L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

21 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

A Brief Note About Algal Biofuel Production

Thanks to discussions/links at Instapundit and Jerry Pournelle's site I got interested in how much space would you need to replace the world's crude oil consumption with algally produced oil.

From this US DOE graph we see that world crude demand is c. 82M bbl/day. which equates to some 30 Billion bbl/year (365.25*82 = 29950.5). According to various places (google search) one barrel of oil makes 28 gallons (US) of gasoline/petrol and contains 42 gallons of crude. Hence depending on how you do the calculation we need either 840B (28*30) or 1260B (42x30) US gallons of algal fuel per year.

So how much algae is needed for that?

[There was a reason why I converted to gallons. You see when you search for algal biofuel yield it tends to be given in gals/year]
This article on cnet reports that:

A single hectare can generate 8,000 gallons of oil, 2,400 gallons of ethanol a year and 2.6 tons of glycerin,...

1 sq km = 100 Hectares can therefore generate 800,000 gallons of oil.

1 million sq km can therefore generate 800 B gallons of oil (approximately the same amount of refined crude 800B vs 840B gal). By simple maths (1260/800 = 1.575) this means that 1.575m sq km can therefore generate enough to replace the entire crude oil output. And produce all that ethanol and glycerin too.

OK so what does 1.575m sq km look like? roughly 60% of the Mediterranean (total 2.5 m sq km) or under 0.5% of the 361 m sq km of oceans on this planet.

Looked at one way that is a lot of algae. Looked at another way, since algae grows just fine in oceans (all those troublesome algal blooms), if we can develop a way to harvest oceanic algal blooms then dedicating a small amount of tropical or semitropical ocean* (say part of the Sargasso sea or somewhere a little further south) to algal exploitation would give us all the oil we'd need without needing to pay those troublesome OPEC nations for their crude. We also wouldn't need to disturb Ted Kennedy or anyone else with wind farms, wouldn't need to pollute the desert with solar panels etc. etc.

I must note that this is merely a back of the envelope calculation and makes the critical assumption that oceanic algal yields would be the same as those in a small pond. This is probably not a correct assumption but I suspect that it is correct to within an order of magnitude and that therefore a significant proportion of world oil needs could be met from oceanic algae.

*why tropical is left as an exercise for the reader (hint where does the sun shine most?)

21 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

Kipling eBooks

(mobipocket format)

Having my Cybook inspired me to work out how to convert my favourite non-Baen etc. eTexts into formats that are easy to read on it - i.e. mobipocket format. One author that I like many of the books of is Rudyard Kipling so I have converted all his prose volumes to mobipocket format from the HTML taken from the old (and recently deceased) whitewolf.newcastle.edu.au site.

You can download them from my newly created page of Kipling ebooks. As it says there this is still a bit of a work in progress and feedback, particularly feedback relating to problems, is welcome.

21 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

The Last Centurion Video Teaser

A few months back I reviewed a book by John Ringo called The Last Centurion. Then I was talking about the eARC (advanced readers copy). Now the book is out (or about to be out) so a bit more publicity needs to occur. To that end the author made a video interview at LibertyCon last week which is now up on YouTube:

This is all very timely since we have lots of evidence that the science/politics in the book is actually correct. Witness this article (via Instapundit) regarding the dangers of a 'flu pandemic and various recent discussions of solar cooling.

PS get it from amazon by clicking on the adjacent link and give me some amazon goodies.

22 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

The Great Glabal Warming Swindle not a Swindle

As reported at The Register and the Torygraph, UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom (the FCC equivalent) has decided that Channel 4's controversial program The Great Global Warming Swindle was not itself a swindle that would mislead the public. A detailed analysis of the decision at ClimateAudit spells out the verdict ans notes, as have others, that the BBC (and the Grauniad and no doubt others) insist on grasping at straws to deny the fact that Ofcom did not hold up their main demands.

