Monday, 21 December 2009

Since when

... was a predicatble, mean-spirited misogynist bigot spouting predictable, mean-spirited misogynist bigotry "boundary pushing" (1)?

If Paul Henry's periodic outbursts of venom against women is "boundary pushing," then God help us all. I'd have thought the small minded desire to make fun of women who don't look like Alison Mau was pretty mainstream. If this is really pushing any sort of moral boundary - other than the boundary between good taste and the gutter, then New Zealand is in a far worse state that I thought.

There is nothing challenging or edgy about making fun of a rather unattractive woman for being slightly intellectually disabled. Ask Susan Boyle - she's probably had to put up with this "boundary pushing" abuse humour all her life.

Paul Henry picks on the dim ugly girl. What a tough guy. What a radical, boundary pushing, risky, unforesable, unique and innovative thing to do.

Next up - Paul Henry makes fun of a woman for having facial hair. Oh, wait, he's already done that (2).
1 - "Paul Henry 'Retard' complaints upheld," unattributed article from The Dominion Post, 21st of December, 2009. Reproduced on (
2 - "Henry faces up to 'moustache-gate'," by Emma Page, published in the Sunday Star Times, 23rd of March, 2009. Reproduced on (

Sunday, 20 December 2009

I was, of course, completely right - PRC accused of wrecking Copenhagen

The Independent has reported on how the PRC deliberately set out to wreck the Copenhagen cliamte summit, to protect its 'right' to pollute its way to developed status, and simultaneously duck having t commit to the same future requirements placed on developed nations:
... the key element of the agreement, a timetable for making its commitments legally binding by this time next year, was taken out at the last minute at the insistence of the Chinese, who otherwise would have refused to agree to the deal.

Also removed, at Chinese insistence, was a statement of a global goal to cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, and for the developed world to cut its emissions by 80 per cent by the same date. The latter is regarded as essential if the world is to stay below the danger threshold of a two-degree Centigrade temperature rise.

The "50-50" and "50-80" goals have already been accepted by the G20 group of nations and world leaders who were negotiating the agreement, including Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel of Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Kevin Rudd of Australia. They were said to be amazed at the Chinese demands, especially over the developed nations' goal. The European official said: "China thinks that by 2050 it will be a developed country and they do not want to constrain their growth."

China, with its rapidly expanding economy, has now overtaken the US as the world's biggest CO2 emitter, and although at the meeting it agreed for first time to a target to constrain its emissions growth in an international instrument, it is desperate not to have that made legally binding, the official said. He added: "This conference has been systematically wrecked by the Chinese government, which has adopted tactics that were inexplicable at first as we had been led to believe they wanted an agreement." (1)
The motivation here being short term fear of social collapse if they don't keep growing their economy fast enough to maintain their legitimacy in the eyes of their population. And, because the west is dependent on the PRC's neo-slave labour to maintain its standard of living (also totally unsustainable, of course) our leaders caved in.

1 - "China stands accused or wrecking global deal," by Michael McCarthy, Rebecca Buchan and Claire Cooper, published in The Independent, 20th of December, 2009.(

Copenhagen blues

Well, now that Copenhagen has ended with the Mother of All Whimpers and a lot of meaningless tattle andbout meaningful targets (1) why are we surrprised?

The stumbling block was, as always, the PRC, which needs to maintain a massive growth rate to avoid social collapse. Their growth rate in the last 12 months or so came down to about 8%, and that caused riots and demonstrations. They need to keep it well above that to continue to give the people the visible improvements in standard of living they need to keep them quiescent. And they don't think they can provide that if they can't continue to industrialise at top speed, with the consequent CO2 emmissions.

(And who is it that owns the majority of the USA's foreign debt ... hmmmmm (2))

Yet I am still surprised, and disappointed. In part, because this was so important. In part, because it has given the Swivel Eyed Denier Loons new reason to think they can win. In part, because I remember how Kyoto was saved at the final hour.

But Copenhagen's failure forces me to wonder, if our governments are failing us in the face of the biggest issue facing us, and are so obviously more responsive to the short term concerns of industry rather than the people, are we still obliged to follow our part of the social contract?

1 - "Copenhagen climate conference: the grim meaning of 'meaningful'," editorial published by The Guardian, 19th of December, 2009. (
2 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm:

Friday, 11 December 2009

Lurgee's Paradigm VII: "They tried to 'hide the decline!'"

Pretty much any mention, in serious debate, of the emails hacked from the Climate Research Unit indicates the presence of a swivel eyed denier fanatic.

The reasoning here being that, while the emails may have contained some unfortunate, clumsy or downright childish statements, the debate has moved on.

