Friday, August 30, 2013

On Her Way Out the Door, Judge Natalia Combes Green Roasts National Review On Line

A good Labor Day Picnic, Ethon was saying, requires some well done barbecued liver.  Indeed, and thus Rick Piltz brings word of the soon to retire Judge Natalia Combes Green cooking up some slivers of National Review On Line in denying their motion to reconsider (links to all the original documents at RR).  Michael Mann is free to proceed.  Climate Science Watch summarizes the carnage but misses the flaying of lawyers.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants Mark Steyn and National Review, Inc.'s (the "NR Defendants") Motion for Reconsideration of July 19 2013 Order (the "Motion) and the Opposition there to.  Upon consideration, the Motion is denied1


"A motion for reconsideration, by that designation, is unknown to the Superior Court's Civil Rules.  The term has been used loosely to describe two different kinds of motions . . . brought pursuant to" Rule 59(e) and Rule 60(b). 
The NR Defendants might wish to consider hiring a bunch of lawyers who actually practice in DC Superior Court.  Judge Green goes on to offer a helping hand in a footnote.
1.  The memorandum of points and authorities includes argument in support of the NR Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration as well as the Special Motion to DisPmiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to the District of Columbia's Anti-SLAPP Act and the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to DC Super. Ct. R. 12(b)(6).  The Court is unsure whether the NR Defendants intended to combine three motions.  Nonetheless the Civil Rules do not permit parties to combine different motions.  Accordingly, this Order only addresses the Motion for Reconsideration, specifically the NR Defendants' arguments that relate to material mistakes of fact and that the Court's did not specifically address Plaintiff's claim of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.  The case has (now) been transferred to Judge Weisberg presiding in Civil I.  Thu the Court will forward to Judge Weisberg the entire Motion for his consideration of the part of the Motion that address the Motion to Dismiss pursuant to the Anti-SLAPP Act.  The parties may want to consider refilling that motion separately on Judge Weisberg's calendar.  The Court will provide Judge Weisberg with all of the exhibits previously provided to this Court.
Eli speculates that the NR lawyers are a branch of the solicitors office that Lord Monckton consults

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Goin Lord

Eli is a full service bunny, and over at Watt's inquired if the good Lord Moncktonwas interested in some action offered by John Abraham  Twice, maybe even three times, who remembers.   Eli thought that the most likely reaction would be some volume of self righteous spew from the gook Lord and, you know, the Bunny was right on

. . . One Rabett says someone wants to take a bet with me about whether the world will cool by 0.5 K before 2020 is out. However, it was not I but another who forecast that. In an earlier posting I merely reported the forecast, which is one of a growing number that find cooling more likely than warming in the short to medium term. To make any such bet symmetrical, there would be no payout if the temperature fluctuated by less than 0.5 K in either direction by 2020 compared with today. The bedwetters would win if the temperature rose by 0.5 K; the army of light and truth would win if it fell by 0.5 K.
That, as they said is not what Chris said
“Meanwhile, enjoy what warmth you can get. A math geek with a track-record of getting stuff right tells me we are in for 0.5 Cº of global cooling. It could happen in two years, but is very likely by 2020. His prediction is based on the behavior of the most obvious culprit in temperature change here on Earth – the Sun.”
Very much a Chris'  patented non denial denial change the subject in the middle of the thought

But to go on
However, the creature seeking cheap publicity by offering the bet has, I discover, been part of an organized (and probably paid) campaign to prevent skeptics such as me from being allowed to speak at various universities around the world to which we are from time to time invited. Evidence is being gathered, since in Scotland tampering with the right of academic freedom in this characteristically furtive way, particularly with the wildly malicious claims the perpetrator and his little chums have apparently been making, would be held to constitute a grave libel. 
 I had hoped to sue the defalcating nitwit in the U.S for an earlier malicious attempt by him to assert that I take a skeptical line because I am paid to do so (if only …). However, the lawyers whom I consulted, after having a good look at the case, concluded that, though what this inconsequential little creep had said was unquestionably libelous, as well as displaying an exceptionally poor grasp of elementary science and even of arithmetic, I did not have title to sue because, in the US, I am counted at law as a “public figure” and the jerklet is not. If he were a public figure, I could sue him. If I were not a public figure, I could sue him. But, since I am a public figure and he is not, I cannot sue him. Not in the U.S., at any rate. I visited the Court of Session in Edinburgh yesterday …
Hope you had a good time:), Eli just wrote a rejoinder which he leaves here for the reader's enjoyment.  Who knows if it will remain or be cremated by the crew @ Willard Tony's

Now some, not Eli to be sure, thought that it would be most pleasing if the good Monckton of Brenchley made John Abraham put up, but Sadly No. 
Instead, as the Bunny proposed but a few days ago, we are treated to an entertaining essay in avoidance. To watch Lord Monckton as his mind works at an astonishingly furious pace, whinging about the ills done to him, the difficulty of confronting his tormentors, and the cruel law which forbid him to pounce upon them, but, of course he could if he really wanted to and they should be more cautious, when shunning a chance to do same, is indeed a show Eli feels privileged to have played a minor part in.
Such humor is found only in our pale memories except for YouTube. We have Chris.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We did our divestment

The Water District board voted 7-0 last night to enact our climate divestment policy - no new investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, get rid of what we currently have by 2016, and send letters to the state agency managing our pension funds, a state water agency association, and our local government counterparts encouraging them to do the same. Also yesterday, we cut our own compensation by just under 10%, reverting it back to what the board received in 2008.

There was some reasonable discussion of whether we should distinguish the best fossil fuel companies from the rest. We decided to go ahead with the simple divestment from all of them, and consider at a future time whether we should amend the policy in favor of the better companies.

Like I said earlier, this should make us the first water district and third government agency of any kind to complete this step. has a press release here. The San Jose Mercury News published an article, and to make it interesting I'll just copy below mostly just the critical parts:

In the 1980s, hundreds of American cities, states and universities sold their investments in South African companies as part of a protest against that country's former apartheid government.

Now, environmental groups are trying to duplicate that effort, but with global warming polluters in the role of villain. And, just as with South African divestment a generation ago, the Bay Area is at the head of the parade again, prompting cheers from environmentalists and jeers from skeptics who say the whole effort amounts to little more than empty symbolism.... 
"It is unfortunate some people seem to feel supplying consumers with reliable and affordable energy is somehow comparable to apartheid," said Tupper Hull, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, in Sacramento.

"Petroleum energy provides billions of people worldwide with mobility, comfort, security and economic prosperity, he said."

Hull said that many oil companies "understand the desire to develop new alternative energy sources and reduce our collective carbon footprint" and that many fossil fuel companies are working on renewable energy projects.

Jeremy Carl, an energy expert and research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution who has been critical of the tactics of the environmental movement, said that climate change is occurring and is a problem. But rather than divestment, activists should work with companies and governments to promote issues like tax credits to encourage renewable energy research, or a carbon tax that would be offset by tax refunds to the public.

"We've seen people saying the fossil fuel companies are awful, and then driving home in their car and turning on their natural gas-powered electricity," he said. "I find it totally a distasteful and hypocritical way of looking at a serious situation. It trivializes an important issue."

I don't find that very persuasive, somehow. I have no interest in the flack from WSPA but I wonder if it's worth talking to Jeremy Carl, who's only a 15 minute drive away from me in my fossil-fueled car.

