Saturday, February 28, 2009

Doing the math on melting ice

An email from Tom Still []

Global warming alarmists who study polar ice behavior delight in using very large numbers to scare the rest of us. In an AP report of a report by a spokesman for the Britian - based Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research says the ice down there is melting "...faster than we thought."

Quoting AP:
The melting "also extends all the way down to what is called west Antarctica," said Colin Summerhayes, executive director ...." of the Britain-based Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. [...]

By the end of the century, the accelerated melting could cause sea levels to climb by 3 feet to 5 feet ª- levels substantially higher than predicted by a major scientific group just two years ago.[...]

Summerhayes said the biggest of the western glaciers, the Pine Island Glacier, is moving 40 percent faster than it was in the 1970s, discharging water and ice more rapidly into the ocean. The Smith Glacier, also in west Antarctica, is moving 83 percent faster than in 1992.[...]

Together, all the glaciers in west Antarctica are losing a total of around 114 billion tons per year because the melting is much greater than new snowfall, he said. "That's equivalent to the current mass loss from the whole of the Greenland ice sheet," Summerhayes said.

Looked at another way, it's more weight than 312,000 Empire State Buildings.

114,000,000,000 tons of ice/water per year. Run for the hills!!

But wait.... By my computation the continent of Antarctica contains - get this -- 19,000,000,000,000,000 tons of ice. Assuming that 10% of the ice is West Antarctica Ice Sheet, it would take 167,000 years to melt all that ice at the alarming rate of 114 Bn tons per year.

The area of the oceans is 3,475,000,000,000,000 sq feet. By my calculation, if the WAIS is 10% of all the ice, then it would take 96 years to raise sea levels 12 inches at the alarming rate of 114,000,000,000 tons of melt per year (3,600,000,000,000 cuft).

Mr. Summerhayes says this rapid melt rate may have been going on since 1970 or 1993.

But meanwhile a recent study by Woppelmann et al., cited here indicates that sea level rise has been very constant since 1893.
"... since mean sea-level rose at a constant rate over the entire 114 years [up to and including 2007], it seems highly unlikely that the historical increase in the atmosphere's CO2 content -- which accelerated dramatically over this time interval -- could have been the ultimate cause of the steady mean sea-level rise."

The rapid rate of melt since possibly 1970 (or 1993) apparently has been having no added effect on the rate of sea level rise. So, from now on I will be very careful not to be frightened, at face value by reports of massive ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland. There really is a lot of ice at these two places.

Carbon Regulation: One Scientist's Unscientific Dream?

There's an understandably growing unease about the likely prospect that the Obama administration will soon choose to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. But that disquiet would likely turn quickly to rage if more people knew the truth about the scientific conclusions on which this unprecedented incursion on both industry and individual freedom was based. You see, it appears that those conclusions weren't based on accepted scientific procedure at all, but were instead predetermined -- and perhaps by a single man.

Our story unfolds just weeks after Barbara Boxer's pet cap-and-trade bill -- the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 -- crashed and burned on the Senate floor last June. The wounded California Democrat called Dr. Roy Spencer before her Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (SEPWC), hoping to punish predominantly Republican dissenters by publicly ridiculing Spencer's positions on climate change.

But much to the scornful Inquisitor's visible chagrin, the climatologist testified quite persuasively that "two modes of natural climate variability -- the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon (Southern Oscillation), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation" can explain as much as 70% of all measured warming since 1970. Then the former NASA senior scientist lashed out against the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which he accused "has remained almost entirely silent" about the "possible role of internal climate variations in the warming of the last century." They were, after all, commissioned to deal exclusively with human influence on the climate and thereby weren't motivated in the least to find any natural explanations. Unflustered by Boxer's unrelenting rudeness, Spencer recalled a rather remarkable -- and remarkably overlooked -- experience, exposing the bias of the United Nation's sainted climate panel:
"In the early days of the IPCC, I was visiting the head of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy -- the director, Dr. Robert Watson, who later became the first Chairman of the IPCC. He informed me and a work associate with me that since we had started to regulate Ozone depleting substances under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the next goal, in his mind, was to regulate Carbon Dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning. This was nearly twenty years ago. There was no mention of a scientific basis for that goal. So, as you can see from the beginning of the IPCC process, it has been guided by desired policy outcomes, not science."

Indeed, shortly after leaving OSTP, Watson chaired the panel, where he also acted as both working group leader and editor of its 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR). That was the report that reignited Al Gore's warming obsession, predicting average surface temperature would increase by 1.4 to 5.8 Celsius degrees over the period of 1990 to 2100. Needless to say, it blamed "human activities," for the "unusual warming" of the twentieth century, relying heavily on immediately challenged computer models and a later debunked millenial-scale record based on climate proxies (the MBH98 reconstruction aka the "hockey stick graph") that diminished the extent of the "Little Ice Age" (1500-1850) and virtually omitted the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300).

Coincidentally, a colleague of Dr. Spencer's, atmospheric scientist John Christy, served as one of the report's lead authors. Dr. Christy, Alabama's State Climatologist, also recalls an interesting conversation -- this one between three fellow TAR contributors at an IPCC lead authors' meeting in New Zealand:
"After introducing myself, I sat in silence as their discussion continued, which boiled down to this: `We must write this report so strongly that it will convince the US to sign the Kyoto Protocol.'"

Not surprisingly, Christy soon found that such unempirical predisposition originated right at the top when he testified along with Watson before John McCain's Senate Commerce, Science, and Justice Committee in May of 2000. The subject was the "Science Behind Global Warming," but the topic-contrary Kyoto-centric statements of the man leading an organization supposedly charged with unbiased research prompted Christy to later write:
"And, while the 2001 report was being written, Dr Robert Watson, IPCC Chair at the time, testified to the US Senate in 2000 adamantly advocating on behalf of the Kyoto Protocol, which even the journal Nature now reports is a failure."

As Dr. Christy added in a recent email, "Thus he was overtly advocating a policy position while heading up the IPCC." Several attempts to contact Dr. Watson for comment produced no response.

Of course, TAR's bias transcended its chairman and a few compromised lead authors. As discussed in two previous pieces, this was the same report the irregularities of which prompted another of its "authors," Dr. Richard Lindzen, to himself testify before the SEPWC. The MIT Professor of Meteorology told the committee that the vast majority of scientists contributing to the full report played virtually no role in preparing the unscientific yet principally cited Summary for Policymakers -- often written to further political agendas and the primary basis of media hype and public understanding -- nor were they given the opportunity to review and approve its contents. And that all scientists were pressured into toeing the IPCC's AGW line and defending its questionable climate models:
"...throughout the drafting sessions, IPCC `coordinators' would go around insisting that criticism of models be toned down, and that `motherhood' statements be inserted to the effect that models might still be correct despite the cited faults. Refusals were occasionally met with ad hominem attacks. I personally witnessed coauthors forced to assert their `green' credentials in defense of their statements."

Reports of such impropriety plague the panel's history. In fact, many of the 650-plus international scientists disputing IPCC methods and conclusions are former or current contributors.

Keep in mind that not only did the propaganda of the 2001 Assessment provide alarming imagery for Al Gore's inconvenient nonsense sci-fi flick, but its inverted scientific method of results preceding data collection and analysis blazed the trail for its 2007 successor's most widely disseminated fabrication -- that the probability that humans burning fossil fuels causes climate change is 90%. The continuous quoting of which has spawned a planet of irrationally self-conscious carbo-phobes and empowered the pernicious policymaking it now faces.....

With green believers ruling both the Executive and Legislative branches, and a Judicial majority voting sympathetically alongside them in April of 2007, these words from Lindzen just one month prior have never rung more foreboding:
"Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life."

Needless to say -- our language offers countless pejoratives for governments that control lives through big lies, extortion and intimidation. Not to mention the scientists who formulate or sustain those lies.

More here


Inefficient eco-friendly technologies destroy more jobs than they create.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to transform America's energy economy by creating millions of "green jobs." Accepting his party's nomination at the Democratic convention in Denver, Obama proclaimed: "I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy-wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced." This new energy economy, Obama explained weeks later at the second presidential debate in Nashville, would be an "engine of economic growth" to rival the computer and one, moreover, that we could build "easily."

Though he would have quibbled with Obama over details, Republican candidate John McCain similarly praised the virtues of creating millions of these environmentally friendly jobs, both as an answer to the nation's economic woes and as a way to reduce carbon emissions.

In a time of grave economic uncertainty, it's surely positive news that we can agree on the benefits of green jobs, right? Not quite. If the green-jobs claim sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. Holding it up to the light exposes it as economically hollow. Making matters worse, a powerful green-jobs movement has emerged, made up of left-wing antipoverty activists and union leaders, all of them clamoring for a more conventional kind of green: government dollars.

More here

BBC gullibility again

James Lovelock, the British chemist and alleged expert on climate change, suggests that 80% of mankind will be wiped out by climate change and that the hot planet will last for 100,000 years. So persuasive is his assertion that it was asserted on BBC World's HARDtalk as a fact today. What ever happened to science and to journalism?

Lets deal with journalism first. Stephen Sackur, who now fronts HARDtalk, is normally no slouch. He has a solid journalistic career behind him - strong history as a tough foreign correspondent for the BBC and then the solid BBC Washington correspondent - a well respected position and he did sterling work, covering the Lewinsky scandal, Clintonomics and the various forms of Clintongate. He also covered the Bush election by the Supreme Court. He has hosted HARDtalk since 2004, when he replaced journalist and novelist Tim Sebastian. Yet here is talking about science and technology and he quotes this absurb claim by Lovelock as if it were a statement of fact.

Journalists have generally given up on seeking to understand science, but instead look for the next scientist who will say something strange so that they have a "story". This is why we have such a warped view of all sorts of scientific work - climate change, mad cow disease, obesity being good examples. The trick is to take a general position and then find extreme cases which "prove" the position. This is not scientific reporting or indeed journalism. As we lose more and more science trained journalist to be replaced by more and more journalists who have no other education but a degree in journalism (what exactly is that?), then we can expect science reporting to go very strange. This is why people like Dr James Hansen of NASA can get such a strong press coverage - the more outrageous they are (coal trains are "death trains" and coal powered power stations are "factories of death" according to Hansen - see an earlier blog post) the more likely they will be reported, all in the name of science.

Then there is the problem of science, or more accurately, sensationalism masquerading through a person who used to be scientist who has now become a polemicist. Lovelock is today's example - last week it was James Hansen and no doubt others will follow. Lovelock suggests that some 5 billion will die as a result of global warming and climate change and, because he used to be a scientist, this is then presented as some sort of scientifically based "evidence" when in fact it is total speculation (a.k.a. "bullsh*t"). Most people have got to the point when they don't know what to believe, especially when serious journalists report speculation as science. The consequence is that both science and journalism get a bad name and both get exploited by the lunatic fringe who make a living from bullsh*t.

We need some journalistic standards, like triple sourcing and fact checking, to come back into science reporting. We need scientists to stop pretending to be something they are not. We need rational, evidence based conversations. Otherwise, we will just discredit good science, good journalism and rational, evidence based dialogue.



California regulators Thursday adopted the world's first mandatory measures to control highly potent greenhouse gases emitted by the computer manufacturing industry. The new rules would cover 85 plants, mostly in Silicon Valley. They require most computer chip makers to slash releases of sulfur hexafluoride and other fluorinated gases by more than half over the next three years. The chemicals are used in small amounts but "pose a danger to the planet because they have such a high capacity to trap atmospheric heat," said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board.

The fluorinated gases are 6,500 to 23,900 times more potent than carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas emitted by automobiles, power plants and refineries, among other sources. A single pound of sulfur hexafluoride has the same heat-trapping potential as 10 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or an automobile trip around the Earth.

The move to control the global-warming impact of the high-tech industry is part of a broad plan to slash the state's greenhouse gas emissions by about 15% by 2020. California's climate plan covers nearly every sector of the economy, including automobiles, power plants and municipal landfills. [...]

Not all companies were pleased. "The financial impact is going to be severe," Gus Ballis, a spokesman for chip maker NEC Electronics America Inc., a subsidiary of NEC Electronics Corp. in Japan, told the board. The Sacramento-area facility, one of California's largest high-tech plants, will have until 2014 to comply because it is retooling. But, Ballis warned, "We're potentially on the chopping block -- whether they are going to keep us or pull our production back to Japan."

Twenty-eight plants account for 94% of fluorinated gas emissions. Twelve already comply with the new standards. The remaining 16 would have to spend a total of $37 million to reduce their emissions, the air board said. An additional 57 facilities release such small amounts that they would only have to meet reporting requirements


Senate may save Australia from destructive Warmist laws

Can the Senate save Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong from their global warming folly? It can, and it might, if it rejects the Government's attempts to prematurely lock Australia into a flawed carbon trading scheme. There is a growing unease in government and Opposition ranks that the Government's plan to push through its climate change legislation by the end of June is too hasty, as more and more questions are raised about its emissions trading scheme. Not least, there is the important question of its timing.

Ask yourself, do you believe that the worst global recession since the Depression, with job losses accelerating, is the time for Australia to introduce a carbon trading scheme that will squeeze growth, jobs and investment? Business certainly doesn't.

The Prime Minister and his Climate Change Minister do. The Government's white paper on its carbon pollution reduction scheme (better known as an emissions trading scheme) was released on December 15, as the world's advanced economies and many others were experiencing the sharpest quarterly contraction in economic growth in decades. It acknowledges the seriousness of the financial and economic crisis but declares this does not mean we can ignore the threat climate change poses to our long-term economic prosperity: "On the contrary, this current crisis makes it more important we secure the long-term prosperity that comes from rebuilding the low pollution economy of the future."

If you swallow this, you presumably also believe the planet faces imminent catastrophe as a result of global warming. The reality is that delaying action for a year or two isn't going to make much difference. Nothing Australia does can have much impact on the stock or flow of global greenhouse gasses, and if the time is used to improve policy we will actually be better off.

The timing issue is raised in an important report prepared in January for a Senate committee by the former head of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Brian Fisher, now at Concept Economics. Fisher reviewed Treasury modelling of the economic impact of reducing carbon emissions. "The global financial crisis and its flow-on to the real economy has altered dramatically the context in which Australia will be introducing an emissions trading scheme and taking, in all likelihood, unconditional action to reduce emissions, Fisher says. "By contrast, the Treasury modelling exercise and much of the ... scheme design has assumed, often explicitly, a continuation of strong global and domestic growth, both in the implementation phase of the ETS and in the longer term."

Fisher notes that an ETS imposes a new cost on Australian producers and consumers, and says a critical concern is the impact of this additional cost of production on Australian firms when company balance sheets have deteriorated dramatically, investment plans have been shelved and workers dismissed. In many countries, including Australia, the global financial crisis has reinforced the primacy of economic growth and jobs in national policy debates.

Steven Chu, President Barack Obama's new Secretary of Energy, told The New York Times earlier this month that reaching agreement on emissions trading legislation would be difficult in the present recession because any scheme to regulate greenhouse gas emissions would probably cause energy prices to rise and drive manufacturing jobs to countries where energy was cheaper. Obama officials concede that Congress is unlikely to pass such legislation in time for the international climate change conference in Copenhagen in December to try to agree on a new global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The problem is that Rudd and Wong have locked themselves in, even if Rudd the pragmatist would privately like to back off his timetable for introducing an ETS scheme, given the economic crisis. Here is where the Senate comes in. Negotiations are still going on, but one way or another a Senate committee will consider the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme legislation and it will also be able to consider alternatives.

The opportunity has arisen because of the farce over the Government's announcement that the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics would hold an inquiry into "the choice of emissions trading as the central policy to reduce Australia's carbon pollution". Whatever Rudd's intention, this was a major miscalculation on several grounds. The terms of reference clearly suggested the need to consider alternatives to the Government's emissions trading scheme and were widely seen as the Government rethinking its commitment to this scheme. This opened a Pandora's box that the Government has been unable to close by withdrawing the inquiry reference on the risible grounds that Malcolm Turnbull was playing politics with it. What a shock.

The Government is most unlikely to meet its deadline of passing its legislation by June 30 and there is a better than even money chance that the Senate will reject the legislation. The Government will find itself facing an unholy alliance of the Greens, the Nationals and the Liberals, all opposed to the CPRS, if for different reasons.

The Greens' Christine Milne has already declared that having no scheme would be better than being locked into the CPRS, the Nationals will also vote against, and so, if Turnbull has any political nous, will the Liberals. The Government, while no doubt secretly relieved at being rescued from a trap of its own making, will then be able to blame Turnbull for climate change vandalism and threatening the survival of the planet. But while this is a risk, Turnbull has a powerful political card to play. He can legitimately accuse the Government of putting its obsession with introducing an emissions trading scheme by July 2010 ahead of Australian jobs and businesses.

With Australian unemployment rising to 7 per cent on the Government's own forecasts and quite possibly heading higher in an election year, with the impact of world recession, and the Government itself saying the No1 economic issue is jobs, Rudd is likely to be quite vulnerable. More so because he and Wong have conned Australians into believing that they can make a personal contribution to saving the planet under the Government's scheme, when they can't at all. All they are doing is making life easier for carbon-emitting businesses.

A Senate rejection of the ETS in present economic circumstances is in the national interest and it would offer the opportunity to allow an independent body - the Productivity Commission - to look at the Government's scheme without ideological blinkers on.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's $646 Billion Cap-And-Trade Green Tax

As I see it, the most important single item in President Obama's budget is his commitment to a cap-and-trade plan (to limit and reduce carbon emissions). It represents nothing less than an absolutely breath-taking attempt at reengineering the entire American economy. The White House expects the system will begin generating revenue for the government in 2012. By auctioning off carbon permits, the White expects the plan to bring some $80 billion a year between from 2012 to 2019.

1) What this is, of course, is a de facto business tax that will get passed along to workers and consumers. (Not to mention the impact on economic growth.) And not a small tax, at that. Over that same period, the White House expects regular corporate taxes to bring in some $3.8 trillion dollars. So the cap-and-trade auction impose an additional 20 percent tax or cost above that level. And remember that we already have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world.

2) Of that $80 billion, $15 billion would go toward "clean" energy investment. The rest would pay for his Making Work Pay tax credits. So what we have is, in essence, an enormous wealth transfer from job creators to consumers.

3) Let me also go back to something I wrote last summer:
Here is what William Pizer, an economist at Resources for the Future and a lead author on the most recent report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said at a symposium earlier this week here in Washington: "As an economist, I am skeptical that [dealing with climate change] is going to make money. You'll have new industries, but they'll be doing what old industries did but a higher net cost.... You'll be depleting other industries."

Of course, many economists will recognize "the green is good for growth" trap that Obama and Clinton have stumbled into. It's just a modern iteration of the famous "broken windows fallacy" where people mistake the shifting of wealth and resources for the creation of new wealth and resources.

Pizer went on to say that calls for dramatic reductions in carbon emissions-the Democrats want 80 percent, John McCain 65 percent-were also unrealistic unless there was"some event"that really galvanized public opinion. Instead, what he predicted was a modest price on carbon via a cap-and-trade plan, a greater push for efficiency, and more regulation of energy-intensive industries.


Carbon Audacity

By Kathleen Hartnett White

The ever-widening recession apparently will not delay the Obama Administration's plans to mandate carbon reductions. Last week, the administration's two most senior decision-makers on climate change stated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will declare that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant endangering human health within the legal meaning of the Clean Air Act. White House climate czar Carol Browner and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that EPA will make this "endangerment finding" to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the 2007 Supreme Court ruling driving EPA's decision.

Ms. Browner claimed that this decision would actually help the deteriorating economy by providing the legal clarity needed for investment in carbon mitigation. What happened to EPA's recent economic analysis of carbon cuts, predicting annual declines in America's Gross Domestic Product, millions of lost jobs, and 50-150 percent increases in energy prices within 10 years?

The silver lining the administration sees in exorbitant carbon mandates imposed on a recessionary economy: federal revenues from the sale of carbon allowances. Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, acknowledged that the administration's budget includes the government's sale of carbon allowances to generate billions in new federal revenues - potentially $300 billion a year according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

President Obama has consistently advocated auction of even the initial allowances in a carbon cap and tax/trade schemes. This means a power plant would have to purchase federal approval merely to keep operating at current levels. Legislation creating this colossal carbon tax would be the biggest tax increase ever, surpassing in real dollars the 1942 law providing funds for World War II. If included in budget reconciliation bills - which cannot be filibustered - it would only require 50 votes in the U.S. Senate.

The EPA's legal endangerment finding on CO2 is key to this policy. The EPA decision would unleash the onerous regulatory scope of the Clean Air Act. Although Browner said the initial regulations would not be too broad, courts are unlikely to give EPA this leeway. Throughout the 30-year history of the Act, environmental organizations have used the courts successfully to compel EPA action. Steadily expanding air quality rules have arisen far more from court rulings and out-of-court settlements than legislation.

Recall that an endangerment finding is connected to the EPA's blueprint for economic disaster issued last July, the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Regulate Greenhouse Gases. The Bush Administration declined to make the finding whether CO2 is or is not a harmful pollutant but agreed to issue the Notice - apparently a quid pro quo with EPA. A most unusual administrative action, the White House issued and simultaneously condemned the Notice in an accompanying memo signed by five Cabinet secretaries.

An odd preface for his own action, former EPA Administrator Steve Johnson noted that using the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 "could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land."

EPA's long-expected endangerment finding is anything but bland news. Once made, the force of federal law mandates the regulation of a mind-boggling scope of human activity. The legal debate about global warming will be over at the stroke of a federal bureaucrat's pen. The Obama Administration will then have the leverage to design whatever carbon tax it prefers.

The Supreme Court ruling behind EPA's actions did not dictate that CO2 be declared a pollutant. The 5-4 ruling required that EPA merely make and reasonably justify an endangerment finding, one way or the other. The Bush Administration avoided this formal decision evidently because of irresolvable disagreement between EPA career staff and the White House.

Al Gore, the world's most celebrated global warming alarmist, repeatedly preaches that carbon cuts of the magnitude needed to "save" the planet will require a "total transformation of our economy." If the first few weeks are any indication, let there be no doubt in the Obama administration's willingness to use carbon policy as a major tool in such a mission.



President Barack Obama reiterated his promise to impose invasive and strict carbon caps on our nation's economy last night. He failed to mention what effect they would have on our nation's economic recovery. Fortunately for the rest of the nation, but unfortunately for them, California has already adopted strict new carbon capping rules. The result? They are a jobs killer.

Only a few years ago, CalPortland planned on keeping its plant here operating as long as Mount Slover's limestone held out. ... But the company says the plant's future is now uncertain. The recession has sent cement prices plunging, lowered profits and forced CalPortland's drivers to cut back on hours. And the company says it faces new expenses: the cost of meeting California's new requirements that manufacturers take steps to curb emissions of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming.

State regulators have projected that retrofitting the state's 11 cement plants would cost $220 million and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12 percent per ton of cement. But CalPortland's executives say it would cost more than that to retrofit the Colton plant alone. "We don't have enough limestone left to invest $200 million," said James A. Repman, the company's president.

The key to this story are the completely unreliable cost predictions by the state. When the left tries to cram the world's biggest carbon tax down the throats of the American public, they are going to have tons of "scientific" studies claiming to show that carbon capping will be a net gain for the economy. As California's experience shows, these studies the left puts out are worthless. The New York Times reports:

State regulators predicted in an economic analysis last fall that the climate law would create 100,000 jobs in the state and increase per-capita income by $200 annually by 2020. The upfront cost for the first five years after the law takes effect, they estimated, would be $31.4 billion, about $8.5 billion more than the savings in those years. But if carbon-control costs were spread over the lifespan of the new equipment, the $25 billion in annual costs in the year 2020 would be more than offset by $40 billion in savings....

But the projections were strongly criticized as unrealistic by the affected industries and by independent economists who reviewed the analysis - including two from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, which supports the emission reduction goals.

In one withering review, Matthew E. Kahn of the University of California, Los Angeles said the analysis unconvincingly portrayed the law as "a riskless free lunch." Another economist, Robert N. Stavins of Harvard, said the regulators were "systematically biased" in ways "that lead to potentially severe underestimates of costs."

All of the left's "green job" claims are nothing but phantom job creation. Carbon capping is a jobs killer, not a jobs creator.


The Green Energy Fantasy

Will a green energy industry be an engine of economic growth? Many want us to think so, including our new president. Apparently a booming green economy with millions of new jobs is just around the corner. All we need is the right mix of government "incentives." These include a huge (de facto) tax on carbon emissions imposed through a cap-and-trade regulatory scheme, as well as huge government subsidies for "renewable," carbon-free sources. The hope is that these government sticks and carrots will turn today's pitiful "green energy" industry, which produces an insignificant fraction of American energy, into a source of abundant, affordable energy that can replace today's fossil-fuel-dominated industry. This view is a fantasy -- one that could devastate America's economy. The reality is that "green energy" is at best a sophisticated make-work program.

There is a reason why less than two percent of the world's energy currently comes from "renewable" sources such as wind and solar--the very sources that are supposedly going to power the new green economy: despite billions of dollars in government subsidies, funding decades of research, they have not proven themselves to be practical sources of energy. Indeed, without government mandates forcing their adoption in most Western countries, their high cost would make them even less prevalent.

Consider that it takes about 1,000 wind turbines, occupying tens of thousands of acres, to produce as much electricity as just one medium-sized, coal-fired power plant. And that's if the wind is blowing: the intermittency of wind wreaks havoc on electricity grids, which need a stable flow of power, thus requiring expensive, redundant backup capacity or an unbuilt, unproven "smart grid."

Or consider the "promise" of solar. Two projects in development will cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar cells in the hope of generating about 800 megawatts of power (as much as one large coal-fired plant). But that power output will only be achieved when the sun is shining brightly -- around noon on sunny days; the actual output will be less than a third that amount. And the electricity will cost more than market price, even with the life-support of federal subsidies that keeps the solar industry going. The major factor driving the project is not the promise of abundant power but California's state quota requiring 20 percent "renewable" electricity by 2010.

More than 81 percent of world energy comes from fossil fuels, and half of America's electricity is generated by burning coal. Carbon sources are literally keeping us alive. There is no evidence that they have -- or will soon have -- a viable replacement in transportation fuel, and there is only one in electricity generation, nuclear, which "green energy" advocates also oppose.

We all saw the ripple effects last summer when gas prices shot above $4 per gallon, and higher transportation costs drove up prices of everything from plane fares to vegetables. If green policies cause a permanent, and likely far greater, hike in the cost of all forms of energy, what shockwaves would that send through our already badly damaged economy? We don't want to find out.

Regardless of one's views on global warming -- and there is ample scientific evidence to reject the claim that man-made carbon emissions are causing catastrophe -- the fact is that kneecapping the fossil fuel industry while diverting tax dollars into expensive, impractical forms of energy will not be an economic boon, but an economic disaster.

We in developed countries take industrial-scale energy for granted and often fail to appreciate its crucial value to our lives -- including its indispensable role in enabling us to deal with drought, storms, temperature extremes, and other climate challenges we are told to fear by global-warming alarmists. If we want to restore economic growth and reduce our vulnerability to the elements, what we need is not "green energy" forced upon us by government coercion but real energy delivered on a free market


Greenies target toilet paper

Americans like their toilet tissue soft: exotic confections that are silken, thick and hot-air-fluffed. The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra - which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., a marketing research firm. But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them. Customers "demand soft and comfortable," said James Malone, a spokesman for Georgia Pacific, the maker of Quilted Northern. "Recycled fiber cannot do it."

The country's soft-tissue habit - call it the Charmin effect - has not escaped the notice of environmentalists, who are increasingly making toilet tissue manufacturers the targets of campaigns. Greenpeace on Monday for the first time issued a national guide for American consumers that rates toilet tissue brands on their environmental soundness. With the recession pushing the price for recycled paper down and Americans showing more willingness to repurpose everything from clothing to tires, environmental groups want more people to switch to recycled toilet tissue. "No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper," said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and waste expert with the Natural Resource Defense Council.

In the United States, which is the largest market worldwide for toilet paper, tissue from 100 percent recycled fibers makes up less than 2 percent of sales for at-home use among conventional and premium brands. Most manufacturers use a combination of trees to make their products. According to RISI, an independent market analysis firm in Bedford, Mass., the pulp from one eucalyptus tree, a commonly used tree, produces as many as 1,000 rolls of toilet tissue. Americans use an average of 23.6 rolls per capita a year.

Other countries are far less picky about toilet tissue. In many European nations, a rough sheet of paper is deemed sufficient. Other countries are also more willing to use toilet tissue made in part or exclusively from recycled paper. In Europe and Latin America, products with recycled content make up about on average 20 percent of the at-home market, according to experts at the Kimberly Clark Corporation.

Environmental groups say that the percentage is even higher and that they want to nurture similar acceptance here. Through public events and guides to the recycled content of tissue brands, they are hoping that Americans will become as conscious of the environmental effects of their toilet tissue use as they are about light bulbs or other products.

Dr. Hershkowitz is pushing the high-profile groups he consults with, including Major League Baseball, to use only recycled toilet tissue. At the Academy Awards ceremony last Sunday, the gowns were designer originals but the toilet tissue at the Kodak Theater's restrooms was 100 percent recycled.

Environmentalists are focusing on tissue products for reasons besides the loss of trees. Turning a tree to paper requires more water than turning paper back into fiber, and many brands that use tree pulp use polluting chlorine-based bleach for greater whiteness. In addition, tissue made from recycled paper produces less waste tonnage - almost equaling its weight - that would otherwise go to a landfill.

Still, trees and tree quality remain a contentious issue. Although brands differ, 25 percent to 50 percent of the pulp used to make toilet paper in this country comes from tree farms in South America and the United States. The rest, environmental groups say, comes mostly from old, second-growth forests that serve as important absorbers of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming. In addition, some of the pulp comes from the last virgin North American forests, which are an irreplaceable habitat for a variety of endangered species, environmental groups say.

Greenpeace, the international conservation organization, contends that Kimberly Clark, the maker of two popular brands, Cottonelle and Scott, has gotten as much as 22 percent of its pulp from producers who cut trees in Canadian boreal forests where some trees are 200 years old. But Dave Dickson, a spokesman for Kimberly Clark, said that only 14 percent of the wood pulp used by the company came from the boreal forest and that the company contracted only with suppliers who used "certified sustainable forestry practices."

Lisa Jester, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, the maker of Charmin, points out that the Forest Products Association of Canada says that no more than 0.5 percent of its forest is harvested annually. Still, even the manufacturers concede that the main reason they have not switched to recycled material is that those fibers tend to be shorter than fibers from standing trees. Long fibers can be laid out and fluffed to make softer tissue.

Jerry Baker, vice president of product and technology research for Kimberly Clark, said the company was not philosophically opposed to recycled products and used them for the "away from home" market, which includes restaurants, offices and schools. But people who buy toilet tissue for their homes - even those who identify themselves as concerned about the environment - are resistant to toilet tissue made from recycled paper.

With a global recession, however, that may be changing. In the past few months, sales of premium toilet paper have plunged 7 percent nationally, said Ali Dibadj, a senior stock analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, a financial management firm, providing an opening for makers of recycled products.

Marcal, the oldest recycled-paper maker in the country, emerged from bankruptcy under new management last year with a plan to spend $30 million on what is says will be the first national campaign to advertise a toilet tissue's environmental friendliness. Marcal's new chief executive, Tim Spring, said the company had seen intense interest in the new product from chains like Walgreens. The company will introduce the new toilet tissue in April, around Earth Day. Mr. Spring said Marcal would be able to price the new tissue below most conventional brands, in part because of the lower cost of recycled material. "Our idea is that you don't have to spend extra money to save the Earth," he said. "And people want to know what happens to the paper they recycle. This will give them closure


Ulster Environment Minister: Climate change is a ruse to push draconian policies and high taxes

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has claimed the Labour Government is using climate change to push through draconian policies and high taxes. Sammy Wilson, of the Democratic Unionist Party, ridiculed ideas such as a carbon credit card and other moves focusing on emissions. He clashed with Whitehall earlier this year after objecting to a climate change advert from London which mentioned carbon. He said: "I can understand why it is important that the message be gotten over by a government which has now so many policies, so many intrusive policies. "I can understand why they want to get the subliminal message over. That's the only way the Government is going to succeed in getting people to accept the draconian increases." He said these increases included taxation and challenges to people's ability to travel.

Mr Wilson was appearing before the Stormont Environment Committee which recently passed a vote of no confidence in him over the climate change adverts row. He dismissed part of it as "insidious" government propaganda and questioned the idea that turning off a light could save the world.

In 2006 then environment secretary David Miliband suggested carbon credit cards could be issued as part of a nationwide carbon rationing scheme. An annual allowance would be allocated, with the card being swiped on various items such as travel, energy or food. Mr Miliband said people who used less than their allowance could sell any surplus to those who wanted more.

Mr Wilson alleged: "Those are the kind of policies which are being put forward to get people to accept that, then you have got to persuade them that there's some drastic things coming down the road." The minister has faced criticism from environmental groups and members of the committee.

However, the Democratic Unionist Assembly member for East Antrim put in a pugilistic performance today in defending his attitude to the climate change adverts. He added: "When a minister from Westminster says it doesn't matter what the view of the devolved administrations across the UK are, we have decided on this, we are not even prepared to enter into a discussion ... I think I was probably standing up for the rights of the devolved administration."

He said he believed in improving energy efficiency because it made "common sense" to do so and dismissed any calls for him to go. "I have done the job to the best of my ability, I have done it diligently. Do I always get it right? Probably not, because I am not infallible. "If it came to votes of no confidence I can dispense with them because if I thought I was not doing my job right I would resign."

The minister alleged some of the global warming doomsayers had been the most vociferous in the past, "wanting to spray glaciers black" to ward off an ice age, despite the industrial revolution. He was involved in clashes with Ulster Unionist Assembly member David McClarty who cited the recent arrival in Britain of a Catholic bishop who questioned the truth of the Holocaust after being asked to leave Argentina. He said Mr Wilson's views were also "abhorrent" to some people here.

The minister said there was no comparison between the reality of the dead bodies of the Holocaust and the "theory" of climate change amid claims in the committee that Mr McClarty's intervention was inappropriate.

UUP committee member Roy Beggs accused him of seeking scientific backing from an American institute partly funded by the oil industry. But Mr Wilson said it was a small percentage of support and claimed many scientists expressing concern had links with environmentalists.

There have been warnings of catastrophic flooding and large areas of the planet turned into desert if the rate of global warming is not checked. Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay said: "I think the environmental sector has no confidence in the minister, the general public has no confidence, his Executive colleagues and even members of his own party have no confidence in him."

Mr Wilson had calculated the carbon footprint of many of his critics on the committee. He said Mr McClarty circumnavigated the world on Assembly business and added that a perfectly good train service from his East Londonderry constituency to Belfast could significantly reduce the amount of carbon he was responsible for.

Mr Wilson levelled similar points at other committee members but neglected to produce figures for his own travel. He had just stepped off a plane from Westminster, where he is MP for East Antrim. Mr McKay said Sinn Fein was doing its part to cut down on unnecessary travel by discouraging its MPs from attending.

Meanwhile, an AA survey of 15,806 drivers said more than half of drivers over-estimated their vehicle's contribution to global warming. The AA claimed this made them an "easy target" for punitive council green schemes. It said road transport accounted for approximately a fifth of emissions, industry a third, and domestic users a quarter. AA president Edmund King said: "Our research also shows that motorists do consider fuel efficiency when buying a car. However, there seems to be a 'green' bandwagon that more councils are jumping on to penalise drivers for parking charges based on their cars' CO2 emissions. "In reality, this is a green smokescreen to raise revenue which will do little to help the environment. "The AA Charitable Trust is encouraging eco-driving by offering free driver training and perhaps councils should be promoting such initiatives rather than penalising families who own larger vehicles."

Northern Ireland Green Party European election candidate Steven Agnew said the minister was defying substantial evidence and world opinion. "The minister is saying that saving energy is only an issue for the poor and that the wealthy can keep wasting energy if they can afford to. This is a foolish and dangerous suggestion. "1,918 people have signed our 'fire Sammy Wilson' petition, which indicates how dissatisfied people are with our minister of environment."


Green bureaucrats holding Australian economy to ransom

By Michael Costa

Believe it or not, if Kevin Rudd is genuine about stimulating our economy, rather than borrowing enormous sums of money he should talk to Peter Garrett. Why? Because his misguided Environment Minister and the department he runs are holding up billions of dollars of investment.

The way Garrett's department administers the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act provides a perfect rebuttal of Rudd's recent neo-interventionist call for greater government involvement in economic development. The act gives Garrett enormous powers. It requires that he approve any developments likely to have a significant impact on things the act protects, such as world heritage sites, national heritage properties, wetlands of international importance, threatened species and ecological communities, migratory species and marine areas, as well as nuclear actions including uranium mines. If that weren't broad enough, it also requires Garrett's approval of actions that affect commonwealth land. What you need to know is that the act is at present subject to a statutory review, but we'll come back to that.

The act is the federal equivalent of a range of state acts. These overlapping pieces of state and federal environmental legislation are a nightmare for economic development. New projects are subject to dual assessment processes and separate approval. One tier of government may approve a project that then is rejected by another. This creates investment uncertainty and adds to the cost of projects, costs that then are passed on to consumers. When he was environment minister, Malcolm Turnbull streamlined processes by concluding bilateral agreements with all states, except Victoria and the ACT, to create common environmental assessment of projects. Nonetheless, project approval still requires each tier of government to sign off.

Unfortunately, with the change of government, industry players have noticed a change in attitude. Garrett's department has become more interventionist. According to property industry body Urban Taskforce, the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts' interference and slow response to requests is making it virtually impossible to meet statutory timelines. Indeed, interference from DEWHA has reached farcical proportions. Petty disputes between the department and the states over the wording of newspaper ads hold up projects worth billions of dollars. Part of the problem is that DEWHA bureaucrats prefer to talk to their state counterparts, with whom they share a common environmental ideology, rather than to state planning officials who they see as pro-development.

The Property Council of Australia says its experience with the act has been that there has been little consistency or certainty for stakeholders and that some items of national environmental significance do not have sufficient evidentiary support to justify their retention on the list. Their public counsel argues that items included on any list should be based on rigorous scientific evidence, not anecdotal evidence, and observes that staff making determinations generally do not have specialist expertise on relevant NES or planning matters, and little appreciation of economic realities.

Under Garrett the act has become the last hope for theological environmentalists who fail in their opposition to projects at the local or state level. Catering to the insatiable demands of these people is costing the economy billions of dollars when the Prime Minister is putting the nation in hock in the hope of avoiding a technical recession. Critical land release projects have been delayed by the capricious action of these unaccountable bureaucrats. In the Sydney basin, for example, where for many years the state government was reluctant to release land, the Edmondson Park land release is being held up by DEWHA.

This is despite the fact planning for this release has been under way since at least 2000 and has involved numerous consultations between the state government, developers, local councils and the community. The principal developer is Landcom, a state government agency. At issue is the so-called Cumberland Plain woodland ecological community. Green groups have used this issue to restrict urban development in western Sydney for almost a decade. The result? More costly and less affordable housing.

Under the influence of theological environmentalists the development of NSW's Hunter Valley has been a frequent victim of the department's political interventionism. A particularly notorious example of this department pandering to green groups has been its frustration of a popular tourist development on Newcastle's Nobbys Headland on the grounds that the gap between two structures had heritage significance.

The handling of a residential development at North Cooranbong in the Hunter Valley, undertaken by the Johnson Property Group, shows just how out of control Garrett's department has become. This project was approved by all relevant NSW government departments, complied with the state government's regional strategy and conservation plan and the developer had provided environmental offsets in accordance with NSW legislation. Despite this, after eight years of assessments, Garrett's department intervened at the last moment and is demanding more land be quarantined for ecological reasons, which will have the effect of increasing the price of land packages by $30,000, making the project financially unviable. The result? Hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs lost to the local economy.

But here's the catch. As if the present administration of the act weren't bad enough, there is a concerted attempt by environmentalists to use a statutory review to extend its scope and powers. Green groups want to include global warming as an assessment trigger. Their goal? Nothing less than to close down the nation's coal industry. But that's not all. This trigger is so broad it could be applied to all human activity undertaken on land. This would effectively give the department the right of veto over any future development of the Australian economy. Now that would be a recipe for recession.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Current theories about Antarctic Climate Change

The Greenie explanation (below) for the fact that 91% of the Earth's glacial mass (Antarctica) is actually cooling is that it is just a "local" phenomenon (A big locality, though. Antarctica is 50% bigger than the USA). So what is there to say that Arctic changes are not "local" too? There is in fact plenty of reason to see Arctic changes as the product of local processes (changing ocean currents, vulcanism etc.) but you will not find much mention of that in the media. Arctic warming is always "global". Note that the acknowledgement below of Antarctic cooling completely undermines fears about sea-level rise. If 91% of earth's glacial mass is cooling, where is the meltwater going to come from?

At a time of dramatic warming and rapid sea ice decline in the Arctic, Antarctica has cooled slightly and sea ice has increased around it. Recent scientific progress in understanding how two distinct processes affect Antarctic climate reconciles these seemingly contradictory trends at the Earth's poles. In a nutshell, the difference arises from (1) a weak response to increasing greenhouse gases and (2) a cooling effect of the stratospheric ozone hole-both unique to the southern hemisphere.

That is not to say that the southern hemisphere is exempt from global warming. As in the north, the southern hemisphere as a whole has warmed over the past half century, but at a slower rate than in the north (Trenberth et al. 2007). The southern hemisphere has much less land surface and more ocean surface than the northern hemisphere; ocean surfaces warm more slowly than land because more energy is required to heat water, and because ocean mixing transports much of the heat downward away from the surface (Parkinson 2004; Levitus et al. 2005). In fact, the signal of human-induced ocean warming has been detected to a depth of at least 700 meters (Barnett et al. 2005). As in the north, southern-hemisphere warming has been greater at mid-latitudes than at the equator, but the high latitudes around Antarctica have cooled over the past four decades (Chapman and Walsh 2007; Parkinson 2006). Because Antarctica occupies only five percent of the surface area of the southern hemisphere, there is no contradiction in this relatively small region cooling as the hemisphere warms overall. Antarctica is among a minority of regions with unique local climate conditions that currently override the global warming trend, although this situation is likely to change in the future if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise (Shindell and Schmidt 2004).

In spite of a moderate overall cooling trend, recent Antarctic climate change results from a mix of countervailing signals. A rapid net loss of sea ice occurred during the 1970s, followed by a slow gain. The geographic distribution of sea ice has changed, with the east gaining and the west losing sea ice. The gains and losses are each larger than the overall trend, indicating a high degree of variability and change in the Antarctic sea ice (Parkinson 2006). Scientists were surprised to discover recently that the land-based Antarctic ice sheet, which stores 60 percent of the earth's fresh water-the equivalent of 70 meters (228 feet) of sea level rise-has been losing slightly more ice each year than it is gaining (Shepherd and Wingham 2007). Most of the ice loss is from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the margins of which lie in the ocean (Velicogna and Wahr 2006). Warming of the ocean appears to be eroding this ice sheet at its edges (Shepherd et al. 2004; Rignot and Kanagaratnam 2006). Reaching northward from West Antarctica into the mid-latitudes, the Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the most dramatic warming in the region (Chapman and Walsh 2007; Turner et al. 2005). In a preview of the possible consequences of ice sheet erosion by the warming Southern Ocean, the Larsen B ice shelf, which was attached to the peninsula, disintegrated suddenly in February 2002; as a result, the land-based ice behind the shelf began to flow more quickly into the sea (Scambos et al. 2004). Scientists infer that widespread warming in West Antarctica could lead to many such events in the future, potentially leading to dramatic acceleration of global sea level rise (Alley et al. 2005). Clearly, the Antarctic climate is not changing monotonically in a single direction.

Still, while every other continent on Earth has experienced a clear warming trend over the past five decades (Trenberth et al. 2007), Antarctica-the fifth largest continent-has shown no clear trend (Chapman and Walsh 2007). There are several key differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic that act in concert to explain the climatic departure between the two regions. Two of the most important factors are the predictably weak warming signal in the Antarctic compared to the Arctic, and the cooling effect of the human-induced stratospheric ozone hole above Antarctica.

As predicted by climate models, the southern hemisphere has warmed less than the northern hemisphere. The warming has occurred predominantly during the winter, and even Antarctica has warmed slightly during the winter, despite its average cooling across all seasons (Chapman and Walsh 2007). Winter is the time of year that climate models show the largest response to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. So, even though the warming signal is weak, the seasonal pattern is consistent with the human-enhanced greenhouse effect. Since Antarctic winters are much colder than necessary to freeze seawater, a little wintertime warming is insufficient to induce large-scale losses of sea ice without concurrent warming during the summer. In an experiment using a climate model to simulate global sea ice change over a century as a result of increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases, antarctic sea ice decreased by only 10%, while arctic sea ice decreased by 60% (Parkinson 2004). It is not surprising, therefore, that Antarctic sea ice has not mirrored the rapid decline of arctic sea ice.

But Antarctica is cooling and antarctic sea ice is expanding-something more than regionally weak global warming is afoot. That other factor is the ozone hole in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) above Antarctica. Over the past four decades, the southern Westerlies-a ring of wind that encircles the southern hemisphere between 30ø and 60ø latitude-have become more intense and have moved closer to the South Pole in an ever-tighter ring around Antarctica. Whenever the Westerlies intensify-regardless of the cause-Antarctica tends to cool because surface air pressure inside the ring decreases (Marshall 2006). This is called adiabatic cooling and is the same reason that the temperature drops as one climbs a mountain. Although scientists are just beginning to study the physical mechanisms by which changes in the stratosphere affect ground-level climate (Baldwin et al. 2007), observations and model results both indicate that the greater amount of stratospheric ozone depletion over the South Pole compared to mid-latitudes has caused the southern Westerlies to shift poleward and intensify (Gillett and Thompson 2003; Shindell and Schmidt 2004). Since ozone depletion is strong over Antarctica but weak over the Arctic (Solomon et al. 2007), this strong cooling effect is unique to Antarctica.

To summarize, surface warming from the greenhouse effect is weaker in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere, whereas cooling from stratospheric ozone depletion is stronger in the south than in the north. Consequently, the Arctic has warmed dramatically, even as the Antarctic has experienced a small cooling trend. Climate models reproduce this pattern when they are driven by both greenhouse gas increases and stratospheric ozone depletion (Gillett and Thompson 2003; Shindell and Schmidt 2004). Hence, the present cooling of Antarctica is consistent with the rest of the Earth's surface warming in response to rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

The stratospheric ozone layer filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation from incoming sunlight. To protect public health and natural ecosystems, an international treaty-the Montreal Protocol-is phasing out the release of ozone-depleting chemicals to the atmosphere. According to climate models that correctly simulate the current cooling trend in Antarctica, if greenhouse gases continue to rise as the ozone layer recovers in future decades, the warming effect of greenhouse gases will begin to outweigh the cooling effect of ozone depletion (Shindell and Schmidt 2004). The result would be widespread warming in Antarctica, with attendant declines in sea ice and accelerated loss of land-based ice, with the latter contributing to accelerated sea level rise.


Scientist Tells Congress: Earth in 'CO2 Famine'

`The increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind'. `Children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science'

Award-winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer declared man-made global warming fears "mistaken" and noted that the Earth was currently in a "CO2 famine now." Happer, who has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, made his remarks during today's Environment and Public Works Full Committee Hearing entitled "Update on the Latest Global Warming Science."

"Many people don't realize that over geological time, we're really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as it has been in the Holocene (geologic epoch) - 280 (parts per million - ppm) - that's unheard of. Most of the time [CO2 levels] have been at least 1000 (ppm) and it's been quite higher than that," Happer told the Senate Committee.

"Earth was just fine in those times," Happer added. "The oceans were fine, plants grew, animals grew fine. So it's baffling to me that we're so frightened of getting nowhere close to where we started," Happer explained. Happer also noted that "the number of [skeptical scientists] with the courage to speak out is growing" and he warned "children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science."

Happer was pressed by the Committee on whether rising CO2 fears are valid. "I don't think the laws of nature or physics and chemistry has changed in 80 million years. 80 million years ago the Earth was a very prosperous palace and there is no reason to suddenly think it will become bad now," Happer added. Happer is a professor in the Department of Physics at Princeton University and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy from 1990 to 1993, has published over 200 scientific papers, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Sciences. Happer was reportedly fired by former Vice President Al Gore in 1993 for failing to adhere to Gore's scientific views.

"I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind," Happer told the Committee. "What about the frightening consequences of increasing levels of CO2 that we keep hearing about? In a word, they are wildly exaggerated, just as the purported benefits of prohibition were wildly exaggerated," he explained. "At least 90% of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide is a bit player," he added. "But the climate is warming and CO2 is increasing. Doesn't this prove that CO2 is causing global warming through the greenhouse effect? No, the current warming period began about 1800 at the end of the little ice age, long before there was an appreciable increase of CO2. There have been similar and even larger warmings several times in the 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age. These earlier warmings clearly had nothing to do with the combustion of fossil fuels. The current warming also seems to be due mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Over the past ten years there has been no global warming, and in fact a slight cooling. This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC models," Happer testified.

"The existence of climate variability in the past has long been an embarrassment to those who claim that all climate change is due to man and that man can control it. When I was a schoolboy, my textbooks on earth science showed a prominent `medieval warm period' at the time the Vikings settled Greenland, followed by a vicious `little ice age' that drove them out. So I was very surprised when I first saw the celebrated `hockey stick curve,' in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC. I could hardly believe my eyes. Both the little ice age and the Medieval Warm Period were gone, and the newly revised temperature of the world since the year 1000 had suddenly become absolutely flat until the last hundred years when it shot up like the blade on a hockey stick. This was far from an obscure detail, and the hockey stick was trumpeted around the world as evidence that the end was near. We now know that the hockey stick has nothing to do with reality but was the result of incorrect handling of proxy temperature records and incorrect statistical analysis. There really was a little ice age and there really was a medieval warm period that was as warm or warmer than today," Happer continued.

"The whole hockey-stick episode reminds me of the motto of Orwell's Ministry of Information in the novel 1984: `He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.' The IPCC has made no serious attempt to model the natural variations of the earth's temperature in the past. Whatever caused these large past variations, it was not due to people burning coal and oil. If you can't model the past, where you know the answer pretty well, how can you model the future?" he stated.

"I keep hearing about the `pollutant CO2,' or about `poisoning the atmosphere' with CO2, or about minimizing our `carbon footprint.' This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: `But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.' CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving `pollutant' and `poison' of their original meaning. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million, or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth. Commercial greenhouse operators often use CO2 as a fertilizer to improve the health and growth rate of their plants. Plants, and our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of atmospheric CO2 were about 1000 ppm, a level that we will probably not reach by burning fossil fuels, and far above our current level of about 380 ppm. We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels."

"I do not think there is a consensus about an impending climate crisis. I personally certainly don't believe we are facing a crisis unless we create one for ourselves, as Benjamin Rush did by bleeding his patients. Many others, wiser than I am, share my view. The number of those with the courage to speak out is growing. There may be an illusion of consensus. Like the temperance movement one hundred years ago the climate-catastrophe movement has enlisted the mass media, the leadership of scientific societies, the trustees of charitable foundations, and many other influential people to their cause. Just as editorials used to fulminate about the slippery path to hell behind the tavern door, hysterical op-ed's lecture us today about the impending end of the planet and the need to stop climate change with bold political action. Many distinguished scientific journals now have editors who further the agenda of climate-change alarmism. Research papers with scientific findings contrary to the dogma of climate calamity are rejected by reviewers, many of whom fear that their research funding will be cut if any doubt is cast on the coming climate catastrophe. Speaking of the Romans, then invading Scotland in the year 83, the great Scottish chieftain Calgacus is quoted as saying "They make a desert and call it peace." If you have the power to stifle dissent, you can indeed create the illusion of peace or consensus. The Romans have made impressive inroads into climate science. Certainly, it is a bit unnerving to read statements of Dr. James Hansen in the Congressional Record that climate skeptics are guilty of "high crimes against humanity and nature."

Even elementary school teachers and writers of children's books are enlisted to terrify our children and to promote the idea of impending climate doom. Having observed the education of many children, including my own, I am not sure how effective the effort will be. Many children seem to do just the opposite of what they are taught. Nevertheless, children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science. Many of you may know that in 2007 a British Court ruled that if Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth," was used in public schools, the children had to be told of eleven particularly troubling inaccuracies. You can easily find a list of the inaccuracies on the internet, but I will mention one. The court ruled that it was not possible to attribute hurricane Katrina to CO2. Indeed, had we taken a few of the many billions of dollars we have been spending on climate change research and propaganda and fixed the dykes and pumps around the New Orleans, most of the damage from Hurricane Katrina could have been avoided.



Below are excerpts from Bill Steigerwalder's "Global Warming's Inconvenient Truths -- an Interview with Fred Singer"

Q: What did you think upon hearing of Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize?

A: First of all, I was really not surprised. The peace prize is a political exercise. Remember that Yasser Arafat got the peace prize for, ha, contributing to lasting peace in the Middle East. It's very interesting, the peace prize selection committee comes from the Norwegian Parliament, so they're all politicians. The government is a very left-wing government right now. I spoke about it this morning, in fact, and said that if the government changes -- if the Progress Party, which is an anti-immigration party, gains majority control -- it might give a peace prize to Pat Buchanan. It's purely political, unlike the other prizes, which are awarded by the Swedish academies and which are based on committees that know something about the subject.

Q: Have you seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"?

A: Yes. I saw a slide show at a presentation, which he made in Washington. I saw the movie and I read the book. They're all the same amount of bunk. They're all very, very well presented -- very skillfully presented from a technical point of view. But the science is really shoddy.

Q: A lot of people have seen the movie but they don't really keep up on this global-warming debate, which is very complex and very nasty sometimes about which science is true and which isn't.

A: It is nasty, but it shouldn't be complex. The issue is very simple. The only really important issue is, is the warming we are experiencing now natural or is it man-made? That's really the only issue. Everything else is commentary.

Q: Now the Gore camp will say global warming is man-made and they'll point to all kinds of things to prove that.

A: And they're all wrong.

