Howard County Maryland Blog

Convention of States in Maryland

Archive for June, 2007

Who is Paul Potts?

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, June 21, 2007

This is a must see video… and worth 3:36 minutes of your time.  Take a shy unassuming carphone salesman with a self esteem problem.  Put him in front of a national TV audience (in Great Britian) and what do you get?

A very big surprise, a lot of tears, and a standing ovation.

Posted in David Keelan, General | 10 Comments »

My Last Post on Climate Change – ever

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, June 21, 2007

I am not going to write about climate change anymore after this post (you are welcome). I respect the fact that there are a lot of opinions on the subject.  I resent the fact that in any debate deniers are called kooks or liars, or have an agenda, or are in the pockets of multinational corporations because they don’t have a mind of there own.

I want to close this discussion (at least here as I hope we all continue to calmly discuss this issue because the implications are significant) with a link to a series of articles in the Canadian paper The Financial Post written by Lawrence Solomon.

National Post’s Deniers series: Scientists who challenge the climate change debate

Mr. Solomon’s contribution to the debate is welcome and very much needed.  The implications to policy changes have real consequences economically, socially and enviromentally.  Alarmists can not be allowed to control this debate and the myth of concensus needs to be rolled back as it has taken on the aura of credibility.  Prominent scientists one supporting Al Gore’s position (though not as extreme in their views) have changed their minds – what does that say about concensus on this topic.  Perhaps global warming and climate change are real – I don’t have any models of my own to prove other wise.  However, I want to hear more and won’t permit the other side to be silenced or surpressed.

Mr. Solomon writes:

When I began (writing this series), I accepted the prevailing view that scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change threatens the planet. I doubted only claims that the dissenters were either kooks on the margins of science or sell-outs in the pockets of the oil companies.

Mr. Solomon really got into his work on this subject by writing many more articles than he thought he would.

I considered stopping after writing six profiles, thinking I had made my point, but continued the series due to feedback from readers.

His point? What point?

My series set out to profile the dissenters — those who deny that the science is settled on climate change — and to have their views heard. To demonstrate that dissent is credible.

He is especially offended by Al Gore’s misleading statements (repeated statements)

“Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled.”

So said Al Gore … in 1992. Amazingly, he made his claims despite much evidence of their falsity. A Gallup poll at the time reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren’t sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn’t think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.

Mr. Solomon’s series generally support further research and the entire series is worth a good read.

Statistics needed — The Deniers Part I
Warming is real — and has benefits — The Deniers Part II
The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science — The Deniers Part III
Polar scientists on thin ice — The Deniers Part IV
The original denier: into the cold — The Deniers Part V
The sun moves climate change — The Deniers Part VI
Will the sun cool us? — The Deniers Part VII
The limits of predictability — The Deniers Part VIII
Look to Mars for the truth on global warming — The Deniers Part IX
Limited role for C02 — the Deniers Part X
End the chill — The Deniers Part XI
Clouded research — The Deniers Part XII
Allegre’s second thoughts — The Deniers XIII
The heat’s in the sun — The Deniers XIV
Unsettled Science — The Deniers XV
Bitten by the IPCC — The Deniers XVI
Little ice age is still within us — The Deniers XVII
Fighting climate ‘fluff’ — The Deniers XVIII

Science, not politics — The Deniers XIX
Gore’s guru disagreed — The Deniers XX
The ice-core man — The Deniers XXI
Some restraint in Rome — The Deniers XXII
Discounting logic — The Deniers XXIII
Dire forecasts aren’t new — The Deniers XXIV
They call this a consensus? – Part XXV
NASA chief Michael Griffin silenced – Part XXVI
Forget warming – beware the new ice age – Part XXVII
Read the Sun Spotes – Part XXVIII

Highlighting som Prominent Deniers that Mr. Solomon writes about

  • R. Tim Patterson
  • Edward Wegman: Found that Michael Mann’s (and he peer reviewers) made a basic error that “may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. Believes that much of the climate science that has been done should be taken with a grain of salt. The report of Wegman and his colleagues has been criticized by a RealClimate.org, a proponent of man-made global warming, for drawing such conclusions. RealClimate.org was founded by Michael Man
  • Bjørn Lomborg: is an Adjunct Professor at the Copenhagen Business School and a former director of the Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen. He became internationally-known for his best-selling and controversial book The Skeptical Environmentalist. He was accused of lying in his research and was cleared of the charges.
  • Dr. Christopher Landsea: Interesting name for a hurricane researcher. In January, 2005, Landsea withdrew from his participation in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Landsea claimed the IPCC had become politicized and the leadership ignored his concerns. Landsea does not believe that global warming has a strong influence on hurricanes: “global warming might be enhancing hurricane winds, but only by 1 percent or 2 percent”. This guy participated in many previous IPCC reports. You need to read what led to his withdrawl from the 2007 report. It is incredible.
  • Dr. Richard Lindzen: a critic from within, one of the most distinguished climate scientists in the world: a past professor at the University of Chicago and Harvard, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a lead author in a landmark report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Proponents of the Climate Change Theory (I know there is a lot more – this is a work in progress).

