'First, the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide are dominant over the climatic effects and are overwhelmingly beneficial. Second, the climatic effects observed in the real world are much less damaging than the effects predicted by the climate models, and have also been frequently beneficial.'

Freeman Dyson,

in Foreword to http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2015/10/benefits1.pdf

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Classroom Conundrums of Contradictory Climate Confusions: what are you going to tell them about the effects of climate change?

The sloppy science that led to the IPCC and to the construction and amplification of the CO2-scare is in such a poor state that those folks who study impacts are having a hard time of it.  Such people form the majority of the IPCC participants, only a few dozen of which are at all engaged with what drives climate change.

Steve Goddard has just published an updated list, thanks to a poster called Jimbo, of apparently contradictory conclusions.  Also published by Pierre Gosselin.  For example:

Amazon dry season greener
Amazon dry season browner

Avalanches may increase
Avalanches may decrease – wet snow more though

Bird migrations longer
Bird migrations shorter
Bird migrations out of fashion

Boreal forest fires may increase
Boreal forest fires may continue decreasing

Chinese locusts swarm when warmer
Chinese locusts swarm when cooler

Columbia spotted frogs decline
Columbia spotted frogs thrive in warming world

Coral island atolls to sink
Coral island atolls to rise

These, and the other links provided, are all to peer-reviewed literature ('but is it peer-reviewed?' was one of the spin options used by crisis-CO2 campaigners when challenged, but it is heard less often now that the IPCC has been exposed as relying very heavily on distinctly non-peer-reviewed literature).

It might be easier to tell your class that not only has climate science been degraded and poisoned by the IPCC activists, but much of the rest of the IPCC, the stuff on consequences, is in a bit of a mess too.

An earlier verion of the list was noted here in February: http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/2011_02_10_archive.html

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Under the Cloak of ‘Climate Change’: childhoods sacrificed for political gain

 'When asked to choose the 3 biggest threats to the world from a list of 9, the most common answer is terrorism, chosen by more than half (59%), followed by climate change (49%).'

Extract from the results of a BBC survey of some 329 schools, with 24,000 respondents aged 11 to 16 years, published 24 March, 2011 (hat-tip: Bishop Hill ).

So, if the survey has been well-conducted( see footnotes 1 & 2) approximately half of secondary-school children in the UK regard 'climate change' as one of the biggest threats facing the world.  How can that be, given that nothing at all unusual has happened to any weather phenomena, including air temperatures, rainfall, storminess etc, and nor to commonly associated phenomena such as polar ice extents?  The answer, of course, is clear enough: very successful lobbying and publicising of the results of computer models programmed to give CO2 a large effect as a driver of climate using positive feedbacks.  Given that CO2 levels have been rising, and are confidently expected to rise further, there is clearly the makings of a good scare story here.  However, neither the atmosphere itself nor many leading climate scientists, have been sufficiently convinced by these stories to, in the case of the atmosphere, display unusual behaviour, and in the case of the scientists, display alarm.  Yet many others are alarmed, or find it convenient to act as if they are for the sake of political and other advantages.  Finance houses, political parties, environmentalists, and development organisations have all seen substantial boosts to their incomes and/or their influence thanks to the widespread publicity given to such as the IPCC.  Many well-intentioned individuals and groups have no doubt been persuaded to 'do something' by all of this, and are even trying to get schoolchildren involved in political actions.

One such group is Norwich Education and Action for Development (NEAD), whose Windmill Project was reported upon this week in the Norwich Evening News (see cutting).  Hat-tip: Dave W.
The headline, and the activities described look innocent enough.  Since our climate has always changed and is no doubt still changing, children should be taught about it as part of their nature or geography or science studies.   Who would not want that?  The changes however are quite slow and hard to detect amidst the within-year variation, and so it is unlikely that this topic ought to be a major part of any curriculum for such a young age group.  The problem though is that they may be being misled about climate risks, and that these in turn may be scaring them, and leading them into political roles which seem utterly unsuited to their tender years.  On the NEAD site, one can find phrases such as this one:
'Most importantly, children are offered information about some of the solutions to problems related to climate change. This will give children the power to make informed decisions and allow them to move towards behavioural and attitudinal change.'

