Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Climategate Open Thread

I hate to see the comments on a post being overrun by irrelevant topics. A professor has resigned temporarily while there is an investigation into statements found in stolen emails among climate scientists that were posted on the Internet. Let's use this thread to discuss that subject.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

new allegations today that NASA officials have refused for two years to release data under requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act:

"The fight over climate science is about to cross the Atlantic with a U.S. researcher poised to sue NASA, demanding the release of the same kind of information that landed a leading British center in hot water over charges that it skewed its data.

Christopher C. Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said NASA has refused for two years to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act that would show how the agency has shaped its climate data and explain why the agency has repeatedly had to correct its data dating as far back as the 1930s.

"I assume that what is there is highly damaging," Mr. Horner said. "These guys are quite clearly bound and determined not to reveal their internal discussions about this."

The numbers matter. Under pressure in 2007, NASA recalculated its data and found that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in its records for the contiguous 48 states. NASA later changed its data again, and now 1998 and 2006 are tied for the hottest years, with 1934 listed as slightly cooler."

December 03, 2009 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The scientist who convinced the world to take notice of the looming danger of global warming says it would be better for the planet and for future generations if next week's Copenhagen climate change summit ended in collapse.

In an interview with the Guardian, James Hansen, the world's pre-eminent climate scientist, said any agreement likely to emerge from the negotiations would be so deeply flawed that it would be better to start again from scratch.

Hansen, in repeated appearances before Congress beginning in 1989, has done more than any other scientist to educate politicians about the causes of global warming and to prod them into action to avoid its most catastrophic consequences. But he is vehemently opposed to the carbon market schemes – in which permits to pollute are bought and sold – which are seen by the EU and other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy.

Hansen is also fiercely critical of Barack Obama – and even Al Gore, who won a Nobel peace prize for his efforts to get the world to act on climate change – saying politicians have failed to meet what he regards as the moral challenge of our age.

The body of scientific evidence has been put under a microscope by climate sceptics after last month's release online of hacked emails sent by respected researchers at the climate research unit of the University of East Anglia. Hansen called for an investigation. "All that stuff they are arguing about the data does leave a very bad impression," he said.

The row reached Congress today, with Republicans accusing the researchers of engaging in "scientific fascism" and pressing the Obama administration's top science adviser, John Holdren, to condemn the email. Holdren, a climate scientist who wrote one of the emails in the UEA trove, said he was prepared to denounce any misuse of data by the scientists – if one is proved.

Hansen has become a fixture at campus demonstrations and last summer was arrested at a protest against mountaintop mining in West Virginia, where he called the Obama government's policies "half-assed".

He has irked some environmentalists by espousing a direct carbon tax on fuel use. Some see that as a distraction from rallying support in Congress for cap-and-trade legislation that is on the table.

He is scathing of that approach. "This is analagous to the indulgences that the Catholic church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption. Both parties liked that arrangement despite its absurdity. That is exactly what's happening," he said. "We've got the developed countries who want to continue more or less business as usual and then these developing countries who want money and that is what they can get through offsets [sold through the carbon markets]."

For all Hansen's pessimism, he insists there is still hope. "It may be that we have already committed to a future sea level rise of a metre or even more.

"I find it screwy that people say you passed a tipping point so it's too late. In that case what are you thinking: that we are going to abandon the planet?"

December 03, 2009 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel Henninger in today's WSJ explains the danger to science posed by the climategate scandal:

"Surely there must have been serious men and women in the hard sciences who at some point worried that their colleagues in the global warming movement were putting at risk the credibility of everyone in science. The nature of that risk has been twofold: First, that the claims of the climate scientists might buckle beneath the weight of their breathtaking complexity. Second, that the crudeness of modern politics, once in motion, would trample the traditions and culture of science to achieve its own policy goals. With the scandal at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, both have happened at once.

I don't think most scientists appreciate what has hit them. This isn't only about the credibility of global warming. For years, global warming and its advocates have been the public face of hard science. Most people could not name three other subjects they would associate with the work of serious scientists. This was it. The public was told repeatedly that something called "the scientific community" had affirmed the science beneath this inquiry. A Nobel Prize was bestowed (on a politician).

