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Old 09-02-10, 04:52 PM   #26
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Everything Rajendra Pachauri has said about the IPCC is...

Bullshit!

http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress...uri-defrocked/

Quote:
Pachauri Defrocked
Donna Laframboise
September 1, 2010

This moment is a turning point in the climate change debate. Not because the report released Monday addresses every concern raised by critics of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but because it knocks the IPCC off its pedestal.

Those who challenge the IPCC’s authority are often ignored. Numerous science academies have blessed its efforts, so who are we to question? This week those academies began to act like grownups in relation to this wayward child. The report, authored by a committee assembled by the InterAcademy Council (a collection of science bodies from around the world), blows smoking holes through just about everything the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, has been telling us. [113-page report PDF]

TRANSPARENCY
He boasts that his organization carries out its work with “complete transparency.” But this report says transparency is in short supply. Some stages of the IPCC process, it finds, “are poorly understood, even to many scientists and government representatives who participate in the process.”

The report says the IPCC has never established any formal criteria for selecting its most senior personnel, its lead authors, or other key participants. Nor are there any guidelines about what scientific and technical information the IPCC should consider when it carries out its literature review. How these decisions have been made for the past two decades is, therefore, anyone’s guess – a situation rather opposite to complete transparency.

The report says a preliminary outline is drawn up by a select group of individuals at the beginning of the IPCC process, but how this happens – and who participates – is a mystery to those who aren’t invited. Nor does anything in the following sentence provide comfort to IPCC partisans:
The absence of a transparent author selection process or well-defined criteria for author selection can raise questions of bias and undermine the confidence of scientists and others in the credibility of the assessment…
PEER-REVIEWED LITERATURE
In February 2008 Pachauri declared to a committee of the North Carolina legislature (as he has in many other contexts before and since), that:
[indent]…we carry out an assessment of climate change based on peer-reviewed literature, so everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry [the] credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don’t settle for anything less than that.[indent]

But the InterAcademy report matter-of-factly tells the world that an analysis of the IPCC’s third assessment report found only 84% of the source material cited by Working Group 1 was peer-reviewed, only 59% cited by Working Group 2 was, and only 36% cited by Working Group 3 met this standard. (An analysis of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report references, organized by yours truly, produced similar results.)

Procedures regarding the use of non-peer-reviewed literature are in place, but the report says “it is clear that these procedures are not always followed.” The rules say non-peer-reviewed sources are supposed to be identified as such when listed among the IPCC’s references. Yet the InterAcademy report says it “found few instances of information flagged” in this manner. As in almost none. According to my colleague, Hilary Ostrov, only 6 of the 5,587 non-peer-reviewed references in the 2007 IPCC report were properly identified.

In a nutshell, the IPCC doesn’t follow it’s own procedures. Or, in the more diplomatic phrasing of the report: “stronger mechanisms for enforcing [these procedures] are needed.”

ROBUST PROCESSES
Pachauri also told the North Carolina lawmakers that the IPCC’s “writing and review process is very robust, very vigorous.” Yet the InterAcademy report confirms that, no matter how loudly the IPCC’s expert reviewers and each chapter’s review editors might protest, the lead authors “have the final say on the content of their chapter.” In other words, the IPCC’s vaunted review process amounts to window-dressing.

In June 2007, Pachauri pompously told an interviewer:
I can’t think of a better process. There is not a parallel on this planet, in any field of endeavour as you have in the case of the IPCC.
Yet the InterAcademy report finds “significant shortcomings in each major step of [the] IPCC’s assessment process.” For example, it notes there’s “near universal” agreement that the IPCC needs “to strengthen the authority of the Review Editors.” But doing so, it admits, still “would not make the review process truly independent.” This is because the IPCC’s review editors are selected by other IPCC personnel:
To be independent, the selection of Review Editors would have to be made by an individual or group that is not engaged in writing the report, and Review Editors would report directly to that individual or group.
Another key recommendation is that, from now on, IPCC lead authors should “document that they have considered the full range of thoughtful views, even if these views do not appear” in the final IPCC reports. The InterAcademy committee observes that the IPCC’s embarrassing Himalayan glacier error could have been avoided had it merely listened to its own expert reviewers. The mistake was noticed, but the IPCC “did not change the text.”

In that instance alone, the IPCC system failed in three ways. First, the IPCC authors chose to rely on an unsubstantiated claim in a non-peer-reviewed document. Then these authors failed to take seriously the feedback from the IPCC’s expert reviewers – who pointed out that peer-reviewed material contained more cautious and equivocal conclusions. Finally, the review editors for that chapter failed to ensure that the expert feedback was properly addressed.

One of the more damning sections of the InterAcademy report says the IPCC claimed to have “high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence.” “Many of the 71 conclusions” in one section of the IPCC report, it says, “are imprecise statements” that contain too little detail to be meaningful. Thus:
The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers in the Fourth Assessment Report contains many vague statements of “high confidence” that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or are difficult to refute.
This situation occurred, says the InterAcademy committee, partly because IPCC authors failed to follow existing IPCC guidelines.

Another area of concern relates to the fact that, despite the highly contested nature of the climate debate, and that billions in expenditures around the world are profoundly influenced by the IPCC’s findings, this organization has no conflict-of-interest policy.

In a February 4, 2010 interview with The Economist, Pachauri was asked: “Isn’t it rather remarkable that you should have this organisation that does not have any procedure for dealing with conflict of interest”? His response to this line of questioning took the form of declarations such as:
I think if the governments who govern the IPCC determine that there should be something of this nature I’m sure that will be put in place.

…Why would I raise something, unless there is a reason for me to raise it?

…So I’ve never felt the need for it. If somebody else feels the need for it go ahead. My behaviour is above reproach…
The InterAcademy report says the IPCC should “adopt a rigorous conflict of interest policy that applies to all individuals directly involved in the preparation of IPCC reports.” The committee didn’t investigate complaints it received regarding the fact that individuals who write IPCC assessments routinely pass judgment on their own work (as well as that of their critics). But it says the IPCC should “pay special attention to issues of independence and bias to maintain the integrity of, and public confidence in, its results” [italics added].

SUBTLE, BUT DEADLY
In many ways this is a subtle report. It doesn’t say outright that Pachauri should resign. Rather, it says no chairman should serve more than a single term – and that a “12-year appointment (two terms) is too long for a field as dynamic and contested as climate change.” Pachauri is well into his second term and, in the event that he is not replaced, will be what the report describes as “the leader and the face” of the IPCC until 2014.

The InterAcademy committee admits it had only four months to carry out its investigation – and that some areas of concern deserve further scrutiny. It says that “significant improvements” of the IPCC process are “necessary.” Even with these improvements, it acknowledges that the IPCC’s review process will still not be “truly independent.” Moreover, it recommends the adoption of new policies while observing that the already existing IPCC policies aren’t being followed.

Even though at least one media account has characterized this as a “damning report,” the InterAcademy committee nevertheless declares that “the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall and has served society well.”

Perhaps that was the politic thing for them to say. But we the public must make up our own minds on that question. And what is beyond dispute is that the IPCC’s high priest, Rajendra Pachauri, has spent years jetting around the world making declarations that this report firmly contradicts.

Let us not forget that we have been advised – by no less an authority than Pachauri himself – that the reason we should believe the IPCC’s global warming prognostications is because the IPCC’s process is so rigorous, so airtight, so unparalleled on the planet. As he argued in 2007:
So you can’t think of a more transparent process, you can’t think of a better set of qualified people than what we have in the IPCC. I would only put that forward as valid reasons to accept the science and the scientific assessments that are carried out.
Three years ago, Pachauri said the nature of the IPCC process was a valid reason to “accept the science.” Now that we know this process is deeply flawed, it follows that this is a valid reason not to accept the science.
The IPCC is quite literally one of the world's worst run organizations with so little oversight and virtually no system for internal checks and balances. There is nothing to stop it from being biased and partisan. This is the organization upon which we are supposed to base decisions involving trillion of dollars and the fate of the Earth?
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Old 09-03-10, 08:20 AM   #27
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

IPCC biased and politicized from the very beginning. Lead author plagiarized his own badly and non-peer reviewed sourced book (his sources include the ever-present Greenpeace and science rags that have sold out to CAGW such as New Scientist and Scientific American) without even citing it.

http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress...c-plagiarized/

Quote:
The Book the IPCC Plagiarized
Donna Laframboise
September 3, 2010

Some people think early editions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report were scrupulously science-based, but that the process became more politicized in recent years. A look at the first appearance of the health chapter – in the 1995 edition – challenges this view. [29-page PDF of the chapter]

The person who headed that effort was an Australian epidemiology professor named Anthony McMichael. According to a 2001 bio, his early research interests included mental health, occupational diseases, the link between diet and cancer, and environmental epidemiology (diseases). In the late 1980s he co-authored a “bestselling guide to a healthier lifestyle” that discussed nutrition and physical fitness.

The bio tells us it was only “during the 1990s” that McMichael developed “a strong interest” in the risks associated with global environmental change. So in the early 1990s, out of all the experts in the entire world the IPCC might have chosen to oversee the writing of a section dealing with climate change and human health, why was McMichael selected?

Stacking the Deck

I suspect it had a great deal to do with another book he wrote – the one that appeared in 1993 titled Planetary Overload: Global Environmental Change and the Health of the Human Species. This book’s central theme is that human activity is undermining the planet’s ecosystem. Its tone, language, and analysis are similar to hundreds of other environmental treatises published in recent decades.

