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I’ve posted so much on the sham that is catastrophic anthropogenic global warming that I feel I don’t really need do so anymore.  Thankfully, according to a new Pew Research Center poll, Americans are really starting to see that a theory is just that–a theory–and junk-science won’t be taken seriously when so much is on the line.

“There has been a sharp decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence that global temperatures are rising. And fewer also see global warming as a very serious problem — 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.”

I rather see this as a positive sign that people are beginning to question the charlatans who stand to gain so substantially from such shams as cap and trade–frauds like Al Gore and James Hansen–as opposed to the cynical view that is already believed by many liberals that Americans are simply too dumb to know what’s good for them.  I’m so looking forward to the day when those on the left (and some on the right) who support the idea that man is primarily responsible for changes in our climate are found… wrong.

Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming

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UPDATED BELOW!!

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I certainly hope so (but more importantly, why the hell is there a picture of Paris Hilton on this blog?)

The central question I have here is, “why has no one inspected these stations before?” I suppose everyone takes for granted that, at the very least, the instrumentation used to measure global temperatures would exist in a sort of vacuum–sensibly placed, with intelligent forethought into the environments wherein they were to abide while undergoing regular and reasonable maintenance.

According to a recently launched study by Anthony Watts at his site Surface Stations (currently offline understandably due to excessive traffic), anthropogenic global warming may in large part simply be due to human error, and possibly stupidity, when placing weather stations, and specifically global temperature measuring thermometers.

Mr. Watts is still in the beginning stages of his study (50 stations out of around 1200 in the United States) and drawing serious conclusions at this point might be a tad hasty. If his early inspections are anything to go by though, the pro-anthropogenic global warming camp may have to dream up a new way to bamboozle the public into believing that man is primarily responsible for the inevitable world-wide catastrophe due to our meddlings in the ways of mother nature (for crying out loud, the United Nations has just claimed that global warming is responsible for the genocide in Darfur–it looks as if U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is turning out a greater kook than was Kofi Annan.

Who knows? Perhaps the inconvenient truth is that Paris Hilton is more pertinent than global warming.

 

Helping along global warming

By Bill Steigerwald
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, June 17, 2007

Remember in January when the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its good friends in media trumpeted that 2006 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States? NOAA based that finding – which allegedly capped a nine-year warming streak “unprecedented in the historical record” – on the daily temperature data that its National Climatic Data Center gathers from about 1,221 mostly rural weather observation stations around the country.

Few people have ever seen or even heard of these small, simple-but-reliable weather stations, which quietly make up what NOAA calls its United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN).

But the stations play an important role in detecting and analyzing regional climate change. More ominously, they provide the official baseline historical temperature data that politically motivated global-warming alarmists like James Hansen of NASA plug into their computer climate models to predict various apocalypses.

NOAA says it uses these 1,221 weather stations — which like the ones in Uniontown and New Castle are overseen by local National Weather Service offices and usually tended to by volunteers — because they have been providing reliable temperature data since at least 1900.

But Anthony Watts of Chico, Calif., suspects NOAA temperature readings are not all they’re cracked up to be. As the former TV meteorologist explains on his sophisticated, newly hatched Web site surfacestations.org, he has set out to do what big-time armchair-climate modelers like Hansen and no one else has ever done – physically quality-check each weather station to see if it’s being operated properly.

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts’ site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it’s on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it’s next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he’s a man of facts and science, isn’t jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he’s finding raises doubts about NOAA’s past and current temperature reports.

“I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment.”

Meanwhile, you probably missed the latest about 2006. As NOAA reported on May 1 – with minimum mainstream-media fanfare – 2006 actually was the second- warmest year ever recorded in America, not the first. At an annual average of 54.9 degrees F, it was a whopping 0.08 degrees cooler than 1998, still the hottest year.

NOAA explained that it had updated its 2006 report “to reflect revised statistics” and “better address uncertainties in the instrumental record.” This tinkering is standard procedure. NOAA always scientifically tweaks temperature readings for various reasons — weather stations are moved to different locations, modernized, affected by increased urbanization, etc.

NOAA didn’t say whether it had adjusted for uncertainties caused by nearby burn barrels.

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Here’s a notable excerpt from Anthony Watts, Surface Stations website, courtesy of Newsbusters

Will Media Ever Investigate Accuracy of Weather Stations?

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 18, 2007 – 15:30.

Assume for a moment there was evidence some weather stations around the country were underestimating mean temperatures. Would a media fixated on expanding climate change alarmism investigate and report this phenomenon to demonstrate that the planet was actually warmer than people think?

“60 Minutes,” “20/20,” and “Dateline” would have all done rather lengthy exposés into the matter, correct?

Well, a former meteorologist for the CBS-TV affiliate KHSL in Redding, California, by the name of Anthony Watts has examined 48 of the 1221 weather stations in the 48 lower states, and found irregularities that could be skewing the data upward.

Watts reported his first startling finding on this subject at his “Watts Up With That?” website on May 9, 2007 (emphasis added throughout):

To get an idea of the measurement environment that exists today at stations used to gather climate data, I visited the Chico State University Fram on Hegan Lane, south of the city, to do a site survey in the format done by Dr. Roger Pielke of Colorado State University. This station is part of the US Historical Climate Network of weather stations that have been used as the source for surface temperature data in many climate models and studies. There were some interesting discoveries.

[…]

1. There are missing louvers on the north side of the [Cotton Region Shelter] containing the automated data logger and temp/dp sensor

2. There is clear evidence that both shelters have been repainted with latex paint, including brush marks and drip marks.

3. There is an asphalt road that curves around the site, from the southwest to the southeast

4. The surface at the site is mixture of gravel, soil, and debris. There is no grass.

5. There is a water filled evapo-transpiration pan within 10 feet of each CRS, its lineage seems to indicate it goes back to the establishment of the site in 1963

6. The fiberglass composite NEMA electronics enclosure containing the data logger, radio modem, and solar battery charger are placed inside the CRS within 6-8 inches of the temperature/dp sensor. The 12 volt gel cel battery is also inside the CRS. These items may introduce a heat bias from the operating electronics.

Watts was kind enough to include pictures of the site surveyed.

Since this point, Watts has visited many other weather stations (please visit www.surfacestations.org for all of his observations) with findings such as the following in Marysville, California:

Today I visited Marysville’s Fire Station, just off Hwy 70 at 9th and B Street, where they have the station of record for the city using the MMTS electronic sensor installed by the National Weather Service. The data from this station is part of the USHCN (US Historical Climatological Network) and is used in the computer modeling used to predict climate change.

The Marysville station is located behind the fire department building on a patio and is probably the worst site visited so far. In addition to the sensor being surrounded by asphalt and concrete, its also within 10 feet of buildings, and within 8 feet of a large metal cell tower that could be felt reflecting sunlight/heat. And worst of all, air conditioning units on the cell tower electronics buildings vent warm air within 10 feet of the sensor. Oh and lets not forget the portable BBQ the firefighters use a “couple times a week.” The area has been constantly added to, what was once a grass rear yard was turned to a parking lot, then more buildings added, then a cell tower with one, then two electronics buildings and the air conditioners…no report on how long the firefighters were BBQ’ing back there, when they figured out why I was asking all the questions they clammed up.

I can tell you with certainty, the temperature data from this station is useless.

To give you an idea of just how useless, take a look at the picture of this weather station:

Here are the mean temperature recorded by the Marysville station since the early 1900s:

Yet, as Watts pointed out, there’s another station 50 miles away in Orland, California, which is not surrounded by buildings, air conditioners, asphalt, a parking lot, or a cell tower. Take a look at a picture of how a weather station should be set up, and the insert of mean temperatures reported from said station which are quite different than from the Marysville station just 50 miles away:

As Watts correctly pointed out, “Its [sic] obvious that Marysville is measuring UHI (Urban Heat Island) effects.”

What this means is that the Marysville station is defeating the purpose of placing a temperature recorder outside of a major metropolitan area by creating an environment that looks nothing like a rural one. As a result, it is quite likely that the temperature readings at Marysville are being upwardly skewed by the environs.

As you might imagine, these are but two examples of sites visited by Watts, and the reader is encouraged to go here and here for more of his research.

Yet, the bigger question is why haven’t journalists looked into this matter? Isn’t this considered newsworthy?

Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review certainly believes so given his Sunday article on this subject (emphasis added):

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts’ site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it’s on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it’s next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he’s a man of facts and science, isn’t jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he’s finding raises doubts about NOAA’s past and current temperature reports.

I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment.”

Any questions as to why major media outlets are not at all concerned with the accuracy of America’s weather stations?

NEW UPDATE (6/19/07) COURTESY OF NEWSBUSTERS

Chris Horner Identifies More Weather Station Problems

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 19, 2007 – 14:29.

On Monday, NewsBusters exposed some serious problems at a number of temperature data-collection facilities around the country.

On Tuesday, Christopher C. Horner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” shared information with NewsBusters concerning two additional problematic weather stations:

Jim Manzi [of National Review’s Planet Gore] recently posted on the problems encountered when experts undertook even a cursory examination of the U.S.’s surface temperature measuring stations, which are the world’s most reliable…a sobering thought for reasons we all shall soon see.

Horner continued:

Consider the below exemplar of those wonders of science and technology in the field of obtaining surface temperature measurements, from Hopkinsville, KY, where the instrument: a) abuts a brick house: b) actually abuts the chimney of a brick house; c) hovers just above a black asphalt pad, and; d) what’s that directly underneath it, but a Weber grill!