Global warming enlisted the collective reputation of science. Because "science" said so, all the world was about to undertake a vast reordering of human behavior at almost unimaginable financial cost. Not every day does the work of scientists lead to galactic events simply called Kyoto or Copenhagen. At least not since the Manhattan Project."

December 03, 2009 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What is happening at East Anglia is an epochal event. As the hard sciences-physics, biology, chemistry, electrical engineering-came to dominate intellectual life in the last century, some academics in the humanities devised the theory of postmodernism, which liberated them from their colleagues in the sciences. Postmodernism, a self-consciously "unprovable" theory, replaced formal structures with subjectivity. With the revelations of East Anglia, this slippery and variable intellectual world has crossed into the hard sciences.

This has harsh implications for the credibility of science generally. Hard science, alongside medicine, was one of the few things left accorded automatic stature and respect by most untrained lay persons. But the average person reading accounts of the East Anglia emails will conclude that hard science has become just another faction, as politicized and "messy" as, say, gender studies. The New England Journal of Medicine has turned into a weird weekly amalgam of straight medical-research and propaganda for the Obama redesign of U.S. medicine.

The East Anglians' mistreatment of scientists who challenged global warming's claims-plotting to shut them up and shut down their ability to publish-evokes the attempt to silence Galileo. The exchanges between Penn State's Michael Mann and East Anglia CRU director Phil Jones sound like Father Firenzuola, the Commissary-General of the Inquisition.

For three centuries Galileo has symbolized dissent in science. In our time, most scientists outside this circle have kept silent as their climatologist fellows, helped by the cardinals of the press, mocked and ostracized scientists who questioned this grand theory of global doom. Even a doubter as eminent as Princeton's Freeman Dyson was dismissed as an aging crank.

Beneath this dispute is a relatively new, very postmodern environmental idea known as "the precautionary principle." As defined by one official version: "When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically." The global-warming establishment says we know "enough" to impose new rules on the world's use of carbon fuels. The dissenters say this demotes science's traditional standards of evidence.

The Environmental Protection Agency's dramatic Endangerment Finding in April that greenhouse gas emissions qualify as an air pollutant-with implications for a vast new regulatory regime-used what the agency called a precautionary approach. The EPA admitted "varying degrees of uncertainty across many of these scientific issues." Again, this puts hard science in the new position of saying, close enough is good enough. One hopes civil engineers never build bridges under this theory.

The Obama administration's new head of policy at EPA, Lisa Heinzerling, is an advocate of turning precaution into standard policy. In a law-review article titled "Law and Economics for a Warming World," Ms. Heinzerling wrote, "Policy formation based on prediction and calculation of expected harm is no longer relevant; the only coherent response to a situation of chaotically worsening outcomes is a precautionary policy. . . ."

If the new ethos is that "close-enough" science is now sufficient to achieve political goals, serious scientists should be under no illusion that politicians will press-gang them into service for future agendas. Everyone working in science, no matter their politics, has an stake in cleaning up the mess revealed by the East Anglia emails. Science is on the credibility bubble. If it pops, centuries of what we understand to be the role of science go with it."

December 03, 2009 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of all the people hurt by the climategate scandal, the saddest must be Al Gore

his Peace Prize has been debunked by the very internet he invented

it's the most ironic comeuppance since Robespierre was beheaded

here's CBS News:

"If you're a U.S. politician calling for expensive new laws relating to global warming, you know you're in trouble when Jon Stewart lampoons the scientists whose embarrassing e-mail messages were disclosed in what's being called "ClimateGate."

But Democrats put a brave face on it on Wednesday saying that the leaked files and scientific misconduct should not stand in the way of Congress swiftly enacting cap and trade legislation.

The leak includes over 1,000 e-mail messages, and another 2,500 or so computer files, many of which are still being analyzed. And the burden of proof should properly be on anyone proposing new taxes and extensive regulations, especially when climate science is anything but settled.

University of Colorado climatologist Roger Pielke Sr. says the CRU data is not independent of NASA and other temperature data sets. Pielke had previously written that the CRU and its allies have been trying to "manipulate the science, so that their viewpoints are the only ones that reach the policymakers.""

