The media interest in global warming has dropped to about 1/3 of the peak traffic we saw around early 2007.
The people's desire to search for global warming has decreased to 1/6 of what it was at the beginning of 2007.
An off-topic boasting: John Cook has included your humble correspondent among the 18 best climatologists in the world. Thanks, John.However, the graph I just linked to also shows that "climate change" - which has been a preferred term by the media but still remains a loser (relatively to "global warming") among the Internet users who make searches (that includes your humble correspondent) - has been pretty stable since 2004 and is catching up with "global warming" among the Internet users.
Despite this gradual demise of the global warming hysteria in the broader society, there are still way too many insane articles in the newspapers about the hypothetical effects of carbon dioxide and/or warming on everything in the world.
In this article, I want to discuss four very recent alarmist pieces:
- the first text informs us that ET aliens will kill us because our SUVs threaten the Milky Way and beyond
- one is about fish chirality (thanks to Bill Zajc for the URL and this nice term! they call it "handedness" because these "biologists" believe that the fish have nice little hands),
- one about critters running to the North, and
- one nasty hit piece against the proper climate scientists that was published in Nature.
By far the most amusing article appeared in the Guardian yesterday:
The newest scientific results (arXiv) of the world's best scientists at NASA, or at least scientists at Michael Mann's and Loop Quantum Gravity's PSU that wear a NASA T-shirt (update: the Guardian has "amended" the NASA affiliation comment at the end of the article, claiming that Michael Mann's and Abhay Ashtekar's collaborators have "sent their discovery to NASA"; Domagal-Goldman, a co-author of the paper, is a postdoc affiliated with the NASA headquarters but his "work" there is unrelated to this "fun paper"), have figured out what the extraterrestrial aliens are up to. They found out that our CO2 emissions threaten not only planet Earth but also the Milky Way and probably the rest of the Universe, too. The aliens know it.
That also explains why Mars and Jupiter and Enceladus and Pluto have been warming up in recent years.
Michael Mann's PSU has provided the Guardian with a visual reconstruction of the secret alien plans to save the species on other planets in the Milky Way.
Now, you inevitably ask: which side the aliens will support: the skeptics or the alarmists? The PSU researchers could calculate the answer. You can reproduce the calculation - if you realize that the aliens are little green men. The aliens are against the CO2 emissions and they must do something about them!
The aliens' solution to the crisis is simple and rational: they will just arrive and exterminate the mankind, using a well-known red button. I like to analyze "alternative science" and its flaws but this piece would probably be way over the edge to enjoy more than a few paragraphs on this blog.
Aliens are beginning to show their anger about the CO2 emissions.
So instead, I just confirm that the ET aliens have already noticed me. They have hacked my Rutgers unix account which I can no longer use and they abused the website for the promotion of their own race. Now, when I have calmed down the fans of this research, I may remind their physicians about the daily dose of pills.
(I have received dozens of e-mails from global warmers and their intellectual peers i.e. other complete imbeciles who wanted to be in touch with the extraterrestrial aliens, so I eventually decided it was no longer funny. Human stupidity knows no borders or limitations to sex, race, or nationality. BTW one of my first scandals at Harvard - in Spring 2004 - came when extraterrestrial abductee Jack Sarfatti sent a mail to all Harvard physics faculty, accusing me of being an extraterrestrial alien myself. It was embarrassing but less unpleasant than a few other "affairs" that followed a year later.)
Let me just quote the authors, to convey their main message:
The omnipotency of our extraterrestrial overlords that these scenarios reveal give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets.The final version of the paper in Elsevier's "peer-reviewed" Acta Astronautica also says the following on page 2124:
Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence) because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions. It follows we must obey these commandments:
1. I am the extraterrestrial overlord, your God, and I spend 24 hours a day by watching every CO2 molecule you put in the air on Earth.
2. You shall have no other gods before me.
3. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
4. Never forget to take the name of global warming in vain.
5. Remember the Earth Day and Al Gore's Climate Reality Day and keep them holy.
6. Honor your local Greenpeace director and his husband.
7. You shall only kill animals and humans who breathe out CO2.
8. When you commit adultery, you must kill your offspring to preserve the net CO2 emissions.
9. You shall not steal in the old ways; instead, you must sell carbon indulgences.
10. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor unless he is a denier.
11. You shall not cover your neighbor's wife by low-albedo clothes that increase the absorption of radiation.
12. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor: steal yours.
