Tag: Wall Street Journal

A tiny bite of this could kill your dog!

Please read, digest and share as widely as you can!

Fellow author, Deborah Taylor-French, recently posted a stark warning for all dog owners. Deborah wrote on her blog, Dog Leader Mysteries, the following:

1 thing more toxic than chocolate for dogs

More toxic than chocolate?

Yes, and it’s everywhere.

Please visit my guest blog post on 4Knines blog “One common thing that is more toxic than chocolate for dogs”  Then please comment! Of course, after you comment, I’d love it if you would share far and wide for the love and lives of dogs. After working on this post for about a month I shared it as a guest post so that it may reach a larger audience of dog lovers, beyond my WordPress blog.

(I also can’t resist including the following photograph of Deborah and Syd that was in that post!)

Syd the kid!
Syd the kid!

So the balance of my post today is a full republication of Deborah’s guest post as it appeared over on 4knines blog.

ooOOoo

One Common Thing That is More Toxic Than Chocolate for Dogs!

Plus ça change

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (“the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing”).

I’m at my PC thinking about tomorrow’s post.  It’s past 4pm and my creative juices are elsewhere!  So out of curiosity I wondered what I had published a year ago, in early February 2012.  To my amazement what was published was as fresh and relevant as if it had been published today.  So that’s what I am doing.  Republishing it along with the sequels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

oooOOOooo

Climate, truth and integrity, part one.

It ought to be straightforward, but the reality is different!

Those of you, dear readers, that have been following these ramblings and musings over the last 30 months, now amounting to more than 1,200 Posts [now 1,582, Ed.] , will hopefully have sensed that Learning from Dogs is much more than a blogsite about dogs!  It is, as I say here, about truth, integrity, honesty and trust using dogs as a powerful metaphor for these essential qualities of a civilised society.

But perhaps there is no topic more challenging for people to determine the truth than the topic of man’s impact on the earth’s climate.  I’m sure that millions intuitively sense that we are over-consuming ourselves to oblivion.  That is where I come from.  I am not a scientist, just a humble writer, and rely on quality sources of information and instinct to form my conclusions in this area.  I am also deeply suspicious of the largely out-of-sight relationships between large corporations, big money and politics!

I have no doubt that there are other millions of people who do believe that mankind is changing our planet’s climate.

So when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal, I was dumbstruck.  Here’s the headline and opening paragraph,

No Need to Panic About Global Warming

There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.

Editor’s Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.

The long article closes with this paragraph just ahead of the ‘signatures’ of the scientists.

Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of “incontrovertible” evidence.

Then in short order, up came this from the Daily Mail online,

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.

The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

I subscribe both to Climate Sight and Lack of Environment, although wish I spent more time thoroughly reading these fabulous sources of information.  However, I did spot an article on Climate Sight that came out on the 31st January with the heading of How much is most?  It opened thus,

A growing body of research is showing that humans are likely causing more than 100% of global warming: without our influences on the climate, the planet would actually be cooling slightly.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its fourth assessment report, internationally regarded as the most credible summary of climate science to date. It concluded that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

A clear question remains: How much is “most”? 51%? 75%? 99%? At the time that the IPCC report was written, the answer was unclear. However, a new frontier of climate research has emerged since, and scientists are working hard to quantify the answer to this question.

The timing was impeccable, so far as I was concerned.  I posted a comment, “While in every way that I can think of, I support the premise of mankind affecting global climate, I would love to hear from someone who could reconcile the Post above with these recent items:” and then included the links to the WSJ and Daily Mail items.

Little did I realise what a response I would get.  Just wonderful!  I will offer some of them to you in this piece, but please do read all the comments offered on that Climate Sight post.

First up was Dana Nuccitelli.  Dana is an environmental scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in the Sacramento, California area. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in physics from the University of California at Davis.  (Taken from here.)  This is what he wrote,

How to reconcile the two? The folks who wrote those two articles you linked are misinformed and/or misinformers. I covered the first here  (and) SkS will shortly have a post on the second as well, but I covered the solar cycle issue recently here.

Dana’s article in Skeptical Science, that first link, included this:

Nearly half of the list (at least 7 of 16) have received fossil fuel industry funding, and the list also includes an economist, a physician, a chemist, an aerospace engineer, and an astronaut/politician.  These are apparently the best and brightest the climate denialists can come up with these days?

  • Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris
  • J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting;
  • Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University;
  • Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society;
  • Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences;
  • William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; 
  • Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.;
  • William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology;
  • Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT;
  • James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University;
  • Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences;
  • Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne;
  • Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator;
  • Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem;
  • Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service;
  • Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.

