05 Nov 2006

Debunking the UN’s Stern Report

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Christopher Moncton starts a series of two articles discussing the fallacies of the UN’s Stern Report on Climate Change.

First, the UN implies that carbon dioxide ended the last four ice ages. It displays two 450,000-year graphs: a sawtooth curve of temperature and a sawtooth of airborne CO2 that’s scaled to look similar. Usually, similar curves are superimposed for comparison. The UN didn’t do that. If it had, the truth would have shown: the changes in temperature preceded the changes in CO2 levels.

Next, the UN abolished the medieval warm period (the global warming at the end of the First Millennium AD). In 1995, David Deming, a geoscientist at the University of Oklahoma, had written an article reconstructing 150 years of North American temperatures from borehole data. He later wrote: “With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. One of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said: ‘We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.’ “…

Scores of scientific papers show that the medieval warm period was real, global and up to 3C warmer than now. Then, there were no glaciers in the tropical Andes: today they’re there. There were Viking farms in Greenland: now they’re under permafrost. There was little ice at the North Pole: a Chinese naval squadron sailed right round the Arctic in 1421 and found none.

The Antarctic, which holds 90 per cent of the world’s ice and nearly all its 160,000 glaciers, has cooled and gained ice-mass in the past 30 years, reversing a 6,000-year melting trend. Data from 6,000 boreholes worldwide show global temperatures were higher in the Middle Ages than now. And the snows of Kilimanjaro are vanishing not because summit temperature is rising (it isn’t) but because post-colonial deforestation has dried the air. Al Gore please note.

In some places it was also warmer than now in the Bronze Age and in Roman times. It wasn’t CO2 that caused those warm periods. It was the sun. So the UN adjusted the maths and all but extinguished the sun’s role in today’s warming. Here’s how:

• The UN dated its list of “forcings” (influences on temperature) from 1750, when the sun, and consequently air temperature, was almost as warm as now. But its start-date for the increase in world temperature was 1900, when the sun, and temperature, were much cooler.

• Every “forcing” produces “climate feedbacks” making temperature rise faster. For instance, as temperature rises in response to a forcing, the air carries more water vapour, the most important greenhouse gas; and polar ice melts, increasing heat absorption. Up goes the temperature again. The UN more than doubled the base forcings from greenhouse gases to allow for climate feedbacks. It didn’t do the same for the base solar forcing.

Two centuries ago, the astronomer William Herschel was reading Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations when he noticed that quoted grain prices fell when the number of sunspots rose. Gales of laughter ensued, but he was right. At solar maxima, when the sun was at its hottest and sunspots showed, temperature was warmer, grain grew faster and prices fell. Such observations show that even small solar changes affect climate detectably. But recent solar changes have been big.

Read the whole thing.

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Dominique R. Poirier

The story of what we use to call “global warming” would deserve a book, I think; because it is an interesting and surprising story which has, as many stories have, an unknown side.

It seems the basis on which the idea of the global warming was later developed and perfected begun before WWII. Evidences suggest it took root in the mind of a Dutch man named Sicco Leendert Mansholt.

Let’s see, first, what Wikipedia says about Mansholt:

“Mansholt came from a socialist farmer’s family in the Dutch province of Groningen. Both his father and grandfather were supporters of socialist forefighters such as Multatuli, Domela Nieuwenhuis and Troelstra. His father, Lambertus H. Mansholt, was a delegate for the socialist SDAP party in the Groningen provincial chamber. His mother, Wabien Andreae, daughter of a judge in Heerenveen, was one of the first women to have studied Political Science. She organised political meetings for other women, usually in their own homes. Mansholt attended the HBS-school in Groningen and after that went to Deventer, to the School of Tropical Agriculture, where he studied to become a tobacco farmer.
He moved to Java in the Dutch East Indies, nowadays Indonesia, and started to work in a tea plantation. He returned to the Netherlands in 1936, unhappy with the colonial system. He wanted to become a farmer and moved to the Wieringermeer, a polder, reclaimed in 1937. There he started his own farm.
There he became a member of the SDAP, as a secretary of the local party. He had several public functions for the SDAP in Wieringermeer, including that of acting mayor of the Wieringermeer community. In the years of the Second World War he was an active member of the Resistance. He helped people, who were in acute danger, to hide in the Wieringermeerpolder; he organised clandestine food distributions for the western provinces. Immediately after the war, in June 1945, socialist PvdA Prime Minister Schermerhorn asked him to take a seat in his cabinet as minister of Agriculture, Fishery and Food distribution. He was the youngest member of a cabinet, aged only 36.
He was a member of 6 cabinets in total: Schermerhorn-Drees in 1945; Beel in 1946; Drees-Van Schaik in 1948, and another three Drees administrations: 1951, 1952 and 1956. In 1958 he became one of the Commissioners of the just started European Commission where he was Commissioner for Agriculture, modernising European Agriculture. He was also vice-president of the Commission of European Communities.
He became President of the European Commission on March 22, 1972 and continued in that position until January 5, 1973. It was around that time he was heavily under the influence of Club of Rome.”