Primary school children have been visited by this group in the past.  Although their teaching materials are not available to non-members on their site, my concerns that they may be the usual alarmist stuff are not allayed by listening to this song sung and partly composed by children at a NEAD event  at a school in October last year:

'The Norfolk Flood Blues'

It is quite hard to make out all the words, but it seems to begin with stamping of feet in time to the music, while chanting
'Rain Flood Rain Flood Rain Flood Rain Flood ...'

Later on, I think I heard these phrases (please email corrections or confirmations about these!): 
'Water in my home, Water in my bed'
'It's destroying everything'
'I feel doomed.  I feel scared.'

Pictures of the children and some of the adults involved in this can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nead_dec/sets/72157625120574255/detail/

I looked up the UK Met Office site to see what weather records I could find for East Anglia, the region in which Norwich lies.  Records were available for Lowestoft, a coastal town less than 20 miles from Norwich.  I extracted monthly rainfall, monthly sunshine hours, and monthly mean maximum and mean minimum temperature values for the 30 years 1980 to 2010, and used these to produce the plots shown below.  Can you see any grounds for alarm in them?


 The pupils will have some difficulty in discerning ‘climate change’ in such a display, dominated as it is by within-year variation.  Throughout this period, CO2 levels grew, along with increasingly agitated pleas and warnings from people who ought to have known better, such as James Hansen who in 1986 was warning of mean global temperature rises of several degrees by the year 2010.  Since the computer models suggest the temperature rises will be greater away from the equatorial regions towards the poles, a naive observer might well have expected more action in the Lowestoft data by now.  Could it be that the models are also useless for predicting such things?

Mercifully, the NEAD people do not seem deranged like those who produced the film ‘No Pressure’, whereby children of non-compliant parents were portrayed as being violently destroyed,  ‘pour encourager les autres’.  I suspect that NEAD attracts many good people, but people who have been misled by the IPCC, and by others.  There are further grounds for concern about NEAD: first, is it really a charity, second, is it at risk of crossing the line re political indoctrination in schools, and third, will campaigning around climate change really help the world's poor in the long run?

The 'Fake Charities' group keeps a database of charities which it has investigated, using this guideline:

We define a Fake Charity as any organisation registered as a UK charity that derives more than 10% of its income—and/or more than £1 million—from the government, while also lobbying the government. ”

Unfortunately, NEAD fits their bill, as evidenced by information in their most recent annual report:
(1) more than 90% of their funding comes from the Department for International Development (see page 17 of the report)
(2) they seek to influence policy, e.g. on page 7:
We will also call for ACTIONS to be taken to affect policy-making agendas, encourage pupils’ political and social engagement, increase involvement with and understanding about new and marginal communities, and to demonstrate understanding of our interconnectedness and the importance of our values and perceptions.'

They are also treading on thin ice as far as the Education Acts are concerned.  These specifically make political indoctrination an offence, and they provided the basis for a legal action taken against a thinly-disguised political DVD on climate featuring the American politician Al Gore. 

Standing on actual or virtual platforms to broadcast your concern for others and demand ‘action’ does not provide any magic to prevent you, in the end, making everyone worse off, not least the very people you wished to help in the first place.  You still have a responsibility to do research and check, check, and check again with good data as opposed to good intentions, or the projections of feeble models of the climate.  I think development groups in general, and NEAD in particular, would do well to steer clear of the clamour around 'climate change due to humanity'.  They may well see some short-term advantage in it, but that will change very rapidly indeed when sufficiently many people have seen through the weak science and strong PR that underpins it.  Such as the people who contribute to this site on the topic of 'eco-imperialism'.

That would help adults work on real problems, including those of world development, and perhaps give more children a chance to enjoy their childhood without being pushed prematurely, and without anything like adequate justification, into either anxiety or political action.               

Footnote 1 (added 26th March).  The survey was not a random sampling of any kind.  From the report:
'School Report invited the 804 schools, signed up to the project in the relevant period to take part, 329 did so. There was no maximum or minimum limit to the number of children at each school that could take part. The average participation rate was 73 but figures ranged from 1 to 7841. There is no claim that those responding to the School Report Survey are representative of all 11-16 year olds because of self-selecting nature of the schools that take part and the sample of children therein. However there is some evidence that the schools taking part in School Report are broadly representative of schools across the UK and that those taking part in the Survey are representative of that group2.' 