RED – No climate science publications, member of at least one climate denialist group – GWPF (advisory board), George C. Marshall Institute (board of directors or roundtable speakers), Australian Climate Science Coalition (advisory panel), Heartland Institute (board of directors), and/or ExxonMobil

BLUE – Published climate science research

Orange – both a member of a climate denialist group and has published climate science research

Black – no climate science publications or climate denialist group membership

Next was Gail Zawacki who writes a compelling Blog Dead Trees and Dying Forests.  She commented thus,

Paul, try climate progress, first link here and second link here.  I suggest you read those refutations very carefully.

The first link went to this,

Panic Attack: Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Finds 16 Scientists to Push Pollutocrat Agenda With Long-Debunked Climate Lies

By Joe Romm on Jan 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

A lot of folks have asked me to debunk the recent anti-truthful Wall Street Journal article with the counterfactual headline, “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.”  I’ll combine my debunking with the rapidly growing list of debunkings from scientists and others.  And I’ll update this as new debunkings come in.

That the WSJ would publish an amateurish collection of falsehoods and half truths is no surprise.   The entire global Murdoch enterprise is designed to advance the pollutocrat do-nothing agenda (see Scientist: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change”).  As National Academy of Sciences member Peter Gleick explains in his evisceration of the piece, “Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at the Wall Street Journal“:

But the most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of the Wall Street Journalin this field is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down. The National Academy of Sciences is the nation’s pre-eminent independent scientific organizations. Its members are among the most respected in the world in their fields. Yet the Journal wouldn’t publish this letter, from more than 15 times as many top scientists. Instead they chose to publish an error-filled and misleading piece on climate because some so-called experts aligned with their bias signed it. This may be good politics for them, but it is bad science and it is bad for the nation.

Science magazine – perhaps the nation’s most important journal on scientific issues – published the letter from the NAS members after the Journal turned it down.

A tad more surprising is that 16 admittedly non-leading scientists would choose to soil their reputations by stringing together a collection of long-debunked falsehoods.  What is surprising is that these falsehoods are more easily debunked than the typical disinformer clap-trap because they are so out-of-date!

This is a long, detailed and powerful response to that WSJ article.  Do try and read it in full.

Gail’s second link went to this,

Human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have risen so rapidly that they now overwhelm any plausible decrease in solar activity.  Indeed, a paper from last June found that even if the Sun goes into “Hibernation” it won’t stop catastrophic global warming.

But that doesn’t stop serial disinformer David Rose of the UK’s Daily Mail from misleading the public — even after being slammed by top scientists in 2010 for falsely asserting “no global warming since 1995″ — see “Error-riddled articles and false statements destroy Daily Mail’s credibility.“  Rose has another willfully misleading piece, “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again): Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years.”

OK, I think this is going to end up too long for one Post.

So let’s pause there and I will continue on Monday. [Tomorrow, Ed.]

Would love your comments, of course!

Why?

“Why do you get out of bed in the morning, and why should anyone care?”

These words are spoken by Simon Sinek just before the three-minute mark in the video that follows.  As Wikipedia explains,

simono-sinek

Simon O. Sinek (born October 9, 1973) is an author best known for popularizing a concept of The Golden Circle.

He joined the RAND Corporation in 2010 as an adjunct staff member, where he advises on matters of military innovation and planning. His first TEDx Talk on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is the 7th most viewed video on TED.com.

His 2009 book on the same subject, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009) delves into what he says is a naturally occurring pattern, grounded in the biology of human decision-making, that explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organizations over others.

He has commented for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, FastCompany, CMO Magazine, NPR and BusinessWeek, and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, BrandWeek, IncBizNet.

This new year that we are now in is going to require millions of us to think and do differently.  As Einstein so famously quoted, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results“.  More than ever before we need different results and that means thinking and doing differently.

Enjoy the video.

Reply to a skeptic

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

I came across this wonderful quotation on a blogsite called Wibble!  It was a comment to a post with the compelling title of It is vitally important not to make connections and explains that the quote was made by Dr. Seuss in the film The Lorax.

For me that quotation sums up how I would like to reply to not only my dear friend, Dan Gomez, who is a denialist of anthropogenic climate change, as last Monday’s Post illustrated, but also to skeptics everywhere else.

I should also add the important qualifier that I am neither a scientist nor have any expert skills in the relevant areas.  But, then again, neither does Dan.  He and I are both citizens of Planet Earth with a passion for the truth.

So where to go from here?  There is no question that the Earth’s climate is complex and endeavouring to understand ’cause and effect’ relies heavily on mathematical models.  But many complex aspects of our world are treated similarly, therefore so what!  Dan and I share with millions of others a lack of scientific competence, ergo we have to be rely on the scientific views expressed by those who do have the scientific competencies.