Absolutely brilliant.

There is a large green garbage receptacle just off to the left, in the photo, which is where I suggest the instrument might better lie.

Next time you hear of a heat wave in Hopkinsville, KY, you might wander over to grab a burger. More likely than not the boys are just having a cookout.

This is not yet up on SurfaceStations, but based on other station photos which I’ve seen this isn’t all that aberrant, or rather is so only as a matter of degree

Horner wasn’t done, for the following picture is of a weather station somewhere in Colorado:

Horner pointed out:

Here, the weather station was placed 2 feet off of a building, but conveniently next to a large air conditioning unit. Any thoughts on the localized ambient temperature when that baby kicks on?

Horner concluded:

The folks at ClimateAudit have detected that our alarmist friends are aware, and already preparing for this story to get some legs. Our schools may be in pretty rough shape, but not that rough that this corruption of the surface data will go unnoticed.

Of course, the question still remains: When will the mainstream media investigate and report this, or will this issue continue to be one only examined in the blogosphere?

Stay tuned.

 

 

High price for load of hot air

 

June 18, 2007 12:00am

WITH understandable reluctance, Prime Minister John Howard recently donned the political hair-shirt of a carbon trading system.

On the same day, NASA chief Michael Griffin commented in a US radio interview that “I am not sure that it is fair to say that (global warming) is a problem that we must wrestle with”.

NASA is an agency that knows a thing or two about climate change. As Griffin added: “We study global climate change, that is in our authorisation, we think we do it rather well.

“I’m proud of that, but NASA is not an agency chartered to, quote, battle climate change.”

Such a clear statement that science accomplishment should carry primacy over policy advice is both welcome and overdue.

Nonetheless, there is something worrying about one of Griffin’s other statements, which said that “I have no doubt . . . that a trend of global warming exists”.

Griffin seems to be referring to human-caused global warming, but irrespective of that his opinion is unsupported by the evidence.

The salient facts are these. First, the accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stasis has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2.

Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent).

Third, there are strong indications from solar studies that Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades.

How then is it possible for Griffin to assert so boldly that human-caused global warming is happening?

Well, he is in good company for similar statements have been made recently by several Western heads of state at the G8 summit meeting. For instance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserts climate change (i.e. global warming) “is also essentially caused by humankind”.

In fact, there is every doubt whether any global warming at all is occurring at the moment, let alone human-caused warming.

For leading politicians to be asserting to the contrary indicates something is very wrong with their chain of scientific advice, for they are clearly being deceived. That this should be the case is an international political scandal of high order which, in turn, raises the question of where their advice is coming from.

In Australia, the advice trail leads from government agencies such as the CSIRO and the Australian Greenhouse Office through to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations.

As leading economist David Henderson has pointed out, it is extremely dangerous for an unelected and unaccountable body like the IPCC to have a monopoly on climate policy advice to governments. And even more so because, at heart, the IPCC is a political and not a scientific agency.

Australia does not ask the World Bank to set its annual budget and neither should it allow the notoriously alarmist IPCC to set its climate policy.

It is past time for those who have deceived governments and misled the public regarding dangerous human-caused global warming to be called to account. Aided by hysterical posturing by green NGOs, their actions have led to the cornering of government on the issue and the likely implementation of futile emission policies that will impose direct extra costs on every household and enterprise in Australia to no identifiable benefit.

Not only do humans not dominate Earth’s current temperature trend but the likelihood is that further large sums of public money are shortly going to be committed to, theoretically, combat warming when cooling is the more likely short-term climatic eventuality.

In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($60 billion) on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one.

Yet that expenditure will pale into insignificance compared with the squandering of money that is going to accompany the introduction of a carbon trading or taxation system.

The costs of thus expiating comfortable middle class angst are, of course, going to be imposed preferentially upon the poor and underprivileged.

  • Professor Bob Carter is an environmental scientist at James Cook University who studies ancient climate change

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UPDATED BELOW!!!

Ah, Summer (actually, late Spring) has begun and the hot weather has invaded us this past week here in Southern California, and specifically Los Angeles where I reside, with temperatures peaking upwards of the high 90’s. It’s hot, and while it will cool down again this weekend, I can certainly look forward to even warmer days in the weeks and months ahead. Damn the global warming that has all of the alarmists in a frenzied uproar.

Yet, despite the fact that “renowned” scientists around the nation and the world, including distinguished NASA climatologists, predicted the 2006-2007 winter season to be unseasonably wet and warm, the previous winter period in question proved much colder (records were broken here in L.A. and elsewhere) and drier than anyone anticipated (or hoped for.) Yet, these are the very same people, many of whom are members of the biased U.N. scientific propaganda machine, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who expect us to believe their predictions that the earth is warming due primarily to anthropogenic interference.

These are the same people who concocted the hockey stick graph, deceitfully eradicating the medieval era warming period in order to convince politicians and the public that global warming is human induced (while the IPCC was shamed into discarding that deceptive graph in favor of a diagram that did include the medieval warming period, the Al Goracle is not as progressive as liberals would like to believe–he stands stolid with his sophistry by maintaining a firm grasp on the outdated fallacious hockey stick graph when no one else will, further perpetuating that lie in his Academy Award winning slide-show, An Inconvenient Truth.) These are the same people who decry melting glaciers, while ignoring growing glaciers only miles apart.

But let’s suppose man knows best, and the earth is warming at an exagerated rate (well, except for the southern hemisphere which rather negates the concept of “global warming”), and instituting laws and regulations limiting people’s freedoms is the best for all of humanity (like the Kyoto protocols adopted by Europe which has seen a marked increase in green house gasses, or GHG’s, since ratification, while the U.S. has managed to reduce GHG’s without instituting Kyoto), and producing dubious studies, such as this nonsense, designed to make us believe that paying taxes feels as good mentally as getting laid, preparing the mindless masses for huge tax increases in order to save mankind from our own foolish, global warming ways. Let’s all jump on the global warming bandwagon and step up to the tectonic plate, so to speak, and put our money where our mouth is. Tax it all.

Now, I’m not one for new taxes, but the below piece by Ross McKitrick from the Financial Post posits a tax plan that’s so simple it just might work, pleasing everyone on both sides of the polarized global warming fence. Basically, those who supposedly contribute to warming will be taxed as the global temperature rises based on their carbon dioxide emissions. As the heat increases, so would the cost of the tax, allowing funds gained through said tax contributing towards methods of environmental assistance, humanitarian needs (increased hurricane activity for example), and overall planet-saving, global warming pocket money. How could a green not like this? They would finally be allowed to punish all of us skeptics.

Now here’s the part that should please all of the heretical dissenters, such as myself, wildly producing earth-killing C02 willy-nilly (but I own a Prius), requiring more than anecdotal evidence as to man-made global warming. If all of the predictions by the greens turn out false, if anthropogenic GHG’s are not causing a global climate crisis, “and if the sun actually controls the climate,” that tax would then be converted into a tax credit. This would certainly encourage everyone involved–from large, polluting multi-billion dollar corporations all the way down the chain to the individual–to think progressively and creatively as to how they might avoid such a tax by becoming more environmentally friendly. This would almost entirely result in personal choice, whether business or individually mandated, avoiding the troublesome legislative meddling of socialist green lobbies who desire nothing more than containment through governance of the people, limiting personal freedoms.

If the global warming alarmists truly believe their own hype, how could they not clamber for such a beneficial plan, especially considering they quickly embrace anything involved with raising taxes. The only thing they might lose is a little dignity, while hopefully gaining a significant amount of humility, especially when the next ice age alarmists start coming out of the woodwork in a decade or so (I guess there’s a reason why many now prefer the always relevant “global climate change” to the passe “global warming.”)

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The original hockey stick graph that Al Gore erroneously uses in his slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth

Call their tax

Why not tie carbon taxes to actual levels of warming? Both skeptics and alarmists should expect their wishes to be answered

 
Ross McKitrick
Financial Post

Global-warming policy is stuck in a permanent stalemate for very basic reasons. Important divisions of opinion still exist on the extent of humanity’s influence on climate, whether or not the situation is a crisis, whether and how much greenhouse-gas emissions should be cut, if so how to do it, and what is the most we should be prepared to pay in the process.

With this stalemate in mind, I would like to propose a thought experiment about a climate policy that could, in principle, get equal support from all sides.

The approach is based on two points of expert consensus. First, most economists who have written on carbon-dioxide emissions have concluded that an emissions tax is preferable to a cap-and-trade system. The reason is that, while emission-abatement costs vary a lot, based on the target, the social damages from a tonne of carbon-dioxide emissions are roughly constant. The first ton of carbon dioxide imposes the same social cost as the last ton.

In this case, it is better for policy-makers to guess the right price for emissions rather than the right cap. Most studies that have looked at that the global cost per tonne of carbon dioxide have found it is likely to be rather low, less than US$10 per tonne. We don’t know what the right emissions cap is, but, if we put a low charge on each unit of emissions, the market will find the (roughly) correct emissions cap.

Second, climate models predict that, if greenhouse gases are driving climate change, there will be a unique fingerprint in the form of a strong warming trend in the tropical troposphere, the region of the atmosphere up to 15 kilometres in altitude, over the tropics, from 20? North to 20? South. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that this will be an early and strong signal of anthropogenic warming. Climate changes due to solar variability or other natural factors will not yield this pattern: only sustained greenhouse warming will do it.

