions in previous years from the natural gas industry).
It is a part of the creative destruction of the capitalist process. Coal will still have its uses, but just as it was replaced as a primary fuel for heating homes last century, it is now being replaced as a primary fuel for generating electricity for the same reason – there is a cheaper and more efficient fuel (which also happens to have fewer emissions) that is easier to produce and deliver than coal.
At some point coal producers will either have to reinvent themselves or find something else to do. And on the other side, opportunities will expand within the natural gas industry as more and more demand builds.
But shhhhh. Don’t want anyone knowing this all happened because of markets. Why that would hurt the argument that it requires government intrusion, regulation and the pressure of environmental groups to make things like this happen.
Can’t have that.
James Delingpole provides an example that is almost a caricature of the enviro-whacko movement – except it is real. He received an email from a reader who encouraged him to get behind carbon credits. The person writing the email points him to this website for a company that sells carbon credits.
For whatever reason, he clicked through. And here’s an example of what he found among the tips one can use to cut down on their carbon emissions:
- Euthanize Your Old Pet
Pets have become a common feature in most homes and are an attribute of the modern, Western lifestyle. We all love our dogs and cats, but really, when you think about it, pets are a major producer of excess carbon. One of the best ways to reasonably enjoy your pet and reduce your overall Carbon Footprint is to determine in advance how long your pet should live. As a family, set a date when your pet will be euthanized. One great way to teach children the value of pet euthanasia is to turn the occasion into a family celebration. Let’s say you’ve set March 10, five years from now, as your pet’s euthanasia date. For the next five years, celebrate March 10 as your pet’s special day, with a family party and perhaps a visit to your pet’s future burial spot. Teach your children to think of the occasion as a birthday in reverse. A predetermined euthanasia date will encourage your family to love and care for your furry friend while it’s still young and playful. What’s more, pre-planing for pet termination not only works towards reducing your family’s Carbon Footprint, but guarantees long term reduction in veterinary expenses.
Yup, Fluffy’s day’s are numbered, or should be, literally. And make death day a “celebration”. Woohoo, Fluffy’s room temperature!
This is what some people come up with to “save the planet” when gulled into believing a trace gas that’s been a lagging indicator for centuries is suddenly a cause of warming.
Oh, and do this too:
- Stop Having Children
I know! I know! Children are as cute as all get-out, but have you ever really considered how much carbon one child puts into the atmosphere? Over a single lifetime, the amount is practically immeasurable. One of the best all-around things for the environment would be fewer people in the world. Until governments wake up and start passing "one child per-family" laws, the best way you can help reduce the collective Carbon Footprint is through voluntary sterilization. Most insurance policies cover the cost of tubal ligations as well as vasectomies, and for the poor, many clinics will do these procedures for free. And let’s face it–there are just too many poor people in the world!
Wow … if anyone ought to be euthanized … okay, not going there, but holy crap Batman! You just can’t make this stuff up!
UPDATE: I’ve been spoofed. LOL. Can’t help it though … given those who claim the earth should only have 500k people, it seemed to me not too far fetched at all. In fact, it makes me feel all that much better. I mean kill Fluffy?
I guess you can make this stuff up.
While “the science is settled” and name calling are about all the climate alarmists have in their mostly empty rebuttal quiver, real science continues to destroy their ‘settled science’.
I’m sure you remember all the doom and gloom emanating from the claims that massive amounts of ice was melting and would raise sea levels to catastrophic heights, don’t you?
Yeah, well, it appears – shock of shocks – that those making those claims didn’t use science at all. They apparently just kind of made it up if the American Geophysical Union’s latest research is to be believed:
"Previous ocean models … have predicted temperatures and melt rates that are too high, suggesting a significant mass loss in this region that is actually not taking place," says Tore Hattermann of the Norwegian Polar Institute, member of a team which has obtained two years’ worth of direct measurements below the massive Fimbul Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica – the first ever to be taken.
It turns out that past studies, which were based on computer models without any direct data for comparison or guidance, overestimate the water temperatures and extent of melting beneath the Fimbul Ice Shelf. This has led to the misconception, Hattermann said, that the ice shelf is losing mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass, leading to an overall loss of mass.