Would one challenge the competence of Scientific American magazine, that in an article on March 18, 2007, (five years ago!) opened thus,

Paris–The signs of global climate change are clear: melting glaciers, earlier blooms and rising temperatures. In fact, 11 of the past 12 years rank among the hottest ever recorded.

and continued later with this, [my emboldening]

For example, after objections by Saudi Arabia and China, the report dropped a sentence stating that the impact of human activity on the earth’s heat budget exceeds that of the sun by fivefold. “The difference is really a factor of 10,” says lead author Piers Forster of the University of Leeds in England: compared with its historical output, the sun currently contributes an extra 0.12 watt of energy for each square meter of the earth’s surface, whereas man-made sources trap an additional 1.6 watts per square meter.

Or what ‘influence’ might be at play when the British newspaper The Guardian reported earlier this year that,

Wall Street Journal rapped over climate change stance

, US environment correspondent

The Wall Street Journal has received a dressing down from a large group of leading scientists for promoting retrograde and out-of-date views on climate change.  In an opinion piece run by the Journal on Wednesday, nearly 40 scientists, including acknowledged climate change experts, took on the paper for publishing an article disputing the evidence on global warming.

The offending article, No Need to Panic About Global Warming, which appeared last week, argued that climate change was a cunning ploy deployed by governments to raise taxes and by non-profit organisations to solicit donations to save the planet.

It was signed by 16 scientists who don’t subscribe to the conventional wisdom that climate change is happening and is largely man-made – but as Wednesday’s letter points out, many of those who signed don’t actually work in climate science.

Later in that article Suzanne writes, referring to the 40 scientists, [again, my emboldening]

The letter goes on to note that some 97% of researchers who actively publish on climate science agree that climate change is real and caused by humans. It concludes: “It would be an act of recklessness for any political leader to disregard the weight of evidence and ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses.”

There’s much, much more evidence that shows that the science is clear – mankind is risking the future viability of this planet for the species homo sapiens and countless other species!

One of the important points made by Dan in that Post last Monday was about the book, written by Senator James Inhofe, The Greatest Hoax.  Dan wrote, “This is all about money and power, not weather.

There are a number of independent websites across the world where one can quickly research the credentials and background by name of any person.  Try Skeptical Science as an example.  A quick enquiry using Senator Inhofe’s name came up with this: Quotes by James Inhofe – Climate Myth/What the Science Says.  Read It!  And read this on the website Think Progress.  There are other websites where one can do that type of research.

In an email just a day ago, Dan wrote, “My message/warning remains the same: “Follow the Money”.  When the “End-of-the-World” is the message, what politician can resist?”  If only it was that easy.

OK, I’m going to start rounding this all off by first asking you to watch this 4-minute video that I came across thanks to Pedantry’s blogsite Wibble.

A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!

Next I’m going to repeat something that I have previously mentioned on Learning from Dogs.  There’s a saying in the aviation industry, “If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt!”  That saying underpins the culture that has turned commercial air transport into one of the safest means of travel in history.

Let’s ponder that idea of doubt.

There is no question that there is a great deal of doubt.  Back in 2010 Gallup Poll reported that “42% of adults worldwide who see global warming as a threat to themselves and their families in 2010 hasn’t budged in the last few years“.

Would you get into a commercial airliner to fly from ‘a’ to ‘b’ if 42% of the passengers saw the flight as a threat to themselves?  No, of course not!

So one certainly wouldn’t fly then if 62% thought it was risky!  From here,

The newest study from the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which is a biannual survey taken since fall 2008 and organized by the Brookings Institute, shows that 62 percent of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring, and 26 percent do not. The others are unsure.

So back to the theme that started this Post.  For the sake of all of us on this planet, for all our children and grandchildren and beyond, we need to start caring deeply about the future, changing our life-styles in as many ways as we can and demanding that our politicians and leaders are similarly committed to the future.

Not because the future is anything like certain – but to reduce the risks of a global catastrophy.  I have a grandson who will be one-year-old on March 21st.  I want to be certain that he has a viable life ahead of him for many, many years.  That means caring ‘a whole awful lot‘, letting hope motivate me to change, and recognising that change is already taking place, as the following trailer so superbly demonstrates.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Climate, truth and integrity, part two

Continuing from Part One last Friday.

Last Friday I started re-publishing the wonderful comments that had appeared on Climate Sight in response to a question that I had raised, namely,

While in every way that I can think of, I support the premise of mankind affecting global climate, I would love to hear from someone who could reconcile the Post above with these recent items:” and then included the links to the WSJ and Daily Mail items.

If you are not familiar with those WSJ and Daily Mail items, then you will need to go back to Friday’s Post.

So moving on.

The third response was from chrisd3, here’s what he wrote,

Paul, here is the Met Office’s response, which begins, “[The Daily Mail] article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.”

