GREENIE WATCH -- MIRROR ARCHIVE  
Tracking the politics of fear....  

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported for the entire 20th century by the United Nations (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows in fact that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

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31 July, 2008

CLIMATE, CLIMATE, CLIMATE

It's the big debate in Australia at the moment. Four current articles up today on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, including two slash-and-burn articles on the nonsense by Australian scientists.




Global cooling!

Penguins wash up in the tropics



PENGUINS are washing up on tropical beaches with scientists unsure why the Antarctic birds are heading closer to the equator than ever before. About 300 penguins have recently been found dead and alive along the coast of the Brazil' s Bahia state, 1200km northeast of Rio de Janeiro, the Associated Press reports. The area is more renowned as a place to get a tan than it is to spot penguins. Its capital Salvador is closer to the equator than Cairns in northern Queensland and its temperature has hovered around 20 degrees Celsius this month.

"This is unheard of. There have even been reports of penguins washing up as far as Aracaju,'' Adelson Cerqueira Silva of Brazil's environmental agency said, referring to a beachside state capital even closer to the equator.

Mr Silva said biologists believe stronger-than-usual ocean currents had pulled the birds north but others have said overfishing and warmer ocean temperatures may have led the birds to search for food further north than their normal Antarctic and Patagonian habitats. Authorities had received hundreds of penguin sightings, he said. "We're telling people if the penguins don't appear to be injured or sick to leave them alone so they can swim back," he said. Up to 90 of the penguins found alive had since died in animal hospitals struggling to deal with the influx.

Source




Another IPCC & Hansen FAILURE: Bangladesh gaining land, not losing it

Contradicting forecasts it will be 'under the waves by the end of the century'. Name anything that James Hansen PhD, has predicted correctly.

New data shows that Bangladesh's landmass is increasing, contradicting forecasts that the South Asian nation will be under the waves by the end of the century, experts say. Scientists from the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) have studied 32 years of satellite images and say Bangladesh's landmass has increased by 20 square kilometres (eight square miles) annually.

Maminul Haque Sarker, head of the department at the government-owned centre that looks at boundary changes, told AFP sediment which travelled down the big Himalayan rivers -- the Ganges and the Brahmaputra -- had caused the landmass to increase.The rivers, which meet in the centre of Bangladesh, carry more than a billion tonnes of sediment every year and most of it comes to rest on the southern coastline of the country in the Bay of Bengal where new territory is forming, he said in an interview on Tuesday.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that impoverished Bangladesh, criss-crossed by a network of more than 200 rivers, will lose 17 percent of its land by 2050 because of rising sea levels due to global warming. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning panel says 20 million Bangladeshis will become environmental refugees by 2050 and the country will lose some 30 percent of its food production. Director of the US-based NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, professor James Hansen, paints an even grimmer picture, predicting the entire country could be under water by the end of the century.

But Sarker said that while rising sea levels and river erosion were both claiming land in Bangladesh, many climate experts had failed to take into account new land being formed from the river sediment."Satellite images dating back to 1973 and old maps earlier than that show some 1,000 square kilometres of land have risen from the sea," Sarker said."A rise in sea level will offset this and slow the gains made by new territories, but there will still be an increase in land. We think that in the next 50 years we may get another 1,000 square kilometres of land."

Mahfuzur Rahman, head of Bangladesh Water Development Board's Coastal Study and Survey Department, has also been analysing the buildup of land on the coast.He told AFP findings by the IPCC and other climate change scientists were too general and did not explore the benefits of land accretion."For almost a decade we have heard experts saying Bangladesh will be under water, but so far our data has shown nothing like this," he said. "Natural accretion has been going on here for hundreds of years along the estuaries and all our models show it will go on for decades or centuries into the future."

Dams built along the country's southern coast in the 1950s and 1960s had helped reclaim a lot of land and he believed with the use of new technology, Bangladesh could speed up the accretion process, he said."The land Bangladesh has lost so far has been caused by river erosion, which has always happened in this country. Natural accretion due to sedimentation and dams have more than compensated this loss," Rahman said.

Bangladesh, a country of 140 million people, has built a series of dykes to prevent flooding."If we build more dams using superior technology, we may be able to reclaim 4,000 to 5,000 square kilometres in the near future," Rahman said.

Source




Scientist on Greenland: 'Greenland was about as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's'?

The New York Times Magazine published a story "Ice Free" by Stephan Faris, hawking his new book "Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, From the Amazon to the Arctic, From Darfur to Napa Valley", to be published in January.

In the article, Faris notes "Greenland's ice sheet represents one of global warming's most disturbing threats. The vast expanses of glaciers- massed, on average, 1.6 miles deep - contain enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet. Should they melt or otherwise slip into the ocean, they would flood coastal capitals, submerge tropical islands and generally redraw the world's atlases. The infusion of fresh water could slow or shut down the ocean's currents, plunging Europe into bitter winter."

There is little recognition in the media and by the author of history. Greenland actually was warmer in the 1930s and 1940s than it has been in recent decades. For the period from the 1960s to the 1990s, temperatures actually declined significantly as the Atlantic went through its multidecadal cold mode. The temperature changes up and down the last few centuries were closely related to these multidecadal ocean cycles.

Shown below is the temperature plot for Godthab Nuuk in southwest Greenland. Note how closely the temperatures track with the AMO (which is a measure of the Atlantic temperatures 0 to 70N). It shows that cooling from the 1940s to the late 1990s even as greenhouse gases rose steadily, a negative correlation over almost 5 decades. The rise after the middle 1990s was due to the flip of the AMO into its warm phase. They have not reached the level of the 1930s and 1940s.



(Larger image here)

Temperatures cooled back to the levels of the 1880s by the 1980s and 1990s. In a GRL paper in 2003, Hanna and Cappelen showed a significant cooling trend for eight stations in coastal southern Greenland from 1958 to 2001 (-1.29C for the 44 years). The temperature trend represented a strong negative correlation with increasing CO2 levels.

Many recent studies have addressed Greenland ice mass balance. They yield a broad picture of slight inland thickening and strong near-coastal thinning, primarily in the south along fast-moving outlet glaciers. However, interannual variability is very large, driven mainly by variability in summer melting and sudden glacier accelerations. Consequently, the short time interval covered by instrumental data is of concern in separating fluctuations from trends. But in a paper published in Science in February 2007, Dr. Ian Howat of the University of Washington reports that two of the largest glaciers have suddenly slowed, bringing the rate of melting last year down to near the previous rate. At one glacier, Kangerdlugssuaq, "average thinning over the glacier during the summer of 2006 declined to near zero, with some apparent thickening in areas on the main trunk."

Dr. Howat in a follow-up interview with the New York Times went on to add: "Greenland was about as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's, and many of the glaciers were smaller than they are now. This was a period of rapid glacier shrinkage world-wide, followed by at least partial re-expansion during a colder period from the 1950's to the 1980's. Of course, we don't know very much about how the glacier dynamics changed then because we didn't have satellites to observe it. However, it does suggest that large variations in ice sheet dynamics can occur from natural climate variability."

Source




Greenland's "melting" ice sheets "will raise sea level 23 feet"

Monckton replies

The scare: An article in the New York Times in late July 2008 by an author promoting a forthcoming book about "global warming" calls the Greenland ice-sheet "one of `global warming's' most disturbing threats". The article says: "The vast expanses of glaciers - massed, on average, 1.6 miles deep - contain enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet. Should they melt or otherwise slip into the ocean, they would flood coastal capitals, submerge tropical islands and generally redraw the world's atlases. The infusion of fresh water could slow or shut down the ocean's currents, plunging Europe into bitter winter."

The article continues that ocean warming eats the ice sheet from beneath, causing glaciers to calve and melt faster, changing patterns of migration and hence of hunting, which, it says, has a positive effect: warm-water cod have returned, and shops can now offer locally-grown vegetables. Recession of ice along the shore has exposed pockets of lead, zinc, and bauxite. More than 30 billion barrels of oil may also be reachable if there is further melting. Yet the thrust of the article is Apocalyptic.

The truth: The "Greenland is melting" scare is an old one, and long discredited. It was first given widespread currency by Al Gore, not a climatologist, in his sci-fi comedy horror movie about the climate - a movie that is now an international joke for serious, serial, scientific inaccuracy. In October 2007, a UK High Court Judge ordered the Department of Education to issue a disclaimer about several inaccuracies in the movie before innocent schoolchildren could be exposed to it. The learned Judge's finding about Gore's claim that sea level would imminently rise by 20 ft was blunt:

"This is distinctly alarmist and part of Mr. Gore's `wake-up call'. It is common ground that if Greenland melted it would release this amount of water, but only after, and over, millennia, so that the Armageddon scenario he depicts is not based on any scientific view."

The UN's climate panel, the IPCC, also fueled the scare when its bureaucrats, after the scientists had submitted the final draft of its 2007 report, inserted a table that had not been in the scientists' draft, in which they had ingeniously right-shifted four decimal points so as to exaggerate tenfold the supposed contribution of melting ice-sheets and glaciers to sea-level rise:

Metres per century 1961-2003 1993-2003

1. Thermosteric expansion 0.042 0.160 2. Glaciers and ice-caps 0.050 0.077 3. Greenland ice-sheets 0.050 0.210 4. Antarctic ice-sheets 0.140 0.210

5. IPCC's sum of lines 1-4: 0.110 0.280

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley earned his share of the Nobel Peace Prize by writing to the IPCC on the morning of publication, demanding - and getting - a correction of this maladroit and unscientific attempt to lend support to the unscientific fantasies of Gore.

Gore's movie said -

Gore: "Two canaries in the coal mine. The first one is in the Arctic. Of course the Arctic Ocean has a floating ice cap, Greenland on its side there. I say canary in the coal mine because the Arctic is one part of the world that is experiencing faster impact from global warming. This is the largest ice shelf in the Arctic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf. It just cracked in half a year ago. The scientists were astonished."

But what do the scientific studies and the peer-reviewed scientific literature (as opposed to the layman Gore or the error-prone IPCC) have to say about Greenland, and about sea level generally?

Temperature records show that the Arctic was in fact warmer in the 1930s and 1940s than it is today -

Northern Hemisphere snow cover reached a new record in 2001 -

A new record in 2001 for Northern Hemisphere winter snow cover

But this new record was easily surpassed in 2007, when, for the first time since satellite records began 30 years ago, winter sea ice extent at both Poles reached record highs. Somehow most of the media that had mentioned the record loss of summer sea-ice in the Arctic in 2007 failed to mention the record growth of winter sea ice at both Poles that very winter.

The ice cap at the North Pole has certainly been thinning ever since US nuclear submarines took the first measurements in the 1950s. However, a paper by NASA scientists last year says the reason has nothing to do with "global warming". The warmer Arctic has been caused by the current warming phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, driving warm tropical waters poleward and also causing winds to take a more southerly direction.

Also, a very recent paper has shown considerable and hitherto-unsuspected undersea volcanic activity at 73 degrees North latitude on the mid-Atlantic ridge in the Greenland-Iceland gap, with temperatures at the outlets of the volcanic vents at 570 degrees F.

Among the many facts that the article in the New York Times is careful not to mention is one central fact: that in the early 1940s it was warmer in the Arctic than it is today.

Chylek et al. (2004) confirm that temperatures along Greenland's coasts are about 1 degree Celsius below their 1940 levels, despite half a century of "global warming". They say -

"Current coastal temperatures are about 1C below their 1940 values." Furthermore, "at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2C per decade since the beginning of the measurements in 1987." Ocean currents and volcanic activity are not the only natural influences on Arctic temperatures. The apparently random fluctuations in Arctic temperatures in the past 125 years are more closely correlated with changes in solar activity than with the ever-upward increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. It is scientifically perverse to make an unqualified attribution of the observed thinning of the Arctic ice-cap to anthropogenic "global warming" when, compared with the early 20th century, the Arctic has been cooling. One story that did not make it into the New York Times article - sealers were trapped in Arctic ice in April 2007

More here




Global warming to disrupt sex among fish!

They must have had a hell of a time of it in past warming episodes!

Once scientists began studying the impact of global warming on everything from tourism to asthma, it was only a matter of time before they got around to sex. Now two biologists at Spain's Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) have done just that, at least when it comes to fish.

You may have missed it in biology class, but in some finned species, like the Atlantic silverside - as well as in many reptiles - sex is determined not by genetics but by temperature: the undifferentiated embryo develops testes or ovaries on the basis of whichever option conveys evolutionary advantages for that particular environment. Now, in a study published in the July 30 edition of the scientific journal Public Library of Science, Natalia Ospina-Alvarez and Francesc Piferrer have gone a little further in explaining how that mechanism works. In laboratory tests, they have demonstrated that higher water temperatures result in more male fish.

"We found that in fish that do have temperature-dependent sex determination [TSD], a rise in water temperature of just 1.5 degrees Celsius can change the male-to-female ratio from 1:1 to 3:1," says Piferrer, the study's co-author. In especially sensitive fish, a greater increase can throw the balance even more out of whack. Ospina-Alvarez and Piferrer have found that in the South American pejerrey, for example, an increase of 4 degrees Celsius can result in a population that is 98% male.

What makes these findings especially troubling, of course, is that the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that ocean-water temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5 degrees over the course of this century - and they may even go up a few degrees more. "If climate change really does result in a rise of 4 degrees, which is the maximum the IPCC predicts, and if species can't adapt in time or migrate, then in the most sensitive cases of TSD, we're looking at extinction," says Piferrer.

Most research into fish sex determination has been done in the lab (for obvious reasons), but the pejerrey is one of the few species that scientists have been able to study in the field. And those studies have revealed that already, its proportion of males to females is skewed. "It could be because of chemical pollution or it could be because of climate change. We don't know," cautions Piferrer. "But the field data matches our predictions."

At this stage, it is hard to tell what these results bode for already declining fish populations around the world. Of the estimated 33,000 piscatorial species, only 5,000 have had their sex-determination mechanism affirmed. But the study by the two CSIC scientists also suggests that the percentage of TSD fish is lower than previously believed. In tests of 59 species believed to be reproductively sensitive to temperature, only 40 proved to be true TSDs.

Source




The Greens Are Going Crazy

It's hard to ignore the fact that the Greens are going crazy, not just in the United States, but around the world. They are increasingly frantic over the opposition being voiced against global warming, one of the greatest hoaxes in modern history. The Greens have bet everything on global warming as the reason for giving up the use of long established sources of energy such as oil, coal and natural gas. The object has been to slow everything the modern world calls progress.

In India, a spokesman for that nation of one billion people has flatly refused to accept the global warming hoax. China shows no sign of yielding to the global warming lies. The greatest agricultural and mercantile economy to have ever existed, the United States of America continues to thwart its own growth by yielding to the lies.

Recently the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said that "coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It's global warming. It's ruining our country. It's ruining our world." No, what makes us sick is listening to such preposterous lies. A Rasmussen telephone survey taken after Sen. Reid's absurd statement found that 52% of voters surveyed rejected his views about coal and oil, double the amount of those who agreed.

What is troublesome, however, is that the same survey found the voters evenly divided on whether global warming exists or poses a threat. Fully 47% of those surveyed believe that human activity affects the climate. Both candidates for President are publicly committed to the global warming hoax by varying degrees.

Despite an intense, decades-long propaganda campaign, coupled with indoctrination in our nation's schools, the truth is beginning to emerge. In March, an international conference on climate change organized by The Heartland Institute brought together over 500 of the world's leading climatologists, meteorologists, economists and others for three days of seminars and presentations that completely refuted the pronouncements of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and disputed the lies of Al Gore's famed "documentary."

As recently as July 8th, the Space and Science Research Center held a news conference in which it stated that the warming that has occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 was completely natural, i.e., had nothing to do with human or industrial activity. More significantly, the Center went on record saying that, "After an exhaustive review of a substantial body of climate research, and in conjunction with the obvious and compelling new evidence that exists, it is time that the world community acknowledges that the Earth has begun the next climate change." The current warming period is not only at an end, but a distinct cooling cycle has begun and will bring "predominantly colder global temperatures for many years into the future."

Just how crazed has the environmental movement become? On July 7th it was announced that Argentine scientists have been strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect and measure how much methane gas they produce. Methane, like carbon dioxide, is a minor component of the Earth's atmosphere. Methane is also released from swamps, landfills and other sources. If it and CO2 played a significant role in determining the world's climate, it would be a cause for concern, but it is the Sun that primarily drives the Earth's climate cycles. Solar activity has gone quiet in recent years as fewer and fewer sunspots, magnetic storms, have been seen.

To maintain the global warming hoax, thousands of events and natural phenomena have been blamed on it. A recent example is the floods in America's mid-West. The National Wildlife Federation released a statement on July 1st blaming global warming.

Climate experts at The Heartland Institute were quick to respond. Dr. Joseph D'Aleo, Executive Director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, said, "Alarmists have adopted the can't-lose position that all extremes of weather - cold, warm, wet, or dry - are all due to global warming", adding that, "The record snows, severe weather, and heavy rainfall have been the result of rapid cooling in the northern tier of the United States and Canada, not global warming."

Early in July, Bret Stephens, writing in The Wall Street Journal, called global warming "a mass hysteria phenomenon", noting that "NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years."

The global warming hoax has never been about the climate. It is about competing economic theories. "Socialism may have failed as an economic theory," wrote Stephens, "but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism." The United States Senate refused to consider the UN Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that requires massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based solely on the global warming hoax, but other nations did sign on. None have ever met their obligation to limit CO2 emissions, nor need they have bothered.

At the recent G8 conference an international agreement to cut CO2 emissions was given serious consideration despite the fact that the Earth is now a decade into a cooling cycle likely to last several decades or longer. The impact of this proposal on the lives of ordinary citizens will prove needlessly costly. Proposals in some nations for various taxes based on global warming are a form of fraud.

The sensible refusal by leaders in emerging economies such as China and India would make it impossible for any limitations on carbon emissions by Western nations to have any impact, even if such reductions had anything to do with the realities of the Earth's climate. The only thing that can be predicted with certainty is that the Greens will become increasingly unhinged and crazed by the failure of the global warming hoax.

Source

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30 July, 2008

NYT yearns for that good old, long-lost consensus

At last they admit that there is no consensus -- but they lament that fact as a bad thing -- because it tends to "confuse" people. Dr Goebbels would agree. Intellectual diversity and debate are OUT! Excerpt:

When science is testing new ideas, the result is often a two-papers-forward-one-paper-back intellectual tussle among competing research teams. When the work touches on issues that worry the public, affect the economy or polarize politics, the news media and advocates of all stripes dive in. Under nonstop scrutiny, conflicting findings can make news coverage veer from one extreme to another, resulting in a kind of journalistic whiplash for the public.

This has been true for decades in health coverage. But lately the phenomenon has been glaringly apparent on the global warming beat. Discordant findings have come in quick succession. How fast is Greenland shedding ice? Did human-caused warming wipe out frogs in the American tropics? Has warming strengthened hurricanes? Have the oceans stopped warming? These questions endure even as the basic theory of a rising human influence on climate has steadily solidified: accumulating greenhouse gases will warm the world, erode ice sheets, raise seas and have big impacts on biology and human affairs.

Scientists see persistent disputes as the normal stuttering journey toward improved understanding of how the world works. But many fear that the herky-jerky trajectory is distracting the public from the undisputed basics and blocking change. "One of the things that troubles me most is that the rapid-fire publication of unsettled results in highly visible venues creates the impression that the scientific community has no idea what's going on," said W. Tad Pfeffer, an expert on Greenland's ice sheets at the University of Colorado. "Each new paper negates or repudiates something emphatically asserted in a previous paper," Dr. Pfeffer said. "The public is obviously picking up on this not as an evolution of objective scientific understanding but as a proliferation of contradictory opinions."

Several experts on the media and risk said that one result could be public disengagement with the climate issue just as experts are saying ever more forcefully that sustained attention and action are needed to limit the worst risks. Recent polls in the United States and Britain show that the public remains substantially divided and confused over what is happening and what to do. Some environmentalists have blamed energy-dependent industries and the news media for stalemates on climate policy, arguing that they perpetuate a false sense of uncertainty about the basic problem.

Source




Valuable seagrass faces global warming threat

More bunk! If sea temp were really rising, the sea grass would adjust by favoring warm-loving species. That's how sea grass survived the much larger temp swings of the past 1000 years

Seagrass meadows, which are vital for the survival of much marine life and a source of household materials in Europe and Africa, face a mounting threat from global warming, a report said on Friday.

The report, from the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said the submerged meadows -- many around the Mediterranean -- could be saved through concerted action by governments and scientists."Seagrass habitats are already declining due to increasing water temperatures, algae (seaweed) growth and light reduction, which are all effects of global change," said IUCN specialist Mats Bjork, one of the authors of the report.

The report said the grass -- flowering plants found in shallow waters around the globe -- provides food and shelter for prawn and fish populations and is used traditionally as mattress filling, roof covering and for medicines.If much of it were to disappear, a wide range of species -- including dugongs, sea turtles, sea urchins and seabirds who feed on it -- would also come under increased threat, according to the report.

The report said some of the healthiest seagrass areas known to exist today were off the North African coast of Libya and Tunisia in areas where there had been little industrial or tourism development. Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of IUCN's Global Marine Program, said the meadows could be saved by making seagrass more resilient to climbing temperatures through mixing genetically more diverse populations.

The report, issued at a conference in Barcelona, said the introduction of protected areas and linking the underwater meadows to nearby mangrove plantations or coral reefs would also give a huge boost to their chances of survival. Lundin said it was also vital to extend research into how seagrass can be protected -- a effort already promoted by IUCN that would require governments and scientific institutions to devote resources and time.

Source




Global warming disputed in New Zealand court case

A verdict against a wind farm could have wide interest

Cited environmental benefits of Meridian Energy's proposed Project Hayes wind farm were based on misleading scientific information, an Environment Court appeal hearing in Cromwell was told yesterday. Prof Bob Carter, of Queensland, Australia, appeared as a witness for appellant Roch Sullivan to give evidence at the hearing on issues of climate change.

Prof Carter said the Government's justification of its support of Project Hayes - in order to reduce global warming - was a waste of time and money. "No significant increase in global average temperature has occurred since 1998 despite an increase in carbon dioxide over the same period of about 5%."

Information used by Meridian and the Government to justify the relatively expensive development of wind energy was based on reports made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which suggested fossil-fuelled energy generation created global warming, he said. The IPCC's processes were flawed and there was a large body of independent scientists around the world who discounted its policies on climate change, Prof Carter said.

"There are alternative, very soundly based views on the effects of carbon dioxide and warming of the climate. "A human effect on global climate change has not yet been distinguished and measured . . . meanwhile, global temperature change is occurring, as it always naturally does, and a phase of cooling has succeeded the mild late 20th century warming," he said.

Prof Carter said the available scientific data on global warming did not justify the belief carbon dioxide emission controls could be used as a means of managing or stopping future climate change, which the Government believed Project Hayes could do. Therefore, the Government's notion of global warming, which prompted its 10-year moratorium on new fossil fuel power stations, would cost taxpayers dearly for no additional environmental benefit, he said.

Changes in temperature preceded parallel changes in carbon dioxide and, therefore, carbon dioxide could not be the primary driver of global temperature change, he said. "Natural climate change will continue with some of its likely manifestations, such as sea-level rises and coastal change in particular locations. Adaptation to that will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of the world's energy," he said.

Source




Is the electric car "cure" worse than the AGW "problem"?

As Curt points out in his post a round up of the AGW and energy news, the debate is raging in Australia, where they are finding resistance to their AGW mandates in the wake of Dave Evans (the man who designed FullCAM - the model that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol) - switch from proponent to skeptic

Meanwhile, enviros and agenda driven pols around the world do their level best to halt any constructive means of affordable, clean energy production, as well as increasing the world's supply of oil.

There's no dearth of "cures" offered by "the debate is settled" crowd. And one of these is everyone's favorite - the electric car. To this I can only say. where is the logic? To draw the parallel between the "problem" and "cure", we need to talk water vapor. According to the pro AGW EurCarbon
Greenhouse gases (GHG) are gaseous components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth (not including clouds); carbon dioxide, which causes between 9-26%; and ozone, which causes between 3-7%, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons. The greenhouse gases, once in the atmosphere, do not remain there eternally. They can be withdrawn from the atmosphere:
Some of the beef of many skeptics is that water vapor is not included as mitigating factor in the IPCC's "consensus" of perceived global warming - now called "climate change" since the 10 year global cooling, most likely to protect the activists/alarmists' credibility.

EurCarbon argues that naturally occuring water vapor isn't a factor since it's duration in the atmostphere is short term (days) and is removed via condensation and precipitation (assuming that we are not in drought conditions, I would guess) while CO2/carbon dioxide is a variable. Again, according to them.
CO2 duration stay is variable (approximately 200-450 years) and its global warming potential (GWP) is defined as 1.
Methane duration stay is 12 +/- 3 years and a GWP of 22 (meaning that it has 22 times the warming ability of carbon dioxide)
Nitrous oxide has a duration stay of 120 years and a GWP of 310
CFC-12 has a duration stay of 102 years and a GWP between 6200 and 7100
HCFC-22 has a duration stay of 12.1 years and a GWP between 1300 and 1400
Tetrafluoromethane has a duration stay of 50,000 years and a GWP of 6500
Sulfur hexafluoride has a duration stay of 3,200 years and a GWP of 23900.
Despite CO2s low rating, and ratio compared to water vapor, per the pro AGW proponents, it's the main culprit attacked. Which now brings me to one of their solutions. electric cars for everyone. Yet the hydrogen/electric car engineering emits. uh. water vapor. the single largest greenhouse gas effect. Should the world revert to all electric cars, that's a lot of water vapor emitted that is dependent on condensation and rain for removal.

So the question that comes to my mind. just what bright lightbulb thinks it's a great idea to change the world to cars emitting an increased amount of water vapor (the largest contributor to warming), and then depend on preciptation to remove that water vapor?

Let's pile on more to their arguments. AGW proponents seem to suggest that our action is necessary to reduce reduce tropical storm activity (BS in itself) and other weather disasters Yet those typhoons and hurricanes they wish to control are a natural factor in cleaning out the high content of water vapor, burying it in the oceans. And if we're adding more water vapor to the atmosphere, exactly how do they propose this will dissipate without falling back to the earth, producing more violent snow and rain storms, flooding, and other natural disasters?

This strikes me as counterproductive, especially since they are talking about adding massive amounts of water vapor with the electric car emissions. In fact, this whole notion seems to run contrary to AGU's explanation of Water Vapor in the Climate System.

Much more here




Global warming, yeah right, it's cold!

Comment from Canada

Well "Juneuary" is long over up here and we finally had a bit of sun in July. Never had I seen a colder spring. Last year was bad enough. Two springs in a row that "frosted the pumpkin" so to speak.

Utility bills not a whole lot different than winter even! And thanks to Gordo Campbell's "Save the Earth by sticking it to the taxpayer" philosophy which has brought down not one, but two separate energy taxes complete with wasteful bureaucracy gobbling it all up, the provincial government is even more pocket-emptying than before.

Enough of that. I even burnt all of my firewood the last two years for the very first time. Global warming my arse - more like a fulfillment of the old "Nuclear Winter" theory I'd say. That without the bombs even going off! So I finally got around to getting the firewood and am left wondering how soon the government is gonna get us there? Sooner rather than later I'd guess. Anyhow, here the Newfie neighbour gal is walking by and says as I'm splitting the timber, "Once you get yer summer firewood in, you can start on your winter wood!" Newfies tell it like it is!

This spring was just a horrific extension of winter says me. And as if I need further proof I goes down to the Marble River in mid-July for a swim. Well, the toes were tingling and the hairs on my legs were standing up - even under the water! And then I hit waist deep. By golly the family jewels shot up so high I looked like I had two Adam's apples for a while, eh? Couple of icebergs could have floated by and it probably would have warmed her up a bit!

Yes sir, Newfie Bob said it best, "Ever since they started babbling about this global warming theory I haven't been warm since!" But my kid and others tell us different, "That's all part of global warming too Dad," he says. I say that's a pretty indestructible theory to be sure. No doubt we are all gonna freeze to death from global warming.

That's what they'll write down in history they will. I just hope that ol' Suzuki and Gore start prophesying about global cooling sometime soon cause then sure as heck, we'll have a heat wave that will warm us up real fine like we both want and need.

Suzuki and Gore should have lived in Old Testament times I figures. When you prophesied back then in Hebrew Land, you had to deliver or you would get a free ticket to a very painful sort of rock concert where you were both the star and would also soon be seeing stars!

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An orgy of climate self-satisfaction

A mocking comment from Stephen Matchett in Australia

The world is heating up because people are running their airconditioners too high, driving their four-wheel drives too fast and turning on TiVo. As the planet warms up, tide and tempest, flood and fire, plague and - you get the idea - will engulf us. Already global gloomsters are inviting the four horsepersons of the apocalypse to come and punish us for our conspicuous consumption, the way we use coal-fired power stations to run toasters, that sort of thing.

So it's fortunate that when it comes to doing something we have a Prime Minister who tells us what he is going to do, in many languages. And this time he actually remembered to stop talking long enough to act, commissioning economist Ross Garnaut and a bunch of brainy bureaucrats to work out how we can slow global warming.

And what they say is we must cut our carbon emissions in ways that only economists and the experts who blog at self-righteous.com will ever understand. (Before I get an aggrieved email from Climate Change Minister Penny Wong's office I know the Government's response to Garnaut was a green, not a white paper, which means they have put all the politically poisonous bits in it they will later take out; but as nobody appears to have read the document they may as well have called it a puce paper for all the colour scheme signifies.)

Still, even though few have a clue what it all means everybody is delighted that Australia is leading the way in saving the planet. Everybody that is, except aggrieved industrialists and annoyed unionists who think the Government plans to do too much and greens who are convinced it is not doing enough, because only alternative energy isn't evil.

Still, the rest of us seem pretty pleased. After years of people demanding that somebody does something about the weather, somebody is. The problem is that we do not have a snowflake's in the global greenhouse chance of doing anything effective about the world's slide to ecological oblivion. While we use more energy than people whose primary power comes from dried cow dung, there are not very many of us. Australia could cut carbon emissions to zero without moving the global warming weather vane.

But let's not allow a little thing like reality to get in the way of cutting carbon. It's time we were punished for our acts of power profligacy, such as the environmental vandalism of forgetting to turn the outside light off at bedtime. So it's generous of the Government to make us - well, some of us - feel better by slugging us for the cost of carbon. And you know the pain will do us good, because emitters are upset. People who own power stations are demanding carbon credits on the grounds that change is so stressful.

There is outrage in the LNG industry because a carbon tax will make it harder to boast about ever increasing annual profits. Then there are the unions and the inevitable activists in the welfare industry who are demanding compensation for, you guessed it, working families, basically because this is their standard response to every event, from global warming to the price of potatoes.

And because the Government's green-ness does not extend to its electoral instincts, emitters, unions and activists will get the carbon compensation they demand. The chance of anything other than a carbon tax on petrol before the next, or for that matter any, election is as likely as Brendan Nelson abandoning aphorisms for English in his speeches. It's also the reason why the puce, sorry green, paper proposes parliament will decide our annual carbon emissions.

You can imagine the outcome after lobbyists get into the ears of members and senators. We will have industry exemptions and concessions for working families and farmers. And of course government MPs with marginal seats will all want headlines in thelocal papers, of the "MP saves area fromwhatever this carbon thing is all about"variety.

By the time the snouts rise from the carbon trough emissions are likely to have increased: after all, saving the planet is one thing, saving the Government's hide is entirely another.

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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29 July, 2008

MELTING GREENLAND?

The NYT article below is so wrong on so many counts that it is difficult to know where to start in deconstructing it. It has basically swallowed Al Gore's poop whole and yet shows no sign of indigestion. Monckton tells me that he has a comprehensive demolition of it coming out in Science & Public Policy so I will at this stage just append a few desultory comments at the foot of the article

Greenland's ice sheet represents one of global warming's most disturbing threats. The vast expanses of glaciers - massed, on average, 1.6 miles deep - contain enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet. Should they melt or otherwise slip into the ocean, they would flood coastal capitals, submerge tropical islands and generally redraw the world's atlases. The infusion of fresh water could slow or shut down the ocean's currents, plunging Europe into bitter winter.

Yet for the residents of the frozen island, the early stages of climate change promise more good, in at least one important sense, than bad. A Danish protectorate since 1721, Greenland has long sought to cut its ties with its colonizer. But while proponents of complete independence face little opposition at home or in Copenhagen, they haven't been able to overcome one crucial calculation: the country depends on Danish assistance for more than 40 percent of its gross domestic product. "The independence wish has always been there," says Aleqa Hammond, Greenland's minister for finance and foreign affairs. "The reason we have never realized it is because of the economics."

Climate change has the power to unsettle boundaries and shake up geopolitics, usually for the worse. In June, the tiny South Pacific nation of Kiribati announced that rising sea levels were making its lands uninhabitable and asked for help in evacuating its population. Bangladesh, low-lying, crowded and desperately impoverished, is watching the waves as well; a one-yard rise would flood a seventh of its territory. But while most of the world sees only peril in the island's meltwater, Greenland's independence movement has explicitly tied its fortunes to the warming of the globe.

The island's ice cover has already begun to disappear. "Changes in the ocean eat the ice sheet from underneath," says Sarah Das, a glaciologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "Warmer water causes the glaciers to calve and melt back more quickly." Hunters who use the frozen surface of the winter ocean for hunting and travel have found themselves idle when the ice fails to form. The whales, seals and birds they hunt have begun to shift their migratory patterns. "The traditional culture will be hard hit," says Jesper Madsen, director of the department of Arctic environment at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. "But from an overall perspective, it will have a positive effect." Greenland's fishermen are applauding the return of warm-water cod. Shops in the island's capital have suddenly begun to offer locally produced potatoes and broccoli - crops unimaginable a few years earlier.

But the real promise lies in what may be found under the ice. Near the town of Uummannaq, about halfway up Greenland's coast, retreating glaciers have uncovered pockets of lead and zinc. Gold and diamond prospectors have flooded the island's south. Alcoa is preparing to build a large aluminum smelter. The island's minerals are becoming more accessible even as global commodity prices are soaring. And with more than 80 percent of the land currently iced over, the hope is that the island has just begun to reveal its riches.

Offshore, where the Arctic Ocean is rapidly thawing, expectations are even higher. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that Greenland's northeastern waters could contain 31 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and gas. On the other side of the island, the waters separating it from Canada could yield billions of barrels more. And while Greenland is still considered an oil exploration frontier, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Canada's Husky Energy and Cairn Energy and Sweden's PA Resources are aleady ramping up exploration.

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The claims above show that the author needs to learn some history, climatology, geology, glaciology and oceanography. No such problems happened 1,000 years ago when the Vikings farmed coastal parts of Greenland that are now under ice. Why was the place given the name "Greenland" in the first place?

The bulk of the Ice Sheet sits in a depression in the ground so it cannot "slip" into the ocean. Complete melting of the ice sheet would require global temperature to rise by more than 3 degrees C and to stay that high for thousands of years. Decades have passed since climatologists disproved the urban myth that the Gulf Stream keeps Europe warm: the jet streams produce that warming. The ocean circulation is powered by winds that get their energy from the Sun so they cannot "shut down" unless the Sun disappears.

The scientific studies of up to a year ago that refute the idea of a Greenland melt

The IPCC and various independent sources give estimates of sea-level rise based on recent Greenland rates of melting ranging from zero to little more than ONE INCH over the current century. Only the Gory brain and the NYT talk of 23 feet.

If there is glacial shrinkage in Greenland it is more likely due to global cooling than global warming. It's just basic physics but Greenies ignore that: Since the temp of most glaciated areas is well below 0 degrees Celsius, the major determinant of glacial mass is precipitation. And what drives precipitation? Sea surface temperature! Warm seas give off more evaporation -- and hence precipitation -- and cool seas give off less. So lesser glacial mass and hence lesser precipitation implies global COOLING! And since the world has in fact been cooling for nearly two years now, some glacial shrinkage could be expected as a result of that.





Snapshot of past climate reveals no ice in Antarctica millions of years ago

It was all those goddam SUVs they had back then

The study suggests that Antarctica at that time was yet to develop extensive ice sheets. Back then, New Zealand was about 1100 km further south, at the same latitude as the southern tip of South America - so was closer to Antarctica - but the researchers found that the water temperature was 23-25C at the sea surface and 11-13C at the bottom.

"This is too warm to be the Antarctic water we know today," said Dr Catherine (Cat) Burgess from Cardiff University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and lead-author of the paper. "And the seawater chemistry shows there was little or no ice on the planet."

These new insights come from the chemical analysis of exceptionally well preserved fossils of marine micro-organisms called foraminifers, discovered in marine rocks from New Zealand. The researchers tested the calcium carbonate shells from these fossils, which were found in 40 million-year-old sediments on a cliff face at Hampden Beach, South Island.

"Because the fossils are so well preserved, they provide more accurate temperature records." added Dr Burgess. "Our findings demonstrate that the water temperature these creatures lived in was much warmer than previous records have shown."

"Although we did not measure carbon dioxide, several studies suggest that greenhouse gases forty million years ago were similar to those levels that are forecast for the end of this century and beyond.

Our work provides another piece of evidence that, in a time period with relatively high carbon dioxide levels, temperatures were higher and ice sheets were much smaller and likely to have been completely absent."

The rock sequence from the cliff face covers a time span of 70,000 years and shows cyclical temperature variations with a period of about 18,000 years. The temperature oscillation is likely to be related to the Earth's orbital patterns.

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Wind power is responsible for a LOT of CO2 emissions!

The Brits have a goal of getting 30% of their electricity from the wind in 12 years. But the wind is not reliable. A backup will be needed. Which led to a study headed by James Oswald, an engineering consultant and former head of research and development at Rolls Royce Turbines.

He said: "Wind power does not obviate the need for fossil fuel plants, which will continue to be indispensable. The problem is that wind power volatility requires fossil fuel plant to be switched on and off, which damages them and means that even more plants will have to be built. Carbon savings will be less than expected, because cheaper, less efficient plant will be used to support these wind power fluctuations. Neither these extra costs nor the increased carbon production are being taken into account in the government figures for wind power."

Lewis Page of the Register interviewed Oswald. Page wrote: "The trouble is, according to Oswald, that human demand variance is predictable and smooth compared to wind output variance. Coping with the sudden ups and downs of wind is going to mean a lot more gas turbines - ones which will be thrashed especially hard as wind output surges up and down, and which will be fired up for less of the time."

Every generation wants to save the world from some calamity, usually depicted as karma for man's sin. The nature of the sin varies - Sodom and Gomorrah had no SUVs - but the call is the same: Repent and sin no more and save the world.

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AlGore in fantasy land

In a Washington speech last week, former Vice President Al Gore argued that America can produce "affordable" 100 percent carbon-free electricity within 10 years. My question: Why not five years? As long as Gore sees virtue in proposing completely unrealistic solutions, as in moving America from getting 3 percent to all of its electricity from renewable energy sources in a mere decade, wouldn't five years be twice as good?

And it matters that Gore is all wet because the longer Washington pols live in energy la-la land, the loonier and more costly America's energy situation becomes.

For decades, Democrats have dominated the debate, as they argued that Americans could become more energy independent, not by increasing oil production, but by focusing on producing more renewable energy. The result, as energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens so aptly points out, is a huge spike in the percentage of foreign oil America imports, from 24 percent in 1970 to almost 70 percent today.

Oh, yeah, and while we weren't expanding drilling to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or off the California and Florida coasts, Americans continued to buy gas-guzzling cars as they waited for miracle cars to magically appear. Until one day, prices at the pump jumped the $4 per gallon mark.

Let me be clear: A smart energy policy must include incentives to increase the development and production of wind, solar and geothermal power, as well as other alternative sources of energy. The serious advocate for carbon-free, affordable power would include nuclear power, which provides 20 percent of America's electricity, and cleanly, into the mix.

But because America's need for fossil fuels will not go away in the next 10 or 20 or 30 years, it makes sense to drill domestically for oil to ease the pain to the red-white-and-blue pocket book. Also, more American oil production means sending fewer petro-dollars abroad.

As for Plan Gore, while the goal will be reached some day, it won't be on his timetable. Today, industry can't keep up with the present demand for wind turbines. The electricity grid needs improvements to carry renewable energy where it is needed. And the infrastructure changes necessary to retool power plants don't happen overnight.

Most important: In the real world, American utilities are not going to dismantle the coal and natural-gas power plants that provide more than 70 percent of America's electricity. It simply is not going to happen because consumers won't want to pay for it.

Gore estimates that his plan can be implemented at a cost of between $1.5 trillion and $3 trillion. That does not jibe with Pickens' estimate that it would cost $1 trillion to generate 20 percent of America's power with wind power with an extra $200 billion to update the electric grid. U.S. News "Capital Commerce" columnist James Pethokoukis extrapolated the numbers and figured $5 trillion for Plan Gore is more like it: "That would be like creating another Japan. Or fighting World War II all over again."

Pickens knows more about energy production than AlGore. Since he operates in the energy business in the real world and not in fantasy land he has to use assumptions that have some basis in fact. AlGore assumptions appear to be pulled from the nether regions.

My one disappointment with Pickens is that he has adopted the Democrat slogan, which is more a policy than a fact, that we can't drill our way out of this. We may not want to drill our way out of it, but we will not get out of the energy bind if we don't drill in every domestic area we can. It is just not smart not to drill in ANWR and offshore. It is not smart to not develop shale oil. It is not smart to oppose nuclear power. It is not smart to oppose coal plants.

Investing in alternatives is OK, but it is not going to pull us out of the energy shortage. If hotair were the answer Democrats could keep windmills turning when nature was taking a rest.

The one good thing about the Democrat opposition to energy production is that it is losing them votes and might get them out of power. That would do more for energy production than a million windmills.

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ANOTHER TOP JAPANESE SCIENTIST DISSENTS

Dr. Kunihiko Takeda is vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan. His 2008 book "Hypocritical Ecology," has been flying off shelves at the speed of 100,000 a month since being published this June 2008. Kunihiko is one of the world's leading authorities on both uranium enrichment and recycling and is a member of just about every prestigious academic and governmental entity. He has stayed independent and made a career out of challenging the establishment. He was also vice deputy president at the Shibaura Institute of Technology before joining Nagoya University in 2002.

In June 2008, another top Japanese Scientist, Dr. Kiminori Itoh called warming fears the `worst scientific scandal in the history'. Itoh is an environmental physical chemist who specializes in optical waveguide spectroscopy from the Yokohama National University. He also contributed to the 2007 UN IPCC AR4 (fourth assessment report) as an expert reviewer.

The excerpts below are from a summary of Prof. Takeda's thinking:


Our future is bright as long as we stop recycling old ideas and things. The new paradigm is always better than the one before: Our air, water and food quality are higher than in previous generations, and our life expectancy longer. There's no need to worry: Humans are smart.

Recycling is rubbish: It eats more energy and creates more waste than burning our garbage in high-tech incinerators. The most efficient way of getting rid of garbage is burning it all together. Why? Because in raw garbage, plastics turn into their own fuel so you don't need to add anything else. Aluminum and steel should be recycled, though, as we need less energy for that than to produce them from scratch.

Fear is a very efficient weapon: It produces the desired effect without much waste. Global warming has nothing to do with how much CO2 is produced or what we do here on Earth. For millions of years, solar activity has been controlling temperatures on Earth and even now, the sun controls how high the mercury goes. CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another. Soon it will cool down anyhow, once again, regardless of what we do. Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so. What makes a whole lot of economic and political sense is to blame global warming on humans and create laws that keep the status quo and prevent up-and-coming nations from developing. Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot.

Criticizing previous ideals is natural. In the 1930s, militarism was considered best; in the 1960s, mass production and mass consumerism. Then in the 1990s the main topic was the environment. Every 30 years we switch what we believe in. This paradigm will pass, too.

Look beyond what governments tell you. Some praise ethanol as a substitute for oil, but making fuel out of corn makes sense only if you want to increase the price of corn and fuel at the same time. In order to grow corn, one needs lots of fuel and once the corn is ready, instead of becoming a nice meal, it gets picked and turned back into fuel again. This is just a way to purposely create a food and energy shortage until only the very rich can afford to eat and move.

Consumerism marketed as environmental consciousness is the worst. Take the "My Hashi" campaign for example (buying and carrying reusable chopsticks rather than using disposable ones). Chopsticks should be made out of the unnecessary branches that are cut to help trees grow bigger and healthier. Instead of burning those branches, we should make chopsticks. That would be good for both the trees and us.

The energy crisis is nothing to sweat about. We will run out of fossil fuel within 40 years if consumption continues at today's rate but by that time, nuclear power plants will be even safer and more efficient. Solar and wind energy will never be enough, but nuclear fusion technology will be more advanced, and new, as-yet-unknown energy sources will be developed. No need to worry at all, and no need to save energy, either.




Public transport not much of a solution to anything these days

Comment from Australia

PUBLIC transport is often recommended as a solution to congestion in our cities and as a way of reducing the fuel costs of working families. Two cautions are needed regarding this suggestion. First is the increased cost to governments from any increase in public transport patronage. Victoria has been successful in increasing annual passenger trips from 351 million in 2001 to 383 million in 2005, but the public transport budget has also increased from $1.34 billion to $1.92 billion over the same period. This works out to a cost of $19 for every trip increase, and is much higher than the average public transport subsidy for the entire Melbourne network of trains, trams and buses of about $4 a passenger trip.

The second caution, and this sounds counter-intuitive, is that increased public transport patronage will probably decrease social equity. Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys of household expenditures have found that the upper 20 per cent income group spend about three to four times more on public transport than the lower 20 per cent income group, probably because most of the present public transport infrastructure is located in high-income inner and middle suburbs and most public transport trips are made into the central business district by higher income managerial and office workers. In other words, the subsidies state governments provide to public transport are going mainly to higher income groups, whereas other expenditures on education and health are much more equitably based.

Given that governments have only limited budgets, any increase in public transport expenditure would lead to lower expenditure on health and education, and thereby to reduced income transfers to lower income groups. There is also the social inequity of residents in country areas paying taxes to subsidise further increases in huge metropolitan public transport expenditures in Australia, which are already of the order of $4.5 billion a year.

It may surprise some, but public transport was a profitable business for governments in the 1950s, when passenger trips reached 1500 million journeys a year. The rise of the motor car, mainly because of a tenfold decrease in vehicle operating costs, meant public transport trips dropped to just over 800 million journeys in the '80s, despite a doubling of the population. They have increased slightly in total numbers during the present decade, but not on a per capita basis. This shift away from public transport was a classic case of a newer technology providing a cheaper and quicker transport mode that took market share from the slower transport mode, just as railways took away market share from the horse and carriage and planes are taking market share from cars on interstate travel. The decline in public transport share has been even more noticeable for rural passenger travel: the quantity of rail trips has decreased from 60 per cent in the '50s to 2 per cent today.

Public transport is still economically viable in some markets, such as radial journey-to-work trips to the CBD and for education trips, while cars have their own particular passenger markets, such as circumferential journey-to-work trips and shopping, social and business trips. It is difficult to see that this market differentiation will change by either mode capturing market share from the other in the future. In fact the experience of Seattle is that significantly increasing public transport facilities and patronage does not reduce car trips or congestion but increases the total amount of urban trips taken.

One of the inevitable trends when new technology triggers the development of a new infrastructure network for trains, cars, planes or, most recently, the broadband network, is that the substitution of one mode for another follows a particular model that is independent of different political and economic systems. Like sailing ships and the horse and carriage, public transport will not come back to regain market share and we will probably see public transport trips in Australia continue to decline as a percentage of all trips taken.

The most promising avenue for decreasing fuel costs for working families and reducing congestion costs lies in new technological developments that will provide us with a cheaper and quicker method of communicating with each other. The transport substitute of telecommunications has allowed many of us not to visit banks (internet banking), libraries (Google), shops (internet sales), entertainment centres (broadband) and people (Facebook). Telecommuting saves journeys to work while salesmen's visits are abbreviated because of websites with details of every companies' wares. Reducing urban congestion and family fuel costs will probably depend on how quickly the broadband infrastructure network takes market share away from rail, road and airport networks.

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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28 July, 2008

Progression of Solar Cycle 23/24 Minimum

By Geologist David Archibald

Jan Janssens of the Belgian Solar Section has kindly updated his graphs on the progression of the current minimum.



Jan Janssens' Comments: According to the spotless-day-method, the current cycle transit mimics much better the transit of the old cycles 10-15 than that of the more recent cycles 16-23. Thus, a minimum could be expected in July 2009 +/- 6 months. According to the old-new-groups-method, SC23 seems to change tracks as expected. It is heading for a better tracking of the old cycles rather than that of the more recent ones. SC24 continues to follow the very slow rise of the old cycles. Both evolutions indicate a break-even of the old/new groups at year's turn, with a minimum in November 2008 +/- 6 months. No change from my initial prediction on 19 April 2008.



This is a Jan Janssens graph that I have annotated. Solar Cycle 23-24 minimum is tracking along with Solar Cycles 11 to 14 from the 19th Century. A 13.6 year length for Solar Cycle 23, equivalent to Solar Cycle 4, is within the realms of possibility. The reason why we are interested in the month of solar minimum is because it is the first physical sign of the potential amplitude of Solar Cycle 24, which in turn has climate consequences. It is apparent that Solar Cycle 23 is a long one. I agree with Jan Janssens' spotless day-derived result of month of minimum being July 2009. If Solar Cycle 24 is as weak as I think it will be, then it will have a slow ramp up - much slower than the late 19th century cycles used for comparison.

This leads to another point. Solar cycles generally have four years of rise and seven years of decline. Solar Cycle 5 (the first half of the Dalton Minimum) had 6.9 years of rise and 5.4 years of decline. If Solar Cycle 24 mimics Solar Cycle 4 in this way, then year of maximum will be 2016, four years after the latest estimate from NASA's solar prediction panel. There is another interesting parallel with the late 18th century. Solar Cycle 3 was an ultra short one at 9.2 years, much the same as Solar Cycle 22 at 9.6 years.

Climatic Impact: Each day's passing of anemic Solar Cycle 24 sunspot activity reinforces the imminent cooling.



Source




Some frank talk from a major German windfarmer

E.on is Germany's largest utility company. Here is their 2005 Wind Report in pdf. I would recommend to everyone to read it. Sometimes they can use the wind power and sometimes they can't, and because their effective usage is so low, they have to keep building traditional power plants. In 2004 the average feed-in to the grid varied between about one third and zero percent of the load. Obviously that sort of performance places upper limits on usage. I quote:
As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability of the wind farms determines the reliability of the system as a whole to an ever increasing extent. Consequently the greater reliability of traditional power stations becomes increasingly eclipsed.

As a result, the relative contribution of wind power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously to around 4% (FIGURE 7). In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.
The rest of the report comments on the grid problems and the need for specialized control of wind turbines, plus upgrade of the transmission lines and grid to deal with the pulsing of wind power. They have invested in programs to predict and control it, but they haven't produced much effect. Now they are looking to replace the older turbines with newer, taller ones and to move offshore for more reliable winds. At the end of the report they discuss the potential for grid instability, and cheerfully note that if they are not careful, they may blow up pieces of the Polish, Netherlands and Czech power supply.

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Hey kids! Be a "Climate Cop" - rat on your family, friends, and classmates

Note: I don't normally allow the discussion of things related to Nazi Germany here, including discouraging the use of the word "denier" due to it's "Holocaust Denier" connotations. But this full page ad in the Sunday papers in Britain, touting "climate crime" and "climate cops" is just a bit over the top, and deserves some attention. It is particularly relevant since the sponsoring website climatecops.com has a teachers section, and we've just seen some sensibility from Schwarzenegger in Sacramento on this very issue.



I find this method of indoctrinating school children to normal everyday living being harmful to the earth with the "climate crime" connotation as distasteful and wrong-headed. I have no problems with energy conservation, in fact I encourage it. But combining such advice with a "climate cop" idea is the wrong way to get the message across. Can you imagine what sort of reaction the neighbors will have to the kids hanging this door hanger on their front door? Will the result of this now be hiding your electric dryer behind false walls so the kids and neighbors don't see it?

Reposted from the website EU referendum:


Can I be the only one more than a little disturbed by the latest campaign to be fronted by energy company npower? Launched today with large colour ads in the Sundays, it appeals directly to children, urging them to enlist as "climate cops", to root out "climate crimes", and thus "save the planet".

In a luridly-designed website, mimicking the style of "yoof" cartoons, it offers a bundle of downloads, including a pack of "climate crime cards", urging its recruits to spy on families, friends and relatives, inviting each of them to build up a "climate crime case file" in order to help them ensure their putative criminals do not "commit those crimes again (or else)!"

Quite what the "or else!" should be is not specified, but since the "climate cops" are being encouraged to keep detailed written records (for those who can read and write), there is nothing to stop these being submitted to the "Climate Cops HQ" for further sanctions, the repeat offenders being sent to re-education camps. And for those "climate cops" that successfully perform the "missions" set (or turn in their own parents), there is the reward of "training" in the "Climate Cop Academy".

In a system which has echoes of Hitler's Deutsches Jungvolk movement, and the Communist regime Pioneers, perhaps successful graduates can work up to becoming block wardens, then street and district "climate crime Fhrers", building a network of spies and informers. How nicely this ties in with James Hansen's call to put the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming.

No doubt, with a willing band of "climate cops", the prosecutors can spread their nets wider, reaching into the homes of all climate change deniers, until the insidious virus of doubt is exterminated (final solution, anyone?). Then we can all march on the sunlit uplands of a "carbon-free" planet - to the tune of Ode to Joy no doubt.
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Governator vetoes climate change curriculum

California public students will stick to reading, writing and arithmetic, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided as he vetoed a bill late Friday that would have required climate change be added to schools' curriculum. The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, also would have required future science textbooks to include climate change as a subject.In January, the state Senate approved the bill, SB 908, by a 26-13 vote. Only two Republicans supported the proposal.

In his veto statement, Schwarzenegger said he supported education that spotlights the dangers of climate change. However, the Republican governor said he was opposed to educational mandates from Sacramento. "I continue to believe that the state should refrain from being overly prescriptive in specific school curriculum, beyond establishing rigorous academic standards," he said.

Schwarzenegger added that the state's Integrated Waste Management Board's Office of Education and Environment, along with California's Environmental Protection Agency, are creating an environmental curriculum for K-12 students that includes climate change issues.

Simitian had said his bill wouldn't dictate what to teach; rather, it would require the state Board of Education and state Department of Education to decide how the topic would be covered and which grades would study it. While global warming is included in high school classes as it pertains to weather, the subject is not required to be covered in all textbooks, according to the California Science Teachers Association.

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Global warming more harmful to low-income minorities?

What bunk! ANY climate change, whether warming or cooling, whether natural or manmade, hurts low income groups (NOT minorities!). The reason is that it takes resources to adjust and adapt -- esp to a cooling.

This recalls the appallingly gloating European Parliament draft resolution post-Katrina noting that, now, long-anticipated impacts of global warming have been seen in that severe weather hit the poor in low-lying coastal areas the most. You see, before MMGW, storms used to proceed inland to hit rich white communities.


Blacks are more likely to be hurt by global warming than other Americans, according to a report issued Thursday. The report was authored by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, a climate justice advocacy group, and Redefining Progress, a nonprofit policy institute. It detailed various aspects of climate change, such as air pollution and rising temperatures, which it said disproportionately affect blacks, minorities and low-income communities in terms of poor health and economic loss.

Right now we have an opportunity to see climate change in a different light; to see it for what it is, a human rights issue on a dangerous collision course of race and class, said Nia Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative. While it's an issue that affects all of us, like many other social justice issues, it is disproportionately affecting African-Americans, other people of color, low-income people and indigenous communities.

Heat-related deaths among blacks occur at a 150 to 200 percent greater rate than for non-Hispanic whites, the report said. It also reported that asthma, which has a strong correlation to air pollution, affects blacks at a 36 percent higher rate of incidence than whites.

Existing disparities between low-income communities and wealthier ones, such as high unemployment rates, are exacerbated by such negative effects of climate change as storms and floods, the report said.

Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina and Alabama are in the Atlantic hurricane zone and are expected to be hit with more intense storms, similar to the caliber of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Those states also have the largest populations of black residents.

Better climate policy is needed to ensure environmental health and economic security for all U.S. citizens, said the report, which was released at a congressional briefing hosted by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Health and the Environment.

The report recommended imposing a fee, tax or allowance auction on polluters that would finance efforts to reduce global warming and would eliminate the financial burden on low-income and moderate-income households. It also proposed investing in energy efficiency and using polluter fees to invest in public utilities, such as schools.

It's my hope that climate change will serve as a starting point for engaging communities for bearing the brunt of this problem, said Robinson, who co-authored the report. Climate change not only brings harms to light, but also stresses the need for just equitable climate policy.

The report argues that a more just climate policy would benefit more than African-Americans and persons with low incomes.

The policies that are best for African-Americans are also best for all Americans and for the economy as a whole, said J. Andrew Hoerner, director of the sustainable economics program at Redefining Progress and co-author of report.

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Honest scientist alert! Bad luck, not global warming to blame for brutal weather

How refreshing. Emanuel is proving to be an honest broker when it comes to the climate debate. He recently recanted his former views on warming and hurricanes

It's been odd, destructive and deadly, but climate experts say you can't blame the brutal weather that has slammed New England on your neighbor's SUV. "We can't link it with global warming," said Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "One of the robust predictions of global warming is that rainfall comes in heavier, but less frequent events. This hasn't been less frequent. I don't think you can blame the stuff we've seen this summer on global warming. It looks like were locked into a weather pattern."

Beth Hall, the former climatologist for the state of New Hampshire, who just took a teaching job at Towson University in Maryland, agreed with her MIT colleague."You can actually go back to the pre-global warming frenzy," she said. "There were just as bad floods back in the '30s. We're finding there are cases of this equally bad weather in the last 100 years. It kind of happens intermittently. We just went through a drought in the late '90s and everyone wanted to say it was global warming, but the droughts in the '30s and the '60s were more extreme than what we saw. Climatologists are seeing these much larger cyclical patterns to these events than just the increase in carbon dioxide is able to explain."

Emanuel said the weather sometimes gets locked in a certain pattern over a certain region. He said climatologists call these blocks. He said they can last anywhere from six weeks to three months. It appears the block of frequent, heavy rain we're experiencing started near the beginning of June, but if the block theory is correct, there's an end in sight. "The one we got locked into, it's been very rainy in the east and dry in the west," he said. "I don't know how much longer it can go on . . . They can stay locked for a few months. Three months is on the long end, more typically it's six weeks."

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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27 July, 2008

Round and round the merry-go-round on hurricanes

M.I.T. Scientists: Warming Will Actually REDUCE the Number of Hurricanes

After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, global warming alarmists claimed greenhouse gas emissions had led to a season that had 22 named tropical storms. Recent reports raise strong doubts about those claims.

"Former Hurricane Center head Max Mayfield is among experts who believe we're in a cyclical pattern of more violent tropical storms, while others say global warming may be the culprit," ABC's Sam Champion said on the Sept. 4, 2007 "Good Morning America." Earlier this year, a UN backed panel of scientists linked more powerful and frequent hurricanes to global warming and projected even more intense hurricanes in the future.

But according to two recently published reports - hurricane activity may actually decrease due to the effects of global warming. That is a conclusion from a study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Kerry Emanuel, published in the March 2008 issue of the "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society."

"A new technique for deriving hurricane climatologies from global data, applied to climate models, indicates that global warming should reduce the global frequency of hurricanes, though their intensity may increase in some locations," the study by Emanuel, Ragoth Sundararajan and John Williams said.

Emanuel pointed out to the Business & Media Institute that he isn't denying a relationship exists between global warming and hurricanes. "I am certainly not saying that there is no link between hurricanes and global warming," Emanuel said. "There indeed appears to be a close relationship between ocean temperature and hurricane power. My most recent study shows that this relationship is not much in evidence in climate models, pointing to a possible problem with climate models"

Another study by meteorologist Tom Knutson makes a similar conclusion. According to a study authored by Knutson, Joseph Sirutis, Stephen Garner, Gabriel Vecchi and Isaac Held, published in the May 18 issue of Nature Geoscience, climate models show the amount of Atlantic tropical activity will decrease by 18 percent by the end of the century.

"Here we assess, in our model system, the changes in large-scale climate that are projected to occur by the end of the twenty-first century by an ensemble of global climate models, and find that Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm frequencies are reduced," the study's abstract said.

Source




They've got that global warming thing down cold

Review of a TV comedy program by Penn & Teller. They recently turned their talents at mockery onto global warming



When Thursday's episode on environmentalism opened with a morose-looking Penn Jillette waving a magazine as he recited one ecotastrophe after another -- drought in Africa, flooding in Pakistan and Japan, snowless winters in New England and Northern Europe -- I snapped to attention. ''It says right here in Time magazine -- the weather's gone nuts and we humans are to blame!" Teller wailed. "We have bleeped up the environment and now we're going to pay for it!"

Yeah, that global warming is pretty bad. You know, Al Gore says -- oops, never mind. Turns out Penn's not reading from the infamous Time cover story of 2006 on global warming, the one headlined BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED. No, this Time is from 1974, and the headline is, ANOTHER ICE AGE? And all those violent paroxysms of nature are the pernicious work of global cooling.

Yes, back in the days of disco, the news media echoed with predictions of the world's imminent demise from ice rather than fire. Newsweek warned that temperatures had already dropped ''a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.'' By 1985, Life declared, ``air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the earth by one half.''

A MAJOR COOLING WIDELY ACCEPTED TO BE INEVITABLE, agreed The New York Times, adding in an editorial: ''Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.'' To be fair, this was nothing new at The Times. It had been predicting the world was on the verge of turning into a Popsicle since at least 1895 -- GEOLOGISTS THINK THE WORLD MAY BE FROZEN UP AGAIN, a headline said back then. Perhaps the editors figured that if they printed the story often enough, they were bound to get it right, if only because of the law of averages.

I sometimes find myself longing for the good old days of the Ice Age scare, because at least back then, dissent was possible. When Newsweek in 1975 proposed fighting off those inexorable glaciers by "melting the arctic cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers," it had the grace to concede that some scientists worried just a teensy bit that these solutions "might create problems far greater than they resolve."

These days, deviating from the orthodoxy on global warming -- not just questioning whether it exists, but how much of it is due to human activity, or if the results might be a little less ruinous than the Climate Cassandras predict -- is almost enough to get you thrown in jail. And I mean that literally. James Hansen, the former Gore science advisor who's been one of the foremost doomsayers on global warming, recently said that oil company executives who argue against him ``should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.''

Consider it a certainty that the Climate Police will lock up Penn & Teller after Thursday's show. Not only does it feature interviews with some scientists who aren't totally sold on the idea that the Earth is toast, it whispers an even more inconvenient truth: A lot of the scariest global-warming tales are told by people who stand to make a buck by scaring you.

At one end of the scale is a Santa Fe therapist who treats patients for what she calls ''eco-anxiety'' by giving them what she calls ''river rocks'' -- actually, it's gravel picked up from her driveway -- to remind them that "you do come from Earth and you are connected." (The most scandalous thing about this ''treatment'' is that it works: ''Whenever I'm by a rock, holding it, I feel grounded," explains one grateful patient.)

At the other is Al Gore, who's made a post-political career out of warning that we're on the brink of ''epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves.'' A couple of years ago, Gore suffered some minor embarrassment when a Tennessee think-tank revealed that his 20-room Nashville mansion uses 17 times the electricity of the average American home. Unabashed, Gore explained that he was ''offsetting'' his electric gluttony by buying carbon credits -- that it, putting money into green projects, would save as much energy as his home wasted.

Looking a little more closely into it, Bull----! points out that Gore was actually purchasing those carbon credits from . . . himself. He did it by investing money in his own company Generation Investment Management, which buys stocks in companies that make green technology -- technology that Gore is constantly lobbying governments to adopt or mandate. ''So Al makes money when people buy carbon credits through his company,'' says a Gore critic. It's not only good to be green, but profitable, too.

I'm not surprised if you're surprised that Gore might have a financial interest in screaming about the end of the world. Reporters who fall asleep chanting the mantra follow the money have been heinously lax in practicing it on the global warming story.

Last November, when NBC insisted that every single program on the network that week would have a green theme, nobody seemed to notice that the network was in effect running a massive product-placement ad for its corporate parent General Electric. GE has invested massive amounts of money in solar panels, wind power and other so-called clean-energy technologies for which there will be virtually no consumer demand unless Congress passes laws requiring them.

But practically no reporters were interested in that story -- certainly not those at NBC News, which also participated in Green Week by inserting stories into its shows. When I asked network anchor Brian Williams if this wasn't corporate manipulation of his newscast, he shook his head vigorously. ''Not at all,'' he insisted. ''I've got no problems with it. It's not any different than The New York Times editorial board sitting down and saying the newspaper is going to do a series of stories on some particular subject.'' Maybe, if The New York Times were owned by, say, Halliburton, and the board of directors ordered up a series on, say, the need to invade Iraq. But I don't have time to argue about it right now. I'm pretty sure I hear the Climate Police at my door.

Source




GREEN FAD FINALLY RUNNING OUT OF GAS

Here's some good news for anyone sick of being force-fed a relentless diet of pernicious environmentalist hogwash: Last week, The New York Times noted that the advertising industry is pulling back from green-themed marketing, having "grasped the public's growing skepticism over ads with environmental messages.

And advertisers' concerns are buttressed by the recent sales figures for magazines that have published a "Green Issue" this year. Time's Earth Day issue was the newsweekly's third-lowest-selling issue of 2008 so far, according to ABC Rapid Report. A typical issue of Time sells 93,000 or so copies on the newsstand; the April 28 installment, which substituted green for red in the magazine's trademarked cover design, sold only 72,000. (As usual, The Onion nailed it.)

Elle's May issue sold a mere 275,000 copies, versus the title's year-to-date average of 328,500. The last issue of Elle to sell that badly was in May 2008 - another green issue, probably not coincidentally. Discover also published a green issue this year, and also took a hit for it, selling 86,000 newsstand copies, compared to an average of 117,000 in the first half of 2007.

Look for politicians to figure out sometime around 2012 that everyone stopped listening to bogus global warming sermons in 2008.

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Virginia Is Sitting on the Energy Mother Lode

Amid the rolling hills and verdant pastures of south central Virginia an unlikely new front in the battle over nuclear energy is opening up. How it is decided will tell us a lot about whether this country is willing to get serious about addressing its energy needs.

In Pittsylvania County, just north of the North Carolina border, the largest undeveloped uranium deposit in the United States -- and the seventh largest in the world, according to industry monitor UX Consulting -- sits on land owned by neighbors Henry Bowen and Walter Coles. Large uranium deposits close to the surface are virtually unknown in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. And that may be the problem.

Virginia is one of just four states that ban uranium mining. The ban was put in place in 1984, to calm fears that had been sparked by the partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor on Three Mile Island outside of Harrisburg, Pa. in 1979.

Messrs. Bowen and Coles, who last year formed a company called Virginia Uranium, are asking the state to determine whether mining uranium really is a hazard and, if not, to lift the ban. But they've run into a brick wall of environmental activists who raise the specter of nuclear contamination and who are determined to prevent scientific studies of the issue.

The Piedmont Environmental Council is one of the leading opponents. It warns of the "enormous quantities of radioactive waste" produced by uranium mining.

Jack Dunavant, head of the Southside Concerned Citizens in nearby Halifax County, is another outspoken critic. He paints a picture of environmental apocalypse. "There will be a dead zone within a 30 mile radius of the mine," he says with a courtly drawl. "Nothing will grow. Animals will die. The radiation genetically alters tissue. Animals will not be able to reproduce. We'll see malformed fetuses."

Yet it is not as if we have no experience with uranium mining, which is in fact relatively harmless. Handled properly, the yellowcake that is extracted is no more hazardous than regular household chemicals (and unlike coal, it won't smolder and combust).

James Kelly, who directed the nuclear engineering program at the University of Virginia for many years, says that fears about uranium mining are wildly overblown. "It's an aesthetic nightmare, but otherwise safe in terms of releasing any significant radioactivity or pollution," he told me. "It would be ugly to look at, but from the perspective of any hazard I wouldn't mind if they mined across the street from me."

The situation is rich with irony as well as uranium. While you can't mine yellowcake, it is perfectly legal in Virginia to process enriched uranium into usable nuclear fuel, which is somewhat dangerous to handle. A subsidiary of the French nuclear giant Areva operates a fuel fabrication facility in Lynchburg 50 miles from Chatham. It has been praised by Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, as a good corporate citizen. The state is also home to four commercial nuclear reactors, which provide Virginians with 35% of their electricity. And, of course, the U.S. Navy operates nuclear ships out of Norfolk, Va.