The main demand being apparently to burn the C4 program producers etc. at the stake as HERETICS! On the other hand the related Torygraph's opinion piece also points out that Ofcom could (and arguably should) have been more robust in its dismissal:

The programme was actually polemical and since when are polemics supposed to be impartial?

Yet for daring to suggest that there is no proven link between human activity and global warming (not least because there has been a marked atmospheric cooling in recent years), the programme makers were deluged with protests in what looked suspiciously like an orchestrated operation by the true believers. One complaint was 188 pages long and alleged 137 breaches of the Broadcasting Code.

Yet while Ofcom ruled that its rules on partiality had been broken, it also concluded that that this did not lead to viewers being “materially misled”.

In other words, the programme makers had sought to debunk a cherished theory by challenging an orthodox view, yet did so in a way that did not mislead the viewer. So what exactly is the problem?

The subsequent comparison with the Goracle's Inconvenient Truthyness is well noted. It seems some people believe polemics are only permitted on one side of the argument. This is not healthy for science or policymaking.

23 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

The Obama Reality Distortion Field

All over the blogosphere, not to mention in rightish media, writers have remarked how certain segments of the MSM seem to fawn over Obama in ways that make a mockery of their supposed ideals of neutrality. Today's WaPo has a great example in the column by Harold Meyerson (who he?) who compares Obama to the German Frederick the Great! This column is so weird that I'm forced to give it a righteous fisking:

Obama's Strategic Vision

We can start off with the title. I am forced to assume that this is a vision similar to that of people who have visions of the Virgin Mary or St Paul on his way to Damascus. It isn't clear whether it was the Blessed Obama coming down in a shining light in front of Mr Meyerson or a famous general (Greek: strategos/στρατηγός) appearing to St Obama on his way to Damascus. Still either way it's good to know that politicians and journalists believe in supernatural visitations because it clear doesn't refer to Mr Obama's grasp of military strategy.

Maybe the symbolism of Barack Obama giving a major speech this week at Berlin's Victory Column -- a 19th-century monument to Prussia's military triumphs -- isn't as incongruous at it might seem. After all, it was Frederick the Great -- the 18th-century Prussian monarch who transformed his kingdom into the dominant German state -- who once advised his generals, "He who would defend everything ends up defending nothing."

So a column to commemorating 19th century Prussian imperialism reminds our columnist of a monarch from the previous century who was, hmm, the sort of imperialist that people claim a certain GW Bush is. That would be like claiming that a politician in 2008 was like one in 1870. Frederick the Great may well have said "He who would defend everything ends up defending nothing" but he was also keen on waging war through flimsy pretexts (the First Silesian war) and pre-emptive strikes (the invasion of Saxony that kicked off the Seven Years' War). Neither of these actions are the sorts of things that liberals praise under normal circumstances.

You can't deploy everywhere in strength, Frederick was saying, and that's a lesson Obama seems to understand a lot better than John McCain does. At a news conference in Jordan yesterday, Obama reiterated his belief that Afghanistan, not Iraq, is "the central front in the war against terrorism" and that confronting that reality requires drawing down the number of U.S. forces stationed in Iraq.

This is laughable. Afghanistan is the central front in the war against terrorism because all the (surviving) terrorists have decided that fighting in Iraq is pointless suicide. In other words we're winning in Iraq and those enemies who can are getting out to save their skin. Obama has been talking about pulling out of Iraq for years, even in late 2006 when Iraq almost certainly was the central front in the war against terrorism and we were (arguably) losing the war there.

Obama has been making this case for many months. But it was not until last week that McCain acknowledged that our war in Afghanistan was not going well and would require additional forces. Unlike Obama, however, McCain does not favor reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by any timetable and has yet to stipulate where our overcommitted military will find the forces to send to Afghanistan.

Good thing McCain wasn't one of Frederick's generals. He would have been cashiered.