McMichael declares that “humans cannot live apart from nature, remote from the great web of life.” He frets that we are too distant “from the rhythms of natural systems.” He speaks of environmental degradation as “an unprecedented moral problem” and says people in rich countries live a wasteful, “ecologically distorted lifestyle.”

His language is not the tentative sort used by dispassionate scientists. Back in 1993 he didn’t say there was concern that carbon dioxide might eventually “disrupt various of the biosphere’s natural cycles,” he confidently proclaimed that it would. Like a long line of other eco thinkers, he believes environmental challenges require a wholesale “reordering of social values.”

McMichael’s Planetary Overload arguments rely on a Greenpeace report about global warming. His book frequently cites articles in non-peer-reviewed publications such as New Scientist and Scientific American. McMichael is, in other words, an environmentalist whose day job happens to involve the study of public health. He has no expertise in most of the topics his book discusses.

He is, of course, entitled to his personal opinions. But was he the best choice to lead an IPCC chapter? Let’s rephrase that: if one wished to deliberately stack the deck, to ensure that a certain perspective would dominate the climate bible’s first health chapter, would someone who had expressed views similar to McMichael’s not have seemed like the perfect candidate?

There is a straight line between what the UN’s 1995 climate bible told the world about health issues and what McMichael had already written in his 1993 book. Although Planetary Overload isn’t included among the 182 references listed at the end of the health chapter, entire passages of the climate bible were lifted directly from it. A selection appears below:
McMichael’s 1993 book, page 150:
Sandstorms in Kansas (USA) and in the Sudan have been accompanied by increased illness and death from bronchitis and asthma.

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 578:
Sandstorms in Kansas (USA) and the Sudan have been accompanied by increases in bronchitis and asthma.

.

McMichael’s 1993 book, page 155:
In Egypt, for example, the water snails tend to lose their schistosome infections during the winter months (January-March). However, if temperatures increase, snails may spread schistosomiasis throughout the year, thus increasing the already heavy parasite burden in rural Egypt.

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 574:
In Egypt, for example, water snails tend to lose their schistosome infections during winter, but if temperatures increase, snails may mediate schistosomiasis transmission throughout the year.

.

McMichael’s 1993 book, page 155:
Arboviral infections span a wide clinical spectrum, from those that cause mild feverish illness or subclinical infections to those causing severe and often fatal encephalitis (brain inflammation) or hemorrhagic fever. Under favourable environmental conditions, an arboviral disease can become epidemic (population-wide), from a local endemic base – in much the same way that cholera has recently broken out…

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 575:
Arboviral infections span a wide clinical spectrum, from those that cause mild feverish illness or subclinical inflections to those causing severe and often fatal encephalitis (brain inflammation) or hemorrhagic fever. Under favorable environmental conditions, an arboviral disease can become epidemic (population-wide), from a local endemic base or by its introduction to a previously unaffected area.

.

McMichael’s 1993 book, page 154:
In eastern Africa, a relatively small increase in winter temperature would enable the malarial zone to extend ‘upwards’ to engulf the large urban highland populations that are currently off-limits to the mosquito because of the cooler temperatures at higher altitudes – e.g. Nairobi (Kenya) and Harare (Zimbabwe). Indeed, such populations around the world, currently just outside the margins of endemic malaria, would provide early evidence of climate-related shifts in the distribution of this disease.

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 574:
Hence, it is a reasonable prediction that, in eastern Africa, a relatively small increase in winter temperature could extend the mosquito habitat and thus enable faciparum malaria to reach beyond the usual altitude limit of around 2,500 m to the large, malaria-free, urban highland populations, e.g. Nairobi in Kenya and Harare in Zimbabwe. Indeed, the monitoring of such populations around the world, currently just beyond the boundaries of stable endemic malaria, could provide early evidence of climate-related shifts in malaria distribution.

.

McMichael’s 1993 book, page 165:
Already in Africa, there are over 100 million people who are ‘food insecure’, many of them in the arid Sahel region, home to approximately 35 million people.

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 577:
Already in Africa, more than 100 million people are “food insecure,” many of them in the arid Sahel region.

.

McMichael’s 1993 book, page 166:
A rise in temperature could also have significant effects on the growth and health of farm animals. Young animals are less tolerant of a wide range of temperature than are adult animals.

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 577
An increase in temperature and temperature extremes could also affect the growth and health of farm animals; young animals are much less tolerant of temperature variation than are adult animals.

.

McMichael’s 1993 book, page 166:
With respect to adverse effects on livestock, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified several infectious diseases – such as the horn fly in beef and dairy cattle and insect-borne anaplasmosis infection in sheep and cattle – which might well increase in response to climate changes.

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 577:
For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified several infectious diseases – such as the horn fly in beef and dairy cattle and insect-borne anaplasmosis infection in sheep and cattle – that could increase in prevalence in response to climate changes.

.

McMichael’s 1993 book, page 187:
UNEP predicts that an average 10% loss of ozone (such has become established at middle-to-high latitudes in recent years), if sustained globally over three-four decades, would cause at least 300,000 additional cases of non-melanocytic skin cancer worldwide each year and 4,500 extra cases of malignant melanoma – and possibly double that figure.

Climate Bible’s 1995 Working Group 2 report, page 578:
The UN environment Programme predicts that an average 10% loss of ozone (such as occurred at middle-to-high latitudes over the past decade), if sustained globally over several decades, would cause approximately 250,000 additional cases of [nonmelanocytic skin cancers] worldwide each year.
It appears unlikely that a good faith, bona fide review of the scientific literature took place prior to the writing of significant sections of the IPCC’s first health chapter. Instead, the climate bible surreptitiously incorporated numerous opinions expressed a few years earlier by the activist-oriented person in charge of writing this chapter.

Then the media told the world that the IPCC’s proclamations regarding global warming and diseases such as malaria were the considered, consensus view of thousands of experts.
The IPCC picked a CAGW activist to helm the chapter. Of course we get biased crap. This is not an anomaly but the MO of the IPCC. It stacks the deck with true believers and then marvels at the "crises" they "find."

Donna Laframboise is becoming a national (and international) treasure as she ferrets out the sins of the IPCC. Many of her findings have never before been uncovered.
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Old 09-03-10, 08:28 AM   #28
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

At the risk of this being the 10th thread on Climate where it's just mostly movielib talking to himself, let me ask all of you a few questions. (Everyone can play along).

1. Do you believe there is a change in climate? Is that change historically significant (i.e. last 100+ years are showing more "rapid" change)? Do you believe humans are responsible for this?
2. Are carbon emissions a problem? (Whether or not they contribute to climate change) should they be limited/controlled? If so, what is the best to affect limits/control?
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Old 09-03-10, 08:35 AM   #29
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
At the risk of this being the 10th thread on Climate where it's just mostly movielib talking to himself, let me ask all of you a few questions. (Everyone can play along).

1. Do you believe there is a change in climate? Is that change historically significant (i.e. last 100+ years are showing more "rapid" change)? Do you believe humans are responsible for this?
2. Are carbon emissions a problem? (Whether or not they contribute to climate change) should they be limited/controlled? If so, what is the best to affect limits/control?
1. No

2. No

It was warmer when the vikings colonized Greenland and the earth did not die. And there were very few SUVs then. On the other hand there was no algore either so I guess it is a wash.

Did you actually read anything Movielib posted?
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Old 09-03-10, 08:47 AM   #30
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Humans are affecting the warming of this planet but it is not cataclysmic despite the proselytism of alarmists. Unfortunately climate science has been lumped in with environmentalism which is important with regard to clean air, water, etc., but there needs to be a balance between quality of life and cost benefits. Carbon is not our enemy.

Hopefully Climategate and its repercussions is paving the way for a more honest debate about climate science.
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Old 09-03-10, 09:21 AM   #31
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
At the risk of this being the 10th thread on Climate where it's just mostly movielib talking to himself, let me ask all of you a few questions. (Everyone can play along).

1. Do you believe there is a change in climate? Is that change historically significant (i.e. last 100+ years are showing more "rapid" change)? Do you believe humans are responsible for this?
2. Are carbon emissions a problem? (Whether or not they contribute to climate change) should they be limited/controlled? If so, what is the best to affect limits/control?
1.) Climate is always changing. The warming from about 1975-2000 was in no way atypical from previous warmings. There hasn't been much of any trend in the last decade. Given the solar cycle and ocean circulations at present and over the next few decades, there is probably a better chance for cooling than warming over the next 20-30 years.

Humans, including our CO2 emissions, have affected the climate but it is to a very minor extent. CO2 additions have an ever decreasing (logarithmic) warming effect. It is probably several times smaller than the alarmists claim and negative feedbacks mitigate it (as opposed to alarmist claims of positive feedbacks which would enhance it). Overall, I don't think a doubling of CO2 would result in any more than a half of a degree Celsius increase (taking the overall negative feedbacks into account).

For perspective, the last hundred years have resulted in a 40% increase in CO2. We are still far short of a doubling. Also, because of its logarithmic nature, the 40% increase has already caused well over half of the total increase of the doubling from the 1900 level which was about 280 parts per million (390 ppm now). In other words, the next 170 ppm will cause less warming than the last 110 ppm.

2.) Carbon emissions (Edit: as OldDude points out below, I should have specified CO2 emissions) are very little, if any, problem. Although more "problems" than just warming are claimed (e.g. ocean acidification, species extinction), there is virtually no evidence to support such claims and many peer-reviewed studies have refuted them.

