The Week that Was, March 18, 2012
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Global Governance: Science magazine contained an article advocating global governance titled “Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance.” As the push for Rio +20 Earth Summit, UN Conference on Sustainable Development, June 20 – 22, 2012, continues, it is becoming obvious that the goal of many international politicians, including many scientists, is global governance by a body of unelected persons. Note the misleading phrase, Earth System Governance. The effort will be governance of human behavior, not physical earth systems.
Such a body would be similar to the UN, but probably without the safeguards that Security Council gives. Among the demands will be increasing the power of the UN, particularly to tax, transfer of wealth from developed nations to other nations, greater controls on energy use, particularly in developed countries, and a significant reduction in national sovereignty. To the advocates of global governance, the type of government of the individual country, democracy to kleptocracy, makes no difference, because the advocates assume they will be in charge. A review of the UN Human Rights Council gives and idea of what the make-up may become.
A preliminary conference will be held in London from March 26 – 29, 2012 under the title “Planet under Pressure.” Until the final conference in June is concluded, we can expect intensification of reports predicting dire consequences of climate change from various research organizations claiming to be scientific. Please see links under “Expanding the Orthodoxy.”
Sea Level Rise:
In time for the London Conference, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research released a study stating that if temperatures increase as little as 1.6 deg C (2.9 F) above the Little Ice Age, Greenland will melt and sea levels will rise by about 7 meters (23 feet). [There may have been an error translation, because the last two IPCC assessment reports (AR3 & AR4) did not recognize a Little Ice Age.] A quick look at the GISP2 ice cores from Greenland shows that for much of the past 10,000 years Greenland has been warmer than 1.6 deg C above the Little Ice Age temperatures, yet the ice is still there. Even at 3.2 deg C (5.8 F) above the Little Ice Age the temperature does not exceed minus 28.5 deg C (minus 19.3 F). Please see links under “Communicating Better to the Public – Make Things Up” and links under “Challenging the Orthodoxy,” especially the one regarding Don Easterbrook.
A Dormant Sun:
In February, TWTW reported a study from the Pulkovo Observatory in Russia stating that if the current solar cycle pattern continues, with little solar activity, the globe may experience a new Little Ice Age. To the researcher, what is necessary to understanding the influence of the sun is the response of the earth is lagged behind the solar cycles.
Also in February, TWTW reported a separate study from Norway that estimated if the current solar pattern continues into the next cycle, the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere will experience a decline in temperatures of 1 deg C or more. The longer cycle indicates lower temperatures. Again, the response of the earth seems to be lagged behind the solar cycles by about 11 years.
and discussion at
The above studies were based on observations of solar patterns, for which models were developed to interpret the data and project it out. We can only wait to see if the predictions are accurate.
This week, we were treated to two new studies, which state that a dormant sun will result in little or no cooling. Interestingly, these studies take the IPCC climate models as the base for their research. As discussed in prior TWTWs, the climate models have significant unknowns and only include visible light as the measure of total solar energy, ignoring solar wind and UV light. Further, visible light is the only major natural cause of climate change the IPCC considers. Of course, these studies find that a dormant sun would cause little cooling because the models were based on the assumption that an active sun caused little 20th century warming. But the studies cut another way, if the sun remains dormant, and cooling occurs, then the models are wrong, as the skeptics claim. Please see links under “Science: Is the Sun Rising?”
The Cornell University Global Labor Institute produced a study claiming that the negative impacts of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, over the next 50 years, may be more detrimental than the benefits. The study relies on emotional photographs and testimonials more than facts. The study correctly states that oil from Canada is more viscous than ordinary crude, therefore requiring higher pressures and temperatures to move than ordinary crude. The study cites spills over the past three years from other pipelines moving Canadian crude and extrapolates these spills to what may take place up to 50 years hence.
The major spill in the study occurred on the Lakehead pipeline into a creek feeding into the Kalamazoo River. The study fails to mention the Lakehead system is over 60 years old. Pipeline technology has changed significantly in 60, years including much better sensors and drilling under rivers and creeks. The Cornell study is similar to attributing to today’s telephone system the characteristics of the telephone system of 1950, when it was dominated by operators.
The study highlights the value of the agriculture industry from the various states the pipeline will cross, implying the pipeline will destroy agriculture in the state if a spill occurs. The authors did not bother considering the extensive pipeline system that moves oil and gas through the East Coast of the US. This study is an example of how extreme some academic institutions have become. Please see links under “Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate!”