December 03, 2009 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Markets benefit from competition, not monopolization, and so do markets in ideas. Republican Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner said that "the controversy over the leaked e-mails, and their contents, cannot be ignored because it goes to the very basis of the debate" over global warming and what laws are necessary as a result.

"We're being asked as a Congress to make major changes in American society, in energy use and how much the out-of-pocket cost is to everyone in this country, as a result of this debate," the Republican said. "We'd better get it right. The scientists may be able to change their story (but it's) as difficult to repeal the consequences of that law as it is to get milk back in the cow."

Fellow GOP Rep. Candace Miller who has called for hearings into ClimateGate: "I recognize that the e-mails are an inconvenient truth,... There is at least a debate on whether or not climate change is human-induced."

Meanwhile, Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who's a high-profile critic of the theory of global warming caused by mankind, has instructed the University of Arizona's Malcolm Hughes -- whose correspondence appears in the disclosed files -- not to delete any of those e-mail messages. Investigations into climate change researchers are already underway at Penn State and East Anglia, home of the CRU.

The CRU received U.S. government grants.

Moderate Republicans who helped Nancy Pelosi push through cap and trade by a narrow vote are backing away from anything to do with the measure. Politico reports that Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois (who supported the idea) and Sen. John McCain of Arizona (ditto) have now become critics.

Does anyone really think that, in the wake of the CRU disclosures, cap and trade would clear the House of Representatives if put to a vote today? It certainly didn't this week in Australia's Parliament, where a vote to reject the idea garnered a 41-33 majority. What a difference only a few months, and a few thousand computer files, makes.

Update 9:21 p.m. ET: Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, says ClimateGate hackers should face criminal penalties."

December 03, 2009 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dec 3, 8:26 PM EST

Global warming may require higher dams, stilts

By SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

With the world losing the battle against global warming so far, experts are warning that humans need to follow nature's example: Adapt or die.

That means elevating buildings, making taller and stronger dams and seawalls, rerouting water systems, restricting certain developments, changing farming practices and ultimately moving people, plants and animals out of harm's way.

Adapting to rising seas and higher temperatures is expected to be a big topic at the U.N. climate-change talks in Copenhagen next week, along with the projected cost - hundreds of billions of dollars, much of it going to countries that cannot afford it.

That adaptation will be a major focus is remarkable in itself. Until the past couple of years, experts avoided talking about adjusting to global warming for fear of sounding fatalistic or causing countries to back off efforts to reduce emissions.

"It's something that's been neglected, hasn't been talked about and it's something the world will have to do," said Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "Adaptation is going to be absolutely crucial for some societies."

Some biologists point to how nature has handled the changing climate. The rare Adonis blue butterfly of Britain looked as if it was going to disappear because it couldn't fly far and global warming was making its habitat unbearable. To biologists' surprise, it evolved longer thoraxes and wings, allowing it to fly farther to cooler locales.

"Society needs to be changing as much as wildlife is changing," said Texas A&M biologist Camille Parmesan, an expert on how species change with global warming.

One difficulty is that climate change is happening rapidly.

"Adaptation will be particularly challenging because the rate of change is escalating and is moving outside the range to which society has adapted in the past" when more natural climate changes happened, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist, told Congress on Wednesday.

Cities, states and countries are scrambling to adapt or are at least talking about it and setting aside money for it. Some examples:

- England is strengthening the Thames River flood control barrier at a cost of around half a billion dollars.

- The Netherlands is making its crucial flood control system stronger.

- California is redesigning the gates that move water around the agriculturally vital Sacramento River Delta so that they can work when the sea level rises dramatically there.

- Boston elevated a sewage treatment plant to keep it from being flooded when sea level rises. New York City is looking at similar maneuvers for water plants.

- Chicago has a program to promote rooftop vegetation and reflective roofs that absorb less heat. That could keep the temperature down and ease heat waves.

- Engineers are installing "thermal siphons" along the oil pipeline in Alaska, which is built on permafrost that is thawing, to draw heat away from the ground.