Footnote 2 (added 27th March).  That as many as 50% of secondary-age children have this melodramatic view of climate variation has not been established by this survey, in view of the self-selection involved (by schools, and by pupils within them).  It only shows that some children in some schools have this view, although the authors of the report indicate that they find it plausible that the national figure could be somewhat similar.
Footnote 3 (added 28th March).  An opinion poll reported on today (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/03/25/old-men-in-midlands-are-the-biggest-climate-sceptics-115875-23013783/): 'A poll for this week’s Climate Week also found 45% of the younger generation think climate change is man-made but only 26% of people close to retiring age agree.'.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Apostasy in the Church of Climate Change: a leftwing radical rubbishes the alarmism

Activist Teacher: On the gargantuan lie of climate change science

A blog post by Denis Rancourt which I came across today (Hat-tip: http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/) is based on a contribution by him to an event organised by the geography student association at the University of Quebec in Montreal.  He begins by listing in leftspeak such things as  

# 'the majority of service intellectuals (high priests) in each civilization was only created and maintained to support the hierarchy'
# 'the whole climate change scam is now driven by the top-level financiers newly eyeing a multi-trillion-dollar paper economy of carbon trading and that this is the reason it’s now a dominant mainstream media and corporate messaging presence'
#' the invention of the US-centered military-backed global finance structure of predation'
# 'establishment scientists are service intellectuals who virtually never diverge from supporting power, who at best look for sanitized and hypothetical “problems” that do not threaten hierarchy and who feed their false self-image of relevance'

But then, mercifully, he says:

'Never mind all that.'

And goes on to examine some aspects of climate science under  5 'story-elements'.   These are indeed key parts of 'the narrative' so loved by political activists and their spinners everywhere, but Rancourt is decidedly unimpressed by them:

Step-1: Combustion of fossil fuels produces CO2
Step-2: This large amount of CO2 from fossil fuel burning goes into the atmosphere
Step-3: Post-industrial atmospheric CO2 produces an increased planetary greenhouse effect
Step-4: The increased planetary greenhouse effect causes planetary warming
Step-5: Climate chaos and melting glaciers

The first of these steps he concedes as correct, albeit banal.  The second he deals with by noting the relative unimportance of the anthropogenic contribution to the great and still poorly understood fluxes and stores of carbon dioxide and carbon, and declares, somewhat vividly 'Environmental scientists working from the CO2 climate hypothesis want post-industrial atmospheric CO2 to be large for the same reason they want their penises to be large.'  For the third step, he notes many of the reasons why it is implausible that CO2 is a driver of climate, and highlights some of the controversy over its role in the atmosphere through the so-called greenhouse effect and the mythical positive feedbacks which form key pillars of the alarmist faith.
As for step four, he comments on and references papers with more technical background on such topics as the difficulty of defining a global temperature and the shoddy disregard of good forecasting practices by the IPCC, and concludes: 'These are the reasons that “global warming” became “climate change”. Model extractions and empirical evaluations of a mean global temperature were shown to be hog wash.'  On step five, he points to the fatuous, but required of the faithful, blaming of anything and everything bad on 'climate change': 'We pull climate chaos out of the non-linear physics hat and every weather event and habitat destruction observation on the planet becomes evidence for climate change.'  He describes this as a circus.

His final paragraphs draw overall conclusions which are also out of a radical playbook and are not at all to my taste as a ex-leftie.  However, I believe it is the case that many teachers veer to the left and so might lap it all up.  And that is the interesting point for this blog.  Is this a straw in the wind, a wind blowing from the left that will make climate change activism look so reactionary and harmful that it will be anathema for any self-respecting radical?  And will that mean less indoctrination in our schools?  We can but hope.

