Friday, July 11, 2008

Which is it? Global warming caused by more smog or by less smog?

Don't laugh. It's easy: To a Greenie, EVERYTHING is bad and causes global warming

1) Study links global warming to more smog

Excerpt: U.S. environmental regulators quietly published a draft study on Thursday that linked global warming to higher levels of smog that could harm human health, a report green groups said stood in contrast to the Bush Administration's slow movement on climate change.


2) Study links global warming to less smog

Excerpt: Goodbye air pollution and smoky chimneys, hello brighter days. That's been the trend in Europe for the past three decades - but unfortunately cleaning up the skies has allowed more of the sun's rays to pierce the atmosphere, contributing to at least half the warming that has occurred.


Cowardly NASA "climatologist" refuses to defend global warming in a debate with an expert

Al Gore dodges expert debate too. Even here in Australia, a big-shot Greenie (Prof. Ian Lowe) dodged public debate with me last year. They all know that speculation is all that they have behind them. Note: Chief alarmist Hansen is NOT a climatologist -- JR

Dr. James Hansen, NASA climatologist and major figure in the debate on global climate change, recently refused a paid invitation to speak and debate at the College about his positions on global warming. Braum Katz ('09) -- secretary for the College's Department of Student Rights, director of the newly-created William and Mary Society for Academic Freedom and Diversity and Informer writer -- invited Mr. Hansen via e-mail.

Mr. Hansen was one of the first individuals to discuss the potential impact of global climate change, speaking before Congress in 1988 to that effect. He has been in the media spotlight recently, saying that oil executives who are spreading "misinformation" about global warming should be tried for "crimes against humanity and nature," as reported by various media outlets. He likened oil executives denying global warming to tobacco executives who denied the link between cancer and the use of their products. Mr. Hansen recently told The Associated Press that as far as global climate change is concerned, "this is the last chance."

The invitation to speak at the College came after Mr. Katz contacted Dr. Patrick Michaels, who is a vocal global warming skeptic, former American Association of State Climatologists-designated climatologist at the University of Virginia and also a fellow at the Cato Institute. Mr. Michaels said he would be interested in speaking and debating at William and Mary about his oft-criticized positions denying the significance of global climate change. His UVA faculty Web site reads, "My research.leads me to believe that the next decade will see the emergence of a paradigm of 'robust earth,' as opposed to the fashionable 'fragility' concept..It is entirely possible that human influence on the atmosphere is not necessarily deleterious and that it is simply another component of the dynamic planet."

Mr. Katz, as director of the new student group hoping to expand academic and intellectual diversity, was looking to create a debate between Messrs. Hansen and Michaels, giving both the opportunity to defend and explain their views in a public forum. "For this fall," Mr. Katz wrote in his e-mail to Mr. Hansen, "we are hoping to host a debate on global climate change and its implications. Patrick Michaels has agreed to come, and my organization would like you to come and debate Dr. Michaels in Williamsburg. The date is very flexible, and we can tailor the day of the debate completely to your schedule. We will be able to pay for your travel expenses and offer you an honorarium for your time. Please let me know if you would be interested."Mr. Hansen's response was, simply, "not interested."

His reply -- devoid of any salutation, punctuation, capitalization or signature -- came an hour after Mr. Katz sent his original e-mail. "I was truly taken aback by Dr. Hansen's refusal to debate Dr. Michaels," said Mr. Katz. "I gave Dr. Hansen a blank check to come to the College, and still he refused. Dr. Hansen's suggestion that oil executives who advance global warming skepticism be tried for 'crimes against humanity' and subsequent refusal to debate one of the most prominent academic skeptics is suspicious and unfortunate, to say the least. I still continue to hope that Dr. Hansen realizes the error of his decision and does eventually decide to debate Dr. Michaels. The William and Mary community deserves an open and honest debate about the implications of climate change."


Our leaders are in carbon-cloud cuckoo land

By Christopher Booker, commenting from Britain

For a perfect example of what is meant by "gesture politics" - an empty pledge given solely for effect, which the politician has no hope of honouring - one could not do better than this week's commitment by the G8 leaders on how they want us to fight climate change. Sitting on their cloud-wreathed Japanese mountain top, they solemnly agreed that, to halt global warming, their countries would aim by 2050 to halve their emissions of carbon dioxide.

A tiny indication of the fact that they didn't really have a clue what they were talking about was a slip by Japan's prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, when he had to be corrected for announcing that the CO2 cut would be measured from "1990 levels". Even when he amended this to "present-day levels", he was merely spouting empty words into the oriental air.

