Category Archives: CONSPIRACY FOR REAL

How the U.S. Could Pressure North Korea Tomorrow: Quit the $100 Bill; North Korea is minting superdollars

How the U.S. Could Pressure North Korea Tomorrow: Quit the $100 Bill; North Korea is minting superdollars | Business | TIME.com.

 

 

 

Photo-Illustration by TIME

Photo-Illustration by TIME

U.S. negotiators are heading into a second day of what have been dubbed “serious and substantial” talks with North Korean officials. Yet amidst all the discussion of how the U.S. will attempt to work with Kim Jong Un, there has been little (open) speculation as to whether Dear Leader Junior might crank up production of $100 and $50 bills. No, not North Korean 100- or 50-won banknotes, worth about as much as old tissues. I’m talking about fake greenbacks — or, as the U.S. Secret Service has dubbed them, “superdollars.”

 

These ultra-counterfeits are light years beyond the weak facsimiles produced by most forgers, who use desktop printers. As an anti-counterfeiting investigator with Europol once put it: “Superdollars are just U.S. dollars not made by the U.S. government.” With few exceptions, only Federal Reserve banks equipped with the fanciest detection gear can identify these fakes.

Yet as unpatriotic as this may sound, perhaps America would be better off if Kim Jong Un were to try and enrich himself with D-I-Y Benjamins. Let me explain, by way of a little background about superdollars.

(MORE: Can a Second Bailout Save Greece?)

The “super” moniker does not stem from any particular talent on the part of the North Koreans. It’s a matter of equipment. The regime apparently possesses the same kind of intaglio printing press (or presses) used by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. A leading theory is that in 1989, just before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the machines made their way to North Korea from a clandestine facility in East Germany, where they were used to make fake passports and other secret documents. The high-tech paper is just about the same as what’s used to make authentic dollars, and the North Koreans buy their ink from the same Swiss firm that supplies the US government with ink for greenbacks.

Forging $100 bills obviously gels with the regime’s febrile anti-Americanism and its aim to undercut U.S. global power, in this case by sowing doubts about our currency. State level counterfeiting is a kind of slow-motion violence committed against an enemy, and it has been tried many times before. During the Revolutionary War, the British printed fake “Continentals” to undermine the fragile colonial currency. Napoleon counterfeited Russian notes during the Napoleonic Wars, and during World War II the Germans forced a handful of artists and printing experts in Block 19 of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to produce fake U.S. dollars and British pounds sterling. (Their story is the basis for the 2007 film “The Counterfeiters,” winner of the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.)

Superdollars can be viewed as an act of economic warfare, but Pyongyang’s motive is probably more mundane: The regime is broke. The 2009 attempt to raise funds by devaluing its already pathetic currency revealed not only the country’s fiscal desperation, but also the abuse Dear Leader was willing to inflict on his people. The won was devalued 100-fold, which meant 1,000 won suddenly had the purchasing power of 10 won. (Imagine waking up to a learn that a slice of pizza costs $250.) Officials set a tight limit on how much old money could be exchanged for new, so whatever value existed within people’s paltry savings evaporated overnight. Compared to devaluation, generating quick cash by counterfeiting some other country’s more stable currency looks downright humanitarian.

(MORE: TIME’s Interview With Warren Buffett)

The superdollar affair has a certain comic-book quality: copying the currency of the evil capitalists so you can buy cognac and missiles. But Washington isn’t laughing. At the end of December, Ireland’s high court rejected a U.S. request to extradite former Workers Party president and IRA veteran, Sean Garland, for his alleged involvement with the superdollar plot. There is also the question of what exactly the North Koreans hope to procure with all of this “money.” According to the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, superdollars may be part of the regime’s effort to acquire materials for nuclear weapons.

Since the superdollars were first detected about a decade ago, the regime has been pocketing an estimated $15 to $25 million a year from them. (Other estimates are much higher—up to several hundred million dollars’ worth.) That sounds like a lot of money, but compared to the $1 trillion in cash circulating in the great ocean of commerce, a few hundred million is chump change. Although certainly costly for small business owners who unknowingly accept a bunch of forgeries, counterfeits probably won’t bring about a crisis of faith in our paper money anytime soon.

Yet taking the long view, maybe a rash of new superdollars from the hermetic regime of Kim Jong Un would be beneficial. How so? Because counterfeits have a way of reminding people of what material money is and how it functions, and that could lead to a discussion of its pros and cons. Cash is, and always has been, such an uncontested part of everyday life that we rarely stop to consider its toll on society as the currency of crime, to say nothing of the heaping expense of printing, transporting, securing, inspecting, shredding, redesigning, reprinting, re-inspecting, and redistributing it ad nauseum, plus the broader costs of prosecuting and incarcerating the thousands, if not millions, of people who commit cash-related crimes. That’s not to suggest we could get rid of paper money tomorrow; we still don’t have a substitute that’s equally convenient, universally accepted, and adequately secure. But that day may be closer than you think. (Coins, however, we could—and should—do away with. As in, right now.)

(MORE: Google Takes Another Experimental Step Toward Delivering TV)

Superdollars, and the untold billions of (electronic) dollars spent combating them could be the wake-up call that finally forces us to think more clearly about the costs of physical money. If killing all cash strikes you as a little too radical, consider for a moment what it would mean to get rid of high-denomination banknotes. Who would be most inconvenienced if Washington were to outlaw $100 and $50 bills tomorrow? Cartel bosses in Juarez, Mexico jump to mind. So do human traffickers in China and Africa, aspiring terrorists in Afghanistan, wildlife poachers, arms dealers, tax evaders, and everyday crooks who hold up mom and pop groceries. And, or course, North Korean government officials.

So then. At the risk of infuriating cash-hoarding militia members, anonymity-obsessed ACLU’ers, the U.S. Treasury, Russian mob, Laundromat owners, and just about every person who has ever hid a purchase from a spouse or income from the government, I would say this to Kim Jong Un and his posse of counterfeiters: Bring it.

David Wolman is a contributing editor at Wired and the author of The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers—and the Coming Cashless Society, out this month from Da Capo Press. Follow him on Twitter: @davidwolman

Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/02/24/how-the-u-s-could-pressure-north-korea-tomorrow-quit-the-100-bill/?iid=biz-article-mostpop1#ixzz1nVl122r1

Download Full Movie Power Rangers (2017) English Subtitle

Power Rangers (2017) Full Movie Online Watch Free , English Subtitles Full HD, Free Movies Streaming , Free Latest Films.


Quality : HD
Title : Power Rangers.
Director : Dean Israelite
Release : March 23, 2017
Language : en.
Runtime : 124 min
Genre : Action, Adventure, Science Fiction.

Synopsis :
‘Power Rangers’ is a movie genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, was released in March 23, 2017. Dean Israelite was directed this movie and starring by Dacre Montgomery. This movie tell story about A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.

Watch Full Movie Power Rangers (2017)

So..do not miss to Watch Power Rangers Online for free with your family. only 2 step you can Watch or download this movie with high quality video. Come and join us! because very much movie can you watch free streaming.

Incoming search term :

Power Rangers English Episodes
Power Rangers English Full Episodes Download
Power Rangers For Free Online
Power Rangers Online Free Megashare
Power Rangers HD English Full Episodes Download
Power Rangers Watch Online
Watch Power Rangers Online Viooz
Watch Power Rangers Online Free Viooz
Power Rangers English Full Episode Online
Watch Power Rangers Online Free
Watch Power Rangers Online Megashare
Watch Power Rangers Online Putlocker
Power Rangers Free Online
Power Rangers English Full Episodes
Power Rangers HD Full Episodes Online
Power Rangers Full Episodes Online
Power Rangers English Full Episodes Online Free Download
Power Rangers Free Download
Power Rangers Watch Online
Power Rangers Episodes Watch Online
Power Rangers Full Episode
Watch Stream Online Power Rangers
Power Rangers Episodes Online
Watch Power Rangers Online Free putlocker
Power Rangers English Full Episodes Free Download
Watch Power Rangers Online Putlocker
Power Rangers English Full Episodes Watch Online
Watch Power Rangers Online Megashare
Power Rangers English Episode
Power Rangers English Episodes Free Watch Online

Worst Food Additive Ever is in Half of All Foods We Eat and Its Production Produces Collateral destruction and misery

Worst Food Additive Ever? It’s in Half of All Foods We Eat and Its Production Destroys Rainforests and Enslaves Children | Food | AlterNet.