See note above. Obama has been making this 'case' not for many months but for years. Even when it was a bad idea. And you have to enjoy the rhetorical sleight of hand that makes a lack of fixed timetable for troop withdrawal equivalent to not withdrawing any troops. McCain has in fact talked about withdrawing some trooops from Iraq but has declared that it is wiser to let the folks on the ground (i.e. Gen Petraeus & co) decide how many troops to remove and when to do so. In fact McCain clearly intends to switch troops from Iraq to Afghanistan but not to do it at the cost of suffering a reverse in Iraq. In other words McCain is in fact following the Frederick the Great dictum, just combining it with the unoriginal idea that you don't stop one hard fought campaign shortly before victory to try and get a victory somewhere else. One suspects that Frederick the Great would actually be cashiering a General Obama for his proposed strategy.

McCain's campaign has been knocked off stride -- not that it was ever entirely on stride -- by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's endorsement of Obama's withdrawal timetable. Campaigning in Maine on Monday, the Arizona senator tried the kitchen sink approach in attacking his rival, saying that Obama had been "completely wrong" about Iraq and the surge, that the disposition of U.S. forces in Iraq couldn't be set by a timetable but had to comport to conditions on the ground, and, for good measure, that Obama had "no military experience whatsoever."

Maliki's endorsement was of a withdrawal based upon actual conditions not a rigid timetable. It just so happens that at present al-Maliki believes (or claims for his own internal Iraqi political reasons to believe) that conditions for US withdrawal will be similar to the rigid timetable Obama proposes to implement from January 2009. It is entirely possible that by January 2009 he will have changed his mind because conditions on the ground have changed.

The McCain campaign's accusation that Obama has been completely wrong about the surge appears to be 100% correct. Obama opposed the surge and tried to claim it wasn't working until it became obvious that it had in fact worked. Likewise it is in fact the case that Obama has no military experience whatsoever. In the context of the war in Iraq this lack of military experience seems to be key because Obama has retained a rigid timetable as "strategy" despite radical changes in conditions.

But in his insistence that conditions on the ground should determine the rate of withdrawal of U.S. forces, McCain omits one key condition: the willingness of the Iraqi people and their government to keep those forces in their country. If Iraqis' elected leaders say it's time for us to go, and the U.S. generals there disagree, whose counsel do we heed?

Good question. But one that doesn't seem to be relevant since, at least as far as I cna tell, the two groups agree.

Appearing at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2004, McCain was asked this very question -- what we should do if a sovereign Iraqi government asked us to leave, even if Iraq was not yet secure. "I don't see how we could stay," he answered then, "when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people."

Now that the Iraqi government has expressed its clear preference for a departure of U.S. forces along the timeline suggested by Obama, however, McCain argues that the decisive judgment should not be theirs but our field generals'. The person who should determine the course and duration of our mission is Gen. David Petraeus.

So much for the sovereignty thing. So much for rehabilitating post-Bush America in the eyes of the world.

I'm still not seeing a problem here. No successful military can allow itself to obey orders from foreign politicians, nor should Presidents of the USA commit themselves to meekly doing what another country's politicians insist on. And that of course ignore the fact that other Iraqi politicians (as the Wapo itself reports) explicitly DON'T WANT US troops withdrawn too fast.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has a history of tailoring his public statements for political purposes, made headlines by saying he would support a withdrawal of American forces by 2010. But an Iraqi government statement made clear that Mr. Maliki's timetable would extend at least seven months beyond Mr. Obama's. More significant, it would be "a timetable which Iraqis set" -- not the Washington-imposed schedule that Mr. Obama has in mind. [...] Other Iraqi leaders were more directly critical. As Mr. Obama acknowledged, Sunni leaders in Anbar province told him that American troops are essential to maintaining the peace among Iraq's rival sects and said they were worried about a rapid drawdown.

