Congressional Hearing on Climate Change

by Judith Curry

There is a forthcoming Hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology entitled “Climate Change: Examining the Processes Used to Create Science and Policy.”

The Hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Mar 31.

Witnesses include:

Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Richard Muller, Professor, University of California, Berkley and Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Dr. John Christy, Director, Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Mr. Peter Glaser, Partner, Troutman Sanders, LLP.

Additional Witnesses TBA

I suspect that all four of these witnesses were invited by the Republicans.  Muller and Christy have been discussed on previous Climate Etc. threads.  Lets take a closer look at Armstrong and Glaser.

Glaser is a lawyer that is very active in the fields of energy, environmental and climate law.  Most recently he testified before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power related to the EPA GHG regulations.

Scott Armstrong is author of the book “Principles of Forecasting” see also the website forecastingprinciples.com.  Numerous denizens have mentioned Armstrong and his work.  His views about climate  change are evidenced in this interview.  We should take a closer look at Armstrong’s work.

I will start a new thread on Thursday once the testimony is posted.  Not sure if there will be live blogging of this hearing, haven’t spotted any other announcements.

106 responses to “Congressional Hearing on Climate Change

  1. Jack Maloney

    “I suspect that all four of these witnesses were invited by the Republicans.’

    Does it matter? I’m disappointed that, even on this blog, we can’t discuss climate change any more without political innuendo. No doubt committee members who are Democrats will have their own witnesses, too. The question for all witnesses should be, “what are their professional qualifications?” Not “what are their politics?”

    • It is not political innuendo, it is political reality. Congressional hearings are carefully staged to deliver political messages (I have helped stage them), so the big question here is what messages have been chosen for delivery?

      • You’ve got that right.

      • Did you help heat up the room for Hansen?
        How many other lies get sold in staged hearings?

      • I agree, David, this is a carefully staged PR event.

        Greed and money are at the root of the problem.

        If they want to get to the root, . . .

        To stop or reduce the misuse of government science as a tool of government propaganda, the inquiry will focus on the flow of federal research funds – from the time of NAS (National Academy of Sciences) budget review of the federal research funding agency – to the time the recipient of federal research funds hides or manipulates data to get the answer wanted by NAS.

        If they want to bamboozle the public, . . .

        There will be a lot of useless hand wringing about the lack of oversight of scientific investigations. The sad fact is that there is too much oversight. That is why the climatologists ignored data and reported exactly what NAS and the program officers wanted.

        I posted background information on the PhysOrg.com discussion about distrust of climate science:

        http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-distrust-climate-science-due-lack.html

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel

    • I would suggest that rather than asking “The question for all witnesses should be, “what are their professional qualifications?”, one might ask “What forecasts have your methods predicted that have actually be measured to have happened”, “What model or papers have you participated in that have been contradicted by nature”? and of course, “What predictions have you subscribed to, contributed to, or supported that have been contradicted by nature”.

      Some once said something like “It does not matter who you are, what you qualifications are, how many people agree with you or how elegant your theories are, it they disagree with nature then they you and they are wrong. It is that simple if it disagrees with nature then it is wrong. ”

      “professional qualifications” are not relevant, a proven track record of correctness is relevant. “professional qualifications” only indicate that a group of people that came before you agreed with you at one time as you and you with them.

    • Harold H Doiron

      Amen!! Climate change science has been severely wounded by political influences. We, as a nation, need to understand why such uncertain results of unvalidated climate change computer model predictions and media hype about “scientific concensus” have previously been accepted as sufficient hard science on which the US government decided to base sweeping public policy changes with great potential harm to the US economy and quality of life. We don’t accept unvalidated model predictions in other branches of science to make potentially dangerous public policy decisions, eg. airliner design, bridge design, availablility of new drugs…what makes climate change science so different?

  2. Muller seems to be an AGW proponent, so if the Republicans invited him they may have made a mistake. See his video at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13429263 It is all about the CO2 increase.

    • steven mosher

      the subject of the hearing is PROCESSES.
      there are a number of us who believe in AGW and who also believe that some of the processes currently used can be improved. I suspect Muller will say something along these lines.

      • I’ll venture an hypothesis:

        Belief is a very weak link in the PROCESS of arriving at scientific understanding (almost said ‘truth’, but remembered jesting Pilate).

      • To re-formulate:
        Any and all (scientific) processes can be improved by exclusion of the word ‘believe’ therefrom.

  3. Curious Canuck

    Interesting list of witnesses so far, Dr. Curry. It’s about time that politicians learn enough about what’s presented to them to understand what important questions need to be asked regarding certainty and how funding principals can effect the framing and substance of what science can and can’t provide them in the process of policymaking.

    Hopefully the lawmakers questions and future actions will reflect (for those who took note) some absorption of some what you tried to convey in your testimony in November’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearings.

  4. Maybe the committee could call the speaker who made these remarks as a witness to explain America’s schizophrenic energy policy:

    “By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered … could amount to twice the reserves we have…. We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers. At a time when we’ve been reminded how easily instability in other parts of the world can affect the price of oil, the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy.”

    Sarah Palin to the oil companies in Alaska wanting to drill in ANWR? Bobby Jindahl to the oil companies whose drilling in the Gulf has been halted for an indefinite period? Nikki Haley supporting off shore drilling off the South Carolina coast?

    Nope. Barack “energy prices must necessarily sky rocket” Obama to…..drum roll….Brazil, offering to subsidize off shore drilling there. Nine days ago. (The ellipses were substituted for “off the shores of Brazil” and “in the United States” in the original quote.)

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/obama-speeches/speech/590/

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

  5. To All,

    Like the earlier Congressional hearings, these hearings too will undoubtedly include testimony and questions related to the impact of scientific uncertainty on policy processes.

    Climate change is not, of course, the only public policy topic for which scientific uncertainty is an important issue in connection with policy development. FYI, the relationship between “statistical significance” and “materiality” under U.S. Federal securities law was just addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court last Tuesday, in the case of Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. Siracusano.

    In its opinion in the case (authored by Justice Sotomayor for a unanimous Court and available at http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/matrixx-initiatives-inc-v-siracusano), the Supreme Court kept alive a securities fraud claim against Matrixx, a pharmaceutical manufacturer. That claim was based on the allegation that investors in Matrixx’s public securities were misled for purposes of Federal securities law because Matrixx failed in its public financial and business information to disclose scientific reports of a possible link between Matrixx’s leading product, Zicam Cold Remedy, and loss of smell (anosmia). According to the claimant investors, that omission allegedly rendered the public statements actually made by Matrixx misleading.

    Federal securities laws, as you may know, make it unlawful for any person publicly offering securities “to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading ….”

    In defense, Matrixx argued that, because the adverse scientific evidence was not statistically significant, failure to disclose it to investors was not a failure to disclose a material fact. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected that defense.

    Clearly, standards for scientific uncertainty under securities law are not direct guidance for how to deal with scientific uncertainty in the context of climate change public policy. Nevertheless, the treatment of scientific uncertainty under securities law is interesting (at least to me) in trying to think about uncertainty in scientific evidence and its relationship to the development of public policy in other areas. The official syllabus for the opinion summarizes Justice Sotomayor’s discussion of statistical significance vs. materiality of information as follows.

    “Here, Matrixx’s bright-line rule—that adverse event reports regarding a pharmaceutical company’s products are not material absent a sufficient number of such reports to establish a statistically significant risk that the product is causing the events—would “artificially exclud[e]” information that “would otherwise be considered significant to [a reasonable investor’s] trading decision.” … Matrixx’s premise that statistical significance is the only reliable indication of causation is flawed. Both medical experts and the Food and Drug Administration rely on evidence other than statistically significant data to establish an inference of causation. It thus stands to reason that reasonable investors would act on such evidence. Because adverse reports can take many forms, assessing their materiality is a fact-specific inquiry, requiring consideration of their source, content, and context. The question is whether a reasonable investor would have viewed the nondisclosed information “ ‘as having significantly altered the “total mix” of information made available.’ ” …. Something more than the mere existence of adverse event reports is needed to satisfy that standard, but that something more is not limited to statistical significance and can come from the source, content, and context of the reports.”

    The full discussion of this topic is found at pps. 9-16 of Justice Sotomayor’s opinion.

    I hope this is useful.

