Sunday, 31 May 2009

NON Theo Richel - the broadcast itself

As written earlier today, Dutch climate skeptic Theo Richel was appearing in a weird Dutch TV-show. I have to say, it was an interesting broadcast.

This are the topics i had to go through awaiting Theo Richel :

Theo Richel Klimatosoof rooster crowing
1) a Rooster crowing contest : Put a couple of roosters on a row, each one in a separate box. The aim of the contest is to make one of the roosters crow. The first one to produce a sound, wins. To encourage the roosters they walk with a hen in front of them.

As the animals during the broadcast didn't produce any sound, the guy in the studio was encouraging them by crowing himself. Without luck.

telephone question :
-do they give the roosters drugs to perform better ?
-yes viagra

2) mathman : the claim to faim of a man who actually didn't do any special maths. But he did show Pythagoras by request. And he did give the correct answer to the question : how much = 2 x 13 (twenty-six !)

3) the homeless DJ (click here for the youtube clip of last week's episode in which he already appeared)

4) Some Improvisation theater. At least I think i was.

5) Klimatosoof Theo Richel, who lasted about 1.30 minutes in which he had the time to say global warming is a conspiracy, answer a call and mention Al Gore.

Theo by far had the shortest act of the evening. Which brings the whole climate debate back into the right perspective i suppose. People are more interested in watching an old man trying to make a rooster crow than into climate skepticism.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

De NON & De klimatosoof

Theo Richel wortelfluit
Carrot flute
English version at the bottom.

Op de eigen website kondigt de Klimatosoof aan dat ze morgen zaterdag (na middernacht) op televisie komen in het VPRO programma NON (nog onbekende Nederlander).

Het verhaaltje dat ze naar eigen zeggen zullen brengen is dit :

De Klimatosoof zal betogen dat de temperatuur op aarde in de afgelopen jaren niet is gestegen en dat er geen enkele reden is om te vrezen voor een klimaatcrisis.
Kortom, ze gaan allicht voor de ondertussen behoorlijk afgezaagde en weerlegde meme dat de aarde het laatste decennium niet opwarmde.

Als dat inderdaad het onderwerp zal zijn, is dat een mooi voorbeeld van hoe klimaatskeptici vaak dingen blijven herhalen, lang nadat uitvoerig werd aangetoond dat ze niet deugen. In het geval van de meme 'de aarde warmt niet meer' werd er in de comments sectie van een vorige post op de klimatosoof al uitvoerig belicht dat een dergelijke periode :

  1. nietszeggend is : klimaat moet beschouwd worden over een periode die lang genoeg is, en dan denken we aan dertig jaar of langer. Tienjarige epriodes zijn én zinloos, én een duidelijke indicatie om te herkennen of iets :
  2. een cherrypick is.

In deze post over cherry-picking leg ik in het lang en breed uit waarom er nou net een tienjarige periode wordt gekozen en geen negen of elf jaar. De blog Sargasso bekijkt met in een fraaie post met daarin een alleszeggend grafiekje wat er gebeurt als je de tienjarige periode lichtjes wijzigt : de opwarming gaat netjes door.

Wat logisch is, omdat de tienjarige periode zo werd gekozen om netjes tot het op voorhand gekozen besluit te komen. Vanuit wetenschappelijk oogpunt is het onzin, maar sommige mensen zijn schijnbaar blij met een uit ruis bestaande temperatuursstagnatie om hun vooroordeel bevredigd te zien.

Ik ben benieuwd wat het uiteindelijke gebrachte verhaal zal worden, het is een live-uitzending dus wijzigingen zijn natuurlijk altijd nog mogelijk. Ik hoop dat ik me nu vergis en dat er morgen iets ernstigers aan bod komt.

Tijdens die live-uitzending kunnen mensen inbellen : wie de Klimatosoof een hart onder de riem wil steken, of gewoon de groeten wil doen, kan altijd bellen op het nummer 0909-0080 (0.35 ct per keer)

Ik wens de Klimatosoof veel geluk toe. Ondertussen geniet ik al van deze clip van de momenteel nog onbekende wortelfluiter.

In English :
In Holland, there's a live TV-show called "The (still) unknown Dutchman". The concept of the show is that people can do on air whatever they like (max 10 minutes) and the viewers decide by sms whether the person(s) on air can stay to fill the entire 10 minutes or not.

You can find
fragments of the show on youtube, like p.ex. the carrotfluteman (in case you wonder where the carrot flute is, he was sent home before he could even use it :-)

Tomorrow Saturday, the Dutch denialist website Klimatosoof of Theo Richel, will appear in this important show to prove global warming is a hoax.

