Saturday, September 30, 2006


An email to Benny Peiser from Will Alexander ( WJR Alexander is Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering University of Pretoria, South Africa

I have watched recent developments with increasing alarm. What I completely fail to understand is the fundamental lack of knowledge of the most basic issue of climate change science - the influence of solar activity on global climate. Why do climate change scientists continue to ignore the wealth of literature stretching back for more than 100 years, relating to the multiyear anomalies in the hydrometeorological data and their linkage with solar activity? The following is a short memorandum on the subject. There are no abstract theories or hypotheses so it should not be too difficult for others to check its validity.


The synchronous linkage between sunspot activity, floods, droughts and surface temperature has been recorded and published for more than 100 years in South Africa and elsewhere. My detailed analyses of a very large and comprehensive hydrometeorological database showed a statistically significant (95%) 21-year periodicity in the South African data during the past century. I found no statistically significant 11-year periodicity. I also found that the characteristics of the hydrometeorological data differed during the alternating 11 and 10-year periods that made up the 21-year periodicity. Other South African scientists have noted and published similar anomalies in the data.

I used the regular, periodic changes to develop a successful climate prediction model published in 1995 and updated in 2005. Although not part of the model, I demonstrated an unambiguous synchronous linkage with sunspot activity. This information was also published.

For the past four years F Bailey from the UK and I have carried out independent studies. I studied the hydrometeorological data and he studied solar activity. We made contact earlier this year and found a clear and unambiguous causal linkage between solar activity and the hydrometeorological responses.


The solar system consists of the sun and the orbiting bodies, of which the four major planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are the most important. The solar system has a centre of mass, (SSCM). All bodies in the solar system, including the sun, orbit around the SSCM. The SSCM has a constant velocity through galactic space. At times the four major planets are grouped together in their orbits and at other times they are scattered around the SSCM. When they are grouped together, their combined effect causes the sun to follow a weighted reciprocal path around the SSCM. The distance between the sun and the SSCM therefore varies. This creates a wobble in the sun's trajectory through space.

Our recent analyses demonstrate the following. The alternating grouping and dispersion of the four major planets occurs at regular intervals of about 21 years. This is synchronous with the 21-year periodicity in the hydrometeorological data.

During this period the solar system performs approximately one and three quarter rotations through galactic space. Starting with the sun's position trailing that of the SSCM, the sun accelerates to take up a balancing position ahead of the SSCM. This takes place during the first rotation of the solar system. The duration is typically 11 years. The sun continues rotating about the SSCM but its galactic velocity decelerates as it returns to the trailing position. The duration of this rotation is typically about 10 years. The 21-year solar cycle is then repeated.

Both the acceleration and deceleration processes result in an increase in sunspot numbers while the intervening sunspot minima occur when the sun is in the trailing and leading positions. The mechanism that produces the sunspots is unknown but several theories exist. This synchronous occurrence of sunspot activity with the sun's acceleration and deceleration as the solar system moves through galactic space is beyond doubt.


A consequence of the wobble in the sun's trajectory through galactic space is the ever-changing chord distance between the sun and earth. This in turn results in corresponding changes in the rate of solar energy received on earth. These changes are amenable to mathematical calculation. Our analyses show that the changes in the receipt of solar energy are appreciably greater than those generally quoted in the climate change literature.


The following example should help with the visualisation of the situation. Consider a ceiling fan mounted on the back of an open truck and tilted at a 45 degree upward angle facing the front of the vehicle. A marble is attached to the tip of one of the blades. The truck moves at a constant speed and the fan rotates at a constant speed. However, the road speed of the marble changes. At the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions of the marble its road speed is the same as the truck speed. At the 3 o'clock position the marble is moving forward and its road speed is accelerating. Conversely, at the 9 o'clock position the marble is moving backwards and its road speed is decelerating.

The same happens as the sun orbits around the SSCM. It is the galactic velocity that accelerates and decelerates. This results in increases in sunspot activity. The sunspot minima occur when the sun's galactic velocity equals that of the SSCM. This movement is amenable to mathematical calculation. Confirmation is the synchronous behaviour of multiyear changes in rainfall, river flow and flood peak maxima.


The two main outstanding issues are the physical mechanism that causes sunspot production resulting from the changes in the sun's galactic velocity, and the mechanism that links these changes with global climate. These do not negate the underlying processes. Our findings open a whole new field of research related to present and past climatic processes.


Our findings are based on readily available data published by the responsible national authorities. Our calculations are reproducible by anybody with sufficient knowledge in these fields. Despite a diligent search I was unable to detect any sustained changes in the hydrometeorological data that could be attributed to climate change, against the background of the statistically significant changes associated with solar activity.

Neither of us has received any financial or other support from any source. Our sole motivations were the advancement of science.


(From Energy Policy. Volume 34, Issue 17 , November 2006, Pages 2615-2629. The Doi (permanent) address for the full article excerpted below is here)

Policy-making under uncertainty: Commentary upon the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

By: Laura N. Haar and Lawrence Haar


The authors undertake a critical assessment of the intellectual foundations supporting the new European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS, or the Scheme), the cornerstone of polices designed to achieve the targets of the Kyoto Agreement of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). Despite its considerable scope, the authors found that officially sponsored research and academic efforts in support of ETS were surprisingly limited. Importantly, in advance of implementation, a definitive consensus on both the potential economic impact and the usefulness of the Scheme in reducing the GHG emissions had not been reached. Reviewing the literature, the authors encountered varying and, at times, conflicting viewpoints, officially and in academic research, on the potential economic impact of the Scheme. These included attempts to quantify its benefits and costs, raising concern that this huge and encompassing multi-national policy initiative may have been launched with inadequate intellectual ground-work. According to the authors consistency between the ETS and other EU policies, such as those relating to energy, should have been a key concern, but such aspects have received only minimal attention in both official and academic research. The European Commission has promoted open and competitive markets for gas and power across member states, but the record in achieving such conditions is relatively poor and the authors argue that, as a result, the environmental objectives of the EU Scheme may not be thwarted. In addition, continuing disagreement over the Kyoto Agreement itself-especially with regard to its potential costs and benefits-further frustrates efforts to rigorously justify a policy in support of reducing GHG emissions. The authors argue that, given the scope of the EU Scheme, the paucity of research evidencing that it is likely to succeed in reducing GHG emissions in the form of CO2 is surprising and should be of concern to those affected by it along with environmental campaigners, many of whom are enthusiastic supporters.

1. Introduction

In January 2005 began one of the most ambitious multi-national policy programmes in history, known as the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (or ETS). The ETS is the vanguard for achieving compliance with the Kyoto Agreement on greenhouse gases (GHG) and involves 25 nations acting in a coordinated manner with regard to hydrocarbon emissions arising from combustion and chemical processes from over 9000 installations across the EU. The Scheme involves the allocation and trading of CO2 allowances to energy-using installations across Europe and has been conceived as a means of internalising the external social costs arising from CO2 emissions. Overcoming the disadvantages of quota constraints or a per unit tax on carbon emitted, the EU ETS is designed to minimise the overall cost of reducing GHG emissions by recognising that abatement costs are not uniform and that, through trading of allowances, the compliance costs may be reduced.1

Reflecting the scope and magnitude of the EU Scheme, considerable debate has arisen over its direct impact upon regulated utilities and indirect impact upon consumers and users of energy. Questions such as the following have been raised: Will the Scheme reduce GHG emissions? Will the Scheme promote energy efficiency on the part of energy-intensive sectors? Will the costs of compliance under the Scheme, as reflected in the price of CO2 allowances, be sufficient to promote energy conservation and reduce reliance upon carbon-based technologies? Will the Scheme encourage power generators in the immediate term to alter running regimes and the scheduling of plant merit order towards less carbon-intensive energy sources (and, in the longer term, away from carbon-based technologies) such as renewables? How will the burden of compliance under the Scheme rest between consumers and businesses? Will switching away from coal in favour of natural gas create upward pressure on hydrocarbon prices? Will the international competitiveness of energy-intensive sectors, e.g. bulk chemicals or aluminium sheet, be adversely affected? Will there be a long-term macro-economic impact occurring from transition and structural readjustment costs under the Scheme? These and many other questions in relation to the EU ETS are frequently mentioned in recent business and financial press and various policy forums.2

In the present research, as we examine the intellectual background for the EU ETS, we point out three main concerns. Firstly that, given the scope of the Scheme, it is somewhat surprising that research, both academic and official, into the potential impact has not been exhaustive. To that effect, in Section 2.1, we survey existing efforts and the extent to which a received view has emerged. We also analyse the context in which such research has been undertaken and examine whether its remit was appropriate and its objectives sufficiently ambitious. Secondly, the authors maintain that existing research has overlooked some critical aspects for the Scheme to function properly. Therefore, turning to the gaps in existing research, in Section 2.2, we look at the inter-action between the ETS and present EU energy policy, examining whether the two areas are consistent and compatible with one another. This subject raises a host of new questions on how the structure and behaviour of energy markets relates to the pursuit of environmental policies, such as the reduction of GHG through the EU Emissions Scheme. Thirdly, in Section 2.3, we focus upon the challenges of applying cost-benefit analysis to the ETS within the context of the Kyoto Agreement. We ask to what extent objective quantification of such benefits and costs are possible, and how helpful they might be in validating the EU Scheme. In Section 3, through exploring the intellectual foundations upon which the EU Scheme currently stands, we will examine the extent to which this ambitious policy is intellectually well-supported and the grounds for believing that it will achieve its objectives of reducing GHG emissions.