Furthermore, as the quote above makes clear, politicians frequently make public statements that contradict private statements made behind closed doors ( as a certain presidential hopeful did WRT Canada and NAFTA). It is entirely plausible, indeed likely, that Iraqi politicians for political reasons will publicly ask the US to withdraw faster than they actually want. Finally if the US were to withdraw too fast and Iraq collapsed into a civil war then that would not in fact rehabilitate post-Bush America in the eyes of the world, rather it would strengthen the Bin Laden viewpoint that the US never sticks things out and can therefore always be defeated

And what of McCain's assertion that Obama "has no military experience whatsoever"? It's incontestably true, of course. What's more germane, and clearer with each passing day, however, is that Obama's capacities as a national strategist -- the most important qualification for a commander in chief -- far outshine McCain's. Victory, in McCain's view, is the result of will and fortitude -- an understandable belief for anyone who survived half a decade as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Had we been more steadfast in Vietnam, he believes, we could have won. Likewise in Iraq, even though the rifts in that nation are not ultimately susceptible to foreign military might.

Nice of you to admit that Obama doesn't actually have any military experience. It would be nice of you could provide an example of how Obama's capacity as a 'national strategist' far outshine McCain's. This couldbe tricky because Obama doesn't seem to have done anything strategic ever apart from coming up with a strategy to become US president. It may hurt Mr Meyerson but in fact the McCain view of Vietnam does seem to be correct. When US troops left the Viet Cong were militarily defeated as was N Vietnam. Unfortunately for the S Vietnamese their Northern neighbours were able to rearm courtesy of the Soviet Union while the US declined to assist the Southern Vietnamese in the same way. Hence, unsurprisingly, they lost. A bit more steadfastness and sticking up for ones alleged allies by the US might have done wonders.

As for national rifts. Firstly it seems clear that Sunnis and Shia both do have a concept of Iraq as a nation (the Kurds not so much but also to some extent). What foreign military might can do is stop those who wish to widen the rifts through violence and therefore allow the nation to develop without a civil war. Secondly, it is also worth noting that Afghanistan is at least as split in to sectarian/ethnic groups as Iraq so if foreign military might can't fix the rifts in Araq, why should we assume theat it can in Afghanistan?

But fortitude and will are only part of the formula for success. A good president has to know which battles to fight militarily and which diplomatically, which battles are primary and which secondary. By these measures, Obama -- who always viewed the Iraq fight as a distraction from hunting down al-Qaeda and who understands that peace in Iraq depends on a political accommodation among Iraqi groups -- is clearly the better strategist.

So the diplomatic campaign against Sadam which lasted from the ceasefire at the end of GWI in 1991 until 2003 and which resulted in a multi-billion dollar bribery scam was a success? That's like saying Al Gore's movie is the gospel truth. As for political accomodation in Iraq. Said accomodation is always going to be more likely if the politicians don't fear that they (or those they represent) are going to be the targets of bombs, death squads etc. Retaining a presence in Iraq until the politicians have actually come to their accomodation and had that essentially accepted by the people seems like a far wiser strategy to me.

Military experience isn't an infallible guide to who might make the better commander. Jefferson Davis, after all, graduated from West Point, served with distinction (and with the rank of colonel) in the Mexican War and was secretary of war in the Franklin Pierce administration. Abraham Lincoln served roughly three months in a volunteer militia during the Black Hawk War and never saw action, and he was a vocal congressional opponent of the Mexican War. But Davis had no aptitude for national strategy during the Civil War, while Lincoln emerged as the North's master strategist. That's not to say that Obama is a budding Lincoln and McCain a second Jeff Davis. But by the Frederick the Great standard, Obama already looks to be the smarter commander.

It's very nice of you to admit that you shouldn't draw too many parallels between Obama and Lincoln/ McCain and Davis even though you clearly use that disclaimer in a way similar to the damning with faint praise technique, however I don't think in fact you have proved that Obama would be prefered to McCain by someone like Frederick the Great. In other words all you have actually done in this entire article is show that some journalists swoon after Obama in the way that makes the rest of us wonder just what koolaid they have drunk. Congratulations.

