17 December 2009

Whether to report on weather reports?

With supposedly the largest ever gathering of national leaders in Copenhagen at COP 15 imminent, just as the whole global anti-carbon push seems to be unravelling, it's worth contemplating the role of reporters in this.

Apparently there could be up to 30,000 journalists in Copenhagen right now. Though many of them appear not to be getting access to any of the weighty deliberations in the Bella Centre. There is however some news that is falling on the very noses of these journalists.

It is snowing in Copenhagen (and London, and Paris, and Warsaw, and ... Nice ? ).

Ah. A white Christmas for the World's leaders ... sleigh bells in the snow. So where are all the usual soppy colour pieces from our news gathers during the slow Christmas silly season? After all Copenhagen is all about climate isn't it. What could be more climate-ish than snow in winter in friendly Copenhagen?

Nah. Not here in Australia. Instead cricket. Is it possible that it might finally dawning on at least some of these tens of thousands of journalists, that the Free World's main media outlets may have missed the really big story here? We have been duped.

But how can the mainstream media report this now? It would first take a major mea culpa, for the mainstream media have been complicit in this, by their almost complete failure to adequately scrutinise the offerings of our political classes. One possible line could be that they should be forgiven because it has been a noble attempt by the world's current ruling elites to save the planet against all odds, and the World's political Leaders needed the support of the media if they were ever to acheive such an ambitious collective act of will. They were only seeking to forge a new moral high ground from which to prevent humans from excessively pursuing their own personal prosperity at the cost of the greater collective good. But it now looks like this noble experiment is collapsing. So as journalists now find themselves needing to change tack, and start to paw over the entrails of this monumental failure, they'll find themselves compelled to tell us why it occured and why it failed. Sure some of them will just continue to blame the sceptics, but that does look a bit like blaming Christians for getting eaten by lions.

But for those who want to do their job, here's a bit of help for mainstream media folk whose focus has been elsewhere until now. This is just from some of today's random droppings, gleaned from the intertubes:

- Something's rotten in Denmark;

- Climategate - reversing the onus of proof;

- Eastangliaemails.com;

- The day the thermometer music died;

- Icing the hype;

- Is the U.S. temperature Record Reliable;

- Climategate's Harry_Read_Me.txt: We All Really Should;

- Central Park Temperature - Three radically different US Government versions;

And I haven't even read today's offerings at wattsupwiththat.com, climateaudit.com, Bishop Hill or climatedebatedaily.com, where someone could probably find much more even juicier material, if truly interested in unearthing controversial cover ups in high places on this.

There should be more than enough stuff there for intrepid searchers for climate truth to get stuck into. Recycle it or ridicule it in your organs for social justice and making a difference. So, even if reporters can't get access to the Bella Centre today, they could still strike a blow. There could even be a Pulitzer in it for someone . It would require some relentless investigative hound to pull some of the disparate threads together, but they might really be onto something here, Woodward and Bernstein style.

And this would also be truly transgressive, which should appeal to that disaffected radicalised cafe intellectual self image of the journalistic persona. After all the IPCC received a Nobel Peace Prize for promoting this stuff and Albert Gore Junior got an Academy Award for his doco on it. How much more mainstream could it be?

And such an expose would truly be taking on the establishment as there is enough hypocrisy, emptiness and raw power lust in this climate racket to sate any bloodhound's appetite. And it would not even be necessary to put aside personal commitments to climate justice (just get the tone right: ... more in sorrow then in anger...). It would help though if all those apocalyptic climate nightmare scenarios that have been useful as storyline hooks up to now, could be ditched, at least temporarily.

Come on. Show us your mettle you journalistic wimps.

14 December 2009

News: "The Economist " behind climate data fudging

Tell me what's wrong with my header? Yeah, yeah, I know its unimaginative, badly parsed and amateurish, but it fits, and I can write it without making up a story to fit it. That's the point.

Is any one other than me absolutely gobsmacked that The Economist has taken upon itself the duty of publishing an article purporting to rebut the science in Willis Eschenbach's recent piece on instrumental temperature data adjustment at a Darwin weather station? The anonymous person who wrote the Economist article even admits they are unqualified to form any definitive view, but don't think that stops them from espousing a definitive view.

And for goodness sake, what kind of flagrant hypocrisy is it for a journalist to write a first person attack, in a supposedly august journal like The Economist, questioning the integrity and competence of another commentator in a live debate, without the author even giving the readers the benefit of the author's own name? Sheeze one of the issues being addressed is the integrity of the peer review process! The Economist needs to take a good hard look at itself. How can they not see that they will continue to lose credibility and readers very quickly, if they persist in publicly flaunting such hypocritical cant, when purporting to report on a vital issue the world is thirsty for reliable coverage of.

It's of a kind with the Associated Press writing a piece today on the findings of an investigation into the Climategate emails, which was published around the world, effectively saying that although the Climategate emails might make the scientists look petty, we can, rest assured, know that there was no fraud here. Move along. Nothing to see.

