Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A sane moonbat?

A good email from a British reader:

I thought you'd like to take a look at these two articles. The first, by George "moonbat" Monbiot in The Guardian acknowledges that the recent floods in England cannot be attributed to global warming.

The second in The Daily Telegraph by Charles Clover asserts that the floods are evidence of global warming.

To be honest, I can't be bothered to read them in full. It does make me wonder though, that if the science is settled and climate catastrophe is almost upon us, why aren't the warm-mongers singing from the same hymn sheet?

There's something else that puzzles me. If, when it's hot it's global warming (the heatwave in France a few summers ago) and when it's cold it's global warming (Peru this year) and to prevent global warming we've to cut CO2 emissions, how will anyone know that the measures taken have had the desired effect?

Philosopher Keith Burgess Jackson makes a similar point to the above

Weatherman John Kettley isn't surprised by the current British floods

This year's apparently extraordinary weather is no more sinister than a typical British summer of old and a reminder of why Mediterranean holidays first became so attractive to us more than 40 years ago. Because, while we are being drenched, a heatwave has brought temperatures of 40C (104F) or more across other parts of Europe. To many people the disparity may seem to indicate some seismic and sinister shift in our climate.

In fact, temperatures are exceptional only in eastern Europe, where a band of air has been moving westwards from Asia Minor. Central Europe is experiencing temperatures of 30-35C (85-95F) - just what you'd expect for this time of year, along with the blue skies and light winds.

The weather patterns across Europe are all linked in such a way that the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean never enjoy, or suffer, the same weather at the same time. And now we are feeling the full force of two extreme fronts from the West and East that are usually modified by a third from the South.

While central Europe feels the heat from the East, we have always been influenced by weather systems generated over the Atlantic, picking up energy from this huge pool of water.

We also feel the power of the strong ribbon of winds known as the Gulf Stream - a highly energetic jet, fluctuating several miles above our heads and hugely important in determining our weather. As the summer evolves, the jetstream and rainbands above us are normally gradually pushed to the north-west of Scotland by a third weather system, a milder pocket of high pressure blowing up from the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. Ultimately, this more friendly system plants itself across the rest of the country.

But this year that modifying weather pattern has yet to arrive. So the cold of the West has collided with the intense heat of the East. The result is flash floods and torrential downpours.

There is no particular reason for the sluggish movement of the Azores front. It's just one of those things. But a similar situation worked in reverse in 1976 when we enjoyed a fantastic hot summer and it was cool and wet in central Europe - such are the mechanisms of our complex weather machine....

In my view, none of the severe weather we have experienced is proof of 'climate change.' It is just a poor summer - nothing more, nothing less - something that was the norm throughout most of the Sixties and has been repeated on several occasions more recently. Going further back, history also shows that 1912 was an atrocious summer. It was so bad, in fact, that we are still some way short of the torrential downpours that happened that year. It seemed particularly bad at the time because 1911 had been such an exceptionally good summer.

So, taking a long view, there is a pattern of warming and cooling. The Edwardians were experiencing a period of significant warming (much like now) following a cold Victorian spell. There was a period of warming from the Twenties through to the end of the Fifties and, after a cooler period, there has been a further significant warming over the past 20 years.

In the final analysis, this summer may be just such a 'blip' in the charts. But we still have plenty of summer to go and it takes only one slight shift in the jetstream to change rain into sun and bring a late renaissance for holidaymakers here in Britain.

More here

WE are to blame for China's pollution

The article below embodies the hatred of modern Western society that largely underpins the Greenie movement. Note the superior look on the face of John Vidal, the author of the article, below. We are so lucky to have such an all-seeing headmaster to impart wisdom to us

We've just had the first really big look at the environmental catastrophe now unfolding in China. Courtesy of the OECD, the club of 30 rich nations which was called in by the Beijing government to assess the environmental situation, a monster 260-page report has just been published, which draws together the work of China's leading scientists, the World Bank, and central and local government.

What we are witnessing is the mass poisoning of a people and the ecological devastation of a nation. If this were a war by one people against another, we would call on the UN to step in. But it's a war against nature so we turn away.

Yet it raises ugly questions for us, too. How much of this pollution and the destruction of nature is actually being done in our name? The rich west has moved its manufacturing base to China and all those smoking factories and bright green rivers reflect not just China's dash for development, but the face of western consumerism. Can we really blame the Chinese for all the pollutants being emitted to keep us in cheap goods? Should we step in immediately with better technology?

On the other hand, this is a tacit arrangement. This is not the 18th century European industrial revolution when the technology to limit pollution was undeveloped. The Chinese authorities may have great environmental laws, they have the world's largest current account of credit, they have access to the best pollution abatement equipment in the world, yet they have totally failed to protect their people from harm. We must assume the authorities know what is going on and do nothing because they are powerless.

There are truly brave people at every level of government desperately trying to clean up China, and there are enormous schemes to improve the environment. But the sheer speed and momentum of the dash for growth means no city or administration can keep up with the urbanisation and industrial developments taking place.

The official line is that the pollution will be tackled when enough wealth has been created. Funny that. Isn't that exactly what rightwing American thinktanks and western politicians say when asked why they do not try to protect people? But it just doesn't wash anymore. Let's hear it straight. The Chinese catastrophe is quite simply the product of greed. Ours and theirs.


Three cheers for China's `economic miracle'

Ignore the Yellow Peril view of Chinese economic growth as dirty and dangerous. There are good reasons to welcome China's leaps forward

Each week, the West's charge sheet against China grows longer and more vehement (1). Last week, the denunciations reached fever pitch. China's levels of pollution, we were told, have made it a danger to itself and the rest of the world.

On Tuesday, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris published a review of China's environmental performance. The 336-page document contained 51 recommendations on air pollution, water pollution and waste management, which China has been `encouraged' to implement (2). Launching the review at China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) in Beijing, Lorents Lorentsen, chief of the OECD's environment directorate, berated China for polluting not just the environment, but also its own international brand image. He said that once a country is associated in the public mind with pollution, `then you have a bad trademark abroad': `It's very hard to sell pharmaceuticals, to sell food and feed from a country that has a reputation for being polluted.'

In the US, China's exports have lately been singled out for venom (3). And now, in US circles, Chinese economic growth has been made synonymous with contamination. For months, the right-wing Wall Street Journal has assailed China's exports of seafood, toothpaste, medicines and pet-foods, which apparently are tainted with nasty ingredients. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House of Representatives financial services committee, has demanded that the World Bank release estimates of the number of premature deaths caused by pollution in China. And now, the OECD has added a more international, official tone to this campaign against Chinese growth.

By growing in an unchecked manner, China is a threat to everyone's health, says the OECD. Mario Amano, deputy secretary-general of the OECD, declared at the launch of the review in Beijing that, `A healthy economy needs a healthy environment'. His statement completely misses out the possibility that a stronger Chinese economy might lead to a better environment rather than having to be based on one.

Each year, China racks up a double-digit percentage increase in GDP. That fact is now very much feared in the West. Thus, China is being made to take the rap for the truly cardinal sin of our times: sullying the world's environment. China's economic expansion is now widely referred to as a `poisoning' of the planet, a process which is making Chinese people, and the Earth itself, sick and diseased. Through its coal-fired power plants and its greenhouse gas emissions, China is accused of being a major perpetrator of global warming. And according to the OECD and others, through its geographical size and worldwide exports, China is contaminating not only its own people's lives, but the lives of people in Asia and around the world, too.

That growth on this scale can be denounced as `dirty' and `polluting', that the export of goods can be discussed as `contamination', provides a shocking insight into the anti-development and misanthropic outlook that dominates in the current period. China is being made into the fall guy for today's lack of faith in growth and progress.

The West has opened a fresh chapter in the vilification of China, and in what Daniel Ben-Ami calls `growth scepticism' (4). The West is targeting China for failing to recognise that impetuous growth brings a terrible cost. The OECD intones that, in China, `Economic priorities have overridden environmental concerns'. China's growth is not judged by how it benefits Chinese people but only by how it damages the environment. There is no mention, for instance, of how transport brings benefits to China's rural areas; instead, the OECD recommends that China recognise the downsides, the `environmental externalities', of new modes of transport.

There is no mention of how increased availability of energy has made Chinese people's daily lives more pleasant. Instead, the OECD tells China to make energy, water and other natural resources more expensive, `so as to better reflect their scarcity value and internalise externalities'. The OECD also calls on China to adopt clean (and preferably foreign) technologies to deal with coal and waste management, and says China's environmental policymakers should focus on protecting human health, rivers, lakes, forests and animals.

Here, China's limited but important economic successes in combating mass poverty are obliterated (5). Instead, China's growth is described as being bad for health and bad for nature. Once the West makes China the subject of its scepticism about growth, there can be only one consequence: an insistence that China slow down development and direct it along `sustainable' patterns laid down by the West.

China seems to be learning the lesson. A senior SEPA official said two years ago that China's environment and energy situation `makes it bound to develop a recyclable economy and discard its traditional development mode characterised by high consumption of energy and resources, heavy pollution and low economic returns' (6). Official Chinese policy on foreign investment is now to turn down `high-pollution and low-efficiency ventures' (7). Yet even the obtuse regime in Beijing is not yet so wedded to Western sustainababble that it misses the logic of the West's outcry over Chinese pollution. It can see what lies at the root of the accusations that China is polluting the world: a desire by foreigners to boss China around (8).

We are witnessing the return of `Yellow Peril' arguments: a view of the East as threatening and polluting. In his milestone epic War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, American historian John W Dower noted how, in the nineteenth century, Chinese immigrants to America were met with unremitting racial antagonism. After Chinese immigration was prohibited in 1892, Japanese immigration became the focus of America's fears (9). From the interwar Depression to the postwar years, there was in the West: hysteria about Japanese militarism; outright hostility toward Maoist China, the backer of communism in Korea; and in the 1970s concerns about an emerging Japanese `superstate' (10).

In all of these earlier phases of Western delirium about Asia, worries about the growth or the militarisation of the East actually expressed the West's own sense of economic and political uncertainty. Yet today, the West suffers from an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy and unprecedented doubts about the benefits of growth. And it is this collapse of belief in progress, even along capitalist lines, that has made China's apparently unswerving commitment to growth a nightmare in the Western imagination. The West may salivate over the economic opportunities available to it in China - but since it is fearful of economic development and frightened of the very idea of more than a billion people, the Western psyche tips over towards nasty premonitions and an uneasy sense of foreboding about the Chinese.

Where earlier expressions of `Yellow Peril' fears discussed the Chinese (and the Japanese) as racial inferiors who might corrupt the world with their strange value systems, today's view of the East as perilous sees China as rampant and out of control, and a threat to the world through its smoke and smog and apparently contaminated exports.

The criticism of China is becoming increasingly shrill and hysterical. The London Guardian's environment editor John Vidal says China is guilty of the `mass poisoning of a people' (11). He says China's smoke and algae reflect not just its `dash' for development, but also the face of Western consumerism. Pollution in the East is apparently a reflection of Western investment in horrid Chinese manufacturing, and the fact that we in the West just can't get enough material things. China's environmental `catastrophe' is, says Vidal, `quite simply the product of greed. Ours and theirs.' (12)

We are seeing the rise, in political and commentary circles in the West, of a one-sided diatribe addressed to the Chinese masses. This is imperialist arrogance. China's physical problems with pollution are real enough; but a hatred for man and his works, both in China and back here, now pollutes the Western intellect. China's steps forward should be welcomed by all those who believe in progress, rather than being written off as `footprints' that are damaging the planet.


Australia: The market is the solution to water shortages

Water restrictions can be lifted within five years in all capital cities - and it does not require drought-breaking rain to do it. Charging more for water for non-essential purposes, using private investment to expand supplies through desalination and recycling projects, and allowing trading between country and city can deliver all the water needed. That is the conclusion of a report on the nation's infrastructure needs, released to The Australian. Prepared by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which represents government as well as industry bodies, the report includes a list of more than 100 priority projects ranging from road and rail links to water and energy schemes and schools, hospitals and affordable housing plans. The goal is to refurbish Australia's capital stock within the next 10 years and set up the nation for continued strong economic growth over the next 20 years.

The report recommends the appointment of a federal minister for infrastructure, as well as an office of national infrastructure co-ordination. IPA head and former Kennett government minister Mark Birrell said that, surprisingly, no broadly agreed list of infrastructure requirements existed. "This decade we have the opportunity to deliver on age-old plans like a four-lane highway linking Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, an efficient freight rail link up the east coast of Australia, the completion of the ring roads around our largest capital cities, renewing the stock of government schools across the country and replacing super-specialist public hospitals in every capital city," he said. Mr Birrell said a combination of healthy state and federal budgets, the scope to increase government debt levels and superannuation funds that were looking for investments opened the way for large-scale infrastructure funding.

The report suggests a two-tier system for residential water. Current prices would be charged for consumption for essential needs -- say 150 kilolitres a year. Discretionary use above this level for purposes such as lawns and pools would attract the full market price, which could be as much as double the present Sydney rate of $1.42/KL. Average water use around Australia is now 376KL a household, although many families who do not water lawns or have a pool use much less.

The report suggests expanding the market in water to allow trading between rural and urban uses, thus allowing water to flow to its highest value uses. Tradeable entitlements also could be assigned to large commercial users and competing retail water businesses.

The energy sector will require $30 billion-$35 billion in investment by 2020. A true national energy market should be established, starting with a comprehensive restructuring in NSW where the industry remains in government hands. A meaningful debate of the nuclear option is premature without fundamental reforms to create a national market. Government decisions are needed to allow a fibre-to-the-node broadband rollout within two to three years, the report says.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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


Monday, July 30, 2007

The jatropha gold-rush

It will of course eventually be found to give people cancer

The jatropha bush seems an unlikely prize in the hunt for alternative energy, being an ugly, fast-growing and poisonous weed. Hitherto, its use to humanity has principally been as a remedy for constipation. Very soon, however, it may be powering your car. Almost overnight, the unloved Jatropha curcushas become an agricultural and economic celebrity, with the discovery that it may be the ideal biofuel crop, an alternative to fossil fuels for a world dangerously dependent on oil supplies and deeply alarmed by the effects of global warming. The hardy jatropha, resilient to pests and resistant to drought, produces seeds with up to 40 per cent oil content. When the seeds are crushed, the resulting jatropha oil can be burnt in a standard diesel car, while the residue can also be processed into biomass to power electricity plants.

As the search for alternative energy sources gathers pace and urgency, the jatropha has provoked something like a gold rush. Last week BP announced that it was investing almost 32 million pounds in a jatropha joint venture with the British biofuels company D1 Oils.

Even Bob Geldof has stamped his cachet on jatropha, by becoming a special adviser to Helius Energy, a British company developing the use of jatropha as an alternative to fossil fuels. Lex Worrall, its chief executive, says: "Every hectare can produce 2.7 tonnes of oil and about 4 tonnes of biomass. Every 8,000 hectares of the plant can run a 1.5 megawatt station, enough to power 2,500 homes."

Jatropha grows in tropical and subtropical climates. Whereas other feed-stocks for biofuel, such as palm oil, rape seed oil or corn for ethanol, require reasonable soils on which other crops might be grown, jatropha is a tough survivor prepared to put down roots almost anywhere. Scientists say that it can grow in the poorest wasteland, generating topsoil and helping to stall erosion, but also absorbing carbon dioxide as it grows, thus making it carbon-neutral even when burnt. A jatropha bush can live for up to 50 years, producing oil in its second year of growth, and survive up to three years of consecutive drought.

In India about 11 million hectares have been identified as potential land on which to grow jatropha. The first jatropha-fuelled power station is expected to begin supplying electricity in Swaziland in three years. Meanwhile, companies from Europe and India have begun buying up land in Africa as potential jatropha plantations. Jatropha plantations have been laid out on either side of the railway between Bombay and Delhi, and the train is said to run on more than 15 per cent biofuel. Backers say that the plant can produce four times more fuel per hectare than soya, and ten times more than corn. "Those who are working with jatropha," Sanju Khan, a site manager for D1 Oils, told the BBC, "are working with the new generation crop, developing a crop from a wild plant - which is hugely exciting."

Jatropha, a native of Central America, was brought to Europe by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century and has since spread worldwide, even though, until recently, it had few uses: malaria treatment, a windbreak for animals, live fencing and candle-making. An ingredient in folk remedies around the world, it earned the nickname "physic nut", but its sap is a skin irritant, and ingesting three untreated seeds can kill a person.

Jatropha has also found a strong supporter in Sir Nicholas Stern, the government economist who emphasised the dangers of global warming in a report this year. He recently advised South Africa to "look for biofuel technologies that can be grown on marginal land, perhaps jatropha".

However, some fear that in areas dependent on subsistence farming it could force out food crops, increasing the risk of famine. Some countries are also cautious for other reasons: last year Western Australia banned the plant as invasive and highly toxic to people and animals.

Yet a combination of economic, climatic and political factors have made the search for a more effective biofuel a priority among energy companies. New regulations in Britain require that biofuels comprise 5 per cent of the transport fuel mix by 2010, and the EU has mandated that by 2020 all cars must run on 20 per cent biodiesel. Biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 80 per cent compared with petroleum diesel, according to the US Energy Department.

Under the deal between BP and D1, 80 million pounds will be invested in jatropha over the next five years, with plantations in India, southern Africa and SouthEast Asia. There are no exact figures for the amount of land already under jatropha cultivation, but the area is expanding fast. China is planning an 80,000-acre plantation in Sichuan, and the BPD1 team hopes to have a million hectares under cultivation over the next four years. Jatropha has long been prized for its medicinal qualities. Now it might just help to cure the planet.


In defence of golf (really)

Environmentalists claim that golf is a rich man's game that is scarring the planet. Is no sport safe from the eco-moralising of the whingerati? Comment from Britain:

As you might have guessed I'm no golf anorak. (I'm not sure what the correct term is for a hardcore golf enthusiast. `Golf ultra' doesn't ring true, but given their penchant for trainspotterish waterproofs, I think `golf anorak' sounds about right.) You won't, for example, have caught me glued to Radio 5 Live's saturation coverage of last week's British Open at Carnoustie. Nor was I particularly enamoured to see golf monopolising the sports pages of the newspapers - interrupted only by the obligatory Beckhamwatch article. I'm not suggesting that the press should ignore golf, rather that it should tuck it away somewhere less obtrusive, perhaps alongside the chess or the sudoku. In short, anywhere but on the sports pages. So no, not a golf lover. And yet, when golf comes under attack from a bunch of self-loathing middle-class worthies, I find myself uttering the slogan: `We are all golfers.'

I did consider writing a gratuitously provocative anti-golf article. You know the sort of thing. Ten Reasons Why Golf isn't a Proper Sport: 1) There is no PGA Tour drug-testing regime because there's so little athleticism in golf that nobody is sure how drugs might enhance performance. 2) Old people play it.and so on. It would have been a doddle. But then I found that US journalist Ben Alder had beaten me to it. After reading Adler's diatribe, `The case against golf', on the Guardian Unlimited website, I felt no option but to defend the maligned golfing community (if there is such a thing). Adler, you see, hates golf because of its environmental impact. `The construction and maintenance of golf courses is harmful to fragile ecosystems the world over', he writes. `Its proliferation as the international pastime of the leisure class is multiplying the problem, and its approval by governments and societies epitomises the wasteful and scurrilous approach to development that is replicated in miniature on millions of suburban lawns.' (1)

Adler is not the only person to argue that golf is a green issue. A coalition of environmentalists and anti-globalists has even held an annual `No Golf Day' to highlight the environmental damage caused by this heinous leisure pursuit. Inevitably, George Monbiot, the man who put the `mental' into environmentalism, has long opposed the globalisation of golf. `The proliferation of courses in the South is great news for golfers, and disastrous news for everyone else,' wrote Monbiot. `Peasant farmers are deprived of vast tracts of productive land, rivers and aquifers are shrivelling up, pesticides threaten both medical and ecological calamity' (2).

The problem with the green case against golf, which pretty much goes for the green case against anything, is that almost any worthwhile human activity, with the possible exception of composting your own shit, leaves some kind of environmental footprint. Monbiot, for example, doesn't just stop at golf. In a supremely silly article in Observer Sport Monthly last year he argued that pretty much all sports were helping to kill the planet - with the exception of frisbee (which, it goes without saying, isn't actually sport) (3). Who needs satire when you've got the rantings of George Monbiot?

If sports-hating green killjoys aren't complaining about golf's contribution to eco-Armageddon, then white middle-class liberals are bashing it for being white and middle-class. Take, for example, former Marxism Today editor Martin Jacques, who specialises in handwringing articles about elitist, white-dominated sports. `It seems an iron law that the more expensive and exclusive the sport, the whiter are its participants and spectators. Where the costs of entry are minimal, there is a wide avenue of opportunity for those with little or nothing, which is why football is just about the most democratic sport of all', wrote Jacques recently. `Contrast that with golf, where expensive real estate means that the cost of entry for a golf club is out of reach of the vast majority of those of colour. Cast your eye down the entry list for the US Open and it is overwhelmingly white.' (4)

I'm not going to try to deny golf's elitist origins or its stuffy traditions. I could, for instance, point out that the early golf professionals were working class; that, in Western Europe and North America, golf is no longer the exclusive preserve of the leisured classes; and that plenty of top golfers, like Angel Cabrero and Seve Ballesteros to name but two, come from fairly humble backgrounds. However, I've no doubt that Jacques would be able to wheel out plenty of Masai herdsman or Indian shanty-town dwellers for whom golf club membership is simply unaffordable. And he'd be right. In the world's poorest countries, golf is clearly a luxury.

But so what? Does that mean that golf's appeal cannot be universal? Even I, a confirmed golf-sceptic, can see that the game is capable of generating excruciatingly dramatic tension. Although the context is different and some of the apparel is a bit daft, the essential human drama of golf is easily recognisable. Sergio Garcia bogies the eighteenth hole. England bottle a penalty shoot-out. It's pretty much the same thing: a failure of nerve under supreme pressure.

The truth is that you don't have to be able to participate in a sport to enjoy or understand it. Most of us will never be able to drive a racing car yet that doesn't stop motor racing being one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. We might not technically comprehend why one engine outperforms another but all of us can grasp the concept of a race. One guy goes tries to go faster than the other - it's a fairly internationally recognised concept. Similarly with golf: although I've never set foot on a golf course (seaside crazy golf is as near as I've come) I can appreciate the skill, dedication and mental resilience that is required to excel at golf. The contest, the battle, the heartache of defeat, the unbridled joy of victory - these are all universally understood.

So, let's not beat ourselves up over the fact that Third World subsistence farmers can't afford to play golf. That's not the fault of golf but of a lack of economic development. Golf may not be everyone's cup of tea, but surely there are more important things to get worked up about? Indeed, when the ethical whingerati start having a pop at such an innocuous pastime, it awakens my inner Jack Nicklaus. So, give me a Pringle jumper and a pair of plus fours - and, I guess, a set of golf clubs too - so that I too can exercise mankind's inalienable right to tee off like Tiger.


Windpower, union stupidity and green lies

Comment from Australia

For those of you who think that our union officials are not all that bright, look no further than Dean Mighell, the southern states branch secretary of the Electrical Trades Union who recently forced to resign from Australian Labor Party. What makes this particular union Neanderthal interesting is the regrettable fact that he is genuinely representative of what is laughingly called the "unions' intelligentsia".

This union hotshot is so dense that he promotes policies that would impoverish his members in the dim-witted belief that raising the ratio of labour to capital creates high-paying jobs. As evidence one merely has to refer the statement he made several years ago that stopping the construction of gas-fired generators in favour of windmills would increase the demand for labour and raise real wages. This birdbrain and his fellow halfwits argued that centralised power generation doesn't create enough jobs.

That power stations are built not to maximise jobs but to generate electricity at the lowest possible cost is apparently far too complex an argument for Dean Mighell to grasp. In pursuit of jobs, rather than prosperity, these intellectual giants of the union movement - and the ALP - once met with state government officials and Pacific Hydro (a so-called Australian renewable energy company) to discuss building windmill generators with the purpose of creating more jobs. (The company had already built an 18-megawatt windmill in the state., the output of which has been greatly exaggerated).

According to the absurd logic of these economic and scientific illiterates, windmills create more jobs because they are labour intensive. So are wheel barrows and shovels. Does this mean that all earth moving machinery should be banned by law? That scores of factories should be set up to manufacture nothing but shovels and wheelbarrows? Think of the enormous number of jobs this would create. And think of the gigantic wage cuts that such a policy would impose on the masses.

I am deadly serious about this comparison. There is no fundamental economic difference in principle between sabotaging the building of gas-fired power stations and the banning of bulldozers. The only thing that makes them differ is that the latter proposal is self-evidently stupid while the union's proposal requires the kind of knowledge that most people do not possess - and that includes the dimwits who run the state Liberal Party.

First and foremost, what raises real wages for everyone is capital sometimes called the material means of production. The less capital per worker the lower real wages will be. It follows that any policy that raises the labour-capital ratio is a recipe for lowering real wages. And that is exactly what these windmills would do.

No the upper limit for a windmill is about 59.3 per cent. This is also called the Betz limit. What the Betz tells us is that it is impossible for any windmill or wind turbine to turn more than 59.3 the per cent of the wind's energy into mechanical or electrical energy. In English so plain that even a union official can understand it - wind power is dilute and that's where its diseconomies of scale come from. And diseconomies of scale mean rising costs, not falling costs. Another insurmountable technical problem is the scientific fact that the maximum power one can extract from a windmill is also proportional to the third power of the wind's velocity. This means that even small changes in wind velocity will generate huge disproportionate changes in output, even with the best designed windmills.

A 1978 British study will give readers some idea of just how inefficient these windmills are. It calculated that it would take 20 million windmills with 100 foot diameter blades to meet the country's electricity needs. For America, it would have been something like 250,000 windmills with 300 foot blades. How many windmills would it take today? Can you imagine our union activists climbing one of these monsters to fix a fuse? Not on your life. This is Australia, mate. (That the study is nearly 30 years old is irrelevant. Physical laws do not change with the passing of time).

Denmark is one country from whose energy mistakes Australia could certainly learn. It allowed itself to be conned by green fanatics in to diverting masses of scarce capital into building wind farms, much to the disgust of real scientists and engineers. The country is now in the ridiculous situation where its theoretical generating capacity is three times that of peak demand. Yet, according to a 1999 estimate, wind accounts for only about 1.7 per cent of electricity production - at a cost of about $AUS600 million in annual subsidies. On the other hand, gas-fired power stations have concentrated power and economies of scale, which means falling costs. By this means, the price of electricity is lowered. And that means lower input prices for industry which in turns expands the demand for more jobs.

Nevertheless, despite experience, scientific studies and engineering knowledge the Labor Government's energy kommissars are sabotaging the state's future electricity supplies by implementing so-called `clean power' policies. And they are doing it with the support of economic illiterates like Dean Mighell'. In the meantime, the State Liberal Party's economic illiterates are busy putting together its own green energy policy which will - if I have been properly informed - be tantamount to economic euthanasia.

*Any youngster with a calculator can work this out from the following very rough rule-of-thumb formula P =r2v3. So if the radius of the blades is 3 metres and wind power is 30 mph, output will be 243 megawatts. Should wind velocity drop to 15 mph output will plummet to 33.75 megawatts which amounts to an 88 per cent drop in output. Therefore the greens' claim that one can run a modern economy on windpower is a malicious lie.


Global warming policies for mass poverty

Comment from Australia

The newly formed Carbon Sense Coalition today described the Global Warming Policies of both Federal and State government and opposition parties as "Policies for Poverty". Chairman of the new group, Mr Viv Forbes, says that at a time when scientific and informed opinion was becoming more sceptical of the apocalyptic prophecies of the Global Warming Industry, politicians and the media were competing to propose the most extreme and expensive options to "solve" a non- problem.

"A coalition of big business, big government and state funded media and research bureaucrats is colluding to impose job losses, power shortages and increased costs for electricity, transport and food on the unsuspecting Australian community - a well designed total package of Policies for Poverty." "Ordinary workers, consumers and taxpayers will be sacrificed on this Altar in the vain hope that it will have some beneficial effect on earth's future climate". "Even casual analysis of the evidence will show that even if Australia closed every coal mine and power station, and stopped all cars, trucks, ships and aeroplanes, it would be impossible to detect any effect on world temperature". "Politicians seem prepared to impose enormous costs on the Australian people in order to achieve miniscule effects on a non problem".

"Professor Lance Enderbee has published graphs of mean temperatures from 27 rural recording stations in Australia for 100 years from 1890 to 1990. The trend is horizontal, with mean temperature in 1990 below that for 1880. This has occurred during the century of the motor car, two world wars, and massive growth of coal burning for steel production and power generation. Rising carbon dioxide levels have had no effect on temperatures". "A similar data set for six Australian capital cities shows a generally rising trend in temperature since 1950 - that is, rising temperature in Australia is an urban effect, not a result of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere." "Urban heating is caused by air conditioners pumping heat into or out of buildings, motors cars exhausting hot fumes, hot factories, millions of hot bodies, politicians emitting hot air, hot concrete and bitumen, polluted air, fewer breezes and less cool pastures, swamps and scrub." "This urban heating will be made worse by the silly proposal to replace electric appliances (whose source of heat and emissions is controlled in an isolated power station in the countryside) with millions of small open fires burning in gas stoves and hot water systems in every home all over the city."

"The federal government and five state governments have six different programs and models covering emissions trading, carbon caps, carbon taxes and renewable energy schemes. Each jurisdiction is rushing to set up new energy, greenhouse and climate change offices with hierarchies of expensive public officials to staff them. "Merchant banks are gearing up for the easy profits to be generated by carbon trading. Lawyers are preparing for the rush of new business from the disputes, legal challenges and shady deals which will follow the complicated sets of laws and regulations on carbon caps, emissions trading rules, conditions covering free permits, penalties, exemptions, offset policies, early abatement rules, reporting requirements and international trading rules". "All of this is creating a totally artificial industry living on the sweat of ordinary workers, farmers, miners, foresters, consumers, tax payers and shareholders."

"Every carbon cap or tax will increase the cost of electricity in every home, farm and factory. Every increase in power costs will drive one more business and its jobs to China or India. Every subsidy for playthings like solar collectors or wind farms will cause an increase in taxes. And every ethanol plant built will increase the costs of every bit of food on the table of every home in the country - all of these are Policies for Poverty."

"The long term effects on the community will be obvious, but different. Emission traders and regulators will get bonuses in their pay packets. The beautiful people in the leafy suburbs will cut back on cappuccinos. Grain and sugar farmers supplying ethanol plants will prosper. All other farmers and consumers will suffer losses as grain, sugar and electricity costs rise. Coal miners will lose their job. Factory workers will lose their house. Politicians will lose office."



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Global warming now causes chunks of ice to fall from the sky!

Is there NOTHING global warming cannot do? Global warming has become the modern version of witchcraft: An explanation for every untoward event

Large chunks of ice, one of them reportedly about 50 pounds, fell from the sky Thursday in this northeast Iowa city, smashing through a woman's roof and tearing through nearby trees. Authorities are unsure of the ice's origin but have theorized the chunks either fell from an airplane or naturally accumulated high in the atmosphere - both rare occurrences.

"It sounded like a bomb!" said 78-year-old Jan Kenkel, who was standing in her kitchen when an ice chunk crashed through her roof at about 5:30 a.m. "I jumped about a foot!" She traced the damage to her television room, where she found a messy pile of insulation, bits of ceiling, splintered wood and about 50 pounds of solid ice.

At about the same time Thursday morning, Karle and Mary Beth Wigginton heard a loud "whoosh" coming through the trees. The couple, who live one street away from Kenkel, discovered several large chunks of ice in front of their home and some smaller ones in the yard and in the street. "I could see where branches were shredded, which told me it was definitely coming out of the sky," Karle Wigginton said. He estimated the original chunk of ice was the size of a basketball. "It was pure white," he said. "The main parts I picked up were very smooth."

Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said investigators will contact Kenkel to try to determine the source of the ice. "It is very uncommon for something like this to come from an aircraft," Cory said. "That is really unusual if it is pure white ice, especially at this time of year." Occasionally, aircraft latrines discharge contents at altitude, resulting in colored chunks of descending ice. Airplanes also sometimes accumulate ice on their edges in certain atmospheric conditions, including high altitude and extreme moisture, said Robert Grierson, the Dubuque Regional Airport manager and a pilot.

The moisture involved in such a scenario could have come from the tops of strong thunderstorms. However, Dubuque had clear skies at the time the ice fell, said Andy Ervin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Davenport. "There was nothing unusual going on." David Travis, a professor of geography and geology and an associate dean at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, has studied the phenomenon of large chunks of ice falling from a clear sky. He said it's possible the ice could have been a megacryometeor - "similar to a hailstone, but without the thunderstorm." Travis is part of a research team that has documented more than 50 possible megacryometeor cases during the past five years. Some involve ice chunks the size of microwave ovens. "It is hard to keep something like that suspended in air without a thunderstorm," Travis said. Most megacryometeor sightings have occurred in coastal areas, where atmospheric turbulence helps keep ice suspended long enough to grow into large chunks.

Travis' research team speculates the phenomenon could be linked with global warming, suggesting that climate change might make the tropopause portion of the atmosphere colder, moister and more turbulent. "But those don't typically happen in the summer time," Travis said. "It seems like they are mostly associated with the passage of passing cold fronts."

Meanwhile, Kenkel will be needing a roofer and perhaps a new bed frame to recover from the ice attack. The one in her television room was bent from the debris and ice that plunged through the roof. "I am just happy it didn't do more damage," Kenkel said. "It could have fallen on my bed."


Green hypocrites

Post lifted from Don Surber.

The tax-exempt Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C., issued its annual list of the 50 dirtiest power plants in America. This is illustrated by a photo showing steam — water vapor — escaping from a cooling tower. Sigh.

Power plant emissions nationally are down even as electric generation is up. The report showed. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell 28% between 2002 and 2006. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell 8%. Carbon dioxide emissions — the stuff you exhale — rose by 3%.

Electric production rose about 8% in that period, using the 2% annual increase in electric use, as the same agency “Dirty Kilowatts” cited.

But of course, that is good news and the left is loathe to admit that things are getting better — especially on the environmental front. Said this tax-exempt group’s press release:

Dean Hulse, member, Clean Electricity Committee of the Dakota Resource Council, Dickinson, N.D., said: “This report is the ‘canary in the coal mine’-it points out serious problems that require immediate attention. The global warming debate is over. We are heating up the earth, and the burning of coal is one of the biggest contributors of global warming pollution. Beyond the burning of coal is the issue of coal mining. Although not discussed in this report, the mining of coal damages land and water and moves farmers and ranchers off the land. In North Dakota, keeping the coal dinosaur alive hinders the economic development of renewable energy, including wind energy, in which North Dakota leads the nation.”

OK, let this Washington-based group turn off its computers, its lights and its air conditioner because 80% of the electricity used in the nation’s capital comes from coal.

Hey, we can always go nuke. Wait, Tim McCoy suggested whale oil. Of course! Whale oil is a renewable energy source.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds: “Well, water vapor is a greenhouse gas …”


If Senate Democrats have their way, Congress may soon be returning to the days when politics trumped science in deciding which contaminants warranted a federal drinking water standard. Legislation introduced by Senate Democrats earlier this year to regulate percholrate - that may soon be considered by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee - seeks to do an end-run around a carefully crafted process established by Congress. The American Water Works Association recently explained the importance of the 1996 vote, noting previous practice by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was to "regulate contaminants purely for the sake of regulating."

FACT: Congress, in amending the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA) in 1996, unanimously voted to establish a process by which EPA would determine which contaminants warranted a federal drinking water standard. Current law states that to regulate an unregulated contaminant like perchlorate, EPA must find that:

*The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons;

*The contaminant is known to occur or there is a substantial likelihood that the contaminant will occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern, and

*In the sole judgment of the Administrator, regulation of such contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems.

Further, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in a very conservative assessment, recommended a safe level that is based upon a precursor to the adverse health effect which may occur at 24.5 ppb drinking water equivalent. The NAS chose this level to protect even the most sensitive members of our population from any possible effect of perchlorate. EPA has gathered data from 3,858 drinking water systems between 2001 and 2003. Only 2 percent of the more than 34,000 samples analyzed were above the 4 ppb reporting threshold. The average concentration was 9.8 ppb, well below NAS's health effects level of 24.5ppb.

EPA must now determine the relative source contribution (RSC) of perchlorate from other sources to determine if a drinking water standard will present "a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction."

EPA sought public input in a May 1, 2007 Federal Register notice, "Regulatory Determinations Regarding Contaminants on the Second Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List - Preliminary Determinations (72 FR 24016 (May 1, 2007)" on whether the regulation of perchlorate provides an opportunity to address a public health risk and how to best calculate the RSC. The Agency received comments from those who thought it had sufficient data to make a determination and those who did not; it also received comments from those who thought that data pointed to the need for a federal drinking water standard and from others who thought it did not.

The Agency must consider all of these viewpoints and the data it receives to determine if regulating perchlorate through the SDWA will protect the public health.

Dismissing this process, Democratic legislation seeks to bypass this analysis and demand the EPA promulgate a drinking water standard for perchlorate without all the data being assessed and all of the comments reviewed. Many of us may question whatever final decision EPA makes but the Agency should be given the opportunity to meet its statutory obligations, assess the science and propose a resolution to this issue. The proposed legislation prejudges the outcome of EPA's deliberations and bypasses the carefully crafted bi-partisan process that Congress put together in 1996 to ensure an open and fair system for determining where local governments will spend their limited resources.

The 1996 Amendments passed the Senate by a 98-0 vote. Is Congress really ready to throw that system away and go back to a politically charged system that that isn't based on science?


Biased Greenie TV show on Australian public broadcaster

Imagine the scandal if ABC TV ran a series promoting a controversial point of view that was partly funded by an advocacy organisation. We'd never hear the end of it, would we? Well, it all depends on the point of view. This is what the ABC is doing with its Tuesday night prime-time series Carbon Cops. This is a politically correct version of a home makeover program, where the presenters turn up and tell you the planet is doomed unless you change your house and your lifestyle.

Carbon Cops is produced in association with the ABC by FremantleMedia and December Films. December Films received $350,000 towards the series from Sustainability Victoria. This is a state government agency involved in advocacy and action, whose website claims: "Everything we do is dedicated to changing the way Victorians supply and use resources." There is no mention of this funding arrangement in the Carbon Cops program or on its website, apart from a very brief acknowledgement that the program is produced with "the assistance" of Sustainability Victoria.

Carbon Cops is at the cutting edge of global warming hysteria. It starts with this piece of emotional blackmail on the ABC website: "If you are at all concerned about your children's future . then Carbon Cops is a must-see." It continues: "We humans have caused more adverse atmospheric change in the past 100 years than the previous 1000, and the rate of change is exponentially accelerating." Both claims, put without qualification, demonstrate more certainty than the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Apparently, the energy use of the ordinary Australians who appear on the program "is creating an uncertain future" and unless this changes, "our way of life" is over.

Why did the ABC accept external funding to push this point of view? One possible answer might be that it's merely engaging in public education, because the issue is settled and all sensible people agree on what needs to be done. But the ABC itself cannot believe this, because two weeks ago it showed The Great Global Warming Swindle, a documentary sceptical of the premise of Carbon Cops. The online opinion poll held after the documentary showed 45 per cent of respondents share this scepticism.

So this is a controversial issue, which makes the acceptance of funding from an outside advocacy organisation unwise and raises some important questions. Would the ABC accept money from a coal company to fund a series putting the opposite point of view? Or is it only organisations with certain viewpoints that are to have access to the public broadcaster?

Interestingly, there is nothing technically wrong with what the ABC has done with Carbon Cops. Under its editorial policies, the corporation can't accept money from the private sector but can take it from another government organisation. The Carbon Cops example suggests this distinction ought to be questioned. There's an assumption in public debate that any point of view funded by the private sector should be regarded warily, because it might be shaped by self-interest, whereas anything funded by the public sector is pure and in the public interest. I have no problem with the first of these propositions, but the second is naive.

It's a fact of life that publicly funded bureaucrats and scientists have career interests that are influenced by the ideas and policies with which they associate themselves. Climate change is an obvious example. A large proportion of those now working in the field are in positions and organisations that did not exist 15 years ago. If it was confirmed that humans were not causing global warming, or that it was not a serious threat, most of those positions and organisations would disappear. This suggests publicly funded people in the global warming debate are just as likely to be influenced by self-interest as are people working, say, for energy or fossil fuel companies. They are all driven by the natural desire to protect their jobs and career prospects.

I don't mean they lack independence or integrity. Obviously this will vary hugely among individuals. But self-interest can occur on both sides of this debate, as with many other debates, and is not restricted to the private sector. It's time to abandon the assumption that public funding is always used to support the public interest.

The assumption is strangely persistent. One sees it in the frequent criticism of conservative think tanks and intellectuals who've received money from business. It's implicit in the ABC editorial policies' distinction between external funding from the public and the private sectors. Yet, as anyone who has worked in the public sector or watched Yes, Minister knows, public officials are human beings and often act to promote their personal interests or those of their organisation.

There was considerable disquiet some years ago when it was revealed ABC TV was taking money from the private sector to help fund some of its programs. This concern was warranted. We now need to be similarly concerned about what has happened with Carbon Cops. Ideally, the ABC ought to stop taking money from advocacy organisations. But if it sticks with the present guidelines, it should at least expand the range of government agencies from which it accepts funding. Maybe the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation would like a series on the joy of nuclear power?



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Yes, global warming really is man-made

Artifactual, in short. Post below lifted from Prof. Brignell. See the original for links

When you are trying to troubleshoot an instrumentation system (whether it is in examining a PhD thesis or facing a major industrial crisis) there are, self-evidently, two vital areas you need to address:

The physical process of data acquisition

The computational process of Data handling

The central problem with data acquisition, now that data conversion is largely standardised through advances in electronics, is the housing and siting of sensors. Sometimes the problems are glaring, such as caking with mud or salt, but often they are more subtle and veiled. Particularly difficult are cases where instrumentation interacts with nearby systems (see appendix below for an example where an expensive court case was averted).

Data handling is an even greater problem, especially when "intuitive" or obscurely argued methods are implemented. Even if we discount the possibility of deliberate fraud, the power of the human subconscious to influence outcomes is a known but difficult to quantify hazard, especially in computer programs.

In considering data handling for climate monitoring in these terms, we now have the advantage of new information on siting and a description, though not a perspicuous one, of alterations made to original data.

We have long known that there have been examples of badly sited monitoring stations. The late John Daly showed seven years ago an example of bad siting, while, incidentally, raising the question of whether the surface record was as reliable as we were led to believe and proposing improvements of methodology. Daly's analysis has not only stood the test of time, but has been vindicated by recent developments. The satellite record continues to show little or no change while the surface record shows what s alleged to be a continued rising trend.

Here is the satellite record:

While here is the surface record:

In any other field (with the possible exception of epidemiology) such a discrepancy would result in an international conference to hammer out which version was correct. When you take into account that the difference is responsible for a multi-billion dollar international industry and a world-wide raft of draconian, liberty-crushing legislation, the silence is leaden.

The new development on the siting problem is that a systematic investigation has begun, involving the gathering of photographic evidence. The results so far are disturbing, even shocking. This for example is a monitoring station at Wickenburg Arizona:

The objects in the background are large air-conditioning units. This is what John Daly wrote seven years ago about surface stations:

The only way surface data can be used with any confidence is to exclude all town/city and airport data - no exceptions. Only rural sites should be used, and by `rural' is meant strictly `greenfields' sites where there is no urbanisation of any kind near the instrument. Even when greenfields stations are used, those which are technically supervised (eg. managed by scientists, marine authorities, the military etc.) should be treated with greater credibility than those from sheep stations, post offices and remote motels.

This total and obvious common sense has been completely ignored by the Climate Change Establishment. An industry turning over billions of dollars does nothing to ensure the integrity of the data on which it is based. The fee Al Gore gets for one hair-raising lecture alone would more than pay the annual salary of a warden to look after several such stations. "Insouciance" is an inadequate word for what appears to be a calculated dereliction. You might even suspect that they do not wish to know the truth.

So, that is the data acquisition - what about the processing? We can get a description of that from the horse's mouth. Mental warning lights flicker when the phrase "high-quality" appears in each of the first two sentences. It is redolent of the salesman's patter - never mind the quality, feel the width. There are other warning phrases such as "several adjustments" or "empirical model", enough to raise the hackles of an experienced PhD examiner. But any such reservations pale into insignificance compared with the effect of the overall adjustment.

Not only is the total adjustment sufficient to account for a large proportion of the claimed temperature rise, but as a graph against time it is just the right shape to give support to the claim that the rise is post-industrial. Such a coincidence is more than enough to make an old-fashioned scientist feel, to say the least, uncomfortable

Global warming is a new phenomenon in human affairs. Not only is it now a major religion, but it has an associated industrial complex of a wealth sufficient to give it unheard of political power throughout the world. It presides over a virtual monopoly of research funding. The tiny band of critics have to work without resources and under a continual barrage of abuse. Experience suggests that those collectors of photographs had better watch out for dirty tricks, now that they are making an impact.

Clearly, global warming is anthropogenic (man-made). It exists mainly in the human mind and is manufactured from two sources - careless data acquisition and dubious data processing.


Example of a case of a system interaction problem (from Sorry, wrong number!)

I was consulted by a company who were having difficulties with their customers over an instrument within their equipment that was giving seriously faulty readings. The company was in legal dispute with the supplier of the instruments, who claimed that, when they were returned, they proved to be in perfect working order. I visited the client with two colleagues from my consultancy practice. When we opened the door of the cabinet the explanation was glaring. The instrument, which was not built to high standards of electromagnetic screening, shared its housing with large switchgear designed to control heavy machinery. Whenever a switch operated it induced large pulses of current within the instrument, causing it to misread. I advised that both parties were at fault in failing to communicate their specifications correctly and the case stayed out of court.

Moral: it is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a system to work correctly that all its subsystems work correctly.

EPA Chief Vows to Probe E-mail Threatening to `Destroy' Career of Climate Skeptic

During today's hearing, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, confronted Stephen Johnson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with a threatening e-mail from a group of which EPA is currently a member. The e-mail threatens to "destroy" the career of a climate skeptic. Michael T. Eckhart, president of the environmental group the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), wrote in an email on July 13, 2007 to Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI):

"It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on."

In a July 16, Washington Times article, Eckhart confirmed that he did indeed write the email. After Senator Inhofe read Eckhart's comments, Johnson vowed to launch a probe concerning the threatening e-mail. Johnson responded to Inhofe saying, "I was not aware of this quote." He continued, "Statements like this are of concern to me. I am a believer in cooperation and collaboration across all sectors." Johnson then added, "This is an area I will look into for the record."

Senator Inhofe replied, "I would like to have you look into this and make an evaluation, talk it over with your people and see if it is appropriate to be a part of an organization that is headed up by a person who makes this statement."

Following the hearing, Senator Inhofe announced that he will be sending letters to the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and EPA, urging them to "reconsider their membership in ACORE."

More here

Neighbors Say Laurie David A Raging Ecomaniac

Post lifted from Ace. See the original for links. Laurie David is a minor Hollywood figure with large breasts and not much else to recommend her. She is best known for advocating that we should "save the planet" by using only one sheet of toilet paper on the relevant occasions. The comments below certainly support the view that much Greenie activism is ego-driven

Actually, they say she's just a environmental hypocrite and a trashy whore. This isn't me talking; these are her neighbors. And they live in Martha's Vinyard, so they're not riff-raff. A cut above, you know. Capital chappies.

Actually, Laurie David has been creating one HUGE carbon footprint here on Martha's Vineyard for the last 6 years. Her disgusting and ostentatious trophy building has been virtually ceaseless for about 6 years now. The trucks and pollution stop only when Mrs. Carbon Sasquatch is here for her summer vacation, making herself the center of everyone's attention.

And I'd say the fact that I saw Laurie and her hottie but dumb building contractor, Bart Thorpe, holding hands while walking on a secluded dock to a boat yesterday, has a lot more to do with her marriage breaking up than the scratchy toilet paper she's forced on her family. I've also seen Bart bicycling in front of my house with a little girl he kept calling, Romy [Laurie's daughter is named Romy]. Bart, coincidentally, left his wife recently, too.