Temperatures in the tropical troposphere are measured every day using weather satellites. The data are analyzed by several teams, including one at the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) and one at Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in California. According to the UAH team, the mean tropical tropospheric temperature anomaly (its departure from the 1979-98 average) over the past three years is 0.18C. The corresponding ing RSS estimate is 0.29C.

Now put those two ideas together. Suppose each country implements something called the T3 tax, whose U.S. dollar rate is set equal to 20 times the three-year moving average of the RSS and UAH estimates of the mean tropical tropospheric temperature anomaly, assessed per tonne of carbon dioxide, updated annually. Based on current data, the tax would be US$4.70 per ton, which is about the median mainstream carbon-dioxide-damage estimate from a major survey published in 2005 by economist Richard Tol. The tax would be implemented on all domestic carbon-dioxide emissions, all the revenues would be recycled into domestic income tax cuts to maintain fiscal neutrality, and there would be no cap on total emissions.

This tax rate is low, and would yield very little emissions abatement. Global-warming skeptics and opponents of greenhouse-abatement policy will like that. But would global-warming activists? They should — because according to them, the tax will climb rapidly in the years ahead.

The IPCC predicts a warming rate in the tropical troposphere of about double that at the surface, implying about 0.2C to 1.2C per decade in the tropical troposphere under greenhouse-forcing scenarios. That implies the tax will climb by $4 to $24 per tonne per decade, a much more aggressive schedule of emission fee increases than most current proposals. At the upper end of warming forecasts, the tax could reach $200 per tonne of CO2 by 2100, forcing major carbon-emission reductions and a global shift to non-carbon energy sources.

Global-warming activists would like this. But so would skeptics, because they believe the models are exaggerating the warming forecasts. After all, the averaged UAH/ RSS tropical troposphere series went up only about 0.08C over the past decade, and has been going down since 2002. Some solar scientists even expect pronounced cooling to begin in a decade. If they are right, the T3 tax will fall below zero within two decades, turning into a subsidy for carbon emissions.

At this point the global-warming alarmists would leap up to slam the proposal. But not so fast, Mr. Gore: The tax would only become a carbon subsidy if all the climate models are wrong, if greenhouse gases are not warming the atmosphere, and if the sun actually controls the climate. Alarmists sneeringly denounce such claims as “denialism,” so they can hardly reject the policy on the belief that they are true.

Under the T3 tax, the regulator gets to call everyone’s bluff at once, without gambling in advance on who is right. If the tax goes up, it ought to have. If it doesn’t go up, it shouldn’t have. Either way we get a sensible outcome.

But the benefits don’t stop there. The T3 tax will induce forward-looking behaviour. Alarmists worry that conventional policy operates with too long a lag to prevent damaging climate change. Under the T3 tax, investors planning major industrial projects will need to forecast the tax rate many years ahead, thereby taking into account the most likely path of global warming a decade or more in advance.

And best of all, the T3 tax will encourage private-sector climate forecasting. Firms will need good estimates of future tax rates, which will force them to look deeply, and objectively, into the question of whether existing climate forecasts have an alarmist bias. The financial incentives will lead to independent reassessments of global climate modelling, without regard to what politicians, the IPCC or climatology professors want to hear.

Policymaking in the real world is messy, and ideas that sound good in theory can come out hopelessly gummed up with extraneous provisions that dilute or contradict the original purpose. But as a thought experiment, I find the T3 tax clarifies a lot of issues.

In my view, the ideal global-warming policy is a carbon tax, and the optimal rate is zero. I like the T3 tax in part because I think it would result in this outcome over time. Yet those whose fears of rapid warming lead them to demand stronger policy measures, including an emissions cap, should, in principle, be able to support the same mechanism. Especially in light of the long stalemates over carbon-dioxide emissions policy, I doubt any other policy could command equal support from such polarized camps.

— – Ross McKitrick is an economist at University of Guelph.

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The corrected, and accurate, global climate graph.

 

Carbon trade scheme ‘is failing’

 

By Julian O’ Halloran
BBC File On 4


Power station

The government’s own figures show an increase in greenhouse gases

The EU’s carbon trading scheme has increased electricity bills, given a windfall to power companies and failed to cut greenhouse gases, it is claimed. An investigation by BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme has found that after two and half years the scheme has yet to cut in carbon dioxide emissions.

The consumer body Energywatch said customers are getting a raw deal.

But a government minister has promised that the scheme’s next phase will be a big improvement.

The EU’s Emission Trading Scheme – a key part of the UK Government’s drive to combat climate change – began in 2005 and created a trade in carbon allowances.

It is essentially a permit to pollute.

Power generators received their allowances free of charge but were allowed to reflect the value of those in increased prices to customers, as if the companies had actually had to buy the allowances.

Energywatch believes this increased electricity bills by about 7% in 2005.

‘Windfall profits’

And according to one government estimate, that delivered windfall profits of up to £1.3bn to the generators in that year – higher than environmental campaigners had claimed last year.

However, so far the carbon scheme has brought no clear payback in terms of cutting emissions.

Provisional government figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suggest CO2 output in Britain actually went up, by 1.25% last year wiping out a slight drop of 0.01% in 2005.

It is also reckoned that CO2 emissions across the EU also rose by between 1 and 1.5% over the last two years.

Carbon reduction

The chief executive of Energywatch, Allan Asher, said , “Consumers increasingly accept the need for reductions in carbon.

“However they are paying the price and not seeing the benefits. The big generators are banking huge amounts of money and consumers aren’t benefiting.”

But the Minister for Climate Change, Ian Pearson, told File on 4 that the carbon trading scheme has been an administrative success yet concedes there have been problems in the first three year phase to the end of 2007.

“If you are saying to me it hasn’t achieved a massive amount so far when it comes to CO2 reductions, well I agree with you and I think Phase Two will be a big, big improvement…and a key instrument in helping us all to achieve our carbon reduction targets across Europe.”

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Freedom, not climate, is at risk

By Vaclav Klaus

Published: June 13 2007 17:44

We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough – irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent – for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.

In the past year, Al Gore’s so-called “documentary” film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain’s – more or less Tony Blair’s – Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.

The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: “the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda”. I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the “established” truth, although a lot of people – including top-class scientists – see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).

Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: “future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”.

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
■Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
■Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
■Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
■Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
■Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
■Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
■Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

The writer is President of the Czech Republic

UPDATED!!! (6/21/07) – President Vaclav Klaus responds to comments from his above piece in the Financial Times

 

Global warming: truth or propaganda?

Published: June 13 2007 17:09 | Last updated: June 21 2007 13:01

Vaclav Klaus Q&A

Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, argues in the Financial Times that ambitious environmentalism is the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity.

Mr Klaus writes that “global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem” and the issue “is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.”

Do you agree? Or do small climate changes demand far-reaching restrictive measures?

Following an overwhelming response from readers, Mr Klaus has answered a selection of questions from the hundreds that were submitted.

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Does President Klaus really believe that it is a good risk management strategy to ignore the summary report on climate change science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, approved by the Czech Republic and other countries in February, concluding that continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century?
Bob Ward, London, UK

Vaclav Klaus: I think it is a very bad risk management strategy to follow the summary report on climate change of the IPCC. To do it would be a giving up of risk management rules and of standard cost-benefit analysis techniques in favour of environmentalists’ “precautionary principle” which totally discredits risk management and comparison of costs and benefits. I suppose that you don’t insure your house (or car) when the danger is small and the insurance is too expensive. That’s all.

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Mr. Klaus, I believe, has asked the wrong question, and in doing so, is in danger of under-cutting his main point, which is the danger to personal freedom of a top-down, single-government approach to managing the problem of global warming. Instead of trying to ask, is global warming a REAL problem?, Mr Klaus should ask – and then provide his answer – the question: Assuming global warming is a REAL, global issue, how can we manage this problem on a global scale while also expanding personal freedom and economic welfare? I would be very interested in hearing his response to this question.
Robert Bruegel, Denver, Colorado

Vaclav Klaus: I ask myself several questions. Let’s put them in the proper sequence:

• Is global warming a reality?

If it is a reality, is it man-made?

• If it is a reality, is it a problem? Will the people in the world, and now I have to say “globally”, better-off or worse-off due to small increases of global temperature?

• If it is a reality, and if it is a problem, can men prevent it or stop it? Can any reasonable cost-benefit analysis justify anything – within the range of current proposals – to be done just now?

Surprisingly, we can say yes – with some degree of probability – only to the first question. To the remaining three my answer is no. And I am not alone in saying that. We are, however, still more or less the silent or silenced majority.

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Because of the incredible complexity of variables controlling climate, programs based on empirical data cannot predict weather for a fortnight; so how can programs based on far less finite information accurately predict global warming?
William Bluhm, Bella Vista, AR

Vaclav Klaus: This is exactly my argument. It is impossible to seriously predict global weather, not to speak about climate. But my argument is less about eventual variations in global climate. My doubts are mostly about the impact of human activities on global climate. This connection seems to me – after having read hundreds of books, articles and studies – very weak. This weakness is a problem. Because of this weakness, we should not make drastic, far-reaching measures.

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Why do you disbelieve the science when every serious national scientific establishment appears to support it? And why do you suppose it to be a threat to freedom when both EU and UK essentially support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with it?
John Rhys, UK

Vaclav Klaus: I do not disbelieve the science, but I see a big difference between science and “national scientific establishments”. To believe in scientific establishment is impossible, this is just another powerful rent-seeking group. Seeking rent for themselves, not for the mankind.