3. Conclusions

Summarising the above observations and remarks together, several themes may be distilled. Firstly, that the market structure and behaviour required for any such ETS to function as designed may demand a competitive market structure which is not what we have in place nor are likely to have in the future. Research therefore needs to be undertaken into the likely impact of the Scheme given the existing and future energy market structure and conduct in the EU, and, conversely, into how we can achieve environmental objectives given the conditions in place. Both the UK and European energy policy has not been successful in fostering an open and competitive, pan-European market in power and gas and, hence, there is a return to administered prices. The market structure throughout Europe today is highly vertically integrated with several regional cartels. Power, as a traded market on various exchanges, functions largely as day-ahead and within-day balancing and shaping market for power supply, with very limited liquidity along the forward curve. As such it reduces the scope for pure financial participants, critical to a liquid market for power capable of providing investment signals. Recognising such market structure and the potential to exercise market power, the probability remains that the cost of CO2 emissions allowances, as an output tax, will, in varying degrees and depending upon local conditions, be passed forward to industry, businesses and consumers. In such local conditions, the willingness of local regulators to selectively modify the behaviour, through price administration, of power generators figures strongly. In light of the above, the possibility of the second outcome-i.e. combining higher power prices to consumers and businesses but without any measurable benefit in reducing GHG emissions-is a distinct possibility and should be of major worry to environmental advocates.40 Creating simulations, as performed by various consulting organisations and as sponsored by various official organisations, while intellectually interesting, does not answer the questions necessary to rigorously complete the assessment of regulatory impact, address the broader economic impact concerns, and establish if the Scheme will help in reducing atmospheric GHG. Judgemental assumptions on the degree of pass-forward costs, as have been undertaken by consultants and as the DTI has entertained, are only informed opinions. The academic literature, meanwhile, though intriguing, has yet not evolved a received consensus on methods, model specifications and assumptions to be usable for applied policy analysis and research.

Turning to how we justify policy, we have highlighted briefly some of the varied opinions on the benefits of avoiding global warming and GHG emissions and the costs of implementing the Scheme. The absence of consensus in of itself points to the intellectually unstable grounds on which the EU Scheme in service to Kyoto has been pursued: an auto-de-fe. Although taking the lead on GHG emissions as the EU has done may encourage others to join, it is equally probable that almost half the world, driven by growing populations and committed to economic development, will not. The RIA undertaken by the UK Government, as supported by the efforts of consultants, along with other published research sponsored by the EU Commission and other official bodies, does not begin to come to grips with the huge uncertainties of the EU ETS, of whether it is quantitatively justified from a cost and benefits perspective and whether, given the state of energy markets and the behaviour of other countries outside the EU, has any hope of promoting the objectives of the Kyoto Agreement. In sum, we have a massive policy initiative - directly regulating over nine thousand of energy-using installations across the EU and, indirectly, millions of businesses and hundreds of millions of consumers - standing upon weak intellectual foundations. This should be of fundamental concern to individuals and to organisations committed to controlling the growth in GHG. Pursuing and supporting the EU Scheme under circumstances of manifest uncertainty with regard to its success, would seem difficult to defend.

Note: An "auto da fe" ("act of faith") was what the Spanish Inquisition called the burning of heretics. In using the term above, the authors are saying that the EU emissions scheme is a fanatical and destructive act motivated solely by religion. That rather defames the Inquisition. The Inquisition proceeded in a more judicial manner than the prophets of global warming do.

Unprecedented global warming?

One of the most contentious issues of the day is global warming. Those who openly discuss the subject fall into one of two camps. First, there are the environmental alarmists who only see the world in terms of urban sprawl, deforestation, and pollution. For this group, global warming provides the much-needed justification to curtail, or reverse, our current level of earth-unfriendly economic activity. The other group sees no evidence of harmful global warming. They view the draconian anti-business remedies as both unjustified and misguided.

Given the high stakes (from both a monetary and an emotional perspective), it should come as no surprise that there is a temptation for the first group to play fast and loose with the available scientific data. Findings that support global warming are highlighted, and those that do not are downplayed, omitted, or politicized. Global-warming computer models are frequently little more than high-tech "crystal balls." With the multitude of variables and assumptions that come into play, these computer models become highly suspect. In deciding which model to use, the critical question becomes: "How scary do you want the future to be?"

Ground zero in the global warming debate is the 1997 Kyoto Protocol Agreement. This treaty, yet to be ratified by the United States, calls for a reduction in greenhouse gases and fossil-fuel emissions to a level 5 to 7 percent below the 1990-benchmark year by 2012.1 The estimated compliance cost for the United States will be $300 billion a year.2 But the global solidarity to end global warming had a temporary setback last November at The Hague. Participating countries were unable to work out the details.

The Kyoto Protocol seems to be built on the following two assumptions: First, global warming is a function of human activity (with the biggest villains being automobiles, factories, and power plants), and second, we are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of global warming. However, a review of the earth's most recent "geological history" brings into question both assumptions and puts the entire subject in a different light.

For over a million years, the earth has undergone a succession of glacial and interglacial periods. Each glacial period lasted anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 years. In the most recent one, ice covered all of what is now Canada and the northern third of the United States.3 To date, each glacial period has been followed by a very warm, yet much shorter, interglacial period of 10,000 to 30,000 years. In some of these interglacial periods, ice covered less area than today.

The last ice age ended approximately 10,000 years ago. This was followed by a period of significant global warming that lasted -5,000 years. The average temperature in this time frame was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than we find today. This caused the sea level to rise over 100 feet. The warmer climate also made it possible for broad-leafed forests to grow in latitudes much farther north than they do currently. In the most recent 5,000-year period, there have been numerous periods of distinct global warming and global cooling.4 However, the overall long-term climatic trend indicates that the earth has been getting cooler, not warmer.

Agriculture Flourishes

There was a very pronounced medieval warm period from 700 AD to 1400 AD. Indirect evidence suggests that the average temperature was as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than today. In Europe, agriculture flourished at latitudes farther north and at higher elevations than today. Vineyards, which require sunny and warm conditions, existed in areas 300 miles north of the present limits. The cultivation of grapes for wine-making was extensive throughout the southern portions of England from about 1100 to around 1300. The amount of English wine produced was enough to provide significant competition with the French. As further evidence of a much warmer climate, the tree line in the Alps was 300 meters higher than we find today.5

This warm period made it possible for the Vikings to establish colonies in Greenland and Iceland. Greenland, which could honestly be called a green land, was settled near the end of the tenth century. The colony flourished with between 5,000 and 6,000 residents.6 Sheep and dairy cattle were able to graze in areas that are today-icebound.7

By about 1400 the climate had cooled to temperatures that approximate what we see today. However, evidence from a number of sources-glacial sediments, tree rings, and written records-show that from the beginning of the fifteenth century until the mid-nineteenth century major cooling continued to take place in most parts of the world. This period came to be known as the "Little Ice Age." Glaciers around the globe in Europe, New Zealand, North America, and Greenland advanced and have only recently started to recede. The freezing of the Baltic Sea and the Thames River in England became a regular occurrence. London had its first "Frost Fair" on the river in 1607. This winter festival was an annual event until it was discontinued in the 1800s with the return of warmer winters.

The settlements in Iceland and Greenland were especially hard hit by this period of global cooling. Iceland lost half its population. In Greenland, farms were abandoned as the permafrost level rose and glaciers advanced. We do not know exactly how the Greenland colonies came to an end because growing sea ice cut off all contact with the outside world in 1410.

More Global Warming

During the last 150 years there has been another fairly sustained period of global warming amounting to an increase of about 0.7 degree Celsius. In spite of rhetoric to the contrary, the majority of this warming took place naturally before 1940. This warming trend was interrupted by a 35-year cooling period from 1940 to 1975. This caused many climatologists to actually predict that we were entering another ice age.8 At that time the public was obsessed with "global cooling." Today, our obsession is "global warming."

This review of the post-ice-age epoch shows that global warming is, in reality, both common and natural. In fact, for most of this period, the temperatures were much warmer than we see today. While our current level of industrial activity probably contributes to global warming to some degree, the increases that we have seen in the last 25 years are by no means unprecedented.

After viewing global warming from this alternative perspective, it is hard to justify the strong medicine prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol. Ironically, given the fact that the long-term climatic trend suggests global cooling, rather than global warming, our industrial/economic activity may actually serve to impede the natural cooling process. Under these circumstances, the environmental alarmists may want to adopt a new warning label: Enjoy the warm weather, while it lasts!