Across the country, there are 104 commercial nuclear reactors. They consume 67 million pounds of uranium annually, the vast majority of which is imported from Australia, Canada and former Soviet republics. The 200-acre Coles Hill deposit (Mr. Coles's family has lived on the spot since 1785) is thought to contain nearly twice that amount. For Messrs. Bowen and Coles, with the long-term price of uranium near $80 per pound, that means they are sitting on about $10 billion worth of ore. But for the rest of us, it means they are sitting on an opportunity to make the U.S. more energy self-sufficient.

Since Virginia is already a nuclear-friendly state that properly manages the risks of nuclear power, what sense does it make for the state to ban the safest step in the nuclear fuel cycle?

Gov. Kaine supports allowing the National Academy of Sciences to determine whether mining could be done safely. So does virtually every elected official in heavily Republican Pittsylvania County. Earlier this year the narrowly Democratic state Senate voted 34-6 to authorize the study. But the measure was killed in committee in the House under pressure from environmental groups. If it was allowed to come up for a vote in the full House, which is controlled by Republicans, opponents concede it would have passed.

The governor's chief energy adviser, Steve Walz, says the Kaine administration has taken no position on whether reversing the ban makes sense. "That's why we wanted to see the results of the study, to help us make a determination."

Mr. Dunavant doesn't believe the governor has an open mind on the issue. He calls Mr. Kaine, "our 'supposed green' governor" and says that the "only thing green about him is his love of money." Coles Hill "is all about greed," he says. "It's criminal activity as far as I'm concerned."

For his part, Mr. Coles can't understand the hostility. "I tell these groups that my concerns are your concerns. I have been protecting the environment here for decades, long before any of them became interested in this land." He's received offers to buy his land for sums that would make him incredibly wealthy, but has turned them down. "We love the land. My family has lived here for over 200 years. We're going to continue to live here. That's the reason we decided to keep it, as opposed to selling out." He says Virginia Uranium will continue to push for the independent study.

If the U.S. is to expand nuclear power's role in a time of energy insecurity and climate change worries, we will have to confront the hysterical antinuclear pronouncements that have been the currency of environmentalists for nearly 30 years. The Old Dominion could be a good place for a new start.

Source




The Grand Exaggerator

What is it with Al Gore? Why is he compelled to exaggerate climate change (excuse me, "the climate crisis"), and then to propose impossible policy responses? It's like he's inventing the Internet all over again!

OK, it's pretty much standard rhetoric in Washington to say that if you don't do as I say, there will be massive consequences. But to say, as Gore recently did: "The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk;" and: "The future of human civilization is at stake" - that's a bit much, even for the most faded and jaded political junkie.

Here's how Gore works. He'll cite one scientific finding that shows what he wants, and then ignore other work that provides important context. Here's a list of his climate exaggerations from his well-publicized July 17 rant, along with a few sobering facts.

Gore: "Scientists . . . have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire [North Polar] ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months."

Fact: The Arctic Ocean was much warmer than it is now for several millennia after the end of the last ice age. We know this because there are trees buried in the tundra along what is now the arctic shore. Those trees can be dated using standard analytical techniques that have been around for decades. According to Glen MacDonald of UCLA, the trees show that July temperatures could have been 5-13F warmer from 9,000 to about 3,000 years ago than they were in the mid-20th century. The arctic ice cap had to have disappeared in most summers, and yet the polar bear survived!

Gore: "Our weather sure is getting strange, isn't it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory. . . ."

Fact: The reason there "seems" to be more tornadoes is because of national coverage by Doppler radar, which can detect storms that were previously missed (not to mention that every backyard tornado winds up on YouTube nowadays). Naturally, the additions are weak ones that might, if lucky, tip over a cow. If there were a true increase in tornadoes, then we would see a definite upswing in severe ones, too. If anything, the historical record indicates a slight negative trend in the frequency of major tornadoes, based upon death statistics.

Gore: " . . . longer droughts . . . "

Hogwash. The U.S. drought history, given by the Palmer Drought Severity Index, is readily available and extends back to 1895. There's not a shred of evidence for "longer droughts" in recent decades. The longest ones were in the 1930s and 1950s, decades before "global warming" became "the climate crisis."

Gore: " . . . bigger downpours and record floods . . . "

It's true, U.S. annual rainfall has increased about 10 percent (three inches) in the last 100 years. But it's equally true that this is a net benefit. Temperatures haven't warmed nearly enough to increase the annual surface evaporation by the same amount, so what has resulted is a wetter country during the growing season. Farmers love this, because most of the nation runs a moisture deficit during the hot summer growing season. Increasing rain cuts that deficit.

Gore: "The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis."

This is likely James Hansen of NASA, Gore's climate guru. He has written and given sworn testimony that twenty feet of sea-level rise, caused by the rapid shedding of Greenland's ice, could happen by 2100. Why didn't Gore defer instead to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization with at least a few hundred bona fide climate scientists? Its 2007 compendium estimates that the contribution of Greenland's ice to sea level during this century will be around two inches. Gore also forgot the embarrassing truth that there has been no net change in the planetary surface temperature, as measured both by thermometers and satellites, for the last ten years.

It would be easy to go on, particularly about the preposterousness of Gore's "solution," which is to produce all of our electricity from solar, wind and geothermal sources within ten years. I'll leave that for the energy economists to tear apart.

Source




DANGEROUS CLIMATE CHANGE IN BRITAIN: LABOUR FACES BEING KICKED OUT OF OFFICE

Labour faces being kicked out of office by angry motorists if it continues to 'unfairly demonise' the car, a top Government adviser warned today. Families are 'rebelling' against unfair car taxes, restrictions on their freedoms, and attacks on 4X4s and luxury cars by politicians and campaigners driven by 'ideological dogma' rather than hard-facts, Richard Parry-Jones claimed.

Mr Parry-Jones was appointed by the government to look at how technology can be used to cut pollution. But the former Ford Motor Company executive turned on his new employers yesterday urging them to stop the war on the motorist. Unfair motoring taxes and attacks of family runarounds were the result of 'muddled thinking' based on prejudice and dogma rather than hard scientific facts, he said. 'If you price consumers out of their cars, they will probably throw you out at the next election,' he said.

He added that Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his ministers must 're-assess the political bias against cars'. He accepted that cars did have some impact on climate change - but pointed out that they represented only 8per cent of the problem while appearing to get 100 per cent of the blame. Tax raised from motorists and motoring was 'disproportionately high', he said.

Mr Parry-Jones is a world-renowned motor industry expert who has just been appointed as a ministerial adviser to John Hutton's Department for Business. He is chairing Mr Hutton's Automotive Industry Growth Team, looking at how to create 'greener' cars and cut costs. His speech follows a visit this week by Mr Brown, Mr Hutton, and Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly to the British International Motor Show in London's Docklands where the PM met motor industry bosses to discuss 'green' cars. Mr Parry-Jones recently retired as chief technical officer and head of research at Ford.

He said politicians must carry the confidence of Britain's 30 million voting motorists if they want achieve or maintain office:''If politicians go too fast, ultimately they get detached from the electorate and get thrown out.' He noted: 'What on Earth are we doing allowing our elected representatives to decide for us what we should be allowed or encouraged to drive, or what should be banned or penalised in the name of climate change.'

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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26 July, 2008

More coral nonsense

At least this time it is academic rather than journalistic nonsense, I suppose. I will not attempt any detailed critique but will simply repeat some remarks on the same subject that I made recently: We have been hearing about the impending doom of coral reefs for decades -- since long before the global warming scare. In Australia, which has a huge coral reef, they used to blame it on farming! Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been there through many climate changes in the past and it will still be there when all of the current crop of doomsters are dead. The scares are nothing more than childish attention-seeking behaviour. I get tired of reiterating it but the reef already thrives through a very large temperature range and it in fact flourishes most where the climate is warmest. Corals even thrive after A DIRECT ATOMIC HIT, in fact

The conservation status of coral reefs can be monitored by assessing the area covered by coral species over time. Carpenter et al. (p. 560, published online 10 July) have estimated that more than a third of the major reef-building coral species are at risk of dying out to the point at which reef viability is lost. The causes of this dismaying decline stem from local insults from physical damage, overfishing, pollution, and sedimentation. These factors, added to the physiological harm done to coral organisms and their symbionts by elevated sea surface temperature rise and water acidification induced by atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation, can mean that a reef loses viability and quickly turns into a mound of rubble.

Source

The journal abstract:

One-Third of Reef-Building Corals Face Elevated Extinction Risk from Climate Change and Local Impacts

By Kent E. Carpenter and about a hundred others

The conservation status of 845 zooxanthellate reef-building coral species was assessed by using International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Criteria. Of the 704 species that could be assigned conservation status, 32.8% are in categories with elevated risk of extinction. Declines in abundance are associated with bleaching and diseases driven by elevated sea surface temperatures, with extinction risk further exacerbated by local-scale anthropogenic disturbances. The proportion of corals threatened with extinction has increased dramatically in recent decades and exceeds that of most terrestrial groups. The Caribbean has the largest proportion of corals in high extinction risk categories, whereas the Coral Triangle (western Pacific) has the highest proportion of species in all categories of elevated extinction risk. Our results emphasize the widespread plight of coral reefs and the urgent need to enact conservation measures.

Science 25 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5888, pp. 560 - 563





Fact-checking Barack Obama on climate change

Among many curious moments in Barack Obama's speech in Berlin on Thursday, this line takes Gorean liberties with the facts: As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

"As we speak"? You have to love the royal "we." In any case, as we write, Barack Obama is just wrong. Sea levels have been declining, not rising, for the last two years.



What about drought to farms in Kansas "as we speak"? Again, not so much. With the exception of one "moderately dry" area in the southwest, this year (at least) Kansas has been normal to "exceptionally moist," depending on the part of the state you are talking about.



You don't suppose there is any chance the press will check his facts "as it reports"?

Source




The Latest Bogus Climate Change Study

It's official! Real scientists - not those global warming skeptic scientists - have studied the impact of climate change on eight states and, boy, are they bally-hooing the results that they've released today. The real scientists say in their news release:
Climate change will carry a price tag of billions of dollars for a number of U.S. states, says a new series of reports from the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER). The researchers conclude that the costs have already begun to accrue and are likely to endure.

Combining existing data with new analysis, the eight studies project the long term economic impact of climate change on Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio. Studies on additional states are in the works.

"We don't have a crystal ball and can't predict specific bottom lines, but the trend is very clear for these eight states and the nation as a whole: climate change will cost billions in the long run and the bottom line will be red," says Matthias Ruth, who coordinated the research and directs the Center for Integrative Environmental Research at the University of Maryland. "Inaction or delayed action will make the ink run redder."
And here's what they've got on their eight states:
Colorado: More than $1 billion in losses due to impacts on tourism, forestry, water resources and human health from a predicted drier, warmer climate.

Georgia: Multi-million dollar losses from predicted higher seas along Georgia's coast.

Kansas: Losses exceeding $1 billion from impact on agriculture of predicted warmer temperatures and reduced water supply in much of the state.

Illinois: Billions of dollars in losses from impact on shipping, trade and water resources. Warmer temperatures and lower water levels predicted for much of the state.

Michigan: Billions of dollars in losses from damage to the state's shipping and water resources. Warmer temperatures and lower water levels predicted for much of the state.

Nevada: Billions of dollars in losses from a much drier climate and pressure on scarce water resources. Water limitations could affect tourism, real estate, development and human health. Many western states may confront similar challenges.

New Jersey: Billions of dollars in losses from higher sea levels and the impact on tourism, transportation, real estate and human health.

Ohio: Billions of dollars in losses from warmer temperatures and lower water levels and the resulting impact on shipping and water supplies.
Two points:

First, these are not real scientists. Matthias Ruth has a PhD in geography and is now working as an economist. He doesn't have a clue about what causes climate change (or doesn't), what its extent and duration will be, or what its probable impacts are - heck, he's even using the much-discredited hockey stick model as the core data for each of the studies' identical primers on climate change.

In short, he's just a paid lackey who's merely accepting other people's models as true and running them through his own economic models and asking us to believe him because he works for a university think tank for hire. His colleagues on the study? Graduate assistants.

And who are those other people who are providing the modeled data for Ruth's review? That hired his think tank for hire? Here's a clue you might want to pursue for your answer: Buried at the bottom of the study's on-line title page is this: "Support for this research was provided by the Environmental Defense Fund." Do you think that just might be a biased group . more biased even than an oil company? Here's Peter Goldmark, the EDF's climate program director, answering why EDF works on climate:
"Nothing has more potential to alter forever the world our children inherit."
So he's got a biased view - it's bad, we caused it, and an expensive cap-and-trade system is the best way to address it - and he hired a bunch of non-scientists to dress up a pile of rigamrole and present it as a scientific study.

EDF's position in support of cap-and-trade takes me to my second point. Speaking out against the concept when it came before the Senate as the Lieberman-Warner "America's Climate Security Act," Sen. James Inhofe said:
"The Lieberman-Warner bill will burden American families with additional energy costs and significantly harm the United States economy. Senators are going to be asking the American people to pay more for home energy and pay higher prices at the gas pump for no climate benefit. This bill will simply result in real economic pain, for no climate gain. MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen correctly summed up these types of efforts in March when he said, `Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life.' .

"The American people are being asked to pay significantly more for energy just so lawmakers in Washington can say they did `something' about global warming. And just what will cap-and-trade legislation actually do? Cap-and-trade policies have been tried in Europe and they have proven to be an utter disaster. European emissions continue to climb while our current policies have resulted in emissions tailing off in the U.S. If we were going to impose enormous costs to our economy, a carbon tax would be a much more efficient and transparent approach.

"[A]n MIT study earlier this year found [the cap and trade approach] would cost $3500 per family of four. According to an EPA analysis, Lieberman-McCain would impose a price increase for oil of 20% and for natural gas of 23%.
Now those guys at MIT might just be real scientists, so let's look at that $3,500 per family of four. The estimated 2006 population of the eight states CIER studied was 57.8 million, or 14.5 million families of four. Lieberman-Warner would have raised their annual cost of living by $3,500 each, or $50.6 billion.

Now let's go back to the impacts of the states, which I assume are permanent, not annual, but what the heck, let's just go ahead and call them annual so we can compare the data conservatively. Oh, wait. The real scientists actually never presented a single projected total cost of climate change for any of the eight states they studied. All we have is the news releases summary of two states with "more than a billion," one with "multi-million" and five with "billions." Write that out and it's five multi-billions, two billion pluses, one multi-millions. A nice, tight, scientific number.

Is it more or less than the $50.6 billion price tag of EDF's proposed cap-and-trade system? My hunch, based just on proportional population, is that it's less . a lot less, somewhere about $15 to $20 billion.

So, boil it all down, strip out the hysteria and the puff, and you get this: An environmental group is advocating that you spend $50.6 billion to avoid an economic impact of $15 to $20 billion. But when this story breaks in the MSM tonight and tomorrow, you won't read that, will you?

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Gloomy summer for Alaska

Anchorage could hit 65 degrees for fewest days on record



(Pic shows fresh snow two days ago outside a town called Palmer about 50 miles north of Anchorage. The mountains around Anchorage had similar snow. The snow is about 8-10 weeks early)

The coldest summer ever? You might be looking at it, weather folks say. Right now the so-called summer of '08 is on pace to produce the fewest days ever recorded in which the temperature in Anchorage managed to reach 65 degrees. That unhappy record was set in 1970, when we only made it to the 65-degree mark, which many Alaskans consider a nice temperature, 16 days out of 365. This year, however -- with the summer more than half over -- there have been only seven 65-degree days so far. And that's with just a month of potential "balmy" days remaining and the forecast looking gloomy.

National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Albanese, a storm warning coordinator for Alaska, says the outlook is for Anchorage to remain cool and cloudy through the rest of July. "There's no real warm feature moving in," Albanese said. "And that's just been the pattern we've been stuck in for a couple weeks now."

In the Matanuska Valley on Wednesday snow dusted the Chugach. On the Kenai Peninsula, rain was raising Six-Mile River to flood levels and rafting trips had to be canceled. So if the cold and drizzle are going to continue anyway, why not shoot for a record? The mark is well within reach, Albanese said: "It's probably going to go down as the summer with the least number of 65-degree days."

In terms of "coldest summer ever," however, a better measure might be the number of days Anchorage fails to even reach 60. There too, 2008 is a contender, having so far notched only 35 such days -- far below the summer-long average of 88. Unless we get 10 more days of 60-degree or warmer temperatures, we're going to break the dismal 1971 record of only 46 such days, a possibility too awful to contemplate.

More here




`The only certain thing is the science is uncertain'

Lord Lawson on the difficulty of publishing a contrarian book on global warming and why huge cuts in CO2 emissions would be `madness'

`This is my fourth book. I've never had any difficulty getting a publisher. In fact, I've got the contracts before the books were written. But this one - I couldn't get a publisher anywhere in this country. it shows the unhelpful and unhealthy climate, in a different sense, there is over this issue.'

Nigel Lawson, former UK chancellor of the exchequer and energy secretary in the 1980s Conservative government, has become a high-profile critic of current orthodoxies on climate change. In a week when the legitimacy of criticising the mainstream view has been called into question following the UK television regulator's censuring of the Channel 4 documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, a debate featuring Lawson looked likely to be lively. And so it proved.

Lawson was speaking on Tuesday evening at the latest Bookshop Barnie, a series of rowdy discussions organised by the Future Cities Project at the Waterstones store next to the London School of Economics (LSE). It's not exactly one of those Borders monsters, over four floors with a Starbucks in the middle. The LSE store is a much smaller affair, with the walls lined with serious tomes about economics and social science. But it does make an excellent and intimate venue if you want to have a well-informed row - which is what followed.

The subject of the discussion was Lawson's book, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming. In a cheeky introduction, the chairman of the discussion, Austin Williams, told the audience: `Nigel Lawson, Lord Lawson of Blaby, speaks from a position of eminent authority on the issue of carbon reduction. He was responsible for the biggest reduction in carbon emissions in this country when he presided over the slashing of the coal mining industry.' Apart from raising laughter, the introduction was a pointed nod to the fact that the old lines of left and right in society have disappeared today, replaced by new divisions over climate change and the environment more broadly.

As a former finance minister, Lawson does not pretend to be an expert on the details of atmospheric physics. But, as he pointed out, many scientists and noisy commentators on the subject have no special expertise in the particular disciplines required to understand climate, either. More importantly, the politicians charged with making the big policy decisions on the subject must do so on the basis of limited knowledge, too.

`The one thing that is absolutely clear about the science is that it isn't certain, far from it', began Lawson. That is not to say that there isn't plenty of common ground between sceptics and mainstream views of the science, as Lawson pointed out. `Most people would agree there have been huge increases in concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere'; `there is no real argument that the major contributor to that has been man, through the burning of carbon'; and `there is no doubt there is such a thing as the greenhouse effect or that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas'.

For Lawson, the real uncertainty is around how big the effect of carbon dioxide will be on temperatures. While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that most of the warming over the past 100 years has been due to human activity, Lawson argued that the consensus isn't as complete as is usually suggested. He pointed to a survey conducted by the German climate scientist, Hans von Storch - someone who has supported the mainstream view of the science while being critical of much of the presentation of it in the media. The survey asked 500 climate scientists, under strict promise of anonymity, for their view on the debate. Of those surveyed, 70 per cent supported the view that global warming was mostly caused by humans; 30 per cent did not. While science should never be `conducted by a head count', said Lawson, it is clear that the much-vaunted unanimity is absent.

But Lawson's real beef is with the other aspects of the IPCC's report. Moving on to the effects of climate change, Lawson noted that in many respects, the IPCC's forecasts are not that scary. `Even if you look at the IPCC's own estimates you find, both in the particular and the general, it really is much less alarming than the flesh-creeping things that are written in the Independent newspaper or by the people who run the IPCC, as opposed to the scientists and economists who produce the reports.'

Lawson pointed out that `there are many benefits as well as harms from global warming. So, what is the net effect?' On health, the only thing that the IPCC is `virtually certain' of, said Lawson, is that there will be fewer deaths from cold-related diseases if the planet gets warmer; a rise in temperatures of up to 2.8 degrees would, says the IPCC, be beneficial for food production. These net benefits are declared despite what Lawson called the IPCC's `very curious treatment of adaptation' - in other words, the assumption that people would behave pretty much as they do now as temperatures rise, rather than changing the way they live and the crops they grow to suit climatic conditions.

The bottom line for Lawson, drawing out the IPCC's own conclusions, is that even at the worst end of the projections the IPCC posits as reasonably likely, those who might suffer the most - people in the developing world - would be 8.5 times better off than they are now rather than 9.5 times better off if warming were more limited. There were, concluded Lawson with understatement, worse catastrophes imaginable. .....

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The Australian climate charade

It's just more of Kevin Rudd's renowned tokenism

The conjunction of the launches of ABC television's The Hollowmen and the Federal Government's response to climate change is spooky. The latter is starting to look a lot like the former, a "bold" response that will produce much activity but do little to address the problem or offend anyone too much. In public relations terms, this will make it a considerable success.

A few weeks ago, I suggested that the sort of prescriptions advocated by Ross Garnaut's draft report might harm the economy. But with the subsequent release of the Government's green paper by Senator Penny Wong, all of us - citizens and businesses - can sleep easy. There will be an emissions trading scheme, but, as some environmentalists have convincingly shown, it now looks like it will do little to reduce Australia's carbon emissions. The proposed measures are too modest, the exclusions and compensations too generous.

That's not to say there won't be a lot of talk and argument over the details: there will be enough marginal winners and losers for that. Indeed, the whole thing is a feast for the media and business lobbyists and parts of the legal and finance industries. But this activity should not be confused with reducing carbon emissions. The Government's policy is clear: do as much as is necessary to create the illusion of progress, but no more.

Not the least interesting thing about this is the shifting role of Professor Garnaut. He was brought onto the carbon train before the election to demonstrate Kevin Rudd's passionate commitment to fighting greenhouse emissions. But now Rudd is in government and Garnaut is pushing major action that might upset industry and voters, the professor is starting to look like an extremist. Before long, the Prime Minister will be able to position himself as the moderate and talk about saving us, not from climate change, but from Garnaut. It's a beautiful sidestep, in a technical sense, and one hopes the writers of The Hollowmen are paying close attention.

If the above seems a little cynical, consider two large pieces of circumstantial evidence for the insincerity of the Government's professed high concern for climate change. Kevin Rudd prides himself, perhaps above all else, on his respect for process in policy development. But in this case, good process is being ignored. Public discussion of the green paper will effectively stop in September, when submissions have to be lodged. Yet two of the key inputs into that discussion will not be available until October: Treasury's and Garnaut's calculations of the economics of climate change reduction. Professor Jeff Bennett, an economist at the Australian National University, has noted, "What that means is that the permit policy [already announced by the Government] is, at least to date, completely unjustified by any economic consideration of its benefits and costs." That doesn't sound like a Government genuinely committed to a logical and effective policy response.

Nor does the huge contradiction that exists between the Government's positions on climate change and immigration. Writing in the latest issue of People And Place, the demographer Bob Birrell points out that population is the factor over which government has by far the most control if it wants to slow down the increase in greenhouse emissions. The politics of reducing energy use significantly (for example, by making voters pay more for petrol) will generally defeat any government, but reducing immigration would be much easier. And yet net immigration is running at 180,000 a year, at which rate the population will rise to 31.6 million in 2050. The implications of this for Australia's carbon footprint are enormous, yet almost never discussed. Australians produce more greenhouse gases than any other nationality. Therefore on average, every immigrant, no matter where they come from, will increase their emissions by moving to Australia. Birrell notes there is a "dissociation between government aspiration and action", and he's not wrong.

We've seen this dissociation before. John Howard's government often used high rhetoric to proclaim its belief in the need to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the war in Iraq, a conflict of global importance. But our actual commitment to the great cause was (without any disrespect to those who did fight) embarrassingly slight. A reminder occurred this week with the publication of Running The War In Iraq (HarperCollins), a memoir by Australia's General Jim Molan, who spent a year as chief of operations of the allied forces in that unhappy country. At one point he reminds us there were 411 Australians out of a force of 160,000. At another he notes that the Americans have suffered about 4000 military fatalities. (Australia has suffered none.)

Molan told The 7.30 Report this week: "The Americans used to say [of Australia's modest involvement], 'if you're not here in Iraq to fight, what are you here for?"' The rules of engagement for our troops were, he said, "designed to minimise what the force did, the consequence of which was to keep the casualties down. And government makes that decision". In his book, Molan writes, "We in Australia luxuriate in what I describe as wars of choice and choice within wars: we choose the wars we will fight in, we choose the timing of our participation, . we choose the kind of operations we will conduct, and we choose when we come home."

The way things are unfolding, the war on carbon will be another war of choice. And it's the hollow men who make those choices.

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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25 July, 2008

Swamps ("Wetlands") a ticking 'carbon bomb'

These guys send themselves up. After we hear what a bomblike disaster it is to destroy swamps, we read: "About 60% of wetlands worldwide have been destroyed in the past century". So how come nobody noticed the bomb going off?



The world's wetlands, threatened by development, dehydration and climate change, could release a planet-warming "carbon bomb" if they are destroyed, ecological scientists said on Sunday. Wetlands contain 771 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, one-fifth of all the carbon on Earth and about the same amount of carbon as is now in the atmosphere, the scientists said before an international conference linking wetlands and global warming.

If all the wetlands on the planet released the carbon they hold, it would contribute powerfully to the climate-warming greenhouse effect, said Paulo Teixeira, coordinator of the Pantanal Regional Environment Program in Brazil. "We could call it the carbon bomb," Teixeira said by telephone from from Cuiaba, Brazil, site of the conference. "It's a very tricky situation."

Some 700 scientists from 28 nations are meeting this week at the Intecol International Wetlands Conference at the edge of Brazil's vast Pantanal wetland to look for ways to protect these endangered areas. Wetlands are not just swamps: they also include marshes, peat bogs, river deltas, mangroves, tundra, lagoons and river flood plains. Together they account for 6 percent of Earth's land surface and store 20% of its carbon. They also produce 25% of the world's food, purify water, recharge aquifers and act as buffers against violent coastal storms.

Historically, wetlands have been regarded as an impediment to civilisation. About 60% of wetlands worldwide have been destroyed in the past century, mostly due to draining for agriculture. Pollution, dams, canals, groundwater pumping, urban development and peat extraction add to the destruction.

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NASA Discovers 70% Of Global Climate Due To Pacific Ocean Oscillations - Not CO2

Well, well. Congress learned something shattering today, which will have the Church of Al Gore/IPCC running in fear of their lost credibility. It has been scientifically demonstrated that 70% of the Global Warming in the last century (and cooling in the last decade) is due to the Pacific Ocean Oscillations, not CO2:
One necessary result of low climate sensitivity is that the radiative forcing from greenhouse gas emissions in the last century is not nearly enough to explain the upward trend of 0.7 deg. C in the last 100 years. This raises the question of whether there are natural processes at work which have caused most of that warming.

On this issue, it can be shown with a simple climate model that small cloud fluctuations assumed to occur with two modes of natural climate variability - the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon (Southern Oscillation), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation - can explain 70% of the warming trend since 1900, as well as the nature of that trend: warming until the 1940s, no warming until the 1970s, and resumed warming since then.
The gentlemen making this claim is the lead investigator one of NASA's flagship Earth Observing Observatories (H/T Ice Cap). I have the honor of working on this mission on the periphery (Aqua), it is operated out of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

I posted on some of these effects yesterday. What this means is no matter how much you change your CO2 footprint, how much you try to be CO2 green, no matter how much liberal governments tax you - you cannot save the planet from its natural cycles. Remember, the draconian actions being proposed by the Church of Al Gore/IPCC, which will run into the tens of trillions of dollars and cripple the world economies, is only meant to reduce today's CO2 levels by a fraction.

Say they reduced the CO2 25%. Say the CO2 is the driver for the remaining 30% of Global Warming (which it cannot be, but let's just be only half as ridiculous as the IPCC), then all that effort would only impact 7.5% of the forces driving the global climate. The other 92.5% would roll on, impervious to the effort. And since CO2 is not 100% of the remaining 30% of the equation (more like 10%), a more realistic expectation is that all the suffering that would go into dropping CO2 levels by 25% would result in a less than 1% change in the forces driving our climate. In other words, you might as well light a match to all that money because it would have no effect, you would be throwing it away on a fool's errand.

Must be the week to bust myths, because this means all those efforts to drive down CO2 emissions are a scientifically proven waste of time. I see a lot of Green turning to Red here soon (from the embarrassment of being so wrong).

Update: I like this part of the testimony where the Priests from the Church of Al Gore/IPCC did not even bother to look at this results:
While other researchers need to further explore and validate my claims, I am heartened by the fact that my recent presentation of these results to an audience of approximately 40 weather and climate researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder last week (on July 17, 2008) led to no substantial objections to either the data I presented, nor to my interpretation of those data.

And, curiously, despite its importance to climate modeling activities, no one from Dr. Kevin Trenberth's facility, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), bothered to drive four miles down the road to attend my seminar, even though it was advertised at NCAR.
Now isn't that a piece of work?

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A TIMELY REMINDER: THE STAGGERING COST OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

When the political wind changes direction, it can leave a Prime Minister looking very silly - almost as if what mothers used to warn their children about not pulling faces was actually true.

Thus Gordon Brown's last Budget, which removed the concession of a 10p in the pound tax rate for millions of the least well paid, was thought perfectly acceptable at the time, including by the vast majority of Labour MPs, who had cheered the then Chancellor in the House of Commons. Now - as its measures are just about to come into force - it is almost universally excoriated: how could Gordon have been so insensitive?

The reason for this near-180 degree shift in sentiment is not hard to find. Food prices have risen sharply since Brown's final Budget - and so, even more, has the price of heating a home. These are items which form a very significant percentage of the domestic budgets of the least well-off, so they now feel understandably furious to be faced with a government-imposed drop in take-home pay.

This bitter atmosphere lends particular piquancy to a long-arranged meeting later this week between the Business Secretary, John Hutton, and the country's six largest suppliers of energy - the so-called "fuel poverty summit". The Government is understandably concerned about further imminent increases in electricity bills, especially against the background of consumer groups such as energywatch loudly protesting that "an increase in utility bills of 25 per cent will consign another million households to fuel poverty".

Up until now, it has been possible to blame such increases in costs on the rise in the wholesale price of the main raw materials - oil and gas. Now, however, rather as in the style of Gordon Brown's tax changes, it is the Government which is becoming an active agent in the imposition of ever-higher costs on the consumer.

As part of an EU directive designed to combat climate change, Britain is committed to generating 20 per cent of its energy by 2020 through "renewables" - a tenfold increase in the current figure. Yet even the prevailing historically high prices of oil and gas provide domestic heating at between a half and a fifth of the cost of similar amounts of energy from renewables.

By chance, I spoke about this last week to the head of E.ON UK, the British arm of Europe's biggest supplier of wind power. Paul Golby explained to me that, because it was very hard to envisage much of a contribution from renewables for energy used by transport, this means that we would need to generate about 45 per cent of our domestic electricity bills from such sources - principally wind power - in order to conform with the EU directive known as the Renewables Obligation.

According to Mr Golby, meeting such a commitment will involve an increase in electricity generating costs of about 10bn per year; this is equivalent to almost 400 per household - or, in the roughest terms, an increase of about 40 per cent in annual electricity bills. Try selling that to the British public; and, of course, the Government hasn't.

As Mr Golby told me, with understandably diplomatic understatement: "The politicians have not been entirely honest about the cost of our renewables commitment, and so the public don't really know what's coming their way."

I told Mr Golby that I thought he was being somewhat naive if he genuinely expected any government to volunteer to the public that it was responsible for a swingeing increase in energy bills, especially if it thought it could get away with blaming the increase on anyone else - such as Mr Golby and his colleagues.

So far, the likes of E.ON - perhaps because they also stand to make what amount to large heavily-subsidised revenues from wind-power - have been very careful not to blame the Government. I forecast that this gentlemanly conduct will not last. Soon each side will be blaming the other, in a desperate attempt to avoid the full force of the public's anger.

The British public might become even more furious when it learns that one reason for the extra cost of wind power is that its inherent variability means that we will still need to retain our entire existing network of conventional power stations as back-up. That is because it is not a good idea for us to endure what happened two months ago in Texas, America's biggest wind-power producing state: a sudden drop in wind combined with a fall in temperatures led to what was described as "an electric emergency" - customers in west Texas were deprived of power for 90 minutes.

One thing is clear; the British public does need educating about this: even one of The Independent's most intelligent commentators wrote here last week that "The mini-windmill on David Cameron's new house is an economical way for an individual household to generate electricity, even contribute to the national grid". Well, that's if you consider it economical to spend thousands of pounds on a roof-top turbine that produces - even according to its supporters - no more than 1 megawatt hour per year, worth 40 unsubsidised on the wholesale electricity market. As a contribution to reducing CO2 emissions it's about as cost-effective and meaningful as cycling to the House of Commons while having your chauffeur-driven car follow you with your briefcase, suit and black lace-up shoes.

If a serious economic downturn does hit this country, then such extravagant gestures, far from attracting praise, might begin to seem Nero-like in their irrelevance to an economy threatened by the flames of recession. Some Ipsos-Mori polling data published last week by the Financial Times showed that over the 12 months to January 2008, the proportion of those in Britain declaring "the environment" to be their biggest concern fell from almost 20 per cent to just 8 per cent.

On a more long-term sweep, it was fascinating - though perhaps not surprising - to see that concern about the environment rose and fell in direct inverse proportion to concern about the domestic economy.

The headline on the FT's article was: "Greens fear voters will turn selfish in difficult times". That's one way of looking at it; but I don't think any mainstream politician will risk calling the electorate "selfish" if the public rise up against a state-imposed increase of up to 40 per cent in the cost of their domestic electricity bills.

In fact, after his taxing experience of the past few weeks, I imagine that Gordon Brown will be wondering just how to get out of the Government's commitment to do exactly that, as part of the EU Renewables Obligation. He'll be in company, of course - the company of every other European leader. The only uncertainty is whether they'll admit it - even to each other, in private.

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AUSTRALIA'S BIG CLIMATE DEBATE CONTINUES

Three current articles below

Conservative leader gets support on climate change policy

A COHORT of Queensland climate change sceptics will be Liberal leader Brendan Nelson's strongest allies next week. And the Coalition boss will need their help if he wants to back away from a 2012 deadline for emission trading. Senator Barnaby Joyce is the most forthright of the MPs growing increasingly hostile to an emissions trading scheme and claiming the jury is still out on the science.

National Party leader Warren Truss also appears to be siding with former Liberal Cabinet minister Kevin Andrews - a strong sceptic who is urging Dr Nelson to wait until other major polluters show their hand before settling on an ETS date.

Ron Boswell, Bruce Scott and veteran Liberal MP Ian Macfarlane have all consistently expressed reservations about climate change, while Liberals such as Andrew Laming don't want to comment on the issue until after next week's meeting.

But as federal Opposition frontbencher Joe Hockey was yesterday insisting, the Coalition wouldn't be forced into declaring an ETS date, Senator Joyce was calling for rationality to return to an issue with fundamentalist religious overtones. "And Garnaut has suddenly appeared as some sort of high priest," he said of the author of a draft report on an ETS scheme, Ross Garnaut. "Those who question are immediately attacked. It's all starting to appear a little Spanish Inquisitionish."

Senator Joyce said Labor had appeared to fall for a self-indulgent conceit in committing to a 2010 deadline. "And that is that the rest of the world cares what Australia is doing on the issue," he said. "Let's be honest here, the rest of the world doesn't give a toss what we're doing. They're not walking around Washington discussing an Australian ETS."

Senator Boswell said he and many of his colleagues wanted serious scientific proof of climate change before they started altering economic fundamentals to incorporate an ETS. "We're practical - we want to know what we're getting for our money," he said. Mr Truss has said any Australian scheme should move ahead hand-in-hand with other polluters. Dr Nelson had indicated earlier this month Australia should not move until other big polluters acted. But he modified his position to the 2012 deadline, which is supported by Opposition Treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull and Environment spokesman Greg Hunt. Mr Hockey said the Coalition could not be expected to commit to a specific date until the Federal Government released more information.

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Huge cost of Rudd's Green dream

FOUR out of five power stations in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, both coal-fired power stations in South Australia and several generators in NSW and Queensland could close down under an emissions trading regime designed to meet even a modest greenhouse reduction target. New modelling for the electricity industry finds that Australia could achieve cuts of 10 or 20 per cent in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared with 2000 levels - but only after a massive upheaval in the energy sector. Even the lower target of a 10 per cent cut would push the price of carbon emissions to levels that would close down 15 per cent of the nation's electricity generating capacity on the east coast and require $33billion in new investment in replacement clean energy generation, such as wind, solar, combined cycle gas turbine and geothermal power.

A 10per cent reduction target would result in a carbon price rising to $45 a tonne by 2020, the modelling found, pushing domestic power bills up by 24per cent, or an average of $250 a year. A 20per cent target would take the carbon price to $55 a tonne and push power bills up by 28per cent. Under an ETS, companies and industries that could not meet emissions-reduction targets - and were not exempt - would be forced to buy permits to continue polluting. Labor wants to create an ETS by 2010 but has not yet set the emissions targets that will underpin it.

The Energy Supply Association of Australia says the modelling, which it commissioned from analysis firm ACIL Tasman, proves the need for the Government to support players in the energy sector because it asks them to finance billions of dollars in new investment at the same time as government decision-making means existing plants are closed down early. "If the Government goes down this path, then it is vital that it offers support to recognise the impact on asset values so that investors can make new investments in cleaner generating capacity with confidence," ESAA chief executive Brad Page said.

The Government's climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, argued against any compensation to the electricity sector under an ETS. But the Government's green paper on an ETS, released last week, acknowledged the need for "a limited amount of direct assistance to existing coal-fired electricity generators to ameliorate the risk of adversely affecting the investment environment". The green paper says it would deliver this assistance through a new fund - called the Electricity Sector Adjustment Scheme - but gives no indication of how much money could be set aside in it. It also promises "structural adjustment" money to help workers and communities in hard-hit regions.

Yesterday, Kevin Rudd reassured the LNG industry that the ETS would not threaten billions of dollars in new investments in the sector, saying he was "confident there is a way forward".

The Government has announced a long-term target of a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse emissions by 2050, but it is waiting for detailed Treasury modelling before committing to an interim target for 2020. A 10 per cent cut would be at the lower end of expectations for a 2020 target, even taking into account government assurances that an ETS will be brought in gently.

The ESAA modelling confirms Victoria's Latrobe Valley will be by far the hardest hit by the new carbon price, with the Loy Yang B, Hazelwood, Yallourn and Morwell power stations likely to close and only the Loy Yang A to continue in operation. South Australia would lose both its coal-fired power stations - Playford and Northern. NSW, which is in the process of trying to privatise its electricity generation, would lose Redbank in the Hunter Valley, with Lidell under threat if the emissions-reduction target was set at 20 per cent. Queensland would lose the Collinsville station near Mackay, Callide B near Biloela and, under the 20 per cent target, also Comalco's Gladstone plant.

The modelling also shows that the wholesale price of power would rise steeply to meet the 10 per cent target, with the increased costs varying greatly between states depending on the extent to which they have to rebuild their generating capacity. In Tasmania, with its hydro generation capacity, the wholesale power price is predicted to increase by 25 per cent, but in Victoria the hikes could be up to 55 per cent, under a 10 per cent reduction. In South Australia prices would rise 35 per cent, Queensland by 50 per cent and NSW by 52 per cent.

The ESSA modelling says the federal Government will also need to invest at least $4.5billion in extra transmission lines to remote locations, where wind and geothermal power is generated, and in new gas pipelines.

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Immigration must be cut to fight climate change - uni study

This is going to perplex Kevvy. He likes both immigration AND environmentaliusm

IMMIGRATION must be slashed if Australia has any chance of seriously tackling climate change, says a Monash University study. The report said Australia's high population growth would be a major driver of greenhouse emissions, and would counter tough government measures to reduce carbon output, The Herald Sun reports. But the Rudd Government and its climate adviser Ross Garnaut were ignoring the population issue at their peril, said the study, entitled Labor's Greenhouse Aspirations, by Monash's Centre for Population and Urban Research.

The nation's migrant intake is at record levels, with the Government recently announcing an increase of 37,500 places for 2008-09. Given current migration and fertility rates, the population will increase by at least 10 million to 31.6 million by 2050.

Monash researchers Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy used computer modelling to predict the effect of population and economic growth on greenhouse emissions. If no carbon trading scheme is introduced, Australian emissions will reach 797 million tonnes - or four times Labor's target - by 2050, the researchers found. Emissions would only fall to 502 million tonnes if the nation managed to cut carbon intensity levels by one per cent a year under a tough cap and trade scheme.

"The problem with radical decarbonisation proposals is the limited political feasibility of these measures," the authors said. "It is hard to understand why the population driver has been ignored in the recent debate, including the work of the Garnaut climate change review." The authors said that net migration would contribute to most of the 50 per cent increase in Australia's population over the next 40 years. "Like all Australians they'll be living at twice the standard of living of current residents if the Government's predictions for per capita economic growth are correct," they said. "Clearly, it's not possible to achieve the Government's target of 60 per cent reduction in emissions at the same time we add an extra 10 million people living at twice the current income level."

The authors called for immigration to be slashed, and the population stabilised at about 22 million by 2050. Prof Garnaut has predicted the population will reach 47 million by 2100. The Monash report, which appeares in the latest issue of university journal People and Place, will be released today.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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24 July, 2008

GREENS TRYING TO STAMP OUT DISSENT HARM THEIR OWN CAUSE

By the head of Britain's "Channel 4" TV

George Monbiot's claim that "no UK organisation has done more to damage environmental protection than Channel 4" takes the locally sourced, gluten-free biscuit ("Why does Channel 4 seem to be waging a war against the greens?", July 22).

Monbiot alleges this documentary had "a huge impact, persuading many people that man-made climate change is not taking place", but provides no evidence. This film was watched by 2.7 million people - around 5% of British adults. It is difficult to say what "impact" it had on any of them. But it is likely to be the first time some encountered a viewpoint within the mainstream media that went against the prevailing scientific consensus supporting the theory of man-made global warming.

Of more than 100,000 hours of programmes the channel has broadcast since 1990, Monbiot cherry-picks five and a half hours that were critical of the green movement and claims this demonstrates "a recurring antagonism towards environmentalism" on Channel 4's behalf. In fact, the overwhelming majority of our output - and the UK media as a whole - reflects the consensus on climate change. He disregards recent polemics, including his own film Greenwash, Marcel Theroux's The End of the World As We Know It, and our recent transmission of The 11th Hour. He ignores Channel 4 News's high-quality coverage and our planned transmission of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

It is arguable that it is not the Great Global Warming Swindle that has bred public scepticism, but the desire of some environmentalists - evidenced by the identikit complaints orchestrated against the film - to stamp out dissenting voices. This intolerance undermines confidence in the rightness of the cause. As does Monbiot's selective reporting of Ofcom's ruling.

Ofcom found the film did not materially mislead viewers and that we were within our rights to broadcast it. The regulator stressed the importance of broadcasters being able to challenge orthodoxies. This is, in large measure, what the channel is for.

Ofcom scrutinised this film in unprecedented detail and it is now possible to dismiss Monbiot's allegations with authority. He claims that the programme manipulated graphs and fabricated data, but, having acknowledged a few unintentional errors, Channel 4 showed that none of the scientific data was materially misleading and Ofcom agreed. He reports Professor Carl Wunsch's claim that his contribution was "grossly distorted by context". Channel 4 showed his contribution was not unfairly edited and Ofcom agreed.

Channel 4 submitted ample evidence to Ofcom that Martin Durkin is not "a discredited filmmaker", but a respected international director.

The most scurrilous allegation is that "10 of the protagonists have either been funded directly by fossil fuel companies or have received paid employment from lobby groups" and so were compromised in the views they expressed. We have shown this is a gross exaggeration that can be traced to blog gossip.

Global warming may be the biggest danger presently facing humanity. But people are rightly suspicious of broadcasters or newspapers that simply hector and campaign. Channel 4 believes in engaging with the debate in its fullest form, rather than closing it down. That is why this film was a valid contribution.

Source




DEMOCRATS, CLIMATE POLICY AND ENERGY: REALITY BITES

Former Vice President Al Gore recently took his climate-change show on the road for the benefit of liberal bloggers, Sunday morning TV aficionados and other innocent bystanders. This week he laid out his demand for a miraculous transformation in U.S. energy use over a mere 10 years. As for drilling for more oil? "Absurd," the Nobel Laureate scoffed. "When you're in a hole, stop digging."

The same might be said for Mr. Gore. For while his message hasn't changed, the political realities of the energy debate have. Suddenly, Mr. Gore's inconvenient speechifying only tightens the vice Democrats find themselves in over drilling.

Voters' pocketbooks are now involved, making them more skeptical about climate change -- and about the utility of any policies aimed at influencing climate change. The environmental movement is facing a critical moment. Democrats who support the greenies in their most ambitious goals, and scariest pseudo-scientific rhetoric, suddenly seem woefully out of touch with American voters.

Back in June, Barack Obama made hay of John McCain's comment that while opening lands to drilling might not have a short term direct impact on oil supply and prices, it would have a "psychological impact" by sending a signal to consumers and the market that the country was expanding its own resources. "In case you're wondering," Mr. Obama said, "that's Washington-speak for 'it polls well.'"

Ho, ho. But oil prices have fallen since President Bush announced his support for more drilling. And polls these days are shifting overwhelmingly in favor of it. More than two-thirds of Americans support expanding drilling along the coasts, and 59% approve of drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, according to a Reuters-Zogby poll. The worst news for Democrats is that support for drilling is now a majority opinion even in their own constituency.

The quandary for Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi et al. is how to keep irate environmentalists inside the tent while still meeting voter demand for lower prices. Raging against oil companies and Wall Street may get you through a news cycle or two, but it's not a solution.

As recently as April, the environmental agenda was a progressive's happy-clappy laundry list: A windfall profits tax, plans to sue OPEC, and even some price-gouging investigations of the oil-industrial complex. June saw Senate Democrats' embarassing failure to move a cap-and-trade bill. Now they aren't doing much besides fighting for a crackdown on oil speculators. No doubt they will claim that this week's share climbdown in oil prices is the result. But, by their nature, market speculators frequently shift their bets and estimates. That's what's happening now, as almost everybody agrees that whatever the long-term challenges, oil supply is adequate to meet demand at prices equivalent of $4 gallon for gas in the U.S.

Equally empty is Democrats' bright idea for "use it or lose it" legislation, which would presumably punish oil companies so dumb as to be sitting on usable leases at a time of $140 oil. Are they waiting for lower prices? House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer must have drawn the short lot, since he had to go out and shill for the Democratic story to the press: "Democrats are saying let's drill. Let's explore. Let's get energy for Americans from America and have it for Americans."

Such measures are Democrats' first line of defense on drilling, which is to pray for some blind luck. Maybe oil prices will go down on their own and Democrats will no longer have to choose between making the greenies or motorists happy.

Even Mr. Gore, though he pretends no longer to be a politician, falls prey to such triangulation: Consider his unwillingness, no matter how dire his view of the climate situation, to endorse nuclear power as the quickest, cleanest replacement for the coal-fired plants that are a big part of the alleged CO2 problem.

Mr. Obama has been opposed to nuclear power too, but shows more inclination to throw PC positions over the side for the general election. France and Russia have made nuclear power a central part of their energy strategies. Mr. Obama, if he's elected, will inherit a federal establishment that has been moving unsteadily toward licensing the first new nukes in a generation.

None of this is to disparage the long-term prospects of renewables, solar, etc. Such a shift won't come on Mr. Gore's timetable, however, but only when consumers discover new technologies can actually heat their homes and get them to work in the morning at less cost and comparable speed to today's petroleum-based transportation economy.

Early-stage prototypes are neat for science shows. They don't inspire confidence in leaders who put all their stock in them before anyone can say how much it will cost in time and money to hook up your car's battery at the station on the way to work.

In the meantime, ensuring adequate supplies of oil and gas and coal are tantamount to electoral survival. Democrats, after a long holiday from reality occasioned by cheap oil, are beginning to understand that either they have to take up the challenge of meeting America's need for oil, or voters will find someone who will.

Source




GLOBAL WARMING'S FATAL FLAW?

I believe that human nature will finally kill off the global warming hoax, delivering a coup de grace to the damage already wrought on the hoaxers schemes by the economy. Let me explain my theory.

After writing last Friday's Weekly Round-Up, I realized that I need to be increasingly selective of what links to include because there is a great deal more information available than there used to be. While the proponents of AGW decry naysayers as 'deniers', there seems to be a lot more skepticism than there used to be. I think I`ve figured out why - it`s about human nature.

For many years now we`ve been bombarded with the increasingly shrill message of the leader of the global warming death cult, Al Gore, telling us that we needed to change our behaviour and save the planet, even while his own behaviour belied the fact that there was any impending planetary emergency. This was all well and good with gas prices at $2/gallon.

People were happy to eat up the climate change message, without really thinking about it, while the required behavioural changes had little real impact on their daily lives. Some examples: If you were to buy a new vehicle, a Prius might make you feel better about yourself than an SUV. You still got a vehicle to get the groceries in or drive the kids around, so the net impact to your life was minimal. So why not do it?

You might switch some trusty incandescent light bulbs to CFL's - no problem - you pay a little more up front but they last longer and you got to feel that you were being kind to the planet. So why not do it?

Turning off old appliances in the basement to save electricity actually saves you real money on your monthly bill. You got to feel good about the planet, if not your reduced access to a cold one, so why not do it?

You might buy re-usable grocery bags, and if you remember to take them with you to the store then the shopping makes it home OK and you can feel good about yourself too. So why not do it? Turn the thermostat down a little in winter, wear a sweater indoors and save cash and feel good. So why not do it?

Each of these Gore-approved activities enable the average Joe to feel good about themselves 'saving the planet', yet without tangible inconvenience or cost. These behaviours are reinforced by major media outlets (Canada's weather network is like a 24/7 global warming propaganda channel).

So it was we arrived at a place and time where everyone that watched An Inconvenient Truth became a climate expert and anyone with a question about the science was demonized as an uncaring capitalist 'denier'.

However, I no longer believe this to be the case. Now questions are being asked by increasingly prominent voices, with increasing regularity. Major media is asking questions about both the science and the motivations of the people driving the global warming agenda. Al Gore controls access to his public appearances to eliminate any chance that he might get an awkward question. He recently committed $300 million to advertise the global warming agenda. Two years ago he wouldn't have believed such a spend would have been needed, such was the ruthless efficiency of the pro-warming activists.

The real difference between these times that for convenience I will call 'then' and 'now' is that the global warmers have made adherence to their code inconvenient for the average person. Behaving in a green manner now comes at a real, often imposed, cost. Some examples: Ethanol, the biofuel that Al Gore went to the mat to protect as Vice-President, has increased global food costs that affect everyone's pocket book. Governments, keen to adopt 'green' policies that they see as vote winners, are starting to tax 'bad' behaviour'. This pushes up fuel costs even higher and the daily cost of living normally.

Communities and activists are pushing for bans on everything from drive-thru's to plastic bags, making life inconvenient and taking away your choice. This strips away the feel good factor of buying re-usable bags because now it feels like you've been bullied into a behaviour.

When you have no choice but to forgo the SUV because gas costs too much, it is no longer a 'feel-good' decision, it's an inconvenience and an annoyance to not be able to get what you want. If you are forced to turn down the thermostat because the cost of heating your home is too high, you resent wearing a sweater indoors. You don't feel good about being unable to heat your home comfortably because suddenly you have no choice about how to behave.

When people are inconvenienced or have choices stripped away by necessity then it is human nature to ask why these sacrifices are needed. Curiosity and the instant availability of a wide range of information leads people to the real inconvenient truth about global warming, that there isn't any and that much of the 'science' is not reliable, or real. Deniers get a voice in the media and global warming claims are viewed with a renewed sense of realism. When governments start ripping more cash from their citizens, their motives are questioned, often for good reason.

Human nature is not to go quietly into the night, at least not without good reason. And the more people look into the cult of global warming, they see fewer reasons to comply with the notion that we must change the way we live. The planet is not in peril; the polar bears are breeding like rabbits, arctic ice tends to melt in the summertime and there is a lot more Antarctic ice than there used to be. The climate's changing, sure - but that's what climate does, live with it and enjoy the sunshine.

Global warming has crossed a line in the mind of many; the increasingly totalitarian voice of the the warmers combined with the real costs and inconveniences delivered by their policies and demands are causing people to ask awkward questions of the warmers. When they see what the real answers are, they will reject the hoax and continue on as before, but with a wary eye on the next generation of alarmists and social engineers. It's human nature, and it might just save us.

Source




More Bad News for the Global Warmers

By Michael R. Fox Ph.D.

The issue of global warming rages on is some minds. Remarkably, there really hasn't been much of a debate, not a serious science debate anyway. There have been shouting and screaming, predictions of doom, and the willingness to destroy our energy sources and our economy to "save the planet". But as P.J. O'Rourke noted, there are a lot of people who would do anything to "save the planet", except take a science course.

While there hasn't been a true debate, there has been a hugely one-sided angry monologue, heaping scorn upon those who dare ask for evidence. The one side has been heavily funded by the government, foundations, and individual contributions. The so-called "warmers" have enjoyed the unstinting support of a scientifically illiterate media, the movie industry, and many institutions that have been on the receiving end of an estimated $5 billion annually for nearly 2 decades. That will buy a lot of supporters, Ph.Ds or not.

They have also received a great deal of support from the public school systems, many of which require the student viewing of the latest, mostly discredited, "warmists" scare stories. These are the organized educators of two generations of citizens who have been crippling the citizenry with declining math. and science skills. Too many educators regard the scare stories as received wisdom making the videos required viewing. Too few of the educators are apparently disposed to challenge the scare stories, utterly incapable of asking any hard questions, like "where is the evidence?"

The world of science is moving quickly past these questionable events in an expanding universe of new evidence, which is showing that the current state of the global warming theory is in serious decline.

For example, the recent summary by Fred Singer and 22 expert contributors to "Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate" makes some extraordinary statements about computer models. (In addition to the many excellent contributors, this summary also contains 167 references to the scientific literature). This is important since computer models are being improperly, yet extensively, used by state legislatures as the basis of policies for greenhouse gas mitigation, rather than using actual climate data taken from the real world. These statements include:

Computer models do not consider variations of irradiance and magnetic fields of the sun

Computer models do not accurately model the role of clouds

Computer models do not simulate a possible negative feedback from water vapor

Computer models do not explain many features of the Earth's observed climate.

Computer models cannot produce reliable predictions of regional climate change

We must conclude that climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), do not accurately depict our chaotic, open-ended, climate system. They cannot make reliable predictions and should not be used to formulate government policy. As Christopher Monckton recently admonished, "We must get the science right, or we will get the policy wrong". Many states such as Hawaii and Washington are well along the way of doing just that.

As a Washington State citizen who was born, raised, and educated in Olympia, with very strong scientific credentials, I am disheartened to see the state, as a matter of policy, muzzle science, terminate debate, and pretend "the science has spoken". I am also frightened that State leaders would rely so heavily on such dubious computer models to formulate state environmental policies. Atmospheric physicist Jim Peden recently observed "Climate modeling is not science, it is computerized tinkertoys". This doesn't inspire confidence or respect in our state officials to formulate the best policies they can. They clearly are not.

In fact, state sponsored repression of science is reminiscent of the sacking of the Library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt. It is reminiscent of the Burning of the Books of Nazi Germany in 1933. It is reminiscent of some of those killed in the "Killing Fields" of Cambodia for the sin of wearing glasses, the user being perceived as being capable of reading, and perhaps, even thinking, unapproved thoughts.

What is the state of Washington trying to hide, trying to accomplish by suppressing science? Stopping science when it is politically convenient? Why teach science if it going to be ignored? Yes, I am ashamed of this type of leadership in my state. There is nothing to be proud of in such repression. As Dennis Avery recently said, "Let's have a real debate of the climate evidence. We've heard enough from the computers."

Source




THE LAWNMOWER MEN

In a huge document released last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lays out the thousands of carbon controls with which they'd like to shackle the whole economy. Thankfully none of it has the force of law -- yet, says the Wall Street Journal.

The mess began in 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Mass. v. EPA that greenhouse gases are "air pollutants" under current environmental laws, despite the fact that the laws were written decades before the climate-change panic. The EPA's 588-page "advance notice of proposed rulemaking" lays out new mandates for everything with an engine:

There's a slew of auto regulations, especially jacking up fuel-efficiency standards well beyond their current levels, and even controlling the weight and performance of cars and trucks.

Carbon rules are even offered for dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and lawnmowers.

The EPA does not neglect planes and trains either, and includes rules for how aircraft can taxi on the runway.

Guidelines are also proposed for boat design such as hulls and propellers.

The limits are so low that they would apply to hundreds of thousands of sources, as the EPA itself notes.

The report also says the EPA expects that the entire country would be in nonattainment. That's why the global warmists have so much invested in the EPA's final ruling, which will come in the next Administration, says the Journal. Any climate tax involves arguments about costs and benefits; voting to raise energy prices is not conducive to re-election. But if liberals can outsource their policies to the EPA, they can take credit while avoiding any accountability for the huge economic costs they impose.

Source




Australian labor union voices fears on carbon trade

AUSTRALIA'S biggest blue-collar union has raised concerns about the Rudd Government introducing a carbon emissions trading system without considering the likelihood of other nations lowering their emissions. The 130,000-strong Australian Workers Union yesterday cast doubt on Kevin Rudd's "go-it-alone" strategy, after convening a special meeting with executives from high-emitting companies in Sydney to canvass a joint approach to climate change policy.

AWU secretary Paul Howes said his union remained deeply worried about the impact of an emissions trading scheme on local jobs if the response of companies facing financial penalties under a carbon reduction scheme was to shift their operations offshore. Mr Howes said any scheme introduced for Australia should provide a special place for workers, even allowing valuable carbon permits to transfer to them if they were left unemployed after companies quit Australia. He said the union regarded its proposal as "carbon insurance" to allow displaced workers to sell permits to provide economic support or to be retrained for other occupations.

The AWU and its Queensland patriarch, Bill Ludwig, have provided key political support to Treasurer Wayne Swan over many years. Mr Rudd, who also draws his support from Queensland, will be keen to maintain the union's co-operation as well.

The union is worried about an arbitrary deadline of 2010 under Mr Rudd's policy for the introduction of a carbon trading system. While the union accepts an overall need to tackle carbon leakage and is careful not to directly criticise the Government at this stage, the AWU believes any Australian scheme must be compared with the international response. Of particular concern is the position of China, where carbon emissions are expected to jump from 19per cent to 37 per cent of global output by 2030 as a product of high economic growth.

In an official response to the Rudd Government's green paper on carbon reduction released last week, a position paper issued yesterday by Mr Howes urges the Rudd Government to "harness major emitters such as China" and only proceed with more ambitious carbon reduction targets in co-operation with other nations.

The AWU says it wants the Rudd Government to address concerns as a priority, and pointedly questions the purpose of proceeding and how emissions can be reduced globally if other nations do not take part. "No assessment has been made on how to (achieve), and the likelihood of achieving, a binding international agreement on lower carbon emissions including the major developing emitter nations, when that is precisely what is required to lower global emissions, whether or not an (emissions trading scheme) is implemented in Australia. "What are the strategies for engaging with China in particular on these issues?"

Mr Howes yesterday met business executives from exposed companies in steel, airlines, petrol refineries, cement, aluminium, plastics and packaging, in what is hoped to become a co-ordinated approach. Company executives leaving the AWU's headquarters were tight-lipped about discussions, but sources told The Australian they were deeply worried about the impact of a carbon trading system for businesses that were high emitters.

Mr Howes said afterwards his union had broad support for an emissions trading scheme, but was worried about the impact on trade-exposed and emissions-intensive industries. The experience of carbon schemes in the European Union, he said, showed that some companies took their free permits and still decided to operate offshore. No companies yesterday indicated plans to move offshore, but they also gave no undertakings.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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23 July, 2008

APS OFFICIAL POSITION

An email from Hermann Burchard [burchar@math.okstate.edu] of Oklahoma State University:

In Dr. Bienenstock's response to Lord Monckton he refers to the APS OFFICIAL POSITION ("on the contribution of human activities to global warming") surprisingly, twice. Activities of the APS, a scientific organization, should promote research and its publication, not adopt or sanction official positions on any facts of science. One hardly envisions laughable bulletins "protons and neutrons are composed of three quarks."

As a member of several mathematical organizations I don't recall the AMS (SIAM, MAA) ever having declared which theorems, algorithms, or teaching subjects they support or oppose "officially."




COMPLAINTS TO OFCOM

Heh! Scottish blogger Neil Craig sent the following letter to British regulator Ofcom as a comment on their waffling about "balance" in response to the "Swindle" film. I doubt that Neil will get a reply

Dear Sir,

Following your judgement that the Global Warming Swindle failed to adhere to your rules about impartiality & particularly in line with section 5.12 "an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes" I wish to follow up my complaint of Sunday, to which astonishingly you have made no response, with the following from the last 17 hours.

Complaint 1 - Channel 4 news 7.30 - Though the programme accused Mugabe's followers of violence & torture & a commentator from the opposing side was interviewed nobody from the government side was.

Complaint 2 - BBC 10 O'CLOCK NEWS - Reporting the Warming Swindle programme the BBC started by mentioning that the programme had not interviewed the IPCC or Sir David King & only near the end mentioned that Ofcom had found the scientific parts of the programme (1-4 of 5) accurate. They interviewed one alarmist spokesman (from the Royal Society) but not anybody on the other side. In particular Professor Singer who was criticised for saying King said something which Hansard also says he said should have been allowed to reply. This is particularly outrageous since this is the very activity that they are reporting that has been censured by you.

Complaint 3 - BBC 10 O'CLOCK NEWS - - Reported on Zimbabwe, accusing Mugabe of murder & interviewing an MDC spokesman but not a ZANU one.

Complaint 4 - SCOTTISH NEWS BBC 1 10.30 - Reporting on a proposed new windfarm they interviewed Alex Salmond who said, untruthfully, that this windfarm "could light up the city of Glasgow". In fact with perfect conditions & 100% capacity, instead of the 27% average capacity it could light up all the houses, so long as none of them had 2 bar electric fires or equivalent which only leaves the 2/3rds of energy used outside the home. No questioning of this claim was allowed. BBC then interviewed an Airtricity spokesman. Again no attempt to produce a "wide range" of views or even 1 sceptic was allowed.

Complaint 4 - NEWSNIGHT BBC 2 10.30 - Reporting on Zimbabwe a US state Dept spokesperson alone was interviewed. The US, of course, voted for sanctions against Zimbabwe on the ground that it was a threat to regional peace. No spokesman from either Russia or China, who voted down that resolution were interviewed. It is difficult to claim that the views of 2 of the 5 Security Council leaders are not "significant".

Complaint 5 - Newsnight BB" 2 10.30 - Reported on the capture of Radovan Karadzic claiming him as responsible for the "7,500 people who died at Srebrenica". This was both unbalanced & a misrepresentation of the facts since the only undisputed massacre there is of at least 3,800 Serb men, women & children (but mainly women & children since the men were in the army) in surrounding villages by Moslem forces.

Complaint 6 - Tuesday 22nd BBC Radio Scotland 7.30 on - Reporting on the capture of Karadzic the BBC put out nearly a dozen soundbites/interviews all with people claiming him guilty of crimes. Obviously if this was ever intended to be a real trial the BBC would not have considered acting in such a prejudicial manner but even though it is merely to be a propaganda show trial they are still in breach of their duty that "wide range of significant views must be included" which obviously included innocence.

Complaint 7 - CLASSIC FM 10 AM - Interviewed Paddy Ashdown, a well known supporter of the openly genocidal Bosnian Moslem leader & former SS auxiliary whose coup prevented Karadzic performing his job as President, under the rotating presidency of Bosnia & Hercegovina. No attempt at balance by interviewing anybody from the other side.

I note that in a 16 hour period, watching/listening to only 1 channel at a time I have found 7 instances which clearly & indubitably breach the guidelines as you have interpreted them. It must be assumed that over a full day & all channels it must be at least double that & over a year you are thus going to have to issue 5,000 critical reports. You have my felicitations in that process since it is clear this will be an arduous task.

Of course if Ofcom's job was not the one it claims but merely to ensure that the broadcast media continue to be a fascist propaganda arm of government willing to tell absolutely any lie & distort any news in a racist &/or unscientific way your job would be much easier.

I look forward to your response & action this day.




Ofcom Decision: A Humiliating Defeat for Bob Ward and the Myles Allen 37

By Steve McIntyre

Ofcom, the U.K. television regulator, has rendered a remarkable decision. People interested in what was actually decided will, unfortunately, have to consult the original judgment at Ofcom, rather than the BBC accounts (here, here) of the judgment. BBC stated:
The Great Global Warming Swindle, a controversial Channel 4 film, broke Ofcom rules, the media regulator says. In a long-awaited judgement, Ofcom says Channel 4 did not fulfil obligations to be impartial and to reflect a range of views on controversial issues. The film also treated interviewees unfairly, but did not mislead audiences "so as to cause harm or offence". Plaintiffs say the Ofcom judgement is "inconsistent" and "lets Channel 4 off the hook on a technicality."
Ofcom rendered 4 decisions in relation to the program itself (page 6) and about alleged unfairness to David King (page 36), IPCC (page 43) and Carl Wunsch (page 70) separately. Today I'll post on the program decision and will discuss the 3 ancillary decisions tomorrow.... Ofcom stated that it had received 265 complaints about the Program, the bulk of them alleging misrepresentations (in breach of section 2.2) or a failure of due impartiality (section 5).

Misrepresentations

Among the complainants claiming misrepresentations were Bob Ward and the 37 professors (Myles Allen, Phil Jones et al) who alleged a wide variety of error here and David Rado of the 175-page complaint profiled by BBC here. Ofcom did not uphold any of the misrepresentation complaints against Swindle. Not one. Ofcom summarized their judgement as follows:
In summary, in relation to the manner in which facts in the programme were presented, Ofcom is of the view that the audience of this programme was not materially misled in a manner that would have led to actual or potential harm. The audience would have been in no doubt that the programme's focus was on scientific and other arguments which challenged the orthodox theory of man-made global warming. Regardless of whether viewers were in fact persuaded by the arguments contained in the programme, Ofcom does not believe that they could have been materially misled as to the existence and substance of these alternative theories and opinions, or misled as to the weight which is given to these opinions in the scientific community.

Ofcom considers that, although the programme may have caused viewers to challenge the consensus view that human activity is the main cause of global warming, there is no evidence that the programme in itself did, or would, cause appreciable potential harm to members of the public .

Channel 4, however, had the right to show this programme provided it remained within the Code and - despite certain reservations - Ofcom has determined that it did not breach Rule 2.2. On balance it did not materially mislead the audience so as to cause harm or offence.
Not in breach of Rule 2.2.

That's not to say that Ofcom said that Durkin's point of view had been vindicated, merely that the complainants were seeking comfort in the wrong bed. Even though complainant Rado said that his complaint had been "peer reviewed" by William Connolley, Ofcom resisted the temptation to opine on scientific truth; instead they did the job assigned to them legislation - to determine whether there had been a violation of Rule 2.2, a possibility that none of the complainants seemed to have considered and for which their preparations were abysmal.

In addition to the general finding, Ofcom selected four major alleged misrepresentations (from the dozens of incoherently presented issues in Rado's 175 page "peer reviewed" complaint) for individual consideration. Here's a bit of advice from me to the complainants - you'd have been better off to pick your 4 best issues and stick to them, no matter how interesting the other ones seemed; write a blog on the other ones if you want, but the risk of presenting too many issues to a tribunal is that they'll end up picking 4 issues to consider anyway and, by throwing too many spitballs against the wall, you end up being stuck with the choices that they make. Were I crafting the complaint, I would not have picked the 4 issues that Ofcom focused on as my priority issues. But the complainants failed to prioritize and got stuck with the issues that Ofcom selected.

