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Senate EPW Hearing on the President’s Climate Action Plan

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | January 16, 2014

The hearing is now concluded, I’m on a plane flying back to Atlanta.

The testimony from each of the witnesses is now online [here].  The link for my testimony is [here].

The content of my verbal remarks is below:

I would like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to present testimony this morning. I am Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I have devoted 30 years to conducting research on topics including climate of the Arctic, the role of clouds and aerosols in the climate system, and the climate dynamics of extreme weather events.

The premise of the President’s Climate Action Plan is that there is an overwhelming judgment of science that anthropogenic global warming is already producing devastating impacts. Anthropogenic greenhouse warming is a theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. Multiple lines of evidence presented in the recent IPCC 5th assessment report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is now weaker than in 2007, when the 4th assessment report was published.

My written testimony documented the following evidence:

  • For the past 16 years, there has been no significant increase in surface temperature. There is a growing discrepancy between observations and climate model projections. Observations since 2011 have fallen below the 90% envelope of climate model projections
  • The IPCC does not have a convincing or confident explanation for this hiatus in warming.
  • There is growing evidence of decreased climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxideconcentrations
  • Based on expert judgment in light of this evidence, the IPCC 5th assessment report lowered its surface temperature projection relative to the model projections for the period 2016-2036.

The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate change. Sensitivity of the climate to carbon dioxide, and the level of uncertainty in its value, is a key input into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses, including estimates of the social cost of carbon.

If the recent warming hiatus is caused by natural variability, then this raises the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural climate variability. In a recent journal publication, I provided a rationale for projecting that the hiatus in warming could extend to the 2030’s. By contrast, according to climate model projections, the probability of the hiatus extending beyond 20 years is vanishing small.  If the hiatus does extend beyond 20 years, then a very substantial reconsideration will be needed of the 20th century attribution and the 21st century projections of climate change.

Attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 15+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob that can fine tune climate variability on decadal and multi-decadal time scales. Even if CO2 mitigation strategies are successfully implemented and climate model projections are correct, an impact on the climate would not be expected for a number of decades. Further, solar variability, volcanic eruptions and natural internal climate variability will continue to be sources of unpredictable climate surprises.

As a result of the hiatus in warming, there is growing appreciation for the importance of natural climate variability on multi-decadal timescales.  Further, the IPCC AR5 and Special Report on Extreme Events published in 2012, find little evidence that supports an increase in most extreme weather events that can be attributed to humans.

The perception that humans are causing an increase in extreme weather events is a primary motivation for the President’s Climate Change Plan.  However, in the U.S., most types of weather extremes were worse in the 1930’s and even in the 1950’s than in the current climate, while the weather was overall more benign in the 1970’s. The extremes of the 1930’s and 1950’s are not attributable to greenhouse warming and are associated with natural climate variability (and in the case of the dustbowl drought and heat waves, also to land use practices). This sense that extreme weather events are now more frequent and intense is symptomatic of pre-1970 ‘weather amnesia’.

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is heavily influenced by natural climate variability. Whether or not anthropogenic climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events, vulnerability to extreme weather events will continue to increase owing to increasing population and concentration of wealth in vulnerable regions. Regions that find solutions to current problems of climate variability and extreme weather events and address challenges associated with an increasing population are likely to be well prepared to cope with any additional stresses from climate change.

Nevertheless, the premise of dangerous anthropogenic climate change is the foundation for a far-reaching plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events. Elements of this Plan may be argued as important for associated energy policy reasons, economics, and/or public health and safety. However, claiming an overwhelming scientific justification for the Plan based upon anthropogenic global warming does a disservice both to climate science and to the policy process.

Good judgment requires recognizing that climate change is characterized by conditions of deep uncertainty. Robust policy options that can be justified by associated policy reasons whether or not anthropogenic climate change is dangerous avoids the hubris of pretending to know what will happen with the 21st century climate.

This concludes my testimony.

JC comments:   The hearing was very long; not so much because of questioning of the witnesses, but there was much pontification by the committee members (much more of this than on the House Subcommittees, it seems).