The team’s results show that water temperatures are far lower than computer models predicted …
Overall, according to the team, their field data shows "steady state mass balance" on the eastern Antarctic coasts – ie, that no ice is being lost from the massive shelves there. The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
You don’t say? But, but “climate deniers are the same as Holocaust deniers”, “the sciences is settled”, “consensus”, the “vast majority of the world’s scientists agree”, “IPCC”, yatta, yatta, yatta.
Again we see the so-called science wasn’t based on science at all – it was based on computer models “without any direct data for comparison or guidance” which then naturally got the results the “scientists” were looking for.
I’d love to say I’m stunned, but I’m not.
We’ve known this was happening for how long now? It’s just that the evidence just keeps coming out, doesn’t it.
If you’re still an alarmist that believes in the “science” that was put out in the IPCC report and an “Inconvenient Truth”, then it isn’t science we’re talking about anymore – it’s religion.
Tell me if you know which Republican Congressman said this:
"President Obama and others in Washington need to realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity and that to in order to create jobs," … "We need to address unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas and enact policies that allow us to take advantage of our vast natural resources such as coal and natural gas in a safe and responsible manner which will lower energy costs and create jobs and approving the Keystone XL Pipeline would be a good first step."
House Speaker Boehner? Paul Ryan? Eric Cantor?
Uh, no … it wasn’t a Republican at all. It was Rep. Mark Critz, D-PA. The guy who represents most of John Murtha’s old district. Does this sound like a guy who is wanting the president anywhere near his district as he runs for re-election?
Meanwhile the President gave a “major speech” yesterday in Ohio that was 54 minutes long and could be boiled down into one sentence – No change: more spending, more taxes, same old failed economic policies and blame Bush.
President Obama’s much-anticipated speech Thursday on the economy didn’t lay out any new initiatives or make any new arguments. It often sounded like a recap of his first three years, or another version of the familiar "how we got here" blamefest.
Meanwhile, going back to part of Rep. Critz criticism, the Keystone XL pipeline, something which would mean jobs for this country and a big step toward increasing our energy security, is indeed proceeding – toward China or elsewhere:
While Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of natural resources, said in an interview that the United States would remain Canada’s “most important customer,” billions of barrels of oil that would have been refined and used in the United States are now poised to head elsewhere. Expansion of Canada’s fast-growing oil-sands industry will be restricted by the lack of pipeline capacity before the decade’s end, he said, which “adds to the urgency of building them so that the resources will not be stranded.”
Three new pipeline network proposals — two that call for heading west and the other east — have been put forward.
If ever there were a blunder of historic proportions, Obama’s petulant and politically motivated disapproval of the pipeline rank up in the top.
The scale of this blunder, which the President made ostensibly on environmental grounds, is compounded by the fact that there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Once a new pipeline is built, Canada has no reason to return to selling its oil products solely to the U.S. at a reduced price. The decision not to approve Keystone XL makes Solyndra look like a stroke of genius.
Oh and finally, can anyone guess what was required to attend the President’s Ohio speech?
Yeah, that’s right – a photo ID.
Anthony Watts publishes the following chart over at Watts Up With That:
It has nothing at all to do with CO2 but instead with Oxygen isotopes (O18). Why is that significant in the climate debate?
Oxygen isotope ratio cycles are cyclical variations in the ratio of the abundance of oxygen with an atomic mass of 18 to the abundance of oxygen with an atomic mass of 16 present in some substances, such as polar ice or calcite in ocean core samples. The ratio is linked to water temperature of ancient oceans, which in turn reflects ancient climates. Cycles in the ratio mirror climate changes in geologic history.
Connection between temperature and climate
The 18O/16O ratio provides a record of ancient water temperature. Water 10 to 15 °C (18 to 27 °F) cooler than present represents glaciation. As colder temperatures spread toward the equator, water vapor rich in 18O preferentially rains out at lower latitudes. The remaining water vapor that condenses over higher latitudes is subsequently rich in 16O.Precipitation and therefore glacial ice contain water with a low 18O content. Since large amounts of 16O water are being stored as glacial ice, the 18O content of oceanic water is high. Water up to 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than today represents an interglacial, when the 18O content of oceanic water is lower. A plot of ancient water temperature over time indicates that climate has varied cyclically, with large cycles and harmonics, or smaller cycles, superimposed on the large ones. This technique has been especially valuable for identifying glacial maxima and minima in the Pleistocene.
