Author Archives: The Septic Sceptic

About The Septic Sceptic

A Sixty Something with a science/engineering background. Hates junk science and scaremongering self-appointed experts. Seeks error in everything. A staunch defender of the 'Scientific Method'. Author of 'To Kill an Error' a novel approach to Global Warming Scepticism.

“Professional” Climate Hysteria

“The average world temperature is about as useful as an average number in a telephone directory.” That statement is particularly apt when applied to the current weather patterns in North America and Western Australia. Record cold v.s. record heat. In both locations the Climate alarmists leap upon the extreme weather conditions as proof of the existence of Global Warming.

You don’t believe me? I quote the Bureau of Meteorology climate expert Neil Bennett in an article from “Perth Now”

“It’s climate change. It’s warming. It’s staring you in the face,”

“This is crazy. This is madness, what’s going on now.”

“The climate doesn’t change like this. This is really remarkable.”

“This is really, really unusual.”

Mr Bennett said the climate models for “30, 40 and 50 years ahead” were also all “pointing upwards”.

Now contrast this with an article from the Guardian Environment Network quote “Scientists said the deep freeze gripping the U.S. does not indicate a halt or reversal in global warming trends, either. In fact, it may be a counterintuitive example of global warming in action.”

So there you have it, heads I win, tails you lose. Any sort of variation in the weather proves the existence of man made global warming. The theory of man made global warming, on the basis of these latest pronouncements is un-falsifiable. Falsifiability is a basic tenet of the scientific method. Sir Karl Popper take[s] falsifiability as his criterion for demarcating science from non-science: if a theory is incompatible with possible empirical observations it is scientific; conversely, a theory which is compatible with all such observations…  is unscientific.

I rest my case.

 

 

 


“Don’t Panic – The Truth About Population”

This fascinating documentary was broadcast by the BBC on the 7th November last year. It is worthy of note for many reasons but one in particular is that it sneaked past the BBC sensors. Nowhere does it predict the doom of the planet from human activity and although it mentions climate change it fails to point the finger at humanity or be in any way alarmist. What is going on? What does the British tax payer pay its licence fee for if not to have the BBC sensor filter out this dangerously subversive material.

Professor Hans Rosling (who presents this documentary) is a statistician and a very very clever  man. Not only can he make statistics sing and dance he can talk about climate change, carbon emission and population growth without being alarmist. But here is where his real brilliance kicks in. He can get the Guardian and the BBC to give him publicity without doing the usual imitation of “Chicken Little” that seems to be compulsory for anyone to get either of these two august news agencies to give them airtime.

Even the title of the program gives us hope “Don’t Panic…” when was the last time you heard (I don’t count “The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy”) anyone in the mainstream media telling us to do anything other than panic whether it be about the world population, global warming or peak oil.

Click the link below to hear the full transmission. The program speaks for itself – Dan Brown eat your heart out.

“Don’t Panic – The Truth About Population”


Let them eat cake

While the West and China and India gorge themselves on fossil fuels to power their industrial growth, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank expect, nay dictate, that Africa’s one billion inhabitance must power their industrial revolution by wind turbines and solar panels.

The UN’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative has aspirations of two light bulbs a fan and a radio. Well go Africa! Why not an air-conditioning unit, a chest freezer and a 2Kw kettle? No sod that, I would want a blast furnace an aluminium smelter and a glass bottle plant. Try powering those using wind turbines and solar panels. Heavy industry runs 24/7 the sun and the wind do not. At a time when Germany is building 10 new coal fired power stations these same Germans are telling Africans they will only lend them money to build power grids based on renewable energy.

The Centre for Global Development reports that $10 billion spent in Sub Saharan Africa on renewable energy projects will provide electric power for 30 million people. The same money spent on gas fired plants would provide power to 3 times that number.

Africa is entitled to its own Industrial Revolution. We in the West have had ours and it was powered by cheap coal. China and India are having theirs and it is also powered by cheap coal. Let Africa have its industrial revolution so that it can lift 100s of millions out of poverty and let them do it quickly using their abundant natural resources of coal oil and gas. Let them be spared the piety and holier than thou preachings of the ever so comfortable green movement.