Per my previous post, I think the primary effect of these actions are cultural/political and not directly economic. OTOH, there's an economic cost to cultural disfavor - I bet tobacco companies have to pay a premium to hire and retain employees who might otherwise prefer to not kill people for a living. Could work the same way here as another form of cultural tax on carbon.

Video below of every fascinating moment of the discussion, assuming the video works (discussion begins about a minute into the video). It's Item 9.1 if you want to read it as well.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Wanna Bet?

Summer is the slow season so Christopher Monckton is out drumming up business at the farm.  More of the usual graphology, but maybe a little to much, enough so that John Abraham decided to offer a wager.  Now some, not Eli to be sure, might think that the obvious outcome of this would simply be some volume of self righteous spew from the gook Lord, but Eli is an optimistic bunny, and he would like part of the action if there is a side bet  on the outcome of this to be had (don't tell Ms. Rabett).

Dear Mr. Monckton,

I understand that you’ve claimed Earth’s temperatures will likely decrease by 0.5 C most certainly by 2020.  Specifically, you stated this on a website:
“Meanwhile, enjoy what warmth you can get. A math geek with a track-record of getting stuff right tells me we are in for 0.5 Cº of global cooling. It could happen in two years, but is very likely by 2020. His prediction is based on the behavior of the most obvious culprit in temperature change here on Earth – the Sun.”

Here is the link:

I am calling your claim.  I challenge you to a $1000 bet on both.  Specifically,

1. I challenge you to a $1000 bet that the Earth temperature will not drop 0.5 C in two years
2. I challenge you to a second $1000 bet that the Earth temperature will not drop 0.5 C by 2020

Let’s keep stipulations as few as possible.  My only requirement is that any major volcanic eruptions would make the bet void.  I will let you choose the temperature dataset (NASA GISTEMP, NOAA, HADCRUT4).  Any reputable data set of land-ocean surface temperatures.  I will let you choose the starting year of 2012 or 2013.  Obligations to pay can be based off our word and the publicity of this challenge.  If you require payment to be sent to a third party ahead of time, I will gladly oblige.

Please respond at your earliest convenience, I am anxious to finalize this agreement.  Please be assured that if you decline this wager, I will make your declination public.


As Always
Dr. John Abraham
University of St. Thomas

UPDATE:  Prof. Abraham adds a couple sweetner
Can we agree to donate the money to a charity that deals with climate issues.  Selected by winner of the wager.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dano on Bees - Lack of Same

“What gets measured gets managed” is a common phrase that we’ve all probably seen before. In ecology, that proposition is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, there is no question that botanists, wildlife biologists, oceanographers, and glaciologists need much more data to understand the “natural” world. On the other hand, more information allows humans to act and manage, and it is clear that human action is not always best – for whatever situation you find yourself in. The spate of recent wildfires is partially a result of past human action: putting out all fires in order to preserve the forest fiber resource (for human use). The trees that are going up near Yosemite – and especially the trees near the sequoia groves – are a good example.

The situation we find ourselves in right now is that we have appropriated vast swathes of the earth’s land surface to grow our food (and food for our food). We have also moved around bees to help pollinate a good portion of the food we eat – and the food our food eats (e.g. alfalfa for beef cattle). In addition, bees are part of the pollinator population that moves genes around via pollen. We need to have genes move around the environment so plants can have genetic diversity – the more diverse your gene pool, the better chance you have to adapt to surprise (in ecology, surprise is called “emergent properties”). One look at royal families across the globe shows us the importance of needing new genes.

In order to produce more food, developed nations have embraced “efficiency” – industrialized agriculture, refrigerated distribution, picking fruit when unripe and using ethylene later on to “ripen”. We also move bees around on trucks and even have attempted to breed “Africanized” bees to more efficiently pollinate crops.

What is starting to happen now is that our management is running up against limits. Our western forests cannot be managed to exclude fire, include homes, supply water, provide fiber. Our built environments are managed in such a way to include vegetation as well – for greenery, cooling, quality of life. Managed landscapes need to be…well, managed. Management of landscapes in the midst of people means managing conflicts – pests, visibility, infrastructure damage.

Recently we heard about the effects of managing some trees in Oregon. These trees were planted to provide shade for parked cars, and to mitigate the extra heat caused by the car park (parking lot). These particular trees – lindens (Tilia spp.) – tend to attract aphids, which feed on the tree and then excrete a substance we call ‘honeydew’. This honeydew sticks to cars and makes car owners sad, and they complain to the mall management. Mall management often tracks such complaints to see if they affect sales numbers. So the management company of the property where these trees were planted asked the landscape maintenance contractor to spray the lindens to kill the aphids. The maintenance crew should have said no, but instead they chose a product called Safari to apply; Safari has been shown – via measurements – to be effective at aphid control. This product resulted in the deaths of several tens of thousands of bees that were visiting the linden flowers.

Another common urban tree, the ash (Fraxinus spp) is being attacked in the eastern part of the United States by the emerald ash borer (EAB). Our British friends have their ashes under attack, but by a different pest. Anyway , our response has been…well…interesting. Many cities have chosen simply to cut all the ash down, infected or no. The combination of preventive cutting and post-attack cutting has removed millions of trees. Researchers are just now starting to quantify the effects of these trees being cut down – removed trees reduces pollution filtration and absorption by leaf surfaces and human cardiopulmonary health is negatively affected. Another response has been to use a treatment called a “soil drench” with a product called imidacloprid. Those of you following bees and colony collapse disorder may know this product – it is now banned in the EU because of the suspected effect on bees. Turns out there are some initial reports coming out of Canada about a recent massive bee die-off near fields of corn possibly planted with seed treated with imidacloprid. Some researchers in the US still aren’t convinced of the relationship, however.

So our management appears to have some unforeseen effects that bode ill for the future if we can’t get pests under control. Bees may be an excellent indicator for ecosystem health, especially in human-managed ecosystems. Bees are certainly an excellent indicator for what we know, what we don’t know, and how far we have to go to have good data for policy. Yet the EU has acted out of precaution. Who will be next?

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Sooner or later even the strongest burnout against the cliffs of ignorance.  Tbogg now follows in the paths of Billmon, The Editors, and  Michael Berube .  Nonono, Eli is not there yet, but the embers of stupidity burn deeply and where is good snark today when you need it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The EV v. gas infrastructure argument cuts both ways

(UPDATE July 2017:  I'm very interested in this so I'm going to make this a master blog post with added updates over time. One critique I'll make of my original post is that I focused too much on range anxiety. The range anxiety issue is a subset of a broader issue of relative convenience of EVs versus gas engines. A virtuous cycle is just starting to happen, where EVs become more convenient and eat into the gas engine market, making them less convenient, spurring even greater EV adoption. More updates follow the original post below.)

The big challenge for electric vehicles is that we have the societal infrastructure to support gas engines but not electric. Despite that fact, in California the hybrid and EV plug-ins are now 1.8% of the market. Globally and nationally, estimates range from one to three percent of all vehicles in 2019-2020 will be the two types of plug-ins (see page 4).

The infrastructure challenge is real even if "range anxiety" is overhyped. To the extent that challenge to plug-ins is met and overcome, though, then the shoe is on the other foot. Every sale of a plug-in vehicle decreases support for the infrastructure supporting gas vehicles. When plugins are taking only one percent of the market, the decrease is insignificant. When they take three percent, it's starting to be significant, and we can expect the effect to increase and to be concentrated in some areas. If nearly two percent of California car sales are electric now, then what will be the percent in a decade, and what will be the situation in the San Francisco and LA metropolitan areas?

