Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Joop Atsma’s antwoord aan Richard De Mos over de ‘De Staat van het Klimaat’

Een poos geleden stelde PVV-Kamerlid een paar vragen aan minister Atsma over Marcel Crok’s boek De staat van het Klimaat.

De antwoorden zijn hier terug te vinden. Weinig wereldschokkends me dunkt.  Crok zelf interpreteert het natuurlijk anders, wat me enigszins teleurstelt. Marcel leest dingen die er niet staan.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Wikileaks on cyber attacks against climate scientists as soon as June 2009.

The French newspaper Le Monde reports (WikiLeaks : pirates informatiques contre climatologues) that among the documents in Wilkileaks there’s a diplomatic telegram about an attack though an infected pdf, sent in a mail dressed up to look like it was coming from the National journal. against the Division of Ocean Affairs.

Date : June 19, 2009. Or a couple of months before the climategate-affair and the COP 15 in Copenhagen.  

The telegram also warns that as long as climate negotiations continue, such cybercrime attempts probably will persist and people working on climate issues are at high risk.

How prophetic.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

ZDF on EIKE’s Berlin climate conference

German Broadcasting Company ZDF balanced view on EIKE’s last climate conference in Berlin last weekend. (Video in German)

Streit um Klimaschutz

Given the long complaining on their website, EIKE didn’t seem to be very pleased with the broadcast : Das ZDF- der Klimawandel- und die Wahrheit: Mit dem Zweiten diffamiert man besser!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Dit is om te lachen, toch ?

PERSBERICHT HIVOS

Hivos Klimaatcampagne mag van Reclame Code Commissie

DEN HAAG 3 DECEMBER, De Reclame Code Commissie heeft een klacht over de Hivos klimaat campagne afgewezen. De Commissie oordeelt dat de slogan ‘Energiebesparing hier scheelt rampen daar’ niet in strijd is met de Nederlandse Reclame Code.

De Hivos campagne waarin mensen bedankt worden voor energie besparing zoals korter douchen, verwarming lager zetten en minder auto rijden, is na de zomer in kranten verschenen en op de radio uitgezonden. De Telegraaf maakte zich boos over de campagne en de PVV sprak over een ‘ongefundeerde smaadcampagne tegen de Nederlandse automobilist’.

De Reclame Code Commissie komt tot een andere conclusie: Hivos ‘weet zich in die opvatting gesteund door de uitkomst van internationaal algemeen bekend onderzoek’.

Ook is Hivos paniekzaaierij verweten door de PVV. De Commissie stelt echter dat ‘niet in ernst kan worden geoordeeld dat in de uitingen wordt geappelleerd aan gevoelens van angst’.

Nu ben ik allesbehalve fan van het overdrijven van de klimaatproblematiek en heb ik al mensen verweten nodeloos alarmistisch te zijn (de wereld blijft heus wel draaien) maar dat er tegen een bewustmakingscampagne over energiegebruik een klacht wordt ingediend bij de RCC vind ik maar minnetjes. Sommige mensen lijken tijd teveel te hebben. als B.W.J. Van Soest een probleem heeft met de klimaatwetenschap, moet hij/zij dat maar in de wetenschappelijke peer review literatuur kenbaar maken. Lijkt me nuttiger dan de RCC lastig te vallen met dergelijke ongein.

Toegevoegd aan de blogroll : Natuurlijke wereld

Jean-Paul van der Soest is een man die ik ken als iemand die op De Dagelijkse Standaard (ja ik lees er af en toe nog mee, vooral om eens te grimlachen) dikwijls met geïnformeerde bijdragen Hans Labohm het vuur aan de schenen legt.

Jean-Paul is onlangs een eigen blog begonnen en bij deze wil er even de aandacht op vestigen en bij deze wil ik hem welkom heten in de blogwereld.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Gerbrand Komen over Marcel Crok’s ‘De staat van het klimaat’

Marcel Crok Gerbrand Komen kritiek De Staat van het KlimaatOmdat het jammer zou zijn dat dit nieuws verborgen zou blijven in de comments sectie : gepensioneerd KNMI-onderzoeker Gerbrand Komen heeft als eerste een aantal genuanceerde kanttekeningen geplaatst bij Marcel Crok’s boek ‘De staat van het klimaat’.

Ik heb het boek zelf niet gelezen, maar kon al wel ongeveer raden wat er zou instaan en dat vermoeden wordt door Komen’s repliek nog wat versterkt. Ik heb dus helaas nog steeds geen zin om er 20€ aan uit te geven.

TV kijktip : How earth made us

Canvas zendt momenteel de reeks How earth made us uit. Een aanrader voor wie op zoek is naar een leuke niet te moeilijke introductie in de geologie en een mooie illustratie hoe onze samenleving onmiskenbaar verbonden is met zijn omgeving. De reeks loopt op donderdagavond omstreeks 21u30.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Richard De Mos (PVV): het wil niet vlotten met opwarming aarde

Richard De Mos heeft zichzelf nogmaals te kijk gezet :

Richard De Mos PVV klimaatverandering parlement
Richard De Mos
“Maandag stond er in Nederland de langste file ooit door sneeuwval, de ANWB en verwarmingmonteurs draaien overuren. In Groot-Brittannië worden koude-records behaald en in Brussel werd een demonstratie tegen de opwarming van de aarde afgelast door de kou. Het wil niet vlotten met de opwarming van de aarde,” aldus Richard de Mos (PVV) dinsdag tijdens een debat over infrastructuur en milieu.

Diederik Samsom (PvdA) vroeg zich af of De Mos aan cabaret doet, of een serieus debat wil. “U zegt: vandaag was het kouder dan gisteren, dus de aarde koelt af. Maar weet u welk jaar volgens de NASA het warmste was in de geschiedenis? Juist: 2010.”
Het was duidelijk weer (weer, heb j’em ? haha) dolle pret in het Nederlandse Parlement.
Onderstaande grafiek toont ondertussen ongenadig aan wat de realiteit is. Misschien moet Richard de Mos zich maar eens beginnen verdiepen in het onderwerp, in plaats van zich te beroepen op de dubieuze informatie die op belabberde sites als de Klimatosoof of De Dagelijkse Standaard wordt verkocht.
decadal-global-temps-1880s-2000s

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Not Evil Just Wrong still pretending Phelim McAleer was urged to stop filming at the COP15 in Copenhagen

Phelim McAleer Stephen Scheider truth global warming
My site’s statistics suddenly show an influx from people coming through the ‘Not Evil Just Wrong’ site, and to my surprise on that site there’s a post still pretending Phelim McAleer was urged to stop filming at the COP15 when trying to interview Stephen Schneider.
Even though last year i already presented a video showing how McAleer’s editing altered reality. When you watch both videos (click the link) you’ll see :
1) The video Mcaleer presents "proves" he was removed from the press event with Stephen Schneider. The video shows Schneider getting agitated, a lady trying to take away the microphone from McAleer and security talking with McAleer.
2) Another video shot by the audience shows what really happened : McAleer heavily edited his video to make things look different :
  • Journalists were allowed to ask one question, or why the hostess was trying to take McAleer's microphone
  • At the end of the press event (8’49’’ in the video), McAleer is still sitting in the room, so clearly he wasn't removed by security
  • Schneider was agitated because he knows how McAleer quotemines and Schneider to refuses to say anything Mcaleer could take out of context by editing his interview. So in fact Scheider judged the situation well because taking things out of context is exactly what McAleer did.
It’s shocking to see Not Evil Just Wrong is still presenting the manipulated video.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Jan Rotmans : Waarom Lomborg een charlatan is