Q: Is there anything that they point to where you say, "Yes, that's true but .?"

A: Yes. There are a lot of things they point to where I say, "Yes, but.." For example, they say glaciers are melting. Yes, but. It doesn't tell you what the cause is. You see, any kind of warming, from whatever cause, will melt ice. Whether it's natural or man-made warming, the ice doesn't care. It will melt when it gets warmer. This is a trick that they do. They play this trick many times over -- showing the consequences of global warming, which really don't tell you what the cause is. And the only important question is, remember, "What is the cause? Is it natural or man-made?" If it's natural, then there is nothing we can do about it. It's unstoppable. We can't change the sun or influence volcanism or anything of that sort. We're not at that stage yet. It also means that all these schemes for controlling CO2 are useless, completely useless. It's all bunk.

Q: When you say global warming is natural, what is your chief culprit?

A: The sun. The sun. Definitely. The evidence we have shows an extremely strong correlation with solar activity. The (Earth's) temperature follows the solar activity and the correlation is very strong. The mechanism itself is still under some dispute, but we think in some way the sun influences cosmic rays, which in turn influences cloudiness.

Q: That doesn't even count the heat output of the sun, which changes over time, doesn't it?

A: Those are very small and are not enough to account for all the climate changes that we see. What is causing it is not just the heat of the sun, but emissions from the sun that we don't see -- except with satellites and spacecraft -- the so-called solar winds and magnetic fields.

Q: What about the things like the wobble of the Earth on its axis and the Earth's eccentric orbit around the Sun?

A: That's also important, but on a different time scale. For each time scale there is a particular cause. The time scale I'm talking about when I talk about direct solar influences are of the order of decades. The time scales that involve wobbles and orbits of the Earth around the sun involve times scales of 10,000 or 100,000 years.

Q: Can you give a synopsis of "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years"?

A: Yes. Our book -- I co-authored it with Dennis Avery -- basically looks at published papers in the peer-reviewed literature by geologists and other paleo-scientists, oceanographers and so on, who have studied the climate records of the past. Every one of them shows this (roughly 1,500-year) cycle. It was first discovered in ice cores in Greenland. Then it was seen in ocean sediments in the Atlantic. And now it's been found everywhere, including in stalagmites in caves. In all kinds of climate records that you wouldn't think of that have been studied, you see this cycle. It shows warming and cooling -- that's an oscillation -- a slight warming and a slight cooling. It's not a big effect. But it could well account for the current warming. It can well account for the warming that occurred 1,000 years ago. It can well account also for what we call "The Little Ice Age," which occurred roughly 500 years ago.

Q: When people talk about the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica growing or shrinking or melting completely, what should we know about that?

A: Well, the ice sheets of Greenland have not melted in historic time at all, even though it was much warmer 1,000 years ago and very much warmer 5,000 years ago. The ice sheets on Antarctica haven't melted for millions of years, because it's really quite cold there. There is always some melting that takes place during the summer, of course, when the sun shines directly on the ice. But in the precipitation that falls -- the rain and snow that falls -- soon turns to ice and grows the ice sheet back again.

Q: Is the quote-unquote "scientific consensus" that Al Gore and his acolytes are always speaking of growing stronger or weaker?

A: Let me put it this way: Many scientists, unfortunately, support the idea that the human influence on climate is very strong compared to natural influences. We don't. We see the evidence differently. But most scientists disagree with Gore on specifics. For instance, on sea level rise: The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control), which is the U.N.'s climate advisory body, has come out with its report and predicts a sea level rise on the order of a foot and a half per century. Al Gore has a 20-foot rise. So he's way out of line compared to the mainstream science.

Q: People like you, who think that global warming is not a crisis that demands instant or dramatic government action, are regularly accused of being tools of the oil, gas and coal industries. How do you defend yourself from that charge?

A: Ha, ha. Well, there are various ways. In the first place, I've held these views for a very long time. And secondly, I'm not a tool of the oil industry. In fact, when you think about oil -- let's take Exxon for an example -- what the global warmists are trying to do is to demonize coal. Why? Because coal emits more carbon dioxide than oil or gas. Well, if they do that -- if they prevent the use of coal -- it figures that it makes oil and gas more valuable. It drives up the price. Exxon has huge reserves of oil and gas. So, in a sense, Exxon should benefit from global-warming alarmism. I don't know if people have thought about that. It's not been commonly discussed that all these holders of oil and gas reserves benefit financially any time the global warmists prevent the use of coal.

Q: The global warming community thinks we're going to turn to wind and solar and ocean-wave energy to replace fossil fuels.

A: None of that is economic. It will produce some energy at a great cost. Put it this way: If it were economic, it would have been done by now. The only way you can do wind and solar is with large government subsidies. And you ask yourself, "Why should we all subsidize with our tax dollars something which is basically uneconomic?"

Q: Here's my McCarthy Era question: Do you now or did you ever get money or grants or whatever from energy companies?

A: Sure. I'd love to get more, but they only did it once, I think. It was unsolicited, unannounced, and I cashed the check immediately. I've been wishing for more, ha, ha, but they haven't given me any more. Now, don't forget that what they've given me amounts to a tiny fraction of 1 percent of our total cumulative budget (at And don't forget that the energy companies give hundreds of millions of dollars -- which is at least 10,000 times as much as we're getting -- to researchers everywhere who are working to show that global warming exists and is human-caused.

Q: Do you have any explanation why the Al Gore camp has won the global warming argument in the mainstream media?

A: That's not really my field. I'm not sure they've won the argument in the media. I'm sure there are still many people in the media who are skeptical of Al Gore's arguments -- and they should be.

Q: Should they be skeptical of your arguments as well?

A: Some are skeptical of my arguments, yes, of course. That's because they haven't looked into it. In other words, I'm very convinced that when I talk to somebody one-on-one and show them the evidence, they will agree with me.

Q: As you've watched this global-warming debate evolve, are you optimistic that good science, honest science, will trump politics?

A: Yes, I'm optimistic because eventually it must do that. The problem is the word "eventually." In the meantime, a great deal of damage can be done to our economy as various schemes are being put forward to control CO2 emissions -- essentially to control the use of energy.


Japan's boffins: Global warming isn't man-made

Climate science is 'ancient astrology', claims report

Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission. Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN's IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan's native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.

JSER is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. The report appeared last month but has received curiously little attention. So The Register commissioned a translation of the document - the first to appear in the West in any form. Below you'll find some of the key findings - but first, a summary.


Three of the five leading scientists contend that recent climate change is driven by natural cycles, not human industrial activity, as political activists argue. Kanya Kusano is Program Director and Group Leader for the Earth Simulator at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology (JAMSTEC). He focuses on the immaturity of simulation work cited in support of the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Using undiplomatic language, Kusano compares them to ancient astrology. After listing many faults, and the IPCC's own conclusion that natural causes of climate are poorly understood, Kusano concludes: "[The IPCC's] conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are likely to show a continuous, monotonous increase, should be perceived as an unprovable hypothesis," he writes.

Shunichi Akasofu, head of the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska, has expressed criticism of the theory before. Akasofu uses historical data to challenge the claim that very recent temperatures represent an anomaly: "We should be cautious, IPCC's theory that atmospheric temperature has risen since 2000 in correspondence with CO2 is nothing but a hypothesis. "

Akasofu calls the post-2000 warming trend hypothetical. His harshest words are reserved for advocates who give conjecture the authority of fact. "Before anyone noticed, this hypothesis has been substituted for truth... The opinion that great disaster will really happen must be broken."

More here


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came under attack last week for soft-pedalling human rights during her visit to China. But then the U.S. appears to be in a weak position to lecture anybody about anything right now. "[O]ur pressing on those issues," she said, "can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis."

This might appear like an all-too-typical sacrifice of principle to pragmatism, but then there is little evidence that hectoring China about human rights has ever done much good.

China is of critical importance to the U.S. for all sorts of reasons, ranging from the U.S. need for China to keep buying U.S. debt, to China's unique diplomatic position vis a vis two of the three "axes of evil," North Korea and Iran. As Harvard celebrity historian Niall Ferguson has emphasized, it is the symbiotic relationship of "Chimerica" on which the global economy now depends.

China's non-democratic status at least means that it does not have to deal with the delusions of populist "do it yourself," beggar-thy-neighbour "solutions" to the current crisis. As a nation that depends as much as Canada on international trade, it is at least as concerned about the dangers of "Buy American" policies. Nevertheless, it will continue to buy America's debt as long as it believes that that is the key to global stability. In the longer term, the global economic system badly needs the Chinese miracle to reboot, and in particular for its domestic demand to be unleashed.

We obviously do not have access to everything that was discussed by Ms. Clinton while she was in China. The Chinese were probably particularly keen to assert their claim to Taiwan. The U.S. will also have asked China to exercise its influence to restrain Iran's nuclear program, and to continue to keep North Korea off its back.

China is keen to be recognized as a major global power, and to have more say in institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Forum, membership of which is clearly more indicative of status than effectiveness. But if that's what China wants, why not?

The other alleged major item on Ms. Clinton's agenda was the climate change "crisis." Certainly climate change policy is in crisis, but given the range of real issues facing the two countries plans to control the weather seem almost frivolous, particularly given that global temperatures have - contrary to all the modelling of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - cooled over the past decade.

China has every reason to love parts of the UN climate boondoggle, in particular those schemes under which it receives great gobs of laundered cash to close down facilities at little cost. But it has no intention of participating in any grand schemes to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions. Nor should it.

Both the Obama administration and that of Stephen Harper have declared that China must participate in any successor to the disastrous Kyoto Accord. This provision may have been made with full knowledge that China would never comply. It thus provides a great excuse for the collapse of negotiations at the forthcoming mega-meeting in Copenhagen (which will inevitably be spun as indicating the urgent need for more and bigger meetings).

To achieve any significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would involve the further decimation of already flagging economies. Even more significant, it would have absolutely no impact on the climate.

China has very major pollution problems with which it is keen to deal, but these do not arise from the emission of carbon dioxide. During her China visit, Ms. Clinton visited a natural gas-fuelled plant built by General Electric and the Chinese government which is reportedly twice as efficient as a conventional coal-fired plant. It would be intriguing to know who paid for it.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson has pointed out that money funneled to China under the UN's "Clean Development Mechanism" in fact merely serves to promote the construction of more coal-fired plants. However, these represent far more of a danger to local Chinese health than global climate. Dripping hubris, and a condemnation of capitalist history that could only have delighted diehard communists (very few of whom now exist in China), Ms. Clinton said, while touring the GE-built plant: "When we were industrializing and growing, we didn't know any better; neither did Europe . Now we're smart enough to figure out how to have the right kind of growth." Just as "we" were smart enough to figure out how to manage the money supply, promote home ownership and regulate the banking sector.

China is still a country rife with human rights abuses (at least by Western standards), but has come a long way. From an historical perspective, economic growth is the best guarantor of increasing freedom, just as increasing freedom is the best guarantor of economic growth. Unfortunately, climate change policy threatens both growth and freedom. We should cheer China's opposition to it.


What if there is no Man-Made Global Warming? What then?

Here are some questions every American should ask their elected officials - especially those supporting "climate change" legislation: If it is proven that climate change is not man-made, but natural, will you be relieved and excited to know that man is off the hook? Will you now help to remove all of the draconian regulations passed during the global warming hysteria, since it was all wrong headed and harmful to the economy and our way of life?

Their answers to these questions should be very illuminating as to the true agenda they seek to impose. Is their agenda really about helping to protect the environment, or is it about creating a new social and economic order, using the environment as the excuse?

If they are supporting climate change legislation because of a genuine concern for the environment, then they should now be greatly relieved to know that true science is showing more and more evidence that there is no man-made global warming, and in fact, a natural cooling period has begun.

Last year, 52 scientists authored a much hyped report issued by the UN's IPCC which said global warming was man-made and getting worse. But in the past year, more than 650 scientists from around the world have now expressed their doubts about the reports findings - 12 times the number of IPCC global warming alarmists now agree it's bunk.

"I am a skeptic.Global Warming has become a new religion," says Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever. "Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite a scientist I remain skeptical," says Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, formally with NASA and called "among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years." Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in history. When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists," said UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh. "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming," said U.S. Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B, Glodenberg. Top these very few quotes with the fact that 34,000 scientists have now signed a petition saying global warming is probably natural and is not man-made.

Instead, they say the science shows warming actually stopped in 1999. That the brief warming period we experienced in the past decade was completely natural, caused, in part, by storms on the sun, not CO2 emissions from SUVs. The Sun storms have ended and now, a cooling period has begun. That's it. Done. Crisis over. Man is not to blame.

Hurray! The nation should be rejoicing. No need for expensive green cars, mercury-filled light bulbs, special house building materials, alternative energy, no bird- killing windmills, no special energy taxes, no extra government oversight committees, no more global climate change conferences - and no need for a Climate Czar. Carol Browner can go back into mothballs. We can finally clean out the ten feet of fuel on the bottom of the forests and prevent the massive forest fires. And that will help us reestablish the timber industry and all the jobs that were killed. We can drill American oil and end our dependency on foreigners who hate us. In fact, that stable source of energy and its prices will help restore the Detroit auto industry and all of those jobs. Why, we don't need a stimulus package - the economy will rebound on its own. We are free. The environment is not in crisis. Rejoice! Rejoice!

That silence you hear is the news media, which refuses to report what any skeptic has to say. That silence you hear is the lack of effort on Capitol Hill to start to pull back from the climate change hysteria. That silence you hear is from the White House where President of Change, Barack Obama now has an EPA director, a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) director and a full blown Climate Change Czar, all working to impose huge cut backs in energy use, taxes, rules and regulations that will bring an already damaged economy to its knees - all in the name of man-made Global Warming - which doesn't exist. That silence you hear is from global corporations which have bought into Al Gores lie and invested heavily in the promised green economy. In fact, their dollars are the only thing green about any of it. Their commercials are promoting the lie and changing our way of life. None of them are about to change any of these policies, simply to accommodate a few scientific facts.

In spite of all the facts to the contrary, in spite of literally thousands of real scientists joining the ranks of the skeptics, Gore just told Congress that the Global Warming crisis is even worse than predicted. Obama said "the science is settled."

Why? Because global warming never was about protecting the environment. It was the excuse to enforce global governance on the planet, by creating a new global economy based on the environment rather than on goods and services. In short, it's all about wealth redistribution. Your wealth into a green rat hole. We used to call it communism. Now we call it environmentalism. It sounds so friendly. So meaningful. So urgent. The devastation is the same.

So, go ahead. Ask your elected representatives how they would react to the fact that global warming is not real. Are they happy and relieved, or do they continue to promote the same insanity called Climate Change? Their answers will tell you their true agenda.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The White House signalled on Monday it could wait until 2010 for major climate change legislation to move through the U.S. Congress as long as it fulfilled President Barack Obama's criteria for tackling global warming. When asked when the president wished to see movement on a climate bill, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs left a time frame wide open.

"If we had significant legislation that began to address climate change ... whether that's this year or next year I think both of us would agree that that's a big change that we would welcome," Gibbs said, referring to the president. He said the bill would have to allow the United States to spend even more money investing in alternative energies to ensure the country was not adding to the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Obama has spent the first month of his young administration focusing on lifting the United States out of a deep recession. He has put forward proposals to shore up the financial industry and stem home foreclosures while promising action on health care reform. Though investing in renewable energy is a key part of Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill, the administration has kept quiet about its other environmental goals for this year.


Greenie emissions plan for Australia set to be scuppered

The Federal Government's emissions trading scheme is heading for defeat in the Senate before it is even debated as independent Nick Xenophon and the Nationals' Barnaby Joyce rule out supporting the policy even with amendments. Senator Xenophon, who passed the Government's $42 billion stimulus package only after winning $1 billion in measures for the Murray-Darling Basin, told The Age he would vote against the scheme in its present form. But Senator Xenophon said he would not trade his vote for more money for the Murray-Darling or other programs, because he has fundamental problems with the design of the scheme.

Instead, Senator Xenophon is backing an alternative cap-and-trade program based on a Canadian model, which has been previously ruled out by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong. Senator Wong said in a speech on Friday that the Government would not delay nor change the details of its proposed cap-and-trade system.

If Senator Xenophon votes against the scheme, the Government will have to get the Opposition's support to pass it. However, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce believes "there are not enough amendments" to fix the scheme, and indicated the Nationals would reject the scheme outright. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is still waiting on economic research scheduled to be delivered this week before determining the Liberal Party's position.

Senator Joyce told The Age "it didn't matter" what the Coalition policy would be because he would be asked to vote on the Government's proposal. "And I cannot back it because it will throw people out of their jobs and their homes and do incredible damage to the Australian economy," he said.

Senior Liberal sources said yesterday there was disagreement in the joint party room on what policy the Opposition should take, with support from many members of the Liberal back bench to vote against the Government's scheme outright rather than seeking to amend it.

An industry source close to the Liberal Party said "they (the Coalition) have no policy really, but they have made a decision to get on the front foot after the disaster that was last week and so they are talking about climate change probably more than they would like at this moment".

Mr Turnbull and environment spokesman Greg Hunt indicated yesterday that the Opposition would present policies that contain emissions cuts greater than the 5 to 15 per cent range by 2020 announced by the Government last year, but would not say if they would support an emissions trading scheme. Mr Turnbull is backing a range of other emissions reduction programs such as biochar offsets, energy efficiency in buildings and international forestation measures, which can be implemented into an emissions trading scheme or run as independent programs. The Liberals and the Greens are proposing a Senate inquiry to replace the House of Representatives inquiry that Treasurer Wayne Swan shut down on Thursday.

The Greens have proposed 13 terms of reference for the inquiry, including investigation into the adequacy of the Rudd Government's 2020 targets. But the Coalition and Greens, who need to join forces to establish the Senate inquiry, last night had not agreed to the terms. The Government is expected to release draft legislation for the emissions scheme this week.



Because those they sell their stuff to are the ones really responsible for the emissions

The full extent of the west's responsibility for Chinese emissions of greenhouse gases has been revealed by a new study. The report shows that half of the recent rise in China's carbon dioxide pollution was caused by the manufacturing of goods for other countries - particularly developed nations such as the UK. Last year, China officially overtook the US as the world's biggest CO2 emitter. But the new research shows that around a third of all Chinese carbon emissions are the result of producing goods for export.

The research, due to be published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, underlines "off-shored emissions" as a key unresolved issue in the run up to this year's crucial Copenhagen summit, at which world leaders will attempt to thrash out a deal to replace the Kyoto protocol.

Developing countries are under pressure to commit to binding emissions cuts in Copenhagen. But China is resistant, partly because it does not accept responsibility for the emissions involved in producing goods for foreign markets.

Under Kyoto, emissions are allocated to the country where they are produced. By these rules, the UK can claim to have reduced emissions by about 18% since 1990 - more than sufficient to meet its Kyoto target. But research published last year by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) suggests that, once imports, exports and international transport are accounted for, the real change for the UK has been a rise in emissions of more than 20%.

China, as the world's biggest export manufacturer, is key to explaining this kind of discrepancy. According to Glen Peters, one of the authors of the new report at Oslo's Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research, around 9% of total Chinese emissions are now the result of manufacturing goods for the US, and around 6% are from producing goods for Europe. Academics and campaigners increasingly say responsibility for these emissions lies with the consumer countries.

Dieter Helm, professor of economics at Oxford University, said "focusing on consumption rather than production of emissions is the only intellectually and ethically sound solution. We've simply outsourced our production. If you add foreign manufacturing emissions to the transport emissions of bringing things from abroad, and you consider the lower energy efficiency and greater use of coal in China, then the result is hugely significant."

By contrast, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc), argues that these "embedded emissions" in Chinese-produced goods are "not the UK's emissions; the UK calculates and reports its emissions according to the internationally agreed criteria set out by the UN." However, Decc admitted to the Guardian that "the footprint associated with the UK's consumption has risen".

More here


Leading to a VERY interesting question

Andy Revkin at the New York Times asked Al Gore's office for their comments on Gore's use of data from CRED in Belgium in recent versions of his talk to illustrate the impacts of human-caused climate change on disasters. In response, Gore's office has said that they will pull the slide, as it does not have a scientific foundation.

Kudos to Al Gore who has demonstrated a commitment to scientific accuracy in his presentation. However there are still some issues with their response. Here is how Gore's office responded to Revkin as related at Dot Earth (please visit their site for embedded links):
"I can confirm that historically, we used Munich Re and Swiss Re data for the slide show. This can be confirmed using a hard copy of An Inconvenient Truth. (It is cited if you cannot recall from the film which is now several years old!). We became aware of the CRED database from its use by Charles Blow in the New York Times (May 31, 2008). So, it's a very new addition.

We have found that Munich Re and other insurers and their science experts have made the attribution. I'm referring you particularly to their floods section/report [link, link] Both of these were published in a series entitled "Weather catastrophes and climate change-Is there still hope for us."

We appreciate that you have pointed out the issues with the CRED database and will make the switch back to the data we used previously to ensure that there is no confusion either with regards to the data or attribution.

As to climate change and its impacts on storms and floods, the IPCC and NOAA among many other top scientific groups have indicated that climate change will result in more extreme weather events, including heat waves, wildfires, storms and floods. As the result of briefings from top scientists, Vice President Gore believes that we are beginning to see evidence of that now.

Switching from the CRED dataset to Munich Re (and Swiss Re) data does not solve the basic problem. As we found in an expert workshop organized in 2006 with Munich Re - The Munich Re dataset has exactly the same problems as the CRED dataset. Attribution of the role of greenhouse gas driven climate change in the increasing economic costs of disasters has yet to occur. So using a different dataset does not address the underlying problem. So when Al Gore's office says . . .
We have found that Munich Re and other insurers and their science experts have made the attribution.

. . . they are either cherry picking the selective views of a few people or simply mistaken. The scientific workshop that I co-organized with Peter Hoeppe of Munich Re concluded the following, with unanimous agreement among participants (PDF):
"Because of issues related to data quality, the stochastic nature of extreme event impacts, length of time series, and various societal factors present in the disaster loss record, it is still not possible to determine the portion of the increase in damages that might be attributed to climate change due to GHG emissions.

We also published this view in Science: Bouwer, L.M., Crompton, R.P., Faust, E., H”ppe, P., and Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2007. Confronting Disaster Losses, Science, Vol. 318, November 2, p. 753. (PDF).

So while Gore's office was right to pull the CRED information from their talk as lacking a scientific basis, the continuing reliance on data from Munich Re does not solve the basic issue, which is that attribution of the increasing toll of disasters to human-caused climate change remains speculative at best and not supported by science. To the contrary, increasing societal exposure and growing wealth in vulnerable locations are the overwhelming drivers of the increasing losses, a conclusion well supported by many studies. Here is a test to see how far Gore is willing to go in maintaining standards of accuracy in his talk.

Now that Gore has admitted that including the slide based on CRED data was a mistake, it raises a more fundamental question: How could it be that Al Gore presented obviously misleading information before a large audience of the world's best scientists, which was then amplified in a press release by AAAS, and none of these scientists spoke up?



Britain must build new nuclear power stations if it is to meet climate change targets, according to leading environmentalists.

It is the first time the green lobby has decided to embrace the technology after years of opposition. Campaigners have traditionally been against nuclear power because of the fear of proliferation of weapons and the problem of disposing of waste. However with Britain facing a major energy crisis in the next few years - as coal-fired power stations and old nuclear power stations close down - and with the UK Government committed to cutting greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050, many in the environmental movement are changing their minds. They argue that while nuclear power still has problems, climate change is a greater threat and that nuclear is a better option for keeping the lights on than building new coal-fired power stations.

The four leading environmentalists who have come out in favour of nuclear power are Stephen Tindale, former director of Greenpeace; Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, the chairman of the Environment Agency; Mark Lynas, author of the Royal Society's science book of the year, and Chris Goodall, a Green Party activist and prospective parliamentary candidate. Mr Tindale, who described his turn-around as a "religious conversion", said many more in the environment movement think "nuclear power is not ideal but it's better than climate change".

Around 10 power stations could be built in the UK in the next 30 years. The Government is currently consulting on sites that might be suitable for new nuclear stations and companies have expressed interest in starting to build in 2013, with the first plants coming on stream in 2018.

However environmental groups remained adamant that nuclear power can't solve the problem of climate change. Greenpeace argue that even if new nuclear stations are built it will not stop countries like China and India burning huge amounts of coal and the only way to reduce the threat of climate change is to improve efficiency and revolutionise energy generation with cheap and green renewables.

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: "Imagine if the billions wasted on the nuclear industry had been spent instead on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Then we'd really be matching our big problems with big solutions."


Big sharks right in Sydney harbour -- thanks to the Greenies

All sharks are now "protected" species in Australia

When we arrived about 10.45am Justin handed over one of the frigate mackerel his clients had just caught. With its blood red, oily flesh it was perfect shark bait. We did not use berley - mashed fish flesh, called chum in the US, and designed to attract sharks. Al rigged a stout gamefishing rod and reel filled with about a kilometre of 24kg strength line, attached a wire trace and smallish hook, and cast out a fillet of the frigate. Around us the little tuna - looking like lime green bullets - continued to feed, sometimes spearing half out of the water in their enthusiasm for their own tiny prey. The rod and reel are more at home chasing giant fish in the deep, many kilometres out to sea. But we were 10-15m from shore and our depth sounder read just 8m of flat bottom, with a drop-off to deeper water nearby.

Maybe 15 minutes later we knew something else besides frigate mackerel was out hunting. A bloke fishing in a tinny next to us cruised by and said: "I think I just saw a decent shark, just over in the really shallow water" as he pointed to the sandy shores less than 2m deep. Builders on shore, with the advantage of elevation enabling them to look deep into the water, waved and kept pointing to the same spot.

Within half an hour a brown shadow slid past the stern. About 1.8m long, it had the shape and colour of a bull shark. We also missed two tentative bites from what were most likely sharks. They do not always smash their prey and can be delicate feeders. Then, after only an hour drifting with the outgoing tide, and with Clifton Gardens' netted swimming enclosure a few hundred metres away, the fillet of frigate was swallowed. Line poured from the reel. "This is a shark, and it's a pretty big one," said Al.

The shark headed into the shipping channel, unstoppable. Half an hour after hook-up and the shark was still moving westwards, forcing us to motor at up to 10km/h. An hour after hook-up the shark appeared to be aiming for Garden Island, where navy diver Paul de Gelder was attacked on January 11. We manoeuvred our boat to try to force the shark towards the surface. Nothing seemed to be working until, finally, it swam into shallower water and began to tire.

An hour and a half after hook-up, with little warning, it gave up and could be led boatside. It made one last surge, a thick, broad, tan-coloured head breaching the surface, snow white teeth flashing in the sun, cream belly glowing, tail slapping the water. "It's a bloody big bull shark!" Al shouted.

Just as we were about to put a NSW Fisheries gamefish tag into its shoulders the shark's teeth overcame the wire trace and it was gone, leaving an upwelling of boiling water 2m across. We called it as a bull shark between 2.7m and 3m long. NSW Fisheries scientists will study photos of the shark. State Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald told The Daily Telegraph yesterday: "It is of a similar size to the one involved in the attack on the diver."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


An email below from Mark Duchamp [], Director, Climate Change and Alternative Energies, Iberica 2000

The oceans' acidity scare is back, embodied in the Monaco Declaration:
"...more than 150 leading experts warned that the world's oceans are becoming more acidic as a result of absorbing ever-increasing amounts of CO2."

"Surface ocean pH has already dropped by 0.1 units since the beginning of the Industrial revolution, exposing marine organisms to a rate of acidification that scientists believe has not been seen for many millions of years."

Dear me! Didn't corals appear in the oceans over 500 millions years ago, when there was 10 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere than there is today, and global temperature was 8 or 9 degrees warmer?

And if the world's climate were to resume its warming, aren't the oceans supposed to RELEASE more CO2 than they absorb?

Some Greenie rage

Horror that a major publisher of scientific journals supports Sen. Inhofe financially. Amusing that the writer below identifies himself as a "Questionable authority" (It's the name of his blog). Who am I to disagree? His rundown of Inhofe's sins certainly displays questionable authority. That "blasting Tom Brokaw's objectivity on the climate change issue" is a sin is certainly questionable. I think I would have called it an unquestionable truth!

There is little doubt that if there is any one person serving in the United States Senate who can be identified as anti-science, it is Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe. He's called global warming a "hoax", tried to pass a novelist off as a climate-change expert at a Senate hearing, and referred to the work of the IPCC as a "corruption of science". He had Senate committee staffers issue a press release blasting Tom Brokaw's objectivity on the climate change issue. We're talking about a sitting Senator who has been such a consistent and vocal opponent of science that the president of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science once referred to him - in an editorial in the journal Science - as a "conspiracy theorist".

Reed Elsevier is one of the leading - if not the leading - publishers of scientific journals. They make profits on the scale of thousands of dollars a minute selling these journals to libraries so that scientists can read them. They have, I'd suggest, some motivation to keep from pissing scientists off any more than necessary.

Which is why I was almost surprised to discover that Reed Elsevier Inc. gave Senator Inhofe $16,500 in 2008, with $3,000 of that coming right from their own Political Action Committee. It's nice to know that Reed Elsevier is always ready to stand behind scientists. With a knife in their hand.



Canadians going gaga over Barack Obama need to get a grip. He is not going to change the world. He is not going to right all wrongs. Indeed, his whirlwind visit to Ottawa this week underlines the new U.S. president's innate conservatism.

Take the one concrete measure that came out of his Thursday meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper - a Canada-U.S. decision to look into carbon capture as a solution to global warming. This does not signify Harper's willingness to endorse an Obama-sponsored get-tough approach to climate change. Rather, it represents the opposite - Obama's willingness to sign on to Harper's search (much criticized by Canadian environmentalists) for a miraculous new technology that would allow oil refineries and coal plants to keep polluting and then permanently store the resultant carbon emissions underground.

The U.S. president, in a veiled criticism of the Kyoto Accord on climate change, also noted that no solution to global warming can be found unless China and India are drawn in. This has been Harper's position all along. It was also that of former U.S. president George W. Bush.

None of this is to say that Obama is Bush redux. He isn't. But the differences between the two have been greatly overdrawn.

More here


Britain's efforts to cut carbon emissions have been hampered by government infighting and a reluctance to stand up to industry, according to the UK's former climate change minister. Elliot Morley, head of the new energy and climate change select committee, said tensions between different government departments had undermined moves to cut greenhouse gas pollution. Policies to cut carbon and help the environment were dismissed inside Whitehall as "idealistic and not giving enough attention to the pragmatic needs of industry", he said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Morley, a minister in the environment department Defra from 2003 to 2006, said: "I think there has been a failure to get complete cross-government buy-in." He added: "Defra did its best, but unless you get action from all the other ministries including the Treasury, you're never going to get anywhere." Crucial changes to building standards to make homes more energy efficient were delayed because of industry lobbying, he said.

Last year's government restructure to form a new Department of Energy and Climate Change will make a "huge difference" but will not solve the problem. "No one department is going to be able to deliver the kind of change that we need."

He said government squabbling had derailed efforts to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010 - a key Labour target from the 1997 manifesto which ministers have admitted they will miss. Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 0.3% since Labour came to power, though Britain remains on track to meet a separate greenhouse gas target under the Kyoto protocol.

"It came down to this argument about the costs to industry, which is what the energy people thought was their priority," Morley said. "Defra would sometimes be presented as a department that was too idealistic and not giving enough attention to the pragmatic needs of industry."

Morley praised the UK's "ground breaking" climate change bill, which commits the government to binding carbon reduction targets, but said there had been significant failures elsewhere. "Why on earth are we still building hospitals without combined heat and power? The answer is the tendering process and the private finance initiative."

He said it was "impossible to say" if he lost his ministerial role because of his doubts over on nuclear power. He is "sceptical" that nuclear can deliver more power than renewables for the same cost.


REVIEW: James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning

Until recently, we were told that the scientific community was in broad agreement about climate change. But, in the last few weeks, open warfare has broken out between experts presenting serious, evidence-based research and hysterical alarmists like James Hansen, who seem hell-bent on destroying the global economy through eye-wateringly expensive and totally unnecessary "emergency measures".

Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, recently called on scientists and journalists to stop misleading the public with "claim and counter-claim". Pope says there is little evidence to support claims that Arctic ice has reached a tipping point and could disappear within a decade or so, as some reports have suggested: "The record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer ice increasing again over the next few years."

In a recent wide-eyed rant in the Guardian last week, James Hansen branded coal-fired power plants "factories of death". But Hansen, the global warming lobby's most celebrated cheerleader, has now been called "an embarrassment to NASA". His work has been branded "unscientific". Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., former director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, recently accused him of "megalomania" and of "scientific authoritarianism". Others say he has "lost the plot".

In fact, as long ago as June 2008, Dr. Nicholas Drapela from Oregon State University Chemistry Department wrote: "My dear colleague Professor Hansen, I believe, has finally gone off the deep end. When you have dedicated the bulk of your career to a cause, and it turns out the cause has been proven false, most people cannot bring themselves to admit the truth. [His claims] contain neither reason nor truth."

But there is a greater, more sacred cow that even the most strident climate sceptics seem reluctant to attack: James Lovelock. Lovelock is responsible for the now-famous Gaia hypothesis, which is predicated on the idea that each of the planet's systems exist in intricate symbiosis with one another. Or, in his words, Gaia is "a complex entity involving the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet".

Sounds nice, doesn't it? But this isn't really a "hypothesis" at all: it's just a highfalutin' way of saying we shouldn't cut down so many trees and we shouldn't burn so much coal. The problem with Lovelock's theory is that he presents it as a scientific position, when really it's not even cargo cult stuff: Gaia is a perfectly pleasant metaphor for the dangers of abusing the natural world, but to posit his "cybernetic system" as a serious theory is to invite ridicule.

Perhaps realising - as James Hansen surely now does, if only privately - that the planet might just make it through the twenty-first century intact after all, Lovelock has switched focus in his new book. Now it's only humanity that's at risk. The planet will look after itself. All that saving the planet stuff was just a sales pitch: what we really need to be doing is saving the human race.

Controversially, Lovelock says nuclear power is the only viable way of generating enough energy to meet future demand. But in doing so, he overlooks - or ignores - the fact that even sustainable power is unsustainable. According to New Scientist, "The most advanced 'renewable' technologies are too often based upon non-renewable resources." In other words, the green lobby could be about to rob the planet of irreplaceable natural assets.

After close reading of this slender volume, I can offer no sensible summary of it, save to say that the climate lobby is clearly struggling to come up with new and inventive ways to keep the "industry" going. But I can offer some advice. Do not purchase The Vanishing Face of Gaia. Do not read it. Do not tell your friends about it. Do not, in short, do anything to attract further attention to this silly - though I'm sure lucrative - drivel. "Future generations" will thank you. The publishers tell me this is Lovelock's "final word" on the environmental problems humanity will face in the twenty-first century. We can be grateful, at least, for that.


Tasmanian health fear if climate heats up

This would be a most amusing article if it were not so dishonest and stupid. Quite aside from the basic fact that warm weather is better for you than cold weather (a lot more people die in winter than die in summer), the article is about Tasmania, which has a cool climate. And even under pessimistic assumptions, Tasmania would warm up only to the point where its climate is like Queensland today. And, writing as I do from Queensland, I can assure you that Queensland is flourishing in every way! We are not even suffering from bushfires

TASMANIA faces an ominous and burgeoning epidemic of chronic disease in its climate change future, the State's Director of Public Health said yesterday. Dr Roscoe Taylor said the spectre of an influenza pandemic was also very real. The foreseeable risks to health worldwide had been documented, he said, but Tasmania faced its share of public health concerns brought about after events that could only be attributed to climate change.

He said the increased frequency of extreme weather would cause physical injury and psychological instability, as the population became anxious about storm, drought or extreme heat events. "With changes in Tasmania's weather patterns, we will see more severe weather events," he said. "An ageing population of people living with chronic medical conditions might not readily cope with heat stress."

Longer term, Dr Taylor said drought would threaten reliable, nutritious food sources and water supply. "There are significant threats to public health and nutrition when our natural food sources are affected with seasonal interruptions," he said.

The extreme weather would also bring social isolation and anxiety. "There will be community anxiety about the future. We have to be careful not to transfer our own fears on to our children. "We have to give them a sense that they can minimise the risks and do something about the future."

Very real evidence of climate change across Tasmania's water supply was already playing itself out, he said. "We are seeing the impact of climate change on our water supply with increased and longer algal blooms," he said. "At Ross the population has had to seek alternative water supplies because of an ongoing blue-green algae outbreak, and on King Island blooms are appearing in the water catchment dams. "There are marine coastal blooms in the Huon and Statewide they are extending and lasting longer.

"These are subtle but definite effects of climate change. "It would appear that water scarcity is likely to persist, and a range of adaptation measures will be required to ensure the viability of communities and food supplies in the longer term."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama to ration CO2

What happens when you put ignoramuses in charge of a government

President Barack Obama's climate czar said Sunday the Environmental Protection Agency will soon issue a rule on the regulation of carbon dioxide, finding that it represents a danger to the public. The White House is pressing Congress to draft and pass legislation that would cut greenhouse gases by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, threatening to use authority under the Clean Air Act if legislators don't move fast enough or create strong enough provisions.

Carol Browner, Obama's special advisor on climate change and energy, also said the administration is seeking to establish a national standard for auto emissions that could mean tougher efficiency mandates for auto makers. The new standard could be fashioned after strict proposals developed in California that would limit greenhouse gas emissions - initiatives that car makers have vigorously fought. The comments - the first by the administration on the topic - could lead to another blow for beleaguered car companies such as General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) that are already tottering.

"EPA's going to look at Mass. Vs. EPA and will make an endangerment finding," Browner told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview. The Supreme Court ordered the EPA in the Mass. Vs. EPA case to determine if carbon dioxide endangered public health or welfare. "The next step is a notice of proposed rulemaking" for new regulations on CO2 emissions, Browner said on the sidelines of the National Governors Association meeting, one of her first public appearances since the inauguration.

Browner declined to say exactly when the EPA would issue the finding or rulemaking, but EPA chief Lisa Jackson has indicated it could be on April 2, the anniversary of Mass Vs. EPA. Obama EPA chief Lisa Jackson said earlier in the month that her office would soon begin drafting rules for regulating CO2. The agency has been intensely reviewing and updating an existing endangerment finding made last year by agency officials - but blocked by the previous administration - that found carbon dioxide threatened human welfare.

Officially recognizing that carbon dioxide is a danger to the public would trigger regulation of the greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, refineries, chemical plants, cement firms, vehicles and any other emitting sectors across the economy. Industry fears it could shut down the economy, not only preventing plants from operating and spurring a dramatic retooling of the energy sector but also pushing up costs and hurting the international competitiveness for a raft of sectors. Environmentalists, meanwhile, say action by the administration is required by law and need to pressure lawmakers to act.

But Browner said the administration prefers that Congress draft legislation rather than CO2 to be regulated under the Clean Air Act because lawmakers could develop a bill that could more deftly regulate the greenhouse gas through a cap- and-trade system. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday he aims to pass a climate change bill by the end of the summer, and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., head of the panel responsible for drafting a CO2 bill, said he wanted a bill approved by the Memorial Day holiday in May.

Browner also declined to say what the administration's target date for Congress to pass a climate bill before accelerating the Clean Air Act rulemaking, but she called Waxman's schedule an "aggressive" one. "In the next several weeks we will begin to see the shape of legislation...( and) we will work with Congress as they shape it," she later told a group of Western Governors.

The climate czar dismissed critics of fast, stringent climate change laws who have said that the existing financial crisis would only be exacerbated by putting a premium on emitting carbon dioxide. She said businesses hoping to invest in CO2 mitigation projects needed more certain policy signals to plow cash into projects and companies, and that the rulemaking process would create a buffer for action and compliance.

Critics of putting an expensive premium on carbon say that such a schedule may be overly optimistic given the global financial crisis and the ramifications that putting a cap on greenhouse gases would have across nearly every sector of the economy. Tough action too fast, they say, not only could curb manufacturing and create an energy crisis by halting new power plant construction, but also could force a rapid migration of businesses overseas to cheaper energy climes.

Specifically, Obama wants an economy-wide law - instead of just some major emitting sectors - and to auction off 100% of the emission credits, which analysts say could exponentially increase the cost of emitting, as well as the pay-off for low-carbon projects.

Browner also said the administration had directed the EPA and the Department of Transportation to develop a national policy for auto emissions. The DOT is currently developing new auto efficiency standards, but the White House and the EPA are currently considering a request from California to implement their own much stricter standards, which consider greenhouse gas emissions rather than just fuel efficiency and are likely to be followed in a more that a dozen other states. The administration could seek to implement the California standards or a negotiated version of them across the country, however, Browner indicated. "We need a unified national policy when it comes to clean vehicles," Browner told the governors, adding that the Department of Transportation and EPA needed to cooperate and determine the impact of both conventional pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and give auto makers the time and policy direction necessary to re-tool their plants. "Both agencies have to meet their responsibilities...we're just trying to figure out how do you do it in a way that the car companies have a clear ( mandate)," Browner told reporters after the event.

Car makers have expressed concern not only about the costs of meeting the tough new standards, but also having to make cars that have to meet two different mandates.

Separately, Browner said the administration was also going to create an inter-agency task force to site a new national electricity transmission grid to meet both growing demand and the President's planned renewable energy expansion. Siting has been a major bottleneck to renewable growth, and lawmakers and administration officials have said they're likely to seek greater federal powers that would give expanded eminent domain authorities.


Some comments on the above from various sources:

1). What's tragic is that we're heading into carbon rationing for no justifiable pretext at ALL. This isn't food or fuel or anything that has obvious value. It's a trace gas. Right now you're inhaling 24 times more ARGON than carbon dioxide, for crying out loud. Ration this trace gas and neither the atmosphere nor global temperatures will know the difference. But people will starve and die and millions will live in misery. For what? For what?

2). Such a decision is irrational and misguided ipso facto, in addition to being economically devastating. Let alone that there is no evidence of CO2 causing global warming, there's no evidence that the increasing amount is principally ours.

3). Since this decision was signaled during the campaign, then after Obama's election, then by appointing Browner and the others, it would seem likely that the markets have already taken it into account and declined accordingly. But perhaps not: even the savviest investors have had a lot of news to take into account; and the potential effects of regulating CO2 under the Clean Air Act are complex and uncertain. It may thus be the case that as the reality approaches and becomes clearer, the stock market will make a major correction downward. A 7000 Dow Industrials may look very good in a few months. As Chris Horner has suggested to CEI's global warming team, we should be out front explaining over and over that this is going to cause enormous fundamental economic damage. The economy cannot recover on the basis of permanent energy-rationing regulations. The medicine they seem eager to give us will force us to live at a lower level of economic activity for as long as the energy diet lasts.

4). 94% of the carbon in the atmosphere has the same isotopic signature as the natural background.
6% signals an organic origin, fossil fuels included.
3% is what the IPCC itself says man is contributing.
Yet all the talk is about amputating the human fraction while no one is willing to mention what a small fraction it is. I'm afraid that if this hysteria does succeed, it will be because it wasn't fundamentally opposed.

Stop the CO2 Madness!

When The New York Times publishes a story, as it did on February 19, regarding the next step in the Obama administration's intention to destroy the U.S. economy, it's a very good idea to pay attention.

"E.P.A. Expected to Regulate Carbon Dioxide" was the headline of John M. Broder's article. "The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to act for the first time to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists blame for the warming of the planet, according to top Obama administration officials."

Those "top Obama administration officials" are unnamed and so too are the "scientists" claiming that the planet is "warming." For the record, although you will never read this in The New York Times, the planet is NOT warming. It is COOLING. It has been cooling for a decade now and it is no secret to meteorologists who track the day to day temperatures or climatologists who study long term trends.

On March 8-10, more than 500 of those scientists who dispute the vast global warming hoax will meet in New York for a second international conference on climate change sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a non-profit, free market think tank.

Joining those scientists and others will be Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic and current president of the European Union. Also participating will be American astronaut, Dr. Jack Schmitt, Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other leading scientists who have led the effort to shed the light of truth on the global warming hoax.

You can be sure of one thing. They will all continue to be attacked as crazies denying the "consensus" that Al Gore is always braying about. Science is not about "consensus", it is about reproducible facts. All the "facts" about melting glaciers, dramatically rising sea levels, and other claims by the GW crowd have been refuted.

The claims of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the basis for the Kyoto Protocols to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been demolished repeatedly but the mainstream press refuses to report this, nor the fact that the IPCC is a political, not scientific, entity designed to advance the global warming hoax. Many of the scientists initially enticed to participate have since resigned. The vast bulk, easily 80% or more of those cited as IPCC members are not scientists who deal with issues of climate.

The IPCC's claims have been based entirely on computer models. This in itself should have raised flags long ago. These models, as Hans Schreuder, an analytical chemist, has pointed out, "regard the earth as a flat disk bathed in a constant 24 hour haze of sunlight, without north and south poles, without clouds, and without any relationship to the real planet we live on."

The claim that rising levels of carbon dioxide are responsible for a global warming that is not happening is entirely without scientific merit and, if for no other reason, should not be the basis for implementing EPA regulation of so-called "greenhouse gas" emissions under the Clean Air Act.

While it is true that there has been an increase in CO2 since the end of the last mini-ice age that lasted from 1500 to 1850, there is no research that demonstrates CO2 and an increase in the Earth's temperature has any relationship. What warming occurred was entirely natural. Indeed, CO2, at less than 400 parts per million by volume, cannot influence atmospheric temperature or climate in any measurable way.

CO2 represents just 0.038% of the Earth's atmosphere. The dominant factors in the Earth overall temperature are the Sun, the oceans, and even clouds.

If the U.S. weather service climate models are unable to predict changes in the weather by more than a week's time, why would anyone believe that the IPCC's models could predict it twenty, fifty or a hundred years from now?

Despite this, the EPA is tasked to impose regulations on CO2 emissions that would wreck the economy by requiring a "cap-and-trade" of "carbon credits" that would impact every single business and industrial activity. The European Union tried this and it has proved a massive failure and a huge drag on its economy.

Carbon dioxide is not a "pollutant" as the Supreme Court has ruled. How can the Earth's second most vital gas, other than oxygen, be a pollutant? Not one single piece of vegetation on Earth could exist without CO2. Without vegetation, no animal life including our own could exist on Earth.

The notion that the EPA would regulate it is preposterous. It is absurd. It is criminal. It is immoral. It has no basis whatever in the actual science of the world's climate. It is based on a massive, global hoax masterminded by the United Nations and carried out by charlatans such as Al Gore and NASA's James Hansen.

It is, however, the vehicle for the political control of the world's economy that would fulfill the United Nation's global government schemes and, if enacted here in America, would mark the destruction of an economy that is the engine of the world's economy, despite its current difficulties.

The Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years. The assertion that human beings and/or industrial activity have any effect on its atmosphere is an instrument of fascism.


Wind jobs vs coal jobs revealed to be 'bogus comparison'?

Yesterday's FT had a largely forgettable op-ed by Al Gore and Ban Ki-Moon on green aspects of economic stimulus packages. However, it did have this interesting statement that caught my attention:
In the US, there are now more jobs in the wind industry than in the entire coal industry.

First, is this in fact true? Second, if it is true, how can it be that wind can ever be cost competitive with coal? Consider that coal, according to the US EIA was responsible for generating 155,000 thousand megawatt-hours of energy production in November, 2008. Wind was responsible for 1,300 thousand megawatt hours. This means that the US saw about 120 times as much energy produced from coal as wind. If it takes more employees to generate 0.8% of the energy as coal produces, how can it ever be cost competitive?

Something does not add up. Someone please explain this.

OK, a diligent reader writes in with the explanation:

Gore and Moon are using misleading, bogus information, as documented by the Christian Science Monitor. Here is an excerpt from the CSM:
Earlier this week, Fortune's eco-blog, Green Wombat, ran a story under the headline, "Wind jobs outstrip the coal industry." Blogger Todd Woody cites new report from the American Wind Energy Association that about 85,000 people are now employed by the wind power industry, up from 50,000 a year ago. Mr. Woody then says that "the coal industry employs about 81,000 workers," citing a 2007 report from the Department of Energy. Woody calls this comparison "a talking point in the green jobs debate."

The story was republished on the Huffington Post, cited by Mother Jones magazine, and has been bouncing around the green blogosphere for the past few days. But it's a bogus comparison. According to the wind energy report, those 85,000 jobs in wind power are as "varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more." The 81,000 coal jobs counted by the Department of Energy are only miners. Their figure excludes those who haul the coal around the country, as well as those who work in coal power plants.

It is a good thing that it is not true, as the CSM write, "If it really took that many people to provide so little wind energy, it would never become competitive with fossil fuels."



Three articles below:

Major Australian political parties in climate of confusion

MALCOLM Turnbull's new focus on greenhouse gas reduction policy is simply a diversion from internal problems in the opposition, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says. The Opposition leader - who has been fending off renewed speculation about the ambitions of Peter Costello - has seized on the Government's emissions trading scheme (ETS) policy, flagging a Senate inquiry to replace the one the Government axed last week.

But today Liberal MPs were unwilling to define their policy with frontbencher Christopher Pyne telling ABC Television: "Everything's on the table.'' Emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb was also reluctant to provide more details. "We will specify that in clearer terms later on,'' he said, when asked for a specific reduction target. Queensland backbencher Stuart Robert was happy to attack the Government, but unable to offer clear advice on where the Opposition was heading. "The Government's ETS will cost jobs,'' Mr Robert said in Canberra.

Mr Turnbull has also signalled a more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target than the Government's 5-15 per cent by 2020, and a less complex scheme for achieving the target. The Government has dismissed the new stance, saying it is a mirage.

However the Government is also grappling with what the final shape of its emissions policy will be. Senator Wong says the Government has always acknowledged the need for additional policies to its planned emissions trading scheme. But turning Australia from one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world to a low-pollution one requires the "hard'' economic reform of an ETS.

"Mr Turnbull knows this,'' Senator Wong said. The only reason he is walking away from the ETS is because of deep divisions in the Liberal Party, she said. "Many ... simply do not want to take action on climate change.''

Tasmanian Labor MP Dick Adams said he leant toward starting with a lower reduction target. "We can't go about sending our capital offshore and therefore costing us one hell of a lot of jobs. "I'm a minimalist in this debate, let's start, let's get a scheme out there and then let's deal with that over a period of years.''

South Australian Government backbencher Amanda Rishworth said it was hard to believe anything the Opposition said about climate change. "I don't believe what Malcolm Turnbull does say because he's dealing with a party that is filled with climate change sceptics.'' [Heartening news!]


Warmist laws to butcher Australian farm production

The nation's agricultural output would be slashed by $2.4 billion a year by 2020 under Kevin Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme. Losses to the farming sector would balloon to $10.9 billion a year by 2030, driven by production declines of more than 25 per cent in the beef and wool industries, a report by the Centre for International Economics has found. The forecasts are based on the federal Government's White Paper assumption that agriculture will have to pay for its emissions by 2016.

The study, prepared for the Australian Farm Institute in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation and Dairy Australia, finds the sheepmeats, pork and dairy sectors will also be hit hard, with production drops by 2030 of 21 per cent, 10.4 per cent and 8.1 per cent respectively. Producers will experience a big rise in ETS-related costs even before agriculture's inclusion in the scheme because of increased energy, fertiliser and transport costs, the study finds.

The increased cost of Australian products is expected to cause export volumes to decline. Exports of beef and sheep are projected to decline by 14 per cent and 10 per cent respectively by 2030 if agriculture is included in an emissions trading scheme. David Pearce, of the Centre for International Economics, said the research body had been surprised by the size of the fallout expected to hit the livestock-based industries of beef, sheepmeat, wool and dairy. "There is a cost increase for the cropping industries but nowhere near as big as for the meat-based," he said. "One of the key things we show is that agriculture will be affected by the scheme whether or not it is a participant. "Parts of agriculture are energy intensive; they use inputs which involve energy, fertilisers, chemicals; they also use a lot of transport in order to shift commodities around the country."

Peter Heelan, 52, who runs cattle at his Ulcanbah Station, 90km from Clermont in central Queensland, said he knew one thing about the Prime Minister's ETS: it was going to cost him money, which could not be worse timed following the floods and droughts that had hit rural Australia in recent years. "Everyone in the bush is hoping the ETS will go away," Mr Heelan said. "We're at the end of the line. We can't pass it on but everything will be passed on to us - the cost of electricity, transport, any fodder you've got to buy, it's all likely to rise. "The ETS will send some people to the wall. I'm sure a lot of bush people have large debts after floods and droughts. Things are tight enough as they are."

Australian Farm Institute head Mick Keogh said the report showed the impact of the emissions trading scheme would be far greater than the projected slowdown under the unlikely worst case scenarios developed by Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics. "The biggest threat to agriculture over the next half century is not climate change, it is climate change policy," Mr Keogh said, adding that the ETS had the potential to do profound and long-lasting damage to the sector. "Even the most conservative projection of 9 per cent reduction in the beef industry by 2020 represents $1.5 billion reduction in output, which would lead to a significant loss of job opportunities and major changes to regional economies," Mr Keogh said. "That would amount to a massive change in rural communities."


Increased croc danger due to protection

A different Battle of the Boyne

Dangerous saltwater crocodiles may be expanding into new territory in southern Queensland under a "huge recovery" in numbers, experts have warned. One world-renowned crocodile expert believes Queensland needs to reconsider culling, with increased sightings of maneater-sized reptiles in southern parts of the state. Prominent researchers Professor Grahame Webb, from Darwin, and Professor Gordon Grigg, from the University of Queensland, said the state's existing crocodile management plan was "inadequate". They say there is insufficient data about crocodile movements and numbers.

But Environmental Protection Agency director-general Terry Wall hit back, saying that since November last year, the EPA had responded quickly and effectively to more than 40 separate crocodile reports and incidents around the state [Not counting those who got killed and eaten by crocs, I guess]. "There is no evidence of crocodile populations expanding beyond the accepted range, the southerly extreme of which is the Boyne River," Mr Wall said. "Crocodiles do, from time to time, turn up south of the Boyne and a large animal was shot in the Logan River south of Brisbane in 1905. This is a rare occurrence." He denied there had been any explosion in saltwater crocodile numbers, saying "available data showed population recovery was slow" due to predators eating eggs, the low survival rate of hatchlings and illegal fishing.