Three things make this aspiration by the leaders of the world's "eight richest countries" not just vainglorious grandstanding, but positively dangerous. The first is that, as well as having no idea how they could achieve such an absurdly ambitious target, they may inflict immeasurable damage on their economies just by trying to do so.

One after another, it is becoming clear that all the costly measures so far proposed to cut carbon emissions are pie-in-the-sky. The drive for "renewable" sources of energy, such as building thousands of wind turbines, is turning out to be little more than self-deception (the combined output of all the 2,000 wind turbines so far built in Britain is less than that of a single, medium-sized, gas-fired power station).

Even the environmentalists have realised that biofuels are a farce, needing more CO2 to produce than they save. The EU's much-vaunted "emissions trading scheme", so far costing us all an estimated $80 billion, has not resulted in any reductions of CO2 emissions whatever.

If the G8's leaders genuinely wanted to cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent over the next 40 years, this would mean taking steps they haven't even begun to contemplate. It would require such a drastic cut in our energy use and standard of living that their peoples would have risen up in mass revolt long before the target was reached. And nothing better shows up the unreality of all this - as President Bush tried to point out in the summit's only flash of honesty - than the fact that China (not represented at the G8, although it now has the world's fourth largest economy) is already putting out more CO2 than anyone else. As it builds two new coal-fired power stations a week, China has no more intention than India of joining the Western economic suicide club.

The second reason why this infatuation with cutting carbon emissions is beginning to look extraordinarily reckless is that the whole scientific theory on which it is based now appears distinctly questionable. The orthodox global-warming thesis, accepted by pretty well every politician in the Western world, but not by a growing number of scientists, is that, as CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, so too should global temperatures. Unless we can drastically reduce those CO2 levels, the world is thus threatened with catastrophe.

In the past year or two, however, evidence has been piling up to suggest that there may be a fundamental flaw in this theory. Even though atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise to levels not seen since the distant geological past, temperatures have not been following suit. After 2000 the global temperature curve flattened out at a level significantly lower than the freak year 1998, and in recent months temperatures have dropped to levels not seen since the early 1980s.

Despite the best efforts of the global-warming lobby to keep the scare going, the northern hemisphere enjoyed its coldest winter for decades, and this summer has shown the curve sinking even lower. Even the warmists are having to find excuses for the fact that their theory doesn't exactly seem to be holding up, conceding that the next 10 years may see a period of global cooling, before the "underlying warming trend" returns worse than ever.

Other scientists point out that, rather than look to CO2 for an explanation of global temperatures, a much more convincing link can be seen in the activity of the sun, with current sunspot levels having dramatically fallen to levels associated with historic periods of global cooling recorded in the past.

Yet just when such huge question marks are being raised over the "CO2 equals warming" theory, our politicians have swallowed it whole, as an act of blind faith - using it to justify such massive costs to our economy that our whole way of life seems destined to change significantly for the worse.

The third respect in which all this is becoming seriously dangerous applies specifically to us here in Britain. While Gordon Brown prattles about wind turbines, and plays silly games for the cameras with electric cars, Britain within a few years is facing the near certainty of a massive shortfall in our electricity supplies. By 2015, thanks to the obsolescence of our nuclear power plants and the forced closure of nine of our major coal and oil-fired power stations under EU anti-pollution rules, we are due to lose 40 per cent of our current generating capacity - and Mr Brown hasn't the slightest practical idea of how to fill the gap.

Forget the nonsense about a 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. Our Government has already committed Britain to go even further, by imposing a statutory cut of 60 per cent through its Climate Change Bill. But long before that, unless those who rule us come down out of cloud cuckoo land very fast, our lights will go out, our computers will shut down, our economy will judder to a halt and we shall face a national catastrophe. We may well be meeting that 60 per cent target sooner than we think - but not for reasons that reflect well on our politicians, of any party.


Nonsensical agreement fools no-one

(But a lot of skeptics are quietly chuckling)

As G8 leaders trumpeted their landmark deal to cut global emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, the '50/50' agreement, which has yet to be sealed, was quickly lambasted by environmentalists as virtually meaningless.

Meeting for the second day at a luxury mountain resort overlooking Lake Toyako, in the northern island of Hokkaido, the heads of state and government of the world's seven richest countries plus Russia turned their minds to the global economic slowdown, spiraling food and oil prices and the need to boost aid to Africa. But they were also under intense pressure to make real progress on the climate change front.

Having failed to agree on medium-term cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, they issued a statement saying they would "consider and adopt" the goal of achieving "at least (a) 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050." Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Union's executive body, the European Commission, said he was "very happy about the results of the G8 on climate change." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they had made "clear progress." "This is a significant step forward from Heiligendamm," Merkel told reporters, referring to last year's G8 meeting which she hosted in the northern German spa town. "This means that the international community will no longer get off the hook," she said.