Steve McIntyre notes:
Oxygen isotope series are the backbone of deep-time paleoclimate. The canonical 800,000 year comparison of CO2 and temperature uses O18 values from Vostok, Antarctica to estimate temperature. In deep time, O18 values are a real success story: they clearly show changes from the LGM to the Holocene that cohere with glacial moraines.
Given the high reliance on O18 series in deep time, one would think that paleoclimatologists would be extremely interested in a publication of the Law Dome O18 data and be pressuring Tas van Ommen on this point.
But despite the apparent opportunity offered by Law Dome, there has been virtually no technical publication of a high-resolution O18 or delD isotope series.
That’s not to say, however, it wasn’t offered:
On its face, Law Dome, which was screened out by Gergis and Karoly, is an extraordinarily important Holocene site as it is, to my knowledge, the highest-accumulation Holocene site yet known, with accumulation almost 10 times greater than the canonical Vostok site. (Accumulation is directly related to resolution: high accumulation enables high resolution.) The graphic below compares glacier thickness for some prominent sites for three periods: 1500-2000, 1000-1500 and 0-1000. its resolution in the past two millennia is nearly double the resolution of the Greenland GRIP and NGRIP sites that have been the topic of intensive study and publication.
A Climategate email shows that Phil Jones asked about the omission of the Law Dome series from the IPCC illustration in the AR4 First Draft. I asked the same question about the AR4 Second Draft. They realized that the Law Dome graphic had an elevated medieval period and thus, including it in the graphic would – to borrow a phrase from the preparation of AR3 – would “dilute the message” and perhaps provide “fodder to skeptics”.
Why would it “dilute the message” and provide “fodder to skeptics”? Well look at the chart. A clearly defined Medieval Warm Period and no hockey stick.
Speaking of “inconvenient truths”.
Much more on the subject here.
Some pictures of Greenland taken in the 1930s have revealed glacier melt that is worse than that taking place today:
Recently unearthed photographs taken by Danish explorers in the 1930s show glaciers in Greenland retreating faster than they are today, according to researchers.
The photos in question were taken by the seventh Thule Expedition to Greenland led by Dr Knud Rasmussen in 1932. The explorers were equipped with a seaplane, which they used to take aerial snaps of glaciers along the Arctic island’s coasts.
It’s difficult to know exactly what’s happening to the Greenland ice in total and very different estimates have been produced in recent times. However Professor Box says that many glaciers along the coasts have started retreating in the past decade.
It now appears that the glaciers were retreating even faster eighty years ago: but nobody worried about it, and the ice subsequently came back again.
The emphasized line is priceless. Chicken Little stayed home.
Why were the glaciers on Greenland retreating faster 80 years ago?
[One scientist, Professor Jason] Box, theorises that this is likely to be because of sulphur pollution released into the atmosphere by humans, especially by burning coal and fuel oils. This is known to have a cooling effect.
Unfortunately atmospheric sulphur emissions also cause other things such as acid rain, and as a result rich Western nations cracked down on sulphates in the 1960s. Prof Box believes that this led to warming from the 1970s onward, which has now led to the glaciers retreating since around 2000.
Or, “we cleaned up the air and it got warmer”. Other scientists disagree:
Still other scientists, differing with Prof Box, offer another picture altogether of Arctic temperatures, in which there were peaks both in the 1930s and 1950s and cooling until the 1990s: and in which the warming trend which resulted in the melting seen by Rasmussen’s expedition actually started as early as 1840, before the industrial revolution and human-driven carbon emission had even got rolling. In that scenario, variations in the Sun seem to have much more weight than is generally accepted by today’s climatologists.
Variations in the Sun! Whoda thunk?
Bottom line – nothing particularly unusual or worrisome if you actually have come to the conclusion, based on the evidence at hand, that the earth goes through climate cycles. The key, of course is the fact that a warming trend that resulted in the retreat of the glaciers in the 1930s was begun almost 100 years before without the benefit of the industrial revolution and human carbon emissions.