But the experts say there has been too little research. Professor Webb, head of the United Nations crocodile specialists group, said claims of a static population were "nonsense". "There has been a huge recovery in population," he said, suggesting it might be time to bring back the gun.

His comments come amid heated debate over culling after the death of crocodile attack victim Jeremy Doble, 5, who was taken by a 4.3m crocodile on the Daintree River on February 8. His parents, Steve and Sharon Doble, who operate crocodile tours, asked that the animal not be harmed. It will be sold to a crocodile farm.

Professor Webb said many Queenslanders appeared to be croc-huggers. "They are a large and dangerous predator that extends up and down the east coast of Queensland," Professor Webb said. "There is nothing wrong with removing crocs by shooting or culling because their populations are robust. "Crocs cause the biggest problem when they suddenly appear in areas, when they are moving around trying to find new territory." Professor Webb said that while the climate and terrain of the Northern Territory and parts of Cape York was ideal for crocodiles, they were known to move as far south as Coffs Harbour in New South Wales.

University of Queensland Emeritus Professor of Zoology Gordon Grigg, who is writing a book on crocodile biology, said the EPA needed to do more regular surveys. "We've had sporadic surveys and I think we'd be better if they were done more frequently," he said. "The EPA needs to know a lot more about the animals, where they are, what numbers, and where they can be in possible conflict with humans." Only then could informed decisions be made about how to handle them.

He said reports of resident crocs in the state's southeast should not be dismissed. "It is certainly not impossible, salties would not be able to breed and raise young as far south as Coffs Harbour or Brisbane, but certainly a largish croc is able to come down this far south. "I suspect if they did come this far they'd be lost, they'd have swum the wrong way, they'd be strays."

Professor Craig Franklin, of the University of Queensland, said humans were encroaching more and more on crocodile territory as people ventured more into their zone. "In the end we have to learn to live alongside crocodiles as we will never completely remove them," he said. "My fear is that people who believe a cull is the solution will ultimately lead people into a false sense of security, simply because you might remove them for the short term, but next week, next month or next year another one will appear in the system."

Estuarine crocodiles, also known as salties, are protected nationally and listed as "vulnerable" in Queensland. Hunting was banned in 1971. It is estimated there are up to 80,000 wild crocodiles around Australia. In 2007, an EPA vessel-based survey of 47 Queensland rivers stretching from the Endeavour River near Cooktown to the Burnett River near Bundaberg, identified 289 crocodiles of varying sizes. The next study is set down for late this year.

Under the latest EPA estuarine crocodile management plan released last month, authorities are allowed to remove up to 50 problem crocodiles a year from the wild to be placed in captive crocodile facility. Last year seven were removed, compared with 12 the previous year. All crocodiles trapped south of the Boyne are removed from the wild. Satellite tracking of three large male crocodiles, between 3m and 4m long, shows the prehistoric creatures can swim up to 30km a day.

One relocated croc swam 400km in 20 days, displaying an impressive homing instinct by returning to within metres of its former territory on the other side of Cape York Peninsula in a single journey. [So much for all the good that relocating them does]



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Don't Count on 'Countless' Green Jobs

Obama is an economic illiterate. Moving people from productive jobs to less productive ones is what his proposals add up to and that hikes costs for everyone

In signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act this week in Denver, President Barack Obama claimed that the law -- which among other things will ramp up funding for renewable energy development -- is "laying the groundwork for new green energy economies that can create countless well-paying jobs." This statement follows promises he made during his campaign for the presidency. Mr. Obama said, for example, that he'd create as many as five million such jobs by investing over $150 billion over 10 years on wind, solar, biofuels and other renewable energy sources.

He's also proposed a federal "renewable portfolio standard" that would require 25% of our electricity to come from clean sources -- a mandate that would boost demand for windmills, solar farms, and other clean but expensive technologies (nuclear power, however, would be excluded). This transformed energy economy, Mr. Obama said at a campaign debate in Nashville, Tenn., last October, would be an "engine of economic growth" to rival the computer.

If the green-jobs claim sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. There's an unavoidable problem with renewable-energy technologies: From an economic standpoint, they're big losers. Renewables simply cannot produce the large volumes of useful, reliable energy that our economy needs at attractive prices, which is exactly why government subsidizes them. The subsidies involved are considerable. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in early 2008 that the government subsidizes solar energy at $24.34 per megawatt-hour (MWh) and wind power at $23.37 per MWh. Yet even with decades of these massive handouts, as well as numerous state-level mandates for utilities to use green power, wind and solar energy contribute less than 1% of our nation's electricity.

Compare the subsidies to renewables with those extended to natural gas (25 cents per MWh in subsidies), coal (44 cents), hydroelectricity (67 cents), and nuclear power ($1.59). These are the energy sources (along with oil, which undergirds transportation) that do the heavy lifting in our energy economy.

The alternative technologies at the heart of Mr. Obama's plan, relying on mandates and far greater handouts, will inevitably raise energy prices -- and high power prices are job killers. Industries that make physical products, whether cars or chemicals or paper cups, are energy-intensive and gravitate to low-cost-energy locales.

With some of the highest electricity prices in the country, California and New York have hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs. California-based Google houses its massive server farms in states like North Carolina and Oregon, which have lower electricity costs. Policies that drive up energy costs nationwide, as Mr. Obama intends, will inevitably drive more manufacturing jobs overseas.

What about jobs in the traditional industries currently supplying Americans with reliable, affordable energy? The American Petroleum Institute reports that the oil and gas industry employs 1.6 million Americans. Coal mining directly and indirectly supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to the National Mining Association and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A radical plan to transform our energy economy will put an untold number of these men and women out of work.

Digging deeper each month to pay for expensive renewable energy, consumers will have less to save or spend in other areas of the economy. Killing jobs in efficient industries to create jobs in inefficient ones is hardly a recipe for economic success. There may be legitimate arguments for taking dramatic steps to fight climate change. Boosting the economy isn't one of them.


California's 'Green Jobs' Experiment Isn't Going Well

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007 -- in anticipation of the new mandates -- California has led the nation in job losses.

The regulations created a cap-and-trade system, similar to proposed federal global-warming measures, by limiting the CO2 that utilities, trucking companies and other businesses can emit, and imposed steep new taxes on companies that exceed the caps. Since energy is an input in everything that's produced, this will raise the cost of production inside California's borders.

Now, as the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It's become clear to nearly everyone that the plan's backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. "We've been sold a false bill of goods," is how Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who has been the GOP's point man on environmental issues in the legislature, put it to me.

The environmental plan was built on the notion that imposing some $23 billion of new taxes and fees on households (through higher electricity bills) and employers will cost the economy nothing, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Almost no one believes that anymore except for the five members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This is the state's air-quality regulator, which voted unanimously in December to stick with the cap-and-trade system despite the recession. CARB justified its go-ahead by issuing what almost all experts agree is a rigged study on the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system. The study concludes that the plan "will not only significantly reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also have a net positive effect on California's economic growth through 2020."

This finding elicited a chorus of hallelujahs from environmental groups. The state finally discovered a do-good policy that pays for itself. Californians can still scurry around in their cars, heat up their Jacuzzis, and help save the planet. But there was a problem. The CARB had commissioned five economists from around the country to critique this study. They panned it.

Harvard's Robert Stavins, chairman of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's economic advisory committee under Bill Clinton, told me that "None of us knew who the other reviewers were, but we all came up with almost the same conclusion. The report was severely flawed and systematically underestimated costs." Another reviewer, UCLA Prof. Matthew E. Kahn, a supporter of the new regulations, criticized the "free lunch" aspect of the report. "The net dollar costs of each of these regulations is likely to be much larger than is reported," he concluded. Mr. Stavins points out that if these regulations are a net boon for businesses and the economy, "why would you need to impose regulations like cap and trade?"

The Sacramento Bee, which has editorialized in support of the new regulations, was aghast at CARB's twisted science. We have to "be candid about the real costs of the transition," a cautionary editorial advised. "Energy prices will rise, and major capital investment will be needed in public transit and new transmission lines. Industries that are energy intensive will move elsewhere."

The green lobby has lectured us for years that global warming is all about the sanctity of science. Those who question the "scientific consensus" on catastrophic atmospheric changes are belittled as "deniers." Now, in assessing the costs, the greens readily cook the books and throw good science out the window. "To most of the most strident supporters of this legislation," says Mr. Niello, "the economic costs don't really matter anyway, because we are supposedly facing an environmental apocalypse."

Mr. Schwarzenegger fits into that camp. He recently declared: "I recommend very strongly that we move forward . . . . You will always have people saying this will lose jobs."

Meanwhile, the state is losing jobs, a lot of them. California's unemployment rate hit 9.3% in December, up from 4.9% in December 2006. There are now 1.5 million Californians out of work. The state has the fourth-highest housing foreclosure rate in the nation, has lost more businesses than any state in recent years, and is facing a $40 billion deficit. With cap and trade firmly in place, the economic situation is only likely to get worse.

Other states are plundering the Golden State's industries by convincing businesses to pick up stakes and move out before the cap-and-trade earthquake hits. Governors and Washington politicians who want to reduce their "carbon footprint," but are worried about the more immediate crises of cascading unemployment, unbalanced budgets, and the housing-market collapse, would be wise not to follow California's lead. Green policies have a tendency to push states into the red.


Something else that is not in the "models"

Earth's Cracks May Contribute to Global Warming

Whether devastating faults, dank caves or mud cracks on a drying desert plain, Earth's surface is riddled with fractures. Now a new study had found that the cracks exhale large quantities of gas, perhaps enough to affect global warming. Noam Weisbrod of Ben Gurion University of the Negev and a team of researchers monitored a crack about 2 meters long (6.5 feet) and 1 meter (3.3 feet) deep for two years in the Negev Desert is Israel. Each night, they watched as warm air in the crack drew water vapor out of the surrounding rock, and lifted it into the cold evening air.

If air in the crack is just 7 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature, it is buoyant enough to rise out of any crack in the ground bigger than 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) across, bringing with it any gases that leak out of the surrounding soil or rock. But the team was surprised to find that the crack they studied gave off water vapor up to 200 times faster than areas without fractures.

"Sometimes we go for walks at night, and you put your face over the mouth of a cave and you can feel a warm wind coming out," Weisbrod said. "Usually it's a nice hot wind in the cold air."

Like carbon dioxide, water vapor is a greenhouse gas that plays a crucial role in the way Earth's atmosphere traps heat from the sun. Though the team only measured water vapor, Weisbrod said it's likely that cracks also regularly emit elevated amounts of CO2 and nitrogen oxides.

This doesn't only happen in extremely dry areas, he added. The Negev is arid, but roughly equivalent in dryness to the area around Los Angeles, Calif., the American southwest, and many regions around the world. Fractures are common in soils and rocks in wet regions as well, Dan Yakir of the Weizman Institute of Science said.

Taken as a whole, emissions from fractures in the uppermost meter of the planet's crust may make a significant contribution to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But Weisbrod stressed it's too early to make such a conclusion; the team only studied one crack in detail out of millions. "This has the potential to be important globally," Yakir said. "The biosphere soaks up 30 percent of the carbon, and soil respiration is a very large part of that. If cracks remove CO2 from soils much faster than usual, it's important. But this study is only a first step."


Former IPCC lead editor: Co2 disaster is allegedly coming, but we might not actually see the evidence until 2040

This follows the No. 1 rule of good prophecy: Make sure that you put the prophesied event far enough in the future so that you will be dead before they find out that you were wrong. Background on John T. Houghton (born 1931): Sir John Theodore Houghton FRS CBE was the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) scientific assessment working group. He was the lead editor of first three IPCC reports. He was professor in atmospheric physics at the University of Oxford, former Chief Executive at the Met Office and founder of the Hadley Centre.

The expert who dubbed global warming a "weapon of mass destruction" will present the scientific evidence for global warming and outline the actions required to halt climate change at a public event in St Andrews this week.

Meteorologist Sir John Houghton predicts that disaster awaits if action is not taken to combat man-made global warming. He will explore the moral and theological obligations that he believes we should all address....

Talking in advance of the lecture, Sir John explained, "One cabinet minister asked me, "When's all this going to happen?" I replied that in 20 or 30 years we can expect to see some large effects. "Oh" he said, "that's OK, it'll see me out". But it won't see his children or grandchildren out."


Opposing view on global warming will be aired

'Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant,' noted skeptic will tell audience at UT.

For Barney Groten, a retired business and technology consultant who lives in Southwest Austin, taking potshots at global warming remains a largely underground pursuit. In the face of scientific consensus about global warming and its causes, he has written a treatise aimed at puncturing holes in climate change science, which he says is overblown and alarmist. He and a like-minded club of contrarians search Web sites for signs of environmental hypocrisy, say the mainstream media never gives them a fair shake and shoot sarcasms about Al Gore via e-mail.

But he stops short of broadcasting his views to the general public. "I try not to bring it up," Groten, 75, says. "One doesn't want to be a bore about something-you-understand-and-the-other-guy-doesn't sort of thing."

This afternoon at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas, a skeptic standard-bearer, S. Fred Singer, will deliver a talk titled "Nature - Not Human Activity - Rules the Climate." "Evidence shows human influence is not detectable. And natural effect is quite large," Singer said he will tell his audience. Singer, the founder of the Science & Environmental Policy Project, has traveled the country as a climate-change naysayer.

He is "regarded with reverence," said Dan Miller, a publisher at the Heartland Institute, which puts out a newsletter asserting no scientific consensus on global warming and gets money from energy corporations. "He has been in this battle, in the trenches for a long time. He's a warrior of epic proportions on this issue." Asked about his military metaphors, Miller said: "We're under attack by a lot of alarmists."

At issue is the relationship between carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas emitted by automobiles and power plants, and global warming. "Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and any attempt to control emissions is an inappropriate use of money," Singer said in a telephone interview from Virginia, where he's based.

Climate scientists, however, hold that carbon dioxide emissions have a significant effect on a changing climate. A 2007 climate change study by an international group of scientists found that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and said with "very high confidence" that the net impact of "human activities since 1750 has been one of warming."

Atmospheric and climate scientists at UT and Texas A&M University have said that temperatures will rise in Texas, coastal communities are at risk from rising sea levels in the Gulf, and weather conditions are likely to include more severe droughts and flooding. Many of them have asked lawmakers to address the issue, but Texas, the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the nation, has no official climate-change policy. Gov. Rick Perry has said there is scientific doubt about whether people are responsible for climate change.

Some Austinites are also dubious about carbon dioxide regulation. "The government is concerned about CO2, a colorless, odorless gas that makes my plants grow," said Matt Szekely, a 38-year-old software engineer who lives in North Austin and describes himself as a pragmatist. "I'm not riding around crushing salamanders in a Hummer." As far as these skeptics are concerned, they are the last realists in Austin. To them, the holes in theories about man-made contributions to global warming are as plain as clouds in the sky.

"I don't think anybody who understands it and is intellectually equipped well enough to stand back from it will disagree," said Skip Cameron, 69, who became interested in weather through his amateur radio hobby and lives in Northwest Austin. He decries the "prostitution of science" on climate change and the "dearth of media coverage of alternative opinions."

But most scientists who specialize in atmospheric and climate science say there are not two sides to the argument. Rong Fu, a UT climate science professor who reviewed Singer's 2008 paper on climate change that has the same title as his talk, said Singer cherry-picks and misuses data and cites works that were not peer-reviewed. "He's not doing firsthand research, and he does not have regular communication with the rest of the climate research community," she said. "I'm not sure he's even on the fringe."

But she said she thought his talk would be "healthy for the academic environment" and said she was encouraging students to go listen. Chip Groat, the acting dean of the Jackson School, said that discussions of climate change can be "strongly emotional and not technical." "With discussions of climate change and human impacts, it's sometimes a matter of, 'Do you accept what the science is telling you?' or 'What do you believe, almost as a matter of faith or religious belief?'" Groat said.


Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd isolated on emissions trading scheme

The Rudd Government is increasingly isolated on the emissions trading scheme, with business supporters demanding further concessions to mitigate its immediate impact and green groups and the Coalition intensifying their attacks. A day after the Government was forced to confirm publicly it was sticking by its plans to introduce an ETS in July next year, after cancelling an inquiry into the scheme, the Opposition accused the Government of being divided on the issue and the Business Council of Australia said more action was needed to reduce its impact on business during the economic crisis. Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said indecision and internal division were behind Thursday's decision to dump a House of Representatives inquiry into the ETS.

The BCA, which gave guarded approval to Labor's plans last year, now says the Government has to find a way to minimise the initial cost of the scheme if it comes into effect in July next year. Policy director Maria Tarrant said the economic crisis meant "the Government has to think of a way to minimise the scheme's impact in the early years after its introduction on July 1 2010". "There are likely to be big questions as to whether companies will have the cash flow to buy the permits they need, or invest in the emission-reducing technologies they need at that time and still remain viable," Ms Tarrant said. "It could put many companies' ongoing operations at extreme risk."

With green criticism intensifying, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong yesterday warned environmentalists the ETS was their best chance to see an early reduction in Australian greenhouse gas emissions. Green groups have argued the scheme's lack of ambition and already generous industry compensation means it is fatally flawed. Senator Wong said: "We have a chance now to reduce Australia's emissions next year or, if we fail, to simply allow our emissions to grow. The most responsible thing to do, even in this economic environment, is to start the hard task of reducing our emissions right now."

Australia Institute executive director Richard Denniss and others have advanced the argument that an ETS means an individual's or state's efforts to voluntarily reduce emissions have no impact on the country's total level of greenhouse gas, and that a carbon tax would be a better answer. But Senator Wong rejected those arguments as well. "If you are serious about climate change a carbon tax is not the answer," Senator Wong told The Weekend Australian.

But the federal Coalition appears to be hardening in its opposition to the scheme. And the Australian Industry Group agrees the Government needs to "look at every option" to ameliorate the early costs, warning the effects of the economic crisis risk "fracturing any consensus around this issue".

Among options being canvassed by industry groups are a plan advocated by Professor Ross Garnaut for a low fixed price on carbon in the first two years of the scheme, offering trade-exposed industries all their permits for free in first few years, starting the scheme as a "dry run" without actually charging for permits and offering industries exemptions or holidays from the cost of the renewable energy target.

Coalition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb told Sky news yesterday the scheme was a "total failure". And Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said the global financial crisis had "amplified the negative effects of the emissions trading scheme many times over".

Executives from Virgin Blue also told the Senate fuel and energy committee yesterday they were "deeply concerned about the planned timing of the introduction" of the emissions trading scheme. "Even in the most benign circumstances, the (emissions trading scheme) is effectively a tax on investment and growth," said Virgin Blue general manager Simon Thorpe.

The Government is drafting its legislation. It says it intends to try to pass it through both houses of parliament by June, but most observers believe debate will continue later in the year. The Greens have said they are willing to negotiate with the Government over the legislation, but also believe the scheme as it stands is deeply flawed.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, February 21, 2009


An email from Dr. David Whitehouse []

There is a good example of seeing what you want to see in climate data, cherry picking convenient data, spin and downright misrepresentation in today's media. Normally one ignores such stuff. It's obvious that when some 'media commentators', especially those without a science background and an extremist attitude, temporarily run out of strident rhetoric they turn towards the old standby of bashing 'climate change deniers' - the very phrase of which shows the bias and stupidity of their language and the unscientific nature of their outlook.

To wit, look at George Monbiot in today's Guardian. He talks of myths about climate change being promulgated in the media by manic and distorting commentators. The obvious comment about black kettles and pots comes to mind. A lot more scientific rigour is needed to support such a case and I can't decide if he is just sloppy with his figures or cavalier with them.

In proving that there is no recent standstill in global average temperatures Monbiot quotes the most recent WMO statement, but he does so selectively and not fairly, passing over their figure 2 which originates from the Met Office. Now look at this and tell me if there is no qualitative change in the data for the past ten years. To say there isn't would really make one a 'climate change denier.' Note the green data point at the end.

The WMO's figure 2 is here. Note that 2008 is tenth in the list of warmest years but that the top ten warmest years are all within each others error bars, i.e. statistically formally indistinguishable, that is (for Monbiot's benefit) unchanging.

Of course, if one then says, but look at the longer trend, over the past 50 years as quoted by Monbiot there is an obvious warming trend (which nobody denies.) But this is comparing apples and oranges. Monbiot wants to deny the past decade temperature stasis (no longer a minority view among scientists) by talking about data over a longer period and not sticking to the point. He's not the only one. In a press release the Met Office says that, "Over the past ten years global temperatures have warmed more slowly than the long-term trend."

On the face of it this is true but it does not tell the whole story, far from it. The Met Office performs a cunning sleight of hand in discussing the effects of El Nino and La Nina and volcanic eruptions on global average temperatures. Then they use 'trend lines' in recent temperature data to prove the point but ignore the effect of those very factors. Ignoring volcanic eruptions in the 1990's and the strong 1998 El Nino, coupled with a judicious choice of trend line duration and no error bars presents a very misleading case, turning the statistical flatness of the global average temperature since 2001 into a slight rise.

No undergraduate student turning in a report with such a shoddy disregard for statistics and misrepresentation of data would get away with this. Monbiot moans about George Will's writing in the Washington Post. Personally I don't think there is much difference between them.

"Cryosphere Today" slips in a bit of bias too

They did at one stage feature a quote from Al Gore so, although they are broadly honest, there is no doubt where their sympathies lie. An email from a reader below:

Since last summer (when the hysteria about sea ice 'loss' was all over the news) I have been checking daily the Daily Sea Ice maps at Cryosphere Today. For the first several months the Daily Sea Ice web page contained the following two sentences below the maps:

Historic snow cover data not displayed on these images. Snow cover data is displayed only for most recent dates

On about Sept 3 or 4, 2008, the people at Cryosphere Today tucked a third sentence in between the two dealing with snow cover data to yield the following:

Historic snow cover data not displayed on these images. Sea ice concentrations less than 30% are not displayed in these images. Snow cover data is displayed only for most recent dates

The fact that Cryosphere Today had been representing all sea ice below 30% as open sea struck me as intellectually dishonest especially since the sea ice concentration legend on the upper left of each map has always shown a continuous spectrum of colors from 100% down to 0%.

A gross insult

Comment from Prof. Brignell in Britain

A greenie propaganda website has published a list of leading deniers. Why have Number Watch and its author been left out of this roll of honour? Admittedly Number Watch deals with a wide variety of nonsense in addition to global warming, but is it too much to expect some acknowledgement for the thought and effort that went into, for example, the essays?

Of course the propagandists got the story arse about face as they usually do. Marc Moreno does not send us original material. We send it to him and he kindly operates as a clearing house to keep the rest of us informed as to what others are saying. Note the ageism contained in the accusation "Others are aging scientists with strong conservative beliefs, motivating them to challenge action on global warming not because they disbelieve its existence, but because they are ideologically opposed to regulation of pollution." There are two main reasons that so many of us are old:
We were trained in the era when all scientists were taught to be sceptics (about everything) rather than believers.

We are retired and therefore not subject to blackmail within institutions that rely on handouts from state propaganda machines. Many younger scientists would speak out if they did not live in a climate of fear and the threat of careers without research grants.

It is an even more ludicrous than usual to claim that we are ideologically opposed to the regulation of pollution. Many of us were active in opposing real pollution when it was a problem (your bending author, for example, gave much time and money long ago to the cause of water purity, when our post-war rivers were a disaster area). What we do not accept is that carbon, the basis of all life on earth, is pollution.

As for having strong conservative beliefs, the political position of this site and its author has been clearly stated. Now that words like conservative and liberal have completely changed their meaning, anyone who does not conform to the authoritarian message is vilified as a conservative.

Ad hominem attacks are symptomatic of campaigners who are aware that they have lost the intellectual argument. This is a big attack by big losers.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Mathematical models do get it badly wrong

Amid all the hand-wringing about financial systems in meltdown mode, the subject of modeling hasn't gotten a lot of notice. Banks and other financial institutions employed legions of Ph.D. mathematicians and statistics specialists to model the risks those firms were assuming under a variety of scenarios. The point was to avoid taking on obligations that could put the company under. Judging by the calamity we are now living through, one would have to say those models failed miserably. They did so despite the best efforts of numerous professionals, all highly paid and with a lot of intellectual horsepower, employed specifically to head off such catastrophes.

What went wrong with the modeling? That's a subject of keen interest to engineers who must model the behavior and risks of their own complicated systems. Insights about problems with the mathematics behind financial systems come from Huybert Groenendaal, whose Ph.D. is in modeling the spread of diseases. Groenendaal is a partner and senior risk analyst with Vose Consulting LLC in Boulder, a firm that works with a wide variety of banks and other companies trying to mitigate risks. "In risk modeling, you use a lot of statistics because you want to learn from the past," says Groenendaal. "That's good if the past is like the future, but in that sense you could be getting a false sense of security."

That sense of security plays directly into what happened with banks and financial instruments based on mortgages. "It gets back to the use of historical data," says Groenendaal. "One critical assumption people had to make was that the past could predict the future. I believe in the case of mortgage products, there was too much faith in the idea that past trends would hold."

Therein lies a lesson. "In our experience, people have excessive confidence in their historical data. That problem isn't unique to the financial area," says Groenendaal. "You must be cynical and open to the idea that this time, the world could change. When we work with people on models, we warn them that models are just tools. You have to think about the assumptions you make. Models can help you make better decisions, but you must remain skeptical."

Did the quantitative analysts who came up with ineffective financial models lose their jobs in the aftermath? Groenendaal just laughs at this idea. "I have a feeling they will do fine. If you are a bank and you fire your whole risk-analysis department, I don't think that would be viewed positively," he says.

Interestingly enough, Groenendaal suggests skepticism is also in order for an equally controversial area of modeling: climate change. "Climate change is similar to financial markets in that you can't run experiments with it as you might when you are formulating theories in physics. That means your skepticism should go up," he says. We might add there is one other similarity he didn't mention: It is doubtful anyone was ever fired for screwing up a climate model.


Pro-Heathrow demo challenges Carbon Cult killjoys

Cheap flights for all

As eco warriors descend on Parliament this afternoon to protest against the expansion of Heathrow, an obscure counter demonstration will be taking place. It's quite unusual: Modern Movement will be demonstrating in favour of something, not against it: cheap travel. "What we want to counter is the small number of green campaigners who are making a lot of noise on this issue, and who are making it seem like reducing the number of people who can fly is the biggest struggle of the century," says student Alex Hochuli, who co-founded the new group. "The majority of people aspire to travel, love travelling, and want to have more of that."

Hochuli says he's against the "moralisation of flying" and points out that even if you take CO2 seriously as an catalyst for Thermageddon, flying contributes only 3 per cent of UK carbon emissions. So it's hardly worth objecting to on rational grounds. What could it be, then?

There's more than a whiff of snobbery about environmental objections to mass travel. In a TV show tonight, the toff historian Tristram Hunt (son of Lord Hunt of Chesterton, a climate modeller) mourns the age of motoring before the working class got behind the wheel. "As the working classes gained access to the motor car, they celebrated their mobility by buying up plots of land in beauty spots and coastal resorts across the south coast," he wrote on Monday. Oh no! "The historicism, aestheticism and idiosyncrasy of motoring were abandoned."

Today, plebs enjoying cheap flights cause a similar revulsion amongst the pious Green bourgeoise. Hochuli also has a sideswipe at the budget airlines for not doing enough to promote the cause of mind-broadening travel opportunities, in an interview here.

But while snobbery is a plays a large part of the eco warriors rhetoric, it can't explain it all. Try on this thought experiment. Suppose for the sake of argument that cheap flights are bad, and many internal flights are unnecessary, and instead we decided to build a Maglev train service linking British cities. What a wonderful thing that would be. Who do you think would be the first to object to it?

The anti-flying campaign reflects a deep hostility to modernity and progress. The earliest "ecological" thinking early in the 19th Century was to inspire the mystical "blood and soil" movements in Germany, which held that science was evil. From there, it's hard to escape the circular argument that anything that improves our lot is bad for the planet, and must be discouraged.


Greens: Keep Africa poor to control climate

A study in this week's Nature (Feb. 19. Summary here) reports that African forests are an important carbon sink -- and although the researchers acknowledge that they don't really understand the phenomenon, they nevertheless conclude that African forests be put off limits to development. At the end of the study, the researchers write,
African tropical forests are providing important ecosystem services by storing carbon and being a carbon sink, thereby reducing the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2. With adequate protection these forests are likely to remain large carbon stores in the longer term. Securing this service will probably require formalizing and enforcing land rights for forest dwellers, alongside payments for ecosystem services to those Estimated carbon stocks and their annual increase for African tropical forest living near forested areas. Whether remaining intact forests will continue to sequester carbon, become neutral, or become a net source of carbon in the future is highly uncertain. Improved monitoring and modelling of the tropical environment is required to better understand this trajectory.

But if Africans can't harvest and monetize their own natural resources -- as we in the West have done -- Africa is likely to stay poor and sick. Nature could have edited this study down to: "Sinks should sink Africa."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, February 20, 2009

A "Right-wing global warming denier propaganda machine"

What do you think a "Right-wing global warming denier propaganda machine" would consist of? Something pretty sinister, high-powered and richly financed, no doubt? Something with a large staff and a big office on K street at least? Well the Green/Left have recently discovered a "Right-wing global warming denier propaganda machine" and do you know what it consists of? It is simply a short list of email addresses! I kid you not. An excerpt below:
Marc Morano, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)'s environmental communications director, sits at the center of the right-wing global warming denier propaganda machine - of fifty-two people. Conservative columnist Fred Barnes recently refused to tell TPM Muckraker who's informed him "the case for global warming" is falling apart, but all signs point to Marc Morano. Morano's "entire job," Gristmill's David Roberts explains, "is to aggregate every misleading factoid, every attack on climate science or scientists, every crank skeptical statement from anyone in the world and send it all out periodically in email blasts" to the right-wing echo chamber. The Wonk Room has acquired Morano's email list, and we can now reveal the pack of climate skeptics, conservative bloggers, and corporate hacks who feed the misinformation machine.

Promoted on the Drudge Report and Fox News, Morano's moronic misinformation enters mainstream discourse through columns by Barnes, George Will, Robert Samuelson, and others. Many in the Morano gang are funded by right-wing think tanks, though a few are committed activists, conspiracy theorists who believe their homebrew interpretations of climate data. Others are aging scientists with strong conservative beliefs, motivating them to challenge action on global warming not because they disbelieve its existence, but because they are ideologically opposed to regulation of pollution:

More here

Must watch those evil lists of email addresses! You never know what censorship attempts they might disrupt! I am one of those on Marc's list, I am pleased to say. He is indeed a useful clearinghouse of scientific information and debate. I am in fact the third one on Marc's list so I am pleased that the Warmists listed me. They must have been disappointed that they could find no evil "affiliation" for me, though. Since I have no formal affiliations, that is not too surprising. It shows how desperate the Warmists are, however, that a humble blogger writing from an upstairs room in a house in a backstreet of a small Australian city could be seen as part of a "Right-wing global warming denier propaganda machine"

What the Warmists omit to mention is the high level of scientific qualifications of most people on the list. I, for instance, not only have a Ph.D. but have been getting academic papers published on the psychology of environmentalism since 1974. And I can assure you that psychology is by far the most relevant discipline for understanding Warmism! And I have received "funding" from no-one. I haven't received as much as a hamburger, in fact. Nor have I sought anything. As a retired man, I live entirely on the proceeds of my investments.

Below I reproduce another comment on the matter by ferociously logical statistician William Briggs
You won't have heard of it, but there is a website called "The Wonk Room". (Stick around until after the quote for today's Lesson in Logic.) Sounds like a fun place, eh? Who doesn't like a room full of wonks?

Anyway, it turns out that they have added my name to 51 others to form a pack of jokers! Climate jokers, apparently. No, not the kind of guys who might say to a cirrostratus cloud, "Look who just blew into town", but those who would make light of "The consensus." They grouped my name under the heading "Weathermen", which is close enough. Here is my comment (I sometimes worry these kinds of comments won't make it past the censored list):
Hi guys. William Briggs ("Weatherman") here.

You oddly list us weather guys as having "expert" as opposed to expert (without square quotes) opinions. I gather this means you think your comments are expert and not "expert" on climatology. It'll be fun to see if you'll have the honesty to publish this comment.

Just for fun, here are my credentials: PhD from Cornell in Mathematical Statistics, MS from Cornell in Atmospheric Science, BS from Central Mich in Meteorology. Associate Editor Monthly Weather Review; multiple publications in Journal of Climate and other such places; Member on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee. Etc. Interested readers can go to my web page for more.

Money received from anybody-government, grants, non-profit, industry, etc.-for journal articles or comments in climatology/meteorology: $0. Industry contacts: 0. Number of email blasts sent by me on any subject: 0. Thanks for the interest everybody!

Actually, now that I remember, I did receive gratis travel to give an invited lecture in Spain at the Royal Science Academy last year. I also got some free grub at the Heartland Climate Conference last year. This puts my total dollars received far, far short of one month's rent payment. But, dammit. Now I have to recant. (I added this comment to their site, too.)

For an interesting exercise in logic, if consensus means agreement by all and some climate scientists do not agree with The consensus, is it still a consensus? If you answered no, you wouldn't enjoy yourself in the Wonk Room. Because on their compilation they list "The Scientists: Ph.D.s.[who] are ready to denounce the scientific consensus." "Scientists.denounce scientific consensus." But if "Scientists" do not agree then there cannot be a "scientific" consensus, right?

Unless you redefine scientist as one who agrees with The consensus. That move, regardless of what you think of it, does make the argument about consensus valid. All "scientists", by definition, agree on The consensus, which is therefore a consensus. Do you see what I mean?

This means that those who disagree must not be scientists. Which puts the Wonkers in a dilemma, for they cannot list these folks as "scientists", which they do. Those guys must lose a lot of sleep over thinking about these things. Because it gets worse.

Why? Well, none of these Wonkers is himself a scientist. So how can they know who is a scientist and who is not? After all, they do not possess the academic training to be able to tell. Only thing they can do is to ask a scientist, "Are you a scientist?" If the man says, "Yes", then the Wonker must also ask, "Do you fervently believe in The consensus." If the interviewee says "No", then the Wonker must conclude that the interviewee is deluded or confused.

It's worse still, because how did these Wonkers know that there was The consensus in the first place? Because somebody told them. And they must have believed what they were told wholeheartedly. And they must have been told by some first person who said, "I am a scientist and here is The consensus. Anybody who does not fervently believe in The consensus is not a scientist."

This must be the case because, again, the Wonkers have no way to judge on their own the scientific content of The consensus. They must accept, by faith, what the original scientist told them. Arguments against The consensus are not allowed because these would be made by non-scientists, because scientists, by definition, are those who accept The consensus, and who therefore would not-and could not-argue against it.

Whew. What a lot of work, much of it tedious and boring, to show that some people have, quite simply, lost their minds.


80% of IPCC members have no "dealing with climate"

So much for those "2,500 scientists"

During the question and answer session of last week's William Schlesinger/John Christy global warming debate, Schlesinger was asked how many members of United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were actual climate scientists. It is well known that many if not most of its members are not scientists at all. Its president for example is an economist. This question came after Schlesinger had cited the IPCC as an authority for his position. His answer was quite telling. First he broadened it to include not just climate scientists but also those who have had "some dealing with the climate." His complete answer was that he thought, "something on the order of 20 percent have had some dealing with climate." In other words, even IPCC worshiper William Schlesinger is now acknowledging that 80 percent of the IPCC membership have had absolutely no dealing with the climate as part of their academic studies.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Ooops! Arctic Ice Extent Understated Because of "Sensor Drift"

dtjohnson writes "The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has been at the forefront of predicting doom in the arctic as ice melts due to global warming. In May, 2008 they went so far as to predict that the North Pole would be ice-free during the 2008 'melt season,' leading to a lively Slashdot discussion. Today, however, they say that they have been the victims of 'sensor drift' that led to an underestimation of Arctic ice extent by as much as 500,000 square kilometers. The problem was discovered after they received emails from puzzled readers, asking why obviously sea-ice-covered regions were showing up as ice-free, open ocean. It turns out that the NSIDC relies on an older, less-reliable method of tracking sea ice extent called SSM/I that does not agree with a newer method called AMSR-E. So why doesn't NSIDC use the newer AMSR-E data? 'We do not use AMSR-E data in our analysis because it is not consistent with our historical data.' Turns out that the AMSR-E data only goes back to 2002, which is probably not long enough for the NSIDC to make sweeping conclusions about melting. The AMSR-E data is updated daily and is available to the public. Thus far, sea ice extent in 2009 is tracking ahead of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, so the predictions of an ice-free north pole might be premature."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Leading climate change cheerleader James Hansen has 'lost the plot'

Claims of what we all suspected - that James Hansen is losing the plot - have been flooding in over the past week. (Unlike the water he imagines will shortly cover half the US if we don't go back to living like cavemen.) The leading climate change hysteric, called "an embarrassment to NASA", has "lost his mind", according to colleagues. Hansen was accused of "megalomania" and and "scientific authoritarianism" by Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., former director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.

In Sunday's Guardian (natch), Hansen called coal-fired power plants "factories of death". Marc Sheppard responded eloquently today in American Thinker:
Even the realization of Al Gore's dream of "capping" carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants wouldn't satisfy NASA's James Hansen. He wants to shut them all down, despite the untold human misery such hysterical action would inevitably bring. And toward that preposterously unattainable end he is now pushing panic buttons with the alacrity of a man truly possessed.
In a wild rant in Sunday's Guardian responding to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's green-lighting of the controversial Kingsnorth power plant, the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies managed to outdo even his own sophomoric guilt trips and fear-mongering. [...]
So James, might you kindly explain - without mention of extinction or sea-level rise or ice sheet disintegration - just how you propose we close these "factories of death" without synchronously opening a global arena of human want, suffering and ultimate demise? [...] Even after last week's annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting, at which the Goracle likened his battle to stop global warming to that of 19th century abolitionists fighting to end slavery. Indeed - in gauging the measure of a movement, one need not delve far beyond its leadership.

As long ago as June 2008, Dr. Nicholas Drapela from Oregon State University Chemistry Department wrote this:
My dear colleague Professor Hansen, I believe, has finally gone off the deep end. When you have dedicated the bulk of your career to a cause, and it turns out the cause has been proven false, most people cannot bring themselves to admit the truth. [Hansen's recent claims] contain neither reason nor truth when compared to the volumes of daily literature being published in scientific journals today on climate change. It is not difficult to refute the words of Professor Hansen. On the contrary, one feels it is almost unfair. [...] The global warming 'time bomb', the 'present, dangerous situation', 'the perfect storm', 'global cataclysm', 'disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity's control.' These are the words of an apocalyptic prophet, not a rational scientist.

One by one, the most extreme scientific studies are being discredited and the most hysterical ringleaders are being exposed as scare-mongering rabble-rousers. Governments must surely now realise there are far greater priorities than the apocalyptic shrieking of the climate change industry.
Earlier this month, I predicted "open warfare between experts presenting serious, evidence-based research into the state of the planet and hysterical alarmists like James Hansen". Has it already begun?


Top weatherman Alexander Bedritsky says global warming good for Russia

GLOBAL warming may be a worry to low-lying lands but Russia's top weatherman said that warmer temperatures would help to cut heating bills in one of the world's coldest countries.
"The heating season will be reduced and this is a positive factor for us as it will allow us to economise on fuel," Alexander Bedritsky, head of Russia's state weather centre, said.

Russia is one of the biggest producers of carbon dioxide as it burns vast amounts of oil and gas to heat houses during the bitter months where temperatures regularly fall below minus 50 degrees Celsius (minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit).

Heating bills in Russia could be cut by 5 to 10 percent by 2050 if current trends continue, the weather centre said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


An email from Stephen Ashworth []

If the opinions of a biologist (Prof Chris Field) and an Apollo astronaut (Dr Harrison Schmitt) are of interest, then it will certainly be relevant to quote the long-sighted view of an expert on human evolution and its interaction with the variable climate of the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. His speciality is in synthesising evidence from genetics, archaeology, linguistics, geology and climate. Note the concluding sentence of this quoted paragraph:

"For most of the last 2 million years, humans have shivered in the grip of the Pleistocene ice epoch, so the brief but marked warming of our planet's surface, which opens up the gates of Eden [i.e. the Sinai route between Africa and the Levant], is known to geologists as an interglacial optimum. These short lush spells contrast with the normally cold and dry glacial conditions of the Pleistocene. We modern humans have had only two such glimpses of paradise during our time on Earth. The most recent interglacial optimum was only about 8,000 years ago, and we are lucky to be still basking in the after-effects of its autumnal glow. For perhaps a couple of thousand years the Sahara was grassland, and all kinds of game from the south spread throughout North Africa and across into the Levant. Ironically, today's pollution-driven global warming is actually helping to stave off the inevitable relapse into the cooler, drier, more unstable conditions that have characterized most of our time on Earth."

-- Professor Stephen Oppenheimer (Green College, Oxford), "Out of Eden" (Constable, London, 2003), p.51-52.

The Climate Change Fraud

Global Warming may well be one of the cruelest-and most costly-frauds perpetrated upon mankind in human history. But it is starting to unravel, thanks to some brave scientists-not the least of which is one of the men on the moon.

More than three dozen PhD scientists will join numerous public policy leaders in early March to address the issue of climate change and the alarmism that has come to be associated with it at the annual International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC). And now, it has just been reported that, in addition to highly respected world leaders such as former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Anzar and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, attendees will likely hear some unequivocated straight-talk from former Senator and Apollo 17 moonwalker Dr. Harrison Schmitt.

Dr. Schmitt, who received his PhD in geology from Harvard University, recently came out swinging against those who promote global warming as absolute truth. Schmitt denies that the "human effect is significant compared to the natural effect," and states that political and financial pressure has caused scientists to endorse anthropogenic global warming or simply be silent. "They've seen too many of their colleagues lose grant funding when they haven't gone along with the so-called political consensus that we're in a human-caused global warming," he said. "It's one of the few times you've seen a sizable portion of scientists who ought to be objective take a political position and it's coloring their objectivity."

The former astronaut recently withdrew his membership in The Planetary Society, a group dedicated to interplanetary travel, citing disagreements over Mars travel and various other society stances. One of them referenced "accelerating research into global climate change through more comprehensive Earth observations." In his withdrawal letter, he took issue with that statement, saying:
"As a geologist, I love Earth observations. But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a "consensus" that humans are causing global warming in when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. "Consensus", as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the "global warming scare" is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities."

Dr. Schmitt is not alone in his wholesale rejection of the global warming mantra. Joining him on center stage will be Dr. Richard Lindzen, current MIT professor and former panel-member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN's climate control advisory group. Dr. Lindzen has been outspoken in his skepticism of anthropogenic global warming, and has strongly resisted the concept of a "consensus," calling it "shrill alarmism."

Speaking of those who are unsure of the matter, he wrote that "their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template-namely, shrill alarmism." Dr. Lindzen further stated that "given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam." Strong words from a high-ranking scientist. Another scientist sharing the stage, Dr. Willie Soon, had these words to say on the "pernicious" scientific consensus:
"Scientific agreement, though, differs distinctly from consensus wrought by social-political pressures. Efforts to force a consensus are pernicious to science. The body of evidence and facts on which scientists agree-as currently known-must always be challengeable by new information. That is the basis of the scientific method."

Dr. Soon, a physicist at a division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, helped compile over 200 climate studies that, together, covered climate change over a millennium. The findings revealed that the temperature change experienced during the 20th century was not abnormal-in fact, the 20th century was cooler than the Medieval Warm Period, which covered 800-1300 A.D. Too bad that Al Gore decided to cut that fact from his movie.

Despite all the alarmist rhetoric on the fabricated "consequences" of global warming inaction...despite the claims of "consensus" and "settled debate" used to goad politicians into immediate action...despite the risk of being 'ostracized' by the political elite-several dozen scientists and policy experts stand ready to show the world that there is not consensus, and that scientists exist who are still willing to offer objective alternatives.

And they, together with the keynote speakers profiled above, will attack the global warming lie that has been perpetuated by those who wish to, in the words of Dr. Schmitt, use it "as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes, and decision-making." In short, the debate (at least) is heating up.



Switch on the light. Is the filament glowing because of a heavy gust of wind, or is it nuclear fission? If you flick a switch today, the light goes on because of coal. Almost half the power generated in Britain on Tuesday came from coal and a bit more than a third from natural gas. Nuclear power stations were contributing 17 per cent and windmills provided 0.6 per cent.

It's a day's work in the power industry and it is 16 years since the Kyoto conference on climate change, when this country signed up to a process that would seek to avert global warming by weaning the world off the combustion of oil, gas and coal. Since then we have had two Energy White Papers, one Energy Review, the launch of European carbon trading, the decline of North Sea gas, the promotion of wind farms and the eleventh-hour rescue of Britain's nuclear industry. After all the politics, we are breathless as our bright new whirligigs stand motionless on a beach horizon.

The wind has failed, as it does during periods of intense heat and cold, and although we have built, with enormous subsidy, enough wind turbines to generate 5 per cent of our electricity, no more than 1 per cent is operational when we need it. Like Coleridge's ancient mariner, the nation is becalmed, a painted ship on a painted ocean and we have gone back a century, hewing the same coal that first put Britain on the fast track to the Industrial Revolution.

The reason why we are still stuffing black lumps of carbon into furnaces is simple: it makes economic sense and the financial markets are shouting this message louder than ever before. Everyone loves to hate financial markets - casinos operated by spivs, jungles filled with rapacious speculators - but they provide warnings when things are about to go wrong and the carbon market is no exception. The price of European Union allowances to emit carbon dioxide has collapsed and it has reached a level where even the greenest of utilities might be tempted to flirt with a hod of dirty brown coal.

If you believe that to be cynical or just pragmatic, consider the behaviour of the Government of Japan, which is doing a carbon trade with Ukraine. Under the Kyoto Protocol, governments are able to sell surplus rights to emit carbon to other nations. Like emissions trading between companies, it means that governments that succeed in reducing carbon emissions can sell "surplus" carbon to struggling nations.

No one thought that the whole process might go backwards. The benchmark against which Kyoto's carbon world was pegged was 1990 and since then the former Soviet satellite has struggled to stay upright. Desperate for cash and with its economy in freefall, Ukraine, too, has found some certificates in the bottom drawer. Japan is offering to buy Ukraine's "surplus" carbon for E300 million. Should we begrudge Ukraine the opportunity to pledge the planet's future to a Japanese pawnbroker? If Ukrainians are lucky, the money earned will not be squandered and might help to pay the bill for imported Russian gas over the rest of the winter.

We should not be too critical, because Europe is about to face a big decision over coal. The fuel is abundant and at present very cheap, the main reason why power stations love it. The margin earned from burning coal, according to Societe Generale, is about E15 per megawatt hour, compared with E7 from natural gas - and those figures include the cost of the EUAs.

Meanwhile, the UK must make a huge decision. We have promised to shut down seven old coal plants by 2015 because they emit too much sulphur. These can supply 12 gigawatts, or a sixth of UK capacity. Ideally, we would fill the gap with nuclear power, but EDF has made it clear that the first new British nuke won't be ready until 2017, supplying less than 2 gigawatts. It is self-evident that we must carry on burning coal for the time being and politicians must stop telling lies about energy. They must begin to set plausible targets, explain their true cost and how they will be achieved. The impact of recession on industrial demand is one reason why the carbon price is weak. The other reason is credibility.



If they can't pay for routine services, how are they going to pay for all the "Green" jobs that they are pledged to "create"?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has sent redundancy notices to 20,000 government employees and shut down California's last remaining public works projects yesterday, as state politicians failed to pass a budget that will prevent his administration from running out of money.

The Governor of California, who is spending billions more each month than he can raise in taxes, has insufficient funds left to settle outstanding bills and is days away from being forced to start issuing "IOU" notes to creditors and civil servants.

The state senate has been unable to agree on a package of tax increases that will stave off bankruptcy. The administration is currently operating at a loss of $12bn a year - a figure that is rising exponentially and will hit $42bn next year.

Late on Monday night, with a proposed budget one vote short of the two-thirds majority it needs to pass, exhausted senators were sent home to sleep. They were ordered back to the chamber at 10am yesterday, and told that no one would be allowed to leave before a deal was reached. "Bring a toothbrush," the senate president Darrell Steinberg advised them. "I will not allow anyone to go home to resume their lives, or any other kind of normal business."

Politicians had already spent the entire weekend in Sacramento trying to break the gridlock, with sometimes surreal results: at one point on Saturday, they were forced to surrender car keys to security guards, to ensure that no one took advantage of a short toilet break to run away. The tortured nature of proceedings, in the face of looming crisis, leaves California, one of the world's wealthiest regions, on the brink of becoming the first state in US history to be declared insolvent.

Civil servants are already being forced to take two unpaid days off a month, while billions of dollars in income tax repayments have been frozen. State prisons are so underfunded that a court last week ordered the release of 55,000 inmates to ease overcrowding.

More here

The U.S. Government's War on Coal!

While President Obama was eagerly signing new legislation to keep unqualified borrowers in their homes by doling out billions of our dollars, over at the Environmental Protection Agency they were leaking plans to use the Clean Air Act as a subterfuge to regulate the second most essential gas, other than oxygen, for all life on planet Earth, carbon dioxide (C02). Cheering from the sidelines is every demented environmental group in America including the Sierra Club which, if it had its way, would ban the building of a single new coal-fired plant anywhere and shut down the existing ones. This is madness on a scale we have not seen since the mid-point of the last century. Over at Friends of the Earth, they are breaking out the prayer beads, worried to death that upgrading and improving the nation's infrastructure means building new roads, bridges and tunnels where they are needed.

All the while, the most deceitful President to have ever occupied the Oval Office keeps telling everyone that global warming is real when, in fact, the Earth has been cooling for the past decade. Obama is trying to transform the United States of America into a nation where science means nothing and lies mean everything.

We now have the spectacle of a government employee, Dr. James Hansen, shilling for Capitol Climate Action, saying on a YouTube video that everyone should come to Washington, D.C. on March 2 for what is described as "the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in U.S. history." The event is a protest of the Capitol Power Plant that uses-gasp-coal to produce electricity.

By the way, that white stuff coming out of the stacks of power plants, including nuclear, is excess steam used to turn the huge turbines that generate electricity. In other words, water vapor.

Dr. Hansen is the Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who lately has been writing to the leaders of the United Kingdom and Europe saying that coal-fired plants are the moral equivalent of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz during WWII. He's the fellow who, in 1988, told a congressional committee that global warming was going to destroy the Earth. Al Gore uses him as a footstool.

The immediate question is why someone drawing a government check should also be advocating civil disobedience on behalf of a non-governmental organization or group?

The larger question is whether the government is going to make it impossible to provide the growing needs for electricity that all Americans will require by 2030 or sooner? The U.S. has vast deposits of coal with which to generate electricity. To claim that coal is responsible for a global warming that is not occurring and that we must abandon the source of 50% of all the electricity we use every day is insane.

First let's fire Dr. Hansen. He is making a mockery of NASA and engaging in behavior that is irrational and quite possibly illegal. Then let's bury the White House in emails, letters and faxes to say "Lay off coal!"

In an astonishing few weeks, the Obama administration has initiated legislation that will further bankrupt the nation, saddle future generations with debt, interfered with the normal action of the housing market, and now wants to leave us without enough electricity to turn on the lights!


Greenies lying about their responsibility for the big fires in Australia

One of the biggest furphies in the supercharged debate in the wake of Victoria's bushfires is the claim by green groups that they are great supporters of hazard reduction burning. Also known as prescribed burning, this scientific regime creates a mosaic of lightly burned land at regular intervals of five to seven years, thus reducing surface fuel loads by varying amounts within the mosaic. This reduction of fuel loads is expensive, but Australia's pre-eminent bushfire researchers, such as the CSIRO's Phil Cheney and Monash University's David Packam, say it has been proven to reduce the power and intensity of fire. Every bushfire inquiry since the 1939 Stretton royal commission has recommended increased prescribed burning to mitigate the effects of inevitable wildfire.

It is a matter of public record that green groups have long opposed such systematic prescribed burning, as is evident in their submissions to bushfire inquiries from as far back as 1992. They complain of a threat to biodiversity, including to fungi, from "frequent burning" regimes and urge resources be spent on water bombers and early detection, as well as on stopping climate change - good luck with that.

Yet last week, Jonathan La Nauze of Friends of the Earth, Melbourne, in a letter to this newspaper claimed: ".not one Australian environmental organisation is opposed to prescribed burning . Environment groups are engaged in a sophisticated debate about where and how prescribed burning can be most effective." Yes, it's sophisticated, all right. It just depends how you define "prescribed burning".

On the other side of the country, one Peter Robertson, the West Australian co-ordinator of the Wilderness Society, was singing from a different song sheet. His letter last week to The West Australian stated: "Experience and risk analysis show that repeatedly burning tens of thousands of hectares of remote bushland and forest will do little to address the threat of bushfires to human communities . It would be a huge mistake if the community was led to believe that a massive, expensive and environmentally destructive prescribed burning program was going to protect them when it could make matters worse." Robertson is no lone ranger among greens in opposition to prescribed burning.

The WA Forest Alliance, for instance, lodged a submission to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the 2001-02 bushfires, claiming: "Frequent fires have a disastrous effect on many species of flora and fauna and their habitat structure." WWF Australia's submission claimed: "Inappropriate fire hazard regimes can damage biodiversity leading to the loss of native species, communities and ecosystems."

The NSW Greens state on their website as part of their bushfire risk management policy: "There is an urgent need to correct the common misconception that responsible fire management always involves burning or clearing to reduce moderate and high fuel loads."

In 2003, lightning strikes in fuel-rich national parks in NSW and the ACT sparked bushfires which swept into Canberra, killing four people. Days later, the NSW Nature Conservation Council's then chairman, Rob Pallin, described calls for increased prescribed burning as "futile" and a "knee-jerk reaction". "People who claim that hazard reduction burning is a cure-all for bushfire risk are either fooling themselves or deliberately trying to fool the public." It is another clever tactic of those who oppose broadscale prescribed burning to claim that it is not a "cure-all" for bushfire risk. No one has ever claimed it is.