25 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

Friday Olive Tree Blogging

Friday Olive Tree blogging (and blogging in general here under the olive tree) is making a triumphant return - well return anyway.
20080725 Friday Olive Tree Blogging - 1
There is a shop In old Nice which is almost named the same as this blog which I discovered on the day I was 43 seconds too slow. So here is yr obdt svnt posing outside it with the Nice semi-marathon medal around his neck. Below you see how yr obdt svnt enjoys the shade of his own olivier
20090727 Friday Olive Tree Blogging - 2
As always you can click on the image to see it enlarged and are invited to visit the olive tree blogging archives to remind yourself of how nice olive trees are.

25 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

And this is bad thing? Why?

The wonderful caring would be liberators of Columbia - the FARC - are still narked by the way their dastardly enemy the Columbian government suckered them into hnding over a dozen of their most important hostages earlier this month. And they showed their irritation by brazenly kidnapping 10 undortunates on a boat a couple of weeks ago. As the BBC reports though they have now released eight of them. This is all very nice because it lets the media get back to their usual pro-FARCiness by quoting one of the hostages:

One of eight captives released on Thursday, Ana Lucia Chaverra, said her view of the rebels had changed.

"I used to have a different impression about the guerrillas, but now that's changed because they treated us with dignity," she said.

Precious isn't it. They treated me with dignity. Of course the 2 remaining hostages (and their families/friends/employers etc.) may beg to differ since they are likely to remain until a substantial ransom has been paid. The article also points out that:

It was the first major operation involving the Red Cross in Colombia since the organisation criticised the government for allowing the use of its emblem to help trick the rebels into handing over Ms Betancourt and the other high-profile hostages.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Bogota says the latest release suggests the Farc has not lost faith in the humanitarian organisation.

"The operation was made possible through discreet dialogue between the parties concerned," said Yves Heller, an ICRC spokesman in Colombia.

So the Red Cross are happy that they can still maintain 'discreet dialogue' with a would be liberation force that has turned to drugs, kidnapping and other banditry instead of the more traditional forms of combat. That's even more precious. One wonders whether the ICRC also maintains 'discreet dialogue' with the mexican drug cartels? It seems likely that it does so with the Afghan ones since they are sure to call themselves Taleban.

However the ICRC was not the only organization which had it's logo borrowed by the Columbian government, Venezuela's TeleSUR did too and it isn't happy. Indeed journalists as a whole are a bit peeved for much the same reason as the ICRC:

Two people who helped rescue 15 hostages from Colombian rebels posed as journalists from a real Venezuela-based television news organization, Colombia's defense minister said Wednesday.

Two of the nine rescuers assumed the roles of journalist and cameraman from the news organization TeleSUR during the daring rescue[...] TeleSUR's general director of information, Armando Jimenez, said the company was preparing a response.

Jean-Francois Julliard, deputy director of the press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders, said authorities can endanger journalists when they pose as members of the news media.

"We think it is a dangerous practice because it puts in danger real journalists," he said.

The next time a reporter approaches FARC rebels, he said, the FARC members "will be very suspicious and maybe they will take some physical measures against these journalists because they will think that they are not real journalists."

This is all supposed to be a bad thing. I don't see why. It seems to me that the world mught be a significantly better place if journalists were unwilling to cozy up to terrorists. Ditto with the ICRC. Terrorists, especially ones who finance themselves through crime, should not be treated as if they are a nation.

The good news about the media continuing to whine though is that there is a greater chance that more people will get to wonder just why they are so upset and decide not to trust them anymore. And certainly be highly resistant to treating them with respect.

25 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

Obamassiah in Gay Paree

I have an article on what the French think of Obama up at Pajamas Media.