De Nederlandse professor ?an Rotmans schreef dit opiniestukje in het NRC handelsblad dat ik graag meegeef :
Waarom Lomborg een charlatan is
Klimaatpopulist Björn Lomborg heeft een film uitgebracht: ‘Cool it’ (NRC Handelsblad, 23 november). Dat levert hem weer publiciteit op. Maar de aandacht voor Lomborg heeft weinig te maken met zijn onderzoek en zijn boodschap. Beide missen een wetenschappelijk fundament. Zijn benadering is inconsistent, zijn argumenten ongegrond en zijn oplossingen naïef.
Hij is inconsistent omdat hij vaak van mening is veranderd. Eerst ontkende hij dat er een klimaatprobleem was, vervolgens noemde hij het een klein probleem, daarna werd het een groot probleem maar waren er belangrijker problemen. En nu is het een van de grootste problemen waarvoor de mensheid staat, maar deugen de oplossingen niet.
Kijken we naar zijn onderzoek dan vallen twee zaken op. Hij strooit met getallen, waardoor hij wetenschappelijk lijkt, maar wie goed kijkt ziet dat hij manipuleert met data. Als statisticus focust Lomborg op kwantitatieve data, waarbij hij geen oog heeft voor onzekerheden en marges. Zo stelt hij in zijn film dat het aantal ijsberen de laatste 50 jaar fors is toegenomen, terwijl op basis van dezelfde gegevens kan worden geschat dat de populatie ijsberen licht is gestegen of zelfs constant is gebleven. Hij neemt echter de laagste schatting uit het verleden en de hoogste schatting uit het heden en manipuleert zo een significante trend.
Zijn mantra is de economische kosten-batenanalyse. Volgens Lomborg is dat een objectieve manier van het analyseren van het klimaatprobleem. Het is echter vooral een eenzijdige wijze van onderzoeken. Deze analyse gaat uit van de veronderstelling dat de effecten van klimaatverandering bekend zijn en uitgedrukt kunnen worden in geld. Maar wat niet wordt meegerekend zijn de effecten op natuur, cultuur en gezondheid, op niet-lineaire effecten (terugkoppelingen en drempelwaarden) en onzekerheden. Toekomstige effecten worden minder hoog ingeschat dan de huidige. Dit leidt vrijwel altijd tot onderschatting van de kosten en overschatting van de baten.
Lomborg negeert niet-lineaire effecten als de desintegratie van de ijskappen op Groenland en Antarctica, trivialiseert de gevolgen voor ecosystemen en haalt allerlei schaalniveaus door elkaar.
Op deze wijze reduceert hij het klimaatprobleem tot een rekensom. Om de som uit te rekenen gebruikt hij selectief klimaateconomische modellen, met name die van Bill Nordhaus en Richard Tol.
Nordhaus’ model geeft stelselmatig zeer lage schattingen van klimaatschade, minder dan 2 procent van het mondiale bnp, waarbij alle indirecte schade en niet-markt effecten worden veronachtzaamd. Ook het model van Tol is een extreem geval, dat op grond van dubieuze aannames uitrekent dat klimaatverandering tot 3 graden Celsius juist een groot economisch voordeel oplevert. Deze modellen leiden tot steeds weer dezelfde uitkomst: dat het beter is te wachten met het nemen van CO2-beperkende maatregelen.
Deze puur economische benadering is niet geschikt voor het oplossen van een complex probleem als het klimaat. Een integrale benadering is vereist, waarbij ook de sociale en ecologische invalshoek wordt meegenomen. Een benadering uitgaat van onzekerheid en risico, terugkoppelingen en drempelwaarden en die rekening houdt met extreme uitkomsten die minder waarschijnlijk zijn.
Lomborg vindt dat CO2-beperkende maatregelen te duur zijn en dat het beter is om te investeren in economische ontwikkeling. Tal van studies geven echter aan dat CO2-beperking helemaal niet duur is (0,5-1,5 procent van mondiaal bnp in 2030, zie de studie van McKinsey) en dat de eerste 15-20 procent van de CO2-beperking zelfs geld oplevert. CO2 beperking gaat dus niet ten koste van de economische ontwikkeling , maar draagt juist bij aan de versterking ervan. Zo toont een recente studie aan dat het energieneutraal maken van de gebouwde omgeving economisch voordelig is: het levert werkgelegenheid op, de huizen en gebouwen worden meer waard en gaan langer mee en ook de bewoners gaan erop vooruit.
Lomborg ziet technologische innovatie als dé oplossing. Hij wil een mondiale CO2-belasting invoeren en de opbrengsten daarvan besteden aan onderzoek en ontwikkeling van schone energie en ‘geo-engineering’, het ingrijpen in het klimaatsysteem met technische middelen. Dat eerste is onnodig, omdat de vernieuwbare energiebronnen (zon, wind, warmte) al beschikbaar zijn en spoedig concurrerend zullen zijn met fossiele energie. En geo-engineering, zoals het met ijzer bemesten van de oceaan of het injecteren van de stratosfeer met zwavel, is uiterst riskant. Het brengt onverantwoorde risico’s met zich mee. De aarde is geen laboratorium waar we mee kunnen experimenteren.
Waarom krijgt deze charlatan dan zoveel media-aandacht? Telt dan alleen zijn vlotte babbel en zijn charmante presentatie en niet de inhoud? De enige oplossing is een transitie naar een duurzame energie economie. Maar dit vergt een fundamentele andere wijze van produceren en consumeren. Het probleem schuilt in onszelf, de oplossing eveneens.
NRC handelsblad.
Dat Lomborg’s gebruikt van data en referenties vaak dubieus is, is allang geweten en wordt bv. uitstekend gedocumenteerd op deze site

Friday, 26 November 2010

Publieksenquête klimaat

De eerder dit jaar gepubliceerde resultaten van de in 2009 in opdracht van de overheid uitgevoerde publieksenquête over klimaatverandering tonen aan dat Belgen in het algemeen matig geïnformeerd zijn over klimaatverandering en het Kyoto-Protocol.
Positief is dan weer wel dat in ons land de onwetenschappelijke klimaatskepsis veel minder aanwezig is dan in de USA of zelfs Nederland. Toch lijkt het noodzakelijk om het publiek voldoende te informeren, want mensen die wel actief op zoek gaan naar informatie over klimaatverandering doen dat vaak op websites. En het is duidelijk dat er heel wat websites van een bedenkelijk niveau zijn.
Het rapport met volledige resultaten kan terug gevonden worden op de website klimaat.be

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Climate Science Rapid Responce Team (CSRRT) launched

Often non-scientists have some difficulties evaluating things they read about climate science. Therefore a team of professionals was set up to help the audience with questions they may have. The press release below clarifies the goals of the team  : 

NAME: Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT)

WEBSITE: www.climaterapidresponse.org

WHO & WHAT: The CSSRT is a match-making service between top scientists and members of the media and office holders and their staffs from various levels of government. Our group consists of dozens of leading scientists who wish to improve communication about climate change. The group is committed to providing rapid, high-quality information to media and government officials. Our members have expertise in virtually all areas of climate science and they are available to share their current understanding in a fairly rapid time frame.
HOW IT WORKS: Inquirers will use the form on the Website to identify themselves and to send their questions along with the desired timeframe of the response. That information will immediately be sent to three people: Dr. John Abraham, Dr. Ray Weymann, and Prof. Scott Mandia. These three “match-makers” will immediately notify up to three scientists with the most appropriate expertise. One scientist or one of the three CSRRT match-makers will then respond directly to the inquirer with the correct science information.