As Cheney repeatedly has said, wildfires will occur, but prescribed burning reduces the intensity of a fire burning "under any set of meteorological conditions", and it reduces the spread of the fire, allowing firefighters to construct effective control lines. And yet there have been recent moves to have controlled burning listed as a "key threatening process" under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Such a submission has reportedly been received by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee. In NSW, already, the Department of Environment and Conservation has listed "too frequent fire" as a "key threatening process to biodiversity".

But the real threatening process is the holocaust we have just seen in Victoria. Last week angry fire survivors in Victoria pointed the finger at local authorities who prevented clearing of vegetation. At a public meeting in Arthurs Creek, Warwick Spooner, who lost his mother and brother in the Strathewen fire, stood up criticise the Nillumbik council. "We've lost two people in my family because you dickheads won't cut trees down." Then of course, there is Liam Sheahan, the Reedy Creek home owner whose house is the only one in a two-kilometre area which survived the fires. In 2004 he was fined $50,000 for removing 247 trees around his hilltop house to protect it from fire. His two-year court battle against the Mitchell Shire Council cost him $50,000 in legal fees.

It is a rich irony that Slidders Lawyers last week launched a class action on behalf of fire victims at Kinglake, against the Singapore-owned electricity company SP AusNet, alleging the fire was caused by a fallen power line. After all, it was only in 2001 that Transgrid bulldozed a 60-metre wide firebreak under its high-voltage lines in the Snowy Mountains. For that it was prosecuted by four government agencies, blasted for "environmental vandalism" by the then NSW premier Bob Carr, and fined $500,000.

Two years later, during the disastrous firestorm that engulfed the mountains, the offending firebreak became the only safe haven for kangaroos and workers constructing a fire trail. The sad truth of such holocausts is that the environmental toll ends up worse than the most vigorous prescribed burning regime ever could be.

Victoria's bushfires have spewed millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - more than a third of Australia's entire output for a year, according to Sydney University's Professor Mark Adams. No doubt the royal commission will recommend, like previous inquiries, that prescribed burning should be increased. After so many deaths will anyone listen this time?



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For readers in England

Press release below:

Modern Movement has organised a demonstration in favour of more flights for all:

Support Airport Expansion: Thursday 19 February, 17.30 -19.30 on Parliament Square, East Footway, London. For more details, see: Modern Movement

"The extension of flying to millions of people has been a liberation. Most of us can now afford to go on holiday and welcome the cheapening of air travel allowing us to fly abroad. The development of aviation infrastructure is crucial to allow ever more people to fly."

Join us in front of Parliament to argue for guilt-free travel, for ever-cheaper flights and for freedom of movement. Facebook event page: here

Come along and feel free to forward this information to colleagues/members and friends.


An email from Tim Curtin []

In response to items on Chris Field of Stanford claiming to be a climate scientist, here is my letter to Chris re that misleading interview he gave to the world's media.
Dear Dr Field

You were widely reported yesterday and today by Reuters and AFP as claiming that "The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India. The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously, the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious [than any of the IPCC's climate predictions] We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge surge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal,"

If correctly reported you are guilty of severe economy with the truth. Whilst you are right right that emissions grew rapidly from 2000 until 2007, you have been seriously misleading by failing to mention first, that anthropogenic global warming is dependent first and foremost on the atmospheric concentration of CO2, and not on the level of emissions per se, as despite 3 percent growth of emissions from January 2008 to January 2009, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide grew by less than 0.4 percent, that being the average rate of growth of CO2 since 1958, which means that despite the inferences you wished the world to draw, there has been NO sustained increase in the rate of growth of CO2 since 1958 despite ongoing growth in emissions of as much as 3% p.a.

Secondly, you wilfully failed to mention that absorption of those emissions by the oceanic and terrestrial biospheres grew about as fast as the emissions. Ironically, your own co-authors in some of your most recent papers (Canadell, Raupach) have assembled data that show how absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide doubled from an annual average of 2.45 billion tonnes of carbon a year from 1958 to 1963, to over 5 GtC from 2003 to 2007.

As a result, from 1958 to 2007 over 56 percent of total emissions over that period of 331 billion tonnes was absorbed by our biospheres, in the form of the carbohydrates that are the basic feedstock for humanity, as embodied in fish, cereals, livestock, fruit, coffee, grapes, and other tree crops (eg palm oil). Without CO2 there would be no food, and reducing its present atmospheric level has been frequently proven to result in lower yields of all that feedstock (that being the corollary of the well-attested, in thousands of papers, fertilization effect of enhanced CO2).

Your exaggeration (by over 700 percent) of the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide relative to the growth of emissions, combined with your wilful disregard of the positive side of the annual global carbon budget through your focus only on emissions, amounts to gross academic and scientific misconduct since your own work in the IPCC AR4 WG1 gives the lie to your present claims. I and some of my colleagues intend to make appropriate representations to the authorities of the University of Stanford, Reuters, AFP, and the IPCC unless we see an immediate retraction of your misleading claims reported by Reuters/AFP.

Kind regards

Tim Curtin, Spence ACT 2615, Australia,


Supported by The Heartland Institute

The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change will take place in New York City on March 8-10, 2009 (Sunday - Tuesday), at the Marriott New York Marquis Times Square Hotel, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY. There will be four tracks of panel discussions:

1. Paleoclimatology

2. Climatology

3. Impact of Climate Change

4. Economics and Politics

The tentative schedule is as follows:

Sunday, March 8

5:00 - 11:00 pm Exhibit hall open

5:00 - 7:00 pm Registration and reception

6:30 - 9:00 pm Opening dinner with keynote speakers


Warmism leads to vegetarianism

"Give up the steak and burgers, you fat Fascist bastards" seems to be the message

When it comes to global warming, hamburgers are the Hummers of food, scientists say. Simply switching from steak to salad could cut as much carbon as leaving the car at home a couple days a week. That's because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere, said Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Canada.

Pelletier is one of a growing number of scientists studying the environmental costs of food from field to plate. By looking at everything from how much grain a cow eats before it is ready for slaughter to the emissions released by manure, they are getting a clearer idea of the true costs of food.

The livestock sector is estimated to account for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and beef is the biggest culprit. Even though beef only accounts for 30 percent of meat consumption in the developed world it's responsible for 78 percent of the emissions, Pelletier said Sunday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That's because a single kilogram of beef produces 16 kilograms carbon dioxide equivalent emissions: four times higher than pork and more than ten times as much as a kilogram of poultry, Pelletier said.

If people were to simply switch from beef to chicken, emissions would be cut by 70 percent, Pelletier said.

Another part of the problem is people are eating far more meat than they need to. "Meat once was a luxury in our diet," Pelletier said. "We used to eat it once a week. Now we eat it every day." If meat consumption in the developed world was cut from the current level of about 90 kilograms a year to the recommended level of 53 kilograms a year, livestock related emissions would fall by 44 percent. "Given the projected doubling of (global) meat production by 2050, we're going to have to cut our emissions by half just to maintain current levels," Pelletier said. "Technical improvements are not going to get us there."

That's why changing the kinds of food people eat is so important, said Chris Weber, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

Food is the third largest contributor to the average US household's carbon footprint after driving and utilities, and in Europe - where people drive less and have smaller homes - it has an even greater impact. "Food is of particular importance to a consumer's impact because it's a daily choice that is, at least in theory, easy to change," Weber said. "You make your choice every day about what to eat, but once you have a house and a car you're locked into that for a while."

The average US household contributes about five tons of carbon dioxide a year by driving and about 3.5 tons of equivalent emissions with what they eat, he said. "Switching to no red meat and no dairy products is the equivalent of (cutting out) 8,100 miles driven in a car ... that gets 25 miles to the gallon," Weber said in an interview following the symposium.

Buying local meat and produce will not have nearly the same effect, he cautioned. That's because only five percent of the emissions related to food come from transporting food to market. "You can have a much bigger impact by shifting just one day a week from meat and dairy to anything else than going local every day of the year," Weber said.

For more information on how to eat a low carbon diet, visit



Academic journals, as a general rule, are pretty staid affairs. But the debate over global warming's impact on hurricane activity has grown heated during recent years, with hurricane scientist Greg Holland emerging as one of the lightning rods. Holland, for his part, has no reservations about declaring the link between increased hurricane activity and climate change as incontrovertible. Take, for example, a paper he co-authored last year that was published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (see .pdf). In the abstract he and Peter Webster wrote:

"While there is no trend in the proportion of major hurricanes, the increasing cyclone numbers has lead to a distinct trend in the number of major hurricanes and one that is clearly associated with greenhouse warming."

The paper, from 2007, essentially concludes that Atlantic hurricane activity during the last century has exhibited three distinct regimes, with each regime having 50 percent more tropical storms and hurricanes than the previous one.

In other words, twice during the last century, around the years 1930 and 1995, the average number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic jumped by 50 percent. Pretty bold claim, right? Apparently Sim Aberson, of NOAA, thought so. His response was published in January's Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The paper's not your usual staid, academic affair. While I can't decipher all of the statistical arguments in the paper, I think I get the general gist of it. Aberson is basically saying that the statistics underlying Holland's arguments in the 2007 paper are off. Way off.

So bad, in fact, that the way in which Holland draws his conclusions about the relationship between Atlantic sea surface temperatures and hurricane activity could also be used to conclude there's a meaningful relationship between Atlantic sea surface temperatures and five-year running means of:

* The number of Republican Party members in the U.S. House

* The number of years since the crowning of a new pope

* The number of games the New York Yankees won in the current season

* A random number between zero and one

If that weren't bad enough, Aberson concludes his paper with the following lecture: "The clear need for timely scientific results should not be a reason for shortcuts in the scientific process; correct statistical analyses must be performed to determined the likelihood that the hypothesis tested is valid".

In other words, he's saying something like "Hey Greg: Stop drawing preconceived conclusions about an important issue based upon an incomplete dataset." It's almost as if Aberson's channeling Voltaire in that passage.



Three articles below

Australian householders to be charged for each flush of toilet

The latest Greenie brainwave to avoid building dams. Much of Northern Australia is experiencing severe floods so "drought" is not the problem. Catching and distributing the water is where governments have been failing -- due to Greenie pressure. With the huge amount of "stimulus" money available for infrastructure, it is a pity that there are no plans for a big North/South water pipeline. But the Greenies would oppose that too, of course

HOUSEHOLDERS would be charged for each flush under a radical new toilet tax designed to help beat the drought. The scheme would replace the current system, which sees sewage charges based on a home's value - not its waste water output. CSIRO Policy and Economic Research Unit member Jim McColl and Adelaide University Water Management Professor Mike Young plan to promote the move to state and federal politicians and experts across the country. "It would encourage people to reduce their sewage output by taking shorter showers,recycling washing machine water or connecting rainwater tanks to internal plumbingto reduce their charges,''Professor Young said. "Some people may go as far as not flushing their toilet as often because the less sewage you produce, the less sewage rate you pay.''

Professor Young said sewer pricing needed to be addressed as part of the response to the water crisis. "People have been frightened to talk about sewage because it is yucky stuff, but it is critically important to address it, as part of the whole water cycle,'' he said. "We are looking at reforming the way sewage is priced and this plan will drive interest in the different ways water is used throughout Australia.''

The reform would see the abolition of the property-based charge with one based on a pay-as-you-go rate and a small fixed annual fee to cover the cost of meter readings and pipeline maintenance, Professor Young said. The pay-as-you-go rate would provide financial savings for those who reduce their waste water output.

Professor Young and Mr McColl will promote the plan nationally through their Droplet, a newsletter whose 6000 subscribers include state and federal politicians, water policy specialists and economists around the country. Professor Young said a sewage pricing plan, like the one proposed, was already used in the US. "In places like the City of Bellaire, Texas (a virtual suburb of Houston), they do it and the system seems to work,'' he said.

"As nearly all of (the homes in) mainland Australia's cities and towns already have water meters, introduction of a volumetric charge, such as that used in the City of Bellaire, would not be difficult to implement.'' Mr McColl said the plan had to be viewed in the context of "the crucial issues surrounding water resources'' in Australia. "We should be prepared for the (drought) situation we are going through now to occur again, as well as the potential impact of climate change, so we have to act now for the future,'' he said.


Floods hit NSW, Queensland and WA while boy drowns in Darwin

So much for the "drought" Greenies keep talking about. But reality has never been important to Greenies. They live in a world of fantasy and superstition

EVEN while firefighters are still battling bush infernos in scorched Victoria huge amounts of Australia are under floodwaters. Rains have eased, but more than 4000 people remain isolated by flood waters in parts of northern New South Wales, the State Emergency Service (SES) says. Heavy rains falling since Friday have soaked large parts of the state between Bourke and Sydney, but began easing last night, SES director general Murray Kear said.

"We've got about 4,000 people still isolated along the Bellinger River at the communities of Bellingen, Darkwood and Thora,'' Mr Kear said. "Those communities are isolated by the Bellinger River, which we are monitoring and has showed a slight lowering. "There have been no signs of an increase overnight, with no further rain, and the river is steady at about 5.3m currently.'' The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a further 100mm of rain in the area today, but Mr Kear said satellite images showed the rain falling over the Pacific Ocean.

At Bourke in the state's central north, where a natural disaster zone has been declared, 200mm of rain has fallen in the past few days, equivalent to two-thirds of the city's annual rainfall. Between Bourke and Sydney and stretching to the coast, the SES has received more than 2000 calls for assistance since Friday. "We've conducted nine flood rescues across the north coast - people stranded in vehicles, et cetera,'' Mr Kear said. Last night and early today, the SES received 100 calls for help in the greater Sydney area from people beset by water inundation.

In far North Queensland flooded Gulf of Carpentaria communities and properties have been cut off for six weeks and face another six weeks in isolation, The Courier-Mail reports. As cooped-up residents go stir crazy from a month of isolation and as emergency fodder drops begin, there have been reports of feral pigs and dingoes feasting on the carcasses of dead cattle and snakes taking refuge in and around homes. "We found an olive green python skin about 12ft long (3.6m) in my craft room," Burke Shire mayor Annie Clarke, of Brinawa Station, said yesterday. "And our highest dry ground has been under the house where there's a fair few brown snakes. The browns tend to make you lift your skirts and go like hell.

Premier Anna Bligh said yesterday the Croydon-Normanton flood zone, the Norman, Flinders and Cloncurry river lower reaches would be the priority for $3m worth of helicopter drops.

In Western Australia's Pilbara region two national parks have been closed and mining activity disrupted after heavy rainfall. The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has closed all roads in the Millstream-Chichester National Park and all gravel roads in the Karijini National Park, PerthNow reports. Falls of up to 250mm caused widespread flooding in creeks and rivers in the Pilbara last night. Severe flooding in rivers and creeks at Millstream had resulted and water levels were set to rise in the next few days as heavy rain was forecast to continue. At Karijini, the park was closed with gorges at risk of flash flooding and landslides.

Rio Tinto Ltd said today that its Pilbara iron ore operations were being impeded by heavy rains and high winds, and it had evacuated stranded staff in the region by helicopter. And the Chinese operator of a Pilbara mine admitted today that workers had ridden on a grader to escape floodwaters but denied union claims it had put them at risk.

In the Northern Territory a swollen creek claimed the life of 13-year-old Daniel Browne yesterday despite the heroic effort of three mates to save him. Andrew Demetriou, Tiernan Anderson and Morgan Wise - all 15-year-olds - were the first to jump in and try and save Browne after his foot got tangled on rope and he drowned in the swollen Rapid Creek in Darwin's northern suburbs. The boys said they could not touch the bottom and that the 3m-deep water was fast-flowing. "It was so wet, wild and running quite fast," Morgan said.


Australian steel chief sounds job-loss alarm over proposed Warmist scheme

AUSTRALIA'S second-biggest steelmaker says the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme is likely to cause job losses and force new investments offshore. Onesteel chief executive Geoff Plummer said, that even though the Government had tried to address the industry's concerns, his company "cannot support the carbon pollution reduction scheme based on its current design". "We understand the Government's intentions, but the practical effect of the scheme as it stands is that we will bear a cost not borne by our competitors," he said. "We would be the only steelmakers in the world to have these costs and that would put us at a material disadvantage."

Onesteel employs 10,000 people and is a major employer in the Newcastle and Whyalla regions.

Mr Plummer said the carbon pollution reduction scheme, as it stood, was likely to lead to job losses in the steel industry. The industry is collapsing globally as construction slumps during the economic crisis, a situation Mr Plummer said made the implementation of the scheme at this time even more difficult. "In the current economic environment there is an increased sensitivity around price and competitive positioning," he said. "We are finding it difficult enough at the moment. Since November, we have been forced to reduce our workforce, in terms of direct and indirect employees, by 650."

Onesteel said there was still uncertainty about the level of special assistance it would qualify for under the Government's proposed compensation for emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries. It said it was likely its integrated iron and steel making would initially qualify to receive 90 per cent of its necessary emission permits for free, while electric arc furnace operations would qualify for 60 per cent free permits.

Mr Plummer said Australian steel operations were among the most efficient in the world. If the carbon pollution reduction scheme boosted production from less efficient operations overseas, it could actually increase global emissions. He said his company would continue talks with the Government about possible changes to the emissions trading scheme, but had been forced to deliver a view about its impact as part of its first-half results were reported yesterday.

Industry concerns about the emissions trading scheme intensified during the summer as the economic conditions worsened. The Rudd Government is drafting legislation for its proposed scheme, which it hopes will pass the Senate by June. It argues that revenue from the scheme has been fully committed to its proposed compensation funds, leaving little room to increase free permits to industry.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


An email from David Whitehouse []

These are the words of Lord Turnbull (Cabinet Secretary 2002-2005) talking on Channel 4 News (13th February) about the origins of the banking crisis.
"Now what it is, is a collective failure that all sorts of people - the regulator, the bankers, the economic policy makers. They believed in a particular view of the world and the things which should have acted as restraints in all this - the regulators, rating agencies, accounting, corporate governments - none of that worked, because of the power of consensus."

"It was a bit like Y2K. Why did we all believe Y2K? We all went along with each other. A very strong collective belief came about."

"The best source of this is Alan Greenspan. He had a view that banks would not be so foolish as to destroy themselves. But then he said in a rather plaintive sense, 'I'm terribly sorry but that was not right.' "

"And that was the collective view that things were all going well. There was a sense that a bubble was developing (although Greenspan said 'you cannot prick bubbles you can only pick up the mess'). But no-one believed that it was a bubble of the proportions that we now have."

If it can happen to bankers, can it happen to scientists?

Greenie threats to your health

British restrictions on garbage collections (to "encourage recycling"!) have led to an explosion in pest populations as garbage remains uncollected for long periods

The interval between prediction and outcome seems to be shrinking. Not that the rat explosion merits the title of prediction, since it was an outcome that was obvious to anyone except an idiot or a professional politician. It was adumbrated in a piece entitled STENCH in these pages less than two years ago. More worrying is the fact that related forecasts have serious outcomes that are not so obvious. When fly-borne diseases begin to increase in the warmer weather, it will no doubt be reported as an unfortunate random event (or even yet another outcome of global warming).

Plague was probably rat-borne

Plague is something that resides in history books and little history is taught any more. We now have hygiene, scientific knowledge, antibiotics, pesticides and many other resources to give hope that it is a thing of the past, though evolution will always be a powerful opponent. What has changed in recent times is that there is a new all-pervading political movement that is antihuman, glib and arrogant. Let us just remind ourselves of what plague can mean, from The Epidemiologists:
Plague was a rather vague term given to a variety of epidemic infectious diseases, but the most dramatic of them was the Black Death or bubonic plague. The sixteenth century occurrence was one of many outbreaks, from the Black Death of the fourteenth century to the great plague of 1665. The Black Death began with an outbreak in China in 1333 and over the next decade and a half it moved remorselessly westward, carried by merchants, pilgrims and other travellers along the established land and sea trade routes. It reached Constantinople in 1347, Messina in Sicily in October 1347, and Paris and the south coast of England in the summer of 1348. By 1350 it had covered most of Europe and reached as far as Iceland and Greenland . There were further outbreaks over the years, but in the final flourish the Great Plague of London (1664-1666) killed more people than any other epidemic, with approximately 68,500 burials of plague victims being recorded during its 18-month course.

The impact of the Black Death was profound, and it brought many social and economic changes. Land became less scarce, while labour became more expensive. After a few sporadic outbreaks, such as Marseille in 1720, the incidence of plague declined. Perhaps humanity had developed some immunity, but improved hygiene must have had an effect and the black rat was largely replaced by the brown rat. For as we now all know, the plague is carried by the black rat and transmitted by its flea, Xenopsylla cheopis. We should note that it is not undisputed that the Black Death was in fact bubonic plague and some authorities believe that it was more likely to have been a virus disease like Ebola.

As we have observed above, Green policies have promoted all sorts of risky behaviour in society, not least those that encourage the spread of pests, vermin and disease. Unfortunately, the mechanisms are so indirect that they are able to fend off any guilt by blaming something else, usually global warming. Now deaths have occurred that are clearly linked with Greenery. What more dramatic evidence can you have than the courageous Australian who endured intolerable legal harassment and draconian fines for taking decisive action that saved his home and family? Many have endured horrible deaths and injuries for being more conformist.

Bush fires are part of the long history of Australia . So much so that many plants have evolved (that word again) in such a way as to ensure survival. But now, of course, we know better than those ignorant aborigines

The basic problem is that the Greens have been able to create a situation in which they are not required to offer logical consistent argument, or to explore consequences. They appeal to ephemeral emotion. As in the case of our bath water example, simplistic actions produce accidental, unintended and often disastrous effects. The undemocratic EU, in addition to dismantling the industries that feed its population, is now imposing an increasing risk of pestilence and famine. It is increasingly looking as though the USA will follow the same path. Yes, we can!

...not forgetting

The other way that the Greens are going to kill people is with power cuts. A letter in The Times points out the lack of contribution by wind to power supplies during the recent prolonged cold spell in Britain . Number Watch has been banging on about the inevitability of such scenarios for years, even resorting to outright catastrophism.

One of the ways Greenies maintain their fictions is to ignore completely any salient facts that spoil their theories, such as the fact that wind power is available less than a third of the time.

The wind turbine programme is a sure route to disaster. It would be better to dig a big hole and pour billions of Euros into it. At least that would not wreck the operation of the Grid.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Thermageddon, the BBC and a giant snake

Listeners to BBC World Service's Science in Action program got a nasty surprise last week. In the midst of a discussion about the large snake fossil, a scientist dropped this bombshell:
"The Planet has heated and cooled repeatedly throughout its history. What we're doing is the rate at which we're heating the planet is many orders of magnitude faster than any natural process - and is moving too fast for natural systems to respond."

Hearing this, I did what any normal person would do: grab all the bags of frozen peas I could find in the ice compartment of my refrigerator, and hunker down behind the sofa to wait for Thermageddon. Hours passed. My life flashed before my eyes a few times, and a few times more. But then I noticed that the house was still there, and so was the neighbourhood. And so was I! Then I remembered something else.

According to our leading climate institutes, global temperatures have been static for almost a decade now. (You have to look the graphs, not the institutes' own press releases, which typically offer similar spine-chilling predictions) . The climate scientists are now predicting more of the same, or cooler. The latter, they explained, is because natural systems are at work.

So what is some random apocalyptic nutball doing in the middle of a discussion about paleontology. How did he get here? Did he just wander into to the discussion? Did the BBC producers find him on the street? "Say, you - we've got a feature about the world's largest fossilised snake. Can you liven it up somehow? We can't find Protein Man. Tell everyone the world's ending."

The R.A.N. turns out to be Jason Head, a faculty member at the University of Toronto, a palaeontologist with an eye for the publicity. In the media tarts directory for vertebrate palaeontologists, he notes:
"Areas of Expertise for Media Contacts: Reptile paleontology, climate change, dinosaurs, evolution, evolutionary developmental paleontology and morphometrics"

Notice anything odd, there? In the words of the Cookie Monster, "one of these things is not like the other". Like so much churnalism, this story originates with a press release. Here it is, and you'll note Head makes no claims about future temperature - merely that rainforests 58m to 60m years ago were warmer than tropical rainforests are today. The piece is immediately picked up by British weekly New Scientist, which allows Head to add some creative embellishments. Under the headline proclaims "Giant snake hints at a hotter future", we learn:
This "refutes the idea of the thermostat", says Head, and tells us "what equatorial temperatures will be as we continue to warm the planet: very hot."

Eh? How, you may ask, does a snake refute the idea of a climate thermostat? The science-free assertion is left unchallenged. The BBC then picks up the story, and Head makes his fridge-emptying soundbite. But even the BBC producers must have noticed a strange whiff about this story. One of the corporation's own environment correspondents, Richard Black, is wheeled in to qualify Head's assertion.

"There may be other factors", Black admits, that contribute to the size of fossil. A warmer climate he adds mean some species, for example fish, get smaller. So it isn't possible to infer temperature from body size. Or future temperature from the fossil record.

Jason makes the observation that tropical temperatures were warmer than now 58m years ago. Then, vaulting through all known logic, he extrapolates that the climate must be getting warm now so quickly, natural systems can't cope. It's quite a ride, and entirely science free from start to finish.

The broadcast contains one false assertion, and one invalid inference. We called Science In Action producer Peter McHugh to ask when the BBC would be issuing a correction. But he hasn't returned our call.


The BBC Attempts to Patch Up the Cracks - botches it

On Wednesday, normally stalwart UK global warming promoter - The Guardian, ran this remarkable headline:

`Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public, say experts'

The Met Office Hadley Centre, one of the most prestigious research facilities in the world, says recent "apocalyptic predictions" about Arctic ice melt and soaring temperatures are as bad as claims that global warming does not exist. Such statements, however well-intentioned, distort the science and could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions, it says.

Undaunted and defiant, their comrades in global warming arms at the BBC, chose this as the lead story for Sunday morning:
`Global warming `underestimated'

The severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed, a leading climate scientist has warned... "We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously in climate policy," he said. Prof Field said the 2007 report, which predicted temperature rises between 1.1C and 6.4C over the next century, seriously underestimated the scale of the problem. " Prof Field said rising temperatures could thaw Arctic permafrost

One fatal flaw with the BBC story is that Chris Field is not a climate scientist, as they claimed. He is actually a Professor of Biology in an Ecology Department. So how does the BBC choose their headlines? In matters of global warming, apparently the apocalyptic words of one American ecologist overrule those of the UK's own government climate scientists at The Met Office. Chris Field clearly does not have any credentials to be making the climate claims the BBC reported. This looks more and more like a Shakespearean comedy every day.

UPDATE: BBC Can't even get their reporting correct. The reporter in this video report that accompanies the web article says that "The fear is that increased global warming could set off what's called negative feedback..." and that now we are in "scenarios unexplored by the models". No kidding, it's that bad. For those of you that don't know, some alarmists [i.e. Warmists] claim that "negative climate feedback is as real as the Easter Bunny, which is what makes this BBC factual error so hilarious. [The whole of Warmism is founded on assertions of POSITIVE feedbacks. The actual warming observed over the 20th century would be too trivial to worry about otherwise]

More here

Pesky Indians find bacteria that gobble up that evil CO2

In a major breakthrough that could help in the fight against global warming, a team of five Indian scientists from four institutes of the country have discovered a naturally occurring bacteria which converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into a compound found in limestone and chalk.

When used as an enzyme - biomolecules that speed up a chemical reaction - the bacteria has been found to transform CO2 into calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which can fetch minerals of economic value, said Dr Anjana Sharma from the biosciences department of RD University, Jabalpur, who was part of the Rs 98.6 lakh project sponsored by the department of biotechnology (DBT) under the Union science and technology ministry.

CO2 is a greenhouse gas produced in the burning of fossil fuels and other industrial activities. The rising emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere is chiefly responsible for global warming. Reducing CO2 levels is the single most important strategy to fight global warming and the resulting effects of climate change.

"The enzyme can be put to work in any situation, like in a chamber fitted inside a factory chimney through which CO2 would pass before being emitted into the atmosphere, and it would convert the greenhouse gas into calcium carbonate,'' Dr Sadhana Rayalu, the project coordinator who is from the National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, told TOI on phone from Nagpur. This potentially means that the bacteria - extracted from a number of places including brick kilns in Satna, Madhya Pradesh - can be used to take out CO2 from its sources of emission itself.

Rayalu said the chemical reactions involved in the process have been successfully established while its economic viability, cloning, expression and single-step purification are under study. The team has published its findings in the Indian Journal of Microbiology and its paper has been accepted for publication in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Sharma said the breakthrough was the result of marathon research work spanning more than three years. Other members of the team are Dr K Krishnamurty from NEERI, Dr T Satyanarayana from Delhi University and Dr A K Tripathi from Banaras Hindu University. "Interestingly, it is nature that has come to the rescue of the human race from harmful effects of global warming. Investigators of the team have discovered as many as seven such micro-organisms that have the tendency to convert carbon dioxide into calcium carbonate at different natural locations,'' said Sharma, who was on a visit to Allahabad.


Who's afraid of global warming?

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the article below is that it comes from Israel's Leftist "Ha Aretz". Is the Israeli Left getting ahead of the curve? Excerpts only below

The blackboard in Prof. Nir Shaviv's office in the Department of Physics at Hebrew University is covered with equations and graphs. He's hunched over the computer, searching for another illustration, another study that will underscore the subject of our talk: the effect of cosmic rays on the earth's warming.

Shaviv is the preeminent Israeli scholar among a handful throughout the world who believe that human beings are not responsible for global warming. The consequences of global warming were portrayed in Al Gore's successful 2006 film, "An Inconvenient Truth," which presents a frightening scenario to which one can hardly remain indifferent: giant ice caps melting, vast areas of human settlement covered by seas that overflow their banks, fierce hurricanes, new strains of bacteria, plagues and death.

Shaviv refuses to get worked up: "The hysteria surrounding the concept of 'global warming' will fade over the years," he says. "People will see that the apocalyptic forecasts are not coming true. Today there is no fingerprint attesting that carbon dioxide emission causes a rise in temperature. A Grad missile that falls in Sderot should be more cause for concern." Back to the Ice Age Last Wednesday, Shaviv was featured in a documentary broadcast on Channel 8, "The Cloud Mystery," alongside Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark, a physicist whose pioneering experiments conducted in Copenhagen revealed how changes on the sun's surface and cosmic rays are what affect climate, and not the polluting gases from manmade sources.

A few months from now, Am Oved will be publishing a Hebrew translation of Svensmark's book "The Chilling Stars," which was the basis for the film (and was written with Nigel Calder, former editor of the journal New Scientist). Several important chapters are devoted to Shaviv's work, and as the book's scientific editor, the final drafts of the translation are currently on the desk in his office. Shaviv, 36, is an associate professor at the Hebrew University, in the Racah Institute of Physics, where he lectures on star formation and high energies.

While he was living in Toronto, one of his colleagues asked him how supernovae (the explosion of massive stars) affect the earth. Shaviv examined the question seriously; his conclusions reinforced the argument that charged energy particles called cosmic rays, which are affected by the sun's activity, are what affect the earth's climate. Shaviv explains it as follows: "The sun's activity is cyclical. When it's more active, the wind that blows from it is stronger and then fewer cosmic rays reach the earth. Cosmic rays cause ions to be produced in our atmosphere, which are one of the factors required for the creation of the surface upon which clouds form, primarily above the ocean's surface. When there are fewer ions, the clouds that are formed are composed of large drops. Clouds of this type are less white and refract less of the sun's rays outward, and so the heat is preserved and the earth gets warmer."

In 2002, the prestigious scientific journal Physical Review Letters published Shaviv's article, "Cosmic Ray Diffusion from the Galactic Spiral Arms, Iron Meteorites, and a Possible Climatic Connection." The article was selected by the scientific magazine Discover as one of the year's 100 most important discoveries. In the article, Shaviv proposed the hypothesis that the earth's crossing of the spiral arms of the Milky Way is the cause of the ice ages the planet has experienced. The explanation: When the earth is "traveling" along the Milky Way, says Shaviv, it is exposed to more cosmic rays, in tandem with an increase in supernovae. "When there is a supernova near the earth, it will produce a lot of cosmic rays, which in turn will produce a lot of ionization and the formation of white clouds composed of many small drops of water. These refract the sun's rays outward, which eventually leads to a chilling of the earth.

"The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy with arms," Shaviv continues. "We traverse one of these arms every 145 million years. If the sun's cyclical changes translate into a shift of one degree on earth, then the changes when we traverse such an arm, close to supernovae, will be on the order of 10 degrees, which is a huge amount. When you look at the geological record of the earth, you see that in the past 100 million years, there were periods with ice at the Poles and periods without ice. I demonstrated in the article that the Ice Ages correlate chronologically with our traversing the arms of the Milky Way. In other words, every 145 million years there is an Ice Age. The conclusion is that cosmic rays affect the earth's temperature on long time-scales, too."

Persona non grata

At first, Shaviv didn't quite grasp the magnitude of his discovery. "I had no idea that this would lead me to get involved in the greenhouse effect," he says. "All I set out to do was to seriously answer a colleague's question. When I wanted to publish the article I ran into closed doors. I sent the article to Nature and was told - It's nice, but you need to find a stronger basis. After a while, I came to feel like people were always looking for another excuse not to publish the article."

The article was finally published in Physical Review Letters. Not long after its publication, Shaviv came across an article by a Canadian geologist named Jan Veizer, who had made geochemical measurements in order to reconstruct the earth's temperature over the past 550 million years. "One of his aims was to see how the temperature was affected by the amount of carbon dioxide," says Shaviv, "and he found that there was no relation between them. For example, 450 million years ago, it was much colder than it is today, but the amount of carbon dioxide was much, much higher. When he wanted to publish the article, he found it difficult. He was told that his findings couldn't be accurate. That carbon dioxide is known to have a big effect on temperature, so his measurements had to be wrong."

Veizer's geochemical findings fit Shaviv's hypothesis about Ice Ages like a glove. Shaviv hastened to write to him. "He was stunned," Shaviv recalls. "A week later, we met in Toronto at his hotel and we compared my reconstruction of cosmic rays with his temperature reconstruction. We saw that most of the changes on the geological time scales were explained by cosmic rays." Their joint work spawned a new article, published in 2003 in GSA Today under the title "Celestial Driver of Phanerozoic Climate?", looking at climate change over the past 550 million years. The two researchers forcefully argued that the amount of carbon dioxide has, at most, a minimal effect on global warming. This finding, which absolves human beings of responsibility for global warming, aroused stiff opposition.

Shaviv says that his campaign against the consensus has made him "persona non grata in certain communities. The trillion-dollar question today is how much the earth's temperature will rise if we double the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Contrary to the claim of the IPCC, we said that by 2100 the temperature will rise by less than one and a half degrees. People didn't like it when we showed that the earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide is low, and we became a persecuted minority."

"After I published the article with Jan, we received some furious reactions. There was a group of scientists headed by a German researcher who claimed that everything we did in our study was incorrect. This German fellow, who recruited a few more researchers, published a scathing response in the press. Their attack was fairly ridiculous. He claimed that everything I did was wrong. I put the exchanges between us, which were published in the scientific press, on my Web site at the university. Then this scientist contacted the university and alleged that I was violating his copyright and threatened to sue. Basically, he brought politics into science. Because of this incident, I started a blog, my own private Web site, where I can say whatever I want. I also donated 1,000 euros to plant trees so no one could say I was motivated by outside interests."

Al Gore's film features that famous graph showing a perfect correlation between the rise in temperature and the rise in carbon dioxide. How do you explain that? "There is no proof that the rise in temperature in the 20th century is due to human beings and carbon dioxide emissions. I see two things on the graph: a rise in temperature and a rise in the carbon dioxide level. Gore contends that the rise in carbon dioxide is causing the rise in temperature, and we maintain that the opposite is true - that the rise in temperature is what's causing the rise in carbon dioxide. There are places in the world where scientists have been able to determine the sequence of events, and there we've seen that the change in the amount of carbon dioxide was preceded by a change in temperature."

What about the argument that the amount of greenhouse gases we produce is what traps the sun's rays here and causes warming?

"The point is that no one knows how to calculate it properly. It's true that carbon dioxide warms the planet. But Veizer and I have shown that even if we were to double the amount of carbon dioxide on earth, the temperature wouldn't rise more than one and a half degrees. The UN report, which is based on simulations, talks about an increase of 2-4.5 degrees. Essentially, whoever wrote the report is saying, 'We can't really anticipate by how many degrees the temperature will rise.'"

So Al Gore doesn't know what he's talking about?

"In his movie, he doesn't bring a single piece of proof to show that global warming is due to human beings. He presents his nice graph, which as I said, doesn't prove anything. When I saw the movie for the first time it made me laugh. I knew that what was being said there was meaningless. Their arguments have lasted until now because there were no counter-arguments. And now we come with our argument, that cosmic rays are what cause warming, and they're fighting us tooth and nail....

More here


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Hotshot British Greens caught wasting home heat

A survey of the homes of top environmentalists has found they leak energy. "Do as I say, not as I do"

THEY may shout their green credentials from the rooftops, but some of Britain's most prominent environmental champions are living in homes that produce up to half a ton of excess carbon dioxide a year.

An audit of properties, measuring heat loss, has revealed that Chris Martin, the pop star, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, and Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster, are among those who reside in homes that are "leaking" energy. Some lack even the most basic energy saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and double glazing.

Thermal images of the residences of 10 high-profile green campaigners found that their heat loss was either worse or no better than that found in the average family home.

Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat energy and climate change spokesman, owned the least energy-efficient property. He bought his œ150,000 flat in Southwark, south London, 25 years ago but has failed to fit it with any significant insulation. Only last week Hughes unveiled plans to make every home in Britain energy efficient within the next decade. He could start with his own flat.

According to IRT Surveys, which analysed the thermal images for The Sunday Times, an estimated 1,812 kilowatt hours of heat a year seeps out through the walls and windows. The extra heating needed to make up for this loss produces 471kg of CO2 This weekend Hughes said he was planning to move. "I'm conscious that the house does need some more work to be as well insulated as possible," he said. "If I stay, it will have a full survey and anything that's necessary. In theory it doesn't waste much energy because for large parts of the day there's nobody there."

The IRT analysis assumes the property is in use the whole year round. However, Steve Howard of the Climate Group, which advises businesses and governments about reducing emissions, said: "Even a poorly paid MP can afford cavity wall insulation - it will pay for itself in three years. It's a no-brainer."

More here

AP notes that NASA moonwalker declares 'global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control'

Former astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who walked on the moon and once served New Mexico in the U.S. Senate, doesn't believe that humans are causing global warming. "I don't think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect," said Schmitt, who is among 70 skeptics scheduled to speak next month at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York.

Schmitt contends that scientists "are being intimidated" if they disagree with the idea that burning fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide levels, temperatures and sea levels. "They've seen too many of their colleagues lose grant funding when they haven't gone along with the so-called political consensus that we're in a human-caused global warming," Schmitt said.

Dan Williams, publisher with the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, which is hosting the climate change conference, said he invited Schmitt after reading about his resignation from The Planetary Society, a nonprofit dedicated to space exploration. Schmitt resigned after the group blamed global warming on human activity. In his resignation letter, the 74-year-old geologist argued that the "global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making."

Williams said Heartland is skeptical about the crisis that people are proclaiming in global warming. "Not that the planet hasn't warmed. We know it has or we'd all still be in the Ice Age," he said. "But it has not reached a crisis proportion and, even among us skeptics, there's disagreement about how much man has been responsible for that warming." Schmitt said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise.

Schmitt also said geological evidence indicates changes in sea level have been going on for thousands of years. He said smaller changes are related to changes in the elevation of land masses - for example, the Great Lakes are rising because the earth's crust is rebounding from being depressed by glaciers. Schmitt, who grew up in Silver City and now lives in Albuquerque, has a science degree from the California Institute of Technology. He also studied geology at the University of Oslo in Norway and took a doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964. In 1972, he was one of the last men to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

Schmitt said he's heartened that the upcoming conference is made up of scientists who haven't been manipulated by politics. Of the global warming debate, he said: "It's one of the few times you've seen a sizable portion of scientists who ought to be objective take a political position and it's coloring their objectivity."


An Egregious Example Of Biased News Reporting

I was quite stunned this morning to read the following news articles:

"Global warming seen worse than predicted" by Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters

"Scientists: Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates"By Kari Lydersen of the Washington Post.

These news is also reported at 431 other sites according to a search on google. These articles are based on statements by Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Field as an expert on the carbon cycle [I also have worked with him in the past]. However, while he is credentialed in climate science and certainly can have his own opinion, the selection of his statements to highlight in prominent news articles, without presenting counter perspectives by other climate scientists, is a clear example of media bias. Dr. Fields is reported to have said
"We are basically looking now at a future climate that's beyond anything we've considered seriously in climate model simulations".

This claim, though, conflicts with real world observations! For example, Climate Science has recently weblogged on the issue of global warming; see: Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions.

Since mid-2003, there has been no upper ocean global average warming; an observation which is not consistent with the GISS model predictions over this time period. The recent and current tropospheric temperature data (e.g. see Figure 7 in this RSS MSU data), also show that the global lower tropospheric temperatures today are no warmer than they were in 2002. The recent global warming is less than the IPCC models predict, and, even more so, in disagreement with the news articles.

Since papers and weblogs have documented that the warming is being over-estimated in recent years, and, thus, these sources of information are readily available to the reporters, there is, therefore, no other alternative than these reporters are deliberately selecting a biased perspective to promote a particular viewpoint on climate. The reporting of this news without presenting counter viewpoints is clearly an example of yellow journalism: "Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers."

When will the news media and others realize that by presenting such biased reports, which are easily refuted by real world data, they are losing their credibility among many in the scientific community as well as with the public.


Not A Peep from Scientists in response to Goremania

Last week Vicky Pope of the UK Met Service caused a bit of a stir by calling for some restraint in the misrepresentation of climate science in political debates. She wrote:
Overplaying natural variations in the weather as climate change is just as much a distortion of the science as underplaying them to claim that climate change has stopped or is not happening. Both undermine the basic facts that the implications of climate change are profound and will be severe if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut drastically and swiftly over the coming decades.

But to get a sense of how difficult reining in such claims will actually be, consider the reaction of the scientific community to Al Gore’s invited speech at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) last week (a video can be found here).

In his speech Gore attributed a wide range of recent weather events to human-caused climate change including floods in Iowa, Hurricane Ike, and the Australian bush fires. Gore sought to sum up all of these weather anecdotes by citing data from the CRED in Belgium showing that the total number of disasters has increased in recent decades (at about minute 38:00 of the video), showing this graph for effect.

What does CRED say about its own dataset (emphasis added)? (here in PDF)
. . . the linking of past trends in the EM-DAT figures and to climate change needs to remain guarded. Indeed, justifying the upward trend in hydro-meteorological disaster occurrence and impacts essentially through climate change would be misleading. Climate change is probably an actor in this increase but not the major one- even if it impact on the figures will likely become more evident in the future.

The task of identifying the possible impact of the climate change on the EM-DAT figures is complicated by the existence of several concomitant factors. For instance, one major contributor to the increase in disasters occurrence over the last decades is the constantly improving diffusion and accuracy of disaster related information.

Furthermore, disaster occurrence and impacts do not only depend on exposure to extreme natural phenomena but also depend on anthropogenic factors such as government policy, population growth, urbanisation, community-level resilience to natural disaster, etc. All of these contribute to the degree of vulnerability people experience.

How did AAAS and the many scientists in attendance respond to being blatantly misled with scientific untruths in a speech calling for political action? Why, by issuing a press release repeating the misrepresentation:
With charts and images, Gore described the immediate nature of the threat . . . A 500-year flood that has wrecked Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Wildfires in Greece that nearly toppled a government, and wildfires this month in Australia that have left scores of people dead and sparked a new national debate about climate change.

And of all of those scientists in attendance, here is a list of those who sought to set the record straight on blogs and in the media:

OK, I couldn’t find any, but if you know of any such reactions, please share in the comments. Pope’s leadership on this topic is as admirable as it is unique. But as the non-response to Al Gore’s in-your-face untruths shows, the misrepresentation of climate science for political gain has many willing silent collaborators.


"Dangerous and growing threat of climate crisis"

A response to Al Gore's Senate testimony of January 28, 2009

The Testimony Al Gore, testifying before a Senate Committee on a bitterly cold, snowy late January day in 2009, said the "global community" was facing "the dangerous and growing threat of the climate crisis". He used the words "climate crisis" eight times in his written 15-minute testimony. The text of Gore's testimony, unlike previous statements by him about the "climate crisis", contained no scientific information. Gore's "science", such as it was, was confined to a series of slides shown to the Committee but still unavailable to public enquirers thereafter.

Gore now says little in public about the science of climate, because he has been proven wrong on his facts so often in the past. Two years ago a High Court Judge in London ordered the British Government to correct nine "errors" in Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, before allowing innocent schoolchildren to be exposed to it. Gore's propaganda movie in fact contained at least 352 serious scientific errors.

Gore's Senate testimony, as published, was little more than a string of childishly Apocalyptic generalities - "Earth is in grave danger"; "urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization"; "dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels"; buying oil from "dangerous and unstable regimes"; "national security at risk"; oil's "roller-coaster is headed for a crash, and we're in the front car"; "70 million tons of global warming pollution"; "we move closer and closer to several dangerous tipping points" that will "make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable destruction of the conditions that make human life possible"; burning oil "in ways that destroy the planet"; "securing the future of human civilization"; "new evidence and fresh warnings from scientists"; etc., etc.

Gore urged the Senate to support President Obama's "recovery package" - energy efficiency, renewable energy, a national electricity grid, and "clean cars" -- that would create "millions of new jobs". He also said Congress must "place a price on carbon". He said there was "much stronger support for action than when we completed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997".

His ideal Copenhagen treaty to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol would contain asymmetrical limits on carbon emissions, hitting the West hard but letting off Communist China and other developing countries with lesser restrictions, softened by cash subsidies from Western nations. He also wanted a "strong compliance and verification regime".

He said the treaty to protect the ozone layer had banned most of the "major substances that create the ozone hole over Antarctica".

Finally, Gore discussed "in more detail why we must do all of this within the next year". But the further "detail" was not included in the published text of his speech, and the Kerry Committee staff have not released Gore's "few new pictures that illustrate the unprecedented need for bold and speedy action this year", even though the Senate Committee hearing was supposedly public.

The Fact-Based Response

There was not, is not, and will not be any "climate crisis" - or, if there is, the human contribution to it will be negligible. In the four years since Gore's movie was released, global surface temperatures have fallen at a rate equivalent to 6 degrees Celsius per century, enough to usher in an Ice Age if this exceptional and rapid rate of global cooling were to continue as far as 2100

The above graph shows the very rapid decline in global mean surface temperatures between January 2005 and December 2008, compared with the range of projections (shown as a pink region) made by the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, in its 2007 report. The shortfall between the IPCC's central projection and the real-world decline in temperatures is an astonishing 0.4 Celsius degrees (0.7 F) in only four years. This is hardly the profile of a "climate crisis" caused by "global warming".

Gore now routinely refers to CO2 as "global warming pollution" - a term he used twice in his presentation to the Senate Committee. However, CO2 is not a pollutant - it is essential food for plants

Much more here

Australia: Where did Sydney's summer go?

About one week after western suburbs endured its hottest four-day heatwave in 37 years; Sydney is likely to be heading for it coolest February period in more than 50 years. The city is in the middle of at least a week where the temperature stays below 25 degrees. The likely number of days is nine, with next Wednesday being the first day warmer than 25 since last Sunday. This will make it the longest February stretch below 25 degrees since the 1950s. Sydney also had nine days in-a-row below 25 in February 1953 and eight in 1996. The last time there was a longer stretch was in 1950 when there were 13.

The extraordinary turnaround from last week's heat is a due to plenty of cloud and showers being blown in by persistent onshore southeasterly winds. When will the summer warmth return? The middle of next week as winds turn warmer northeasterly, but it will only be brief, just a few days. The city is likely to reach the high 20s, possibly the low 30s, but a cooler change late next week will put an end to that warmth. Western suburbs will hit the low-to-mid 30s before the change.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Decisive action needed as greenhouse gas levels rise, says one-eyed man

Through one eye he sees that over the last 50 years CO2 levels have risen. But if he opened his other eye he would see that the temperature has been flat for 10 years and is now FALLING -- and it is temperature that is the supposed problem. But if he opened his other eye his whole theory would fall apart.

Actually, both the guy's eyes are shut. It is not historic CO2 levels that he is discussing but things that are happening now: "are rising" in his words -- and can you see any rise in CO2 levels in these statistics? See the "average" column for the year 2008. It looks like temperature AND CO2 have BOTH stopped rising

In the end, the man is simply a liar. But lies come easily to the Green/Left. After all, "There's no such thing as right and wrong" for them

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising more rapidly than expected, increasing the danger that without aggressive action to reduce emissions the climate system could cross a critical threshold by the end of the century, warns a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Studies indicate that greenhouse warming could trigger a vicious cycle of feedback, in which carbon dioxide released from thawing tundra and increasingly fire-prone forests drives global temperatures even higher.

Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology and co-chair of the IPCC Working Group 2, will address these issues at a symposium titled "What Is New and Surprising since the IPCC Fourth Assessment?" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago. The IPCC Fourth Assessment, for which Field was a coordinating author, was published in 2007. As co-chair, Field will oversee the Working Group 2 Report on the predicted impacts of climate change for the IPCC Fifth assessment, scheduled to be published in 2014. The Fifth Assessment will incorporate the results of new studies that predict more severe changes than did previous assessments.

"The data now show that greenhouse gas emissions are accelerating much faster than we thought," says Field. "Over the last decade developing countries such as China and India have increased their electric power generation by burning more coal. Economies in the developing world are becoming more, not less carbon-intensive. We are definitely in unexplored terrain with the trajectory of climate change, in the region with forcing, and very likely impacts, much worse than predicted in the fourth assessment."

New studies are also revealing potentially dangerous feedbacks in the climate system that could convert current carbon sinks into carbon sources. Field points to tropical forests as a prime example. Vast amounts of carbon are stored in the vegetation of moist tropical forests, which are resistant to wildfires because of their wetness. But warming temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns threaten to dry the forests, making them less fireproof. Researchers estimate that loss of forests through wildfires and other causes during the next century could boost atmospheric concentration of CO2 by up to 100 parts per million over the current 386 ppm, with possibly devastating consequences for global climate.

Warming in the Arctic is expected to speed up the decay of plant matter that has been in cold storage in permafrost for thousands of years. "There is about 1,000 billion tons of carbon in these soils," says Field. "When you consider that the total amount of carbon released from fossil fuels since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution is around 350 billion tons, the implications for global climate are staggering."

"The IPCC fourth assessment didn't consider either the tundra-thawing or tropical forest feedbacks in detail because they weren't yet well understood," he says. "But new studies are now available, so we should be able to assess a wider range of factors and possible climate outcomes. One thing that seems to be certain, however, is that as a society we are facing a climate crisis that is larger and harder to deal with than any of us thought. The sooner we take decisive action, the better our chances are of leaving a sustainable world to future generations."


Major backdown by Al Gore?

At AAAS, Al Gore urges scientists to get involved in the climate change debate. But I thought the debate was over??

Fresh from adding a Grammy to his mantle Sunday, former vice president Al Gore told scientists gathered here for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to push administration officials and the general public for solutions to climate change. "Scientists can no longer in good conscience accept this division between the work you do and the civilization in which you live," Gore said. "Keep your day jobs, but get involved in the debate," he added.

In about a 45-minute speech, Gore reviewed the evidence for global warming, showing a set a slides that has evolved since An Inconvenient Truth. (A few of our Twitter followers--yes, we live-Twittered Gore's talk, so you can see the blow-by-blow here--pointed out that he had presented a lot of the slides at the recent TED conference.) He began by noting a parallel between the mortgage crisis and global warming, saying the world has $7 trillion in subprime carbon assets that it can't get rid of.....

As he talked of millions of "climate refugees" in low-lying areas of the world, Gore pointed out that the Maldives now has a budget line "to buy a new country." He drew a link between global warming and extreme weather, from hurricanes to droughts to wildfires, showing photos of the recent blazes in Australia (and the now-famous rescued koala.)

Gore used a dramatic video of scientist Katey Walter lighting a plume of methane gas bubbling up from a frozen Alaskan lake to introduce the idea of methane as a potent greenhouse gas. Methane emissions from such lakes is thought by many scientists to be increasing as the permafrost thaws, allowing organic material trapped in the ice to be converted by the lake's bacteria into the gas.

Gore--who didn't take questions after the talk, citing his schedule--seemed optimistic about the Obama administration's appointments to the Cabinet and other senior posts. "This is a moment in our history as a nation and in the history of the world's population that is without precedent," he said. A few minutes later, he said, "We as a species need to make a decision."

More here

James Hansen unhinged!! 'Coal-fired power plants are factories of death'?

As their theory falls apart all around them, the Warmists keep trying to find new heights of rhetoric in a flailing attempt to keep their cause alive. The latest attempt from Hansen below. Note that he gives zero evidence of harm from human CO2 emissions -- because there is no such evidence, merely fevered speculation:

A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Britain. I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd and other leaders. The reason is this - coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet.

The climate is nearing tipping points. Changes are beginning to appear and there is a potential for explosive changes, effects that would be irreversible, if we do not rapidly slow fossil-fuel emissions over the next few decades. As Arctic sea ice melts, the darker ocean absorbs more sunlight and speeds melting. As the tundra melts, methane, a strong greenhouse gas, is released, causing more warming. As species are exterminated by shifting climate zones, ecosystems can collapse, destroying more species.

The public, buffeted by weather fluctuations and economic turmoil, has little time to analyse decadal changes. How can people be expected to evaluate and filter out advice emanating from those pushing special interests? How can people distinguish between top-notch science and pseudo-science?

Those who lead us have no excuse - they are elected to guide, to protect the public and its best interests. They have at their disposal the best scientific organisations in the world, such as the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences. Only in the past few years did the science crystallise, revealing the urgency. Our planet is in peril. If we do not change course, we'll hand our children a situation that is out of their control. One ecological collapse will lead to another, in amplifying feedbacks.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the air has already risen to a dangerous level. The pre-industrial carbon dioxide amount was 280 parts per million (ppm). Humans, by burning coal, oil and gas, have increased this to 385 ppm; it continues to grow by about 2 ppm per year.

