Edmonton Journal: Oil Industry Flyer Promotes Global Warming

Wed, 2008-11-26 10:43Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Edmonton Journal: Oil Industry Flyer Promotes Global Warming

“Canada won’t really have a lot of problems. The main problems will be in developing or underdeveloped countries that even today have problems with high cold or high temperatures.”

- Anthropologist and Science Fiction Writer Benny Peiser

The Edmonton Journal was once quite a serious institution - the newspaper of record in the capital city of Alberta, the largest oil producing region in North America and the second largest in the world. Given the 37 years of one-party (Conservative) rule in the province, Journal writers have often considered themselves the Official Opposition, charged with a mission of keeping industry honest and holding the government to account.

Apparently, they have given it up, preferring instead to cozy up to their advertisers by claiming that global warming is a good thing.

Well, good for Alberta, anyway - and who really cares about Bangladesh?

The article would be an embarrassment to any conscientious journal on a couple of fronts. First, it relies on “experts” who have no climate expertise - and, in at least one case, little conscience about saying things that are simply not true.

Consider, for example, the UK anthropologist Benny Peiser, the industry apologist who earned so much attention a couple of years ago by attacking the resarch of Naomi Oreskes. After Oreskes wrote a Science  article, documenting the undeniable agreement in the scientific literature on the underlying theory of climate change, Peiser ripped off a rejoinder claiming that he had checked Oreskes’s work and found that she had cherry-picked her data - that there were, in fact, “many” scientific papers that contradicted the global warming theory.

Peiser’s paper was, in scientific terminology, bullshit, rejected by Science out of hand. But that didn’t prevent it from being trotted through the blogosphere for almost two years before the great Australian fact-checker Tim Lambert (at Deltoid blog) finally documented Peiser’s deception, even extracting something of a confession.

A second reason to dismiss the Edmonton Journal piece - or to look away in embarrassment - is that it quite glibly celebrates the notion of warming in Canada - and especially the prospect of a longer, warmer growing season - without mentioning most of the attendant complications. For instance, it ignores the potential devastation of catastrophic droughts. Alberta, aside from being steeped in oil, is also a highly drought-prone agricultural area, even without the season and climatic shifts that will accompany a warmer world.

Even the inevitability of a massive collapse in the boreal forest (an early example of which can already be seen - from space - in the pine beetle kill that has ravaged British Columbia’s forest), is welcomed as a boon to industry. Yale economist Robert Mendelsohn suggests that, “Rather than let it (i.e., the entire ecosystem, ed) be destroyed naturally, you harvest it into the marketplace and then just let the natural systems replace what should be there next.”

And if it takes a century to regrow a forest and a millennia or 10 to begin rebuilding ecological diversity, well, at least Albertans will have made a bit of money.

I suppose you have to expect Virginians to be the last people who turn on the tobacco industry. You have to assume that the residents of Asbestos, Quebec will be the last to admit that asbestos causes cancer. And the board of directors of Halliburton and Blackwater will certainly be the last people to admit that the Iraq war was, well, an error in judgment.

But you would have hoped - at least, I would have hoped - that a newspaper, backed by the largest chain in the country, would have stood on principle, even in the oil capital of Canada. And clearly, you would have been disappointed.

Comments

You can get all the measured temps and precipitation from Environment Canada’s website.  For Calgary http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/climateData/monthlydata_e.html.  Just choose the date and plot the numbers.  In 1881 The average temp for the year was 10,1C, 1930 11.1C, 1950 7.4C and by 2007 10.9C  Precipitation has gone up from a total of 412.6mm in 1881 to 508.5 last year.

Not only has there been no overall increase in temp for a 127 year (Global warming is not happening in Calgary),  the amount of precipitation has actually gone up over that time.

Thus your predictions of future climate in Alberta have no basis in fact.

Wakefield has cherry picked a few years where the weather (note: weather not climate) was exceptionally warm. Note that he also chooses daily maxima not daily means or daily minima (which show even a more pronounced warming over the years).

For a more honest description of Calgary historical climate data see:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=403718770000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

This link shows GISS temperatures for Calgary from 1881 to 1990. I am not going to waste my time for the likes of Wakefield but I am sure if I did a regression analysis of the data (including 1990 to present)  it would show a signifant increase in temperatures over that time period.

Also note that the data in that graph stop in 1990 and are missing the last 18 years of warming.

