Sunday, April 20, 2008

Further reports announced by climate-change panel

Surely we'll all have fried, or drowned, or gone past Hansen's 'tipping points' by 2014, so what's the point!? The meeting is also surely unnecessary because the science is settled. Because the science is settled we should suspend all further government expenditures on climate science including funding to the IPCC!

The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will be out by 2014, IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri announced last week in Budapest. The report from the first working group will come out in 2013, however, so that its findings can be incorporated more fully into the reports from the second and third working groups.

At its planning meeting, the IPCC also released a smaller report on the effects of climate change on water supplies worldwide. In addition, the agency plans to produce a special report on renewable energy, which is expected to be released in 2010.


Global warming? Scotland sees its best snow in a decade

The restaurant at the top of the mountain is packed, though the queues are not for tartiflette or omelette savoyarde but for the distinctly un-haute cuisine of haggis and neeps and tatties. In the shop by the funicular railway, Loch Ness Monster books and goat’s- milk soap from a local crofter are on sale next to ski goggles and thermal leggings. The weather forecast — “Some buffeting on higher slopes” — sounds particularly Scottish, while the signs for the “Cairngorm Poo Project”, an initiative to cut human waste left by walkers, would be hard to imagine in Courchevel or Val d’Isere.

Only a year after experiencing its worst season, the CairnGorm Mountain resort near Aviemore is defying the doomsayers of global warming and predictions of its demise. The car park is full and the slopes busy. When the sun comes out, it is almost warm. After several weeks of decent snowfalls, the spring skiing conditions are, according to everyone who knows, the best in living memory. The resort has even run out of up-to-date piste maps, and has had to advertise for extra staff because many of its seasonal workers have already left.

The snow in Scotland is so good that at least two of its five resorts are expecting to extend the season into May. It may be just temporary, but for the moment the Great British Ski Resort is back in business. “Yesterday I had a business appointment at the bank in the morning, but after work I was ski touring until 8 in the evening,” says Bob Kinnair, 54, chief executive of CairnGorm and a former head of the British Association of Ski Instructors. “It was just me and a mountain hare. I’ve been skiing here for 30 years but these are the best spring conditions I can remember.” He adds: “It’s an extraordinary position for Scottish skiing to be in heading for the end of April in this century. We were open for skiing on December 1 and we’re expecting to be open on May 1, which will take us into our sixth month.”

Despite the snow cover — at least a metre has fallen at the top (altitude 3,600ft, or 1,097m) — skiing in Scotland remains a unique experience. The piste names — Over Yonder, M2 and Side Slope — have a prosaic charm of their own. Bright orange signs highlight rocks and streams, while fences at the side of slopes prevent the snow from being blown too far by strong winds. This week, after a fresh dusting of snow on Tuesday, conditions remained surprisingly good. Despite a fair bit of “buffeting” (just 30mph when The Times visited — a good day) and sub-zero temperatures, there was fresh powder to be had in the bowls and gullies surrounding the 37km of groomed runs. Only a few weeks ago it was possible to ski all the way down to the lower car park, an event so rare that it was described as a “once-in-a- generation experience”.

CairnGorm’s target of 51,000 skier days was passed two weeks ago, and it should now comfortably exceed 60,000, with many travelling up from England. Although this is still nothing like the 150,000-200,000 skier days enjoyed by the resort in its prime 30 years ago, it represents a dramatic increase on last year’s 38,000. The improvement in conditions means that CairnGorm can expect to make a small profit this year, though most of that money will be reinvested in the resort infrastructure and used to service bank overdrafts. After just about breaking even for half a dozen years, the resort made a loss of £200,000 last year, raising serious questions about its future and the viability of Scottish skiing.

Scotland’s four other resorts have all enjoyed good conditions this year. Iain Hayes, 22, from Aviemore, who has been skiing in Scotland since he was 3, said yesterday: “These are the best conditions I can remember for ten years. The cover is incredible. It’s opened up the whole mountain.”


"Global warming" scores a ZERO in the latest ABC News poll

Post below recycled from Tom Nelson. See the original for links. Voters asked "What is the single most important issue in your choice for President?" Global Warming got exactly a "0" in response.

