Global Warming Follies

Fifth-graders fight global warming with art

Posted in Follies by tjgavin on March 29, 2008

More indocrination of our kids.

Fifth-grade students in Lisa Maddox’s Rockport Elementary class are trying to put a stop to global warming with their artwork.

In the program Art Against Global Warming, sponsored by Gloucester-based clinical psychologist Mark Konecky, students transform their ideas into artwork to express and share how the world can be a better place if global warming is stopped.

For Konecky, the experience has been inspiring and empowering as he is doing something that helps children feel more active, energized, and powerful, he said. His goal for the students is to help make them agents for positive change in the community.

“My hope is that the children feel, working as individuals and as a group, that they are agents for positive change and they can help educate their peers and their parents about some of the problems that they’re concerned about in the world, and they can also be educating themselves,” he said.

So a “clinical psychologist” is teaching kids to “feel more active , energized and powerful”. I’m guessing their parents might have an idea about the need for those emotions. I’m also thinking they’ll have a thing or two to say about  having their fifth  graders “educate” them.  Then again, with the state of parenthood these days, maybe not.



Study: The more you know about GW the less you care!

Posted in Follies by tjgavin on March 29, 2008

Here’s one that’ll keep ’em busy for awhile:

The more you know the less you care — at least that seems to be the case with global warming. A telephone survey of 1,093 Americans by two Texas A&M University political scientists and a former colleague indicates that trend, as explained in their recent article in the peer-reviewed journal Risk Analysis.

“More informed respondents both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming,” states the article…

The diminished concern and sense of responsibility flies in the face of awareness campaigns about climate change, such as in the movies An Inconvenient Truth and Ice Age: The Meltdown and in the mainstream media’s escalating emphasis on the trend.

What’s an Algore to do since another movie will just make people MORE apathetic? How rich!

And, of course, it never occurs to the authors to posit that perhaps the more informed you are the more likely you are to understand that its probably a crock.


More airplane BS

Posted in Follies by tjgavin on March 25, 2008

We’ve discussed the unnecessary freakouts over things related to air travel before, and this one isn’t much different. Emirates Airlines is putting showers in its new luxury Airbus A380s. It’ll cost a passenger around $18,000 to take a shower midflight, but is that really what matters?

Fly to New York with Emirates this autumn and you’ll be able to take a hot shower in midair, but it will cost you more than £9,000 and give you a shocking carbon footprint.

The aircraft will carry an extra tonne of water to feed the first-class shower — a payload equivalent to 12 extra passengers and incurring a carbon cost of 48,455lb for every return flight.

“It’s symptomatic of who really benefits,” says Plane Stupid’s Robbie Gillett. “The richest 18% in this country take 54% of all flights. The government is telling us to take fewer flights, but the huge increase in air traffic is not due to ordinary people going on family holidays, but because of excessive flying by the moneyed classes. Is this the type of development the aviation industry really needs?”

Shame on you, moneyed classes! I love how things are expressed in “carbon cost” nowadays.

Link (Times Online)

Never mind. Again2!

Posted in Follies by tjgavin on March 25, 2008

The slow backing away from all of the things we just KNEW were caused by GW is becoming a parade.

In the scientific equivalent of the board game Clue,teams of biologists have been sifting spotty evidence and pointing to various culprits in the widespread vanishing of harlequin frogs.

That’s the New York Times set up to tell you that what they previously told you is “no longer operative”. But first they have to tell you what they already told you:

It looked as if one research team was a winner in 2006 when global warming was identified as the “trigger” in the extinctions by the authors of a much-cited paper in Nature. The researchers said they had found a clear link between unusually warm years and the vanishing of mountainside frog populations.

The authors, led by J. Alan Pounds of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica, said, “Here we show that a recent mass extinction associated with pathogen outbreaks is tied to global warming.” The study was featured in reports last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Now here comes the “never mind” part:

Now, in the March 25 issue of PLoS Biology, another team argues that the die-offs of harlequins and some other amphibians reflect the spread and repeated introductions of the chytrid fungus. They question the analysis linking the disappearances to climate change.

And here’s the payoff pitch:

“There is so much we still do not know!” David B. Wake, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley

Amen, Mr. Wake. Amen.

But even though “there’s so much we still don’t know”, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything we can to fight it:

Ross A. Alford, a tropical biologist at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, said such scientific tussles, while important, could be a distraction, particularly when considering the uncertain risks attending global warming.

