The Week that Was, IPCC News and other environmental news of the week.
IPCC Censorship: Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a Vice-Chair (Vice President) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, objected to Fred Singer participating in a seminar on global warming / climate change that was to be held at SEII Foundation Universitaire in Brussels. A google translation of part of the letter he sent follows:
You should know that Mr. Fred Singer is a person whose scientific integrity leaves much to be desired. Its activities are financed disinformation by the lobbies of fossil fuels (see XXXXXXXXXXXXXX) [sic], and it is scandalous that such a person may be associated, directly or indirectly, to SEII and the University Foundation.
Eminent colleagues have written that Mr. Johnson was no better. One of his “textbook” recently, where he spoke at random through climate change, published by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Sweden) had to be retracted by him so it contained errors.
Fortunately, the organizers of the conference refused to knuckle under and relocated the conference. It will be held at Rhode St. GenÃ¨se, 1 Sept, at 18.00
Fred Singer’s response is posted as Article # 1. Please see the comments of Claes Johnson, another featured person in the conference, under “Suppressing Scientific Inquiry.”
SEPP does not solicit funding from corporations or governments, much less lobbists for the fossil fuel industry. It is outrageous that taxpayers are funding the activities of people such as van Ypersele who engage in disgraceful personal attacks, when it is becoming clear that their science justification for such activities is failing.
Climate Science: The big climate science event was the first publication of findings from the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) experiment by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. As expressed in the press release:
The CLOUD experiment has been designed to study the effect of cosmic rays on the formation of atmospheric aerosols – tiny liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere – under controlled laboratory conditions. Atmospheric aerosols are thought to be responsible for a large fraction of the seeds that form cloud droplets. Understanding the process of aerosol formation is therefore important for understanding the climate.
The CLOUD results show that trace vapours assumed until now to account for aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can explain only a tiny fraction of the observed atmospheric aerosol production. The results also show that ionisation from cosmic rays significantly enhances aerosol formation. Precise measurements such as these are important in achieving a quantitative understanding of cloud formation, and will contribute to a better assessment of the effects of clouds in climate models.
“These new results from CLOUD are important because we’ve made a number of first observations of some very important atmospheric processes,” said the experiment’s spokesperson, Jasper Kirkby. “We’ve found that cosmic rays significantly enhance the formation of aerosol particles in the mid troposphere and above. These aerosols can eventually grow into the seeds for clouds. However, we’ve found that the vapours previously thought to account for all aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can only account for a small fraction of the observations – even with the enhancement of cosmic rays.”
The article and press release were low keyed, as opposed to the UN IPCC release of its “Summary for Policymakers” of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) which was a big celebration in Paris with a fireworks display. The reactions were mixed. Proponents of the Svensmark hypothesis that cosmic rays, modulated by the sun, are important in cloud formation, therefore climate, emphasized that component of the experiment. Proponents of the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the control knob of climate emphasized the sulfur and ammonia aerosol component, largely dismissing cosmic rays.
What is clear is that models being used to make dire predictions of future climate are inadequate. In Table 2.11 of an appendix of AR4, the inadequacy was recognized. The level of scientific understanding (LOSU) for cosmic rays was considered very low. The the LOSU of various aersols was considered low or low to medium.
Litigation Issues: The US EPA and the US Justice Department have filed their response to the arguments presented to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by those seeking to set aside the EPA Endangerment Finding that greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) endanger human health and welfare. The private groups that sued, the Petitioners, are lumped under “The Coalition for Responsible Regulation, et al.” SEPP is part of the et al. The Petitioners have two months to counter, and oral arguments have not been yet scheduled. The earliest a decision may be reached is possibly the middle of 2012. No doubt, the losing party will petition the US Supreme Court to review the decision.
The EPA declares near certainty that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare because they are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming. Yet, the IPCC AR4 states, in an appendix, that the level of scientific understanding for 15 of the 16 components it recognizes as causing climate change is medium, medium to low, low, or very low. The LOSU of 5 components is very low. Further, these components do not include ocean oscillations and other natural components that are being recognized as important.
On another litigation issue, the American Tradition Institute successfully sued the University of Virginia under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the emails of Michael Mann while he was at the University. The University has delivered round one of these emails running over 3,000 pages. There are apparently an additional amount of about 6,000 pages to be delivered. One can only speculate what these emails contain and what has been redacted (blackened over or edited out). The University spent hundreds of thousands of dollars litigating against Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli to prevent the release of the emails.
Keystone LX Pipeline: The State Department has released its finding that there are no serious environmental issues in building the 1,700 mile long Keystone XL pipeline to deliver up 830,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries designed to refine it in south Texas. This sets up a major battle for the administration. The environmental industry is committed to stopping it. Already public protests against it are taking place in Washington. The oil industry and many others want it. The decision will be interesting. Please see the referenced articles under “Energy Issues.”
Extreme Events: The earthquake that shook Virginia demonstrated that the nuclear power plants affected worked as designed. They automatically shut off, with no damage or mishap. Of course some blamed global warming for the earthquake.
The hurricane that is affecting the East Coast of the US is bringing out many of the usual global warming advocates. One zealot, protesting the Keystone pipeline, blamed President Obama for the hurricane.
Number of the Week: $100 Billion. At the conclusion of the Copenhagen conference in December 2009, which was a disaster for those demanding a major treaty on carbon dioxide emissions, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon claimed western nations committed to pay developing countries $100 Billion per year by 2020 as compensation for global warming / climate change. With their economies in poor condition, and no global warming, it is becoming apparent that the citizens of a number of western nations do subscribe to this generosity. Now various studies are trying to justify this generosity, such as the Mekong delta being flooded by salt water from sea level rise caused by global warming. No doubt, similar claims will intensify.
The Week That Was: 2011-08-27 (August 27, 2011) Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project
CONTINUE TO MORE NEWS FROM SEPP | Aug 27, 2011 Fred Singer, IPCC, CLOUD, CERN, EPA. Svensmark, cosmic rays, earthquake, AR4