The floodgates slowly open and the foreign news media debunk climate change propaganda

With the liberation of the ClimateGate emails from the CRU, suddenly long-surpressed information becomes respectable for the mainstream media to publish.  At least, for foreign news media.  People relying on the US news remain ignorant as stones.  The way our ruling elites want them to be.  Free yourself — read some of the many foreign newspapers and magazines available in English.

Today’s Feature story day:  “UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters“, The Times, 24 January 2010 — Excerpt:

THE United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny — and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report’s own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.

The claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global warming is already affecting the severity and frequency of global disasters, has since become embedded in political and public debate.

  • It was central to discussions at last month’s Copenhagen climate summit, including a demand by developing countries for compensation of $100 billion (£62 billion) from the rich nations blamed for creating the most emissions.
  • Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change minister, has suggested British and overseas floods — such as those in Bangladesh in 2007 — could be linked to global warming.
  • Barack Obama, the US president, said last autumn: “More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent.”

… The academic paper at the centre of the latest questions was written in 2006 by Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a London consultancy, who later became a contributing author to the section of the IPCC’s 2007 report dealing with climate change impacts. He is widely respected as an expert on disaster impacts. Muir-Wood wanted to find out if the 8% year-on-year increase in global losses caused by weather-related disasters since the 1960s was larger than could be explained by the impact of social changes like growth in population and infrastructure. Such an increase, coinciding with rising temperatures, might suggest that global warming was to blame. If proven this would be highly significant, both politically and scientifically, because it would confirm the many predictions that global warming will increase the frequency and severity of natural hazards.

In the research Muir-Wood looked at a wide range of hazards, including tropical cyclones, thunder and hail storms, and wildfires as well as floods and hurricanes. He found from 1950 to 2005 there was no increase in the impact of disasters once growth was accounted for. For 1970-2005, however, he found a 2% annual increase which “corresponded with a period of rising global temperatures,” Muir-Wood was, however, careful to point out that almost all this increase could be accounted for by the exceptionally strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. There were also other more technical factors that could cause bias, such as exchange rates which meant that disasters hitting the US would appear to cost proportionately more in insurance payouts.

Despite such caveats, the IPCC report used the study in its section on disasters and hazards, but cited only the 1970-2005 results. The IPCC report said: “Once the data were normalised, a small statistically significant trend was found for an increase in annual catastrophe loss since 1970 of 2% a year.” It added: “Once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend.”

Muir-Wood’s paper was originally commissioned by Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, also an expert on disaster impacts, for a workshop on disaster losses in 2006. The researchers who attended that workshop published a statement agreeing that so far there was no evidence to link global warming with any increase in the severity or frequency of disasters.

Pielke has also told the IPCC that citing one section of Muir-Wood’s paper in preference to the rest of his work, and all the other peer-reviewed literature, was wrong. He said: “All the literature published before and since the IPCC report shows that rising disaster losses can be explained entirely by social change. People have looked hard for evidence that global warming plays a part but can’t find it. Muir-Wood’s study actually confirmed that.”

Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the Tyndall Centre, which advises the UK government on global warming, said there was no real evidence that natural disasters were already being made worse by climate change. He said: “A proper analysis shows that these claims are usually superficial”

… Muir-Wood … said: “The idea that catastrophes are rising in cost partly because of climate change is completely misleading. “We could not tell if it was just an association or cause and effect. Also, our study included 2004 and 2005 which was when there were some major hurricanes. If you took those years away then the significance of climate change vanished.”

For more information about this important story

Here is a later version of the paper under discussion (the site with the original is down due to Internet attacks):  “An exploration of trends in normalized weather-related catastrophe losses”, Robert Muir-Wood and Auguste Boissonnade, Chapter 12 (pp. 225-247) in Climate Extremes and Society (editors Henry F. Diaz and Richard J. Murnane), published 2008.  Per Roger Pieke Jr (source) the original was a background paper prepared for a workshop he organized in partnership with Munich Reinsurance in 2006.  That paper was not published by the IPCC deadline for inclusion, nor was it peer reviewed,  nor did it strongly support the claims made by the IPCC. But it was highlighted anyway.