You suggest that both the EU and the UK support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with climate change. We probably live on a different planet. I don’t see it happening.

At a somewhat deeper methodological level, I have to say that market mechanism is nobody’s policy instrument. It reminds me of the old communist days again. The issue was: market or central planning. The central planners, however, wanted to have market – in their hands – as a policy instrument. Do we have to live under communism to understand that?

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My assumption would be that the costs to implement the initial phases of the 50 per cent reduction idea would be measured in trillions of dollars to just the US. My question to you is what would it cost a country such as the Czech Republic, and what about opportunity costs associated with such reductions? That never seems to be discussed.
William Danielson, Hayward, Wisconsin US

Vaclav Klaus: As an economist (Professor of Finance at the Prague School of Economics) and as a former Minister of Finance I have to admit that I don’t know the answer to your question. I am not ashamed of this ignorance of mine. On the contrary, I am ashamed of the confidence of those who claim to know the answer.

At least two points should be made:

• the costs will not be only financial ones because the main costs will be the negative impact upon human beings, their lives, their welfare, their freedom, their opportunities, their behaviour;

• to calculate “the costs” for the next fifty years is ridiculous. We do not know the prices in the year 2050 and we do not know how important one million dollars (or euros) will be in the year 2050. Therefore, any “calculation” is meaningless. The more absurd it is, the easier it is to make such an announcement at the G8 summit.

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All that environmentalists demand is responsibility. Responsibility of those who cause damage to others to pay for that damage, and to do their utmost to stop inflicting it. I had the impression that responsibility was supposed to be a conservative virtue, and a necessary complement to the great freedom we have in our open market economies. But more and more I see the supporters of capitalism demand that they be free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence. What happened?
Nanne Zwagerman

Vaclav Klaus: Environmentalists do not demand responsibility. Responsibility is not their idea, it is a basic, elementary aspect of human behaviour – on condition government policies do not give wrong incentives. The idea of responsibility for damage done to others is not the environmentalists’ copyright. It is a standard of human behaviour. Environmentalists – especially in the case of global warming – artificially created “a damage” (higher temperature) and made all of us responsible for it. I don’t believe in this “damage” and I am not ready to pay for it. The role of men in slightly higher global temperature (0.6°C in the last century) is only marginal, if any.

To say that “the supporters of capitalism demand that they are free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence” has the beauty of communist propaganda I had a chance to “enjoy” during the first 48 years of my life.

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With the Czech Republic being a mid-sized European country, do you see a threat to your people and land from the climate change decisions and limitations being made by larger world powers? If so, what can the majority of the world do to mitigate harmful policies being forced by these powers?
William A. Warner, Tacoma, WA, US

Vaclav Klaus: It is very popular but cheap to blame “large world powers”. I don’t do it. I know many, very small European “powers” which are more environmentalist than most “large world powers”. The problem is that some politicians – of both large and small countries – are victims of environmentalism and use it for their own personal benefits.

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Years ago I heard people talking about how environmentalism would be used as the lever to usher in global (socialistic) government, because the environment affects everyone. Do you think this is what we are now seeing with the climate issue?
Mark, Lake Charles, US

Vaclav Klaus: Environmentalism is indeed a vehicle for bringing us socialist government at the global level. Again, my life in communism makes me oversensitive in this respect. The argumentation of various environmentalists is very similar to what we used to know in the past.

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Do you feel that the global warming is being used as a rallying point for the forces of globalisation? It is much like the Avian flu propaganda don’t you agree? Problem, reaction, solution. The trillionaires, that want to rule the world, are going to save us… that’s what I’m getting. What is your view?
Mark Lemmon

Vaclav Klaus: I don’t think that the environmentalists are “the trillionaires who want to rule the world”. I am afraid the environmentalists want to rule the world without being capable to earn those trillions because it requires to work very hard. The global warming propaganda is, I agree, similar to the Avian flu propaganda, the Y2K propaganda, the end of resources propaganda, the overpopulation propaganda, etc. Their proposals will not increase the globalisation of human activities, they are in favour of global governance only. This is something very different. I am in favour of the first globalisation, not of the second one.

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President Klaus, I agree with you but how can we stop the argument being seen as one of the “Right” versus the “Left”? It seems to me that this one issue brings more confusion to the debate.
Anon, London

Vaclav Klaus: I am not afraid of right-left argument, even if I know that some people innocently hope that the right-left dilemma is over. It is not. Without going into nuances, we can say that the “right” people are in favour of individual freedom, whereas the “left” people believe in collectivist wisdom. Environmentalism, not preservation of nature (and of environment), is a leftist ideology. Some people, who pretend to be on the right, bought into it as well – to my great regret.

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What is the financial and/or economic incentive for those governments and organisations who go along with, and even support environmentalism?
Justin Kelly

Vaclav Klaus: There are huge material (very pecuniary) and even bigger psychological incentives for politicians and their bureaucratic fellow-travellers to support environmentalism. It gives them power. This is exactly what they are searching for. It gives them power to organise, regulate, manipulate the rest of us. There is nothing altruistic in their environmentalist stances.

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While I applaud your commitment to freedom, I ask you this: Will we live in freedom if the decisions of a portion of the globe’s population (the government and corporate leaders who refuse to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions) condemn the rest of us to face whatever consequences global climate change eventually wreaks?
Respectfully, Arielle K. Botter

Vaclav Klaus: I don’t believe that there is a world-wide conspiracy of government and corporate leaders to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, I am not convinced about the strong connection between greenhouse gas emissions and the global climate. This connection can’t be taken for granted.

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President Klaus, I agree, so how do rational libertarians prevent the destruction of our culture by environmentalists? What’s the answer?
Nicholas Horvath

Vaclav Klaus: The “rational libertarians” (I don’t mind being called classical liberal) should stop being just a silent majority. They should speak out, as well as speak up. They should reveal the real dangers connected with environmentalism. As the subtitle of my recent book “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” suggests, I believe that it is freedom which is endangered. And freedom is more than eventual, relatively mild climate changes.

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Why are so many people willing to embrace junk science and its dire predictions? What can each of us do to inspire people to think critically, and rationally? Is there a way to assemble multitudes of clear-thinkers, to push back against irrational, over-wrought fear-mongering?
Larry Jordan, US

Vaclav Klaus: Some people believe in irrational things and events – some of them in UFOs, some in witches, some in fairy-tales, some in omnipotent governments, some in global warming.

Some people believe in themselves, not in others. They suppose they know better than the rest of us what is good for us.

Some people are sufficiently motivated to spread the global warming hysteria. It gives them funding (especially for science connected with this issue), it gives them jobs in well-paid government positions, it gives them government subsidies for producing products which are – supposedly – in favour of global cooling, etc.

What to do? I take my positions on global warming as normal. It surprises me how many people tell me how courageous I am for taking them. Let’s all of us speak out.

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Why view conservation of energy as an attack on freedom? Do you believe wasting energy strengthens freedom? The US, with only 6 per cent of world population, produces 25 per cent of world CO2 emissions because of government programs encouraging high energy use. Excessive tax subsidies for road building and oil production push energy waste, not the free market. The US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests. I pray that doesn’t happen to the Czech Republic.
John Norquist, Chicago, US

Vaclav Klaus: Let’s be fair. Attacking environmentalism and its mythology is not attacking nature, the environment we live in, the conservation of energy. It’s a classical spin to do it.

To save energy (as anything else) is the only rational behaviour. The more we save, the better. The economy of energy consumption is a must, not to save energy is irrational. The problem is who should make the decision about energy saving or conservation? Free individuals or omnipotent governments? That is the only problem. Free individuals in a free market climate (and only this “climate” is crucial) behave much more rationally than their governments.

To say that government programs encourage high energy use in the US is ridiculous. To say that “the US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests” is ridiculous as well. High energy use in the US is caused not by the US government but by the enormous wealth of US citizens (together with specific US natural endowments). The other, abundance-approaching countries will do the same. Wealth is – at the beginning – a problem but when it grows, it is a solution. The so-called Environmental Kuznets Curves demonstrate that quite clearly and convincingly.

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The relatively small changes in global temperature in the last forty years have set in motion some deeply worrying trends, such rapid growth in deserts, falls in agricultural productivity in some parts of the world and increased flow rates of Greenland glaciers. Would the president please tell us just how much of a rise in sea level, a fall in agricultural production and a displacement of migrants he thinks we should accept before taking action to reduce GHG emissions? It would be good to see some numbers.
Chris Goodall, Oxford

Vaclav Klaus: I can’t go into details, I suggest that you read the book by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery with the title Unstoppable Global Warming, every 1,500 years and the book by J. P. Michaels called Meltdown: the Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Or many others.

To give one example: the very debatable 2007 IPCC report suggests a rise in sea level between 14–43 centimetres for the whole 21st century. Is it a scary size? Not to me.

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It strikes me as puzzling that you place your weight behind the projection of a long-term positive impact of the economy, compared to your rejection of Stern’s projection of long-term negative impact on the economy. Favouring one truth above another is, as you might say, a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. Your bet that positive economic impact will renounce us of any possible climatic change is as singularly unconvincing as the stock-broker who is whistling on his way to Wall Street on the morning of October 29, 1929.
B. Dankert, Johannesburg

Vaclav Klaus: My criticism of Stern Report’s conclusions – and I am not alone in it – is based on serious economic arguments, not on aprioristic statements. I will give just one example. When you mention Wall Street in your question, you probably understand the concept of the discount rate. It is one of the crucial variables of any economy and its importance grows the more we go into inter-temporal analysis. Analysing the whole 21st century, as Mr Stern does, suggests that the significance of the proper level of chosen discount rate is fatal. Many economists strongly oppose the very low level of discount rate Mr Stern uses for his modelling simulations.

