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March 10th 2009 print

Bob Carter

Heartland-2: session two

Terry Dunleavy & John McLean – Of 62 reviewers of the crucial Chapter 9 of IPCC 4AR (attribution of cause of climate change), 55 were conflicted; of the remaining 7 apparently independent persons, only ONE explicitly endorsed the most important statement about human attribution in the chapter. 

Lawrence Solomon – Environmentalists in the third-world are not buying the carbon offsets mechanisms set up to serve the Kyoto Protocol, and are organizing into strong local groups to fight to maintain their property rights

Arthur Robinson – Western countries are committing technological genocide – and again especially against third-world countries – by planning carbon dioxide tax and trade  measures to increase greatly the cost of provision of basic electricity supplies. 

Tom McClintock – When politicians feel the heat, they see the light.

The second day of the Heartland-2 climate conference was always going to be the testing one. Two plenary addresses over a 7 a.m. breakfast start, followed by a full day of 4-stream papers punctuated by two more plenary lectures at lunch. 

What does one do when faced having to make a choice (because of clashing times in parallel sessions) between listening to Bill Kininmonth or Marc Morano, or Benny Peiser or Steve McIntyre? All attendees were faced with these sorts of difficulties, and most probably followed the line of least resistance, as I did, by sticking to their own last. 

Therefore, after describing some aspects of the four plenary lectures, and with apologies to the economists and policy wonks amongst the Quadrant readership, I will make brief remarks only about the papers that I was able to attend in the climatology and palaeoclimatology science streams of lectures. 

James Taylor, in introducing the breakfast speakers, noted his regret that Mr Al Gore and Dr James Hansen had been unable to attend the conference. He remarked, accurately, that scientists on the rationalist side of the climate debate invariably try to stimulate public discussion with their IPCC protagonists, whereas scientists on the arlarmist side of the argument mostly try to shut discussion down, in part by declining invitations to participate – as Mr Gore and Dr Hansen have done for Heartland-2.

The first plenary speaker was Congressman Tom McClintock from California. He gave an entertaining account of the threat posed by global warming to planet Earth. Would that any of our Australian politicians (with the honorable exception of some, such as Dennis Jensen) were as well informed on the global warming issue as was Mr McClintock, who perceives the climate threat to be only too real. Not climate change itself, that is, but the insane climate change policies that are being introduced to combat imaginary human-caused warming. 

The State of California under Governor Schwarzenegger offers many salient examples, and warnings, for in requiring a 25% reduction by 2020 it has the most radically restrictive CO2 emissions legislation in the world. Towards this end, the state also has laws which levy a $1000/day fine if you don’t cut down redwood trees in your yard that are shading a new solar-power array constructed on your neighbour’s roof. At the same time, you will also be fined should you cut down unruly brush growth that may form a fire hazard around your home. 

Under questioning, Mr McClintock rendered the excellent advice for skeptics that they should not waste their time writing to or calling at the offices of their elected representatives. Rather, McClintock advised, ask them the inconvenient questions in a fully public forum, such as a letter to the paper or on a talkback radio show – for “When they feel the heat, they see the light.” 

The second plenary speaker, Lawrence Solomon, was of particular interest because he heads one of Canada’s largest environmental organizations. Yet, at the same time, he has written the widely read book – “The Deniers” – which comprises a compendious catalogue of front-line scientists who remain unconvinced that human warming is dangerous.

Mr Solomon was particularly telling in the description he made of damage that is being inflicted on the environment by third-world countries who are trying to comply with the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. A primary problem is the purchase by first-world countries of carbon sinks, as an offset of their emissions at home. This is done through mechanisms such as planting a new eucalyptus plantation, which requires, for example, cutting down an old growth forest, or moving farmers from their already cultivated land. In either case, traditional fishing, farming and foresting rights are being lost, and many persons displaced from their homelands. “Environmentalists in the third-world are not buying this”, said Mr Solomon, “they are organizing into strong local associations and groups to fight to maintain their property rights”. 