Several things struck me.  All of the members seem pretty well educated on the topic of climate change.  I cannot say the same of the administrators on the first panel.

Most of the members were there for Panel 1; only a few remained for Panel 2.

I’m fairly happy with my written testimony, but was surprised that my verbal testimony went over the time limit (have never gone over before).  The questions were fairly light weight.

Andrew Dessler did a pretty good job particularly on the verbal testimony and answering questions.

All in all, a very interesting experience, but stressful since you need to pretty much drop everything to prepare your testimony (and I have a pile of things that need to be finished before tomorrow).

So does any of this matter? We’ll see.  I felt that my previous testimony to the House Committee did have an impact.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turkish police fire water cannon at rally against ‘Internet censorship’ law

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RT | January 18, 2014

Police used water cannon and fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters that gathered in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square on Saturday for a rally calling against a bill that would tighten government control over the Internet.

Protesters ran to the side streets to escape the water cannons and teargas that police used on the peaceful demonstration.

Smaller rallies have been held around Turkey including the capital Ankara and coastal city of Izmir.

In Ankara about 300 protesters gathered chanting slogans opposing the government and the internet bill, calling the Turkish prime minister ‘a dictator.’

Activists have called for protests against the law further limiting the use of the Internet and social media. The campaign is circulating the internet with the hashtag #sansüredurde (#StopInternetCensorshipinTurkey).

The bill that includes the controversial law was adopted on Thursday. It gives the courts power to remove material that “violates individual rights” from the internet. People will be able to apply to the state Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) as well as the courts to block any websites.

Under the new law 26 government officials in Turkey can also block access to information online by a personal decree. These include the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his cabinet and other officials.

Critics argued that the law will enhance monitoring internet user’s activities and will allow officials to limit keywords, local Hurriyet daily reported. The newspaper added that the head of TİB will now be given enough authority to directly limit access, pending a court ruling.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cantor Tied to Controversial Rabbi at Center of Probe

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By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | January 17, 2014

Yesterday I posted an article on the FBI investigation of New York Congressman Michael Grimm in connection with campaign donations to his 2010 campaign made by supporters of Israeli Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto. If you haven’t read the article, it’s here.

Pinto is listed as one of the richest rabbis in Israel (he is rabbi to some of the world’s wealthiest oligarchs), and in the article I speculated on whether other supporters of Israel now serving in congress may have received donations from the same source.

Well, a news article posted in 2012 would seem to indicate that there are, and that one of them is Eric Cantor, one of the most powerful members of Congress, and a staunch supporter of the Jewish state (Cantor is himself Jewish). The article in question is posted at Al-Monitor. Here is an excerpt.

Indeed, detailed examination of federal campaign filings by Al-Monitor indicate that the top seven donors to Cantor’s 2008 campaign are followers or associates of Rabbi Pinto. Together, the group of close Rabbi Pinto associates that made up Cantor’s seven top donors in 2008 gave about $330,000 to the Virginia Republican–almost 10% of the $3.9 million total Cantor raised for the 2008 race. None of them are from Virginia, and some had not previously given to US political campaigns.

Josef Ben Moha of New Jersey donated $48,100 to Cantor’s Victory Fund on April 11, 2008 — his only campaign donation in US records. Moha is listed as managing director of Livono (or Livorno) Partners, whose CEO Ben Zion Suky also donated $48,100 to Cantor on the same date. Suky serves as the “right-hand man … translator, gatekeeper and conduit to the outside world” for Pinto, the Forward reported last year. He also owns property with Rabbi Pinto’s wife, as well as a porn DVD distribution business.

Haim Milo Revah, a real estate developer from California who has credited Pinto with offering successful business advice, donated $48,100 to Cantor on April 21, 2008, records show.

Real estate broker Haim Binstock, and his wife his wife, Gallya Binstock, together donated $91,600 to Cantor’s campaign on Oct. 31, 2008. Binstock’s business partner Ilan Bracha, and his wife, Mati Bracha, also donated $91,600 to Cantor’s campaign on the same date, campaign filings show. In 2008, Binstock and Bracha Manhattan property they planned to donate for use as a synagogue for Rabbi Pinto, they told The Wall Street Journal last year.