The production of this ingredient causes jaw-dropping amounts of deforestation (and with it, carbon emissions) and human rights abuses.
LIKE THIS ARTICLE ?
Join our mailing list:

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest Food headlines via email.

On August 10, police and security for the massive palm oil corporation Wilmar International (of which Archer Daniels Midland is the second largest shareholder) stormed a small, indigenous village on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They came with bulldozers and guns, destroying up to 70 homes, evicting 82 families, and arresting 18 people. Then they blockaded the village, keeping the villagers in — and journalists out. (Wilmar claims it has done no wrong.)

The village, Suku Anak Dalam, was home to an indigenous group that observes their own traditional system of land rights on their ancestral land and, thus, lacks official legal titles to the land. This is common among indigenous peoples around the world — so common, in fact, that it is protected by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indonesia, for the record, voted in favor of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. Yet the government routinely sells indigenous peoples’ ancestral land to corporations. Often the land sold is Indonesia’s lowland rainforest, a biologically rich area home to endangered species like the orangutan, Asian elephant, Sumatran rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger, and the plant Rafflesia arnoldii, which produces the world’s largest flower.

So why all this destruction? Chances are you’ll find the answer in your pantry. Or your refrigerator, your bathroom, or even under your sink. The palm oil industry is one of the largest drivers of deforestation in Indonesia. Palm oil and palm kernel oil, almost unheard of a decade or two ago, are now unbelievably found in half of all packaged foods in the grocery store (as well as body care and cleaning supplies). These oils, traditional in West Africa, now come overwhelmingly from Indonesia and Malaysia. They cause jawdropping amounts of deforestation (and with it, carbon emissions) and human rights abuses.

“The recipe for palm oil expansion is cheap land, cheap labor, and a corrupt government, and unfortunately Indonesia fits that bill,” says Ashley Schaeffer of Rainforest Action Network.

The African oil palm provides two different oils with different properties: palm oil and palm kernel oil. Palm oil is made from the fruit of the tree, and palm kernel oil comes from the seed, or “nut,” inside the fruit. You can find it on ingredient lists under a number of names, including palmitate, palmate, sodium laureth sulphate, sodium lauryl sulphate, glyceryl stearate, or stearic acid. Palm oil even turns up in so-called “natural,” “healthy,” or even “cruelty-free” products, like Earth Balance (vegan margarine) or Newman-O’s organic Oreo-like cookies. Palm oil is also used in “renewable” biofuels.

A hectare of land (2.47 acres) produces, on average, 3.7 metric tons of palm oil, 0.4 metric tons of palm kernel oil, and 0.6 tons of palm kernel cake. (Palm kernel cake is used as animal feed.) In 2009, Indonesia produced over 20.5 million metric tons, and Malaysia produced over 17.5 million metric tons. As of 2009, the U.S. was only the seventh largest importer of palm oil in the world, but as the second largest importer of palm kernel oil, it ranks third in the world as a driver of deforestation for palm oil plantations.

Indonesia has lost 46 percent of its forests since 1950, and the forests have recently disappeared at a rate of about 1.5 million hectares (an area larger than the state of Connecticut) per year. Of the 103.3 million hectares of remaining forests in 2000, only 88.2 million remained in 2009. At that time, an estimated 7.3 million hectares of oil palm plantations were already established, mostly on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Indonesia plans to continue the palm oil expansion, hoping to produce an additional 8.3 million metric tons by 2015 — this means a 71 percent expansion in area devoted to palm oil in the coming years.

At stake are not only endangered species and human lives, but carbon emissions. One of the ecosystems at risk is Indonesia’s peat swamps, where soil contains an astounding 65 percent organic matter. (Most soils contain only two to 10 percent organic matter.) Laurel Sutherlin of Rainforest Action Network describes the draining and often burning of these peat swamps as “a carbon bomb.” Destruction of its peat swamps as well as its rainforests makes Indonesia the world’s third largest carbon emitter after the U.S. and China.

Among the horror stories coming out of Southeast Asian palm oil plantations are accounts of child slave labor. Ferdi and Volario, ages 14 and 21, respectively, were each met by representatives of the Malaysian company Kuala Lampur Kepong in their North Sumatra villages. They were offered high-paying jobs with good working conditions, and they jumped at the opportunity. According to an account by Rainforest Action Network: “The two worked grueling hours each day spraying oil palm trees with toxic chemical fertilizers, without any protection to shield their hands, face or lungs. After work, Ferdi and Volario were forced inside the camp where they’d stay overnight under lock and key, guarded by security. If they had to use the bathroom, they’d do their best to hold it until morning or relieve themselves in plastic bags or shoes.” They escaped after two months and were never paid for their work.

What is the industry doing about such horrific claims? It has established the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Kuala Lampur Kepong, Wilmar International, and Archer Daniels Midland are all members, and so are their customers, Cargill, Nestlé and Unilever, as well as environmental groups like the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International. But, according to Sutherlin, membership in RSPO means nothing — other than that an organization paid its dues. “That’s the first level of greenwash,” says Sutherlin.

RSPO certifies some products and companies, and Sutherlin says that does have some meaning, but leaves major loopholes open. For example, there are no carbon or climate standards, and there have been problems with the implementation of social safeguards. “It’s been a spotty record about their ability to enforce the standards for how people are treated and how communities are affected,” notes Sutherlin. Yet, he says, RSPO is “the best game in town.”

Rather than simply relying on RSPO’s certification, Rainforest Action Network has focused its campaign on the U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill, which has a hand in fully 25 percent of palm oil on the global market. Rainforest Action Network is asking Cargill to sign on to a set of social and environmental safeguards and to provide public transparency on its palm oil operations. If Cargill cleans up its act, perhaps it will help put pressure on other major multinationals like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Nestlé, which also source palm oil from unethical suppliers like Wilmar International.

Journalists have also criticized environmental groups for “cozy relationships with corporate eco-nasties.” The World Wildlife Fund has come under attack for its partnership with Wilmar, the corporation that attacked a Sumatran village. Its involvement in RSPO serves as a reminder of the accusations in a 2010 Nation article, which claimed that “many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world’s worst polluters–and burying science-based environmentalism in return.” (WWF says it received no payment from Wilmar in this particular case.)

The ugly issue of palm oil even touches the beloved American icon, the Girl Scout cookie. When Girl Scouts Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen began a project to save the orangutan for their Bronze Awards, they discovered the link between habitat loss and palm oil. Then they looked at a box of Girl Scout cookies and found palm oil on the list of ingredients. The two 11-year-olds — who are now ages 15 and 16 — began a campaign to get the Girl Scouts to remove palm oil from its cookies.

It took five years to get a response from the supposedly wholesome Girl Scouts USA (whose 2012 slogan is “Forever Green“). While the organization ignored its own members for several years, it was unable to ignore the coverage the girls received from Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and several major TV networks. Once the story was so well-covered by the media, Girl Scouts USA responded, promising it would try to move to a sustainable source of palm oil by 2015. In the meantime, it would continue buying palm oil that could have come from deforested lands or plantations that use child slave labor, but would also buy GreenPalm certificates, which fund a price premium that goes to producers following RSPO’s best practice guidelines.