Here are the max and mins

Year, Max, Min

1881, 31.3, -30.9
1900, 33.3, -34.4
1930, 34.4, -38.9
1950, 31.1, -40.6
1970, 33.9, -38.9
1990, 33.3, -34.4
2007, 32.3, -26.1

Graph the data and you will see max temps have been flat, average temps have been flat, min temps have been rising since 1950. EXACTLY what I said would happen under warming trends. No change in the max, but the min increases. Fewer colder winters is a good thing. Less fuels to burn to keep warm.

… especially if you are a mountain pine beetle bent on chewing your way through the entire Canadian boreal forest.

A minus 30 cold snap will kill these little critters, preventing a potentially catastrophic increase in their population - even if it forces Calgarians into itchy long underwear for three or four days a year. And the lack of such a cold snap in the last two decades has allowed a population explosion beyond anything ever witnessed. The result is devastation so massive that you can see evidence of dead forest through the windows of the international space station.

So, JR, your simpleminded celebration of “better” weather misrepresents the warming trend and ignores the economic and environmental implications.

The biggest destruction to the forests is not the pine beetle, but commecial logging. Speaking of space, have a look at google earth out west and see that half the forests have been cut down. And that industry is asking for a hand out so they can cut the other half. At the rate we are cutting the trees in 20 years there won’t be a tree left for the pine beetle to infest. I don’t hear any cry from Desmog to halt all logging.

Second, the usage of “beyond anything ever witnessed”. That’s only 150 years. Actually likely much less, maybe only 60-80 years. That’s nothing in a time frame. What happened during the medeval warm period? We do not know because other than native americans there was no one around there to record any infestation. So the time frame is meaningless.

Lastly, the severe cold of last winter wiped out half the infestation. Another cold winter could wipe it all out. That’s all it takes. This is likely just a normal cycle that plays itself out over hundreds of years. Just like we tried to stop wildfires to save forests and discovered it was a major mistake, this infestation could likely be the same thing. The trees will eventually recover from this selection pressure and prosper. It’s called evolution.

JR, why do you find it relevant and compelling that the temperature hasn’t risen significantly in the last decade (beginning on the warmest year ever recorded), yet you insist that 60 or 80 or 150 years of observed changes in the environment are irrelevant? You seem to be jumping back and forth on which end of the telescope you choose to look through.

Why also are you so prepared to bet the farm on an imagined future cold snap (“Another cold winter could wipe it all out.”) (my emphasis), and yet you are perfectly happy to ignore (or bet against) disastrous future outcomes about which the world scientific community is in remarkable agreement?

You pick the oddest times to be credulous.

And, just to play fair, you imply a question in saying “I don’t hear any cry from Desmog to halt logging.” Well, DeSmog is NOT an anti-logging website (though some of our contributors have strong feelings about this issue). As you may have noticed, we’re a website that concentrates on the bullshit public relations - the lying, cherry-picking and wilfull blindness - that characterizes a certain part of the climate change debate.

For the record, though, aggressive, insensitive and increasingly massive logging contributes enormously to climate change. EVERYBODY should care about that issue. Even more, we should be worrying about the desperate people who burn Amazonian rainforest so they can clear it for farming - especially the ones who then plant crops for biofuels and try to claim carbon credits.

But (back to the point at hand) you’re the guy who started this string by focusing on the head of a pin - I mean, the weather in Calgary - as if that were meaningful. So, let’s get back to that point and admit that it’s NOT.

 

It’s interesting that AGW supporters point out the slightest little weather event (like a tornado) and claim it’s because of global warming.  Yet when I, and others, point out other weather events that do not support AGW, it’s a “head of a pin” and cannot be used to falsify AGW.  Bit of a double standard there.

In any other science, such as biological evolution, the tinyest biological event can be understood within the theory of evoluton.  Doesn’t matter what it is, microb to mass extinction recovery, can all be understood within a selection framework.  In fact, if a small bit of biology were not to fit evolutionry theory the theory could be falsified.  It was a small bit of evidence that dislogged Gradualism to be replaced by Puctuated Equilibrium.

But not AGW.  Anyone who points out a bit of weather patterns that does not agree with the orthodoxy, it’s suddenly not relevant.  Only the whole world climate can be understood from an AGW framework, but not the local consequences of climate – weather.  Unless, that is, that little bit of weather can be blamed (incorrectly) to be because of AGW.

As for experts. There is a growing number of experts, that agree with AGW, are now claiming that Peak Oil is the bigger and sooner threat (Matt Simmons for one). Even if it were shown and forced me to accept AGW, PO would not be trumped as the bigger threat.

JR, I can see why you’re not a climatologist.

First, you get confused between the terms “weather” and “climate”.

