the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Climate Audit on Climategate

Posted by Jeff Id on January 13, 2010

The amazingly simple and accurate backstory of Climategate is told here by Steve McIntyre. If any of you have questions about what anyone knows about how the files came to be, Steve did a nice job of describing every key detail. Including the key to the CD that Mosher received as described in Patrick Courrielche’s work on the outing of the Climategate emails here, here, here. and one of the key points Steve makes is that of course if the link was placed on CA, tAV and Roman’s blog, why would the boys miss the superbowl of blogs across the world, Watts Up With That. . . which of course they didn’t.

Check it out.


21 Responses to “Climate Audit on Climategate”

  1. a.n. ditchfield said

    CLIMATEGATE
    THE TRACK RECORD OVER FOUR DECADES
    a.n.ditchfield
    My environmental awareness was aroused in mid 1971, when I was invited to a meeting of the Club of Rome in Rio de Janeiro. It first struck me as a constructive publicity move of FIAT, the sponsor. At intervals of a few months the Club of Rome invited noted scientists and intellectuals to meetings at tourist attractions like Rio de Janeiro, with all expenses paid. They were asked to meditate about the predicament of mankind and to listen to progress reports of a team of young MIT engineers who were using a computer model to project the impact on the planet of expanding economic activity. The results of the study were stated in the 1972 book, Limits to Growth, of which some 12 million copies were printed. The launching of the book was a masterpiece by editorial standards and its contents still remain central to such thought, including that of John Holdren, science adviser of Obama.
    One of the new tools used in the study was the feed-back algorithm developed by Prof. Jay Forrester, of MIT, to portray the unfolding of complex systems over long timelines. All relevant factors are displayed in elaborate flowcharts and their interplay shown in a succession of stages like snapshots, in which the end of one stage is the beginning of the next. The idea is much like that of cinema, in which the rapid display of successive photos creates the optical illusion of movement. Forrester used his feedback innovation to the study of location problems of industry (Industrial Dynamics) and to explain the decay of metropolitan cities in America (Urban Dynamics). The new effort applied Forrester’s technique to demonstrate the Club of Rome proposition that a finite planet cannot support growth of population and economic activity at the pace seen for two decades after World War II. The conclusion was ready; it needed rationalization with a computer model to give a scientific look to what was the belief of the sponsors, FIAT chairman Aurelio Peccei and the renowned scientist Alexander King.
    Limits to Growth had a large number of gloomy forecasts, speculative thought as such, but not science, and time rejected their validity. The earliest of the kind, the Malthus Essay on the Principle of Population published in 1798, foretold a grim 19th century. The population of Britain, stable at 5 million until the middle of the 18th century, had grown to 8 million and was expanding at a geometrical rate, while the supply of food expanded at a lower arithmetical rate. As Malthus saw it, population was bound to collapse to a sustainable level through famine, disease and war. But during the 19th century the population of Britain became four times larger and the economy sixteen times greater, an expansion supported by the Industrial Revolution. Most Britons entered the 20th century well fed, clothed and healthy, housed in cities with good sanitation. Gone were the days of the “dark satanic mills” of the early 19th century. The technology that had expanded industrial output also provided the means to end squalor.
    Malthusian thought was discredited but remained dormant until the 1968, when resurrected by Paul Erlich with his equally grim Population Bomb. This time world population was bound to collapse on a planet that was running out of arable land to feed it; he reckoned that over the next two decades hundreds of millions would die of famine. The reasoning was crude and was superseded by the more sophisticated approach of the Club of Rome that put in motion the PAT idea, a formula that summarizes the impact of human activity on the environment I = P×A×T. In words: Human Impact (I) on the environment equals the product of population (P), affluence (A): consumption per capita; and technology (T): environmental impact per unit of consumption. Population was still at the root of coming doomsday, and its impact on the planet is multiplied by growing demand for non-renewable resources (fuel and minerals) to sustain better living standards. Food scarcity was only one factor among many driving mankind to destruction.
    I made three objections to the assumptions underpinning the Club of Rome study.
    • Population forecasts are uncertain. What had come about in mid 20th century was the dramatic fall of mortality while fertility remained the same. I held this to be exceptional. Nothing warranted the assumption that this imbalance would persist indefinitely as projected in the study. Indeed, UN world population forecasts now show stability to be reached in the 21st century.
    • Given the vast land area of the planet the idea of an excessive population is farfetched. Overcrowding is a local problem. It is evil in Calcutta and has been successfully coped with in many metropolitan cites.
    • The concept of non-renewable resources was untenable. Most of the crust of the earth remains unknown. The Club of Rome assumption was that mineral reserves stated in sources like the Minerals Yearbook of the U.S, Bureau of Mines were all that remained and, given the naïve arithmetic, most would be depleted by the end of the 20th century.
    Dennis Meadows, the project team leader, conceded that simplifications were made to make the World Model fit into the humble IBM 1130 computer, but these did not invalidate the axiomatic idea that a finite planet cannot support infinite growth. I challenged the axiom too. If Meadows reasoned at limits, I had equal right. I claim that all human consumption does not subtract one ounce from the mass of a planet subject to the Law of Conservation of Mass. Theoretically, everything can be recycled. The limitation is one of energy, and fusion energy reactors will make it available in practically unlimited quantities. It may be argued that we cannot count on technology not yet developed, but we must not discount it either. That is the flaw of Malthusian thought: the assumption that technological development will cease and stagnate forever at current levels.
    What amazed me was the sight of the elderly sages of the Club of Rome accepting the computer printouts and graphs as sayings of a pagan oracle. To my mind they just illustrated the truth of the adage: [garbage in] = [garage out]. I know the content of the Forrester programs in the intimacy of FORTRAN statements, so I was not awed by the mathematics or by the computer of the MIT team. As an engineer, I had a professional interest in the Forrester programs because I was then engaged in location studies for large industries.
    Eight weeks after the Rio de Janeiro Club of Rome meeting I traveled to New York on a business mission, after an absence of five years, and felt that I had landed on a different planet. On the ride from airport to Manhattan I was surprised by the sight of leafless trees in full summer. The cab driver explained that a pest was killing the trees and a court order had banned the use of pesticides; New Yorkers were exchanging their trees for a collection of insects. I found fleas in the subway, cockroaches in my hotel room and flies galore everywhere. I learned that the new Environmental Protection Agency, in one of its first acts, had banned the use of DDT with no scientific evidence to back the claim that it was harmful to human health. Over the previous decade the Silent Spring book of Rachel Carson had demonized it to the American public until it became politically correct to curse all chemical products used by modern farming. The anti-scientific ban was to have consequences beyond the discomfort I was experiencing. It stopped a world wide drive to eradicate malaria, as was done with polio and smallpox. Over four decades 40 to 50 million preventable deaths can be laid at the door of the promoters of this environmental cause. One of them was Alexander King, leader of the scientific team at the time of World War II that gave the world large scale availability of DDT, and the hope of eradicating insect-transmitted diseases. In his memoirs King let slip a senile remark: “my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem.”
    I realized the strength of the grip of this new misanthropic attitude when I strolled down Lexington Avenue and stopped at a grocery that displayed boxes of worm-infested peaches on the sidewalk – sold at premium price! I entered for a word with the grocer. He claimed that he sold what the customers wanted: the presence of worms was taken as proof of legitimate “natural” fruit. To me it proved that fruit flies had sat on the peaches. I laughed. Someone with the wits to sell rotten peaches at high prices has the talent to sell anything at any price. I advised him to sell the grocery and move a few blocks west, to Madison Avenue, the hub of the advertising business, where he would earn a fortune as a gifted liar.
    The mindset of America, and indeed of the Western world, was being shaken by a tectonic shift. For two centuries the Industrial Revolution had bestowed bounty on much of the world and was fast banishing the specter of dire want everywhere. Industrialization was fostered everywhere, and a national steel mill and national airline were emblematic of newly independent countries. Progress, once a universal aspiration, was now being challenged by contrarians of a new breed, not by the reactionaries of some failed Ancien Regime, of which the world still has plenty. The picturesque hippies of San Francisco who rejected progress and aspired to a life of idleness and poverty were only an echo of a wider movement that was engulfing the academic sphere and especially social studies. It was postmodern doctrine with its rejection of science, progress and of rational thought itself.
    Prof. Alan Sokal, a physicist of New York University saw through it and concluded that there ain’t no thing called a social science. Anything goes, provided it is well written, scholarly-looking, in tune with the prejudices of the editor, and proved his point with publication of his paper, titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”. The paper would have been perceived as a hoax by an engineering student, but was published as serious in Social Text. In one statement the number PI had a value of 3.141592… because it was arbitrated by the current social context; future generations in a different context would give it another value, because all is relative. Sokal didn’t invent such postmodernist nonsense; it is supported by more than 100 references to what had been published about hard science by social “scientists”. Engineers and scientists stopped being pinup boys and were vilified as robots mindlessly herding mankind to the cliff edge. It was claimed that the higher knowledge of postmodernist government was needed to avert disaster.
    During the decades dominated by Thatcher and Reagan a limit was put to the politics of envy that exploited the cynical saying that “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul”. This was laid to rest by market economy reforms that returned power to Victorian values that rewarded hard work, enterprise and ingenuity instead of political craftiness. Neither Blair nor Clinton dared tamper with reforms that worked well. The market economy was accepted all over the world because it was more efficient in meeting the needs of mankind than any alternative.
    In the shadow of that time Environmentalism became a big business with a myriad of non-governmental organizations that evolved into a huge extortion racket, protected by law and supported by ample funds and publicity. With the turn of the political tide the racket is out for its own grab for power.
    • Its objective is to place energy production under control of governments, and ultimately of an international body. Energy consumption would be rationed. Taxing the air you breathe will no longer be a figure of speech; it will be world wide policy to submit the acts of every human being to central control.
    • Its technique is the one of the Club of Rome: rationalization with computer models to give a scientific look to what is an unproved and non provable belief: that anthropogenic global warming would end civilization (no longer attributed to overcrowding and exhausted resources). One finds the UN Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change In the old role of the Club of Rome, with vastly expanded propaganda resources.
    • Its instrument is the postmodern Precautionary Principle: where there is a deadlock in understanding, bureaucratic whim trumps science.
    The instrument carries the threat of being lethal to democratic institutions. Its first notable use was ushered in by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the tenure of Carol Browner, during the Clinton years, to implement her anti-tobacco project with the justification that second hand smoke caused cancer in non-smokers. Numerous medical studies commissioned by the Agency failed to deliver the justification. The studies had been done under the stern rules of Food and Drug Administration with double-blind reviews. Big Tobacco hired lawyers to state their case and these resorted to expert testimony of scientists – exactly what the other side did. This is litigation, not science, with the pot calling the kettle black. Carol Browner circumvented the deadlock with a legal dodge of the Precautionary Principle: “if an action or policy has suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action.” This opened the gates to endless mischief. On December 7th 2009, the day that lives in infamy, Obama decreed that carbon dioxide a pollutant dangerous to health, when it is the nutrient that sustains the food chain of all that lives on the planet. EPA rulings, not acts of Congress, are now the law of the land. America was turned into a Bobama Republic ruled by decree. Carol Browner is now energy adviser to Obama, not for her knowledge of the field but for her expertise in chicanery. Her achievement in the field was banning the drilling for oil on the continental shelf of Florida.
    At the Copenhagen Climate Conference Hugo Chavez blamed global warming on capitalism and got a standing ovation from delegates of 191 sovereign states. Evo Morales blames Americans for the summer floods of Bolivia. They have the support of the Castro brothers, Amhadinejad, Kim Jong-il and of Osama Bin Laden. With friends like these, does Obama really need enemies?
    In November 2009, three thousand documents with FORTRAN source codes and one thousand private e-mails were placed in the public domain, revealing peer-reviewed climate science as a joke on which rests the proposed expenditure of trillions of dollars. Climategate may come to rank with the climacteric events of World War II, as an event that changed the course of world history.