“Arguing about whether we can or cannot already see the effects,” he said, “is like sitting in a house soaked in gasoline, having just dropped a lit match, and arguing about whether we can actually see the flames yet, while waiting to see if maybe it might go out on its own.”

That’s right Mr. Alford. Global Warming, even though it may not be killing frogs, is JUST like that. A house soaked in gasoline. Right. Why do I suspect another “never mind” coming.


Global Warming has stopped, even reversed.

Posted in Common Sense by tjgavin on March 22, 2008

The following is an excerpt from an Australian Radio National interview on Monday with Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs:

“Is the Earth still warming?”“No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you’d expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.”

Asked if this view was controversial, she said:

“Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued … This is not what you’d expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you’d expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up … So (it’s) very unexpected, not something that’s being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it’s very significant.”

She was then asked how the IPCC explains this phenomenon:

“Well, the head of the IPCC has suggested natural factors are compensating for the increasing carbon dioxide levels and I guess, to some extent, that’s what sceptics have been saying for some time: that, yes, carbon dioxide will give you some warming but there are a whole lot of other factors that may compensate or that may augment the warming from elevated levels of carbon dioxide.”There’s been a lot of talk about the impact of the sun and that maybe we’re going to go through or are entering a period of less intense solar activity and this could be contributing to the current cooling.”

She’s precisely right! Most of this you’ve seen on this blog before but its good to see it getting more play. The exciting part is actually what comes next. Here’s more of the interview on something we haven’t seen before:

“Can you tell us about NASA’s Aqua satellite, because I understand some of the data we’re now getting is quite important in our understanding of how climate works?”

Marohasy: “That’s right. The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you’ve got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you’re going to get a positive feedback. That’s what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite … (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they’re actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you’re getting a negative rather than a positive feedback.”

“The climate is actually, in one way anyway, more robust than was assumed in the climate models?”

Marohasy: “That’s right … These findings actually aren’t being disputed by the meteorological community. They’re having trouble digesting the findings, they’re acknowledging the findings, they’re acknowledging that the data from NASA’s Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they’re about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide.”

“From what you’re saying, it sounds like the implications of this could be considerable …”

Marohasy: “That’s right, very much so. The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite and (climate scientist) Roy Spencer’s interpretation of them. His work is published, his work is accepted, but I think people are still in shock at this point.”

Stay tuned. I guess the debate really isn’t over now, is it?


Are you scared yet?

Posted in Follies by tjgavin on March 20, 2008

The GW scare machine is ginning up again. Now its National Geographic warning of “massive” earthquakes.

As ice sheets melt, they can release pent-up energy and trigger massive earthquakes, according to new study.

Global warming may already be triggering such earthquakes and may cause more in the future as ice continues to melt worldwide, the researchers say.

A series of large earthquakes shook Scandinavia around 10,000 years ago, along faults that are now quiet, the scientists point out.

The timing of each earthquake roughly coincided with the melting of thick ice sheets from the last ice age in those same places.

So “large” earthquakes (not as massive as “massive” earthquakes, I guess) “roughly” coincided with melting ice sheets 10,000 years ago. I would think that, given the fact that we’re talking 10,000 years ago, “roughly” might mean anywhere from 100 to 1,000 years from cause to effect.  Even that seemed to me to be too wide of a timeframe for me to plan my life around.  But no:

 They began in the south of what is now Sweden about 12,000 years ago, then hit south-central Sweden near modern-day Stockholm around 10,500 years ago (see Sweden map).

Finally the earthquakes hit Lapland, in northern Scandinavia, about 9,000 years ago.

Turns out, what they mean by “roughly” is actually 3,000 years. Tell you what: if your scared by this potential,  you go out and earthquake-proof your house. I’ll watch. 


It’s only a mystery to some.

Posted in Common Sense by tjgavin on March 19, 2008

I expect we’ll start seeing a lot more articles like this.

The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat

by Richard Harris, Morning Edition, March 19, 2008 ·

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren’t quite understanding what their robots are telling them.This is puzzling in part because here on the surface of the Earth, the years since 2003 have been some of the hottest on record. But Josh Willis at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

First the New York Times. Now NPR. The earth seems to be shifting beneath their feet.


Korea represents the globe

Posted in Follies by tjgavin on March 18, 2008

I love it when very localized things, like budding trees in Korea, are thought to be representative of the entire globe. This story tells of Arbor Day celebrations being held early because of “global” warming.

“The weather is warming up early and it’s better to plant early,” Lee Cheol-soo, the city’s park greenery official, said.

The city of Paju, located north of Seoul near the North Korean border, also moved up its planting event to Thursday.