Second, you have no idea about the scientific method of climate research.  Cherry-picking specific years, a specific location, and only a couple of data fields cannot be considered representative of the globe.  (Hence, the terms “global warming” and “climate change”.)

To get a complete picture of the state of AGW, you must take hundreds of locations and trace the climate back a reasonable period.  That is what the research to which the IPCC referred has done and has found that AGW has been occurring for the last ~150 years.  Doing a bit of self-guided spreadsheet work on one or two stations, while useful in determining the historical climate of a specific area, has no bearing on the big picture.

I was refering to the comment about the future of Alberta that was professed here.  So what’s the problem with looking to see what has happened in that area to see what the trend has been?  I plan to get as many as I can from Canada as see what the over all trend from here is.

Besides it does show what I have been saying about the global numbers.  They are the average temps.   The average temp can be adjusted up in the climate by changing the swing to be more moderated and not changing the max temps.  Correct?  What would be interesting is not these average global temps, but show us what the global maximum temps have been over the past 150 years.

And by global temps you mean the values that NASA screwed up by using Septembers temps in Russia and other location as Octobers numbers.

And speaking about 150 years.  How did we cause the temp to increase starting 150 years ago when the planet had a quarter of our population, oil was not even used as a fuel, neither was natural gas.  Coal was the main source for heat and industry, for those who could afford it.  CO2 levels were much much lower and the rate of CO2 was 1% of todays.  How do you explain this?

JR, if you only read the peer-reviewed research surveyed by the IPCC.  The predictions are that maximum temperatures won’t increase at the same rate as, but more slowly than minimum temperatures.  (Some locations won’t even see much of an increase in maximum temperatures, but their minimum temperatures may be the dominant force in raising their overall temperatures.)  That actually shows up in the snippets of data you have extracted.

So, in effect, you have added to the body of evidence affirming one of the IPCC’s conclusions about the future scenarios under AGW.  Good work!

Then explain how our puny CO2 emissions 150 years ago triggered this current warming trend.

The small rise in CO2 150 years ago triggered a small uptick in the global temperatures 150 years ago.  The huge amount of CO2 recently belched out by industry, transportation, and other sources man-made has triggered a significant rise in global temperatures over the last 20-30 years.

The explanation of this rise in temperatures following a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations can be found in research over 110 years old, by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius (from 1896).  Other scientists, like Norwegian Wilhelm Bjerknes have expanded on the scientific bases of greenhouse gases causing higher temperatures.

JR, if you only paid attention to actual scientific exploration and not PR crap from groups like the Fraser Institute, CEI, and “Cooler Heads Coalition”, you would actually learn something.

Let’s plug in those last 18 years

1989 3.84
1990 4.5
1991 5.0
1992 5.0
1993 4.1
1994 4.3
1995 3.4
1996 1.7E (what ever that means)
1997 4.3E
1998 4.6
1999 5.1
2000 3.7
2001 4.9
2002 3.8
2003 4.2
2004 5.0
2005 4.9
2006 5.3
2007 4.7

Looks like no “signifant increase” at all not even an increase. Flat.

Are available in CSV.  http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/climateData/bulkdata_e.html?timeframe=3&Prov=XX&StationID=2205&Year=2007&Month=1&Day=1&format=csv&type=mly

Put into Excel and plot.

From 1984 to 2008

Maximum temperature is flat line regression.  y = 0.0003x + 10.097.  Looking at the plots there are more warmer years in the 1930s than recently.

Min Temp over that time frame shows a regression line y = 0.0012x - 3.7088 with a 2C increase. Milder winters are a good thing.

Average temp shows a slight increase of 1C over that time regression y = 0.0008x + 3.1915

Thus, the max temp has not changed, but winters are getting milder.  This is a good thing. It’s as I said, this current run up in average temps is because of more warmer winters not hotter summers.

Oh, and precipitation has been flat with a regression line of y = 0.0005x + 34.796

But I’m sure Ian will find something insulting to say.

After I posted this and started lunch, I realized that these values are across the whole year. So these regression lines for min temp and average temp and not showing an increase of 2C and 1C respectively, they are showing a narrowing of the variation in temps over time. That is, from the 1800s till today there has been a narrowing in swings in temp of 2C. That is the temperature has swung between the stationary maximums to the minimums less. This does not mean the temperature has increased during that time at all. It hasn’t. It’s like this. You set your home to 24C for all year. At night during the winter you have it drop to 15C to conserve. But after a few years you realize that 15C is too cold, so you raise the min temp at night to 17C. You have not made the house hotter, all you have done is narrowed the swing.

