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The day the Global Warming death spiral began

Let the historic dissection begin. Man-made global warming is a dying market and a zombie science.

The Carbon Capture Report, based in Illinois, tallies up the media stories from the English speaking media on “climate change” daily. Thanks to the tip from Peter Lang, we can see the terminal trend below. The big peak in late 2009 was the double-whammy of Climategate and Copenhagen (aka Hopenhagen). It’s all been downhill since then.

Mentions of “climate change” in news, blogs and tweets dropped suddenly from July 29, 2011

Source: Carbon Capture Report

But something that caught my eye was the drop in mid 2011 (or precisely — July 29, 2011) when media stories fell by half, a step-change fall from which they never recovered.

Media Matters, and Joe Romm make much of of the fact that after Paul Ingrassia (a skeptic) was appointed as Reuters deputy-editor-in-chief news coverage of climate change fell by half.

Media Matters found a 48% decline in climate-change coverage over a six-month period, after Ingrassia joined the agency in 2011.

But Ingrassia started in April 2011 not July. Media Matters compares 6 months before the global fall Oct 2010 – April 2011 — to a six month period after the global fall (Oct 2011 – April 2012). Media Matters and Romm missed the big picture.

The Carbon Capture report graph above includes news, articles, blogs, tweets. The step change occurs in news stories and tweets, but doesn’t happen in blogs til October 15, 2011. When it comes, the use of “climate change” in blogs plummets about 70%. What happened? (Suggestions welcome). Is this an artefact, does it include comments? Is this a moment when the 50c army got new instructions (and why?), or, who knows, perhaps paychecks for astroturfing stopped? I have no data…

Blog mentions of “climate change” apparently fell after Oct 13th 2011

Mentions of “wind power” similarly fell off their own cliff the same week as media mentions of “climate change”. The dot just above the fall is July 26th, 2011.

Mentions of “Wind Power” drop from July 26th 2011.


The term “solar power” fell into a ditch that week, but recovered on and off. It was not the same pattern.

Mentions of “Solar Power” in media, blogs and tweets


I wondered what events has caused the fall. I figured there would be clues in the carbon market, and sure enough, the death spiral in prices began in June 2011.

Carbon credit prices


Global mentions of carbon credits reached a wild peak on July 1o.

What was going on?

Everyone was talking about carbon credits on July 10, 2011.

So I started hunting

I skimmed through wayback machine pages of Climate depot and Tom Nelson. (Keep hunting, you may find something I missed).

In mid-2011 there appear to be a few not-so-good polls released, like  Poll: Most see disasters, few climate turn [July 11th] and  Climate Change Belief Down 27 Percentage Points in Four Years? [July 12]. There were also media stories talking about a coming ice age, like  “Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade[June 14th] and Christopher Booker “Global warming? A new ice age?” [July 6th].

None of which were enough.

The Chicago Climate Exchange collapsed in late 2010. That wasn’t the trigger. Though it was an early victim of the same general trend. The Republicans took control of the US Senate House in Nov 2010, and Cap n Trade was declared dead then. By February 2011, renewables were off the agenda in “austerity-struck Europe” and I noted the money was leaving the room.

What looks like the most important clue was a key report issued on June 1 by the World Bank which said the international carbon market was in deep trouble: World Bank warns of ‘failing’ international carbon market [Guardian June 2] . Another version said:  “Carbon credits market at point of collapse”. They are talking about the international CDM market, which is not the same as the EU market, though the Guardian had a leaked report suggesting that the big EU market was in trouble too.

“THE international market in carbon credits has suffered an almost total collapse, with only $US1.5 billion of them traded last year – the lowest since the system opened in 2005, says a report from the World Bank.

A fledgling market in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States also declined, and only the European Union’s internal market in carbon remained healthy, worth $US120 billion. However, leaked documents appear to show that even the EU’s system is in danger.

The international market in carbon credits was brought about under the Kyoto Protocol, as a way of injecting investment in low-carbon technology in the developing world.

Under the system, known as the clean development mechanism [CDM], projects such as wind farms or solar panels in developing countries are awarded credits for every tonne of carbon avoided. These credits are bought by rich countries to count towards their emissions reduction targets.”

By June 25th 2011 on WUWT we can see that the EU price was falling too.  Poland was blocking EU legislation as well.  EU Carbon Credit trading takes a dive. In Greece, they could hardly give EU carbon credits away

Last week, Greece started auctioning their EUAs (European Union Allowances). They need the money, and probably other countries will follow, including Portugal. But they were not that lucky! Of the 1 million permits, only 6000 EUA were sold. The reason: nobody is buying…

In the meantime, Poland has blocked an EU deal on CO2 emissions. They are the largest producer of hard coal in the EU, and the share of coal in electricity generation (92% in 2004) is the highest among the EU Member States. They are also pushing for shale gas. The result for them: the biggest GDP growth in 2009 and the third in 2010, amongst the 27 European member states.

Finally, Yvo de Boer has confirmed what everyone knows: the Kyoto Protocol is dead

What about the monster spike in carbon credits stories?

By July 10th, perhaps the world’s media finally realized what traders, bloggers, then bureaucrats had already figured out. The price of everything to do with carbon credits was falling. It could be that in a brief flurry they woke up, announced that, and then lost interest. Meanwhile all the groups who normally issue press releases were downsizing or closing, didn’t feel like telling the world, and the rain of wind-power and climate change news slowed as the investment money, and the press writers, moved to different industries.

It seems hard to believe, but the July 10 spike could have had something to do with Australian PM Julia Gillard. With impeccable timing and style, as carbon markets fell, Julia Gillard signed Australia up to the most expensive carbon tax scheme in the world. She announced those details on Sunday July 10th. She really did pick the last possible moment to leap from the life-raft onto the burning ship. And hasn’t Australia paid dearly for that.

So Copenhagen was the peak, the markets lived on sheer momentum for another year, but underneath the surface the big players were quietly leaving. Meanwhile the Greek and other EU economies were hitting the wall at the same time as the promise of the renewables industry and the carbon market were proving to be hollow. The carbon market for the EU maintained the price in 2010, but had none of the strength, and when the World Bank report appeared the medium-serious-money started walking away too, and has been walking away ever since.

Pure speculation…

It may have taken 18 months,  but the Great Global Warming Scare was tested for real for the first time in Copenhagen and it failed. The collision with decades of dismal EU monetary policy, and a couple of cold winters help seal its fate. How much of that was due to FOIA and Climategate, we’ll probably never know.

If the media had really reported what happened in Climategate at the time, they could have led opinions instead of being the mere recorders of history after the fact — telling the world what it mostly already knew. The MSM is in its own little version of a death spiral, largely because we no longer trust it to report the news without omissions. Science journalists could have punctured the global warming scare years ago if they’d been doing their jobs. Thank goodness for Booker, Bolt and Ridley, and for Delingpole. Thank goodness for Blogs.



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