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 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Tunguska Event Responsible For Warming Climate?

So an eminent Russian scientist says. Russians tend to be rather devoted to their mysterious Tunguska event but it may nonetheless have some explanatory role

It's enough to give you a migraine, trying to reconcile all the possible factors that might contribute to climate change. But what if they're all inconsequential, and there's only a single event causing the warming trend? The 1908 Tunguska meteor's explosion over Siberia is what one Russian scientist believes could be behind current global temperature rises. His paper on the subject, which claims that climate change is not the result of man-made greenhouse gases at all, is currently being considered for publication in the journal Science First Hand (published by the Russian Academy of Sciences).

Detailing his theory, Vladimir Shaidurov, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explains how changes in the amount of ice crystals at high altitude could damage the layer of clouds found in the mesosphere that influence the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface. Vladimir posits that the Tunguska event early last century could have driven just such a process.

Current global warming models show that the rise in carbon dioxide emissions neatly coincides with the onset of the industrial revolution, but Shaidurov's own analysis of yearly mean temperature changes over 140 years indicate that there was actually a slight cooling in temperature up until the early twentieth century. Shaidurov believes that it was not the industrial revolution that caused the rise in temperature, but the catastrophe known as the Tunguska event, or Tungus meteorite.

The Tunguska event was a large meteor or asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere and exploded 8 km above the Tunguska River in Siberia. The cataclysm was calculated to have released energy equivalent to that of a 15 megaton nuclear explosion. It felled 60 million trees over an area covering 2000 square kilometers. There wasn't much in the way of any formal analysis done on the atmospheric effects of the explosion, presumably because it occurred in a remote part of Siberia in 1908. Despite this, crucial to Shaidurov's theory is his claim that the explosion would have caused: "considerable stirring of the high layers of atmosphere and changes in its structure," which he says could have been the catalyst for the rise in global temperatures.

Shaidurov's theory is supported by other studies on Earth impacts and celestial debris that is scattered about at high altitude. Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Western Ontario, Aerospace Corporation, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories have already laid their cards on the table and declared in a paper published in Nature that dust from asteroids entering the Earth's atmosphere has a bigger effect on weather than once thought. "Our observations suggest that [meteors exploding] in Earth's atmosphere could play a more important role in climate than previously recognized," the researchers write. These research teams urge that climate modelers should take such events into serious consideration, because dust from asteroids, meteors and the like regularly find their way into high altitude cloud. On one research field trip, Dee Pack, of Aerospace Corporation, watched as an: "asteroid deposited 1,000 metric tons in the stratosphere in a few seconds, a sizable perturbation," adding that meter-sized asteroids hit Earth 50-60 times every year. They suggest that asteroid dust could be modeled as the: "equivalent of volcanic eruptions of dust, with atmospheric deposition from above rather than below." This new information on micron-sized particles might "have much greater implications for extraterrestrial visitors like Tunguska," explains Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario.

Shaidurov explains that these disturbances can alter the delicate bands of clouds that regulate the amount of solar energy entering the Earth's atmosphere. Shaidurov says that it doesn't take much of a change in atmospheric levels of water - in the form of vapor and ice crystals - before it contributes to a significant change in the Earth's surface temperature. He also notes that the most potent greenhouse contributor is water, arguing that a variance in water levels has a far greater effect on temperatures than the greenhouse gases usually blamed for global warming. A rise in water vapor of just 1 percent can raise the global average temperature of Earth's surface more then 4 degrees Celsius.

It was Irish scientist John Tyndall who discovered the importance of water in regard to the Earth's climate 150 years ago, when he stated: "The strongest radiant heat absorber, is the most important gas controlling Earth's temperature. Without water vapor the Earth's surface would be held fast in the iron grip of frost." Tyndall's discovery shows that the system whereby heat reaches the Earth's surface and is then radiated back through a thin band of high altitude cloud is a delicate one.

Further supporting Shaidurov's hypothesis, Andrew E. Dessler of the Texas A & M University, writing in The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change, claims that: "Human activities do not control all greenhouse gases, as the most powerful greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor. Human activities have little direct control over its atmospheric abundance, which is controlled instead by the worldwide balance between evaporation from the oceans and precipitation."

Shaidurov believes that only something as destructive as the Tunguska event could have disturbed high altitude atmospheric water levels and destroyed noctilucent clouds in the mesosphere. The event also happens to coincide with the period when warming began rising steadily during the twentieth century.

With people becoming increasingly aware of the damage a massive Earth-bound asteroid could cause, Shaidurov's theory demonstrates how Earth impacts can have varying degrees of effect other than the impact itself; but with results just as devastating. Is it feasible, then, to argue that many of the significant climate fluctuations observed throughout Earth's history have been caused by asteroids, meteorites or comets entering the Earth's atmosphere or impacting the Earth? One of the most cogent explanations for the rise and fall of great civilizations is by Jared Diamond, who argues that a civilization eventually reaches a critical point where it declines and collapses as it extends itself beyond a sustainable level. But is it equally plausible that the resources these civilizations relied upon disappeared through significant climate change caused by the fallout of an Earth impact?

The Earth impact theory is a convenient way to explain why the simultaneous collapse of a number of powerful civilizations during the Bronze Age, for example, also coincided with the rise of cultures and societies elsewhere. In the past this was attributed to such things as war, famine and natural disasters, until researchers started bandying about ideas of Earth impacts being responsible for all of the above. One thing's for certain, an impact on a large enough scale could knock ecological systems around a lot, perhaps even enough to alter the balance of power and give rise to a whole new cultural dominance. This is nothing new, as there are numerous examples of major climate fluctuations throughout history, with some of them being significant enough to plausibly displace or wipeout once prosperous societies. Farming areas scattered about the Sahara and the Dead Sea eventually became deserts around 2350BC, as the terrible growth conditions reflected in tree rings show, while sediment samples taken from the rivers and lakes of Europe and Africa show a ruinous drop in water levels during the same period. These observations are not unlike the predicted changes that could occur in the near future. The latest scientific estimates predict, for example, that during this century and the next, rainforests will disappear, fertility in some regions will drop dramatically, sea levels will rise and some areas in cooler climes will be as hot as today's deserts.

So, are extraterrestrial bodies the cause of climate fluctuations on Earth, and if so, will we see an end to the current rise in temperatures as the effects of the Tunguska event recede; or are some of our cultures destined to suffer the same fate as civilizations before us? Shaidurov doesn't try to predict when the effects of the Tunguska catastrophe might abate, or even if levels will ever return to pre-Tunguska normalcy. The interesting thing to note here, if Shaidurov's theory proves correct, is that if current and past climate changes can be attributed to single isolated events; do our current scientific projections for a worsening of global warming really add up?



Over the past six months, landowners here have been clear-cutting thousands of trees to keep them from becoming homes for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The chain saws started in February, when the federal Fish and Wildlife Service put Boiling Spring Lakes on notice that rapid development threatened to squeeze out the woodpecker. The agency issued a map marking 15 active woodpecker "clusters," and announced it was working on a new one that could potentially designate whole neighborhoods of this town in southeastern North Carolina as protected habitat, subject to more-stringent building restrictions.

Hoping to beat the mapmakers, landowners swarmed City Hall to apply for lot-clearing permits. Treeless land, after all, would not need to be set aside for woodpeckers. Since February, the city has issued 368 logging permits, a vast majority without accompanying building permits. The results can be seen all over town. Along the roadsides, scattered brown bark is all that is left of pine stands. Mayor Joan Kinney has watched with dismay as waterfront lots across from her home on Big Lake have been stripped down to sandy wasteland. "It's ruined the beauty of our city," Ms. Kinney said. To stop the rash of cutting, city commissioners have proposed a one-year moratorium on lot-clearing permits.

The red-cockaded woodpecker was once abundant in the vast longleaf pine forests that stretched from New Jersey to Florida, but now numbers as few as 15,000. The bird is unusual among North American woodpeckers because it nests exclusively in living trees. In a quirk of history, human activity has made this town of about 4,100 almost irresistible to the bird. Long before there was a town, locals carved V-shaped notches in the pines, collecting the sap in buckets to make turpentine. These wounds allowed fungus to infiltrate the tree's core, making it easier for the woodpecker to excavate its nest hole and probe for the beetles, spiders and wood-boring insects it prefers. "And, voila! You have a perfect woodpecker habitat," said Dan Bell, project director for the Nature Conservancy in nearby Wilmington.

The woodpecker gouges a series of holes around the tree, creating "sap runs" to discourage the egg-gobbling black snake, the bird's chief enemy. Because it can take up to six years to excavate a single nest hole, the birds fiercely defend their territory, said Susan Miller, a biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service. "They're passed from generation to generation, because it's such a major investment in time to create one cavity," Ms. Miller said.

Like the woodpeckers, humans are also looking to defend their nest eggs. Bonner Stiller has been holding on to two wooded half-acre lakefront lots for 23 years. He stripped both lots of longleaf pines before the government could issue its new map. "They have finally developed a value," said Mr. Stiller, a Republican member of the state General Assembly. "And then to have that taken away from you?"