Take, for example,the much cited comment by Phil Jones, from 1999:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each
series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to
hide the decline. (1)
This has been explained. The decline in question wasn't to do with temperature, but with accuracy - a declining correlation between tree ring data and the instramental record. Real Climate explained it as follows:

The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the
original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot
the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the
recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a
good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so
there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well
known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from
the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the
“divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been
discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391,
678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of
their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words
(since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is
completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

Now, you might, or might not, agree with that. You might raise the point that if we can't trust tree rings post-1960, ho ca we trust them - or any proxy records - from before 1960? That's a legitiamte line of argument which - impostant bit - advances the debate. The point is that you are arguing against that response, not just pointing to the original email and squealing about how scientists conspired to "hide the decline." Anyone doing that (and there are plenty) can immediately be dismissed as a denier and impervious to reason or argument.
1 - 'The CRU hack,' posted by Real Climate on Real Climate, 20th of November, 2009. (
2 - ibid.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Temporary cessation of hostility in the bloglands

It's good to see that Pompous Chris (1) and Lew (2) have decided to bury the hatchet somewhere other than in each other's backs. If only they had listened to me months ago (3), all this unpleasantness could have been avoided.

Listen, people, when will you realise that I am ALWAYS right, and everyone should just shut up and listen to me ...

1 - 'Two Deletions and an Apology,' posted by Chris Trotter on
Bowalley Road, 9th of December, 2009. (
2 - 'Back away slowly,' posted by Lew on Kiwipolitico, 9th of
December, 2009. (
3 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:

Monday, 7 December 2009

Climate change deniers. The. Final. Word.

I don't know about you, but I'm encountering the term 'eco-nazis' quite a lot just now. Probably sometihng to do with the near hysteria in dnier cricles post-Cliamtegate and pre-Copenhagen.

Perhaps the people who throw the term around think it is justified by the use of the term deniers to describe people who ... um ... deny that human activity is contributing to climate change. They say it is objectionable to be compared to Holocaust deniers. What would they have prefered? Nay sayers? Sorry, can't havve scpetics. There are respectable people called sceptics and the people I label deniers use an entirely different methodology to genuine sceptics.

And that's the key. The similarity that justifies the comparison is in methodology, not morality (though therein lies another debate). Holocaust deniers refuse to accept evidence, apply inconsistent criteria, place absurd standards of proof on 'opposition' representatives and repeat tired, discredited arguments. They also have a flair for publicity and continually imply there is a vast conspiracy, funded by special interests.

That describes the so-called climate change 'sceptics' pretty well, doesn't it?

Where as Nazis liquidated their opposition in a ruthless genocide, based on intolerance, hatred, crazed ideas of racial superiority and total abrogation of personal responsibility.

That doesn't really describe the pro-AGW camp very well, does it?

So, to finish off, here is the final word on comparisons to the Third Reich, a bold two fingers to Godwin's Law:

Anthropogenic climate change is akin to the rise of Nazism.

CO2 = Hitler. Methane = Mussolini. El Nino/La Nina = Stalin (Shifty, untrustworthy, likely to change sides at any moment).

Appeasers and blind optimists are currently assuring us that CO2-Hitler is not warming the planet and will be content with his 1998 Anschluss.

And on a slightly more serious note, the rise of CO2-Hitler and his Thousand Year Reich, like the historical Holocaust, relies on the co-operation of an army of little Eichmanns (1). In the current climate (Boom! Boom!) that's us - unimportant drones toodling about our business, failing to take responsibility for our actions, trusting that the Powers-thatbe know what They are doing.

1 - 'Little Eichamnns,' wikipedia explanation of the meaning and origins of the phrase. Viewd 7th of December, 2009. (

Friday, 4 December 2009

Hurricane Bill: Gray areas in climate change debate

Someone drew my attention to a debate, between Dr Bill Gray, and Dr Kevin Trenberth , on the topic of Climate change (1).

I was intruiged by it because - unusually - Gray actually has proper qualifications in climate science and he has some authority. Admittedly, his area of specialisation is hurricanes, and not climate change, but it was enough to make me want to see what he has to say.

Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered.

The estimable Dr Gray is an authority on hurricanes, but his work on climate change is considered shonky (scientific term meaning not very good) and has failed peer review (2). He seems to have become more irrascible over they years . Here he uses a few strawmen andsome disingenuous argument to make his case:
This is because nearly 20 years of gross exaggeration on the part of scientists, environmentalists, politicians, and media; most of whom wish to profit in some way from the public’s lack of knowledge on the topic-have distorted the subject of human-induced global warming out of all sensible proportion. Many have been lead to believe that Al Gore’s movie and book An Inconvenient Truth provides incontrovertible evidence that human-induced global warming is a real threat. (3)
Neither Al Gore nor climatologist are to blame for the public or the media's failure to grasp the nuanced leanguage of climate change debate. The IPCC does not talk in absolutes. It only goes as far as to say that it is "very likely" that human activity is contributing to cliamte change. Neither does the fact that the media often exagggerate or misrepresent, nor the fact that the public swallow these misrepresentations uncritically, actually affect the basic science.
Yet, contrary to what is heard from warming advocates, there is considerable evidence that the global warming we have experienced over the last 30 years and over the last 100 years is largely natural. It is impossible to objectively determine the small amount of human-induced warming in comparison to the large natural changes which are occurring.
Er ... yes. Most climateologists would accept that the majority of global temeprature increase through the 20th century is attributeable to non-human causes.