    Regards,
    MK

    • John Nielsen-Gammon posted about this ruling on his site. With respect to Justice Sotomayor, she’s over-thinking it. The FDA can well rely on evidence “other than statistically significant data” in order to regulate pharmaceuticals, but the issue at hand in this case carries a far lower bar. Even a false allegation, if it may adverse impact to the company’s stock price, can be material information that should be disclosed (eg. the old rumors about P&G’s moon and stars logo being associated with satanism). I’m not sure the ruling has any real relevance to climate science and/or policy.

    • Come on, now. You know as well as I do that government plays by different rules. If the same rules as for the private sector were applied to them, we’d have run out of prison space a long time ago.

  6. It seems that those who aggressively supprt agw mitigaton are in a panic and smear campaign now that the 2010 election results take hold, clearly there are many who are active in agw dissent and they will get better representation. That’s what elections are about. All the whining, begging and crying about “science” when the “settled science” phase of 06-10′ in particular are coming home to roost. Suddenly it’s all talk in the usual circles about “anti-science” and drumming that talking point into the ground.

    I’m sure both sides have a different view about who has injured “science” more in the past 30 years over this topic. That is reality.

  7. My take on the hearing, in the context of the word “process” is this. They invited two relative outsiders on science process: Muller on the surface temp observations and Armstrong on modelling. Glaser on policy process, and Christy possibly on the scientific assessment process. I’m hoping that some of the additional witnesses address the process at the science-policy interface. If so, this could be quite an interesting hearing.

  8. I expect Muller will be very critical of processes and secrecy used by GISS and CRU. He is concerned about global warming but was honest enough to be highly critical of MBH98 after Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick destroyed the Hockey Stick. I think he will be honest in his explanation of why he thought a reliable surface temperature record was needed.

    Scott Armstrong is a very interesting guy. It is inexcusable to me that climate scientists have ignored the discipline of scientific forecasting. I expect Armstrong will have a great deal to say about processes and uncertainty.

  9. All seem to be concerned about “who” (Republican or Democrat) invited whom. If you invite “Scientists,” you should expect “science” bereft of politics. The fact that 2+2 = 4 should remain so if science has its way, but it could become 3 or 5 depending on which way politicians spin it, and which result will generate greater tax revenue.

    Climate science has trouble being parsed into sound bytes – Muller, author of “Physics for Future Presidents,” has a shot at distilling the topic towards congressional understandability, and I hope the rest do so too.

    Too much hype has been conferred upon “Greenhouse Gasses;” EPA should stick to eradication of real poisons and carcinogens – when they succeed, then look at CO2! Shrinking pack ice and increasing albedo that ensues, have leapfrogged CO2 as the major drivers of climate. Twice two is still four.

    By the way, the Matrixx case turned on their statement that adverse reports about loss of smelling ability were “completely unfounded and misleading.” In fact, their statement in quotes was exactly that.

    Tom

    • Hope blooms eternal.
      As far as climate science goes, it has been lost to politics since 1988.
      By the way, are you related to Johnny?

    • Harold H Doiron

      Tom, Glad to see you “weighing in” here…. and thank you for introducing me to the work of Donn and Ewing and teaching me about the important roles the earth’s albedo and Arctic sea ice play in well-established natural cooling and warming cycles cycles of the Northern Hemisphere.

  10. Stephen Rasey

    Muller gets his chance in the center ring:
    Physics for future Presidents
    What every world leader needs to know

    http://muller.lbl.gov/teaching/physics10/pffp.html

    If Muller does nothing but expose stuff left on the cutting room floor, he will do a lot of good.

    “It’s not what the President doesn’t know that bothers me.
    It is what the President knows for sure that just isn’t so.”
    -Will Rogers

  11. “His views about climate change are evidenced in this interview. We should take a closer look at Armstrong’s work.”

    Well worth a a closer look. Climate science can only be helped in the long run by improved forecasting methods.

    Many good links for Armstrong’s work on climate science forecast methods

    http://www.theclimatebet.com/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703326204575616983641995488.html

  12. Armstrong has a very clear, and extremist libertarian orientation.

    Check out this paper:

    http://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/documents/research/Natural%20Learning%20Final-Clean.pdf

    It’s interesting that in some broad ways I agree with his analysis – basically, that our traditional educational paradigm tends to breed passivity among students and rewards following instructions rather than encourages divergent thinking. But as an analysis of educational philosophies and methodologies, his paper is embarrassingly narrow and unsophisticated, and it is clearly, deeply biased. For example:

    Given the lack of evidence showing that formal education is effective, prejudicial hiring of people based on education, and the immense costs involved with education, one might expect a negative return to society for educational expenditures. To examine this, it is necessary to control for differences among individuals. This can be done by analyzing longitudinal data by country. Wolf (2004) summarized such studies; these correlated countries’ expenditures on education (up to 91 countries in one study) with their economic growth over a given time period. These natural experiments, in the sense that governments impose different strategies, found that increases in educational expenditures were detrimental to the economic growth of nations.

    Unbelievably unsophisticated: he cites this one study to conclude that educational expenditure is detrimental to economic growth? Irrespective of the economic condition of the nation? Irrespective of how the money is spent?

    Study after study by economists show, for example, that spending in early childhood education brings a 20 to 1 return on investment in our country.

    Armstrong is an extremist. It is no wonder that he will be testifying at this dong and pony show.

    • Ha! Freudian typo there?

    • “Study after study by economists show, for example, that spending in early childhood education brings a 20 to 1 return on investment in our country.”

      Looks like you failed to include all the work that shows that Head Start has had no benefit. And the vast amounts that have been poured into public schools in the last 50 years have produced no discernable improvement in learning. You need to look at more studies.

      • Actually, Stan, I’ve seen studies that reach varying conclusions about the benefits of Head Start. Some show benefits, some show no benefits, and some show mixed results – for example, the recent and extensive study by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows benefits that taper off over time (other studies have also shown that benefits are lost over time – particularl for African American kids).

        But regardless of your conclusions about Head Start, it is a specific program, and cannot be used to generalize about whether investing in other programs would bring a positive return on investment.

        Your conclusion that the ” the vast amounts that have been poured into public schools in the last 50 years have produced no discernable improvement in learning” fails to take into account the potential influence of confounding variables and fails to account for positive externalities: for example, criminality and unemployment correlate with lower education levels. That correlation doesn’t prove causality, but causality (or lack thereof) either way shouldn’t be assumed without more careful analysis.

  13. More on Armstrong’s bias.

    He says that there was an “international ban” on DDT. There wasn’t.

    Based in this distortion, he then goes with the highly arguable conclusion that action in DDT was responsible for “millions of deaths.” It is astounding that such sloppy science from politicized sources is being promoted as an antidote to politicized bad science.

    • Huh.

      I read http://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/documents/research/EBA43-%20clean.pdf and can’t conclude I’m reading an uncareful or distortionary academic from this one paper.

      Clearly, no one person is only one thing.

      Some of what that paper suggests about its topic (evidence-based advertising) is very much in line with much of what denizens here say they seek in climate science.

      How much more shocking that marketers might teach scientists how to better do science?

      I guess he could be an extremist, in that sense, after all.

      • Clearly, no one person is only one thing.

        Fair enough. Without having read the article on marketing, I am certainly willing to agree that it would be unfair to characterize all of the man’s work on the basis of the one paper I linked.

        But if you read the paper I linked, I think you would agree that it reflects a very strong (anti-government) political orientation. And I pointed out two examples of shoddy/inaccurate work.

        So based on your point, I’ll restate.

        His testimony should be viewed as coming from someone who has an overt political orientation and who has misrepresented facts when making an argument related to his characterization of the work of “climate scientists.”

      • steven mosher

        I’d suggest focusing on his work in forecasting. I think you may find more there that is relevant.

        It’s clear he holds some “interesting” views on DDT and education, but His views on forecasting are what we should focus on.

      • His views on education are interesting “backstory,” which may provide some evidence of ideological/political extremism – although even that in itself does not negate his arguments per se.

        However, he himself relates his views on DDT to his opinions on climate science.

        If he sticks only to the more technical aspects of forecasting, then the rest isn’t directly relevant; I tend to doubt that he will do so, however, and I suspect that is why he is being asked to testify.