  2. Ed said

    The Question about Climate Change: where is the due diligence ?

    Climate Change and “Global Warming“ have been on the world’s agenda for the last twenty years. Before that in the 1970’s there was genuine concern that we were moving into a new ice age.
    There was an entirely established and very forceful view that the science of “Man-made Global Warming” was entirely “settled” and that its cause was solely man-made Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. Any contra opinions are still considered by Man-made Global Warming believers to be heretical or even traitorous. A firm view was established that the world as a whole has to do something to stop causing the damage very urgently to save itself. This view was and continues to be promoted worldwide by the most powerful forces of national and international politics, including governments, the United Nations, and many highly respected scientific institutions. It is now taught as gospel truth in schools worldwide.
    Possibly, the whole scene was changed radically on 19/11/2009 by the publication on the internet, probably by an inside whistleblower, of some 60 Mb of information. It contains some 1000+ emails between members of the Global Warming community, computer code and other data from the Climate Research Centre at Anglia University. There is little likelihood that the released information is not genuine, there would have been just too much to do to have created the huge mass of interlinked data.
    The released computer code is particularly revealing, as it is not only amateurish and poorly written but also contains many comments explaining the unwarranted data adjustments, (fudge factors), that are integral within the software.
    The information shows consistent and coordinated fraud and quasi-criminal misrepresentation in collusion between all the key academic individuals who are driving the Global Warming movement and providing the scientific stance of the UN IPCC, (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). It is particularly clear that this community were very active in suppressing any opposing views in the peer-reviewed literature, and thus in a cyclical argument were able to claim that any sceptical views were not published in the peer-reviewed literature.
    Sceptics have always suspected this in the past but only now can the evidence of their dishonest activities over many years be clearly seen.
    It is just not good enough for the Believers to simply state that there is a “scientific consensus”, when clearly there was not one before and there certainly is not one now after these recent publications on the internet. Gradually the more courageous of the scientific establishment are coming out of the closet and beginning to question the quasi-religious faith in Man-made Global warming.
    In other words, there is a real need to carry out exhaustive due diligence in order to revisit all the assumptions that have been the basis of the Man-made Global Warming assertion and as a result all or any policy recommendations of the IPCC, (the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) are entirely questionable.
    But much of the scientific and political establishment is now irrevocably committed to the assertion of Man-made Global Warming for their financial and professional existence. So much so that the admission that the Man-made Global Warming hypothesis might be in error or open to question is intolerable to them. There would just be too much egg on too many faces. So, despite these revelations and the many clear fallacies the Man-made Global Warming movement still has legs. It is not going to go away quietly. Its political appeal to those in power is too strong.
    Anyone expressing sceptical views is classed by the “Global Warming” establishment as traitors and heretics: even as DENIERS, just like HOLOCAUST DENIERS. Many authoritative voices have already met with extreme opprobrium as a result, (the renowned botanist David Bellamy is but one example).
    And because of the amazing bandwagon that has been set rolling, the world is still being denied that examination by a dogma that admits no questioning, and which is therefore certainly very bad science and more like a religion.
    On a personal note, I well recall voicing the opinion in a well -researched paper that information about pollution levels in London was being exaggerated by green activists. That published opinion elicited threats of personal violence and death. Green “Believers” are not nice people and are certainly not open to debate. However to quote Mahatma Ghandi:
    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win”.
    The world community as a whole should expect that the question of the scientific truth in the assertion of Man-made Global Warming is openly discussed and fully examined before any damaging commitments are made to avoid what is likely to be a either a non-problem or at worst OR best an unavoidable problem.
    When one considers the far reaching, anti-democratic, costly and destructive consequences of the international plans being promulgated by the Global Warming establishment it should not be unreasonable to reflect on the current position, to ask some questions and to query the assumptions on which Man-made Global Warming Hypothesis is based. Fortunately no real agreement was concluded in Copenhagen in December 2009 so perhaps now there may be time for reflection.
    Had any world leader come away from Copenhagen having made irrevocable and binding commitments of any sort on behalf of their countries and their peoples, they will very soon be shown to have been taken for fools for not having not taken the necessary steps to ensure that the scientific due diligence into the Man-made Global Warming assertions is comprehensive.
    Worse than that the result that was proposed at Copenhagen is intended to result in a huge undemocratic, financial burden on the western world and to set up a very lucrative carbon trading market, (this is almost certainly why the assertion is favoured by the financial institutions and the ball may have been started rolling in the days of Enron). The values involved are still measured in many $ trillions.
    Following the “Climategate” disclosures it has become apparent that all the sources of temperature data used by the IPCC may well have had unwarranted adjustments, (always in favour of showing greater Global Warming). These actions have already been exposed in Russia, Australia, New Zealand, the USA government organisations such as NASA as well of course as the in the UK, both from the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit and the UK government Meteorological Office.
    So all the temperature sources and models used as the basis of the IPCC policies should now be rigorously independently re-audited.
    As far as Bjorn Lomberg, (the sceptical Environmentalist, now much vilified by his previous Green colleagues), is concerned this expenditure and disruption of the world’s economy intended to control global temperature by the means of reducing CO2 emissions could have only ever a marginal effect in the much longer-term if at any all. Any such resources would be much better spent on more worthwhile priorities to the benefit of all mankind.
    This is absolutely not to say that the world should not be seeking more efficient ways of generating its energy, conserving its energy use and stop directly damaging its environment. There is a real need to wean the world off the continued expenditure of fossil fuels on the grounds of security of supply, their increasing scarcity and their rising costs. In addition we should be conserving these resources to be used in future as the feedstock for industry rather than simply burning them.
    It is clear that the planet is vastly damaged by many human activities such as environmental pollution, over fishing, forest clearance, industrial farming and other habitat destruction. We should indeed be finding ways to improve these situations.