Here is Deltoid taking David Rose apart on some earlier pieces:

And NASA never said anything about the Thames freezing over. Rose just made that bit up.

Finally, here is a chart of global temps from HadCRU:

From this, it is pretty clear why Rose chooses 15 years as his starting point: 1997-1998 was the time of the largest El Nino ever recorded, resulting in a huge temperature spike. Using that as the starting point for a temperature comparison is absolutely classic cherry-picking.

And in any event, you can’t say anything about trends in noisy data by simply comparing two arbitrary points. That is not a valid way to analyze the data (especially if you pick an obvious outlier as your starting point!). It is like trying to say whether the tide is coming in or going out by looking at the height of two waves. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to look at the long-term trend to remove the noise.

Let me take you to that Met Office response (and I’m republishing it in full).

Met Office in the Media: 29 January 2012

Today the Mail on Sunday published a story written by David Rose entitled “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about”.

This article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.

Despite the Met Office having spoken to David Rose ahead of the publication of the story, he has chosen to not fully include the answers we gave him to questions around decadal projections produced by the Met Office or his belief that we have seen no warming since 1997.

For clarity I have included our full response to David Rose below:A spokesman for the Met Office said: “The ten year projection remains groundbreaking science. The complete period for the original projection is not over yet and these projections are regularly updated to take account of the most recent data.

“The projections are probabilistic in nature, and no individual forecast should be taken in isolation. Instead, several decades of data will be needed to assess the robustness of the projections.

“However, what is absolutely clear is that we have continued to see a trend of warming, with the decade of 2000-2009 being clearly the warmest in the instrumental record going back to 1850. Depending on which temperature records you use, 2010 was the warmest year on record  for NOAA NCDC and NASA GISS, and the second warmest on record in HadCRUT3.”

Global average temperatures from 1850 to 2011 from the three individual global temperature datasets (Met Office/UEA HadCRUT3, NASA GISS and NOAA NCDC)

Furthermore despite criticism of a paper published by the Met Office he chose not to ask us to respond to his misconceptions. The study in question, supported by many others, provides an insight into the sensitivity of our climate to changes in the output of the sun.

It confirmed that although solar output is likely to reduce over the next 90 years this will not substantially delay expected increases in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases. The study found that the expected decrease in solar activity would only most likely cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08 °C. This compares to an expected warming of about 2.5 °C over the same period due to greenhouse gases (according to the IPCC’s B2 scenario for greenhouse gas emissions that does not involve efforts to mitigate emissions).  In addition the study also showed that if solar output reduced below that seen in the Maunder Minimum – a period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity was at its lowest observed level – the global temperature reduction would be 0.13C.

Back to that response from chrisd3.  He offered this, “Finally, here is a chart of global temps from HadCRU.”  Here is that chart, remember we are looking at Global temperatures.

Global temperature trend

OK, between this Post and my Post last Friday, you probably get the message!  There were many other contributions and I could go on and on quoting the great responses I got, all of them uniformly saying there IS global warming unprecedented in recent years.  The message is crystal clear and those who wish to deny the evidence … well, I can’t come up with a polite term, so will just leave it at that!

My final contribution is from Martin Lack, author of the Blog Lack of Environment, and a good friend of Learning from Dogs.  Here is what he wrote in a recent email,

You may have seen my latest response to How much is most?

When I eventually saw your earlier comment, I was surprised and disappointed in equal measure because I almost feel that I have failed in some way. Let me explain:  Unlike ClimateSight and SkepticalScience, which both do an excellent job of focusing on the science of climate change, my blog is deliberately focused on the politics underlying the denial of all environmental our problems; including 2 key aspects to my MA dissertation, namely the political misuse of scepticism; and the psychology of denial.  See my How to be a Climate Change ‘Sceptic’  for more detail.

Therefore, although not specifically categorised as such, just about everything I have posted is traceable back to Paul and Anne Ehrlich’sBetrayal of Science and Reason (1996) and/or Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s Merchants of Doubt (2010).  For someone who does not currently go to any Church, I am remarkably fond of quoting Scripture so, if necessary, please forgive me but, as the Good Book says:  “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Therefore, I do not think you should be surprised by the amount of misinformation and misrepresentation contained in the original WSJ Sixteen’s article; and/or the fact that denialist arguments are repeated no matter how many times they have been shown to be false.  Furthermore, I would warn against trying to summarise it all on Learning from Dogs.  This is definitely Book territory and, in addition to the two mentioned above, the market is already saturated by the likes of Climate Change Cover-up by James Hoggan and Climate Change Denial by Haydn Washington and John Cook.