I met Laurie David 6 years ago. I didn't like her then. I don't like her now. She is the prime example of a spoiled, selfish, rich girl who says, "do what I say, not what I do". She is a narcissist and a hypocrite to the nth degree.

Hmmm... consider: Thanks to Laurie David's whorish homewrecking, people who used to live in two huge, carbon-wasting homes are now forced to live in four huge, carbon-wasting homes. Her twat, in other words, just doubled the carbon footprint of two families.

Global cooling still hitting Peru

At least 70 children have died during a spell of freezing weather in the Andean regions of Peru, officials have said. The children, all under five years old, died of pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses over the past three months. They lived in rural areas at high altitude, where temperatures in some cases are reported to have plummeted to as low as -20C (-4F).

Peruvian Health Minister Carlos Vallejos said almost 2,000 medics had been deployed in the affected areas. He told the BBC he expected the situation to get worse before it improves.

The National Civil Defence Institute (Indeci) has launched a campaign to provide clothing and shelter to the worst affected areas. The institute's General Luis Salomino said he had collected 300 metric tons of clothes and other supplies from businesses, individuals and government departments in the capital, Lima.

Forecasters in Peru are predicting the cold spell will continue until September. Even low-lying jungle regions are facing unusually cold weather, with temperatures dropping to 10C (50F).

Many adults have also died during the harsh winter, and thousands of people are suffering from pneumonia and other respiratory infections.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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


Friday, July 27, 2007

Renewable energy wrecks environment, scientist claims

"Renewable" energy isn't green. That's the claim of a prominent scientist with Rockefeller University in New York, who played an early role in bringing the issue of global warming to public attention. Writing in a scholarly journal, Jesse Ausubel, director of the university's Program for the Human Environment, has now issued a scathing reassessment of the "renewable" energy sources that are supposed to save humanity from pollution and global warming.

The climate change is believed to be caused by emissions of heattrapping gases from use of traditional energy sources. Meeting global energy demands through socalled renewable sourcesbuilding enough wind farms, damming enough rivers, and growing enough biomasswill wreck the environment, Ausubel argues. Biomass consists of plants and animal wastes used as fuel.

The solution? "If we want to minimize new structures and the rape of nature, nuclear energy is the best option," Ausubel said. But longtime renewableenergy advocates are skeptical.

Ausubel's paper appears in the current issue of the International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology, a journal that publishes many pronuclear power papers. Ausubel analysed the amount of energy that each socalled renewable source can produce. He also compared the strain on nature caused by renewables with the demand for space of nuclear power. "Nuclear energy is green," he wrote. Considered in terms of power produced per amount of land used, "nuclear has astronomical advantages over its competitors."

Technologies succeed, he wrote, when they enjoy economies of scalesituations in which largerscale production leads to more efficient production. But renewables don't work that way, he added.

Jim Pierobon, director of communications for the American Council on Renewable Energy based in Washington, D.C., said Ausubel's claims shouldn't be accepted at face value. There are valid critiques of some specific renewable energy sources, "relatively credible arguments," he said. But a blanket criticism such as Ausubel's "begs for a more thorough discussion," he added. "We think the positives [of renewable energy] stand up very well."

Ausubel's research focuses on a mix of environmental and industrial themes. He was an organizer of the first U.N. World Climate Conference in 1979, which played a key role in calling attention to global warming. He was also an originator of the field of industrial ecology, the science of interactions between industrial processes.

Ausubel said a consideration of each socalled renewable paints a grim picture of the environmental impact of renewables. Hypothetically flooding the entire province of Ontario, Canada, and damming the water would only generate 80 percent of the total power output of Canada's 25 nuclear power stations, he explains. Put another way, each square kilometre (247 acres) of dammed land would provide the electricity for just 12 Canadians.

Biomass energy is also horribly inefficient and destructive, he continued. To power much of the United States, vast areas would need to be shaved or harvested annually. To get the same electricity from biomass as from one nuclear plant would require 2,500 square km (618,000 acres) of prime Iowa land. "Increased use of biomass fuel in any form is criminal," said Ausubel, adding that every automobile would require a pasture of one to two hectares (2.5 to five acres.) "Humans must spare land for nature."

Wind and solar energy come in for similar criticisms under Ausubel's pen, but he praises nuclear energy. The full footprint of uranium mining might add a few hundred square kilometres and there are considerations of waste storage, safety and security, he admitted. Yet the dense heart of the atom offers far the smallest footprint in nature of any energy source, he said; nuclear energy, enjoying from economies of scale, could multiply its power output and even shrink the energy system.

"Renewables may be renewable but they are not green," he said


Tangerine offsets

Post lifted from Don Surber.

Ben Smith of Politico has the latest target of wrath from the left — tangerines. The wife of John Edwards said that eating foods from far away leads to global warming because of the “carbon footprint” left by transporting the food. She is swearing off eating food not grown in North Carolina:

“I live in North Carolina. I’ll probably never eat a tangerine again.”

Hmm. Wonder if her boycott extends to “Wendy’s,” where she and John spend each anniversary — except when John Kerry brings in seafood catered from the local yacht club.

I can just see Mrs. Edwards foraging around her $25 million estate looking for nuts and berries. Of course, she doesn’t hunt — what with her aversion to guns and all. Not all the Politico readers were convinced, as evidenced by their comments:

davenjan: “Yeah, right…and they won’t drink orange juice either. What a joke!!!!!!!”

eric: “Somebody ask Clinton what her position is on tangelos.”

Howard: “Are these people serious? Does anybody give a rip what fruit they eat? Maybe better nutrition in general would help them think more clearly.”

Chim Chim: “What about the bananas?”

Joey Libtard: “I’m shaking my Minute Maid Orange Juice in anger.”

Terry: “So are we safe from global warming now? Can I go back to using multiple sheets of toliet paper?”

rob: “Does this mean puss in boots will give up his hairspray?”

Art B from Woodland Hills: “Wait a minute… she should be FOR Global Warming… that way she can grow tangerines in her yard!!! and bananas, coconuts, and all other tropical foods.”

David: “I bet she’ll be buying Tangerine offsets in no time.”

Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner. Tangerine offsets. I love it. Remember, there are 2 Americas: One with rotting fruit in its back yard, the other with scurvy.


"This issue of energy and global warming has the promise of creating millions of new jobs in America. It can be a win-win, if we do it right." -Sen. Hillary Clinton, at last night's Democratic debate in South Carolina

And with that, Clinton seemingly stumbled into the classic economic trap known as the Broken Window Fallacy. As described by the French economist Fredric Bastiat, the fallacy imagines some punk kid chucking a rock through a store window. A bad thing, right? Yet a contrarian onlooker offers that the troublemaker may have actually helped the economy because now the storeowner will have to hire a glazier, who will make money replacing the window. Then the glazier will use that money to buy bread from a baker, who then might buy shoes from a cobbler. And the "multiplier effect" goes on and on, creating a more prosperous economy.

But Bastiat points out that such reasoning ignores the hidden costs to the shopkeeper, who was forced to spend money on windows instead of something else that may have had higher value to him or society, like a new suit or investing in a start-up tech firm. As the great economics writer Henry Hazlitt once put it:

The glazier's gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor's loss of business. No new "employment" has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.

It is certainly unlikely that spending money on climate change will be the "win-win" free lunch Clinton describes, anymore than natural disasters or wars are economic free lunches, even though they seem to spur economic activity. (Indeed, dealing with climate change is often called the "moral equivalent of war.")

Last year, the British government released a review on the economics of climate change, authored by economist Nicholas Stern. It concluded that we should spend 1 percent of the global economy every year to avoid the worse effects of climate change. Now even if you take Stern's numbers as correct-and many think he overestimates the economic risks of doing nothing-he still advocates spending $700 billion a year on a supposed problem, dough that might have a better return on investment if spent elsewhere.

If climate change "creates" 10 million new jobs over the next decade, who is to say those jobs would not have been created anyway, in the nanotechnology industry or healthcare or business consulting or some industry we have yet to imagine? We may need to spend money to deal with global warming, but to think of it as an actual independent economic gain is a stretch.


`24' Star Sutherland: `Global Warming Is A Crime For Which We Are All Guilty!'

Post lifted from Newsbusters

Remember all that media chatter in January about the hit TV series "24" being conservative? Well, likely to the applause of Jack Bauer's green fans, the producers announced the following Saturday:

"24," the Emmy Award-winning series from Imagine and Twentieth Century Fox Television, will strive to become the first television production ever to save enough energy and reduce enough carbon emissions over the course of a season to render its entire season finale "carbon neutral."

Star Kiefer Sutherland has already filmed a public service annoucement which begins: "Global warming is a crime for which we are all guilty!"

Think that will put to rest all the "24" is conservative nonsense? No, I don't either. Regardless, here's their plan:

Introducing the use of biodiesel fuels to power generators and production vehicles;

Previously, the show powered its electric generators and large transportation vehicles with diesel fuel. This season, the show intends to use a combination of petroleum diesel and biodiesel (a clean-burning alternative fuel produced from renewable resources), which should result in emission reductions ranging from 5% on the vehicles to as much as 100% on the generators.

Running all on-stage production activities on "green power";

Through the L.A. Department of Water and Power, the show will purchase all of its energy from renewable power sources (such as wind, water and solar). As a result, this "green energy" will be brought into the Los Angeles power grid from outlying areas, thereby reducing overall emissions and pollution in greater Los Angeles.

Rewiring an entire stage to use electric, rather than diesel-generated, power;

Previously, one of the two stages housing "24"' had insufficient power capacity necessary to light the sets and run the equipment, necessitating the use of supplemental diesel-gas-fueled generators. Twentieth Century Fox Television is investing in rewiring this building, which it leases, so that no diesel generators will be needed this season.

Integrating fuel-saving and low-emission hybrid vehicles into the production fleet;

This season, the show intends to incorporate as many lower-emission vehicles as possible into departments that require considerable road trave,l such as Locations, Transportation and Production Assistance.

Creating a series of PSAs about the issue starring Kiefer Sutherland and key cast members;

Kiefer Sutherland has already shot a public service announcement describing "24"'s commitment to this issue. This season, the series intends to participate in a series of PSAs educating viewers about climate change and offering information about how they can be part of the solution.

When appropriate, incorporating the issue of global warming and the importance of carbon emission reduction into storylines;

Posting information, resources and do-it-yourself techniques for viewers to reduce their own carbon footprints on the "24" page at Fox.com;

Accruing enough carbon reduction savings through these and other innovations to render production of the entire final episode officially "carbon neutral."

Carbon neutrality refers to a product having a balance of zero between the amount of carbon absorbed and the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere during the production of the product. Carbon neutrality is achieved through energy reduction, green power use, and purchasing "offsets" which represent investment in alternative energy and carbon reduction.

Great. Now one of my favorite shows has become part of Al Gore's scam. And I was having such a great Saturday.


The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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


Thursday, July 26, 2007


There is no end to official policies that are eventually seen as getting it exactly wrong -- though this recent one is rather tragic -- and when normal cyclic global cooling comes, official acceptance of the warmist scare will be seen to be yet another such folly -- much like that other famous Greenie false prophecy: Paul Ehrlich's "population bomb".

But I think there is always room for another example of official folly so let me mention one that has taken place in my home town of Brisbane.

In the old days, lots of people in Brisbane had rainwater tanks for domestic use, as the town water was rather "hard". Eventually, however, the town water improved and the tanks fell out of favour. But there were still a lot of them around. The local council eventually took notice of this and concluded that the old tanks were a health hazard. So it sent inspectors around telling people to pull down their old tanks on pain of prosecution. My neighbour over the road was one of those threatened and he did pull his tank down.

Now, however, Greenie opposition to dam building has ensured that Brisbane has a water shortage. So what is the council doing? Offering people $1,000 grants to install rainwater tanks! My bemused neigbour has signed up and reinstalled a rainwater tank roughly where his old tank used to be.

Betting that official wisdom is in fact official folly is probably the best bet in all circumstances. It is only official meddling in people's daily lives that caused the Brisbane rainwater tank fiasco. But the meddlers will always think that they know best. Don't believe them. It is almost certain that they will do more harm than good.

My FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog reports almost daily examples of know-alls who are getting it wrong. The whole concept of a "healthy" diet is fundamentally flawed, for instance. Who these days has not absorbed the message that a low-fat diet is healthier? The supermarkets are full of low-fat foods and the great sin of McDonalds is that their food is "high in fat". Yet a huge recent U.S. study of 50,000 people costing $400 million and lasting 8 years found absolutely no effect on health of a low-fat diet. Don't believe me? You can find the links to the actual journal articles reporting the findings in the right-hand column of my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog.

Groan! More blinkered vision from alleged scientists -- this time about rain and snow

There is no dispute that the earth warmed slightly during the 20th century and warmer seas do give off more evaporation and hence cause more rain and snow. So the guys below have just proved the obvious. And even the Lockwood paper concedes that most 20th century warming was due to changes in the output of the sun. So where is the "evidence" of human effects? It is non-existent. It is just faith

An Environment Canada study has detected the first direct evidence of human influence in changing global patterns of rain and snowfall -- including a significant increase in precipitation in Canada. The study published in the science journal Nature found precipitation increased by 10 per cent in northern regions during the 20th century, a change that cannot be explained by natural variability or volcanic eruptions [I suppose changes in the output of the sun are not "natural" variability, then?]. Human activity can be the only explanation for the changes, according to the study, co-led by Francis Zwiers and Xuebin Zhang of Environment Canada. "These are pretty big changes over the better part of the century and what we're able to say from our study is that a substantial part of that change is due to human influence," Zwiers said.

Zwiers and Zhang examined global rainfall data from 1925 to 1999 [A selection of dates well-designed to exclude prior and subsequent changes in climate] and compared it with 14 computer models. The study confirms the reliability of the computer models widely used to study climate, showing that actual changes are in line with computer predictions. But the changes are happening faster than predicted. [So they are NOT in fact in line with the predictions! Heads I win; tails you lose]

Almost all computer models predict that global warming will bring increased precipitation along the equator, with more moisture transported toward the poles, resulting in greater precipitation at higher latitudes. [The models predict that warming will bring more rain! Bravo! You don't need a model for that! Just boil a kettle sometime and watch the steam coming off] Changes in precipitation will impact the food supply and movement of people. Despite the overall moistening in upper latitudes, the models predict a drying in the interior of North America.

"We've run climate models over the 20th century. They simulate a certain response in precipitation that corresponds on the large global scale with these changes that we've seen," said Zwiers. "It has to do basically with a strengthening of the hydrological cycle and greater transport of moisture vapour away from the warm parts of the world toward cold parts of the world."


Hillary dodges nuclear waste storage issue

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, today blasted Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for accusing the Senate Republicans this week of failing to ask the `hard questions' about Yucca Mountain. Clinton failed to attend the last two EPW hearings on the issue. Senator Clinton was quoted asserting that the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) and DOE (Department of Energy) have been unaccountable to Congress because they have "not had to answer questions up until now because the Republican Congress has not been willing to ask the hard questions," according to a July 22, 2007 article by the Associated Press.

"When Senator Clinton had the opportunity to ask `hard questions' of Administration officials about Yucca Mountain, she was missing in action. In fact, Senator Clinton failed to ask ANY questions because she was absent from the last two EPW hearings on Yucca Mountain," Senator Inhofe said. "The `hard questions' now need to be asked of Senator Clinton: Why didn't she attend either hearing? What is her plan for nuclear waste disposal? If it's not going to Yucca Mountain, where will it go? If we're not building Yucca Mountain, do the electricity consumers get their $28 billion refunded?" Inhofe asked.

Under Senator Inhofe's leadership, the EPW committee conducted two hearings on Yucca Mountain in 2006. Senator Clinton failed to attend either hearing. There was a full committee hearing on March 1, 2006 chaired by Senator Inhofe and an EPW subcommittee hearing on September 14, chaired by Senator George Voinovich (R-OH).


Australian Left reverses under pressure: Now in favour of cutting down trees

KEVIN Rudd yesterday scrapped forest policies which cost Labor two key Tasmanian seats at the last federal election - and he sweetened the deal with $20 million. The Labor leader pledged support for the Regional Forest Agreement and the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement. This means no more areas of old-growth trees would be turned into reserves and locked away from felling - which brings Labor into line with the Federal Government policy. The key forestry union, the forestry industry and the State Government all welcomed the policy change. It was condemned by The Wilderness Society.

A few days before the 2004 election, Prime Minister John Howard was greeted as a hero in Tasmania by workers afraid the old-growth reserves preservation policy of then Labor leader Mark Latham would cost them their jobs. CFMEU forestry branch national secretary Michael O'Connor said then: "I would only say Mr Howard's policy is better than Mr Latham's." The industry anger was linked to Labor's election loss of Bass and Braddon in Tasmania and a seat in Victoria.

Yesterday Mr O'Connor said: "The ghost of Mark Latham is well and truly buried." And Mr O'Connor's Tasmanian counterpart Scott McLean, who cheered Mr Howard three years ago, shook Mr Rudd's hand after the policy announcement at the 100-year-old Britton Bros sawmill at Smithton on the North-West Coast. "What this policy does is finally put the ghost of Mark Latham to bed," Mr McLean said.

Mr Rudd said: "In the last election we didn't get the balance right, that's why I came back here to Tasmania very soon after becoming leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party. "In the period since then we've been consulting with the local industry, with others here in Tasmania, with (Braddon candidate) Sid Sidebottom. Our shadow minister Kerry O'Brien has also been part and parcel of the decision. "We support its implementation in full, and believe the implementation is necessary to provide long-term stability and security to Tasmania's forest industry."

The $20 million package for industry development includes $9 million to boost value-adding in Tasmania, plans for a ban on illegal imported timber and also a major study into the impact of climate change on the timber sector. Mr Rudd said the package was a fresh commitment to the industry in Tasmania to provide long-term certainty. "I'm here today to make it clear-cut where we stand in terms of the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement," he said. "Mr Howard is locked in behind that, I'm locking in behind that, I can't be any clearer than that."

The TCFA protects 170,000ha of forest, including 45,000ha on private land through the Forest Conservation Fund. Mr Rudd said Labor's $9 million Forest Industries Development Fund would help reverse the trade deficit in forest products. Another $1 million will go to a new Forest Industry Skills Council to build capacity for the forestry workforce. The $1 million program to fight illegal timber will support certification schemes for products sold in Australia.


Greens' energy tax would destroy the Australian economy

Green fanatics are talking about cutting emissions by a suicidal 60 per cent. I say suicidal because such a policy would be devastating for living standards. To cut USA Co2 emissions by 33 per cent everything powered by petrol would have to be abandoned. If the emissions cut was raised to about 70 per cent they would have to virtually abandon electricity production. In plain English: these fanatics and their media allies are demanding that Australians should destroy their country's capital structure and adopt the `life-style' of a medieval peasant.

Some greenies have tried to use the economic concept of discounting to deceive people in thinking that emission cuts would be economically painless. Discounting recognizes the fact that we value present goods more highly than future goods. That is why we have interest. If it were not so, then $100 ten years hence would have the same value as $100 in the hand. In business planned expenditures are discounted by the rate of interest to provide an estimate of their present value. At an interest rate of 10 per cent $100 in a year's time is worth $91 today. Obviously, the higher the interest rate the lower the present value of a future good.

When a firm, for example, is appraising a potential investment it can calculate its internal rate of return. If the internal return is greater than the rate at which it can borrow, the investment is profitable. (This, of course, is a great simplification of the investment process). Therefore discounting is used by firms to measure and compare future flows of benefits and costs in dollar terms. This is basically what most economic models try to do when they attempt to compare the costs of cutting CO2 with the apparent benefits. But this approach also brings into play the economic concept of cost. Every economist knows that the real cost of anything is not its money price but displaced values: those things that must be sacrificed to obtain the desired good. Economists aptly call these sacrifices opportunity costs.

Thus the real cost of buying a car is all the other goods and services that would have otherwise have been bought. To a firm, its costs would be displaced alternative revenue flows. The effect, and intention, of reducing emissions is to burden the economy with higher production costs. Thus the costs to society of these green policies will be lower productivity, more premature deaths, fewer opportunities for more productive technologies, especially energy intensive ones, fewer resources for schools and hospitals, the loss of investments yielding more and more better paid jobs, etc. And no amount of discounting can make these costs disappear. In fact, the greater the reduction in Co2 emissions the more savage the cut in living standards

If we focus on the firm for a moment we see that when it considers a potential project it will discount the anticipated stream of earnings and costs and compare them with each other. Should the costs exceed anticipated earnings then obviously the project will be rejected. A crude way of applying the same principle to an economy would be to try and calculate the alleged future costs to the economy of CO2 emissions, discount these alleged costs at a certain rate of interest, divide the result by the population to get a per capita figure and then subtract the figure from per capita GDP.

If the per capita GDP figure is $30,000 and the per capita cost is $10,000 then the loss of income is significant. (The figures are arbitrary and chosen for reasons of exposition). Of course, it will be argued that it's still worth the cost and it's only a one-off sum anyway that doesn't have to be paid at once.

The problem is that it's not a one-off sum - none of these figures are one-offs. Journalists who claim otherwise are liars. What is being deliberately ignored is that a permanent increase in energy costs will force firms to restrict output by eventually changing their factor combinations in a way that will bring operating costs into line with a lower level of output. To argue otherwise is to assert that rising production costs do not affect output. If this were so, then an immediate doubling of wage rates would not affect output or the demand for labour.

It clearly follows that the reduction in output becomes a permanent feature of the economy. Now a non-green economist could argue that there need not be a permanent fall in living standards or any fall whatever, merely a reduction in the rate of increase in consumption. What this amounts to is that part of those savings that would have gone into increased production will be directed into reducing CO2 emissions. In other words, instead of having a 4 percent growth rate we only get 3 percent.

This argument overlooks the fact that this policy would only slowdown CO2 emissions, which would cause the greens to demand more stringent reductions. This is because the greens' goal is to use greenhouse taxes to reduce absolute production and not just its rate of growth. In other words, the greens real target is industrialisation. In any case, it's ridiculous to assert that deliberately slowing down capital accumulation is not a cost to society. Any government action that forcibly reduces investment and consumption is a cost to society. (The Nazi and Soviet economies are graphic examples of this economic truth).

Moreover, the idea of blanket energy taxes and aggregate discounting for the economy are highly questionable, falling into the trap of what I call the tyranny of aggregates. By concentrating on discounting for the economy economists have neglected the key role that the market rate of interest plays in not only equating the supply of capital with the demand for capital but of allocating capital through time. Production takes time, a fact that no one would dispute. The question is: How much time? This is where interest plays its vital hand. If the rate of interest falls naturally, i.e. people are saving more, from 5 percent to 3 percent then this will signal to entrepreneurs that more capital is available.

By definition, this means that the discount rate also falls. Many capital-intensive projects that were ignored because the previous rate of interest made them unprofitable because of their highly time-consuming nature now become profitable at the lower rate of interest. Therefore the effect of market fall in the rate of interest is to lengthen the production structure by adding more time-consuming but highly productive stages to it. (This is what is meant by allocating capital through time).

Imagine the economy expressed as a right-angled triangle with a number of rectangles going through it, with each rectangle representing a stage of production. As the triangle gets longer and wider more and more time-consuming complex stages are added to it, which eventually increases the flow of consumer goods and services. Now take two identical triangles and then have one expand at 5 percent a year and the other at 2 percent. The one expanding at 5 percent will double in size in about 14 years while the other will take about 35 years. We can see that after 14 years of growth the differences in size would be enormous. Let us now superimpose the slow growing triangle A on the fast growing one B. The area outside A but still within B is what B would have had to sacrifice if its growth rate had been cut to 2 percent.

As B is now a far richer economy than A because it has a longer production structure it can allocate more resources to fighting whatever environmental problems it comes to face. This means that instead of imposing an energy tax on production economy B can pay for the environment out of general revenue. In addition, its rapid growth also means that advances in technology would be embodied in its capital structure. On the other hand, the cost to A of fighting environmental problems will be far greater. Greens can argue that there is no time to lose; impending doom in the form of global warming calls for measures now. And that the economic benefits from cutting Co2 emissions will greatly exceed the costs. No and No. In fact, the evidence against the existence of man-made global warming is mounting.

Antarctica is getting colder and accumulating more ice, and sea levels are not rising. The IPPC has conceded that the warming up to 1940 was the result of solar activity during the early part of the century. So the ice caps are not melting and polar bears are not disappearing. The Medieval Warm period - which was much warmer than today - and the Little Ice Age happened independently of human activity, indicating that even severe weather fluctuations are a natural part of global weather patterns.

In other words - don't let the greens panic you. Considering the amount of anti-warming evidence that is accumulating, I think people are being wise in questioning the motives of those who are using hysterical language in an attempt to bulldoze us into adopting policies that would destroy our living standards while simultaneously increasing government control over our lives.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Abrupt Climate Change

Climate alarmists are always talking about abrupt climate changes resulting from earth's rising temperature passing some ominous "tipping point" that triggers the occurrence of more numerous and severe storms, floods and droughts. One need only look to Al Gore's testimony of 21 March 2007 before the United States Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee for confirmation of this fact, wherein he states - without equivocation - that "droughts are becoming longer and more intense," but, of course, without offering any evidence in support of his contention.

To fill this gaping void with respect to drought, we here report the findings of Narisma et al. (2007), who analyzed "global historical rainfall observations to detect regions that have undergone large, sudden decreases in rainfall [that] are statistically significant at the 99% level, are persistent for at least ten years, and .. have magnitudes that are [mostly] 10% lower than the climatological normal (1901-2000 rainfall average)."

Working with the gridded high-resolution (0.5 x 0.5 degrees of latitude and longitude) global precipitation data set of Mitchell et al. (2004), which covers the period 1901-2000, the four researchers identified 30 drought episodes throughout the world that satisfied these stringent criteria during the 20th century. Among this major drought directory was the sudden and prolonged Sahel drought of Africa in the late 1960s, the United States Dust Bowl of the 1930s and Southwest drought of the 1950s (which also affected parts of Mexico), the strong and persistent droughts that occurred in northeast China in the 1920s, in Kazakhstan and regions of the former Soviet Union in the late 1930s, in southeast Australia in the late 1930s, and in southern Africa and eastern Europe in the 1980s, as well as the World War II droughts of 1937-1945 and the droughts that occurred over large regions of East India and Bangladesh in the 1950s.

With respect to the temporal distribution of the 30 severe and persistent droughts identified by Narisma et al., seven of them occurred during the first two decades of the 20th century (1901-1920), seven occurred during the next two decades (1921-1940), eight during the middle two decades of the century (1941-1960), but only five during the next two decades (1961-1980), and a mere three during the final two decades of the century (1981-2000), which is not at all what one would have expected if the climate-alarmist thesis that is propounded by Gore and his followers was correct.

So just what is the situation here? The scientists who performed the analysis note that the 30 major droughts they identified were "mostly located in semi-arid and arid regions" that "are naturally prone [our italics] to large fluctuations." And it's as simple as that. The 30 major droughts of the 20th century were likely natural in all respects; and, hence, they are "indicative of what could also happen in the future," as Narisma et al. state in their concluding paragraph. And happen they will. Consequently, the next time a serious drought takes hold of some part of the world and the likes of Al Gore blame it on the "carbon footprints" of you and your family, ask them why just the opposite of what their hypothesis suggests actually occurred over the course of the 20th century, i.e., why, when the earth warmed - and at a rate and to a degree that they claim was unprecedented over thousands of years - the rate-of-occurrence of severe regional droughts actually declined.


The British floods

The wise heads were adamant that the recent British "drought" was caused by global warming. So the huge floods now happening must be caused by global cooling according to their logic! But it is of course hatred of their fellow citizens rather than logic which lies behind their views. The article below puts British weather into a factual perspective -- showing that it has always had ups and downs

What on earth is going on with our weather? Three months' worth of rain fell in a few places last week, Britain is drowning under floods of biblical proportions and nothing like it has been seen since Noah got his sea legs. In a wave of hysteria, the cry goes out for millions of sandbags, better drains and more flood defences. And fingers of blame are pointing at global warming.

But a simple fact has been overlooked: Britain is a wet country. Yes, it comes as a shock. Over the past few years we've become so used to years of scorching, Mediterranean-like summers, when hosepipe bans were the norm, vines were bursting with vintage grapes and water diviners were doing big business. But the truth is that our summers are supposed to be wet: it's our climate.

The accoutrements of the British summer holiday were thick pullovers and waterproofs. You expected to shiver on wet promenades, "Rain stopped play" was the national mantra and sunblock cream was something for film stars and models. That is why the August Bank Holiday was shunted to the end of the month, because the beginning of August was so awful.

Of course, British summers weren't always as wet as this year's, but some were certainly worse. 1912 was the wettest and dullest summer on record, far ahead of this summer's downpours. It pretty much rained all summer, reaching a peak in late August, when a seven-inch downpour in one day in Norfolk left Norwich completely marooned in a sea of mud and devastation. Even that deluge is overshadowed by the 11 inches of rain that fell in less than a day on Dorset in July 1955 - about half of London's yearly average rainfall. The longest nonstop rainfall record in the UK was more than 58 hours in London during June 1903, in a summer when there was an epidemic of lung disease in farmworkers caused by mouldy hay and grain.

Farther back still were the sodden summers of 1845 to 1850, when jungle-like humidity and relentless rains triggered the potato blight outbreak that led to the great Irish potato famine, in which a million people died and another million emigrated from Ireland.

Rain is only the half of it. The abysmal summer of 1956 was an assault course of monsoonal rains, big floods, giant hail, houses set ablaze by lightning, howling gales and miserable cold. Just to rub it in, August was one of the coldest and wettest on record across Britain.

It is a very human tendency to blame someone for the vagaries of the weather. A run of bad summers in the 1950s was blamed on nuclear bomb tests, the rains during the First World War were blamed on artillery going off on the Western Front and two centuries ago it was the battles of the Napoleonic Wars that were blamed for upsetting nature. And now it's global warming.

But climate change was supposed to be making our summers drier, not wetter. Leaving that aside, even if we accept that the recent downpours are a sign of global warming, then a single wet summer hardly adds up to any particular trend. No, it's far more plausible to explain this latest wet spell as a natural blip in the climate.

If so, then which politician or minister is going to have the courage to propose spending billions of pounds on building new river walls, embankments, ditches and other flood defences? How will we feel about spending large sums of money on such big projects when next year may bring another drought - and the inevitable demands for more reservoirs, leak-proof pipes and desalination plants?

And let's not forget that an even greater threat comes from the sea. A recent study reveals that London and the Thames Estuary is subsiding faster than anyone had estimated; and with sea levels rising relentlessly, the Thames Barrier is looking increasingly vulnerable. We need to fix that problem before London disappears under a storm surge like New Orleans.

The hysteria over this summer reveals more about our education. The daily forecasts and news reports are all facts and no explanation about why the weather is behaving the way it is. The explanation for the past few days of drama is that Britain lies in a part of the world that is finely balanced between wet and dry, warm and cold weather. The dividing line is the jet stream, a river of wind rushing overhead a few miles high. This summer the jet stream has been very sluggish and buckled into big loops, leaving Britain drenched on the wet side of one of those loops. However, on the other side of the jet stream large parts of Europe are roasting in a ferocious heatwave that has killed dozens of people and brought wildfires blazing across Greece.

This European split has happened before. In the summer of 2002, a large swath of Central Europe was battered by rains that set off huge floods along the Elbe and Danube, drowning more than 100 people.

But there is another story about this summer that has gone virtually unnoticed. Despite all the gloom and doom, temperatures are fairly normal for the time of year. In days gone by, a wet summer would invariably be cold, even with snow in July and frost in August.

The prize for the most diabolical summer of rain and cold should be awarded to that of 1816. Not for nothing was it called "the year without summer" - this time of great storms, massive rains and appalling cold led to the crops rotting, the price of bread soaring and food riots breaking out. Some 200,000 people died of famine across Europe, which was then followed by a typhus epidemic. So, let's look on the bright side. At least we haven't got any hosepipe bans - and the reservoirs are full.


The warmists have hides like rhinoceroses

Here it is: The expected claim that the floods in Britain are a result of global warming -- quite unembarrassed by their previous claims that global warming caused the "drought" that affected Britain up until recently

Global warming is generating heavier rainfall over Britain of the sort that has triggered this week’s floods, scientists have confirmed for the first time. While it has long been suspected that climate change is contributing to increased precipitation over midlatitude countries such as Britain, research has now conclusively linked greenhouse gases to heavier downpours.

The findings, from an international team including several British scientists, do not prove that this week’s flooding is the direct result of global warming: it is linked to weather patterns that have been known before. It is consistent, however, with a much broader trend towards more rainfall, on which researchers have now found an unambiguously human fingerprint. “The paper is saying there is a significant human influence on global rainfall patterns and this includes an increase of precipitation north of 50 degrees northern latitude, an area that includes the UK,” said Peter Stott, a climate scientist at the University of Reading who took part in the study.

In the study, which is to be published in the journal Nature, the scientists compared recorded changes in rain and snowfall over land with changes that are predicted by climate models that account for global warming caused by greenhouse gases. The actual pattern of changes, with increased precipitation in latitudes north of 50 degrees, corresponds remarkably closely with the patterns that emerged from 14 different models. This suggests strongly that human-induced climate change has been responsible.

For the European region that includes Britain, the research team estimates that human activity has accounted for about two thirds of the observed trend. Other natural factors, such as volcanic activity, have also had an influence, but this is much smaller than that from people. Dr Stott said that the study did not examine seasonal trends, but that other predictions suggest Britain will in general suffer wetter winters and drier summers, rather than multiple repeats of this year’s summer downpours, though significant uncertainties remain.

It is currently impossible to say whether the current bad weather is a result of global warming, and more research is needed into the origins of such extreme events. “We looked at annual rainfall trends rather than any particular season,” Dr Stott said. “In the UK wetter winters are expected which will lead to more extreme rainfall, whereas summers are expected to get drier. However, it is possible under climate change that there could be an increase of extreme rainfall even under general drying.”


Are Democrats the Peak-Oil Party?

"We have to understand how weak [Iran] is," explained Sen. Joe Biden last month at the Democratic presidential debate in Nashua, N.H. "They import almost all of their refined oil. By 2014, they are going to be importing their crude oil." If Biden really meant to say what he said, that places him firmly in the camp of those analysts who believe in "peak oil" and predict that global oil production will soon decline even as demand continues to rise, with the results being ever higher oil prices and shortages.

Peak oilers contend that the Middle East oil reserves are vastly overstated. Some, the minority to be sure, even think that global oil production will fall so far, so fast, that western civilization will have to return to some sort of pre-industrial way of life. Here are some choice predictions from one well-known proponent of the theory, James Howard Kunstler:

"One huge implication of the oil peak is that industrial societies will never again enjoy the 2 to 7 percent annual economic growth that has been considered healthy for over 100 years. This amounts to the industrialized nations of the world finding themselves in a permanent depression...The future is therefore telling us very loudly that we will have to change the way we live in this country. The implications are clear: We will have to downscale and rescale virtually everything we do...All indications are that American life will have to be reconstituted along the lines of traditional towns, villages, and cities much reduced in their current scale. These will be the most successful places once we are gripped by the profound challenge of a permanent reduced energy supply."

Clearly, the members of the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory group representing the oil industry, are not believers in peak oil. "Fortunately, the world is not running out of energy resources," concludes a new report. "Coal, oil, and natural gas will remain indispensable to meeting total projected energy demand growth. "But the report does advocate that the United States do the following to meet a continuing rise in energy demand over the next quarter century:

1) Moderate the growing demand for energy by increasing efficiency of transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial uses.

2) Expand and diversify production from clean coal, nuclear, biomass, other renewables, and unconventional oil and gas; moderate the decline of conventional domestic oil and gas production; and increase access for development of new resources.

3) Integrate energy policy into trade, economic, environmental, security, and foreign policies; strengthen global energy trade and investment; and broaden dialogue with both producing and consuming nations to improve global energy security.

4) Enhance science and engineering capabilities and create long-term opportunities for research and development in all phases of the energy supply and demand system.

5) Develop the legal and regulatory framework to enable carbon capture and sequestration. In addition, as policymakers consider options to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, provide an effective global framework for carbon management, including establishment of a transparent, predictable, economy wide cost for carbon dioxide emissions.

My take: Between fears of global warming and higher energy prices, energy looks certain to be a major issue for the first time in a presidential election since 1980. Democrats already seem to have realized and are formulating specific plans, like Hillary Clinton's idea of a $50 billion energy research fund, or a similar $10 billion "New Energy Economy" fund that John Edwards is proposing.

The GOP isn't quite there yet as far as addressing this as an issue with specifics. Rudy Giuliani, as part of his website's "12 commitments," merely says, "I will lead America towards energy independence." Mitt Romney advocates spending "more research dollars in power generation, fuel technology, and materials science. It is in new technologies that we will find solutions to our environmental and energy needs."


Global cooling kills fish

Well, it's Southern hemispheric cooling anyway. Barramundi are Australia's most sought-after fish for eating

IT'S enough to make any barramundi fanatic reach for a hanky. Thousands of dead tropical fish - some more than a metre long - floating to the surface of Lake Moondarra, Mount Isa's main water supply. Authorities are blaming Queensland's big chill on the mass fish deaths, which have local anglers fearing the worst.

George Fortune, president of the Mount Isa Fish Stocking Group, said about 2000 fish had died in July. "It's been unusually cold for unusually long, and they just can't tolerate the low temperatures for any length of time," Mr Fortune said. "The barramundi come into the shallow parts of the dam to try to get warm, but they get caught up in the shallows, dying of the cold weather."

The cold snap affecting the whole state has seen the mercury drop to as low as 3.2C in Mount Isa this month. And the fish deaths have forced authorities to grapple with another unwanted problem: disposing of the carcasses.

Big pits have been dug to bury the barramundi, along with large numbers of sleepy cod and catfish. Mr Fortune said barramundi stocks in Lake Moondarra were down by as much as 40 per cent.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

China reveals Greenie hypocrisy

China's booming economy has made it the world's biggest polluter. So why is it exempt from Kyoto, and why are the greenies so silent? Should we stop buying Chinese goods to fight global warming? But attacking Western civilization is the real Greenie agenda -- so China is ignored

Pollution and greenhouse gases are China's biggest export. But you won't see that in any balance-of-trade numbers or hear about it from the environmentalists who recommend draconian restrictions on the U.S. economy and insist we all drive battery-operated cars. Nor will you hear from the global warmongers, including Al Gore, that China has officially become the world's No. 1 polluter.

China's emissions of carbon dioxide have exceeded those of the United States at least two years ahead of most international estimates, according to a report issued last week by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. CO2 emissions, it says, rose an astounding 9% in 2006. China produces 12% of the world's CO2 and 25% of its mercury pollution. In contrast, the Energy Information Administration announced that the big, bad USA's carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels fell 1.3% in 2006, while our booming economy grew 3.3%. We are using energy more efficiently and reducing emissions without Kyoto. Energy use per unit of GDP fell 4.2 % last year, and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell 4.5%.

While environmentalists and congressional Democrats have shut down our domestic development of fossil fuels like oil and even clean-burning natural gas, a new coal-fired plant big enough to supply every household in a city the size of San Diego comes on line every seven to 10 days in China, exporting more pollution to California and the western U.S. than even Gore's economic straightjacket could hope to eliminate.

As Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation reports, sulfur from China alone reaches 10% to 15% of the EPA's allowable levels in California, Oregon and Washington state alone. Estimates are that a third of California's air pollution and a fifth of Oregon's come from China. Sensors in the Sierra Nevada mountains have identified huge Chinese pollution clouds that traverse the Pacific.

As a "developing" nation, China is exempt from Kyoto - one of the reasons the U.S. Senate once voted 97-0 not to consider it for ratification. China would love to see the U.S. economy handcuffed as it races to make this century a Chinese one. As it is, our states and taxpayers struggle to clean up imported Chinese pollution.

Beijing has plans for 2,200 additional coal-fired plants by 2020. China relies on coal for some 75% of its energy and industrial needs. In 2006, China consumed more than 2.7 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity - almost double its 2002 rate. There's also vehicular pollution from 20 million cars on the road, a number expected to jump to a minimum of 150 million tailpipes by 2020.

According to the World Bank, the north-central Chinese coal town of Linfen is the world's most polluted city. China has 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities, and, according to the World Health Organization, 400,000 Chinese die prematurely each year from respiratory diseases.

Environmentalists are always suggesting ways we should change our lifestyles to reduce our "carbon footprint." Since a lot of what is produced in these pollution-belching Chinese factories is exported to the U.S., would they suggest we stop buying anything made in China until it cleans up its act? Greenies say it'll take a lot to save the earth. We have a place they could start and remind them that a journey of a thousand miles begins with an inconvenient truth.


A REAL climate denier

Post lifted from Prof. Brignell. See the original for links

Over a quarter of a century ago, your bending author was immensely proud to be offered a chair at the University of Southampton. Like much else in modern Britain, the honour now seems somewhat tarnished. Here is an apologia for that paper as a Letter in the Sunday Telegraph, which tells you more about the state of peer review than it does about anything else, and has a second paragraph that is a collectors' item:

No spinning here

I am one of the authors of the Royal Society global warming paper that you say is simple and fundamentally flawed (Comment, July 15). Simple? The idea was to present a straightforward demonstration, without recourse to complex climate models. Flawed? None of the three academic referees the paper was subjected to found any flaws.

Climate change is by far the greatest threat to everyone's standard of living. Unlike political parties, companies, media stars, works of art, consumer products and even social trends and national economies, a scientific reality is immune to spin.

(Prof) Mike Lockwood, Southampton University

I think I now get where the Lockwood paper fits in to our understanding of climate and there is no doubt that it is an absolute gift to climate atheists. What it said was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! This month's unprecedented cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards -- JR

Greenies war on fun: CO2 limits might kill Ferrari, Porsche

Greenies would certainly like nothing better

Are Ferraris and Porsches condemned to becoming track-day-only toys? Europe already appears well on its way to outlawing ultra-high performance vehicles. Can the US be far behind? That's the question Bloomberg is asking. The culprit in the attack on sports cars isn't necessarily their speed, but the fact that they produce too much carbon dioxide. But they do get criticized for their speed as well. One British member of the European Parliament, Chris Davies, is actually proposing a prohibition on any car with a top speed over 162 km/h (101 mph). That wouldn't leave much choice for buyers unless everybody started fitting governors.

The CO2 problem is the big one though. The European Union is planning to limit CO2 emissions in lieu of fuel-mileage standards. Carbon dioxide is considered one of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. While limiting CO2 emissions might be a laudable goal, the finger too often gets pointed at cars. Car & Driver's Csaba Csere is quoted in the article, talking about the fact that power plants and factories are where politicians should be focusing their efforts. "Automobiles always seem to be the focus, even though they only consume 15 percent or 20 percent of energy,'' he said.

While much of the article dwells on the anti-rich attitude that permeates these types of attacks, the writer brings up some interesting points. Some stuff seems purely intended to provoke reactions, and much of it feels like opinion over fact, but that's editorial content for you. Click over to read the whole thing.


GM foods gain support in Australia

POLLUTION and climate change have raised public support for genetically modified food crops, according to Biotechnology Australia. A survey of more than 1100 people across the country found that acceptance rose dramatically from 46 to 73 per cent over the past two years. Asked whether GM crops should be grown in Queensland, 50 per cent of respondents said yes, while a further 30 per cent approved, provided there were strong regulations.

Queensland is the only state not to have a moratorium on GM crops: 97 per cent said its application could help develop environmentally friendly vehicle fuels, while 91 per cent thought it could help address the issues of climate change and water salinity. Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the findings indicated a major change in public attitude towards biotechnology.


The latest gift to Australia from the Greenies: A croc invasion

THE northeast coast of Australia is facing an explosion in its population of saltwater crocodiles, which are protected by law but are becoming a menace to swimmers, surfers and the inhabitants of some towns' outer suburbs. The problem is so serious that there are calls for the country's strict gun laws to be relaxed and hunters to be given open season on crocodiles.

Bob Katter, an independent MP, said that crocodile numbers had reached "plague proportions" and the huge reptiles were moving into places where they had never been seen before. "This is unprecedented in human history," he said. "People should be armed. What do they want us to do - knock the crocs on the head with a hammer?"

Locals have reported man-eating crocodiles basking near popular swimming spots and boat ramps. In Cairns and Townsville they have even been seen sunning themselves on surf beaches. "There are some 50,000 people living on river banks and shoreline between Townsville and Cairns. If you're going into these areas you really need to take some sort of firearm to protect yourselves," Katter said.

According to Peter Guivarra, an Aboriginal leader, officials conducting a night survey along a five-mile stretch of Tentpole Creek counted "more than 500 sets of eyes. That's a lot and absolute evidence that culling is now needed".

The Australian saltwater crocodile often grows to 15ft in length and can weigh a third of a ton. An endangered species in the 1960s, its numbers have reached levels not seen since the first British settlers arrived in 1788.

An 8ft crocodile was recently spotted at Forrest Beach, near Ingham, moments before a carnival was due to start. It was the sixth such sighting on the beach since December. Crocodiles have killed about a dozen people in Queensland in the past 10 years, half of them tourists from other countries. Rebecca Williams, director of the Environmental Protection Agency branch, said there had been 17 attacks since 1985 and of those five had proved fatal. In one famous case in October 2004, a 15ft crocodile attacked two families camped by a river 190 miles north of Cairns.

The rapid rise in crocodile numbers is attributed not only to a ban on hunting but also to the decline of predators such as dingoes which eat crocodile eggs.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Monday, July 23, 2007

Greenie misanthropy on display again

Hatred of people is a major driving force among Greenies -- which is why they have been trying to stop people having babies from long before the global warming scare popped up. See e.g. here

The new head of the Science Museum has an uncompromising view about how global warming should be dealt with: get rid of a few billion people. Chris Rapley, who takes up his post on September 1, is not afraid of offending. 'I am not advocating genocide,' said Rapley. 'What I am saying is that if we invest in ways to reduce the birthrate - by improving contraception, education and healthcare - we will stop the world's population reaching its current estimated limit of between eight and 10 billion.

'That in turn will mean less carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere because there will be fewer people to drive cars and use electricity. The crucial point is that to achieve this goal you would only have to spend a fraction of the money that will be needed to bring about technological fixes, new nuclear power plants or renewable energy plants. However, everyone has decided, quietly, to ignore the issue.'

Such arguments give an indication of the priorities of the new Science Museum chief, an office that has been vacant since 2005 when Lindsay Sharp abruptly left the 150,000 pound post following rows about financial waste, cronyism and the 'Disneyfication' of exhibitions. Now Rapley, currently head of the British Antarctic Survey and a passionate believer [not a real scientist, in other words] in man's influence on climate, is set to take charge of the museum, one of Britain's most challenging institutions, where strict academic requirements must be met while competing with Legoland and Disneyland to attract visitors. Only by tackling the issues of the day can he succeed, Rapley said.

Hence his urging that we deal with overpopulation, a call of wide public interest and one that reflects the contents of the recent report by the Optimum Population Trust, which called for each couple in Britain to be limited to having two children each. 'A voluntary stop-at-two guideline should be adopted for couples in the UK who want to adopt greener lifestyles,' it stated.

The interest of Rapley, 60, in this subject stems directly from his climatic concerns. He sits near the extreme end of scientific views about global warming. He fears our planet faces a very hot and uncomfortable future. This belief puts him opposite climate-change deniers, about whom Rapley is generally vitriolic. He described the recent Channel 4 programme The Great Global Warming Swindle as 'a tissue of lies' while individual deniers, like Dominic Lawson, are dismissed in unexpectedly terse, Anglo-Saxon terms.

'As to my job at the Science Museum, my remit is very simple,' Rapley said. 'It is to make it the most advanced museum in the world. I will only be able to do that by addressing the key issues in science today and the most important of these is climate change and energy policy. However, there are topics like stem cell science and genomics that are set to have enormous impact and which will have to be tackled in detail.'