More recently, George Klein, described by The New York Times as a longtime Republican power broker who attends Pinto’s Shuva Israel congregation at 155 E. 58th St. in Manhattan, donated $50,000 to Cantor’s Victory Fund on Oct. 18, 2011, campaign filings show. Klein, who has donated to several other Republican candidates in smaller amounts, is also a member, with Cantor, of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

As I noted in yesterday’s article, Grimm is reportedly a close confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Israeli police seem to be trying to deliberately sabotage the FBI’s investigation of him.

The FBI is hoping to have Pinto testify against Grimm, but the rabbi has been charged in Israel with bribing a police official, a development which would compromise his credibility as a witness–presumably against Grimm or any other member of Congress who may have broken the law. A wiretap reportedly in the possession of the FBI has Israeli police threatening Pinto.

The case has been written about extensively by blogger Richard Silverstein, who has reported that among the allegations are that donors to Grimm’s 2010 campaign were promised green cards in return for their support (campaign contributions by non-citizens are illegal) and also that some of the donations exceeded the legal limit.

“There is no evidence of any impropriety in Cantor’s contacts with Rabbi Pinto,” notes the 2012 Al-Monitor report.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

UK police watchdog apologetic about Duggan case

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Press TV – January 18, 2014

Britain’s Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has offered an apology to the family of Mark Duggan for “wrongly” telling the media that the black man opened fire at police before he was fatally shot in 2011.

On Friday, deputy chairwoman of the IPCC Rachel Cerfontyne stated that the non-departmental public body is following “a number of significant lines of inquiry” surrounding the death of the 29-year-old.

An inquest jury ruled last week that Tottenham police in northern London lawfully gunned down Duggan on August 4, 2011.

Duggan’s death triggered the massive 2011 summer unrest across England. It was the worst social unrest Britain faced in a generation, unleashing street protests, fighting with the police and arson attacks.

“We know that the family’s confidence in us and our investigation was damaged by mistakes made in the early stages – both in relation to inaccurate information we provided to the media, and the initial management of the incident,” Cerfontyne said.

She added, “I would like again to record my sincere apology to them that on the evening that Mark was fatally shot by a police officer, a member of our staff wrongly led the media to believe that he had fired at police officers. I fully understand the damaging impact of this.”

Cerfontyne further noted that the IPCC is trying to interview key witnesses who have either declined to speak or have given conflicting accounts.

“Having assessed the evidence at inquest, there are initially a number of significant lines of inquiry which we are pursuing. These include following up concerns about the way the police responded to intelligence and seeking to interview some key witnesses who have so far declined to speak to or be interviewed by us or whose accounts are inconsistent with other evidence,” she said.

“We expect police officers to cooperate fully with us if required, including answering questions at interview, something they have so far refused to do,” the IPCC deputy chairwoman pointed out.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Embarrassing NIST: They Left Out Critical Structural Features of WTC7

By Andrew Mills | RINF Alternative News | January 17, 2014

On December 12, 2013, well known attorney, Dr. William Pepper, sent a letter to the U. S. Department of Commerce Inspector General on behalf of Architects & Engineers for 911 Truth. The letter concerned certain structural feature omissions found in early 2012 in the drawings on which the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) based their conclusions in their 2008 report on the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC7) on 9/11. (NIST is one of the agencies under the Department of Commerce.) Dr. Pepper’s letter asked that that the Inspector General investigate and have NIST correct the Report.

As most Americans know, a third building (WTC7) of the WorldTradeCenter complex of buildings collapsed on the same day as the twin towers.  WTC 7 was a 47-story skyscraper that housed offices of the CIA, the Secret Service, and the Department of Defense, as well as the NYC Office of Emergency Management’s OperationsCenter. It collapsed at around 5 pm on 9/11. No airplane crashed into it and it experienced only minor fires before it collapsed. It fell straight down, right into its own footprint, and the speed of fall was very close to gravitational free fall.  Many people at the time remarked that its collapse closely resembled the collapse of buildings due to intentional demolition.

