I reproduce below a report of a recent Arctic event from what is arguably the world's "Greenest" mainstream newspaper -- the London "Independent" (known to many as the "Subservient"). The event is hailed as evidence of global warming and I am sure that refutations of that will soon emerge but in the meantime I think I should make some preliminary comments:
I am not a physicist or a chemist. I am a much-published psychologist with an interest in the sociology of knowledge. So I see my role in reporting on scientific questions outside my own field as being simply to draw attention to the full range of available information on the question concerned. Most scientists are probably aware that there is a "confirmatory bias" towards accepted theories in what is published in the academic journals so particular attention to non-confirmatory findings is simply good science.
But although I rarely comment personally in fields in which I am not expert, I am always, of course, delighted to point to failures in logic and it seems to me that the "Greenie" interpretation of the recent arctic event is very suspect from that point of view.
Why would a large bit of the Arctic ice shelf break off and fall into the sea? If global warming is happening, it should surely just shrink and melt away, with no reason to lose contact with the land. On the other hand, if the ice-shelf is EXPANDING then it should eventually get so big that it expands beyond the boundaries of the land -- causing the bit that is no longer supported by the land to fall into the sea.
So the recent event points overwhelmingly to an EXPANDING ice mass in that area of the Arctic, not a shrinking one -- which is what the Greenies would have you believe. Pesky eh?
I will leave it to others to comment on the other misrepresentations in the article below
A vast ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic has broken up, a further sign of the astonishing rate at which polar ice is now melting because of global warming. The Ayles ice shelf, more than 40 square miles in extent - over five times the size of central London - has broken clear from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 500 miles south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic, it emerged yesterday. The broken shelf has formed an ice island, in what a leading scientist described as a "dramatic and disturbing event", citing climate change as the cause.
The news caps a dramatic year of discovery about just how quickly the polar ice is disappearing. It comes as America's leading climate scientist, James Hansen, warns in today's Independent that the Earth is being turned into "a different planet" because of the continuing increase in man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.
The break-up of the Ayles shelf occurred 16 months ago, in an area so remote it was not at first detected. "This is a dramatic and disturbing event," said Professor Warwick Vincent of Laval University in Quebec City. "It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years."Ice shelves float on the sea, but are connected to land (as opposed to ice sheets, which are wholly land-based). In the past five years, several ice shelves along the fringes of the Antarctic peninsula have started to become unstable or break up. The most spectacular was the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf, the size of Luxembourg.
Until now, there had not been a similar event among the six major shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic, which are packed with ancient ice that is more than 3,000 years old. Professor Vincent, who studies Arctic ecosystems, travelled to the newly formed ice island and was amazed at what he saw. "It's like a cruise missile has come down and hit the ice shelf," he said. "Unusually warm temperatures definitely played a major role. It is consistent with climate change." The collapse was picked up by the Canadian Ice Service, which notified Luke Copland, head of the new global ice laboratory at the University of Ottawa. Using US and Canadian satellite images, as well as seismic data - the event registered on earthquake monitors more than 150 miles away - Professor Copland discovered that the ice shelf collapsed in the early afternoon of 13 August 2005. Scientists were surprised at the speed of the event, Professor Copland said - it took less than an hour.
There have already been several disturbing indications this year that the Arctic ice is melting at a much faster rate than expected. In September, two Nasa reports showed a great surge in the disappearance of the winter sea ice over the past two years, with an area the size of Turkey disappearing in 12 months.
Note that the article below points to a COOLING arctic, which again suggests that the ice-shelf breakoff is due to an EXPANDING ice-mass, not a shrinking or melting one. I hope to have more to say about sea-ice versus land-based ice tomorrow
Because global warming is a religious belief rather than a scientific one, however, Greenies do from time to time accept that the ice-mass in places like Greenland and the Antarctic is expanding. They say that global warming produces more evaporation off the ocean and hence more snowfall and hence ice buildup. NO evidence can count against their belief. The global warming belief thus fails the test of falsifiability, which is basic not only to scientific statements but to empirical statements generally. The global warming belief is thus a theological, not a scientific one -- on a par with the Christian ability to explain the existence of evil despite their God being omnipotent and benevolent
Greenland has cooled down since the 1930s
Post lifted from Lubos Motl
Greenland is one of the regions that play a crucial role in the global warming theory. The existing climate models predict an amplified warming for Greenland and other high-latitude areas. Moreover, these regions that are far away from the equator should also get more warming because of the vegetation feedback mechanism. Also, we frequently read that the Greenland's glaciers are reatreating: we're doomed. On the other hand, the name of Greenland suggests that it could have been green in the past. Who is right: hysterical journalists on one side or historians and linguists on the other side?
