What's New | 5 Dec 08:56 2009

What's New Robert L. Park 5 Dec 09

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park    Friday, 4 Dec 09   Washington, DC

1.  CLIMATE CHANGE: WHICH SIDE IS BOB ON IN THE CLIMATE WAR?
I’m getting a lot of mail asking where I stand on climate change.  You’re 
entitled to know.   But first, I’ve gotta own up: I'm not a climate 
scientist.  I rely on information gathered and interpreted by other 
scientists, everybody does.  My source on climate is the Intergovernmental 
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established by the United Nations in 1988, 
soon after I began writing WN.  Along with most scientists, I concluded 
that anthropogenic warming is real and dangerous; 20 years later I still 
do.   If warming is caused by human activity, and we have taken no steps to 
modify our behavior, the result will be catastrophic.  A long-term solution 
calls for two changes throughout society: higher efficiency and lower 
fertility.  If warming turns out not to be caused by humans, we will still 
have left our progeny with a better world.  

2. CLIMATEGATE: WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT DID THE HACKING?
Last week someone broke into the e-mail files of the Climate Research Unit 
at the University of East Anglia, and posted the results on the web for the 
world to see. The Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily are 
having a field-day writing about "criminal conspiracy" and "scientific 
blacklisting."  There were a few embarrassing comments about global warming 
deniers in a mountain of e-mails.  I would hate to see some of my private e-
mails on the web.  The suffix was added to invite comparisons to the 
infamous break-in at the Watergate Hotel by Nixon's goons, but in this 
story the unnamed burglars are treated as heroes.   No one wrote even a 
line about what was probably the only criminal offense in this sordid 
affair: hacking into private files.  There are angry demands in Congress 
for an investigation of the affair.   So far the only effect has been to 
shift the focus away from bad news about rising oceans and stranded polar 
(Continue reading)

What's New | 12 Dec 15:26 2009

What's New December 11, 2009

WHAT'S NEW   Robert L. Park    Friday, 11 Dec 09   Washington, DC

1.  WARMER: THE TREND SHOWS NO SIGN OFF ENDING.
At the Copenhagen climate talks, Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the 
international weather agency, told a news conference that the period from 
2000 through 2009 will almost certainly be the warmest decade in the 150 
years of modern record-keeping.   And with just a few weeks remaining, 2009 
will likely be the fifth warmest year on record.  But what about those 
hacked emails from the climate research unit at the University of East 
Anglia? Jarraud replied that there is no evidence that independent 
estimates showing a warming world are in doubt.  The more interesting 
question is who was behind the break-in and why? The use of dirty tricks to 
cast doubt on the reality of global warming began with Kyoto. 

2.  KYOTO:  THE PROTOCOL WAS ADOPTED 12 YEARS AGO TODAY.
It?s awkward that the United States, alone among major nations, declined to 
ratify the Kyoto protocol calling for reduction of greenhouse gases.  
Without the United States, which is responsible for 1/3 of the world's 
greenhouse emissions, the Kyoto accord was meaningless.  To convince 
Congress and the public that scientists have serious doubts about global 
warming, a petition was launched.  The only return address on a massive 
mailing to academic scientists was a P.O. Box.   The only name was Fred 
Seitz.  A famous condensed matter physicist in his earlier years, Seitz 
headed the ultra-conservative George C. Marshall Institute in Washington.  
Seitz was also a permanent paid consultant of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco 
Company.  Although he conducted no tobacco research, Seitz used his 
scientific reputation to cast doubt on medical evidence showing that 
secondhand smoke is dangerous.  Now he was doing the same for global 
warming.  The petition mailing included a Wall Street Journal op-ed that 
said we have an ethical responsibility to burn as much fossil fuel as 
(Continue reading)

What's New | 19 Dec 00:55 2009

What's New Friday, 18 Dec 09

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park    Friday, 18 Dec 09   Washington, DC

1.  CYBERGOONS: THE ETHICS OF HACKING OTHER PEOPLE’S FILES.
"If you believe in scientific openness," warming critics wrote me, "you 
should be pleased that the climate-gate files became public."  Well, I do 
believe in openness.  The success and credibility of science is anchored in 
openness; new ideas and findings must be exposed to the scrutiny of other 
scientists.  By contrast, governments insist on the need for diplomatic and 
military secrecy; the result of which is perpetual warfare.  But contrary 
to the impression conveyed by the media, the U.S., thankfully, has no 
official-secrets act.  Conscientious government workers, willing to risk 
their careers by leaking classified information, may be the only check on 
government excesses carried out behind a screen of national security  
http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN03/wn100303.html .  But it was no Daniel 
Ellsberg who hacked the climate-gate files.  The unauthorized release of e-
mail files from a climate unit at the University of East Anglia had no such 
high-minded purpose. It has the smell of goons hired by an Exxon or a 
Peabody Coal. 

2.  CERES: SO WHAT WAS IN THE CLIMATEGATE E-MAILS?
A hacked e-mail passage that was widely quoted in media accounts of climate-
gate, begins: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at 
the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."  Francisco Valero, Director 
of the Atmospheric Research Laboratory at the Scripps Institution for 
Oceanography, says the statement is totally correct.  The problem began 
where most of our problems began: at the start of The Bush administration.  
Because Al Gore initiated it, the Bush administration postponed and 
eventually canceled the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR),  meant to 
continuously monitor Earth's radiance from the L1 point between Earth and 
Sun.  Instead NASA began a program to get the information from low Earth 
(Continue reading)

What's New | 26 Dec 07:07 2009

What's New 25 Dec 09

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park    Friday, 25 Dec 09   Washington, DC

1.  ABATEMENT: CAN GLOBAL WARMING BE HALTED OR REVERSED?
Off course it can.  If global warming is anthropogenic, and I feel certain 
that it is, it should be seen as a demonstration that humans already exert 
control over the climate.  We need only to reverse the sign. Two things can 
do it:  1) increase efficiency and 2) decrease the number of "warming 
centers" (i.e. reduce the number of people on Earth).  Number 1) should be 
a crash program, since efficiency pays for itself over time.  Human 
population reduction on the other hand, must be very gradual to retain a 
voting majority.  All subsidies for fecundity, such as tax deductions for 
dependents, should be eliminated.   

2.  WARNING!  CELL PHONES ARE FOUND TO EMIT BULLSHIT.
>From San Francisco to Maine there is a campaign to require cancer warning 
labels on cell phones.   Fact: cell phone radiation doesn’t cause cancer. 
Cancer agents break chemical bonds, creating mutant strands of DNA.  
Microwave photons cannot break chemical bonds.  This is not debatable.  In 
1989, Paul Brodeur, a staff writer for the New Yorker, claimed in a series 
of sensational articles that electromagnetic fields from power lines cause 
childhood leukemia http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN89/wn082589.html .  
Brodeur, however, understood none of this and when virtually every 
scientist agreed that it was impossible, Brodeur took their unanimity as 
proof of a massive cover-up.  Other anti-science know-nothings followed 
Brodeur’s lead, shifting their attack to cell phone radiation.  Cell phones 
have since spread to almost the entire population, but with no 
corresponding increase in brain cancer.  Case closed.   

3.  CLIMATE GATE:  WERE THEY HACKERS OR WHISTLE BLOWERS? 
I was asked to address this question.  I said last week that Daniel 
(Continue reading)


Gmane