Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One For John Mashey

Frontline and Propublica have found something interesting about the American Traditions Institute, you know the one that Chris Horner and Paul Schnare are running.  Turns out, and this gets complicated, that ATI was really started by the American Traditions Partnership which was a name change from Western Traditions  Partnership (everybunny knows that).  Well, so what?

Turns out that WTP in applying for its tax exempt status told the IRS that they needed expedited consideration because their existence depended on a $300K donation from one Jacob Jabs who was not going to hold the money forever.  Well, so what?

Well turns out that Jacob Jabs spoke to Pro Publica and Frontline and had an interesting non story to tell

“I think they just grabbed my name out of a hat to forward their agenda,” Jabs told us. “I know nothing about the group, never heard of them, never have heard of them until the last few days, and I did not, absolutely did not, commit $300,000 to start this company.”
"I did talk to Christian LeFer," Jabs said. "They basically admitted they used me to get their 501(c)(4) status." Jabs said he also contacted Reed, who did not call him back. 
and there is evidence
On Monday, we detailed how some of those documents pointed to WTP actively shaping the campaigns of candidates for state office in Montana. The documents, found in a meth house near Denver by a convicted felon in late 2010, indicate possible coordination between candidates and outside groups. Outside groups and candidates are not allowed to coordinate. 
 Well, so what?  Well he also talked to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Well, so what?  Well, there is an important US Election going on and interesting things are happening in Montana

Steve Goddard Drowns in Millard Fillmore's Bathtub

One of the evergreens that have sprouted is the claim that Jim Hansen was wrong when asked in 1988 or so what the changes would be visible in 20 to 30 years looking down on Broadway from GISS
“The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”
Well actually that is what Hansen said, but it does not include the derision that the Blogs of Denial have rained down upon his head in the intervening years, until yesterday.  Ed Darrell is busy drowning this one in the bathtub.

Why is Eli picking on Steve Goddard, when there is so much loose fruitcake out there?  Well, according to Ed and tonylearns, Goddard wrote this 23 times and said it uncounted others, the latest being about a month ago

Eli Gets EVEN MORE Email

Dear Bunnies, when we last left this blog, the intrepid Gator was writing to Prof. Geir Lundestad Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute

Subject: Nobel Peace Prize, IPCC and Michael Mann

Hello Professor Lundestad,

I have seen a statement on some blogs that has been attributed to you.

"Geir Lundestad, Director, Professor, of The Norwegian Nobel Institute emailed me back with the following:

1) Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2) He did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and to Al Gore) and made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma.
3) The text underneath the diploma is entirely his own. We issued only the diploma to the IPCC as such. No individuals on the IPCC side received anything in 2007."

This has appeared, for example, in a press release sent out by Marc Morano.

Since it is clear that the certificate being discussed is in fact a certificate sent by the IPCC to Michael Mann, perhaps you could clarify your email to whomever you sent it too... or send out some other sort of public announcement clarifying the situation. It is clear that the IPCC won the Nobel prize, not the individual authors. However, the IPCC sent out certificates to lead authors and others who it felt contributed to the work that earned the prize.

It would be nice to clarify this since Lord Monckton has been claiming for years to be a Nobel prize winner for the same IPCC work (he claims to have submitted some comments on some of the work.) Yet I have never seen an official pronouncement from the anyone connected to the Nobel committee criticizing Lord Monkton for these claims. It seems to undermine the whole awarding of that prize to publicly criticize a scientist who actually made a substantial contribution to the work, yet remain silent about an obvious crank who has been trying to destroy confidence in the work for which the prize was awarded.
 to which the reply was
Dear Gator,

I was asked a personal question and replied to that question. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar cases that are not brought to our attention.
Now some, not Eli to be sure, would have left it at that, especially since a humble lab bunny toiling away for the  Rabett Research Bureau had established that the same reply was give to Lord Moncton's claims of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore.  But, and you knew there was a but, Eli thought it would be worthwhile follow up, given the response of the IPCC Secretariat on this matter
Subject:  IPCC reply on THEIR issuance of copies of the Nobel Diploma to significant contributors
Dear Prof. Lundestad

I would like to bring to your attention an Email that I received a few days ago from the IPCC Secretariat with respect to THEIR issuing of certificates memorializing the organizations' Nobel Prize Award ------------------------------------ Thank you for your email of Sunday 28 October 2012 enquiring about the certificates issued by the IPCC to authors to mark their contributions to the IPCC's Nobel Prize. In December 2007 the permanent secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Geir Lundestad, clarified these questions in an email to one of our authors, copied to Dr Pachauri. Chairman of the IPCC. He wrote that the committee would issue no medal or diploma to individual contributors to IPCC reports and it was up to the IPCC to decide what it would do to recognize the various contributors.

On this basis, the IPCC Chair, the Secretary of the IPCC and IPCC Co-chairs decided in 2007 to present personalized certificates “for contributing to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC” to experts that had contributed substantially to the preparation of IPCC Reports, namely coordinating lead authors, lead authors, review editors, Bureau members, staff of the technical support units and staff of the secretariat from the IPCC’s inception in 1988 until the award of the prize in 2007.  IPCC Secretariat ----------------------------------- I note that your response to inquiries about the copy of the diploma shown by Prof. Mann are reported to have included the phrases

"2) He did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and to Al Gore) and made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma.

3) The text underneath the diploma is entirely his own. We issued only the diploma to the IPCC as such. No individuals on the IPCC side received anything in 2007."

If, in fact that was your response, the IPCC Email shows that the text underneath the copy of the diploma was NOT added by Prof. Mann, but rather provided by the IPCC after some consultation with you as representative of the Nobel Institute, to acknowledge the work of those who contributed substantially to its work.  For that reason, you as representative of the Nobel Institute must decide if a public modification of that specific phrase is needed.  While I can understand the reasons for your being, shall we say, somewhat testy on the matter, I would hope that you agree that being precise as possible also is important.

What is clear is that Prof. Mann did not on his own add his own text under the copy of the diploma that was provided by the IPCC.  If this is an issue for the Nobel Institute, perhaps a more formal policy would be needed
Prof. Lundstad replied

I take note of what you write and that the IPCC issued the diploma in question. It still stands that Mr. Mann is not a personal Nobel laureate.
Geir Lundestad
Director, Professor
The Norwegian Nobel Institute
Prof. Rabett thanks Prof. Lundestad for his patience in this matter and hops on.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blackouts a reminder of the potential advantage of Vehicle-to-Grid power supply

NYU Langone Medical Center:

At times with only flashlights to illuminate the way, NYU Langone Medical Center began evacuating about 260 patients, carrying some of them down 15 flights of stairs to awaiting ambulances ready to take them to the safety of other hospitals.... 
But between 7 and 7:45 p.m. Monday, the hospital's basement, lower floors and elevator shafts filled with 10 to 12 feet of water, and the hospital lost its power, according to Dr. Andrew Brotman, senior vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs and strategy.
"Things went downhill very, very rapidly and very unexpectedly," Brotman said. "The flooding was just unprecedented." 
Emergency generators did kick in, but two hours later, about 90% of that power went out, and the hospital decided to evacuate patients.
I wrote a while back about an idea I'm researching of using electric vehicles to supplement backup power during blackouts, a bridge to the truly big idea of Vehicle-to-Grid battery power storing energy from intermittent renewable sources, for release when needed.  This article suggests another reason for EVs as additional power backup - in case your emergency generators fail.