WHY WE DO IT: There is a sharp divide between what scientists know about climate change and what the public knows. The scientists of the CSSRT understand that better communication can narrow this gap. The media is in the best position to deliver accurate science information to the general public and to our elected leaders but only if they are provided with that information. The CSRRT is committed to delivering that service We are advocates for science education.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Worst EU lobbying awards 2010 : 3 more days left to vote

In 2005 a platform of several organisations (Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, Lobby Control and Spinwatch) handed out the first Worst EU-lobbying award to  the fake-grassroots organisation Campaign for Creativity (C4C)
The nominees in the climate category are :
  • Arcelor-Mittal : for successfully lobbying to get out of paying for permits under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)
  • BusinessEurope : for it’s aggressive lobbying against EU-regulations to cut CO2-emissions while pretending to support climate actions.
  • RWE (nPower) : for it’s lobby work to keep its oil and coal power plants open
Voting closes November 26.

Joshua Livestro hired by the Sarah Palin campaign

In the Dutch blogosphere lots of attention was given to the fact Joshua Livestro was hired by the Sarah Palin political action campaign and i’m afraid this may not have been the best move.
All over Holland Joshua Livestro is considered to be a bit of a professional loser :
  • Livestro was director of the conservative Edmund Burke Foundation, but he got kicked out because , quote Burke ‘Livestro’s communications skills haven’t entered the 21st century’. The Burke foundation basically collapsed when new Director B.J. Spruyt did no longer want corporate money to dictate the Foundation’s agenda.
  • He was columnist for the Dutch TV program ‘Buitenhof’ but was sacked because his work was substandard
  • He started the anti-intellectual blog ‘De Dagelijkse Standaard’ but all his bloggers (except Hans Labohm) ran away before the blog even was online and Livestro had to look on internetforums for people wanting to fill his blog. Currently, the America-section on DDS is written by Michael van der Galliën, a guy who was mocked all over (including far right blogs like Het Vrije Volk which calls DDS an “hysteria-blog”) when writing Obama’s election would bring the USA on the brink of a civil war.
  • Livestro’s only DDS article on climate change wasn’t well received and the comments were rather harsh : “embarrassing” “written by a 12-year old?”, etc.
The well-read Dutch site ‘GeenStijl’ announced the news of Livestro’s appointment under the title “Torture blogger joins Palin’s team’. Livestro earned the nickname ‘torture blogger’ for saying the photos depicting detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib to him resembled a frat party and that CIA’s practices of interrogation were milder than student hazing.
Joshua Livestro Sarah Palin De dagelijkse standaard laughter

If Sarah’s campaign directors were trying to alienate the Dutch audience they did a good job because in Holland the news of Livestro's appointment did little more than provoking a lot of laughter.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ton Begemann’s strange Paleo-Eskimo Artic-agriculture claim

Ton Begemann Arctic Inuit Eskimo agriculture farm
Eskimo Tent Ring
Last year I read a claim from Dutch professor Ton Begemann in which he said in the past there used to be agriculture just 1000 km (600 miles) away from the North Pole, close to “Tranquilly Fjord” (actually the place is called Tanquary Fiord).
He says in August 2008 he visited two archaeological sites where Canadian Park Services have been doing research, and according to Begemann the Canadians told him :
  • Paleo-Eskimo groups of the Independence I culture lived in the area 1500 to 4000 years ago.
  • 1500 years ago, they survived from hunting (both on land and ice)
  • But 4000 years ago they did not just hunt, but also practiced agriculture.
  • The Paleo-Eskimo left remains of stone structures in which plant material was found, and from this the Canadians deducted the people practiced agriculture.
Begemann says the agriculture proofs there’s huge natural variation in Arctic temperatures without CO2 playing a role in it. (A bit of a fallacy itself, but let’s focus on the agriculture) 
I found his Artic-farming claim too absurd to give it much attention and assumed he must have misunderstood something when the rangers talked about the sites. But as Ton Begemann keeps insisting the Paleo-Eskimo were practicing agriculture and growing crops, maybe it’s useful to have a closer look at the case.
There are several reasons I found this story hard to believe :
Cultural Reasons : As far as I know, agriculture never was very widespread amongst indigenous people in Northern America, and certainly not in the High North. It would be strange they developed it ‘de novo’ in such a hard climate.
Climatological : The location Begemann visited is situated on Canada’s northernmost island : Ellesmere Island. The Tanquary Fiord sites he visited are located in Quttinirpaaq national park. The closest weather station near Tanquary Fjord is located in Eureka and both are roughly located on the same latitude. The shores of the Fiord are free from snow and ice in summer and there is some plant life in this short season. Nevertheless, this place is as polar as you can get. In the present era there are only three months in summer in Eureka with an average temperature above 0° C. The website of  Quttinirpaaq park gives a brief overview of al the challenges a vegetation faces in such an artic area.
4000 years ago the peak of the Holocene Climate Optimum was running to an end and temperatures were in the same range (maybe a little higher) than today. But even if we assume the average temperatures were slightly higher, summer was short and still very cold and therefore limiting growth speed. So even with slightly higher temperatures this certainly wasn’t a suited location for growing crops. When asked which crops the Paleo-Eskimo supposedly cultivated, Ton Begemann called that question irrelevant.
In fact, many people questioned Begemann about his strange Artic-agriculture claim and if he’s really sure he’s right. All he answers is : “i don’t know why i have never read about Arctic farming except in my own writings. But if you don’t believe me, ask the Canadian Park Services”. So that’s what I did.
The reply from Canada didn’t surprise me :
  • The people of the Independence I culture raised stone rings around their skin tents.
  • They were hunters, mainly for terrestrial mammals like musk-oxen and caribou (and any other occasional prey they could catch).
  • They never practiced agriculture
  • More generally : Arctic people never practiced agriculture.
  • They burned heather and dwarf-willow (and maybe other things) for fuel
I didn’t really ask the park services what the recovered plant residue was used for, but i guess there could be a a variety of reasons : maybe it was some remains from the fires they made, maybe they used some edible plants to spice up their diet, maybe they used it as a kind of matrass. Whatever. They did not practice agriculture. Probably the park rangers did say something about harvesting (non-cultivated) plants and Begemann misinterpreted this as a sign growing crops.  

Monday, 15 November 2010

Merchants of doubts : interview with Naomi Oreskes


Naomi Oreskes Eric Conway Merchants of Doubt
Science historian professor Naomi Oreskes just appeared in a radio-interview in Australia to talk about her book Merchants of Doubt. In the interview (and book) she explains how a few people, driven by ideology, started attacking scientific topics they feared would be an attack on freedom. The attack started in the circles around the George C. Marshall Institute and the first scientific topic that was attacked was not climate science but tobacco. With the financial aid of big industrial companies, the strategy used is manufacturing doubt, helped by the philosophical perversity proving something is right isn’t as easy as you might think.
As the strategy is still deployed until today, it is extremely important to both understand the strategy of doubt and to understand the importance of freedom-ideology and the somehow paranoid visions sometimes associated with it. Even though Oreskes talks about the American situation, you can easily compare what Oreskes talks about in the interview and the situation in the Low Countries and you’ll find out there’s a striking resemblance.
The role of ideology in understanding climate scepticism in Holland is pretty obvious. The sceptical website Klimatosoof even explicitly states in its FAQ-section : we suppose members of the Groene Rekenkamer are fighting for maximal personal and economical freedom (…) and belong to the libertarian fraction, a philosophy that wants to decrease the role of the government on every domain.
When you look at the other big climate sceptical webpage in Holland, climategate.nl, you’ll also recognize what Oreskes said. The first sentence in Rypke Zeilmaker’s latest post reads : Many "’scientists’ see global warming as an excellent tool for a socialist reform-agenda. Hajo Smit on the other hand is the perfect example of the role of paranoia in the debate. Hajo Smit often accuses people, without any provocation or apparent reason, that they want to censor or lock up unwanted individuals just like the Nazis and Communists did.
At present, the Dutch doubtmaster is Hans Labohm, an economist. He doesn’t understand climate science and sticks to quoting dubious claims he finds on the internet, even when he knows what he says is wrong or misleading. Once you recognize what he’s doing you’ll see that when he gets challenged about the mistakes in his posts or in the work of people he cites, he shows no interest whatsoever in the content of what he writes or the fact of what he says is correct or not. Instead he’ll give a reply like “…but the important things is to remember the science is not settled !”. He’s not interested in science but in manufacturing doubt. Which is no coincidence: one of the three scientists Oreskes talks about is S. Fred Singer, and it is this very same Singer who has close contacts with Labohm and they frequently show up together all over Europe.
I know what is written in this post is something I've said many times before on this blog, but understanding the role of non-scientific doubt and the important role of bias linked with a person’s ideology is vital in understanding the climate debate. So I will keep on hammering getting that message through.
The WtD-blog has a good post today on how the industry is involved in feeding the "uncertainty-meme" and manipulating the audience : Wolves in sheep's clothing : how big tobacco wanted to mimic the global warming sceptics and establish a "fake" NGO