If people are worried about CO2 emissions, I think they should, first of all, support nuclear power, especially, and hydroelectric power (where feasible). They are energy sources that work. Wind and solar are subsidy sinks and don't cut CO2 emissions anyway because they are sporadic and inefficient and need to be backed up by energy that works plus there is a great deal of carbon based energy that goes into their manufacture, transport, maintenance etc.

The best way to alleviate the need for fossil fuels is to have a free market in energy and let it loose to invent, find, discover and innovate. That should work well before CO2 would ever even approach becoming a true problem.

Nothing in this post is new. It is a tiny (and necessarily incomplete) capsule summary version of what I have been saying for 9+ threads.

On a personal note, I am glad to be talking to you, The Bus, rather than to myself.

(Seriously, though, if you think I'm just talking to myself, see the "views" column.)
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Last edited by movielib; 09-04-10 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 09-03-10, 09:38 AM   #32
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Thought this was kind of funny...

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/footbal...lug=tsn-166777

Quote:
Mining activists demand WVU, Nike pull uniform ad

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Activists trying to stop mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia are furious over a Nike Inc. promotional ad for a new West Virginia football uniform designed in tribute to the 29 victims of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion.

The problem is not the color of the gear — off-white that appears coated in coal dust — or the number 29 on the coal-black helmets. It's the depiction of a mountaintop removal mine behind the image of a player, complete with flat, treeless mountaintop, the sound of an explosion and the image of falling rock.

The ad appears to be a tacit endorsement of the controversial form of strip mining, activists argued Thursday, and it should be yanked immediately.

"WVU football is a uniting force for a small state that lacks a professional team, "and to seemingly take a side with this ad is pissing people off," said Danny Chiotos of Charleston, youth organizer for the Student Environmental Action Coalition.

"I'm largely amused by it and kind of bewildered by it," Chiotos said. "They should come up with a better ad that actually promotes WVU football and the memory of the miners and mine safety."

By depicting a surface mine that also resembles the open pit mines of western states like Wyoming, the ad also misses a key point about Upper Big Branch: The Massey Energy Co. mine that exploded April 5 was an underground operation.

A West Virginia spokesman did not have an immediate response. Oregon-based Nike did not immediately respond to telephone and e-mail messages Thursday.

The ad plunges both the school and the world's largest athletic shoe and clothing maker into one of West Virginia's most emotionally charged and political divisive issues.

Mountaintop removal was the sole issue of a candidate who ran in last week's special primary to fill the seat of late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, and both industry and environmentalists are lobbying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the practice.

The coal-themed Pro Combat gear will be worn for one game only this season, the Nov. 26 Backyard Brawl at Pittsburgh.

Naoma activist Bo Webb demanded the immediate removal of the ad and apologies to the people in the southern coalfields who have been hurt by mountaintop mining.

"I am so angry. I love football, and I will not watch WVU again," said Webb, who was in Washington, D.C., with other activists on Monday, urging President Barack Obama's administration to outlaw mountaintop removal. It was a prelude to a much larger "Appalachia Rising" rally planned for Sept. 27.

"I hope the players understand that they're being used and rise up. I'd like them to say, 'I'm not being pimped out by Nike and the state of West Virginia and the coal industry," he said, "and I would like to see WVU admit, 'We made a huge mistake.'"

Webb said it's possible the ad was designed by an artist who didn't realize the implications of using strip mine imagery, but he's skeptical of Oregon-based Nike.

"Maybe they're naive, but I doubt it," he said. "I seriously doubt it."

Mountaintop removal is done mainly in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Forests are clear-cut, explosives blast apart the ridgetops, and massive machines scoop the exposed coal from multiple seams. The debris left behind is dumped into valleys, covering streams with what are called valley fills.

Coal operators say it's the most efficient way to reach some reserves, but people who live near the mines say it's too destructive, ruining their home values, their environment and their health.

The industry, too, is planning a rally in Washington. Its Sept. 15 event will focus on what it considers unfair regulations and the need for jobs.

WVU senior Joe Gorman said Nike and the school should honor underground miners "without glorifying the mountaintop removal that's destroying West Virginia's heritage and the mountains that make us the Mountaineers."

"The ad says, 'It's just the way things are done in West Virginia,'" Gorman said, "but miners and residents of the southern coalfields have been fighting strip mining and mountaintop removal since before I was born, and that's something to be proud of, too."
I don't know enough about that method of coal mining to have an opinion, but Webb definitely sounds like a typical crazy environmentalist.

Clearly Nike is endorsing this type of coal mining with this ad.
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Old 09-03-10, 02:43 PM   #33
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
2. Are carbon emissions a problem? (Whether or not they contribute to climate change) should they be limited/controlled? If so, what is the best to affect limits/control?
Your other questions have been well covered.

(2) is too general, you need to be more specific. Some forms of carbon are bad

*CO2, in spite of all attempts to demonize it, is pretty harmless. It is VITAL to plants; no CO2, no plants, no bottom of the food chain. Existing plants can not survive below 180 ppm. Maybe evolution could evolve something.

*CO2 is currently running about 380 ppm (pre-industrial, 280 ppm) but humans (and other animals) can easily handle 4000 ppm, 10X the amount. With modest discomfort, humans can handle about 10,000 ppm but it becomes a suffocant at about 50,000 ppm. (which happens to be the level humans exhale)

*CO, carbon monoxide is VERY bad, and is regulated as a criteria pollutant at 9 ppm, under NAAQS.

*Hydrocarbons are generally bad, and are regulated as pollutants, under the name NMOG (non methane organic gases). The emitters (automotive and others) are regulated, there is not a NAAQS for it, although it affects the ozone standard. (Hydrocarbon + NOx + sunlight = ground level ozone)

*Carbon dust, as tiny particulates, is bad and is regulated as a criteria pollutant under the name particulate matter, PM2.5, at a level of 15 µg/m³ annual average, 35 µg/m³ worst 24 hours under NAAQS. Larger lumps of carbon such as coal and diamonds pose no threat.

Focusing on the real poisons and ignoring the harmless is the best strategy.

(NAAQS = National Ambient Air Quality Standards, 6 criteria pollutants are regulated under it)

Edit: I forgot to mention in the above that plants REALLY like CO2 and would like numbers even higher than the above. It is pumped into greenhouses to increase plant growth, and the limits above are derived from greenhouse experience for the comfort of the human workers. It is the most common application where humans experience higher CO2 levels. But screw the plants, they're just going to have to learn to compromise, 'cause we can move and do things. They just grow.
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Old 09-03-10, 02:59 PM   #34
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Jesse Jackson drove his SUV to an environmental meeting!


http://www.detnews.com/article/20100...s-stripped-SUV

September 03. 2010 1:38AM

Payne: The irony of Jesse Jackson's stripped SUV

Henry Payne / The Michigan View.com

Add Jesse Jackson’s ride to prominent vehicles being stripped in Detroit.

Following the embarrassing news that Mayor Dave Bing’s GMC Yukon was hijacked by criminals this week, Detroit’s Channel 7 reports that the Reverend’s Caddy Escalade SUV was stolen and stripped of its wheels while he was in town last weekend with the UAW’s militant President Bob King leading the “Jobs, Justice, and Peace” march promoting government-funded green jobs.

Read that again: Jackson’s Caddy SUV was stripped while he was in town promoting green jobs.

Add Jesse to the Al Gore-Tom Friedman-Barack Obama School of Environmental Hypocrisy. While preaching to Americans that they need to cram their families into hybrid Priuses to go shopping for compact fluorescent light bulbs to save the planet, they themselves continue to live large.


“We need an economy that creates employment that can't be shipped overseas,” the Green Rev wrote for CNN about the march. “Home-grown American labor will be installing windmills and solar panels. A green economy is not an abstract concept.”

Well, its certainly abstract to Jesse, but I digress.

“Even now, the only sector of the economy that has seen job growth during the recession is the green job sector. Time is of the essence.”

Actually, time long ago passed Detroit by because Jesse’ favored government mpg mandates and UAW wages stripped the Big Three’s ability to compete against non-union transplants. These jobs were real – unlike the artificial, government subsidized green jobs he shakes down the feds for today.

Real jobs produced big, profitable SUVs like the one Jesse prefers to ride in. His SUV has been stripped by thugs – a fitting metaphor for what Jesse and his pals have done to the auto industry for the last 35 years.
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Old 09-04-10, 11:23 AM   #35
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Judge in Mann/Cuccinelli case had conflict of interest.

http://biggovernment.com/chorner/201...rmer-employer/

Quote:
Judge in Virginia ‘Global Warming’ Investigation Blocks Inquiry Into…His Wife’s Former Employer
by Christopher C. Horner
August 31, 2010

As you can read here, retired Albemarle County (Virginia) Circuit Judge Paul Peatross has ruled that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli may not have access to records under Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, as he seeks to determine the propriety of Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann’s claims made to obtain research funding. Judge Peatross’s ruling protects Mann, the University, and specifically the Department of Environmental Sciences, at least for now.

Here’s the rub, on which I will have more to say. I attended the hearing a week ago Friday at which the parties argued the University’s motion to dismiss. The Deputy AG Wesley Russell’s arguments dominated, so badly I almost felt sorry for the University. The judge’s queries were puzzling, as he pleaded with the University’s counsel to come up with some argument how he might rule in their favor, as were other comments (continue reading).