Hospitals strike me as pretty power-hungry, so I'm not sure how long EVs could support them, but you could probably triage crucial uses and cut off the rest.  Any extra time would likely be appreciated.

Somewhat related - I attended a lecture by a Japanese consular official last summer on recovery from the tsunami.  He said that electric networks took only days to get back online, while gasoline supplies took weeks.  The implication is that a system relying more on EVs than gas engines will be more resilient.  Unfortunately we have another chance to see how that plays out here, albeit on a much smaller scale of tragedy.

UPDATE:  as of Saturday Nov. 3, it appears that power is coming back faster than fuel supplies.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Eli Gets EMail

Eli, as the bunnies know, is not one to idly speculate especially concerning what people have done or not.  The Rabett simply asks, so last week he sent an Email to the IPCC


As I am sure you are by now aware, blogs are buzzing about the certificates that were issued by the IPcc to leading authors memorializing their contributions to the IPCC;s Nobel Prize.  Having seen endless speculation, as well as comments from the Nobel Organization, it occurred to me that it was possible that the IPCC had asked the Noble Organization whether distributing such certificates was allowed.  I would appreciate an answer to the following two questions

Did the IPCC ask permission or authorization to reproduce the awards as certificates to Lead Authors?

If so was there a response and what was it?

and this morning the EMail box was filled
Dear Bunny

Thank you for your email of Sunday 28 October 2012 enquiring about the certificates issued by the IPCC to authors to mark their contributions to the IPCC's Nobel Prize. In December 2007 the permanent secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Geir Lundestad, clarified these questions in an email to one of our authors, copied to Dr Pachauri. Chairman of the IPCC. He wrote that the committee would issue no medal or diploma to individual contributors to IPCC reports and it was up to the IPCC to decide what it would do to recognize the various contributors.

On this basis, the IPCC Chair, the Secretary of the IPCC and IPCC Co-chairs decided in 2007 to present personalized certificates “for contributing to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC” to experts that had contributed substantially to the preparation of IPCC Reports, namely coordinating lead authors, lead authors, review editors, Bureau members, staff of the technical support units and staff of the secretariat from the IPCC’s inception in 1988 until the award of the prize in 2007. 
Yours sincerely
IPCC Secretariat

Did Climate Change Load the Dice for Sandy?

Well, this is Rabett Run, so why ask?  Still, as we say, making the rubble bounce has an instructive effect, so let us bunnies add to the throw weight  In the comments about Eli's post on Testing, whose theme was that damage from extreme events is a question of reinforcement of several things rather than one single driver, Aslak Grinsted pointed to his recent PNAS paper (open access) which analyzed tidal gauge data

Detection and attribution of past changes in cyclone activity are hampered by biased cyclone records due to changes in observational capabilities. Here we construct an independent record of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity on the basis of storm surge statistics from tide gauges. We demonstrate that the major events in our surge index record can be attributed to landfalling tropical cyclones; these events also correspond with the most economically damaging Atlantic cyclones. We find that warm years in general were more active in all cyclone size ranges than cold years. The largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and we detect a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923. In particular, we estimate that Katrina-magnitude events have been twice as frequent in warm years compared with cold years (P < 0.02).
Tamino is busy analyzing the data, Eli knows his limits, but consider, Grinsted et al, has shown a correlation between warmer oceans and higher surge and activity.  Since higher sea surface temperatures are a consequence of global warming, well yes, there does appear to be a causal relationship.  There, easy enough.

Still there was something else in that paper which caught the Bunny's eye (he has been looking for a few days) but first some alphabet soup.  The surge index is Grinsted, Moore, and Jevrejevathe's measure of storm surge.  NTC is net tropical cyclone activity, ACE is accumulated cyclone energy and PDI is power dissipation index.  NHD, is net hurricane damage, Ethon's favorite snack food, some thing that Roger keeps pushing as a measure that shows there has been no increase in hurricane activity, and Andy Revkin (you there Andy?) keeps swallowing.  GMJ conclude that
The surge index is positively correlated with all of the comparison measures. The best correlations are found with measures that emphasize intensity (e.g., NTC, ACE, and PDI) and measures that are restricted to US land-falling storms only. Table 1 also shows that low-frequency correlation tends to be at a higher level than the year-to-year correlation. This is to be expected given that there are low-frequency driving agents related to various climate forcings (4, 8). One notable exception is NHD, which shows poor low-frequency correlations. However, NHD has been subjected to extensive corrections for inflation and changes in societal conditions over time (21). These corrections affect primarily low-frequency signals and trends and we interpret the poor low-frequency correlation with surge index to be due to a substantial remaining bias in NHD. We therefore consider the low-frequency variability (i.e., trend) of NHD suspect. We note, however, that the surge index does capture the high-frequency variability in NHD, thus supporting the interpretation that it is truly a proxy for cyclone threat. It is conceivable that the surge index could be used to correct for the remaining bias in NHD.   
Eli and a few others have been pointing out that NHD does not account for systematic improvements in forecasting and early warning, building and structure construction and many other such things.  As elegantly put by the EPA
For example, it is not easy to quantify the extent to which increases in coastal building damage is due to increasing wealth and population growth in vulnerable locations versus an increase in storm intensity. Some authors (e.g., Pielke et al., 2008) divide damage costs by a wealth factor in order to ‘normalize’ the damage costs. However, other factors such as changes in building codes, emergency response, warning systems, etc. also need to be taken into account.
Eli has been known to be a bit blunter, speaking for himself and Nils Simon
First, it is obvious even to a stuffed animal that the costs of flood control and surge barriers to limit damage from storms has increased substantially over the last fifty years. If such expenditures have NOT been included in the storm cost estimates, and the trend without them is flat, the trend WITH such costs MUST increase substantially. Any estimate that neglects these costs must be stated as a LOWER LIMIT. Neither Eli or Nils can find any such statement, not just from Roger Pielke. Therefore in true "Honest Broker" form, Rabett Run concludes that (OK, draw your own conclusions from what Roger calls others who mis-state something)

Second, and this is Nils' insight, NOT to include such costs or deal with their effect when you are aware of them, is either dishonest or a statement that such adaptation has no effect. Since we have been adapting to increased storm damage like crazy. Pielke is in Zugzwang.
but here, for the first time, GMJ have produced a metric which can be used to qualitativefy, or with some more work to quantitatify the benefits of progress.   What they have found makes great sense, if one realizes that the type of improvements the EPA, Nils and Eli were talking about take a long time to appear over the entire country, including the coasts.