Rapley is passionate about making displays and instruments far more accessible. 'If you look at the Science Museum's great engine hall, there are wonderful machines on display but the accompanying explanations are quite often above most people's heads. Most children today probably don't realise these machines run on heat and water, but that is never mentioned. We need different explanations for different levels of understanding: the six-year-old, the 60-year-old, the PhD student. At the same time, there is no point having a few touch-screens about the place. People can only use them one at a time. One idea would be to send free texts to visitors' mobile phones, according to their needs, as they stand in front of displays. Just about everyone has a mobile phone, after all.'

The Oxford-educated physicist earned his spurs as a scientist who built instruments for space probes, such as X-ray detectors for the international Solar Maximum Mission launched in 1980. He went on to work at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory using satellite radar scanners to study the Earth and in particular Antarctica. 'All sorts of environmental issues lead to the Antarctic: sea-level rise, ozone depletion, atmospheric warming,' added Rapley, who is married with two daughters. In 1997, he was appointed head of the British Antarctic Survey and has worked there ever since.

As to key influences, Rapley points to an English teacher at his old school, King Edward's School, Bath, who introduced him to the works of Conan Doyle. 'I learned the joys of deduction from Sherlock Holmes and they stood me in good stead for the rest of my life. They got me to the Science Museum, in effect.'



A Russian environmentalist was beaten to death and seven others wounded on Saturday when a group armed with iron bars and baseball bats attacked their camp near a nuclear waste processing plant in Siberia. Russian media reported up to 15 people shouting fascist slogans attacked the environmentalists, who were living in the camp to protest against nuclear processing in the city of Angarsk near Lake Baikal, 5000 kilometres east of Moscow.

"One of the injured died in intensive care as a result of the attack," Ekho Moskvy radio station quoted one of the environmental activists, Olga Kozlova, as saying. Another resident of the camp, Marina Popova, said the attackers shouted slogans against anti-fascists. "From that we can conclude they were Nazis or skinheads'', she told the Vesti-24 television channel, blood seeping through a bandage wrapped around her head.

Environmentalists have not previously been the target of violent attacks in Russia, where skinhead gangs have assaulted and killed people from ethnic and religious minority groups in the past.

Itar-Tass news agency said the man killed on Saturday was a 20-year-old from the far eastern port city of Nakhodka. Thirteen attackers had been identified and four had already been arrested, said Interior Ministry spokesman Valery Gribakin. "Those arrested denied any involvement with any extremist youth group,'' Gribakin was quoted by Ekho Moskvy as saying.


Shallow breaths, save planet

By Tim Blair

IN A wonderful act of subversion, the Sydney Morning Herald's splendidly-named Stephanie Peatling this week managed to sneak a comic gem past her vigilant editors: "The greenhouse gas cuts Australia must achieve to prevent dangerous climate change may be substantially higher than thought, with modelling to be released today suggesting it should be as much as 95 per cent by 2020." That modelling was the work of a leftist panic hive called the Australia Institute, presided over by director Clive Hamilton.

I called Clive on Thursday to discuss how we might achieve this reduction, which essentially would require that Australians stop doing everything, including breathing. I also wanted to know how even a 100 per cent cut in Australia's carbon output could influence the global climate, given that we only generate about 1.5 per cent of all global emissions. And there's the matter of Chinese economic expansion, which easily counters any local reductions.

Let's say Labor's mighty Kevin Ruddernaut storms to power at the next election and adopts the Australia Institute's plans (not likely, but we're imagining a worst-case scenario here - after all, it's a tactic approved by the environmental Left). While Australia diligently spends the next 13 years closing down mines, factories, offices, hospitals, roads and anything else capable of killing the planet with carbon, the Chinese will have - if they continue at current rates - built about 670 new coal-fired power plants over the same time. (And lost about 78,000 workers in coal-mining accidents. The one-child policy isn't China's only means of population control.)

Alas, Hamilton wasn't at the institute's Canberra hut. He was on a break to do some writing, a helper told me, so had headed north to get away from Canberra's freezing weather. I hope he took his coat; it's barely any warmer in Sydney and Brisbane airport this week recorded its first sub-zero temperature. These sure are trying times for the warmenist crowd. (By the way, we know Hamilton owns a coat because last year he mentioned on the ABC that he felt tremendous guilt over buying one. It was too lavish, apparently, and Clive worried that his materialism set a poor example.)

Anyway, Australia's whole nationwide cold snap has been a beautifully-timed climatic accompaniment to the ABC's recent broadcast of The Great Global Warming Swindle. (Incidentally, Nine had first rights to the documentary, but instead handed it over to the ABC - where it became the broadcaster's second most-watched show of that week).

Radio National broadcaster Michael Duffy made one of the saner points in an otherwise weird post-show counselling session for traumatised viewers. Why, he asked, didn't the ABC put as much effort into challenging the claims made by the likes of Al Gore and Sir Nicholas Stern? Host Tony Snow's reaction was to dismiss the likelihood of having Gore appear but it really doesn't take much; the ABC could probably book him for $US100,000, Gore's asking price for his never-changing climate change speech.

Or they could just show his stupid movie. The good news is, for Tone and anyone else looking for flaws in Gore's Inconvenient Truth (and in arguments put forward by Stern, sometimes described as "the world's leading economist on climate change"), that you don't need any scientific training at all to realise these two aren't exactly expert researchers. For example, back in March Sir Nicholas told the SMH: "You can't export an American car to China: it does not satisfy the emissions standards." What a very odd claim. You'd think if China was so concerned about the health of its people, it would do something first about those 6000 coal miners it's offing every year rather than fuss over imported vehicle emissions. In fact, Stern was completely wrong. Cadillac, DaimlerChrysler, and Ford all sell US models in China. This has been going on for years.

However, a number of Chinese manufacturers are unable to sell their cars in the US. Reason? They do not satisfy US emissions standards. Stern believes the opposite is the case and actually repeated that line when addressing Australia's National Press Club earlier this year. Not a single journalist challenged him. Well, one tried but was unable to get a word in due to - and I quote the text message exactly - "left-wing wankers pandering to Stern". Which might explain why this Stern-like line from Gore's film has dodged any criticism: "We can't sell our cars in China today because we don't meet the Chinese emissions standards." Begs a question: If these guys can't get simple trade stories right, how can we trust them on complex scientific issues?

Speaking of getting things wrong, Tim Flannery wasn't amused by NSW Treasurer Michael Costa's recent labelling of him as an idiot. "My reaction is just lofty disdain," Flannery said at the time, although it wasn't really for him to rate the quality of his own reaction. This week Flannery revealed he may have been angered more than he let on by Costa's criticism (one of the few barbs ever publicly directed towards St Timothy the Bearded, who normally receives only loving praise - see above line re "pandering"). Speaking to AAP, Flannery upgraded those who question global warming theories from "sceptics" and "deniers" to . . . hey, let Flannery tell you himself:

"In 2005 the liars about climate change were winning. Today they've been vanquished . . . once and for all." So, liars are we? Flannery needs to take a holiday. Maybe Clive Hamilton has a spare bunk in his writing cave.


Greenies sow food confusion

A Brit tries to take it all seriously

There's this organic carrot, and it's doing my head in. It's a nice carrot, as carrots go: fat, orange, with feathery green tufts on top. It has lived a blameless life in a field of joy, innocent of pesticides and artificial fertilisers. And now, here it is in the supermarket, rooting me on to take it home. Only, here's the thing: the carrot is from Israel. That's nearly 2,500 miles away. If I buy it, I will take on its carbon footprint, garnishing every mouthful with the greenhouse gas that it has splurged into the atmosphere to be here today. Can I live with that? Does the carrot's organic worthiness trump the fact that it is has amassed more air miles than an MP on an international fact-finding mission? Or should I let it rot for thoughtlessly contributing to the destruction of the planet?

You see my problem. I'm food confused. And not just about vegetables. Fruit, meat, dairy - these days, everything is fraught with ethical complications. If I tried to follow all of them, I'd end up an oxygenarian - one of those people who eat nothing but air. The "good" food choices have proliferated like salmonella in an Edwina Currie egg - organic, Fairtrade, locally grown, free range, boutique, the Leaf mark, Red Tractor, Freedom Food, farm assured - some important, others just marketing spin. How am I meant to know what comes first in the pecking order?

Some choices are straightforward. Processed food clearly puts you on the fast track to hell. As for animal welfare, I won't eat anything that hasn't had weekly spa treatments. But organic? I used to think it was a no-brainer: good for the planet (no energy wasted on fertilisers and pesticides); good for the soil (it works with nature, rather than against it); good for the creatures that inhabit furrow and field (livestock, wildlife, farmers). It is also, arguably, good for us.

But when food miles enter the equation, organic quickly loses its halo. Getting an organic New Zealand apple from the tree to your lunchbox releases 235 times as much carbon as it saves. How depressing is that? And that's before you even think about seasonality. We shouldn't be eating apples in June, but we have turned luxuries into necessities, demanding strawberries in midwinter and nectarines in spring.

Of course, there are some things (citrus fruit, pineapples, bananas) that don't grow in Britain, and I would be the last to suggest we could do without them. I'm also not sure I could survive without spices, olives, tea and coffee. But there have to be limits, such as not flying blueberries from Chile in December. And where do food miles and seasonality leave fair trade? Supporting Ethiopian coffee growers is one thing, but should we really be importing pears from South Africa, however benevolent our intentions?

Home-grown is no less problem-filled: your Isle of Wight tomatoes were probably grown in a greenhouse that burns more energy than a Chinese power station, and that supermarket potato has been taken by lorry to the other end of the country to be washed and packed. Sometimes it seems as if supermarkets set traps for unwary ecoshoppers. You know those fruit and veg packets with a picture of a happy supplier on the front - farmer Ted from Hampshire with his organic fruit? Turns out they aren't always from his farm at all. Sometimes they aren't even from his country.

Still, at least you know where you are with meat and dairy. Stick to organic and free range, and you can't go wrong. Except that farm animals happen to be huge contributors to global warming. A field of farting cows produces enough centrally heated methane to drown out the sound of the icecaps crumbling. Then there's all the packaging, the energy-hungry refrigeration, the distance between farm, slaughterhouse and supermarket depot.

A brilliant book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, by the American journalist Michael Pollan, poses this dilemma: "When you can eat everything, what do you choose to eat?" Pollan works his way along the different food chains in the States, from the longest (which stretches from the cornfields of the Midwest through intensive cattle farming and processing plants to the fast-food outlets that blight every town and city in the country) to the shortest - a modern hunter-gathering mission in northern California, on which he shoots his own wild boar, harvests morels in the hills, picks cherries from the streets of San Francisco and makes bread with wild yeast captured from the air. In between, there is "big" organic - operations such as the American organic supermarket Whole Foods Market - and small-scale organic, local growers supplying local people and local businesses. The hunter-gathering wins hands down, although Pollan admits it's not that practical on a daily basis. Local organic comes a close second.

Pollan has thought about what he eats; he has looked at the contradictions and worked out what matters. It's probably pretty similar to what most of us want - food that tastes good and makes us happy, without troubling either our conscience or our health. The difference is that he has done something about it. We can blame the supermarkets and producers, but ultimately the responsibility for what we eat lies with us. The choices are confusing, and there is no perfect solution. But the worst thing we can do is do nothing.

There is a movement in America called the Locavores - people who eat, wherever possible, a diet harvested within a 100-mile radius (in cities, we're talking farmers' markets, allotments, small shops that prioritise local producers). Locavores have a mantra: "If not locally produced, then organic. If not organic, then family farm. If not family farm, then local business. If not local business, then fair trade." I would add a line at the beginning: "If not local organic, then locally produced." But I've decided the Locavore code of priorities is going to be my way through the food confusion. That Israeli carrot will just have to go home with someone else.


"Greenhouse" attack on China bad for Australia

There's a puzzle, a paradox and some amusing, and decidedly instructive, historical intersections in the rise and rise of the Aussie dollar, formerly known as the Little Aussie Bleeder or Pacific Peso. As it now grinds seemingly inexorably towards and past US90c -- and then on even to parity. Parity. Who could ever have imagined we'd see that again in our lifetime. Now, you'd be a brave punter to bet against it.

True, parity with the less-than-mighty greenback. That is of course a key part of the story. The rise of the Aussie is a combination of the falling greenback, against everyone. But also the Aussie's own, albeit more gentle, appreciation aga:nst the "thirds" - the euro, the pound and the yen. And why is the greenback sliding? Any number of factors can be cited, but in essence it comes down to one. The US's huge and entrenched current account deficits. There are only so many US treasury bills you can stuff away in the Great Wall.

But then - the puzzle - our current account deficit is just as large as the US's in relation to GDP. We've had more $50 billion deficits than Peter Costello's had hot - or indeed, cold - dinners at Kirribilli House. And we are going to have more (they stretch as far into the future as Treasury's statistical eye can see) than he now looks likely to have breakfasts at The Lodge.

So why isn't our dollar heading south? Simple answer: there has been more money wanting to come into the country each year than those $50 billion deficits. And in the currency free market the price of the Aussie rises until demand and supply are brought into balance and the market clears. Usually, with a little bit of help from the Reserve Bank, which is happy to sell some Aussies out of its - these days, virtual reality - stockpile.

The somewhat more complex question is why demand for the Aussie has been so strong. Every other time we've had big deficits we've had a weak currency. They were beginning to look endemic - hence those less than flattering terms in the opening paragraph. The answer is, of course, China, with again a little bit of help from the RBA. Not in the currency market but in setting official interest rates in Australia, and hence the bank borrowing rates which have been the principal means of bringing that foreign money into Australia. The combination of higher interest rates, the commodities boom, the strong dollar, rising asset values - property and shares - - has made buying the Aussie a no- brainer. To say nothing of buying, or attempting to buy, Aussie companies.

A $50 billion deficit might be big in our terms, but less than a day's trading in global currency markets. So the puzzle isn't really a puzzle. More of a question: how long does it last? How long can we sustain the unconventional combination of a huge deficit - stuck at 6 per cent of GDP - and a dollar that is rising in real terms against all major currencies?

The answer lies in a combination of what happens to the US economy and to US interest rates. Does it stay strong and rates stay where they are, or go higher? In the process staying the slide in the greenback, but leaving the US deficit destabilisingly high? Or does the US economy weaken, the Fed cuts rates, and the greenback's slide continues? With that wave taking our dollar higher. At least in company with everyone else; and indeed likely more of the recent past where the Aussie strengthens in its own right, on the back of our even more attractive interest rates?

Whatever the outcome by, say, mid- 2008, there is enough all-round momentum to carry our dollar well into the 90s at least. And that points to the single greatest lesson of exchange rate history, ours and everyone else's: you always overshoot.

Enter the paradox. The core driver of our rising dollar - and pretty much everything else in and around our economy - is the explosive growth in China's demand for, and consumption of, commodities. Principally, so far as we are concerned, iron ore to make steel and coal to generate power. Along with pretty much everything else - globally importantly, oil and copper.

In short, not to put too fine a point on it: our dollar is pivoting on a truly momentous eruption of greenhouse gases. Yet we and the world are - at least hypothetically - committed to not just capping that eruption, but reversing it. Let me spell that out a little more specifically. We have a dollar challenging conventional currency gravity; on the promise of pumping more and more commodities into the Chinese "greenhouse gas factory". Yet we want to in effect burn that factory down.

Add on the certainty that even on the assumption that the factory keeps on belching, our dollar will overshoot; what happens if we actually "succeed" in persuading China to please let us leave all the stuff in the ground? We have a rising dollar despite a $50 billion deficit because of the promise of China's exploding future demand.

What happens to the dollar if the deficit increases dramatically because export prices and/or volumes fall and the China promise evaporates? For some guidance, go to the history. If we do reach parity with the greenback, it will be the first time in the PK era. PK era? Post-Keating. The last time a dollar bought a dollar was when hardly anyone out there even knew Keating existed. In the wake of the week's events - rather amusingly when John Howard was treasurer - back in the early 1980s.

It did approach parity in the PK era, just after "his Howard", Bob Hawke, ended the drought, when in early 1984 it approached US97c. The last time it was flirting with today's levels was in early 1989 when it peaked just shy of that figure. Between those two peaks came "banana republic", when after Keating's famous exhortation in mid-1986 it dropped to US60c and below 50 on the TWI (trade weighed index). It's now, incidentally, at just over 70 on the TWI - the measure of its overall value against the currencies of our major trading partners.

Those dates and peaks and troughs are instructive on two counts. They indicate just exactly how the currency does overshoot - going too high and too low. And how quickly that can happen. In little more than two years the Aussie dropped 38 per cent against the greenback and 41 per cent in TWI terms. And then in less than three years jumped 49 per cent against the greenback and 34 per cent in TWI terms. This time it's supposed to be different.

What China is doing to commodities and the global economy is unprecedented. What really would be different is if we quite deliberately set out to destroy the foundation on which our contemporary prosperity is built. To say nothing of what it would do to a dollar that had, as always, overshot on the high side.

The above article by financial journalist Terry McCrann appeared in "The Australian" on July 21, 2007


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Up against the warming zealots

Martin Durkin says his British documentary rejecting the idea of human-caused global warming has survived last week's roasting by Australia's public broadcaster

WHEN I agreed to make The Great Global Warming Swindle, I was warned a middle-class fatwa would be placed on my head. So I wasn't shocked that the film was attacked on the same night it was broadcast on ABC television last week, although I was impressed at the vehemence of the attack. I was more surprised, and delighted, by the response of the Australian public.

The ABC studio assault, led by Tony Jones, was so vitriolic it appears to have backfired. We have been inundated with messages of support, and the ABC, I am told, has been flooded with complaints. I have been trying to understand why.

First, the ferocity of the attack, I think, revealed the intolerance and defensiveness of the global warming camp. Why were Jones and co expending such energy and resources attacking one documentary? We are told the global warming theory is robust. They say you'd have to be off your chump to disagree. We have been assured for years, in countless news broadcasts and column inches, that it's definitely true. So why bother to stamp so aggressively on the one foolish documentary-maker - who clearly must be as mad as a snake - who steps out of line? I think viewers may also have wondered (reasonably) why the theory of global warming has not been subjected to this barrage of critical scrutiny by the media. After all, it's the theory of global warming, not my foolish little film, that is turning public and corporate policy on its head.

The apparent unwillingness of Jones and others at the ABC to give airtime to a counterargument, the tactics used to minimise the ostensible damage done by the film, the evident animosity towards those who questioned global warming: all of this served to give viewers a glimpse of what it was like for scientists who dared to disagree with the hallowed doctrine.

Why are the global warmers so zealous? After a year of arguing with people about this, I am convinced that it's because global warming is first and foremost a political theory. It is an expression of a whole middle-class political world view. This view is summed up in the oft-repeated phrase "we consume too much". I have also come to the conclusion that this is code for "they consume too much". People who believe it tend also to think that exotic foreign places are being ruined because vulgar oiks can afford to go there in significant numbers, they hate plastic toys from factories and prefer wooden ones from craftsmen, and so on.

All this backward-looking bigotry has found perfect expression in the idea of man-made climate disaster. It has cohered a bunch of disparate reactionary prejudices (anti-car, anti-supermarkets, anti-globalisation) into a single unquestionable truth and cause. So when you have a dig at global warming, you commit a grievous breach of social etiquette. Among the chattering classes you're a leper.

But why are the supporters of global warming so defensive? After all, the middle classes are usually confident, bordering on smug. As I found when I examined the basic data, they have plenty to be defensive about. Billions of dollars of public money have been thrown at global warming, yet the hypothesis is crumbling around their ears.

To the utter dismay of the global warming lobby, the world does not appear to be getting warmer. According to their own figures (from the UN-linked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the temperature has been static or slightly declining since 1998. The satellite data confirms this. This is clearly awkward. The least one should expect of global warming is that the Earth should be getting warmer.

Then there's the ice-core data, the jewel in the crown of global warming theory. It shows there's a connection between carbon dioxide and temperature: see Al Gore's movie. But what Gore forgets to mention is that the connection is the wrong way around; temperature leads, CO2 follows.

Then there's the precious "hockey stick". This was the famous graph that purported to show global temperature flat-lining for 1000 years, then rising during the 19th and 20th centuries. It magicked away the Medieval warm period and made the recent warming look alarming, instead of just part of the general toing and froing of the Earth's climate. But then researchers took the computer program that produced the hockey stick graph and fed it random data. Bingo, out popped hockey stick shapes every time. (See the report by Edward Wegman of George Mason University in Virginia and others.) In a humiliating climb down, the IPCC has had to drop the hockey stick from its reports, though it can still be seen in Gore's movie.

And finally, there are those pesky satellites. If greenhouse gases were the cause of warming, then the rate of warming should have been greater, higher up in the Earth's atmosphere (the bit known as the troposphere). But all the satellite and balloon data says the exact opposite. In other words, the best observational data we have flatly contradicts the whole bally idea of man-made climate change.

They concede that CO2 cannot have caused the warming at the beginning of the 20th century, which was greater and steeper than the recent warming. They can't explain the cooling from 1940 to the mid-'70s. What are they left with? Some mild warming in the '80s and '90s that does not appear to have been caused by greenhouse gases. The whole damned theory is in tatters. No wonder they're defensive.

The man-made global warming parade, on one level, has been a phenomenal success. There isn't a political party or important public body or large corporation that doesn't feel compelled to pay lip service. There are scientists and journalists (a surprising number) who have built careers championing the cause. There's more money going into global warming research than there is chasing a cure for cancer. Many important people and institutions have staked their reputations on it. There's a lot riding on this theory. And it has bugger-all to do with sea levels. That is why the warmers greeted my film with red glowing eyes.

Last week on the ABC they closed ranks. They were not interested in a genuine debate. They wanted to shut it down. And thousands of wonderful, sane, bolshie Australian viewers saw right through it. God bless Australia. The DVD will be out soon.


Carbon Offsets - Buyer Beware

A strong smell of fraud

Congress began investigating the carbon offset industry this week. The inquiry could produce some "inconvenient truths" for Al Gore and the nascent offset industry.

Carbon offsets ostensibly allow buyers to expunge their consciences of the new eco-sin of using energy derived from fossil fuels. Worried about the 8 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted each year by your SUV? Similar to the indulgences offered by Pope Leo X in the 16th century, you can absolve yourself of sin by purchasing $96 worth of CO2 offsets - typically offered at $12 per ton of CO2 emitted - from offset brokers who, in turn, supposedly use your cash to pay someone else to produce electricity with low or no CO2 emissions.

Last year, offsets representing 23.7 million tons of CO2 were sold to businesses and consumers. Sounds like a lot of CO2 emissions were avoided, except when you consider that annual natural emissions of CO2 amount to hundreds of billions of tons.

The physical world aside, the CO2 offset marketplace itself is questionable - hence this week's congressional hearing entitled, "Voluntary Carbon Offsets: Getting What You Pay For." The hearing is particularly notable since it was called by a Democrat-run Congress, concerned that global warming alarmism is being jeopardized by dubious marketing and consumer rip-offs involving offsets.

A prime example of dubious offset marketing involves Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." The movie's producers, Paramount Classics and Participant Productions, announced that they purchased offsets from broker NativeEnergy to compensate for 100 percent of the CO2 emissions from the air and ground transportation, hotel use, and production and promotional activities associated with the movie. So how many offsets supposedly compensated for the CO2 sins of Al Gore and the dozens of individuals credited with producing a movie shot in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Beijing? According to a Web site release from NativeEnergy - which has since been removed - it only cost 40 tons of offsets (worth about $480) to make "An Inconvenient Truth" carbon neutral.

It's an absurdly low figure given that the making of a 30-second television commercial can easily produce 50 tons and the movie "Syriana" - another NativeEnergy project - was supposedly offset with 2,040 tons worth of offsets. When I called NativeEnergy to inquire about the 40-ton figure and the Web page that mysteriously disappeared, I was rebuffed and told that the company "does not share information about its clients without their consent." This immediately made me wonder why the producers of "An Inconvenient Truth" either withheld or revoked their consent since so many of NativeEnergy's other clients' offset purchases are so prominently touted on the company's web site.

NativeEnergy told me I would have to go through Paramount's legal department to obtain the necessary consent. Despite repeated attempts, Paramount never returned my calls - quite odd given the Oscar-winning producers' mission and audacious self-acclaim of pioneer status as the world's first carbon-neutral documentary. NativeEnergy still boasts on its web site about offsetting "100 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution" associated with "An Inconvenient Truth" - but there's still no mention - let alone any "carbon accounting" - of what that "100 percent" actually represents.

There is reason to explore this issue further than just the spotlighting of more Al Gore-related hypocrisy - the climate alarmist community is even concerned about the offset racket. As recently reported on the left-wing web site Grist.org (http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/6/19/123649/857), it's worthwhile asking whether carbon offsets are offsetting anything at all. According to the Grist article, NativeEnergy is selling offsets that are supposed to be helping to pay for wind-generated electricity supplied by the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) to 52 Alaskan villages.

When the Grist reporter first interviewed an AVEC official, the money received from NativeEnergy was described as a "bonus" - a potential problem given that the agreement between AVEC and NativeEnergy requires that the offsets are "a significant contributor to economic viability and the seller's efforts to build additional wind capacity." AVEC and NativeEnergy have since backed off the "bonus" characterization, according to the Grist article.

While acknowledging the possibility of a slip of the tongue on the part of the AVEC official, the Grist reporter raised the salient point - presumably because of the black box-nature of CO2 offsets - that we will never actually know whether the offsets purchased through NativeEnergy were used to produce any wind power or reduce any CO2 emissions.

NativeEnergy sells offsets to the public at a cost of $12/ton. But how much of that price goes to reduce CO2 emissions versus NativeEnergy's pockets? A recent CNNMoney article reported that NativeEnergy raised $250,000 to pay for 50,000 tons of CO2 reductions on South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux tribe reservation - that is, as little as $5/ton may go toward emissions reduction. A gross profit margin of $7/ton for NativeEnergy is not bad, especially since there appears to be little follow-up and verification as to whether the consumer's goal of reducing CO2 emissions are actually accomplished.

Finally, taxpayers provide additional support for projects in which NativeEnergy is involved - the Department of Energy contributed more than $448,000 to the Rosebud Sioux project. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave AVEC $2.5 million for wind turbines. A Capitol Hill staffer told me that the congressional inquiry would look into the possibility of "double-dipping" in the offset industry.

There's an awful lot of consumer and taxpayer money flying around offset-related projects with little, if any, accountability. On one hand, it's good that Congress, in the name of consumer protection, has commenced an investigation of "the efficacy and accounting of these unregulated commodities." On the other hand, only time will tell if a Congress controlled by the global warming lobby will conduct a bona fide investigation that risks discrediting one of its major themes.



U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe increased his own alert Wednesday on an ozone proposal, warning "virtually the entire state" of Oklahoma would fail to meet new air quality standards suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency. Last month, the Oklahoma Republican's initial warning covered only Tulsa and a dozen other Oklahoma counties. Inhofe announced his broader assessment at a subcommittee hearing on the proposed smog regulations whose witnesses included EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

In his opening remarks, he directed Johnson's attention to a map showing the "tremendous progress" Oklahoma has made in cleaning up its air. "Not a single county in Oklahoma is in violation of the ozone standards. Not a single one, Mr. Administrator," Inhofe said. "Yet your proposal will put virtually the entire state into non-attainment. How is it that EPA last year considered states like Oklahoma to have clean air that was healthy to breathe, yet next year it will consider the air unhealthy, even as their pollution levels continue to plummet?"

In an interview following the hearing, the senator explained why he upped the ante on EPA's proposal to include the entire state. He said the original list covered only counties where monitors are located, adding those counties would be considered out of attainment immediately under the proposed regulations. "The monitors are scattered out. They are not all in one area," Inhofe said. "In almost every case, the surrounding counties (of those monitored) would be included."

He said with the possible exception of Cimarron and Texas counties, located in the state's Panhandle, the entire state would be in nonattainment. "It would happen pretty quick," the senator said. As the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe routinely takes the lead on such issues for his party. "I am embarrassed," he conceded. "You would think as the ranking member I could do something about this."

Inhofe expressed regret that he was no longer chairman of that key committee. "Quite frankly, if the Democrats had not taken control and I were still chairman of the committee I would seriously doubt we would have that problem," he said. Inhofe also accused EPA of not enforcing current regulations uniformly and pointed to the area of southern California as proof.

When asked, EPA did not respond directly to Inhofe's specific concerns. The agency provided maps that apparently indicated the number of counties with monitors that would be out of compliance if the new standards were in place today and those that would be in 2020. Tulsa County seemed to be only one that EPA could say for certain would continue to be out of compliance.

During his testimony at Wednesday's hearing, EPA chief Johnson said the current standard does not protect the public health with an adequate margin of safety and should be strengthened to provide additional protection, specifically for those with asthma and other lung diseases. If the proposed changes are put in place following public comments, Johnson said his agency would work with states on meeting the new standards.

Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., the subcommittee chairman, commended Johnson for proposing the new standard. A former governor, he spoke of the costs dirty air presents for the entire nation. Inhofe and Carper have each introduced clean air legislation



SENATE Democrats' first swing at national energy policy might be boiled down to a couple of broad statements: Alternative fuels are good, big business is bad and Americans stung by higher energy costs shouldn't expect help any time soon.

With the legislation's direct cost to government (read: taxpayers) at $140 billion to $205 billion over 15 years, you'd think there'd be something in it for average folk. Hardly. Democrats are putting their stock in subsidies, tax preferences and other incentives for futuristic fuels -- mandating increased use of ethanol, for example, and requiring utilities to use more wind, solar and other renewable sources in the future.

Don't get us started on ethanol, a fuel that has yet to demonstrate any real-market viability without heavy government subsidies. Renewables are fine as they go, too. Yet Democrats' lack of balance with respect to production and supply should concern every American who fills a gas tank.

Sen. Jim Inhofe's amendment to give states the option of streamlining the permitting process for building greater refining capacity was defeated on a party-line vote after Democrats complained it was a giveaway to the oil companies. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California suggested Big Oil isn't building new refineries because it makes it easier to manipulate fuel prices. Another production-side amendment, to let Virginia lift a 25-year freeze on offshore drilling, was defeated by Democrats talking of environmental concerns as if it were 1977, not 2007.

The bill would make price gouging a federal crime -- a solution in search of a real-world problem. Meanwhile, Democrats are split on increasing car fuel efficiency standards, with Michigan's senators trying to stave off standards that would damage the auto industry. Stay tuned as the legislation proceeds. But unless you're into windmills, solar panels or corn there's not much most Americans can look forward to.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Big threat! Melting glaciers may add around 7 inches to the sea-level this century!

We had roughly that in the 20th century and nobody noticed. This is in any case a typical example of looking at one thing in isolation. That ocean warming should lead to increased evaporation and hence increased precipitation and that increased precipitation should lead to ice buildup in central Antarctica is not mentioned. Why? Because ice buildup in Antartica should take water OUT of the oceans! You would think that these scientists were simpletons unless you knew that what they are really doing is making a sacrifice to their AGW god

CONTRARY to common belief, melting glaciers due to global warming contribute more to the rising sea level than melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets [That would not be hard since the Antarctic is not melting at all and Greenland probably is not either, depending on what estimates you use], researchers have said. Scientists found that the ebb and flow of glaciers where they meet the water causes them to speed up and deliver more ice into the world's oceans than previously estimated, said the study published in Science's latest issue.

Glaciers and ice caps account for 60 percent of the meltwater that flows into the oceans, which has been speeding up over the past 10 years from global warming, said the study's chief author, emeritus professor Mark Meier of University of Colorado's Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. Together, glaciers and ice caps drop into the oceans 417 cubic kilometres of ice each year, equal to the volume of Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes of the United States. And the volume of ice grows by 12.5 cubic kilometres each year.

By comparison, the study said, ice breaking off and melting from Greenland's ice sheet contributes 28 per cent of the world's ice to the oceans, and the Antarctic ice sheet another 12 per cent. The accelerating contribution of glaciers and ice caps is due in part to rapid changes in the flow of tidewater glaciers that discharge icebergs directly into the ocean, the researchers said. When the glacier with its "toe in the water'' thins, they said, a larger fraction of its weight is supported by water and it slides faster and sends more ice into the ocean.

Alaska's Columbia Glacier which drops three cubic kilometres into Prince William sound is a good example, said geologist and co-author of the study Robert Anderson. The glacier has thinned up to 400 metres in a few places, has shrunk about 14.5 kilometres since 1980 and is expected to shrink the same amount in the next two decades, he said. The melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic is not expected to catch up with that of glaciers and ice caps until the end of the century, the scientists said.

They estimated the accelerated melting of glaciers and ice caps will add from 10.2 to 24.1 centimetres [4" to 10"] to the sea level rise globally by 2100. The figures do not include the expansion of the oceans as they get warmer which could potentially double the levels, the researchers said. A 30-centimetre rise in the sea level causes a shoreline retreat of 30 metres or more, they said, adding that currently some 100 million people live within about one metre of sea level.


Beef is bad for the planet!

PETA will love this nonsense!

A kilogram of beef causes more greenhouse gas and other pollution than driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home, a Japanese study has found. New Scientist reports that a team led by Akifumi Ogino, of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, calculated the environmental cost of raising cattle through conventional farming, slaughtering the animal and distributing the meat.

The team discovered that producing a kilo of beef causes the equivalent of 36.4kg in carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, the study found. Most of these greenhouse gas emissions are methane, released from the cow's digestive system. That 1kg of beef also requires energy equivalent to lighting a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days to produce and transport the animals' feed.

The calculations, which are based on standard industrial methods of meat production in Japan, did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental load is higher than the study suggests. The study appears in full in thespecialist publication Animal Science Journal.


Greenies show their real colours -- Fascist black

HUMVEES are bricks on wheels -- huge military vehicles made famous during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Civilian versions, called the Hummer, were sold a year later and they've been selling well ever since. But a new enemy has emerged on the streets of the US. Environmental activists, it seems, have it in for the Hummer.

Gareth Groves, a 32-year resident of northwest Washington DC, woke the other day to find his new $US45,000 ($51,000) Hummer wrecked. Witnesses reported two masked men attacking the car with a baseball bat, smashing every window before scratching on the side "For The Environ".

Mr Groves knew when he bought the car that his eco-friendly neighbours weren't too happy about it, but this? "The thought of somebody vandalising it never crossed my mind," he told The Washington Post. "I've kind of been in shock." Since Monday, he says, he's been getting stares that indicate smug satisfaction. "I'd say one in five people who come by have that 'you-got-what-you-deserve' look," says friend Andy Sexton, 27. "I'm worried about what I do now," Mr Groves said. "If I get it fixed, do I put it back in the same spot three weeks from now?"

Neighbours admit they don't care much for the car -- this is hybrid-car territory where people boast about getting 4.9 litres per 100km not the paltry 16.7 the guzzling Hummer gets. "The neighbourhood in general is very concerned with the environment," Lucille Liem said. "It's more liberal-leaning. It's ridiculous to be driving a Hummer." But, she added, she did not condone violence. Local police said vandalism to advertise a political message was new to the area and likely to be an isolated event. Well, maybe. Mr Groves, meanwhile, is looking for a lock-up shed.


Global cooling spreading in Queensland

QUEENSLAND'S tourist strips have woken to record subzero temperatures on another cold morning in the state's south-east. The Bureau of Meteorology said temperatures fell below zero for the first time since records began at Coolangatta, on the Gold Coast, and at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. While Coolangatta dipped just below zero, Maroochydore plunged to -1 degree celsius, a bureau spokesman said. ``It's so unusual getting temperatures near zero with the ocean being so close,'' he said.

Many Brisbane residents woke to ice on the windscreen this morning after another near freezing night in the south east. Although the overnight minimum was a touch higher than the previous night, at 4.7 degrees compared with 3.8, the apparent temperature was a teeth chattering 1C. Senior Forecaster Gordon Banks said Amberley shivered on -3.8C within a degree of its all time record low of -4.5C. The cold temperatures did not just grip the south-east corner though, with below zero temps recorded as far north as Samuel Hill, in Central Queensland where the mercury dipped to -1C. And Gympie posted a new record, plunging to -3.4C, almost half a degree colder than ever before.



Their models are full of guesses and now we hear that one such lot of guesses was quite wrong. Journal abstract follows:

Boundary Layer Halogens in Coastal Antarctica

By Alfonso Saiz-Lopez et al.

Halogens influence the oxidizing capacity of Earth's troposphere, and iodine oxides form ultrafine aerosols, which may have an impact on climate. We report year-round measurements of boundary layer iodine oxide and bromine oxide at the near-coastal site of Halley Station, Antarctica. Surprisingly, both species are present throughout the sunlit period and exhibit similar seasonal cycles and concentrations. The springtime peak of iodine oxide (20 parts per trillion) is the highest concentration recorded anywhere in the atmosphere. These levels of halogens cause substantial ozone depletion, as well as the rapid oxidation of dimethyl sulfide and mercury in the Antarctic boundary layer.

Science 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, pp. 348 - 351

Another summary of the above paper:

Tropospheric halogens affect the concentration of ozone, the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere, and aerosol formation, all of which are linked to climate. The halogen chemistry of the frozen high latitudes has proven to be particularly interesting, not least because of the role of these regions as harbingers of global climate change, but a better understanding of that chemistry has been hampered by lack of data. Saiz-Lopez et al. (p. 348) present measurements of BrO and IO in the Antarctic boundary layer from January 2004 to February 2005. They observed high concentrations and persistence of these halogens throughout the sunlit period, contrary to expectations and unlike the situation in the Arctic, where IO has not been detected. The springtime IO levels they found are the highest reported anywhere in the atmosphere, and an apparent synergy between IO and BrO suggests an unknown halogen-activation mechanism. These levels of halogens also cause the rapid oxidation of dimethyl sulfide and mercury in the Antarctic boundary layer.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Friday, July 20, 2007

Economic climate changes

Congress is considering global warming legislation to require substantial cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the inescapable byproduct of the fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- that supply 85 percent of the world's energy. China, India, and every other developing country refuse to limit their emissions because they fear CO2 controls more than global warming. What do they know that our lawmakers don't?

National Review's Jonah Goldberg notes that that Earth warmed about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the 20th century while global GDP increased by some 1,800 percent. For the sake of argument, he says, let's agree that all of the warming was anthropogenic -- the result of economic activity. And let's further stipulate that the warming produced no benefits, only harms. "That's still an amazing bargain," Goldberg remarks.

Average life expectancies doubled during the 20th century. The world's population nearly quadrupled, yet per capita food supply substantially increased. Literacy, medicine, leisure, and "even in many respects the environment hugely improved, at least in the prosperous West."

This suggests a thought experiment that I recently posed to Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and her colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

Suppose you had the power to travel back in time and impose carbon caps on previous generations. How much growth would we be willing to sacrifice to avoid how many tenths of a degree of warming? Would humanity be better off today if the 20th century had half as much warming -- but also a half or a third or even a quarter less growth? I doubt anyone on this committee would say "yes." A poorer planet would also be a hungrier, sicker planet. Many of us might not even be alive.

So, how much future growth are Boxer and company willing to sacrifice to mitigate future warming? That is not an idle question. Some people believe we're now smart enough to measurably cool the planet without chilling the economy. But Europe is having a tough time (PDF) meeting its Kyoto commitments, and Kyoto would have no detectable impact on global temperature.

Three of the main climate bills introduced in the Senate this year would require CO2 emission cuts of about 60 percent (PDF) by 2050. Yet the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that in 2030 U.S. emissions will be about 33 percent above (PDF) year 2000 levels. Nobody knows how to meet the targets in those bills without severe cuts in either economic growth or population growth.

But won't the bills' carbon penalties make deep emission reductions achievable by spurring technological change? Don't bet on it.

European countries have been taxing gasoline for decades at rates that translate into carbon penalties of $200 to $300 per ton of CO2. (A $1.00 a gallon gasoline tax roughly translates into a $100 per ton CO2 penalty, and Europe taxes gasoline at rates of $2.00 to $3.00 (PDF) a gallon or more.) Where in Europe is the miracle fuel to replace petroleum? Where are all the zero emission vehicles? Europe is not one mile closer than we are to achieving a "beyond petroleum" transport system. On the contrary, European Union transport sector CO2 emissions in 2004 were 26 percent higher than in 1990.

The EIA analyzed the market impacts of the relatively modest -- $7 per ton -- CO2 emission cap in "discussion draft" legislation sponsored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Arlen Specter (R-PA). The bill's proposed cap would cut projected investment in coal generation by more than half (PDF). However, it does not make carbon capture and storage (CCS) economical. Would a bigger regulatory hammer do the trick? No, it would just drive more investment out of coal generation.

An MIT study (PDF) finds that it will take billions of dollars over a decade to find out whether CCS is economical under a $30-per-ton CO2 penalty. Note that even if CCS is determined to be "economical," the MIT study estimates that coal generation over the next five decades grows by less than 20 percent of what it would in the absence of a carbon penalty.

Regulatory climate strategies put the policy cart before the technology horse. Not until markets are capable of producing vast quantities of affordable energy without emissions would it be reasonable for Congress to consider mandatory emission cuts.

Policy makers concerned about global warming should do three things. First, as Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg recommends (PDF), encourage worldwide R&D investment in non-carbon-emitting energy technologies. This -- not tougher CO2 controls -- should be the focus of post-Kyoto diplomacy.

Second, eliminate tax and other political barriers to innovation and capital stock. A recent study (PDF) by the American Council for Capital Formation shows that the United States lags behind many of our trading partners in capital cost recovery for investment in electric power generation, transmission lines, pollution control equipment, and petroleum refining capacity.

Third, as economist Indur Goklany recommends (PDF), for a fraction of Kyoto's cost, target international assistance on those threats to human health and welfare where we know how to do a lot of good for each dollar invested. This would not only save millions of lives today, it would also help developing countries become wealthier and less vulnerable to climate-related risk.


Peer Review

Post lifted from Prof. Brignell. See the original for links. Before the most recent IPCC report, Warmists often used "peer review" as alleged proof that the journal articles they relied on were correct. As anybody who has been involved in the process knows, however, it is no such thing. I personally often got the impression that reviewers did not even read what they purported to review -- and with over 200 papers published in the academic journals I am an unusually successful academic author so speak from some experience and am clearly not speaking from sour grapes. Since peer opinion as expressed in the body of the most recent IPCC report (as distinct from the non-scientific summary) has turned against alarmism, however, we hear rather less about peer review these days.

It is perhaps rather curmudgeonly to add a few "yes buts" when someone has paid you a bit of a compliment, but more needs to be said on the subject of peer review and editors, as raised by Charles Warren Hunt in Greenie Watch. There is certainly no question that the system is corruptible and has been corrupted, as ancient memories related in these pages have testified. Those were the days when science was free from the pressures of the new religious elite, and the situation is far, far worse now.

It is, however, difficult to see how modern scientific publication can exist without some form of specialist review system. Time was when one person could have a working knowledge of the whole of a subject area and would therefore make a competent journal editor. Scientific activity has expanded so much in the last half century that such a function is beyond one person. The danger before about 1980 was that journals could be effectively cornered by coteries who were promoting one particular theory. Now, of course, that small danger has become a universal threat, and even common practice.

It all comes down to the integrity of the editor. Under Sir John Maddox, for example, Nature maintained its reputation as the world's leading science journal. It was an honour to have results published therein. The present day Nature is just a bad joke among those who still value the integrity of science. You only have to look at the extraordinary shenanigans its editors indulged in to avoid publishing valid criticism of the bogus "hockey stick" to see an example of corruption at the top.

When you have refereed thousands of papers for various journals and conferences, sat on editorial boards and adjudicated in refereeing disputes, you develop a pretty good overview of the problems of the system. There are too many papers offered for a start. Many of them are trivial, unoriginal or provably wrong. Some of the would-be authors are even clearly insane. A journal will quickly lose its reputation and readership if it fills its pages with self-evident trash. Just coping with the significant new results in most fields is a demanding onus on those working in them and they do not welcome the wasting of their precious time. There will always be referees who abuse that position, but most of them do an honest job for no pay. The bonus is that they have a more up-to-date knowledge of their field than others. If you become known for doing a good, conscientious job, the demands on your time grow and grow until eventually you have to call a halt. Finding suitable referees is a nightmare for editors and their boards.

But, of course, all of that has changed. People driven by quasi-religious belief go to great lengths to gain positions of power, such as editorships, and to recruit their kind. There are very few journals left that you could trust to take a balanced view on a subject such as climate without resorting to dogma-based censorship. Though the refereeing system had major intrinsic problems, like democracy it was the least bad system we have.

The big change we are now faced with is that "Peer Review" has now become one of the religious mantras used to impose censorship. Although the internet has removed the exclusivity of control that existed in scientific and other publication, the opposite has happened in the so-called main-stream media. Peer Review now often means that a paper has been subjected to censorship by a close-knit community of like-minded believers. As Wegman so powerfully demonstrated, we have a situation in which a relatively small circle of intimates are reviewing and quoting each other's work and, worse, excluding others who do not conform to their dogma. There is nothing new in this, except perhaps the sheer scale of it and the potent social and economic consequences.

"Peer Review" is now a phrase bandied about by people who quite clearly have no idea how science in general and refereeing in particular are supposed to work. It is used to condemn ideas purely on the basis of whether they conform to the prescribed dogma. Although the content of the internet is almost all rubbish, it is also where you can find the best of scientific thinking. Let us hope that that small element can be preserved should humanity eventually return to sanity.

The truth is, we can't ignore the sun

By Dr David Whitehouse -- an astronomer, former BBC science correspondent, and the author of "The Sun: A Biography". Dr Whitehouse makes a similar point about recent solar activity to the points made by myself and Prof. Brignell but since Dr. Whitehouse got his comments into the mass-circulation "Daily Telegraph", they will undoubtedly be much more influential

According to the headlines last week, the sun is not to blame for recent global warming: mankind and fossil fuels are. So Al Gore is correct when he said, "the scientific data is in. There is no more debate." Of that the evangelical BBC had no doubt. There was an air of triumphalism in its coverage of the report by the Royal Society. It was perhaps a reaction to the BBC Trust's recent criticism of the Corporation's bias when reporting climate change: but sadly, it only proved the point made by the Trust.

The BBC was enthusiastically one-sided, sloppy and confused on its website, using concepts such as the sun's power, output and magnetic field incorrectly and interchangeably, as well as not including any criticism of the research.

But there is a deeper and more worrying issue. Last week's research is a simple piece of science and fundamentally flawed. Nobody looked beyond the hype; if they had, they would have reached a different conclusion. The report argues that while the sun had a significant effect on climate during most of the 20th century, its influence is currently dwarfed by human effects. It says that all known solar influences since about 1990 are downward and because global temperature has increased since then, the sun is not responsible.

No. The research could prove the contrary. Using the global temperature data endorsed by the Inter-national Panel on Climate Change, one can reach a completely different conclusion. Recently the United States' National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said that 2006 was statistically indistinguishable from previous years. Looking at annual global temperatures, it is apparent that the last decade shows no warming trend and recent successive annual global temperatures are well within each year's measurement errors. Statistically the world's temperature is flat. The world certainly warmed between 1975 and 1998, but in the past 10 years it has not been increasing at the rate it did. No scientist could honestly look at global temperatures over the past decade and see a rising curve.

It is undisputed that the sun of the later part of the 20th century was behaving differently from that of the beginning. Its sunspot cycle is stronger and shorter and, technically speaking, its magnetic field leakage is weaker and its cosmic ray shielding effect stronger. So we see that when the sun's activity was rising, the world warmed. When it peaked in activity in the late 1980s, within a few years global warming stalled. A coincidence, certainly: a connection, possibly.

My own view on the theory that greenhouse gases are driving climate change is that it is a good working hypothesis - but, because I have studied the sun, I am not completely convinced. The sun is by far the single most powerful driving force on our climate, and the fact is we do not understand how it affects us as much as some think we do. So look on the BBC and Al Gore with scepticism. A scientist's first allegiance should not be to computer models or political spin but to the data: that shows the science is not settled.


