ClimateGate/Copenhagen roundup, Dec. 15: Jerry Pournelle edition

I thought this story was starting to tail off, but no…

Instapundit is going after it really hard. Some links from him:

  • DOE sends a “litigation hold notice” regarding CRU to employees – asking to “preserve documents.”
  • IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES, Clive Crook writes: “It is not enough for climate scientists and environment ministers to go to Copenhagen and tell each other how right they are. They also need to convince the public. National politics – the democratic process – is awfully inconvenient sometimes, but cannot be waved away. . . . Aiming to smear the doubters and shut them up is just bad science, and from a public-relations point of view is wholly counter-productive. . . . For the sake of their own credibility, scientists should maintain a cautious distance from politics, and those who take up politics should not expect the deference to disinterested scholars they would otherwise deserve.”
  • ANNE APPLEBAUM: The Apocalypse Is Not Upon Us: The climate change movement gets nowhere by claiming it is. “The assumption behind this calculation is profoundly negative: Human beings are nothing more than machines for the production of carbon dioxide. And if we take that assumption seriously, a whole lot of other things look different, too. Certainly weapons of mass destruction must be reconsidered, along with the flu virus: By reducing the population, they might also reduce emissions as well. Perhaps they should be encouraged?” Don’t give ‘em ideas.
  • RON BAILEY reports from Copenhagen. “I spent the day waiting with thousands of others in subfreezing cold to try to get into the proper building to obtain our credentials for the official United Nations Climate Change Conference. I clocked about 5 hours in line while my housemate, in town representing a Colorado NGO, waited 10.5 hours and was also turned away. The conference chaos makes one wonder how anyone expects the U.N. to run the world’s climate if it can’t manage a queue?”

LONDON TIMES: Inconvenient truth for Al Gore as his North Pole sums don’t add up.

There are many kinds of truth. Al Gore was poleaxed by an inconvenient one yesterday.

The former US Vice-President, who became an unlikely figurehead for the green movement after narrating the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, became entangled in a new climate change “spin” row.

Mr Gore, speaking at the Copenhagen climate change summit, stated the latest research showed that the Arctic could be completely ice-free in five years.

In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”

However, the climatologist whose work Mr Gore was relying upon dropped the former Vice-President in the water with an icy blast.

“It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at,” Dr Maslowski said. “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”

Mr Gore’s office later admitted that the 75 per cent figure was one used by Dr Maslowksi as a “ballpark figure” several years ago in a conversation with Mr Gore. . . . Perhaps Mr Gore had felt the need to gild the lily to buttress resolve. But his speech was roundly criticised by members of the climate science community. “This is an exaggeration that opens the science up to criticism from sceptics,” Professor Jim Overland, a leading oceanographer at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Busted. It won’t be the last time.

James Taranto’s Best of the Web has more good ClimateGate stuff.

But pride of place in the “opinions” department goes to Jerry Pournelle today. Disturbing as his views on some issues can be at times (to me at least), he always makes you think and knows how to get to the heart of the issue. He wrote something that takes the words out of my mouth:

Over in mail there are two messages from people who were involved in taking climate readings, and a lengthy message on data accuracy. According to my correspondent:

“According to the NOAA, 61% of their 2000+ have a CRN rating 4 indicating an estimated error of 2 degrees or more. 8% are CRN-5 estimated error of 5 deg or more. 22% are CRN-3, estimated error of 1 degree or more.

Only 10% are CRN 1 or 2 with an estimated error of less than 1 degree. “

Emphasis mine. Note that 70% of the data have estimated errors of 2 degrees or more. in 1895 Arrhenius predicted an “extra” 2 degrees from a doubling of CO2 in the 20th Century.  Note also that the adjustments to the data can bring about that large a difference.

I continue to hold the conclusion that we need to take some of the climate research funding and hand it to the credentialed climate deniers, asking them to challenge the consensus. There are trillions at stake. At the risk of tedious repetition, I say again that when faced with expensive alternative remedies to coming events, it is almost always best policy to spend money on reducing uncertainties rather than on undertaking the remedies. There can be special circumstances of emergencies, but we don’t have those: the best remedies we can take will at enormous expense make not a lot of difference in 80 years.

Wouldn’t it be better to look into ways to reduce pollution — none of us are big fans of increased methane, soot,  and other such stuff into the atmospheres, but it is folly to expect that China and India will reduce their race to become developed countries. I said forty years ago that much of the Green argument is seen by Africa, China, and India as the equivalent of saying tp them “Now that you guys have a seat at the table, the game is over. Have a nice life.”

Wouldn’t it be better to look into engineering ways?

And my remedy to most of our problems, including climate and the economy, is: energy. Give us enough energy and we can reduce pollutants to their constituent elements. Take the TARP money and build nuclear power plants. They can be run by the TVA or sold at public auction once built; I’ll leave that debate for the future. But for now, tell the US Army to GO BUILD US SOME POWER PLANTS. Tell the Justice Department to CONSOLIDATE THE LAW SUITS AND EXPEDITE THE DECISIONS.

If we’d done that starting September 12, 2001, we wouldn’t be in the trouble we’re in now. Alas, I expect I’ll be saying this about December 14, 2009 ten years from now. Alas.

UPDATE 1: Poor nations stage protest at Copenhagen. Related: Björn Lomborg: Time for a smarter approach to global warming. Lomborg is an AGW believer, but thinks we have bigger environmental fish to fry.

Link to yesterday’s ClimateGate roundup.

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