Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fakegate or Deniergate?

The battle of the gates is more than a silly bit of trivia. Climategate stuck as a name, and it continues to resonate. After the initial release of the Heartland documents, the alarmist camp was almost wetting itself because finally they had a gate of their own - Deniergate. Here was the one word which they hoped would eventually eclipse the running sore that is Climategate. Alas, for the warmists, Deniergate itself was eclipsed by Gleick's confession (after he was outed by the sceptic blogosphere) and the announcement that the smoking gun document was a fake. Now there's a new gate on the block - Fakegate.

A quick Google this morning shows that Deniergate gets 70,400 results, while Fakegate has already surged ahead with 325,000 results. Tough luck warmists...

However, both of these are still far behind Climategate, which on my spot check still gets 2,920,000 results.

Update: Just checked to see how one of the other climate-related -gates compares. Amazongate - a relatively minor affair in the IPCCs continuing sink to the bottom - gets a lively 191,000 results.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Poverty of The Left

Far be it for me to suggest that what passes for 'the Left' in this country is reactionary, backward looking and a force for conservatism, but what else can one say when the following arrives in an email from Pluto Press...
Get Political Campaign - key activists urge engagement with Trotsky, Lenin and Luxemburg

Fifty key figures on the left, including China MiƩville, Lindsey German, Ken Loach, Suzi Weissman, Michael Yates and Immanuel Ness, have backed a Pluto Press campaign urging activists fighting for the 99% against the 1% to draw inspiration from the lives and writings of three giants of 20th-century political change: Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg and VI Lenin.
Yep, from the whole of the 20th century and what we've had so far of the 21st, these 'key figures' can only hark back to the period around the Bolshevik coup in Russia. This is a form of politics immune to history, knowledge or experience. It ignores both the failure of every form of state socialism and central planning ever attempted and the huge advance of economic development since the early 20th century. It even ignores any developments from the non-Leninist left.

Nope, it's still the same old cant on offer:
The Get Political campaign statement argues that 'It will not be a simple thing to win the battle of democracy...Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin were among the most perceptive and compelling revolutionaries of the 20th century. The body of analysis, strategy and tactics to which they contributed was inseparable from the mass struggles of their time. Critically engaging with their ideas can enrich the thinking and practical activity of those involved in today's and tomorrow's struggles for a better world.'
Note the use of the word democracy there. How well does that sit with Lenin and co? Remember, Lenin is the architect of 'democratic centralism', 'the dictatorship of the proletariat' and other zany ideas that ultimately lead to the murder of millions all over the world.

Have these 'key thinkers' - the vast majority of them being salaried academics and/or aligned to the Socialist Workers Party - really not learned anything at all? Sure they have... Why, the campaign is also part of a commercial endeavour by Pluto Press, who are flogging a new set of books off the back of it. Good to know that at least some elements of free market thinking have got through...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Faster than light neutrinos - not proven

So it looks like the faster than light neutrino experiment may have been wrong after all - just as most people suspected. Now what's interesting is that if ever there's an example of someone going against the scientific consensus then this has to be it - big time. And yet not once did I see anyone insisting that there was 'consensus' on the speed of light. Nobody called the team responsible for the experiment 'Einstein deniers'. The scientific societies didn't issue statements insisting that it was irresponsible to speculate that Einstein might be wrong. No papers were denied publication and no journal editors were pushed out of their jobs. Hell, from what I can see nobody was even ostracised for daring to suggest that neutrinos could break the light barrier.

Isn't this how science is supposed to work?
Isn't this precisely what we don't see when it comes to 'climate science'?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Russian Heatwave Due To CO2?

Having covered the Heartland affair early on, Richard Black of the BBC has been notcieably silent on the follow up. No news of the Gleick confession or the fact that Gleick's career is imploding - for example he's been dropped from the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) task Force on Scientific Integrity. Black is resolutely looking the other way, even when he's been directly challenged on it on his Twitter feed.

It was while checking on Black's Twitter feed that I saw mention of a story that says the Russian heatwave can be explained as part natural and part global warming. Or in Black's Tweet:
Latest on Russian heatwave - natural or human-driven? New AGU paper says a bit of both - extreme temp risk x3 from AGW
Follow the link and you get a story on the AGU website:
Russian heat wave had both manmade and natural causes
Now that's a fairly definite headline - and it's in contrast to previous studies that explained the heatwave as being due to natural weather phenomena and not AGW. Attribution - assigning causes to specific weather events - is a big deal. If scientists can pin the blame on climate disasters to CO2 then that's a major step forward in convincing the unconvinced masses that the AGW hyopthesis is not just a massive scam.

