GREENIE WATCH 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 October, 2008

CALLING THE WEST'S GREEN BLUFF

An email from Richard S. Lindzen [rlindzen@MIT.EDU], Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

The developing world early realized that carbon control was a ploy to constrain their development into meaningful competitors. Now they are matching the cynicism of the developed world.

Rajendra Pachauri simultaneously helped prepare a climate report for the Government of India that argues that climate change will not be a problem for India, while, as head of the IPCC, he preaches that climate change will bring doom and disaster to the rest of the world, and urges the west to become vegetarian. Somehow, the cynicism seems remarkably clear to many - even if the Nobel Peace Prize Committee fails to notice it.




MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data

Scientists at MIT have recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels. This is the first increase in ten years, and what baffles science is that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature - and not the direct result of man's contributions.

The two lead authors of a paper published in this week's Geophysical Review Letters, Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, the TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, state that as a result of the increase, several million tons of new methane is present in the atmosphere.

Methane accounts for roughly one-fifth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, though its effect is 25x greater than that of carbon dioxide. Its impact on global warming comes from the reflection of the sun's light back to the Earth (like a greenhouse). Methane is typically broken down in the atmosphere by the free radical hydroxyl (OH), a naturally occuring process. This atmospheric cleanser has been shown to adjust itself up and down periodically, and is believed to account for the lack of increases in methane levels in Earth's atmosphere over the past ten years despite notable simultaneous increases by man.

Prinn has said, "The next step will be to study [these changes] using a very high-resolution atmospheric circulation model and additional measurements from other networks. The key thing is to better determine the relative roles of increased methane emission versus [an increase] in the rate of removal. Apparently we have a mix of the two, but we want to know how much of each [is responsible for the overall increase]."

The primary concern now is that 2007 is long over. While the collected data from that time period reflects a simultaneous world-wide increase in emissions, observing atmospheric trends now is like observing the healthy horse running through the paddock a year after it overcame some mystery illness. Where does one even begin? And how relevant are any of the data findings at this late date? Looking back over 2007 data as it was captured may prove as ineffective if the data does not support the high resolution details such a study requires.

One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a handle on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it's too early to know for sure if man's impact is affecting things at the political cry of "alarming rates." We may simply be going through another natural cycle of warmer and colder times - one that's been observed through a scientific analysis of the Earth to be naturally occuring for hundreds of thousands of years.

Source




EU EMISSIONS TRADING MAY FORCE CEMENT PLANTS TO RELOCATE TO CHINA

Where they will emit MORE CO2

HeidelbergCement says the European Commission's planned extension of its emissions trading scheme in 2013 could threaten cement production in the EU. The company cites studies by management consultants McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group that say the price of the emissions permits that will be required to produce and transport cement could reduce the price competitiveness of EU-manufactured cement by -50% to -100% by 2020.

HeidelbergCement, which has 36 cement plants in the EU, 12 of which are in Germany, said that in the worst case scenario the scheme could add _ 920 million to its annual costs from 2013. "If we were forced to close the German plants, for example, we could offset this with the construction of two new high-performance production facilities in China with an investment volume of _ 300 million", said Dr Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the company's Management Board.

The company employs 8200 people in Europe, 1500 of whom are based in Germany.

Dr Scheifele continued, "The cost advantages of China would almost double as a result of the CO2 expense, making competitive domestic production in Europe no longer an option. It would be feasible to supply European markets from locations outside the EU via an efficient trading network."

HeidelbergCement says it has made significant reductions in CO2 emissions in recent years. Having set a goal of reducing emissions per tonne of cement by -15% by 2010 it exceeded this, claiming to have achieved a decline of -18% in Germany and -20% in Europe by 2007. A company statement said, "Through their use of innovative technology, the European plants are among the most efficient locations worldwide in terms of CO2 reduction. This technology is being transferred to all cement plants throughout the Group."

Source




CHINA WARNS RELIANCE ON COAL MAKES CO2 CUTS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YEARS TO COME

China has admitted that controlling greenhouse emissions is a "difficult task" and warned that there is little prospect of an early improvement. In its first policy paper on climate change, Beijing acknowledges for the first time that its greenhouse gas emissions are equal those of the US. China's reliance on coal to ensure economic growth makes pollution control difficult, the paper says. It adds that the developed world should do more on the issue.

The paper admits the problems caused by climate change. "Extreme climate phenomena, such as high temperatures, heavy precipitation and severe droughts, have increased in frequency and intensity," the paper says. But it says the "coal-dominated energy mix cannot be substantially changed in the near future, thus making the control of greenhouse gas emissions rather difficult".

BBC China editor Shirong Chen says the paper marks a tactical change on the issue for Beijing. He says that although China has been resisting international pressure over its greenhouse gas emissions, it has now taken the initiative to tell the world that it knows the severity of the problem.

China's top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, said Beijing would consider limits on its worst polluting industries if rich nations handed over the technology to help clean them up. China's fast GDP growth in the past 30 years has lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty and economic development is sure to remain its top priority, our editor says. But Mr Xie added: "There is no other road for China except the road to sustainable development."

Source




Climate Science: Is It Currently Designed To Answer Questions?

By Richard Lindzen

For a variety of inter-related cultural, organizational, and political reasons, progress in climate science and the actual solution of scientific problems in this field have moved at a much slower rate than would normally be possible. Not all these factors are unique to climate science, but the heavy influence of politics has served to amplify the role of the other factors."

By cultural factors, I primarily refer to the change in the scientific paradigm from a dialectic opposition between theory and observation to an emphasis on simulation and observational programs. The latter serves to almost eliminate the dialectical focus of the former. Whereas the former had the potential for convergence, the latter is much less effective.

The institutional factor has many components. One is the inordinate growth of administration in universities and the consequent increase in importance of grant overhead. This leads to an emphasis on large programs that never end. Another is the hierarchical nature of formal scientific organizations whereby a small executive council can speak on behalf of thousands of scientists as well as govern the distribution of `carrots and sticks' whereby reputations are made and broken.

The above factors are all amplified by the need for government funding. When an issue becomes a vital part of a political agenda, as is the case with climate, then the politically desired position becomes a goal rather than a consequence of scientific research.

This paper will deal with the origin of the cultural changes and with specific examples of the operation and interaction of these factors. In particular, we will show how political bodies act to control scientific institutions, how scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions, and how opposition to these positions is disposed of.

1. INTRODUCTION

Although the focus of this paper is on climate science, some of the problems pertain to science more generally. Science has traditionally been held to involve the creative opposition of theory and observation wherein each tests the other in such a manner as to converge on a better understanding of the natural world. Success was rewarded by recognition, though the degree of recognition was weighted according to both the practical consequences of the success and the philosophical and aesthetic power of the success. As science undertook more ambitious problems, and the cost and scale of operations increased, the need for funds undoubtedly shifted emphasis to practical relevance though numerous examples from the past assured a strong base level of confidence in the utility of science. Moreover, the many success stories established `science' as a source of authority and integrity. Thus, almost all modern movements claimed scientific foundations for their aims. Early on, this fostered a profound misuse of science, since science is primarily a successful mode of inquiry rather than a source of authority.

Until the post World War II period, little in the way of structure existed for the formal support of science by government (at least in the US which is where my own observations are most relevant). In the aftermath of the Second World War, the major contributions of science to the war effort (radar, the A-bomb), to health (penicillin), etc. were evident. Vannevar Bush (in his report, Science: The Endless Frontier, 1945) noted the many practical roles that validated the importance of science to the nation, and argued that the government need only adequately support basic science in order for further benefits to emerge. The scientific community felt this paradigm to be an entirely appropriate response by a grateful nation. The next 20 years witnessed truly impressive scientific productivity which firmly established the United States as the creative center of the scientific world. The Bush paradigm seemed amply justified. (This period and its follow-up are also discussed by Miller, 2007, with special but not total emphasis on the NIH (National Institutes of Health).) However, something changed in the late 60's. In a variety of fields it has been suggested that the rate of new discoveries and achievements slowed appreciably (despite increasing publications)2, and it is being suggested that either the Bush paradigm ceased to be valid or that it may never have been valid in the first place.

(2 At some level, this is obvious. Theoretical physics is still dealing with the standard model though there is an active search for something better. Molecular biology is still working off of the discovery of DNA. Many of the basic laws of physics resulted from individual efforts in the 17th-19th Centuries. The profound advances in technology should not disguise the fact that the bulk of the underlying science is more than 40 years old. This is certainly the case in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. That said, it should not be forgotten that sometimes progress slows because the problem is difficult. Sometimes, it slows because the existing results are simply correct as is the case with DNA. Structural problems are not always the only factor involved.)

I believe that the former is correct. What then happened in the 1960's to produce this change? It is my impression that by the end of the 60's scientists, themselves, came to feel that the real basis for support was not gratitude (and the associated trust that support would bring further benefit) but fear: fear of the Soviet Union, fear of cancer, etc. Many will conclude that this was merely an awakening of a naive scientific community to reality, and they may well be right. However, between the perceptions of gratitude and fear as the basis for support lies a world of difference in incentive structure. If one thinks the basis is gratitude, then one obviously will respond by contributions that will elicit more gratitude. The perpetuation of fear, on the other hand, militates against solving problems. This change in perception proceeded largely without comment. However, the end of the cold war, by eliminating a large part of the fear-base forced a reassessment of the situation. Most thinking has been devoted to the emphasis of other sources of fear: competitiveness, health, resource depletion and the environment.

What may have caused this change in perception is unclear, because so many separate but potentially relevant things occurred almost simultaneously. The space race reinstituted the model of large scale focused efforts such as the moon landing program. For another, the 60's saw the first major postwar funding cuts for science in the US. The budgetary pressures of the Vietnam War may have demanded savings someplace, but the fact that science was regarded as, to some extent, dispensable, came as a shock to many scientists. So did the massive increase in management structures and bureaucracy which took control of science out of the hands of working scientists. All of this may be related to the demographic pressures resulting from the baby boomers entering the workforce and the post-sputnik emphasis on science. Sorting this out goes well beyond my present aim which is merely to consider the consequences of fear as a perceived basis of support.

Fear has several advantages over gratitude. Gratitude is intrinsically limited, if only by the finite creative capacity of the scientific community. Moreover, as pointed out by a colleague at MIT, appealing to people's gratitude and trust is usually less effective than pulling a gun. In other words, fear can motivate greater generosity. Sputnik provided a notable example in this regard; though it did not immediately alter the perceptions of most scientists, it did lead to a great increase in the number of scientists, which contributed to the previously mentioned demographic pressure. Science since the sixties has been characterized by the large programs that this generosity encourages. Moreover, the fact that fear provides little incentive for scientists to do anything more than perpetuate problems, significantly reduces the dependence of the scientific enterprise on unique skills and talents. The combination of increased scale and diminished emphasis on unique talent is, from a certain point of view, a devastating combination which greatly increases the potential for the political direction of science, and the creation of dependent constituencies. With these new constituencies, such obvious controls as peer review and detailed accountability begin to fail and even serve to perpetuate the defects of the system. Miller (2007) specifically addresses how the system especially favors dogmatism and conformity.

The creation of the government bureaucracy, and the increasing body of regulations accompanying government funding, called, in turn, for a massive increase in the administrative staff at universities and research centers. The support for this staff comes from the overhead on government grants, and, in turn, produces an active pressure for the solicitation of more and larger grants.3

(3 It is sometimes thought that government involvement automatically implies large bureaucracies, and lengthy regulations. This was not exactly the case in the 20 years following the second world war. Much of the support in the physical sciences came from the armed forces for which science support remained a relatively negligible portion of their budgets. For example, meteorology at MIT was supported by the Air Force. Group grants were made for five year periods and renewed on the basis of a site visit. When the National Science Foundation was created, it functioned with a small permanent staff supplemented by `rotators' who served on leave from universities for a few years. Unfortunately, during the Vietnam War, the US Senate banned the military from supporting non-military research (Mansfield Amendment). This shifted support to agencies whose sole function was to support science. That said, today all agencies supporting science have large `supporting' bureaucracies.)

One result of the above appears to have been the deemphasis of theory because of its intrinsic difficulty and small scale, the encouragement of simulation instead (with its call for large capital investment in computation), and the encouragement of large programs unconstrained by specific goals.4

(4 In fairness, such programs should be distinguished from team efforts which are sometimes appropriate and successful: classification of groups in mathematics, human genome project, etc.)

In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.

This new paradigm for science and its dependence on fear-based support may not constitute corruption per se, but it does serve to make the system particularly vulnerable to corruption. Much of the remainder of this paper will illustrate the exploitation of this vulnerability in the area of climate research. The situation is particularly acute for a small weak field like climatology. As a field, it has traditionally been a subfield within such disciplines as meteorology, oceanography, geography, geochemistry, etc. These fields, themselves are small and immature. At the same time, these fields can be trivially associated with natural disasters. Finally, climate science has been targeted by a major political movement, environmentalism, as the focus of their efforts, wherein the natural disasters of the earth system, have come to be identified with man's activities - engendering fear as well as an agenda for societal reform and control. The remainder of this paper will briefly describe how this has been playing out with respect to the climate issue.

Much more here




Feeling cold, thinking hot

Comment from Australia by Andrew Bolt

Treasurer Wayne Swan had to get out of his woollies yesterday before telling us the world really was warming - and we must pay. You see, just days before he stood in Canberra, waving a Treasury document he claimed would help stop us heating to hell, his own family had shivered through a day that should make him finally wonder if there really is any global warming. Brisbane, his home town, had just endured its coldest October morning in 32 years, yet here was Swan telling us to spend billions in the belief the planet was cooking instead.

It's not only here that global warming believers are feeling a chill they never expected. In London on Tuesday, British politicians overwhelmingly passed amendments to a Climate Change Bill that promises huge spending to stop a catastrophic global warming they say is caused by our gases. Yet, even as they voted, snow began to fall on Parliament House - the first October snow in London in 74 years.

Yes, this is weather, not climate - something to remember the next time some headline shrieks "global warming" at just another hot day. But the fact is, as satellite measurements show, the planet hasn't warmed since 1998, and temperatures have now fallen for six years or more. The small warming we had from the 1970s on has paused, if not stopped, and more scientists now suggest we may be in for decades of cold.

But in these mad times, cognitive dissonance rules. People feel cold but think hot. Warming preachers demand carbon sacrifices, but fly first class. In fact, cognitive dissonance is becoming government policy. Take the Government's Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel, which last week said the word "drought" made farmers feel bad, and we should say "dryness" instead. That would also make us think the drought was actually global warming.

Likewise, Swan yesterday sold the Government's planned tax on coal-fired power and all things gassy, from steel to burping cows, as something to help, not hurt, the economy. And, of course, the Government is spending $164,000 a day on ads to persuade us that this recent cooling should be called "climate change" - and proof of warming instead. Weird, yet it works. Cooling is warming, and not even snow can persuade politicians they're not frying.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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30 October, 2008

Update about the censorship of climate realist Deming by President Boren at the University of Oklahoma

There is a scathing Facebook entry here from a former OU student about Boren. I don't think it would be wise of me to reprint it. It is basically an attack on Boren's character in response to an attempt by him to censor emails being circulated at OU. Some of the adjectives applied to him are "Fascist", "queer" etc. And "buffoon" is one of the milder descriptions applied to him. My own description of him as a Fascist does therefore have some support. He would appear to be a most unpleasant character beneath the surface.

A possibly encouraging passage in the Facebook entry is as follows:

"Why is everyone so scared of the fathead David Boren? .... As this incident shows, he'll back down in a minute whenever a few people get together and start calling him out."




Self-righteous British legislators fail to look out the window

Snow blankets London for Global Warming debate

Snow fell as the House of Commons debated Global Warming yesterday - the first October fall in the metropolis since 1922. The Mother of Parliaments was discussing the Mother of All Bills for the last time, in a marathon six hour session.

In order to combat a projected two degree centigrade rise in global temperature, the Climate Change Bill pledges the UK to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The bill was receiving a third reading, which means both the last chance for both democratic scrutiny and consent.

The bill creates an enormous bureaucratic apparatus for monitoring and reporting, which was expanded at the last minute. Amendments by the Government threw emissions from shipping and aviation into the monitoring program, and also included a revision of the Companies Act (c. 46) "requiring the directors' report of a company to contain such information as may be specified in the regulations about emissions of greenhouse gases from activities for which the company is responsible" by 2012.

Recently the American media has begun to notice the odd incongruity of saturation media coverage here which insists that global warming is both man-made and urgent, and a British public which increasingly doubts either to be true. 60 per cent of the British population now doubt the influence of humans on climate change, and more people than not think Global Warming won't be as bad "as people say".

Both figures are higher than a year ago - and the poll was taken before the non-Summer of 2008, and the (latest) credit crisis.Yet anyone looking for elected representatives to articulate these concerns will have been disappointed. Instead, representatives had a higher purpose - demonstrating their virtue

And for the first 90 minutes of the marathon debate, the new nobility outdid each other with calls for tougher pledges, or stricter monitoring. Gestures are easy, so no wonder MPs like making them so much. It was all deeply sanctimonious, but no one pointed out that Europe's appetite for setting targets that hurt the economy has evaporated in recent weeks - so it's a gesture few countries will feel compelled to imitate.

The US Senate has Senator James Inhofe, but in the Commons, there wasn't an out-and-out sceptic to be found. It was 90 minutes before anyone broke the liturgy of virtue. When Peter Lilley, in amazement, asked why there hadn't been a cost/benefit analysis made of such a major change in policy, he was told to shut up by the Deputy Speaker.(And even Lilley - one of only five out of 653 MPs to vote against the Climate Bill in its second reading - felt it necessary to pledge his allegiance to the Precautionary Principle.)

It fell to a paid-up member of Greenpeace, the Labour MP Rob Marris, to point out the Bill was a piece of political showboating that would fail. While professing himself a believer in the theory that human activity is primarily the cause of global warming, he left plenty of room for doubt - far more than most members. The legislation was doomed, Marris said. MP Rob Marris had previously supported the 60 per cent target but thought that 80 per cent, once it included shipping and aviation, wouldn't work. We could have a higher target, or include shipping and aviation, but not both.

He compared it to asking someone to run 100m in 14 seconds - which they might consider something to train for. Asking someone to run it in ten seconds just meant people would dismiss the target. "The public will ask 'why should we bother doing anything at all?'

The closest thing to a British Inhofe is Ulsterman Sammy Wilson, Democratic Unionist Party, who'd wanted a "reasoned debate" on global warming, rather than bullying, and recently called environmentalism a "hysterical psuedo-religion". Wilson described the Climate Bill as a disaster, but even colleagues who disagree with his views of environmentalism are wary of the latest amendments. The Irish Republic is likely to reap big economic gains if it doesn't penalise its own transport sector as fiercely as the UK pledges to penalise its own in the bill. Most Ulster MPs were keenly aware of the costs, and how quickly the ports and airports could close, when a cheaper alternative lies a few miles away over the border.

Tory barrister Christopher Chope professed himself baffled by the logic of including aviation and shipping. If transportation was made more expensive, how could there be more trade? "As we destroy industry we'll be more dependent on shipping and aviation for our imports!" he said. "When the history books come to be written people will ask why were the only five MPs... who voted against this ludicrous bill," he said. It would tie Britain up in knots for years, all for a futile gesture, Chope thought.

However, Tim Yeo, the perma-suntanned Tory backbencher who wants us to carry carbon rationing cards, said it would "improve Britain's competitiveness". He didn't say how. Lilley impertinently pointed out that no cost/benefit case had been made for handicapping shipping and aviation. It was the first mention in the chamber of the cost of the commitments being discussed. Estimates put the total cost of the Climate Change Bill at 210bn pounds, or 10,000 per household - potentially twice the benefits.

Quoting Nordhaus, Lilley noted that Stern ("Lord Stern - he got his reward") had only got his front-loaded benefits by using improbable discount rates - and then only half the benefits of making drastic carbon reductions will kick in by the year 2800. The government has said it wasn't using Stern's discount rates to calculate the cost of shipping and aviation restrictions, but a more sensible and traditional rate of 3.5 per cent instead - yet it refused to reveal the costs.

Lilley asked:"I ask the house - is it sensible to buy into an insurance policy where the premiums are twice the value of the house?" Lilley was "building a broad case on a narrow foundation", the Deputy Speaker told him. "I really must direct him to the specific matter that's included in these clauses and amendments."

Earlier, the Tories had said they would be tougher on carbon than Labour, and the Lib Dems the toughest of the lot. Much more representative of the tone of the debate was Nia Griffith, the NuLab MP for Lanelli. Her comments are worth repeating (Hansard link to follow today) because language tells us a lot - not only about the bureaucratic ambitions of the exercise, but how the modern politician thinks about governing. Griffith told the House that the Bill was "a process not an end in itself", and had great value as a "monitoring tool". MP Nia Griffith "It's the targets that make us think," she said. She also used the phrase "raise consciousness" - as in, "it must raise consciousness amongst nations that follow suit."

In other words, if you take a gesture, then pile on targets and penalties, you will change people's behaviour. Maybe she hasn't heard of Goodhart's law. Yesterday, however, it seemed that the only MPs exhibiting enough "consciousness" to actually think - and ask reasonable questions about cost and effectiveness of the gesture - got a good telling off.

The Bill finally passed its third reading by 463 votes to three.

Source




CHANCES FOR CLIMATE DEAL COLLAPSE AS CHINA DEMANDS $300 BILLION PER YEAR

China raised the price of its co-operation in the world's climate change talks yesterday by calling for developed countries to spend 1 per cent of their domestic product helping poorer nations cut greenhouse gas emissions. The funding - amounting to more than $300bn based on Group of Seven countries - would be spent largely on the transfer of "green" technologies, such as renewable energy, to poorer countries. Gao Guangsheng, head of the climate change office at the National Reform and Development Commission, the Chinese government's main planning body, said that even such large funds "might not be enough".

China's toughened stance comes weeks ahead of United Nations talks in Poland aimed at forging a successor to the Kyoto protocol, whose main provisions expire in 2012.

The two-week-long talks scheduled for early December in Poznan, Poland, are not expected to produce much progress in the two-year negotiations, which began last year in Bali and will culminate late next year at a conference in Copenhagen. However, the timing of China's intervention is seen as significant because the Poznan talks will be the first to take place after the US presidential election.

George W. Bush has been seen as the biggest obstacle to a new international framework on climate change, and both presidential candidates have pledged support for cutting emissions. The new president will be under pressure from industry not to jeopardise US finances. Under China's proposals, the US would have to give more than $130bn and the European Union more than $160bn to technology transfer.

Officials involved in the talks said China's demand was unlikely to be agreed by developed countries, but reflected a feeling among poor nations that they were not receiving sufficient funds to help them deal with climate change, despite demands from rich countries that the developing world should bear more of the burden of emissions cuts.

China's demand is the latest signal of developing countries flexing their muscles on climate change. At the Group of Eight industrialised nations meeting in July, China joined with India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa to demand G8 countries cut their emissions by 80-95 per cent by 2050.

Although emissions from China, India and other emerging economies have grown rapidly in recent years - with China now the world's biggest emitter, having overtaken the US - their per capita emissions are still much lower than those of developed countries. "Climate change policies need a lot of money to be invested, however developed countries have not made any substantive promises about how much they are going to spend on," said Mr Gao. "And they did not fulfil some of the promises they made in the past very well either."

Source




REBEL EU COUNTRIES HARDEN THEIR OPPOSITION TO CLIMATE PACT

The Italian government on Tuesday said it would stick to its opposition to an EU climate plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a fifth by 2020, saying it would be too harmful for industry. A statement said the plan was not acceptable because it would cost Italian companies 40 percent more than other EU countries. "This would be untenable for our production, particularly in light of the current global economic crisis," it said.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi shocked other European Union leaders at a summit this month by threatening to veto the EU proposal unless it was adapted to protect Italian industry. The move added Italy's weight to a group of former communist nations that say the curbs will make their coal-powered industry uncompetitive, particularly with economists now predicting a sharp slow-down in the world economy.

The statement was issued after a government meeting of representatives from the Environment, EU, Development and Economy ministries.

Source




GREEN ENERGY CRASH

"Going green" doesn't have quite the cachet it used to, at least on Wall Street.

Investors in renewable energy stocks have seen their sector hit hard in recent weeks on concerns that tightening credit and a weak global economy could arrest growth of the high-flying industry despite its long-term promise. "The general economic slowdown is taking everybody's eyes off what was an increasing momentum around concerns of climate change and the cost of energy," said Paul Maeder, a general partner with venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners.

Until credit becomes more available, big solar and wind projects will be more difficult to finance, and certainly more expensive. A drop in demand will also mean lower prices on solar panels and wind turbines, hurting manufacturers' profitability.

In the end, experts said, the downturn will determine who the winners and losers are in what had been a booming environment for all. "There are too many players out there, and there are too many smaller players," Chris Walsh, manager of the $28 million Alger Green Fund, said of the burgeoning solar industry. "You have to be careful about which ones you invest in now."

Solar stocks, considered the darlings of alternative energy for their meteoric rise in 2007, have retreated so much this year that most have given back the triple-digit gains they logged last year. Investors fear that scarce access to credit will threaten development of costly solar and wind projects, while falling oil prices are dampening interest in alternative energy across the board. To make matters worse, a frozen market for initial public offerings and an increasingly picky venture capital community have restricted key avenues of funding for startups.

More here




PEAK OIL POSTPONED: WHAT OIL COMPANIES DON'T TELL YOU

Oil supplies will actually last for far longer than our politicians think, the scaremongers fear, and the oil companies tell us. So says Dr Richard Pike, head of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and someone who isn't afraid to stir controversy.

In a wide-ranging interview, Dr Pike talked about energy independence, Peak Oil, and how to educate our scientifically illiterate elites.

Before becoming chief executive of the RCS, Pike spent twenty five years in the oil industry. His background hasn't prevented him from calling for alternative energy sources to fossil fuels, and making criticisms that have embarrassed industry executives, latterly over the amount of oil lost to leakages.

But the most intriguing argument is that we're simply not told the truth about how long oil supplies will last. Conventional wisdom reports the oil reserves as 1.2 trillion barrels. There's far more than the oil companies report. This is neither cock-up nor conspiracy, he says, but a combination of conservative reporting, a failure to understand probability theory, and consequently a lack of understanding of the figures actually mean. Oil engineers and planners have their own - these are figures we don't see.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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29 October, 2008

Renewable-Energy Sticker Shock

These days, everyone seems to have big plans for major changes in the U.S. energy sector. Barack Obama wants to "put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars - cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon - on the road by 2015." John McCain says he will "commit $2 billion annually to advancing clean-technologies." And just last week, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service identified 197 million acres of federal lands in 12 Western states that it proposed to lease for geothermal development.

Most of today's energy plans are premised on the notion that government has to do something to meet our energy challenges - and that something generally involves promoting green or renewable energy through substantial subsidies, at substantial cost to consumers and taxpayers. Absent is any consideration of the true cost and practicality of the plans, or any alternative means - like the marketplace - by which our energy goals might be achieved.

This certainly holds true in Texas, which generates more electricity from wind than any other state. The Lone Star State's renewable-energy mandates - combined with the federal government's generous tax credit for wind-energy production - have helped Texas become the nation's leading installer of wind-energy capacity. You won't find much opposition here to wind energy's rapid expansion, because so much money is pouring into the state. It's all fun and games - until Texas consumers pay the long-term price for everyone else's short-term gain.

And pay they will. In my just published study, Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future (PDF here), we estimate that forcing even modest levels of wind-energy generation on Texans will cost ratepayers and taxpayers up to $4 billion a year, and at least $60 billion through 2025. Apply these numbers on a national scale with the idea of replacing coal or natural gas - or both - with wind, and the numbers become staggering.

But cost isn't the only challenge that confronts wind energy's expansion. Its intermittent nature, the lack of large-scale electricity storage, and the limitations on electric transmission also limit the role wind can play in powering our future.

The greatest impediment to wind's large-scale contribution to our energy supply is its intermittent nature. The wind must blow in order for wind turbines to produce power - peak capacity comes when the wind blows at about 31 miles per hour. But because those conditions are rare, wind turbines typically produce only around 30 percent of their installed capacity over time. As in many other places, the wind in Texas blows least when we need it the most. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) relies on a mere 8.7 percent of wind power's installed capacity when determining available power during peak summer hours.

The reason that intermittency is an issue for wind is because electricity cannot currently be stored on a commercial scale. Without adequate wind-power storage - to save the power of evening breezes for use during midday doldrums - wind-generating units must be backed up by units that generate electricity from conventional sources. In Texas's case, that means natural gas, a fuel source with extreme price volatility. Thus, wind energy is currently an inherently less valuable resource than fuel sources requiring no backup. Although efforts to develop large-scale storage are underway, such technology is probably decades away.

Even if the technology existed to deliver wind-generated electricity when needed, Texas and most other places lack the infrastructure to transmit it from the areas most suitable for wind-energy generation to the areas most in need of the power. Of course, infrastructure can be built for the right price. For Texas consumers, that price should top $17 billion by 2025.

So much for wind energy being free, as some would claim. The wind itself may be free, but getting it from the prairie to your power tools is anything but. Combine the transmission costs with production costs, subsidies, tax breaks, economic disruptions, and grid management costs, and you find yourself facing that $60-billion price tag.

Wind, like every other energy resource, has its pros and cons, and there is no doubt that wind power should be part of the nation's energy options. We need a variety of fuel sources, plus concerted efforts at conservation and efficiency, in order to meet our energy needs. But the marketplace - rather than government mandates and subsidies - is the means by which all of this should be determined. Otherwise, higher electricity prices for U.S. consumers will be here to stay.

Source




Stranger Than Fiction

Earlier this year, I wrote an eco-satirical column under the pseudonym Ethan Greenhart, in which I (or rather, Ethan) called upon Greens everywhere to pray for an economic downturn. The column argued that nothing would benefit our human-ravaged planet more than a "big, beautiful, stock-crashing, Wall Street-burning, consumer-baiting, home-evicting, bank-busting recession."

We need something to stop humans "raping the planet," I said, tongue pressed ferociously against my cheek, and "the recession might just be the chemical castration for the job." A recession could be the "antibody Gaia so desperately needs to deal with her human itch," since it would force people to buy less and live more humbly.

The column said recession would be a just punishment for the "lunatics" of humankind, before the arrival of the "final big disease" - that glorious moment when a rampant sickness will "reduce the human population to sustainable levels" and "end industrialism . . . just as the Plague contributed to the demise of feudalism."

I was going too far, right? Yes, there are super-aloof Gaia worshippers who, caring little for the living standards of their fellow men, argue that a recession would be a good thing - and, sure, they deserve a few satirical darts tossed their way. But surely no right-minded Green (assuming such a thing exists) would celebrate the depletion of mankind by a "preferably painless but speedily contagious disease"?

You'd be amazed. Not 24 hours after the column was published, "Ethan" received an e-mail (my alter ego came with his own inbox) from Valerie Stevens, chairperson of the U.K.-based Optimum Population Trust. The OPT is an influential green-leaning outfit that campaigns for strict controls on population growth. Ms. Stevens, believing - remarkably - that Ethan Greenhart is a real person, wrote: "What a marvellous piece of writing. I feel exactly the same as you!"

Consider what this means. The head of one of Britain's most vocal Green lobby groups feels "exactly" that people who work in shops are comparable to "concentration camp guards"; that humankind is a "poisonous bacteria in Gaia's bloodstream"; that "consumerism makes us mentally ill"; that the consumer society has "turned us into savages . . . well, not us, obviously, but certainly them"; and that a disease should come and decimate "the plague that is mankind." All of these statements were contained in the pretend eco-rant that OPT chair Valerie Stevens described as a "marvellous piece of writing" with which she agrees "exactly."

The OPT has numerous Green bigwigs on its advisory board, including Jonathon Porritt, who was director of Friends of the Earth from 1984 to 1990 and is currently an adviser to Prince Charles, the insufferably eco-minded heir to the British throne. Ms Stevens' enthusiastic agreement with Ethan Greenhart unwittingly revealed the backward, misanthropic thinking that rattles in the attics of Britain's posh Green elite.

It also revealed something else: the environmental movement is now so pompous, hysterical, bloated, and disconnected that it is almost beyond satire. My weekly Ethan Greenhart columns, published in my online magazine, spiked, have now been turned into a book: Can I Recycle My Granny? And 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas. In the course of writing it, I discovered that satirizing Greens is forever an uphill struggle, as one's campaign to mock environmentalism continually threatens to be derailed by the latest ridiculous utterance from the Greens themselves.

Ethan Greenhart has argued that climate-change denial should be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a "mental disorder" and that there should be "eco-lobotomies" for persistent deniers. Well, this is only a more extreme version of a leading British Green's demand for "international criminal tribunals" to try those who "preach the gospel of denial." Yet it turns out that many Greens are already discussing the "psychological processes" that contribute to climate change denial, with The Ecologist, an influential British magazine, arguing that "angrily denying the problem [of climate change] outright" is a form of "psychotic denial." Perhaps eco-lobotomies aren't so far off now.

Ethan Greenhart has claimed to have set up something called Bottlefeeders Anonymous, for those moms who have strayed from The Ethical Path by bottlefeeding rather than breastfeeding their offspring. "Bottlefeeding is a form of child abuse," he declares, since it involves "stuffing your child's gut with powder produced in a factory by a really big and probably quite evil conglomerate." Lo and behold, it turns out that eco-minded "militant lactivists" really do look upon bottlefeeding as abusive. Green columnist George Monbiot believes that feeding your child formula is "tantamount to child abuse."

Ethan has even celebrated suicide as a sensible solution to human overcrowding on Gaia's "pretty face." Here he was inspired by cranky Green groups like the Church of Euthanasia. Yet this outlook ain't so cranky anymore. Shortly before Can I Recycle My Granny? was to hit the shelves - in which Ethan maintains that "non-existence is the most perfectly ethical way of being" - a book by David Benatar (a professor of philosophy at the University of Cape Town, no less) appeared under the title Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence.

Horace said the purpose of satire is to "laugh men out of their follies." Yet such is the depth of contemporary Green folly that even mockery can be mistaken for another sensible idea or contribution to the "Green cause." Of course (and I would say this, wouldn't I?) my book is still full of cutting-edge satire - "richly comic," hails The Independent. But you had better buy it quick before its maddest, zaniest send-ups of the environmentalist movement become the latest Green orthodoxy.

Source




China Grows ever Greener as CO2 Concentrations Grow Ever Higher

You never hear the good news about increased CO2 emissions. Scientific research has shown that China is growing ever Greener as global CO2 concentrations grow ever higher.



(H/T Agmates)




Pesky! Alaska's Glaciers Are Growing

Alaska's glaciers grew this year, after shrinking for most of the last 200 years. The reason? Global temperatures dropped over the past 18 months. The global mean annual temperature has been declining recently because the solar wind thrown out by the sun has retreated to its smallest extent in at least 50 years. This temperature downturn was not predicted by the global computer models, but had been predicted by the sunspot index since 2000.

The solar wind normally protects the earth from 90 percent of the high-energy cosmic rays that flash constantly through the universe. Henrik Svensmark at the Danish Space Research Institute has demonstrated that when more cosmic rays hit the earth, they create more of the low, wet clouds that deflect heat back into outer space. Thus the earth's recent cooling.

Unusually large amounts of Alaskan snow last winter were followed by unusually chilly temperatures there this summer. "In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years," says Bruce Molnia of the U.S. Geological Survey, and author of The Glaciers of Alaska. "It's been a long time on most glaciers where they've actually had positive mass balance (added thickness)."

Overall, Molnia figures Alaska had lost 10-12,000 square kilometers of ice since 1800, the depths of the Little Ice Age. That's enough ice to cover the state of Connecticut. Climate alarmists claim all the glaciers might disappear soon, but they haven't looked at the long-term evidence of the 1,500-year Dansgaard-Oeschger climate cycles. During the Little Ice Age-1400 to 1850-Muir Glacier filled the whole of Glacier Bay. Since then, the glacier has retreated 57 miles. But the Little Ice Age was preceded by the Medieval Warming, the cold Dark Ages, a Roman Warming, and a whole series of moderate warmings and coolings that extend back at least 1 million years based on the evidence of the microfossils in the world's seabed sediments.

The real question is whether today's warming is different than the previous Dansgaard-Osechger warming cycles. I think that the difference, if any, is slight. Most of our Modern Warming occurred before 1940 and virtually all of our human-emitted CO2 came after that date. The temperatures in 1998-the recent peak-were only 0.2 degree C higher than in 1940. After the temperature drop of the past 18 months, the temperatures are now cooler than in 1940.

The 1,500-year cycles usually start with a sudden shift of 1-2 degrees-in temperate zones-and double that in Alaska. Then temperatures erratically rise and fall with the sun's total irradiance changes, often in 11-year cycles. At the end of the warming, comes another Little Ice Age; or, every 100,000 years, a Big Ice Age that will drop temperatures about 15 degree C. That's when insulation will truly become the most important invention in history.

The sunspots are now predicting a 30-year cooling of the earth. That would thicken the Alaskan glaciers somewhat, but probably wouldn't refill Glacier Bay with ice. That'll have to wait for the next icy age.

The sunspot index has a 59 percent correlation with our temperatures (with a roughly ten-year lag). CO2 has only an "accidental" 22 percent correlation with our temperatures, which should be grounds for dismissing CO2 as a major climate player.

All this is radically different from the 5-degree C warming predicted by the computer models. However, the scientific rule says: if actual observations tell you something that's the opposite of your theory, change your theory.

Source




Another Dissenter: Meteorologist Justin Loew

It is the topic that won't stay off the headlines and it could get more interesting depending on who gets elected U.S. President next Tuesday. One aspect that I have mentioned before is the shifting terminology. I get a little skeptical when the headlines seem to be changing without a shift in the science behind the headlines. For almost 20 years, the problem was "global warming", and if you want to be even more accurate you would call it "anthropogenic global warming" (AGW). I have tried to spread this terminology to mainstream media sources but they continue to use the less accurate "global warming" and the misleading term "climate change".

As you know, I am all for conservation and alternative energy. I practice what I preach. However, I do get skeptical of the motivation of some of the scientists and media outlets when they use "climate change" instead of AGW. After all, the problem, as we are told, is human caused climate change, not "climate change" in general. I guess on the most basic level "climate change" will always force humans and life on this planet to adjust and cope, but that is not what has been in the headlines for nearly 20 years. The drill has been "global warming"= "climate change"=AGW=the end of the world. Call me skeptical, but I think the headlines have shifted dramatically over the last year (to "climate change") in response to the fact that the earth hasn't warmed one degree since 1998. In fact, the average global temperature has gone down slightly. I suppose it might start to sound silly saying "global warming" when the globe hasn't warmed for 10 years. If the AGW theorists are confident in the global climate model predictions of environmental armageddon, then they should not be afraid to continue using the term "global warming" or more accurately AGW.

Here is one of the "climate change" headlines and it has an interesting twist. Researchers have found that some forests have done well during the warm-up over the last century. There is also word of some other gasses that will come under regulation. NF3 is more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2 and is used in electronics manufacturing. Levels have grown in recent years and might continue to do so in the near future.

The talk about environmental destruction because of AGW invariably leads to talk about how to stop it and the main plan of attack is to restrict the use of fossil fuels. Here is an article predicting a path to eliminate fossil fuels by 2090. I have got news for these prognosticators - the world only has enough oil to last about another 30 years - using it at current rates. Of course, coal could last for much longer, but there is a possibility we could use coal without releasing the evil CO2. These three articles (1, 2, and 3) show some promise in converting or storing CO2 produced by energy plants or heavy manufacturing industries. Besides these factors there is also technological progress to consider.

This prediction is based on linear advancement in technology (at best). What is more likely is that by the 2020s we will have significantly more powerful technology to develop energy sources we cannot even dream about today. I can't even imagine what it will be like in 2090. So I am basically throwing this forecast out. It isn't a realistic path for the future. Besides, there are much greater problems facing humanity than global warming. Which brings me to one caveat about future predictions. I suppose there is a slight chance we could enter a new "dark age" dominated by tyranny and less progress and that would certainly change future energy predictions.

Source




FINANCIAL CRISIS TAKES TOLL ON AUSTRALIAN CARBON SCHEME

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd won office promising to be a climate change warrior but his chief weapon -- a carbon trade scheme to slash emissions -- is falling victim to shifting politics and world financial tumult. A former diplomat, Rudd made ratification of the Kyoto climate pact -- opposed by the former conservative government for more than a decade -- his first act after winning November elections tinged green by the seeming onrush of climate shift. "The Rudd government was elected partly on its promises to take strong action, not just symbolic and token gestures, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and in particular to build renewable energy," says carbon trade and environment academic Mark Diesendorf from the University of New South Wales.

Even before winning, Rudd commissioned respected climate economist Ross Garnaut to design an emissions scheme to rival in breadth the world's biggest regime already operating in Europe. Successive surveys showed Australians overwhelmingly wanted a government to fight global warming after climate scientists said the country was experiencing a pace of climate change unmatched elsewhere, bringing droughts, storms and agricultural hardship.

Now, after a sharp economic slowdown, bloodletting on world financial markets and unemployment lifting off a three-decade nadir, the government seems to have dropped its sights in line with Australians fast-shifting concern to their jobs.....

Rudd says the problem of global warming "doesn't disappear because of the global financial crisis", but appears to have softened his zeal, promising Garnaut only to take account of recommendations a year in the drafting.

Garnaut certainly sensed the shift, recommending a two-track approach towards Rudd's 2050 target of a 60 percent cut in 2000-level emissions, focusing on a "practical" interim cut of 10 percent by 2020 while also laying out more ambitious options. That offers Rudd the attractive post-crisis option of a scheme that will not bring too much upheaval, for business or the public, but allow him to have delivered on a key election promise in the possible environment of a global recession. "The government is hardly likely to have a stronger cap than Garnaut. Sadly the government has already rejected some of his best suggestions, like no free permits," says Diesendorf.

Quiggin says an artificially low fixed carbon price may go some way to mollifying big polluters, who unsurprisingly favour no scheme or a limited one, but warns it will drive international investment out of Australia's protected market and into the more lucrative $40 billion carbon trade in Europe.

Renewable energy firms want higher prices to make solar, wind and wave power more competitive, while coal-fired electricity generators and other emission intensive industries want adjustment costs as low as possible. When the prevailing carbon price in the European Union is around 22 euros, or $27, per tonne, insiders in Canberra are tipping a two-year price under A$10 a tonne, or just $6.70, with some saying it could even be as low as A$8.

"To have a serious target you need a price which is of the order of A$30 a tonne, while the other, and they go together, is you essentially need to close down brown coal power stations, replacing them with low-emission technologies," he says.

And that is Rudd's conundrum. While his public appeal is tied to recognition of climate change and helping Aborigines, he promised business to govern as an economic conservative. In Canberra, that means looking after coal and resource interests. Australia is the world's fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter on a per head basis and relies on ageing coal-fired power stations for 80 percent of its energy needs. It is also the world's biggest thermal coal exporter.

An Auspoll survey last week for the independent Climate Institute showed public backing for Rudd's management of climate change had slumped from a pre-Kyoto ratification high of 43 percent to just 28 percent. But a recent Lowy Institute poll showed voters did not back climate action if it costs jobs or income.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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28 October, 2008

Skeptical scientist has university certification revoked!

The Green/Left never stop trying to stifle dissent. Press release from Dr. David Deming [profdeming@earthlink.net] below. He is a geophysicist and an associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma who has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles. Dr. Deming's Senate December 6, 2006 testimony is available here. University President Boren is a "staunch supporter of Obama". One Fascist supports another, I guess

For ten years or more, professor David Deming has taught a course in environmental geology at the University of Oklahoma. In October 2008, he was informed that the "general education" certification for his course was being revoked. Under the University of Oklahoma system, this means that student enrollment in the course is likely to drop by two-thirds.

This is a course which receives outstanding student evaluations. Professor Deming is well-known to be a global-warming skeptic. In 2006, he testified before the US Senate that media coverage of global warming had descended into "irrational hysteria." See here.

Professor Deming is unaware of any other case in the history of the University of Oklahoma where the "gen ed" certification for a course has been revoked. It would appear possible that professor Deming's position on global warming was a motivating factor. But in this case, the tragedy is that the people being punished are the students, not the professor. Those who wish to express their concern can do so by writing or calling University of Oklahoma President David Boren.

David Boren, President
University of Oklahoma
110 Evans Hall
Norman, OK 73019
telephone: 405-325-3916
email: dboren@ou.edu




Germany's chief climate alarmist defends his job

If you headed a body named the "Potsdam Instituts fuer Klimafolgenforschung" (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research), you would hardly say there was no impact ("Folgen") would you? The report below is probably the first English-language report of the press conference that I mentioned here on 20th

SEA levels will rise by 1m this century, according to German scientists who warn global warming is happening faster than previously predicted. Citing UN data on climate change, two senior German scientists say that previous predictions were far too cautious and optimistic. Earlier estimates predicted a rise of 18cm to 59cm in sea levels this century. But that estimate is woefully understated, according to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who heads the Potsdam Institute for Research on Global Warming Effects [That's not a literal translation but it is a fair one], and Jochem Marotzke, a leading meteorologist. "We now have to expect that the sea level will rise by a metre this century," Professor Schellnhuber said in Berlin.

He said it was "just barely possible" that world governments would be able to limit the rise in average global temperatures to just 2C by the end of the century, if they all strictly adhered to severe limits in carbon dioxide emissions. Those restrictions call for halving greenhouse emissions by 2050 and eliminating CO2 emissions entirely by the end of the century.

But the German researchers said the resulting limited increase in temperature was predicated on strict adherence to those restrictions without exception, and even then there were many variables which could thwart the goals.

Professor Schellnhuber, who is official adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate-change issues, said the new findings employed data unavailable to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its most recent global warming report. The two experts said the IPCC report had been based on data up to 2005 only, but since then ice loss in the Arctic had doubled or tripled. While Antarctic ice increased]

Professor Schellnhuber said 20 per cent of the loss of the ice sheet on Greenland could be directly linked to the added emissions from new Chinese coal-fired power stations. [Racist!]

Source




Researchers discover 700,000-year-old ice in Arctic - Survived Warmer Temps than today

This complements previous reports that much of the Greenland icecap survived earlier much warmer periods

Canadian researchers studying the Arctic's ancient permafrost have discovered 700,000-year-old ice wedges buried in the soil that have survived earlier periods of global warming, adding complexity to predictions about the impact of contemporary climate change. Duane Froese, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science at the University of Alberta, found what he describes as "the oldest ice in North America" in the Klondike region of Canada's Yukon Territory about 10 feet below the surface.

Because these ice wedges were found under a layer of volcanic ash, researchers from the University of Toronto and the Geological Survey of Canada were able to use a technique known as "fission track dating" of the ash to date it at roughly 700,000 years old. This means the ice was older than the ash and older than the previous record holder - 120,000-year-old ice wedges found in Alaska. "The fact that this ice survived the interglacials about 120,000 and 400,000 years ago, which we think were warmer than present, really illustrates how stubborn permafrost can be in the face of climate warming," Mr. Froese said.

According to a recent article in Ambio, a journal produced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, permafrost regions occupy about 25 percent of the Northern Hemisphere, with more than 60 percent in Russia. Warming, thawing and degradation of permafrost have already been observed, and there are fears that its shrinkage could lead to increased output of greenhouse gases and unstable structures built on what was once ice-hard ground. Permafrost can vary from almost a mile thick in parts of Siberia to a few feet and turn up over a large region, in scattered regional patches or isolated, the magazine noted. In Canada, permafrost can be found across half the country, in 80 percent of Alaska, 30 percent of Russia, and 20 percent to 30 percent of China and Mongolia, Mr. Froese said. "Permafrost is the glue" that holds the Arctic together and widespread thawing could have dramatic effects on the northern environment, he said.

During the life span of the recently discovered ice wedges, the earth's climate has shifted from long ice ages or glaciations - when woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers roamed the Northern Hemisphere - and short warming periods, which may have been much warmer than our current climate. "This ice is not right at the surface, so it survived several earlier periods of global warming that were longer and warmer than ours," Mr. Froese said.....

So far, only one wedge of permafrost this old has been found, but Mr. Moorman said there may be more, and this could change the way environmentalists look at the effects of climate change. The current Canadian Arctic is a place of complex and varied temperatures and snowfalls - the Yukon is dry, and the Western Arctic is heating faster than the Eastern Arctic. [i.e. the effects are local, not global]

Mr. Moorman said that global warming models and grids do not take into account all the complexities of regional variations on the planet, but they are improving. However, the professor notes that 2007 and 2008 have shown a slight reduction in global temperature averages and that low sunspot activity also point to near-term cooling periods.

Source




Record High Number of Polar Bears

Manitoba Conservation does an annual aerial survey from the Churchill area to the Manitoba/Ontario border, roughly the inland range of the polar bears of western Hudson Bay. In late July (the 22nd I believe), they flew the range and counted around 34 bears. Most were still out on the bay feasting on seals. In fact, there were still two little bits of ice floe in southwestern Hudson Bay on August 22nd...! This means that many of the bears stayed out on the ice until mid-August, almost a month later than usual (or at least, earlier than usual for the last decade, but simply similar to the 'glory days' of the early eighties).

So, almost all of the bears visiting Churchill are in really good shape (around ten to twelve in buggyland right now). This seems to have translated through the larger population with 266 polar bears being counted on the fall aerial survey in September. This is the largest number of bears recorded in the history of this survey. Isn't that crazy?!? Life is good for the bears!

Of course, this also leads to the cut in quota for Nunavut's Inuit. Arviat, an economically challenged traditional Inuit town just north of Churchill (and when I say just north, I mean 250 miles) has had their quota wiped out. From 23 polar bears harvested last year, political pressure (not research) has led the government of Nunavut to cut it to three bears. All three bear 'tags' have now been used in self-defence kills (partially because we relocate bears north from Churchill... but that's another story). So, no commercial hunt, no income, no community pride for Arviat... hmmm...

Source




Global warming caused by solar panels

This finding is kind of cute. Alexander Ac has pointed out that a greenhouse gas emitted during the production of solar panels and HDTVs, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) that is used for cleaning some parts of the gadgets, is about 17,000 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The concentration of NF3 in the atmosphere was artificially increased by a factor of 20 during the last two decades. The measurements of the concentration surpassed the previous estimates by a factor of five.

The present 5,400 tons in the atmosphere - that will stay there for 700+ years - creates the equivalent warming of all Finland's CO2 emissions (I can't tell you how much it is, because of the unknown feedbacks, but the comparisons are pretty reliable).

Given the fact that the solar panels produce about the same percentage of the global energy as Finland, it is reasonable to guess that the state-of-the-art solar panels that would replace fossil fuels would cause a comparable amount of warming per Joule as fossil fuels.

Source




Australia: The young are turning against proposed Warmist laws

Younger people - the strongest supporters of an emissions trading scheme to cut greenhouse gases - are turning against the Rudd Government's 2010 deadline for the implementation of such a scheme. In a reversal of support, those aged between 18 and 34 years old are now most strongly in favour of a delay in the implementation of an emissions trading scheme, The Australian reports.

According to the latest Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian last weekend, the impact of the financial crisis is turning people against a carbon reduction scheme, or making them want delays. While 72 per cent of those surveyed still favour an emissions trading scheme to drive up the cost of greenhouse gas producing energy, such as electricity and petrol, there is growing opposition.

In July, a Newspoll survey on an emissions trading scheme found that only 11 per cent of people were totally opposed to a carbon emissions reduction scheme and 23 per cent wanted a delay until other major greenhouse gas emitters, particularly China and India, acted. That Newspoll survey confirmed widespread public support for an emissions trading scheme, with 60 per cent of voters backing the adoption of a scheme "regardless of what other countries do". According to the latest Newspoll survey, 21 per cent now oppose an emissions trading scheme under any circumstances.

The Rudd Government has pledged to introduce in 2010 an emissions trading scheme that would push up energy prices by placing a price on carbon. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has urged the Government to delay the introduction of the scheme. The former leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson, lost his authority within the Coalition when he was rolled in shadow cabinet over the suggestion the Opposition should take a tougher stand against an emissions trading scheme.

Dr Nelson said in July the Coalition's greenhouse gas plan would not be popular but "our priority in deciding our policy is to act in Australia's best interest and for Australia not to get too far out in front of the big guys of greenhouse gas emissions such as India and China". "We need to have our economic eyes wide open," Dr Nelson said.

Opposition to an emissions trading scheme has been strongest among men, those aged over 50 and Coalition supporters, while the strongest supporters of a carbon cutting scheme have been among the young, women and Labor supporters. The weekend's survey found the strongest support overall for an emissions trading scheme even if it put up energy costs, was still among the young, women and ALP voters.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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27 October, 2008

The Arctic: WWF Resorts To Deception In Climate Fearmongering

Global warming fearmongers the World Wildlife Fund have been caught in a new act of deception after citing shrinking Arctic ice coverage to suggest climate change is "faster and more extreme" than first thought, while failing to acknowledge that Arctic sea ice expanded over an area bigger than the size of Germany during the year of 2008. "The Arctic Ocean is losing sea ice 30 or more years ahead of the projections presented in the Fourth Assessment Report (Stroeve et al, 2007). There is near consensus in the Arctic scientific community that significant aspects of this hastened loss of sea ice are caused by feedback mechanisms, the effects of which had been severely underestimated in the report," states the WWF report.

The graphic depiction used to illustrate the point in a London Telegraph article shows Arctic sea ice coverage between 1979 and 2007 and a clear reduction in ice coverage.



The report's author, geoscientist Dr Tina Tin told CNN: "Arctic sea ice is melting much faster than everybody had been expecting.