For more about the IPCC distortions of the science about climate impacts on natural disasters, see these posts on the website of Roger Pielke Jr:

For more information from the FM site

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.  Of special relevance to this topic are:

Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

12 thoughts on “The floodgates slowly open and the foreign news media debunk climate change propaganda

  1. “R.K. Pachauri, Chariman of the InterGovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ruled out his resignation int he wake of the controversy over the inclusion of unsubstantiated data in the Fourth Assessment Report …” (source)

    Of Course, Mr Pachauri is in deep trouble because the Fourth Assessment Report claimed that the Himalayan glaciers would “vanish” by 2035, an error for which the IPCC later expressed regret. Also Mr Pachauri pointed out that “There are 1200 lobbyists in Washington DC paid by 770 companies to stop anything related to climate change policies proposed by the United States.”
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    FM reply: It’s always mildly interesting to see you spin fantasies, usually without even a tiny connection to reality.

    “There are 1200 lobbyists in Washington DC paid by 770 companies to stop anything related to climate change policies by the United States”

    First, Wall Street and many big corporations will make fortunes if Obama’s “cap and trade” program was approved (see their preparations in this NYT article); so much for your fable about all those lobbyists standing shoulder to shoulder in opposition. As will corporations that emit the most pollutants, as described in this excerpt from “Carry on polluting“, Larry Lohmann, New Scientist, 2 December 2006:

    “What’s more, carbon trading schemes have tended to reward the heaviest polluters. Heavily polluting industries and nations are being granted roughly as many free pollution rights — which they can trade lucratively — as they need to cover current emissions. Under the EUETS, some of the worst greenhouse offenders, such as the German utilities group RWE, have earned hundreds of millions of euros in windfall profits just for pursuing business as usual. Meanwhile ordinary citizens suffer higher electricity prices, and renewable energy developers must beg for funds.”

    Second, Pachauri “is in deep trouble” because his hidden conflicts of interest have come to light (a detail you forgot to mention). To mention just one:
    * “Pachauri: the real story behind the Glaciergate scandal“, Daily Telegraph, 23 January 2010 — “What has now come to light, however, is that the scientist from whom this claim originated, Dr Syed Hasnain, has for the past two years been working as a senior employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general.”
    * “UN climate panel blunders again over Himalayan glaciers“, Times, 24 Janaury 2010 — “The chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.’

  2. Re: #2: “Also Mr Pachauri pointed out that “There are 1200 lobbyists in Washington DC paid by 770 companies to stop anything related to climate change policies proposed by the United States.”

    What does that have to do with the science of climate change? The fact that a bunch of lobbyists are taking fat checks in Washington to slow or delay political changes does NOT give the scientists the right to do bad science.

    On the contrary, they’d better do bulletproof science or their sloppiness will be used against them, as is happening now.

  3. Pluto, It’s fairly obvious that “human error” is not a good explanation for gross distortions that led 192 nations to believe in an impending catastrophe and negotiate on reduction of emissions.

    But the issue is to think about, and understand, what the motivations are for these distortions to be made, and for getting a common global accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What is the implication of a global Copenhagen accord on the US external debt situation? Why has the dollar index been rallying since Copenhagen? How does this accord place the United States at an unfair advantage with respect to all its trading partners?
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    FM reply: Why is it “fairly obvious”? Why is there any connection between the Copenhagen conference, from which little or nothing was expected, and recent activity in the financial markets?

    Since trades report only price and size — not reasons of the buyer or seller — it’s easy to make up stories about activity. These are almost always wrong, in my experience.

