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CCNet 180/2009 - 22 December 2009

Audiatur et altera pars


It is now widely recognised that the misguided Copenhagen Conference was a complete failure. Those political leaders and policy makers who refuse to accept this reality are merely burying their heads in the sand and are forfeiting the trust of the public.  
    --The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 20 December 2009

The world's political leaders, not least President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, are in a state of severe, almost clinical, denial. They insist that what has been achieved in Copenhagen is a breakthrough and a decisive step forward. Just one more heave, just one more venue for the great climate-change traveling circus - Mexico City next year - and the job will be done. Or so we are told. It is, of course, the purest nonsense. The time has come to abandon the Kyoto-style folly that reached its apotheosis in Copenhagen last week, and move to plan B. 
    --Nigel Lawson, The Wall Street Journal, 22 December 2009

The biggest losers of the Copenhagen fiasco appear to be climate science and the scientific establishment who, with a very few distinguished exceptions, have promoted unmitigated climate alarm and hysteria. It confirms beyond doubt that most governments have lost trust in the advice given by climate alarmists and the IPCC. The Copenhagen accord symbolises the loss of political power by Europe whose climate policies have been rendered obsolete.
    --Benny Peiser, The Observer, 20 December 2009

India hailed Tuesday the lack of targets and legally binding measures in the Copenhagen climate accord and vaunted the united front presented by major emerging countries at the chaotic talks. Facing parliament for the first time since the UN talks last weekend in the Danish capital, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said India had "come out quite well in Copenhagen". The Copenhagen accord "bears in mind that the social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries," Ramesh said.
    --AFP, 22 December 2009

Senior Conservatives are to lobby Republicans in the US Senate to persuade them to back a climate emissions Bill. As the Tory leadership struggled to prevent party sceptics from dominating the environmental argument after the Copenhagen summit, David Cameron pledged to continue the work started in Denmark in trying to find a legally binding climate change agreement. Tory environment ministers believe that they can play a role nudging moderate Republicans to support the Bill. Hopes are rising that laws might be agreed before next year's talks in Bonn and Mexico after the Copenhagen accord agreed that emissions reductions will be monitored "with provisions for international consultations and analysis".
    --Sam Coates, The Times, 22 December 2009