Before the hearing commenced Peatross, substituting for the vacationing chief judge, cited his wife’s 1982 degree in environmental science from UVA – oddly, he then said “but not in global warming” — as part of a rather spare recitation of why he was hearing of this case (which he attested he had never heard about until reading the briefs that morning. A prominent case in the local, state and national news assigned to his old court! This man takes his retirement seriously…), and articulating his history so that counsel might decide whether he carried any conflict such that he should not hear the University’s motion.

That fact of her 1982 degree from Mann’s former Department, apparently, was relevant. Okay. But…

The fact that the judge’s wife had in fact previously worked in that Department of Environmental Sciences — the very Department that stands to suffer should he have ruled in favor of the Attorney General – was somehow not worth disclosing to counsel.

I only learned of this after the hearing by others who had also worked at the same time Ms. Peatross did, in messages expressing astonishment that her husband would decide such a matter given the obvious appearance of an inability to objectively hear it.

Also not worth disclosing was that Ms. Peatross’s relationships go much deeper, being, e.g., lauded for her role in producing a book edited by the Department’s then-chairman during Mann’s alleged hijinks, as well as, it appears, at least two of his papers.

But that she has a degree from the Department in 1982 merited consideration in determining the judge’s suitability to hear the case. And only that.

Amazing.

Now, to be completely accurate, it is an open question whether Ms. Peatross worked for the Department of Environmental Sciences, or simply in the building, physically (which I am told with no doubts that she did), for one of two particular former colleagues of Mann’s (and one supervisor at the relevant times) in their consultancies. The latter response, if it were the case, would beg other questions about mixing research and consulting. Which is to say, there is no good answer to the question. Which may be why the University refused to answer it when I asked. Four times. The two former colleagues of Mann for whom Ms. Peatross worked, according to a very basic Google search, also declined my invitation to clarify.

Charlottsville (I live here) is indeed the epitome of a company town – with UVA the company – as is surrounding Albemarle County. An adverse ruling leading to release of Mann’s relevant documents was the biggest possible black eye for a university that zealously promotes its prestige derived, in part, from Thomas Jefferson having founded it…a history the school’s lawyers rather sadly invoked up front in their brief arguing that, while some people are subject to laws, others simply cannot suffer the indiginity (if you’re thinking “Hollywood and Roman Polanski”, I’m way ahead of you). Well, of course. It’s on Jefferson’s headstone up on the hill, no doubt.

But while that particular argument of “academic freedom” did not prevail, the University did nonetheless manage to persuade Judge Peatross to block the taxpayer from discovering whether the University’s employee, Mann, engaged in fraud on the taxpayer. Again, this is for now as, according to press reports, Mr. Cuccinelli intends to press on with a new civil investigative demand (CID). It was not a complete victory for the University but, if you attended argument and/or read the briefs, you know such an outcome was not a consideration.

However that turns out, this series of events at best provides a very uncomfortable appearance of failure to disclose. Indeed, it seems to clearly rise to the level of a basis for the judge to recuse himself, instead of asking counsel, in his presence, whether they thought he was possibly biased.

The last thing our institutions of government need right now is more reason to question their operation. This is unfortunate and could easily have been avoided. Having read Cuccinelli’s briefs and seen his Deputy argue rings around the school and its hapless case for hiding the truth, I feel the truth will inevitably out, if later and after more wrangling than was necessary.
Maybe I'm off the mark but this seems to be a clear conflict of interest, at least of the potential or appearance kind, for which the judge should have recused himself.

The IPCC, we have recently learned, does not even have a conflict of interest policy. Yet it is utterly dominated by people who have a stake in pushing CAGW, either through business connections or to get research grants or both. The State of Virginia certainly does have such a policy but, as can be seen, it doesn't always work.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:19 PM   #36
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Lonnie Thompson is a funny guy. Al Gore loves the old alarmist nutbar. Here's his latest standup routine.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=129652700

Quote:
Scientist Watches Glacier Melt Beneath His Feet
by NPR Staff
September 4, 2010

Earlier this summer, a group of scientists spent two weeks in Indonesia atop a glacier called Puncak Jaya, one of the few remaining tropical glaciers in the world. They were taking samples of ice cores to study the impacts of climate change on the glacier.

Lonnie Thompson, a professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, led the team and what he witnessed shocked him: The glacier was literally melting under their feet.

Thompson tells NPR's Guy Raz he has conducted 57 expeditions around the world, but this trip was unusual. It was the first one where he experienced rain on the glacier every day.

"Rain is probably the most effective way to ... cause the ice to melt," Thompson says. "So this was the first time you could see the surface actually lowering around you."

While Thompson and his team were there drilling cores, he says, they witnessed the glacier drop 12 inches in just two weeks.

"If that's representative of the annual ice loss on these glaciers," he says, "you're looking at losing over seven meters of ice in a year. Unfortunately, that glacier's going to disappear in as little as five years if that rate continues."


Puncak Jaya is one of the few tropical glaciers remaining in the world, and it's especially vulnerable to climate change. This makes it especially important to researchers.

"Well, it's located about 4 degrees south of the equator. It's the only glacier on western side of the Pacific warm pool, the warmest waters on earth," Thompson says. "For looking at the history of El Nino, it's a wonderful location."

Losing the glacier wouldn't have much environmental impact for the local people, Thompson says, but it would have a deep spiritual impact.

"For the tribes that live in that area, the glaciers are the head of the skull of the god and the mountains are the arms and the legs," he says. "If they lose the glaciers then they’re going to lose part of their soul."

The Canary In The Coal Mine

Just because the melting of the glacier won't have a devastating impact on Indonesia doesn't mean it should be ignored, Thompson says. Rather, it's like the canary in the coal mine — an indicator of changes in the planet's warming trends. And one that should be seen with boots on.

"When we look at what's happening to the ice on the planet, we use satellites. The problem with the satellite or aerial photography is you don't see the vertical thinning that's taking place," Thompson says. "Consequently there'll come a year in the future that there'll appear to be a glacier but it will disappear the next year because of the thinning from the top down. And to me, that's very sobering."

Thompson and his team may not be able to stop the glacier from melting, but in a certain sense they have managed to save Puncak Jaya.

"Part of our mission was to collect the record before it disappears so that we have a history from that part of the world," he says. "We store part of those cores in our cold room here at Ohio State because we know that 20 years from now there'll be new technologies and a better understanding of the climate system — but there's not going to be any ice to drill."
Lots of yucks here but the bolded part is the best punch line.

I would add that if temperatures keep plummeting at the rate they usually do from day to night (about 20 degrees F) we will be at absolute zero in less than a month. Brrrrr.

Since we have things called cycles - you know - day, night; summer, winter, stuff like that, and also many periods where weather does not follow "normals" or "averages," Thompson's statement is as stupid (or screamingly funny) as mine.

What an idiotic statement for a scientist. Or a fifth grader.
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Old 09-05-10, 12:46 AM   #37
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

A sad mini-history of the IPCC:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/c...-the-IPCC.html

Quote:
A cunning bid to shore up the ruins of the IPCC
The Inter-Academy report into the IPCC, led by Rajendra Pachauri, tiptoes around a mighty elephant in the room, argues Christopher Booker.

By Christopher Booker
Published: 6:38PM BST 04 Sep 2010

A report on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on behalf of the world's leading scientific academies, last week provoked even some of the more committed believers in man-made global warming to demand the resignation of Dr Rajendra Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC. But is the report all that it seems?

Last winter, the progress of this belief – that the world faces catastrophe unless we spend trillions of dollars to halt global warming – suffered an unprecedented reverse. In Copenhagen, the world's leaders failed to agree a treaty designed to reshape the future of civilisation. This coincided with a series of scandals that blew up around the IPCC's 2007 report.

Since then several inquiries, including three into the leaked "Climategate" emails, have tried to hold the official line, all following a consistent pattern. Each has made a few peripheral criticisms, for plausibility, while deliberately avoiding the main issue. Each has then gone on to put over the required message: that the science of global warming remains unchallenged.

At first sight, last week's Inter-Academy report on the "processes and procedures of the IPCC" seems to have played it more cleverly. It criticises the IPCC's abuse of its own procedures in very trenchant terms, and suggests some radical reforms to them. Passages on "conflict of interest", and a recommendation that top officials should serve only one term, seem to hint that Dr Pachauri, reappointed to serve until 2014 after presiding over the IPCC's last controversial report, should step down. But, as with the reports that preceded it, this one also tiptoes round a mighty elephant in the room, in order to put over the familiar message: the IPCC has generally "served society well", the science remains unchallenged. It is as one might expect of a report produced on behalf of bodies such as Britain's Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, which have long been leading advocates for the belief in global waming.

When, some years ago, I began the research for my book The Real Global Warming Disaster, nothing surprised me more than discovering how widely the nature of the IPCC is misunderstood. It is invariably portrayed as a body representing the top scientists in the world, objectively weighing the complex forces that shape Earth's climate. In reality, it's nothing of the kind.

The men who set up the panel – led by its first chairman Bert Bolin, a Swedish meteorologist, and John Houghton, then head of the UK Met Office and first chairman of the IPCC's scientific working group – were already believers in what they called "human-induced climate change". The IPCC was, from the start, essentially a political pressure group, producing evidence to support the view that global warming was the most serious crisis facing the planet. This guided the selection of all the key scientists chosen to compile the IPCC's findings (such as those involved in the Climategate affair). And this explains all the searching questions that have built up around its hugely influential reports ever since.