The problem with this statement, as well as using a 2007 satellite image to illustrate the point, is that Arctic sea ice coverage massively expanded during 2008 by a whopping 30 per cent - an area bigger than the size of Germany.

According to collated data from the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the University of Illinois, Arctic ice extent was 30 per cent greater on August 11, 2008 than it was on the August 12, 2007. This is a conservative estimate based on the map projection.

The 30 per cent increase coincided with a record low in sunspot activity over the same period, again proving that climate change is driven by natural catalysts as it has been throughout history. "Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle."

Which is why we are seeing evidence of natural global cooling all over the planet - Alaskan glaciers growing for the first time in 250 years, unprecedented ice storms in Kenya, China experiencing its coldest winter in 100 years, many parts of the U.S. suffering their coldest April on record along with record snowfall, Britain suffering its coldest Easter in decades, Sydney Australia suffering its coldest summer in 50 years.

All the evidence is screaming out that the planet has now embarked on a cooling trend to follow the natural warming trend that caused Arctic ice to shrink in the first place, just as natural global warming caused Greenland to be green thousands of years ago when it was a lush forest and when temperatures were on average 5 C (9 F) higher than today.

For the WWF and the London Telegraph to use 2007 data and completely discount a gigantic 30 per cent increase in Arctic sea ice coverage from August 2007 to August 2008 is not only misleading, it is completely dishonest and typical of the politicized agenda-driven global warming lobby. The deception has echoes of the "stranded polar bear" hoax when global warming alarmists attempted to use an emotional photograph of "stranded polar bears" to convince people that global warming was melting ice caps and wiping out cute cuddly animals. The fact that the photos were taken in summer, when ice caps naturally melt, that the polar bears were close to the shore, and the fact that polar bears can swim a distance of around a hundred miles at a time, was not pointed out.

Source




Global Warming ... Accelerating?

A week or two ago a "study" by the World Wildlife Fund got a lot of play in the media. Its key conclusion: The report says that the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - a study of global warming by 4,000 scientists from more than 150 countries which alerted the world to the possible consequences of global warming - is now out of date.

WWF's report, Climate Change: Faster, stronger, sooner, has updated all the scientific data and concluded that global warming is accelerating far beyond the IPCC's forecasts.

As an example it says the first tipping point may have already been reached in the Arctic where sea ice is disappearing up to 30 years ahead of IPCC predictions and may be gone completely within five years - something that hasn't occurred for 1m years. This could result in rapid and abrupt climate change rather than the gradual changes forecast by the IPCC.

This is not at all an uncommon meme. If one searches "global warming accelerating" on Google, one gets 1,100,000 hits. The #1 hit says: Global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared, a series of startling, authoritative studies has revealed.

I actually believe there is a small upward temperature trend due to CO2, on the order of 0.05 - 0.1C per decade. But it is staggering to me that so many people can insist, with a straight face, that warming is "accelerating" or, crazier, that it is "worse than forecast."

Let's take the acceleration first. Here is the recent temperature trend from the UAH satellite data (all the smoothed lines you will see are 36-month moving averages centered on the middle month).



It is possible to argue that there is a warming trend here, but never-the-less it is impossible to see "acceleration," particularly since 2001. There is an implication in the article that the acceleration has occurred since the last couple of IPCC reports, so let's zoom into the period since the 3rd and 4th IPCC reports:



No acceleration. Not even any warming (for 8 years! where is that story in the press?) But how about the proposition that temperatures are rising faster than forecasts? This is patently absurd. We can go back to just about every IPCC and alarmist projection and show that temperatures are well less than forecast, but lets use James Hansen's forecasts to Congress in 1988 because it gives us 20 years of data to work with (actual data is a blend of Hadley CRUT3 and UAH satellite as discussed here.)



I always get folks who insist that I am making a mistake by using the Hansen A scenario because Hansen at the time described it as extreme. But in fact, world CO2 production has been even greater than the Hansen A scenario. Hansen A underestimates the inputs, and still grossly overestimates the output. The only real discussion one can find on the IPCC forecasts is whether one can argue the actuals are barely poking their nose up into the low end of the forecast confidence intervals or not.

The one piece of evidence most of these folks making the "accelerating" argument use is sea ice extent in the North Pole. The media has been full of stories about disappearing sea ice, and in fact in 2007 the North Pole had the lowest sea ice extent in the last 30 years, though coincidently in the same year the South Pole had the highest sea ice extent in 30 years. But there is a logical fallacy here. The fact that the statement "global warming causes sea ice to retreat" is true does not mean the statement "sea ice retreat means the globe is warming" has to be true. And in fact, we see from the data above, this is not true. It is amazing to me that in the conflict between "thermometers" and "sea ice extent at one pole" as measures for global temperature, sea ice extent seems to trump thermometer readings. Particularly when this sea ice signal only exists at one of the two poles.

There is no question that the Arctic has warmed more than the rest of the planet. In fact, much of the rise in global averages is driven by the Arctic (and all of it is driven by the northern hemisphere above the tropics -- the rest of the world has no warming signal over the last 30 years). Below we can see the satellite measurement of the temperature anomaly in the Arctic:



A one degree rise over a couple of decades is indeed substantial. In fact, though, during the last couple of years, we have actually seen either flat temperatures or, perhaps, a cooling trend. Here is a closeup:



So it might be that we should look for other explanations of unusually large sea ice retreats in the summers of 2007 and 2008. It has been suggested by NASA that winds and ocean currents are in part to blame, and by others that black carbon deposits on the ice from Chinese coal plants may also be increasing summer melt.

Whatever the case, there are a lot of good reasons to believe we are not seeing an "acceleration" in global warming. And a lot of very, very good reasons to believe we are not reaching a "tipping point." Tipping point implies that we have entered a regime where the climate is dominated by runaway positive feedback. I have addressed this topic many times, and will not address it right now, but in short all of the catastrophe in climate models is due not to the assumption of CO2 as a greenhouse gas (which actually tends to yield modest warming in models) but the assumption that the Earth's climate is dominated by substantial positive feedbacks. I discuss the entire topic of positive feedbacks and climate forecasts in the video below:



Update - if we add glaciers here in addition to sea ice, we see the same slow retreating trend. However, the trend goes back 200 years! That's 150 years longer than man has been producing substantial CO2 emissions. (source)

Source




Al Gore's Inconvenient Diet (Heh!)

Why is the world's foremost environmental crusader not a vegetarian? And why does he regularly stuff his face?

"The rule of reason," Al Gore '69 declared to a packed Tercentenary Theater a Wednesday, "must dictate our actions towards the environment." His speech pushed this theme, urging listeners to take drastic actions now for "the survival of our human civilization."

As the world faces the existential threat of climate change, the former Vice President has embarked on an admirable quest to reform carbon-heavy habits. Yet despite his talk of making inconvenient choices, Mr. Gore continues to indulge in one of the most environmentally irrational habits of all: eating meat.

A 2006 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization found that meat production generates almost a fifth of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions-more than the world's cars, planes, and trucks combined. Moreover, the report cited meat production as a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, and lost biodiversity. The scientists concluded "the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."

To put this in perspective, a University of Chicago study concluded that an individual American can do more to reduce global warming by going vegetarian than by driving a Prius.

Mr. Gore, a Prius driver, spoke at length on Wednesday about achieving energy independence. But one third of America's fossil fuel consumption is used solely to raise animals for meat, according to the estimate of E, an environmental magazine.

Moreover, factory farms emit large quantities of methane and nitrous oxide-pollutants with, respectively, 23 times and 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. That's why the organizers of the Live Earth concerts-at which Mr. Gore spoke-wrote in the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook that "refusing meat" is "the single most effective thing you can do to reduce global warming."

It might seem odd that Al Gore's bacon and eggs breakfast could have more impact on the environment than his choice to avoid SUV's. But meat production's inherent inefficiency creates its large carbon footprint.

Feeding animals for meat production requires growing ten times as many crops as producing directly for a plant-based diet. The land needed for these crops contributes to deforestation-a major cause of global warming. In 2006, Greenpeace unveiled a "KFC: Amazon Criminal" banner across the Brazilian rainforest to highlight the effect KFC's huge demand for chicken feed has in deforesting the Amazon Basin.

So why is Al Gore not a vegetarian?

Mr. Gore's spokespeople have consistently denied media requests to answer this question, but a few brave acolytes have tried to defend him. Their answers fall back on two points: that Mr. Gore's unique messenger status means it is his political actions, not his personal choices, that matter; and that his summit-filled lifestyle would make it hard to be a vegetarian.

Yet Mr. Gore's credibility hangs on embodying his political beliefs in his own lifestyle. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who as Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mr. Gore, is a vegetarian. Citing studies showing that producing 2.2 pounds of meat causes the emissions equivalent of 80 pounds of carbon dioxide, Dr Pachauri has publicly stated that the two best things an individual can do to fight global warming are to drive less and adopt a vegetarian diet.

But even if Mr. Gore finds it uniquely hard to go vegetarian, why does it matter? "An Inconvenient Truth" stresses that individuals must make bold changes to combat global warming. And on Wednesday, Mr. Gore spoke movingly of the need to approach the environment with "questions of fact, not questions of power." Today, the powers of custom and convenience support eating meat. The facts suggest that adopting a vegetarian diet is the single most powerful step an individual can take to combat climate change.

For the sake of the planet and his own credibility, Mr. Gore should follow those facts.

From Harvard Crimson




Potent greenhouse gas more common than estimated

Did the models account for this?

A potent greenhouse gas many thousands of times more effective at warming the world's atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) is four times more prevalent than previously thought, according to a study released Thursday. Researchers using a new NASA-funded measurement network discovered there was 4,200 metric tons of the gas nitrogen trifluoride in the atmosphere in 2006, not 1,200 tons as previously estimated for that year. In 2008 there are 5,400 metric tons of the gas in the atmosphere, an average of an 11 percent tonnage increase per year, said Ray Weiss, head of the research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.

Nitrogen trifluoride, which could not be detected in the atmosphere using previous techniques, is 17,000 times more potent as a global warming agent than a similar mass of CO2. Emissions of nitrogen trifluoride, which is one of several gases used during the manufacture of liquid crystal flat-panel TV displays and electronic microcircuits, were previously considered so low that the gas was not thought to be a significant potential contributor to global warming. As such the gas was not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions signed by 182 countries, but not by some industrialized nations including the United States. "Accurately measuring small amounts of nitrogen trifluoride in air has proven to be a very difficult experimental problem, and we are very pleased to have succeeded in this effort," Weiss said.

The study, published in the October 31 edition of the American Geophysical Union's Geophysical Research Letters, notes that together with the gas being more potent than CO2 at trapping solar heat within the atmosphere, it also survives in the atmosphere around five times longer than CO2.

At present, however, current nitrogen trifluoride emissions contribute only around 0.15 percent of the total global warming effect caused by human-produced CO2 emissions.

Source




A big new source of another powerful greenhouse gas discovered

Something else the models missed

A potential new source of methane -- a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide -- has been identified in ocean samples collected in Hawaii. "It has to do with bacteria degrading," said David Karl, a University of Hawaii oceanographer and microbial biologist. The discovery, which could have significant implications for global warming, was reported by Karl and his colleagues at the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education in a recent issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

Scientists have been tracking three major greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane -- Karl explained in an interview. He said methane was believed to form only in environments with no oxygen. But scientists could not explain why oxygen-rich ocean surface waters were supersaturated with methane. The high concentrations were out of balance with methane levels in the atmosphere, he said.

Working with Karl and his team "to solve that enigma" were Edward DeLong of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his colleagues. Karl directs the Center for Microbial Oceanography, and DeLong is co-director. They combined 20 years of data from observations at Station Aloha, about 60 miles north of Oahu, in the Hawaii Ocean Time-series program with new molecular tools developed by DeLong's group. The new technology allowed the scientists to look for the presence of genes that break down certain compounds. They found their answer in methylphosphonate, an unusual organic compound just discovered in the 1960s, Karl said.

Aerobic growth of certain bacteria on the compound in the laboratory can lead to methane production, but methylphosphonate degradation in the ocean had not been considered as a source of methane production in the sea, Karl said. He said the open ocean off Hawaii contains a high percentage of organisms that break down methylphosphonates. "Voila! You get methane." Not only is it a potential new source of methane, but it also comes from environments containing oxygen, he said. "That's what makes it remarkable that we haven't found it before. All world ocean has oxygen, so this means this process could be going on through most of the world's ocean and most of the land as well."

Methane has contributed about 20 percent to Earth's warming since pre-industrial times, with the world's oceans contributing 1 to 4 percent of the annual global emissions, the scientists reported. The volume of methane in the atmosphere is considerably less than carbon dioxide, but methane has a greater impact than carbon dioxide on a per-weight basis because it is better at trapping long-wavelength radiation, the researchers said. This keeps the earth habitable but also increases greenhouse warming.

People had been measuring methane in sea water and found the concentrations were higher than in the atmosphere, Karl said. "If methane was inert in the ocean, its concentration should be constant and nearly equal to the concentration in the atmosphere." He said he spent a decade trying to find out where the methane came from. He became frustrated because he was working under the expectation that methane could be found only in environments without oxygen, he said. In the late 1980s or early 1990s, he said, he published a paper about testing a hypothesis that methane was formed in an oxygenated environment. "I always thought maybe there was another pathway to production of methane in the open ocean. I always wanted to solve that enigma."

DeLong said the next step is "to learn how and when microbial communities turn on and off their methane production genes in response to the methane precursors, like methylphosphonate, in their natural environment." "This should provide new insights about the 'who' and 'how' of this newly discovered methane-generating process in the sea."

Karl said the new ocean source of methane production must be incorporated into global climate thinking. "We have to know how methane from the ocean will change as climate changes." If the ocean warms as predicted, he said, it will accelerate methane production, and that methane will go into the atmosphere and cause the greenhouse effect to accelerate, further warming the ocean. "It will feed back on itself and go on and on until something else happens."

Source




THE GREENIE NONSENSE GRUMBLES ON IN AUSTRALIA

Three current articles below

Carbon tax is just tilting at windmills

By Gary Johns (Gary Johns was a minister in the Keating Labor Party government)

The one certainty of climate change (anthropogenic or not) is that it is unstoppable. Government advertisements suggest worst-case scenarios but they do not concede that these are no less likely should Australia cut its carbon dioxide output. Whether or not you believe in man-made climate change, it's out of our control. More significantly, it is out of the control of every political leader. There is no prospect that nations will agree on global action sufficient to reduce the total level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

At some point, probably about the time the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill - a carbon tax - comes before parliament and in the lead-up to the next election, the electorate will realise they are being asked to pay for something they cannot have: a guarantee against climate change.

What they can have is a plan to adapt to climate change, as and when it occurs. This plan is not much in evidence. The politics of such a plan are easy: do not waste money on a carbon tax. What is the betting that in the political void created by the realisation that resistance to climate change is futile, a No Carbon Tax Party will emerge?

The world will agree to do no more than slow the rate of increase of carbon emissions a head. At best, the West will decrease its total output a little and the rest will increase their output a little more slowly than would otherwise be the case. The rate of population increase and industrial development will ensure an overall increase. In other words, there is no chance of capping the global output of carbon dioxide, much less reducing it. But the major Australian political parties and for different reasons the Greens will continue to talk of carbon reduction as if it will stop climate change.

The question is not which country will be last to sign up to a new climate change agreement, but which will be first to call a stop to the attempt. The key policy question is how Australia can waste the least amount of money avoiding the unavoidable. Every dollar saved on not proceeding with the carbon tax can be devoted to adapting to climate change as and when it occurs.

The real response to climate change is straightforward. The Queensland Government's response to the five-year drought, perhaps the most important risk of climate change, in southeast Queensland is a good example. Wisely, the Queensland Government decided it could not stop the drought (climate change) and it did not try. Instead, it responded to the needs of citizens for water by restricting water use and spending $9 billion drought-proofing the economy. It is building a new dam, thereby spreading the area of rainfall capture, connecting the dams to enable water to be pumped around in response to rainfall change, recycling water and building a desalination plant. Broadly, these are the only responses a government could make.

As the dams have filled and the alternative sources of water come nearer to completion, the Government is seeking an exit strategy from drought restrictions. Life in southeast Queensland will return to normal despite the drought, and the region will have adapted, as rich economies can and do. Southeast Queensland water users will pay the price, indeed are probably happy to, given the insignificant cost of water compared to its immense significance to everyday life. This is the real climate change debate. If the electorate sees it and tastes it, it will pay the bill. By contrast, the carbon tax looks like tilting at windmills.

The carbon tax will not stop the need for climate adaption. Even under the Greens' scenario for a carbon-free economy, climate change will occur but the economy would be less able to afford to adjust.

Within a generation, the main polluters will be the likes of China and India. These countries will want specific climate deals to suit their needs. They may berate Australia for being a higher per capita polluter, but China will want all of the liquid natural gas, and India will want all of the uranium we can sell. By contrast, international agreements to restrain carbon dioxide output will be so much hot air.

The electorate would like its leaders to fix the problem, but if it dawns on voters that there is no "stop climate change" option, they will be angry at the consequent underspend on adaption. What chance a No Carbon Tax senator or two by 2010?

Source

Warmist laws to hit West Australia's economy

Western Australia's Government says Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme is a "half-baked" plan that threatens the state's economy. Treasurer Troy Buswell yesterday called for the 2010 start date to be deferred until a raft of problems were resolved. Business leaders have asked for the start to be delayed because of the downturn threatening to plunge the world into recession. Mr Buswell said the federal Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in its present form risked driving major industries overseas, as well as causing investment in the west to slow to a trickle, with "untold implications" for jobs and families.

Releasing the state's submission to the CPRS green paper, Mr Buswell said he supported national action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but much more work was needed to make the present concept workable. "Rather than reducing greenhouse, the outcome from imposing a half-baked scheme in Australia could in fact be a rise in overall global emissions should industries move away to locations with fewer environmental rules and lower costs," he said.

The Government's submission says Western Australia is the most trade-exposed economy in the nation and would suffer the negative economic effects of carbon leakage more than any other jurisdiction. Almost 47 per cent of the state's income is derived from exports, compared with about 20 per cent of the national income. "Based on the preliminary analysis ... alumina is the only commodity in the state's top 10 exports by value that would be eligible for compensation, exposing the remaining $51.6 billion of export value to the full effect of the carbon price," the submission says. "A considerable portion of this value is derived from products for which the price is set internationally and for which it will be difficult to pass on the carbon price."

It says commodities that would be affected include gold, petroleum and oil, nickel and copper ore and other base metal ores. More work was needed to improve the compensation formula, which should be changed to better reflect the effect of the carbon price on the operating margin of individual companies.

Consideration should also be given to a sliding scale to allow compensation to be targeted to activities where the likelihood of carbon leakage was greatest, to overcome the arbitrariness of hard thresholds. There was particular concern about the impact on the liquefied natural gas industry and the prospect that new projects planned for Western Australia could be shelved, leading to future shortages of domestic gas. "Much of Western Australia's new domestic gas supply depends on applying the state's domestic reservation gas policy to new LNG developments," the submission says.

Mr Buswell said the 2010 start gave insufficient lead time for companies to make changes. The submission notes the Howard government had been considering 2012 and questioned the switch by Mr Rudd. "It is unclear how the acceleration of the start date for the CPRS has been accommodated without compromising the quality of the final design and the level of preparedness of liable parties," it says.

Source

Farmers angry at laws to "save" Barrier Reef

This is just the usual Green/Left hatred of business. That farm runoff has a significant impact on the reef is just theory. No double-blind studies have been done

FARMERS' fears have been realised as the State Government moves to introduce land run-off regulations to reduce pollution on the Barrier Reef. Premier Anna Bligh made the announcement at yesterday's Reef Summit in Brisbane, calling on assembled groups to help formulate a workable framework, targets and a timeframe.

Ms Bligh said research had shown five years of voluntary adoption of land management practices under the 2003 10-year Reef Water Quality Action Plan had not worked. She said it was time to ensure all farmers were using best practices to control use of fertilisers, pesticides and run-off to improve water quality and the Reef's resistance to climate change.

"The science is absolutely clear ... we continue to see unacceptably high levels of damaging nutrients on the Reef," she said. "We know that there are many contributing factors to the water quality of reef, and we're already addressing a number of those (but) science is telling us that the highest levels of damaging chemicals and nutrients are in those areas that have intense farming activities." Ms Bligh pledged a "significant" increase of the current $25 million funding a year and said she hoped to have the regulations in place "sometime in 2009".

Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO John Cherry said regulation would undermine any goodwill built up with farmers in the last decade and the $200 million Reef Rescue Plan, an industry-conservation-Federal Government partnership. "Landholders will be very disappointed. We've had a 20 per cent reduction in fertiliser application rates and we think we can reduce by another 20-25 per cent over the next decade with meaningful support from the Reef Rescue Plan and the State Government," he said. "But you pick a fight, you destroy goodwill and those sorts of achievements are less achievable."

Canegrowers CEO Ian Ballantyne said farmers were not "happy polluters" but were committed to adopting best practice to maximise the benefits of fertilisers to their farms. Mr Ballantyne said while the federal Reef Rescue Plan would support farmers to adopt best practice, the state had moved to undermine it. "Regulation tends to mean one size fits all, regulation has to be prescriptive and it has to apply to each and every farm, and it has to be overly administered," he said.

World Wide Fund for Nature's Nick Heath said they were cautiously optimistic about the planned regulation but were waiting to see the detail before celebrating.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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26 October, 2008

Climate Alarmism's Flimsy Foundation

Forget pretty much any news reporting you see that attributes disastrous phenomena to global warming, because it's all designed to create a fog surrounding the core issue: is climate change human-caused or not? A most recent example is from Monday's Washington Post, in which alarmist reporter Kari Lydersen (who has a long record of such journalism, in addition to work she does for leftist publications such as In These Times and the Progressive, on topics including "environmental racism") told about how waterborne diseases are expected to multiply due to future climate devastation:
Now, scientists say, it is a near-certainty that global warming will drive significant increases in waterborne diseases around the world. Rainfalls will be heavier, triggering sewage overflows, contaminating drinking water and endangering beachgoers. Higher lake and ocean temperatures will cause bacteria, parasites and algal blooms to flourish. Warmer weather and heavier rains also will mean more mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile virus, malaria and dengue fever. Fresh produce and shellfish are more likely to become contaminated.
The inevitable devastating consequences, as in so many environmentalist reporter articles, dominate the opening paragraphs of Lydersen's piece. She follows by asserting that a trend of heavier rainfalls "will accelerate," citing the 2007 report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I asked Lydersen where in the IPCC report it states with certainty that heavier rainfalls would rapidly increase, and she promised to get back to me on that -- "That was paraphrasing, not a direct quote from the report," she told me in an email.

I'm sure. Regardless, this kind of distractive reporting buttresses the lucrative industry that is global warming alarmism. "It's going to cause sea levels to rise!" cry the coastal scientists and fisheries experts. "It will massively displace wildlife!" scream the biological scientists. "It will prolong droughts and intensify rainfalls," warn the geologists and agricultural scientists. Their wailing fills up their applications for billions of dollars in grants from governments and sympathetic nonprofit foundations.

But these outcries miss the point, because they do not address the core issue of whether the temperature uptick (of one degree Celsius) over the last century is attributable chiefly to man's influence and thus mitigable, or to natural fluctuations and that nothing can be done about it. In other words, the vast majority of research (80 percent? 90 percent? more?) tied to climate change has nothing to do with its cause. Therefore we have a whole derivative economic sector constructed on the foundation of a single premise: that increasing greenhouse gas emissions are having a greater impact on global climate than are other phenomena such as solar activity, cloud cover, ocean temperatures, El Nino/La Nina, etc.

If that single thesis is deemed false, then all these offshoot opportunities for researchers, government, universities, nonprofits, rent seekers, and media goes into a deep chill. Goodbye grants. Adios agency positions. Ciao, charitable contributions. So long, subsidies. And where hast thou gone, writing awards? Just think -- if it's shown beyond the mainstream media's reach that carbon dioxide and its gaseous sisters (methane and a few others) do not jack up the atmospheric temps, we would no longer have to live under the environoia of this collaborative claptrap.

So obviously it's in each of the alarmists' interests to dismiss their dissenters and undermine any evidence that global warming is not a threat to the planet or to mankind. Jim Martin, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has said, "You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth."

There was the classic Newsweek smear job by Sharon Begley last August which labeled some differing-but-credible climate scientists as a fossil fuel industry-funded "denial machine." Meanwhile the green-journalism Society of Environmental Journalists marginalizes the opposers as "skeptics and contrarians." Discourteous folks call 'em "flat-earthers."

But the difficulty of the alarmists' protectionist task only grows. There has been no significant warming since 1995, and none at all since 1997. The numbers of detracting scientists were already sizable and are only continuing to grow (PDF). The oceans are cooling, Antarctic ice grows, current temperature measuring data are biased in favor of heat, and legitimate explanations for Arctic ice loss (by the way, not an unprecedented phenomenon) other than increased greenhouse gases are published.

When you think about it, the global warming industry is not dissimilar to the current mortgage-instigated mess the country now faces. We have a planetary heat crisis and an insufficient home ownership crisis. Government demands intervention to remedy both mistaken theories. Media joins in celebrating and promoting the new agenda. A bubbling system of artificial wealth is created. But because both foundations are shaky, they cannot hold up the continued weight placed upon them. One has finally collapsed. When will the other?

Source (See the original for links)




Seeding doubt: how sceptics use new media to delay action on climate change

By Alex Lockwood, University of Sunderland. Paper delivered to the Association for Journalism Education (AJE) annual conference, "New Media, New Democracy?" Sheffield University, 12th September 2008. Some deeply Fascist attitudes from a very dogmatic man. He offers not a single argument in favour of his warmist beliefs. He just asserts their truth

This paper explores the ways in which new media is used to derail action on climate change. Climate change can be a gloomy subject; but in the spirit of this conference I'll attempt to map out some productive coordinates for what is an increasingly urgent question. First I provide a (very) brief summary of the scientific consensus, and examples of where this is undermined online. Then I explore whether this phenomena is of substantive enough importance for our attention. Finally, I address its implications for new media and democratic renewal.

On 3rd August this year, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri told the Chicago Tribune: "The science about climate change is very clear. There really is no room for doubt at this point."i Since publication of the 4th IPCC report in 2007, the mainstream media has, in general, accepted this position. As Andreadis and Smith (2007) note, UK journalists are no longer required to balance each warning voice. Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, Cristine Russell concurred, suggesting that for US journalists "the era of `equal time' for sceptics... is largely over."ii

However, the results of a long campaign of disinformation are depressing. In a poll conducted by Ipsos Mori in June this year, 60% of the UK public agreed that "many scientific experts still question if humans are contributing to climate change." A third of Conservative MPsiii and three?quarters of Republicans in Congress think the same.iv

What is new media's role in this? Nearly a quarter of the world's population now use the Internet on a regular basis.v Over 41 million people went online in the UK in March 2008, 67% of the population.vi Yet little research has been conducted into the web's influence on climate consensus. It is interesting to return to Cristine Russell and her claim that "the era of `equal time' for sceptics... is largely over, except," she adds "on talk radio, cable and local television."vii

I have argued in a response to the CJRviii that Russell's list must include new media. My definition here includes what Clay Shirky calls the extra-institutional blogosphere (Shirky, 2008), as well as mainstream media and the multitude comments and links that extend through the web. It is my contention that new media is providing the spatial and temporal freedoms that, when combined with the ability to publish free from peer-review and from journalistic codes, provides the `room for doubt' for which Pachauri says there is no longer any time.

Do we have time for ill-informed scepticism and disinformation? As Oreskes and Renouf revealed just this Sunday on BBC2, we've had 30 years of it now.ix The IPCC warn that we have only 10 years to act to avoid runaway climate change. The question could also be: does our democracy even have time for new media? Such a question is, to quote Raymond Williams, writing in 1974, one of the "extreme social choices" that we have to face as the result of a technology that is "used to affect, to alter, and in some cases control our whole social process" (Williams, 1974).

Anna Notaro argues, convincingly, this is more relevant for the Internet today than TV in the 1970s (Notaro, 2006). At around the same time, writing in 1971, Robert Dahl described societies as `polyarchies' or worlds of competing interests, where contested information is just one facet of that competition. This is a useful way to think about climate change in relation to democratic renewal, as sceptic discourses have been found to sow doubt as a means to protect the economic interests of Western enclaves (McCright and Dunlap, 2003).

What is the contribution made to this contest by new media? The question hangs off three issues: use, volume, and impact. I'll take each in turn. First, in what ways is new media used to spread sceptical discourse? Three examples. In December 2007, the New Statesman published an article by David Whitehouse claiming "global warming has, temporarily or permanently, ceased."x Three weeks later, New Statesman columnist and climate author Mark Lynas wrote: "Whitehouse got it wrong - completely wrong."xi Web editor Ben Davies let the forum debate run five months, attracting 3,004 comments: this could not happen in a letters page.

This delivers the promise of what Howard Rheingold saw as "a way of revitalising the open and widespread discussions among citizens that feeds the roots of democratic society" (Rheingold 1993). The important thing here is that the comments were in support of the sceptic Whitehouse, by a ratio of about six to one. Do we believe this ratio is representative, or just mimics the internecine morass afflicting news sites such as the Guardian's Comment is Free?

The same ratio was quoted by Downing and Ballantyne in their 2007 report `Turning Point or Tipping Point?' for comments received after the airing of Channel 4's Great Global Warming Swindle. According to them "Channel 4 anecdotally reported that among the 700 comments it received [including phone, but mainly online], supporters outnumbered critics six to one." Channel 4 Head of Documentaries Hamish Mykura, writing in the Guardian, used this `anecdotal' evidence to shore up its broadcast (to 2.7m viewers).xii

That comment-board rants are used to justify such flawed programming is indicative of the force of new media in promulgating sceptical positions. Andy Revkin, on the New York Times Dot Earth Blog in July, writes of the "whiplash" suffered by the public, "created by blow-by-blow media coverage of scientific findings on global warming." He quotes an expert on risk from Harvard, who explains the dizzying confusion as the result of "flaws in the web of relationships among participants in communication; these tend to amplify overstatements."

Revkin continues: "In the comments below, I'll add ideas and context provided by other experts whose voices didn't fit in the newspaper article-one of the values of a blog is that it provides depth for those seeking it."xiii Revkin handily summarises how his own new media practice-to compensate for the paper's space limitations-is central to the confusion he describes, and prompts us ask: how is it that unlimited new media space a priori has a wider set of parameters for assessing authentic viewpoints?

These examples are illustrative of the myriad ways in which different forms of new media are utilized to support climate disinformation. I have specifically chosen mainstream media sites, and their permeation into other forms of media, rather than individual blogs, to move away from the idea that it is only single issue fanatics (SIFs) that propagate climate denial.

There is presence, but what of the volume? There is very little research in this area, perhaps because as of February this year there were 112m blogs tracked by Technorati.com, not including the 72.8m in China.xiv In research to be published, Neil Gavin argues that few people are searching out climate change information online, and those that are find "an environment that is more digital jungle than `public cyber?sphere'" (Gavin, forthcoming).

However, rather than Googling as Gavin does, turning up 80 million entries for climate change or global warming, another starting point is to look at blog aggregation sites. While this omits traditional media, it is a good measure for extra-institutional influence. On Wikio, four of the top 20 science blogs are sceptics. The most successful, WattsUpWiththat.com, the US-based blog of sceptic and former weatherman Anthony Watts, in July this year posted 646,024 page views (2.8m since launch). It is in the top four of 3.4m blogs using the free online blog authoring tool, Wordpress xv. Using the latest Nielsen Net Ratings data, even the most conservative estimate would give it over 300,000 monthly visits and a readership of over 31,000 users.xvi Compare that to the New Statesman's 12.7% year-on-year decline, to headline sales of just over 26,000.

It is not just individuals. In McCright and Dunlap's 2003 study of the US rejection of Kyoto, they focused on 14 conservative think tanks that used their publishing capacities to "advance science-related positions outside of the peer-reviewed scientific community" (McCright & Dunlap, 2003). Of the 14 think tanks, eight have progressed to using blogs formats, e.g. Cato-at- Liberty, of the Cato Institute singled out for its propaganda in Nick Davies' book (Davies, 2008); the other six all publish daily or weekly updates on their existing sites.

In the UK sceptic sites are fewer, but are well read and bound up with concepts of nationalism. Climate denialist An Englishman's Castle is in Total Politics magazine's Top 20 libertarian blogs. Political sites dominate online, and many libertarian sites such as Newsbusters.com (70th most influential blog, according to Technorati.com) regularly support denialist views. It reminds us of John Armitage's note of warning, that "cybercultural technologies, like all technologies, are innately political" (Armitage, 1999).

In August Australia's ABC TV ran a news item where bloggers, not politicians, were the key sources. Australia's Herald Sun blogger Andrew Bolt was an interviewee. This his blog warning to a "lazy media": Many politicians tell me they've drawn on the blog for evidence to get their party to get tougher in resisting the global warming hysteria... But more than that, blogs like mine have given frustrated academics, even from India and Canada, a place to send dissenting material on global warming that much of the media prefers to ignore. A debate the media often says is "over" is on again. Thanks to blogs.xvii

Analysis of online does need some healthy, well, scepticism. As Mathew Nisbet argues, the fragmentation of media has meant information rich science enthusiasts get richer, while the lay citizen becomes even further excluded from the debate (Nisbet, forthcoming). And in his book Zero Comments, Geert Lovink critiques blogs for their `nihilist impulse' to undermine traditional media values through their in-crowd dynamic in which social ranking is the primary concern (Lovink, 2006). The rise of the issue enthusiast and lay expert is part of the `citizen journalism' revolution and is providing, to quote online journalism blogger Paul Bradshaw, "more boots on the ground than any commercial news operation... more background, savvy and commitment to the case."xviii

This has been rightly celebrated. But ascribing a "technological idealism" to the democratic potential of the Internet risks holding it apart from history and politics (Notaro, 2006). Anthony Watts and A Englishman's Castle are boots on the ground, but ones leaving heavy footprints.

So there is volume, but what of its impact? In research to be published, Krosnick found that including a sceptical perspective in a news story about global warming reduced the proportion of those who perceived scientific consensus from 58 to 47 percent.xix It is perhaps a question of amplification, the ways in which message multipliers use the web to not only publish but proliferate.xx In one of the few pieces of research addressing the issue, Ladle et al. tracked one climate science report published in the journal Nature, and found considerable misrepresentation of the report across the Internet from "self-styled `not forprofit' foundations with an explicit right-leaning political agenda" (Ladle et al., 2005). They found that "though there are relatively few anti-environmentalist sites on the Internet, they tend to rank high on search engines" due to optimization and in-crowd linking. The dangers of the amplification could result in, "web-literate laypersons [being] easily misled or polarised, undermining the considered public debate that underpins effective environmental policy" (Ibid.).

Perhaps the best known example of political impact has been the work of sceptical blogger Steve McIntyre, whose criticisms of the hockey stick graph used in the IPCC reports led to a US Congressional Committee to examine its validity. And politicians are beginning to engage further with online. In June, Liberal Democrat MP and environment spokesperson Steve Webb launched a campaign with `ten green bloggers' to influence the government to increase emissions reductions targets in the Climate Change Bill to 80%.xxi He may have been following Al Gore's recent surprise visit to the bloggers assembled at the Netroots Nation conference, telling them they "were on the leading edge of reclaiming American democracy."xxii And as Andreas Ytterstad says in his study of Norwegian blogger influence on government climate policy, misquoting H.G. Wells, it is surely the shape of things to come (Ytterstad 2008). According to Ofcom, UK use of online increased fourfold between 2002 and 2007.xxiii

So what does this mean for new media's democratic value? There is clearly a need for research into the ways in which climate scepticism online is free to contest scientific fact. But there is enough here already to put forward some of the ideas in circulation. One of the founders of the Internet Vint Cerf, and lead for Google's Internet for Everyone project, made a recent suggestion that the Internet should be nationalised as a public utility .xxiv As tech policy blogger Jim Harper argues, "giving power over the Internet to well-heeled interests and self-interested politicians" is, and I quote, "a bad idea."xxv Or in the UK every new online publication could be required to register with the recently announced Internet watchdog: from which at least the ownership and political economy of the web could be assessed.

However, a tale from Belarus, where a law requiring registration with the national government of every new blog has just been signed into force. Rightly, Reporters Without Borders called the law "repressive" and predict that censorship will increase.xxvi Suppressing debate where it legitimately exists risks leaving the mainstream agenda open to dismissal. `Green bully' and `religious environmentalist' personas are invoked as evidence of hysteria at the heart of environmental commitment.

In April this year, blogger Jo Abbess urged her readers to "challenge any piece of media that seems like it's been subject to spin or scepticism" after successfully petitioning the BBC's Roger Harrabin to correct an error on the news website.xxvii This was picked up by online magazine The Register, under the headline "Blog bully crows over BBC Climate Victory."xxviii

Ladle et al. advocate for "a clear, definitive, authoritative and realistic web resource written in accessible language that is explicit about the assumptions and limitations of the work... [and] a framework within which people can access information about new science, allowing them to access and judge information and its implications" (Ladle et al., 2005). While perhaps a utopian view, this does fit with the Habermasian [Juergen Habermas, a prominent Marxist theoretician] "electronic agora" promoted by Rheingold and others, and almost describes Yale University's new climate project, Yale 360.xxix

Finally, in his book The Future of the Internet: and How to Stop It, Jonathan Zittrain builds on his idea of a `generative Internet' that, borrowing from Chomsky, is predicated on the idea that finite tools-a PC, some code, enthusiasm-will lead to infinite new media freedoms. But Zittrain warns this is under threat from spam, viruses and malware, which for Becky Hogge, Founder of the Open Rights Group, are "turning people away from the Internet" into the arms of single networks tethered to corporate providers, such as Apple's iPhone or Microsoft's Xbox.xxx

I would argue that climate disinformation online is a form of cultural and political malware every bit as threatening to our new media freedoms, used not to foster a forum for open politics but to create, in Nancy Fraser's term, a "multiplicity of fragmented publics" that harms not only our democracy, but our planet (Fraser, 1993).

I promised I wouldn't be too miserable, so I'll leave you with: last month, a two-part article in the Columbia Journalism Review was written solely in response to not even a blog writer, but a blog commenter, Jeff Huggins, who has relentlessly challenged the ways in which climate change has been represented.xxxi As the scientists at RealClimate.org stated, these articles were "proof (if such were needed) that commenting on blogs can make a difference."xxxii

Source




Should Greenies love hurricanes?

The torrential rains of a single typhoon can bury tons of carbon in the ocean, two new studies suggest. It's Nature's way of healing itself.

The findings help determine how much carbon that big storms have historically taken from the atmosphere and buried for thousands of years beneath the sea. More carbon could be buried by these storms if global warming increases their intensity and frequency, as some scientists have predicted.

Scientists have been looking at ways to store carbon to lower the levels of carbon dioxide building up in Earth's atmosphere. Scientists have long suspected that hurricanes and typhoons (along with cyclones and tropical depressions, these are all versions of storm systems called tropical cyclones) can cleanse the environment of a lot of carbon, because their rains sweep soil and plant material into rivers and then out to sea. This effect is particularly significant for mountainous islands prone to frequent hits from tropical cyclones.

Two different groups of researchers took samples of the sediment in rushing river waters on Taiwan during Typhoon Mindulle, which hit the island in July 2004.

One group, whose findings are detailed in the Oct. 19 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, took sediment samples from the LiWu River, while the other group, whose work is detailed in the June 2008 issue of the journal Geology, sampled the Chosui River.

The Nature Geoscience study, funded by The Cambridge Trusts and the U.K. National Environmental Research Council, found that 80 to 90 percent of the organic carbon (in the form of soil and plants) eroded by the storms around the LiWu were transported along the river to the ocean. By dangling one-liter plastic bottles over the Chosui River during the typhoon, the researchers of the Geology study found that 61 million tons of sediment washed out to sea from the river. The amount of carbon contained in that sediment is about 95 percent as much as the river transports during normal rains over the entire year. That works out to more than 400 tons of carbon washing away during the storm for each square mile of the watershed, the researchers reported. Their work was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The carbon in the soil and plants came from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When the storm washes the sediment out to sea, it can sink down to the deep ocean, where it will eventually compact and form rocks that can store that carbon for millions of years.

If typhoons and hurricanes do become more intense or frequent, as some models have indicated, the burial of carbon in the ocean from storm runoff could counteract some part of the warming, by locking the carbon away in the deep ocean, the researchers of the Nature Geoscience study said.

But typhoon runoff is not a cure-all for the carbon dioxide that's been building up in the Earth's atmosphere. Not enough carbon is washed down either as plant material and soil or by chemical weathering of rocks (where carbon dioxide and water disintegrate rock) to get rid of all the extra carbon dioxide that has built up in the atmosphere. "You'd have to weather [and erode] all the volcanic rocks in the world to reduce the CO2 back to pre-industrial times," said Anne Carey of Ohio State University and a member of the Geology study team.

Understanding how typhoon runoff fits into the Earth's carbon cycle could help sharpen climate change models, though.

Source




Green Drivel, Green Deceit

We are all so besieged by the drivel that Greens put out daily that it is easy to forget how idiotic it is and, in many cases, how deceitful it is.

I recently received an emailed news release with the following headline: "If you don't know what to buy for the holidays, the Better World Shopping Guide will help you decide." The Guide is described as "a must-have guide for the socially and environmentally responsible consumer or those who want to improve their awareness."

The guide purports to evaluate 1,000 companies and 75 product categories to determine "a product's value by price point and its cost to society." This, my friends, is bull feathers! When you are buying Christmas gifts this year, buy something the recipients will actually enjoy. If you're in the mall trying to figure out which product threatens all life on Earth, you are certifiably insane.

Slowly, but surely, people are beginning to realize that the environmental movement is not about saving the Earth, but about destroying everything that passes for industry, business, and the enhancement of human life through the use of every kind of energy for transportation and other purposes.

An example of this is a recent editorial in New Scientist magazine titled, "The Folly of Growth: How to stop the economy killing the planet." Using the "environment" to hide behind, all manner of lies are put forth to justify everything from preposterous schemes such as "cap and trade" of "greenhouse gas emissions", also sometimes called "pollution credits", to the claim that we have to scrap the most effective means of generating electricity, coal and nuclear, for wind turbines and solar panels.

The famous line from the movie about the Watergate scandal was "Follow the money." Who will get rich selling "carbon/pollution credits"? Al Gore and his friends. Who benefits from efforts such as a proposition on the ballot in San Francisco to require that only "clean" energy be used? The owners and investors in wind and solar energy.

The bonus for the Greens is that these and other schemes will impoverish the economy worse than any sub-prime mortgage meltdown. If you have to pay out millions for "carbon credits", as utilities around the nation are already doing, the person who gets socked with the cost is ultimately to consumer.

Making energy expensive is the single most effective way of wrecking the economy.

To achieve this goal, the nation's environmental organizations are pouring millions into getting Barack Obama elected. The trade publication, Greenwire, has published an article that affirms the findings of Sen. James Inhofe's (R-OK) investigation into the multi-million dollar funding and partisan political activities of environmental groups. They are non-profits that are not supposed to engage in partisan political activities, but as the article points out, "In every instance, the environmental groups are backing the Democrat."

Whether it's what to buy for Christmas, the increased cost of the electricity from your utility or national politics, the Greens are involved via propaganda, bizarre schemes to undermine the nation's energy needs, or who gets elected.

You are being played for a chump while the Greens pick your pockets.

Source




Less Ice In Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 Years Ago

I guess it was all those SUVs the cavemen were driving

Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free.

"The climate in the northern regions has never been milder since the last Ice Age than it was about 6000-7000 years ago. We still don't know whether the Arctic Ocean was completely ice free, but there was more open water in the area north of Greenland than there is today," says Astrid Lys, a geologist and researcher at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU).

Shore features

Together with her NGU colleague, Eiliv Larsen, she has worked on the north coast of Greenland with a group of scientists from the University of Copenhagen, mapping sea-level changes and studying a number of shore features. She has also collected samples of driftwood that originated from Siberia or Alaska and had these dated, and has collected shells and microfossils from shore sediments.

"The architecture of a sandy shore depends partly on whether wave activity or pack ice has influenced its formation. Beach ridges, which are generally distinct, very long, broad features running parallel to the shoreline, form when there is wave activity and occasional storms. This requires periodically open water," Astrid Lysa explains.

Pack-ice ridges which form when drift ice is pressed onto the seashore piling up shore sediments that lie in its path, have a completely different character. They are generally shorter, narrower and more irregular in shape.

Open sea

"The beach ridges which we have had dated to about 6000-7000 years ago were shaped by wave activity," says Astrid Lys. They are located at the mouth of Independence Fjord in North Greenland, on an open, flat plain facing directly onto the Arctic Ocean. Today, drift ice forms a continuous cover from the land here.

Astrid Lysa says that such old beach formations require that the sea all the way to the North Pole was periodically ice free for a long time. "This stands in sharp contrast to the present-day situation where only ridges piled up by pack ice are being formed," she says.

However, the scientists are very careful about drawing parallels with the present-day trend in the Arctic Ocean where the cover of sea ice seems to be decreasing. "Changes that took place 6000-7000 years ago were controlled by other climatic forces than those which seem to dominate today," Astrid Lysa believes. [Injecting belief into science??]

Inuit immigration

The mapping at 82 degrees North took place in summer 2007 as part of the LongTerm project, a sub-project of the major International Polar Year project, SciencePub. The scientists also studied ruined settlements dating from the first Inuit immigration to these desolate coasts.

The first people from Alaska and Canada, called the Independence I Culture, travelled north-east as far as they could go on land as long ago as 4000-4500 years ago. The scientists have found out that drift ice had formed on the sea again in this period, which was essential for the Inuit in connection with their hunting. No beach ridges have been formed since then.

"Seals and driftwood were absolutely vital if they were to survive. They needed seals for food and clothing, and driftwood for fuel when the temperature crept towards minus 50 degrees. For us, it is inconceivable and extremely impressive," says Eiliv Larsen, the NGU scientist and geologist.

Source




Australia: More climate correctness

First "global warming" became "climate change". Now we have ....

Government experts say the word "drought" is making farmers feel bad and want people to use the word "dryness" instead. Farmers also needed to accept that drier weather was here to stay, said a report by the Government's hand-picked Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel.

"Words like drought ... have negative connotations for farm families," the report said. "There needs to be a new national approach to living with dryness, as we prefer to call it, rather than dealing with drought."

The report criticised the Government's $1 billion annual drought program, under which drought-stricken farmers are paid Exceptional Circumstances (EC) funding. "For all the assistance provided, farm families, rural businesses and communities currently living with dryness in rural Australia do not feel or perceive they are measurably better off," the report said. Farming families in drought-declared areas can get an EC payment of up to $21,000 a year. The report quoted some farmers as saying EC payments rewarded unproductive and irresponsible farmers and were of no help to good operators.

Panel chairman Peter Kenny said dryness was tough for farmers. "We wonder why people have got so much pressure on them out there and they are blowing their brains out and there is a lot of them doing that," he said. "It is clear that drought is having an impact on the wellbeing of farming families and rural communities."

Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said the report showed rural families were not communicating with each other about their hardships. The Government had not got the policy right on tackling drought, he said. "Significant funds have gone to try and help rural communities, but you can't have these sorts of social outcomes and say that we've got it right," he said.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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25 October, 2008

Service outage

I am suffering from a cable service outage at the moment and Telstra say there is no end in sight to the problem.

So probably no posts here today. Maybe tomorrow.

I am writing this from an internet cafe, which has very limited facilities for my purposes.





24 October, 2008

GREENIE SCIENTISTS: OUR MODELS DO SO REFLECT REALITY: SO THERE!

But they can only show that by using "new observational estimates of surface and tropospheric temperature" -- i.e. by fudging the data. Journal abstract follows:

Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere

By B. D. Santer et al.

A recent report of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) identified a potentially serious inconsistency between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates (Karl et al., 2006). Early versions of satellite and radiosonde datasets suggested that the tropical surface had warmed more than the troposphere, while climate models consistently showed tropospheric amplification of surface warming in response to human-caused increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs).

We revisit such comparisons here using new observational estimates of surface and tropospheric temperature changes. We find that there is no longer a serious discrepancy between modelled and observed trends in tropical lapse rates.

This emerging reconciliation of models and observations has two primary explanations. First, because of changes in the treatment of buoy and satellite information, new surface temperature datasets yield slightly reduced tropical warming relative to earlier versions. Second, recently developed satellite and radiosonde datasets show larger warming of the tropical lower troposphere. In the case of a new satellite dataset from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), enhanced warming is due to an improved procedure of adjusting for inter-satellite biases. When the RSS-derived tropospheric temperature trend is compared with four different observed estimates of surface temperature change, the surface warming is invariably amplified in the tropical troposphere, consistent with model results. Even if we use data from a second satellite dataset with smaller tropospheric warming than in RSS, observed tropical lapse rate trends are not significantly different from those in all other model simulations.

Our results contradict a recent claim that all simulated temperature trends in the tropical troposphere and in tropical lapse rates are inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on use of older radiosonde and satellite datasets, and on two methodological errors: the neglect of observational trend uncertainties introduced by interannual climate variability, and application of an inappropriate statistical consistency test

International Journal of Climatology, 2008, Volume 28 Issue 13, Pages 1703 - 1722

In case anyone is inclined to take the above claim seriously, Steve McIntyre is ripping it into small pieces at the moment. A key point he makes is that they use data up until 1999 only. If you use data up to 2007, that nasty gap the Greenies are trying to eliminate emerges again! Yet more data fudging needed!




Try not to Laugh

Student volunteers from colleges around New York State braved freezing cold temperatures on their bikes Wednesday to send a message to state and federal political candidates: pay attention to climate change.

The New York Public Interest Research Group helped organize the ride. Environmentalists cheered on the bikers as they stopped in Utica around noon. They want candidates to let voters know what they plan to do about global warming and the energy crisis.

NYPIRG and several other public interest groups also sent letters to the candidates, urging them to support policies that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Source




EUROPE'S OPTIONS GET EVEN NARROWER

Their climate policies are already too expensive for them as is -- and now their costs for natural gas seem about to rise. They use a lot of gas because it puts out less CO2 than coal. So they now have yet more pressure to build more of those BAD (but cheap) coal-fired electricity generators. And their CO2 emissions will rise inexoraby. How hair-tearing! And the alternative is nuclear -- which is even more hair-tearing!

Europe would have to rethink its energy policy if Russia, Iran and Qatar go ahead with an OPEC-style cartel on natural gas, the European Commission warned Wednesday. EU spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny said the European Union preferred to see gas traded on a free and transparent market. He said the EU executive was not opposed to energy suppliers cooperating more closely on research but was opposed to price-fixing cartels in principle. "If such a cartel was created, the Commission may review its energy policy," he said, refusing to give details of what that would mean in real terms. He said the EU also expected the three countries to inform it if they do form a cartel.

EU nations are already investing in alternative and cleaner energy sources like wind and solar power to meet future energy needs as part of efforts to combat climate change. They are also considering building new nuclear power plants.

Russia, Iran and Qatar made the first serious move toward forming a cartel with a meeting Tuesday. Together, they account for 60 percent of the world's gas reserves. This raised fears in Europe that the cartel would boost Moscow's use of energy as a political weapon shortly after it clashed with the West over its five-day war with Georgia in August. Russia has previously cut EU pipeline supplies temporarily in disputes with neighbor Ukraine.

Concerned about its growing dependence on imported oil and gas, the European Union is trying to widen its range of energy supplies and transport routes.

Iran, in its standoff with world powers over its nuclear program, has also threatened to choke off oil shipments through the Persian Gulf if it is attacked.

Less-polluting natural gas is becoming more widely used in Europe to generate power and heat as EU nations try to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Source




THE NEXT CRISIS WILL LEAVE US ALL IN THE DARK

Comment from Britain

ISN'T life a hoot? After 10 years as Chancellor of the Exchequer and one as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has discovered "the weaknesses of unbridled free markets". No wonder he didn't see the debt crisis coming. But then he wouldn't have, would he? He had banished boom and bust.

As he is clearly a late developer, he will not have spotted the next two crises on the horizon. It is going to be a close run thing which hits us first - inflation or a power shortage. But you can see them coming as clearly as any approaching rainstorm over the Pennines.

Pensioners would say that inflation has already hit them hard. Theirs is put at more than 13 per cent compared with the official entirely unbelievable figure of 5.2 per cent. But we ain't seen nothing yet. You cannot fling hundreds of billions at the banks, demand that they continue to lend as they did irresponsibly in 2007 and then spend and borrow yourself like a demented fraudster without debauching the currency through humdinging inflation. We are back to where we started before Margaret Thatcher tamed the tiger.

Equally, you cannot have as daft an energy policy as the UK's without running into severe trouble. It doesn't add up and is failing on all counts. It is doing nothing to secure our electricity supply without which no modern nation can call itself civilised. The Government has known for a decade that we shall lose a third of our generating capacity through age and infirmity within the next 10 years.

Yet no replacement power stations are being built, apart from totally useless wind "farms". Ed Miliband, a "green" Doncaster MP who has become head of the new Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), is predictably dithering in the face of the fanatics over whether to sanction more coal-fired power stations.

The Government witters on about fuel poverty while it rushes headlong to give 100 per cent subsidies to wind developers, the fat cats of the energy scene, whose electricity is the dearest form of carbon reduction yet devised by man. Yet the wind revolution is grinding to a halt in the face of public revulsion at the desecration of landscapes and ravaged property values, rising costs and technical problems. And, of course, wind does little to reduce greenhouse gases, the sole justification for its development.