So how have they untangled the complex mix of factors that can partially pin the blame for the heatwave on human CO2 emissions?

Well, the short answer is that they haven't. What they've done is run a series of simulations and compared results. In one set of simulations they used data said to represent the 1990s, in the other they ran data said to represent the 2000s. The results showed that the chances of a comparable heatwave occuring were three times greater in the later set of simulations.

Yes, that's all there is to it. You run a model one way, tweak the inputs and run it again and then compare the results. You don't actually look in detail at the specifics of the real heatwave that happened. You don't look at the weather patterns or anything like that. You run two sets of simulations and just note that in the second set you can get some of the characteristics of a heat wave occuring more often.

I don't need to labour the obvious inadequacies of this. I don't need to point out the inherent uncertainties involved in such a process.

But where is the hint of this uncertainty in that headline or in Richard Black's Tweet? Where is there anything to indicate that this is all based on software and models?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sceptic Blogosphere Devours Gleick

Peter Gleick's confession that he lied to obtain the Heartland documents - though at present he's insisting that he didn't fake the key document that has the warmists ablaze with righteous anger - is welcome. It would have carried a bit more weight had he not already been fingered as the most likely candidate by Steven Mosher, Roger Pielke and innumerable sceptic bloggers. Now that he's confessed, he'll be wanting to clear his name of the forgery charge by allowing some IT forensic analysis to be done on his computers and servers. It should be fairly straightforward to establish that the forged document arrived unbidden and wasn't just rustled up on his machine...

The whole affair casts an interesting light on the whole climate wars front, particularly on the asymmetry of forces.

While the warmists were over the moon about the Heartland documents because it shed a light on the perceived nefarious forces fighting 'climate science', what they revealed instead was the petty cash available to the sceptic side. When cast next to the millions of dollars available to the climate orthodox from governments, transnational bodies (the UN and the EU, for example), from chairtable foundations and big-dollar environmentalists (Greenpeace, WWF etc), the money available to sceptics is tiny. I mean really, really, really tiny.

And it's not just the money, it's also the media. The climate orthodox have at their disposal most of the world's mass media - from the bastions of climate alarmism at the BBC and the Guardian, to well-funded web sites such as RealClimate, DeSmogBlog and others.

And yet, despite the money and the media, the climate alarmists know they are losing support. Despite everything that they have done to subvert peer review - and the Climategate emails showed us what was going on, warts and all, without the need to resort to forgeries - more and  more papers are being published which cast doubt on the alarmism. The public perceives the lack of warming and the message that there is still so much doubt about what we do know is getting across. The only way for the alarmists to explain this process, despite the clear disparity of forces, is by an appeal to conspiracy theory. As the Guradian puts it, in its story about Gleick's confession, there is...
a network of fossil fuel interests, rightwing think tanks and politicians have been working to block action on climate change

Monday, February 20, 2012

Greek General Election Cancelled?

If, as looks increasingly certain, the next EU bail-out of Greece goes through, then it is almost inevitable that all attention in Brussels will switch to stopping a Greek general election. Having been completely sold down the river by it's political class, the Greek people are inevitably going to be looking to those parties that reject the imposed austerity. For now it looks like the hope lies on the Left, with the Communists and other leftists doing well in the polls. If Merkel was leant on to get her to agree to the bail-out, then her domestic standing will plummet if a rejectionist government takes hold and renounces the terms of the bailout. And those who pushed most stringly to keep Greece in the fold, will also suffer badly in their own domestic politics.

All this means that the only way to keep the peace - and the existence of the EU - is to stop a Greek general election from taking place. In days gone by the army would have stepped in. But this is the EU, there's no need for that kind of thing anymore. Instead we should look to see what pressure is applied to those elements of the left who'll prefer to stick with the EU rather than risk 'chaos'. And this is the trump card that the Euro class has got - there's a lot of people who fear the chaos that would emerge should a new government simply renounce eveything and go for a fast exit from the Euro and the EU. It's this fear of chaos and the anarchy on the streets that the right will seize upon, ably abetted by the existing unelected powers that be.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Greece Should Look To Iceland

Here's an interesting little snippet from the BBC...