Australia: Global cooling now hits Queensland too

Queensland breaks all-time cold weather record

SOUTH-EAST Queenslanders have woken to a record-breaking cold morning. The Bureau of Meteorology said temperatures fell to a record low at Brisbane Airport shortly after sunrise today, with a temperature of -0.1 degrees celsius recorded at 6.39am (AEST). The previous record for the airport was 0.6 degrees, recorded in 1971 and 1994. Elsewhere in the region, Ipswich, south-west of Brisbane, recorded a low of -4.8 degrees overnight, just 0.1 degree short of the lowest temperature recorded there, in 1995.

There have also been reports of -7 degrees in Stanthorpe, in Queensland's south, while nearby Warwick recorded a temperature of -6.4 degrees. Kingaroy, north-west of Brisbane, plunged to -3.2 degrees, while Amberley, in Brisbane's south-west, fell to -1.9 degrees. Brisbane itself was slightly warmer at 3.9 degrees, while the Gold Coast got to a low of 3.1 degrees about 7am (AEST) and the Sunshine Coast recorded 1.4 degrees.

The cold weather is a result of a combination of dry air and clear night skies as well cold air being pushed up from the south by a strong low pressure system in the Tasman Sea, a bureau spokesman said. Cold temperatures are expected to continue tomorrow but should return to average by the weekend, the spokesman said.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Thursday, July 19, 2007

British recycling blues

The Government's strategy for reducing waste in landfill sites has been called "half-hearted and likely to fail" by a committee of MPs. Fortnightly rubbish collections are unsuitable for many areas and there is no proof they increase recycling, a report by the all-party communities and local government select committee claims. Its report says plans to charge householders who fail to recycle 30 pounds a year are too timid and too complicated and a reward of up to 30 pounds for "good" households is too low to encourage mass recycling

The committee, chaired by the Labour MP Dr Phyllis Starkey, says: "It is hard to see why any council will want to set up a complicated charging scheme that earns it no money and risks public disapproval." The report criticises some local authorities for "blundering" into fortnightly collections without proper consideration or consultation. Alternate weekly collections of food waste are "not appropriate" in many areas, particularly in highly populated areas with limited storage room for bins, the report says. Although recycling has increased in areas with fortnightly collections, MPs say that no direct link between the two has been proven.

Given the strength of public concern and anecdotal evidence about flies and other vermin, the report has called for more research into the health implications of fortnightly collections. The committee wants the Government to encourage councils to collect food waste separately once a week. The committee also points out that domestic refuse amounts to only nine per cent of national waste and that "far more can ultimately be achieved by recycling and reusing commercial, industrial and construction waste".

A spokesman from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "We are disappointed that on financial incentives the committee has not recognised the need to try out innovative ways of encouraging sustainable waste behaviour. "We are consulting on our financial incentives proposal and will not finalise our policy until this is completed."


Solar power still very dim

The trade association for the nuclear power industry recently asked 1,000 Americans what energy source they thought would be used most for generating electricity in 15 years. The top choice? Not nuclear plants, or coal or natural gas. The winner was the sun, cited by 27 percent of those polled. It is no wonder solar power has captured the public imagination. Panels that convert sunlight to electricity are winning supporters around the world - from Europe, where gleaming arrays cloak skyscrapers and farmers' fields, to Wall Street, where stock offerings for panel makers have had a great ride, to California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Million Solar Roofs" initiative is promoted as building a homegrown industry and fighting global warming.

But for all the enthusiasm about harvesting sunlight, some of the most ardent experts and investors say that moving this energy source from niche to mainstream - last year it provided less than 0.01 percent of the country's electricity supply - is unlikely without significant technological breakthroughs. And given the current scale of research in private and government laboratories, that is not expected to happen anytime soon. Even a quarter century from now, says the Energy Department official in charge of renewable energy, solar power might account for, at best, 2 or 3 percent of the grid electricity in the United States.

In the meantime, coal-burning power plants, the main source of smokestack emissions linked to global warming, are being built around the world at a rate of more than one a week.

Propelled by government incentives in Germany and Japan, as well as a growing number of American states, sales of solar panels made of silicon that convert sunlight directly into electricity, known as photovoltaic cells, have taken off, lowering manufacturing costs and leading to product refinements. But Vinod Khosla, a prominent Silicon Valley entrepreneur who focuses on energy, said the market-driven improvements were not happening fast enough to put solar technology beyond much more than a boutique investment. "Most of the environmental stuff out there now is toys compared to the scale we need to really solve the planet's problems," Mr. Khosla said.

Scientists long ago calculated that an hour's worth of the sunlight bathing the planet held far more energy than humans worldwide could use in a year, and the first practical devices for converting light to electricity were designed more than half a century ago. Yet research on solar power and methods for storing intermittent energy has long received less spending, both in the United States and in other industrialized countries, than energy options with more political support. Indeed, there are few major programs looking for ways to drastically reduce the cost of converting sunlight to energy and - of equal if not more importance - of efficiently storing it for when the sun is not shining.

Scientists are hoping to expand the range of sunlight's wavelengths that can be absorbed, and to cut the amount of energy the cells lose to heat. One goal is to make materials to force photons to ricochet around inside the silicon to give up more of their energy.

For decades, conventional nuclear power and nuclear fusion received dominant shares of government energy-research money. While venture capitalists often support the commercialization of new technologies, basic research money comes almost entirely from the federal government. These days, a growing amount of government money is headed to the farm-state favorite, biofuels, and to research on burning coal while capturing the resulting carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping smokestack gas.


Global Warming now world's most boring topic: report

Global warming and the debate over whether man-made carbon gas emissions are having a detrimental influence on climate change has been ranked as the most boring topic of conversation on earth, according to a new report. The issue of global warming far out-performed other contenders for the title, such as the production of goat cheese, the musical genius of the artist formerly known as P Diddy and media speculation over the likely outcome of the upcoming federal election.

These topics still tracked strongly, according to the report, but global warming was identified as the topic most likely to prompt people into feigning heart attacks so as to avoid hearing the phrases "procrastination penalty", "precautionary principle" and "peer-reviewed analysis" ever again. The study, conducted by a non-partisan think tank located somewhere between the small township of Tibooburra and the NSW border, identified global warming as the current topic of choice for people who want their dinner party to finish early.

According to the parents in the survey, global warming has now replaced the traditional bedtime story when it comes to putting children to sleep. The study found the topic was also being used instead of water cannon by riot police around the world to disperse crowds. In a key finding, the survey revealed that the amount of damaging carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of discussing the global warming issue now exceeds the greenhouse gas emissions of northern China.

The survey also raised a number of important issues regarding the global warming debate. Of those surveyed, 83 per cent said that while they understood both sides of the issue, they did not understand Al Gore. Participants in the study were asked whether Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth had helped enlighten people to the importance of the global warming issue. The standard response was that if the issue of global warming is as important and urgent to Gore as he keeps saying every time he is on Letterman, then why didn't he make the movie during the eight years he was vice-president of the United States, the second most powerful position in the world? Why did he wait until his political career was dead?

The issue was also raised as to why Gore personally came out to promote his film in Australia - a relatively insignificant market - and then make a big deal about all the carbon off-setting he had done to counter the pollution his trip had generated. Over 95 per cent of those who took part in the survey wanted to know why he didn't just do it all from his house via satellite. Other key findings of the survey were:

* 89 per cent wanted to know how it was possible for humans to control the climate, given that they have enough trouble forecasting it;

* 96 per cent believe those who use the term "climate change denial" are attempting to equate it with "Holocaust denial";

* 100 per cent of these respondents also believe such people should receive lengthy prison terms for crimes against the English language;

* 79 per cent of the bands that took part in the Live Earth event did so because they feared the planet would be destroyed by global warming before they had a chance to receive free worldwide television exposure;

* 87 per cent only tuned in to watch the lead singer from Sneaky Sound System, who is hot;

* 92 per cent of those same people watched her on mute because they didn't want to hear that song again;

Of all the issues raised in the survey, most common was whether the global warming debate was all just an elaborate ruse designed to sell stuff. The study highlighted how those who subscribe to the prophecy of global warming automatically commit themselves to purchasing a vast array of expensive products, whereas sceptics don't have to buy anything to support their point of view. Over 98 per cent of people surveyed also predicted that the standard response from global warming proponents to that last statement would be: "yeah, it won't cost anything - except the future of your planet".


Global cooling hits Melbourne too

IT WAS cold, so very cold. Then came the rain, the wind and in some parts of the state, the snow. Melbourne yesterday recorded its coldest day in nine years. The temperature hovered around six degrees for most of the afternoon, dipping to 5.4 degrees at 6pm. The top was 9.2 degrees at 9.48am, well below the July average top of 13.7 degrees. Weather bureau forecaster Dean Stewart said a cold front hit Melbourne around the morning peak hour, bringing hours of rain and blasts of cold Antarctic air in its wake. The previous coldest maximum Melbourne temperature came on July 9, 1998, with a top of 8.9 degrees.

The State Emergency Service took 150 storm damage calls across the state, mostly in metropolitan Melbourne. SES spokesman Tim Wiebusch said Emerald, Hastings and Sorrento were the busiest units, with 15 to 20 calls for help in each area, mostly for fallen trees. In other areas, the weather brought joy. Sean Robertson, manager of the SkyHigh restaurant and lookout at Mount Dandenong, welcomed a light snow that blanketed the centre, car park and terraces from 4pm. "If it's going to be cold, it may as well snow."

Ballarat City Council media officer Nicole Gillard said Ballarat's main street, Sturt Street, resembled a movie set when it was frosted with snow yesterday morning. "Lots of people were taking photos of snow in their backyards, on cars and the white streets," she said. "It actually put a smile on everybody's face." Snow and ice forced VicRoads to close roads in Ballan, Daylesford, Trentham, Woodend and Mt Macedon for hours due to snow and ice. There were no complaints on the Victorian ski fields, which continue to enjoy the best start to the ski season in seven years.


Narrow-minded pundit thinks Europe is the world

Excerpt from Magnus Linklater

You might imagine, therefore, that the Swiss, for whom the mountains are the very soul of the country, would be impassioned in their defence of the environment. That combination of stern efficiency and national diligence which ensures that their trains run silently and on time, their streets are swept clean and even their mountain paths are carefully mowed, must surely place Switzerland in the forefront of the campaign to cut carbon emissions.

You would be wrong. High on the slopes above Zermatt, we came upon evidence that, even here, the defence of a profitable tourist industry takes precedence over the need to protect the natural environment. In the midst of a complex network of brilliantly engineered hydroelectric systems, designed to keep the towns and villages of the southern Alps supplied with power, stood row upon row of brand new snowmaking machines, ready for the next skiing season. Sometime in late autumn they will be transported to the fashionable ski resorts of Verbier, Zermatt and the rest, where early snow is desperately short, and used to manufacture a few more hectares of the white stuff so that this year’s tourists can be gulled for one more year at least into imagining that global warming is just an illusion and that the slopes will forever remain glistening and pure.

As an example of chronic and pig-headed frivolity, the snow machine has a lot to answer for. It is wasteful, energy-inefficient and environmentally indefensible. A single ski resort needs as much electricity as a small village just to keep its snowmaking systems going... It would be hard to conjure up a more potent symbol of environmental perversity than the use of carbon-spewing fossil fuels to help to dispose of millions of gallons of carefully extracted water in order that a few thousand tourists can slide down a slope for an extra week....

Yet if we take the warnings about climate change with any degree of seriousness, we have to change our terms of reference. Instead of hailing the inventiveness of the ski resort that makes its own snow, we should accept the harsh reality that nature has terminally curtailed the skiing season [In Europe maybe but quite the opposite in Australia. Our thicko pundit cannot distinguish local phenomena from global phenomena. No wonder he is so credulous. And the arrogance of thinking that what he sees on one trip to Switzerland is "terminal" is truly breathtaking. He is obviously quite unaware that Alpine glaciers undergo cycles of advance and retreat but he still thinks he knows it all. How wonderful to be a famous British pundit! He is the sort Australians would call a blowhard]

Much as we cherish our birds of prey, we should remember that their prospects of survival are threatened not so much by a freak collision as by the three-degree rise in global temperatures that will occur in the next 50 years if we do not manage to wean ourselves off a reliance on oil and gas. Stuff the skiers, sink the canoeists, gag the bird-lovers; this is a battle for survival, not an exercise in self-indulgence.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

German Greens going capitalist?

The following grouchy summary from a far-Leftist site says so:

Germany's Green Party recently agreed to a new economic programme, published under the title "The Green free-market economy." The programme paper was developed by prominent party figures under the auspices of the party's parliamentary faction leader Fritz Kuhn, heralding the free market as the guardian angel of the environment-and their own wallets.

Every line of this document reflects the class outlook of the upper middle class-those owning medium-sized businesses and the better-off self-employed-by glorifying the market and private property, while simultaneously expressing the authors' fear of mounting social inequalities. The entire document is characterised by a continuous "on the one hand...and on the other hand" type of argument.

Kuhn and his entourage are looking "beyond the neo-liberal worship of the market and the old-fashioned left-wing overestimation of state planning and the command economy for the new economic framework that needs the functioning markets of the future." They "place value on the statement that a Green free-market economy is not only more ecological, but is also economically more successfully than the previous ecologically blind free-market economy."

They dream of a free-market biotope, in which small businesses, the self-employed and other economic small-fry can prosper like vegetation in the tropical rain forest. The "Green free-market economy...wants to create a framework in which small businesses, tradespeople and new business start-ups will find excellent conditions. To that end, we need reforms that increase the freedom and security of the self-employed and establish a framework of fair competition. We want to optimise conditions for those who take risks and employ commercial creativity, as well as to shape corporate and tax law in favour of innovation and new business growth.... We Greens want to increase the attractiveness of starting new businesses, smaller PLCs and self-employment."

They reason that small capitalist enterprises need the resources of major capitalist companies-where else can it obtain credit and find customers?-but the latter should behave in a civilised manner, because "the high regard of the free economic system depends heavily on public attitudes and good business management. Firstly, this means businesses should pay tradesmen and -women punctually and "oppose the increasing trend towards late payments."

A separate chapter is devoted to "business culture." The German system of mitbestimmung (union-management co-determination), which the Greens describe candidly as "co-management," is expressly praised: "The German system of co-management, with union representatives sitting on company supervisory boards and work councils, has functioned satisfactorily for over 30 years and improves collaboration and conflict resolution."

Only when the Green Party document starts to speak about the unemployed does it use clear and unequivocal terms: i.e., they should roll up their sleeves and get down to work-no matter what. Here, the paper bears the hallmark of the free-market Free Democratic Party (FDP), with passages that easily could have been written by FDP leader Guido Westerwelle. "If the state effects social justice all too bureaucratically, then we end up with an expensive and incapacitating welfare state," the Greens write. "Green politics require an encouraging and enabling state, which does not curb social life but opens it up."

The source of such reasoning is well known-it stems from the ideology of neo-liberalism. According to this outlook, it is not unemployment that is responsible for the high number of people on social security, but welfare payments that are responsible for the high number of unemployed. Since the state "discourages the unemployed" by paying them a small sum for their living costs, they do not seek work ("participation in social life"). However, they are "encouraged and enabled" when the state cuts their benefits, forcing them to look for a job, even if it is so badly paid that they can hardly manage to survive on their earnings.

This is the logic of the so-called welfare reforms embodied in the "Hartz" laws, which the Greens initiated when in government with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and now expressly defend. Under the terms of the Hartz laws, the benefits paid to an unemployed person rapidly diminish so that the worker is forced to accept badly paid work.

The Greens have already started to consider how such oppressed people can be put to work: as poorly paid service workers in small trades and in private households. "There is an enormous potential for providing personal services, in hand work trades, child care and home help," the programme notes. "The range of services is very wide and stretches from commercial to distribution services to personal and social services. In principle, we want to make service occupations more attractive by sinking ancillary wage costs in the lower income range."

Educational standards should also be lowered accordingly. "Training is to be aligned more strongly to the special requirements of the service sector," the Greens demand. Instead of "passing on specialised knowledge," "social competency and basic skills" should form the core of vocational education.

If any questions remain about the direction in which the Greens are headed, they are clarified by the chapter on budgetary policy. Here they demand "a rule that ties the permitted [state] expenditures to the development of [state] receipts." "Such a rule," they continue, "effectively limits [state] indebtedness." Laws strictly linking public expenditure to the levels of state receipts rank among the most effective means of lowering social spending. They practically eliminate the right of parliament to decide on the level of public expenditure and leave fiscal policy to the arbitrary decisions of the state bureaucracy.

While the Greens want to lower state expenditure, they welcome the inflow of international speculative capital. In the first draft of their economics paper last autumn, they expressly defended private equity funds, corporate raiders that scour the globe for the best investment opportunities and make their money by smashing up and plundering various enterprises. "Instead of sweepingly bad-mouthing foreign capital in the locust debate, we must attract more foreign direct investment to Germany," the original draft stated. In the final draft, this passage was softened linguistically, but the essential content remained. It now reads: "We want to ensure that new technical developments and new research-based companies have access to sufficient risk capital," adding, "Germany should become one of the most attractive locations for venture capital."

The picture presented in the Greens' document-of a capitalist biotope in which the self-employed and small enterprises flourish to the benefit of the whole of society-is a utopia. In reality, the free-market economy is controlled by transnational corporations and global financial institutions; the middle classes are crushed between big capital and mounting poverty. While a small minority gain in influence and prosperity, the overwhelming majority descend into an uncertain existence. Many highly qualified university graduates today earn less than an unskilled worker. On the other hand, the attacks on social security benefits and the defence of the interests of big capital, for which the Greens' document argues, are very real.

Prominent big business representatives were directly involved in its elaboration. Last November, a "political-economic congress" organised by the Greens' parliamentary faction to discuss the party's economic programme attracted 40 experts, 30 from the world of big business. Those invited included the CEOs of Arcor, Steag and Toyota Europe, as well as executives of the Federal Cartel Office and several leading banks.

The document was developed under the auspices of Fritz Kuhn and Matthias Berninger, the former state secretary of the Green Party environmental and consumer protection minister, Renate Kuenast. Other authors included several Green Party bundestag (federal parliament) deputies who in the past were linked to business-friendly policies.

Gerhard Schick, at 34 the youngest author, came directly to the Greens from a neo-liberal think tank. He attained a doctorate in political economy and worked at the Walter Eucken Institute and the Free-Market Foundation, and more recently worked as a project manager for the Bertelsmann Foundation. Walter Eucken was the joint founder of so-called ordo-liberalism, the German variant of neo-liberalism. According to experts, the Free-Market Foundation is financed by the engineering employers and some manufacturing families. According to Ulrich Mller of "Lobby Control," it provides ideas for the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Liberal Democrats (FDP). The Bertelsmann Foundation is one of the largest lobbying groups for German big business, with influence in all fields of policy, and in particular in educational policy.

The Greens' new economic programme is a further step towards a government coalition with the CDU/CSU and FDP. When the first draft was presented, party head Fritz Kuhn already said that his party would "prioritise" economic policy at the next bundestag elections. The Greens could no longer leave this area to the CDU/CSU and FDP.

In the meantime, how far the Greens have moved to the right has been recognised by federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch„uble (CDU). In a recent interview with the conservative Frankfurter Allgemine Zeitung, he said, "For a long time, talk of a Christian Democratic-Green Party combination was considered almost a slander. That is really nonsense. Such a combination is not what we want, but it is an option for the CDU/CSU. We are always looking for solutions for which everyone can take responsibility. So of course, we come into contact with the Greens."


A pompous Greenie ignoramus

There has been some difficulty tracing the source of this story, perhaps because the government employeee who blew the whistle needs to remain anonymous. Or perhaps it is "fake but accurate"

When employees of The State came in to work following a three day weekend, they found their workstations overloaded with "cannot logon" and "Exchange communication" error messages. The Network Services folks had it even worse: the server room was a sweltering 109ø Fahrenheit and filled with dead or dying servers.

At first, everyone had assumed that the Primary A/C, the Secondary A/C, and the Tertiary A/C had all managed to fail at once. But after cycling the power, the A/Cs all fired up and brought the room back to a cool 64ø. At the time, the "why" wasn't so important: the network administrators had to figure out how to bring online the four Exchange Services, six Domain Controllers, a few Sun servers, and the entire State Tax Commission's server farm. Out of all of the downed servers, those were the only ones that did not come back to life upon a restart.

They worked day and night to order new equipment, build new servers, and restore everything from back-up. Countless overtime hours and nearly two hundred thousand dollars in equipment costs later, they managed to bring everything back online. When the Exchange servers were finally restored, the following email finally made its way to everyone's inbox, conveniently answering the "why"

From: ----- -----------
To: IT Department
Re: A/C constantly running.

To whom it may concern,

I came in today (Monday) to finish up a project I was working on before our big meeting with the State ----- Commission tomorrow, and I noticed that there were three or four large air conditioners running the entire time I was here. Since it's a three day weekend, no one is around, why do we need to have the A/C running 24/7?

With all the power that all those big computers in that room use, I doubt it is really eco-friendly to run those big units at the same time. And all computers have cooling fans anyway, so why put the A/C for the building in that room?

I got a keycard from [the facility manager's] desk and shut off the A/C units. I'm sure you guys can deal with it being warm for an hour or two when you come in tomorrow morning.

In the future, let's try to be a little more conscientious of our energy usage!


As for the employee who sent it, he/she decided to take an early retirement.


The ethanol madness

From pre-school to planning funerals, green is in. Very in. But green policies and decisions need to be based on more than a vague desire to save the planet. The principles of the natural sciences and economics must play an essential role -- a part of policy-making that often eludes politicians. The latest examples are the federal government's efforts to reduce the United States's dependence on imported oil (now more than 60 percent) by shifting a big share of the nation's largest crop, corn, to the production of ethanol for fueling automobiles.

Good goal, bad policy. In fact, in the short- and medium-term, ethanol can do little to reduce the vast amount of oil that is imported, and the ethanol policy will have widespread and profound ripple effects on other commodity markets. Corn farmers and ethanol refiners are ecstatic about the ethanol boom, of course, and are enjoying the windfall of artificially enhanced demand. But it is already proving to be an expensive and dangerous experiment for the rest of us.

The U.S. Senate is debating new legislation that would further expand corn ethanol production. A 2005 law already mandates production of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012, about 5 percent of the projected gasoline use at that time. These biofuel goals are propped up by a generous federal subsidy -- via tax credits -- of 51 cents a gallon for blending ethanol into gasoline, and a tariff of 54 cents a gallon on most imported ethanol, to keep out cheap imports from Brazil. This latest bill is a prime example of the government's throwing good money after a bad idea, of ignoring science and economics in favor of politics, and of disdain for free markets.

President Bush has set a target of replacing 15 percent of domestic gasoline use with biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) over the next 10 years, which would require almost a five-fold increase in mandatory biofuel use to about 35 billion gallons. With current technology, almost all of this biofuel would have to come from corn because there is no other feasible, proven alternative. However, it is unlikely that American farmers will be able to meet such demands: Achieving the 15 percent goal would require the entire current U.S. corn crop, which represents a whopping 40 percent of the world's corn supply. This would do more than create mere market distortions; the irresistible pressure to divert corn from food to fuel would create unprecedented turmoil.

Thus, it is no surprise that the price of corn has doubled in the past year - from $2 to $4 per bushel. We are already seeing upward pressure on food prices as the demand for ethanol boosts the demand for corn: Nationally, food prices were up 3.9 percent in April, compared to the same month a year earlier. Until the recent ethanol boom, more than 60 percent of the annual U.S. corn harvest was fed domestically to cattle, hogs and chickens, or used in food or beverages. Thousands of food items contain corn or corn byproducts. A spokesman for one of California's largest cattle ranches and feedlots noted that since the end of 2005, the company has experienced a 36 percent increase in the cost of feed, "which translates to an additional expense of $101 per head raised." Reflecting these trends, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has demanded an end both to government subsidies for ethanol and to the import tariff on foreign ethanol.

The poultry industry is also squawking. The National Chicken Council is demanding remedies from senators who represent the big southern poultry states, and the National Turkey Federation estimates that its feed costs have gone up nearly $600 million annually.

The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

These effects may be only a hint of things to come. Any sort of shock to corn yields, such as drought, unseasonably hot weather, pests or disease in the next few years could send food prices into the stratosphere. Even Gregory Page, the CEO of agribusiness giant Cargill, a major beneficiary of the ethanol boom, shares these fears, "We just have to be sure that the more-is-better mindset [regarding ethanol] doesn't get way out ahead of the capacity of the land to provide the fuel . . . What we would like to see is some thoughtfulness about what we will do if we have a weather calamity." Such concerns are more than theoretical: In 1970, a widespread outbreak of a fungus called southern corn leaf blight destroyed 15 percent of the U.S. corn crop, and in 1988, drought reduced U.S. corn yields by almost 30 percent.

Politicians like to say that ethanol is environmentally friendly, but these claims must be put into perspective. Although corn is a renewable resource, it has a far lower energy yield relative to the energy used to produce it -- what policy wonks call "net energy balance" -- than either biodiesel (such as soybean oil) or ethanol from many other plants.

Moreover, ethanol yields about 30 percent less energy per gallon than gasoline, so mileage per gallon in internal combustion engines drops off significantly. Finally, adding ethanol raises the price of blended fuel because it is more expensive to transport and handle. Lower-cost biomass ethanol - for example, from rice straw (a byproduct of harvesting rice) switchgrass, or other sources - would make far more economic sense.

Even in the most favorable of scenarios, large volumes of ethanol from biomass will not be commercially viable for many years, but we should not delay production unnecessarily by government policies that, by means of corn subsidies, discriminate in favor of corn-based ethanol. Government policies should stimulate innovation as broadly as possible, and let the marketplace determine winners and losers.

Recent issues of the journals Nature Biotechnology and Nature describe precisely the kinds of advances that should be permitted to compete with corn-derived ethanol on a level playing field. Researchers at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Oklahoma report in the former journal the genetic engineering of a new variety of alfalfa that contains less lignin, the substance that imparts mechanical strength to plant stems and woody tissue, than conventional alfalfa and that is, therefore, a better crop for ethanol production. Because the new variant is defective in biosynthesis of lignin, it is more susceptible to digestion by the enzymes used to convert plant material into the sugars from which ethanol is produced; some of the engineered varieties of alfalfa yield almost double the amount of sugar that is available from conventional alfalfa. This approach has dual advantages: It promises to reduce the costs and increase the yield of ethanol production from alfalfa, as well as to reduce the need for environmentally damaging acid in the biofuel refining process.

A research team at the University of Wisconsin described a catalytic process that converts the simple sugar fructose -- which can be obtained directly from biomass or derived from glucose, another simple sugar -- into 2,5-dimethylfuran. The advantage therein is that compared with ethanol, the only renewable liquid fuel currently produced in large quantities, 2,5-dimethylfuran has an energy density -- the amount of energy stored per unit mass -- 40 percent higher and is also less volatile; and because it is insoluble in water, it is easier to obtain in pure form.

American legislators and policymakers seem oblivious to the scientific and economic realities of ethanol production. Brazil and other major sugarcane-producing nations enjoy significant advantages over the U.S. in producing ethanol, including ample agricultural land, warm climates amenable to vast sugarcane plantations, and on-site distilleries that can process cane immediately after harvest. At current world prices for sugar and corn, Brazilian ethanol production would remain competitive even if oil prices were to drop below $30 per barrel, but U.S. corn-based ethanol plants would be losing money at forty-dollar oil, even with the subsidy. Thus, in the absence of cost-effective, domestically available sources for producing ethanol, rather than using corn it would make far more sense to import ethanol from Brazil and other countries that can produce it efficiently - and also to remove the 54 cents-per-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports.

Another important strategy would be to encourage a more prominent role for nuclear power, which consumes no fossil fuels and emits no greenhouse gases. Good news on that front is that with electricity demand projected to soar more than 40 percent by 2030 -- not including the potential demand from greater availability of plug-in hybrids and other forms of electric cars -- the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects applications for as many as 11 new units this year, and for as many as 28 by the end of 2009.

Our politicians may be drunk with the prospect of corn-derived ethanol, but if we don't adopt policies based on science and sound economics, it is consumers around the world who will suffer from the hangover.


Australian professor challenges global warming theory

(Global warming beachwear above -- via Vanderleun)

An Australian academic has spoken out against the popular view that global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. He believes that global warming and climate change are caused by cycles in the sun's electro-magnetic radiation. He says scientists are taking a narrow view and politicians are making policy with the wrong information.

Emeritus Professor Lance Endersbee AO is a former Dean of Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Monash University. He told Tom Harwood, ABC Western Queensland's Morning Program producer that the world has been warming naturally due to increased magnetic radiation from the sun.

"One thousand years ago the Vikings were in Greenland, and they settled there and it was a warm period, known as the medieval warm period and Europe was prosperous," he said. "And then from about 1300 on it got progressively colder and in the time of the 1600s it was terribly cold in Europe. Finland lost about one-third of their population and the Thames froze over regularly every year and people were able to travel from London up the river on sleighs - so it was a different climate," explained Professor Endersbee.

He said since about 1700 the earth has been getting progressively warmer. "It's shown in what we call the sunspot records. The sun is also emitting a great deal of electro-magnetic radiation and nowadays with NASA we can see that more plainly on the surface of the sun."

The professor says that the incredible thing is that the electro-magnetic radiation from the sun varies up and down over an eleven year cycle. "And every eleven years there's a change in the electrical polarity of the sun."

He explained that the El Nino cycles we observe on earth are also related to these eleven year cycles with the sun. "NASA can now measure and observe the flow of plasma in the ionosphere (about thirteen kilometres above the Earth's surface). "This flow of plasma is equivalent to huge electric currents," said Professor Endersbee. He believes that this is influencing the climate on earth through electrical activity in the ionosphere. "NASA is now telling us the way the electric flows in the ionosphere seem to be connected with thunderstorms on Earth around the equator."

He explained the the earth is an electrical conductor moving through the magnetic flux of the sun. "So we have these electric currents being created within the earth in response to the electro-magnetic radiation of the sun and that is the main driver of climate change on earth - it's not man."

In summary, Professor Endersbee said that the world's been warming naturally due to this increased magnetic flow from the sun that started around the year 1700. "And now we're starting to depict that it seems to be reaching an end of that cycle and it does seem as though the earth may be cooling down."

Tom Harwood asked the professor what air pollution and carbon dioxide have to do with global warming? "We've been talking about global warming - now air pollution is an entirely different thing and what's happening is that mankind is putting a lot of pollutants into the atmosphere - they certainly cause problems and mankind is also putting dust and water vapour into the atmosphere and that has an influence... but there's a lot of nonsense being talked about carbon dioxide." He explained that we breathe carbon dioxide in and out - all the plants grow from carbon dioxide and so it's ridiculous to say that it's causing global warming..

"The oceans breathe carbon dioxide and methane in and out with the seasons and that's simply due to the fact that the oceans are a bit like a bottle of lemonade... if you warm it up the bubbles rise to the surface." "They're contemplating the possibility of cooling - that means that carbon dioxide levels will be decreased because the ocean is cooler and can absorb more," he said. "It's just a matter of Henry's law and so on - it's happening continuously and the same thing happens with methane."

The professor is adamant that the concept of carbon trading is absolute madness. "What terrifies me is the way the state governments in Australia with their emissions trading they are contemplating using the superannuation funds to invest in carbon trading - they're going to lose their money!" He says governments are getting tied-up with carbon trading for commercial and political reasons - not scientific reasons.

The other problem that concerns the professor is his view that scholarship has taken a nose-dive. "Scholarship is being driven by media and media attention and this is a terrifying state of affairs." All the research is determined by government, he said. "You can get all the money in the world if the research you're doing is related to climate change... if you say climate change isn't caused by man it's caused by the sun, it doesn't get any money at all."

He said a lot of the business of carbon trading and global warming is just a popular delusion. He refers to a book written by Mackay in the 1840s called "Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds". "We've got it now... he could see it 150 years ago - the crowd is mad!"


Global cooling in Sydney again

Sydneysiders woke up to their coldest July morning in 21 years today, when the thermometer dipped to 3.7 degrees. The minimum temperature was reached at 6.54am today and beat by one degree a July record set just yesterday. "We had high pressure sitting over the state so, with a clear sky and very little wind, here it comes, the lowest temperature," senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Peter Zmijewski, said. The temperature is the lowest recorded at Sydney's Observatory Hill since July 27, 1986, when the mercury plunged to 3.1 degrees.....

Early risers wrote into smh.com.au about frost-covered gardens in Hornsby Heights, rowing in Balmain on water like a millpond and running on ovals of crunchy grass....

As winds pick up, tonight is expected to be milder than last night, with a warmer morning tomorrow but a colder day later. The bureau has forecast snow and sleet today for the Southern and Central Tablelands (including the Blue Mountains) above 500 metres. Blizzards are also expected over much of the NSW snowfields this afternoon.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The NYT has found the immigration boogeyman -- and he is a Greenie!

The defeat of the U.S. Senate bill that would have given a huge amnesty to illegal immigrants was the result of a broad-based protest but Leftists like to find an evil boogeyman behind everything that thwarts them so the report from the NYT below focusing on just one group is the usual prescription. The amusing part, however, is that the organization they have "found" seems to be a Greenie one. That is of course not at all improbable. Greenies want to REDUCE the population so many do oppose ALL further immigration into the USA. Conservative bloggers all seem to be of the opinion that conservatives defeated the bill. Amusing if it was actually Greenies who delivered the fatal blow. Some excerpts from the NYT article:

When a comprehensive immigration bill collapsed last month on the Senate floor, it was a victory for a small group that had been lobbying Congress for a decade to reduce the number of immigrants - legal and illegal - in the United States. The group, Numbers USA, tracked every twist and turn of the bill. Its members flooded the Senate with more than a million faxes, sent through the organization's Web site. It supplied arguments and information to senators opposing the bill. "It was a David-and-Goliath struggle," said Roy H. Beck, the president of Numbers USA, who had been preparing for this moment since 1996, when he wrote a book titled "The Case Against Immigration."

"Numbers USA initiated and turbocharged the populist revolt against the immigration reform package," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy group. "Roy Beck takes people who are upset about illegal immigration for different reasons, including hostility to Latino immigrants, and disciplines them so their message is based on policy rather than race-based arguments or xenophobia." Representative Brian P. Bilbray, Republican of California and chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, said, "We're involved in weekly discussions with Numbers USA and other immigration-control groups as part of a team effort."

Numbers USA had fewer than 50,000 members at the end of 2004, but now counts more than 447,000, with an increase of 83 percent since January alone. Turning to the next phase of the debate, those members will push for enforcement of existing laws and new measures to curb the employment of illegal immigrants. "Our No. 1 legislative goal is to begin a system of mandatory workplace verification, to confirm that every employee is a United States citizen or an alien authorized to work in this country," said Rosemary E. Jenks, director of government relations at Numbers USA.

The organization wants to reduce immigration - as Mr. Beck says in the subtitle of his book - for "moral, economic, social and environmental reasons." He contends that immigrants and their children are driving population growth, which he says is gobbling up open space, causing urban sprawl and creating more traffic congestion. Moreover, Mr. Beck asserts that immigrants and temporary workers, by increasing the supply of labor, have depressed wages in industries from meatpacking to information technology. Numbers USA has worked most closely with conservative Republicans, but in recent weeks has built alliances with Democrats who share the concern.

Numbers USA objects to proposals that increase the number of legal or illegal immigrants. It steers clear of debates over the allocation of visas. "It does not matter to us whether a visa goes to a high-tech worker, a farm worker or the sibling of a U.S. citizen," Mr. Beck said. Numbers USA is one of many organizations fostered by John H. Tanton, an ophthalmologist from Michigan who has also championed efforts to protect the environment, limit population growth [A definite Greenie!] and promote English as an official language....

Mr. Beck said Numbers USA had been independent of Dr. Tanton since 2002. On the group's Web site, Mr. Beck cautions against "immigrant bashing" and says, "Even illegal aliens deserve humane treatment as they are detected, detained and deported." In the fight over the Senate bill, Numbers USA had daily conference calls with conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Eagle Forum.

For tax purposes, Numbers USA has two arms, an educational foundation and an advocacy group that lobbies Congress. Together, Mr. Beck said, they have a budget of $3 million this year, but will probably raise and spend $4.5 million. Mr. Beck said that in the past the group received about two-thirds of its money from foundations like the Colcom Foundation of Pittsburgh and the Weeden Foundation in New York. Many of these foundations have an interest in conservation.


More on the recent solar influence on climate

Prof. Brignell has taken up the cudgels in looking at the recent Royal Society paper by Lockwood & Froehlich that claimed to debunk the Durkin "Swindle" film. Prof. Brignell specializes in mathematical analyses of physical data and finds a number of infelicities in the paper. I excerpt below the most pointed part of his comments, which, I am pleased to say, largely echo my own comments. See the full article for some interesting links:

So let us take their findings at face value. They say that solar studies fail to predict a claimed sharp rise in global temperature. Well that is precisely what others of a more sceptical disposition have been saying, most recently for example David Archibald. The authors of this paper claim to be dealing with recent times, so they have the advantage of satellite data, which are more credible than the earthbound sort. Indeed the satellite data suggest that there has been no significant global warming since the strong El Nino year of 1998. From Archibald:

But the paper in question chooses to ignore the satellite data and to show as its final figure the usual ground station data with a strong upward slope for recent years. For an explanation of that see How not to measure temperature. Number Watch has been frequently pilloried for item 6 in its ten facts about global warming, yet now that surface stations are actually being systematically investigated it is clear that there is a great deal of dubiety in those records.

So what does it all boil down to? They have gone round the houses with a great deal of razzamatazz to tell us something that appears to be generally agreed, that solar activity is in decline. They then contrast this with the dubious totem graph of surface temperatures and end up with the complete non sequitur that the CO2 sceptics must be wrong, which was the point seized upon with great relish and hysteria by the establishment media, led of course by the BBC. Fortunately, there is still the odd isolated cool head among the overheated mass.

Thus the Royal Society, which has throughout its glorious history received and published a significant proportion of the great discoveries of world science, finds itself hosting a cheap, opportunistic gibe at an honest attempt to popularise a return to traditional scepticism in science.

Let's fight back against the new Model Army

Like voodoo forecasts, computer models of climate change are being used to stifle political discussion and resign man to his Fate. Given the sad state of history education these days, I guess I should note that the original New Model Army was mostly comprised of Christian fundamentalists, was in part led by Oliver Cromwell and ultimately brought about the beheading of Charles I. So the heading above is basically a pun

Everybody models nowadays. Nothing gives a new forecast, policy or strategy more weight than knowing that it is, in some way, the product of a computer model. The world's top capitalists use models to perform `what if?' exercises on crises and disasters, and to simulate future business growth. Governments bow down to models on all sorts of issues: right now, Britain's chief scientist is modeling the future of UK obesity. Yet computer models are not all they're cracked up to be. They remain based on a host of untested assumptions; worse, they tend to reduce human beings simply to the role of passive victims - helpless spectators in front of unfolding Great Events.

In no other arena has modeling gained so much kudos as in climate change. Back in 2005, spiked forecast that forecasting itself was due for a boom, because of the growing sense of uncertainty suffered by government and business (see All eyes on the future, by James Woudhuysen). This prediction has proved right, but the trend has been reinforced by the way in which models of climate change have become the gold standard upon which all decision-making must be based.

The rise of models has coincided with the evaporation of the concept of human agency, of human beings consciously gaining and applying new insights through struggle. While we're supposed to realise that climate change demands the most profound spiritual and lifestyle revolution for each and every person on the planet, in computer models of the future we are consigned to a fate that is pretty much pre-ordained. Such a view demeans the capabilities of people, distorts policy, and is also simply unrealistic. In the real world, human beings do not wait for things just to happen to them; we react, adapt and innovate around problems as they arise.

Just a third of a century ago, when politics actually meant something, highly regarded analysts derided vapid computerisations of the future. When the Club of Rome published its epoch-making bestseller The Limits to Growth in 1972, reaction was sharp. Christopher Freeman, then director of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex and doyen of the world's technology policy gurus, satirised the Club's approach as `Malthus with a computer'. The Fall of Man into a world of depleted resources, it was felt, could not be verified by the movement of electrons and punched cards around an IBM mainframe (1).

Things have changed. In October 2006, when Sir Nicholas Stern published his 700-page UK Treasury report on the economics of climate change, he referred more than 500 times to models of climate change and its monetary cost; models of hydrology, crop growth, risk and uncertainty; and models of innovation, technology and energy. Yet rapture, not criticism, was the main reaction to his argument (2).

Why have models taken on such importance in policymaking today? Whatever happened to the healthy scepticism that accompanied the portentous conclusions of models in the past?

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Pentagon notoriously corralled emerging, mathematics-based disciplines - cybernetics, game theory - into the cause of the Cold War. Particularly after the development of the integrated circuit in 1957, computers were also used, in practice and in propaganda, to lend a veneer of respectability to the campaign. Since those years, the prestige of IT has grown. Today's Unbearable Rightness of Foreseeing, then, is the product of both climate catastrophism, and revived chutzpah on the part of those promoting IT.

Even before the dot.com boom of the late 1990s, Shoshana Zuboff's seminal In the Age of the Smart Machine claimed that IT didn't just automate industrial processes, but gave rise to new insights `into functional relationships, states, conditions, trends, likely developments and underlying causes' (3). Today, with the rise of the supposedly all-conquering technologies of Web 2.0 and their dramatic use in Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic Party nomination, only a few detractors are on hand to sniff about IT's deficiencies.

As solutions to the problem of seeing into the future and providing a vision for it, IT-based methods have gained in credibility. At the same time, the past 20 years have also seen the decline of politics as a vehicle for change. In place of the clashing ideas of left and right have come neutralising, anaesthetic diagnoses and cures. We had think tanks and audits in the 1980s, going on to balanced scorecards and Key Performance Indicators in the 1990s. Until the demise of his government-by-sofa, former UK prime minister Tony Blair had Lord Birt, ex-boss of the BBC and all-round management Dalek, to perform `blue skies' thinking for him on everything from transport to the prison system.

Alongside this managerial approach to every political issue, a New Scientism has sprung up in relation to global warming, converting questions of economic and technological development into matters of physics or climatology - perfect for number-crunching modelers. The main thing about this approach is that it looks hip, modern, cool and unanswerable. But if more people now turn to expose the emperor's new clothes, the profound fatalism that informs the modeler's prognoses about the future will finally come out.

For proof, let's look at the two most recent summaries for policymakers produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In a previous article, we took up the ideas in the summary produced by IPCC Working Group I, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (see A man-made morality tale, by James Woudhuysen and Joe Kaplinsky). Now whatever its faults, this summary at least confined itself to the physical science of climate change. But the IPCC's subsequently published Working Group II summary, on the impacts of climate change, adapting to it, and mankind's vulnerability to it, is a very odd document. So is the Working Group III summary on how to mitigate climate change. Each of these summaries is, in fact, an eclectic mish-mash of monolithic computer simulations. Each uses computer models to predict social phenomena - developments quite different from those covered by climatology. (4)

The Working Group II summary runs to 22 pages. Interestingly enough, however, it only deals with how human beings might respond to the impact of climate change on page 17. Most of the summary is devoted to repeating the forecasts of climate science. We learn that sea defences might be a good idea; but then again `altered food and recreational choices', `altered farm practices' and more regulation are also part of the IPCC's oh-so-scientific approach.

The bad news, according to Working Group II, is that climate change itself can slow progress toward sustainable development. We learn, too, that there are `formidable environmental, economic, informational, social, attitudinal and behavioural barriers to implementation of adaptation'; indeed for developing countries, a principal barrier blocking adaptation to climate change is - wait for it! - the fact that they have yet to build the capacity to adjust to climate change. How brilliant is that?

The Working Group II report puts forward six different Emission Scenarios, describing six different possible worlds of the future. The `A2 storyline and scenario family', for example, projects rapid population growth resulting in problems of food supply, coastal flooding and water scarcity for particularly large numbers of people. Here, more population means that the effects of global warming will hit more people. These kinds of banalities have nothing to do with climate science. They are waves of the arm about the economics, psychology and fertility of the future. Broadly, the suggestion is that there is little that the world can do to adapt to climate change.

A similar insouciance marks the Working Group III summary on mitigation, which runs to 35 pages. Economic and political assumptions are there, yet precisely what these are is never made clear, even in the fuller versions of the reports available to date. For example, we are reassured to learn that, by 2030, average CO2 emissions in the Third World are projected to remain substantially lower (2.8-5.1 tonnes of CO2 per head) than those in First World regions (9.6-15.1 tonnes). But where is the natural science in that `projection'?

Working Group III is adamant that changing its projections of population, or using market exchange rates rather than purchasing power parities to compare the GDPs of different countries, are adjustments that conveniently make no difference to the level of greenhouse gas emissions it projects for 2030. On the other hand, we are made to understand that most models of mitigation assume `universal emissions trading. transparent markets, no transaction costs, and thus perfect implementation of mitigation measures throughout the twenty-first century'. These are quite extraordinary assumptions to make.

To conclude, about the only time the IPCC's Working Group III admits the case for human agency is when, on page 16, it acknowledges that the macroeconomic costs of mitigation might be lower if the human species were to engage in technological change. But it is quick to admonish: `However, this may require higher upfront investment in order to achieve costs reductions (sic) thereafter.'

Instead of raising technology to a higher level, the IPCC seems to prefer that motorists adopt what it calls an `efficient driving style'. So while technologies to save the planet are held to be a bit expensive, we're told that changes in lifestyle and behaviour, by contrast, can mitigate climate change `across all sectors'.

Such a view fits in nicely with the low horizons of modern politics. With the IPCC, the modern computer modeler's work is complete. The conclusions are already there in the premises; but the presentation as the product of cold, logical number-crunching ensures that this work will brook no counter-argument.

But there is a counter-argument. We can uphold humanity's talent for taking the future into its own hands. And we can mount our own, humanistic critique of voodoo forecasts. Computer models of the future are both products and producers of political muddle. It's time they were held up to the light, then given the searing interrogation they deserve.



German power firms are frustrated that a government-organised meeting on energy issues next week is likely to avoid what they see as a key issue -- the future of nuclear power. Chancellor Angela Merkel is bound to a seven-year old deal to phase out nuclear energy by the early 2020s and risks a serious crisis with anti-nuclear forces in her coalition government if she reneges on it. But utilities, which say they need longer nuclear operations to win time to meet increasingly ambitious environmental goals, are fed up with the prospect of a third such high level meeting taking place without an open discussion of the nuclear issue. They are also baulking at proposed efficiency targets which the government wants to push through at the July 3 meeting.

The results of the gathering will form the basis for a national energy plan in the autumn, which utilities fear will be unrealistic. "We need the dialogue for business reasons but it has deteriorated to a climate meeting which knocks nuclear and discredits coal -- away from an objective energy debate," an executive at one of Germany's big four utilities, who asked not to be named, said.

Merkel, a conservative whose views on nuclear power generation clash with those of her Social Democrat coalition partners, must reconcile the energy industry's needs with her climate protection policies. The energy sector is about to invest billions of euros in renewing ageing power stations, mainly with coal-fired units, but says it needs stable policies to make this sustainable.


Oil rigs are good for wildlife!

Oil rigs are tiny outposts of the manmade world in the massive wilderness of the open ocean. So at the end of their working lives should they simply be dismantled and removed? A Sydney academic has weighed into the debate over the future of dozens of rigs around the Australian coast, arguing that in certain cases it may be better for the environment to keep decommissioned oil facilities in place as breeding grounds for fish and other marine life.

David Booth, a researcher with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and a professor with the University of Technology, Sydney, says scientists have found what appear to be new species living around the rigs. ``There's 50 or 60 rigs that will be decomissioned in the next decade or so,'' Booth said. ``Some of them are in areas that are biological deserts and they act as little oases. ``In other cases, removing the rig could be damaging to the environment. ``In other cases total removal may be the way to go.''

His opinion comes as the federal government prepares to hand down an issues paper on the future of the rigs which is likely to spark further debate. There are scores of rigs around the Australian coast, with most located off Western Australia's coast and in Bass Strait. Some companies are looking at establishing new rigs off South Australia. Typically rigs in Australian waters rest in between 50 and 1000 metres of water. Below 30 metres is considered by scientists to be the deep sea.

Booth is involved in a project called SERPENT under which international researchers are able to use the facilities aboard oil rigs to study life on the ocean floor. Funding comes jointly from the federal government and oil companies.