    Bjorn Lomberg says that in the light of the vast costs of pursuing the Man-made CO2 reduction agenda and its ineffectiveness in its ability to change climate, there are many more investments that should be prioritised for the benefit of mankind. This is especially so in the third world including controlling malaria, clean water, stopping deforestation, AIDS prevention etc. etc.
    Man-made CO2 emissions are a small part, (possibly about 1% added to the total CO2 in the atmosphere per year or 3 parts / million of the whole atmosphere), of the overall transport of CO2 that occurs as the natural carbon cycle. The level has apparently been maintained in balance since pre-industrial times at an historically low level of 280 parts / million, (plants start to die at less than 200 parts / million).
    Burning fossil fuels is probably adding CO2 to the world’s atmosphere (although this too is now being questioned), but this change is probably irrelevant or at worst marginal to our changing climate, as any CO2 increase is largely re-sorbed by the oceans and additionally fertilises all plant life in the biosphere. So the obverse is likely to be true that increased levels of CO2 and a rather warmer climate within natural limits could bring real benefits to mankind.
    Rather than indulging in the global guilt trip and the endless prediction of impending global catastrophes, (that do not seem to be occurring), being promoted by the Man-made Global Warming Believers, the likelihood of dangerous global warming now occurring at all and the fact that it is unlikely to be man-made and unchangeable by any action by mankind, should be greeted with unmitigated joy.
    If this is so:
    • it is not necessary to destroy the western world’s economy to no purpose
    • if warming were happening it would lead to a more benign and healthy climate for mankind
    • any extra CO2 is certainly not polluting and is already increasing the fertility of all plant life on the planet.
    • if it is occurring at all, a warmer climate with in natural variation would provide a future of greater opportunity and prosperity for human development. This has frequently been well proven in the past and is especially so for the third world.
    • but as global temperatures have remained steady or have even cooled in the last ten years, it would seem that the world should fear the real and detrimental effects global cooling rather than being hysterical about non-existent warming.
    The only downside is that George Bush, Dick Cheney and Fox News could well be proven right.
    The veracity of the frightening assertions made in the Al Gore film “An Inconvenient Truth” was indeed tested at a lengthy hearing the UK High Court and was found to be incorrect in at least eleven major aspects. Nonetheless this has not stopped the film being shown in schools worldwide, as if it were the gospel truth, nor has it deterred the UK government (at a cost of £6m) from promoting the Global Warming assertion with a Television advertising campaign that is intentionally frightening for children, complete with a black CO2 ogre and drowning puppies.
    It is as if that the political establishment, (the US Environmental Protection Agency who have just recently declared that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant under the clean air act), and much of the scientific establishment, and Greens activists have collectively forgotten their elementary school biology about photosynthesis and the carbon cycle.
    Via plants, Carbon dioxide (CO2) a trace gas in the atmosphere, that all animals (including man) exhale + sunlight + water (H2O) creates and maintains the very Oxygen (O2) we all need to breath and creates carbohydrates, and thus all other organic compounds. That is the real stuff of life. Rile against that and you negate all the world’s biosphere and thus mankind’s ability to exist on the planet earth.
    The traces of atmospheric CO2 are an essential plant fertiliser and certainly not a pollutant. That’s why all plants and trees are already growing better in this marginally richer CO2 atmospheric environment. The starting point at the pre-industrial level of 280 parts / million was close to being so low that plants were stressed and at risk.

    Especially since the disclosures of Climategate great doubt now exists on the accuracy and scientific methods used to justify and support the whole the IPCC edifice and for the claims being made about the catastrophic effects of Man-made Global Warming.
    There is no scientific consensus that Man-made Global Warming is real. It is entirely unacceptable that the current establishment simply states that the consensus exists and expects that alone to be accepted as gospel truth.
    The Man-made Global Warming hypothesis has become a religion for the Green movements rather than the search for scientific truth. It panders to their extreme view wishing to reduce the developed world to a pre-industrial existence. This would be in inevitable consequences of reducing CO2 emissions by the massive percentages anticipated.
    However the secondary agendas seem to be:
    • a concerted effort by the left to institute some sort of global government to control the use of CO2 emitting fossil fuels.
    • the creation of a massive tradable market in “Carbon Credits”
    • the ability of the governments to raise taxes with some sort of feel good factor, (saving the planet).
    • a massive transfer of resources to underdeveloped countries.
    With the huge financial damage that the Man-made Global Warming Believers are proposing to inflict, the world especially the western world deserves very detailed and close examination of the basis on which it is being undertaken. No commercial organisation would ever make such an investment on the basis of such questionable evidence and what has become religious dogma.
    So what is really needed is a comprehensive, independent and exhaustive examination of the whole of the Man-made Global Warming assertion, in other words truly exhaustive and open-minded due diligence.
    As global temperatures have remained steady or have even cooled in the last ten years, it would seem that the world should fear the real and detrimental effects global cooling rather than being hysterical about non-existent warming. In the current cold spell winter of 2009 – 2010 we can already see that the “warmist” projections, for example made by the UK Metrological Office, have already left much of the western world unprepared and unable to cope with the significant cold spell of January 2010.
    But much worse than that the malign effects on national policy of the Green movements over recent decades mean that countries such as the UK are totally unprepared for the energy future.

  3. Hoi Polloi said

    It’s simple if you are in the loop from the beginning. But with all the cliffhangers dropped on the Intarnet by Mosher and Courrielche I get the impression that it’s more a promotion job for Mosher’s (and Fuller) new book…

  4. Jeff Id said

    #2, I was concerned that if people overhyped the release others would interpret the whole thing as overhype.

  5. Jeff Id said

    #1 and 2 please use the open thread for that.

  6. Hi Jeff,

    I wanted to thank you for your excellent job in contributing to the science behind Climategate.

    I’ve raised particular matters we’ve all been concerned over in correspondence I’m currently having with the UK Climate Minister, Joan Ruddock and I’m pressing her to come clean about the widely unreported dropping of 806 ‘cold’ weather stations in one year as first reported by ChiefIO
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/thermometer-langoliers-lunch-2005-vs-2008/

    So far, with the help of readers on our site, http://www.climategate.com we’ve painstakingly gone through part of that long list checking into the details of the dropped stations – particularly their location – whether rural or urban and thus likely to be contaminated by the urban heat island (UHI) effect.