The low level of discount rate means that the future is as big as the present or that anything existing now will be as big in the year 2100 as now. This is ridiculous. Will the banknote of 1000 nomination (in your South African rands or in US dollars) be as big, as relevant, as important in the year 2100 as it is now? I am sorry to say that Mr Stern assumes exactly that.

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There is no doubt that modern human society can adversely impact our living environment. This manifests itself from city air quality and industrial spills to deforestation and overfishing. Overwhelming evidence points to that when human beings find the condition too unpleasant to tolerate, the opportunity to stop or reverse the trend requires extreme action. How much evidence for environmental damage do you need to see before you are willing to advocate collective action in order to prevent the need for later extreme action?
Oddi Aasheim, London

Vaclav Klaus: You ask how much environmental damage I need to see before I am willing to do anything? My problem is that I do not “see” sufficient and persuasive evidence for environmental damage you have – probably – in mind, and I wonder whether you see it yourself, or whether you just read about it.

Do you really “see” any damage caused by current warming? I do not. I would prefer more snow for skiing during this winter but we are – in Central Europe – enjoying warm evenings this May and June, which is very pleasant. Do you see meltdown of glaciers and icebergs? You may see some retreating of continental glaciers, but they represent only 0.6 per cent of the planet’s ice. There is no meltdown either in Greenland or the Antarctic just now.

When I study and analyse environmental indicators concerning my own country and when I compare them with the situation in the communist era, there is an incredible improvement. The improvement is not because of “collective action” you advocate (it existed in the communist era), but because of freedom and of free markets. That’s my main message.

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I have a few catch-up items for everyone today in honor of Al Gore’s appearance yesterday before the House Committee on Global Warming (hasn’t congress heard it’s called ‘Global Climate Change’ now? ‘Global Warming’ is so last year.)

The VP has been recently dubbed “The Goracle” by his army of the faithful. [Because let’s be clear, despite varying evidence for and in opposition to global climate change/warming, it is a matter of faith. Just as Christians have faith that Jesus is God and he will return to judge the quick and the dead, and just like Buddhists have faith they can work to expunge all bad vibes in order to obtain enlightenment, and just as Muslims believe they can subjugate the entire world and establish sharia law throughout the land, the global climate change religionists believe man is primarily responsible for global warming and the fate of the planet due to our actions and/or inactions–science can often be another form of provable and improvable doctrinal creed.] The faithful seem to overlook The Goracle’s obvious and environmentally damaging hypocrisies, most recently evidenced in his egregiously wasteful personal energy policies at his own mansion in Tennessee, and including the plane zips from state to state, country to country in a private jet delivering his Academy Award winning slide show to the eco-zombies of the world, when he could just as easily travel commercially much of the time.

But oh, as he claimed in yesterday’s hearings, and as he’s previously self-extolled, he’s living a ‘carbon neutral’ lifestyle through the purchase of ‘carbon offsets,’ or credits, from an enviro-friendly company that specializes in that sort of nonsensical diddle.

But even an organization that specializes in carbon offsets has no clue how they actually function to reduce specific amounts of carbon dioxide (human only I assume despite that fact that humans are not the leading cause of CO2 production.) Dan Skopec, Undersecretary for California Environmental Protection Agency, is a man who represents the cheerleading effort behind carbon footprint reduction, while ensuring that Arnold Swarzenegger’s and Dianne Feinstein’s environmentally unfriendly lifestyles are made to look much less horrific than they actually. Recently interviewed for the John and Ken Show on KFI 640 in Los Angeles, Skopec confessed, after repeatedly dodging the question, that he, and the scientific community as a whole (at least the tree-hugger variety), have no idea how many trees it would take, and how long they would need to remain standing, in order to offset the billions of tons of C02 we produce. The concept of Swarzenegger and Feinstein and The Goracle spending $10 to buy the right for a single tree to offset the gobs of carbon dioxide they produce in just one private jet trip is comedy. The fact that they obviously spend more (probably) for multiple trees with no clue as to what is officially necessary in order to actually reduce their ‘carbon footprint’ is an absurdity to the point of tragedy.

So send me $10 and I’ll nail the bill right to the tree in my back yard (if I did in my front yard, someone might steal the money and you wouldn’t gain anything)–you’ve just purchased the right for my tree to reduce your CO2 emissions. How much? Like Mr. Skopec above, I have no clue. But it can’t hurt can it? Yet that’s how most scams seem to function, and stating that global warming is the major emergency of our time as Gore claimed yesterday lends more credence to those who do not question what they’re told and their willingness to buy into a scam without thinking for themselves.

But all this matters little to the mindless legions who follow The Goracle. Like an apoplectic discharge, they punish those who don’t exactly buy into the global warming theory, while choosing to ignore billions of years of undocumented, unrecorded evolutionary earth history–ice core samples, yeah–that has shown the earth transforming, evolving, metamorphosing, and arguably transmogrifying (yes, Mother Nature, you can be an ugly bitch sometimes) throughout the eons, warming and cooling.

Of course, what all of this really boils down to here are new taxe increases for everyone courtesy of the Al Gore global warming conspiracy and his next bid for President of the United States in 2008. Still, I’d vote for him over George W. Bush any day of the week (of course, I’m kidding.  I would simply abstain.)

Anyway, here’s a fantastic documentary produced by the UK Channel 4 titled The Great Global Warming Swindle. Proceed further down the page for more news stories.

 

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Here’s a NYTimes piece from a week ago. Though a little old, it’s interesting.

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype

Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”

Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe’s recent warming. The question is whether Mr. Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.

“He’s a very polarizing figure in the science community,” said Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental scientist who is a colleague of Dr. Vranes at the University of Colorado center. “Very quickly, these discussions turn from the issue to the person, and become a referendum on Mr. Gore.”

“An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, was released last May and took in more than $46 million, making it one of the top-grossing documentaries ever. The companion book by Mr. Gore quickly became a best seller, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times list.

Mr. Gore depicted a future in which temperatures soar, ice sheets melt, seas rise, hurricanes batter the coasts and people die en masse. “Unless we act boldly,” he wrote, “our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes.”

He clearly has supporters among leading scientists, who commend his popularizations and call his science basically sound. In December, he spoke in San Francisco to the American Geophysical Union and got a reception fit for a rock star from thousands of attendees.

“He has credibility in this community,” said Tim Killeen, the group’s president and director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a top group studying climate change. “There’s no question he’s read a lot and is able to respond in a very effective way.”

Some backers concede minor inaccuracies but see them as reasonable for a politician. James E. Hansen, an environmental scientist, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a top adviser to Mr. Gore, said, “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees,” adding that Mr. Gore often did so “better than scientists.”

Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States.

“We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. “On the other hand,” Dr. Hansen said, “he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporization, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate.”

In his e-mail message, Mr. Gore defended his work as fundamentally accurate. “Of course,” he said, “there will always be questions around the edges of the science, and we have to rely upon the scientific community to continue to ask and to challenge and to answer those questions.”

He said “not every single adviser” agreed with him on every point, “but we do agree on the fundamentals” — that warming is real and caused by humans.

Mr. Gore added that he perceived no general backlash among scientists against his work. “I have received a great deal of positive feedback,” he said. “I have also received comments about items that should be changed, and I have updated the book and slideshow to reflect these comments.” He gave no specifics on which points he had revised.

He said that after 30 years of trying to communicate the dangers of global warming, “I think that I’m finally getting a little better at it.”

While reviewers tended to praise the book and movie, vocal skeptics of global warming protested almost immediately. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.”

Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.

It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.

Bjorn Lomborg, a statistician and political scientist in Denmark long skeptical of catastrophic global warming, said in a syndicated article that the panel, unlike Mr. Gore, had refrained from scaremongering. “Climate change is a real and serious problem” that calls for careful analysis and sound policy, Dr. Lomborg said. “The cacophony of screaming,” he added, “does not help.”

So too, a report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.

Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore’s film did “indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios.” But the June report, he added, shows “that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.”

Other critics have zeroed in on Mr. Gore’s claim that the energy industry ran a “disinformation campaign” that produced false discord on global warming. The truth, he said, was that virtually all unbiased scientists agreed that humans were the main culprits. But Benny J. Peiser, a social anthropologist in Britain who runs the Cambridge-Conference Network, or CCNet, an Internet newsletter on climate change and natural disasters, challenged the claim of scientific consensus with examples of pointed disagreement.

“Hardly a week goes by,” Dr. Peiser said, “without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,” including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.

Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.

“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”

Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming’s effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria.

“For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,” Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. “We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”

Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton who advised Mr. Gore on the book and movie, said that reasonable scientists disagreed on the malaria issue and other points that the critics had raised. In general, he said, Mr. Gore had distinguished himself for integrity.

“On balance, he did quite well — a credible and entertaining job on a difficult subject,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “For that, he deserves a lot of credit. If you rake him over the coals, you’re going to find people who disagree. But in terms of the big picture, he got it right.”

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Returning as the ‘Goracle’

Gore brings his message on global warming — and a reincarnated image — to the Capitol.

By Faye Fiore and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
March 22, 2007
WASHINGTON — The doors swung open and he made his entrance with cameras clicking, the wooden politician denied the presidency and derided as “Ozone Man” was coming home to the Capitol. But this time they called him a movie star and likened him to a prophet.