There are going to be fewer gas stations and fewer gas engine car servicing businesses. They'll try to adapt but plugins and especially EVs won't need charging stations in the same places and they won't need as much maintenance.

I think we may be about a decade away from hearing the first complaints of range anxiety and range irritation coming from gas vehicle owners in some markets, where they'll have to drive five miles or more out of their way each time they want to gas up, while their plugins can charge whenever they're at home, work, or shopping. The process may accelerate as investors hesitate to put money in the gas vehicle infrastructure, knowing they'll need a number of years to make a profit while their market is shrinking.

I know I'm pretty good at counting my chickens before they hatch, and I recognize that cars have a 10-year lifespan so it takes a while for the existing car population to reflect changes in sales (UPDATE:  per the comments, more like 20 years, although older cars are driven much less). Still, I can see this happening in a decade in some markets, especially where I live.

UPDATE:  from September 2013 -  Norway, especially Oslo, should be the first test of the virtuous cycle. Too bad I'm not an expert on Norwegian gas station businesses or we might already know the  answer.

UPDATE:  from a June 2016 post - Others noticing gas stations disappearing, and that EVs will have an effect. Norway and other countries discuss future gas engine bans, with varying levels of seriousness.

UPDATE:  from July 2017 blog post -

  • I think there's already a good argument that in many two-car households, having one vehicle as an EV is already more convenient than two gas engines.
  •  I agree that increased fuel economy has reduced gas demand and gas station numbers, and that in turn reduces the convenience of gas engines. By itself though it's not a virtuous cycle, except to the extent that gas mileage improves further. Absent further improvement, there should be a stabilized point where the number of stations balance with the new, lower demand.
  • I also agree that factors making land more valuable for uses other than gas stations are the primary motivators so far in reducing station numbers, particularly in dense urban cores. While extraneous, this also reduces gas engine convenience. Like increased gas mileage, it only reduces convenience up to a point as opposed to being a virtuous cycle.
  • Fernando's right that gas stations will (and have) reacted to find non-gas ways to boost sales. As they go further in that direction though, they'll have fewer pumps or no pumps, and the inconvenience will still increase. 
  • Gas engine repair and maintenance will also become less convenient - EVs need less maintenance and different equipment, so fewer mechanics will train on gas engines. Those repair bays will get replaced with expanded coffee shops and (possibly) electric charging stations.
  • While EVs have only a small impact so far on gas demand, they can affect what's happening right now based on people's expectations of the future. Take for example a family business that owns a dozen gas stations, with the parents nearing retirement and kids deciding whether to take over versus having a very different career. Those kids may well be concerned about what EVs will do to the business in 10-15 years (and should be) and tell the parents to sell instead. Anyone else thinking of a 10-year investment knows there's a risk that EVs will significantly hurt the resale value. These EV effects on gas stations are happening now.
  • Not an expert on this, but I'm guessing that ultimately there's not much long-term future for stand-alone EV charging stations replacing gas pumps, except on interstate highways. As EV range gets further and further above 200 miles, and as fast chargers become ubiquitous at work, shopping, and home, there just won't be a need except on highways where lots of people are traveling long distances. This could affect gas station viability over time.
  • And finally, the above is mostly predictive rather than policy-related, but if the virtuous cycle is real then it does have policy implications. Aggressive long-term EV targets are achievable and should be pursued because there's a virtuous cycle effect we have barely experienced yet that will make them work. Outright bans on gas engine sales like those proposed in the future for Norway and elsewhere will be politically feasible because the writing will be on the wall concerning EV superiority.

Tamino uses math to describe how denialists handle data, but I prefer visuals

From Senorgif. Title:  Uh, Not a Good Fit.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Getting Knotted: Climate Change and the Jet Stream

Eli has been amongst those concerned with links between Arctic heating, jet stream perturbations and weird weather.  Eli, of course, is neither a meteorologist nor a climate scientist, he is but a bunny, but a literate one (unusual, we know) and has been following work in this area, led by Jennifer Francis at Rutgers.  Just yesterday the Rabett ran into three things that tied all this together.  First Paul Douglas shows Eli a weather forecast map from NOAA, where nature has turned it up to bake in the north central US.  Unusual for this time of year, but especially so because it was freezing cold for the summer just weeks ago

 Next a map of the jet stream from Intellicast

And finally an editorial in Nature Climate Change which ties the package together
The day-to-day weather and longer-term climate are different phenomena, although there are strong links between them. The interplay between the many facets of the climate system can have big impacts in the short term, affecting the weather. Take for example the northern jet stream — a key determinant of weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere and a hotly discussed topic in Europe and the US. Climate scientists who gathered at the UK's Met Office in June pointed the finger of blame at variation in the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation for a succession of washout summers, as had previously been noted by Rowan Sutton and Buwen Dong (Nature Geosci. 5, 788792; 2012). The meeting also highlighted that a shift in the jet stream contributed to Europe's unusual seasonal weather over recent years.

The jet stream is driven by climate; it is created by the temperature difference between the cold Arctic region and the warmer low latitudes. When there is a large disparity, the jet stream is stronger and faster, meaning it runs straighter. However, the temperature difference has decreased in recent years because the Arctic is warming more rapidly than the rest of the planet, resulting in a weaker and slower jet stream.
The decreased jet stream speed results in large north–south meanders. It is these shifts that produceunseasonal weather patterns over Europe/the Northern Hemisphere. If the jet stream sits to the north it brings the warm weather from the lower latitudes. Conversely, if the jet stream meanders to the south it can bring unsettled weather and colder temperatures.
It is only the linkages, the uncovering of the physical mechanisms tying together Arctic warming, jet stream wander and weird weather in the Northern Hemisphere that allow one to say there are good reasons for suspecting that they are all associated with people's burning of fossil fuels in the last century.  Of course fingerprint studies and more suffering will be necessary to more firmly establish that link.  As Dirty Harry would say: "Is climate change really happening?  Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement the Bunny kind of lost track himself. But being greenhouse gases are the most powerful forcing we know, and the best science predicts disaster ahead, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

Take a look at the video of Prof. Francis explaining the Jet Stream meander first before placing your bets

Come Along And Have A Ball

The Northern Sea Route is Open for Container Ships

The Sueddeutche Zeitung reports that the Chinese shipping line Cosco has sailed a container ship from Dalian August 8 to arrive in Rotterdam in the second week of September, cutting two weeks off the normal trip through the Suez Canal.  As they say the Northern Sea Route is open for business.

The Russian authorities have issued permits for at least 393 ships to navigate the Northern Sea Route up from 4 in 2010.

To quote from press secretary Sergei Balmasov through the SZ

"Our best months are September and October when there is hardly any ice along the entire route. We anticipate considerably more applications for ships if the temperature increases even further in the coming years.  Should the temperatures sink the route would be blocked without icebreakers."  Balmasov said that even ships without icebreaking capability could make the trip now when the weather is warmer.  "Because the passage is ice free and the travel time is lower the costs are lower for the shipping lines."
And this in a year when the ice is not as low as in the last few years.  Still, the shipping industry regards the Northern Sea Route as an experiment, if nothing else because of the danger of sudden ice blockages imposing delays and costs.  However, if current trends continue there will be more and more shipping up north.  From Russia's point of view this opens up the North.

