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Archive for the ‘global warming’ Category

New derivation of equations governing the greenhouse effect reveals “runaway warming” impossibleMiklós Zágoni isn’t just a physicist and environmental researcher. He is also a global warming activist and Hungary’s most outspoken supporter of the Kyoto Protocol. Or was.That was until he learned the details of a new theory of the greenhouse effect, one that not only gave far more accurate climate predictions here on Earth, but Mars too. The theory was developed by another Hungarian scientist, Ferenc Miskolczi, an atmospheric physicist with 30 years of experience and a former researcher with NASA’s Langley Research Center.

After studying it, Zágoni stopped calling global warming a crisis, and has instead focused on presenting the new theory to other climatologists. The data fit extremely well. “I fell in love,” he stated at the International Climate Change Conference this week.

“Runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations,” Miskolczi states. Just as the theory of relativity sets an upper limit on velocity, his theory sets an upper limit on the greenhouse effect, a limit which prevents it from warming the Earth more than a certain amount.

How did modern researchers make such a mistake? They relied upon equations derived over 80 years ago, equations which left off one term from the final solution.

Miskolczi’s story reads like a book. Looking at a series of differential equations for the greenhouse effect, he noticed the solution — originally done in 1922 by Arthur Milne, but still used by climate researchers today — ignored boundary conditions by assuming an “infinitely thick” atmosphere. Similar assumptions are common when solving differential equations; they simplify the calculations and often result in a result that still very closely matches reality. But not always.

So Miskolczi re-derived the solution, this time using the proper boundary conditions for an atmosphere that is not infinite. His result included a new term, which acts as a negative feedback to counter the positive forcing. At low levels, the new term means a small difference … but as greenhouse gases rise, the negative feedback predominates, forcing values back down.

NASA refused to release the results. Miskolczi believes their motivation is simple. “Money”, he tells DailyTech. Research that contradicts the view of an impending crisis jeopardizes funding, not only for his own atmosphere-monitoring project, but all climate-change research. Currently, funding for climate research tops $5 billion per year.

Miskolczi resigned in protest, stating in his resignation letter, “Unfortunately my working relationship with my NASA supervisors eroded to a level that I am not able to tolerate. My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results.”

His theory was eventually published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in his home country of Hungary.

The conclusions are supported by research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last year from Steven Schwartz of Brookhaven National Labs, who gave statistical evidence that the Earth’s response to carbon dioxide was grossly overstated. It also helps to explain why current global climate models continually predict more warming than actually measured.

The equations also answer thorny problems raised by current theory, which doesn’t explain why “runaway” greenhouse warming hasn’t happened in the Earth’s past. The new theory predicts that greenhouse gas increases should result in small, but very rapid temperature spikes, followed by much longer, slower periods of cooling — exactly what the paleoclimatic record demonstrate.

However, not everyone is convinced. Dr. Stephen Garner, with the NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), says such negative feedback effects are “not very plausible”. Reto Ruedy of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies says greenhouse theory is “200 year old science” and doubts the possibility of dramatic changes to the basic theory.

Miskowlczi has used his theory to model not only Earth, but the Martian atmosphere as well, showing what he claims is an extremely good fit with observational results. For now, the data for Venus is too limited for similar analysis, but Miskolczi hopes it will one day be possible.

Common sense 1, pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo 0.

Climatologists obviously never respected what they could not know. Anyone who tells you that they understand the moving parts of a dynamic system infinitely bigger and more complex than any one human being, well enough to forecast it 50 years into the future, is a liar, an idiot, or a lying idiot. It’s common sense. Climatologists are too overconfident, too hysterical, and too frequently wrong to be credible. Next.

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Somewhat like Bill Clinton’s recent Reliving History lowlight, another institutional malefactor has now crawled out from his spider-hole, hopeful that entropy has dulled the American collective memory enough for him to tell us what to do, without being laughed out of the room.

Richard Armitage, if you recall, was the Foggy Bottom apparatchik who actually leaked Valerie Plame’s identity to Robert Novak. Novak, to protect his credibility, refused to identify the leaker for years, during which time Democrats rabidly looked for, and found, every imaginable piece of “evidence” that the Plame leak was a Rove-inspired smear, rather than the Armitage “oopsie” it was. Armitage, even though he was Joseph Wilson’s friend, apparently never told Wilson about it.