The Government's belated commitment to nuclear power has lost momentum with the formation of the new DECC, with the celebrated Joan Ruddock, of CND fame, as a junior Minister. You couldn't make it up. What is more, while the Prime Minister says "we do not live by markets alone", the Government insists that nuclear, which brings security of supply, cheap power and carbon reduction, is left to that very market while it hugely subsidises wind - a form of power that cannot tick any of those boxes.

The sheer loopiness of UK energy policy is demonstrated by three simple examples. In Scotland, more than 14,000MW of wind capacity is operating, approved, planned or proposed yet the cross-border grid can carry only 2,250MW south to consumers.

Such is the sheer manipulation of the subsidy system that it has reduced our largely carbon-free hydro-electric generating capacity because the owners have engineered down their plants to qualify for hand-outs. And, believe it or not, nuclear, which emits next to no greenhouse gases, still has to pay the climate change levy designed to reduce carbon emissions.

Against this background, you will not be surprised to discover that, to "green" acclaim, the first action of the MP for Doncaster North in his new role as Energy Secretary has been to raise the UK target for eliminating carbon emissions from 60 to 80 per cent of the 1990 level by 2050 without having a clue as to how to do it. So what, you may say, he has 41 years to do it in. Ah, yes, but for the foreseeable future only wind and nuclear can replace carbon-rich coal, oil and gas.

My engineering friends calculate that to hit that 80 per cent target we shall need to build another 233,300 2MW wind turbines (on which we could not rely) or 162 nuclear power stations. Don't ask me where we would put all that little lot, assuming we could build them. Currently. Britain has only 2,500 wind turbines and 10 nuclear power stations.

You now understand why the Great Gordon mucks up your life. He can't run a whelk stall. Have fun brushing your teeth in the dark.

Source




OBSESSED WITH SAVING THE PLANET? YOU MAY BE BARKING MAD

Do you feel anxious when you see a television set left on standby? Does the sight of a plastic bottle haphazardly tossed into a paper-only recycling bin make you feel nauseous? Are you consumed with rage when someone has left an empty room and not switched off the light?

Have you recently found yourself overcome with a desire to spit on your car-driving friends and family? When a loved one tells you that he is flying off for some winter sun, do you feel like bludgeoning him over the head with a blunt instrument until he appears no longer to be breathing?

If so, don't worry! You are probably suffering from "carborexia", Or "energy anorexia". Psychiatrists in America have identified a new mental illness that threatens the very fabric of society: an obsession with saving the planet. Some people are so addicted to cutting their carbon emissions that they seem to have gone quite mad.

Take, for example, Sharon Astyk, who makes her four children sleep in a huddle so she doesn't have to turn on the heating (if she was that concerned about the planet, perhaps she could have stopped reproducing after baby number two).

Or Jay Matsueda, who waters his lawn with his own urine so that he doesn't have to flush the loo; he says that it was his ex-girlfriend's choice of gas-guzzling car, rather than his habit of weeing on the grass, that led to the break-down of their relationship.

"If you're criticising friends because they're not living up to your standards of green, that's a problem," said Elizabeth Carll, a psychologist who specialises in obsessive compulsive disorder.

Source




"Green" options are hugely costly

Below is one example from Australia. All the useless windmills are another

Queensland taxpayers have been slugged with a $277 million water tank bill for the equivalent of one day's supply of water for the southeast of the state. The State Government and Brisbane City Council have paid out $216 million and $61 million respectively to subsidise water tanks since 2006, which has given the region an extra capacity of 362 megalitres, or one day's supply.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman admitted that the water projects were expensive because governments had to rush to solve the crisis. While the majority of tanks are still for garden use, the Government and council are now paying subsidies only if the tanks are connected to plumbing on properties and Cr Newman said that made them far more efficient and capable of capturing more water.

He said the $61 million tank rebate was comparable to the $70 million council had spent on its aquifer project, which supplies about 20 megalitres a day. Tanks supply about 18 megalitres. "Clearly, having these tanks will take pressure off the system," he said. "It's been a good exercise and it's part of an overall drought [Drought? It rains all the time in Brisbane. Hardly a week goes by without rain] strategy. "It's not out of the ball park and I think it was good expenditure. "All the water that has been obtained through the various projects has been expensive water because everything was done in such a hurry." He said on average a 5000-litre tank that was plumbed for household use was saving about $130 a year in water costs.

A Government spokesman said every litre in a tank was one less litre the state had to collect in dams. "It is also about everyone playing their part in water conservation," the spokesman said. "Apart from having some ownership over water conservation issues, people are less likely to leave taps running if they know it is coming from their own water tanks."

Liberal National Party water spokesman Andrew Cripps said an LNP government would hand out incentives to participate in an "eco home scheme", installing rainwater tanks integrated with innovative devices that maximised the capture of rainfall on rooftops and diverted the water directly into home plumbing systems.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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23 October, 2008

THE END

The EU has made further carbon restrictions conditional on India and China coming to the party -- thus finally catching up with that old American guy -- what's his name? Ah! Yes. G.W. Bush. And that is the end of the game. Because India and China will NOT cut their own throats. Only tokenism is now on the cards -- just enough to save face and make the retreat respectable

EU environment ministers want advanced developing states like China and India to "contribute adequately" to emissions reductions as part of a global climate change agreement next year. Meanwhile, a deal on the EU's own climate and energy package remains elusive following opposition from Italy. In addition to comparable CO2 reduction commitments by developed states like the US, rapidly developing countries "would have to reduce their emissions by 15 to 30% below business as usual" by 2020 in order for the EU to sign up to a global emissions reductions regime in Copenhagen in December 2009, according to conclusions adopted by EU environment ministers yesterday (20 October) in Luxembourg.

Such mitigation efforts by rapidly growing developing states, notably China, would produce significant "co-benefits in terms of reduced air pollution, protection of biodiversity and energy security," and emissions reduction credits obtained through afforestation or anti-deforestation efforts could provide a "major contribution" to reaching the targets, the conclusions state.

Least-developed states could be exempt from any constraints on emissions, while obligations on more advanced developing countries could be met through a variety of mechanisms, including sectoral industry agreements, according to the text.

The conclusions set the stage for discussions during the next major UN climate meeting, scheduled for 1 to 12 December in Poznan, Poland. The talks could become acrimonious, since rapidly developing countries like China, India and Brazil are likely to resist any calls for significant and binding emissions reductions on the grounds that developed states have not only got more financing and technological capacity to cut CO2 emissions, but also assume historical responsibility for the lion's share of existing greenhouse gas emissions.

EU states, meanhwile, have dug their heels in on several divisive points of the climate and energy package, and environment ministers failed to produce any major breakthrough during their talks in Luxembourg. Italy and Poland remain wary that the package will be too costly for their already ailing industrial sectors, in particular given the current squeeze on financing. And Germany is at loggerheads with the Commission over the issue of when and how certain industry sectors should be identified and singled out for exemptions from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

More here




"CLEAN" ENERGY MELTDOWN

Meltdown watch, continued. Capital is quickly drying up for new clean-energy projects, and what is available costs more, throwing a wrench into companies' plans to expand renewable energy.

General Electric is the latest to throw in the towel, after the abrupt departure of Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. The conglomerate, which makes energy gear like wind and gas turbines as well as underwriting renewable-energy projects, says it is bailing out of the clean-tech investment game for now, once it finishes with existing projects. From Dow Jones Clean Tech Insight:

"Right now we can't price a deal," said [GE Financial Services managing director Timothy] Howell in an interview with Clean Technology Insight on the sidelines of the Solar Power International conference in San Diego, Calif. "We can't go out and borrow. So we can't commit to a deal today."

GE Financial Services, like GE's energy-infrastructure unit, was very bullish on the sector's prospects just a few months ago. Most clean-energy projects like wind and solar power depend on investments by companies like GE or big banks, which put up development capital to get their mitts on years of tax breaks. That's the main way that tax credits help fuel the growth of alternative energy.

But while the financial bailout bill extended tax credits for clean energy, the bill hasn't yet goosed the credit markets into lending freely. That-not uncertainty over federal subsidies-has now become clean-energy's bogeyman.

Source




Spain's ex-prime minister blasts 'new religion' of climate change

Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar Wednesday dismissed climate change as a "new religion" that is drawing hundreds of billions of euros at a time of economic crisis.

Aznar made the remarks at the presentation of a book by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, "Blue Planet in Green Shackles", in which he also questions the widely held theories about climate change.

"In these times of global cooling of the international economy ... the standard bearers of the climatic apocalypse demand hundreds of billions of euros" to combat global warming, said Aznar, who was conservative prime minister from 1996 to 2004.

"They want to throw onto the bonfire anyone who, like Vaclav Klaus, questions the new religion," he said.

"The slightest doubt on the man-made origin of climate change is cause of automatic ex-communication."The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said global warming is "unequivocal" and "most of the observed increases in temperatures over the last 60 years is very likely due to increases in human-generated greenhouse gas concentrations."

Source




BELIEVING WHAT YOU WANT TO BELIEVE

Some strange results in the study below but to people of Greenie faith it is all clear. The results below make no sense at all if you think pollution has anything to do with premature birth. Which suggests that pollution had nothing to do with it and we are looking at a random result. If pollution caused premature delivery, such deliveries should have been rarest after the pollution was all gone. Instead they find that such births were rarest in an intermediate state of pollution! The wonders of faith!

Preterm Birth After the Utah Valley Steel Mill Closure: A Natural Experiment

By Parker, Jennifer D. et al.

Abstract:

Background: Prior studies have linked the Utah Valley Steel Mill closure that took place between August 1986 and September 1987 to improvements in several health outcomes. So-called natural experiments ease concerns over confounding and exposure misclassification, concerns that are common in studies of air pollution and pregnancy outcome.

Methods: We compare birth outcomes for Utah mothers within and outside the Utah Valley, before, during, and after the mill closure.

Results: Mothers who were pregnant around the time of the closure of the mill were less likely to deliver prematurely than mothers who were pregnant before or after; effects were strongest for exposure during the second trimester. Preterm birth within the Utah Valley did not change during the time of mill closure. No patterns for birth weight were observed.

Conclusions: These results support other studies that have found effects on preterm birth of air pollution exposure early in pregnancy.

Epidemiology. 19(6):820-823, November 2008




Global cooling hits Australia again

Brisbane has its coldest October morning since 1976. I must say I was surprised at how nippy it was when I opened my door this morning

COLD southerly winds blowing up from the snow-capped Blue Mountains have given Brisbane its coldest October morning in 32 years. The mercury fell to 10.6 degrees in the City just before 5am, more than five degrees below average for this time of year. The previous lowest for October was 7.3 degrees in 1976, although Brisbane also recorded 6.3 degrees in October in 1899 at a now-disused weather station. Amberley had an even colder start waking up to 6 degrees and Stanthorpe shivered on just two degrees.

But senior forecaster Vikash Prasad said Stanthorpe's previous coldest October day was -2 in 1966. "It's certainly our coldest day since winter. The lowest temperature in September was 11 so it is unusual for Spring," Mr Prasad said. He said the trough that caused the storms had moved off the coast and was being replaced by dry air and southerly winds coming up from interstate. "There was snow on the Blue Mountains yesterday which is very unusual for this time of year and Sydney had a very cold day," Mr Prasad said.

Source




A sudden spasm of realism from Harvard

As a former Harvard faculty member, Lubos Motl received the email below. Its first sentence may in the future go down as Harvard's first admission of global cooling. Lubos has MUCH more to say on the matter

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

Although today's weather will hardly remind us of the serious problem that is global warming, today's event - the Harvard Sustainability Celebration, with a keynote address by former Vice President Al Gore - will go on, as scheduled, in Tercentenary Theatre with a program beginning at 4 p.m. We very much hope that you will attend and enjoy the festivities.

Starting at 3 p.m., we will be serving hot cider and soup to keep everyone warm; please dress for our changeable New England weather. Henry Longfellow, onetime Harvard professor and longtime Cantabrigian, once remarked, "The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." We sincerely hope that, this afternoon, it won't rain. But even if it does, Harvard celebrates Sustainability with spirits undampened.

Sincerely,

The Sustainability Celebration Committee

Office of the President

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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22 October, 2008

Sea level change just goes on regardless

Grumble: No-one else seems to have translated that bit about the von Storch findings that I mentioned two days ago but there seems to be considerable interest in it so I offer a quick translation below

Genauso merkwuerdig verhaelt es sich mit der angekuendigten Zunahme des Anstiegs des Meeresspiegels um 1 m. Davon ist weder etwas zu sehen, noch geben die historischen Daten das her. Dies hat gerade wieder Prof. v. Hans v. Storch (2) in einer beispielhaften Untersuchung der Korrelation zwischen Globaltemperatur und Meeresspiegel fuer die letzten 1000 Jahre untersucht. Nicht unerwartetes Ergebnis: Ein statistisch relevanter Zusammenhang zwischen beiden Groeen ist nicht feststellbar, der Meeresspiegel steigt, oder faellt - sehr, sehr langsam und voellig unabhaengig davon, wie hoch die Erwaermung oder auch Abkuehlung gerade ausfaellt. Dies trifft auch fuer die juengste Vergangenheit zu und wird, eingedenk der nicht vorhandenen Korrelation und unterstuetzt von der eingetretenen Abkuehlung, wohl auch die naechste Zeit so sein. Vermutlich auch deshalb betont v. Storch in einer Pressemitteilung dazu: " - es zeigt sich, dass je nach Zeitraum zur Bestimmung der Korrelation positive, bisweilen aber auch negative Zusammenhaenge gefunden werden. Ein physikalischer Zusammenhang kann zwischen den beiden Groessen (aenderung der jaehrlichen Meeresspiegels und der jaehrlich gemittelten Lufttemperatur) kann also nicht hergestellt werden." und weiter schreibt er in derselben Pressemitteilung: "... dass Wissenschaft durchaus in der Lage ist, voreilige Wissensansprueche auf ihre Gueltigkeit abzuklopfen und noetigenfalls zu falsifizieren, auch wenn diese zuvor mit grosser Medienwirkung in "science" gemacht wurden...". (3)

Auch der Vizepraesident des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts (AWI) Prof. Dr. Miller sagt"...Groenland zwar sehr wahrscheinlich an Masse verlieren wird, aber dieser Massenverlust durch verstaerktes Abschmelzen in Groenland wird kompensiert durch eine Eiszunahme in der Antarktis" und weiter "... nach den von uns berechneten Szenarien kommen wir zu dem Schluss, dass Veraenderungen der grossen Eismassen keinen Beitrag zu einem Meeresspiegelanstieg leisten werden",und weiter : "Wann und ob die Arktis eisfrei sein wird, koennen wir nicht mit Sicherheit sagen" (4) Und weiter zum Gletschertourismus: "Das Abschmelzen des Groenland-Eises taugt nicht fuer Endzeit-Szenarien" (Handelsblatt, 08.08.2007, "Wenn der Gletscher ruft - Politiker pilgern nach Groenland"), und weiter am a.O. "Auch fuer den Sermeq Kujalleq sieht Miller nicht schwarz, der Rueckgang der Gletscherzunge werde in den naechsten Jahren zum Stillstand kommen".

Just as remarkable is the proclaimed rise of 1 meter in the sea level. There is nothing visible to that effect nor are there any historical data for it. Prof. v. Hans v. Storch (2) has again shown that recently in an exemplary examination of the correlation between global temperature and sea level over the last 1000 years. The unsurprising conclusion: A statistically significant correlation between the two measures is not sustainable. The sea-level rises or falls -- very very slowly and independently, whether it is warming or cooling. This applies both to the most recent past and happens regardless of the previous correlation. And even with cooling coming up it could still happen.

Presumably for that reason von Storch says in a press release: "It shows that according to the time-period you can find either postive or negative correlations. A physical connection between the the two measures (sea-level change and annual median temperature ) cannot therefore be asserted. And he writes further in the same release "Science is thoroughly capable of debunking and falsifying hasty judgments even if they have previously been proclaimed with great prominence in the media as "Science".

Also the vice-president of the Alfred-Wegener Institute Prof Dr Miller says: "Greenland to be sure will probably lose some mass but this mass-loss in Greenland will be counterbalanced by a mass gain in Antarctica". And further: "looking at the scenarios we come to the conclusion that alterations in the big ice-masses will not make a contribution to sea-level rise." And further: "When and whether the Arctic will be ice-free we cannot say with certainty". And further about glacier tourism: "The melting of the Greenland ice does not suffice as an end-time scenario." (Handelsblatt, 08.08.2007 "when the glacier calls, the politicans go on a pilgrimage to Greenland."). And further: "Even for the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier Miller does not see doom. The shrinkage of the glacial tongue will cease in the near future"




Eighteen years and then the scrapheap for cars in Britain

As the driver of a 1963 Humber Super Snipe Type 4, I object strongly to this. The Humber costs me a fortune to keep on the road but I love it! And lots of people come up to me and express their pleasure at seeing it. Fortunately, I live in Australia and not in Britain



Britain's Royal Automotive Club Foundation is floating a proposal that would call for the scrapping of all cars more than 18 years old. Rationale:
The RAC Foundation believes that a carefully-designed scrappage scheme would have a double benefit of boosting the new and second hand car industry, whilst helping to make road transport greener by removing the most-polluting vehicles from the road.
I am reasonably certain that they'd find some way to make an exception for Lord Suchandsuch's 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental. Besides: what new industry? Britain's biggest automaker these days is - who? TVR? Morgan? Everyone else has long since sold out.

Bad ideas, of course, have a way of crossing the oceans, so I expect someone to come up with something similar Stateside before too awfully long. Hint: The "most-polluting" vehicle isn't one that's rolled up X number of years; it's one whose engine is so utterly shot that you can see its exhaust from half a mile back. Scrapping those miserable hulks would do more for the urban environment than any amount of "greening" folderol.

Source




Australia: More global cooling

Note that it now well into Spring in Australia

RECORD cold temperatures have brought snow to the Blue Mountains and southern tablelands in NSW and wet and windy weather to the state's coast.

Temperatures dipped to three degrees celsius near Blackheath, west of Sydney, early this morning but wind gusts brought the mercury down further to minus two degrees and pockets of snow fell in Leura and west of Katoomba at Oberon. The Bureau of Metrology (BoM) said snow was also reported in the southern tablelands at Cooma and in Bombala, near the Victorian border.

An unseasonal cold front from the southeast extends to just beyond the ranges and is moving north. Thunderstorms and wind gusts of up to 70km/h have brought rain to the eastern part of the state and abnormally cold conditions to most of NSW. BoM forecaster Jane Golding said average temperatures in the Blue Mountains for October ranged from seven to 18 degrees.

In Sydney today, the temperature is forecast to be 15 degrees, an October temperature which has only been seen twice in the past 14 years, Ms Golding said. Average maximum temperatures for Sydney in October are around 22 degrees.

Source




Another greenie delusion

Over at Climate Progress, Joe Romm asserts that climate policies in the EU represent "a very impressive achievement that should serve as an inspiration to the world"

This is an odd conclusion coming from Joe, since he is often going on about the end of the planet if we don't act yesterday.

Rather than looking dispassionately at the EU as a forward-think policy laboratory, Joe instead chooses to attack the US and make the issue partisan. A more productive approach would be to look to the admirable EU leadership as an opportunity to learn about the practical challenges of emissions reductions, even when there is strong political support.

The following graph (using data from the US EIA here in .xls) needs little interpretation. It shows post-Kyoto per capita carbon dioxide emissions in each of the EU-15 countires as well as the US for 1997 to 2005 (the last year for which data was available, but I don't think that extending to 2007 would make much difference). The overwhelming majority of countries of the EU-15 saw per capita emissions increase faster that the US. The lesson that one should take is not that the US is succeeding, but rather that the success of the EU has been overstated, and Joe propagates that myth.



Source




CANADIAN JUDGE DISMISSES KYOTO SUIT AGAINST GOVERNMENT

Canadian government won't have to face three suits accusing it of failing to draft a plan to meet pollution-reduction goals, with a federal judge saying he couldn't issue a meaningful order for the government to follow.

Two environmental advocacy groups, Friends of the Earth and Ecojustice Canada, sued the government in September and asked the judge to order the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to comply with a June law requiring it to prepare a plan to meet the emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol. The law passed with the support of opposition parties, which had a majority of the votes in Canada's parliament.

``Such an order would be so devoid of meaningful content and the nature of any response to it so legally intangible that the exercise would be meaningless,'' Judge Robert Barnes said in a 40-page ruling issued today.

Environment Minister John Baird said in April that Canada couldn't meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol without causing a recession. An economic impact report presented by Baird said implementing the Kyoto plan would result in 275,000 job losses in 2009 while the cost of electricity would rise 50 percent after 2010 and gas prices would increase 60 percent.

Source




The Greeening of Thomas Friedman

A book review by William Tucker of "Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America" By Thomas L. Friedman

Poor Thomas Friedman, he tries so hard. He wants to explain everything -- energy, poverty, world climate catastrophes -- and offer a comprehensive solution as well. The only problem he doesn't much know what he is talking about.

Hot, Flat and Crowded is the latest of Friedman's reports from his globetrotting for the New York Times. The "hot," of course, means global warming. Friedman is a devotee and does present some pretty convincing research that we are setting off changes in the earth's climate that may be hard to undo. The "flat" is a reference to Friedman's previous book, The World Is Flat, in which he tried to convince liberals that globalization isn't such a bad thing after all. "Crowded" is warmed-over Paul Ehrlich in which Friedman frets about world overpopulation. (In fact, the numbers are generally expected to level off at around 8-10 billion in 2050. Europe and Japan are already depopulating.)

These concerns don't really hang together but no matter, Friedman has the solution to them all -- America must "go green." We should develop wind, solar and other "renewable" technologies, promote conservation and a build a "smart grid." "[T]he best way to re-energize America, rebuild its self-confidence and moral authority, and propel it forward as a society is by focusing on the green agenda....Green is the new red, white and blue!"

Now don't get upset, Friedman is not one of those coercive utopians such as Al Gore who want people to take to the streets shutting down coal plants. He actually likes "markets" -- or thinks he does, at least. Having made numerous processions through Silicon Valley, Friedman acknowledges that free enterprise has its virtues.
Code Green...is a "quintessential American opportunity."...It requires enormous amounts of experimentation -- the kind you find in our great research universities and national laboratories; it requires lots of start-up companies that are not afraid to try, risk fail, and try again;... it requires thousand of people working in their garages, trying thousands of things.
All this is in quest of the Holy Grail -- "Clean Electrons" -- and like some Huey Long of the Age of Facebook, Friedman is ready to tie his solution to everything:
Give me abundant, clean, reliable, and cheap electrons and I will give you a world that can continue to grow without triggering unmanageable climate change....Give me abundant, clean, reliable, and cheap electrons, and I will put every petrodictator out of business. Give me abundant, clean, reliable and cheap electrons, and I will end deforestation from communities desperate for fuel and I will eliminate any reason to drill in Mother Nature's environmental cathedrals.
Unfortunately, he confesses, "no one has yet come up with a source of electrons that meets all four criteria: abundant, clean, reliable, and cheap." But that doesn't mean it can't be done!
[I]t is precisely [this] kind of innovation we need to be, and can be, stimulating right now to overcome the technological barriers that prevent existing wind and solar systems from being cheap, abundant, and reliable -- today. The way to stimulate this kind of innovation...is by generous tax incentives, regulatory incentives, renewable energy mandates, and other market-shaping mechanisms that create durable demand for these existing clean power technologies.....That kind of [progress] will come about only if government uses its power to set prices, regulations, and standards to reshape the energy market and force utilities and other big players to either innovate or die.
So there you have it. Friedman really doesn't like markets at all. What he likes is government manipulation of markets forcing people to adopt technology. Only a collection of carrots and sticks can goad this dumb donkey-cart of an energy economy onto the proper pathway.

In case you haven't noticed, it's already happening. You would be amazed at the number of windmill and solar projects popping up all over the country in response to the maze of federal and state mandates and incentives, to push us in that direction. None of these projects make sense economically and none will ever produce much useful energy, but what else are government mandates for?

WHAT FRIEDMAN DOESN'T understand is that markets are a network of information. They inform us, in rapid and uncompromising fashion, about the availability of resources and the rewards for turning them to specific uses. Windmills and solar collectors remain a very bad investment for one reason -- they produce very little useful electricity. As an example it is only necessary to note Friedman's sorrowful history of First Solar ("Read it and weep!"), an Ohio company that invented thin photovoltaic films to capture solar energy on buildings. Although the company was funded at one point by John Walton, it eventually relocated to Germany in order to take advantage of a German law that forces utilities to buy solar electricity from any provider at a government-fixed price. "That is a no-brainer," exuded Mike Ahearn, First Solar's CEO.

But a no-brainer for whom? When we finally get down to details, it turns out that First Solar's annual production target is 25 megawatts worth of electricity. The average coal or nuclear plant now produces 1,000 MW and the newer ones get 1500 MW. It would take more than a hundred square miles of First Solar cells to match the output of the average power plant. The market is telling us that solar and wind are hideously expensive and then don't produce much electricity anyway. Every time the wind dies down or the sun goes behind a cloud the power goes out.

Of course that doesn't mean that Americans won't indulge in such folly. Late last month, Republican Governor Charlie Crist of Florida announced the cancellation of a 700-MW "clean coal" plant in favor of 10 MW of thermal solar power. The installation is supposed to expand to 300 MW at some point, although "a site has not yet been chosen."

The uniform disadvantage of all forms of solar energy is that they must consume vast, almost unthinkable, amounts of land. Biofuels suddenly tanked last winter when it was recognized that they are consuming one-third of America's corn crop, leveling whole tropical forests, and causing a world food shortage -- all to replace 3 percent of our oil supply. In fact, the only technology that can match fossil fuels while creating far less environmental disruption is nuclear power.

SO DOES NUCLEAR enter Friedman's field of vision? Tolerant fellow that he is, Friedman is not ready to condemn nuclear to outer darkness. He even mentions it once or twice as a "clean alternative," although with no visible enthusiasm.
To build a new nuclear plant costs a minimum of $7 billion today, and would take probably eight years from conception to completion. Most CEOs have about eight years in office, and there are not a lot of utility CEOs who would bet $7 million -- which might be more than half the company's market cap -- on one nuclear project.
Nevertheless, there are now more than a dozen license applications for new reactors before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Whether or not these proposals go anywhere will depend entirely on whether the general public achieves a better understanding of the technology. Concerned as he is with petrodictators, global warming, and world energy shortages, you'd think Friedman would spend more of his own time learning how "abundant, clean, reliable and cheap" nuclear technology can be.

Source




CASH-STRAPPED BRITISH FAMILIES FACE $2,000-A-YEAR BILL TO HELP THEIR PIG-HEADED GOVERNMENT FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

Families face a $2,000-a-year bill after the Government committed Britain to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent before 2050. The decision gives the UK the toughest climate change targets in the world and could usher in an era of green taxes and carbon rationing.

Government advisers admit that the shift to a 'low carbon' economy will cost around $48billion a year at today's prices. Divided among the nation's households, this works out at just under o1,000 extra per family. But it is at odds with ministers' support for the expansion of Stansted and Heathrow airports and recent pledges to construct coal-fired power stations.

Announcing the target yesterday, climate change minister Ed Miliband said tough economic conditions were not an excuse to 'row back' on tackling global warming. He accepted the recommendations of the Government's Climate Change Committee, which last week said the UK needed to cut emissions by four-fifths of 1990 values. Previously the Government had committed to a 60 per cent cut.

'In tough economic times, some people will ask whether we should retreat from our climate change objectives,' he said. 'In our view, it would be quite wrong to row back and those who say we should misunderstand the relationship between the economic and environmental tasks we face.' Last week the Committee on Climate Change said the target would cost 1 to 2 per cent of annual gross domestic product - which currently stands at $2.4trillion.

Friends of the Earth's executive director, Andy Atkins, joined green lobbyists in welcoming the announcement. He said: 'Delaying action will land us with a bill for billions as we struggle to deal with the devastating effects of climate change. 'Dramatically cutting our emissions won't mean we have to suffer hardship - the lights will stay on, we will still travel and live in comfortable homes.'

But Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist, said: 'It is an incredibly inefficient way to do virtually nothing. If the UK managed to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent, it would mean postponing global warming by an order of less than a 500th of a degree. Is that really what the British population want to spend 2 per cent of its income on?'

The new target does not include aviation or shipping emissions. However, Mr Miliband said they would 'play a part' in the Government's climate strategy. Mr Miliband also pledged to help homes and small businesses generate their own power. He told the Commons the Energy Bill would be amended to introduce a 'feed-in tariff' to guarantee prices for micro-generation projects which are able to supply electricity to the national grid. He insisted commitments to reductions must come from Europe, despite a demand by Poland and six other member states to drop them because of the economic crisis.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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21 October, 2008

No significant global warming since 1995

by Jarl R. Ahlbeck, D.Sc.

The recovery of the earth's climate from the little ice age started about 200 years ago, but the concentration of the atmospheric carbon dioxide started to increase significantly as late as in the 1950s, probably due to rapidly increased burning of fossil fuels.

The climate recovery is still an ongoing process today. A natural warming rate of roughly 0.5 deg C /100 years has been the baseline for more than 100 years, but both short (a few years) and long (20 years) fluctuations around the baseline have occurred for natural but highly speculative reasons, for example a rapid warming in the 1930s followed by a cooling period, and recently again warming until about 1998.

According to the UK climate panel IPCC, this last warming period has been forced by increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. There is however no proof of that and the theory of how carbon dioxide influences the global mean temperature is complicated and unreliable. And if the global temperature again starts to increase slower than the natural long-term trend of 0.5 deg C/100 years, or even starts to cool, we can be quite certain that the recent faster warming trends have been natural too.

It has been widely discussed if the satellite-derived global temperature measurements that show only little warming should be more reliable than the temperatures obtained on the ground that show more warming. But after 1995 both sources show about the same, (see graphs below drawn from Hadley-data (ground) and satellite data (NASA)).

A good reason to start a diagram from 1995 is that since that year no big (cooling) volcano eruptions have disturbed the temperature trend. Contrary to common belief, there has been no or little global warming since 1995 and this is shown by two completely independent datasets.

The curves look very normal and it seems probable that the natural recovery from the little ice age has went on without any significant decelerations or accelerations caused by human activity. It is impossible to say what is going to happen in the future. But so far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming.





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Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof

In early September, I began noticing a string of news stories about scientists rejecting the orthodoxy on global warming. Actually, it was more like a string of guest columns and long letters to the editor since it is hard for skeptical scientists to get published in the cabal of climate journals now controlled by the Great Sanhedrin of the environmental movement. Still, the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly. Because a funny thing is happening to global temperatures -- they're going down, not up.

On the same day (Sept. 5) that areas of southern Brazil were recording one of their latest winter snowfalls ever and entering what turned out to be their coldest September in a century, Brazilian meteorologist Eugenio Hackbart explained that extreme cold or snowfall events in his country have always been tied to "a negative PDO" or Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Positive PDOs -- El Ninos -- produce above-average temperatures in South America while negative ones -- La Ninas -- produce below average ones.

Dr. Hackbart also pointed out that periods of solar inactivity known as "solar minimums" magnify cold spells on his continent. So, given that August was the first month since 1913 in which no sunspot activity was recorded -- none -- and during which solar winds were at a 50-year low, he was not surprised that Brazilians were suffering (for them) a brutal cold snap. "This is no coincidence," he said as he scoffed at the notion that manmade carbon emissions had more impact than the sun and oceans on global climate.

Also in September, American Craig Loehle, a scientist who conducts computer modelling on global climate change, confirmed his earlier findings that the so-called Medieval Warm Period (MWP) of about 1,000 years ago did in fact exist and was even warmer than 20th-century temperatures.

Prior to the past decade of climate hysteria and Kyoto hype, the MWP was a given in the scientific community. Several hundred studies of tree rings, lake and ocean floor sediment, ice cores and early written records of weather -- even harvest totals and censuses --confirmed that the period from 800 AD to 1300 AD was unusually warm, particularly in Northern Europe.

But in order to prove the climate scaremongers' claim that 20th-century warming had been dangerous and unprecedented -- a result of human, not natural factors -- the MWP had to be made to disappear. So studies such as Michael Mann's "hockey stick," in which there is no MWP and global temperatures rise gradually until they jump up in the industrial age, have been adopted by the UN as proof that recent climate change necessitates a reordering of human economies and societies. Dr. Loehle's work helps end this deception.

Don Easterbrook, a geologist at Western Washington University, says, "It's practically a slam dunk that we are in for about 30 years of global cooling," as the sun enters a particularly inactive phase. His examination of warming and cooling trends over the past four centuries shows an "almost exact correlation" between climate fluctuations and solar energy received on Earth, while showing almost "no correlation at all with CO2."

An analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, Michael J. Myers of Hilton Head, S. C., declared, "Man-made global warming is junk science," explaining that worldwide manmade CO2 emission each year "equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration ... This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun's radiation. This is an insignificantly small number." Other international scientists have called the manmade warming theory a "hoax," a "fraud" and simply "not credible."

While not stooping to such name-calling, weather-satellite scientists David Douglass of the University of Rochester and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville nonetheless dealt the True Believers a devastating blow last month. For nearly 30 years, Professor Christy has been in charge of NASA's eight weather satellites that take more than 300,000 temperature readings daily around the globe. In a paper co-written with Dr. Douglass, he concludes that while manmade emissions may be having a slight impact, "variations in global temperatures since 1978 ... cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide."

Moreover, while the chart below was not produced by Douglass and Christy, it was produced using their data and it clearly shows that in the past four years -- the period corresponding to reduced solar activity -- all of the rise in global temperatures since 1979 has disappeared. It may be that more global warming doubters are surfacing because there just isn't any global warming.



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Obama's Carbon Ultimatum

The coming offer you won't be able to refuse

Liberals pretend that only President Bush is preventing the U.S. from adopting some global warming "solution." But occasionally their mask slips. As Barack Obama's energy adviser has now made clear, the would-be President intends to blackmail -- or rather, greenmail -- Congress into falling in line with his climate agenda.

Jason Grumet is currently executive director of an outfit called the National Commission on Energy Policy and one of Mr. Obama's key policy aides. In an interview last week with Bloomberg, Mr. Grumet said that come January the Environmental Protection Agency "would initiate those rulemakings" that classify carbon as a dangerous pollutant under current clean air laws. That move would impose new regulation and taxes across the entire economy, something that is usually the purview of Congress. Mr. Grumet warned that "in the absence of Congressional action" 18 months after Mr. Obama's inauguration, the EPA would move ahead with its own unilateral carbon crackdown anyway.

Well, well. For years, Democrats -- including Senator Obama -- have been howling about the "politicization" of the EPA, which has nominally been part of the Bush Administration. The complaint has been that the White House blocked EPA bureaucrats from making the so-called "endangerment finding" on carbon. Now it turns out that a President Obama would himself wield such a finding as a political bludgeon. He plans to issue an ultimatum to Congress: Either impose new taxes and limits on carbon that he finds amenable, or the EPA carbon police will be let loose to ravage the countryside.

The EPA hasn't made a secret of how it would like to centrally plan the U.S. economy under the 1970 Clean Air Act. In a blueprint released in July, the agency didn't exactly say it'd collectivize the farms -- but pretty close, down to the "grass clippings." The EPA would monitor and regulate the carbon emissions of "lawn and garden equipment" as well as everything with an engine, like cars, planes and boats. Eco-bureaucrats envision thousands of other emissions limits on all types of energy. Coal-fired power and other fossil fuels would be ruled out of existence, while all other prices would rise as the huge economic costs of the new regime were passed down the energy chain to consumers.

These costs would far exceed the burden of a straight carbon tax or cap-and-trade system enacted by Congress, because the Clean Air Act was never written to apply to carbon and other greenhouse gases. It's like trying to do brain surgery with a butter knife. Mr. Obama wants to move ahead anyway because he knows that the costs of any carbon program will be high. He knows, too, that Congress -- even with strongly Democratic majorities -- might still balk at supporting tax increases on their constituents, even if it is done in the name of global warming.

Climate-change politics don't break cleanly along partisan lines. The burden of a carbon clampdown will fall disproportionately on some states over others, especially the 25 interior states that get more than 50% of their electricity from coal. Rustbelt manufacturing states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania will get hit hard too. Once President Bush leaves office, the coastal Democrats pushing hardest for a climate change program might find their colleagues splitting off, especially after they vote for a huge tax increase on incomes.

Thus Messrs. Obama and Grumet want to invoke a political deus ex machina driven by a faulty interpretation of the Clean Air Act to force Congress's hand. Mr. Obama and Democrats can then tell Americans that Congress must act to tax and regulate carbon to save the country from even worse bureaucratic consequences. It's Mr. Obama's version of Jack Benny's old "your money or your life" routine, but without the punch line.

The strategy is most notable for what it says about the climate-change lobby and its new standard bearer. Supposedly global warming is the transcendent challenge of the age, but Mr. Obama evidently doesn't believe he'll be able to convince his own party to do something about it without a bureaucratic ultimatum. Mr. Grumet justified it this way: "The U.S. has to move quickly domestically . . . We cannot have a meaningful impact in the international discussion until we develop a meaningful domestic consensus."

Normally a democracy reaches consensus through political debate and persuasion, but apparently for Mr. Obama that option is merely a nuisance. It's another example of "change" you'll be given no choice but to believe in.

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GERMAN PLANS FOR NEW COAL-POWER PLANTS MEAN MISSING CO2 TARGETS

Building new coal-power plants in Germany means the country will miss government targets to cut carbon-dioxide emissions, the environmental ministry said, countering earlier claims by Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

If Europe's largest economy builds new fossil-fuel power plants, CO2 emissions will decline 25 percent by 2020 compared with a plan of 40 percent, according to a study by Joachim Nitsch of the German DLR institute that was commissioned by the ministry. The study appeared today on the environment ministry's Web site.

Gabriel supports the construction of new coal-power plants and has said Germany will be able to meet its own CO2 emissions targets even with new fossil fuel-based electricity generation. Techniques to reduce CO2 such as carbon capture and storage won't have an impact on reducing the greenhouse gas, blamed for global warming, until after 2020, the study said.

"Mr. Gabriel should start taking the facts of scientists into account and stop selling new coal-plants as actual climate protection," Greenpeace energy policy analyst Andree Boehling said in an e-mailed statement. "Otherwise, the environment minister himself will become the biggest threat to climate protection."

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British government chasing after wind

Today, my old sparring partner, John Vidal of The Guardian/The Observer, writes a good piece on the impossibilities of meeting Gordon Brown's wind energy targets [`UK wind farm plans on brink of failure', The Observer, October 19]. John does not go far enough, however. The whole project is ill-thought out:

(a)The UK currently accounts for only 1.87% of world carbon emissions, a proportion that is falling quickly with the growth of the developing countries, and especially of China, India, and Brazil. Achieving one third of our energy from wind power by 2020 will have no effect, predictable or otherwise, on climate. Indeed, taking into account the massive amounts of steel, concrete, and transport required in constructing these vast arrays of wind turbines, the development of wind power will actually result in an initial rise in carbon emissions;

(b)Opting for wind power, especially offshore, is the most expensive choice, one that will impose huge costs on electricity generation and distribution, but more importantly on the general public and business consumers, who will be hit by high price rices precisely at a time when recession is already putting households and jobs under severe strain;

(c)Thirdly, an additional argument goes as follows: "Alright, (a) and (b) above might well be true [admitted through gritted teeth], but we must set an example to the rest of the world on climate change, and this will provide a great chance for us to lead the world in technology for a low carbon future." Unfortunately, where wind power is concerned, these points are hopelessly wrong. Meteorologically-speaking, the parts of the world where wind power is a serious option are limited, the UK being an exception, not the rule. Moreover, the idea that we are leading the world in wind-power technology is laughable, as most of the technology, equipment, and engineering comes from abroad, from countries such as Germany.

In essence, Brown's policy is lunacy. As John rightly reports, even the wind power industry itself admits that the targets are completely unrealistic: "A major threat to Britain's ambitions for renewable energy will emerge this week when wind industry leaders admit that targets set for 2020 are looking increasingly unrealistic. They will use a high-profile conference in London to warn Gordon Brown that there is little chance of achieving the government's goal - of wind generating one third of all UK electricity within 12 years - without a huge injection of public money."

I love that last bit - "a huge injection of public money." Of course! But just think of the costs to the consumer, and to the marginal poor in energy terms.

Gordon Brown will tell the delegates at the annual conference of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) that the UK industry is now a world leader. This is `pie-in-the-sky' politics. The harsh realities are that we have a severe shortage of engineers; the rising demand for wind-power equipment cannot be met; companies are currently pulling out of wind power because of rising costs; and two-thirds of proposals are rejected, with even the Ministry of Defence concerned over the effects on its radar coverage.

But most importantly of all, the programme will have no effects on climate change whatsoever. This is Gordon Brown at his Scottish blethering worst. The public should not be fooled.

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Australia: Tasmaniam Premier rebuts Greenies over forestry

TASMANIAN Premier David Bartlett has sided with the forest industry in a fierce debate with conservationists about whether old-growth forests should be protected as reservoirs of carbon. Mr Bartlett told The Australian that calls by the conservation movement to suspend old-growth logging, because of evidence they might be more valuable as carbon sinks, were nonsense.

"This is bulls**t - this is just not true," the Premier said. "They can make that claim at the moment because Kyoto Protocol accounting for timber got it totally wrong. "When you chop down a tree under Kyoto and you burn it, or you alternatively turn it into a high-value coffee table, it's accounted for in exactly the same way. And that is clearly false. "If you burn a tree, obviously the carbon is realised. If you turn it into a coffee table, that carbon is sequestered for life or for a very bloody long time."

Australian National University researchers recently found that old-growth forests in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania stored up to three times the amount of carbon that was previously estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The research - criticised by industry because it was funded by the Wilderness Society, but strongly defended by the ANU - concludes that old-growth forests are more reliable as carbon sinks than as plantations because the latter are more vulnerable to fire, disease and disturbance.

Mr Bartlett is unconvinced. He said the current round of global climate change talks should ensure the carbon-storing abilities of forest products were factored into carbon accounting. "I don't think the logging of old-growth forests is necessarily related to climate change," Mr Bartlett said. "Tasmania emits 1.2 per cent of the nation's emissions and Australia emits 1.5 per cent of the global emissions. And 86 per cent of our old-growth forests (in 2004) remain locked up, never to be touched. "I don't think stopping the logging of old-growth forests in Tasmania is really pivotal to world history when it comes to climate change."

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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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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20 October, 2008

Eminent and much acclaimed German scientist has near-psychotic delusion



And this article both documents the imbecility and shows it for what it is. Unfortunately it is in German so I will just present and translate an excerpt. The key point is in one of those huge long-winded German sentences so I guess that I had better translate it all:

Als im Oktober weltweit die Boersen eine noch nie dagewesene Talfahrt begannen und am 9. Oktober ein regelrechter Crash zu beobachten war, der binnen Stunden reale Werte in der Hoehe von hunderten von Milliarden Euro vernichtete, als die Regierungen weltweit fieberhaft daran arbeiteten riesige uns alle belastende Rettungspakete fuer das angeschlagene internationale Finanzwesen zu schnueren, trat der Kanzlerinberater Prof. Dr. Schellnhuber seines Zeichens Chef des Potsdam Instituts fuer Klimafolgenforschung (PIK) und bekanntester Klimakatastrophenforscher der Republik zusammen mit seinem Mentor und Zahlmeister Sigmar Gabriel ungeruehrt vor die verdutzten Berliner Medien und erklaerte professoral, da die Finanzkrise (1) ja nur virtuelle Werte vernichtete, das Abschmelzen des Groendlandeises sei aber real und unumkehrbar.

While in October worldwide the stock-exchanges began a never-before-seen fall and on the 9th of October a real crash could be observed which within hours wiped out real assets as high as hundreds of millions of Euros, while governments worldwide feverishly made giant efforts to put together a rescue-package for the stricken international financial system, Chancellor-adviser and chief of the Potsdam Institute for climate research (PIK) and the best known climate catastrophist of the republic, Prof. Dr. Schellnhuber, came calmly before the bewildered Berlin media with his mentor and paymaster Sigmar Gabriel and declared professorially that the finance-crisis (1) only wiped out virtual wealth but the melting of the Greenland ice is real and irreversible.
Phew! Sorry if that is a bit rough but German does that to you.

But do you see the idiocy? The melting of the Greenland ice is "irreversible". Not only has the Greenland icecap waxed and waned in geologic time but it has even waxed and waned in the 20th century! The man is a utter nut. Yet he must be one of the world's most eminent Germans. Read about him here and weep.

The rest of the article gives lots of the facts that refute the eminent man but just translating the sentence above exhausted me so maybe someone else will translate the rest. It is an excellent article. One hopes it will be widely read in Germany.

One of the points made in the article is from Prof. Hans von Storch -- who points out that there has been no correlation between sea-level and CO2 level over the last 1000 years. The article ends with the graph below, which also shows the irrelevance of CO2 levels.






The Greenie hostility to conventional energy sources precipitated the financial crisis

The Fed was trying to fight the high prices of food and fuel by restricting the money supply. So money that was needed to keep the financial system floating was suddenly no longer there

Larry Kudlow (TCSDAILY, 06 October 2008) correctly emphasizes the monetary tightening that unwittingly set the stage for the current financial crisis. How can such an old-fashioned liquidity crisis panic financial markets under today's regime of fiat money? The Federal Reserve was fighting energy and food inflation by slowing the money growth rate. The low interest rates were an ambiguous indicator of monetary policy because an energy crisis was depressing the return on expansions of the capital stock. The energy crisis of the 1970s also depressed the real or inflation adjusted interest rate in a feedback loop that further discouraged petroleum extraction.

After growing at annualized monthly rates of about 17% and 12% in February and March of 2008, the growth of the M2 money supply slowed to 2.4%, 1.3%, -0.2%, 6.1%, and -1.5% in April, May, June, July, and August (seasonally adjusted). Indeed, the rate of growth of the money supply has slowed prior to every recession in the post World War II era, according to Frederic Mishkin (2007, p. 9), in the latest edition of his widely adopted Money and Banking textbook. The Federal Reserve tightened money growth (or failed to ease it) when the real estate market underlying the then and now collapsing mortgage derivatives market was already in a free fall.

At the bottom of this energy and food inflation was a political effort to fight global warming by discouraging investment in fossil fuel production capacity and encouraging the use of renewables such as ethanol made from corn. During the past year, major petroleum producing firms announced drastic cutbacks in energy infrastructure investment plans. Similar efforts were in progress in other countries. Rising gasoline and diesel fuel prices rippled through the economy, affecting everything that moves by fuel-powered vehicles. A massive diversion of farm capacity toward fuel ethanol production occurred while federal and state governments eliminated MTBE, a virtually harmless gasoline component synthesized from natural gas and constituting about 3% of the nation's gasoline supply. The inflation surge was reminiscent of the mid-1970s energy crisis that also produced an inflation that the Federal Reserve elected to fight with tight monetary policy.

The use of monetary policy to arrest a cost-push or supply-side inflation driven by an energy crisis distressed the American economy in the middle of the 1970s. Raburn Williams, in his The Politics of Boom and Bust in Twentieth-Century America (West Publishing Company, 1994, pp. 386-388), explains how the Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy in response to skyrocketing energy and food prices in 1974. This forced the other sectors of the economy, outside of food and energy, to experience sharp deflationary pressure as Arthur Burns used slow money growth to drive down inflation in them relative to the rising inflation in food and energy. The worst recession since the 1930s resulted then, and the stock market crashed, and President Nixon ended his presidency by resigning.

Unlike when the Great Depression of the 1930s began, the world is unconstrained in its ability to create money today. Governments will probably soon reverse the liquidity crisis underlying the collapsing financial markets by an infusion of money from central banks all over the world. However, asset appreciation that can save equities and financial corporations will also affect another asset -- the reserves of petroleum lying in the oil fields owned by today's major global producers. The value of that asset will probably again rise in tandem with another rise in fuels prices at the pumps. Low inflation adjusted interest rates seem a likely repercussion from resurgence of our present energy crisis, as stagflation mimics the late 1970s malaise once again.

A root cause of this situation begs for an obvious remedy if the public can muster the political will to call for it. An abrupt turn away from the policy of seizing every opportunity to obstruct and discourage the supplying of fossil fuels might moderate a late 1970s style resurgence of the recent energy crisis, and with it, the monetary roller coaster ride that is devastating the retirement dreams of the present generation of Americans and baby-boomers all over the world. An economically efficient response to the global warming problem would be far more modest than what we are unwittingly imposing right now.

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Global Warming as a Natural Response to Cloud Changes Associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)

by Roy W. Spencer, PhD, Principal Research Scientist, The University of Alabama in Huntsville

A few excerpts from a large scientific paper below:

Abstract

A simple climate model forced by satellite-observed changes in the Earth's radiative budget associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is shown to mimic the major features of global average temperature change during the 20th Century - including two-thirds of the warming trend. A mostly-natural source of global warming is also consistent with mounting observational evidence that the climate system is much less sensitive to carbon dioxide emissions than the IPCC's climate models simulate.

1. Introduction

For those who have followed my writings and publications in the last 18 months (e.g. Spencer et al., 2007), you know that we are finding satellite evidence that the climate system could be much less sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions than the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) climate models suggest.

To show that we are not the only researchers who have documented evidence contradicting the IPCC models, I made the following figure to contrast the IPCC-projected warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the warming that would result if the climate sensitivity is as low as implied by various kinds of observational evidence. The dashed line represents our recent apples-to-apples comparison between satellite-based feedback estimates and IPCC model-diagnosed feedbacks, all computed from 5-year periods (Spencer and Braswell, 2008a):

[....]

4. Discussion & Conclusions

The evidence continues to mount that the IPCC models are too sensitive, and therefore produce too much global warming. If climate sensitivity is indeed considerably less than the IPCC claims it to be, then increasing CO2 alone can not explain recent global warming. The evidence presented here suggests that most of that warming might well have been caused by cloud changes associated with a natural mode of climate variability: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

I am posting this information in advance of publication because of its potential importance to pending EPA regulations or congressional legislation which assume that carbon dioxide is a major driver of climate change. Since the mainstream news media now refuse to report on peer-reviewed scientific articles which contradict the views of the IPCC, Al Gore, and James Hansen, I am forced to bypass them entirely.

We need to consider the very real possibility that carbon dioxide - which is necessary for life on Earth and of which there is precious little in the atmosphere - might well be like the innocent bystander who has been unjustly accused of a crime based upon little more than circumstantial evidence.

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The next commodity to collapse will be mass-marketed environmentalism, which will come to be disdained

Comment from Canada

Stock market indexes have plummeted from their inflated peaks. Oil and other commodities have likewise plummeted. The next commodity to tumble from unsustainable peak levels: environmentalism.

In part, I am making this prediction because, in my 30 years as an environmentalist, I have never seen so many governments and so many corporations so profusely espousing so many environmental causes. Where promoting environmentalism was once seen as daring and counter-cultural, today it has become banal, no longer the exclusive preserve of a Body Shop chain, but of every retailer down to Wal-Mart. For the same reason that clothes go out of fashion after the masses embrace them, mass-marketed environmentalism will come to be disdained. That won't sell for long.

I am predicting a collapse of today's Wal-Mart environmentalism for another reason, too: Much of it is misguided, based on misunderstanding and vacuity.Global warming is by far the biggest such example. Those who have been following my Denier series in these pages know that large numbers of distinguished scientists dispute the conventional wisdom on climate change, making absurd the claim that the science is settled on climate change. And yet government and corporate propaganda - in global warming and elsewhere - strip away all subltety and uncertainty in their public relations programs, portraying environmental problems and proposing environmental solutions in cartoon-cutout simplicity that, more often than not, accomplish nothing good or make matters worse.

While governments and industry discount major environmental issues that affect crown corporations and crown resources (nuclear power, forestry), they stir up concerns in consumer areas that have high visibility and often pose few true hazards. The results are often perverse: Blue Box recycling programs that promote waste; ethanol blends for automobiles that benefit the farm lobby while depleting the land and fouling the air; bans on incandescent bulbs that ignore consumer preferences but please light bulb manufacturers seeking lucrative new markets; public transit systems that run near-empty buses along low-density routes; "Right-to-Farm" laws that legalize polluting practices; demonization of private water systems, including bans on water bottles, when private systems have a superior safety and environmental record - in short, most of the environmental policies that governments put before the public are wrong-headed.

A third reason for my prediction that environmentalism has peaked is the instinct for self-preservation among the political leadership. Thinking they could raise revenues while appearing green, opportunistic politicians have been promoting environmental taxes without having a credible case to make. The result, increasingly, is political ruin. The federal election results this week are, in good part, a testament to Liberal leader Stphan Dion's failure to sell his Green Shift - the Liberals obtained the lowest share of the vote since Confederation.

In England, where citizens face the world's highest burden of green taxes, the ruling Labour Party received a miserable 3% of the vote in by-elections earlier this year and London's mayor, the greenest in Europe, was thrown out of office. Across Europe, once-green politicians are now backing away from their earlier commitments to push green agendas.

In stock and commodity markets, when values fall from unrealistically high levels, they often fall further than justified. When environmentalism falls from its high values on the realization that many concerns have been oversold, it too will likely fall further than justified. Environmentalism will then need to re-establish public trust before real environmental gains can be made.

As history shows, after being burned in the stock market, investors often stay away for years, fearful of being burned again. The lack of trust harms the greater economy. We have no history of what happens when citizens feel taken in by false environmental claims. But we may soon find out.

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Upset for Greenies in the diaper wars

And the British government tried to hide it!

A [British] government report that found old-fashioned reusable nappies [diapers] damage the environment more than disposables has been hushed up because ministers are embarrassed by its findings. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has instructed civil servants not to publicise the conclusions of the $100,000 nappy research project and to adopt a "defensive" stance towards its conclusions.