  • Real Climate: RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. Some people refer to this as the end all be all of climate change information. Click here to learn about the participants in this project.
  • Michael Mann: Inventor of the famous unchanging hockey stick climate change model
  • James Hansen: heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, Earth Sciences Diivision. He is currently an adjunct professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at Columbia University. Hansen is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. He is a vocal critic of the Bush Administration’s stance on climate change.
  • Dr. William Connolley: is a climate modeller. Connolley is a Senior Scientific Officer in the Physical Sciences Division in the Antarctic Climate and the Earth System project at the British Antarctic Survey. I have personal experience with Mr. Connolley via Wikipedia – don’t try to edit any articles on climate change that he monitors – fair warning.
  • Dr. Claude Allegre: he signed a highly publicized letter stressing that global warming’s “potential risks are very great: Fifteen years ago, Dr. Allegre was among the 1500 prominent scientists who signed “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” a highly publicized letter stressing that global warming’s “potential risks are very great. NEVER MIND HE CHANGED HIS MIND. He cited evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice and that Kilimanjaro’s retreating snow caps, among other global-warming concerns, come from natural causes. “The cause of this climate change is unknown,” he states matter of factly. There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the “science is settled.”
  • Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth: head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He was a lead author of the 2001 and 2007 IPCC Scientific Assessment of Climate Change. Linked to Dr. Christopher Landsea through an unfortunate set of circumstances.

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Immenent Peril

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, June 18, 2007

Who knows what to believe?  As reported here.

What special interests drive the authors of this report:

In a densely referenced scientific paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A some of the world’s leading climate researchers describe in detail why they believe that humanity can no longer afford to ignore the “gravest threat” of climate change. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in David Keelan, General | 2 Comments »

Courier Mail “High Price for Load of Hot Air”

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, June 18, 2007

Another skeptic…

The full article

The salient facts are these. First, the accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stasis has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2.

Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in David Keelan, General | 4 Comments »

Howard officer dies after being hit by car

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, June 18, 2007

This is terrible news….

Howard officer dies after being hit by car

Wheeler was standing in the road to flag down cars that other officers using radar flagged for a traffic infraction. Investigators believe the driver — a 24-year-old woman whose name was not released — did not see Wheeler before he was struck. Charges against the driver have not been filed.

I have witnessed police in many jurisdictions using this tactic and always thought it was extremely dangerous.  One time I was driving during rush hour on I95 between Baltimore and Howard County when a State Police officer walked into the middle of the left lane and flagged down a car.  Traffic came to a screeching halt and almost caused a serious accident.  Not only does it put drivers at risk it certainly puts the officer at risk.

I certainly hope that this practice will now stop.

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Let Us Talk About Kilimanjaro

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, June 18, 2007

The authoritative “climate change” web site Real Climate has a long and extensive article on tropical glacier retreats.  You can read it here.

One of the quesitons they ask is KILIMANJARO: ICON OR RED HERRING?  They basically believe the their is a cause and effect relative to global warming and glacier retreat. 

From The Guardian Newspaper global warming scare experts

The snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The white top of Africa’s highest mountain has become an icon, instantly recognisable, but Kilimanjaro’s snows are disappearing at an alarming rate. The 5,896m (19,340ft) mountain – its name, in the local Chagga tongue, means ‘that which cannot be conquered’ – is destined to lose all its snow within a decade, meteorologists predict. The great peak, which once glowed ‘unbelievably white in the sun’ according to Hemingway, will turn an uninspiring dirty brown, a victim of global warming caused by ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere. At present, 10,000 people a year take the hike up ‘Kili’; how the loss of the snow will affect this tourist trade is uncertain. Far more worrying is the plight of the local people, whose way of life is now under threat because of drought.

Kilimanjaro’s shrinking snow not sign of warming

If we are now convinced the Kilimanjaro is not suffering the effect of man made climate change why are we still so sure about the glaciers?  What if we find a reasonable explanation for the glacier errosion – like the ice age is over (get a sense of humor). 