    You may well have guessed that what we’re finding so far from the few stations we’ve analysed is a trend that its mostly rural stations that have been dropped e.g. the dropped Australian and New Zealand stations are mostly rural (e.g. Port Nelson, Ruttan Lake, Joutel). Our readers successfully determined that the station count for the U.S. (in the GHCN v2_mean file) dropped from 1177 to 136 in April 2006. We were able to confirm this by importing the data and by doing a simple count of all station ID’s beginning with “425″ for the year 2006. Replication is straightforward apparently ( I’m no stats man -my contribution is as writer and legal commentator). This is a trivial task for any application developer to write the code to import this data and then analyse it. The most significant observation we have noted is that most of the stations left in the U.S. are airports (for the years 2006 and going forward- that’s a clear UHI type contamination in itself).

    What we desperately need is more help from other volunteers to complete our task. I am therefore here to ask for any support you and your readers can give. I want to be able to press the case confidently against the UK Climate Minister as soon as practicable to shame and blame the guilty and to lobby hard for a re-think of the culture of closed-door science and research.

    If there is anything your good self or your readers can offer I would be extremely grateful. To read a copy of my letter to the Minister and to contact me please see:
    http://www.climategate.com/allow-me-to-correct-you-uk-climate-minister-joan-ruddock

    All the best and keep up the great work!

    John O’Sullivan

  7. Jeff Id said

    #6, I’ve got a possibility after work.

  8. Ed Darrell said

    I learned that the new Environmental Protection Agency, in one of its first acts, had banned the use of DDT with no scientific evidence to back the claim that it was harmful to human health.

    So, you learned it wrong. You got lied to from the get-go, and you didn’t bother to check to see if that’s what happened.

    DDT was banned with 25 years of data collected around the world and more than 1,000 studies confirming the dangers of the stuff to wildlife. Human health was not the reason it was banned. Damage to wildlife was.

    EPA took over the relabeling hearings from the Department of Agriculture, where the process had dragged for several years. EPA was under court order to complete the review in a hurry. Two different federal courts had ruled DDT to be too hazardous to use, and they stayed their bans solely to give EPA a chance to act. In both of those federal trials DDT manufacturers had the chance to make their case before a fair tribunal, and in both cases DDT was ruled dangerous.

    After William Ruckelshaus signed the order banning DDT from agricultural use, two DDT manufacturers sued. Under U.S. law — surely you know this — it would be illegal for an agency to ban a substance on a whim. There must be significant and credible evidence of the dangers before a ban can occur. In both of those appeals, the courts ruled the evidence against DDT so airtight that they gave summary judgment; that means that, even had every piece of testimony on the issues gone the way of the DDT manufacturers, on the basis of the evidence already in the record and the law, the ban on crop spraying was a sure thing.

    You can get facts several places; start here.

    Over the previous decade the Silent Spring book of Rachel Carson had demonized it to the American public until it became politically correct to curse all chemical products used by modern farming.

    Never happened. Insecticide use has always been very popular. The environmental movement has always been in the minority, fueled only by accurate science. That’s why the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act were such bears to get through. Business opposed every action to clean our air and water with multi-million-dollar public relations campaigns and litigation. Whoever told you contrary was pulling your leg — he’s not really your friend, you know?

    The anti-scientific ban was to have consequences beyond the discomfort I was experiencing. It stopped a world wide drive to eradicate malaria, as was done with polio and smallpox.

    No, the calendar tells a different story. Can you read a calendar? The World Health Organization started a malaria eradication campaign in the 1950s. By 1964, they discovered that overuse of DDT on agricultural crops in Africa had made mosquitoes resistant and immune to DDT, and that process was moving too fast to stop it. So the plan was frustrated, the plan of knocking down mosquitoes for six months or a year, and conducting a furiously fast campaign to cure all humans in the area of malaria in that few months so no pool of malaria would exist when the mosquitoes came roaring back.

    But read Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent tribute to Fred Soper, the greatest malaria-fighter ever. WHO had to stop their campaign by 1967. The U.S. did not ban DDT use on cotton until 1972, and the U.S. left DDT available for use against malaria and kept making the stuff for export to Africa. The ban on U.S. use of DDT on cotton came seven years after WHO stopped its malaria eradication campaign. It is impossible in the real world to have such an effect come years before the cause. The ban on DDT use in the U.S. had zero effect on mosquitoes in Africa or Asia, and the ban seven years after the cessation of the massive DDT spraying campaign couldn’t have caused the problem.

    Over four decades 40 to 50 million preventable deaths can be laid at the door of the promoters of this environmental cause.

    That’s a crass and contemptible lie. Look at the calendar. DDT use in Africa slowed in 1967; U.S. ban on DDT use on cotton in the U.S. in 1972. U.S. ban on DDT use on cotton affected farmers in California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, chiefly. Mosquitoes don’t migrate from America to Africa.

    Common sense: It’s a great thing. Use it.

    One of them was Alexander King, leader of the scientific team at the time of World War II that gave the world large scale availability of DDT, and the hope of eradicating insect-transmitted diseases. In his memoirs King let slip a senile remark: “my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem.”

    I’d like to see a citation for that. No such consideration was ever made at EPA, so it’s a moot claim — but I think you’ve been lied to badly, and I’ll wager you can’t find that such a thing was ever said in that context.

    Perhaps you don’t “believe” history and science. Fine. I can arrange to spray your house with DDT. It causes the testes of little boys to shrink, and it causes their breasts to grow. It causes premature puberty in little girls. It causes breast cancer and other cancers in the children of those exposed. It will kill all the beneficial wildlife in your yard, especially birds, and probably your pets. Especially pet fish.

    You won’t have to worry about malaria. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an agency originally set up to fight malaria in America, we beat malaria in 1939, seven years before DDT became available to fight malaria. After we spray your house, you won’t have to worry about malaria. Of course, you don’t have to worry about it now, either.

    Can you send me your address?

  9. Wonderful essay by AN Ditchfield above.

    Regarding the release of the CRU emails, consider the case of the Pentagon Papers. If Daniel Ellsberg had exposed, say, a US military wargame that was being considered–a possible drill, an exercise–no one would have cared much. Likewise, if the CRU emails “really don’t damage the ‘truthful’ science behind AGW one iota”–as all the ‘experts’ tell us–then there is no crime. There certainly isn’t a terrorist act.

    They can’t have it both ways. Either the release of the emails is serious business, because it DOES throw the AGW science into more and more doubt, or the release was trivial.

  10. Ryan O said

    Ed, you’re not as bright as you think. While I didn’t bother to read the Ditchfield and other-Ed posts, I did read your response, and it gave me some insight into where you stand. Let’s take a few winners here:

    Perhaps you don’t “believe” history and science. Fine. I can arrange to spray your house with DDT. It causes the testes of little boys to shrink, and it causes their breasts to grow. It causes premature puberty in little girls. It causes breast cancer and other cancers in the children of those exposed. It will kill all the beneficial wildlife in your yard, especially birds, and probably your pets. Especially pet fish.

    Exaggerate much? Try this.

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

    A nice quote from there: “Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.

    WHO actively promoted indoor residual spraying for malaria control until the early 1980s when increased health and environmental concerns surrounding DDT caused the organization to stop promoting its use and to focus instead on other means of prevention. Extensive research and testing has since demonstrated that well-managed indoor residual spraying programmes using DDT pose no harm to wildlife or to humans.”

    Hm. So this would seem to indicate that WHO stopped advocating proper use of DDT without sufficient evidence. Given that about 1 million people die a year from malaria, one might consider their decision premature. Nope, didn’t have anything to do with the EPA – but all of the hullaballoo from the environmental extremists (which helped drive the EPA’s decision as well) certainly had an effect. So not the EPA – but the same root cause.

    Note in particular that the proper way to use DDT is to spray your frickin house. Putting it into water = bad. Spraying house = good. So when I have a malaria-carrying mosquito problem, please feel free to send folks over with DDT.

    Since that went so well, let’s try another.

