'First, the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide are dominant over the climatic effects and are overwhelmingly beneficial. Second, the climatic effects observed in the real world are much less damaging than the effects predicted by the climate models, and have also been frequently beneficial.'

Freeman Dyson,

in Foreword to http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2015/10/benefits1.pdf

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Why Would You Believe This? (2 of 8): 'Without very significant action, temperature changes of at least 2°C, and possibly 3°C or 4°C are expected to happen by the end of this century.'

This is the second sentence taken from the position statement at the Schools' Low Carbon Day site (1), part of their justification for wanting to worry schoolchildren about the climate:

'Without very significant action, temperature changes of at least 2°C, and possibly 3°C or 4°C are expected to happen by the end of this century.'

Why would anyone believe this?  The first, and most superficial, reason is that most of us rely on newspapers, magazines, and TV for information on climate.  We have recently been faced with scary stories about global warming, later modified to the general-purpose, timeless, and incontrovertible  'climate change'.  This sleight of hand allowed whatever natural disasters took place (floods, blizzards, hurricanes, etc) to be blamed on fossil fuels, while still retaining the same underlying threat of scary hotness to come.

This is not new.  It is merely the media exercising its preference for bad news over good.

Here are some media nuggets from the past, alongside the temperature trends for the time:

1) Cooling: approx. 1885 - 1915.
                
     'Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age.'  New York Times, October, 1912.

2) Warming: approx. 1915 - 1945.

         'Next Great Deluge Forecast by Science: Melting Polar Ice Caps to Raise the Level of the Seas and Flood the Continents.' New York Times, 15 May, 1932.

3) Cooling: approx. 1945 - 1975.
                
'The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.' Nigel Calder, International Wildlife Magazine, 1975.

4) Warming: approx. 1975 - 2005.
              
  'Scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.'  Time Magazine, 09 April, 2001.

5) Cooling next?  The headlines have already started:

'The Mini Ice Age Starts Here: The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.'  Daily Mail, 10 Jan, 2010.

Sources for the media quotes: (2), (3), and (4). Useful essay on the media and climate here: (5).

How can we get these short-term trends into perspective?
At any time at any location on the planet, it will either be warming on average or cooling on average, depending on the period of time and/or the spatial area the averaging is taken over.  Average your temperatures over a few years, and you have one trend, average over a few hundred years, you have another, over a few thousand, another still.  So it is a messy business.  And to make matters worse, we have no temperature records at all except for the most recent centuries.  A lack of thermometers, and earlier still, a lack of humans, over most of the life of the planet means that we guess at past temperatures using proxies, such as tree-rings (since one of many things influencing tree growth is temperature), isotope ratios in ice cores (since this ratio depends on the air temperature at the time of capture), and numerous other items such as fossils or pollen found in earth cores (since it may be possible to tie some of them to temperature bounds).  Ancient documents and carvings permit speculation about harvest times, and major weather-related events such as floods and droughts.  Archeological digs  reveal details about diets and buildings, and geological explorations reveal previous sea levels, and the movements of continents.

On the really big picture, covering millions of years, we know (or think we do) that the planet was mostly ice-free at the poles.  The relatively short periods when there are 'permanent' icecaps are known as Ice Ages.  We are in one right now.

During Ice Ages, which can last many hundreds of thousands of years, there are warm spells known as Interglacial Periods, or just Interglacials.  These are shown as the purple blips in this temperature reconstruction from ice cores, spanning more than 400,000 years:
Source: (6).

During these interglacials, the ice cover disappears every summer in the temperature zones, such as most of North America, and Northern Europe.  We humans thrive in such areas during interglacials, since we can grow crops, and not be displaced by inconvenient ice sheets.  There is some evidence that the previous interglacial was warmer than our one (7).

Let us now home-in on the last 5,000 years:
Source: (8).

We can see that on this big picture, we are in a cooling trend in what may well be near the end of our interglacial period.  Superimposed on this trend, are many appreciable excursions, many of which are associated with clear effects on human settlements and civilisations.

Now let us home in on the past 1000 years or so.
The global Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age are shown clearly on the temperature reconstruction using by the IPCC in 1990-2001.  There are hundreds of studies of the Medieval Warm Period showing up in many places across the globe -  see Jo Nova's report here (9).  However, it was not politically convenient for the IPCC to have such a period warmer than our own.  In 2001-2003, they replaced it with the infamous 'hockey-stick' plot also shown in the diagram below, in blue.  The dismal story of how this artefact was created and jealously guarded for years, is vividly told in Montford's book, The Hockey Stick Illusion (10).  It is not an edifying tale, but it is well worth reading for insight into the unscientific attitudes and methods of the small core of alarmists whose temperature reconstructions were so gratefully adopted by the IPCC.

 Source: (11).

We have been on a gentle warming trend pulling out of the Little Ice Age in the 19th and 20th centuries at overall rates of around 0.6 to 0.7C per century in estimated global average temperature, with shorter-term periods of more rapid warming, or of cooling, superimposed in approximately 30-year long spells.  These can be seen on the next graphic, constructed using Hadley Centre data (12) to demonstrate the striking similarity in warming/cooling cycles in the 19th and 20th centuries, despite, of course, the large differences in ambient CO2 levels between them.

Source: (12).

But what of real temperatures, as opposed to reconstructions or constructed 'global averages'?  The longest temperature record using thermometers is the Central England Temperature (CET) set, which extends back to the 17th century.  The Czech physicist Lubos Motl has stepped through this set year by year, calculating the overall temperature trend for the previous 30 years at each step (13).  He found nothing unusual about these trends in the 20th century:

'In the late 17th and early 18th century, there was clearly a much longer period when the 30-year trends were higher than the recent ones. There is nothing exceptional about the recent era. Because I don't want to waste time with the creation of confusing descriptions of the x-axis, let me list the ten 30-year intervals with the fastest warming trends:


1691 - 1720, 5.039 °C/century 1978 - 2007, 5.038 °C/century 1977 - 2006, 4.95 °C/century
1690 - 1719, 4.754 °C/century       1979 - 2008, 4.705 °C/century 1688 - 1717, 4.7 °C/century
1692 - 1721, 4.642 °C/century       1694 - 1723, 4.524 °C/century 1689 - 1718, 4.446 °C/century
1687 - 1716, 4.333 °C/century


You see, the early 18th century actually wins: even when you calculate the trends over the "sufficient" 30 years, the trend was faster than it is in the most recent 30 years. By the way, the most recent 1980-2009 tri-decade didn't get to the top 10 results at all; if you care, it was at the 13th place.  You can also see that the local trends are substantially faster than the global trends: that's because the global variations are reduced by the averaging over the globe. '

This helps confirm that nothing at all unusual has been observed in temperatures in modern times.  Nothing unusual.  Nothing untoward.  Nothing to get alarmed about.  The same is true of other climate measures such as rainfall, storm intensities and frequencies, sea surface temperatures, and polar ice fluctuations.  The alarms of the alarmists are going off only in their computers, and not in the world outside.