If the hysterics at The Guardian, and Barabara Streisand, are convinced that Kilimanjaro is loosing it’s snow cap because of human activity and then other evidence shows the loss of the snow cap is because of solar activity then what is a simple guy like me supposed to believe?

Don’t we need to know more?

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Sahara desert frontiers turn green

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, June 18, 2007

Sahara desert frontiers turn green

Satellite pictures of northern Africa show that areas lost to the Sahara desert during decades of drought are turning green again.

Analysis of images show deserts retreating in a broad band stretching from Mauritania to Eritrea, according to research in British magazine New Scientist.

The driving force behind the retreat of the deserts is believed to be increased rainfall.

Compare that to this headline:

Climate change behind Darfur killing: UN’s Ban

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the slaughter in Darfur was triggered by global climate change and that more such conflicts may be on the horizon, in an article published Saturday. “The Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change,” Ban said in a Washington Post opinion column.

What is a person to think. Are we expected to accept that global warming real when we are constantly presented with such conflicting information and reports?

Meanwhile trying to explain the behavior of deserts is just as difficult as explaining the behavior of a teenager.  Here is an article on the formation of the Sahara desert.

Sahara desert born 4,000 years ago

Using a new computer simulation of the Earth’s climate, German scientists say that the Sahara underwent a brutal climate change about 4,000 years ago.

Over a very short time scale – possibly as short as 300 years – it went from grasslands with low shrubs to the desert we are familiar with today. Summer temperatures increased rapidly and rainfall almost ceased. The change devastated many ancient cultures and caused those that did survive to migrate elsewhere.

Scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research say that the desertification of the Sahara was one of the most dramatic changes in climate over the past 11,000 years.

The loss of agricultural land to the desert may have been one of the reasons why early civilisations developed along the valleys of the Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Feedback mechanism

Slight climate alterations caused by subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun were amplified by a climatic feedback mechanism.

Some 9,000 years ago the tilt of the Earth’s axis was 24.14 degrees; today it is 23.45 degrees. Today, the Earth is closest to the Sun in January. Nine thousand years ago, our planet was closest to the Sun at the end of July.

The changes in the tilt of the Earth occur gradually. However, the interplay of atmosphere, ocean and landmass can react to these changes in abrupt and severe ways.

The climate model suggests that land use by man was not an important factor in the creation of the Sahara.

What is my point?  The information is contridictary and we don’t know what is going on.  Of course the researchers could be wrong.  I have not seen their models and really have no idea if and when the earth’s axis changed.  So if you have these models please share them with us.

Posted in David Keelan, General | 3 Comments »

Something Hilarious

Posted by David Keelan on Sunday, June 17, 2007

This is a gut buster…

I took this down.  It was a spoof of the old Abbot and Costello skit “Who is on First”.  This was George Bush and Condi Rice “Hu is on first”.

The reason I took it down is not because it makes fun of George Bush, but because listening to it for a second time I found some of the racial commentary to be offensive.

My apologies to anyone else who may have watched this from this blog.

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2007 Hurricane Season

Posted by David Keelan on Saturday, June 16, 2007

According to the web site “Stop Global Warming“:

Catastrophic Weather
Super powerful hurricanes, fueled by warmer ocean temperatures are the “smoking gun” of global warming. Since 1970, the number of category 4 and 5 events has jumped sharply. Human activities are adding an alarming amount of pollution to the earth’s atmosphere causing catastrophic shifts in weather patterns. These shifts are causing severe heat, floods and worse.

The 2006 Hurricane season was predicted to be one of the worst on record.

One in Six Americans Could be Directly Impacted by 2006 Hurricane Season

STATE COLLEGE, PA, May 15, 2006-The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, led by Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi, today released its 2006 hurricane season forecast. An active hurricane season appears imminent, which could have major repercussions for the U.S. economy and the one in six Americans who live on the Eastern Seaboard or along the western Gulf of Mexico.

Active Atlantic hurricane season in 2006, but fewer landfalls

The current record Atlantic cyclone year will be followed by yet another highly active season, though Americans can expect fewer major hurricanes to make landfall in 2006, top experts said.
A total of 17 tropical storms, including nine hurricanes, should form in the Atlantic basin in 2006, as compared with a record-setting 26 tropical storms and 14 hurricanes this year, said leading experts William Gray and Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University.

The result was something much less catastrophic

The 2006 Atlantic hurricane season was an event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation. This season was unusual in that no hurricanes made landfall in the United States of America. It started on June 1, 2006, and officially ended on November 30, 2006. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.