Source article


The Sultan of Spin

An article in yesterday’s Irish Times quotes Brian Motherway, the Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland making three outrageous claims about wind power in Ireland:

  1. Wind Power has saved Ireland more than €1 billion in imported energy costs – sort of wrong (these are weasel words)
  2. Wind Power has cut greenhouse gas emissions – sort of wrong (now I am being weasely)
  3. Wind Power has not added to customer’s energy bills – just plain wrong

Looking at point one, what is he saying? Has Ireland saved €1 billion? That is what it appears to mean, that is why it is worded that way. That is what spin is all about, appearing to mean one thing but actually saying something different. Looking at the mechanics of wind energy, wind turbines are at the best 25% efficient while gas, coal and oil are about 85% efficient and nuclear 92%. These figures all take into account down time for maintenance/breakdown etc. So we can be absolutely certain that wind power has not saved the tax payers of Ireland €1 billion. It is more likely that it has cost Ireland €1 billion (and some) in extra energy costs. Every Mega Watt of wind energy generated is heavily subsidised by the Irish tax payer. So while €1 billion may have been saved in imported energy it has cost substantially more than €1 billion to make that “saving”.

Point two. Has wind power cut greenhouse gas emissions? Not unless the wind turbine is more than 16 years old. This is because it takes 16 years to pay back the CO2 debt created when the turbine was built. The vast quantities of concrete required to build the enormous base of a wind turbine generates as much CO2 as the turbine will save in its first 16 years of life. The turbine will only become carbon negative in the final 9 years of its, average, 25 year life span. I too can spin.

Point three. Of this final point I can be utterly certain. How so? It is the note at the bottom of my gas bill that reads “Carbon Tax” levied at over 7% (on which I pay another 13.5% – double taxation) which goes to pay the subsidies on green energy, plus the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy which I pay on my electricity bill. Airtricity kindly put a little explanatory note “The PSO levy is a charge relating to the costs of purchasing peat generated electricity and the output of renewable, sustainable or alternative forms of energy purchased under various government schemes…” For various government schemes read wind energy subsidies.

I shall be asking the Irish Times to print a correction of the article in their next edition – don’t hold your breath!


Earth our Crowded Spaceship[?]

The title of the this post, without the ?, was the title of a book written in 1974 by the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. I have mentioned Isaac and this book in previous posts but it seems worth a reprise in view of the publication of Dan Brown’s latest novel ‘Inferno’. Dan is clearly a Malthusian thinker and like Malthus the passage of time, I believe, will prove his thoughts to be equally in error.

Page 56 of Asimov’s tome shows a fearsome graph predicting world population at 7.5 billion by the millennium. Not a bad estimate for 25 years into the future as it turned out. But he then loses the run of himself and starts speculating about 20 billion souls by 2060, while the UN and most other organisations involved in this field are predicting the world population to peak at around 9 billion in 2050, just 2 billion more than the current figure. Where Asimov’s book was supposed to be fact, he lapsed into old habits of writing science fiction, quote “Know natural gas reserves will last only 13 years…Experts see rationing by 1976”. These were his predictions for key mineral depletions – Zinc gone by 1990, Lead gone by 1995, Tin and Oil gone by 2000, Copper and Uranium by 2005 and Iron ore by 2320 – well the jury is still out on that one.

The only difference between these two books is that Asimov wrote a factual book, which as it turned out was based on fiction while Brown has written a fictional book based on, well, fiction. So that’s OK then. I am sure that ‘Inferno’ will, like Brown’s other novels, be a jolly good read, but my problem with this sort of writing is that it pretends to be fact based and the vast majority of those reading it will be taken in by its alarmist nonsense. The film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ had people similarly believing that Global Warming would cause global freezing – another load of alarmist rubbish.

I’m all in favour of a good exciting novel, but please, let’s leave Inferno and its ilk firmly in the fiction section where it belongs.