      • Joshua, we had this discussion a while back. I gave you a reference listing citations. (Not the one with the running tally; that was for giggles.)
        There is a similarity between the EPA ruling on DDT and what is now called “climate science”: an overt political agenda at work.

        Overruling the EPA hearing examiner, EPA administrator Ruckelshaus banned DDT in 1972. Ruckelshaus never attended a single hour of the seven months of EPA hearings on DDT. Ruckelshaus’ aides reported he did not even read the transcript of the EPA hearings on DDT.

      • Dixie – I am not necessarily defending the wisdom of the ban, or the quality of the science behind the ban.

        I am pointing out that there are specious arguments being made about DDT, for the purpose of exploiting the deaths of millions for political purposes.

        If false claims are being made about DDT, and then the issue of DDT is being used as a foundational arguments about climate science, then you have a problem.

      • steven mosher

        I could care less about his ideology or his views on climate science. If he is presenting his views on forecasting, then it is important to meet his challenge on that ground. It’s trivial for someone else who doesnt share his baggage to make the same arguments about forecasting that he does. Then where are you? I don’t share his views on education or DDT or climate science. If I make the same arguments he does about forecasting how are you going to respond? point out that I wrote a book a climategate? Understanding why someone makes arguments is a trivial non falsifiable exercise. Meeting their arguments squarely is the first order of business.

    • So, you can go into Home Depot today and get some DDT, right? Because, there’s no BAN on DDT.

      Why play semantic games over something so trivial?

      Bruce

      • Why play semantic games over something so trivial?

        Because the claim that the millions died because of an “international ban,” a statement that Armstrong used in his example for how his thesis was constructed, is bogus. It is, flatly, an inaccurate statement.

        There was an international convention that restricted DDT to vector control in 2004 – but attributing the deaths of millions to that “ban” of 7 years ago is obviously specious. The claim being made is that an “international ban” of decades ago is responsible. Not to mention that the attribution of the deaths of millions to a bogus “international ban,” ignores factors such as mosquito resistance to DDT, which was identified in the 1950s, or the fact that many countries were malaria has persisted lack the resources and infrastructure for effective use of DDT. Deleterious environmental effects and mosquito resistance were directly attributable to unregulated overuse of DDT for agricultural purposes.

        Funny how folks seeking to demonize fictitious “international bans” neglect to mention that, isn’t it?

        Right. Semantics.

      • Do you have a source for

        Because the claim that the millions died because of an “international ban,” a statement that Armstrong used in his example for how his thesis was constructed, is bogus. It is, flatly, an inaccurate statement.

        ?

      • There are many. For example, look at this source that Gary linked:

        http://fds.duke.edu/db?attachment-103–1311-view-553

        Because of these environmental concerns and subsequent suspicions about DDT’s negative human health impacts, most Western countries banned DDT in the 1970s. Many developing regions of the world, including Mexico, India, China and several countries in Africa, continued DDT production and use for both agriculture and malaria vector control.

        So – please note that there was no “international ban,” as Armstrong claimed. Also, please note that even in countries were DDT was still in use, malaria prevalence increased (notably in India). In some of those countries, the use of DDT was subsequently banned because of mosquito resistance.

        Please note this also:

        Currently most developing countries oppose the use of DDT in agriculture, but accept its use in malaria control.

        These quotes are in direct contradiction to Armstrong’s claim of an “international ban.” They are consistent with many other sources easily available.

        Questioning the wisdom of reducing DDT usage is one thing. There seem to be some valid arguments that certainly suggest that increased and proper usage would be beneficial. But that is a far cry from the facile causal arguments linking bans against overuse for agricultural purposes, and fictitious “international bans,” to “millions of deaths.” The charges of “international bans” are overstated, and the facile, causal links to the deaths fail to comprehensively deal with all the relevant questions. Armstrong fails on both respects, and he makes DDT a foundational claim in arguing his thesis related to climate science.

      • Joshua. On this we agree: “There seem to be some valid arguments that certainly suggest that increased and proper usage would be beneficial.”

      • Joshua

        The WHO lifted the DDT ban in order to reduce malaria deaths

        http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2006/pr50/en/index.html

        This report made prior to the WHO lifting the ban, shows estimated deaths resulting fom the ban.

        http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.442/healthissue_detail.asp

        From what I have seen, there is a reasonable case to be made that the introduction of DDT in many tropical regions resulted in a drastic reduction in malaria deaths. The US ban on DDT, which was carried over to these nations, caused a resurgence of malaria deaths there. The WHO decision to lift the ban is based on saving lives.

        I have not seen any recent figures showing whether or not returning to DDT has reduced malaria deaths.

        Max

      • Max

        What an intriguing juxtaposition of factual source and fiction.

        The WHO up to 1984 actively sponsored indoor DDT spraying — a full dozen years after the supposed start date of the ‘ban’ ACSH alleges.

        For a wide variety of mainly administrative reasons, the WHO stopped this indoor spraying practice until 2006, when it finally got its ducks in a row and put a full press on this practice, combined with renewed and improved bednets and a holistic programme of care, treatment and prevention.

        The bans and agreements to end agricultural use of DDT was largely supported in the 1970’s in part to improve the effectiveness of DDT for indoor use, and remains a good reason to restrict this use today.

        The millions of deaths that could have as been avoided had the various wars, criminal enterprises, corrupt governments and incompetent bureaucracies, rampant apathy, cultural biases and steep learning curve of NGOs at coping with these issues are a great sadness.

        These deaths cannot be put at the feet of what was then and is now a prudent if imperfect regulatory measure which was then and is now widely and wildly misrepresented by its detractors.

        The exploitation of these deaths for the agenda of those misrepresenting history is scandalous and frankly stinks to hear repeated on the lips of otherwise sensible and responsible people.

    • From EPA’s website: http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/ddt/01.htm

      EPA tempted that DDT would no longer be available for general use in the United States. Other countries quickly followed suit which, in turn pressured poor, malarial nations to “ban” (or make so restrictive as to be a de facto ban) DDT. That pressure still is being applied.

      Bruce

      • The EPA banned use for agricultural purposes in the U.S.

        The claim that “millions died” because of an “international ban,” and even further that the EPA is responsible for an “international ban,” is bogus.

      • Joshua –
        After all this time you still can’t answer the simple question – why can’t i buy DDT for home use – NOW?

        And the answer is because it WAS a defacto ban – in the US as well as the rest of the world – regardless of what Wikipedia says.

      • Oh. Sorry Jim. I guess I got it wrong.

        The fact that I can’t buy DDT in my local Home Depot proves that Armstrong was right, and that there was an “international ban,” and even though none existed.

        My bad.

      • So where did all the DDT go? To South Africa, maybe? Or perhaps to Mars?

        Don’t get silly on me – it WAS a defacto ban regardless of the sources you’ve conveniently dredged up. And it was enforced by what were blatantly extralegal means.

    • “He says that there was an “international ban” on DDT. There wasn’t. ”

      I was in my early 20’s at the time of the DDT Hysteria. We’d helped launch GreenPeace in Vancouver through a series of benefit concerts and were all part of the environmental movement. Were were convinced that DDT was evil, that the science was sound, and it was going to kill millions.

      Don’t believe everything you read in Wikipedia. The ban on DDT was a huge victory for the environmental movement. We were all very happy at the time.

      There most certainly was a defacto international ban. Mostly it was carried out by witholding financial assistance and loans from countries that continued to use DDT. After all, DDT was bad. There was no reason to use it. It didn’t happen overnight, but within 10 years DDT was gone worldwide.

      The reason the poor countries benefited from DDT was because it was dirt cheap to use – it was something they could afford. The alternatives were too expensive so the poor countries did without. At the time everyone promised that foreign aid would make up the difference but in reality it didn’t.

      The result was an explosion of malaria deaths in the poorest countries of the world. In the process of making the environment more important than people, we killed tens if not hundreds of millions of people. None of it was forseen or intended.

      What is never talked about is that largely no one really paid that much attention because we were convinced the world was overpopulated as it was. One less mouth to feed was one less person that would starve to death. None if it was intended, and plenty try and cover it up today, but it happened.

      • Ferd – you have a point on the economics – to a degree. However, proper usage of DDT requires a that countries have sophisticated and relatively well-funded eradication infrastructure – which is not the case in many of the countries where malaria is resurgent.

        Also, there were countries, as in India, where widespread usage of DDT continued, and where malaria prevalance continued to increase.

        There were countries where malaria was spreading even before they reduced their usage of DDT.

        The claims that we used DDT to eradicate malaria and then banned its usage in other countries (as you stated earlier) is not accurate. It wasn’t the usage of DDT that enabled us to eradicate malaria (eradication in the U.S. predated DDT), and we didn’t ban its usage elsewhere.

        Significant problems of deleterious effects on the environment and mosquito resistance developed from unregulated overuse for agricultural purposes.

        I have read of some instances that malaria eradication programs were denied funding if they entailed usage of DDT, but I haven’s seen that such instances were widespread, and I haven’t seen instances where humanitarian aid was denied due to DDT usage; I’d appreciate links if you have some examples of that.

        The problem with malaria is complicated. The main reason that malaria hasn’t been eradicated is the lack of economic resources in the countries where malaria is prevalent. We eliminated malaria in this country by draining swamps and building houses of better houses. From what I’ve read, pointing to the one factor of DDT usage, let alone the EPA’s ban of usage in this country for agricultural purposes, is useful politically to generate heat about the misguided libz and enviro-nazis and the like, but it is seems far shy of a comprehensive analysis of the problem.

      • DDT causes thinning of shells in raptors. The human health and environmental impacts seem to have been vastly oversold. The WHO approved DDT for use as a residual indoor spray in 2007.

        http://www.goodplanet.info/eng/Contenu/Points-de-vues/L-OMS-preconise-l-utilisation-du-DDT-contre-le-paludisme/(theme)/2021

        On the other hand it was grossly overused – and how would you know there would be no human health impacts in 1972?

        IMO – many things have been oversold especially global warming. I think we got carried away by our success. I remember putting dolphins and penguins on things – no real reason just rampant environmental marketing. It is easier to sell charismatic animals than fear. Rachel Carson did the same – in the very title of Silent Spring.

        Well you know what they say about hubris – it goes before a fall. And forgetting that there are lives – many lives – at risk still in many of our decisions would be a crime against humanity.

      • Chief –
        Actually, studies done “after-the-fact” showed that avian egg shells thinned by 3.6% when mama was fed moderate doses of DDT. When fed higher doses, the shell thinning reduced to 2%.
        Which was exactly the same effect that occurred if mama was not fed for 36 hours prior to dropping the egg.

        Urban myths propagated by those with agendas can be irritating to everyone when exposed.

      • The birds I specifically mentioned were raptors (birds of prey) and not other birds at all which are largely unaffected. The effect is from bio -accumulation of a persistent chemical up the food chain.

        Field and population studies rather than laboratory studies were reasonably persuasive. ‘Once a common sight in much of the continent, the Bald Eagle was severely affected in the mid-20th century by a variety of factors, among them the thinning of egg shells attributed to use of the pesticide DDT. Bald Eagles, like many birds of prey, were especially affected by DDT due to biomagnification. DDT itself was not lethal to the adult bird, but it interfered with the bird’s calcium metabolism, making the bird either sterile or unable to lay healthy eggs’

        ‘With regulations in place and DDT banned, the eagle population rebounded. The Bald Eagle can be found in growing concentrations throughout the United States and Canada, particularly near large bodies of water. In the early 1980s, the estimated total population was 100,000 individuals, with 110,000–115,000 by 1992… It was officially removed from the U.S. federal government’s list of endangered species on July 12, 1995.’

        What was this about urban myths?

      • Chief,

        I think a fair argument can be made that the dangers of DDT were “oversold.” Then again, as of 2000, 23 countries continued to use DDT for controlling malaria. Further, the dangers of overuse of DDT were quite real, and the arguments about the deleterious effects of environmentalist opposition to DDT usage have been oversold as well. For example:

        …spraying of houses with DDT reduced Sri Lanka’s malaria burden from 2.8 million cases and 7,300 deaths to 17 cases and no deaths. India and South America achieved similarly impressive reductions, and several countries fully eradicated malaria1. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where mosquitoes are most difficult to control, DDT spraying resulted in great reductions in malaria8.

        Unfortunately, many of these successes were short-lived. American funds, which underwrote the eradication campaign, soon lapsed, and overuse of DDT in agriculture bred DDT-resistant mosquitoes. Back in malaria’s grip, Sri Lanka returned to a half a million cases by 1969.

        Note that malaria was again very prevalent in Sri Lanka even prior to DDT being banned for agricultural purposes in the United States and other developed countries. And the blame for the increase in prevalence is placed squarely upon: (1) lack of funding for malaria eradication (the reasons why the aid for eradication in Sri Lanka dried up in the late 1960s seem to be complicated, but environmentalists concerns about DDT seems not to have been a primary factor at that point), and (2), mosquito resistance. What we have here is a complicated situation that is being “oversold” as “statist” malfeasance that cost the lives of millions through some fictitious “international ban’ on DDT.

        Also, note that seven years prior to the WHO policy that you mentioned, advocacy influenced the United Nations Environment Program’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) wrt DDT:

        Dear Colleagues

        At the end of this long and successful campaign, the Malaria Foundation International (MFI) and the Malaria Project (MP), led by Amir Attaran, would like to both thank and congratulate you and the many parties for valuable assistance that helped to successfully obtain an exemption for DDT at the INC 5 POP’s negotiations recently in South Africa.

        In particular, we thank the over 400 doctors and scientists from 63 countries, who lent strong support last year when this issue was first brought to the attention of the scientific community. It was due only to this strong support of yourselves, voiced together with others in the public health community, that DDT was not slated for elimination along with the 11 other chemicals on the treaty.

    • Joshua,
      You are embarrassing yourself with your fixation on defending how the enviros messed up DDT.

      • But Joshua is providing us with a very good example of the way enviros argue, the nature of their “facts”, and their willingness to slander people who disagree.

    • Harold H Doiron

      International ban on DDT or not…the US leadership role in banning DDT here in the US resulted in other third world countries, who view us as a scientific leader, also banning use of DDT. And, as a result, they lost millions of their citizens to Malaria; a mosquito borne disease that they had previously been controlling with DDT.

      The unintended consequences of the DDT “ban” is an important case study for climate change scientists with unvalidated climate change models.

    • The “DDT was banned/wasn’t banned” argument has been done to death. No, it wasn’t “banned”. Yes, the countries that most needed it were presented with the alternatives of discontinuing its use, or forgoing aid. The effect was that of a ban, and the result was millions of needless deaths from malaria. Liberal bien pensants try to salve their consciences by wittering on about mosquito nets, which are to armchair epidemiology what wind-farms are to climate alarmism.

  14. ian (not the ash)

    ‘dong and pony show’, heeheehee…ta’ joshua needed a bit of a giggle this morn!
    cheers, ian

  15. Muller probably realizes the biggest problem to advancing the warmist agenda is the Team and Al Gore. If he can undercut their credibility, cut their funding, end their role in the climategate disaster he can get the CAGW movement back on track and save world from itself.

  16. Talk about unbelievably unsophisticated, criticize a comment questioning whether enormous expenditures on university level education are warranted economically, by claiming that “study after study” on “spending in early childhood education brings a 20 to 1 return on investment in our country.”

    Criticize the article for relying on “one study,” but ignore the fact that the very excerpt quoted makes it clear that the study is a survey of other research: “Wolf (2004) summarized such studies.” (All without, of course, citing the “study after study.”)

    And more importantly, completely misstate the point the author made in the article. Change “INCREASES in educational expenditures [over historical levels] were detrimental to the economic growth of nations” to “educational expenditure is detrimental to economic growth.” What is it about CAGWers that they have this irresistible impulse to delete things?

    But since Joshua changed the subject to elementary and secondary education, what is the evidence showing increases in spending at that level provides an economic benefit? Well, if you happen to be one of the poor students being “educated” under this country’s progressive instituted redistribution of income to teacher’s unions, the answer is – not so much.

    Here is a chart showing INCREASES in spending on elementary and secondary education in the US from 1971 through 2007 in inflation adjusted numbers, from $4,489 to $10,041. (http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66)

    These are the graduation statistics for the same period; falling from 78.7% in 1969 to 71.1% in 1999, with a slight recovery to 74.8% in 2007. (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009020.pdf)

    Talk about hiding a decline.

    Somebody around here is deeply biased. But there is no evidence that it is Armstrong.

    • This was intended as a reply to
      Joshua | March 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    • As for your first point, I’m not writing an academic paper. If I were, I would cite numerous sources for the conclusions I draw, and not simply mention the findings of numerous studies. Trust me, a quick use of The Google will turn up numerous studies by well-respected economists that show a strongly positive return on investment in early childhood education. If you can’t fine any, let me know and I’ll give you a couple of links.

      Yes, the study mentioned is a survey of other research; so what? Is it a survey of all other research? Is it the only survey of research on “increases in educational expenditure?” Does it make an argument for causation, as Armstrong suggests in is unprofessionally brief treatment of an incredibly complicated subject? Are we to conclude from that one survey that any increase in educational investment will bring a negative return in economic growth? Should we conclude that increasing educational investment in early childhood education for poor kids in this country will bring a negative return? Really? Check out the research and get back to me.

      And now for your assertions about spending and education:

      First, are you actually trying to say that showing a correlation between increased spending and declining graduation rates is an analysis that controls for important variables, such as demographic or SES changes in public school populations? Really? Further, do you have any way of proving that the graduation rates might not have been even lower absent the increased expenditure? Of course you don’t. Are you aware of extensive research that shows that increased spending on education reduces crime rates, incarceration rates, unemployment rates, etc.? Of course you aren’t.

      And even if your confusion of correlation with causation were accurate, would that be any sort of proof that increases in spending irrespective of how the money was invested would not bring a positive return? Again, do some research and get back to me.

      The kinds of sloppy assertions you made are precisely the type that Armstrong makes in his article about educational expenditures.

      • Joshua –
        My kids were in school during the 60’s and 70’s – and as school spending went up – the educational quality went down. They ended up in a private school even though I couldn’t afford it at the time.

        Now my grandchildren are in school – and the quality is even worse, while the money tree has been pumped big-time. The grandchildren are also OUT of the public system – and doing very well, thank you.

        BTW – where do Obama’s kids go to school? Yeah – I know – security. And where did they go before he was President?

        A lot of those who have any smarts and care about their kids education and can afford it, send them someplace besides good old PS15.

      • Jim – try addressing the questions I raised about the bogus assertions of causation.

        The fact that our schools have increasing dropout rates and other problems even as funding has increased does not stand as proof that educational investment doesn’t provide any positive returns, let along the ridiculous assertion that it brings a negative return.

        Did you know that schools where where the % of students who live in poverty is below 20% rank as high as schools in any other country?

        I’m not sure how where Obama’s kids attend schools is relevant.

        If you’re from PA, then maybe you know about the public schools in some of Philly’s suburbs that provide an excellent education and that spend twice as much per pupil as the public schools just over the border in Philly. Do you think those school systems spend twice as much per student because are stupid – because they don’t understand, as has been asserted, that educational expenditure has no positive impact on the quality of education?

        Studies which control for the SES of students, and factors such as % of kids that are special needs, show that there is basically no difference in outcomes when you compare public and private schools.

        There are many factors which contribute to the problems our public schools are having in educating our youth. The assertion that there is a negative relationship between educational spending and economic growth, let alone educational outcomes, is ridiculous (particularly if that money is spent on early childhood education).

      • The fact that our schools have increasing dropout rates and other problems even as funding has increased does not stand as proof that educational investment doesn’t provide any positive returns, let along the ridiculous assertion that it brings a negative return.

        This is called argument by assertion. You claim no harm, yet provide neither proof nor alternate explanations.

        In addition, nobody has claimed ZERO positive effects – yet. But from your own statement, the dropout rate is increasing – therefore the schools are not, in general, getting better, but worse.

        Studies which control for the SES of students, and factors such as % of kids that are special needs, show that there is basically no difference in outcomes when you compare public and private schools.

        That’s nonsense. You don’t spend enough time with the end product of both kinds of schools. There are certainly good public schools and well educated public school graduates – but the percentages are all in favor of private school graduates. Of course, it does depend on what you call “well educated”. But if you dig into the records of major corporations that have to send public school graduates to remedial classes so they can function, you just might see a difference.

      • My criticism was that your comment on Armstrong and his article you cited was both dishonest and sloppy. I usually ignore the sloppy part on a blog comment, but the irony posed by your condescending remarks was just too precious.

        Oh, and as to those two statistical cites I included (whereas you cited nothing except the famous “study after study”), they aren’t intended to “prove” anything. The question I posed was “what is the evidence showing increases in spending at that level provides an economic benefit.” What the spending and graduation statistics show is that there is not even correlation between increased spending and increased graduation rates at the elementary and secondary levels. So of course, like a good CAGW fanatic, you immediately try to shift the burden of proof – can I show that increased spending didn’t prevent a greater decrease. (What you should do is get a hold of Mann and Steig and see if you can all come up with a nice statistical analysis to show that all those kids who were kept in poverty by your beloved progressive education system are really living in Beverly Hills.)

        I won’t waste my time on your other attempts at diversion.

        Liberal/progressive rules of debate:

        1) Demonize your opponent so no one will listen to his opinion. (This is what Joshua tried to do with Armstrong above);

        2) Filibuster, so your opponent does not get a chance to make his point. (This is hard to do on the internet, so the progressive instead tries to keep asking his opponent questions, never answering them himself. Notice that Joshua asks 9 questions in two paragraphs. The point is not to debate, but to foreclose debate, ie. filibuster);

        3) If your opponent is making a point you do not want to be aired, change the subject. (Hence the original changing of the focus on Armstrong’s participation in a congressional hearing on climate to his stance on education funding and DDT);

        4) If all else fails, just lie. (Take an arguable point about the value of significant increases in spending for higher education, and falsely claim the author said no money should be spent on education at all).

        But hey, this is all about the science.


      • “what is the evidence showing increases in spending at that level provides an economic benefit.”

        If you did a modicum of research on the topic, you would find plenty of studies that show a positive return on investment in education, particularly in early childhood education. Armstrong’s broad statement is meaningless, at the very least, because it fails to control for types of educational spending that are being examined for influence on economic growth.


        What the spending and graduation statistics show is that there is not even correlation between increased spending and increased graduation rates at the elementary and secondary levels.

        Actually, if you haven’t controlled for other variables, you have no way of making that assessment. If you control for the effect of other variables, you might well see such a correlation. You have stated that there is no correlation without controlling for confounding variables that might have greater negative influence than a positive influence of spending. You have stated that there is no correlation without having the data to prove your statement.

        Hence the original changing of the focus on Armstrong’s participation in a congressional hearing on climate to his stance on education funding and DDT

        Actually, I was responding to Armstrong’s statement in the audio clip Judith linked in this thread.

      • I suppose I should be more accurate with reference to correlation. My point really is with respect to specious conclusions about causation. Without controlling for confounding variables, it is impossible to say whether or not increased spending causes higher graduation rates, causes lower graduations rates, or simply doesn’t affect graduation rates at all.

      • My personal opinion is that K-12 “education” should really be called “teaching”, in the sense of transmitting the tools and concepts needed for a person to educate him/herself. Further, whatever a “teacher” may do, the primary educator is the person, with the help, encouragement and support of parents.
        Lastly, “education” is a lifelong challenge.

      • Joshua –
        You keep saying things like “controlling for variables” but the only thing that matters is – what comes out of the schools after 12 years of “education”. And it’s a mixed bag. There are good schools with good teachers and there are the others. And they all get lots of money thrown at them – and the money doesn’t determine the quality of the schools or the education. That’s a functon of only one thing – the dedication of the teachers. No different than it was in 1940.

        You want “causation”? Two words – Wisconsin – unions.

        You talk about special needs kids – and I watched those special needs kids get thrown into the classrooms with everyone else – and bring the whole educational process to a screeching halt. It was bad for them, it was bad for the bright kids and it was bad for the average kids and it was bad for the teachers. How do your “studies” treat that?

        I watched the unions determine that ineffective teaching methods would be used – and kids stopped learning. Not all of them, but a lot of them. And then the next teaching method would be “tried” – and fail – and the next – and the next. For a while it was apparently the teaching method of the week – and the teachers couldn’t keep up, much less the kids. How do your “studies” treat the effects from that?

        You apparently derive your knowledge from “studies” and Wiki and similar sources – while others of us lived through things that you say didn’t happen – or aren’t documented to your satisfaction. Tough.