With very best wishes for a fog-free future,

What to say to close these two Posts off?  Frankly, it’s difficult to know how to pitch it.  The science seems clear beyond reasonable doubt.  But if you are reading this and disagree, then PLEASE offer the science to refute the conclusions presented here.  I promise you that I will present it on Learning from Dogs.

So let me end with a simple photograph.

Earthrise

This is the photograph that wilderness photographer Galen Rowell called, “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.”

The now world-famous photograph was taken by Astronaut William Anders from Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the Moon, a little over 43 years ago on December 24th, 1968.

As the Earth rose above the horizon of the moon, NASA astronaut Frank Borman uttered the words, “Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty.”  Bill Anders then took the ‘unscheduled’ photograph.

Now project forward 43 years to the year 2055 and play with the idea of what ‘pretty‘ planet Earth will be like for mankind and so many other species, including our longest companion, the dog, if we don’t get our act together pretty soon!

Climate, truth and integrity, part one.

It ought to be straightforward, but the reality is different!

Those of you, dear readers, that have been following these ramblings and musings over the last 30 months, now amounting to more than 1,200 Posts, will hopefully have sensed that Learning from Dogs is much more than a blogsite about dogs!  It is, as I say here, about truth, integrity, honesty and trust using dogs as a powerful metaphor for these essential qualities of a civilised society.

But perhaps there is no topic more challenging for people to determine the truth than the topic of man’s impact on the earth’s climate.  I’m sure that millions intuitively sense that we are over-consuming ourselves to oblivion.  That is where I come from.  I am not a scientist, just a humble writer, and rely on quality sources of information and instinct to form my conclusions in this area.  I am also deeply suspicious of the largely out-of-sight relationships between large corporations, big money and politics!

I have no doubt that there are other millions of people who do believe that mankind is changing our planet’s climate.

So when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal, I was dumbstruck.  Here’s the headline and opening paragraph,

No Need to Panic About Global Warming

There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.

Editor’s Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.

The long article closes with this paragraph just ahead of the ‘signatures’ of the scientists.

Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of “incontrovertible” evidence.

Then in short order, up came this from the Daily Mail online,

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.

The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

I subscribe both to Climate Sight and Lack of Environment, although wish I spent more time thoroughly reading these fabulous sources of information.  However, I did spot an article on Climate Sight that came out on the 31st January with the heading of How much is most?  It opened thus,

A growing body of research is showing that humans are likely causing more than 100% of global warming: without our influences on the climate, the planet would actually be cooling slightly.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its fourth assessment report, internationally regarded as the most credible summary of climate science to date. It concluded that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.

A clear question remains: How much is “most”? 51%? 75%? 99%? At the time that the IPCC report was written, the answer was unclear. However, a new frontier of climate research has emerged since, and scientists are working hard to quantify the answer to this question.

The timing was impeccable, so far as I was concerned.  I posted a comment, “While in every way that I can think of, I support the premise of mankind affecting global climate, I would love to hear from someone who could reconcile the Post above with these recent items:” and then included the links to the WSJ and Daily Mail items.

Little did I realise what a response I would get.  Just wonderful!  I will offer some of them to you in this piece, but please do read all the comments offered on that Climate Sight post.

First up was Dana Nuccitelli.  Dana is an environmental scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in the Sacramento, California area. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in physics from the University of California at Davis.  (Taken from here.)  This is what he wrote,

How to reconcile the two? The folks who wrote those two articles you linked are misinformed and/or misinformers. I covered the first here  (and) SkS will shortly have a post on the second as well, but I covered the solar cycle issue recently here.

Dana’s article in Skeptical Science, that first link, included this:

Nearly half of the list (at least 7 of 16) have received fossil fuel industry funding, and the list also includes an economist, a physician, a chemist, an aerospace engineer, and an astronaut/politician.  These are apparently the best and brightest the climate denialists can come up with these days?

  • Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris
  • J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting;
  • Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University;
  • Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society;
  • Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences;
  • William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; 
  • Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.;
  • William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology;
  • Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT;
  • James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University;
  • Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences;
  • Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne;
  • Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator;
  • Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem;
  • Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service;
  • Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.

RED – No climate science publications, member of at least one climate denialist group – GWPF (advisory board), George C. Marshall Institute (board of directors or roundtable speakers), Australian Climate Science Coalition (advisory panel), Heartland Institute (board of directors), and/or ExxonMobil

BLUE – Published climate science research

Orange – both a member of a climate denialist group and has published climate science research

Black – no climate science publications or climate denialist group membership

Next was Gail Zawacki who writes a compelling Blog Dead Trees and Dying Forests.  She commented thus,

Paul, try climate progress, first link here and second link here.  I suggest you read those refutations very carefully.