CCNet Xtra - 8 December 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars


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CCNet 177/2009 – 29 November 2009
Audiatur et altera pars
Details of a university inquiry into e-mails stolen from scientists at one of the UK's leading climate research units are likely to be made public next week. Announcement of a chair of the inquiry and terms of reference will probably be made on Monday, a source says. Scientists will be scrutinising the choice of chair and the terms of reference. One senior climate scientist told me that the chair would have to be a person accepted by both mainstream climate scientists and sceptics as a highly respected figure without strong connections to either group. There is a risk that some people will not accept the findings of any inquiry unless it is fully independent, as demanded by the former UK Chancellor Lord Lawson earlier in the week.
    --Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 27 November 2009
Six days after Lord Lawson, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the GWPF, called for an independent inquiry into the CRU data affair, it would appear that such a public investigation may now be set up. It will be absolutely crucial that the inquiry is beyond reproach. For this reason, the Global Warming Policy Foundation calls for the inquiry to be carried out by a High Court judge.
    --Benny Peiser, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 28 November 2009
The former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, last week launching his new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, rightly called for a proper independent inquiry into the maze of skulduggery revealed by the CRU leaks. But the inquiry mooted on Friday, possibly to be chaired by Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society – itself long a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause – is far from being what Lord Lawson had in mind. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.
    --Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 29 November 2009
CCNet  - 174/2009 – 15 November 2009   Audiatur et altera pars
Less than half the population believes that human activity is to blame for global warming, according to an exclusive poll for The Times. The revelation that ministers have failed in their campaign to persuade the public that the greenhouse effect is a serious threat requiring urgent action will make uncomfortable reading for the Government as it prepares for next month’s climate change summit in Copenhagen.    
    --Ben Webster and Peter Riddell, The Times, 14 November 2009
Being confronted with the possibility of higher energy bills, wind farms down the road and new nuclear power stations encourages people to question everything about climate change. There is a resistance to change and some people see the problem being used as an excuse to charge them more taxes.”
    --Vicky Pope, Met Office, 14 November 2009
Britain’s new high commissioner, Baroness Valerie Amos, has expressed surprise that Australians are still debating whether humans cause climate change and says other nations have long since ''moved on''. ''I have been surprised that the science itself is being questioned,'' she said. ''These are things where there have been debates over a long period of time in other countries and where we have reached conclusions and moved on.
  --Jonathan Pearlman, The Age, 14 November 2009
It is possible that the collective expertise of brilliant scientists could be wrong. The best minds in the world once held a geocentric theory of the solar system. Before the discovery of sub-atomic particles they believed that everything was made of earth, air, fire and water. Right up to the 19th century, serious scientists wrote recipe books for making animals. But no previous process of scientific trial, error and progress has ever overturned such a well-attested thesis. Lord Rees has reminded us that we now live in a global village and it is, he pointed out, probably inevitable that there will be some global village idiots.
    --The Times editorial on the results of its global warming poll, 14 November 2009
As the world climate summit closes in, scientists monitoring the impact of global warming in the far north have grown frustrated by public apathy and disbelief about the extent of the problem. Jan-Gunnar Winther, director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, regrets that half of the population of Norway “doesn’t believe in climate change,” compared to 97 percent of scientists. “That worries me because the general public has a connection to politicians. They are voters,” he said. “We need to act and it’s the politicians’ responsibility to act.”
    --The Gazette, 11 November 2009
President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific “politically binding” agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future.
    --Helene Cooper, The New York Times, 14 November 2009
Copenhagen "is dead on arrival," said Professor Gwyn Prins, of the London School of Economics, at a meeting of the Hong Kong-based debating forum Intelligence Squared Asia yesterday. "There will be no agreement on legally enforceable targets," said Prins, who has been following climate politics since 1976.
   -- Mary Ann Benitez, The Standard, 12 November 2009
Several Western experts who have conducted studies in the region agree with Raina's nuanced analysis—even if it clashes with IPCC's take on the Himalayas. The "extremely provocative" findings "are consistent with what I have learned independently," says Jeffrey S. Kargel, a glaciologist at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Many glaciers in the Karakoram Mountains, which straddle India and Pakistan, have "stabilized or undergone an aggressive advance," he says, citing new evidence gathered by a team led by Michael Bishop, a mountain geomorphologist at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Kenneth Hewitt, a glaciologist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, who just returned from an expedition to mountain K2, says he observed five glacier advances and a single retreat in the Karakoram. Such evidence "challenges the view that the upper Indus glaciers are ‘disappearing’ quickly and will be gone in 30 years," Hewitt says. "There is no evidence to support this view and, indeed, rates of retreat have been less in the past 30 years than the previous 60 years," he says.
     -- Pallava Bagla, Science Magazine, 13 November 2009

CCNet 172/2009 – 10 November 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars 


For the first time, the Indian government has challenged western research that says global warming has hastened the melting of Himalayan glaciers. On Monday, environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh released a paper saying there was no evidence of such a link. V.K. Raina, a former deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India, wrote the paper, Himalayan Glaciers. “The health of Himalayan glaciers is poor,” Ramesh said. “But according to the paper, the doomsday prediction of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore is also not correct. I want scientists to critique the report.”     --Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, 10 November 2009   

L.M.S. Pani, director, GB Pant Institute for Himalayan Environment and Development, Dehradun, said it was difficult to understand weather changes in the Himalayas when there was just one weather station (in J&K) for the 2,500-km-long range. The Himalayan range is said to have between 9,000 and 12,000 glaciers.     --Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, 10 November 2009    

What the heads of Germany’s major Geo-Research Institutes presented at a conference in Berlin last week was reminiscent of the climate debate a decade ago. It seems as if we have made a big step backwards. The conference "Climate and the Earth System - Answers and Questions from the Earth Sciences" yielded no answers, but raised even more questions as well as strong criticism of the political focus on the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Reinhard Hüttl, the director of the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam more or less accused climate researchers of being alarmist, but without offering clear evidence for it.
     -- Reinhold Leinfelder, Der Tagesspiegel, 10 November 2009   

