Friday, September 07, 2007


I wondered when the fruitcakes would get around to this. It took a British fruitcake

Israel is an apartheid state," was the most often-heard charge, closely followed by calls for a boycott. The West should cut its economic ties with the Jewish state, the speakers urged, and engage the "democratically elected" Islamists now running Gaza.

No, this was not a Hamas rally somewhere in the Palestinian territories. This was Brussels, where the European Parliament last week played host to the "United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace." If the conference title's inversion of the truth is reminiscent of Communist-style propaganda, this is no coincidence. The meeting was organized by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a Soviet-era body founded around the time of the 1975 U.N. "Zionism is racism" resolution.

That anti-Semitic resolution was revoked in 1991 but the committee continued its activities in the resolution's original spirit. Speaker after speaker at the European Parliament on Thursday and Friday presented the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from an exclusively Palestinian perspective. Israel was accused of human rights violations while Palestinian terrorism and incitement went unmentioned.

The delegates invoked the Israeli occupation as the underlying cause for the conflict without mentioning the Palestinian rejectionism and violence that prevent further Israeli withdrawals. The "right of return" of millions of Palestinians, which would lead to the demographic destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, was upheld despite the official claim to favor a two-state solution.

Amid this standard-Israel-bashing, a few delegates managed to come up with a few innovative charges against the Jewish state. There was Clare Short, a member of the British Parliament and Secretary for International Development under Prime Minister Tony Blair until she resigned in 2003 over the Iraq war. Claiming that Israel is actually "much worse than the original apartheid state" and accusing it of "killing (Palestinian) political leaders," Ms. Short charged the Jewish state with the ultimate crime: Israel "undermines the international community's reaction to global warming."

According to Ms. Short, the Middle East conflict distracts the world from the real problem: man-made climate change. If extreme weather will lead to the "end of the human race," as Ms. Short warned it could, add this to the list of the crimes of Israel.


BBC bows to demands for objectivity

The BBC has scrapped plans for "Planet Relief", a TV special on climate change

The decision comes after executives said it was not the BBC's job to lead opinion on climate change. Celebrities such as Ricky Gervais were said to be interested in presenting the show, which would have involved viewers in a mass "switch-off" to save energy. The BBC says it cut the special because audiences prefer factual output on climate change.

Environmentalists slammed the decision as "cowardice". "This decision shows a real poverty of understanding among senior BBC executives about the gravity of the situation we face," said activist and writer Mark Lynas.



Discussing: Xiong, W., Lin, E., Ju, H. and Xu, Y. 2007. "Climate change and critical thresholds in China's food security". Climatic Change 81: 205-221.

What was done

The authors used "the A2 (medium-high GHG emission pathway) and B2 (medium-low) climate change scenarios produced by the Regional Climate Model PRECIS, the crop model CERES, and socio-economic scenarios described by IPCC SRES, to simulate the average yield changes per hectare of three main grain crops (rice, wheat, and maize) at 50 km x 50 km scale" for the entire country of China.

What was learned

The four researchers from the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing report finding that "the yield per hectare for the three crops would fall consistently as temperature rises beyond 2.5øC." However, they also found that "when the CO2 fertilization effect was included in the simulation, there were no adverse impacts [our italics] on China's food production under the projected range of temperature rise (0.9-3.9C)."

What it means

If air temperatures continue to rise throughout the next few decades - for whatever reason - it would appear to be imperative that the air's CO2 concentration continue to rise right along with them; for only under such conditions will China, as well as most of the rest of the nations of the world, be able to adequately feed the larger numbers of people that will reside within their boundaries just a few decades hence, without usurping unconscionable amounts of land and freshwater resources from what could be called wild nature, which actions would inevitably lead to the extinctions of innumerable species of both plants and animals.


Abstract follows:

Climate change and critical thresholds in China's food security

By: Xiong, Weil et al.