The first major row over the IPCC came when it was revealed that the most widely publicised and alarmist claim in its second report, in 1995, was inserted after the text had been signed off by the other scientists involved – while 15 passages which countered alarm over climate change had been excised. This famously provoked Professor Fred Seitz, former president of the US National Academy of Sciences, to say that in 60 years as a scientist he had never seen a "more disturbing corruption" of scientific procedure.

Perhaps the most telling controversy arose over the notorious "hockey stick" graph, the centrepiece of the IPCC's third report in 2001. It rewrote climate history to show a world that was now dramatically hotter than it had been for at least 1,000 years. Promoted by Houghton and others as the ultimate emblem of the cause, it was eventually shown to have been no more than the result of trickery with a computer programme. But even after it been exposed, the IPCC establishment made the most tortuous efforts to defend it for their fourth report in 2007.

This became the most comprehensively discredited IPCC report of all. It was the first produced under the chairmanship of Dr Pachauri, who was appointed in 2002. One after another, its scariest and most widely publicised predictions – such as that Himalayan glaciers would largely have vanished by 2035, that climate change would kill off 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, that African crop-yields would be halved by 2050 – were found to have been based not on science at all, but on the reckless claims of environmental activists.

Not the least indictment of the IPCC's 2007 report was the revelation that, in clear breach of its own rules, more than 5,000 of its supposedly scientific claims were not peer-reviewed but came from advocacy groups, press releases, newspaper articles, even student theses. Yet Dr Pachauri himself has repeatedly insisted that everything in his report was based on "peer-reviewed" science.

Again and again the 2007 report has been found to be in flagrant breach of the IPCC's own rules. For instance, it cited no fewer than 16 articles from a single issue of one climate journal – which had been published after the IPCC's official cut-off date and should therefore have been disallowed. In each of the thousands of instances where the IPCC broke its rules, the claims it made were all in one direction: to hype up alarm over the extent and effects of climate change beyond anything science could justify. The most shameless instance was the claim about Himalayan glaciers, which two of the IPCC's own expert reviewers had pointed out was ridiculous even before it was published. Dr Pachauri dismissed this criticism as "voodoo science" (having employed the author of the claim at his own Delhi research institute).

Through all this the IPCC has been exposed for what it truly is: not a proper scientific body but an advocacy group, ready to stop at nothing in hijacking the prestige of science for its cause. But little of this might be guessed from the Inter-Academy report (jointly commissioned by Dr Pachauri himself and Ban Ki-Moon, the UN's Secretary General). Even if Dr Pachauri is forced to resign at a UN meeting in Korea next month, as seems possible, he will merely have been thrown off the sledge so that the all-important cause can survive.

Yet the IPCC is the body on whose authority our Parliament voted for the Climate Change Act, passed all but unanimously two years ago. This will land us, on the Government's own figures, with by far the biggest bill we have ever faced: up to £18 billion every year for the next 40 years – £734 billion in all – in order to cut our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent, something impossible to achieve except by closing down virtually all our industrial economy.

On the same authority, the rest of the world is being told that it must take similar steps, to avert a catastrophe dreamed up and promoted by no one more than those joint winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore and the IPCC. Does this not all add up to the most bizarre and outrageous scandal in the history of the world?
Is there a bigger scientific crock of shit than this? It's just infuriating. Even if you think there is reason to believe in CAGW, how can a fair-minded rational person think that the IPCC in any way makes the case when it has lied and cheated repeatedly, constantly violating it's very own rules? When every "mistake" or underhanded breaking of rules goes only one way, how can anyone take this organization seriously?
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"[It is an] absurd notion that Hillary is more legitimate because she won a game that neither candidate was playing. Both sides campaigned, strategized, and spent money to win not a popular-vote plurality but 270 electoral votes...

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Old 09-05-10, 02:24 AM   #38
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by movielib View Post
Maybe I'm off the mark but this seems to be a clear conflict of interest, at least of the potential or appearance kind, for which the judge should have recused himself.
The fact that the judge's wife's F*O*R*M*E*R employer was involved in the litigation is not a conflict of interest.

That's right -- I went all Hyman Kaplan on your ass.
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Old 09-05-10, 08:29 AM   #39
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
The fact that the judge's wife's F*O*R*M*E*R employer was involved in the litigation is not a conflict of interest.

That's right -- I went all Hyman Kaplan on your ass.
You're the lawyer. I won't argue with you. I am not intimately acquainted with the code of legal ethics for Virginia (or any state).

But do you not see this as at least giving the appearance of a possible conflict? I'm sure it's not necessary for the judge to recuse himself (from what I have seen in the world, it is often up to the judge's discretion, even when a conflict is much clearer than in this case), but would it have not been the wise thing to do? She may certainly still have friends there. She may even have been or still be a friend of Mann's.

I'm sure there are judges whose spouses have never had anything to do with Mann's former department. It just seems foolish for this judge to not have bowed out.

I never read the Leo Rosten book, but I looked it up.
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"[It is an] absurd notion that Hillary is more legitimate because she won a game that neither candidate was playing. Both sides campaigned, strategized, and spent money to win not a popular-vote plurality but 270 electoral votes...

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Old 09-05-10, 08:51 AM   #40
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Not as good as an underwater meeting. But when you're landlocked, you do what you can.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/08...limate-change/

Quote:
Mongolian Cabinet holds meeting in Gobi desert to draw attention to climate change
Published August 29, 2010
Associated Press

GASHUUNII KHOOLOI, Mongolia – GASHUUNII KHOOLOI, Mongolia (AP) — Top Mongolian officials donned dark green baseball caps reading "Save our planet" and set up chairs and tables in the sands of the Gobi desert for a Cabinet meeting aimed at drawing attention to climate change.

The meeting of 12 government ministers was held in scorching heat Friday in Gashuunii Khooloi, a sandy valley in South Gobi province, about 415 miles (670 kilometers) south of Ulan-Bator, the country's capital.

The ministers, dressed in suits and ties, arrived in the desert in jeeps after a 15-hour journey. Officials planted a Mongolian flag in the ground, set up long tables and chairs in the fine, golden sand and discussed climate change against the backdrop of a vast expanse of desert and a bright blue sky.

"Mongolia is feeling the impact of global climate change," Prime Minister Batbold Sukhbaatar said at the one-hour meeting.

Batbold pointed to the recent winter as an example of problems Mongolia faces. The winter was the harshest in decades and a fifth of the country's livestock died.

The government blames global warming for a decrease in rainfall and says that rising average temperatures have caused many rivers and springs to dry up and snow cover to melt. It also says the frequency of natural disasters
and drought has jumped.

The site for the meeting was chosen because parts of it used to be arable land, said Badarch, head of social policy for South Gobi province, who like some Mongolians uses only one name.

"Five years ago, there used to grow many edible plants in this valley and there were fewer sand dunes. Now look here," he said. "The valley is completely covered with sand. The sand dunes are moving and taking more space each year."

Minister of Natural Environment and Tourism Gansukh Luumed said Mongolian herders' traditional way of life is under threat. "Global climate change accelerates the desertification process in Mongolia. Currently, 70 percent of Mongolian land is affected by desertification."

In December, Nepalese officials held a Cabinet meeting at Mount Everest to highlight the danger global warming poses to glaciers. It followed an underwater Cabinet meeting in the Maldives in October to underline the threat of rising sea levels.

The government said it hoped that delegates attending global climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, in November would reach a decision that is "favorable for landlocked, developing countries ... very much affected by climate change and desertification."
Of course, their very cold winter was caused by global warming which was in turn cause by the evil CO2.

These stunts are a great way to try to hit up developed countries for their supposed sins of becoming prosperous and ruining the world. Hey, it's easier than giving up your power and corruption and allowing your countries to be free to develop and become prosperous too.
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"[It is an] absurd notion that Hillary is more legitimate because she won a game that neither candidate was playing. Both sides campaigned, strategized, and spent money to win not a popular-vote plurality but 270 electoral votes...

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Old 09-05-10, 12:57 PM   #41
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by movielib View Post
You're the lawyer. I won't argue with you. I am not intimately acquainted with the code of legal ethics for Virginia (or any state).

But do you not see this as at least giving the appearance of a possible conflict? I'm sure it's not necessary for the judge to recuse himself (from what I have seen in the world, it is often up to the judge's discretion, even when a conflict is much clearer than in this case), but would it have not been the wise thing to do? She may certainly still have friends there. She may even have been or still be a friend of Mann's.

I'm sure there are judges whose spouses have never had anything to do with Mann's former department. It just seems foolish for this judge to not have bowed out.

I never read the Leo Rosten book, but I looked it up.
The trick is you can always come up with some argument as to why there is a conflict of interest. The judge probably has views -- one way or the other, I don't know what they are -- on global warming. And he lives in Charlottesville, so he probably knows some people who work at the University. Maybe his nephew goes to William & Mary, so he wants to see UVA's reputation decline so that William & Mary will be the relatively better school. Maybe he got beat up in sixth grade by a kid named Cuccinelli so now he has an irrational dislike of the state AG because of that name. There's always a story to tell.

Anyway here are the standards for recusal:
Quote:
(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;

(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;

(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy;

(4) He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;

(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person:

(i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;
(ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
(iv) Is to the judge's knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.

(c) A judge should inform himself about his personal and fiduciary financial interests, and make a reasonable effort to inform himself about the personal financial interests of his spouse and minor children residing in his household.