Then there’s that lingering little scientific fact that CO2 is a lagging indicator, not a cause, of warming. The fact the alarmist side continues to love to ignore.
Anyway a little context to the “OMG the glaciers are melting”.
The Sierra Club would like to convince you they’re all about clean air, water and protecting wildlife. But if their latest campaign is any example, it’s really about banning fossil fuels.
We are in the middle of a growing natural gas boom. We have a glut of the stuff. Prices of natural gas continue to drop as more and more of the fuel is brought to market. That opens up the field to new applications from a fuel supply that is acknowledged as cleaner burning than oil. It could completely change the energy industry.
If it is given the chance.
Here’s the irony. When the “drill, baby, drill” campaign to exploit our oil resources was underway, the Sierra Club was in the forefront of pushing natural gas as a much cleaner alternative.
And, in fact, it accepted $26 million in donations from Chesapeake Energy and others in the gas industry from 2007 to2010.
Now, suddenly, it is at war with the industry as reported by the Wall Street Journal:
The battle plan is called "Beyond Natural Gas," and Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune announced the goal in an interview with the National Journal this month: "We’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can." The big green lobbying machine has rolled out a new website that says "The natural gas industry is dirty, dangerous and running amok" and that "The closer we look at natural gas, the dirtier it appears; and the less of it we burn, the better off we will be." So the goal is to shut the industry down, not merely to impose higher safety standards.
Another, among many, who feels entitled to limit your choices.
The Sierra Club has lobbied to stop nuclear power plants from being built and against coal and oil. They claim they are interested in fuels that have “lower carbon emissions”. Natural gas is, well, a natural in that area. And the statistics prove the point:
The federal Energy Information Administration reports that in 2009 "the 4% drop in the carbon intensity of the electric power sector, the largest in recent times, reflects a large increase in the use of lower-carbon natural gas because of an almost 50% decline in its price." The Department of Energy reports that natural gas electric plants produce 45% less carbon than coal plants, though newer coal plants are much cleaner.
Researchers at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences found that electric power plants reduced their greenhouse gases by 8.76% in 2009 alone. Most of the carbon reduction was driven not by mandates or regulation but by the economics of lower gas prices. The lead researcher, professor Michael McElroy, says: "Generating one kilowatt-hour of electricity from coal releases twice as much CO2 to the atmosphere as generating the same amount from natural gas, so a slight shift in the relative price of coal and natural gas can result in a sharp drop in carbon emissions."
So, what’s not to like?
The answer surely is the industry’s drilling success. The greens were happy to support natural gas as a "bridge fuel to the 21st century" when it cost $8 or more per million BTUs and seemed to be in limited domestic supply.
But now that the hydraulic fracturing and shale revolution has sent gas prices down to $2.50, the lobby fears natural gas will come to dominate U.S. energy production. At that price, the Sierra Club’s Valhalla of wind, solar and biofuel power may never be competitive. So the green left has decided it must do everything it can to reduce the supply of gas and keep its price as high as possible.
And that means attacking hydraulic fracturing (something we’ve been doing since 1948 in over a million wells) as the villain. Because it would seem somewhat hypocritical to attack the fuel that they’ve been touting for years, wouldn’t it? So instead, they’ll attempt to make the process the problem.
So let’s ask the “what if” question. What if they succeed in this hypocritical campaign of theirs?
The losers if this effort succeeds would be the millions of Americans who are benefitting from the shale boom. Shale gas supports some 600,000 jobs in the natural gas industry, according to an analysis by the consulting firm IHS Global Insight. That’s almost eight times more jobs than are employed by the wind industry.
But the losers would also include electricity consumers paying lower prices at home; the steel workers in Youngstown, Ohio who have been rehired to make pipe for gas drillers in the Marcellus Shale; and the thousands of high-paying jobs in chemicals, fertilizer and other manufacturing that is returning to the U.S. because natural gas prices are so much lower.
They’d limit your choice, drive up your energy bill, kill jobs and all for what?
For their extremist agenda, which, by the way, really has little to do with clean air, water and protecting wildlife.
It’s a cult with money – the most dangerous kind.