Later I’ll plot the temps on a month over month per year basis and see how each month has changed over time.

Using the data you linked to I get 0.001198 degress per month for the past 24 years or 0.14 per decade (maximum temps). For the past 11 years, during which you consistently claim even less warming I get 0.0098 degrees per month.

I am not going to spend any more time on this since you are still picking cherries (you do understand what the term cherry picking means in science? It is considered a form of scientiifc malfeasance). Picking the highest temps you can find for one selected weather station tells us nothing about climate change.

 

Ian, I’m not sure which data you are using for the max, but I put the whole set into Access, grouped by year and averaged the values.  Which is realy not correct to do as it’s an average for the year.  What we really need to see is how each month did over the timeframe so we stay within a season.  But using these numbers I get this graph:

Note the run up temp 1894-1919 faster and higher than the run up that you would claim comes from our CO2.  Notice the drop until 1975 right at the time that our CO2 emissions were skyrocketing.

Properly we should look at the month per year temps.

Hmm, seems the image insert is not working. This is the path to the graph http://www.sheetmusicdigital.com/afb/CalgaryMaxAverages.jpg

I’m not a statistician so I don’t know how valid plotting monthly temperatures is. However, what is going on in Calgary cannot be extrapolated to global climate change.

However, my plots show that the temperatures have been increasing substantially over the past 11 years which is supported by anecdotal evidence quoted here and elsewhere.

But your 11 observation is meaningless without looking at the big picture.  How many times have AGW people compained that 11 years is not a trend.  It’s not.  It’s one series of points within a larger trend.  The larger trend on average yearly temps is basically flat.

Though as I’ve noted I do not think this is an  invalid look at what’s going on.  Only for each month year over year will show what’s going on.  Example why.  If the winter months are tending to warm, but the summer months are flat or even dropping, then the average trend will be affected.  Thus we can see a warm trend due to warmer winters, not hotter summers.  Once I do the rest of these graphs we will see.

My selection of “11 years” is based on your numerous posts that global warming stopped 11 years ago. In fact what you really are saying is that since 1998 was so extrmeely warm we can use that as a baseline to show that warming stopped then. Check back in the archives of the deniers and you will rarely find that they actually name 1998 as their baseline but keep referring to how many years have passed since then. This year the magic number is “11” last year it was “’10” and so on.

What a joke. Start doing some real science and you may get more respect, acting like a typical denier will only get you laughed at, remember the treatment over at Realclimate?

If you are going to spend the time plotting a whole lot of temp data then plot minima rather than maxima since AGW theory predicts that night time temps will warm more.

That’s what others and satelite data is showing.

As for showing the min and max for the same month, I did that for Jan and July.  The Jan min trend is the same as the max trend, they’re parralel.  July is different.  The max temp dropped with a regression of y = -0.0077x + 24.23, while the min temp has increased y = 0.0156x + 8.1402.  Thus the summer swing has been narrowing.  Is that what AGW predicts?  Also, show a reference so support “AGW theory predicts that night time temps will warm more” or is this just something you invented.  Does AGW predict a dropping summer temp?  Not with the dire warning of more people dying from heat waves.

As for RC, there is much they deleted you never saw.  Questions I presented they did not want to answer.

Wakefield said: “No GLOBAL warming since 1998.” Why do you keep repeating these lies? Go and visit a science site and see what they have to say about that. You are a denier and should get the respect that deems which is ZERO. You can keep on posting your lies and I will keep on exposing you for the science fraud that you are.

Go and play in some other sand box, you have out lived your welcome on this blog.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14527-climate-myths-global-warming-stopped-in-1998.html

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/mind-the-gap/

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/4/175028/329

http://ideonexus.com/2008/03/25/more-global-cooling-evidence-embarrasses-the-ipcc-orthodoxy/ More Global Cooling Evidence Embarrasses the IPCC Orthodoxy
March 25th, 2008

The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognizes that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued…

Googling “GLOBAL cooling” IPCC finds lots.

I got as far as about the third line in your link when I found a reference to Jennifer Marohasy. Needless to say I did not go any further. You are a completely arrogant and selfish person by refusing to look at the science behind AGW and only read and link to denier rubbish, lies and fabrications. You are making yourself look more and more stupid and despicable with every post you make.

Keep it up, you are really showing just how little the AGW dniers have to go on.

http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/mknut/2006GL028031.pdf

This is one of many but why should I waste my valuable time looking for more when Wakefield isn’t really wanting an answer to his question. Typical denier blustering.

