Libya sovereign fund suffers big losses?

Says the FT:

Libya lost billions of dollars on sophisticated financial products sold to Muammer Gaddafi’s sovereign wealth fund by some of the world’s leading financial institutions, according to a confidential Libyan government document… One of the most striking losses, outlined in an internal report for the Libyan Investment Authority, was a 98.5 per cent fall in the value of the sovereign wealth fund’s $1.2bn equity and currency derivatives portfolio. The disclosures – in a document obtained by the campaign group Global Witness – raise more questions about the west’s enthusiastic engagement with Libya, in spite of the Gaddafi regime’s reputation for brutality and corruption. Robert Palmer, campaigner for Global Witness, said: “It’s striking how many top financial institutions were prepared to do business with the Libyan regime, given the obvious concerns over the potential misuse of state assets for personal gain.”

Sooooo… they are sad that the Cold West was prepared to engage with Gaddafi and allow him to make money playing the markets. But if you believe that, isn’t it great that our financial institutions were so incompetent / corrupt / whatever that we managed to actually lose him money?

Meanwhile, the War isn’t going quite as quickly as one might hope. Some arabs safe in the West are starting to do the traditional “don’t trust the West” twaddle. But things grind on; we have inertia and lack-of-attention-span, which can be mistaken for patience.


* Exciting times in Libya

How to be wrong

From the department for shooting fish in a barrel, David Appell has a nice post pointing out that Singer has been a bozo for years, predicting (in 1981) massive future declines in fossil oil use.

This may be a good place to link to another of DA’s posts, US Emissions to Stay Below Pre-Recession Peak Until 2028 which makes an interesting combination with Early Warning on US vehicle miles.

More Singer-is-a-bozo stuff

This is, as I said, shooting fish in a barrel. So I’ll just make it an update to this post rather than a new one. DA went to a talk by Singer that was riddled with errors. One bit stuck out:

Most egregious of his claims was that there has been no warming since 1975. As proof he put up a graph of UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) satellite data, compiled by the Christy/Spencer group. Singer said he calculated that it had zero linear trend. One audience member down front almost jumped out of his seat while pointing out that Singer was using version 5.0 of the UAH data, which is years old and had not been properly (and famously) corrected for satellite drift. UAH did that and their new data, version 5.4, now shows warming, and they list the trend at the bottom of their data page: +0.14°C/decade for the globe, +0.17°C/decade for land. Astonishingly Singer feigned ignorance of this.

Singer gave a talk at BAS, ooh, maybe 5 years back, and he was much the same then. He used junk data, and anytime anyone pointed this out, he put on the folksy-old-man persona and pretended he knew nothing about it. As a rhetorical trick, I don’t think it works well: rather than a poor old man being assailed by nasty young men pointing out his errors, he comes across as a senile old chap who doesn’t really know what he is talking about.

Historic climate change deal with legal powers agreed by Cabinet?

That is what The Grauniad said over the weekend.

Cabinet ministers have agreed a far-reaching, legally binding “green deal” that will commit the UK to two decades of drastic cuts in carbon emissions. The package will require sweeping changes to domestic life, transport and business and will place Britain at the forefront of the global battle against climate change.

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Comets make men mad

The Younger Dryas was a cooling event about 12 kyr ago – see the wikipedia article, which still has the pic I drew in it. It is an example of rapid climate change, and was probably caused by THC shutdown caused by meltwater from the Laurentide icesheet, though exactly how is unclear.

However, some people would like it to be caused by a comet. That was first suggested in 2007, and RC said we doubt it. Then again in 2009 some more evidence was produced, and RC said we still doubt it. Others were less cautious; and Unscientifc American gushed over it as did Nat. Geog.. Bits of their work turned out to be non-reproducible, and it also fails various subsidiary tests. See-also Skeptical Inquirer • May/June 2010 by David Morrison, which also notes the dubious pseudo-science precursors of the idea.

More excitingly, now Comet Theory Comes Crashing to Earth says the entire theory is nonsense, and possibly fraudulent too. I know nowt of the “Kennett” mentioned in that article, but he can’t be famous (well, because I’ve never heard of him, and) because he has no wikipedia article. It looks a bit like K-the-elder (confusingly, there seem to be two of them, one the son of the other) is the influential crusty old type gone Emeritus who is getting more respect for his theory than it deserves. Or then again, he may have been traduced*. But the villain may be West, who is really called Whitt, if my source is to believed. If the new article is right (or if only the Skeptical Inquirer is right) then the motto is the usual one: don’t believe a sexy new idea just because it appears in a high-profile journal.

* Kafka joke.

Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications?

From The email that pointed me at it said “Sincere apologies — I am very sorry that I did not have time to write a shorter paper” and I think he is correct to apologise. It also says “Climate sensitivity section probably belongs in the paleo paper still under review” which also seems correct – to devote 15 pages (more than 1/4 of the paper!) to saying that Climate Sensitivity is ~ 3 oC is to confess that your prose is too prolix – and he doesn’t even quote JA (which brings up another topic: he spends far too much time quoting himself. The entire thing is far too inward looking).
Continue reading “Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications?”