Landowners have overreacted, says Pete Benjamin, supervisor of the federal agency's Raleigh office. Having a woodpecker tree on a piece of property does not necessarily mean a house cannot be built there, Mr. Benjamin said. A landowner can even get permission to cut down a cavity tree, as long as an alternative habitat can be found. "For the most part, we've found ways to work with most folks," he said. [Pity if you are not "most folks"]


Inhofe Complains the Media Failed to Report Climate Change `Ketchup Money' Grant

Sen. James M. Inhofe took his ongoing battle with supporters of climate change legislation to the Senate floor Monday, where he accused NASA scientist James Hansen of being too close to the "left-wing" Heinz Foundation and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. In comments aimed at discrediting a recent CBS "60 Minutes" story on Hansen, Inhofe, who has called the threat of global warming a hoax, noted that Hansen had received a grant from the foundation and had endorsed Kerry's 2004 run for president. The foundation, Inhofe pointed out, is run by Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz.

The "60 Minutes" report, he complained, failed to mention the "ketchup money" and the "subsequent" endorsement. "Many in the media dwell on any [oil] industry support given to so-called climate skeptics. . . . The foundation's money originated from the Heinz family ketchup fortune. So it appears that the media make a distinction between oil money and ketchup money," said Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of Environment and Public Works. Hansen could not be reached for comment, and Kerry's office had no comment on Inhofe's floor statement.

More here

Excerpt from Senator Inhofe's Speech regarding James Hansen:

"On March 19th of this year "60 Minutes" profiled NASA scientist and alarmist James Hansen, who was once again making allegations of being censored by the Bush administration. In this segment, objectivity and balance were again tossed aside in favor of a one-sided glowing profile of Hansen. The `60 Minutes' segment made no mention of Hansen's partisan ties to former Democrat Vice President Al Gore or Hansen's receiving of a grant of a quarter of a million dollars from the left-wing Heinz Foundation run by Teresa Heinz Kerry. There was also no mention of Hansen's subsequent endorsement of her husband John Kerry for President in 2004.

Many in the media dwell on any industry support given to so-called climate skeptics, but the same media completely fail to note Hansen's huge grant from the left-wing Heinz Foundation. The foundation's money originated from the Heinz family ketchup fortune. So it appears that the media makes a distinction between oil money and ketchup money. "60 Minutes" also did not inform viewers that Hansen appeared to concede in a 2003 issue of Natural Science that the use of `extreme scenarios' to dramatize climate change "may have been appropriate at one time" to drive the public's attention to the issue.

Why would "60 Minutes" ignore the basic tenets of journalism, which call for objectivity and balance in sourcing, and do such one-sided segments? The answer was provided by correspondent Scott Pelley. Pelley told the CBS News website that he justified excluding scientists skeptical of global warming alarmism from his segments because he considers skeptics to be the equivalent of `Holocaust deniers.'"

For full Senator Inhofe speech - Click Here


The energy output from the Sun has increased significantly during the 20th century, according to a new study

Many studies have attempted to determine whether there is an upward trend in the average magnitude of sunspots and solar flares over time, but few firm conclusions have been reached. Now, an international team of researchers led by Ilya Usoskin of the Sodankyl Geophysical Observatory at the University of Oulu, Finland, may have the answer. They examined meteorites that had fallen to Earth over the past 240 years. By analyzing the amount of titanium 44, a radioactive isotope, the team found a significant increase in the Sun's radioactive output during the 20th century. Over the past few decades, however, they found the solar activity has stabilized at this higher-than-historic level.

Prior research relied on measurements of certain radioactive elements within tree rings and in the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, which can be altered by terrestrial processes, not just by solar activity. The isotope measured in the new study is not affected by conditions on Earth. The results, detailed in this week's issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters, "confirm that there was indeed an increase in solar activity over the last 100 years or so," Usoskin told

The average global temperature at Earth's surface has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1880. Some scientists debate whether the increase is part of a natural climate cycle or the result of greenhouse gases produced by cars and industrial processes. The Sun's impact on climate has only recently been investigated. Recent studies show that an increase in solar output can cause short-term changes in Earth's climate, but there is no firm evidence linking solar activity with long-term climate effects.

The rise in solar activity at the beginning of the last century through the 1950s or so matches with the increase in global temperatures, Usoskin said. But the link doesn't hold up from about the 1970s to present. "During the last few decades, the solar activity is not increasing. It has stabilized at a high level, but the Earth's climate still shows a tendency toward increasing temperatures," Usoskin explained. He suspects even if there were a link between the Sun's activity and global climate, other factors must have dominated during the last few decades, including the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere., 26 September 2006


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 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Even the L.A. Times does not like the California car-maker prosecutions

Editorial below:

The charitable spin on Bill Lockyer's lawsuit against major auto manufacturers is that it's a politically inspired, headline-grabbing stunt by a state attorney general running for state treasurer. The alternative - that he might actually believe this suit has legal merit - may be more frightening.

Lockyer's suit against the Big Six auto companies alleges that because vehicle exhaust contributes to global warming, the companies should be held financially liable for everything from wildfires to a bad ski season.

The suit is the latest salvo fired in the struggle between the state and the auto industry, which has separately sued the state over its attempts to curb global warming. But California shouldn't be in the business of filing meritless suits to gain leverage in other cases.

For Lockyer, this is hardly a first. He joined several other states two years ago to file an almost identical lawsuit over the emission of greenhouse gases by power companies. That suit was rejected by the courts; the states are appealing. The judge zeroed in neatly on the problem at hand: Fighting global warming is a complex regulatory job that belongs to the legislative and executive branches. Once laws are in place, companies that break those laws should be made to pay. But holding law-abiding companies liable for the government's past failures is another matter.

It's true that Congress and the Bush administration have irresponsibly shirked their responsibility on this matter, and a separate, legitimate lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court brought by California and several other states is seeking to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The federal government's lack of action was also a major factor in the Legislature's recent passage of AB 32, which sets the stage for reducing greenhouse gases 25% by 2020. These responses to federal inaction are appropriate; frivolous, extortion-style lawsuits against car makers are not. Lockyer's new lawsuit against auto makers is akin to suing fishermen for depleting the ocean, even when they stick scrupulously to fishing quotas.

Lockyer contends that vehicle emissions - even legal emissions - are an illegal public nuisance partly responsible for a lower snowpack, wildfires and a host of other ills, current and potential. But liability here is a dicey thing to prove. Studies link warming to worsening Western drought, but that says little about any individual fire. If an arsonist sets a match to dry brush, who is at fault, the criminal or the Camry?

Global warming is, well, global. If the ocean level rises or trees die in the forest, how much of the responsibility belongs to a car sold in the U.S. and how much to the dirty Chinese coal plant or deforestation in South America? Presumably, the driver of a Hummer is more liable than the driver of an electric vehicle - as long as the battery isn't recharged using energy produced by a polluting power plant.

Lockyer is right about the threat posed by climate change and our society's responsibility to stem the trend. But in this case, he has mounted a silly legal battle that trivializes a serious problem.


Global warming: time for a heated debate

Al Gore's dogmatic documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" embodies the worst possible response to climate change.

In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore presents himself as prophet rather than politician. The former American vice-president uses the documentary to preach what he believes is the only legitimate view on climate change. He implies that anyone who deviates from The Truth According to Gore is – literally – corrupt, insane or possibly hates their children.

Gore’s gospel on global warming rests on two related key claims. On the science he says the debate about humanity’s impact on the climate is over: ‘The scientific consensus is that we are causing global warming.’ To the extent there are any heretics, he argues that they are either the oil industry’s paid lackeys or its stooges in the Bush administration.

His second claim is that climate change is a moral rather than a political issue. By this he means that there is no room for debate about solutions to the problem. The only appropriate measures involve curbing emissions of greenhouse gases and reducing the human impact on the planet. The credits at the end of the film are interspersed with suggestions for human action, including driving less, recycling more and using less hot water. Those who want to know more are referred to The backing track to this peculiar ending is Melissa Etheridge’s ‘I need to wake up’.

The documentary is built around a slide show on climate change that Gore has given over a thousand times to audiences around the world. It includes images of lines on graphs rising precipitously, huge chunks of ice crashing off melting glaciers, drowning polar bears, and floods obliterating some of the world’s largest urban centres. There are also interludes on Gore’s life story, including his son being seriously injured in a car crash, his sister dying of lung cancer, and the failed presidential bid in 2000. The purpose of these biographical elements seems to be to show how The Truth was gradually revealed to Gore.

He certainly has no doubts about his own importance. The trailer for the documentary states: ‘If you love the planet, if you love your children, you have to see this film.’ Presumably those who fail to watch the movie are, at the very least, guilty of not loving their children. It does not specify what should be done to those who watch the film and disagree with it, but, given Gore’s intolerance to criticism, they must be risking eternal damnation.