That means that the LONG TERM correlations of NHD with physical measures of hurricane damage will be lousy, but short term correlations will be high (or as high as anything else).  NHD in that sense is a measure of the value and density of structures at the time that a hurricane hits, but it is lousy at capturing long term improvements.

Listen to the weather man

From the NWS Mt. Holly NJ the lessons of Katrina are remembered

Personal plea 

•If you are being asked to evacuate a coastal location by state and local officials, please do so. 

•If you are reluctant to evacuate, and you know someone who rode out the ‘62 storm on the barrier islands, ask them if they would do it again. 

•If you are still reluctant, think about your loved ones, think about the emergency responders who will be unable to reach you when you make the panicked phone call to be rescued, think about the rescue/recovery teams who will rescue you if you are injured or recover your remains if you do not survive. 

•Sandy is an extremely dangerous storm. There will be major property damage, injuries are probably unavoidable, but the goal is zero fatalities. 

•If you think the storm is over-hyped and exaggerated, please err on the side of caution. You can call me up on Friday (contact information is at the end of this briefing) and yell at me all you want. 

•I will listen to your concerns and comments, but I will tell you in advance, I will be very happy that you are alive & well, no matter how much you yell at me. 

•Thanks for listening. 

•Gary Szatkowski – National Weather Service Mount Holly
Image from NPR Minnesota, which also has updates.  Surge level at the Battery in NYC is already a meter over high tide level, barometer is 990 and falling off a cliff

Emergency kits: no time like the past, but the present is better than nothing

For those in Hurricane Sandy's evacuation areas, please read Eli's post above.  Or better yet, don't read it.  Just leave, now.

For everyone else, regardless of where you live on the planet, get emergency kits.  People who will have to ride out Sandy in place won't benefit from this 2010 repost, but it's a reminder to the rest of us:

Easy-but-not-cheap 72-hour emergency kits for home, with purchase links

It's hardly responsive to the Haiti quake, but I've been meaning to write about the earthquake/emergency kits I put together for Christmas presents. At least it's a way to lessen the burden on emergency services should something similar happen here.

There are nine members of my wife's family in the Bay Area, and when I found out no one had the 72-hour emergency kits we're supposed to have, I put them together as presents (in-laws loved the kits, too). My emphases were making them easy for me to put together, easy for people with no camping experience to use, and ones that would last as many years as possible without needing replacement or maintenance. In return I was willing to pay more, be more bulky than the minimum possible, and have limited control over food selection.

72-Hour Home kits:
  • Water in plastic jugs, 3 gallons/person
  • Iodine water-purification pills in case water goes bad (after 6 months, assume it's bad), in case it's leaked away, or in case you need more water (UPDATE: chlorine tabs have been suggested as lasting longer in storage than iodine)
  • Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit, 1 per person
  • Mountain Oven Flameless Heating Kit: each kit can be used 5 times and can prepare 2 meals at a time. So 2 kits per two people in a household, but also 2 kits in a single-person household.
  • Plastic silverware
  • Emergency phone numbers/contact list
The above is the absolute minimum. Meals can be eaten in their pouches, so no dishes are needed. Flameless heating kits eliminate the need for cooking stoves (water has to be purified, though). Emergency meals also can be eaten with cold (purified) water although they taste bad. The food and flameless kits should be good for at least 3 or 4 years, and probably more than twice that long.

Your kit should be stored outside your home in case you can't get inside. So in your yard, your car, or somewhere else. The only maintenance this requires is to simply look every six months to see if the water's leaked through the seams of the plastic jugs - it happens fairly often.

Additional useful items:
  • Cheap flashlight/headlamp
  • Spare batteries in clear plastic bag so you can see if they've become corroded over time
  • Plastic tarp and cord as a rain shelter
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Emergency shelter, 1 per 2 people
  • Cheap or expensive first aid kit (I went with cheap kits from the local drugstore)
  • Cheap rain gear, spare shoes and clothes
Don't let the extras delay you from putting together the minimum.

I also made better-than-nothing emergency kits for everyone's car, in case you're stuck on the road:

Car kits:
  • Half-liter water bottle (enough to keep you hydrated for a few hours until you can find a water source. Keep more than one if you have kids.)
  • Iodine (can disinfect murky water from ditches, and you might need to) (or chlorine tabs)
  • Emergency shelter
  • Small amount of long-lasting food (I found tins of honey-roasted peanuts that were good for four years)
  • Cheap rain poncho (I didn't include this, but should have)
  • Emergency contact list
  • Shoes you can walk many miles in, if that's not what you normally wear
  • Cheap, tiny flashlight
You can do much better than this car kit, but it's something in case destroyed roads/bridges keep you from getting home for 12-24 hours.

Additional tricks for both kits: put the contact lists in their own ziplock plastic bags to reduce the chance that they'll mold/get wet over the years. I've also found that the metal caps on the iodine bottles tend to rust over a few years, so I bagged them in their own ziplock bags, and poured a little table salt in the bags to absorb humidity.

Hopefully this is all unnecessary.

UPDATE:  lots of great comments below, and a resource link at Making Light.

N.B.  I've altered the posting time so Eli's post is seen above this one.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Anti-Luntz Effect

Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles Gignac and Samuel Vaughan take another small step towards Hammer Fest with a new paper on how the perception of scientific consensus plays a role in peoples' attitudes toward scientific issues. Based on surveys in Australia, not surprisingly, free market orientation was associated with rejection of the idea of human climate change.  However, when in a companion survey, people were first told of the existence of a strong consensus among climate scientists on the issues opinions changed. 

Highlighting the consensus within the relevant scientific community increased people's acceptance of science: People were more willing to attribute long-term climatic trends to human causes when they had been informed of the scientific AGW consensus, and they were more likely to accept as true the statement that human CO2 emissions cause climate change. Notably this manipulation attenuated the effect of free-market worldview on acceptance of AGW, because its role which was strongly negative in the control condition was eliminated on provision of the consensus information. This meshes well with previous research which likewise found that even among Republicans, perceived scientific consensus was by far the strongest predictor (from among a set of 24 variables) of acceptance of climate change.
This should not be a secret, it was, after all the strategy recommended by Frank Luntz, who, in a strategy memo for the Republican party wrote
"Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.
"Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate."
and indeed, they and their camp followers (hi Judy, hi Roger) follow the script. 

Lewandowsky,  Gignac and Vaughn provide an important clue.  The answer is not to pretend that meeting the challenge of climate change requires discussing policies that are needed without uttering the words climate change, nor is it a matter of "framing" whatever that is, but rather discussions with others who are not obsessed by climate blogs need to start by establishing the actual consensus and reinforcing the authority of the IPCC on climate science.

What Else?

Michelle Obama GOTV skit with Eli Rabett

I found this skit on the Internets. Michelle Obama is engaged in a televised skit, urging citizens to get out and vote. The First Lady sneaks into a bedroom, armed with noisemaker and megaphone, and rouses a sleepy citizen.
Check out the youtube video. Now of course the naive and untutored think that the citizen is Jimmy Kimmel. That's what THEY want us to think! But not me! I am wise to Their tricks!
Michelle Obama utters the magic words, "eat some carrots". CARROTS!! Get it?? That gives away the identity of the citizen that she has just roused.
It's Eli Rabett himself! Jimmy Kimmel is just the front man. Can't be him. Too obvious.
For the unconvinced: did you ever see Jimmy Kimmel eat a carrot? Didja? Me neither.