- Researchers are uprooting moisture-loving trees along British Columbia's coastal rainforests and dropping their seedlings in the dry ponderosa pine forests of Idaho, where they are more likely to survive.

- Singapore plans to cut its flood-prone areas in half by 2011 by widening and deepening drains and canals and completing a $226 million dam at the mouth of the city's main river.

- In Thailand, there are large-scale efforts to protect places from rising sea levels. Monks at one temple outside Bangkok had to raise the floor by more than 3 feet.

- Desperately poor Bangladesh is spending more than $50 million on adaptation. It is trying to fend off the sea with flood control and buildings on stilts.

December 03, 2009 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Barack Obama and Congress are talking about $1.2 billion a year from the U.S. for international climate aid, which includes adaptation. The U.N. climate chief, Yvo de Boer, said $10 billion to $12 billion a year is needed from developed countries through 2012 to "kick-start" things. Then it will get even more expensive.

The World Bank estimates adaptation costs will total $75 billion to $100 billion a year over the next 40 years. The International Institute for Environment and Development, a London think tank, says that number is too low.

It may even be $200 billion a year or $300 billion a year, said Chris Hope, a business school professor at the University of Cambridge and part of the IIED study.

Nevertheless, Hope said failing to adapt would be even more expensive - perhaps $6 trillion a year on average over the next 200 years. Adaptation could cut that by about $2 trillion a year, he said.

As much as three-quarters of the spending will be needed in the developing world, experts say.

"Those are not the countries that caused the problem," Hope said. "There's a pretty strong moral case for us giving them assistance for the impacts that we've largely caused."

Sending money from rich countries to poor ones raises questions of who will control the spending and whether it will be wasted or stolen.

As for helping plants and animals, British climate scientist Martin Parry said the world will have to create a triage system to figure out which living things can be saved, which can't and are effectively goners, and which don't need immediate help.

"It's a brutal way to go about things," Parry said.

And what about people?

Some islands, such as the Maldives, and some coastal cities will not be able to survive rising seas no matter what protections are put in place, said Saleemel Huq, a senior fellow at IIED who runs an adaptation center in Bangladesh. In those cases, he said, the world will need "planned relocation" of people and cities.

Parmesan said people are going to have to realize that "some areas are not going to be good enough to live in in the next 100 years."

December 03, 2009 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Merle said...

I'm so glad this topic has its own thread, so I can ignore Anon all at once.

December 03, 2009 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dec 3, 5:47 PM EST


Rain, winds, record heat hit Northeast on same day

By DAVID SHARP
Associated Press Writer


AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A storm packing blustery winds and driving rain knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in the Northeast on Thursday before giving way to sunny skies and record high temperatures - all in the same morning.

Utility officials reported sporadic power outages from Maine to New Jersey after wind knocked down trees and power lines early Thursday. Winds reached up to 49 mph in Brunswick, Maine, while the Isle of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire recorded a 61 mph gust. In New Jersey, wind speeds topped out at 45 mph.

But the rain and wind that battered the region early Thursday gave way to sunny skies and unseasonably high temperatures by mid-morning.

In Boston, the temperature hit 69 degrees, breaking the old record of 65 set in 1932. In Portland, the temperature climbed to 68 degrees - crushing the old high of 55 for the date. Providence, R.I., had a record high of 66, and Concord, N.H., set a record at 65.

"It's not right. It's December. It's supposed to be snowing," said Jennifer Sporzynski, who sat on a park bench Thursday in Portland's Old Port. "I like warm weather - but not in December."

But for others, the balmy weather was just fine.

In Boston, joggers ran downtown in shorts and T-shirts, while walkers strolled through the city with jackets tied around their waists.

David Montero, 36, exited his Downtown Crossing apartment Thursday morning wearing a heavy coat to walk his 2-year-old Boston Terrier named Bolt.

"I personally would take this all week, if we could have it," Montero said as he watched Bolt play with two other dogs in the Boston Common.

Still, Montero said he couldn't get over the sight of seeing people in the grassy park exercising in shorts. "Totally bizarro," he said.

