Monday, September 08, 2008

"Green" rules helped crash airliner

By Ray Massey

British pilots have called on regulators to reconsider some of the environmentally friendly requirements of planes, to prevent a repetition of the harrowing crash landing of a passenger jet at Heathrow in January. They said that green" rules demanding that planes burn less fuel could cause planes to crash, after investigators reported that a rush of ice crystals in fuel lines caused the British Airways accident, in which three passengers received minor injuries.

The ice choked off the fuel supply of the plane, which was carrying 135 passengers, less than a minute before the touchdown. The results of the eight-month investigation immediately sparked calls for world-wide safety checks.

David Reynolds, head of Britain's pilots' union, said: "These rules need to be looked at again. Fuel flow is an important factor in the safe running of an aircraft engine. With reduced burn, that means that less fuel is circulating, which makes it easier for water to separate and turn into ice "

Referring to the BA crash, Mr Reynolds said: "In this case, this was combined with very low temperatures and perhaps fuel which may have had a bit more water than usual - even though it complied with international standards. It was an unfortunate combination of circumstances but it does pose questions for all manufacturers, regulators and airlines.

In the wake of the incident, every long-haul passenger plane in the world faces strict new safety checks. They could also be ordered to fly at lower altitudes after investigators admitted they had no idea how many other planes may be vulnerable to the "previously unforeseen threat".

The investigators said they still did not know exactly how ice could have formed in the 777 - because it had not done so before during millions of flight hours. They now think a unique combination of three events conspired to create the conditions that choked off the fuel. They are:

* The length of time the fuel stayed in the tank at below freezing point in unusually cold weather over Siberia.

* The fact the plane was flying at a steady cruising speed and altitude for a long period, which allowed ice to form in the tank because it was using minimal fuel.

* The demand for a burst of fuel to the engines on landing, which went unmet as the ice blocked the pipes.

Emergency directives have been issued to all airlines, including BA, which operate Boeing 777s. They feature stop-gap measures to prevent a repeat of the conditions which led to the crash on January 17. This includes a requirement for planes to fly on maximum power mid-flight to prevent the long-term build up of ice in the tanks. One expert said, that in motoring terms, they have to "gun the accelerator", even when that is not necessary. Asking pilots to do this inevitably increased fuel consumption. With costs soaring, this may affect ticket prices.

The above report appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 7 September, 2008

Environmentalists can't corral Palin

By Dina Cappiello

Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has had frequent run-ins with environmentalists. At February's National Governors Association conference in Washington, where the Alaskan Governor first met her new boss John McCain, she was making her case to interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne against classifying the polar bear as a threatened species.

Months later she sued Mr Kempthorne, arguing that the Bush Administration didn't use the best science in concluding that. without further protection, the polar bear faced eventual extinction because of global warming causing sea ice to disappear. In her 20 months as Governor. she has also questioned the conclusions of federal marine scientists who say the Cook Inlet beluga whale needs protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

She has defended Alaska's right to shoot wolves from the air to boost caribou and moose herds for hunters and, contrary to a view held by Senator McCain. is not convinced that global warming is the result of human activity.

Environmentalists have nicknamed Governor Palin the "Killa from Wasilla". a reference to the small town where she was formerly mayor. "Her philosophy from our perspective is cut, kill, dig and drill," said John Toppenberg, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

While acknowledging that the climate is changing, Governor Palin expresses doubt as to whether emissions from human activities are the cause. Senator McCain supports legislation to reduce heat-trapping pollutants, primarily from burning oil and coal. "John McCain was all about global warming and the integrity of science. The selection of Sarah Palin is a complete reversal from that position," said Democratic Congressman Brad Miller, who went to the South Pole with Senator McCain to visit climate change scientists.

Supporters say Governor Palin, a self-described "hockey mom" (that's ice hockey) who knows how to shoot a gun and cut up a moose, is simply a reflection of her home state, where the extraction of oil, natural gas, gold, zinc, fish and other natural resources is the primary source of income and jobs.

The above report appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 7 September, 2008. There is an abbreviated version online here

Australian government climate assumptions proven to be hot air

By Piers Ackerman

No single issue better illustrates the Rudd Government's gross incompetence than its blindly ideological approach to the question of climate change. Fortunately, and perhaps accidentally, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's own hand-picked climate change guru, Professor Ross Garnaut, has now driven a truck through its principal argument.

In the 10 months since Rudd, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Environment Minister Peter Garrett have held office, the Government has constantly decried and denigrated as "irresponsible climate-change deniers" all who question their views. The snide use of the word "denier" to link sceptics with those who deny the actuality of the Holocaust is so obvious it hardly deserves mention. But its repeated usage is indicative of the gutter nature of the massive propaganda campaign waged by Rudd and his colleagues as they attempt to capitalise on their symbolic signing of the politically correct Kyoto Protocol.