The first link went to this,

Panic Attack: Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Finds 16 Scientists to Push Pollutocrat Agenda With Long-Debunked Climate Lies

By Joe Romm on Jan 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

A lot of folks have asked me to debunk the recent anti-truthful Wall Street Journal article with the counterfactual headline, “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.”  I’ll combine my debunking with the rapidly growing list of debunkings from scientists and others.  And I’ll update this as new debunkings come in.

That the WSJ would publish an amateurish collection of falsehoods and half truths is no surprise.   The entire global Murdoch enterprise is designed to advance the pollutocrat do-nothing agenda (see Scientist: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change”).  As National Academy of Sciences member Peter Gleick explains in his evisceration of the piece, “Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at the Wall Street Journal“:

But the most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of the Wall Street Journalin this field is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down. The National Academy of Sciences is the nation’s pre-eminent independent scientific organizations. Its members are among the most respected in the world in their fields. Yet the Journal wouldn’t publish this letter, from more than 15 times as many top scientists. Instead they chose to publish an error-filled and misleading piece on climate because some so-called experts aligned with their bias signed it. This may be good politics for them, but it is bad science and it is bad for the nation.

Science magazine – perhaps the nation’s most important journal on scientific issues – published the letter from the NAS members after the Journal turned it down.

A tad more surprising is that 16 admittedly non-leading scientists would choose to soil their reputations by stringing together a collection of long-debunked falsehoods.  What is surprising is that these falsehoods are more easily debunked than the typical disinformer clap-trap because they are so out-of-date!

This is a long, detailed and powerful response to that WSJ article.  Do try and read it in full.

Gail’s second link went to this,

Human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have risen so rapidly that they now overwhelm any plausible decrease in solar activity.  Indeed, a paper from last June found that even if the Sun goes into “Hibernation” it won’t stop catastrophic global warming.

But that doesn’t stop serial disinformer David Rose of the UK’s Daily Mail from misleading the public — even after being slammed by top scientists in 2010 for falsely asserting “no global warming since 1995″ — see “Error-riddled articles and false statements destroy Daily Mail’s credibility.“  Rose has another willfully misleading piece, “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again): Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years.”

OK, I think this is going to end up too long for one Post.

So let’s pause there and I will continue on Monday.

Would love your comments, of course!

Lying is OK, that’s official! Duh!

I find this utterly unacceptable – here’s the story

Jean Claude Juncker, lying for Europe!

I was talking to someone in the UK just a couple of days ago, Martin J., about investment matters and we were generally ‘slagging’ off the quality, or rather the lack of quality, of the statements of leading political persons in many fields of government.  Martin then made the statement that Jean Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and the head of the Eurogroup council of eurozone finance ministers had recently stated that “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,”  I was staggered to hear this and asked Martin to supply the details.  Here they are.

Mr. Juncker’s remark had been widely reported and I have chosen the Wall Street Journal’s report to quote from in Learning from Dogs.

MAY 9, 2011, 10:54 AM ET

Luxembourg Lies on Secret Meeting

By Charles Forelle

Is lying considered an appropriate mode of communication for euro-zone leaders?

We have to wonder after a strange episode on Friday evening. Here’s what happened:

Just before 6 p.m., German news magazine Spiegel Online distributed a report saying that euro-zone finance ministers were convening a secret, emergency meeting in Luxembourg that evening to discuss a Greek demand to quit the euro zone.

Calls from reporters flooded in to Guy Schuller, the spokesman for Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the man who is the head of the Eurogroup council of euro-zone finance ministers.

In a phone call and text messages with two reporters for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Schuller repeatedly said no meeting would be held. He apparently said the same to other news outlets; at least one more moved his denials on financial newswires.

Of course, there was a meeting–although not, apparently, to talk about Greece quitting the currency, which would be an extreme step to say the least. Mr. Juncker even said a few words to reporters who had hustled to Luxembourg to stake out the gathering.

Anyway, do read the article in full here.

In that article there is a YouTube video in which Mr. Juncker says “When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”  You can hear it yourself, about 20 seconds into the video despite the sound level being a tad low.

So that’s official then!  Politicians have to lie!  Grand job.  Talking about jobs, don’t suppose Mr. Juncker will lose his.  Or that he will show that, deep down, he is an integrous man and resign his post.

Yes, of course we all understand that what high-profile people say can affect markets and that, at times, one must be careful in terms of what is said.  But lying?  Sorry, for me that will never, ever be acceptable!

What has this to do with dogs?  Simply, dogs don’t lie.

Smart dogs in Russia

Dogs never stop learning

(With thanks to Dan Gomez for forwarding the email from Bill Wells)

A quick Google search will find lots of links to stories about how stray dogs in Moscow are learning new ways of looking after themselves.  My quotes and pictures have been taken from the English-Russia web site.