Note added  22 January 2013.  Rancourt was dismissed from his university in 2008, ostensibly because he refused to go along with the grading of students.  More details here: http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/~kwesthue/Rancourt09.htm, where it is described as an example of academic 'mobbing'.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Donna Kebabs the IPCC: play sycophancy-bingo with your school's materials

The IPCC is often portrayed as a trustworthy, authoritative, product of the world's top scientists' views on climate.  It is none of these things.  If you have references to the IPCC in textbooks, DVDs, presentations made by visitors, or posters on your walls, you might like to try to find exact or close matches to widespread misconceptions about the IPCC using a database of quotations compiled by Donna Laframboise.  In her words:

'A variety of claims are routinely made about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These have to do with:
  • the organization itself
  • its reports
  • its processes
Among the most common claims are these:
  • the IPCC is comprised of the world’s top scientists
  • it produces authoritative, trustworthy reports
  • its processes are rigorous and transparent
  • it cites only peer-reviewed literature
Such claims have been made by IPCC participants and spokespeople. They’ve been made by the highest government officials of some of the most respectable countries in the world. They’ve also been made by journalists, book authors, and activists.'

Now these claims have been refuted, not least by Donna Laframboise's carefully documented investigations.  So, if you have a class that has passed the relevant exams, or is good enough to be able to do so while at the same time also having a more realistic view of climate change, then here is a rich field for mini-projects:

(1) First find a matching phrase from materials/events in your school - the database is here
(2) Next do some investigation and write up a brief report or presentation on the veracity of the selected phrase.
(3) Rinse and repeat - it promises to be a lot of fun.

Your Pupils Could Be Lead Authors for the IPCC: just be sure to teach them 'right opinions'


Background: http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/the-strange-case-of-sari-kovats/

Friday, 11 March 2011

Something for the Climate Classroom Wall: insight from a physicist in east Germany

'What is happening with regards to the climate hypothesis today is that profound and far-reaching conclusions are being based on pure suspicions. That’s religion, and not science. There are also many other well-founded hypotheses on climate dynamics that allow completely other conclusions to be drawn. But strangely, they are being massively suppressed – simply because they don’t accommodate the political concept of rescuing the planet. That’s propaganda, manipulation, suppression of the freedom of expression and demagoguery. As ‘an educated citizen of former communist East Germany’, I’m experiencing grand déjà-vu.'
Prof. Knut Löschke, a solid state physicist, who conducted research until 1986, founded PC-Ware AG, and then turned it into a European IT company before leaving in 2009.

Hat-tip: http://notrickszone.com/2011/03/10/german-physicist-slams-climate-science-says-climate-politics-is-grand-deja-vu-of-communist-east-germany/
Visit the NoTricksZone for more details and links.

The words of Prof Löschke are also quoted here, with the additional apercu  'We are sawing the branch we are sitting on.': http://oekowatch.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/357-professor-knut-loeschke-wir-saegen-gerade-den-ast-ab-auf-dem-wir-sitzen

The quotation is taken from an interview published in the magazine 'Smart Investor'

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Beginning to Teach on Climate? - let Jo help you keep on top of the propaganda avalanche

Teachers in geography, science, and current affairs have a particular responsibility to work at clarifying their own views as to the quality and credibility of the arguments, and of the players involved in the promotion of fears around carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  This is an arena in which many special interest groups in politics, in finance, in academia, in government agencies, in the UN and in the EU, and in business have spotted advantage for themselves, and so considerable diligence is required of anyone trying to make their way through the resulting avalanche of materials urging us to do this or do that to avoid catastrophe.  It is notable that children in schools are being deliberately targeted by some of these groups in order to produce 'little activists', pressurising their parents and others to take specific domestic, commercial, and political decisions.  The use of fearful images and narratives is commonplace, and is often accompanied by thinly veiled contempt for the achievements not only of their parents in providing, inter alia, comfortable homes and transport arrangements for them, but also of the tremendous progress made around the world since the industrial revolution.

Jo Nova has posted a handy overview of the sorry saga of the shoddy-science, devious politics, and historical ignorance which degrades so much of this 'CO2-based activism':

'Almost everything you thought you knew about man made global warming might be a worthless half-truth.'

Her 'Skeptic's Handbook' is an excellent place to start:

'Donors have paid for over 160,000 copies so far in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and soon in Germany. Over 60,000 copies have been downloaded from this site (and countless others from copies on other sites.) Plus volunteers have translated it into German, French, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, Balkan, Spanish, Thai, Czech, Lao and Italian. The second Skeptics Handbook is available in French and Turkish.  (Versions in Dutch, and possibly Italian are on the way). Updates are placed here, along with translations, as well as places to read comments and links to the web-pages where each part of the handbook will be discussed.'