So what can we say about the future?  If we naively project the cooling/warming cycles alone, we can expect a cooling phase for the next 20 to 30 years or so, superimposed on a continuing slow warming, as shown in this diagram:
Source: (14).  The red dot shows where we are just now.


So where do the forecasts of 2C or more rises (some say 8C or more) come from?  They come from computer models within which CO2 is given a more dramatic role by the insertion of a positive feedback parameter to amplify its effects (a feedback not observed in practice, and not even plausible given the relative stability of our climate on the big scale despite major disturbances such as solar dimming, and, incidentally, periods of far far higher ambient levels of CO2).  This imagined feedback is needed to produce alarm, since it is widely accepted that CO2 on its own has only a very modest effect, say a few tenths of a degree rise from a doubling of CO2 levels [see Update at foot of this post].  Others of course dispute whether this is even credible, since the so-called 'greenhouse effect' is neither important nor required to explain why greenhouses get hot.  It is a totally inappropriate phrase that deserves to be discarded.  Other physicists have posited that increasing CO2 will actually tend to cause a modest reduction in temperatures by changing the density of the atmosphere, an atmosphere in which compression and expansion of air are important determinants of temperature.  For some recent criticisms of the naive greenhouse theory promoted as gospel by the IPCC, see (15) to (22) incl.  A review of climate forecasts from several sources is given here: (23).

What of the immediate future?  The reality is we do not know what the temperatures will be at the end of the 21st century.  This is currently way beyond our forecasting skills.  We can only speculate, and in so speculating, a certain 'modest stillness and humility' would be in order.  Not the tiger-like roars we have had to endure from the loudhailers of the IPCC.  We would also benefit from further increases in ambient CO2 levels, since they would make possible a substantial increase in agricultural productivity.  Overall, on the shaky grounds of past performance, we can 'expect' a temperature change by the end of the century of about 1C.  Most people would be better off with a continued gentle warming, and if CO2 levels continue to grow, we'd all benefit from a substantial boost to plant growth rates.  All in all, nothing there to get scared about.  No need to frighten the children.

But we can be sure climate variation will continue, and it is sensible to review our abilities to cope with a spread in temperatures and other measures of climate.  In general, the more wealth, the more advanced low-pollution technologies, and the more robustness to face challenges.  One of the most heartening features of the late 20th and early 21st century has been the greater economic freedoms in India and China which have led to a dramatic rise in standards of living where massive poverty had once seemed all but inevitable.  They are benefitting greatly from burning coal and oil, just as we did and continue to so do, even as we deploy cleaner sources such as nuclear reactors, and hydro.  It seems more than likely that coal-fired power stations will increase in number, and in efficiency, before eventually disappearing as better technologies are developed.  We do not benefit from self-hating neuroses about our industrial past and future. Furthermore, we do no good anywhere by transferring these ill-founded climate neuroses on to the next generations.  The promotion of facile alarmism into our schools is threatening to depress not only educational standards, but more importantly, the spirits of the young, with lurid tales of a dangerous future due to the very technologies which have brought us so much progress..

Finally, the bit in our 'sentence du jour' about 'very significant action' begs the question of whether we have the first clue about how to direct climate in specific directions, even in principle, and even if so, whether we have the resources to do it.

References

(1) An apparent group called 'Mothers Against Climate Change' had a website pushing climate alarmism, 'green energy', and carbon trading on to schoolkids and their parents.  The site is now defunct, but their statement of reasons why they wanted to get their children worrying about climate is reproduced here: http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/2010/06/schools-low-carbon-day-concerned.html
(2) The NYT quotes from: http://www.saveportland.com/Climate/index.html
(3) More quotes and timelines from 1890 onwards: http://anhonestclimatedebate.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/climate-change-alarmism-timelin/
(4) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html#ixzz0rsqGy94C
(5) Overview of journalists and climate variations over the past hundred years or so (' It would be difficult for the media to do a worse job with climate change coverage.'): http://www.businessandmedia.org/specialreports/2006/fireandice/fireandice.asp
(6) Chart showing interglacials in context: http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c013480b280e3970c-pi
(7) Comments on paper showing last interglacial warmer than ours in Antarctica ('Unless you are a young Earth creationist, it should be obvious to you that the paper shows that comments that 4 °C or even 2 °C of warming would be threatening for life don't seem compatible with the reconstructions of the climate.'): http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/06/antarctica-4-c-warmer-130000-years-ago.html
(8) Chart showing last 5,000 years or so: http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c01310f4ff7a6970c-pi
(9) A useful reference to the hundreds of studies confirming the MWP as being global, along with a critique of the hockey stick ('These maps and graphs make it clear just how brazen the fraud of the Hockey Stick is.'): http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/fraudulent-hockey-sticks-and-hidden-data/
(10) 'The Hockey Stick Illusion', by A.W. Montford, Stacey International, 2010.
(11) A composite chart showing the infamous hockey-stick plot, and a schematic previously used by the IPCC which more accurately reflects the existence of the MWP: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/10/when-the-ipcc-disappeared-the-medieval-warm-period/
(12) From the site Global Warming Science: http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/SixtyYearCycle.htm
(13) Central England Temperatures summarised by warming and cooling spells, with link to CET data: http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/01/warming-trends-in-england-from-1659.html
(14)  Future temperatures and IPCC projections, graphic due to Dr Syun Akasofu: http://joannenova.com.au/2009/11/a-simple-proof-that-global-warming-is-not-manmade/
15) Challenging the naive blackbody approach, a paper by Hertzberg, Schreuder and Siddons notes that the Moon, for example, has mass and can store heat.  Unlike a blackbody.  Linked to here: http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5770
(16) A meteorologist asks us to get anthropogenic CO2 into perspective ('The atmospheric greenhouse effect is a flea on the back of an oceanic elephant and the influence of CO2 but a microbe on the back of the flea and the influence of anthropogenic CO2 but a molecule on the back of the microbe.'): http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1562
(17) Bootstrapping energy through the magic of re-radiation, and other curiosities discussed here: http://claesjohnson.blogspot.com/
(18) Violating 1st law of thermodynamics: http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5903&linkbox=true&position=3
(19) Saturation of radiative role of CO2: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/06/physicist-co2-greenhouse-effect-is.html
(20) CO2 as a response to temperature variations, not a driver of them: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/09/a-study-the-temperature-rise-has-caused-the-co2-increase-not-the-other-way-around/
(21) Rebuttal of greenhouse effect ('While it is now more-or-less accepted that greenhouses don’t work this way, what isn’t so well known is that neither does the Greenhouse Effect.'): http://www.countingcats.com/?p=4745/
(22)Not in our type of atmosphere ('On a global scale, however, there cannot be any direct water vapor feedback mechanism, working against the total energy balance requirement of the system.'): http://climatology.suite101.com/article.cfm/no-greenhouse-effect-in-semi-transparent-atmospheres
(23) An overview of a selection of temperature projections here ('The CO2 based models appear to be overestimating the amount of warming.'): http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_TemperatureProjections.htm