The first specific issue related to the use of graphics. And indeed, Swindle contained an error in the temperature graphic in the first program, which was said to have been inadvertently introduced in the production of the graphic. Unlike (say) Inconvenient Truth, where errors have remained uncorrected even when one of their Scientific Advisers supposedly brought the error to the attention of the Inconvenient Truth producers, in this case, the producers promptly replaced the graphic, with changes being made even before the second showing. In the hearing, the GGWS producers candidly acknowledged the error and reported the correction. This undoubtedly helped them with the complaint; Ofcom noted the error but found that this error was "not of such significance as to have been materially misleading so as to cause harm and offence in breach of Rule 2.2?.

The second specific allegation considered was the alleged "`distortion' of the science of climate modelling." Ofcom drolly noted:
Ofcom noted that, although the complainants disagreed with the points made by the contributors in the programme, they did not suggest that the overall statements about climate models were factually inaccurate.
Ouch. Ofcom went on to say (again finding for the defendant):
Ofcom notes that the creation of such models necessarily involved assumptions. The disagreement among scientists about the nature of those assumptions (as described by the contributors to the programme) is not an issue on which Ofcom can adjudicate. Overall however Ofcom's view was that the passages complained of were not materially misleading so as to cause harm and offence.
Much more here




Australia: Rudd's nutty climate scheme knocked on the head

The conservatives seem to have taken seriously the advice given to them the day before by the widely-read Andrew Bolt -- See immediately following the article below. Prime Minister Rudd's problem now is that the Greenies think his scheme is too little so they won't back it and the conservatives think it is too much so they won't back it -- in which case the scheme cannot get through the Senate

Kevin Rudd faces a delay in the introduction of his carbon emissions trading system until after the next election, with Brendan Nelson vowing last night that the Coalition will not accept a start-up date before "2011 at the earliest". The Opposition Leader told The Australian that the Prime Minister's plan to begin emissions trading in July 2010 was a threat to the economy and the Coalition would reject legislation allowing trading until it was clear whether China and the US would join a global pact to reduce their emissions. International talks aimed at creating a pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol on emissions reduction will not be completed until late next year following a meeting in Copenhagen.

Dr Nelson's warning came ahead of a meeting in Sydney today of a coalition of Australia's biggest exporters and the powerful Australian Workers Union aimed at considering alternatives to the Government's plans to address climate change, detailed in a green paper released last week. Today's AWU Climate Change Roundtable was convened by the union's national secretary, Paul Howes, and will include representatives of the LNG, cement and aluminium industries.

A growing chorus of exposed industries - including airlines, petrol refiners, LNG exporters, cement manufacturers and aluminium smelters - has voiced concerns in recent days that billions of dollars of investment risk being lost overseas. Their concerns tally with AWU fears that thousands of jobs would be lost on the tide of outgoing investment.

In a letter obtained by The Australian inviting employers to today's roundtable, Mr Howes says participation would serve to inform the commonwealth's final policy on the ETS. Opposition resources spokesman David Johnston also widened the gap between the major parties yesterday by insisting the LNG industry be offered free permits under the ETS.

Dr Nelson's comments on the timing of the introduction of emissions trading mean Mr Rudd faces the choice of agreeing to a delay or negotiating with the Greens for Senate approval for his plan. Government sources have made it clear Mr Rudd sees little chance of compromise with the Greens, who want his $500 million taxpayer-funded investment to research clean coal technologies scrapped.

Last night, Dr Nelson said there was no room for "extreme positions on either side" of the climate debate. "If Mr Rudd wishes to be saved from himself, I am here to help," he said. "He is proposing to bring legislation into the parliament before the Copenhagen meeting even occurs, which will determine what sort of shape the global response will take from 2012."

Dr Nelson said it was possible the Opposition would back emissions trading legislation with "responsible amendments". But his starting point was the absolute conviction that Australia should not embrace action that could damage its economy without knowing whether big emitters like China, the US and India would join a new global emissions reduction pact. "(Mr Rudd is) determined to do this from 2010 from my view without having due regard for the economic consequences of what he is about to do," Dr Nelson said.

"Mr Rudd is proposing to impose on Australia in about two years' time an emissions trading scheme which is still poorly developed. The economic assumptions underwriting it are yet to be developed, let alone tested, in an Australia in a deteriorating economic climate." Insisting the actions of the US, China and India were "the main game", he also said the Coalition wanted a guarantee that Mr Rudd's promised reductions in fuel excise to make up for increases in fuel prices continue indefinitely, not be reviewed after three years, as was the Government's proposal.

Mr Howes, who yesterday declined to comment on the AWU-convened meeting, has previously warned the Government's goal of having an ETS in place by 2010 would destroy local jobs. "The roundtable will bring together senior executives from a range of industries and peak industry organisations in the trade-exposed emissions intensive sector of the Australian economy that have a stake in the sector's future under an emissions trading scheme," Mr Howes wrote in his letter.

The Australian Aluminium Council, the Cement Industry Federation and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association confirmed yesterday they and some of their member organisations would attend the meeting. AAC chief Ron Knapp said he would be raising the "significant impact of the ETS on the economy and employment in this country". "The ETS doesn't change future global aluminium production expectations; it just changes the address of smelters and that's to the detriment of Australia."

CIF chief executive Robyn Bain said she would attend with representatives from member companies Cement Australia and Adelaide Brighton. "We're all in agreeance that the emissions trading scheme needs to deal with carbon reduction but ensure that industry - particularly manufacturing in Australia - is kept and has the ability to grow."

APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson said the ETS meant Australia's LNG industry and its "capacity for assisting the world move to a lower greenhouse future will be seriously compromised and that means thousands and thousands of jobs - existing and new - will also be at risk".

Senator Johnston yesterday said the Opposition front bench would agree on Tuesday that LNG was a clean transitional fossil fuel and deserved free permits, despite falling outside the threshold for compensation set down by the Rudd Government in its emissions trading green paper. The front bench is "not going to take very much persuading", he said. "The alternative is to do what the Government is doing, which is to effectively say to the LNG industry, 'You should go and develop somewhere else where you don't have a carbon price ripping at your profitability'."

The evolving Coalition position widens the differences between the Coalition and the Rudd Government as Labor seeks Coalition support for its emissions trading regime in the Senate. But some in the Coalition believe it should differentiate itself from the Government even further.

Labor has said it understands the LNG industry's concerns and will talk to LNG producers before it reaches a final position on its scheme. But the Government is adamant that it cannot compensate all trade-exposed industries, or deliver full compensation to those it does help, because this would impose an intolerable burden on other sectors of the economy.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said government assistance to industry would have to be gradually reduced over time. "To do otherwise would be economically irresponsible - it would compromise Australia's efforts to reduce carbon pollution and place more of the burden on other parts of the economy," Senator Wong said after attending a meeting in Sydney to discuss the Government's white paper.

Also yesterday, Wayne Swan declared his pledge to use "every cent" in revenue raised through the ETS to help assist households and business would continue for the life of the Rudd Government.

Source




If Michael Short can doubt, so can the Liberal Party

By Andrew Bolt

Michael Short, business editor of The Age, continues his assault on the warming evangelicals running the rest of his paper by publishing yet another article (this one by Professor Geoffrey Kearsley) finally telling Age readers the truth about global warming - that it stopped a decade ago:
There is much more yet to learn. My point is this: It may well be that human activity is indeed changing the climate, at least in part, but there is an increasing body of science that says that the sun may have a greater role. If it does have, then global warming is likely to stop, as it appears to have done since 1998, and if the current sunspot cycle fails to ignite, then cooling, possibly rapid and severe cooling, may eventuate. The next five years will tell us a great deal. In these circumstances, we should wait and see.
Short's campaign could prove critical to Kevin Rudd's future. Age readers are unlikely to have ever heard this heresy before, and will now be told it's OK to doubt. What's more, Short is clearly showing the Fairfax bosses what a real editor committed to restoring The Age's long-dead reputation for open debate would look like. He has put himself in the running to take over from editor Andrew Jaspan, a global warming fanatic who has tried instead to suppress debate and has just fired the only conservative columnist (contributer Jon Roskam) on the grounds that he's too well exposed. If Short replaces Jaspan and takes The Age off the global warming bandwagon, already being quietly deserted by The Australian, Rudd's hopes of marginalising sceptical scientists and inconvenient truths will be destroyed. The ABC can't sell Rudd's religion by itself.

But you see, of course, one last hurdle. The Liberals still do not have the courage of their lack of conviction in man-made global warming. Too scared by the media, they are going along with Rudd's insane emissions trading scheme and the global warming bandwagon. They are refusing to attack Rudd on his weakest spot. They will thus share with him the dishonor of having being conned by bad science and salvation-seekers. They will never be able to say: We warned you. We were right, and Labor once more wrong.

In short, they lack the courage of Michael Short. And they fail to heed this warning in Kearsley's article, which I repeat: The next five years will tell us a great deal. In these circumstances, we should wait and see.

Liberal MPs: There has been no warming for a decade. Dare to doubt the theory. Dare to wait and weigh the fresh science. Do not let Rudd drag you off the cliff with him.

UPDATE

Even the ABC is starting to give air to the sceptics it tried so hard to ignore or ridicule. Here is ABC Adelaide 891 interviewing Dr David Evans, who once helped the Australian Greenhouse Office build models predicting terrible warming:
The case that carbon emissions cause global warming is now entirely theoretical and it's all driven by computer models and computer models and theory aren't evidence. But it's worse than that - something else happened. By 2006 we had a new result. The signature of increased greenhouse warming is missing, and therefore, we know that carbon emissions aren't the main cause of the recent global warming.

(The satellites are) telling us the temperatures have been flat or slightly down since 2001.

I think we should do a lot further research on climate, on alternate energies, on clean coal; and we should probably plan an emissions trading scheme, but not implement it. I think instead we should wait to see what the big countries do. Wait to see what climate research produces and wait to see whether temperatures resume going up.

I would like the press and the Opposition to ... simply ask Penny Wong, as the relevant Minister - to ask - to show the evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming. We're about to change our economy radically so as to de-carbonise it. So, obviously, the onus is on the people who wish to do that, to say, well, why? Show us the evidence. But I think you'll find there is none; there'd be a bit of an embarrassed silence.
Source




Roy Spencer’s testimony before Congress backs up Monckton’s assertions on climate sensitivity

Excerpt below from the Wattmaster

Dr. Roy Spencer went to Washington to give testimony today to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Here is his presentation. While not as technical as Lord Moncktons paper at APS (since it had to be simplified for a congressional hearing), it nonetheless says the same thing - climate sensitivity is overstated by models and not supported by observational data.

Testimony of Roy W. Spencer before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on 22 July 2008 (A printable PDF of this testimony can be found here)

I would like to thank Senator Boxer and members of the Committee for allowing me to discuss my experiences as a NASA employee engaged in global warming research, as well as to provide my current views on the state of the science of global warming and climate change.

I have a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have been involved in global warming research for close to twenty years. I have numerous peer reviewed scientific articles dealing with the measurement and interpretation of climate variability and climate change. I am also the U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA's Aqua satellite.

1. White House Involvement in the Reporting of Agency Employees' Work

On the subject of the Administration's involvement in policy-relevant scientific work performed by government employees in the EPA, NASA, and other agencies, I can provide some perspective based upon my previous experiences as a NASA employee. For example, during the Clinton-Gore Administration I was told what I could and could not say during congressional testimony. Since it was well known that I am skeptical of the view that mankind's greenhouse gas emissions are mostly responsible for global warming, I assumed that this advice was to help protect Vice President Gore's agenda on the subject.

This did not particularly bother me, though, since I knew that as an employee of an Executive Branch agency my ultimate boss resided in the White House. To the extent that my work had policy relevance, it seemed entirely appropriate to me that the privilege of working for NASA included a responsibility to abide by direction given by my superiors.

But I eventually tired of the restrictions I had to abide by as a government employee, and in the fall of 2001 I resigned from NASA and accepted my current position as a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Despite my resignation from NASA, I continue to serve as Team Leader on the AMSR-E instrument flying on the NASA Aqua satellite, and maintain a good working relationship with other government researchers.

2. Global Warming Science: The Latest Research

Regarding the currently popular theory that mankind is responsible for global warming, I am very pleased to deliver good news from the front lines of climate change research. Our latest research results, which I am about to describe, could have an enormous impact on policy decisions regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite decades of persistent uncertainty over how sensitive the climate system is to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we now have new satellite evidence which strongly suggests that the climate system is much less sensitive than is claimed by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Another way of saying this is that the real climate system appears to be dominated by "negative feedbacks" — instead of the "positive feedbacks" which are displayed by all twenty computerized climate models utilized by the IPCC. (Feedback parameters larger than 3.3 Watts per square meter per degree Kelvin (Wm-2K-1) indicate negative feedback, while feedback parameters smaller than 3.3 indicate positive feedback.)

If true, an insensitive climate system would mean that we have little to worry about in the way of manmade global warming and associated climate change. And, as we will see, it would also mean that the warming we have experienced in the last 100 years is mostly natural. Of course, if climate change is mostly natural then it is largely out of our control, and is likely to end — if it has not ended already, since satellite-measured global temperatures have not warmed for at least seven years now.

2.1 Theoretical evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated

The support for my claim of low climate sensitivity (net negative feedback) for our climate system is two-fold. First, we have a new research article1 in-press in the Journal of Climate which uses a simple climate model to show that previous estimates of the sensitivity of the climate system from satellite data were biased toward the high side by the neglect of natural cloud variability. It turns out that the failure to account for natural, chaotic cloud variability generated internal to the climate system will always lead to the illusion of a climate system which appears more sensitive than it really is.

Significantly, prior to its acceptance for publication, this paper was reviewed by two leading IPCC climate model experts - Piers Forster and Isaac Held– both of whom agreed that we have raised a legitimate issue. Piers Forster, an IPCC report lead author and a leading expert on the estimation of climate sensitivity, even admitted in his review of our paper that other climate modelers need to be made aware of this important issue.

To be fair, in a follow-up communication Piers Forster stated to me his belief that the net effect of the new understanding on climate sensitivity estimates would likely be small. But as we shall see, the latest evidence now suggests otherwise.

2.2 Observational evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated

The second line of evidence in support of an insensitive climate system comes from the satellite data themselves. While our work in-press established the existence of an observational bias in estimates of climate sensitivity, it did not address just how large that bias might be.

But in the last several weeks, we have stumbled upon clear and convincing observational evidence of particularly strong negative feedback (low climate sensitivity) from our latest and best satellite instruments. That evidence includes our development of two new methods for extracting the feedback signal from either observational or climate model data, a goal which has been called the "holy grail" of climate research.

The first method separates the true signature of feedback, wherein radiative flux variations are highly correlated to the temperature changes which cause them, from internally-generated radiative forcings, which are uncorrelated to the temperature variations which result from them. It is the latter signal which has been ignored in all previous studies, the neglect of which biases feedback diagnoses in the direction of positive feedback (high climate sensitivity).

Based upon global oceanic climate variations measured by a variety of NASA and NOAA satellites during the period 2000 through 2005 we have found a signature of climate sensitivity so low that it would reduce future global warming projections to below 1 deg. C by the year 2100. As can be seen in Fig. 1, that estimate from satellite data is much less sensitive (a larger diagnosed feedback) than even the least sensitive of the 20 climate models which the IPCC summarizes in its report. It is also consistent with our previously published analysis of feedbacks associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations

Much more here




Some news from South Africa

A reader in South Africa sends an example of Greenie absurdity from his area: Article below. An algal bloom in a dam is being blamed on global warming. Other explanations are not canvassed. One possibility that occurs to me is that the steady breakdown in law and order over there might be causing a once very clean dam to become more polluted. That would NEVER be mentioned, however. The reader writes:

"I think you may be interested in the following from my local newspaper, The Witness, in Pietermaritzburg. My recordings of temperature and rainfall over many years using instruments in my own garden, which is in a rural area, have indicated absolutely no upward trend at all! This tells me that claims of climate change are nothing other than absolute rubbish"


Algae growing in Midmar Dam - venue of South Africa's biggest open water swimming event - and flowering in winter for the first time in living memory this year, is probably an indication that the climate in this part of KZN has already changed. So says CSIR researcher Dr Paul Oberholster in an article titled "Toxic blooms in Midmar Dam", which has just appeared in the African Journal of Biotechnology.

Oberholster says climate change in this part of KZN has probably raised the water temperature to such a degree that the algae can now bloom in winter. In certain conditions, these flowers [Calling algae "flowers" shows how little the writer knows about her subject] release toxins into the water and continued exposure to them can have serious consequences for human health. Research done in Europe and North America has shown that between 25% and 75% of flowers like those found in Midmar Dam produce toxins that are bad for people's health.

Dr Anthony Turton, leading researcher of water resources at the CSIR, says that if researchers in South Africa were able to determine with certainty if this phenomenon was linked to climate change, scientists would have to be on the alert for the proliferation of a family of primitive unicellular organisms that together release a "toxic brew" into the water, so that these can be kept out of the country's drinking water.

Turton said the "toxic brew" is probably "invisible" to some water resource managers, which means it can easily infect drinking water. The toxins released by the algae blooms in the water can cause abdominal and intestinal inflammation, allergic reactions and even liver disease. In extreme cases it can also cause cancer of the liver. Turton said South Africans don't really need to be worried about the algae in Midmar Dam, as scientists are aware of the problem and are looking for solutions.

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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22 July, 2008

EVASIVE RESPONSE TO VISCOUNT MONCKTON'S LETTER FROM APS PRESIDENT

When is peer review not peer review? When a beehive says so! ("Bienenstock" is German/Yiddish for "beehive")

Thank you for your message concerning the American Physical Society's treatment of the article by Lord Monckton in the Newsletter of the Forum on Physics and Society. I am writing to discuss issues raised by some of you.

Some of those writing to me have claimed that the American Physical Society is censoring Lord Monckton's article in the Newsletter of the APS' Forum on Physics and Society. That is far from the case. The article has been presented and retained in the form agreed upon by him and the Newsletter's editor. You will find it readily available on the APS' website in that form. Indeed, there was absolutely no censoring. The APS did not even do a scientific evaluation or peer review of the article.

Lord Monckton's presentation of the interaction between him and the editor indicates clearly that the editor's review was aimed at ensuring the clarity and readability of the article by the intended audience. As Lord Monckton points out in his covering letter to me, "Most revisions were intended to clarify for physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC evaluates climate sensitivity - a method which the IPCC does not itself clearly or fully explain." That is, the review was an editorial review for a newsletter, and not the substantive scientific peer review required for publication in our journals. No attempt was made to analyze the scientific substance of the article and no censoring was performed.

As indicated above and in Lord Monckton's letter to me, the article appears in the form agreed upon by Lord Monckton. Some people and news services misinterpreted the Newsletter publication of one editor's comments and Lord Monckton's article as a retreat by the American Physical Society from its official position on the contribution of human activities to global warming.

Consequently, the APS felt it necessary to ensure that its official position was known both to those who logged on to the APS website and those who had followed a link to Lord Monckton's article on our website and were unaware of the context in which it appears. That is the origin of the comment that appears at the top of the article on the website. I am sure that you would not want the Society's position to be misunderstood in this important matter. I hope that this clarifies matters for you. Let me thank you again for your interest in the American Physical Society's activities.

Arthur Bienenstock, President, American Physical Society




MONCKTON REPLIES

Dear Dr. Bienenstock,

I have had your notice of refusal to remove your regrettable disclaimer from my paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered. Since you have not had the courtesy to remove and apologize for the unacceptable red-flag text that, on your orders, in effect invites readers of Physics and Society to disregard the paper that one of your editors had invited me to submit, and which I had submitted in good faith, and which I had revised in good faith after it had been meticulously reviewed by a Professor of Physics who was more than competent to review it, I must now require you to answer the questions that I had asked in my previous letter, videlicet -

1. Please provide the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it (if any) who considered my paper (if anyone considered it) before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper;

2. Please provide a copy of this rapporteur's findings (if any) and ratio decidendi (if any);

3. Please provide the date of the Council meeting (if there was one) at which the report (if any) was presented;

4. Please provide a copy of the minutes (if any) of the discussion (if there was one);

5. Please provide a copy of the text (if any) of the Council's decision (if there was one);

6. Please provide a list of the names of those present (if any) at that Council meeting (if there was one);

7. If, as your silence on these points implies, the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, please explain with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts -

primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed, when it had (let us have no more semantic quibbles about the meaning of "scientific review");

secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the "overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community"; and,

tertio, that "The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions"? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?

And, if the Council has not in fact met to consider my paper as your red-flag text above my paper implies, how dare you state (on no evidence) that the Council disagrees with my conclusions?

8. Please provide the requested apology without any further mendacity, prevarication, evasion, excuse, or delay. Finally, was the Council's own policy statement on "global warming" peer-reviewed? Or is it a mere regurgitation of some of the opinions of the UN's climate panel? If the latter, why was the mere repetition thought necessary?




OFCOM CAN'T TAKE THE HEAT OF CLIMATE DEBATE

The climate change lobby tends to react like scalded cats should anyone have the temerity to question their assertion that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. So certain are they of the righteousness of their case that it has taken on the aura of a religious faith - and heresy will simply not be tolerated.

The latest example is Ofcom's ruling that Channel 4's programme The Great Global Warming Swindle breached its guidelines by not being impartial and by failing to reflect a range of views on a controversial issue. The programme was actually polemical and since when are polemics supposed to be impartial? Yet for daring to suggest that there is no proven link between human activity and global warming (not least because there has been a marked atmospheric cooling in recent years), the programme makers were deluged with protests in what looked suspiciously like an orchestrated operation by the true believers. One complaint was 188 pages long and alleged 137 breaches of the Broadcasting Code.

Yet while Ofcom ruled that its rules on partiality had been broken, it also concluded that that this did not lead to viewers being "materially misled". In other words, the programme makers had sought to debunk a cherished theory by challenging an orthodox view, yet did so in a way that did not mislead the viewer. So what exactly is the problem?

This bullying is unappealing. Climate change protagonists would carry more conviction if they encouraged free debate on this issue, rather than trying to silence dissenting voices. I don't recall Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth - that's the same Al Gore whose Tennessee home consumes 20 times the amount of energy as the average American home - being impartial, or giving a voice to a range of views. It was polemic, and highly effective polemic at that. So was The Great Global Warming Swindle.

Source




SWINDLE FILM SWINDLED OF JUSTICE

Ofcom, Britain's media regulator, seems to have been too quick to damn the Great Global Warming Swindle, and too quick to exonerate one of Britian's leading warming hysterics:
"In the closing moments of the program a voiceover from the climate change sceptic Fred Singer claimed that the Chief Scientist of the UK had said that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the planet would be in the Antarctic and that "humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic". Sir David has never made such a statement. It is thought that Mr Singer confused the comments with those made by the scientist James Lovelock, who infuriated many colleagues in the science community when he publicly questioned global warming."
Actually, Lovelock didn't publicly question global warming, but claimed in fact: "Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable."

But it turns out that that Singer didn't really misrepesent King that much at all. Reader Paul in a few minutes of searching discovered some King quotes that Ofcom seems to have missed in 15 months of inquiry:
"Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week."
With such extreme and scientifically unsupported scare-claims like those, why is it that King and Lovelock aren't being hounded that way that The Great Global Warming Swindle was for criticising such alarmism?

Source




RECENT COOLING AND THE SERIOUS DATA INTEGRITY ISSUE

If they can't get the past right, how can they get the future right?

All the data sources have updated now for June. NOAA GHCN data was a clear outlier. NOAA called this the eighth warmest June on record for the globe in the 129 years since records began in 1880 with a positive anomaly of 0.5C (0.9F) for the month. The University of Alabama, Huntsville MSU satellite based global assessment reported the this June was the the 9th coldest in the 30 years of satellite record keeping (base period 1979-1998) with a value of -0.11C (-0.19F). The other NASA satellite source, RSS had June as the 13th coldest out of the last 30 years. Hadley came in today with their CRUV3 data update. They also were in disagreement with the satellite data sets with +0.316C, the 10th warmest June.

However both the Hadley and MSU do show a downtrend since 2002 of 0.15 to 0.2C with a rather strong negative correlation (r = - 0.44 with Hadley) with CO2 which increased 3.5% over the period.



Recall the CO2 was negatively correlated for almost 4 decades from the 1940s through the 1970s. It was positively correlated from 1900 to 1930s and again 1979 to 1998. This on-again, off-again relationship suggests CO2 is not driving the climate bus but may be a passenger in the back.

OK, but why the discrepancy of satellite and surface based data bases? Though there has clearly been some cyclical warming in recent decades, the global surface station based data is seriously compromised by urbanization and other local factors (land-use /land-cover, improper siting, station dropout, instrument changes unaccounted for and missing data) and thus the data bases overestimate the warming.

Numerous peer-reviewed papers (referenced at end) in the last several years have shown this overestimation may be the order of 30 to 50%. I believe the recent warming is comparable or less than the warming in the 1930s and is now over. See a detailed analysis of this issue here.

Even the global continental extremes show no recent decade represented. All the heat records were before 1950 with the exception of Antarctica which showed its warmest temperature in 1974. There probably was very little monitoring in prior years there.

Source




Australian Green Paper 'too late' to save Great Barrier Reef

LOL. We have been hearing about the impending doom of the Barrier Reef for decades -- since long before the global warming scare. They used to blame it on farming! The reef has been there through many climate changes in the past and it will still be there when all of the current crop of doomsters are dead. The scares are nothing more than childish attention-seeking behaviour. I get tired of reiterating it but the reef already thrives through a very large temperature range and it in fact flourishes most where the climate is warmest. Expect zero honesty from an attention-seeking Greenie. Corals even thrive after A DIRECT ATOMIC HIT, in fact

THE Federal Government is being warned its Green Paper on emissions trading will not do enough to save the Great Barrier Reef from destruction. Leading environmentalists said Australia and other industrialised countries needed to slash emissions by 2020 if the tourism icon was to survive beyond the middle of the century.

The warning came as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was urged to extend compensation for the emissions trading scheme to self-funded retirees. Everald Compton of National Seniors Australia said self-funded retirees needed extra help after their incomes were slashed by the dive in global sharemarkets.

The Government's Green Paper released last week repeated dire predictions about "mid-century destruction" of the Barrier Reef, which is estimated to generate about $1 billion a year. But Erwin Jackson of the Climate Institute said the Government's emissions trading proposal did nothing to ensure the future of the reef. "We don't know if this paper will help save the Barrier Reef," he said. "Countries like Australia need to reduce emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2020." Tony Mohr of the Australian Conservation Foundation described the Green Paper as "slim pickings" for the protection of the reef.

Source




Australia: Inconvenient truths for Kevin Rudd's climate dreams

Behind the hype of the Garnaut Report and the Rudd Government's carbon emissions green paper lie some very inconvenient facts. First: a carbon system applied as now proposed will barely make a dent in the growth of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2020; it will not deliver a cut in emissions below today's levels, let alone below 2000 levels. Rudd is caught here by the Howard interest rate trap: it was not what the former prime minister said about interest rates under a Coalition government that mattered, it was what the voters thought he said, and when the rates rose again and again they punished him.

In Rudd's case, he has led the voters to believe he is going to deliver relief from global warming or, at the very least, a world-leading Australian example of how this can be achieved - and he can't. He can't, first, because no matter what is done here, the key impact of human-sourced greenhouse gases on the environment will be delivered elsewhere. Second, because delivering a massive cut in Australian domestic emissions through very high energy prices will make a slaughterhouse of the local manufacturing sector and deliver more than a million direct jobs, and perhaps as many indirect ones, to the block.

Nor can Rudd escape the political cost of undermining manufacturing by relying on the ongoing minerals and energy boom, heavily based on Chinese and other Asian demand for our resources, to be the key prop of the economy. As the eminent American economist, Jeffrey Sachs, at present visiting Australia, points out, countries over-reliant on exporting natural resources rarely show much economic growth.

The most inconvenient fact of all is to be found elsewhere: in China, where the direction of the global concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere during the next few decades is already being decided. China is matched by only the US in the size of its emissions. The growth of US emissions has slowed this decade, but the growth of Chinese emissions has been, and is going to continue to be, enormous. In this country, activists obsess over each new coal mine or coal-fired power station as if it signals the end of our world, but the Chinese are duplicating our entire coal-fired power capacity every four or five months. China added 88,300MW of new coal-fired generation in 2007. Australia's total grid-connected power capacity is 48,200MW, of which 28,500MW is coal fired.

The Chinese, to quote a paper delivered to the Asia Clean Energy Conference in Manila in June by Jianxiong Mao of Tsinghua University, Beijing, intend to build another 500,000MW between 2010 and 2020 while closing 4000 of their small, very inefficient coal plants. This program includes developing 120,000MW of renewable energy - four times what the Rudd Government's mandatory clean energy target aims to achieve - but 60 per cent of the new capacity will be coal-fired generation, their gases alone each year adding more than Australia's emissions from all sources to the atmosphere.

The Chinese have on order 200 coal-powered units as big as the dozen largest in use in NSW and 16 units bigger than the 750MW plant, Australia's largest, just commissioned in Queensland. This represents some $700 billion worth of equipment orders and barely half of what will be needed to meet Chinese 2020 capacity targets.

Because global warming is above all else a global issue, where the total of greenhouse gases in the planetary atmosphere decides what happens, even a suicidal decision in Australia to scrap all coal burners in the interests of showing the world a lead - cutting emissions by 180 million tonnes a year - would have no impact in the face of what the Chinese alone have already decided to do. Moreover, the Chinese, contrary to myth, are not doing nothing about emissions: they are engaged in a massive modernisation program that will improve their carbon intensity, but it will nonetheless add huge amounts of gases to the atmosphere.

Which leads to the question: what is Australia trying to achieve? When Sachs tried very politely on ABC Television this month to make the point that effective action requires first deciding on your target, then working out how to reach it most efficiently, he was, to quote a subsequent ABC Radio news report, "dismissed" by federal Government sources.

There is a raft of things Australia can, and should, do to deal better with its own greenhouse gas emission levels. An effective, regulation-driven approach to end-use efficiency is one. This month McKinsey & Company have released a study showing how the world can halve energy demand by spending about $US170 billion ($175 billion) a year....

It is necessary to adjust (and increase) the taxation system to fund these initiatives, which require large-scale community support as well as private investment, but this should be done in a straightforward and transparent fashion, not by inventing one of the world's most convoluted regulatory systems and myriad ways to avert its worst impacts by providing "get out of jail" cards to special interests while buying off voter rage through exempting petrol.

If there is one thing that is crystal clear after a week of the Garnaut Report, his "town hall meetings" and the green paper, it is that the Rudd Government is already knee-deep in a swamp of its own making on carbon policy, and deaf to advice to stop wading.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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21 July, 2008

Solar power realities

A comment by someone who knows from professional experience -- received via a reader. The report focuses on Tasmania, which is in roughly the equivalent latitude to Italy. So what is bad in Tasmania will be worse in Britain (for instance). As for Sweden or Canada, stop laughing!

I am one of those people who supply and maintain solar and wind power installations to power electronic systems at remote (unpowered) sites -- e.g. two way radios up on mountain tops.

Twenty plus years ago, a couple of us had a good look at the possibility of making a dollar or two out of flogging this emerging technology to the great unwashed. We didn't bother because it didn't stack up energy wise or financially. I admit the efficiency of the solar panels us mere mortals can afford has improved a bit since then (at least 8%) but the figures are still similar.

A loose look at the energy required to make the things verses the energy output of them during their average lifetime was not really surprising. The panel would return enough energy in the first year to smelt the aluminum in its frame and its mounting and transport the manufactured panel to us. We could not get energy figures for melting the silicon so the wafers could be grown and then cut up to make the semiconductors but overall it will be high so we guessed that it would take at least 100Kwh . This equates to 3 years output from the panel used up by the time it is delivered on site.

But it doesn't end there. Over the life of a set of panels the owner will probably need 3 or 4 sets of batteries. These are full of nice things like lead and acid and plastic and are very heavy. Then there is the magic box called the inverter. This is the box that converts the panel power up to the 230 volts mains power that we use. These are full of electronic things that take a lot of energy to make and have a reasonably short life span - say 10 years. You must include the energy costs for making and transporting these items to site in the overall energy that the solar panels must return during their lifetime. A battery pack of say 13kw h weighs in at approximately 500kg. So during the life of a set of panels you are going to have to transport 2 tons of them from (say) Sydney to Hobart and back again. Do the energy calculations on that one considering that the energy output per annum from each panel equates to about 4.5 litres of petrol.

I must qualify the above by saying that in our lovely clean green (work in the tourism industry or starve) state we don't get a lot of sun for large chunks of the year. When we are working out the energy budget for a solar site we allow an average of 3.5 hrs a day full output from the panels and have battery backup to allow for 14 - 28 days (site dependant) with no output. When the batteries are fully charged you can store no more so you effectively get no output from the panels. Therefore the extra output in summer is not usable unless you seriously upscale the battery capacity. Up in Queensland you can get away with less than half the number of panels for the same load. In drier climates panels seem to last a bit longer as well.

There are some interesting practical considerations that must be considered when using these things. It never ceases to amaze me how many people seem surprised to discover that a solar panel needs to get actual direct sunlight on it to give a worthwhile output. This can be a simple task of (wait for it - shock horror - sit down Rev. Bob in case you have a nasty turn) cutting down the trees to the height of the panels because the sun gets pretty close to the horizon down here in winter. Or if you have built your house on the southern side of a hill or taller building it is even simpler - you need to move the house or increase the number of panels to compensate. An extra $10k - $40k will usually suffice.

In Tasmania more than 50% of houses don't have a clear enough view north to make solar panels worthwhile and if you elevate them you begin to shadow the house to the south of you. This means you can never optimize the energy return from the panels. And what about our nice green leafy suburbs? When your northern neighbour's trees get high enough to shade your panels you lose output. Or if a leaf blows onto one of your panels the output goes down. (if you cover approximately 5% of the face of the panel the output will drop to almost zero.) The government will have to bring in draconian chain saw laws and you will have to have a photo license and a chainsaw safe to own one. Panels need to be cleaned regularly. Feathered airfoil excrement is especially effective in stopping them working.

Every time you need to have the system serviced the serviceman will use petrol in his van to get there. This will probably average using the equivalent energy output of one panel for a year for each trip and that does not count the energy required to make the van in the first place.

There is little doubt that in Tassie a solar installation as a collective item over its life is a net energy sink not a source. It is no different financially. My last electricity account for my workshop lists the cost as 18.5c per kwh or 21.4c including supply charge and for this my installation costs can be amortized over a 50 year life span. Over a 20 year life an $800 panel will return me 900kwh or $166.50 worth of electricity. Don't forget that out of the massive savings you have made there you must buy batteries, inverter, have it installed, pay the interest on the money you borrowed to buy the system and maintain it.

Note that this energy consumption would require 136 panels ($110,000.00), 14 day battery backup $13,500.00 (weight 1.6 tons, life 10 years), three phase inverter $15,000.00 (expected life 5 - 10 years). Interest alone would exceed $1,675.00 for the same period I paid the electricity authority $334.95. (Don't forget that if the batteries went flat and I had no electricity to run the workshop I would still have to pay my employees so a system failure could wipe me out. I would have to have a generating plant and/or duplicate equipment to allow for that. Even if you quadrupled the energy output from the panels the figures don't add up.




Patriotic Gore and other global warming mongering

There's almost no point in talking about global warming any longer because global hysteria has long since torched reason - we are now watching the scientific equivalent of the Salem witch trials, where "what we say is true" is more important than "what we know is true."

So last week, we got to watch the spectacle of the EPA fanning the flames of fear while Al Gore fiddled like Nero as he performed his "Requiem for Fossil Fuels" to an audience of true believers. Gore announced his "plan" to save America from herself by making the nation's electricity production "carbon free" within 10 years at a cost of a tidy $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion.

As the AP reports it, Gore's "man on the moon" plan would mean "a significant shift in where the U.S. gets its power. In 2005, coal supplied slightly more than half the nation's 3.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. Nuclear power accounted for 21 percent, natural gas 15 percent and renewable sources, including wind and solar, about 8.6 percent." Under the Gore scenario, coal goes the way of whale blubber, and is replaced by a nifty mix of nuclear power, solar, wind and, er, um, "clean coal."

Of course, even Gore admits that "clean coal does not exist right now," but not to worry - the Nobel Prize-winning pied piper of peace has a plan: Tax 'em till they drop. Of course, he means the carbon emissions will be dropping thanks to the huge penalty to be paid for "unclean coal," but just maybe it is our standard of living that will see the bigger decline. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a 284-page report that is a modern version of the plagues and scourges unleashed by Moses on ancient Egypt. If you're afraid of it, the EPA's got it - disease, insects, foul water, drought, kidney stones (or was that in another hysterical report?), fire, flooding, hurricanes, pollution, food poisoning.

No wonder people are panicking about global warming even though the weather isn't getting warmer any longer. What? Of course, it's getting warmer. But no it isn't. Despite the endless allure of "what we say is true," sometimes we are faced with the brutal honesty of "what we know is true" and have to deal with it.

Of course, scientists who have jumped on the global warming bandwagon are reluctant to acknowledge that global temperatures have been steady or declining for the past 10 years. It's embarrassing, to say the least, to have to admit that the hysteria you promoted in the name of "science" was all just an expensive sham. Yes, it was indeed getting warmer in the decades immediately preceding 1998, but so what? It still wasn't as warm as it had been on the planet 1,000 years ago, long before the Industrial Revolution cursed modern man with cheap power, technological innovation, drastically improved health care, sanitary living conditions, worldwide mobility, and the empowerment of the middle class.

So the question really isn't whether the earth is getting warmer, but so what if it is? Does anyone really think that mankind is in charge of the planetary climate? There are long-term cycles at work here which are as much beyond our control as the orbit of the Earth around the sun. (OK, folks, let's all lean north to see if we can straighten this damn planet out - the tilt of 23.44 degrees from the perpendicular may just be what is making us all dizzy!)

The most likely reasons for global warming such as solar variability and geothermal dynamic fluctuation are the very same reasons why temperatures sometimes go down as well as up. You remember the great ice ages, don't you? But the fact is that scientists don't know what is going to happen to the temperature 20 years from now anymore than the TV weatherman does.

If they did, then the projections they have been making for the past 20 years would actually be correct, instead of myopically out of whack. We haven't seen anything like the temperature increase projected, nor has the sea level risen cataclysmically as Al Gore and his cronies have promised.

So the EPA's report about the devastating effect of global warming on the United States should probably be taken with a grain of salt, or lots of them. Because unlike Lot's wife, who turned into a pillar of salt when she turned back to see from where she had come, most of us will probably look back in 20 years and see not the rubble of civilization but the ruins of an idea whose time thankfully never came. Requiescat in pacem, global warming

Source




Nutty Story of the Day: "Global Warming" is Killing the Penguins in Anarctica

The latest penguin scare. They are so photogenic that scares are almost compulsory. For previous sob stories see here and here (second story). One of the stories tells us that Antarctica is a dessert. I knew that it was cold but I did not know that it was edible



You have to wonder how the press allows stories like these to get published without some basic fact checking. I'm reminded of the recent CBS News story about "resonance" and global warming causing more earthquakes. From the UK Sunday Mirror:
This shivering penguin is just one of thousands close to death in Antarctica. Rain storms have killed tens of thousands of chicks - and scientists blame global warming. New-born penguins take 40 days to grow water-proof feathers. They can withstand snow, but if rain soaks them to the skin, they die of cold.

Experts yesterday said 400 Adelie penguin chicks have washed up dead on Brazil's beaches after migrating 2,500 miles to avoid the rain. The Emperor penguin - star of the hit film March Of The Penguins - is also under threat. Antarctic temperatures have risen by 3C in the last 50 years to an average of - 14.7C (5.5F). The penguin population has fallen by up to 80 per cent and, if the downpours go on, they will be extinct within 10 years.

Dozens of migrant penguins are being treated at Rio de Janeiro's Niterio Zoo. Biologist Erli Costa said: "This is all due to global warming."
That's the entire story, no other sources are given. But I did find the source Associated Press story here. Interestingly, the AP story has no mention of "rain" or of "baby chick penguins". There were mentions of other causes such as food supply and pollution as possible causes. It seems Mr. Cooper of the mirror has the only mention of "rain" and "chicks" and "80 percent population decrease".

Ok let's do some fact checking to see if there is really anything going on in Antarctica causing an "80 percent population decrease".First lets look for a collaborating research story, how about the best organization on Birds, the National Audubon Society? Surely they'll have this story. But a check of their web page at: http://www.audubon.org/ shows no mention of this.Ok maybe Greenpeace? Nope, nothing there. British Antaractic survey? http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/ Nope though they have a nice picture of a penguins but no mention of the crisis.

At the very least, let's check the temperature in Antarctica, It's winter there. Here's the temp map as of publication of this blog posting: Temperatures in degrees Centigrade.Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison's Antarctic Weather Stations Project. Hmmm. Warmest temperature is -6 C, it is rather difficult to get rain under that sort of temperature. Unfortunately I did not find an easy to decipher archive of temperatures for the last few days, but again given it is winter there, the prospect of above freezing air temperatures seems unlikely.

And then there is this statement from the story: "Experts yesterday said 400 Adelie penguin chicks have washed up dead on Brazil's beaches after migrating 2,500 miles to avoid the rain."Huh?

But here is the clincher from the AP story: Costa said the vast majority of penguins turning up are baby birds that have just left the nest and are unable to out-swim the strong ocean currents they encounter while searching for food.

Mr. Cooper, your story is all wet. The Mirror should issue a retraction.

Source




Greenie shambles looming in Britain

The number of Gordon Brown's flagship eco-towns should be slashed by two thirds because most of the proposed schemes are not green enough, senior civil servants have warned. They have advised ministers to cut the number from 10 to only two or three "exemplar" towns, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. The civil servants from the Department of Communities and Local Government said that most of the proposals being considered by the Government were not sufficiently environmentally-friendly and would be so damaging to the eco-town "brand" that they should not be allowed to go ahead.

One source close to the bidding process said: "You wonder why some of the bids were selected in the first place. Civil servants don't want to advise ministers to go ahead with projects that are going to be a catastrophe. There are two or three in there that could proceed but some of the bids are just suicidal." However, the Prime Minister is understood to be applying pressure to push ahead with the policy in its entirety, setting the scene for a battle between Downing Street and Whitehall.

The source added that officials from the Department for Transport had expressed concerns about infrastructure issues, while civil servants from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are alarmed that some proposed towns, including at Ford, West Sussex, would be built on flood plains.

A pet project of Gordon Brown, and one of the first new policy programmes he announced after taking over from Tony Blair a year ago, eco-towns are designed to be low-energy, carbon-neutral developments constructed from "eco-friendly" materials. Each town will contain between 5,000 and 20,000 homes and will be the first new towns built in Britain since the Sixties. Five will be built by 2016, with another five completed by 2020. A government announcement on the policy is expected this week. It will give an update on the remaining bids and show that three developers have now officially withdrawn their schemes and that a further proposal, for a town in the Leeds area, is still without a site or developer.

Last week, Tesco hinted that it would withdraw its plans for an 8,000-home eco-town at Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire, after the medical charity The Wellcome Trust refused to sell it a crucial piece of land that was needed to proceed. The likely withdrawal of the proposal by Jarrow Investments, which this newspaper revealed was a front for Britain's biggest retailer, would be the fourth in a series of departures from the original 15-strong shortlist. It has also emerged that at least one more developer does not yet own the land it wants to develop. The Coltishall Group, which wants to build a 5,000-home eco-town in Norfolk, has not yet been told if the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will sell the 625-acre site, which it bought off the Ministry of Defence. The MoJ plans to build a 500-place prison there.

Another source involved with the selection process said that civil servants were now going back to developers who originally submitted bids but did not make it on to the final shortlist, in order to boost numbers, in case Gordon Brown refuses to back down. The source said: "That would be an insurance policy, to make sure there were ten. Some of those shortlisted are now clearly duds, so they have to have more up their sleeve that are not as obviously embarrassing."

Last night, Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, said: "Ministers have taken a good concept of building new green housing and have managed to destroy their own project by trampling over local democracy and systematically downgrading the green credentials of eco-towns to the point where they'll be less environmentally friendly than all other housing built at the same time."

The government believes the new towns will combat the growing housing crisis in an environmentally friendly way. But the policy has come up against many high profile critics, including Lord Rogers, the Labour peer and former government adviser on cities, who branded eco-towns as "one of the biggest mistakes government can make".

Gideon Amos, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association, said it was important to build as many eco-towns as was feasible. He said: "The credit crisis is leading to an even greater demand for affordable homes - we need as many eco-towns to go forward as can meet the very challenging standards we are calling for."

A spokesperson for the Communities and Local Government department said: "Our position throughout this process has been that we will shortlist up to ten potential sites for eco-towns - and we are making no change to our policy."

Source




Monbiot's metamorphosis

Today, environmentalists like Guardian columnist George Monbiot are adding a gloss of `scientific truth' to elite prejudices and fears.

George Monbiot, the Guardian columnist and predictor of the world's end, has undergone a metamorphosis of Kafkaesque proportions in recent years. Never mind poor Gregor Samsa, who awoke one morning to find himself transmogrified into a monstrous insect; Monbiot has made an even more remarkable cross-species leap. Some time during the past five years he went to bed an hysteric, the closest thing Britain had to a nutty Nostradamus, and awoke to find himself labelled a man of reason, a `defender of truth' no less, who is praised on the dust-jacket of his latest book for possessing a `dazzling command of science' (only by Naomi Klein, admittedly, but still).

How has this happened? How is it that Monbiot, who still writes the same old apocalyptic nonsense (think Book of Revelations but without the hot pokers or sex), can now pose - more than that, be hailed - as a scientific visionary? His metamorphosis from green-tinted despiser of all things modern to man with a dazzling command of science reveals a great deal about the politics of environmentalism, and how it has added a gloss of `scientific fact' to long-standing middle-class prejudices against mass modern society.

Not many moons ago, Monbiot was looked upon by many people as a green-ink eccentric, who was probably given a newspaper column on the same basis that friends of the Marquis de Sade smuggled scraps of paper and pots of ink into his cell in the Charenton insane asylum: because if he's kept busy writing, he won't go utterly off his nut. (The chasm-shaped difference between the Marquis and Monbiot, of course, is that the former wrote some brilliant stuff that nobody was allowed to read, while the latter writes inane copy that one can hardly escape.)

Pre-metamorphosis, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Monbiot penned mad-sounding tracts that said flying across the Atlantic is more evil than child abuse (eh?), and described how manmade flight would contribute to a climate calamity that would make `genocide and ethnic cleansing look like sideshows at the circus of human suffering' (1). Well, what's being gassed in a chamber compared with the carbon skidmark left by a bunch of British chavs taking a cheap flight to vomit-stained Magaluf? He wrote about loitering in busy train stations and watching as City workers, who must suffer from `a species of mental illness', hurried home: `Stress oozes from them like sweat, anger shudders beneath their skin.' (2) (Luckily for Monbiot, he executed this bizarre staring stunt in 1999, before New Labour really got serious about handing out Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.)

Like a latter-day Christian recluse, he wrote of his horror at hearing the sound of human laughter. `The world is dying, and people are killing themselves with laughter', he wailed (3). So disturbed was he by the `gales of laughter' sweeping Britain that he was moved to quote Kierkegaard: `This is the way I think the world will end - with general giggling by all the witty heads, who think it is a joke.' Far from being a `man of science', pre-metamorphosis Monbiot sounded more like Ephrem the Syrian, an early Christian theologian. In the fourth century CE, Ephrem declared that `the beginning of all destruction of the soul is laughing'. If a hermit or monk ever laughed, Ephrem said they had reached `the bottom of evil'. `O Lord, expel laughter from me, and grant me the crying and lamentation Thou asketh for!' Ephrem prayed (4). Monbiot must make a similar prayer: he's certainly had any fleck of humour scrubbed from his constitution, replaced by the crying and lamentation that Gaia asketh for.

In the old days, Monbiot argued that `being gay is arguably more moral than being straight', because gays are less likely to spawn 'orrible little resource-sucking babies - or `screaming shit machines', as one of his fellow green contributors to the Guardian more honestly describes them (5). Men and women of the Enlightenment, who really did desire to have a `dazzling command of science', were interested in using their knowledge to `dazzlingly command' nature - that is, to understand, predict and even control the natural world for the benefit of mankind. Old Monbiot preferred to quote an old Indian proverb: `When you drive nature out of the door with a broom, she'll come back through the window with a pitchfork.' (6) Ouch.

On the rare occasion that Monbiot did dip his nib into the world of science, he invariably got things wrong. He was one of a gang of green-leaning writers in Britain who leapt upon Dr Arpad Pusztai's experiments on lab rats as evidence that GM foods could be harmful to humans. In 1998, Dr Pusztai seemed to find that GM potatoes caused thickening in the stomach lining of rats, and this single, unreplicated experiment was taken as proof that genetically tampered-with grub - an invention that greens consider supremely offensive - might make humans sick, too. When experts picked apart Pusztai's findings, and showed that there was no scientific basis to the hysterical public panic about killer spuds, Monbiot argued that the important thing is how people feel about allegedly dodgy foods: `Food scares happen in Britain because people feel they have no control over what they eat. Our decisions are made for us by invisible and unaccountable corporations.' (7) In a testy public debate on GM, one of Britain's top scientists said Monbiot was either a `liar or a fool', or maybe `both' (8). Again, ouch. Dazzling command of science my arse.

Back then, Monbiot was simply a shrill articulator of petty dinner-party prejudices: car-drivers are selfish; fecund families are dangerous; supermarkets are evil; City workers are slaves, and possibly even mentally ill. Pop into any soiree in the leafy suburbs of Britain and you will hear people saying similar things over their Nigella-inspired main course. Yet now, after the metamorphosis, he's treated seriously (by some) as `one of the best informed people on the planet' (as John Burnside gushes on the back flap of Monbiot's new book). The man who said flying was like fiddling children and being straight was effectively an eco-crime is hailed as a brave defender of scientific truth.

Monbiot's new book, Bring on the Apocalypse (the title says it all), is a collection of mostly post-metamorphosis columns; the articles, in the main, are from 2003 to 2007. It is remarkable the extent to which Monbiot now considers himself a warrior for scientific fact. Gone are the naked assertions about how empty and slavish is modern life (at least as lived by frequent flyers and `mentally ill' City workers); in their place we have `facts', stats and percentages galore, apparently showing the slow but certain destruction of biospheres and ecosystems by mankind. Gone is old Monbiot's suspicion of mainstream science; in its place we have declarations about how the `entire canon of science, the statements of the world's most eminent scientific institutions, and thousands of papers published in the foremost scientific journals' tell us that climate change is happening (9). These newer columns are still jam-packed with expressions of disgust for modernity and its adherents, of course, but each outburst is carefully evidenced, proven, footnoted, fact-checked, scientifically backed up.

The metamorphosis of Monbiot is telling. It shows, in microcosm (after all, we're only talking about the Guardian comment pages here), how the politics and science of environmentalism have added a new, legitimising coating to elite fears and prejudices. The most striking thing about the rise and rise (and rise) of the environmentalist ethos is how it has acted as a life support machine for the political and cultural elite's contempt for the lifestyles of the lower orders, and how it has added a new scientific/end of the world twist to the authorities' attempts to manage, control and change our behaviour and expectations. In our post-modern, anything-goes, Oprah-ised, non-judgemental era, it is increasingly difficult for elite elements to lay down the line on what is right or wrong, or to induce guilt and shame in the `wayward' masses, or to make nakedly moral judgements about the apparently soulless, greedy populace. Instead, `scientific fact' - `evidence' about individuals' disgusting impact on their surroundings - has become the main means through which the elites hector us and police our behaviour. Slowly, inexorably, instinctively, the apparently fact-driven politics of environmentalism has spread to fill the gap left by the collapse of traditional morality.

Everywhere one looks, long-standing snooty prejudices are being `scientised'; old-fashioned hatred for mass behaviour is being replaced by new, superbly convenient `scientific facts' which apparently show - on spreadsheets, graphs and pie charts, no less - that mass behaviour is quantifiably, unfalsifiably, unquestionably Harmful.

For example, a certain breed of middle-class writer and thinker has always hated the consumer society and the masses who patronise it. They talked about the `rat race' (the sight of thousands of men and women in suits commuting to work) and of the masses' brainless dash to buy more and more `stuff' that they don't need. Today, a new diagnosable, scientifically provable illness has emerged to describe the stupidity of the masses: `Affluenza'. Serious writers, researchers and policymakers now claim that years of fact-gathering and scientific-style study prove that the rat race and the stuff race make people mentally ill (though as I argued in the New Statesman earlier this year, after examining the experts' `evidence', actually they have `rehabilitated the sin of gluttony in pseudo-scientific terms') (10).

It is striking that 10 years ago, in Liverpool Street station, Monbiot gawked at busy, besuited commuters and presumed that they must be suffering from a `species of mental illness'. `No retail therapy, no holiday in the Caribbean could restore the damage done by [their] self-consumption', he preached (11). It was unadulterated prejudice, underpinned by a well-to-do columnist's dislocation from the mass of the people, and his inability to comprehend the passions, desires and needs that drive people to work, work, work and buy, buy, buy. Now, lo and behold, research has emerged that `proves' these people are mentally ill. How remarkably convenient.

Likewise, snobs have always detested mass tourism, all of those thousands of good-for-nothings tramping to some beach or to an unfortunate foreign city. When British workers first started venturing to the English seaside in the 1870s, thanks to one Thomas Cook, an outraged writer declared: `Of all noxious animals, the most noxious is a tourist.' (12) As Paul Fussell argues in his book Abroad: British Literary Travelling Between the Wars: `From the outset, mass tourism attracted the class-contempt of killjoys who conceived themselves. superior by reason of intellect, education, curiosity and spirit.' In the 1920s, the British literary snob Osbert Sitwell described American tourists as a `swarm of very noisy transatlantic locusts'. His sister, the poet Edith Sitwell, said tourists were `the most awful people with legs like flies, who come in to lunch in bathing costumes - flies, centipedes' (13).

This prejudice, too, has been scientised. The idea of the mass tourist as noxious - that is, `harmful to living things, injurious to health' - has been rehabilitated through the science of environmentalism. Now tourists are seen as literally noxious, farting out smog and poisons from their cheap flights. Pre-metamorphosis Monbiot's distaste for the mass tourist was too similar to the snobbery of the Sitwells and others - he said flying across the Atlantic is `now as unacceptable as child abuse'. So where earlier snobs compared tourists to locusts and insects, Monbiot compared them to paedophiles, the lowest specimen in contemporary society. It was pure moral bombast, fired by a preference for localism over international travel. Yet now, post-metamorphosis, Monbiot cites science to denounce travellers. In his new book, it says that if you throw all the `numbers' into `the equation', then you will discover that `aviation will account for between 91 per cent and 258 per cent of all the greenhouse gases the UK will be permitted, [under a new law], to produce in 2050' (14). Numbers, equations, accounting, 2050. again, moral disgust is transformed into a scientific measurement; prejudice becomes wrapped up in percentages.

Similarly, middle-class disdain for supermarkets and their cheap and garish wares (old Monbiot wrote of how the supermarkets are putting small shops out of business) is today expressed in the extremely dubious science of `food miles': the distance a foodstuff travels, and thus how much it impacts on the environment, before it hits Tesco's shelves. Yet as I argued on spiked recently: `The "food miles" category is not an accurate scientific measurement of the impact of food production on the climate - it is a moral judgement about the "right" and "wrong" way of producing and consuming things.' (15)

Old snobbery about overly fecund families, especially in the sex-mad Third World, has been given a new lease of life in the green-leaning language of demography and the science of `resource depletion'. Even the hatred of football fans now has a scientific basis to it. In the past they were looked down upon as a seething, heaving, potentially violent mob. Now, serious academics and green reporters carefully measure how much football fans travel, eat and discard, and have worked out that a big football event can leave an `eco-footprint' 3,000 times as big as the pitch at Wembley (16). Courtesy of the `science' of environmentalism, even one of the foulest expressions of British snobbery - that against the working men and women who enjoy football - has been scientised; it is numerically proven that these people are, well, disgusting.

Monbiot, who once harried tourists, workers and shoppers over their bad habits but who now writes endlessly of science and sums, personifies an important shift that has taken place under the tyranny of environmentalism: the scientisation of elite fear and prejudice. And what of the science of climate change itself? No doubt there is research that shows the planet has warmed, and that man may have played a role in its warming; yet this science, too, has conveniently metamorphosed into a political and moral campaign to lower people's horizons and keep them in their place. Call me a cynic, a doubter, even a denier if you like, I don't care; but when scientific research continually and conveniently, almost magically, `proves' that people are disgusting and must rein in their desires and change their habits - just as the elite caste, from priests to politicians, have been arguing for decades! - then I get suspicious.

No, there's no conspiracy here; instead our rulers and our thinkers and our betters are instinctively feeling around for a new morality, a new form of control and judgement. And what better than easily moulded research which shows that travelling abroad is irresponsible (fact), over-shopping in supermarkets is evil (fact), wanting too much stuff will make you mentally ill (fact), having too many children is lethal (fact), and football fans are fat, foul and smelly (fact). It's almost as if one of the pious nuns who taught me at school, and who frequently spouted all of the above prejudices, suddenly happened upon scientific evidence to back up her worldview. Well, I say to the new green hectors what I often dreamt of saying to that nun, but never did: F*ck off.

The new scientisation is defensive and censorious. It suggests an elite that has lost the nerve and the will to say what is morally right and wrong, and which instead continually hides behind dubious `facts' to justify its agenda. And anyone who challenges these `facts' is put beyond the pale. When something is `scientifically proven', whether it's that flying is bad or shopping is a mental illness or the planet will end in 72 years and three months, then if anyone stands up and says that travel is a good thing, that the desire for more stuff should be satisfied, and that human ingenuity can and will make the planet a better place, they can be written off as anti-science, as liars, deniers, heretics. Well, when it comes to defending human ambition from the attacks of our pie-chart-armed elite, that's a risk I'm willing to take: let the heresy begin.

Source




WALL-E, Economic Ignorance, and the War on Modernity

The Disney/Pixar film WALL-E has been adoringly received by the majority of the theater-going public. This adoration is unjustified. The film blatantly conveys environmentalist, anti-capitalist, anti-technological propaganda - and aims it at an audience of young children, who still lack the critical faculties and intellectual sophistication to evaluate all relevant aspects of the issues presented in a rational manner that considers all sides.

But I will not focus here on how egregiously unrealistic the film's scenario of humans completely trashing Earth is. A simple look around you will suffice to refute this possibility. Garbage is not piling up around us, and landfills are in fact remarkably effective at storing it safely and even generating useful natural gases from it.

I will, rather, concentrate on a much more egregious error made by the creators of WALL-E - an error made in ignorance of basic economics and of commonsense insights regarding the nature of human behaviors and the incentives facing individual economic actors.

This error pervades the film's depiction of life aboard the Axiom, a starship made by Buy'n Large (BNL) corporation - a cross between Wal-Mart and the George W. Bush administration - to house the human refugees from Earth for 700 years after the Earth becomes too littered to remain habitable.

The startling aspect of life aboard the Axiom is its total homogeneity. Everyone is morbidly obese; everyone drinks fatty meal-replacement shakes; everyone rides around in automated carts instead of walking; no one engages in direct personal communication; no one exercises; everyone follows the BNL corporation's fashion advice (when the announcements tell the people the "blue is new red," all Axiom inhabitants switch their suit color from red to blue at the press of a button). Not only does this homogeneity mark one instant in time; it has been present all throughout the Axiom's seven centuries of travel through space. During that time, there has been zero technological progress, zero cultural innovation, and zero non-cosmetic changes in the aesthetic, philosophical, and political arrangements aboard the ship. If you believe that this is possible, then you will also believe nothing substantial at all had changed in human affairs since the year 1308.

The humans in WALL-E are not portrayed as evil; they are polite and well-intentioned, but ignorant and torpid. Strangely enough, the ship has an extensive information database about life and conditions on Earth, and nobody bothered to examine this easily accessible information for seven centuries, until the Captain suddenly has a burst of interest. Are we to assume that curiosity and elementary initiative are such rarities that they are exercised only once in 700 years?

WALL-E is egregiously wrong in assuming that technological conveniences such as easily accessible food, transportation, entertainment, and communication render all people lazy, indulgent, and devoid of initiative. Some people, to be sure, respond in this way. In the real world, however, this response tends to be temporary. In the more economically advanced countries, it tends to affect lower-income individuals who have just begun accessing historically luxurious standards of livings but have not yet developed cultural habits for managing their new-found wealth and opportunities responsibly. These habits will come with time - as they always have among groups of people that have lived prosperously for generations.

Already in the United States, the big fast food chains are racing to offer health foods - salads, fruit, and other low-calorie snacks - on their menus to keep the patronage of those who would have been satisfied with Big Macs and Whoppers in the past. Meanwhile, a wide variety of health foods and diet foods - some genuinely effective and others of dubious merit - are being consumed more broadly than ever before. In the meantime, of course, millions of people have never neglected healthful habits, even though they have for decades been surrounded by consumer goods that - in the anti-capitalists' eyes - would lead them to ruin. Just as the ready availability of guns does not automatically turn peaceful people into rampaging maniacs, neither does the ready availability of all sorts of foods turn responsible, educated, self-respecting individuals into range-of-the-moment hedonists.

With some kinds of wants met - such as food, shelter, and transportation - people virtually always tend to develop new wants or to focus on existing lower-priority wants not yet addressed. As Ludwig von Mises showed, people will act so long as they are faced with uncertainty and believe themselves capable of somehow affecting the uncertain future. These conditions will never stop existing - no matter how comfortable and prosperous people will become. Thus, humans will always act and will always strive to improve their lives. A wholly static, apathetic, sated, and torpid society is inconceivable in reality.

The economy aboard the Axiom does, however, seem to be the dream economy of popular "static equilibrium" models, where nothing ever changes - not production, consumption, preferences, or expectations of the future. Yet, as Austrian economics informs us, such conditions have never existed nor can they exist. At best, they are mere useful theoretical constructs - but certainly not accurate depictions of any realistic economy. In the real world, there exist immense changes of preferences, widely dispersed information, tremendous uncertainty about the future, and numerous entrepreneurs who alert themselves to possible opportunities for satisfying people's wants in a better way than they are currently being satisfied. That there is not one entrepreneur aboard the Axiom prior to the Captain's paradigm-shifting discovery of information that was easily accessible to everybody for the last seven centuries is testimony to the film creators' ignorance of what makes economic change possible and ubiquitous.

The humans' return to Earth and attempt to "rebuild" their lives there is, too, ludicrous from any sound economic perspective. After having had a sustainable automatic food production system aboard the Axiom - which had apparently worked without fail for seven centuries - the humans all of a sudden decide to resort to traditional agriculture. The one thing they had machine capital to do for them, they decided to do manually instead. Rather than devoting the precious time bought by the ready availability of food to, say, create art, repair all those broken skyscrapers, or design even better robots, the humans decided to manually dig holes in the ground and grow their food through backbreaking toil that led millions throughout history to die premature deaths. Oh, by the way, the film left that part out. Virtually no one today who romanticizes the "good old days" of traditional agriculture recognizes how nasty, brutish, and short life under such conditions had been for millennia. Once the first industrial factories opened - with their long hours, dangerous equipment, and meager pay - people flocked to them in droves, because the factory conditions (including the sanitation provided and wages paid) were greatly preferable to those of toiling virtually all day on the traditional farm.

The creators of WALL-E, sitting in their comfortable Hollywood studios, did a tremendous disservice to the civilization that made their very work and high standards of living possible. They glorified a lifestyle which would likely have killed them - and countless others - had it actually been revived. I, for one, have seen a semblance of these "good old days," having spent summers as a child with my maternal grandparents in a remote Belarusian village - where little had changed since the 1917 Socialist Revolution. The perpetual manual labor, lack of sanitation, lack of health care, and widespread inclinations toward alcoholism are never mentioned by those extolling the virtues of traditional farm life. I have spent my life to date moving increasingly further away from that, and I will resist vigorously the efforts of those who seek to drag our entire civilization back into miserable, decrepit pre-modernity.

WALL-E is an assault on modern civilization, borne of deep economic and historical ignorance. The film shamefully betrays the efforts of countless heroic individuals who have raised humanity out of the muck of barbarism. Its anti-technological, anti-capitalist message needs to be exposed and countered by all thinking individuals.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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20 July, 2008

Deceitful ass-covering by the American Physical Society exposed

Below is a letter from The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley recently sent to the President of the American Physical Society. Christopher Monckton's original paper together with the contentious APS disclaimer can be found here. The Announcement by the APS editor of Physics & Society opening a debate about the IPCC and its scientific critics is available online here.

From: The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley Carie, Rannoch, PH17 2QJ, UK monckton@mail.com. 19 July 2008

To: Arthur Bienenstock, Esq., Ph.D., President, American Physical Society, Wallenberg Hall, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg 160, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94305. By email to artieb@slac.stanford.edu

The editors of Physics and Society, a newsletter of the American Physical Society, invited me to submit a paper for their July 2008 edition explaining why I considered that the warming that might be expected from anthropogenic enrichment of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide might be significantly less than the IPCC imagines. I very much appreciated this courteous offer, and submitted a paper.

The commissioning editor referred it to his colleague, who subjected it to a thorough and competent scientific review. I was delighted to accede to all of the reviewer's requests for revision (see the attached reconciliation sheet). Most revisions were intended to clarify for physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC evaluates climate sensitivity - a method which the IPCC does not itself clearly or fully explain.

The paper was duly published, immediately after a paper by other authors setting out the IPCC's viewpoint. Some days later, however, without my knowledge or consent, the following appeared, in red, above the text of my paper as published on the website of Physics and Society:

"The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions."

This seems discourteous. I had been invited to submit the paper; I had submitted it; an eminent Professor of Physics had then scientifically reviewed it in meticulous detail; I had revised it at all points requested, and in the manner requested; the editors had accepted and published the reviewed and revised draft (some 3000 words longer than the original) and I had expended considerable labor, without having been offered or having requested any honorarium.

Please either remove the offending red-flag text at once or let me have the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it who considered my paper before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper; a copy of this rapporteur's findings and ratio decidendi; the date of the Council meeting at which the findings were presented; a copy of the minutes of the discussion; and a copy of the text of the Council's decision, together with the names of those present at the meeting.

If the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts:

primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had;

secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the "overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community"; and,

tertio, that "The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions"? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?

Having regard to the circumstances, surely the Council owes me an apology?




"Consensus" on Man-Made Warming Shattering

By Dennis Avery

The "consensus" on man-made global warming may have received a mortal wound. Physics & Society, The journal of the 46,000-member American Physical Society, just published "Climate Sensitivity Revisited," by Viscount Christopher Monckton. Monckton is an avowed man-made warming skeptic, and former science advisor to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (If you want to see the science, click here )

Viscount Monckton contends that the climate alarmists have mistakenly pre-programmed their computer models with equations that overstate the earth's sensitivity to CO2 by 500 to 2,000 percent-thus creating a senseless First World panic that itself threatens the future of society. Physics & Society says: "There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S."

The journal then offers both the Monckton paper and a response by David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz, of the California Polytechnic Institute. P&S also issued an open invitation to "further contributions from the physics community." It had to happen. Too much evidence has mounted against CO2 as a cause of the modern warming.

Sea ice is expanding globally, not retreating (especially in the Antarctic).

The oceans have stopped rising, and actually started to fall; that might be because they "stopped warming 4-5 years ago" according to NASA, based on data from the 3,000 new Argo floats now scattered world-wide.

The number and intensity of hurricanes, cyclones, and tornadoes hasn't increased.

Rain has returned to Australia, reminding us again it is naturally the driest continent on earth.

The crowning blow: After nine years of non-warming, the planet actually began to cool in 2007 and 2008 for the first time in 30 years. The net warming from 1940 to 1998 had been a miniscule 0.2 degree C; the UK's Hadley Centre says earth's temperature has now dropped back down to about the levels of 100 years ago. There has thus been no net global warming within "living memory"!

The current cooling doesn't mean another Ice Age is looming. There is massive global evidence of a 1,500-year warming cycle, going back 1 million years. It may be driven by the slightly varying distance between the earth and the sun. The sunspot index has had a 79 percent correlation with the earth's thermometer record since 1860, during this time, the temperature correlation with CO2 is a dismissive 22 percent.

NASA's Jason satellite tells us the Pacific Ocean has entered a cool phase. Historically, these have lasted 25-30 years. After that, there may be some additional warming. However, the 1,500-year cycles typically shift abruptly; we should already have most of this one's warming. When we'll get the inevitable cooling? Probably centuries from now.

The warming debate is far from over, but an actual debate looks likely. Reputations and huge bundles of cash have been bet on man-made warming, including billions in government funding for climate research. The UN's reputation-and perhaps its future-are on the line. The American Physical Society itself has issued a statement: It stands by its belief that human-emitted CO2 is "changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the earth's climate" and notes that Physics & Society is not peer-reviewed.