Friday, 12 November 2010

Le populisme climatique


Stéphane Foucart le populisme climate rechauffement Claude Allegre
Le Monde journalist Stéphane Foucart just published the book Le populisme climatique in which he has a look at the roots of climate scepticism and the role of industry funded think thanks.
While he does have a look at the international network, he also focuses on the two best known climate sceptics in France, Claude Allègre & Vincent Courtillot, pointing out the errors they make. Foucart also addresses the different –gate affairs of the past year.
In a way, the interesting book is a French version of the English books Merchants of doubt and Climate Cover Up. If you speak French and haven’t read those two books, i can highly recommend this new book.
There’s a preview here (of course also in French)

The letter of the German Party Alliance '90/The Greens

November 3 several members of the German Alliance '90/The Greens wrote a letter to the German Government (i added some links) :
Deniers of climate change in the coalition government
The so-called “climate change sceptics” or “climate change deniers” for years have been a permanent fixture in American politics. Their influence on American politics is not insignificant. They are mainly supported and funded by the fossil fuels industry like Exxon (Esso) or Koch Industries. Now it appears that their influence is now growing in Germany and in Europe.
In the past weeks various press releases and other reports have appeared in the “Financial Times Deutschland” and news magazine “Der Spiegel” about on how certain climate change deniers were given a discussion forum by the CDU and FDP Bundestag’s fractions and that some parliamentarians of the ruling CDU and FDP factions were sympathetic to the ideas put forth by climate denier S. Fred Singer. This and a range of other activities by the so-called climate sceptics in Germany compel us to ask the German Government for its assessment.


We ask the German Federal Government:
1. Is the German Government aware of a scientifically published paper that has been subjected to peer review that questions climate change caused by man, and that is supported by scientific data?
2. In the view of the German Government’s Leadership, is there a scientific discussion on whether climate change is taking place and whether man has a decisive impact on climate?
3. Is the German Government aware of the publications from American physicist Fred Singer on the subject of climate protection? How does the German Government view the scientific reputation of Mr Singer in regards to climate protection?
4. For the German Government, do the arguments made by Fred Singer and other arguments presented have merit and are they “enlightening”? How do you assess the statements by Mr Singer that “Politicians that are embedded in climate change are more dangerous than climate change itself”?
5. Is the German Government aware of the ideas Mr Singer has previously promoted? What’s your view on the fact that he, for example, questioned the hazards of passive smoke, or that he contested the ozone layer was damaged by CFCs, or that he trivialized acid rain? With this background, how does the German Government judge the credibility of Fred Singer’s activities with regards to climate protection?
6. Is the German Government aware of who financed Mr Singer for his activities? Is the Federal Government aware of the funders who - like Exxon und Koch Industries in den USA - fund the activities of the climate change deniers in Germany?
7. Does the German Government share the opinion that events with Mr Singer provide a forum for the pure interests of the fossil fuel industry, and thus enhance their unscientific work and unserious activities?
8. Are there voices within the German Government who question the anthropogenic causes of climate change?
9. How does the German Government view the activities of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) with regards to climate change? EIKE is supported by Fred Singer. In the Federal Government’s view, does the Institute work on the scientific question regarding the subject of climate change?
10. Is the German Government aware of whether climate denier conferences are also being financed by public funds, for example by the Liberal Institute of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation?
11. In general, does the German Government approve of the use of public funds for spreading the ideas of climate deniers like Fred Singer?
As they could've foreseen, the letter wasn't received well in the German blogosphere and there’s a lot of posts talking about Nazis and Communists…

Thursday, 11 November 2010

French Academy of Sciences refutes Claude Allègre’s book The climate Imposter

Earlier this year former French minister Claude Allègre published the error-loaded book The Climate Imposter ( L'Imposture climatique). A few of the errors and things Allègre just made up were adressed on Realclimate and another rebuttal in French can be found here. And on the site of Le Monde there's the members only Le cent-fautes de Claude Allègre (Allègre's 100 mistakes)

As the book was so wrong and the language used so denigrating (a few examples), more than 500 French scientists signed a letter asking Science Minister Valérie Pécresse to disavow Allègre's book by publicly expressing her confidence in French climate science.

As a result Minister Valérie Pécresse asked the French Academy of Sciences to organise a scientific debate. September, 12 more than 120 French and international scientists gathered and discussed several aspects of climate science.

Two weeks ago the results were published in the report Le Changement Climatique (in French). The conclusions are :

  • Several independent indicators show an increase in global temperatures in the period 1975-2003
  • This increase is mainly caused by raising CO2-concentrations
  • The increase in CO2, and to a smaller extent for some other GHG’s, is caused by human activities
  • This is a threat for our climate (and oceans as it causes acidification)
  • Decreased solar activity cannot explain the increased temperatures for the period 1975-2003

The academy accepted the report unanimously and signed by all members, including Claude Allègre himself. In a reaction Allègre stated that his positions did not change though and that he still thinks the role of CO2 has not been demonstrated. But that he sees the report as a compromise as the report adopts his personal visions. Which is a bit of strange reaction, as the report did not adopt his visions at all.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

EU sees U.S. "disappearing" as partner on climate

Press release via Reuters :

BEIJING/BRUSSELS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The European Union sees the United States "disappearing as a partner" in international climate talks after President Barack Obama suffered setbacks in midterm elections, the EU's top climate official said on Friday.

Obama has conceded that big Republican gains in Tuesday's elections undermined prospects for comprehensive legislation to tackle climate change.

"We're very disappointed about the United States going that way and dropping climate legislation," said Jos Delbeke, director general of the European Commission's climate team. "We see the U.S. disappearing as a partner in achieving meaningful climate action," he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Beijing.

Obama's election in 2008 and his talk of saving a "planet in peril" briefly encouraged some countries to anticipate significant progress in talks on a new U.N. treaty to slow rising emissions of greenhouse gases. The U.S. election results have dented the few remaining expectations for a significant result at the next climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, from Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Obama said at last December's Copenhagen summit that he wanted to cut U.S. emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a cut passed by the U.S. House of Representatives but not by the Senate.

"We wonder how they can achieve their 2005 commitments without going for a cap and trade scheme," said Delbeke. "It will make it even more problematic for international climate negotiations."