Of those Americans who know that Building 7 collapsed on 9/11, very few are aware that the government through NIST actually investigated the causes of the building’s collapse. The report by NIST was released to the public in August 2008, nearly seven years after the attacks. The drawings upon which the report was based were released only in 2011 in response to a FOIA request.   At the time of the release of the report, many professional engineers and architects had serious misgivings about the report as it basically contended that for the first time in history, the symmetrical, complete collapse of a large, fire protected, steel framed building was said to be fire induced.

As noted in Dr. Pepper’s letter, since the release of the drawings, structural engineers have spent considerable time comparing these drawings to the descriptions of the collapse model provided in the report. Their findings revealed that critical structural features in Building 7 were inexplicably missing from consideration in the Report. These critical features included stiffeners, that provided critical girder support, as well as lateral support beams which supported a beam which allegedly buckled. Only through the omission of any discussion about the stiffeners and the lateral support beams is NIST’s probable collapse sequence possible. It is the unanimous opinion of these structural engineers that with the inclusion of these critical features, NIST’s probable collapse sequence must be ruled out.

As Dr. Pepper’s letter notes, the group of architects and engineers unanimously believe that the NIST Report’s conclusion of collapse due to fire could not have been justified if the stiffeners and the lateral support beams were not omitted. The credibility of NIST and the Department of Commerce requires that they open an investigation into the potential negligence and/or misconduct by the lead investigators of NIST’s Building 7 investigation and that NIST be directed to produce a corrected analysis and report on the collapse of Building 7, this time, by fully taking into account the presence of the stiffeners and the lateral support beams.

After the discovery of these omissions, the group of architects and engineers who discovered them pressed NIST for over a year to get an answer to the question as to why these critical features were omitted from the Report’s discussion and analysis. But they were greeted with silence until October 25, 2013 when a NIST public relations official finally acknowledged that the stiffeners had been omitted, but incredibly, from an engineering standpoint, said they were not necessary to consider.

With the submittal of Dr. Pepper’s letter, which was accompanied by a detailed engineering analysis, NIST has never before been challenged this way, with their own data and information that they themselves have released. They appear to be caught between a rock and a hard place. At the very least they should be forced to release their WTC 7 collapse modeling data. They have not responded to the letter as of yet.

But this is court-room level evidence of impropriety involving the preparation of the WTC 7 report, and will clearly be an embarrassment to NIST. It shows that the demand for a new WTC 7 investigation by those skeptical of the Report’s conclusions was in order all along. Even if nothing else is re-investigated about 9/11, the collapse of Building 7 richly deserves a thorough investigation .

Here is a link to Dr. Pepper’s letter to the Department of Commerce Inspector General:

http://www.journalof911studies.com/resources/2014JanLetterPepper.pdf

Andrew Mills is a groundwater hydrologist employed in an engineering consulting company. He and his wife have six children and 18 grandchildren. He was active in the civil rights movement in the 1950′s and 1960′s.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Rejecting the Rule of Law

The US Now Backs a “Code of Conduct” for Space, Instead of a Legally Binding Treaty to Ban Space Weapons

By ALICE SLATER | CounterPunch | January 17, 2014

The most important lesson one can acquire about US foreign policy is the understanding that our leaders do not mean well. They do not have any noble goals of democracy and freedom and all that jazz. They aim to dominate the world by any means necessary. And as long as an American believes that the intentions are noble and honorable, it’s very difficult to penetrate that wall. That wall surrounds the thinking and blocks any attempt to make them realize the harm being done by US foreign policy.

– William Blum, former member of the US State Department, author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II[i]

More than 5,000 satellites have been launched into orbit since the space age began[ii]. Today, eleven countries have space launch capability, with over sixty countries operating about 1,100 active satellites orbiting the earth providing a constant stream of data and information relied upon for critical civilian communications as well as for military operations by some.[iii] As we grow ever more dependent on the ability of these satellites to perform their essential functions without interruption, there are growing concerns that this useful technology is giving rise to a new battleground in space for the purpose of sabotaging or destroying the vital services our space-based communications now provide.