However, South Africa's environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the G8 had made no progress at all in stabilising the planet. "As it is expressed in the G8 statement, the long-term goal is an empty slogan without substance," he said. The G8 deal was full of ambiguity.

Senior Japanese official Koji Tsuruoka said the long-term goal should be seen as a "political vision" without a clear base year and that it is not legally binding. But pressure groups and scientists said the leaders were merely burying their heads in the sand. Opponents scathing of G8's empty words James Hansen, one of the world's most respected climate scientists, slammed the summit's outcome as "worse than worthless." The leaders "are taking actions that guarantee that we deliver to our children climate catastrophes that are out of our control," he told reporters. "While the Arctic is melting, the G8 are postponing action.

Instead of climate protection, the world got nothing but flowery words," said Greenpeace's Daniel Mittler. "If this is a step forward, we will never prevent climate chaos in time." "The Texas oilman has once again prevented the G8 from undergoing the energy revolution it needs," Mittler said. "Bush is a lame duck, so who cares what he thinks about 2050?"

Oxfam International said that the G8's '50 by 50' climate goal left the world with a "50/50 chance of a climate meltdown." The charity called Tuesday's announcement "another stalling tactic that does nothing to lower the risk faced by millions of poor people right now."

Base measurement year missing from agreement

Critics pointed out that not only does the deal still need to be endorsed by the rest of the world, possibly at a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen next year; it also doesn't contain a base year on which to measure the cuts. This is because no agreement was reached among the G8 leaders. While the EU had suggested using 1990 as a base, Canada called for a much more recent date, while host Japan made no suggestions at all.

Moreover, Russia said it would sign up to the deal, but only if it was not legally binding. "It's unprecedented and it is quite unrealistic that one government should take responsibility for something 42 years ahead," said Alexander Pankin, a Russian foreign ministry official.

As Ben Wikler of, a pressure group, noted, by the time 2050 comes US President George W Bush will be 104 and Japan's premier, Yasuo Fukuda, will be 114. UNFCCC chief criticizes 50-50 deal UN climate change chief Yvo de Boer joined the debate, saying that the G8 summit goal of halving global warming emissions by 2050 was too distant and too vague.

More here

Malthus is still wrong

The price of staples like corn, wheat, and rice are escalating, indicating that demand is outstripping supplies. Why? Because of political and economic institutional failures, not overpopulation. First, let's deal with the claim that human population, like the populations of all other animals, expands as food supplies increase. On a global level that certainly looks plausible. As the amount of food increased over the last century, world population rose from 1.5 billion in 1900 to 6.6 billion today. Case closed?

Not so fast. Consider that countries with the highest food security are also the same countries with below replacement total fertility rates. If the availability of food was the chief determinant of birth rates, then one would expect Iowa farmers would spawn more kids than any group on the planet. Instead, it is countries in which food insecurity is greatest that have the highest total fertility rates. As an empirical fact, as people become wealthier and better fed, they tend to bear fewer children. Well-fed human beings can evidently override the genetic programming that drives other animals to turn more food into more offspring.

How much food is there right now? Enough to feed 10 billion vegetarians. One oft-heard argument is that increased Chinese prosperity is driving up meat consumption, which is diverting grain into livestock production. It takes about eight pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and 2.5 pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken. It is true that Chinese meat consumption is soaring, but China has produced nearly all of the extra grain it needs to grow its burgeoning numbers of livestock. In fact, China remains a net exporter of grains. Chinese corn yields an average of 82 bushels per acre compared 150 bushels per acre in the United States. In other words, Chinese yields could nearly double using already existing technologies. In addition, crop biotech leader Monsanto predicts that corn yields will double to 300 bushels per acre by 2030.

So what is driving up global food prices? Joachim von Braun, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), points to high oil prices which have "made agricultural production more expensive by raising the cost of mechanical cultivation, inputs like fertilizers and pesticides, and transportation of inputs and outputs."

In addition, biofuel mandates in the United States and Europe are diverting food into fuel and boosting the price of feedstock crops like corn. So, on the demand side, higher corn prices cause food consumers to shift to rice and wheat. On the supply side, higher corn prices cause farmers to reduce rice and wheat production in favor of corn. These shifts in demand and supply have tended to boost the price of rice and wheat and other crops. IFPRI estimates that increased biofuel demand accounts for 30 percent of the increase in weighted average grain prices.