The report found that using washable nappies, hailed by councils throughout Britain as a key way of saving the planet, have a higher carbon footprint than their disposable equivalents unless parents adopt an extreme approach to laundering them. To reduce the impact of cloth nappies on climate change parents would have to hang wet nappies out to dry all year round, keep them for years for use on younger children, and make sure the water in their washing machines does not exceed 60C.

The conclusions will upset proponents of real nappies who have claimed they can help save the planet. Restricted Whitehall documents, seen by The Sunday Times, show that the government is so concerned by the "negative laundry options" outlined in the report, it has told its media managers not to give its conclusions any publicity.

The report found that while disposable nappies used over 2 years would have a global warming , impact of 550kg of CO2 reusable nappies produced 570kg of CO2 on average. But if parents used tumble dryers and washed the reusable nappies at 90C, the impact could spiral to . 993kg of CO2 A Defra spokesman said the government was shelving plans for future research on nappies.

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Australian climate plan to cause huge unemployment

More than ever, it is all about numbers in the political arena at the moment as the Rudd Government confronts the global market meltdown and the steps needed to counter the dangers of economic recession. Employment statistics, declining economic growth data and billions of dollars pumped into selected community pockets to encourage retail spending are all suddenly news.

Which makes it the more interesting that Climate Change Minister Penny Wong could deliver a 14-page speech last week to the London School of Economics on the Government's emissions trading plans without even mentioning the challenge of implementing the policy while not losing many of the million-plus people employed in Australia's energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries. The speech was delivered far away as the $10.4 billion Rudd rescue package for retailers, via consumer pockets, was being unveiled, so it slipped under the domestic media radar.

Wong found time and space to trot out statistics about Australia's per capita emissions but not to mention that more than 70per cent of the growth in national electricity consumption since 1990 has been business related and facilitated by access tosome of the world's cheapest, coal-fired power. In round terms, power stations in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, which supply most of Australia's power and a large part of generation-based emissions, are burning 20million tonnes more black coal and 21.5million tonnes more brown coal today than in 1990, and this is feeding business demand that is three-quarters more than it was then.

One-third of total electricity consumed is used by the energy-intensive manufacturers, another number that would have provided context to the data used by Wong.

She took the opportunity of the speech, delivered soon after her colleague Wayne Swan had ducked a television current affairs question about whether the global crisis might cause the Government to put off implementation of emissions trading, to strenuously assert the need for sticking to the mid-2010 deadline.

There is another set of numbers that may be of some interest to the Treasurer - and to Kevin Rudd - in the context of ensuring that the community is able to continue to spend enough to sustain the national economy. They are to be found in Australian Bureau of Statistics data on employment and pay in Australian manufacturing industries. The latest ABS data shows that the manufacturing sector employed 1,063,000 people directly in 2006 and paid them $51billion in salaries and wages.

Wong managed to devote almost two pages of her LSE speech to the hypothetical potential for Australia to become a world leader in clean energy, a regional hub for global trading in emissions and a bigger agricultural product power in the world as a result of an aggressive approach to greenhouse gas abatement without even a passing glance for what jobs already exist here and how much they are worth to the economy.

The additional jobs downstream of manufacturing businesses are harder to calculate but, as an example, the pulp and paper manufacturing industry, which employs 19,000 people, mainly in rural and regional communities, has undertaken research that shows it generates 1.3 indirect jobs for every direct one. Which tends to suggest that manufacturers overall could be responsible for another million jobs in businesses servicing their operations.

The "unintended consequence" risks of emissions trading to the economy are well illustrated by the pulp and paper mills. They have virtually no capability to pass on extra costs to customers because they are exposed to vigorous international competition - from countries such as China, Brazil and Indonesia - within Australia as well as overseas. Overseas suppliers have managed to grab 40per cent of the Australian papermarket. As the sector is striving to get across to Wong and her colleagues, if the domestic mills become non-viable and close in the medium term, there is a flow-through effect to tree growers and sawmillers.

Overall, the forest industry employs more than 80,000 Australians. Ultimately, argue the millers, if they fail, fewer trees will be planted (because the growers have less income), less timber will be available to the construction industry (because the sawmillers will be less viable) and more concrete and steel will be used in buildings, involving an increase in carbon emissions.

How much of this information will be on the table when federal cabinet finally comes to make a decision about emissions trading - not just when to introduce it but, even more important, how to support emissions-intensive, trade-exposed domestic industries against global rivals - is anybody's guess. Wong's focus is transparently on positioning the Government on the high ground for the critical negotiations on a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty at a meeting to be held in Copenhagen in 14 months. Who in the cabinet, therefore, has responsibility for ensuring that this ground is not made up of the rubble of the Australian manufacturing sector?

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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19 October, 2008

"Arctic air temperatures climb to record levels"

One must never expect honesty from Greenies and the Reuters article excerpted below is a good example. Prof. Beck demolishes it compeletely, pointing out that it is based on less than 50% of the Arctic data. I give an excerpt from Prof. Beck following the mendacious report below

Fall air temperatures have climbed to record levels in the Arctic due to major losses of sea ice as the region suffers more effects from a warming trend dating back decades, a report released on Thursday showed.

The annual report issued by researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other experts is the latest to paint a dire picture of the impact of climate change in the Arctic. It found that fall air temperatures are at a record 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees C) above normal in the Arctic because of the major loss of sea ice in recent years that allows more solar heating of the ocean. That warming of the air and ocean impacts land and marine life and cuts the amount of winter sea ice that lasts into the following summer, according to the report.

In addition, wild reindeer and caribou herds appear to be declining in numbers, according to the report. The report also noted melting of surface ice in Greenland. "Changes in the Arctic show a domino effect from multiple causes more clearly than in other regions," James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle one of the authors of the report, said in a statement. "It's a sensitive system and often reflects changes in relatively fast and dramatic ways."

Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, part of the University of Colorado, reported last month that Arctic sea ice melted to its second-lowest level this summer. The 2008 season, those researchers said, strongly reinforces a 30-year downward trend in Arctic ice extent -- 34 percent below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000, but 9 percent above the record low set in 2007.

Source

Excerpt from Prof. Beck's comments:

The annual report issued by researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other experts is the latest to paint a dire picture of the impact of climate change in the Arctic. [.]

The real averaged temperatures of the whole Arctic circle (70-90 N) can be found in the same data base used by NOAA (CRU, Phil Jones): The graph shows a strong Arctic warming during 1918 and 1960, stronger than today with a rise of about + 4C up to 1938. Referencing only a rise since 1960 we got the illusion of a dramatic rise in modern times. Conclusion: The news item:" Arctic air temperatures climb to record levels" is selective science and wrong because the Arctic Ocean (covering an area of more than 50% of the Arctic circle) has been left unconsidered. The NOAA study summarizes: ,5C record levels in temperature in autumn", presents the averaged temperatures only on land stations and discusses melting sea ice as a cause!

This is pseudoscience. In contrast the current Arctic warming mimics the 1920s-1940s event, as a recent study from the Ohio State University reveals. The scientists recognized from using weather station records, maps and photos from the past century that temperatures in Greenland had warmed in the 1920s at rates equivalent to the recent past.




An open letter from The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley to Senator John McCain about Climate Science and Policy



Dear Senator McCain, Sir,

YOU CHOSE a visit to a wind-farm in early summer 2008 to devote an entire campaign speech to the reassertion of your belief in the apocalyptic vision of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change - a lurid and fanciful account of imagined future events that was always baseless, was briefly exciting among the less thoughtful species of news commentators and politicians, but is now scientifically discredited.

With every respect, there is no rational basis for your declared intention that your great nation should inflict upon her own working people and upon the starving masses of the Third World the extravagantly-pointless, climatically-irrelevant, strategically-fatal economic wounds that the arrogant advocates of atmospheric alarmism admit they aim to achieve.

Britain and the United States, like England and Scotland on the first page of Macaulay's splendid History of England, are bound to one another by "indissoluble bonds of interest and affection". Here in this little archipelago from which your Pilgrim Fathers sailed, we have a love-love relationship with what Walt Whitman called your "athletic democracy". You came to our aid - to the aid of the world - when Britain had stood alone against the mad menace of Hitler. Your fearless forces and ours fight shoulder to shoulder today on freedom's far frontiers. The shortest but most heartfelt of our daily prayers has just three words: "God bless America!"

For these reasons - of emotion as much as of economics, of affection as much as of interest - it matters to us that the United States should thrive and prosper. We cannot endure to see her fail, not only because if she fails the world fails, but also because, as the philosopher George Santayana once said of the British Empire and might well now have said of our sole superpower, "the world never had sweeter masters." If the United States, by the ignorance and carelessness of her classe politique, mesmerized by the climate bugaboo, casts away the vigorous and yet benign economic hegemony that she has exercised almost since the Founding Fathers first breathed life into her enduring Constitution, it will not be a gentle, tolerant, all-embracing, radically-democratic nation that takes up the leadership of the world.

It will be a radically-tyrannical dictatorship - perhaps the brutal gerontocracy of Communist China, or the ruthless plutocracy of supposedly ex-Communist Russia, or the crude, mediaeval theocracy of rampant Islam, or even the contemptible, fumbling, sclerotic, atheistic-humanist bureaucracy of the emerging European oligarchy that has stealthily stolen away the once-paradigmatic democracy of our Mother of Parliaments from elected hands here to unelected hands elsewhere. For government of the people, by the people and for the people is still a rarity today, and it may yet perish from the earth if America, its exemplar, destroys herself in the specious name of "Saving The Planet".

Science and the climate: the facts

The facts about "rising temperatures"

You have said:
"We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them. Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures ... Today I'd like to focus on just one [challenge], and among environmental dangers it is surely the most serious of all. Whether we call it `climate change' or `global warming', in the end we're all left with the same set of facts. The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Good stewardship, prudence, and simple commonsense demand that we act to meet the challenge, and act quickly. ... Across the world average temperatures ... seem to reach new records every few years."
Here, Sir, are the facts about "rising temperatures". The facts which I shall give you in this letter are taken not from my own imagination, nor from the obscurantist reports of the UN's climate panel, nor from any lobby group, but from the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Very nearly all of the citations that support the crucial facts which your advisers seem not to have put before you, and which I shall set forth in thi s letter, are from peer-reviewed papers. Some, however, such as the documents of the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, are not peer-reviewed in the accepted sense of the term. Peer-reviewed papers will be indicated by citations with the date in parentheses, thus: Boffin et al. (2008). Papers that are not peer-reviewed will be indicated by square brackets, thus: IPCC [2007].

I begin with a geological and historical perspective on global mean surface temperature that your advisors seem to have withheld from you. For most of the past 600 million years, the mode of temperature - the temperature that most often prevailed globally - is thought to have been 12.5 F higher than today's temperature: for today's temperature, in the perspective of the long recent history of our planet, is unusually low.

During each of the last four interglacial periods over the past half-million years, temperature was 5 to 8 F warmer than the prese nt (Petit et al., 1999).

For 2000 years in the Bronze Age, during the Holocene Climate Optimum (which is called an "Optimum" because warmer is better than cooler), temperature was up to 5 F warmer than the present. Thanks to the warmer weather, on many continents simultaneously, the world's first great civilizations emerged.

It was also warmer during the 600 years of the Graeco-Roman warm period, when the twin civilizations that were the foundation of our own flourished in the Mediterranean. And it was warmer during the half millennium of the Mediaeval Climate Optimum, when the Renaissance reawakened humanity after the Dark Ages, and the great cathedrals and churches of Europe were built.

In 2001 the UN's climate panel made a maladroit and disfiguring attempt [IPCC, 2001] to heighten the baseless alarm that underlies all of its reports by denying that the Middle Ages were warmer than the present. However, three eminent statisticians working at the instigation of your own House of Representatives produced the definitive report [Wegman et al., 2005], confirming the peer-reviewed research of McIntyre & McKitrick (2003, 2005) establishing that the UN's graph had been doctored so as falsely to deny the reality of the mediaeval warm period, to whose existence hundreds of peer-reviewed papers from all parts of the globe attest.

At both Poles, it was warmer only half a century ago than it is today. For temperatures in the Arctic, see Soon et al. (2004). For the Antarctic, see Doran et al. (2002).

During the Maunder Minimum, a period of more than half a century ending in 1700 when there were no sunspots on the surface of our Sun, a Little Ice Age occurred all over the world (Hathaway, 2004). In 1700 there began a recovery in solar activity that has continued ever since, culminating in the 70-year Solar Grand Maximum that seems recently to have ended. During the Grand Maximum, the Sun was more active, and for longer, than during almost any previous similar period in the past 11,400 years (Solanki et al., 2005; and see Usoskin et al., 2003; and Hathaway, 2004). A symposium of the International Astronomical Union [2004] concluded that it is the Sun that was chiefly responsible for the warming of the late 20th century.

From 1700-1998, temperature rose at a near-uniform rate of about 1 F per century [Akasofu, 2008]. In 1998, "global warming" stopped, and it has not resumed since: indeed, in the past seven years, temperature has been falling at a rate equivalent to as much as 0.7 F per decade [Hadley Center for Forecasting, 2008; US National Climatic Data Center,202008]. Very few news media have given any prominence to this long and pronounced downturn in the temperature trend.

It is now thought possible that no new global annual temperature record will be set until at least 2015 (Keenlyside et al., 2008). Yet the projection of the UN's climate panel had been that temperature would rise by about 1 F during the 17 years to202015. It is no surprise, then, that Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the panel's chairman, has called for a re-evaluation of its hitherto very high estimates of "climate sensitivity" - the temperature change in response to the ever-increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

The facts about supposedly "rising temperatures" which I have set out above, can be readily verified by your advisors. If you like, I can assist them in finding the relevant peer-reviewed papers and global temperature datasets. On these facts, there is no scientific basis for your assertion that "We have many advantages in the fight against `global warming', but time is not one of them."

Since the world is not warming at the rate projected by the UN's climate panel, it follows that the urgency relentlessly suggested by that panel and echoed in your speech is by no means as great as the UN's reports would have us believe.

The correct question, posed by Akasofu [2008], is this: Since the world has been warming at a uniform rate in parallel with the recovery of solar activity during the 300 years following the Maunder Minimum, and since humankind could not have had any significant influence over global temperature until perhaps 50 years ago, if then, is there any evidence whatsoever that the observed anthropogenic increase in carbon dioxide concentration over the past hal f-century has had any appreciable influence, at all, on global temperature?

Another relevant question may occur to you: Is it not strange that the "global warming" scare has been rising in the media headlines and in the rhetoric of the classe politique throughout the past seven years, even though global temperature has been falling throughout that period?

Finally, now that you have the facts about temperature before you, it will be evident to you that you were not correct in having said that a new temperature record seems to be set every few years. Despite rapidly-rising carbon dioxide concentrations, there has been no new record year for global temperature in the ten years since 1998; and, in the United States, there has been no new record year for national temperature since 1934 - a record set almost three-quarters of a century ago, and well before humankind could have had any significant influence on temperature.

Much more here




Cold Reality

Comment from Investors' Business Daily:

Climate Change: Funny how economic concerns pull the mind away from foolishness such as global warming. But weather goes on, and in many places it doesn't happen the way fear mongers predict. Start with Alaska, a place in the news of late. The state's glaciers, after two centuries of shrinkage (a trend that began before the advent of the internal combustion engine and smokestack economy), actually grew during the winter of 2007-08.

"In general," Bruce Molnia, a U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist, told the Anchorage Daily News, "the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years." Translation: It was so cold that the snow that causes glaciers to expand didn't melt until later than usual.

Meanwhile, the International Arctic Research Center reports 29% more Arctic sea ice this year than last. This doesn't exactly square with overheated predictions earlier in the year that the North Pole would be entirely free of ice over the summer for the first time in recorded history.

Farther south, midmonth temperatures in Oregon hit record lows, and on Oct. 10 Boise, Idaho, got its earliest snow ever - 1.7 inches that beat the old record by one day and 7/10 of an inch.

Much farther south, Durban, South Africa, had its coldest September night in history a month ago, and parts of the country had an unusual late-winter snow. A month earlier in New Zealand, officials at Mount Ruapehu reported the largest snow base ever.

These last four developments, taken together or separately, don't disprove the global warming theory. But unlike climate projection models, which are often wrong but endlessly thrown in our faces as examples of hard science, they are real world events wholly contrary to the story the alarmists have been spreading.

Global warm mongers are rapidly losing credibility. Mainstream journalists will still believe them because climate change fits the narrative they've so carefully nurtured. But eventually the error will have to admitted. It won't happen publicly, though, because by the time they come to their senses, the issue will have been long forgotten by the public.

Source




California TV Ad Says Current and Future Immigration Exacerbates Global Warming

Immigrants Produce Four Times More Carbon Emissions in U.S. Than In Their Home Countries

Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) has launched an ad campaign in California TV markets. The TV spots point out that when immigrants settle in the U.S., their energy use quickly becomes Americanized. As a result their carbon emissions skyrocket. The result is a quadrupling of immigrants' carbon footprints compared to the amount of carbon emissions they produced in their home countries.

CAPS is launching the TV campaign as America faces the largest population increase in its history. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau projections, U.S. population will jump from 305 million today to more than 400 million by 2040. That's a 33 percent increase yielding an additional 100 million more people in just the next thirty years. It's an increase equivalent to adding another entire Western half of the country. According to Pew Research, 82 percent of that growth will be a result of immigration and births to immigrants.

Diana Hull, President of Californians for Population Stabilization commented, "Imagine taking close to 100 million people with a relatively small carbon footprint and quadrupling their carbon emissions overnight just by moving them to the U.S. That's going to significantly impact Global Warming. Cutting immigration to the U.S. isn't the only thing we should do to solve the global warming problem, but stopping mass immigration, especially from low carbon use nations will go a long way towards a solution because it is a significant contributor to the problems we face."

The CAPS TV spot is based on a recent Center for Immigrations Studies (CIS) report about U.S. immigration and carbon emissions. While the CAPS TV spot is focused more on future carbon emissions, the CIS study looks at current carbon emissions. Currently, US immigrants produce an estimated 637 million metric tons of CO2 annually or the same amount of carbon emissions currently produced by Great Britain and Sweden, combined. The spot concludes, "We've got some tough choices to make" and then invites viewers to visit CAPS website to "Tell us what you'd do."

For more information about CAPS, visit CAPSWEB.ORG

Source




Australia: Only the best will do for Greenies

A government department advocating environmentally-friendly practices used $18,000 worth of paper shipped from Italy to print a report. The highly-awaited draft report of climate change economist Ross Garnaut snubbed Australian-made paper in favour of a better-quality Italian brand.

The printing costs of the report, released in July, left taxpayers with a bill of $70,000 for the 600 copies, a Question on Notice asked by Liberal Party Tasmania Senator Eric Abetz revealed. However, when asked how many "carbon miles" were used to bring the paper into Australia, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said it had not been calculated or offset.

She said her department picked up the tab for printing the report and 9Lives80 paper was used because all "virgin pulp used in manufacture is derived from well-managed forests and manufactured by certified mills". "There were two Australian-made options which were assessed by the printer as being of lower quality," she said.

Senator Wong said Professor Garnaut's travel and accommodation expenses paid by the department had reached $14,000 at August 13. She said the department had also provided him with $200,000 in staffing resources. "The department pays 35 per cent of Professor Garnaut's total mobile phone bill," she said. "As at August 13, $1539.45 has been paid by the Department of Climate Change. "Professor Garnaut has not been provided with a Commonwealth vehicle nor has he chosen to claim his vehicle allowance."

The revelations came as new information revealed that millions of dollars were spent on wages for media management and public affairs by the Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts Department and its agencies. A Question on Notice by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Nick Minchin of the Liberal Party, revealed that about 64 staff have been employed to disseminate the Government's spin. Wages for the staff have reached about $4.5 million a year.

The department, headed by Environment Minister Peter Garrett, directly employed 28 people who were "responsible for communicating and raising awareness of Australian Government policies and programs". The other staff were shared between nine government agencies.

Source




Stupid British garbage wars

Scourge of fly-tipping switches to the suburbs after weekly bin collections are scrapped

The scourge of fly-tipping has spread to the suburbs, official figures showed yesterday. Illegal rubbish dumping - almost all of it household refuse - is now found as much in genteel and leafy areas as in sink estates and inner cities. The shift of fly-tipping to the suburbs has gone alongside the imposition of fortnightly rubbish collections and strict wheelie bin regulations.

Figures released by the Environment Department showed that half of all fly-tips are found around towns and cities but outside deprived areas. In the past a big majority of recorded fly-tips have been in the poorest and most lawless areas.

They also showed that six out of ten fly-tipping incidents involved household refuse rather than business or industrial waste and that most were dumps of one car boot-load of rubbish. More than one in ten fly-tips were of a single black bag.

Evidence of middle-class fly-tipping produced a new broadside against Labour's compulsory recycling policies from Tories who have made it an election pledge to bring back weekly collections. Local government spokesman Eric Pickles said: 'These figures illustrate that fly-tipping is rife across the country, hitting Middle England hard. Clearly it is becoming the norm and not the exception. 'Sixty per cent of all fly-tipping is household waste under Labour. Britain's green and pleasant land is now littered by the blot of black bin bags, directly due to Whitehall's policy of bullying town halls into axing weekly collections and adopting over-zealous 'no side waste' policies.'

He added: 'Gordon Brown's new bin taxes look set to make it even worse, by giving perverse financial incentives to irresponsibly fly-tip.'

In the 12 months up to March 2007, the DEFRA breakdown showed that the number of enforcement actions against those dumping rubbish went up by 26 per cent. Overall, there were 1.24million fly-tip incidents, down 7.5 per cent on last year. However the figures do not include Liverpool incidents because of problems over recording in the city.

Minister for waste Jane Kennedy said: 'We still need to work on the serious environmental and social problem of fly-tipping. Local authorities are doing well in the fight against it.'

Fly-tipping has risen in recent years as around half the councils that collect rubbish in England have abandoned weekly pick-ups for fortnightly collections and compulsory recycling schemes.

These have been accompanied by attempts to force families to put out less rubbish, usually involving strict rules. Householders are not allowed to fill bins so their lids are open, rubbish must not be put out at the wrong hours and no 'side waste' left in bags alongside bins is allowed

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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18 October, 2008

RECENT MELTING OF GREENLAND'S ICE MIMICS 1920s-1940s EVENT

The writer below ties himself in knots trying to reconcile his pesky findings with current global warming orthodoxy. He says, for instance that "glaciers and other bodies of ice are exquisitely hyper-sensitive to climate change" and then says, "Recent warming around the frozen island actually lags behind the global average warming pattern by about 1-2 degrees C". That juxtaposition makes any and every Greenland glacier change explicable. If it melts it is hypersensitive to global warming. If it gains mass it is the air around it that is strangely isolated from global warming. That the real cause of the oscillations he has observed might be oscillations in ocean currents is not considered

Two researchers here spent months scouring through old expedition logs and reports, and reviewing 70-year-old maps and photos before making a surprising discovery: They found that the effects of the current warming and melting of Greenland 's glaciers that has alarmed the world's climate scientists occurred in the decades following an abrupt warming in the 1920s.

Their evidence reinforces the belief that glaciers and other bodies of ice are exquisitely hyper-sensitive to climate change and bolsters the concern that rising temperatures will speed the demise of that island's ice fields, hastening sea level rise. The work, reported at this week's annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco , may help to discount critics' notion that the melting of Greenland 's glaciers is merely an isolated, regional event.

They recently recognized from using weather station records from the past century that temperatures in Greenland had warmed in the 1920s at rates equivalent to the recent past. But they hadn't confirmed that the island's glaciers responded to that earlier warming, until now. "What's novel about this is that we found a wealth of information from low-tech sources that has been overlooked by most researchers," explained Jason Box, an associate professor of geography at Ohio State University and a researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center. Many researchers, he says, rely heavily on information from satellites and other modern sources.

Undergraduate student Adam Herrington, co-author on this paper and a student in the School of Earth Sciences, spent weeks in the university's libraries and archives, scouring the faded, dusty books that contained the logs of early scientific expeditions, looking primarily for photos and maps of several of Greenland 's key glaciers. "I must have paged through more than a hundred such volumes to get the data we needed for this study," Herrington said.

They concentrated on three large glaciers flowing out from the central ice sheet towards the ocean - the Jakobshavn Isbrae, the Kangerdlugssuaq and the Helheim. "These three glaciers are huge and collectively, they drain as much as 40 percent of the southern half of the ice sheet. All three have recently increased their speed as the temperature rose," Box said, adding that the Kangerdlugssuaq, at 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) wide is half-again as wide as New York's Manhattan Island .

Digging through the old data, Herrington found a map from 1932 and an aerial photo from 1933 that documented how, during a warm period, the Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier lost a piece of floating ice that was nearly the size of New York 's Manhattan Island. "That parallels what we know about recent changes," Box said. "In 2002 to 2003, that same glacier retreated another 3.1 miles (5 kilometers), and that it tripled its speed between 2000 and 2005."

The fact that recent changes to Greenland's ice sheet mirror its behavior nearly 70 years ago is increasing researchers' confidence and alarm as to what the future holds. Recent warming around the frozen island actually lags behind the global average warming pattern by about 1-2 degrees C but if it fell into synch with global temperatures in a few years, the massive ice sheet might pass its "threshold of viability" - a tipping point where the loss of ice couldn't be stopped. "Once you pass that threshold," Box said, "the current science suggests that it would become an irreversible process. And we simply don't know how fast that might happen, how fast the ice might disappear."

Greenland 's ice sheet contains at least 10 percent of the world's freshwater AND it has been losing more than 24 cubic miles (100 cubic kilometers) of ice annually for the last five years and 2007 was a record year for glacial melting there.

Source




Arctic sea ice now 28.7% higher than this date last year - still rallying

10/14/2008 7,064,219 square kilometers

10/14/2007 5,487,656 square kilometers

A difference of: 1,576,563 square kilometers, now in fairness, 2008 was a leap year, so to avoid that criticism, the value of 6,857,188 square kilometers can be used which is the 10/13/08 value, for a difference of 1,369,532 sq km. Still not too shabby at 24.9 %. The one day gain between 10/13/08 and 10/14/08 of 3.8% is also quite impressive. You can download the source data in an Excel file at the IARC-JAXA website, which plots satellite derived sea-ice extent:

There is no mention of this on the National Snow and Ice Data Center sea ice news webpage, which has been trumpeting every loss and low for the past two years.not a peep. You'd think this would be big news. Perhaps the embarrassment of not having an ice free north pole in 2008, which was sparked by press comments made by Dr. Mark Serreze there and speculation on their own website, has made them unresponsive in this case. From May 5th, 2008:
"Taken together, an assessment of the available evidence, detailed below, points to another extreme September sea ice minimum. Could the North Pole be ice free this melt season? Given that this region is currently covered with first-year ice, that seems quite possible. "
More here




Past climate fluctuations revealed in history

by Dr Kelvin Kemm

The period of global warming that we have experienced on our planet over the last century, which has seen a rise in temperature of some 0.6 degrees C, does not correlate at all with a rise in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), but is does correlate with solar activity. Indications are that solar activity is the primary driver of the variation in global temperature.

Even more compelling is the fact that there exists a well-documented Roman Warm period from the time of the Roman Caesars, and a Medieval Warm Period, both of which correlate with solar activity, but certainly can have nothing whatever to do with CO2 produced by any human industrial activities.

Further, earlier global warming periods were always accompanied by great human prosperity, and not by gloom and doom, as today's global warming adherents are forever saying. In fact, it was periods of global cooling that were bad for the world's population and for the environment as a whole. In AD 793, the Vikings burst upon their European neighbours, starting with England. One venture took them into eastern Europe. There, they founded the Russian State at Kiev, in Ukraine, in 882 AD. They also moved into France, as the Normans, and became a power in the Mediterranean as well as in Europe.

Two centuries of global warming then followed, from about 930 AD. This warm weather assisted the Vikings in taking Iceland from the Irish. The Vikings settled in Greenland and explored as far west as Newfoundland, in North America. During this period, around 1000 AD, grain grew in northern Norway and grapes in northern England. The signs of warm-weather crops in these settlements puzzled modern archaeologists when they found evidence of these crops in what they thought had always been an iced-over region.

High in the mountains in central Europe, abandoned ancient mines were reopened when the area thawed. In what was thought of as the arid region of New Mexico, Amerindians of the Anasazi ethic group built canyon towns and irrigated crops as the climate warmed and rain became a regular feature of the area. Rain also soaked the grasslands of Asia during the warm centuries, and nomadic horsemen thrived. This was great for the nomads but not so great for some of the other tribes in the region, who got beaten up by the nomads, who then acquired great mobility over the grasslands covered in food for the horses.

In China, a magnetic compass was invented - the earliest practical compass was described in a Chinese military manual of 1044. It was a magnetised fish shape that floated on water. Compasses soon evolved into magnets hanging on silk threads. The importance of the compass is that it allowed people to confidently sail far away from land in small ships.

Administrative reforms in China, starting in 1068, transformed the Chinese empire into the first economy managed on modern lines, relying on equitable money taxes rather than forced labour. The economy and the population boomed during the warm years, and government loans encouraged farmers to plant a new variety of rice from Indochina. The Chinese seafarers continued to trade widely across South-East Asia and so spread their knowledge and goods, to the benefit of all.

In the meantime, in Middle America, around 1200, there was turmoil. Aztecs, from the north, entered the Valley of Mexico. They rose to power over their neighbours in about 1320. It appears the reason why they moved and rose to power was the downturn in the climate, which began in about 1190. "Hey man, chill out" had a different meaning for them. Other sufferers from the cooling climate were the Anasazi, who were then forced, by drought, to abandon their canyon settlements. They moved to concentrate along the Rio Grande.

Starting in 1314, Europe was struck by repeated famines. The mountain mines were abandoned again, and the Vikings were frozen out of their settlements. By 1342, the Vikings' customary route to Greenland had been blocked by ice. The Eurasian steppes became the scene of terrible military events. When the rainfall diminished from 1160, the numerous horsemen were happy for a warlord to tell them to attack the farming villages.

The break-out of the Mongols and their allies, the Turks, exceeded any previous break-out in ferocity and scope. In 1211, the Chinese Wall was breached. Baghdad, amid its decaying irrigation works, fell in 1258 to the Mongols.

A crash in the population of medieval Eurasia, already evident in China by 1290, was made worse by disease carried by the Mongol supply and trading caravans. The Black Death first appeared among the Chinese in 1331, killing more than a quarter of them, and in 1346 a Mongol army in southern Russian spread it to Europe. The Medieval Warm Period was past, and the Little Ice Age was really on its way.

Source




ITALIAN INDUSTRY PRAISES EU CLIMATE CHANGE COMPROMISE

Decision deferred

Italian industrialists on Thursday praised a compromise reached in Brussels on the European Union's climate change plans which has to be adopted unanimously in December. The employers' group Confindustria, which had lobbied for climate change targets to be delayed, issued a statement thanking the Italian government for the "determination they showed in defending the rights of the productive world and the interests of the country."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi threatened to torpedo the plans, branding them too big a burden for business amid the global financial crisis. He finally accepted a compromise in exchange for an assurance that the package must be adopted unanimously by all 27 countries at their next summit in mid-December.

According to the text, the 27 heads of state and government agreed the package should be introduced in a "cost-effective manner ... having regard to each member state's specific situation."

After Italy and Poland brandished the threat of a veto if their reservations were not taken into account, Germany, Europe's largest economy, also voiced concerns over the ambitious environmental plans.

European leaders on Thursday retained the targets and timeline of the European plan but they are preparing for two and half months of difficult negotiations after the most reluctant countries won the right to veto a final plan. "We are right in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis, and today the priority should be to fight the risk of economic recession," Confindustria wrote.

They added: "The postponement of any decision to December should allow a modification of the timeline and a more equitable distribution of the burden among different countries."

Source




IPCC ENDORSES OBAMA (policy-neutral, my foot!)

The election of U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama would help clear the deadlock in United Nations talks to slow global warming, said Rajendra Pachauri, head of a United Nations panel of climate-change scientists.

"A critical factor in these talks is the position of the U.S.," Pachauri, chairman of the UN panel that shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, said today in an interview in Berlin. "If Obama is elected, and this seems more likely, this would create positive momentum" for the UN talks.

Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois vying with Arizona Republican Senator John McCain for the presidency, and his advisers have indicated policies will be implemented that will push climate- change talks ahead, Pachauri said without providing details. Last year's UN meeting in Bali was a "positive step" that needs to be moved forward, helped especially by the U.S., he added. U.S. voters go to the polls on Nov. 4.

Negotiators from almost 200 countries will meet in December at a UN conference in Poznan, Poland, to discuss ways to limit carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. The talks are aimed at reaching an accord to replace the Kyoto protocol, which the U.S. has not signed, by next year at a Copenhagen conference.

Obama will tell the Environmental Protection Agency that it may use the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers should he win the presidential election, his energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said in an interview. President George W. Bush declined to curb CO2 emissions under the law even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 the government may do so.

Source




BRITISH CLIMATE TARGETS ARE HOT AIR

In view of the uncertainty over the future direction of the British and the world economies, the timing of Ed Miliband's announcement of new "green" targets was odd to say the least. The younger brother of the Foreign Secretary was only recently installed in the new post of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. It might have been imagined that he would take stock of the extraordinary turmoil in the financial world before committing the country to further environmental measures. But Mr Miliband has required just a fortnight to decide that the 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to which the UK had previously signed up was insufficiently ambitious.

There is a lot of ministerial hot air about these targets; new ones are announced long before it is apparent whether existing ones are realistic or achievable. In 1997, the Government said it was going to "reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent on 1990 levels by 2010". By 2003 this had become an aspiration to "move towards a 20 per cent reduction..." By 2005, it was saying that "emissions of all greenhouse gases would be around 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010".

In 2006 a target was set for "all new homes to be zero carbon within a decade" but in the first month of 2008, just three zero carbon homes were built. The Government then pledged to reduce carbon dioxide by 60 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050, which Mr Miliband has now said should rise to 80 per cent in line with a recommendation delivered just last week by the Government-appointed Climate Change Committee. When the 60 per cent target was first recommended by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, it implicitly included emissions from aviation. But Mr Miliband now says aviation and shipping will be excluded, though specific proposals for achieving this tougher target have still to be published.

His statement was hailed as "bold and courageous", yet it amounted to nothing beyond the utterance of some words. This is not to say that there is something inherently wrong with wanting a cleaner environment, simply that announcing ever higher numbers has become something of a political virility test with no obvious connection with the real world, and one that the Conservatives seem happy to go along with.

Mr Miliband said the price to be paid for doing nothing was greater than the cost of acting, though not if it means investment in clean technology dries up as a result. There are so many economic uncertainties that substituting one random and impractical number for another seems precipitate.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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17 October, 2008

Crisis Guide on Climate Change

An email from Eben Kaplan [ekaplan@cfr.org] of the Council on Foreign Relations:

I thought you might be especially interested to know that the Council on Foreign Relations has released a new Crisis Guide on Climate Change. It's an interactive feature that offers a unique online experience, combining text, video, maps, and charts to provide an information-rich exploration of climate change, its global impact, and policy options for addressing it. The guide is really impressive, at least that's what the Emmy judges thought of our previous guide on Darfur.

Among the information contained in the Crisis Guide are these surprising facts (though perhaps they're not so surprising to you):

* Melting ice caps are not the largest cause of sea-level rise. Instead, the water in warming oceans is expanding, thus increasing sea levels.

* Coal, not oil, is the world's most abundant fossil fuel.

* Canada uses more energy per capita than the United States.

* France produces 80 percent of its energy with zero emissions.

* Some studies show Antarctica is actually getting cooler.

* Cities, home to half the world's population, consume three-quarters of the world's energy.

I think you'll find nothing else on the web offers this combination of depth, interactivity, and multimedia. I hope you enjoy it.




The Green Agenda

New Book by K. B. Napier, "The Green Agenda" details desire for 'total control over people'

Description:

Al Gore has successfully scammed the entire world with his global-warming, climate-changing, CO2 deception. The IPCC fraudulently changed vital scientific information to produce its 2007 Report that induced panic. Governments and the media have put a gagging order on anyone who tells the truth. The reason is simple - Greens,the UN and EU, and governments, want total control over people. The Green movement has nothing to do with 'saving the planet'... it has everything to do with bringing back Marxism and Fascism on a grand scale, suppressing truth,hiking-up taxes and bringing in crippling energy controls. This book shows the truth behind the Green... ignore it at your peril.

Source




David Archibald's elegant illustration of how late and weak solar cycle 24 is proving

Severe cooling now almost guaranteed



There is another way of looking at solar cycles. Solar cycles actually start with the magnetic reversal near the peak of the previous cycle. The sunspots take seven years to surface and become visible. Almost all sunspot cycles tend to be about 18.5 years long, measured from the peak of the previous cycle.

The above graph compares the average of three cycles, 21 to 23, from the late 20th century with three, 14 to 16, from the late 19th century (which had much colder weather). Also included is Solar Cycle 5, the first half of the Dalton Minimum.

Given we are now 103 months from the peak of Solar Cycle 23, it is now too late to get a late 19th century-type outcome for Solar Cycle 24. Out of the 24 named solar cycles, Solar Cycle 24 is now the latest after Solar Cycle 5.

It is so late that it is now in no man's land and its weakness is now more of a consideration than lateness in itself. It is certain that we will be getting a Dalton Minimum-type experience.

Source




Real Politics Sink Carbon Claptrap
Economic storm clouds and a lukewarm reception to the Liberals Green Shift plan will likely shelve a national carbon tax for now, experts say. Economists and environmental groups say its unlikely future governments would adopt the policy. [see: Carbon tax likely shelved for now: experts, The Canadian Press, October 14]
The Canadian voters have shown the door to the imposition of nonsensical `Green' taxes and costs [`Canadians re-elect Conservatives', BBC Online Americas News, October 15]. With nearly all the votes in, the sitting PM, Stephen Harper [picture], and his Conservative Party have won 143 seats (37.6% of the popular vote), an increase of 16 seats. The opposition Liberal Party, under Stephane Dion, has lost nearly 20 seats (26.2% of the popular vote). The Bloc Quebecois took 50 seats (10% of the popular vote).

The result of the `Canadian Election 2008' is hardly a surprise. Why? The Liberals were touting an onerous `Green' carbon tax [see: `Election 2008', The Chronicle Herald, October 15]: "If Mr. Harper's big campaign error was blowing potential gains in Quebec, Mr. Dion's was building a campaign around the Green Shift.

Electorally, it was a shift that simply didn't work for the Liberals. It shifted old supporters out of the party in fear that it would raise their energy costs, but did not seem to shift idealistic new ones in. Although Mr. Dion was, as he fairly claimed, the greenest mainstream party leader on offer, green voters didn't come to him in any numbers in the end. The shift was beyond what mainstream voters were ready to do for the environment; the green vanguard proved fickle and so the great green gamble was a fizzle."

Now let's watch Europe likewise take the fizz - the CO2 - out of the `Green' bottle. As Carl Mortished writes in The Times [`Banks face dark days after Brown's "finest hour"', The Times, October 15]: "Even as we move into an era of rising unemployment, the Government wants to impose even greater costs on businesses and consumers in the fight against climate change. Greenhouse gas reductions of 20 per cent would be extremely challenging in a thriving economy. Today, they look onerous, if not impossible." Just so.

So, watch this space, as Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, and lots of other EU states swiftly grasp political reality, namely that their voters - just like those of Canada - prefer jobs and prosperity to carbon claptrap, `Green' taxes, and the imposition of punishing costs. Even Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, was recently reported as admitting that she "could not support the destruction of German jobs through an ill-advised climate policy" [see: `Climate change fears after German opt-out', Financial Times, September 22].

Yet, never mind! All is well. The UK has a Minister for Climate Change.

Source




Let the data speak for itself

Despite the message favoured by environmental campaigners, temperatures in this decade have not been worse than expected

By Bjorn Lomborg

Have you noticed how environmental campaigners almost inevitably say that not only is global warming happening and bad, but also that what we are seeing is even worse than expected? This is odd, because any reasonable understanding of how science proceeds would expect that, as we refine our knowledge, we find that things are sometimes worse and sometimes better than we expected, and that the most likely distribution would be about 50-50. Environmental campaigners, however, almost invariably see it as 100-0.

If we are regularly being surprised in just one direction, if our models get blindsided by an ever-worsening reality, that does not bode well for our scientific approach. Indeed, one can argue that if the models constantly get something wrong, it is probably because the models are wrong. And if we cannot trust our models, we cannot know what policy action to take if we want to make a difference.

Yet, if new facts constantly show us that the consequences of climate change are getting worse and worse, high-minded arguments about the scientific method might not carry much weight. Certainly, this seems to be the prevailing bet in the spin on global warming. It is, again, worse than we thought, and, despite our failing models, we will gamble on knowing just what to do: cut CO2 emissions dramatically.

But it is simply not correct that climate data are systematically worse than expected; in many respects, they are spot on, or even better than expected. That we hear otherwise is an indication of the media's addiction to worst-case stories, but that makes a poor foundation for smart policies.

The most obvious point about global warming is that the planet is heating up. It has warmed about 1C (1.8F) over the past century, and is predicted by the United Nations' climate panel (IPCC) to warm between 1.6-3.8C (2.9-6.8F) during this century, mainly owing to increased CO2. An average of all 38 available standard runs from the IPCC shows that models expect a temperature increase in this decade of about 0.2C.

But this is not at all what we have seen. And this is true for all surface temperature measures, and even more so for both satellite measures. Temperatures in this decade have not been worse than expected; in fact, they have not even been increasing. They have actually decreased by between 0.01 and 0.1C per decade. On the most important indicator of global warming, temperature development, we ought to hear that the data are actually much better than expected.

Likewise, and arguably much more importantly, the heat content of the world's oceans has been dropping for the past four years where we have measurements. Whereas energy in terms of temperature can disappear relatively easily from the light atmosphere, it is unclear where the heat from global warming should have gone - and certainly this is again much better than expected.

We hear constantly about how the Arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than expected, and this is true. But most serious scientists also allow that global warming is only part of the explanation. Another part is that the so-called Arctic oscillation of wind patterns over the Arctic Ocean is now in a state that it does not allow build-up of old ice, but immediately flushes most ice into the North Atlantic.

More importantly, we rarely hear that the Antarctic sea ice is not only not declining, but is above average for the past year. IPCC models would expect declining sea ice in both hemispheres but, whereas the Arctic is doing worse than expected, Antarctica is doing better.

Ironically, the Associated Press, along with many other news outlets, told us in 2007 that the "Arctic is screaming," and that the Northwest Passage was open "for the first time in recorded history." Yet the BBC reported in 2000 that the fabled Northwest Passage was already without ice.

We are constantly inundated with stories of how sea levels will rise, and how one study after another finds that it will be much worse than what the IPCC predicts. But most models find results within the IPCC range of a sea-level increase of 18-59cm (7-23in) this century. This is of course why the thousands of IPCC scientists projected that range. Yet studies claiming one metre or more obviously make for better headlines.

Since 1992, we have had satellites measuring the rise in global sea levels, and they have shown a stable increase of 3.2mm per year (1/8 of an inch) - spot on compared to the IPCC projection. Moreover, over the last two years, sea levels have not increased at all - actually, they show a slight drop. Should we not be told that this is much better than expected?

Hurricanes were the stock image of Al Gore's famous film on climate change, and certainly the United States was battered in 2004 and 2005, leading to wild claims of ever stronger and costlier storms in the future. But in the two years since, the costs have been well below average, virtually disappearing in 2006. That is definitely better than expected.

Gore quoted MIT hurricane researcher Kerry Emmanuel to support an alleged scientific consensus that global warming is making hurricanes much more damaging. But Emmanuel has now published a new study showing that even in a dramatically warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity may not substantially rise during the next two centuries. That conclusion did not get much exposure in the media.

Of course, not all things are less bad than we thought. But one-sided exaggeration is not the way forward. We urgently need balance if we are to make sensible choices.

Source




Australia: Greenie crocodile stupidity

There's tens of thousands of them in the far North; probably hundreds of thousands. There is no way they would be "endangered" if all the ones found in close proximity to people were shot immediately. Two separate stories below:



1). A huge crocodile has been terrorising road workers building a bridge in the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland's northwest after a rival male was shot and beheaded by trophy hunters. Wildlife rangers revealed the 5.8m crocodile had become highly aggressive in the aftermath of the illegal killing three weeks ago of its smaller rival.

Police and Environmental Protection Agency officers have been investigating the mystery shooting, which has upset both locals and crocodiles. Officers said the big croc has since been stalking and lunging at construction crews working on the Albert River near Burketown. "He is a monster and he is very upset," said Carpentaria Land Council ranger co-ordinator Kevin Anderson. "He has been hanging around the bridge and snapping and lunging at anything in the water. Those workers need eyes in their backsides."

Mr Anderson said the huge bull croc became enraged when the dead body of the killed crocodile, a rival male living upstream, floated through his territory. Workers at the construction site used a large crane to pull the dead 4.4m reptile from the water. It had a bullet wound in its side. Later that night, an unknown "trophy hunter" cut off its head.

Penalties for killing a crocodile, protected under law, include fines up to $15,000.

Meanwhile, the 4.3m crocodile believed to have taken tourist Arthur Booker near Cooktown two weeks ago will probably go to a crocodile farm. Under the State's crocodile management plan no animal involved in an attack is allowed to be put on display. "It will not be released back into the wild," a spokeswoman said. "As it is an iconic animal, the crocodile will not be harmed or killed."

Two smaller crocs trapped in the Endeavour River near where Booker disappeared will probably be released.

Source

2). Rangers have released photographs of a 3.5m male saltwater crocodile lurking in the waterways of a Queensland island popular for swimming. The crocodile has mainly taken up residence in the mangroves of Magnetic Island, which is a short ocean ferry ride from the city of Townsville Queensland's far north, the Townsville Bulletin reports.

Outspoken Kennedy MP Bob Katter yesterday slammed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for monitoring rather than removing the large predator from an area frequented by swimmers. The saltwater croc surfaced in the island's Cockle Bay last week, around the corner from the main swimming area in Picnic Bay.

The EPA said there had not been any further sightings of the reptile, however if spotted again in the area, it would be removed if it was deemed a problem. An agency spokeswoman yesterday said rangers believed the croc had moved away from the island again.

However, Mr Katter accused the agency of putting the animal ahead of humans. "It will remain in a situation where it can continue to threaten human beings," he said. "The prevailing attitude is quite extraordinary. "The number of people who would protect crocodiles and not human beings is significant. "If they love this crocodile so much, I strongly recommend they spend more time with it, and less time with the human beings, for which they have no respect at all. "There's been a human being torn to pieces here."

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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16 October, 2008

THE LEGACY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT

An email from James Marusek [tunga@custom.net] below:

In the beginning of April, after almost 4 decades of service to my government, I have retired to a quiet life or at least so I thought. On the 3rd of June, a large tornado ripped through my property. Fortunately it jumped over the house but there was still significant damage requiring a major cleanup effort. (Btw. the tornado was the plain vanilla kind, 100% natural - a normal weather phenomena, uncontaminated by mankind) There is probably a bright side to all this. I now have over a 6-year supply of firewood to heat my home and I am better fit as a result. Its a fallout of cutting up large trees and picking up and tossing the pieces, some weighing over a hundred pounds. Sometimes I feel like I have been run over by a train locomotive. So much for the quiet life!

I have heated my home solely with firewood for the past 30 years. Firewood is an unappreciated plentiful source of renewable energy and it's oldest source. The use of wood to produce heat dates back almost 250,000 years. It is interesting to note that there were 196 wood burning electricity plants in the United States as of January 2007, including 72 with 40 megawatt capacity or larger. Last year wood generated more net electricity in the U.S. than solar cells and wind turbines combined.

In my spare time I have been expanding one of my web-pages called "The Legacy of the Environmental Movement" that I introduced in April. I think it is important to understand the intent of the environmental movement over the past 3 decades and their roadmap into the future. The current global warming scare is only one piece of a much broader picture, like a single piece in a child's puzzle. From my viewpoint, it felt right to put some of this puzzle together and this web-page was my tool for accomplishing that. My original web-page has now expanded into 90 web-pages. These web-pages currently link to over 1,500 articles and books. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information available.

The main web-page can be accessed here




Italy will veto EU climate plan

Forza Italia!

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has threatened to torpedo the EU's climate change plans, branding them too big a burden for business amid the global financial crisis. His announcement, at an EU summit in Brussels, came despite pleas from fellow leaders not to abandon the targets in the face of growing financial pressure, although Poland also appeared ready to vote parts of it down. "I have announced my intention to exercise my veto," the Italian leader told a press conference on the sidelines of the summit overnight. "Our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed."

Last year, EU leaders vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, compared with 1990 levels. They also pledged to have renewable energies make up 20 per cent of all energy sources. But many EU nations have begun to baulk at the costs involved and the consequences to industry of the climate change goals.

The foreign minister of Poland, heavily dependent on coal-fired power, said his country would resist attempts to railroad the targets through. "This is a very intricate game and Poland is ready to introduce a veto if there will be attempts to force us to achieve an agreement on the climate package," Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters. However he insisted Warsaw did not want to kill the whole package, which is meant to be approved by December.

Before the summit Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk led eastern European nations in calling on their EU partners to "respect the differences in member states' economic potential" in fixing national goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In a statement, leaders of the three Baltic states, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia as well as Poland stressed "the union's climate and energy policy should reconcile environmental objectives and the need for sustainable economic growth".

The call for special attention to be paid to economic concerns in finalising the climate package is just what Brussels and other EU member states had feared as the financial crisis takes hold. "This is not the time to abandon a climate change agenda which is important for the future," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso also urged the leaders to press ahead and not abandon Europe's leadership role.

But Mr Berlusconi said it was unrealistic to expect Europe to adhere to strict limits when other major polluters would not. In a draft of conclusions to be released at the end of the summit, the leaders were set to express their determination to honour the climate change goals. No final decision on the climate package was expected today but the European Commission had been hopeful that it could seal a deal in December.

Source




DUTCH SAY 'NEE' (Or is it "tegen"?) AS NEDERLAND JOINS OPPOSITION TO EU CLIMATE PLAN

The Netherlands will fight a European parliament proposal that seeks to earmark money raised from selling EU allowances (EUAs) for an international fund to help cut emissions in developing countries, according to a government official.

More here




CANADA: THE END OF CLIMATE HYPE?

The Canadian Liberals went to the polls with very "green" policies but were the major losers in the election

Economic storm clouds and a lukewarm reception to the Liberals' Green Shift plan will likely shelve a national carbon tax for now, experts say. Economists and environmental groups say it's unlikely future governments would adopt the policy. At least for awhile. "I don't believe that it will completely die, but it's tough to see it being advanced by the Conservatives after they campaigned so stridently against it," Doug Porter, an economist with BMO Capital Markets, said in an email.

"I suspect that given the current financial market turmoil, the likelihood of at least a moderate North American recession, and the unpopularity of the B.C. carbon tax, that a national carbon tax will be put aside for some time."

The Conservatives attacked Liberal Leader Stephane Dion during the election campaign over his proposed carbon tax on fossil fuels, offset by income-tax reductions and special energy tax credits for the poor. So it's hard to imagine Stephen Harper's Tories ever adopting a policy he claimed would destroy Canada's economy.

More here




EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME: THE NEXT BUBBLE IN TIMES OF FINANCIAL CRISIS

This week, the German Minister for Environment, Sigmar Gabriel, was quoted saying the money burnt at financial markets must not be taken away from CARITAS or climate protection. While at first sight everyone might nod his head over this statement, it somehow reveals two interesting things. First, even politicians from the environmental wing must finally admit: the so-called "climate protection measures" cost money, in fact, a hell lot of money.

Second, it reveals the ignorance of these politicians towards some very basic economic facts. The money the government and industry might spend for protecting the environment does not appear out of nowhere. It is earned by real work of real people in real companies. This is even more accurate in times of financial crises, where mere book profits from virtual markets fall to insignificance. In these times, politicians should work on keeping the industrial basis of our economies and social welfare alive and support its growth where possible. Instead, right at the peak of the financial crisis, they are discussing a costly reform of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS.)

On October 7, the European Parliament Committee for the environment voted on the Doyle-Report and this week the European Council will discuss the ETS as well. The main idea is that emission rights will not be given away to the industries for free, phasing in from 2013 on. Moreover, power generators will have to buy the emission rights, and all industries will be included in that system by 2020. With the emission rights being traded in an "emission stock exchange," politicians will finally have created a complex, mushrooming and rampant tool, not calling it a toy just out of politeness.

Duplicating structures we can currently see in the smoking ruins in Wall Street, central London or Frankfurt, we will soon have emission brokers, bankers, accountants, analysts and - last but not least - volatile prices. In correlation with the situation of the global economy, prices for emission rights will go up and down completely unpredictably, even more so as no one really knows the rules of this game. The risks for some industries will be enormous, even supporters of the ETS admit that. But they propose a solution: Like in the real world of stock exchange, we should set up a market of forwards and options for emission rights. By then, everything will be set up for the next bubble to burst one day, a bubble created by the same political forces which are now constantly blaming financial markets and stock exchanges for their failure, meanwhile asking for the nationalisation of banks and extensive government control.

A staterun ETS truly tops this development. At the end, someone will have to pay for the bubble: the real world industry. And they will have to pay twice: Not only for buying emission rights in the first place, but also to set up infrastructures and knowledge to deal with the ETS toy. In times where money is so urgently needed for industry investments, in order to keep the real economy running and alive, while financial markets are in crisis, the money for emission rights could be planned a lot better.