Mansholt was the guiding force behind what was called the Mansholt Plan, a proposed radical restructuring of Western European agriculture that became the basis for the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Economic Community (EEC) and its successor, the European Community (EC).

Thirty years ago, a number of high-ranking political and economic decision-makers set up a small, informal group which they decided to call the Club of Rome. Headed by Sicco Mansholt, who had just completed a notable term of office as European Agriculture Commissioner, the newly formed Club published a report, the title of which sparked immediate controversy: An end to growth; a title that later give birth to something many named Zero Growth Policy.
Overall, the Zero Growth policy argued that earth wouldn’t have soon enough resource for mankind. Across the Atlantic, Hermann Kahn, of the Rand Corporation, answered that, on the contrary, earth had far enough resources to sustain a population of 20 billions civilized individuals.

The Zero Growth Policy was openly neo-Malthusianist and highly political in his aims, although no one could find any allusion about Marxism and communism in it. It advocated a drastic reduction of the industry and of consumption, and it predicted that, if nothing was done immediately, the world would exhaust its supply of raw materials by the 1980s and 90s. As a way of giving a solid ground to its theory, the Club of Rome added that a highly industrialized world generated pollution enough to dangerously modify our climate and eco-system, and endanger many species.

It seems that, at the beginning, the authors of the idea of the Zero Growth Policy had some difficulty in forecasting which way of promoting their idea was the best: claiming that industrialism and capitalism would soon exhaust raw materials, or claiming that it generated pollution enough to make life disappearing from the face of earth on the long run?

Actually, the first option was fully adopted by the New Left; while the second gave birth to the ecologist movement, which, of course, was to play an active role on the political stage. In both cases the expected successful outcome was the end of capitalism and its main features, automobile, industry, etc. All this somehow remind us of the different between some Southerners who believed in agriculture, and some Northerners who believed in industrialism and market.

At first the report An End to Growth was severely and widely criticized for its Utopian concept. For the first time, threats to the global environment become a matter of public debate. The idea of protecting fauna and flora was especially attractive for women who, overall, have a natural leaning toward nature and found in the idea an opportunity to play an active role on the political stage. From then on media got suddenly attentive to ecologist concerns, and policy-makers felt compelled to know more about ecology, pollution, oil consumption, fauna, flora, and related concerns and issues; thus giving rise to an increasing research effort by the scientific community as a whole.

Thereupon, the first oil crisis happened and gave credit to the thesis exposed by Mansholt and by the Club of Rome. We were in 1971, and, during this very same year Greepeace was founded in Canada.
The origins of Greenpeace lie in the formation of the Don’t Make A Wave Committee by an assortment of left leaning and peace activists Canadian and American expatriate in Vancouver in 1970. Taking its name from a slogan used during protests against United States nuclear testing in late 1969, the Committee came together with the objective of stopping a second underground nuclear bomb test codenamed Cannikin by the United States military beneath the island of Amchitka, Alaska.

One will notice that Greenpeace protested loudly against U.S. nuclear tests only, and never got as much interested in Soviet nuclear tests and weaponry, a point about which I am going provide further explanation.

Surprisingly enough, no one paid attention to the fact that the idea of the Zero Growth Policy was truly promoted by a man who had the real power to promote it: Georgi Arbatov.
Georgi Arbatov was Moscow’s leading Americanologist. He was top strategic thinker and a KGB man whose mentor was Yuri Andropov, a man who became KGB chief before he was elected General Secretary of Communist Party of the Soviet Union from November 12, 1982 until his death just sixteen months later. In the frame of his activities for the KGB, Georgi Arbatov worked as a thinker for the “active measures.” In order to provide a measure of Georgi Arbatov’s knowledge of America, this Russian attempted to write two books on U.S. history; one on the Bill of Rights, and another on Thomas Paine. These attempts occurred during the 60’s, before Arbatov was given the directorship of the Soviet Institute of Russia and Canada. In October 1988 Georgi Arbatov introduced Ted Turner to Gorbachev and organized their first meeting. Another meeting with Ted Turner, Jane Fonda, Gorbachev and Arbatov happened on October 1990.