Update (30 June 2010).   I think my claim that 'since it is widely accepted that CO2 on its own has only a very modest effect, say a few tenths of a degree rise from a doubling of CO2 levels.' is overstating things a bit given the widespread promotion of higher values.  I should have said 'around 0.5 to 1.5C' instead to encompass more of the published claims.  The broad argument for about 1C without positive feedback, and less than 1C with negative feedbacks is given by Lindzen, e.g. in his recent address to the Heartland conference, and in a Wall Street Journal article last year:



(14a) ('The satellite records of outgoing heat radiation show that the climate is dominated by negative feedbacks and that the response to doubled and even quadrupled CO2 would be minimal.'): http://www.heartland.org/full/24841/Climate_Alarm_What_We_Are_Up_Against_and_What_to_Do.html

(14b) Slightly more technical ( ('You now have some idea of why I think there won't be much warming due to CO2' ): http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/18/dr-richard-lindzens-heartland-2010-keynote-address/

I have also fixed a few typos in the original post.

Note added 7 March 2012.  In the 4th last paragraph above I state 'They come from computer models within which CO2 is given a more dramatic role by the insertion of a positive feedback parameter to amplify its effects'.  This year I have come across claims in blog comments that this positive feedback is not inserted into these computer models, but rather emerges from them as a result rather than as an input.  While I do not find this convincing, I mention it here in case there is real substance to this claim.  Since such feedback, and its consequences in the models such as a hotspot in the troposphere, has not actually been observed, this possible lack of a deliberate feedback parameter (or coding) is actually worse news for the plausibility of the models since it would then be a harder flaw  to locate and correct.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Schools' Low Carbon Day gone not with a bang but a whimper

Good news! The mysterious website pushing Schools' Low Carbon Day has self-destructed.

No pictures. No stories from successful events. No quotes from enlightened children.

Only this (my italics):

'Low Carbon Day has now happened!

Thank you for taking part.

We don't have the resources to continue the site anymore but please email info@cooltheworld.com if you need anything.'


See: http://www.lowcarbonday.com/

Perhaps someone made some screen captures, or can dig the old pages out of a web archive somewhere?

I reproduced their foundation 'thinking' here: http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/2010/06/schools-low-carbon-day-concerned.html

I shall continue with my promised Fisking of these sorry sentences, on the grounds that similarly shallow thinking may be being used elsewhere to justify who knows what harmful nonsense.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Why Would You Believe This? (1 of 8): 'Few scientists now doubt that due to human activity - burning fossil fuels and deforestation - the climate is changing.'

The astonishing levels of hyperbole and calls for action on carbon dioxide (CO2) in particular, have encouraged many to take the message into schools, whether from the inside by professionals in education or government, or from the outside by those such as the 'Mothers Against Climate Change' whose website pushing 'Schools' Low Carbon Day' is the source of the quotations which I want to address in this series of 8 posts (1), each concentrating on a single chunk from their position statement. Although their mysterious website gives me no good reason to do so, I will treat it as coming from genuine concern over the future of our children. This is the first sentence of their statement on why we, and presumably our children too, should be worried about climate:

'Few scientists now doubt that due to human activity - burning fossil fuels and deforestation - the climate is changing.'

First, let me consider the literal interpretation of this sentence. It is true in the banal sense that everything participating in the climate system has some kind of effect on it. Be it cosmic rays, solar radiation, ice at the poles, ocean currents, mountain ranges, termites emitting methane, humans burning coal, or butterflies flapping their wings, the climate system spans so wide a range of space, time, and energy scales that they can all play their part along with countless others. One consequence of this swirl of varying factors and their interactions, is that the climate has always changed in the past, is changing now, and will not stop changing in the future. The challenge for those interested in climate science is disentangling their effects, using the very modest (compared with the scales of the system) and often very noisy data we have available.

So, let me now interpret the sentence as meaning that few scientists now doubt that human activity is a dominant driver of climate due to our recent burning of fossil fuels, and to deforestation. I want to concentrate here on the word 'few' and whether it might be better applied to the core group in and around the IPCC which has so successfully promoted alarm, rather than to the many scientists who have not been at all impressed by such promotions. The many thousands of scientists who have investigated the effects of climate change rather than their causes, I regard as of secondary importance here since 'causes' are our key concern for the time being.

I suppose many people would believe the sentence because, in essence, they trust the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), or organisational leaders such as some in the Royal Sociey of London who were keen to champion the IPCC position. But the IPCC is not worthy of our trust. Its story is one of goal-centred manipulation of people, processes, and publications from the very outset, see for example (2) and (3). It was invented not to explore climate change and report back, but instead to construct, and vigorously promote, a political platform calling for halting, reversing, or dramatically modifying industrialisation based upon a need to avert dramatic and dangerous temperature rises due to associated carbon dioxide releases. For many years, since at least the late 1960s, there has been a febrile and hostile-to-humanity culture amongst some environmentalists, and it continues to this day. Their doom-laden pronouncements are well-suited to sensation-seeking media, and have surely helped create the opportunities so well exploited by the IPCC, see for example (4) and (5).

The early moves in the 1980s and early 90s were spotted and opposed by 47 atmospheric scientists in a published statement (6):

'WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 27, 1992---As independent scientists, researching atmospheric and climate problems, we are concerned by the agenda for UNCED, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, being developed by environmental activist groups and certain political leaders. This so-called Earth Summit is scheduled to convene in Brazil in June 1992 and aims to impose a system of global environmental regulations, including onerous taxes on energy fuels, on the population of the United States and other industrialized nations.

Such policy initiatives derive from highly uncertain scientific theories. They are based on the unsupported assumption that catastrophic global warming follows from the burning of fossil fuels and requires immediate action. We do not agree.'