  4. The Times is not “Foreign owned”… it is a mouthpiece owned by and speaking for that great Australian ( Apologies, that should now read as “American”) Rupert Murdoch.
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    FM reply: You put foreign owned in quotes, when that phrase appears neither in the post nor in a prior comment. The Times is a foreign newspaper in the sense of a having mostly foreign staff, plus its HQ and primary market are foreign. BTW — Murdoch is the majority shareholder in News Corp. He controls it, but does not fully own it.

  5. Here’s an interesting link from the Air Vent. This is Jeff Id’s first post about the leaked Emails from East Anglia. Down in the comments section you can get several links to download the FOIA file. So what’s the FM web site explanation for why anyone, or any group, would want to create deliberately distorted scares about climate change? Obviously the intention is to get all countries to commit to using less oil, isn’t it? Who does that benefit the most?
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    FM reply: Another bizarre comment by II. First, we don’t know that the leaked data (it was more than emails) was prepared in response to the FOI request (although that’s a likely guess). As for the motives, we can only guess. Since the FOI request was clearly refused on obviously illegal grounds (as described in the emails), this might have been been done by someone unhappy over the history of lies and distortions of the CRU leadership (i.e., someone with integrity, respect for science). It might have been a disgruntaled employee. It might have been sloppy handling of the file, posting it on an insecure server (as has happened before at the CRU) — discovered by an outside person.

    (2) “Obviously the intention is to get all countries to commit to using less oil, isn’t it?”

    It’s easy to see when Indian Investor goes delusional, as he often prefaces it with “obviously.”

    (3) “Who does that benefit the most?”

    It benefits all of us most. Science is one of our most critical tools needed for humanity to survive the next century, and its corruption by a small number of climate scientists is a crime against humanity. Also, the resulting reforms in climate science will IMO accellerate its progress — and and clear the way for acceptance and action on its findings.

  6. It would be an interesting question for you to think about … as to who is living in a world of delusion. Why were Republicans considering nuclear power and offshore drilling for oil? And of course Obama isn’t doing that, and instead he’s focusing on green technology. What is the common problem that both these parties were trying to solve with these policies?
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    FM reply: What would be interesting is you to cite evidence and sources. Most of your posts contain misinformation and guesses. Many consist of nothing but wild guesses and misinformation. I’m tired of checking and posting corrections. From now on I’ll just post a warning to readers, unless you provide a factual foundation. The Internet is filled with websites on which people can blow smoke at each other. The FM website runs differently.

  7. I’m not sure what kind of evidence you’re expecting from me. The US Treasury International Capital website has data on the US external debt. I think we can agree the US has a large unsustainable external deficit and external debt problem without referring to those links. Committing to reduced emissions a commitment to transition away from oil and gas to alternative energy, by definition. Reducing emissions will require state incentives, cap and trade systems, etc. Green energy is more expensive than oil and gas, or else these systems wouldn’t be needed and this debate wouldn’t be there about climate change.
    Even a child should be able to put these basic facts together and arrive at a logical conclusion – the green technology will help the US to combat its external debt and currency stability problem.
    If 40 new nuclear power plants were built in the US, there will be less dependence on imported oil for power generation. And oil imports can be reduced if there are local oil and gas finds through drilling in the US geography. The latter set of Republican solutions was also intended to address the external deficit problem, specifically the oil imports. Hence the connection. It isn’t clear what kind of evidence and sources I would need to quote on these simple, self evident points?
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    FM reply: As I said before, you usually are making stuff up whenever you say something is obvious. If its so obvious, try finding an analysis by some widely recognized expert. Than we’ll have something other than your imagination to rely upon.

    “Even a child should be able to put these basic facts together and arrive at a logical conclusion”

    No, children reason as you do in this comment. Adults use numbers. Just to mention a few factors…
    * Is a substantial transition away from oil possible with current technology at a reasonable cost?
    * How long will the transition away from oil take, to see if the time required lies within a likely horizon of the public, businesses, or political leaders?
    * How much of the necessary equipment will be imported? Most of the major solar and wind turbine manufactures are foreign. Imports move into the future the date at which this starts to help our current account.

