Will Western Antarctic ice really flood our shores? No.

May 15, 2014

Would it surprise you to learn that the global warming alarmists fouled up again? Me neither, but this time its the legacy media that deserves the blame.

For those who are keeping track (admittedly not easy given the numbers), we have now reached forty-six examples of data manipulationerrorsand other shenanigans from global warming alarmistsand that’s just from what I’ve been able to blog on this subject since Climategate broke in November of 2009which is now about four and a half  years ago. This time, however, it’s a matter of the scientific studies cited being grossly exaggerated and badly misinterpreted.

The two studies were published by Geophysical Research Letters and Science respectively. Together, they have been reported as evidence that Antarctic ice will melt to such an extent that sea levels will rise by as much as 4 feet, and that such melting is “inevitable.” The only silver lining is that such melting could take centuries (or perhaps a millennium), but that didn’t stop the Governor of California from claiming two of his state’s biggest airports will be under water (Watts Up With That).

Larry Hamlin has a post on WUWT debunking the media hype, but I thought it would be best to read the studies myself to see what they actually said. The decision was an eye opener.

First, the GRL paper, which from a methodological perspective, does the exact opposite of what was claimed. It did not predict future ice behavior, but rather mapped an equation to past ice data for several glaciers in Western Antarctica (going back no more than forty years) and as an aside, used it to model temperature change.

The Science paper is even narrower, looking at only one Western Antarctic glacier (Thwaites). Furthermore, the authors of this paper provide neither their data nor their equations for their model (the GRL authors did both), instead only mentioning a melt coefficient. The projections they use for ice melting (and projected sea level rise) are only for the effects of the Thwaites glacier – meaning any countering effects from the rest of the continent were not considered (the authors themselves acknowledged that Antarctic ice as a whole is expected to increase, but only used it to gauge effects on Thwaites itself).

To be fair, the authors admit to the limitations of their work (emphasis added):

Our simulations are not coupled to a global climate model to provide forcing nor do they include an ice-shelf cavity-circulation model to derive melt rates. Few if any such fully coupled models presently exist. As such, our simulations do not constitute a projection of future sea level in response to projected climate forcing.

In other words, the paper explicitly rejects doing what legacy media reports claim it does.

How bad has the alarmist media been on this? This New York Times story even throws up the ozone layer as a reason – something neither study even mentions.

Keep in mind, Antarctic ice as a whole just reached a thirty-year high (WUWT). As for the western Antarctic, it’s had a history of ups and downs (WUWT), in no small part due to a recently discovered under-ice volcano (WUWT).

In other words, don’t believe the hype.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


The Wall Street Journal and AFP weighs in on McDonnell’s transportation tax hike

January 16, 2013

The short version – they’re not happy: “Many states are grappling with road congestion and a scarcity of dollars for improvements. Let’s hope they aren’t tempted by the unfortunate financing plan released this month by Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell.”

The longer version: they prefer the gas tax to a sales tax hike; they prefer congestion-pricing to the gas tax; they hate the Federally-dependent internet sales tax. Unfortunately, they’re not knowledgeable enough on Virginia policy to know about the state-funded subdivision road maintenance. Still, they make a nice point about the budget:

It’s especially unfortunate to see Mr. McDonnell take this tax turn in the last year of an otherwise successful tenure. One of his two Democratic predecessors passed a major tax increase that was supposed to ease gridlock but instead financed a new, higher general spending plateau. The state’s own audit commission reports that the budget swelled to $39 billion in 2011 from $23.5 billion in 2002, a 66% spending increase.

The editors also noted that about $300 million is slated for the Dulles Silver Line – which is, suffice to say, not particularly popular up there.

All in all, it’s good to see someone noticing that McDonnell’s plan is (a) a tax increase, and (b) a poor alternative to freeing up funds by reducing spending.

From a different perspective, Americans for Prosperity also commented on the plan. AFP was more favorable in general, but as Shaun Kenney noted on BD, they’re insisting on revenue neutrality (i.e., make sure it’s not a tax increase). Good for them.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


This is why we should fear government: UK Edition

December 12, 2012

As a result of some decidely problematic media behavior, there is a clamor in Britain to regulate the press; there is a smaller boomlet for this in Australia as well. As one would expect, media being as unpopular as it is, their claim of concern for free speech has gone on deaf ears – despite the fact that such a concern is completely valid.

Luckily for all of us, a British political hack jumped the gun and revealed the worst-case scenario for all to see (Iain Martin, Telegraph):

As the Telegraph reports:

“When a reporter approached Mrs Miller’s office last Thursday, her special adviser, Joanna Hindley, pointed out that the Editor of The Telegraph was involved in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary over implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson.

“Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of editors’ meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to kind of flag up that connection for you to think about,” said Miss Hindley.

Miss Hindley also said the reporter should discuss the issue with “people a little higher up your organisation”.

Miss Hindley immediately contacted The Telegraph’s head of public affairs to raise concerns about the story.