The US and Russia have been testing anti-satellite technology (ASAT) since the space age began, and have even contemplated using  nuclear tipped ballistic missiles to destroy space assets. In 1967, the US and Russia  realized it would be in their interest to support the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which banned the placement of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in space, although they failed to ban the use of conventional weapons in space. And in 1972 they agreed to sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) to slow down the space race and the ability to harm each other’s assets in space. Unfortunately, George Bush walked out of the ABM treaty in 2002, and the race to weaponize space was on once again in full force. China is getting into the act too, having launched, in 2007, a device which destroyed one of its aging weather satellites orbiting in space. The US followed suit in 2008, destroying a non-functioning satellite, while both nations denied any military mission for their acts, claiming they were merely trying to destroy outdated satellites that no longer functioned.

With the proliferation of military spacecraft such as imaging and communications satellites and ballistic missile and anti- missiles systems which often pass through outer space, there have been numerous efforts in the UN Committee on Disarmament (CD) to outlaw the weaponization of space through a legally binding treaty. But the United States is having none of it. In the CD, which requires consensus to take action, the US has been the only nation to block every vote to begin negotiations on such a treaty, with Israel generally abstaining in support. Russia and China actually prepared a draft treaty to ban weapons in space in 2008, but the US blocked the proposal, voting against it each year thereafter when it was reintroduced for consideration, saying the proposal was “a diplomatic ploy by the two nations to gain a military advantage”.[iv]

While continuing to block a legally binding treaty to ban weapons in space, the US has recently begun to work with a group of nations in a new initiative that began in the European Union in 2008, proposing a “Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities“ which would lay out a non-binding set of rules of the road for a safer and more responsible environment in space.  Some of its key objectives are to mitigate damage to satellites that could be caused by space debris orbiting the earth, to avoid the potential of destructive collisions, and to manage the crowding of satellites and the saturation of the radio-frequency spectrum, as well as to address direct threats of hostility to assets in space. [v] At first, the US rejected any support for the Code, but has now agreed to participate in drafting a new version based on the third iteration from the European Union. Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, acknowledged in 2012 the necessity for a Code to deal with orbital debris and “other irresponsible actions in space”, while at the same time, noting that,

It is important to clarify several points with respect to the code. It is still under development, we would not subscribe to any code unless it protects and enhances our national security, and the code would not be legally binding. [vi]

In addition, the US is insisting on a provision in this third version of the Code of Conduct that, while making a voluntary promise to “refrain from any action which brings about, directly or indirectly, damage, or destruction, of space objects”, qualifies that directive with the language “unless such action is justified”. One justification given for destructive action is “the Charter of the United Nations including the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense”, thus lending legitimacy and codifying the possibility for warfare in space as part of the Code’s established norm. And while the Charter of the United Nations prohibits aggressive action by any nation without Security Council approval unless a nation acts in self-defense, we know there have been numerous occasions where nations have by-passed the Security Council to take aggressive action, often protesting they were acting in self-defense. Instead of banning ASAT development and warfare, this Code justifies such warfare as long as it’s done, individually and collectively, under the guise of “self-defense”. Thus despite lacking the force of law that would be established with a legally binding treaty, this new US version of the Code creates, as the norm it is proposing, a possibility for space warfare.

Our world deserves better!

Alice Slater is NY Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and serves on the Council of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Report: Israel increases use of torture in interrogation centers

Palestine Information Center – 17/01/2014

d8a7d8b9d8aad982d8a7d984_41GAZA — The Israeli occupation authority escalated its violation of international laws and human rights conventions in its jails and interrogation centers, human rights report said.

Palestine Center for Prisoners’ Studies revealed that many Palestinian prisoners including women and children have been subjected to torture in Israeli jails and interrogation centers.

Israeli torture techniques include beating, blindfolding, hanging, strip search, Shabh (stress position) where prisoners are made to sit on a small chair with their head hooded and hands tied behind their back, pouring hot or very cold water over the head, according to the report.

The human rights center documented several cases of tortured prisoners who were deprived of sleep and forced into painful positions for long periods in addition to many practices that violate Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The report revealed that Israeli doctors are involved in torture practices against prisoners through submitting false medical files that deny torture crimes before courts.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment