Friday, December 18, 2009

More Climategate

It looks like the only thing man-made (anthropogenic) about climate change is the hysteria.

Via James Delingpole at the Telegraph:

Climategate just got much, much bigger. And all thanks to the Russians who, with perfect timing, dropped this bombshell just as the world’s leaders are gathering in Copenhagen to discuss ways of carbon-taxing us all back to the dark ages.

Feast your eyes on this news release from Rionovosta, via the Ria Novosti agency, posted on Icecap. (Hat Tip: Richard North)

A discussion of the November 2009 Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident, referred to by some sources as “Climategate,” continues against the backdrop of the abortive UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) discussing alternative agreements to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that aimed to combat global warming.

The incident involved an e-mail server used by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, East England. Unknown persons stole and anonymously disseminated thousands of e-mails and other documents dealing with the global-warming issue made over the course of 13 years.

Controversy arose after various allegations were made including that climate scientists colluded to withhold scientific evidence and manipulated data to make the case for global warming appear stronger than it is.

Climategate has already affected Russia. On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.

On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations.

IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.

The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.

Global-temperature data will have to be modified if similar climate-date procedures have been used from other national data because the calculations used by COP15 analysts, including financial calculations, are based on HadCRUT research.

What the Russians are suggesting here, in other words, is that the entire global temperature record used by the IPCC to inform world government policy is a crock.

As Richard North says: This is serial.

UPDATE: As Steve McIntyre reports at ClimateAudit, it has long been suspected that the CRU had been playing especially fast and loose with Russian – more particularly Siberian – temperature records. Here from March 2004, is an email from Phil Jones to Michael Mann.

Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it
wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either
I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.

And here at Watts Up With That is a guest post by Jeff Id of the Air Vent

And here is what one of the commenters has to say about the way the data has been cherry-picked and skewed for political ends:

The crux of the argument is that the CRU cherry picked data following the same methods that have been done everywhere else. They ignored data covering 40% of Russia and chose data that showed a warming trend over statistically preferable alternatives when available. They ignored completeness of data, preferred urban data, strongly preferred data from stations that relocated, ignored length of data set.

One the final page, there is a chart that shows that CRU’s selective use of 25% of the data created 0.64C more warming than simply using all of the raw data would have done. The complete set of data show 1.4C rise since 1860, the CRU set shows 2.06C rise over the same period.

Not, of course, dear readers that I’m in any way tempted to crow about these latest revelations. After all, so many of my colleagues, junior and senior, have been backing me on this one to the hilt….

Oh, if anyone speaks Russian, here’s the full report.

Anybody remember this oldie but goodie:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Evangelical or evanjellyfish?

“One plague of our age is the widespread dislike to what men are pleased to call dogmatic theology. In the place of it, the idol of the day is a kind of jellyfish Christianity – a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or sinew, – without any distinct teaching about the atonement or the work of the Spirit, or justification, or the way of peace with God – a vague, foggy, misty Christianity, of which the only watchwords seem to be, ‘You must be..liberal and kind. You must condemn no man’s doctrinal views. You must consider everybody is right and nobody is wrong’.”

~ J.C. Ryle

The Upper Room, “One Blood”, 99.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reflections from the Gospel Lections

...and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. (Acts 16:33)

Over the years, I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with calling the forerunner of Jesus “John the Baptist.” Sometimes I’ll call him John the Baptizer; other times, John the Forerunner. The reason, of course, is that calling him “John the Baptist” sounds to some ears like “John the Lutheran” or “John the Presbyterian” or “John the Methodist.” That is, they hear a denominational distinctive rather than the man who paved the way for the coming of the Lord who is over the whole church.

This is especially dangerous for those of us who are liturgical, as we will always encounter John in the wilderness of Advent. On more than one occasion I’ve heard ordained clergymen from Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches saying that believers baptism is “more biblical” than infant baptism, and I’ve even seen some Anglican churches “dedicating” rather than baptizing infants.

Plenty of ink has already been spilled over the exegetical arguments for (and against) household baptisms, so I don’t plan to revisit those (brief review here). Instead, I want to draw your attention to a couple of the theological implications of infant baptism (a.k.a. paedobaptism or covenant baptism), implications which are very practical.

First, infant baptism says that salvation is about what God has done, rather than what we have done. For those who insist on adult baptism, the key element seems to be the free will “decision” one has made to follow God. By contrast, infant baptism testifies clearly to God’s sovereign work in salvation and regeneration, and His faithfulness to His promises. It underscores the reality of original sin, and puts on display the fact that God alone is able to bring us into His family. Like an infant being brought forth for the sacrament, we’ve done nothing to merit God’s favor. I can't underscore this enough: infant baptism teaches that salvation is not the result of our works. Grace alone (sola gratia) is truly catholic doctrine!

Second, infant baptism testifies that our children are real, genuine members of God’s kingdom. They are not little pagans that need converting - rather, we can bring them up as Christians, and safely presume that they are saved until (God forbid) they give clear evidence otherwise. Such a doctrine is enormously practical, and can give a great deal of comfort to anxious parents. It’s part of our Communion’s recovery of the historic practice of paedocommunion - and a salutary correlate to our pro-life stance.

I really don’t believe that Anglican leaders have any liberty in this area, as infant baptism is plainly taught in Article 27. Beyond that, I’m convinced that the practice is perfectly scriptural. Read the venerable Browne if you don't believe me.

So baptize those babies!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Playmobil Egyptian Pyramid

My kids are completely enamored of Playmobil (from the youngest to the oldest). Ever since a visit to the traveling Tutankhamen show, Calix (the middle) has been fascinated with Egyptology. Can anybody guess what he's getting for Christmas?