So what should consumers do? For the time being, avoiding products containing palm oil is probably your best bet. Since palm oil is so ubiquitous this will likely mean opting to buy fewer processed foods overall. Don’t forget to check your beauty and cleaning products, too. In a handful of cases, such as Dr. Bronner’s soaps, palm oil comes from fair trade, organic sources. But this is hardly the norm, and with the immense amount of palm oil used in the U.S., it’s unlikely that sustainable sources could cover all of the current demand.

MIT economist: Wall Street created worst recession since WWII

MIT economist: Wall Street created worst recession since WWII | The Raw Story – Digg.

rawstory.com — MIT economics professor Simon Johnson said on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday night that Wall Street “blew itself up,” which lead to the “most severe recession since World War II.” The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund added that the enormous economic damage was “a direct consequence of what the biggest banks did and were allowed to get away with.” Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below: Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, […] 1 day 8 hr ago

MIT economist: Wall Street created worst recession since WWII | The Raw Story

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming | A Grist Special Series | Grist.

Below is a complete listing of the articles in “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic,” a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

Stages of Denial

  1. There’s nothing happening
    1. Inadequate evidence
    2. Contradictory evidence
    3. No consensus
  2. We don’t know why it’s happening
    1. Models don’t work
    2. Prediction is impossible
    3. We can’t be sure
  3. Climate change is natural
    1. It happened before
    2. It’s part of a natural change
    3. It’s not caused by CO2
  4. Climate change is not bad
    1. The effects are good
  5. Climate change can’t be stopped
    1. Too late
    2. It’s someone else’s problem
    3. Economically infeasible

Scientific Topics

  1. Temperature
  2. Atmosphere
  3. Extreme events
    1. Temperature records
  4. Cryosphere
    1. Glaciers
    2. Sea ice
    3. Ice sheets
  5. Oceans
  6. Modeling
    1. Scenarios
    2. Uncertainties
  7. Climate forcings
    1. Solar influences
    2. Greenhouse gases
    3. Aerosols
  8. Paleo climate
    1. Holocene
    2. Ice ages
    3. Geologic history
  9. Scientific process

Types of Argument

  1. Uninformed
  2. Misinformed
  3. Cherry Picking
  4. Urban Myths
  5. FUD
  6. Non Scientific

Levels of Sophistication

  1. Silly
  2. Naive
  3. Specious
  4. Scientific

Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says

 

Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says.

Global Warming & Climate Change Myths

Here is a summary of global warming and climate change myths, sorted by recent popularity vs what science says. Note that the one line responses are just a starting point – click the response for a more detailed response. You can also view them sorted by taxonomy, by popularity, in a print-friendly version, with short URLs or with fixed numbers you can use for permanent references.