    No, the calendar tells a different story. Can you read a calendar? The World Health Organization started a malaria eradication campaign in the 1950s. By 1964, they discovered that overuse of DDT on agricultural crops in Africa had made mosquitoes resistant and immune to DDT, and that process was moving too fast to stop it.

    and

    WHO had to stop their campaign by 1967. The U.S. did not ban DDT use on cotton until 1972, and the U.S. left DDT available for use against malaria and kept making the stuff for export to Africa. The ban on U.S. use of DDT on cotton came seven years after WHO stopped its malaria eradication campaign. It is impossible in the real world to have such an effect come years before the cause. The ban on DDT use in the U.S. had zero effect on mosquitoes in Africa or Asia, and the ban seven years after the cessation of the massive DDT spraying campaign couldn’t have caused the problem.

    and

    That’s a crass and contemptible lie. Look at the calendar. DDT use in Africa slowed in 1967; U.S. ban on DDT use on cotton in the U.S. in 1972. U.S. ban on DDT use on cotton affected farmers in California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, chiefly. Mosquitoes don’t migrate from America to Africa.

    One part is certainly true – the US ban had nothing to do with WHO. But both bans were rooted in the same political movement, and have the same root cause. Additionally, using DDT for crop spraying was legitimately determined to be poor, so the later US ban on DDT for agriculture was well-founded. I won’t argue that. Use in agriculture was (and still is) generally bad news.

    Though the Ditchfield post is pretty poorly written, you misread [what I believe to be] the point. The point was that Silent Spring and the resulting impact on the environmentalist movement and science contributed to WHO stopping the use of DDT for malaria control. Remember the Environmental Defense Fund? Silent Spring was their bible. Whether Ditchfield actually meant that or not I don’t know . . . but I mean that.

    You also ignore the fact that many malaria control programs in foreign countries are funded by private donors. Those donors have refused to provide funds if DDT is used, in spite of its effectiveness – leading to a resurgence of malaria in several countries. Take Mozambique for example:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1117705/?tool=pmcentrez

    Or in Latin America and South Africa:

    http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidinthenews/articles/nr_051401.html

    These restrictions are certainly not “bans” in the legal sense of the word, but they happen because of pressure/misinformation from anti-scientific environmental groups or even governmental agencies. In the above article, Bolivia and Belize admit that pressure from USAID resulted in stopping the use of DDT – only to experience a vast resurgence of malaria in those countries. So has the anti-scientific tirade against DDT caused 20 million deaths? Probably not. Has it caused hundreds of thousands? At the very least, judging from Latin America alone. The excuse that DDT is useless for malaria control or even ineffective is not backed up by scientific evidence when DDT is used properly. But don’t take it from me . . .

    http://www.botanischergarten.ch/DDT/Attaran-Balancing-Poor-2000.pdf

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119118/

    http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v6/n7/abs/nm0700_729.html

    http://samj.org.za/index.php/samj/article/viewFile/1885/1206

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2009/malaria_ddt_20090506/en/index.html

    I can give you a lot more if you want.

    I find it interesting that you feel free to criticize people for mis-statements when you produce such an incredibly inane line of balderdash like the following (repeated cause it’s just soooooo good):

    Perhaps you don’t “believe” history and science. Fine. I can arrange to spray your house with DDT. It causes the testes of little boys to shrink, and it causes their breasts to grow. It causes premature puberty in little girls. It causes breast cancer and other cancers in the children of those exposed. It will kill all the beneficial wildlife in your yard, especially birds, and probably your pets. Especially pet fish.

    You might want to check out this post by Lucia. The first quote in it fits you to a “T”: http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/the-other-side-is-the-devil/

  11. Ryan O said

    Damn blockquotes.

  12. Ed Darrell said

    Ed, you’re not as bright as you think.

    What makes you think I think I’m bright? I’m only calling a bluff, and a dishonest one at that. I have no magic powers, no super intellect — but I work to be accurate, and I try very hard to get the science and history correct.

    While I didn’t bother to read the Ditchfield and other-Ed posts . . .

    Okay, so you put little value on accuracy in history and science. We at least know where you’re coming from. Thanks for being honest.

    . . . I did read your res
    ponse, and it gave me some insight into where you stand. Let’s take a few winners here:

    Perhaps you don’t “believe” history and science. Fine. I can arrange to spray your house with DDT. It causes the testes of little boys to shrink, and it causes their breasts to grow. It causes premature puberty in little girls. It causes breast cancer and other cancers in the children of those exposed. It will kill all the beneficial wildlife in your yard, especially birds, and probably your pets. Especially pet fish.

    Exaggerate much? Try this.

    No exaggeration at all. Just the facts.

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

    A nice quote from there: “Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.

    WHO actively promoted indoor residual spraying for malaria control until the early 1980s when increased health and environmental concerns surrounding DDT caused the organization to stop promoting its use and to focus instead on other means of prevention. Extensive research and testing has since demonstrated that well-managed indoor residual spraying programmes using DDT pose no harm to wildlife or to humans.”

    Actually WHO never stopped advocacy for DDT. While the utility of DDT for use in massive spraying programs was compromised by gross overuse in agriculture in the middle 1960s, WHO kept DDT available for extremely limited Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) the entire time. The trick was to be sure to use DDT where it was effective and in a way that it would not contribute to resistance and immunity of mosquitoes to the stuff. By the 1980s there were no places left on Earth where mosquitoes had no resistance. DDT was much less effective. WHO decreased the use almost accidentally, simply by choosing to use effective pesticides where it used pesticides.

    And while this spraying is extremely limited, it’s always been legal and it’s advocated by Environmental Defense, the U.S. organization that first sued to stop DDT spraying in the U.S. So, when people urge that we “change the policy” and “expand DDT use,” they’re not talking about the sane, limited, careful and effective use of DDT advocated and practiced by WHO.

    That’s where I started from.

    Of course, recent research indicates that even the limited use of DDT in IRS probably has adverse health effects, but why quibble.

    Hm. So this would seem to indicate that WHO stopped advocating proper use of DDT without sufficient evidence.

    That’s quite an allegation, and quite contrary to the history. Fred Soper was a great advocate of DDT and health care improvements to fight malaria. He’s the guy who wiped out malaria in several nations in the Americas — and he’s the guy who pulled the plug on the eradication program in Africa. Did he suddenly get stupid?

    No. Go read the story. Get the facts.

    Given that about 1 million people die a year from malaria, one might consider their decision premature. Nope, didn’t have anything to do with the EPA – but all of the hullaballoo from the environmental extremists (which helped drive the EPA’s decision as well) certainly had an effect. So not the EPA – but the same root cause.

    So you completely dismiss the knowledge of malaria fighters in the field and on the spot. You may not have been alive then, but you can guess better than they know. And then you claim I’m arrogant.

    When they stopped the eradication program, malaria deaths had dropped from a high of 4 million annually to about 2 million annually. Today, deaths usually run under a million a year. We have fewer malaria deaths now than at the peak of DDT application. If DDT is the miracle “cure” for DDT, how can that be?

    Finally, do you have any real evidence, say from Fred Soper, or from Socrates Litsios, two of WHO’s legendary malaria fighters, that their decision was based on pressure from anyone, and not on the facts of the situation? No?

    Then quit putting words in their mouths. Soper is dead, but Gladwell wrote a great piece on him. Litsios is still alive, and you shouldn’t make claims he doesn’t make in his history of fighting malaria, The Tomorrow of Malaria, nor in any other place he’s written.

    Note in particular that the proper way to use DDT is to spray your frickin house. Putting it into water = bad. Spraying house = good. So when I have a malaria-carrying mosquito problem, please feel free to send folks over with DDT.

    Since that went so well, let’s try another.

    The other guy was so hot on DDT I thought we’d just use a cropduster and do his whole yard. Reckless commenters deserve reckless solutions, don’t you think?

    No, the calendar tells a different story. Can you read a calendar? The World Health Organization started a malaria eradication campaign in the 1950s. By 1964, they discovered that overuse of DDT on agricultural crops in Africa had made mosquitoes resistant and immune to DDT, and that process was moving too fast to stop it.

    and

    WHO had to stop their campaign by 1967. The U.S. did not ban DDT use on cotton until 1972, and the U.S. left DDT available for use against malaria and kept making the stuff for export to Africa. The ban on U.S. use of DDT on cotton came seven years after WHO stopped its malaria eradication campaign. It is impossible in the real world to have such an effect come years before the cause. The ban on DDT use in the U.S. had zero effect on mosquitoes in Africa or Asia, and the ban seven years after the cessation of the massive DDT spraying campaign couldn’t have caused the problem.

    and

    That’s a crass and contemptible lie. Look at the calendar. DDT use in Africa slowed in 1967; U.S. ban on DDT use on cotton in the U.S. in 1972. U.S. ban on DDT use on cotton affected farmers in California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, chiefly. Mosquitoes don’t migrate from America to Africa.