The IPCC structure allowed many hundreds of scientists to take part in reviewing and writing reports. They were then by-passed by a handful of core activists with final editorial rights over press releases, other publicity, and the far more widely read and promoted 'Summary Reports for Policy Makers'. Criticisms of the IPCC working group reports can readily be found on the internet. See for example (7) and (8). Some IPCC authors chose to resign (e.g. 9), others soldiered on in the hope of improving things (e.g. 10). The latest group of IPCC reviewers, clearly chosen to spread participation over as many countries as possible, rather than by expertise alone, is an ongoing reflection of a political rather than a scientific imperative (11).

There are many other theories of climate change, theories brushed aside by the IPCC but not refuted by it. A very brief and readable account of some of them is given here (12). Furthermore, despite their going against the new conventional wisdom, several hundred peer-reviewed scientific papers have been found which do not support specific aspects of the IPCC position (13). The climategate emails confirmed that there were journals in which such works would have had little or no chance of being published (e.g. 14 & 15).

So the 'few' in our sentence of interest here, clearly can apply to those scientists at the heart of the IPCC machinations. The way in which the infamous 'temperatures like a hockey stick chart' was produced, protected and promoted (16), and the climategate emails (17) themselves, reinforce this picture of a handful of plotters and schemers, so wedded to their cause that all critics are seen as enemies to be attacked. Wegman (18) reported a fairly close-knit network of 43, and the climategate emails feature a few of them. Others report around 50 to 60 or so key players at the heart of it all (19). The claims of a consensus by the IPCC have often been challenged, for example in this analysis by Monckton (20), and recently a law professor, treating IPCC as if were presenting a legal brief, found grounds to condemn their materials and their methodology (21).

There are some signs that the tide may be turning. The leaders of the Royal Society of London, a body explicitly excluding advocacy when founded, went overboard in their support for dramatic actions based on concerns over CO2. But this year, enough of its fellows objected to being misrepresented, and the society has agreed to review its postion, hinting at a more reasoned and temperate approach (22).

There also many open-letters and petitions from well-qualified scientists critical of CO2 being given such a prominent role in climate dynamics. For example, there is such a letter supported by some 395 scientists and others from relevant subject areas published in Germany last year (2009): (23). Several such petitions or open letters or senate testimonies, have been published over the years (e.g. see 24 and 25). More recently, an environmentalist author has written about his discoveries when he looked more deeply into the IPCC (26):

'I was shocked by what I found. Firstly, there’s no real consensus among the scientists in the UN working groups, especially around oceanography and atmospheric physics. The atmospheric physics of carbon dioxide for example is presented as being pretty straightforward: it is a greenhouse gas, therefore it warms up the planet. But even that isn’t settled. There’s a huge amount of scientific disagreement on how much extra heating in the atmosphere you will get from carbon dioxide. It is even broadly accepted that carbon dioxide on its own is not a problem...

'So behind the appearance of consensus and settled science, there is now this tremendous battle going on. The dissenting scientists are described by certain journalists and environmentalists as ‘denialists’ and ‘sceptics’ funded by the oil industry. This is simply not the case. There are top-level atmospheric physicists, oceanographers and solar scientists who do not agree that the case is proven for global warming...'


In summary, the reality is that a few dozen scientists were exploited by the political activists behind the IPCC, giving their views on CO2 and climate a prominence utterly undeserved, and which were too readily adopted as gospel by thousands of other scientists or geographers more concerned with the effects rather than the causes of climate change, e.g those investigating natural habitats, and who would no doubt have found that adding a passing reference to 'global warming' did their grant applications no harm at all. To those who gained from the self-reinforcing tidal wave of grants and job opportunities in 'climate science', must be added those investors who see billions of dollars of profit in carbon trading, those NGOs such as WWF who enjoyed a surge in donations, and those politicians who see the required massive taxation and government intervention in society as highly desirable ends in themselves.

On the other hand, there are a great many scientists who differ, and who have been seriously un- or under-represented in the world of politics, as well as in some scientific and environmentalist circles wedded to what has now become the establishment view. The word 'cabal' is more apt than the word 'consensus' when it comes to scientists and the role of CO2 in climate, the dramatisation of which has provided advantages for many thousands of people in science, in finance, and in politics. That does not make it right, nor does it make it sensible. Nor does it make the critical scientists deserve the put-down of 'few'. For those most qualified to discuss causes of climate change, they may well be the majority.


References

Many of these are secondary or tertiary sources, but usually with links to primary ones where applicable. This is often how I first come across reports, and I find that the comments of the secondary sources can be helpful as an introduction or overview. In addition, I believe the scientific refutation of the exageration of the role of CO2 is well established. What is going to take more time, is establishing that view more widely in politics, and here the vivid and punchy writing of informed commentators is likely to be extremely important.