Nonetheless, the debate is finally and openly joined, after 20 years of the Greens proclaiming humanity's guilt for wrecking the planet as beyond sane discussion. Now, we look forward to a full-scale exploration of the science. We have heard quite enough from the computers.

Source




Ofcom was wrong and Fred Singer was right about Sir David King

The Kingly one succeeded in convincing the British regulator that he would never say something as insane about the Artic as Fred Singer said he did. But, under the heading "Why Antarctica will soon be the only place to live", Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor of "The Independent" (Britain's "Greenest" major newspaper) wrote as follows:

Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.

He said that the Earth was entering the "first hot period" since 60 million years ago, when there was no ice on the planet and "the rest of the globe could not sustain human life". The shock warning - one of the starkest yet delivered by a top scientist or senior government figure - comes as ministers are deciding whether to weaken measures next week to cut the pollution that causes climate change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as "very, very critical indeed".

The Prime Minister - who was launching a new alliance of governments, businesses and pressure groups to tackle global warming - added that he could not think of "any bigger long-term question facing the world community". Yet the Government is considering relaxing limits on emissions by industry under an EU scheme on Tuesday.

Sir David says that there is "plenty of evidence" to back up his warning. Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - the main "green-house gas" causing climate change - were already 50 per cent higher than at any time in the last 420,000 years. The last time they were at this level - 379 parts per million and rising - was 60 million years ago during a rapid period of global warming in the Palaeocene epoch, he said. Levels soared to 1,000 parts per million, causing a massive reduction of life on earth.

"No ice was left on earth. Antarctica was the best place for mammals to live, and the rest of the world would not sustain human life," he said. And Sir David warned that if the world did not curb its burning of fossil fuels "we will reach that level by the end of the century".

Source




COMMENTS ON THE RECENT STATEMENT BY THE CLIMATE COMMITTEE OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND

Dr Vincent Gray delivers a mega-fisking to another "orchestrated litany of lies" from New Zealand

INTRODUCTION

As an Expert Reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for eighteen years, that is to say, from the very beginning. I have submitted thousands of comments to all of the Reports. My comments on the Fourth IPCC Report, all 1,898 of them, are to be found at IPCC (2007) and my opinions of the IPCC are in Gray (2008b). I am therefore very familiar with the arguments presented by the IPCC, many of which have now been copied by the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the responses to them.

I will first comment on the Introduction

to make absolutely clear what the evidence is for climate change and anthropogenic (human-induced) causes.

The climate has always changed and always will. No evidence whatsoever for a human contribution to the climate is given in their following statement. Their Summary is as follows:

The globe is warming

This statement is a lie. The globe is currently cooling. According to the CSSP Report (Karl et al 2007), there are currently nine authorities currently involved in providing a dataset of monthly global temperature anomalies. They are

NOAA's National Climate Data Center (NCDC, GHCN-COADS)
NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (HadCRUT2v)
NOAA radiosonde network , (RATPAC)
Hadley Centre Radiosonde Network (HadAT2)
University of Alabama Lower Troposphere TLT MSU (UAH )
Remote Sensing Systems Lower Troposphere TLT MSU (RSS)
National Center for Environmental Protection Reanalysis (NCEP50)
European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts Reanalysis (ERA40)

Eight of these authorities agree that the globe is currently cooling. Only GISS disagrees.

because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions

No evidence is presented to justify this conclusion. There are "projections" of computer models but these are not predictions, they are merely the results of assumptions made in the model. No "projected" result has ever been successfully related to an actual change in the climate.

Measurements show that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are well above levels seen for many thousands of years.

This statement is a lie. 90,000 measurements published in peer-reviewed journals since 1850, some by Nobel Prize-winners, have been suppressed by the IPCC because they do not agree with this statement. (Beck 2007). Stability of carbon dioxide in ice cores thousands of years old is questionable. (Jaworowski 2007). Recent measurements of carbon dioxide are confined only to exceptional circumstances over the ocean, and do not include measurements over land. (Manning et al 1994).

Further global climate changes are predicted,

This is another lie. Computer models of the climate have never been shown to be capable of prediction, and the IPCC recognises this by using the term "projections" for the output from the models. This statement refers only to greenhouse gas concentrations anyway, not to any other "global climate change"

with impacts expected to become more costly as time progresses.

"Expected" by whom?. By "experts" whose finance depends on favourable "expectations". On what basis?. Purely on the opinions of these "experts".

Reducing future impacts of climate change will require substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

Again, mere opinion, without any evidence that this "requirement" will work.

fostering evidence-based scientific debate

There is no "debate". This is a one-sided statement which does not permit discussion or disagreement in public. At least I can debate it on the Internet.

We hope this statement makes a useful contribution to public understanding of climate change.

I hope that my comments will make a similar useful contribution.

THE STATEMENT

There has been an overall upward trend in global surface temperature since the beginning of the 20th Century.

Typically, from the nine global temperature records, you choose the least reliable, the surface temperature record, which suffers from numerous problems and biases, such as poor and unrepresentative sampling, poor quality control, and urban and land-change influences. The least reliable section was at the beginning of the 20th century, when presumed influences of greenhouse gases were negligible..

The surface record has been highly irregular and it has included several upwards and downward "trends", none of which could be called "overall". A downward "trend" was shown from 1940 to 1976, apparently uninfluenced by increased greenhouse gas emissions, It is difficult to explain why the greenhouse gases had a sudden reversal of influence for the upwards "trend" from 1976 to 1998. After 1998 the temperature has fallen, and there was a "trend" downwards from 2002 to the present day, unnoticed by this statement.

Most of the observed global warming over the past 50 years is very likely to be due to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

"the past 50 years" has been dishonestly chosen to eliminate the most reliable observed global temperature records, the radiosondes, (from 1958) and the MSU satellites (from 1978) for exclusive consideration. This record actually shows "global cooling" from 1958 to 1976, so it is only the bit in the middle of the record, 1976 to 1998, which showed "global warming"; considered "very likely" to have been "due to increases of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere". It is strange, that the greenhouse gases suddenly stopped operating from 1958 to 1976 and from 1998 to 2008.

As before, the opinion that this strange behaviour was "very likely" comes entirely from "experts" with a conflict of interest.

Greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere by allowing sunlight to reach the Earth?s surface but trapping some of the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth. Human activities have increased the concentrations of carbon dioxide, methaneand nitrous oxide since the mid-1700s. More than half of the carbon dioxide concentration increase has occurred since 1970.

This may be true, but there is no evidence that there have been any harmful effects as a result.

Human activities have also increased concentrations of aerosols (small air pollution particles) in the atmosphere. These may have partially offset the heating effect of the greenhouse gases by scattering some sunlight back to space.

This may also be true, but it merely shows that net effects can be very complicated. Since more aerosols are emitted in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere, and over land rather than sea, one might expect greater cooling in the North and over the sea. In reality, it is the South and the oceans where temperature rises have been less.

Natural factors also cause climate variations. Climate has always varied, over timescales of decades, centuries and millennia. Until recently these variations have had only natural causes -- including changes in the tilt of the Earth's axis, the shape of theEarth's orbit, the energy output from the sun, dust from volcanic emissions, and heat exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean (such as El Nino). This natural variability still occurs in addition to the human influences. Thus while the overall decade-to-century temperature trend is upwards, individual years can still be warmer or cooler than previous years.

Here you display your prejudices. When the temperature goes up it is "very likely" due to human greenhouse emissions, It is only due to natural causes when it goes down, and great efforts must be made to eliminate these by averaging over the year, the decade, the century, in the hope that they can be covered up.

Further global changes are predicted. Many impacts are expected to be more costly as time progresses. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols were held constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming trend would be expected for at least several decades, due mainly to the slow response of the oceans.

Here we go again. Climate models cannot make "predictions", but the IPCC soothsayers have no limit to what can be "expected" without any evidence.

Additional increases in greenhouse gas concentrations, and resulting changes in climate, will occur over coming decades unless concerted international action is taken to substantially reduce emissions. Impacts will vary regionally but, aggregated and discounted to the present, they are very likely to impose net annual economic costs which will increase over time as global temperatures increase.

The end is nigh! Prepare to meet thy doom!!! Unsubstantiated nonsense......

CONCLUSION

This Climate Change Statement is veritably an orchestrated litany of lies, to borrow a phrase. As a longstanding member of the Royal Society of New Zealand I am unable to tolerate such a departure as this from the supposed objectives of fair or responsible comment on scientific matters, so I have resigned in protest.

Much more here




Religion of the Sick-Souled Socialist

Speaking of environmentalism as a secular religion, check out the Wall Street Journal's Letters section today, which piles up the replies to Bret Stephens's "Global Warming as Mass Neurosis," an article Planet Gore excerpted last week. Here are the global warming movement's cultic parallels, many of whose characteristics can be found in Walter Martin and Ravi Zacharias's famous 2003 book, "The Kingdom of the Cults":

(1) Leadership by a New Age prophet - in this case, former Vice President Al Gore.

(2) Assertion of an apocalyptic threat to all mankind.

(3) An absolutist definition of both the threat and the proposed solution(s).

(4) Promise of a salvation from this pending apocalypse.

(5) Devotion to an inspired text which embodies all the answers - in this case Mr. Gore's pseudo-scientific book "Earth in the Balance" and his new "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary.

(6) A specific list of "truths" which must be embraced and proselytized by all cult members.

(7) An absolute intolerance of any deviation from any of these truths by any cult member.

(8) A strident intolerance of any outside criticism of the cult's definition of the problem or of its proposed solutions.

(9) A "heaven-on-earth" vision of the results of the mission's success or a "hell-on-earth" result if the cultic mission should fail.

(10) An inordinate fear (and an outright rejection of the possibility) of being proven wrong in either the apocalyptic vision or the proposed salvation.

Finally, since this cultic juggernaut has persuaded (brainwashed?) a majority of Americans into at least a temporary mindset of support for its pseudo-religious scam, Mr. Stephens's label of "mass neurosis" seems frighteningly accurate.

Amusing stuff. Still, I think I prefer Tom Nelson's allegorical rundown that appeared back in April. Amusing word, that: allegorical - in this context.

Source




Jerry Brown's War on California Suburbs

In the 1960s, California Gov. Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown laid the foundation for building modern, suburban California with massive new highway projects and one of the most significant public water projects in history. The resulting infrastructure gave us broad, low-density developments with room for millions of Californians to have a home with a backyard and two cars in the driveway. Those were the good old days. Today, Pat Brown's son Jerry is waging war on the very communities his father helped make possible. Why? Global warming.

Jerry Brown has been a fixture of the state's politics for more than three decades. He was elected governor in 1974 and four years later earned the moniker "Governor Moonbeam" for his interest in creating a space program in California. In 1998, he was elected mayor of Oakland, a working-class city across the bay from San Francisco. And in 2006, he was elected attorney general. Today he is mulling a run for governor in 2010, when he will be 72.

In the meantime, Mr. Brown is taking aim at the suburbs, concerned about the alleged environmental damage they cause. He sees suburban houses as inefficient users of energy. He sees suburban commuters clogging the roads as wasting precious fossil fuel. And, mostly, he sees wisdom in an intricately thought-out plan to compel residents to move to city centers or, at least, to high-density developments clustered near mass transit lines.

Mr. Brown is not above using coercion to create the demographic patterns he wants. In recent months, he has threatened to file suit against municipalities that shun high-density housing in favor of building new suburban singe-family homes, on the grounds that they will pollute the environment. He is also backing controversial legislation -- Senate bill 375 -- moving through the state legislature that would restrict state highway funds to communities that refuse to adopt "smart growth" development plans. "We have to get the people from the suburbs to start coming back" to the cities, Mr. Brown told planning experts in March.

The problem is, that's not what Californians want. For two generations, residents have been moving to the suburbs. They are attracted to the prospect, although not always the reality, of good schools, low crime rates and the chance to buy a home. A 2002 Public Policy Institute of California poll found that 80% of Californians prefer single-family homes over apartment living. And, even as the state's traffic jams are legendary, it is not always true that residents clog roads to commute to jobs in downtown Los Angeles or other cities.

Ali Modarres, associate director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University Los Angeles, believes the density-first approach is ill-suited for areas like L.A. County, where most residents and jobs are dispersed among subregional "nodes." Research by Mr. Modarres, co-author of the powerful book "City and Environment," demonstrates that people living in nodes -- Pasadena, Torrance, Burbank and Irvine -- often enjoy considerably shorter average commutes than do a lot of inner-city residents. Many of these people commute through tangled traffic to get to jobs on the periphery.

"I have no problem trying to find solutions on global warming," Mr. Modarres told me, "but I doubt these kinds of solutions are going to do anything. The whole notion that through physical planning you can get a lot of people to abandon their cars is pretty iffy."

Mr. Modarres also points out that forcing developers to build near transit lines, a strategy favored by "smart-growth advocates," does not mean residents will actually take the train or bus. A survey conducted last year by the Los Angeles Times of "transit oriented development" found that "only a small fraction of residents shunned their cars during rush hour."

There is also little punch behind the science used to justify the drive to resettling the cities -- and plenty of power behind the argument that suburbs are better for Mother Earth. Several prominent scholars -- including University of Maryland atmospheric scientist Konstanin Vinnikov, University of Georgia meterologist J. Marshall Shepard and Brookings Institution research analyst Andrea Sarzynski -- have found there is little evidence linking suburbanization to global warming, pointing out that density itself can produce increased auto congestion and pollution.

The antisuburbanites also ignore evidence that packing people together in cities produces "heat islands." Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles sometimes reach as much as three degrees centigrade higher than outlying areas. Recent studies in Australia have shown that multistoried housing generates higher carbon emissions than either townhomes or single-family residences because of the energy consumed by common areas, elevators and parking structures, as well as the lack of tree cover.

In the short run, while being "tough" on climate change appears popular, an assault on the preferred lifestyle of suburban voters may not. These voters aren't likely to appreciate being castigated as ecological evildoers, especially by people who generally house themselves in spacious splendor.

A report by the Los Angeles Weekly's Dave Zahniser -- entitled "Do as We Say, Not as We Do" -- found that a lot of prominent "smart growth" advocates in Los Angeles live in large single-family homes, some of them long hikes from mass transit. Mr. Brown himself, not long ago, moved from a loft in crime-ridden downtown Oakland to a bucolic setting in the Oakland Hills.

At a time when political trends favor Democrats, a hypocritical jihad against basic middle-class aspirations may not be the best strategy. Mr. Brown would be better off embracing telecommuting and other ideas to cut suburban commutes that accommodate the majority's dreams and preferences. He might have learned that from his father. Instead he's gone from wanting to launch people into space to opposing people who move to the suburbs.

Source

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19 July, 2008

CANUTE COULDN'T STOP SEA LEVEL RISING. OFFICIALS CAN'T STOP IT EITHER

Below is a summary of a talk given by Christopher Monckton [monckton@mail.com] to the annual conference of the Local Government Association at Bournemouth, England, on 3 July 2008. Each statement is supported by references. Citation details are available from Viscount Monckton

Even if global temperature has risen, it has risen in a straight line at a natural 0.5 C/century for 300 years since the Sun recovered from the Maunder Minimum, long before we could have had any influence (Akasofu, 2008).

Even if warming had sped up, now temperature is 7C below most of the past 500m yrs; 5C below all 4 recent inter-glacials; and up to 3C below the Bronze Age, Roman & mediaeval optima (Petit et al., 1999; IPCC, 1990).

Even if today's warming were unprecedented, the Sun is the probable cause. It was more active in the past 70 years than in the previous 11,400 (Usoskin et al., 2003; Hathaway et al., 2004; IAU, 2004; Solanki et al., 2005).

Even if the sun were not to blame, the UN's climate panel has not shown that humanity is to blame. CO2 occupies only one-ten-thousandth more of the atmosphere today than it did in 1750 (Keeling & Whorf, 2004).

Even if CO2 were to blame, no "runaway greenhouse" catastrophe occurred in the Cambrian era, when there was ~20 times today's concentration in the air. Temperature was just 7 C warmer than today (IPCC, 2001).

Even if CO2 levels had set a record, there has been no warming since 1998. For 7 years, temperatures have fallen. The Jan 2007-Jan 2008 fall was the steepest since 1880 (GISS; Hadley; NCDC; RSS; UAH: all 2008).

Even if the planet were not cooling, the rate of warming is far less than the UN imagines. It would be too small to cause harm. There may well be no new warming until 2015, if then (Keenlyside et al., 2008).

Even if warming were harmful, humankind's effect is minuscule. "The observed changes may be natural" (IPCC, 2001; cf. Chylek et al., 2008; Lindzen, 2007; Spencer, 2007; Wentz et al., 2007; Zichichi, 2007; etc.).

Even if our effect were significant, the UN's projected human fingerprint - tropical mid-troposphere warming at thrice the surface rate - is absent (Douglass et al., 2004, 2007; Lindzen, 2001, 2007; Spencer, 2007).

Even if the human fingerprint were present, climate models cannot predict the future of the complex, chaotic climate unless we know its initial state to an unattainable precision (Lorenz, 1963; Giorgi, 2005; IPCC, 2001).

Even if computer models could work, they cannot predict future rates of warming. Temperature response to atmospheric greenhouse-gas enrichment is an input to the computers, not an output from them (Akasofu, 2008).

Even if the UN's imagined high "climate sensitivity" to CO2 were right, disaster would not be likely to follow. The peer-reviewed literature is near-unanimous in not predicting climate catastrophe (Schulte, 2008).

Even if Al Gore were right that harm might occur, "the Armageddon scenario he depicts is not based on any scientific view". Sea level may rise 1 ft to 2100, not 20 ft (Burton, J., 2007; IPCC, 2007; Moerner, 2004).

Even if Armageddon were likely, scientifically-unsound precautions are already starving millions as biofuels, a "crime against humanity", pre-empt agricultural land, doubling staple cereal prices in a year. (UNFAO, 2008).

Even if precautions were not killing the poor, they would work no better than the "precautionary" ban on DDT, which killed 40 million children before the UN at last ended it (Dr. Arata Kochi, UN malaria program, 2006).

Even if precautions might work, the strategic harm done to humanity by killing the world's poor and destroying the economic prosperity of the West would outweigh any climate benefit (Henderson, 2007; UNFAO, 2008).

Even if the climatic benefits of mitigation could outweigh the millions of deaths it is causing, adaptation as and if necessary would be far more cost-effective and less harmful (all economists except Stern, 2006).

Even if mitigation were as cost-effective as adaptation, the public sector - which emits twice as much carbon to do a given thing as the private sector - must cut its own size by half before it preaches to us (Friedman, 1993).

Therefore, extravagant, futile schemes by the State and its organs to mitigate imagined "global warming" will have no more effect than King Canute's command to the tide not to come in and wet the Royal feet.

We must get the science right or we shall get the policy wrong. There is no manmade "climate crisis". It is a non-problem. The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.




British regulators uphold accuracy of "Swindle" film

On Monday Ofcom is expected to publish a long-awaited report that upholds claims by some of the scientists who appeared in the programme last year that they were misrepresented. The Great Global Warming Swindle, which aired in March last year, has been accused of downplaying the threat in the public mind. It sparked an outcry among environmentalists and many campaigners argue that the programme has contributed to people believing that the threat is not real.

It is understood that complaints by Carl Wunsch, a climate expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be upheld. The regulator is expected to say that Channel 4 should have told Dr Wunsch that the programme was going to be a polemic. The regulator will also uphold complaints made by the governments former chief scientist, Sir David King, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But the broadcaster will not be censured over a second complaint about accuracy, which contained 131 specific points and ran to 270 pages, with Ofcom finding that it did not mislead the public.

Debate has raged since the programme was shown, with many scientists claiming that it misrepresented evidence about the threat of global warming and that it rehashed discredited arguments and skewed data and charts to make its arguments stand up. In the closing moments of the program a voiceover from the climate change sceptic Fred Singer claimed that the Chief Scientist of the UK had said that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the planet would be in the Antarctic and that humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic. Sir David has never made such a statement. It is thought that Mr Singer confused the comments with those made by the scientist James Lovelock, who infuriated many colleagues in the science community when he publicly questioned global warming.

Ofcom is expected to find that the programme made significant allegations against the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, questioning its credibility and failed to offer it timely and appropriate opportunity to respond. Channel 4 argues that the organisation refused to cooperate with the programme-makers.

After the broadcast, Dr Wunsch said that the programme was as close to pure propaganda as anything since the Second World War and that he was duped into appearing on it. Martin Durkin, the director of the programme, has defended it vigorously. He wrote in a newspaper: The death of this theory will be painful and ugly. But it will die. Because it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The producers have sold the programme to 21 other countries and a global DVD release went ahead despite protests from scientists. Channel 4 claimed that the public response to the programme, in the form of phone calls it received, was six to one in favour of it. The broadcaster said that the documentary was a useful contribution to a timely debate, arguing that it had a tradition for iconoclastic programming and that it had also aired programmes supporting the case for man-made climate change.

A recent poll found that the majority of the British public is sceptical that climate change is caused by human activity, with many saying the problem exists but is exaggerated. Ipsos MORI polled 1,039 adults and found that six out of ten agreed that many scientific experts still question if human beings are contributing to climate change. Campaigners believe that steadily increasing economic worries are denting public interest in environmental issues and some of them have blamed the programme.

Channel 4s head of science, Hamish Mykura, said last March that he commissioned the film because it reflected the views of a significant minority of respected scientists. An Ofcom spokeswoman said she could not comment before the report was published. Channel 4 said that it could not comment at this stage.

Source




Will MSM Report on 2008 Arctic Ice Increase?

Good news! Despite the recent global warming alarmism in the media that Arctic ice might melt away completely from the North Pole this summer, the latest scientific observations show that Arctic ice has actually increased by nearly a half million square miles over this time last year. This is in stark contrast to the Chicken Little hysteria that was being promoted less than a month ago on the CBS Early Show as reported by Kyle Drennen on June 27 here in NewsBusters:
On Friday's CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair about global warming: "Also ahead this morning, we'll talk about a disturbing new report from some scientists in Colorado who say that there is the very real possibility that for the first time we will see the ice in the North Pole melt away completely during the summer."
Well, the latest information on Arctic ice conditions is just in from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and Maggie Rodriguez can breath easy (emphasis mine):
Arctic sea ice extent on July 16 stood at 8.91 million square kilometers (3.44 square miles). While extent was below the 1979 to 2000 average of 9.91 square kilometers (3.83 million square miles), it was 1.05 million square kilometers (0.41 million square miles) above the value for July 16, 2007...
So why the increase in the ice shelf over last year despite the MSM hysteria on this topic? An explanation is given:
How is this different from what we saw in the record-breaking year 2007? In early July 2007, an atmospheric pattern developed that featured high pressure over the Beaufort Sea. This pattern promoted especially strong sea ice loss. The pattern that has dominated the summer of 2008, so far, seems less favorable for ice loss...
So won't Maggie Rodriquez and other global warming alarmists be excited over this news about increased ice in the Arctic this summer? Don't hold your breath. Rodriguez and others in the MSM will probably just let their original dire global warming predictions stand without any later corrections when the scientific facts prove them wrong. So let us sign off on this latest example of global warming alarmism predictions gone wrong with a June 27 quote on this topic from Steve Connor, "science editor" of the Independent (U.K.):
It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic - and worrying - examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.
Sorry, Steve, but just the opposite has happened. So can we also expect you to correct yourself with the latest data showing an increase in Arctic ice over last year? Your humble correspondent is not holding his breath waiting for such a correction from you, Maggie Rodriquez, nor any other member of the MSM that hyped an ice free North Pole for 2008.

Source




RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS CHALLENGE CLIMATE CHANGE CONSENSUS

Russian scientists deny that the Kyoto Protocol reflects a consensus view of the world scientific community.

As western nations step up pressure on India and China to curb the emission of greenhouse gases, Russian scientists reject the very idea that carbon dioxide may be responsible for global warming.

Russian critics of the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for cuts in CO2 emissions, say that the theory underlying the pact lacks scientific basis. Under the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, it is human-generated greenhouse gases, and mainly CO2, that cause climate change. "The Kyoto theorists have put the cart before the horse," says renowned Russian geographer Andrei Kapitsa. "It is global warming that triggers higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way round."

Russian researchers made this discovery while studying ice cores recovered from the depth of 3.5 kilometres in Antarctica. Analysis of ancient ice and air bubbles trapped inside revealed the composition of the atmosphere and air temperature going back as far as 400,000 years. "We found that the level of CO2 had fluctuated greatly over the period but at any given time increases in air temperature preceded higher concentrations of CO2," says academician Kapitsa, who worked in Antarctica for many years. Russian studies showed that throughout history, CO2 levels in the air rose 500 to 600 years after the climate warmed up. Therefore, higher concentrations of greenhouse gases registered today are the result, not the cause, of global warming.

Critics of the CO2 role in climate change point out that water vapours are a far more potent factor in creating the greenhouse effect as their concentration in the atmosphere is five to 10 times higher than that of CO2. "Even if all CO2 were removed from the earth atmosphere, global climate would not become any cooler," says solar physicist Vladimir Bashkirtsev.

The hypothesis of anthropogenic greenhouse gases was born out of computer modelling of climate changes. Russian scientists say climate models are inaccurate since scientific understanding of many natural climate factors is still poor and cannot be properly modelled. Oleg Sorokhtin of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Ocean Studies, and many other Russian scientists maintain that global climate depends predominantly on natural factors, such as solar activity, precession (wobbling) of the Earth's axis, changes in ocean currents, fluctuations in saltiness of ocean surface water, and some other factors, whereas industrial emissions do not play any significant role. Moreover, greater concentrations of CO2 are good for life on Earth, Dr. Sorokhtin argues, as they make for higher crop yields and faster regeneration of forests.

"There were periods in the history of the Earth when CO2 levels were a million times higher than today, and life continued to evolve quite successfully," agrees Vladimir Arutyunov of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Chemical Physics.

When four years ago, then President Vladimir Putin was weighing his options on the Kyoto Protocol the Russian Academy of Sciences strongly advised him to reject it as having "no scientific foundation." He ignored the advice and sent the Kyoto pact to Parliament for purely political reasons: Moscow traded its approval of the Kyoto Protocol for the European Union's support for Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organisation. Russian endorsement was critical, as without it the Kyoto Protocol would have fallen through due to a shortage of signatories. It did not cost much for Russia to join the Kyoto Protocol since its emission target was set at the level of 1990, that is, before the Russian economy crashed following the break-up of the Soviet Union. According to some projections, Russia will not exceed its target before 2017. Notwithstanding this, the Russian scientific community is vocal in its opposition to the Kyoto process.

"The Kyoto Protocol is a huge waste of money," says Dr. Sorokhtin. "The Earth's atmosphere has built-in regulatory mechanisms that moderate climate changes. When temperatures rise, ocean water evaporation increases, denser clouds stop solar rays and surface temperatures decline."

Academician Kapitsa denounced the Kyoto Protocol as "the biggest ever scientific fraud." The pact was lobbied by European politicians and industrialists, critics say, in order to improve the competitiveness of European products and slow down economic growth in emerging economies. "The European Union pushed through the Kyoto Protocol in order to reduce the competitive edge of the U.S. and other countries where ecological standards are less stringent than in Europe," says ecologist Sergei Golubchikov.

Russian scientists deny that the Kyoto Protocol reflects a consensus view of the world scientific community. Academician Kapitsa complains that opponents of the man-caused global warming are routinely denied the floor at international climate forums. "A large number of critical documents submitted at the 1995 U.N. conference in Madrid vanished without a trace," the scientist says. "As a result, the discussion was one-sided and heavily biased, and the U.N. declared global warming to be a scientific fact."

Critics concede that the thrust of the Kyoto Protocol is towards promoting energy-saving technologies, but then, they argue, it should have been just that - a protocol on energy efficiency and energy conservation. The problem with the Kyoto process, critics say, is that it shifts the emphasis away from genuine ecological problems, such as industrial, air and water pollution, to the wasteful fight against harmless gases. "Ecological treaties should seek to curb emissions of sulpher dioxide, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals and other highly-toxic pollutants instead of targeting carbon dioxide, which is a non-toxic gas whose impact on global warming has not been proved," says Dr. Golubchikov.

Russian researchers compare the Kyoto Protocol to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which called for phasing out Freon-12 as a preferred refrigerant. It has since been proved, says Dr. Golubchikov, that chlorine-containing Freon-12 destroys ozone only in laboratory conditions whereas in the atmosphere, it interacts with hydrogen and falls back to Earth as acid rain before it can harm ozone.

The Montreal Protocol brought billions of dollars in profits for U.S. DePont, which held global patent rights for Freon-134, an alternative refrigerant that does not interact with ozone. "Within 10 years of the Montreal Protocol the output of refrigeration compressors in the U.S. increased by 60 per cent, whereas in Europe it declined by a similar proportion. In Russia, which accounted for a quarter of the global market of refrigerants, the industry ground to a complete stop," says Yevgeny Utkin, Secretary of Russia's Inter-Agency Commission for Climate Change.

The ultimate irony of the Montreal Protocol is that the new refrigerant is the most potent among greenhouse gases blacklisted under the Kyoto Protocol, and moreover is explosion-prone. The Freon bubble burst when, in 1989, the ozone layer suddenly jumped to the pre-Montreal Protocol level and has since continued to rise. Russian critics of the Kyoto Protocol are convinced that the greenhouse gases bubble will likewise prove short-lived.

Global cooling

Who remembers today, they query, that in the 1970s, when global temperatures began to dip, many warned that we faced a new ice age? An editorial in The Time magazine on June 24, 1974, quoted concerned scientists as voicing alarm over the atmosphere "growing gradually cooler for the past three decades", "the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland," and other harbingers of an ice age that could prove "catastrophic." Man was blamed for global cooling as he is blamed today for global warming. "Climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth," The Time lamented.

Russian scientists say that today's alarmism over greenhouse gases is as baseless as concerns about man-raised dust were 30 years ago. Solar physicists claim that the Earth has entered a 30-year period of global cooling predicated upon a cyclic decline in solar activity. They cite U.S. global weather reports as indicating that global temperatures have stopped rising since the turn of the century. "The global warming in 1970-1998 was merely a phase in the 60-year cycles of natural warming and cooling," Dr. Bashkirtsev says.

Russian climate researchers working in Antarctica confirm that temperatures on the sixth continent have been declining in recent years. According to geographer Nikolai Osokin, the ice cover in Antarctica, which accounts for 90 per cent of the global ice stock, has overall been growing.

This year global temperatures have been showing a distinct downward trend, and according to the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, in May "the globe was cooler than at any time since January 2000."

This is good news for Dr. Bashkirtsev, who together with another Russian solar physicist three years ago, bet climate scientist James Annan $10,000 that the Earth would cool down over the next decade. It is more than a wage; it is a contest between two concepts of climate change. The Russian scientists believe in sun-driven climate changes, while the British researcher creates man-caused climate-warming models on the Earth Simulator supercomputer in Japan's Yokohama.

Source




The German State is trying to send its productive industries to other countries

The price of European emission permits is rising so rapidly that German companies are threatening to leave the country. Thousands of jobs could be lost. And the environment may, in the end, be no better off.

They sat silently through two lectures, but then they couldn't control their anger any longer. The civil servants from the Environment Ministry, the Environment Agency and the German Emissions Trading Authority made it sound easy for industry to take up carbon trading. It was just too much for the managers to tolerate. "If that's the shape the trading will take, we will simply move our cement operation to Ukraine," a cement factory manager shouted into the lecture hall. "Then there won't be any trading here, nothing will be produced here anymore -- the lights will simply go out here."

The businessmen's anger surprised the emissions-allowance trading experts. They had invited industry representatives to a relaxed forum at the Environment Ministry's office in Bonn. They wanted to present international developments in the carbon trading market. However, the mood in the German business world has soured -- managers no longer have the stomach for academic lectures. The reason is that emissions allowances are already burdening some companies that require a lot of energy for production purposes.

In the last 12 months alone, the price for the right to pump a ton of carbon into the atmosphere has shot up from _23 ($36.5) to nearly _30 ($47.6), according to the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig. This hike of around 30 percent has a direct effect on the electricity production of power companies.

According to calculations by Point Carbon -- a Norwegian company that specializes in analyzing global power, gas and carbon markets -- this price hike would drive up the marginal cost of energy from an old brown coal power plant by the entire price of carbon. For modern natural gas power plants, it would increase prices by a third. Energy company RWE, which is based in the German city of Essen, reckons it alone will have to pay _9 billion ($14.2 billion) for its own electricity production, which it, of course, will pass on in higher electricity prices. So carbon trading will have a direct impact on which countries firms chose to locate in.

"If the cement industry is gradually pulled into the trading of carbon emission allowances, companies will move production to countries that don't take part in the scheme," Andreas Kern, President of the German Cement Industry Federation, has warned.

Thousands of Jobs in Danger

Still, the really tough measures of the European emissions trading scheme have not yet been put into force. Only from 2013 -- the start of the third trading period -- will prices shoot up.

According to European Commission plans, every European company will then have to acquire pollution permits from a sort of stock exchange. So far the permits have been handed out free, or largely free. In the coming months the European Council and European Parliament are supposed to give their blessing for the Commission's plans. And then the pressure to relocate abroad will likely rise for affected German firms.

"The cement industry is also facing cost increases of around _900 million ($1.4 billion) from 2013," Kern said. "That amounts to around half of our current annual revenues." Not surprisingly, the German finance ministry is now looking into whether some sectors should continue to receive the emission permits for free, Manager Magazin Online has learned.

According to calculations by the Federal Statistical Office and the Institute for Applied Ecology, a number of other German companies from industrial sectors other than the cement industry will relocate at least part of their businesses because of the new carbon trading scheme -- either because of the rising cost of permits, or because of higher electricity prices.

"In Germany the raw-material chemical industry, companies from the iron and steel sector, lime producers, aluminium producers and refineries might be affected," Franzjosef Schafhausen, the Environment Ministry's undersecretary, said at the Bonn conference. Felix Matthes, coordinator for energy and climate protection at the Institute for Applied Ecology, added: "The CO2 price signal prompts shifts in production and investment. Yet it doesn't lead to lower overall emissions, as the production and investment at the company's new sites will not be subject to CO2 pricing, either now or in the near future."

Thousands of German jobs won't be placed in jeopardy, of course, if enough other countries join the European carbon trading scheme. But at the moment there is only one winner: the German state. Finance Minister Peer Steinbrck can expect tax revenues from the climate protection program which will far exceed estimates from the start of the year.

Until the end of June, according to the finance ministry, the program added _525 million ($832 million) to the state's coffers; in the second half of the year it could rise to _900 million ($1.4 billion) -- more than predicted. However, this sum would not even cover a fraction of the fall in tax revenues from thousands of job losses which may result from the carbon trading scheme.

Source




Greens are the enemies of liberty

Environmentalists want to curb our freedom far more than the government's anti-terrorist laws ever will

Imagine a society where simply speaking out of turn or saying the "wrong thing" was openly discussed as a crime against humanity, and where sceptics or deniers of the truth were publicly labelled "criminals", hauled before the press and accused of endangering humanity with their grotesque untruths. Imagine a society where even some liberals demanded severe restrictions on freedom of movement; where people campaigned for travelling overseas to be made prohibitively expensive in order to force people to stay at home; and where immigration was frowned upon as "toxic" and "destructive".

Imagine a society so illiberal that columnists felt no qualms about demanding government legislation to force us to change our behaviour; where the public was continually implored to feel guilty about everything from driving to shopping - and where those who refused to feel guilty were said to be suffering from a "psychological" disorder or some other species of mental illness".

Surely no one would put up with such a society? Yet today, all of the above things are happening - under what we might call the tyranny of environmentalism - and people are putting up with it. In the current debate on liberty, we hear a lot about the attack on our democratic rights by the government's security agenda, but little about the grave impact of environmentalism on the fabric of freedom. It seems to me that green thinking - with its shrill intolerance of dissenting views, its deep distaste for free movement and free choice, and its view of individuals, not as history-makers, but as filthy polluters - poses a more profound threat to liberty even than the government's paranoid anti-terrorist agenda.

Environmentalists are innately hostile to freedom of speech. Last month James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate change scientists, said the CEOs of oil companies should be tried for crimes against humanity and nature. They have been "putting out misinformation", he said, and "I think that's a crime". This follows green writer Mark Lynas's insistence that there should be "international criminal tribunals" for climate change deniers, who will be "partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths". They will "have to answer for their crimes", he says. The American eco-magazine Grist recently published an article on deniers that called for "war crimes trials for these bastards. some sort of climate Nuremberg."

It is the mark of shrieking authoritarianism to look upon dissenting views not simply as wrong or foolish, but as criminal. Throughout history inquisitors and censors have sought to silence sections of society by labelling their words as "dangerous" and a threat to safety and stability; now environmentalists are doing the same. Their demonisation of sceptics as "deniers" has had a chilling effect on public debate. The environmentalist ethos is hostile to free movement, too. Behind the greens' attacks on road-building and cheap flights there lurks an agenda of enforced localism. What most of us experience as a liberty - the ability to drive great distances or to travel overseas, something our forebears only dreamt of as they spent their entire lives in the same town - has been relabelled under the tyranny of environmentalism as a "threat to the planet".

The Optimum Population Trust, which counts Jonathon Porritt among its patrons, says mass immigration is "a route to environmental collapse". It believes the UK is overpopulated and wants to "balance immigration with emigration". Not surprisingly, opportunistic anti-immigrant outfits have borrowed elements of this argument. The British National Party now argues that "our countryside is vanishing beneath a tidal wave of concrete" as a result of house-building for immigrants. "Immigration is creating an environmental disaster", the BNP says.

But perhaps the main way that environmentalism undermines the culture of freedom is by its ceaseless promotion of guilt. In the environmentalist era, we are no longer really free citizens, so much as potential polluters. We are continually told - by government, by commentators, by radical activists - that everything we do, from wearing disposable nappies to using deodorant to allowing ourselves to be cremated, is harmful to our surroundings.

Liberty - true liberty - requires that people see themselves as self-respecting, self-determining subjects, capable of making free choices and pursuing the "good life" as they see fit. Today, by contrast, we are warned that we are toxic, loaded, dangerous specimens, who must always restrain our instincts and aspire to austerity. This is not conducive to a culture of liberty; indeed, it represents a dangerous historic shift, from the Enlightenment era of free citizenship to a new dark age where individuals are depicted as meek in the face of more powerful, unpredictable forces: the gods of the sea, sky and ozone layer.

And what of those individuals who say "to hell with environmentalism" and continue living the way they want to? Apparently, in the words of the Ecologist, they have a disordered "psychology"; they are victims of "self-deception and mass denial".

Some greens openly admit they are on the side of illiberalism. George Monbiot describes environmentalism as "a campaign not for more freedom but for less". Environmentalism is instinctively and relentlessly illiberal, and it is doing more to inculcate people with fear, self-loathing and a religious-style sense of meekness than any piece of anti-terror legislation ever could. If you believe in freedom, you must reject it.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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18 July, 2008

GREENHOUSE AUSTRALIA

Now that Australia's new centre-Left Prime Minister is has pushed climate policy to the top of the national agenda as a convenient mask for his lack of any new ideas, the debate over "Greenhouse" is very lively in Australia. And, thanks to the Murdoch press, skeptical viewpoints are occasionally getting a good airing. Two of the three articles on the subject reproduced below are particularly powerful

Top Australian Greenhouse expert now a skeptic

By David Evans

I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector. FullCAM models carbon flows in plants, mulch, debris, soils and agricultural products, using inputs such as climate data, plant physiology and satellite data. I've been following the global warming debate closely for years.

When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects. The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:

1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it. Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever. If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature then I would be an alarmist again.

When the signature was found to be missing in 2007 (after the latest IPCC report), alarmists objected that maybe the readings of the radiosonde thermometers might not be accurate and maybe the hot spot was there but had gone undetected. Yet hundreds of radiosondes have given the same answer, so statistically it is not possible that they missed the hot spot. Recently the alarmists have suggested we ignore the radiosonde thermometers, but instead take the radiosonde wind measurements, apply a theory about wind shear, and run the results through their computers to estimate the temperatures. They then say that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hot spot. If you believe that you'd believe anything.

2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.

3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.

4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.

None of these points are controversial. The alarmist scientists agree with them, though they would dispute their relevance. The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.

Until now the global warming debate has merely been an academic matter of little interest. Now that it matters, we should debate the causes of global warming. So far that debate has just consisted of a simple sleight of hand: show evidence of global warming, and while the audience is stunned at the implications, simply assert that it is due to carbon emissions. In the minds of the audience, the evidence that global warming has occurred becomes conflated with the alleged cause, and the audience hasn't noticed that the cause was merely asserted, not proved. If there really was any evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming, don't you think we would have heard all about it ad nauseam by now?

The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming. Evidence consists of observations made by someone at some time that supports the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. Computer models and theoretical calculations are not evidence, they are just theory.

What is going to happen over the next decade as global temperatures continue not to rise? The Labor Government is about to deliberately wreck the economy in order to reduce carbon emissions. If the reasons later turn out to be bogus, the electorate is not going to re-elect a Labor government for a long time. When it comes to light that the carbon scare was known to be bogus in 2008, the ALP is going to be regarded as criminally negligent or ideologically stupid for not having seen through it. And if the Liberals support the general thrust of their actions, they will be seen likewise.

The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway, so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy.

Source




Evidence doesn't bear out alarmist claims of global warming

Andrew Bolt tells Kevin Rudd stuff the Ruddy one does not want to hear. No Leftist wants to have their current best toy taken away from them



THESE are the seven graphs that should make the Rudd Government feel sick. These are the seven graphs that should make you ask: What? Has global warming now stopped? Look for yourself. They show that the world hasn't warmed for a decade, and has even cooled for several years.

Sea ice now isn't melting, but spreading. The seas have not just stopped rising, but started to fall. Nor is the weather getting wilder. Cyclones, as well as tornadoes and hurricanes, aren't increasing and the rain in Australia hasn't stopped falling. What's more, the slight warming we saw over the century until 1998 still makes the world no hotter today than it was 1000 years ago. In fact, it's even a bit cooler. So, dude, where's my global warming?

These graphs should in fact be good news for the Government and all the other warming preachers who warned we were doomed by our gases, which were heating the world to hell. Now Prime Minister Kevin Rudd can at last stop sweating about the warming terrors he told us were coming - the horrific droughts, the dengue fever, the malaria, the devastation to our land and economy. And he can announce that, hey, emergency over for now. His emissions trading scheme will go into deep freeze while he checks this good news.

As for his promise this week to make your power bills go up $200 a year to stop global warming? His promise to make even food more expensive? To put gassy companies out of business, and their workers out of a job? Cancel all that. As you were, soldier. Good news has come from the front.

But now you can see why these graphs terrify Rudd, who has never admitted to a single fact they contain. You think he dares admit he panicked you for no good reason? Wasted countless millions of dollars?

Yet the facts are stark: The world simply isn't warming as he and his pet scientists said. That's why 31,000 other scientists, including world figures such as physicist Prof Freeman Dyson, atmospheric physicist Prof Richard Lindzen and climate scientist Prof Fred Singer, issued a joint letter last month warning governments not to jump on board the global warming bandwagon. "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate."

That's why Ivar Glaever, who won a Nobel Prize for Physics, this month declared "I am a sceptic", because "we don't really know what the actual effect on the climate is". And it's why the American Physical Society this month said "there is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."

So let me go through my seven graphs that help to explain why even Nobel Prize winners question what Rudd keeps claiming -- that man is warming the world, and dangerously. The main graph is from the Hadley Centre of Britain's Meteorological Office and one of the four bodies measuring world temperature. As you see, since 1998 -- an unusually warm year thanks to the "El Nino" pool of warmer water in the Pacific -- the world's temperature dropped back to a steady plateau, followed by a few years of cooling.

The second graph confirms both the halt in warming, and then cooling. It's from another of those four bodies, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, which monitors the troposphere -- from the ground to 12km altitude. Only one of the four, in fact, claims temperatures are still rising. That's NASA, whose program is run by Dr James Hanson, Al Gore's global warming adviser and a controversial catastrophist whose team's reworking of data has been heavily criticised for exaggerating any heating.

But before I go on, a caveat: This recent cooling doesn't disprove the theory that man is warming the world. Ten years is too short to be sure of a trend. Natural factors may for now be countering the effect of our gases. Then again, the theory that man has warmed the world is based on a rise in temperature over a period that's not much longer -- from just 1975 to 1998. And the computer climate models that scientists use to predict catastrophic warming a century from now somehow never predicted a cooling that's happening right now. And these are the models Rudd is betting on with our jobs and cash.

The third graph shows another surprise those models never predicted: the seas have stopped rising. The waters have crept up for at least 150 years, since the world started to thaw from the Little Ice Age, and well before any likely man-made warming. But the climate models predicted that a big rise in emissions from all those cars, power plants and factories since World War II would cause an equally big rise in the seas, swelling them as much as 59cm by 2100. This wasn't scary enough for alarmists like Al Gore, though, who claimed whole cities could in fact be drowned under 6m of ocean.

But the satellites that have checked sea levels since 1992 find the seas have instead fallen over the past two years. Again, this could be a blip. But it isn't what the models predicted.

The fourth graph seems to confirm a cooling. Forget media scares about a melting North Pole; sea ice has grown so fast in the southern hemisphere there is now more ice in the world than is usual, says the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Graph five punctures another scare. No, global warming hasn't given us more cyclones - or more tornadoes or hurricanes anywhere. Nor is their proof that cyclones are getting worse, says the American Meteorological Society. And warming hasn't stopped our rain, either, despite media hype about a "one-in-a-100 year drought". See the Bureau of Meteorology records in graph six. It's just bad luck that the fickle rain now tends to fall where it's not needed most.

And, please, can we drop that old fiction that the world was never warmer? It's a false claim made popular by a 2001 report of the IPCC, the United Nations' climate group, which ran a graph, shaped like a hockey stick, claiming there was no warming for millennia until humans last century gassed up their world. In fact, that "hockey stick" is now discredited, and last year Dr Craig Loehle, of the US National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, argued that using tree rings to work out past temperatures was clearly unreliable. He instead produced a graph - No. 7 - of past temperatures using all other accepted proxies.

You see his results (which for statistical reasons stop at 1935): they show humans lived through a medieval period that was warmer than even today. This was a period that historical accounts confirm was so warm that Greenland farmers grew crops on land now under snow, and British ones grew grapes.

But I repeat: the world may yet warm again, and soon, although scientists at Leibnitz Institute and Max Planck Institute last month predicted it won't for at least another decade. If at all, say solar experts worried by a lack of sun spots.

But even if none of my graphs disproves the theory that man is causing dangerous warming, they should at least make you pause. They should at least make you open to other theories of climate change, like that of Dr Henrik Svensmark, head of Denmark's Centre for Sun-Climate Research, who thinks changes in cosmic rays, which affect clouds, may explain much of the recent warming. And now the cooling, too.

But, above all, when that man with the sandwich board comes tugging at your sleeve again, shouting, "Quick, help me save the world - or die", hang on to your wallet, friend. Give that urger my seven graphs instead, and ask him how many more years of no warming will it take before he admits it really is too soon to panic.

Source




Climate policy a blow to Australia's huge natural gas industry

MORE than $60 billion in planned LNG investments are likely to be shelved because the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme is "backwards" and penalises exports of the clean gas, according to Woodside Petroleum chief Don Voelte. Mr Voelte told The Australian the carbon pollution reduction scheme, unveiled by the Government on Wednesday, would make it impossible for two $30billion West Australian offshore LNG projects to go ahead. "This emissions trading scheme will knock planned projects with relatively high CO2 emissions right off the block - you can start with (Chevron's) Gorgon (project) and (Woodside's) Browse (project) and keep on going," he said.

Mr Voelte said the $15 billion LNG export industry was unlikely to qualify for any free permits under the Government's compensation formula for trade-exposed industries, in part because of efforts the industry had already undertaken to reduce its carbon emissions. He said this outcome was "backwards" because LNG was part of the global solution to climate change, and replaced energy sources at least four times dirtier in the countries to which it was sold.

The LNG industry's concerns came as Kevin Rudd indicated he would try to sideline the Greens and would instead court Brendan Nelson for Senate backing for his carbon emissions trading scheme - dismissing Greens' demands for a phase-out of coal-fired power generation as unrealistic. Labor sources confirmed the Government saw little prospect of winning Greens support for its scheme, which includes plans for compensation for coal-fired power generators. As the Greens attacked the plan and demanded more public investment in renewable energy sources, the Prime Minister called on the Opposition to become "responsible partners" in addressing climate change.

In at least two of a series of interviews he conducted to explain the green paper released on Wednesday, Mr Rudd ignored direct questions about whether he could negotiate for Greens support in the Senate. Instead, he said he wanted Liberal Party backing, without which he would have to rely on the Greens, Family First and independent South Australian senator Nick Xenophon.

The Government has said it will allocate up to 30 per cent of emissions permits to industries with international competitors not exposed to a carbon price, identifying eligible industries through a formula that calculates tonnes of emissions per million dollars in revenue.

Analysis by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and by Deutsche Bank experts confirmed Mr Voelte's calculation that LNG would not qualify for permits under the Government's proposed formula. "We do not believe we will be included as an emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industry - that we will fall just below the cut-off, which will mean all the worst emitters will be given a free ride, and clean fuels like LNG will have to bear the whole burden," Mr Voelte said. "We spent hundreds of millions over recent years to clean up our plants, we won all these greenhouse challenge awards. and now we are thinking we should have just left ourselves dirty, because we're going to come in just under the curve. "This emissions trading scheme is going to get the wrong answer - it's going to hit our returns and stop our new projects going forward, when we are part of the global answer." Asked what he intended to do about the problem, Mr Voelte said: "We have booked a lot of plane tickets to Canberra."

APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson echoed the warning, saying: "Unless LNG receives the treatment it must have, not only is the ability of the industry to grow and invest here ... affected, it will also affect our ability to assist the Asia-Pacific region reduce its greenhouse gas emissions for the longer term."

The Government is also at loggerheads with the Greens over the future of the coal industry in the nation's energy generation. It believes successful deployment of "clean coal" technology - which would ensure the coal industry's future - is vital, and has created a $500million clean coal research fund to commercialise the technology, which eliminates carbon emissions from burning coal by capturing the carbon and storing it underground. But Greens environment spokeswoman Christine Milne told The Australian yesterday her party opposed any public money being spent on clean coal research, and instead wanted investment in renewable energy sources such as solar power.

Senator Milne said average Australians backed her party's position ahead of that of "the greenhouse mafia, the Opposition and (Resources Minister) Martin Ferguson". "The coal industry is largely owned overseas and has made mega-profits from polluting the atmosphere through the commodities boom," Senator Milne said.

As Mr Rudd hit the airwaves yesterday, he made clear he saw little value in attempting to meet the Greens' demands. Asked whether he was prepared to talk to the Greens, he did not even refer to the party. "My appeal is directly to the Liberal Party to ... be responsible partners in the future economic direction of Australia," he told Sydney radio 2UE. "The Liberals have got some serious soul-searching to do on this question in terms of acting responsibly."

In an interview with Sky Television, the Prime Minister was asked about the Greens' criticism, and whether he would stick to his guns in the Senate. He again ignored the Greens, saying: "On the Senate, I think there's going to be a huge national spotlight trained on the Liberals. "Are you going to be responsible partners in this country's long-term economic future or are you just going to walk away and play opportunistic, short-term politics?"

Wayne Swan said government support for clean coal technologies was critical. "As an exporter of coal, we've got a huge interest in developing the technology that captures the carbon," the Treasurer said. The Coalition appeared to be open to negotiations, with Treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull stressing that the Opposition was not opposed to emissions trading, although it had differences with the Government on timing. "We have got to see what the measures are," he said. "There is a big issue here about getting it right. This is not an issue, a question, of who is more committed to the environment than anybody else."

However, Mr Turnbull described as absurd the Government's decision to delay the release of Treasury modelling on the ETS until after the date at which submissions closed for comment on the green paper. "You cannot seriously ask people to make submissions about options for an emissions trading scheme when they haven't got any of the financial modelling," he said.

Source




TURNING THE TABLES ON GREENIE ASSUMPTIONS

Below are three articles showing that Greenie assumptions and policies lead to the opposite of what the all-wise Greenies assume. Initially below is a fuller excerpt of a new paper on atmospheric physics mentioned here briefly a couple of days ago. It shows that, if atmospheric dynamics are fully accounted for, the greenhouse effect leads to global COOLING

Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission

Authors: G. V. Chilingar; L. F. Khilyuk; O. G. Sorokhtin; Rudolf W. Gunnerman

Abstract

The writers investigated the effect of CO2 emission on the temperature of atmosphere. Computations based on the adiabatic theory of greenhouse effect show that increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere results in cooling rather than warming of the Earth's atmosphere.

Introduction

Traditional anthropogenic theory of currently observed global warming states that release of carbon dioxide into atmosphere (partially as a result of utilization of fossil fuels) leads to an increase in atmospheric temperature because the molecules of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) absorb the infrared radiation from the Earth's surface.

This statement is based on the Arrhenius hypothesis, which was never verified (Arrhenius, 1896).The proponents of this theory take into consideration only one component of heat transfer in atmosphere, i.e., radiation. Yet, in the dense Earth's troposphere with the pressure pa > 0.2 atm, the heat from the Earth's surface is mostly transferred by convection (Sorokhtin, 2001a).

According to our estimates, convection accounts for 67%, water vapor condensation in troposphere accounts for 25%, and radiation accounts for about 8% of the total heat transfer from the Earth's surface to troposphere. Thus, convection is the dominant process of heat transfer in troposphere, and all the theories of Earth's atmospheric heating (or cooling) first of all must consider this process of heat (energy)-mass redistribution in atmosphere (Sorokhtin, 2001a, 2001b;Khilyuk and Chilingar, 2003, 2004).

When the temperature of a given mass of air increases, it expands, becomes lighter, and rises. In turn, the denser cooler air of upper layers of troposphere descends and replaces the warmer air of lower layers. This physical system (multiple cells of air convection) acts in the Earth's troposphere like a continuous surface cooler. The cooling effect by air convection can surpass considerably the warming effect of radiation. The most important conclusion from this observation is that the temperature distribution in the troposphere has to be close to adiabatic because the air mass expands and cools while rising and compresses and heats while dropping. This does not necessarily imply that at any particular instant distribution of temperature has to be adiabatic. One should consider some averaged distribution over the time intervals of an order of months. [...]

Energy Sources, January 2008, volume 30, part 1, pages 1-9




More revelations about biofuels -- and other perversities

There is a word that should be in the lexicon of anyone trying to protect the environment. Like schadenfreude, it's one of those German words that has no direct equivalent even in the vast vocabulary of the English language. The word is Verschlimmbesserung - literally a "worse bettering". And as the results of studies published over the last week show, it is all too apt a description of many attempts to "improve" our environment.

Last week a draft report from the World Bank confirmed what many have suspected for some time: that world food prices are being driven upwards largely because of the increasing use of biofuels. Such energy sources have been long been touted as environmentally friendly because, unlike traditional fossil fuels, the carbon released when they are burnt is mopped up by the crops from which they are derived. Encouraged by their governments, farmers around the world have now switched land use to biofuel crops at the expense of food production - with consequences now being felt by consumers around the world.

This is a classic example of a schlimbesserung: a change made with the best of intentions which turns out to have an unwelcome downside. In the case of biofuels, it's far from being the only one. Other research published last week has added to concern that in turning uncultivated land over biofuel crops, the decay and burning of existing vegetation will inject enough carbon into the atmosphere to cancel out any net benefit for centuries.

There are also growing suspicions that current biofuels emit far more of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide than previously thought - so much, in fact, that the fuels may actually boost global warming. According to one recent study, rapeseed biodiesel, which makes up the bulk of biofuel production in Europe, produces up to 70 per cent more warming through the release of nitrous oxide than it cancels out by reduced fossil fuel use.

As if all this wasn't enough, a study by Stanford University suggests such biofuels are also a richer source of ozone, a toxic gas which may boost deaths from asthma and respiratory disease.

Many environmentalists are already calling on governments to rethink their policies and focus on so-called second generation biofuels, extracted from trees and grasses. Yet it's already possible to see another unintended consequence looming. Vegetation such as trees affects the reflectivity of the Earth, and thus its ability to bounce back some of the sun's heat back into space. Covering large swathes of light ground with dark trees could thus lead to more heat being absorbed, boosting temperatures. This effect has been studied in detail by scientists at the US-based Carnegie Institution in Washington DC, who found that only trees planted in equatorial regions are likely to produce a net benefit. Those planted further away - especially in high latitudes, where snow is common - are likely to lead to increased global warming.

The upshot of all this is clear: when it comes to the environment, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. What isn't at all clear is whether it will ever be possible to have sufficient knowledge to make big environmental policy decisions with any confidence. The signs are not good. Past experience shows that environmentalists are clearly right about one thing: the interconnectedness of nature. But those connections are both ill-understood and exceptionally hard to capture mathematically - making attempts to predict the impact of policy decisions the devil's own job.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the huge effort put into creating computer models of the world's climate. These attempt to capture the incredibly complex interaction of the oceans, land and atmosphere and thus reveal the impact of various scenarios on global temperatures. As anyone who has ever been let down by a weather forecast knows, this is easier said than done. The blame is often put on the so-called Butterfly Effect, whereby even small errors in a computer simulation - caused by the proverbial flap of a butterfly's wings - produces dramatically different outcomes.

In the case of climate models, however, this isn't the real problem. Roughly speaking, the impact of these small errors tends to average out as the models run further into the future. The real problem with computer simulations with the climate is more familiar: "garbage in, garbage out" - or what the experts call model error. In other words, the reliability of such simulation depends crucially on what's fed into them. And in the case of climate models the principal source of such error is held to be how they deal with the effect of clouds. In an ongoing experiment at Oxford University, a climate model is being run repeatedly with different values for the effect of clouds and moisture. Worryingly, early results revealed that the impact on the simulation can be dramatic, with forecasts ranging from a staggering 11.5 deg C increase in global temperatures to a slight cooling.

Now climate modellers may have another, even more important, source of uncertainty to contend with: atmospheric pollution. Research published last week by a team led by Dr Christian Ruckstuhl of the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Switzerland found that dramatic reductions in industrial pollution achieved by European countries has served to drive temperatures up far more rapidly than by global warming alone. In other words, the clean-up campaigns are another schlimmbesserung, with the airborne gunk actually having a powerful - and beneficial - impact on temperatures, by reflecting the sun's heat back into space.

Dr Ruckstuhl and his colleagues describe the sheer size of the effect as "very surprising". But with no current climate models taking it into account, anyone using computer simulations to guide policy decisions can only hope this latest schlimmbesserung doesn't have consequences best summed up by a short Americanism: "Doh!".

Source




Economics also shows that Global Warming Policies will have perverse effects

Cap and trade policies ostensibly designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could have the opposite effect, says the National Center for Public Policy Research's Justin Danhof in an op-ed published today by the Christian Science Monitor.

That's because of an established principle of behavioral law and economics explaining that when a stigmatized behavior is turned into a commodity that can be bought and sold, that behavior tends to lose the stigma associated with it.

Writing in the Monitor, Danhof describes a social science experiment in which parents were fined if they arrived late to pick up their children from child care. After the fine was imposed, the number of parents arriving late increased, because guilt associated with arriving late had been replaced with the opportunity to buy the right to arrive late, guilt-free. "Parents," says Danhof, "were no longer 'arriving late,' but rather, purchasing extra child-care hours."

Danhof continues: "A similar situation could occur under a cap-and-trade regime. Under cap-and-trade rules, the government places an artificial cap on the amount of carbon each regulated facility may emit. Facilities producing more carbon than they are allowed are required to purchase additional credits to make up the difference. The opportunity to purchase these credits creates a market where none previously existed. As in the example of the fined parents, the purchase of the right to emit greenhouse gases would likely reduce any stigma associated with doing so. Emission levels, consequently, could rise."

Danhof says there are real-world examples of this principle at play in the global warming arena: "Al Gore says the risk of catastrophic global warming is so great that Americans should act immediately to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Yet his home uses 20 times more energy than the average American home, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. That's OK, the former vice president assures us, because he purchases offsets to ensure that he lives a carbon-neutral lifestyle... If Mr. Gore could not purchase offsets, would he feel more pressure to reduce his energy use? The likely answer is 'yes.'"

The article goes on to cite works by Santa Fe Institute researcher Samuel Boles and columnist Charles Krauthammer, and to review the results of Europe's cap and trade program before concluding: "The social stigma of carbon emissions grows stronger each day. As this stigma grows, companies are increasing their investments into research and technologies to reduce and store carbon. If Congress removes the stigma associated with these emissions by assigning a price to them, it may not like the results."

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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17 July, 2008

Climate-related decrease in the snappability of snapping turtles in the United States

By Tom H. Brikowski and Alfred Gore

Author Affiliations:

Geosciences Department, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080-3021; and

Department of Erectile Dysfunction, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX 75390

Abstract

An unanticipated result of global warming is the likely decrease of snappability in snapping turtles in a northward expansion of the present-day southeastern U.S. snapping turtle "belt." The fraction of the U.S. population of snapping turtles living in high-risk zones for snapper losses will grow from 40% in 2000 to 56% by 2050, and to 70% by 2095. Predictions based on a climate model of intermediate severity warming (SRESa1b) indicate a climate-related increase of 1.6-2.2 million lifetime cases of snapper defect by 2050, representing up to a 30% increase in some climate divisions. Nationwide, the cost increase associated with this rise in desnappability would be $0.9-1.3 billion annually (year-2000 dollars), representing a 25% increase over current expenditures. The impact of these changes will be geographically concentrated, depending on the precise relationship between temperature and snapping risk. Snapping-loss risk may abruptly increase at a threshold temperature (nonlinear model) or increase steadily with temperature change (linear model) or some combination thereof. The linear model predicts increases by 2050 that are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, and the Eastern Seaboard; the nonlinear model predicts concentration in a geographic band stretching from Kansas to Kentucky and Bangladesh, immediately south of the threshold isotherm.

Jim Peden borrowed the model of the kidney-stone man to produce the skit above. He comments:

It seems Brikowski down in Texas has a "model" into which he can plug just about anything and get yet another hysterical global warming prediction. I'm now trying to predict what his next "scientific paper" will cover - the above was the result of borrowing his model and simply changing the inputs. It's his model, so I have to give him the credit, of course. I assume Al Gore was a co-researcher. I find his recent papers to be consistent with the previously discussed relationship between lower I.Q.s in the southern states as compared to northern states. You might like to try your hand with a variety of subjects, such as tooth decay in Alligators or toe fungus in Water Moccasins. This is a clear solution to the "publish or perish" challenge... with a model like this, you can complete a half dozen research projects before lunch every day.





AS AUSTRALIA GOES (SLIGHTLY) GREENER...

Three current articles below:

"Into the Deep Green Yonder"

A response to the Rudd government's Green Paper on Climate Change by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition:

The Government Green Paper completely ignores the main question - should Canberra try to control the weather, or is it better to foster a strong Australia able to cope with whatever climate change brings us? The Government also justifies the need for action on completely worthless long term forecasts of Australia's weather.

Not even the IPCC claims an ability to forecast the weather beyond a few days, but the CSIRO has sullied its reputation by pretending they can project temperature and rainfall 30 years into the future. Why have they not revealed the calculations for these predictions? In the corporate world, anyone making such wild unsubstantiated claims would be quickly disciplined by the regulators. Public figures who repeat and embellish these scaremongering prophecies lack common sense and should also be called to account. The only credible weather forecast for such a long period is "It will Fluctuate".

Minister Wong obviously believes that if we give her enough powers to tax and regulate, she can change the world's weather. This belief is as silly as the CSIRO weather forecasts out to 2040. Man has never been able to control the weather and there is no credible evidence that his activities have caused unusual weather. In fact, despite all the hot air about carbon emissions, the world has not warmed since 1998 and has been cooling for the last 6 years. Moreover, we have had extreme droughts, floods, ice ages and global warming long before man started using coal and oil.

Minister Wong should make sure Australia has the industrial ability and economic strength to cope with any adverse weather that occurs, be it floods, fires, droughts, snow, heat, cyclones or tsunamis. Poor people cannot cope with Climate Change and the Rudd/Garnaut/Wong carbon taxes will make every Australian poorer.

This Deep Green Paper should be recycled and replaced by an enlightened White Paper outlining how to make Australia strong and prosperous. This will provide the best insurance for our children against any climate change.

Source




Global warming not such a moral dilemma after all, it seems

One Wong doesn't make it right

HERE'S a question: what happened to the great moral dilemma of our time?

Scientists have been imploring us to take immediate action to mitigate the effects of climate change caused by human behaviour. Economists such as Ross Garnaut say the same. So does the Prime Minister. He has said any number of times that this is the great moral issue of our time. If that's right, then surely we have to change our behaviour, emit less carbon, and save the planet from global warming. Simple, really. Now, it turns out that when an emissions trading system is introduced, petrol excise will be cut on a cent for cent basis to spare drivers the indignity of higher petrol prices. In other words, we can keep driving our cars, pumping the carbon into the atmosphere that is warming the planet.

Surely a politician who genuinely believes that climate change is the great moral issue will have the honesty to say: we are so committed to the science of climate change that you, the people of Australia, including the working families, must change your driving habits and wear the costs of mitigating climate change? But no. Not yet. Political expediency trumps all.

The problem with collecting buckets of dollars from an emissions trading system and showering that cash over consumers and businesses (to spare consumers higher costs) is that it kind of defeats the purpose of an ETS. An ETS is meant to alter behaviour through price signals. There is every indication that the ETS proposed by the Rudd Government will blunt the signals to the point where we don't change our behaviour.

It's easy enough changing a carbon emitting light globe to a friendlier version. No one needs a price signal to do that. Just a clean, green conscience. But changing behaviour? Steady on. That's a different thing, it seems. Yet, if we are serious about climate change, isn't it about time the Rudd Government came clean on the need for people to bear the real cost burden so that they do start to alter their carbon emitting actions?

Of course, the reason you won't hear a politician tell us that we need higher fuel prices to convince us to drive less, or drive smarter cars, is that climate change is not the big moral dilemma of our generation. It's more like the great political dilemma as the Rudd Government tries to look serious about climate change without hurting voters too much before the next election. That was pretty obvious when the Government leaked some details before the official release of the Green Paper so that the first thing people would read in newspapers across the nation was the plan to cut petrol excise tax.

It's all in the timing, you'll notice. Even more importantly, a deliberately feeble version of an ETS will be up and running by 2010. July 2010, in reality. And even that start date is now carefully framed as an "aspiration". With many predicting that the Rudd Government will go to an early election - some are predicting as early as late 2009 - consumers won't feel the heat of an ETS until well into the next election. If carbon is priced at a nice low price - say $10 a tonne - consumers won't notice much at all. Come then next election, they will be lulled into thinking this ETS thing is not such a big deal. And Climate Change Minister Penny Wong is saying there is no unlimited promise on cutting fuel excise - but heck, the petrol cut will extend to 2013. Is that yet another election before an ETS is given any real teeth to change our behaviour?

If so, then Wong and Rudd will have exposed the con of their great moral dilemma. Explaining their hypocrisy to voters is their real moral dilemma.

Source




Eco-protest is powered by hypocrisy

Comment on a recent Greenpeace stunt at Swanbank power station in the State of Queensland, Australia

GREEN is the new black. If you're not totally environmentally cuddly by now, you may as well check your re-usable grocery bags at the door. You know the ones we're talking about: those thick plastic bags that allegedly replace the thin plastic bags, which is why every second bugger at the checkout queue has a box of plastic bin-liners secreted in the trolley among the dunny paper, cat food and instant noodles.

The sky is, after all, falling. We're running out of oil. But how did the Greenpeace "go solar" protesters get out to Swanbank? Did all 15 catch the train (which in Queensland runs on electricity generated by burning coal from places like Swanbank)? Maybe they drove in a car-share arrangement, consuming numerous litres of highly processed fossil fuel in the process. Or maybe the proverbial pushbikes the three Sydney protesters rode up on were taken for a canter.

If that were the case, then what a shame that those bikes are probably made of metal extracted from Australian iron-ore mines, plastics sourced from Bass Strait oil, and manufactured using coal-fired electrical power.

Another question for the go solar protesters: How many photo-voltaic cells (produced, by the way, in factories using coal-fired power and petrochemicals) do you have on the roofs of your homes? Or is that all a bit expensive?