(d) For the purposes of this section the following words or phrases shall have the meaning indicated:

(1) "proceeding" includes pretrial, trial, appellate review, or other stages of litigation;
(2) the degree of relationship is calculated according to the civil law system;
(3) "fiduciary" includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian;
(4) "financial interest" means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as director, adviser, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:
(i) Ownership in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not a "financial interest" in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund;
(ii) An office in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization is not a "financial interest" in securities held by the organization;
(iii) The proprietary interest of a policyholder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association, or a similar proprietary interest, is a "financial interest" in the organization only if the outcome of the
proceeding could substantially affect the value of the interest;
(iv) Ownership of government securities is a "financial interest" in the issuer only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the securities.

(e) No justice, judge, or magistrate judge shall accept from the parties to the proceeding a waiver of any ground for disqualification enumerated in subsection (b). Where the ground for disqualification arises only under subsection (a), waiver may be accepted provided it is preceded by a full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification.

(f) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, if any justice, judge, magistrate judge, or bankruptcy judge to whom a matter has been assigned would be disqualified, after substantial judicial time has been devoted to the matter, because of the appearance or discovery, after the matter was assigned to him or her, that he or she individually or as a fiduciary, or his or her spouse or minor child residing in his or her household, has a financial interest in a party (other than an interest that could be
substantially affected by the outcome), disqualification is not required if the justice, judge, magistrate judge, bankruptcy judge, spouse or minor child, as the case may be, divests himself or herself of the interest that provides the grounds for the disqualification.
28 U.S.C. 455

I should have saved the Leo Rosten stuff for a post in the immigration thread, but there was not a small amount of Bacardi involved when I posted that and it struck me at the time as being far funnier than it really is.
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Old 09-05-10, 02:50 PM   #42
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
The trick is you can always come up with some argument as to why there is a conflict of interest. The judge probably has views -- one way or the other, I don't know what they are -- on global warming. And he lives in Charlottesville, so he probably knows some people who work at the University. Maybe his nephew goes to William & Mary, so he wants to see UVA's reputation decline so that William & Mary will be the relatively better school. Maybe he got beat up in sixth grade by a kid named Cuccinelli so now he has an irrational dislike of the state AG because of that name. There's always a story to tell.

Anyway here are the standards for recusal:


28 U.S.C. 455

I should have saved the Leo Rosten stuff for a post in the immigration thread, but there was not a small amount of Bacardi involved when I posted that and it struck me at the time as being far funnier than it really is.
Obviously it's number (4) that could be involved. It's quite unlikely there is any financial interest but quite possible there is an emotional interest which falls under "any other interest." That is impossible to know unless the wife chose to say.

As I said, there is certainly no requirement under the circumstances that the judge recuse himself but I do think it would have been wise for him to do so to avoid even the possibility of an appearance of a conflict.

Rightly or wrongly, the judge has given skeptics the opportunity to exploit the issue.
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Old 09-05-10, 05:20 PM   #43
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

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Originally Posted by movielib View Post
Obviously it's number (4) that could be involved. It's quite unlikely there is any financial interest but quite possible there is an emotional interest which falls under "any other interest." That is impossible to know unless the wife chose to say.

As I said, there is certainly no requirement under the circumstances that the judge recuse himself but I do think it would have been wise for him to do so to avoid even the possibility of an appearance of a conflict.

Rightly or wrongly, the judge has given skeptics the opportunity to exploit the issue.
That's the beauty of the modern world -- any time a judge does something I don't like, I can spin a story about how maybe he was biased and just like that, I've undermined the public's faith in his decision.

This case is pending in Albemarle County -- a lovely county smack in the middle of Virginia where life revolves around the University of Virginia. You're going to have a really hard time finding a judge sitting there who doesn't have some connection to the school.
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Old 09-06-10, 10:05 AM   #44
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

I just want to make it clear about Mann/Cuccinelli:

I don't think the judge's decision was bad or wrong. He rejected the university's "academic freedom" defense as I think he should have. He said Cuccinelli's filing just wasn't specific enough. Cuccinelli can refile which he is planning to do.
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Old 09-06-10, 10:10 AM   #45
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

I haven't mentioned ecoterrorist James J Lee in this thread because I don't think it's right to exploit one nut. However, I do think this article makes a good point about how nuts are treated differently by the MSM depending on their political persuasions.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnal...aspx?id=546137

Quote:
Why We Blink In Face Of Eco-Terror
Posted 09/03/2010 07:23 PM ET

Extremism: An environmental activist inspired by Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" takes hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters. This isn't the latest example of eco-terrorism, just the latest to be ignored.

It got wide play when union boss Richard Trumka accused Sarah Palin of inciting violence every time she speaks. President Obama recently accused Fox News host Glenn Beck of "stirring up" a "certain portion" of the American people with his "Restore Honor" rally. Gender orientation and "sexual identity" were recently added to the hate crimes list.

Yet those who say man is a plague upon the earth, ravaging its resources, exterminating its endangered species and heating it into oblivion are never accused of inciting anything when those who hear their words respond by marching into an office building to save the earth at gunpoint.

The gunman who entered the Discovery Channel headquarters was killed after he entered with a handgun and what were believed to be explosive devices, took three hostages and pointed his gun at one of them. He identified himself as James J. Lee and said, "I have a gun and I have a bomb. ... I have several bombs strapped to my body ready to go off."

In a rambling manifesto, Lee echoes the writings of President Obama's science adviser, John Holdren, railing against "disgusting human babies" and "parasitic infants" and insisting people should "disassemble civilization." His manifesto demanded that the Discovery Channel cease all programming about war, weapons or giving birth.

Court records show that Lee had been arrested on Feb. 21, 2008, on the sixth day of a protest at the Discovery building. Lee said at the time that he experienced an "awakening" when he watched former Vice President Al Gore's environmental documentary ''An Inconvenient Truth." Lee has said he was also inspired by "Ishmael," a novel by environmentalist Daniel Quinn. "Nothing is more important than saving ... the Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears and, of course, the Squirrels. The humans? The planet does not need humans," he wrote.

As scary as this sounds, it is scarier to consider that this sentiment can be found in various forms in the bibliography of what is considered mainstream environmentalism.

In a recently rediscovered book, "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," co-authored with Malthus fans Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Holdren, who holds the post of presidential assistant for science technology, revealed his similar pessimistic and apocalyptic views on all three topics. They are disturbing.

Like Lee, Holdren hates people and views them as the root of all planetary evil. Big families are a target of Holdren and the Ehrlichs, who write that they "contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children" and "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility."

Eco-terror groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front have long advocated violence, including arson and bombings, to save the earth and critters on it from the plague known as mankind. From firebombing ski resorts to torching medical labs, these environmental terrorists have been very active.

ELF's Web site at one point offered pointers on "Setting Fires With Electric Timers." The ALF posted commentary boasting that its "attacks on medical research continue today" and are aimed at producing "millions of dollars worth of damages and delays in the development of new treatments and cures."

People must die, in their view, to save Bambi.

Of course, no one will blame Al Gore for inciting hate and violence. No one will worry about a vast left-wing conspiracy to save the planet at all costs or that James Lee's extremist views are almost identical to those of the president's science adviser.

Hate comes only from the right, and when you're saving the earth, the end justifies the means. Neither human lives nor human freedom can stand in their way.
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"We don’t know who would have won the 2016... presidential race if the president was elected by popular vote because the race would have been run completely differently."

- David French

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Old 09-07-10, 07:54 AM   #46
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

It's worse better than was thought. Greenland and West Antarctic ice melting at half the rate of previous estimates. Peer reviewed study.

http://www.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.js...0c6803&lang=en

Quote:
Melting rate icecaps Greenland and Western Antarctica lower than expected
02 September 2010 by M&C

The Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps are melting at half the speed previously predicted. This finding has emerged from research by a joint US/Dutch team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, TU Delft and SRON. The scientists have published their findings in the September issue of Nature Geoscience.

GRACE

The melting of the ice caps has been charted since 2002 using the measurements produced by the two GRACE satellites. From space they detect small changes in the Earth's gravitational field. These changes are related to the exact distribution of mass on Earth, including ice and water. When ice melts and lands in the sea, this therefore has an effect on the gravitational field.

Based on this principle, previous estimates for the Greenland ice cap calculated that the ice was melting at a rate of 230 gigatonnes a year (i.e. 230,000 billion kg). That would result in an average rise in global sea levels of around 0.75 mm a year. For West Antarctica, the estimate was 132 gigatonnes a year. However, it now turns out that these results were not properly corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment, the phenomenon that the Earth’s crust rebounds as a result of the melting of the massive ice caps from the last major Ice Age around 20,000 years ago. These movements of the Earth’s crust have to be incorporated in the calculations, since these vertical movements change the Earth’s mass distribution and therefore also have an influence on the gravitational field.

GPS

Researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (US), TU Delft and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research have now succeeded in carrying out that correction far more accurately. They did so using combined data from the GRACE mission, GPS measurements on land and sea floor pressure measurements. These reveal that the sea floor under Greenland is falling more rapidly than was first thought. One of the researchers, Dr Bert Vermeersen of TU Delft, explains: 'The corrections for deformations of the Earth’s crust have a considerable effect on the amount of ice that is estimated to be melting each year. We have concluded that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted.' The average rise in sea levels as a result of the melting ice caps is also lower.

