Wednesday, October 24, 2007

BBC Highlights CO2 Growth

As per usual the BBC has given a good deal of prominence to the story that researchers have found an 'unexpected' growth in CO2 levels (about 35% faster than expected since 2000). This is put down to a combination of decreased fuel efficiency and a reduction in natural CO2 sinks (which the BBC high-lighted in a separate story a few days previously).

However, nowhere in the story do the obvious questions get asked. Firstly there's no mention of just what the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is. 35% sounds like a big number, but given the low level of CO2 in the atmosphere and the prominence of water vapour in the greenhouse effect the numbers won't look so alarming.

But the big question is this. If the level of atmospheric CO2 has been rising faster than expected in the last seven years, where is the corresponding increase in temperature? Global warming seems to have stalled during this period of unexpectedly high CO2 increases. Surely you'd expect to see some correlation, even if you believe that there's a time lag... You can bet that if there had been any evidence of a correlation it would have been trumpeted from the roof-tops.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Race, IQ and Political Cowardice

So much for scientific debate and the willingness of academia to challenge ideas. The decision by the Science Museum to drop the talk by James Watson (of double-helix DNA fame), because of his objectionable views on race is down-right idiotic. Instead of cancelling the talk they should have invited scientists to debate the point that black people are less intelligent than white. You don't tackle bad ideas by refusing to debate them. Watson's a reactionary bigot by all accounts, but he's a molecular biologist not a neuro-scientist or psychologist.

Yet again academia reveals itself to be a timorous world ruled by a pervasive political correctness that outlaws debate on any issue that it deems offensive - from race to gender to climate change. Bad ideas should be attacked and demolished by better ideas, not by political sensibilities.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nobel Piss Prize

Really, my honest reaction is just to howl. What more can you say about the Nobel Peace Prize handed out to Al Gore and the IPCC? This in the same week that a British court ruled that the Gore-film is riddled with inaccuracies and down-right lies. Predictably Gore's defence team in the British media have rushed to (1) play down the ruling, (2) admit that lying may necessary in the cause of a 'higher truth' and (3) start the process of demolishing the reputation of the man who brought the case to court in the first place.

This process is being carried out by the same people who screamed blue murder when Channel 4 attempted to redress the balance by showing the Great Global Warming Swindle. They complained about inaccuracies and smears in that film, yet are willing to defend the same from Gore. Let's not forget that Martin Durkin's film isn't the one being shown to school kids as though it's gospel truth.

And it's not just Gore, the IPCC is now the latter-day Vatican. It alone is the infallible voice of authority, forever to be believed and never to be doubted.

For a while it has looked like the 'man-made global warming' myth was starting to unravel. There's been a stream of papers that have poked great big holes in the theory, and the empirical evidence has been pointed away from warming towards cooling. Now, in one fell-swoop the Warmists have stolen a march on the opposition and granted themselves another badge of legitimacy. What's more it's enabled the alarmists to rally the troops and prepare themselves for victory.

If there's one hope it's that the backlash against Gore will spill over into a backlash against the IPCC itself.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The impartial BBC

Despite its own report into impartiality specifically criticising the BBC for its record on climate change, there does not appear to have been any fundamental shift on display. The BBC continues to report the most alarmist of stories, cherry-picks which scientific articles or papers to report on and injects a 'global warming' angle into every conceivable subject.

For example, the Lockwood and Froehlich paper from the Royal Society Proceedings was reported prominently with the headline 'No Sun link' to climate change. This was splashed across the main BBC news page, as well as the Science and Technology page (where it remained for some time). The story carried no dissenting views, and several very strong quotes from Lockwood. The paper has subsequently been criticised heavily in several places, (here, here and now, finally, with a response by Svensmark and Friis-Christensen. Can we hope to see the BBC giving even a mention to the rebuttal of Lockwood and Froehlich's paper? Rather than there being 'no sun' link to climate change (which is a patently ridiculous headline anyway), it is clear that the science is far from settled.

To take another example, the BBC has been heavily reporting the recent news of Arctic ice-melting. Again, the tone is both partial and hysterical. However, has there been any report based on the NASA story that the melting might be due to wind patterns (with no mention of CO2)? Nope. Not a bit of it. If the story had been about CO2 causing the melt (which is what the imply in most of the BBC reports), then there's little doubt it would have been front page news.

In the same way, the story earlier in the year that black carbon (soot) may be responsible for a significant portion of the apparent global warming was missed by the BBC completely.

Despite paying lip service to impartiality, the BBC remains one of the most biased voices reporting on climate change. BBC? It really does stand for Broadcasters for Banning Carbon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nobody could be that stupid...

You would think that the disaster that is Iraq - and let's face it, nobody could seriously describe it as anything but a disaster - would be enough to make even the most hawkish voices in the US and UK stop and think. But here we are desperately trying to extricate ourselves from the mess and there are some who are making a serious push for war against Iran. Nobody could be that stupid, could they?

What we've done to Iraq is criminal, and Blair and Bush deserve to be tried as the war criminals that they are. But now the same voices that pushed us to that war are edging us ever closer to confrontation with Iran. Bush and Blair are the biggest recruiting sergeants Islamists have ever had, and now they want to up the ante again.

There's a good piece on the Cato Institute site that outlines some of this. Here in the UK it seems to be the Daily Telegraph that is most vocal in this campaign.

This isn't to say that we shouldn't oppose the Islamist regime, nor that we should be happy about the nuclear issue. But war isn't the answer, it'll just make the problems much, much worse.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A public good from a private need

There's a nice little story on the other end of the link to the BBC news site. It shows how anti-spammer measures on interactive websites are being used to verify the digitisation of old books. It's a neat example of a private need (to keep spammers off web site forums) results in a public good (old books digitised and made available to all).