Skeptic Argument vs What the Science Says
1 “Climate’s changed before” Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.
2 “It’s the sun” In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions
3 “It’s not bad” Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives.
4 “There is no consensus” 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.
5 “It’s cooling” The last decade 2000-2009 was the hottest on record.
6 “Models are unreliable” Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean.
7 “Temp record is unreliable” The warming trend is the same in rural and urban areas, measured by thermometers and satellites.
8 “Animals and plants can adapt” Global warming will cause mass extinctions of species that cannot adapt on short time scales.
9 “It hasn’t warmed since 1998” For global records, 2010 is the hottest year on record, tied with 2005.
10 “Antarctica is gaining ice” Satellites measure Antarctica losing land ice at an accelerating rate.
11 “Ice age predicted in the 70s” The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming.
12 “CO2 lags temperature” CO2 didn’t initiate warming from past ice ages but it did amplify the warming.
13 “We’re heading into an ice age” Worry about global warming impacts in the next 100 years, not an ice age in over 10,000 years.
14 “Climate sensitivity is low” Net positive feedback is confirmed by many different lines of evidence.
15 “Ocean acidification isn’t serious” Past history shows that when CO2 rises quickly, there was mass extinctions of coral reefs.
16 “Hockey stick is broken” Recent studies agree that recent global temperatures are unprecedented in the last 1000 years.
17 “Hurricanes aren’t linked to global warming” There is increasing evidence that hurricanes are getting stronger due to global warming.
18 “Glaciers are growing” Most glaciers are retreating, posing a serious problem for millions who rely on glaciers for water.
19 “Al Gore got it wrong” Al Gore book is quite accurate, and far more accurate than contrarian books.
20 “Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy” A number of investigations have cleared scientists of any wrongdoing in the media-hyped email incident.
21 “It’s cosmic rays” Cosmic rays show no trend over the last 30 years & have had little impact on recent global warming.
22 “1934 – hottest year on record” 1934 was one of the hottest years in the US, not globally.
23 “It’s freaking cold!” A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.
24 “Extreme weather isn’t caused by global warming” Extreme weather events are being made more frequent and worse by global warming.
25 “Sea level rise is exaggerated” A variety of different measurements find steadily rising sea levels over the past century.
26 “It’s Urban Heat Island effect” Urban and rural regions show the same warming trend.
27 “Mars is warming” Mars is not warming globally.
28 “Arctic icemelt is a natural cycle” Thick arctic sea ice is undergoing a rapid retreat.
29 “Medieval Warm Period was warmer” Globally averaged temperature now is higher than global temperature in medieval times.
30 “Increasing CO2 has little to no effect” The strong CO2 effect has been observed by many different measurements.
31 “Oceans are cooling” The most recent ocean measurements show consistent warming.
32 “It’s a 1500 year cycle” Ancient natural cycles are irrelevant for attributing recent global warming to humans.
33 “Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions” The natural cycle adds and removes CO2 to keep a balance; humans add extra CO2 without removing any.
34 “Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas” Rising CO2 increases atmospheric water vapor, which makes global warming much worse.
35 “IPCC is alarmist” The IPCC summarizes the recent research by leading scientific experts.
36 “Polar bear numbers are increasing” Polar bears are in danger of extinction as well as many other species.
37 “Greenland was green” Other parts of the earth got colder when Greenland got warmer.
38 “Greenland is gaining ice” Greenland on the whole is losing ice, as confirmed by satellite measurement.
39 “It’s not happening” There are many lines of evidence indicating global warming is unequivocal.
40 “CO2 limits will harm the economy” The benefits of a price on carbon outweigh the costs several times over.
41 “Other planets are warming” Mars and Jupiter are not warming, and anyway the sun has recently been cooling slightly.
42 “There’s no empirical evidence” There are multiple lines of direct observations that humans are causing global warming.
43 “Arctic sea ice has recovered” Thick arctic sea ice is in rapid retreat.
44 “CO2 is not a pollutant” Through its impacts on the climate, CO2 presents a danger to public health and welfare, and thus qualifies as an air pollutant
45 “There’s no correlation between CO2 and temperature” There is long-term correlation between CO2 and global temperature; other effects are short-term.
46 “CO2 is plant food” The effects of enhanced CO2 on terrestrial plants are variable and complex and dependent on numerous factors
47 “We’re coming out of the Little Ice Age” Scientists have determined that the factors which caused the Little Ice Age cooling are not currently causing global warming
48 “It cooled mid-century” Mid-century cooling involved aerosols and is irrelevant for recent global warming.
49 “Satellites show no warming in the troposphere” The most recent satellite data show that the earth as a whole is warming.
50 “CO2 was higher in the past” When CO2 was higher in the past, the sun was cooler.
51 “It warmed before 1940 when CO2 was low” Early 20th century warming is due to several causes, including rising CO2.
52 “It’s aerosols” Aerosols have been masking global warming, which would be worse otherwise.
53 “It’s El Niño” El Nino has no trend and so is not responsible for the trend of global warming.
54 “Mt. Kilimanjaro’s ice loss is due to land use” Most glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, notwithstanding a few complicated cases.
55 “There’s no tropospheric hot spot” We see a clear “short-term hot spot” – there’s various evidence for a “long-term hot spot”.
56 “It’s Pacific Decadal Oscillation” The PDO shows no trend, and therefore the PDO is not responsible for the trend of global warming.
57 “2009-2010 winter saw record cold spells” A cold day in Chicago in winter has nothing to do with the trend of global warming.
58 “It’s a natural cycle” No known natural forcing fits the fingerprints of observed warming except anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
59 “Scientists can’t even predict weather” Weather and climate are different; climate predictions do not need weather detail.
60 “IPCC were wrong about Himalayan glaciers” Glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, despite 1 error in 1 paragraph in a 1000 page IPCC report.
61 “2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory” The 2nd law of thermodynamics is consistent with the greenhouse effect which is directly observed.
62 “It’s not us” Multiple sets of independent observations find a human fingerprint on climate change.
63 “It’s the ocean” The oceans are warming and moreover are becoming more acidic, threatening the food chain.
64 “IPCC were wrong about Amazon rainforests” The IPCC statement on Amazon rainforests was correct, and was incorrectly reported in some media.
65 “CO2 limits will hurt the poor” Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change.
66 “Clouds provide negative feedback” Evidence is building that net cloud feedback is likely positive and unlikely to be strongly negative.
67 “CO2 effect is saturated” Direct measurements find that rising CO2 is trapping more heat.
68 “Greenland ice sheet won’t collapse” When Greenland was 3 to 5 degrees C warmer than today, a large portion of the Ice Sheet melted.
69 “Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated” Sea level rise is now increasing faster than predicted due to unexpectedly rapid ice melting.
70 “Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans” Humans emit 100 times more CO2 than volcanoes.
71 “Corals are resilient to bleaching” Globally about 1% of coral is dying out each year.
72 “Greenhouse effect has been falsified” The greenhouse effect is standard physics and confirmed by observations.
73 “The science isn’t settled” That human CO2 is causing global warming is known with high certainty & confirmed by observations.
74 “It’s methane” Methane plays a minor role in global warming but could get much worse if permafrost starts to melt.
75 “Global warming stopped in 1998, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2010, ????” Global temperature is still rising and 2010 was the hottest recorded.
76 “CO2 has a short residence time” Excess CO2 from human emissions has a long residence time of over 100 years
77 “Humidity is falling” Multiple lines of independent evidence indicate humidity is rising and provides positive feedback.
78 “Neptune is warming” And the sun is cooling.
79 “Springs aren’t advancing” Hundreds of flowers across the UK are flowering earlier now than any time in 250 years.
80 “Jupiter is warming” Jupiter is not warming, and anyway the sun is cooling.
81 “CO2 measurements are suspect” CO2 levels are measured by hundreds of stations across the globe, all reporting the same trend.
82 “It’s land use” Land use plays a minor role in climate change, although carbon sequestration may help to mitigate.
83 “500 scientists refute the consensus” Around 97% of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming.
84 “CO2 is not increasing” CO2 is increasing rapidly, and is reaching levels not seen on the earth for millions of years.
85 “Record snowfall disproves global warming” Warming leads to increased evaporation and precipitation, which falls as increased snow in winter.
86 “Scientists tried to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperature” The ‘decline’ refers to a decline in northern tree-rings, not global temperature, and is openly discussed in papers and the IPCC reports.
87 “Pluto is warming” And the sun has been recently cooling.
88 “CO2 is coming from the ocean” The ocean is absorbing massive amounts of CO2, and is becoming more acidic as a result.
89 “Solar Cycle Length proves its the sun” The sun has not warmed since 1970 and so cannot be driving global warming.
90 “Arctic was warmer in 1940” The actual data show high northern latitudes are warmer today than in 1940.
91 “Southern sea ice is increasing” Antarctic sea ice has grown in recent decades despite the Southern Ocean warming at the same time.
92 “IPCC overestimate temperature rise” Monckton used the IPCC equation in an inappropriate manner.
93 “CO2 limits will make little difference” If every nation agrees to limit CO2 emissions, we can achieve significant cuts on a global scale.
94 “It’s microsite influences” Microsite influences on temperature changes are minimal; good and bad sites show the same trend.
95 “CO2 is not the only driver of climate” Theory, models and direct measurement confirm CO2 is currently the main driver of climate change.
96 “Peer review process was corrupted” An Independent Review concluded that CRU’s actions were normal and didn’t threaten the integrity of peer review.
97 “It’s albedo” Albedo change in the Arctic, due to receding ice, is increasing global warming.
98 “Tree-rings diverge from temperature after 1960” This is a detail that is complex, local, and irrelevant to the observed global warming trend.
99 “Lindzen and Choi find low climate sensitivity” Lindzen and Choi’s paper is viewed as unacceptably flawed by other climate scientists.
100 “It’s soot” Soot stays in the atmosphere for days to weeks; carbon dioxide causes warming for centuries.
101 “Humans are too insignificant to affect global climate” Humans are small but powerful, and human CO2 emissions are causing global warming.
102 “Dropped stations introduce warming bias” If the dropped stations had been kept, the temperature would actually be slightly higher.
103 “Renewable energy is too expensive” When you account for all of the costs associated with burning coal and other fossil fuels, like air pollution and health effects, in reality they are significantly more expensive than most renewable energy sources.
104 “Phil Jones says no global warming since 1995” Phil Jones was misquoted.
105 “They changed the name from global warming to climate change” ‘Global warming’ and ‘climate change’ mean different things and have both been used for decades.
106 “Roy Spencer finds negative feedback” Spencer’s model is too simple, excluding important factors like ocean dynamics and treats cloud feedbacks as forcings.
107 “Hansen’s 1988 prediction was wrong” Jim Hansen had several possible scenarios; his mid-level scenario B was right.
108 “It’s global brightening” This is a complex aerosol effect with unclear temperature significance.
109 “Sea level rise is decelerating” Global sea level data shows that sea level rise has been increasing since 1880 while future sea level rise predictions are based on physics, not statistics.
110 “It’s too hard” Scientific studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid dangerous climate change.
111 “It’s a climate regime shift” There is no evidence that climate has chaotic “regimes” on a long-term basis.
112 “It’s not urgent” A large amount of warming is delayed, and if we don’t act now we could pass tipping points.
113 “Less than half of published scientists endorse global warming” Around 97% of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming.
114 “Arctic sea ice loss is matched by Antarctic sea ice gain” Arctic sea ice loss is three times greater than Antarctic sea ice gain.
115 “Solar cycles cause global warming” Over recent decades, the sun has been slightly cooling & is irrelevant to recent global warming.
116 “Ice isn’t melting” Arctic sea ice has shrunk by an area equal to Western Australia, and summer or multi-year sea ice might be all gone within a decade.
117 “Over 31,000 scientists signed the OISM Petition Project” The ‘OISM petition’ was signed by only a few climatologists.
118 “Earth hasn’t warmed as much as expected” This argument ignores the cooling effect of aerosols and the planet’s thermal inertia.
119 “Freedom of Information (FOI) requests were ignored” An independent inquiry found CRU is a small research unit with limited resources and their rigour and honesty are not in doubt.
120 “It’s ozone” Ozone has only a small effect.
121 “IPCC ‘disappeared’ the Medieval Warm Period” The IPCC simply updated their temperature history graphs to show the best data available at the time.
122 “The IPCC consensus is phoney” 113 nations signed onto the 2007 IPCC report, which is simply a summary of the current body of climate science evidence
123 “Trenberth can’t account for the lack of warming” Trenberth is talking about the details of energy flow, not whether global warming is happening.
124 “Ice Sheet losses are overestimated” A number of independent measurements find extensive ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland.
125 “Naomi Oreskes’ study on consensus was flawed” Benny Peiser, the Oreskes critic, retracted his criticism.
126 “Climate is chaotic and cannot be predicted” Weather is chaotic but climate is driven by Earth’s energy imbalance, which is more predictable.
127 “Melting ice isn’t warming the Arctic” Melting ice leads to more sunlight being absorbed by water, thus heating the Arctic.
128 “Climate ‘Skeptics’ are like Galileo” Modern scientists, not anti-science skeptics, follow in Galileo’s footsteps.
129 “A drop in volcanic activity caused warming” Volcanoes have had no warming effect in recent global warming – if anything, a cooling effect.
130 “Renewables can’t provide baseload power” A number of renewable sources already do provide baseload power, and we don’t need renewables to provide a large percentage of baseload power immediately.
131 “Breathing contributes to CO2 buildup” By breathing out, we are simply returning to the air the same CO2 that was there to begin with.
132 “Satellite error inflated Great Lakes temperatures” Temperature errors in the Great Lakes region are not used in any global temperature records.
133 “Soares finds lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature” Soares looks at short-term trends which are swamped by natural variations while ignoring the long-term correlation.
134 “CRU tampered with temperature data” An independent inquiry went back to primary data sources and were able to replicate CRU’s results.
135 “Sea level is not rising” The claim sea level isn’t rising is based on blatantly doctored graphs contradicted by observations.
136 “Water vapor in the stratosphere stopped global warming” This possibility just means that future global warming could be even worse.
137 “CO2 emissions do not correlate with CO2 concentration” That humans are causing the rise in atmospheric CO2 is confirmed by multiple isotopic analyses.
138 “We’re heading into cooling” There is no scientific basis for claims that the planet will begin to cool in the near future.
139 “The sun is getting hotter” The sun has just had the deepest solar minimum in 100 years.
140 “Mauna Loa is a volcano” The global trend is calculated from hundreds of CO2 measuring stations and confirmed by satellites.
141 “It’s waste heat” Greenhouse warming is adding 100 times more heat to the climate than waste heat.
142 “It warmed just as fast in 1860-1880 and 1910-1940” The warming trend over 1970 to 2001 is greater than warming from both 1860 to 1880 and 1910 to 1940.
143 “An exponential increase in CO2 will result in a linear increase in temperature” CO2 levels are rising so fast that unless we decrease emissions, global warming will accelerate this century.
144 “Record high snow cover was set in winter 2008/2009” Winter snow cover in 2008/2009 was average while the long-term trend in spring, summer, and annual snow cover is rapid decline.
145 “Murry Salby finds CO2 rise is natural” Multiple lines of evidence make it very clear that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is due to human emissions.
146 “Venus doesn’t have a runaway greenhouse effect” Venus very likely underwent a runaway or ‘moist’ greenhouse phase earlier in its history, and today is kept hot by a dense CO2 atmosphere.
147 “Antarctica is too cold to lose ice” Glaciers are sliding faster into the ocean because ice shelves are thinning due to warming oceans.
148 “Water levels correlate with sunspots” This detail is irrelevant to the observation of global warming caused by humans.
149 “CO2 was higher in the late Ordovician” The sun was much cooler during the Ordovician.
150 “It’s CFCs” CFCs contribute at a small level.
151 “Scientists retracted claim that sea levels are rising” The Siddall 2009 paper was retracted because its predicted sea level rise was too low.
152 “Warming causes CO2 rise” Recent warming is due to rising CO2.
153 “Coral atolls grow as sea levels rise” Thousands of coral atolls have “drowned” when unable to grow fast enough to survive at sea level.
154 “Greenland has only lost a tiny fraction of its ice mass” Greenland’s ice loss is accelerating & will add metres of sea level rise in upcoming centuries.
155 “Positive feedback means runaway warming” Positive feedback won’t lead to runaway warming; diminishing returns on feedback cycles limit the amplification.
156 “DMI show cooling Arctic” While summer maximums have showed little trend, the annual average Arctic temperature has risen sharply in recent decades.
157 “Skeptics were kept out of the IPCC?” Official records, Editors and emails suggest CRU scientists acted in the spirit if not the letter of IPCC rules.
158 “It’s internal variability” Internal variability can only account for small amounts of warming and cooling over periods of decades, and scientific studies have consistently shown that it cannot account for the global warming over the past century.
159 “It’s only a few degrees” A few degrees of global warming has a huge impact on ice sheets, sea levels and other aspects of climate.
160 “CO2 limits won’t cool the planet” CO2 limits won’t cool the planet, but they can make the difference between continued accelerating global warming to catastrophic levels vs. slowing and eventually stopping the warming at hopefully safe levels
161 “Renewable energy investment kills jobs” Investment in renewable energy creates more jobs than investment in fossil fuel energy.
162 “CO2 increase is natural, not human-caused” Many lines of evidence, including simple accounting, demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to human fossil fuel burning.
163 “Royal Society embraces skepticism” The Royal Society still strongly state that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming.
164 “It’s satellite microwave transmissions” Satellite transmissions are extremely small and irrelevant.
165 “CO2 only causes 35% of global warming” CO2 and corresponding water vapor feedback are the biggest cause of global warming.
166 “We didn’t have global warming during the Industrial Revolution” CO2 emissions were much smaller 100 years ago.
167 “Hansen predicted the West Side Highway would be underwater” Hansen was speculating on changes that might happen if CO2 doubled.
168 “Ljungqvist broke the hockey stick” Ljungqvist’s temperature reconstruction is very similar to other reconstructions by Moberg and Mann.
169 “Removing all CO2 would make little difference” Removing CO2 would cause most water in the air to rain out and cancel most of the greenhouse effect.
170 “Postma disproved the greenhouse effect” Postma’s model contains many simple errors; in no way does Postma undermine the existence or necessity of the greenhouse effect.
171 “Sea level fell in 2010” The temporary drop in sea level in 2010 was due to intense land flooding caused by a strong La Nina.