Maybe that's a bit unfair. But given your passion to go solar perhaps you wouldn't even have electricity hooked up, just in case some fossil fuels might have suffered in the course of its production. After all, candles are perfectly good illumination in the lounge room while you sit on the treadle to power the dynamo that powers the television (produced with yet more dirty power and petrochemicals) so you can watch yourselves on the 6pm news.

And where do these galahs who were scaling the chimneys last week think the steel and hi-tech apparatus for their climbing equipment came from? It didn't grow on avocado trees. And, of course, being true believers in the cause, none of them would use computers (that requires electrical power and the bastards are made with nasty stuff like plastic) or mobile phones, would they? Mobile phones (more petrochemicals and metals and requiring transmission towers) are the devil's own tool.

Don't fear climate change, don't fear pollution, just retain a healthy cynicism when it comes to the crusaders. Hypocrisy and self-righteousness are the enemy.

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Malthus, the false prophet

AMID an astonishing surge in food prices, which has sparked riots and unrest in many countries and is making even the relatively affluent citizens of America and Europe feel the pinch, faith in the ability of global markets to fill nearly 7 billion bellies is dwindling. Given the fear that a new era of chronic shortages may have begun, it is perhaps understandable that the name of Thomas Malthus is in the air. Yet if his views were indeed now correct, that would defy the experience of the past two centuries.

Malthus first set out his ideas in 1798 in "An Essay on the Principle of Population". This expounded a tragic twin trajectory for the growth of human populations and the increase of food supply. Whereas the natural tendency was for populations to grow without end, food supply would run up against the limit of finite land. As a result, the "positive checks" of higher mortality caused by famine, disease and war were necessary to bring the number of people back in line with the capacity to feed them.

In a second edition published in 1803, Malthus softened his original harsh message by introducing the idea of moral restraint. Such a "preventive check", operating through the birth rather than the death rate, could provide a way to counter the otherwise inexorable logic of too many mouths chasing too little food. If couples married late and had fewer children, population growth could be sufficiently arrested for agriculture to cope.

It was the misfortune of Malthus-but the good luck of generations born after him-that he wrote at an historical turning point. His ideas, especially his later ones, were arguably an accurate description of pre-industrial societies, which teetered on a precarious balance between empty and full stomachs. But the industrial revolution, which had already begun in Britain, was transforming the long-term outlook for economic growth. Economies were starting to expand faster than their populations, bringing about a sustained improvement in living standards.

Far from food running out, as Malthus had feared, it became abundant as trade expanded and low-cost agricultural producers like Argentina and Australia joined the world economy. Reforms based on sound political economy played a vital role, too. In particular, the abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846 paved the way for British workers to gain from cheap food imports.

Malthus got his demographic as well as his economic predictions wrong. His assumption that populations would carry on growing in times of plenty turned out to be false. Starting in Europe, one country after another underwent a "demographic transformation" as economic development brought greater prosperity. Both birth and death rates dropped and population growth eventually started to slow.

The Malthusian heresy re-emerged in the early 1970s, the last time food prices shot up. Then, at least, there appeared to be some cause for demographic alarm. Global-population growth had picked up sharply after the second world war because it took time for high birth rates in developing countries to follow down the plunge in infant-mortality rates brought about by modern medicine. But once again the worries about overpopulation proved mistaken as the "green revolution" and further advances in agricultural efficiency boosted food supply.

If the world's population growth was a false concern four decades ago, when it peaked at 2% a year, it is even less so now that it has slowed to 1.2%. But even though crude demography is not to blame, changing lifestyles arising from rapid economic growth especially in Asia are a new worry. As the Chinese have become more affluent, they have started to consume more meat, raising the underlying demand for basic food since cattle need more grain to feed than humans. Neo-Malthusians question whether the world can provide 6.7 billion people (rising to 9.2 billion by 2050) with a Western-style diet.

Once again the gloom is overdone. There may no longer be virgin lands to be settled and cultivated, as in the 19th century, but there is no reason to believe that agricultural productivity has hit a buffer. Indeed, one of the main barriers to another "green revolution" is unwarranted popular worries about genetically modified foods, which is holding back farm output not just in Europe, but in the developing countries that could use them to boost their exports.

Political folly increases in a geometrical ratio

As so often, governments are making matters worse. Food-export bans are proliferating. Although these may produce temporary relief for any one country, the more they spread the tighter global markets become. Another wrongheaded policy has been America's subsidy to domestic ethanol production in a bid to reduce dependence on imported oil. This misconceived attempt to grow more fuel rather than to curb demand is expected to gobble up a third of this year's maize (corn) crop.

Although neo-Malthusianism naturally has much to say about food scarcity, the doctrine emerges more generally as the idea of absolute limits on resources and energy, such as the notion of "peak oil". Following the earlier scares of the 1970s, oil companies defied the pessimists by finding extra fields, not least since higher prices had spurred new exploration. But even if oil wells were to run dry, economies can still adapt by finding and exploiting other energy sources.

A new form of Malthusian limit has more recently emerged through the need to constrain greenhouse-gas emissions in order to tackle global warming. But this too can be overcome by shifting to a low-carbon economy. As with agriculture, the main difficulty in making the necessary adjustment comes from poor policies, such as governments' reluctance to impose a carbon tax. There may be curbs on traditional forms of growth, but there is no limit to human ingenuity. That is why Malthus remains as wrong today as he was two centuries ago.

Source




ROLLBACK: GERMANY STARTS CAMPAIGN AGAINST EU'S COSTLY CLIMATE GOALS

The European Union's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions doesn't sufficiently take business needs into account, said Germany's finance ministry. At a meeting of government and industry officials on Tuesday, July 15, Germany's Deputy Finance Minister Jochen Homann and all other speakers said that the EU plan was not business-friendly. "The conclusion of the conference is that there is only limited scope for reducing "emissions" in the industrial sector and the EU climate package needs improvement in key areas," said the ministry in a statement.

The ministry was particularly critical of the EU's goal to cut the quota of emissions trading permits by 21 percent, compared to 2005 levels, saying this would cost Germany both jobs and growth. As a major burner of fossil-fuels, which cause unwanted CO2 emissions, Germany would be especially hard hit by the plan, added the ministry.

The statement also pointed out that an emissions trading program would result in a price hike for products that are useful in reaching climate goals, such as insulation glass and insulating construction materials. "Due to exploding oil and gas prices, further measures to achieve climate goals should be considered only with great caution," read the statement. "Rising energy prices are already a strong incentive to investment in renewable energies, energy savings and energy efficiency." Germany's industry has already contributed extensively to reducing greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, despite economic growth, but has little leeway to do more, it added.

Earlier this month, the EU proposed a legally-binding bloc-wide initiative to slash energy consumption by 20 percent by the year 2020. EU environment ministers have suggested the use of biofuels as a way to cut carbon emissions by 35 percent in the short-term and by 50 percent by the year 2015. EU legislators this month also approved an emissions trading plan for the aviation industry, which airlines say will drive up the price of flights.

But as long a key polluters like the United States, China and India don't implement similar strategies to reduce emissions, the EU's efforts won't have a significant impact on global climate change, concluded the finance ministry.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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16 July, 2008

Australia: Nonsensical emissions trading scheme unveiled

Good ol' Kevin Rudd tokenism again: Large political compromises ensure that the scheme will have negligible effect on carbon emissions. All it will do is generate another nice little bureaucracy to administer it

Motorists are guaranteed petrol price relief for just three years under an emissions trading scheme unlikely to have any short term effect on greenhouse gas emissions. The Rudd Government has opted for a softly, softly approach which will likely lead to an increase in the cost of living of less than one per cent. Its options paper on emissions, released in Canberra today, will see Australia ease into a relatively gentle scheme on July 1, 2010. This approach is good news for industry and means there will be a limited impact on household budgets - but it's not likely to lead to deep cuts to greenhouse emissions in the short-term.

The key points:

Scheme will probably add less than 1 per cent to the cost of living.

Petrol will be included, but there will be no net price increase because the fuel excise will be cut.

Pensioners, carers and seniors will have their payments increased to make up for price rises.

Other low-income earners will get tax breaks and increased allowances to make up for price rises.

Middle-income earners will get some financial assistance.

Scheme to start on July 1, 2010.

Free "permits to pollute" will be given to big polluters who export their goods; 90 per cent of their emissions will be for free.

Twenty per cent of the scheme's permits will be given out for free.

Coal-fired power stations will get cash payments to compensate for increased costs, and develop clean coal technology.

Petrol will be included in emissions trading, but the fuel excise will be cut so that there is no net increase in price. The decision to cut the petrol excise so that emissions trading does not push up prices - which was first proposed by the federal opposition - flies in the face of advice from the government's hand-picked climate change adviser Ross Garnaut. He urged against an excise cut last week, saying the price of petrol should rise to send a signal to the market to use less. The government says it will review the excise cut after three years. Fuel taxes on heavy vehicle road users will also be cut.

As expected, electricity is included in the scheme, as is throwing out rubbish to landfill, while agriculture is out until at least 2015. The options paper forecasts the cost of living will rise by 0.9 per cent due to emissions trading, meaning the average price for a basket of goods will rise by 0.9 per cent in the first year of the scheme.

Low-income earners will be given cash payments to make up for those price rises. Pensioners, carers and seniors will have their payments increased, and other low-income earners will get tax breaks and increased payments from the government. The scheme also aims to placate middle-income earners, who will get financial assistance.

Emissions trading seeks to tackle climate change by putting a price on carbon emissions. Big emitters have to buy "permits to pollute", which they can trade between them, so the market sets the price. The government has taken on board industry's concerns about the scheme, responding with a relatively generous support package. Big emitters who export much of their product - such as aluminium smelters - will be all-but exempted from emissions trading at the start. They will be given free "permits to pollute" to cover 90 per cent of their emissions. In all, 20 per cent of the scheme's permits will be given out for free, rising to 30 per cent once agriculture is included.

Coal-fired power plants will be compensated with direct payments from the government, including to develop clean coal technology. And there's a win for the forestry industry - companies who plant trees can qualify for carbon credits, but companies who chop down forests don't have to pay.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong made reference to the gentleness of the scheme, saying it was not possible for Australia to lead the world on climate change. "After so many years of inaction, it is impossible for Australia to be in front of the world in tackling climate change," Senator Wong said today as the options paper was unveiled. "A greater risk is being left behind a world of emerging economic opportunities."

She stressed the importance of protecting the economy and the national interest. "In this green paper, the government has sought to strike the right balance, on the basis of economically responsible policy in the national interest." The government will release its final plan for emissions trading, along with draft laws to start the scheme, in December this year. The options paper does not include hard facts on the cost of emissions trading, but gives a big hint, basing key calculations on a carbon price of $20 a tonne.

Source




Would global warming make us dumber?

There is an article here that shows strong ecological correlations between measures of IQ and the mean temperatures of American States.

(Note: "Ecological correlation" is a technical term in statistics that has nothing to do with environmentalism. It refers to correlations between grouped data -- and such correlations must not be confused with correlations among individuals. Ecological correlations are characteristically much higher than individual correlations.)

What the data purport to show is, broadly, that the inhabitants of warm Southern States are dumber than the inhabitants of cool Northern States. There have been previous politically motivated "studies" that purported to show that but they have been shown to be fraudulent or very poorly founded. This study, however, is a scholarly one which uses a reasonable (though still inferential) measure of IQ.

There are however reasons why I believe that the conclusions of the study cannot be accepted. The simplest and strongest objection is the old adage that correlation is not causation. It might not be the warmth in Southern States that causes the lower IQs but some other characteristic of those States. He is very diplomatic about criticizing a co-blogger but Razib points out cultural differences that could be involved, for instance. Different parts of the USA tended to be settled from different areas of the British Isles and cultural differences can be surprisingly persistent over time. And a culture that is highly reverent of education (for instance) might tend to attract high IQ people and repel low IQ people. So New England with its disproportionate number of America's elite universities would draw unto itself the high IQ people from all over and thus raise average IQs there.

I myself once did a lot of research on another aspect of warmer climate: The effect on ideology. My home State of Queensland (in Australia) at one time had a reputation as being particularly conservative so I did survey research to test that. Initially, I found the hypothesis confirmed. Surveys carried out while Queensland was ruled by the very conservative Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen confirmed that Queenslanders were more conservative in general social attitudes than were inhabitants of the more Southerly (and hence cooler) State of New South Wales. I have however never been one to found conclusions on a single piece of research so I kept doing more surveys on the question. And I eventually found that the differences had run their course and were no longer to be found. See here.

So a difference that appeared to be characteristic turned out to be temporary. That could be equally true of the American IQ results reported above. Both conservatism and IQ are highly hereditary so there is no reason to differentiate the two variables for that reason. Heredity may be the dominant influence in both cases but environment does still play a part, a part quite sufficient to explain small geographical differences.

And I want to suggest what one of those environmental differences could be: Dumbed-down education. And a major reason for educational dumbing down is to cover up the extraordinarily poor performance of blacks at educational tasks. So where there are more blacks there will be more pressure to dumb education down. And where are there more blacks? The difference is certainly much less that it was but it is still the Southern States where blacks are proportionately more present. So it is in the South that one is most likely to find down dumbed down education.

And education DOES have a small effect on IQ scores. A widely accepted explanation for the Flynn effect (rising IQ scores over time), for instance, is the increasing test-sophistication that accompanied the rise in average years of education in the second half of the 20th century. So I suspect that the North/South differences that we are looking at above are an effect of poorer education in the South rather than an effect of lower IQs in the South. And it should be noted that the IQ scores used in the research above were in fact inferred from educational attainment.




No consensus, and no warming, either

Andrew Bolt


Data sources: Hadley Center monthly combined land and sea surface temperature anomalies; University of Alabama at Huntsville Microwave Sounding Unit monthly lower-troposphere anomalies; Linear regressions.

What consensus? The American Physical Society reports:
There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.
So it has opened a debate, kicked off by Christopher Monckton:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions probably caused more than half of the "global warming" of the past 50 years and would cause further rapid warming. However, global mean surface temperature has not risen since 1998 and may have fallen since late 2001. The present analysis suggests that the failure of the IPCC's models to predict this and many other climatic phenomena arises from defects in its evaluation of the three factors whose product is climate sensitivity. More importantly, the conclusion is that, perhaps, there is no "climate crisis", and that currently-fashionable efforts by governments to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions are pointless, may be ill-conceived, and could even be harmful.
What follows is a detailed argument on mathematics and climate theory that ends with this brilliant and irresistible conclusion:
Even if temperature had risen above natural variability, the recent solar Grand Maximum may have been chiefly responsible. Even if the sun were not chiefly to blame for the past half-century's warming, the IPCC has not demonstrated that, since CO2 occupies only one-ten-thousandth part more of the atmosphere that it did in 1750, it has contributed more than a small fraction of the warming. Even if carbon dioxide were chiefly responsible for the warming that ceased in 1998 and may not resume until 2015, the distinctive, projected fingerprint of anthropogenic "greenhouse-gas" warming is entirely absent from the observed record. Even if the fingerprint were present, computer models are long proven to be inherently incapable of providing projections of the future state of the climate that are sound enough for policymaking. Even if per impossibile the models could ever become reliable, the present paper demonstrates that it is not at all likely that the world will warm as much as the IPCC imagines. Even if the world were to warm that much, the overwhelming majority of the scientific, peer-reviewed literature does not predict that catastrophe would ensue. Even if catastrophe might ensue, even the most drastic proposals to mitigate future climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide would make very little difference to the climate. The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.
Irresistible? Well, not quite: David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz in the same issue argue that the IPCC theory that man is heating the world is the best that's available.

Source




Increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere results in cooling rather than warming

The study abstracted below is from January 2008 and was published in "Energy Sources". The authors of study are: Geologists Dr. George Chilingar, and L.F. Khilyuk of the University of Southern California and Russian scientist Dr. Oleg Sorochtin (name also sometimes transliterated as Soroktin) of the Institute of Oceanology at the Russian Academy of Sciences -- who has authored more than 300 studies, nine books

Abstract

The writers investigated the effect of CO2 emission on the temperature of atmosphere. Computations based on the adiabatic theory of greenhouse effect show that increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere results in cooling rather than warming of the Earth's atmosphere.

Source




Formidable Ignorance

One of many good comments today from Taranto:

From a Cornell University press release:
Climate change and its effects on ecosystems is the No. 1 crisis facing the world, according to Cornell faculty--but it is a phenomenon not easily reversed. The most important problem that is more easily solved? Insufficient education in science, critical thinking and environmental issues.
If even the faculty of an Ivy League university is foolish enough to think that "climate change" is "the No. 1 crisis facing the world," then it is wildly optimistic to think that "insufficient education in science, critical thinking and environmental issues" is a solvable problem.




Scientist refutes his own theory, finds warming does not incresase hurricanes

Scientists are locked in debate about whether global warming is spiking the intensity of hurricanes. Even those who agree that humans are causing global warming disagree about whether it is making hurricanes worse. Leading experts are changing their findings. Climatologists desperate for clues are boring holes along Florida's coastline, trying to discern from grains of sand how many tropical storms pounded our shores in past centuries.

Amid the whirlwind of debate, most scientists agree on the most urgent hurricane threat. And it's not global warming. Kerry Emanuel, an MIT professor of atmospheric science, was named by Time magazine in 2006 as one of "100 people who shape our world." The reason? Just before Hurricane Katrina smashed into New Orleans in 2005, he published a scientific paper in the journal Nature saying the power of hurricanes had nearly doubled in recent decades.

His findings were based on heat. Hurricanes are born in tropical heat, beginning with seas that are at least 26 degrees Celsius. Warm, moist air rises from the sea surface and gets caught in converging winds, twisting upward. Moisture in the air condenses as it rises, giving off more heat. This provides the energy that pumps vast quantities of air from sea to sky and keeps storm winds whirling fiercely.

Emanuel charted the temperatures of the Atlantic's sea surface and hurricane power, and showed that the two rise and fall together. He found that hurricane power had increased, probably because of man-made global warming. "While many researchers had been predicting an explosion of more powerful storms, Emanuel, 51, offered evidence that it was actually happening," Time wrote.

To test the theory, Emanuel and other scientists recently loaded tons of data into computer models, hoping to learn how bad it could get if global warming keeps pushing up sea temperatures. The results were surprising: Hurricanes didn't increase dramatically in the projections, even after decades of simulated global warming.

Emanuel was not disappointed that the research seemed to undercut his old results. "One gets used to being mistaken, and we follow the evidence and sometimes the evidence is contradictory and then we have to sort it out." He's uncertain whether the recent results are correct or the outcome of faulty models. "There is a real conundrum here."

Source




Pesky trees! Forest invades tundra (Siberian desert)

More Greenie tree hatred. Trees are causing global warming! To most people it would be good news that trees are sprouting in a desert. Also note that lots of people are now forbidden from watering their gardens after Greenie opposition to dam building caused water shortages so a case is building to rename Greenies as "Browns"

For the Arctic, green is the new black. People frequently say "green" to mean "environmentally friendly." But encroaching conifer forests - really big greens - threaten to further spike the far North's already low-grade fever. Temperatures in the high Arctic already are climbing "at about twice the global average," notes F. Stuart Chapin of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The newest data on the advance of northern, or boreal, forests come from the eastern slopes of Siberia's northern Ural Mountains. Here, north of the Arctic Circle, relatively flat mats of compressed, frozen plant matter - tundra - are the norm. This ecosystem hosts a cover of reflective snow most of the year, a feature that helps maintain the region's chilly temperatures.

Throughout the past century, however, leading edges of conifer forests began creeping some 20 to 60 meters up the mountains, and in some places these forests are now overrunning tundra, scientists report in the July Global Change Biology.Conifers here now reside where no living tree has grown in some 1,000 years, points out one of the authors, ecologist Frank Hagedorn of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research in Birmensdorf.



Satellite data map a greening Arctic tundra. Brown shows where photosynthesis decreased between 1981 and 2005, and green where it increased. This change resulted mainly from shrubs invading permafrost, beginning a chain of events that may affect global climate

Ecologists and climatologists are concerned because emerging forest data suggest that the albedo, or reflectivity, of large regions across the Arctic will change. Most sunlight hitting snow and ice bounces back into space instead of being absorbed and converted to heat. So if a white landscape becomes open sea or boreal forest, what was once a solar reflector becomes a heat collector.

Sea-surface ice already is melting in the Arctic, and polar ice sheets are thinning. Warming threatens to further degrade these solar reflectors. So does the advance of boreal forests, Chapin says. "Effects of vegetative changes will be felt first and most strongly locally - in the Arctic," he says. However, he adds, if the Arctic's albedo drops broadly, this could aggravate warming underway elsewhere across the planet.

Tree rings from the Arctic Urals show that since the 15th century, many Siberian larch (Larix sibirica ) - the primary tree species - have grown in a stunted, shrubby form, sporting multiple spindly trunks. This adaptation to harsh conditions helps the trees weather wind and snow. But the trees invest so many calories in making multistemmed clusters, Hagedorn says, that they end up puny and unable to make seeds. This infertility has thwarted the stand's spread.



The upper photo, taken in 1962, shows mostly low vegetation and shrubs on a slope in the Siberian Urals. The lower photo of the same site in 2004 reveals larches building a true forest.

After about 1900, these larches began to switch from their creeping, multistemmed form to tall trees with a more upright posture, though sometimes with up to 20 stems, Hagedorn and his Russian and Swiss collaborators report. Over time, new trees emerged with a single, upright trunk, at the same time bulking up with more biomass than shrubby, same-age kin. Overall, 70 percent of upright larches have emerged in just the past 80 years. Since 1950, 90 percent of local upright larches have been single-stemmed.

This forest advance into former tundra coincided with a nearly 1 degree Celsius increase in summer temperature and a doubling of winter precipitation. "That's a good cocktail for growth," says arctic plant ecologist Serge Payette of Laval University in Quebec. Whether a tree grows up versus out depends on survival of its uppermost, or apical, buds. Good snow cover will protect those buds from winter damage, he says. Only if they are destroyed will the surviving lateral buds push growth horizontally, he explains.....

Too little water seems a bigger factor affecting tree growth than temperature, although warming can foster drought, Juday acknowledges. Indeed, as the Arctic warms, it will likely become drier, he says. "So we can expect that at least in the western North American Arctic, there are going to be sites that eventually will get too dry to grow trees."

But their loss isn't likely to compensate for the tundra lost to trees, at least in Arctic-warming potential. In fact, their loss could further perturb the global climate because boreal forests currently hold huge amounts of carbon that had been emitted as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Until they decompose, they darken the land and remain solar collectors. Once they rot, their carbon will enrich already high atmospheric CO2 levels.

Throughout the past half-century, a far more pervasive disturbance - what ecologists have taken to calling shrubbification - has been subtly transforming the tundra landscape. It starts with the arrival of tiny shrubs, such as spreading willows perhaps only 7.5 centimeters (about 3 inches) high, explains ecologist Ken Tape, also at Alaska-Fairbanks. He compared repeat photographs of Arctic tundra scapes taken around 1950 and again a few years back. His calculations indicated that for the sites he studied, "there's been something like a 39 percent increase in shrub cover." It's consistent with data from satellite monitoring of Alaska's high Arctic that have shown "increases in biomass of a similar magnitude - about 25 to 30 percent," he says.

As these willows and other shrubs start moving in, they trap snow, which begins to insulate - and warm - the soil at their feet, explains Andy Bunn, an environmental scientist at Western Washington University in Bellingham. The warming will rouse sleeping bacteria in the soil, which will then begin to feed. In the process, they'll begin to spew much of the carbon that had been locked up in the formerly frozen soil. This fertilizes the shrubs, fostering the whole warming-growth cycle. "There's what people call a big Arctic carbon bomb" waiting to go off, Bunn says. Up to 200 petagrams - that's 200 trillion kilograms - are stored in the top meter of Arctic tundra. For comparison, the atmosphere already has 730 petagrams of carbon in it, he adds. If shrub-related warming releases much of this carbon, it could undermine much of the carbon-limiting measures people are contemplating to slow global warming, he notes.

More here

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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15 July, 2008

Wisdom from Ecuador

I have just put up here (PDF) a 2002 paper from Ecuador that uses data from over 13,000 temperature sites worldwide -- covering the years from 1702 to 1990. They note that the world population has doubled from 1952 to 1990, yet they find no statistically significant acceleration of global warming over that period. They therefore conclude that the effect of humankind on global warming up to 1990 is effectively zero. They conclude by saying "contrary to popular belief, the data support the view that human activity has had no significant effect on global warming up to the year 1990"




DOUBLE SUNSPOT CYCLE

An email from Will Alexander [alexwjr@iafrica.com]:

I have just received the press release distributed by NASA on 11 July titled "What's Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing)". I have no wish to join the debate regarding NASA's activities in this whole climate change issue, but I have several questions. The most important is why is it that the solar physicists of NASA with all the funds and technology at their disposal, failed to appreciate that it is the double sunspot cycle that is of interest, not the single 11-year cycles?

In our paper published in June last year my co-authors and I demonstrated that a synchronous linkage exists between the double sunspot cycle and the multiyear hydrometeorological processes. These in turn are synchronous with the acceleration and deceleration of the sun as it moves along its trajectory through galactic space. Why are the NASA solar physicists not aware of this?

On Monday 7 July my article "Likelihood of a global drought in 2009-2016" was published in the South African monthly magazine Civil Engineering, which has more than 8,000 readers.

I do not operate a website, but anyone who would like copies of the two publications can send me an email requesting them. They are "Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development" by Alexander W.J.R., Bailey F., Bredenkamp D.B., van der Merwe A. and Willemse N published in June 2007, and "Likelihood of a global drought in 2009-2016" by Alexander W.J.R. published in June 2008.

In my article, I predict that there is a 20 per cent likelihood of a global drought equivalent to the Dustbowl Drought of the 1930s occurring during 2009 to 2016. NASA's activities have an effect of suppressing this information, which is based on analyses of real data and not on postulations by climate change scientists. My article includes a methodology that anybody who has access to continuous annual data sets exceeding 60 years in length, can use to evaluate this likelihood. It requires no more than high school mathematics and a laptop computer.


Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered

From Physics & Society: July 2008, Volume 37, Number 3

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Abstract

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions probably caused more than half of the "global warming" of the past 50 years and would cause further rapid warming. However, global mean surface temperature has not risen since 1998 and may have fallen since late 2001. The present analysis suggests that the failure of the IPCC's models to predict this and many other climatic phenomena arises from defects in its evaluation of the three factors whose product is climate sensitivity:

1. Radiative forcing deltaF;
2. The no-feedbacks climate sensitivity parameter kappa and
3. The feedback multiplier f

Some reasons why the IPCC's estimates may be excessive and unsafe are explained. More importantly, the conclusion is that, perhaps, there is no "climate crisis", and that currently-fashionable efforts by governments to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions are pointless, may be ill-conceived, and could even be harmful.

More here




Don't laugh: Global warming is going to increase kidney stones

The "reasoning" below is that kidney stones are more prevalent in warmer areas of the USA and that they are therefore caused by warmth. That's just epidemiological speculation, however. People in some warmer parts of the USA do get more kidney stones but is that BECAUSE OF the warmth? Bacteria are being increasingly implicated in kidney stone formation so it could (for instance) be due to differing prevalence of bacteria in the areas concerned. Note also that kidney stone prevalence is high in the Great Lakes area, which is not exactly the warmest part of the USA

More Americans are likely to suffer from kidney stones in the coming years as a result of global warming, according to researchers at the University of Texas.

Kidney stones, which are formed from dissolved minerals in the urine and can be extremely painful, are often caused by caused by dehydration, either by not drinking enough liquid or losing too much due to high heat conditions. If global warming trends continue as projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, the United States can expect as much as a 30 percent growth in kidney stone disease in some of its driest areas, said the findings published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The increased incidence of disease would represent between 1.6 million and 2.2 million cases by 2050, costing the US economy as much as one billion dollars in treatment costs.

"This study is one of the first examples of global warming causing a direct medical consequence for humans," said Margaret Pearle, professor of urology at University of Texas Southwestern and senior author of the paper. "When people relocate from areas of moderate temperature to areas with warmer climates, a rapid increase in stone risk has been observed. This has been shown in military deployments to the Middle East for instance."

The lead author of the research, Tom Brikowski, compared kidney stone rates with UN forecasts of temperature increases and created two mathematical models to predict the impact on future populations. One formula showed an increase in the southern half of the country, including the already existing "kidney stone belt" of the southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The other showed that the increase would be concentrated in the upper Midwest. "Similar climate-related changes in the prevalence of kidney-stone disease can be expected in other stone belts worldwide," the study said.

Source




Seeing Red Over "Green" Taxes

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is about to get raked over the coals in parliament over his latest greenmail scheme. The proposed "green" change to road taxes will subject a huge number of Britons to a massive tax increase - retroactively - for driving cars with larger engines. British MPs are furious.
The Treasury admitted on Wednesday that almost half of all drivers will be hit with significant rises in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) on cars with larger engines. Less than 20 per cent will be better off because of tax cuts on cars with lower emissions.

But only last month in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister told David Cameron, the Tory leader, that if he looked at the VED plan, "he will see that the majority of drivers will benefit from it." George Osborne, the Tory shadow chancellor, has said that Mr Brown "misled" parliament, and called on the Prime Minister to explain his remark...

..The plans - against which The Daily Telegraph has campaigned - are especially controversial because they are effectively back-dated, applying to cars that are already on the road. Treasury figures slipped out in a parliamentary answer show that of the 21.9 million cars that will be on British roads by 2010/11, 43 per cent - or 9.4 million - will pay higher VED in real terms than they do now. Another 39 per cent - 8.4 million - will be left no better off. Just 18 per cent - 4.1 million - will actually benefit.

Of the 9.4 million who will be worse off, 1.18 million motorists will be dragged into the highest two tax bands, where the annual cost is upwards of $800.
How bad is it? Well, even Greenpeace is saying the scheme gives "green" taxes a bad name. Just a quick prediction here. The scheme will get changed before it take effect and Gordon Brown will be gainfully unemployed when he next faces the voters.

Source




COSTLY CLIMATE TOKENISM IN AUSTRALIA

El Gran Lider Kevin Rudd has no policy ideas that might actually improve the lot of Australians generally so he constantly resorts to tokenism. And global warming is the BIG bit of tokenism for him. There is no pretence that his proposed climate policies will make any discernible difference to the climate so the only rationale is that Australia will be "setting an example" for India and China. That India and China are likely to be influenced by Australians cutting their own throats is laughable, however. The Indians and the Chinese will cetainly be laughing. Nonetheless, Don Quixote Rudd seems set on his nonsense so there is much discussion of the policies concerned. Two current articles below

Climate cure more costly than the disease

DEMOCRACY, as Arthur Balfour said, is government by explanation: but the explanations must be good ones. The Garnaut report was to explain the basis for the Government's climate change policy. Unfortunately it leaves open more questions than it answers. This is because the encyclopedia Garnaut and his team have produced does everything except what it was supposed to do: cost a target for greenhouse emissions reductions. That, we are told, will come later, with the delay being due to difficulties in the modelling of emissions reductions and their economic costs.

That a delay would occur is hardly implausible. But given that the primary purpose was to present those estimates, why didn't Garnaut simply delay the completion of his report? Surely the public, having ordered the steak, would hardly find it satisfactory to be served only the vegetables, with a promise that the steak would come with dessert?

The failure to present any estimates of the cost of emissions reductions is important because it makes the report unbalanced. Working on the principle that a risk perceived is a risk indeed, the damage climate change could cause is explained at length, but there is no corresponding discussion of the costs and risks involved in action to prevent climate change from occurring.

The absence of costings lets the report off the hook. Since it doesn't weigh up the probable costs and benefits to Australia of alternative policy options, it isn't forced to grapple either with the likelihood of effective international agreement actually being reached or with the consequences of implementing an ETS if it isn't. As these risks, and the costs of going ahead regardless, are not properly weighed in the balance, the report too often reads like a call to arms, rather than objective policy analysis.

This feature of the report is accentuated by its one-sided presentation of material. Nowhere is this clearer than in the report's discussion of the harm climate change could do the living standards of future generations of Australians. Estimating the extent of that harm is fraught with judgments and assumptions, and some will think the report understates the costs, while others will think the opposite.

But what is important about the report's estimate is the one thing the report never mentions: which is that it is hardly a huge number. If one accepts the report's estimates of the real income loss consequent on adverse climate change, then fully offsetting that income loss would require putting aside each year an amount that would be about 0.7 per cent of Australia's GDP in 2008, and which would decline to less than one-third of 1 per cent of GDP by mid century. This assumes a real global rate of return on investment globally of 6 per cent, which is reasonable by historical standards and consistent with the strong economic growth projections set out in the report.

Given a government committed to a budget surplus in the order of 1.5 per cent of GDP over the economic cycle, this level of saving could be achieved with little or no sacrifice to consumption. Indeed, one could readily double the report's estimate of the loss (say, to even more fully reflect non-monetary losses) without that conclusion being in any way undermined. This is important not only because it puts the issue in perspective, but especially because it sets a ceiling on the acceptable costs of an ETS.

Any ETS that costs us more than the precautionary savings set out above would be difficult to justify, as it would impose a larger sacrifice than needed to preserve future living standards. Indeed, given the risk that our own abatement efforts will have little consequence, and that global agreement will not be reached or will prove ineffective, the amount we should be willing to spend on an ETS ought to be even lower than that ceiling, thereby freeing up some income for the precautionary saving we will need should harmful climate change occur. The report could and should have explained this much, but it doesn't. Nor does it explain as directly as would have been desirable the consequences of its preferred approach to allocating permits globally, which is on a per-capita basis.

Australia will continue to have a very small share of world population and hence, under a per-capita allocation, would obtain a small share of global emissions permits. At the same time, our comparative advantage means that we should specialise in emissions-intensive industries, such as agriculture, minerals and energy. Given per-capita allocation of emissions permits, to do so we would have to buy permits from overseas, which would partly transfer to foreigners the gains from our resource endowment.

Perhaps this wealth transfer is desirable; but it is no less desirable for the public to understand that such a wealth transfer would occur, potentially on a very significant scale, were the report's recommendations accepted.

This tendency to understate problems with the preferred approach is also apparent in the report's treatment of the transition to an ETS. The report acknowledges that there may be a case for a "slow and low" start, with a capped emissions price being set for a two-year period. What it does not explain is why the uncertainties that make such a gradual start sensible would be materially reduced after merely two years. By the end of 2012, it will still not be clear whether an effective global regime will come into place; and even the response of the Australian economy to an ETS will remain highly uncertain, as the adjustment processes will take many years to work. In the meantime, new shocks will emerge, as the world economy itself continues to change.

All of these uncertainties are best dealt with by retaining a capped carbon price that reflects the benefits of abating later rather than now. Such a capped price would ensure that even after 2012 the costs of any abatement do not exceed the benefits, which especially in the near term, are likely to be very modest. Yet this too the report does not confront, other than by assuming that uncertainties will melt away.

Finally, there are the instances where there is at least the semblance of partisanship. Garnaut's response to calls from the Opposition for the fuel excise to be reduced should an ETS be imposed is a case in point. Any such reduction, he suggests, would send the wrong signal to developing countries, especially those which continue to heavily subsidise fuel consumption, and would in any event be economically unjustified.

However, there is no more virtue in unduly taxing a commodity than there is in unduly subsidising it: both distort relative prices and reduce efficiency. Fuel prices are already trebly taxed: by the excess mark-ups arising from the OPEC cartel, by the fuel excise and by the GST. Compounding the distortion by adding a fourth tax, without adjusting the others, would be both inefficient and inequitable.

In short, this is a report that costs the problem, but says little or nothing about the costs of its proposed solution. As for its proposed solution, it does not even seek to systematically compare it with alternatives: rather, it acts as if the only options were complete inaction on the one hand, or its version of an ETS on the other. And for all of its 500-plus pages, it is at times uncomfortably thin on analysis, appealing to fears and hopes rather than likelihoods and realities.

Yet the policy decisions the report calls for are of huge consequence: they cannot be made on the basis of romanticism and generous impulses. To claim those decisions must be made immediately is as reckless as it is nonsensical: rather, what is needed is a far more careful testing of the facts. That the Opposition has been debating these issues is therefore hardly worrying; what would be terrifying is if the Government were not to. For without such a full debate, the greatest threat to Australia's future prosperity will lie not in the climate, but in ourselves.

Source




PM's $5bn green gamble against Treasury advice

By Piers Akerman

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd is set to announce a controversial $5 billion scheme to slash carbon emissions. The plan, which will call for carbon to be captured and stored in forests and oceans, will be outlined in the Government's discussion paper on its planned emissions trading scheme to be released tomorrow, Treasury sources said. But the same sources said the Rudd Government would be going against Treasury advice if the expensive scheme to store carbon in the seabed or in deeply submerged subterranean strata went ahead.

They said Treasury had warned against announcing such a proposal because the carbon sequestration technology was largely untried. "This is another theoretical approach to a problem," one source said. "Not only is it very costly, no one knows whether it is a realistic storage solution for carbon emissions. "The Rudd Government appears determined to proceed, however, even though Treasury asked that, at the minimum, it refrain from taking such action until after next year's UN summit on climate change in the Danish capital Copenhagen meeting, when it will be seen what measures other developed nations may take." The use of so-called "carbon sinks" can take the form of storing carbon in plants and soils, oceans or buried in deep rock deposits.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson is on the record as saying there are good arguments for implementing carbon sequestration. Mr Ferguson said sequestration would encourage investment and commercialisation of the technology, which was a safe way to allow continued carbon-based power generation with reduced environmental impact. His draft sequestration legislation sets up a framework for access to Commonwealth waters, defined as beginning three nautical miles offshore, as well as multiple-use agreements allowing the continuation of other commercial activities such as fishing and oil drilling. He said Commonwealth body Geoscience Australia had identified numerous sites where greenhouse gases could be stored. And he nominated high-carbon emission areas of Victoria, Western Australia and southern and central Queensland as having "adequate storage capacity nearby".

The carbon storage row comes after Mr Rudd previously ignored Treasury advice, and that of three other ministries, when he pushed ahead with the Government's FuelWatch program. In Opposition, he was critical of the Howard Government for ignoring Treasury and pledged that his government would be more receptive to advice from its bureaucrats.

Treasury is not the only body concerned at the possible effects of the Government's Green Paper on climate change. Australia's largest trade union, the Australian Workers Union, has released a report that predicts 15,000 jobs could be lost in the aluminium sector alone if the penalties contained in the ETS drive the industry offshore. AWU national secretary Paul Howes said regional communities and economies would be crippled at a potential cost of up to $1.12 billion. "We know, by keeping good jobs in industries like aluminium smelters and refineries here in Australia, we are actually helping in the battle against greenhouse gases," he said.

Environmentalists, however, say that Australians would not suffer if the aluminium sector closed and the industry went offshore to more modern plants. Climate Institute chief John Connor told the ABC yesterday that many foreign aluminium smelters were more efficient.

Farmers also expressed their concern that the discussion paper might pick an "arbitrary" date for the inclusion of agriculture in an ETS.

Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson will cut short his week-long holiday to lead the Opposition's response to the Government's climate change Green Paper.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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14 July, 2008

Global Warming for Fun and Profit?

Email from Jim Peden:

As one of the Ancient Ones - old enough to remember the Cold War, Race for Space, Missile Gap, and a dozen other high priority panics that opened the floodgates for research funding, it's easy to see how the great Global Warming Hoax has penetrated every corner of science. As Willie Sutton, the bank robber, replied when asked why he robbed banks, "because that's where the money is".

Recently I stumbled across a Defense Technical Information Center paper via the web on which I was listed as co-author. I must confess I had not seen the paper in public before this year, perhaps it had been classified for many decades. What amused me was the abstract and the descriptors:
Corporate Author : EXTRANUCLEAR LABS INC PITTSBURGH PA Personal Author(s) : Fite, W. L. ; Garcia, J. D. ; Gerjuoy, E. ; Peden, J. A. Report Date : MAY 1969

Abstract : Experimental data on heavy particle collisions of relevance to atomic weapons debris motion are critically reviewed with emphasis on electron capture-and-loss cross-section measurements and possible systematic errors attending the experiments. Discrepancies of the order of 50 percent can be understood on the basis of differences in experiments. Four phenomenological theories (Rapp and Francis, Firsov, Firsov-Russek, and Classical Binary Encounter) are summarized and critically evaluated for applicability to heavy particle collisions. The predictions of these theories are compared with experimental data. A theorem pertinent to energy distributions in electron-ion collision experiments is presented. The report concludes with recommendations on future informational needs. (Author)

Descriptors : (*NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, FISSION PRODUCTS), (*FISSION PRODUCTS, PARTICLE TRAJECTORIES), ATMOSPHERES, ION BEAMS, ION EXCHANGE, ELECTRON CAPTURE, IONIZATION, MATHEMATICAL MODELS, NUCLEAR CROSS SECTIONS, IONS.
Atomic weapons debris motion? Nuclear Explosions? I recall not a mention of these items by anyone at the time. Oh yeah, I forget... in those days any grant proposal had to have the appropriate buzzwords relating to National Defense. Heaven forbid anyone wanting to study electron capture-and-loss cross-section measurements for the sole purpose of advancing our knowledge of those subjects.

Today there is a new Golden Fleece hanging on the tree, and anyone with half a science diploma can become a member of Jason's merry band of Argonauts. Just make sure that your proposal is directed toward finding yet another contributor to anthropogenic global warming. From Cow Farts to Whales Singing Off-Key, the field is wide open as long as you observe a few simple rules:

1. Your results must support AGW, otherwise your grant won't be renewed.
2. If your data doesn't support your predetermined conclusion, change the data.
3. The one with the shortest date to Armageddon gets the biggest bucks.

I confess I miss the good old days when the Soviet Union, not our own Government, was our official enemy. Our race to the moon ( OK, the Soviets actually didn't have a horse in that race) at least netted us a lot of great spinoffs, like freeze dried foods for our backpacking trips. The current AGW-driven system nets the ordinary taxpayer absolutely nothing except a negative feedback wallet and maybe an eventual collapse of the entire economy.

The short-term profits are enormous, and for a while at least, the incompetent and dishonest "scientists" of the world will be able to enjoy a reasonably regular paycheck. But in the end, it must all eventually collapse like the dot-com bubble, with the sad end result being that anyone wearing the title of scientist will likely be viewed with the same respect as a junk bond trader.

Maybe we few, we band of dissenting brothers and sisters will be remembered as not being part of the hoax, but I'm taking no chances. I just bought a case of potato chips, and I'm going to examine every one with a magnifying glass. Statistically speaking, there ought to be at least one chip with a reasonably credible likeness of some high-level saint I can sell for big bucks on Ebay.




Laurie David on Iceland's Polar Bears

Laurie David's major qualifications for attention seem to be a big mouth and large breasts but the media do nonetheless carry her pronouncements on climate -- while studiously ignoring the words of many highly qualified but skeptical scientists

Laurie David has a post up on the polar bears that found their way to Iceland, but before she gets to the polar bears, she has some thoughts on Iceland in general:
The most impressive fact about Iceland is that they went from a completely fossil fuel dependent nation to a completely coal independent nation. Not a single chunk of coal is burned for electricity there. Instead, they power their booming economy with renewable geothermal and hydropower (and they heat around 90% of their buildings with geothermal too). (Iceland has no nuclear plants either.) It can be done. They proved it!
Well, for one, not everyone thinks Iceland's economy is "booming." From the Financial Times:
In the second half of last year, as the subprime crisis gathered strength in the US, articles appeared in the international press about Iceland as the "canary in the mine". They suggested tiny Iceland (population: 315,000) was a leading indicator of how the crisis was mutating into something much bigger, affecting many countries beyond the US.

Since then Iceland's economy has continued to decline. Gross domestic product shrank by almost 4 per cent in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the final quarter of last year, when growth was barely positive. The stock market and the currency have both fallen by about a third since the start of this year.

The size of the accumulated macroeconomic imbalances beggars belief. The external deficit was 25 per cent of GDP in 2006 and 17 per cent in 2007. Gross short-term foreign debt amounted to 15 times the value of the central bank's foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2007, or roughly 200 per cent of GDP. Gross long-term foreign debt amounted to another 350 per cent of GDP. Bank assets swelled to 10 times GDP by the end of 2007. These imbalances are the other side of the Icelandic purchases of companies in Britain, Denmark and elsewhere.
Two, it's quite easy to use geothermal power to generate electricity when you live on top of a giant volcano.

And three, do you know what else Iceland uses its "green" power for? Smelters. Polluting, global-warming causing, polar-bear killing smelters. Anyone who knows anything about Iceland knows that the smelter issue is one that divides the nation:
Minister of the Environment Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir called her fellow party members in the Social Democrats to a meeting yesterday to discuss their declarations of support for aluminum smelters, which are not compatible with the party's policy on climate issues.

Before the elections in May 2007, the Social Democrats claimed there was only room for one small aluminum smelter in addition to the others within the Icelandic provision on greenhouse gas emissions, 24 Stundir reports.

Yet some ministers from the Social Democrats, including Minister of Transport Kristjon Muller, have declared their support for planned aluminum smelters in Bakki near Hesavik in northeast Iceland and in Helguvik on Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland.
Laurie David conveniently leaves this out. But back to the polar bears:
I heard about this rare occurrence of polar bears drifting to Iceland from the fly fishing guide Hallur Lund (a mechanical engineer during the off season) who thinks global warming is the reason the polar bears ended up in the wrong place. "They would never swim from Greenland to Iceland. No way," Hallur said. If two polar bears hit this tiny little island I wonder how many end up floating past, never bumping into a shore and end up drowning. You could say the two who landed were the lucky ones; at least they found land.
As we've reported, the above statement isn't true. Polar bears find their way to Iceland all the time, especially in years when it's extremely icy.

Excerpt from Seaworld: "The polar bears' southern range is limited by the amount of sea ice that forms in the winter. Polar bears prefer to travel on sea ice. In the south, polar bears are annual visitors to St. Lawrence Island, southern Labrador, and Svalbard. In heavy ice years, polar bears have traveled as far south as the Pribilof Islands,Kamchatka, Newfoundland, and Iceland. The most southerly dwelling polar bears live year-round in James Bay, Canada. The majority of polar bears are found near land masses around the edge of the polar basin".

Source




Canada: Battling global warming leads to fewer mental health beds

- The IPCC is not objective. Indeed, chairman R.K. Pachauri declared in the 2007 edition he hoped it would shock people -- a polemical, rather than scientific goal.

- It also deals poorly with inconvenient truths. Yes, there's less ice in the Arctic: Look, look! But Antarctica is getting colder: Oh, that's anomalous.

- And warming has apparently plateaued over the last 10 years, the 1998 high, as recorded by the World Meteorological Organization, has yet to be exceeded. In a January interview with The Guardian, Pachauri speculated there may be natural factors compensating. (Interestingly, the article is no longer to be found on the newspaper's website.) Natural factors? Isn't that the line used by global-warming deniers to explain warming? As in, go check the sun spots? Ah, hogwash, said Pachauri.

- The doomsday predictions are based on computer modelling and that's only as good as the assumptions fed into the computer. We are apparently spending billions of dollars on the word of climatologists who claim to know what will happen to the weather in decades to come, when their cousins in the meteorological office can't say for sure what it will be next week.

- Some of it's just alarmist. Lomborg notes in his anti-hysteria book, Cool It, that Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth posits Florida being under six metres of water. Even the IPCC only suggests 25 cm.

- Some of it's wrong. The polar bears are doing fine. The report on which the story relies was misinterpreted.

However, even if the IPCC one day savours the sweet taste of vindication (from higher ground than Miami) Lomborg's question remains: Sea levels rise and fall, and have done so many times in the last 30,000 years. Does one sit like Canute on the shore and command the tide to recede? Or does one take that money and do what one can to make the world a better place for people today?

In Alberta, we have apparently decided to do the former. What a pity it's at the cost of mental health. It seems we have never needed treatment more.

Source




California dreaming: its Potemkin greens

Glenn Milne meant this to sound hopeful:
The great thing about visiting California is that it gives you a sense of where Australia is probably headed. In the context of the climate change debate, this assertion stands, only more so. Remember, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is something of an environmental pin-up boy for Rudd.
Max Schulz explains why it's actually a threat:
A dirty secret about California's energy economy is that it imports lots of energy from neighboring states to make up for the shortfall caused by having too few power plants. Up to 20 percent of the state's power comes from coal-burning plants in Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Montana, and another significant portion comes from large-scale hydropower in Oregon, Washington State, and the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas.

Another secret: California's proud claim to have kept per-capita energy consumption flat while growing its economy is less impressive than it seems. The state has some of the highest energy prices in the country-nearly twice the national average, a 2002 Milken Institute study found-largely because of regulations and government mandates to use expensive renewable sources of power.

As a result, heavy manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries have been fleeing the Golden State in droves for lower-cost locales. Twenty years ago or so, you could count eight automobile factories in California; today, there's just one, and it's the same story with other industries, from chemicals to aerospace.

Yet Californians still enjoy the fruits of those manufacturing industries-driving cars built in the Midwest and the South, importing chemicals and resins and paints and plastics produced elsewhere, and flying on jumbo jets manufactured in places like Everett, Washington. California can pretend to have controlled energy consumption, but it has just displaced it.
Source




Eight new nuclear power stations planned for England

Ministers are to build eight new nuclear power stations across England, the Daily Telegraph can disclose. The new nuclear plants will mainly be based alongside existing facilities and are expected to be constructed over the next decade. New planning laws will be used to fast-track approval for the nuclear plants which Gordon Brown believes are crucial in reducing Britain's dependency on fossil fuels.

However, the plans are likely to anger people living close to the new sites whose properties will now be close to nuclear plants for much of the century. Many environmentalists are also opposed to the plans. Earlier this year, the Government announced that it was committed to building a new generation of nuclear power stations to replace the existing facilities.

However, the scale of the proposed building programme has never previously been disclosed and the Government has promised to formally consult on plans before announcing the building programme. Jean McSorley, nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "If there is a list that has already been signed off on for sites for new-build nuclear power stations then it makes a complete mockery of the Government's consultation on siting. It calls into question the legality of the whole process. "No doubt the various parties interested in new build and owning British Energy will be very worried about such a pre-determined list."

The locations of the new nuclear reactors are expected to include Sizewell, Hartlepool, Heysham and Dungeness. There are currently eight nuclear sites across England which may house all the proposed new reactors.

The Scottish Executive has blocked any of the new nuclear stations being built north of the border.

Mr Brown is a strong backer of nuclear energy and said earlier this year: "When North Sea oil runs down, both oil and gas, people will want to know whether we have made sure that we've got the balance right between external dependence on energy and our ability to generate our own energy within our country."

At last week's G8 summit in Japan, the Prime Minister spoke of the need for up to 1,000 new nuclear power stations around the world to supply energy during the next century. He said there should be nuclear plants on every continent. Energy prices have soared over the past few months in line with rising oil prices. Last Friday, the oil price hit a new high of more than $147 a barrel amid growing concerns over the actions of the Iranians.

The Government also signed a multi-billion pound deal with firms dealing with nuclear waste at Sellafield last week. Mr Brown hopes that oil-rich states such as Saudi Arabia may invest in new nuclear power stations in this country. The Government has already said that the private sector and energy companies must be responsible for funding the new nuclear plants. However, a number of Government subsidies to help deal with the costs of waste may be available.

Britain has pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than fifty percent by 2050 and the ambitious nuclear building plan is seen as critical to meeting the target.

Environmental groups took the Government to court last year accusing it of failing to carry out a proper consultation on nuclear plans before they were announced. The Government lost the case and pledged to carry out proper consultations on each plant before the plans are unveiled. The disclosure that ministers have decided on the eight new plants before the consultations is likely to anger environmentalists.

Source




Poor people can't worry about global warming

Well, who would have thought it? Almost anybody actually, who had asked the question: "Who is most likely to own an older, cheaper car?" How could anyone - let alone the elected members of a governing party whose raison d'etre has been to represent the interests of the poor - not have deduced that raising the Vehicle Excise Duty on cars that had been purchased years ago would be likely to fall most heavily on those who were not rich enough to replace their cars every year?

Headline number two: the use of crops to produce biofuels is a direct cause of world food shortages and so is responsible for starvation in the developing world and escalating food prices in developed countries, thus helping to further pauperise the poor of every nation.

Who would have guessed? Well, almost anyone with even a basic understanding of how markets work - which supposedly includes every active member of the Conservative Party, and most of those who count themselves as New Labour, too.

If you introduce incentives for switching what were once staple food crops to the production of fuel - guess what? - the amount of acreage dedicated to growing food is reduced. And, all together now, what happens when you reduce the world supply of a commodity? You've got it. You've mastered the first chapter of Economics for Dummies.

Neither of these outcomes can even count as an unintended consequence of policy: so blindingly, luminously clear was their inevitability that we have to look for some explanation that goes beyond incompetence or shortsightedness among our own (and much of the Western world's) decision-making class.

What we are up against is not just grab-a-headline, ill-thought out, desperate policy-making on the hoof - although there is plenty of that. It is something larger: a crisis of political coherence is what I would call it, being of a philosophical bent. You may think that too high-flown and abstract, so let me put it in concrete terms.

There are two prevailing fashions dominating the political scene, whose aims and effects are in direct contradiction with one another. But that does not prevent virtually all of the political parties in the Western democracies from attempting to embrace both at the same time.

They are global warming and the mission to eradicate poverty. What scarcely any leader seems prepared to admit (although they are all coming bang up against the reality of it) is that the objectives and tactics involved in forwarding the cause of preventing global warming are inimical to the cause of fighting poverty on a national and an international level.

Have a look at life in a place like Glasgow East (as many goggle-eyed media types are doing for the first time) and ask yourself: "What are the people here likely to say to you if you tell them that the most important issue for life in Britain is how to get more people to recycle their rubbish?"

There is not just a question of how actual environmental legislation is likely to affect the daily lives of poorer people (making their cars, fuel, home heating and food cost more) but of the apparent disregard for what they would regard as national priorities: when you are jobless and the rising cost of transport makes it inconceivable for you to travel to look for work; when the cost of decent food is climbing out of your reach, and your household energy bills are unaffordable, you are unlikely to see the contentious arguments for long-term climate change as the most urgent item on the political agenda.

Global warming is a worry that can be indulged by the richer sections of the populations of the richer countries.

Never mind Glasgow East, there is a damned good reason why the governments of India and China, whose populations are only just discovering the joys of economic growth and the mass prosperity that it brings, should be unhelpful when their rich, self-regarding counterparts try to drag them into agreements which would trap them in the endemic poverty they have endured for generations.

A freeze on further use of the cheaper routes to wealth production (which involve the more carbon-emitting fuels) and those wasteful paths to modern development which the West was happy to tread before it scared itself silly over a slight rise in global temperature, would mean reversing the startling progress that is pulling the peoples of India and China out of material deprivation - and the despair that accompanies it.

Not to mention the peoples of Africa who have scarcely begun their journey and whose frequent descent into mass starvation is rightly seen - by the same politicians who were, until about 20 minutes ago, demanding that world food crops be turned into fuel - as the great conscientious crusade of the generation.

To bring it back to Glasgow East, and even to all those bits of suburban Britain where life is nothing like so grim, let's talk about the mundane, household level of conflict between the objectives of politicians who want to attack global warming and, at the same time, be the champions of poor families.

Who is likely to be hardest hit by higher charges for throwing away large amounts of rubbish or using more water? The young (high-earning) professional who eats in restaurants and sends his laundry out? Or the poorer family with children, who rarely go out, bathe their children every night and use their washing machine every day?

Green taxes almost always take the form of extra charges which take no account of income - whether it is vehicle excise duty or water metering - and that means that they affect the poor much more than the rich. Special compensation schemes in which the very poor get some relief simply create another poverty trap in which any improvement in earnings means a loss of benefit: the last thing we need in a country already overly dependent on benefits.

We are about to reach the end of this political game: "incoherence" may be a fancy word bandied about by political policy obsessives like me, but voters know a contradiction when they see one - especially when they end up paying for it. You can be the party of the environment or you can be the party of the poor, but you can't be both - at least not at the same time.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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13 July, 2008

Four scientists warn 'global warming out, global cooling in'

Four scientists, four scenarios, four more or less similar conclusions without actually saying it outright - the global warming trend is done, and a cooling trend is about to kick in. The implication: Future energy price response is likely to be significant.

Late last month, some leading climatologists and meteorologists met in New York at the Energy Business Watch Climate and Hurricane Forum. The theme of the forum strongly suggested that a period of global cooling is about emerge, though possible concerns for a political backlash kept it from being spelled out. However, the message was loud and clear, a cyclical global warming trend may be coming to an end for a variety of reasons, and a new cooling cycle could impact the energy markets in a big way. Words like "highly possible," "likely" or "reasonably convincing" about what may soon occur were used frequently. Then there were other words like "mass pattern shift" and "wholesale change in anomalies" and "changes in global circulation."

Noted presenters, such as William Gray, Harry van Loon, Rol Madden and Dave Melita, signaled in the strongest terms that huge climate changes are afoot. Each weather guru, from a different angle, suggested that global warming is part of a cycle that is nearing an end. All agreed the earth is in a warm cycle right now, and has been for a while, but that is about to change significantly.

However, amid all of the highly suggestive rhetoric, none of the weather and climate pundits said outright that a global cooling trend is about to replace the global warming trend in a shift that could begin as early as next year. Van Loon spoke about his theories of solar storms and how, combined with, or because of these storms, the Earth has been on a relative roller coaster of climate cycles. For the past 250 years, he said, global climate highs and lows have followed the broad pattern of low and high solar activity. And shorter 11-year sunspot cycles are even more easily correlated to global temperatures.

It was cooler from 1883 to 1928 when there was low solar activity, he said, and it has been warmer since 1947 with increased solar activity."We are on our way out of the latest (warming) cycle, and are headed for a new cycle of low (solar) activity," van Loon said. "There is a change coming. We may see 180-degree changes in anomalies during high and low sunspot periods. There were three global climate changes in the last century, there is a change coming now."

Meanwhile, Madden noted that while temperature forecasts longer than one to two weeks out has improved, "what has really gotten much better is climate forecasting . predicting the change in the mean," he said. And the drivers impacting climate suggest a shift to cooler sea surface temperatures, he said.

Perhaps the best known speaker was Colorado State University's Gray, founder of the school's famed hurricane research team. Gray spoke about multi-decade periods of warming and cooling and how global climate flux has been the norm for as long as there have been records. Gray has taken quite a bit of political heat for insistence that global warming is not a man-made condition. Man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) is negligible, he said, compared to the amount of CO2 Mother Nature makes and disposes of each day or century. "We've reached the top of the heat cycle," he said. "The next 10 years will be hardly any warmer than the last 10 years."

Finally, climate scientist Melita spoke of a new phase in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation."I'm looking at a new, cold-negative phase, though it won't effect this summer, fall or winter `08," he said.

Conference host, analyst and forecaster Andy Weissman closed the conference by addressing how natural gas prices and policy debates would be impacted by a possible climate shift that could leave the market short gas.This would be especially problematic if gas use for power generation were substantially increased at the expense of better alternatives."If we're about to shift into another natural climate cycle, we can't do it without coal-fired generation. So the policy debate has to change," he said. "Coal has to be back on the table if we're ever going to meet our energy needs."As for natural gas: "Next year, may see a bit of price softening," Weissman said. "After that, fogetaboutit!".

Source




A climate prediction that has been confirmed by reality

Unilke the IPCC model predictions that are NOT confirmed by reality. An email below from John L. Casey [mail@spaceandscience.net]

Please accept my thanks for the posting of excerpts from the recent July 1, 2008 Climate Change Declaration issued by the Space and Science Research Center, (SSRC). In addition to my thanks I wanted to send this short message to you and other sites regarding the nature of the Declaration and why it was issued. Here are some key points:

1. The original independent research done without any knowledge of any related research, was completed in April-May of 2007. Given the importance of the findings and conclusions, the results were immediately passed on to key government and media offices.

2. In January of 2008 the formal peer reviewed paper was published on line by the SSRC as SSRC Research Report 1-2008 and is available at the web site: www.spaceandscience.net.

3. The reason for the July news conference and the Declaration was not to restate the previous press releases or what was in the research report. It was much more important.

4. It was to announce that the RC Theory developed from the research and the prediction that the next cold era would begin with solar cycle #24 was now confirmed! The next climate change to a long lasting cold era has begun as forecast. This was the fundamental message of the news conference. The global warming caused by the sun because of a particular 206 year long solar cycle has now reversed to the next phase, a pronounced cold period.

5. During the detailed news conference I went on to congratulate the many other researchers world wide who on their own have come to the same conclusion that we were about to enter a cold era. Though the SSRC is leading the effort here in the US to get out the word about this new climate period, we are certainly not alone. On the RC Theory page at the web site is a partial list of others who have made a prediction similar to the SSRC.

As you might expect many of us have taken much ad hominem criticism for coming out publicly with our research.




How the Hadley Centre spins the data on non-warming

Britain's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research is in a bit of a pickle at the moment. On the one hand, the Hadley Centre is a firm believer in the hypothesis that humans are the main cause of global warming and that we're heading toward catastrophe. It even devotes several of its web pages to waving a nagging finger at those foolish enough or unprincipled enough to believe otherwise.

On the other hand, the Hadley Centre, as part of the British Meteorological Office, is also churning out data showing that the planet isn't warming at the moment, and hasn't for the past 10 years or so.What to do?

As principled scientists, the Hadley staff can't cook the books so the temperature figures fit the hypothesis, although at least one other major climate centre is doing its best to keep its figures matching the hypothesis. On the other hand, if the general public got the idea that maybe the planet wasn't warming after all, despite what we've all been told so often, they might rebel against punitive carbon taxes and go back to their materialist-loving ways.

The Hadley Centre's solution is a combination of spin-doctoring and let's hope nobody notices.You find the spin in its finger-wagging admonitions that we mustn't take this non-warming trend at all seriously. Just temporary. Planet's still warming. Move along; nothing to see here.So, in its webpage on Climate Facts #1, it says: "There is indisputable evidence from observations that the Earth is warming."

This is hardly controversial; even the pesky warming skeptics who annoy the Hadley Centre so much agree on the earth is, overall, on a warming trend. But, just to make sure we're clear so far: the earth is in an overall warming trend (interglacial) right now and would be whether humans were a factor or not. Humans causing `most of the warming'?

Hadley goes on: "Concentrations of CO2, created largely by the burning of fossil fuels, are now much higher, and increasing at a much faster rate, than at any time in the last 600,000 years. Because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the increased concentrations have contributed to the recent warming and probably most of the warming over the last 50 years" So, just so we're clear: humans are the primary (Al Gore likes to use the term "principal") cause of global warming - that's what's meant by causing "most of the warming."

But then, Climate Fact #3 tells us: "Earth's climate is complex and influenced by many things, particularly changes in its orbit, volcanic eruptions, and changes in the energy emitted from the Sun. It is well known that the world has experienced warm or cold periods in the past without any interference from humans". So, humans are causing "most of the warming" at the moment, but not warming in the past, and there are many other causes of warming as well, all natural, and all, one would think, a lot more powerful - solar orbit changes, volcanoes, variations in solar energy - than anything humans could throw at the planet.

The site goes on: "In recent ice ages, natural changes in the climate, such as those due to orbit changes, led to cooling of the climate system. This caused a fall in CO2 concentrations which weakened the greenhouse effect and amplified the cooling. Now the link between temperature and CO2 is working in the opposite direction. Human-induced increases in CO2 are driving the greenhouse effect and amplifying the recent warming".

Driving or amplifying? They aren't the same thing. We've got two processes here, described by two different verbs: driving and amplifying. Even though the planet is warming naturally (Fact #1), which would naturally tend to increase CO2 levels anyway, human-emitted CO2 is "driving" the greenhouse effect. This is an amazing feat when you consider that human-added concentrations of CO2 are only about five per cent of natural carbon emissions every year from factors like rotting vegetation, volcanoes, and the like. And amazing considering that 90 to 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect is produced by water vapor, not CO2.

Never mind. For the Hadley Centre, five per cent of a trace gas like carbon dioxide (CO2 is only 380 parts per million in the atmosphere, to which human emissions add about 10 ppm every five years) is "driving" the greenhouse gas system.

Then the Centre backtracks a bit and says we humans are "amplifying," rather than "driving," the recent warming. How much are we "amplifying" natural warming? Presumably about five per cent. Is an amplification of five per cent enough to produce "most of the warming" we've experienced over the past 30 years? It's unlikely, especially considering that the planet warmed about the same amount from 1850-1940, when human carbon emissions were still relatively low.

Furthermore, in the 1850s the planet came out of more than 400 years of cooling known as the Little Ice Age. Before that, during the Medieval Warm Period (900-1350), global temperatures were a degree or two Celsius higher than today's. Temperatures were warmer about 2,000 years ago (the Roman Warm Period) and about 3,500 years ago (the Minoan Warm Period).Natural warming occurs every 1,000 years or so. This means that over the past 5,000 years there's been a major warming and cooling cycle every 1,000 years or so. The current warming, a millennium after the Medieval Warm Period, is right on track as part of that cycle. In other words, the planet may be going about its natural warming at the moment, with a bit of "amplification" - five per cent? - from humans. "Amplifying" doesn't mean the same as "driving" the climate, but the Hadley Centre doesn't make this fine distinction.

Then there's that pesky decade of warming. To counter this inconvenient truth, Hadley tells us in its webpage on Climate Facts #2 that "the rise in global surface temperature has averaged more than 0.15 C per decade since the mid-1970s. Warming has been unprecedented in at least the last 50 years, and the 17 warmest years have all occurred in the last 20 years. This does not mean that next year will necessarily be warmer than last year, but the long-term trend is for rising temperatures."

Translating this into understandable English, the Centre is saying that just because it's not warming now doesn't mean it hasn't warmed in the past, which is hardly news. Therefore, it concludes, because it's been warm in the past three decades, the planet is going to be warmer in the future. It was warm from 1850 to 1940, too, but in 1940 the planet cooled for 30 years. However, this cooling can't happen again, according to the Hadley Centre.

How does it know? Because its computers tell it so - the same computers that couldn't predict the recent 10 years of non-warming. But why isn't the planet warming now? After all, humans are "driving" the climate, aren't we? Well, not quite. As the Hadley Centre tells us in Fact #2: "The recent slight slowing of the warming is due to a shift towards more-frequent La Nina conditions in the Pacific since 1998. These bring cool water up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, cooling global temperatures" ("slight slowing of the warming" is an unsual way of describing "no warming").

So the oceans are driving this non-warming through an El Nina (a cold current), overriding our human-caused carbon dioxide. Maybe humans aren't as powerful a "driving" force as the Hadley Centre would like us to believe after all. And if humans aren't the main cause of cooling, maybe we're not the main cause of warming, either.

How Hadley chart buries non-warming

Finally, again, the Hadley Centre is stuck with a bunch of numbers that show the planet isn't warming, despite its computers' predictions that human CO2 would warm things up. It can't sweep this data under the rug so it does the next best thing: it produces a graph that makes the lack of warming barely discernible. Here's the chart the Hadley Centre uses to illustrate temperatures over the last 157 years:

Hadley Centre temperature data, 1850-2007. The current flat-lined warming shows as a tiny, horizontal tail on the right side of the chart. If you get out a magnifying glass, you'll see that, yes, the blue temperature line flattens out after the year 2000. I've searched the Hadley site and can't find any graphic that shows the last 10 years in detail, although the numbers are there as a long list.

However, on his site, Anthony Watts has produced a graph of the past 10 years, using the Hadley Centre's numbers. Here's what that graph looks like (I've added a red line to show average temperatures).Anthony Watts chart, 1988-2008, from Hadley Centre data

Why hasn't the Hadley Centre produced a graphic like this? Isn't an average temperature that hasn't gone up in 10 years worthy of public attention? Shouldn't even a temporary pause in warming be good news? Why bury that news in a tiny fillip at the end of a very long-term chart? Why work so hard to hide the truth? Because the truth doesn't agree with the Centre's hypothesis that humans are the "driving" force behind climate. In short, it's an embarrassment, and therefore to be underplayed as much as possible.

I argue that much of what the public is told by "consensus" climate science about global warming is misleading, exaggerated, or plain wrong. The Hadley Centre's spin effort isn't exaggerating the data (far from it), nor is it plain wrong - the true figures are on the site. But the Centre is doing everything it can to mislead the public in hopes that the planet will start warming again before the peasants figure out that, maybe, the "consensus" climate science prophets are, in fact, plain wrong.