Finally, Mr Solomon noted that environmentalism is not traditionally associated with radical, but with conservative, persons; and is driven largely by risk aversion, and fear of polluting the environment and handing down a damaged planet to our children and beyond. 

At lunchtime, Myron Ebell, introducing as the third plenary speaker of the day Jack Schmidt, the last astronaut to walk on the moon. Myron commented drily that “At least we know that we now have at least one person in the room who knows that the earth isn’t flat”. 

For someone dismissed as “just an astronaut”, Jack Schmidt displayed and shared a remarkable grasp of the major elements of climate science. Amongst other things, he pointed out that the actual residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is 5-10 years, rather than the 50-100 years portrayed by the IPCC, of and by itself controls the radiative forcing produced by increasing CO2 levels to below dangerous levels. 

Plenary lecture 4 was delivered by Arthur Robinson, author of the famous Oregon petition that attracted more than 30,000 signatures.to a statement that questioned the human influence on global warming – including the statement: 

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.” 

Dr Robinson spoke with moving conviction about the concept of technological genocide, whereby a society voluntarily withdraws a technology of proven benefit and thereby causes unnecessary deaths. The first and only historical example of this social and political pathology was the banning by the U.N. of DDT as an insecticide for deployment against the malarial mosquito. This ban, though recently relaxed, has meanwhile led to tens of millions of preventable deaths in third-world countries. 

Dr Robinson pointed out that USA and other western nations are on the brink of implementing a second round of technological genocide. 

The rapidly ageing US power system was created by men who were unencumbered by the regulatory inhibitions that now apply to the building of new power stations. And, even as today the US has to import 30% of its energy, environmentalists have garnered political support for the closing down of existing fossil fuel-powered plants. The result will be energy shortages in the west and energy deprivation in third world countries; this new phase of technological genocide will in time also result in tens of millions of deaths. 

During the main morning and afternoon lecture sessions, many excellent papers were on offer that covered a wide variety of topics relevant to the global warming issue, including its science, its economics and alternative policy solutions. Any one conference participant could only sample a fraction of the wares on display. My choice, not surprisingly, was to attend mostly the science sessions (in which several Australian and New Zealand scientists were participating). Many of the papers given contained compelling results, and nearly all questioned – on evidence-based and dispassionate grounds – the prevailing hypothesis of dangerous human warming. 

At the papers I attended, amongst other things I gleaned the following key science points. 

Bill Kininmonth (ex-Head, Australian National Climate Centre, Melbourne) showed that the GCMs used in the 4th Assessment Report underestimate the rate of increase in latent energy exchange with temperature, and thereby grossly exaggerate the projected surface temperature response to CO2 forcing. 

Tom Segalstad (University of Oslo) showed that the oceans effectively have an infinite buffering capacity to absorb CO2, and that the acidicification of the oceans scare is (to coin a phrase) baseless. 

Scott Armstrong (University of Pennsylvania) and Kesten Green (Monash University, Wellington) showed that the characteristics of temperature time series include episodic variation through time, but with no persistent longer term trends. Accordingly, it is not possible to simulate these time series accurately using computer GCMs. 

Anthony Watts (Chief Meteorologist KPAY-AM radio) provided a catalogue of the condition of USHCN weather stations, as part of his comprehensive national survey. Almost unbelievably, and with 919 out of 1221 stations sampled (75% coverage), only 11% of stations meet the required Class I or Class II siting criteria that correspond to a likely measurement error of <1 deg. C. The remaining 89% of stations have estimated measurement contamination errors of 1-5 deg. C, which calls into question the accuracy of the entire US historical ground temperature curve. 

Steve McIntyre (author of Climate Audit, Toronto) provided a judicious and well-illustrated account of the trials and tribulations of the Mann et al. hockey-stick. As other experts have concluded with him, in its original form the hockey-stick depiction of past temperatures is at best inaccurate. 