Tea Party darling Cuccinelli trails in VA gov contest

Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli is trailing Terry McAuliffe in the race for Virginia governor. McAuliffe, a Clinton crony, is a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, a banker and businessman with plenty of baggage. Cuccinelli, now Attorney General of Virginia, attempted to persecute former Univ. Virginia Prof. Michael Mann for Mann's important discoveries in climate science, especially the Hockey Stick paper, but Cuccinelli's fishing expedition was stonewalled by the Univ. of Virginia. This was a great loss for the Tea Party and a great victory for the Rights of Mann. :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yet Another Nail Pounded

Graham Redfern used the majic of the INTERTUBES to turn up a damning NSF OIG report on Murry Salby.   Jo Nova was moved to take up pen at Willard Tony's on the Salby matter

On closer inspection the NSF report used by people to attack Salby does not appear to be the balanced, impartial analysis I would have expected. Indeed the hyperbolic language based on insubstantial evidence is disturbing to say the least. Because of the long detailed nature of this I cannot draw conclusions, except to say that any scientist who responds to a question about Murry Salby’s work with a reference to his employment is no scientist.

Remember the NSF report was supposedly an inhouse private document. It was marked “Confidential”, subject to the Privacy Act, with disclosure outside the NSF prohibited except through FOI. Desmog vaguely suggest there “must have been an FOI”, but there are no links to support that. In the end, a confidential, low standard, internal document with legalistic sounding words, may have been “leaked” to those in search of a character attack.
 Raising the issue of why the NSF report on the matter was posted on a web site, and indeed Murry Salby himself had raised the issue parenthetically in his recent self justification about the results of the NSF report
It’s noteworthy that the NSF report, which was stamped “Confidential”, was developed as an internal document for distribution only to the two parties: Me and CU. Unfit for public release,its disclosure other than by NSF was prohibited  (pg6)
Eli, innocent bunny that he is, was moved to write to the NSF OIG Office on the matter
Dear Sir,

I write to you about OIG  Case Number, I06090025 Case Closeout, specifically as to why this report is available on the Internet at,0,790.

As you may (or may not) be aware, this Closeout Report has become an issue of some contention following the firing of the subject of the report, Prof. Murry Salby, from Macquarrie University in Australia, under circumstances in which his behavior mirrors parts of what occurred at the University of Colorado and were the subject of the NSF Report.

Prof. Salby has claimed that bottom of page 6
It’s noteworthy that the NSF report, which was stamped “Confidential”, was developed as an internal document for distribution only to the two parties: Me and CU. Unfit for public release, its disclosure other than by NSF was prohibited."
Clearly NSF OIG has disclosed this document.  I would appreciate hearing from you as to why (for example, is this the normal procedure at the end of an investigation or what). 
and today received this reply from the NSF OIG FOIA Attorney
Thank you for your inquiry. 
The legend that appears on the cover page of the Report of Investigation is applied when the Report is drafted and initially submitted to the Foundation for its review and action.  The intent is to warn those personnel of the Foundation who will have access to the Report during their evaluation that there are limitations on disclosure while the matter remains active.
When we close an investigation after NSF takes action, we conduct a FOIA review of certain case documents for public release on our website (  Reports of investigation are typically included.  In the past we have not redacted the confidentiality warnings, or attempted to annotate them with a “cleared for public release” message, relying instead on the inference that if they are accessible on a public website, the disclosure must have been intentional and authorized by competent authority.
In cases where the subject’s identity is not disclosed, the continued presence of the confidentiality warning is generally not noteworthy or ambiguous.  In cases where the subject or subjects are identified, there is some potential for confusion.
This Report of Investigation was subject to multiple FOIA requests.  The subject’s name was disclosed because his debarment was listed on the Excluded Parties List System, and remains so in the Inactive collection of the System for Award Management (, the system that replaced EPLS.  We determined that the subject’s privacy interests were lessened by the EPLS/SAM disclosure, and that FOIA required release of the information.
You may interpret the presence of the document on a public NSF OIG website as confirmation that public release in this form has been approved and is consistent with the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.  This disclosure by OIG is in accordance with those statutes.
Eli hopes this has been of service to Willard Tony, Jo, and Dr. Salby.  Readers may now resume normal breathing.  John Mashey will be by soon with further details.  If Salby were not such a user the bunnies might shed a tear for him.

Dessler on the Greenhouse Efect

NOTE:  Apologies, sometimes, somehow Blogger disappears links to videos.  Usually Eli catches this, but this time it stayed blank for some hours. 

Down below, Eli asked the bunnies to criticize and correct the "explanation" of the greenhouse effect used in a study about attitudes toward climate change and efforts to deal with the problem.  The principle thing missing was explaining how the decrease in temperature with altitude is the physical basis of the situation.  Andy Dessler takes on the issue in his explanation of the greenhouse effect.

Eli points out that the explanation of the anti-greenhouse effect at the end is a clear way of explaining why increasing CO2 and other greenhouse gases such as the CFCs, HFCs etc cool the stratosphere, where the temperature does increase with altitude.

The Age of Denial

In the NYTimes editorial page, Adam Frank, an astronomer at the University of Rochester discovers Stephan Lewandowsky

Today, however, it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact. Narrowly defined, “creationism” was a minor current in American thinking for much of the 20th century. But in the years since I was a student, a well-funded effort has skillfully rebranded that ideology as “creation science” and pushed it into classrooms across the country. Though transparently unscientific, denying evolution has become a litmus test for some conservative politicians, even at the highest levels.
Meanwhile, climate deniers, taking pages from the creationists’ PR playbook, have manufactured doubt about fundamental issues in climate science that were decided scientifically decades ago. And anti-vaccine campaigners brandish a few long-discredited studies to make unproven claims about links between autism and vaccination.
The list goes on. North Carolina has banned state planners from using climate data in their projections of future sea levels. So many Oregon parents have refused vaccination that the state is revising its school entry policies. And all of this is happening in a culture that is less engaged with science and technology as intellectual pursuits than at any point I can remember.
Gee, whoda thunk.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Something Old

It looks like Pat Michaels has folded New Hope Environmental Services.  Pat's World Climate Report is dead for nine months and it Pat and Chip Knappenberger have moved on to Cato probably in late Fall 2012.   Amusingly Cato advertises that Pat

Michaels was a contributing author and is a reviewer of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
Something to be proud of.  As head honchos for Cato's Global Science Report, Eli eagerly awaits Pat and Chip hiring out for whatever needs to be denied.  Someone has to take S. Fred's niche.

Whatever.  Eli must really get up to date.

UPDATE:  So in the shower, Eli remembered something.  New Hope was a registered VA corporation and thus the State Corporation Commission web site would tell the tale, and it did: TERMINATED 7/31/2013.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Republicans writing the Fall 2014 campaign commercials for Democrats

Prelude here:  a Republican operative with a pre-existing condition and no insurance rethinks the Obamacare thing.


"We're the Jones Family, living right here with you in Houston, and we've been conservative Republicans for as long as we can remember. When Republican leaders told us not to sign up for health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, we believed them. After signup eligibility closed, Suzie here got hit by a car [PHOTO MONTAGE OF MEDICAL TREATMENT]. We're incredibly relieved that Suzie is recovering, but the bills have ruined us because our Republican leaders told us not to get insurance."

"We can't wait until the eligibility for Obamacare insurance signup starts again, and we'll be signing up."

"We're still conservatives, but something has gone deeply wrong with the Republican Party leadership. We're protecting our family this fall by voting for [DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE] who will help us get and keep affordable health care. You should do the same."