From page six here:

"Peak Oil" takes another hit: "Biggest discovery in decades"

A number of news outlets are reporting this morning that Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, has made a second major find after the discovery of the Tupi field last autumn. Bloomberg reports:
Repsol YPF SA posted its biggest gain in Madrid trading and BG Group Plc climbed to a record in London after the Brazilian government said the Carioca oil field offshore Brazil may be the third-largest ever drilled. [...] The Carioca field may hold 33 billion barrels of oil, Haroldo Lima, director of Brazil's National Oil Agency, said at a seminar in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. Brazil holds an estimated 12 billion barrels of crude reserves, South America's second-largest deposit behind Venezuela, according to London-based BP Plc. Should the 33 billion-barrel estimate for Carioca be confirmed by additional drilling, Brazil's reserves would then surpass those of Libya.

One has a feeling that this gusher won't be the last. Brazil has only barely begun exploring off its coast, and has already found two huge fields. What else is out there?


Australia: Another Greenie false prophecy

Post below lifted from Tim Blair. See the original for links


Perth will become a ghost city within decades as rising global temperatures turn the wheatbelt into a desert and drive species to the brink of extinction, a leading Australian scientist warns. Australian paleontologist and popular author Tim Flannery said Perth was a city on the edge - isolated, dependent on energy and declining water supplies and more likely to feel the effects of global warming ...


Perth remains on track to break the record for the wettest April ever recorded ... Before today, persistent lows have soaked the city with 107.8mm of rain since the start of the month and only 41mm of rain needs to fall to break the 1926 April record of 148.8mm.

The president warms

Some very skeptical comments included in the WASHINGTON TIMES EDITORIAL below

We are all global-warming alarmists now. President Bush's speech yesterday outlining the goal of halting the growth of greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States by 2025 runs the unusual gauntlet of promising something the private sector will probably deliver on its own - witness the spontaneous rise of "carbon offsets" and green investing - while also kicking the intellectual legs out from under a defensible conservative position on climate change.

To be sure, the president's position is parsimonious by Al Gore's standards. It omits a cap-and-trade scheme; it is much less ambitious than the coming Senate proposal, which targets 2012 for the same emissions goals; it shuns tax increases; it strives to remain technologically feasible on today's terms, unlike many others; and it urges Congress, not bureaucrats, to hash out national policy on the subject.

But it also guts what remains of the executive branch's conservative possibilities on the subject of global warming. The strongest conservative position on global warming is as follows: Climate change is happening, always has happened and always will; humans contribute to it to some unknown degree; a hysterical U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has leapt far ahead of the science, and, in its politicized discredit, should be ignored; climate policy is to be determined by elected officials, not unaccountable technocrats; it is surely worth society's efforts to fund, study and develop realistic alternatives to fossil fuels in the event that the man-made impact turns out to be significant - this is advisable for security reasons also; the leading liberal proposals are simply too expensive; and, crucially, forcible mandates are harmful. Productive government attention to technical and scientific problems always more readily resembles the efforts of the National Institutes of Health, ARPANET (the Internet precursor) or the Manhattan Project than mere decrees. Technological research and innovation are the best means of harnessing ingenuity to solve mankind's technical, scientific and environmental problems.

The administration has ceded this intellectually and morally defensible high ground by acting as though the alarmists are correct on first principles while also declining to deliver the platform suggested by those principles. It is weak and tepid. Since this president could easily be the last Republican occupant of the Oval Office for some time - and the viable presidential candidates are all global-warming alarmists - that is significant.

As the Bush administration seems to regard things, the aim is to build a system with this last point in mind: One that does not bankrupt the economy or harm consumers unduly. Some kind of greenhouse-gas emissions framework is needed now, spokesmen argue, to ward off an economically disastrous plan under a President Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John McCain.

We're glad to hear that Republicans still consider spending restraint and a working economy to be governing priorities. But we've already seen the results of such an approach. Over the last several years, key industries and their lobbyists have endorsed and helped develop various global-warming schemes on the premise that this train has already left the station. They must get on board, or they will be left behind. This may be true in the most immediate short-term self-serving sense for a given industry or company. It is to be expected as lobbyists maximize influence in Washington. But this simply fast-forwards the debate ahead of unresolved scientific and economic questions - where it belongs - and drives it prematurely into public policy, where it threatens disaster.

The new Bush initiative doesn't fit well in the final months of a conservative White House administration seeking to solidify its legacy.


Global Warming: The Hidden Assumption

On the face of it, there is no obvious reason why making the world a few degrees warmer would be a bad thing. Yet many people regard global warming not merely as a random element that might make things better or worse but as something obviously bad and obviously worth going to a lot of effort to prevent. Part of the reason, I think, is an unstated assumption-that, absent human intervention, climate is stable. Given that assumption it seems natural enough to worry about the destabilizing effect of human action, such as increases in carbon dioxide. We know the present situation is tolerable; who knows what change might bring?