There exists a better method to decide similar questions than both hysterical journalism as well as history: the method is called science. The following 2006 paper in Journal of Geophysical Research
by B. Vinther, K. Andersen, P. Jones, K. Briffa, and J. Cappelen has looked at the available data and reconstructed the temperatures for winters from 1829 to 2005 and summers from 1855 to 2005.
The results? The warmest winter at some places was the winter of 1917. The authors do not indicate whether the reason was Lenin and his Great October Socialist Revolution. ;-)
The warmest year in all of Greenland was 1941 while the 1930s and 1940s were the warmest decades (see page 8 of 13 in the PDF file above). The coldest year was 1863 while the 1810s were the coldest decade, largely because of two large volcanic eruptions that took place in this period.
Well, the global warming theory and the existing climate models seem to be in trouble because of these observations (and others). Is there an explanation that would be consistent with the climate change paradigm? You bet.
The anthropogenic explanation of the nicely cool decade of the 1810s relies on some of the successful actions of the Luddites who were destroying the textile machines between 1811 and 1816. Once these heroes and predecessors of the contemporary warriors against the climate change were beaten up by the evil capitalists, a catastrophic period of warming started. The only glimpse of hope was the coldest year of 1863 when slavery was abolished and the former slaves didn't have to breath so much and emit so much carbon dioxide. Finally, this cataclysmic period of warming ended around 1941 when the Nazi soldiers were freezing near Moscow which much reduced the expansion and the CO2 emissions of the Third Reich. ;-)
This story sounds great but I will stick with the volcanos, solar activity, and other natural phenomena that seem to explain the observed graphs more naturally.
More comments at WorldClimateReport. A critical perspective on the article by Vinther et al. is offered by Steve McIntyre who argues that they again extract low-frequency signals out of high-frequency patterns which is no good. The paper by Vinther et al. is also discussed by RealClimate from an alarmist perspective.
The nuke train is getting up steam in Australia
Australians are more likely to be attacked by a shark or hit by lightning than die from a nuclear power plant disaster. In releasing a report commissioned on the viability of nuclear power in Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said there were no sound reasons to not go nuclear.
The final report from the Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy review board said the risk of implementing nuclear power is of an acceptably low level. The risk of dying in a nuclear disaster was below that of dying from smoking, driving, owning firearms, drowning, fire, electrocution and snake bites, the report said. There have been 31 direct fatalities from nuclear reactors since 1969 - including the Chernobyl disaster - compared to more than 25,000 fatalities in the coal industry. This did not take into account the estimated 4000 people who could eventually die from cancer caused by radiation exposure from the Chernobyl meltdown.
The report also stated that the particles spewed into the atmosphere by traditional forms of power generation resulted in an estimated loss of life expectancy of 8.6 months for the average European.
Mr Howard said the Government would respond quickly to the board's recommendations. "Nuclear power is part of the solution both to Australia's energy and climate change challenges," Mr Howard said. He agreed nuclear power was not a "silver bullet" and wasn't economically feasible at the moment. "It's not going to come immediately because it's not economic at present, but it will become increasingly economic as we clean up the use of coal," Mr Howard said. He said the Government would, in the short term, focus on the report's recommendation that skilled personnel for nuclear power and uranium mining industries be trained and recruited.
Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd rejected the need for nuclear power and said Labor was committed to renewable sources. "We think the right way involves clean, green energy," he said. "Mr Howard's solution is too expensive, it's too dangerous and it's too slow to bring about real results on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the immediate term."
The review board, headed by former Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski, was established six months ago to investigate nuclear power as an alternative to coal-fired power plants in the face of growing concerns about climate change. The country's demand for electricity is predicted to more than double by 2050.
Greens Senator Christine Milne said nuclear power would not halt the effects of climate change. "The Government is now scrambling to create a perception that it is doing something, knowing full well that nuclear power is too slow, too expensive and too dangerous to provide any answer to global warming," Senator Milne said.
