Archive for August 2010
Reference: Is the weather chaos linked to warming, Bangkok Post, August 25, 2010
A recent article on global warming (Is the weather chaos linked to warming, Bangkok Post, August 25, 2010) refers to the heat wave in Russia and the floods in Pakistan to imply that there exists empirical evidence that shows that global warming is causing extreme weather. There are repeated references to alleged statistical evidence as in the following sentence fragments: “the statistical evidence shows that much of this is starting to happen”, “the statistics suggest that this is happening”, “climate change skeptics dispute statistical arguments”, “researchers offer evidence to show that weather extremes are getting worse”, and so on. Yet, hidden in the mass of alarmist statements about catastrophic man made climate change are these complete contradictions: “It will be a year or two before scientists publish definitive analyses of the Russian heat wave and the Pakistani floods”; “If you ask me as a person do I think that the Russian heat wave has to do with climate change , the answer is yes, but if you ask me as a scientist whether I have proof, the answer is no”. In other words there is no statistical evidence. Contradictions of this kind are characteristic of the post Climategate genre of climate catastrophe alarmism. The contradictions cancel out and leave a net information content of zero.
Cross-border mobility of capital and labor between economic equals poses few problems and offers many benefits but that kind of economic integration is not possible between grossly unequal economies. Although a controlled flow of labor from the poor country may have economic benefits for the rich country, it must strictly control labor flow from the poor country to prevent its high value labor market and social institutions from being overwhelmed by a large number of workers seeking higher wages. Similarly, even though the poor country needs capital investment from the rich country, it must control its flow and extent to keep its relatively tiny asset market from being overwhelmed by the relatively huge money supply of the rich country. Both of these concerns are motivated by economic stability issues and neither may be described as xenophobia. It is not reasonable to expect these countries to have either reciprocal labor flow agreements or reciprocal capital flow agreements.
It is heartening to learn that Asia’s middle class is growing by leaps and bounds and that their numbers have now reached 274 million in India and a whopping 817 million in China (Study unveils Asia’s booming middle class, Bangkok Post, August 21, 2010). It is sobering to learn, however, that to get these rosy numbers it was necessary to count people consuming at least $2 per day as middle class. This consumption rate is just a dollar per day above the usual definition of extreme poverty. The falling dollar may also have contributed to the rise of the middle class in Asia by allowing many millions to be re-classified by virtue of nothing more than a change in the exchange rate. Thank God for statistics.
In 2005 they were telling us that biofuels are the answer to global warming and that we should all “go green” by consuming renewable biofuels instead of fossil fuels. In fact they went so far as to put biofuel consumption and production as “offsets” in the strange mathematics of carbon emission “reduction” used by the industrialized countries to meet their Kyoto targets. Around 2008, when Indonesia and other Asian countries responded to this call with an aggressive biofuels program we were told that these activities were bad for the environment and for biodiversity and that biofuels actually caused global warming. And now in 2010 we find that biofuels are being promoted once again to fight global warming (Jet biofuel to take flight from 2012, Bangkok Post, August 18, 2010). Is “the science” really “settled” on the global warming issue? If so what is the “consensus” on the question of biofuels?
Greenpeace Thailand found toxic chemicals in the sediment of the Chao Phraya River and is demanding that the Pollution Control Department of Thailand take action to clean up the waterways in that region (Greenpeace calls for waterway clean-up, Bangkok Post, August 18, 2010). It is good to see environmental activists addressing real environmental issues after being absent from that arena for more than a a decade possibly because of their obsession with carbon dioxide.
A large number of gross errors found in the IPCC’s 2007 assessment report and the subsequent flurry of humiliating retractions have apparently changed the method of global warming alarmism to include the use of disclaimers as some kind of a defensive perimeter against criticism. The article on extreme weather (Extreme weather becoming more frequent, Bangkok Post, August 11, 2010) is an example. It contains the following disclaimers: It is impossible to lay the blame for weather events on human activity; You can’t draw the conclusion that this is caused by global warming; One cause of a shift in monsoon rains in Asia is the effect of La Nina; It is too early to point to a human fingerprint behind individual weather events; It is impossible to blame mankind for single severe weather events.
Each of these disclaimers is immediately followed by a “be that as it may” conclusion that is its exact opposite. For example, the statement that “it is too early to point to a human fingerprint” is followed by “recent weather extremes … (are) adding to evidence of a changing climate even as negotiations on a new global treaty for costly cuts in greenhouse gas emissions have stalled”.
These contradictory statements taken together appear to be saying that we must go ahead with costly cuts in greenhouse gas emissions although we have neither evidence nor science to determine whether the heat waves and floods are caused by emissions and whether reducing emissions will have any effect on weather.
The idea that carbon emissions cause extreme weather originated with a paper that found an increasing cost of weather disasters from 1970 to 2006. Using cost as a proxy for “intensity and frequency” the authors concluded that weather was becoming more extreme. No justification was provided for the further conclusion that the alleged increase in extreme weather was caused by carbon emissions.
It was later found that the apparent trend in the cost of extreme weather was an artifact of the 2005 hurricane season in the Caribbean. Without 2005 in the data, the trend disappeared. This flaw in the study caused the authors and the IPCC to withdraw their 2007 claim that global warming causes extreme weather (“UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters”, Sunday Times, January 24, 2010). The resurrection of this thesis without a scientific study as a basis is likely to further erode the credibility of the IPCC.
The massacre of an aid group would rank as a war atrocity if the Taliban recognized such acts or terms.
The aid group was wiped out, he said, because they were American spies and preaching Christianity.
This would be a shocking cruel justification if it were true.
In the event, however, the Taliban leadership is lying.
The members of the group were Christian but never had preached their religion.
If the Taliban is to be denied a return to power and terrorist sponsorship, much effort will be required.
An infrastructure of altruistic foreigners is vital to help Afghans build a decent country.
The Taliban will crush decent people and goals.