Source




How warming really happens is actually quite simple

Email from Jim Peden:

As a dissenting physicist, I simply can no longer buy the notion that CO2 produces any significant warming of the atmosphere at any rate. I've studied the atomic absorption physics to death, from John Nicol's extensive development to the much longer winded dissertation by Gerlich & Tscheuschner and everything in between, it simply doesn't add up. Even if every single IR photon absorbed by a CO2 molecule were magically transformed into purely thermal translational modes , the pitifully small quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere doesn't add up to much additional heat. And if the aforementioned magical 100% transformation from radiation into "heat" were true, then all arguments concerning re-emission ( source of all the wonderful "greenhouse effect" cartoons with their arrows flying in all directions ) are out the window.

More and more, I am becoming convinced that atmospheric heating is primarily by thermal conduction from the surface, whose temperature is determined primarily by solar absorption. I get a lot of email from laymen seeking simple answers ( I'm sure you all do as well ). My simple reply goes like this:

1. The sun heats the earth.
2. The earth heats the atmosphere
3. After the sun sets, the atmosphere cools back down

With a parting comment: "If we were to have 96 continuous hours without sunlight, temperatures would likely be below freezing over all the world's land masses. The warmest place you could find would be to take a swim in the nearest ocean. There is no physical process in the atmosphere which "traps" heat. The so-called "greenhouse effect " is a myth."




New Hope for Global Warming Deniers

Why would anyone be a global warming denier? What's the point? You earn the scorn of Al Gore and maybe Dr. James Hansen, NASA's pre-eminent climate scientist will call for you to be put in jail. Of fossil fuel company CEOs, Hansen recently testified to Congress: In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.

If Dr. Hansen turns out to be wrong about climate change should he be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors too? Steve McIntyre and his collaborators at climateaudit.org have already found one big error in Dr. Hansen's GISS global temperature data series. How many mistakes add up to a felony?

But things are looking up for the global warming skeptics. First of all there is the global temperature. After holding constant since 1998 it has dropped markedly in the last two years. You can see the latest numbers at Dr. Roy Spencer's home page here

Recently the Germans prudently declared a ten-year hold on non-stop global warming. What with a flip in the Gulf Stream they realized that the numbers weren't going to look too good for the alarmists in the next few years. "There is a long-periodic oscillation that will probably lead to a lower temperature increase than we would expect from the current trend during the next years," they wrote. Clearly, more research is needed.

The World Bank in a "secret" report has found most of the recent increase in food prices was due to biofuels production. Writes Aditya Chakrabortty in the lefty Guardian: Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

Apparently, according to Chakrabortty, the World Bank refrained from publishing the report to avoid embarrassing President Bush! The US recently issued a report blaming China and India for the food price increases and this new report "emphatically contradicts" it. I say to heck with President Bush and the evil biofuels program that he rammed through Congress with the help of Halliburton in the teeth of opposition from sensitive, caring environmentalists and advocates for the global poor. Let's teach President Bush a lesson and stop biofuel subsidies now! What do you say, Senator Obama? Here is an opportunity for real change.

But the most fascinating and encouraging news for the deniers is from Australian astrophysicists I.R.G. Wilson, B.D. Carter, and I.A. Waite. They have developed a theory that the sunspot cycle and its intensity is driven by the gravitational relationships between the Sun and the Jovian planets Jupiter and Saturn.

The Sun wobbles a bit around the center of the Solar System. Sometimes the center of the Solar System lies outside the surface of the Sun, only 1,000 times heavier than Jupiter and 3,000 times heavier than Saturn. All that wobbling seems to affect the behavior of the Sun.

Here is the nub of the paper, as explained by author Ian Wilson to Andrew Bolt. It supports the contention that the level of activity on the Sun will significantly diminish sometime in the next decade and remain low for about 20 - 30 years. On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World's mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 - 2 C.

Wilson and Co. should talk to the Germans who think that the cooling will only last for 10-15 years and try to come up with a cooling consensus. Either way, it adds up to a comfortable truth for Al Gore who can now feel virtuous about warming up the planet with his mega-mansion and his compulsive jet-travel habit.

It's all so confusing. Liberals tell us that we mustn't develop energy resources because of the impact on the polar bear -- even though polar bear numbers are on the increase. We shouldn't develop oil resources in ANWR because it is a pristine wilderness. We shouldn't develop offshore oil resources because 40 years ago there was an oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel. Anyway there's no point in developing oil and gas resources because it won't make any difference to the price of gasoline. Anyway we are running out of oil and gas so there isn't any point in developing any more oil and gas resources. We shouldn't mine coal because coal creates global warming. We shouldn't develop nuclear power because Jane Fonda once made a scary movie about it. We should develop solar and wind power, "renewables," even though both are extremely expensive right now. But we shouldn't build wind farms where Ted Kennedy could see the wind turbines from his window.

And now with a straight face liberals say we'll have to starve the people in order to save the planet. Now who's in denial?

Source




BRAMWELL'S HIDDEN HISTORY OF ENVIRONMENTALISM

What follows is a critical and supplemented condensation of the three books on the history of environmentalism written between 1985 and 1994 by Oxford History Professor Anna Bramwell. The latter two books were published by Yale University. The books make clear the Third Reich was a radical environmentalist regime. The Nazis promoted organic farming, reforestation, species preservation, naturalism, neo-paganism, holistic biology, animal rights, solar-worship, herbalism, anti-capitalism, ecology, anti-urbanism, alternative energy, hysterical anti-pollutionism and apocalyptic anti-industrialism. At the same time the British ecology movement was stridently, treasonously fascist. While these aspects of Bramwell's writing have been commented upon, however inadequately, much less has been said about her treatment of post-WWII environmentalism. Here she provides useful insights into the wholesale corruption of the scientific community, the capturing of key organizations, and the manipulation of the mass media by the environmental movement. Bramwell is not a passive spectator of this process and she conceals central actors and motives.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Bramwell
Anna through the Platonist Glass
Peasantists outstanding in their Fields
Alchemy, Astrology, Augury, Ecology
Soil with Soul
Darre the Enserfer
Die Klein Englische
How Green is Your Nazi?
The Polish Holocaust
The Luciferian Rebellion - Environmentalism in the UK 1945-94
Goebbel Warming
Heil Hippy!
Neo-fascism Eco-fascism
To the East
Deep Doo Doo
Tomorrow the World
Summary and Conclusion

(75 pages 481 footnotes - free from www.ecofascism.com)

More here

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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12 July, 2008

GWB as global warming visionary

His ideas have won the day

One of the mysteries of the universe is why President Bush bothers to charge the fixed bayonets of the global warming theocracy. On the other hand, his Administration's supposed "cowboy diplomacy" is succeeding in changing the way the world addresses climate change. Which is to say, he has forced the world to pay at least some attention to reality.

That was the larger meaning of the Group of Eight summit in Japan this week, even if it didn't make the papers. The headline was that the nations pledged to cut global greenhouse emissions by half by 2050. Yet for the first time, the G-8 also agreed that any meaningful climate program would have to involve industrializing nations like China and India. For the first time, too, the G-8 agreed that real progress will depend on technological advancements. And it agreed that the putative benefits had to justify any brakes on economic growth.

In other words, the G-8 signed on to what has been the White House approach since 2002. The U.S. has relied on the arc of domestic energy programs now in place, like fuel-economy standards and efficiency regulations, along with billions in subsidies for low-carbon technology. Europe threw in with the central planning of the Kyoto Protocol -- and the contrast is instructive. Between 2000 and 2006, U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions fell 3%. Of the 17 largest world-wide emitters, only France reduced by more.

So despite environmentalist sanctimony about the urgent need for President Bush and the U.S. to "take the lead" on global warming, his program has done better than most everybody else's. That won't make the evening news. But the fact is that the new G-8 document is best understood as a second look at the "leadership" of . . . you know who.

The G-8 also tends to make grand promises that evaporate as soon as everyone goes home. This year, picking up the "accountability" theme pressed by the U.S., envoys grudgingly accepted a plan that will track -- and publicize -- how well countries are living up to their word. So when the G-8 endorsed greenhouse reduction "aspirations" that are "ambitious, realistic and achievable," the emphasis fell on the last two attributes.

Put another way, global warming is an economic, not a theological, question. It is not at all clear that huge expenditures today on slowing emissions will yield long-run benefits or even slow emissions. Research and development into sources of low-carbon energy is almost certainly more useful, and the G-8 pledged more funding for "clean tech" programs. This is vastly preferable to whatever reorganization of the American economy that Barack Obama and John McCain currently favor in the name of solving this speculative problem.

The G-8 also conceded that global-warming masochism is futile and painfully expensive. If every rich country drastically cut CO2, those cuts would be wiped out by emissions from China and India. "Carbon leakage" is a major problem too, where cutbacks in some countries lead to increases in others with less strict policies, as manufacturing and the like are outsourced. This whack-a-mole won't stop without including all 17 major economies, which together produce roughly 80% of global emissions.

Much to the ire of Kyotophiles, Mr. Bush started this rethinking last year when he created a parallel track for talks on a post-2012 U.N. program, luring China and India to the table with more practical options. But developing countries, led by that duo, still refused to sign on to the G-8's 2050 goal. They aren't eager to endanger their growth -- and lifting people out of poverty -- by acquiring the West's climate neuroses.

The irony is that Kyoto has handed them every reason not to participate. Europe knew all along that it couldn't meet its quotas, so it created an out in "offsets." A British factory, say, buys a credit to pay for basic efficiency improvements in a Chinese coal plant, like installing smokestack scrubbers. This is a tax on the Brits to make Chinese industries more competitive. Sweet deal if you can get it.

It gets worse. The offsets are routed through a U.N. bureaucracy that makes them far more valuable in Europe than the cost of the actual efficiency improvements. So far, Kyoto-world has paid more than _4.7 billion to eliminate an obscure greenhouse gas called HFC-23; the necessary incinerators cost less than _100 million. Most of the difference in such schemes goes to the foreign government, such as China's communist regime.

Given these perverse incentives, the magical realism of Kyoto has backfired in a big way. The global warming elite will never admit this, because that would mean giving up their political whip against George Bush. But Kyoto II is already collapsing under its own contradictions. By sticking to a more realistic alternative, this reviled President has handed his green opponents a way to save face.

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BRITISH CLIMATE CAMPAIGNERS ISOLATED AND OUT OF TUNE

The government's own carbon reduction agency has attacked the climate plan agreed at the G8 summit as not doing "a single thing" to reduce emissions, and accused leaders - including the UK prime minister, Gordon Brown - of "an abrogation of responsibility". The headline promise to cut carbon emissions by half by 2050 has already been criticised for not setting interim targets or specifying whether the baseline is 1990 or a more recent date. The latter is a critical issue because of big emissions rises in the last two decades.

Professor Michael Grubb, the chief economist of the Carbon Trust, said the richest country leaders also failed to make any firm promises even on issues they could agree outside the UN negotiations, like tackling emissions from aviation and shipping, details of how promises of "clean technology transfer" would happen, and increasing funds for poorer countries to adapt to climate change. "There's a very big gap between the rhetoric of consensus about the size of the problem and the need for reductions, and the lack of anything specific that will make any difference," Grubb told the guardian.co.uk. "One can see five pages of text - I'm not sure I can see a single thing that's actually going to reduce emissions."

The lack of detail was particularly disappointing after a promise at the G8 summit hosted by Britain in Gleneagles three years ago that it would develop concrete proposals by this year's summit in Japan, said Grubb. "I'm sure the UK government was pushing for stronger action - how hard I don't know," he added. Grubb said the baseline and interim targets could be decided by the UN process, which continues with meetings in Poland in December and Copenhagen in late 2009.

Instead, the leading economies could have made significant moves, including a firm promise that UN commitments would be legally binding, and a specific plan for reducing aviation and shipping emissions, which are currently not included in international reduction targets.

Grubb said he also wanted a big uplift in funds for developing nations to adapt to the impacts of climate change, partly funded by non-government sources such as the aviation and shipping tax regime. "If something is too difficult for the eight biggest economies of the world to sort out, you aren't going to solve it by lobbing it into the UN," he added. "That's an abrogation of responsibilities by G8. The G8 should be there to fulfil a role of leadership by the richest countries."

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Theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson on global warming in the New York Review of Books:

Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good. The worldwide community of environmentalists -- most of whom are not scientists -- holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. . . .

Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the belief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate. Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true. Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice. Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.

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What is the point of emissions targets?

With China and India not coming to the party, we are doomed anyway on Greenie assumptions so let us eat, drink and be merry!

Let us assume that Saint Al of Gore and the IPCC are correct in their direst predictions and that Lord Stern and his ilk are correct in their assessment of the cost of global warming. What possible benefit can result from slashing emissions in the west when India and China are committed to industrialisation and its consequential CO2 production?

And let us be clear about one thing, neither China nor India will allow Saint Al to stifle their efforts to improve the material standards of their people (and in China's case the status on the international stage of their autocratic leaders). The head of China's State Council said last year: "our efforts to fight climate change must not come at the expense of economic growth." The Indian Council on Climate Change made the same point: "It is obvious that India needs to substantially increase its per capita energy consumption to provide a minimally acceptable level of wellbeing to its people."

One can, of course, see that cutting emissions in the west will stabalise matters while the east is increasing emissions: one tonne saved in the west + one tonne produced in the east = no change. But India and China have vast populations and a long way to go before their people enjoy anything like the standard of living we have taken for granted for the last two or three generations. It is impossible to predict with any accuracy the level of emissions India and China will produce and, therefore, impossible to say how much we have to cut in order to maintain equilibrium.

One can also see, because we are presuming Saint Al to be correct, that maintaining equilibrium will not avert the imminent disaster. So what exactly do we have to do here in the west? On the face of it we have to cut our emissions by a vast amount very quickly. Consumption of oil, gas and coal must become a thing of the past almost in the blink of an eye. And even if that is achieved we must then keep our fingers crossed that India and China will reach their target of economic well-being and then ... well, and then do what? Switch instantly away from oil, gas and coal just as they have built prosperity on the energy produced by those very fuels and, significantly, when China in particular has vast reserves? There is as much chance of that as there is of me holing every tee-shot I play in my next round of golf. It's pure La-La-Land.

Then along come Brasil, Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and the rest, one by one as they create political stability they will aim for economic progress.

All the while our standards of living in the west will fall as our governments vie for the title of greatest grandstander in the alternative energy handicap. They will pump countless billions of whatever currency they wish into the speculative hunt for the miracle cure. Every penny of it will be raised by additional taxes which will hit the poor hardest.

I simply cannot help concluding that the approach of the British Labour Party government (and the Conservative opposition) is fundamentally wrong. They are looking at the matter from the wrong perspective and can learn a valuable lesson from the words quoted above explaining the Chinese and Indian positions. Instead of insisting that their first priority is to cut emissions they should recognise that their first priority is to protect the standard of living of their people.

Some would say the first priority of government is security, as it was in 1939. They are right, but security for what purpose? What is it that security defends? It defends our way of life against the risk of a less palatable way of life being imposed against our will. That is why we fought Hitler's Germany, it is why we armed ourselves against the USSR and it is one of the reasons why we maintain a military force today. There is no immediate military threat to Britain but there is a massive economic threat - the threat of material impoverishment at the shrine to Saint Al of Gore.

I started this musing by saying we should assume Lord Stern's armageddon scenario to be accurate. He said our continued pumping out of CO2 will have dire financial consequences for us all so how, you might ask, can we preserve our material standards if we do not cut our emissions enormously? On the hypothesis that Lord Stern is correct the answer is simple, we can't - on that hypothesis our CO2 will bankrupt us. If that hypothesis is correct for our CO2, it is equally correct for India and China's CO2 because CO2 does not hover in little packets above the country that creates it, like a catchy tune it spreads itself rapidly all over the globe. On his hypothesis we are going to go bankrupt come what may. The government wants to accelerate the process by introducing an additional crippling cost which cannot possibly provide a return if China and India's CO2 will destroy us anyway.

Why not let us enjoy the last brief moments of life as we know it?

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HAS MCCAIN DROPPED CAP AND TRADE?

After writing favorably about Sen. McCain's recent economics speeches, where he clearly shifted toward the supply-side both on tax cuts and producing more energy, I went back last evening and carefully read his 15-page policy pamphlet called "Jobs for America." Here's what I found: There is no mention of cap-and-trade. None. Nada. There is a section about "Cheap, Clean, Secure Energy for America: The Lexington Project." But that talks about expanded domestic production of oil and gas, as well as the need for more nuclear power and coal along with alternative sources. Then it has the $300 million battery and flex-fuel cars. But nope, no cap-and-trade.

So I picked up the phone and dialed a senior McCain official to make sure these old eyes hadn't missed it. Sure enough, on deep background, this senior McCain advisor told me I was correct: no cap-and-trade. In other words, this central-planning, regulatory, tax-and-spend disaster, which did not appear in Mac's two recent speeches, has been eradicated entirely - even from the detailed policy document that hardly anybody will ever read.

So then I asked this senior official if the campaign has taken cap-and-trade out behind the barn and shot it dead once and for all - buried it in history's dustbin of bad ideas. The answer came back that they are interested in jobs right now - jobs for new energy production and jobs from lower taxes. At that point I became satisfied. Even though a McCain presidency might resurrect cap-and-trade, it will be a much different format. More important, the campaign is cognizant of the conservative rebellion against it. That's enough for me.

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Australia: Kevin Rudd's carbon war may be good politics for him

Both the following speakers are Australian politicians. One is announcing an increase in the war effort in World War II. The other is talking about climate change. Spot who's who.

"No longer can this nation rest upon the basis of the ordinary way of life, of conducting business in the way we did, of working the way to which we have been accustomed. The [current crisis] has put an end to that period in our history."

"The penalty clause for us not acting is almost unthinkable . This country is on the verge of cataclysmic times, such as the human collective experience has never known."

You can probably tell the difference because of the hysteria in the second quotation. Prime minister John Curtin and his generation did not do hysteria, at least not in public. Senator Bob Brown (in the second quotation, from his address to the National Press Club this week) and many of his colleagues don't only use hysteria, they get elected on its back.

The rhetoric surrounding global warming is drawing increasingly on notions of religion and war. As has been often noted, environmentalism in its more extreme forms is deeply appealing to those of us with a need to believe in something, but who have decided that science has killed off Christianity. Brown, with his apocalyptic talk of cataclysm, exemplifies this. Ross Garnaut's use of the term "diabolical" when presenting his report pressed the same button. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse certainly get a good gallop in the report, with predictions of war (geopolitical instability), famine (collapse of agricultural productivity), pestilence (dengue fever) and death (all the above, plus heat-related fatalities).

ABC TV's political editor, Chris Uhlmann, picked up on the religious element in the carbon crusade on Insiders last Sunday. Speaking, he said, as a former seminarian, "one of the things that strikes me most strongly about this debate is its theological nature - and that's essentially that we have sinned against the environment, that we are now being punished and the only way we can escape that punishment is to wear a hair shirt for the rest of our lives".

Uhlmann said that while he was willing to "sign up" to climate change, "I do not believe every proposition that's been put. When the weather department can tell me what the weather is going to be like next Friday with any certainty and Treasury can get within a million dollars of what the surplus is going to be next year, I'll believe an economic model that marries those two things and casts them out over 100 years. I'll make one prediction - that whatever number Garnaut puts on where we'll be in 2100, it will be at least a trillion dollars either way wrong."

Turning from religion to war, it's not hard to see why politicians might be attracted to the military connotations of a carbon crusade. Wars, after all, are usually good for democratic governments, who see their support go up in the early stages of the conflict because in the public mind the ruling party's interests have become the same (at least temporarily) as the nation's. This phenomenon has been widely noted, and forms the basis for the rather splendid novel American Hero by Larry Beinhart, and the 1997 film version, Wag the Dog.

Wars have proved so useful in attracting or maintaining voter support that the war model has been extended into non-military zones by politicians around the world, with inventions such as the "war on drugs" and the "war on obesity". But the war approach, whether military or not, presents dangers. John Howard in his "war on terror" took Australia into Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction that proved to be non-existent. Time will tell whether Kevin Rudd, in his "war on carbon", ends up harming another nation (in this case our own, by damaging the economy) in pursuit of another illusory danger.

Still, there will be lots of press releases and photo stops along the way, and Rudd will get the opportunity to talk at plenty of televised gatherings of international leaders, something he seems to enjoy very much. Already you can see the heads of powerful nations giving Rudd that nervous look Howard attracted at these gatherings. He, too, would approach them with one hand ready to pat them on the back, the other grasping theirs in a remorseless handshake for as long as the cameras were pointing the right way.

While it might be argued that Iraq got Howard in the end, it provided him with a lot of benefits along the way, and not just photo sessions with the American president. It made Australian politics and the thousands who earn their living from it (yes, including journalists and commentators) feel important. Another useful result was that many on the right felt it was inappropriate to criticise the government for other things (such as its betrayal of much of the liberal policy agenda) in a time of crisis. And the left became so excited they became obsessed by minor issues such as David Hicks, instead of domestic matters of substance.

The benefits of the Iraq war couldn't last for ever, of course. But they helped John Howard have one of the longest runs of any Australia prime minister. If carefully managed, the war on carbon could do the same for Kevin Rudd.

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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11 July, 2008

Which is it? Global warming caused by more smog or by less smog?

Don't laugh. It's easy: To a Greenie, EVERYTHING is bad and causes global warming

1) Study links global warming to more smog

Excerpt: U.S. environmental regulators quietly published a draft study on Thursday that linked global warming to higher levels of smog that could harm human health, a report green groups said stood in contrast to the Bush Administration's slow movement on climate change.

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2) Study links global warming to less smog

Excerpt: Goodbye air pollution and smoky chimneys, hello brighter days. That's been the trend in Europe for the past three decades - but unfortunately cleaning up the skies has allowed more of the sun's rays to pierce the atmosphere, contributing to at least half the warming that has occurred.

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Cowardly NASA "climatologist" refuses to defend global warming in a debate with an expert

Al Gore dodges expert debate too. Even here in Australia, a big-shot Greenie (Prof. Ian Lowe) dodged public debate with me last year. They all know that speculation is all that they have behind them. Note: Chief alarmist Hansen is NOT a climatologist -- JR

Dr. James Hansen, NASA climatologist and major figure in the debate on global climate change, recently refused a paid invitation to speak and debate at the College about his positions on global warming. Braum Katz ('09) -- secretary for the College's Department of Student Rights, director of the newly-created William and Mary Society for Academic Freedom and Diversity and Informer writer -- invited Mr. Hansen via e-mail.

Mr. Hansen was one of the first individuals to discuss the potential impact of global climate change, speaking before Congress in 1988 to that effect. He has been in the media spotlight recently, saying that oil executives who are spreading "misinformation" about global warming should be tried for "crimes against humanity and nature," as reported by various media outlets. He likened oil executives denying global warming to tobacco executives who denied the link between cancer and the use of their products. Mr. Hansen recently told The Associated Press that as far as global climate change is concerned, "this is the last chance."

The invitation to speak at the College came after Mr. Katz contacted Dr. Patrick Michaels, who is a vocal global warming skeptic, former American Association of State Climatologists-designated climatologist at the University of Virginia and also a fellow at the Cato Institute. Mr. Michaels said he would be interested in speaking and debating at William and Mary about his oft-criticized positions denying the significance of global climate change. His UVA faculty Web site reads, "My research.leads me to believe that the next decade will see the emergence of a paradigm of 'robust earth,' as opposed to the fashionable 'fragility' concept..It is entirely possible that human influence on the atmosphere is not necessarily deleterious and that it is simply another component of the dynamic planet."

Mr. Katz, as director of the new student group hoping to expand academic and intellectual diversity, was looking to create a debate between Messrs. Hansen and Michaels, giving both the opportunity to defend and explain their views in a public forum. "For this fall," Mr. Katz wrote in his e-mail to Mr. Hansen, "we are hoping to host a debate on global climate change and its implications. Patrick Michaels has agreed to come, and my organization would like you to come and debate Dr. Michaels in Williamsburg. The date is very flexible, and we can tailor the day of the debate completely to your schedule. We will be able to pay for your travel expenses and offer you an honorarium for your time. Please let me know if you would be interested."Mr. Hansen's response was, simply, "not interested."

His reply -- devoid of any salutation, punctuation, capitalization or signature -- came an hour after Mr. Katz sent his original e-mail. "I was truly taken aback by Dr. Hansen's refusal to debate Dr. Michaels," said Mr. Katz. "I gave Dr. Hansen a blank check to come to the College, and still he refused. Dr. Hansen's suggestion that oil executives who advance global warming skepticism be tried for 'crimes against humanity' and subsequent refusal to debate one of the most prominent academic skeptics is suspicious and unfortunate, to say the least. I still continue to hope that Dr. Hansen realizes the error of his decision and does eventually decide to debate Dr. Michaels. The William and Mary community deserves an open and honest debate about the implications of climate change."

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Our leaders are in carbon-cloud cuckoo land

By Christopher Booker, commenting from Britain

For a perfect example of what is meant by "gesture politics" - an empty pledge given solely for effect, which the politician has no hope of honouring - one could not do better than this week's commitment by the G8 leaders on how they want us to fight climate change. Sitting on their cloud-wreathed Japanese mountain top, they solemnly agreed that, to halt global warming, their countries would aim by 2050 to halve their emissions of carbon dioxide.

A tiny indication of the fact that they didn't really have a clue what they were talking about was a slip by Japan's prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, when he had to be corrected for announcing that the CO2 cut would be measured from "1990 levels". Even when he amended this to "present-day levels", he was merely spouting empty words into the oriental air.

Three things make this aspiration by the leaders of the world's "eight richest countries" not just vainglorious grandstanding, but positively dangerous. The first is that, as well as having no idea how they could achieve such an absurdly ambitious target, they may inflict immeasurable damage on their economies just by trying to do so.

One after another, it is becoming clear that all the costly measures so far proposed to cut carbon emissions are pie-in-the-sky. The drive for "renewable" sources of energy, such as building thousands of wind turbines, is turning out to be little more than self-deception (the combined output of all the 2,000 wind turbines so far built in Britain is less than that of a single, medium-sized, gas-fired power station).

Even the environmentalists have realised that biofuels are a farce, needing more CO2 to produce than they save. The EU's much-vaunted "emissions trading scheme", so far costing us all an estimated $80 billion, has not resulted in any reductions of CO2 emissions whatever.

If the G8's leaders genuinely wanted to cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent over the next 40 years, this would mean taking steps they haven't even begun to contemplate. It would require such a drastic cut in our energy use and standard of living that their peoples would have risen up in mass revolt long before the target was reached. And nothing better shows up the unreality of all this - as President Bush tried to point out in the summit's only flash of honesty - than the fact that China (not represented at the G8, although it now has the world's fourth largest economy) is already putting out more CO2 than anyone else. As it builds two new coal-fired power stations a week, China has no more intention than India of joining the Western economic suicide club.

The second reason why this infatuation with cutting carbon emissions is beginning to look extraordinarily reckless is that the whole scientific theory on which it is based now appears distinctly questionable. The orthodox global-warming thesis, accepted by pretty well every politician in the Western world, but not by a growing number of scientists, is that, as CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, so too should global temperatures. Unless we can drastically reduce those CO2 levels, the world is thus threatened with catastrophe.

In the past year or two, however, evidence has been piling up to suggest that there may be a fundamental flaw in this theory. Even though atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise to levels not seen since the distant geological past, temperatures have not been following suit. After 2000 the global temperature curve flattened out at a level significantly lower than the freak year 1998, and in recent months temperatures have dropped to levels not seen since the early 1980s.

Despite the best efforts of the global-warming lobby to keep the scare going, the northern hemisphere enjoyed its coldest winter for decades, and this summer has shown the curve sinking even lower. Even the warmists are having to find excuses for the fact that their theory doesn't exactly seem to be holding up, conceding that the next 10 years may see a period of global cooling, before the "underlying warming trend" returns worse than ever.

Other scientists point out that, rather than look to CO2 for an explanation of global temperatures, a much more convincing link can be seen in the activity of the sun, with current sunspot levels having dramatically fallen to levels associated with historic periods of global cooling recorded in the past.

Yet just when such huge question marks are being raised over the "CO2 equals warming" theory, our politicians have swallowed it whole, as an act of blind faith - using it to justify such massive costs to our economy that our whole way of life seems destined to change significantly for the worse.

The third respect in which all this is becoming seriously dangerous applies specifically to us here in Britain. While Gordon Brown prattles about wind turbines, and plays silly games for the cameras with electric cars, Britain within a few years is facing the near certainty of a massive shortfall in our electricity supplies. By 2015, thanks to the obsolescence of our nuclear power plants and the forced closure of nine of our major coal and oil-fired power stations under EU anti-pollution rules, we are due to lose 40 per cent of our current generating capacity - and Mr Brown hasn't the slightest practical idea of how to fill the gap.

Forget the nonsense about a 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. Our Government has already committed Britain to go even further, by imposing a statutory cut of 60 per cent through its Climate Change Bill. But long before that, unless those who rule us come down out of cloud cuckoo land very fast, our lights will go out, our computers will shut down, our economy will judder to a halt and we shall face a national catastrophe. We may well be meeting that 60 per cent target sooner than we think - but not for reasons that reflect well on our politicians, of any party.

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Nonsensical agreement fools no-one

(But a lot of skeptics are quietly chuckling)

As G8 leaders trumpeted their landmark deal to cut global emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, the '50/50' agreement, which has yet to be sealed, was quickly lambasted by environmentalists as virtually meaningless.

Meeting for the second day at a luxury mountain resort overlooking Lake Toyako, in the northern island of Hokkaido, the heads of state and government of the world's seven richest countries plus Russia turned their minds to the global economic slowdown, spiraling food and oil prices and the need to boost aid to Africa. But they were also under intense pressure to make real progress on the climate change front.

Having failed to agree on medium-term cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, they issued a statement saying they would "consider and adopt" the goal of achieving "at least (a) 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050." Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Union's executive body, the European Commission, said he was "very happy about the results of the G8 on climate change." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they had made "clear progress." "This is a significant step forward from Heiligendamm," Merkel told reporters, referring to last year's G8 meeting which she hosted in the northern German spa town. "This means that the international community will no longer get off the hook," she said.

However, South Africa's environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the G8 had made no progress at all in stabilising the planet. "As it is expressed in the G8 statement, the long-term goal is an empty slogan without substance," he said. The G8 deal was full of ambiguity.

Senior Japanese official Koji Tsuruoka said the long-term goal should be seen as a "political vision" without a clear base year and that it is not legally binding. But pressure groups and scientists said the leaders were merely burying their heads in the sand. Opponents scathing of G8's empty words James Hansen, one of the world's most respected climate scientists, slammed the summit's outcome as "worse than worthless." The leaders "are taking actions that guarantee that we deliver to our children climate catastrophes that are out of our control," he told reporters. "While the Arctic is melting, the G8 are postponing action.

Instead of climate protection, the world got nothing but flowery words," said Greenpeace's Daniel Mittler. "If this is a step forward, we will never prevent climate chaos in time." "The Texas oilman has once again prevented the G8 from undergoing the energy revolution it needs," Mittler said. "Bush is a lame duck, so who cares what he thinks about 2050?"

Oxfam International said that the G8's '50 by 50' climate goal left the world with a "50/50 chance of a climate meltdown." The charity called Tuesday's announcement "another stalling tactic that does nothing to lower the risk faced by millions of poor people right now."

Base measurement year missing from agreement

Critics pointed out that not only does the deal still need to be endorsed by the rest of the world, possibly at a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen next year; it also doesn't contain a base year on which to measure the cuts. This is because no agreement was reached among the G8 leaders. While the EU had suggested using 1990 as a base, Canada called for a much more recent date, while host Japan made no suggestions at all.

Moreover, Russia said it would sign up to the deal, but only if it was not legally binding. "It's unprecedented and it is quite unrealistic that one government should take responsibility for something 42 years ahead," said Alexander Pankin, a Russian foreign ministry official.

As Ben Wikler of AVAAZ.org, a pressure group, noted, by the time 2050 comes US President George W Bush will be 104 and Japan's premier, Yasuo Fukuda, will be 114. UNFCCC chief criticizes 50-50 deal UN climate change chief Yvo de Boer joined the debate, saying that the G8 summit goal of halving global warming emissions by 2050 was too distant and too vague.

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Malthus is still wrong

The price of staples like corn, wheat, and rice are escalating, indicating that demand is outstripping supplies. Why? Because of political and economic institutional failures, not overpopulation. First, let's deal with the claim that human population, like the populations of all other animals, expands as food supplies increase. On a global level that certainly looks plausible. As the amount of food increased over the last century, world population rose from 1.5 billion in 1900 to 6.6 billion today. Case closed?

Not so fast. Consider that countries with the highest food security are also the same countries with below replacement total fertility rates. If the availability of food was the chief determinant of birth rates, then one would expect Iowa farmers would spawn more kids than any group on the planet. Instead, it is countries in which food insecurity is greatest that have the highest total fertility rates. As an empirical fact, as people become wealthier and better fed, they tend to bear fewer children. Well-fed human beings can evidently override the genetic programming that drives other animals to turn more food into more offspring.

How much food is there right now? Enough to feed 10 billion vegetarians. One oft-heard argument is that increased Chinese prosperity is driving up meat consumption, which is diverting grain into livestock production. It takes about eight pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and 2.5 pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken. It is true that Chinese meat consumption is soaring, but China has produced nearly all of the extra grain it needs to grow its burgeoning numbers of livestock. In fact, China remains a net exporter of grains. Chinese corn yields an average of 82 bushels per acre compared 150 bushels per acre in the United States. In other words, Chinese yields could nearly double using already existing technologies. In addition, crop biotech leader Monsanto predicts that corn yields will double to 300 bushels per acre by 2030.

So what is driving up global food prices? Joachim von Braun, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), points to high oil prices which have "made agricultural production more expensive by raising the cost of mechanical cultivation, inputs like fertilizers and pesticides, and transportation of inputs and outputs."

In addition, biofuel mandates in the United States and Europe are diverting food into fuel and boosting the price of feedstock crops like corn. So, on the demand side, higher corn prices cause food consumers to shift to rice and wheat. On the supply side, higher corn prices cause farmers to reduce rice and wheat production in favor of corn. These shifts in demand and supply have tended to boost the price of rice and wheat and other crops. IFPRI estimates that increased biofuel demand accounts for 30 percent of the increase in weighted average grain prices.

In response to higher food prices, several major food-producing countries have instituted export bans on various agricultural commodities. Export controls shrink the size of the market and reduce domestic prices to farmers. Of course, reduced prices signal farmers to produce less. For example, China has banned rice and maize exports, and India has banned exports of rice and pulses. Argentina has raised export taxes on soybeans, maize, wheat, and beef, and Ethiopia and Tanzania have banned exports of major cereals. In addition, Benin, China, Malaysia, and Senegal have imposed price controls on some staples. Price controls are especially damaging because they strongly discourage farmers from increasing their production. IFPRI estimates that "the elimination of export bans will stabilize grain price fluctuations, reduce price levels by as much as 30 percent, and enhance the efficiency of agricultural production." Clearly eliminating subsidies for biofuel production in developed countries and export controls in developing countries would go a long way towards easing the world food crisis.

A longer-term problem is that decades of rising food security have led to cutbacks in both public and private agricultural research focused on boosting yields. Since 1980, rich donor countries have cut their support for agricultural research and development for poor countries from $6 billion to $2.8 billion. Other bad policies have contributed substantially to the current food crisis. For example, most governments in sub-Saharan Africa have underinvested in farm-to-market roads and in agricultural research, while also imposing high import taxes on fertilizer and modern high-yielding seed, price controls, and bans on genetically enhanced crops. Making the heroic assumption that if sub-Saharan governments "fulfill their commitments," IFPRI estimates that spending an additional $14 billion per year could boost African agricultural production by 7.5 percent annually through 2015.

Finally, the world food crisis could have the highly beneficial effect of jumpstarting the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations. High food prices could serve as the impetus for eliminating damaging food market distortions such as rich country farm subsidies and poor country protective tariffs.

The current world food crisis is not the long predicted signal of Malthusian overpopulation. Instead, it is the result of political Malthusianism, that is, a series of government policy failures that are preventing farmers from growing the food demanded by the world's hungry billions.

Source




Australian Dire Climate Change Predictions Just a Fantasy?

Post below recycled from Agmates, an Australian rural publication

Last weekend Senior weather forecasters Predicted the best soaking rains for 2008.

"We've been watching several computer simulations for the past few days and they are indicating that some of the best rain for 2008 is likely next week, and this is forecast to fall over some of our worst drought affected areas," Mr Whitaker said in a statement.

"Widespread rainfall totals of 25 to 50mm are likely over large areas of western Queensland, western NSW, northern Victoria and South Australia from Monday to Friday.

Well this is where the rain fell.

Rainfall to 10th July

The map above is from the Bureau of Meteorology from the 1st to 10th of July. Areas that received over 25mls (1 inch) are green. You can see for yourself how accurate these prediction were just a few days out. They were wrong - what a surprise.

Apparently the scientists can’t be accurate 3 days out, but 30 years from now they can. What a ridiculous assumption / conclusion that is.

Each day we hear of the dire predictions for our rainfall and temperature in 20-30 and 50 years time. We are expected to take this computer modeling seriously (and unbelievably State and Federal governments are) when they aren’t even remotely accurate just days ahead.

Climatologist Stewart Franks an expert in hydro-climatic variability at the University of Newcastle in NSW said scenarios set out by Ross Garnaut in his Emission Trading Scheme recommendations were simply wrong. He said

“The whole idea that you can say that by 2030 or 2040 rainfall will be a certain percentage less is a complete nonsense because it ignores the natural variability,”

Read all that Stewart had to say in an article in this weeks Australian Newspaper. Garnaut scenario ’simply wrong’

New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa caused a stir this week when he called parts of Professor Garnaut’s report “Chicken Little arguments” (You know -The Sky is falling”) In his column in the Australian he says:

“For example, claims from some quarters that the Great Barrier Reef would be destroyed if Australia, which emits less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gases, does not adopt an ETS are patent nonsense.

Chicken Little arguments are no substitute for getting right the important details on issues of far-reaching consequence.”

Photo 2: Below is a BOM map showing the % of rainfall received across Australia for the last 2 years compared to the mean.

Photo of BOM rain percentages

Federal agriculture minister Tony Burke (pictured below) earlier this month released a joint assessment by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO. In particular, the study found exceptionally high temperatures would occur almost yearly, while low rainfall would almost double in frequency from current figures. He said:

Photo of Tony Burke“While this is a scientific report, parts of these high level projections read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report.”

“What’s clear is that the cycle of drought is going to be more regular and deeper than ever.”

Minister Burke even though he was being serious is quiet correct. It is just science fiction.

Finally, lets keep it all in a bit of perspective. Heres the BOM map showing the area of Australia that is in drought for the last 2 years. To paraphrase Stewart Franks - we have seen it all before and we’ll see it all again. The good seasons and the bad.





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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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10 July, 2008

"Not evil, just wrong": A movie that the Greenies will not want people to see

A movie that looks at how sanctimony and misunderstanding drove environmentalists to stop Africans from using DDT to help save children's lives and how the model is repeating itself in the Global Warming debate with even greater tragic consequences. View Trailer




Another sunspot study points to oncoming global cooling

This is by no means mainstream science but that may be its chief virtue

I saw this recent press release from the Space and Science Research Center, which states that global warming has ended and a new cold era has begun. Mr. John Casey, who is the director of the Space and Science Research center made this declaration at a press conference in Florida a week ago. The press release is basically an update of what was released about the theory back in January of 2008.

I have never heard of the Space and Science Research Center until now, but according to their press release, the world's climate warming of the past decades has come to an end based on the 'Relational Cycle Theory' or RC theory.

According to their website, Mr. Casey's original research on his RC theory was peer reviewed. There is a link to a more detailed research doc. report of this theory at the bottom of the research link. It is the first link and has graphs.

In developing this theory, Mr. Casey studied sunspot cycles from 1610 to present. He determined that there exists a family of solar activity cycles that has a direct influence on the earth's climate and found that the cycles correlated strongly to all past major temperature lows. There was a 90-100 year cycle and a 206 year cycle. He estimates that the peak of the current 206-year cycle was between 1986-1987 with a peak range from 1962-2010. According to this theory.............

--The earth will experience a significant temperature decline beginning between 3-14 years and lasting 2 or 3 solar cycles.

--Global temperature reductions of at least 1 to 1.5 celsius.

--The new climate will produce dangerously cold weather that will result in worldwide, agricultural, social and economic disruption.

Source




Another scientist Dissents:

MIT's Rose: Cooler heads needed in global warming debate. Robert Rose is a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT with approximately 50 years of experience teaching various scientific disciplines at the graduate and undergraduate levels

It would appear that columnist Robert Kelly has been sharply reprimanded for his June 18 piece on global warming ("Contrary to Gore, sky's not falling"). The latest scolding, by the Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell in the July 3 edition ("No denying fact of global climate change," letter to the editor), accuses Mr. Kelly of untruth (I think that means lying) and of immorality.

I must ask both of the combatants in this matter whether or not they have actually read the scientific documents underlying the news accounts (Barz-Snell claims "every single nation's academy of science" agrees with his thesis); or for that matter understand the science underlying Mr. Gore's immortal movie - particularly when they refer to the "facts."

We do know that, due to the earth's orbit and the tilt and wobble of the axis of the earth's spin, global warming is occurring as it has many times in the past; and it will continue for some years before the cooling cycle begins and the glaciers take over, also as they have in the past. We are trying very hard to develop computer simulations to predict the contribution our activities are making to the warming, and the going has been difficult. (Try Science magazine, page 28 of Volume 317, July 6, 2007, for a typical report of the struggle.)

These models can't be tested experimentally (unless we can find another planet on which to conduct our experiments) and are tested mostly by fitting them to past behavior, pretty much the same approach as handicapping horse races.

Clearly, these are not "facts." They are computer models. They may be correct or at least lead us to the correct answer, but the earliest model appears to be incorrect. We have also not examined the consequences - human, economic or environmental - of reversing our contribution (whatever it is) to global warming. The unintended consequences of corn-based ethanol on our economy (and even more important on our shrinking water supply) is a good case in point.

In any case, it is not helpful for clergy to condemn those with whom they disagree as immoral or untruthful. (Galileo had that problem - one we don't need a repeat, thank you.) I would advise the reverend to heed his calling ("Judge not, that ye be judged," as I recall) and all parties to approach the problem with more humility.

Source




AUSTRALIA'S UNENDING GREENIE PROBLEM

Four current articles below

Greenie paradise not so good when you try to live there

The Daintree is a beautiful unspoilt jungle area that the Greenies love -- but Greenies want to have their cake and eat it too. They hate modernity until they have to do without any of it



Daintree resident Neil Hewett's family uses gas to cook and heat water and there is no airconditioning to beat the far north Queensland tropical heat. Electricity is used only to run small appliances and a TV. But Mr Hewett still faces a weekly fuel bill of $170 to run generators that supplement the solar and hydro power electricity produced on his property. And the refill price of a gas bottle is $150. All up, it cost him $70,000 to become power self-sufficient as required by the State Government, which refuses to send electricity north of the Daintree River.



About 675 residents live there in 450 homes, and every home generator is spewing carbon dioxide into the surrounding World Heritage-listed environment where development has been restricted to maintain its pristine state. Locals have to run diesel and petrol motors because, with 5.5 meters of rain a year and 265 cloudy days a year, solar generation is unreliable.

Now, with diesel approaching $2 a litre, locals want the Government to relax its ban on reticulated power. According to Mr Hewett, conditions set by the state and federal governments for eventual access to the equalised tariff system that applies to other Queenslanders have been met.

Ten years ago, in a bid to stop development between the Daintree and Cape Tribulation, authorities decided on a $41 million buyback of some of the land that had been bought for homes. Established houses at Cape Tribulation, Cow Bay, Diwan, Cooper Creek and Thornton Beach were exempt. According to the deal, the buyback would trigger provision of electricity. With the buyback successful and the area further protected by new government iconic estate legislation, locals want the ban lifted.

In October, Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said he would take the matter to Cabinet but nothing has eventuated. Mr Hewett, who operates a forest walking business, said the ban was originally intended to stop developers who wanted to exploit a "great treasure". "But that legitimacy no longer exists," he said. "The development issue has been resolved. It is time the Government did something special for the Daintree."

But Mr Wilson was unsympathetic, saying: "We are not about to bulldoze through ancient rainforest to put in powerlines north of the Daintree River. "We are talking about world-famous, World Heritage-listed rainforest and everyone would want it to stay that way."

Source




Jobs 'at risk' from climate plan

OIL giant Mobil could be forced to close its Melbourne refinery when the Rudd Government introduces a carbon emissions trading scheme. The closure of the refinery, which supplies half of Victoria's fuel needs, would cut competition and could push up petrol prices.

Company executives believe the refinery, which employs 350 people, could become unviable because of competition from overseas facilities that do not have to pay to emit greenhouse gases. Under emissions trading, ExxonMobil will have to buy permits allowing it to emit carbon gases.

ExxonMobil Australia chairman Mark Nolan said yesterday the company would struggle to deal with the extra costs. "If you put a carbon price on Australian petroleum refining we'd find it very difficult, if not impossible, to recoup any of those costs because the price of petroleum products in Australia reflects the regional market," Mr Nolan said. "What we've said to Prof Garnaut and others is that it would be very difficult for domestic refineries, such as our Altona plant, to compete on a level playing field unless government recognises that refining is an emissions-intensive, trade-exposed sector." Mr Nolan said an ETS might also make it more difficult for the company to develop new liquid natural gas projects.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said yesterday the Government would consider industry concerns as it developed the trading scheme, due to start in 2010. "We understand there are various industries we have to be very mindful of, and obviously these issues will be canvassed in the Green Paper," Senator Wong said. "But what's important here is this: climate change is facing us, it is coming at us." [No sign of it for the last 10 byears but let's not quibble!]

Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said companies subject to international competition, such as ExxonMobil, should get free carbon emission permits from the Government. "We're very keen to see a free allocation of permits for Australian producers to ensure that producers can make changes to their processes to lower their emissions, but also to produce goods Australia needs," Mr Howes said.

He said that there was no point in Australian refineries closing if they were replaced by facilities overseas that had lower environmental standards. [Logic for a change]

Source




Costly tokenism of climate scheme

When Garnaut said Australia had a diabolical problem he wasn't referring to rising sea levels or receding glaciers. Rather, it was the dilemma of needing to tax industry for carbon dioxide emissions when the emissions of this country alone can have no meaningful effect on the global problem of climate change.

The abject failure of the G8 this week to convince developing countries China and India to reduce their emissions is portent. Just as Australians can argue that their emissions have no material effect, developing countries contend, with great validity, that they didn't cause the problems in the first place - and in any event, their per capita emissions are far lower than the G8 averages!

Despite his swelling chorus of critics, Garnaut's work is substantial. There is nothing new in it, no blinding insights, but it is a solid assembly of all the critical issues and hypotheses on climate change. It spans the global effects and costs of droughts and floods to the economic impacts of a carbon trading scheme.

The Canberra professor already has his fierce critics. And the voices of dissent will rise further as industry and its vested interest groups gird their loins for the lobbying battle which lies ahead.

The most relevant criticism of the work is that it fudges on the notion that the consequences of climate change - from bleaching corals to melting icebergs _ somehow hinge on what Australia does to combat carbon emissions. What is it that Australia can do to reverse, or even slow emissions growth globally? Nothing of substance.

We are assuming here - notwithstanding what seem to be even more shrill cries of conspiracy from the climate change sceptics - that the overwhelming body of scientists and assorted experts have it right. That is, that human activity is warming the planet and something needs to be done about it. There is no swindle. Even assuming the flat-earthers have a prospect of being right, the risk of doing nothing would be too high.

Still, the argument that we urgently have to do something undermines the credibility of Garnaut, in a sense, as the effect of Australian activity has a negligible effect on global emissions. If we accept that the world has to do something urgently, that's fair enough, but even with no effort from Australia, the world could fight global warming quite nicely on its own.

Australia may dominate in cricket but not carbon emissions. Six countries and the European Union alone account for three-quarters of the world's emissions. Those are the US, China, Russia, Japan, India and Indonesia. Australia, contributing less than 2% to emissions, despite our high per capita carbon count, is not among them. We can only add another 100 million tonnes to the global 40 billion tonnes of carbon emissions assuming 2% growth over the next decade.

Does this mean it is useless for Australia to bother doing anything? This is where the debate gets philosophical. Is symbolic action worth the cost? Is there a case for Australia being a global champion of the climate cause? Would it not be a tad hypocritical, even under a new government, to hop up and move straight from the back of the classroom to the front row and start lecturing the teacher? Exaggerating our place in the global order at the expense of our own industry may be a mere vanity.

Let's not forget that one important aspect of the Rudd Government's victory at the polls last year was the Labor Party's pro-Kyoto stance. Rudd has a green mandate, a mandate to effect change, to make the hard decisions. Now the ramifications of this mandate are becoming disturbingly clear - and they are the high costs to industry of an ETS. This is where Kevin Rudd's other duties, to run the economy and look after workers, will come into sharp relief against his green mandate.

The overwhelming cost of the ETS will fall on coal, steel, power generation and mining sectors. Agriculture too, if not exempted. The rub is that these sectors not only deliver a disproportionate slice of the national income but also keep a lot of ''working families'' in work. What Garnaut recommends is a wholesale restructuring of our economy to respond to the climate change crisis. The impact of this, contend his detractors, would be destructive on local economies. In any case, India and China would still be pumping out the equivalent emissions while benefitting from the hole left by an Australian resources competitor. We will be hearing a lot of the ''if it's not us, it'll be somebody else'' logic.

Clearly, the line needs to be drawn between transforming Australia into a sustainable economy and not needlessly blowing up local economies and putting people out of work. This will be a nightmare for politicians who will blow up votes whatever policy or course of action they take....

More here




Climate change delusion a real problem

By Andrew Bolt

PSYCHIATRISTS have detected the first case of "climate change delusion" - and they haven't even yet got to Kevin Rudd and his global warming guru. Writing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Joshua Wolf and Robert Salo of our Royal Children's Hospital say this delusion was a "previously unreported phenomenon". "A 17-year-old man was referred to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne with an eight-month history of depressed mood . . . He also . . . had visions of apocalyptic events."

(So have Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery, Profit of Doom Al Gore and Sir Richard Brazen, but I digress.)

"The patient had also developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people through exhaustion of water supplies."

But never mind the poor boy, who became too terrified even to drink. What's scarier is that people in charge of our Government seem to suffer from this "climate change delusion", too. Here is Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday, with his own apocalyptic vision: "If we do not begin reducing the nation's levels of carbon pollution, Australia's economy will face more frequent and severe droughts, less water, reduced food production and devastation of areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu wetlands."

And here is a senior Sydney Morning Herald journalist aghast at the horrors described in the report on global warming released on Friday by Rudd's guru, Professor Ross Garnaut: "Australians must pay more for petrol, food and energy or ultimately face a rising death toll . . ."

Wow. Pay more for food or die. Is that Rudd's next campaign slogan? Of course, we can laugh at this - and must - but the price for such folly may soon be your job, or at least your cash. Rudd and Garnaut want to scare you into backing their plan to force people who produce everything from petrol to coal-fired electricity, from steel to soft drinks, to pay for licences to emit carbon dioxide - the gas they think is heating the world to hell.

The cost of those licences, totalling in the billions, will then be passed on to you through higher bills for petrol, power, food, housing, air travel and anything else that uses lots of gassy power. In some countries they're even planning to tax farting cows, so there's no end to the ways you can be stung.

Rudd hopes this pain will make you switch to expensive but less gassy alternatives, and - hey presto - the world's temperature will then fall, just like it's actually done since the day Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth.

But you'll have spotted already the big flaw in Rudd's mad plan - one that confirms he and Garnaut really do have delusions. The truth is Australia on its own emits less than 1.5 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide. Any savings we make will make no real difference, given that China (now the biggest emitter) and India (the fourth) are booming so fast that they alone will pump out 42 per cent of the world's greenhouse gases by 2030. Indeed, so fast are the world's emissions growing - by 3.1 per cent a year thanks mostly to these two giants - that the 20 per cent cuts Rudd demands of Australians by 2020 would be swallowed up in just 28 days. That's how little our multi-billions of dollars in sacrifices will matter.

And that's why Rudd's claim that we'll be ruined if we don't cut Australia's gases is a lie. To be blunt. Ask Rudd's guru. Garnaut on Friday admitted any cuts we make will be useless unless they inspire other countries to do the same - especially China and India: "Only a global agreement has any prospect of reducing risks of dangerous climate change to acceptable levels."

So almost everything depends on China and India copying us. But the chances of that? A big, round zero. A year ago China released its own global warming strategy - its own Garnaut report - which bluntly refused to cut its total emissions. Said Ma Kai, head of China's powerful State Council: "China does not commit to any quantified emissions-reduction commitments . . . our efforts to fight climate change must not come at the expense of economic growth."

In fact, we had to get used to more gas from China, not less: "It is quite inevitable that during this (industrialisation) stage, China's energy consumption and CO2 emissions will be quite high."

Last month, India likewise issued its National Action Plan on Climate Change, and also rejected Rudd-style cuts. The plan's authors, the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, said India would rather save its people from poverty than global warming, and would not cut growth to cut gases. "It is obvious that India needs to substantially increase its per capita energy consumption to provide a minimally acceptable level of wellbeing to its people." The plan's only real promise was in fact a threat: "India is determined that its per capita greenhouse gas emissions will at no point exceed that of developed countries."

Gee, thanks. That, of course, means India won't stop its per capita emissions (now at 1.02 tonnes) from growing until they match those of countries such as the US (now 20 tonnes). Given it has one billion people, that's a promise to gas the world like it's never been gassed before.

So is this our death warrant? Should this news have you seeing apocalyptic visions, too? Well, no. What makes the Indian report so interesting is that unlike our Ross Garnaut, who just accepted the word of those scientists wailing we faced doom, the Indian experts went to the trouble to check what the climate was actually doing and why.

Their conclusion? They couldn't actually find anything bad in India that was caused by man-made warming: "No firm link between the documented (climate) changes described below and warming due to anthropogenic climate change has yet been established." In fact, they couldn't find much change in the climate at all.

Yes, India's surface temperature over a century had inched up by 0.4 degrees, but there had been no change in trends for large-scale droughts and floods, or rain: "The observed monsoon rainfall at the all-India level does not show any significant trend . . ."

It even dismissed the panic Al Gore helped to whip up about melting Himalayan glaciers: "While recession of some glaciers has occurred in some Himalayan regions in recent years, the trend is not consistent across the entire mountain chain. It is, accordingly, too early to establish long-term trends, or their causation, in respect of which there are several hypotheses."

Nor was that the only sign that India's Council on Climate Change had kept its cool while our Rudd and Garnaut lost theirs. For example, the Indians rightly insisted nuclear power had to be part of any real plan to cut emissions. Rudd and Garnaut won't even discuss it. The Indians also pointed out that no feasible technology to trap and bury the gasses of coal-fired power stations had yet been developed "and there are serious questions about the cost as well (as) permanence of the CO2 storage repositories".

Rudd and Garnaut, however, keep offering this dream to make us think our power stations can survive their emissions trading scheme, when state governments warn they may not.

In every case the Indians are pragmatic where Rudd and Garnaut are having delusions - delusions about an apocalypse, about cutting gases without going nuclear, about saving power stations they'll instead drive broke. And there's that delusion on which their whole plan is built - that India and China will follow our sacrifice by cutting their throats, too. So psychiatrists are treating a 17-year-old tipped over the edge by global warming fearmongers? Pray that their next patients will be two men whose own delusions threaten to drive our whole economy over the edge as well.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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9 July, 2008

Wikipropaganda

Ever wonder how Al Gore, the United Nations, and company continue to get away with their claim of a "scientific consensus" confirming their doomsday view of global warming? Look no farther than Wikipedia for a stunning example of how the global-warming propaganda machine works.

As you (or your kids) probably know, Wikipedia is now the most widely used and influential reference source on the Internet and therefore in the world, with more than 50 million unique visitors a month. In theory Wikipedia is a "people's encyclopedia" written and edited by the people who read it -- anyone with an Internet connection. So on controversial topics, one might expect to see a broad range of opinion.

Not on global warming. On global warming we get consensus, Gore-style: a consensus forged by censorship, intimidation, and deceit. I first noticed this when I entered a correction to a Wikipedia page on the work of Naomi Oreskes, author of the now-infamous paper, published in the prestigious journal Science, claiming to have exhaustively reviewed the scientific literature and found not one single article dissenting from the alarmist version of global warming.

Of course Oreskes's conclusions were absurd, and have been widely ridiculed. I myself have profiled dozens of truly world-eminent scientists whose work casts doubt on the Gore-U.N. version of global warming. Following the references in my book The Deniers, one can find hundreds of refereed papers that cast doubt on some aspect of the Gore/U.N. case, and that only scratches the surface.

Naturally I was surprised to read on Wikipedia that Oreskes's work had been vindicated and that, for instance, one of her most thorough critics, British scientist and publisher Bennie Peiser, not only had been discredited but had grudgingly conceded Oreskes was right. I checked with Peiser, who said he had done no such thing. I then corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.

Peiser wrote back saying he couldn't see my corrections on the Wikipedia page. I made the changes again, and this time confirmed that the changes had been saved. But then, in a twinkle, they were gone again. I made other changes. And others. They all disappeared shortly after they were made.

Turns out that on Wikipedia some folks are more equal than others. Kim Dabelstein Petersen is a Wikipedia "editor" who seems to devote a large part of his life to editing reams and reams of Wikipedia pages to pump the assertions of global-warming alarmists and deprecate or make disappear the arguments of skeptics.

I soon found others who had the same experience: They would try to squeeze in any dissent, or even correct an obvious slander against a dissenter, and Petersen or some other censor would immediately snuff them out.

Now Petersen is merely a Wikipedia "editor." Holding the far more prestigious and powerful position of "administrator" is William Connolley. Connolley is a software engineer and sometime climatologist (he used to hold a job in the British Antarctic Survey), as well as a serial (but so far unsuccessful) office seeker for England's Green party.

And yet by virtue of his power at Wikipedia, Connolley, a ruthless enforcer of the doomsday consensus, may be the world's most influential person in the global warming debate after Al Gore. Connolley routinely uses his editorial clout to tear down scientists of great accomplishment such as Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service and a scientist with dazzling achievements. Under Connolley's supervision, Wikipedia relentlessly smears Singer as a kook who believes in Martians and a hack in the pay of the oil industry.

Wikipedia is full of rules that editors are supposed to follow, and it has a code of civility. Those rules and codes don't apply to Connolley, or to those he favors. "Peisers crap shouldn't be in here," Connolley wrote several weeks ago, in berating a Wikipedian colleague during an "edit war," as they're called. Trumping Wikipedia's stated rules, Connelly used his authority to ensure Wikipedia readers saw only what he wanted them to see. Any reference, anywhere among Wikipedia's 2.5 million English-language pages, that casts doubt on the consequences of climate change will be bent to Connolley's bidding.

Nor are Wikipedia's ideological biases limited to global warming. As an environmentalist I find myself with allies and adversaries on both sides of the aisle, Left and Right. But there is no doubt where Wikipedia stands: firmly on the Left. Try out Wikipedia's entries on say, Roe v. Wade or Intelligent Design, and you will see that Wikipedia is the people's encyclopedia only if those people are not conservatives.

Source




Warming as the cause of South American Glacier change debunked

It's been unusually COLD there, after all

2008 so far has been a very interesting year. All the months in the first half of the year ended with below normal temperature, a situation not observed since 1962. Our fall was very cold and performed like winter. June was really cold. The frost ruined 1.3 million tons of corn in the state of Parana, a damage not seen in 8 years. July has been very mild and the forecast models do not indicate any cold incursion in the next 10 days. It is quite unusual to not have very cold days in the first 15 days of July. Usually, the lowest temperatures of the year occur between July 5 and July 15th in our region. It seems the nature is compensating a very cold and early winter with mild temperatures in the peak of the climatic winter.

Regarding the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina, which the BBC claimed had a huge ice dam on Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier is about to break apart for the first time during the southern hemisphere winter, there is an interesting quote in the Argentinean press today:

Victor Jorge Leis, operational director of the National Weather Service of Argentina, expressed doubt about global warming as the cause of the rupture of the glacier. "It is too difficult to establish a connection with the greenhouse effect because temperature has not been much above normal in the region in the last few months. Besides, temperature is just one factor in the ice behavior and wind and oceans tide should not be ignored", he told. Other experts mentioned that the glacier tip is 400 years old, that justifies its fragility". The last time it ruptured in July was in 1951 (coming off a strong La Nina).

There is a news report quoting one of the most important experts in the glacier that has the following headline: "The Perito Moreno rupture is not consequence of greenhouse effect: "Ricardo Villalba, director of the Argentinean Institute of Glaciology, Snow and Environmental Sciences (Ianigla) tells Los Andes newspaper that the position of the ice and the tides can be blamed for this unusual breakup in the winter."

Source (PDF)




Are we staring at global cooling?

(By Dr Gerrit van der Lingen, a geologist and paleoclimatologist and former director of Geoscience Research and Investigations New Zealand)

The deep sea around Antarctica is getting colder, the German research ship Polarstern from the famous Alfred Wegener Institute, has reported recently after summer studies as part of the International Polar Year. At the same time, satellite images showed the largest amount of summer sea-ice on record. This was not surprising, as the sea-ice cover around Antarctica during the previous winter was the largest since measurements by satellite begun in 1979.

Since 2000, about 3000 buoys have been deployed in seas around the world. The project is called Argos. The buoys automatically go up and down and measure sea temperatures (and salinity) to a depth of 2000 metres. After resurfacing, the buoys transmit their data via satellites to land-based stations. Since the start of their deployment they have recorded a slight cooling of the oceans.

But global temperatures have also not shown an increase since 1998 - if anything they have slightly cooled. This was reported by the UN World Meteorological Organisation, one of the two parent organisations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. On May 4, the BBC published the following news item on its website: "Global temperatures will drop slightly this year as a result of the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific. The World Meteorological Organization's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer. This would mean that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory."

La Nina, and its opposite El Nino, are natural climate oscillations. They are characterised by a change in air pressure between Darwin and Tahiti and a change in equatorial sea surface temperatures between the West Pacific and Peru. These events can last between 7 and 8 years. But there is an even longer-lasting oceanic oscillation, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. It fluctuates between cool and warm phases and has a strong influence on world temperatures. Last century it had a warm phase from 1905 till 1946, a cold phase from 1946 till 1977, and a warm phase since 1977. Recently, the PDO changed back to a cool phase. It is therefore not surprising that the last Southern and Northern Hemispheres experienced severe winters. We have all seen the TV pictures and newspaper articles about the severe winter storms in China, the worst in 50 years.

Last November, the European Alps received its largest snow dump in 40 years. North America was hit by severe snow storms. New Hampshire received the largest snowfall since 1873. Even the Arctic was affected. Sea ice cover between Greenland and Canada was the largest in fifteen years and the ice was 10-20 cm thicker than the year before. The entire Northern Hemisphere winter snow cover was the largest since 1966. It snowed in Baghdad and Jerusalem. The Southern Hemisphere was not spared. Argentina had an exceptionally cold winter. On November 17, 2007, Buenos Aires recorded its lowest temperature in 90 years. More dramatically, between January 2007 and January 2008, global temperatures plummeted by 0.6 degrees Celsius. This is almost as much as the total warming in the last 150 years.

The ultimate driver of our climate is the sun and historically, there is a close correlation between climate and sunspots. Solar activity (expressed by sunspot activity) is cyclic. The shortest cycle is 22 years, called the Schwabe Cycle (11 years minimal sunspots, 11 years maximum sunspots). There are larger solar cycles, such as the Gleissberg Cycle (88 years) and the Suess Cycle (208 years).

During the Little Ice Age (ca. 1300 - 1850) there were four exceptionally cold periods. During these periods there were few or no sunspots. The coldest was the so-called Maunder Minimum (ca. 1645 - 1715), when there were no sunspots for 70 years!

By analysing these sunspot cycles, astrophysicists are predicting that we may be going into a cold period that may be as severe as the last sunspot minimum of the Little Ice Age, the Dalton Minimum (ca. 1790 - 1830) and which could last for 30 years or more.

Since 1755, Schwabe sunspot cycles have been given numbers. We are now at the end of Cycle 23. A change from one cycle to another is indicated by a reversal of the magnetic polarity of sunspots. However, Cycle 24 is already 14 months overdue. Most of the time there are no sunspots at all. One can find information on sunspots on the Internet (www.solarcycle24.com). When I checked when writing this article (June 5), there had been no sunspots at all for 10 days. This is worrying. If the sun stays quiet, we may be in for a cold winter. According to NIWA, last May was already the coldest since 1992.

We can only hope that the astrophysicists are wrong in their predictions, as global cooling would be infinitely worse than warming. Each year, many more people die from cold than from warm temperatures.

Source




Your Carbon Ration Card: Lessons from Britain

While American politicians mull a carbon cap-and-trade system for industry, our British cousins are already contemplating the next step: personal CO2 rations. A Parliamentary committee in May proposed giving all British adults "carbon allowances" that they would be required to spend - along with, you know, real money - when buying gasoline, airline tickets, electricity or natural gas. Britons who wanted more credits than they were issued could try to buy them - again, with real money - from those who hadn't spent their allotment. All of this is supposed to give people a financial incentive to reduce energy consumption and thus their carbon "footprint."

The Labour government, already in a precarious political state, isn't dumb enough to support the rationing plan, which Environment Minister Hilary Benn calls "ahead of its time." Instead, it favors a climate-change bill that Parliament is on the verge of passing that would lay much of the necessary groundwork. But eco-eager Britons don't have to wait for Westminster. A private test program for personal cap-and-trade began recently with 1,000 volunteers keeping tabs of their gasoline use.

It would cost a country like Britain billions of dollars a year to run a personal cap-and-trade system nationwide, but set that aside. War-time-like energy rations are a clear illustration of the extent to which environmentalists hope to control every aspect of modern life. Do you really want to blow much of your annual "ration" on that long carbon-spewing jet flight to Florida, or should you swap that summer AC for weekend drives in the country?

The global warmists want you to sacrifice for their cause. And the duration of their war on carbon will make the decade-and-a-half of British rationing during and after World War II seem like a fleeting moment. The pending climate-change bill calls for a 60% cut in carbon emissions from their 1990 levels by 2050. Once 2050 rolls around, who exactly will declare the end of hostilities?

The prospect of personal CO2 rations should debunk the idea that the cost of curbing carbon emissions would fall on the owners of dirty old factories. That notion was always a green herring: Like corporate taxes, the business costs of carbon reduction will be passed on to consumers. In that sense, we should be grateful to the Brits for showing us where this anticarbon crusade really ends up.

Source




SCIENCE BY INTIMIDATION

Truth may enter the world by many doors, but she is never escorted by force. I thought that was a lesson learned long ago, and learned by none more tellingly than scientists. Real scientists, actually, have learned it. A new amalgam has emerged however, the scientist-activist, and for that specimen it's a lesson passed by.

In the dawn of the Enlightenment, it was scientists who were hauled before tribunals and inquisitions. Galileo is the arch example, the pioneer empiricist who rejected the ancient Earth-centric model of the (then known) universe, and for his pains earned the attention and wrath of the distinctly unscientific Inquisition.

I am drawn to these thoughts, and to the long-decayed example of the Inquisition, by a most curious outburst this week by James Hansen, the principal voice of NASA on the subject of global warming, a man who played - as it were - John the Baptist to Al Gore's messianic teachings on the subject. Dr. Hansen is largely credited with "sounding the alarm" on man-made global warming, and he has been a persistent, high-profile and very aggressive proponent of the cause for over two decades now. Dr. Hansen doesn't take kindly to those who dispute his apocalyptic scenarios. I choose the term, apocalyptic, deliberately. According to Dr. Hansen, mankind may have reached the tipping point with global warming. Should that be the case, wide-scale calamity and catastrophe are inevitable. And should we not have reached the point of absolute crisis, should there be a minuscule interval for the human species to act and avert the very worst, according to Dr. Hansen, what yet remains to be faced is still horrible enough indeed.

Not all the world shares Dr. Hansen's vision of imminent ecological Armageddon. Serious minds, seriously disinterested in the subject, throw up caveats all the time. They question the models of climatological speculation; they question the peculiar mix of man-made and other likely sources of climate dynamics; they question some of the data gathering and some of its interpretation; and they question the very maturity of the highly complex, and experimentally deficient science of global warming itself.