        You’ve been beating the drum about DDT since your first day here – and you haven’t convinced anyone that I can determine. So what’s your purpose in continuing – just to irritate? A bit of friendly advice (and it’s worth exactly what you pay for it) – find something else to beat on for a while cause your DDT fixation apparently isn’t working well. And you’ve hijacked too many threads with it for it to be funny anymore.

        Now you seem to be onto the educational system – and your “studies” and Wiki still don’t trump real life experience with the system – and the results. It’s kinda like climate science – Nature trumps theory and models every time.

      • Jim – I’ve been an educator for 30 years, at the elementary school level, middle school level, high school level, community college level, at an engineering school, at quite a few extremely prestigious universities, at a very prestigious business school, in workplace education programs, in adult basic education programs, in welfare to work educational programs, and internationally. I’ve also taught special education. Also, I have been studying educational pedagogy, methodology, philosophy, and educational psychology, and epistemology for 30 years.

        The studies I’ve mentioned related to educational outcomes are very real. If you had studied the research on educational outcomes, you’d be familiar with them.

      • Joshua,
        The implosion of public education in the US is a very complex and tragic problem.
        Referring to studies done by people promoting from or employed by public education regarding the value of this or that sacred cow is really rather circular.

      • Referring to studies done by people promoting from or employed by public education regarding the value of this or that sacred cow is really rather circular.

        Hunter, who did that? Do you think that Nobel Prize winners in economics and the Vice President and Director of Research at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank are “employed by public education?”

        http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16436

        This summary brief highlights three reports: the first from Art Rolnick, Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank; the second from James Heckman, Nobel Prize winner in economics from the University of Chicago; and the latest report from the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation on the longitudinal study of the Perry Preschool Program. These reports characterize the economics of investing in early education by examining state economic subsidies, skill development for individuals in the broader economic picture, and specific new findings from a path-breaking early education program.

        […]

        Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank published a paper examining the returns on investment of early education in Minnesota. The findings have had such broad appeal that the authors have been invited around the country to discuss their findings.

        […]

        Rate of Return: The report considered several studies of model programs and, when considering the Perry Preschool program, found a return on investment of 16 percent, with 80 percent of the benefits going to the general public. The data about model programs—such as Perry Preschool yielding more than $8 for every $1 invested—is one way of describing the investment. Rolnick and Grunewald’s use of the rate of return clearly shows the benefits of the investment compared to other investments.

        There are plenty more where that came from.

        http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16436

  17. If there’s a political agenda behind this (and this is the congress after all), it isn’t to prove or disprove AGW or CAGW. It’s to demonstrate that the EPA cut corners in their “finding of fact”. So expect the focus to be on why the EPA didn’t properly find fact. All the rest is just details.

  18. Wow! Have you checked out Glaser’s treatise for Peabody Energy against the EPA endangerment finding? This is as good a summary on global warming fraud I have ever seen.

    • Actually, I think that’s exactly where they’re headed with this. The endangerment ruling is, in effect, being appealed to the Congress, and that’s the case that’s being made.

  19. Rules For Forecasting

    •”Make lots and lots of predictions; the law of averages says some of them will actually turn out to be right.”

    •”If you ever happen to be right about something, don’t ever let anybody forget it.”

    •”When forecasting provide either a number or a date— but never both.”

    _______________________________________________

    An excerpt from:
    Fiedler’s Forecasting Rules

    #1 The First Law of Forecasting: Forecasting is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.

    #2 For this reason: He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground glass.

    #3 Similarly: The moment you forecast you know you’re going to be wrong, you just don’t know when and in what direction…

    *****
    #8 Correspondingly: If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel’s behind.

    As listed in The Official Rules by Paul Dickson. New York, NY, 1981.

  20. On the issue of revising history to claim the “green” movement of the left never tried to ban DDT, here are some folks who differ.

    From the Malaria Foundation International on the partial ban instituted in 2000:
    “At 7:28 am on Sunday, 10 December 2000, the delegates in Johannesburg, South Africa, approved a treaty allowing for the continued use of DDT in disease vector control as the United Nations Environment Program concluded the fifth and FINAL round of negotiations on a treaty to ban persistent organic pollutants. The official mandate of the treaty was to “reduce and/or eliminate” twelve POPs, of which DDT was one. This led groups such as Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibilty and over 300 other environmental organizations to advocate for a total DDT ban, starting as early as 2007 in some cases. Although the open letter you signed made considerable progress in persuading these environmental groups to change their views, it was only the diplomats and delegates of 120 countries at the Johannesburg negotiations who could take the final decision. I am delighted to report to you that They decided that DDT is a unique case, and whereas the other eleven POPs dealt with by the treaty are on a list to be “prohibited or eliminated” (Annex A of the treaty), DDT alone is on a list to be merely “restricted” (Annex B), with the primary restriction being that DDT use in agriculture is hereby eliminated.”

    http://www.malaria.org/DDTpage.html

    From the Foundation’s open letter that helped avoid the total ban the left sought: “You are no doubt aware that one of substances the POPs Treaty seeks to ban from future use is DDT, and that such a ban is supported by most wealthy Western countries and several environmental NGOs.”

    http://www.malaria.org/DDT_open.html

    Signed by a list of 416, hat is hardly a who’s who of conservatism.

    http://www.malaria.org/DDT_signatures.html

    On post 2000 attempts to restrict DDT’s use even as permitted by the partial ban:
    “More recently, with malaria spreading in developing countries, some such as South Africa have sprayed DDT indoors to kill mosquitoes.

    But they face obstacles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) prefers using bed nets to DDT. And the European Union has warned Uganda about the risks to its food exports if it uses DDT.

    ‘While the EU fully acknowledges the urgent need to control malaria in Uganda, we are concerned about the impact the use of DDT might have on the country’s exports of food products to the EU,’ the European Commission’s Uganda delegation said last year.

    In congressional testimony, Richard Tren of the Africa Fighting Malaria campaign said lobbying for restrictions might have commercial motives. Mr Tren cited an email to health academics from Gerhard Hesse, business manager for “vector control” – eliminating carriers of disease – for Bayer CropScience, cautioning against DDT.

    Bayer manufactures alternative insecticides to DDT, which are generally more expensive. In the email, seen by the FT, Mr Hesse said: ‘We fully support EU to ban [sic] imports of agricultural products coming from countries using DDT.’ He said such a ban reflected the danger of DDT leaking into the agricultural system and ending up as residues in food.

    But Mr Hesse, who sits on the partnership board of the WHO’s “Roll Back Malaria” coalition, also admits: ‘DDT use is for us a commercial threat.'”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0566ec34-3085-11da-ba9f-00000e2511c8.html#axzz1HwmJh7zA

    A partnership between progressive greens and rent seeking corporate statists. What a shock. But no, there was no TOTAL ban on DDT and the reports of pressure brought by the EU and others on African nations wanting to use DDT for vector control are all imaginary. Right?

    If Armstrong said their was a worldwide ban by treaty on DDT use, he was incorrect. But if he just said there was a ban, then he was correct. And if he said there was a ban, and the EU and green NGOs tried to make the partial ban effectively a complete ban, he would again have been correct.

    Anyone who claims that progressive greens did not try to institute a complete ban on DDT (or that they did not try to create a de facto complete ban after they got a partial ban in the treaty) is being, shall we say, less than honest.

    • I really love this line from the EU: “we are concerned about the impact the use of DDT might have on the country’s exports of food products to the EU.”

      As we say in Chicago, “Nice restaurant (food exports) ya got here. Be a shame anything happened to it….”

      • As we say in Chicago, “Nice restaurant (food exports) ya got here. Be a shame anything happened to it….”

        Now there is a man with a grasp of the subtle intricacies international politics.

    • On the issue of revising history to claim the “green” movement of the left never tried to ban DDT, here are some folks who differ.

      Leaving aside the claim that “the green movement of the left” tried to ban DDT aside – that isn’t what Armstrong claimed. He claimed that an “international ban” on DDT caused the deaths of millions. It is a bogus statement, at multiple levels (there wasn’t an ‘international ban on DDT” – the closest was a ban on non vector control uses in 2004, and his assertion ignores confounding variables such as mosquito resistance) and he uses is as the basic example he provides to explicate his larger theory.