Plagiarism and Scientific Content:
With computer software being able to detect patterns of words, some believe the identity of a writer or plagiarist can be easily established. A researcher using such techniques for Heartland Institute states Gleick is likely the person originating a false Heartland planning memo, but, correctly, recognizes that this alone does not establish guilt.
Such computer techniques are in use to accuse certain writers of plagiarism. For example, shortly before his death, Stephen Ambrose, a prolific writer, was accused of plagiarism because certain phrases in his text were similar or identical to phrases in writings by others.
Over a year ago, the distinguished statistician Edward Wegman was accused of plagiarism because his report to Congress debunking the Mann hockey-stick contained word patterns similar to those found in Wikipedia. It turned out that a graduate student copied sections of boiler plate found in Wikipedia. Edward Wegman was disciplined by George Mason University for his lack of oversight. His article on the subject has been public retracted, but the debunked articles by Mr. Mann remain.
The use of these techniques and the possibility of severe charges to discredit scientists presents a difficult issue to prolific writers. It is impossible for a writer to search the literature to see if similar phrases occur by prior writers. Certainly, the pattern of writing on global governance follows distinct patterns.
Physicist and author Donald Rapp suggested the following as an approach towards possible plagiarism:
“Bouville (2008) wrote a treatise on plagiarism. He said:
“‘… even though … copying other people’s intellectual contribution is wrong, they do not apply to the copying of words. Copying a few sentences that contain no original idea (e.g. in the introduction) is of marginal importance compared to stealing the ideas of others. The two must be clearly distinguished, and the ‘plagiarism’ label should not be used for deeds that are very different in nature and importance’
Bouville, Mathieu (2008) “Plagiarism: Words and ideas” Science and Engineering Ethics 14, 311-322.
Rapp went on: “The point is that plagiarism is only a serious malpractice when an intellectual concept is stolen for personal gain. When background material is presented without attribution, that is an inadvertency or an indiscretion, but not a crime. The thrust of the Wegman Report was two fold: (1) the hockey stick was based on bad science, and (2) collusion between members of the paleoclimatic cabal allowed the hockey stick to get repeatedly published despite the errors in the methods used. There was no plagiarism in these elements of the Report. Unfortunately, some of the introductory and background material was not given proper attribution.”
How many words in the US Constitution have been copied? Should the words such as “freedom of the press” not be used without proper attribution – Amendment 1 of the US Constitution?
Corrections and Amplifications:
Last week TWTW stated that the revenues of the top 12 Environmental Charities in the US amounted to $2,098,000,000 as compiled for the Forbes list of the top 200 US charities in 2011. The amount does not include charities that are engaged in environmental activities, but not as the principal purpose. For example, it does not include the Wildlife Conservation Society, which also operates the Bronx Zoo. Joe Bast, of the Heartland Institute, asked about Greenpeace, which was not included because it is based in the Netherlands and Greenpeace USA does not make the Forbes list. According to the 2010 Greenpeace International annual report, its total international take was some 226 million Euros, with over 45 million from Germany, almost 25 million from the Netherlands, about 23 from the US. Exact numbers are not given.
Number of the Week: $17 Billion.
This week, the US Senate failed to pass an extension to special subsidies to the wind industry called Production Tax Credits (PTC) that are due to expire at the end of 2012. The upfront cash payments for these credits stopped at the end of 2011. Similar tax credits are due to expire for the solar and other industries at the end of 2013. The squabbles will continue for some time with many claiming that the tax credits are needed for energy security and for America to compete with the Chinese in 21st century technology.
During this time, government owned Chinese oil companies have been quietly buying into true 21st century technology – the innovation of producing oil and natural gas from dense shale by using deep underground hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and directional (horizontal) drilling. According to reports, since 2010, the Chinese companies have spent $17 Billion buying into ventures in North America using these techniques and techniques for development of oil sands. This amount is more than these companies have spent in ventures anywhere else in the world, including North Asia.
The new energy plan by China calls for major domestic natural gas production, which has been small. Also, it calls for major expansion in nuclear. It gives some comments to solar and wind. However, in analyzing actual expenditures, it becomes obvious that solar and wind were a marketing ploy to attract the best western technology, produce it cheaper in China, and sell it back to the West. According to their actions, to China coal, oil, gas and nuclear are the fuels of the 21 century. Please Articles #4 & 5.
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SOURCE: SEPP, a great resource on climate change and legislation