This is definitely not the time for another setback to competitiveness of the European Union`s industrial backbone. Its stable functioning guarantees the available money to spend on social welfare, education and climate protection. It will certainly not work the other way round. And finally, it is absolutely not the time to create another bubble.

Source




Scientists Challenge UK Govt Climate Committee to 'Drop flawed science and the Climate Change millstone - Save the economy'

CO2 is the Gas Of Life ('GOL'), it is not a problem

The recommendation that the UK cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent* is "total madness based on false science" said Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction long range forecasters. "There is no evidence that Carbon dioxide has ever controlled, is controlling or will ever control world temperatures or climate and I challenge the promoters of this nonsense to produce evidence to justify their policies - or drop them, just as 13 world scientists** have similarly challenged the UN.

"Climate Change policy is a millstone around the UK and world economies. The beneficiaries are oil companies who ram up prices with abandon (taking advantage of limits placed on expansion of coal), bio-fuel producers who are increasing food prices and starvation, and the booming industry of climate change parasites such as carbon traders and nuclear power-mongers.

"Taxpayers and the developing world are the losers. There is a world recession now upon us which is being made deeper by Climate Change policies and the perpetrators must be called to account. Banks and industry are going bust yet the green fundamentalists want to impose more of this madness on the world. They actually want to increase their burden on the UK economy and deepen the world recession**.

"Genuine green policies to defend bio-diversity and reduce waste should be supported but the deceitful manipulation of the goodwill of many people in order to promote policies of mass taxation, expensive and dangerous energy like nuclear power and cuts in world living standards must be stopped. The UK and the world now need cheap energy solutions like coal to diesel technology which can be made smoke free. The danger for honest green campaigners - unless they break from the stranglehold of the Climate Change lobby - is that when the Global Warming swindle is exposed their spirited defence of nature will be forgotten too.

"CO2 is no problem - it is the Gas of Life (GOL). The problem is Climate Change Policy - not Climate Change which is beyond man's control. Global warming is over. World temperatures have fallen from their peak ten years ago while GOL (CO2) has been rising rapidly. The world was much warmer than now in the Bronze age 4,000 years ago and there was much less GOL (CO2) then. The bounteousness of world vegetation goes up with GOL. We need more GOL not less!

"13 world scientists wrote** to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in July asking for evidence to justify UN Climate Change policy and calling for the UN's climate committee (IPCC) to be made accountable. Tim Yeo MP** (chair of the Parliament Environment Audit Committee) was also written to in July. Neither have acknowledged or replied. The reason is they have nothing to say. I urge members of the public to send the scientists' letter to the UN** to their MP and ask their MPs to make the UN and Tim Yeo+ 'Put Up or Shut Up'. Gordon Brown** was also written to and his office promised to reply".

Source




Another Dissenter: Chemist declares himself `skeptic' - `No uncontrolled, runaway greenhouse effect has occurred in the last half billion years'

Chemist Dr. Kenneth Rundt, a bio-molecule researcher and formerly a research assistant and teacher at Abo Akademi University in Finland, declared his global warming dissent in June 2008. "Let me state immediately before you read on that I count myself among the `skeptics'," Rundt wrote in a scientific paper titled "Global Warming - Man-made or Natural?" on June 16, 2008. Excerpts below:

"I am only a humble scientist with a PhD degree in physical chemistry and an interest in the history of the globe we inhabit. I have no connection with any oil or energy-related business. I have nothing to gain from being a skeptic," Rundt explained. "My personal belief is that natural forcings have more importance than anthropogenic forcings such as the CO2 level," Rundt wrote.

"It can also be reliably inferred from palaeoclimatological data that no uncontrolled, runaway greenhouse effect has occurred in the last half billion years when atmospheric CO2 concentration peaked at almost 20 times today's value. Given the stability of the climate over this time period there is little danger that current CO2 levels will cause a runaway greenhouse effect. It is likely, therefore, that the IPCC's current estimates of the magnitude of climate feedbacks have been substantially overestimated," Rundt wrote.

According to Rundt, even a doubling of CO2 levels from 317 ppm to 714 ppm "would increase absorption approximately 0.17%. This corresponds to an additional radiative forcing of 0.054 W/m2, substantially below IPCC`s figure of 4 W/m2. An increase of this order would not result in a temperature increase of more than a tenth of a degree centigrade."

"The biggest problem for the pro-IPCC scientific community is that there are no means to experimentally determine the effect of an increasing CO2 level," Rundt wrote. "IPCC's spokesman Al Gore has often claimed that the `science is settled', but there is a growing group of scientists critical against the claims of `settled science' and overwhelming `consensus,' he concluded.

PDF downloadable from 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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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15 October, 2008

Australia: Warmer water devastates Great Barrier Reef's seabirds

Is the article below a sign of growing realism? The scientists quoted attribute warming to changes in sea currents, not anything in the atmosphere. And they talk of climate "fluctuations" rather than warming. But you would not know that if you just read the headline and the first sentence. Even the Australian media are faithful to the one true religion

GLOBAL warming has been blamed for dramatic declines in seabird populations on the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding waters. Tens of thousands of seabirds are failing to breed because warmer water from more frequent and intense El Nino events means there is insufficient food to raise their young, according to research compiled by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Warm water near the surface forces fish, plankton and other prey into deeper water, where it cannot be reached by seabirds.

The research forms the basis of a report commissioned by the marine park authority and the Queensland Environment Protection Agency to address the impact of climate change on seabirds, and obtained by The Australian under freedom of information laws. "Recent analyses at key sites have revealed significant declines in populations of some of the most common seabird species, which raises concerns regarding the threatening processes acting on these populations," says the report, prepared by C&R Consulting.

The report, Seabirds and Shorebirds in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in a Changing Climate, says the reef is home to between 1.3 and 1.7million seabirds and half the world's population of several species. The results of research by Bradley Congdon and five other seabird experts working for the marine park authority have been published in another report, Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: A Vulnerability Assessment. The authors concluded that recent climate fluctuations were having significant detrimental impacts on seabird populations.

The two reports paint a grim picture of the predicament for seabirds. In the Coral Sea, populations of great and least frigatebirds declined by 6-7 per cent annually between 1992 and 2004. Despite a return to more favourable conditions since the severe El Nino event of 1997-98, populations have not recovered. On Raine Island, in the northern barrier reef, populations of at least 10 of the 14 breeding seabird species have been falling. Numbers of common noddies have fallen by 96 per cent, sooty terns by 84 per cent, bridled terns by 69 per cent, and red-footed boobies by 68 per cent.

The park authority's vulnerability assessment report says there is no evidence of significant human interference or habitat loss on Raine Island, indicating "depletion of marine food stocks linked to changing climate" as the cause. On the Swain Reefs, in the southern reef, the number of brown booby nests has dropped from 350 in 1975 to less than 30 since 2000. "The declining trend was consistent throughout the region and was not simply a consequence of inter-seasonal migration between islands," the report says.

On Heron Island, the black noddy population had been rising since early last century, but the number of active nests fell from about 70,000 to 30,000 between 1996 and 2000, with mass mortality of adults and chicks in the El Nino year of 1998.

In 2002, another year of abnormally high sea surface temperatures, almost none of the huge numbers of wedge-tailed shearwaters that normally nest annually on Heron Island succeeded in raising young. Off Heron in 2003, a 1C increase in sea surface temperature reduced feeding frequency by shearwaters from one night in two to one night in five. In 2006, a similar rise in water temperature resulted in the number of daily meals fed to the chicks of black noddies falling from three to one-half.

Negative impacts on seabird populations were recorded in all parts of the barrier reef, in virtually all species, and in nearly all components of reproductive biology. Timing of breeding, year-to-year recruitment, number of breeding pairs, annual hatching, chick growth and adult survival were all affected.

Source




Parts of California see coldest temps since 1893

A record cold snap in Mendocino County over the weekend caused little damage to wine grapes but chilled the hearts of farmers who already have suffered huge losses this year. "It's just one more thing on top of one more thing. You kind of hold your breath," said Potter Valley wine grape grower Bill Pauli.

Temperatures dropped to 31 degrees in the Ukiah Valley on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, the coldest Oct. 12 morning since record keeping began in Ukiah in 1893, said Troy Nicolini, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Eureka. The previous record was 34 degrees in 1916.

Temperatures were milder in Sonoma County, and there were no reports of frost-related problems, county officials said. Farmers in Redwood Valley and other cooler regions in Mendocino County reported temperatures as low as 27 degrees.

Mendocino County wine-grape growers were fearful because they already had lost an estimated 30 percent of their crop to frost in the early spring. The crop also was hit by an early rain that threatened to cause rot, and the region endured a wildfire-choked summer that had the potential to cause smoke damage.

More here




Cold temps in Oregon break 118-year-old record

Cold temperatures set several new record lows this weekend, including a low of 22 Saturday in downtown Pendleton that broke a 11820year-old record of 24.

Record lows started falling Thursday with a new low of 20 for Meacham, four20degrees cooler than the previous record from 2006, according to information from the Web site for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Pendleton.

Heppner and Long Creek then set new low temperatures Friday. Heppner hit 29, the coldest that date has seen since 1960 when it was 30; and Long Creek was 21, besting the 1987 record by four degrees.

Saturday set multiple new lows, including the record 22 in downtown Pendleton. John Day dropped to 21, breaking the 1990 record of 23; Meacham's 15 broke the previous low of 20 from 2002; and Mitchell set a record with 21, five degrees cooler than the 2002 record.

Additionally, the top of Airport Hill in Pendleton set a new low of 25; the previous record was 33. And the agricultural experimental station north of Pendleton recorded a low of 18, five degrees cooler than the previous record from 1990.

The cold continued to set records Sunday. Meacham, for the third time in four days, set a record with a low of 15, one degree cooler than the 2002 record. Long Creek and Mitchell again set new records as well Long Creek's low of 21 broke with 1969 record of 25, and Mitchell's 21 broke the 1949 record of 24.

The top of Airport Hill in Pendleton also set another record with 24; the previous record was 28 from 2002. And downtown Pendleton's 21 chilled past the previous record of 25 from 1931. Also Sunday, two-miles north of Hermiston cooled to 18, breaking the 1953 record of 20.

More here




Alaska glaciers grew this year, thanks to colder weather

Two hundred years of glacial shrinkage in Alaska, and then came the winter and summer of 2007-2008. Unusually large amounts of winter snow were followed by unusually chill temperatures in June, July and August.

"In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound," said U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia. "On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying, located at about 1,500 feet elevation, did not become snow free until early August. "In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years."

Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too. "It's been a long time on most glaciers where they've actually had positive mass balance," Molnia said. That's the way a scientist says the glaciers got thicker in the middle.

Source




New book

With so much attention on the proclaimed "climate crisis" prevalent in the mainstream media today, it's difficult to determine the facts from the hysteria. Add NASA scientist James Hansen and politicians with deep pockets like Al Gore into the mix, and global warming hysteria has become the shot heard around the world. Fear-mongering and inexact science have become the rule rather than the exception, but many folks like you, me and author Paul Spite remain skeptical of man-made climate change. I recently had an opportunity to interview Paul about his book, A Climate Crisis A La Gore. In this two-part series, I'll post the 10 questions I presented to Paul as well as his responses:

SGW: In your book, you said that you were surprised to find that you agreed with many of the points in Al Gore's book, An Assault on Reason. Which of those points made in Gore's book are you in most agreement and why?

PS: There are really several. For various reasons, I completely agree with Mr. Gore that Americans have lost, and are continuing to lose, the ability to reason out the truth. They are as follows:

a. To a large extent, I agree that this has resulted from our dependence upon video for entertainment, first in the form of television, then movies, DVD, the Internet, etc.

b. Reliance upon this type of entertainment has immersed us in continual exposure to advertising, of which the sole purpose is a focus upon our own desires, giving rise to self centeredness that is tearing our once United States apart.

c. Our substitution of this form of non-participatory and passive stimulation for the consideration of ideas once enjoyed in print has made the masses extremely susceptible to manipulation by slick advertising campaigns by those with enough money to afford them.

d. It is morally wrong to falsely link two events together, then use the fear thereby created to seize power or profit from those willing to surrender them in return for the illusion of safety from threats that were always just imaginary.

e. I also agree with Mr. Gore that those using such tactics to manipulate others should never be trusted again.

SGW: It seems that many ideals espoused by the former Vice President changed radically between the writing of An Assault on Reason and the release of An Inconvenient Truth. Which one of those changes in ideology has the potential to have the biggest impact on Americans today?

PS: I do not agree that any of Mr. Gore's ideology has changed. He is espousing the same pseudo-scientific environmental nonsense that he has been for many years now. The difference in the ideas in the two presentations lies in their intended purpose. An Inconvenient Truth was intended to frighten the American people into pushing Congress to pass the carbon tax legislation, solely for the purpose of putting huge amounts of power and profit into the hands of a select few. That profit will cost an unthinking public dearly.

The Assault on Reason, in part a vengeful and spiteful attack on President Bush for winning their electoral contest, actually has a far cruder (believe it or not) basis. It is another attempt to scare the American public into pushing Congress into another type of legislation, this one to more specifically benefit Mr. Gore. The book urges Americans, for the benefit of our democratic process, to insist Congress pass laws allowing broad band users of the Internet, those who resell parts of that bandwidth to others for a profit, to be allowed use of the Internet for the same fees charged to individual home users. While most would agree that those who use more of anything should pay in accordance with the portion they use, this book lets us know this legislation to prevent such proportional payment is necessary to insure continued freedom and democracy in America. It has nothing to do with Mr. Gore's recently acquired half ownership in a broadband user attempting to compete with "youtube." Just as carbon legislation requiring American industry to subsidize projects by "sustainable" companies has nothing to do with Mr. Gore's half ownership of an investment company buying up ownership of many of the sustainable companies our companies will be forced to pay tribute to.

The amazing thing is Mr. Gore counting on America being so stupid as to not notice the difference in the two sets of ideas. As to which has the most ability to influence America, the carbon legislation will as absolutely destroy our economy as it did that of Czechoslovakia. The assault on reason was just a foolish exercise lacking greatly in the sophistication of the first ruse. The difference between the two suggests strongly of other minds behind the environmental coup in progress.

SGW: Mr. Gore had a mentor of sorts in his early days as an advocate for change to fight global warming. Who was he and how did his relationship with Al Gore change over time?

PS: I do not know if Professor Roger Revelle, one of Mr. Gore's instructors in college, claimed our environmental savior as his protege, but Mr. Gore certainly claimed Mr. Revelle as his mentor in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance. We are told Mr. Revelle drew a correlation between the processes of civilization and changes in the composition of the atmosphere, and what would happen if we did not change, and everything was clear.

Mr. Revelle did not, in fact, make this projection into the future. In a 1984 interview with Omni magazine, asked specifically if CO2 increases were responsible for worsening weather, Dr. Revelle indicated an increase would be more likely to temper weather extremes. In a 1991 article for Cosmos, he warned against the economic harm and potential human suffering possible from acting precipitously to curtail emissions when decades of research were still required to understand the real effect of such gasses. He advocated that we looked before we leaped.

His rebuttal of Mr. Gore's misrepresentation of his work, claiming the proof was not yet definitive enough to cry "wolf," changed the nature of the relationship between them. Three months after that article in Cosmos, Mr. Revelle passed away. The differences between what he believed, and what Mr. Gore claims he believed, became national news in the 1992 presidential election. Mr. Gore's response was to claim his "mentor" had become senile before his death. He also claimed the co-author of the article had lied about Dr. Revelle's involvement. After a defamation suit, an apology was made in 1994. There is no way to know now what Mr. Revelle would think of his proteges current drastic proclamations. We do know he had no time for them while alive.

SGW: According to NASA, 1998 is not the warmest year on record. What was the warmest year on record and where do the top 10 warmest records fall by decade?

PS: Interestingly, these assertions, of what the warmest and coldest years have been, keep shifting around somewhat. The latest release of records I can access indicates that 1934 was actually the warmest year for which we have records. These records have been somewhat repressed as they do indeed represent an inconvenient truth. It is hard to imagine a direct link between drastic increases in industrial CO2 emissions and temperature increases, when almost all the increases in emissions were well after 1934. I do not have data available as to the rank of the decades in terms of temperature, but four of the warmest ten years in the U.S. are from the 1930s, while only three are from the 1990s. Luckily, in the face of unmistakable evidence of a cooling trend, extremist scientists have recently been able to change from proclaiming imminent disaster to a prediction that the effects of our emissions will actually become apparent a varying number of years in the future, well after legislation has passed. They predict the climate will change. Most impressive! More on that later!

SGW: According to your book, even Al Gore acknowledged that carbon dioxide levels seemed to be building in the atmosphere but this is still unconfirmed. In your opinion, why would Gore publish this statement after his An Inconvenient Truth documentary when it clearly objects to the basic principle of his film?

PS: Mr. Gore is a politician, playing as a scientist. With the release of his "documentary," he managed to awaken a scientific community to the idea that his claim to be representing them would lead to the absolute destruction of the esteem of science if his claims were allowed to stand as representing their opinion. There are a vast number of scientists who do not live on grant money, given to study climate change, who would lose their livelihood if there were no danger. These unfunded scientists began very vocal and publicized experiments, discussion, and analysis to prove or disprove the idea of a correlation between CO2 and increased temperatures.

With the Internet filling up with conflicting data before the legislation could be passed, thanks to a tanking economy, Mr. Gore is modifying his rhetoric. He is a politician. Now he is claiming evidence needs to be found to establish the link absolutely. Soon, he will probably claim that, notwithstanding 1.2 million copies of him saying otherwise, he never said there was a definite link. Mr. Gore is a politician. He is counting on the assault on reason having destroyed America's ability to discern or even care about the truth. More on that later as well!

Source




Another Prominent Dissenter

Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen is a lecturer in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, a member of the American Meteorological Society and has worked with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Keen specializes in volcanic aerosols and climate change studies and wrote the book "Skywatch: The Western Weather Guide." Keen's Global Warming Quiz asking "Inconvenient Questions" was featured on October 14, 2008 on former Colorado State climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke's Sr. website.

According to Keen, global warming ranges between a "minor inconvenience that's overblown" or "nothing - it doesn't exist" or "a good thing." "Earth has cooled since 1998," Keen noted, "in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC." According to Keen, "The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium." After noting the recent cooling temps, Keen wrote "which is why `global warming' is now called `climate change.'" Keen also pointed out that the most Antarctic sea ice on record was recorded in 2007 and then he rhetorically asked: "Did you see [that fact] reported in the news?" Keen's quiz also showed that 10 out of 11 "wacky weather" events occurred in the U.S. before 1957.

Wacky Weather: When did most of the following events occur?

1. Alaskan glaciers melt at the rate of 1 mile per year 1900
2. Alaska bakes at 100 degrees north of the Arctic Circle 1915
3. North Dakota bakes at 120 degrees 1936
4. Hurricane hits Boston with Category 5 winds (180 mph) 1938
5. Hurricane kills half the population of a large southern city Galveston 1900
6. Hurricane destroys most of Los Angeles 1839
7. Half a dozen hurricanes hit the East Coast of the US 1954-1955
8. A dozen tornadoes strike Los Angeles 1983
9. A major US city hit by a hurricane, tornado & earthquake Charleston 1886
10. U.S. warmest year ever; 20 states set new all time heat records 1934
11. Greenland warms - Farmers raise crops and brew beer 1000 A.D.

Keen's global warming PowerPoint also asks: "Since 1949, which [presidential] administration has overseen the smallest increase of greenhouse gas (mostly CO2) emissions?" Keen shows a chart revealing that the answer is President George W. Bush. "U.S. carbon emission growth rate has slowed to 0.2 % per year since 2000," Keen wrote.

Keen's PowerPoint asks is "Kyoto is working?" and then provides data showing the treaty is failing. "Between 1997 and 2004 (the most recent year for which we have complete statistics), carbon dioxide emissions rose as follows: Worldwide Emissions increased 18.0 % - Countries that ratified the protocol increased 21.1 % - Non-ratifiers of the protocol increased 10.0 % - U.S. (a non-ratifier) increased 6.6 %.

75 % of Kyoto signers had more CO2 growth than the U.S. - U.S. emissions have risen only 0.2 % per year since 2000." Keen concludes his PowerPoint by stating: "Enjoy the warm climate while it lasts, and please make enough CO2 to feed a tree."

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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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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14 October, 2008

HURRICANES AND GLOBAL WARMING

Abstract of new article below finds that natural cycles explain variations in activity from year to year:

Multi-decadal variability of Atlantic hurricane activity: 1851-2007

By Petr Chylek and Glen Lesins

An analysis of Atlantic hurricane data (HURDAT), using a hurricane activity index that integrates over hurricane numbers, durations and strengths during the years 1851-2007, suggests a quasi-periodic behavior with a period around 60 years superimposed upon a linearly increasing background. The linearly increasing background is significantly reduced or removed when various corrections were applied for hurricane under-counting in the early portion of the record. The periodic-like behavior is persistent in uncorrected HURDAT data as well as in data corrected for possible missing storms. The record contains two complete cycles: 1860-1920 and 1920-1980. The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were unusual in that two intense hurricane seasons occurred in consecutive years. The probability for this happening in any given year is estimated to be less then 1%. Comparing the last 28 years (1980-2007) with the preceding 28 years (1953-1980) we find a modest increase in the number of minor hurricanes (category 1 and 2), however, we find no increase in the number of major hurricanes (category 3-5). The hurricane activity index is found to be highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Mode (AMM). If there is an increase in hurricane activity connected to a greenhouse gas induced global warming, it is currently obscured by the 60 year quasi-periodic cycle.

J. Geophys. Res., In press




MELTING GLACIER CAUSED BY SUDDEN INCREASE IN OCEAN TEMPERATURE

The authors attribute the change to currents but an upsurge in subsurface vulcanism could also explain the sudden onset

Acceleration of Jakobshavn Isbrae triggered by warm subsurface ocean waters

By David M. Holland et al.

Observations over the past decades show a rapid acceleration of several outlet glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. One of the largest changes is a sudden switch of Jakobshavn Isbrae, a large outlet glacier feeding a deep-ocean fjord on Greenland's west coast, from slow thickening to rapid thinning in 1997, associated with a doubling in glacier velocity. Suggested explanations for the speed-up of Jakobshavn Isbrae include increased lubrication of the ice-bedrock interface as more meltwater has drained to the glacier bed during recent warmer summers and weakening and break-up of the floating ice tongue that buttressed the glacier. Here we present hydrographic data that show a sudden increase in subsurface ocean temperature in 1997 along the entire west coast of Greenland, suggesting that the changes in Jakobshavn Isbrae were instead triggered by the arrival of relatively warm water originating from the Irminger Sea near Iceland. We trace these oceanic changes back to changes in the atmospheric circulation in the North Atlantic region. We conclude that the prediction of future rapid dynamic responses of other outlet glaciers to climate change will require an improved understanding of the effect of changes in regional ocean and atmosphere circulation on the delivery of warm subsurface waters to the periphery of the ice sheets.

Nature Geoscience 1, 659 - 664 (2008)




GERMAN INDUSTRY CALLS FOR MORATORIUM ON EU CLIMATE BILL

Is this the beginning of the end?

Representatives of German business have called for a moratorium on any European Union legislation that would impose higher costs on companies at a time when they are grappling with the fallout from the financial crisis. Two of Germany's largest trade bodies said Brussels should think carefully about putting additional burdens on business given the potential of the financial crisis to weaken the "real economy". "We've got to ask whether certain measures, including environmental legislation, are responsible given the economic outlook," Hanns-Eberhard Schleyer, general secretary of German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, told the Financial Times.

The call for a legislative pause was tabled ahead of a week in which the government is expected to slash its economic growth forecast as the outlook for domestic companies darkens. Crucial export markets like the US, the UK and Spain face almost certain recession while anaemic domestic demand is likely to weaken still further as German consumers tighten their belts.

There are also signs that businesses are beginning to have problems drawing credit. Although threequarters of the 3,500 businesses surveyed by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) had experienced no deterioration in credit conditions in the past year, about a quarter said financing had become more difficult, while 2 per cent of businesses said they had been denied credit.

European carmakers faced with falling sales have asked Brussels for a $55bn loan package to help them meet stringent emissions targets. One in seven German jobs is linked to the motor industry.

Meanwhile, heavy industry has stepped up its condemnation of proposals endorsed last week by the European parliament's environment committee that would force businesses to pay for the carbon dioxide they emit. Speaking to the FT, representatives of the German Mittelstand - the small and medium-sized businesses that form the backbone of the economy - added their own voice to the fight against the compulsory purchase of emissions permits.

Source




WHAT WARMING? CLIMATE CHANGE SLIPS AMONG GLOBAL PRIORITIES

You might call it the fourth crisis. While collapsing financial institutions plunge wealthy nations into recession and developing countries grapple with surging food and energy costs, the once urgent need to fight global warming seems to have taken a back seat. Just last year, nearly every global and regional summit put climate change at the top of its agenda. Now it seems to have become an afterthought.

Gathered for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the world's finance ministers promised over the weekend in Washington to do everything they could to stabilize financial markets.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned wealthy nations not to forget about "the other crisis." About 100 million people have been plunged back into poverty because of higher food and petrol prices, which have prompted riots in dozens of countries over the last year.

All this leaves the issue of climate change out in the cold.

More here




Kyoto treaty 'a waste of time' say half of Australians

Mr Rudd's much-lauded ratification of the Kyoto Protocol has had no beneficial effect on climate change, said 44 per cent of 1122 news.com.au readers. Just 14 per cent of people said Kyoto had helped curb the effects of climate change. Another 41 per cent believed more time was needed before any result was apparent.

The Government is acting on the concerns Australians have about the issue, a spokeswoman for climate change minister Penny Wong says. "The Rudd Government understands that Australians want to tackle climate change and we have set out a plan to do so," the spokeswoman said. "Our plan to tackle climate change has three pillars: reducing carbon pollution, helping to shape a global solution, and adapting to the climate change we can't avoid." A proposed carbon reduction scheme is one of the ways to help fight climate change, she says.

Men are far more likely to be climate change sceptics than women, according to the survey. While 85 per cent of women said there was enough evidence to link human activity to climate change, only 54 per of men agreed. Men were also twice as likely as women to believe Australia's signing of the Kyoto Protocol was of no benefit. About 55 per cent of Australians believed climate change would alter day-to-day life over the next decade, and about half said it was "truly possible" to resolve the issue. Two-thirds of Australians said they took environmental factors into consideration when buying goods.

Source




EU CLIMATE PACKAGE TO COST 73 BILLION EURO BY 2020

Open Europe has produced the first independent estimate of the cost and wider effects of the EU's new package of climate change measures, currently under negotiation. The outcome of the package is of particular concern at a time when Europe stands on the brink of an economic slowdown, and in some member states, recession.

The plan is the most ambitious EU programme since the launch of the euro. The package, which sets a 20% target for overall emissions reduction by 2020, includes binding targets for 20% of energy to be sourced from renewables and for 10% of transport fuels to come from biofuels. For the UK, the proposals would mean sourcing around 40% of electricity from renewable sources (up from under 5% today), a massive overhaul in Britain's entire energy infrastructure. The package will also make a number of important changes to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, raising concerns over the continuing viability of certain heavy industries in Europe.

Huge economic costs: We estimate that the cost of the package as a whole will be more than 73 billion euro per year by 2020 for the EU 25, and 9bn per year for the UK.

Higher costs mean more fuel poverty: The package would add 130 - 200 pounds a year to the annual domestic energy bill for a family of four in Britain. This has the potential to push one million extra people into fuel poverty. In terms of its overall economic burden, the package will cost the equivalent of 150 pounds per person per year, or 600 per family of four per year in the UK. This would rise to almost 730 per year if renewable energy technology remains at current levels.

Unnecessarily high costs: Importantly, the study concludes that the EU's proposals are an overpriced solution to climate change. We estimate that the cost of carbon abatement under the package will be 80 - 105 euro/tonne CO2. This is more than double the UK Government's benchmark shadow cost of carbon (42 euro/tonne in 2020), and the estimate of consultants McKinsey of 40 euro/tonne for bringing emissions down to safe levels.

Cost-effectiveness of green policies is now more important than ever: At a time of financial crisis, rising energy costs and the likelihood of economic downturn in Europe, it is essential that climate change policy is cost-effective and reduces carbon emissions with the lowest possible economic impact.

Tough negotiations lie ahead over the next two months: Key elements of the plan were approved by the European Parliament's Environment Committee on Tuesday 7 October. However, the bulk of the negotiations lie ahead. EU heads of state and government will discuss the package at the European Summit next week (15 - 16 October), and it will come before EU Environment Ministers during the EU Environment Council meeting on the 20 - 22 October. The French Presidency of the EU wants to complete the entire process by the end of this year, but faces opposition from some member states such as Poland.

Hugo Robinson, Open Europe Research Director and author of the report said: "At a time of rising energy bills and worries over the economy, the EU's climate change package is the last thing that hard-pressed consumers need.

Now more than ever, it should be obvious that we need to reduce carbon emissions as efficiently and cheaply as possible - but the EU proposals are extremely bad value for money. This means we will pay far more than necessary in fighting climate change; or put another way, we could spend the same amount of money and reduce emissions by a lot more.

It is legitimate for the EU to set targets for absolute carbon emissions reductions, which should be our ultimate priority. However, it is wrong for Brussels to micromanage national energy planning by setting binding targets for renewables and biofuels. This will artificially drive investment towards very high-cost methods of cutting carbon.

The politicians who sign up to this deal will be out of office in ten years time - but pensioners and the poor who will be left with the biggest bills."

To view the full report, "The EU Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package - Are we about to be locked into the wrong policy?", click here (PDF).

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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13 October, 2008

Fluctuations of CO2 in the last 1000 years higher than expected

The quantity of the greenhouse gas CO2 in the atmosphere has strongly fluctuated during the last thousand years. The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and the the University of Utrecht draw that conclusion after a study of leaf stomatal frequencies in Limburg sediment cores. Fossil stomatal frequency analysis shows strong changes in atmospheric CO2-content in the last eight hundred years. These CO2-changes correspond to 30% of the current human-induced increase. These results show that natural CO 2 changes have been large enough to contribute to climate changes over the last thousand years.

This contradicts an assumption of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC assumes that the effects of natural CO 2 changes on the climate change in the last thousand years have been negligible. A better understanding of natural CO 2 variations leads to a better prediction of the future effects of CO 2 increase on the climate.

CO 2 is used by plants as building material. Plants adjust the amount of openings on the leaf surface (stomata) to the amount of CO 2 in the air. If there is more CO 2, fewer plant stomata are needed to guarantee sufficient CO 2 absorption. So the number of stomata on fossil leaves can be used to reconstruct the quantity of CO 2 in the atmosphere of the past.

The results of this research are published this week in PNAS Early Edition as: Thomas B. van Hoof et al. "A role for atmospheric CO 2 in preindustrial climate forcing

Source. (In Dutch. Translation by JR)




Global Warming MIA in U.S. Election Campaign

Is it time yet to put global warming on milk cartons? Perhaps. You might have noticed, or rather, not noticed the lack of much discussion of global warming in this campaign despite months of hammering by the mainstream media about its supposed danger to the planet. Al Gore even stated last summer that global warming was even more of a threat to us than ter rorism. And now that the election campaign has begun, nothing, or almost nothing, on this topic. Why? One reason is probably that the MSM is believing the polls which oversample the Democrats due to Operation Chaos as well as fraudulent ACORN "voters" and don't want to jinx things for Barack Obama by bringing up the topic of global warming and all the spending they previously claimed would be necessary to counter it. Another reason is that Mother Nature is just not cooperating with the global warming theory. Here is a sampling of current weather reports from around the nation starting with this report from the Idaho Mountain Express:
A low-pressure weather system is lined up to hit the Wood River Valley tonight and into the weekend, delivering cold temperatures and, possibly, snow in the higher elevations.

A weather forecast from the National Weather Service this morning predicts that the system will roll into the region later today, bringing a 40 percent chance of snow tonight. The greatest chance of snow, according to the National Weather Service, will come during the day Friday and again on Saturday night.

The latest NWS forecast for Ketchum is:

Today: A 10 percent chance of snow showers after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 49. North northwest wind 7 to 11 mph becoming south.

Tonight: A 40 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. Northwest wind between 11 and 14 mph becoming calm. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Friday: A 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 41. North northwest wind between 5 and 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

Friday night: A 40 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. North northwest wind between 7 and 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

Saturday: A 40 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. North northwest wind between 13 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

Saturday night: A 50 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14.

Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 41.

Sunday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 14.
Okay, but that was in a mountainous area. How about lower elevations? Well, here is a report from KAPP TV in Yakima, Washington:
YAKIMA -- The cold weather has turned this year's harvest into a race against time. Barret Orchard workers are scrambling to get the red wine grapes off the vine. "They're perfect right now, we've got real good sugars in these reds right now," says owner Mark Barret. Since they don't have a machine, workers have to do it by hand as fast as they can.

If the grapes stay on the vine for much longer, our recent cold weather may make them not so perfect. "If it's gonna get down to 25 we can get some freeze damage in them and they won't have as good of a quality in the grape," says Barret. The cold weather has pushed up not only the grape harvest, but the apple harvest as well.
An even wider range of plummeting temperatures was reported by the Weather Underground:
The season's first large western snowstorm was expected to continue across the Intermountain West and northern Rockies on Sunday, while showers and thunderstorms were forecast from the southern Plains to the upper Mississippi Valley.

Snow was predicted as far east as western Colorado and the western Dakotas. The heaviest snow was expected from eastern Idaho into northern Wyoming and eastern Montana, where up to a foot or more was likely.

Severe thunderstorms were possible across parts of the southern and central Plain s, with the main threat being large hail and damaging winds. Tranquil weather was forecast for the rest of the nation, except for parts of the Southeast, where scattered showers and thunderstorms were possible.

Another chilly day was forecast across the West. Temperatures could drop to record or near-record levels Sunday morning in parts of the Pacific Northwest and California.
It's a bit tough to be injecting global warming into this campaign when much of the nation is experiencing record or near-record cold temperatures even though we are still in the first half of October. Or should the manufactured climate change crises shift gears to warn of impending global cooling? In any event, the global warming topic seems to have gone missing from the campaign trail.

Source




Efforts on global warming chilled by economic woes

The economic free fall gripping the nation may brin g down one of the main environmental objectives: capping the greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming. Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate, and both presidential candidates, continue to rank tackling global warming as a chief goal next year. But the focus on stabilizing the economy probably will make it more difficult to pass a law to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. At the very least, it will push back when the reductions would have to start.

As one Republican senator put it, the green bubble has burst. "Clearly it is somewhere down the totem pole given the economic realities we are facing," said Tom Williams, a spokesman for Duke Energy Corp., an electricity producer that has supported federal mandates on greenhouse gases. Duke is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an association of businesses and nonprofit groups that has lobbied Congress to act.

Just months ago, chances for legislation passing in the next Congress and becoming law looked promising. The presidential candidates support mandatory cuts and a Democratic majority is ready to act on the problem after years of the Bush administration's resisting federal controls. But the most popular remedy for slowing global warming, a mechanism know as cap-and-trade, could put further stress on a teetering economy.

Under such a sys tem, the government would establish a market for carbon dioxide by giving or selling credits to companies with operations that emit greenhouse gases. The companies can then choose whether to invest in technologies to reduce emissions to meet targets or instead buy credits from other companies who have already met them.0A

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., said that in light of the economic downturn, a bill that would give polluters permits free of charge would be preferable. "The first way we can control program costs is by not charging industrial emitters," said Boucher, who released a first draft of a bill this past week with the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. Giving away right-to-pollute permits was one of the options.

Other Democrats, however, see a cap-and-trade bill - and the government revenues it would generate from selling permits - as an engine for economic growth. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama supports auctioning off all permits, using the money to help fund alternative energy. "If you see this as a job creation opportunity for the U.S. to develop the products that are then sold around the world, then you should be optimistic about what the impact of passage would mean for the American economy," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.

Conservative Repu blicans who were never fans of a law to curb greenhouse gases have used the economic downturn as a rallying cry. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the senior Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in a blog entry this month criticized 152 House members for releasing a set of principles to tackle global warming in the midst of the economic turmoil. "The current economic crisis only reinforces the public's wariness about any climate bill that attempts to increase the costs of energy and jeopardizes jobs," Inhofe said. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, took the argument a step further when he said the Boucher-Dingell bill could lead the country "off the economic cliff."

But even supporters of federal regulation of greenhouse gases acknowledge that something has to give given the state of the economy. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a lead sponsor of a Senate bill to curb greenhouse gases that failed this year, acknowledged that the economy could delay when reductions in carbon dioxide would start. Warner told the AP that any bill should allow the president to decide.

More here




A look at climate skepticism from Britain's "Greenest" newspaper:

Global warming is happening and we're to blame, right? That's certainly the view of almost every expert in the field. But a die-hard band of naysayers continues to rail against the consensus. Are they completely mad? Judge for yourself...

The caption calls him the "high priest of deceit and global destruction". The picture has him belching fire like a dragon. And who is the subject of this highly personal attack? None other than Al Gore, who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for their success in bringing the climate-change crisis to global public attention.

Not everybody likes Gore and his beliefs about the future of our planet - and especially not Hans Schreuder, the 62-year-old former chemist who runs the Gore-baiting website Ilovemycarbondioxide.com (see page 29). Schreuder is one of the climate-change sceptics who continue to make their case despite the mounting evidence of climate change that we, the public, are presented with every day; despite the unanimous endorsement of climate-change theory by every national academy of science in the industrialised world.

Even President Bush, who stalled developments for so long, has conceded that climate change is real, and caused by man-made carbon emissions. And even Bush has tried, however half-heartedly, to do something about it in the last days of his administration. (Though the big challenge remains to persuade the new major emitters - China and India - to sign any agreement on reductions.)

The sceptics declare that the central evidence for carbon-driven climate change in the reports of the IPCC are nonsense. Specifically, the "hockey stick" graph, which correlates the steep rise in world temperatures to the steep rise in carbon emissions, and which Gore demonstrates, with the help of a hydraulic crane, in his film An Inconvenient Truth. Gore's opponents say there's evidence that world temperatures have, in fact, begun to fall since 2000.

In 2005, the House of Lords Economics Committee voiced "concerns" about the objectivity of the IPCC, suggesting some of the agency's emissions projections were "influenced by political considerations". The committee's claims were subsequently rejected by the Government and the Stern Review on the economics of climate change, but the vested-interests argument unites sceptics, and mirrors the accusations often levelled at them in turn, that they are in the pockets of big oil, big gas, or the US Republican Party.

The sceptics come from the worlds of politics, economics, television and, crucially, science. David Bellamy (opposite), a professor of botany who was formerly the televisual face of eco-evangelism, has been compared with a Holocaust denier because he doesn't believe carbon emissions cause climate change. Climatologist Piers Corbyn (page 25) is convinced climate change is caused by solar activity, not CO2. Economist Ruth Lea (page 25) warns of the IPCC's political and business interests. Martin Durkin (page 28), maker of the documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, says the green industry is in too deep to afford to acknowledge scientific law. And the former Chancellor, Nigel Lawson (page 27), maintains that though the science of climate change could be broadly correct, its consequences have been exaggerated.

Should we give their opinions the time of day? Whether you agree or not (and chances are you won't), the climate-change sceptics have no intention of shutting up.

The conservationist: David Bellamy



David Bellamy is an environmental campaigner and former television presenter. He was senior lecturer in Botany at Durham University until 1982, where he is now an honorary professor

"Global warming is the biggest scam since the church sold indulgences back in the Middle Ages. If our Government actually believes that all those people are going to die, why did it build Terminal Five?

"I've been doing research on the stability of ecosystems, which is all tied up with human activity, for 22 years. That's why I became a leading greenie in the early days. I have probably stood on more picket lines than anyone to stop forest-clearing, wind farms and the overfishing of the sea. But when the scientific arguments don't add up, one starts to question them: CO2 levels have risen in the atmosphere, but why don't all the other bits of science fall in around that?

"The speed of retreat of glaciers worldwide has not changed. The latest data shows that both the northern and southern ice caps are actually growing. The recent studies of the ice core show that rises in temperature are followed by a release of carbon dioxide, not the other way around. I'll be in New Zealand soon, and two of the major glaciers there are growing like the clappers. And from 1998 there has been no rise at all in the temperature of the earth. Indeed, all the sunspot data tells us we're headed for 15 very cold years.

"Many peer-reviewed papers show that as CO2 goes up, many plants and forests grow up to 40 per cent faster. The New Scientist has reported that 300,000 square kilometres of former desert are now covered with trees. Why don't we have all those good points publicised?

"Global temperature has risen at a natural rate that began 300 years ago. That slope of change has not changed since then, so how can we say that carbon is the driver? The sun has more correlations with temperature change than carbon. "The whole world is hooked on a fear of carbon, and there really is nothing to fear.

"The scientific consensus is not strong, but every time I turn on the television or read a newspaper, I hear that it is. The BBC constantly tells us the lakes in Africa are drying up because of global warming. The lakes are drying up because of the dams around them, and the fact that we are using that local water to produce cut flowers for the European market. Why aren't we told these things?

"If you go through the peer-reviewed literature on our side of the argument, it's near-unanimous in not predicting climate catastrophe. But it has got to a state of McCarthyism within science. As a university don, I used to try to get every tenth paper of mine into [the weekly science journal] Nature. But Nature will not touch any papers which are anti the global-warming ethic. I have been called a Holocaust denier. If they weren't really frightened they were losing the argument, they wouldn't write those things." '

The economist: Ruth Lea



Ruth Lea is economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, and formerly held positions including director of the Centre for Policy Studies, head of the Policy Unit at the Institute of Directors, and economics editor of ITN

"The foundation of our climate-change policy is the projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We've signed up to the IPCC, as an agency of the UN, and it's portrayed as an impartial, independent scientific organisation. In fact, it's highly political, most of its members are governmental appointees, and it contains a strong element of evangelical environmentalism. But whatever you think about it politically, you have to look at its projections, as they are core to the whole debate.

"The IPCC makes assumptions on economic growth, assumptions on fuel prices and demographics, then it puts all these assumptions into a model, which produces a forecast for carbon-dioxide emissions. Then it puts those results into a climate model, which predicts temperature change for the next century.

"I wouldn't claim to be qualified to speak about the climate models, but as an economist and statistician, I look at its predictions for economic growth, fuel consumption, demographics and so on, and I ask myself how it can possibly know what these will be by the end of the century.

"I made some economic forecasts about six weeks ago, and then we were hit by a financial crisis, so who knows where fuel costs are going? Yet the IPCC says it knows what'll be happening in 100 years' time.

"Climate-change policy is predicated on the IPCC stuff being taken as gospel. When I started to study the economics, I was shocked. Like many people, I assumed the IPCC findings were rock- solid and unquestionable. But when I looked at how it made its projections, I was horrified. I don't think people realise the vast uncertainties. When you hear people saying the temperature is going to rise by four degrees this century, do you hear anyone explaining that there's only a 0.001 probability that will happen? No.

"I wrote a sceptical letter to the FT in 2006, and there was a very dismissive, patronising, curt response from the Royal Society as if to say, 'How dare you question any of this?' I was amazed at its tone. And the writer and environmentalist George Monbiot has accused me of being financed by the oil companies. If only!

"Anybody who disputes the IPCC's projections is branded a Holocaust denier. I find that offensive. If I had relatives who'd been murdered in the Holocaust, I'd be beside myself with anger.

"When I started to utter my views, I discovered there were quite a few vested interests in green industry, not least in carbon-trading. And boy, they didn't like it. Questioning this stuff rips away the foundations of their business.

"There are probably more economists in a position to speak freely than there are scientists - we can afford to. The problem for scientists is that they have to go along with government policy, which currently states that we're all going to be fried alive in the next 50 years."

The climatologist: Piers Corbyn



Piers Corbyn is the maverick weather forecaster and owner of Weather Action, which makes forecasts up to a year in advance based on Corbyn's theory of the 'Solar Weather Technique'

"There's no evidence that carbon dioxide drives world temperatures or climate change. The 'hockey stick' is fraud, Al Gore's film is fraud, and schemes to remove CO2 from the atmosphere by machines are a scam.

"Temperatures rose since about 1915, but if you look in more detail, estimates show that they've declined since 2002. As it grew, the global-warming empire set about trying to find data to prove its case, but the data it found actually disproves its case. That's why the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Project doesn't highlight the results that negate the theory.

"The idea that climate change causes extreme weather is preposterous. The average number of landfall storms per decade in the US was higher between 1900 and 1960 than in the past 30 or so years. I've met scientists who've said I'm probably right, but if you're in a university funded to research global warming, you're not going to speak up.

"People say that I oppose climate-change theory because I want my way of forecasting to be proved right. But the reason I think the CO2 theory is wrong is that the CO2 theory is wrong." '

The politician: Nigel Lawson



Now Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer this year published 'An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming', in which he was critical of climate-change policy, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Stern Review

"There has been no global warming this century, and that is apparent from figures produced by the Hadley Centre, the branch of the UK Met Office that monitors world temperatures.

"There's also uncertainty over the impact of climate change, even if it does happen. If you take the trouble to read the IPCC reports, there's a mixed bag of potential consequences, some of them beneficial.

"After the hot summer of 2003, the Department of Health looked into what might happen in the UK if the temperature by 2050 matched predictions. It found there would be an increase in deaths from dehydration of 2,000 per year, but a reduction in deaths from hypothermia of 20,000 per year.

"We're told that there has to be a global agreement to deal with global warming, to cut back drastically on carbon-dioxide emissions, but it's simply not going to happen. The Chinese and Indians have made it clear that they're not going to cut back, and with good reason. Their number-one priority is to get their people out of poverty. That means the most rapid possible rate of growth, which means using the cheapest available form of energy, which, now and for the foreseeable future, is carbon-based energy.

"If warming occurs, we should adapt, as mankind has always done. People live in a whole range of climates already. Technology will develop in ways that we can't predict. We can help poor countries to adapt with aid programmes, which will be infinitely cheaper than wrecking our own economies.

"There is a great clash going on between the developing world and the developed world over this, which is politically dangerous. People as diverse as the EU industry commissioner, President Sarkozy of France, and the Democrats in the US Congress, are saying that if China and India won't cut back emissions, then we must impose tariffs on their goods. That kind of retreat into protectionism would be very damaging economically.

"Still, I think you'll find now that both major parties are giving this issue a lot less prominence than they were a year ago, and that is all to the good. The last thing we want is foolish and damaging commitments being made."'

More here




UK government proposes speed camera network covering every A-road in the name of fighting global warming.



The UK Commission for Integrated Transport last year proposed a nationwide blanket of speed cameras as a means of fighting global warming. After a series of trials, the Home Office is now set to make this a reality by approving early next year the SPECS3 "distance over time speed measuring device" that will make it impossible to drive on any primary road in Britain without being tracked and subjected to an instant fine for exceeding the posted speed limit.

"With respect to technology, we are in a period of explosive evolution in traffic control technology," a commission report entitled Transport and Climate Change explained. "The Highways Agency already uses several technologies which are either intended to manage speed, or lend themselves to that purpose by monitoring speed and sending drivers messages about their behavior.... Reducing climate impacts of the motorway network should be a major consideration in the development of motorway control and communications technology."

The commission estimated that new SPECS3 cameras could monitor every driver on 31,136 miles of principal rural and urban roads at a cost of US $769,693,415. While the initial investment appears substantial, the commission noted that "enforcing the 70 MPH limit using SPECS would pay for itself within around two years."

The original SPECS systems, first approved in 1999, photographed vehicles when they entered a road, communicating the time of entry via a fiber optic link to a second camera positioned, say, two miles distant. After the second camera had identified the passing vehicle, the amount of time it took the car to pass between the two points was converted into an average speed. The system's limitations included an inability to ticket cars that changed lanes in between camera locations and a purchase price of US $1.4 million to deploy over a distance of just a mile and a quarter.

SPECS3 solves those limitations. It uses an ISDN connection to transmit data between any two cameras in the entire network, as well as the police headquarters, without the need for the expensive dedicated connection. This configuration slashes deployment cost over the same distance to just US $116,000. The system can also track drivers not only as they change lanes, but as they switch between different roads and highways. Pilot projects are already underway in Camden, Surrey and Northern Ireland where road trials began in April. Once established nationwide, records on all vehicle movements20will be stored for five years in a central government Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) server, allowing police to keep tabs on criminals and political opponents. Work on the data center in north London began in 2005 and officials expect real-time, nationwide tracking capability to be available by January.

The original SPECS cameras were found to be quite successful. Between 2000 and 2005, a single camera in Nottinghamshire generated 76,000 tickets worth US $7.2 million. London's entire SPECS network generated as many citations in just three weeks. London camera officials did admit, however, that 5600 tickets were sent to motorists who were completely innocent.

Source




Australia: "Time to Erase the Emissions Trading Nightmare."

A statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on the Premier of Queensland and all elected members to bring pressure to bear on the Federal Government to immediately abandon plans for Emissions Trading. The Chairman of "Carbon Sense", Mr Viv Forbes, said that at a time of world economic crisis, the last thing productive Queensland industries need is the threat of this destructive policy hanging over them. "Emissions Trading and its carbon taxes must harm Australian industry, and Queensland will suffer most.

We are assured there are real environmental or climate benefits from all this sacrifice and warned of dire consequences if we do not act immediately. Prophecies of climate doom issue weekly from the pulpit of CSIRO. However, there is growing scientific evidence and opinion that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not control the climate. Thus all the resources spent on attempting to limit or remove it will be totally wasted.

Australia is totally dependent on carbon-based fuels and farm animals dependent on the natural carbon cycle. To allow scaremongers from the Canberra hot-house to demonise the use of these harmless natural products on which we all depend is economic suicide.

Moreover, there is no proven technology and insufficient capital and time to significantly replace carbon-based fuels without the nuclear option being chosen by many countries. And the kangaroo grazing option is too silly for words.

The targets demanded by Garnaut and the Greens can only be reached if we engineer or have thrust upon us a major depression of economic activity. It is time some grass roots politicians from the provinces demanded two things: Firstly, an independent scientific assessment of the role of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Secondly, an independent cost-benefit analysis of this attempt to control the climate.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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12 October, 2008

Boise, Idaho, gets earliest snow on record

Valley shivers as winter weather makes a premature appearance



Big snow flakes fell early Friday evening, turning Downtown Boise into a giant snow globe for people on their way home from work. The snow caught many people off guard, including this bicyclist heading down Idaho Street between 8th and 9th around 5:45 p.m. Across the Treasure Valley, tree branches heavy with wet, snow-covered leaves fell on power lines, causing scattered power outages.

This is the earliest measurable snowfall in Boise since recordkeeping began in 1898, according to the National Weather Service. At 10 p.m., the Weather Service said 1.7 inches of snow had fallen. The previous earliest recorded snowfall was Oct. 12, 1969, when a little more than an inch fell. And if the snow wasn't enough, meteorologists say winds across southwestern Idaho will average 25 to 40 mph through Saturday afternoon, with gusts up to 55 mph. Sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph are expected, which can make driving difficult.

Source




Switzerland's Green Power Imbecility: Ethicists Ponder Plants' Rights

Who Is to Say Flora Don't Have Feelings? Figuring Out What Wheat Would Want

For years, Swiss scientists have blithely created genetically modified rice, corn and apples. But did they ever stop to consider just how humiliating such experiments may be to plants? That's a question they must now ask. Last spring, this small Alpine nation began mandating that geneticists conduct their research without trampling on a plant's dignity.

"Unfortunately, we have to take it seriously," Beat Keller, a molecular biologist at the University of Zurich. "It's one more constraint on doing genetic research." Dr. Keller recently sought government permission to do a field trial of genetically modified wheat that has been bred to resist a fungus. He first had to debate the finer points of plant dignity with university ethicists. Then, in a written application to the government, he tried to explain why the planned trial wouldn't "disturb the vital functions or lifestyle" of the plants. He eventually got the green light.

The rule, based on a constitutional amendment, came into being after the Swiss Parliament asked a panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians to establish the meaning of flora's dignity. "We couldn't start laughing and tell the government we're not going to do anything about it," says Markus Schefer, a member of the ethics panel and a professor of law at the University of Basel. "The constitution requires it."

In April, the team published a 22-page treatise on "the moral consideration of plants for their own sake." It stated that vegetation has an inherent value and that it is immoral to arbitrarily harm plants by, say, "decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason." On the question of genetic modification, most of the panel argued that the dignity of plants could be safeguarded "as long as their independence, i.e., reproductive ability and adaptive ability, are ensured." In other words: It's wrong to genetically alter a plant and render it sterile.

Many scientists interpret the dignity rule as applying mainly to field trials like Dr. Keller's, but some worry it may one day apply to lab studies as well. Another gripe: While Switzerland's stern laws defend lab animals and now plants from genetic tweaking, similar protections haven't been granted to snails and drosophila flies, which are commonly used in genetic experiments. It also begs an obvious, if unrelated question: For a carrot, is there a more mortifying fate than being peeled, chopped and dropped into boiling water?

"Where does it stop?" asks Yves Poirier, a molecular biologist at the laboratory of plant biotechnology at the University of Lausanne. "Should we now defend the dignity of microbes and viruses?" Seeking clarity, Dr. Poirier recently invited the head of the Swiss ethics panel to his university. In their public discussion, Dr. Poirier said the new rules are flawed because decades of traditional plant breeding had led to widely available sterile fruit, such as seedless grapes. Things took a surreal turn when it was disclosed that some panel members believe plants have feelings, Dr. Poirier says....

Several years ago, when Christof Sautter, a botanist at Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology, failed to get permission to do a local field trial on transgenic wheat, he moved the experiment to the U.S. He's too embarrassed to mention the new dignity rule to his American colleagues. "They'll think Swiss people are crazy," he says....