(1) Schools' Low Carbon Day website: http://www.lowcarbonday.com. The quotations to be used in these posts were found under the 'About Us' tab, where they are presented as reasons why we should worry about climate change. And worry our children too, I presume.
(2) A potted history of what led to the formation and goals of the IPCC: http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/38574742.html
(3) Dr Tim Ball shares comments on the history and approach of the IPCC ('There are several problems with the articles cited, especially in the WGII Reports. First the IPCC pushed the peer review issue to extremes by claiming they only used such articles, then peer reviewing each other’s work. They used the issue to divert skeptics by telling them to get peer reviewed publications knowing they could control it. When one article by-passed their guard and was published by Geophysical Research Letters they got the editor fired. Now we discover they used a multitude of non-reviewed articles often from very biased sources such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace as references.' ): http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/19702
(4) Examples of hostile-to-humanity and/or dramatically pessimistic attitudes by environmentalists adding to the subculture in which something like the IPCC can thrive, the absurdity of many of the quotes having been shown by the passage of time (e.g. Ehrlich 'I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.'): http://pushback.com/issues/environment/ecofreak-quotes/
(5) More self-serving lunacy here (e.g. in 1970 'Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.'): http://www.ihatethemedia.com/earth-day-predictions-of-1970-the-reason-you-should-not-believe-earth-day-predictions-of-2009
(6) An expression of dissent by atmospheric scientists in 1992: http://sepp.org/policy%20declarations/statment.html
(7) For a list, with links, of distortions, errors, and exaggerations in IPCC Working Group (WG) reports, WGI, WGII, and WGIII, which usually include the summary reports for policy makers: http://sites.google.com/site/globalwarmingquestions/ipcc
(8) The Global Warming Policy Foundation has an IPCC Corner on its website where papers on IPCC 'blunders' can be found: http://www.thegwpf.org/
(9) Open letter of resignation from the IPCC in 2005 ('I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.'): http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeDocuments/LandseaResignationLetterFromIPCC.htm
(10) Another reviewer within the IPCC is disheartened by their deceit ('I have been a reviewer of the last two IPCC reports, one of the several thousand scientists who purportedly are supporters of the IPCC view that humans control global temperature. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of us try to bring better and more current science to the IPCC, but we usually fail.'): http://icecap.us/index.php/go/new-and-cool/fact_based_climate_debate/
(11) Publication of next wave of IPCC authors, group leaders, etc. This page provides some comments, and also a link to a pdf with the published details: http://nofrakkingconsensus.blogspot.com/2010/06/climate-bibles-new-authors-announced.html
(12) Seven theories of climate change, summarised for the layperson here: http://www.heartland.org/books/SevenTheories.html
(13) A list with links to 750 or so peer-reviewed scientific papers not supporting the IPCC positions: http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html
(14) Example of a scientist concerned about what climategate revealed about some journals: http://reason.com/blog/2009/11/30/climategate-and-scientific-jou
(15) More commentary on scientific journals and climategate ('If the science is so solid, why stoop..'): http://www.thegwpf.org/climategate/1094-climategate-if-the-science-is-solid-why-stoop.html
(16) 'The Hockey Stick Illusion', by A.W. Montford. Stacey International, 2010.
(17) Emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit: http://www.climategateemails.com/
(18) The 2006 Wegman report on estimating pre-instrumental temperatures using proxy measures such as the thickness of tree-rings ('As statisticians, we were struck by the isolation of communities such as the paleoclimate community that rely heavily on statistical methods, yet do not seem to be interacting with the mainstream statistical community. The public policy implications of this debate are financially staggering and yet apparently no independent statistical expertise was sought or used'): http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf
(19) Here a journalist gathers several insights into the modest numbers of core scientists at the heart of alarmism ('Fifty-three authors and five reviewers are all that can be said to explicitly support the claim of a significant human influence on climate.'): http://nofrakkingconsensus.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-many-ipcc-scientists-say-so.html
(20) A powerful, extensively referenced, review of the IPCC claims of scientific consensus last updated in 2009: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/consensuswhatconsensusamongclimatescientiststhedebateisnotover.html
(21) Comments on the IPCC as an advocacy group (' ... if your mandate is to produce an objective report and you instead ignore, minimize, and conceal evidence that happens to undercut your preconceived opinions, you've betrayed the public's trust.' ), with a link to the full report by a legal expert: http://skeptic.mensnewsdaily.com/2010/06/cross-examining-the-ipcc/
(22) Comments on and quotes from the Royal Society of London (2010) as they prepare to step back a little from their unseemly and unscientific position on climate, and some mention of similar societies in France, India and the United States: http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5813
(23) An open-letter by leading scientists in Germany, supported later by hundreds of other scientists and others from relevant areas, in 2009: http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/news-anzeige/klimawandel-offener-brief-an-kanzlerin-merkel-temperaturmessungen-ab-1701-widerlegen-anthropogen-verursachte-temperaturschwankungen/
(24) The Oregon Petition, and other public statements by scientists are reported on here ('In the report U.S. Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg was quoted as saying “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.”): http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/22624
(25) Open letter by 160 physicists ('While substantial concern has been expressed that emissions may cause significant climate change, measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th and 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today.'): http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/02/160-physicists-send-letter-to-senate-regarding-aps-climate-position/
(26) Peter Taylor, an author and environmentalist took a closer look at the IPCC ('I was shocked by what I found. Firstly, there’s no real consensus among the scientists in the UN working groups, especially around oceanography and atmospheric physics.'): http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/debates/copenhagen_article/8979

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

UK Schools' Low Carbon Day - Still Spooky

The spookily anonymous website for 'Schools' Low Carbon Day' has removed the claim that 'Mothers Against Climate Change' is a registered charity. A modest gesture towards acknowledging reality, but problems remain: despite adding a copyright notice of their own in a footer, they link without thanks, and without attribution to the materials of others. More sleuthing required! Given that the only explicit links I can find on their site are to two companies involved in the modern, yet somehow medieval, industries hinged on carbon and 'green energy' indulgences, I suspect that 'educational' materials provided by such companies as EDF are possibles.

However, I have already dithered too much about this site, after being somewhat taken aback by my late realisation of how suspicious it looks. I still don't know how it was created, who paid for it, nor who, bar one (Erica), the 'Mothers' are, nor have I seen any evidence to support the '1,600 schools registered' claim.

I am going to return to my notes, at long last, rebutting some of their assertions. If the England game in SA is really dire, I'd expect to get finished this afternoon. Failing that, tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Bankers, perhaps dismayed by the chaos they help cause in the world of finance, have taken to promoting climate alarmism in schools..

Standard Chartered Bank has taken upon itself the task of visiting schools in Ghana to teach them about climate, and form 'environment clubs':

'Management staff visited selected Junior High Schools and shared information on climate change and the environment in general with the students. They also took the opportunity to form environment clubs in the schools.

Commenting, Hemen Shah, Standard Chartered CEO Ghana and Area General Manager for Central and West Africa said: “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the planet, and it demands urgent global action. '


See: http://business.peacefmonline.com/finance/201006/50447.php

Now the recent appointment ( http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/?p=4064 ) of a banker to head up the erstwhile scientific organisation, CSIRO, is beginning to suggest a pattern. Erstwhile scientists and mathematicians helped bankers and governments screw up finance with their complex derivatives using real estate debts, and now the bankers are out to get some revenge by screwing up science and education. Truly, we poor citizens need eyes in the backs of our heads to have any hope of keeping up. What are the school pupils to make of it all?

Monday, 21 June 2010

School board president in trouble on race, has previous on climate

For an example of a school board president so entrenched in climate alarmism that he can neither discuss it rationally, nor with any courtesy, nor tolerate materials which are critical of them, I present: Michael Kundu, of Washington state.

The nature of the man was partially exposed by Jo Nova in 2009:

http://joannenova.com.au/2009/06/school-president-censors-science/

Now he is in the news for making racially provocative remarks, and discovering the 'freedom of speech' he denied to others on climate. His constituency re-elected him last year despite his arrogance and ignorance on climate, but they may not be so forgiving this time. Some more details here:

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20100621/NEWS01/706219953&news01ad=1

Extract: 'Board president Sherri Crenshaw said she hopes Kundu simply steps down. She said his comments on freedom of speech were an effort to excuse his poor judgement.'

Roll on the day when school boards will be at least as much scandalised by CO2 alarmism.