Wilson was and is a rabid partisan, but he also had a documented history of national service and courage under coercion. Thanks to his decades of paranoid experience perceiving and predicting political shadowboxing where others saw nothing inordinary, Wilson perceived in Novak’s leak a thinly veiled warning to bureaucratic guerrillas who were fighting Bush policy since at least 2004 (if not earlier). His subsequent counterattack became a left-wing cause celebre. But even as one of Novak’s own sources (Armitage) had inadvertently triggered the most misplaced outburst of rage in Beltway history, Novak had to at least give a decent time lag between his source’s leak and his own admission, in order to protect his credibility as DC’s number one broker of “inside” information.

Finally, in 2005, Armitage confessed that he was the source of the leak. The fact that he took two years to go public meant that Armitage had allowed his friend Wilson to inadvertently trash his own credibility. The DC establishment gave one final theatrical ode to Plame/Wilson, but by then their offensive had lost credibility, mostly thanks to Armitage.

Now Armitage is back, fast on the heels of the intel establishment’s latest attempt at shadowboxing with the Bush Administration. In the time-honored tradition of recommending everything and taking responsibility for nothing, two consummate bureaucrats offer another pile of platitudinous pontifications which the Beltway elite is trying to use to frame the national policy discourse.

Just as “WMD” were a now-discredited tactical marketing vehicle substituting for complex explanations beyond the American attention span (viz. war w/ Iraq), and, in the guise of an “Iranian atomic bomb,” were on course to do the same in Iran, so was l’affaire Plame a tactic by which the bureaucracy counterattacked in the elite court of public opinion management. But the credentials backing the spurious WMD argument were all there; so the argument wasn’t questioned. Then the elitist ingenuity unraveled, and the American people were left puzzled and stupefied. A ridiculously high quotient of the subsequent recriminations focused on WMD, when WMD were never the issue in the first place.

As I have variously carped at “Serious” policy prescriptions, be they monetary, geopolitical, fiscal or whatever, I have noticed something they all share. American policy debates are a battle of credentials, not logic, in which truth, transparency and honesty are mere second-rate tactics. The self-evidently destructive “DC consensus” approach to the real estate/financial crisis, epitomized by Larry Summers, was rightly trashed by sentient expert opinion outside of the United States. Within the US itself, however, Summers’ credentials are apparently enough to sideline dissenting opinions, judging by the obsequiously optimistic American coverage of the Paulson SuperSiv and subprime “plans.”

Similarly, well-credentialed political hounds like Richard Armitage and Anthony Zinni are able to advocate idiotic policy prescriptions which have already failed; people without like institutional credentials are simply ignored, despite the fact that the Institutionally Credentialed Approaches are demonstrably illogical and moronic when they haven’t been falsified by recent events. For example: (apologies for formatting errors)

¿ We should reinvigorate the alliances, partnerships and institutions that allow us to address numerous hazards at once without having to build a consensus from scratch to respond to every new challenge.

My comment: classically utterly meaningless political-speak.

¿ We should create a Cabinet-level voice for global development to help Washington develop a more unified and integrated aid program that aligns U.S. interests with the aspirations of people worldwide, starting with global health.

My comment: Is this Dennis Kucinich’s Department of Peace? Seriously, this is “more spending on foreign aid” in Beltway language. Ironically, buried elsewhere in the article’s ####pile of platitudes, Armitage and Nye cited the American earthquake assistance in 2005-06 (which brought Pakistani approval of America to about 50 percent), and subsequent deflation of that bubble, as evidence that we should do more of that. Are you kidding me? Now Musharraf and Kayani are back in the same tribal badlands trying to kill the same people whom we saved in 05-06. Familiarity by charity breeds contempt.

To the hoi polloi, it sounds pleasantly vague and agreeable. Who, besides Eric Cartman of course, could possibly oppose “more unified and integrated” “alignment” of “aspirations of people worldwide” for anything?

¿ We should reinvest in public diplomacy within the government and establish a nonprofit institution outside of it to build people-to-people ties, including doubling the annual appropriation to the Fulbright program.

My comment: Tripe. The notion that this will have a macro impact is laughable. There is an entire constellation of such organizations already, not even counting financial aid to foreign students.

¿ We should sustain our engagement with the global economy by negotiating a “free trade core” of countries in the World Trade Organization willing to move directly to free trade on a global basis, and expand the benefits of free trade to include those left behind at home and abroad.

My comment: The WTO IS a (politically constrained) free trade zone. “Free trade core” sounds awfully like Beltway code for slicing and dicing free trade agreements between “core” rich countries and poorer manufacturing exporters–subliminally undermining the meaning of free trade. A typically Orwellian sabotage of meaning.

¿ We should take the lead in addressing climate change and energy insecurity by investing more in technology and innovation.