The Australian environment needs a nuclear China
As does the whole of Asia
We walked west into a fiery red sunset in St. Kilda last night, on our way to pick up some yogurt for dinner. On our way back, the moon rose before us in the east, nearly as dark and orange as the sun setting behind us. We turned sideways with one celestial body on each hand and enjoyed the beauty and symmetry for a few quiet seconds, looking at the skyline of Melbourne in front of us, caught between a nuclear source of light and the dead moon reflecting it. Then we took off our poetry hat and put on our thinking beanie and our brain began to boil.
The Chinese are going to burn enough coal in the next fifty years to make every Melbourne sunset look like the end of the world. For instance just this week China's Huaneng Group launched the country's first 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power generating unit. A little info-mining tells us that a 500 mega watt coal-fired power plant provides about 3.5 billion kilowatt hours of juice per year. That's enough to power a city of 140,000 people and enough to consume about 1.4 million tons of coal.
Sit down for a second and consider the following. China's great migration or rural farmers to urban enclaves means relocating 400 million people into new or existing cities. Those people will live in buildings that need air conditioning and work in factories that use electricity and eat in restaurants that cook with electric appliances and refrigerate with electric freezers. Where will the power come from? If it comes from coal, China will have to build a staggering 2,857 500 mega watt coal-fired plants to meet the demand. This would produce-without cleaner-burning technology-around 10.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year. A 500 mega watt coal-burning plant spews nearly 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year.
We don't know what a ton of carbon dioxide looks like, or how you would carry it on your back. Neither do we know if it causes the earth's temperature to rise. But we do know that when you burn coal you also produce what are called particulate emissions. These include sulfur and nitrous oxides and other pleasant by products like lead, mercury, and arsenic.
We know that all this coal-burning must excite the Australian coal industry. But if China burns this much coal in the next twenty years, its neighbors in Japan and Korea are going to borrow a phrase from Australia and ask, "Where the bloody hell are you?" They'll ask because they won't be able to see each other through the thick pall of smog blown west from China.
Last night's orange moon didn't come from Chinese pollution. It came from bush fires and the normal pollution of hundreds of thousands of cars burning petrol on the way home to watch the beginning of England's second innings in the Adelaide Test of the Ashes. And atmospherically speaking, the jet stream probably prevents Australia from having to bear the brunt of Chinese energy consumption habits, at least directly. But what could Australia do about it if a big orange cloud descended from China? Would the border patrol try and turn it back? Would customs arrest it? Would A Current Affair find someone to blame?
Japan and Korea have complained bitterly to China about the black cloud, but with little effect. It wouldn't surprise us to see the Japanese build giant coastal fans, nuclear powered of course, to blow the smog back. But that wouldn't really solve anything. To solve this problem, we have to get at its root causes. One of the biggest causes is the aversion to nuclear power by the lunatic fringe of the political and environmental world.
You never hear anti-nuclear forces whinge about the sun. But by all rights, if they're being consistent, they should. After all, the sun's radiation causes skin cancer. And the sun itself is a giant nuclear fusion reactor, ceaselessly bombarding the Earth and the other planets in the solar system with heat, light, and energy that is stored in Earth's plant life. This fossilized plant life eventually turned into the oil and natural gas the industrial world has been living off of for the last 200 years.
Why not go straight to the source and nuclear? This would be good for cleaner for global energy needs, in addition to unleashing a "Uranium Rush" in Australia. Yesterday's report by the House of Representatives on Australia's nuclear future emphasized the economic benefits of expanded uranium mining. It also concludes that nuclear energy is the "only means" for cutting green house gas emissions. The 700-page report, which sits on ominously on our desk, is entitled "Australia's Uranium: Greenhouse friendly fuel for an energy hungry world."
And here is our main point. The nuclear debate in Australia isn't so much about Australia as it is about China and India. Australia, like every other major Western economy, ought to develop a safe, efficient, and clean nuclear industry for the day when conventional hydro-carbons like oil, coal, and gas, are no longer plentiful and cheap. That day is fast approaching, and is probably already upon us. But the main reason Australia ought to encourage nuclear power use is that if China and India don't go the nuclear route, the world will soon be a dirtier, sweater, and more dimly lit place. The sunsets might be romantic. But if you can't breathe, you won't be able to enjoy them all that much.