Dr. Keller in Zurich has more mundane concerns. He wants to breed wheat that can resist powdery mildew. In lab experiments, Dr. Keller f ound that by transferring certain genes from barley to wheat, he could make the wheat resistant to disease. When applying for a larger field trial, he ran into the thorny question of plant dignity. Plants don't have a nervous system and probably can't feel pain, but no one knows for sure. So Dr. Keller argued that by protecting wheat from fungus he was actually helping the plant, not violating its dignity -- and helping society in the process.

One morning recently, he stood by a field near Zurich where the three-year trial with transgenic wheat is under way. His observations suggest that the transgenic wheat does well in the wild. Yet Dr. Keller's troubles aren't over.

In June, about 35 members of a group opposed to the genetic modification of crops, invaded the test field. Clad in white overalls and masks, they scythed and trampled the plants, causing plenty of damage. "They just cut them," says Dr. Keller, gesturing to wheat stumps left in the field. "Where's the dignity in that?"

Source




CONSENSUS WATCH

An ongoing series dedicated to vigorously monitoring emerging threats to The Consensus that global warming is real, caused by humans, and must be addressed immediately if we are to forestall cataclysm. After all, without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data and alternative hypotheses that better fit recorded observations!

The Consensus has come under assault from a familiar foe. At a recent presentation before the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Roy W. Spencer, Principle Research Scientist at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, demonstrated how testing current climate models against actual satellite data reveals fatal flaws underlying the assumptions regarding the feedback mechanisms related to heat capture, CO2 and cloud formation.

This is a standard smear tactic used by global warming deniers in which they take observed data and apply it in a straightforward manner to reach verifiable conclusions.

Okay, that doesn't sound as bad when you say it out loud. However, we've already established that The Consensus is true so the real question is not so much how do we subject it to critical examination that may yield superior climate models and in so doing generate information that could be better acted upon by policy makers, it's how do we defend it from any and all criticism. Fortunately, Al Gore has two suggestions on how to better shore up the science underlying The Consensus:

Vandalism

Suppression

Vandalism: Al Gore has called for "civil disobedience" to stop the construction of new coal plants that do not incorporate "carbon sequestration," a process by which coal plants are made too expensive to build. (So it's sort of a win-win.) This kind of direct action skips the laborious, time-consuming process of building political support among the citizenry, who, let's face it, clearly do not recognize the size and magnitude of the problem Al Gore is still having getting over the 2000 election.

Suppression: Al Gore has also called on attorneys general across the country to prosecute public companies for committing stock fraud if they challenge The Consensus. People who might object to using state law enforcement to suppress dissenting views clearly lack an understanding of the history of scientific inquiry:

If someone as revered as Galileo can face criminal prosecution for challenging the prevailing consensus, then who are we too argue? Of course, Galileo lived in what we now refer to as the "Golden Age of Consensus Enforcement." It makes our attempts at intimidation look feeble in comparison. Sure, you can threaten to strip someone of their scientific certification. But you know what would be better? Threatening to imprison them for life. Sometimes it's that little extra bit that helps to get you over the top.

Now, yes, you could argue that Galileo happened to be, in the strictest technical sense of the word, "correct," regarding the motions of the planets, but that's not really the point. The point is that we need a similar enforcement mechanism to get Richard Lindzen to sign something like this:
I, Richard Lindzen, having before my eyes and touching with my hands, the Fourth Assessment Report, "Climate Change 2007," swear that I have always believed, do believe, and by Al Gore's help will in the future believe, all that is held, preached, and taught by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But whereas -- after an injunction had been judicially intimated to me by the United Nations, to the effect that I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the sun is possibly a greater contributor to climate change than anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine.

Therefore, I, the said Richard Lindzen, have abjured, sworn, promised, and bound myself as above; and in witness of the truth thereof I have with my own hand subscribed the present document of my abjuration, and recited it word for word at Al Gore's mansion, in the state of Tennessee, this ninth day of October, 2008.
Now that's how you set someone straight, old-school.

Source. (Satire, of course, from a humour site worth visiting)




"PICKENS PLAN" REQUIRES MORE DIGGING

Lots of Questions Unanswered, States Public Policy Group

Key questions remain unanswered about the so-called "Pickens Plan," an energy plan being promoted across the U.S. in an expensive marketing campaign by billionaire T. Boone Pickens, says a new paper released by the non-profit National Center for Public Policy Research.

The paper, "The Pickens Plan: Questions Unanswered," by Reece Epstein and David A. Ridenour, says Pickens' "advocacy could have an enormous impact on America's energy policy for decades to come." Yet, they say, the plan raises a host of unanswered questions.

"On the surface, Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens appears to be the man with all the energy answers," said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "Pickens says his 'Pickens Plan' can cut America's dependency on foreign oil by one-third over the next ten years. It sounds attractive at a time when Capitol Hill is getting nowhere in the pursuit of energy independence. But would the Pickens Plan really work? What would it cost taxpayers? Do parts of it raise Constitutional questions? And would private parties - including Mr. Pickens himself - benefit financially?"

"A man on a mission, Pickens has set aside $58 million to ensure his energy plan is heard loud and clear," added Ridenour, "and he's got people listening, but America should not choose an energy policy based on the appeal of a billionaire's folksy commercials. The fine print must be examined. In this case, the fine print reveals the Pickens Plan requires billions in government subsidies and the widespread use of government eminent domain powers. It also would further enrich Mr. Pickens."

Aspects of the Pickens Plan examined in the paper include:

* Pickens "refers to the fall in oil production since 2005 as a justification for his claim that oil production has permanently peaked due to dwindling supplies... But we should not conclude by this that oil reserves have peaked. In fact, much of the fall in production since 2005 resulted from the affairs of men rather than dry wells," the paper states. Pickens, the paper says, is echoing concerns made in 1919 by the head of the U.S. Geological Survey "that America would run out of oil by 1928." The paper also quotes National Geographic, which reported that "Concerns about oil droughts is nearly as old as the petroleum industry itself."

* Addressing findings from the U.S. Geological Survey that the East and West Coasts could yield a staggering 86 billion barrels of oil, Pickens told the Senate, "Those guys work on that a lot more than I do... I just don't agree with it." Unbelievably, "Pickens' unsupported assertion wasn't questioned by a single member of the Committee," note the authors.

* Authors Epstein and Ridenour say significant new oil discoveries increase the supply of oil by tens of billions of barrels. Other untapped unconventional methods of oil extraction, such as liquefying shale in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, "could yield one trillion barrels of oil, an amount equal to the world's total consumption of oil since production began in 1959," if Congress does not keep this oil off-limits.

* The authors say rising production costs don't prove Pickens' claim "that cheap and easy oil is gone." They write: "It is true that, as the most accessible sources of oil are depleted, upward pressure is placed on production costs because there is a shift to less accessible sources. But there is also a downward pressure on the costs of conventional and unconventional oil production due to technological advances... Since 2001, production costs have started to climb again, in part due to congressional limits on production from new sources. As the most easily-accessible oil in a reserve is depleted, production shifts to less accessible oil in the increasingly-depleted site, or it shifts to new, previously-untapped reserves. Because government has limited the ability of producers in the United States to shift to economically-attractive new sites, production costs have risen more than otherwise necessary."

* While Pickens supports the use of nuclear energy, he believes "there's only one energy source that can dramatically reduce the amount of oil we have to import each year, and that's natural gas." Pickens may be underestimating the value of nuclear power, the authors say. In France, 80 percent of electricity is generated from nuclear energy; the U.S. produces only a quarter of that, the report states, and nuclear power emits no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides into the air. "In addition, nuclear power plants create very little waste. If the average American used nuclear power exclusively for his energy needs, his spent nuclear waste over a lifetime would be small enough to fit into a soda can," the authors state.

* The paper compares wind power, recommended by Pickens, to nuclear power. The authors conclude that wind power costs several times more than nuclear power after government subsidies and incentives. While the authors view wind energy as a viable source, they also believe that because of "the challenges inherent in using wind for 20 percent of our electricity, a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly reconstruction of America's energy infrastructure should include nuclear power as a major component."

* Pickens isn't vocal about the problems associated with natural gas vehicles, say Ridenour and Epstein. In Pickens' view, those vehicles "combine top performance with low emissions..." What Pickens is not explaining, the authors say, is that converting a gasoline powered car, like the Honda Civic GX, "to natural gas adds about 200 pounds of weight to the vehicle, cuts trunk space in half and drains about 20 percent of the engine's power... the GX costs a stunning 64 percent more than the standard model, or about $24,590 for the compact sedan." Add to this the time and money necessary to purchase a home fueling station. A staggering 20 hours is what it takes to fill a natural gas tank, which costs about $5,000 to purchase and install. A 20-hour fill-up gives the GX a range of only 250 miles; an overnight fill-up does even worse, with only 100 miles. How feasible is for the average consumer? The authors also note that widespread adoption of natural gas vehicles would require a massive retooling of America's infrastructure. While natural gas makes sense for bus and corporate fleets because of the increase in fuel efficiency, "for most consumers, technological and infrastructure advances are required before natural gas vehicles become a viable alternative to gasoline vehicles," the authors advise.

* Pickens admits, although not in his ads, that government aid is needed to make his plan feasible. The Pickens Plan requires federal tax credits to cover a significant portion of the cost of wind energy, for example.

* To the authors, perhaps the most troublesome part of Pickens Plan includes a far-reaching expansion of the use of eminent domain. There is no disputing that Pickens Plan's success hinges on the widespread confiscation of private property. Eminent domain would certainly be necessary for placement of the 100,000 windmills necessary to generate 20 percent of this country's electricity needs by 2030, says the authors, combined with 12,650 miles of power lines needed to transport electricity to both coastlines.

* Pickens admits the Pickens Plan's reliance on the widespread use of eminent domain power. Pickens says land access problems should be resolved using "the route that Eisenhower used with the interstate highway system." Ridenour and Epstein examine some little-remembered pitfalls of Eisenhower's "route," including the large numbers of people forcibly dislocated from their homes, high costs, and the tendency of government to displace homes in low-income areas first (resulting in a disproportionate negative impact on minorities so extensive that housing displacements in some areas were referred to as "negro removals," and were the cause of extensive rioting).

* If the Pickens Plan is adopted, T.Bone Pickens, already a billionaire, will almost inevitably become even wealthier, the authors believe. Pickens has earned his wealth in the energy industry and chairs BP Capital Management, a hedge fund that invests in the exact things Pickens is promoting - natural gas and wind energy. A Pickens firm, Mesa Power, plans to invest ten billion dollars in the world's largest wind farm. If Pickens is successful in his Pickens Plan lobbying for an extension of wind power tax credits until 2018, Pickens' firm "stands to receive between $1.66 billion and about $3 billion in PTC payments alone over ten years, a significant portion of its original investment," report Epstein and Ridenour.

* A rise in number of natural gas vehicles would also certainly boost Pickens' profits. "According to Fox News, Pickens 'owns about 90 of the 500 publicly available natural gas stations with another of his companies, Clean Energy,'" the report says.

While it is clear T. Bone Pickens has the ear of many, Ridenour and Epstein believe his interest is more than a concern about our country's energy woes. "I'm 80 years old and have $4 billion. I don't need any more money," Pickens claims. While that is certainly true, the authors say, "He'll make a great deal more money, much of it through government subsidies, if his plan is adopted."

They conclude: "If the Pickens Plan is really all about doing what is best for the country and not for himself, Pickens could demonstrate his sincerity by renouncing the government subsidies he is lobbying for. That should be easy for a man who says he doesn't need any more money."

Source




Report: 'Obama wants kindergarten children to be taught climate change science'?

On Monday, I wrote about Presidential hopeful Barack Obama's education bill, S.2111, The Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act of 2007 (Story) and its intent to achieve important social outcomes (emphasis added) to the elementary and secondary student population.

Given that it was William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist and founder of the Weather Underground who served as "Collaborative" co-chair, crafting education policies to Obama's chair manship in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC ), that reportedly directed more than US$100-million for radical activists, I thought nothing could be more eye-opening.

After all, what could be more eye-popping than Obama possibly resurrecting the radical ghost of William Ayers in elementary and secondary schools by significantly redesigning and amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to allow, in part, for "State...local educational agencies and schools to increase implementation of early intervention services, particularly school-wide positive behavior supports"?

While the highly charged debate on climate change and global warming ensues, Obama wants kindergarten children to be taught climate change science in the classroom. On May 14, 2007, Obama introduced in the Senate, a bill called, the "Climate Change Education Act," which authorizes "the National Science Foundation to establish a Climate Change Education Program."

In Section 3 of Obama's bill, S. 1389 called, "Climate Change Education Program," the Director of the National Science Foundation shall establish a Climate Change Education Program to-"broaden the understanding of climate change, possible long and short-term consequences, and potential solutions; apply the latest scientific and technological discoveries to provide formal and informal learning opportunities to people of all ages, including those of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds; and emphasize actionable information to help people understand and to promote implementation of new technologies, programs, and incentives related to energy conservation, renewable energy, and greenhouse gas reduction."

The National Science Foundation (NSF), according to their website, is an independent federal agency which was created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare - has as an annual budget of "about US$6.06 billion" and is the funding source for "approximately 20% of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities."

Under Obama's education bill, the NSF would be responsible to provide "Program Elements" for the "Climate Change Education Program" which include: "a national information campaign to disseminate information on and promote implementation of the new technologies, programs, and incentives- and create "a competitive grant program to provide grants to States, local municipalities, educational institutions, and other20organizations." These institutions and organizations will use these grants to "create informal education materials, exhibits, and multimedia presentat ions relevant to climate change and climate science" and also will "develop climate science kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum and supplementary educational materials."

According to a 2007 US Senate report, "over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries" voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore."

Putting those findings aside, preschool and kindergarten children are already participating in save-the-Earth and recycling type programs throughout the school year.

In addition, during "Earth Day," every April 22, for example, according to a "First-School" program, children are encouraged to partake in "arts and crafts experiences" that enables them "to acquaint themselves with the natural qualities of the earth such as leaves, rocks, shells, dirt, wind, rain and sunshine. Children also learn to observe, create, and remain in touch with the ever changing world, and to develop a caring attitude towards the ear th by learning to recycle and use materials for art and crafts rather than throwing them away."

Then there is the United Nation's "World Environment Day," which was established in 1972. It's another day focusing on climate change and the environment that the US actively participates in, that according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) website, recommends every June for people of all ages to celebrate-in many ways, including street rallies, bicycles parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, recycling efforts, clean-up campaigns and much more."

The UNEP's Environment Fund for 2008-2009 has been budgeted at US$152 million. In response to the "contribution trends in 2006-2007," the UN has asked governments to "increase their pledges to this fund "by at least 22%." The United States already contributes 22% of the UN's regular budget-- which this year "$4.19 billion for core UN operations" was requested. That figure includes the UNEP but does not include the UN budgets for programs like "UNICEF and the World Health Organization" or "the cost of UN peacekeeping, which is projected to. increase from US$5 billion in 2007 to US$7 billion in 2008."

Although no firm budget has been set to enact Obama's K-12 Climate Change Education bill "such sums as may be necessary to carry" it out have been "authorized." Whatever the cost of Obama's Climate Change Science Education will be-- Obama's education plans do not begin at kindergarten but "at birth" and will cost annually US$10 billion.

According to "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan for lifetime Success for Education" found at barackobama.com, the White House hopefuls have "a pre-school agenda that begins at birth" called their comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan which "will provide critical supports to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year." Because as the Obama-Biden plan states: "Children's ability to succeed in school relies on the foundation they build in their first three years. Prekindergarten f or four-year-olds is important, but it is not enough to ensure children will arrive at school ready to learn."

Last week, the US Congress passed a US$700 billion economic bail out package designed to save the US economy from collapse. With Obama's revolutionary CPositive Behavior in Effective Schools Act," which if passed into law allows Title I education funding to be extracted-without restrictions and Obama's Climate Change Education program, the amount of US taxpayer educations dollars dedicated to subjects such as math, reading, writing and history is unknown. Obama's Climate Change Education Act has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Source




Old Global Cooling Consensus Not A Myth

Timely but alas flawed contribution by Thomas Peterson of NOAA, William Connolley of the British Antarctic survey and science reporter John Fleck, reporting on the "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society" about the apparent lack of peer-reviewed papers predicting global cooling, between 1965 and 1979 (it's reported here in Nature's Climate Feedback blog).

Unfortunately, it really does look like Messrs Peterson, Connolley and Fleck simply have not looked well enough. or have conveniently restricted their search just enough to miss a 1961 article describing a Global Cooling consensus among scientists at a meeting supported also by.the American Meteorological Association.

The article, written by Walter Sullivan for The New York Times (cited by Peterson et al. for his 1975 climate-related articles), refers to a 5-day Conference co-chaired by Rhodes W. Fairbridge of Columbia University and Charles G. Knudsen of the United States Weather Bureau, in the January of 1961.

Perhaps the AMAs own archives could clarify what climatologists exactly talked about at the time.

Notably, the 1961 Conference is described as as varied and multidisciplinary as any today. And yes, scientists at the time were aware of the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide.

UPDATE OCT 10: Nigel Calders comment was particularly interesting, so I managed to find online the Proceedings of the 1961 UNESCO Symposium he was referring to. The contents do appear to indicate a global cooling consensus, as suggested, that was important enough to be mentioned in the concluding Lecture.

Source

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11 October, 2008

EU climate policy gradually fading away -- bit by bit

The European Union's French presidency sought on Thursday to defuse mounting opposition to EU climate goals by offering opt-outs for some industries and countries that fear economic damage, angering environmentalists. Some eastern European states have assembled a blocking minority to carbon dioxide curbs they fear will stunt economic growth, while Germany is fighting hard to protect its industry from added costs. But France recommended opt-outs for industries facing competition from unregulated overseas rivals and for some countries' power sectors, prompting environmentalists to accuse President Nicolas Sarkozy of back-sliding.

The European Union has ambitious plans to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by a fifth by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, partly by making power generators and heavy industry pay for permits to pollute in its emissions trading scheme (ETS). But some eastern European states have threatened to derail the proposal, saying it puts a costly burden on their highly polluting communist-era coal-fired power stations.

Heavy industries, such as steel, aluminium and chemicals have also raised opposition, saying they will lose out to rivals in neighbouring regions that have less environmental regulation and therefore lower costs.

BusinessEurope, which represents 20 million European businesses, called in a letter to French ecology minister Jean-Louis Borloo on Wednesday for the most efficient factories to get all their permits to emit CO2 for free until a global deal has been reached.

France sought on Thursday to defuse industry's opposition, preparing a draft paper -- which is still under discussion -- to present to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels next week. "Sectors or sub sectors exposed to the highest risk, must be able to receive 100 percent of emission quotas for free," said the document seen by Reuters. That would give sectors like steel an easier deal than proposed by EU lawmakers on Tuesday, when they said factories should start paying for 15 percent of the permits in 2013, increasing to 100 percent by 2020.

France has failed to match the ambitions of lawmakers, said Tomas Wyns of Climate Action Network Europe, a coalition of environmental groups such as Greenpeace. "At the start of his presidency, Sarkozy presented himself as a climate leader -- now he is prepared to dump effective climate policy for the sake of protecting some polluting industries," he added.

France also sought to ease the concerns of eastern European states that fear their economies will suffer from soaring electricity prices when power generators are forced to pay for all their CO2 permits from 2013. "Derogations limited in scale and time may be granted when specific situations linked notably to an insufficient integration into the European electricity market justify it," said the document.

France is keen to sign-off the climate legislation by the end of this year, but Poland has assembled a group of East European states backed by Greece that threatens to delay it into next year if their fears about power prices are not dealt with. "We are working really hard to work this climate package into something that would not be a dramatic problem for the whole of our economy," Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told TVN 24 television.

The EU is hoping other nations will follow its lead by agreeing on an international deal, mindful of U.N. warnings that climate change will lead to more droughts, flooding and rising sea levels.

A Polish diplomatic source told Reuters the French concessions did not go far enough. "This is just the beginning, we are not satisfied with the French Presidency's draft conclusions of the summit," said the source. (Reporting by Pete Harrison, editing by Matthew Lewis)

Source




EU must alter CO2 policy due to global financial crisis: Poland

EU measures to cut CO2 emissions must be changed given the global financial crisis as nations cannot now afford higher energy, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday during a visit to Spain. "The international financial crisis makes it necessary to revise the energy and climate package to take into account the new circumstances," he told a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero in Cordoba. "The nations of the EU cannot adopt decisions today that will contribute to an increase in the price of energy," he added.

Tusk said he would also raise the issue of carbon dioxide emissions on Thursday in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the current EU president; and later that day in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Poland, which generates almost all its electricity from highly polluting coal, has long opposed an agreement by European Union leaders to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent -- compared to 1990 emission levels -- by 2020. As part of the plan, CO2 emissions quotas have been set for each of the 27 European Union member states and a full auctioning of emission permits will be introduced for the power sector from 2013. Heavy industry currently gets some permits for free and has to buy others only if it exceeds the allowances.

Warsaw is trying to assemble a blocking minority among EU member states which would force the European Commission, the executive arm of the bloc, to revise the CO2 emissions proposals. Last week Poland reached an accord with Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania that called for a more gradual approach to the reforms.

Poland is calling for the European Commission increase its carbon dioxide emissions cap for energy utilities and a more gradual introduction of the auctioned quotas in order to ease the cost burden. It has asked the commission for a 2008-2012 carbon dioxide quota of 284.6 million tonnes per year. Brussels reduced it by 26.7 percent to 208.5 million tonnes. Poland has also proposed a 20-percent carbon dioxide quota auction be introduced in 2013, rising by degrees each year to reach the full 100 percent by 2020.

Source




Down with the filthy rich misanthropes

Recent events confirm that anti-human super-wealthy capitalists are in the vanguard of climate change hysteria

Many green activists and commentators think that anyone who dares to criticise the apparent consensus on the science and politics of climate change must be in the pay of big business. In truth, as a meeting in London on Monday night powerfully illustrated, the megabucks are really on the side of those who think humanity is screwing up the planet.

The event was the launch of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Like a few people, I assumed that the `Grantham' bit referred to the birthplace of an earlier promoter of climate change fears, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. In fact, it refers to the wealthy chairman of GMO, a large investment management company: Jeremy Grantham. Grantham has donated 12million pounds to the London School of Economics (LSE) to fund the institute. He has also forked out another 12million to Imperial College London for the similarly named Grantham Institute for Climate Change (1)

No wonder, then, that the chair of LSE, Howard Davies - once the head of the Financial Services Authority and a former deputy governor of the Bank of England - was more than a little fawning over the `extremely generous' Grantham. The new LSE institute will be headed by Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the UK government-commissioned report, The Economics of Climate Change, published in 2006. The Stern Review argued that the costs of reducing CO2 emissions to avoid climate change would be far lower than the costs of failing to take action, using assumptions that attracted considerable scorn from other economists (2). With Lord Nick at the helm, we can be sure that the institute will not be a hotbed of climate scepticism but rather will be intellectual armoury for those who want to clamp down on economic development.

Stern was the main attraction at the launch on Monday, but Grantham's introductory remarks were the most illuminating: they provided a startling insight into the pessimism of today's super-rich. Grantham declared: `Climate change is far and away the most important issue in finance, in government, in life in general. I believe firmly that Malthius [sic] was right. he just got his timing wrong. We're engaged in the third great die-off since the beginning of the earth. The first was definitely caused by a meteorite, the second one probably was, and the third one has been caused by the effect of humans hitting the earth about as powerfully as a meteorite. We've been around for about 500,000 years and for 99 per cent of that time, we were a pretty harmless species. We ended up with about 15million people, 5,000 years ago. Then, in the final one per cent of our lives, we went from 15million to six-and-a-half billion. Needless to say, we can't repeat that multiplying effect.'

Grantham went on to say that most of this `action' had in fact occurred over the past 300 years, with the boom in population coming about as a result of what he described as `the unfortunate hydrocarbon revolution'. Presumably, he was referring to the benefits of coal, gas and oil which have allowed billions of people to live in relative comfort to a ripe old age for the first time in human existence, at least in the developed world. However, such trifles are of little concern to a man whose company handles $150billion of assets. At a time when greens ask why their critics take money from big business, it is just as relevant to ask why famous universities like LSE and Imperial are tugging their institutional forelocks to a moneybag misanthrope like Grantham. (Though with the humanity-hating John Gray also on the LSE staff, Grantham must seem like a little ray of sunshine.)

For Grantham, the idea of setting up the LSE institute came after `the penny had dropped that the hard science was slowly and finally winning an uphill struggle against what we in the US call "the deniers", who have been a powerful and effective lobby. Now the war, the frontline, is really in the economics and the cost of all this. There, the opposition is much more formidable. There are serious, respectable, well-respected economists who disagree with the good guys. They are completely misguided, but they are respectable.' Note the implication that those who have criticised the science of climate change are anything but respectable.

There is no doubt what direction this institute will take. The Stern Review was a hugely important piece of advocacy research, precisely designed to counter all those foolish types who believe that spending a fortune dragging society towards some kind of low-carbon future might be irrational in the absence of viable technology. Now the war on the `misguided' will have the backing of the LSE's reputation, too.

The notion that it is climate change sceptics who have been buying influence looks pretty shabby when viewed in the context of Grantham's remarks. The world of climate change hysteria has numerous big political backers, like Thatcher, former US vice-president Al Gore, and current British prime minister Gordon Brown, who commissioned the Stern Review when he was chancellor of the exchequer. High-level figures in the upper echelons of many big firms - including fossil fuel companies such as Shell and BP that have faced so much criticism from greens - have declared that climate change is the number one issue facing humanity. Multibillionaire Richard Branson, airline boss and wannabe spaceline boss through Virgin Galactic, declared last month: `To my mind there is no greater or more immediate challenge than that posed by climate change.'

Then there are those whose wealth is inherited, like Zac Goldsmith - worth roughly 300million - who publishes the Ecologist magazine, and David de Rothschild, a member of the super-rich banking family and author of the personal austerity guide, The Global Warming Survival Handbook (4). For a long time, the money and the influence have been on the side of the greens. Not the smelly, unwashed treehuggers, of course - posh though many of them are - but the ones walking the corridors of power in politics and business.

One greenie with influence who has been in the news rather a lot lately is the US treasury secretary, Henry Paulson. The man in charge of saving the US banking system has apparently spent $100million of his personal wealth on environmental causes - with the whole lot, some $700million, promised to conservation when his body decides to `bail out' from this mortal coil (5). And Paulson is not only generous with his own cash: as boss of Goldman Sachs, he persuaded the board to hand over 680,000 acres of forest in Tierra del Fuego owned by the bank to the Wildlife Conservation Society, whose board of trustees includes Paulson's son, Merritt

It may not come as a shock to find that those involved heavily in the unproductive, if still important, sphere of finance should believe that there is little point to the human race. When you are a member of a strand of society that is widely regarded as parasitic on the rest, the notion that the whole of humanity is parasitical on the planet is not a huge intellectual leap. But once you have ruled out suicide as an option, you need some reason to keep going. `Saving the planet' has become a mission statement both for the pointlessly rich and the political class. As former UK chancellor Nigel Lawson noted in a talk at the LSE bookshop in July, people `want to believe there is more to life than everyday getting and spending' - and that includes the fabulously wealthy and the politically ambitious.

It's not just a matter of finding a worldview to provide a sense of purpose. In the midst of a financial crisis, some might argue that environmental concerns should be the last thing on our minds. But along with his blunt demand that Europeans must cut their per capita CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 (for Americans, he argued for a 90 per cent cut), Lord Stern also suggested on Monday night that perhaps the way out of the financial crisis was to embrace the environmental outlook. Renewable energy and energy conservation, green manufacturing and a low-carbon infrastructure could be just the ticket, he suggested, to boost the economy. Far from being anti-growth, he said, going green could be good for our wallets as well as our conscience.

It is certainly true that there are plenty of eco-entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on our fear of the future, doing everything from building windmills to trading carbon emission licences. But it seems unlikely that an emphasis on reducing the human impact on the planet, rather than expanding our capacity to generate wealth and provide for the billions of people living on next-to-nothing, could be in the interests of anyone but the new green elites. No wonder they're splashing the cash.

Source




Russian Fascism is being empowered by German Greenies

It is said that Vladimir Lenin once called Soviet sympathizers in Western countries "useful idiots" for unwittingly advancing the cause of revolutionary Russia. Were the Bolshevik leader alive today, he might apply the same label to German environmentalists, whose influence over their country's energy policy has been an inadvertent, but essential factor in Moscow's post-Cold War rise.

Two decades of stringent environmental regulations have made Germany, Europe's largest economy, increasingly dependent on natural gas from Russia, the world's largest exporter. Of course, economic leverage translates seamlessly into political power, and Russia's sway over German foreign policy has been conspicuous as the recent imbroglio in Georgia has continued to play out.

In fact, Germany has the means to power its economy without Russian natural gas, so energy dependence is unnecessary. For starters, it is home to the largest reserves of coal in Europe. But thanks to the European Union's marquee climate-change mitigation policy-the continent-wide Emission Trading Scheme-the economics of power production have shifted decidedly against coal because its combustion releases the most greenhouse gases of any conventional fuel source.

Given that coal is currently taboo, Germany could meet its energy needs by expanding the use of nuclear energy, which emits no carbon dioxide when used to generate electricity. Yet the environmental movement in Germany opposes nuclear energy because its waste is difficult and dangerous to store. In 2000, environmentalists won passage of the Nuclear Exit Law, which commits German utilities to phasing out nuclear power by 2020.

Rather than coal or nuclear, the environmental movement prefers sustainable sources of power such as wind and solar, and it has convinced the German government to grant generous subsidies to the renewable energy industry. But despite these investments, renewables are still too costly to displace conventional energy sources, which is why wind and solar power account for less than 2 percent of Germany's primary energy production, according to government figures.

That leaves natural gas, which is cleaner than coal and less expensive than alternative energy. Germany is fortunate to have large deposits of gas-more than 9 trillion cubic feet-most of which is thought to lie beneath the northwestern state of Niedersachsen. Environmental regulations, however, have limited exploration and development in the region.

To meet its demand for energy, Germany turned to Gazprom, a state-owned company that has a legal monopoly on natural gas exports from Russia. Natural gas currently accounts for almost a quarter of all the energy consumed in Germany, including all electricity in homes, gasoline in cars, and coal for industrial boilers. That's up 40 percent since 1991. And Gazprom now supplies 40 percent of all natural gas consumption in Germany, an increase of 55 percent over the same period.

Currently, almost 40 percent of Germany's domestic gas consumption comes from Russia. That share is likely to increase with the construction of the Northern Pipeline, a project to be completed in 2010 that would link Russian gas directly to Central European markets.

It's little wonder, then, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first major world leader to pay a visit to new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Or that at last spring's NATO summit in Romania, German diplomats orchestrated the opposition to U.S. President George W. Bush's plan for expanding the trans-Atlantic military alliance to include Georgia and Ukraine. Before the summit, Russian officials had warned that NATO expansion would cause a "deep crisis," and provoke a "response" from Russia.

Then, last week in St. Petersburg, Merkel became the first Western leader to restore close bilateral ties with Russia after the August conflict in Georgia. Not coincidentally, Merkel's trip to Russia came at the same time that a major gas deal was signed between Gazprom and E.On, the German gas giant.

Merkel has been outspoken as the Kremlin has demonstrated a seeming willingness to use Russia's energy resources as a cudgel in interstate disputes. As winter approached a year ago, Gazprom threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine after the pro-Russia candidate lost a major election. The timing of the warning was widely interpreted as a thinly veiled threat. So was the decision by Transneft, a state-owned pipeline company that has a monopoly on oil exports from Russia, to precipitously cut supplies to the Czech Republic last July after that country signed a deal with the United States to host radar technology as part of a global missile shield-a policy strenuously opposed by Moscow.

But actions speak louder than words, and Medvedev and his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are no doubt paying more attention to what Germany's leader does than what she says.

Domestic opposition to the Northern Pipeline has grown recently, and a debate has started on the future of coal in Germany. For the foreseeable future, however, Germany's foreign policy will be beholden to its energy dependence on Russia. And for that, we have the environmental movement to thank.

Source




Huge sigh of relief as sunspot appears

A sunspot has just appeared on the sun and many people are breathing a sigh of relief. Why? Well firstly, what is a sunspot? A sunspot is actually a huge magnetic storm on the sun, which, when one looks at the sun, appears as a darker spot on the bright surface. The sun has a well-known 11-year cycle, during which it moves from Solar Max to Solar Min; this means from a state of many sunspots, or solar storms, to few. Sunspot data has been collected since 1749, and 100 or more `spots' can occur during a single month of the maximum portion of the cycle.

We have just been through Solar Min, and the return of sunspots is late. During the last few months, there have been virtually no spots, and a month with no spots at all is very rare. It has been found that there is a direct correlation between the number of sunspots and global warming, and, consequently, the state of the climate.

The last time the sun was as quiet as it is now was 400 years ago, and that signalled the onset of a period of global cooling, the coldest point of which is known as the Maunder Minimum. At that time, New York harbour froze to such a degree that people could walk from Manhattan island over to the island on which the Statue of Liberty stands today. In London, the Thames froze, and ice fairs were held on the river.

There has been no global warming since 1998; in fact, there has been a slight cooling. In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabilullo Abdusamatov predicted that the state of the sun could trigger a rapid cooling if it stayed this way. So it is with relief that the current sunspot has made its appearance - maybe more will follow.

Dr Timothy Patterson, director of the Geosciences Centre at Carleton University, has found "excellent correlations" between solar fluctuations and global temperature, whereas he says there are no such correlations with the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. Patterson says there is no surprise in this, since "the sun is the ultimate source of energy on this planet".

Sunspot climate research dates back to 1991, when the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) released a study showing that world temperatures over the last several centuries correlated very closely with solar cycles. Further research, led by the DMI's Dr Henrik Svensmark, has revealed what appears to be happening. The temperature of the planet is related to how much cloud cover there is. Fewer clouds mean a warmer planet, since sunlight strikes the earth and warms it up. More clouds mean that the tops of the clouds reflect the sun's heat back into outer space.

The amount of cloud cover is related to the quantity of cosmic rays coming into the atmosphere. Cosmic rays are energetic nuclear particles that originate in the stars and constantly hurtle through space. While you read this article, a few cosmic rays will pass through your body. As the cosmic rays race through the atmosphere, they strike atoms and molecules in the atmosphere, and this gives rise to nucleation points, which induce clouds to form, from the water vapour in the air.

This is the same mechanism that drives the formation of the long trails of cloud that appear behind the engines of high-flying jet aircraft. The specs of soot and ions in the jet exhaust provide the nucleation sites for droplets of water to form, which are then seen as the familiar `contrails'. But the earth has protection. This protection is provided by the magnetic field around the planet. This field extends out a great distance, and its effects are seen half way to the moon.

The earth's magnetic field acts as a shield, preventing many cosmic rays from getting through to our atmosphere. Then there is another phenomenon, which is known as the Solar Wind. The sun blasts out a huge stream of nuclear particles, including charged particles, which race away from the sun and impact the earth. The charged particles interact with the earth's magnetic field, giving rise to, besides other effects, the awe-inspiring northern and southern lights, which look like gossamer curtains of coloured lights in the polar skies.

As the magnetic storms on the sun's surface vary in number, which we see as the sunspot count, so the intensity of the Solar Wind alters. As the wind alters, so it alters the magnetic protection around the earth. When there are many sunspots, a stronger magnetic field develops around the earth, and this shields the planet from the cloud-forming cosmic rays. The result is less cloud cover and so a warmer planet. A quiet sun, like we have now, results in more clouds covering the earth, and so a cooling climate results.

During the Little Ice Age of 400 years ago, the Solar Minimum stayed for years, and one could walk across New York harbour. Dr Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher at Canada's National Research Council, has said that if we do not get some sunspots soon, we could be heading for an extended chilly period.

More here




Another problem with twisty light bulbs

They are being foisted on us as a way of saving energy. But it seems some eco-friendly light bulbs may not be as good for us as we thought. According to Government scientists, many of the bulbs emit more than the guideline rate of harmful ultraviolet radiation. The researchers say some energy-saving fluorescent bulbs, which will be compulsory in British homes by 2011, can cause reddening of the skin if used for long periods of time close to the body.

The Health Protection Agency said the UV threat could affect those who use reading lamps on their bedside tables. Thousands of workers such as jewellery makers who work with their hands and use lamps at close quarters could also be affected. There is, however, no risk of skin cancer from the bulbs, the agency added.

Chief executive Justin McCracken said: 'At the exposure levels we are talking about, the worst effect that we believe there is as result of our investigation is that people could have some short-time reddening of their skin. 'We do not believe that these lights pose any significant risk in terms of skin cancer. 'This is precautionary advice and people should not be thinking of removing these energy-saving light bulbs from their homes. 'In situations where people are not likely to be very close to the bulbs for any length of time, all types of compact fluorescent light bulbs are safe to use.'

The type of bulbs affected are 'open' light bulbs, which are not surrounded by a glass case. HPA tests showed that 20 per cent of these emitted higher than guideline levels of UV radiation. 'Encapsulated' fluorescent light bulbs, which are surrounded by a glass cover and look like traditional bulbs, do not emit high levels of UV. The HPA said people should not use open bulbs closer than one foot to the body for more than one hour a day, or should switch to encapsulated bulbs.

The study, due to be published in an academic journal, found that people would have to spend four hours a day at almost eight inches from the bulb before they went over existing guidelines on exposure. Exposure at one inch gave a UV level equivalent to being outside in the UK on a sunny summer's day. But at distances of more than 12 inches, the UV level was found to be safe.

More than 20million 'eco bulbs' are sold every year, about 13 per cent of the total, and they last around 10,000 hours - up to 12 times longer than traditional bulbs. They cost 3 to 4 pounds each, compared to 50p for a normal bulb, but supporters say they save 100 pounds on an electricity bill over their lifetime. But they contain mercury, which can be dangerous if the bulb breaks, and critics say the way they flicker causes problems for migraine sufferers and other problems for those with epilepsy.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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10 October, 2008

Global warming is as fictional as a Hitchcock film

Amusing: The article below by "sararasmussen" is from the student newspaper of Whitman College, a liberal arts college in Washington State -- a college of vast Leftist bigotry. Although datelined the 9th, the article has already been taken down!

I remember my parents, two alumni of the infamous UC Berkley, picking up the book State of Fear by Michael Cricthon. When my mother handed it over to me on an airplane to read, I was a little skeptical as to whether or not I would enjoy it, because it was a fiction book about global warming. I am not an activist of climate change and do not care much about receding ice that is melting, but I do recycle.so, why not? Plus, it was fiction.

After reading it, I thought, finally, something that makes sense! Something that speaks to why I am so skeptical of the climate change movement! The book posed scientific evidence, which is not very accurate, but proves a point, from both sides of an argument about a sinking island and how global warming caused the sinking of said island. It showed how both sides of a legal argument used ca refully selected information (graphs over a certain amount of time) to prove whether or not ice was melting, a section of the earth was cooling, or a certain species was becoming extinct because of climate change.

The characters, with their jargon, skeptical natures, and likable personalities, got to me. I started to doubt the existence of the terror of global warming. I started to doubt the one-sided argument I was hearing. I started to doubt the apocalypse of global-warming rhetoric, the arguments about heating/cooling.

The world goes through trends. We had the ice age and now its melting. Maybe there is a reason the earth is warming (which is not only effected by human beings, though it mostly is) other than humans deal with carbon stupidly. And maybe, the awareness of global warming, and its devastating effects on the earth is a trend because just like our generation, the baby boomers believed as my mom said "the core was going to melt and kill us all".

Global warming, seems to me, to be something out of a science fiction movie of the 50s or 60s. Something like the cheesy scary movie, the birds, but instead, of appearing randomly to swoop menacingly, they drop from the sky. Global warming, like never before, has transformed ever since 9/11. It has become about telling people about how the world is going to end, species are going to die, the core will emerge from the cement, melting us like the atomic bomb, ice will flood Ca lifornia and sink it..the list just goes on and on. The threat of global warming has existed for a long period of time, and yes, carbon emissions have gone up since Bush was in office, but seriously? The climate is supposed to change over time.

Source




Another Dissenter: We 'do not know enough about the atmospheric changes' to 'draw any conclusions about global warming'

Prof. Wayne Hocking speaks below. His extensive publication list makes him a man of considerable authority in his field

University of Western Ontario physics professor Wayne Hocking says it is important to look to the poles - the Arctic and Antarctic poles - to find the truth about global warming and other atmospheric changes. Images of glaciers crumbling and polar bears walking between cracks in the ice shelf are synonymous with global warming, but Hocking says this only scratches the surface of climatic change. But, he says in order to gain a better understanding of what these changes mean, the atmosphere above the poles are the best place to start. "I'm not against global warming, but I want people to realize it is only one of many dynamic events that occur in the atmosphere and we need to understand them all," he says.

Hocking recently presented his polar research to a crowded room at the Physics and Astronomy Colloquium. The poles are important to study "because there's no people living there, which makes it easier to monitor. But also, there are many different processes which originate in the poles," he says.

As a member of AxonMet, a consortium of scientists and organizations which operate meteor radars in the America longitudinal sector, Hocking is able to gather data about the atmosphere and compare measurements with other researchers. AxonMet operates 12 radars that are distributed across North and South America - from Eureka, Nunavut to Rothera, Antarctica. Included among those is the Clovar radar, which is located in London, Ont. and owned and operated by Western.m Meteor radars can measure atmospheric changes in temperature, wave activity, planetary motions and the structures of plasmas, among others, up to 80 to 100km above the earth's surface. Hocking also uses wind profilers, which can detect changes in the lower atmospheres, recording measurements at 14 km altitude.

Aside from satisfying general scientific curiosity about changes in the atmosphere, Hocking says the data can be used to measure trends which can be interpreted through computer models to gain a better understanding of global warming. But with all of the data he has collected on atmospheric changes over the last 15 years, Hocking is hesitant to claim he can make any predictions about global warming. "For this to be effective, we need to be there for 20, 30, 40 years, have a long-term data set and then we can start to make useful predictions," he says.

He says researchers do not know enough about the atmospheric changes and how they influence each other to draw any conclusions about global warming. "We know there is so much complexity involved, we want to tread more cautiously," he says. "Maybe in 10 years time, it'll all start to freeze over, we just don't know."

As well, Hocking cautions against focusing solely on global warming, but rather to view it as one of many atmospheric changes that must be researched and understood. "I think it's too narrow of a view," he says. "You've got to consider everything together and see global warming as part of a larger picture rather than something in isolation."

Although he is working in remote regions, Hocking's measurements in the poles have implications around the world besides studying global warming, such as increasing the accuracy of weather monitoring systems. "You could have a hundred cities in Europe and you get the weather from all of them, but having one city in the Arctic ties down the predictions much more tightly," he says. "Having a remote site can help to define the forecast much more clearly."

Source




Scientists Predict Colder, Snowier Winter for United States

Weather forecasters around the country warn of one of the coldest winters in several years. Scientists also say that the Eastern United States will have more snowfall than last year's record highs. "The winter as a whole in the population-dense Eastern third of the nation will be a one-two punch of higher heating prices and lower temperatures," he said. "It may be a shock to some when compared with above-average temperatures of last year in the East," said Joe Bastardi of AccuWeather.

Bastardi on Wednesday said that this winter will be off to a cold start in mid-December. The cold spell will continue through February. He also mentioned at least three cold spells between the three months. "Given this economic environment, the winter will push some homeowners to the brink," Bastardi said.

On the other hand, scientists say that warmer temperatures are predicted in the West. The warmer than average temperatures will be from December through February. Some scientists believe it is in result of climate change, or global warming.

The Midwest will get less snow than last year. However, a pair of cold spells are predicted but temperatures will be not as low as the Eastern United States.

Source




UK's new 'Climate Change Secretary' mocked

Whether you are a climate-change denier, a sceptic or a believer in the scientific consensus on global warming, you have to admit that there is something preposterous about making someone Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. It's a bit like giving King Canute added responsibility for sea level rise: it implies that he can do something about it.

Given that there is a less than 50 per cent chance, in my view, that mankind could do something about its greenhouse gas emissions in time to prevent dangerous climate change - thereby proving itself rational - Ed Miliband, the newly appointed Secretary, would appear to have his work cut out.

Given, too, that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits that there is only a 95 per cent probability that man-made factors caused the warming we have seen, you might think that Gordon Brown might have seen fit to create a few more new posts in his reshuffle.

The suggestion from the sceptic, Philip Stott, is that if the Prime Minister wanted to leave no stone unturned, he might also have created a minister for cosmic ray fluxes, solar magnetic cycles and sunspots; a minister for meteorites and cosmic dust, a minister for the earth's orbit, tilt, wobble, shape and velocity; a minister for volcanic eruptions and ocean circulations; and a minister for water vapour, clouds and atmospheric gases.

All of those have something to do with climate change. The unresolved question is how much.

Seriously, though, the new Energy and Climate Change post is a way of dealing with a serious problem: relentless squabbling between what used to be called BERR and what still is called DEFRA. That was a recipe for nothing happening at all, for example, on the timetable for cleaner coal-fired power stations.

One can see the point of the tradeoffs being made in Mr Miliband's head, rather than in two separate departments, between the long-term need for clean coal and the short term need to keep the lights on.

But there is no use pretending that the political landscape hasn't changed. With the new remit comes new dangers - in this case the suspicion is that what has been created is the ministry for nuclear power, wind farms and the Severn Barrage. And toffee nuts to the environment.

Source




Global warming is causing 'deathwatch beetle to chew through precious, historical books'

Since there has in fact been no global warming for many years, we know this story is false. Imagine the hysteria if there was actually something going on

Ah, climate change. We're all familiar by now with the culprits behind global warming (ok, maybe not certain candidates running for office) and the phenomena's handiwork: surging seas, dwindling populations of certain fish and fowl, more volatile weather, and the like. Here are a couple you may not have thought of: corroding 18th century mansions and priceless books teeming with beetles.

The National Trust, a huge charitable organization that owns and operates 300 natural and historical sites all over the United Kingdom, including Stonehenge, parts of Hadrian's wall, and dozens of mills, farms and castles, says climate change is having a measurable impact on its properties and structures. On a recent swing through California to examine how different organizations run the Presidio, Yosemite and Point Reyes National Seashore, The National Trust's Tony Burton said the climate change chain reaction is reaching down to the tiniest levels. Like, really tiny.

For instance, more bugs are able to withstand Britain's warmer winters, leaving more, hardier species like the deathwatch beetle to chew through precious, historical books. Same story for tapestries and other items made from fragile materials. In addition, more heavy-duty rains are suddenly damaging roofs and gutters that have previously weathered 300 years of winds and storms.

In all likelihood, the same is happening here -- just look at the wildfires that destroyed parts of significant lands and sites in Big Sur.

Some might not compare it to the extinction of the polar bear, or the loss of a huge chunk of Arctic glacier, but it does show some the tangible, unforeseen costs associated with altered weather patterns. And really, if industrial-age human activity were to somehow obliterate Stonehenge -- a structure that dates back thousands of years -- that would be something.

Source




Five-Star Green Hypocrisy - WWF's luxury getaway called 'Around the World: A Private Jet Expedition'

Move over Al Gore. Swankier carbon charlatanism has come to town in the form of the World Wildlife Fund's luxury getaway called "Around the World: A Private Jet Expedition." "Join us on a remarkable 25-day journey by luxury private jet," invites the WWF in a brochure for its voyage to "some of the most astonishing places on the planet to see top wildlife, including gorillas, orangutans, rhinos, lemurs and toucans."

For a price tag that starts at $64,950 per person, travelers will meet at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, Fla. on April 6, 2009 and then fly to "remote corners" of the world on a "specially outfitted jet that carries just 88 passengers in business-class comfort." "World class experts - including WWF's director of species conservation - will provide lectures en route, and a professional staff will be devoted to making your global adventure seamless and memorable." Travelers will visit the Amazon Rain Forest in Brazil, Easter Island, Samoa, Borneo, Laos, Nepal, Madagascar, Namibia, Uganda or Rwanda, and finish up at the luxury Dorchester Hotel in London.

This is the very same WWF that says "the current growth in [carbon dioxide] emissions must be stopped as soon as possible" and that blames Americans for emitting 21 percent of global CO2 emissions even though the U.S. accounts for only 5 percent of the global population. In December 2007, the WWF launched its "Earth Hour" campaign, a global initiative in which cities and communities simultaneously turn out their lights for one hour "to symbolize their leadership and commitment to finding solutions for climate change."

So how does this fantasy trip square with the WWF's alarmist rhetoric? Using the carbon footprint calculator on the WWF's own web site, the 36,800-mile trip in a Boeing 757 jet will burn about 100,000 gallons of jet fuel to produce roughly 1,231 tons of CO2 in 25 days - that's the equivalent of putting about 1,560 SUVs on the road during those three-plus weeks and that doesn't even include emissions related to local air, ground and water transport and other amenities.

The WWF laments on its web site that the average American produces 19.6 tons of CO2 annually, which is nearly five times the world average of 3.9 tons per person. But during the WWF's posh excursion, travelers will produce 14 tons of CO2 per person. That's 71 percent of the average American carbon footprint and 360 percent of the average global footprint in a mere three-and-one-half weeks. But who's counting - especially when you're in "19 rows of spacious leather seats with full ergonomic support" enjoying "gourmet meals, chilled champagne [and] your own chef."

I guess those are the rules when you're one of WWF's wealthy donors, but now contrast this with the how the WWF says the rest of us should live our lives. The group's web site states that "It clearly is time for all Americans to roll up their sleeves, to take steps to reduce emissions, to prepare for climate change, and to encourage others to do the same."

We, the masses, should - nay, must - use compact fluorescent light bulbs, reduce hot water use, turn thermostats down in the winter and up in the summer and use low-flow shower heads and faucets. We should pledge to commute by car pool or mass transit, switch to "green power," and get more fuel efficient cars. We should make our lives more expensive and less convenient so that the Green elites don't feel too guilty while jet-setting to exotic locales.

Maybe, you're thinking, the WWF plans to makes its trip "carbon neutral" by purchasing carbon offsets - after all, the group does offer a carbon offset calculator on its web site under the heading "Join WWF in our mission to save life on Earth." But neither the trip brochure nor the WWF web site mentions that any offsets will be purchased - and there seems to be good reason for that.

According to the WWF's calculator, it would cost in excess of $44,000 to offset the carbon emissions from the jet travel alone. Then there's the September 2008 report from the General Accounting Office which concluded that the carbon offset market lacked credibility. The Republican leader of the congressional committee requesting the report commented that "that the lack of standardization of offsets and fundamental problems assessing and verifying credibility, leave consumers in the dark and exposed to waste, fraud, and abuse." Former Clinton official Joseph Romm wrote on his blog that, "the vast majority of offsets are, at some level, just rip-offsets." The Greens are apparently reluctant to fall for their own scams.

If you can't make the WWF's private jet expedition, the group offers a wide variety of other pricey, carbon-spewing tours. You might be interested in the WWF trip to the Galapagos or Fiji Islands, where you're less likely to run into pesky downscale local tourists. The WWF has called for limitations on local tourism in the Galapagos and Fiji Islands saying that it causes greater environmental damage than "larger tourist operations" - like the WWF's.

I've been thinking that WWF's bandit-like panda bear was an appropriate logo given the group's promotion of "rip-offsets." But now, I think that a new logo may be in order - perhaps a hippo-crite?

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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9 October, 2008

NEW STUDY CONFIRMS SIGNIFICANT VARIATION OF PREINDUSTRIAL CO2 LEVELS

"A role for atmospheric CO2 in preindustrial climate forcing"

By Thomas B. van Hoof et al.

Abstract

Complementary to measurements in Antarctic ice cores, stomatal frequency analysis of leaves of land plants preserved in peat and lake deposits can provide a proxy record of preindustrial atmospheric CO2 concentration. CO2 trends based on leaf remains of Quercus robur (English oak) from the Netherlands support the presence of significant CO2 variability during the first half of the last millennium. The amplitude of the reconstructed multidecadal fluctuations, up to 34 parts per million by volume, considerably exceeds maximum shifts measured in Antarctic ice. Inferred changes in CO2 radiative forcing are of a magnitude similar to variations ascribed to other mechanisms, particularly solar irradiance and volcanic activity, and may therefore call into question the concept of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which assumes an insignificant role of CO2 as a preindustrial climate-forcing factor. The stomata-based CO2 trends correlate with coeval sea-surface temperature trends in the North Atlantic Ocean, suggesting the possibility of an oceanic source/sink mechanism for the recorded CO2 changes.

Source




Roy Spencer, climate skeptic, speaks

Very kind of the journalist below to admit that Spencer is a "legitimate" skeptic. One wonders what criteria he uses to make that judgment. And would a person with no credentials in the physical sciences -- such as Al Gore -- fit those criteria?

Roy Spencer, one of a relatively small number legitimate climate skeptics, visited Houston today to give a talk sponsored by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. Spencer, a team leader on NASA's Aqua satellite, believes natural cycles account for most of last century's warming, with carbon dioxide increases contributing only a modest amount.

He also unveiled new research, which has been submitted to Geophysical Research Letters for publication, which appears to show that climate models overstate the positive feedback from more carbon dioxide, and therefore grossly overstate the projected warming during the next century. Spencer says his work suggests the Earth will warm by about 1 degree Fahrenheit or less during the next century, not the 4 to 8 degrees projected by the IPCC process. Careful readers will spot some of the questions suggested by readers.

Q: The IPCC estimates there's a 5 to 10 percent chance they're wrong about mankind's impact on global temperatures --

Any statements of probability are meaningless and misleading. I think the IPCC made a big mistake. They're pandering to the public not understanding probabilities. When they say 90 percent they make it sound like they've come up with some kind of objective, independent, quantitative way of estimating probabilities related to this stuff. It isn't. All it is is a statement of faith. Sorry for the rant.