In the meantime, let me repeat Jo Nova's words from last year:
'For the record, so historians 300 years from now can soak in how deeply the exaggerated enhanced greenhouse gas theory was embedded in ‘popular culture’ and our education system. Here are the emails from Michael Kundu, Board President of Marysville District #25, which has around 11,000 students:'

http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming/michael-kundu-censors-science/

Friday, 18 June 2010

The new missionaries - evangelical alarmists from Britain spreading the faith to children in China

From the New York Times yesterday:

'Chinese colleges were ordered in February to sever all ties with Oxfam, which was accused by the education ministry of having a hidden political agenda.

But other groups are beginning to make some headway. The Jane Goodall Institute has its "Roots and Shoots" youth environmental education program operating in nine schools and clubs in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, and the British Council has been operating its "Climate Cool, Green Your School" teacher training program for three years now.

The program, which takes the climate change message into Chinese classrooms via training the teachers is going strong with the active support and participation of Chinese officials.

"I am not aware of any other NGO that is able to have the access that we do in China," a British Council spokesman told ClimateWire. "We have very good links with the Chinese government."

Annual workshops run by the Global Action Plan environmental charity on behalf of the British Council take several hundred Chinese secondary school teachers at a time and provide them with a combination of presentations and interactive participation sessions on complex climate issues. The teachers then take the messages and the Western teaching methods back into their schools and their classrooms.'


http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/06/17/17climatewire-british-run-climate-projects-take-root-in-ch-65821.

Hat-tip: http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/


Would that the insight which led to them chucking out Oxfam, were extended asap to those other missionary groups mentioned.

Schools' Low Carbon Day - Hoax, Scam, Astroturf, or Genuine?

The lack of a telephone number, a street address, and people's names on the website promoting Schools' Low Carbon Day has got me unsettled. (http://www.lowcarbonday.com/)

They claim to be a 'group of concerned mothers', but do not identify themselves

They claim to have created a registered charity, but I was not able to find any registration for it in Britain.

The site is somewhat timeless, other than the 24th June date in the title, and also fails to include any news about what is happening other than a flier near the top of the homepage claiming 1,600 schools have registered. No details of when they did so, or where they are, or what they might be planning.

I have done a little, inconclusive, digging on the web, and have put the results below, inspired by Kipling's verse:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.



What: The site states 'Our vision is to set aside a morning to teach children all over the country about climate change, to focus children on their own energy consumption and to inspire children and their families to cut their carbon footprint.'. Teaching plans are offered, as is advice for parent and pupils on how they can change their energy consumption, and other actions claimed to be good for the climate. All stuff that could readily be garnered from the many sites pushing it.

Why: Four possibilities occur to me.
1. Hoax. Someone or some group assembled the site to see what would happen
2. Scam. Someone or some group wants to entice payments from schools and parents.
3. Astroturf. Someone or somegroup wants to give the impression of 'grass-roots' support for climate alarmism.
4. Genuine. There really is a group of 'concerned mothers' who want to help save the planet.

Of these, I currently find 2. and 3. the most plausible. The site is very slick, and well put together. Too slick, and too lifeless, for 4. Too much work for 1.

When: The Day is scheduled to be Thursday, 24th June 2010. It is not clear when the initiative began, but right at the foot of their website pages, there is a copyright claim dated 2009 for 'Mothers Against Climate Change'.

How: The website invites schools and parents to register their interest, and receive packs of some kind. The site also provides lists of things they could do on the day, and of habits they should cultivate to be good (walk to school, eat less meat, switch off lights, and so on).

Where: Presumably the UK. But this is not made explicit. They refer to 'cars' rather than 'automobiles', and the school categories offered on the registration form are 'State' and 'Independent' - both terms used in the UK, but not, for example, in the States.

Who: No information on the site, other than the talk of 'concerned mothers' and 'a registered charity', and a copyright notice at the foot of the homepage for 'Mothers Against Climate Change'.

I think the charity may be called 'Cooling the World' or 'Cool the World', but I could find no reference to in on the Charities Commission site for England and Wales (http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk), nor in the equivalent office in Scotland (http://www.oscr.org.uk/). Same null results for 'Mothers Against Climate Change'.

I also found reference to a Facebook group called 'Moms Against Climate Change':
http://www.facebook.com/MomsAgainstClimateChange, which seems to be based in Canada, and which has produced an apparently oleaginous promotional video (http://www.earthfeed.com/the-trouble-with-the-climate-change-movement). I do not belong to Facebook, and so I have not looked at this further.

More Googling led to the name 'Erica Robb', said to be a founder of 'Cool the World', and a promoter of low carbon day here: http://www.healthypages.co.uk/newsitem.php?news=6265

This link names an 'Erica Charles' as the founder of 'Cool the World': http://naturalmatters.net/news-view.asp?news=4151

I found an intriguing FOI request asking if the UK Department for Education had paid any money to a charity called 'Cooling the World' - they denied having done so (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/payments_to_cool_the_world_2 )

They have a sidebar with quotes in it. There are only four: 2 from politicians (Ed Balls, Greg Clark ), 1 from Sir John Houghton, and 1 from a Juliet Davenport who runs a company selling 'green power' (http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/)

There are links to marketing sites for carbon trading and 'green-tariff'; electricity suppliers (see: http://www.lowcarbonday.com/low_carbon_day.php, and scroll down to 'Offsetting emissions')


Anyway, enough of this amateur sleuthing. Perhaps others may be able to dig more deeply into this.

In the meantime, I will complete my notes challenging their claims about climate, whoever they are, and hope to publish these here today or tomorrow.

Progress in the USA: an alarmist book and video withdrawn from schools

'Millard Public Schools will stop using a children's book about global warming -- but only until the district can obtain copies with a factual error corrected.
A review committee, convened after parents complained, concluded that author Laurie David's book, "The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming," contained "a major factual error" in a graphic about rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels.
Mark Feldhausen, associate superintendent for educational services, this week sent a letter to parents who complained, including the wife of U.S. Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska, outlining the committee's findings.
"Although the authors have pledged to correct the graph in subsequent editions, the committee recommends that this correction be made to all MPS-owned texts before using it with students in the future," Feldhausen wrote.

Corrected versions will continue to be used in Millard's sixth-grade language arts curriculum, he wrote.

However, the district will cease to use a companion video about global warming, narrated by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, he wrote.

The committee found the video "without merit" and recommended that it not be used.'