Iceland is safe to invest in again, according to Fitch, which has upgraded its credit rating three years after its economy spectacularly collapsed.
It's almost text book stuff. Economy collapses under a mountain of debt. Country living beyond its means. It's the end of the world etc etc. Currency collapses and no one is willing to touch Iceland with a bargepole.

With a collapsed currency exports are cheap and start to pick up. Because of the disaster the government is even allowed to borrow and delays implementing the kind of austerity being foisted on the Greeks.

So, remind me again why Greece should remain in the Euro?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Heartland Non-Story

OK. I've looked at the Heartland documents that were filched (as highlighted by the ever delightful Richard Black of the BCC) and put online. I've looked again. But I'm obviously missing something. So, please can someone point me to the documents that do the following:

  • talk about subverting the peer review process
  • gloat at the death of warmist scientists
  • talk about punching opposing scientists in the face
  • discuss how to hide the decline (oops, I mean how to hide the massive increasing in global temperatures)
  • discuss ways of getting pesky journal editors fired
  • discuss ways of getting opposing scientists fired from their academic positions
  • talk about ways of giving each other more awards and prizes
  • privately discuss their doubts about scepticism while publicly villifying anyone who expresses such doubts
  • work out how to hide problematic papers from the NIPCC report

I've looked, but all I can find are some rather mundane documents that talk about trifling sums of money compared to the millions rolling into the warmist camp.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Wish I'd Said That

More rottenness is put forth in the name of Science because of the twisted cogitations of statisticians than because of any other cause.
So sayeth the inimitable William Briggs in a piece entitled Why Do Statisticians Answer Silly Questions That No One Ever Asks?. It confirms, once again, that he is the one statistician above all others worth reading. Even if, or possibly especially if, you distrust statistics and statisticians then Briggs is someone you need to investigate.

Well, him and Deirdre McCloskey (and to see why, take a looksie here:

Monday, February 13, 2012

All Eyes To Greece

All eyes should be on Greece again. Looking at the scenes in Athens last night the heart goes out to the protestors fighting in the streets while the political class sells the country further down the river. Mass protest and a refusal to submit is the only option now. The country is being reduced to poverty for generations while the politicians show once again that they are not Greeks but EUroperans.

There's no doubt that many on the streets view their fight as one against 'capitalism'. The Anarchists, who are leading much of the street fighting, see this in simple terms as a fight against 'neo-liberalism' or the 'tyranny of the market' and so on. And it's not just the Anarchists, the same is being said by the Greek Communists (KKE) and the other leftist parliamentarians (who are as scared by the Anarchists as the rest of the political class). However, this is anything but a fight against capitalism, the fact that so many people think so shows how successful the political class has been in shifting the blame from themselves to the faceless market.

What we have in Greece and the rest of the EU, including the UK, is not free market capitalism. We have a system of corporatism. It is an alliance of a liberal political establishment, headquartered in Brussels but with local branches in every captial city in the EU, a set of favoured corporate allies and NGOs and a compliant media. Call it crony capitalism, state capitalism, corporatism, market socialism or whatever, but it's not free market capitalism by a long shot. What we have in EUrope is the biggest experiment in anti-democratic statism since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This system is founded above all on an avoidance of democracy, it is about technocratic and bureaucratic control by an entrenched political class. And it is for this reason that even someone who is pro-market and pro-capitalist can support the anti-capitalists fighting in the streets of Athens.

Greece needs to default. Greece needs to bring down the Euro. And with the Euro down we can hope that the flames will be fanned across Europe to destroy the EU as a whole.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The BBC And Himalayan Glacier Melt

The projected melting of the Himalayan glaciers has long been a key weapon in the armoury of climate alarmism. It has long been one of those 'everyone knows...' arguments, such that anyone doubting it could be accused of wilful ignorance, denial or, most famously of practicing 'voodoo science', as Rajendra Pachauri of the IPCC famously put it. And of course, the BBC has been at the forefront of the alarmist bandwagon - trumpeting again and again that the galciers were melting.

So, it is a major embarassment to warmists everywhere that once again nature refuses to play ball. As has been reported extensively, and covered with some glee on the Watts Up With That, Autonomous Mind and other sceptic sites. ANd, to be fair, it has also been covered on much of the mainstream press, including a detailed report in the Guardian.