Unfortunately for Gore there are good reasons to question the fundamental tenets of his faith. His account of the scientific consensus on climate change is willfully misleading. There is much about the science that is still debated and much that is simply not yet known. To the extent that there are problems caused by climate change there are other strategies to deal with it besides his favoured approach of mitigation.

Gore presents his arguments as thoroughly grounded in science. He quotes an extensive study of peer-reviewed journal articles on climate changes, which concluded that global warming is happening and humanity has played a role in creating it. In the film Gore refers to those who disagree with this view as ‘so-called sceptics’ – although if they are not genuine sceptics it is unclear what he is suggesting. In an interview in Metro, a free London newspaper, he went even further, actually questioning the sanity of those who take a different view: ‘Fifteen per cent of the population believe the Moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona and somewhat fewer still believe the Earth is flat. I think they all get together with the global warming deniers on a Saturday night and party.’

Yet the apparent scientific consensus behind Gore’s approach is based on a sneaky statistical sleight of hand. Although scientists generally agree that the Earth is warming, and humans have had an influence, there is a lot more to climate science than this insight.

Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, points out that some arguments have never been widely contested: the Earth’s average temperature has risen by about 0.6 degrees Celsius over the past century, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen substantially, and such carbon dioxide can act as a greenhouse gas. But many of the more specific points on climate change are still the subjects of debate, and many others are simply not yet understood. As Lindzen argues, we do not yet understand the natural variability of climate change so it is hard to properly assess the human contribution to warming. The Earth’s climate is an immensely complex system.

Gore takes a worst-case scenario on climate change – to support his argument that if we do not curb emissions immediately we will suffer a catastrophic crisis – and presents it as the scientific consensus. For example, Lindzen points out, in contradiction to Gore, that ‘the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940, that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average’. Many other of Gore’s specific claims on climate change are also contested.

But even if climate change is a serious threat to humanity, it does not follow that Gore’s approach is the only possible solution, let alone the best. On the negative side, curbing carbon emissions, sometimes referred to as mitigation, has substantial disadvantages. Since fossil fuels are still by far the cheapest and most widely available form of energy, cutting back on emissions is likely to have severe economic consequences. Over time it is likely this technology will improve and others will play a larger role, but until this happens curbing emissions could damage existing economic capacity. It is even more of a problem for developing countries, since it makes it harder for them to industrialise.

Gore caricatures such concerns in An Inconvenient Truth as a love of money. He shows a picture of gold bars and says there should be no choice between them and ‘the entire planet’. Members of the privileged elite such as Gore often seem to find it easy to decry affluence – he is the son of a senator, attended an elite private school and went on to Harvard. But for literally billions of people, economic growth is essential if they are to achieve a decent standard of living.

Fortunately, mitigation is not the only possible way of responding to climate change. Another possible response is adaptation. This can involve such measures as building modern flood defences, constructing new buildings away from areas at or below sea level, and developing new types of crops. Given that climate change is a relatively long-term process there are all sorts of measures that could be taken to adapt to its effects.

More ambitiously there is the possibility of geo-engineering. As Joe Kaplinsky has argued previously on spiked, weather modification was considered a possibility by many scientists in the years after the Second World War: ‘There have been a number of proposals put forward for climate engineering. The simplest idea is to inject dust into the upper atmosphere using artillery shells or aircraft. The dust would then scatter some of the sun’s rays back into space, cooling off the Earth. Another proposal is to add iron to the oceans, which would suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by encouraging algae to grow.’ Sadly, such proposals, let alone even more high technology ones, have generally not been pursued as a result of hostility by environmentalists. It is ironic that environmentalists, who claim to be concerned about the impact of climate change on humanity, stand in the way of such solutions.

Gore, unfortunately, is not a prophet in the wilderness. Many of the few remaining politicians and media outlets that once expressed scepticism about curbing carbon emissions – mainly conservatives – are joining the consensus. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s Republican governor, has come round to Gore’s way of thinking. California has become the first American state to legislate for cuts in greenhouse gas emission. In France, President Jacques Chirac is supporting a ‘solidarity tax’ to be levied on air travellers. And in Germany the conservatives and Greens have joined forces to run Frankfurt’s local government. In Britain, the new Conservative leader, David Cameron, has adopted the slogan ‘Vote Blue, Go Green’ and has visited the Arctic to see the impact of climate change. Even The Economist, which for a long time took a sceptical line on climate change, has modified its stance.

Now more than ever there is a need for a genuine debate on climate change. Climate scientists should be free to do research without interference or misrepresentation by politicians. It is an immensely complicated field which should conform to the highest possible scientific standards. Meanwhile, the role for politicians should be to debate the best possible policy responses to climate change. Such initiatives need to take into account the costs of mitigation and the possibilities of other approaches to dealing with global warming. The dogmatic attitude embodied in An Inconvenient Truth is the biggest obstacle to finding a solution to the problem.


Hey! How come global warming does not get a mention below?

When major catastrophes strike, like the recent Asian earthquake and tsunami, the mass deaths can lead one to think that natural disasters are the most likely way people can die. Not by a long shot. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the leading causes of death in the United States are, in this order, heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and "accidental injury," a broad category that includes a lot of stuff that just happens. You are more likely to commit suicide or fall to your death than be killed by a tsunami or any natural disaster, the odds say.

In less advanced countries, where residents often live in poverty and huddle near the sea or in poorly constructed houses, tsunamis, floods and earthquakes are a more looming threat. But even in such locales, there are far greater risks over the course of a lifetime.

There are no formal estimates on the risk of death by tsunami, because they occur so infrequently. About 2,200 died in a Papua New Guinea tsunami in 1998; roughly 8,000 in the Philippines in 1976, about 120 in Hawaii and California in 1964. You have to go back to 1896 -- 27,000 deaths in Japan -- to find one that even approached the 150,000-plus scale of the Asian disaster on Dec. 26, 2004.

Michael Paine, of the Planetary Society Australian Volunteers, monitors and calculates risks of low-frequency events like asteroid impacts and tsunamis. He estimates the odds of a tsunami being the average coastal dweller's cause of death, globally speaking, are around 1-in-50,000. For the average citizen in the United States, given that many don't live near the coast, the chances are 1-in-500,000 or even perhaps less likely. Paine stressed this is a very rough estimate. The real odds drop to zero, of course, if you live in the mountains and never visit the shore.

In fact, that sort of risk management -- intentional or not -- goes for many things. Frequent flyers are more likely to die in a plane crash than someone who never flies. A Californian is at greater risk from earthquakes than someone in Minnesota.

Overall, global deaths from sudden natural disasters -- things Nature dishes out over moments, hours or days -- have been on the decline in recent years, with the exception of 2003 and 2004. Officials credit better warnings and swifter response to help victims.

In 2003, the last year for which worldwide deaths have been tabulated by the Red Cross, natural disasters killed 76,000 people. The figure was skewed by two events: a heat wave in Europe that overcame more than 22,000 and an earthquake in Iran that killed upwards of 30,000. (Earthquakes kill roughly 10,000 people every year, on average.)

The previous ten years saw an average of 62,000 global deaths per year from natural disasters. That's far less than the tolls taken by famine, disease and war.

Communicable diseases kill millions of people every year (13.3 million 1998, according to the World Health Organization). In sub-Saharan Africa last year, AIDS killed about two million people, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Even more died because of bad water or sanitation systems. In Kenya, AIDS deaths are "equivalent to two 747 jets crashing every day," stated a recent Red Cross report. Another study estimated that 3.3 million people died due to war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1998 to 2002. More than three-quarters of the deaths owed to diseases and malnutrition resulting from the fighting.

Globally, violence is a leading killer. It accounts for 14 percent of all deaths among males and 7 percent among females, according to a 2003 analysis by the World Heath Organization. On an average day, 1,424 people are murdered. Somebody commits suicide every 40 seconds.

Perceptions of risk factors can change over time simply because more is learned. The chances of an Earth-impacting asteroid killing you have dropped dramatically, for example, from about 1-in-20,000 in 1994 to something like 1-in-200,000 or 1-in-500,000 today. The new numbers -- their range reflecting the need for further research -- were offered up last week by Clark Chapman of the Southwest Research Institute and David Morrison at NASA's Ames Research Center. Why such a dramatic downgrade? Active intervention. "A significant part of it is that we have now discovered, in the last dozen years, a good fraction of the largest, most deadly asteroids and found that they won't hit the Earth," Chapman told LiveScience.

Also, projections of the destruction a large space rock would cause have been revised downward a bit. Finally, since Earth is two-thirds water, asteroid risks include the possibility of an impact-induced tsunami. And Chapman says asteroid-generated tsunamis may not be as deadly as once presumed....

More here

Australian PM defends the Brethren against the Greens

The Brethren have rightly identified and publicized the Australian Green Party as anti-Christian far-Leftists and the Greens hate them for it

The beliefs of the Exclusive Brethren Christian sect, which includes a refusal to vote, should be respected, Prime Minister John Howard said today. The sect has been criticised, particularly by the Greens, in recent times for its alleged activities in elections but Mr Howard says he has seen more fanatical groups in his time.