They seriously question, too, the massive policy prescriptions that are being insisted upon as necessary in response to the scientific determinations of man-made global warming. There is lots of room for different, honest opinion on questions so large and complex, questions at the terribly complicated intersection of science, politics and economics.

But, to Dr. Hansen's agitated mind, those who raise such questions, who inject skepticism into the global warming debate, are "deniers." The word here is becoming commonplace, but it remains a singular slur. A clutch of the global warming believers like to cast all who would argue with them into the polemical pit, the pit being that dissent from orthodox opinion on global warming as the equivalent of Holocaust denial. It is a shameless and vicious tactic, and hardly accords with the nobility that is suppose to drive the conscience of those out to save the planet. Dr. Hansen is overfond of the specious and chilling analogy: He has written of the "crashing glaciers serv(ing) as a Krystal Nacht" and, although he later repented of the metaphor, compared coal trains to "death trains - no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species." This week, Dr. Hansen went a step even more noxiously forward.

He called for a tribunal, or as I prefer to call it, an Inquisition, to put on trial for crimes against nature and humanity, the CEOs of the big oil companies who, according to Dr. Hansen's frantic view of things, feed the public "misinformation" about the climate crisis. Again the implicit model is to Nuremberg, as the man attempts to put concern for a future - let us call it a probability - on a moral and factual par with the unquestioned, historical, shattering enormity of the Nazi Holocaust.

Is this a scientist speaking? If so, it is more than curious that in the 21st century it is the scientist calling for the secular equivalent of an Inquisition. More to the point, are these the words of a man really certain of his truth, or one who - with the anxiety of the fanatic - is trying to shield it from all rigour of skepticism and inquiry? In either case, I do not question at all the assertion that it is the voice of a man who is neither a friend to reason or science. This is the voice of the scientist-activist consumed with his own virtue and fearful of all dispute.

Science has no need of tribunals or trials, no need of Nuremberg justice, or analogies with the Holocaust. James Hansen's words this week were an offence, an offence against inquiry, against science, against moral seriousness. They were a piece of insolence against the idea of debate itself.

Source




German scientists state the obvious about CO2: A risky deed in today's world

The dangerous rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may be troubling scientists and world leaders but it could prove to be a boon for plants, German researchers said Tuesday. Increasing exposure to carbon dioxide appears to boost crop yields, Hans-Joachim Weigel of the Johann Heinrich von Thuenen Institute for rural areas, forestry and fisheries in the central city of Brunswick told AFP. "Output increased by about 10 percent for barley, beets and wheat" when the plants were subjected to higher levels of carbon dioxide, Weigel said.

The Thuenen Institute, which has been monitoring the phenomenon in fields since 1999, trains CO2 jets on the plants so the gas reaches 550 parts per million in the air around them -- the level expected in the atmosphere by 2050. Weigel said the studies have indicated that while greater CO2 exposure appears to spur growth, it can also undermine the quality of the produce. He said the next step in the study would be to evaluate the effect of higher temperatures on plant growth -- which scientists cite as another consequence of higher CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

Weigel said that while the institute's findings may prove surprising to some, they are not intended to undermine the drive to slash CO2 emissions. "This research is not intended as an argument for doing nothing to curb the rise of CO2 levels," he said. "It is to find out what the effects would be."

Other studies have presented a more mixed picture about the impact of higher CO2 levels on plants, and there is uncertainty about its effects on soil fertility and which plants benefit most from more CO2.

Source

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8 July, 2008

Falsification of data by NASA's James Hansen?

NASA's GISS is constantly issuing climate data in a form "edited" by James Hansen and his alarmist cohorts. The "before and after" graphs below would appear to show how remarkably the editing transforms the raw data. The two graphs seem to be for exactly the same temperature recording station in Vermont.





Temperature that is initially all over the place has been magically tranformed into a detectable rise.

The first graph was downloaded from GISS in February, 2008 and the second was downloaded a few days ago.

A correspondent comments:

"So when are we going to get the 2007 data point; you know, that recent year that had the highest temperature on record according to the model predictions beforehand; let alone a look at what continues to happen in 2008.

It is interesting that if you look at the bulk of that red graph data, instead of focussing your eyes on the peak excursions; if there is any trrend, at all, it is downward. Yes the peaks and the excursions may seem to be getting larger; but the supposed driving "Forcing" namely the CO2 concentration, keeps on going steadily upwards.

Of course this is just one station; maybe they don't drive a lot of SUVs in Vermont. I assume that in Vermont they measure temperature in pyramid inches, or some such non standard scale; at least it is classified information what scale they use".




Imagine there's no warming

It seems clear that the world's political and cultural and financial elite are determined to do whatever is necessary in their minds to lower the temperature of the planet. When you cut through all the climate-change hysteria, that's what is being proposed.

Taxes will be raised, carbon-dioxide production will be punished, income will be redistributed, people will be told what they can do with their lives and what they cannot do, live-saving and life-enhancing development will be curtailed. And all of this coercion will be directed by those who know best - a global elite who collectively know less about science than the average American high school student in the 1950s.

I suspect most of them don't even believe their dire predictions about global warming. I'm quite certain they understand the riff-raff simply need a rationalization for how they are about to be exploited in ways that would have been shocking during the days of feudalism. But put all that aside for a moment. Let's pretend there really is irreversible global warming taking place because of man's activity on the planet. Let's further pretend the advocates of these radical policies to remake the world in their own image actually could reduce the world's temperatures.

Would it be worth it?

Would it be the right thing to do?

Would it benefit mankind in any way?

Would the result be worth trading off the last vestiges of freedom throughout the world?

Surprisingly, I haven't seen anyone else ask these fundamental questions. And that illustrates the utter absurdity of the global warming frenzy. These international oligarchs are selling the world's population a make-believe crisis to justify their globalist power grab without the slightest ability to have any impact on the planet's weather patterns and temperatures.

But, again, let's imagine they could effectively regulate the weather. Would that be good? Would you trust these people to control the temperature of the world? Would you trust anyone other than God to do that? Yet that is precisely more of the hot air the global warming chorus is trying to sell us. It would place something as sacred as the world's climate in the hands of men - if indeed they could.

What surprises me, a little, is that so many normal, average Americans would be willing to hand over that power to a clique of politicians and their shadowy, unaccountable, unelected puppeteers. Think about this. Would you really want your weather controlled or regulated - even in part - by men with whom you have little or no influence?

The question is so preposterous I can't imagine anyone would answer it affirmatively. But that is one of the monstrous, totalitarian, Big Brother ideas you have to accept to jump on the climate-change bandwagon.

There's more to think about, too, in this hypothetical scenario. If indeed men really could change the weather and control temperatures, why do we assume those changes and those controls would be positive? Lowering temperatures might be attractive if you live in the tropics. But I can't understand why so many Canadians, for instance, would think a colder climate would be beneficial.

Again, if the high priests of global warming could actually make an impact on the weather through their draconian plans to steal our freedom and our prosperity, their goal of lowering temperatures would be, at best, a net plus for some and a net negative for others. It would almost certainly result in less food production, for example. Consider that as we begin to see food shortages and rationing around the globe due to much less significant central planning efforts already under way.

To review and summarize, then, what we're left with, when it comes to the global warming agenda, is a fraudulent crisis cooked up to control and enslave the world's population under the guide of benevolent global socialism and an equally fraudulent solution to that crisis - one that would be a bad idea even if it could work, which it can't! Do I have this about right?

Source




Alarmists use weather to promote global warming hoax

By Dr. Tim Ball



Claims that recent severe weather and flooding in the US are proof of human CO2 impacts on global climate are scientific nonsense. They are part of a pattern of keeping weather and climate issues in the public mind.

My grandmother admonished me with, “Your sins will find you out.” It is a maxim that should now befall proponents of the false theory that human CO2 is causing global warming or climate change. Exposure rarely emerges from the original event, but as Watergate showed the coverup bares the truth.

Governments and large segments of society accepted the theory. Most bullied by use of fear but also their lack of knowledge and understanding was also exploited.

Now a combination of events are driving them to raise the threat level and make increasingly false claims. forcing a coverup. The world is cooling while CO2 levels continue to rise. In every record for any period in history temperature increases before CO2 not as assumed. Plans to implement carbon taxes to offset warming exacerbate soaring fuel prices. Effects of policies implemented to replace fossil fuels with biofuels are driving food and total living costs rapidly higher.  People increasingly question the threats as a recent UK poll showed; “The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans - and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer.” Proponents of the theory that humans are causing global warming or climate change have used fear to push their false belief. Now they’re experiencing fear as evidence shows they’re wrong and the public perceive a deception.

Robert Frost said, “There’s nothing I am afraid of like scared people.” Those who perpetrated possibly the greatest deception in human history that CO2 is causing global warming/climate change are scared. Events are driving them to extreme, unsubstantiated and even ridiculous claims and threats.

One of these was that sea level would rise, but it foundered when the two Nobel Peace Prize winners, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore were in serious disagreement. Another was Arctic sea ice except it returned to long term normal levels last winter and NASA announced the one year anomaly was due to changes in wind patterns.

So they return to their central theme of convincing you that normal weather events are abnormal. An increase in severe weather is a persistent theme, especially in North America. Recently the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research issued a report with projected changes in weather and climate extremes in North America and U.S. territories.

Report co-chair Tom Karl, Ph.D., director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C said, “This report addresses one of the most frequently asked questions about global warming: what will happen to weather and climate extremes? This synthesis and assessment product examines this question across North America and concludes that we are now witnessing and will increasingly experience more extreme weather and climate events.”

Karl has a vested interest in this being true. It is the position of the IPCC and he cites the IPCC as the authoritative body. Internationally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), is the most senior and authoritative body providing scientific advice to global policy makers. Well he was a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports for 1990, 1992, 1995, a Coordinating Lead author and panel member of the 2001 Report and a Review Editor for Chapter 3 of the 2007 Report.
Source: ncdc.noaa.gov

There are three major problems with what is being said. 1. The severe weather of this spring across the Northern Hemisphere was caused by cooler weather not warmer. 2. The IPCC and the NOAA positions that severe weather will increase with global warming is scientifically wrong. 3. The records show current weather extremes are well within long term natural variability.

Almost all global severe weather occurs in the middle latitudes between approximately 30° and 65° of latitude. Cyclonic storms, blizzards, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are created where warm and cold air meets and that is most dramatic along what is generally known as the Polar Front. This world map of tornado zones illustrates the point. 



Source: ncdc.noaa.gov

Here is a simplified diagram of the division between the cold polar air and the warm tropical air.



Source:  Source: Fundamentals of Physical Geography, Briggs, Smithson, Ball et al..

Temperature contrast across the Polar Front is the greatest in a short distance in each hemisphere. This creates the strongest winds as illustrated by the location of the Jet Stream (more correctly called the Circumpolar Vortex) above the surface. It also means the formation of swirling low pressure systems or cyclones that in winter are blizzards.  As the cold air advances it pushes up unstable bubbles of warm air to create heavy rain from large clouds. With enough force these can develop in to severe thunderstorms (cumulonimbus) and under certain conditions trigger tornadoes. These conditions occur most frequently across the central US in what is colloquially known as Tornado Alley.



Source: severewx.atmos.uiuc.edu

1. Frequency and intensity of most severe weather is a direct function of the temperature contrast across the Polar Front. This spring the cold air stayed further south with the colder temperatures with the resulting severe weather and flooding across the central US.

2. IPCC Reports claim increased CO2 levels will make the Polar air warm more than the tropical air. If true, this will decrease the temperature contrast across the Front resulting in fewer storms and less severe weather.



Source: ncdc.noaa.gov

3. The graph from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that severe tornadoes were higher in the period from 1950 to 1975.  Global temperatures were falling during that time. Since then frequency has decreased as the world warmed to 2000. Since then the world has cooled slightly and the pattern shows a slight increase in severe tornadoes. 

This trend of severe weather is most likely to increase as the Earth continues to cool. Proponents of human caused climate change will claim it proves them right. They will continue their practice of claiming natural events as unnatural. Unless people understand the basic science they will continue the fraud and pressure politicians into even more damaging energy and environmental policies. 

Source




Companies 'could face fines or even criminal charges' for failure to account for carbon emissions

Here's something new to worry about: If you can't figure out how much carbon your company is pumping into the atmosphere, you could face fines or even criminal charges someday.

Far-fetched? Many companies, from Alcoa to Chiquita Brands to Google don't think so. Regardless of who wins the presidential election this fall, new legislation targeting carbon emissions in one way or another seems practically inevitable. And that means corporate directors and executives are starting to worry about being sued under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for bungling the job.

They're calling it Carbox, and it's inspired a green streak in corporate culture--and spawned a cottage industry to deal with the problem. As most people now painfully know, Sarbanes-Oxley, or Sarbox, requires companies to disclose any business risks facing the company to investors in public filings.

Corporate directors and executives can be sued and even face criminal liability if the company fails to properly disclose business risks--including, many now worry, the cost of emissions.

"Sarbanes is a lens through which management and boards should view climate risk," said Bob O'Connor, a partner with Palo Alto, Calif.-based law firm Wilson Sonsini and member of the firm's Carbon Counseling Practice. "In viewing climate risk, management and boards must be governed by the standards that Sarbanes establishes with respect to transparency and accountability."

Sarbanes, he explains, requires companies to maintain internal procedures that enable them to meet their SEC disclosure obligations, and further require management to certify that those procedures are in fact effective.

So, if you are a public-company chief executive, Sarbanes requires you to ask yourself: "Do we have the systems in place to meet our disclosure obligations with respect to the risks presented by global climate change and greenhouse gas regulation?' "In this way," O'Connor says, "We see Sarbanes as a key driver for corporations taking action to address climate-related risks."

Tall order. Chiquita Brands hired Edgar Blanco of MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics to gauge the carbon footprint of the supply chain that transports bananas by truck and ship from Central America to the United States. Blanco plans to turn the case study into a Web-based tool to help other companies calculate and potentially reduce the energy consumption of products moved over long distances by multiple means of transport.

Blanco's experience illustrates the challenge of measuring a multinational company's carbon footprint. For example, bananas are grown on different types of farms of varying sizes, using growing methods that range from organic to traditional. The amount of fertilizer used and fuel consumed and several other variables will differ for many of the bananas. And that complexity only increases as they migrate from farm to fork.

"Companies need to decide which elements to include when assessing their carbon footprint," said Blanco. "Energy, transportation, waste, water use, travel? Most companies are realizing that they need to look at all of these things even if they don't own them. Even within one well defined operation, the number of elements you need to measure is very complex in terms of data and interactions with suppliers."

The bananas travel in refrigerated containers from rural farms to urban sea ports in Central America, where they are shipped to the United States. Retail chains like Wal-Mart often transport the bananas with their own trucks once the bananas arrive in the U.S.

Otherwise, Chiquita sends bananas to several distribution centers, where they are stored in "ripening rooms" designed to reactivate the ripening process. This allows Chiquita to deliver bananas with the colors requested by the customers, which falls anywhere on a nine-point scale ranging from green to deep yellow. The energy consumed to realize those colors varies from color to color.

The carbon footprint doesn't necessarily end when the bananas reach grocery store shelves. For instance, there's packaging. Bananas usually travel in plastic wrapping or cardboard boxes, depending on their ultimate destination; this extends the bananas' carbon footprint far beyond the fruits' short life.

Despite these complications, carbon emissions created in supply chains are more straightforward than those generated elsewhere. In particular, the enormous and growing infrastructure needed to support the Internet poses especially complicated challenges for measuring carbon emissions.

"Data centers are hugely consumptive forces," said Kevin Klustner, chief executive of Verdiem, a Seattle-based start-up that has developed energy-efficiency software for computer systems.

"Companies like Google are adding hundreds if not thousands of servers a month to keep up with demand from all these Web 2.0 sites where you store your photos or music. Those are all powered by servers in data centers. The growth of those things is just incredible." Expect the fees for consultants and lawyers to follow the same path.

Source




'Absolutely no evidence of warming for all of Antarctica'

Tell us the truth - do the two pictures below really hit home with you? Do they make you want to walk to work, put up solar panels this weekend, and eat lower on the food chain the rest of your life? The images, and literally dozens like them available on the internet, drive home the obvious point that Antarctica is melting, global warming is the cause, and we in the United States are responsible for the demise of the penguins thanks to our appetite for fossil fuels. This type of presentation is very typical of the global warming alarmists - feel free to visit nearly 500,000 web sites dealing with global warming and Antarctica. If you have visited our site before, you would know that the professional scientific literature is full of articles questioning the simplistic statements regarding global warming, Antarctica, and the poor penguins.

And in today's news, there is another tear-jerker about penguins. A new soon-to-be-published study by University of Washington's P. Dee Boersma reports that the world's penguin species are generally in decline (remember, bad things happen to good species and good things happen to bad ones) and the press eats it up. AP science writer Seth Borenstein describes their plight like this:
The decline overall isn’t caused by one factor, but several. For the ice-loving Adelie penguins, global warming in the western Antarctica peninsula is a problem, making it harder for them to find food, said Phil Trathan, head of conservation biology at the British Antarctic Survey, a top penguin scientist who had no role in the new report.

For penguins that live on the Galapagos island, El Nino weather patterns are a problem because the warmer water makes penguins travel farther for food, at times abandoning their chicks, Boersma said. At the end of the 1998 record El Nino, female penguins were only 80 percent of their normal body weight. Scientists have tied climate change to stronger El Ninos. Oil spills regularly taint the water where penguins live off Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil and have contributed to the Punta Tumbo declines, Boersma said.
Hmmm, the "several” factors the Borenstein comes up with are "global warming," "climate change," and our thirst for oil. If he is trying to be subtle, he doesn't succeed.

And, of course, what is bad for some species is surely going to bad for others, so let's all climb aboard the band wagon:
And this isn’t just about the fate of penguins. “What happens to penguins, a few years down the road can happen to a lot of other species and possibly humans,” said longtime penguin expert Susie Ellis, now executive director of the International Rhino Foundation.
There you have it, just as Al Gore told you.we are all going to die because of global warming.

But, just in case your own survival doesn't interest you, please consider the plight of the poor penguins. Penguins are certainly cute, they seem so helpless, and they make great poster subjects for the global warming crusade. Of course, if you investigated no further than the Policymakers Summary of the 2007 report (pdf available here) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one would find statements like "Antarctic sea ice extent continues to show inter-annual variability and localized changes but no statistically significant average trends, consistent with the lack of warming reflected in atmospheric temperatures averaged across the region" or "Current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall." People screaming that the ice caps are melting apparently need to scream louder, for the IPCC doesn't seem have received the message.

The latest news from Antarctica comes in a recent article in Remote Sensing of Environment by Vesa Laine of the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki; the work was funded by the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. We have no evidence that either of these agencies or the people involved with the research have any links to fossil fuel companies.

Laine appears to be an expert in satellite measurements from polar regions and notes for this study that "The Advanced Very High Resolution (AVHRR) Polar Pathfinder (APP) data provide long-time series (1981-2000) of calibrated surface albedo and surface temperature data for the polar regions." Terrific - satellites fly over the polar areas and provide us real-world data on what is really happening in regions like Antarctica in terms of surface albedo (reflectivity), sea ice extent, ice sheet extent, and surface temperatures. We at World Climate Report always enjoy bringing you real-world data which are so often not consistent with the claims of the global warming advocates.

The graphic below (Figure 1) shows the seasonal temperatures for three Antarctic stations and the estimates of temperature for those stations based on the satellite measurements, and as seen in the plots, the correlations are very good. OK - is there anything else interesting about the thermometer-based and satellite-based seasonal temperatures? How about NO WARMING! Despite the known build up of greenhouse gases and all the whoop-la about warming and melting in Antarctica, and satellites and thermometers see absolutely no warming whatsoever. If you look closely, there even appears to be a slight cooling at the three stations - very curious?


Figure 1. Comparison of surface temperature monthly means observed in November, December and January at three Antarctic stations (Marble Point, Vostok and South Pole) with those derived from the satellite-based data. The trends are calculated from spring-summer means (from Laine, 2008).

Figure 2 shows time series of snow and ice albedo (reflectivity) and surface temperature for total ice, ice sheet , and sea ice areas of all of Antarctica. Laine reports that "The Antarctic region as a whole and all the sectors separately show slightly positive spring-summer albedo trends. However, most of these trends are not statistically significant" and "All the regions show negative spring-summer surface temperature trends for the study period." Laine finds no evidence of darkening of the ice (that could lead to warming) and absolutely no evidence of warming for all of Antarctica! Laine is not making friends with the so-called environmentalists who are so quick to insist that the penguins are in trouble because of anthropogenic climate change.


Figure 2. Plot of albedo (reflectivity) and surface temperatures across the whole of Antarctica (from Laine, 2008)

And finally, have a look at Figure 3 that shows temperature trends in Antarctica and the statistical significance of those trends (or lack thereof). The maps show that over almost the entire continent, temperature trends are not statistically significant. In most places where the trends are statistically significant, they are often areas of cooling. Laine simply states "Over the entire Antarctic ice region, as well as in every longitudinal sector, the albedo, the surface temperature, the sea ice concentration and the sea ice extent all show substantial annual variability. Increasing spring-summer albedo trends and decreasing temperature trends are generally to be seen." Furthermore, "The sea ice concentration shows slight increasing trends in most sectors, whereas the sea ice extent trends seem to be near zero."

Figure 3. (a) 20-year change in the spring-summer ice surface temperature. (b) Statistical confidence levels of the spring-summer temperature trends. The green and red areas indicate 95% and 98% confidence levels respectively (from Laine, 2008)

There is no reason to cry over the "The Last Penguin" or the "Homeless" penguins illustrated above. The truth is that Antarctica is just fine and will likely remain that way for many decades to come. Claims to the contrary and that anthropogenic “global warming” is leading to the penguins demise are simply not consistent with climate observations.

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Greenies Hiding Truth About Oil And Food Prices, Starving The Poor



Supply and demand - the immutable law of economics. When supplies are larger than demand, consumers benefit. When supplies are less than demand - corporations and governments benefit (through taxes and the opportunity to control sectors of the economy). If you don't trust mega-corps or government bureaucrats, not only are you sane you should be wary when the two combine forces to effect supply and demand.

Two things are elemental to humankind - eating and energy consumption (travel especially). And up until recently there economic ties between food and energy have been limited. But the move to use food products for fuel needs created a pressure on the supplies of food that would not be there if we kept food for eating and other energy sources for energy. By pushing the two largest `hungers' of humanity onto a single resource, we allowed government and corporations to effect the supply by shifting the demand - thus creating price spikes and calls to take over the food and energy sectors of our economy. Now we learn some are hiding the truth of these failed liberal policies (easily supported by corporations who will make huge profits from them) from we the people:
Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.
In the face of 20 years of global cooling (not warming) why are we forcing starvation on the poorest of humankind? Has the pressure on our food supply lowered energy prices? Of course not - they have tripled since the Democrats took over Congress not even 2 short years ago.

The only ones to benefit from this debacle are those associated with biofuels, who are making a killing - but who also may be killing the most vulnerable among us. Personally, I don't care how damning the data is to the fools who royally screwed up. Get the data out, figure out where we went wrong and undo the damage before it gets worse. My guess is this data is like the real Global temperature data we have experienced since the IPCC started screaming fire - it totally destroys their theories and credibility.

Again, why should people suffer starvation just to cover up the mistakes of egotists who had no business making the exaggerated claims they made on biofuels and global warming? Their egos are not more valuable than poor starving people in need of food.

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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7 July, 2008

THE AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE DEBATE

Australian Prime Minister Kevin "Tokenism" Rudd is trying to do something significant for a change but he has no ideas of his own so has jumped on the Greenie bandwagon and wants to pass laws to stop global warming! The huge costs and total futility of what he proposes have however caused some people to sit up and take notice. In setting out detailed proposals for new laws, Rudd relies heavily on the "Garnaut Report" -- a piece of conventional Warmism that he commissioned from a tame economist. That report has been particularly criticized. Six current articles below

Garnaut climate report - Three Key Questions that were Ignored

An Australian Group of Global Warming Sceptics today claimed that the Garnaut Report had totally ignored the three key questions in the debate. The chairman of The Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, said that the major question is a scientific one: "Have man's emissions of CO2 caused unusual global warming or done harm to the world environment?" An increasing number of scientists all over the world are very clear on this and their answer is a resounding "NO". For starters see the Oregon Petition and the Manhattan Declaration

It is irresponsible for the government to get this far without having an independent enquiry on the science, a fundamental first step in a rational due diligence of this massive economic intervention.

"The second question not considered by the Garnaut Report is "What are the full costs and benefits likely to accrue to Australians if we embark on this course?" This major question is avoided by explanations of "no data" or "the modelling is not completed".

"Already we are seeing the costs associated with misguided policies designed to reduce Global Warming: a world shortage of food cause by diversion of land from food production to ethanol; power shortages and blackouts as power station construction is deferred; soaring prices for gas as people are coerced to convert from one carbon fuel to another; shortages of refined diesel and petrol as refinery construction is delayed; and instability and losses in financial markets concerned about the future cost of travel, transport, energy and food."

"But nowhere have we seen estimates of the total cost of all the taxes, disruptions, shortages, cost increases and unnecessary investments associated with all the emission permits, ration coupons, energy mandates, trading schemes, quotas, bureaucracy and approvals."

"The third key question not considered by Professor Garnaut, is "Is it politically likely that rest of the world will adopt these draconian mitigation policies, or will Australia and New Zealand be left hanging like dead dingos on a barbed wire fence?"

"No democracy will accept the costs and disruptions envisaged to achieve the fairy-land goals for cuts in carbon emissions. Therefore this whole mitigation scheme must fail and will eventually be abandoned, but only after causing huge costs."

"The rejection of green taxes in recent UK by-elections, the defeat of the Emissions Trading proposals by the US Senate, the revolt about electricity prices among German politicians, the worldwide food riots and the truckie blockades all over Europe should surely warn our worldly-wise PM that this decision is just too hard, even for him."

"Even if we faced more global warming, which is the better way to go - prepare to adapt, or try to change the world and its climate? Is adaptation or mitigation the sensible policy?"

"The climate is always changing and will continue to do so no matter what Professor Garnaut and Minister Wong say or do about it. Our ancestors have survived massive climate change - floods of Biblical dimensions, storms more violent than Katrina, volcanism to dwarf Krakatau, Saharan droughts, seas that evaporated and then flooded back and flourishing greenhouse forests followed by glacial ages of ice."

"Many species and individuals died in the periodic ages of chaos but our ancestors adapted and survived. They went on to thrive in the occasional warm, moist, calm periods like today. (Incidentally, polar bears also managed to adapt and survive periods warmer and colder than today.) The best we can do today is to make sure we have the financial and industrial resources to cope with whatever the climate has in store for us."

"And if Mother Nature has another Little Ice Age in store, that will cause more damage than any one of the 23 different computer generated global warming predictions from the Mis-fortune Tellers at the IPCC."

Source




Kevin Rudd faces climate revolt from state Labor governments

KEVIN Rudd has been warned against rushing ahead with a carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS), with a union boss saying workers should not lose their jobs just so the Prime Minister can keep his. Mr Rudd is facing a savage backlash from unions and state Labor over the timing of an ETS, which was the centrepiece of the Garnaut Review into how Australia should tackle climate change. The scheme would raise billions of dollars for the Government through the sale of pollution permits.

As the Prime Minister conceded yesterday that rising electricity, food and petrol prices were an inevitable consequence of the scheme, he pledged that the Government was mindful of the risks to family budgets and to jobs. But Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes has accused Mr Rudd of being "hell bent" on introducing the ETS by 2010 just to keep an election promise, despite the danger of forcing jobs offshore. "I would rather see that period of time dragged out a bit to ensure that there aren't any errors in the design," he said. "If we ensure that the adequate levels of compensation and recognition are given to industries so that they are given ... time to clean up their act ... then no job needs to be lost. In fact, jobs should be created."

The Federal Opposition has also said the ETS should be delayed to ensure it was done properly. Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull has said the scheme would be "half-cocked" if introduced on the government's timetable. Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson said today the environment would be no better off with a rushed scheme. "Mr Rudd is taking Australia way out in front of the rest of the world and in doing so places significant risk on the Australian economy ... for no environmental gain at all," he said on ABC radio. "The rest of the world, particularly the big emitters, will not yet be ready (by 2012)."

In his attack on the Garnaut report, NSW Treasurer Michael Costa has backed free permits for electricity generators, saying today in The Australian that "Chicken Little" warnings about the dangers of climate change are no substitute for a rigorous economic and scientific debate.

Mr Howes said an ETS would be little more than a trade tariff "against ourselves" if high-polluting countries such as China and Brazil were not taking similar measures.

In his draft report, released on Friday, Professor Ross Garnaut said Australia would be hit harder by climate change than other countries would be - and therefore needed to act now. But he also said the government should pressure other polluters to follow suit quickly.

Mr Costa warns that while the states support the implementation of an ETS, the risks to the economy are severe if the Rudd Government gets it wrong, citing the children's fable of the hen that thought the sky was falling after being hit on the head by an acorn. "Chicken Little arguments are no substitute for getting right the important details on issues of far reaching consequence, but Professor (Ross) Garnaut himself has said his detailed economic impact modelling won't be available until August," he writes. "For example, claims from some quarters that the Great Barrier Reef would be destroyed if Australia, which emits less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gases, does not adopt an ETS are patent nonsense."

The Government also faces growing calls to offer free permits to polluters to stagger the impact of putting a price on carbon, or embrace the Howard government option of a safety valve system that would place an effective cap on the price of carbon, allowing polluters to pay a fine rather than buy more permits once a certain price for carbon was exceeded.

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Emissions Trading Scheme Will Kill Family Farms

Forget all the arguments about global warming being real or not. It's too late for that. What is real is that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is hell bent on introducing an Emissions Trading Scheme to prove to the world what a good global citizen Australia is, regardless of the consequences to our economy.

What the main stream media have missed in the flood of coverage is the potential devastation to rural Australia the emission trading scheme will be. Agriculture will not be a `covered' industry, you can back that in.

That is of little consequence. What it does mean is that an emission trading scheme will dramatically increase the cost of every farm input. Farmers unlike power stations and fuel refiners have zero ability to pass those costs on.

AgForce President Peter Kenny tells us that the modeling AgForce has done has shown that farm input costs will increase by 15-40% depending on the industry. Livestock producers are at the lower end of the scale with grain croppers and intensive industries at the high end.

This coming on top of a record year of AgFlation will be the death knell for many smaller farmers. New South Wales Farmers Federation President Jock Laurie recently told us that they believe AgFlation based on the 4 major farm inputs - chemical, fertiliser, diesel and interest rates is running somewhere between 60 and 80%. Jock said that they were waiting on modelling to be completed to come up with the final figure.

It is up to the National Farmers Federation as the peak farmer lobby to put farmers case before PM Rudd and his team. If they are not able to secure some relief for farmers from the burden of the emissions trading scheme we will see the greatest upheaval in rural Australia in our history. Family farms will be sold into large corporate farming ventures. Corporates with massive dollars behind them will be able to survive as they can operate under the efficiencies of sheer size & scale.

Corporate farming operations however do little or nothing for rural communities many of which will shrivel and eventually die under such a scenario. When a corporate operates a farming enterprise that was once operated by say 10 smaller family farms they do it with a skeleton permanent work force supplemented by `fly in' contractors. Infrastructure and services such as schools, hospitals, doctors, chemists and service businesses in these small communities depend on farming families. Without them these communities have no future.

So forget worrying about the 3 million people who may lose their jobs in the Energy sector, and power stations closing down. Those industries can pass their cost of emission permits onto consumers.

Be worried, very worried about yourselves and the 1,000's of other family farms that simply will not be viable as the manufacturers of every farm input, steel, timber, rubber, water, electricity, machinery, chemical, fertilizer, diesel, power etc pass those costs onto farmers who have no ability to pass them onto their customers.

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Garnaut scenario 'simply wrong'

CLIMATE change sceptics have attacked the Garnaut orthodoxy that without immediate action to slash greenhouse gas emissions, Australia will suffer "diabolical" consequences. Rejecting predictions that the Great Barrier Reef would be destroyed and rainfall patterns radically altered without immediate moves to cut carbon emissions, climatologist Stewart Franks said scenarios set out by Ross Garnaut were simply wrong. "The whole idea that you can say that by 2030 or 2040 rainfall will be a certain percentage less is a complete nonsense because it ignores the natural variability," he said.

Professor Franks, an expert in hydro-climatic variability at the University of Newcastle in NSW, said Australia's current drought had nothing to do with increased carbon emissions, but was instead caused by natural rainfall events. "We have these incredibly dry periods that can last for decades, and we then have these similar decades that are wetter than average. This is all due to El Nino and La Nina," he said.

Professor Franks said although Australia was very dry, it had more water per capita than any other country in the world. "It's a question of how we manage that water, and we've been particularly bad at managing the Murray-Darling Basin," he said. Professor Franks said an emissions trading scheme would achieve nothing. "The truth is that there will be a lot of pain for absolutely no gain," he said.

But even those who accept Professor Garnaut's predictions about the impact of current levels of greenhouse gas emissions are not convinced that an emissions trading scheme in 2010 is the best solution. Concept Economics executive director of analysis Brian Fisher said he did not question the science underlying Professor Garnaut's draft report, but it was futile "cutting the throats of the Australian export industry" unless the rest of the world also agreed to take action on their carbon output. "Having an emissions trading scheme in Australia will not save the Barrier Reef. What we need is full global co-operation," he said.

Dr Fisher said the best way to combat global warming was to persist with multilateral negotiations. "None of these things happen in a day," he said. "I think, frankly, we've got another 10 hard years of negotiation before we make the sort of progress we need to have both the developed and developing countries on board."

Dr Fisher backed Professor Garnaut's view that Australia should invest heavily in clean technology. "But unless there can be proper account taken of the impact on competitiveness of trade-exposed industries, all we're going to do is reduce Australia's welfare, reduce jobs in Australia, and basically make little or no contribution to solving the problem," he said.

ITS Global principal Alan Oxley said Professor Garnaut was wrong to suggest the problem required urgent action. "The argument has no basis - we do have the luxury of time. It's a 100-year problem," he said. "This is something we should be beginning quite gingerly." Mr Oxley, a former Australian ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, said there was no point in Australia acting faster to cut its emissions than the rest of the world. "At this point, we should be somewhat experimental, and just see how it goes," he said.

Source




More BOM nonsense

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology are Warmist true believers. Predicting widespread drought as a result of warming shows how dishonest they are. Warmer seas evaporate more and lead to MORE rain

A DIRE new scientific report predicts severe droughts and a tenfold increase in the number of extremely hot days in Australia. The Federal Government, which commissioned the nation's top scientists to compile the report, described the predictions as "like a disaster novel". "Exceptionally hot years are likely to occur every one to two years on average over the period 2010 to 2040," it warns.

Released just days after the Garnaut report on climate change and emissions trading, the report predicts devastating consequences for farming and the environment. It suggests that in the next 20 to 30 years, droughts will be far more frequent and severe across Australia, with South Australia, the Murray-Darling Basin and Western Australia faring worst of all.

The conclusions cast yet more doubt on the slow pace of reform of water use in the Basin after governments last week refused to free up water trading between regions or to accelerate a 10-year water licence buy-back program. The report says a 10 per cent drop in mean annual rainfall across most of Australia is possible, leading to a tripling of the risk of "exceptionally" low rainfall in SA.

Independent scientists and climatologists at the CSRIO and the Bureau of Meteorology compiled the "Drought: Exceptional Circumstances report. Agriculture Minister Tony Burke yesterday released the report and said the outlook was extremely worrying. "While this is a scientific report, parts of those higher-end predictions read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report," he said. "When we talk about extreme temperature, the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology have found that events of extreme temperature that used to occur once every 20 to 25 years are now likely to occur once every one to two years, as we move towards the year 2030. "South Australia and the Murray-Darling Basin region are among the worst affected regions in Australia."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the report as "very disturbing". "When it comes to exceptional or extreme drought, exceptionally high temperatures, the historical assumption that this occurred once every 20 years has now been revised down to between every one and two years," he said. "Now this is a serious revision of the impact of climate change on drought."

The study divided Australia's agricultural regions into seven areas. SA and the southern half of WA were treated as one giant region designated "SW WA". It found under more extreme scenarios, drought declaration - the first stage in securing emergency financial assistance for farmers - was likely to be necessary four times as often and across much bigger areas. "Declarations are likely to be triggered about twice as often (at least four times as often in SW WA) and over double the area (quadruple the area in SW WA)," the report concludes.

National Farmers' Federation chief executive Ben Fargher said it was clear from this study and Professor Garnaut's work more needed to be done to protect farmers. "Both reports highlight how exposed agriculture is to the risk of climate change," he told The Advertiser. "We agree there is a big risk, I mean we are working with the climate every day so no one feels more exposed to the risk than the people working in the climate."

He said the challenge now was to design policy to manage growing risks. This included dramatically increasing research and development in climate change, spending more on adaptation strategies, the use of drought-resistant species of plants to get "more crop from each drop", including greater use of genetically modified species.

The report's authors said the sheer frequency of drought and extreme temperature years effectively rendered useless the existing system of drought assistance. "In summary, this study suggests that the existing (emergency funding) trigger definition is not appropriate under a changing climate," they said. "Future drought policy may be better served by avoiding the need for a trigger at all."

The study follows the widely anticipated Garnaut draft report into the economic impact of climate change and the benefits of an emissions trading scheme. Professor Garnaut found the cost of doing nothing strongly outweighed the costs of establishing an ETS even if it meant petrol and electricity costs would rise. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong is due to release a Government discussion paper next week at the National Press Club in Canberra.

While Labor's criticism of the previous Howard Government was almost fanatical regarding taxpayer-funded advertising, Senator Wong yesterday hinted that a big advertising campaign could be in the offing to help sell an emissions trading scheme. "We do have to ensure that people understand what the emissions trading scheme will do, what climate change will mean," she said. "This is an enormous and complex policy challenge, so of course, the Government does have a responsibility to ensure the community is there."

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Garnaut failed on science and economics

By Piers Akerman

TAXPAYERS should ask Professor Ross Garnaut for their money back: his report is little more than a fearmongering document designed to bolster the age-old socialist agenda of wealth redistribution. It fails from the basis of science and it fails from the basis of economics but it will, however, warm the hearts of the anti-capitalist doom merchants of Europe and inner-urban branches of the Labor Party with its prognostications. Nostradamus would be proud.

Like all who have signed on to the view that humans are responsible for global warming, Professor Garnaut cites the IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) projections on the rate of climate change as coming from a scientifically based consensus. This is complete rubbish. The only consensus was between bureaucrats who wanted to agree to a number, the energy-rich Saudis wanted a low number, the energy-deficient Europeans wanted a low number, and they struck a deal which is the basis of Professor Garnaut's consensus.

Starting with that humbug, he then segues to Australia and, with the arrogance of a Belinda Neal, proposes that Australia should be the global leader in a fight against climate change. King Canute could teach him a thing or two about humility but, then again, Professor Garnaut was handpicked for his task by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the master of agenda control.

The world is coming to an end, he says; Kakadu will be inundated, the Great Barrier Reef will die, the Murray-Darling river system will dry up unless we act now. Oh, sure. But where does he conjure up this fantasy from when the IPCC's own temperature projections are already falling over? Taken over the past 10 years, the trend line for temperature is flat. If taken from 2001, the trend shows global temperatures falling. It is as if he is suffering from some cognitive dissonance. Even the thousands of Argos robots which bob up and down through the ocean levels have measured no increases in temperatures as they sample at different depths.

Professor Garnaut's appearance at the National Press Club on Friday revealed him to be the bureaucrat's bureaucrat, which may be why our uber-bureaucrat Prime Minister fell for him in the first place. He is not, however, as polished as Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes, Minister. Sir Humphrey would not, for example, have insinuated that the adoption of a new tax on industry would make rain fall on the Murray-Darling basin.

He would not have made the mistake of sending out a report which pointed to lower dam levels in the Perth region - which Professor Garnaut blamed on climate change - when those directly engaged in the West Australian water industry know that there is less run-off into Perth's dams now because of the regrowth in the once-cleared catchment area. Professor Garnaut and his team weren't able to model many important factors because of shaky data, yet he expects us to believe that his predictions of catastrophic consequence should be immediately acted upon.

A few weeks ago, Mr Rudd was congratulated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his support for multilateralism (the failed UN, that is), and Professor Garnaut is also a believer in such institutions, yet he believes that it is imperative that Australia take immediate action on climate change so our nation can be a role model for our neighbours. Who knows where they teach this stuff, but the notion of anyone of the failed states in the Pacific, or our great Indonesian neighbour to the north, deciding that we are role model in this or anything is so laughably arrogant that it defies description. Only a basket-weaving Balmain boy scout could possibly believe that other nations would willingly plunge into economic decline because Australia had set the lead.

The biggest environmental crisis facing us today is the collapse of the Murray-Darling system which has little to do with climate change and everything to do with bad political decisions on water use. The Rudd government and each of the Labor states put that in the too-hard basket last week and pushed it off for another committee meeting to decide what committee should decide on what action.

Senator Penny Wong, who has shown herself to be nothing more than a more eloquent version of her assistant minister, Peter Garrett, and just as useless, says Professor Garnaut's report demonstrates that Australia must act on the climate issue. Any reading of this irresponsible report would demand that any action be cautiously approached and taken only after exhaustive research, not Ruddite back-of-the-envelope modelling based on flawed inputs.

As for the haste, help me, what a joke. One bushfire, one volcano, one cyclone would destroy in seconds any efforts of a vastly greater magnitude than Australians could physically undertake over 50 years.

Perhaps Mr Rudd wants this report to artificially stampede Australians, to distract them from their more pressing economic problems - who knows? But it is worth recalling that the last major economic reform this nation underwent, the introduction of the GST (opposed by Labor and Mr Rudd in particular, until he won office), was sold to the public over 17 long years, by Labor Treasurer Paul Keating, Coalition Opposition leader John Hewson and Prime Minister John Howard. The public knew what it was getting.

Professor Garnaut throws up promises of disaster and hopes to generate a wave of fear which would force the Government to take some action. Forget it, and forget the notion that our near neighbours would line up to cut their economic throats just because we willingly plunged into recession to assuage the guilt of a gathering of gullible Gaia followers in Canberra.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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6 July, 2008

India Rejects the IPCC

India has released its National Action Plan on Climate Change. The document reaffirms India's commitment to strong and rapid economic growth, though it will also focus on eight "national missions" - such as sustainability, energy efficiency, solar initiatives, increased climate-science research, and the like. It also notes some market-oriented initiatives recently enacted - and further ones planned - to increase competitiveness, inefficiencies, and innovation.

India can't help but mention "the strong positive correlation between energy use and human development." Hear, hear. They promise to nonetheless keep their per-capita rate of emissions below "developed countries," although developed countries do not have a uniform per-capita emission any more than they play a uniform role in the global economy,

The document is in a PDF format that is non-searchable - I mean, outside of actually reading it - which will surely limit the media's ability to report on it. I'm kidding of course; as I have documented, the Kyoto media rely on friendly press releases for their stories (in "Home of Le Whopper", covering COP-11 for TechCentralStation).

Their coverage so far has emphasized how India now promises to "do something." This line of argument aims to rebuff the U.S. claiming to reasonably continue avoid "binding" international promises, on top of its world-leading domestic achievements at combining economic growth with a reduction in the growth rate of GHG emission. OK, so they don't phrase it that way.

The document is in fact more notable for reaffirming its refusal of any Kyoto-style emission rationing, or cap. India's Liberty Institute has summarized its contents here. But wait, there's more. Here's what you certainly will not read in the coverage: India rejects IPCC claims!!! To wit:

"No firm link between the documented [climate] changes described below and warming due to anthropogenic climate change has yet been established."

That reads ambiguously, possibly stating that, yes, man is warming the planet but we can't pin (other) climate changes on him. But reading further, which the media rarely does, makes clear that the climate changes that cannot be attributed to AGW include surface temperature, rainfall, extreme weather events, rise in sea level, impacts on Himalayan glaciers. Good for you, India.

Source




UN's climate change guru sees record oil price as a positive

The UN's top climate change official said Thursday that record oil prices, which have surged to $146 a barrel, were positive for the environment. 'I think they are a net positive. First of all you see that through decreasing demand in Europe and North America where people are becoming much more conscious of petrol prices,' Yvo de Boer told Agence France-Presse. 'High oil prices also improve the competitiveness of renewable sources of energy and make it more interesting to focus on energy efficiency,' he added.

De Boer, who heads the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), noted however that high prices also made heavy forms of crude oil, which take energy-intensive extracting and refining, more attractive. 'There is a risk that as dirty forms of oil become commercially more attractive that would lead to an increase in emissions,' he said.

One such worry is the Canadian tar sands, a dense mixture of sand, water and petroleum used to extract bitumen, which are controversial because of the environmental impact of extracting and refining the mixture. Experts say the tar sands are only viable if world oil prices remain high. There has been a surge in interest for the resources, however, given the possibility of a major source of oil from a stable country such as Canada.

The head of India's state oil company said Thursday that India could invest up to $10 billion dollars in the tar sands in the future.

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INCONVENIENT TRUTH: WHY PRICEY OIL CAN MAKE TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE HARDER

People concerned about global warming tend to cheer surging oil prices, figuring that will spur less-polluting alternatives. Perhaps those people should think again. In Europe, natural gas prices track crude oil. Recent crude price spikes have driven natural gas prices higher, too. That has made natural gas even less-competitive against traditional fuels like coal.

So, say carbon-market analysts Point Carbon, the oil price spike is leading some European power companies to switch from burning pricey gas to relatively cheaper coal, then covering their pollution by buying carbon credits in Europe's carbon trading scheme.

European utilities have been flirting with coal since oil prices started rising, but until recently, buying the emissions permits and burning coal was still more expensive than biting the bullet on oil and gas. European utilities have actually trimmed emissions so far this year, Point Carbon estimates.

Now, though, the cost gap between natural gas and coal is getting even wider-making it an economic no-brainer in many cases to switch to coal and pay the carbon-credit penalty.

Of course, greater demand for carbon credits-combined with a gradually-tightening market as fewer emissions-reductions schemes come into the system-will drive up carbon prices. Point Carbon analysts figure the price will rise from about 27 euros per ton today to about 39 euros in 2012.

There are a couple lessons worth remembering here for the U.S., as it staggers toward drafting some sort of climate-change program. If policymakers try to micro-manage the price of carbon permits so they aren't scarily expensive, it will often make more sense for companies to add more GHG emissions than curb them. That's why many environmentalists are so leery of "safety valves" and "off-ramps" in cap-and-trade schemes. And it's another reason why lower carbon prices aren't necessarily a sign of success.

"You can't legislate the carbon price-with escape mechanisms, you are not creating a market, but creating a hybrid sort of carbon tax," Point Carbon's Director of the European Emissions Trading Scheme Henrik Hasselknippe told us.

But if the price of carbon rises in tandem with oil, as it tends to, the economy will have to pay in the end-both the cost of fossil fuels and the cost of compliance will be greater. Yet another reminder that tackling climate change is a mind-bender. And that there's no free lunch.

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Harsh winters force Mongolian horsemen to abandon nomadic life

The blockbuster movie, Mongol, depicts the skilled horsemen who helped their leader, Genghis Khan, build one of the greatest empires the world has seen. But the lifestyle of today's Mongolian horseman - and other nomadic herdsmen - is under threat. A succession of climactic disasters in the last 10 years has forced 500,000 of them abandon a nomadic lifestyle that has remained almost unchanged for centuries and to look instead for a new life in the cities

Mongolia is one of the toughest places on earth to live and can boast the coldest capital - Ulaanbaatar - on the planet. Temperatures drop to at least -30C in winter. The country is frozen from November to March.

But four climactic disasters, known as 'dzuds', since 1999 have made life almost impossible for even the toughest of Mongolia's nomadic people who roam over a country three times the size of France. Three particularly harsh winters since 2000 have killed a third of the nation's livestock.

In 2001, the temperature dropped to a record-breaking -57C. Some 15,000 herders lost all of their animals through starvation and cold, and with them, their money and food. More than a quarter of the 2.6m population has left the vast rural areas, where herdsmen have lived since before Ghengis Khan's empire was established in the 13th century, and have fled in desperation to the cities. Among them is Byambaa Nurdev (22) a former herder in the Gobi Desert. She and her husband Tumenbayar (31) had some 600-700 sheep and goats, making them relatively wealthy. But between 2002-5 they lost every single animal....

Today the family, including seven-month-old Odonchimeg, live in a ger (a traditional felt tent) in a slum on the edge of Mongolia's capital, Ulaan Baatar. There is no running water or sanitation. Because they lack official paperwork, the couple can't find work and survive on hand outs from the Red Cross, which gives them flour, rice, sugar and oil every month. The rest they beg from neighbours....

More here




NC: Charlotte temperature hits 123-year low

This morning was downright cool in the Charlotte region -- cool enough to break a record that had stood for more than a century.The temperature at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport was 56 at about 5:30 a.m., breaking the July 2 record of 58, set in 1885. The normal low for this time of year is 70.

It'll warm up quickly today, though. Temperatures today are expected to peak at 90 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. But it'll still feel pleasant because of humidity levels between 20 and 25 percent, said NWS meteorologist Doug Outlaw.

Conditions will be cool again overnight, with the low descending to 59, one degree warmer than the record for July 3, set in 1932.

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Stop Raising Kids with 'apologetic guilt for the footprint they're leaving behind'

A friend of mine gave his 11-year-old daughter a pair of sneakers the other day, thinking she'd be pleased. She was not. She became agitated when she saw the label and told him, "I can't wear these, because of child labor!" It took half an hour of Internet research for him to persuade the girl that her anxieties were unfounded, and that Nike did not enslave small children in remote foreign places.

What's a pre-pubescent child doing, panicking about the industrial origins of her shoes? She's behaving obediently, internalizing the urgent, incessant adult talk of danger and crisis and bad things happening. "She worries about the repercussion of her smallest action," her father sighs, "what she eats and wears, and even where she goes."

The Cold War may be over, but American children are ducking and covering more than ever. They're not crouching in fear of nuclear conflagration, as in Soviet days. They're not even ducking to avoid a wild-eyed jihadi with a dirty bomb. What they fear is - well, what don't we teach them to fear?

Children are worried about global warming and logging in the rain forests. They're anxious about the plight of the polar bear and the manatee. They are fearful of genetically modified foods, of trans fats, of salmonella in tomatoes. They dread the lurking stranger: Even small children are now trained by parents and teachers to detect the luring techniques of pedophiles.

Children who have been slathered from infancy with super-SPF unguents are scared of getting skin cancer. They're scared of lung cancer, too, thanks to childhoods infused with anti-tobacco propaganda. A child we know holds her breath, like a superstitious peasant passing a graveyard, if she catches even a whiff of cigarette smoke.

Children in especially right-on households may balk at salmon that is not wild-caught, yogurt that is not organic, and coffee drunk by parents who are insufficiently aware of fair-trade practices.

This anxious, defensive crouch is just terrible. Of course life is beset with uncertainties, perils and injustice - and the occasional stogie-smoking passer-by. But when hasn't it been? Children deserve to know that the world is here to be enjoyed, that it is full of adventure and beauty, and not some depressing pit of pollution and seething social inequity that they are despoiling every time they fail to turn off a lightbulb. American children in particular ought to know that they are fantastically lucky to have a seat at the greatest banquet table in history.

The vast majority of American children live like sultans, with comfortable beds, few chores, diets of dainties, and doting parents who whisk them from one interesting venue to another. They ought to be encouraged to look about the world with dash and optimism, not apologetic guilt for the footprint they're leaving behind.

There's something horribly cringing in the fashion of minimizing one's effect on the world. By all means, we can conserve energy, but must we inflict our eco-alarmism on children quite so wantonly? Suicide is the quickest way to reduce your effect on the environment, as someone said. That's hardly a helpful message for the kiddies.

We have friends in Canada who are so intent upon leaving only mouselike traces behind that they have confined themselves voluntarily to a single square mile. This might sound charming: Two people sacrificing whatever swagger and swashbuckle they might have enjoyed, so as to compensate the cosmos for the rest of us stinking parasites. Yet isn't it awful, that centuries of human achievement should produce such guilt? The square-milers make me think of a cartoon vacuum cleaner that eventually sucks itself up its own tube and vanishes with a little "pop."

Adults are free to live in as shrunken a preindustrial manner as we like. We perhaps ought to think hard about the sustainability of this, and the fairness of that. But we should stop devolving these anxieties onto children, because they haven't yet had their own kick at the can.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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5 July, 2008

RUSSIA REJECTS EU UNILATERALISM

The Russian embassy in Ottawa is suggesting next week's G8 summit in Japan won't likely produce hard targets for cutting the world's greenhouse-gas emissions. Embassy official Sergey Khudyakov says Russia isn't ruling out firm reduction goals for the years 2020 and 2050 - but he adds the summit on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido isn't the place to set global targets.

Khudyakov says the role of the Group of Eight wealthy, industrialized nations is to hatch ideas to help the world solve the problem of climate change, not dictate global policy. He says the Russian position is closely aligned with the Canadian government's in opposing any pact that doesn't include the world's biggest polluters, like China and India.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also said any climate change plan must also balance environmental and economic concerns. The G8 includes Britain, Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Source




NASA Aerospace Engineer: 'Global warming to be recognized as a hoax'

The writer below, Dirck T. Hartmann, worked on the Apollo Space Program and many other significant NASA projects. He is a scientist/engineer/physicist now aged 87 but still clear and lucid

What is your carbon footprint? That is the wrong question to ask. A more meaningful question is--How much carbon dioxide does it take to grow the wheat required to produce a loaf of bread? Or--How much carbon dioxide does it take to grow the corn for the chicken feed required to produce a dozen eggs? Far from being a pollutant, man along with every animal on land, fish in the sea, and bird in the air is totally dependent on atmospheric carbon dioxide for his food supply.

Some politicians complain that the United States with only 3% of the world population uses 25% of the energy. But the clean carbon dioxide which we produce is increasing food production everywhere on earth. China, on the other hand, is building new power plants at a record rate using the abundant domestic supply of coal they have and has now passed the United States as the leading producer of carbon dioxide. Although their coal has a high sulfur content, they are building the new plants without any pollution controls. The sulfur dioxide which these power plants are releasing to the atmosphere, besides smelling like rotten eggs is, in sunlight, readily converted to sulfur trioxide, the highly soluble gas responsible for most acid rain.

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, using energy from sunlight, convert carbon dioxide and water into high energy fuels. It is responsible for all the fuel that feeds forest fires, and for the rapid grow-back of fuel after a fire. But even with the hundreds of millions of tons of coal and the billions of barrels of oil and gasoline that are burned annually, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere remains about .04%.

It has been estimated that more than two hundred billion tons of atmospheric carbon are fixed yearly by photosynthesis, 10%to 20% by land plants, and the remaining 80%to 90% by plant plankton and algae in the ocean, which constantly resupply us with oxygen. Atmospheric carbon dioxide acts like a thermostat for plant growth, increases triggering vast blooms of ocean algae, and spurts in the rate of growth of land plants. As long as man burns coal and oil responsibly, that is with pollution controls that minimize the production of acid rain, the earth can never have too much carbon dioxide. The plants will not permit it.

Anyone who has lived in a desert area where the relative humidity is frequently below 5%, knows that dry air is a lousy green house gas. It can be 115 degrees F (46 degrees C) during the day yet cool off so rapidly that a sweater is needed two or three hours after sunset. Despite the heat sink of the ground with rocks hot enough to fry an egg, the heat is radiated rapidly away through the dry air to the clear night sky. Since dry desert air has about the same .04% concentration of carbon dioxide as air everywhere else, it is not credible to conclude that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. Water vapor is the most effective greenhouse gas by far. With high humidity, even without cloud cover, the night air cools at a rate so slow as to be nearly imperceptible, particularly if you are trying to sleep without air conditioning.

High humidity is the reason nights are so balmy in the tropics. At 100 degrees F and 100% relative humidity, water vapor accounts for only 2% of the atmosphere. It has a greater effect than all other greenhouse gases combined but, since it cannot be regulated, is rarely mentioned as a greenhouse gas.

If human activity is not the cause, why are the ice sheets on the earth poles receding? They are melting for the same reason that the polar caps on Mars are melting. For the 200 years or so that a record of sun spot activity has been kept, it has been observed that global temperatures on earth correlate closely with sun spot activity,very low activity corresponding to a mini ice age, and high activity to global warming.

Every second the sun converts 564 million tons of hydrogen into 560 million tons of helium, consuming its mass at the rate of 4 million tons per second. It has been doing this for 4.5 billion years and has about 4.5 billion years to go before all its hydrogen is used up. At that time it will have consumed less than 1% of its mass. This enormous solar furnace is responsible for climate change as well as all weather on earth.

The U.S. has a domestic supply of coal that is alone sufficient to meet our present power needs and projections for growth for at least 1,000 years, even without building any new nuclear power plants. Burning the coal responsibly and releasing the carbon locked up in it as clean carbon dioxide will benefit crop yields all over the earth. The great atmospheric patterns of air movements ensure a steady supply of carbon dioxide for crop growth, and a steady supply of oxygen for animals and people.

To increase the rate at which photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a respected scientist proposed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, seeding the ocean to trigger algae blooms. This practical, inexpensive, highly effective means for sequestering carbon dioxide would benefit the food chain in the oceans and increase fish populations. But because it did not impose hardships, require trading carbon credits, punish the U.S. or any other nation, or require increased governmental control, the IPCC rejected it. The IPCC uses the hoax of man made global warming to increase its power and that of a corrupt, anti-American United Nations that has proven itself impotent in combating world wide acts of terrorism, genocide in Sudan, the real threat of nuclear proliferation in the mid-east from Iran and Syria, or human rights violations in China and Africa.

Our mainstream media uses every opportunity to hype the hoax of man made global warming by repeated reporting of data and events that appear to support it, and ignoring those that contradict it. When the NFC championship game In 2007 between the Packers and the New York Giants was played at Green Bay in record low temperatures and blizzard conditions, there was no mention of global cooling; nor was there any in 2007 when below freezing temperatures threatened the vegetable crops in the south and the citrus crops in Florida. The drought in California is the result of colder than normal conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, and the fact that ocean temperatures along the Pacific coast have been falling for the last three years is never mentioned. But after hurricane Katrina we were fed a host of dire predictions which warned of the increasing severity of storms, the melting of the polar ice caps, and the flooding of coastal areas from rising sea level, if we do not drastically reduce the release of greenhouse gasses to combat global warming. Which greenhouse gasses is not specified. We already have pollution controls in the smokestacks of most power plants, steel mills, and factories that minimize the release of sulfur dioxide.

The only completely uncontrolled exhaust gas is carbon dioxide, and photosynthesis automatically controls its atmospheric concentration for us.

Three billion years ago when the earth's atmosphere was an unbreathable brew of noxious gases with almost no oxygen, a small green algae evolved in the ocean which, using the energy from sunlight over a few million years, completely altered the earth's atmosphere. This oceanic green algae, the first plant to use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide and water into high energy fuel, was of course followed by the evolution of an almost limitless number and variety of carbon dioxide consuming plants.

Fortunately for mankind and all animals, fish,and birds, all of whom are totally dependent on plants, the oceanic green algae continues to perform its magic in the oceans of the earth today. Every three centuries all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and dissolved in the waters of the earth goes through the cycle photosynthesis, decay, photosynthesis, with the cycle constantly renewing the earth's supply of oxygen.

People on the left claim global warming is real, a threat to the continued existence of mankind, and the debate as to its cause is over! Although none of this is true, it nevertheless is what four of my grandchildren were taught in high school. Most politicians on the left have little respect for truth and no regard for clarity, and apparently many high school teachers reflect their views.

My oldest granddaughter just graduated from MIT, where she was spared the political rhetoric of the left on global warming. However Caltech's Argyros Professor and professor of chemistry, in an article titled "Powering the Planet"states "The carbon dioxide we produce over the next 40 years, and its associated effects will last for a timescale comparable to modern human history. This is why, within the next 20 years we either solve this problem or the world will never be the same."

This is nonsense. It ignores the more than 200 billion tons of carbon that is sequestered yearly through photosynthesis from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Since this has been known for 40 years, I can only assume he is politically motivated to make such a statement. Hopefully man made global warming will come to be recognized for the hoax It truly is.

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"Footprint" myths

As concern over global warming grows, urban planning advocates have jumped on the bandwagon by claiming cities should reduce their carbon footprints by investing more in transit and compact development. However, these claims are not supported by the data, most of which show that transit and dense development are no more environmentally friendly than autos and low-density suburbs.

This debate is an echo of efforts to reduce toxic air pollution, such as carbon monoxide and smog, which began in 1970. Some said we should encourage people to drive less and take transit more. Others said we should use new technologies to make the cars we drive cleaner.

Hindsight

Looking back, we now know that technical solutions were phenomenally successful: though we drive three times as much as we did in 1970, total auto emissions are down by about two thirds. Meanwhile, attempts to change people's lifestyles were miserable failures. Despite investing hundreds of billions in transit, the share of people and commuters riding transit has declined throughout the U.S.

A new study from the Brookings Institution ignores this history when it recommends that cities invest in transit and compact development to reduce their carbon footprints. On a per-passenger-mile basis, transit buses emit more greenhouse gases than an average SUV, and most light-rail lines emit more greenhouse gases than the average automobile. Denver's light rail is even worse than the average bus.

Meanwhile, data gathered by the Australian Conservation Foundation revealed that per-capita carbon emissions from people living in single-family homes are lower than people living in low-rise, mid-rise, and high-rise apartments and condos. This suggests that compact development will increase, not reduce, our carbon footprint.

Even to the extent that transit and compact development could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have to ask: at what cost? A recent report published by McKinsey, the famous consulting firm, found that America could significantly reduce its total greenhouse emissions by investing in technologies that cost no more than $50 per ton of reduced emissions. Neither compact development nor transit would meet this cost test.

More efficient cars

Instead, McKinsey urged auto manufacturers to make cars out of lighter weight, energy-saving materials. This would pay for itself in lower fuel costs.

Traffic congestion causes motorists to waste nearly 3 billion gallons of fuel and spew 26 billion tons of CO2 into the air each year. Relieving that congestion by tolling freeways can reduce greenhouse emissions at practically no cost, while coordinating traffic signals on city streets will reduce emissions at a cost of about $11 per ton.

Transit improvements, however, will cost far more than $50 a ton. Converting buses to biodiesel, for example, costs nearly $200 per ton. Using buses with hybrid motors costs more than $1,000 a ton.

When you count the carbon footprint from building rail transit, rails almost always lose, especially in regions where fossil fuels are used to generate most electricity. The Minneapolis light rail is one of the more successful lines in the country (which isn't saying much). It operations produce less carbon emissions than the average auto, but at a cost of nearly $5,000 per ton-not counting the carbon emitted during construction.

Even in regions that rely on hydro and other renewable energy for electricity, rail transit loses when you count the carbon emissions from the feeder bus systems needed to support the rail lines. Transit systems in Portland, Sacramento, and other cities ended up consuming more energy and emitting more greenhouse gases, per passenger mile, after they open new rail lines because of extensive, but little-used, feeder bus networks.

Nor is there any evidence that compact development can cost-effectively reduce CO2 emissions. One study found that compact development reduces emissions, but estimated the cost would be more than $60,000 per ton.

Again, better technology makes more sense than trying to change people's lifestyles. Homeowners can save more energy and greenhouse gas emissions by installing better installation than by moving into high-density developments. The concrete and steel needed to build mid-rise and high-rise apartments, for example, emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

If global warming is truly a problem, we can't waste resources trying to get people to make expensive and ineffective changes in their lifestyles. Anyone who recommends changing your lifestyle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without showing you that those changes are cost effective is wasting your time and money.

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AS GOES THE ECONOMY, SO GOES ENVIRONMENTALISM

If truth is the first casualty of war, then environmental concern is the first casualty of economic recession. Surveys of Canadian voters showed the environment to be their first or second concern in 1989-90. At that time, though, the economy was booming, pumping out tens of thousands of new jobs a month. A year-and-a-half later, with the economy locked in the worst recession in 60 years, government finances were imploding, jobs disappearing and foreclosure wolves circling, the environment vanished from the top 10.

There will always be a small, hard-core voter base motivated by eco-issues. They're not worried about losing their jobs in an environmentalist-driven recession. They know that if they get laid off from the alternative music store, they can always go clerk at the Gaia Vegan Market or Wiccans 'R' Us. But for most people, the environment is a luxury good -- easily expendable when their livelihoods and homes are threatened.

As with most other bad, but fashionable left-wing political ideas, Europe glommed onto carbon taxes before North America. But now that the worldwide credit crunch and commodity-price boom have hit the European economy, voter hostility to carbon taxes is growing-- rapidly.

Any Canadian political leader thinking an environmental tax on gasoline, home heating, air travel, electricity and construction materials would be a good idea, while Canada's manufacturing and tourism sectors are bleeding profusely, might want to take a lesson from Gordon Brown.

Mr. Brown succeeded Tony Blair as British prime minister last year. At the time, he and his Labour party were reasonably popular, well ahead of the opposition Tories in all major opinion polls.

Surfing the crest of "green" sentiment, Mr. Brown's government introduced a raft of environmental taxes and charges to show how eco-friendly and Earth-empathetic it was.

The average British motorist now pays nearly $2,000 in fuel taxes a year, the most in Europe. Tolls on roads and surcharges on vehicle purchases have risen, too, to discourage use of private automobiles and herd commuters onto public transportation.

Industrial energy costs have gone up as much as 20% (not counting recent rises in oil and natural gas), thanks to a new national carbon-trading scheme and green levies on factories and transportation. In all, British businesses now pay an estimated $45-billion annually in green fees and taxes. Nearly half of that sum has been added since 2001, a period during which, not coincidentally, the country has witnessed the loss of 1 million manufacturing jobs.

The Brown government even flirted with a campaign called "Zero Carbon Britain." Designed to reduce Britain's carbon emissions to zero by 2027, the plan would have meant an end to most air travel and the elimination of gasoline and diesel cars. Meat would been forbidden from most meals and an "armada" of wind turbines would have blighted nearly every square kilometre of British coastline.

Carbon "credit cards" would have been issued to every Briton. Each time the bearer purchased carbon-based fuels, he would have had to swipe his carbon card. If he ran out of credits before the end of the year, he would have had to buy more from people not using all of theirs.

Not surprisingly, after Mr. Brown's Labour party lost two safe seats (think of Canada's Liberals in Montreal's Outremont riding) in byelections last month -- the first byelection

wins for the rival Tories in 26 years -- the zero-carbon plan was shelved within two days. The government's own report estimating that the conversion of Britain to renewable energy would cost every family an additional $7,000 a year was a major issue during the campaign.

The situation is the same in other European countries:

-Denmark introduced a carbon tax in the mid-1990s and cut carbon emissions by 10%, but at the cost of one-quarter of that country's manufacturing jobs.

-France, also facing a sharp decline in jobs, is considering whether to jettison its commitment to the Kyoto accords or impose carbon tariffs on goods coming in from countries with no Kyoto carbon limits, such as China and India.

-Germany's Angela Merkel, who bills herself as the "Climate Chancellor," has recently been keeping a low profile, as last year's popular "green" initiatives have tightened the screw of this year's recession.

European politics are in turmoil because the environment is a good-times-only issue for voters, and good times are disappearing. Talk of a Canadian carbon tax should be tempered accordingly.

Source




Some plastic bag realities

By Justin King, chief executive of British supermarket, Sainsbury's

Data suggests that following the introduction of a bag levy in Ireland, polythene imports returned to original levels after an initial dip. This was partly due to an increase in the sale of polythene bin liners as people had previously used plastic bags. People are also said to have become used to the tax and now ask for plastic bags again.

Like many environmental issues, plastic, and its use in bags, is a complex problem. Customers are concerned about three key aspects: that a valued raw resource is being used (in this case oil); the environmental impact (or carbon effect) of the manufacture, transport and use of bags; and the impact of their disposal, whether in landfill or as litter.

The effect plastic has on the environment is a wider issue than the number of bags we use. For a start, not all bags are equal. Sainsbury's is still the only major retailer to have reduced the amount of plastic used to manufacture bags. Today we've also announced that our bags, currently made with 33pc recycled content and 10pc chalk, will by June use 50pc recycled content. In this way we have reduced the amount of plastic used. Last month Wrap acknowledged our 40pc reduction in our environmental impact to date versus an industry average of 14pc, and also ahead of the agreed 25pc target by the end of 2008.