December 03, 2009 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm so glad this topic has its own thread, so I can ignore Anon all at once."

you're not doing a very good job of it, mirl

December 03, 2009 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the had if the U.N. global warming effort believes the climategate scandal is very serious:

"The United Nations panel on climate change has promised to investigate claims that scientists at a British university deliberately manipulated data to support the theory of man-made global warming.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that the allegations raised by leaked e-mails in the so-called "climategate" controversy were too serious to ignore.

"We will certainly go into the whole lot and then we will take a position on it," he told BBC Radio 4's The Report programme. "We certainly don’t want to brush anything under the carpet. This is a serious issue and we will look into it in detail."

Critics of the IPCC, which has spent more than 20 years engineering what it says is a now global consensus on climate change, today questioned whether it could be trusted to make an unbiased examination of the case.

"I don't think anyone can trust the IPCC on this particular issue," said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

"Obviously the IPCC has a vested interest in this," he added.

The UEA has already appointed a former civil servant, Sir Muir Russell, to head an independent inquiry into allegations of misconduct by its scientists. The director of the CRU, Professor Phil Jones, has announced that he will stand down .

Sir Muir's review will look at CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, reviewing and publishing data and research, and its compliance with the university’s rules on freedom of information inquiries.

The investigation would review and make recommendations on CRU’s security and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds, the university said. It would be completed by spring next year and its conclusions made public.

Critics of the CRU say that it was instrumental in rewriting the historical record of climate change to erase what is known as the "medieval warm period" from the graphs to make it appear that the rise in global temperatures in the industrialised era are unprecedented and more than just a normal statistical deviation.

The medieval warm period was followed by a period of cooling in which the Thames froze over."

December 04, 2009 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have you heard that the Arctic sea ice is disappearing?

wrong

polar bears have the equivalent of an extra Texas this year:

"From the NSIDC, Sea ice reaches it’s annual minimum extent growing by 370,000 square miles over 2007. An area 1 1/2 times the size of Texas. The recovery is 220,000 sq miles above last year alone yet the NSIDC claims below that the scientists don’t consider this a recovery.

They cite younger thinner ice again and a lower level than the 30 year mean as the reasons this is not a recovery. I have difficulty ignoring a near 400,000 sq mile increase in ice level. So I hope they don’t mind if I do consider it at least a partial recovery.

All I can say is, be glad you’re not an expert on sea ice."

December 04, 2009 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Continued

"The row has coincided with a hardening of positions before the Copenhagen summit, which is due to hammer out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol to be signed by 192 states on December 18.

Speaking at an event at the Natural History Museum in London, the Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, welcomed the IPCC's decision to look at the CRU e-mails but said that it would not affect the scientific consensus.

"We need maximum transparency including about all the data but it’s also very, very important to say one chain of e-mails, potentially misrepresented, does not undo the global science," he said.

"I think we want to send a very clear message to people about that. The science is very clear about climate change and people should be in no doubt about that."

Mr. Miliband warned that in the run-up to the crunch talks in Copenhagen, where world leaders will attempt to secure a new deal on cutting the emissions causing climate change, there were attempts to "throw dust" in people’s eyes over the issue.

"We must resist that, and keep listening to the science and not subscribe to people who are frankly flat Earth-ers," he said.

"There will be people that want to use this to try and undermine the science and we’re not going to let them."

He said reports that Saudi Arabia believed the e-mails cast doubt on the evidence of man-made global warming and would have a huge impact on the climate talks in Copenhagen did not tally with his conversations with ministers from the country."

December 04, 2009 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In 1999, National Geographic magazine announced the discovery of a remarkable fossil. Archaeoraptor, as it was named, was claimed to be a dinosaur with feathers, a missing link of evolution that showed these long-extinct creatures were the ancestors of modern birds.

A year later, however, the magazine was left with a dinosaur-sized portion of egg on its face. Scientific investigations revealed that Archaeoraptor was a fake — a composite of dinosaur and primitive bird fossils that had been glued together.

The episode was seized upon by creationists, yet it has done nothing to dent the fundamentals of evolutionary theory. It survived this fraud — as it survived others such as Piltdown Man — because it is far too broadly attested to be threatened by a single piece of dodgy evidence.