"The Exclusive Brethren as an organisation within the law, a Christian sect, is entitled to put its view," Mr Howard told ABC Radio. "I did make the observation that I've met a lot more fanatical people in my life than the Exclusive Brethren. "They have a different, a more disciplined, perhaps some would say a more narrow interpretation of the Christian religion than others, but I respect their right to have (this interpretation)."

Mr Howard, who yesterday said he had met with the group, said the more unorthodox views of the sect, such as not voting, did not means its members should be vilified. "I have to say that strikes me as what you might call an unorthodox Christian ... it strikes me as a little unusual, but that is their right and it should be respected," he said. "It shouldn't be the subject of some vilification campaign against them."



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 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Only in California. The bureaucratic maze there prevents expensive wind-power projects from getting underway

As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares this week to sign into law the nation's most ambitious effort to address global warming, a key component of California's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- increasing the use of renewable power to create electricity -- has faltered. Despite overwhelming public and political support for renewable power, ratepayer contributions of $319 million, and a 2002 law mandating a dramatic increase in the use of sun and wind to create megawatts, California has boosted its use of renewable energy by less than 1 percent of the state's overall electricity use in the past four years.

In the meantime, Texas has surpassed California as the nation's leader in wind power. PG&E, which ran television commercials in the Bay Area earlier this year promoting its environmentally friendly practices, has actually reduced the amount of renewable power in its portfolio during the past two years. And the world's largest wind-power company -- which is investing $2 billion around the country on wind projects this year and next -- is not spending any of that money in California, complaining that overly complicated and time-consuming regulations are slowing development....

Along the Sacramento River and near the Carquinez Strait in rural Solano County, 100 new wind turbines, standing 250 feet tall, tower over herds of sheep and rolling hills as they quietly spin wind into electricity. Each turbine creates enough power to light more than 750 homes for less than what Californians are paying for electricity from a power plant that produces carbon dioxide and other gases scientists say cause global warming. The new turbines are a rarity in California.

Since the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard went into effect four years ago, requiring utilities to contract for much more renewable power, only 241 megawatts of new projects have been built.... Power developers, regulators and independent observers all complain that the standard the 2002 legislation set up has required years to develop and calls for new projects to clear too many regulatory hurdles. "We like to say this project was built in spite of the RPS, not because of it," said Jim Caldwell, director of regulatory affairs for PPM Energy, which owns the new Solano County wind project. The company bypassed the state's regulatory process and simply built the project without a guarantee that any utility would buy the power. "If we would have gone through the process, we thought we'd never get the damn thing built," Caldwell said. The gamble paid off: The company is selling half of the power generated in Solano County to PG&E, and the rest to other municipally owned utilities.

"It is an extraordinarily complicated process compared to any other state in the country," said Ryan Wiser, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who has studied efforts by 21 states to mandate increases in the use of renewable power. Wiser wrote a paper on California's process titled "Does it Have to be this Hard? Implementing the Nation's Most Complex Renewables Portfolio Standard." Wiser said that here, unlike anywhere else, two state agencies -- the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission -- have regulatory oversight of renewable projects, forcing developers and utilities to work with two distinct bureaucracies. And each project faces multiple, and sometimes redundant, monthslong proceedings in front of regulators before getting approval, while most other states only require one....

The world's largest wind developer, FPL Energy in Florida, announced earlier this year that it would not propose new wind projects in California during the next two years, even as it invests $2 billion around the country. The company won a bid through the California RPS process in 2004 to add 30 megawatts of wind power to an existing project, but a company official pointed to the project's estimated completion date -- April 2008, four years later -- as an example of why investing in California is difficult. "We are committed to California, but we look at where we can actually move forward and build projects," said Diane Fellman, director of regulatory affairs for FPL Energy.

There are other factors that also have slowed California's progress and have many believing the state will not meet the 2010 deadline. Transmission lines to renewable-rich areas need to be upgraded. Despite more than a decade of discussions on ways to hook up PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric to the windy Tehachapi region in Kern County and a key solar area, the Imperial Valley east of San Diego, the process to build new power lines is still ongoing. And there are questions about whether some of the projects the utilities have selected to pursue are viable. Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric, for example, have signed deals for hundreds of megawatts with an Arizona company that uses a solar technology that has never produced power on a large scale. "There are some real doubts about whether some of the projects will really happen," said Wiser....

Most involved in the energy industry believe a significant increase in wind, solar and geothermal power is possible in California. Renewable energy is incredibly popular -- a Public Policy Institute of California poll earlier this year showed that 83 percent of adults interviewed supported more government spending to boost renewable energy. The state has plenty of sun and wind -- experts suggest the Tehachapi region could generate enough wind power to light 3 million homes. And, with the price of natural gas having tripled in the last few years, wind power is cheaper to produce than electricity supplied by a natural-gas-fueled power plant. "The frustrating thing is this: Of all the places in the country, California is blessed with all kinds of natural resources that we need to produce renewable energy," said Jan Smutny-Jones, executive director of a trade group representing some renewable-power developers. "We're awash in riches. And there does not appear to be any significant political resistance to more renewables. But we're stumbling when it comes to turning all of this into real, steel-in-the-ground projects."

More here


And sea levels are rising despite that! Farewell to simplistic assumptions. Nothing disturbs faith though. To the Warming believers quoted below, it is just a "blip" -- a godawful large blip, though.

Despite the long term warming trend seen around the globe, the oceans have cooled in the last three years, scientists announced today. The temperature drop, a small fraction of the total warming seen in the last 48 years, suggests that global warming trends can sometimes take little dips. In the last century, Earth's temperature has risen about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius). Most scientists agree that much of the warming in the past 50 years has been fueled by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.

This research suggests global warming isn't always steady, but happens with occasional 'speed bumps,'" said study co-author Josh Willis, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "This cooling is probably natural climate variability. The oceans today are still warmer than they were during the 1980s, and most scientists expect the oceans will eventually continue to warm in response to human-induced climate change."

Regardless of the cooling trend observed since 2003, average sea levels have continued to rise. The rising of sea level occurs due to the thermal expansion of the oceans from the heating and chunks and runoff from melting ice sheets and glaciers. "The recent cooling episode suggests sea level should have actually decreased in the past two years," Willis said. "Despite this, sea level has continued to rise. This may mean that sea level rise has recently shifted from being mostly caused by warming to being dominated by melting. This idea is consistent with recent estimates of ice-mass loss in Antarctica and accelerating ice-mass loss on Greenland."

In a previous study, researchers reported that in parts of the Antarctic, 84 percent of glaciers have retreated over the past 50 years in response to a warmer climate. But the melting glaciers are not the reason for the cooling. The amount of ice and water from the melting glaciers is very small compared to the overall temperature of the oceans, Willis told LiveScience.

Ocean temperatures have been through dips like this before. There have been substantial decadal decreases, said study co-author John Lyman of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. "Other studies have shown that a similar rapid cooling took place from 1980 to 1983. But overall, the long-term trend is warming."

Determining the amount of heat oceans store is important for determining the amount of total energy absorbed from the sun and energy reflected back. "The capacity of Earth's oceans to store the sun's energy is more than 1,000 times that of Earth's atmosphere," Lyman said. "It's important to measure upper ocean temperature, since 84 percent of the heat absorbed by Earth since the mid-1950s has gone toward warming the ocean. Measuring ocean temperature is really measuring the progress of global warming."

Researchers have not yet identified the cause of ocean cooling in the last three years but hope that further studies will clarify this anomaly. Some say it could be due to events such as volcanic eruptions, but the reasons need to be looked at still, Willis said.


Impoverishing and disruptive effects of land-use restrictions in Britain

Appeasing the property-owning English middle classes, the green lobby, the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the government insists that newly-built housing confine itself to brownfield sites. Britain's antiquated planning system is always absorbing yet more government guidance on housing design, energy use and all the rest. But it gets more Byzantine each year for a reason: to make houses more difficult to build. In particular, the government will not allow working-class people to spread out and invade Britain's green and virgin soil.

The government prefers to cram people it regards as plebs into transport-free cities that are more and more tightly packed. Land must not be claimed, cheaply and easily, from nature. Instead, it must be expensively and with great effort `reclaimed' from horrid, man-made contamination.

As prices for houses around East London's Olympic Village will soon attest, the result is, once again, that the demand for a decent home with reasonable transport links far exceeds supply. It has long been evident that the Thames Gateway area, billed as Europe's largest housing development, will in fact see relatively few new homes built. But it has now become clear that the 40-odd overlapping quangos responsible for the Thames Gateway have, to all intents and purposes, turned it into the London Thames Gateway. An area which was supposed to fan houses out to the east coast will confine them to the east of the nation's capital.

Powered by green dogma, the government's rush for brownfield development is truly zealous. Some 74 per cent of new dwellings in England are now on brownfield land. By reaching this figure, the government is, in 2006, far exceeding its own target for 2008, which was that 60 per cent of new-build should by then be brownfield.