Testing . . .

Eli has often pointed out

For those who do not know, the South Shore of Long Island is a long strip of low barrier islands. The most valuable land is closest to the shore and the lowest and most subject to flooding, including, of course, the Hamptons. As Eli often points out, a flood tide hitting that area would cause so much monetary damage that it would pay for just about any action the US takes to limit climate change.
Well, that is soon to get a test.  Not only has there been a fair amount of sea level rise in the area, but tonight the tides are high, and a certain weather disturbance will be in town.   Eli is not one to claim that an additional half meter or more of sea level rise by itself won't cause some problems, but it is always the and not the or what gets you, so sea level rise, high tides and storm surge are the perfect combination.

The National Weather Service expects
  • Tidal departures: between 2 to 3 ft above astronomical Tides tonight during high tide with locally higher values, 3 to 4.5 ft above astronomical Tides Monday morning, and potential for 6 to 11 ft above Monday night into Tuesday morning. The higher end of the range relegated to the New York Harbor, western Long Island Sound and the Long Island South Shore back bays.
  • High Surf and beach erosion, breaking waves are expected to build to 15 to 20 ft along Ocean facing Shorelines By late Monday into Monday night. The destructive waves on top of the storm surge will cause significant damage to coastal infrastructure nearest to sea level. At the same time, 5 to 10 ft waves are possible along exposed eastern and northeastern facing portions of Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay, and New York Harbor. This is expected to cause major beach erosion and Washovers. This will especially be felt for Fire Island communities such as fair Harbor, Ocean Beach, Cherry Grove, Fire Island Pines and Davis Park.
There is a neat tool for estimating how bad this will be at Firetree.  The top image is 0 m sea level rise, in other words maybe this morning, the bottom is for a 3 m sea level rise, somewhere in the middle of that 6-11 ft range

Bunnies can blow that up, or, let Eli help you take a look at upper New York Bay, Brooklyn and Queens

Large chunks of the Rockaways, Coney Island and the other barrier islands gone, most of south Brooklyn, and kind of where the 678 shield is, oh yes, that was Kennedy Airport.  Is it gonna be that bad.  Hope not.  Is it due to climate change?  Well there has been significant, tho not huge general sea level rise and some extra special sauce with subsidence in the area, and, of course, we have loaded the climate dice, so all in all, remember the word and.

As a special added feature Shepard, et al Assessing future risk: quantifying the effects of sea level rise on storm surge risk for the southern shores of Long Island, New York (Shepard et al. 2012, Nat. Hazards, 60:727–745 DOI 10.1007/s11069-011-0046-8) have looked at the combined effects of a 50 cm sea level rise and a cat 3 storm would be.  This one is not cat 3, but it has a significant surge on top of a high tide, and is carrying lots of water.  It will give the model a good workout.

Tamino has been dancing on the pointy headed critics of Shepard who are wearing rose colored glasses about future sea level rise and damages there from.  Now some, not Eli to be sure, might say that he is a bit annoyed at the NC-20 crowd and their insistence that the sea levels are only increasing slowly if at all but he does have something to say about their need for reading glasses.

In closing, to those in the storm area, stay safe, don't do foolish things and spend your time reading and commenting on Rabett Run.  It's safer.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Some Reading

The Rachel Carsen killed millions meme is back, you know the one that Roger Bate invented to distract the WHO from it's anti tobacco campaign

Tim Lambert is back

Ed Darrell is angry

and Thingsbreak is tearing Fuller a knew one.

Fred Pearce is doing his thingYale Environment 360 keeps this up and it will do a Nature climate blog job on itself.

Now why, you ask, would Yale Environment 360 feature a known dishonest hack who is beating on Kloor's drum.  Why simple, Kloor is a contributor and also a contributor to the Yale Climate Media Forum.  Since Eli is always slow walked at Kloorsville, perhaps one of the bunnies might go over there and asked who greased the way for Fred.

He Had Rhythm

This Modern Life

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sometimes Auld Acquaintance Would Be Better Forgotten

Barry Bickmore links to recent developments in Gibraltar, where after a week, everyone has had enough Mmonckton

Netto a ‘nit picking Monckton’ says Govt
The Government has hit out at ‘nit-picking’ Opposition member Jaime Netto, call him the “Lord Monckton of this Government’s Health and Safety policy.” In their statement they say that it is clear to them that Mr Netto has set himself up as the ‘Lord Monckton’ because during the Tuesday Health and Safety meeting he was seen busily scribbling down notes only during the addresses given by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Minister for Health and Safety, Paul Balban, but that Mr Netto stopped taking notes “as soon as the visiting experts began their talks.” This according to the Government makes it clear to them that “Mr Netto was there purely to nit-pick the Government’s ministers rather than to offer any genuine contributions to the debate.”
Eli prefers a 'nit picking McIntyre' but there is no disputing bad tastes in the mouth.

The Count Jumps

J Bowers" Has the gazelle just fired a shot across the nose of everyone's favorite hyena?

Well yes, and Eli has the email to prove it. This starts with the usual Friday morning wake up from the hyena:

Sent: Friday, October 26, 2012 10:09 AM 
From: 'Marc Morano'
Cc: ''; ''

Subject: Alert: Nobel Committee Rebukes Michael Mann for falsely claiming he was 'awarded the Nobel Peace Prize' -- 'Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize' [Note: Michael Mann and his attorney are copied on this email alert.

Also see: Must Read Background report: Climate Depot's Exclusive Report Challenging Michael Mann's climate claims
Nobel Committee sets Mann straight: '[Mann] has taken diploma awarded in 2007 to IPCC (& to Al Gore) & made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma' [Mann] did not receive any personal certificate' -- Geir Lundestad, Dir. Prof. for The Norwegian Nobel Inst.: 1) Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 2) He did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to IPCC (& to Al Gore) & made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma'

Nobel Committee corrects Mann: 'The text underneath diploma is entirely his own. We issued only the diploma to IPCC as such. No individuals on IPCC side received anything in 2007' -- Nobel Committee: 'Unfortunately we often experience that members of organizations that have indeed been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize issue various forms of personal diplomas to indicate that they personally have received the Nobel Peace Prize. They have not.'
At 10:43, the gazelle shoots back
How we know that Marc Morano will lie about anything for his funders (the Koch Brothers and Scaife Foundations:

has issued the following lie about me through his "Climate Depot" site: "He [Mann] did not receive any personal certificate. He has taken the diploma awarded in 2007 to IPCC (& to Al Gore) & made his own text underneath this authentic-looking diploma".