The most threatening change, from my perspective, is extermination of species [How unsurprising. Greenies don't care about people]. Several times in Earth's history, rapid global warming occurred, apparently spurred by amplifying feedbacks. In each case, more than half of plant and animal species became extinct. New species came into being over tens and hundreds of thousands of years. But these are time scales and generations that we cannot imagine. If we drive our fellow species to extinction, we will leave a far more desolate planet for our descendants than the world we inherited from our elders.

The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death. When I testified against the proposed Kingsnorth power plant, I estimated that in its lifetime it would be responsible for the extermination of about 400 species - its proportionate contribution to the number that would be committed to extinction if carbon dioxide rose another 100 ppm.

More here

Edinburgh shivers during one of the coldest-ever Februarys

It's official - Edinburgh is in the midst of one of the coldest Februarys on record, and the icy conditions are set to stay with us for up to a month. Weather experts say that with temperatures as low as -7C, and daily averages fluctuating between 2C and -3C, the city is in line to record its first sub-zero average February in more than a decade.

Yet while forecasters predict the mercury will struggle to climb above freezing for weeks to come, it is nowhere near Edinburgh's worst winter. Records show that back in 1947, the average temperature for the area over February was a frosty -3C. The closest the Capital has come to a February that severe since then was back in 1986, when the temperatures dropped to an average -1.9C for the month. In recent years the trend has been for milder winters, making the current cold snap all the more unexpected. Edinburgh was again covered with a blanket of snow yesterday, with forecasters predicting the wintry weather and snow showers would continue for the rest of the month.... There is no sign of the cold weather front moving on anywhere for at least a few weeks, so it looks like the low temperatures could continue, which means the average temperature could be even lower."

As the UK is gripped by one of the coldest months in recent memory, on the other side of the world Australia is recording temperatures of up to 46C, something which has not been seen there in almost a century. In addition, the more tropical parts of the continent are suffering major floods as a result of relentless downpours. This kind of extreme weather, with colder winters and hotter summers seen around the world, is, the Met Office says, in line with some climate change predictions. [Predictions that can explain anything are no predictions at all]

More here


Three reports below

Greenie shark madness in NSW

In the same week men were attacked by sharks in Woolloomooloo and Bondi Beach, the state Government banned NSW fishermen from catching them. Despite overwhelming evidence numbers are at record levels, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the state's 25 shark hunters last week received a letter from the NSW Department of Primary Industries declaring the ban. The letter stated the restriction was being imposed because the State's annual shark quota had already been reached. Despite a frightening summer of shark attacks and sightings up and down the NSW coast, fishermen will now be prohibited from taking sharks until July 1.

In the past week, navy diver Able Seaman Paul de Gelder, 31, was mauled by a shark at Woolloomooloo at 7am on Wednesday and lost a hand, while Glen Orgias, 33, was attacked at Bondi on Thursday at 8pm. Both men were continuing their recovery from surgery at St Vincent's Hospital yesterday. Mr Orgias's right hand has been reattached after 10 hours of surgery.

Under new fishing restrictions imposed last year, NSW fisherman are limited to catching just 160 tonnes of shark a year. In Queensland, fishermen are allowed to take 3000 tonnes.

North Coast fisherman Bill Litchfield described the ban as ludicrous given the increasing numbers of sharks being sighted. "We consistently get around 100 a night; that's an average catch. So how many of the buggers are out there?" he said. "The largest we've caught was a 15-foot (4.6m) tiger shark just 200 yards (183m) from Evans Head Surf Club. My skipper took his kids out of nippers the next day."

Mr Litchfield said he had written numerous letters to State Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald requesting the quota be reviewed. Mr Macdonald said the shark quotas affected species that were not man-eaters - a claim disputed by fishermen who said it protected bull sharks, which are thought to be were responsible for last week's attacks. The ban also protects dangerous tiger sharks, bronze whalers, hammerheads and black tips.

Mr Macdonald said: "The quotas are based on sound scientific advice. Everyone needs to remember there are no 100 per cent guarantees when swimming in the ocean - sharks are a natural part of the ocean environment."

NSW fishermen also blame a 1995 restriction on salmon beach-hauling for booming shark numbers close to the coast. "The salmon swim close to shore and bring in the sharks," Mr Litchfield said. "I've seen white pointers chasing them at surfing beaches at Newcastle. It is only time before a surfer gets taken there - it is going to happen."

Bondi fisherman Udo Edlinger also blamed a rise in salmon numbers for a spike in shark sightings. "I wouldn't be swimming around Sydney during dawn or dusk at the moment," he said. Fishing websites and live angling blogs are full of shark sightings, close encounters and stories of the day's catch. Doonside fisherman Peter Brennan said he didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he saw a 4m shark steal the kingfish right off his line on Monday at Clifton Gardens, near Mosman.

Other sightings include Roseville Marina, Woolloomooloo Wharf and Saunders Wharf at Darling Harbour. Professional Sydney fisherman and guide Craig McGill said he's never seen as much shark activity in the harbour in his 25 years of fishing. He said he had noticed a gradual increase in shark numbers over the past five years. "I certainly wouldn't be swimming anywhere in Sydney Harbour (now) ... and I wouldn't be going to Balmoral," he said. Mr McGill identified other hotspots as Chowder Bay, Clontarf and Rushcutters Bay.

Opposition industry spokesman Duncan Gay called for the quota cap to be lifted immediately. "This is serious ... and needs a Minister who is engaged with his portfolio to make sure our waters are safe as possible." Shark-hunting can be a lucrative industry, with fisherman earning up to $600 per kill. The jaws go to WA where they are sold as souvenirs, heads to The Philippines, fins and tails to Asia, spinal cords to the cosmetic industry and the meat to fish and chip shops around Australia.


Warmist celebrates economic troubles

THE international economic downturn may result in a short-term benefit with a decrease in production leading to a slowing in the growth of greenhouse pollution, one of the Federal Government's top advisers has forecast. Ross Garnaut, who was commissioned by the Government to write a comprehensive report on climate change, said the rate of the increase of greenhouse gas emissions had already fallen."[The downturn] has for a time stopped the rapid growth in emissions of the early 21st century," Professor Garnaut told a conference in Cairns yesterday.

"Since mid-2008, emissions from the developed economies as a whole, and from China, have been falling."But, he said, the reprieve would not halt the rapid rise in greenhouse pollution predicted for the coming decades." The global financial crisis gives us a little breathing space, but mitigation of climate change remains urgent and of central importance," Professor Garnaut said.

He criticised the Federal Government's proposed emissions trading scheme, saying it was offering too much compensation to heavy polluting industries. The draft legislation establishing the scheme is expected later this month.


Kyoto treaty to cost Australia $870 million

Australia faces the prospect of paying an extra $870 million for greenhouse gas emissions after Kevin Rudd's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and a new UN target for carbon pollution. After a year-long review by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change committee, Australia has been given a tougher target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. The UN has reduced the amount of greenhouse gas emissions Australia is allowed to produce by 6.6 million tonnes ayear. If Australia is above the carbon emissions target at the end of 2012, it will be required tomake up any shortfall by buying carbon credits from other nations.

Continuing growth in carbon emissions in Australia and the new target have led leading global carbon market analyst Point Carbon to estimate a potential extra cost to taxpayers of $870 million in carbon credits in 2012. "The revision could force Australia to purchase over 30million assigned amount units (AAUs) more than expected, which could cost up to some $870 million, unless it can achieve further emission cuts domestically," Point Carbon's latest Australian emissions report says. The report adds that the credits Australia would buy are left over from the economic restructuring of former Soviet satellites after the fall of the Berlin Wall and hold "little or no environmental integrity".

The UN's reduction of 6.6million tonnes annually in Australia's emissions comes as the Department of Climate Change predicts that greenhouse gas emissions figures for 2007, to be released soon, will rise 9million tonnes above the levels of 2006. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong confirmed last night that the UN target had changed but remained confident Australia could meet it in 2012. "Our current projections, released last December, show we are on track to meet our Kyoto target, so there is no projected shortfall," Senator Wong said last night.

The Government is finalising an emissions trading scheme that is due to begin next year. The moves come as the global financial crisis puts extra cost pressures on industry, creating turmoil in world carbon markets and prompting claims that European polluters are abusing emissions trading schemes to raise quick finance. The price of carbon in the European ETS has crashed to a record low in the past two weeks - down from E30 ($59) a tonne to E10 - as heavy carbon polluters sold more than E1 billion worth of carbon credits to raise finance for their businesses.

European cement producers and electricity generators have unloaded carbon credits they do not need because economic growth has crashed. The Rudd Government's updated forecasts estimate Australian industry will have to pay $23.5billion for carbon emission permits in the first two years of the ETS. Point Carbon last week estimated the recession sparked by the financial crisis would cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 500 million tonnes



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

'CO2 reduction treaties useless'

A new [British] report says treaties aimed at reducing CO2 emissions are useless. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers report says we have to accept the world could change dramatically. It also says we should start planning our major infrastructure now to accommodate more extreme weather events and sea level rises. While not against attempts to reduce emissions, the report's authors say we should be realistic about what can be achieved with this approach.

International diplomats and environment campaigners have, for years, been pursuing an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions. In its present incarnation it is called the Kyoto Protocol. This treaty runs out in 2012, and negotiations are carrying on at the moment to replace it - negotiations which will culminate in a meeting in Copenhagen later this year.

The authors of the report are not optimistic about the outcome: "The new agreement's most basic premise will be to try and limit the negative man-made effects on our climate system for future generations. "In other words, the agreement will aim to reduce global CO2 emissions by mitigation. "However, the existing Kyoto Protocol has, to date, been a near total failure, with emissions levels continuing to rise substantially."

While the report's authors point out that the Institution, like many scientific bodies, has a strong belief that we need "to reduce CO2 to secure long-term human survival", they also say that we should be realistic about what we can achieve. And "even with vigorous mitigation effort, we will continue to use fossil fuel reserves until they are exhausted."

If climate change scientists' predictions are correct, the world will look very different if we are unable or unwilling to stop using fossil fuels to the extent we are doing today. Sea level rises could be seven metres in the UK by 2250, which, unchecked, could inundate much of London, East Anglia and other coastal areas. We may have to accept, they say, that we will need to abandon some parts of the country, and spend significant amounts of money defending others.

2250 may seem like an unimaginably long time away, but the report's authors point out that parts of the London Underground system that are still in use were built in the 1860s, and today's engineers are facing projects the lifetime of which will extend into 2100. The majority of existing infrastructure, they say, will continue to be operational for at least another 100-200 years.

The "climate proofing" the institution recommends extends into almost every construction. For example, towns and cities, they say, should be planned to adjust street layouts to correspond with the prevailing winds, maximising ventilation and cooling. The location of many power stations may have to be reconsidered, as they are often in coastal areas. And railways were often placed in river valleys to make the most of low gradients.

The report's authors say that while they support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are "realistic enough to recognise that global CO2 emissions are not reducing and our climate is changing so unless we adapt, we are likely to face a difficult future."



The world's major carbon emitters were in "full negotiation mode" on Thursday as they met in Tokyo with the clock ticking to draft a new UN treaty on fighting global warming. Representatives from 22 countries, including major CO2 emitters China, India and the United States, as well as the European bloc are taking part in the informal two-day session. It marks one of the first negotiating opportunities on climate change since the inauguration of US President Barack Obama, who has pledged to step up efforts by the world's largest economy to help slow down the planet's warming. "We are now changing gears and entering a full negotiating mode," said co-chairman Sergio Barbosa Serra of Brazil, which organised the event with Japan.

The other co-chair, Akihiko Furuya of Japan, voiced hope for "ideas for a breakthrough" during the closed-door session, the beginning of which was open to the press. UN climate chief Yvo de Boer is also participating in the session, which comes ahead of a December meeting in Copenhagen meant to approve a new treaty on global warming. The Copenhagen treaty will cover the period after the Kyoto Protocol's obligations to curb carbon emissions expire in 2012.

"This year 2009 is of course of critical importance," Furuya said. "We have now only less than 11 months before Copenhagen." "So it is important for all of us to work hard, even harder than before," he added.

Japan, host of the Kyoto Protocol, is badly behind in meeting its own targets as the government hesitates at restricting industry amid an uncertain economy. During this week's meeting, WWF International said, Japan would outline six options for its mid-term emission reduction target, which would "range from a 5 percent increase of emissions to a reduction of 25 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels."

Kim Carstensen, director of the environmental group's Global Climate Initiative, said these options were too weak. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso "will be seen as a laggard in the UN climate talks who also fails to set his country on track for a green economy boom," Carstensen said. Japan, which has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 percent by 2050, will announce its mid-term target by June, Aso said last month.


Beware climate alarmists, pseudo-scientists

By Gary M. Hoover (Gary M. Hoover, of Bartlesville, is a physicist and a consultant with research and operational experience in atmospheric energy absorption, nuclear reactor operations and exploration geophysics)

A mixture of pseudo-science, emotion and politics is very dangerous. Climate alarmists declare that man's energy use is increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate warming (one degree Fahrenheit over the last century). They further project that Earth's temperature will increase dramatically in the near future and lead to world catastrophe. Worldwide warming of this magnitude would be a radical and unlikely deviation from the previous century and has little scientific merit. Temperature proxy measurements going back hundreds of thousands of years through many ice ages and warm periods indicate atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to be a result of temperature change and not a cause.

Alarmist climate predictions receive enthusiastic coverage from the media and Hollywood since the sensationalism catches the eye of viewers. Thousands of researchers depend upon the government's belief in warming to continue nearly $6 billion a year in climate change science and technology programs. Politicians are counting on unneeded carbon taxes to support deficit spending. Companies such as General Electric, which owns NBC, an active participant in climate alarmism, promote and sell certain energy technologies.

Many don't believe the alarmists, but are hesitant to speak out because they either feel the alarmism might help reduce our dangerous dependence upon foreign oil or that a reduction in carbon will lead to an overall improvement in the quality of life. Some have no scientific opinion but have a blind, unquestioning support and label the rest of us as stupid.

President Obama in both his campaign and inaugural address implied that we could become energy independent using renewable energy from the sun, wind and biofuels. He also implies that our conversion to these alternate energies could save our climate and provide a large spending boost that could pull us out of our economic malaise, much like the dot-com boom during the 1990s.

While we need to develop a diverse energy base, a rapid shift to renewable energy is unlikely due to issues that must be worked through such as cost (even with government subsidy), reliability, sustainability and environmental risk. It is imperative that our government make rational energy policies not based upon climate alarmism.

There is some hope since Energy Secretary Chu apparently advocates a boost in the use of available coal and nuclear energy for electricity generation. This would allow more natural gas for transportation use while energy alternatives are researched. Let's hope realistic energy policy decisions are made - we cannot afford many more misguided government programs such as corn ethanol.

In the name of scientific integrity and the effective use of our resources we should demand examination of the scientific bases and motives of climate change alarms and make sure that our support for energy programs is in the best interests of ourselves, our descendents and the world in general. A mixture of pseudoscience, emotion and politics is very dangerous.



Three articles below:

Australia's public broadcaster blames huge fires on global warming!

There might be some logic to it if the seasonal hot weather in Southern Australia really was global but it is at the moment unusually cold in the northern hemisphere and last year also was unusually cool globally. So the ABC is simply propagating lies. Summary below received from Don Parkes []

Lateline and the 7.30 report, both very important ABC TV news documentaries did most certainly, and explicitly link the fires to global warming /climate change. Lateline wheeled on its tame but snappy and somewhat confused, (some say untruthful) lapdog, Melbourne University's Professor David Karoly.

He is also an IPCC author who does not appear to like to be challenged. For instance, having promised to undertake and complete by September last year (2008) a review of an important article by Dr. Vincent Gray (NZ) on the climate change 'sham' - has since refused to do so. The reasons appear clear. Karoly cannot cope with Gray's argument and no doubt also found Gray's experience as a former expert reviewer for IPCC, just a bit too hard to handle.

However, when under the wing of a benign TV anchor person he feels free to release his alarmist, income earning mantra for a gullible and 'at the time' devastated audience, last Monday. So a significant and 'public' arm of the Australian media certainly took almost spiteful advantage of the opportunity afforded by the fires to peddle yet again the utter rubbish Karoly (and IPCC) spin out of their partial differential equations.

However anchormen Jones of Lateline and O'Brien of the 7.30 Report NEVER mention that global warming, as preached by the greens and the IPCC, is a mere mathematical construct - totally and absolutely devoid of any replicable evidence. It is as well that medical and pharmacological sciences are subjected to more intense scrutiny!

As for wondering about the coincidental floods of northern Australia and the freezing conditions in the northern hemisphere, yet again, nothing to question the credo of AGW - reading this in the northern hemisphere it must be consoling to know that you feel so cold because it is getting warmer! Those whose lives have been devastated by the fires in Victoria and the floods in northern Australia have been ill served by 'their Aunty ABC's' determination to use and abuse the news, rather than report it.

Shark attacks caused by Greenies too

The NSW Government has conceded sharks are thriving because of environmental controls and bans on commercial fishing, after two shark attacks in Sydney waters this week. The admission yesterday came as professional fishing groups claimed government policy had been dictated too much by the chase for green votes at a cost to maintaining a sustainable local industry.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald warned swimmers against entering the water at dusk or dawn, when the risk of shark attack was greater. The minister was responding to heightened public fear after shark attacks on navy diver Paulde Gelder in Sydney Harbour on Wednesday, and surfer Glen Orgias at Bondi Beach on Thursday.

After the closure of Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay and much of the NSW coastline to commercial fishing, industry experts say that a big increase in fish species including Australian salmon, yellowtail, kingfish and silver biddy have led to higher numbers of predatory sharks. They blame a government policy dating back to 2002, when then Labor fisheries minister Eddie Obeid clamped down on estuary fishing and backed the creation of large marine parks along the coast.

Mr Macdonald, Mr Obeid's Labor successor, said yesterday he accepted that shark numbers had increased significantly. "The sort of reports I'm getting from people spotting sharks indicate there seems to be a build-up of sharks in the estuaries as well as along the ocean shore," he said on ABC radio. Mr Macdonald said government "protective measures" in recent years had halted a decline in many shark species. "That, coupled with some improved environmental conditions, plus a reduction in fishing efforts in parts of the state, mean that shark numbers could enhance."

NSW Seafood Council member Graeme Hillyard accused the NSW Government of playing politics instead of basing decisions on scientific research before putting restrictions on fishing grounds. Mr Hillyard said government decisions to create marine parks for most of the NSW coastline and to close down fishing in many of its estuaries was based on buying votes. Other states, he said, had not adopted the same hard line. Mr Hillyard, who also chairs the Hawkesbury Trawl Association, whose fishermen have been limited to working on weekdays only, said: "There is not one estuary, lake or river that has been under threat from commercial fishing. It's about buying votes and appeasing people. The poor old fisherman's views that sustainable fishing is possible has been overlooked." According to Mr Hillyard, cooler sea currents had kept larger numbers of sharks closer to estuaries and shores.

Commercial fishing in Sydney Harbour was banned after a dioxin contamination scare. Commercial fishing in other waters including Lake Macquarie and Botany Bay was stopped after pressure from environmental groups. Large areas of NSW coastal waters from the borders of Queensland to Victoria have been declared marine parks, with fishing allowed in certain zones only. According to a commercial fishing lobby, a growth in bait fish in estuaries and on the coast has boosted shark numbers.


Australia puts global warming scheme on hold

The Government's emissions trading scheme has been put on hold and might not begin on schedule in 2010. A parliamentary committee has been asked to inquire into the effectiveness of emissions trading as a means to reduce carbon pollution. The inquiry committee will report "in the second half of 2009." Legislation for the Government's already-announced carbon reduction scheme was expected about July. However, this inquiry might put it off for another 12 months, depending on its outcome. Emissions trading is the core mechanism of the proposed scheme, and it would increase costs to business and households.

"Maybe the Government has decided there is no appetite for the cost of an emissions trading scheme when the economy is in trouble," a Liberal source said.

The House of Representatives economics committee was today asked to "inquire into the choice of emissions trading as the central policy to reduce Australia's carbon pollution". It was to see if it could "reduce carbon pollution at the lowest economic cost". The committee also would investigate whether an ETS would encourage investment in clean energy and low-emission technology, and contribute to a global solution to climate change. "We need to take urgent action to help slow down the effects of climate change," the committee's chairman Labor's Craig Thomson said in a statement. "We need to examine sustainable economic options to reduce our carbon footprint effectively and in a timely manner."

A Labor source said the inquiry would not change the content and timing of the carbon reduction scheme and that suggestions big changes were underway were completely wrong. The source said: The package is not going to be dropped. He said it was standard procedure to hold such as inquiry and pointed to Labors majority membership on the committee.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Global warmists make "scientific" predictions by consulting the political calendar


The BBC brings us a humdrum bit of dire news:
The planet will be in "huge trouble" unless Barack Obama makes strides in tackling climate change, says a leading scientist. Prof James McCarthy spoke on the eve of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which he heads. The US president has just four years to save the planet, said Prof McCarthy.

Just four years to save the planet! And McCarthy's is not the only such "scientific" prediction. Just before President Obama's inauguration, London's Guardian weighed in with this report:
Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added.

Soaring carbon emissions are already causing ice-cap melting and threaten to trigger global flooding, widespread species loss and major disruptions of weather patterns in the near future. "We cannot afford to put off change any longer," said Hansen. "We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead."

Let's see, four years: That would that we are all doomed if nothing changes by January or February 2013. And we have at least two prominent scientists saying the same thing, and as we've all learned "scientific consensus" is always right.

Or is it? We have some questions: From what data did McCarthy and Hansen derive this deadline? How long have scientists "known" that the beginning of 2013 was the point of no return? Can anyone find an example of a scientist in, say, 2007 saying we have six years to act, or in 2002 saying we have 11 years? Is it a mere coincidence that the deadline is almost exactly the same as the end of the term of a new president who gives indications that he may be both gullible enough to swallow global warmism and egomaniacal enough to believe he can save the world?

It looks to us as if these predictions are no more than political punditry pretending to be science.


'Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public, say British meteorologists

Comment from Benny Peiser: The criticism by members of the Met Office seems to be of a tactical nature and looks more like an attempt to distract from their own contribution to the apocalyptic hype (see my Met Office comments from 2005 here). Nevertheless, I welcome the belated recognition that hype and fear-mongering is self-defeating. It certainly has helped to drive the wedge even deeper between climate extremists and moderate scientists

Met Office scientists fear distorted climate change claims could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions. Experts at Britain's top climate research centre have launched a blistering attack on scientific colleagues and journalists who exaggerate the effects of global warming. The Met Office Hadley Centre, one of the most prestigious research facilities in the world, says recent "apocalyptic predictions" about Arctic ice melt and soaring temperatures are as bad as claims that global warming does not exist. Such statements, however well-intentioned, distort the science and could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions, it says.

In an article published on the Guardian website, Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, calls on scientists and journalists to stop misleading the public with "claim and counter-claim". She writes: "Having to rein in extraordinary claims that the latest extreme [event] is all due to climate change is at best hugely frustrating and at worse enormously distracting. Overplaying natural variations in the weather as climate change is just as much a distortion of science as underplaying them to claim that climate change has stopped or is not happening." She adds: "Both undermine the basic facts that the implications of climate change are profound and will be severe if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut drastically."

Dr Peter Stott, a climate researcher at the Met Office, said a common misrepresentation was to take a few years data and extrapolate to what would happen if it continues. "You just can't do that. You have to look at the long-term trend and then at the natural variability on top." Dramatic predictions of accelerating temperature rise and sea ice decline, based on a few readings, could backfire when natural variability swings the other way and the trends seem to reverse, he says. "It just confuses people." Pope says there is little evidence to support claims that Arctic ice has reached a tipping point and could disappear within a decade or so, as some reports have suggested. Summer ice extent in the Arctic, formed by frozen sea water, has collapsed in recent years, with ice extent in September last year 34% lower than the average since satellite measurements began in 1979. "The record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer ice increasing again over the next few years," she says.

"It is easy for scientists to grab attention by linking climate change to the latest extreme weather event or apocalyptic prediction. But in doing so, the public perception of climate change can be distorted. The reality is that extreme events arise when natural variations in the weather and climate combine with long-term climate change." "This message is more difficult to get heard. Scientists and journalists need to find ways to help to make this clear without the wider audience switching off."

The criticism reflects mounting concern at the Met Office that the global warming debate risks being hijacked by people on both sides who push their own agendas and interests. It comes ahead of a key year of political discussions on climate, which climax in December with high-level political negotiations in Copenhagen, when officials will try to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto protocol.


New Paper: NAO - The Pacemaker of Major Climate Shifts

Wang, Swanson and Tsonis have a paper in press in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) entitled: `The pacemaker of major climate shifts.' This expands on the very important but largely ignored Tsonis et al (2007) GRL paper, which demonstrated a new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts. The Abstract of the new paper states:

Models and data suggest that the interplay of major climate modes may result in climate shifts [Tsonis et al., 2007]. More specifically it has been shown that when the network of North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and North Pacific Index (NPI) synchronizes, an increase in the coupling between these oscillations destroys the synchronous state and leads the climate system to a new state. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. Here we probe the details of this network's dynamics to investigate if a certain oscillation is the culprit in these shifts. From a total of 12 synchronization events observed in three climate simulations and in observations we find that the instigator of these shifts is NAO. Without exception only when NAO's coupling with the Pacific increases a shift will occur. Our results suggest a dynamical sequence of events in the evolution of climate shifts which is consistent with recent independent empirical and modeling studies.

The paper concludes:

Many studies have in the past dealt with the origin and mechanisms of climate oscillations as well as with the consequences of their interactions. Our study with the help of a novel approach identifies for the first time which may be the most significant of these oscillations. In a dynamical scenario where the major modes of variability in the northern hemisphere are synchronized, an increase in the coupling strength destroys the synchronous state and causes climate to shift to a new state. Here we were able to identify that the major participant in this coupling strength increase is NAO, which we found to be behind all climate shifts observed in observations as well as in three climate simulations. Understanding variability of our extremely complex climate system is far from complete as new and often contradicting views are proposed. In this realm we hope that our results will provide some direction and focus to this perpetual quest for understanding climate variability.



The UK's plans to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 are fundamentally flawed and almost certain to fail, according to a US academic. Roger Pielke Jr, a science policy expert, said the UK government had underestimated the magnitude of the task to curb greenhouse gas emissions. He added that it would be more effective to "decarbonise" economic growth rather than focus on targets.

Professor Pielke made his comments during a speech at Aston University. Professor Pielke said that a country's greenhouse gas trajectory was determined by three factors: economic growth; population growth; and changes in technology. This meant, the academic from the University of Colorado suggested, that if people migrate to the UK and the economy boomed, it would be harder for politicians to achieve emissions cuts based on historic levels.

He calculated that the combined effects of possible population growth and economic growth could oblige the UK to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon intensity of energy at an unprecedented annual rate of 5.4%. Conversely, if migrants left the UK and the economy slumped, there would be a downturn in emissions, for which politicians would claim unearned credit. Professor Pielke suggested that a more effective measure would be to track the emissions produced for every unit of wealth generated by individuals. In other words: CO2 per capita GNP.

How to curb climate change will be the subject of heated debates in 2009 This would focus efforts on delivering the technological change needed to reduce emissions, he believed.

However, Professor Pielke's approach also raises a number of questions. First, there is no guarantee that a change in measurement will provoke the scale of change the author believes is required. Moreover, his alternative system would reward governments that shifted to service-based economies and moved their emissions "offshore", creating an illusionary cut in emissions.

This difficulty could be overcome with a more complex measure based on CO2 per capita GNP and would include imported "embedded" emissions. But that has problems too: in modern supply chains: a computer may contain parts from 20 different countries and manufacturers regularly change suppliers, so it will often be impossible to keep an accurate tally of embedded carbon. It could also be too complex for many people to grasp easily.

Professor Pielke's position is strongly supported by Gwyn Prins, director of the Mackinder Centre at the London School of Economics. Professor Prins told BBC News: "Professor Pielke is far from being a so-called 'sceptic' on reducing CO2, so this makes his analysis all the more telling. "To begin to meet the legal targets of the Climate Change Act, the UK will have to achieve and maintain decarbonisation at (unprecedented) rates," he added. "The Climate Change Act will have to be revisited by Parliament or simply ignored by policymakers. What are the costs in terms of public cynicism about legislators and the legislative process, of passing aspirational rather than codifying laws?"

Colin Challen MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, said: "This raises questions which I do not think have been factored into the thinking behind the Climate Change Act.

More here


Millions of families face yet another hike in heating bills to pay for a massive expansion of green energy. Ministers say that the money raised will subsidise solar panels, wind turbines and wood-burning boilers for hundreds of thousands of homes. But critics warn that the levy is an 'insidious' stealth tax that will hammer households at a time of rising unemployment, falling incomes and economic uncertainty. We are already paying an average of 410 pounds more on our annual energy bills after price rises last year of 59 per cent for gas and 26 per cent for electricity.

The green levy, or 'Renewable Heating Incentive', is part of an energy package to be unveiled today by the Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Miliband. As well as grants for domestic windmills and solar panels, he will announce plans to insulate seven million homes. The measures will be funded by the levy on fossil fuel energy suppliers - which will be passed on to us in our household bills.

The Government insists that overall the package will cut energy waste and reduce fuel bills for millions. 'Not only do we want to cut fuel bills and greenhouse gas emissions, we also want to make Britain less reliant on imports of fossil fuels,' said a spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change. 'Fossil fuel prices are more volatile.' Ministers have no idea at this stage how much the levy will be - or when it will be introduced.

Susie Squire of the Taxpayers' Alliance said the plan would hit families who are finding it hard to make ends meet. 'It sounds like another insidious stealth tax at a time of economic recession when people are already struggling,' she said. 'Increasing everyone's bills to subsidise the cost of green energy for a few is nonsense. People should be encouraged to be more energy efficient, but it should be voluntary.'

Professor Ian Fells of Newcastle University, a former government advisor on energy conservation, welcomed plans to insulate more homes. But he warned that the incentive scheme could see less-affluent families subsidising solar panels for others. 'All these renewable energy systems are expensive to put in,' he said. 'Even solar panels for heating take at least 12 years to pay back the costs.

More here

Emptyheaded IPCC author Rutu Dave admits in video that she knows little about climate science

There was briefly a "part 3" video, where Dave admits that she was "thrown in" to her IPCC job; her focus had been "trade policy". To learn about climate, she read some books on a train. Early on, she mentions that she was not the smartest student in her class, and suggests that the "lot of cute guys that were there in suits" made Model UN meetings interesting.

There's no indication whatsoever that she knows anything useful about climate science; she praises Al Gore. She's obviously quite proud of the Nobel Peace Prize that "she" got. Rutu Dave presents herself as one of five people who wrote the first draft of the most recent IPCC Summary for Policymakers. Revealingly, more than once, she calls it the IPCC Summary OF Policymakers!

She talks about the problems trying to get the Summary approved in four days with language barriers, etc. She said the Chinese "just don't seem to shut up" and mentions "little tricks" to move things along.

She talks proudly about the IPCC getting "more famous" after Gore's propaganda movie came out, with media attention from all over. She said she had her choice of going to Bali or to Oslo (for the Nobel ceremony), she chose Bali (mentioning the beaches). She said she'd have chosen Oslo had she known Brad Pitt would be there. Also, someone she knows actually met Uma Thurman!!

Now Rutu Dave works for the World Bank; several times, she says that they are trying to help their clients "make money from climate change".

More here (See the original for links etc.)


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Thursday, February 12, 2009


Very much the confused thinking we expect from Greenies

Despite Europe's boom in solar and wind energy, CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram. Now, even the Green Party is taking a new look at the issue -- as shown in e-mails obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Germany's renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country's electricity comes from solar, wind or biomass facilities, almost 250,000 jobs have been created and the net worth of the business is 35 billion euros per year. But there's a catch: The climate hasn't in fact profited from these developments. As astonishing as it may sound, the new wind turbines and solar cells haven't prohibited the emission of even a single gram of CO2.

Even more surprising, the European Union's own climate change policies, touted as the most progressive in the world, are to blame. The EU-wide emissions trading system determines the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted by power companies and industries. And this amount doesn't change -- no matter how many wind turbines are erected. Experts have known about this situation for some time, but it still isn't widely known to the public. Even Germany's government officials mention it only under their breath. No one wants to discuss the political ramifications.

It's a sensitive subject: Germany is recognized worldwide as a leader in all things related to renewable energy. The environmental energy sector doesn't want this image to be tarnished. Under no circumstances does Berlin want the Renewable Energy Law (EEG) -- which mandates the prices at which energy companies have to buy green power -- to fall into disrepute. At the same time, big energy companies have an interest in maintaining the status quo. As a result, no one is pushing for change. Everyone involved is remaining silent.

In truth, however, even the Green Party has recognized the problem, as evidenced by an e-mail exchange last year between party energy experts and obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE. One wrote the following message to a colleague: "Dear Daniel, sorry, but the EEG won't do anything for the climate anyway." Ever since the introduction of the emissions trading system, the Renewable Energy Law had become "an instrument of structural change, but not an instrument to combat climate change." That means: wind turbines and solar energy plants are revolutionizing Germany's mix of power sources, creating jobs and making the country more independent from imports. But they aren't helping in the fight against climate change.

In the worst case scenario, sustainable energy plants might even have a detrimental effect on the climate. As more wind turbines go online, coal plants will be able to reduce their output. This in itself is desirable -- but the problem is that the total number of available CO2 emission certificates remains the same. In other words, there will suddenly be more certificates per kilowatt of coal energy. That means the price per ton of CO2 emitted will fall. That is exactly what happened in recent trading. A certificate to emit a ton of CO2 cost almost nothing. As a result, there was very little incentive for big energy companies to invest in climate friendly technologies.

On the contrary. Germany was able to sell unused certificates across Europe -- to coal companies in countries like Poland or Slovakia, for example. Thanks to Germany's wind turbines, these companies were then able to emit more greenhouse gases than originally planned. Given the often lower efficiency of Eastern European power plants, this is anything but environmentally beneficial. This phenomenon is especially apparent whenever the sustainable energy industry grows more quickly than anticipated -- as in recent years when growth in the renewable energy branch quickly rendered the EU Commission's CO2 plans obsolete.

More here


Neither has any respect for human life

A Catholic charity has launched a scathing attack on the Green movement, describing the excesses of environmentalism as an ideology every bit as dangerous as Communism.

While global warming should be a "crucial issue" for the Church, worshippers must be deeply sceptical about many of the claims made by the environmentalist lobby, a new booklet published by the bishops of England and Wales has said. Written by Russell Sparkes, an expert in ethical investments, it argues that there is a proven tendency among some "Deep Green" activists to exaggerate the threat of global warming to vindicate their calls for government measures to "forcibly" move the world toward a "sustainable path".

It says such tactics are comparable to those of 20th century Marxist ideologues who were determined to impose their views on the world. "Just as Marxism advocated Communism as the only solution to the world's ills, so Deep Greens warn us of major catastrophe to come if we do not adopt their calls for 'radical change'," said Mr Sparkes in the book, Global Warming: How Should we Respond?. Mr Sparkes acknowledges that even ideological neo-conservative opponents of environmentalism have begun to accept scientific evidence to support theories of global warming.

But he is relentless in his criticism of the type of environmentalists "who argue that mankind is just one species among many, sometimes suggesting that it has lower rights than those of other animals because of the alleged damage it has done to the planet". This was evidence, he said, that Green ideology was so incompatible with Christian beliefs that calls from many bishops and priests for the "greening of the Church" were "misguided". He said: "The reason I do not think the Catholic Church can go 'Green' is that as an ideology, Deep Green thinking runs counter to the Church's teaching. The example of liberation theology illustrates the point. In the 1960s and 1970s people called for the Church to learn from Marxism under the banner of 'liberation theology' in response to the gross social injustices of the time, particularly in Latin America.

"Of course the Church refused to do so in view of the brutal atheism at the heart of Marxism, whilst at the same time repeatedly condemning the political and economic injustices which fuelled social unrest. History has also proved the Church right. In 1989-1990 Communism collapsed in most parts of the world. Think how the critics of the Church would have had a field day mocking it if it had allied itself with Marxism shortly before the Marxist systems fell apart."

The 64-page booklet has been published by the London-based Catholic Truth Society, a Catholic charity under the patronage of Auxiliary Bishop Paul Hendricks of Southwark. Its publication comes a month before the release of a Government report proposing a raft of highly controversial legislation to tackle global warming, including increased use of abortion and contraception to control population growth.

Jonathon Porritt, the chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, believes that money should be diverted even from curing illnesses to increasing abortions, according to the Sunday Times. "I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate," he said. "I think we will work our way towards a position that says having more than two children is irresponsible. "It is the ghost at the table. We have all these big issues that everybody is looking at and then you don't really hear anyone say the P-word [population]. "My mission with the Friends of the Earths and the Greenpeaces of this world is to say, 'You are betraying the interests of your members by refusing to address population issues and you are doing it for the wrong reasons because you think it is too controversial'."

In contrast, the new Church booklet argues that population programmes targeting the "supposedly feckless breeding" of the poor, especially in developing countries, were the result of racist and unfounded prejudices. It suggests that a false anthropology underpins the beliefs of many Green activists which contained "elements of militant atheism, population control and New Age paganism".

"Environmental campaigns which demand that the natural world should be treated with 'greater respect' imply that this is the only issue which matters, ignoring the plight of humanity or any spiritual values," said Mr Sparkes. "Even an atheist can presumably see that there is something quite distinctive about mankind compared to all other animals in humanity's ability to plan for the future, and to compare the possible outcomes of its actions. Likewise human self-consciousness is quite obviously unique," he said. "Yet for many Green thinkers these important considerations are swept aside in their desire for the wild and primitive." Mr Sparkes recommends Catholics to work for the responsible stewardship of the planet, in the light of existing social teaching of the Church, but not at the expense of "human ecology".

The concerns raised by the booklet echo those voiced two years ago by Pope Benedict XVI when he warned governments to be wary of "ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions" on sustainable development.

However, the Church's acknowledgement of ecological problems has spawned a number of Christian environmental initiatives. Mark Dowd of Operation Noah, a faith-based group campaigning against climate change, said that "concern for the environment is right at the heart of the religious enterprise", and is evident from the Book of Genesis. He said Catholics have always been called to be good stewards of the environment and co-creators with God. "We don't need any lectures about creation because we got there first," he said. "The problem is that we have lost our way, partly because of industrialisation and partly because of misreading of biblical texts which has led to the earth being treated as a plaything."



In Australia, Greenie worship of vegetation has caused lots of ordinary people to burn to death. In Britain their opposition to all realistic forms of energy provision will cause lots of poor people to freeze to death

The number of people dying from effects of the cold in Wales could double this year, campaigners have warned. During an average winter, around 1,500 more people die than in other seasons. Age Concern Cymru is worried many vulnerable people are frightened to turn their heating to proper levels because of high energy bills.

Meanwhile, the environment minister has said the assembly government will struggle to meet its target to end fuel poverty among the vulnerable by 2010. "I think it's unlikely, with energy prices where they are, that we are going to meet those targets," Jane Davidson told BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme.

Fuel poverty is defined as those who spend more than 10% of their income heating their homes. Campaigners told the programme many vulnerable people were frightened to turn their heating on because of high energy bills.

More here


Greenie fanaticism has just killed over 300 Australians

Angry fire survivors blame council 'green' policy

ANGRY residents last night accused local authorities of contributing to the bushfire toll by failing to let residents chop down trees and clear up bushland that posed a fire risk. During question time at a packed community meeting in Arthurs Creek on Melbourne's northern fringe, Warwick Spooner - whose mother Marilyn and brother Damien perished along with their home in the Strathewen blaze - criticised the Nillumbik council for the limitations it placed on residents wanting the council's help or permission to clean up around their properties in preparation for the bushfire season. "We've lost two people in my family because you dickheads won't cut trees down," he said. "We wanted trees cut down on the side of the road . and you can't even cut the grass for God's sake."

Later, the meeting was cut short when Mr Spooner's father, Dennis, collapsed in his chair and an ambulance had to be called. Despite losing his wife and son and everything he owned, a friend later said he had not stopped or slept since the weekend.

Another resident said she had asked the council four times to tend to out-of-control growth on public land near her home, but her pleas had been ignored. There was widespread applause when Nillumbik Mayor Bo Bendtsen said changes were likely to be made about the council's policy surrounding native vegetation. But his response was not good enough for Mr Spooner: "It's too late now mate. We've lost families, we've lost people."

More than 500 people spilled out of the small hall during the meeting, at which the CFA, Victoria Police, Department of Human Services and Telstra provided updates. Many expressed anger that police road blocks were stopping them from reaching survivors trapped in fire-ravaged areas with no water, power or other basic needs. One man present spoke of counselling a woman whose two children had been killed and whose grief had been compounded by not knowing where they were because the area had been declared a crime scene and she had not been allowed to return.

Most of those present were tired, grieving the loss of relatives and friends and with little more than the smoke-coated clothes on their backs. Some were still showing symptoms of shock after experiencing the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. Scattered around the hall and outside were trestle tables with clothing sorted in neat piles, toiletries, food and bottled water. On the floor were dozens of pairs of shoes. There was also a section dedicated to baby clothes and another for children's toys.

Of all the speakers who addressed the meeting, it was Arthurs Creek CFA Captain David McGahy who got the most rousing reception. Choking back tears he told them: "I'm so terribly sorry. We desperately wanted to protect you but we couldn't. "In the cold analysis of light, it wouldn't have mattered if we'd have had 200 units here, all that would have happened is we would have ended up with a whole lot of dead firefighters. I've been at this game for about 40 years and I haven't experienced anything like that, not even remotely like it."


Fined for illegal clearing, family now feel vindicated

They were labelled law breakers, fined $50,000 and left emotionally and financially drained. But seven years after the Sheahans bulldozed trees to make a fire break - an act that got them dragged before a magistrate and penalised - they feel vindicated. Their house is one of the few in Reedy Creek still standing.

The Sheahans' 2004 court battle with the Mitchell Shire Council for illegally clearing trees to guard against fire, as well as their decision to stay at home and battle the weekend blaze, encapsulate two of the biggest issues arising from the bushfire tragedy. Do Victoria's native vegetation management policies need a major overhaul? And should families risk injury or death by staying home to fight the fire rather than fleeing?

Anger at government policies stopping residents from cutting down trees and clearing scrub to protect their properties is already apparent. "We've lost two people in my family because you dickheads won't cut trees down," Warwick Spooner told Nillumbik Mayor Bo Bendtsen at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Although Liam Sheahan's 2002 decision to disregard planning laws and bulldoze 250 trees on his hilltop property hurt his family financially and emotionally, he believes it helped save them and their home on the weekend. "The house is safe because we did all that," he said as he pointed out his kitchen window to the clear ground where tall gum trees once cast a shadow on his house. "We have got proof right here. We are the only house standing in a two-kilometre area." At least seven houses and several sheds on neighbouring properties along Thompson-Spur road in Reedy Creek were destroyed by Saturday night's blaze.

Saving their home was no easy task. At 2pm on Saturday, Mr Sheahan saw the nearby hills ablaze. He knew what lay ahead when the predicted south-westerly change came. The family of four had discussed evacuation but decided their property was defensible, due largely to their decision to clear a fire break. It also helped that Mr Sheahan, his son Rowan and daughter Kirsten were all experienced members of the local CFA. "We prayed and we worked bloody hard. Our house was lit up eight times by the fire as the front passed," Mr Sheahan said. "The elements off our TV antenna melted. We lost a Land Rover, two Subarus, a truck and trailer and two sheds."

Mr Sheahan is still angry about his prosecution, which cost him $100,000 in fines and legal fees. The council's planning laws allow trees to be cleared only when they are within six metres of a house. Mr Sheahan cleared trees up to 100 metres away from his house. "The council stood up in court and made us to look like the worst, wanton environmental vandals on the earth. We've got thousands of trees on our property. We cleared about 247," he said.

He said the royal commission on the fires must result in changes to planning laws to allow land owners to clear trees and vegetation that pose a fire risk. "Both the major parties are pandering to the Greens for preferences and that is what is causing the problem. Common sense isn't that common these days," Mr Sheahan said.

Melbourne University bushfire expert Kevin Tolhurst gave evidence to help the Sheahan family in their legal battle with the council. "Their fight went over nearly two years. The Sheahans were victimised. It wasn't morally right," he said yesterday. Dr Tolhurst told the Seymour Magistrates court that Mr Sheahan's clearing of the trees had reduced the fire risk to his house from extreme to moderate. "That their house is still standing is some natural justice for the Sheahans," he said.

He said council vegetation management rules required re-writing. He also called on the State Government to provide clearer guidelines about when families should stay and defend their property. Houses in fire-prone areas should be audited by experts to advise owners whether their property is defensible, Dr Tolhurst said.

Mr Sheahan said he wanted others to learn from his experience and offered an invitation for Government ministers to visit his property. He would also like his convictions overturned and fines repaid. "It would go a long way to making us feel better about the system. But I don't think it will happen."


Green ideas must take blame for deaths

By Miranda Devine

It wasn't climate change which killed as many as 300 people in Victoria last weekend. It wasn't arsonists. It was the unstoppable intensity of a bushfire, turbo-charged by huge quantities of ground fuel which had been allowed to accumulate over years of drought. It was the power of green ideology over government to oppose attempts to reduce fuel hazards before a megafire erupts, and which prevents landholders from clearing vegetation to protect themselves.

So many people need not have died so horribly. The warnings have been there for a decade. If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies.

Governments appeasing the green beast have ignored numerous state and federal bushfire inquiries over the past decade, almost all of which have recommended increasing the practice of "prescribed burning". Also known as "hazard reduction", it is a methodical regime of burning off flammable ground cover in cooler months, in a controlled fashion, so it does not fuel the inevitable summer bushfires.

In July 2007 Scott Gentle, the Victorian manager of Timber Communities Australia, who lives in Healesville where two fires were still burning yesterday, gave testimony to a Victorian parliamentary bushfire inquiry so prescient it sends a chill down your spine. "Living in an area like Healesville, whether because of dumb luck or whatever, we have not experienced a fire . since . about 1963. God help us if we ever do, because it will make Ash Wednesday look like a picnic." God help him, he was right.

Gentle complained of obstruction from green local government authorities of any type of fire mitigation strategies. He told of green interference at Kinglake - at the epicentre of Saturday's disaster, where at least 147 people died - during a smaller fire there in 2007. "The contractors were out working on the fire lines. They put in containment lines and cleared off some of the fire trails. Two weeks later that fire broke out, but unfortunately those trails had been blocked up again [by greens] to turn it back to its natural state . Instances like that are just too numerous to mention. Governments . have been in too much of a rush to appease green idealism . This thing about locking up forests is just not working."

The Kinglake area was a nature-loving community of tree-changers, organic farmers and artists to the north of Melbourne. A council committed to reducing carbon emissions dominates the Nillumbik shire, a so-called "green wedge" area, where restrictions on removing vegetation around houses reportedly added to the dangers. In nearby St Andrews, where more than 20 people are believed to have died, surviving residents have spoken angrily of "greenies" who prevented them from cutting back trees near their property, including in one case, a tea tree that went "whoomp". Dr Phil Cheney, the former head of the CSIRO's bushfire research unit and one of the pioneers of prescribed burning, said yesterday if the fire-ravaged Victorian areas had been hazard-reduced, the flames would not have been as intense.

Kinglake and Maryville, now crime scenes, are built among tall forests of messmate stringy bark trees which pose a special fire hazard, with peeling bark creating firebrands that carry fire five kilometres out. "The only way to reduce the flammability of the bark is by prescribed burning" every five to seven years, Cheney said. He estimates between 35 and 50 tonnes a hectare of dry fuel were waiting to be gobbled up by Saturday's inferno.

Fuel loads above about eight tonnes a hectare are considered a fire hazard. A federal parliamentary inquiry into bushfires in 2003 heard that a fourfold increase in ground fuel leads to a 13-fold increase in the heat generated by a fire.

Things are no better in NSW, although we don't quite have Victoria's perfect storm of winds and forest types. Near Dubbo two years ago, as a bushfire raged through the Goonoo Community Conservation Area, volunteer firefighters bulldozing a control line were obstructed by National Parks and Wildlife Service employees who had driven from Sydney to stop vegetation being damaged.

The poor management of national parks and state forests in Victoria is highlighted by the interactive fire map on the website of the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Yesterday it showed that, of 148 fires started since mid-January, 120 started in state forests, national parks, or other public land, and just 21 on private property.

Only seven months ago, the Victorian Parliament's Environment and Natural Resources Committee tabled its report into the impact of public land management on bushfires, with five recommendations to enhance prescribed burning. This included tripling the amount of land to be hazard-reduced from 130,000 to 385,000 hectares a year. There has been little but lip service from the Government in response. Teary politicians might pepper their talking points with opportunistic intimations of "climate change" and "unprecedented" weather, but they are only diverting the blame. With yes-minister fudging and craven inclusion of green lobbyists in decision-making, they have greatly exacerbated this tragedy.

There is an opening now in Victoria for a predatory legal firm with a taste for David v Goliath class actions.


Greenies STILL want to ban preventive burnoffs

This lot should be charged with attempted murder

Controlled burning would be declared a key national threat to biodiversity under a new proposal before government that has been slammed as dangerous to life and property. While Environment Minister Peter Garrett yesterday gave Victoria carte blanche to do all it needed to control its deadly bushfires, without review by federal environment laws, it emerged he will be asked next year to decide whether prescribed burning to reduce fuel loads puts plants and animals at risk.

A Department of Environment spokeswoman confirmed yesterday it had received a public submission to list controlled burning as a "key threatening process" - the same category that applies to climate change, land clearing and feral cats, pigs and foxes. "This recommendation is due by late 2010," she said.

Victoria's bushfire tragedy has focused attention on the management of its state forests, national parks and other Crown land, which make up a third of the state but contributed four-fifths of the fires started since Australia Day. Among councils to resist controlled burning was the Yarra Ranges Shire, which was hit heavily by the Black Saturday bushfire disaster. In a document from 2007, its emergency resource officer said there was too little known about its effect on flora and fauna and called for "rigorous" environmental assessment of prescribed burning, taking account of species' breeding seasons and the Leadbeater's possum zone. "The Shire of Yarra Ranges has not undertaken prescribed burning on public land under its control for a number of years," the document said, citing a lack of expertise and the risk of lawsuits.

David Packham, a former supervising meteorologist for fire weather nationwide at the Bureau of Meteorology, accused environmentalists of behaving like "eco-terrorists waging a jihad" against prescribed burning. "The green movement is directly responsible for the severity of these fires through their opposition to prescribed burning," Mr Packham said.

The federal Environment Department's spokeswoman declined to name the applicant behind the proposal to list controlled burning as a "key threatening process". But bushfire consultant Chris Muller, a former fire officer with the Victorian and West Australian governments, said the proposal would make it even harder to carry out precautionary burn-offs to reduce fuel loads in forests. "I am appalled that Minister Garrett would even contemplate an action that would remove or restrict the use of the only effective large bushfire mitigation tool -- prescribed burning," he said. "The inevitable consequences of such action are disasters on the scale of that currently experienced in Victoria." Victoria already lists "inappropriate fire regimes" and "high frequency fires" as potential threats to the environment, which Mr Muller said reflected attempts to limit controlled burning.

Yesterday, Mr Garrett granted the Victorian Government an indefinite emergency exemption to take "any actions required" to respond to the bushfire crisis without waiting for approval by federal environment authorities. His department's spokeswoman said, however, Victoria did not normally need federal sign-off for firebreaks or controlled burns. "Victoria has environmental management plans approved by the Department of Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts that protect the environment and ensure that federal environmental approval processes do not get in the way of effective fire management in Victoria," she said. "Indeed, they include a provision that in an emergency, protection of life and property would be paramount."

The spokeswoman said the application to list prescribed burning as a threatening process would undergo "rigorous scientific evaluation" by an expert panel as well as public consultation before it went to Mr Garrett for a decision.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nutty Canadian recycling scheme

It does NOTHING for the environment. It involves a huge WASTE of resources and INCREASES Canada's "environmental footprint". One can only conclude that "recycling" is more a sacred ritual than anything else -- a potlatch, perhaps

Ontario's recycling scraps - dirty peanut butter jars, plastic toys, and unsorted paper - are being shipped to Asia at a rate of thousands of tonnes a month. The blue-box castoffs are sorted by low-paid workers in huge factories, and recycled into inexpensive toys, shoes and colourful cardboard packages, before being sold back to Ontarians, where they fill the blue boxes once again. Garbage experts say this revolving door is a necessary evil that will continue until the province has better recycling facilities so cities can process their own garbage.

"The question is, how much do we want to transport materials around?" said Glenda Gies, executive director of Waste Diversion Ontario, which oversees the provincial blue-box program. "We really do want to support the Ontario economy, we want to process these materials here."

Most residents recycle with the belief they are helping the environment and are unaware that their municipalities are shipping materials to China and South Korea, creating a huge new carbon footprint. "It is a contentious issue here," said Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario. "We took advantage of (China's) cheaper labour force to have them clean, or re-clean, our recyclables, to sort out the more valuable items from the less valuable."

With the downturn in the recycling commodities market, China's demand for low-end mixed paper and plastic "residue" from blue boxes dropped considerably. But, Toronto, which sent up to 20,000 tonnes of mixed paper to China's massive Nine Dragons mill in both 2007 and last year, reports that in January, the mill began requesting more of the city's paper.

Toronto gets paid roughly $30 to $40 per tonne of mixed paper sent to China. According to Geoff Rathbone, general manager of Toronto's solid waste department, that worked out to be about $600,000 to $800,000 in 2007 and 2008. In addition to shipping to China, Rathbone said the city sends about 10,000 tonnes a year of its "polycoat" milk and juice cartons to South Korea. If Toronto moves ahead with plans to recycle disposable coffee cups, it will send them to the same South Korean facility, as long as the owners can handle the influx, he said. Still, Rathbone believes local paper mills and recycling facilities are the best option. "In the long term, I don't think (shipping to Asia) is a sustainable way to go," he said.