Syun Akasofu (University of Alaska) argued that the warming observed during the 20th century represents a continuation of recovery from the Little Ice Age, and, just before and after the turn of the century, its trend does not correspond to the IPCC’s GCM predictions. 

Terry Dunleavy (NZ Climate Science Coalition, Auckland) reported an analysis by John McLean (Melbourne) of the reviewers’ comments on the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report. Amongst other astonishing facts (against a claimed “2,500 reviewers”), of the 62 reviewers of the crucial Chapter 9 (attribution of cause of climate change), 55 were conflicted, and of the remaining 7 apparently independent persons, only ONE explicitly endorsed the most important statement about human attribution in the chapter. 

Craig Loehle (US National Council for Air and Stream Improvement), examining the statistical characteristics of tree-ring time series, showed that the assumption of a linear growth response with increasing temperature was invalid, and that such records therefore cannot guarantee to detect temperatures that were warmer than the calibration period. 

Nir Shaviv (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), based on an analysis of ocean heat data and sea-level change, concluded that of the order of half the observed 20th century warming can be attributed to an increase in solar activity, that climate sensitivity is small, and that temperature increase over the 21st century will also be small. 

Jan Veizer (University of Ottawa) demonstrated that water vapour is what predominantly drives the greenhouse effect, dominantly through photosynthesis which is in turn driven by the sun. Clouds clearly act as a temperature thermostat, and the source of energy that is driving the water cycle requires an amplification of variations in the total solar irradiance signal, perhaps via (cf. Svensmark) a cosmic ray-cloud linkage. 

Tim Patterson (Carleton University, Ottawa) presented high resolution climate time series from marine cores which show clearly the great natural variability of climate through time at a wide range of time scales, from annual upwards to several hundred years and beyond. 

David Evans (Perth; ex-Australian Greenhouse Office) demonstrated that the hotspot at altitudes of around 8-10 km in the tropics, predicted by all GCMs as the unique signature of greenhouse warming, is entirely absent in the observational data, and commented that this single test invalidates the hypothesis of greenhouse warming. 

Pat Michaels (University of Virginia) demonstrated that the elapsed temperature record up to 2008 fails at the 95% probability level to match any of the GCM climate model projections produced by the IPCC. He also catalogued the alarming tendency of US government reports to make wildly inaccurate, i.e. wrong, statements about a wide variety of changing natural processes that are circumstantially linked to human-caused warming by climate alarmists – including changing factors of hydrology (snow melt), meteorology, epidemiology (Nile Virus, St. Louis encephalitis, Lyme disease) and agriculture. 

Finally, an interesting diversion occurred towards the end of the day. Several lectures were interrupted during question time by groups of young environmental activists who wished to know why the average age of participants at the conference was so high, why most persons present were Caucasian, and why we did not understand that the science was settled and beyond dispute. 

In the room that I was in, at least, this outburst of organized youthful idealism was met politely with indulgent chuckles. A tiny storm in a teacup, then? Perhaps, but also a sad and large indictment of the standard of education with which these young persons have been provided. 

Which thought will serve very well as a rounding off for Heartland-2, Day 2. For – as was pointed out by the Tom Harris, Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition, in a comment at one of the plenary lectures – it is honest education of the public in the simple truths of climate science, and ONLY education of the public, that will bring about an end to the nonsensical hysteria about dangerous, human-caused, global warming that now surrounds us at every turn. 

Bob Carter

UPDATES:

Bob Carter’s preliminary article on Heartland-2 here

Heartland-2: session one here

Heartland-2: session three here 

SOURCES:

Other accounts of the conference have been posted include this and this

The full text of Dick Lindzen’s plenary speech has been posted here

Reviews of Lawrence Solomon’s book, The Deniers, can be found here

The Oregon Petition on Climate Change can be found here