Q: That's OK. But wasn't it part of their mandate to put probabilities on global warming?

I think they do need to have statements that will convey their confidence. But I think using numbers is misleading because it makes it sound more accurate than it is.

Q: Do you ever try to get your research published in Science and Nature?

Not anymore. Their editorial policy basically won't permit stuff like this. If they don't find an excuse to object outright, all it takes is them sending it to a reviewer like Kevin Trenberth who will say "This is garbage," and come up with some obscure, non-reason why. And then they don't have to deal with it. So I don't deal with them any more.

Q: With the current attitudes toward skeptics, then, can such viewpoints still get published in major climate and science journals?

We're finding, the only place I'm submitting right now is Geophysical Research Letters. The American Geophysical Union is still kind of open minded. They've come out with a policy statement that goes along with the IPCC, but it seems like their editorial policy for their journals is still pretty flexible. But again I don't think there's that much good skeptic science going on right now. There's a lot of good ideas, but nobody's funded to do anything.

Q: Is it simply a funding issue, then?

I think that's a huge part of it. Congress gives money to study problems. If manmade global warming is a problem, that's what the money goes to. If manmade global warming isn't a problem there's a risk of losing a lot of funding.

Q: How good would you say we are, today, at determining an average global temperature?

We do pretty good job with that right now. It doesn't matter what the absolute number is, because you can ask, "Well, do you mean at sea level, or at a 2-meter height above the Earth's surface, or do you mean the temperature of the Earth's skin, or do you mean a deep layer temperature?" With the satellites we get really good agreement between two satellites that are taking independent measurements. So we have really good measurements of year-to-year changes. So we can say that this year really was so many hundredths of a degree warmer or cooler than last year. The problem comes in determining long-term trends. I think the most significant thing to talk about what's happened during the last 100 years. And I think there's still substantial uncertainty in how much it's actually warmed.

Q: So if not mankind, then what accounts for the 0.7 degrees Celsius, or so, of warming during the last century? From your talk you seem to point to natural warming, and specifically cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

That was just the first one I looked at from among the main modes of natural climate variability. So I'm not necessarily hanging my hat on the PDO. What I'm saying is that it's entirely possible, and I think likely, that natural modes of climate variability have associated cloud changes. All it takes is a 1 or 2 percent change in global cloudiness and you can get this warming and cooling for decades upon decades, for a century.

Q: For you is there any observation that would make you believe humans are causing the planet to warm significantly?

In order to have a smoking gun we would have to have about 50 years of really accurate satellite temperature data. It's even questionable whether the satellite data we have from the last seven years, which are our best, are good enough. But I think 50 years of satellite measurements would do it. But we don't have it.

Q: The global temperature trend since the year 2000 has been relatively flat. Have you seen any change in climate scientists' point of view as a result? Does this cause them consternation?

Not that I know of. I think too much is being made of that. I don't use that, or see that as any evidence that global warming has stopped. Because if you just look at the last 30 years we've had periods of no temperature increase for 7 or 8 years. That's because of natural climate variability on top of the global warming signal, whatever the global warming signal is due to. So I don't point to that.

Q: That's interesting, because I think some people are surprised by that.

Really?

Q: Yes, if you tell someone the planet hasn't warmed appreciably since the year 2000 they're often surprised. I see the global temperature trend in the same light as the Arctic Sea Ice, something simple that's iconic for the entire issue of global warming, something simple to serve as a proxy for much more complex scientific issues.

I do think that if it doesn't start warming for another five to 10 years, I think scientists will start questioning the theory, too.

Q: In Science, in 2005, you, John Christy and others admitted there was a correction needed in some of your data. Has that actually been incorporated into your temperature data?

Yes. I can't believe this keeps coming up. We made the corrections. It's a non-issue although it's one the BBC, I think it was two weekends ago, they had a special and they interviewed skeptics. It was a hit piece. I remember them interviewing me for two hours, and they kept asking me about this whole satellite data thing and basically what they wanted me to do was admit on camera that I made a mistake. Which I did, and we corrected it. That's science. But that's all the BBC showed from the interview.

Q: You've argued that temperature doesn't necessarily move in lock step with carbon dioxide emissions. But it's still not a good idea to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide were 270 parts per million in the atmosphere. We're now at 385 or 390 ppm. Big greenhouses run CO2 at 1,000 ppm. I think the assumption that CO2 is necessarily bad is a philosophical assumption, not a scientific statement. Nature has picked a certain balance, but I don't see it as preordained, or necessarily the best balance. If you talk to some plant physiologists they make it sound like life on Earth is actually starved for CO2. I think that is a position that ought to be impassionately considering, rather than automatically assuming that putting more CO2 into the atmosphere is bad because that is not a scientific statement.

Q: If you and other global warming skeptics are right, and the IPCC is wrong, why do so many scientists feel so strongly about climate change?

Most scientists don't understand the big picture, and they are willing to defer to the climate modelers. The climate modelers are willing to put all of the different pieces together into the climate model. And then the climate model is supposed to magically give you the answer. I'll bet a lot of the scientists are skeptical, but they won't admit it publicly. If you talk to most of the scientists who are ardent about the issue, they have a political or ideological worldview that says mankind needs to stop putting CO2 into the atmosphere. It's a religious belief and it's widespread in the scientific community.

Q: So how did scientists like James Hansen, Kevin Trenberth and others gain ascendancy in the scientific community and become spokesmen for the issue, when not all scientists support their views?

By making bold statements. And what kind of statements get reported on in the media?

Q: What's it like being a skeptic in this field, in the year 2008?

Well, as I get older I have less and less energy. So this debate helps keep me awake. This wouldn't be important if it weren't for the policy implications. The direction we're going on policy is going to kill millions of people for no good reason. As it is environmentalists have already killed millions of people for no good reason, with the DDT ban.

Source




SURVEY: 80% OF BRITONS "SCEPTICAL ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING"

The rising price of flights has prompted 50% of Brits to change their travel plans, according to a survey of 2,000 members of European travel portal trivago.co.uk. The poll found that 10% flew less, 21% stayed at home and 4% did not make any long-distance trips.

But only 16% of Brits changed their travel plans due to climate change, and over 80% are skeptical about global warming. In fact, 40% believe it is all media hype and only 4% of respondents have cut back on flying because of environmental concerns.

Source




FINANCIAL CRISIS DIMS CHANCES FOR U.S. CLIMATE LEGISLATION

In the coming months, as Washington struggles to contain the damage from Wall Street's precipitous financial free fall, one of the first casualties may be the top piece of legislation on the environmental agenda: the adoption of a sweeping national program to control greenhouse gases.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate continue to rank climate-change legislation as one of their major priorities for the next Congress. So, too, do both presidential candidates. But there's growing acknowledgement that with the United States on the verge of a deep recession, passing a bill that mandates a reduction of greenhouse gases and places a price on emitting carbon will be extremely difficult.

"Clearly what's happening with the economy, and the scale it's happening, takes all the oxygen out of the room for virtually anything else for the moment,." said Debbie Sease, legislative director for the Sierra Club.

The odds are long for two reasons. First, with the nation facing the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression and high energy prices, many legislators will be reluctant to pass a bill that - at least in the short term - will make all carbon-based fuels even more expensive. "Financial realities will make it much more difficult for the new administration or Congress to put forth a very aggressive, economy-wide climate bill," argued Sen. James Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and one of Congress's harshest critics of any climate-change action. "I believe the current financial crisis will only reinforce the public's concerns about any climate bill that attempts to increase the costs of energy and jeopardizes jobs in the near term."

Second, with the nation's voters furious at poorly regulated financial markets that helped create the current meltdown, Congress is going to be reluctant to create a cap-and-trade system in which a new commodity - carbon emissions - will be traded on a large scale. Said William Kovacs, vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "Anyone who thinks you can have a cap-and-trade system in which trillions of dollars of new securities will be traded is just not paying attention to what's happening on Wall Street."

All this, as well as the concern that a cap-and-trade system will mean the creation of a federal regulatory system that will further swell the budget deficit, has left environmentalists acutely aware of the daunting challenges ahead on federal climate legislation. "If you frame climate change as a regulatory program that's going to have a lot of costs," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, "then it will take a while for it to get back toward the top of the legislative agenda."

Inhofe and other opponents note that last year, despite broad support from the environmental community, Democratic leaders couldn't muster the 60 votes they needed to prevent a filibuster of their global warming bill. That measure, sponsored by Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Sen. John Warner, would have created a cap-and-trade program allowing businesses to eventually buy and sell greenhouse gas emission credits on the open market.

David Kreutzer, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said that even before the financial crisis hit, climate-change legislation was losing votes because it has the potential to raise the cost of electricity from coal-fired power plants. "When you put this kind of tax in place, you make energy more expensive," he said. "You lose lots of jobs. You really hit manufacturing."

More here




WELCOME TO THE DARK AGES: "NO COAL EQUALS NO LIGHTS. NO POWER. NO FUTURE"

The future of coal-fired power generation in Europe was called into question yesterday after a European Parliament committee backed new laws that would force power companies to pay for all of their carbon dioxide emissions from 2013.

The decision, which could cost the power industry $46 billion a year and trigger a steep rise in electricity bills, represents a huge boost for Europe's renewable energy industry. It also casts fresh doubt over the likelihood of a 1.5 billion coal-fired power plant being built at Kingsnorth, Kent, by E.ON, the German power group.

In addition, it flies in the face of British government policy. Last month, John Hutton, the former business secretary, told the Labour Party conference that "no coal . . . equals no lights. No power. No future."

Chris Davies, an MEP who backed the legislation, said that the decision by the European Parliament's environment committee "effectively prevents the building of new coal-fired power plants from 2015 unless equipped with CCS [carbon capture and storage technology]". The new rules require final approval from the European Parliament and EU countries. If granted, they will transform the economics of burning coal to generate electricity.

The move came despite fierce resistance from power industry lobbyists, who said that that the EU's aggressive emissions-cutting targets should be weakened because of the global financial crisis.

Avril Doyle, an Irish MEP on the committee, said: "For all the trouble we have, the single greatest challenge facing us is climate change."

The committee backed proposed changes to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), an existing programme in which the bulk of permits are handed out to energy companies for free. Members voted in favour of auctioning all emissions permits after 2013 for power companies. The committee proposed that other polluting industries, such as steelmaking, should pay for 15 per cent of permits in 2013, rising to 100 per cent by 2020. It had been unclear how the ETS programme would evolve after 2012.

The committee also offered to plough $10 billion from the scheme into carbon capture and storage (CCS) research, an untried technology designed to strip out greenhouse gases at source and store them underground.

The bill is a key plank of the EU's plan to reduce Europe's carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. The CBI welcomed the scheme last night, saying that it would provide greater clarity for businesses.

Europe's renewable energy industry also endorsed the decision. Maria McCaffery, of the British Wind Energy Association, said: "This new target underlines the urgency of action to deliver clean, sustainable energy now if we are to keep global temperatures within acceptable limits."

A spokeswoman for E.ON, which relies heavily on coal-fired power stations in Germany, as well as in the UK, said: "We are taking our time to review and assess the decision."

A vote before the full European Parliament is likely in December, although opposition is expected from some heavily coal-dependent countries, such as Poland. France, which has the EU presidency at the moment, wants to enshrine the Bill in law by the end of the year.

Source




GREEN SUICIDE: EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME THREATENS EU ALUMINIUM INDUSTRY

A key part of the EU's climate change policy - the Emission Trading System (ETS) - could destroy the economic viability of Europe's aluminium industry. The European Parliament's Environment Committee recognised the impact of CO2 costs passed into electricity prices (indirect effects) as one of the criteria for carbon leakage, as it has a large negative effect on the competitiveness of energy intensive industries. Therefore, it is inexplicable that the Committee failed to adopt provisions for a legal mechanism to address this problem.

According to Patrick de Schrynmakers, Secretary General of the European Aluminium Association (EAA), 'Europe will export jobs and import energy intensive products, with no environmental gain. While EAA welcomes the provisions for free allocation of emission allowances for the direct emissions, this would address only a small fraction of the costs imposed on aluminium by the ETS. By far the larger impacts will be from the indirect effects, caused by increases in electricity prices due to power generators passing through their CO2 costs into electricity prices. This will take place in a dysfunctional electricity market, where, already, barriers to competition have forced prices to prohibitive levels.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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8 October, 2008

U-TURN: EU LAWMAKERS SAVE FACTORIES FROM CARBON CHARGES

Influential EU lawmakers sought in a key vote on Tuesday to ease the cost for factories of meeting greenhouse gas emissions limits from 2013 as much of Europe heads for recession. But the European Parliament's environment committee backed an EU executive Commission plan to wipe out utility windfall profits from carbon trading and transfer up to 30 billion euros ($40.76 billion) to member state coffers.

Factories and power plants participating in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) get most of their carbon permits free now. The committee backed a phased-in approach for energy-intensive sectors vulnerable to competition, and staring at a global economic slowdown to pay for just from 15 percent of carbon permits in 2013 rising to 100 percent in 2020. "The clear political message from us to the (EU executive) Commission is we want these energy-intensive industries looked after," Avril Doyle, the MEP steering EU ETS legislation for the European Parliament, told Reuters.

Tuesday's vote set the legislature's position in energy and climate negotiations with EU leaders ahead of a final agreement expected later this year or early in 2009."The greens weren't very happy and those on the side of industry weren't very happy, so I reckon I got it somewhere right in the middle," Doyle added.

The panel backed full auctioning for power plants from 2013, meaning generators would have to pay for every tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, a move likely to dent coal plant profits. "One hundred percent auctioning for power generators was not contested here at all," said Doyle. "Some of our Polish colleagues were nervous, we have to show solidarity, if there are real problems for some of our newer member states I think they'll be looked after," she said.

Coal-dependent Poland has tried to assemble a blocking minority to delay adoption of the step.

Source




Lindzen: Corrupted Science Revealed

Outsiders familiar with the proper workings of science have long known that modern Climate Science is dysfunctional. Now a prominent insider, MIT Meteorology Professor Richard S. Lindzen, confirms how Al Gore and his minions used Stalinist tactics to subvert, suborn and corrupt a whole branch of science, citing chapter and verse in his report entitled "Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?" His answer: A resounding "NO!"

Detailing the corruption, he names a series of names. Until reading this I did not know that: "For example, the primary spokesman for the American Meteorological Society in Washington is Anthony Socci who is neither an elected official of the AMS nor a contributor to climate science. Rather, he is a former staffer for Al Gore." Page 5

Although a bit lengthy, this very important report is highly readable and revealing. While some of the paragraphs are a bit technical, I encourage AT readers to wade through them because their purpose is to provide specific examples of how a radical cabal is forcing scientists to ignore or amend measurements that undermine the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Scientists are literally forced to include sentences in their papers that indicate their support of AGW, even if these sentences are non-sequiturs, or even if they conflict with the overall thrust of the paper. In this way, Al Gore's uneducated political commissars are able to deliver the "consensus" he so craves.

How is this possible you might ask? Prof. Lindzen gives considerable background history.

However, having been an undergraduate and graduate student in the hard sciences, and later a research collaborator with dozens of industrial scientists and university professors, perhaps I can shed some further light. Today's scientists get to the top of their field by extreme dedication to their specialty involving inordinate focus and concentration that cannot tolerate distractions. The best scientists are constantly "at home" at their lab bench, with their instruments, analyzing data, teaching a few promising students and preparing publications. Most scientists interact intensively only with other specialists in allied fields ("geeks").

Many scientists are naturalized citizens from Asia and Eastern Europe, unfamiliar and intimidated by American politics and government, to which they are dependent upon for visas and grant support. Although all stereotypes are unfair to individuals, there is some truth to the one of the shy, retiring, absent-minded professor. His or her absent-mindedness is most likely due to intense cogitation on a difficult scientific problem. Their dealings with one another are only possible by maintaining extreme standards of honesty, integrity and open-mindedness to scholarly debate in search of the truth. The very qualities that make them good scientists and scholars thus leave them ill-equipped to deal with the raucous, underhanded, disrespectful, politically-motivated radicals unleashed upon them by Al Gore and his fifth column for a "hostile takeover" of their scientific institutions.

I naively thought that the National Academy of Sciences could impose some quality-control on an errant discipline. Prof. Lindzen notes that event this august body has been penetrated by eco-activists by exploiting loopholes in its nominating procedures. Fortunately, in science "truth will out". The long term faith of the American public in science, a trust built up since WWI is at stake. Next it will be important to see whether a prominent scientific journal publishes this revelation.

More here




THERE'S A GOLD MINE IN ENVIRONMENTAL GUILT

This is strange territory. The Dow is down. Wall Street needs a bailout. But in the Washington area and across the country, there is still a bull market in environmental guilt. Sales of carbon offsets -- whose buyers pay hard cash to make amends for their sins against the climate -- are up. Still. In some cases, the prices have actually been climbing. In other words, when nearly everything seems to be selling for less, thousands of individuals and businesses are paying more for nothing, or at least nothing tangible.

Experts say this is possible, in part, for economic reasons: The financial crisis has not yet reached those upper-middle-class consumers who are willing to pay $12 to offset a cross-country flight, $80 for a wedding or $400-plus for a year of life.

But there is also a cultural factor, the legacy of a complicated decade defined by a "green" awakening and a national splurge in consumer spending. Many people have learned to pay to lessen their climate shame -- and, at least for now, they don't think of it as a luxury purchase. "I was feeling really guilty because I was basically traveling to three continents in the last month: 'I've spent basically six days on an airplane. I've got to fix this,' " said Michael Sheets, 27, who lives in the District's Logan Circle neighborhood.

So a few days ago, Sheets paid $240 to a Silver Spring-based vendor, Carbonfund.org, choosing its offsets because they were more than $100 cheaper than a comparable package from another offset seller. He got back an e-mail saying that the 52,920 pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions attributable to him for the entire year, including his trips to Trinidad, Thailand and Argentina, had been canceled out. "I feel much better about it," said Sheets, human resources director for an online-education company in Northern Virginia. "I don't feel as guilty about flying to Vegas tomorrow for the weekend."

On the surface, offsets sound like a simple transaction. Generally, the buyer uses an online tool to calculate the carbon footprint -- the amount of harmful emissions -- of a car, a flight or a year's activities. Then the buyer pays an offset vendor to cancel out that footprint. This is done through projects that stop emissions from occurring or remove pollutants from the air.

Some offsets are sold like stocks on the Chicago Climate Exchange. Other groups sell them directly to consumers. One study last year found that offset prices ranged from $1.80 per ton of emissions to $300, with most about $6.10.

Watchdog groups say offset vendors sometimes do not deliver what they promise. Some offset projects, such as mass tree plantings aimed at absorbing carbon dioxide, deliver climate benefits that are difficult to measure. In other cases, it is unclear whether offsets funnel money to existing projects or to projects that might have been done anyway. Despite those concerns -- and despite continuing turmoil in world financial markets -- offset sales are strong. And offsets are selling for more.

More here




Garbage obsession in Canada

Companies that sell takeout coffee must create their own deposit-return system that keeps disposable cups out of litter and landfill, or governments will do it for them, says a waste diversion consultant. Coffee cups are the latest target of Toronto planners who want to divert 70 per cent of the city's garbage away from its shrinking landfill sites by 2010.

Clarissa Morawski, an environmental advocate who has written extensively on waste policy, said the industry is facing a "paradigm shift" in the way its disposable cups are viewed, littering Toronto's streets and filling garbage cans instead of being recycled. "If they don't act, then the risks are very big. That is the writing on the wall," Morawski said. Similar changes - considered radical several years ago - are underway in other sectors that create disposable packaging.

Within the next few weeks, The Beer Store will install bottle-return machines - for LCBO wine and spirit bottles - at two stores in Toronto and one in Brampton, in a pilot project that gives consumers a chit they can use against the cost of their next Merlot. And, this week, Canadian Springs, one of Canada's largest bottled water suppliers, jumped ahead of the debate on banning plastic water bottles, by offering a 25-cent deposit return for its 500-millilitre single-use bottles.

"If I were the head of a large coffee company, I would say I am spending so much of my time fighting off the bad news by the media - because coffee cups are all over ditches - so why don't we come up with a solution that makes us look like the greenest company around?" Morawski said. "It's not like if they don't do it they will be sitting status quo," she said. "I don't believe that the status quo will last much longer. I think they are going to be pushed by government to do things they don't want to do."

In Toronto, the paradigm shift that Morawski speaks of has already begun. "We are going through a revolution in terms of how we manage our solid waste," said Geoff Rathbone, director of the city's waste department. Toronto has a target of 70 per cent waste diversion, which means Rathbone and others are now targeting different types of garbage to incrementally reach that goal. In this case, they are focusing on the industry's responsibility for its disposable packaging of hot beverages and takeout food, as well as plastic bags. Rathbone and his staff are putting the final touches on a report that has the potential to transform the way businesses operating in Toronto will manage the packaging around their products.

The report will detail the various ways that council can force industry to take responsibility for their food or coffee containers, and examines whether the City of Toronto Act will give them the legal power to enforce action. The report will go to the city's executive committee in November. Morawski said a forward-thinking coffee company could easily use a deposit return system, with similar reverse vending machines that are going to be used at The Beer Store locations. If gathered in volume, the cups could be taken to a paper recycler, she said. "If you did this, you would solve the (litter) problem in a week. If you put an economic value on these containers, people are not going to let them sit on the street," she said.

Chuck Riegle is spokesperson for the Norway-based TOMRA, the company that builds The Beer Store's reverse vending machines. Riegle said that the company has not yet been asked to create a coffee cup return machine, but could do so. "It's not a pipe dream. If the market needs it, we'll service it," Riegle said, from TOMRA's Connecticut office. Riegle said the company's machines are used in Europe and the United States for pop and drink containers. In England, the company supplies machines for "large public recycling centres" at Tesco grocery stores, a major chain. Customers strip the packaging from their products as they leave, and later, can return almost all of their recyclables, like cardboard and milk jugs.

Toronto does not recycle its coffee cups. Rathbone says most cups are thrown out with plastic lids still attached, making it too problematic and expensive for recycling. As well, coffee cups often end up in garbage or street litter, instead of the blue recycling boxes, he said.

In Hamilton, the city allows coffee cups - without the lids - to go into the organic green bins. The paper cups are simply composted with the rest of the kitchen food waste, a Hamilton spokesperson said.

Tim Hortons is the most popular takeout coffee company in Ontario. Spokesperson Nick Javor said the company is working on a solution by giving customers a 10-cent discount when they use refillable containers. It is also piloting an expanded in-store recycling system in 11 of its Toronto restaurants, which will be expanded to all Toronto restaurants by early next year, as well as other locations. Javor said Toronto should figure out a way to compost its coffee cups, the way that Hamilton does. He called concerns about plastic lids a "red herring," saying the city should simply ask residents to remove the lids, which are recycled at a plant in Mississauga. "I really think that we are looking at an element that is trying to make this into an environmental catastrophe. Well, it is not," Javor said.

Source




Australians 'bored' by climate change

AUSTRALIANS are becoming bored with the issue of climate change and many still doubt whether the phenomenon is actually happening, according to a new survey. Only 46 per cent of Australians said they would take action on climate change if they were in charge of making decisions for Australia, a dip from 55 per cent last year, according to the Ipos-Eureka Social Research Institute's third annual climate change survey. And almost one in 10 Australians (nine per cent) strongly agreed with the statement "I have serious doubts about whether climate change is occurring". A further 23 per cent agreed to some extent.

Ipos-Eureka director of Sustainable Communities and Environment Unit Jasmine Hoye believes Australians are becoming more concerned with other environmental issues that they can have more direct control over. "We believe the public is currently overwhelmed by other, more pressing environmental issues - namely water and river health - and sees climate change as something that is largely out of their control," she said. "However, there is a desire among many Australians to know how they can personally make a difference regarding climate change."

Aside from river and water health, other environmental issues of most concern to Australians included illegal waste dumping, renewable energy, litter, smoky vehicles and packaging.

But there were no real standout actions being taken by Australians to personally reduce their greenhouse emissions, said Ms Hoye. "Ipsos research has shown that recycling is a fairly generic activity that people tend to say they are doing to help the environment, and it is also something that many Australians were already doing before climate change came along," she said. "Thus, one could be justified in thinking this is a fairly glib response. "What really strikes me is that we still have so few Australians taking specific actions like substantially reducing their household energy use, driving and flying less, switching to green power, or even buying carbon offsets, especially given all of the media coverage on this critical issue," she added.

Source




Now, should we destroy the economy?

Astute Australian financial analyst Terry McCrann looks at the Warmist numbers

BEAUTIFUL. The release of the Garnaut report could not have been better timed. It was dead, dead, dead, before it hit the table. The dark greens and all the climate carpetbaggers and main-chancers who have sprouted like weeds at the prospect of sharing in the 21st century theological rents will come to look back wistfully at his - original - modest emission reduction targets. Hopefully, from their humpies beneath those disused windmills which had yet to be dismantled. Apart from the ones kept as a record of a crazy religious cult that infected the world in the early years of the 21st century.

There is no way even the Rudd Government is going to embrace a policy to destroy the economy, in the wake of this week's disaster on Wall St and the Hill - the US House of Representatives. What, Rudd is going to get up and announce the wrecking of the economy starts now: barely 60 weeks away on January 1 2010? Before the next election? There is no way that China and the US are going to agree to slug their economies in recession with punitive policies to send them in even deeper.

If the Prime Minister persists with his ambition for a global agreement to reduce emission, he won't be preaching to the converted but an audience which will make the one he addressed in New York last week look like the MCG last Saturday. Further, it opens the door to victory at the next election not just to the Federal Opposition but to every state opposition facing increasingly nervous Labor governments.

At the national level, Malcolm Turnbull would have two choices. Simply to argue for postponement of any emissions scheme, or the more rational and also more opportunistic: to make any reductions by us at the very least conditional on US and Chinese delivered reductions. I would prefer him to take the emissions scheme off the table entirely. To go Churchillian and announce: he does not intend to become the Queens's first minister to preside (that's a word he might like) over the impoverishing of Australia.

The idea that we should lead is beyond absurd; that the world is 'waiting on us'. Oh yeah? Just like 'the world' flocked to hear the Prime Minister's inspiring words of wisdom at the UN last week.

At the state level, oppositions have to just promise to keep the lights on. Literally. To build new coal-fired and nuclear power stations. And provide emergency defibrilators to dark and even light greens. Or recycled paper bags to breathe into.

Is the average person going to vote to go back to a Dark Age future? Words chosen very particularly; both literally and figuratively. The Garnaut report remains like its predecessor, the British Stern report, an uneasy mix of religion married to dodgy economic and statistical analysis. Garnaut claimed yesterday that "the overall cost to the Australian economy of tackling climate change under both the 450ppm and 550pm scenarios was manageable and in the order of 0.1-0.2 per cent of annual economic growth to 2020".

Rubbish. Correction. Utter rubbish. On a whole series of levels. For starters, we can't 'tackle climate change'. Taking the 'science' as read for the purposes of discussion, it is completely out of our control. We reduce our emissions by 100 per cent, we have absolutely no impact on the climate. Not just the global climate but our local climate. We reduce our emissions by zero, or indeed double them, and on either scenario we have exactly the same impact on the climate. Zero.

OK. So we have to jointly cut emissions, with everyone else? Actually, no. The only, the only emitters that matter are the US and China, and perhaps India out a few years. Only they need to cut. And if it's so Garnaut-Stern like painless, why do we have to lead? They'll unilaterally embrace cuts. Again, they cut and what we do is utterly irrelevant to any climate outcome. They don't cut, and ditto.

Now this might suggest that we have to do something in unison. But the one thing that it absolutely does announce is the pointlessness of us cutting unilaterally. Sorry, not the pointlessness, but the sheer dopey stupidity. Which is exactly what Garnaut -- still -- recommends. Explicitly. That we cut even though the world refuses to agree a global process!

Our 'fair share' of cuts that would actually achieve something is to reduce emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 and by 90 per cent by 2050, according to Garnaut. Allowing for population growth, the bigger figure is to all intents and purposes 100 per cent. I'm surprised he didn't go the whole hog and suggest 130 per cent.

His original report had some shreds of analytical credibility compared with the disgraceful Stern report. This one has none, as Garnaut combines analytical idiocy with profound theological hubris. His entire report turns on 'assuming' the mother of all can-openers. An LA the economist who, washed up on a desert island with cans and cans of food - of the old fashioned, non-self-opening variety - first assumes a can-opener. We can turn off all our existing electricity and do away with petrol. Easy. Assume a replacement.

And, as a consequence, the cost will be marginal out to 2020? Sorry, it will destroy the economy. It will destroy the economy even if everyone cuts. It will destroy the economy if we go wandering off alone like Anabaptists, in Europe in the Middle Ages, seeking some sort of salvation.

Garnaut's modelling of the economic costs comes from the same guys and the same computers that predict the budget surplus each year. Last May they predicted it would be $10.6 billion in the 2007-08 year. It came in at $27 billion, after making the necessary adjustments for new initiatives. The difference is equivalent to 1.5 per cent of GDP. So Treasury can't get a figure about a process it actually has plenty of knowledge about within 1.5 per cent of GDP, one year out. And we are expected to believe that Garnaut can get accurate within 0.1 per cent of GDP changes out 12 years?

After the imposition of trauma never previously imposed on the economy, requiring unprecedented shifts in energy use, with consequences that have never previously been experienced. This demonstrates in the most specific way how Garnaut has 'got religion'. In comparison with his report, creationism is the very font of scientific objectivity.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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7 October, 2008

SUN WARMS AND COOLS THE EARTH

An email from Dr Muriel Newman, of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research [muriel@newman.co.nz]

You might be interested in a research paper by Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski "Sun Warms and Cools the Earth" that has been published by the New Zealand Centre for Political Research. You can read a summary of the points made in the paper here. A link to the comprehensive research paper can be found there as well.

Essentially Professor Jaworowski claims that some of the key scientific evidence on ice core data, that has been used by the IPCC to justify human causation of global warming, is wrong: "During the past 16 years I presented data demonstrating that polar ice does not fulfil the close-system criteria, essential for reconstruction of chemical composition of the ancient atmosphere. This had practically no effect on a worldwide acceptance of the false, ice core based, dogma on the human causation of the Modern Warm Period".

Furthermore, he has been outspoken on the political agenda that is driving global warming scaremongering, quoting a leading United Nations proponent:

"What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The group's conclusion is "no." The rich countries won't do it. They won't change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about? This group of world leaders form a secret society to bring about an economic collapse."

Professor Jaworowski also points out, that contrary to what the global warming alarmists keep telling us, the climate is getting cooler. He explains that the sun, not humans, is the major driver of climate change and that the absence of normal sunspot activity could be signalling the start of a cycle of serious global cooling not warming: "Sun activity is reflected in the number of sunspots, which normally shows an 11-year periodicity. The unusually long low activity of Sun suggests that we may be entering a next Maunder Minimum, a period from 1645 to 1715, when almost no sunspots were visible. This was the coldest part of the Little Ice Age (1250-1900), when rivers in Europe and America were often frozen, and the Baltic Sea was crossed on ice by armies and travellers".




EU: SAVING THE ECONOMY OR SAVING GREEN DREAMS?

The slowing economy and financial crisis are testing Europe's goal of becoming a world leader in greenhouse gas reduction. Industry has seized on the slowdown to lobby for delayed or watered down regulations, arguing that directives set out by the European Commission earlier this year would force them to cut jobs or relocate factories outside the European Union.

Some politicians also acknowledge that the financial crisis could hinder efforts to forge international agreements on reducing emissions. "This crisis changes priorities," Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, last week told a conference on transatlantic climate and energy cooperation in Berlin. "One cannot rule out that interest in protecting the climate will change because of such a crisis."

On Tuesday the European Parliament's environmental committee is to vote on measures at the heart of the EU's commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. Among the proposals are plans to expand emissions trading, accelerate the development of carbon capture and storage and a measure that would ban the construction of power plants that emit more than 350 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour - essentially ruling out coal-fired plants.

The results of the vote, on what is dubbed "Super Tuesday," will form the basis for negotiations with the EU's 27 member states. With members of parliament facing re-election in the spring, it is seen as a last chance for Europe to pass meaningful climate legislation before an international summit to renegotiate the Kyoto treaty next year. "It is very important that the EU is ambitious because the EU will have to be a leader if we want to have an international deal that means something," said Delia Villagrasa, the EU climate project co-ordinator at the World Wildlife Fund.

However, the economic environment has deteriorated since the Commission first spelled out its climate change proposals in January. Just last week, France confirmed that it had fallen into recession and Spain reported that unemployment had surged past 11 per cent, while governments were forced to bail out banks amid a growing financial crisis.

More here




CANADA SHOULD FOLLOW EUROPE WHERE?

How many times in this election have you heard a "green" party leader -- say Elizabeth May, Stephane Dion or Jack Layton argue: It's time Canada followed Europe's example in fighting global warming?

But what "example" do they mean? It would be helpful if they would tell Canadians, whose votes they're seeking Oct. 14, about what's really going on in Europe with regard to attempts there to reduce carbon emissions.

For starters, how about referencing the article "A changed climate" in the Oct. 2 edition of The Economist? Among other things, it reveals:

- The 27-member European Union's proclamation of 18 months ago "to save the world from climate change" is in huge trouble, with many countries in danger of missing their Kyoto targets and soaring energy prices hammering their economies.

- German Chancellor Angela Merkel, once regarded as Europe's "green champion," "today ... sounds like a lobbyist for German business, listing the industries that must be shielded from the full costs of her (climate) package."

- Indeed, notes the Economist, "the heroic mood" of the EU last year is long gone while "almost every country has found reasons why the climate change promises may be impossible to meet in their current form."

Ireland wants special protection for its farming industry. Poland and several other former Soviet satellites are worried they may have to import natural gas from Russia to meet their EU targets, especially in light of Russia's war with Georgia.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., the Daily Mail reported Friday, skyrocketing energy prices and fears of increasing instability of supply have created a rapidly growing class of citizens (estimated at 3.5 million to 5.5 million households) living in "fuel poverty," meaning they spend more than 10% of their disposable income on household energy alone.

In light of all this, perhaps our leaders, whenever they talk in future about following Europe's lead in fighting global warming, should at least put out a warning to stop short of the cliff.

Source




LIMITS ON CARBON DIOXIDE CLIMATE FORCING

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that: Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, mainly carbon dioxide. This conclusion is based on output from global climate computer models known as General Circulation Models (GCM).

David Douglass and John Christy, in a paper recently accepted for publication and already available on the internet, have come to a different conclusion. By considering observed, as opposed to modelled, temperature changes and at different latitude bands they conclude that:

1. El Nino and La Nina effects in the tropics have a more significant affect on global temperature anomalies than carbon dioxide, in particular it was an El Nino event that drove the 1998 global temperature maximum.

2. Variations in global temperatures since 1978 have mostly been due to climate effects in the northern hemisphere (northern extratropics) and these effects cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide.

3. Carbon dioxide has contributed a small amount to an increase in global temperatures but without what is commonly referred to as feed-back.

David Douglas and John Christy are practicing climate scientists from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, and Department of Atmospheric Science and Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama, respectively. Their paper entitled `Limits on CO2 Climate Forcing from Recent Temperature Data of Earth', was recently accepted for publication in Energy and Environment.

A regular at this blog, Cohenite, comments on the Douglass-Christy paper in a fairly technical note already posted at the community webpage of this blog, and entitled `Temperature Trends and Carbon Dioxide', suggests that there is no evidence for a contribution from carbon dioxide to global temperatures and that the role of the sun has been underestimated.

Source (See the original for links)




Greenie professor at UC-Berkeley endorses 'exaggeration and distortion'

Author and physicist Richard A. Muller chats with Grist;

My house is lit by compact fluorescent light bulbs. Let me just tell you, though: Suppose I drove an SUV and lit my house with the worst kind of light -- I could still be an environmentalist. Al Gore flies around in a jet plane -- absolutely fine with me. The important thing is not getting Al Gore out of his jet plane; the important thing is solving the world's problem. What we really need are policies around the world that address the problem, not feel-good measures. If [Al Gore] reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion -- which he does, but he's very effective at it -- then let him fly any plane he wants.

Source




Proposed Warmist laws will cost a million Australian jobs

BIG business will put more pressure on the Rudd Government to delay its emissions trading scheme - predicting a million jobs may be lost if it goes ahead. The Australian Industry Group's formal response to the Government's green paper has recommended a "gentle start" to an emissions trading scheme, with low administration costs.

In a move that was likely to fuel Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull's assault on the Government's intention to start an ETS by 2010, the Ai Group warned that industries such as smelters, manufacturers and cement makers could be forced to move offshore. Its submission warned of dire consequences and comes just weeks after the Business Council of Australia predicted many businesses would go bankrupt and others would lose up to 63 per cent of their earnings under the proposed ETS.

"Ai Group believes the advantages of starting in 2010 are, as yet, ill-defined," the report said. "Ai Group's consultations suggest the benefits of taking an extra year to improve the design of the scheme could easily exceed the cost of delaying the start by a year. "Businesses accounting for well over 10 per cent of national production and around a million jobs will be affected by significant cost increases and will be at risk of carbon leakage (where companies move to countries without an ETS)." Ai Group also argued the Government shouldn't help motorists cope with rising petrol prices when an ETS started.

The Government has said it would cut the fuel excise for every cent it rose under an ETS. But the Ai Group has joined other critics who argued the burden should be shared across all sectors. "The proposal to reduce fuel excise ... should be withdrawn, and after providing appropriate additional funds for low-income households, the surplus funds should be channelled into more farsighted measures, including in support of abatement," it said.

It demanded the Government come clean about its ETS review and release the findings. The review has determined whether existing green incentives are complementary to an ETS or will cost consumers extra.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong meanwhile warned Australia's $2.1 billion commercial fishing industry was at risk from climate change. Her warnings came after the CSIRO released a report which found prawns, mud crabs and barramundi in Queensland and the Northern Territory could be affected by changing rainfall patterns.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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6 October, 2008

Gore demonstrates he doesn't understand basic meteorology, much less climate

Gore links Iowa floods and tornadoes to climate change, but makes a basic error on global temperature to evaporation linkage, plus he misses the real reason behind tornado increases

In a recent article in the Des Moines Register, Al ] Gore attributed the historic floods that devastated Iowa in June to man-made emissions causing more water to evaporate from oceans, increasing average humidity worldwide. "In 66 of your 99 counties, the flood damage was truly historic." Gore told the crowd of 1,000 Democratic donors. "No one has ever seen a flood like this." Gore also blamed climate change for increased tornadoes, including the one that leveled much of Parkersburg earlier this year. "Yes, we've always had tornadoes in Iowa and in Tennessee," he said. "But they're coming more frequently and they're stronger."

In my opinion, the biggest error Gore makes is that water vapor in the atmosphere (and water cycle) has a much shorter residence time than his worrisome CO2; days to weeks from evaporation to precipitation, and thus would not be linked to "warming" now, since warming has subsided globally.

And, as all four global temperature metrics (UAH, RSS, HadCRUT, GISS) have demonstrated, we are cooler globally now than in 2005 than when his An Inconvenient Truth movie came out, and the current global temperature anomaly is hovering close to the zero line:

According to our current scientific understanding of the water cycle and water vapor on Earth, the average residence time of water molecules in the troposphere (where evaporation and most weather occurs) is about 10 days.

Since the global temperature trend has been a negative slope since 2007, and is currently near the zero anomaly line, and with the short residence time of water vapor in the water cycle, Gore's claimed "warming" could not be responsible for increased water vapor. If anything, water vapor in the water cycle would be less now. Gore clearly doesn't understand basic meteorology, much less climate.

Then there is Gore's claim of "Yes, we've always had tornadoes in Iowa and in Tennessee," he said. "But they're coming more frequently and they're stronger." Well, the graph below says otherwise.



Gore is flat wrong.

Source (See the original for links, graphics etc.)




Gore wrong again: 'Conclusive evidence' that solar output affects U.S.droughts!

Take a special look at a scenic part of West Virginia few people see - the state's hundreds of miles of caves - on this week's "Outlook," West Virginia Public Broadcasting's weekly television show about people, places and events in West Virginia.

"Outlook" airs on West Virginia PBS at 9 p.m. each Thursday with a re-broadcast at 6 p.m. the following Sunday. This week's program features three segments of the on-going "Lab 304" series which focus on science, math and research activities throughout the state.

"Underground West Virginia" - West Virginia has 4,300 known caves, more than a third of them in Greenbrier County. In this vast underground, recreational cavers will crawl, slither and climb to marvel at the beauty of this unseen world. Scientists from many disciplines are also reaping new knowledge in geology, biology, even pharmacology.

Greg Springer, professor of geology at Ohio University, can interpret a region's climate record through cave formations called stalagmites. "There is conclusive evidence that, in fact, solar output affects droughts in North America based on the study of stalagmites," Springer said in a news release. "Their growth is directly related to the amount of water obtained from the surface and we can study the history of droughts - some that have lasted 100 years."

"Ancient Secrets" - In Tucker County, a discovery of fossil animal remains is attracting international attention from the scientific community. "Ice Mountain" - There's a mountain in Hampshire County that harbors pockets of ice in its nooks and crannies all year round. Scientists are trying to determine if climate change is endangering this historic and natural wonder.

Source




Britain: The first snow of the year... and it's only October



Any hope of a mild winter were dashed today when winter's first snow made an early appearance. It seems amazing that only a week ago, the sun was out and there was even optimistic talk of a dry season. But temperatures plunged to below zero overnight and today neighbours in the Highlands were left shovelling their driveways after a surprise snowfall.

Cairngorm in Scotland is the first place to see the snow but the rest of the country isn't in for much better weather. Torrential downpours and gale force winds are on the way this weekend. Those braving the outdoors will need waterproofs and umbrellas to hand, with 1.2in (30mm) of rain predicted in some parts. Following the relatively sunny and dry end to September, classic autumn conditions are now likely in many areas.....

Temperatures in London on Monday could reach a balmy 64f (18c) and 59f (15c) or 61f (16c) in other areas. But the overall outlook for the immediate future appears wet and gloomy. We should hardly be surprised. Following last year's record-breaking wet summer, weather statistics show the summer of 2008 was anything but average as well. In fact, it was one of the wettest and least sunny on record.

We had the dullest August since records began in 1929 and a well below par 463.9 hours of sunshine between June 1 and August 31. August was the sixth wettest since 1914 and some parts of the country experienced double the average summer rainfall.

Source




Meteorologist slams Warmist Biden

Sen. Joe Biden's delivery comes across as very condescending - similar to many longtime congressional leaders - proposing that "we" (Congress) will make it all better for you poor incapable Americans who can't do it for yourselves.

His message was to blame President Bush for everything that is wrong, further claiming "we" (Barrack and I) have all the answers and will fix everything - and if you really believe that, I have a lot of cheap property for you to buy.

First of all, he doesn't have all the answers (a little humility and more confidence in the American people would certainly sound better). He also needs to get his facts straight. In particular, he stated that all climate change is manmade.

As a meteorologist with 37 years of practical experience and a master's degree in meteorology, I can tell you that is one of the most stupid comments I have ever heard. We can all debate global warming and how much of an impact it has had and will have on our future weather, but not all change is the result of man. If he would question that, have him give me a call.

Source




Greenland was much less iced over in the past

As increasing numbers of real scientists are backing away from the manmade global warming hoax, I was surprised to hear Sen. Biden, in Thursday night's VP candidate debate, say global warming is man-made.Greenland's history proves the opposite.

I recently had the opportunity to inspect Greenland from the air. Today it's 85 percent covered with glaciers. In the Renaissance Warming around A.D. 900-1100, when Eric the Red settled in Greenland, it had less than 25 percent glacier cover and crops - even grapes - were grown there.In the Renaissance Warming, Greenland and the Earth were considerably warmer than today.

Still, Biden says it's manmade - maybe it was all those arrows the Vikings shot in the air.

Source




Two good letters to "The Telegraph"

1). Your correspondent who contradicted Christopher Booker and expressed approval for the BBC's climate change programme (Letters, September 28) quoted figures from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for past CO2 atmospheric levels which are based on pure guesswork.

The CO2 figures for the past 650,000 years of 180-300 parts per million (ppm) are a guess based on corrected ice core data. Since they were published the corrections have been found to be wrong, based on supposition and giving figures that were too low.

Research into sedimentary carbon isotope data shows higher figures, and the fact that CO2 is not a fixed quantity but has varied over time after temperature changes. This would indicate that CO2 did not drive climate.

There is also the problem with CO2 atmospheric residence time, which the IPCC maintains is 200 years. Recent research by at least 20 independent scientists has given the true figure as 5-10 years. This discrepancy is a serious error and is the problem with the IPCC models, which do not work.

The greenhouse effect is also in question. It might have been proved over a century ago by good scientists, but science moves on and current research shows that this well-known effect is a false trail.

2). Writing in support of the BBC's position on climate change, your correspondent says "the onus is on the sceptics to explain why this [increase in atmospheric CO2 levels] should not cause climate change". The answer is well known to everyone in the climate debate. The relationship between CO2 levels and the greenhouse "forcing effect" is logarithmic. It is a law of diminishing returns.

The higher the level of CO2, the less effect any further increase will have. If the current level were, say, 20 ppm, the effect of adding an extra 20 ppm would be dramatic. But at the current level of around 380 ppm, the effect of an extra 20 ppm is trivial.

I have discussed this point with scientists on the IPCC and they accept it as fact, but then they postulate complex feedback mechanisms between CO2 and water vapour to justify their alarmist position.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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5 October, 2008

GREEN ALERT: Hidden Carbon Tax Provisions in Paulson's Bailout 2.0

Why is the mainstream media ignoring what might be the most earth-shattering provisions in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's Bailout Package Version 2.0? If you look at page 180 of the 451-page monster bailout bill that easily passed the Senate yesterday (PDF here), you will see that it includes at Section 116 language about the tax treatment of "industrial source carbon dioxide." It also provides, at Section 117, for a "carbon audit of the tax code."

What could a provision about the tax treatment of "industrial source carbon dioxide" and another provision about doing a "carbon audit" of the tax code possibly have to do with restoring confidence in Wall Street's troubled credit markets? The answer: NOTHING.

This appears to be an attempt by global warming fanatics to lay the foundation for an economy-killing carbon tax just like the "cap-and-tax" system that is now destroying European industry. If you think the Mother of All Bailouts is bad, just wait till you see the carbon tax. Get ready to reduce your standard of living drastically.

It really shouldn't be a surprise that these non-germane provisions are included in legislation that is supposed to save all of us from economic Armageddon. After all, Henry Paulson is a confirmed environmentalist and global warming true-believer who abused his power at Goldman Sachs. While Paulson headed Goldman Sachs he simultaneously headed the Nature Conservancy and his wife was a former Conservancy board member. (See "In Goldman Sachs We Trust: How the Left's Favorite Bank Influences Public Policy," by Fred Lucas, Foundation Watch, October 2008.)

Henry Paulson presided over Goldman Sachs's donation of 680,000 acres of land it owned in Tierra del Fuego, Chile to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. One of the trustees of the Wildlife Conservation Society was H. Merritt Paulson, the son of Henry Paulson. As green critic Paul Driessen observed, at no time did anyone "assess the vast area's potential value for timber, oil or metals, so that locals and [Goldman Sachs] shareholders would at least know the true cost of the giveaway." And the media tells Americans to trust Henry Paulson to do the right thing when doling out taxpayer dollars to his former colleagues on Wall Street? The media needs to start asking hard questions.

Update: An expert offers a better explanation of one of the carbon-related provisions that is in the Bailout 2.0 bill. According to this wizard of Wall Street, one provision provides preferential tax treatment for publicly-traded partnerships when they trade so-called carbon offsets. It was reportedly already passed in another bill: What's so urgent about that tax provision that it absolutely had to go into another bill that aims to deal with a financial emergency? So, you can see it's a little more complex than explained above.

However, it's still bad because it gives legitimacy to these strange indulgences known as carbon offsets and provides a tax incentive for trading them. I am also informed by this source that Henry Paulson did not push to insert these two carbon-related provisions, but he certainly didn't object to them, and his track record strongly suggests he would support them. When he ran Goldman Sachs, Paulson released a statement specifically endorsing carbon trading. As the Washington Post reported (June 1, 2006) reported:
Last year under Paulson's direction, Goldman Sachs issued an eight-page position paper on environmental policy, saying it accepts a scientific consensus, led by United Nations climate experts, that global warming poses one of the greatest threats this century.

Like Bush, the Goldman Sachs statement endorsed a market for businesses to buy and sell rights to emit greenhouse gases, saying it will spur technology advances by companies "that lead to a less carbon-intensive economy." But, it added, "Voluntary action alone cannot solve the climate change problem," a position contrary to the Bush administration's view.
Source




SIX EU STATES READY TO BLOCK EUROPE'S CLIMATE POLICY

Poland has assembled a blocking minority among the European Union members enabling them to stall Brussels' climate package, Polish officials said. Poland and Greece reached an agreement late on Thursday, following a similar accord with Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, that more debate was needed on the EU's package of climate measures.

The European Commission -- EU's executive arm -- aims, among others, to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by a fifth by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Building up a blocking minority would now force it to seek a compromise on the plan. "Poland's Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki signed in Greece an agreement referring to the climate package," Joanna Mackowiak of Nowicki's cabinet, told Reuters late on Thursday. "We have the blocking minority." Under the EU's voting rules, some decisions may be blocked by a certain number of member states representing enough voting power.

The EC's proposal sets full auctioning of the CO2 emission permits as of 2013. The six states want to delay this, arguing their power plants will not have enough cash to compete with giants like the Germany's E.ON on the free-market auctions. At present, industry gets some permits for free and companies have to buy additional ones only if they exceed their granted quotas.

"This minority refers only to the auctioning," a source responsible for the negotiations told Reuters on Friday, adding the EC would now try to lure particular countries away from the group. "It's not the biggest success when you build up a blocking minority. It's when the minority sticks together to the very end."

Source




Winds are Dominant Cause of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet Losses

Two new studies summarised in a news article in Science magazine point to wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause of the recent ice losses through the glaciers draining both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, not `global warming.' The two studies referred to are: `Acceleration of Jakobshavn Isbr triggered by warm subsurface ocean waters' by Holland et al, published in Nature Geoscience. The Abstract states:
Observations over the past decades show a rapid acceleration of several outlet glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica1. One of the largest changes is a sudden switch of Jakobshavn Isbr, a large outlet glacier feeding a deep-ocean fjord on Greenland's west coast, from slow thickening to rapid thinning2 in 1997, associated with a doubling in glacier velocity3. Suggested explanations for the speed-up of Jakobshavn Isbr include increased lubrication of the ice-bedrock interface as more meltwater has drained to the glacier bed during recent warmer summers4 and weakening and break-up of the floating ice tongue that buttressed the glacier5. Here we present hydrographic data that show a sudden increase in subsurface ocean temperature in 1997 along the entire west coast of Greenland, suggesting that the changes in Jakobshavn Isbr were instead triggered by the arrival of relatively warm water originating from the Irminger Sea near Iceland. We trace these oceanic changes back to changes in the atmospheric circulation in the North Atlantic region. We conclude that the prediction of future rapid dynamic responses of other outlet glaciers to climate change will require an improved understanding of the effect of changes in regional ocean and atmosphere circulation on the delivery of warm subsurface waters to the periphery of the ice sheets.
And: `Modelling Circumpolar Deep Water intrusions on the Amundsen Sea continental shelf, Antarctica' by Thoma et al, published in GRL. The Abstract states:
Results are presented from an isopycnic coordinate model of ocean circulation in the Amundsen Sea, focusing on the delivery of Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) to the inner continental shelf around Pine Island Bay. The warmest waters to reach this region are channeled through a submarine trough, accessed via bathymetric irregularities along the shelf break. Temporal variability in the influx of CDW is related to regional wind forcing. Easterly winds over the shelf edge change to westerlies when the Amundsen Sea Low migrates west and south in winter/spring. This drives seasonal on-shelf flow, while inter-annual changes in the wind forcing lead to inflow variability on a decadal timescale. A modelled period of warming following low CDW influx in the late 1980's and early 1990's coincides with a period of observed thinning and acceleration of Pine Island Glacier.
Source




The Green gravy train again

Taxpayer-funded, of course

A new faculty team led by a professor LSU calls a superstar in the field of material sciences plans to tackle the world's sustainable energy challenges. LSU announced the hiring Thursday of physicist E. Ward Plummer of the University of Tennessee and much of his newly picked team. Plummer is the first National Academy of Sciences member in LSU's history, according to the university. "Every state is having financial trouble, and to be able to bring this group (to LSU) really is important," Plummer said.

Plummer will be the faculty team leader and also serve as special assistant to Brooks Keel, LSU's vice chancellor of research and economic development. Plummer will start with a $310,000 annual salary, Keel said, calling it "money well spent." [Meaning that he knows it is outrageous. Could he get that money anywhere in private industry?] Plummer is currently director of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, which combines the research expertise at Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The faculty hiring coup, as described by LSU officials, is part of LSU's Multidisciplinary Hiring Initiative, or MHI for short. The initiative was started last year under former Chancellor Sean O'Keefe as a way to hire teams of top faculty members under certain research umbrellas that contain multiple research disciplines. The first three major "cluster" research areas are material science, computational science and Atlantic studies.

Material science includes studying nanotechnology and micro-fabrication of new materials and tiny devices, such as the miniature components of iPods, said Kevin Carman, LSU College of Basic Sciences dean. "It's quite a remarkable assembly of outstanding scholars," said LSU Provost Astrid Merget of the new team. "Simply put, he (Plummer) is a world-class scientist who will bring enormous credit to LSU." MHI involves hiring the "very best minds, the luminaries in each field, who in turn will recruit the rising stars," Merget said.