Calls for moving up Arbor Day have emerged across the country due to the effects of climate change, but the day will be observed for now according to public recognition, the Korea Forest Service said. (Yonhap)


Chicago to London: the “eco-scandal” flight

Posted in Follies by tjgavin on March 16, 2008

So much good stuff came out of this tidbit of news. The short version is that American Airlines flew a plane with five passengers on board from Chicago to London after some cancellations and fleet management needs. The fun stuff is that Friends of the Earth must have pee in their sippy cups because they’re pretty angry about it.

American Airlines’ explanation and Friends of the Earth complaint:

“With such a small passenger load we did consider whether we could cancel the flight and re-accommodate the five remaining passengers on other flights.

“However, this would have left a plane load of west-bound passengers stranded in London Heathrow who were due to fly back to the US on the same aircraft.

“We sought alternative flights for the west-bound passengers but heavy loads out of London that day meant that this was not possible.”

Richard Dyer, Friends of the Earth’s transport campaigner said: “Flying virtually empty planes is an obscene waste of fuel. Through no fault of their own , each passenger’s carbon footprint for this flight is about 45 times what it would have been if the plane had been full.

“Governments must stop granting the aviation industry the unfair privileges that allow this to happen by taxing aviation fuel and including emissions from aviation in international agreements to tackle climate change.”

This is the old trick of making a big deal out of small numbers to play on the public’s perception. According to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, there are more than 87,000 flights in the U.S. every day. The Air Transport Action Group says that an average flight burns about 970 gallons of fuel per hour. Okay, so we need to make a few assumptions. For the purposes of this calculation, we’ll be generous and say that the average flight in the U.S. is three hours long. Since we’ll be figuring out what portion of the total daily fuel consumption was this American Airlines flight, it’s quite a concession to use only the U.S. statistics and not worldwide. Also, to assume that the average flight is only three hours lowers the total from which a percentage will be calculated. Therefore, all factors considered, the calculated percentage will almost certainly be overstated quite a bit and not even close to the worldwide figures.

Still with me? Here’s what I figure:

Flights per day (U.S. only): 87,000 (a)
Hours per flight (assumed): 3 (b)
Gallons per hour: 970 (c)

Flight hours (a x b): 261,000 (d)
Gallons per day (c x d): 253,170,000 (e)

Gallons consumed by AA: 22,000 (f)
Percentage of Total (f / e): 0.0087%

That’s a tiny number. So, if I understand the Friends of Al Gore the Earth, we are supposed to freak out over a flight that consumed 87 thousandths ten thousandths (thanks gajim!) of a percent of the daily fuel consumed just in the U.S.? Please tell me you’re joking. Imagine what that percentage would look like if I have worldwide figures to work with. Such arguments are designed to perceive numbers as greater than they are or to have greater meaning or impact. When you actually do the math, you find that a number like 22,000, which sounds large in some contexts, is but a tiny fragment of a morsel of the total considering the big picture.

A consumer-oriented blog, The Consumerist, posted this story along with a poll, giving their readers a choice between commending American Airlines for their customer service, agreeing with the eco-scandal stance, or basic indifference. Luckily, as of 2:30 pm today, only about 10% of the readers agreed with the eco-scandal nonsense. Good for you, readers!

Link (original news item – Telegraph)

Oh Savior! Speak to us!

Posted in Follies,Funny by tjgavin on March 14, 2008

Just so that you know what you’ll be getting we think it’ll be helpful to summarize what each of the U.S Presidential candidates think on the topic of GW. Here’s Obama’s thoughts according to Larry Elder:

Obama’s America considers global warming a dire threat to our planet. As with Al Gore of the Oscar-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth,” they consider drastic action necessary to avoid catastrophe.

The other America agrees with General Motors‘ vice-chairman Bob Lutz, who recently called global warming a “total crock of s—-.” They support an analysis in the documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” which aired in England on the UK’s private channel 4. This America questions the extent to which man-made activity causes increased temperatures. They question whether the Kyoto Protocol — mandating large expenses on industry to control greenhouse gases — actually harms more than helps. Other climatologists/skeptics argue that many factors account for the slight rise in world temperature over the last hundred years, including, but not limited to, solar activity.

Obama’s solution: Force Lutz to square off on pay-per-view against Al Gore in an Ultimate Fighting Championship no-holds-barred death match. The winner gets to decide America’s policy on climate change.

Hopefully this comforts the naysayers who doubt whether Barack Obama can, indeed, bring us together.

April Fool!!!!


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