Australia: Landowners standing up for their rights
The natives are getting restless. On February 11 there will be a rally in Hyde Park to protest against the State Government's long-running assault on democracy and private property. At a meeting at Rouse Hill just before Christmas, about a dozen community groups decided to join forces for what they hope will be a big event. The political ramifications could be interesting. Some of the groups are small, but others have previously organised demonstrations of thousands of people in their own areas. They have a range of issues, but as a coalition they are calling for three things.
1. Fair compensation when government legislation, such as rezoning or native vegetation law, reduces the value of private property.
2. An end to developer donations to political parties.
3. Restoration of the planning powers of local councils, possibly by entrenching councils in the constitution of NSW.
Most members of the coalition are in one of three broad categories. The first opposes the way the State Government has taken planning powers away from councils to enforce urban consolidation on municipalities that, as the Herald's front page showed on Tuesday, are unsuited to it and don't want it. This category includes the Coalition Against Private Overdevelopment, which is fighting the replacement of the Royal Rehabilitation Centre at Putney with 795 flats.
The second category of groups is located in western Sydney, often representing people with blocks of land from two to 10 hectares, of whom there are many thousands, who are protesting not against urban consolidation but the way government is going about releasing more land on the fringe. One common complaint is that the process is being done to assist big developers and disadvantage smaller ones. Here, too, the State Government has crushed obstructions from councils. This category includes Hands Off Private Property in the north-west, formed last year when the Government proposed to turn properties zoned as awaiting urban development into green zones. The group managed to stop what would effectively have been the state theft of a big proportion of landowners' assets.
The third group involved in the rally are farmers, many of whom have seen their livelihoods and assets devastated by the State Government. The biggest cause of this is native vegetation legislation, which prevents farmers clearing even woody weeds. Farmers are, naturally, upset and this year have been blockading properties in western NSW to prevent officials from the Department of Natural Resources from entering to investigate suspected illegal clearing of woody weeds. (Officials have the right to enter properties at will.) Another big rural issue at the moment, as reported by Daniel Lewis in the Herald on December 16, is the Government's theft of water that irrigators have been promised and have paid for.
The legal situation regarding compensation for the state theft of property rights was considered in a 2003 paper by Bryan Pape, a senior lecturer at the University of New England's law school. The State Government is legally obliged to pay just compensation if it takes property, but has no obligation at all if it only goes halfway, as it were, and reduces a property's economic value by taking away some of the usage rights previously attached to it. These might be the right to remove scrub on a farm, or in the case of a heritage listing, the right to build another storey on a house (subject to council approval). Pape wrote that "there appears grounds for characterising an uncompensated taking as an unchallengeable tax. Such an implicit tax may be regarded as invalid."
One farmer who will be at the rally is Peter Spencer, who lost the use of about 90 per cent of his property because of native vegetation law. Backed by a new group called the Constitutional Property Rights Association, he is pursuing legal action against his council, because the rates it charges him are still based on the assumption his land is economically productive. He also hopes to take on the Federal Government in the High Court. Although native vegetation law is a state matter, Canberra contributed a great deal of the money used to implement it and now takes credit internationally because affected farms such as Spencer's are carbon sinks. The Federal Government is possibly more vulnerable to legal action than the states for uncompensated "regulatory takings", the term used for the modern version of what was once called the nationalisation of private property.
Regulatory takings have been the subject of successful counterattacks by the community in parts of the US, starting in Oregon, the home of urban consolidation, when landowners found the value of their properties under attack from restrictive rezoning by a state government in pursuit of the urban environmental vote. Some other countries, such as Britain, have long taken a much fairer approach: farmers are paid "stewardship fees" as compensation if they suffer financially in order to achieve an environmental outcome desired by the wider community.
It is the way of democracy that governments can get away with a hell of a lot, but eventually they go too far and the people turn on them. The big question is how far is too far. Turnout at the February 11 rally could provide an indication.
Here are the groups supporting the rally so far: the Aboriginal Housing Company, Alex Avenue Residents Action Group, Anti-Transmission Tower Action Group, Coalition Against Private Overdevelopment, Hands Off Private Property, Friends of Ku-ring-gai Environment, Keep Our Property Private, Land and Asset Protection Group, Marsden Park Schedule Lands, North-Western Railway Alignment Injustice Lobby, Property Rights Association (NSW), Rally Ku-ring-gai, Riverstone Release Area Scheduled Lands, Rouse Hill Heights Action Group, and Save Our Suburbs.
Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.
Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists
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