16 October 2010

The German Sceptics

I recently went through a little clash with the German climate sceptics scene, which was quite interesting. It may be difficult to follow the details for those who do not speak German, but you may still get a taste of the current "climate" in Germany.

The starting point were an article of and interview with Horst-Joachim Luedecke in a regional newspaper in southwestern Germany (Badische Neueste Nachrichten) in August. The tone of these contributions was that anthropogenic climate change is, if at all real, not significant and does not justify any expensive counter measures. Such opinions are not new, but what annoyed us at the Institute of Environmental Physics in Heidelberg was that the characterisation of Luedecke as a "retired physics professor from Heidelberg" suggested a link to our department. Luedecke is a retired professor and lives in Heidelberg, but has nothing to do with us. Hence we issued a public statement through the PR-office of the university, stating that the anthropogenic influence on climate was real and offering our expertise to the press and public as a more reliable source of information on climate change.

Of course, this statement did not fail to raise angry reactions by other German climate sceptics and I went through some rather fruitless e-mail exchanges. Luedecke issued a reply on "his" EIKE-website (see below), which contains all the original documents. The final result is that I gained a better impression of the German sceptics scene, which I'd like to share here. Luedecke is a speaker of the so called "European Institute for Climate and Energy" (EIKE), founded in 2007. Sounds good but it is just an association of German sceptics. As Luedecke explained to me, EIKE is very open-minded in terms of views of its members - as long as they fight the theory of anthropogenic climate change and oppose measures of climate protection.

As a result, EIKE publishes a wide spectrum of climate sceptic views on its website. Luedecke himself is quite moderate and argues on a scientific level. He has a little paper on the physical basis of the greenhouse effect buried somewhere on the EIKE site, which is quite good except for the last part, where he selects only those few studies (e.g. by Richard Lindzen) that suggest a negative rather than a positive feedback on the CO2-effect, thus denying a significant anthropogenic influence on climate. Luedecke has also published a book on "CO2 and climate protection". I haven't read that so I can't comment.

However, there is also lots of highly dubious material on the EIKE site. If you follow the publications link on the page you find contributions by some interesting German climate sceptics, such as the recently deceased Ernst-Georg Beck, who essentially disputes that there is an anthropogenic CO2 increase, or Gerhard Stehlik, wo has weird theories on his own on the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately, his paper on this matter which he sent me some years ago is not available on his website anymore (dead link). And you find of course the quite widely known paper of Gerlich and Tscheuschner, who maintain that the greenhouse theory violates the second law of thermodynamics and who have been refuted many times (also see Globalklima). And in its advisory board, EIKE has among others my old critic Lord Christopher Monckton Viscount of Brenchley. I'm impressed!

The EIKE site is a caleidoscope of climate scepticism from the German perspective. If you understand German and are interested in the unplumbed depths of the human mind, enjoy!

31 May 2010

Top Kill

I like this cartoon by Ed Stein on the failed efforts to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I got it through the Peak Oil Review mailings of ASPO. Enjoy, even if the essence of it isn't really funny!

29 May 2010

Monckton debunked

Readers of this blog have heard of Lord Christopher Monckton, who once posted a rebuttal of my rebuttal of the theories of Khilyuk and Chilingar. Monckton is a real role-model of a climate change sceptic.
Now, John Abraham from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has posted a presentation online, in which he gives a detailed rebuttal of many of Monckton's allegations. A very instructive piece of work for all those interested in the depths of the climate change debate. Have fun!

11 May 2010

King Anand Again

Viswanathan Anand just defended his title as chess world champion with a great win in the final and decisive game against Veselin Topalov. Fantastic performance!
See Susan Polgar's or Anish Giri's comments on the game. I add pictures of the two protagonists that I took at an event in Zurich last year.

The Champion: Anand

The unsuccessful challenger: Topalov

28 April 2010

They couldn't possibly have known

I like this one. A real reality check for Goldman Sachs and their fellows. And here is more of this sort of cartoons.

01 April 2010

Greenpeace Report on Sponsors of Climate Change Deniers

Greenpeace has issued a report that seems to provide a thorough reality check on the background of the climate change denial propaganda in the US: "Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine". They also have an interesting interactive graphic that allows you to check out some details directly.
Amazing that Koch Industries, the company that Greenpeace exposes as a major sponsor of the climate sceptics, is little known in the public although, as they claim on their webpage, it is one of the largest private companies of the world. Obviously they know about doing things secretely. The company has issued a statement on the report, however.
This reminds of the Exxon Report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, on which I have blogged before. Apparently, Koch Industries easily out-spent Exxon Mobil in the area of political sponsoring. Interesting indeed.
Other blogs such as Climate Progress or ClimateScienceWatch have more details on the story. I wish I had time to study and cover this report in more detail.