Researchers use rig cameras to study the sea floor and remotely-operated vehicles to deploy instruments and traps. Booth said scientists in locations in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia had located a host of new creatures, some of which appeared to belong not only to new species but whole new families of life.

With many Australian rigs now reaching the end of their life span, Booth said there were tough decisions to me made about the future of the facilities. While requiring oil companies to completely remove their rigs and return the ocean floor to its previous state might seem to be the most environmentally-friendly option, he said a case by case approach was more appropriate. One option might be to leave the rigs in place in their entirety so as not disturb fish life. They could also be used for commercial purposes such as fish farms.

Another option might be to remove all fittings and push the rigs over, allowing them to be used as artificial reefs. However, this would impact on fish living on the upper reaches of the rigs. If total removal was the preferred option, rigs could be towed away and scrapped.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Monday, July 16, 2007

Cold snap prompts Peru emergency

Global cooling is arriving!

The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in several Andean regions hit by unusually cold weather. More than 200 people, about 50 of them children, have died in recent weeks. The people, mostly farmers living at high altitude in the Andes mountains, mainly died from pneumonia caused by sub-zero temperatures. Scores of people die every year from the cold in Peru but farmers in the Andes say the weather is now more extreme and unpredictable.

The people and their animals living in the upper reaches of the Peruvian Andes are exposed to the harshest extremes of heat and cold. For the millions who live at 3,000m above sea level, or higher, the temperature frequently drops below zero at night. But this autumn, the weather in much of the Andes has been colder than usual. As well as the 200 who have died, thousands of people are suffering from pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

As ever the victims are the most vulnerable - children and the elderly. To make matters worse, the coldest areas are also the poorest and alarming levels of malnutrition have meant hospitals are packed with mothers and their sick children. In the coastal capital, Lima, and elsewhere people are making donations. The Peruvian health ministry is planning to take 16 tons of donated clothing to communities living in the six regions in Peru's eastern and southern Andes, all of which have been put under a state of emergency.

Scientists say the unseasonable droughts, heavy rains and frosts are due to climate change. [No doubt about it!]. Meanwhile, weather experts are forecasting that temperatures will plummet even further with the South American winter soon to begin in earnest.


Fear of a global 'coldening'

By Tim Blair

LAST month Australians endured our coldest June since 1950. Imagine that; all those trillions of tonnes of evil carbon we've horked up into the atmosphere over six decades of rampant industrialisation, and we're still getting the same icy weather we got during the Cold War.

Not that June should be presented as evidence that global warming isn't happening, or that we're causing it. Relying on such a tiny sample would be unscientific and wrong, even if it involves an entire freakin' continent's weather patterns throughout the course of a whole month, for Christ's sake. No such foolishness will be indulged in here.

Sadly, those who believe in global warming - and who would compel us also to believe - aren't similarly constrained. A few hot days are all they ever need to get the global warming bandwagon rolling; evidently it's solar powered. Here, for example, is an Australian Associated Press report on May's weather, which in places was a little warmer than usual:

"Climate change gave much of Australia's drought-stricken east coast its warmest May on record, weather experts say. "Global warming and an absence of significant cold changes had driven temperatures well above the monthly average, said meteorologist Matt Pearce. According to Mr Pearce, May's temperatures were "yet another sign of the widespread climate change that we are seeing unfold across the globe."

If that's the case, shouldn't June's cold weather - coldest since 1950, remember - be a sign that widespread climate change isn't unfolding across the globe? We're using the same data here; one month's weather. And, in fact, the June sample is Australia-wide while May only highlights the east coast. Fear the dawn of a great "coldening"!

While Australia freezes, it's kinda hot in California. Again, local toastiness is evidence of global warming; one San Francisco Chronicle writer this week referred glibly to their "global-warming-heated summer". What phenomenon was responsible for previous summers? Maybe they got by on the superheated fumes radiating off Lateline host Tony Jones.

Snow cone Tone hosted an in-studio discussion Thursday night after the ABC presented The Great Global Warming Swindle, and he was hotter than a Christina Aguilera video. "Welcome to our debate on this deeply flawed and utterly mistaken documentary, which is wrong in every regard and was made by a zombie," Jones said in introduction (I'm only lightly paraphrasing). During an interview with filmmaker Martin Durkin Tone was visibly sweating; no easy achievement during a typical summer in the UK, to where he'd flown for his heated little chat.

Perhaps Tone was anticipating the phantom British summer forecast by The Independent's environment editor, Michael McCarthy, in April: "The possibility is growing that Britain in 2007 may experience a summer of unheard-of high temperatures, with the thermometer even reaching 40C, or 104F, a level never recorded in history. "This would be quite outside all historical experience, but entirely consistent with predictions of climate change."

As Wimbledon watchers would be aware, what with the rainiest tournament since Jimmy Connors defeated John McEnroe in 1982, those unheard-of high temperatures remain unheard-of. Someone might conclude, therefore, that the not-hot summer is not entirely consistent with predictions of climate change.

But climate change is like Michael Moore's tracksuit - it can fit anyone. In 2005, Greenpeace rep Steven Guilbeault helpfully explained: "Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with." What we're dealing with, apparently, is weather. What will the weather be like 100 years from now? Don't ask Britain's Guardian, which, like the Independent, is full of Warmin' Normans whose warm warnings never come true. "It could be time to say goodbye to defining features of British life," the paper claimed a few months ago, "like rainy picnics and cloudy sunbathing . . ." Other defining features of British life - screaming, inaccurate nonsense from the Guardian, for example - will never be farewelled. Cue wet Wimbledon, the coldest day for Test match cricket (7.4C) in English history, and this BBC online headline: "Where has the UK's summer gone?"

Maybe it migrated to Australia, like Augustus Owsley Stanley III, the American LSD enthusiast and manufacturer. Possibly influenced by his product, Owsley moved to outback Queensland about twenty years ago, reportedly convinced that imminent global warming would cause - in the tradition of warm meaning cold - the whole Northern Hemisphere to be covered with ice. Owsley, now 72, is still in Queensland, and likely not a little confused. Things didn't exactly turn out as predicted. While his former Californian haunts melt due to "global warming", this year Queensland has gone frosty. Townsville's June was its coldest since 1940; June 24 saw the coldest Brisbane morning on record.

Think of these little factoids the next time your read a report linking a hot day or month or year to global warming. And, if you run into this Owsley bloke, please ask him to quit adding things to environmentalists' water supplies.


Great Barrier Reef 'can adapt' to warmer times

Amazing what it takes to get some people to see the obvious. The fact that Australia's great coral reef has survived many temperature fluctuations in the past and the fact that it is at its most flourishing in TROPICAL waters should have made it the least likely candidate for Warmist hysteria but the fact that the reef is highly regarded by many meant that it HAD to be seen as endangered. The latest report below:

THE Great Barrier Reef may be much better suited to surviving climate change and warmer conditions than previously thought. Researchers in north Queensland have found many corals contain microscopic algae that protect them from temperature fluctuations.

The study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, which clashes with the work of many coral experts who have long claimed the reef is doomed by climate change, used DNA analysis to show many corals stored several types of algae that kicked in to provide nutrients when temperatures increased.

The future of the reef has become a touchstone for environmentalists, some of whom say the reef could be gone within 20 years. Last year, Nicholas Stern, the author of Britain's Stern Review into climate change, said the reef would die because of global warming. Greenpeace and the World Wild Fund for Nature claim the reef is threatened by global warming. The latter has called for a reduction of CO2 emissions specifically to save the reef, which it estimates contributes $5.8 billion to the economy. "Overfishing, land-based pollution and coral bleaching exacerbated by increased sea temperatures due to global warming are all impacting upon (the reef's) natural wealth," the WWF website says.

The new research suggests coral is suited to climate change and species have survived temperature changes in the past. Researcher Jos Mieog said that, when conditions warmed, the more heat-tolerant algae provided back-up, becoming more abundant. Some algal types imparted greater resistance to environmental extremes.

Before the research was released this week, many scientists believed only a few coral species harboured the algae, but it has now been shown to be much more widespread. The research shows coral has the ability to "shuffle" the algae, maximising life-sustaining nutrients depending on water temperature. The AIMS team discovered the heat-resistant algae by examining the DNA of different types of coral. "The potential for this hidden back-up algae to provide nutrition to coral during heat stress is far greater than previously thought," said the study's lead researcher, Madeleine van Oppen.

She acknowledged the work was viewed as controversial in coral reef sciences. The research team believes bleaching, widely associated with the death of coral, is part of coral's natural cycle of life. The presence of the heat-resistant algae had been missed by other researchers, Dr van Oppen said, because their techniques could not detect it at low abundance. Dr van Oppen said the research helped to explain how coral had survived over thousands of years. "This flexibility discovered in our research is important in understanding the past evolutionary success of these coral species and their future survival capacity in the face of changing climate," Dr van Oppen said


Ontario Government Distributes Al Gore Climate Change Film to Public Schools

Former US Vice President Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, criticized by many in the scientific community as a piece of environmentalist agitprop, will be distributed to schools that request it by the Ontario government, the National Post reports today. Gore has remade himself the world's most prominent spokesman for the radical environmental movement, with his film becoming the focal point of the environmental movement that proposes human overpopulation as the central factor in "climate change."

The Ontario initiative was spurred by the donation of hundreds of DVD copies of the movie by the Tides Canada Foundation, an environmentalist organization that channels private donations to environmental projects and "progressive social change". The Tides Foundation made a similar donation of copies of the film to the government of British Columbia, to be distributed to all the schools in the province. Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's Minister of Education, told media that the distribution of the film is not an endorsement. "It's just a resource that will be available. The teachers can choose to use it or not."

Critics of the film, however, have identified it as little more than propaganda for the extreme left with many reviewers echoing one who called it "quasi-religious doom and gloom." Patrick J. Michaels, writing in the National Review said Al Gore should get an Academy award for his "riveting work of science fiction." The Post quotes Albert Jacobs, the founder of Friends of Science, warning that with its one-sided polemical approach, "the [school] boards should see to it that the schools are instructed to offset the Gore movie with alternative interpretations."

The Education minister's claim of government neutrality on the debate was contradicted by the announcement by Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten who said, "Today's announcement is moving Ontario forward in the battle against climate change by inspiring students to reduce their environment[al]impact."

The film offers various technological methods supposed to reduce green house gases, but concludes by repeating the movement's central thesis that such solutions can only be feasible with a drastic reduction in the world's human population.

The connection between the environmental movement and population control is well established and recognized. In 2004 Russian presidential economic advisor Andrei Illarionov called the Kyoto Protocol - a UN sponsored treaty to reduce greenhouse gases - an "undeclared war against Russia" since it required depopulation. Illarionov said, "As long as you reduce your population, you can meet the Kyoto Protocol requirements."

The insistence of environmentalists on population reduction is increasingly open. A report published May 7 this year by one of the founding organizations of the environmental movement, said, "The most effective personal climate change strategy is limiting the number of children one has.The most effective national and global climate change strategy is limiting the size of the population."


New York City promotes tap water

For once I think the Greenies have a point -- even though I do buy bottled water myself. I buy the bubbly stuff

New Yorkers are being urged to drink tap water by the glass. The City of New York is trying to persuade its people to give up bottled drinks and consume tap water instead to help protect the environment. It has launched an advertising campaign to promote the cause, with local restaurants encouraged to join in. City officials say their campaign will save people money, and reduce waste.

According to environmental groups, four out of five plastic water bottles end up on landfill sites and the production process contributes to global warming. The distribution process sometimes involving shipping water halfway around the world.

New Yorkers, who are coping with a summer heatwave, are divided on the merits of the campaign. Already restaurants in California have begun to serve only tap water and some in New York are looking to follow suit. But the Bottled Water Association says it is unfair to single out an industry that is promoting recycling and introducing biodegradable packaging.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Sunday, July 15, 2007


It is however an outcome that the haters in the Greenie movement would greet with glee

The next time Democratic leaders lament the decline of American industry, please refer them to the current Congressional brawl over auto fuel-efficiency standards. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and most of their colleagues are siding with upscale environmental lobbies over American carmakers and workers. Call it their Drive-a-Toyota Act.

Foreign automakers were cheering in June when Senate Democrats muscled through energy legislation to raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, requiring that automaker fleets hit an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 (up from today's 27.5 mpg). GM, Ford and Chrysler all warned Congress that this would add to their financial burdens, making their vehicles even less competitive with those made by Toyota, Honda and other automakers.

The United Auto Workers warned that even a small mileage increase could cost more than 65,000 jobs. Yet Senate Majority Leader Reid's response was to scold Detroit for opposing him, and to assert that if the U.S. carmakers had only signed onto CAFE sooner they wouldn't be in their current predicament. Had they "joined us instead of fighting us these last 20 years [over CAFE standards], they might not be in the financial mess they're in today," he said. His apparent point is that if only GM and Ford had invested in new technology and smaller cars the way Toyota and Honda have, they wouldn't be losing market share.

This is a bizarre reading of recent automobile history. Detroit has made its share of mistakes, but refusing to compete with smaller, more fuel-efficient cars isn't one of them. GM tried and failed with its Saturn project. And one reason for that failure is that the main competitive reality facing Detroit for a generation has been the burden of its worker pension and health care costs. The consensus is that those costs add about $1,500 per vehicle compared to Japanese or Korean competitors. The best way to recoup those costs is by making larger vehicles that earn more profit per sale than smaller cars do. Making trucks (protected by a 25% U.S. tariff) and SUVs was entirely rational, and failing to do so would have meant more financial trouble earlier.

Mr. Reid also forgets that, until this decade's surging gasoline prices, those larger, U.S.-made cars were what Americans wanted to buy. The Ford Explorer SUV was a huge consumer hit. With gas prices as low as 90 cents a gallon during the 1990s, U.S. drivers preferred the safety and power of SUVs, pickups and large sedans. We don't recall Bill Clinton proposing a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax to spur gas conservation, or for that matter lecturing Detroit to stop making those vehicles.

Amid today's much higher gas prices, more Americans are choosing more fuel-efficient cars -- a market phenomenon that will do far more to reduce fuel consumption than any Washington mandate. As most economists understand, mileage mandates are an inefficient way to limit fuel use. They don't reduce the number of cars on the road, and owning a car that gets more miles to the gallon often encourages people to drive more miles. If Mr. Reid truly cared about cutting gas consumption, he and his party would increase the gas tax. But voters are already steamed about $3-a-gallon gas, and Mr. Reid's commitment to lower carbon consumption doesn't go as far as the personal sacrifice of losing Democratic Senate seats.

CAFE is a way to appease the green lobby immediately, while taxing Detroit, its workers and American consumers indirectly but significantly over time. Technology exists to further increase fuel efficiency, but that technology costs money. The Big Three will have to pass those costs along to consumers, which will make their products less competitive, while yielding a smaller profit margin on those they do sell. Ford lost $12.7 billion last year as it is.

One Democrat who understands all this is Michigan's John Dingell, the House Energy and Commerce Chairman who has so far refused to include sweeping new fuel-efficiency standards in his energy bill. He prefers the more modest, flexible standards favored by the Bush Administration and U.S. carmakers. Ms. Pelosi has refused to budge from her plan to pass standards like the Senate's, however. And so the House CAFE showdown has been postponed until the fall -- or until enough Democrats and wealthy Sierra Club donors can beat Mr. Dingell into submission.

Journalists and greens are starting to highlight this debate as a test of Ms. Pelosi's political manhood, saying she needs to show the venerable Mr. Dingell who's boss. But it's more accurate to say this debate is a test of who has more clout in today's Democratic Congress -- the men and women who work in American factories, or the affluent greens on both coasts who can afford to pay a premium to own a Prius to indulge their concern about global warming.


That good ol' public transport the Greenies love (for others; not for themselves)

Quadriplegic left on an Australian government-run train after a breakdown. Nobody gave a stuff. Only his cellphone saved him -- with the assistance of voluntary workers. Despite much notification, at no time did any government worker lift a finger to assist him

A QUADRIPLEGIC left stranded on a train for four hours without essential medication was told by CityRail staff he would be assisted in "two or three days". Wheelchair-bound Mark McCauley suffered the humiliation of eventually being removed by construction workers using a forklift during the first Harbour Bridge train fiasco. Quadriplegic and paraplegic advocates yesterday blasted CityRail for the shameful - and potentially life-threatening - treatment of Mr McCauley, a senior lecturer at the College of Law in St Leonards.

An internal investigation report, revealed by The Daily Telegraph yesterday, found CityRail has absolutely no procedures for the care of disabled passengers in emergencies. All other passengers in the March 14 incident were evacuated three hours earlier, leaving Mr McCauley alone without any advice about when he would be rescued.

"I started to get agitated because no one seemed to know I was stuck on the train and it was getting towards the time when I need my medication," Mr McCauley told The Saturday Daily Telegraph. "I rang CityRail and told the lady I was stuck . . . and at the end of the conversation she said 'That's fine sir, somebody will get back to you in two or three days'. "I said 'Don't bother I'll be dead by then.' It was like she was a robot."

Mr McCauley then called triple-0 and asked police to intervene. They arranged to have another CityRail manager call him back just before 8pm. "She said we can't get you off the train until we restore power - it could be in the early hours of the morning. I said to her 'I'm a quadriplegic do you know what that means?' She said yes but she clearly didn't."

It took construction workers at North Sydney station to volunteer to use a forklift to take Mr McCauley off the train just before 10pm - more than four hours after he boarded for the 15 minute journey to the city.

Mr McCauley said four letters to Premier Morris Iemma and Transport Minister John Watkins went unanswered. CityRail posted him two one-day free rail passes, which he described as a slap in the face.

Reeling from a week of rail shame, a contrite Mr Watkins last night said CityRail's treatment of Mr McCauley was "completely unacceptable". "I'm disappointed we have not responded more formally to him and I will certainly write to him detailing the outcomes in the final report and the steps the Government is taking to prevent it happening again," he said.

The Quadriplegic and Paraplegic Association of NSW last night demanded CityRail develop protocols to rescue people with mobility aids and other disabilities. "What would they do in the event of a terrorist attack?," ParaQuad chief executive Max Bosotti said last night.


Shock! Cars are "greener" than trains

From Britain: Amusing that British trains weigh twice as much as Japanese trains! What a lot of oiks the Brits have become under the influence of socialism and its related pathologies!

It can be greener to drive than catch the train, according to a rail industry study which reveals that trains are losing their environmental advantage. Modern diesel-powered trains are so polluting that a family of three or more would be responsible for at least double the carbon dioxide emissions on many routes when travelling by rail compared with driving in a typical medium-sized car. The study concludes that the Virgin Voyager, the most advanced diesel train on the network, has the highest emissions of any British train and that its performance compared with cars is steadily worsening as motor manufacturers improve efficiency.

The study, commissioned by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, urges the Government to electrify key sections of the rail network to allow greener electric trains to replace diesel ones. On several long-distance routes, such as London to Hull, diesel trains run long distances under electric wires because short stretches of track have not been electrified.

Only 40 per of Britain's rail network is electrified, the lowest proportion of any large European country. The best-performing electric trains are operated by GNER between London and Edinburgh and emit only 40g of CO2 per passenger-kilometre (g/pkm) compared with 112g/pkm for Voyagers. By 2022, more efficient power generation will have reduced the emissions of the GNER trains to 28g/pkm. But the emissions of the Voyagers, which are only five years old and are due to remain in service until after 2030, will be unchanged. On present trends, emissions from the average car will have been reduced from 131g/pkm to 98g/pkm by 2022. The numbers are based on the existing average passenger loads on cars and trains. Cars carry an average of 1.6 people and, across the whole day, a third of train seats are occupied.

The study says: "As the efficiency of cars progressively increases, the difference in emissions between cars and high-performance trains will narrow and it will be increasingly difficult to make an environmental case for transferring people on to diesel-powered railways." Its author, Roger Kemp, Professor of Engineering at Lancaster University, said that the Government should focus on attracting business travellers, rather than families, to rail. "It's not politically correct to say so, but the Government is better off encouraging families into low-emission cars and getting business people, who tend to travel alone in large cars, to catch the train."

Professor Kemp said that he was sceptical about the experimental running of trains on biodiesel, made from plants. "I'm very doubtful of the claims made for biofuels because the overall CO2 can be even greater once you take into account what is emitted in production." He said that modern trains tended to be less efficient than older ones because they were much heavier. Safety regulations have added to the weight by requiring more robust bodies and crumple zones. New trains also carry more equipment, such as air-conditioning and motors for sliding doors, and have space-consuming lavatories for disabled passengers. Britain's long-distance trains typically weigh more than a tonne per seat. By contrast, Japan's bullet trains weigh only 500kg per seat as they are made using lighter, more advanced materials.

The Government is expected to address the environmental challenge facing the railways in a 30-year strategy being published this month. Ministers have already admitted that some trains on rural lines, such as the diesel Sprinter, are less efficient than 4x4s because they are often almost empty. Douglas Alexander, when he was Transport Secretary, said last year: "If ten or fewer people travel in a Sprinter, it would be less environmentally damaging to give them each a Land Rover Freelander and tell them to drive." An official at the Department for Transport said that the strategy would not set specific targets on electrifying more of the network because of uncertainty over how much electricity would be generated in future from low-emission sources. Some companies which operate electric trains, such as Virgin West Coast and C2C, carry systems that allow them to capture and reuse the energy usually lost during braking.


Double standard for global warming skeptics and believers

Thanks mainly to sensation-mongering media, global warming is the modern version of a State religion. The editorial below from "The Australian" pushes for more balance

AMONG all the arguments unleashed in the Thursday night ABC TV debate about Martin Durkin's documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, it was left to journalist Michael Duffy to query the way Durkin was being dealt with. Why, Duffy asked the debate's moderator, Lateline host Tony Jones, was Durkin's argument being held to a higher scholarly standard than Al Gore's global warming documentary? And why was Durkin's argument being eviscerated when one of the academic architects of the global warming orthodoxy, Nicholas Stern, got a much less critical reception on Lateline last March?

Fair questions both. They illustrate one of the greatest dangers in the debate - that accepting humanity plays a part in the way the planet is warming is no longer enough. It is now an article of popular faith that the worse-case scenarios are always right.

Thus professor Tim Flannery gets an uncritical go in much of the media when he warns the weather is going to get worse unless we heed his advice and cut back on coal. In September 2005, he told Lateline there was a clear link between Caribbean hurricanes - including Katrina, which had just flattened New Orleans - and global warming. Except there isn't, according to Swedish scientists who reported last month that Katrina was unexceptional. Professor Flannery had another go in February, disputing the International Panel on Climate Change's estimate that global warming would increase the sea level by 0.6m by the end of the century. Instead, he told Lateline two years of data demonstrated all the Artic's ice could melt in five years. And he has spoken of sea level rises of 80m - 160 times the IPCC's consensus on a maximum figure - by 2100.

None of this is good enough. As American oceanographer Carl Wunsch put it on Thursday night, "it is very important for the science community to try to retain its credibility by not exaggerating what the science says''. Or as another American, the second president of the US, John Adams, put it: "Whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.''


Global Warming's Trillion Dollar Giveaway

Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced this week their "Low Carbon Economy Act" (LCEA) intended to combat global warming. The bill ought to be called the "The Trillion Dollar Giveaway and Wealth Redistribution Act." The LCEA's ostensible goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2006 levels by 2020; to 1990 levels by 2030; and by more than 60 percent from today's levels by 2050. These goals are to be accomplished not by directly mandating reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Rather, the LCEA would compel larger GHG emitters - e.g., petroleum refineries, natural gas processing plants, liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities, oil and gas importers, and large coal-burning facilities - to pay for the right to emit GHGs.

The lack of a mandate to reduce GHGs emissions means that they could actually increase under the LCEA, as long as emitters are willing to pay to do so. The LCEA is 130 pages in length and quite complex. So while it will take considerably more time to do a thorough analysis, the bill does have one notable feature that screams for immediate attention - its giveaway of more than one trillion dollars to special interests in its first 10 years.

Under the LCEA, the federal government would annually issue rights or "allowances" to emit GHGs. In the first year of the bill, slated as 2012, allowances would be issued for approximately 6.65 billion metric tons of GHGs. The amount of allowances slightly decreases every year - for example, 6.59 billion metric tons in 2013, 6.53 billion metric tons in 2014, etc. - until it finally levels out at 4.82 billion metric tons in 2030 and beyond. These allowances have monetary value - a lot.

Owners of allowances can either use them to pay for their GHG emissions or they can sell them to other emitters who need allowances. Emitters can also simply pay the federal government directly to emit GHGs at a cost of $12 per metric ton of carbon dioxide starting in 2012. This price is slated to increase annually by the inflation rate plus 5 percent. By 2030 - and unrealistically assuming that no inflation occurs - the pay-to-emit price would be about $27.50 per metric ton of carbon dioxide.

Using the pay-to-emit price, the GHG emissions allowances issued by the federal government in 2012 will have a potential market value of $80 billion. The annual market value of these government-issued allowances will rise to over $100 billion by 2018 and hit $130 billion in 2030. It will only take about 10 years - exclusive of any inflation - for value of the allowances issued by the government to exceed $1 trillion.

And incredible as it sounds, the bulk of these allowances - 76 percent for the first five years, declining to 47 percent by 2030 - will be given away at no charge to special interests including private industry, farmers and states. This global warming giveaway works out to a total of $1.34 trillion of free money - not adjusted for inflation - that would be handed out to global warming special interests from 2012-2030. After 2030, the annual amount of free money handed out is about $65 billion, increasing by 5 percent per year, exclusive of inflation.

But the great global warming giveaway is only part of the story.Allowances that aren't given away - for example, 24 percent of allowances issued from 2012 to 2017 - will be auctioned by the government to GHG emitters ineligible for the giveaway. There can be no doubt that the purchasers of the auctioned allowances will simply pass along their higher costs to consumers in the form of higher prices for all goods and services that involve the energy use - in other words, just about everything.

LCEA supporters might argue that, between the auctioned allowances and direct payments for the right to emit GHGs, the federal government will recoup some of the value of the allowances given away for free. Another way to look at that recoupment is as a redistribution of wealth from consumers to those select entities eligible for the allowances.

Keep in mind that even if GHG emissions are lowered as per the LCEA, there will most likely be no discernible impact on climate. In the first place, adding more GHGs to the atmosphere has little, if any, climactic impact since there's already far more GHGs in the atmosphere than there is energy emitted by the Earth available to be absorbed by them. (Suggested link is http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/alternate/page/environment/appd_d.html )

And if you ignore that atmospheric reality, then perhaps you'll note that the neither the LCEA nor any other law that Congress can pass is likely to force China, India, Brazil, Mexico and other developing nations from more than making up for the GHGs that the U.S. may reduce in the future. China just recently passed the U.S. in terms of GHG emissions and has publicly stated that it doesn't intend to harm its economy by reducing its GHG emissions in the future.

In the end, the LCEA and its ilk will only have created a permanently, well-funded global warming industry that will never go away, regardless of scientific or climactic developments. Just imagine how politically powerful this industry could become - it already has our government, economy and personal liberties by the throat, even in its infancy.

If Congress is determined to pass legislation like the LCEA, then let's at least entertain a more balanced scenario. Rather than distributing valuable allowances for free to select special interests, allowances ought to be distributed on a more democratic basis - an equal share, say, to every taxpayer. Taxpayers could then sell their allowances to emitters in the open market and recoup some of the higher costs imposed by the LCEA. Since the environment belongs to everyone, let everyone profit from global warming hysteria.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Global warming and the "debunkers" of Durkin

They fail to acknowledge that you cannot detect long term trends with short-term data

Durkin's "Swindle" film has just been shown nationwide on Australian TV and furious Warmists have concentrated their attack on the fact that his graphs of solar effects ended in 1980.

It has been known for some time that solar output has been in decline for the last 20 years or so and this is held to undermine the claim that recent global warming can be explained by variations in output from the sun. Apparently provoked by the Durkin film, Lockwood & Froehlich recently produced a paper ("Recent oppositely-directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature") that drew further attention to recent solar trends as being inconsistent with the Durkin contentions. They examined a whole range of solar measurements and showed that, by most measures, solar output was falling rather than rising in recent years. And that paper has been widely promoted as "debunking" Durkin's contention that variations in solar output are the only good long-term explanation of climate change.

I have now had a preliminary look at the Lockwood paper and note that there is a very large dog in it that did not bark. If solar output does not explain recent temperature variations, what does? With the monomania about CO2 among Warmists, one would have expected a graph of CO2 levels plotted against temperature. There is no such graph. In other words, CO2 levels do not explain recent temperature variations very well either. The fact that CO2 levels have continued to rise in recent years while surface temperatures peaked in 1998 would appear to be the elephant in the bedroom. If solar output levels and terrestrial temperature have diverged in recent years, so too have CO2 levels and terrestrial temperature.

The important point in the matter, however, is one that climate skeptics have been making for years: There are MANY variables that affect terrestrial temperature from time to time -- not just CO2 and not just the sun. And to tease out the effect of any one variable, you have to look at a fairly long data series -- so that fluctuations due to other sources will be smoothed out. It is partly for this reason that most of the plots of climate against temperature extend over many centuries. A period of just 20 years is too short to detect long-term trends. One needs long-term data to detect long-term tends and there are any number of graphs showing a long term relationship between solar output and terrestrial temperature.

Additionally, many effects may be lagged: the influence concerned may take some time to show up. One reason for this is the vast reservoir of heat, CO2 and much else that girdles the earth: The ocean. It takes some time for a surface temperature variation to show up in the amount of heat stored in the ocean. When the recent drop in solar output works its way through all the systems -- such as the ocean -- that it affects we might therefore expect global COOLING. It is COOLING that the solar data suggests as imminent, not warming.

In the circumstances, one is mildly surprised that Warmists mention solar output at all. Surely even a Warmist realizes that the sun affects terrestrial temperature!


Recent journal abstract below

How Much More Rain Will Global Warming Bring?

By Frank J. Wentz et al.

Climate models and satellite observations both indicate that the total amount of water in the atmosphere will increase at a rate of 7% per kelvin of surface warming. However, the climate models predict that global precipitation will increase at a much slower rate of 1 to 3% per kelvin. A recent analysis of satellite observations does not support this prediction of a muted response of precipitation to global warming. Rather, the observations suggest that precipitation and total atmospheric water have increased at about the same rate over the past two decades.

Science 13 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5835, pp. 233 - 235

Global warming as middle class righteousness

The planet is `burning'. The consequences could be `catastrophic', including `rising seas, searing temperatures, killer storms, drought, plague and pestilence'. Humanity is `speeding into a troubling void'. Wow. What should we do about it? Wear a jumper, apparently. And `audit your rubbish'. You might also like to think about growing your own tomatoes, riding a bike to work, wearing organic-cotton denim, and building a bat box in your garden. (It's like a birdhouse, only for bats. Apparently you can buy them flat-packed for as little as a tenner at www.bats.org.uk.) Phew. With such useful tips, I feel far better about the whole spinning into a troubling vortex of doom thing.

The organisers of Live Earth have published a Global Warming Survival Handbook, a colourful, cartoon-packed guide to life on our warming planet that is meant to be funny - not funny peculiar, but funny ha ha hardly. It contains 77 `essential skills' that we all must learn in order to prevent a `global warming disaster'. And for all the shrill scaremongering of the global warming gloom merchants, the skills are petty indeed.

So, after telling us that humanity is heading for catastrophe - `three billion people could suffer water shortages and 200 to 600 million could face famine' - the book tells us we can turn this fate around by adopting Skill No.20: Wear A Jumper (it will help you save on heating your home), Skill No.28: Grow Your Own Tomato (`you won't believe the taste!') and Skill No.12: Throw A Party (`sometimes the best way to raise consciousness is by raising a glass - and what deserves a toast more than our venerable old planet?'). In a nutshell? The planet is f*cked, let's party!

This contradiction - perfectly summed up in the sentence `Global warming may be the most serious challenge the human race has ever faced, but don't freak out' - captures the essence of environmentalist campaigning. Behind all the talk about climate change being the biggest threat of all time, one which requires a revolution in thought and action, there lurks a narrow-minded campaign to lower our expectations and turn us all into veggie-growing, bike-riding conformists who wear pullovers instead of turning on the heat, live in small houses rather than McMansions (someone should tell Al Gore), and only fly overseas if we really, really have to.

The most irritating thing about this book is that it is based, not on scientific investigation, but on the quarterlife crisis of some long-haired middle-class rich boy. The author is David de Rothschild - and yes, he's a member of the super-wealthy Rothschild banking family. These are the kind of people now telling the rest of us to live in little houses and wear 5 pound jumpers. Christ give me strength.

De Rothschild says he first `began to grasp the scale and complexity of climate change' during a trip to the North Pole. `Standing in the midst of the Arctic, surrounded by 5.5 million square miles of frozen ocean, I felt like nothing more than a speck of dust on the endless horizon of Earth's most raw, majestic and environmentally significant ecosystem.' And because this son of extraordinary privilege suffered an existential crisis during a jolly in the Arctic, the reading public must now suffer his exhortations to live more simply. We've all at some stage wondered `what on earth am I doing with my life?' (I did it in a field in Bordeaux in 1992, but then I had consumed vast quantities of Bordeaux's most famous product), but we're not so arrogant as to think the world should change its ways on the basis of our myopic, me-pitying angst.

The book captures the extent to which climate change campaigning is based on fear and emotion more than scientific fact. So although the intro says that climate change theory is `backed by evidence that almost every reputable scientist now calls overwhelming and unequivocal' (their scare italics, not mine), `Skill No.9: Imagine' admits, extraordinarily, that none of us knows what will happen in the future: `How can we predict the shape of [a] warmer world 50 years from now? We can't even forecast if it will rain next week.' So we should all imagine what might happen in the future, it advises.

`One approach to seeing the future is through scenarios - carefully crafted "what if?" stories that let us imagine several different outcomes', the book says. It suggests holding a `scenario party' (seriously) where you can `pool the imaginations and experiences of your friends'. In short: we have no idea what the future will look like, but let's knock about some shocking `what if?' scenarios over a glass of wine to make ourselves feel simultaneously terrified/terrifically important. It's the closest you'll get to a naked admission from the climate change lobby that its warnings of floods and pestilence and swarms of locusts are based on its members' own fevered, teenage imaginings rather than a scientifically revealed forecast of what is to come.

Indeed, de Rothschild expects his book to be popular because it combines `moral wisdom, frightfully dry statistics and imaginary scenarios' - in other words, it has all the qualities of the three most widely-stocked books in libraries around the world: `the Bible, the US Census and Mother Goose.' He has unwittingly provided a searing insight into the climate change campaign: it's a mishmash of Biblical-style hectoring and fairytale fantasises of good (Al Gore) and evil (you and me if we don't recycle), with `the science bit' used to make the campaign look serious and rational - like in those adverts for L'Oreal anti-wrinkle cream where some dolly bird from Hollywood says `Here comes the science..'

Environmentalism is fundamentally an emotional spasm, a twitch of guilt and angst, which dresses itself in `frightfully dry statistics' to look grown-up.

The book is unbearably middle class. It's packed with weblinks for companies that make eco-jewellery and eco-clothing, or organise eco-weddings and advise you on how to `green your home'. Skill No.21 advises us to `work at home'. Apparently if one million of us did that, we'd eliminate three million tonnes of CO2 a year. Okay, but what about the millions of people who work in schools, hospitals, offices and factories, and whose jobs involve, you know, human interaction? Not everyone runs virtual online stores that sell overpriced hemp-based garments to the guilt-ridden daughters of the aristocracy. Most of us have proper jobs.

I found Skill No.18 the most grating. It advises us to say no to packaging by unpacking everything we buy in store and leaving all the cardboard and plastic with the store manager. `This sends a message to retailers to downsize their waste.' Grrr! When I spent my eighteenth summer working in Argos, a regular customer used to do precisely that. `I won't be needing this, thank you very much' she'd say, after unwrapping her teamaker-cum-alarm clock and dumping the box and its polystyrene insides with me or some other unfortunate stroppy teenager on duty. The only `message' it sent to us was: `What a BITCH.' When the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook is not encouraging you to fantasise about future doom, it's giving you a licence to behave antisocially in shops.

At least the doom-mongers and death cultists of old had the courage of their convictions. They'd hide themselves away in caves for 70 years or wallop themselves across the back with sticks and whips in anticipation of God's furious judgement. Today's end-is-nigh preachers prefer to visit their guilt and panic on to the rest of us. Sorry, but I will not be sitting in a draughty house while wearing bamboo-based trousers and sorting through my weekly rubbish just to make some rich snots feel better about themselves.



A recent gem from New Scientist magazine... "Climate Change Sceptics Criticise Polar Bear Science", a story about some bad scientists, funded by bad money, who have apparently published some bad science in what is presumably a bad science journal, for bad reasons.

"As the poster child for the climate change generation polar bears have come to symbolise the need to tackle climate change. But their popularity has attracted the attention of global warming sceptics funded by the oil industry, who have started to attack polar bear science. Willie Soon's paper, which appears in the journal Ecological Complexity, questions 'whether polar bear populations really are declining and if sea ice, on which the animals hunt, will actually disappear as quickly as climate models predict.'

But that's all New Scientist has to say about the science.

"Soon, who receives funding for this and other work from Exxon-Mobil, has been attacking climate change science for several years. Three of the six other authors also have links to the oil industry."

The social construction of science doesn't get much attention from the science press - or anyone else - these days. Science won the Science Wars. Scientific findings flourish or fail by the cold, objective, rational method of hypothesis testing, peer review and replication. And that's all there is to it. Except, of course, when the science in question is funded by the oil industry. Because oil money, or just the faintest whiff of it, trumps the scientific method every time.

Ultimately, carping on about Exxon-funded scientists only serves to undermine the worth of all that hypothesis testing, peer review and replication. Because if dirty money overrides them, what else does? Is it any wonder that science doesn't get the respect the scientific establishment thinks it deserves? Science is having its own Science Wars all by itself - with not a sociologist to be seen.


What is at risk is not the climate but freedom

By Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic

We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough - irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent - for the environmentalists and their followers to suggestradical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.

In the past year, Al Gore's so-called "documentary" film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain's - more or less Tony Blair's - Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.

The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: "the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda". I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the "established" truth, although a lot of people - including top-class scientists - see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence. Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).

Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: "future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century's developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age".

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature. As a witness to today's worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:

*Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures

*Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided

*Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants

*Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term "scientific consensus", which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority

*Instead of speaking about "the environment", let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour

*Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction

*Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Friday, July 13, 2007


An email below from John A [climateaudit@gmail.com] of Climate Audit:

Jonathan Foley's response to Reid Bryson fascinated those of us who understand logic: "There is a huge mountain of evidence and scientific theory and publications, all out there in the public arena, and Reid comes along and has some other idea, but he provides no evidence. You just have to take his word for it," said Jonathan Foley, a climatologist at UW-Madison who directs the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. "If he could come up with any evidence for his hypothesis, anything that would back up what he is saying, and he could publish it, he would win the Nobel Prize," Foley said. "Everyone would be thrilled if he were right. Global warming is a major, major global crisis and it would be fantastic if Reid were correct. But sadly he is not."

How does Foley propose that Reid Bryson should prove the negative? Shouldn't there be a Nobel Prize given for demonstrating the anthropogenic global warming is real? Where is this "huge mountain of evidence"? Several expeditions have failed to find this mythical place. I'm willing to bet that Foley's Mountain consists of the following materials:

1. Multiproxy studies of climate change in the past 2000 years. Unfortunately every one of these studies is composed of equal parts of bad data, bad methodology, cherry-picking (automated and manual) and failure to report adverse statistical tests. None of them stand up to scrutiny, which is why their authors scramble to hide them from that scrutiny.

2. Climate models - these unverified and untestable computer games are supposed to show climate change into the future far beyond the reckoning of economic models that are supposed to underpin them. As Kevin Trenberth recently admitted, none of them can predict regional changes in climate and furthermore there is no way to tell the likelihood of whether any of them are correct on any timescale.

3. A supposed "scientific consensus" so weak that the slightest criticism from 87-year-old Emeritus Professors can send believers scurrying for the nearest reporters' microphone to denounce them. Have I missed anything?

Truth in Global Warming: Mr. Dingell's inconvenient tax

This week's prize for honest liberalism goes to Michigan's John Dingell, who is having fun with his fellow Democrats while also making a useful point about the politics of global warming. The venerable Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee--first elected in 1955--has announced that he plans to introduce as early as this week a new tax on carbon emissions.

Now, that's the way to clear a Capitol Hill hearing room. Americans are already miffed at paying $3 a gallon for gasoline, a fact that has the Members assailing oil companies on a daily basis. So the last thing Democrats seeking re-election want to do is pile on another dollar or two a gallon in taxes--especially in the name of "saving the planet" from the speculative danger of global warming 50 or 100 years from now. Their voters have to deal with the more immediate danger of missing the mortgage payment.

Mr. Dingell knows all this. His point is to force his colleagues--and the voters--to be more honest about the cost of their global-warming posturing. It's one thing to pay 100 bucks to hear Madonna at the "Live Earth" concert, or impress your girlfriend by wearing an "I reduced my carbon footprint" T-shirt. It's quite another to accept that energy prices would have to rise by many multiples to make even a degree's worth of difference to the world's climate. "I sincerely doubt that the American people will be willing to pay what this is really going to cost them," Mr. Dingell said on C-SPAN last week.

That's why most politicians prefer policy artifice that disguises the cost of raising energy prices. These policy tricks include higher automobile mileage standards and a "cap and trade" regime for swapping "credits" for carbon emissions. These schemes shift the direct costs onto businesses, which then pass them along indirectly to unwitting consumers. These policies still amount to taxes on energy use, but they allow politicians and green lobbyists to pretend that you can "save the world" for the price of a concert ticket.

They also impose more costs on some industries than others--the most notable losers being U.S. auto companies and their workers around Detroit. Mr. Dingell is sore, and rightly so, that the cost of indulging Nancy Pelosi's well-to-do San Francisco environmentalists on global warming would fall disproportionately on his blue-collar constituents.

As it happens, neither cap and trade nor higher fuel mileage standards would reduce emissions all that much, if at all. Most of Europe has been busting through its carbon limits under the Kyoto Protocol, while the mileage mandates imposed in the U.S. in the 1970s didn't stop Americans from purchasing SUVs and trucks. The only thing that has slowed those sales is $3 gasoline--thus the policy logic of Mr. Dingell's tax proposal.

Regarding such a tax, Democrats already have some hard political experience. In 1993, Vice President Al Gore convinced Bill Clinton to propose an energy tax on BTU (British thermal units) usage. That would have added about 12 cents a gallon to the price of gas. House Democrats walked the plank and passed it, only to have Senate Democrats kill it. As much as anything else, that vote cost Democrats control of the House in 1994. Now Mr. Gore has embraced the carbon tax once again--though we still haven't heard him endorse a direct tax on gas or consumers.

Speaking for ourselves, we don't favor a carbon tax. In theory, such a tax might make sense if it were offset by lower taxes on income tax rates and capital investment--which would be a net plus for economic growth. However, there's not a chance in melting Greenland that the current Congress would offset any new carbon taxes; it would merely pocket the extra revenue to permanently increase the government's share of GDP.

If Congressional Democrats are really serious about global warming, they'd nonetheless have the courage of their professed convictions: Take the Dingell honesty test and vote to raise carbon taxes. We suspect along with Mr. Dingell, however, that keeping Senate and House seats is going to trump saving the planet.


Human activity good for biodiversity

Contradicting a fundamental Greenie tenet

Beneath the stout oak trees and plentiful animal life of the Tron‡ais forest in central Franceprized for providing wood barrels for some of the best winesthere lies a less visible bounty. Archaeologists in recent years have dug up an abundance of ancient Roman settlements, previously hidden by earth and forest cover.

Yet these agricultural operations, which collapsed along with the empire, have left a lasting mark on the wildlife above: it's much more diverse in their immediate vicinity than further off, researchers have found. The difference, they say, is largely attributable to Roman fertilization practices.

The findings are one of several recent studies indicating that farmers of times past worldwide, from New England to the Amazon rainforest, have left similar legacies of increased biodiversity.

But while previous research had found such effects lasting for hundreds of years, the Tron‡ais studies indicate they can persist strongly after almost two millennia, according to scientists.

The discoveries should prove useful in managing biodiversity and developing conservation policies, researchers said; they can even serve as a guide to archaeologists, who can use local wildlife diversity as a clue to help pinpoint ancient settlements.

But beyond the practical uses, Etienne Dambrine, lead author of a paper describing the findings, wrote in an email that he hopes the revelation of such intimate links between history and nature "may make people dream." Dambrine, of the National Institute for Agronomic Research in Champenoux, France, and colleagues detailed their findings in the June issue of the research journal Ecology.

The reason the increased biodiversity around ancient settlements lasts so long, they wrote, may be that the human activity modifies the soil sets up chemical cycles that become selfsustaining. At Tron‡ais, such cycles persisted despite a long history of human exploitationand overexploitationof forest resources up to the present.

The Ecology study focused on plant life. It found that the number of plant species increased on average by 50 percent near settlements. More recent, unpublished work is also revealing greater biodiversity among animals along with plants, Dambrine said.

The 11,000 hectare (26,000 acre) forest, with sandy soils, contains 108 known Roman settlements, most discovered in the past two decades, according to Dambrine and colleagues. The settlements are dated to between 1,600 and 2,000 years ago and are among hundreds of Roman settlements believed to lie in French forests.

Dambrine and colleagues studied 10 of the Tron‡ais settlements, and found an average of 25.3 plant species in plots within 100 meters (109 yards) of them. By comparison, there were 16.8 species in equalsized plots further off, they reported.

The increase in species richness was found especially among various flowering and other shrubs, researchers said, plants whose soil requirements are consistent with the types of fertilizers the Romans used.

"Latin authors repeatedly mention the need for regular fertilization after plowing, using ashes or animal manure," they wrote. "This fertilization involved a transfer of mineral elements from remote areas, probably forests, to the cultivated areas surrounding the farms, through cattle grazing and fuel wood collection. Domestic garbage, including some broken ceramics, was redistributed with manure and ashes."

The chemical changes resulting from such activity were "possibly irreversible," they added. Thus "understanding present patterns of biodiversity requires the investigation of landuse history on a much longer time scale than previously thought."


Powerlines might help frogs

SCIENTISTS are trying to figure out if clearings created for powerlines through rainforests may be helping frogs survive a deadly disease. In laboratories, scientists have noticed the potentially fatal fungus chytrydiomycosis is not nearly so deadly at temperatures of about 37C. But once the temperature drops to about 25C, the fungus becomes more potent. The fungus had proved deadly to higher altitude species. Chytrydiomycosis is believed responsible for three species being wiped out but might be to blame for at least six extinctions.

"The idea is to look at small-scale but intensive disturbance to the frogs habitat and monitor how it affects them," said Lin Schwarzkopf, of James Cook University's school of marine and tropical biology. There are no cases of population declines due to the disease in frogs that live in lowland rainforests. The project will examine why this could be. "Higher, more variable temperatures and light levels and lower humidity seem to protect frogs from the disease," Professor Alford said. "Small clearings being made for power line towers are likely to increase the exposure of frogs to such conditions, which could reduce their vulnerability to the disease. "Our monitoring of the frogs will determine if the areas disturbed by tower construction are used by frogs and how."


Global warming zealots are stifling scientific debate

By Ian Plimer, emeritus professor of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia

TONIGHT'S airing of The Great Global Warming Swindle and the associated discussion on ABC TV should be a hoot. The ABC has structured the panel to try to get their preferred political position aired. The panel composition will minimise scientific discussion. It contains journalists, political pressure groups and those who will make a quid out of frightening us witless.

Three scientists with a more rational view to the doomsday hype were invited to appear on the panel and have now been uninvited as they do not dance to the drumbeat of disaster. There is a VIP section of the audience with loopy-left greens and social commentators. We have the Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (BAMOS), which was in such a hurry to publish a critique of The Great Global Warming Swindle that it contains schoolboy howlers and a lack of logic intertwined with politics.

What makes it even more amusing is that BAMOS did not criticise Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. If this Hollywood fiction film claims to be supported by science, then why did it perpetuate a well-documented scientific fraud? There is no panel discussion when the ABC TV religiously promotes the popular political view on global warming. Why is there a panel for an alternative view?