28 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

Bechdel's Rule

The always excellent Charlie Stross has a post where he introduces something he calls Bechdel's Law which comes from a cartoon by Alison Bechdel. The rule is you should avoid movies that do not
  1. Have at least 2 women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something other than a man (or babies (Charlie's addition) or (my addition) fashion)
There are in fact surprisingly few movies that pass the rule. Charlie also notes that it is a rule that is worth applying to the written word too. He is fairly harsh on his own works noting that some don't pass the test either and has promised to do better in the future. Although I think SF/Fantasy does a pretty good job on the whole with regards to female characters in non-traditional roles he is very far from alone in this failure. I can think of works by Asimov and other acknowledged masters of SF that fail too, although I note that Heinlein mostly passes (though Starship Troopers probably fails).

One author that, from memory, fails rather more than I expected though is Iain M Banks. I'll have to go back and reread but I think both "Player of Games" and "Excession" fail and I suspect Feersum Endjinn does too. Interestingly as I think about it almost all Baen books pass even classic MilSF like Drake's Hammers Slammers.

I'm wondering if any female authors fail. I'm having trouble thinking of one that does but it would not surprise me if (for example) an Andre Norton book would fail.

29 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

Global Warming - Built on Sand?

When it comes to global warming I've always been fairly skeptical of the claims made by the econuts believing that they were guilty of "Suggestio Falsi" and "Suppressio Veri" and over the last year or two my skepticism has increased by leaps and bounds. There are a few reasons for this, but they all boil down to concerns about the underlying data, concerns about the processing of that data and concerns about the religious fervor of many of the more vocal proponents. Below I'm going to list problems I see in all phases of the climate debate starting with the raw data and ending with the proposed solutions.

We'll start with the data. As noted particularly by Anthony Watts at his Surface Stations site and his "How Not To Measure" series, it is clear that a lot of the raw data is, to put it kindly, less accurate than it might be. Indeed some people end up using data from stations that don't exist any more by deriving the data from those of surrounding stations. This may or may not be valid from a scientific point of view but it does quite a bit of damage to the statistical analysis because the assumption that the data from different stations is independent is no longer valid. All these examples are in the USA and lest this look like a bitch about US data gathering I think it is worth noting the Urumqi glacier and various discussions of stations in Peru.

This leads us to problem two. The munging required to strip out noise and errors from the raw data is a process that seems to me to be based on some highly questionable assumptions. One sub-problem (noted in the Peru link above) is that the computer program(s) make some odd assumptions about whether a station is rural or urban and their detection of station moves and changes also seems to be a little iffy. There are other related issues such as the way that loss of a couple of days in a month will result in the entire month's worth of data being thrown out and replaced with an average derived from adjacent stations and so on. In the paleoclimate field the data adjustments are even more dodgy and, despite the fact that a lot of work has been done to get the analyses right, many of the premises behind the conversion of (say) tree-ring data to annual temperature look to be seriously flawed. And then there is the dangerous (mis)use of statistics and statistical techniques that led to the infamous "Hockey Stick".

Perhaps because of the fact that the data is iffy and the calculations complex we run into problem three which is the surprising secrecy that surrounds all sorts of climate research. The fact that Steve McIntyre and others are facing such a run around when they try to rerun the calculations of GISS et al automatically raises a big red flag in my mind. The point here is that the same people who seem to claim that releasing their data, source-code etc. would raise intellectual property issues are the ones who are getting on TV and telling us all that unless we repent we're all going to die. A number of people have noted that this resembles how conmen pushing stock scams operate. I agree but I also note some consistency issues. If we're all going to die then that is surely more important than whether someone's IP is infringed upon. Would it not be more important to get more researchers to analyse the data and figure out if we have 5 years to act or 15 or whether we're all doomed anyway (and if so what we can do to best mitigate our doom). The Climate Skeptic calls this "post-modernist" science and, like me, he clearly doesn't think much of it.