On the website, they say they are going to tell the same ol' 'earth stopped warming in recent years' story. Which has been adressed and debunked on their own website, which doesn't seem to make any difference. Sigh.

The show is live and telephone lines are open : if you like to ask the Klimatosoof a question on air, or just say hello to your mom grab your phone and dial 0909-0080 (35 cents/minute). The show will be broadcast some time after midnight. Enjoy !

Friday, 29 May 2009

Quote of the day

On the Belgian forum, Ferdinand Engelbeen in an attempt to say science overestimates global warming, writes :
Ferdinand Engelbeen aerosolen
Based on the absorbtionspectra of H2O and CO2, doubling of the latter (280 => 560 ppm) will result in a 0,9 °C increase. The water vapour feedback included, the rise becomes only 1,3 °C. That is all.

The rest of the 3°C of 2xCO2 predicted by models is rather dubious :
the cooling effect of aerosols is estimated (too) high, the positive temperature effect of clouds (in reality probably negative) ...
So if you overestimate a cooling factor in your calculation, your final result ends up too warm ???

The wiki list of scientists opposing mainstream views on climate change

In an article which surprised me, Matthew C Bradford speaks in the NY times of a former position he was holding before his present day job :

I landed a job as executive director of a policy organization in Washington. This felt like a coup. But certain perversities became apparent as I settled into the job. It sometimes required me to reason backward, from desired conclusion to suitable premise.

The organization had taken certain positions, and there were some facts it was more fond of than others. As its figurehead, I was making arguments I didn’t fully buy myself. Further, my boss seemed intent on retraining me according to a certain cognitive style — that of the corporate world, from which he had recently come. This style demanded that I project an image of rationality but not indulge too much in actual reasoning.
The organisation he was working for was the notorious conservative George C. Marshall Institute (GcMI).

The quote demonstrates the GcMI isn't the most thrustworthy source in the world, which is no surprise for people familiar with the organisations behind climate change skepticism.

On their website, the GcMI introduces itself this way :
In every area of public policy, from national defense, to the environment, to the economy, decisions are shaped by developments in and arguments about science and technology. The need for accurate and impartial technical assessments has never been greater. However, even purely scientific appraisals are often politicized and misused by interest groups.
The Marshall Institute seeks to counter this trend by providing policymakers with rigorous, clearly written and unbiased technical analyses on a range of public policy issues. Through briefings to the press, publication programs, speaking tours and public forums, the Institute seeks to preserve the integrity of science and promote scientific literacy.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a rather critical view towards the institute :

ExxonMobil-funded organizations consist of an overlapping collection of individuals serving as staff, board members, and scientific advisors that publish and re-publish the works of a small group of climate change contrarians.

The George C. Marshall Institute, for instance, which has received $630,000 from ExxonMobil, recently touted a book edited by Patrick Michaels, a long-time climate change contrarian who is affiliated with at least 11 organizations funded by ExxonMobil.

Similarly, ExxonMobil funds a number of lesser-known groups such as the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy and Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Both groups promote the work of several climate change contrarians, including Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist who is affiliated with at least nine ExxonMobil-funded groups.

On a Belgian forum, someone asked if i am familiar with the names on the wikipedia page listing scientists opposing the mainstream vision.

If we have a look at the wiki-list, there are a lot of scientists on it who are/were affiliated with the George C. Marshall institute :

If we p.ex. have a look at this paper we see it is authored by Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Sherwood Idso, Craig Idso & David Legates. All five of them appear on that wikipedia page as scientists opposing the mainstream vision on climate change.

All those authors seem to have close ties with the George C. Marshall Institute :
  • Craig Idso doesn't seem to be on their list, but his father Sherwood Idso is.

To give an example of fundings for these people, In 2008, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, home of Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, received $76,106 from Exxon for no apparant reason.

The piece from the Union of Concerned Scientists (see above) also mentions Patrick Michaels, who is a visiting scientist for the George C Marshall Institute and yet another name appearing on the wiki-page.

Last monday, Bob Burton wrote an excellent piece on the funding of a consultancy firm ran by Pat Michaels : The libertarian think thank Cato institute since 2006 paid $242.000 for "environmental policy" services. Bob Burton's piece gives a rare insight in what's going on behind the screen.

Pat Michaels, and another "wikipedia-scientist", S. Fred Singer, were co-authors on this book published by the GcMI. And there are even more sounding (wiki-) names affiliated with the GcMI, like John Christy & Roy W Spencer who co-authored this piece published by the George C. Marshall institute. Richard Lindzen from his side published this text.

It is amazing so many of the scientists on the wikipedia page are coming together in a small right-wing thinkthank.