If one’s goal is to maximize ecosystem flourishing, then perhaps it would be better if humanity did not exist, or at least if it existed in significantly reduced form. Indeed, there are some humans who have advanced precisely this argument [80–82]. If it is possible for at least some humans to advocate harm to their own civilization by drawing upon universalist ethical principles, then it is at a minimum plausible that ETI could advocate harm to humanity following similar principles.The authors are clearly using the anthropic mediocrity principle. They think: "If I am a sick green nutcase defending mass genocide, it must be the case that most of the inhabitants of the multiverse are sick green nutcases as well, so that I am a generic observer."
If you asked me about the thought experiment about nearby aliens observing us (which, in my opinion, almost certainly don't exist) and their plans with us, I would answer that it's almost certainly preposterous that these aliens would care about CO2 dynamics or us. It's silly that they would be afraid of us because our impact outside the Earth is next to non-existent and they could easily see it. If they wanted to eat us (and I don't believe that their biology would be so similar that they would dream about eating us), they would surely figure out that we taste just like pork and it's easier to eat the pigs.
They wouldn't care about biodiversity on Earth, either - because the human species (plus a few others) would already be sufficiently shockingly different from their species so that they would surely not care whether e.g. the Eastern cougar (which is almost the same as other cougars) has gone extinct.
Also, powerful extraterrestrials couldn't be environmentalists because every civilization that fails to defeat environmentalism inevitably jumps on a long path of stagnation and deindustrialization, if not self-destruction. And so on. The researchers seem to offer a random, least likely answer to pretty much every question.
Chirality in fish
The Science Magazine makes this remarkable claim:
They decided that each fish in the first group "always turns left" or "always turns right" when it hits a barrier, while the fish in the second group are "dumber" because they decide randomly in front of each barrier. As Bill Zajc said, CO2 restores the parity (or chiral symmetry?) in fish. :-)
I am no biochemist so I am not going to claim any certainty about those matters (breathing in water may differ from breathing in the air) but I find it rather implausible that the higher CO2 has this effect. It's much more sensible to notice the striking similarity of this fish maze experiment with the rat maze experiments described in Feynman's cargo cult science Caltech commencement speech.
In the 1930s, many rat psychologists wanted to see whether they could teach rats to turn right after the 3rd crossing, or something like that - almost the same thing as what they do with fish now - except that they were not careful and this whole research that was ever done in that discipline had been junk science, Feynman explains. It's been always about the misinterpretation of random observations whose actual causes weren't known to the researchers.
More precisely, there was an exception - an AAA experiment by Mr Young who found out that rats were able to find the "right door" because of various things - position of the lights, sounds of the floor, smells, and so on. He was able to find about 7 of such hints that the rats were actually using to find the right door. When he masked all these gadgets used as GPS, the rats were finally confused.
Young's paper wasn't cited by the "mainstream" rat maze researchers at all: they continued in their mindless experiments with rats that never produced any genuine and trustworthy results while they dismissed the only actual work that had some value. I am almost sure that the current "mainstream" fish maze researchers are analogous to the "mainstream" rat maze researchers and their research produces pure junk that no sane person should pay any attention to.
The flagrant bias and preconceptions of these researchers are seen in many other details of the story. First of all, why did they investigate the effect of CO2 and not things like oxygen, salt, or tons of other compounds whose concentration in sea water is variable? It's hard not to think that their actual predetermined goal was to produce another paper saying that CO2 is evil.
Another "detail" is that they conclude that the fish were made "dumber". Even if you imagine that the effect of "restored chirality" exists, they haven't presented a glimpse of evidence that the fish that were turning both left and right were "dumber". They could very well be "smarter", too - it could be dumb to always turn left. The whole article is just completely irrational and it's not hard to guess why such research was started in the first place.
The fishy paper is published in biology letters. The abstract makes it clear that even the individual fish without CO2 were only "somewhat more likely to turn left than right" or vice versa, so this whole claim about their preference could be bullshit. Bill Z. has concluded that the fish were smarter than the researchers.
Animals fleeing North
Another report by Associated Press says that
Well, first of all, let me tell you, dear critter, that if you live on the Southern Hemisphere (e.g. in Australia or South America which were found on the globe the last time I looked) and if you want to escape heat by heading North, it's a pretty stupid decision! ;-)
Already this sentence makes it rather clear that they didn't investigate the whole globe. It's very likely that they didn't investigate the whole Northern Hemisphere, either. Fine. So what are the amazing speeds they have found?
