`Owning’ the weather? PART VIII

By Rahnuma Ahmed

Ten years from now, no, five years from now, you’ll feel ashamed for having written this. Definitely. He hung up.
This was last Monday, the day `Global Warming, Or The Greatest Scientific Fraud’ was published (New Age, 15 March 2010).
It had been an early morning call. Speak to my son, said my friend. Oh, so he’s in Dhaka now, I thought, since I know he lives and works in the US. Do you know what you’ve written? Do you know that 90% scientists agree on global warming? Do you know that you’re writing absolutely reactionary stuff, that you’re speaking in the interests of the oil industry, in the interests of the powers-that-be?
Hey, hold on, what about the suppression of data? What about the lies, the fraudulent methods employed by global warming scientists?
I’m more concerned about your journalistic methods, sensationalising… I’m shocked. You should look at the bigger picture. There’s no need to blow these e-mails out of proportion.
I invited him to write a rebuttal. He refused. I was being condescending, he said.
I’d thought of concluding the weather series today, but I’ve changed my mind.
First, a quick look at some of the headlines of the last few months, to recap how Climategate has been unfolding:
– ClimateGate: Phil Jones, UK climate scientist, temporarily steps down, The Huffington Post,?1 December 2009
‘Climategate’ professor Phil Jones awarded ?13 million in research grants, Global Research,?5 December 2009
– Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after ‘Danish text’ leak, The Guardian, 8 December 2009
– IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri to face independent inquiry, The Telegraph, 26 February 2010
– Climategate scientist questioned in Parliament, New Scientist, 2 March 2010
– UK government rebuked on climate change ads, Miami Herald, 15 March 2010
That the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory (AGW, caused by humans) was based on, if nothing else, bad science, is pretty clear. A matter of concern, if not, downright alarm, for scientific associations. The Institute of Physics (IP, 36,000 physicists) in its response to a House of Commons inquiry has said, the Climate Research Unit’s (CRU) leaked e-mails, if not forged, “provide prima facie evidence” of refusing to comply with honourable scientific traditions and the freedom of information law.?The Royal Society of Chemistry (46,000 members) says, a “lack of willingness” to make scientific data available implies that the results are not sufficiently “robust.” The IP had added, a “wider inquiry” is needed. Hadn’t other scientists, at other leading institutions helped CRU formulate IPCC’s conclusions on climate change? If so, the “circle of complicity” was bigger.
Okay, admittedly, AGW science is a bit dodgy. But if it’s a good cause, a progressive cause, does it’s being a bad science really matter? And, it does have millions of supporters. Ranging from environment-conscious people at the grassroots level to influential proponents?both individuals and institutions. Al Gore, David Rockefeller, George Soros, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Greenpeace, the New York Times, Washington Post, Times, Guardian, BBC, ABC (in Australia), Nature, Scientific American. Many many others. Even if it’s scientific basis is a bit unsound, surely, we should still support the movement? In the interests of saving our planet?
But rushing headlong into the issue in such a manner, pre-empts the possibility of raising critical questions. Of asking whether the AGW cause (or, climate change, as it later became known) best represents, in the sense of problematising, formulating, tabling?the environmental issue. I don’t think so, unlike my caller. And that, precisely, is where the problem lies.
As the extent of AGW scare-mongering becomes increasingly clear?the polar bear population has increased nearly-four times more instead of decreasing (22,000), the Himalayan glaciers are not melting, etc.,?questions centring around inequality and social justice, return centre-stage. Ever stronger.