Research in dozens of disciplines — including genetics, anthropology, palaeontology, geology and medicine, to name but a few — shows evolution to be a scientific fact. It is hard to credit the view that all are wrong.

This is worth remembering in the context of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) hacking scandal. For even if the stolen e-mails are shown to reveal scientific misconduct and data distortion — and the out-of-context remarks they contain have so far demonstrated nothing of the sort — they would do little to undermine the broad sweep of climate science.

As with evolution, the case that the world is warming and that human activity is at least partially responsible, does not rest on any one observation that if refuted would collapse a house of cards. It has been built from compelling multi-disciplinary science, with many strands of data that all point the same way.

As the journal Nature put it in an editorial this week: “Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails.”

First, the CRU database that global warming deniers now claim to be discredited is not the only one of its kind. Historical temperature records have been compiled independently by Nasa and the US National Oceaonographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and they match the CRU’s figures so closely they are statistically identical.

What is more, such temperature data are far from the only evidence for the human-induced warming theory. Polar ice and mountain glaciers are retreating in line with the predictions it makes, or if anything even more quickly. Observations of sea level rise, animal migrations and plant germination match the models, as do changing patterns of precipitation. The oceans are warming and becoming more acidic as they absorb more carbon dioxide.

While natural climate variation is almost certainly a factor in these trends, it cannot explain them entirely. Only when human-induced forcing is included is it possible to account for all these effects.

The underlying physics of climate change is also robust. Nobody disputes the reality of the greenhouse effect, by which gases such as water vapour, methane and carbon dioxide keep our planet at least 30C (58F) warmer than it would otherwise be. When atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased in the past, so have global temperatures. And ice cores show that current carbon dioxide levels are unprecedented for hundreds of thousands of years.

The idea that global warming is an elaborate hoax suffers from the fatal flaw that afflicts most conspiracy theories: the alleged conspiracy is simply too huge and all-encompassing to be taken seriously.

It is possible that a few scientists might have faked or manipulated evidence, like the fossil-maker behind Archaeoraptor, though there is no proof of this in the CRU emails. But the notion that so many different branches of science have all connived undetected to manufacture a falsehood defies belief."

December 04, 2009 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Church leaders across the world have united in advocating the “moral imperative” for effective action to counter global warming in Copenhagen.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams will preach in Westminster tomorrow at a service led by 16 senior churchmen from throughout the UK. More than 3,000 worshippers are being bused in from around the country for the service, to be followed by a “stop climate chaos” march with as many as 10,000 protesters.

The demonstration, when the Houses of Parliament will be surrounded in what has been styled the “wave”, is expected to be the largest yet in Britain on the issue of climate change.

Dr Williams told The Times: “This is a very important moment for us all in trying to keep everyone’s eyes open to the serious environmental challenges we face. The world’s leaders need to hear from the world’s people about their desire for a safe, sustainable environment in which God’s care for all he has made is honoured by us. This weekend’s events should send a clear message of urgency and hope to the Copenhagen summit.”

The Roman Catholic leader Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said: “Politicians today need public support if they are ever to achieve right and lasting change. Today I hope we can make clear our readiness to live simpler lives, to be more attentive to the needs of the poorest people, to be responsive to the needs of our planet. Unless it is clear that we are prepared to change, political leaders will not be able to reach the agreements which are now needed.”

The Church of England has launched an Advent Calendar themed around the Copenhagen talks and celebrating God’s creation.

Churches of all denominations have also joined in publishing new prayers designed to advocate “bold and legally binding agreements at the Copenhagen summit”. Westminster Catholic Cathedral and York Minster are among the churches in Britain that will be ringing their bells at 3pm local time on December 13 to coincide with the Copenhagen summit.

Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Reading, said: “Would you deliberately tread on your grandchildren’s hands? Or lock them in a room and deprive them of water? Or leave them standing alone in the heat of the day? Well, that’s what we’re doing if we fail to find a sustainable way of inhabiting this planet. We won’t suffer, but the generations who come after us will. These talks in Copenhagen offer the world the chance of a better future. That is why they matter”.

Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians, also entered the debate. He said: “Reaching a substantial consensus at the international negotiations in Copenhagen is a moral imperative for the preservation of God’s creation. It is also a fundamental step in achieving economic and social sustainability. Taking urgent action against climate change should not be perceived as a financial burden, but as a critical opportunity for the benefit of all humanity and for the sake of a healthier planet.

“We fervently pray for the best possible international agreement during the UN Conference on Climate Change, so that all industrialised countries may undertake a generous commitment to reduce polluting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 and provide crucial financial support to developing nations.”

The Catholic bishop Abune Tesfaselassie Medhin of Adigrat in Ethiopia said: “It is time for the developed countries to stand up for the poorest who are feeling the impacts of climate change first and worst. Developing countries are owed investment to help cope with climate change and to help put environmental sustainability at the heart of their economies. In a just and binding agreement at Copenhagen the industrialised nations can put themselves on a path of right relationship with Creation before it is too late.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “Care for our world, it is the only one we have.”

December 04, 2009 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, primate of the Episcopal Church of the US and a former scientist, said: “My first vocation was as an oceanographer. That led me to understand that no life form can be studied in isolation from its surroundings or from other organisms. All living things are deeply interconnected, and all life depends on the life of others.

“God creates all people and all things to live in relationship with one another and the world around them. The crisis of climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the goodness, interconnectedness, and sanctity of the world God created and loves. The faith community has a sacred responsibility to stand on the side of truth, the truth of science as well as the truth of God’s unquenchable love for the world and all its inhabitants.”"

December 04, 2009 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’ve never denied the reality of climate change; in fact, I was the first governor to create a subcabinet position to deal specifically with the issue. I saw the impact of changing weather patterns firsthand while serving as governor of our only Arctic state.

- Sarah Palin

December 04, 2009 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Shishmaref, Alaska (CNN) -- When the arctic winds howl and angry waves pummel the shore of this Inupiat Eskimo village, Shelton and Clara Kokeok fear that their house, already at the edge of the Earth, finally may plunge into the gray sea below.

"The land is going away," said Shelton Kokeok, 65, whose home is on the tip of a bluff that's been melting in part because of climate change. "I think it's going to vanish one of these days."

Coastal erosion has been an issue for decades here, but rising global temperatures have started to thaw the permafrost that once helped anchor this village in place. Sea ice that protects Shishmaref's coast from erosion melts earlier in the spring and forms later in the fall. As a result, the increasingly mushy and exposed soil along Shishmaref's shore is falling into the water in snowmobile-sized chunks.

The crumbling land already toppled one house into the sea. Thirteen other homes -- nearly all of the Kokeoks' neighbors -- had to be moved inland. The land they stood on washed away.

Now the Kokeoks' wooden residence, which Shelton built by hand 20 years ago, stands alone -- only feet from the edge of this barrier island.

But safety is only one of Shishmaref's many concerns.

The warming climate and erosion threaten to steal the Kokeoks' centuries-old culture, their unique language and the viability of their entire village.

They're not alone. A dozen Alaskan villages, including Shishmaref, are at some stage of moving because of climate-change-related impacts like coastal erosion and flooding.

Around the world, as many as 150 million people may become "climate refugees" because of global warming, according to an Environmental Justice Foundation report, which attributes some of the moves to rising sea levels.

People in Shishmaref are aware that world leaders will meet next week in Copenhagen, Denmark, to try to hammer out an international treaty on climate change.

Read the CNN special report on an Alaska town "on the brink."

Most of the talk at the United Nations Climate Change Conference will focus on cutting the industrial world's emissions of heat-trapping gases, or trying to prevent climate disasters like those already seen here and in other coastal communities. Three students from Shishmaref will travel to Copenhagen as witnesses to the impact of climate change.

That doesn't give Shelton and Clara much comfort. Many of their neighbors have resigned themselves to having to leave Shishmaref because of the changes.

Not Shelton.

"This is my hometown," he said. "I don't want to go anywhere."

Shelton is afraid to budge from his perilous location on the front lines of the climate catastrophe. To move would be to give in, to lose everything.

Already, he's lost more than he can bear.

December 05, 2009 10:03 AM  
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