Source: http://www.omaha.com/article/20100617/NEWS01/100619733

Hat tip: http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/children-are-the-future/

Via: http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/

Note added 28 April 2017.  Unhinged author Laurie David:  http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/04/28/climate-activist-laurie-david-quits-retirement-after-trump-win-after-the-election-it-took-me-two-weeks-to-just-stop-crying/

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Schools' Low Carbon Day - 'concerned mothers' want their kids to worry too

The remarkable spread of alarm about climate is worthy of much study. How did it take place? What led so many people to get so exercised when the case for alarm is so thin, being based as it is on the output of computer models preset to produce dramatic results linked to CO2 but requiring the insertion of a positive feedback mechanism never observed in practice, nor even likely to exist since it would presuppose a climate more unstable than is credible given the historical reconstructions we have.

These reconstructions include periods of far higher CO2 levels, major variations in solar input, dramatic transformations of the earth's surface, and extended periods of substantial volcanic activity. Over more recent periods, we have evidence that the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods were at least as warm, and possibly warmer, than the late 20th century climate, and that rates of temperature rise in the Central England Temperatures (the longest instrument record we have) have been higher than anything we have seen recently. The slow rises of global mean temperatures in the 19th and in the 20th centuries were both at about the same rates (0.6 to 0.7C per century) despite substantial differences in ambient CO2 levels between the two. In summary, nothing particularly unusual has been observed in our climate in recent times. We have a variable climate system, on a very large range of space and time scales, and we would be wise to resist over-reacting to the various cooling and warming cycles we have seen over the past few hundred years. (Especially if that over-reaction leads to reducing our energy supplies and our wealth, both of which increase our ability to cope with these inescapable cycles.)

The specious analogy, much touted by alarmists, with greenhouses being driven by differential radiative effects falls at the first hurdle, since that is not how they work. They work by suppressing convective and wind-driven mixing with the outside air, and these two processes of convection and wind, coupled with the transport and phase changes of water, are also the dominant movers of heat within the lower atmosphere in which we live.

Yet read the following extract (I have put it italics) from the website promoting Low Carbon Day for schools in the United Kingdom, and try to imagine what you would feel if you believed these words:

'Few scientists now doubt that due to human activity – burning fossil fuels and deforestation - the climate is changing. Without very significant action, temperature changes of at least 2°C, and possibly 3°C or 4°C are expected to happen by the end of this century. Hundreds of millions of people may not have enough water. Floods, heat waves and droughts may affect millions more. The ensuing migration could make the world a very unstable place. And that's not to mention the 30% of species at risk of extinction. The effects of climate change are already being felt in Asia and Africa.

The truth is the worst will probably not happen in our lifetime. But it will happen in our children's lifetime. And it will happen big time during their children's lifetimes. Children born today will not be in a position of influence for 40 years, and by then it will be too late. The inertia in the climate system means that without action from us, by the time they can change the world, catastrophic warming will almost certainly be factored into the system.

And so we believe as adults we have a duty to change the world for them.’


Source: http://www.cooltheworld.co.uk/about_us.php

If you were as convinced as them, perhaps you would be stirred to political action, or even lifestyle changes. But would you want to push the same message into schools? Is this not a totalitarian impulse you might wish to resist? Even as a believer, would you not want your children to have a more carefree time, allowing them to concentrate on their basic education rather than imposing adult anxieties and responsibilites on them? I guess some of us would, and some of us wouldn't. But right now, I am concerned that we are not being given the choice.

A great many people, the UK political class included, seem intent on capturing the hearts and minds of the young, and turning them into eco-worriers (what have I done wrong, what am I doing wrong?) and eco-agitators (I must make sure my parents and others do the right things). This seems to be the intention of this 'group of concerned mothers':

'Schools Low Carbon Day 24.06.10 is being organised by a registered charity set up by a group of mothers concerned about climate change. Schools Low Carbon Day is about educating children about climate change and inspiring children and their families to change their behaviour to reduce carbon emissions.'

Source: http://www.cooltheworld.co.uk/about_us.php


I have concerns over every single sentence in those paragraphs shown in italics. I will post more comments on them tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Looking ahead

Here are some things I have been looking at.

a) Schools Low Carbon Day: http://www.cooltheworld.co.uk/low_carbon_day.php Apparently well-intentioned initiative, but of course based on smoke and mirrors.
b) Genie: http://www.projectgenie.org.uk/ An overblown scare site based on notion that CO2 is a genie buried in the earth, one which we are releasing to our imminent danger and disadvantage. Complete with trailer for DVD designed to keep the kids from sleeping either in the classroom, or at night.
c) Zilla: http://www.kidsclubzilla.com/index.html I am not sure how current this site is. It is spooky, of unclear origin, and may be a money-making scam taking advantage of the CO2 scam to take money from alarmed people. I have heard that such sites appear after major disasters are in the news. Well, the IPCC is certainly one of those.
d) and thanks to 'the world as we know it' site (http://www.twawki.com/?p=6628 ) I have found another long list of counter-alarmist links at: http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/OSGWD.htm

Tomorrow I hope to complete a gentle Fisking of the Carbon Day's foundation arguments from their site. They are basically trusters in the IPCC, a point of view which has been widely exposed as naive, duped by the PR, and of course just plain wrong in many specifics. Thus Fisking them brings phrases like 'sitting ducks' and 'fish in a barrel' to mind, and turns into an exercise in manners and restraint more than anything. However, I hope it will be my first shot at a kind of rebuttal-template which will be widely applicable.

I did a Google on 'climate lessons' just now. It found around 14,100,000 hits.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Links to useful resources on the Internet

I am looking for ways to share web links to useful resources, and am currently trying Diigo for this.

I want to make available to others, the set of links which I am building up, and which I find useful for insight into climate materials, and also for finding rebuttals of climate alarmism. I anticipate that something like this should provide help for anyone encountering poor teaching materials, and looking for ammunition to help get them improved.

It is not clear to me how best to share the links yet. Suggestions would be most welcome.

In the meantime, here is a .csv file containing 127 links, searchable using the column entitled 'Tags'. It opens easily using Excel: http://rapidshare.com/files/397131228/ClimateLessonsLinks2010_06_09.csv

Monday, 7 June 2010

Keep faith in the young: a schoolgirl in the States looked at some climate data

UPDATE added 9 June 2010. It now seems established that the NSF award was a hoax. However, the merits of this school project remain, and so I am leaving most of the original post here in place. I have now deleted references to the hoax award.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE added 12 June 2010. The father of the child has confessed to being the fraudster!. See: http://www.mysoutex.com/view/full_story/7901678/article-Father-says-he-is-sorry-for-science-fair-hoax?

Several commenters to this blog have referred to youngsters being smart enough to think for themselves, e.g. TG O'Donnell on the 3rd of June wrote:

'Brainwashing in direct contradiction of the empirical evidence does not have a good track record in any society and there is little reason to assume that it will be more effective in our culture than it has been in others.
Pactum serva! '


Here is a report of a science fair project by a young schoolgirl in the States, in which she checked the temperature records for her own bit of the planet:

'She researched online data basis of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, the National Weather Service, and checked out books on climate change at the Joe Barnhart Bee County Library.