Al Gore left Washington seven years ago bowed by the 2000 presidential election and a little disgraced in the eyes of his party — couldn’t he at least have won his home state?

 

But he returned Wednesday reincarnated: the subject of an Academy Award-winning film, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, a 58-year-old guy who, slightly grayed and a little puffy, can share a stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and still manage to be the center of attention.

The onetime congressman, senator and vice president was back, this time to testify about global warming. The Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth” — the documentary about his traveling slide show on the ravages of climate change — doesn’t even belong to him; it’s the director’s. But it has pushed Gore into another orbit in Washington’s universe. People started lining up as early as 7 a.m. to get a glimpse of him.

“This is the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced,” Gore told a joint meeting of two House panels in an impassioned appeal for bold action. (He later repeated his case on the Senate side.) “This problem is burning a hole in the top of the world…. We need to turn the thermostat back down before that melts.”

Gore, who arrived in a new hybrid Mercury, sat beside a stack of brown boxes filled with 516,000 messages — collected over the last few days on AlGore.com — urging “real action.”

“There is a sense of hope in the country that this United States Congress will rise to the occasion and present meaningful solutions to this crisis,” he said. “Congress is a repository of hopes and dreams of people all across this Earth.”

As the morning hearing convened on the House side, the repository of hopes and dreams spent several minutes bickering about where the committee members should sit and how much time they had to speak.

They appeared to divide pretty much along party lines. Democrats hailed the “Goracle,” who saw this coming 30 years ago, and Republicans dismissed him as an alarmist.

Among Gore’s ideas: a pollution tax, an immediate freeze on carbon dioxide emissions with sharp reductions in future years, stricter vehicle miles-per-gallon rules, a moratorium on construction of highly polluting coal-fired power plants, a strong global climate-change treaty and the creation of a federally operated “carbon-neutral” mortgage association that would serve as incentive for building energy-efficient homes.

“I listen to you sometimes in wonderment,” said Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), predicting that Gore’s proposals would cost “tens of thousands of jobs and more empty factories.”

Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas) complained of an “all-out assault” on energy sources that are crucial to economic and national security.

In the confrontational camaraderie for which Washington is famous, Hall and Gore happily reminisced about the time they went to a meeting on Hall’s boat, then Hall accused Gore of “flirting with the death of the energy industry.”

Gore acknowledged his proposals faced serious obstacles.

In calling for a pollution tax, he said, “I fully understand this is considered politically impossible, but part of our challenge is to expand the limits of what’s possible.” He urged his former colleagues to “walk through that fire.”

The day will come, he said, when future generations either ask, “Did they think it was perfectly all right to keep dumping 70 million tons every single day of global-warming pollution into this Earth’s atmosphere?” or “How did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics?”

Gore spoke mostly without notes and seemed more comfortable in his skin than when he was as a presidential candidate, even with a clot of photographers squatting in front of him. A notorious policy wonk, he touched on subjects such as light bulbs and the Arctic ice cap, which, he said, is melting even faster than previously thought and could “completely disappear in as little as 34 years.”

“If it goes, it won’t come back in any time scale relevant to the human condition,” he warned as his wife, Tipper, nodded in agreement behind him.

Members of both parties, who generally poke at their BlackBerrys during long committee hearings, appeared to pay attention.

The exchanges were sometimes confrontational, especially at the Senate hearing, where Gore dueled with one of the chief congressional skeptics on global warming, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.).”It seems that everything is blamed on global warming,” Inhofe said. “Last summer we had a heat wave and everyone said, ‘Oh, that’s proof it’s global warming.’ Then we had a mild December. ‘Oh, that’s proof that global warming is taking place.’ … How come you guys never seem to notice it when it gets cold?”

But Gore held firm, noting that a manatee showed up off Memphis last summer.

“First time ever,” he said. “It got too hot in southern Florida. I’m not making this up. Another one showed up off of Cape Cod, first time ever. Nature is on the run.”

Later, Gore invited Inhofe to breakfast to discuss the issue “without the cameras, without the lights.”

Much as he did in “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore reduced the science to simple metaphors.

When asked whether the United States should be taking drastic action when China and India were greater polluters, Gore explained that the U.S. accounted for 23% of carbon emissions and “like a bucket with a hole in it, you can still use the bucket, but it’s a lot more efficient if the hole is plugged.”

Outside the House hearing room where Gore spoke, a crowd waited for him to emerge. Three high school girls from New Jersey snapped his picture for their school newspaper, saying that he looked taller, older and more confident than they expected.

Gore left through a side door, missing an impromptu ditty by what sounded like a Dixieland band and members of the antiwar group Code Pink, attired in boas and assorted hats. He was nonetheless mobbed by photographers and squeezed into an elevator to escape.

“Run for president!” somebody hollered, just as the doors closed.

At the end of the day, after Gore finished his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman, called Gore a “role model for us all.”

Gore thanked her and asked, “Now, you don’t give out any kind of statue or anything?”

Dan Skopec, Agency Undersecretary

Dan Skopec – California EPA

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It’s been recently established that ex-VP and ecological warrior Al Gore uses over 20 times the amount of energy than the average American consumes, thereby illuminating a copious magnitude of hypocrisy on a man who had freshly been honored with the best documentary feature Academy Award for the runaway hit that is his global warming-cum-environmental treatise slash slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth.

Again, I’ve always been rather partial to Gore, and I really don’t mind inherent hypocrisy because honestly, as I expounded upon in this post, everyone is a hypocrite (myself included) and all hypocrisy is inherent. My central problem with Al Gore’s particular brand of hypocrisy is the fact that he’s fucking Al Gore: politician, celebrity, activist, and self-proclaimed internet architect. If he were just some guy spewing vomitous, mindless, unsolicited, insipid, and uninformed opinions in a blog on the internet that is rarely read by anyone (hmm… sounds sort of familiar), then his hypocrisies wouldn’t even register as a blip on my radar. But because he’s Al Gore (and not just any run-of-the-mill Al Gore mind you, but prognosticator and grand soothsayer to the follies of mankind in regards to global warming) we as the people of the world, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, expect the mighty almost-president to damn well practice what he damn well preaches. If he doesn’t commit to his publicly broadcast enviro-ideals, then I simply expect him to shut-up about this particular issue.

That’s not too difficult to ask, is it? It’s not like I’m pushing Mr. Gore to go live in a cave. Far from it. I would never expect that. I’m simply suggesting that as a result of his hypocrisy, he’s irreversibly cast-adrift some serious respect many have held for him, including myself, and he earnestly needs to sit down and think about how he can live his life by the code he’s urging everyone else on the planet to adopt. I would suggest looking towards Ed Begley Jr. as a good role model, and I’m being completely serious here. If you want to live your life as environmentally politically sound as possible, then you can’t do better celebrity-wise than Mr. Begley Jr. Here’s a man who would rather drive cross-country in his electric vehicle (which he does quite often) than pollute the atmosphere with copious amounts of jet plane causing carbon dioxide.

And speaking of jet planes, it appears we have a new enviro-hypocrite in the political/public arena. My own California Senator Dianne Feinstein apparently uses her wealthy husbands’ private jet to ferry her back and forth across the country–from Sacramento, California to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. According to the L.A. Times article below…

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

That’s almost twice as much carbon dioxide produced in just one cross-country trip. It would take me almost two years to produce as much CO2 that Feinstein craps out in one trip to the D.C. and back. So assuming she were to fly hither and thither say, around 100 times a year, which would not be out of the realm of possibility for someone like Feinstein who works in the nations capital but calls California her home, our senator would excrete close to 9 million pounds of CO2 in only one year. Ack! How can my poor, defenseless atmosphere stave off such a fiendish attack?

Of course the article also lists California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as another particularly vocal enviro-hypocrite–the attitudinizer (yes, it’s an actual word) so to speak. But now a new, previously unheard of, pseudo-phrase has been thrown into the mix, created I’m assuming to excuse those who evangelize eco-friendliness while engaging in behavior that is unequivocally eco-hostile, such as Schwarzenegger’s exhortations of energy conservation despite his unbridled love affair with the Hummer–a decidedly mother nature-terminating, gas guzzling behemoth. What is this new phrase? Carbon offsets.

So what are carbon offsets? According to the always reliable Wikipedia

A carbon offset is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common.

Proper to the LA Times article, apparently Feinstein has already been purchasing carbon offsets for a while now, while Schwarzenegger is intending to buy into this scheme imminently. And though it appears purchasing carbon offsets is a relatively inexpensive proposal, allowing the buyer a certain sense of inflated ego and magnanimity, the results are a bit questionable. I don’t mean to imply that planting trees offers no real benefit to the environment, but to offset the damage caused by brutal enviro-terrorists like Feinstein, Schwarzenegger, and Gore proves a daunting task indeed.

In order to right the damage done by only one Feinstein trip to Washington D.C., one would have to plant 1,800 trees. So what if the carbon offset organizations simply don’t have enough time or man-power to plant 1,800 trees in one go? Well, one could simply plant a much more manageable number–say 90 trees–but those trees would have to be managed for 20 years before they offered a return on only one Feinstein jet trip. Assuming Feinstein probably makes around 100 Gulfstream IV private trips back and forth, a carbon offset team would be required to plant 180,000 trees per year in order to battle the gross injustice Feinstein commits against the environment.