What they're talking about is the change of the home range by something like 100 miles in 20 years. Well, it's plausible that this may be observed (although translating it to distance per day sounds really ludicrous because such motion surely can't be measured - or isn't monotonic - on the 24-hour timescale). If the temperatures were warming up, it could be sensible for animals to move away from the equator.
However, the figure of 200 or even 300 kilometers per 20 years that they indicate has clearly nothing to do with the observed global warming rate. Why?
If you substitute the warming observed in 20 years - something below 0.3 °C according to the satellites and slightly above 0.3 °C according to the surface weather stations - and if you calculate the required distance you should move away from the equator to compensate for this warming, you will get a much shorter distance. The pole-equatorial difference in the global mean temperature is something like 80 °C - plus minus something, depending on which pole etc. So 0.3 °C is about 1/250 of the pole-equator distance and 1/250 of 10,000 kilometers is about 40 km or 25 miles.
So if you're an animal and you move by 100 or 200 miles, it's 4 or 8 times more than the right distance justified by "global warming". So either their observation is wrong or the interpretation doesn't add up. The actual reason for the shift of the home range could be a local warming - or something entirely different. Even among humans, we know that most of the (e)migration has nothing to do with the climate. It's all about the economy, stupid. We may see other reasons to conclude that whatever they are observing, it is not related to changes of the global mean temperature. One could also see changes in the altitude but they don't observe significant changes in it.
All this stuff - at least the "climatic" interpretations of all these observations, but probably the details of the observations as well - is just junk science. It's being produced by corrupt and idiotic as
Hit piece in Nature
Finally, Gordon has pointed out a
Heart of the matter (hit piece in Nature)that attacks the (proper) climate scientists - especially those who gathered at the International Conference on Climate Change and those who wrote the NIPCC report (which includes your humble correspondent).
The piece is completely analogous to the communist propaganda slinging mud on Havel, dissident, and West that I used to see in "Rudé právo". The communists would also identify Havel with criminals and alcohol addicts (only the latter is true and only partially haha), his parents with the Nazis, and so on, and so on. What was crucial wasn't the substance but the negative emotions that the readers were supposed to share after they read the article.
We learn that Nature doesn't endorse the climate scientists who participated at the Heartland's conference. That's very nice but not too important. What is important is whether the actual Mother Nature - and not the bunch of unhinged ideologues who want to steal Her name - agrees with the theories proposed by various researchers. And the answer is that She often agrees pretty well with the theories proposed by actual climate scientists - those that attend the ICCC conference and similar conferences - while it brutally disagrees with predictions and numbers produced by fake climate scientists such as those in the IPCC. In 1988, Hansen predicted that the temperature would warm up by 1.2 °C by 2011. The actual change was 0.3 °C.
The first commenter under the hit piece is an engineer with a Stanford PhD who is a skeptic who explains why he's skeptical - he's studied a book by Muller in detail and mentions the 800-year lag in the glaciation cycles.
Incredibly enough, this man, Theodore Mihran, is instantly attacked by Eric Steig, the author of the lousy Antarctica papers, who says that "Mihran's argument is specious" because "scientists are perfectly well aware of the lag" etc. Steig recommends people to read RealClimate.ORG.
However, when you open RealClimate.ORG that talks about the lag, you will "learn" that Gore got it right (in the very title). Make no mistake about it: the idea that CO2 (and not the Milankovitch cycles whose origin is astronomical - irregularities in the orbits etc.) was the driver of the temperature swings in the glaciation cycles was the very main and perhaps the only "scientific" argument in Gore's movie and it is totally, indisputably wrong. Saying that "Gore got it right" is absolutely unforgivable and whoever has obtained taxpayer money and has claimed that "Gore got it right" to improve this inflow of money should get a life in prison.
While we have a lot of theoretical knowledge to be convinced that the greenhouse effect involving CO2 operates as a matter of principle, there exists no direct evidence of such an effect as of today.
The global warming hysteria is dying away - by a factor of \(e\) every two years or so - but simultaneously with this inevitable evolution, we're facing an increasingly radical and immoral gang of liars, scumbags, and terrorists many of whom have (together with their apologists) contaminated journals and universities in many countries.