      • You’ve never posted Armstrong’s actual comment, but if he said there was an international ban on DDT he was correct. While it was only a partial ban on paper, it was a de facto virtual total ban, where it counted most, and where the Eu progressives directed their economic threats, in Africa.

        “As discussed in the literature review, malaria still remains a biggest threat particularly to child health in Uganda. This can be inferred from the annual trend of reported malaria cases in the country over the last decade or so. The number of cases has risen from about 2.5 million people in 1992 to over 12.3 million people in 2003. During the earlier years of this decade the number of cases increased slowly from 2.5 million to about 3 million, but in 2000, there was a tremendous increase in reported cases of malaria, as shown in graph 4.4 below.”

        http://arno.unimaas.nl/show.cgi?fid=15182

        There’s this really nice hockey stick looking graph at page 33 of the pdf. Guess which year saw the beginning of the massive spike in malaria cases reported in Uganda? Could it be the year DDT wasn’t banned, except kinda it was, in 2000? You betcha.

        This next is a report on an analysis of the use of DDT in Africa, including interviews with the government and health employees involved.

        http://fds.duke.edu/db?attachment-103–1311-view-553

        Not surprisingly, the reality is somewhat different from the self serving claims of innocence by progressives.

        “According to one interviewee, the WHO does not support DDT use in indoor residual spraying (IRS), only focusing on the use of insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) for malaria control. Indeed, the WHO’s Africa Malaria Report 2003 includes an entire section on ITNs, but does not mention DDT and barely mentions IRS as a strategy for malaria vector control. According to this interviewee, malaria control decision makers in Southern African countries, such as South Africa and Swaziland, oppose the WHO’s perceived over-emphasis on ITNs. ” (at pg 13)

        In Uganda:
        “Compared to other countries, the issue of DDT reintroduction is extremely controversial in Uganda. The Ministry of Health’s plans to reintroduce DDT is raising concerns in the country’s scientific community. In the early part of 2004, there was much internal turmoil at the Ugandan Ministry of Health regarding its policies on DDT. After its recent ratification of the POPs Treaty on July 20, 2004, the Ugandan Parliament requested that the Ministry of Health “come up with a policy on DDT as soon as possible and to source for funding to implement the spraying of DDT” (Nalugo 2004). Most Members of Parliament support the move to reintroduce DDT for malaria control, although there are some strong dissenters (Mubiru 2004). The Ministry’s initiative is driven
        by government elites, rather than malarious communities themselves; the general population of Uganda is not particularly adamant about the DDT issue.”

        In Kenya:
        “Surprisingly, IRS is barely mentioned as a vector control method in the National Malaria Strategy 2001-2010; rather, ITNs are the major focus for malaria vector control. DDT is not mentioned at all and the Ministry of Health has announced that DDT will not be used for malaria vector control in Kenya (Bosire 2004). The Ministry of Health has not chosen to use DDT for malaria control since DDT was banned as an agricultural product in1986. The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is vehemently opposed to DDT reintroduction, as is the Chief Executive of the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB). They take the position that, so long as there are alternatives, DDT should not be used for malaria control. The Chief of the PCPB has expressed concerns that DDT reintroduction would compromise Kenya’s $300 million horticultural industry. Stakeholders such as the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Association of Kenya (FPEAK) and the Kenya Flower Council
        (KFC) feel threatened by the prospect of losing their export markets if DDT is reintroduced. The European Union constitutes approximately 90 percent of Kenya’s horticultural export market (Kenya High Commission 2004).” (pg 26 of the pdf)

        The kind of threat the EU made to Uganda works, which is why they made it. You don’t need the complete ban if you can threaten the countries who need DDT most. But hey, the issue isn’t the people dying in droves in Africa because of progressive political correctness. The question is can the greens escape blame.

      • Gary – just did a search in your first source for DDT – didn’t get any hits.

        From your second source:

        Because of these environmental concerns and subsequent suspicions about DDT’s negative human health impacts, most Western countries banned DDT in the 1970s. Many developing regions of the world, including Mexico, India, China and several countries in Africa, continued DDT production and use for both agriculture and malaria vector control.

        So – please note that there was no “international ban,” as Armstrong claimed. Also, please note that even in countries were DDT was still in use, malaria prevalence increased (notably in India). In some of those countries, the use of DDT was subsequently banned because of mosquito resistance.

        Please note this also:

        Currently most developing countries oppose the use of DDT in agriculture, but accept its use in malaria control.

        So much for that “international ban,” eh?

        Also note this:

        One commonality among African nations is the move toward health sector decentralization. Malaria control experts in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya cited decentralization as a complicating factor in implementing vector control strategies for malaria prevention—a reality that is readily expressed in these countries’ strategic plans for malaria control. These experts believe that a strong central infrastructure is needed for effective vector control strategies, especially where DDT is concerned.

        Effective vector use of DDT requires a centralize government with sufficient resources for systematic and well-controlled eradication programs. Many of the countries where there’s been a resurgence of malaria cannot afford nor implement such programs effectively.

        Also note that your second link some documents deleterious health effects from DDT (decreased fertility, for example), as well as a lack of sufficient data with respect to some effects.

        Also, note this concluding statement in your second link:

        Unfortunately, scientific ambiguity surrounding DDT’s human health effects is often exploited to defend policy positions on both sides of the DDT debate.

      • Sophistry is boring, so this will be my last response to yours. The POPS treaty was a “voluntary” agreement and there is no UN police force (thank God). So someone who has spent his life in the artificial world of academia might think there was no international ban on DDT. However, POPS was the product of the desires of the rich donor nations, without whom the dictators of Africa would have a hard time feeding their people.

        The POPS treaty’s ban on agricultural use of DDT (and the EU’s explicit threat regarding food exports) was voluntary just like the band leader voluntarily signed the contract when the Godfather made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. “Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains, or his signature, would be on the contract.”

        “We are concerned with the effect DDT could have on your country’s food exports.” Nothing scarier in the world than a concerned progressive.

    • GaryM,
      Joshua will continue the denial of the problems caused by enviro imposed DDT policies no matter the facts.
      If he admits that a major enviro policy failed even once, he would have to admit as to how other enviro predictions have turned out wrong, fraudulent ineffective or harmful as well.
      He cannot back down.

      • Exactly.

        Bruce

      • BTW: One can generally see the big difference between those that take a scientific approach to problems from those that simply BELIEVE.

        The folks with a science first mindset are willing to admit mistakes. They look at problems from multiple perspectives and are interested in broad understanding. If new information becomes available that demonstrates their previous understanding was incorrect or incomplete, that’s OK, that’s part of the process. They admit the error and move on.

        Those that BELIEVE cannot admit mistakes. They will fight to the death to defend those beliefs.

        Interesting to see the behavior that Joshua is demonstrating also being demonstrated by folks like Gavin Schmidt, Micheal Mann, Keith Briffa, James Hansen, Steven Schneider, etc. They cannot admit mistakes because that would undermine their belief… their core identity. It’s impossible to argue with, it’s not rationale, it just is.

        Bruce

      • Joshua has never read Aaron Wildavsky’s “But Is It Real?” in which he deconstructs everything from DDT and the “Cranberry scare” to Ozone/CFC’s and Global Warming. The only one he found to have merit was the Ozone/CFC scare – and now that’s apparently back under the microscope. Even the purported effects of DDT on avian eggshells was only marginally true.

      • DDT was just a single example of the point Armstrong was making:

        1) That there is a repeated pattern in human history of predicted catastophe,
        2) The prediction requires that we (government) must act now to avert the disaster,
        3) None of the predictions were later found to be true,
        4) The “must act now” action ended up making things worse.

        The key point of the prediction is the “must act now”. A sales gimic, to panic a buyer into taking a bad deal.

        We have been hearing “must act now” for what, 30 years? Surely we have passed the point where we “must act now”, and thus there is nothing to be gained by acting now.

        Just over a year ago in Copenhagen, we heard “the world must act now”. We didn’t, so now it must be too late. Otherwise, what we were told at Copenhagen was a lie.

  21. John Carpenter

    The common thread between all the speakers, from what I read, watched and listened to from all of them, is their skepticism of the IPCC ability to convey a complete and balanced appraisal of the science informing the policymakers.

    Armstrong thinks the modeled predictions are way off (12 times less accurate than his models) and overstated in the IPCC. The IPCC does not follow proper scientific methods.