You don’t even have to read between the lines here. It’s bold as brass: my boss knows your boss; she’s taking some big decisions which could impact on the publication you work for; watch your step sunshine, you are just a little reporter person; call someone more senior while I get on the phone to your public affairs people.

What is this if not proof that the political class should not be allowed within a mile of regulating the press? They are at it even before they have got oversight of regulation.

Indeed…and the fact that she is a Tory (the only party whose leader – PM David Cameron – specifically opposes regulation) says volumes about how no political faction can be trusted with power over the press.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


After all that, Des Moines Register endorses Romney

October 28, 2012

Even after the president let his guard down and admitted to the DES Moines Register that he would push for a trillion-dollar-plus tax increase (always an MSM favorite), the paper endorses….Mitt Romney (NRO - The Corner).

Ouch!

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


UK Independent reports US was warned two days before 9/11/12

September 14, 2012

If this is true, the Administration has a lot of explaining to do…

According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.

Now, please note I said, “if.” This report comes from the Independent (UK) (had it been the Telegraph – which did report that the security was terrible in Benghazi, I’d be much more confident that it were true).

That said, the Administration did itself no favors with its reaction (Politico):

A U.S. official told POLITICO: “There’s no intelligence indicating that the attack in Benghazi was premeditated.”

Are they kidding? They’ve already leaked like a sieve to American media that the assassination of Ambassador Stevens was an al Qaeda operation. To suddenly deny that now makes the Indy look much more credible.

H/t to Rich Lowry for the Indy and Politico links.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon


Tom Friedman reminds us all how badly the New York Times needs to replace its copy editors

August 22, 2012

There are few columnists who can anger center-right and right-wing Americans as easily as Tom Friedman. Left or center-left arguments can be presented cogently; straw men can be lamented (and then debunked); even the ad hominem nonsense can be refuted. Friedman, however, is a special case, not only because he typifies the incapability of so many on the center-left to understand our view, but also because he gets his facts wrong with such consistency that one must wonder how on earth he still has a column.

Case in point is his latest peon to “a serious, thoughtful, credible 21st-century ‘conservative’ opposition to President Obama”. He probably wishes that Republicans would read it and wonder what ‘s wrong with their party. By contrast, I wonder what’s wrong with the New York Times copy editors.

Why do I want the Times‘ copy editors fired? Take a look at his discussion on taxes and the budget:

Imagine if the G.O.P.’s position on debt was set by Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who has challenged the no-tax lunacy of Grover Norquist and served on the Simpson-Bowles commission and voted for its final plan (unlike Ryan). That plan included both increased tax revenues and spending cuts as the only way to fix our long-term fiscal imbalances. Give me a Republican Party that says we have to put real tax revenues and spending cuts on the table to solve this problem, and you’ll get a deal with Obama, who has already offered both, although not at the scale we need. True conservatives know that both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used both tax revenue and spending cuts to fix budget shortfalls.

For starters, the Simpson-Bowles plan actually failed to “fix our long-term fiscal imbalances.” As I’ve explained before, it projected a revenue stream that is much higher than the historical average (in fact, it’s a revenue stream that has never actually come to fruition in American history). In plain English, Simpson-Bowles would lead to deficits of over $900 billion, in perpetuity.

Then we get to the Bush the Elder and Reagan references, which sound quite reasonable. Except that neither Reagan nor Bush the Elder were ever able to get spending cuts out of their multiple budget agreements (1982, 1984, 1987, 1990), and the shortfalls were never “fixed.” In fact, the deficit rose in the aftermath of three of the four aforementioned deals, and the last one (1990) lead to a record-breaking deficit in Bush the Elder’s final budget year. Only one budget plan has ever actually balanced the budget (1997), and that had tax reductions, not increases. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again; tax increases do not balance budgets.

Now, the rest of my complaints with Friedman are genuine opinion differences. I don’t consider carbon emissions a “cost”; I think asking an Australian-born media mogul about immigration policy is folly when voters the land of his birth take a decidedly different view from him; I am dumbstruck by his pushing of Jeb Bush’s attempts at education reform after watching the entire center-left attack Jeb’s brother for trying the same thing. Those are unfortunate but usual disagreements.

The tax discussion, by contrast, is flat out incorrect, and somebody at the Times should know enough recent history to notice. That nobody did says all we need to know about Friedman, his editors, and his readers.

Cross-posted to Bearing Drift


Missing the Point with Soledad O’Brien (Part 2)

August 14, 2012

Yesterday, I mentioned how CNN’s Soledad O’Brien – in her desperate attempt to smear Paul Ryan – thoroughly missed the point on entitlements reform. As it turns out, Newsbusters discovered the probable reason why:

While filling in for Anderson Cooper, O’Brien was actually caught on screen looking at an article from the far-left website Talking Points Memo to assist her in a heated debate with Romney campaign senior adviser Barbara Comstock . . .

NB has a video of the exchange.

If Ms. O’Brien is relying on the TPM folks to inform her worldview, “Missing the Point” could be a long-running series.

Cross-posted to Bearing Drift


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