I don't think the effort to get people to not sign up will be very successful, but it should be successful enough to have plenty of Real People examples, like the hypothetical one above, in contested campaigns throughout the country.

While not all Republicans/conservatives have called for a boycott, a lot have and the rest have done everything they could to sabotage health care. I think this commercial would be a fair shot against your typical Tea Party Congressman unless he or she made an exception and told people to sign up on the exchanges.

Monday, August 19, 2013

There Is No Free Lunch, But How About Two Free Dinners and Your Name on the Heartland Institute's NIPCC Report.

Honorary authorship is a device, often seen in the scientific literature and frowned upon greatly.  It comes in several flavors, amongst them are the money guy gambit (grant PI but did none of the work, OTOH we gotta add his name to keep the funding), the I'm your boss guy (and you are going to add my name to the paper, even though I did not do any of the work), the please your boss guy (if this bunny adds that bunny's name to the paper maybe that bunny will vote for this bunny's tenure) and the how are we going to get anyone to believe this nonsense guy (let's add the name of some Nobel Prize winner to the author's list).

Eli has recently come into possession of an interesting missive from one S. Fred Singer, sent to some sixty worthies in 2009, many of whose names the readers of Rabett Run would recognize, offering what appears to be Honorary Authorships by the five dozen

From:   "S. Fred Singer"
Subject:    NIPCC -- 2nd Edition
Date:   January 25, 2009 8:19:22 PM CST
Cc:  (Let Eli not go there for now)

Attachments: 2 Attachments, 135.4 KB
Dear Friends

We are readying a 2nd updated and slightly expanded edition of the NIPCC Summary, to be published in March/April 2008

Pls read the attached Preface and consider adding yr name as a contributor/reviewer (We are blurring the disitnction on purpose to provide deniability to some who are concerned about repercussions)

I hope you will accept this invitation and send me BY JANUARY 31 a 2-3-line bio-sketch, along the model shown on page 29 of the NIPCC report Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate

Thank you -- and best wishes for 2009!


NIPCC participants are invited to a dinner on March 9 in NY City during the Heartland Conference and to a dinner on April 23 (or 24) during the EGU General Assembly in Vienna. I am to present an invited paper in Session GD10 (see attached abstract)
S. Fred Singer, PhD, President
Science & Environmental Policy Project . .
http ://
To their credit, all except one on the list did not bite.  The only Email on the list which corresponds to someone all the Rabetts know and admire who is also listed as an author on the 2009  is one Nicholas Scafetta.  Now, of course, this is not ironclad proof,  in the sense, that maybe NS called Fred up and asked to add something or, in the ambiguous words of the Email "blurring the disitnction on purpose to provide deniability" (sic) reviewed the thing, and indeed that someone accepted is not such a huge deal given the general reputation of the NIPCC, but that the honor :) was offered, ah tells you something about Heartland and Fred. Indeed this is not the first time that S. Fred has played the author/reviewer game.

And, of course, Fred did not only offer Honorary Authorship, in a bid to spice up the Heartland Institute's NIPCC Report, but even better than a single free lunch, two free dinners.  And Eli might speculate that the Heartland bought some mighty fine dinners

So the answer to the question above is that Heartland provides dinner, oh yes, and hard cash.  For the NIPCC report SEPP (or in other words S. Fred) got 143K$ for that in case anybunny wonders what the wages of obfustication are. And he and Craig Idso appear to have remained on the payroll into 2012.

Eli awaits anxiously the soon to appear 2013 edition.  He expects an offer in the moment, with a wonderful gift of carrot cake and cookies.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Good chance we'll be the first water district in the country to divest from fossil fuels, starting August 27th

I'm guessing we're first on the planet too, but who knows. I previously wrote a memo suggesting we drop investments in fossil fuel companies (the big push by, and we directed staff to return to us with a proposal. It's now available (to RTFD, click here for the policy and scroll to Attachment 5 to get to the memo and discussion). It's pretty simple - no investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, relying primarily but not exclusively on third-party documentation of what constitutes the top 200 companies. Our district doesn't control pension funds, so I'll ask that we also include a letter to the state CalPERS board urging them to take the same step that we're doing.

Along with being the first water district in the solar system to have a climate divestment policy after the August 27 meeting (assuming I'm not counting my chickens too early), I think we might also be the third government agency to do it. Reading through the list of twenty cities, Seattle and Santa Monica are the only cities with a controlling policy in place. A handful of others have passed advisory measures but don't mandate the change, some aren't currently invested in fossil fuel companies but don't have a policy, and the rest are still investigating the idea.

I think there are a fair number of water districts like ours with significant climate awareness and political responsiveness, so I hope this will spread. As for its actual impact on those companies, even if it spreads widely, that's less clear. The pool of money available to be invested in those companies would have to shrink a lot before the companies are forced to pay a premium in dividends or interest rates in order to get investments. I suppose it could happen, but I think the primary effect is cultural, creating an awareness that they are basically little different from tobacco companies and the apartheid-era South African investments.

There is a difference from South Africa in that it wouldn't be good if we halted all fossil fuel use immediately, but somehow I'm not too worried about that outcome.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Criticize and Correct

The short explanation of the greenhouse effect found below was used in a survey about attitudes and knowledge of climate change.  Eli asks the bunnies to critically evaluate and suggest changes in the same.  Brevity is important.  The text is limited to no more than 400 words.  Eli, of course has offered his own explanations, as have many others.


How does climate change (“global warming”) work? The mechanism of the greenhouse effect

[Or: “Why do some gases concern scientists –– like carbon dioxide (CO2) but not others, like oxygen?”]

Scientists tell us that human activities are changing Earth’s atmosphere and increasing Earth’s average temperature. What causes these climate changes? 

First, let’s understand Earth’s “normal” temperature: When Earth absorbs sunlight, which is mostly visible light, it heats up. Like the sun, Earth emits energy - but because it is cooler than the sun, Earth emits lower-energy infrared wavelengths.  Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (methane, carbon dioxide, etc.) let visible light pass through, but absorb infrared light causing the atmosphere to heat up. The warmer atmosphere emits more infrared light, which tends to be reabsorbed perhaps many times before the energy eventually returns to space. The extra time this energy hangs around has helped keep Earth warm enough to support life as we know it. (In contrast, the moon has no atmosphere, and it is colder than Earth, on average.)

Since the industrial age began around the year 1750, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 40% and methane has increased by 150%. Such increases cause extra infrared light absorption, further heating Earth above its typical temperature range (even as energy from the sun stays basically the same). In other words, energy that gets to Earth has an even harder time leaving it, causing Earth’s average temperature to increase producing global climate change.

[In molecular detail, greenhouse gases absorb infrared light because their molecules can vibrate to produce asymmetric distributions of electric charge, which match the energy levels of various infrared wavelengths. In contrast, non-greenhouse gases (such as oxygen and nitrogen, that is, O2 and N2) don't absorb infrared light, because they have symmetric charge distributions even when vibrating.]

Summary: (a) Earth absorbs most of the sunlight it receives; (b) Earth then emits the absorbed light’s energy as infrared light; (c) greenhouse gases absorb a lot of the infrared light before it can leave our atmosphere; (d) being absorbed slows the rate at which energy escapes to space; and (e) the slower passage of energy heats up the atmosphere, water, and ground. By increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, humans are increasing the atmosphere’s absorption of infrared light, thereby warming Earth and disrupting global climate patterns.