Model

'The innovative aspect of our method is that we simultaneously matched the current changes in the ice mass and glacial isostatic adjustment to the observations, instead of assuming that a particular glacial isostatic adjustment model is correct,' says Dr Vermeersen. 'For Greenland in particular, we have found a glacial isostatic adjustment model that deviates rather sharply from general assumptions. But at present there are too few data available to verify this independently. A more extensive network of GPS readings in combination with geological indicators for the local and regional changes in sea level changes around Greenland over the last 10,000 years, will possibly be able to provide conclusive evidence on this matter in the years to come.'

More information

This research has been published in the September issue of Nature Geoscience (Nature Geoscience 3, 642 - 646 (2010)). It has also been prepublished online: www.nature.com/ngeo.
Some quick calculations reveal that sea level rise from Greenland and West Antarctica would now combine for a century long total of about 2 and a third inches at the new calculated rate. How scary is that? And don't forget, East Antarctica (80% of the continent) is adding ice. So it's probably even less.

As far as I know, the only media outlet to post a story about this study so far is The British Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete....html?ITO=1490). But I'm sure the rest of the MSM will be only too eager to tell us the good news. If they ever get their collective noses out of the alarmists' asses.
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Old 09-07-10, 01:23 PM   #47
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Incidence of ye olde (bubonic) plague which at one time is said to have wiped out a third of Europe (IIRC) is found be lowered by "climate change."

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/09/07/301...ct-plague.html

Quote:
Climate Change May Affect Plague Distribution and Incidence

- Good news about global warming? New fifty-year analysis explores the link between climate factors and plague epidemics in the United States -, - Study reveals that as temperatures are rising and levels of snowfall are decreasing, incidences of the plagu[e are decreasing] [I finished this as the story seems to have dropped this part - m]

By The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 7, 2010 - 6:42 am

DEERFIELD, Ill., Sept. 7 -- /PRNewswire/ -- While many climate experts and environmentalists explore the negative effects of global warming, a new study reveals a positive outcome of the warming of the planet: the potential elimination of the plague. Global warming affects temperatures and precipitation regimes that play a pivotal role in the lives of rodents and fleas; rodents and fleas are responsible for maintenance and spread of plague to human populations. Plague can be fatal if the symptoms are not recognized and treated within 24 hours.

The study, featured in the September issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH), revealed incidences of plague in the western United States are decreasing as global warming raises temperatures and decreases snowfall in the area. The study examined a 56-year time series of plague reports (1950-2005), in conjunction with temperature and precipitation records, to determine the effect of large-scale climate variability on the dynamics of human plague in the region.

The study analysis suggested that snow may play a key role in the relationship between climate and plague; snow affects the summer soil moisture, which is known to be instrumental for flea survival and the development and sustained growth of vegetation for rodents. The effects of global warming will likely result in increasingly unfavorable conditions for fleas, creating less favorable conditions for increases in the rodent population. These factors suggest that plague in the western United States is likely to decrease in the coming decades.

"Following analysis of 56 years worth of climate and plague data, we are encouraged that prevalence of the plague is decreasing, likely due to environmental factors. However, in places like New Mexico where human-population movement into the desert is likely to continue, plague exposure and risk could still occur on a local basis," said Nils Chr. Stenseth, Professor, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of Oslo. "As recently as August 2010, an outbreak of plague was reported in Peru in a coastal village, which suggests plague is still a modern healthcare concern. People should be more vigilant and monitor it."

There are three types of the plague – bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. Plague exists in nature due to the transmission between hosts (wild rodents) and vectors (fleas), and is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Typically, rodents spread the disease to humans, or people can get the plague when they are bitten by a flea that carries the plague bacteria from an infected rodent. Certain forms of the plague can be spread from human to human. Unless treatment is received within 24 hours of the first symptoms, death from the plague may be unavoidable. Antibiotics, oxygen, intravenous fluids, and respiratory support are usually needed to treat the plague.

"With the recent reported cases of dengue fever in the United States, Americans are becoming more aware of the dangers associated with vector-borne diseases. Like dengue fever, plague is a vector-borne disease. Despite the fact that millions of people are infected with a vector-borne disease each year, including tens of thousands of Americans, many people are unaware that weather affects vector populations and disease transmission," said Edward T. Ryan, M.D., President, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). "Only recently through scientific research have we started to understand how climate change might affect the distribution of vector-borne diseases, and this study provides good insight into how climate will impact the spread of plague in the United States."

In the Middle Ages, massive plague epidemics killed millions of people. Today, plague cases occur regularly in the western United States; cases have been reported in parts of California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Globally, the World Health Organization reports 1,000 - 3,000 cases of the plague each year. Presently, rat control and surveillance for the disease in the wild rodent population are the main measures used to control the risks of plague epidemics.

About the study

Plague data:

Annual counts of human plague cases in the counties of exposure available from 1950 to 2005 were analyzed. All 105 counties (distributed across 13 states), reporting at least one plague case over the study period, were considered. No correlation exists between plague outbreak frequency and population density at the county level. The largest human plague outbreaks typically occur in primarily rural counties with close to media population density. Plague counts are adjusted by county population density to produce county-level human-plague time series compatible with the climate.

Climate data:

Extensive temperature and precipitation records are freely available for thousands of available meteorological stations in the United States. From these records, 100 stations were chosen with the highest quality data (defined as those with the fewest missing data point and the highest proximity to plague counties) to build proxies for monthly temperature and precipitation regimens across the western United States.

Climate variability over the western United States is primarily characterized by two modes of fluctuations: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO; decadal time periods) and El Nino Oscillation (ENSO, 3-to-4 year time periods). Positive PDO and ENSO phases are both associated with wetter and milder climate over the western United States. These large-scale climate indices are known to be efficient predictors of ecological processes in other systems, including the rodent population dynamics and demographic rates.

Wavelet analyses:

In nature, non-stationary processes are common, and increasing evidence suggests the importance of transient dynamics in ecological processes. Epidemiological time series are typically noisy, complex, and strongly non-stationary. Wavelet analyses provide powerful tools for analyzing such signals. It is well-suited to dealing with transient relationships between two signals (e.g., climate interaction with the dynamics of an epidemic). Wavelet analysis performs a time-frequency decomposition of the signal and allows one to follow the evolution of the different frequency components as time progresses. Wavelet analysis and its bivariate extensions, wavelet cross-spectrum and wavelet coherency, were used to analyze the plague data and their statistical relationship with the climatic time series.

Study results:

The study results were as follows:
* PDO and ENSO affect precipitation and primary production in the western United States. PDO exhibits coherent positive correlations with late winter/early spring precipitation throughout the area. Consistent positive precipitation anomalies occur in late winter to spring when PDO is high; this pattern is most marked when El Nino events combine with positive PDO. Conversely, a low PDO/La Nina combination results in below normal precipitation. Snow anomalies (measured as the amount of water precipitated on days when the daytime temperature is below freezing) are also higher during El Nino/PDO positive phases.
* PDO and ENSO significantly explain the temporal variability of plague cases. To explore human-plague patterns across the whole region, the spatial sum of all population density-scaled human cases were used. Plague outbreaks occur predominantly during positive phases of PDO. The correlation between the plague time series and the ENSO index alone is generally not significant. Periods of high plague occurrence seem to occur when El Nino events coincide with a positive PDO phase.
* Climate change. The study analysis explored the possible effect of climate change in the 1990s to explain discrepancies between the expected and observed number of plague cases. Indeed, the 1998 El Nino event occurring at high PDO did not result in above-normal plague cases. However, above-mean counts of hot counts were recorded in 1998 at all stations, which should be detrimental to plague; warm nighttime temperatures also were observed at this time. Climate change has been pointed out by some as partly responsible for these trends, and nighttime temperatures have slightly increased in the west since 1990. In case these trends continue, some have proposed that areas of recurrent plague activity (i.e., endemic areas) will shift to higher latitudes/elevations. The data indicates a trend to higher elevation/latitude, but this trend may have started in the 1980s and is not significant; the use of exposure-site data for cases rather than county-level data could provide more specific conclusions to be made on the possible role of climate change on what locations will have the greatest amounts of human-plague activity in the future, but such analyses are outside the scope of the current study.
Another study not ready for MSM prime time.
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Old 09-07-10, 05:45 PM   #48
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

Fiorina now leading Boxer.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/...rnia-senate-r/

Quote:
GOP's Fiorina now leading Boxer in California Senate race
Valerie Richardson
Published on September 7, 2010

Carly Fiorina has pulled ahead of Barbara Boxer -- barely -- in the California Senate race, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday.

After trailing Mrs. Boxer since February, when Rasmussen began running hypothetical match-ups, Mrs. Fiorina now leads the Democratic incumbent by a margin of 47 to 42 percent among voters who have decided which candidate to support.

When factoring in "leaners," or voters who are only leaning toward a candidate, the Republican Fiorina still leads, but her margin narrows to 48 to 47 percent. Two weeks ago, Mrs. Boxer led 49 to 44 percent when leaners were included. The survey, conducted Monday, has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

What's changed in the past two weeks? One difference is that Mrs. Fiorina has since announced that she supports Proposition 23, which would suspend the state's stringent climate-change requirements until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or below for a full year. California's unemployment rate now hovers around 12 percent.