Both statements are lies (i.e. not only are they untrue, but Morano must certainly--or should--know that they are untrue). Morano must know that (1) the certificate on display at my facebook page (and is available here for anyone to see) is the precise certificate that was sent to me and *ALL IPCC LEAD AUTHORS* signed by IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri, formally acknowledging my "contributing to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC". It is an actionable lie to claim either that (1) I did not receive such a certificate or (2) that I in any way modified the text in any conceivable way.
These are ugly lies from someone who is*known* for ugly lies.

The only thing I did at all was to put the certificate in a frame, and display it in my office where anyone can see it. This certificate is identical to every other certificate sent to every other IPCC lead author by the IPCC (w/ the exception of the name specified, which is different of course for each individual).

We now know that Marc Morano and his ilk will lie about literally anything to smear climate scientists and climate science, just as he lied about Senator John Kerry when he helped manufacture the "Swift Boat" smear back in 2004.

I thought I had seen the lowest of the low from professional climate change deniers, but this is indeed a new low for them.
And the hyena has seen enough
Update: Climate Depot corrects Nobel Committee on One Point: IPCC added text to certificate, not Mann RE: Alert: Nobel Committee Rebukes Michael Mann for falsely claiming he was 'awarded the Nobel Peace Prize' Sent: Friday, October 26, 2012 12:13 PM
From: 'Marc Morano'
Cc: ''; ''

The Nobel Committee (as reported by the Examiner) incorrectly claimed Michael Mann had added text to his (IPCC issued) Nobel certificate.  In fact, the IPCC issued the certificates with the text on them to IPCC participants. Mann did not add the text. Here is a photo of an IPCC certificate:
Now some, not Eli to be sure, may wonder what happened.  Morano has never backed off.  His usual is to double down.  However, in this case Mike Mann has shown that he can make more trouble for Morano than Morano can make for him, an interesting switch for Morano.  One can bet that lawyers were consulted.  One may wonder if the Nobel Prize business in the complaint against Steyn and Simberg was a trap?  Shades of Lewandowsky Gate young robin 

Over at Volokh, Jonathan Adler asks for more popcorn, and

Eli points out that well yes, but owing to climate change the price of popcorn has increased.

Xonocles demurrs no, the price is going up because the economy is getting better.

Turning Leaves looks for the root cause: Yep, the drought was caused by the heat generated by the economic recovery.

Isaac Bresnik is obsessed by the election:  Damn that Obama for restoring the American economy! He should have let it languish.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Submitting a proposal three minutes before the deadline.

How could Eli not repost this.  Among Eli's bad hobbits is association with carnivores, yes, that means you Stoat, and yes Eli ripped the Fake CATO picture off from you, but all in a godly cause.  Wily Coyote, an infrequent visitor has reappeared, and brings with him a link to the research in progress tumblr where, Rimma has found a vido of Eli pushing a proposal into FASTLANE three minutes before the deadline.  Truth in Posting rules apply.

Romney in Ohio

Romney's team is replaying the tricks that Karl Rove wore out several times, a false sense of guaranteed victory.  From saying in 2006 that Republicans would control the Senate and the House right before they lost both, to the current claim of momentum, it's smoke and burnt toast.

In Ohio, polls show Obama ahead, and way ahead in the locked in, early vote:
On one hand, the two candidates are locked in a dead heat among Ohioans who have not yet voted but who say they intend to, with 45% of respondents supporting the President and 45% preferring his Republican challenger. 
But Obama has clearly received a boost from Ohio’s early voting period, which began on Oct. 2 and runs through November 5. Among respondents who say they have already voted, Obama holds a two-to-one lead over Romney, 60% to 30%. 
When those two groups are combined, the TIME poll reveals, Obama leads by five points overall in Ohio. 
“At least for the early vote, the Obama ground game seems to be working,” says Mark Schulman, president of Abt SRBI, which conducted the poll. 
Nearly one third of all Ohioans voted early in 2008.
(Emphasis added.)  Romney's losing ground with every day.  If he doesn't pick up three or four points or even more starting now, not just on Election Day, then he loses Ohio (assuming the poll's right, of course).  Nate Silver says the candidate who wins Ohio wins the election in 95% of his simulations.  If Romney loses Ohio, he then needs to win Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Virginia.

Keep talking up that momentum Mitt, but you're losing the race as long as the Democrats do a good ground game on turnout, or someone springs an October surprise.

UPDATE:  I forgot to add the obvious that Ohio is car-manufacturing oriented, and the less-obvious that it's 82% dependent on coal.  This might help explain, although not excuse, Obama's climate silence.

Sue the Bastards!

Michael Mann, professor at Penn State and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, thinks he was libeled by National Review reporter Mark Steyn and by Rand Simberg of the Competitive Enterprise Instititue (CEI). Steyn and Simberg made "false and defamatory statements", accusing him of academic fraud and improperly manipulating data, and comparing him to Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State and now a convicted child molester.

Steyn accused Penn State of covering up Mann's "fraudulent" climate-change data.

Mann has sued the two writers and the CEI, requesting both compensatory and punitive damages. CEI has removed the sentences comparing Mann to Sandusky. National Review has not removed that inflammatory and libelous language.

This is, of course, the latest battle of Mann's 1998 "Hockey Stick" paper. After accusations were made against Mann, a number of investigations were conducted, and every single one exonerated Michael Mann. A dozen or so other scientific investigations were conducted by other research teams (not including Michael Mann), and every single one got results in agreement with Mann's result: the 20th century is anomalously warm, compared with the previous 400 years, and perhaps with the past 1000 years.

Mann received the prestigious 2012 Hans Oeshger Medal from his geoscience colleagues, and as a member of IPCC shared in the Nobel Prize. Mann recently authored a book (The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines) on the subject. His Facebook page has more details. (Be sure to search for Michael E. Mann, or you might get the director of the Pink Panther movies).

The climate change deniers are obsessed with the Hockey Stick, thinking that if only that one paper can be refuted, the case for AGW will collapse. In fact there are thousands of papers supporting AGW. If a few papers turn out to be flawed, the central conclusion survives easily.

Again the analogy with evolution: nothing in biology makes sense without the theory of evolution. Evolution is so strongly supported by so many different lines of evidence, that even one actual case of fraud (Piltdown Man) changes very little.


Coverage on Common Dreams
Coverage in Washington Post
The 37-page legal document, filed in DC Superior Court.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Letters, Emails and Twits

By way of Climate Science Watch a response from the authors of Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States 2009 on the Pat Michaels CATO Fake Addendum.  They are not amused. 