Identification of `critical thresholds' of temperature increase is an essential task for inform policy decisions on establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets. We use the A2 (medium-high GHG emission pathway) and B2 (medium-low) climate change scenarios produced by the Regional Climate Model PRECIS, the crop model - CERES, and socio-economic scenarios described by IPCC SRES, to simulate the average yield changes per hectare of three main grain crops (rice, wheat, and maize) at 50 km x 50 km scale. The threshold of food production to temperature increases was analyzed based on the relationship between yield changes and temperature rise, and then food security was discussed corresponding to each IPCC SRES scenario. The results show that without the CO2 fertilization effect in the analysis, the yield per hectare for the three crops would fall consistently as temperature rises beyond 2.5 C; when the CO2 fertilization effect was included in the simulation, there were no adverse impacts on China's food production under the projected range of temperature rise (0.9-3.9 C). A critical threshold of temperature increase was not found for food production. When the socio-economic scenarios, agricultural technology development and international trade were incorporated in the analysis, China's internal food production would meet a critical threshold of basic demand (300 kg/capita) while it would not under A2 (no CO2 fertilization); whereas basic food demand would be satisfied under both A2 and B2, and would even meet a higher food demand threshold required to sustain economic growth (400 kg/capita) under B2, when CO2 fertilization was considered.

Climatic Change, Volume 81, Number 2, March 2007, pp. 205-221


Developing nations led by China and Southeast Asian states are resisting efforts by the US and Australia to forge a new framework for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, diplomats said Wednesday. Sharp disagreements over a statement on climate change to be issued at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here have highlighted the divisions, said the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has put climate change high on the summit's agenda, proposing a new approach that would veer away from the Kyoto Protocol, the main international treaty on climate change. The Kyoto accord expires in 2012 and the APEC summit is one of a series of meetings at which plans for a post-Kyoto agreement on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions behind global warming are being discussed.

Australia and the US have rejected Kyoto on the grounds that it does not commit developing countries such as China and India to the same sort of emissions cuts as industrialized nations. Howard has proposed a 'new template' after 2012 calling on developing nations do more to cut their emissions. This has met with robust opposition from developing states, who accuse Australia of undermining the Kyoto accord and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

An Indonesian diplomat said Australia should allow the UNFCC to take the lead in planning strategies for the post-Kyoto world. The UNFCC is holding its meeting in Bali in December. 'We don't want any duplication of the UN framework. There should be no action plans in the [leaders'] statement' at the APEC summit, the diplomat said. A senior official said he and his colleagues from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met Monday to coordinate their positions on a climate change statement. 'We're saying that for the purpose of the leaders' statement, you don't have to include the action agenda,' the official said. 'It should be a short statement and straightforward. They should not put in too many details.'

The ASEAN officials also insisted that the UNFCC should remain as the main framework for any post-Kyoto plan. 'China supports the ASEAN bloc,' he said. China, one of the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, has said it should not be expected to take drastic action because it needs to focus on lifting more Chinese out of poverty through economic growth.

But Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer urged developing nations to accept that they have to do more to cut gas emissions while addressing poverty. 'We should try to take a more inclusive view of addressing the issue of greenhouse gas emissions,' he told a news conference. 'Hopefully, through APEC, we will be able to make some progress in changing the paradigms of how the whole issue of climate change is addressed, but I have no illusions of that being easy,' he said.



The debate over global warming has taken a pretty odd twist in Northern California. Up on Mount Shasta, the glaciers are not behaving like you'd expect. Big mountains often produce their own weather patterns. Mount Shasta, at 14,162 feet seems to have a mind of its own these days. Shasta has seven glaciers. The biggest is the one on the middle, Whitney Glacier. What has surprised scientists about the glacier is that if the theories about global warming are true, the glacier ought to be shrinking, but it's not. "Unlike most areas around the world, these glaciers are advancing, they are growing. Thirty percent in the last fifty years," says scientist Erik White.

White and mountain climber Chris Carr are Shasta experts. "Every year it's a little bit different. But the glacier changes dramatically, year to year," says Carr. So why are the glaciers larger today than they were a century or more ago? "Mount Shasta is right at the very northern end of areas influenced by El Nino and we're at the southern end of areas affected by La Nina. So between the two we get to see the benefits of that which means more snow and rain in this area," says White.

Snow scientists have been tracking the glaciers' size by comparing photos from a century ago to those taken decades later, and then using satellite data and computer modeling to determine the rate of growth. Those models predict Shasta will continue to receive more than normal snowfall, but if the temperature continues to rise, the glaciers will begin to recede.

For now, the growing glaciers are good news to the town of Mount Shasta which hosts the thousands of tourists who come to here to experience the thrill of ice climbing. You can climb mountain Shasta all the way to the glaciers to see for yourself, but, you'd better have good hiking equipment and be in good shape too!



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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