September 26, 2009

NRO: ‘The Dog Ate My Global Warming’; Underlying ‘Support’ For Climate Claims May Be Gone

As climate extremists, Democrats, and President Barack Obama (but I repeat myself) push for nonsensical cap-and-trade legislation and prosperity-killing, sovereignty-threatening treaties, at least some of the data undergirding the supposed science backing their efforts seems to no longer exist. I’m not kidding.

At National Review Online Wednesday morning, Patrick J. Michaels told us that:

…. the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.

Or so it seems. Apparently, they were either lost or purged from some discarded computer. Only a very few people know what really happened, and they aren’t talking much. And what little they are saying makes no sense.

There have been many questions about the integrity of the science behind global warming, but what Michaels describes may be the most troubling example yet cited.

Here’s more from his column:

In the early 1980s, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists at the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia established the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) to produce the world’s first comprehensive history of surface temperature. It’s known in the trade as the “Jones and Wigley” record for its authors, Phil Jones and Tom Wigley, and it served as the primary reference standard for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) until 2007. It was this record that prompted the IPCC to claim a “discernible human influence on global climate.”

Putting together such a record isn’t at all easy. Weather stations weren’t really designed to monitor global climate. Long-standing ones were usually established at points of commerce, which tend to grow into cities that induce spurious warming trends in their records. Trees grow up around thermometers and lower the afternoon temperature. Further, as documented by the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Sr., many of the stations themselves are placed in locations, such as in parking lots or near heat vents, where artificially high temperatures are bound to be recorded.

So the weather data that go into the historical climate records that are required to verify models of global warming aren’t the original records at all. Jones and Wigley, however, weren’t specific about what was done to which station in order to produce their record, which, according to the IPCC, showed a warming of 0.6° +/– 0.2°C in the 20th century.

So far, nothing is necessarily out of order. Raw data from faulty weather stations could theoretically be adjusted for the shortcomings described. But the problem is that there are no records of what adjustments were made.

Read the entire NRO piece for the changing stories of Phil Jones about his ability to make the raw data available. Michaels quotes Jones’s latest rendition to another scientist who requested it:

Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available.

In other words, we’re being told that a lot of the raw data is gone. We’re just supposed to trust that the adjustments made were done accurately and properly. Even if they were done conscientiously at the time based on the best available knowledge, there’s no way to modify those adjustments for better information about how to make them that may have come along in the last three decades.

So here’s the bottom line:

…. So the question remains: What was destroyed or lost, when was it destroyed or lost, and why?

…. If there are no data, there’s no science. U.S. taxpayers deserve to know the answer to the question posed above.

It looks like there’s a lot of material in place that should motivate someone in the establishment press to do an investigative report. Don’t hold your breath. To do it, many in the media will have to back down from their own shrill advocacy. One of the worst has been Reuters, which at least as of a couple of months ago had its own “Help Reuters Fight Global Warming” Facebook page.

Will anyone in the establishment media, which incessantly questions the accuracy of scientific reports based solely on who paid for them, even care to tell its shrinking audience that much of the scientific data supporting what I have for years referred to as “globaloney” is apparently not there?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

In Writing: Under ObamaCare, If You Don’t Buy Health Insurance, You Could Go To Jail

Filed under: Health Care,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:08 am

chicago-mls-jailThursday afternoon, at its Live Pulse Blog (“Breaking News on the Health Care Fight”), Politico’s Carrie Burdoff Brown reported the following:

Flout the mandate penalty? Face the IRS

Americans who fail to pay the penalty for not buying insurance would face legal action from the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The remarks Thursday from the committee’s chief of staff, Thomas Barthold, seems to further weaken President Barack Obama’s contention last week that the individual mandate penalty, which could go as high as $1,900, is not a tax increase.

Under questioning from Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Barthold said the IRS would “take you to court and undertake normal collection proceedings.”

Ensign pursued the line of questioning because he said a lot of Americans don’t believe the Constitution allows the government to mandate the purchase of insurance.

Friday, Brown reported that Ensign got a clarification on what the result of “normal collection proceedings” might be, and got it in writing (HT Hot Air):

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.

Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it “Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold.”

What follows is a picture of Barthold’s actual note. The original at Politico is here. The content is unchanged; I removed some empty space and adjusted the graphic’s properties to make the text more readable (and to have something in case Politico takes the original down):

NoHealthInsGoTojailCongAide0909

The postscript in Barthold’s note is not in the text of Politico’s report. Though it’s not particularly legible, it says that “Felony tax evasion provides for restitution and a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual and up to five years in jail.”

Tax?

B-b-b-but Barack Obama told ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that that these fines aren’t taxes, and even ridiculed him for looking up the definition of the word in the dictionary (bolds are mine):

STEPHANOPOULOS: …during the campaign. Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?

…. OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase.

People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy…

OBAMA: No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase. Any…

…. STEPHANOPOULOS: I — I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Tax — “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what…

…. STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.

Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

Tom Barthold must not have gotten the memo (or is it diktat?).

If you don’t think we have a problem of Orwellian proportions with Barack Obama, I’d suggest you re-read the excerpt. He thinks he’s above the dictionary, that words mean only what he says they mean.

In case you’re wondering, I have found no evidence that the establishment media has noted the Ensign-Barthold development. The only inkling of interest in Google News searches here and here on “Ensign Barthold jail” (not entered with quotes; one link is to the original result, and the other is to the detail of “all 7 news articles” link at the original) is one Atlanta Journal Constitution item. But it turns out that it’s an off-topic blog comment and not any kind of reporting.

Meanwhile, the New York Times Prescriptions blog wonders whether or not the fines for not buying health insurance are set high enough.

(Image found at sodahead.com.)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.