It is not an update, explanation, or supplement by the authors of the original report.   Rather, it is a completely separate document lacking rigorous scientific analysis and review.
The authors of the Cato Institute report agree with our Committee’s conclusions that global warming is unequivocal and consistent with a change in greenhouse gas effects attributable to human activities.  They also conclude that climate change will continue to occur as greenhouse gas concentrations increase.  However, their conclusions that future climate change will be benign, if not beneficial, and easily adapted to, diverge markedly from our Committee’s view regarding the seriousness of the risks.  This is because the Cato Institute authors assume—based on their own analysis and contrary to peer-reviewed, contemporary science—that warming, intensification of weather extremes, polar ice cap melting, and sea-level rise will all be at the lowest end of the ranges projected in the Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change.  
The peer-reviewed literature published since our Committee’s 2009 report overwhelmingly supports our conclusions and, in some cases, suggests the consequences of climate change may be greater and more rapidly developing than we originally projected.  Several assessments subsequently published by the U.S. National Academy of Science’s National Research Council on climate change science (Climate Stabilization Targets and America’s Climate Choices: Advancing the Science of Climate Change), sea-level rise (Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon and Washington), and ocean acidification (Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean) are consistent with the Committee’s findings and contradict many of those in the Cato Institute report.
 The eagerly anticipated pinata has not been released, indeed, it looks like the schedule is slipping which Eli has from the old eraserhead himself over at WTs
Imitation, in this case, is a form of mockery.
Please note that the version in the linked pdf is a VERY OLD FIRST DRAFT from last June that was included as part of my commentary on EPA’s proposed power plant rulemaking. I haven’t put the final pdf up because the final (nugatory) copy editing will not be complete until next week.
However I will be HAPPY to fed ex anyone the existing proof copy, which is somewhat different than the draft pdf, and much better. Just email me your address and a contact phone for FedEx.
Eli suspects several will take him up on this, however, the take home is that the pre-publication publicity of a non-complementary type has, as they say moved the target, and considering the likely political use that it was aimed at, a week or more slippage right now makes a big difference.  Eli closes with the kind words of Willard Tony
Meanwhile the collection of small animals and wannabe superheros (Stoat, Rabett, Supermandia) are all over this as if their comic opinions make any difference.
Eli appreciates that:)

Letters, Eli Gets Letters, and Email and Twits

Off the top of the pile, a letter to the Gibraltar Chronicle (by way of Barry Bickmore)  from Alfred Cortes, but first some background.  The government of Gibraltar held a Thinking Green Forum last Saturday, with Al Gore and Juan Verde, the former known to all, the latter a former high Department of Commerce Official who presented the position of the Obama administration on renewable energy and how the US election will affect Europe (that would be nice to know).

This, of course, attracted the flies, and who shows up but everyone's favorite martian, the Lord Monckton, spewing as usual, and he got a pretty good press in Gibraltar before going totally off the rails as Eli hinted yesterday. 

So, what lit the fuse.  Barry Bickmore came up with the smoking letter:
The on-going campaign by the Chronicle against Al Gore and the parallel promotion of the views of Lord Monckton is hard to understand. Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Winner,
Elected on four occasions to the US Senate and deprived of the Presidency by a biased US Supreme Court, can hardly be placed on an equal footing to an obscure climate sceptic who represents nobody, as the Chronicle seems to be attempting to do.

A cursory search on the internet reveals a few interesting facts about Lord Monckton. This gentleman, a hereditary peer, has attempted, unsuccessfully, on four occasions to be admitted to the House of Lords, receiving zero votes on each occasion. He is currently a member of UKIP and stood for parliamentary election in 2011, receiving 1.1% of the vote. Though Monckton has no scientific qualifications, he has proclaimed himself to be an authority on climate change and, while accepting that there is a greenhouse effect, he strongly refutes that this man-made phenomenon is responsible for accelerated climate change. He is a regular speaker at the Heartland Institute›s Conference on Climate Change. The Heartland Institute is a rabidly right-wing institution heavily subsidized by oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, among others with vested interests. Some of its views include questioning the link between second-hand smoke and health risks, blaming ‘slackers’ for unemployment, arguing against universal health care and so on. This gives a pretty good idea of the kind of audience that Monckton is in sync with.

Monckton has also made a lot of noise regarding errors or inconsistencies in Al Gore’s film/book “An Inconvenient Truth”, for example The emphasis on the melting of the Arctic and the danger posed to polar bears, the flooding of low-lying islands in the Pacific, the threat to Greenland›s ice cap. Recent data about these developments strongly support Gore’s views and expose the vindictiveness with which his adversaries have acted. What really matters is that Gore alerted the world to the dangers and put environmentalism on the map. The general thrust of his arguments have been found to be correct by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. There is near universal acceptance (apart from “flat-earthers” like Monckton and at least one Chronicle opinion writer) of the impact of human activity on the world›s climate. If one thinks about it, it’s logical, reasonable, inevitable but, hopefully, not irreversible.

The views of Al Gore and Juan Verde are worth listening to and the Government is to be congratulated for giving us the opportunity to hear them first hand.

Alfred Cortes
Of course the press did the false balance thing
Editor’s note: Representing a diversity of views does not in our view amount to a campaign. Our readers in our view are able to make these judgments for themselves only if alternate views are presented.
but what do the bunnies expect from a bunch of rocks?   and, of course there was another letter
On the 16th October, your newspaper touted Christopher Monckton as a “climate change science expert”.  In science, the term “expert” is customarily reserved for scientists who have made an important contribution to their study subject via PhD theses and publication in journals that operate the standard scientific practice of rigorous peer-revision.  Monckton is not a trained scientist and the lists of his publications that we have seen do not include papers published in peer-reviewed journals.  Furthermore, his claims about being Margaret Thatcher’s science adviser, including specifically on climate, appear to be exaggerated. In addition, his arguments are not supported by scientific consensus on climate change.  That means that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, i.e., trained scientists who publish extensively in peer reviewed journals – “experts” – in the conventional sense – disagree with his views.

Monckton appears to be a publicity hungry sensationalist and is therefore guilty of some of the same accusations that he levels against Gore, albeit as a member of the opposite camp in the climate debate.  An independent newspaper such as yours should research the  background of all individuals – Monckton, Gore or any other – before making assertions about them.

Dr. Alex Menez
Dr, Keith Bensusan
which prompted a full metal fit, as shown by the newspaper's response (AFAEK the letter has not been published)
Following our publication of letters by former headmaster Dr Alfred Cortes, and another from Dr Alex Menez with Dr Keith Bensusan we received a letter from Charles Scott, Lord Monckton’s press relations man which referred to the three letter writers in terms we considered inappropriate and which on advice leading counsel confirmed were libellous.

The Editor responded to Mr Scott stating “The points could be made in less words and certainly without advertising or being derogatory of the writers ‘ …’ Review and I will consider it.”
No response to this was received and instead Lord Monckton chose to raise the issue at his press conference yesterday.

We then received a letter from Mr Scott that “there was more than a little astonishment” during Lord Monckton’s press conference this morning when Lord Monckton told the media that the letter had not been published.

In somewhat high handed terms Mr Scott said that he did not want to have to trouble Lord Monckton with this matter but that he was “expecting” the letter to appear in Saturday’s paper “without fail”.