Russian scientists say that Moscow stray dogs became much smarter. The four legged oldest human’s friends demonstrate real smartness such as riding the Moscow metro every morning to get from their suburban places of living to the fat regions of Moscow center. Once they arrive to the downtown they demonstrate different new, previously unseen for the dog skills. Those skills can include “the hunt for shawarma” for example, the popular among Muscovites eastern cuisine dish. This hunt scene can be seen as this:

Regular Moscow busy street with some small food kiosks. A middle-aged man buys himself a piece of hot fast food and walks aside chewing it without a rush. Then just in a second he jumps up frightened – some doggy has sneaked up on him and barked out loudly. His tasty snack falls out from his hands down to the ground and the dog gets it. Just ten minutes later, on the same place, the teen youngster loses his dinner in exactly the same manner. The modern Russian dogs are on their urban hunt.

“This method of ambushing people from their back is widely exercised by Moscow dogs”, saying A. Poiarkov, working in Ecology and Evolution Institute of Moscow. “The main point here is to define who would drop the food scared and who won’t, but the dogs are great psychologists they can do it better than us”.

Cheap travelling!

Moscow ecologists think that dogs started acquiring this habits in 1990s, when the Soviet union collapsed and Moscow has fell into the hands of new class of Russian capitalists. They understood the true value of the downtown realty underestimated by previous Communist owners and became removing all the industrial complexes Moscow had in its centre to its outskirts. Those places were used by homeless dogs as a shelter often, so the dogs had to move together with their houses, so they had to learn how to travel Moscow subway – first to get to the centre in the morning then back home in the evening, just as us people.

The commercial revolution of Moscow made their usual feeding places like trash bins out of direct reach, so they had to get to know new ways of getting their piece of food. That’s how appeared those “Shawarma hunts”. Sometimes though they use more gentle methods. Young girl sits on the bench to eat her hot dog – a big cute looking dog appears from the surrounding bushes and puts her head on her knees. The girl can’t help herself sharing the hotdog with a dog.

Among some more amazing skill those Moscow dogs are the ability not to miss their stop while going on the subway train. Biologists say dogs have very nice sense of time which helps them not to miss their destination. Another skill they have is to cross the road on the green traffic light. “They don’t react on color, but on the picture they see on the traffic light”, Moscow scientist tells. Also they choose often the last or the first metro car – those are less crowded usually.

It’s funny but the ecologists studying Moscow stray dogs also tell the dogs don’t miss a chance to get some play while on their travel in the subway. They are fond of jumping in the train just seconds before the doors shut closed risking their tails be jammed. “They do it for fun, just they have enough food”, they conclude.

"Wake me up at the next stop, please!"

Here’s a video from YouTube courtesy of the Wall Street Journal – wet eye warning!

Jeannie and I would be helpless in Moscow!  Reason?  We have 12 ex-stray Mexican dogs living with us in Payson plus my beautiful German Shepherd dog, Pharaoh, that came with me when I left the UK in 2008.  We can’t resist helping these wonderful creatures.

Pharaoh with little Poppy, a stray found on a Mexican building site

See more pictures from that English-Russia web site here.

By Paul Handover

The Big Alienation

Uncontrolled borders and Washington’s lack of self-control

[This article appeared in the online version of the Wall Street Journal on May 1st. Copyright exists with the WSJ and it is reproduced below without permission. However, it seems to me to be such an insightful commentary on present conditions that the decision was taken to publish it on Learning from Dogs. Ed.]

By Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan

We are at a remarkable moment. We have an open, 2,000-mile border to our south, and the entity with the power to enforce the law and impose safety and order will not do it. Wall Street collapsed, taking Main Street’s money with it, and the government can’t really figure out what to do about it because the government itself was deeply implicated in the crash, and both political parties are full of people whose political careers have been made possible by Wall Street contributions. Meanwhile we pass huge laws, bills so comprehensive, omnibus and transformative that no one knows what’s in them and no one—literally, no one—knows how exactly they will be executed or interpreted. Citizens search for new laws online, pore over them at night, and come away knowing no more than they did before they typed “dot-gov.”

It is not that no one’s in control. Washington is full of people who insist they’re in control and who go to great lengths to display their power. It’s that no one takes responsibility and authority. Washington daily delivers to the people two stark and utterly conflicting messages: “We control everything” and “You’re on your own.”

All this contributes to a deep and growing alienation between the people of America and the government of America in Washington.

This is not the old, conservative and long-lampooned “I don’t trust gummint” attitude of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. It’s something new, or rather something so much more broadly and fully evolved that it constitutes something new. The right never trusted the government, but now the middle doesn’t. I asked a campaigner for Hillary Clinton recently where her sturdy, pantsuited supporters had gone. They didn’t seem part of the Obama brigades. “Some of them are at the tea party,” she said.