CCNet 171/2009 – 8 November 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars EXPERTS SAY FEARS SURROUNDING CLIMATE CHANGE ARE OVERBLOWN   

Alarming predictions that climate change will lead to the extinction of hundreds of species may be exaggerated, according to Oxford scientists. They say that many biodiversity forecasts have not taken into account the complexities of the landscape and frequently underestimate the ability of plants and animals to adapt to changes in their environment. “The evidence of climate change-driven extinctions have really been overplayed,” said Professor Kathy Willis. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature backed the article, saying that climate change is “far from the number-one threat” to the survival of most species.      --Hannah Devlin, The Times, 6 November 2009    

The justification for burning heretics was perfectly simple: dissent threatened the survival of society. If there is a moral imperative to preserve the human race, or as much of it as possible, collective consequences must follow. It is not enough for us to do the right thing. Others must as well. But if collective consequences follow, others must be forced to do things against their will by our moral imperatives. Compulsion will be needed but compulsion alone won't do it. People aren't made like that. They need to believe in what they are forced to do.      --Andrew Brown, The Guardian, 6 November 2009   

Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.      --Bertrand Russell    

Burn the heretics! It's the only moral thing to do. Praise be to the green backs and green $cience religion. Roll up roll up, get your carbon indulgences here! Big Al's and honest Tony's global extravaganza, would we lie to you ;-)      --A Guardian reader’s response to Andrew Brown    

‘Al Gore, who art in thy fully offset private jet; Nobel-prized be thy name; thy carbon-free kingdom come; on planet Earth (otherwise known as Gaia) as it should be after Copenhagen; give us this day our daily meat-free diet; and forgive us our emissions, though we don’t forgive any other big fat Americans who emit against us; lead us not into exotic holiday flights; and deliver us from climate denial; for the science is settled. Amen.”      --Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times, 8 November 2009     

It seems likely that Tim Nicholson's achievement in getting climate change classified with the supernatural will do more planetary damage even than a 6,000-mile trip in a 50-year-old Morris Oxford. Some wonder if St Tim has not been possessed by the spirit of Christopher Monckton. For short of the collective apostasy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is hard to imagine a more rewarding episode for sceptics who have always said that environmentalism is a matter of faith, not facts.     --Catherine Bennett, The Observer, 8 November 2009    

What bothers me about Kevin Rudd’s speech is not so much the criticism of people who reject mainstream science. Fine, criticism of them as rolling the dice on a minority view is fair and appropriate. What bothers me is the explicit equation of people who question a policy's effectiveness or desirability with the idea of being a "denier" and thus being "dangerous." Rudd is openly conflating views on science with views on politics. Not only does this further the politicization of science, but it also make a mockery of democratic governance.     --Roger Pielke Jr., 6 November 2009   

CCNet 170/2009 – 6 November 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars  GLOBAL CLIMATE TREATY TO BE DELAYED INDEFINITELY   
Delay is preferable to error.     --Thomas Jefferson    

A world treaty on climate change will be delayed by up to a year and is likely to be watered down because countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions are refusing to commit to legally binding reductions. The admission that no treaty will be signed at Copenhagen marks the failure of the process agreed at a UN meeting in Bali in December 2007, when industrialised countries agreed to deliver a binding climate-change agreement within two years.   --Ben Webster, The Times, 6 November 2009    

Nitin Desai, a member of Manmohan Singh's council on climate change and a former top UN official, said a hard-nosed concession-based negotiation to reach a global consensus on how to combat global warming would likely founder.    --James Lamont, Financial Times, 6 November 2009   

The deadline for 192 countries to complete a new global-warming accord may slip by as much as one year, as negotiators hold back on pledges to slash emissions or pay financial aid to poor nations.     --Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 6 November 2009    
We must all be willing to disagree about climate change; and respect each other for it.     --Mike Hulme, 5 November 2009  

A British judge has decided that belief in human influence on climate has the status of religious conviction. This is being celebrated as a success by some activists. As a scientist who works on climate change, I find it deeply alarming. Is Jeremy Clarkson similarly entitled to protection if he declares himself a conscientious objector and wants to keep his 4x4?   --Myles Allen, The Guardian, 5 November 2009    