    One part is certainly true – the US ban had nothing to do with WHO. But both bans were rooted in the same political movement, and have the same root cause.

    There was no ban by WHO. If you argue that there was, please point me to the document by WHO which says ‘we’re now banning DDT.’ For one thing, WHO lacks any authority to ban DDT. They can stop using a substance, but they have no authority over any national laws on the matter. Second, WHO never issued an internal ban on use.

    So, not only did the U.S. ban have nothing to do with WHO’s reduction in use seven years before the U.S. acted against DDT, WHO’s reduction in use was not a ban. DDT has never been banned in Africa, nor in Asia. Controlling it now, under the Persistent Organic Pesticides Treaty is still problematic. Also, DDT has a specific exemption in the POPs Treaty. Manufacture of DDT continues apace in India and China. DDT is still a problem.

    The ban on DDT in the U.S. was not a political move, but a legal one. Under the laws in the U.S. in 1970, dangerous pesticides had to be tightly regulated. Once the evidence was in that DDT was a dangerous pesticide, there really wasn’t much EPA could do but stop its registration for use in agriculture, and they did.

    But remember, this occurred seven years after most DDT use in parts of Africa was stopped, in the WHO ambitious plan to eradicate mosquitoes. And WHO didn’t act for political reasons, but for wholly scientific and administrative reasons: DDT resistance showed up in those few African nations where WHO could spray 80% of the homes, but most Subsaharan nations could not mount any campaign against malaria.

    There was no “green mafia” that imposed a ban. There was evolution among the bugs, and regimes unable to organize a spraying campaign. No politics.

    Additionally, using DDT for crop spraying was legitimately determined to be poor, so the later US ban on DDT for agriculture was well-founded. I won’t argue that. Use in agriculture was (and still is) generally bad news.

    Though the Ditchfield post is pretty poorly written, you misread [what I believe to be] the point. The point was that Silent Spring and the resulting impact on the environmentalist movement and science contributed to WHO stopping the use of DDT for malaria control.

    That’s preposterous. Carson’s book was published in 1962. Fred Soper and his colleagues at WHO thought they were well within bounds on DDT use, and they did not consider Carson’s complaints to constrain them in any way. Read the history and stick to it.

    Your claim is this: WHO, charged with improving health, reneged on their mission and their own science, to save robins and eagles in America, sacrificing millions of babies in Africa; and Africans went along with them. That’s a silly, stupid, historically wrong, and bigoted-against-Africa-and-Africans claim. Don’t go there.

    Remember the Environmental Defense Fund? Silent Spring was their bible. Whether Ditchfield actually meant that or not I don’t know . . . but I mean that.

    EDF (now ED) has been a long-time fighter of malaria, and advocate of IRS using DDT in Africa. Don’t make up stuff; stick to the facts. Ditchfield doesn’t know anything about ED and DDT in Africa, either.

    Silent Spring is a very accurate book. In that book, Rachel Carson urges limited use of DDT in Integrated Pest Managment (IPM) (WHO calls it “integrated vector management”). She never urged a ban on DDT. Don’t take my word for it — read the book.

    If ED used Carson as a Bible, they were doing God’s work. In fact, Rachel Carson described a DDT-using program of integrated pest management to fight DDT — exactly what we’re using in Africa today with great success, working to end the remaining infections and deaths with WHO, the Gates Foundation, and serious work by at least a dozen nations.

    Did ED use Carson’s book as a Bible? Good. Carson’s methods work — and it’s a crying shame it took more than 40 years for those methods to be implemented across Africa. And over the past decade, with the help of Steven Milloy and Roger Bate, policy makers have been asking for a return to DDT, ineffective, expensive and damaging as it is, instead of fighting malaria. Every 30 seconds a kid dies because Milloy convinced some policy maker that there is a cheap and easy solution out there that some mysterious, unnamed (and unnamable) “greenie” is keeping from being used. Why bother to save any African kid, they reason, so long as Africa is ringed by an army of Birkenstock-wearing, long-hair environmentalists who will shout in unison “shame on you.”

    Your story is completely preposterous, not recorded in history, and damaging to the fight against malaria. Get the facts and stick to them.

    You also ignore the fact that many malaria control programs in foreign countries are funded by private donors. Those donors have refused to provide funds if DDT is used, in spite of its effectiveness – leading to a resurgence of malaria in several countries. Take Mozambique for example:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1117705/?tool=pmcentrez

    Well, then, you can’t blame leftist politicians, or leftist government regulators. It seems to me you’ve got a problem among free-enterprise, private groups.

    But in any case, DDT is cheap, and if African nations wished to use it, it’s readily available for them to use. As you note elsewhere in this post, South Africa and Mozambique had the stuff and were ready to use it. Of course, constant use of DDT didn’t save them from malaria, and admitting that they were there rather refutes your claims that there was a ban they couldn’t get around somehow.

    Look: Your claim that Africans knew DDT would save millions of children, but stood by and let a little old dead lady persuade them to let their children die instead, is bunk. It’s racist and bigoted against low-income nations, too. I don’t buy it. You can’t provide the evidence.

    You allege that a lack of DDT caused a resurgence of malaria. But if you take any example and check it out, you’ll see that it wasn’t lack of DDT, but some other factor that caused the problem. After 1980, for example, malaria parasites developed resistance to the commonly used phramaceuticals used to wipe it out in humans. Consequently, there was a rise in malaria rates and death rates. As a pragmatic matter, if there were no parasites in humans, mosquitoes make no difference. Mosquitoes must have a pool of infected humans from which to draw the malaria parasite — the parasite must spend part of its life in humans, and part of its life in mosquitoes. The goal of the WHO “eradication” program was to knock down the mosquito population for six months or a year, and in that time cure malaria infections in all the humans in an area, so that when the mosquitoes came roaring back, there would be no malaria for them to spread (this is essentially what we did in the U.S. by 1939, prior to the discovery of DDT’s utility against bugs).

    You’re attributing powers to DDT that it simply does not have.

    Plus, if you read that article, you’ll see that Mozambique blames its lack of a program on war in the area, not on a lack of DDT. For its part, South Africa used DDT continuously from 1946 to 1996 — and clearly DDT did not eradicate malaria. DDT is a useful tool in limited circumstances, and when used carefully. But it’s no panacea.

    Mexico, by the way, has used DDT continuously since 1946. Mexico’s malaria rates rise and fall with the rest of the world. Were DDT the pixie dust claimed by its advocates like Roger Bate, Mexico could have stopped using DDT years ago when malaria was wiped out.

    You gotta have good medical care to beat malaria. DDT is not medical care.

    Or in Latin America and South Africa:

    http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidinthenews/articles/nr_051401.html

    That’s a claim by Roger Bate, who for some odd reason is tied to a campaign to discredit WHO in Africa, from everything I’ve heard. I find him an evil man who invents tales. That’s not a reliable source, therefore.

    These restrictions are certainly not “bans” in the legal sense of the word, but they happen because of pressure/misinformation from anti-scientific environmental groups or even governmental agencies. In the above article, Bolivia and Belize admit that pressure from USAID resulted in stopping the use of DDT – only to experience a vast resurgence of malaria in those countries. So has the anti-scientific tirade against DDT caused 20 million deaths? Probably not. Has it caused hundreds of thousands? At the very least, judging from Latin America alone.

    Can you name for me those mysterious officials at USAID who told Belize and Bolivia to stop using DDT? Can you tell me why either of those nations would go along with such a request, if DDT was the magic stuff? I keep hearing about “pressure” from these groups — when we challenge on the ban and people finally admit there was not ban, they fall back to “pressure” — but the only example I’ve been able to document is George W. Bush’s AID bunch, who was pressured by Environmental Defense to spend money on DDT. Now, that doesn’t make sense: George Bush was never one to kowtow to anything close to the environmental community.