Cap and trade schemes cap carbon emissions by power plants and factories by issuing a fixed quota of emissions permits which companies can trade among themselves. The U.S. reluctance to curb planet-warming emissions may also hit plans to raise a promised $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor nations cope with climate change. That plan partly hinges on curbs on emissions to push up the price of carbon in mechanisms such as the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.

But Delbeke remained upbeat that the Cancun talks could achieve something.

"Cancun can still deliver, for example decisions on adaptation and deforestation, while progress should be made on the monitoring, reporting and verification question, but beyond that, the outlook is worrying."

BORDER TARIFFS

If countries such as the United States continue to avoid climate cuts, while the EU keeps making its industry pay for permits to emit carbon dioxide, trade imbalances will start to occur. Some EU companies are already calling for border tariffs to be slapped on imports to restore the balance.

"In the long term that may be a possibility," Delbeke told reporters at a briefing in Beijing earlier in the day.

"If we live in a world where the EU is the only one that has made a commitment and the U.S. is doing nothing, and other countries including China are doing nothing, then we would have a problem and I see this debate coming up. So far we have been holding back," he said.

"If China were to implement a cap and trade system that would be extremely helpful to help prevent such trade mechanisms coming into place." He praised China's progress so far on cap and trade. Delbeke also warned the fast-growing economy against misrepresenting its circumstances in climate talks.

"China is an emerging economy, is behaving like an industrial nation in many respects, and cannot use the song of developing countries to dress up its negotiating positions," he said.

That is a big issue for Europe's poorer nations, which protest against EU demands they help finance greening China's economy when the wealth per capita of Romania, for example, is much lower than that of Beijing. (Writing by Pete Harrison, editing by Rex Merrifield and Keiron Henderson)

Looks like scientists should start focussing on adaptation strategies in adressing the climate change issue, rather than hoping for mitigation.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Uitstekend artikel in De Morgen

EDIT : het artikel zelf kan hier nagelezen worden


In de Vlaamse krant De Morgen van dit weekend staat een uitstekend artikel gebaseerd op het boek Merchants of doubt van Naomi Oreskes dat uitlegt hoe milieuproblemen steeds opnieuw aangevallen worden volgens de tabaksstrategie.
Ongeacht wat het milieu-topic is bestaat de strategie eruit dat er niet beweerd wordt dat een probleem onwaar is, maar dat er nog niet bewezen is dat het wel wààr is.
Dit is een bewuste strategie die heden ten dage nog steeds gebruikt wordt door mensen als S. Fred Singer, of in het Nederlandstalige taalgebied door Hans Labohm. De bedoeling is duidelijk : twijfel creëren bij het grote publiek over de zekerheden die de wetenschap heeft, en die gefabriceerde twijfel vervolgens gebruiken om iedere vorm van overheidsoptreden als “voorbarig” te veroordelen.
Het herkennen van deze strategie is één van de key-issues die een geïnteresseerde leek moet begrijpen om te kunnen oordelen of een zogezegde wetenschappelijke onenigheid wel degelijk een debat binnen wetenschappelijke kringen zelf inhoudt, of dat het slechts om een opgezet spel van lobbyisten gaat die bij het grote publiek twijfel willen zaaien.
In het geval van het klimaatprobleem is het duidelijk dat de tabaksstrategie nog steeds gevolgd wordt. Doordat onze hedendaagse media vaak vertrekt vanuit het idee “laten we eens een debatje houden tussen voor- en tegenstanders” komen klimaatskeptici bijhoorlijk vaak in het nieuws. Door de manier waarop onze media georganiseerd zijn ontstaat hierdoor bij het grote publiek de foutieve indruk dat "de wetenschappers het zelf niet weten".
De wetenschappelijke realiteit echter is dat er binnen academische kringen geen enkele twijfel bestaat over de menselijke invloed op de huidige klimaatverandering.

Monday, 25 October 2010

The hypocrisy of some major EU companies

Today CAN-Europe published a report in which they reveal that some major European companies like Lafarge, GDF-Suez, EON, BP, BASF, Bayer, Arcelor Mittal are funding climate change deniers in the US-senate. Belgian company Solvay donated 28.000 € to 4 American senators.
In Europe, the very same companies are lobbying against a further reduction of GHG-emissions by pointing out the climate inactivism in the US. Quite hypocrite if you ask me.


Saturday, 23 October 2010

University of Virginia stands up against Cuccinelli’s war on reality

i’ve reported before that the Attorney-General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli started a war on reality by  starting a politically motivated civil investigate demand (CID) against the University of Virginia (UVA) and Michael Mann. The request was blocked in August by court because Cuccinelli failed to show why an investigation actually would be necessary. in other words, Cuccinelli had no arguments whatsoever for trying to harass scientists. Cuccinelli failed to see that attacking science because you don’t like the conclusions is big ‘no’.

but now Cuccinelli simply restarted the procedure and filed a new CID which caused the Washington post write Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to embarrass Virginia.
Thursday the University of Virginia (Michael Mann’s current employer) did what it had to do : it started to court filings against Cuccinelli’s politically motivated attack on science. 
The surprising thing is the strong wording used by the university. UVA calles Cuccinelli’s deeds "an unprecedented and improper governmental intrusion into ongoing scientific research" and said that Cuccinelli is targeting Mann because he "disagrees with his academic research regarding climate change."

It’s a very courageous thing to do of the UVA, but it’s a clear signal. The hardcore section of the American republicans need to learn that when scientific conclusions don’t match the worldview, maybe the proper thing to do would be to question the worldview. Instead of attacking reality.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Over plagiaat en citeren

De blogwereld heeft al voldoende aandacht besteed aan het plagiaat dat het Wegman-rapport bevatte en dat ontdekt werd door Deep Climate en ik heb er weinig aan toe te voegen, Susan van The Policy Lass vertolkt zo’n beetje mijn gedachten.

Wat me opvalt in de comments secties over de verschillende blogs is dat hoe weinig mensen lijken te weten wat de regels omtrent plagiaat en correct citeren en refereren zijn. Nochtans is dit iets wat ontzettend veel aandacht krijgt aan de universiteiten en studenten worden echt gedrild om het juist te doen. De universiteit van Leuven heeft er zelfs een online tutorial voor gemaakt.

De eerste oefening die geo-studenten aan de Universiteit van Brussel krijgen is een bibliografische oefening waarin (nog) niet de inhoud het belangrijkste aspect van de paper is, maar wel de methodologie : hoe zoek je iets op, wat is een betrouwbare bron (wikipedia alvast niet), hoe refereer je correct, wat wordt als plagiaat beschouwd etc. Dit gebeurt in de eerste week van het academiejaar bij de eerstejaarsstudenten. Zo belangrijk wordt het geacht.  

ik vind het dan ook onbegrijpelijk dat er zoveel mensen niet op de hoogte zijn hoe het juist moet. Dat geldt ook voor iemand als Wegman die dagdagelijks met deze materie wordt geconfronteerd in iedere studentpaper/thesis die hij naleest, ieder doctoraat dat hij begeleidt en ieder artikel dat het schrijft. Ik kan het enkel maar raar vinden dat het zo fout is kunnen gaan in zijn rapport voor het congres. Het lijkt er sterk op dat wetenschap niet het hoofddoel van dat rapport was.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Wetenschappelijke handleiding bij het Skeptics handbook

De uitstekende Engelstalige website SkepticalScience van John Cook houdt al jaren de meest gehoorde argumenten van klimaatsceptici bij en geeft duiding waar ze onvolledig en/of onjuist zijn. Kristof Vandoorne vertaalde het door John Cook en enkele andere klimaatwetenschappers geschreven Skeptics handbook naar het Nederlands : Wetenschappelijke handleiding bij het skeptics handbook. Een uitstekende starter om vertrouwd te raken met het broeikaseffect en hoe we weten dat de mens verantwoordelijk is voor de huidige klimaatverandering.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary says it’s horseshit