The BBC, however, has chosen not to report the story. No sign of it on the website at all. Not even a Tweet from Richard Black, who finds the time to Tweet on letters to the Wall Street Journal attacking AGW sceptics. This is the same BBC that has, in the past, published articles on the publication of obscure papers that attempted to debunk Henrik Svensmark, that publishes prolifically on every alarmist claim that is made, and which prides itself on keeping us informed about all matters climate related.

So, once again we find that our state broadcaster attempts to shape the agenda and to shield those who get their news from it from any disquieting stories that might dent the public's appetite for climate disaster. The rule seems to be that climate porn is fine, but anything that suggests catastrophe is not looming is hidden from view.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Maldives Coup

Can we now expect the new President of the Maldives to follow his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed and hold a cabinet meeting underwater? Is this something that should be enshrined in the constitution? After all, if it is to secure its place on the world stage as a laughing stock that will resort to any stunt to raise some funds, it will need to keep piling on the pressure. Perhaps the new President can have the old one drowned so that he could be proclaimed a victim of global warming? Perhaps the army can help here, and drown all those it doesn't like. A few floating bodies in time for the next underwater cabinet meeting will focus minds inside and outside the country...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Consensus Not Important - Unless It Supports AGW

After having been told for years that there was consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), and that anyone who stood outside of this consensus was a crank, paid industry shill or a right-wing contrarian, it now appears that consensus isn't so important after all. So says Richard Black, blogging on the BBC website. Argument from authority, which is what the appeal to consensus is, has been the key plank of the AGW for so long that it's hard to imagine life without it. The entire IPCC process was about creating the illusion of consensus. A huge part of the Climategate email stash is all about perverting the course of peer review and academic freedom in the name of fostering the illusion of consensus.

At the same time, sceptics have both disputed the existence of consensus and the importance of it should it exist. Against consensus they have argued that the scientific method does not depend on a popularity contest. Largely it's an argument that has been ignored or rubbished by the mainstream media, particularly the BBC.

So, what should we make of Richard Black suddenly appropriating a key sceptic argument? He actually says:
But it is surely the arguments themselves that ought to be the focus for discussion - not what they purport to say about a cracking consensus.
Absolutely true, but he comes to it only as the weight of numbers in the climate debate starts to turn. The number of people willing to voice criticism of AGW orthodoxy is growing rapidly. The line that they are all cranks or have been bought off can no longer be sustained. At which point we should expect to see more and more warmists adopting Black's strategy. The line will now become - 'we never claimed consensus is important'. Soon it will be that they've always had some doubts about the most alarmist claims, but that the broad truth of the greenhouse effect is true (as though most sceptics disputed it), and that warming is real (again, most sceptics will agree that there has been some warming over the last few hundred years).

Also likely to happen is the fall-back position that although catastrophic global warming is unlikely to happen, CO2 needs to be controlled for other reasons - with ocean acidification likely to be the new line in the ground.

In any case, we can expect that the luke-warmist position will be in the ascendant.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Where should Chris Huhne serve his sentence?

Here's your chance to indicate where you think our former secretary for Energy and Climate Change should serve time - assuming he's found guilty. Take a look at the poll on the front page of this blog and make your choice. Go on, where do you think he'd be happiest...

About bloody time...

Finally it's been announced that the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, is to be charged with perverting the course of justice. About time. We look forward to the resignation.

We also hope that his replacement will be less wedded to climate change mania and that we can look forward to someone who will take the brakes off regarding shale gas. But nobody's holding their breath. Despite some small signs of change recently, the fact remains that our political class is the last refuge of climate change orthodoxy...

Perhaps now that Obama has deleted climate change from the political lexicon in the United States, we can have a new Energy secretary who does the same.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Thank You WUWT

There's a good piece by Pat Michaels over at the Cato Institute about Obama's headlong retreat from 'climate change' as a major theme of his presidency. Michaels, who has long been on the alarmists hit list as a major 'denier', suggests that a major factor in this is the Watts Up With That website.

How could disagree? WUWT is a big player and outranks the alarmist sites both in visitors and influence. It's a fantastic resource, and we all owe a big vote of thanks to Anthony Watts and his helpers and contributors. If ever you needed an exemplar of what citizen science is all about then WUWT is it.