But the influence of CO2 is growing, as evidenced by the fact that global temp hasn't dropped since 1998, even though there isn't anything much happening to keep it that high. The cycle should go up, then down. Instead, it is going up, and then just hanging about doing nothing. What's holding it up? Greenhouse gases seem to be the most likely candidate. And given the long life of CO2 in the atmosphere, its influence will continue to grow as long as we keep pumping it out and chopping down trees.
Many thousands of scientists from the US and around the globe do not accept the human-induced global warming hypothesis as it has been presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports over the last 15 years. The media has, in general, uncritically accepted the results of the IPCC and over-hyped the human aspects of the warming threat.
Hmmm ... thousands of scientists? 31,000, perhaps (4)?

As for the media 'uncritically' accepting the IPCC position, that just ... hilarious. Obviously, the man hasn't opened a newspaper in the last decade, far less in the last year.

The contrary views of the many warming skeptics have been largely ignored and their motives denigrated. The alleged “scientific consensus” on this topic is bogus. As more research on the human impact on global temperature change comes forth, more flaws are being found in the hypothesis.

It must be pointed out that most climate research is supported by the federal government. All federally sponsored researchers need positive peer-reviews on their published papers and grant proposals. This can be difficult for many of the “closet” warming skeptics who receive federal grant support. Many are reluctant to give full expression of their views, primarily because of worries over continuing grant support. It is difficult to receive federal grant support if one’s views differ from the majority of their peers who receive support to find evidence of the warming threat.

Crazy. "People who challenge the AGW theory are denigrated, but, by the way, did you know the pro-AGW crowd are a bunch of money grubbing spoungers off the tax payer?"

It was at this point that I stopped taking Dr Gray seriously.

Implementation of the proposed international treaties restricting future
greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20 to 80 percent of current emissions would lead to a large slowdown in the world’s economic development and, at the same time, have no significant impact on the globe’s future temperature.

Why not, Bill? If CO2 is a greenhosue gas, then reducing concentrations will limit future temperature increases. You need to explain why CO2 emmissions aren't to blame.

Few of the GCM modelers have any substantial weather or short-range climate forecasting experience. It is impossible to make skillful initial-value numerical predictions beyond a few weeks ... GCMs should not be relied upon to give global temperature information 50 to 100 years into the future. GCM modelers do not dare make public short-period global temperature forecasts for next season, next year, or a few years hence. This is because they know they do not have shorter range climate forecasting skill.

Yet the original computer models from the 80s have proven accurate (5), even down to predicting - to with in a few years - the temperature stagnation of the first decade of this century.

As for his comments about short term prediction/forecasting, in that context he is wessentially talking about weather. Weather and climate are not the same (6). Weather is something that is fairly unpredictable that happens within a framework, called climate, which is more easily forecast. Like rolling a die, I can't say what number will come up, but I can state that it will be between 1 and 6. Unless it is one of those weird roleplaying dice with 23 sides.

Global temperatures have always fluctuated and will continue to do
so regardless of how much anthropogenic greenhouse gases are put into the atmosphere.

Yes, but as pointed out earlier, the fluctuations will be within an overall warmer context. Instead of ranging from WARM down to COLD, global temperatures might range from HOT to COOL. Or, if things get out of hand, from VERY HOT to WARM. The range (on the soon-to-be-patented Lurgee's Scale of Temperature Classification sysyem) is the same, but the parameters are different. So the fluctuations are only relevant in so much as you'd like your year rare or well done.
The globe has many serious environmental problems. Most of these problems are regional or local in nature, not global. Forced global reductions in human-produced greenhouse gases will not offer much benefit for the globe’s serious regional and local environmental problems.

Not really relevant, Bill.
We should, of course, make all reasonable reductions in greenhouse gases to the extent that we do not pay too high an economic price. We need a prosperous economy to have sufficient resources to further adapt and expand energy production.

So we should reduce greenhosue gas emmissions - a backdoor admission that they will warm the planet. Ooops.

Even if CO2 is causing very small global temperature increases there is hardly anything we can do about it. China, India, and Third World countries will not limit their growing greenhouse gas emissions.

They may well come to the party, because many of them face far more worrying issues with climate change than the west does. Anyway, saying "Climate change isn't happening because the Chinese don't want to do a deal on it" is a very strange argument. Why include it if you don't think we're in a climate crisis, or that one is coming?

