Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A sane moonbat?

A good email from a British reader:

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

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

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

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

Philosopher Keith Burgess Jackson makes a similar point to the above

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here

WE are to blame for China's pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Three cheers for China's `economic miracle'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Australia: The market is the solution to water shortages

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Monday, July 30, 2007

The jatropha gold-rush

It will of course eventually be found to give people cancer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


In defence of golf (really)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Windpower, union stupidity and green lies

Comment from Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Global warming policies for mass poverty

Comment from Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Sunday, July 29, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Green hypocrites

Post lifted from Don Surber.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Biased Greenie TV show on Australian public broadcaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Yes, global warming really is man-made

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

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

The physical process of data acquisition

The computational process of Data handling

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

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

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

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

Here is the satellite record:

While here is the surface record:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here

Neighbors Say Laurie David A Raging Ecomaniac

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global cooling still hitting Peru

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Friday, July 27, 2007

Renewable energy wrecks environment, scientist claims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tangerine offsets

Post lifted from Don Surber.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chim Chim: “What about the bananas?”

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Post lifted from Newsbusters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Thursday, July 26, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hillary dodges nuclear waste storage issue

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Greens' energy tax would destroy the Australian economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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