It is not clear how many tonnes of Ontario's recycled goods are sent to Asia each year. A study published by Waste Diversion Ontario looked at shipping data - voluntarily supplied by municipalities and private recyclers. Based on their information, the authors of the report concluded that four per cent of the 937,979 tonnes of blue-box materials sold in 2006 went to China, and a lesser number to South Korea. WDO's Gies said more ongoing studies are needed before the full picture is known.

St. Godard said North American mills generally require materials be properly sorted and clean. But some municipalities, like Toronto, allow all recycled goods to be mixed into the same blue bin, because it is cheaper and easier for residents. "You end up co-mingling materials that have to be sorted and re-sorted and re-sorted and by the time they actually reach the end market they are still so contaminated that the mills here cannot take them. But China has an extra layer of labour that can sift through them," she said.

To get to China from Toronto, the mixed paper is stacked in bales, placed in shipping containers and sent across country to the port of Vancouver by train, said Jake Westerhof, of Canada Fibres, which sells Toronto's paper to Nine Dragons. From Vancouver, it is placed on a large freighter ship and spends several weeks at sea before arriving in one of China's southern ports. It is moved into a truck a driven several hours before arriving at the massive Nine Dragons paper mill in the province of Guangdong.

Rathbone believes the increase in orders from China means the market will slowly rebound. He says Toronto will continue shipping its paper to Nine Dragons, and pointed out the city's contract requires that the mill adhere to environmental standards, along with health and safety rules for its workers.


Environmental protection, in name only

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, promised during her confirmation hearing to base agency policies and decisions on science, not politics: "If I am confirmed, I will administer with science as my guide, " she said. "Political appointees will not compromise the integrity of EPA's technical experts to advance particular regulatory outcomes."

There are two reasons for skepticism. First, the EPA has long been a haven for zealots in career positions and for scientifically insupportable policies, so it has little integrity to compromise. It has a sordid history of incompetence, duplicity, and pandering to the most extreme factions of the environmental movement, all of which are likely to become even worse during the Obama administration. Second, Ms. Jackson herself is a veteran of 16 years at the EPA, during which she developed some of the agency's most unscientific, wasteful, and dangerous regulations.

While at the EPA, Ms. Jackson worked on Superfund (officially the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act), an ongoing EPA program intended to clean up and reduce the risk of toxic-waste sites. This program was originally conceived as a short-term project-$1.6 billion over five years to clean up some 400 sites (by law, at least one per state and, not coincidentally, about one per congressional district). But it has grown into one of the nation's largest public-works projects: more than $30 billion spent on about 1,300 sites. Various studies have attempted to evaluate the effect of Superfund's massive and costly cleanups, but the results are uncertain. Putting that another way, no beneficial results have been demonstrable after the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars. On the other hand, Superfund projects have caused a great deal of harm.

UC-Davis medical economist J. Paul Leigh has analyzed the occupational hazards of environmental cleanup projects. He concluded that the risks of fatality to cleanup workers-a dump-truck driver involved in a collision or a laborer run over by a bulldozer, for example-are considerably larger than the cancer risks to individual residents that might result from exposures to unremediated sites.

Even former EPA Administrator William Reilly admitted that Superfund's risk-assessment methods are flawed. In a speech at Stanford University while a visiting lecturer, he discussed the excessive costs of basing cleanups on exaggerated worst-case scenarios:
The risks [Superfund] addresses are worst-case, hypothetical present and future risks to the maximum exposed individual, i.e., one who each day consumes two liters of water contaminated by hazardous waste. The program at one time aimed to achieve a risk range in its cleanups adequate to protect the child who regularly ate liters of dirt. . . . And it formerly assumed that all sites, once cleaned up, would be used for residential development, even though many lie within industrial zones. Some of these assumptions have driven clean-up costs to stratospheric levels and, together with liabilities associated with Superfund sites, have resulted in inner-city sites suitable for redevelopment remaining derelict and unproductive.

In his excellent book Breaking the Vicious Circle, written shortly before he became a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Stephen Breyer cites another, similar example of expensive, non-cost-effective regulation by the EPA: a ban on asbestos pipe, shingles, coating, and paper, which the most optimistic estimates suggested would prevent seven or eight premature deaths over 13 years-at a cost of approximately a quarter of a billion dollars. Breyer notes that such a vast expenditure can be expected to cause more deaths than it would prevent from the asbestos exposure, simply by reducing the resources available for other public amenities. Also, perversely, the very act of removing asbestos from existing structures poses greater risk from asbestos than simply leaving it where it is: During removal, long-dormant asbestos fibers are spread into the ambient air, where they expose workers and bystanders to heightened risk.

When the EPA banned asbestos in 1989, it was already an old product whose risks and benefits were well understood. Nevertheless, political pressures from environmental activists pushed the EPA to make a decision that turned out to be risk-increasing.

The EPA has long been more concerned with public relations than public health. An EPA scheme that was exposed in 2005 planned to divert research funds to pay outside public-relations consultants up to $5 million over five years to improve the website of its Office of Research and Development, conduct focus groups on how to polish the office's image, and produce ghostwritten articles praising the agency "for publication in scholarly journals and magazines."

It's no surprise that EPA must buy good press. The agency is relentlessly inept and corrupt, and motivated by radical ideology rather than a genuine desire to protect the environment. It serves not the public interest, but the most extreme and doctrinaire environmentalists.

The EPA's payola scheme is similar to the agency's longstanding practice of buying influence by doling out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to non-profit organizations-money that, according to the inspector general and Government Accountability Office, is dispersed with no public notice, competition, or accountability. Specifically, they documented systematic malfeasance by regulators, including: (1) making grants to grantees who were unable to carry out the terms of the grants; (2) favoring an exclusive clique of grantees without opening the grants to competition; (3) funding "environmental" grants for activities that lack any apparent environmental benefit; and (4) failing to ensure that grantees performed the objectives identified in the grants.

Misconduct, mendacity, and conflicts of interest are just business as usual at the EPA. Even if Ms. Jackson were serious about bringing integrity and sound science to EPA, she would certainly be thwarted by Carol Browner, who will coordinate environmental policy throughout the government. An Al Gore acolyte who was EPA Administrator during the Clinton administration. Ms. Browner was the scourge of American innovation and technology. She never met a regulation she didn't like, no matter how costly or worthless, and she permitted politics and pressure from environmental groups to make the EPA arguably the most scientifically challenged regulatory agency on the planet.

On her watch, for example, new regulatory policies toward the use of biotechnology were disastrous. Contrary to scientific consensus (and to what was supposed to be overarching federal policy), the agency imposed stultifying regulation on the use of the newest, most precise, most predictable gene-splicing techniques, thereby obstructing research on organisms for toxic-waste cleanup and others that could provide alternatives to agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. The EPA's bizarre regulation of garden and crop plants as pesticides elicited condemnation from eleven scientific societies representing 80,000 biologists and food-science professionals, and a blue-ribbon panel convened by Browner herself accused the agency of abusing the mechanisms whereby it obtains external scientific advice and of adjusting science to fit policy instead of the other way around.

Obama's elevation of Jackson and Browner exemplifies a venerable government tradition: No bad deed goes unrewarded.


Stupid French Greenie scheme comes unglued

It didn't work when the Dutch tried it either -- but the taxpayer can afford it, apparently

It was introduced to roaring success - hailed by environmentalists and cycling enthusiasts as the ideal solution to congestion on the streets. But life is now proving brutish and short for the Velib, the self-service bicycle that the city of Paris introduced 18 months ago. So far, 7,800 of the "damage-resistant" grey bicyclettes - which can be hired for up to one euro per half-hour - have simply vanished, while 11,600 have been vandalised, their operating company said yesterday.

Hung from trees, thrown in the river or shipped to foreign parts, the Velib bikes have met much more aggressive treatment than expected when the first of the 20,000 of them were docked at their 1,250 stations in July 2007. The damage has forced JCDecaux, the advertising company that supplies them to the city, to replace most of the original bicycles at a cost of more than 400 euros each. "We underestimated the degree of damage that they would suffer," said Albert Asseraf, the marketing director of JCDecaux. The scale of the Paris scheme had consequences that his firm had not encountered with its operation in Lyons, the second-biggest in the world but with still only one fifth of the Paris bikes, he said. Many were being stolen because tourists and first-time users were not docking them carefully when they returned them to their computerised stations, Mr Asseraf said. Some have turned up in Eastern Europe and Africa, according to the media.

The cycles - the name is a contraction of velo (cycle) and liberte - have also fallen victim to a new craze called "Velib extreme". Young riders use them for daredevil stunts that they film and post on the internet set to rock music. They include fast descents down the long stairs of the Montmartre hill, and jumps. The most common vandalism reported by the 500 repair personnel is tyre-slashing.

So far five people have been killed on the bikes, which in the depth of winter are still being widely used. Since last month, the high-tech scheme, launched by Bertrand Delanoe, the Socialist Mayor of Paris, has started opening in 29 surrounding boroughs. It is also being copied by many overseas cities, including London, San Francisco and Singapore.

Under pressure from JCDecaux, the city has recently agreed to pay for a proportion of the destroyed and stolen machines. JCDecaux had complained that the city was making all the money from the rentals - 20 million in the first year - while the operating firm was bearing all the costs.

Last week the city council approved the outline of Mr Delanoe's latest self-service transport scheme: Autolibs - 2,000 clean-energy cars that will be stationed at bays around the city from autumn next year.


Is the green lobby destroying the planet?

Have you noticed how the grins on the faces of the global warming crowd are starting to look increasingly sickly? Even climate change zealots are starting to wonder if they've been guilty of scaremongering

Global temperatures continue to decline. James Hansen, the global warming lobby's most celebrated cheerleader, has been disowned by his old mentor John Theon. He has been called "an embarrassment to NASA" and his work has been branded "unscientific".

I don't believe global warming is anthropogenic. But even if I did, the hysterical climate change industry (I use that word advisedly) has yet to provide plausible solutions to the "crisis". On Friday, New Scientist published an article suggesting that even sustainable power is unsustainable:

"[T]he most advanced "renewable" technologies are too often based upon non-renewable resources, attendees heard [...] although silicon is the most abundant element in the Earth's crust after oxygen, it makes relatively inefficient cells that struggle to compete with electricity generated from fossil fuels. And the most advanced solar-cell technologies rely on much rarer materials than silicon."

In other words, the green lobby could be about to rob the planet of scarce natural resources. How incredibly selfish of them. Have they no regard for "future generations"?


A Nation Immune to Global Warming Hysteria

Perhaps there is hope for America after all. Despite the incessant hysteria about how mankind's irresponsible use of fossil fuels has put our whole planet in imminent peril, few Americans seem to be sitting up late at night fretting over any global-warming apocalypse. Statistical support for this premise came last month from a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which asked a random sample of 1,503 adults to rate 20 concerns -- jobs, Social Security, tax cuts, immigration, etc. -- as their "top priority" for 2009. To the surprise of no one, a top concern -- chosen by 85 percent of those polled -- was the "economy," followed closely by "jobs" (82 percent) and "terrorism" (76 percent). Way, way down at the very bottom of the list -- far below even "lobbyists" -- was "global warming." Only 30 percent considered it a top concern.

This is encouraging news for those who've lost faith in the collective intelligence or judgment of the American people. It shows that many if not most Americans have either ignored or not been influenced much by the exaggerations, propaganda and lies that they've been subjected to since 1988 by global-warming alarmists like NASA's James Hansen and their press agents at The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBS, CNN, Time, et al.

No one in the elite mainstream media dares to dissent or laugh when Hansen says New York City will be under 50 feet of water 100 years from now or when Al Gore tells Congress, as he did last week for the 101st time since he sold his portfolio of Occidental Petroleum stock, that the planet soon will be uninhabitable for humans unless we switch to alternative energy sources.

But look at how skeptically, irreverently and "all-Americanly" the Great Unwashed reacted to a straightforward Jan. 29 article that previewed the text of Prophet Al's most recent "tipping point" sermon to Congress. It's true that some of the 155 comments came from Americans with monikers like "Turtlehead" (who said Gore "should go into hiding") and bad spellers like "Hurricane Bob" (who quipped: "I hope Gore slips on the global warmed ice and breaks his legs. What a giant scam. Not all scientests [sic] buy into this fraud. I am one of them!").

It's also true that many commentators resorted to dumb global-warming jokes and ad hominem attacks on Gore and environmentalists in general. Others taunted Gore with calls to "drill ... baby ... drill" or pointed out good climate facts like "Man's contribution to atmospheric CO2 is only 0.12 percent of the greenhouse effect." All but a few of the commentators attacked Gore and/or ridiculed his message of carbon doom. They were what he and his green soulmates in the elite media would smear as "global warming deniers."

The politically incorrect responses to CNN's piece -- and the similar derisive commentary that usually predominates whenever a mainstream news organization posts a global warming piece -- are by no means proof of what a majority of Americans really believe about global warming.

But they do prove that many of our fellow Americans still have the right genetic stuff that made our country so great. They can still recognize a load of you-know-what when it's dropped on their heads every day by their government and the liberal media.


Australia's public radio network censors poll finding that 94% of listeners believe 'global warming is a myth'

By Andrew Bolt

ABC NewsRadio last week asked listeners: Is Global Warming to blame for the current heatwave in Australia? The ABC can't have liked the answer much. The poll, and its emphatic result, has been deleted from the poll archive.

UPDATE Reader Michael gives the results that the ABC won't: 1. Global warming is a myth (94.4%) 2. Yes (2.8%) 3. No (2.8%) Number of voters: 15,451.

UPDATE 2 We're told that the ABC had to junk this poll because 90 per cent of the votes were rigged. All right, let's assume all those 13,906 bogus votes were cast entirely by warming sceptics and remove them from the results. That leaves us with these figures: Is Global Warming to blame for the current heatwave in Australia? 1. Global warming is a myth (40%) 2. Yes (30%) 3. No (30%) I'll accept even these "corrected" figures. Let the ABC publish them.

UPDATE 3 Incidently, reader Tom rang Laura of the ABC NewsRadio's web polling section this morning and was assured by her these polls were proof against multiple voting. But she didn't know until Tom told her that what her poll had just measured.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SOLAR CYCLE 24 looking very quiet

An email from James Marusek [], pointing to climate change -- on the sun

The sun has gone very quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. The Ap index is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. Anthony Watts (meteorologist) referred to it as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. Measurements began in January 1932. Until the current solar minimum, the lowest monthly Ap index ever recorded was "4". This happened in December 1997. But now in this solar minimum we have three months in a row of "4"s (November 2008 - January 2009).

Jan Janssens of the Belgian Solar Section has a website called "Solaemon's Spotless Day Page". Solaemon stands for SOLar Activity & Earth MONitor.

This site tracks the current solar minimum and comparing it to past minimums. Within the site he links to an informative graph where he compares the Cumulative Spotless Days for each of the Solar Minimums (Solar Cycles 10 to present).

Each curve in the Cumulative Spotless Days graph has an element of both horizontal and vertical symmetry. Once we reach the midpoint of the solar cycle, there will be about as many spotless days to come as spotless days that have past. As of the end of January, there have been 535 spotless days within this solar minimum. If we are at the midpoint, then the current solar minimum will produce around 1,000 cumulative spotless days. Have we finally reached this midpoint? I don't know but the next few months will hold the key. It is clear that solar cycle 24 is making a state change. For much of the past century (solar cycles 16-23), the solar minimums produced significantly fewer spotless days (an average of 362).

Facing reality

An email from Norm Kalmanovitch [] of Calgary Canada. Norm is a practicing geophysicist with over 35 years of experience operating at a very basic scientific and academic level

There has statistically been no global warming for over a decade and the globe gas been cooling at a fairly steep rate since 2002. With the global temperature for 2008 already below that of the target 1990 Kyoto reference year level, one has to question why anyone in their right mind would want to reduce CO2 emissions at all, let alone reduce emissions by 4.8gigatonnes as would be done by an 80% reduction of US emissions.

The energy generated in the production of 4.8gigatonnes of CO2 is about 37.8 trillion kilowatt hours. To replace this energy with wind power at 20cents/kwh will cost $7.56 trillion per year. To sequester and bury this requires the energy equivalent of 5000bbls of oil for each megatonne which is 24million barrels of oil each year. The cost of sequestering and burying CO2 is at least $100 per metric ton (The Alberta proposal to sequester 5 megatonnes of CO2 for $2billion equates to $400 per tonne), so this would equate to an annual expenditure of at least $480billion.

The other option of course is to reduce the US energy output by 37.8trillion kilowatt hours which would have the effect of reducing the economy by that amount. At some point someone has to stand up and demand proof that wasting these vast sums of money and energy has any benefit for anyone except those involved in the carbon trading industry who promote this idiocy.

The world is no longer warming; there is no increase in sea level rise; and most importantly beyond the current concentration of CO2 there is at best only a miniscule warming effect from even a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. Carbon dioxide emissions are good for both the environment and the economy; reducing CO2 emissions by any method other than by energy conservation is bad for both.


By Graham Dawson

The Stern Review and the IPCC believe that anthropogenic climate change is a serious global threat and demands an urgent response. Examining the IPCC's projections of future climate change and Stern's estimates of its costs from a free-market perspective shows that they are based on flawed methodological assumptions and reflect an excessively optimistic approach to knowledge of the future. The foundations of reliable knowledge for a sound policy framework have not been put in place.


The Stern Review analyses climate change as a market failure - and indeed not just any market failure, but `market failure on the greatest scale the world has seen' (Stern, 2007, p. 27). Or is it rather the greatest moral panic? In a neoclassical context, market failure assumes welfare maximisation, in that market failure occurs when markets fail to maximise welfare; that is, they fail to locate the one level of output (of goods whose production is carbon intensive) that brings marginal benefit and marginal social cost into equilibrium.

The economist more in agreement with the Austrian school of economics disagrees with this basic premise of Stern's analysis. It is not markets that have failed, but governments in failing to allocate property rights. One approach to environmental economics - based on the Austrian approach - understands environmental problems as interpersonal conflicts rather than market failures (Cordato, 2004). Climate change is an example of interpersonal conflict over the use of resources as some individuals use the atmosphere as a carbon sink, changing the climate and thereby making it impossible, for example, for other individuals to rely upon an unchanged climate as a resource for growing crops in particular locations. The purpose of climate change policy is to allocate the missing property rights (to a climate unchanged by human activity) and install legal institutions that will enable goal-seeking individuals to defend those rights against invasion. True, this is an arduous task but less so, in the opinion of this author, than the orthodox approach to climate change policy, which Stern inadvertently reveals to be based upon guesswork and wishful thinking, and which is without serious prospect of success.

I will try to make good this claim by examining the Stern Review and the work of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which Stern uncritically relies, from a free-market perspective. Firstly, I will argue that the IPCC is a near-monopoly producer of climate science, much of which is politicised. Secondly, Stern's dramatic headline figures are, I will suggest in common with other commentators, in part the result of incorporating estimates of alleged costs that are immeasurable and of using an unrealistically low discount rate. Thirdly, they are also the outcome of Stern's decision to rely exclusively on just one of the IPCC's `families' of emissions scenarios (the A2 family), eventhough the IPCC itself regards them all as equally valid. The policy framework that Stern puts forward is therefore without secure foundations in theory or evidence.


Taranto does his usual good line of sarcasm

The Boston Globe has an alarming report on a new mental disorder:
Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of "climate change delusion."

Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.

Can there be any doubt that the media--including the Boston Globe--are a major risk factor for climate change delusion, what with all their alarmist reports about global warming? Sure, it's possible that these kids were nuts anyway, and that even if they'd never heard of global warming, their psychosis would have expressed itself in a different form: Bush derangement syndrome, say, or post-traumatic slavery disorder (another story broken by the Globe).

But as long as we don't know, shouldn't journalists declare an immediate moratorium on global-warming stories--just to be safe?

SOURCE (See the original for links)


China likely overtook the U.S. in vehicle sales for the first time last month, a trend that could make China into the world's largest auto market this year. Official data for China's auto sales in January will not be out until next week. But they are expected to show sales at about 790,000 units for the month, Zhang Xin, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Beijing, said Wednesday. In the U.S., meanwhile, auto sales in January tumbled 37 percent to 656,976 vehicles, the lowest monthly level in 26 years.

"This is the first time in history that China has passed the United States in monthly sales," Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors Corp.'s executive director of global market and industry analysis, said in a conference call late Tuesday. For all of 2009, DiGiovanni projected that Chinese auto sales are likely to hit 10.7 million vehicles, more than the estimated 9.8 million unit sales in the U.S. this year. Autodata Corp. forecasts 2009 U.S. sales at 9.57 million.

Commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses make up a larger chunk of China's vehicle market than in the U.S., causing some people to say comparing such statistics is misleading. But China, with its 1.3 billion people, was bound to catch up with the U.S., population 300 million, sooner or later, and the latest trends suggest it may be sooner than expected due to the drastic contraction in the American auto market.


Australian bushfire catastrophe had its prime source in Greenie resistance to preventive burnoffs

(My suspicions of yesterday stand confirmed -- JR)

By David Packham

Victoria has suffered the most tragic bushfire disaster to have occurred on this continent throughout its period of human habitation. The deaths, loss of homes and businesses and the blow to our feeling of security will take decades to fade into history. The trauma will live with the victims, who, to a greater or lesser extent, are all of us. How could this happen when we have been told in a withering, continuous barrage of public relations that with technology and well-polished uniforms, we can cope with the unleashing of huge forces of nature.

I have been a bushfire scientist for more than 50 years, dealing with all aspects of bushfires, from prescribed burning to flame chemistry, and serving as supervisor of fire weather services for Australia. We need to understand what has happened so that we can accept or prevent future fire disasters. That this disaster was about to happen became clear when the weather bureau issued an accurate fire weather forecast last Wednesday, which prompted me, as a private citizen, to raise the alarm through a memo distributed to concerned residents.

The science is simple. A fire disaster of this nature requires a combination of hot, dry, windy weather in drought conditions. It also requires a source of ignition. In the past, this purpose has been served by lightning. In this disaster, lightning has not played a big part, and for this Victorians should be grateful. But other sources of ignition are ever-present. When the temperature and wind increase to extreme levels, small events -- perhaps the scrape of metal across a rock, a transformer overheating or sparks from a diesel engine -- are capable of starting a fire that can in minutes become unstoppable if the fuel is present.

The third and only controllable factor in this deadly triangle is fuel: the dead leaves, pieces of bark and grass that become the gas that feeds the 50m high flames that roar through the bush with the sound of jet engines. Fuels build up year after year at an approximate rate of one tonne a hectare a year, up to a maximum of about 30 tonnes a hectare. If the fuels exceed about eight tonnes a hectare, disastrous fires can and will occur. Every objective analysis of the dynamics of fuel and fire concludes that unless the fuels are maintained at near the levels that our indigenous stewards of the land achieved, then we will have unhealthy and unsafe forests that from time to time will generate disasters such as the one that erupted on saturday.

It has been a difficult lesson for me to accept that despite the severe damage to our forests and even a fatal fire in our nation's capital, the political decision has been to do nothing that will change the extreme threat to which our forests and rural lands are exposed. The decision to ignore the threat has been encouraged by some shocking pseudo-science from a few academics who use arguments that may have a place in political discourse but should have no place in managing our environment and protecting it and us from the bushfire threat. The conclusion of these academics is that high intensity fires are good for the environment and that the resulting mudslides after rains are merely localised and serve to redistribute nutrients. The purpose of this failed policy is to secure uninformed city votes.

Only a few expert retired fire managers, experienced bushies and some courageous politicians are prepared to buck the decision to lock up our bush and leave it to burn. The politicians who willingly accept this rubbish use it to justify the perpetuation of the greatest threat to our forests, water supplies, homes and lives in order to secure a minority green vote. They continue to throw millions (and no doubt soon billions) at ineffective suppression toys, while the few foresters and bush people who know how to manage our public lands are starved of the resources they need to reduce fuel loads.

It is hard for me to see this perversion of public policy and to accept that the folk of the bush have lost their battle to live a safe life in a cared-for rural and forest environment, all because of the environmental fantasies of outraged extremists and latte conservationists.

In a letter to my local paper, the Weekly Times, on January 25, I predicted we were facing a very critical situation in which 1000 to 2000 homes could be lost in the Yarra catchment, the Otways and/or the Strezleckies; that 100 souls could be lost in a most horrible and violent way; and that there was even a threat to Melbourne's water supply, which could be rendered unusable by the ash and debris. Horrifically, much of this has come to pass, and it is not yet the end of the bushfire season.

In the face of this inferno, the perpetrators of this obscenity should have the decency to stand up and say they were wrong. Southeast Australia is the worst place in the world for bushfires, and we must not waste any time in getting down to the task of making our bush healthy and safe. But don't hold your breath. Do you hear that lovely sound the warbling pigs make as they fly by?



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Tu B'Shevat

Today is the Jewish holiday celebrating the New Year for trees. It is only a minor holiday but it is a good occasion to plant a tree. I planted eight fast-growing crepe myrtle trees in my backyard five years ago and they now are about 12 ft high and produce masses of pink blossom every January. So take it from me: Planting trees is both rewarding and an expression of faith in the future.

Greenies seem to have given up on trees. They see it as a great victory that McDonald's now uses cardboard instead of polystyrene. Yet using cardboard causes whole forests of trees to be cut down. And the war on plastic bags is the same. Many vendors have now reverted to brown paper bags instead -- which again causes lots of trees to be cut down. So should Greenies now be renamed as "Brownies"? Maybe not. I think the average Brownie would be more logical.

The Right Honourable The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley comments on the latest effusion from Leaky Jonathan

I commented on Leaky Jonathan here yesterday. Comment below received by email from Lord Monckton []

The scare: An article published in early February 2009 by Jonathan Leake, the environment editor of The Times of London, said "The ice caps are melting so fast that the world's oceans are rising more than twice as fast as they were in the 1970s." The Times said that "scientists" had used satellites "to track how the oceans are responding as billions of gallons of water reach them from melting ice sheets and glaciers", an effect "compounded by thermal expansion". The article said that in the past 15 years "sea levels have been rising at 3.4mm a year, much faster than the average 1.7mm recorded by tidal gauges over the past 50 years." A scientist was quoted as saying, "This rate, observed since the early 1990s, could reflect an acceleration linked to global warming." The article added that figures from the UK Meteorological Office suggested that sea level in the tidal reaches of the River Thames could rise by as much as 6ft 6in by 2100.

The truth: First, there is nothing new in this article. Ever since the TOPEX/JASON sea-level monitoring satellites began transmitting data in 1993, they have shown sea level as rising at a near-linear rate equivalent to 1 ft/century, compared with the 8 in/century previously estimated for the 20th century by the use of tide-gages. However, it is thought likely that the apparent increase in the rate of sea-level rise is chiefly an artefact of the change in mensuration from tide-gauges to satellites in 1993. Furthermore, in response to the very sharp global cooling of the last few years, the rate of increase in sea level appears to have slowed somewhat, though it is not yet clear whether the trend will continue, and no data from the JASON satellite has been published since the late summer of 2008. In 2007 the UN reduced its high-end estimate of sea-level rise from 3 ft to less than 2 ft over the 21st century. The mean rate of sea-level rise over the past 10,000 years has been 4 ft/ century, though The Times was very careful not to provide this perspective in its article.

There is little scientific basis for the article's assertion that "the ice-caps are melting fast". There has been some decline in sea-ice extent in the Arctic, but this decline is well within natural climate variability and cannot be attributed to anthropogenic "global warming", because the mere fact of warming (which, in any event, has not occurred for 13 years) tells us nothing of the cause of the warming. In the Antarctic, however, sea-ice extent has recently reached a record high, and the current accumulation of land-ice at the South Pole is 8850 feet deep, increasing annually. The Times somehow failed to mention the Antarctic in its article.

For most of the past 10,000 years - most recently in the Roman and medieval warm periods - temperatures were up to 3 Celsius degrees (5.5 Fahrenheit degrees) warmer than the present. Each of the past four interglacial periods was up to 6 Celsius degrees (11 Fahrenheit degrees) warmer than the present. Humankind cannot have been to blame. End of scare.

"Solar cycle 24"

Above is the title of a book that I have just received from its author, the polymathic David Archibald. David Archibald is a Perth, Australia-based scientist operating in the fields of climate science, cancer research and oil exploration. He has published several technical papers on the role of solar cycles in climate. His initial climate paper in 2006 popularised monitoring sunspot cycles as a climate prediction tool.

This book details how the Sun, not carbon dioxide, controls climate and predicts a significant cooling for the next two decades. At the same time, the heating effect of carbon dioxide will be minuscule. Combined with its positive effect on plant growth, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is shown to be wholly beneficial. It is estimated that the carbon taxes proposed for Australia will cost 1. l million jobs. This book shows that not only are these taxes exactly wrong in science, we should be doing all we can to increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

So that throws down quite a challenge! The book is very comprehensive, very well-produced and has lots of accessible graphs. And, as is the case with most skeptical writing, its appeal is to established scientific facts rather than the appeals to authority that characterize most Warmist writing. It retails for $25 in Australia which translates to about $16 in U.S. dollars. There is a form on David's site for book orders from within Australia. For orders from outside Australia email him on

Are polar bears going to become extinct because the Arctic ice is melting?

By Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen []. (Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen is an MIT educated physicist, author of the book "An Introduction to High-Temperature Superconductivity", and writer of the popular newspaper column "Ask the Everyday Scientist", from which the post below is reproduced)

This is a topic that is beset with great confusion. The biggest problem of all is hype, because the entire topic makes terrific copy for a fund-raising letter. Children in elementary grades are sometimes being told that this is one of the terrible things happening because of mankind releasing too much CO2. The emotional appeal is very strong, because polar bears are a memorable feature of any trip to the zoo. There is a book entitled "Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?" by Anne Rockwell, aimed at the 4 - 8 year old range. There was also a British band named "The Melting Ice Caps" who sang totally unrelated songs. Publicity and excitement abounds, but science says otherwise. Let's start with a few facts:

First, the native people of Nunavut (northern Canada bordering the Arctic Ocean) hunt polar bears for food all their lives, and they haven't noticed any shortage of polar bears. Nobody is trying to protect polar bears from people.

Second, polar bears easily swim 100 km (over 60 miles). A polar bear "stranded" on an ice floe offers a photo distressing to humans, but if the ice floe is close enough to be filmed, the bear has a pretty easy trip back to solid ground.

Third, Arctic sea ice is not diminishing; it's currently back to the same extent as in 1979, three decades ago. This was reported in December 2008 by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center; derived from satellite observations that keep track of the extent of sea ice, which varies every summer and winter.

Fourth, the Endangered Species Act contains several classifications of concern for animals, and the mildest form is "threatened." The Department of the Interior issued a statement in May 2008 that one sub-group of polar bears (in Alaska) are "threatened." The basis for invoking that classification was the computer-modeled projection that sea ice might decline further in the years ahead. The reasoning goes: polar bears aren't threatened currently, only sometime in the future IF the sea ice goes away. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
"Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne cited dramatic declines in sea ice over the last three decades and projections of continued losses. . Kempthorne also said, though, that it would be `inappropriate' to use the protection of the bear to reduce greenhouse gases, or to broadly address climate change."

Because of that latter limitation, Kempthorne was severely criticized by environmental groups.

The same press release underlined the first point above: "Canada, home to two-thirds of the world's polar bears, will not for now follow the U.S. lead in listing the animals as threatened, Environment Minister John Baird indicated."

The good news contained in the third point above completely negates the reason cited for assigning the classification "threatened" in the first place. On that basis, the category should be withdrawn. But don't hold your breath waiting for that!

Thus, the polar bears are not actually endangered in any way at all. So what's all the fuss about? What is really going on underneath all this is the attempt by strident environmentalists to prevent exploration and drilling for oil in the Arctic. That's the real issue, and the polar bears are merely a surrogate having emotional appeal.

Here's how a typical fund-raising pitch goes (example from the NRDC): "Polar Bear SOS ! We must make [the government] protect the polar bear as an endangered species and save it from extinction. I want to help NRDC mobilize one million Americans in support of full-fledged protection and fight in court for the sake of polar bear survival. Enclosed is my tax-deductible membership contribution ." And in an accompanying angry message to the Secretary of the Interior: "I am outraged you would allow global warming pollution and Arctic oil exploration to continue unabated while the polar bear is in mortal danger." And still more: "The plight of the polar bear is urgent. We can still save this magnificent species but the window for action is closing rapidly."

This alarming notice is obviously aimed at those who haven't taken the time to examine the issue, but who simply hear some buzzwords and easily get alarmed. The pitchmeisters lay it on thick in the hope of making such folks reach for their checkbook. Needless to say, if you make your living as a fund-raiser, you become very adept at weaving together little snippets of news and claims and statements here and there into an urgent call for action - and contributions. But you must also learn to ignore scientific evidence to the contrary when making your pitch.

Although Arctic sea ice had decreased a lot by September 2007, it returned to 1979 levels by December 2008. That scientific fact is unwelcome news to alarmists.

More Warmist confusion

We now have a guy saying that volcanic eruptions cause warming. Usually they say that volcanoes put up a cloud of particulate matter which in effect "shades" the earth and causes global cooling. One has to conclude that they are all just speculating. Nasty for that mythical "consensus", though

Sulfur dioxide emitted from volcanoes and from burning fossil fuel is the primary initiator of global climate change, according to Dr. Peter L. Ward, a retired U.S. Geological Survey scientist who continues to study the earth and its environment through his own company, Teton Tectonics. "Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas compounding global warming, but it is not the initiator of climate change," according to Ward.

In a paper to be published this week, Ward concludes that sulfur dioxide emissions regulate the ability of the atmosphere to clean itself by oxidizing greenhouse gases. Sulfur dioxide reacts quickly with available oxidants, leaving few to react with other greenhouse gases. The primary oxidants, created by the effects of ultraviolet sunlight on ozone, are, like ozone, in limited supply.

Ward observed that the highest rates of global warming in the past 46,000 years occurred precisely when volcanoes were most active. "When very large volcanic eruptions occur every few months," Ward says, "rapid warming follows. Too much sulfur dioxide in a short period of time causes warming."

Large eruptions in the past 2000 years occurred once per century. Yet by 1962, human activities were putting as much sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere every 1.7 years as one of these large eruptions. That was enough to cause world temperatures to climb rapidly. Beginning in 1979, global efforts to reduce acid rain cut power-plant sulfur emissions 18% by 2000. By 2000, global temperature stopped increasing, a fact unexplained by current climate theories.

"By reducing acid rain, we accidentally reduced global warming," Ward said. "The problem now is that sulfur dioxide emissions are rapidly increasing again as new power plants come on line every week around the world. But we know how to reduce sulfur emissions both technically and politically. It is much easier to do than reducing carbon dioxide emissions."

Ward's paper will be published in the next issue of "Thin Solid Films," a physics journal published by Elsevier Press, available online at


A terrible but foreseeable tragedy in Australia

These fires are a regular occurrence so why are not vulnerable communities protected by regular backburning? Is it just another case of chronic government bungling or is it because of characteristic Greenie opposition to backburning? If the latter, the blame must be put fairly and squarely where it belongs and any future such opposition firmly discredited and resisted

More than 100 people are feared dead as the worst bushfires in Victorian history rage out of control. Police this morning confirmed 108 people, including four children, died in firestorms described by Premier John Brumby as "hell on earth". Shocked survivors said parts of the state looked as though they had been hit by a nuclear bomb. Most of the damage was done by two massive fires - one that virtually wiped out towns northeast of Melbourne including Kinglake and Marysville, and a second inferno that raced across Gippsland. The toll passes the Black Friday holocaust of 1939 in which 71 were killed, and the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983, which claimed 47 Victorians.

Twenty-two people were in the Alfred hospital with shocking burns, 10 in a critical condition. Heart-wrenching tales of tragedy and heroism emerged from the apocalypse. But it is feared many more bodies will be found in the swathe of destruction. As the scale of the disaster unfolded:

750 HOMES were confirmed destroyed and 330,000ha of land burnt.

PREMIER John Brumby said: "I have never seen anything like this and hope to never see it again."

POLICE were disgusted that some fires may have been deliberately lit.

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd called in the army and started a $10 million relief fund.

At least 29 people died in Kinglake, Kinglake West, St Andrews and Marysville where a monster fire is still raging on a 100km front. At least nine were dead in Gippsland at Callignee, Hazelwood, Callignee South and Jeeralang. Those two fires and a blaze near Beechworth are the major concerns for firefighters.

Picturesque Marysville was virtually wiped out and there are fears nearby Narbethong suffered a similar fate. "It was a most horrible day. It's going to look like Hiroshima, I tell you, it's going to look like a nuclear bomb. There's animals dead all over the road," Kinglake resident Dr Chris Harvey said. Six of the victims were in one car trying to outrun the inferno which swept through Kinglake in minutes.

Dr Harvey said the town was littered with burnt-out cars, and he believed many contained bodies. His daughters Victoria and Ali, both in their 20s, told of a local man, Ross, who lost both his daughters and possibly a brother. "He apparently went to put his kids in the car, put them in, turned around to go grab something from the house, then his car was on fire with his kids in it, and they burnt," Victoria said.

With cooler weather predicted for the next seven days, authorities are racing to contain all fires while they have the chance. Thousands of exhausted firefighters remained on the firefront last night, many still unable to return to their own ravaged communities. Teams of disaster victim identification experts were flying in from around the nation to perform a grisly task Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon compared to the Bali Bombings aftermath.

Mr Rudd announced Defence Force officers and bulldozers would be assigned to help build containment lines around major blazes continuing to burn unchecked. "The nation grieves with Victoria tonight," he said.

Police suspect some of the fires were started by arsonists as the state reeled in a heatwave which saw the mercury soar to a record 46.7C in Melbourne on Saturday. Forensic detectives and specialist arson investigators will visit the fire zones in the days ahead. CFA deputy chief officer Steve Warrington said even yesterday an arsonist was hampering efforts to fight fires in the Latrobe Valley. "We know we do have someone who is lighting fires in this community," he said. "While we often think it's spotting, we also know that there are people lighting fires deliberately."

Mr Brumby said his heart went out to those caught up in the disaster and called on Victorians to dig deep to help the thousands of people who have lost loved ones or houses. "It is one of the most tragic events in Victoria's history," he said. "For so many of us the scale of this tragedy defies comprehension. It is your generosity and selflessness that will see Victoria through this dark hour."

More here. Note: In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG pays his tribute to the true heroes fighting the terrible bushfires in Victora and South Australia.


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

That famous consensus

Yet another example of the `research' masquerading as science that is used to reinforce the man-made global warming fraud. One of the difficulties the green zealots have had is that Antarctica has been not warming but cooling, with the extent of its ice reaching record levels. A few weeks ago, a study led by Professor Eric Steig caused some excitement by claiming that actually West Antarctica was warming so much that it more than made up for the cooling in East Antarctica. Warning bells should have sounded when Steig said
What we did is interpolate carefully instead of just using the back of an envelope.

To those of us who have been following this scam for the past two decades, `interpolate carefully' makes us suck our teeth. And so it has proved. Various scientists immediately spotted the flaw in Steig's methodology of combining satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations. The flaw they identified was that, since Antarctica has so few weather stations, the computer Steig used was programmed to guess what data they would have produced had such stations existed. In other words, the findings that caused such excitement were based on data that had been made up. Even one of the IPCC's lead authors sniffed a problem:
`This looks like a pretty good analysis, but I have to say I remain somewhat skeptical,' Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research said in an e-mail. `It is hard to make data where none exist.'

Well, yes. But then the invention of data that does not exist and the obliteration of data that does exist has been precisely how the man-made global warming scam has been perpetrated right from the get-go. The most egregious example of this was the piece of `research' that underpinned the entire IPCC/Kyoto shebang from 2001 when it was published -- the so-called `hockey stick' curve, which purported to show a vertiginous and unprecedented rise in global temperature in the 20th century.

The problem with pegging such a rise to the evils of industrialisation had always been the Medieval Warm Period, during which global temperatures were warmer than in modern times. So the `hockey stick' study dealt with that by simply managing to airbrush out the Medieval Warm Period and its subsequent corrective Little Ice Age altogether. Some seven centuries of global history were simply excised from the data -- because an algorithm had been built into the computer programme which would have created a `hockey stick' curve whatever data were fed into it.

This shoddy research was subsequently torn apart so comprehensively that it has been called the most discredited study in the history of science (and has been quietly dropped by the IPCC, leaving man-made global warming theory with no more substance than the grin on the face of the Cheshire Cat. Go here, here and here for a history of the titanic battle that ensued over its unmasking). The creator of this discredited `hockey stick' curve was Michael Mann. And guess what? Michael Mann was a co-author of the Steig study of Antarctica.
`Contrarians have sometime grabbed on to this idea that the entire continent of Antarctica is cooling, so how could we be talking about global warming,' said study co-author Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. `Now we can say: no, it's not true ... It is not bucking the trend.'

And now as Andrew Bolt has noted Steve McIntyre, who with Ross McKitrick uncovered the `hockey-stick' nonsense in the first place, has delivered the coup de grace to the Steig/Mann Antarctica claim. Steig used data from a weather station called Harry. Bolt observes:
"Harry in fact is a problematic site that was buried in snow for years and then re-sited in 2005. But, worse, the data that Steig used in his modelling which he claimed came from Harry was actually old data from another station on the Ross Ice Shelf known as Gill with new data from Harry added to it, producing the abrupt warming. The data is worthless". Or as McIntyre puts it:
"Considered by itself, Gill has a slightly negative trend from 1987 to 2002. The big trend in `New Harry' arises entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together. It's a mess."

With their reputations thus disappearing faster than the snows of Kilimanjaro, the zealots have become hysterical. Mann attacks a prominent sceptic, Lawrence Solomon, for citing the scientists' criticisms of the Antarctica study, and is in turn answered by Solomon -- an exchange reproduced in Canada's Financial Post, for which Solomon writes, here and here. Mann repeatedly accuses Solomon of lying. In doing so, he has left himself dramatically exposed. Claiming that Solomon
repeatedly lies about my work

he cites as evidence of this that his `hockey stick' study was
vindicated in a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

and seeks to back up this assertion by citing the way the media reported this study as
`Science Panel Backs Study on Warming Climate' (New York Times), `Backing for Hockey Stick Graph' (BBC), and so on.

This is, to put it mildly, disingenuous. While it is certainly true that the media reported it in this sheep-like way -- thanks in part to the manner in which the NAS chose circumspectly to spin its own conclusions -- it is nevertheless the case that in every important particular the NAS actually agreed with the McIntyre/McKitrick criticisms. Far from vindicating the `hockey stick' graph, the NAS said that although it found some of Mann's work `plausible', there were so many scientific uncertainties attached to it that it did not have great confidence in it. Thus it said that
Mann et al. used a type of principal component analysis that tends to bias the shape of the reconstructions

and that they had downplayed the
uncertainties of the published reconstructions...Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that `the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium.'

What Mann also does not say in his diatribe is that a subsequent House Energy and Commerce Committee report chaired by Edward Wegman totally destroyed the credibility of the `hockey stick' study and devastatingly ripped apart Mann's methodology as `bad mathematics'. Furthermore, when Gerald North, the chairman of the NAS panel -- which Mann claims `vindicated him' - and panel member Peter Bloomfield were asked at the House Committee hearings whether or not they agreed with Wegman's harsh criticisms, they said they did:
CHAIRMAN BARTON. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman's report?

DR. NORTH. No, we don't. We don't disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.

DR. BLOOMFIELD. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his co-workers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

WALLACE: `the two reports were complementary, and to the extent that they overlapped, the conclusions were quite consistent.' (Am Stat Assoc.)

As Mark Twain might have put it, there are three kinds of lies -- lies, damned lies and global warming science.


Another Dalton Minimum predicted!

Journal abstract below:

Forecasting the parameters of sunspot cycle 24 and beyond

By C. de Jager, S. Duhau

Solar variability is controlled by the internal dynamo which is a nonlinear system. We develop a physical-statistical method for forecasting solar activity that takes into account the non-linear character of the solar dynamo. The method is based on the generally accepted mechanisms of the dynamo and on recently found systematic properties of the long-term solar variability. The amplitude modulation of the Schwabe cycle in the dynamo's magnetic field components can be decomposed in an invariant transition level and three types of oscillations around it. The regularities that we observe in the behaviour of these oscillations during the last millennium enable us to forecast solar activity. We find that the system is presently undergoing a transition from the recent Grand Maximum to another regime. This transition started in 2000 and it is expected to end around the maximum of cycle 24, foreseen for 2014, with a maximum sunspot number Rmax = 68 ~ 17. At that time a period of lower solar activity will start. That period will be one of regular oscillations, as occurred between 1730 and 1923. The first of these oscillations may even turn out to be as strongly negative as around 1810, in which case a short Grand Minimum similar to the Dalton one might develop. This moderate to low-activity episode is expected to last for at least one Gleissberg cycle (60 - 100 years).

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, vol. 71 (2009), 239 - 245

Greenies can't take criticism. They respond with abuse, not facts and reason

They can't deny that Hitler was a Greenie -- because he was. So they just attack the messenger. See the wail below

Even if you don't know who Glenn Beck is, because you might have the good sense to avoid blowhard talking heads on Fox News, he seems to think he knows who we are. He thinks the youth climate movement are "Hitler Youth", brainwashed by Al Gore to lead us into fascism.

Glenn Beck said: "Well, tonight - oh dear, this may not go well - when I finish this story, some may believe we're on the way to the Hitler Youth . Are we having the new Hitler youth? Is that what this is? The new Hitler youth? I'm sorry, that's so politically incorrect. The new green guard."
You can see his scaremongering for yourself, recorded by Crooks and Liars:

Well, I know who and what Glenn Beck is. Glenn Beck is a bigoted, paranoid liar who will stoop at nothing to smear and destroy those who he sees as foes to the voodoo economics and dirty energy companies his ideology supports. He is a fossil fool and he should be exposed as one.

For a sampling of his smears and lies:

The first environmental justice advocate elected to congress, Keith Ellison, also was the first Muslim representative. Rep. Ellison was a mentor to me and a proud American who has stood up against the excesses of the Bush Administration. What did Glenn Beck ask him, when Keith went on his CNN show?

"With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, `Let's cut and run.' And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, `Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

Glenn seems to enjoy labeling environmental activists as fascists or communists or socialist, referencing Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, saying "It's like Hitler" and denied Global Warming by using fossil fuel funded `experts' on numerous occasions.

He also lied about oil production from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, claiming it would produce seventy times more than it could and decades earlier.

The fact that a someone who is a serial liar and slanderer has such a prominent position in our media shows how far we have to go. Glenn has a right-wing radio show, and has a national cable TV show.


Leaky Jonathan, chief science distorter for "The Times", defends Warmism amid Britain's unusually cold winter

He even calls on the nutty "Gaia" Lovelock, who predicts that only Antarctica and Siberia will be livable in the near future. See full dissections of a couple of Leaky's earlier deceptions here and here

It seems a bizarre contrast: as James Lovelock issues his latest warnings on soaring global temperatures, snow has been blanketing much of Britain. How can the world be warming yet still produce weather like this? Met Office scientists see no contradiction. For them, the real issue is not whether we have a cold snap but how many compared with the past. Britain can now expect a winter like this only every 20 years, but records show they occurred every five years before the industrial revolution. ["Before the industrial revolution" is a long time ago. Are we referring to the Medieval Warm period?] Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said: "This winter seems so bad precisely because it is now so unusual but the deep freezes of 1946-47 and 1962-63 were much colder and longer. "In fact winters in central England nowadays are on average 1.2C warmer than they would have been without man-made climate change." ["Would have been"? How does she know?]

In England the lowest temperature ever recorded was -26.1C at Newport in Shropshire on January 10, 1982, while the highest was 38.5C at Brogdale in Kent on August 10, 2003. The range between temperatures shows how much natural variation there is in our weather. The impacts of climate change do, however, stand out over longer periods.

Rowan Sutton, professor of climate science at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, said: "If you look at the whole Earth over several decades the impacts of climate change are clear in the form of rising temperatures, rising sea level and so on. Average global temperatures are now 0.75C warmer than they were 100 years ago, and since the mid1970s temperatures have increased at a rate of more than 0.15C per decade." [Note that "0.75C". Less than one degree of warming over the entire 20th century, a fluctuation so small as to be well within the margin of error]

Lovelock himself pointed out: "Most of the extra heat caused by greenhouse gases is stored in the surface waters of the ocean. If you want to know what is happening, don't bother with the air or surface temperature, look at how much the sea level has risen. The ocean expands as it warms and is the true thermometer for global heating. It is rising faster than the International Panel on Climate Change predicted." [Odd that there has been no sea-level rise over the last 2 years, then]

So why is it so cold at the moment? Adam Scaife at the Met Office said the powerful winds that usually keep Britain warm have changed direction. "There was a major warming in the stratosphere at the end of January and the winds reversed from their usual westerly at this time of year to easterly, leading to cold weather coming in from the Continent," he said. [But what caused that?]


Leaky Jonathan again!

"Polar ice caps melting faster". True -- but only if you ignore recent data. Summary of what Leaky omits: Global sea-level rise is not accelerating and has levelled off recently; ice caps are not melting faster; the Antarctic is not warming; global climate is cooling. But it's true that it's a little warmer now than 100 years ago when the climate started recovering from the Little Ice Age. And Leaky definitely does NOT mention what Cazenave said just two years ago: "ice sheets currently contribute little to sea-level rise"

The ice caps are melting so fast that the world's oceans are rising more than twice as fast as they were in the 1970s, scientists have found. They have used satellites to track how the oceans are responding as billions of gallons of water reach them from melting ice sheets and glaciers. The effect is compounded by thermal expansion, in which water expands as it warms, according to the study by Anny Cazenave of the National Centre for Space Studies in France.

These findings come at the same time as a warning from an American academic whose research suggests Labour's policies to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050 are doomed.

Cazenave's data show that in the past 15 years sea levels have been rising at 3.4mm a year, much faster than the average 1.7mm recorded by tidal gauges over the past 50 years. Cazenave said: "This rate, observed since the early 1990s, could reflect an acceleration linked to global warming." Met Office figures suggest sea levels in the Thames could rise 8in-35in by 2100 and possibly by as much as 6ft 6in. Cazenave's work, just published, will be presented at this week's American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago.

Its release will coincide with a lecture in Britain by Professor Roger Pielke, of the University of Colorado, in which he implies that the UK's emission target is unachievable for population and economic reasons.


The Collapse of Climate Policy and the Sustainability of Climate Science

The political consensus surrounding climate policy is collapsing. If you are not aware of this fact you will be very soon. The collapse is not due to the cold winter in places you may live or see on the news. It is not due to years without an increase in global temperature. It is not due to the overturning of the scientific consensus on the role of human activity in the global climate system. It is due to the fact that policy makers and their political advisors (some trained as scientists) can no longer avoid the reality that targets for stabilization such as 450 ppm (or even less realistic targets) are simply not achievable with the approach to climate change that has been at the focus of policy for over a decade. Policies that are obviously fictional and fantasy are frequently subject to a rapid collapse.

The current shrillness that has been observed by many politically-active climate scientists and the feeding-frenzy among their skeptical political opposition can be explained as a result of this looming collapse, though many will confuse the shrillness and feeding-frenzy as a cause of the collapse. Let me explain.

If you think that the current consensus on climate politics rests on a foundation called the scientific consensus, you might see signs of weakening in the political consensus as prima facie evidence that the scientific consensus must be itself weakening, or if you'd prefer, that people are making it look to be weakening, regardless of the reality. Thus, like the apocryphal Hans Brinker, the politically active climate scientists are actively trying to plug holes in the dike, as the skeptics try to poke more holes. The climate scientists (and their willing allies) have taken their battle to the arenas of politics, waging a scorched earth campaign of bullying, name calling, threats, and obnoxiously absurd appeals to authority. The skeptics participate in similar fashion, and the result is an all out brawl that we see escalating still before our eyes. The skeptics think they are unraveling a mythical scientific consensus imposed by an evil elite, while the climate scientists think they are waging an all out battle of righteousness against know-nothing hordes. They are both wrong.

Has climate science changed since the publication of the IPCC AR4? Not appreciably. Has the acceptance of the IPCC consensus changed among those who make decisions and advise them? Not at all. Does it matter for current commitments among policy makers whether or not, for example, Antarctica has been warming or cooling? Not at all. Or if, to pick another example, whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse might be 4, 5, or 10 meters in Washington, DC in hundreds of years? Not in the least. Battles over climate science are a side show, increasingly looking like a freak show, observed simply for the spectacle.

Climate politics is collapsing because of political realities, and not real or perceived changes in how people see the science. As I have often argued, in the ongoing battle between climate scientists and skeptics there will be disproportionate carnage, because the climate scientists have so much more to lose, and not just as individuals, but also for the broader field, which includes many people simply on the sidelines.

The collapse of the political consensus surrounding climate could well be an opportunity to recast decarbonization of the global economy and adaptation to climate impacts in a manner that is much more consistent with progress toward policy goals. If climate science can be saved from itself, that would be a bonus. However, for climate science I fully expect things to get worse before they get better, simply because the most vocal, politically active climate scientists have shown no skill at operating in the political arena. The skeptics could not wish for a more convenient set of opponents.

I don't expect everyone reading this to accept my assertion that the political consensus surrounding climate is in collapse. So I'll spend some time in the coming weeks making this case. At the same time, I will spend very little additional time on the self-destruction of the politically active subset of the climate science community, even though I know that many won't accept my assertion that debates putatively about climate science are largely irrelevant to the current state of climate politics. And for those fighting to address the sustainability of climate science in this mess, good luck, you will need it to avoid getting pushed onto one side of the Manichean battle and becoming part of the carnage. However, if you really do want to learn more about my views on scientists in politicized debates, pick up a copy of The Honest Broker and then send me an email.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Global warming will save people's lives

By Andrew Bolt, writing from Australia

More than 30 Victorians died in last week's heat in one of the great scandals of green politics. About 20 more people died in South Australia, but neither state government is telling yet how precisely the victims died, saying they are awaiting coroners' reports. But already warming extremists such as Prof Clive Hamilton are excusing these same governments -- which almost certainly contributed to at least some of these deaths. "Australians are already dying from climate change," shouted this professor of public ethics at the Australian National University, and author of Scorcher. But Hamilton is utterly wrong. Fact: Cold, not heat, is what really kills people, as we see now in Britain. Fact: A warming world would save countless lives, not cost them. And fact: Those who died last week were in less danger from global warming than from the deadly incompetence of green governments trying to "stop" it.