So are these carbon offset companies actually planting 1,800 trees per every flight Senator Feinstein embarks upon? I somehow doubt it, and this seems nothing more than a deflection scheme designed to allow the powerful and wealthy to continue their environmentally damaging behavior while they persist in preaching and condescending to the rest of us how to live our lives ecologically sound while admonishing us when we stray from their politically correct, beneficent path.

Refraining from what one preaches is harder to cover up than it seems.

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Politicians’ flights called wasteful

Schwarzenegger and Feinstein preach energy efficiency but often fly fuel-gulping small jets.

By Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
February 28, 2007

Sen. Dianne Feinstein offers plenty of tips on how California households can combat global warming, such as carpooling and running only a full dishwasher.

But one bit of information Feinstein declines to share is the number of times that she flew last year on her husband’s Gulfstream jet, which burns much more fuel per passenger-mile than commercial airliners.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has asked constituents to do their part to conserve energy — including cutting summertime power consumption — even though he takes to the skies on leased executive jets.

Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.

Some environmentalists aren’t so sure.

“There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said.

Flying on a Gulfstream rather than an airliner is like driving a sport utility vehicle instead of riding a bus, O’Donnell and others say.

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

Nonetheless, Feinstein and Schwarzenegger intend to continue their noncommercial flying ways because their jobs demand a flexibility the airlines can’t match, spokesmen say.

Schwarzenegger’s office said he and a jet-leasing company are establishing a “carbon offset” program for the governor and fellow customers, retroactive to Jan. 1. Carbon offsets are bought from organizations that plant trees and support renewable energy enterprises, among other measures, to offset greenhouse gases produced by the buyers.

“This is big news,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile said of the governor’s undertaking with NetJets, the leasing firm.

Feinstein, however, got the jump on Schwarzenegger. She began buying carbon offsets last year to partially cover the travel on the GIV, and will purchase enough offsets this year to compensate for all the trips, spokesman Scott Gerber said.

He added that Feinstein took “numerous” commercial flights in 2006, but flew mostly on the GIV. He balked at disclosing the tally of her Gulfstream journeys.

“We’re not going to get into specifics,” he said.

Noncommercial aircraft and other carbon-related indulgences have caused politicians considerable turbulence recently.

A conservative group has condemned Al Gore for racking up an average monthly electricity bill of $1,200 at his Nashville mansion last year while championing the anti-global warming cause. A Gore spokeswoman said the former vice president invests in renewable energy to offset his electricity use.

As part of an ethics push, the House and Senate are toughening restrictions on lawmakers who fly private jets, though exceptions for members and spouses who own planes are under consideration.

Earlier this month, Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of requesting a large military jet to fly her and family members between the capital and her San Francisco district.

Security protocols grant Pelosi occasional military flights because she is second in line to the presidency. Her office said she had only inquired about an aircraft with enough fuel capacity to make the trip nonstop, and would fly commercial if necessary.

Pelosi flew on private jets seven times in 2006, her spokesman said. “She made every effort to travel commercially whenever possible,” Drew Hammill said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer says she took four trips on private aircraft last year, one with multiple stops over 2 1/2 days.

“If you can take a commercial plane to get where you need to go at the time you need to be there, you should do it,” she said in an e-mail. “If not, you have to look at alternatives such as trains, fuel-efficient vehicles, buses, and in some cases, private planes.”

For that last option, Feinstein reimburses her husband, Richard Blum, for use of the jet, Gerber said. Blum bought the GIV for about $23 million in 1999. The reimbursements are based on a first-class commercial fare, with more than 90% of the money coming from Feinstein’s personal funds and the rest from campaign coffers, the spokesman said. Last year, the reimbursements to Blum totaled about $73,000, he said.

But a GIV’s operating expenses are much higher than a first-class booking. A round-trip Los Angeles-Washington flight on the Gulfstream burns about 4,500 to 5,000 gallons of fuel at a cost of roughly $20,000, depending on local pump prices, said Jeff Beck, a veteran corporate pilot. And that doesn’t include pilot fees, maintenance and parking bills.

“It’s the least environmental thing that politicians can do,” Beck said. He said Gulfstreams devour so much fossil fuel per passenger that “it’s like they’re throwing dinosaur bones out of the tailpipe.”

A coast-to-coast, first-class ticket on a major airline goes for about $1,200 to $2,500, round trip, according to a sampling of three airlines’ prices Tuesday.

A Boeing 767-200 airliner burns about 1,550 gallons an hour — three times as much as a GIV. But the larger plane typically can seat about 180 passengers, as opposed to a GIV’s 12 to 14.

Eric Carlson, executive director of Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit that sells offsets, said it would charge $229 to cover the emissions from the GIV round trip.

Schwarzenegger flies a variety of leased jets, which cost his campaign $733,000 during the three months ending last September. Maile said the governor digs into his own pockets for some flights.

He also said Schwarzenegger has converted one of his Hummers to biodiesel fuel, and plans to install solar panels on his house. His other three Hummers remain gas hogs.

For her part, Feinstein drives a hybrid Lexus sport utility vehicle when she is home in San Francisco, Gerber said. But she drives a Lincoln Town Car in Washington.

Not that the eco-crowd is eager to criticize Feinstein and Schwarzenegger, who are generally viewed as key supporters of the growing movement to curb emissions.

Representatives of some environmental groups either would not comment on the two politicians’ penchant for private jets, or suggested that allowances could be made in their circumstances.

“Given the exigencies of the campaign trail, if not the demands of governing of a large state, it may not be realistic to expect elective officials to fly commercial all the time,” said Jon Coifman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But O’Donnell, of Clean Air Watch, invoked a loftier ideal:

“It is fair to hope that our political leaders will lead by example.”

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I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying we are all hypocrites in our own special ways. He’s a hypocrite. She’s a hypocrite. You’re a hypocrite, and I’m a hypocrite. We’re all grand dissemblers to one degree or another, and it becomes a constant struggle not just to simply abstain from hypocrisy altogether, but rather to conceive new machinations that we might better obfuscate and conceal our various hypocrisies from all the other hypocrites out there in order to dodge the inevitable cries of “hypocrite” directed against our persons.

For someone like me, the process of avoiding the aforementioned stigma of “hypocrite” is relatively simple, and for good reason–no one knows or cares about me or what I think, nor should they. I’m just a blogger marooned out here in the desolate wasteland of politically centered blogs of which there are legion covering the same subjects I discuss here and with greater reasoning ability, writing skills, and all around knowledge of whatever subject I happen to be raising my ire against on any particular day.

If you’re in the public eye however, religious figures (Ted Haggard, you naughty, naughty boy) and politicians (Mark Foley, you naughty, naughty boy) in particular, it is incumbent upon you to remain as hypocritically free as possible, particularly if you’re proselytizing on a particular hot-button topic such as affirmative action, gay marriage, defense contracting, or global warming for example. While there exists an inordinate amount of hypocrisy on both sides of the political aisle in Washington, exactly the place that should be bereft of any form of dissimulation particularly when it comes to serving political constituents, I am continually amazed at the magnitude of certain hypocrisies and those who flaunt them.

Nancy Pelosi, Al Franken, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore–these are only a few of the major self-aggrandizing, modern evangelists who do nothing but shout at the general populace, “live your lives the way we tell you” which would be all fine and good if they would at least practice what they preached (and if I agreed with their sermon.) Unfortunately, many of the concepts these ideologues are attempting to push off on the public are not practiced by those who exhort them most strongly–Pelosi has forsaken environmental regulations in favor of an elitist golf course; Franken champions affirmative action but fails to hire any significant amount of minorities on his staff; Chomsky demonizes the American military yet makes large amounts of cash from Pentagon defense contracts; Michael Moore says he’s never once played the stock market, despite the fact he owned stock in Halliburton. And of course we all know about the aforementioned hypocritical blunders of Foley and Haggard.

Now I’ve always liked Al Gore, and his people have attempted to explain away this latest debacle in his own personal hypocrisy, but the fact the ex-Vice President (and the should-have-been President) just won an Academy Award for the runaway success that is his documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, makes this particular hypocrisy that much more entertaining.

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Gore home’s energy use: 20 times average
Tennessee think tank presents former veep’s own ‘inconvenient truth’

Al Gore deserves an Oscar for hypocrisy to go along with the two Academy Awards his movie won last night, contends a think tank from his home state Tennessee. The former vice president’s mansion in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, says the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, citing data from the Nashville Electric Service.

Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth, a 95-minute film warning of a coming cataclysm due to man-made “global warming,” won the award for best documentary feature and best song.

“My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis,” Gore said after taking the stage. “It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act. That’s a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.”

Standing with Gore on the stage last night, actor Leonardo DiCaprio said, to applause, “The American film industry has always taken its obligations to society very seriously and it’s now stepping up once again. Tonight, we’re proud to announce that for the first time in the history of the Oscars, this show has officially gone green.

Gore then followed with, “Which means that environmentally intelligent practices have been integrated fully into every aspect of the planning and production of these Academy Awards. And you know what: It is not as hard as you might think. We have a long way to go. But all of us can do something in our own lives to make a difference.”

But according to the Tennessee think tank, while the average American household consumed 10,656 kilowatt-hours last year, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 – more than 20 times the national average.

Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson said that “as the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use.”

Last August alone, according to Johnson’ group, Gore burned through 22,619 kilowatt-hours of electricity, more than twice the amount in one month that an average American family uses in an entire year.

Gore’s average monthly electric bill, the think tank says, is $1,359.

Since the release of Gore’s film, the former vice president and presidential candidate’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kilowatt-hours per month in 2005, to 18,400 per month in 2006.