Mrs. Fiorina, who declined to take a position on the measure as recently as last week's debate, called Proposition 23 "a Band-Aid fix and an imperfect solution," but said she's supporting it anyway because the climate-change law is a "job killer." Proponents of the measure, including Mrs. Boxer, argue that it will boost the state's economy by creating clean-energy jobs.
There is no other incumbent senator I'd like to see beaten as much as Boxer. This is probably an essential race for the Republicans to win if they have any hope of taking control of the Senate. Even if they don't gain control, beating the Chair of EPW, uberalarmist (and idiot) Boxer, in left coast CA, would send a strong, unmistakable message about ration'n'tax.
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Old 09-08-10, 02:55 PM   #49
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

I wanted to make a comment in the Manson/global warming thread this morning when I first saw it but I couldn't because it had been rightly closed by X.

But I wanted to say I saw this story yesterday before that thread was started and it was an easy choice to not post the story in this thread.

The reasons are summed up in Dave's fine comment in the closed thread.
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Old 09-09-10, 08:36 AM   #50
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Re: The One & Only Global Warming Thread, Part 10 (Post-Climategate Whitewash Edition

The UN's new plan to de-marginalize itself:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/09...est=latestnews

Quote:
EXCLUSIVE: After a Year of Setbacks, U.N. Looks to Take Charge of World's Agenda
By George Russell
Published September 08, 2010

After a year of humiliating setbacks, United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and about 60 of his top lieutenants — the top brass of the entire U.N. system — spent their Labor Day weekend at a remote Austrian Alpine retreat, discussing ways to put their sprawling organization in charge of the world’s agenda.

Details concerning the two-day, closed-door sessions in the comfortable village of Alpbach were closely guarded. Nonetheless, position papers for the meeting obtained by Fox News indicate that the topics included:

-- how to restore “climate change” as a top global priority after the fiasco of last year’s Copenhagen summit;

-- how to continue to try to make global redistribution of wealth the real basis of that climate agenda, and widen the discussion further to encompass the idea of “global public goods”;

-- how to keep growing U.N. peacekeeping efforts into missions involved in the police, courts, legal systems and other aspects of strife-torn countries;

-- how to capitalize on the global tide of migrants from poor nations to rich ones, to encompass a new “international migration governance framework”;

-- how to make “clever” use of new technologies to deepen direct ties with what the U.N. calls “civil society,” meaning novel ways to bypass its member nation states and deal directly with constituencies that support U.N. agendas.

As one underlying theme of the sessions, the top U.N. bosses seemed to be grappling often with how to cope with the pesky issue of national sovereignty, which — according to the position papers, anyway — continued to thwart many of their most ambitious schemes, especially when it comes to many different kinds of “global governance.”

Not coincidentally, the conclave of bureaucrats also saw in “global governance” a greater role for themselves.

As a position paper intended for their first group session put it, in the customary glutinous prose of the organization’s internal documents: “the U.N. should be able to take the lead in setting the global agenda, engage effectively with other multinational and regional organizations as well as civil society and non-state stakeholders, and transform itself into a tool to help implement the globally agreed objectives.”

And for that to happen, the paper continues, “it will be necessary to deeply reflect on the substance of sovereignty, and accept that changes in our perceptions are a good indication of the direction we are going.”

Hammering away at perceptions that nation-states cannot adequately meet global challenges, but the U.N. can, is a major theme of the position papers, which were assembled by a variety of U.N. think tanks, task forces and institutions, including the United Nations Development Program, and the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

CLICK HERE FOR THE POSITION PAPERS

National sovereignty — meaning the refusal of major powers like India, China and the United States to go along with sweeping global agendas — was specifically indicted for the failure of the much ballyhooed Copenhagen summit on climate change. “National sovereignty remains supreme,” as one position paper noted.

Nonetheless, the U.N. leaders intend to keep trying to change that, especially when it comes to the climate agenda. “The next 40 years will prove pivotal,” one paper argues, while laying out the basis of a renewed U.N. climate campaign, the “50-50-50 Challenge.”

That refers to a projection that by 2050, the world’s population will reach an estimated 9 billion (50 percent higher than today), at the same time that the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — producer of the scandal-tainted 2007 Global Assessment of global warming — is calling for a 50 percent reduction in world green house gas emissions.

According to the paper prepared by Secretary General Ban’s own climate change team, however, the newly rebranded challenge still depends on the same economic remedy proposed for Copenhagen: a drastic redistribution of global wealth, “nothing less than a fundamental transformation of the global economy.”

Rolling just about every U.N. mantra into one, the paper declares that “nothing is more crucial to preventing run-away climate change than lifting billions out of poverty, protecting our planet and fostering long-term peace and prosperity for all.”

And to do that, the paper suggests, equally dramatic shifts in political power may be needed. “Is the global governance structure, still dominated by national sovereignty, capable of responding with the coherence and speed needed?” it asks. “Or do we need to push the ‘reset’ button and rethink global governance to meet the 50-50-50 Challenge?”

Yet even as the U.N. bosses talk of delivering billions from poverty, their main aim, the papers argue should be much, much larger: to limit and redirect the aspirations for a better life of rising middle classes around the world.

As the opening session paper puts it: “The real challenge comes from the exponential growth of the global consumerist society driven by ever higher aspirations of the upper and middle layers in rich countries as well as the expanding demand of emerging middle-class in developing countries. Our true ambition should be therefore creating incentives for the profound transformation of attitudes and consumption styles.”

The answer to that “real challenge,” as well as many others addressed in the position papers, is that the U.N. and its proliferating array of funds, programs, institutes, and initiatives, should push themselves forward as the great synthesizer of solutions to global problems: “connecting the dots,” as the climate change paper puts it, across a “range of issues,” including "climate, water, food, energy, and health.”

“At the practical level, through the U.N. system we have all kinds of expertise and capacities, even if not adequate resources, to actually do something,” the paper notes.

How to get more of those resources is another major theme of many of the papers. As one of the documents focusing on food security notes, “development assistance funding is less readily available and the donors are ever more focused on demonstrable results.” One suggestion: tap global philanthropies, as well as link together “a broad range of public sector, business and civil society partners.”

The U.N. bosses also need to make sure that the institution sits at top tables where the world’s financial decisions are made. It is “urgent to secure U.N. participation” at regular meetings of the G-20 finance ministers and their deputies,” according to one of the papers, a group that the U.N. Secretariat, based in New York City and Geneva, does not interact with very much.

That observation ties into another Alpbach theme: pushing global financial regulation even further.

“The much paraded reform of financial governance institutions has not gone far enough,” the position paper for the U.N. leadership’s keynote session asserts, and the voting power of emerging players and developing world, in general, which demand a greater say on these matters, remains inadequate.”

The answer? “An enhanced political will is clearly needed to avoid return to status quo, to push forward regulatory mechanisms, and improve financial governance.”

Along with planting a new flag in the field of international financial regulation, the U.N. chiefs also contemplated the further growth of the U.N. as the world’s policeman. As another paper notes, U.N. peacekeeping operations “will soon have almost 17,000 United Nations police officers serving on four continents” — little more than two years after establishing what one papers calls the institutions “Standing Police Capacity.”

The peacekeepers are now also building a “standing justice and corrections element” to go with the semi-permanent police force — a permanent strike force to establish courts and prisons in nations where peacekeepers are stationed.

In essence, as another paper observes, the U.N. peacekeeping effort is transforming into a new kind of supervisory organism in which not only conflicts but also national institutions and cultures must be regulated for longer and longer periods of time.

“Even where a semblance of stability is achieved,” the paper by Ban’s peace-building support office argues, the achievement of peace may involve more than “adopting a constitution or holding elections.” It adds that “more fundamental change may be needed in a country’s institutions and political culture as well as in public perceptions and attitudes.”

(At the same time, as another paper makes clear, “some” U.N. peacekeepers come from countries “where the armed forces and police are seriously implicated in human rights violations,” including sexual crimes. While such actions “cannot be tolerated,” the paper makes clear the U.N. has no clear answers on how to police its own behavior.)

The answer to many if not most of the problems outlined in the U.N. papers is, as the opening session paper puts it: “multilateralism is instrumental to the success of our response to global challenges.”

But not any old multilateralism. The other major theme of the position papers is that the world organization, a haphazard array of at least 37 major funds, programs, and institutions, and a proliferating number of regulatory and other authorities, should be knitting itself into a much more close-knit global system, with greater control over its own finances, along with a stronger role in setting the international agenda.

How successful Ban and his chieftains will be at pushing that agenda may soon be seen, as the secretary general hosts the lead-off event of the fall diplomatic season, a two-day summit starting September 20 on the so-called Millennium Development Goals.

That refers to the U.N.-sponsored compact among nations to halve the number of the world’s poorest people, achieve global primary schooling, reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and enhance the standing of women, among other goals, by 2015.

The position papers from Ban’s conclave make clear that Ban and his team are deeply concerned that momentum toward the MDGs, as they are known, is faltering, although one paper notes that “with the right policies, adequate investment and reliable international support, the MDGs remain achievable.”

In that sense, the secretive session in Alpbach was not only a planning session, but also the equivalent of a half-time locker room huddle.

What is at stake, the papers make clear, is not only the alleged betterment of the world, but the U.N.’s soaring ambitions for itself — no matter what roadblocks national sovereignty may throw in its way.
It looks like the most important part of all this twaddle is to get back in control off "climate change."

Is anyone else creeped out by this? I get a picture of a bunch of James Bond supervillains stroking cats and plotting how to ruin the world which they couldn't care less about as long as they are in charge.
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