Thanks for that AP. So who did the investigation? Oh, it was by the AP itself. Well that's reassuring, not. It's not like they have an interest in one side or the other in this debate do they? Well, setting aside the AP's own partisan reporting history in this debate (no small issue), it even transpires that one of the guys who did AP's Climategate "investigation" and who co-authored its piece, is also the author of one of the Climategate emails himself. An email that, it turns out, started a thread of online dialogue within the CRU about trying to minimize the effects of an article to be published in a peer reviewed journal by another scientist the CRU didn't like. How's this for a case of conducting an investigation into yourself and giving yourself an all clear? So even if AP has decided there was no fraud at the CRU, what about at AP?

Aren't these news journals supposed to report the news, not make it? Where have the adults gone at these international news selling entities? Why hasn't an editor or a publisher told these reporters that it's not good for the paper's brand to be seen by its readers openly declaring partiality to a cause in reporting on an unfolding debate.

Don't they get that the we can see the stark hypocrisy and lack of integrity in such behaviour, and will think the less of the them for it? And yet they seem to flaunt it.

Do they really believe that openly supporting the political agenda of reducing world carbon emissions, is more important than supporting their vocation's responsibility to inform readers what's going on in a debate over carbon's effects on climate? And even if they do, are these journals so lacking in respect for their readers that they think they will be cut slack, when they are so publicly unprofessional?

The press has become the story itself. They have misused the trust we naturally give them to inform us, from habit and affection. I'm told the 100 year old plus Editor and Publisher magazine in the US has just been closed. No prizes for guessing where its editorial skew went in its dying years: supporting causes in the news. It even ran an article in August 2007 entitled: Climate Change: Get Over Objectivity, Newspapers .

AP and The Economist certainly took that advice to heart. But when their own industry journal goes under after deciding to become part of the news, instead of reporting on it, you'd reckon the people in the industry would get the hint. It ain't rocket surgery, but then journalists aren't paleo-aerospaciologists either.

10 December 2009

Religious dispute over Darwin's data

Willis Eschenbach at the website " watts up with that" has opened up more serious doubts about the integrity of adjustments made to the raw surface temperature data record relied on by the IPCC.

The raw data on historical surface temperatures from weather stations around the globe is held on a database called the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN). This is basically the raw data used by the other two main global temperature research institutions, the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) for their definitive publications of adjusted historical surface temperatures. The IPCC has relied very heavily on the CRU and GISS publications in making its proclamations about the alarming warming in world temperatures in recent decades.

The contents of the Climategate emails from the CRU, that have recently come to light through unofficial sources, suggest that CRU's database could be seriously corrupted by errors, fudges and lost data on adjustments made to the underlying raw data. For some this may be disturbing but it is felt it does not undermine the fundamental global temperature shift picture painted by the IPCC, because even if the CRU has "lost" their records on why and where adjustments to the raw data were made, we still have the "homogenized" (adjusted) records and the underlying raw data, so there is still no real reason not to rely on what they are telling us.

OK, thought Mr Eschenbach, if that's so, let's compare the raw data with the "homogenized" numbers that the IPCC have published. He started with the first of the many thousands of weather stations used, Darwin Airport. He wanted to see if he could figure out from the raw data how GHCN and the IPCC made its adjustments (homogenised) to these raw numbers.

What Mr Eschenbach's article reveals is, that on a close examination of the GHCN's data of that one weather station in Northern Australia, and comparing that with what the IPCC has published about it, it seems the "adjusted" (homogenized) surface temperature data put out as the definitive temperature record from this weather station, appears to have been fudged to meet someone's pre-conceptions about global temperature increases.

The effect of the unexplained adjustments made to the historical raw temperature data from the Darwin Airport weather station looks pretty clear here. To my non-expert eye the main reason the red (homogenized) trend line slopes upwards, whilst the green (raw) trendline is flatter, corresponds pretty closely to the effects of the black line (the adjustments). That is the homogenised temperatures increase because they have been "adjusted" upwards. How can this be called science? I guess if we had some pretty convincing explanations for these adjustments you might allow it as a speculative kite, but even then you'd have to have very real doubts Read the piece.

If these kinds of adjustments are even partially repeated at a small percentage of the thousands of weather stations around the world that the GHCN rely on in publishing their "homogenised" historical temperature data, then their databases are corrupted and are unreliable. It certainly looks like, in defiance of good science and ethics, someone appears to have distorted the record to achieve the outcome they desired.

Is this just a species of 'confirmation bias' rather than deliberate dishonesty? Who knows? It's beside the point anyway. The point is that data can't be relied on.

And it is based on this "adjusted" data that our politicians are proposing to radically reallocate the whole world's economic resources at Copenhagen. Can that be a good idea?