Science is married to evidence, scepticism and dissent. This evidence is from experiment, measurement, observation and calculation. Scientists hotly debate the methods of acquisition of evidence. Once the evidence is validated, a scientific theory is offered as an explanation. This theory must be in accord with all previous validated data and can be changed with new data. Science has no consensus, science is anarchistic as it submits to no authority, and the latest scientific view is only transitory. Science is apolitical, and when it has submitted to political pressure in the past, it has been at great human cost. Noise, political pressure or numbers of converts does not validate a scientific concept. When the president of the Royal Society says the science on human-induced global warming is settled, one is reminded of a previous president who said it was impossible for heavier-than-air machines to fly!

Since the beginning of time, climate has always changed. It has warmed and cooled faster than any contemporary change. Nothing happening at present is unusual. The atmospheric carbon dioxide content in the past has been hundreds to thousands of times the current figure and the world did not end. Quite the contrary - life thrived. Computer models are models, albeit primitive. They are not predictions, they are not scenarios. They don't do clouds. They don't do turbulence. They don't do unseen submarine emissions of greenhouse gases. They deal only with greenhouse gas emissions from volcanos in times of little volcanic activity. They don't do starbursts, which have probably given us the greatest climate changes on Earth. They don't do variations in cosmic ray fluxes, which produce clouds in the lower atmosphere. They don't do mountain building, plate tectonics and closing or opening of seaways, which have profound effects on climate.

If the conclusion that humans are changing climate by carbon dioxide emissions requires the omission of validated astronomical, palaeontologic and geological evidence, then the popular view of humans causing climate change is not science
. We are seeing a revival of a form of zealous Western politics intertwined with poor theology, poor economics and poor logic.

If humans have contributed to the slight warming in the 20th century, then all theories of past climate changes need to be evaluated and discarded. This has not happened. Why is it that previous global warmings have been faster and greater than the warming that started after the Little Ice Age? Is it no surprise that the planet has become warmer after the Little Ice Age? Is it no surprise that the driver of climate has been, is and will be that great ball of heat in the centre of our solar system? If evidence from the past is used, then one can only conclude that the slight warmings and cooling in the 20th century cannot be due to carbon dioxide.

Groups like BAMOS and the IPCC deny, minimise or ignore significant recent climate changes that gave us the Roman Warming, the Dark Ages, the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age. Both history and archaeology show that in previous warmings, temperatures were far higher than at present. Populations and the economy thrived. Previous coolings led to famine, depopulation and social disruption. History shows that it is dangerous to ignore history.

The Renaissance gave us a system where criticism, logic, scepticism and an alternative view based on evidence were valued. It was in this environment that democracy thrived. We are now reaping the rewards of dumbing down the education system and live at a time when it is a politically correct duty to suppress alternative views. The best way to understand climate is to critically and sceptically evaluate the evidence presented to us over a very long period of time by the heavens and the Earth beneath our feet.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Two preliminary comments on the news

A recent scientific report about the correlation between global warming and solar activity has got a lot of press. It takes a very short recent time-period and shows no correlation over that period between solar output and temperature. I have not been able to access a copy of the report as yet so I cannot really comment but I wonder about their data sources. It is true that solar output has peaked in recent years but it is also true that temperature stopped rising in 1998. That seems a pretty good correlation to me! I also understand that CO2 levels don't correlate very well with temperature over that period either.

Chief Australian Greenie, Prof. Ian Lowe has "debunked" the Durkin film but makes some strange claims in the course of it. For instance, he says: "It claims medieval times were much warmer than today, but the science shows only some regions were briefly warmer and average global temperatures were lower". I have no idea what "the science" is that he refers to. The Mann "hockeystick" was held to represent "the science" of the history of global temperature until recently but it has now been shown to be essentially a hoax and the IPCC no longer mentions it. Lowe also says: "It displays, several times, a graph showing that average global temperature declined dramatically between 1940 and 1976 and claims this debunks the science. Our hemisphere actually warmed during that period." Lowe's use of hemisphere differences is as amusing as it is unwise for him. He fails to mention that there has been NO temperature increase in the Southern hemisphere since satellite temperature monitoring began about 25 years ago. If there has been any warming in that period, it has certainly not been global.

But I am a mere social scientist so will leave it to the physical scientists to do a real critique of the two above articles. Lowe's vague and unreferenced "ex cathedra" generalizations may be rather hard to get to grips with, however.

The historical correlation between solar output and global temperature

I reproduce below just the "Overview" section of a very long, fully referenced and graphics-intensive article that should make it very clear that the earth's temperature has always undergone great fluctuations in response to cycles in output from the sun. The author, Dr. D. Bruce Merrifield, holds Masters and Doctoral degrees in physical organic chemistry and currently is a member of the Visiting Committee for Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago. It will be noted that real climate trends take long time-periods to work themselves out. Mistaking short-term fluctuations for long term trends is a fundamental error -- but is precisely the error upon which Warmist theory is based

Without the impact of solar radiation, the temperature on the earth would be about the same as the temperature of space, which is about -454 C. The amount of radiation reaching the earth is about 1,368 watts per square meter. This is a vast amount of energy, which would require the simultaneous output of 1.7 billion of our largest power plants to match. About 70 percent of this solar energy is absorbed and 30 percent is reflected. However, the amount of solar energy reaching the earth is not constant, but varies in several independent cycles of different degrees of magnitude, which may or may not reinforce each other.

These cycles include a 100,000-year cycle, which results from the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun, a 41,000-year (obliquity) cycle, which results from the tilt of the earth on its axis, a 23,000-year cycle which results from "climatic precession" or changes in direction of the earths axis relative to the sun, and an 11-year sunspot cycle, during which solar radiation increases and then declines. The most recent sunspot radiation cycle peaked in the year 2000, and currently is approaching a minimum. Curiously, NASA and the Russian Observatory both report that total solar radiation now has peaked, and all these cycles may be simultaneously in decline

Each 100,000-year peak in radiation appears to last about 15,000 to 20,000 years, and each has been coincident with massive surges of carbon dioxide and methane (the green house gasses), into the atmosphere, causing de-glaciation of the Polar and Greenland ice caps. Surges of these greenhouse gasses have always been vastly greater than the amounts currently being generated by burning fossil fuels. For example, the most recent 100,000-year cycle raised sea levels 400 feet in the first 10,000 years, but since then sea levels have risen very little. In the current warming period, sea levels are rising only about 3 millimeters per year, and temperatures over the last 100 years have risen a modest 0.6 of a degree C.

Superimposed on this latest 100,000-year peak have been 6 secondary warming periods, each coincident with additional surges of carbon dioxide and methane, lasting about 200 years and then subsiding. Each of these previous warming periods was warmer than the current warming period, and current temperatures are below the median for the last 3000 years. Most remarkably, civilization first emerged in the Tigris, Euphrates and Nile River Valleys about 3400 B.C. in that period of great warming, and even more remarkably, each of these secondary surges of greenhouse gasses (none of human origin), has also been coincident with the rise of a major civilization.

For instance, 3,000 years ago in the 1000 B.C. warming period, the Babylonian era emerged. Then, 500 years later, the Greek civilization flourished, followed by the Romans 400 years later. A 1,000-year cold period followed through the dark ages, but then in the very warm 1000 A.D. Medieval Period, the ice and snow melted on Greenland; the Danes farmed there for 200 years, until it froze over again. There are no reports of seaports being flooded during this warm period.

About 500 years after the Medieval period, another surge of greenhouse gasses initiated the Renaissance, which was followed by an unexplained "Little Ice Age" from about 1600 to about 1750. (This was coincident with the Maunder Solar Radiation Minimum). During this period, Europe was covered with ice and snow, growing seasons were short, and starvation was common. Farmer unrest may have triggered the French Revolution. The most recent warming period began as solar radiation rapidly increased.

Interestingly, starting about two decades ago (1988), the total increase of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere has abruptly stopped, in spite of increased burning of fossil fuels.

The forcing agent for these many previous warming periods over millions of years could not have been of human origin, and the measured volumes of carbon dioxide and methane which were coincident with each warming period, were vastly greater than those currently being produced by humans.

More here

IPCC Geologist disses IPCC

We are doomed, say climate change scientists associated with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that is organizing most of the climate change research occurring in the world today. Carbon dioxide from man-made sources rises to the atmosphere and then stays there for 50, 100, or even 200 years. This unprecedented buildup of CO2 then traps heat that would otherwise escape our atmosphere, threatening us all.

"This is nonsense," says Tom V. Segalstad, head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo and formerly an expert reviewer with the same IPCC. He laments the paucity of geologic knowledge among IPCC scientists -- a knowledge that is central to understanding climate change, in his view, since geologic processes ultimately determine the level of atmospheric CO2. "The IPCC needs a lesson in geology to avoid making fundamental mistakes," he says. "Most leading geologists, throughout the world, know that the IPCC's view of Earth processes are implausible if not impossible."

Catastrophic theories of climate change depend on carbon dioxide staying in the atmosphere for long periods of time -- otherwise, the CO2 enveloping the globe wouldn't be dense enough to keep the heat in. Until recently, the world of science was near-unanimous that CO2 couldn't stay in the atmosphere for more than about five to 10 years because of the oceans' near-limitless ability to absorb CO2. "This time period has been established by measurements based on natural carbon-14 and also from readings of carbon-14 from nuclear weapons testing, it has been established by radon-222 measurements, it has been established by measurements of the solubility of atmospheric gases in the oceans, it has been established by comparing the isotope mass balance, it has been established through other mechanisms, too, and over many decades, and by many scientists in many disciplines," says Prof. Segalstad, whose work has often relied upon such measurements.

Then, with the advent of IPCC-influenced science, the length of time that carbon stays in the atmosphere became controversial. Climate change scientists began creating carbon cycle models to explain what they thought must be an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These computer models calculated a long life for carbon dioxide. Amazingly, the hypothetical results from climate models have trumped the real world measurements of carbon dioxide's longevity in the atmosphere. Those who claim that CO2 lasts decades or centuries have no such measurements or other physical evidence to support their claims.

Neither can they demonstrate that the various forms of measurement are erroneous. "They don't even try," says Prof. Segalstad. "They simply dismiss evidence that is, for all intents and purposes, irrefutable. Instead, they substitute their faith, constructing a kind of science fiction or fantasy world in the process."

In the real world, as measurable by science, CO2 in the atmosphere and in the ocean reach a stable balance when the oceans contain 50 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere. "The IPCC postulates an atmospheric doubling of CO2, meaning that the oceans would need to receive 50 times more CO2 to obtain chemical equilibrium," explains Prof. Segalstad. "This total of 51 times the present amount of carbon in atmospheric CO2 exceeds the known reserves of fossil carbon-- it represents more carbon than exists in all the coal, gas, and oil that we can exploit anywhere in the world."

Also in the real world, Prof. Segalstad's isotope mass balance calculations -- a standard technique in science -- show that if CO2 in the atmosphere had a lifetime of 50 to 200 years, as claimed by IPCC scientists, the atmosphere would necessarily have half of its current CO2 mass. Because this is a nonsensical outcome, the IPCC model postulates that half of the CO2 must be hiding somewhere, in "a missing sink." Many studies have sought this missing sink -- a Holy Grail of climate science research-- without success. "It is a search for a mythical CO2 sink to explain an immeasurable CO2 lifetime to fit a hypothetical CO2 computer model that purports to show that an impossible amount of fossil fuel burning is heating the atmosphere," Prof. Segalstad concludes. "It is all a fiction."


The Warmists need to listen to Edmund Burke -- but they won't

Comment from Australian columnist, Janet Albrechtsen

PHEW, Live Earth is over. The seven concerts on seven continents featuring a bunch of jet fuel-addicted rock stars summed up the problem with much of the talk about climate change. Hypocrisy aside, the climate change rockers and other zealots would have us believe there is no problem more uniquely modern than climate change. When it comes to mapping out solutions to this most 21st century of problems, history can teach us nothing. We are on our own. Right? Well, actually, no. Wrong. Dead wrong.

Climate change is just a modern twist on a very old debate. The presenting symptom is a new one. But the underlying questions for us are ancient: what tools, what modes of thinking, will deliver the best results? Is climate change a moral issue? Or a question of risk management? Should we start with abstract fundamental principles and proceed to build an edifice based on speculative extrapolation from those first principles? Or do we start with empirical evidence and pragmatic deductions from observable realities? Will the most effective solutions be imposed by governments or from harnessing individual choices?

These are, of course, old questions. And history keeps telling us the answers. They are invariably the same answers. But, unbelievably, we often ignore them. It’s no great surprise that a bunch of climate change rock stars would fall for solutions based on symbolism, moral absolutes, central planning and universal diagnoses and prescriptions. No one would expect them to have digested the lessons of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. But political leaders ought to have learned from those lessons.

When Burke wrote that book in 1790, the French Revolution was in the first flush of idealistic success. A new utopia based on abstract principles - in that case, liberty, equality, fraternity - was being built, with those principles imposed from above. Burke thought this was likely to end in tears. He thought history was a better teacher than philosophy, that incremental improvements based on empirical observation worked better than revolutions built on grand utopias.

Burke was decried as a revolution sceptic. Or, even worse, a revolution denier. Sound familiar? Burke was proved right. The French Revolution did end in tears. Unfortunately, the early stages of the climate change debate had all the hallmarks of revolution. It started - badly - with Kyoto. Climate change was a moral issue. Only the sinners did not sign up. The principles were far reaching, imposed from above with little understanding of the realities below. Driven as always, by the best of intentions, Kyoto was an inherently flawed protocol. Sure, 35 developed nations signed up. But none of the developing countries that account for 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions did so.

The Kyoto period was framed around a classic progressive agenda, defined by symbolism and moral absolutes, universal diagnoses and universal solutions. That’s why Kyoto was a joke. And it’s why Al Gore and his Live Earthers, with their impossible goals, will be sidelined in the same way history has sidelined other dreamers.

Now to some reality. John Howard pointed out in a speech last month that during the Kyoto period China and India will build 800 new coal-fired power plants. The combined CO2 emissions from those plants alone will be five times the total reductions in CO2 mandated by the Kyoto accord. These jarring realities explained why countries such as Australia did not sign up. In fact, getting Howard to sign up to Kyoto would be akin to Burke, had he lived another 100 years, joining the Fabian Society. It was never going to happen.

Fortunately, the post-Kyoto period is increasingly heading down a different ideological path. You won’t hear about it from rock stars. That’s because framing a response around risk management rather than symbolic gestures and utopian promises is so damned boring. Suggesting incremental steps based on empirical evidence and observed phenomenon is not sexy compared with Gore’s public pledges for a moratorium of new coal stations. Basing a policy response on pragmatic conservatism - learning from the mistakes of the past, advocating caution and encouraging realistic outcomes - is hardly enthralling enough for rock stars.

Unfortunately, for too long the debate has been hijacked by alluring but meaningless symbolism. Just as, in the early days, those who advocated practical reconciliation for indigenous communities were treated as mean-spirited heretics, those who rejected Kyoto as empty-gesture politics were scoffed at as climate change deniers who did not care about the environment. When global warming debate was hotting up, so to speak, there was an imperative to educate the community about the need to achieve real long-term reductions on greenhouse gas emissions outside the flawed Kyoto Protocol. Instead, it appeared that those who rejected Kyoto had simply chosen irresponsible inaction over action, effectively handing more credibility than they deserve to the advocates of Kyoto.

For too long, the Howard Government failed to craft an alternative message about the virtues of cautious, practical responses to climate change. In short, the case for pragmatic conservatism needed to be carefully mapped out. But it wasn’t. Into that vacuum stepped the zealots. Everyone has heard about Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. But who has heard about the Government’s involvement in the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate?

Most people will have no idea that Australia has been working towards closer engagement with non-Kyoto countries - China, India, Japan, South Korea and the US - which account for half the world’s emissions, energy use, gross domestic product and population.

It’s easier to listen to Missy Higgins, Wolfmother and Sneaky Sound System than read a copy of the Government’s report from the Task Group on Emissions Trading.

It’s boring to learn that Australia’s economy and abatement challenges are different from those of many other industrialised nations, particularly those in Europe. And that our natural resources and access to low-cost energy are integral to our international competitiveness. And that any model for long-term emissions reductions must take account of the need to protect that prosperity.

Live Earth was promoted as yet another episode in raising awareness on climate change. We needed that like a hole in the head. Instead of repeating dire predictions about the future, a better goal would have been to educate people about the real world. About the social and economic realities confronting the real world. Realities such as poverty. But poverty is so old hat these days. Live Aid has been replaced by Live Earth. Cool cats talk about climate change. The reality is that if we are to include the world’s main emitters in long-term climate change initiatives, they need to feed their people first. Just don’t expect to hear about it from Snoop Dogg or Madonna.


The Dark Side Of 'Green' Power

Generating energy from renewable sources such as wind and water often requires stringing new transmission lines to remote areas, a prospect that concerns some environmentalists.

State law requires California to obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. This new mandate has utilities searching out locations for wind, solar and hydro sites that could generate megawatts.

"But as utilities try to find and tap environmentally superior electricity sources, they are finding that even "green" power development often has a price tag environmentalists and their supporters are unwilling to pay - namely, the degradation of parks and natural areas."

Perhaps the most contentious green proposal involves Sunrise Powerlink, a transmission corridor that would cut through a state park northast of San Diego that is prized for its remoteness and habitat values.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SCIENCE Magazine Waffles on Warming

The American scientific establishment is starting to take baby steps away from taking sides in the politics of global warming. It's sad to have to read science articles for political spin, like some announcement by the Kremlin. But climate change has now become so politicized that SCIENCE magazine reflects at least as much politics as honest science. You have to read it for spin.

SCIENCE magazine is the flagship journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is the professional advocacy group for scientists in the United States. SCIENCE is both the profession's political journal (telling readers how to get government grants, for example), and it also has original findings. So it has an openly political side, as well as a real science side.

The last issue of SCIENCE is waffling like mad on the global warming fad, warning its readers that it may not be so settled a question. Under the headline "Another Global Warming Icon Comes Under Attack," SCIENCE writer Richard Kerr writes:

"...a group of mainstream atmospheric scientists is disputing a rising icon of global warming, and researchers are giving some ground." ...

"Robert Charlson of the University of Washington, Seattle, (is) one of three authors of a commentary published online last week in Nature Reports: Climate Change. ... he and his co-authors argue that the simulation by 14 different climate models of the warming in the 20th century is not the reassuring success IPCC claims it to be."

(IPCC is the supposed international scientific consensus document on global warming - JL).

"... In the run-up to the IPCC climate science report released last February ... 14 groups ran their models under 20th-century conditions of rising greenhouse gases. ... But the group of three atmospheric scientists ... says the close match between models and the actual warming is deceptive. The match "conveys a lot more confidence [in the models] than can be supported in actuality," says Schwartz. [....]

"Greenhouse gas changes are well known, they note, but not so the counteracting cooling of pollutant hazes, called aerosols. Aerosols cool the planet by reflecting away sunlight and increasing the reflectivity of clouds. Somehow, the three researchers say, modelers failed to draw on all the uncertainty inherent in aerosols so that the 20th-century simulations look more certain than they should."

What? "Somehow" they missed the biggest unknown factor in climate prediction? Highly qualified climate scientists have long warned that warming estimates have at least one giant question mark: Water vapor and other tiny particles in the atmosphere. By failing to include reliable estimates of such "hazes" (not necessarily pollutants, as the article says), global warming models are likely to err wildly on the side of warming. It's the unseen elephant in the living room. The SCIENCE article therefore finally admits what scientific critics have been saying for years.

Interested readers should also take a good look at the graph in the SCIENCE article, which superficially seems to support the global warming story. But notice the vertical bars at the right side of the graph, which show the "90 percent confidence interval" --- the chances that the graph line is actually where it is shown to be. Turns out that the orange confidence interval includes all the points on the graph between 1930 and 2000... meaning that we can't tell that any of those points are different from each other with even 90 percent certainty. And that's not even including the big Black Hole of water vapor.

Now "90 percent confidence" might sound like a lot. But in standard scientific publications a 95 percent confidence level is the minimum acceptable level. The reason is that one can just run a study 10 times, and achieve a 90 percent confidence level purely by chance. So we normally demand a higher standard of proof --- at least 95 percent confidence. The data in the SCIENCE graph therefore does not meet routine scientific standards. Many scientists will read this item as a red flag, cautioning that all is not well in the global warming game.

Happy Earth Day - and never forget that telling the truth is the first, indispensible step toward wise management of our resources.


The Gore outgassing

Most years, July 7 is notable mostly as the first day of the annual "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona. Spain. This Saturday, however, as numerologists debate the significance of the date being 07-07-07, many observers will have their eyes focused on former Vice President Al Gore's "Live Earth" concert series.

The series, billed on its website as "a monumental music event that will.. engage, connect, and inspire individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis" will consist of a total of eight concerts on all seven continents, even a small concert on Antarctica. (A planned concert for Istanbul has been cancelled). More than 100 musical artists, including Alicia Keys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Police, Snoop Dogg, Metallica, Kelly Clarkson, Bon Jovi, Lenny Kravitz and fictitious rockers Spinal Tap are among the featured entertainment. LiveEarth promoters have estimated an audience of two billion viewers.

Before a single note has been played, however, it appears the concert series may leave a larger carbon footprint than its efforts could take away. First, there are the musicians themselves. While musicians of the level performing at Gore's concerts might come for free, they do not come cheaply. For the LiveEarth concerts, local airports are expected to be filled with luxury private aircraft - aircraft that have used large quantities of fuel and polluted the skies for the sake of the environment. A single Gulfstream IV jet burns 5,000 pounds of fuel in the first hour of flight and 3,000 pounds of fuel every additional hour, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, a U.S. government agency.

Then there are the bands's equipment - instruments, microphones, lights and the stage itself. A single band alone can require an army of heavy duty trucks to move the equipment. By example, last year's European tour of legendary rock band, The Who, required 1,000 flight cases to load and unload equipment, which included seventy guitars for guitarist Pete Townshend alone, as well as a six-ton drum kit.

It has been estimated that between the actual concerts, web streaming and television broadcasting, the Live Earth concert series could produce as much as 200,000 metric tons of carbon, after the conversions from electricity have been calculated. In other words, the Gore concerts could produce more carbon dioxide than was produced by all of Afghanistan in 2006. Gore's organization, Save Our Selves, has put in place what it calls a "Green Event Standard" for the concerts. Unfortunately, these efforts are either implausible or ineffective, or contain loopholes such as certain measures will be used "where possible." Among the Save Our Selves proposals to make the concert environmentally-friendly, taken directly from their website:

* Venue offices, walkways, etc will be retrofitted with compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs, where possible.

* SOS staff and artist air travel will be offset through carbon credits.

* Ground travel will be hybrid or other clean fuel where possible.

* Hotels will be directed to change light bulbs to CFLs, use nontoxic cleaning products, and have recycling containers present in the rooms.

Apparently, Gore believes the carbon footprint left by jet and automobile fuel and emission, the lighting, sound equipment, sound and stage trucks, artist hospitality, web-streaming, audio and video recording, concessions and everything else that is involved in staging concerts on all seven continents will be offset by directing local hotels to change its light bulbs, use different cleaning products and place recycling containers in rooms and by paying carbon credits and, where possible, changing more light bulbs and ferrying musicians in a Prius.

Indeed, LiveEarth's own website is filled with such nonsense. One of the benefits for the environment, LiveEarth's blog states, is that not "all the artists fly in private jets." Would a musician living in New York City take a private jet to Giants Stadium anyway? "It is a manufactured get-out-of-enviro-guilt-jail-free card," said Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute said of the Green Event Standard. "How they can so loudly promote their own elitism is merely further proof thereof," Horner asked.

Criticism of the possible environmental impact of the Live Earth concerts has not been limited to Washington, D.C. Even some world famous musicians have scoffed at the idea of the Live Earth concerts. "The last thing the planet needs is a rock concert. I can't believe it. Let's burn even more fuel," Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who and participant in the Live Aid and Live8 concerts for Africa told the British paper, The Sun. "We have problems with global warming, but the questions and the answers are so huge I don't know what a rock concert's ever going to do to help."

The lead singer of the rock band Muse, Matt Bellamy, referred to the musicians' consumption to participate in the concerts as "private jets for climate change "When we're using enough power for 10 houses just for (stage) lighting. It'd be a bit hypocritical," Matt Helders, drummer of the popular British band, the Arctic Monkeys told the Agence France-Presse.

Most surprisingly, Bob Geldof, the musician and Nobel Prize nominee who founded the Live Aid and Live8 concerts, singled out Gore in particular, asking, "Why is Gore actually organising them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody's known about that problem for years."

More here

Avoid global warming consensus

By Bob Carter -- Bob Carter is a geologist who researches ancient climate change

AL Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth was launched in May last year. Its message is that global warming is going to roon us all, and the polar bears, too. Initially, the film received eulogistic - and, one might say, generally scientifically ignorant - reviews in substantial newspapers and magazines globally. As it came to be watched by qualified persons, devastating critiques of the looseness of the film’s science began to appear on the internet. More than 20 basic errors, some of them schoolboy howlers, were identified.

From his film, Gore seemed to have lived his life on an imaginary planet where natural change didn’t exist, and all change was anyway morally bad. Yet the official science community, represented for example by members of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, welcomed the film. The public continued to flock to its screening, and platoons of Julie Andrews clones in dirndl skirts danced and sang in the Alpine meadows.

In March, British television’s Channel 4 screened another film about climate change that had a different message. Made by Martin Durkin, and called The Great Global Warming Swindle, this documentary explores the science of climate-change alarmism carefully and accurately. The message of Swindle, which is to be screened on the ABC this week, is that scientific knowledge does not identify carbon dioxide emissions as an environmental harm, nor does their accrual in the atmosphere cause dangerous warming. So how is the screening of Durkin’s thought-provoking film being received?

Interestingly, in the case of the Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, which published a highly critical film review written by several high-ranking IPCC scientists. As well as six other critical reviews written in response to the British screening of Swindle, the BAMOS paper has been widely circulated in influential circles ahead of the Australian screening. For instance, through the deans of science at universities, through the influential lobby organisation the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, and through the Australian Marine Sciences Association, among others.

Imagine a well-provendered and equipped military fortress in time of war, for that is what the alarmist, pro-IPCC, climate lobby group represents. Suddenly, loping across the landscape outside the fort, and carrying just a single-shot rifle, appears a lone member of the enemy army. Does the camp commander respond by sending out a platoon, including a psychologist with a megaphone to check what this naive infantryman is up to? Not on your nelly. Instead, the response is remarkable in its ferocity. Three panzer divisions come tearing out of the fort - manned, as it happens, by many distinguished scientists who have volunteered for their politically correct duty of suppressing alternative views - blazing away with all they’ve got. In a trice, the landscape is turned into a moonscape, pockmarked with craters and littered with debris.

Why does this lone gunman represent such a threat to the warmaholic camp? Does it perhaps relate to the fact that on closer inspection several sections of the fortress wall are sagging, undermined by collapse from below and within? How could a lone gunman have effected that? Is it just possible that there are more powerful forces on earth than military and industrial might, or scientific authority? White ants, perhaps; or even scientific logic?

In any event, our lone infantryman is now wandering around, dazed, dirty, half-blinded, and staggering on the rim of a crater; and not a dirndl skirt in sight. But he’s still standing. He miraculously still has four limbs, and what he is saying - that human carbon dioxide emissions are not an environmental hazard - still accords with all the facts and makes complete sense.

For you see, science is not about the triumph of the weight of numbers, nor about consensus, nor about the will of the social majority. An idea such as the greenhouse hypothesis is validated not by shouting but by experimental and observational testing and logical analysis. And note especially that a hypothesis doesn’t care who believes in it, right up to and including environment ministers, heads of state and presidents of distinguished scientific academies. Rather, science requires that to be successful a hypothesis only needs to be clearly stated, understandable, have explanatory power and withstand testing. It takes one person, not an army, to accomplish that, and the names of those individuals pass down through history: Charles Darwin, Wilhelm Roentgen, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Robin Warren-Barry Marshall and their like, mavericks one and all. God bless them.

Despite this reality, every day we find public figures on Australian TV and radio stations muttering about there being “a consensus” on dangerous, human-caused climate change, or that the science of global warming “is settled”. Such persons should be referred to the nearest psychologist, and gently dissuaded from inflicting their nonsense - for that is what it is - on the poor public.

Science is never settled, and it is about hypothesis testing against known facts, not arm-waving about imaginary futures that have been created by PlayStation 4 computer buffs. Consensus nonsensus. Oh, and by the way, it turns out that our infantryman’s name wasn’t Einstein. It was Durkin. Martin Durkin, and what a service he has rendered.


Yes. Carter's point above about the response to global warming skepticism is amusing. Skepticism cannot be aired in public without a true believer or two immediately following on with an attempt at refutation. There is obviously a fear that a treasured belief is so fragile that it must be countered immediately unless people come to doubt it. It even happened when I gave a talk on Warmism to my local Brisbane Skeptics Association. Even the Skeptics could not tolerate too much skepticism! They had to have a Warmist follow my talk immediately with a defence of the received wisdom. I don't think he made much headway, though


First snow in Buenos Aires since 1918

Thousands of Argentines cheered in the streets of Buenos Aires on Monday as the capital saw a rare snowfall, the first of its kind since 1918. Wet snow fell for hours in the Argentine capital without accumulating, after freezing air from Antarctica collided with a moisture-laden low pressure system that blanketed higher elevations in western and central Argentina with snow. Argentina's National Weather Service said it was the first major snow in Buenos Aires since June 22, 1918, though sleet or freezing rain have been periodically reported in decades since.

The snow followed a bitter cold snap in late May that saw sub freezing temperatures, the coldest in 40 years in Buenos Aires. That cold wave contributed to an energy crisis and 23 deaths from exposure. Two more exposure deaths were reported on Monday.

"Despite all my years, this is the first time I've ever seen snow in Buenos Aires," said Juana Benitez, an 82-year-old who joined children celebrating in the streets. One man stripped to his shorts to welcome the snow. Some car accidents were reported on slick suburban streets.

The storm struck on Argentina's Independence Day holiday, adding to a festive air and prompted radio stations to play an old tango song inspired by the 1918 snowfall, What a night! "This is the kind of weather phenomenon that comes along every 100 years," forecaster Hector Ciappesoni told La Nacion newspaper. "It is very difficult to predict."


Too cold for warming concert in South Africa: "Officials at Live Earth Johannesburg have blamed the effects of climate change for poor audience attendance at Saturday's South African event. Organiser John Langford believes extremely cold weather in the region - it snowed last week for the first time in a quarter of a century - kept people away from the concert, which starred Joss Stone, UB40, Angelique Kidjo and Baaba Maal. Speaking before the event, Langford said, "We're expecting 10,000 here tonight. It's a bit chilly, and we've had a strange winter... is it climate change? We had snow in Jo'burg last week for the first time in 25 years."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Ipsos Mori [British opinion pollsters] are about to publish some research they've done, "Tipping Point Or Turning Point? Social Marketing & Climate Change" Phil Downing, head of environmental research at the company, and one of the report's authors appeared on yesterday's Today program on BBC Radio 4 to discuss the findings:

"I think there are two key headlines that we've found. The first is that concern about climate change on the whole is rising. And we find that very few people, only a very small minority, actually reject out of hand the idea that it is actually changing the climate, that humans have at least some part to play in that."

So what's the problem?

"The more disturbing trend is there's still undecided or a large proportion who are ambivalent about the issue. And we see this filtering through to the number who say that they're not convinced that scientists can successfully model the climate. More frighteningly still that they believe the scientific debate is still raging, err, and the jury is still out."

But you don't need to be a global warming denialist, or even a sceptic to be part of the 56% of us who are unconvinced of science's current ability to successfully model the climate. Take for example, Kevin E. Trenberth's recent article on Nature's Climate Feedback blog:

"There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess. ... Even if there were, the projections are based on model results that provide differences of the future climate relative to that today. None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of theIPCC models."

And Trenberth is no 'sceptic'. He maintains that global warming is happening, and humans are causing it. He concludes:

"... the science is not done because we do not have reliable or regional predictions of climate. But we need them. Indeed it is an imperative! So the science is just beginning. Beginning, that is, to face up to the challenge of building a climate information system that tracks the current climate and the agents of change, that initializes models and makes predictions, and that provides useful climate information on many time scales regionally and tailored to many sectoral needs."

Downing's research apparently fails to accommodate the complex and nuanced debate that evidently does exist. Furthermore, it seems that the public are far more sophisticated than he gives them credit for. Worse still, however, it is his own ignorance of the science, the debate, and his underestimation of the public that causes him to be 'disturbed' and 'frightened'. He then needs to invent reasons as to why the public don't see things the way he wants them to.


Gore the saviour

Al Gore is the archetypal twenty-first-century moral entrepreneur. His campaign to save the planet from man-made climate change is packed with moral messages that indict sin and outline the path towards individual redemption. His project - which he characterises as a `generational mission' no less, and which continues with the big Live Earth concerts this weekend - has taken on the tone of a crusade, which promises salvation to those who are prepared to rise to his `genuine moral and spiritual challenge' (1).

Gore has adopted the style and manner of a man with a calling. His admirers treat him with the kind of reverence usually reserved for holy leaders. `Answer the call', demands one of his supporters, noting that: `Al Gore is asking you to make a commitment to help solve the climate crisis.' (2) Gore effortlessly interlaces his demands for a reduction in pollution with the language of eschatology. Disavowing any political ambition, he asserts that `this is not a political issue' but a `moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilisation' (3). Gore writes of a `universal threat', which is cosmic in scale.

In interviews, Gore frequently gives the impression that he believes he is something of a prophet, whose warnings were, until recently, ignored by a feckless public. Although not quite the Ten Commandments, his `Seven-Point Pledge', issued last month, is shot through with a sense of divine imperative. This is more than just a pledge card. The organisers of Live Earth insist that `individuals who embrace this pledge sign up to a crusade for saving the world'. Underpinned by a powerful apocalyptic outlook, The Pledge exhorts all who sign up to adopt a righteous lifestyle. The Pledge followers undertake to reduce their personal CO2 emissions and to plant trees, amongst other things.

This is as close as you will get to a truly global collective worship. The pop and rock performers `who answered our call. span all genres and generations', notes Live Earth founder and executive producer Kevin Wall. The organisers modestly describe Live Earth as a `monumental music event that will bring together more than two billion people to combat the climate crisis'. The moral integrity of this carbon-neutral international gig is guaranteed by what they call a `Green Event Standard'. Apparently `all electricity that powers the shows will be from renewable sources, either through utility-supplied renewable energy, biodiesel generators, or renewable energy credits'. And those handful of incorrigible pop stars who still fly will have their air travel `offset through carbon credits'.

It is hard to ignore the high moral tone of Gore's missives. In his own words, he has a `compelling moral purpose'. He never misses an opportunity to spread his aura of sanctimony. And yet, curiously, his moral crusade depends for its legitimacy on the authority of science. There is very little that is transcendental about Gore. Revelation for him comes through science rather than supernaturally revealed truths. His crusade, he says, is aimed at preventing a catastrophe that is foretold by Scientific Truths. In his dogmatic worldview, today's categories of good and evil, of virtuous behaviour and improper behaviour, are rooted in truths revealed by science.

However, it would be wrong to see Gore as a man who is fervently committed to science. Rather, he is in the business of politicising science, or more accurately, moralising it. In Gore's world, science is not so much about testing out hypotheses and carrying out experiments; instead, under the Gore narrative, scientific evidence gives way to scientific (inconvenient) truths. Such science has more in common with the art of divination than of experimentation. That is why the science is always seen as having a fixed and unyielding, and thus unquestionable quality. Frequently, Gore and others will prefix the term science with the definite article `the'. So Sir David Read, vice-president of the Royal Society, recently said that `the science very clearly points towards the need for us all - nations, businesses and individuals - to do as much as possible, as soon as possible, to avoid the worst consequences of climate change' (4).

Unlike `science', this new term - `The Science' - is a deeply moralised and politicised category. Today, those who claim to wield the authority of The Science are really demanding unquestioning submission.

Gore has effectively become a celebrity world ruler. `Celebrity culture' is often decried for the insidious influence that it has on public life. But those who criticise celebrity culture are very selective in whom they choose to attack. Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and the British glamour model Jordan are easy targets for newspaper columnists. Such celebs are assailed for the opportunistic manner in which they embrace a worthy cause one day, only to drop it the next as they move on to another headline-grabbing media event.

There has also been a cynical commentary about aging rock stars re-inventing their fading careers by associating themselves with fashionable causes like Darfur or world poverty. This commentary overlooks a powerful trend at play here: today, the celebrity has become the cultural gatekeeper to public life. And this is a significant development that Gore clearly understands.

Gore has successfully harnessed the appeal of celebrity culture to boost his moral crusade. Through his clever use of the media, he has cultivated a role as a prophet superstar. He's a regular at major media events and his phenomenally successful film - An Inconvenient Truth - shows that he is capable of attracting large audiences in his own right. In adopting the celebrity entertainment format, he has developed a multimillion-dollar global brand. Live Earth represents a defining moment in the evolution of celebrity culture. This ambitious initiative targeting an audience of billions is seeking to displace the traditional public sphere with a format that brings together a new form of collective worship and old-style entertainment. Is it any wonder that, in America, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and House speaker Nancy Pelosi, those representatives of the old elected public sphere, said they were `proud' to be among the first to sign `The Live Earth Pledge'?

As the prime celebrity crusader of the twenty-first-century, Gore has become an object of envy amongst his celebrity rivals. Bob Geldof, whose Live Aid and Live 8 concerts in 1985 and 2005 earned him the authority to lecture democratically elected leaders in both Africa and the West, clearly resents being overshadowed by Gore. `We are all fucking conscious of global warming', he said when asked if there was any need for Live Earth. Still, whatever Geldof thinks, Gore is at least for now the toast of the entertainment industry. As the Celebrity of the Celebrities, he is well placed to serve as the moral conscience of the media and therefore to exercise a striking amount of influence over Western cultural life.


Journalists have warned of climate change for 100 years, but can't decide weather we face an ice age or warming

It was five years before the turn of the century and major media were warning of disastrous climate change. Page six of The New York Times was headlined with the serious concerns of "geologists." Only the president at the time wasn't Bill Clinton; it was Grover Cleveland. And the Times wasn't warning about global warming - it was telling readers the looming dangers of a new ice age.

The year was 1895, and it was just one of four different time periods in the last 100 years when major print media predicted an impending climate crisis. Each prediction carried its own elements of doom, saying Canada could be "wiped out" or lower crop yields would mean "billions will die."

Just as the weather has changed over time, so has the reporting - blowing hot or cold with short-term changes in temperature. Following the ice age threats from the late 1800s, fears of an imminent and icy catastrophe were compounded in the 1920s by Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan and an obsession with the news of his polar expedition. As the Times put it on Feb. 24, 1895, "Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again."

Those concerns lasted well into the late 1920s. But when the earth's surface warmed less than half a degree, newspapers and magazines responded with stories about the new threat. Once again the Times was out in front, cautioning "the earth is steadily growing warmer."

After a while, that second phase of climate cautions began to fade. By 1954, Fortune magazine was warming to another cooling trend and ran an article titled "Climate - the Heat May Be Off." As the United States and the old Soviet Union faced off, the media joined them with reports of a more dangerous Cold War of Man vs. Nature.

The New York Times ran warming stories into the late 1950s, but it too came around to the new fears. Just three decades ago, in 1975, the paper reported: "A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable."

That trend, too, cooled off and was replaced by the current era of reporting on the dangers of global warming. Just six years later, on Aug. 22, 1981, the Times quoted seven government atmospheric scientists who predicted global warming of an "almost unprecedented magnitude."

In all, the print news media have warned of four separate climate changes in slightly more than 100 years - global cooling, warming, cooling again, and, perhaps not so finally, warming. Some current warming stories combine the concepts and claim the next ice age will be triggered by rising temperatures - the theme of the 2004 movie "The Day After Tomorrow."

Recent global warming reports have continued that trend, morphing into a hybrid of both theories. News media that once touted the threat of "global warming" have moved on to the more flexible term "climate change." As the Times described it, climate change can mean any major shift, making the earth cooler or warmer. In a March 30, 2006, piece on ExxonMobil's approach to the environment, a reporter argued the firm's chairman "has gone out of his way to soften Exxon's public stance on climate change."

The effect of the idea of "climate change" means that any major climate event can be blamed on global warming, supposedly driven by mankind. Spring 2006 has been swamped with climate change hype in every type of media - books, newspapers, magazines, online, TV and even movies.

One-time presidential candidate Al Gore, a patron saint of the environmental movement, is releasing "An Inconvenient Truth" in book and movie form, warning, "Our ability to live is what is at stake."

Despite all the historical shifting from one position to another, many in the media no longer welcome opposing views on the climate. CBS reporter Scott Pelley went so far as to compare climate change skeptics with Holocaust deniers. "If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel," Pelley asked, "am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?" he said in an interview on March 23 with CBS News's PublicEye blog. He added that the whole idea of impartial journalism just didn't work for climate stories. "There becomes a point in journalism where striving for balance becomes irresponsible," he said.

Pelley's comments ignored an essential point: that 30 years ago, the media were certain about the prospect of a new ice age. And that is only the most recent example of how much journalists have changed their minds on this essential debate.

Some in the media would probably argue that they merely report what scientists tell them, but that would be only half true. Journalists decide not only what they cover; they also decide whether to include opposing viewpoints. That's a balance lacking in the current "debate." This isn't a question of science. It's a question of whether Americans can trust what the media tell them about science.

Much more here


One of Britain's biggest engineering companies has banned staff from travelling on bicycles or motorbikes after declaring them too dangerous. Jacobs Babtie advises local authorities on sustainable transport projects - including how to get more people to switch from four wheels to two. It has told staff at its 36 offices across Britain that they must drive or use public transport. They can use bicycles only if they are working away from roads, such as on canal towpaths.

In an e-mail to all employees, a copy of which has been obtained by The Times, the company's health and safety manager says: "It's patently obvious that if you are struck by a wayward vehicle when you are on a bicycle or motorbike you are going to be more severely affected than if you were in a car. The reason for this policy is to protect our employees from other vehicles on the road.

There will be a few limited exceptions when employees will be permitted to travel by bicycle, but that would be when that mode of transport is required to undertake the job, for example, carrying out surveys along river banks and tow paths."

The ban on cycling on company business has infuriated several staff, who have been cycling without any serious safety incidents for years. They believe the ban is partly the result of conditions in the company's insurance policy. The e-mail acknowledges that staff are unhappy about the ban and admits it "could be construed as being at odds with our environmental policy and the requirement to be environmentally responsible".

It also acknowledges the concerns among employees that the company will lose important contracts because the ban "will not please our environmentally friendly clients".

One of Jacobs' biggest customers is Transport for London, which has a target of achieving a fivefold increase in the level of cycling by 2025, and this weekend will host the opening races in the Tour de France. TfL paid Jacobs o6 million last year for various projects, including monitoring the impact of the congestion charge and measuring how many people have switched from driving to walking or cycling. On its website, Jacobs states: "In the area of cycling, we can offer expert resources at every stage from cycle policy and promotion through to the detailed design and implementation of cycle schemes."

Jenny Jones, the green transport adviser to Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, said TfL should consider cancelling its contracts with Jacobs. She said: "It is hypocritical to offer advice on promoting cycling but at the same time ban your staff from using bikes. If Jacobs does not understand how important cycling is to TfL, we need to ask whether they are the right sort of company to work with."

A TfL spokesman said: "We find the attitude of Jacobs bizarre and we will be urging them to rethink this decision. TfL is committed to encouraging Londoners to get on their bikes whenever and wherever possible. Our serious investment in growing cycling has seen journeys by bike on soar by 83 per cent since 2000. The number of number of cyclists killed or seriously injured has fallen by 28 per cent since the mid to late 1990s." In Britain, 146 cyclists were killed last year compared with 203 in 1996.

Kevin Mayne, the director of the Cyclists Touring Club, said: "Banning cycling on health and safety grounds is ironic; forcing people off their bikes and into cars just reduces their fitness and increases the danger they pose to other road users. Jacobs' policy shows a complete lack of understanding of transport risk assessment. For TfL and local authorities to pay a company which bans cycling for advice on sustainable transport is like asking the lunatics to help run the asylum."

A US medical study found that people who cycled regularly beyond their mid30s lived on average two years longer. The British Medical Association has said that the health benefits of cycling far outweigh risks.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety said that Jacobs should give its employees training in how to be safer cyclists rather than banning them from cycling.



By Joan Feynman


If solar variability affects human culture it most likely does so by changing the climate in which the culture operates. Variations in the solar radiative input to the Earth's atmosphere have often been suggested as a cause of such climate change on time scales from decades to tens of millennia. In the last 20 years there has been enormous progress in our knowledge of the many fields of research that impinge on this problem; the history of the solar output, the effect of solar variability on the Earth's mean climate and its regional patterns, the history of the Earth's climate and the history of mankind and human culture. This new knowledge encourages revisiting the question asked in the title of this talk. Several important historical events have been reliably related to climate change including the Little Ice Age in northern Europe and the collapse of the Classical Mayan civilization in the 9th century AD. In the first section of this paper we discus these historical events and review the evidence that they were caused by changes in the solar output. Perhaps the most important event in the history of mankind was the development of agricultural societies. This began to occur almost 12,000 years ago when the climate changed from the Pleistocene to the modern climate of the Holocene. In the second section of the paper we will discuss the suggestion (Feynman and Ruzmaikin, 2007) that climate variability was the reason agriculture developed when it did and not before.

1. Introduction

Three types of information need to be compared to address the subject assigned to me by the organizers of this conference, the history of the Sun, the history of climate, and the history of human culture. All of these fields are now going through a "Golden Period" of development, and studies of the connections between them are in their infancy. The pictures of their interconnections can now only be drawn with broad strokes. In this paper, we are interested in effects of climate change on human life, in particular the effects of a variable Sun. Modern man developed in East Africa about 130,000 years ago and spread to the rest of the world beginning sometime about 55,000 years ago. We will not be concerned with any solar changes that took place before the exit from Africa.

A major source for the radiative history of the Sun comes from radioactive 14C and 10Be produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere (Beer et al., 1994). The intergalactic cosmic rays reach the Earth after having been modulated by the solar wind. In general, the faster the solar wind and the larger its magnetic field, the lower the change in radiocarbon I"14C (Stuiver and Braziunas, 1988). The history of I"14C for the last 1200 years is illustrated in Fig. 1 taken from the cited paper. Higher I"14C indicates a less active Sun. For an estimate of the history of solar activity for the last 11,000 years see Solanki et al. (2004).

Information on past climates is available from historical records and can also be found by the study of the records of the Earth's climate imprinted in a variety of climate proxies. Perhaps the best known of these "data banks" are the polar ice cores from Greenland. These ice cores contain proxy records of diverse climate variables. For example, the oxygen isotopes in snow characterize temperatures (Grootes and Stuiver, 1997 and Cuffey and Clow, 1997), while sea salt blown from the ocean reflect atmospheric winds. The records from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) (Mayewski et al., 1997) have been analyzed extensively to describe past climate (Meeker et al., 1997). A large number of other Climate Proxy Records (CPR) of various types have been collected from wide spread regions of the globe. Examples of CPR include ice cores from the Antarctica and high-altitude mountain glaciers, and sea sediment cores (Peterson et al., 2000). Many CPR have been intercalibrated to obtain well-dated records of tracers of worldwide climate change (De Angelis et al., 1997 and Hughen et al., 2000).

There are now many empirical and modeling studies that demonstrate that changes in the solar output are associated with widespread changes in climate (Lean and Rind, 2001) and climate patterns (Ruzmaikin et al., 2004). The development of quantitative models and a physical understanding of all the underlying mechanisms involved is currently a rapidly developing field of study. Information on human cultures come from historical and archeological studies and studies of the genetics of humans, animals and plants.....