 

refutation of climate change deniers

Hi Hugh,

You say : “…the ten year cooling trend?…”

I say : What utter piffle ! Just look at this chart (link below). It’s
a very simplified form of the temperature charts, just to make it easy
for people like me to refute people like you :-

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Ts_vs.year+month.lrg.gif

More charts that refute your statement are here :-

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2009/perspectives.html

You’re clearly not up-to-date. One icy winter does not Global Cooling
make. In fact, there could be an excessive warming trend for a while
(as opposed to a badly warming trend for a while) :-

http://blogs.usatoday.com/sciencefair/
“Global warming and a hotter solar cycle will bump up average
atmospheric temperatures about a third of a degree by 2014, and then
flatten out for the rest of the decade, suggest climate scientists.”

You are wrong about Global Warming, but you’re in communication with a
group of people who would deny black is black, so I don’t expect you
to believe me.

Please don’t continue sending me Climate Change Denier myths. Please
only talk to me about Energy.

 

Thank you,

Jo Abess

http://www.joabbess.com/
http://www.changecollege.org.uk/

The above in response to Hugh Sharman’s post below:
On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 8:34 AM, Hugh Sharmanwrote:
> ….continuing the ten year cooling trend?  We shall have to see!
>
> US Gas Market Watch
> NGW’s Gas Market Reconnaissance (Friday, Aug. 21, 2009) Full Story Pub Info
> Send to a Friend
> Natural gas prices fell nearly 4% Friday touching $2.776/MMBTtu, the lowest
> price since Aug. 12, 2002. Friday’s selling pressure was realized after
> hedge funds in the OTC market began pounding prices lower. Traders said the
> reality of a truly oversupplied market is creating an ultra-bearish
> sentiment throughout the gas market. However, Friday also marked the 12th
> consecutive losing session, so a rebound could be expected as September
> nears expiration on Thursday.
>
> Lucky US: Gas Storage Glut Could Meet Bone-Chilling Winter Loads
> Natural Gas Week (Monday, August 24, 2009) Full Story Pub Info Send to a
> Friend
> Some weather forecasting services are providing a preliminary glimpse at the
> upcoming 2009-10 winter … and the outlook is cold, very cold. In fact,
> some forecasters see the potential for the coldest winter in a decade. If
> these forecasts pan out, the US may need every molecule of natural gas being
> stuffed into its brimming storage fields.
>
> Hugh Sharman
> Box 39, Toldbodvej 12,
> DK-9370 Hals, Denmark,
> tel +45.9825.1760 fax +45.9825.2555
> cell +45.4055.1760
> MOMs (Danish VAT) DK.10.54.57.73

Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense

On November 18, with the United Nations Global Warming Conference in Copenhagen fast approaching, U.S. Sen. James R. Inhofe (R–Okla.) took the floor of the Senate and proclaimed 2009 to be “The Year of the Skeptic.” Had the senator’s speech marked a new commitment to  dispassionate, rational inquiry, a respect for scientific thought and a well-grounded doubt in ghosts, astrology, creationism and homeopathy, it might have been cause for cheer. But Inhofe had a more narrow definition of skeptic in mind: he meant “standing up and exposing the science, the costs and the hysteria behind global warming alarmism.”