None of this happened overnight. It is, most recently, the result of two wars that were supposed to be cakewalks, Katrina, the crash, and the phenomenon of a federal government that seemed less and less competent attempting to do more and more by passing bigger and bigger laws.

Add to this states on the verge of bankruptcy, the looming debt crisis of the federal government, the likelihood of ever-rising taxes. Shake it all together, and you have the makings of the big alienation. Alienation is often followed by full-blown antagonism, and antagonism by breakage.

Which brings us to Arizona and its much-criticized attempt to institute a law aimed at controlling its own border with Mexico. It is doing this because the federal

The US-Mexico border

government won’t, and because Arizonans have a crisis on their hands, areas on the border where criminal behavior flourishes, where there have been kidnappings, murders and gang violence. If the law is abusive, it will be determined quickly enough, in the courts. In keeping with recent tradition, they were reading parts of the law aloud on cable the other night, with bright and sincere people completely disagreeing on the meaning of the words they were reading. No one knows how the law will be executed or interpreted.

Every state and region has its own facts and experience. In New York, legal and illegal immigrants keep the city running: They work hard jobs with brutal hours, rip off no one on Wall Street, and do not crash the economy. They are generally considered among the good guys. I’m not sure New Yorkers can fairly judge the situation in Arizona, nor Arizonans the situation in New York.

But the larger point is that Arizona is moving forward because the government in Washington has completely abdicated its responsibility. For 10 years—at least—through two administrations, Washington deliberately did nothing to ease the crisis on the borders because politicians calculated that an air of mounting crisis would spur mounting support for what Washington thought was appropriate reform—i.e., reform that would help the Democratic and Republican parties.

Both parties resemble Gordon Brown, who is about to lose the prime ministership of Britain. On the campaign trail this week, he was famously questioned by a party voter about his stand on immigration. He gave her the verbal runaround, all boilerplate and shrugs, and later complained to an aide, on an open mic, that he’d been forced into conversation with that “bigoted woman.”

He really thought she was a bigot. Because she asked about immigration. Which is, to him, a sign of at least latent racism.

The establishments of the American political parties, and the media, are full of people who think concern about illegal immigration is a mark of racism. If you were Freud you might say, “How odd that’s where their minds so quickly go, how strange they’re so eager to point an accusing finger. Could they be projecting onto others their own, heavily defended-against inner emotions?” But let’s not do Freud, he’s too interesting. Maybe they’re just smug and sanctimonious.

The American president has the power to control America’s borders if he wants to, but George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not and do not want to, and for the same reason, and we all know what it is. The fastest-growing demographic in America is the Hispanic vote, and if either party cracks down on illegal immigration, it risks losing that vote for generations.

But while the Democrats worry about the prospects of the Democrats and the Republicans about the well-being of the Republicans, who worries about America?

No one. Which the American people have noticed, and which adds to the dangerous alienation—actually it’s at the heart of the alienation—of the age.

In the past four years, I have argued in this space that nothing can or should be done, no new federal law passed, until the border itself is secure. That is the predicate, the commonsense first step. Once existing laws are enforced and the border made peaceful, everyone in the country will be able to breathe easier and consider, without an air of clamor and crisis, what should be done next. What might that be? How about relax, see where we are, and absorb. Pass a small, clear law—say, one granting citizenship to all who serve two years in the armed forces—and then go have a Coke. Not everything has to be settled right away. Only controlling the border has to be settled right away.

Instead, our national establishments deliberately allow the crisis to grow and fester, ignoring public unrest and amusing themselves by damning anyone’s attempt to deal with the problem they fear to address.

Why does the federal government do this? Because so many within it are stupid and unimaginative and don’t trust the American people. Which of course the American people have noticed.

If the federal government and our political parties were imaginative, they would understand that it is actually in their interests to restore peace and order to the border. It would be a way of demonstrating that our government is still capable of functioning, that it is still to some degree connected to the people’s will, that it has the broader interests of the country in mind.

The American people fear they are losing their place and authority in the daily, unwinding drama of American history. They feel increasingly alienated from their government. And alienation, again, is often followed by deep animosity, and animosity by the breaking up of things. If our leaders were farsighted not only for themselves but for the country, they would fix the border.

Peggy Noonan is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal whose work appears weekly in the Journal’s Weekend Edition and on OpinionJournal.com.

She is the author of eight books on American politics and culture. The most recent, “Patriotic Grace,” was published in October 2008. Her first book, the bestseller “What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era,” was published in 1990.

She was a special assistant to the president in the White House of Ronald Reagan. Before that she was a producer at CBS News in New York. In 1978 and 1979 she was an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.