Shorter summary: Earth transforms sunlight’s visible light energy into infrared light energy, which leaves Earth slowly because it is absorbed by greenhouse gases. When people produce greenhouse gases, energy leaves Earth even more slowly raising Earth’s temperature.

Hyperloop and autonomous driving versus betting the farm on high speed rail

We'll eventually find out whether Musk's Hyperloop concept will come to something. It's hard to imagine some of the claims, particularly about costs, will be anything other than underestimates. Just building tunnels to get through mountains north of Los Angeles and maybe other areas will rocket up the costs. I've also been following and peripherally-involved with California High Speed Rail for years, and I know that simply putting your structure up on pylons, which has also been proposed for HSR in places, isn't a guaranteed way to avoid land use conflicts.

Still, for the present, I view Hyperloop as similar to autonomous driving in its effect on our proposed HSR - both concepts have an known unknown chance of making HSR become a huge mistake. Autonomous driving might not be able to go 200 mph, but the cars could pod up together on a dedicated or separated highway lane and drive well over 100 mph. That improved drive time across California combined with the ability to use the time productively because you don't have to drive the vehicle could pull a lot of the market share away from HSR. Or not. Maybe they won't be all that fast or take longer to realize than I imagine.

But if you assigned some number to the risks, like a 15% chance that the Hyperloop will kill HSR before it pays off, 25% chance that driverless cars will do the same, and 30% chance that costs will be so much higher or income revenues lower than anticipated so that it doesn't make sense, that all results in a 55% chance that HSR will be a failure just based on those factors alone. Of course I pulled those risk numbers out of the air but they don't seem unreasonable.

I've been cautiously supportive of California HSR although I don't think it's popular in my area. We need to get people out of planes, soon. Almost everything I hear about it just makes me more hesitant though.

Betting a huge amount of money on a single piece of technology, no matter what it is, strikes me as un-hedged.

Unrestrained criticism of Hyperloop is here, YMMV.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Two Cultures

The values of science, such as critical thinking, apply to its practice and not to moral obligation, or human virtue but the same should not, and mostly is not true about scientists. Science is a product of our civilization and reflects its values through practitioners, but also science in the last 300 years has shaped the values of people. 

Science may speak to the effects of our actions, natural variation, chance occurrence, but by itself it does not assign value to the well being of people, family or nations. To slip back into character, bunnies are an entirely different matter. 

On the other hand, science does inform scientists when urgent action is necessary if damage is to be limited or the world or some part of it is to prosper and it would be remiss of them not to show these conclusions to others so that our world can at least have a chance to avoid the whirlwind or reap the cornucopia as the case may be.

Climate change is such an issue.  As the AGU statement on climate change says: Human-induced climate change requires urgent action.   That is a statement which brings together ethical obligation of scientists with their science.  It is on the border where the two cultures of science meet.

The first culture is the delight in discovery, the pursuit of knowledge for the pleasure of itself, the ivory tower.  This is the place where science, as a hobby of the well off started but increasingly the cleverest amongst us adopted that stance.  Here's to pure mathematics, may it never be of any use to anyone.  It is primarily this culture that opposes scientists acting as advocates of any action, but still, there is a tradition here of the "wise old heads" functioning as advisers to government and industry.  Physicists are particularly prominent in this camp.  In the case of climate, one sometimes gets the feeling that the objections of a William Happer, for example, are more defending turf than anything else

The second culture is science as the engine of an improved civilization, engineering some sneer, but not the solely practical engineering that only cares if something works but not why.  People in this camp in principle, because they want their science to serve societal needs see no problem of advocating policies. 

It is a misleading illusion to think that scientists have never, or ethically are restricted in any way from giving advice on policy.  The "honest broker not" argument is simply a strategy by some, Eli will not name them, to wall off those with a clue.  Eli asks why omerta only for scientists?

Eli Would Argur

An advantage of having the keys (eat your heart out #1) is that you can reply in a post to comments and not have your perils of wisdom buried in the comments.  Allow Eli some pleasure.

The Bunny's policy has been that the posts belong to him, Brian and John, and, as far as possible, the comments here belong to those who read.  However, in the polite contestation against pedants and peddlers that only goes so far.

Now some, not Eli to be sure, might think that allowing confusion to flourish is the entire point of Judyland and some of our favorite friends, who, Galileo like, search the ether for true meaning and natural variability.  Devaluing and belittling knowledge is a superior tactic when reality threatens  As a backup, claim that it is undemocratic that thems with the knowledge express conclusions that flow from them.

As discussed here a few days ago, the ENTERTAINMENTNET has changed the rules.  Where before one could, in John's words, have a "crank case", a box in which the routine disproofs of relativity were tossed, today, allowing nonsense to stand authoritatively unchallenged especially on one's own blog means that somebunny is going to google it, say hey, I read it on a real scientist's blog, and that imposes obligations..

Sometimes (Eli is fortunate), readers show up to condemn the Shadow Host, and that is excellent, but science blog owners have a duty to step in.  The Bunny would even go further, in that there is an obligation of scientists to find a way of expressing mirth wherever necessary, except sometimes, about some issues it ain't funny and that is a hard row to hoe.  Each needs find their own trail.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Advocating for Science

Another thing that Tamsin Edwards is not interested in.

As the bunnies know, scientists take vows of policy silence in Tamsin/Judy land, so that their betters, the Tols and Pielkes and Kahan's of the world may instruct the powers that are.  A recent set of comments at Tamsin Edward's blog captures the path we are instructed to trod..

It starts with a comment from Alan Emery to the well known Myrrh

Myrrh: I forgot to mention that if you seriously believe you have found a fundamental flaw in theoretical physics, it is worthwhile submitting a paper to a refereed journal that deals with theoretical physics. You do not have to be associated with an institution, nor do you have to be a scientist to do so. You do have to prepare the paper according to the instructions on the website for whatever journal you choose. In preparing your arguments, be sure to read and understand the literature that you will be refuting. Your paper will be sent to several external readers who in most cases will make helpful comments and suggestions if your case is good. Be prepared to revise your paper according to suggestions by referees if you get past the first threshold. The reviewers do not have to agree with you, but you must be logical and accurate, or you will get a rejection slip.