Within the community of scientists and others concerned about anthropogenic climate change, those whom Inhofe calls skeptics are more commonly termed contrarians, naysayers and denialists. Not everyone who questions climate change science fits that description, of course—some people are genuinely unaware of the facts or honestly disagree about their interpretation. What distinguishes the true naysayers is an unwavering dedication to denying the need for action on the problem, often with weak and long-disproved arguments about supposed weaknesses in the science behind global warming.

What follows is only a partial list of the contrarians’ bad arguments and some brief rebuttals of them.

Claim 1: Anthropogenic CO2 can’t be changing climate, because CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere and the amount produced by humans is dwarfed by the amount from volcanoes and other natural sources. Water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas, so changes in CO2 are irrelevant.

Although CO2 makes up only 0.04 percent of the atmosphere, that small number says nothing about its significance in climate dynamics. Even at that low concentration, CO2 absorbs infrared radiation and acts as a greenhouse gas, as physicist John Tyndall demonstrated in 1859. The chemist Svante Arrhenius went further in 1896 by estimating the impact of CO2 on the climate; after painstaking hand calculations he concluded that doubling its concentration might cause almost 6 degrees Celsius of warming—an answer not much out of line with recent, far more rigorous computations.

Contrary to the contrarians, human activity is by far the largest contributor to the observed increase in atmospheric CO2. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, anthropogenic CO2 amounts to about 30 billion tons annually—more than 130 times as much as volcanoes produce. True, 95 percent of the releases of CO2 to the atmosphere are natural, but natural processes such as plant growth and absorption into the oceans pull the gas back out of the atmosphere and almost precisely offset them, leaving the human additions as a net surplus. Moreover, several sets of experimental measurements, including analyses of the shifting ratio of carbon isotopes in the air, further confirm that fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are the primary reasons that CO2 levels have risen 35 percent since 1832, from 284 parts per million (ppm) to 388 ppm—a remarkable jump to the highest levels seen in millions of years.

Contrarians frequently object that water vapor, not CO2, is the most abundant and powerful greenhouse gas; they insist that climate scientists routinely leave it out of their models. The latter is simply untrue: from Arrhenius on, climatologists have incorporated water vapor into their models. In fact, water vapor is why rising CO2 has such a big effect on climate. CO2 absorbs some wavelengths of infrared that water does not so it independently adds heat to the atmosphere. As the temperature rises, more water vapor enters the atmosphere and multiplies CO2’s greenhouse effect; the IPCC notes that water vapor (pdf) may “approximately double the increase in the greenhouse effect due to the added CO2 alone.”

Nevertheless, within this dynamic, the CO2 remains the main driver (what climatologists call a “forcing”) of the greenhouse effect. As NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt has explained, water vapor enters and leaves the atmosphere much more quickly than CO2, and tends to preserve a fairly constant level of relative humidity, which caps off its greenhouse effect. Climatologists therefore categorize water vapor as a feedback rather than a forcing factor. (Contrarians who don’t see water vapor in climate models are looking for it in the wrong place.)

Because of CO2’s inescapable greenhouse effect, contrarians holding out for a natural explanation for current global warming need to explain why, in their scenarios, CO2 is not compounding the problem.

Claim 2: The alleged “hockey stick” graph of temperatures over the past 1,600 years has been disproved. It doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of a “medieval warm period” around 1000 A.D. that was hotter than today is. Therefore, global warming is a myth.

It is hard to know which is greater: contrarians’ overstatement of the flaws in the historical temperature reconstruction from 1998 by Michael E. Mann and his colleagues, or the ultimate insignificance of their argument to the case for climate change.

First, there is not simply one hockey-stick reconstruction of historical temperatures using one set of proxy data. Similar evidence for sharply increasing temperatures over the past couple of centuries has turned up independently while looking at ice cores, tree rings and other proxies for direct measurements, from many locations. Notwithstanding their differences, they corroborate that Earth has been getting sharply warmer.

A 2006 National Research Council review of the evidence concluded “with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries”—which is the section of the graph most relevant to current climate trends. The report placed less faith in the reconstructions back to 900 A.D., although it still viewed them as “plausible.” Medieval warm periods in Europe and Asia with temperatures comparable to those seen in the 20th century were therefore similarly plausible but might have been local phenomena: the report noted “the magnitude and geographic extent of the warmth are uncertain.” And a new research paper by Mann and his colleagues seems to confirm that the Medieval Warm Period and the “Little Ice Age” between 1400 and 1700 were both caused by shifts in solar radiance and other natural factors that do not seem to be happening today.

After the NRC review was released, another analysis by four statisticians, called the Wegman report, which was not formally peer reviewed, was more critical of the hockey stick paper. But correction of the errors it pointed out did not substantially change the shape of the hockey stick graph. In 2008 Mann and his colleagues issued an updated version of the temperature reconstruction that echoed their earlier findings.

But hypothetically, even if the hockey stick was busted… What of it? The case for anthropogenic global warming originally came from studies of climate mechanics, not from reconstructions of past temperatures seeking a cause. Warnings about current warming trends came out years before Mann’s hockey stick graph. Even if the world were incontrovertibly warmer 1,000 years ago, it would not change the fact that the recent rapid rise in CO2 explains the current episode of warming more credibly than any natural factor does—and that no natural factor seems poised to offset further warming in the years ahead.

Claim 3: Global warming stopped a decade ago; Earth has been cooling since then.

1998 was the world’s warmest year in the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre’s records; recent years have been cooler; therefore, the previous century’s global warming trend is over, right?

Anyone with even a glancing familiarity with statistics should be able to spot the weaknesses of that argument. Given the extended duration of the warming trend, the expected (and observed) variations in the rate of increase and the range of uncertainties in the temperature measurements and forecasts, a decade’s worth of mild interruption is too small a deviation to prove a break in the pattern, climatologists say.

Recently, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein asked four independent statisticians to look for trends in the temperature data sets without telling them what the numbers represented. “The experts found no true temperature declines over time,” he wrote.

If a lull in global warming continues for another decade, would that vindicate the contrarians’ case? Not necessarily, because climate is complex. For instance, Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Germany and his colleagues published a paper in 2008 that suggested ocean circulation patterns might cause a period of cooling in parts of the northern hemisphere, even though the long-term pattern of warming remained in effect. Fundamentally, contrarians who have resisted the abundant evidence that supports warming should not be too quick to leap on evidence that only hints at the opposite.

Claim 4: The sun or cosmic rays are much more likely to be the real causes of global warming. After all, Mars is warming up, too.

Astronomical phenomena are obvious natural factors to consider [pdf] when trying to understand climate, particularly the brightness of the sun and details of Earth’s orbit, because those seem to have been major drivers of the ice ages [pdf] and other climate changes before the rise of industrial civilization. Climatologists, therefore, do take them into account in their models. [pdf] But in defiance of the naysayers who want to chalk the recent warming up to natural cycles, there is insufficient evidence that enough extra solar energy is reaching our planet to account for the observed rise in global temperatures.