4. Discussion

In Section 2, we showed two examples of the stresses that relatively small climate variability presented for well-established cultures. In these cases evidence was given that the variations were part of a worldwide response pattern and that they were associated with the Sun. In Section 3, we demonstrated that there were very large continuous climate variations throughout the Pleistocene. From the Holocene experience we can speculate these changes must surely have interfered with early domestication where they occurred. In both Greenland and the Caribbean our data show that the changes continued throughout the glacial and interglacial periods before the Holocene. They also occurred in both the Greenland ice sheets and the ice-free Caribbean. We also know that temperatures are now organized in hemisphere-wide strongly correlated patterns (Quadrelli and Wallace, 2004). Climate modeling shows that although there were differences in the glacial and interglacial patterns, in both those periods large strongly correlated patterns existed (Toracinta et al., 2004). It is therefore not such a stretch of the imagination to hypothesize that the rapid variations in temperature seen in Greenland and the Caribbean were part of such patterns. There is less evidence that they were solar driven during the Pleistocene, but apparently smaller climate variations were solar driven during the Holocene, and the Sun must also have varied in the same manner during the Pleistocene.

In summary there is considerable evidence that climate variations in response to low frequency solar variations have had major effects on cultures during the last 1500 years. We also hypothesize that the large climate variations in the same frequency range may have had a role in inhibiting the development of agriculture during the Pleistocene and it was their marked decrease in amplitude that allowed agriculture to develop independently almost simultaneously in multiple regions of the world when the Holocene began at the end of the YD.

FULL PAPER at Advances in Space Research


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Monday, July 09, 2007


If it has survived really BIG warming in the past, the trivial warming of today is no threat to it

An international team of scientists, drilling deep into the ice layers of Greenland, has found DNA from ancient spiders and trees, evidence that suggests the frozen shield covering the immense island survived the earth's last period of global warming. The findings, published today in the journal Science, indicate Greenland's ice may be less susceptible to the massive meltdown predicted by computer models of climate change, the article's main author said in an interview. "If our data is correct, and I believe it is, then this means the southern Greenland ice cap is more stable than previously thought," said Eske Willerslev, research leader and professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Copenhagen. "This may have implications for how the ice sheets respond to global warming. They may withstand rising temperatures."

Scientists not involved in the study cautioned, however, that current climate change is so driven by pollution from power plants, industry, and other human activity that it is nearly impossible to draw a meaningful conclusion about the durability of Greenland's ice. "Whatever occurred in the past almost surely occurred much more slowly," said Raymond S. Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "Human activity is pushing warming at a much faster rate than in the past. Change is occurring in decades or centuries, not over millennia."

A painstaking analysis of surviving genetic fragments locked in the ice of southern Greenland shows that somewhere between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago, the world's largest island had a climate much like that of Northern New England, the researchers said. Butterflies fluttered over lush meadows interspersed with stands of pine, spruce, and alder. Greenland really was green, before Ice Age glaciers enshrouded vast swaths of the Northern Hemisphere.

More controversially -- and as an example of how research in one realm of science can unexpectedly affect assumptions in another -- the discovery of microscopic bits of organic matter retrieved from ice 1.2 miles beneath the surface indicates that the ice fields of southern Greenland may be more resilient to rising global temperatures than has been forecast. The DNA could have been preserved only if the ice layers remained largely intact.

A scenario often raised by global warming specialists is that Greenland's ice trove will turn liquid in the rising temperatures of coming decades, with hundreds of trillions of gallons of water spilling into the Atlantic. This could cause ocean levels worldwide to rise anywhere from 3 to 20 feet, according to computer projections -- bad news for seaport cities like Boston [Rubbish! 91% of the earth's frozen water is in Antarctica and most of the rest is sea ice so what happens in Greenland never was very important anyway].

But the discovery of organic matter in ice dating from half-a-million years ago offers evidence that the Greenland ice shield remained frozen even during the earth's last "interglacial period" -- some 120,000 years ago -- when average temperatures were 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than they are now. That's slightly higher than the average temperatures foreseen by most scientists for the end of this century, although some environmentalists warn it might get even higher. [They would]


Live Earth's Gross Groupies

(There is also an amusing "Biblical" interprtetation of the concert here)

Why is NBC airing Al Gore's Live Earth concert this weekend? Why are Democrats, who claim to support the Fairness Doctrine, not objecting to this outright gift of unequal broadcast time to just one side (theirs) of a controversial political issue? Those are the terrific questions asked by FOX News' John Gibson this week.

Here are some answers, John. First, the parent company of NBC is the General Electric Company, a corporation that is aggressively lobbying for global warming regulation. GE belongs to a lobbying group called U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) - a group of regulation- and congressional pork-loving companies that have joined with radical environmentalists to push for mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and a so-called cap-and-trade system under which companies could buy and sell rights to emit greenhouse gases.

The corporate members of USCAP have different reasons for wanting global warming regulation. Oil company BP-America, for example, is owned by its British parent, BP. European governments and companies expect that global warming regulation will give them a competitive advantage over U.S. businesses. Global warming regulation, for example, would force the U.S. to use less coal and more natural gas in the production of electricity. This would increase natural gas prices, which would not only hamper U.S. growth but also profit the UK-based BP, which derives most of its revenues from gas sales.

Companies like Alcoa and Dupont expect that, in return for their support of global warming regulation, Congress will reward them by giving them free, but valuable emissions permits which the companies could then sell in the open market for huge profits. As USCAP says on its web site, its members want "rewards for early action." But these rewards amount to nothing more than taxpayer-funded pork-barrel spending and global warming "earmarks."

Electric utilities that belong to USCAP, like Duke Energy and PG&E Corp., expect to benefit from higher energy prices, which tend to be associated with higher profit margins. Additionally, these higher energy prices and profits - because they will be based in government-sanctioned environmental policies - will likely be politically protected (unlike the ratepayers who will foot the higher bills).

What's GE's particular interest? GE's ostensible rationale is that it hopes to profit by selling high-priced global warming-related and alternative energy products, ranging from solar panels and wind turbines to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and nuclear power plant technologies. But the problem with the profit-motive for GE, of course, is that the company is a highly-diversified conglomerate - its other business interests include medical technology, financial services, advanced materials, aircraft engines and security technology. GE is so diversified, in fact, that its overall business performance tends to track that of the general economy.

So if global warming regulation harms economic growth - as is near-universally expected - it likely will also harm GE's business prospects, especially since the Ecomagination product line represents a very small part (about 7 percent) of GE's total revenues. So there must be more to GE's lobbying for global warming regulation than profit. That additional motivation may be the self-promotion of GE's CEO, Jeff Immelt. Immelt inherited the CEO job from the legendary Jack Welsh. But while Welsh famously grew GE into a financial colossus, GE has been treading water under Immelt's leadership. GE's stock has mostly traded in a relatively narrow range since Immelt took over and has significantly underperformed the broader market.

So, in 2005, Immelt adopted image-building as his key to success - hence the re-branding of regular GE products into trendy "Ecomagination" products. The idea for GE's Ecomagination marketing strategy came not from engineers who had new product ideas, but from PR consultants hired to burnish GE's brand. Immelt then became a global warming regulation advocate, one of the first CEOs to do so. Immelt has been feted by environmentalists and the media ever since, even being honored earlier this year by the World Resources Institute - a gloom-and-doom eco-advocacy organization that GE supports. At WRI's 25th anniversary dinner in February, Live Earth concert organizer Al Gore personally presented Immelt with the WRI's "Courage to Lead" award.

Also in attendance at the dinner was New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman who stated, "We are in a political season and the rules governing columnists at The New York Times is that we are not allowed to endorse presidential candidates. But I'm going to break that rule tonight if you promise not to tell anybody: I'd like to nominate Al Gore and Jeff Immelt as the geo-green candidates for 2008!" Immelt hasn't been good for GE's stock price but he's been quite adept at assuming the pose of a corporate eco-hero. So there is no need to wonder why a GE subsidiary (NBC) is so heavily promoting Live Earth.

As to Gibson's second question relating to why the Democrats aren't eager to apply the Fairness Doctrine that they've recently been promoting to NBC's broadcast of the one-sided Live Earth global warming rally, the answer is pretty straightforward. Democrats plan on making global warming a major campaign issue in 2008. The Live Earth concert represents a great way for them to market the issue to young people. Why would they want to spoil Gore's global warming propaganda-fest by complaining about the lack of equal time for opposing viewpoints?

That said, I'm all for the Live Earth concerts. Between Al Gore and rock stars in private jets and limos, $300 tickets, the global warmers' intolerance of dissenting views, and the concert's wanton energy use, mass consumerism and trash generation, I can't think of a better stage for displaying the over-the-top absurdity of Gore and his gross Green groupies.


Greenpeace doesn't like small cars either

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie or a happy farmer

Live Aid, Live 8 and now Live Earth: Benefit concerts are certainly in vogue these days. The declared aim of the organizers has been to raise public awareness -- for Africa, for a just globalization and now for the fight against global warming. But this well-meaning spectacle could be in danger of being misused as advertising space. In the past the organizers of big benefit concerts, people like Bob Geldof and Bono, have been accused (more...) of abusing their roles as saviors of the world to up their status and lure their target audiences. Now the sponsoring debate has given rise to another focus of criticism. At first glance it would appear that Live Earth's goals would have little in common with those of big business. But it seems that cooperation with multinationals is not seen as contradictory, but indeed something that actually might help the organizers to turn their ideals into a reality.

In a message on DaimlerChrysler's Web site, SOS founder, music producer Kevin Wall, welcomes the Smart brand as an official sponsor. "I'm pleased that we've got a strong partner in Smart, which has already taken major steps forward in the battle to stop global warming. Together, we can demonstrate to billions of people that there are technologies on the road today with low CO2 emissions, which is an important contribution to achieving global climate protection goals."

The company's commitment to the more environmentally friendly car seems genuine: "Why use two liters of gas to go buy a liter of milk?" is DaimlerChrysler's message on the Live Earth Web site. The ad is for the smart fortwo -- which, according to the company, at only 88 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer -- boasts the lowest emissions in the world.

"The Smart car isn't even environmentally friendly," counters Greenpeace climate expert Thomas Breuer, talking to SPIEGEL ONLINE. He points out that it can only transport a maximum of two people and a water tank. He thinks the benefit concert could end up being somewhat farcical: When the activist stars peel themselves out of the tiny car, instead of glamorous hybrid vehicles, they will probably end up just looking ridiculous, he says. At the same time he insists that he is justified in accusing the company of exploiting the event for advertising gains.


Hostages to a hoax

So you think I'm defying the scientific facts on climate change? Well, think again, says film-producer Martin Durkin

I could not have upset the soft-left, soft-green middle classes more if I had crept in their kitchens and snuck genetically modified tomatoes in their paninis. Why did I make the film The Great Global Warming Swindle? The head of science programs at Britain's Channel 4, Hamish Mykura (who has a PhD in environmental science), asked me to. He suspected the global warming alarm was not based on solid science. So did his predecessor, Sara Ramsden, who was also eager to make a film in this area. I was an experienced science documentary producer used to handling complex subjects.

So what was our conclusion, after months of research that involved talking to hundreds of scientists and wading through mountains of science papers? It's all codswallop. The notion of man-made global warming started life as a wild, eccentric theory and, despite throwing billions of dollars at it, scientists have failed to stand it up. Man-made global warming is unmitigated nonsense.

This is not the first time scientists have talked rubbish. Absurd theories come and go in science all the time. A few years ago an ostensible consensus of scientists said one-third of the British population were about to pop their clogs because they had eaten dodgy hamburgers (the mad cow disease scare). Many scientists build whole careers talking out of their hats. But usually it goes unnoticed. There is no real harm done. But global warming theory is different. It cannot be ignored. It is intruding into our lives to an extraordinary extent, shaping domestic and international policy in profound ways.

I urge readers to look at the evidence themselves. (We have assembled many relevant papers on a dedicated website, www.greatglobalwarmingswindle.com.) The global warmers try to discourage a close examination of the data. They say the time for debate is over, that there's a consensus of scientists who say it's definitely true. But this is rubbish. Check out www.oism.org and find an extraordinary petition carrying the names of 17,000 scientists who disagree.

The basic facts are as follows. There is nothing unusual about the present climate. The Earth has been far, far warmer than today and far, far colder. Our present interglacial (the mild bit between ice ages) is not nearly as warm as previous interglacials. Nor are we in a particularly warm part of the interglacial.

The recent warming, such as it is, represents a mild, welcome recovery from an exceptionally cold period in Earth's recent climate history, known to climatologists as the Little Ice Age. How mild is the recent warming? During the past 150 years global temperature has increased by a little more than 0.5C. But most of this rise occurred before 1940, when carbon dioxide emissions were relatively insignificant. After 1940, during the post-war economic boom, when human emissions of CO2 took off, the temperature fell, causing (you may remember) in the mid-1970s a consensus among scientists that we were about to enter another ice age. As Lowell Ponte warned in 1976: "This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000." Cripes. After that temperatures rose again (though not as steeply or as much as before) and peaked in 1998. Since then they have declined slightly.

Why do we suppose that CO2 is responsible for any of this? CO2 occupies a tiny proportion of the gases in the atmosphere. It is only a secondary greenhouse gas - water vapour is the main one - and greenhouse gases themselves form only one small part of the Earth's climate system. CO2 has demonstrably never driven climate in the past. (Examine the ice core data at www.CO2science.org.)

If greenhouse gases were causing the temperature to rise, according to classic greenhouse theory, the rate of warming should be higher in the Earth's troposphere (at least 10km up) than at the surface. But the opposite is true. All our satellite and balloon data tells us that the rate of warming was higher at the surface. In other words, observational data tells us, beyond any reasonable doubt, that greenhouse gas did not cause the recent warming.

But the present alarm is not based on observational data. It is based on models. These models attempt to forecast what will happen in the future, based on a set of assumptions. If your assumptions are wrong, so is your forecast. If you assume that CO2 is driving the Earth's climate and that CO2 will increase, then you will, as sure as eggs is eggs, produce a forecast that the temperature will rise. But this falls well short of sound science. So why are certain scientists so passionately attached to this theory?

Scientists are not above the prejudices of their age. Global warming is a political theory. It's rarely stated, but we all know it. People on the Left tend to believe it. People on the Right tend not to. The media and academe (as those of us on the inside know very well) are, in the main, soft left and soft green. We like things that are natural, we think the market is cruel, and we recycle not because it's logical but because it feels right. In these circles global warming has become part of social etiquette. It is as unacceptable to question it as it is to say that you admire George W. Bush or think organic food is a con. This is the real strength of global warming theory. It taps into the middle-class aesthetic revulsion of consumer, industrial society.

The whole global warming alarm, I believe, raises serious issues about the way science functions in the real world, about the political bias of scientists, about censorship and intimidation within the scientific community, about the routine practice of scientists drawing false or inflated conclusions from ambiguous or uncertain data, about the manifest failure of the peer review process, about the extraordinary unwillingness of scientists who have invested time and reputation in a particular theory to consider evidence that directly contradicts it and about the elevation of speculation (models) to the level of solid data.

Who should you believe? There is nothing for it but to be grown up about it and look at the evidence yourself. Here's some to get you going: the two graphs on this page, published in Geophysical Research Letters Volume 32, 2005 by a leading astrophysicist from Harvard University. The one below compares temperature change in the Arctic during the 20th century with levels of CO2. The one on the top compares the same temperature record to variations in solar activity as recorded, independently, by scientists from NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The question posed by the astrophysicist is a simple one. What is driving the Earth's climate? Is it CO2 or is it the sun?



Dog poo matters more than climate change!

The public believes the effects of global warming on the climate are not as bad as politicians and scientists claim, a poll has suggested. The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults - interviewed between 14 and 20 June - found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change. There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.

The Royal Society said most climate scientists believed humans were having an "unprecedented" effect on climate. The survey suggested that terrorism, graffiti, crime and dog mess were all of more concern than climate change. Ipsos Mori's head of environmental research, Phil Downing, said the research showed there was "still a lot to do" in encouraging "low-carbon lifestyles". "We are alive to climate change and very few people actually reject out of hand the idea the climate is changing or that humans have had at least some part to play in this," he added. "However, a significant number have many doubts about exactly how serious it really is and believe it has been over-hyped." People had been influenced by counter-arguments, he said.

Royal Society vice-president Sir David Read said: "People should not be misled by those that exploit the complexity of the issue, seeking to distort the science and deny the seriousness of the potential consequences of climate change. "The science very clearly points towards the need for us all - nations, businesses and individuals - to do as much as possible, as soon as possible, to avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate."


A comment on the above sent to the BBC by John A [climateaudit@gmail.com] of Climate Audit:

Your latest piece of alarmist propaganda will be added to the dossier that I will be sending to the BBC Trust, detailing the ways in which the BBC still seeks to distort climate science, demonize scientists who question the Greenhouse dogma, suppresses evidence showing that the effect of carbon dioxide rise is very small, deletes comments that the BBC doesn't like to admit exist, and repeatedly seek to propgandize in favour of a thoroughly Marxist solution of higher taxes, massive State intervention of the commanding heights of the economy and most of all, the continued promotion of scientific frauds like the Mann Hockey Stick principally through suppression of news stories which show it in its proper (bad) light.

It is to the credit of the British people that despite salting nearly every weather related story with references to "climate change" and "global warming", people are more worried by dog mess than the environmental obsessions of a small cadre of environmental propagandists working at the BBC. Your journalism is a disgrace and I am determined to make sure that everyone knows how you distort your reporting in such a gratuitously partisan way.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Sunday, July 08, 2007


By Robert Ehrlich

Abstract: A theory is described based on resonant thermal diffusion waves in the sun that explains many details of the paleotemperature record for the last 5.3 million years. These include the observed periodicities, the relative strengths of each observed cycle, and the sudden emergence in time for the 100 thousand year cycle. Other prior work suggesting a link between terrestrial paleoclimate and solar luminosity variations has not provided any specific mechanism. The particular mechanism described here has been demonstrated empirically, although not previously invoked in the solar context. The theory, while not without its own unresolved issues, also lacks most of the problems associated with Milankovitch cycle theory.

1. Paleotemperature data The possibility that fluctuations in solar luminosity may be responsible for changes in global temperatures has not been overlooked by researchers (Lean, 1997), although most explanations for periodicities in paleotemperatures are believed to involve factors unrelated to solar luminosity (Zachos et al., 2001). Nevertheless, some researchers have suggested that periodic solar variability has been the cause of global temperature cycles, with periods ranging from the 11 year sunspot period to cycles as long as 2000 years (Hu et al., 2003 and Van Geel, 1999). Earlier reports, however, suggest no specific mechanism for long term solar periodicity. Paleotemperatures are inferred from the 18O/16O ratio found in benthic sediments and in ice cores versus depth. In particular, it is believed that a decrease in global temperature corresponds to a 0.1% increase in the 18O/16O ratio (i.e., delta 18O) in benthic sediments (Lisiecki and Raymo, 2005)......

In conclusion, we have here suggested a specific mechanism involving diffusion waves in the sun whose amplitude should grow very rapidly due to an amplification provided by the link between solar core temperature and luminosity. Moreover, the phenomenon of resonant amplification of thermal diffusion waves has been empirically demonstrated, albeit not in the solar context (Shen and Mandelis, 1995). A number of features of the theory still remain to be resolved, but the theory does explain many features of the paleotemperature record, and it appears to be free of most defects of the Milankovitch theory. The theory further implicitly suggests the existence of a new category of variable stars having extremely long periods -- i.e., ~104 times longer than stellar periods currently considered to be "very long." For some stars with M less than M, their thinner radiation zones might make the predicted periods observable.

FULL PAPER at Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 69:759-766, May 2007


Recent journal article:

Ancient Biomolecules from Deep Ice Cores Reveal a Forested Southern Greenland

Eske Willerslev et al.


It is difficult to obtain fossil data from the 10% of Earth's terrestrial surface that is covered by thick glaciers and ice sheets, and hence, knowledge of the paleoenvironments of these regions has remained limited. We show that DNA and amino acids from buried organisms can be recovered from the basal sections of deep ice cores, enabling reconstructions of past flora and fauna. We show that high-altitude southern Greenland, currently lying below more than 2 kilometers of ice, was inhabited by a diverse array of conifer trees and insects within the past million years. The results provide direct evidence in support of a forested southern Greenland and suggest that many deep ice cores may contain genetic records of paleoenvironments in their basal sections.

Science 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 111 - 114

Gore: Ignorant or Dishonest?

Gore is correct in saying that the high temperatures observed on Venus are normally attributed by scientists to a greenhouse gas effect in which CO2 figures but nobody disputes that CO2 also contributes to the greenhouse effect on earth. The dispute is over the magnitude of the contribution and since the concentration of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere is only the tiniest fraction of the concentration in the atmosphere of Venus, the most obvious inference (at least at the Gore level of reasoning) is in fact that CO2 has only a TRIVIAL effect on earth's climate. Some further comments below by George Reisman:

In his July 1, 2007, New York Times Op-Ed piece, "Moving Beyond Kyoto," Al Gore states:

Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground - having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years - and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It's the carbon dioxide.

No, Mr. Gore, it's not the carbon dioxide. If you take the trouble to do an internet search on Google for "carbon dioxide" + "Martian atmosphere," you will learn that the Martian atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide, yet the average surface temperature on Mars is -63ø C (-81ø F). (It's true that the atmosphere on Mars is only about .6 percent as dense as that on Earth, but it's also true that its relative concentration of carbon dioxide is about 2400 times as great as that of Earth, which appears to make up for the thinness of the Martian atmosphere about 14 times over.)

But even putting this decisive objection aside, there is simply no informed or honest way for you to suggest that the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide on Earth is or ever will be comparable to the amount on Venus. According to The Encyclopedia Britannica, the atmosphere of Venus is 96 percent carbon dioxide. The atmosphere of the Earth, in contrast, is less than .04 percent carbon dioxide. That's not .04, but .0004, i.e., four one-hundredths of one percent. To be precise, carbon dioxide is presently 383 parts per million of the Earth's atmosphere. All of the brouhaha going on about the subject is over a projected increase to perhaps as much as 1000 parts per million by the year 2100, i.e., to .1 percent, which is 10 one-hundredths of one percent.

It is on the basis of such ignorance or dishonesty that you declare that

we should demand that the United States join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.

The "global warming pollution" you talk about is the production of the energy that lights, heats, and air conditions our homes, powers our automobiles, trucks, trains, airplanes, and ships, runs our refrigerators, television sets, computers, and all other electrical appliances, and powers the machinery and equipment that produces all of the goods we buy. You want to cut this by a staggering percentage!

You conclude by describing this suicidal program as one of a "privilege":

The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.

Such mindless, rabid enthusiasm for a cause so self-destructive calls to mind the equal moral fervor and rising to "spiritual challenges" of the generations led by such madmen as Lenin and Hitler. It is also very much in the spirit in which suicide bombers depart on their missions.

You feel free to make your calls for unprecedented economic destruction from the comfort of a home that consumes more than 20 times the electricity of the average American home. You apparently have no awareness of the extent of your hypocrisy because you have purchased "carbon offsets," in such forms as paying for the planting of a few trees here and there that will supposedly absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to that emitted in powering your home. (Mark Steyn, "Rev. Gore Doesn't Practice What He Preaches," The Bulletin, March 8, 2007.) Yet your "spiritual challenge" does not include such offsets for the rest of the American people, so that they too might go on enjoying their lives.

If you understood in personal terms what you are talking about, you would know that your supposedly glorious "spiritual challenge" is a call for Mrs. Gore to scrub your laundry (if you would still have any) against a rock on the bank of a river, the way women do in Third World countries. That's the actual meaning and measure of your "spiritual challenge." You want to turn our glorious economic system into a poverty-stricken hell-hole. You need to calm down, Mr. Gore, and give yourself and the world a rest. Along the way, you should try to understand the extent and depth of the horrors you want to unleash.


Chorus does not justify climate prophecies

Michael Duffy writes from Australia:

The next week promises some excitement for those who believe global warming threatens our future. Today they can enjoy the Live Earth concert in Sydney. But on Thursday they will have to suffer ABC TV's showing of The Great Global Warming Swindle, a British documentary sceptical of the orthodoxy. There's been criticism of the decision to show this program. Some critics have been at pains to stress they would welcome intelligent debate, but Swindle regrettably is full of errors, put forward by unreliable individuals who have no support from other scientists.

This might seem a reasonable argument, indeed a shocking indictment of ABC TV's decision to put the show to air. But in fact it's just the standard response to criticism that defenders of the orthodoxy always trot out. I've seen Swindle, and most of the scientists in it are important figures in their fields, and lots of other scientists share their views about global warming.

The documentary is passionate, sensational and entertaining. Sometimes it attributes too much certainty to matters that are still in doubt. In other words, it is similar to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. I can't recall ABC TV devoting any significant space to questioning the greenhouse orthodoxy before. Indeed, it is running an entire series, Carbon Cops, to boost that orthodoxy. So it seems a bit mean-spirited to criticise the station for devoting a mere 51 minutes to the alternative viewpoint on one of the biggest public issues of the day. Just to make sure young children are not led astray by the program, there will be a panel discussion afterwards in which supporters of the orthodoxy can present their point of view and discuss it with others (including myself).

One thing Swindle doesn't tell you about is a major objection to the orthodoxy that emerged at a New York conference last week. The new claim says that when scientists stop doing science and start making forecasts, they are engaging in a very different form of intellectual activity, one at which they're not very good.

A lot of people assume that if you accept that human-created carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere, then it is almost inevitable that a number of bad climate changes will occur in coming decades, rising temperatures being the most important. However, the links between the two propositions are many and long, and involve a large number of facts and theories about how climate works. In other words, the orthodoxy involves a lot of complicated forecasts. The new critics say the processes by which these forecasts have been made are so poor we can't trust the results.

Professor Scott Armstrong is at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Kesten Green is with the Business and Economic Forecasting Unit at Monash University. They're experts in forecasting techniques. (Many people are unaware that forecasting is a subject with many academic experts and a body of research going back to the 1930s. The website forecastingprinciples.com attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year.) Their paper is Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists Versus Scientific Forecasts. It was written for the 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting.

Armstrong and Green looked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group 1 report from earlier this year. This is the major source for the orthodoxy. They focused on chapter eight, which sets out the methodology used for the forecasts in the report. They found that the panel, despite its immense assembly of scientific talent, appeared to have no idea of how to make a reliable forecast. Although the chapter has 788 references, none relates to forecasting methodology. Armstrong and Green rated the methodology used by the panel against 89 principles of good forecasting derived from years of research. They found that the panel report breached 72 of those principles. They concluded that the forecasts the weather was likely to change in many negative ways were worthless.

What are some of the main principles of forecasting? One involves the notion, so popular among orthodoxy advocates, of consensus. While consensus might say something about testable scientific theories, it says nothing about forecasts. Armstrong and Green say: "Agreement among experts is weakly related to accuracy. This is especially true when the experts communicate with one another and when they work together to solve problems, as is the case with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process."

Another principle involves uncertainty and complexity. The more of each you have, the less sure you should be of your forecasts. Climate forecasts involve so many factors and so much uncertainty that Armstrong and Green believe they're useless.

Many people believe these complex forecasts can be trusted because computer models are used. But so much uncertainty and subjectivity is involved in the input that Armstrong and Green say the use of these computer models is just a modern version of an old practice: the use of mathematics to make personal opinions sound more impressive. (Robert Malthus's predictions on population increase and food decline, very influential in the 19th century, were presented with a lot of mathematics. They were wrong.)

Armstrong and Green note: "To our knowledge, there is no empirical evidence to suggest that presenting opinions in mathematical terms rather than in words will contribute to forecast accuracy." Armstrong has just offered Al Gore a $US20,000 ($23,000) bet that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change temperature forecasts are wrong.


No alternative to cars

The solution to so-called "automobile dependence" within the contemporary planning community is almost alway more mass transit: more trains and buses. But is this realistic, particualarly given current strategies and approaches to providing mass transit? Most investments in mass transit are patently unsustainable, requiring huge investments in capital and dramatic reductions in mobility (measured by travel time) to achieve ridership goals. Proof of mass transit's unsustainability is obvious to anyone willing to look at it objectively:

* Mass transit's share of travel continues to fall, even as it seems to have stemmed a decades -ong decline in the absolute number of miles traveled;

* Increasing market share and transit riders requires dramatically reducing mobility by either increasing congestion or ratcheting up personal autombile costs artificially through devices such as registration fees or gas taxes;

* While automobile use is subsidized, transit is subsidized at even higher levels, with users paying substantially less than half operating costs. Many communities offer some transit services for free, or a near free fares, to entice people onto trolleys, buses, and trains;

* Even in places where TODs are considered "successful", such as Ballston or the Chicago Loop, most trips are still by autombile unless people live (or work) in uniquely highe density places such as Manhattan.

In short, providing transit using the current paradigms and strategies is unsustainble. Transit's success depends on the ability of planners to make the lives of travelers worse off by making it harder to get around, restricting housing choice and type, and subjecting people to all manner of externalities and lifestyles they routinely choose to avoid in the current housing market place (e.g., small homes, urban noise, and air pollution).

Is there a future for mass transit? I think so, but it will take outside the box thinking on the part of transit managers and policymakers. Transit lost its way more than four decades ago when it largely ignored the needs and desires of a wealthier and more mobile middle class. The key is to recapture that market by expanding niche services that compete on the things that matter most to the broad base of travelers--fast, reliable, dependable service.

These are going to be niche services rather than the dense, comprehensive transit networks that characterized early 20th century systems. Some transit agencies have begun to shift in this diretion, opting for faster, more flexible and more niche focused transit services such as bus rapid transit. The Central Ohio Transit Authority is pursuing this strategy. Houston has found that high volume bus service can benefit from highway capacity improvements, experiencing gains in market share along some routes. Even Los Angeles is implementing a bus rapid transit route that has the potential to compete based on time and reliability, providing a meaningful alternative to automobile travel.

The key to transit success in the 21st century is improving mobility in a tangible competitive way. In most urban areas, creating a sustainable transit system will mean rebuilding transit networks and markets from the ground up.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Saturday, July 07, 2007


The research paper below puts into practice a much more precise method of measuring atmospheric CO2 retrospectively than is available via ice-cores. The research was done on plant residues in the North Atlantic area and showed repeated fluctuations in CO2 levels -- and that the CO2 levels changed in synchrony with the output of the sun. The paper is rather heavy going for non-scientists but it might help if I note that "cal. yr BP" is fully translatable as "years ago"!

(From Global and Planetary Change 57:247-260, June 2007)

Climate forced atmospheric CO2 variability in the early Holocene: A stomatal frequency reconstruction

By C.A. Jessen et al.


The dynamic climate in the Northern Hemisphere during the early Holocene could be expected to have impacted on the global carbon cycle. Ice core studies however, show little variability in atmospheric CO2. Resolving any possible centennial to decadal CO2 changes is limited by gas diffusion through the firn layer during bubble enclosure. Here we apply the inverse relationship between stomatal index (measured on sub-fossil leaves) and atmospheric CO2 to complement ice core records between 11,230 and 10,330 cal. yr BP. High-resolution sampling and radiocarbon dating of lake sediments from the Faroe Islands reconstruct a distinct CO2 decrease centred on ca. 11,050 cal. yr BP, a consistent and steady decline between ca. 10,900 and 10,600 cal. yr BP and an increased instability after ca. 10,550 cal. yr BP. The earliest decline lasting ca. 150 yr is probably associated with the Preboreal Oscillation, an abrupt climatic cooling affecting much of the Northern Hemisphere a few hundred years after the end of the Younger Dryas. In the absence of known global climatic instability, the decline to ca. 10,600 cal. yr BP is possibly due to expanding vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere. The increasing instability in CO2 after 10,600 cal. yr BP occurs during a period of increasing cooling of surface waters in the North Atlantic and some increased variability in proxy climate indicators in the region. The reconstructed CO2 changes also show a distinct similarity to indicators of changing solar activity. This may suggest that at least the Northern Hemisphere was particularly sensitive to changes in solar activity during this time and that atmospheric CO2 concentrations fluctuated via rapid responses in climate.


...... The relatively new method of stomatal frequency analysis applies the physiological response of certain C3 plants to changing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere (Woodward, 1987). Rapidly accumulating lake sediments, if supplied with sufficient numbers of leaves from the surrounding vegetation, allow the reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 changes on centennial to decadal timescales by applying its inverse relationship to stomatal frequency. This paper presents a stomatal frequency reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 at decadal resolution over the time period 11,230 to 10,330 cal. yr BP, supported by a highly resolved AMS radiocarbon chronology from lake sediments of the Faroe Islands (situated in the North Atlantic between south west Norway and Iceland).

As our atmospheric CO2 estimates should reflect the global net effect of carbon transfers between reservoirs responsive on sub-millennial to decadal timescales, we also discuss possible causes for the changes in reconstructed CO2 in relation to evidence of climate variation and solar activity during the early Holocene.....


...... The CO2(SI) reconstruction through the early Holocene bears a striking similarity to reconstructed solar activity changes. This may suggest a rapid response of climate to minor changes in solar activity during this dynamic period, which in turn impacted the global carbon cycle. This can, to some extent, also be seen in the climatic responses associated with the Maunder Minimum in the mid-17th to early 18th centuries.


The plant data used by Jessen et al in the paper immediately above are not the only plant data which show apparent effects of solar variability in the Northern hemisphere. But if such effects really were effects of the sun, we would expect similar effects worldwide. So are there Southern hemisphere plant data which give similar conclusions to Northern Hemisphere plant data? There are. See below:

(From Earth and Planetary Science Letters 253:439-444, January 2007)

Globally synchronous climate change 2800 years ago: Proxy data from peat in South America

Frank M. Chambers et al.


Initial findings from high-latitude ice-cores implied a relatively unvarying Holocene climate, in contrast to the major climate swings in the preceding late-Pleistocene. However, several climate archives from low latitudes imply a less than equable Holocene climate, as do recent studies on peat bogs in mainland north-west Europe, which indicate an abrupt climate cooling 2800 years ago, with parallels claimed in a range of climate archives elsewhere. A hypothesis that this claimed climate shift was global, and caused by reduced solar activity, has recently been disputed. Until now, no directly comparable data were available from the southern hemisphere to help resolve the dispute. Building on investigations of the vegetation history of an extensive mire in the Valle de Andorra, Tierra del Fuego, we took a further peat core from the bog to generate a high-resolution climate history through the use of determination of peat humification and quantitative leaf-count plant macrofossil analysis. Here, we present the new proxy-climate data from the bog in South America. The data are directly comparable with those in Europe, as they were produced using identical laboratory methods. They show that there was a major climate perturbation at the same time as in northwest European bogs. Its timing, nature and apparent global synchronicity lend support to the notion of solar forcing of past climate change, amplified by oceanic circulation. This finding of a similar response simultaneously in both hemispheres may help validate and improve global climate models. That reduced solar activity might cause a global climatic change suggests that attention be paid also to consideration of any global climate response to increases in solar activity. This has implications for interpreting the relative contribution of climate drivers of recent "global warming".


A few times a year the British media of all stripes goes into a tizzy of panic when one climate scientist or another states that there is a possibility that the North Atlantic ocean circulation, of which the Gulf Stream is a major part, will slow down in coming years or even stop. Whether the scientists statements are measured or inflammatory the media invariably warns that this will plunge Britain and Europe into a new ice age, pictures of the icy shores of Labrador are shown, created film of English Channel ferries making their way through sea ice are broadcast...

The panic is based on a long held belief of the British, other Europeans, Americans and, indeed, much of the world's population that the northward heat transport by the Gulf Stream is the reason why western Europe enjoys a mild climate, much milder than, say, that of eastern North America. This idea was actually originated by an American military man, Matthew Fontaine Maury, in the mid nineteenth century and has stuck since despite the absence of proof. We now know this is a myth, the climatological equivalent of an urban legend.



Brits have miserable weather so it is obviously a relief to have global warming to blame it on. And the recent floods fall into that category, of course. Not so fast, says the article below. Such fluctuations were known and explained (in various ways) long ago

June's rains did not break the monthly rainfall record for England and Wales, despite what many newspapers claimed. But, according to folklore, last Sunday's wet weather carried a dire warning: "If the first of July be rainy weather/ It will rain more or less for four weeks together." Many similar traditions, such as St Swithin's Day on July 15, reveal that people have long recognised how summer weather can settle into long-running patterns.

There is science to this too. Much of our rains are driven over the Atlantic by the jet stream, a river of wind a few miles up in the atmosphere. In the summer, the jet stream often migrates north, taking bad weather away from the UK. But this summer, high pressure to the north has blocked off that route and the jet stream has dug in over Britain. Its sluggish movement has reduced depressions and their weather fronts to a crawl, giving plenty of time for rain to fall.

This is not climate change, though. Will Hand, a forecast researcher at the Met Office, has studied previous extreme rains in Britain. "The depressions that gave such heavy frontal rain recently were typical of 20th-century rainfall extremes," he explained. He cites the Great Borders Flood of August 1948 as an example, when a slow depression flooded the River Tweed, sweeping away 40 bridges and disrupting mainline rail services for two months.



And much cheaper energy production -- where the Greenies allow it

The surging boom in new technology for home entertainment, from CD players and DAB radios to flat-screen televisions, is taking up huge amounts of energy and undermining the fight against climate change, a report claims today. The consumer electronics sector is now only three years away from becoming the biggest single user of domestic electricity in Britain, according to the report - and in 2010 it will overtake lighting, and "white goods" such as fridges and freezers, in home energy use.

By 2020, entertainment and computer technology in the home will account for an extraordinary 45 per cent of all electricity used in UK households, according to the study from the Energy Saving Trust (EST). This is equivalent to the output from 14 power stations, the report says, and undermines the battle to reduce C02 emissions - as well as costing the owners of the gadgetry 5bn a year.

The report, The Ampere Strikes Back, explains why computers and consumer electronics are becoming such a drain on energy supplies. "New, more sophisticated and 'higher spec' versions of electronic gadgets tend to consume more electricity than the products they replace, unlike fridges and washing machines that are usually more efficient as they develop and evolve," the study says. Furthermore, it is much too easy, according to the report, to leave electrical products switched on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with standby functions tending to be used more frequently than the "off" button. "Indeed, some products no longer have a manual 'off' switch, making it impossible for consumers to switch off the gadget, except at a wall socket," it says.

The report points out that new electronic products are also used in ways "undreamt of" just a few years ago. For example, digital television (which can itself be two products: a set-top box and a television set) may be used to listen to digital radio stations. "What used to be a low-energy exercise of listening to the radio is now a highly energy-intensive one," the report says. A typical modern household contains an array of gadgets ranging from television sets, to mobile phones, to computers and MP3 players. The increase in single-person households is also said to be "taking its toll". Young, cash-rich professionals who are quick to buy emerging new technology will see entertainment, computer and information technology taking up a growing proportion of their electricity bill.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Friday, July 06, 2007


Mark Bahner [mark.bahner@verizon.net] writes:

On Nature's "Climate Feedback" blog, Kevin Trenberth [of the National Center for Atmospheric Research] posted a comment that emphatically (and correctly) pointed out that the IPCC has never made any predictions about climate change. Eduardo Zorita then asked, "The troubling aspect of Trenberth's comment is that if the IPCC climate simulations do not represent real predictions for the future, how can the theory be falsified?"

The answer of course is that the IPCC "projections" can't be falsified, because they aren't predictions. I then offered to debate anyone anywhere on the proposition: Resolved: "The IPCC Third Assessment Report's (TAR's) projections for methane atmospheric concentrations, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases constitute the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science." So far, no takers.


(Paper from Journal of the Geological Society of India, Vol.70(1), July 2007, pp.11-16)

By V.K. Raina and C. Sangewar


"The Siachen glacier is the second largest glacier known outside the polar and sub-polar regions and the largest in the Karakoram Himalaya. The glacier with a length of 74 km is an example of the nature and size of the glaciers that must have once existed in the Himalaya towards the end of the last Ice Age. This glacier, primarily, because of its size has remained an important topic of glacier study and survey. Observation of the glacier front from 1862AD till date has revealed that there may have been a rapid advance of 700 m or so between 1862 and 1909, which was subsequently neutralised by relatively faster retreat between 1929AD and 1958AD. The glacier along its snout front has since been in rest mode, a term used in glaciology to depict glaciers with very low or practically nil retreat." Contrary to the general presumption that glaciers all over the world are rapidly retreating, the authors report that the Siachen glacier, Karakoram mountains, Ladahk is in a rest mode, with practically no observable retreat.


Concerns are mounting that the smoking ban which came into effect across the whole of the UK this weekend could lead to an increase in carbon emissions as pubs, restaurants and workplaces invest in gas-fired patio heaters to keep warm smokers forced outside by the ban. Recent research from British Gas predicted that increased sales of gas-fired patio burners to pubs as a result of the smoking ban would see carbon emissions from the pub heaters alone rocket to 160,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, representing almost ten percent of the annual reduction the UK needs to meet its Kyoto commitments by 2012.

The report also surveyed 250 pubs in Scotland, where the ban has been in place for a year, and found half had deployed the heaters to help smokers keep warm outside. The research follows separate predictions from the Green Party which warned the CO2 emissions of London alone could increase by over 20,000 tonnes a year as a consequence of the ban.



Excerpts from and comments on an article in New Scientist by Ian Roberts

"We tend to think of obesity only as a public-health problem, but many of its causes overlap with those of global warming. Car dependence and labour-saving devices have cut the energy people expend as they go about their lives, at the same time increasing the amount of fossil fuel they burn. It's no coincidence that obesity is most prevalent in the US, where per capita carbon emissions exceed those of any other major nation, and it is becoming clear that obese people are having a direct impact on the climate".

Roberts speciously reasons that obese people, who (allegedly) consume 40% more calories than non obese people, (allegedly) use their cars more because they are too fat to move properly, and (allegedly) "eat the kind of things which are more CO2 intensive, contribute disproportionately to global warming than their thin counterparts." Roberts's argument is not scientific, but a narrow, shallow, and hollow critique of capitalist society:

"The social stigma attached to obesity is one of the few forces slowing the epidemic - even though obesity is not a personal failing but a problem of society. We live in an environment that serves primarily the financial interests of the corporations that sell food, cars, and petroleum."

This serving of 'financial interest' traps people in vicious cycles of low-self esteem and comfort eating, diminished mobility/health and car use - all to the detriment of the environment. "And as the number of obese people increases, a kind of positive feedback kicks in. Obese people in the US are already throwing their political weight around."

Roberts then asks us to panic about the possibility of the political voice of fat Americans being used to demand, elevators, escalators, and other forms of labour-saving mechanisation, which in turn worsens the cycle of increasing fuel use, carbon emissions, and the world's waistlines.

When all that the best clinical minds can offer is the political idea that people's desire for food and labour-saving devices (ie, higher standards of living) are expressions of a kind of false consciousness, small wonder that people complain about 'health fascism'.

Roberts has such contempt for the public that he assumes to know their political and material interests better than they do, and pretends that it is 'capitalism wot makes 'em do it'... that people are too fat headed to know what to eat.

It must be lean times at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, because this poverty-stricken argument is so bloated, it needs four bandwagons to wheel it onto the pages of the New Scientist: obesity, global warming, anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism. All that's missing is a photo of a polar bear perched on a dwindling ice floe.


Tree revolt

Australian farmers are chopping down thousands of trees every day in a dramatic protest against laws intended to curb the country's fast-rising greenhouse gas emissions. Fed up with government restrictions on the use of their land, farmers began a civil disobedience campaign by cutting down one tree on each property, with a threat to increase the rate of felling each day until the dispute is resolved. By the end of this week more than 128,000 trees could be lost in a single day.

The farmers claim that the nation's vegetation management laws, under which the clearing of trees has been made an offence, are leaving farmers bankrupt or rendering their farms marginal because trees are taking over open grasslands. But the Government says that the strict land-clearing laws are necessary to preserve forests to soak up carbon dioxide. Without legislation, the Government claims, vast areas would be cleared to increase acreage of arable land.

Australia has the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions and has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, claiming that the climate change pact favours Europe and puts other countries at a disadvantage.

Alistair McRoberts, a farmer in Cobar, New South Wales, who has joined the protest, said: "How would you feel if the Government regulated to turn the third and fourth bedrooms . . . into accommodation for homeless people, and they didn't pay you any compensation for doing so? "You still pay the mortgage, you still pay the rent, but that's just bad luck. We are being hoodwinked to the highest order by the Government and we need to talk about it."

Brad Bellinger, the chairman of the Australian Beef Association, said that he supported the campaign. On Monday he cut down two trees at his property in New South Wales. He said that, as the fell rate increased, farmers would turn to mechanisation to keep the protest up. "It's a matter of complete desperation," Mr Bellinger said. "By Day 10 we will need bulldozers." Steve Trueman, a Queensland agricultural marketer, who has helped to form a loose coalition of farming groups to take part in the protest, said that desperate farmers who had campaigned for five years to have the land-clearing laws changed were behind the tree-felling campaign. "We are losing tens of thousands of hectares of formerly productive land [because of] these laws," he said.

He added that one large western Queensland property of 56,000 hectares (138,000 acres) was now overrun by hop bush, a tree-like weed that is protected by law. The property once supported up to 15,000 merino sheep but now has only six head of cattle.

Illegal land clearing has been an acute problem in the large states of New South Wales and Queensland. A WWF study in New South Wales estimated that in the seven years to 2005, 80 million reptiles and 13 million birds had been wiped out because of loss of habitat. About 340,000 hectares of land were cleared in Australia in 2005.

Mr Trueman said that farmers would end their tree-felling only when the environment ministers of each state agreed to meet them and discuss the issues behind the protests. "Farmers don't want to be taking this action," he said. "Farmers need trees on their properties as wind breaks and for soil conservation." He said that if land-clearing laws were not relaxed, there would be consequences for urban dwellers in Australia. "If we don't get better outcomes for farmers Australia will face food shortages in future. It won't be because of climate change. It will be because of land-clearing laws."

John Howard, the Prime Minister, has called for a "New Kyoto" that will not harm the country's oil, coal and gas exports and bring in developing nations, such as India and China. Australia was part of the original negotiations that set targets for developed nations, but the Government later decided not to ratify the pact. New figures yesterday showed that the country was almost certain to exceed its greenhouse emissions target of 108 per cent of 1990 levels by 2012 set under Kyoto. The latest figures show that transport emissions have risen by 4 per cent in the year to May, already pushing national greenhouse gas emissions to 107.9 per cent of 1990 levels.


Nature's coral cull

So it's not global warming after all?

SCIENTISTS have discovered that corals can be wiped out by nothing more sinister than an extremely low tide coinciding with a clear, sunny day. It means Mother Nature herself can prompt coral bleaching and dieback - a natural disaster. In a paper published in the Marine Biology journal, Ken Anthony and Ailsa Kerswell, of James Cook University and the University of Queensland, said severe "sun-dry tides" rarely occurred because they depended on the alignment of many natural extremes. These included a combination of sun, moon and chance weather and could leave coral colonies bleached and devastated.

"Really low tides, where the local sea level gets to its extreme low for the year, can occur at different times of the day," Dr Anthony said. "In years where this occurs during the middle of the day when the sunlight is at its most intense and the reefs are almost fully exposed, there is a real risk of severe coral stress and death in the shallow reef zone." Such an event occurred in September 2005 when Dr Anthony and Dr Kerswell were taking JCU students on a field trip to Orpheus Island, east of Ingham in north Queensland. Their observations led them to investigate mysterious coral deaths on the island - the extent of which had not been recorded on the Great Barrier Reef.

"At first we thought it was a major outbreak of disease," Dr Kerswell said. Having established that it was not disease, the pair looked through records of tidal patterns over the previous eight years and analysed the risk of corals being out of the water and exposed to the sun. They found that in September 2005 the Reef suffered from an extremely low tide during the daytime. Dr Anthony said such an event might have been nature's way of culling corals that were taking over.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Thursday, July 05, 2007


(From: Proceedings of Civil Engineers 2007 160, No. CE2, 66-72 Paper 14806)

By David Bellamy and Jack Barrett


This paper demonstrates that the widely prophesied doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from natural, pre-industrial values will enhance the so-called 'greenhouse effect' but will amount to less than 1øC of global warming. It also points out that such a scenario is unlikely to arise given our limited reserves of fossil fuels-certainly not before the end of this century. Furthermore, the paper argues that general circulation models are as yet insufficiently accurate for civil engineers to rely on their predictions in any forward-planning decisions-the omission of solar wind effects being a potentially significant shortcoming. It concludes that the only certainty is that the world's fossil fuel resources are finite and should be used prudently and with proper respect to the environment.