You think that sounds extreme? Then consult the unambiguous evidence that damns the governments of both Victoria and South Australia. We already know a heatwave can kill the very frail, if they aren't protected. In 1939, for instance, 438 people died in the Black Friday heat, not including the 71 Victorians killed by the fires. The temperatures back then were higher than those in Victoria and South Australia last week, but the heat this time hung around for longer. Yet despite our much greater population today, no more than 50 people died from heat, a fraction of the 1939 toll.

What changed? Mostly our ability now to stay cool - most obviously through airconditioning. Airconditioning saves not just sweat, but lives. But what do we now see? South Australia's Government actually asked people to avoid using airconditioners last week, citing environmental reasons. In Victoria, Deputy Premier Rob Hulls had earlier asked people to likewise avoid using airconditioners unless necessary. The Age even campaigned against them, asking readers to toughen up.

But far deadlier than this jihad against airconditioners was that the power in both states last week crashed. On the first day of Melbourne's heat wave, tens of thousands of homes - some with sick people - lost power because our grid cannot cope with cities grown so big and rich that many of us use airconditioners. And the next day 500,000 more homes went black when the cable carrying extra power from Tasmania was switched off. Sure, it had been designed to operate until temperatures reached 45C in Melbourne, but not (for some reason) if they reached just 35C in Tasmania. And so, click.

Who knows how many people then died? In Victoria, the coroner will say only that deaths last week were double the norm. The South Australian coroner said he'd had "more sudden deaths than is usual". Police and ambulance sources suggest tp to 50 extra deaths, possibly from heat.

Of course, Hamilton might argue that this is simply the mounting death toll we must expect when 20th century cities meet 21st century warming. Let's ignore the obvious reply - that in fact the globe has cooled since 2002, although, true, it may soon warm again. Let's look instead at Britain, now having its coldest winter in 13 years. So vulnerable are the elderly to cold that a World Health Organisation report last year estimated that 40,000 Britons died every winter, and these "excess winter deaths are related to poor housing conditions - insufficient insulation, ineffective heating systems and fuel poverty". That's right: 40,000 Britons die each year in the cold, often because they're too poor for warming. Compare that to the just 50 Australians who may have died in the worst heatwave in a century.

The British Facility of Public Health even says it expects 8000 Britons to die for each degree that the cold dips below the winter average. And this winter is so severe that the National Pensioners Convention has warned that one in 12 old people may perish. What's true of England is true everywhere. The British Medical Journal in 2000 reported a study by scientists in Britain, Italy, Holland and France who found that "all regions showed more annual cold-related mortality than heat-related mortality". They concluded: "Our data suggest that any increases in mortality due to increased temperatures would be outweighed by much larger short-term declines in cold related mortalities."

Understand, Clive? Rising temperatures will actually save lives. Indeed, University of London researchers calculated in the Southern Medical Journal that in Britain, at least, a big warming over the next 50 years "would increase heat-related deaths in Britain by about 2000 but reduce cold-related deaths by about 20,000".

So let's agree on the evidence: cold is the real killer, and airconditioning saves us in summer, just as central heating can save the frail in winter. So how mad are our governments? The Rudd Government will next year impose an emissions trading scheme that will "save" the planet by making power for your heaters and coolers more expensive. Victoria is even trialing a smart-meter so it can cut power use on hot days by making your electricity so expensive that you'd have to pay $170 a day to run ducted airconditioning. And all this to "save" a planet from a warming that could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

We're "dying from climate change", Clive? Dying for it, more likely.


Who Pays the Bill for 'Controlling' Climate Change?

So, You Thought $4-a-Gallon Gas Was Expensive? Wait Until You See What Your Power Bill Will Look Like

If you, I and everybody else who pays for electricity, gas or any other kind of energy are about to see our bills go through the stratosphere to pay for someone else's faith-based initiative, we shouldn't take it quietly. So I won't. Billions are going to be vacuumed out of consumers' wallets by "cap-and-trade" measures like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that Maine and other Northeastern states have implemented, and by a bill in Congress that would impose a similar carbon- trading scheme nationwide.

Want evidence? The New York Times reported last week that a New York state energy firm, Indeck Energy Services Inc., is suing that state over joining RGGI. The suit claims Indeck "will lose millions of dollars that other power generators won't (because) while most power plants will be able to eventually pass those carbon costs on to customers, Indeck says it will not able to do so because they are locked in a long-term fixed-price contract" for one of their plants.

If one company is complaining about RGGI because it can't recoup millions of dollars from its customers based on power production at one plant, how many millions - or billions - of dollars in extra costs will be passed on to us based on all the plants in all the states that participate in RGGI?

If these measures were aimed solely at reducing pollution, their expenses could be subjected to a rational cost-benefit analysis. However, their real target is not truly noxious gases or particulates, but carbon dioxide, which is increasing in the atmosphere - though not to anywhere near the levels that have often pertained in the Earth's past.

And while the costs of RGGI are clear, its benefits remain highly theoretical. For example, European nations are discovering that the carbon- trading schemes they have already implemented have enriched some companies while not yielding any appreciable decrease in CO2 levels. So, opposition to more climate-control measures is mounting across the Continent.

Meanwhile, Al Gore told us in "An Inconvenient Truth" that the more CO2 there is, the warmer the Earth will get. However, what has happened as CO2 levels rose is global cooling. Global temperatures basically flattened off in 1998 and remained level for about six years, before starting to decline four years ago. Thus, 2008 was the coolest year in the past decade. Scientists writing in Nature magazine now say that cooler is the way we're going for at least the next 10 to 15 years.

And that's not even counting the fact that the sun's been much less active recently, leading some solar experts to wonder if we might not soon enter a freezing-cold period like the "Little Ice Age" that ended about 150 years ago.

You might be interested to know that the past decade's cooling was not predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose famous report said that a warmer climate was inevitable, based on their computer-generated climate model forecasts. Yet, the response of Gore and his allies is on the order of, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

Yes, weather is not climate. But that would mean more if Gorean advocates did not pounce on every chance weather phenomenon that they could say supported their theory. However, the public is beginning to catch on to all the hype. In a Pew Research Institute poll last month, respondents listed global warming as dead last - 23rd out of 23 issues polled - as a concern. The economy was first, of course, which leads one to wonder just how voters will react when they discover how adversely their economic well-being will be affected by the legislation now in Congress.

We are told all reputable scientists agree with NASA climatologist James Hansen, whose views are commonly cited in the media. For example, Hansen said recently that CO2 growth "for just another decade" would produce "catastrophic effects" that would last "until the end of time." But hundreds of scientists disagree. One very prominent one is Hansen's former boss at NASA, John Theon, who was responsible for all weather and climate research there. He recently wrote that Hansen has "embarassed NASA" by passing off his personal views as those of the agency.

Tellingly, he adds, "My own belief concerning anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit. Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. "Thus, there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy."

But majorities here and in Washington are using them to push expensive, economy-stalling nostrums. Shouldn't we be wary when politicians who want more control over all of society push a suspect theory giving them substantially more control over all of society? And then send us the bill?


The Hidden Costs of Capping Emissions

"Suddenly it has become rather less appealing that we should divert trillions of dollars, pounds and euros into the fantasy that we could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent. All those grandiose projects for `emissions trading', `carbon capture', building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to `biofuels' are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess."

-By Christopher Booker, "2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved," December 29th, 2008.

If 2008 was the year global warming was disproved, 2009 may be the year that the agenda of radical environmentalism is laid to waste. As ALG News has reported, the scientific "consensus" around man-made global warming has unraveled like an old ribbon. And now, the economic "consensus" around it may be starting to unwind as well. With the economy in a clear downturn, the people are questioning the costs of going green. Suddenly it is not so fashionable to save the planet. It may become more important to restore economic growth than to strangle energy output.

It's simple, really. If financial capital was the lifeblood of the economy, energy is its food. And without it, or if it costs too much, nations the world over would be unable to sustain their peoples. The American people were given a powerful lesson on what energy price shocks can feel like this past summer, and they will not be eager to pay that price again.

By constraining the use not for conservation but out of ideological imperative, the economic consequences are negative: an additional price is attached to the use of energy. That additional cost is not the product of a supply shortage, but of regulation that constrains the use of that supply. And it is a cost that the economy simply cannot afford right now.

Carbon cap-and-trade, or other like restrictions on emissions, could cost the global economy trillions in excessive taxes, increased prices and restrictions. These costs are deliberate, the product of a policy that is designed to change people's behavior to use less carbon-based energy. That is the basic argument in favor of reducing carbon emissions: By increasing costs, the consumer will only be able to consume less.

But it's more like a dirty secret that advocates of reducing carbon emissions do not wish to be emphasized. And it is one that opponents of capping carbon emissions who wish to save the energy industries must point out: The costs of wasting precious capital in the midst of a global economic meltdown are unbearable.

In the end, there is a cap on how much the greens will be able to accomplish, and that will be directly proportional to how well the opponents of radical environmentalism capitalize upon the fissures in the scientific "consensus" on "man-made" climate change, and how well they promote the true costs of capping carbon emissions to the American people.


Unconventional professor led away in handcuffs

I would have disapproved of his methods too but this shows how weak tenure protections are. The fact that he is also a climate skeptic is not mentioned below but may well have been the last straw

On the first day of his fourth-year physics class, University of Ottawa professor Denis Rancourt announced to his students that he had already decided their marks: Everybody was getting an A+. It was not his job, as he explained later, to rank their skills for future employers, or train them to be “information transfer machines,” regurgitating facts on demand. Released from the pressure to ace the test, they would become “scientists, not automatons,” he reasoned. But by abandoning traditional marks, Prof. Rancourt apparently sealed his own failing grade: In December, the senior physicist was suspended from teaching, locked out of his laboratory and told that the university administration was recommending his dismissal and banning him from campus.

Firing a tenured professor is rare in itself, but two weeks ago the university took an even more extreme step: When Prof. Rancourt went on campus to host a regular meeting of his documentary film society, he was led away in handcuffs by police and charged with trespassing. With his suspension raising questions of academic freedom, the Canadian Association of University Teachers has started an independent inquiry into the matter. “Universities are to be places that not only tolerate, but welcome, vigorous debate,” said executive director James Turk. “There would have to be some very serious misdeeds by Dr. Rancourt to justify this action.”

A university spokesperson refused to comment specifically on the trespassing incident or give reasons for the disciplinary action, saying that the decision was “very serious” and “not made lightly.”

Prof. Rancourt's suspension is the most serious step in a long series of grievances and conflicts with the university dating back to 2005, when, after researching new teaching methods, he first experimented with eliminating letter grades. He also altered course curriculum with student input – although not the approval of the university – an approach he calls “academic squatting.”

A well-published and politically outspoken scientist who revels in hashing out theories on napkins at conferences, Prof. Rancourt's unconventional teaching style has generated both an ardent following among a core group of students, and the rancour of many of his fellow faculty members, one-third of whom signed a petition of complaint against him in the fall of 2007. In the letter, which he provided, the complaints stem largely from a series of critical e-mails he distributed about their “paternalistic” teaching methods – a criticism he still expresses, with little restraint, today.

But he also has some high-profile support from an award-winning psychology professor at the university, Claude Lamontagne, who wrote in an e-mail that faculty members need to fight for the freedom to teach how and when they want, lest their independence be “pressed out of our souls like juice from an orange.”

Building on his science and society lectures, the self-described “anarchist” developed a popular course on activism at Ottawa U, which was cancelled by the university the following year, and started an alternative film society focused on social justice.

He made headlines after 10-year-old twins registered for his course with their mother – and he supported the filing of a human-rights complaint claiming ageism when the university said they couldn't stay. His research can be equally alternative: He has called global warming, for instance, a myth. He has also been an outspoken critic of “Israeli military aggression” and is not shy about expressing those views with students.

And while the university may be keeping quiet, Prof. Rancourt has freely disseminated his side of the story: correspondence with university officials and a video of his arrest has been posted on the Internet. “I have nothing to hide,” he says.

Sean Kelly, a master's student who had Prof. Rancourt as his thesis supervisor until his suspension, said some students complained in class when the professor allowed debates to wander off-topic – or refused to set deadlines for homework. Some people, Mr. Kelly admitted, took advantage of the free A, but many others put more energy into the class. Comparing Prof. Rancourt to other professors who practically give students the questions that will be on exams in advance, the 27-year-old said, “He really pushes you to think more for yourself.”

For now, Prof. Rancourt, 51, is meeting his graduate students in cafés, continuing to advise them unofficially on their thesis projects. He is still receiving his salary while awaiting a final decision from the university. The independent board of inquiry appointed by the Canadian Association of University Teachers may take many months to release a report. But the professor is undeterred about those A-pluses: “Grades poison the educational environment,” he insists. “We're training students to be obedient, and to try to read our minds, rather than being a catalyst for learning.”


Snow plunges Britain back into chaos

FRESH snowstorms plunged parts of Britain back into travel chaos today, after a week which saw the heaviest falls in nearly 20 years paralyse the country. Some 200 cars were stranded in up to 30cm of snow overnight in Devon, southwest England, and the occupants had to be rescued by the army as well as police and others emergency workers. More than 800 schools were closed in the west of the country, where rural areas were virtually cut off from the outside world as minor roads became impassable. Heavy snowfalls were reported in counties north of London, while the capital itself saw flurries for the first time since Monday when it almost ground to a halt.

The two Severn bridges, linking England to south Wales, were closed for "safety reasons in the present weather conditions," a spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said. Flights were suspended at Bristol airport in southwest England while Luton and Stansted airports north of London also saw disruption. Train services were disrupted notably in Wales and Yorkshire, northern England.

The rare heavy snowfalls - which have lasted for five days across the country - have led to shortages of grit to spread on roads, with some local authorities appealing for help from neighbouring areas. "Gritting routes will have to be prioritised," said a county council spokesman in Berkshire, near London. "The district's network of secondary roads will not be re-gritted until further supplies are obtained, and roadside salt bins will not be replenished," he added.

The cold snap has killed at least one person this week. A 16-year-old girl died Tuesday after being badly injured in a sledging accident in Yorkshire, northern England. Two climbers died on Mount Snowdon in Wales on Monday, although it was unclear if their death was due to the snow. The Guardian newspaper reported that two people had been killed in weather-related car accidents.


Sweden going for nukes

Nuclear reactors are to be built in Sweden for the first time in nearly 30 years after the Government decided to abandon a decades-old commitment to phase out the power source. Sweden joins a list of EU countries that have chosen nuclear energy under pressure to diversify from fossil fuels and meet tough climate-change targets for cutting CO2 emissions. The dramatic policy switch showed that even in a country where popular opinion has been against nuclear power previously — and one with extensive hydroelectric resources — atomic generation is seen as part of an emissions-free energy strategy. Swedes voted in a referendum in 1980 to phase out nuclear power by 2010 but the Government became anxious that renewable sources were not being developed quickly enough to decommission the generators.

The proposal to renew the reactors is expected to face a battle to get through parliament, however, and will become a main issue at the general election next year with the main opposition parties firmly against the move. Several European countries are opting for nuclear energy and there is concern about the reliability of Russian-supplied fuel after Moscow's gas dispute with Ukraine last month.

Poland wants its first nuclear plant by 2020 and Britain decided last year to replace its ageing nuclear reactors and create new sites. France has ordered its 61st nuclear generator and Finland is building the largest reactor in the world, which is expected to open in 2011.

Sweden has some of the most ambitious greenhouse-gas targets in the world and plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. It wants to abolish fossil fuels as a heating source by 2020 and use half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. “The nuclear phase-out law will be abolished,” a government spokesman said yesterday. “The ban in the nuclear technology law on new construction will also be abolished.”

The change of policy was also made possible by the election in 2006 of the first right-of-centre Government in Sweden for 12 years. Although the four-party coalition of Fredrik Reinfeldt was split three to one, the dissenting Centre Party said that it would not block the move. “I am doing this for the sake of my children and grandchildren,” said Maud Olofsson, the party leader and Industry Minister.

Martina Kruger of Greenpeace accused the Government of giving into intense industry lobbying. She said: “I think that linking climate change targets to this is just a cheap excuse. If we cannot become entirely renewable [for energy sources] I cannot see who can do it.”

A poll published a year ago showed that 48 per cent of Swedes were in favour of building nuclear power stations and 39 per cent were opposed.


Palin and lawmakers were right to dispute beluga, bear listings

Gov. Sarah Palin and the Legislature were criticized for opposing the Endangered Species Act listings of beluga whales in Cook Inlet and polar bears. Mike Nizich and Gov. Palin eloquently justified the state's positions. Species considered under the Endangered Species Act are not necessarily in danger of extinction. Polar bears have increased worldwide over the last 40 years and most populations have not declined. Numbers of belugas have increased over the last six years. The bears and belugas were listed because of predictive models that a scientist would treat as hypotheses in need of testing, not conclusions.

Some Endangered Species Act species are not even species, because the act includes subspecies and populations (DPS), so almost any population can be listed. The belugas were declared genetically distinct to support the DPS designations but this is scientifically simplistic.

Maintaining belugas in Cook Inlet is one management objective, as are fishing, oil, minerals, marine and air traffic, and forestry. Because Endangered Species Act listings are not definitive and can negatively impact citizens, the governor's opposition is legitimate and I believe reflects her concern for multiple-use management and her responsibility to the state of Alaska.

Scientists who don't support ESA listings have been accused of non-objectivity and bogus science (Daily News, Jan. 15, 2009; May 9, 2008). This smacks of Soviet Lysenkoism, in which science was dictated by government policy and dissent was not allowed. In science, debate and discussion should be encouraged, not prevented.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, February 06, 2009

On The Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)

Below is the introduction to a paper being circulated by Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University and AMS Fellow, Charney Award recipient, and a member of AMS for over 50-years. The full paper can be obtained from Prof. Gray: Gray@Atmos.ColoState.Edu

I am appalled at the selection of James Hansen as this year's recipient of the AMS's highest award - the Rossby Research Medal. James Hansen has not been trained as a meteorologist. His formal education has been in astronomy. His long records of faulty global climate predictions and alarmist public pronouncements have become increasingly hollow and at odds with reality. Hansen has exploited the general public's lack of knowledge of how the globe's climate system functions for his own benefit. His global warming predictions, going back to 1988 are not being verified. Why have we allowed him go on for all these years with his faulty and alarmist prognostications? And why would the AMS give him its highest award?

By presenting Hansen with its highest award, the AMS implies it agrees with his faulty global temperature projections and irresponsible alarmist rhetoric. This award, in combination with other recent AMS awards going to known CO2 warming advocates, is an insult to a large number of AMS members who do not believe that humans are causing a significant amount of the global temperature increase. These awards diminish the AMS's sterling reputation for scientific objectivity.

Hansen previously studied the run-away greenhouse warming of Venus. He appears to think that man's emittance of CO2 gases, if unchecked, will eventually cause the Earth to follow a similar fate. Hansen's arrogance and gall over the reality of his model results is breathtaking. He has recently warned President Obama that our country has only 4 years left to act on reducing CO2 gases before the globe will reach a point of irretrievable and disastrous human-caused warming. How does he know what thousands of us who have spent long careers in meteorology-climatology do not know?

Hansen's predictions of global warming made before the Senate in 1988 are turning out to be very much less than he had projected. He cannot explain why there has been no significant global warming over the last 10 years and why there has been a weak global cooling between 2001 and 2008.

Hansen and his legion of environmental-political supporters (with no meteorological-climate background) have done monumental damage to an open and honest discussion of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) question. He and his fellow collaborators (and their media sycophantic followers) are responsible for the brainwashing of a large segment of the American public about a grossly exaggerated human-induced warming threat that does not exist. Most of the global warming we have observed is of natural origin and due to multi-decadal and multi-century changes in the globe's deep ocean circulation resulting from salinity variations (see the Appendix for scientific discussion). These changes are not associated with CO2 increases. Hansen has little experience in practical meteorology. He apparently does not realize that the strongly chaotic nature of the atmosphere-ocean climate system does not allow for skillful initial value numerical climate prediction. Hansen's modeling efforts are badly flawed in the following ways:

His upper tropospheric water vapor feedback loop is grossly wrong. He assumes that increases in atmospheric CO2 will cause large upper-tropospheric water vapor increases which are very unrealistic. Most of his model warming follows from his invalid water vapor assumptions. His handlings of rainfall processes are, as with the other global climate modelers, quite inadequate.

He lacks an understanding and treatment of the fundamental role of the deep ocean circulation (i.e. Meridional Overturning Circulation - MOC) and how the changing ocean circulation (driven by salinity variations) can bring about wind, rainfall, and surface temperature changes independent of radiation and greenhouse gas changes. He does not have these ocean processes properly incorporated in his model. He assumes the physics of global warming is entirely a product of radiation changes and radiation feedback processes. This is a major deficiency.

Hansen's Free Ride. It is surprising that Hansen has been able to get away with his unrealistic modeling efforts for so long. One explanation is that he has received strong support from Senator/Vice President Al Gore who for over three decades has attempted to make political capital out of increasing CO2 measurements. Another reason is the many environmental and political groups (including the mainstream media) who are eager to use Hansen's modeling results as justification to push their own special interests that are able to fly under the global warming banner. A third explanation is that he has not been challenged by his peer climate modeling groups who apparently have seen possibilities for research grant support and publicity gains by following Hansen's lead. Yet another reason has been the luck of his propitious timing. His 1988 Senate testimony occurred after there had been global warming since the mid-1970s and we were experiencing a hot summer. And the global warming that occurred over the next 10 years (to 1998) gave an undeserved justification to his CO2 warming claims. Had Hansen given his Senate testimony in the 1970s or today (since we have seen weak global cooling since 2001) his alarmist rhetoric would have been taken much less seriously.

I anticipate that we are going to experience a modest naturally-driven global cooling over the next 15-20 years. This will be similar to the weak global cooling that occurred between the early-1940s and the mid-1970s. It is to be noted that CO2 amounts were also rising during this earlier cooling period which was opposite to the assumed CO2 temperature relationship.


An email from Kirt Griffin []

The news reports warn of a possible impending volcanic eruption near Anchorage, Alaska from Mount Redoubt. There was discussion on the differences between Hawaian volcanos and Alaskan Volcanos and that Alaskans are watching the development closely.

But no group is watching this potential event more than the soothsayers of AGW. If you have kept track of the score, these folks have been scrambling. First it was the PDO that was overpowering man made global warming. Then the footprint of GHG warming, that was totally absent in the troposphere, was suddenly discovered in a proxy based study using wind for temperature even though its previous absence was pooh-poohed. Then despite the claim that a cooling Antartica was consistent with global warming, voila! We now have a warming Antarctica complete with mathematical machinations.

Of course, the snows of this winter as well as the freezing temperatures are indicative of runaway global warming. As hokey as these claims may appear, it was all the AGW crowd had to cling to. That is until Mt. Redoubt hit the scene. At last, the golden opportunity is on the horizon. In order to remove any doubt that AGW is still the primary effect on our climate, the one thing that all would accept is that a volcanic eruption would lower the Earth's temperature for an acceptable period of time allowing for a waiting period for AGW to resume its inexorable climb.

However, if the AGW folks were plagued by the historic record of CO2 being the result of temperature rise and not the cause, can you imagine them trying to argue that volcanoes caused a cooling that had already started years before!


An email below from John McLean [], noting that only some parts of Australia were affected. In Queensland we had a hot January too -- exactly as we always do

The heat wave has only impacted the south-east of the country and at the same time north-east was experiencing quite cool conditions for this time of year. It was caused by a stationary High over the Tasman Sea (i.e. between Australian and New Zealand) driving warm air from western New South Wales down onto Adelaide and Melbourne. (Highs have anti-clockwise air movement in the southern hemisphere.) Clear skies and northerly or north-westerly winds cause high temperatures in south-eastern Australia in any season, there's nothing unusual about that, and the dry ground means that no heat is lost in evaporation.

Might I also remind readers that the European heat wave of 2003 was caused by similar circumstances - WGI chapter 3 of IPCC report made that clear but subsequent mentions of it tried to blame human activity.

What made the Australian heat wave more difficult was the failure of essential infrastructure. A subsea transmission line supplying electricity from Tasmania to Victoria and South Australian automatically shutdown when the temperatures at a Tasmanian coastal town exceeded 33 degrees. An electricity transformer near Melbourne exploded and caused widespread lack of power. Generating capacity was adequate (just) but distribution was a problem.

The Australian government is a firm believer in the IPCC mantra and expects hotter conditions in future but apparently it's reluctant to upgrade infrastructure or demand that the utilities companies do so.


Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and his Alliance for Climate Protection say clean-coal technology is a fantasy. Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest U.S. coal producer, says another prominent Democrat has pledged to make the technology a reality: President Barack Obama.

The Gore-Obama split illustrates a growing debate in the U.S. as the new president attempts to deliver on his promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the country 80 percent by 2050. Depending on who's speaking, coal is either the villain or part of the solution. "The coal groups are saying we need clean coal," said Mark Maddox, the former head of the Energy Department's fossil energy office under former President George W. Bush, in an interview. "Environmentalists are saying there is no clean coal, and we aren't going to help you get it."

Coal is at the center of the discussion about so-called green energy because the fuel provides half of U.S. electricity -- and 30 percent of the greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The issue, framed in dueling television campaigns, is whether U.S. energy policy should be based on what is still largely an assumption: that technology can capture carbon emissions before they go into the air and store them permanently underground.

$300 Million Campaign: Portraying clean coal as a mirage, the Alliance for Climate Protection's first commercial, shown on broadcast and cable networks starting last December, features an announcer showing off "today's clean-coal technology" as he gestures toward empty terrain. In a new ad now running, an actor playing a coal company executive says, "Don't worry about climate change, leave that to us." The commercials are the start of an ad campaign for clean energy that the group, based in Menlo Park, California, has said will cost $300 million over 3 years. Spokesman Brian Hardwick declined to say how much advertising has been purchased so far. Gore is the organization's founder and chairman. "We thought it was a key moment to let people know that we are faced with a climate crisis, and we shouldn't have any illusion that clean coal exists today," Hardwick said in an interview.

Obama's Words: Gore has called for the U.S. to produce all of its electricity from renewable energy by 2018, instead of "dirty fossil fuels" such as coal and oil. After the environmentalists began their anti-coal commercials, response ads were mustered by companies led by Peabody of St. Louis and operators of coal-fired power plants, such as the Southern Co. of Atlanta and American Electric Power Co. of Columbus, Ohio. The coal industry's commercials tap into Obama's credentials as a clean-energy advocate, showing excerpts from a speech he gave in Lebanon, Virginia, in September. "Clean-coal technology is something that can make America energy-independent," Obama says in the ad, which has run on cable channels such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

The industry-sponsored American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity spent $18 million last year on television commercials, compared with the $48 million for those run by Gore's group, according to Joe Lucas, a spokesman for the Alexandria, Virginia-based group of coal producers and users.

More here


The European Union's envoy to Washington told skeptical US lawmakers Wednesday that China will not escape making firm commitments at global climate change talks set for December. Questioned by a leading US critic of China's actions on climate, Republican Representative James Sensenbrenner, Ambassador John Bruton agreed that US and EU populations would likely reject any treaty that does not cover China."I don't think you could sell that. I don't think there will be a 'get out of jail free' card for China," said Bruton. "There will be no 'get out of jail free' card."

Bruton, who was briefing the US House of Representatives' Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, said Chinese leaders "recognize that they need to do a lot" and underlined "We need to assist them as best we can."His comments came after Sensenbrenner warned that any treaty coming out of the December talks in Copenhagen would fail unless it imposes curbs on large developing countries such as Brazil, China, and India."A treaty cannot reduce emissions without their participation," said Sensenbrenner, warning that limits on US and European carbon emissions without limits on major emerging nations would only pauper the United States."We cannot self-impose costs while foreign markets grow freely," he said.

Bruton pressed US lawmakers to craft legislation creating a "cap-and-trade" market to limit carbon emissions blamed for global warming by the time the UN climate talks begin in the Danish capital."It would be very desirable if the Senate and the House had agreed on legislation by then. That would show that the United States was leading by example and domestic commitment," he said.

Bruton said US lawmakers had indicated to him that they hoped "to have legislation at a very advanced stage by May" calling that commitment "extremely welcome" and rejecting any suggestion that it might weaken the US negotiating position in Copenhagen."I think the contrary is the case," because US leadership by example is needed to win emerging economies over to the need to restrict emissions, he told reporters outside the hearing room."I think the difficulty will be in getting some of the countries that are relatively low carbon emitters, with large populations, who want to improve the living standards of those populations -- getting them to enter into commitments is going to be the biggest challenge in Copenhagen just as it was in Kyoto.""It would be very difficult to get them to make commitments of the kind I was describing in there unless the US, which is per capita one of the biggest emitters in the world, had entered into firm commitments itself, first," he said.

Democrats who control the US Senate and House of Representatives have said they hope to have major legislation creating a "cap-and-trade" system for limiting so-called "greenhouse gases" before the Copenhagen talks.And they have said that the paralyzing US recession is no excuse not to act -- noting that the massive economic stimulus package he has proposed is full of steps to promote clean and renewable energy.But Republicans have signaled they will not sign on to any system that imposes restrictions on the US economy while letting major global competitors off the hook.


Cities can be GOOD for native species

Wild turkeys abound in some Australian cities (and lots of other wildlife too)

They're not much like the turkeys that often appear in roasted form on dining room tables but they are rather attractive birds. Where I live is 5 minute's drive from the Brisbane CBD and I see them trotting up and down the street where I live several times a week. My father ate them occasionally before they became protected and said that they were pretty tough eating. I personally love to see them about so am sorry to hear that they can be a nuisance. They are also called scrub turkeys or bush turkeys

THEY'RE moving into suburban backyards, raping chooks and trashing the lovingly landscaped native gardens of well-heeled householders. Experts say the once rare native brush turkey could go the way of the ibis and become a permanent fixture of the suburban environment. "Brush turkeys ... are really making a success of their move into the suburbs," says Associate Professor Darryl Jones, a wildlife biologist at Queensland's Griffith University. "In the last five to six years they've gone from no one even knew what they are to everywhere - especially places like Brisbane, Gosford and the northern Sydney suburbs."

Jones, the co-author of Mound Builders, a new book on brush turkeys and their relations, says the birds probably originated in New Guinea millions of years ago. They are now found in Australia, New Guinea and some Pacific islands. Brush turkeys were never good eating but were valued by indigenous Australians for their large, yolky eggs. "Indigenous people had lots of rules and customs about not touching the adults," Jones says.

"But the Europeans came here and called them turkeys, they looked like game birds and many of them got hunted. "That's what led to their first real demise. By about the 1960s they were extremely hard to find because every time they showed their heads some bushman knocked them off and had them for dinner." But that changed in the 1970s with federal legislation protecting them. Since then, brush turkeys have "sprung back dramatically," Jones says. "By about the 80s they started to be seen again ... and during the 90s they have absolutely taken off."

But their return has taken an unexpected tack. Jones says the natural range of brush turkeys, from Queensland's Cape York to Wollongong south of Sydney, hasn't changed. "But what's really interesting, it's not in the wild country where they're doing well, it's in the towns and the suburbs - that's where they're exploding. "In Brisbane and a whole range of other suburban places like Gosford and northern Sydney they're doing fantastically well." While this is good news for brush turkeys, it isn't so good for residents, many of whom are finding themselves hosts to an unwelcome, and often inconsiderate, guest.

Their move into suburbia is causing "huge problems," says Jones, because of "the incredible damage" they are capable of doing to people's gardens. Male turkeys build what are basically huge compost piles - these can consist of up to 4 tonnes of garden material and be the size of a small car - in which eggs are incubated. In the process of building these unique mounds, they rake up grass clippings, bark and leaf litter, strip trees and shrubs and smother delicate plants. "If they didn't do what they do to people's gardens people would be much happier to have them around," says Michelle Greenfield, the bushcare co-ordinator of Lane Cove Council in Sydney, which over the past year has started to receive complaints from householders.

Rosemary Lancaster, communications officer for the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, says the birds are simply taking advantage of fashionably sustainable gardening trends, such as planting water-efficient native gardens. "We're replicating their natural habitat, and they're taking advantage of it," she says. "We're creating brush turkey heaven."

Jones says the brush turkeys' fondness of leafy native gardens means residents of the more upmarket suburbs are the main targets. "There's a kind of perfect relationship between higher socio-economic scale and presence of brush turkeys," he says. "Poor people don't have brush turkeys and rich people are arriving home in their BMW to find a huge mound where their landscape garden has been destroyed."

The mounds themselves can be a concern. Andrew Daff is the manager of Sydney's Lane Cove River tourist park, which became home to a male brush turkey named Hef, and two females named Bambi and Tash, last October. The park is now populated by 14 chicks - for the first time in 15 years. Daff says a mound recently had to be relocated from the park because it had been built right next to a swimming pool fence, providing easy access to the pool for children. But he says he's thrilled to see the area repopulated by the birds, which hold a key place in the local ecosystem.

Not everyone shares his enthusiasm. "Over the past few weeks some of my hens have been quite brutally attacked by a male brush turkey ... he is pecking at and tearing off their combs," wrote "eggy" in a recent post to an online backyard poultry forum. Jones acknowledges that brush turkeys can attack other birds. "Bluntly, that's a form of rape," he says. "Especially black chickens - they seem to think 'oh well these look close enough' and they'll mate with them."

Jones says brush turkeys are actually safer in a suburban backyard than in the wild, where they face threats from foxes and feral animals. In other words, they could be here to stay. "It's not an impossibility that they'll end up being an urban bird only," he says. That's why the approach being taken by many local authorities is to encourage peaceful co-existence. "Some people have issues with the way brush turkeys behave" but many are happy to share their gardens with local native wildlife, says Greenfield.

More here


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Another downfall for the Warmist attempt to "get rid of" Antarctic cooling

They used known bad data

Professor Eric Steig last month announced in Nature that he'd spotted a warming in West Antarctica that previous researchers had missed through slackness - a warming so strong that it more than made up for the cooling in East Antarctica. Whew! Finally we had proof that Antarctica as a whole was warming, and not cooling, after all. Global warming really was global now.

The paper was immediately greeted with suspicion, not least because one of the authors was Michael Mann of the infamous "hockey stick", now discredited, and the data was reconstructed from very sketchy weather station records, combined with assumptions from satellite observations.

But Steve McIntyre, who did most to expose Mann's "hockey stick", now notices a far more embarrassing problem with Steig's paper. Previous researchers hadn't overlooked the data. What they'd done was to ignore data from four West Antarctic automatic weather stations in particular that didn't meet their quality control. As you can see above, one shows no warming, two show insignificant warming and fourth - from a station dubbed "Harry" shows a sharp jump in temperature that helped Steig and his team discover their warming Antarctic.

Uh oh. Harry in fact is a problematic site that was buried in snow for years and then re-sited in 2005. But, worse, the data that Steig used in his modelling which he claimed came from Harry was actually old data from another station on the Ross Ice Shelf known as Gill with new data from Harry added to it, producing the abrupt warming. The data is worthless. Or as McIntyre puts it:
Considered by itself, Gill has a slightly negative trend from 1987 to 2002. The big trend in "New Harry" arises entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together. It's a mess.

Read this link and this to see McIntyre's superb forensic work. Why wasn't this error picked up earlier? Perhaps because the researchers got the results they'd hoped for, and no alarm bell went off that made them check. Now, wait for the papers to report the error with the zeal with which they reported Steig's "warming".

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Just don't expect ethics from Warmists

Lets say that I go to public talk by a colleague. My colleague presents a talk suggestive that there is a problem with the economic data used by the U.S. government Department of Treasury. Specifically there are some odd things going on in its data on unemployment in West Virginia and Texas. I then go home from the talk, go online and take a look at the data, and identify that there is indeed a problem and I see that some of the West Virginia data has been mistakenly placed into the Texas columns. I the contact the Treasury and notify them of the error. The Treasury puts a thank you notice on their website recognizing my efforts. Would there be any ethical problem with such behavior?

This is not a hypothetical example, but a caricature of real goings on with our friends over at Real Climate . . .

Due to an inadvertent release of information, NASA's Gavin Schmidt (a "real scientist" of the Real Climate blog) admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre (not a "real scientist" of the Climate Audit blog) and then representing it as his own idea, and getting credit for it. (Details here and here.)

In his explanation why this is OK, Gavin explains that he did some work on his own after getting the idea from Steve's blog, and so it was OK to take full credit for the idea. I am sure that there are legions of graduate students and other scientific support staff who do a lot of work on a project, only to find their sponsor or advisor, who initially proposed the idea, as first author on the resulting paper, who might have empathy for Gavin's logic. And of course researchers in many fields try to keep their work secret lest an unscrupulous colleague steal the idea. You just don't get to see such things in action when you are outside of the academy. Well through the magic of the internet everyone can see the less than noble side of scientific practice.

But lets be clear, in science, the ethical thing to do is to give full credit to the origination of an idea, even if it comes from your arch-enemy. Gavin's outing is remarkable because it shows him not only stealing an idea, but stealing from someone who he and his colleagues routinely criticize as being wrong, corrupt, and a fraud. Does anyone wonder why skepticism flourishes? When evaluations of expertise hinge on trust, stealing someone's ideas and taking credit for them does not help.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Big snake refutes Warmist panic about forests

Stunned scientists have found the fossilised remains of the world's greatest snake -- a record-busting serpent that was as long as a bus and snacked on crocodiles. The boa-like behemoth, dubbed Titanoboa, ruled the tropical rainforests of what is now Colombia some 60 million years ago, at a time when the world was far hotter than now, they report in a study . The size of the snake's vertebrae suggest the beast weighed some 1.135 tonnes, in a range of 730 kilos (1,600 pounds) to 2.03 tonnes. And it measured 13 metres (42.7 feet) from nose to tail, in a range of 10.64-15 metres (34.6-48.75 feet), they estimate.

"The discovery of Titanoboa challenges our understanding of past climates and environments, as well as the biological limitations on the evolution of giant snakes," said Jason Head, member of the Panama-based research institute and lead author of the study to be published in Nature magazine. "This shows how much more information about the history of Earth there is to glean from a resource like the reptile fossil record," said the assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

From the size of the 1.14-tonne Titanoboa, scientists have estimated the average annual temperature in the tropical jungle it inhabited 60 million years ago at 30-34 degrees Celsius (86-93 degrees Farenheit). "This temperature estimate is much hotter than modern temperatures in tropical rainforests anywhere in the world," said Carlos Jaramillo, Smithsonian staff scientist and co-organizer of the excavations in Colombia. "That means that tropical rainforests could exist at temperatures 3-4 degrees Celsius hotter than modern tropical rainforests experience," he added, alluding to scientific theories that would have tropical forests disappear if global warming boosts temperatures by that measure in the future.

Jonathan Block, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Florida, who co-led the work said "Truly enormous snakes really spark people's imagination, but reality has exceeded the fantasies of Hollywood." "The snake that tried to eat Jennifer Lopez in the movie 'Anaconda' is not as big as the one we found." "At its greatest width, the snake would have come up to about your hips," said David Polly, a geologist at the University of Indiana at Bloomington.

The investigators found the remains of the new species at an unlikely location -- at one of the world's biggest open-cast coalmines, in Cerrejon, Colombia, where giant machines had obligingly gnawed away surface layers of dirt. Working as huge coal-laden trucks thundered by, the team sifted through the earth, laying bare the remains of supersized snakes and their likely prey -- extinct species of crocodiles and giant turtles -- and evidence that a massive rainforest once covered the ground. "The giant Colombian snake is a truly exciting discovery. For years, herpetologists have argued about just how big snakes can get, with debatable estimates of the max somewhere less than 40 feet" (12.3 metres), said leading snake expert Harry Greene of Cornell University, New York.

Titanoboa cerrejonensis -- whose Latin name honours the coal mine -- is not only a source of jaw-dropping wonder. It is also a useful indicator as to the world's climate after the dinosaurs were wiped out some 65 million years ago, the team say. Unlike mammals, reptiles cannot regulate their own temperature. As a result, they are limited in body size by the ambient temperature of where they live. For example, reptiles today are bigger in the tropics than they are in cooler latitudes.

Based on T. cerrejonensis, the scientists calculate that the mean annual temperature in equatorial South America 60 million years ago would have been 30-34 degrees Celsius, or 86-93 degrees Fahrenheit. That makes it around 3-4 C (5.5-7.2 F) hotter than tropical rainforests today.

If so, this is a welcome piece of news about climate change. Simulations about global warming suggest that, on present trends, the world's surface temperatures could rise by between 1.8-4.0 C (3.2-7.2 F) by 2100. If the supersnakes are a guide, tropical rain forests could still exist at such temperatures, although a fast, massive rise in warming could well be devastating to many species.

The paper is published by the British-based weekly science journal Nature. The world's longest snake today is the Asian reticulated python, specimens of which can grow around 10 metres (32.5 feet), and the biggest in terms of mass is the green anaconda, with some specimens weighing 227 kilos (550 pounds).


Warmist "scientist" Schmidt needs to go back to school

By Atmospheric scientist Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, a scientific pioneer in the development of numerical weather prediction and former director of research at The Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute, and an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric boundary layer processes.

Roger Pielke Sr. has graciously invited me to add my perspective to his discussion with Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate. If this were not such a serious matter, I would have been amused by Gavin's lack of knowledge of the differences between weather models and climate models. As it stands, I am appalled. Back to graduate school, Gavin!

A weather model deals with the atmosphere. Slow processes in the oceans, the biosphere, and human activities can be ignored or crudely parameterized. This strategy has been very successful. The dominant fraternity in the meteorological modeling community has appropriated this advantage, and made itself the lead community for climate modeling. Backed by an observational system much more advanced than those in oceanography or other parts of the climate system, they have exploited their lead position for all they can. For them, it is a fortunate coincidence that the dominant synoptic systems in the atmosphere have scales on the order of many hundreds of kilometers, so that the shortcomings of the parameterizations and the observation network, including weather satellite coverage, do not prevent skillful predictions several days ahead.

A climate model, however, has to deal with the entire climate system, which does include the world's oceans. The oceans constitute a crucial slow component of the climate system. Crucial, because this is where most of the accessible heat in the system is stored. Meteorologists tend to forget that just a few meters of water contain as much heat as the entire atmosphere. Also, the oceans are the main source of the water vapor that makes atmospheric dynamics on our planet both interesting and exceedingly complicated. For these and other reasons, an explicit representation of the oceans should be the core of any self-respecting climate model.

However, the observational systems for the oceans are primitive in comparison with their atmospheric counterparts. Satellites that can keep track of what happens below the surface of the ocean have limited spatial and temporalresolution. Also, the scale of synoptic motions in the ocean is much smaller than that of cyclones in the atmosphere, requiring a spatial resolution in numerical models and in the observation network beyond the capabilities of present observational systems and supercomputers. We cannot observe, for example, the vertical and horizontal structure of temperature, salinity and motion of eddies in the Gulf Stream in real time with sufficient detail, and cannot model them at the detail that is needed because of computer limitations. How, for goodness' sake, can we then reliably compute their contribution to multi-decadal changes in the meridional transport of heat? Are the crude parameterizations used in practice up to the task of skillfully predicting the physical processes in the ocean several tens of years ahead? I submit they are not.

Since heat storage and heat transport in the oceans are crucial to the dynamics of the climate system, yet cannot be properly observed or modeled, one has to admit that claims about the predictive performance of climate models are built on quicksand. Climate modelers claiming predictive skill decades into the future operate in a fantasy world, where they have to fiddle with the numerous knobs of the parameterizations to produce results that have some semblance of veracity. Firm footing? Forget it!

Gavin Schmidt is not the only meteorologist with an inadequate grasp of the role of the oceans in the climate system. In my weblog of June 24, 2008, I addressed the limited perception that at least one other climate modeler appears to have. A few lines from that essay deserve repeating here. In response to a paper by Tim Palmer of ECMWF, I wrote: "Palmer et al. seem to forget that, though weather forecasting is focused on the rapid succession of atmospheric events, climate forecasting has to focus on the slow evolution of the circulation in the world ocean and slow changes in land use and natural vegetation. In the evolution of the Slow Manifold (to borrow a term coined by Ed Lorenz) the atmosphere acts primarily as stochastic high-frequency noise. If I were still young, I would attempt to build a conceptual climate model based on a deterministic representation of the world ocean and a stochastic representation of synoptic activity in the atmosphere."

From my perspective it is not a little bit alarming that the current generation of climate models cannot simulate such fundamental phenomena as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. I will not trust any climate model until and unless it can accurately represent the PDO and other slow features of the world ocean circulation. Even then, I would remain skeptical about the potential predictive skill of such a model many tens of years into the future.


Better tillage is miles more efficient than tree planting at absorbing CO2

Greenies should love this but it's not simplistic enough for them -- and it is actually working already! Horrors. Every time something works the Greenies lose something to whine about

Back in the late 1980s I proposed the concept that we could combat global warming by sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide from the air and converting it into soil organic matter. Thankfully the idea has spread and is beginning to be considered seriously by those knowledgeable in soil science and atmospherics. But sadly not fast enough. The Keyline System of soil land management was designed and developed by my father P.A. Yeomans on our family farms at North Richmond N.S.W. in the late forties and early 1950s. Keyline management includes techniques for the rapid enhancement of soil fertility. Keyline is now taught in agricultural colleges and universities around the world.

'm a moderately competent meteorologist as my sport is flying and racing gliders. I've also lectured on meteorology. Putting the two disciplines together presented an unusual concept. Soil enhancement, on a world scale could beat global warming; and all the climate change horrors would stop. Regrettably the concept receiving exclusive government support and copious media attention is not soil; it's the planting of trees.

So let's compare, let's first look at soil. In my writings and lectures and in my book "PRIORITY ONE Together We Can Beat Global Warming" I argue we can restore the atmosphere to normal by increasing the organic matter in the world's soils directly under man's control by 1.6 percentage points (That's a one percentage point rise in actual carbon). The terms humus and organic matter are somewhat interchangeable. Both are the stuff that makes rich soil black. Organic farmers often exceed that 1.6 figure tenfold. It's not hard to do.

So in essence we switch to an agricultural system that generally approaches that used by organic farmers. Keyline is itself such a system. We either stop using or drastically minimise the use of agricultural chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides, most herbicides and particularly ammonia based fertilisers. Those chemicals kill soil friendly earthworms as well as the friendly bacteria and fungicides that convert dead plant material into rich humus. We re-adopt the old practice of crop rotation that sustained agriculture and food production for centuries.

And we also stop the practice of "turning the soil". Turning a clod of soil upside down plays havoc with the specialised life cycle of our friendly soil bacteria, earthworms and fungi. A hectare of soil 30 cm, a foot or 3 hands-width deep weighs about 4000 tonnes. A 1.6 percentage point increase in soil organic matter content is thus about 64 tonnes per hectare or near 40 tonnes of carbon. And to create that increase in soil fertility extracts 145 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air. An organic farmer, in the first few years will often sequester 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air while massively enriching his soil and simultaneously producing huge quantities of healthy, tasty and nutritious crops. Production costs and yields for large scale organic farming are surprisingly similar to conventional based agriculture.

About three quarters of a hectare of agricultural land, grazing land, cropland, golf courses or whatever is every human's individual foot print on our Earth. Remember that number. Now let's look at trees. A reasonably productive forest, from planting the seedling to the maturity of the forest produces about 20 cubic metres of wood per hectare per year, which equates to about nine tonnes of carbon.

Generally forests can be considered to reach maturity in about 20 years. At which time the forest releases carbon dioxide as fast as it is sequestering it and the forest thus becomes completely and utterly, global warming neutral and note that global warming protocols (e.g. Kyoto) mandate no harvesting nor clearing for 100 years. Let's say we planted enough trees to sequest the carbon dioxide we produce.

Every human in a modern western society would need about three quarters of a hectare of new forest to sequest the carbon dioxide produced from the burning of the coal, gas or oil to cover that person's footprint of power requirements, and another three quarters of a hectare to cater for the car she or he might drive.

Within 20 years we would need another three quarter hectare of new plantings for each human and each car. If we all had a reasonable lifestyle and standard of living then, most unfortunately, within 20 years there would be no agricultural land, no grazing lands, no golf courses and absolutely no place anywhere on Earth to grow any food whatever. Those lands would be all forests. And yet more forests would need to be planted. That's the arithmetic of the trees. Additionally if you've ever grown trees from seedlings you'd know the trouble, care, the watering and nurturing it takes. Tree seedlings have a high attrition rate so would need to plant between 400 and 4000 seedlings per hectare. So depending on the tree type and variety you would need to plant anywhere from 300 to 3000 seedlings in your three quarter hectare plot every twenty years.

So why have trees become flavour of the month to beat global warming? Sherlock Holmes told Watson "Look for those who will benefit". And I don't think the planet will. The agrochemical people believe more chemicals produce more food per hectare, and food demand is constant. So take some agricultural land out of production and the rest needs more chemicals. Then "wasting" the land left on growing biofuel becomes antisocial. That's good for the oil people. Have concerned citizens preoccupied with trees and they're successfully blindsided. That's good. So I say to you, "first get understanding".


Australian scientists blame Indian Ocean for "drought"

Given the vast dishonesty over global warming that has characterized climate science, I think I may be forgiven for questioning ALL climate science. The claim below seems junk to me. Both North-Eastern Australia and South-Eastern Australia are roughly equidistant from the Indian ocean so if the Indian ocean is involved in causing rainfall, how come huge areas of the North are having record floods while the South is having a slight downturn in rain?

Maybe I am missing something but climate scientists have their dogmatic selves to blame if their credibility is zero with the roughly 50% of the population who do not believe in global warming. I live roughly halfway between the flooded North and the drier South and it rains here nearly every day so "drought" is a very strange word to use about the present situation. Such misuse of words also does little to establish the credibility of these "scientists"

SCIENTISTS believe the Indian Ocean is the culprit behind the crippling drought of Australia's southeastern states and not direct El Nino events. "Our findings will help to improve seasonal rainfall forecasts and therefore directly benefit water and agricultural management," Caroline Ummenhofer, a post doctoral fellow at the University of New South Wales, said.

The group of Australian scientists, who made the discovery, has detailed for the first time how a variable and irregular cycle of warming and cooling of ocean water dictates whether moisture-bearing winds are carried across the southern half of Australia. The phenomenon, known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), has been in its positive or neutral phase since 1992 - the longest period of its kind since records began in the late 19th Century, according to the study. "When the IOD is in its negative phase, a pattern occurs with cool Indian Ocean water west of Australia and warm Timor Sea water to the north. "This generates winds that pick up moisture from the ocean and then sweep down towards southern Australia to deliver wet conditions," a spokesman for UNSW said.

And to make matters worse, this period has coincided with a trend towards higher average air temperatures over the land, which the study says may be linked to human-induced climate change. "The ramifications of drought for this region are dire, with acute water shortages for rural and metropolitan areas, record agricultural losses, the drying out of two of Australia's major river systems and far-reaching ecosystem damage," Dr Ummenhofer said. "During this latest drought ... recent higher air temperatures across southeastern Australia have exacerbated the problem."

Dr Ummenhofer expected the study, with further development, would enable forecasters to predict rainfall three to six months in advance. "There is certainly scope for a lot more work and a lot more understanding," she said. "Hopefully there will be more engagement with the Bureau (of Meteorology) to possibly incorporate this into their operational forecasting." She said there were indications the positive phase was becoming more frequent than the negative, leaving a grim outlook for farmers. "And that would be really alarming," she said.

It is understood negative phases, which bring rain to the southern states, are most likely to occur from March to May. The study explains the current record-breaking drought in southeastern Australia and solves the mystery of why a string of La Nina events in the Pacific Ocean, which usually brings rain, has failed to break it. It also reveals the causes of other iconic extreme droughts in recorded history.

"More than the variability associated with the El Nino-La Nina cycle in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean Dipole is the key factor for driving major southeast Australian droughts over the past 120 years," Dr Ummenhofer said.

The team, jointly led by Professor Matthew England from the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre, has detailed its findings in a paper, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Review Letters. The team includes researchers from CSIRO Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research and the University of Tasmania.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009


NOTE from Benny Peiser: "The political intervention by Rajendra Pachauri, the Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, is likely to undermine the already minute chances of an agreement at the Copenhagen climate conference in December. Not even EU member states, let alone the U.S., are willing to agree to any future climate deal without binding emissions reduction targets by the developing countries. By giving much of the world an implicit guarantee of exemption, the IPCC has essentially killed any hope for a breakthrough in Copenhagen. Also shattered beyond repair: the IPCC's claim to be policy-neutral. A thorough demolition job, Mr Pachauri"

The Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009, is likely to conclude on a strict regulatory regime on emissions for developed countries rather than for the developing countries, nobel laureate R K Pachauri said here today. "The negotiations are going on for the conference of parties at the Copenhagen where we will have a multilateral worldwide agreement, let's see what the implications of that would be," Pachauri, who is Chairman of UN's Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said on the sidelines of fifth convocation of DAIICT. "Of course, the developing countries will be exempted from any such restrictions but the developed countries will certainly have to cut down on emission," Pachauri said, adding, "some strict regulations are going to be there."

At the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, scheduled in 2009, the parties will meet for the last time on government-level before the climate agreement is renewed, the conference portal stated. The conference is expected to end with Copenhagen protocol for preventing global warming and climate changes, it added.

Referring to assessment about climate change in India, Pachauri said, "We have covered South Asia all in the report. We have assessed the impact of climate change on India which is going to be very serious, we all have to be concerned about it."


Facts leave global warming proponents out in the cold

When dealing with the latest hysterical claims about global warming, it's essential to keep in mind a fundamental principle of science: Theories must be testable. A scientific theory describes a predicted outcome and one or more means by which the theory can be tested. Far from supporting a sound scientific theory that humans are creating a global warming crisis, last week's assertion by prominent global warming alarmists that Antarctica is getting warmer illustrates the unscientific, flip-flopping nature of global warming predictions.