My comment: Along with Anthony Zinni’s “climate security imperative,” this represents another attempt at subliminally grafting the faith-based initiative of anthropocentric global warming onto the “national security” heuristic. Energy insecurity is a direct byproduct of the environmental movement, and if the United States actually freed its own coal, shale-oil and offshore oil reserves, we wouldn’t need a Mideast-centric war machine for anything.

Oh, well. It is already bipartisan Beltway policy, rich America’s moral superiority, and poor America’s doleful reality. It shouldn’t be taken seriously on its own merits, let alone Armitage’s track record.

But it is. I really should learn to whine less.

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Between the dead dollar, the collapse of various “banking” sectors (mortgage originators, ABCP-spewing SIVs, etc), Iraq, and global warming, faith-based initiatives prophesying apocalypse are clearly enjoying the bull market of a generation.

Global warming has been a particular hobbyhorse of mine. I don’t have the scientific grounding, time, or patience to be “well-informed” about climatology, so I’m in no position to falsify the latest scientific findings on their merits. But the global warming movement has all the suspect hallmarks of a faith-based initiative in secular drag. It has “clergy” who cannot predict what the whether will be 2 weeks from now, yet who are taken seriously as they predict the weather 2 generations from now. Their assumptions, theories and models are too complex for outsiders to realistically falsify them. And they have enormous, obvious conflicts of interest, whether it’s the fact that every graduate student and young professor needs to pay homage to the religion to have any hope of advancement, or the enormous power that comes with higher federal grants, subsidies, and climatology regulations.

Martin Wolf and Yves Smith offer little more than resignation over the (to them) terrifying inevitability of global warming.

Climate change is rapidly joining a host of media stories, like Darfur and the deterioration of living standards in Iraq, where the public half-heartedly follows the updates because they believe there’s no underlying news and even if they are bothered, there is nothing they can do. For example, the final, summary report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change got a fraction of the attention of the first report, even though it contained a great deal of additional information and drew conclusions. As serious as other ongoing horrors might be, climate change is in a completely different category, yet in too many quarters is generating no meaningful response. …

The point of the story of the boy who cried wolf is that, finally, a wolf did appear. I feel the same way about the intellectual heirs of Thomas Malthus. Malthusians have finally found a wolf called climate change. Many now agree. …

The one point in favour of George W. Bush’s US or John Howard’s Australia is that they were not hypocritical. For the signal feature of most of the commitments made so far has been the failure to meet them (see chart). The vaunted European emissions trading system has been more a way of transferring quota rent to a few big emitters than an effective means of emissions control. …

In short, if they are to tolerate radical change in energy use, people must first be frightened and then they must be offered a good way out. The truth, moreover, is that this will happen only if the US also takes the lead. No country will deliver radical cuts if the US does not do so, too. No leaps forward in science and technology will occur if the US is not prepared to commit its resources to those ends. The US can no longer wait for a lead from others. Either it takes the lead now or the cause, in all probability, will be lost. Our children and grandchildren will then find out whether it was a real wolf or not.

Statements such as “people must be frightened” illumine exactly why the climatology establishment should not be taken seriously. The Stern Report, for example, prophesied Day After Tomorrow-esque climate change in the next 10 years without draconian curbs in economic output. It was patently fraudulent science, and anybody outside the climatological clerics’ sanctum sanctorum understood that immediately.

However, global warming’s political salience never ran more than skin deep, and its cultlike appeal among information elites is not shared by most voters. The complete flop of Al Gore’s “Live Earth” concert expensively taught information elites what we political animals have known all our lives: if anything is presented as a problem, and voters are asked if they would support [thoroughly vague] prescriptions to solve it, huge majorities will tell the pollster that 1) the issue in question is an urgent problem, and 2) they would support the proposed vague measure.

That has no correlation, however, with how the voter would react later, if the issue rose to the political fore. How would an individual voter react to infinite disparate streams of information, to which he paid no attention before the bill came under serious consideration? What would the voter think about the proposed means of solving the problem–which, at this late juncture, would not be vague at all, thus removing his ability to fill in previously vague parts of the proposal with that individual’s preference? Would he trust the agents charged with enforcement of the remedy?

As with politicians, whose approval ratings always fall over time as they are further scrutinized, public approval for any complex piece of legislation plummets commensurate with the public’s acquaintance with the proposed legislation’s particulars . That’s why a lot more legislation “gets done” in the dead of night, or in conference committee, than on the open floor of Congress.

There’s one other reason, though, why global warming has lost what little salience it had, and why it’s doomed as an effective political issue. China is now the world’s number-one CO2 emitter. India and other rising powers are also belching enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. What’s the prospect that they will change their behavior? Zero.

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