Fixated with the flawed reports prepared by the totally partisan Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and falsely claiming there is a "consensus" among climate scientists that human activity is responsible for global warming, Rudd has pushed a warped agenda based on extraordinarily dubious modelling. And such an agenda can, in all reality, have no effect on the planet, let alone the behaviour of other nations.

For the whole of their period in office, federal Labor's mantra has been simple: the cost of doing nothing about climate change will be greater than the cost of doing something. Now, however, former foreign affairs mentor Professor Garnaut has revealed that mantra is false. First, though, let's look at Labor's determination to repeat that chorus, as captured by Hansard:
"All are familiar with the fact that the economic cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the economic cost of action on climate change" (Rudd, June 26).

"This government does understand that the cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the cost of action" (Swan, June 26).

"It is the case that the economic costs of inaction are greater than the costs of action" (Swan, June 24).

"Those of us on this side of the chamber understand that the economic costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of responsible action now" (Wong, June 24).

"On the question of emissions trading, we on this side of the House know a simple fact and it is this: the economic cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the economic cost of action on climate change" (Rudd, June 23).

"Australians recognise that tackling climate change will not be painless, but I think the Australian people have a very clear understanding that, as I said, the cost of inaction would be greater than the cost of responsible action now" (Wong, March 18).

"The fact of the matter is that it is the costs of inaction that outweigh the costs of action" (Garrett, March 17).

"And overall our view has long been, put in simple terms, that the costs of inaction on climate change are much greater than the costs of action" (Rudd, February 21).

"We on this side of the House recognise the costs of climate change and that the costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of action" (Swan, February 14).

But a comparison of tables taken from Professor Garnaut's July report and the paper he released on Friday shows that this is not so. In his July 4 draft, he stated that the cost of no mitigation - that is, if no action were taken on so-called greenhouse gases - would be minus 0.7 per cent of GDP in 2020. In his new paper he presents three scenarios for carbon-emission reductions by 2020.

At an "as-soon-as-possible" level of 450 ppm (parts per million) he says the cost would be minus 1.6 per cent of GDP.

At the "first best" conditional offer of 550 ppm the cost would be minus 1.1 per cent of GDP.

If a second-best "Copenhagen compromise" was followed, the cost would be minus 1.3 per cent of GDP.

It is highly revealing that in presenting his first specific trajectories and estimated costs of emissions reduction, Professor Garnaut has found that the cost of reducing emissions is greater than the cost of doing nothing - although that is not how he sold his paper. It is Rudd who is the denialist on the economics of climate change, if Professor Garnaut is to be believed. The costs of action outweigh the costs of inaction.

Rudd and Swan have already warned Australians they face increasing unemployment. To that must be added the costs of Labor's as-yet unspecific plans to deal with its over-hyped catastrophic view of climate change. Professor Garnaut's report indicates Labor's mantra on climate change to be false. Why does the ALP want to sacrifice the economy for a lie?


A troubling thought

Post below from a new skeptical blog: "Carbonated Climate"

Global warming alarmists exist today for one reason: to save the Earth. They go about doing this by calling for strict CO2 cuts, which in turn worsen the quality of life for everyone on the planet, but hey, they’re saving it, so who are we to complain about less money, comfort, and well being?

But have you ever paused to question whether these people really want the planet to stop heating up? Before you answermullthis over. The planet has stopped warming. We’ve been in a distinct cooling trend since 2002, despite ever rising CO2 levels. This does not mean that the Earth still won’t warm due to the accumulation of this greenhouse gas in the future (it has in the past, albeit modestly), but currently, for almost 7 years, it is not. This is a widely known fact. So the real question is this: why the hell aren’t those who predict doomsday rejoicing?

Should they not be ecstatic and overjoyed that the planet isn’t heating up? After all, they are the people that believe that all hell will break loose if the planet warms. So here the planet isn’t warming, and we haven’t even had to endure economic hardship! A double win, right? Unfortunately, no.

The obvious argument one could make is that this cooling is temporary, and by not acting now, we’re jeopardizing our future. This point does hold a bit of merit, but not much. There is no evidence of catastrophic climate change, and the last 7 years dampens those fears even more. However, the very least that should be expected is a consideration of this important cooling, and we have seen nothing of the sort.

That is becuase what the alarmists really want to do is change our way of life and gain political power. I am by no means the first to say this; hundreds have realized it before. With no climate crisis they have no means of getting their power and money. With no climate crisis, there is no avenue to criticize the American (read: prosperous) way of life. Never mind that the same people who demonize our country for its wastefulness and overconsumption don’t dare give up the benefits they get everyday from fossil fuels.