That assumption is contradicted by massive geological evidence. As my geologist wife likes to point out, at various points in the past million years England has gone from being warm enough for hippos to live there to being buried under a mile of ice. And while the major glaciations are spaced out at intervals of about a hundred thousand years, they are separated by multiple smaller swings in climate. Looking at an even shorter time scale, it looks as though more than half of the temperature increase from 1600 to the present, at least in Europe, was merely bringing the temperature back up to where it was in 1100, before the start of the little ice age.

If earth's climate is inherently unstable, with or without human interference, the argument that we should play safe by not interfering looks a lot weaker.

All of which raises a factual question to which I think I know the answer but am not sure. If we consider global warming in the context not of the effect of human action but of past swings in climate, which is more dangerous-the hot or the cold end of the range? Given that the cold end involved glaciers covering much of North America and northern Europe, my guess is that it is worse, but I don't have any very detailed idea of just how hot the hot end got, and where.


A foolish overreaction to climate change

By Nigel Lawson

Over the past five years I have become increasingly concerned at the scaremongering of the climate alarmists, which has led the governments of Europe to commit themselves to a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, regardless of the economic cost of doing so. The subject is such a complex one, involving science, economics and politics in almost equal measure, that to do it justice I have written a book, albeit a short one, thoroughly referenced and sourced. But the bare bones are clear.

First, given the so-called greenhouse effect, the marked and largely man-made increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the earth's atmosphere has no doubt contributed to the modest 20th century warming of the planet. But what remains a matter of unresolved dispute among climate scientists is how great a contribution it has made, compared with the natural factors affecting the earth's climate.

The majority view among climate scientists, as set out in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is that "most" of the slight (0.5§C) warming in the last quarter of the 20th century was "very likely" caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions. On that basis, and relying on computer models, its "best guess" of the likely rise in mean global temperature over the next 100 years is between 1.8§C and 4§C.

These projections were made, incidentally, before the recent acknowledgement that so far this century there has been no further global warming at all - in spite of a continuing rapid rise in carbon emissions.

Be that as it may, the IPCC goes on to estimate what the impact of the projected warming would be. It does so on the explicit basis of two assumptions. The first is that, while the developed world can adapt to warming, the developing world lacks the capacity to do so. The second is that, even in the developed world, adaptive capacity is constrained by the limits of existing technology - that is to say, there will be no further technological development over the next 100 years.

The first, distinctly patronising, assumption is almost certainly false. But even it were true it would mean only that, should the need arise, overseas aid programmes would be tailored to ensure that the developing world did acquire the necessary adaptive capacity. The second is self-evidently absurd, not least in the case of food production, given the ongoing developments in bio-engineering and genetic modification.

It is, however, on this flawed basis that the IPCC reckons that, if the rise in global temperature over the next 100 years is as much as 4§C, it would be likely to cost anything between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of global gross domestic product, albeit much more than this in the developing world and less in the developed world.

Even if that were so, what would it mean? Suppose the loss to the developing world were as much as 10 per cent of GDP, then - given the IPCC's economic growth assumptions, on which its emissions assumptions, and hence its warming assumptions, are based- it would imply that, by 2100 or thereabouts, people in the developing world, instead of being some 9.5 times as well off as they are today, would be "only" some 8.5 times as well off - which would still leave them better off than people in the developed world today. This, then, is the scale of the alleged threat to the planet - based, to repeat, on the IPCC's grossly inflated estimate of the likely damage from further warming, arising from its absurdly gloomy view of mankind's ability to adapt.

Indeed, given that warming produces benefits as well as costs, it is far from clear that for the people of the world as a whole, the currently projected warming, even if it occurs, would cause any net harm at all. By contrast, slowing down world economic growth, by shifting to much more expensive non-carbon sources of energy, would be massively costly, as Dieter Helm, Britain's foremost energy economist, has recently spelt out.

That is one good reason why the sought-after global agreement to cut back drastically on carbon dioxide emissions, embracing China, India and the other major developing countries, is not going to happen. But two very real dangers remain. The first is that the European Union, which already has the bit between its teeth on this issue, will severely damage its own economy by deciding to set an example to the world. And the second is that it will seek to limit that damage, as President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and others are already urging, by imposing trade barriers against those countries that are not prepared to accept mandatory cuts in their emissions.

A lurch into protectionism, and the rolling back of globalisation, would do far more damage to the world economy in general and to the developing countries in particular than could conceivably result from the projected resumption of global warming. It is high time this folly ended.



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 is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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