For developing countries, to agree to carbon reduction means basically agreeing to remain poor. An examination of world energy statistics reveals that the combined energy consumption of 5 of the 6 most populous countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan) equals that of the 6th (US). In a situation characterised by stark wealth inequalities, would it be wise, asks Robert Bryce, for any of the Big Five leaders to agree to CO2 reduction? As Rajendra Prachauri, the now-disgraced IPCC chief had pointed out, 400 million Indians (40%) do not have a light bulb in their homes. “You cannot, in a democracy, ignore some of these realities.”
And neither can it be ignored that western leaders have recently dreamt up hoaxes to create a climate of fear, to scare their (complicit?) citizenry into consenting to military invasion, to the occupation of resource-rich developing countries. George Bush: Saddam Hussein had links with al-Qaeda. Tony Blair: Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction. Ring a bell? And no, it’s not over yet. Obama: Enriching uraniums. Iran. (According to a Haaretz news report, America is transporting 387 bunker-buster bombs to its Diego Garcia air base, for possible Iran strike, 18 March 2010). Progressive politics? Who, what, where? Did I miss something?
There are other aspects, too. Will international treaties?Kyoto Protocol, and the new one to replace it in 2012?reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Help save the planet? Unlikely. The leaders of the rich world, write Johann Hari, are enacting a giant fraud (Independent, 11 December 2009). A rich country can “cut” its emissions while not actually reducing them. How? By paying a poor country to emit less. Well, since it’s the same atmosphere, that’s okay, isn’t it? Actually, no. A system which can sell emission cuts among countries becomes extremely complex, writes Hari. Very soon, and deliberately, it “becomes so technical that nobody can follow it?no concerned citizen, no journalist, and barely even full-time environmental groups.” Tricks abound. For instance: by storing carbon, forests mitigate global warming, right? But Canadian, Swedish and Finnish logging companies have pressurised their governments to agree to inserting the clause that “sustainable forest management” i.e., cutting down almost all trees?doesn’t lead to losing credit. The cap-and-trade system, says Hari, laced with Enron-style accounting tricks is Kafkaesque. No real cuts. Only tamasha cuts.
If Bart Chilton (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) is right, five years from now the carbon trading market will become the world’s largest commodity market, worth $2 trillion. Richard L. Sandor, chairman and chief executive officer of Climate Exchange Plc thinks it’ll be larger, $10 trillion. Bigger than oil. As billionaire hedge fund operator Soros puts it, carbon markets present “financial opportunities.” Al Gore is known as a carbon billionaire. Barack Obama’s name has popped up, too: as the board member of a Chicago-based charity, Obama had agreed to a proposal aimed at devising a carbon dioxide emissions trading market. This led to the setting-up of Climate Exchange, headed by Sandor, “one of the most successful investors trying to profit from rising environmental awareness” (Wall Street Journal). The initial idea behind granting Sandor the award in 2000 was to have “a carbon trading system ready to implement” with the signing of the Kyoto Protocol.
The oil industry doesn’t seem unduly worried either, having “effortlessly recalibrated” their stance:? CRU’s financial supporters in 2008 included Shell and British Petroleum (Alexander Cockburn). Recently, Rockefeller family shareholders of Exxon Mobil urged the board to adjust to the “changing world.” To focus on the “environmental crisis facing all of us.”