My local Belgian newspaper yesterday referred to an article in The Independent in which Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, demonstrates he understands little about climate change : Global warming? It doesn’t exist, says Ryanair boss O’Leary
Michael O'Leary global warming Ryanair horseshit
Michael O'Leary
O Leary says :
"Do I believe there is global warming? No, I believe it's all a load of bullshit. But it's amazing the way the whole fucking eco-warriors and the media have changed”

"The scientific community has nearly always been wrong in history anyway. In the Middle Ages, they were going to excommunicate Galileo because the entire scientific community said the Earth was flat... I mean, it is absolutely bizarre that the people who can't tell us what the fucking weather is next Tuesday can predict with absolute precision what the fucking global temperatures will be in 100 years' time. It's horseshit."
If science is nearly always wrong, it’s rather bizarre Ryanair’s planes stay in the air. Or maybe the company uses black magic instead of science to keep their fleet going ?
In his rant O’Leary takes some snippets from some well know sceptical memes, but doesn’t understand how they fit together in the bigger picture. Or why it is a good idea to leave the science to scientists.
Below the interview, The Independent gives word to Dr Emily Shuckburgh of the British Antarctic Survey to rebut his silly arguments. You can check the quality of a newspaper and see if they refer to the story in The Independent with or without a rebuttal of Michael O’Leary’s nonsense.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bill Maher | Some new rules and thoughts about global warming

As to be expected from a comedian the language in the video below might sometimes a bit provocative and will not be welcomed by everyone.

The important & surprising thing is Maher manages to detect so many caveats in the climate debate.

There is no debate here — it's just scientists vs. non-scientists, and since the topic is science, the non-scientists don’t get a vote.




Any comments ?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

How easy it is to fool the media with invented research results

People voting for the liberal parties have more sex than people voting for the social democrats.
Neveneffecten data driven how easy it is to fool the media
It’s one example of “funny” research that was presented in the Flemish press during the last year. Another story learnt us that on election day there’s a correlation between the colour of the clothes people are wearing and the party they will vote for. Original source for these stories is the bureau Data Driven which for the past days has been flooding the Flemish media with the results of such trivial research. 
One catch : the bureau doesn’t exist nor does the underlying research.
Belgian TV production company Woestijnvis invented all those stories as a part of a new TV-program that hasn’t aired yet. The hoax was discovered today by the newspaper Het Belang van Limburg.  The first appearance of a fake report by Data Driven appeared on June 9 2009 or more than a year ago. 
It definitely tells you something about the reliability of news stories appearing in the media. 

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Merchants of doubt – Oreskes & Conway

Naomi Oreskes EriK Conway Merchants of doubt global warming tobacco
If the name Naomi Oreskes rings a bell, it’s because she’s the person who wrote the frequently cited article Beyond the ivory tower, the scientific consensus on climate change which appeared in ScienceMag in 2004, an article in which she showed that the scientific community overwhelmingly agrees that indeed there is man-made global warming.
In 2008 I already wrote a post in which prof. Oreskes has a closer look at the subject in her presentation The American Denial of Global Warming.
In the new book Merchants of doubt : How a handful of scientists obscured the Truth on issues from Tobacco smoke to Global Warming Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway explain what tobacco, the strategic defence initiative, acid rain, ozone depletion, second-hand smoking and climate change have got in common. All of these issues have gotten politicised by a bunch of free-market fundamentalists who preferred ideology over reality.
Gareth Renowden has good summary, but really i would recommend you to buy the book itself. It will help you to understand how important a person’s bias is, and how a public’s perception can be manipulated. Understanding the tactics used will make it easier to see through the flaws and manipulations. As a result, understanding the book gives a person a better understanding of the functioning of our society !

Thursday, 10 June 2010

BBL analyse Vlaamse partijprogramma's en hun milieustandpunten

Een analyse van de porgramma's van de verschillende partijen zoals die in het Nederland door het CPB werd opgesteld ben ik niet tegengekomen tussen de publicaties van het Belgische Federaal Planbureau.

De Bond Beter Leefmilieu daarentegen publiceerde deze analyse van de partijprogamma's. Hoewel de tekst uiteraard moet gelezen worden als zijnde afkomstig van een milieu-organisatie geeft het toch nog een redelijk accurate synthese van waar de verschillende Vlaamse Partijen voor staan die dit weekend naar de kiezer trekken.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Belgian Scientists Frank van Dun & Claude Javeau were paid by the tobacco lobby

The Belgian newspaper Le Soir today published an article Le lobby du tabac recrutait des profs d’unif (in English : The tobacco lobby recruted university professors) in which Le Soir claims sociologist Claude Javeau of the ULB and philopher of law Frank Van Dun of the UGent were paid by lobby tool ARISE to promote the conclusions of the tobacco lobby.
The tactics used by ARISE was putting tobacco in the same line as ‘daily little joys’ like drinking a cup of coffee or eating chocolate, stating these things increase your happiness in life. Tim Lambert had a closer look at the activities of ARISE in his post Just how many astroturf groups did tobacco fund?
The fact Van Dun was part of ARISE has long been known, Tim mentions him in the post above and i had a closer look at Van Dun’s tobacco activities last year in my post Libertarism, climate change and the tobacco lobby.
The online article of Le Soir is referring to the newspaper itself for the full details and unfortunately i don’t have this paper copy so i’m not really sure if there’s a deeper reason why they are publishing this article exactly today. Nor do i know where they get the information that both professors were paid for their affiliation with ARISE.
I always assumed Frank Van Dun was just a libertarian blinded by bias who got manipulated into the tobacco lobby by agents provocateurs and by not being able to switch of his own superstrong personal libertarian bias. And it’s because of this strong bias libertarians tend to end up in industry-spinned astroturf groups attacking ‘unwanted’ scientific conclusions. The only thing the industrial agents-provocateurs need to do is feed the bias. In case of tobacco subjects, the lobbyists just need to use the word “Freedom”.
They did so in the time of ARISE, and they still do so for the TICAP-conferences which show the symbiosis between libertarism and lobby : the TICAP-conferences were organised by libertarians and I’m actually pretty sure they honestly believe the sloganesque language around freedom that was spoken on that conference.
The only problem with the speakers they invited is that those guys were professional tobacco-lobby spokesman. The agents provocateurs feeding the bias. The i’m talking about lobbyists like John Luik, Gian Turci or Gio Batta Gori.
Unless Le Soir managed to find new information, i think Van Dun, even though he participated in conferences of ARISE, was not a tobacco lobbyist but ‘only’ a libertarian.
.

Le Soir dugg up a text from Javeau from 1994 titled Choix des plaisirs de vivre et de defense de la democratie (in English : “The choice for the pleasures in life and for defending democracy”) [sic]. in this text Javeau is playing with all the well know libertarians fears. An example of a sentence (p2) : Brave New World isn’t far away and we’ll be meeting to play 1984 with some delay.
So again, just like was the case for Van Dun, libertarism might be the real motivator behind Javeau’s actions. But for Javeau there's more. While in Le Soir he claims he was unaware ARISE was funded by the tobacco industry, a draft version of the IARC action plan for Belgium shows Javeau was deeply involved in a broader strategy to influence policy makers.

While I’m willing to give Frank Van Dun benefit of the doubt, things for Claude Javeau look worse. If i were Brussels University, I’d wanna have a chat with the man.

The Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Affairs analysis on climate change

vignet_stempotlood_271260hI don't know if there exists something similar in Belgium (if you know about it, please let me know) but with the upcoming elections the Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) wrote a report (in Dutch, pdf 218p.) in which they make an evaluation of what would be the effects on economy & environment of the political program of the different Dutch political parties.

The graph below shows how much the reduction in Greenhouse Gasses (Mton CO2 eq) would be for the different Dutch political parties.

The bar with highest reduction of course belongs to the Green-Left party (GL) while the lowest reduction is associated with the PVV of Geert Wilders and the right wing liberal party VVD.
Pre-election polls predict the winners of the elections tomorrow will be the two parties (PVV & VVD) that will insufficiently respond to the climate issue. The distortion of the Dutch Climate skeptics around the Klimatosoof & Climategate.nl (Theo Richel, Hans Labohm, Hajo Smit, Rypke Zeilmaker, Marcel Crok, etc) has proven to be successful.

An event like De Groene Rekenkamer’s “National Degreening Day” [sic] probably did have an impact on the politicians present that day, being Helma Neppérus (VVD) and Richard De Mos (PVV), both member of the Dutch Parliament.

And, this is the sad part, both Neppérus & De Mos are responsible for environmental issues within their respective parties. Or how poor understanding of science of a few people can have a gigantic impact on a country’s politics.

pbl-en-cpb-2010-overzicht1

edit The color codes mean :

  • blue = renewable
  • red = energy sector
  • green = traffic
  • yellow = other


h/t Bart Verheggen

Monday, 7 June 2010

Lord Christopher Monckton got pwned by John Abraham

For the few people who missed the news : professor John Abraham has gone where no man has gone before. He looked at a presentation and started to look at all the claims Monckton made, if necessary he contacted the original authors of a paper Monckton quoted, etc. It must have been an incredible time-consuming business, or why no-one ever attemped to make a full rebuttal like Abraham did.
Abraham explains how he got involved in rebutting Monckton in this article in The Guardian. In the article he also demonstrates Monckton is misquoting scientists and misinterpreting science over and over and over again. An example :
For instance, Monckton's claims that "Arctic sea ice is fine, steady for a decade" made reference to Alaskan research group (IARC).
I wrote to members of IARC and asked whether this was true. Both their chief scientist and director confirmed that Monckton was mistaken.
They also pointed me to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) for a second opinion.
A scientist there confirmed Monckton's error, as did Dr Ola Johannessen, whose work has shown ice loss in Greenland (Monckton reported that Johannessen's work showed that Greenland "was just fine".)
Next, I investigated Monckton's claim that the medieval period was warmer than today. Monckton showed a slide featuring nine researchers' works which, he claimed, proved that today's warming is not unusual – it was hotter in the past.
I wrote to these authors and I read their papers. It turned out that none of the authors or papers made the claims that Monckton attributed to them. This pattern of misinterpretation was becoming chronic.
The original version of Abraham’s full rebuttal can be found here, but it’s also available on Youtube, the first part is given below. The list with references used can be found here

Chris Monckton wrote this reply which above anything else is embarrassing. It takes his Lordship exactly five words to drop the word “Goebbelian” and it only goes downwards further on, an example :
So unusual is this attempt actually to meet us in argument, and so venomously ad hominem are Abraham’s artful puerilities, delivered in a nasal and irritatingly matey tone (at least we are spared his face — he looks like an overcooked prawn)
John Abraham gave this polite response to Monckton’s bewildering rant.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Earth is warming & the minds are heating

Jean-Marie Dedecker klimaatverandering Lijst Dedecker
The main topic of the Belgian elections of next week is the tensions between the Dutch speaking north and the French speaking south part. Officially the main issue is the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde problem which is immobilizing the entire countries politics for three consecutive years already. Many people consider this to be a new episode in splitting the country and indeed i think politics have crossed the point of no return into the direction of separation.
The nationalist issues are getting nearly all the attention in the campaigns, while other serious topics (financial crisis anyone?) or the environment are getting neglected. Because of the elections campaign, the new book “Earth is warming and the minds are heating” of Jean Marie Dedecker received little attention.
Jean-Marie Dedecker is the leader of right-liberal Party Dedecker (LDD). Yes the party is named after himself. Jean-Dedecker in the past has been highly critical of environmentalism in general and climate science in specific in his book Recht(s) voor de raap. I have quoted the most relevant part of the book in the post Lijst Dedeckers view on Climate Change.
Dedecker wrote his new book after “extensive study” (reading 50 books) on the subjects of climate change and ecologism, things he calls “The new state religion”. Dedecker says :
We should stop listening to prophecies which, just like 2000 years ago, announce the end of the world. We’re not Jehovah's witnesses, are we?
TV-program Phara had an interview (in Dutch) with Dedecker (Is ecologisme een nieuwe religie?'>video) in which he’s talking about the “Climate Vatican”, “Mass Hysteria” and “Psychosis” without being able to give any substantial support for those hollow words. Besides a lot of nagging, Dedecker uses embarrassing arguments like Climate changed before.
The conservative newspaper De Standaard summarized the general feeling Dedecker’s book ‘Earth is warming & the minds are heating’ provoked in Belgium by making a wordplay in an article about the book-launch titled “Earth is warming and Dedecker evaporates”. Indeed, only two years after his huge electoral success, hardly anyone seems to care any more about Jean-Marie Dedecker, his party LDD or the books he writes.
Or as Geert Lambert, senator for SLP writes : The discourse of Dedecker got stuck in the past (in Dutch). Of course, Hans Labohm sees things differently and thinks Dedecker’s view will have some influence in Belgian politics. Once again Hans isn’t able to distinguish what he would want to from what is reality.
Meanwhile 1700 people joined the Facebook group “Dedecker zou beter zijn muil houden over ecologie” (loosely translated : It would be wiser if Dedecker would just keep his mouth shut about ecology)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Quotes of the Day

This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation (Albert Einstein, 1920)
Joss Garman has a highly recommended post in which he’s having a closer look on Dutch researcher Jeroen Van Dongen’s paper “On Einstein's opponents, and other crackpots” and the Climate denial activists’ parallel to anti-relativity movement of the 1920s.
(h/t Scruffydan)

On the other side of the spectrum, Sarah Palin blames environmentalists for the BP oil-spill in the Mexican Gulf in a Facebook post that uses one of the most awkward forms of backwards reasoning i’ve read in a long time :
With your [environmentalists'] nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you're doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You're not preventing environmental hazards; you're outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.
Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country's energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It's catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.
Oh dear

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Klimaatkeuze.nl

Both in Belgium and Holland elections will be held this month. Yet in both countries the climate topic seems to be rather absent on the political agenda for the moment.
Nevertheless the Dutch anti-nuclear energy platform WISE made an inventory of the viewpoint on climate change of the different Dutch political parties and their approach the subject. The result is given on the website Klimaatkeuze (“climate choice”, Dutch only).

WISE sent 11 questions to the parties and the resulting answers are given on the homepage of Klimaatkeuze. Except for the PVV-party of Geert Wilders as they decided to not cooperate in the project.
On climategate.nl, vocal PVV-supporter Hajo Smit thinks the overview-table with an empty column for the PVV indeliberately summarizes the party’s viewpoint :
“the Blanco column of PVV is the perfect symbolism of what this party is all about : "there is no climate crisis, CO2 isn’t a threat, there’s no need for a specific policy”
The thermometer image at the right gives the evaluation WISE made of the different political programs : the lower the party name is on the agenda, the more they are willing to invest in the climate change issue. The red line at the bottom (just below SP) depicts the international 2°C rise target. As can be seen, only two Dutch parties have a program that aims to stay below this target !!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Infrared absorption by CO2

Sometimes you still see people disputing CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

In the recommended 'climate wars' series, Iain Stewart gives a nice demonstration CO2 really is trapping heat. Classic material.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The republican war on reality : a new McCarthy era ?