The active measures were part of a general branch of the Soviet intelligence apparatus named “maskirovka” (or camouflage in English). By opposition to “passive measures”, active measures aim at misleading the opponent and at influencing its decision-making process. At a strategic level, active measures can influence other’s foreign policies, and thus it played an active part in the Soviet security policy.
In the frame of the Marxist dynamic, war was seen as a global and permanent phenomenon in keeping with Karl von Klausewitz’s views on war which says that “war is the continuation of politic by other means.” For the Soviets and for the Communists in general, there is no clear cut border between war and peace, as it is the case in the occidental world. By the same token, Communists make no difference between “direct”, and “indirect” war. This notion is tied to the concept of “underground” war which relates to stealthy and remote controlled hostile actions whose final aims and goals are to give birth to insurgency everywhere possible and to overthrow governments, or to gain unofficial control over them.
War can be waged through both “direct strategy” (use of force), and “indirect strategy” (use of persuasion) as parts of a same permanent war. Indirect strategy relies mainly on active measures, to which one may add logistic support and financial aid to friendly countries or resistance movements in third world countries. Active measures aim at deceiving the enemy through simulation, imitation, and disinformation; while passive measures aim at hiding things, infrastructures, troops, or intentions.

Indirect strategies are not a military phenomenon per se, but a political and psychological phenomenon often serving long term goals and aims. That’s why indirect strategies and subsequently actives measures have to be countered in time of peace through the use of, mainly, political organizations and media. But, occidental countries, where freedom of press is usually enforced, are highly vulnerable to active measures. In those countries, Political organizations and media are often vulnerable and not trained enough to defend themselves on such tricky ground. Moreover, in some instances, they make themselves accomplice or willing actors of such strategies.

Contrary to what some assume, the usual “target” of active measures is much less the “establishment” than dissatisfied people constituting the opposition. Those targets usually are; left leaning movements, human rightist movements and organizations, pacifists and anti-war protesters, ecologists, and racial minorities. In some cases, nationalist movements are created or infiltrated as a way of acting undercover.

An important part of indirect strategy is, of course, black propaganda. Contrary to disinformation, propaganda is elaborated upon true facts and figures which are emphasized exactly as advertisers would tout a product or a brand. Propaganda consists in underlining part of a given reality or in giving emphasis to a part of a given reality, or to show a reality under a particular angle, while disinformation consists in spreading false information and rumors.

At a strategic level, Russian active measures were conceived and planned by the Service A of the 1st Directorate of the KGB according to orders given by the Central Comity of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

For example, the launching of the pacifist campaign of September 1979 aiming to influence the decision of the NATO to deploy Pershing II type cruiser missiles was truly all Soviet active measures.

Claims that the Boeing 747 of the Korean Air Line shot down by Soviet missiles on September 1st 1983 was involved in an espionage mission was truly all Soviet active measures.

Claims and rumors alleging that the AIDS virus had been made by a U.S. military biological laboratory was truly all Soviet active measures. Launched in 1983 through the use of Indian media, this false information had been then republished on the Literaturnaya Gazeta in October 1985. But, this time, the Russians had been forced to publicly acknowledge their responsibility for the spread of this rumor.

Attempts to deter some African countries from participating to the Olympic Games of 1984 at Los Angeles in sending racial threats on behalf of the KKK was truly all Soviet active measures.

During the years 1987-88, rumors, according to which the United States helped children trafficking in order to feed organs banks, were Russian active measures made for the sake of damaging U.S. image in Africa.

More recently, in 1997, a rumor according to which Olaf Palme would have been assassinated by “stay-behind” networks of the NATO originated in Russia. The goal of this disinformation campaign was to deter some European countries from joining the NATO by discrediting it.

The ancestor of the Department A of the first Directorate was created during the 60’s and gained further strenght during the early 70’s when Yuri Andropov became head of the KGB. Overall, the KGB knew certain evolution under Yuri Andropov, to the extent that newly recruited or promoted KGB officers of the 1st Directorate were said to belong to the “Andropov generation.” Vladimir Putin was one of the Andropov generation.

Yuri Andropov, who has been the shrewdest and the brightest Soviet leader between Stalin and Gorbachev, understood that the classic Soviet economic policy was leading the country toward its own demise on the long run. Although he owed is successful career to the Stalinist era and continued to express deep admiration for Stalin, even after the XXth Congress of the Communist Party, Yuri Andropov is thought to be the early initiator of the perestroika, which he would have think of when he was KGB chief.

For long, the Soviets used Indian media to spread their disinformation campaigns in order to gain further credibility and to plausibly deny their responsibility.
However, it seems that active measures were mastered by the Soviets well before a specialized department in charge to handle and coordinate it was formally created.
During the XIXth century, in his correspondence with Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels wrote:

“A continuing economic depression could be used by astute revolutionary strategy as a useful weapon for a chronic pressure (….) in order to warm up the people (….) just as a cavalry attack has greater elan if the horses first trot five hundred paces before coming within charging distance of the enemy.”

In The Haunted Wood, by Allen Weinstein, 1999, page 67, we find the following copy of an extract of a secret message sent from New York to Moscow in 1938 by the NKVD agent Peter Gutzeit.