    So, with complete nonsense from the Bush administration, coupled with the lack of documentation of the mystery groups who “pressured” nations to stop using DDT, I gotta tell you I don’t put much credence in the claims that DDT was unavailable. China and India took over production of DDT after the manufacturers fled the U.S. to avoid liability for the cleanup of the toxic dumps their plants had become (sticking you with the bill for the cleanup — but apparently that doesn’t bother you). DDT is available and cheap, even today. If DDT would work, what nation wouldn’t pop for it out of their own pocket — it’s cheap — and spray the hell out of their country?

    What you allege occurred doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t pass the smell test.

    And it isn’t part of the history.

    Can you document any of the claims you’re making?

    The excuse that DDT is useless for malaria control or even ineffective is not backed up by scientific evidence when DDT is used properly. But don’t take it from me . . .

    http://www.botanischergarten.ch/DDT/Attaran-Balancing-Poor-2000.pdf

    Actually, that article notes the rise of resistance as a problem. It rests its case on DDT’s repellent value — but DEET is more effective and less toxic than DDT. Why not use DEET? For that matter, DDT use has been shown to reduce malaria by 25% to 50% — but bednets reduce malaria rates by 50% to 85% in carefully measured tests and projects across Africa over the past five years. Nets cost about $10.00 and last five years — $2.00 a year. They are double or triple the effectiveness of DDT. DDT costs about $12.00 an application that must be repeated every six months — $24.00 a year. So DDT is one-third to one-half as effective as nets, and 12 times as expensive.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119118/

    A diligent reader who reads to the end notes that this is not one article calling for a return of DDT, but instead a dialogue between two advocates of DDT who don’t understand why it was banned, and a veteran malaria fighter who spells out alternatives to DDT. The first piece is a classic red herring: The authors claim DDT is not a huge threat to humans, and so should be used with abandon. They appear to have missed the part about DDT being banned because of its damage to ecosystems, including damage that causes increases in malaria vectors. DDT’s acute toxicity to humans is not an issue. DDT was not banned because a lot of humans were being made deathly ill, even though it appears to hold a bit of cachet as a device for human suicides in Asia. DDT was not banned due to its causing cancer, though it is listed as a “probable carcinogen” by the American Cancer Society and all of its international affiliates, and though the evidence for carcinogenicity in humans continues to accumulate (probably a weak human carcinogen, thank God, except in the second generation).

    DDT was banned because it upsets ecosystems. It kills beneficial insects, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Its use pretty much guarantees that target disease vectors, like malaria-carrying mosquitoes, will come roaring back in a few weeks unless DDT is used again. Also, over time mosquitoes develop immunity to DDT.

    So, you tell us that DDT doesn’t harm humans? Wonderful! Has it stopped killing birds? Has it stopped killing the fish African use to eat? Has it stopped killing the bats that eat the mosquitoes that would spread malaria? Does it no longer bioaccumulate to provide fatal doses of poison to raptors in estuaries? No?

    Then, keep it banned. The original bans were right, and they should be extended.

    http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v6/n7/abs/nm0700_729.html

    A careful reader would note that this is the same piece, by the same guys as in the in the previous piece from the NCBI database. Same red herring argument, ‘DDT doesn’t kill humans immediately!’ See response above.

    When you’ve been at this as long as I have, you can see the recycling of arguments and sources by DDT advocates. There isn’t any new research showing DDT to be safe. There is no research to show DDT is no longer carcinogenic, nor that humans resist cancers from DDT any better. There is no research to show that DDT has magically stopped killing the chicks of birds, either outright or by damaging the eggs to the point the eggs cannot protect the embryonic chicks. So all of these claims are recycled, and often just the same as another piece, copied word for word. No new research. No new data. New kids die as we diddle around with these nettlesome and harassing arguments, but that’s the only new thing. That is to be expected: Children die only once, while old, should-be-dead arguments appear to last forever.

    http://samj.org.za/index.php/samj/article/viewFile/1885/1206

    A great article detailing how DDT can be used to fight malaria, in a carefully controlled program similar to what Rachel Carson urged in 1962, that Environmental Defense urges now. This is the program you have been arguing is inadequate, the program that Steven Milloy, Roger Bate and Paul Dreissen say can’t work. Fascinating, no?

    Did you read that last part of the abstract? It explains that DDT alone didn’t do the trick — DDT is not pixie dust, in no way is a panacea, and beating malaria requires quick and effective medical treatment of the malaria infestation in human victims, and it warns that DDT use cannot continue:

    The combination of an effective insecticide and effective antimalarial drugs in KwaZulu-Natal has resulted in a 91% decline in the malaria incidence rate. Unfortunately the continued exclusive use of DDT within the malarious areas of the province is threatened by the emergence of insecticide resistance.
    S Afr Med J 2005; 95: 871-874.

    You find your sources, and when you get there, there is the ghost of Rachel Carson, asking why you keep arguing for ineffective poisoning of Africa when so many children are dying. Do you feel a twinge of guilt yet?

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2009/malaria_ddt_20090506/en/index.html

    Well, we know you didn’t bother to read that one at all. Here are the first few paragraphs, and I’ve highlighted a few words that should have made you see the ghost of Rachel Carson comforting a dying African kid once again:

    06 MAY 2009 | GENEVA/NAIROBI/WASHINGTON DC — The United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility, today announced a rejuvenated international effort to combat malaria with an incremental reduction of reliance on the synthetic pesticide DDT.

    Ten projects, all part of the global programme “Demonstrating and Scaling-up of sustainable Alternatives to DDT in Vector Management”, involving some 40 countries in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia are set to test non-chemical methods ranging from eliminating potential mosquito breeding sites and securing homes with mesh screens to deploying mosquito-repellent trees and fish that eat mosquito larvae.

    The new projects follow a successful demonstration of alternatives to DDT in Mexico and Central America. Here pesticide-free techniques and management regimes have helped cut cases of malaria by over 60 per cent.

    The success of the five year-long pilot indicates that sustainable alternatives to Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) are emerging as cost effective solutions that may be applicable regionally and globally.

    DDT is passe. It’s a deadly poison. It disrupts ecosystems. As an endocrine disruptor, it damages wildlife wherever it goes. It kills unborn generations of animals, maybe unborn generations of humans. Mosquitoes eat it almost like candy, as the genetic specialists tell us via Jonathan Weiner’s explanation.

    I can give you a lot more if you want.

    Here’s what you can’t give us: You can’t give us one study that says DDT isn’t a wild-card, killer of many species that is uncontrollable in the wild. You can’t give us one study that says DDT isn’t deadly to birds, even in carefully controlled applications. You can’t give us any research that shows mosquitoes don’t already have resistance or immunity to DDT. You can’t give us malaria-fighters who claim DDT will save the world, since they know more than others that killing mosquitoes briefly is just a small step in a massive campaign. You can’t show us that DDT is as effective as bednets, and especially you can’t show us that it’s cheaper. You can’t show us that increasing the amount of DDT will do much beneficial. You can’t show us that increasing DDT would do irreparable harm.

    And what you’ve already given us doesn’t support your claims.

    So don’t bother, thank you very much. Study the issue. And get online, and send $10 to Nothing but Nets.com, and save a kid’s life while saving your breath.

    I find it interesting that you feel free to criticize people for mis-statements when you produce such an incredibly inane line of balderdash like the following (repeated cause it’s just soooooo good):

    Perhaps you don’t “believe” history and science. Fine. I can arrange to spray your house with DDT. It causes the testes of little boys to shrink, and it causes their breasts to grow. It causes premature puberty in little girls. It causes breast cancer and other cancers in the children of those exposed. It will kill all the beneficial wildlife in your yard, especially birds, and probably your pets. Especially pet fish

    Send me your address. I can arrange a DDT spraying. Send your pre-pubescent daughter out into the spray, if you claim it’s harmless. Send your toddling baby boy out. Write us in a few years, and let us know that she didn’t get premature onset of menses, and tell us that his testes work fine and he’s not being mistaken for a woman with his breasts. Then write us in another 20 years to assure us their children don’t get the ill effects.