‘Thin Ice’ – Same old same old

Last night I attended the Irish launch of the new global warming propaganda film ‘Thin Ice’ . What interested me was the opportunity to question a panel of experts after the screening. All but one appeared well qualified and knowledgeable in specific areas of science, but the party was somewhat spoiled by the presence on the panel of one ‘Paul Price’. Paul came armed with a white board displaying what I can only describe as a rendition of Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph that had been fed on steroids. Judge for yourselves. He committed the cardinal sin of invoking the precautionary principle with regard to global warming. When I challenged him on this point he appeared not to know what I was talking about. Questions were asked behind the scenes by a senior academic as to why he had been included. I concur.

So, what did I think of “Thin Ice”? Well it’s begging for it isn’t it. Yes I thought the producer, Dr. Simon Lamb, was skating on thin ice with his approach to learning “the Truth” about global warming. Alarm bells go off in my head when I hear a scientist looking for the truth. That’s not what science is about – science is the search for error. The search for truth is theology – but let’s not go there.

At the end of the film Dr. Lamb exclaims that he was “impressed by… how carefully the scientists went about collecting their data excluding all possible sources of error”. Now come on, what scientist worth their salt would claim that they have ‘excluded all possible sources of error’ – none that I have ever come across. And so often it is not what data you produce it is how you present it that persuades people. For example, at the beginning of the film a Dr. Katie Dugger states that “the Antarctic Peninsula is a perfect example of where sea ice has disappeared and so have Adalie penguin populations – they really need the sea ice to do well”. What was the viewer to take from that Dr. Dugger ? Global Warming reduces sea ice, numbers of Adalie penguins decline, ipso facto global warming causes a fall in the numbers of Adalie penguins. Well no, not entirely, not according to NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography who last year completed a 30 year longitudinal study which concludes that “the sea ice hypothesis” promulgated by Dr. Dugger fails.

Not only have Adalie penguin number fallen but so too have Chinstrap penguin numbers and Chinstraps don’t much like sea ice. And just to confuse things even more Gentoo penguin numbers in the same area are doing very nicely thank you. So what’s the real reason? It is the fall in the abundance of Krill (shrimp like crustacean) which just happens to be the favourite food of Adalies and Chinstraps. Gentoos prefer fish and squid. Why is Krill on the decline? The increase in the numbers of Baleen (filter feeder) whales and seals as a result of hunting bans. But NOAA could not leave it at that, they also had to blame global warming for helping to kill off the Krill. Now it is true that the winter temperatures around the West Antarctic Peninsula have increased by 5 degrees C in the last few years. But I’m sure that the active volcano discovered under the West Antarctic ice sheet in 2008 by the British Antarctic Survey had nothing to do with this. And one final thing about the Antarctic – the sea ice is at its greatest extent since the satellite record began in 1979. Today it is 14% about the average (1979 to 2008). Now Dr. Lamb, where is your exclusion of all possible sources of error?

 


Cognitive Dissonance & Global Warming

Whoa there tiger – heavy!

Perhaps Mark Twain had a lighter, more understandable explanation of what is going on at the moment in Global Warming circles.
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

As the prophecies begin to fail, the global warming glitterati are reacting to the ‘disconfirmation’ of their predictions with classic behaviour.

They renew their efforts to prosthelytise the world as the day of reckoning disappears, once again, into the middle distance. Being surrounded by lots of people who believe what you do – however bizarre – is very comforting.

They make ever more extreme claims. David Attenborough is a case in point, telling the world that Africa’s temperature had risen 3.5 deg C in the last 20 years. With the number of Polar Bears increasing, minimal sea level rise and the antarctic ice pack at an all time high. What else could he do?

To hear scienticians claim that their computer models had always predicted, that with Global Warming we would get more snow and the planet would get colder, is a sure sign they are in trouble. Queue scenes from ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.

As with any failing belief system, there will be some apostates. Perhaps the most well-known is James Lovelock, but he is a rare, though delightful, example.

In the end the only way we are going to stop the alarmists from further damaging the world’s economy, is to take away their grant money and tax payer funded subsidies. The chances of convincing them that they have been fooled are slim to none, and look, who’s that going past the window? Yes, you guessed it, Slim just left town.

Ref. ‘When Prophecy Fails’ published in 1956 – yes that’s right 1956