If plastic is the demon then the bag is just one of many uses. For many customers, packaging is a bigger issue. Why would we wrap a cucumber in plastic or put apples in a bag? Well, because they last nearly two weeks longer. In April, Wrap research showed storing fruit and vegetables in their original plastic wrapping in the fridge makes them last significantly longer. It also retains the nutritional goodness of the food. So what's the bigger evil - food waste or packaging?

The environmental impact of the manufacture, distribution and use of plastic bags also busts another myth - that paper is the answer. An irony in Ireland following the levy was that many retailers introduced paper bags. Although they can degrade or rot in a compost heap, they are on average six times heavier than plastic bags and take up 10 times the space. They therefore need more fuel and vehicle space to transport than a plastic bag. A University of Winnipeg study concluded that in their manufacture "paper bags are twice as energy intensive as a plastic one". They're also weaker, especially when wet, so cannot be reused as often, so it's likely we could end up using even more.

What of plastic disposal? There are limited facilities in the UK for plastic recycling, no meaningful incentives for these to be established and no consistency between councils. The only thing I can say with any certainty is that if you live within reach of a Sainsbury's supermarket we'll get them recycled for you. Last year customers brought back 85m bags to be recycled. Surely action on recycling would be a better area for legislation? If all councils had a uniform approach to recycling how much easier life would be.

As I said, it's complex. Sainsbury's focuses on "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". Only take a disposable bag if you really need it, and fill it - it's been designed for the purpose. Reuse bags whenever you can. And when they've served you well - give them back. So I'm not saying plastic and bags are not an issue, but let's engage people in sensible debate to effect real and sustainable change. Surely that's the overall goal.

Source




The good old ocean acidity scare gets another outing in Australia

The writers below DO NOT believe in global warming. They only say they do. Why? Because warmer oceans are capable of holding LESS CO2. Open a bottle of Coke when it is warm and see how the gas surges out if you doubt it. And if the oceans have less CO2 in them, they contain less of the carbonic acid that the CO2 becomes while in solution! So the oceans would have a REDUCED tendency towards acidity under warming. The fact that corals etc. have survived much warmer periods in the earth's past is also conveniently not mentioned.

Now that Ross Garnaut's draft report has been released, most of the climate change debate in Australia will focus on the economic effects of any emissions trading scheme. However, there's another carbon problem, which will profoundly affect our oceans, that has received scant attention beyond a small band of marine scientists and is largely independent of global warming. The public, aware of the role of carbon dioxide in climate change, doesn't know of its function in acidifying the oceans and the hundreds of years that would be required for recovery.

Ocean acidification refers to the natural process whereby carbon dioxide dissolves in the sea, forming a weak carbonic acid. The ocean is a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and has absorbed about 48 per cent of the CO2 emitted by human activities since the pre-industrial age. A recent report from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre claimed that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at its highest level in 650,000 years, and possibly 23 million years, and half has been dissolved in the oceans, making them more acidic.

Australia has a direct stake in the ocean acidification problem: it will affect every part of our marine environment. And our offshore estate has just become a lot bigger. Three months ago the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, while not accepting all bids, recognised Australia's claim to the continental shelf where it extends beyond our exclusive 200 nautical mile economic zone. This is a vast oceanic area: 2.5 million square kilometres, or 10 times the size of New Zealand and 20 times the size of Britain.

Rising levels of acidity in the oceans surrounding Australia could have a profound impact on marine industries and dire consequences for many Pacific Island communities, presenting strategic and humanitarian challenges.

Mounting levels of CO2 in the Southern Ocean has caused deep concern among scientists studying the long-term productivity of the world's oceans. Under conditions of increasing acidification, parts of the oceans will deteriorate and progressively become uninhabitable for certain types of plankton, central to the ocean food chain, and coral structures. The Southern Ocean is particularly important because it is very efficient at absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere: it's here where the first effects are being felt.

Ocean acidification is likely to have a cascading effect, reaching parts of the food chain such as fish and shellfish. Marine researchers are saying that a business-as-usual scenario of CO2 production will ultimately result in destruction of marine life on an enormous scale. Some shell-forming species will struggle to maintain or reproduce their vital shell structures and skeletons, which will have a direct effect on the ocean food web. Some species will decline, others will be displaced or will disappear, and patterns of fisheries will change, potentially threatening the food security of millions in the Asia-Pacific and damaging Australian fisheries economically.

Another study identified ocean acidification as a primary causal factor in common reef fish getting lost at sea during a crucial stage of their development. And rising acidification could also interfere with the respiration of fish, the larval development of marine organisms and the ability of oceans to absorb nutrients and toxins.

Coral reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef, which are hot spots of biodiversity, will suffer. Acidification will weaken coral structures and stunt coral growth, leading to a significant decline by the middle of this century. This will deprive parts of the Australian coastline of a natural protective barrier against the ocean, leading to greater threats from storm activity and cyclones.....

As the debate about who wins and who loses in the future Australian emissions trading regime intensifies, we should remember that with ocean acidification there will only be losers. Discovering the ecological effects of our souring oceans requires urgent action.

The authors above: Anthony Bergin is director of research programs at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Ross Allen is a research analyst at ASPI. The above are their personal views. It looks like both of them reply on others for a knowledge of chemistry and physics

More here

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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4 July, 2008

THE AUSTRALIAN SCENE

Although their overall tone is one of climate panic, the Australian mass media do also give consistent coverage to skeptical viewpoints. Nonetheless, Australia's new centre-Left government is determined to burnish its Greenie credentials and is threatening very costly new policies. To try to pass the buck, they commissioned an "expert report" into what they should do. The report has now been released and makes proposals unlikely to be popular. The government has already said that it will not be bound by the recommendations of the report. Three articles below on what is happening at the moment

Climate scheme would cost plenty



Fuel prices would skyrocket under new plans to tackle climate change. However, poorer families would be cushioned from the full impact. The government's climate change guru, Professor Ross Garnaut has called for transport to be included in an emissions trading scheme, setting the stage for fuel prices to spiral far beyond those caused by the current oil crunch.

The distinguished economist today released a draft report he prepared for the federal and state Governments on climate change and the introductions of emissions trading. Prof Garnaut said low-income families should be compensated for higher fuel and power costs when the scheme was introduced. He also said the Government should make payments to emissions-intensive industries which could lose jobs overseas if they had to cope with higher costs.

Under emissions trading, a cap will be placed on the amount of carbon which can be emitted into the atmosphere. Companies will be able to purchase and trade permits which allow them to emit carbon gases. Prof Garnaut said as many industries should be included in the scheme as possible, including transport. He said the money the Government earned from the scheme should be spent on compensating low-income households and business.

``The direct price effects of the emissions trading scheme will be regressive,'' Prof Garnaut said. ``The effects will fall heavily on low-income households, so the credibility, stability, efficiency and longevity of the scheme require the correction of these regressive effects by other measures.'' Prof Garnaut said the coal industry should be given support to reduce carbon emissions and to develop technology which buried carbon gasses under ground.

He said international cooperation on fighting climate change was essential. ``The weight of scientific evidence tells us that Australians are facing risks of damaging climate change,'' Prof Garnaut said. ``The risk can be substantially reduced by strong and early action by all major economies. ``Without that action, it is probable that Australians, over the 21st century and beyond, will experience disruption in their prosperity and enjoyment of life, and to long-standing patterns in their lives.''

Source




Greenie laws harming agriculture

Brooke Milini is the third generation of his family to work at the Tully sugar mill and wants his children to have the opportunity to become the next generation. But as a worker and a union shop steward, he is worried about the impact of new laws to fight greenhouse gas emissions on his children's future jobs, his job and the jobs of fellow union members.

On the eve of the release of the Garnaut report on greenhouse gas emissions and as cabinet considers how to include agriculture in an emissions trading scheme, the threat to Mr Milini already exists. The National Farmers Federation warned yesterday that rigid and short-sighted greenhouse gas emissions rules could place agriculture "in serious jeopardy".

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union shop steward agrees with the NFF that an over-emphasis on reforestation to combat greenhouse gases could lead to reduced food production just as the world faces shortages and rising commodity prices.

Tax breaks for forests grown as "carbon sinks" so that greenhouse gas emitters can buy credits to offset emissions are alienating agricultural land and have been blamed for reducing water flows into the Murray-Darling river system. "The forests are expanding because of tax breaks and there's less land now for growing cane," Mr Milini said yesterday. Investors could afford to pay high prices for land to grow forests because of the tax advantages and outbid cane farmers. "Other crops are affected around here, bananas and other food, but it's mainly a threat to cane growing," he said.

In the past 18 months, 12 per cent of the cane paddocks in the Cairns region have been lost to managed-investment forestry schemes. With new laws passed last week encouraging even more forestry investment, the alienation of arable land is a trend sugar millers and farmers fear will end their industry. It is estimated the new laws, proposed by the previous government as evidence of action on greenhouse gas emissions, would lead to 81,500ha being sown as new carbon sink forests by 2011 when the Howard ETS was to come into being. "I have three children and I'd like them to be able to think about getting a job in the mill, which supplies a lot of work for the locals," Mr Milini said. "I'm worried about them and my union members. It's something that's always in the back of your head."

Yesterday, the NFF warned that wider food production here could be threatened as agriculture is included in an ETS under the Kyoto Protocol provisions, which "emphasise reforestation as the primary tool for sequestering carbon". "As the need for food production grows expotentially, we must ensure farming is not hamstrung in the process," NFF president David Crombie said. "It is imperative the international rules dictating Australia's ETS - determining domestic climate change policy and carbon markets to ensure compliance with the international policy regime and a future global carbon market - take full and reasonable account of Australia's needs," hesaid.

Nationals senator Ron Boswell said yesterday the failed Howard government forestry proposals demonstrated the need to get an ETS right.

Source




State government ignores Greenie hysteria

New $750 million coal-burning power station

Just two days before the Garnaut report on climate change is handed down, the Victorian Government has given the go-ahead to a new brown-coal power station in Latrobe Valley. Environmental campaigners said it was "complete madness" to approve the $750 million plant, but the Government said the station would use new technology that would slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is a joint venture between consortium HRL and Chinese power giant Harbin Power, and will receive funding of $100 million from the Federal Government and $50 million from the Victorian Government. Expected to begin operating in 2012/13, it will aim to boost Victoria's power capacity by just under 5 per cent.

"The $750 million HRL plant will use technology which has been developed right here in Victoria and is part of the new generation of clean coal power stations designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions," said the Energy Minister, Peter Batchelor. "The project uses a process called integrated drying gasification combined cycle (IDGCC) which can reduce emissions of CO2 from brown coal-fired power generation by 30 per cent and reduce water consumption by 50 per cent, compared to current best practice for brown coal power generation in the Latrobe Valley."

Greenpeace energy campaigner Simon Roz said investing in coal-fired power at this time was "complete madness" and a step back for Victoria. "It shows we have a long way to go before governments take the issue of climate change seriously," he said.

Source




New Study Finds Greenland Ice Melt 'not changing' and may be dropping

This peer reviewed new study in the journal Science puts yet another fork into the man-made global warming fear machine. See also July 2007 U.S. Senate Report: Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt

I have a story coming tonight in print on a new paper tracking the impact over time of those iconic drainpipes for meltwater forming each summer on the warming flanks of the vast Greenland ice sheet. Here's the nub, with varied reactions coming from glaciologists later:

One of the most vivid symbols of global warming used by scientists and campaigners to spur society to curb climate-warming emissions is photography of gushing rivers of meltwater plunging from the surface of Greenland's ice sheet into the depths.

Recent studies have shown these natural drainpipes, called moulins, can speed up the slow seaward march of the grinding ice by lubricating the interface with bedrock below. The faster that ice flows, the faster seas rise. Now, though, a new Dutch study of 17 years of satellite measurements of ice movement in western Greenland concludes that the speedup of the ice is a transient summertime phenomenon, with the overall yearly movement of the grinding glaciers not changing, and actually dropping slightly in some places, when measured over longer time spans.

The work, the authors and other experts caution, does not mean that more widespread surface melting could not eventually destabilize vast areas of the world's second-largest ice storehouse. But for the moment, the study, which is being published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, throws into question the notion that abrupt ice losses in Greenland are nigh. "The positive-feedback mechanism between melt rate and ice velocity appears to be a seasonal process that may have only a limited effect on the response of the ice sheet to climate warming over the next decades," said the paper.

The study was led by Roderik S.W. van de Wal of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research of the University of Utrecht.

Source

Journal abstract follows:

Large and Rapid Melt-Induced Velocity Changes in the Ablation Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet

By R. S. W. van de Wal et al.

Continuous Global Positioning System observations reveal rapid and large ice velocity fluctuations in the western ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Within days, ice velocity reacts to increased meltwater production and increases by a factor of 4. Such a response is much stronger and much faster than previously reported. Over a longer period of 17 years, annual ice velocities have decreased slightly, which suggests that the englacial hydraulic system adjusts constantly to the variable meltwater input, which results in a more or less constant ice flux over the years. The positive-feedback mechanism between melt rate and ice velocity appears to be a seasonal process that may have only a limited effect on the response of the ice sheet to climate warming over the next decades.

Science 4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 111 - 113




BIG GREEN: Conservation Nonprofit Revenue tops $22.5 billion between 1998-2005

It is the Greens who are the "well funded" advocacy industry. See also U.S. Senate August 2007 report on the monumental funding advantage promoters of man-made climate fears enjoy over skeptics here

This past week, I aggregated IRS tax data for the top 50 revenue producing conservation nonprofit organizations. I documented over $22.5 billion dollars in combined revenue between 1998 and 2005. The combined assets of these organizations were approximately $8 billion in 2005. To help understand where revenue is flowing, I used a simple classification system.

Of little surprise, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is the top revenue generating conservation nonprofit. In 2005, TNC accounted for 25.6% of the revenue generated by the top 50 organizations.

The distribution of financial resources can give insight into conservation priorities. Does the allocation of conservation dollars over the eight year per period align with the conservation challenges we face? Are there nonprofit sectors over or under attended to? What does the division of revenue tell us about donors? About nonprofits? About the costs of various nonprofit activities?

Source




Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch: Global Warming Skeptic

While guest hosting Wednesday's "Morning Joe", former General Electric CEO Jack Welch condemned global warming, the very theory MSNBC has been peddling for years. GE, of course, owns MSNBC; the rebuke of MSNBC's favorite alarmist hypothesis came in a segment where hosts share noteworthy editorials. Welch decided to share an opinion piece from Tuesday's Wall Street Journal aptly titled "Global Warming As Mass Neurosis." Welch informed the audience that the article has "a lot of technical numbers here to show you that NASA overstated what's happening." Welch summarized the article by saying "And they got an argument that states that global warming is the attack on capitalism that socialism couldn't bring"

After Jack's synopsis, co-host Pat Buchanan interjects his belief that global warming is "a neo-Marxist idea for the transfer of wealth and power." Jack Welch jumps in to agree saying "Right" Pat Buchanan then decides to carry his rebuke even further by saying "And at the end global elites, and they're, you know they're gonna to dictate to all of us because of this phony idea that we're all in some imminent danger. I agree with that 100%." Welch, the former GE CEO enthusiastically jumped in to agree saying "Absolutely!"

Later in the segment Mika Brzezinski did her best to put pressure on her former boss by saying "Alright, but I just want to say at some point this [global warming] is going to come back and haunt us if we don't address it, Jack." However `Neutron Jack' refused to cede his ground and sarcastically responded "We'll see."

What makes this vivacious segment so amusing is that as the former Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, Jack Welch, was once the head of a company that owns MSNBC. MSNBC is a network that hawks global warming mythology on a regular basis. Just two months ago Newsbusters profiled how MSNBC firebrand Chris Matthews was shocked by global warming skepticism. Apparently, Matthews never talked to his old boss about the subject.

More here




South African Scientist: 'There is no evidence man-made CO2 causes climate change'

(Dr. Kelvin Kemm, formerly a scientist at South Africa's Atomic Energy Corporation)

During 2008, have we seen many stories in the newspapers about 2007 being particularly warm as a result of global warming? During 2006, the doomsters were predicting that 2007 would be the hottest year on record, so why have we seen no reports about this? The answer is simple - 2007 turned out to be the coolest year for 30 years. It is also the case that there has been no global warming since 1998. In fact, since 1998, there has been steady cooling.

Even more dramatic is the fact that the most recent computer model predictions indicate that there will be no more global warming for the next ten years. But the doomsters say that, after this ten-year period, global warming will come back with a vengeance. Why? Certainly, mankind's production of carbon dioxide (CO2) has continued to increase since 1998 and will continue to increase, particularly since countries such as China and India say that their economic growth comes first, so they do not intend worrying too much about CO2 production.

I have repeatedly pointed out that there is little or no link between CO2 production by mankind and a rise in global temperature. In fact, indications are that it is the opposite - an increased temperature causes more CO2 to be ejected into the atmosphere. In the time of the Viking settlements on Greenland, about 1000 years ago, there was a period of warming. That is why the Viking settlements flourished and they could grow grapes and maize, which puzzled the archaeologists. Then it cooled, and the last Viking supply ship arrived at the settlements in 1410, after which it all froze up.

The world then experienced the Little Ice Age, during the time of Shakespeare and Jan van Riebeeck. The Thames froze over, and there was a period of economic decline, in comparison to the economic boom during the Medieval period of global warming. There was also an earlier warming period, known as the Roman Warming, during the period of Roman economic prosperity. All of this warming and cooling happened without any contribution from any man-made CO2.

Indications in our modern times are that the warming observed up to the end of 2006 has been due to a natural cycle in the intensity of the sun. This was, by all indications, the same source of warming of the Medieval and Roman Warming periods. But now South Africa wants to impose a carbon tax aimed at cutting South Africa's emission of greenhouse gases. I think this is wrong. The proposal is for a 2c/kWh tax to be imposed from September. This is expected to generate R4-billion a year for the National Treasury.

But the economics folks point out that this 2c tax translates into a 10% increase in the electricity cost. One of the reasons why South Africa uses a large amount of electricity is that we have major exports whose production is energy intensive, such as gold, steel and aluminium. We do not export watches like the Swiss, or computer software like the Irish, so to quote our per capita production of CO2 is stupid.

The tax, I am told, is to incentivise the use of renewable sources of power, such as wind, solar and hydro. This is crazy too. I am all in favour of wind and solar, but only if such sources can stand on their own two feet in economic competition to our coal-fired power. To fake the economics is to do damage to our exports, and to the lifestyle of every citizen.

There is little or no indication that man-made CO2 is causing any climate change. There has been no global warming since 1998. The warming that did happen during the twentieth century happened mainly between 1920 and 1940. The year 2007 was the coolest year for 30 years. For us to go with the flow, or dive into a panic mode, is crazy. Let us look after the health and welfare of our people first. This does not mean being irresponsible about any sources of pollution from industrial operations or any other activities. It means using genuine science, and not the scare tactics of world political manipulators, to come to really sensible conclusions.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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3 July, 2008

Nobel winners: No "consensus"

Much like every year since 1951, there has been another meeting (6/29-7/3) of Nobel prize winners in Lindau, Bavaria, Germany... Seven Nobel prize winners participated in a climate debate. How did it look like? Well, there may be a climate consensus among the high-school dropouts but there is none among the Nobel prize winners. There was one more difference. Many of the Nobel prize winners said, unlike the high-school dropouts, the following sentence: "I am no expert." ;-)

Ivar Giaever (Norway), the 1973 Nobel prize winner for superconductivity (he was essential to master electron tunneling in superconductors and shared the physics award with Esaki and Josephson), was asked how the world should tackle climate change. The following quote accurately matches the content but it was shortened and edited:
"First of all, I didn't volunteer to be on this panel. Second of all, I am a skeptic, as I told you yesterday. Third of all, if I am Norwegian, should I really worry about a little bit of warming? I am unfortunately becoming an old man. We have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain 30 years ago and the ozone hole 10 years ago or deforestation but the humanity is still around. The ozone hole width has peaked in 1993.

Moreover, global warming has become a new religion. We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the number is not important: only those who are correct are important. We don't really know what the actual effect on the global temperature is. There are better ways to spend the money [question period]," he referred to a lecture about poverty by Hans Rosling (Sweden) that heavily relied on my favorite Gapminder: well, he is the director of the Gapminder Foundation.
Ivar Giaever had done some "Google research" before the panel so he could also speak about 1998, 1934, 1921 as the warmest U.S. (where they have the best record) years in the 20th century, the hockey stick graph, the crucial role of the huge heat capacity of the oceans, the little ice age whose cause is unknown, and about the increase of "bulk" Greenland ice in the last century (by 2 meters at the center). Another panelist conjectured that this increase of ice was due to precipitation.

Giaever mentioned that it takes years to regain the energy that was needed to produce a solar panel; the precise number became a topic of a controversy. There is 500 years worth of coal in the U.S. He also warned that ice ages do happen and we might be just waiting for one (54:30). The temperature decrease could be 8 C so maybe they should pollute more than they do! ;-) (The moderator argued that we can calculate there won't be an ice age for 40,000 years, a statement I can't confirm.)

And by the way, if people really cared about this problem, why don't they talk about one solution that we already have, namely nuclear energy?

And finally, we don't know what is the correct temperature. It could be 2 C warmer or colder. I don't know but what I do know is that this is not the correct temperature. In the question period, he said that the chance the the warming is anthropogenic is not very large: it might be but it doesn't have to. In the question period, he was also asked whether it was a good idea to establish more efficient schemes of transportation of energy. Despite attempts to humiliate him, he sensibly insisted that it was only up to 10% of the energy which was a very small, unimportant number.

Entertainingly enough, his moral record was clear because, as he said, Norway only produces clean energy! Well, Norway is not quite perfect. In his very final contribution, he hated to say something bad about Norway but he sharply disagrees with his country that has allowed Al Gore to pick a Nobel peace prize (applause!).

The audience was chuckling throughout his contributions as if they were looking at the most entertaining heretic in their life. ;-) In the middle of the meeting, Giaever continued that he was not supporting pollution but even if climate change were man-made, we can't stop the usage of fossil fuels because the Chinese want to live in the same way as we do. And he doesn't see any results of the climate regulation efforts during the first decade when it was already supposed to materialize in Europe.

Other participants

As the video and Seed's websites reveal, many other statements at the meeting would be inconvenient for the high-school dropouts, too.

Hartmut Michel (Germany), a biochemist and the 1988 chemistry Nobel prize winner for crystallization of membrane proteins, urged the world to stop the biofuels immediately: the audience applauded to him. Biomass only captures 0.7-0.8% of the solar radiation, for biofuels it is 0.2%, and it would be much better to wait for good enough solar panels with 15% efficiency. Also, the biofuel technology leads to food shortages and the logging of rain forests. You shouldn't be suprised that Hartmut Michel was irritated when Ivar Giaever called the solar panels "unproductive" but as you can see, none of them would agree with the environmentalist "consensus". :-)

Not surprisingly, Carlo Rubbia (Italy), the 1984 winner of the physics Nobel prize for the experimental discovery of the W and Z bosons at CERN, promoted (although not enthusiastically) nuclear energy (and also solar energy). See his proposal to replace uranium by thorium - a text that uses some of the CO2-concerned language. He also said that the Earth is going through an extraordinary process today: every decade, the number of people gets multiplied [sic] by 1 billion! :-)

Well, I am afraid that if Rubbia's obvious mistake is fixed, the current era becomes pretty ordinary. Nevertheless, Rubbia says that it should "become impossible to say that we should continue with the business as usual" because the population is increasing [just like it has done for millenia]. Among the participants, Rubbia clearly turned out to be the ultimate hardcore, nearly Hansen-level alarmist. Rubbia (*1934) also thinks that he is not old! :-)

Nuclear waste was not discussed at all but nuclear weapons were mentioned as a dangerous by-product of the nuclear power plants: thorium doesn't allow for bombs. Moreover, 1 ton of thorium gives the same energy as 200 tons of uranium. There's so much of it that it makes no sense to call it "nonrenewable".

Concerning climate change, Klaus von Klitzing (Germany), the only 1985 physics Nobel prize winner for his discovery of the quantized Hall effect, argued that more research was needed. People have already changed the world in many ways and we simply do not know whether tripling of CO2 leads to any kind of instability. Moreover, he emphasized that the increasing population inevitably leads to increasing consumption of energy - the "energy problem" that is primary - and climate change is just a result and we clearly have to live with that. Thermonuclear fusion in a near future is unlikely and time constraints are essential. Sometimes, the government (EU) funding of energy research (solar etc.) is higher than necessary.

Once again, von Klitzing and Giaever were certainly not the only ones whose skeptical inclinations couldn't be hidden. Even among the signatories of the pro-rational, anti-environmentalist 1992 Heidelberg Appeal, you find three members of the Lindau climate panel. Johann Deisenhofer, who won the 1988 chemistry prize with Michel and Huber as well, has signed it, too. As far as I can say, he tried not to say anything controversial at all. As a result, he didn't say anything I would find worth reporting.

Jack Steinberger, the 1988 physics Nobel prize winner for the discovery of muon neutrinos, argued that it was pointless to wait for thermonuclear fusion because Edward Teller already promised him the new source 53 years ago. It won't be ready in a foreseeable future. At the very end, someone asked what the scientists can do for politicians to follow their recommendations. Steinberger honestly said that the panel revealed disagreement about the scientists so what the politicians should "hear" is not obvious.

If you summarize the comments, 3/7 of the panelists could be classified either as downright skeptics or cryptoskeptics, the fourth one radically hates biofuels, and the fifth one thinks that there is a significant disagreement in the science community. The moderator and organizer, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber who is a local director and a member of the Inquisition Promoting Climate Change (IPCC) who boasted that he met James Hansen a week ago, obtained a similar number. So when a student asked whether the Nobel prize winners thought that men were behind climate change, he said that "there is a 60% probability that man is seriously behind climate change" and it is a problem that should be wrestled with.

However, Schellnhuber also used Pascal's Wager. If you think that there is a 60% probability that there won't be a crash, you won't enter the aircraft. ;-) Well, that's a good joke but not what I would call a rational conclusion of a complex panel debate.

More here




Penguin scare

This is all speculation. They have no idea what it's all about. Frog decline was similarly attributed but turned out to be fungal. Maybe this is too -- or viral. Who knows?

Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, penguins are sounding the alarm for potentially catastrophic changes in the world's oceans, a University of Washington biologist says. The culprits are global warming, oil pollution, depletion of fisheries and rampant coastline development, which threaten breeding habitats for many penguin species, she argues.

These factors are behind rapid population declines among the birds, said the university's Dee Boersma, an authority on penguins. "Penguins are among those species that show us that we are making fundamental changes to our world," she said. "The fate of all species is to go extinct, but there are some species that go extinct before their time and we are facing that possibility with some penguins."

In a paper published in the JulyAugust edition of the research journal BioScience, Boersma notes there are 16 to 19 penguin species, and most penguins are at 43 sites, virtually all in the Southern Hemisphere.

For most of these colonies, population trends have been unclear, so few people realized that many penguins were suffering sharp population declines, Boersma said. She advocates an international effort to check on the largest colonies of each penguin species at least every five years.

Working with the Wildlife Conservation Society and colleagues, Boersma has studied the world's largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo on Argentina's Atlantic coast. That population probably peaked at about 400,000 pairs between the late 1960s and early 1980s, and today is half that, she said.

There are similar stories from other regions. African penguins decreased from 1.5 million pairs a century ago to just 63,000 pairs by 2005, Boersma claimed. Galapagos Islands penguins, the only species whose range extends into the Northern Hemisphere, now number around 2,500, about a quarter of what their population was when Boersma first studied them in the 1970s.

Boersma recounts watching in 2006 as climate anomalies wreaked havoc on the same population of Emperor penguins featured in the popular 2005 film "March of the Penguins." The colony bred in the same place as in other years, where the ice is protected from the open sea and wind keeps snow from piling up and freezing the eggs. But in September, with the chicks just more than halfgrown, the adults apparently sensed danger and uncharacteristically marched the colony more than three miles to different ice.

The ice they chose remained intact the longest, but in late September a strong storm broke it up and the chicks were forced into the water, Boersma said. While the adults could survive, the chicks needed two more months of feather growth and buildup of insulating fat to be independent. The likely result, Boersma said, was a total colonywide breeding failure that year.

Global warming also appears to be key in the decline of Galapagos penguins, she said: as the atmosphere and ocean get warmer, El Nio Southern Oscillation events, which affect weather worldwide, seem to occur more often. During those times, ocean currents that carry the small fish that penguins eat are pushed farther away from the islands and the birds often starve or are left too weak to breed.

These problems raise the question of whether humans are making it too hard for other species to coexist, Boersma argued. Penguins in places like Argentina, the Falklands and Africa run rising risks of being fouled by oil, either from ocean drilling or because of petroleum discharge from passing ships, she continued. The birds' chances of getting oiled are also rising because they often have to forage much farther than before to find prey.

"As the fish humans have traditionally eaten get more and more scarce, we are fishing down the food chain and now we are beginning to compete more directly with smaller organisms for the food they depend on," she said. As the world's population continues to explode and more and more people live in coastal areas, the negative effects are growing for both marine and shorebased habitats used by a variety of species, Boersma added.

"I don't think we can wait. In 1960 we had three billion people in the world. Now it's 6.7 billion and it's expected to be eight billion by 2025," she said. "We've waited a very long time. It's clear that humans have changed the face of the Earth and we have changed the face of the oceans, but we just can't see it. We've already waited too long."

Source




Snow in July? Huge amounts of snow still blanket the Northern Rockies

With diesel smoke and white powder flying, heavy equipment operators worked furiously to remove enough snow to open the Going-to-the-Sun road, which connects the two sides of Glacier National Park and is usually open by the first week of June. But huge amounts of snow still blanket the Northern Rockies high country, in part because of record snowfalls in Montana this year, so the opening will not take place until Wednesday, the latest on record by a day, except for World War II when the road was not plowed at all....

"Snow in the mountains is money in the bank," Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana said. "The snow will melt and run into the streams through September. It's good for the fisheries and good for irrigation. "Mr. Schweitzer cited more good news from the state climatologist, who, he said, has forecast a cooler and wetter July than normal. Still, the governor said, even though things are better, "no matter what the weather is, we're never more than two weeks from a drought. "For now, residents feel they have some breathing room. "We got so much moisture in June, it released a pressure valve," said Lisa Bay, a rancher near Wolf Creek, Mont. "It was a grand sense of relief."

The situation is similar in Wyoming. Snowpack in the Bighorn Mountains, in the north central part of the state, is 79 percent higher than the 30-year average, and 112 percent above the average in the area drained by the Powder and Tongue Rivers. "Everything is up from average," said Leanne Stevenson, manager of natural resources and policy for the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. "A lot of what makes a difference is not how much, but how long it stays cool, and we actually had spring this year."

Because of the drought, she said, the 30-year snowpack average has dropped 20 percent over the last eight years.The heavy snows and elevated water levels have thrown an economy dependent on recreation into confusion.In Glacier National Park, some high-country hiking trails will not be open for weeks. In Yellowstone National Park, some backcountry areas are blocked by snow and some rivers are high and muddy....

More here




G8 SUMMIT: WHITE HOUSE RULES OUT UNILATERAL EMISSIONS TARGETS

The Group of Eight major industrialized countries meeting next week in Japan cannot by themselves set effective long-term world goals on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, the White House said on Tuesday. "With evidence mounting of rapidly rising emissions from emerging markets, action by the G8 alone would not be effective," said Dan Price, assistant to President George W. Bush for international economic affairs. "That's why we believe that all major economies and indeed all parties to the UN convention (on climate change) need to be part of the discussion on setting a long-term goal," Price said at a White House briefing.

Price acknowledged long-running international discussions of setting a global target to cut greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2050, but stopped short of saying an agreement on this goal was possible at the summit in Hokkaido, Japan.

More here




THE POINTLESS RUSH FOR A CARBON EMISSIONS PLAN

Assuming - however briefly - that Canada must impose carbon taxes, when would be the best time to do it? Stephane Dion says now. Right now. Yale University economist William Nordhaus says, well, slow down, friend. We have time. Let's do this thing properly.

Dr. Nordhaus takes global warming seriously, anticipating that it may well "cast a shadow over the globe for decades, perhaps centuries, to come." When he says centuries, he means centuries. In his highly sophisticated computer analysis of global warming strategies, he includes the option of doing nothing at all for 250 years - and found that it delivered the same result (measured in global emissions of carbon dioxide one century hence) as the Kyoto Protocol with or without the United States.

He includes, as well, a 50-year delay and got an intriguing assessment. Implement the right climate change strategy in 2055 and you still get - by 2105 - precisely the same reduction in CO2 that you get with the computer-designed "optimal strategy," a go-slow, go-frugal approach that begins modestly in the next decade and expands incrementally through the rest of the century.

In a brilliant analysis of carbon strategies - The Challenge of Global Warming: Economic Models and Environmental Policy, published last year - Dr. Nordhaus observes that the complexity of global warming rules out absolute certainty of any kind, whether academic or ideological. "Whatever goal we set will probably be incorrect." Given this caution, it is essential to adopt a strategy that can be quickly adapted to changing circumstances and changing technologies, he says.

Dr. Nordhaus notes that a single technological advance in 2050, or in 2100, could render redundant trillions of prematurely invested dollars. This is one of the reasons why the most aggressive climate change strategies - the celebrated Stern Review proposals, the controversial dictums espoused by Al Gore - badly flunk the Nordhaus computer analysis test.

More here




BRITAIN'S CLIMATE MADNESS

By Ruth Lea. Ruth was Director of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) for four years until November 2007. She is now Director of Global Vision, and a Non-Executive Director and Economic Advisor to the Arbuthnot Banking Group. Ruth is perhaps best known for having been the Head of the Policy Unit at the Institute of Directors (IoD)

On June 26, 2008, the Prime Minister unveiled his Government's renewable energy strategy for building a "low carbon economy". This will involve the building of 7,000 wind turbines (3,000 at sea, and 4,000 on land) by 2020, expand other renewable energy, such as micro-generation, tidal- and wave-power, and will require 100bn of investment from the private sector (heavily subsidised by the consumer). Nuclear power will also be encouraged. The centre piece of the strategy is the planned expansion of wind turbines, which are almost universally disliked by those who have to live near to them. But, aesthetics aside, the strategy is unworkable, expensive, and irresponsible.

Absurd and Costly

There is not the faintest chance that 7,000 wind turbines can be constructed in this time, given the construction capacity restrictions and tight timetable. But, even if the turbines were built, this would not be the end of the matter. Britain would still require a considerable back-up of conventional electricity-generating capacity because the turbines would frequently produce no electricity at all, given the fluctuation in wind speeds. Paul Golby, Chief Executive of E.ON UK, has said that this back-up capacity would have to amount to 90% of the capacity of the wind turbines, if supplies were to be reliable. This would be an absurd, and costly, misallocation of resources, with the extra costs falling on households and businesses. But, costs apart, there is yet another problem. And that is whether the necessary back-up capacity is likely to be available.

The current Government has woefully neglected Britain's energy infrastructure, and much of Britain's current electricity-generating capacity is due for closure over the next 10 to 15 years. Most of Britain's ageing nuclear power stations are due to be decommissioned, and half of Britain's coal-fired power stations are due to be retired because of the EU's Large Combustion Power Directive (concerned with controlling emissions of, for example, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides). Under these circumstances, there is a very real risk that there will not be adequate conventional back-up capacity despite the Government's welcome acceptance of the need for nuclear power (there will inevitably be delays in construction) and the operation of new gas-fired capacity (which, incidentally, makes Britain unduly dependent on imports, as our own supplies are dwindling fast).

The prospect of power cuts is, therefore, all too real. Brutally, the lights could go out, and business and the public services, now so dependent on computers, would suffer. The folly of putting so many eggs in the basket of wind power is the height of irresponsibility.

The EU's Renewables Directive: Disproportionate Burden

The Government's `dash for wind' in order to develop a "low-carbon economy" is, of course, part of its climate-change policy of cutting carbon emissions in order to "combat global warming". Any expansion of nuclear power would also curtail carbon emissions, and, indeed, if one believes that a low-carbon economy is a good idea (perhaps for security reasons as well as `saving the planet'), one might ask why not allocate far more resources to nuclear power and far fewer to renewables.

Alas, this would not be permitted under the EU's 2008 Renewables Directive.(1) Under this Directive, the UK has agreed to meet 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Whilst renewables include biomass, solar power, wind, wave/tide, and hydroelectricity, nuclear power is excluded. Insofar as the Renewables Directive is part of the EU's policy of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with 1990, this is perverse to say the least.

Whilst the UK has a 15% renewables target for 2020, just 1.5% of energy consumption was met by permissible renewables in 2006.(2) The UK has committed itself, therefore, to increase its renewables share ten-fold by 2020. With the possible exceptions of Malta and Luxembourg, the UK is faced with by far the greatest challenge in reaching its 2020 target. In addition, the unit costs in the UK are relatively high because Britain lacks access to cheap biomass resources in the electricity and heat sectors, and is placing greater reliance on high cost, expensive electricity technologies, such as wind (mainly) and wave/tidal. By contrast several EU countries are well-placed, including Austria, Finland, and Sweden, as are many of the central and eastern European countries.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that the UK is likely to carry a disproportionate burden of the costs of meeting the EU's 2020 renewables target. According to a study by Pyry Energy Consulting, the UK could carry around 20-25% of the total EU costs.(3) Pyry has estimated that the annual cost in 2020 could be around 150 to 200 pounds per UK household, and the lifetime costs up to 2020 would be 1,800 pounds, even as high as 2,800, per UK household. These are significant sums, and they are likely to be under-estimates.

Given my earlier comment that the Government's plans for 7,000 wind turbines will not be achieved by 2020, there is no chance that we will meet the renewables target. (And, in any case, 7,000 turbines, even if built, are apparently inadequate for Britain to meet the 15% target.) The Government is living in fantasy-land - but it seems hell-bent on pursuing an energy policy which will be costly, will dangerously distort energy policy, and will leave the country vulnerable to black-outs.

The Economic Effects

Even if the lights stay on, it is clear that the Government's current strategy will lead to higher and less competitive energy prices in Britain, other things being equal. For households, especially low income and pensioner households, this will bite into general living standards. Businesses, especially energy intensive industries, will continue to lose competitiveness and will migrate overseas to, say, India or China. The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) estimates that various `green measures' (the Renewables Obligation, the Climate Change Levy, and the costs of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme) already account for a quarter of total energy costs for their members. The situation will surely deteriorate. Britain's chemicals, cement, and steel industries, to name but three, are likely to shrink, jobs will be lost, and the balance of payments will deteriorate. Yet this has barely been mentioned. Does no-one care?

Britain's Climate Change Bill: Economic Madness

As already mentioned, the EU has a 20% target for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, compared with 1990. British legislators, however, seem to regard this self-flagellation as insufficiently painful. The Climate Change Bill, currently going through Parliament, includes legally-binding targets of a 60% reduction by 2050, and a 26 to 32% reduction by 2020, compared with 1990.

The Bill is predicated first on the assumptions that `global warming' is "dangerous" and is unquestionably mainly caused by anthropogenic carbon emissions. These assumptions are, of course, inherent in the work of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which provided the quasi-scientific background for the path-breaking Kyoto Protocol of 1997. Secondly, they rely on Lord Nicholas Stern's report, based on the IPCC's apocalyptic projections of a frizzling planet, exhorting us to spend now to prevent this fate, or to fry and/or drown later.(4) Woe betide any foolish soul who dares to speak out against this orthodoxy.

But the notion that there is a scientific consensus on this matter is simply not true. Many scientists, though they risk their funding and the wrath of the Royal Society, are prepared to acknowledge that the sun has an infinitely greater role to play than humankind in climate change. Moreover, climate change in the form of modest warming is likely to be, on balance, economically beneficial. And, inconveniently for the doomsayers, there has been no `global warming' for a decade.

Secondly, the Bill simplistically assumes that climate change can be combated by cutting anthropogenic carbon emissions, as if there were a straightforward, bivariate and uni-causal relationship between carbon dioxide emissions (and concentrations) and temperature. Nothing, I am reliably informed, could be further from the truth.

Thirdly, the Bill chooses to ignore the fact that, whilst Britain attempts to decarbonise her economy, much of the rest of the world will not. Britain accounts for less than 2% of world anthropogenic carbon emissions, whilst China's emissions probably increase by more than our total every 1 to 2 years. We could, however, make our economy uncompetitive and curtail British people's economic freedoms and prosperity, satisfyingly so for the many critics of modern developed economies, by pursuing this policy. But where we lead, others will not follow - not even the other EU member states, if it suits them. It is economic madness.(5)

The Future

The Climate Change Bill will, however, be enacted. All the major political parties are supporting it. But, apart from its unfounded scientific assumptions and economic irresponsibility, it is already looking old-fashioned (there's nothing so old-fashioned as last year's fashions that have ceased to be fashionable) and irrelevant.

Two things are changing the debate. The first is the, already noted, absence of `global warming' since the end of the 20th century. People understand this. The second is the economy. Bill Clinton was right: "it's the economy, stupid". British living standards for many are now falling, and this changes people's priorities. Recent polls show that, first, the British people are sceptical about human-caused `global warming' despite all of the propaganda thrust at them and, secondly, they regard `green taxes' as little more than yet another excuse for Governments to tax them harder. The mood is changing. Politicians please take note.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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2 July, 2008

The Arctic: See for yourself

The MODID satellites provide near real-time visible/actual photos of the Artic Ocean from space (ie they are not the computer program generated graphics from the NSIDC.)

Here is a good sat picture of the North Pole from today - June 29, 2008 (ie. there is lots of melting to go yet before the Pole is ice-free for the few weeks of the year predicted.)

And see the NorthWest Passage (upside down but still frozen solid.)

Source. (Comment 116)




STATISTICAL REVIEW OF WORLD ENERGY 2009

An email from Hermann G W Burchard, Dept of Mathematics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078 [burchar@math.okstate.edu]

An interesting resource on energy reserves from a global perspective can be found in "Statistical Review of World Energy 2008" by BP. The report was mentioned in a presentation based on it at Rice University by Mark Finley, BP America general manager for global energy markets, hosted by Amy Myers Jaffe, assoc. director, Baker Institute for Public Policy (on C-SPAN2 June 24, rerun June 30).

The talk was quite informative: Global reserves are good for 40 years in oil and natural gas, 150 years in coal. Charts showed that oil reserves, while expected to decline (peak oil), instead have been going up year after year. Most interesting in this regard, during the Q&A following the talk was Mark Finley's response to an unrelated question that in recent years the deep water discoveries of oil have been most signifcant in raising reserve estimates.

This should make it easier for Floridians and others to a accept offshore drilling. Rigs will be over the horizon past continental shelves. My ears perked up when I heard "deep water." Those regions would be nearer the Earth's mantle where presumably we have lots of abiotic petroleum from the primordial solar nebula (see recent find by NASA of hydrocarbons on Saturn's moon Titan).

With a tendency of continental margins to run parallel to very deep subsidence basins (geoclines), increased seepage of oil from the mantle into accesible strata may be expected to occur. By contrast, sedimentary deposits in the abyssal plane of oceans primarily are fossil-poor clastic sediments, such as turbidites and volcanics, with few organic remains from ancient fossils, because the ocean floor is being recycled at a fairly rapid clip by plate tectonics.




Amazing: Global warming questioned on popular Australian TV show

Channel 9s "Sunday" show. Video links at the source given below

The theory of anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming has become an unchallengeable fact, a piece of black letter law almost unique in the world of science.

Proponents of the theory say the time for scientific debate is over. It would irresponsible to fund any further research into counter views on the relationship between elevated levels of carbon dioxide and a rise in temperatures since the mid-1970s.

It's regarded as career suicide for scientists to advocate any counter view of the causes of global warming, let alone deny the orthodox consensus view as adopted by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

However, there is a school of thought that our knowledge of climate systems is as yet insufficient to be so conclusive on the causes of global warming.

Today Sunday examines the political consensus building that has portrayed global warming as the most urgent crisis humankind has ever faced.

Skeptics point to the gaps in the knowledge base and the flaws in the measurement of vital climate and weather data upon which the consensus is based.

Social researchers also highlight the dangers of conducting science as a form of religion, divided into believers and deniers.

They warn that as governments prepare to make expensive policy decisions, such as carbon emissions trading schemes, this consensus may not reflect the best science.

Source. Andrew Bolt comments here




GLACIAL FIND POURS COLD WATER ON CLIMATE DISASTER THEORY

University of Canterbury research indicating a glacial ridge in the South Island was formed by a landslide could pour cold water on evidence that climate change happened simultaneously around the world. Professor Jamie Shulmeister, who worked on the research with Associate Professor Tim Davies and honours student Daniel Tovar, said the discovery was made as a result of a study of the Waiho Loop glacial moraine.

Professor Shulmeister said there had been huge scientific debate on the climatic implications of the Waiho Loop. Located 100m above the plains on the foreland of the Franz Josef Glacier in South Westland, between the township and the sea, the glacial moraine had been the focus of much international research. The Waiho Loop moraine was widely used as evidence for direct inter-hemispheric linkage in climate change. "But these new findings suggest the loop - which sits near the South Island's Alpine fault line - was the result of a landslide, not climate change."

Professor Shulmeister said a moraine was a ridge that marked the end of an earlier glacier limit. Scientists had believed the Waiho Loop moraine was created during a brief cold snap about 13,000 years ago that also affected Europe and North America. The sudden climatic event had inspired the Hollywood blockbuster movie The Day After Tomorrow, he said. But no one had ever studied the Waiho Loop sediments. "When graduate student Dan Tovar had a look, he discovered to our surprise that it was mainly made up of a rock type known as greywacke, which is different from the rocks that make up all the other moraines in front of the Franz Josef Glacier."

Professor Shulmeister said greywacke occurred about 13km up the valley from the Loop. All the other moraines were predominantly composed of schist which outcropped near Franz Josef township. "The greywacke was also rather more angular than the rocks in the other moraines, suggesting it had not been transported in water or at the base of a glacier."

As a result of the study, Professor Shulmeister's team believes a large landslide dumped a huge volume of rock on top of the glacier, causing it to advance and, when the advance stopped, the moraine was created. Professor Shulmeister said the findings, to be published this week in the international science journal Nature Geoscience, were like "throwing a cat among the palaeoclimate pigeons".

Source. See also here




TWENTY YEARS OF DEMAGOGUERY

He made a prediction and it did not happen. Fair enough, that is how science progresses, but any relationship between the Hansen phenomenon and science is rather remote. His latest calling down of fire and brimstone is upon the wicked oil executives, who are allegedly stoking up infidel opposition to the true gospel of the global warming catastrophe to come.

That this is not true is evident from the greener-than-thou advertisements put out by that industry. They know a good racket when they see one and if there are a few billion taxpayers' dollars on offer they want their share of them. They are, however, likened to the tobacco giants who so misled the public. Yes those were liars; but so were their opponents, led by the EPA, and they turned out to be better at it.

The current big lie is that all the sceptical commentators are in the pay of the nefarious industry. Hansen's answer to it all is to call for an inquisition (he is a bit late into that game, by about five years). "May you have what you wish for" is an ancient curse and it would be satisfying to see Hansen have his day in court.

The reason that Monty Python's dead parrot so rapidly became a dead metaphor is that it encapsulates the modern political phenomenon of lying with a straight face, when all parties involved know that it is a lie (It's not a constitution, it is just a treaty). So now, when we are told that Global Warming isn't dead, it's just restin', we accept it as just a normal part of the political process. Formerly it would have been regarded as an example of the fifth of Langmuir's laws of bad science.

It is quite extraordinary that this sort of activity should fester within the world's most notable scientific and engineering organisation. Anyone who has had the misfortune to have been reluctantly involved with such a weirdo will feel the embarrassment for all those genuine professionals whose ingenuity, among many other achievements, put a man on the moon.

They obviously tried to subject him to some sort of control, quite properly in a tax-funded, non-academic institution, which led to his wild claim to being censored. He must be the least censored person on the planet, thanks to his friends in high places.

Perhaps the world will one day be grateful to the brave band of volunteers, who have at last got together to provide an audit of the activities of such fanatics. Owing to the efforts of the likes of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts, we have been able to penetrate the unscientific veil of secrecy behind which they brew their spells and hokum.

Not only are the standards of software production and maintenance way, way below the standards officially embraced by NASA, some of the procedures are unbelievably bizarre, including even the Orwellian process of systematically rewriting the past. A phenomenon indeed!

Source




Global Warming as Mass Neurosis



Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the mass hysteria phenomenon known as global warming. Much of the science has since been discredited. Now it's time for political scientists, theologians and psychiatrists to weigh in. What, discredited? Thousands of scientists insist otherwise, none more noisily than NASA's Jim Hansen, who first banged the gong with his June 23, 1988, congressional testimony (delivered with all the modesty of "99% confidence").

But mother nature has opinions of her own. NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.

The Arctic ice cap may be thinning, but the extent of Antarctic sea ice has been expanding for years. At least as of February, last winter was the Northern Hemisphere's coldest in decades. In May, German climate modelers reported in the journal Nature that global warming is due for a decade-long vacation. But be not not-afraid, added the modelers: The inexorable march to apocalypse resumes in 2020.

This last item is, of course, a forecast, not an empirical observation. But it raises a useful question: If even slight global cooling remains evidence of global warming, what isn't evidence of global warming? What we have here is a nonfalsifiable hypothesis, logically indistinguishable from claims for the existence of God. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or that global warming isn't happening. It does mean it isn't science.

So let's stop fussing about the interpretation of ice core samples from the South Pole and temperature readings in the troposphere. The real place where discussions of global warming belong is in the realm of belief, and particularly the motives for belief. I see three mutually compatible explanations.

The first is as a vehicle of ideological convenience. Socialism may have failed as an economic theory, but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism. Take just about any other discredited leftist nostrum of yore - population control, higher taxes, a vast new regulatory regime, global economic redistribution, an enhanced role for the United Nations - and global warming provides a justification. One wonders what the left would make of a scientific "consensus" warning that some looming environmental crisis could only be averted if every college-educated woman bore six children: Thumbs to "patriarchal" science; curtains to the species.

A second explanation is theological. Surely it is no accident that the principal catastrophe predicted by global warming alarmists is diluvian in nature. Surely it is not a coincidence that modern-day environmentalists are awfully biblical in their critique of the depredations of modern society: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." That's Genesis, but it sounds like Jim Hansen.

And surely it is in keeping with this essentially religious outlook that the "solutions" chiefly offered to global warming involve radical changes to personal behavior, all of them with an ascetic, virtue-centric bent: drive less, buy less, walk lightly upon the earth and so on. A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.

Finally, there is a psychological explanation. Listen carefully to the global warming alarmists, and the main theme that emerges is that what the developed world needs is a large dose of penance. What's remarkable is the extent to which penance sells among a mostly secular audience. What is there to be penitent about?

As it turns out, a lot, at least if you're inclined to believe that our successes are undeserved and that prosperity is morally suspect. In this view, global warming is nature's great comeuppance, affirming as nothing else our guilty conscience for our worldly success.

In "The Varieties of Religious Experience," William James distinguishes between healthy, life-affirming religion and the monastically inclined, "morbid-minded" religion of the sick-souled. Global warming is sick-souled religion.

Source

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For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.

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1 July, 2008

BRITISH GOVERNMENT FORCED INTO GREEN TAX CLIMBDOWN

Plans to hit millions of motorists with backdated road tax rises of up to 245 pounds are being axed to head off a Labour revolt next week. Chancellor Alistair Darling has privately assured backbenchers that he will 'fix' the problem in his autumn pre-Budget report. The decision would mark another U-turn following the Government's humiliation over the 10p tax crisis.

Under proposals which will start to kick in next year, nearly 18million motorists - seven out of ten - will pay more to run their cars by 2010, depending on their greenhouse gas emissions. Rebel MPs are unhappy that the increases - sold as an environmental measure - will apply retrospectively to all vehicles bought between 2001 and 2006. Some 48 Labour backbenchers have signed a Commons motion demanding a rethink.

Parts of the vehicle excise duty shake-up will be debated in the Commons on Wednesday and there were fears that the rebels would seize the opportunity to demand the reforms are dumped. But, in a sign that Mr Darling has been forced to review the policy during private meetings, it appeared last night that they will not make a move.

More here




UN IPCC MAN-MADE EMISSIONS GROSSLY OVERSTATED

Reports by the US Dept of Energy (DOE) indicate that 97% of the annual carbon dioxide emissions come from Nature itself. The report also indicates that more than 98% of all the carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed again by Nature.

What does this mean?

It means that since the start of the Industrial Revolution the increase in carbon dioxide levels of about 103ppmv are 97% due to Nature itself, that is to say that only about 3ppmv of that increase is due to man-made emissions. The absorption by Nature of 98.5% of all carbon dioxide also means that of the annual man-made carbon dioxide emissions, only 1.5% stays behind in the atmosphere - 346 million tonnes in 2004, which is the equivalent of just 0.04% of the total annual carbon dioxide emissions by Nature and mankind combined.

Irrespective of its residence time or the absolute quantities, it shows that Nature is not only the main driver of carbon dioxide emissions but also that Nature is perfectly capable of dealing with those emissions, both natural and man-made.

UN IPCC is shown to have grossly overestimated the amount of man-made carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and has also grossly underestimated the amount of carbon dioxide that Nature absorbs and Nature can not distinguish man-made carbon dioxide from the naturally occurring variety. Immediate demands should be made of the UN IPCC to stop its advice to Policymakers for drastic carbon dioxide emission reductions and all carbon trading schemes should be abandoned.

UN IPCC advice is destroying economies around the world for no reason and neither emission reductions nor carbon trading will have any effect whatsoever on the naturally occurring carbon dioxide cycle. The greenhouse hypothesis - what most climatologists call "the basic science" - offers a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. What passes for climate science today is mostly science fiction.

Source




The church of green

A kind of irrational nature worship separates environmentalism from the more fair-minded approach of conservationism

I admit it: I'm no environmentalist. But I like to think I'm something of a conservationist. No doubt for millions of Americans this is a distinction without a difference, as the two words are usually used interchangeably. But they're different things, and the country would be better off if we sharpened the distinctions between both word and concept. At its core, environmentalism is a kind of nature worship. It's a holistic ideology, shot through with religious sentiment. "If you look carefully," author Michael Crichton famously observed, "you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths."

Environmentalism's most renewable resources are fear, guilt and moral bullying. Its worldview casts man as a sinful creature who, through the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, abandoned our Edenic past. John Muir, who laid the philosophical foundations of modern environmentalism, described humans as "selfish, conceited creatures." Salvation comes from shedding our sins, rejecting our addictions (to oil, consumerism, etc.) and demonstrating through deeds an all-encompassing love of Mother Earth. Quoth Al Gore: "The climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."

I heard Gore on NPR the other day. He was asked what he made of evangelical pastor Joseph Hagee's absurd comment that Hurricane Katrina was God's wrath for New Orleans' sexual depravity. Naturally, Gore chuckled at such backwardness. But then the Nobel laureate went on to blame Katrina on man's energy sinfulness. It struck me that the two men were not so different. If only canoodling residents of the Big Easy had adhered to "The Greenpeace Guide to Environmentally Friendly Sex."

Environmentalists are keen to insist that their movement is a secular one. But using the word "secular" no more makes you secular than using the word "Christian" automatically means you behave like a Christian. Pioneering green lawyer Joseph Sax, for example, describes environmentalists as "secular prophets, preaching a message of secular salvation." Gore too has often been dubbed a "prophet." It's no surprise that a green-themed California hotel provides Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" right next to the Bible and a Buddhist tome.

Whether it's adopted the trappings of religion or not, my biggest beef with environmentalism is how comfortably irrational it is. It touts ritual over reality, symbolism over substance, while claiming to be so much more rational and scientific than those silly sky-God worshipers and deranged oil addicts.

It often seems that displaying faith in the green cause is more important than advancing the green cause. The U.S. government just put polar bears on the threatened species list because climate change is shrinking the Arctic ice where they live. Never mind that polar bears are in fact thriving -- their numbers have quadrupled in the last 50 years. Never mind that full implementation of the Kyoto protocols on greenhouse gases would save exactly one polar bear, according to Danish social scientist Bjorn Lomborg, author of the 2007 book "Cool It!"

Yet about 300 to 500 polar bears could be saved every year, starting right now, Lomborg says, if there were a ban on hunting them in Canada. What's cheaper, trillions to trim carbon emissions or paying off the Canadians to stop killing polar bears?

Plastic grocery bags are being banned all over the place, even though they require less energy to make or recycle than paper ones. The whole country is being forced to subscribe to a modern version of transubstantiation, whereby corn is miraculously transformed into sinless energy even as it does worse damage than oil.

Conservation, which shares roots and meaning with conservatism, stands athwart this mass hysteria. Yes, conservationism can have a religious element to it as well, but that element stems from the biblical injunction to be a good steward of the Earth, rather than a worshiper of it. But stewardship involves economics, not mysticism.

Economics is the study of choosing between competing goods. Environmentalists view economics as the enemy because cost-benefit analysis is thoroughly unromantic. Lomborg is a heretic because he treats natural-world challenges like economic ones, seeking to spend money where it will maximize good, not just good feelings among environmentalists.

Many self-described environmentalists are in fact conservationists. But the environmental movement wins battles by blurring this distinction, arguing that all lovers of nature must follow their lead. At the same time, many people open to conservationist arguments, like hunters, are turned off by even reasonable efforts because they do not want to give aid and comfort to "wackos."

In the broadest sense, the environmental movement has won. Americans are "green" in that they are willing to spend a lot to keep their country ecologically healthy, which it is. But now it's time to save the environment from the environmentalists.

Source




Beware green zealots

Comment from Australia

A fanatic, George Santayana famously said, is someone who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim. With July shaping up as climate change policy month, a good dose of fanaticism seems likely to come our way. Nowhere is the fanatic's touch more apparent than in the confused notion of an emissions reduction budget, the idea that there is a fixed quantum of emissions reduction we should achieve by a given date, with the result that if we reduce a bit less in one area, we will have to reduce by more elsewhere.

Reducing Australia's greenhouse emissions is not a goal in its own right; it is merely a way of trying to deal with the risks of potentially harmful climate change. How much we should devote to that goal depends on the costs and benefits involved. If the costs increase relative to the benefits, only the fanatic redoubles his efforts.

The fallacy involved is manifest in the debate about how trade exposed, emissions-intensive activities should be dealt with. It has become increasingly evident that if Australia, acting unilaterally, imposes a carbon tax on these activities, global emissions will not be reduced. Rather, they will simply shift to other countries, decreasing our welfare (as we have a comparative advantage in those activities) and welfare worldwide. As a result, without an international framework that would prevent emissions flight, putting a carbon tax on trade exposed, emissions-intensive activities serves no useful purpose.

Now, a rational person, faced with that fact, adjusts the target to reflect the greater cost of achieving it. If the target that would have been set in a world where emissions flight could not occur were to reduce emissions by, say, 20 per cent through a period of years, that person, faced with the reality of an emissions flight risk, would discount that target to some lower level.

In contrast the fanatic, acting as if the target had come from God, leaves the target unchanged and, if anything is conceded to the activities that could most readily move elsewhere, inflicts greater punishment on those that have the least scope to escape their clutches. This response is doubly perverse. To begin with, the economic cost of achieving any given emissions reduction target increases more than proportionately with the severity of the reduction being sought: doubling the target inflicts more than twice the cost. As a result, increasing the extent of the reduction sought from those activities that are least footloose makes the cost of any overall reduction all the greater. These added costs then are compounded by an increased distortion in resource allocation between the activities that are exempt and the now more heavily taxed ones that are not.

There is an additional, deeper reason the fanatic's response is perverse. The problem of emissions flight merely highlights the absence of an effective and comprehensive regime for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the absence of such a regime, abatement in Australia, no matter how great, will have no direct impact on the risk of harmful climate change. The only reason for undertaking that abatement is the possibility that it will assist such a regime to come into place. However, whether abatement in Australia would have a "demonstration effect" internationally, and if so to what extent, is highly uncertain. Even if such an effect did exist, there is little reason to think the effect will be much greater if we pursue abatement at home with greater intensity.

As a result, a rational decision-maker would give the possibility of such an effect a low weight and one that justified an abatement effort that was, at most, modest.

This is all the more so as increasing the extent of present abatement reduces our ability to respond should an effective international regime not come into place. In that event, if those concerned about climate change are correct, we would have to invest in ways of living that are less vulnerable to unfavourable climatic conditions. Our capacity to undertake those investments without painful reductions in consumption depends on our wealth.

As a result, if there is a likelihood that harmful climate change will nonetheless occur, we should be responding not by reducing our incomes but by increasing them and accumulating precautionary savings. In that scenario, bearing greater abatement costs now will not reduce costs in the future but merely increase the future pain.

The desirability of focusing on raising our capacity to adjust by increasing incomes is made greater by the distribution of the costs and benefits of the various options.

At best, pursuing "demonstration effects" makes the world as a whole better off if it succeeds; but if it fails, its only consequence is to make Australians poorer.

In contrast, increasing our wealth so as to increase our capacity to innovate and adjust, should such adjustment be needed, seems highly likely to make Australians better off regardless of the ultimate outcome.

The case for abatement beyond a very modest level, consistent with a low carbon tax, therefore seems economically untenable. Moreover, anything that makes the marginal costs of abating now higher, or the community's willingness to bear those costs now lower, should induce us to reduce our overall abatement effort rather than sticking by some inherently arbitrary target.

Consequently, a heavy burden of proof should be placed on those who advocate ambitious fixed targets to be pursued with the ferocity of latter-day Savonarolas.

Reducing emissions is not an act in a morality play but a decision that has to be made by trading off benefits and sacrifices. Moreover, the community must be given a full opportunity to assess those benefits and sacrifices and decide whether they are worth bearing.

As a result, whatever recommendations are made by the Garnaut review or the Government's green paper must be backed by estimates of those recommendations' costs, and the modelling underpinning those estimates needs to be fully disclosed. If all we get is moralising waffle, the community will legitimately conclude that this particular emperor has no clothes. Should that occur, the Government will have no one to blame but itself when its proposals run into strong and sustained opposition.

Source




BRITAIN: VERY WINDY IDEAS

Since Gordon Brown on Thursday launched what he called "the greatest revolution in our energy policy since the advent of nuclear power", centred on building thousands of new wind turbines, let us start with a simple fact. Nothing conveys the futility of wind power more vividly than this: that all the electricity generated by the 2,000 wind turbines already built in Britain is still less than that produced by a single medium-sized conventional power station. There are nearly 50 nuclear, gas or coal-fired power plants in Britain today each of which produces more electricity in a year than all those 2,000 turbines put together.

I make no apology for returning to this subject because the "100 billion pound green energy strategy" published last week, by what is now laughably known as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), contains not only many smaller deceptions and self-deceptions but one so great that almost everyone has fallen for it. The starting point is the EU's requirement that, to combat the "threat of climate change", we must drastically reduce our CO2 emissions, chiefly by building thousands more wind turbines.

It is quite clear from the paper that BERR's officials know we haven't the faintest hope of meeting our EU target in this way. So its number-crunchers have been working overtime to squeeze down the amount of energy we source from wind to the lowest figure it thinks can be made to sound plausible. Until last week BERR had been claiming that our EU requirement meant that we must generate 38 per cent of our electricity from renewables, the largest contribution coming from 11,000 offshore turbines, representing 33 gigawatts (GW) of capacity. But all this has changed dramatically. They now talk only about the need to meet 32 per cent of our total EU renewables target through our methods of electricity generation, with only 32 per cent of that needing to come from wind - and that, they say, can be done with a mere 7,000 new offshore and onshore turbines.

However, our present generating capacity is 76GW. By 2020, on projected demand, to replace one third of one third of our capacity with wind power would mean generating an average of 10GW. And herein lies the central misconception which bedevils the entire debate. Because of the wind's intermittency, turbines generate on average at less than a third of their capacity. Thus to contribute 10GW would need 30GW of capacity, which would require up to twice as many turbines as ministers are talking about - needing to be erected at a rate of more than four every working day between now and 2020.

In practical terms, even if they grossly bend the planning rules (as MPs voted for last week), there isn't the remotest chance that anything like this number of turbines could be built in time to meet their target. For instance, the world only has five of the giant barges that can install monster turbines offshore - and for more than half the year our weather conditions make installation impossible anyway.

But in addition we should also need to build at least 20 new conventional power stations simply to provide back-up for all the times when the wind is not blowing - at a time when, within seven years, we already stand to lose 40 per cent of our existing generating capacity through the closure of almost all our ageing nuclear power plants and half our major coal and oil-fired power stations (due to the crippling cost of complying with an EU anti-pollution directive).

It is a total mess. The reality is that, thanks to the dithering and wishful thinking of our politicians, it may already be too late to avert that breakdown of our electricity supply which would be one of the most serious disasters Britain has ever faced. And, ironically, no one at present looks more likely to inherit this mess than David Cameron - whose only response to last week' s pie-in-the-sky from Gordon Brown was to say that the Government should have been building all those useless windmills years ago.

Source




British green energy plan 'will force more families into fuel poverty'

More families will be driven into fuel poverty as a push to generate more electricity from "green" sources like wind, wave and solar power sharply increases household fuel bills, the Government has said. Electricity bills could rise by 13 per cent and gas prices could go up by as much as 37 per cent as consumers are made to pay more to subsidise green energy production, ministers said in a new Renewable Energy Strategy. The move away from fossil fuels is likely to cause an increase in energy bills

At current levels, green tariffs make up around 14 per cent of average domestic electricity bills and 3 per cent of average gas bills. Those tariffs will have to increase as ministers bid to wean Britain off fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. "Our policies to encourage renewable energy deployment in line with our 2020 goals will add further to energy bills," the strategy paper says. "Reflecting some of the costs of tackling climate change through energy prices means that prices more closely reflect the true social, economic and environmental costs of climate change."

By 2020, the document estimates that the full raft of new green energy proposals could increase domestic electricity bills by between 10 per cent and 13 per cent. Gas bills could rise by 18 per cent to 37 per cent. Petrol prices could go up by 4 per cent. Campaigners say that 4 million households are currently in fuel poverty, having to spend 10 per cent or more of their total income on electricity and gas. The Renewable Energy Strategy says: "It is likely that the measures we need to use to increase renewable energy will add to the challenges we face in combating fuel poverty."

Government officials said that the fuel bill increases were based on the assumption that world oil prices will average around $70, roughly half their current level. Were oil prices to stay above that level, the added cost of green energy would be smaller, because of the savings involved in cutting oil use.

John Hutton, the Industry Secretary, said the fuel bill increases were "reasonable and modest" while the cost of doing nothing to cut greenhouse gas emissions would be high. "Is the era of cheap energy over? We all know it is, and that presents us with some pretty stark choices we have to make," he said. "This is the time to make a decisive shift to a low-carbon economy."

Alan Duncan, the Conservative shadow business secretary, endorsed the Government's plan, but said ministers should go further. He said: "After a series of painful and reluctant U-turns, it seems like the Government is at last coming round to our vision of a greener Britain."

The shift to green power will mean 7,000 more wind turbines being built -often in the face of local opposition - across the countryside and around the coastline. The renewable energy strategy was presented by Gordon Brown, who pledged to break Britain's dependence on oil and to convert the country to a greener way of life.

The Prime Minister said the government's commitment to a target of producing 15 per cent of the country's energy from renewable sources by 2020 amounted to a green revolution in the making. "It will be the most dramatic change in our energy policy since the advent of nuclear power," he told an energy conference in London.

Meeting the 15 per cent target will cost the UK economy between 5 billion and 6 billion a year, according to Mr Hutton's department. The Government published its energy strategy as Lord Stern, the former Treasury economist who called on the world to spend 1 per cent of its wealth fighting climate change said the price of averting environmental disaster had now doubled to 2 per cent.

Source

Comment from Julian Morris [julian@policynetwork.net], Executive Director, International Policy Network, London. See www.policynetwork.net

According to this story in the Telegraph, Stern's estimate of the cost of taking action to reduce carbon emissions was out by 100%.

If the British government proceeds with its various plans to subsidise so-called 'renewables' it would divert vast resources into activities that result in fewer improvements in efficiency and productivity. It may create 'green' jobs but these would be at the expensive of higher value-added white and blue jobs. It would also, as the story notes, lead to increased 'fuel poverty' (i.e. people who are already poor would be forced to spend a higher proportion of their income on fuel and/or risk illness and death by not heating their homes sufficiently).

I also note that today's newspapers carry the sad story of an elderly gentleman who committed suicide after reading that the budget would make him poorer.

I find it difficult to believe that the Tories want to go further! How many jobs do they want to destroy? How much welfare-enhancing growth do they want to prevent? How many poor people do they want to force into fuel poverty or even suicide?

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