I reckon Charles Darwin would have understood what is going on here. The IPCC is not publishing science. It is promoting propaganda that supports its religious conviction that man is wrongfully causing the Earth to heat up.

In Charles Darwin's case it was a long haul to persuade religious zealots that "The Theory of Natural Selection" was a better explanation for changes in the world we inhabit, than blind faith in the literal truth of the Bible. Some still haven't been persuaded. It is frightening to think that these modern day true believers, who adhere to the literal truth of their unnatural selection of temperature records, might take as long to be convinced that their pre-conceptions might be wrong, as the those that reject Darwin's theory of evolution.

The justifications we are beginning to hear for these apparent infelicitudes from climate scientists sound something like "look it might look like someone fudged it a bit, but since we know the climate is warming anyway, what's the fuss?"

You know, "it might be fake, but true nonetheless".

Now where have we heard that before ?

04 December 2009

Strange bedfellows

There seem to be some unexpected eddies and whirls emerging in this changing climate tide.
James "not the Muppett guy" Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute fame and Albert "Muppet model" Gore Jnr, Acadamy Award and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who are the two Arch High Priests of AGW Alarmism, both seem to be backing off promotion of the imminent Copenhagen conference, as our last chance to save the planet. Taken together with Bob Brown and the Australian Greens voting against Rudd's CPRS in the Australian Senate, it seems that the ETS or Cap n'Trade route to solving the World's climate woes, is facing concerted resistance from the the two principle opposing camps in the debate: climate sceptics and AGW true believers.
What that suggests, to me anyway, is that it is only those who take this global climate issue as seriously as it deserves, who are resisting the economically destructive but environmentally useless prescriptions that the world's current crop of politicians are trying to achieve at Copenhagen.

If Hansen and Gore et al are right and most of us are going to fry or drown by the end of the century, then drastic environmental action is indeed called for. But if the expected changes in the foreseeable future are within reasonable limits that we might be able to anticipate from past changes in climate, then we humans can adapt, as we have done in the past. Then the kind of drastic economic reallocations being argued over in Copenhagen would be pointlessly damaging to human prosperity.

It seems to me, as a mild sceptic of the AGW science (but happy to be disabused of my scepticism by convincing replicatable and fully scrutinised data) and a denier of the environmental efficacy of the current prescribed ETS (or Cap and Trade) solutions, that, if indeed the AGW believers are right, then a carbon tax is a much simpler and more effective way to reduce global carbon emissions than a politically compromised synthetic market created by concocting an artificial scarcity in a super abundant resource, carbon.

It seems that those who take this issue seriously believe either that we are all going to get cooked with our bacon because we eat too much of it, or that in trying to stop the bacon cooking we will lose our nourishment. Those who believe that neither bacon nor cooking, are truly serious things, think this conundrum can be solved by having us all eat half cooked bacon. It's a very Danish approach, but we'll all get sick and the stove will still be burning.

Climate's a-changin

The climate tide does seem to be beginning to turn.

The East Anglia CRU emails have revealed the lack of integrity in the IPCC temperature database and those who control it. Phil Jones, one of those responsible, has now stood down pending the outcome of an investigation and even Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann is now again under formal scrutiny from Penn State U. Australia is today temporarily no longer under the threat of a pointlessly damaging CPRS. And Copenhagen is now looking like it will just be yet another mutual hot air recycling venue for blowhard warming warners.

It's worth having a look at this peice by Richard Lindzen published in the Wall Street Journal on 30 November 2009. Professor Lindzen's article suggests yet again, that the substantive causation argument at the heart of anthropogenic global warming alarmism; that "positive forcing" from increases in CO2 correlates to global temperature increases; is mere speculative posturing and lacks real evidentiary support. The historical and recent global temperature and CO2 concentration evidence clearly suggest that even massive increases in atmospheric CO2 do not have any significant effect on global temperature.

In such circumstances how can responsible people support insanely ambitious regulatory schemes to restrict and limit economic development that creates prosperity for everyone, by deliberately restricting access to the most economically viable sources of energy that fuel prosperity: coal, oil and natural gas? Our politicians would have us all take out insurance against losing wealth, with a policy of hindering us all from getting wealthy. This just smacks of the latest ideological crutch that bossy elitists have seized on, to use government power to legitimise and camouflage their personal need to control what other humans might do to gain wealth in spite of them.

We seem to be at one of those now rare moments when some sanity seems to be returning to the public discourse. For many thinking people It has been quite lonely for a long while legitimately independently hypothesizing about these issues, and having seemingly responsible and intelligent people not treat such thinking as serious or responsible. I still fear that this is only a temporary state and that there is still a long long way to go in walking our politics and our culture back from the brink of hysterical over reaction.

And that stuff you're breathing out right now, carbon dioxide, it has been officially labelled a dangerous pollutant. So you'll just have to find an alternative way to breath if you want to consider yourself a caring and concerned citizen of Earth.