What the developing world won't do is accept the prospect of a second best standard of living compared to the west, and nor should they. We need to find a means to balance the need for growth and material improvement with the need to avoid causing further danmage to the eco system. This final point by Gray is effectively nationalist-isolationist - "The USA shouldn't do anything because others won't" and again betrays the reality that something is happening, but he's carping about what should be done about it.

I should now go on to examine the coutner arguments put forward by Trenbeth, but I hit this in the second paragraph:

In recognition of the stalwart work over 20 years, the 2007 Nobel
Peace Prize was awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore.

WTF? That's so vapid and irrelevant that it makes Gray look credible. Please, don't make me read any more.

1 - 'Dr. William Gray and Dr. Kevin Trenberth Debate Global Warming: Part 1,' text of debate posted on Laissez-Nous Faire by Ray, 10th of October, 2009. (
2 - 'William M. Gray: criticisms of Gray's statements on global warming,' wikipedia biography of Professor Gray, viewed 4th of December, 2009.
3 - Indented sections in bold are taken from the debate linked in #1, above.
4 - As described previosuly on Lefthandpalm:
5 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm:
6 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm:

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Green peace exaggeration claims ... exaggerated

I've just had this clip brought to my attention (1), where former head of Greenpeace, Gerd Leipold, in an interview with Steven Sackur for Hardtalk, is apparently compelled to admit that his organisation exaggerates its claims to make them more dramatic.

The Greenpeace press release in question is identified as having been dated the 15th of July. I've located what I think is the source of the claim that "we are looking at ice-free summers in the Arctic as early as 2030" claim referred to by Sackur.

It is perfectly obvious Greenpeace were referring to sea ice, not the Greenland ice cap. So Sackur was badgering his interviewee, trying to get him to defend a claim that Greenpeace never made:
Bad news is coming from other sources as well. A recent NASA study has shown that the ice cap is not only getting smaller, it’s getting thinner and younger. Sea ice has dramatically thinned between 2004 and 2008. Old ice (over 2 years old) takes longer to melt, and is also much harder to replace. As permanent ice decreases, we are looking at ice-free summers in the Arctic as early as 2030.

They say you can't be too thin or too young, but this unfortunately doesn't apply to the Arctic sea ice. Polar bears are the first to suffer from it, but many other species could be affected as well. (2)

Pretty poor interviewing, as it merely created a false impression, rather thangetting to the truth. If he'd shown the press release, or even bothered to read it himself, it would have been perfectly obvious what was being described.

This is one of the problems with Hardtalk - the interviewers are so intent on maintaining control and authority, and appearing to be fierce and untrelenting, that is often produces some pretty bollocks journalism.

1 - "Greenpeace Leader Admits Arctic Ice Exaggeration," extract from a BBC Hardtalk interview with Gerd Leipold, interview conducted by Steven Sackur. Date of broadcast unclear, probably 10th of August, 2009, going by the BBC world headlines scrolling across the screen. Clip posted on EclippTV, by persons unknown, 20th of August, 2009. (
2 - "Urgent action needed as Arctic ice melts," unattributed Greenpeace News item (NOT a press release], posted on the Greenpeace website, 15th of July, 2009. (

Will the tyranny of Boris Johnson never end?

When not threatening teenage girls with his iron rod (1), the Stlain of the Thames is now dreaming up new ways to squeeze money from his long sufferring subjects. Those who seek to enjoy a soothing nicotine rush now must live in fear of being slapped with an £80 fine for enjoying one of the few consolations stilla vailable to those trapped within the Iron Curtain of the M25:
Smokers who drop cigarette butts in the City of London face an £80 fine in a new crackdown on litter.

Every day about 7,000 cigarette butts are dropped in the City. They are accompanied by lighters, matches and cellophane wrappers.

Now 10 environment officers will be prowling - and issuing the fines to irresponsible smokers. Those who give false details will be fined £1,000. (2)
"Ah-ha," I hear you cry, "The fines only apply to those who litter! Surely you agree littering is a terrible thing and should be discouraged?"

Indeed. But I fully expect that the fines will extorted on the flimsiest pretext. Indeed, I would not be at all surprised to learn that Johnson himself - blond mane flopping over his eyes and his ruddy face infused with the thrill of the hunt - sneaks up behind hapless smokers and shouts "Boo!" - or perhaps "OIK!" - so they drop their cigarette in shock, and thus slapped with an instant fine for littering.

I put nothing past that man, nothing.

1 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm: For the perennially hard of humour, again, this is satire.
2 - "Smokers face £80 fine for butts," unattributed BBC article, published
on the BBC website, 2nd of December, 2009. (

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Climate change - anatomy of a myth

1 - 'Climate Change - Anatomy of a Myth," posted on youtube by Potholer, 23rd of
March, 2009. (