The Times newspaper says it won't be repeating an advertisement that contained a false and misleading piece of environmental alarmism. The advert, part of a series boasting its eco-credentials, claimed that the world's oceans would be free of fish by 2048. Boris Pope had made the claim in a 2006 paper in Science, which despite its reputation as a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, has a weakness for publishing shoddy junk science on environmental subjects. He's since recanted.     --Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 6 November 2009   

Politicians use drama to build support and gain a reaction from the public. Look at the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” campaign over the Iraq war. And certain climate change activists have distorted facts about global warming, appealing to sentiment rather than logic, to scare citizens into believing their theories of impending apocalypse. Such tactics have undermined the scientific credibility of their argument but may still carry the day, enforcing a terrifying upheaval to our way of life. Their persuasive narrative – even if it is wrong – shows starkly the power of emotion.    --Luke Johnson, Financial Times, 3 November 2009   

CCNet 169/2009 - 5 November 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars


Republican victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races may make some congressional Democrats more leery of backing key elements of President Obama's agenda because of the political price they could pay, analysts said.  Democrats in competitive House districts, many of them already cautious about Obama's push to curb emissions blamed for global warming, might be more resistant to move ahead on the measures and face attacks from a newly energized Republican Party, the analysts said.
    --Jonathan D. Salant, Bloomberg, 5 November 2009

Already-skittish moderate Democrats in Congress got fresh reasons Wednesday to worry about their votes on legislation from the election results in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats from swing states feel new pressure not to be perceived as too liberal. That may impede Democratic leaders' efforts to pass climate change emissions-control legislation.
   --David Lightman , McClatchy Newspapers, 4 November 2009

As Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., pushes global warming legislation forward, some Democrats were showing a hint of frustration with their party's agenda.
    --Susan Ferrechio, San Francisco Examiner, 4 November 2009

Obama will still be president for another three years, but the mystique is gone. Being the President's "partner" on his radical agenda is not a winning position. That is a huge blow to Obama and his agenda, as Democrats now have to consider unpopular bills for ObamaCare and cap-and-trade in an entirely new light. If they fall in behind Obama instead of listening to their constituents, they will find themselves in retirement after the 2010 midterms. That's the big lesson, and it will not be lost on moderate Democrats.
   --Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, 4 November 2009

In effect, the centre-left's climate policy is gradually pricing the working and lower-middle classes out of their comfort zone. With these core voters counting the rising cost of green taxes, tariffs and restrictions, their chances of re-election are dwindling. Labour's fundamental miscalculation has been to bank on the strength of the environmental movement and climate change anxiety in an attempt to "modernize" its agenda. Britain's Labour government may believe that its climate policies are saving the planet. But in the process they are destroying the foundations of the party.
    --Benny Peiser, Financial Post, 27 May 2008

Centre left politicians in Britain and Germany, the new leader of the German social democrats, Sigmar Gabriel and the Labour Ministers David and Ed Miliband seem seriously to believe that climate change will be the new mass mobilizing topic and will help saving their parties too. A more likely outcome is that this strategy will neither save the centre left nor will it help to save the planet. Such a strategy seems to drive away voters fearful of losing the lifestyle of mobility, warmth and comfort.
   -- Jürgen Krönig, German British Forum, 20 October 2009

CCNet Xtra – 30 October 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars


The EU has agreed a conditional deal on how to help other nations fight global warming, ahead of a key climate summit, but set no figure on what it would pay. The EU agreed climate change would need 100bn euros ($148bn; £90bn) a year by 2020, and would pay its "fair share", conditional on other nations. UK PM Gordon Brown said the EU was leading the way with bold proposals. No cost targets for individual EU nations were announced and the initial funding will be voluntary. Brown insisted that all these funding targets would be conditional on other richer countries making funding offers and on developing countries showing how they would spend the money.
   --BBC News, 30 October 2009

