Pre the GW Bush Ethanol mandates of 2007 US corn prices bumped along at a sub $3 figure for many years. From 2007 onwards we see an inexorable rise to over $6 and talk of $8 in the wake of the recent drought. Economists such as Paul Krugman (see my previous post – Loading the Climate Dice?) would have us believe that the price rise is all due to the drought but the historical price graph gives the lie to that.
Now I am a firm adherent to the maxim that ‘correlation does not necessarily mean causality’. Having said that when the US is MANDATED yes mandated to convert what could be 50% of its corn crop (40% last year) into Ethanol, in 2012, then is there any wonder that the price of corn has doubled in 5 years.
The current government with its eye on sustainable energy is not going to change tack and the corn producers certainly are not going to look for any change so don’t hold your breath for a U turn on the Ethanol mandate any time soon.
Just another example of blind adherence to a political dogma that flies in the face of commonsense when natural gas prices in the US have halved during the same period.
More interesting takes on this.
If you believe everything you read in the blogosphere you would imagine that the scientific community was awash with Climate experts. On a daily basis I hear someone being introduced as a climate expert. But there is no such thing. It is like a Cardiac surgeon claiming to be a human body expert. Just because he has expertise in one aspect of the human body, in this case – the heart, this does not give him the right to claim expert knowledge of the entire human organism. And indeed no surgeon would make such an outrageous claim. So why do we allow these scienticians to get away with claiming to be experts in the equally complex area of the climate. To run with the human body analogy a little longer we might perhaps compare a meteorologist with a GP (General Practitioner) but having said that who in their right mind would allow a GP to treat them if they got their diagnosis (or forecast) as wrong as the average weather man/woman (for the Brits – who can forget Michael Fish). The climate and its influences are many and varied and in numerous ways are far less understood than the workings of the human body.
So often I read claim and counter claim between warmists and sceptics about whose scientific qualifications are superior to who’s when debating a particular point about Global Warming. This is Aristotle’s number one logical fallacy, similar to the child’s playground retort of ‘My dad’s bigger than yours’ but because we are adults we call it the appeal-to-authority fallacy.
I think the most glaring example of this was Dr. Rajendra Pachauri’s dismissal of Indian Glaciologists when he accused them of using Voodoo science because they dared to question his sacred IPCC’s peer reviewed data on Himalayan glacial melting. The subsequent investigation exonerated the Indian scientists extracted an apology from Pachauri and exposed the fact that a lot of information used by the IPCC that should have been peer reviewed (including the Himalayan Glacial melt claim) was not.
If the head of the IPCC can be such a jerk when it comes to an appeal-to-authority on climate then I doubt there is anyone else who could claim to have a greater breadth of knowledge of climate that would single them out for the title of ‘Climate Expert’.
Ok then, weather forecasting by the star? Or to be absolutely correct our star the Sun. Much as I love the idea that WeatherAction can produce highly accurate long range weather forecasts by interpreting Solar activity, the old sceptic in me wants to know how it’s done.
Yes I know Piers Corbin makes money from his predictions and I would not want him to lose his livelihood by divulging his methodology but hey, if his methods are that accurate his methodology must have a significant dollar value. Is there no philanthropist (Bill Gates – if you are reading this…) or far sighted government out there that would buy him out and make his techniques available for the common good?
I want to believe. The idea that Solar based predictions can trump CO2 biased computer models fills me with joy. Buuut – is there anyone out there who can persuade me that it’s not all smoke and mirrors?
We wait with baited breath, Michael Mann’s response to Tim Ball’s discovery requests in Mann’s British Columbia Supreme Court action. Mann had been counting on Ball caving in and publishing a retraction over his accusation of a cover-up at Penn State in relation to Mann’s famous Hockey Stick Graph data. Now if Mann wishes to proceed with the action his is going to have to produce the data (r-squared correlation coefficient numbers) which he has so desperately tried to hide from the ‘sceptical’ scientific community since the ‘hockey stick’ graph was debunked.
Now Mann, clearly a glutton for punishment has begun legal proceedings against ‘The National Review’s’ Mark Styne. Again any thought that Styne will roll over in the face of legal proceedings have been quickly disabused. Mann, if he had any sense, should cleave to the maxim, ‘If you are in a hole, stop digging’. But I am so glad that he would appear to have an unlimited number of shovels. I know I am being overly optimistic to think that Mann will actually produce the data. No, he will take the hit, pay Ball’s costs, (after all he is not short of a bob or two with all that research grant money) and slink back behind the veil of secrecy which has been his defence since he was caught out ‘Hiding the decline’.
More interesting takes on this.
If anyone was in any doubt that the BBC was the official mouth piece of Global Warming Alarmism then this article “Satellites reveal sudden Greenland ice melt” confirms it.
While the headline is entirely correct it only took three lines before the BBC pushed the panic button. “Scientists said the “unprecedented” melting took place…” NO – what the real scientists said (not the ‘scienticians’ employed in NASA’s propaganda division) was;
“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.
Now place your mouse cursor over this word “unprecedented” right click, then choose ‘synonyms’ from the drop down menu. What do you see;
Nowhere does it say, ‘on a regular basis’.
Even the satellite images are misleading. The natural inference is that all the ice has melted. I know that’s not what has happened – but what about Joe Public?
I despair; these once great organisations (BBC, NASA) can no longer be believed when it comes to reporting on Global Warming. If we can’t believe them on this, then why should we believe them on anything?
I believe that Paul Krugman in his latest Op Ed for the NY Times is endangering his reputation as someone whose opinion is worthy of note. Professor Krugman is an Economist, and while a self confessed liberal thinker, is a diligent researcher when it comes to his chosen subject. It is disappointing then, when he chooses to write on the equally complex subject of Global Warming, that he chooses to abandon said diligent research and instead takes the easy way out by parroting the alarmist rhetoric of (Human caused) Climate Change divas such as James Hansen.
When I see Krugman’s latest article talking about “the drowning of Florida by rising sea levels” and corn price records caused by the Midwestern drought (surely bio-fuel production is the cause of this one – as an economist he should know this) I know he has not done his homework.
The $60 million fine just imposed on Penn State will certainly soften their cough but surely the writing was on the wall for Graham Spanier (Penn State’s ex President) two years ago.
In the wake of the Climate Gate e-mails, Penn State investigated Michael Mann – he of the Climate Hockey Stick Graph. Then as now their internal inquiry found no fault. Perhaps to clear the air Penn State’s new President should hire Louis Freeh to conduct an independent investigation into the actions of Michael Mann but then maybe they can’t afford another fine like today’s.
More interesting takes on this – and the inevitable legal action taken by Michael Mann!