On top of that, often the very same people also are appearing on the website of another free market organisation, being the Heartland Institute which i mentioned before on this blog (here & here) where they are listed as climate change experts (for the Dutch readers : hard to believe, but Hans Labohm is considered an expert by Heartland. A clear sign the list isn't about expertise at all).

Of the 38 names on the wikipedia list, no less than 21 appear on the Heartland Institute's list as global warming experts (and then GcMI-experts Michaels & Sherwood Idso even't aren't on their list).

Climate skepticism seems to be comprimised in a very small part of the world, being the tiny area of no more than a couple of right-wing thinkthanks.

(h/t to deltoid & Jonathan Chait)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Dirk Callebaut is not a climate skeptic

Even though it's rather old news from 2006 or so, i still see people expressing the belief that Belgian physicist Dirk Callebaut would be a climate skeptic.

It's a misbelief originating by something written by Hans Labohm.
Recently the astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomic Observatory in St. Petersburg declared that the Earth will experience a "mini Ice Age" in the middle of this century, caused by low solar activity. Temperatures will begin falling six or seven years from now, when global warming caused by increased solar activity in the 20th century reaches its peak. The coldest period will occur 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline between 2035 and 2045, Abdusamatov said.

This view is shared by the Belgian astronomer, Dirk Callebaut, who expects a "grand minimum" in the middle of this century, just like the Maunder Minimum (1650-1700), a period during which the Thames, the Seine and the Dutch canals were frozen in winter.

It is clear that nowhere is written that Callebaut is a climate skeptic, neverthless by the way the paragraph is written many people interprete it this way.

It is true that Callebaut thinks there'll be a cooling effect of a solar "Grand Minimum". But this doesn't make him something even remotely close to a climate skeptic.

Read what Callebaut says himself :

Climate: Warning!

It is still unclear how much of the global warming can be ascribed to the high activity of the Sun during the twentieth century and how much is due to the human activity (green house effect). Callebaut, Makarov and Tlatov (2002a,b) and Makarov et al. (2002) estimated the increase in temperature on the Earth since the Maunder Minimum to be about 1±C. This value is in the range of other estimates (Cliver et al.,1998), based on a different approach. Moreover, it is well known that the period of the Maunder Minimum corresponds to a small 'ice age'.

However, the fairly large value of the temperature change has no clear explanation: the extra energy (about 0.1% of the total irradiation) during a maximum of a cycle can yield about 0.1±C only. The extra energy which can be caught thanks to the magnetic field from the solar wind can account for a similar value. Cliver et al. (1998) suggest that a longterm component of the solar forcing is present. Alternatively the indirect effect of the magnetic field on the cosmic rays and thus on the (low) clouds has been invoked to explain the great effect of a deep minimum on the temperature on Earth (Svensmark, 2007).

Whether we have a good explanation for it or not the gradual decrease to be expected in the coming deep minimum is thus 1±C. However, this will cause only a small slowing down of the global warming up due to human activity.

By no means it should incite to an euphoric use of oil or gas; on the contrary: after the deep minimum is over (taking about 50 years) the lost 1±C will be recovered leading to a catastrophe if the pollution due to carbon dioxide etc. has not been reduced seriously from its present day level. The need for alternative energy sources (solar and wind energy and most of all fusion) remains imperative.

Compare what Callebaut wrote to these words from Hans Labohm:
Currently, there is a growing number astrophysicists, who foresee a new little ice age in the near future, which is often referred to as a new Dalton minimum. They include scientists, such as Khabibullo Abdusamatov, Dirk Callebaut, David Hathaway and Olech Sorochtin.

The latter is member of the Russian Academy of Physical Science. In October 2007 his views were prominently disseminated by the Russian press agency Novosti, which in the period of the Cold War was generally considered to be a mouthpiece of the Kremlin.

Therefore, it is perhaps not too far-fetched to speculate that this might be a warning signal that the Rus­sians will drop out of Kyoto, when its first phase ex­pires in 2012.

If – a big if – these astrophysicists are right, the global warming hype will soon be over, while the Kyoto Protocol will prove to be redundant.

It's a nice example of how readers have to be careful not to be mislead by a suggestive way a text can be written in.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Quote of the day

Together, the cartoon and this comment (#2) by a user called "ratio" on the libertarian site vrijspreker imho summarize the entire libertarian climate skepticism [my translation] :

(...) [those are invented climate] problems simply belonging to a natural cycle. Nothing can be done to stop this natural cycle.

Besides, even if the governement would have a "plan" that really works and this plan would cost us only 1€, the plan still will be unacceptable. Because even this Euro will be a stolen Euro.