The Tennessee group also points out natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

Gore paid a total of nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Responding to critics, Gore has described the lifestyle he and his wife Tipper live as “carbon neutral,” meaning he tries to offset any energy usage, including plane flights and car trips, by “purchasing verifiable reductions in CO2 elsewhere.”

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POWER: GORE MANSION USES 20X AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD; CONSUMPTION INCREASE AFTER 'TRUTH'
Mon Feb 26 2007 17:16:14 ET

Nashville Electric Service/Gore House

2006

High 22619 kWh Aug – Sept
Low 12541 kWh Jan - Feb
Average: 18,414 kWh per month

2005

High 20532 Sept - October
Low 12955 Feb - March
Average: 16,200 kWh per month

Bill amounts

2006 – $895.60 (low) $1738.52 (high) $1359 (average)
2005 – $853.91 (low) $1461 (high)

Nashville Gas Company

Main House
2006 – $990(high) $170 (low) $536 (average)
2005 – $1080 (high) $200 (low) $640 (average)

Guest House/Pool House

2006 – $820 (high) $70 (low) $544 (average)
2005 – $1025 (high) $25 (low) $525 (average)

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization, issued a press release late Monday:

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

For Further Information, Contact:
Nicole Williams, (615) 383-6431
editor@tennesseepolicy.org

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Gore Responds To Drudge’s Latest Hysterics

The right-wing is angry that Al Gore has won so much public attention and goodwill for his work on global warming. Determined to smear his efforts, Drudge writes in a screaming headline:

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Responding to Drudge’s attack, Vice President Gore’s office told ThinkProgress:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.

It’s the latest in a series of desperate attacks by Drudge to paint Gore as a hypocrite. Some other examples:

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These are the lengths that climate skeptics must go to suppress action on global warming. There is no meaningful debate within the scientific community, so the right-wing busies itself with talk about how much electricity Al Gore’s house uses — and even then they distort the truth.

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Once there was The People – Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People, and it made a hell of earth!
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, oh, ye slain!
Once there was The People – it shall never be again!
Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936), As Easy as A.B.C. (1917)

I own a hybrid gas/electric vehicle–a Toyota Prius.

In fairness, my initial intention when I set out to purchase a Prius a year and a half ago had nothing to do with rescuing the spotted owl, repairing the ozone, putting a stop to clear-cutting of our forests, helping the environment in general, or saving the planet as a whole. I simply wanted to save gas. I’m not a left-wing liberal or a right-wing conservative (though reading this blog regularly might lead you to believe I was the latter.) I’m a moderate who lives in Los Angeles with a lengthy daily commute to work. In the summer of 2005, at a time when the nation was seeing some of the highest gas prices this side of the 70’s (relatively speaking), I coincidentally fell into the market for a new car. The Prius seemed a sure bet. After nearly two years of ownership, I wouldn’t go back to anything else. I love my car, and more importantly, I love the money saved at the pump.

That being said, the environment and global warming can kiss my ass.

After the preliminary report released last week by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), any credence I maintained in environmentalists’ notions that “doing our part” can help change the course of global warming (which, over the past year, had been severely truncated due to personal investigative research) has been wholly and merrily tossed out of the figurative window.

Hell, if a consortium of top scientists from around the globe all agree on predictions concerning global meteorological phenomenon a century and more into the future, it must be true. Right?

Of course, I wouldn’t even begin to postulate how often my local weather forecast has been divined incorrectly, and I live in sunny Los Angeles for crying out loud. This was most recently evidenced in the prediction of clear skies a few days previous to a good day or two of drenching rain.

Additionally, a consensus of NASA meteorologists and scientists postulated boldly (well, ‘boldly’ might be too strong a word) the previous summer that this current winter season, under the diabolical latino cloak of El Nino, would be a record-breaking season of warm weather and frequent, heavy rains with fewer but far mightier hurricanes that would rival even Katrina in their ferocity. Actually, quite the opposite has taken place. It has been an unusually cold and dry winter during the 2006 and 2007 season, and any hurricane that did make landfall managed to constitute little danger with no serious catastrophe.

While I would not dare consider myself anything approximate to an expert on global warming or weather auguring, could one suppose the conclusions drawn in the 20-page summary on global warming by the IPCC as anything other than simply a weather prediction? Considering how often the experts end up predicting incorrectly, I would say yes, and I (and just about anyone) will maintain that the earth, as has been its tendency for billions of years, goes through cycles of change constantly–some minor, some major, some short, some long–most of that time without modern industrialized human society.

What is most revealing to me concerning this preliminary report is how the IPCC arrived at their percentage–a 90% certainty that global warming is due to human activity. From the LA Times article below…

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

China is the leading consumer of coal produced energy. So despite all of the time devoted to this endeavour, despite all of the money spent through years of research and resources used in order to conduct this program, and despite the idea that these scientists are supposedly the par excellence in their respective fields, politics still managed to barge in and fudge the numbers “as easy as A.B.C.”

How is a layman supposed to trust what the IPCC claims in their report when something as inane as politics can simply waltz in, beat its chest, and ultimately influence a supposedly unbiased report? How? Because it is a biased report.

Honestly though, as a result of their proclamation I have ceased caring about this particular subject. If global warming is a “runaway train” as the IPCC states, then what’s the point of doing anything to attempt regression? “Oh, but we must save the planet for our future children, and their children’s children. We must protect nature. etc. etc. blah. blah,” so preach the environmentalists.

I will say with certainty, and there’s none on this planet who will dispute this fact–human beings are a part of nature. We are the most advanced form of life the world has ever hosted, and we’re intelligent enough to manipulate our environment and work with other of nature’s creations to make our lives more comfortable, which is what we should be doing. I for one do not desire to live in a cave in the wilderness in order to protect the planet, nor do I suspect many environmentalists, especially the wealthy ones (well, perhaps Daryl Hannah, but she’s not wealthy.) Very few would wish to live a life-style reminiscent of pre-industrial era history in order to alter the effects of global warming. Those who would are probably already doing so, deranged to a greater or lesser extent anyway.

So the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown us the way. Global warming is unstoppable at this point, so here’s what I recommend. Since the temperate climates will eventually become intemperate, start looking into and purchasing land in currently remote and inhospitably cold areas of the planet. While it may not benefit the buyer at this point, future progeny will thank you for your prescience.

Alaska and the Yukon Territories of Canada are looking pretty good right now.

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U.N. says there’s no stopping global warming

Report also says climate change is ‘very likely’ the result of human activities.

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
February 2, 2007

In the strongest language it has ever used, a United Nations panel says global warming is “very likely” caused by human activities and has become a runaway train that cannot be stopped.

The warming of Earth and increases in sea levels “would continue for centuries … even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized,” according to a 20-page summary of the report that was leaked to wire services.

The summary of the fourth report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, was scheduled for release this morning in Paris. But scientists involved in the final editing process have been leaking bits and pieces from it all week, culminating in the leaking of the full report eight hours before its release.

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

The report also says scientists’ “best estimate” is that temperatures will rise 3.2 to 7.8 degrees by 2100. In contrast, the increase from 1901 to 2005 was 1.2 degrees.

The report also projects that sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century, and perhaps an additional 4 to 8 inches if the recent melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the Larsen B ice shelf in western Antarctica continues at current rates.

That is a decrease from the maximum of 35 inches predicted in the earlier study.

Nonetheless, such an increase would inundate many low-lying areas around the world, including islands such as Kiribati in the western Pacific Ocean and marsh areas near New Orleans. Such flooding would affect more than 10 million people.

The report also predicts a melting of Arctic ice during summers and a slowing of the Gulf Stream.

In addition, the report says, for the first time, that it is “more likely than not” that the strong hurricanes and cyclones observed since 1970 have been produced by global warming. The 2002 report said scientists did not yet have enough evidence to make such a link.

The summary is a purely scientific document and does not offer any recommendations on ways to control the problem. Those are expected in a chapter to be released this year.

The obvious solution would be to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, by reducing the use of fossil fuels in automobiles, factories and power plants.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was designed to reduce such emissions, but some major countries, including the United States, China and India, have no defined targets. President Bush withdrew the U.S. from the protocol in 2001, arguing that it was an “economic straitjacket” and that it failed to set standards for developing nations.

The earlier IPCC report was heavily criticized by conservative critics and a variety of online bloggers who said it exaggerated the effects of global warming. But a new study reported Thursday in the online version of the journal Science said that the IPCC report actually significantly underestimated both the extent of warming and the extent of the rise in sea levels.

An international team of climate experts said in the Science report that data showed global temperatures had increased by 0.6 degree, at the upper limit of the U.N.’s predictions, and that sea levels had risen 0.13 inch per year, compared with the U.N. report’s estimate of less than 0.08 inch per year.

The data show that “IPCC is presenting a consensus view that has been OKd by a very large number of interests, so it tends to err on the side of making cautious statements and not exaggerating,” said geochemist Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, one of the authors of the Science study.

The Science study “looks quite solid to me, indicating … that the climate is changing in a very significant way — and model projections are not overestimates, as some charge,” said atmospheric scientist Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, an independent think tank in Washington.

The unexpectedly large rise in sea levels may be at least partially due to the recently observed melting of the ice sheets, the authors of the Science study said.

The increase also may be due in part to a natural variability in sea levels superimposed onto rises produced by global warming, they said. It would be “premature,” they concluded, to assume that sea levels will continue to increase at the current rate.

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