What an achievement! This is a beating of targets of which Joe Stalin would be proud. But through its eagerness to achieve high levels of housing density, the government also fuels the current wave of Malthusian sentiment around the issue of immigration.

As Neil Davenport has pointed out previously on spiked, today's elite outcry over levels of immigration panders to the backward idea that society's problems are caused by there being too many people. But a recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a London think-tank, has just highlighted a related but highly important issue. `What will bring the worst of all worlds', its chief executive Douglas McWilliams writes, `is to have the immigration but not the infrastructure, which will condemn all of us to traffic jams, rising house prices and overcrowding in schools, hospitals and elsewhere'.

We can leave Mr McWilliams to his own views on immigration. But his point about infrastructure is absolutely right. In certain local authorities, services such as education and health may well be unprepared for a relatively rapid build-up of local concentrations of immigrants. But in relation to accommodation, it is not the immigrant influx that leads to the perception that Britain is overcrowded and overpopulated, so much as the government's fanatical pursuit of high density in housing - a kind of Brownfield Brutalism that would condemn us all to a nicely designed broom cupboard. I am always suspicious of the view that the white working class feels itself `swamped' by immigrants. But to the extent that towns - Dover, for example - feel this way, it might be apt to blame, not immigrants, but the government's failure to fund expanding infrastructure and greenfield housing.

Ministers fairly crow that the average density being achieved across England is now 42 dwellings per hectare (6). Indeed, Yvette Cooper, minister for housing and planning, has boasted that while densities were `only' 25 homes per hectare in 1997, New Labour can now build 1.1million homes `on less land than the previous government set aside for just 900,000 homes - saving an area of greenfield land greater than the size of Oxford'. But what is a hectare, anyway? It is 10,000 square metres. So 25 dwellings per hectare of land in 1997 = 400sqm for each dwelling, or a land area of 20x20m. And 42 dwellings per hectare in 2006? That's 238sqm for each dwelling - in other words, little more than 15x15m of land.

This is a really drastic reduction in living space - and New Labour has achieved it in just nine years. Today, when so many of New Labour's policies increase urban atomisation and anomie, we are forced into a cheek-by-jowl huddle of smaller and smaller flats, at bigger and bigger prices. And then New Labour has the nerve to turn around and blame a surge of Rumanian criminals as a threat to Britain's social fabric.

Like Gordon Brown's sale of public sector assets, and like green efforts to conserve energy, the rush for brownfield land in fact produces very few savings - in this case, of greenfield land. Why? For two reasons. First, Britain is already predominantly green. Brownfield land is so modest an expanse that even the tightest patterns of house-packing can, at best, free up little land for greenfield status. Second, the government, not content with restricting people's ability to find housing, has anyway long been busy creating new green pastures.

Take Yvette Cooper's saving achieved by going brownfield - an area `the size of Oxford'. That turns out to be a saving of 3,300 hectares; in other words, a colossal 0.01 per cent of the land cover of Great Britain. On top of that, the government has already been adding more land for the Green Belt: a total of 19,000 hectares between 1998 and 2003. A further potential 12,000 hectares of Green Belt has been proposed in emerging development plans.

As it happens, 19,000 hectares is an area the size of Liverpool. So the Green Belt, which we are always being told is on the point of being `concreted over', has actually undergone an expansion that is modest, but much bigger than Cooper's Oxford-sized `saving' of greenfield land through Brownfield Brutalism. It bears remembering that the land cover of Great Britain is 23.5million hectares, used in 2002 as follows:

-- intensive agricultural land - 10.8million hectares, or 45.96 per cent;

-- semi-natural land - 7.0million hectares, or 29.78 per cent;

-- woodland - 2.8million hectares, or 11.91 per cent;

-- settled land accounts for 1.8million hectares, or 7.65 per cent;

-- water bodies - 0.3million hectares, or 1.28 per cent;

-- sundry other categories - 0.8million hectares, or 3.42 per cent.

If settlements are added to the `sundry' component (largely transport infrastructure such as roads and railways), then built-up Great Britain consists of about 2.3million hectares, or just 10 per cent of the land available. But in terms of `settled' houses and workplaces, the figure is actually well under 10 per cent - it's 7.65 per cent. In terms of housing alone, it must be heading towards five per cent, or lower, perhaps. But there is more. It turns out that more than half the land cover of England - 55.2 per cent of the most urbanised part of the UK - is officially `designated' as more or less untouchable: it is of special scientific interest, a special protection area, a special area of conservation, an area of outstanding natural beauty, a National Park, or a part of the Green Belt. In fact, among countries belonging to the Organisation of Economic and Commercial Development (OECD), the UK as a whole has about twice as high a proportion of protected land as the average. Everything is already being done, and then some, to ring-fence the pastoral idyll of the property-owning classes.

We can now see just how immature Ruth Kelly's call for a `mature' debate about immigration really is. Even when we omit Dartmoor, Snowdonia and other great swathes of beauty, Britain has room enough for immigration. But in practice, government policy continues to ensure that housing is both a growing symptom of the British economy's narcissism, and something that is powerfully hard for anyone - immigrant or not - to get hold of. The British economy is narcissistic because its whole focus is on face, not on the creation of genuine wealth. `Look at me!', cries the City to international money capital: `Come into my parlour.' `Look at me!', cries Britain's housing stock: `I am an ageing legacy of the past, but the government guarantees that I will always cost you more and more money.' ....

For the middle classes and a fair bit of the working class, housing has become that much more central to students, newlyweds and parents. For fortysomething parents, indeed, `parenting' is an issue that, to a large degree, revolves around housing. And as if that were not enough, Blairite ex-minister Stephen Byers has confirmed the centrality of housing to family discourse in the UK by setting a hare running about the abolition of inheritance tax, most of which revolves around houses. Alasdair Darling, tipped as Brown's successor at the Treasury, has repudiated Byers. But whatever the outcome, Britain's preoccupation with the money tied up in housing promises only to grow more intense.

Britain's problem is too few houses, not too many immigrants. Nowadays, all roads lead to housing - even if none of them are real roads. In more than seven years, from 1997 to 2004, New Labour has managed to build just 145km of new motorways. It has blighted rural areas with a colossal 400km, or 250 miles, of A roads. And in urban areas it has managed just 99km of A roads. No wonder people feel congested in cities, and cut off in rural areas. The genuine wealth that investment in new infrastructure represents is not part of Gordon Brown's brief. He would rather delude himself, and us, that he is taking what he calls `tough' choices; choices, he says, that will `safeguard stability'. His choices are not tough. They are all too easy. Sooner or later, Brown's choices will bring financial and social instability


A Greenie dictatorship?

Every property in the Waverley local government area in Sydney [Australia] may be required to install solar roof panels under a plan being considered by the council to make it "a world leader in climate change solutions". The council's sustainability committee "will explore ways to integrate key environmental targets and initiatives throughout the organisation and the Waverley community". The committee will comprise councillors and experts on building sustainability and climate change.

The Mayor of Waverley, Mora Main, put up the idea in a mayoral minute, unanimously supported by councillors, directing the committee to advise on maximising solar energy. "Moving towards a 'solar Waverley' may soon see all our rooftops sporting solar panels," she said. The committee will advise on:

* A brief for a study to assess and characterise the total potential for rooftop solar energy in Waverley.

* The application of solar hot water and space heating, passive solar design and photovoltaics to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

* Changes to the council's planning rules to prevent overshadowing of useable solar-capture space on neighbouring structures.

* Regulation to ensure development applications maximise the uptake of solar power.

The council says each municipality has a responsibility to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. "As developments in solar technology take it ever closer to cost competitiveness with coal, distributed renewal energy becomes a realistic component of Australia's energy supply," it says in a background paper.

Waverley's move will not find favour with everyone. The Productivity Commission recommended in a report on energy efficiency last year that federal, state and territory governments and the Australian Building Codes Board should examine ways to stop local governments creating variations in minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings. The Federal Government has supported this finding. "Determining effective energy efficiency requirements for houses requires specialist knowledge that is more likely to be available to national bodies than to local governments," the commission said. "The effects of such requirements are predominantly experienced outside of the local government area. In addition, the costs associated with local government area-based variations in energy efficiency standards are potentially higher than for state and territory-based ones. This is because they can cause a higher degree of regulatory fragmentation and uncertainty."

In an earlier report on building regulation the commission warned against the erosion of national consistency of building regulation by local governments through their planning approval processes. A feature of an agreement being developed between the federal, state and territory governments on the building code will - "as far as practicable" - restrict any changes to the code to those arising from geographical, geological and climate factors. The agreement provides for state and territory governments to seek similar commitments from local governments. The Federal Government does, however, recognise the role of local government in developing and trialling new approaches to address climate change "in a context of cost-benefit assessment".

Source. For more Greenie nuttiness from Waverley, see here or 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 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Legislation introduced by Senator George Allen (R-VA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) to create a federal "National Heritage Area" that encompasses portions of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania is likely to disproportionately harm minority families in the region by making homeownership more inaccessible, say members of the Project 21 black leadership network. The "Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act of 2006" is S. 2645 in the Senate and H.R. 5195 in the House.