Wakefield, I do not invent anything, I check out the scientific literature like any competent scientist would do. Only deniers and scientific frauds like you do not use the scientiifc literature.

the period 1985–2002, during which solar dimming reversed into brightening, exhibits a significant increase in both TMAX and TMIN (Table 1). The increase in TMAX and TMIN is in this period very similar, with the increase in TMAX being only slightly lower than in TMIN. The change in the linear slope from the 1958–1985 to the 1985–2002 period, given in the last column of Table 1, is thus larger in TMAX than TMIN. This implies that the increase in TMAX has caught up to the increase in TMIN, and is in line with the hypothesis that solar dimming was not present anymore to prevent TMAX from keeping pace with TMIN.

Which is not happening with the data from Calgary.

 

Wakefield, how many times do you have to be told that what is happening at one small piece of the globe tells us nothing about the big picture?

You are simply using the well known denier tactics of obfuscation and delay. If you have any sense of decency about what will happen to our children’s future then stop your complete dishonesty and spend your time on helping rather than blocking hope for the future.

If you continue to post denier tripe it will prove to everyone who reads your posts that you are an arrogant and selfish person who does not care what happens to our future.

www.sheetmusicdigital.com/afb/MonthsYearOverYear.jpg

As you can see the winter months have been increasing in temps, quite a bit, yet the spring months show a drop over the past 120 years. The winter increasing is dominating the yearly averages to give the appearance that the over all temp is increasing which it clearly is not.

(And this is just max temps, not mins)

What these numbers show is exactly what I prediced. Warming winters, without hotter summers (they are actually cooling) producing a more moderated temperature, which appears to be “global” warming (all year).

I’m going to download more locations from across the country. I’m interested in seeing what northern locations show. I’m not even going to try to predict until I see the factual data.

I’ve lived in or near Calgary for more than 50 years. The climate is much drier now than it was 40 years ago. I don’t think it gets as cold as it used to, either. Wakefield quite fiddling with meaningless numbers and look at the real world.

Your perception vs real world data from Environment Canada.  http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/climateData/monthlydata_e.html  Pick up the csv file and plot total precipitation.  The regression line is flat.  That is, since 1884 there has been no net change in precipitation, with undulating variations. 

1958 total precipitation was 360mm, 2007 was 500mm.

Unless you have better data than environment canada your perception is wrong.

I’m not going to waste any time checking on whether you know how  to do linear regressions or not (I spent a lot of time coming to a different number for temps than what you claimed, I will not fall into that trap again).

However, what is noticiable is that the precipatation is coming at different times. These changes are not the best for prairie agriculture. There has been a shift in rainfall from June to May or earlier. This is causing farmers all sorts of problems with gettiing into their fields for seeding. The June rain used to come after seeding and was very welocme by the farmers. There has also been a change to wetter Falls when farmers want warm dry weather to ripen their crops and to allow for harvest.

The above applies to areas where there has been some precipitation. Many part of the praires have been sufferring from drought for many years.

I know how to do linear regression by hand, had to do lots of it decades ago for work. For this I just let Excel do it. I’ll have the month over month data soon. So easy with Access. So far the max temps for July:

www.sheetmusicdigital.com/afb/JulyMaxTemps.jpg

This month year over year the max temp has dropped 1C from 1884-2008. 1914-1939 had warmer Julys than the last 20 years by 2-3C.

As for rainfall, so what? How is that linked to AGW? You cannot prove it is anything but normal varation. Since EC data has these numbers for each month, your premise can be put to the test. What is your dataset to support your premise?

You are the one who has now tried to link my comment about precipitation changes to AGW. I just reported my personal feelings and observations.

But is your personal feelings and observations supported by the actual data?  I’ve posted a series of graphs for Calgary.  What’s your data to support your personal feelings and observations?  As a scientist you should know that personal feelings and observations means nothing. Emperical data is everything.

One of the key elements in being a successful scientist is “observation.” You cannot research a phenomenon unless you have first “observed” it. Good science will then allow you to interpet and understand your observations.

Some scientists are merely data collectors and can be compared to some one wandering in the wilderness and hoping that someone will be able to interpert their data and allow them to find a way out.

Plotted. I see no trend unless you do. Just varation decade to decade. www.sheetmusicdigital.com/afb/CalgaryRainFall.jpg

Great.  Benny Peiser.  (/sarcasm)  The one who completely botched up a survey of climate articles in an attempt to refute the case made by Naomi Oreskes and completely made a fool of himself.

Shows what legitimacy the Edmonton Journal has in claiming objectivity.  Absolutely none.

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