The Chronicle will not be dictated to on editorial matters and Mr Scott was given ample opportunity to respond to the points made by Cortes, Menez and Bensusan. The Editor’s response to Mr Scott was: “Feel free to trouble Lord Monckton. I stand by my response and certainly do not see anything defamatory in the letters we published. We have a piece by Lord Monckton in tomorrow (Saturday) but I feel no obligation to treat his or your every word as sacred. You seem to have a very colonial attitude towards Gibraltarians.”
Well, now Eli knows how to properly address his Lordship:) and Barry is still waiting for the acceptance of his debate challenge
Dear Viscount Monckton,
I noticed a number of articles in The Gibraltar Chronicle (links here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) about your most recent attempts to engage Al Gore in a debate about climate change, and I agree that you deserve an answer, although not necessarily from Gore.  In response, I would like to renew my challenge to debate you about climate change in an online, written format, in which we have time to check our opponent’s sources.  I was never given a satisfactory answer as to why you declined the first time, but I am always willing to give you another chance. . . . .
I will certainly understand if you consider me too unimportant a figure to debate.  After all, I’m sure that’s what Al Gore thinks of you.  But before you decide, consider how you stated your challenge to Al Gore back in 2009.  “I want you to face me in a debate about global warming, and if you don’t dare, I want you to remain silent about that subject forever, from now on.”


Coby asks whether believers creationists can be good scientists in the context of Roy Spencer who has signed on to the Cornwall Alliance declaration, which really is not about creationism.   Interesting question.

The short answer is yes, and Eli has known quite a few of them, but choice of field makes a difference. It is sort of like believers in quantum mechanics, if you get too close to the epistemology your head explodes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ray P. Writes

Ray P. sends a pointer to his article in Slate.  None to fond of the Republican candidate's positions on climate and pollution

By now we know that Paul Ryan has more or less declared himself to be a full-blown climate change denialist. But what are we to make of Mitt Romney? . . . .
Well, Ray has an answer
 It's no wonder that the CEO of James River Coal Company says, "I had a dream the other day that Mitt Romney won the election and appointed Jim Inhofe as administrator of the EPA."
For him it's a dream. For us, it's a nightmare.

Please Slam the Door on Your Way Out

Eli runs a full service blog, so to spare the bunnies the pain of surfing over to Willard Tony's (and since Eli is banned in where ever), here is a letter from there, that Roger W. Cohen, another of the incontrovertibly emeriti (anybunny wondering where that image came from?)sent to the American Physical Society.  Makes you wonder about their standards and why Eli is just a Bunny.  Nominations would be appreciated.

Reading between the lines readers can play guess who as a supplement to John's recent post about the APS Topical Group on the Physics of Climate
Dr. James G. Brasseur
Chairman, Topical Group on the Physics of Climate
American Physical Society

Dear Jim,

It has become clear that I can no longer contribute effectively to the progress of the Topical Group on the Physics of Climate (GPC) as it was originally envisioned. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation from the Topical Group and the Executive Committee.

The GPC Executive Committee has yielded to pressure from within, and from others involved in the development of GPC activities, to exclude discussion of science that does not conform to the doctrine of strong anthropogenic global warming. This disregards the desires of a substantial fraction of the membership to discuss all the relevant science. Furthermore, without having demonstrated that the fledgling GPC can actually achieve the inclusive science-focused objective set forth in the Bylaws, we are moving to explore joint activities with other societies which are completely invested in climate alarm and which will not support GPC’s objective. These developments indicate that the GPC has set a course to become yet another outlet for promoting the doctrine.

As demonstrated in the development of the inaugural GPC speakers program (to be presented in March 2013), we have effectively drawn a boundary around the science so as to substantially exclude peer-reviewed, published work that conflicts with the doctrine of strong anthropogenic global warming, regardless of a speaker’s credentials and distinguished research record. For example, one accomplished physicist, an expert on the key issue of solar variability effects on terrestrial climate, was shunted off to “back up speaker” status due to the intervention of an IPCC lead author with a demonstrable vested interest in the IPCC’s posture on the solar issue. Another proposed speaker’s peer-reviewed, published work on the integrity of the land temperature data was completely discounted because he had endorsed a public expression of religious faith and its connection with science.

While skeptics’ public statements were considered evidence of bias, there were no qualms about applying a double standard that excused doctrine supporters from such considerations. One invited speaker has ventured into public environmental advocacy for reduced meat-eating, vegetarianism, and limiting natural offspring and airplane travel. Another invitee’s public statement of opinion on a supposed human contribution to a single hurricane (Katrina) was not judged grounds for questioning his objectivity. This double standard was no accident: one member of the committee charged with choosing speakers was quite explicit about skeptics’ participation when he warned against an “argument that winds up giving more effective weight to the ‘skeptics’ over the consensus viewpoint.”

None of the proposed speakers’ expressions of belief bear on their qualifications to speak on their scientific work in climate.  The science must be considered in isolation – as science and only science.  To do otherwise is to act as thought police.  The selective application of these expressions of belief as a basis for excluding one kind of science is wrong and biases GPC activities toward support of the doctrine.

My participation in the GPC development process was the result of a grass roots petition signed by more than 200 APS members, most of whom eventually joined the GPC. I now feel compelled to inform these petitioners of the outcome so that they can make their own assessments. Also, since I have supported the GPC in public and private statements, I will be updating these statements in the future.

As you know the GPC was intended to channel strong APS member disagreement over the Society’s 2007 Statement on Climate Change into a productive scientific enterprise. But there was also a greater opportunity: to demonstrate that it is still possible to convene a forum that would present and discuss, as scientists, the broad body of climate science with all of its complexities, uncertainties, and interpretations. Alas, despite good faith efforts made by some, this opportunity appears to have been lost, and I fear that another may not come along soon.

Roger W. Cohen
Fellow, APS

The Real Game Changer

Ethon came flying in dressed in handsome feathers with a watch fob he had snatched from the still smoldering Lord Monckton, smoked Monckton being a special delicacy, even Eli was full of anticipation for the upcoming picnic.  Now some, not Eli to be sure, are worried that the feast will be cancelled on account of supercilliousness, but tickets may still be available.

Still, while playing with a bag of wind is sport, to return to the subject at hand, Eli was surprised to see the big bird, especially so well decked out given the politics.  Pickings had been slim in the usual places, with his favorite food groups retreating into well deserved irrelevance and threats of defunding hang in the air.

Flashing a roll, Ethon pointed out that there are guys with more money than Exxon, the re-insurers, who are scared to death of climate change risk. For those who don't know, the re-insurers are the rather large moneybags who take the lay off from the scardy cat insurance companies.  They think in millions and are worth billions.  You don't buy flight insurance from them, but the airline will buy insurance against the loss of a plane and the payouts therefrom from them.If, for example, Exxon, or BP want to drill a well and insure against damage from a blow out, they are the guys who are willing to take the risks for a rather large amount of money.

Re-insurers are less in the habit of losing money than insurance companies and obsessed with quantifying risk, because when they lose, they lose big.  Names that the bunnies may have heard include Munich Re, Swiss Re, Lloyds of London.  They have a stable of risk modelers to help.  It has been remarked upon that the risk modelers are chumming up with a number of climate scientists like Kerry Emanuel, because, among other things, the reinsurers see climate risk as the threat to their business, emphasis on the.  Among other things, they know that they can be left holding the bag when the fossil fuel industry is sued for culpable negligence.

Joe Romm has a summary of a new report from Munich Re, and Eli has the video above.