Global Warmongering

Can solutions proposed by Kyoto, Copenhagen based on global warming/climate change theory accomplish what Banyacya, the Hopi interpreter, had urged: “Its up to all of us, as children of Mother Earth, to clean up this mess before it’s too late.” The “mess” list is a long one. Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. The urgent need to preserve biodiversity. Develop sustainable agriculture. Dismantle corporate attempts to privatise water…
Can solutions that ignore the “worst polluter” of CO2 and other toxic emissions on the planet, work? Such as, the Pentagon. Such as, depleted uranium (DU).
During Kyoto negotiations, the US had demanded its own military operations, and those with UN and/or NATO, be completely “exempted” from all climate treaties and agreements. After the others agreed, Bush administration went ahead and refused to sign the accords. Obama has not revoked the blanket exemption either. Officially, the US military uses 320,000 barrels of oil per day, this excludes fuel consumed by contractors, or in leased and privatised facilities (Sara Flounders, Global Research). Since 1991, the U.S. has released radioactive atomicity equalling at least 400,000 Nagasaki bombs or, 40,000 Hiroshima bombs, into the global atmosphere.
There is another, equally critical, silence: CO2 emissions caused by warfare. Total CO2 emissions from invading Iraq roughly equal UK’s total emission for a year. Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) say, the environmental effects of invading Iraq are major. Local air pollution. Climate change due to burning oil wells. Groundwater pollution from leaking oil wells.
Compounded by another silence: depleted uranium (radioactive) is used in the manufacture of armaments. Tank cartridges. Bombs. Rockets. Missiles. Both DU and white phosphorus munitions inflict long term damage to the environment. In a letter to the president of the UN General Assembly, Iraq’s minister for women’s affairs wrote, young women in Fallujah are now terrified of having children. No head. Two heads. A single eye in the forehead. Scaly bodies. Missing limbs. Cancer. Leukemia. Similar in Afghanistan. DU causes v-e-r-y long term damage, measured in billions of years. The global atmosphere, writes William Bowles, has been permanently contaminated by the US with radioactive pollution having a half-life of 2.5 billion years.
Naivete among Americans, of whatever colour, is inexcusable. I am ashamed. Already.
[concluding piece, next week]
Dust from American depleted uranium used to give extra heft to bullets is causing birth defects both in Iraqi babies and in babies fathered by American soldiers. It causes permanent genetic damage for generations to come

Published in New Age 22 March 2010


`Owning’ the weather? PART VII

By Rahnuma Ahmed

The theory of global warming, a `theory’ which we know to be `real,’ according to which the temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and that of its oceans has been rising since the middle of the last century, an increase caused by human activity, by burning fossil fuel and deforestation, one which is likely to cause sea levels to rise, deserts to expand, glaciers to retreat, an impending disaster of such magnitude that world leaders were compelled to agree to stabilise the climate by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to draft and implement the Kyoto Protocol (2005), to meet yet again in Copenhagen last December to thrash out stricter emission controls, to try and resolve whether China and India should be given `a free ride’ as was enjoyed by the rich countries during their 150 years of industrialisation … well, serious doubts are now being raised about the scientific knowledge which underlies global warming theory. Scientists and researchers, it seems, have faked the data. It is a discovery that has led the unfolding scandal?dubbed Climategate a la Watergate by the western media?to be called `the greatest scientific fraud in human history’
The controversy is largely unknown in Bangladesh, except for scattered news items. I have not come across any commentary either, one which is both informative and reviews what is at stake. Given the significance for Bangladesh?on the `frontline’ of climate change, tops the list of `most vulnerable’ countries, and the predictions?one-third of Bangladesh likely to be inundated by a 3 feet rise in sea level in the next 50 years, 25 million-30 million people to be uprooted, surely, one would have assumed that news of Climategate, as it unfolded, would be one of the top public interest issues in Bangladesh? That researchers and activists working on climate change in Bangladesh would have felt obliged to inform the public?
On 19 November last year, thousands of emails and communications between some of the world’s leading climate scientists, over a 13-year period dating from 1996, totalling 61 MB, was stolen by hackers from servers at Britain’s University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU). The files were leaked, first on a Russian server, but soon enough these became viral, and spread worldwide. Climategate was quickly followed by a series of other gates: Glaciergate, Amazongate, Pachaurigate. According to intelligent guesses, the Russian secret service might well be behind the hacking.
The United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and world governments rely on four sets of temperature data of which the set maintained by professor Phil Jones, the director of CRU, at the University of East Anglia, is the most important . Climate scientists at the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, and at CRU, maintain the global climate record for the World Meterological Organization (WMO). Professor Jones data set, as Christopher Booker points out, is the most important “not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it” (Telegraph, 28 November 2009).
What do the hacked e-mails reveal? First, that top scientists conspired to falsify data when faced with declining global temperatures (yes, it seems that the world is cooling) in order to insist that rising temperatures are caused by human activity (Anthropogenic Global Warming, AGW). Second, they coordinated a campaign of ostracising climate skeptics to prevent dissenting work from being published in peer-reviewed journals. Third, they avoided compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests.
Instances of falsifying data: Professor Jones wrote, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature [science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” Climate skeptics insist that `real’ temperatures mean what global warmers want them to be, that hiding the decline means evidence of cooling, whereas UEA authorities and “warmists” insist that `trick’ refers not to deception but to statistical measures to correct data divergence.