If you are correct, we will all applaud your determination and insight. If you are wrong, welcome to the crowd of scientists who didn’t get their pet theory right the first time.
only to be met by the usual Myrrh wind and sleet storm
Alan Emery says:
August 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Myrrh: I forgot to mention that if you seriously believe you have found a fundamental flaw in theoretical physics, it is worthwhile submitting a paper to a refereed journal that deals with theoretical physics. etc.
You have missed the import of what I am saying. I am arguing from well known, well empirically tested, used in countless industries and applications world wide, basic real physics. It is no longer taught in general education because the Greenhouse Effect fake fisics has replaced it..
For example, the GHE “shortwave in” which claims visible light from the Sun heats the surface land and water.
Visible light works on the electronic transition level, this is on the level of electrons, not on the level of the whole molecule which has to moved to vibration to heat it up, which is why it is called the molecular vibrational level. Vibration, is heat, aka internal kinetic energy. All this is extremely well known in industries, Thermodynamics has been with us a long time.., if you want to find out about visible light go to Optics, or, Biology.
If you re-read the NASA page I gave, you will see that there is a difference in size between shortwave infrared (which is classed in with Light not Heat, with Reflective not Thermal) and the longer wavelengths which are thermal, which are heat, which we feel as heat. Visible light is even smaller than near infrared.. That is all highly energetic means, because all the wavelengths travel at the same speed the greater the frequency in wave the smaller it gets – there is a rather large difference between gamma rays and radio waves, radio waves can be as big as a house and several football pitches long.. Visible light is much, much smaller than longwave thermal infrared, so it works on the smaller electron level, not on the larger whole molecule level. If infrared was not invisible we still would not be able to see shortwave infrared, it is microscopic, we would be able to see the bigger longwave infrared heat waves.
Now, the atmosphere is not transparent to visible light as claimed by GHE, it is opaque – that is why you do not see the stars during the day. What you are seeing is visible light being bounced around by the electrons of nitrogen and oxygen, blue visible being more energetic, think more nervy pin ball, gets bounced around more hence our blue sky.
When electrons of the molecules of nitrogen and oxygen absorb visible light from the Sun they get briefly energised, and electrons always wanting to return to their ground state do so, in doing so they emit the same energy they absorbed, blue light in blue light out. This is called reflection/scattering.
Visible light from the Sun does not knock the electron out of its orbit, it is non-ionising, because it is too weak, but, for example, some uv does this, this is called ionising uv. This affects the skin on the DNA level, will damage the skin, so our bodies produce melanin to absorb it preventing damage. That is how we get our tans. We get burned when our melanin production cannot keep pace with our stupidity, when we expose ourselves to more Sun than we are used to.. Acclimatise slowly. UV is not a thermal energy, it is not hot, it does not heat our skin, it scrambles our DNA.
So, visible light from the Sun is not capable of heating matter, the claimed heating surface land of GHE, because it is not big enough, does not pack enough punch to move whole molecules into vibration, but also, visible light is claimed to heat the water in ocean in the GHE, but it cannot do this because water really is a transparent medium for visible light, it does not absorb visible light but gets transmitted through unchanged. You can see this in clear water, you can see through water to the visible light bouncing back from the bottom of a stream for example.
Still on the electronic transition level, which is the smaller level visible light operates on, the molecules of a transparent medium do not absorb visible light at all, they do not get in to play with the electrons as they do in the real gas medium of air molecules. They try, and this delays them a little, but they are passed along and so transmitted through the transparent medium unchanged.
If visible light from the Sun heated the water in the ocean then we would have no life as we know it, we are carbon life forms from the photosynthesis which began in the oceans. Visible light is used by plants to convert to chemical energy, not heat energy, in the production of sugars from carbon dioxide and water.
This is basic physics from real world traditional physics, still taught to some and particularly in relevant applied science fields. We really do know a great deal about the properties and processes of matter and energy – that is why the electromagnetic spectrum has been divided up and given different names, and put into different categories. We have come a long way from Herschel’s first brilliant discovery that the great heat we feel from the Sun is invisible infrared. His measurements were crude then, he moved his solid glass prism by hand at the edge of the table.. We now know that there is a great difference in size, relating to frequency, so the visible light he was measuring was getting overlap from the bigger longwave thermal infrared heat waves/photons which are packets of particles.
As I have already explained, the AGW Greenhouse Effect has taken out the direct longwave infrared heat we get direct from the Sun in order to claim that real world measurements of this are from “backradiation by greenhouse gases from the atmosphere under TOA”.
This is simple science fraud by sleight of hand. The KT97 and ilk GHE energy budget is science fraud, Trenberth needs to go back to traditional physics to find his missing heat..
Eli had been getting a word or two in downthread, pointing out that the Myrrh was a naked bush, but this made him weak with the giggles, incapable of holding still to reply and frankly feeling a bit peeved that the oh so responsible blog owner operator was not being very responsible, letting the others do the work.
Well, Tamsin, you asked for it. Care to help out or are you going to continue to rely on the good will of others to deal with the confused?
 Now some, not Eli to be sure, might have hoped that the bright light of science would be seen upon the land, and some sense would appear.  Not Eli, to be sure, the Bunny has been at this game too long.
Tamsin Edwards says:
 I normally monitor comments to prevent them going off topic like this. It’s boring for people to hear the same arguments they could elsewhere. Please stick to the topic of the post or else I’ll have to revoke (all) your auto-accept moderation statuses or end commenting. I don’t have time to read all your comments at the moment, beyond a very quick skim, so I rely on trust for people to stay on topic. Thank you.
and Eli, well Eli had a big sad.  It is really sad being right at times.
Eli Rabett says:
Sorry, that will not do. You open the door to misleading nonsense, you have the personal responsibility of closing it, a point that you missed in the original post/guardian column and continue to ignore.

“Going off topic” is the usual false balance, and FWIW, this comment is on topic, the first responsibility of scientists who speak/write in public is to clearly define scientific reality.
In TamsinWorld, scientists are not to speak about policy, but they are also not to correct science fiction because that is not democratic (channeling Tol).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Proof positive that there is a God.

And he has a great sense of humor.

Oregon Republicans elect Art Robinson of OISM as head of the state party.  Some of the comments are terrific:

What is the difference between Art Robinson and The Three Stooges? 
The Three Stooges have a more profound, science-based policy platform.  
That and they actually appeal to younger voters.
As the Greek generals said after their 1967 coup, "The previous regime brought us to the edge of a precipice, and we have now taken a step forward." 
It is as if the Onion wrote the story, with this perfect close to the traditional August silly season.  The former Republican EPA administrators who argued that there was a Republican case for action on climate change.  R Street, Bob Inglis and Eli Lehrer who have been blogging up a storm on same.  Tamsin Edwards on why not to have an opinion and James on why to.

Stephan Lewandowsky was right, denial is a lifestyle and the Republicans in the US have it bad but anybunny trying to "reason" with them is delusional.  

Friday, August 09, 2013

Heads Are Round For Rolling

Ugo Bardi from the Frog That Jumped Out draws Eli's attention (very short span) to an astounding editorial comment in Climate by the publishers.  Climate is a new MDPI open access journal whose Editor in Chief, Nicole Moelders is a professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Of perhaps more relevance she is closely associated with Syun-Ichi Akasofu, perhaps the best known faculty member there for his work on the upper atmosphere, the Aurora and the Magnetosphere.  Moelders, of perhaps equal relevance to this post is married to Gerhard Kramm, a close friend of both Eli and the cyanobacteria's press agent

Anyhoo, Moelders is the chief editor, big into the uncertainty and natural variation club, and right out of the box, she published a rant by SI Akasofu, On the Present Halting of Global Warming

The rise in global average temperature over the last century has halted since roughly the year 2000, despite the fact that the release of CO2 into the atmosphere is still increasing. It is suggested here that this interruption has been caused by the suspension of the near linear (+0.5 °C/100 years or 0.05 °C/10 years) temperature increase over the last two centuries, due to recovery from the Little Ice Age, by a superposed multi-decadal oscillation of a 0.2 °C amplitude and a 50~60 year period, which reached its positive peak in about the year 2000—a halting similar to those that occurred around 1880 and 1940. Because both the near linear change and the multi-decadal oscillation are likely to be natural changes (the recovery from the Little Ice Age (LIA) and an oscillation related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), respectively), they must be carefully subtracted from temperature data before estimating the effects of CO2.
In other words, what you can read everyday over at Willard Tony's, the usual confusion between increase in CO2 mixing ratio and increase in CO2 forcing, a bunch of mathturbation on rates, etc.