The IPCC notes that between 1750 and 2005, the radiative forcing from the sun increased by 0.12 watt/square-meter—less than a tenth of the net forcings from human activities [pdf] (1.6 W/m2). The largest uncertainty in that comparison comes from the estimated effects of aerosols in the atmosphere, which can variously shade Earth or warm it. Even granting the maximum uncertainties to these estimates, however, the increase in human influence on climate exceeds that of any solar variation.

Moreover, remember that the effect of CO2 and the other greenhouse gases is to amplify the sun’s warming. Contrarians looking to pin global warming on the sun can’t simply point to any trend in solar radiance: they also need to quantify its effect and explain why CO2 does not consequently become an even more powerful driver of climate change. (And is what weakens the greenhouse effect a necessary consequence of the rising solar influence or an ad hoc corollary added to give the desired result?)

The most recent contrarian fad is based largely on work by Henrik Svensmark of the Technical University of Denmark, who argues that the sun’s influence on cosmic rays needs to be considered. Cosmic rays entering the atmosphere help to seed the formation of aerosols and clouds that reflect sunlight. In Svensmark’s theory, the high solar magnetic activity over the past 50 years has shielded Earth from cosmic rays and allowed exceptional heating; but now that the sun is more magnetically quiet again, global warming will reverse. Svensmark claims that, in his model, temperature changes correlate better with cosmic ray levels and solar magnetic activity than with other greenhouse factors.

Svensmark’s theory has so far not persuaded most climatologists, however, because of weaknesses in its evidence. In particular, there do not seem to be clear long-term trends in the cosmic ray influxes or in the clouds that they are suppose to form, and his model does not explain (as greenhouse explanations do) some of the observed patterns in how the world is getting warmer (such as that more of the warming occurs at night). For now, at least, cosmic rays remain a less plausible culprit in climate change.

And the apparent warming seen on Mars? It is based on a very small base of measurements, so it may not represent a true trend. Too little is yet known about what governs the Martian climate to be sure, but a period of heavy dust storms on the planet that made its surface relatively dark might have increased the amount of absorbed sunlight and raised temperatures.

Claim 5: Climatologists conspire to hide the truth about global warming by locking away their data. Their so-called “consensus” on global warming is scientifically irrelevant because science isn’t settled by popularity.

It is virtually impossible to disprove accusations of giant global conspiracies to those already convinced of them (can anyone prove that the Freemasons and the Roswell aliens aren’t involved, too?). Let it therefore be noted that the magnitude of this hypothetical conspiracy would need to encompass many thousands of uncontroversial publications and respected scientists from around the world, stretching back through Arrhenius and Tyndall for almost 150 years. (See this feature on “Carbon Dioxide and Climate,” by Gilbert N. Plass, from Scientific American in July 1959.) It is also one so powerful that it has co-opted the  official positions of dozens of scientific organizations including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Physics and the American Meteorological Society.

If there were a massive conspiracy to defraud the world on climate (and to what end?), surely the thousands of e-mails and other files stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and distributed by hackers on November 20 would bear proof of it. So far, however, none has emerged. Most of the few statements that critics claim as evidence of malfeasance seem to have more innocent explanations that make sense in the context of scientists conversing privately and informally. It is deplorable if any of the scientists involved did prove to manipulate data dishonestly or thwart Freedom of Information requests; however, it is currently unclear whether that ultimately happened. What is missing is any clear indication of a widespread attempt to falsify and coordinate findings on a scale that could hold together a global cabal or significantly distort the record on climate change.

Climatologists are frequently frustrated by accusations that they are hiding their data or the details of their models because, as Gavin Schmidt points out, much of the relevant information is in public databases or otherwise accessible—a fact that contrarians conveniently ignore when insisting that scientists stonewall their requests. (And because nations differ in their rules on data confidentiality, scientists are not always at liberty to comply with some requests.) If contrarians want to deal a devastating blow to global warming theories, they should use the public data and develop their own credible models to demonstrate sound alternatives.

Yet that rarely occurs. In 2004 historian of science Naomi Oreskes published a well-known analysis of the peer-reviewed literature on global warming, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.” Out of 928 papers whose abstracts she surveyed, she wrote, 75 percent explicitly or implicitly supported anthropogenic global warming, 25 percent were methodological or otherwise took no position on the subject—and none argued for purely natural explanations. Notwithstanding some attempts to debunk Oreskes’ findings that eventually fell apart, her conclusion stands.

Oreskes’ work does not mean that all climate scientists agree about climate change–obviously, some do not (though they are very much a minority). Rather, the meaningful consensus is not among the scientists but within the science: the overwhelming predominance of evidence for greenhouse-driven global warming that cannot easily be overturned even by a few contrary studies.

Claim 6: Climatologists have a vested interest in raising the alarm because it brings them money and prestige.

If climate scientists are angling for more money by hyping fears of climate change, they are not doing so very effectively. According to a 2006 Government Accountability Office study, between 1993 and 2004, U.S. federal spending on climate change rose from $3.3 billion to $5.1 billion—a 55 percent increase. (Total federal nondefense spending on research in 2004 exceeded $50 billion.) However, the research share of that money fell from 56 percent to 39 percent: most of it went to energy conservation projects and other technology programs. Climatologists’ funding therefore stayed almost flat while others, including those in industry, benefited handsomely. Surely, the Freemasons could do better than that.

 

 

Post-9/11 U.S. intelligence reforms take root but problems remain

Post-9/11 U.S. intelligence reforms take root, problems remain | Reuters.

(Reuters) – U.S. intelligence agencies will forever be scarred by their failure to connect the dots and detect the September 11 plot, but a decade later efforts to break down barriers to information-sharing are taking root.

Changing a culture of “need-to-know” to “need-to-share” does not come easily in spy circles. Some officials say they worry, a decade later, about a future attack in which it turns out that U.S. spy agencies had clues in their vast vaults of data but did not put them together, or even know they existed.

Yet significant changes, both big and small, have broken down barriers between agencies, smoothed information-sharing and improved coordination, U.S. intelligence experts say.

From issuing a blue badge to everyone working in the sprawling intelligence community to symbolize a common identity, to larger moves of mixing employees from different agencies, the goal is singular — to prevent another attack.

“We’re much further ahead,” David Shedd, Defense Intelligence Agency deputy director, said of the ability to connect the dots compared with 10 years ago. Still, signs of a plot to attack the United States could be missed again.

“My worst fear, and I suspect probably one that would come true, is that in any future would-be or actual attack, God forbid, we will be able to find the dots again somewhere because of simply how much data is collected,” Shedd said.

The political response to the failure to stop the attack was the 2002 creation of the Department of Homeland Security, pulling together 22 agencies to form the third largest U.S. Cabinet department behind the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs.

That was followed by the creation in late 2004 of the Director of National Intelligence to oversee all the spy agencies, as recommended by the bipartisan 9/11 commission.

Previously, the CIA director held a dual role of also overseeing the multitude of intelligence agencies. But in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks, policymakers decided that was too big of a job for one person to do effectively.

‘THERE ARE PROBLEMS’

Critics argued then and now that the reforms were the government’s usual response to crises — create more bureaucracy. But others see much-needed change.

“It has been a tremendous improvement,” said Lee Hamilton, who was the 9/11 commission vice chair. “It’s not seamless, there are problems, and we’ve still got a ways to go.”

The 2001 attacks involving airliners hijacked by al Qaeda operatives killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. Various U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies had come across bits of information suggesting an impending attack but failed to put the pieces together.

The CIA had information about three of the 19 hijackers at least 20 months before the attacks; the National Security Agency had information linking one of the hijackers with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s network; the CIA knew one hijacker had entered the United States but did not tell the FBI; and an FBI agent warned of suspicious Middle Eastern men taking flying lessons.