The republican war on reality continues and once again one could the see the huge gap there is between the Belgian and American society. Something i cannot imagine happening in Belgium is the fact Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General (in Belgium : Procureur des Konings) of the state of Virginia started an unprecedented legal attack against climate scientist Michael E. Mann, known as the author of the Hockey Stick graph.
Ken Cuccinelli, a man who is rumoured next elections to be seeking for the post of Governor for the Republican Party and a man who got so offended by an artwork showing a naked breast he had it covered up on lapel pins. (Painting : La Liberté guidant le peuple)
In a 14p civil investigative demand sent to the University of Virginia on April 23 Cuccinelli is asking for all documents around Michael Mann’s research grants and all correspondence he had with a very long list of fellow scientists, but also with sceptics like Vincent Gray, Ross McKitrick, Pat Michaels, etc.
It is remarkable that just after Mann was cleared of the allegations of scientific misconduct by Penn state University, Ken Cuccineli is claiming that Mann may have defrauded taxpayers while trying to get grants (a remarkably unimpressive half a million dollar in the period 1999-2005, after which he left UVA) to fund his research. Of course this is just an excuse and Cuccinelli’s real motive is political. Remember, Cuccinelli also is the man who recently sued the American government over its regulation of greenhouse gases.
Of course the actions of Cuccinelli aren’t welcomed by everyone, some example of comments :
Cuccinelli is taking things too far. Way too far. This has all the trappings of a witch hunt, plain and simple.
Another commentor :
This is a repugnant piece of over-zealousness by the Virginia Attorney General, that I condemn.
(…) To the extent that Virginia citizens are concerned about public money being misappropriated, Cuccinelli’s own expenditures on this adventure should be under equal scrutiny
(…) I intend to write Cuccinelli expressing my disdain for his actions.
These two quotes do not come from do not come from pro-AGW climate scientists, but from prominent climate skeptics Paul ‘Chip’ Knappenberger and Steve McIntyre. Nuff’ said ?
Meanwhile 255 members of the American National Academy of sciences published an open letter on climate change and the integrity of science :
We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular.
(…)
Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence.
(…)
We also call for an end to McCarthy- like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them. Society has two choices: we can ignore the science and hide our heads in the sand and hope we are lucky, or we can act in the public interest to reduce the threat of global climate change quickly and substantively. The good news is that smart and effective actions are possible. But delay must not be an option.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Belgium’s fifth national communication on Climate Change

Three years after the latest publication, a new full update of Belgium’s climate policy has been published with the fifth national communication on climate change (En Français, In het Nederlands)
The report gives an overview of these topics :
  • Inventory of emissions of greenhouse gasses and projections until 2020 (see also : Belgium’s greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2007)
  • Research
  • Education, training  and public awareness
  • Vulnerability-assessment on climate change impacts
it’s an interesting introduction to what’s going on in the country. Unfortunately the Belgian policy isn’t overambitious and the current political instability on the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde conflict  in Belgium makes it nearly impossible to have a decent national policy. Luckily the regional governments have the autonomy to have a policy on it’s own but of course on the international level it’s the federal government which should take the leading role. For the time the country lasts that is. 

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Hans Labohm doet het weer

De aandachtige lezer zal al wel opgemerkt hebben dat ik omwille van professionele verplichtingen momenteel niet echt vaak aan bloggen toe kom, maar ik kan deze conversatie niet laten passeren :

Goede vriend Hans Labohm schreef vandaag een stukje op De Dagelijkse Standaard getiteld : Klimaatverandering in Duitsland: Angela Merkel laat twee-graden-doelstelling vallen.

Hans baseert zich daarbij op dit artikel uit der Spiegel. Merkwaardig genoeg ondersteunt de oorspronkelijke bron Hans' conclusie niet, en in de comments sectie ontspint zich deze discussie die ik de lezer graag even meegeef :

NN : Hans, hoe kom je aan de kop van dit artikel? Waar heb je gelezen dat “Angela Merkel de twee-graden-doelstelling laat vallen”?

Hans Labohm : NN,Dat staat in het aangehaalde artikel.

NN : Hans, waar staat dat dan? In ieder geval niet in de stukjes die jij aan hebt gehaald.
NN : Het volgende staat in het artikel van Der Spiegel, de basis voor dit blog.“The environment … and the chancellor [Merkel] are “not looking to abandon the 2-degree target, but rather to find new ways to attain it,” says Röttgen.”

Hans Labohm : NN,Tja, zo gaat dat in de politiek.Geloof je het ècht?

NN : Waar slaat dat nou weer op?! Je schrijft iets dat apert onjuist is, aantoonbaar op basis van de bron die je zelf aanhaalt.Jij schrijft: Angela Merkel laat twee-graden-doelstelling vallen.

In het stuk zelf staat: “not looking to abandon the 2-degree target”En dat doe je af met ‘Tja, zo gaat het in de politiek’. Nee, zo gaat het niet in de politiek, zo gaat het bij jou. Je bent zo gewend om naast de waarheid te schrijven, dat het je niet eens meer opvalt. Het zou je sieren als je dat toegaf.

Verderop de comments sectie wordt nog een link geven naar een doelbewuste quote-mine die Hans blijft herhalen lang nadat hijzelf op de hoogte was gebracht van de foute context van zijn verhaal. Wat impliceert dat Hans er geen probleem inziet halve waarheden te presenteren, zoals ikzelf eerder ook al had opgemerkt in deze post : Labohm Again Sigh.

Ik blijf dan ook bij mijn eerder gestelde conclusie : Hans Labohm is geen dwalende pseudo-wetenschapper maar een regelrechte intellectuele fraudeur. Harde woorden, maar de feiten onderschrijven keer op keer deze conclusie.

Monday, 26 April 2010

IPCC-Hearings in Dutch Parliament, part 3

Today finally the stenographic report of the IPCC-hearings on April 19 was mailed around (the 120 page long word document can be found here – unfortunately it’s in Dutch only).
I haven’t had the time to read the full document yet after a first quick cross-reading the first conclusion seems to be that even though here and there some interesting things were said, a hearing in Parliament about a scientific subject isn’t the best idea. I’ve already read too much talking for the sake of talking.
The mail with which the report was sent says that as a result of the hearing the committee decided it will ask a couple of Questions to the Dutch Minister of the VROM-department. The questions itself normally will be published shortly after May 12.  Stay tuned.
The accompanying mail in Dutch :
Geachte deelnemers aan de hoorzitting IPCC,
Bijgaand het verslag van de hoorzitting van vorige week. Het is een groot document; hopelijk kan uw mailbox het aan. Binnenkort zal het verslag ook op de nieuwe website “Officiële bekendmakingen” te vinden zijn, https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl/ .
De commissie heeft besloten naar aanleiding van de hoorzitting feitelijke vragen te gaan stellen aan de minister van VROM. Deze vragen zullen kort na 12 mei te vinden zijn op bovengenoemde website bij Parlementaire documenten en dan als “niet-dossierstuk”. De minister zal worden gevraagd de Kamer voor het einde van het verkiezingsreces (14 juni) te antwoorden, opdat de nieuwe Kamer dit onderwerp verder kan oppakken. De hoorzitting krijgt dus een serieus vervolg!
Nogmaals zeer veel dank voor alle tijd en moeite die u erin heeft gestoken om de Kamerleden te informeren. Zij hebben dit zeer op prijs gesteld en de reacties op de gehele dag waren dan ook erg positief.
Vriendelijke groet,
Eva Lemaier