The usual suspect is fighting a rear guard action, but if you want a thrill take a look at this

and remind the lady bunnies that thunderstorms are the harbingers of tornados. Andy Revkin might want to drop the lip lock on his usual source and look at the new Munich Re report.  The usual source, is, of course trying to shut the noise out, those thunderstorms are loud.

Republicans care more about diplomats than soldiers

It's not something I would have predicted, but it's hard to make logical sense over the Republican scrutiny of every detail of the four tragic American deaths in Benghazi while having little interest in the events immediately preceding the deaths of thousands of US soldiers under hundreds of scenarios in wars under both Bush and Obama.  I guess diplomats matter more to Republicans?

It's a dangerous world and people make mistakes.  There's no evidence tying security mistakes to Obama and Biden, at less so than the Paul Ryan and the Republican's vote to decrease security funding for diplomats, not to mention Ryan's deception in the last debate by saying no Marines were in Benghazi even though the Republicans had incompetently leaked that the CIA security was present.

Hope some of that comes out tonight, if we are forced to put a microscope on a that small part of the Libyan revolution that otherwise has had enormous positive consequences for Libya and the rest of the world (other than Mali).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy Woody Guthrie to MT, Happy Woody Guthrie to MT

A gracious congratulations to Michael Tobis for having been awarded the Woody Guthrie by James Annan.  Acknowledgement to the later for excellent judgement.

Finally the white hats win one as the award returns to Texas.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Watts Wrong Doc

A couple of weeks ago, Willard Watts (you may call him Tony) appeared on a US Public Broadcasting System nightly news, in a segment, hosted by Spencer Michels.  There was a massive reaction.  Eli, being, as usual late to the party, is going to ignore both the interview and the reaction to it but rather point to the response to the ensuing storm by PBS Ombudsman, Michael Getler.

Getler says at the beginning of his long piece, the longest he says he has ever written:
It was not the PBS NewsHour's finest 10 minutes. In my view, and that of hundreds, even thousands of others, the program stumbled badly. On the other hand, it was not the end of the world, so to speak.
and he explains where he is coming from
But first, I want to lay out my views. In the interests of full disclosure, I'm a layman with no particular expertise in science or climate matters. My views and observations are formed mostly from the dreaded mainstream media and my own reading and observations. So I am engaged with the news and issues of our time but pretty much as an average citizen and viewer.

I think of myself as open-minded and believe strongly in hearing opposing views. But I do believe in the assessment by the vast majority of climate scientists and U.S. and international scientific organizations that the threat to our planet and future generations from global warming and the human contribution to it is real and needs to be addressed.
The hook for the report was the announcement by Richard Muller, who the news media took as someone who did not believe that humans are causing climate change, that, indeed, we are.  This is news, but the selection of Watts as the yang to Muller's yin put the lie to the proposition that no one cares about climate change
But almost from the moment it ended, email began pouring into my mailbox, hundreds of them. A representative sampling is posted below. Some are quite long. At the same time, several analytical and opinion pieces attacking or supporting the segment were posted online — almost certainly driving more email traffic — by liberal and conservative commentators, and man-made climate change supporters and critics here, here and here.
Later in the week, a petition arrived listing 15,000 names associated with "Forecast The Facts," a group demanding an investigation into "how and why PBS NewsHour promoted falsehoods about climate change and slander against climate scientists." They focused on the broadcast segment and an accompanying blog post by Michels involving a more extended interview with another guest on the program, Anthony Watts, who the "Facts" group described as a "climate change denier and conspiracy theorist." I will come back to him as well.
 What really got the Ombudsman was that Watts was chosen as the respondent rather than a scientist (this of course raises the issue of whom the could have gotten, perhaps, the inimitable David Deming).
Although global warming strikes me as one of those issues where there is no real balance and it is wrong to create an artificial or false equivalence, there is no harm and some possibility of benefit in inviting skeptics about the human contribution and other factors to speak, but in a setting in which the context of the vast majority of scientific evidence and speakers is also made clear.
What was stunning to me as I watched this program is that the NewsHour and Michels had picked Watts — who is a meteorologist and commentator — rather than a university-accredited scientist to provide "balance." I had never heard of Watts before this program and I'm sure most viewers don't, as part of their routines, read global warming blogs on either side of the issue.
I'm not being judgmental about Watts or anything he said. He undoubtedly is an effective spokesperson. But it seems to me that if you decide you are going to give airtime to the other side of this crucial and hot-button issue, you need to have a scientist.
So where did Spencer Michaels get his lead to Willard Watts, why through the Heartland Institute.  Unfortunately, the Ombudsman did not appear to ask why Michels had gone there for a lead, rather, than say to the National Research Council.

Michels (Spencer) also engaged in some questionable framing
Throughout the interview, Michels referred to scientists who warn against global warming and its man-made component as "climate change believers," a description that offends many and frames the issue, as one viewer wrote, as though this were "faith-based rather than fact-based."
and a minor drive by
Judith Curry, professor of earth sciences at Georgia Tech, who suspects natural variability accounts for climate change — not human-produced CO2 — said Muller's analysis is 'way oversimplistic and not at all convincing . . .' Curry wrote to us earlier today to say that she believes we didn't characterize her position fully and said she was 'appalled' with what we said.

"Here's what Curry told us: 'It is correct that I found Muller's analysis 'way oversimplistic and not at all convincing', but the statement implies that that I don't think human-produced CO2 accounts for any of the climate change we have been seeing. This is absolutely incorrect.  . . . .I estimated that about half the decline could be attributed to human induced CO2, which is in line with the latest analyses from the CMIP5 climate models.'
This was big news, Watts' appearance generated a statement from NOAA to the NewsHour
"The American public can be confident in NOAA's long-standing surface temperature record, one of the world's most comprehensive, accurate and trusted data sets. This record has been constructed through many innovative methods to test the robustness of the climate data record developed and made openly available for all to inspect by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Numerous peer-reviewed studies conclusively show that U.S. temperatures have risen and continue to rise with recent widespread record-setting temperatures in the USA. There is no doubt that NOAA's temperature record is scientifically sound and reliable. To ensure accuracy of the record, scientists use peer-reviewed methods to account for all potential inaccuracies in the temperature readings such as changes in station location, instrumentation and replacement and urban heat effects.
"Specifically, NOAA's National Climatic Data Center published a scientific peer-reviewed paper (Menne, et al., 2010) that compared trends from stations that were considered well-sited and stations that received lower ratings on siting conditions, which found that the U.S. average temperature trend is not inflated by poor station siting. A subsequent research study led by university and private sector scientists reached the same conclusion (Fall et al. 2011). Additionally, the Department of Commerce Inspector General reviewed the US Historical Climatology Network dataset in July 2010 and concluded that 'the respondents to our inquiries about the use of and adjustments to the USHCN data generally expressed confidence in the [USHCN] Version 2 dataset."
which is being spun by the spinners as, if the were not guilty they would have said nothing. 

Eli's take away is bitch early and often when the churnalists start the spin cycle.  Working the refs is important.