One system, Tropical Storm Zeta from the 2005 season, continued through early January, only the second time on record that had happened. Tropical Storm Alberto was responsible for 2 indirect deaths when it made landfall in Florida. Hurricane Ernesto caused heavy rainfall in Haiti, and directly killed at least 7 people in Haiti and the United States. Four more hurricanes formed after Ernesto, including the strongest storms of the season, Hurricanes Helene and Gordon. However, no tropical cyclones formed in the month of October, the first time this had happened since the 1994 season.

Following the intense activity of the 2005 season, forecasts predicted the 2006 season would be very active, though not as active as 2005. However, in 2006, a rapidly-forming El Niño event, combined with the pervasive presence of the Saharan Air Layer over the tropical Atlantic and a steady presence of a robust secondary high related to the Azores high centered around Bermuda, contributed to a slow season and all tropical cyclone activity ceasing after October 2.

NOAA is issued the following 2007 forecast

NOAA’s 2007 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates a very high 75% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 20% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season. This outlook is produced by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Research Division (HRD), and Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). See NOAA definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons.

The outlook calls for a very high likelihood of an above-normal hurricane season, with 13-17 named storms, 7-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes. The likely range of the ACE index is 125% to 210% of the median. This prediction signifies an expected sharp increase in activity from the near-normal season observed in 2006.

An expected sharp increase from 2006 activity?  No doubt given the low activity in 2006 we may see an increase in 2007.  If that happens the hysterics will begin claiming definate proof of “climate change” causing havoc, but will conveniently forget the miserable 2006 forecast.  If the 2007 forecast is as miserable as the 2006 forecast the hysterics will claim that 2 years of faulty forecasts is no indication of the real effect of “climate change”. 

Posted in David Keelan, General | 3 Comments »

Will we get an energy bill?

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, June 15, 2007

The Enviromental News Network had this article that does a very good job of allowing both sides of the energy bill debate present their issues.  People are beginning to doubt that we will get a bill before the July 4th recess.

After reading it once it comes down to this.

Democrat sponsors want energy companies to generate 15% of their power from renewable sources and are offering $13.7B in tax breaks for such generation – but also for other things so they are not dedicating all this funding to offset these costs.

The bill would require power companies to increase use of wind turbines, solar panels, biomass, geothermal energy or other renewable sources to produce at least 15 percent of their electricity by 2020. Only about 2.4 percent of the country’s electricity is produced that way now.

Well one has to like that.  Good goal.  What will it cost?

That is exactly what the GOP is concerned about.

Opponents argued that some regions of the country couldn’t meet the requirement and that it would cause electricity prices to increase in those areas, especially across the South.

So the GOP tried to add a measure that would allow electric companies to meet these standards by constructing nuclear power plants.  The amendment was defeated.  Why?

There is a lot of debate on this issue.  Can the South afford this bill and do they have the natural resources to generate 15% of their electricity this way?  Yes they do!  No they don’t!  It is like watching my kids.

The GOP is afraid that these utilities would end up buying credits to meet their obiligations.  Current cost is $.02 per kilowatt-hour.  Hmmm.  I wonder who stable that price is.  I doubt it is stable at all.  Look at California and Europe.  I know I am comparing carbon and sulfer dioxide trading.  Those commodities swing wildy in valuation and are unpredictable – we are talking 450% flucutations – some say even higher.  So I don’t see that as a viable option.

The Committee Chairman disputes this with his own facts and figures citing a report that would raise prices by only 1% and touting the technological advances that industry would make to meet this challenge.

The bill also attempts to increase mileage standards over and above what was agreed upon in the last energy bill.  I honestly think that the Democrats should give that a rest.  The Senate had a hard battle over that last time and they got something done.  No need to get bogged down in that debate again, and the Senate owes the auto industry some predictablity.

In addition, Virginia’s senior Senator, Mr. Warner, wants the Senate to allow Virginia to drill for natural gas off their coastline.  No way says NJ Sen. Robert Menendez, saying it would “cause a ripple effect … and the consequences can be very significant.” He added, “This would leave other states helpless. ”  The article doesn’t explain what the hell he means.

Anyway, I have no real stake in this bill except I hope they come up with a good bill.

The reason I posted this is because it is the first time I actually enjoyed reading a news report on the energy bill debate.  They are usually dry and focus on the partisanship of the different sides.  This was well written and really didn’t have any bones to pick.  Just the facts.

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