“We think that now, before he is elected (it will be difficult afterwards) it is necessary to recruit him and help him with money for his election campaign. He may not be elected, but that is a risk we must take.”

“Him” is William Dodd (code named by the NKVD “Boy”, then “President”), son of the Ambassador William Dodd (U.S. Ambassador in Berlin during the 30’s) and brother of Martha Dodd, Soviet agent recruited at Berlin by the NKVD while her father was Ambassador in this country.
William Dodd Jr. presented himself in an election campaign as Senator. He was effectively recruited as Soviet agent by his sister, Martha Dodd, and was given $1,000 from the New York NKVD station as contribution to his congressional campaign. Although William Dodd lost his bid, he remained an active Soviet source in the years that followed, providing the NKVD with information gathered from his discussions with leading Washington congressmen, senators, and government officials.

This introduction to active measures being done, I pursue on the matter at hand.

At the time of the idea of the Zero Growth Policy, Georgi Arbatov had a front man to spread the idea, Willem Oltmans, a journalist who, like Sicco Leendert Mansholt, was Dutch. Georgi Arbatov guided the work of Willem Oltmans for the writing of several books; sometimes officially, sometimes not. On the Zero Growth Policy, Willelm Oltmans wrote On Growth, in 1974. In 1983, Willem Oltmans and Georgi Arbatov co-authored The Soviet Viewpoint.

It looks like Soviet active measures somehow loosened their efforts on a political use of ecology and global warming, and, instead focused on the use of ecologist movement as a way of deterring the use of nuclear power plants; and as protesters (with anti-war protesters) against the deployment of a nuclear bomb capacity in Europe challenging this of the Soviet Union. Greenpeace was especially involved in bomb tests performed by NATO members.
All this made that, along the ensuing years, ecologists “learned” to focus their attention on the United States and its allies. The success came with the Kyoto Agreements, which the United States never agreed to sign for obvious reasons.

As it happens when a disinformation campaign meets success, there is point from which there is no longer any needs to fuel it; it starts working by itself, exactly as in the case of a chain reaction. That’s what happened in the case of the global warming, as in several other cases.

Today, there are still people who believe that the AIDS virus has been made in U.S. secret laboratory, that the Korean Boeing 747 that was shot down over Russia was a civilian plane filled with electronic spying devices, although the KGB stopped fuelling these rumors since long already, and that a missile was truly fired on the Pentagon in September 11, 2001.

Brilliant explanations and theories about the global warming continue blossoming here and there, even though no one has been able to demonstrate categorically that the cause was all about human activity. Most scientists, however brilliant they may be, are rather receptive to new theories; especially when these theories represent an intellectual challenge for them. The rewards for solving such theories are attractive, indeed. It ranges from universal praise in the international scientific community to the Nobel Prize. Beside, some scientific disciplines undergo the effects of politics. Funds for researches on global warming are easier to get than funds for researches on some branches of fundamental physics nowadays.

It is of my opinion that many scientists and global warming theorists involved so much of themselves until then that any attempt to step back would be too costly. Also, it would put a final point to many careers.

Ironically, I find myself making profitable use of a hoax elaborated by a left leaning scientist, as a way of demonstrating how scientists and countless people on earth have been tricked with the tale of the global warming. It will be the conclusion of this long (sorry) comment:

The version of this story I deliver here is extracted from Wikipedia.
“Alan David Sokal (born 1955) is a professor of physics and faculty member of the mathematics department at New York University. In January 2006, he was appointed as the Chair of Statistical Mechanics & Combinatorics at University College London. Advised by Arthur Wightman, he received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1981.
Politically leftist, Sokal is an outspoken critic of the Left’s “penchant for subjectivism” in the humanities. Sokal previously taught mathematics at the National University of Nicaragua in the summers of 1986-1988.
He is best known to the general public for the Sokal Affair of 1996. Curious to see whether the postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text would publish any submission which “flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions”, Sokal submitted for publication a grand-sounding, but nonsensical paper entitled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”.
The journal did publish it, and Sokal then revealed the hoax in the journal Lingua Franca, citing, among others, Noam Chomsky to argue that the left and social science would be better served by intellectual underpinnings based on reason. He replied to leftist and postmodernist criticism of the deception by saying that his motivation had been to “defend the Left from a trendy segment of itself.”
The affair, together with Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt’s book Higher Superstition, can be considered to be the beginnings of the so-called Science wars.
Sokal followed up by co-authoring the book Fashionable Nonsense with Jean Bricmont in 1998 (originally published in French, a year before, as Impostures Intellectuelles). The book accuses other academics of using scientific and mathematical terms incorrectly and proponents of the strong program for denying the value of truth. The book had mixed reviews, with some lauding the effort, some more reserved, and others pointing out alleged inconsistencies and criticizing the authors for ignorance of the fields under attack and taking passages out of context.”
Wikipedia link to the story:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_sokal



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