"Rather than promote initiatives that harm property rights and make it harder for minorities to obtain a piece of the American Dream, Senator Allen should focus on protecting the property rights of all Americans," said Project 21 member and Virginia resident John Meredith. Meredith, who has experience working on environmental and land use issues, is also the son of James Meredith, the first black student admitted to the University of Mississippi in 1962. "The last thing that wealthy, preservation interest groups need is a leg up from the federal government-especially when that leg up comes on the back of minorities and the lower middle class," said Meredith.

National Heritage Areas are land areas where preservationist interest groups and the federal government have teamed up to influence local land use decisions, frequently in ways that have restricted property rights. A March 2004 report from the General Accountability Office found that provisions of such areas "encourage local governments to implement land use policies that are consistent with the heritage area's plans, which may allow heritage areas to indirectly influence zoning and land use planning in ways that could restrict owners' use of their property."

Although the bill was introduced ostensibly for the purpose of historic preservation, and its advocates - apparently for public relations purposes - have marketed it as a pro-tourism measure, supporters have repeatedly claimed the bill is needed to combat suburban sprawl. New land-use restrictions affecting housing availability could be bad news for minorities in the "hallowed ground" region. A National Center for Public Policy Research-commissioned econometric study, "Smart Growth and Its Effects on Housing Markets: The New Segregation," found that anti-sprawl policies disproportionately and negatively affect minority homeownership:

Poor and minority families pay a disproportionate amount of the social and economic costs of growth restrictions. The weight of increased home prices falls most heavily on minorities, the disadvantaged and the young, fewer of whom already own homes. The "haves" who already own homes ride the price bubble created by restricted growth policies while the dream of ownership moves further away from the "have-nots." The 2002 study, which examined the social and economic impact of one model for sharply curtailing sprawl, found that growth restrictions would have prevented 260,000 minority homeowner families from homeownership had they been applied nationally over the preceding decade.

Housing restrictions can have strong, negative affects on the quality of life for families who cannot afford skyrocketing housing prices. The introduction to the "New Segregation" study tells the story of a 45-year-old waitress living in Fairfax County, Virginia, who, despite having over $2,000 a month to spend, lives in a seedy hotel with her four children and receives financial aid from the county because the average rent in the area at the time was over $1,100 per month. During the 1990s, due to Fairfax County's severe development restrictions, the county added 110,000 fewer housing units than it did new jobs.

"Serving the interests of preservationist elites at the expense of normal, everyday Americans is unacceptable," said Project 21 Senior Fellow Deneen Moore. "The public outcry over last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Kelo eminent domain case shows that Americans want stronger property rights protections - not new threats to private ownership." "I am at a loss to understand how this furthers the interests of anyone but the super-elite," said Project 21 national chairman Mychal Massie. "Suffice it to say that this land-use initiative is harmful and punitive to the very people elected officials promised to protect."


Even the Brits are abandoning public transport

Despite the efforts of their very "Green" government

Thousands of daily bus services will be scrapped and fares will rise by 20 per cent during the next decade in a continuing exodus from public transport to the car, a report has found. The Government is falling well short of its official target of increasing bus use in every region. Passenger numbers are declining in every large city apart from London, the only area where services remain under public control.

The report, commissioned by the Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG), which represents local authorities in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle upon Tyne and Birmingham, found that bus companies were exploiting local monopolies to make excessive profits. Fares have increased by 86 per cent above inflation since 1986 and passengers have fallen by half in those cities. By contrast, the cost of motoring has remained stable and the total distance travelled by car in Britain since 1986 has increased by 50 per cent.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, said in 1997: "I will have failed if in five years' time there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car. It's a tall order but I urge you to hold me to it." Rail travel has increased by a quarter since Mr Prescott made his pledge but the decline in bus services means the proportion of journeys made by bus, tram or train has fallen from 15 per cent to 12 per cent.

The Government's official target is to increase bus and tram journeys by 12 per cent in England by 2012 and to deliver growth in each region. Last year bus and tram journeys rose by 1.9 per cent in London but fell by 1.2 per cent in the rest of England. The report found that bus services had declined by 41 per cent in Tyne and Wear, 31 per cent in South Yorkshire and 20 per cent in the West Midlands since 1995. Services in Manchester, West Yorkshire and on Merseyside fell by 10 per cent to 12 per cent.

The report concludes: "Projecting these numbers forward gives an estimate that over the ten years from 2004-05 to 2014-15, bus patronage will fall by 20 per cent, fares will rise by about 20 per cent and service levels will fall by about 20 per cent. "Bus services are not providing a high-quality alternative to the private car and so motorists do not have incentives to switch to the only public transport mode that may be available to them."

In London, where the average fare is the same in real terms as a decade ago, bus passenger numbers have risen by 50 per cent since 2000. The services are controlled by Ken Livingstone, the mayor, who sets fare levels and determines the frequency and quality of the service under tightly drawn contracts with bus companies.

In the rest of England, private operators control all aspects of the service and can withdraw from routes with 56 days' notice. PTEG wants its members to be given similar powers to the London mayor. It believes that this will allow cities to offer a better service by cross-subsidising lightly used routes with the profits made from the busiest ones. It claims that private operators are contributing to decline by cherry-picking the most profitable routes, leaving others with an infrequent service that results in increasing numbers of people switching to cars.

The Government has begun a review of the way buses are regulated outside London and is drawing up proposals that would allow local authorities and bus companies to co-operate more closely on service levels. But ministers have balked at the idea of giving authorities the power to set fares, routes and frequencies. The report found one company dominating bus services in each of the biggest six English regional cities. National Express runs 81 per cent of buses in Birmingham and makes an estimated 21 to 35 per cent return on investment. The other companies also make "excess profits" despite presiding over declining services, and often failing to fulfil commitments to invest in newer, more reliable vehicles.


Australia: Geography lessons morph into environmentalism

High school geography is being taught as a series of issues presented in a naive and unquestioning way, often by teachers with no relevant qualifications. Associate professor John Lidstone of the Queensland University of Technology said much of what was taught was "naive environmentalism". And amid calls for a government review, Professor Lidstone said high school students were often not presented with the fundamentals of geography, such as the formation of mountains or glaciers, or the science behind issues, such as the rainfall cycle in Australia when examining drought. "There's an unquestioned acceptance of issues like the greenhouse effect; they're not actually engaging in the debate," he said.

Dr Lidstone, secretary of the International Geographical Union's commission on geographical education for 10 years, said the biggest problem was the subject's integration into social studies courses. "Integrated social studies doesn't do history well, it doesn't do geography well, it doesn't do citizenship-type things well. It very quickly becomes a hodgepodge," he said. "The syllabus lacks coherence and tends to become issues-based. You're asking kids to solve problems that adults and politicians can't solve. "Lost is the awe and wonder of the natural environment, glaciers, how mountains are thrown up, volcanoes and natural disasters."

The Institute of Australian Geographers and the Australian Geography Teachers Association argue that the subject has been bruised by a crowded curriculum that squeezes it into social studies until Year 10 in most states and territories. The institute wrote to federal Education Minister Julie Bishop this month calling for a national review of the geography curriculum along the lines of the recent history summit. "Geography teachers have complained that the subject has been distorted and reduced in rigour by the need to relate it to general statements of educational outcomes, and that the geographical knowledge and skills of Australian students has been significantly diminished as a result," the letter says.

Dr Lidstone questioned whether students were being taught the basics of geography before they were expected to solve the earth's problems. Working with a group of high school students looking at coastal degradation, Dr Lidstone said none could confidently answer in which direction sand moved up the Australian coast. "They didn't know the process of longshore drift. If you don't know what causes it, how on earth do you talk about remedial action, which is what they're being asked to do," he said. "There's too much focus on the issues rather than developing the skills of analysis and how to get data and interrogate it. Often students can only work on the data they're given but learning how to evaluate the quality of the data is pretty difficult."

AGTA president Nick Hutchinson said the desired outcomes listed in curriculums were too vague and imprecise, failing to detail what students should be taught. "The outcomes really destroy content in a sense because they just become such wishy-washy motherhood statements," he said. In South Australia, students are not taught "geography" but a subject called "space, place and environment" while in Western Australia and Queensland, students study "place and space".

There is a national shortage of trained geography teachers, with history teachers shouldering the bulk of teaching in social studies. In the senior years of school when geography is offered as an option, it is forced to compete with environmental management, sustainable futures or recreational and environmental studies - all specialised aspects of geography. Mr Hutchinson said that in Victoria, students must "analyse, organise and synthesise geographical information" while the essential learning statements, since revised, in Tasmania wanted geography students to "create purposeful futures".

Professional geographers and teachers believe geography should be taught as a stand-alone subject in years 9 and 10, in line with the proposal for Australian history. In his letter to Ms Bishop, geographers institute president Jim Walmsley, from the University of New England, proposes more specific topics such as the effects of European settlement on the land of Australia and how it is managed



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 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.