    “We (Green and Armstrong 2007a) used these scientific (evidence-based) forecasting principles to audit the procedures used by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to derive their scenarios. We found that they violated 72 out of the 89 principles that were relevant to the situation—su2ch as the requirement for full disclosure of data
    and methods. In an important situation, where expensive policy changes are being called for, there is no reason why policy makers, political leaders, or voters should tolerate any violations of scientific principles. Think of the checklists used before large commercial airplanes take off: All proper procedures must be followed.”

    Richard Muller is deeply concerned with the over-exaggerated findings of the IPCC wrt the “Melting Himalayan Glaciers” by 2035 mistake as well as other non peer reviewed reference papers citing environmental disasters. He believes Pachauri should resign or be fired. He won’t read papers from the “Team” anymore due to their problems with “hide the decline”.

    http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13429263

    (link provided by David Wojick above).

    John Christy will be the climate science viewpoint… he has been active in the IPCC as a lead author, but does not hold the standard view of the IPCC as illustrated by this quote from an editorial in the WSJ in 2007,

    “I’m sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see.”

    Peter Glasser will bring a legal element to the hearing, challenging the EPA’s use of the IPCC to regulate CO2 under the endangerment finding, from

    http://www.troutmansanders.com/files/Uploads/Documents/EPA%20Pet%20Recon.pdf

    “Peabody Energy Company respectfully requests that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or “Agency”) reconsider its Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act published at 74 Fed. Reg. 66,496 (Dec. 15, 2009).1 Peabody’s petition is based primarily on the release of email and other information from the University of East Anglia (“UEA”) Climatic Research Unit (“CRU”) in November of last year.2 The CRU information undermines a number of the central pillars on which the Endangerment Finding rests, particularly the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”).
    Given the seriousness of the flaws that the CRU material reveals in the development of the IPCC reports, and given EPA’s extensive reliance on those reports, the Agency has no legal option but to reexamine the Endangerment Finding in light of this new information. Indeed, the analytical process in which EPA engaged in reaching its Endangerment Finding is so tainted by the flaws now revealed in the IPCC reports that the Agency must take the unusual step of convening full evidentiary hearings in order to provide an open and fair reconsideration process.”

    Me thinks the IPCC is going to be raked over the coals as a credible source for informing policymakers. The process is in need of a big change.

  22. Thank you, Professor Curry, for this encouraging development.

    As mentioned before, the climate scandal exposed an unholy alliance of world leaders with leaders of the scientific community that threatens the very foundation of our free society – as former President Eisenhower warned might happen if a federal “scientific technological elite” ever took control:

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

    “It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

    http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

    Roots of corruption sprouted in federal research agencies soon after Eisenhower’s speech.

    Precise experimental data from the Apollo Mission to the Moon, the Galileo Mission to Jupiter, other spacecraft and nuclear rest mass measurements were hidden, ignored or manipulated to promote false information about:

    a.) The Sun ‘s origin
    b.) The Sun’s composition
    c.) The Sun’s source of energy
    d.) The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate

    A manuscript in press [1] and a video [2] summarize the experimental data that have been ignored:

    1. “Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

    2. “Real Science vs Federal Science Elitism”

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  23. John Carpenter

    Dr. Curry, my comment never posted… maybe it will show up later?

  24. Hey folks,

    Let’s wait until we have the results from the March 31 hearings before we start opining about the possible political influence on the results.

    Max

  25. Dr. Richard Muller, Professor, University of California, Berkley and Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

    Muller is a member of the JASON Defense Advisory Group which brings together prominent scientists as consultants for the United States Department of Defense.

    Muller explaining antimatterHe was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 1982. He also received the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation “for highly original and innovative research which has led to important discoveries and inventions in diverse areas of physics, including astrophysics, radioisotope dating, and optics.” In 1999, he received a distinguished teaching award from UC Berkeley.[1] His “Physics for Future Presidents” series of lectures, in which Muller teaches a synopsis of modern qualitative (i.e. without resorting to complicated math) physics, has been released publicly on YouTube by UC Berkeley and has been published in book form. It has been one of the most highly regarded courses at Berkeley.

    ianash, what is your qualification and your awards?

  26. Judith,

    Currently climate is low on the list of what society would deem as an important issue. Especially since the next election is in the not too distant future. Many scientists are worried of funding cuts which are going to be inevitable.

    So far climate science has produced nothing that can be deemed as constructive to understanding this planet and in fact hindered a great deal of good research to produce an ill informed society. People can be taken as idiots only so far before they wise up and realize that the experts are only still guessing or manipulating the data for a very short specific time period.

    Even this blog is getting same stuff rehashed over rather than trying to move forward to new exciting areas of research that can make a difference.

  27. just spotted two new names on the witness list:

    Kerry Emanuel

    http://wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/home.html

    David Montgomery

    http://www.efsec.wa.gov/bpcogen/Adjudications/prefiled/23.1(WDM-1).DOC.PDF

  28. From Tenney Naumer’s site

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2011/03/congressional-hearing-climate-change.html

    House Science Hearing to Face Real Time
    Rebuttal Through Web Portal

    WASHINGTON– Via a dedicated page on the Project on Climate Science website, three leading scientists will provide real time commentary to any misleading scientific statements made during a Thursday, March 31, 2011, House Science Committee climate science hearing that begins at 10:30 a.m.

    By using a portal provided by The Project on Climate Science, reporters will be able to both watch a live feed of the hearing and read real time rebuttals and corrections – citing sources and current research findings – in response to any inaccurate, outdated or misleading testimony. Reporters will also be able to submit questions to the scientists during the hearing over the web portal. Following the completion of the hearing, there will also be a teleconference with the scientists for longer questions and further discussion.

    Cloaked in scientific language – with selective critiques and misrepresentations of mainstream climate science – misleading testimony on climate science has frequently been provided to Congress. By providing instant access to leading scientists, the portal will help provide reporters with a more accurate representation of the latest science. The hearing, “Climate Change: Examining the Processes Used to Create Science and Policy,” will feature testimony on climate science.

    WHAT: A web portal featuring real-time commentary from leading scientists and live streaming video from the House Science Committee Hearing.

    Teleconference with extended Q&A that begins after the hearing’s conclusion with leading climate scientists.

    WHEN: Web Portal: Thursday, March 31 at 10:30 a.m.- hearing conclusion
    Teleconference: Thursday, March 31, 20 minutes following hearing conclusion
    WHO:

    Dr. Kevin Trenberth is a climate scientist who heads the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, and was a lead author of the 1995, 2001 and 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leading (IPCC) Scientific Assessment of Climate Change. He served from 1999 to 2006 on the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and he chairs the WCRP Observation and Assimilation Panel and the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) scientific steering group. His main research focus is climate dynamics and diagnostics on large multidecadal scales.

    Dr. Andrew Dessler is an atmospheric scientist in the Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. Dr. Dessler’s research focuses on climate feedbacks, particularly water vapor and clouds. He served as senior analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which led to a book, “The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate,” which demonstrates how science is used and misused in the policy arena. His most recent article on cloud feedback over the past decade was published in the December 2010 issue of Science and is already an authoritative resource on the role of cloud cover in climate change.

    Dr. Gary Yohe is the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University; he has been on the faculty at Wesleyan for more than 30 years. He is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles, several books, and many contributions to media coverage of climate issues. Most of his work has focused attention on the mitigation and adaptation/impacts sides of the climate issue. Since the early 1990s, Dr. Yohe has been involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, serving as a lead author on multiple chapters.

    HOW:
    Web Portal: To watch the hearing and live commentary at the Project on Climate Science web portal please visit: http://theprojectonclimatescience.org/hearing/

    • Is that Roy mumbling in the background about cause and effect, Andy? Speak up, speak up. Oops, now I see the huge megaphone in your hands. What’s it gonna be, Boy, which direction’s it gonna be? I gotta know right now.
      ========================

    • Oh, joy. Realclimate goes to Washington.

  29. The aforementioned process issues mentioned and the questions raised about them demonstrate a need to determine whether or not the IPCC standards meet the necessary threshold to qualify as a resource for the U.S. government. Questions remain as to whether or not the reforms adopted by the IPCC will actually meet those standards.

    This should be extremely interesting. I think this is where the difference betwee academic science and regulatory science get highlighted.