    If you’re really ambitious, do a survey of life in your yard before the spraying, and afterward. Do you know what the death twitches of songbirds on DDT looks like? Then you’ll be able to accurately tell which ones die from DDT, and which from old age. If you love your cat, keep it indoors. We discovered in Borneo that house cats are small enough mammals to get a fatal dose of DDT from grooming themselves.

    Put your life where your swagger is.

    You might want to check out this post by Lucia. The first quote in it fits you to a “T”: http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/the-other-side-is-the-devil/

    No, you’re not the devil. You’re just ill-informed. We can cure that, but you have to cooperate. Remember the words of Dorothy Parker: “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” Every bit as relevant as what Lucia said.

    I don’t have to be as bright as I wish I were. I just have to tell the facts and stick to them. Even we dimwits can out hustle anyone who makes fantastic and false claims. Honesty is a good policy to follow in public health.

    (Gee, I hope I got all the formatting commands right.)

  13. Ed Darrell said

    Ryan O, there is a response to your long, thoughtful post. It’s probably stuck in moderation due to the number of links.

  14. Jeff i'd said

    I’ll fish the comment out later tonight. Iphone’s are cool but difficult to blog on.

  15. Jeff Id said

    Ed, you have to be one of the most unusual people I’ve run across on the entire internet.

  16. Ryan O said

    Ed,

    I see that arguing with you (and providing sources) is utterly useless. You’ve made up your mind – and you’ve never done a lick of science to prove it. Like others of your ilk, you exaggerate to spread fear and suppress the science. Want an example? Try this:

    Send your pre-pubescent daughter out into the spray, if you claim it’s harmless. Send your toddling baby boy out. Write us in a few years, and let us know that she didn’t get premature onset of menses, and tell us that his testes work fine and he’s not being mistaken for a woman with his breasts. Then write us in another 20 years to assure us their children don’t get the ill effects.

    If you’re really ambitious, do a survey of life in your yard before the spraying, and afterward. Do you know what the death twitches of songbirds on DDT looks like? Then you’ll be able to accurately tell which ones die from DDT, and which from old age. If you love your cat, keep it indoors. We discovered in Borneo that house cats are small enough mammals to get a fatal dose of DDT from grooming themselves.

    What a bunch of unthinking, fear-mongering, utterly anti-scientific load of bullshit. No one says it’s a good idea to spray your frickin’ kids, or dump DDT on your lawn. When used responsibly (as I’ve said before), there is no evidence of short or long term ill effects. This is like condemning Clorox because if you drink it you can die, or condemning MiracleGro because if children eat it they can suffer severe neurological defects.

    DDT was banned because it upsets ecosystems. It kills beneficial insects, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Its use pretty much guarantees that target disease vectors, like malaria-carrying mosquitoes, will come roaring back in a few weeks unless DDT is used again. Also, over time mosquitoes develop immunity to DDT.

    So, you tell us that DDT doesn’t harm humans? Wonderful! Has it stopped killing birds? Has it stopped killing the fish African use to eat? Has it stopped killing the bats that eat the mosquitoes that would spread malaria? Does it no longer bioaccumulate to provide fatal doses of poison to raptors in estuaries? No?

    Then, keep it banned. The original bans were right, and they should be extended.

    Again, more bullshit. See above.

    Then you discount those studies that do not fit your worldview not based on their scientific merits . . . but because they don’t fit your worldview. And documented cases of pressure not to use DDT where it is effective “doesn’t pass the smell test”??? WTF? It happened with USAID. But go on with your irrational defense of the extreme environmentalist movement if it makes you happy.

    Good bye, Ed. I have no more patience for you.

  17. stunning riposte from Ryan O – the beast that is post modern scientific method is being valiantly slain.

  18. Ed Darrell said

    RyanO said:

    What a bunch of unthinking, fear-mongering, utterly anti-scientific load of bullshit. No one says it’s a good idea to spray your frickin’ kids, or dump DDT on your lawn. When used responsibly (as I’ve said before), there is no evidence of short or long term ill effects. This is like condemning Clorox because if you drink it you can die, or condemning MiracleGro because if children eat it they can suffer severe neurological defects.

    Well, at least you got the point. No one should advocate spraying the kids and dumping DDT on the lawn.

    So, when I suggest we stick to integrated pest management, when I point out the real problems of DDT, when I detail at great length the real history of why it has been stopped — and when I quote from the sources you cited to back your claims that DDT is fine, but the quotes go the other way — somehow the real history and science is bad.

    Santayana’s Ghost shakes his head in wonder.

    It’s okay to argue DDT is good and shouldn’t be banned, unless we proposes to put it in your yard. “NIMBY, NIMFY, and Clorox is bad, too!”

    Of course, I didn’t propose to make your kid drink a cup of DDT, which the advocates say should be perfectly safe (Gordon Edwards did it before every lecture, the myth says). All I did was offer to make you safe from malaria with DDT. Oy.

    I noted, based on several of the sources cited (and not responded to): “DDT was banned because it upsets ecosystems. It kills beneficial insects, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Its use pretty much guarantees that target disease vectors, like malaria-carrying mosquitoes, will come roaring back in a few weeks unless DDT is used again. Also, over time mosquitoes develop immunity to DDT.

    So, you tell us that DDT doesn’t harm humans? Wonderful! Has it stopped killing birds? Has it stopped killing the fish African use to eat? Has it stopped killing the bats that eat the mosquitoes that would spread malaria? Does it no longer bioaccumulate to provide fatal doses of poison to raptors in estuaries? No?

    Then, keep it banned. The original bans were right, and they should be extended.”

    Again, more bullshit. See above.

    At least you didn’t repeat the bullshit. I saw above. I responded to the bullshit at length. I have my own compost, thank you.

    Then you discount those studies that do not fit your worldview not based on their scientific merits . . . but because they don’t fit your worldview.

    Well, if by “worldview” you mean I accept research that would pass muster under the Scout Law, yes. Read my previous post again. My responses to you were based mostly on those citations you gave, which, which were revealed to say DDT should be phased out and that the fight against malaria does not require DDT.

    So I’m really confused. Worldview has nothing to do with this. There is the science, and there is nonsense. What worldview accepts nonsense?

    That’s my point. DDT advocates And documented cases of pressure not to use DDT where it is effective “doesn’t pass the smell test”??? WTF? It happened with USAID.

    It happened after 2000 with George Bush’s administration. It was stupid — but George Bush is not a Rachel Carson fan. Bush’s people denied that it had anything to do with environmentalism. They also refused to spend money for bed nets. In short, the policy was just plain stupid.

    But it wasn’t stupid 15 years ago that you can document. WTF indeed: You alleged lots of pressure from lots of different environmentalist organizations, but the only evidence you have is my citation to George Bush doing it. WTF?

    But go on with your irrational defense of the extreme environmentalist movement if it makes you happy.

    Good bye, Ed. I have no more patience for you.

    I defend science, you claim no more patience and label the science and history “extreme environmentalism?”

    Franklin was right! In a fair fight, truth wins!

    I’ll take your forfeit.

  19. Layman Lurker said

    Nothing left to accomplish here anymore Ed….run along….other denialist blogs to conquer and all that stuff.

  20. Mark T said

    Ed Darrell said
    January 17, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Has it stopped killing birds?

    It never did. This is the first outright fabrication.

    Has it stopped killing the fish African use to eat?

    I don’t recall that was ever considered a legitimate claim.

    Has it stopped killing the bats that eat the mosquitoes that would spread malaria?

    DDT is gone, malaria continues to thrive right along with those bats, apparently that wasn’t a problem.

    Does it no longer bioaccumulate to provide fatal doses of poison to raptors in estuaries? No?

    It never did. This is the second outright fabrication.

    In a fair fight, truth wins!

    Then maybe you should try to start telling the truth?

    I thought journalists were trained in investigative techniques?

    Mark

  21. Ed Darrell said

    Mark, each of your statements in that last post is contrary to fact, and contradicted by dozens of studies. Your account is so bizarre as to not even be wrong.

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