Russia on Monday played down the dangers of global warming and warned against "hasty selective actions" on climate change "that may ultimately inflict greater damage on the economy and environment than the national cataclysms that are forecast." "Russia is one of the active participants in the international climate process. We have always consistently stood for the consolidation of efforts to that end by all countries. It will be an appropriate reminder that it was Russia's decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol that enabled this important document to come into force," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko told a session in Geneva of ECOSOS.



Most of the concern about the future comes not from any measurement, or any simple theory of what will happen. Instead, it comes from predictions produced by extremely complicated computer models. Models which are known to be incomplete and which can't be realistically tested against real data (not for decades yet.)

You and I can't directly evaluate these models, but it's not as if these are the only computer models in existence. Models are used for all kinds of things we are familiar with. Computer models give us our daily weather forecasts. Computer models predict hurricane and tornado tracks during a storm. Computer models are used by traders on stock exchanges. We have experience with these models and how accurate they are. Climate models are the biggest models around, with less of a track record than any other economic or weather model.

If someone told you they had a computer model that would predict the size of the economy in 2100, you'd laugh. If they demanded (and got) a massive government spending program based on this model, you'd be angry. Yet the warming model must include an economic model. The economic model tells you how much CO2 is being put into the atmosphere, which then drives the climate model. If the economic model is wrong, so is the climate model.

It's certainly possible that we are scaring ourselves over nothing. It has happened before! In the 1970's, science was just as certain that the world was going into a new ice age. They were sure that this was imminent because temperature was falling from the 1940's to the 1970's. If they had had access to the ice core data, they would have been even more certain. The graphs above show that the Earth has been in an ice age for millions of years, and our brief warm period is already as long as the typical warming every 100,000 years.

But the predictions of a new ice age were wrong. After 1975, the climate started to warm again. We think of the climate as stable, but it's not. We think the current climate is normal, but we're wrong. We have to remember that these events happen on a much longer timescale than human lives or even human history. The period we live in is a brief gap in an ice age lasting millions of years.

Think of it another way. If the dust bowl drought of the 1930's were to happen today, everyone would blame it on global warming. Yet there's no way that global temperature had increased enough in the 1930's to cause droughts. In fact, the geological record in the Southwest says that droughts have come and gone for millennia, and that some droughts naturally lasted over 100 years.

So when you look at the global warming idea, you could just put it down to us not having a long enough experience to know what's "normal." We're like mayflies who have never seen summer and think it's the end of the world.

Much more here


His colleagues are frantically defending their patch, mainly by pretending that short-term trends can be extrapolated indefinitely. Note that Bryson is a climate modeller and it is on models that the whole global warming case depends

Since it was reported this month by The Capital Times, Professor Emeritus Reid Bryson's anti-establishment position against man-made global warming has provoked floods of interest, great indignation and -- particularly among his fellow University of Wisconsin scientists -- no shortage of exasperation.

The story of Bryson's denial that industrially produced carbon dioxide is linked to climate change caught the attention of national outlets like the Drudge Report and drew more than 30,000 readers in the first 90 minutes after it was posted on this paper's Web site. More than 100 have posted their reactions to it on The Capital Times online forum, dozens of others have written letters to the editor and almost two weeks later the story remains among the most viewed. Statements by the global warming skeptic also stirred up controversy in scientific departments across the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Many who work with the 87-year-old Bryson say they have the utmost respect for him, but fault his opinions for not being substantiated by fact. "There is a huge mountain of evidence and scientific theory and publications, all out there in the public arena, and Reid comes along and has some other idea, but he provides no evidence. You just have to take his word for it," said Jonathan Foley, a climatologist at UW-Madison who directs the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. "If he could come up with any evidence for his hypothesis, anything that would back up what he is saying, and he could publish it, he would win the Nobel Prize," Foley said. "Everyone would be thrilled if he were right. Global warming is a major, major global crisis and it would be fantastic if Reid were correct. But sadly he is not."

Foley has a strong personal link to Bryson and says he has always looked up to him. He was the student of one of Bryson's students, making Bryson his "academic grandfather." He stepped into Bryson's old position and was the first person on campus to hold the Reid Bryson chair. Thousands of scientists all over the world support the idea of global warming and hold up their data to public scrutiny, he said, adding that they have been putting out evidence -- not just computer models, but real-world observations. "There is nothing hidden, nothing obscured. This has been going on for decades," he said. Bryson has every right to hold his views on climate change, Foley said. "Unfortunately, in the scientific world we demand evidence, just like you would in a courtroom. And I think he came to court empty-handed in this case." ...

After the Capital Times story was published, Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, said he got dozens of e-mails, some of them calling him a tool of the extreme right wing. "They don't even know what that means," he said in a follow-up interview this week. "What far right? I don't even know anybody on the far right. And if I did, I would avoid them."

Bryson said politics gets in the way of looking at climate change. He is not political, he said. He doesn't consider himself a Republican or a conservative. When asked who he voted for in the last presidential election, he said, "the wrong one." Does that mean he voted for George Bush? "Of course not," he said. "I'm not that dumb."

Bryson acknowledges that he is up against an outspoken scientific community on the issue of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. Some may call him "a global warming skeptic." But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it. There is no question the Earth has been warming. It is coming out of a "Little Ice Age," he said. "However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years.

We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said in the story published June 18.

Bryson was the founding chairman of the department of meteorology at UW-Madison and of the Institute for Environmental Studies, now known as the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. He retired in 1985, but has gone into the office almost every day since to create climate models. He does it without pay from the university. For the last 20 years of his career Bryson's research was funded by a benefactor, who wished to remain anonymous, and who is now dead, he said. "I don't get very much money from the endowment she left the university in my name," Bryson said. He receives $8,000 to $10,000 now from the endowment, enough to support a graduate student to help him and computer costs. "It isn't a lot," said Bryson, who can be found in his university office every morning and often works from home in the afternoons and evenings. He is not paid by any oil company or any energy company, he said emphatically.

After 25 years of work, Bryson has a how-to book coming out this week called "Paleoclimate." It details how to model climate on a computer. The book comes with a CD that people can put into their computers and learn how to model past climate without having a doctorate in meteorology or climatology, Bryson said. He is giving a workshop in Hot Springs, South Dakota, in September on how to do climate modeling and the session is full. He has led about 10 of these sessions already, in Sweden, Germany, Canada, Colorado and California.

Since The Capital Times article ran, he has been asked to give lectures, including a speech to a group from NASA, whose director recently drew criticism himself for saying he doubted global warming is "a problem we must wrestle with." At the same time, nine UW-Madison professors -- including Martin -- wrote a June 21 letter in The Capital Times, wishing to make it "absolutely clear" that Bryson's opinions on global warming were not shared by other scientists at the University of Wisconsin's Center for Climatic Research and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. "The scientific evidence for human causation of global warming is now very strong, and gets stronger every year. Evidence includes well-documented rises in carbon dioxide concentrations and global mean temperatures, and repeated validations of the global climate models used to predict future climate changes," they wrote.

Two of the professors later expressed concern for their students in the wake of a comment Bryson made about beginning graduate students passing themselves off as experts on global warming when reporters call the meteorology building seeking the opinion of a scientist. "And that goes in the paper as scientists say ...'" Bryson said.

If the grad students are upset by his comment, Bryson asserted, they should come and talk to him and show him that they know the equivalent of a researcher with 20 or 30 years of experience. "I'm right there. My door's open. If they are upset, well, tough," he said. "I didn't say they didn't know anything. But lumping a first-year grad student in with a 30-year experienced professor is sort of apples and pears. Someday they'll be there, but they aren't yet."

In the matter of going against so many of his scientific peers on global warming, Bryson said that throughout history there are clear cases where the consensus was wrong. "The consensus was against Copernicus, Darwin and Galileo at the time. But were they wrong or was the consensus wrong? Now I am not necessarily a Galileo or a Copernicus, but the point is, the consensus does not mean that the science is right," he said.

Bryson said he moved the critical e-mails that The Capital Times story generated directly into his trash basket. He estimated that 95 percent of the people who wrote him agreed with him. A woman sent him an e-mail Sunday saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so brave. I wish I had said it but I didn't have the guts."


Another Greenie myth bites the dust

A TRUCE has been called in the nappy [diaper] war, and neither side won. For years, the environmental credentials of cloth nappies have been trumpeted, much to the despair of guilty parents using disposables. However, new research from Britain shows cloth and disposables have exactly the same impact on the environment. A four-year Environment Agency research project found the impact of burying disposable nappies in landfill sites was matched by the energy consumed and greenhouse gases generated by washing cloth nappies or transporting them to laundries.

The Australian Consumers Association agrees, saying it's a drain on water to wash cloth nappies, but disposables use more energy and create landfill. About 95 per cent of Australian parents use disposable nappies, which make up about 1 per cent of the 22 million tonnes of landfill waste each year. Non-biodegradable nappies can take up to 400 years to breakdown.

The findings of the UK study were welcomed yesterday by leading mainstream disposable manufacturer Huggies. "Parents can now make a guilt-free choice based on other important factors, such as performance, cost and convenience," a spokesman said.

But Victorian parents choosing cloth insist they're better for babies and the environment. Tania Avtarovski, owner of an online cloth nappy store, has seen business triple since last October. She now sells hundreds of nappies a week from her Taylors Lakes home. "I say I use cloth nappies and people cringe. They think it's all about terry towelling and stains, but it's really very easy. There's no soaking," she said. "Everything is breathable and so comfortable."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Warmist press lives in an world of its own

On May 3rd, the NYT had a piece about Atlanta's new, subtropical climate and how warm-climate plants were moving North (Full article reproduced here).

But only a month before that, Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville all had big freezes -- on April 6-8. See here and here. The freezes set new records for the month of April. Much damage to foliage and trees. The apple trees in Henderson county, NC were reportedly losing 90% plus of the crop, with trees possibly lost.

So we had something of an ice-age occurrence bent into a "warming."

Griffin vs. Hansen: The Importance of Getting One's Facts Straight

Apologies for the spelling above. "Flows" should of course be "Floes"

In a recent interview broadcast on National Public Radio's Morning Edition program, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was asked if he was concerned about global warming. His response - "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with" - prompted a prominent NASA scientist, James Hansen, to tell ABC News that Griffin's remark was "an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement," and that it indicated "a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change." Equally upset was Princeton University's Michael Oppenheimer, who said that he was "shocked" by the Administrator's statement and that he felt that he "ought to resign."

As a public service to help people better evaluate Hansen's characterization of Griffin, plus Oppenheimer's call for Griffin to resign, we are devoting this week's entire issue of CO2 Science to a comprehensive evaluation of Hansen's 26 April 2007 testimony to the Select Committee of Energy Independence and Global Warming of the United States House of Representatives, which Hansen entitled "Dangerous Human-Made Interference with Climate." Before any more calls are made for Griffin's resignation, our critique of Hansen's testimony should be carefully studied. It is very possible that Oppenheimer's invitation for Griffin to resign might more appropriately be extended to someone else.


Is there anything that is NOT caused by global warming?

Just a few months ago, the "drought" in Southern Australia (and in England) was being blamed on global warming. Now that there is extensive flooding (again both in England and Southern Australia) it's floods that are being caused by global warming. Consistency and logic are clearly not Greenie virtues. The Australian nonsense below comes from the Leftist Premier of the State of Victoria

VICTORIA faces more bushfires and increasingly severe floods in the future because of climate change, Premier Steve Bracks says. As residents in Gippsland, in the state's south-east, mop up after devastating floods this week, Mr Bracks said today that evidence from climate change experts showed that extreme weather would become the norm.

"The evidence, which has been given to our government by the CSIRO, shows that we will have more bushfire events per year as every year goes on,'' Mr Bracks told Southern Cross Broadcasting. "That's more days over 35 degrees celsius with strong northerly winds, and that's because of the climate heating up and climate change effects,'' he said.

"The same with floods. We probably won't have more floods, but the severity of those when they occur will be greater. "And that is the product of climate change. "We have to prepare for that.''

Insurance assessors are still determining the financial extent of damage wrought by the floods while the cost to the Victorian government to repair civic infrastructure alone could top $40 million. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) expects to come up with a total damage bill in the next few days.

"The reality is that this is as big a flood that we have ever had in that region, certainly as big as 1998,'' [Only as big as 1998! Surely we can do better than that!] Mr Bracks said. "We've already had some 200 householders who've submitted to the government for relief, we expect that to go even further.''


British weather panic

Last summer we were told not to flush the loo, because of global warming. This summer we are told half of Yorkshire has been flushed down the pan - because of global warming. If the drought don't get you, it seems, the deluge will. As if the weather was not bad enough, we now have to endure a flood of intellectual silt about how overflowing rivers are retribution for rising man-made carbon levels.

The notion that a flood is God's punishment for our sins went out with, well, the Ark. But it has been revived by born-again believers in high places. According to the Book of Genesis, after the great flood had cleansed the world of sinners, God assured Noah that "I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." , we have "a new God, with new priorities". So a former government adviser writing in The Guardian asserts that the latest floods are the fruits of global warming "long foretold", and concludes that: "Behind the gathering clouds the hand of God is busy."

Perhaps we should not be surprised to see the bible of the liberal intelligentsia spouting such religiosity on this issue. I recall that one leading Guardian writer welcomed the flooding in 2000 in the way that a zealot might a plague of frogs, as a painful lesson to unbelievers. She concluded: "The more floods, the merrier."

I predict that we will indeed have more floods in the future, just as we did in the past when nobody had heard of man-made global warming. As Weather Eye in The Times pointed out, yesterday was the 90th anniversary of the largest rainfall recorded in a June day. Back in 1917, however, many were less concerned about the weather than the shells raining down during the Great War and the wind of revolution blowing in from the East.

An obsession with the weather has long been seen as a trait of the more petty, boring side of the British character. Now it seems that reading the weather as a sign of the state of the nation and the planet is the stuff of serious debate, reducing high politics to the level of chatter at a (smoke-free) bus stop. This is not really about an irrational revival of belief in God, more of a loss of faith in humanity and its rational works.

Despite implying that modern man is as powerless as a peasant farmer in the angry face of nature, the new doom-mongers also express outrage at the failure of government to do more to stop the world so that they can get off in the dry. After new Labour, Noah Labour? Then again, Noah was supposed to be 600 years old when God told him to build the Ark. An old geezer like that would not get within 300 cubits of the Cabinet today - let alone the BBC coverage of Live Earth.



ThyssenKrupp AG's chief executive Ekkehard Schulz said the German government's plans to reduce emissions and exit nuclear power production may result in up to 500,000 jobs being lost as energy-intensive industries relocate abroad, according to Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The government's aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40 pct by 2020 are 'illusory,' Schulz told the newspaper. 'Excessive regulations can have serious consequences for Germany's economy,' he said. He said the government should take into account the reasonable doubts of the country's industrial players on the costs of shutting down nuclear power plants and reducing emissions.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny

In his new book, The Assault on Reason, Al Gore pleads, "We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth." Gore repeatedly asks that science and reason displace cynical political posturing as the central focus of public discourse. If Gore really means what he writes, he has an opportunity to make a difference by leading by example on the issue of global warming. A cooperative and productive discussion of global warming must be open and honest regarding the science. Global warming threats ought to be studied and mitigated, and they should not be deliberately exaggerated as a means of building support for a desired political position.

Many of the assertions Gore makes in his movie, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' have been refuted by science, both before and after he made them. Gore can show sincerity in his plea for scientific honesty by publicly acknowledging where science has rebutted his claims. For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate reported, "Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame."

Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests' humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine."

Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.

Gore claims global warming is causing more frequent and severe hurricanes. However, hurricane expert Chris Landsea published a study on May 1 documenting that hurricane activity is no higher now than in decades past. Hurricane expert William Gray reported just a few days earlier, on April 27, that the number of major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast has declined in the past 40 years. Hurricane scientists reported in the April 18 Geophysical Research Letters that global warming enhances wind shear, which will prevent a significant increase in future hurricane activity.

Gore claims global warming is causing an expansion of African deserts. However, the Sept. 16, 2002, issue of New Scientist reports, "Africa's deserts are in 'spectacular' retreat . . . making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa."

Gore argues Greenland is in rapid meltdown, and that this threatens to raise sea levels by 20 feet. But according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Glaciology, "the Greenland ice sheet is thinning at the margins and growing inland, with a small overall mass gain." In late 2006, researchers at the Danish Meteorological Institute reported that the past two decades were the coldest for Greenland since the 1910s.

Gore claims the Antarctic ice sheet is melting because of global warming. Yet the Jan. 14, 2002, issue of Nature magazine reported Antarctica as a whole has been dramatically cooling for decades. More recently, scientists reported in the September 2006 issue of the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series A: Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, that satellite measurements of the Antarctic ice sheet showed significant growth between 1992 and 2003. And the U.N. Climate Change panel reported in February 2007 that Antarctica is unlikely to lose any ice mass during the remainder of the century.

Each of these cases provides an opportunity for Gore to lead by example in his call for an end to the distortion of science. Will he rise to the occasion? Only time will tell.


Digging up the roots of the IPCC

The UN's all-powerful climate change panel is no straightforward scientific body. It is a deeply political organisation that was born out of disenchantment with progress

Witnessing the intensity of the discussion about global warming today, it is hard to imagine a time when climate change was not a defining feature of social, political and economic life. Today, everything from floods in England to poverty in the Third World is discussed as a product of global warming. Yet it is a relatively new issue, barely discussed until 50 years ago, and established as a significant policy issue only in the past two decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which now sits like Solomon over key questions of international development, sovereignty and social progress, was not established until the late 1980s and only in the past 10 years has it enjoyed its exalted status. Yet the IPPC's most recent set of reports led the UK's environment secretary, David Miliband, to declare that `the debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over', and `what's now urgently needed is the international political commitment to take action to avoid dangerous climate change'

So how should we understand the process by which climate science has come to have a defining impact on political life in 2007? On one hand, there is the scientific research that has been conducted, which, most would argue, has strengthened our knowledge of climatic processes and the impact of man-made emissions. On the other hand, the emergence of the science of climate change coincided with strong cultural and political trends, which have interacted with the science and shaped our understanding of the climate change issue in a peculiarly misanthropic way.

While there may be different policy perspectives on the question of climate change, one central message dominates the discussion. This is that `the science' has issued humanity with a warning that our activities threaten our very existence on planet Earth, and that `the science' tells us that we should rein in these activities in order to preserve our existence. Because the message appears to come from science, not politicians or campaigners, it becomes a fait accompli. But if we are to develop a better understanding of how to move forward, we need to examine how this situation came about.

Many have criticised the scientific debate for becoming politicised - whether that be in terms of underplaying or overplaying the dangers presented by climate change - and this is an important issue to explore. But what has really been lacking in recent years is any substantive political debate about how we should view and respond to climate change. This has led to a situation where the IPCC, an unelected body, holds an unprecedented influence on the lives of everyone on the planet - and any attempt to question this body's legitimacy or actions is shouted down as `denial' of the scientific facts. In discussing the origins of the climate change issue and the IPCC, this essay raises the following questions:

* How much of the global warming issue is shaped by new scientific discoveries, and how much by broader cultural and political trends?

* How has the interaction between scientists, international institutions, governments, media and activists influenced the development of climate change policy?

* Was the establishment of the IPCC a visionary act or an expression of political implosion in the West?

This essay does not attempt to provide a comprehensive history of the global warming issue; rather its aim is to contribute to the start of a critique. For whatever the facts about climate change can tell us, they do not tell us that the debate is over.

The level of funding and attention attracted by climate change today is a far cry from the late 1950s and early 1960s, when a few scientists decided to investigate what was happening to CO2 levels in the atmosphere as a consequence of manmade emissions. Indeed, according to the latest IPCC report, published in 2007, 95 per cent of `all the climate change science literature since 1834 was published after 1951', while the number of articles published per year in atmospheric science journals tripled between 1965 and 1995 (2). The first journal dedicated to climate change, Climatic Change, was founded in 1977.

A colourful account of the contrast between the global warming story now and half a century ago is provided by science historian Spencer Weart, in his fascinating book The Discovery of Global Warming (3). According to Weart, Roger Revelle, the eminent American oceanographer (whom, incidentally, Al Gore credits with provoking his Damascene conversion on the climate change question), along with a small number of scientists interested in global warming, `had taken up the question as a side issue' and `saw in it a chance for a few publications, a detour from their main professional work, to which they soon returned'. Revelle secured a modest budget to hire a young geochemist called Charles David Keeling to establish a baseline `snapshot' of CO2 values around the world.

By 1960, with two years of Antarctic data in hand, Keeling reported that the baseline CO2 level had risen and that `the rate of the rise was approximately what would be expected if the oceans were not swallowing up most industrial emissions'. However, in 1963 `the funds ran out altogether, and CO2 monitoring shut down', until Keeling secured a budget from the National Science Foundation to continue the work (4). Keeling's data, as described in a recent IPCC historical overview of climate change science, are now regarded as having `iconic status in climate change science as evidence of the effect of human activities on the chemical composition of the global atmosphere' (5). But as Weart points out, this was not the discovery of global warming but `the possibility of global warming' (my italics). Indeed, according to the IPCC's historical overview, `it was not possible to detect anthropogenic warming in 1980', though some `predicted it would be evident within the next two decades' (6).

One striking feature of Weart's account of the discovery of global warming is the extent to which, even when modern-day climate science was in its infancy, some scientists were prepared to speculate about the potentially destructive consequences of man-made emissions. Keeling himself was involved in a conference in 1963, sponsored by the Conservation Foundation, which warned of the possibility of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and coastal flooding in the future. In August 1965, a climate conference hosted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, opened with a presentation by Edward Lorenz, an early pioneer of chaos theory. According to Weart, Lorenz argued `that the slightest change of initial conditions might bring at random a huge change in the future climate'. Other scientists apparently agreed that, in contrast to the prevailing idea that the planet's climate kept itself stable, the climate system `showed a dangerous potential for dramatic change, on its own or under human technological intervention, and quicker than anyone had supposed'.

How can we account for this leap from rudimentary findings to cataclysmic worst-case scenarios? Weart argues, convincingly, that such predictions were motivated as much by cultural trends as a clear-cut scientific truth. Citing popular protests against nuclear weapons tests, concerns about air pollution, and the effect of chemicals such as DDT, he argues that `science alone could not explain the deep shift in views' about the stability of the climate system - rather `events had been altering the thinking of everyone in modern society'........

Much more here


I have alluded on a number of occasions to the extensive exposition of Warmism as a Religion by Prof. Brignell. One true believer -- from the BBC! -- has however shown his ignorance of the history of the matter. I reproduce below Prof. Brignell's reply. In consideration of his age, Prof. Brignell refers to himself as a "poor old thing". See Prof. Brignell's original post for links:

Thanks are due to BBC sayer of sooth, Alex Kirby, for providing a fine illustration of how the priesthood deals with infidels. This appeared in CCNet today:


Alex Kirby [alexkirby_uk@yahoo.co.uk]

Dear Benny

Poor John Brignell really does need to go and lie down in a darkened room, I think. In his highly entertaining piece "GLOBAL WARMING AS RELIGION AND NOT SCIENCE" he rehearses the hoary old myth that climate change is something cooked up years ago by Sir Crispin Tickell and Margaret Thatcher. Then, again without offering a shred of evidence, he accuses the media of peddling untruths and faking the coverage. Why does he have to spoil such a rattling good laugh-a-minute read with elementary errors of this sort? Possibly, of course, he thinks they're not errors, in which case I'd be glad to see his evidence for either assertion.

Yours ever


At least his first word was correct. Of course, this poor old thing wrote nothing of the sort. What he wrote was "The father of the new religion was Sir Crispin Tickell". The global warming thing has been around since the time of Arrhenius. What Thatcher did was to bring it into the world political arena. Tickell's book on the subject was published in 1977, when the new ice age scare had hardly been decently interred (the funerall bak't meates did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables). You need look no further than Tickell's protege, George Monbiot, that the Thatcher speech of 1989 was inspired by Tickell himself. Kirby, of course, has been Tickell's representative on Earth for some time.

For further information, this poor old thing:

* was Chairman of a branch of the Conservative Party and member of a constituency committee during the 1980s, but is now ex.

* sat in the front row at a speech in which Margaret Thatcher made a point of mentioning the importance of Global Warming.

* raised his concern with his MP David Mitchell, who was Industry Minister at the time, but did not think this an important issue. Unfortunately, this was only orally, since we did not know that a quarter of a century later accusations of lying would be flying.

* has been offering shreds of evidence for the past seven years, as have others, such as the late, great John Daly. What does he want - the whole of Number Watch and its two associated books in brackets?

It is, of course not new that the lefties feel the need to rewrite history. Their near monopoly of the media makes it easy for them and their Winston Smiths. It is a bit inconvenient, however, that not only is there so much documentation in existence, but also that some of us whose were there at the time are persistently still around. We tend to get a bit stroppy when they shout that there is no evidence that something happened, when we were eye witnesses.

It is not the fact that Tickell is their founding father that they need to so desperately suppress, but that it was one of their all-time monsters of the right who was associated with him in launching the faith into the political world. This is not the only case in which Thatcher manufactured the tools for the left to do their work. The whole process of central control, for example, particularly of education under the ghastly Kenneth Baker, was put into place during the Thatcher years for the later convenience of New Labour.

Footnote: The pertinent question was asked by Michael Ronayne, when pointing out one of the more egregious cases of fakery - "If the evidence for global warming is that compelling, why is it necessary for those who believe in global warming to misrepresent data in this manner to support their cause?"


Note that Prof. Brignell's essay on the Warmist religion did get him interviewed on Canadian radio. You can hear the interview (in two parts) here and here

Carbon trading proposals in Australia: A critique

The Government should consider other options before it burdens our economy with emissions taxes

The Howard Government is keen to show it is serious about the problem of human-induced climate change, although the debate is still raging. To this end, the Prime Minister has announced that he is moving to establish a national carbon-emissions trading system by the end of 2012, as recommended by a taskforce he appointed last December.

Separately, the state and territory Labor governments have set up a national emissions-trading taskforce, which is investigating a scheme for emissions-trading by the end of 2010. The aim of these proposals is to put a price on the emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly CO2, with a view to progressive reductions in the years ahead.

The Federal Government proposal, as set down by the taskforce, envisages the establishment of a "cap and trade" system, in which the government determines limits on greenhouse gas emissions (that is, sets a target or cap) and issues tradable emissions permits up to this limit. Beyond that, they must be bought from the government, i.e., they are a tax. Businesses must hold enough permits to cover the greenhouse gas emissions they produce each year. Under the taskforce recommendations, permits can be bought and sold, with the price determined by the supply of and demand for permits. Similar schemes are in operation in Europe and in parts of the United States. They are also proposed for Canada and New Zealand.

The European Union (EU) describes its Emission Trading Scheme, established in 2005, as the largest multinational greenhouse gas emission scheme in the world. It is the centre of the EU's campaign to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a costly failure. The Climate Action Network, an umbrella group of some 350 environmental organisations, of which 100 are in Europe, issued a report which stated that only two of the 25 EU states (UK and Germany) asked participating industries to reduce emissions below historic levels, and found that in the 15 old EU member states as a whole, allocations were 4.3 per cent higher than the base year. The British reached their target by closing down the domestic coal industry and importing from abroad, while Germany cut greenhouse emissions by closing down dirty old Soviet-era power stations in Eastern Germany.

In May 2006, when several countries revealed that their industries had been allocated more allowances than they could use, trading prices crashed from about 30 euros ($50)/tonne to 10 ($17)/tonne, and have since declined further to 4 ($7) in January 2007, and below 1 ($1.60) in February 2007. Countries like Sweden have committed themselves to cutting CO2 emissions by closing older coal-fired power stations and building nuclear power plants. Most countries in the European Union have failed to meet their Kyoto Protocol commitment to cut CO2 emissions. Those which have "reached" the target have usually done so through what are known as "international credits", that is, by purchasing emission permits from overseas to bring themselves within the Kyoto targets. Another method of purchasing carbon credits is in bankrolling reforestation programs, which are supposed to "lock up" CO2 in trees. In fact, trees' absorption of CO2 is minimal in their early years, and eventually, when the tree dies, the CO2 is returned to the atmosphere.

All of this basically is a manipulation to make it appear that countries are achieving measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions when in fact they are not. Reading the report of the Prime Minister's Task Group on emissions-trading, the EU scheme is described in glowing terms. It said, "The European Union has committed to meeting its Kyoto reduction target and has introduced a domestic emissions trading scheme to that end. In March 2007, the European Union adopted a package of new climate change and energy security measures." Its failings were not even mentioned.

There can be little doubt that the taskforce's objective was to solve a political problem rather than an environmental one, and to minimise the potential damage to Australian industry, particularly the export industries. If Australia and other countries wished to preserve fossil fuel resources as well as cutting greenhouse gas emissions, they would be looking at encouraging nuclear power and the use of biofuels, which recycle atmospheric CO2 through plants, into ethanol and biodiesel. This recycling process substantially cuts net CO2 emissions.

A few other countries have already established very large biofuel industries. Brazil, which produced 18 billion litres of ethanol in 2004, was the world leader in ethanol production until it was recently overtaken by the US. Brazil's output is currently being expanded to produce biodiesel. If Australia was serious, it would forget about emissions trading, and invest in biofuel technology instead.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Monday, July 02, 2007

Global warming as a hook you can hang anything on

The global warming craze is a bonanza for scientists. If you can find some connection to global warming for what you want to research, your chances of getting funding are much increased. The story below is an example of that in action. The justification for the research in terms of global warming is however deeply flawed -- but flawed in a way that few non-scientists would recognize. Even assuming that global warming will continue, see if you can see at least two flaws in the proposal below. Answers at the foot of the article.

Australians could soon be eating the seeds of native grass as scientists search for crops with greater resistance to the effects of global warming. Researchers from Southern Cross University in NSW say dozens of native grasses could provide a good alternative to traditional plants such as wheat, rice and sorghum.

And Queensland's farmers could be the big winners as predicted increases in drought conditions across the southern states push crop cultivation further north. "There have been pest and climate issues in the past with growing cereal crops in northern Australia and that's where native crops may fare better," said Professor Robert Henry. "They should be better suited to our climate and soils. "If we can produce successful domestic crops, we can also look at exporting crops in the same way we have been importing them."

Prof Henry, director of the university's centre for plant conservation genetics, is heading the $1 million initiative run in partnership with Victorian-based Native Seeds Pty Ltd. "It's a great project. We are quite optimistic we are going to make some real progress." The aim is to have the first varieties available for small to moderate-scale planting in about two years, near the end of a three-year program which is also being supported with a $403,000 grant from the Australian Research Council.

About 10 per cent of the world's 10,000 grass species are native to Australia. The team is focusing on a few dozen which are closely related to species such as rice and sorghum. One of the main criteria is that they have large seeds which do not fall off easily in wind so they can be harvested and used for flour, cereals and other foods.

"We would expect that all of these species will allow production with less water than conventional crops and that will be an enormous advantage for the environment," said Prof Henry. "There is also a potential that these crops could be grown in areas in Australia where you can't grow traditional crops." He said while other countries had domesticated crops such as barley thousands of years ago, the cultivation of native grasses was "quite radical" for Australia. "We only need to get one species over the line to have a great outcome," Prof Henry said.

The above story by DARYL PASSMORE appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on July 1, 2007. Two major flaws in it:

1). The major grain crop in the Western world is wheat and wheat is already a dry-climate crop. It can be grown in many places but it grows best in areas of low rainfall. In some parts of Australia it is grown commercially with less than 10 inches of rain per year -- semi-desert, in other words. So reduced rainfall should EXPAND the area suitable for growing it. There is no need to invent new dry-climate grain crops.

2). Global warming would warm the oceans, thus causing them to give off more water vapour -- which then comes down as precipitation (rain or snow). So, OVERALL, global warming should increase rainfall, not reduce it. But more rainfall will EXPAND production of most crops -- including many grain crops -- such as rice. So there is no need for new types of grain crop under those circumstances either

Global Warming, Depletable Resources, Inconsistent Beliefs

A recent post on FuturePundit cites some interesting calculations by CalTech professor Dave Rutledge. Using the estimation approach on which current, widespread concerns about running out of petroleum are based, he finds that the IPCC global warming calculations overestimate future hydrocarbon burning by a factor of at least three or four--because the hydrocarbons are not there to be burned.

We have here two different arguments leading to the same conclusion and believed, on the whole, by the same people. One argument is that we are running out of hydrocarbons and should therefore reduce our use of hydrocarbons, reduce energy consumption and switch to alternative energy sources. The other argument is that we are, by burning hydrocarbons, increasing the amount of CO2 in the air and warming the planet, and we should therefore reduce our use of hydrocarbons, reduce energy consumption, and switch to alternative energy sources.

Both arguments claim, with some justification, to be based on scientific calculations. Both are, on the whole, believed by the same people. But, if Rutledge is right, the two sets of calculations are inconsistent with each other. Nobody who believes one ought to believe the other. Which may reflect the fact that, once you know what conclusion you want to reach, there is always some way of getting there.


'Big Oil' in the real world

Fellow gas-guzzlers, rejoice. ExxonMobil -- the world's best-run, most underappreciated and most foolishly hated energy company -- did exactly the right thing last week at its annual shareholders meeting in Dallas. When climate cranks came to whine about ExxonMobil's alleged corporate irresponsibility and try to get the company to accept the Gospel of Global Climate Change according to Al Gore, the oil behemoth's bosses told them to go fly a kite in a wind farm.

The hero was CEO Rex W. Tillerson, a business exec with old-fashioned testosterone who deserves every dime of the $8.4 million pay package he took home in 2006. He stood up to dissident shareholders (climate cranks) who wanted his company to invest more heavily in alternative energy and to stop giving money to think tanks that question the shaky scientific and political tenets of catastrophic global warming

ExxonMobil, Tillerson reminded everyone, was in the business of finding, drilling, refining and selling oil and natural gas -- not in the business of risking money to save the planet from bogeymen. Anyway, he said wisely, what's wrong with a little debate on climate change?

So say "Hallelujah!," lovers of Big Oil. For another year, at least, ExxonMobil will remain Great Satan Oil Co. -- a mischaracterization that environmentalists and their equally irrational co-religionists in the media have worked overtime to promote. The company has flaws, not the least of which is its annual acceptance of a couple billion in unnecessary government subsidies. But any schoolboy can see it is an amazingly efficient, productive business in a highly competitive and technologically trying industry.

Despite booming demand and ever-elusive oil supplies, ExxonMobil (and its smaller Big Oil siblings) keeps us supplied with the energy our advanced economies and lofty standards of living are built on -- and which our children and the Third World will need for decades. But the prowess of ExxonMobil, which employs 82,000 worldwide, benefits not just consumers. More than 2 million individuals own at least one share of its stock, which has climbed from $56 to $84 since last June. About 52 percent of the company's 5.6 billion shares are held by 1,528 mutual fund companies and institutions like CalPERS, the California Public Employees Retirement System, which owns 30 million shares of ExxonMobil for its 1.43 million active and retired members.

The value of CalPERS' stock has climbed about $900 million in the last year to $2.4 billion. Yet its idiotic officials still went to Dallas last week to complain about ExxonMobil's failure "to address the business risks from climate change." Everyone over age 3 has heard that ExxonMobil made world-record net profits last year of $39.5 billion. That's incredible -- and red meat to U.S. senators and socialists of other stripes. But on gross revenues of $377 billion, it was a modest return: 10.5 percent.

For the perspective that too few mainstream media stories provided: The average S&P 500 company netted 13.4 percent of revenues last year; PNC Financial Services netted 32 percent. Meanwhile, ExxonMobil invests $20 billion a year in capital spending for things like deep-sea oil platforms. ExxonMobil won't change much. My hero Tillerson will see to that. And no matter how hard climate cranks cry, that's good news for those who live in the real world.



Just before the July 4 deadline she set for coming up with an "energy independence" package of legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to pull together the pieces of an energy bill from 10 committees and warring Democratic leaders. As committees raced to wrap up bills yesterday before Monday's recess, the Democratic strategy remained unclear.

The energy bill under consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, for example, omitted any mention of vehicle fuel efficiency standards or mandates for massive biofuels production, major elements of the Senate bill adopted last week. That will make negotiating a final bill with the Senate tricky.

Furthermore, Democratic leaders said yesterday that they would push for a climate change bill later this year, raising further uncertainty about what items would be added to an energy bill now and which ones might be left for the climate change bill.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (Mich.) yesterday urged lawmakers to leave tough issues -- such as motor vehicle fuel economy, coal-to-liquids incentives and a renewable portfolio standard -- out of the current bill. "These issues will be addressed in the fall in the context of comprehensive climate change legislation," he said. He pledged to set goals later for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 60 to 80 percent by 2050.


Euro backdown on GM

The European commission is about to give the go-ahead to the first commercially grown genetically modified crops since a public outcry nine years ago halted their cultivation, writes Jonathan Leake. The commission has begun the final approval stages for at least four applications by biotech companies to let farmers grow GM potatoes and maize in British and European fields. The first crop is expected to be given the go-ahead by the end of this month. “We hope that it will have been approved . . . so that it will be ready for planting next year,” said a spokesman for BASF, the German company that created the potato.

Such a move could reignite the pan-European backlash against GM crops of the late 1990s, which forced the European Union to impose an effective moratorium on the crops in 1998. Since then no crops have been approved for cultivation, although permission has been given to import some varieties for animal feed. However, it has now emerged that dossiers on another three crops, all modified forms of maize, are being prepared by the commission, which will recommend they be approved for cultivation. They could be given the green light in time for next year’s planting season. Applications for other crops, including rapeseed, are in the pipeline.

The acceleration of the process for approving GM crops follows mounting pressure from the American government. It has accused the EU of blocking free trade and threatened to take Europe to the World Trade Organisation. A commission spokesman said: “All the crops being recommended for approval have been scientifically assessed by the European Food Safety Authority. If the science supports the application we have no grounds for rejecting it.”

The GM potato produced by BASF has novel mixtures of starch and would be grown purely for industrial uses such as making paper, not human consumption. Most of the other GM crops under consideration by the commission are, however, designed for food or animal feed and are not very different to those that sparked the original consumer backlash. ["Consumer" backlash? Greenie backlash would be more like it]



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Worms are killing the planet, says top researcher

Cows and sheep have been in the gun for some time. Now it's worms. Is any life any good? We have been told that trees give off lots of methane so they're no good either. I guess Greenies must be necrophilic (lovers of death). They certainly want to reduce the population of people drastically, so it fits

Worm composting could be doing more harm than good to the environment, a leading researcher claimed today. Jim Frederickson, senior research fellow at the Open Universities faculty of technology [Britain], said: "Worms produce a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Recent research done by German scientists has found that worms produced a third of nitrous oxide gases when used for composting." The `wiggly ones' naturally produce nitrous oxide gases when they are put into the process of composting.

Worms can be used for home grown composting or commercial composting and are typically red worms. They are used to recycle food scraps and other organic material into valuable soil worm compost, otherwise known as vermicompost. This compost can then be used to grow plants.

"We have concentrated on getting waste out of landfill and into worm composting systems but they can actually produce more greenhouse gases than landfill sites produce," Frederickson said. Under the Waste Strategy the Government has strongly supported the composting of waste in efforts to reduce the landfilling of biodegradable waste. This includes encouraging householders to invest in home composting systems. The Government wishes to increase the amount of waste which is composted to 40% by 2010 and 45% by 2015.

Although Frederickson says that worm composting is a positive thing, he claims that not enough research has been done on worms releasing polluting gases.

Frederickson said: "Everybody loves them because they think they can do no harm but they contribute to global warming. People are looking into alternative waste treatments but we have to make sure that we are not jumping from the frying pan into the fire. "We need to investigate all alternative systems for greenhouse potential. "The emissions that come from these worms can actually be 290 times more potent than carbon dioxide and 20 times more potent than methane. In all environmental systems you get good points and bad points."


The joyless Greenies

Tim Blair follows the Global Warming environmentalist scene, featuring researchers who descend on private homes with carbon-measuring equipment and an attendant TV crew to publicly "shame" their occupants into greater Greenness.

Each week they don their orange monogrammed shirts to cordon off the toxic home of an Australian family. They arrive with energy-auditing gadgetry, sobering statistics and lips and eyebrows curled in withering admonishment. They rate these people, shame them, then challenge them to do better.

"One of the things I loved was when you tell them the audit result," says Carbon Constable Fitzgerald, whose daytime cover is head of the science department at Geelong's Oberon High School. "Most of them were expecting to come off pretty well but they were all genuinely, absolutely floored. They can't believe it. It's a great moment."

Tim Blair's only regret is that they don't audit the energy consumption and travel logistics of the TV crews they bring with them. Mine is why they don't get a life. Don't these guys have anything better to do than spend their days telling other people how to live?

But what would be the fun in in minding your own business? The fun is in minding others. What all the earthly paradises promised by social re-engineering projects have in common is not that they are free from unpleasantness and want; Stalin offered a vision of barracks life, cafeteria food and compulsory day-care and people were willing to kill for it; modern environmentalists present one of five-minute showers, subsistance living and rationed toilet paper and they are willing to descend on your home in order to achieve it. They are bleak, unpleasant paradises. The attraction of these earthly utopias is not pleasance but freedom from doubt. Entry into a place where all the answers are supplied and there are no more dilemmas. What is required of that Brave New World above all is the final banishment of Hamlet's soliloquy. The attraction of Communism, a world ruled by the Greens or lashed under the chains of Sharia Law is they leave no room for doubt. They offer a place where every aspect of life will be regulated, our carbon footprints measured at intervals, our piety audited periodically and we shall be rid at last of our greatest burden -- freedom and uncertainty.

For that reason people like the "environmentalists" that Tim Blair describes derive satisifaction from forcing people into line. It is the Global Warming line in this instance, but any line would have done. Any port which will shelter them against the storm of doubt. The very same people who were yesterday's Communists are today's environmentalists and tomorrow's Muslim converts. It's really all the same religion to them. Marx was wrong when he said the whole point of history was not to understand but to change it; for the true believer the whole point of history is simply to find a way to end it.

The saddest aspect of these endeavor is that it blinds its adherents to the fecundity of creation; to the newness of each sunset; the uniqueness in its child's smile; to the potential for discovery; to the possibility that the winds of the world change not by our feeble edicts, but because Spirit bloweth. Free and ever-new.



Juergen Hambrecht is CEO of the largest chemical company in the world, BASF. SPIEGEL spoke with him about German environmental policy, what to do about global warming, and how the 12th century wasn't all that bad.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Hambrecht, to reduce the effects of climate change Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel is calling for the "fundamental transformation of industrial society." Have you already embarked on this transformation at BASF, the world's largest chemical corporation?

Hambrecht: A corporation that competes internationally must change constantly, but in three dimensions, only one of which is environmental protection. Economic efficiency and social sustainability are also part of the mix. After all, I am responsible for 95,000 employees and their families.

SPIEGEL: There are, of course, conflicts among these three dimensions. Hambrecht: Yes, but one thing is clear: I cannot reach the other objectives without economic success.

SPIEGEL: Is Gabriel's demand too one-sided, in your opinion?

Hambrecht: Mr. Gabriel is like a whirlwind. He chases the cloud across the land, but he doesn't really care where the wind is coming from, just that it blows strongly. What Mr. Gabriel is asking for is a pipe dream. I would like to know whether he even supports Germany as a site for industrial production. What does he want? The transformation of industry into a service economy? Then he should say so.

SPIEGEL: Will you give voice to this criticism at the next energy summit on July 3, when you and other corporate leaders will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other government officials?

Hambrecht: Of course. We cannot continue along the current trajectory. Everything is currently determined by environmental policy, but an energy policy worth its salt doesn't exist. Where do we stand on nuclear power? Will coal have a future in Germany? These are questions we must urgently discuss. Instead, politicians are constantly setting new, unrealistic goals.


NBC Universal Launches Global Warming Campaign

Your unbiased and objective media at work

Forgive my tardiness in reporting this gem but needless to say I'm not on any NBC Universal's publicists speed dial so I had to stumble on upon this all by myself. When I found this thing I had to use all the restraint I could muster to keep from laughing out loud too much.

Back on May 24, 2007 NBC Universal announced a global warming publicity campaign they call "Get On Board." NBC bills this as "a comprehensive, company-wide program to improve the environmental impact of its operations by reducing greenhouse gases, raising awareness about green issues, and stimulating change in the media and entertainment industry."

Wow, no doubt these guys are in the vanguard - of propaganda that is. Led by their fearless leader, Jeff Zucker, President and CEO, NBCU claims this is all part of a massive campaign being spear headed by parent company General Electric's "ecomagination" initiative. And get this they claim this an extension of the "Get On Board" campaign launched in April to hype this summer's debut of Evan Almighty, NBC Universal's first movie to "zero out" its carbon emissions. Imagine that, a trip to movies without all the guilt.

They really threw everything in here but the kitchen sink. Highlights of "Get On Board" include:

"--Lower emissions and improved energy efficiency across all operations, reducing GHG emissions at least 3% by 2012." 3% now that'll stop global warming for sure!

"--Commitment to environmentally conscious film and TV production" This may well constitute cruelty as defined by the Supreme Court, "an act that shocks the conscience"

"--Formation of a dedicated panel on environmental initiatives, the NBCU Green Council, led by Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick." Can I join the Green Council, can I?

"-Multifaceted employee education programs"

Trumpeting this bold new step NBC says with the launch of "Get On Board," they are committed to being one of the most environmentally conscious companies in the industry, with environmentally advanced productions, content that educates and informs, internal energy efficiency, and green incentives for employees and their communities.

Waxing wisely CEO talk, Jeff Zucker said, "Now is the time for us not just to think green but to act green, we must run our businesses in a way that respects and protects our most valuable resource, the environment. This comprehensive program is a first series of steps that we hope will set a new course for the entire industry." These must be the kind of platitudes they teach you at Harvard.

Evidently they used the production of their new movie Evan Almighty as the archetype. They say that this is the first effort to significantly reduce the environmental impact of a major motion picture. They also say this is "America's number one movie" and describe this comedy remake of the biblical account of the great flood when Noah captained the ark as a "boatload of fun." Sounds like a boatload of b.s. to me.

Oh I get it floods, global warming yes, that's what Al Gore's been babbling about. Like zealot converts, they went to great lengths to feel "green" on this undertaking. Planting more than 2,000 trees to "zero out" the carbon emissions generated by the production of the movie; crew members were given bicycles to reduce car usage; and recycling galore. paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. Get this, yes even their own website! Hallelujah! I wonder how they're going to handle the delicate matter of the private jet charters demanded these days by any moviestar who's anybody?

There's more. Its just a never ending propaganda fest at NBC.

"--NBC News has appointed Anne Thompson as Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent, covering issues such as alternative fuels, global warming, land usage and new technologies for all NBC News broadcasts including "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" and "Today," as well as on MSNBC and online at www.msnbc.com." We haven't seen this kind of cult worship since Jim Jones went to Guyana.

Everybody is gettin' in on the act.

"--All DVDs distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures International Entertainment will carry messaging about going green." Is this like those subliminal messages they used to flash on the screen to get movie goers to buy coke and popcorn?

And how can they leave out that multi-million dollar in-kind contribution to Al Gore.

"--A "Live Earth" concert will be broadcast across NBC Universal's television networks and on other platforms around the globe on 7.7.07, featuring performances by the world's top musicians and inspiring individuals, corporations, and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis." Everywhere but an NBC press release, this is called "issue advocacy." Clearly, NBC is actively engaged in influencing legislation.

This is truly amazing. Before the internet this press release would be distributed to 50 or 100 reporters tops. In the bad old days, the actual press release would never see the light of day. The reporters would take it reword it a little and disseminate it through the AP and a couple of large newspapers. Rip and read they called it. Now the veil has been ripped off and people like me cut them to ribbons



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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


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