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the agreement was "an important breakthrough that brings new momentum". He said the EU nations had "agreed a negotiating mandate" for the Copenhagen climate talks. "Next week, we'll meet the US president and will say 'let's make Copenhagen a success'," Mr Barroso said.
   --BBC News, 30 October 2009

The agreement is a model of political negotiation, in that each national leader gets to go home and report victory to their domestic audiences. Brown, the UK prime minister, gets the credit for forcing through an overall figure, while the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, can point out that Europe has not actually committed itself to provide any specific funds, keeping that card up its sleeve. Meanwhile the heads of the member states most reluctant to put their hands in their pockets, such as Poland, have won concessions on what they are expected to pay upfront.
    --David Adam, The Guardian, 30 October 2009

CCNet 162/2009 – 21 October 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars


Scientists using a network of ground sensors emplaced in Antarctica say that NASA satellites have overestimated the amount of ice that is melting and running off into the ocean from the polar continent.
   --Lewis Page, The Register, 20 October 2009

With the clock running out and deep differences unresolved, it now appears that there is little chance that international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December will produce a comprehensive and binding new treaty on global warming.
   --John M Broder, The New York Times, 21 October 2009

Discord reigned supreme at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday, with the most notable failure in the area of climate financing. Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken described the meeting as a "fiasco", adding that the likelihood of failing to secure a global deal in Copenhagen this December to replace the Kyoto protocol was now "very real."
    --Andrew Willis, EUObserver, 21 October 2009

The UN climate conference in Copenhagen will not succeed to agree on a new international treaty under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Instead, the meeting must reach agreement to set up a structure of a deal with technical details to be filled in later, says the UN top climate negotiator. "A fully fledged new international treaty under the [UN Framework] Convention [on Climate Change] – I do not think that is going to happen," Yvo de Boer says.
   --Marianne Bom, COP15, 20 October 2009

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CCNet 160/2009 – 16 October 2009 -- Audiatur et altera pars


President Obama must intervene personally to rescue a proposed global deal on climate change that is hanging in the balance, the British Energy and Climate Change Secretary has told The Times.
  --Ben Webster and Giles Whittell, The Times, 16 October 2009

As talks stall on a successor to the Kyoto climate change protocol, negotiators point the finger at each other — and Europe says the U.S. could kill a deal. "The EU is briefing against the U.S., but they aren't doing anything where it matters — attacking the U.S. position in the talks themselves," said one party close to the negotiations.
   --Leigh Phillips, Business Week, 16 October 2009

The EU's top climate negotiator [and CCNet-member], freshly back in Brussels from late-in-the-game talks in Thailand, has warned of a near stalemate in discussions. Mr Runger-Metzger attempted to shift the blame to Washington. "You may have heard that China accused the EU of killing off the Kyoto Protocol," he told the Brussels journalists. "But it is the U.S. that is trying to kill it."
   --Leigh Phillips, Business Week, 16 October 2009

Ignore the provocative headline, for Paul Hudson's piece was, in fact, scrupulously fair. In climatic terms, a 10-year trend proves nothing –it, as many scientists argue, could be a mere variation on the graph showing an inexorable rise in average temperatures. But interestingly, Hudson pointed out that none of the climate models beloved by meteorologists forecast the present temperature trend. It is sobering to note that environmentalists are demanding that we damage our economy and make the poor poorer on the back of climate models that have been proved, in the short term at least, to be wrong.
   --Bill Carmichael, Yorkshire Post, 15 October 2009

While dramatic reductions in Arctic sea ice have fuelled concern about global warming and led to more dire predictions about how soon the ice could disappear, the issue has provoked controversy among scientists. Earlier this year, Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office said "apocalyptic predictions" about the course of global warming could mislead the public. She said there was little evidence to support claims that Arctic ice has reached a tipping point and could disappear within a decade or so, as some reports have suggested. "The record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer ice increasing again over the next few years," she said.
   --David Adam, The Guardian, 15 October 2009

International donors and nongovernmental organizations, as well as national governments and charities, have often acted, under the banner of environmental conservation, in a way that has unwittingly destroyed the very social capital — shared relationship, norms, knowledge and understanding — that has been used by resource users to sustain the productivity of natural capital over the ages.
   --Elinor Ostrom, Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Economics

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