Antarctica was first inserted into the debate when Al Gore, in his movie An Inconvenient Truth, referred to Antarctica as a "canary in the coal mine" indicating human-induced climate change. After Gore asserted icebergs breaking off the West Antarctic ice sheet proved Antarctica was feeling the effects of human-induced global warming, real scientists pointed out that most of Antarctica has been getting colder for decades. Although a small portion of West Antarctica is warming, scientists noted this was the exception to an overall Antarctic cooling pattern.

Embarrassed that their most high-profile spokesperson had been caught cherry-picking the data and misrepresenting temperature trends, the global warming crowd rolled out Plan B. In February 2008 a Web site administered by prominent global warming alarmist Michael Mann featured an article acknowledging that Antarctica has been getting colder, but asserting, "a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict ... and have predicted for the past quarter century. ... Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that."

So the new party line was, "Of course Antarctica is cooling. This is what our global warming theory predicts. This is what our global warming theory has always predicted. A cooling Antarctica is therefore more evidence that humans are causing a global warming crisis." This new party line was weak, and the American public knew it. Importantly, the alarmists could not point to previously published predictions of human-induced global warming causing Antarctica to cool.

Enter, once again, Michael Mann. Disregarding his Web site's 2008 assertion that human- induced global warming would cause Antarctica to cool, Mann and colleagues on January 22 published an article in Nature claiming Antarctica is warming. Mann's Web site now speculates that humans may be causing Antarctic warming.

Despite the claims of Mann and company in their Nature article, NASA satellite instruments and most Antarctic ground temperature stations show Antarctica has been cooling. Mann and his colleagues rely on highly subjective, controversial, and self-serving "data-smoothing" to assert that all the other temperature reports are wrong.

Beyond the dispute over the alarmists' blatant manipulation of data, the larger and more important issue is that global warming theory is no longer a testable scientific theory-assuming it ever was one. The alarmists claimed Antarctica was warming because of a human-induced climate crisis. When it was shown Antarctica is cooling, the alarmists flip-flopped and claimed Antarctic cooling indicated a human-induced climate crisis. When that party line was no longer convenient, they flip-flopped again.

Sound science dictates that a theory be testable and conform to known facts. When it is asserted that anything and everything that could possibly happen is consistent with, and indeed affirmative evidence for, a certain set of beliefs, that is not science. That is dogma, and nothing more.


Global cooling hits Europe again

A BLANKET of snow covered large parts of western Europe after some of the heaviest falls in two decades, causing widespread transport chaos. The worst snowstorms to hit the UK in nearly two decades caused 3000 schools and several airports to close as well as halted mail deliveries, court hearings and theatre performances. Flurries also brought chaos to parts of Paris and Spain, while three people died in Italy amid adverse weather conditions as the snow reached northern Morocco.

London and southeast England were the worst affected areas, with about 30cm of snow falling by last night. London's 7000 bus services were suspended for most of the day, while the city's Underground and overground train services suffering severe delays and cancellations. Major airports were badly affected, with Heathrow cancelling hundreds of flights while London City and Luton airports were closed. Gatwick remained open but more than 20 flights were cancelled. Passengers on board a Cyprus Airways jet had a scare when their plane came off a taxiway at Heathrow shortly after landing in the snowy conditions. No one was injured.

Hospitals were forced to call in extra staff to cope with an increase in emergency calls and motoring authorities struggled to keep up with demands from stranded motorists. The sheer amount of snow stunned many Londoners as they took to local parks to make snowmen and throw snowballs. "I've never seen it snow so consistently in the 10 years I've been here," former Sydneysider Stephanie McNamara said.

Weather forecasters issued an extreme weather warning for England, Wales and parts of eastern Scotland, with more snow and icy conditions along with freezing temperatures predicted for the rest of the week. The Federation of Small Businesses estimated 20 per cent of British employees failed to turn up at work because of the snow, at a cost of about 1.2 billion pounds to Britain's ailing economy.

France's road traffic agency urged motorists to cancel non-essential journeys, with roads difficult and in a small number of some cases impassable around Paris and in the east near Strasbourg. The snow and icy conditions caused a dozen accidents in the Paris region without causing injuries, officials said.

In Italy, three people died and 500 people had to be evacuated from their homes amid bad weather in parts of the country, while Milan woke today to a dusting of snow.

Up to 20cm fell in parts of Switzerland, while part of the road around the San Bernardino tunnel was closed.

One to 3cm of snow fell in Belgium, where around 400km of traffic jams accumulated during the morning peak hour.



The UK Met Office forecast last Autumn "the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average." We have now passed the 2/3 mark of the meteorological winter, and it is time for another report card to send home. Yesterday's press release was titled "Wintry start to February" which stated "So far, the UK winter has been the coldest for over a decade" and "Met Office forecasters expect the cold theme to the weather to continue well into next week with the chance of further snow."

The UK is expecting the heaviest snow in about 20 years tomorrow. "Snow and freezing weather threaten to shut down Britain Arctic blizzards are set to cause a national shutdown on Monday as forecasters warn of the most widespread snowfall for almost 20 years." "Now is the time you'd expect to see the daffodils coming out but we're not expecting them for two or three weeks at best if it warms up." So why is this important? Climate is not weather, after all. The Met Office is one of the most vocal advocates of human induced global warming, and they have gotten into a consistent pattern of warm seasonal forecasts which seemingly fall in line with that belief system. Is it possible that their forecasts are unduly influenced by preconceived notions about the climate? It is worth remembering that London had it's first October snow in 70 years this past autumn.

Or perhaps they know exactly what they are doing, and are just having a several year run of extremely bad luck with their long term forecasting.


Transit Is No Solution for Global Warming

The economic stimulus bill that recently passed the House included $12 billion in spending on public transit. When Republican Rep. Jeff Flake attempted to cut nearly a billion going to Amtrak and intercity-rail service, House Democrats quashed the effort and condemned opponents of transit spending. According to the Wall Street Journal, "They have been urging a big boost in spending after the number of riders on Amtrak and many mass-transit lines surged to record levels last year. They have argued that bolstering rail and bus service helps create `green' jobs and gives consumers environmentally friendly transportation choices."

Transit is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, or more accurately hype. We have been reminded, most recently by Democrats in the House, that as gas prices were rising and driving declining, that transit ridership was growing strongly. Yet, the reality is that transit captured no more than 3 percent of the decline in urban driving. Strong growth rates on an insignificant base produce insignificant increases (barely 1.5 percent of urban travel in the United States is on transit) and outside New York, the number is below 1.0 percent. Record ridership of this kind shouldn't be rewarded with new spending, nor should we fall for the canard that it's an effective way to have an environmental impact.

I was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission by the late Mayor Tom Bradley. I came to the Commission as an advocate of transit and urban rail, and indeed, my spontaneous amendment to the 1980 sales tax ordinance produced the fund that made construction of the Long Beach light rail line (the Blue Line) and the Los Angeles to North Hollywood subway (the Red Line) possible. My passion for rail was a belief, not unusual, that it would reduce traffic congestion. I was wrong.

In the years that followed, I regrettably was to learn that both transit and urban rail had been grossly oversold. It has not, anywhere, materially or sustainably reduced traffic congestion. Its cost structure is so out of control that the average mile traveled by a passenger in the United States has risen to about four times as much in public and private expenditure as every mile traveled by car. It wasn't always so. Before the coming of federal subsidies in the 1970s, transit expenditures per mile traveled were less than that of cars.

In recent years, transit advocates have also assumed that transit is an obvious way that greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions can be reduced. As concern about reliance on foreign oil has increased, the drive to move people from cars to transit has gotten stronger. Despite the negligible shift in numbers of riders, this idea been accepted for the most part by the public.

In reality, transit faces two barriers to achieving the dream of being a popular, green alternative. The first is the more fundamental. No one is going to forsake their car to get on a bus or train that is not going where they are going. The overwhelming majority of urban trips cannot be made in any reasonable amount of time by transit. Moreover, the trips that can be made take longer. On average, people using transit to commute to work spend twice as much time as those who drive. Some may think that expanding transit service would solve this problem, but, in fact, attempting to replicate the mobility of the automobile in an American or European urban area would cost near the gross annual income of any urban area attempting it, every year.

Further, it is a mistake to think that all transit service is more GHG friendly than all cars. The best hybrids produce less in GHG emissions per passenger mile than the best transit systems. For example, we have estimated that a 2009 Toyota Prius produces an average of less than 150 grams of GHGs in city driving per passenger mile, based upon EPA mileage figures. Data in the 2007 National Transit Database indicates that transit produces more than 250 grams of GHG emissions per passenger mile, though New York does much better at 160 (all figures include upstream emissions such as power generation and refining). It is true that, overall, transit produces fewer GHGs per passenger mile than cars and SUVs.

However, the spectacular advances on the way in automobile fuel economy seem certain to erode away transit's advantage. But there is more than the fact that transit is not quite so green and getting comparatively less green every day.

The second and bigger point is costs. It seems a foregone conclusion that the United States will adopt a GHG emissions reduction objective. In the end, it may be a reduction of 50 percent by 2050, as proposed by the G-8 (and rejected by China, India and other developing nations). Or, it could be the 80 percent reduction that the President reaffirmed as his intention last week.

There is considerable concern that GHG emission reduction be accomplished without sacrificing economic growth. The International Panel on Climate Change says that sufficient GHG emission reductions can be achieved at $50 per ton or less. The consulting firm, McKinsey has published research saying that the United States can achieve GHG reductions of up to 4.5 billion tons annually by 2030 at $50 per ton or less and an average of $17.

This is where it gets difficult for transit. It cannot compete with costs per GHG emission ton removed of $50, much less $17. If every American were to climb out of his or her car tomorrow and somehow ride transit instead (forget for a moment that it's not there), the costs would be enormous. The total expenditures on the new transit travel would be at least four times that of the rejected automobile trip. The cost per ton of GHG emissions removed would be approximately $5,000 annually, 100 times the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change ceiling. This is so expensive that if the nation were to implement President Obama's 80 percent GHG emission reduction at the same cost per ton, the bill would be approximately $25 trillion annually --- about $10 trillion more than the annual Gross Domestic Product. Obviously, that is extravagance even a nation of TARP and bailouts cannot afford.

None of this is to suggest that transit is not valuable or does not have its place. For many low income citizens, transit is their principal mobility and it is, in my view, appropriate to subsidize their rides. Transit is also indispensible in the high frequency service and high volume traffic that is delivers to a few large downtown areas, such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington. I would ride transit if I worked in Manhattan, just as I rode transit when I worked in downtown Los Angeles and just as when I travel around Paris.

But a bit of reality is in order. Transit has its place and it is an important place. But for most people and most trips, there is simply no way that transit can compete in travel time or convenience. Worst of all, its high costs make significant expansion unaffordable and thus out of the question and hopeless with respect to any material role in achieving whatever GHG emission reduction objective is finally adopted.


Why do Green zealots think they can dictate how many children we are allowed to have?

So the deepest green of them all turns out to be not so much a friend of the earth as an enemy of the human race. Jonathon Porritt, the Government's 'green' adviser, has said that couples who have more than two children are being 'irresponsible' by creating an unbearable burden on the environment. Curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must therefore be at the heart of policies to fight man-made global warming. Apparently this is all because people have to accept responsibility 'for their total environmental footprint'. That's what having children amounts to, apparently, in his mind.

The blessings of a large family and the contribution this makes to prosperity and progress don't figure at all. Instead, children are to be measured solely by their burdensome impact on the planet. What kind of sinister and dehumanised mindset is this? It is no coincidence that the country which comes nearest to Jonathon's ideal society is Communist China, which imposed a murderously cruel policy of restricting families to one child apiece. For the desire to reduce the number of children that parents produce is innately totalitarian.

Reproduction is humanity's strongest instinct. To seek to curb it is to interfere with one of our most fundamental freedoms and desires. To do so on the basis that Jonathon Porritt possesses unique insight into the needs of our world which is denied to the lesser mortals who inhabit it is not just monumental arrogance - it is also the delusion of totalitarian tyrants from Stalin to Hitler to Mao.

But then the green movement is essentially totalitarian in outlook. It sees people as a nuisance which has to be controlled. Accordingly, green interference in our lives now stretches from turning the ordinary lightbulb into an endangered species, telling hospitals to stop serving meat on patients' menus, and sending round the garbage police if someone commits the crime of putting a tin can or plastic bottle into the receptacle designated for paper.

Now, by pointing out what he says is the population 'ghost at the table', Porritt has blown environmentalism's cover. For he is not some maverick sounding off. These views are mainstream within the green movement, and they are growing. This month, an international campaign is being launched called 'Global Population Speak Out' to publicise the link between 'the size and growth of the human population and environmental degradation'. A green GP, Dr Pippa Hayes, says she will actually refuse to offer fertility treatment to women who want to have more than four children, because she believes that this places an 'insupportable burden' on the earth's resources.

It is shocking that a GP should not only have such anti-human views, but seek to impose them upon her patients - refusing to act in their interests, which she subordinates to an ideology. Doctors have a duty to support life. That's why some doctors refuse to have anything to do with abortion. For a doctor to regard herself as a 'conscientious objector' for wanting to reduce human life is to turn not just medical ethics but also the foundation of our common humanity inside out.

It's a short step from that to seeing human beings as some kind of disease. Indeed, another prominent establishment green, the former diplomat Sir Crispin Tickell - who has said we should be pursuing policies that would reduce our population to 20 million, or one-third of its current level - remarked: 'Someone has said that constantly increasing growth is the doctrine of the cancer cell. You just get out of control.'

From this revolting attitude it is again but a short step to seeing people as mere objects to be disposed of. When coupled with the unspoken but implicit subtext that the populations that need most to be controlled in the world are black and brown, it turns into outright racism. Accordingly, it results in a blind eye to genocide. When mass slaughter took place in Rwanda in 1994 and the world stood by and did nothing, there was much talk about how this was inevitable because of the high population density that was causing land shortages and poverty. It was no accident that Hitler was a green.

There is in fact a direct line running between the modern environmental movement and the anti-human mindset of population control. Fundamental to green thinking is the belief that human consumption is innately bad. Human life itself is seen as a pollutant, not merely by producing too much carbon and thus contributing to global warming but by generally consuming and producing too much and thus eating up the planet like locusts.

The roots of this thinking go back to the 18th century, when it was first thought that population growth would outstrip the earth's resources and would lead to famine, starvation and death. Despite the fact that the world's population massively increased and resources expanded to sustain it, the belief persisted in progressive circles and led to eugenics and thence to fascism.

Of course there are places in the world where people are starving. Yet that isn't because natural resources have a limit but the result of the tyrannies, ignorance or cultural restrictions which prevent the poor of the world from harnessing the resources of the earth.

What's more, Porritt's two-child limit is particularly neuralgic when it comes to Britain, where many people are indeed having no more than one or two children - with the result that the indigenous population is not replicating itself. The rise in Britain's population is made up almost entirely of immigrants, at the cost of its identity.

The green movement has provided a respectable camouflage for the population control movement, which went underground after the Nazi era. That's why Porritt is a patron of the Optimum Population Trust, which moans that every baby born in Britain will burn carbon equivalent in quantity to an area of woodland the size of Trafalgar Square. Another of the Trust's patrons, the environmental guru Paul R. Ehrlich, predicted in his seminal 1968 book The Population Bomb that during the Seventies and Eighties hundreds of millions of people would starve to death - about 65 million of them in the U.S. - and that by the year 2000 'England will not exist'.

But then the whole man-made global warming theory has turned out to be just as absurd. As Britain shivers in its harshest winter for 13 years, atmospheric data shows that the earth is getting colder, not hotter, the ice caps are increasing not disappearing and the rise in sea level has slowed and is nothing out of the ordinary.

Yet despite the patent absurdity of these predictions of environmental doom, this thinking now dominates political life. The reason is undoubtedly the grip upon politics of those who want to control our lives in order to reshape society. In all corners of everyday life, from state interference in parenting to telling people what to eat or what not to drink, from council snoopers to idiotic health and safety rules, the aim is to control and change the way we behave.

The green movement camouflages this sinister tendency under cover of the urgent necessity of saving the planet. But with people like Jonathon Porritt apparently believing that the only thing wrong with the planet is the human race, the big question must be just who he will be saving it for.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Eric Steig Wears no Clothes

All he has is the usual logical fallacy of an appeal to authority. Concerning those authorities James M. Taylor [] emails: "The NAS findings are not nearly as alarmist as what Steig and Real Climate claim, so it is odd that he would cite NAS in his support. Moreover, having a few board members of some science groups buy into the alarm does not mean that all, or even a majority, of the group's membership agrees with the board's endorsement. Joe D'Aleo can provide some really good information about how these boards do not necessarily reflect the sentiments of their members.

Finally, regarding the American Geophysical Union, two years ago I debated AGU president Alan Robock and was astonished at how uninformed he was about the issue. While he clearly is an expert on volcanoes, he seems to simply take at face value the claims of Michael Mann et al and have very little knowledge of the many scientific studies that contradict alarmist global warming theory. I have DVD copies of our debate, which I am sure he is praying never make it into the hands of his students at Rutgers".

Eric Steig, the author of the recent "Antarctic is now warming" paper, put this in his comment thread over at real climate. I love how he pretends to not have an opinion on the politics.
[Response: Mike. Thanks for your thoughts. We don't have much to say here about taxes vs. cap and trade, etc., because we're scientists, not economists. I will say that I think this is a really difficult problem, and solving it is going to involve ideological clashes about *how* to solve it. That's inevitable. We're seeing it right now in a small way with the debate in congress and the senate over Obama's stimulus package. I have no reason to doubt that opinions on both sides of the aisle are sincere, and that the vast majority want to do what is right. My own inclination is to agree with you on taxes vs. cap-and-trade, but I don't know. There are a lot of problems that will arise with either one. But that's not a reason to sit idly buy. My advice is stop reading about the "debate" because there isn't one. Instead, get involved in the policy debate. Help the world figure out what to do.

As for your not being able to tell "which side is right and which side is wrong" in the global warming debate, consider this: When you go to the dentist, and he tells you to put fluoride on your kids teeth, do you do it? If not, why not? The reason some people don't is that they live in a world where dentists are part of a vast conspiracy to poison our kids minds, or at the very least are complete idiots. Me, I live on a planet where dentists actually want to help me and my kids have healthy teeth. Maybe I'm wrong, and the members of the National Academy of Sciences, the leadership of the American Geophysical Union, etc. are all deluded, and the people that publish papers in professional scientific journals are frauds, and I make up data and enter it into my computer in my sleep while preparing my work for publication. On the other hand, maybe the money groups like Heartland Institute and the folks they list as part of their personnel are influenced by the money they get from Exxon Mobil. If you care about your kids, you probably need to think this out, and then go and make your voice heard on the right solution (either buy a Hummer, or get involved in efforts to get the right solution (carbon taxes, carbon trading, whatever) to happen.-eric]

His coauthor Mann was the lead author on a 2008 hockey stick paper which in my opinion was deliberately in error, something anyone who can do a bit of math realizes right away. He really exposed his leftist tendencies at the end though (either buy a Hummer, or get involved in efforts to get the right solution (carbon taxes, carbon trading, whatever) to happen.-eric]

His concept that there's nothing to discuss is asinine on a good day and a lie if you are honest. There are over 31,000 scientists who disagree directly and 650 who just presented their case to congress. I was willing to look openly at his paper but when he promotes false information in a public setting the way he does here and blocks my request for data, I think less of him than I care to express.
He then pulls the biggest piece of bull and claims Exon Mobil; any scientist who disagrees is employed by oil. Horse shit sir. Naming a few government agencies who need this issue to keep their funding as though they would somehow be unbiased then followed by the claim of consensus, it is bogus in an extreme. How can there be consensus if disagreement is cut from the discussion? I don't even care a whit if the antarctic is warming. It is nothing but far left extremism no longer hidden beneath the surface, I'm guessing that when this data is released it will be another case of the scientists believing the ends justify the means; we'll find a pile of it underneath.


The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam

The key players are now all in place in Washington and in state governments across America to officially label carbon dioxide as a pollutant and enact laws that tax we citizens for our carbon footprints. Only two details stand in the way, the faltering economic times and a dramatic turn toward a colder climate. The last two bitter winters have led to a rise in public awareness that there is no runaway global warming. The public is now becoming skeptical of the claim that our carbon footprints from the use of fossil fuels is going to lead to climatic calamities. How did we ever get to this point where bad science is driving big government to punish the citizens for living the good life that fossil fuels provide for us?

The story begins with an Oceanographer named Roger Revelle. He served with the Navy in World War II. After the war he became the Director of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute in La Jolla in San Diego, California. Revelle saw the opportunity to obtain major funding from the Navy for doing measurements and research on the ocean around the Pacific Atolls where the US military was conducting atomic bomb tests. He greatly expanded the Institute's areas of interest and among others hired Hans Suess, a noted Chemist from the University of Chicago, who was very interested in the traces of carbon in the environment from the burning of fossil fuels. Revelle tagged on to Suess studies and co-authored a paper with him in 1957. The paper raises the possibility that the carbon dioxide might be creating a greenhouse effect and causing atmospheric warming. It seems to be a plea for funding for more studies. Funding, frankly, is where Revelle's mind was most of the time.

Next Revelle hired a Geochemist named David Keeling to devise a way to measure the atmospheric content of Carbon dioxide. In 1960 Keeling published his first paper showing the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and linking the increase to the burning of fossil fuels. These two research papers became the bedrock of the science of global warming, even though they offered no proof that carbon dioxide was in fact a greenhouse gas. In addition they failed to explain how this trace gas, only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, could have any significant impact on temperatures.

Now let me take you back to the1950s when this was going on. Our cities were entrapped in a pall of pollution from the crude internal combustion engines that powered cars and trucks back then and from the uncontrolled emissions from power plants and factories. Cars and factories and power plants were filling the air with all sorts of pollutants. There was a valid and serious concern about the health consequences of this pollution and a strong environmental movement was developing to demand action. Government accepted this challenge and new environmental standards were set. Scientists and engineers came to the rescue. New reformulated fuels were developed for cars, as were new high tech, computer controlled engines and catalytic converters. By the mid seventies cars were no longer big time polluters, emitting only some carbon dioxide and water vapor from their tail pipes. Likewise, new fuel processing and smoke stack scrubbers were added to industrial and power plants and their emissions were greatly reduced, as well.

But an environmental movement had been established and its funding and very existence depended on having a continuing crisis issue. So the research papers from Scripps came at just the right moment. And, with them came the birth of an issue; man-made global warming from the carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. Revelle and Keeling used this new alarmism to keep their funding growing. Other researchers with environmental motivations and a hunger for funding saw this developing and climbed aboard as well. The research grants began to flow and alarming hypothesis began to show up everywhere.

The Keeling curve showed a steady rise in CO2 in atmosphere during the period since oil and coal were discovered and used by man. As of today, carbon dioxide has increased from 215 to 385 parts per million. But, despite the increases, it is still only a trace gas in the atmosphere. While the increase is real, the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 remains tiny, about 41 hundredths of one percent.

Several hypothesis emerged in the 70s and 80s about how this tiny atmospheric component of CO2 might cause a significant warming. But they remained unproven. Years have passed and the scientists kept reaching out for evidence of the warming and proof of their theories. And, the money and environmental claims kept on building up.

Back in the 1960s, this global warming research came to the attention of a Canadian born United Nation's bureaucrat named Maurice Strong. He was looking for issues he could use to fulfill his dream of one-world government. Strong organized a World Earth Day event in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. From this he developed a committee of scientists, environmentalists and political operatives from the UN to continue a series of meetings.

Strong developed the concept that the UN could demand payments from the advanced nations for the climatic damage from their burning of fossil fuels to benefit the underdeveloped nations, a sort of CO2 tax that would be the funding for his one-world government. But, he needed more scientific evidence to support his primary thesis. So Strong championed the establishment of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This was not a pure climate study scientific organization, as we have been led to believe. It was an organization of one-world government UN bureaucrats, environmental activists and environmentalist scientists who craved the UN funding so they could produce the science they needed to stop the burning of fossil fuels. Over the last 25 years they have been very effective. Hundreds of scientific papers, four major international meetings and reams of news stories about climatic Armageddon later, the UN IPCC has made its points to the satisfaction of most and even shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

At the same time, that Maurice Strong was busy at the UN, things were getting a bit out of hand for the man who is now called the grandfather of global warming, Roger Revelle. He had been very politically active in the late 1950's as he worked to have the University of California locate a San Diego campus adjacent to Scripps Institute in La Jolla. He won that major war, but lost an all important battle afterward when he was passed over in the selection of the first Chancellor of the new campus.

He left Scripps finally in 1963 and moved to Harvard University to establish a Center for Population Studies. It was there that Revelle inspired one of his students to become a major global warming activist. This student would say later, "It felt like such a privilege to be able to hear about the readouts from some of those measurements in a group of no more than a dozen undergraduates. Here was this teacher presenting something not years old but fresh out of the lab, with profound implications for our future!" The student described him as "a wonderful, visionary professor" who was "one of the first people in the academic community to sound the alarm on global warming," That student was Al Gore. He thought of Dr. Revelle as his mentor and referred to him frequently, relaying his experiences as a student in his book Earth in the Balance, published in 1992.

So there it is, Roger Revelle was indeed the grandfather of global warming. His work had laid the foundation for the UN IPCC, provided the anti-fossil fuel ammunition to the environmental movement and sent Al Gore on his road to his books, his move, his Nobel Peace Prize and a hundred million dollars from the carbon credits business.

What happened next is amazing. The global warming frenzy was becoming the cause celeb of the media. After all the media is mostly liberal, loves Al Gore, loves to warn us of impending disasters and tell us "the sky is falling, the sky is falling". The politicians and the environmentalist loved it, too.

But the tide was turning with Roger Revelle. He was forced out at Harvard at 65 and returned to California and a semi retirement position at UCSD. There he had time to rethink Carbon Dioxide and the greenhouse effect. The man who had inspired Al Gore and given the UN the basic research it needed to launch its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was having second thoughts. In 1988 he wrote two cautionary letters to members of Congress. He wrote, "My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse effect is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways." He added, ".we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer."

And in 1991 Revelle teamed up with Chauncey Starr, founding director of the Electric Power Research Institute and Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, to write an article for Cosmos magazine. They urged more research and begged scientists and governments not to move too fast to curb greenhouse CO2 emissions because the true impact of carbon dioxide was not at all certain and curbing the use of fossil fuels could have a huge negative impact on the economy and jobs and our standard of living. I have discussed this collaboration with Dr. Singer. He assures me that Revelle was considerably more certain than he was at the time that carbon dioxide was not a problem.

Did Roger Revelle attend the Summer enclave at the Bohemian Grove in Northern California in the Summer of 1990 while working on that article? Did he deliver a lakeside speech there to the assembled movers and shakers from Washington and Wall Street in which he apologized for sending the UN IPCC and Al Gore onto this wild goose chase about global warming? Did he say that the key scientific conjecture of his lifetime had turned out wrong? The answer to those questions is, "I think so, but I do not know it for certain". I have not managed to get it confirmed as of this moment. It's a little like Las Vegas; what is said at the Bohemian Grove stays at the Bohemian Grove. There are no transcripts or recordings and people who attend are encouraged not to talk. Yet, the topic is so important, that some people have shared with me on an informal basis.

Roger Revelle died of a heart attack three months after the Cosmos story was printed. Oh, how I wish he were still alive today. He might be able to stop this scientific silliness and end the global warming scam.

Al Gore has dismissed Roger Revelle's Mea culpa as the actions of senile old man. And, the next year, while running for Vice President, he said the science behind global warming is settled and there will be no more debate, From 1992 until today, he and his cohorts have refused to debate global warming and when ask about we skeptics they simply insult us and call us names.

So today we have the acceptance of carbon dioxide as the culprit of global warming. It is concluded that when we burn fossil fuels we are leaving a dastardly carbon footprint which we must pay Al Gore or the environmentalists to offset. Our governments on all levels are considering taxing the use of fossil fuels. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of naming CO2 as a pollutant and strictly regulating its use to protect our climate. The new President and the US congress are on board. Many state governments are moving on the same course.

We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways. Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by no drilling and no new refineries for decades. We pay for the shortage this has created every time we buy gas. On top of that the whole thing about corn based ethanol costs us millions of tax dollars in subsidies. That also has driven up food prices. And, all of this is a long way from over.

And, I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis for any of it. Global Warming. It is the hoax. It is bad science. It is a highjacking of public policy. It is no joke. It is the greatest scam in history.


California's 'Green Jobs' Experiment Isn't Going Well

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007 -- in anticipation of the new mandates -- California has led the nation in job losses.

The regulations created a cap-and-trade system, similar to proposed federal global-warming measures, by limiting the CO2 that utilities, trucking companies and other businesses can emit, and imposed steep new taxes on companies that exceed the caps. Since energy is an input in everything that's produced, this will raise the cost of production inside California's borders.

Now, as the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It's become clear to nearly everyone that the plan's backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. "We've been sold a false bill of goods," is how Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who has been the GOP's point man on environmental issues in the legislature, put it to me.

The environmental plan was built on the notion that imposing some $23 billion of new taxes and fees on households (through higher electricity bills) and employers will cost the economy nothing, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Almost no one believes that anymore except for the five members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This is the state's air-quality regulator, which voted unanimously in December to stick with the cap-and-trade system despite the recession. CARB justified its go-ahead by issuing what almost all experts agree is a rigged study on the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system. The study concludes that the plan "will not only significantly reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also have a net positive effect on California's economic growth through 2020."

This finding elicited a chorus of hallelujahs from environmental groups. The state finally discovered a do-good policy that pays for itself. Californians can still scurry around in their cars, heat up their Jacuzzis, and help save the planet. But there was a problem. The CARB had commissioned five economists from around the country to critique this study. They panned it.

Harvard's Robert Stavins, chairman of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's economic advisory committee under Bill Clinton, told me that "None of us knew who the other reviewers were, but we all came up with almost the same conclusion. The report was severely flawed and systematically underestimated costs." Another reviewer, UCLA Prof. Matthew E. Kahn, a supporter of the new regulations, criticized the "free lunch" aspect of the report. "The net dollar costs of each of these regulations is likely to be much larger than is reported," he concluded. Mr. Stavins points out that if these regulations are a net boon for businesses and the economy, "why would you need to impose regulations like cap and trade?"

The Sacramento Bee, which has editorialized in support of the new regulations, was aghast at CARB's twisted science. We have to "be candid about the real costs of the transition," a cautionary editorial advised. "Energy prices will rise, and major capital investment will be needed in public transit and new transmission lines. Industries that are energy intensive will move elsewhere."

The green lobby has lectured us for years that global warming is all about the sanctity of science. Those who question the "scientific consensus" on catastrophic atmospheric changes are belittled as "deniers." Now, in assessing the costs, the greens readily cook the books and throw good science out the window. "To most of the most strident supporters of this legislation," says Mr. Niello, "the economic costs don't really matter anyway, because we are supposedly facing an environmental apocalypse."

Mr. Schwarzenegger fits into that camp. He recently declared: "I recommend very strongly that we move forward . . . . You will always have people saying this will lose jobs."

Meanwhile, the state is losing jobs, a lot of them. California's unemployment rate hit 9.3% in December, up from 4.9% in December 2006. There are now 1.5 million Californians out of work. The state has the fourth-highest housing foreclosure rate in the nation, has lost more businesses than any state in recent years, and is facing a $40 billion deficit. With cap and trade firmly in place, the economic situation is only likely to get worse.

Other states are plundering the Golden State's industries by convincing businesses to pick up stakes and move out before the cap-and-trade earthquake hits. Governors and Washington politicians who want to reduce their "carbon footprint," but are worried about the more immediate crises of cascading unemployment, unbalanced budgets, and the housing-market collapse, would be wise not to follow California's lead. Green policies have a tendency to push states into the red.


Thoughts on green jobs

On a family trip to Nicaragua we saw workers digging a multi-mile ditch in preparation for laying communication lines. The workers were using picks and shovels; we saw but a single John Deere backhoe. "Imagine how much more productive these workers would be if they had access to more of Deere's machinery," I commented. "But then many of them would be out of work," one of my boys responded. I replied, "If the point is to provide maximum employment, why not replace the picks and shovels with spoons?"

I am reminded of this as I read about President Obama's plans to create five million "green jobs." They include making houses more energy-efficient, constructing wind-turbines, building greener buildings, and upgrading the electrical grid. But this promise is made without mentioning the cost (i.e., the loss of jobs in other sectors) or considering what else these folks might productively do had they not been lured into the green jobs.

The American Wind Energy Association claims wind power creates the most jobs per kilowatt-hour of energy generated-27 percent more than coal generation and 66 percent more than natural gas. Buried in this is the presumption that labor has a very low value. Only if you're using prisoners, whose opportunity cost is zero, could this make sense. Following my Nicaragua example, if maximum employment is the goal, why not have people digging the footings for wind turbines by hand? This would create far more jobs per kilowatt-hour.

Productivity is the amount of output per unit of input. It is a basic indicator of economic health. Why? Because producing the same good with less input not only makes it more affordable, but also frees human and physical resources for use in other areas. "It can be said without exaggeration that in the long run probably nothing is as important for economic welfare as...productivity growth," wrote Princeton economist William J. Baumol.

The jobs lost in our dynamic economy are normally replaced by new and different jobs. For example, a quarter of all Americans now work in jobs that didn't even exist in the Census Bureau's occupation codes in 1967. In 1900, one-half of adult Americans worked on farms. Today, it's fewer than 2 percent. Despite lower farm employment, American farm productivity is the highest in the world.

The idea of government "job creation," green or otherwise, is an example of the broken window fallacy. The French economist Frederic Bastiat explained this in 1850. Here's Bastiat's basic economic insight as described by Ken Green of AEI.:

"Imagine some shopkeepers get their windows broken by a rock-throwing child. At first, people sympathize with the shopkeepers, until someone claims that the broken windows really aren't that bad. After all, they 'create work' for the glassmaker, who might then be able to buy more food, benefiting the grocer, or buy more clothes, benefiting the tailor. If enough windows are broken, the glassmaker might even hire an assistant, creating a job.

"Did the child therefore do a public service by breaking the windows? No. As Bastiat explained we must also consider what the shopkeepers would have done with the money they used to fix their windows had those windows not been broken. Most likely, the shopkeepers would have ploughed that money into their store: perhaps they would have bought more stock from their suppliers, or maybe they would have hired new employees. Before the windows broke, the shopkeepers had intact windows and the money to purchase more goods or hire new workers. After the windows broke, they had to use that money to repair the windows, and thus were unable to expand their business."

In the Great Depression the opportunity cost for labor approached zero. When this occurs it is reasonable and prudent for the government to create employment and educational programs like the CCC and WPA. But job creation fundamentally comes from the private sector. Every public dollar spent on green jobs comes at the expense of taxpayers and business owners who would have spent the money in ways we can't imagine.


Global cooling hits Britain again

Treacherous travel conditions were predicted for much of Britain today. Forecasters said that eastern and southern England would see the heaviest snowfalls. Meteorologists described the conditions as an extreme weather event and advised motorists to check the roads before leaving home.

Travellers were left stranded at bus stops in London last night as Transport for London decided to halt all bus services in the capital. A spokesman said that drivers were instructed to return to their garages after several accidents in which cars collided with buses or buses lost their grip on the road. "We aim to restore services as soon as possible once roads have been treated," he said.

There were delays for air and train passengers as snow was cleared. Gatwick cancelled more than 20 flights and diverted others as ground staff scrambled to de-ice runways. London City was closed for a time. Several train services linking London and the South East were cancelled or delayed. A section of the London-bound M20 in Kent was closed. Kent Police said that several minor collisions had been reported after snow froze on the road.

The Met Office said that easterly winds from Russia and Eastern Europe would result in the widest covering of snow since 1991. The greatest depths will be seen in the East and snowfalls up to 15cm (6in) are predicted across southeast England. This winter has already been the coldest for 13 years, with temperatures plunging to lows of -13C (8.6F) during a three-week freeze in January. Temperatures fell below freezing last night, causing treacherous conditions for drivers, particularly in the Pennines and the North York Moors. Biting winds are expected to hit steady speeds of 15 to 20mph today, gusting up to 35mph over the hills and along the east coast.

The Highways Agency's fleet of more than 500 salt spreaders, snow ploughs and snow blowers is on standby and salt spreading began over the weekend. Officials told motorists to check forecasts before setting out. They also recommended packing food, water, a torch and a spade as well as warm clothes. Motorists who fail to ensure that they have warm clothing and extra layers are "flirting with hypothermia", motoring groups said. "People often treat their car like an overcoat," Andy Taylor, of the AA, said. "But when you break down you are suddenly vulnerable to the weather. If you break down on a motorway, the safety advice is to get out of the car and wait behind the barrier. You need extra clothes for this."

The blast of icy weather will bring another bank of snow across Kent, Essex and Surrey this afternoon, moving quickly across the whole of eastern England. Most of Britain can expect sharp frosts and bitterly cold conditions for much of this week. A brief respite is predicted tomorrow before another barrage of snow.

Gardeners are worried that the temperatures will ruin the spring blooms. Experts say that this year's daffodil crop is the worst in a decade. Laura Davies, of the National Botanical Garden of Wales, said: "Now is the time you would expect to see daffodils coming out but we are not expecting them for two or three weeks at best if it warms up. Winter snowdrops were late and other plants you would expect to see have not shown signs of appearing. There will be fewer plants in gardens this year and Mediterranean shrubs will be the worst to suffer."

Helen Chivers, a Met Office forecaster, said: "Northerly winds will be maintaining the cold weather so we can expect some more icy nights and snow showers. It is looking likely that the snow will be coming back on Thursday and Friday, probably hitting southeast England again." The bookmaker William Hill has dropped the odds of 2009 being the coldest year on record from 12-1 to 8-1. It is also offering odds of 100-1 that the Thames will freeze over.

Mervyn Kohler, of Help The Aged, urged the elderly to take care. "Over-seventies can have insulation installed free by energy providers. Obviously it is a bit late to do those things before tonight and tomorrow but now is the time to start the process going because it is going to be cold again and energy prices are probably never going to go down to the level they were at five years ago," he said.


Dumbest green blogger in Australia?

Andrew Bolt below makes short work of a typically dogmatic Greenie. When a radio host came out as a warming skeptic, all the Greenie could do was sneer. But does one EVER expect to get a courteous discussion of the facts from a Warmist?

Green blogger Graham Readfearn - showing all the abusiveness of his breed - attacks 4BC host Chris Smith as perhaps "the dumbest radio host in Australia'' for being a sceptic of apocalyptic man-made warming. The case for the prosecution:
Smith swallowed the bogus "31,000 scientist" petition, he swallowed the ageing arguments from bearded botanist David Bellamy and then he swallowed that erroneous claim that temperatures peaked in 1998.

That is a charge sheet that raises the question - is Readfearn the dumbest eco blogger in Australia? Here is the petition, which seems genuine enough to me. Readfearn offers no evidence - just more abuse - to suggest what precisely he objects to from Bellamy, a trained botanist, other than that he has a beard. And as for doubting that temperatures peaked in 1998, here's the proof:

Less abuse, Graham, and more research and reason might suit you better.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

The problem for Revkin of the NYT

An email from James A. Peden, in response to signs that Revkin is now listening to the skeptics

The cold hard reality of the alarmists vs deniers battle is, one side or the other is dead wrong. I "came out of retirement" to study the issue at the request of others, and confess at the beginning of my personal investigation, I was inclined to believe the popular notion that mankind had indeed mucked up his environment ( again ). I come from an era when science was a noble profession where we all strived to diligently uncover the truth, shared our findings with others, and would quickly change our minds on a particular theory if material evidence proved otherwise. The mantra at the time I began my personal investigation was that the science was settled, the debate was over, and the time for rapid and radical overhaul of our entire civilization was long overdue. It didn't immediately appear illogical to me at the time, because I still trusted science, and scientists in general.

As a former atmospheric physicist with a relatively brief tenure in that particular field, my attention was first drawn to the raw physics of carbon dioxide and it's potential for warming the atmosphere. For me, the the laws of physics are not subject to change by virtue of a public consensus or declarations of highly placed politicians and government science bureaucrats. What I discovered was CO2 indeed had some potential for warming the atmosphere, but was relatively insignificant compared to water vapor and at the accepted current concentrations of 385 PPMV it was nearing saturation as an atmospheric heater and further increases beyond this point could not produce very much additional heating.

The problem was, the answers to my questions lay in fundamental and well known and accepted laws of physics, with the accompanying mathematical complexity well beyond the understanding of my laymen friends who had asked my opinion in the first place. I then undertook to write a highly simplified and obviously not exactly technically correct explanation of what my many months of research had revealed. The public had a right to know that they were being manipulated by a powerful group of science bureaucrats with decidedly evil motives to feather their own research funding nest through abysmal exaggeration and mass hysteria based not on science, but on computerized projections which had no more validity than trying to predict the outcome of the Superbowl game.

I don't know Andrew Revkin's educational background, or whether he is even capable of reading and understanding such classics as Gerlich and Tscheuschner's treatise on the subject. If not, then he, like so many others who attempt to write on science beyond their own personal pay grade, is faced with the question of just whom should one believe? It is not an enviable position in which to be. If he sides with the argument that eventually turns out to be the wrong one, then his credibility vanishes as soon as the truth becomes apparent to all. If he tries a fair and balanced position as a neutral reporter on the subject, then he faces the absurd position of trying to explain just how the earth can be flat and round at the same time.

Of this I am certain: The general public is hungry for information and would very much like a resolution to the current debate, which by now is obviously far from over as initially declared by Mr. Gore. My original editorial on the subject went viral within a week, has been read in over 140 different countries by almost 100,000 readers, and even has been translated into German. Overnight I found myself transformed from a retired retired atmospheric physicist and mountaineer into a global warming pundit, chatting up the subject with G. Gordon Liddy on satellite radio, addressing the Vermont congressional roundtable, and answering a hundred daily emails from both scientists and laymen eager to shed the light of truth on the subject and be done with it. Every day I face essentially the same task as Mr. Revkin: trying to explain an extraordinarily complex subject which no one person completely understands to an audience capable of understanding no more than crude analogies or gross approximations.

Mr. Revkin has his work cut out for him. In my opinion, we scientists on the denier side should not dwell on criticizing his past writings or beliefs, and concentrate on feeding him timely, accurate, and important current empirical science and data on the issue. He, at least, has one ear cocked our way, and whether you like it or not, the New York Times has a voice heard around the globe. This is an opportunity that doesn't come along very often, let's not blow it.

Scientific illiteracy among House Democrats

We read in their "stimulus" report:

"Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Grants and Loans Recovery funding: $300 million Authorized in 2005, the DERA program provides grants and loans to states and local governments for projects that reduce diesel emission. Priority projects include those that maximize public health benefits by significantly reducing particulate matter emissions which are a significant threat to both human health and a likely contributor to global warming."

As Jim Peden emails: "Of course, almost any school child knows that PARTICULATE matter is a sun-blocker (albedo modification) and is usually associated with negative feedback, commonly known as COOLING. How interesting to note how consistently the AGW crowd gets it exactly backward...."

The world is getting colder

After the wet and cold centuries of the Little Ice Age (around 1550-1850 A.D.), the world's climate recuperated some warmth, but did not replicate the balmy period known as the Middle Age Warm Period (around 800-1300 A.D.), when the margins of Greenland were green and England had vineyards. Climate began to cool again after World War II, for about 30 years. This is undisputed. The cooling occurred at a time when emissions of C02 were rising sharply from the reconstruction effort and from unprecedented development. It is important to realize that.

By 1978 it had started to warm again, to everybody's relief. But two decades later, after the temperature peaked in 1998 under the influence of El Nino, climate stopped warming for eight years; and in 2007 entered a cooling phase marked by lower solar radiation and a reversal of the cycles of warm ocean temperature in the Atlantic and the Pacific. And here again, it is important to note that this new cooling period is occurring concurrently with an acceleration in CO2 emissions, caused by the emergence of two industrial giants: China and India.

To anyone analyzing this data with common sense, it is obvious that factors other than CO2 emissions are ruling the climate. And the same applies to other periods of the planet's history. Al Gore, in his famous movie "The Inconvenient Truth," had simply omitted to say that for the past 420,000 years that he cited as an example, rises in CO2 levels in the atmosphere always followed increases in global temperature by at least 800 years. It means that CO2 can't possibly be the cause of the warming cycles. So, if it's not CO2, what is it that makes the world's temperature periodically rise and fall? The obvious answer is the sun, and sea currents in a subsidiary manner.

The tilt of Earth, the shape of Earth's orbit (distance to the sun), and Earth's "wobble" as it turns around the sun are all important factors in the cyclical recurrence of ice ages and interglacial periods. It has been observed that ice ages last about 100,000 years, and warm interglacials only 12,000. And within these warm periods, variations in solar activity cause shorter periods of less-pronounced warming and cooling.

There is no way to know for sure if the present cooling period will last several decades or 100,000 years. Russian scientists have just warned that a fully-blown ice age is not to be ruled out, as about 12,000 years have elapsed since the end of the last one. Entering a new ice age would be a disaster for humanity: billions of people could die from lack of food, from the cold, and from the collapse of the world economy, social strife, war, etc.

And if what's ahead of us is only a little ice age, the consequences would still be pretty dire. World food reserves are already low, and we can barely feed the current population of the planet. Surfaces of arable land used for bio-fuels and biomass are increasing. Cool and wet summers would cause crop failures as they did in the Little Ice Age (as a result, starving Parisians had taken to the streets, soon sending their king to the guillotine). Winter frost would also bring its share of misery, destroying fruits and vegetables on a large scale. Let's just hope we'll only have a few years of cooling, and that another warming period will follow. But it may be wishful thinking. In any case, there will be hardship during the cold cycle, whatever its length.

As President Obama takes office, and as the European Union is about to waste one trillion euros to de-carbonize the economy (in a bid to stop nonexistent man-made global warming) they would be well-advised to perform a reality check on what's currently happening to the climate. Talking to independent scientists about the positive properties of CO2 (plant food that enhances crops) would also be a good idea. If they don't, we may be in for mass starvation. And let's not forget that the world population is increasing by about 78 million every year.


Record snow in the United Arab Emirates

Above is the frozen North ... of the United Arab Emirates. Note: The UAE is the "toenail" of the Saudi Arabian "boot". Dubai, its capital, is at 22ø47'N, which places it well SOUTH of Key West, as almost certainly is the rest of the nation.

Snow covered the Jebel Jais area for only the second time in recorded history yesterday. So rare was the event that one lifelong resident said the local dialect had no word for it. According to the RAK Government, temperatures on Jebel Jais dropped to -3øC on Friday night. On Saturday, the area had reached 1øC.

Major Saeed Rashid al Yamahi, a helicopter pilot and the manager of the Air Wing of RAK Police, said the snow covered an area of five kilometres and was 10cm deep. "The sight up there this morning was totally unbelievable, with the snow-capped mountain and the entire area covered with fresh, dazzling white snow," Major al Yamahi said. "The snowfall started at 3pm Friday, and heavy snowing began at 8pm and continued till midnight, covering the entire area in a thick blanket of snow. Much of the snow was still there even when we flew back from the mountain this afternoon. It is still freezing cold up there and there are chances that it might snow again tonight."

Aisha al Hebsy, a woman in her 50s who has lived in the mountains near Jebel Jais all her life, said snowfall in the area was so unheard of the local dialect does not even have a word for it. Hail is known as bared, which literally translates as cold. "Twenty years ago we had lots of hail," said Ms al Hebsy. "Last night was like this. At four in the morning we came out and the ground was white."

Jebel Jais was dusted in snow on Dec 28, 2004, the first snowfall in living memory for Ras al Khaimah residents. "I had flown there in 2004 when it snowed, but this time it was much bigger and the snowing lasted longer as well," said Major al Yamahi.

At the base of the mountains, residents also reported severe hail on Friday night. "We had hail. Last night was very cold, but there can only be snow on Jebel Jais because it's the tallest," said Fatima al Ali, 30, a resident of a village beneath the mountains. In Ras al Khaimah City, 25km from Jebel Jais, sheet lightning and thunder shook houses. Main roads from Qusaidat to Nakheel were still badly flooded on Saturday, while temperatures at the RAK International Airport fluctuated between 10 and 22øC.

M Varghese, an observer at the RAK Airport Meteorological Office, told of the storms that hit the emirate on Friday night. "We had thunderstorms with rain for more than 12 hours and we had around 18mm rain," Mr Varghese said. "The rain, along with the cold easterly winds and low-lying clouds, could have bought the temperatures further down on the mountains."

Giorgio Alessio, a meteorologist at the Dubai meteorology office, said: "In thunderstorms, the rain comes down very rapidly from higher levels, and the rain that usually forms can reach the ground in some places as snow. In the next few days the weather regime is completely different and will return to normal for the season, with a maximum temperature of 23øC or 24øC. "The night might cool down in the desert below 10øC. There is variability in the weather from year to year but it hasn't shown a trend in getting colder or getting warmer."


BBC abandons 'impartiality' on warming

Again and again the BBC has been eager to promote every new scare raised by the advocates of man-made global warming

Londoners might have been startled last Monday to see a giant mock-up of a polar bear on an iceberg, floating on the Thames outside the Palace of Westminster. They might not have been so surprised to learn, first, that this was a global warming propaganda stunt and, second, that the television company behind it is part-owned by the BBC.

It was ironic that, last week, while the BBC was refusing to show an appeal for aid to the victims of Israeli bombing in Gaza, on the grounds that this might breach its charter obligation to be impartial, a rather less publicised row was raging over Newsnight's doctoring of film of President Obama's inaugural speech, which was used to support yet another of its items promoting the warming scare. Clips from the speech were spliced together to convey a considerably stronger impression of what Obama had said on global warming than his very careful wording justified. While that may have been unprofessional enough, the rest of the item, by Newsnight's science editor, Susan Watts, was even more bizarre. It was no more than a paean of gratitude that we now at last have a president prepared to listen to the "science" on climate change, after the dark age of religious obscurantism personified by President Bush.

At last, after years when they could not speak openly on this subject, chirped Ms Watts, "scientists calculate that President Obama has just four years to save the world". She failed to explain (although she was later forced to clarify this on her blog) that the only scientist to say anything so silly was Dr James Hansen of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, whose utterances on climate change have lately become so wild and extreme that they have made him a laughing stock. (He was last week publicly disowned by his old boss Dr John Theon, who said that Hansen's unscientific claims had been an embarrassment to Nasa ever since he joined Al Gore in whipping up panic over global warming back in 1988.)

In all this, however, Newsnight only reflected the shameless way in which the BBC makes not the slightest attempt to provide impartial coverage of this issue. As its editorial guidelines make clear, "mainstream science" is now so overwhelmingly agreed on global warming that the BBC sees no reason to give balancing coverage to the views of a minority of "sceptics"; and examples are now legion of how it loses no opportunity to propagandise for the cause.

One of the madder instances was the 15 hours of airtime it gave in 2007 to the dreary Live Earth pop concert at Wembley, which was no more than a commercial for the views of Al Gore. Another was last year's lavish Climate Wars series, designed by the BBC's science team as an answer to Channel Four's The Great Global Warming Swindle. Nothing was more laughable than the sequence showing a huge poster of the infamous "hockey stick" temperature graph being driven round London on the back of a lorry, without any mention of the expert studies which have made the "hockey stick" one of the most comprehensively discredited artefacts in the history of science.

Again and again the BBC has been eager to promote every new scare raised by the advocates of man-made global warming. As late as August 28 this year it was still predicting that Arctic ice might soon disappear, just as this winter' s refreezing was about to take ice-cover back to a point it was at 30 years ago. Inevitably it fell for that "iconic" picture of two polar bears standing, seemingly forlorn, on a melting ice floe, despite the photographer's explanation that it had nothing to do with global warming and that she had only wanted to capture a dramatic snap of wind-sculpted ice.

The BBC couldn't wait to publicise the recent study claiming that Antarctica, far from getting colder over the past 50 years as all the evidence suggests, has in fact been warming. It didn't, of course, explain that the new study is based on a computer model run by the creator of the "hockey stick", which, in the absence of hard data, allows for inspired guesswork - what the study's authors call "sparse data infilling".

It was typical that, when that plastic polar bear was floated up the Thames last week, the BBC's favourite naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, should be wheeled on to claim that, although he once been a "sceptic" on global warming (a fact we had all somehow missed), he now found the "science" entirely convincing.

In terms of journalistic professionalism, the sad thing about all this is that the debate about global warming has now entered a fascinating new stage. Honest coverage of all the new information coming to light would be vastly more interesting to the BBC's audience than the vapid propaganda which is all they get.

But inevitably this also exposes the hollowness of all those claims that the BBC still has a duty to remain "impartial", which on this issue is belied by own guidelines. As a particularly glaring example of how the BBC has, on so many issues, abandoned any pretence of impartiality, this can only provide more ammunition to those who argue that it no longer deserves that compulsory licence fee.


Green cultist at work

Woman bites driver over non-hybrid bus

Going green was a cause she could really sink her teeth into. The frantic passenger who bit a veteran driver's arm was upset that his bus wasn't a hybrid, he said Thursday. "She came on the bus, and she said she waited more than an hour for a hybrid," said MTA driver Peter Williams, 42. "I said, 'I'm not in control of what bus is assigned to me.'"

Williams, a dad of two who is in the Navy Reserves, plans to take a little time off after Wednesday's bizarre attack on an uptown M104 bus. The woman, Shelia Bolar, 49, started hollering at Williams soon after she boarded the Broadway bus on the upper West Side. When her rant was done, she she grabbed his arm.

"Miss, don't touch me while I'm operating the bus," Williams warned Bolar. At W. 79th St., Williams let passengers off and gestured to a dispatcher he called for help. "That's when she bit me. ... I couldn't believe it." Bolar chomped through a jacket, a sweater and a thick shirt, causing a bruise and swelling but not breaking skin. "She bit through all that," said Williams, still shocked.

And then she fled - but cops nabbed her blocks away. Bolar, who faces assault charges was held without bail, pending a psychiatric exam. Williams was released from St. Luke's Hospital and plans to return to work soon. "I hope it doesn't happen again," he said.



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