    “If 40 new nuclear power plants were built in the US, there will be less dependence on imported oil for power generation”

    More nuclear power does not directly reduce US oil demand, as we use oil primarily for transportation, secondarily for heating. Large (hence slow) capital investments would be needed to convert from heating oil to electricity (with subsidies to offset the conversion cost and higher operating expense). As for gasoline, most estimates, such as the recent NAS study, say that many decades will be required to convert a significant fraction of our transportation fleet to electricity. Their best guess is roughly 4% of the US fleet by 2030 (see here for links).

  8. Petroleum accounted for 1.1% of electricity generation in the United States in 2008. The main problems with petroleum are transportation and plastics. Green power generation will have little impact on these sectors vis a vis oil imports. As for oil exports, I think we should drill to increase our exports (which would require weakening the dollar), not as a (direct) solution to our energy problem.
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    FM reply: (1) Don’t forget heating oil, used by aprox 8m Americans, very roughtly 500 thousand to 1 million b/day.
    (2) We burn aprox 19 million b/day in liquid fuels, of which aprox 10 million b/day is imported. So weakening the dollar hurts in this sense, making the imports more expensive. (see this EIA data).
    (3) I’ve seen no no expert analysis suggesting that we have sufficient oil reserves so that drilling could meeting our demand, let alone allow net exports.

  9. “To be turned from one’s course by men’s opinions, by blame, and by misrepresentation shows a man unfit to hold an office.”
    — Quintus Fabius Maximus, from Plutarch’s Lives

    First time visitor to your site, thanks for the imformation.

  10. FM I read through parts of the NAS study on transition to PHEV and other alternatives. But my point would be more directly addressed if there are any studies on
    1) the impact of the climate change accord on the US dollar exchange rate versus major world currencies.
    2) the impact of green policies on global capital flows.
    Recently a large number of oil and gas finds have been announced outside the Middle East. Also a number of new oil and gas pipelines have been constructed; reversal of flows in pipelines, etc; has been achieved. It would be good to see any study that consolidates these developments more factually. From a perspective to determine whether the increased availability of oil and gas resources to the rest of the world correlates with Obama’s wonderful American leadership towards emission restrictions.
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    FM reply: I too would like to see such analysis. And I’d like to know who killed Kennedy, and why. But the lack of such analysis does not warrrant wild guessing, at least not on this website. You have not provided a shred of evidence to support your WAGs. Fables and nursery tales go in the next website.

  11. I dont think Indian Inv’s comment has been answered . I am puzzled by the success and bubble-growth of the CO2 movement . Why use the University of East Anglia , a recently promoted high school – when you had the University of Cambridge a few miles away , one of the top institutions for science in the world ? Like the fall of the Twin Towers , when something doesnt make sense , conspiracy theories are tempting . ” Lets discredit these pesky environmentalists ” says Sam , Chairman of Mega Oil . ” It’ll only take 10 years , then they’ll be in the wilderness for a generation .”
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    FM reply: This is nuts. The Climate Research Unit is one of the major concentrations of climate science expertise and data in the world.

  12. By Googling : I live in the next county to UEA and my jaw dropped to learn that there even was such a thing as the UEA . Had never heard of it .Previously I’d assumed the CRU was a US ,trillion dollar facility at Harvard or MIT .
    The University of East Anglia is noted for part time and day release courses , and a centre for training junior nurses . Why would you want to put a research institution **there **?? Initial funding , apparently , by oil companies -huh ??
    There are 30 expert staff , according to the website of the CRU . Which has changed since shortly after the E Leak ; previpusly only showed 6 staff . The ” 30 ” include research students .
    Not 100 miles away is the University of Cambridge . Loads of equipment , hundreds of scientists , centuries of records ,worldwide links , Scott Polar Institute , etc etc .
    If you wanted to create a prestigious research centre in East Anglia , UK , why would you not put it at Cambridge ?

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