Scientists colluding on the `biggest scientific fraud ever.'

Another instance of data falsification, say climate skeptics, is provided by the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) controversy. One e-mail says, “We know the file starts at yr 440, but we want nothing till 1400.” This, say the skeptics, means that CRU has temperature data going back to 440 and 1070, but is using only the data after the Medieval Warm Period, so as not to undermine the global-warming-is-man-made hypothesis. Data fudging over the MWP gains credence when one looks at what Keith Briffa, deputy director, CRU wrote: “I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago.”
The requests of climate change skeptics, also reputable scientists and climatologists, to CRU data, was repeatedly denied. In one set of e-mail exchanges, Professors Jones and Mann discuss how to circumvent US and UK Freedom Of Information Act requests. Jones writes: [McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom Of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.” In his reply, Mann hints that he’ll claim intellectual property rights. Mann, whose full name is Michael E Mann (at Penn State University and director, Earth System Science Center), is famous for the hockey stick graph, so called because it depicts a slow cooling trend from 1000 to 1900 which looks like a long handle, and an upward warming curve from 1900 to 1999, which looks like the blade of a hockey stick. Both the MWP, and the Little Ice Age (LIA) which occurred 300 years ago, are major problems for the man-made/warmists. Mann’s hockey stick graph, by eliminating these, became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement.
While warmists have attempted to brush aside emails that celebrate as “cheering news” the death of a climate change skeptic, that wants to “beat the crap out of” all skeptics, by saying that scientists too, in their everyday lives, are normal people with normal emotions, it is difficult to extend the same logic to those emails which talk of preventing dissenting opinion from being published in peer-reviewed journals. “I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?” And, another: ?I will be emailing the journal to tell them I?m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.?
Dissatisfaction with the peer review process does not seem to be confined to scientists at CRU only, but to extend to, and include, the IPCC. Dr Benjamin Santer, lead author of Chapter 8, 1995 IPCC Report, allegedly deleted the following passages which had been approved by the scientists, and should have been included in the supposedly peer-reviewed published version:
‘None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed?[climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.’
‘No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date]?to anthropogenic [man-made] causes.'”
Al Gore, former US vice-president (1993-2001), who later took up the man-made global warming cause was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2007, jointly with the UN's IPCC, represented by its chief Dr Rajendra K Pachauri.

Since the email leak, other disturbing news has come to light. An essentially flat temperature chart in both Australia and New Zealand was turned into a graph to show “temperatures steadily rising.” The manipulation in both cases, as Booker points out, was carried out under the influence of CRU. Whereas Russian climate data, according to a report of the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis, were probably tampered with. The Hadley Centre for Climate Change, it seems, used temperature data from only those Russian metereological stations which highlighted the global warming process.
Other `gates’ have occurred too, since. Glaciergate: the 2007 IPCC report had warned that the Himalayan glaciers would, in all likelihood, disappear by 2035 due to global warming. When this was challenged in an Indian government report, Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, chairman IPCC, had dismissed it as “voodoo science”. However, it now turns out that the IPCC’s projection was based not on peer-reviewed evidence but on a speculative comment made a decade ago by a glaciologist, who later began working in an Indian research group led by Dr Pachauri. Amazongate: according to another IPCC scare story, climate change could endanger 40% of the Amazon rain forest. This was based on a publication of WWF, an environmentalist pressure group, but it turns out that the original article (published in Nature) had dealt not with global warming, but logging.
If global warming is a scam, the biggest scientific fraud ever, the big question of course, is, why? What lies behind it?
[Concluding instalment, next week]