Source




UK Beach 2 Miles Inland in 43 AD

So much for sea level rise:

The `lost' beach where the Romans landed 2,000 years ago to begin their invasion of Britain has been uncovered by archaeologists. The remains of the shingle harbour were buried beneath 6ft of soil nearly two miles inland from the modern Kent coast. It lies close to the remains of the Roman fort of Richborough near Sandwich, one of the most important Roman sites in England and once the gateway to the British Isles.

Daily Mail: `Uncovered, the `lost' beach where the Romans got a toehold on Britain'

Source




Ireland has coldest September for 14 years

Most of the country suffered the coldest September in 14 years, forecasters revealed. In its monthly summary Met Eireann said the temperature never rose above 20 Celsius anywhere - the first such occurrence in more than 30 years. Average monthly air temperatures were around half a degree below normal at some southern weather stations and it was the coolest September since 1994 almost everywhere.

Forecasters said they were unable to predict the weather over the winter months but the Met Office in Britain claimed temperatures are likely to be above normal over much of Europe, although not as mild as last year.

The summer washout seeped into the first half of September, with Dublin stations recording their usual monthly level of rainfall within the first six days. This also brought the stations' annual totals for 2008 above the amount normally recorded in a full year.

Dublin Airport's downpour of 43.5mm on the 5th was its highest level for September since the station opened in 1941, while torrential rain on September 9 and 10 caused widespread flooding, especially in the south and west.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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4 October, 2008

Is This The Beginning of Global Cooling?

Many scary stories have been written about the dangers of catastrophic global warming, allegedly due to increased atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the combustion of fossil fuels. But is the world really catastrophically warming? NO. And is the warming primarily caused by humans? NO.

Since just January 2007, the world has cooled so much that ALL the global warming over the past three decades has disappeared! This is confirmed by a plot of actual global average temperatures from the best available source, weather satellite data that shows there has been NO net global warming since the satellites were first launched in 1979.



Since there was global cooling from ~1940 to ~1979, this means there has been no net warming since ~1940, in spite of an ~800% increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that the recent warming trend was natural, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming.

Furthermore, the best fit polynomial shows a strong declining trend. Are we seeing the beginning of a natural cooling cycle? YES. Further cooling, with upward and downward variability, is expected because the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has returned to its cool phase, as announced by NASA this year.

Global warming and cooling have closely followed the phases of the PDO. The most significant pattern of PDO behavior is a shift between "warm" and "cool" phases that last 20 to 30 years. In 1905, the PDO shifted to its "warm" phase. In 1946, the PDO changed to its "cool" phase. In 1977, the PDO returned to its "warm" phase and produced the current warming. In 2007-8, the PDO turned cold again, so we can expect several decades of naturally-caused global cooling.

Some scientists are predicting that this cooling will be severe, and is a greater threat to humanity than global warming ever was. Meanwhile, politicians are still obsessing about global warming.

Source




SEEKING A SINGLE IDEAL ENERGY SOURCE IS THE CENTRAL STUPIDITY OF CURRENT ENERGY POLICY

The biggest problem in energy supplies today is that politicians think it is a problem with a solution. And by that I mean they seem to think it has exactly one solution.

We can't drill in the Arctic because the solution is conservation. We can't build nuclear because the solution is solar. Offshore is not needed because the solution is biofuel. Natural gas, clean coal, coastal wind, oil shales, tar sands, tidal turbines, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric - all in turn are argued against, because something better, or bigger, or cleaner, or cheaper, or more philosophically correct can be supported instead.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of our current energy "shortage" is the sheer number of options we have available to us - none of which is apparently the one perfect solution, and so all of which are delayed and obstructed.

America's leaders and would-be leaders are pursuing our future energy policy with all the finesse of a child who believes the game must be won by a single home run. Who needs base hits? Because of this, America may be the first country in history to run out of energy due to too many options.

A rational approach to energy would be simple: it's good, so let's have more of it. But then nobody would be able to take credit for making the grand choice, would they? So instead we have an interminable debate over what best form energy should take.

That we have a small number of people making the choice at all is an even bigger problem. If energy were treated as an economic issue, rather than a political or moral one, the exact modality used to power any region or industry would be left to those actually using the energy. This is known as "the free market." In its place, a system of energy evolves that is allocation by grand national committee.

The most frustrating thing about a democracy in which government plays a huge role in energy policy is that no portion of the solution can proceed until a majority in Congress says it's OK. So little is done.

If market forces were given more weight, we could drill for oil wherever it's found. We could build a wind farm wherever it's windy. We could ship natural gas wherever it's needed. We could install solar panels wherever they are profitable, guaranteeing them a deserved place on calculators and satellites.

Instead, we sit famished at a feast in which some group has a grievance against every possible dish. And since we can't just eat individually, we starve as a group. Imagine Thanksgiving being run the same way: We can only eat cranberry sauce! No, the solution is stuffing! But turkey has always been the mainstay. Are you mad? Turkey causes global napping we'll all die if we don't transition to tofurkey. And we certainly can't baste our way out of this! Meanwhile, the food gets colder and colder and the guests get hungrier and hungrier. Eventually some will tire of the whole thing and just outsource the meal to the Chinese restaurant down the road.

Beyond the egotistical need of politicians to be great deciders, there's a second reason markets are currently restricted: many would be deeply unhappy with the obvious winners chosen by the marketplace.

Biofuels, solar, and the like are all touted as ways to save us from high oil prices. But even with oil at $120, these technologies cannot compete without steep subsidies. The supporters and beneficiaries of these technologies may feed the public a line about fighting high oil prices, but they know better than anyone how cheap oil is, compared to their alleged bargains.

It's true that there is not enough oil in the Arctic to solve all our energy needs. There is not enough gas off the coast of Florida to solve all our energy needs. Neither can our needs be filled with nuclear or coal or wind alone. And yet all these facts are beside the point.

The solution to our energy needs is to stop looking for a grand solution to our energy needs. If we just let the market find many small solutions to many small problems, we will find the larger problem brought down to size.

Source




U.S. ENERGY CRISIS: LIGHTS OUT IN 2009?

Enviro Group Lawsuits, Cost Concerns, Climate Regulation Uncertainty Cited As Major Obstacles To Grid Improvements

A new study released this week highlights what experts have been saying for years: the U.S. faces significant risk of power brownouts and blackouts as early as next summer that may cost tens of billions of dollars and threaten lives.

The study, "Lights Out In 2009?" warns that the U.S. "faces potentially crippling electricity brownouts and blackouts beginning in the summer of 2009, which may cost tens of billions of dollars and threaten lives."

"If particularly vulnerable regions, like the Western U.S., experience unusually hot temperatures for prolonged periods of time in 2009, the potential for local brownouts or blackouts is high, with significant risk that local disruptions could cascade into regional outages that could cost the economy tens of billions of dollars," the report warned.

U.S. baseload generation capacity reserve margins "have declined precipitously to 17 percent in 2007, from 30-40 percent in the early 1990s," according to the study. A 12-15 percent capacity reserve margin is the minimum required to ensure reliability and stability of the nation's electricity system. Compounding this capacity deficiency, the projected U.S. demand in the next ten years is forecast to grow by 18 percent, far exceeding the projected eight percent growth in baseload generation capacity between now and 2016.

The study, which can be downloaded here, estimated that the U.S. will require about 120 gigawatts (GW) of new generation just to maintain a 15 percent reserve margin. That will require at least $300 billion in generation and transmission facility investments by 2016.

More here




A CHANGED CLIMATE: EUROPE GOES COLD ON CLIMATE HYPE

The European Union is struggling to deliver on its promises to cut carbon emissions

JUST 18 months ago the European Union promised to save the world from climate change. A final plan to deliver on those promises must be finished soon. But it is in deep trouble.

The conclusions of the March 2007 summit proclaiming the EU's "leading role" on climate change make for wistful reading today. They begin "Europe is currently enjoying an economic upswing," and add that growth forecasts are "positive". Back in that long-lost golden age, the EU's leaders were in heroic mood. They offered binding promises known as the 20/20/20 pledges. By the year 2020, they would cut Europe's carbon emissions by at least a fifth over 1990 levels; derive 20% of all energy from renewable sources; and make energy-efficiency savings of 20%.

The heroic mood is gone now. In March 2007 Angela Merkel, the German chancellor and chairman of the summit, was a green champion. Today she sounds like a lobbyist for German business, listing the industries that must be shielded from the full costs of her package. In truth, almost every country has found reasons why the climate-change promises may be impossible to meet in their current form. Britain is gloomy about its renewable-energy targets. Ireland says its farmers must be protected (grass-fed Irish cows emit a lot of methane).

Dig into most "impossible" problems on the table, and they come down to money. In the EU, rows about money are usually settled, albeit acrimoniously. But another problem is harder to fix. Countries that use a lot of coal, such as Poland, fear that the climate-change package will force them to abandon it. The quick and easy alternative is natural gas, but the fear is that this means Russian gas. Russia made its neighbours nervous even 18 months ago; after its war on Georgia it frightens them even more.

Poland gets over 90% of its electricity from coal. The giant Siekierki power station in Warsaw provides electricity and heating to two-thirds of the Polish capital each winter. A mountain of coal next to its turbine hall holds 180,000 tonnes, enough for 18 days' winter production. Ignore climate change, and it is an oddly comforting place. Almost all the coal is Polish, and more arrives on trains from Silesia every day. On an autumn afternoon, the only smells are of fallen leaves and the sweet tang of fresh coal. The only noise comes from a bulldozer smoothing the coal-mound and the cawing of rooks. Its three chimneys run clear: you cannot see the carbon dioxide pouring into the sky.

The heart of the EU's climate-change package is an emissions-trading scheme (ETS) that will make factories and power plants like Siekierki pay for emitting carbon. The higher the price of carbon in the ETS, the stronger the signal to switch away from coal. Polish ministers have been galvanised by recent reports that the carbon price will be much higher than European Commission estimates. A February 2008 paper from UBS, a Swiss bank, caused alarm by predicting that 43% of Europe's coal-fired power generation will switch to gas because of EU emissions targets.

In the long term, Poland is pinning its faith on clean-coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage. But that will take years. (Polish officials say nuclear power is another option, but that would take years too.) What worries them is the medium term, when they want to keep burning coal. "Coal is our energy security," says Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, Poland's Europe minister. On September 26th ministers from Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia signed a joint declaration expressing concern that the climate-change plan would "significantly increase" the dependence of some countries on imported gas. With the package "in its current form", there is no chance of an agreement among the 27 EU countries, concludes Mr Dowgielewicz.

The irony is that energy security was key in persuading the east Europeans to sign up to the climate-change package in March 2007. Their leaders were assured that a shift to renewable energy would help them avoid excessive dependence on imports. The March 2007 conclusions pledged more EU "solidarity" in the event of a supply crisis (eg, Russia turning the taps off). There were pledges to diversify supplies, and support for named projects like the Nabucco pipeline that would bring Caspian gas to central Europe, bypassing Russia.

Accommodating a Russian bear

But most of these promises were hollow. EU countries continue to sign deals with Russia that undermine Nabucco. Germany still defends the Nord Stream gas pipeline, a joint project with Russia's Gazprom. The war in Georgia showed how the EU maintains unity when dealing with Russia: by accommodation. And Russia's leaders have been busy all around the EU's periphery, defending Russian transit routes, and seeking to invest in new pipelines that will bring gas to Europe (including one from Nigeria), but under their influence or control.

Earlier this year, Russia said it would build a nuclear complex in Kaliningrad, an exclave between Poland and Lithuania. Too large for Kaliningrad's domestic needs, it has export potential, Russian nuclear chiefs said. That poses a dilemma for the neighbours. Once it is open, some time after 2015, it will offer zero-carbon electricity-but also more dependence on Russian energy.

Poland wants fiddly changes that might make it easier to keep burning coal and not be bankrupted by the ETS. But nobody can blame the ETS for pushing generators away from coal. It is designed to make high-carbon fuels unattractive, after all.

There is a bigger solution available. The EU could deliver on some of the promises of March 2007 about energy security. That means fewer cosy bilateral deals with Russia, planning more terminals for liquefied natural gas imports, supporting pipeline projects that bypass Russia, linking up power grids and pressing ahead with energy liberalisation. The east Europeans will not accept a climate-change package that does not offer them greater energy security-and who can blame them?

Source




CAMBRIDGE ECONOMETRICS PREDICT RENEWABLES FAILURE

The [British] Government will fail to reach its goal of producing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, a group of academics has predicted.

According to figures contained in Cambridge Econometrics' UK Energy and the Environment report, renewables will account for only approximately 5 per cent of UK electricity sales to final users by 2010, just half of the 10 per cent target.

The report argues that, even if electricity demand were to grow at around 1 to 1.5 per cent per annum between 2010 and 2020 and fossil fuel prices were to remain relatively high, the share of renewables in UK electricity sales is only expected to increase to around 10.25 per cent by 2015.

This is still short of the 15 per cent target set by the Government under its renewable obligation scheme.

Cambridge Econometrics' researchers put the forecast failure down to the expectation that fossil fuel generation will remain an important contributor towards meeting the UK's electricity needs over the next 12 years.

Professor Paul Ekins of King's College London, a senior consultant to Cambridge Econometrics and co-editor of the report, said: "These forecasts provide a timely reality check about the progress that the UK is likely to make over the next twelve years towards achieving its goal of at least a 26 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 and at least a 60 per cent reduction by 2050.

"The headline message from these forecasts is that, despite all the rhetoric about the urgency of tackling climate change, the Government has seemingly still not understood the stringency of policies required to move the UK towards a low-carbon economy.

"The forecasts also indicate that, despite high energy prices, the Government's policies to promote a low-carbon future are not yet sufficient to meet the carbon challenge restated most recently in the May 2007 Energy White Paper and the Climate Change Bill."

Source




Australian federal government's climate change modelling 'flawed, outdated'

This shows how vulnerable models are to the guesses fed into them. They are just Potemkin facades with nothing solid behind them. And it's Greenies who are stressing that!

The Greens have rubbished the Federal Government's highly anticipated economic modelling on climate change. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday released some of the Treasury Department's modelling. The figures include population, technology and trade estimates.

Greens leader Bob Brown says base load solar power is ignored in favour of carbon capture and storage technology which is not yet available. "Treasury is too locked into old mould of what it thinks will be cheap oil and clean coal and neither of those are solidly foreseeable options," he said. "This is modelling is bias towards the old polluting fossil fuel industries. "If the Government's policy response is based on this Treasury modelling, it's going to be not only outdated, but deeply flawed."

In the documents, the Treasury says it has judged the estimates to be plausible. But its the modelling's productivity figures that concerns the Opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt. He is concerned they show slowing. "It's absolutely clear they've let the cat out of the bag on their national productivity," he said. The Opposition is eagerly awaiting the full set of Treasury modelling to be released later this month.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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3 October, 2008

CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

A speech by Colin Robinson [colin@gunnersbury.freeserve.co.uk] given at the British Institute of Energy Economics conference on 9/24/2008

Earlier this year, I was composing a lecture about climate change policy and I looked at a book which I had not read for years (and is hardly one of my favourites). In chapter 2 of my fifty year old copy of John Kenneth Galbraith`s `The Affluent Society' I found his definition of `the conventional wisdom', a term which he coined. It reminded me what a powerful idea it is.

The conventional wisdom: Galbraith defined the conventional wisdom as `the name for the ideas which are esteemed at any time for their acceptability'. He went on to point out that since exposition of the conventional wisdom `has the approval of those to whom it is addressed' it is always in great demand, and `it follows that a very large part of our social comment -and nearly all that is well regarded - is devoted at any time to articulating the conventional wisdom' which, he said, is regarded as `more or less identical with sound scholarship.'

What present day idea most closely fits Galbraith`s notion of something that is constantly repeated, is what people want to hear, can generally be expounded without fear of contradiction and is regarded as `sound scholarship'? It is, of course, the damaging climate change hypothesis by which I mean the idea that the world faces damaging changes in climate, as a consequence of human activities, and that the only way to avoid the dire consequences is centralised action by governments and international institutions.

The idea has been firmly implanted and the media constantly reinforce it. Newspapers, radio, TV and blogs (Hayek`s second hand dealers in ideas) attribute many of the changes they see in the natural world to `climate change' and they urge responses which involve changes in lifestyles, for instance away from activities once thought liberating (such as air and motor travel) to a `simpler' way of life. They tend to use weather events to spread the message about climate change, pointing out that it is drier, wetter, warmer or colder than it was in the recent past. Since recent weather must always fall into one of those categories (unless it stays exactly the same), there is no weather-related event that can refute the hypothesis that the climate is changing. The more specific hypothesis - that the climate is warming -might seem easier to refute. But I note that even a soggy summer, which has left my drought-resistant plants looking distinctly worse for wear, is still being attributed in some way to global warming.

The damaging climate change hypothesis has acquired many of the trappings of a religion. It has priests who proclaim its main message - `the science is settled', a dismissive phrase intended to reinforce the position of the hypothesis as a principal element in the conventional wisdom of the day. And august bodies, such as the Royal Society, condemn heretics - that means anyone who raises any questions about the validity of the hypothesis. Its constant repetition makes its status appear, in Galbraith`s word, `virtually impregnable'.

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CHINA CALLS ON RICH NATIONS TO SLASH EMISSIONS BY 95%

Heh!

China, the world's most populous nation, called on wealthier countries to slash production of greenhouse gases as much as 95 percent by mid-century and leave developing economies with a lower pollution-cutting burden.

In a preliminary step to tackle global-warming emissions, the proposal seeks cuts of 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020 from 1990's level, the Chinese government said in a statement on the Web site of a United Nations agency that oversees climate treaties.

China, whose economy expanded 11.9 percent last year and is the fourth-largest in the world, wants slower-growing rich nations such as the U.S., Britain and Japan to set targets because their industries and vehicles have caused most of the historic build-up of polluting gases. Carbon dioxide, the main man-made greenhouse gas, lasts a century or more in the atmosphere, scientists say.

China's demand for 95 percent cuts is ambitious and has "zero" chance of acceptance by developed nations, said Dennis Mignon, an analyst with First Climate in Bad Vilbel, Germany. Industrialized governments "will be focused on maintaining economic growth" as the credit crisis bites, Mignon said.

About 180 nations are locked in a series of eight negotiations to form a climate-protection agreement under supervision by the UN climate agency. They have set a deadline of the end of 2009 to devise a successor to the Kyoto treaty, which is set to expire in 2012.

"Only with such a mid-term target being clearly determined is it meaningful to talk about any long-term goals for emission reductions," China said in its submission to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, based in Bonn.

China warned rich nations not to "twist" the mission to suit their own needs and left the door open for further agreements. Any accord reached at the eighth round of talks, planned for Copenhagen at the end of next year, "shall not be a final result," China said.

Europe, the U.S. and other industrialized countries should contribute 0.5 percent to 1 percent of their national economic output to help developing countries cope with global warming and reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, China said, repeating a proposal presented at a UN-sponsored climate meeting in Accra, Ghana, in August.

World carbon dioxide emissions from energy use rose 2.8 percent last year as coal consumption outpaced crude oil and clean-burning natural gas, BP Plc data show.

Source




EMISSIONS IMPOSSIBLE: NORWAY TAXES CARBON, EMISSIONS RISE

The big debate over how to tackle climate change generally boils down to what kind of pain a climate plan will do to the economy; environmental benefits are generally assumed.

But what if the economic pain doesn't even translate into environmental gain? That's what happened in Norway, a pioneer in putting a pricetag on carbon emissions almost twenty years ago. Net result? Carbon emissions have increased 15% since then. Leila Abboud writes today in the WSJ:

It wasn't supposed to be this way. By making it more expensive to pollute, carbon taxes should spur companies and individuals to clean up. Norway's sobering experience shows how difficult it is to cut emissions in the real world, where elegant theoretical solutions are complicated by economic changes, entrenched behaviors and political realities.

For economic changes, read "growth." Norway's growth in emissions has been a lot less than its economic growth over the same period, so the economy is clearly getting cleaner. But not enough to offset the simple math of more economic activity spewing more emissions into the atmosphere. Norway's oil industry became one of the world's cleanest since it started paying to pollute; but it's grown so much in the meantime, oil and gas emissions have quadrupled, the WSJ notes.

People also learn to roll with punches. While $4 gasoline has changed some driving habits in the U.S., $10 gasoline hasn't in Norway-car sales surged in the last decade and people still choose expensive commutes. Does that mean expectations that pricey gasoline will end America's car addiction are overblown?

Then there's politics. Norway isn't alone in giving some economic sectors, like fishing, preferential treatment. China and India don't even want to talk about emissions curbs. Germany and Poland are rapidly backpedaling on environmental commitments to save key industries at a time of economic strife. Australia has tied itself in knots trying to figure out how to clean up a coal-fired export economy without killing it.

Which brings us back to one of the bigger questions. If Norway can't slash emissions almost two decades after slapping a hefty pricetag on carbon, what does that say about the belief that "making polluters pay" will automatically transform America's economy?

Source




CARBON CAPS ARE CREATING A EUROPEAN ENERGY CRISIS

Having for years put other peoples' money where the alarmists' rhetoric was, there is serious momentum on the Continent to curb the Kyoto policies by which they have defined themselves for so long - and a growing reluctance to deepen the (failed) efforts to reduce GHGs in the face of mounting energy and other economic costs. Oh, and they want to drill in the Arctic, recognizing at the highest level that "any realistic energy strategy in the future will have to rely on oil and gas".

Official Europe has reached the point of acknowledging that they created a looming crisis, and are getting their wits about them. This comes just as our own leaders race to replicate their mistakes.

Yes, the latter are the same people who brought us the lovely housing and financial crises by succumbing to noisy pressure-group demands, and whose very similar ostrich routine on energy supply while succumbing to other pressure groups has us on track for a very similar energy crisis - with utility executives increasingly warning that the Lights. Will. Go. Out.

The odd thing about that one is: As the reactive Congress, which loves creating risk for others while avoiding political risk to themselves at all cost (well, at a cost of about $1 trillion just this year), will find - no doubt to great shock and finger-pointing - the productive sector of the economy can't just build energy capacity as fast as government can bail out the lenders they twisted into a pretzel in the first place.

And until Washington reforms the laws they have written delegating ultimate energy-supply authority to agencies and the courts, there's nothing Congress or the productive sector could do about it even within about a decade, anyway.

What Europe is experiencing explains the open calls on their shores that the climate-change issue is too important to be left to democracy. I tremble when I reflect how we may find ourselves agreeing with that in the fairly near future, if not for quite the same reason.

Source




FINANCIAL STORM DIMS HOPE OF TOUGH U.N. CLIMATE PACT

Global financial mayhem is dimming prospects for a strong new U.N. pact to fight climate change, but it might aid cheap green schemes such as insulating buildings to save energy, analysts said. The turmoil, straining government coffers with bank bailouts, may sap interest in more costly projects such as burying heat-trapping carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants, refining biodiesel or some renewable energies. "There will be a shift in investments" toward energy efficiency, said Nick Mabey, director of E3G think-tank in London. Saving energy, such as by insulating buildings, gives quick returns and can help create jobs.

A year ago, many governments were billing the fight against warming as humanity's top long-term challenge after the U.N. Climate Panel said human use of fossil fuels would bring more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising seas.

Now, with the United States caught in a financial storm that may cost $700 billion of taxpayers' money to fix, a plan to agree a new U.N. treaty to fight global warming in Copenhagen in December 2009 is looking ever more ambitious.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday the market difficulties would make it harder to agree a climate deal, while U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said last week he may be forced to scale back his planned investments in energy. "It's starting to weigh on peoples' minds that the whole process could go completely wrong," said Mabey. In the worst case, the negotiations could collapse, like U.N. trade talks. "The problem of climate change is going to stick with us. But the pace and the scale of ambition may be less in the near term," said Elliot Diringer, a director at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Washington.

"Hopefully the crisis will make us smarter in spending our money," said Bjorn Lomborg, Danish author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist," who says many governments like Britain focus too much on costly projects such as offshore windmills. More mundane carbon-saving projects may benefit.

More here




Congress is no green house

The view from Australia

There are two great myths perpetuated by Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong as a foundation for Australia introducing an emissions trading scheme. Both are deceitful and misleading the public about the cost of anETS. The first myth appears in Wong's green paper, which argues Australia is "acting with the rest of the world" because other countries are supporting an ETS, in particular the US, where "both presidential candidates are committed to introducing schemes".

Wong is correct that Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, support the introduction of a cap-and-trade system. But their support doesn't guarantee anything and the $US700 billion ($895 billion) financial bailout package demonstrates why. The bailout is one of the grandest bipartisan political measures taken in US history. It was supported by Republicans President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and McCain, and the Democrats' house Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Obama. Yet the bill failed in the House ofRepresentatives.

A bill may yet pass, but it has nothing to do with bipartisan support. There isn't similar party discipline as in Australia and therefore bipartisan support doesn't mean success. Members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years and are highly accountable to their electorates. Their allegiance is to their electorate first and their party second. And US voters are very sensitive to thegovernment voting for legislation that will simply take money from their back pockets. The present 110th Democrat-controlled Congress provides ample evidence. To date there have been eight bills introduced to establish a cap-and-trade system. None have passed. Bush didn't even need to pull out his veto pen.

These failed bills are merely following in the footsteps of the Kyoto Protocol, which was voted down in the Senate 95-0. Similarly, in 2003 McCain and then Democratic senator Joseph Lieberman proposed the Climate Stewardship Act. The bill was defeated 55-43. Both senators then proposed an amended version in 2005 that was defeated by an even wider margin. Ultimately, the reason for each bill's demise has been the cost it would impose on American consumers and industry without corresponding costs on competitor nations. The fallout from the financial crisis is just going to make negotiating an ETS harder.

And that leads to the second myth: Australia needs to develop an ETS to participate in the forthcoming international trading scheme. But there will not be a comprehensive international trading scheme. Establishing one requires every major emitting country to participate. At the G-8 meeting in Japan earlier this year Chinese President Hu Jintao reiterated what has long been the mantra of the Chinese Government: "China's central task now is to develop the economy and make life better for the people." The attitude of the Chinese Government is that "developed countries should make explicit commitments to continue to take the lead in emissions reduction".

China is not alone. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly: "The outcome must be fair and equitable ... we are committed to our per-capita emissions of greenhouse gases not exceeding those of the developed countries." In short, India may only slow the growth of its emissions to correspond with developed country levels.

For the US to participate requires developing countries to take proportionate emissions cuts. For developing countries to participate, developed countries need to shoulder most of the burden. In this scenario the developed and developing world are caught in a game of climate chicken. But outside Australia and the European Union no one appears interested in playing.

The final Garnaut report points out: "The only realistic chance of achieving the depth, speed and breadth of action now required from all major emitters is allocation of internationally tradeable emissions rights across countries." But it is simply not going to happen. The likeliest outcome will be a voluntary international trading scheme. Countries that participate will be guinea pigs. Their role will be to iron out problems, such as developing an accounting system for an industry's carbon footprint, the equivalence of permits and how to respond to the nightmarish impacts on trade.

If we keep heading down this path, the myths will become clear, and it won't take long before Australians start to ask why we are harming our economy while achieving virtually no reduction in emissions. It is an answer Rudd and Wong should think long and hard about.

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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2 October, 2008

Prominent New Zealand politician opposes Warmist laws

Speech to Public Meeting, Franklin Centre, Pukekohe by Rodney Hide, M.P. (Hide has degrees in both science and economics)

The Emissions Trading Scheme was rushed into law in the dying stages of the Clark/Peters Government - which has only vague ideas of how it will affect our economy. National opposed Labour's ETS - and is going to produce its own. ACT is the only Party that has opposed the ETS from day one.

Whatever your view on climate change - and I'm sceptical - the ETS is a bad idea. It will put huge cost on Kiwi fami lies and big costs on every business - and it will do so for no gain. We could shut New Zealand down and it would not make a difference to world weather.

The National Party has always supported an ETS - just not the one Labour came up with. National thinks you can have an ETS without costing business and households, but that's not possible. The purpose of the ETS is to put a cost on greenhouse gas emissions and force up costs. That's its point: you will pay and pay and pay. For nothing.

ACT has always opposed the ETS. The science doesn't justify it, the costs are large and there are no benefits. National MPs have sidled up to us to agree with us - and to complain that Nick Smith as hijacked National's policy. They agreed with John Key when he said climate change was a hoax. Now he too is backing the ETS. The National Party is selling New Zealand out for bad politics.

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research stated in its 2008 study, 'The Impact of the Proposed Emissions Trading Scheme', that dairy land values would fall 40 percent, and beef and sheep land values would fall 23 percent. The annual incomes of household would fall $3,000, and the average hourly rate would fall $2.30. Every year we will forgo 22,000 new jobs.

Even our enemies in war time haven't done this to us, and here we are doing it to ourselves with National agreeing with Labour to put big costs on busi ness and squeeze households even more. It's wrong. I've been to successful businesses exporting around the world that won't survive the ETS. They will shift to Australia and dodge the costs. That's a further loss of jobs and income. For nothing.

We need Smart Green policies - not dumb ones like the ETS. There is no evidence that CO2 drives climate or that industrialisation is warming the world. In fact, the evidence is the reverse. The world temperature has increased in the past 150 years by about half a degree. But the bulk of that increase was in the first half of the 20th Century - before the post-war economic boom. During that boom, the world temperature dropped.

When I started out as an environmentalist the fear was global cooling. There are many anomalies in the evidence. Ice-core samples show that CO2 levels lag temperature by 800 years. And the increase in temperature in the past 150 years has been at the Earth's surface - not the troposphere, as the theory of CO2-induced temperature change predicts.

The only thing going for the man-made global warming theory is the computer models - but they're just a direct result of the assumptions fed into them. Their predictions are the result of what's fed in, and the e vidence doesn't back the models' predictions....

That's why ACT is campaigning this election to dump the ETS. We should dump the ETS and withdraw from Kyoto. We should not have to send our hard-earned dollars to the Russians.

We were told in Parliament that Europe was also rushing ahead to have an ETS. Well, here's a newsflash: German chancellor Angela Merkel last week backed an almost total exemption for German industry from new rules to force companies to pay for greenhouse gas emissions. Merkel said that, although she supported the need to tackle climate change, she "could not support the destruction of German jobs through an ill-advised climate policy". So why are we?

We need a change of government this election. But we need something more: we need a change of direction. There's only one way that you can vote for a change of direction: You can be the difference: Party vote ACT - and dump the ETS.

Source




Another meteorologist says the sun, not man, changes climate

Dave Dahl, backed up by his boss Stanley Hubbard at the Twin Cities channel KSTP says in fact that the earth has been cooling in recent years.

Listen to him here




Terrorized kids -- terrorized by the Green/Left, not Muslims

My 12-YEAR-OLD supports Barack Obama, and after the Democratic National Convention, I expected euphoria, but he surprised me. "Actually," he said, "Schwarzenegger is the one I really want for president." "What? You want the Terminator in the Oval Office?"

"Who's the Terminator?" my son asked. "Schwarzenegger's good on the environment, and that's my number one issue. It doesn't really matter as much for you, because you'll be dead," he explained, "but I'm going to have to live through global warming, and I'm afraid by the time I can vote, it will be too late."

My son's fatalism amazes me, but he's not alone in worrying that time is running out. Recently, one of my friends told me that her son can't sleep because he is so anxious about global warming. Other friends try to shield their children from watching storms on the evening news. Was it so long ago that weather was the safe subject for conversations? For our children the forecast evokes the horsemen of the apocalypse: Conquest, War, Famine, and Death. It's not clear to me that global warming causes every natural disaster, but in a child's mind, climate change and horrific weather go together. Icebergs are melting. The sea level is rising. Entire island chains are disappearing. Tsunamis wipe out villages.

"I take out books on global warming from the library," my friend told me, "and I always turn to the back and show my son the section where it says 'How you can help.' But he doesn't find any of the suggestions comforting."

No, our children are not easily comforted, and our attempts - Reduce, reuse, and recycle! - don't speak to their profound fear. During the Cold War, children worried about nuclear annihilation. Today they believe we will destroy the planet before we have a chance to destroy each other. I'm impressed by the time frame of their nightmares. My son is convinced that in his l ifetime he will see the world thawed, warmed, and thoroughly cooked.

Where does environmental awareness come from? The Internet, Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," lessons about ecology at school. Yes, all of these play their part, and I'm proud of my children for knowing and caring about the planet. But where does environmental anxiety come from? That's a more complicated question. Storms and sudden earthquakes are terrifying in themselves, but I think it's the aftermath that really frightens children. Tsunamis drown families in Indonesia. Classrooms bury students in China. Levees fail. The evacuation plan doesn't work. Billions in federal funds cannot fix New Orleans, where the mayor admitted to citizens that there were no safeguards in place against Hurricane Gustav. Apparently the best recourse for natural disaster is to run for our lives. Our government proves ill-prepared. The junta in Burma looks downright evil - refusing international aid after a cyclone, and starving its own citizens. Watching the resulting chaos erodes our children's belief that adults will protect them.

What's a parent to do? Ironically, even as we become fastidious on the micro-level with seat belts, and supervised play, we can't secure the climate or supervise the planet. Some parents become politically active. Some join their children in consciousness-raising bike rides. As for me, I began writing a novel imagining the world after global warming, and how children might survive. I told my son the book was just an experiment, and he couldn't tell anyone that I was writing it. He said, "We need a code. I'll call the book laundry." Occasionally, over the next year, he would ask me, "How's the laundry coming?"

I always forgot the code. "We're behind again. Why do you ask? Are you out of clean clothes?" "No, the laundry," he repeated, and I realized he meant my book - his book.

Now, if I were also logging miles on a major bicycle trek, and composting, and advocating for reduced emissions, I'd do more good. But my son knows that I'm a lousy biker. Anxious about his anxiety, I reacted like Astrophel in Sir Philip Sidney's sonnet. "Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite / Fool, said my Muse to me, look in thy heart and write."

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BS Alert: Polar bear hearing affected by global warming?

From the BBC, a video report so absurd, you wonder if it is an April fools joke. The premise? Noise from excessive ice calving and cracking due to "climate change" would affect the bear's hearing. I wonder what agency was gullible enough to provide a grant for this load of rubbish? Like polar bears have never heard ice floes cracking and calving before? Give me a break. Plus, the polar bear they are using for a test subject isn't in it's natural environment, it's at a zoo and who's to say this bear establishes a credible baseline hearing test? This is just unbelievable stupidity in the guise of bad science. What next? Hearing aids for polar bears?

The video of the BBC story is here

Source




More doom: Climate change could haunt humanity forever, says Australian academic prostitute

A 25% emissions cut? A 10% cut? A 5% cut? You want it, he's got it. But if a 5% cut is OK, what about a 0% cut? Shouldn't make much difference

Failure to deal with climate change now will "haunt humanity" forever, the nation's top greenhouse adviser has warned as he issued a rallying cry for action. Professor Ross Garnaut has warmed to the idea of a deep, fast cut to Australia's emissions in his final report, released today. After infuriating green groups earlier this month by calling for a 10 per cent cut in Australia's emissions by 2020, he's now more open to a deeper 25 per cent cut.

Prof Garnaut issued a blunt assessment of the dangers of climate change as he launched the 620-page report. "If we fail, on a balance of probabilities, the failure of our generation will haunt humanity until the end of time," he told reporters in Canberra. "We are entering territory here that humanity has not been in before [He obviously knows nothing of climate history]. "We will delude ourselves if we think that uncertainty about the climate change science... is a cause for delay." And Australia would probably be "the biggest loser" among developed countries from climate change, he said.

Prof Garnaut has recommended Australia push for a strong global climate pact, which would mean a 25 per cent cut in emissions by 2020. "Strong mitigation, with Australia playing its proportionate part, is in Australia's interests," the report says. This ambitious target would be in the context of a global deal to keep atmospheric carbon concentration to 450 parts per million (ppm).

However, Prof Garnaut is pessimistic about the possibility of the world agreeing to this "strong mitigation" deal. If his scepticism proves correct, Prof Garnaut wants the nation to push for a global atmospheric carbon concentra tion of 550 ppm, which means Australia cutting emissions by 10 per cent by 2020. And if no climate deal is forged out of the United Nations process, Australia should cut emissions by five per cent, Prof Garnaut says. "There's no point in hiding from reality," he said about the possibility of a strong global climate pact....

Prof Garnaut said the global financial crisis, which worsened overnight, was no excuse to delay acting on climate change. "Financial crises are short-term phenomena ... climate change is a long-term structural issue." He also lashed out at various business groups and industries which have warned they will have to shut plants, cut jobs and move offshore due to emissions trading. "Why would you expect public policy advice in the national interest from the chief executive of a business who's responsible to his board and shareholders for maximising the profit of that business?" Prof Garnaut asked. "I think you are just looking at the world through the wrong end of the telescope if you think that that's where you go to for objective public policy advice."

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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1 October, 2008

Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age

Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age. As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times. "Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle."

The image, taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on Sept. 27, 2008, shows a solar disk completely unmarked by sunspots. For comparison, a SOHO image taken seven years earlier on Sept. 27, 2001, is peppered with colossal sunspots, all crackling with solar flares. The difference is the phase of the 11-year solar cycle. 2001 was a year of solar maximum, with lots of sunspots, solar flares and geomagnetic storms. 2008 is at the cycle's opposite extreme, solar minimum, a quiet time on the sun.

And it is a very quiet time. If solar activity continues as low as it has been, 2008 could rack up a whopping 290 spotless days by the end of December, making it a century-level year in terms of spotlessness.

Hathaway cautions that this development may sound more exciting than it actually is: "While the solar minimum of 2008 is shaping up to be the deepest of the Space Age, it is still unremarkable compared to the long and deep solar minima of the late 19th and early 20th centuries." Those earlier minima routinely racked up 200 to 300 spotless days per year.

Some solar physicists are welcoming the lull. "This gives us a chance to study the sun without the complications of sunspots," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Right now we have the best instrumentation in history looking at the sun. There is a whole fleet of spacecraft devoted to solar physics--SOHO, Hinode, ACE, STEREO and others. We're bound to learn new things during this long solar minimum."

As an example he offers helioseismology: "By monitoring the sun's vibrating surface, helioseismologists can probe the stellar interior in much the same way geologists use earthquakes to probe inside Earth. With sunspots out of the way, we gain a better view of the sun's subsurface winds and inner magnetic dynamo."

"There is also the matter of solar irradiance," adds Pesnell. "Researchers are now seeing the dimmest sun in their records. The change is small, just a fraction of a percent, but significant. Questions about effects on climate are natural if the sun continues to dim." Pesnell is NASA's project scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a new spacecraft equipped to study both solar irradiance and helioseismic waves. Construction of SDO is complete, he says, and it has passed pre-launch vibration and thermal testing. "We are ready to launch! Solar minimum is a great time to go."

Coinciding with the string of blank suns is a 50-year record low in solar wind pressure, a recent discovery of the Ulysses spacecraft. The pressure drop began years before the current minimum, so it is unclear how the two phenomena are connected, if at all. This is another mystery for SDO and the others. Who knew the blank sun could be so interesting? More to come...

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The green bubble bursts

Amid the energy crisis, Democrats are losing the high ground on the environment to a GOP that is pushing oil drilling.

As the election enters its endgame, Democrats and their environmental allies face a political challenge they could hardly have imagined just a few months ago. America's growing dependence on fossil fuels, once viewed as a Democratic trump card held alongside the Iraq war and the deflating economy, has become a lodestone instead. Republicans stole the energy issue from Democrats by proposing expanded drilling -- particularly lifting bans on offshore oil drilling -- to bring down gasoline prices. Whereas Barack Obama told Americans to properly inflate their tires, Republicans at their convention gleefully chanted "Drill, baby, drill!" Obama's point on conservation and efficiency was lost on an electorate eager for a solution to what they perceive as a supply crisis.

Democrats and greens ended up in this predicament because they believed their own press clippings -- or, perhaps more accurately, Al Gore's. After the release of the documentary film and book "An Inconvenient Truth," greens convinced themselves that U.S. public opinion on climate change had shifted dramatically, despite having no empirical evidence that was the case. In fact, public concern about global warming was about the same before the movie -- 65% told a Gallup poll in 2007 that global warming was a somewhat or very important concern in comparison to 63% in 1989. Global warming remains a low-priority issue, hovering near the bottom of the Pew Center for People and the Press' top 20 priorities.

By contrast, public concern about gasoline and energy prices has shifted dramatically. While liberals and environmentalists were congratulating themselves on the triumph of climate science over fossil-fuel-funded ignorance, planning inauguration parties and writing legislation for the next Democratic president and Congress, gas prices became the second-highest concern after the economy, according to Gallup.

This summer, elite opinion ran headlong into American popular opinion. The train wreck happened in the Senate and went by the name of the Climate Security Act. That bill to cap U.S. greenhouse gas emissions would have, by all accounts (even the authors'), increased gasoline and energy prices. Despite clear evidence that energy-price anxiety was rising, Democrats brought the bill to the Senate floor in June when gas prices were well over $4 a gallon in most of the country. Republicans were all too happy to join that fight.

Indeed, they so relished the opportunity to accuse Democrats of raising gasoline prices in the midst of an energy crisis, they insisted that the 500-page bill be read into the Senate record in its entirety in order to prolong the debate. Within days, Senate Democrats started jumping ship. Democratic leaders finally killed the debate to avert an embarrassing defeat, but by then they had handed Republicans a powerful political club.

Republicans have been bludgeoning Democrats with it ever since. They held dramatic "hearings," unauthorized by the Democratic leadership, on the need for expanded oil drilling to lower gas prices. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich quickly announced a book, "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," a movie and a petition drive. And Republican presidential candidate John McCain stopped making speeches about his support for bipartisan climate action, which is how he had started his campaign, and attacked Obama and congressional Democrats for opposing drilling instead.

On June 9, three days after the emissions cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate, Obama led McCain by eight points, according to Gallup. By June 24, the race was in a dead heat, a shift owed in no small part to Republicans battering Democrats on energy. Seeing the writing on the wall, Obama reversed his opposition to drilling in August, and congressional Democrats quickly followed suit.

But the damage has largely been done. In following greens, Democrats allowed McCain and Republicans to cast them as the party out of touch with the pocketbook concerns of middle-class Americans and captive to special interests that prioritize remote wilderness over economic prosperity.

In a tacit acknowledgment of their defeat, some green leaders, such as the Sierra Club's Carl Pope, have endorsed the Democrats' pro-drilling strategy. But few of them seem to realize the political implications. The most influential environmental groups in Washington -- the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund -- are continuing to bet the farm on a strategy that relies on emissions limits and other regulations aimed at making fossil fuels more expensive in order to encourage conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. But with an economic recession likely, and energy prices sure to remain high for years to come thanks to expanding demand in China and other developing countries, any strategy predicated centrally on making fossil fuels more expensive is doomed to failure.

A better approach is to make clean energy cheap through technology innovation funded directly by the federal government. In contrast to raising energy prices, investing somewhere between $30 billion and $50 billion annually in technology R&D, infrastructure and transmission lines to bring power from windy and sunny places to cities is overwhelmingly popular with voters. Instead of embracing this big investment, greens and Democrats push instead for tiny tax credits for renewable energy -- nothing approaching the national commitment that's needed.

With just six weeks before the election, the bursting of the green bubble is a wake-up call for Democrats. Environmental groups, perpetually certain that a new ecological age is about to dawn in America, have serially overestimated their strength and misread public opinion. Democrats must break once and for all from green orthodoxy that focuses primarily on making dirty energy more expensive and instead embrace a strategy to make clean energy cheap.

By continuing to hew to the green agenda, Democrats have not only put in jeopardy their chance of taking back the White House and growing their majority in Congress, they also have set back the prospects of establishing policies that might effectively address the climate and energy crises.

Source




NBC film crew trapped on Arctic icebreaker due to freezing weather

But they still believe in global warming, of course

So, here we are. In the Arctic. Day 23. Good times! Producer Paul Manson and I, along with cameraman Callan Griffiths and soundman Ben Adam, were sent here on assignment to report on climate change and the Arctic for an upcoming broadcast. The primary news peg - and one reason for our visit - is that for only the second time in recorded history the Northwest Passage is ice free, effectively clearing this shortcut between Europe and Asia.

Our intention was to stay on board for 10 days, shooting video and interviews. Mother Nature, apparently, had other plans. Inclement weather, along with an emergency search and rescue mission, has spoiled all five of our attempts to leave the ship. Getting stuck in the Arctic is not uncommon; getting stuck five times is like punishment.

We left NYC Sept. 3, joining up with a team of scientists from ArcticNet on board the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, Amundsen. (In Canada, the Coast Guard is civilian, not military. It is part of the country's Department of Oceans and Fisheries.) This particular Coast Guard ship has been dedicated to scientific research and outfitted with all the necessary tools. In a unique partnership, the scientists work side-by-side with the Coast Guard crew. For example, the scientists are testing water samples and sediment samples (from the ocean floor) as well as mapping uncharted territories in this remote part of the world. There are 40 scientists, 40 Coast Guard members and the four of us. By now we're part of the team, learning to help on deck, in the lab and at dinner.

We boarded the Amundsen Thursday, Sept. 4, in Resolute Bay, a small Inuit village, along the Northwest Passage. The plan was to fly off by helicopter at the northern most civilian community in North America, Grise Fjord, and then begin our long journey home. Freezing rain and harsh weather kept our chopper grounded both Monday and Tuesday. The ship kept going and our chance to get off passed. We continued North with the expedition along the coasts of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, coming within 900 miles of the North Pole.

Over the next couple weeks, we would make three more attempts to fly to land. Each one failed due to weather. Unbelievably, on Thursday our absolute best chance to get off the ship failed, too. The ship was diverted back north to assist a search and rescue mission, something the crew says has only happened once or twice in the last couple years. From the beginning, we were warned that the ships primary mission was science. The cost of operating this icebreaker and moving the expedition forward is $50,000 a day. While we've been welcomed guests on board, we knew the ship wouldn't be stopping for us.

Source




Two natural components of the presently progressing climate change are identified

The first one is an almost linear global temperature increase of about 0.5 C/100 years (~1 F/100years), which seems to have started at least one hundred years before 1946 when manmade CO2 in the atmosphere began to increase rapidly. This value of 0.5 C/100 years may be compared with what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists consider to be the manmade greenhouse effect of 0.6 C/100 years. This 100-year long linear warming trend is likely to be a natural change. One possible cause of this linear increase may be Earth's continuing recovery from the Little Ice Age (1400-1800).

This trend (0.5C/100 years) should be subtracted from the temperature data during the last 100 years when estimating the manmade contribution to the present global warming trend. As a result, there is a possibility that only a small fraction of the present warming trend is attributable to the greenhouse effect resulting from human activities. Note that both glaciers in many places in the world and sea ice in the Arctic Ocean that had developed during the Little Ice Age began to recede after 1800 and are still receding; their recession is thus not a recent phenomenon.

The second one is the multi-decadal oscillation, which is superimposed on the linear change. One of them is the "multi-decadal oscillation," which is a natural change. This particular change has a positive rate of change of about 0.15 C/10 years from about 1975, and is thought to be a sure sign of the greenhouse effect by the IPCC. But, this positive trend stopped after 2000 and now has a negative slope. As a result, the global warming trend stopped in about 2000-2001.

Therefore, it appears that the two natural changes have a greater effect on temperature changes than the greenhouse effects of CO2. These facts are contrary to the IPCC Report (2007, p.10), which states that "most" of the present warming is due "very likely" to be the manmade greenhouse effect. They predict that the warming trend continues after 2000. Contrary to their prediction, the warming halted after 2000.

There is an urgent need to correctly identify natural changes and remove them from the present global warming/cooling trend, in order to accurately identify the contribution of the manmade greenhouse effect. Only then can the contribution of CO2 be studied quantitatively.

Source




Big natural climate change very recently

WINTER 1947, when Britain could have used some global warming

After the Second World War Britain was bombed out, bankrupt, exhausted and desperately short of fuel. The winter of 1947 sank the country to a level of deprivation unknown even during the war. A catalogue of weather calamities precipitated a national crisis and changed Britain and the rest of Europe for decades afterwards.

The winter began deceptively, with just a brief cold snap before Christmas 1946. Snow lay thick on the ground when, in mid-January, temperatures soared so high that it felt as if spring had arrived early. The snow thawed so rapidly that it set off floods - just as hurricane-force winds brought down roofs, trees and even houses and a railway bridge in Birmingham. But real winter arrived soon afterwards as the country was gripped in an Arctic freeze that lasted for two months, with snow whipped into monstrous drifts that buried roads and railways. The temperature fell to -21C at Woburn, Buckinghamshire.

On February 20 the Dover to Ostend ferry service was suspended because of pack-ice off the Belgian coast. It became the coldest February ever recorded - and there was virtually no sunshine for almost the whole month.

The freeze paralysed coalmines, with coal stocks often stuck at the collieries by railways and roads buried in snow. Even carrying coal by sea was hazardous, with storms, fog and iced-over harbours.

A week after the freeze began, the Minister of Fuel and Power, Emmanuel Shinwell, ordered electricity supplies to be cut to industry, and domestic electricity supplies to be turned off for five hours each day, to conserve coal stocks. Whitehall and Buckingham Palace were reduced to working by candlelight. Television was closed down, radio output reduced, newspapers cut in size and magazines ordered to stop publishing. The emergency package hardly made a difference to power supplies but was a crushing blow to public morale.

Food supplies shrank alarmingly and rations were cut even lower than they had been during the war. Farms were frozen or snowed under, and vegetables were in such short supply that pneumatic drills were used to dig up parsnips from frozen fields. For the first time, potatoes were rationed after some 70,000 tons of them were destroyed by the cold.

The Government tried a deeply unpopular campaign to encourage everyone to eat a cheap South African fish called snoek, millions of tins of which had been imported - but it tasted disgusting and was used eventually as cat food.

Those delivering food supplies were battling to get through blizzards and snowdrifts, and The Attlee Government was seriously worried that the country could slide into famine.

March turned out even worse than February. March 5 brought the worst blizzard of the 20th century. Supplies of food shrank so low that in some places the police asked for authority to break open stranded lorries carrying food cargoes. On March 6 The Times reported: "The blizzard has virtually cut England in two. It is almost impossible to get from South to North."

Eventually, on March 10, a sustained thaw set in - and triggered another spectacular disaster. After weeks of deep frost, the ground was so hard that the melting snow ran off into raging torrents of floodwater and, to make things worse, a huge storm dropped heavy rain. Indeed, it was the wettest March on record in England and Wales. The winds whipped up floodwater into waves that breached dykes in the Fens, flooding 100 square miles of rich farmland, and houses collapsed. Canada sent food parcels to stricken villages in Suffolk, and the prime minister of Ontario even offered to help to dish them out.

It is difficult to imagine a worse run of weather, although the Government was blamed for the food and fuel crises. Elected in the summer of 1945 with a landslide majority, the Labour administration had embarked on a radical programme of nationalisation, including the health service, coalmining, electricity supply and railways. But it was caught unprepared when people began to buy electric fires and immersion heaters, and power stations could not meet the rising demand for energy.

Yet despite the collapsing economy and threat of starvation, the Government carried on behaving as if it were in control of a world superpower. Military expenditure was 15 per cent of GDP - far higher than before the war - and included the development of Britain's own nuclear bomb, as well as forces stationed in Europe and across the Empire. With a hugely ambitious programme of free healthcare and reconstruction, it was simply unsustainable. The winter of 1947 led to savage cuts in public spending at home and contributed to the humiliating devaluation of sterling from $4 to $2.80 the next year.

Less than two years after winning the war, the nation was left freezing cold, plunged into darkness and on the brink of starvation - and for many people it showed that national planning and socialism did not work. Labour was turned out of office in a landslide defeat at the next general election.

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Australian recycler warns of job cuts from Global Warming laws

RECYCLING giant Visy has warned that the Government's proposed emissions trading scheme would force it to immediately close two recycling and paper manufacturing facilities with the direct loss of 160 jobs. Visy, renowned as one of the nation's greenest companies, has slammed the proposed scheme's cost of $20 on a tonne of emissions, in its response to the Government's emissions trading green paper.

Its submission states that a $20 a tonne carbon price would damage Visy's "corporate engine", Visy Pulp & Paper, jeopardising at least $1billion in planned investment. "Visy's first-mover status in environmental performance puts it at a disadvantage compared with other Australian industries, including its competitors," the submission says. "The CPRS (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) does not recognise the carbon benefits from recycling, leading to severe collateral impacts on Australia's domestic recycling/remanufacturing industries. "Full action of permits will unnecessarily damage the economy and constrain businesses' capacity to invest in reducing emissions."

The submission says there should be a full transition of benefit flows from existing greenhouse gas abatement schemes, as the current ETS design places current programs in jeopardy. It adds: "The proposed EITE (emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries) compensation does not protect against carbon leakage, carbon magnification and loss of jobs and investment."

The Government's climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, will present his final report on climate change to the Prime Minister tomorrow. Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb warned that the Government's 2010 ETS start date and the global economic situation were causing concern. "The whole purpose of an ETS is to give businesses an incentive to introduce new emissions-reducing technologies," he told The Australian. "Visy has been an activist for climate change. They've done some really outstanding things, but because they've moved early they are below the compensation threshold. They will get zero compensation yet they have to sell their products on world markets."

Mr Robb said the ETS was starting to erode confidence and affect business decisions. "Professor Garnaut has been able to put out a green paper of his own, do modelling and is about to issue a final report. The Government has achieved very little of that," he said. "It will undermine investment confidence and business decisions at a critical time when we've got the world financial markets in meltdown."

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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.

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