Then we come to problem four which is the accuracy of the models. Given problems one & two above (and what one can reduce from problem 3), it seems likely that the climate models are going to be less than accurate even if they have the right theory behind them. And indeed Lucia and Steve seem to show that the last 10 years are making many of the more dramatic predictions from the 1990s less and less likely to be true. This doesn't mean that global warming isn't happening but it certainly looks more like some sort of regression to mean and/or that a cyclic phenomenon (e.g. solar cycles) is overshadowing the very long term trend. There is a lot more here, suffice it to say that the temperatures in the tropical troposphere are really not doing what most of the climate models think they should do. CO2 in particular doesn't seem to be quite the problem some think it should be which leads us to problem five.

Problem five is the question of whether climate change is caused by humans or not and the related (but separate) question of whether we should try to reverse it. The big problem here is that thanks to problems 1-4 we're arguing ahead of the data or at least making arguments based on data which is questionable. It is at this point that we can bring in the economists. As the Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg, has written, even if climate change can be fought, the fight may cause so much economic damage that we would do better to come up with ways to live with a degraded environment. He is not alone, this letter to the EPA (not directly concerning climate change) points out, leading economists strongly recommend that cost benefit analysis be done before environmental rules are passed. I should point out here that I'm all in favour of finding alternatives to oil/gas but that is because I want to see an end to the power of the mad mullahs and nationalistic tyrants who seem to produce the majority of the world's oil/gas. Whether such a change effects atmospheric carbon dioxide or not is a relatively minor issue.

Finally we arrive at problem six which is the alternate energy series of boondoggles. Just as it makes sense to avoid passing environmental rules without cost benefit analysis it also makes a lot of sense to do such analysis of the different alternate energy scenarios. If you do that then you realize fairly quickly that the best way to cut fossil fuel consumption is to start burning uranium and that windpower and current first gen biofuels are pretty much the worst possible ways to do it. This no doubt explains why governments all over the world are subsidizing biofuel and wind turbines....

All in all the whole global warming/alternative energy drive by environmentalists is looking more and more like a scam, a scam that governments are happily supporting because they find the idea of carbon taxes to be a great way to raise tax revenue without complaint from the voters. Unfortunately for the governments and the environmentalists the poor foundations of their global warming alarmism are becoming ever more clear. It may not be long before some folks in Scandinavia are asking Mr Gore to give his prize money back.

Update: Climate Audit now links to this new paper that shows how flawed many (all?) climate models are when it comes to predictions

30 July 2008 Blog Home : All July 2008 Posts : Permalink

What a Difference 6 Weeks Makes

In the middle of June the BBC (and others) reported that Arctic sea ice was melting "even faster".

Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that the year began with ice covering a larger area than at the beginning of 2007.

But now it is down to levels seen last June, at the beginning of a summer that broke records for sea ice loss.

Scientists on the project say much of the ice is so thin as to melt easily, and the Arctic seas may be ice-free in summer within five to 10 years.[...]

"I think we're going to beat last year's record melt, though I'd love to be wrong," said Dr Stroeve.

"If we do, then I don't think 2013 is far off any more. If what we think is going to happen does happen, then it'll be within a decade anyway."

Well as the BBC reports today, in an article that mostly talks about a large chunk of ice breaking off, it looks like Dr Strove is going to be wrong.

The polar north is once again experiencing a rapid ice retreat this year, although many scientists doubt the record minimum extent of 4.3m sq km of sea-ice seen in 2007 will be beaten.

Odd that. Six weeks ago there was bleating that we were in danger of record ice loss, now we note that hmm it probably won't be. Something that was predicted at the time, more or less, by Steve McIntyre. Curiously the "See also" links to side of this second article don't include the first one, and while the first had the NSIDC graphic showing the decline it doesn't make it easy to click and see the the current one.

I should note that the Arctic ice cover in 2008 is clearly a lot thinner and poorer than it was in the late 1970s, however we should also note that it seems to have been equally thin in the 1930s and that it thickened up considerably in the late 1940s.