However, there have been some consequences.  Two of the editorial board said sayonara, and the publisher is a bit perturbed
It has recently been brought to our attention by members of the scientific community that a paper published in Climate (ISSN 2225-1154, has raised some controversy regarding its originality, overall quality, and the scientific validity of the data presented. Moreover, two members have resigned from the Editorial Board, stating they are not willing to be associated with a journal where such articles are published. The paper they referred to was “Akasofu, S.-I. On the Present Halting of Global Warming. Climate 2013, 1, 4–11”, published in the first issue of Climate in May 2013 [1].
These appear to be Nathaniel Brunsell of the University of Kansas and Jason Evans of the University of New South Wales, who join the Hans v. Storch Chapter of Editors Emeritus 

But wait, other heads also are being cued up for rolling
The Publisher endeavors to ensure the scientific standard of all the papers published in this journal and will seek a closer involvement of the Editorial Board in the editorial process.
and comments are invited
We are now inviting comments for publication on the Akasofu paper. We also want to point out that comments on any articles published in Climate are always welcome. We hope that this opportunity for debate will be taken up by members of the scientific community, and that Climate can facilitate vibrant discussion around environmental climate topics that can often polarize opinion, but are of vital importance for stimulating cutting edge research.
Eli, of course, teaches the controversy.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Revised AGU Statement on Climate Change

The AGU has issued its revised statement on climate change, approved by the fifteen member committee chaired by Gerald North with one (predictable) dissent. 

Human induced climate change requires urgent action.

Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years.
Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.

Human activities are changing Earth’s climate. At the global level, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping greenhouse gases have increased sharply since the Industrial Revolution. Fossil fuel burning dominates this increase.  Human caused increases in greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed global average surface warming of roughly 0.8°C (1.5°F) over the past 140 years. Because natural processes cannot quickly remove some of these gases (notably carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere, our past, present, and future emissions will influence the climate
system for millennia. 

Extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming. These observations show large scale increases in air and sea temperatures, sea level, and atmospheric water vapor; they document decreases in the extent of mountain glaciers, snow cover, permafrost, and Arctic sea ice. These changes are broadly consistent with long understood physics and predictions of how the climate system is expected to respond to human caused increases in greenhouse gases. The changes are inconsistent with explanations of climate change that rely on known natural influences.

Climate models predict that global temperatures will continue to rise, with the amount of warming primarily determined by the level of emissions. Higher emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to larger warming, and greater risks to society and ecosystems. Some additional warming is unavoidable due to past emissions.

Climate chan ge is not expected to be uniform over space or time. Deforestation, urbanization, and particulate pollution can have complex geographical, seasonal, and longer term effects on temperature, precipitation, and cloud properties. In addition, human induced climate change may alter atmospheric circulation, dislocating historical patterns of natural variability and storminess.

In the current climate, weather experienced at a given location or region varies from year to year; in a changing climate, both the nature of that variability and the basic patterns of weather experienced can change, sometimes in counterintuitive ways -- some areas may experience cooling, for instance. This raises no challenge to the reality of human induced climate change.

Impacts harmful to society, including increased extremes of heat, precipitation, and coastal high water are currently being experienced, and are projected to increase. Other projected outcomes involve threats to public health, water availability, agricultural productivity (particularly in low latitude developing countries), and coastal infrastructure, though some benefits may be seen at some times and places. Biodiversity loss is expected to accelerate due to both climate change and acidification of the oceans, which is a direct result of increasing carbon dioxide levels.

While important scientific uncertainties remain as to which particular impacts will be experienced where, no uncertainties are known that could make the impacts of climate change inconsequential. Furthermore, surprise outcomes, such as the unexpectedly rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, may entail even more dramatic changes than anticipated.

Actions that could diminish the threats posed by climate change to society and ecosystems include substantial emissions cuts to reduce the magnitude of climate change, as well as preparing for changes that are now unavoidable. The community of scientists has responsibilities to improve overall understanding of climate change and its impacts. Improvements will come from pursuing the research needed to understand climate change, working with stakeholders to identify relevant information, and conveying understanding clearly and accurately, both to decision makers and to the general public.

Adopted by the American Geophysical Union
December 2003; Revised and Reaffirmed December 2007, February 2012, August 2013.

The 15-person panel that reviewed and updated the position statement included the following:
  • Amy Clement, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami (approve)
  • John Farrington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (approve)
  • Susan Joy Hassol, Climate Communication (approve)
  • Robert Hirsch, U.S. Geological Survey (approve)
  • Peter Huybers, Harvard University (approve)
  • Peter Lemke, Alfred Wegener Institute (approve)
  • Gerald North, Texas A&M University (approve, panel chair)
  • Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University (approve)
  • Roger Pielke Sr., University of Colorado Boulder (dissent)
  • Ben Santer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (approve)
  • Gavin Schmidt, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA (approve)
  • Leonard A. Smith, London School of Economics (approve)
  • Eric Sundquist, U.S. Geological Survey (approve)
  • Pieter Tans, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (approve)
It is notable here that the committee was quite willing to vote the statement out based on a strong consensus but not unanimity. As Eli noted in December last after attending the Fall AGU meeting, climate scientists are not only 97% for the proposition that the climate is changing driven by human influences but that it is also dangerous.  Action to stop carbon emissions is needed immediately.

The mood of the attendees had shifted.  It was much sourer about the few in the atmospheric science community still running interference for inactivism.  People were being called out in private, but also in public and not just in sessions dealing with education and communication and blogging.

It is now clear to the climate science community that keeping your head down has not been an effective option for climate scientists for quite a while (see Kathryn Hayhoe).  The denialists and their funders are  coming for you in the Niemoeller sense, sooner or later.  This means that many in the community have woken up.  Those who do not, or believe they cannot, are feeling guilty about not supporting the science they are part of.  Those folks need to be encouraged and supported and come out.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Andy Dessler on Climate Sensitivity

Mom Rabett told Eli that there is no need to make the rubble bounce when you have friends who will do the job for you

Laid Back this Summer

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Climate Zork II

Scott Eric Kaufman at acephalous has perfected the game of Zork as an expression of the travails of life on the net.  The best of his scripts IEHO is DISBELIEF.  Zork is absolutely the perfect game to describe the difficulties of the Richard Tol Poll which Eli has attempted below with many borrowings from Scott.  Oh yes, beware the grue.  In the spirit of such games, readers are invited to submit continuations of the story to bring it up to date.

Copyright (c) 1980, 1982, 1983, 2006 Rabett, Inc.  CLIMATE ZORK! is a registered trademark of Rabett, Inc.
Revision 29 / Serial number 55153380
West of Office Building

You are standing in an open field west of a white office building, with a boarded front door.  There is a small mailbox here.

> open mailbox

There are many large white envelopes inside the mailbox with printing in large Comic Sans on them

> open an envelope

Which one

> The one from Richard Tol promising a big prize. 

They are all from Richard Tol.  Some bunny has deployed the Tol Poll Bot.

> Well, open one and read it

You joke

> Wait, you are a computer, do what I tell you

Even a computer has standards, in this case IEEE 1622

> Are we going to stand here all day debating

Better than getting involved.

>  OK, give here.

>  It appears that my choice is between Dana Nuccitelli and Robert Mugabe for Richard's least favorite person

> Isn’t it very nasty to be inviting ratings that include “very nasty”?

Ethon suggested "very tasty" but Roger is Richard's buddy.


To be continued. . .  or add your own.