Have the reforms made America safer? Officials say yes, and point to the U.S. operation that killed bin Laden in Pakistan in May that demanded coordination among intelligence agencies and the military. But there is an inevitable caveat: no one can guarantee there will never be another attack on U.S. soil.

On Christmas Day 2009, a Nigerian man linked to an al Qaeda off-shoot tried unsuccessfully to light explosives sewn into his underwear on a flight to Detroit from Amsterdam. It turned out U.S. authorities had pockets of information about him.

President Barack Obama used a familiar September 11 phrase to describe the 2009 incident as “a failure to connect the dots of intelligence that existed across our intelligence community.”

Roger Cressey, a former White House National Security Council counterterrorism official, resurrected another September 11 phrase: “It was a failure of imagination.”

The intelligence community had not seen al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based al Qaeda off-shoot, as capable of striking the U.S. homeland. If the “underwear bomber” threat had originated in Pakistan “they would have gone to battle stations immediately,” Cressey said.

Some proposed changes in how authorities would respond to another successful attack still are pending. For example, creation of a common communication system for police, firefighters and other emergency personnel remains tangled up in political wrangling in Congress over how to implement it.

“This is a no-brainer,” Hamilton said. “The first responders at the scene of a disaster ought to be able to talk with one another. They cannot do it today in most jurisdictions.”

Former leaders of the 9/11 commission issued a report card saying nine of its 41 recommendations remain unfinished.

WHERE’S THE POWER?

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has experienced growing pains as overseer of the 17 spy agencies, churning through four chiefs in six years.

Tensions over turf, confusion about the DNI’s role, and problems herding agencies with very powerful chiefs of their own all came to a crescendo when retired Admiral Dennis Blair, the third DNI, tried to assert authority over CIA station chiefs, who represent the agency in different countries.

“The position of chief of station is one of the crown jewels of the CIA, and they don’t want anyone playing with their crown jewels,” said Mark Lowenthal, a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

After a dust-up with CIA Director Leon Panetta, who now is defense secretary, it was Blair who was sent packing.

“I think the mistake that some have made is to have viewed the DNI and the Director of CIA as an either/or proposition rather than the power of the two working together,” the DIA’s Shedd said in an interview in his office.

“There is a history of where that hasn’t worked so well, I believe it is working much better today,” said Shedd, who has worked at the DNI, CIA and National Security Council.

Intelligence experts say in the current administration, Obama’s top homeland security and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan arguably has more power than any of them because he has the president’s ear. It’s a reminder that, bureaucratic reform or no, personalities count in making national security policy.

The improved sharing of secret data has led to yet another set of problems. The deluge of bits and bytes has subjected intelligence analysts to information overload as they try to sift through it all for relevant pieces.

“Our analysts still are spending way too much time on finding the information rather than on the analysis of the information,” Shedd said. “There is just too much data to go find it all.”

The intelligence community wants a system developed that would automatically process information from multiple agencies and then make the connections for the analysts.

But greater inroads into sharing data across agencies does not guarantee that another attack will be averted.

The threat has evolved and officials now are increasingly concerned about a “lone wolf” plot by an individual, not tied to any militant group, that may be more difficult to uncover.

“Those threats will not come to our attention because of an intelligence community intercept,” said John Cohen, a senior Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism official.

“They will come to our attention because of an alert police officer, an alert deputy sheriff, an alert store owner, an alert member of the public sees something that is suspicious and reports it,” Cohen said.

One measure of the success of post-9/11 reforms is that a decade later the United States has not had a similar attack.

“Now that could be luck, that could be skill, we don’t really know,” Hamilton said. “But in all likelihood what we have done, including the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the transformation in intelligence and FBI, has certainly been helpful.”

(Editing by Warren Strobel and Will Dunham)

Mitsubishi Victim of Chinese cyber attack

BBC News – Japan defence firm Mitsubishi Heavy in cyber attack.

Japan’s top weapons maker has confirmed it was the victim of a cyber attack reportedly targeting data on missiles, submarines and nuclear power plants.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) said viruses were found on more than 80 of its servers and computers last month.

The government said it was not aware of any leak of sensitive information.

But the defence ministry has demanded MHI carry out a full investigation. Officials were angered after learning of the breach from local media reports.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Japan’s defence minister Yasuo Ichikawa said the cyber attackers had not succeeded in accessing any important information but MHI would be instructed “to undertake a review of their information control systems”.

“The ministry will continue to monitor the problem and conduct investigations if necessary,” Mr Ichikawa added.

All government contractors are obliged to inform ministers promptly of any breach of sensitive or classified information.

Analysis

The Ministry of Defence has said the delay in Mitsubishi Heavy Industries informing it of the cyber attack is “regrettable” – a bland term regularly deployed by Japanese bureaucrats to describe everything from near indifference to utter outrage.

But it is clear there is concern in Japan about security at the country’s biggest defence contractor.

Mitsubishi Heavy makes everything from warships to missiles. The giant company says it discovered the breach in mid- August, and informed the Japanese police at the end of the month.

But the defence ministry was not told until Monday afternoon, after reports had appeared in local media.

The key issue is just how serious the attack was – and whether any of Japan’s defence secrets have leaked.

Mitsubishi Heavy says the virus was confined to just 45 servers and 38 computer terminals – out of the many thousands it operates.

An ongoing internal investigation has found only network information, such as IP addresses, has been compromised.

“It’s up to the defence ministry to decide whether or not the information is important. That is not for Mitsubishi Heavy to decide. A report should have been made,” a defence ministry spokesman was earlier quoted by Reuters as saying.

Better protection

The online attacks – which are believed to be the first of their kind against Japan’s defence industry – originated outside the company’s computer network, MHI said.

They have been described as spear phishing attacks – when hackers send highly customised and specifically targeted messages aimed at tricking people into visiting a fake webpage and giving away login details.

Neither the Japanese government nor MHI have said who may be responsible. A report in one Japanese newspaper said Chinese language script was detected in the attack against MHI.

But China rebuffed suggestions it could be behind the attacks.

“China is one of the main victims of hacking… Criticising China as being the source of hacking attacks not only is baseless, it is also not beneficial for promoting international co-operation for internet security,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

China has in the past been accused of carrying out online attacks on foreign government agencies and firms.

Beijing routinely denies that it is behind this kind of hacking but, says the BBC’s Defence Correspondent Jonathan Marcus, the US military is more and more concerned about China’s abilities in this field.

Fear of the “cyber-dragon” is driving forward a fundamental re-think of US policy which is coming more and more to regard computer hacking as a potential act of war, our correspondent adds.

MHI confirmed that 45 of its servers and 38 computers were infected by at least eight viruses.

The viruses targeted a shipyard in Nagasaki, where destroyers are built, and a facility in Kobe that manufactures submarines and parts for nuclear power stations, public broadcaster NHK reported.

A plant in Nagoya, where the company designs and builds guidance and propulsion systems for rockets and missiles, was also reportedly compromised.

MHI said it had consulted the Tokyo police department and was carrying out an investigation alongside security experts, which should be concluded by the end of the month.

Lockheed case

A second defence contractor, IHI, which supplies engine parts for military aircraft, said it had also been targeted.

IHI said it had been receiving emails containing viruses for months, but its security systems had prevented infection.

There are also reports that Japanese government websites, including the cabinet office and a video distribution service, have been hit by distributed denial-of-service attacks.

A typical DDoS attack involves hundreds or thousands of computers, under the control of hackers, bombarding an organisation’s website with so many hits that it collapses.

Last month, a Japanese defence white paper urged better protection against cyber attacks after US defence contractors were hit by a spate of assaults.

One of the most high-profile cases involved Lockheed Martin – the world’s biggest aerospace company, which makes F-16, F-22 and F-35 fighter jets as well as warships.

Although the firm said none of its programmes were compromised in the attack in May, it prompted other defence contractors to assess their own security measures.

More on This Story

Related Stories