Her findings:

• temperatures rose and fell from 1900 to 1950.

• temperatures in Beeville cooled down over a 20-year period beginning in 1955 and ending in 1975.

• Since 2001, temperatures in Beeville have grown cooler year after year.'


Only one point on the planet. Only one girl. But her spirit is encouraging.
She concluded:

'There is not enough evidence to prove global warming is occurring.'


Now that's a big leap from one point on the planet, but her approach of actually checking some data ought to be an inspiration for other schools, and indeed for some Fellows of the Royal Society who seem to prefer arguing from authority.

More details at: http://www.mysoutex.com/pages/full_story_landing/push?article-Conclusion-+%E2%80%98pretty+creative%E2%80%99%20&id=5061446

Sunday, 6 June 2010

This should scare 'em

Horror stories frighten children, but can turn into a bit of fun when trusted adults assure them they are made-up, and that the beasties and bogles don't really exist. Seeing adults make fun out of the monsters can help children do the same, while at the same time enjoying the tingle of a scary story.

But horror stories about the climate told by alarmists to children have no such happy ending. They need to persuade them the scares are real, and really threatening. The best they can do for their young spirits is to assert that we can do something about it. But how is a child to get this into perspective? You are, say, 8 years old and you have to help save the planet, or else?

Here is what one project designed to increase the awareness of children about climate did earlier this year in London. They got a successful writer of vampire stories for children, a Mr Darren Shan, to pen a piece for them on climate change. Here it is:

‘If London gets hotter and drier, everyone will sweat more! The city will stink of sweaty armpits and feet and other body bits!! The heat will turn the sweat to steam, which means we'll be walking through swog (sweaty smog) every time we step outside!!! Every time you breathe in, it will be like licking a slug's belly!!!! There will be no more trains in the tube - you'll simply grab a rubber ring and sail down an underground river of sweat to your destination!!!!!

‘Unless you LIKE sweat, it's time to start walking whenever you can, use public transport, recycle, don't waste water or energy - hey, we're not talking rocket science here! The world's in bad shape, and a lot of people don't care - they're going to carry on as recklessly and selfishly as before. Don't be one of them. Fight the good fight. Do what you can to help the environment. Try getting your friends to do their bit too. We're NOT helpless. This is a battle we CAN win. But only with people like YOU. It's going to take billions of small, personal steps to stop climate change and get our planet back on track. Every one of those steps is essential. Every individual counts. Be brave. Be considerate. Be smart. Or prepare yourself for the horrors to come as one of the unfortunate, stench-ridden citizens of PLANET SWEAT!!!!!!’


(Published at: http://www.london.gov.uk/media/press_releases_mayoral/young-people%C2%A0urged-give-creative%C2%A0climate-change%C2%A0ideas-top%C2%A0vampire%C2%A0autho)

Now of course there is no good science to back up this scaremongering. Even the IPCC projections, which of course the real temperatures have stubbornly refused to comply with, talk only of a few degrees of warming. Thus London with a average low/high temperatures in January of 32F/44F and 52F/71F in July, could still be cooler than the current climate in Rome which has average lows/highs of 38F/55F in January and 64F/83F in July (http://goeurope.about.com/od/historicclimate/Europe_Climate_Historic_Averages.htm).

Who would trade the climate of Rome for the climate of London? Not scary at all. In fact, quite attractive. But of course when you are a zealot, you must not concede any benefits from the devils you are trying to paint into the world view of others, and so instead we are given breathing as like 'licking a slug's belly', and the tube as an 'underground river of sweat'.

Here is how one tourist site ( http://londonhotelsinsight.com/2010/04/19/big-city-showdown-london-or-rome/ ) sees it:

'London’s annual average temperature is 11°C, whilst Rome’s is 16°C.

Result: Rome is a clear winner, unless you’re keen on drizzle and scarves!'


One of the problems facing alarmists intent on scaring children into conformance, is that there are many benefits to be gained from a further rise in temperatures in the temperate to polar regions (where they assert the largest rises would occur), and in fact even quite a modest cooling there would present many problems. There are of course grounds to believe that we may well entering a cooling phase for the next 20 years or so. Perhaps Mr Shan will have to be brought back in with a different brief, this one involving perhaps icebergs in the Thames, and underground rivers of ice? Or better still, if it does indeed get cooler over the next few years, how about bringing him back as a warning to children to be wary of adults trying to scare them? And as an indictment of whoever commissioned him in London in 2010 to frighten their children.

PS I meant to add this earlier. About a month after the London report referred to above, there were reports published based on a research paper speculating about very uncomfortable, indeed life-threatening temperatures being reached. This has been rebutted here: http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/comments-on-the-study-researchers-find-future-temperatures-could-exceed-livable-limits/

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Children frightened or anxious about climate

This blog has two primary areas for investigation:

1. Examples of children being frightened about climate
2. Examples of children being fed misleading information about climate

Here is an example relevant to the first of these.

In 2008, an initiative called 'The Climate Change Schools Project' was launched in the North East of England, through one of the many 'Science Learning Centres' in that country.

The website for it is here: https://www.sciencelearningcentres.org.uk/centres/north-east/climate-change-schools-project/introduction.

They describe themselves as follows:

‘The Project aims to put climate change at the heart of the national curriculum via an organic and pioneering network of ‘Climate Change Lead School’ who build climate change understanding and positive action from the ground-up. Visionary schools and teachers are at the core of this approach, though the focus of the Project is on young people – helping them to achieve a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of climate change science, as well as to discover solutions and explore how to positively adapt to the challenges brought by climatic changes over the coming decades.’

In July 2009, they published a progress report on their work to date. This included the following statements:

Significant (positive) shifts in responses to four of the attitudinal statements were observed for Year 5 students, that were not observed in the control group. At the second stage, Year 8 students were more likely to accept the idea that climate change is a risk to them and that it will kill plants and animals.

‘There was a subset of younger students who became quite anxious about climate change, and some with worrying misconceptions about the world ending. This appeared to be prevalent in certain classes rather than across the board and is likely to have been influenced by a range of factors within and outside the project. This did not appear to be an issue at Key Stage 3. ‘


The report is available for download at the website given above.  The report is also available here: http://www.lauragrantassociates.co.uk/Resources/Resources/45/CCSP_evaluation_final_report_July09.pdf

Hat tip: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/3/26/climate-change-in-schools.html