In response to higher food prices, several major food-producing countries have instituted export bans on various agricultural commodities. Export controls shrink the size of the market and reduce domestic prices to farmers. Of course, reduced prices signal farmers to produce less. For example, China has banned rice and maize exports, and India has banned exports of rice and pulses. Argentina has raised export taxes on soybeans, maize, wheat, and beef, and Ethiopia and Tanzania have banned exports of major cereals. In addition, Benin, China, Malaysia, and Senegal have imposed price controls on some staples. Price controls are especially damaging because they strongly discourage farmers from increasing their production. IFPRI estimates that "the elimination of export bans will stabilize grain price fluctuations, reduce price levels by as much as 30 percent, and enhance the efficiency of agricultural production." Clearly eliminating subsidies for biofuel production in developed countries and export controls in developing countries would go a long way towards easing the world food crisis.

A longer-term problem is that decades of rising food security have led to cutbacks in both public and private agricultural research focused on boosting yields. Since 1980, rich donor countries have cut their support for agricultural research and development for poor countries from $6 billion to $2.8 billion. Other bad policies have contributed substantially to the current food crisis. For example, most governments in sub-Saharan Africa have underinvested in farm-to-market roads and in agricultural research, while also imposing high import taxes on fertilizer and modern high-yielding seed, price controls, and bans on genetically enhanced crops. Making the heroic assumption that if sub-Saharan governments "fulfill their commitments," IFPRI estimates that spending an additional $14 billion per year could boost African agricultural production by 7.5 percent annually through 2015.

Finally, the world food crisis could have the highly beneficial effect of jumpstarting the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations. High food prices could serve as the impetus for eliminating damaging food market distortions such as rich country farm subsidies and poor country protective tariffs.

The current world food crisis is not the long predicted signal of Malthusian overpopulation. Instead, it is the result of political Malthusianism, that is, a series of government policy failures that are preventing farmers from growing the food demanded by the world's hungry billions.


Australian Dire Climate Change Predictions Just a Fantasy?

Post below recycled from Agmates, an Australian rural publication

Last weekend Senior weather forecasters Predicted the best soaking rains for 2008.

"We've been watching several computer simulations for the past few days and they are indicating that some of the best rain for 2008 is likely next week, and this is forecast to fall over some of our worst drought affected areas," Mr Whitaker said in a statement.

"Widespread rainfall totals of 25 to 50mm are likely over large areas of western Queensland, western NSW, northern Victoria and South Australia from Monday to Friday.

Well this is where the rain fell.

Rainfall to 10th July

The map above is from the Bureau of Meteorology from the 1st to 10th of July. Areas that received over 25mls (1 inch) are green. You can see for yourself how accurate these prediction were just a few days out. They were wrong - what a surprise.

Apparently the scientists can’t be accurate 3 days out, but 30 years from now they can. What a ridiculous assumption / conclusion that is.

Each day we hear of the dire predictions for our rainfall and temperature in 20-30 and 50 years time. We are expected to take this computer modeling seriously (and unbelievably State and Federal governments are) when they aren’t even remotely accurate just days ahead.

Climatologist Stewart Franks an expert in hydro-climatic variability at the University of Newcastle in NSW said scenarios set out by Ross Garnaut in his Emission Trading Scheme recommendations were simply wrong. He said

“The whole idea that you can say that by 2030 or 2040 rainfall will be a certain percentage less is a complete nonsense because it ignores the natural variability,”

Read all that Stewart had to say in an article in this weeks Australian Newspaper. Garnaut scenario ’simply wrong’

New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa caused a stir this week when he called parts of Professor Garnaut’s report “Chicken Little arguments” (You know -The Sky is falling”) In his column in the Australian he says:

“For example, claims from some quarters that the Great Barrier Reef would be destroyed if Australia, which emits less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gases, does not adopt an ETS are patent nonsense.

Chicken Little arguments are no substitute for getting right the important details on issues of far-reaching consequence.”

Photo 2: Below is a BOM map showing the % of rainfall received across Australia for the last 2 years compared to the mean.

Photo of BOM rain percentages

Federal agriculture minister Tony Burke (pictured below) earlier this month released a joint assessment by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO. In particular, the study found exceptionally high temperatures would occur almost yearly, while low rainfall would almost double in frequency from current figures. He said:

Photo of Tony Burke“While this is a scientific report, parts of these high level projections read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report.”

“What’s clear is that the cycle of drought is going to be more regular and deeper than ever.”

Minister Burke even though he was being serious is quiet correct. It is just science fiction.

Finally, lets keep it all in a bit of perspective. Heres the BOM map showing the area of Australia that is in drought for the last 2 years. To paraphrase Stewart Franks - we have seen it all before and we’ll see it all again. The good seasons and the bad.


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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