In any other issue, if a problem was being averted with no action taken, especially if that action had some very negative consequences, it would be reason for celebration. Only political issues react otherwise, because there is an agenda to push.

If you asked an alarmist the question, “If you could stop the Earth from warming and avoid taking the proposed policy changes, would you do it?” My guess is that most would say, “Of course I would.”(there are some who openly admit their distaste for Western lifestyle) However, the question posited above is occuring right now, and I have yet to see one alarmist or environmental group consider or even acknowledge it. Instead, they choose ignorance.

These alarmists and radical environmentalists would prefer that there be a problem, because then they can fulfill their goal to help pull you out of it. In other words, they are willing to sacrifice the welfare of some 6 billion people, because doing so benefits them and supports their worldview. That is the most troubling thing of all.


Summer has been one of Alaska's coldest

High temperatures this season were 3rd lowest on record

Those were the two July days the temperature at the offices of the National Weather Service in Anchorage hit 70 degrees or better. "Those temperatures occurred at the beginning of the month (of July) and were immediately followed by a long stretch of cool and wet weather. "With only two days above 70 degrees this year, that sets a new record for the fewest days to reach 70,'' the weather-watching agency reported Friday.

Add to the lack of heat and sunshine what the agency calls "an astonishing 77%" of days colder than normal, and you get the picture. This summer was every bit as bad as you thought it was. Gardens didn't grow. Salmon returned late. Bees didn't make honey. Swallows didn't breed. And the sunbathing, well, what sunbathing?

On average, Anchorage sees 16 days that hit 70 or better. Not this year. Not since 1980 has there been a summer less reflective of global warming than this one. Consider these 2008 benchmarks from the weather service that say this month won't be any better:

Over the course of the past 87 years, September temperatures have reached 70 only 17 times, and two of those 70-degree days came in the same year, according to the weather service. On average, a 70-degree September day comes along about once every five years, but those days also tend to come in warm years, not years like this one. Overall, the weather service ranks the summer of 2008 as having the third coolest average high temperatures since record keeping began. Only the summers of 1973 and 1971 were worse. In overall average daily temperatures, 2008 ranked 11th place.

All that stopped this summer from winning a place as coldest ever was, strangely enough, its cloudy grimness. "What seemed like endless days of cloud cover kept the daytime highs averaging 3 degrees below normal," according to the weather service. "Inversely, the cloud cover helped to keep overnight temperatures up. "The minimum temperatures in the summer of 2008 only ranked as the 34th coolest on record."


John Christy: A Sane Look at Climatological Models

"What Can a Climatologist Know About the Future? A Sane Look at Climatological Models". This question about the future of the climate is the leading idea of John R. Christy's essay in the book, "The Way We Will be 50 Years from Now"

Christy is professor of atmospheric science, and the director of the Earth System Science Center, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was awarded NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Advancement for developing a global temperature data set based upon the microwave data observed from satellites. He was also the lead author for the UN reports on climate change. He shared in the same Nobel Prize that was awarded to the whole group of scientists and former Vice-President Al Gore.

As a result of this fact I did not think his essay would provide much more than the usual "religious" babble on climate change. I was pleasantly stunned. As a result I now read Dr. Christy's reflections wherever I can find them on the Internet. (Do a Google search with his name.)

Christy freely admits that the climate system is so complicated, and the models used for predicting the future are so completely inadequate, that we cannot have "confident forecasts to describe future changes in the types of weather people really care about"

In an open letter that Dr. John R. Christy wrote just after receiving the Nobel Prize in 2007 he said: It is my turn to cringe when I hear overstated-confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next 100 years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system's behavior over the next five days. Mother Nature simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, beyond the mastery of mere mortals (such as scientists) and the tools available to us.

Christy's essay in "50 Years from Today" is worth the entire book. He says we can clean up our rivers and remove more and more of the waterborne diseases we now fight against if we work to improve the environment. But can we know whether temperature will be hotter or colder in the next fifty years? He simply says, "I can not know . . . though the sense today is that in most places the average temperature will be a bit warmer"

He also adds, "And I believe we shall be continually amazed at the resilience of the planet's living systems". For good measure he adds, "I can not know the extent of the Arctic Sea ice in 2058. But I believe that there will be at least as many polar bears as there are today because they are exceptionally adaptive creatures and I suspect more regulatory action to limit hunting quotas will likely occur"

He goes on to add an entire litany of things he says "I can not know," including the frequency of hurricanes, the rising or lowering of the sea level, what new forms of power generation will enhance our lives, or what forms of governance will be operational among the nations. Christy concludes, with a proper confidence and humility both, "In summary, I can not know what the trajectory of the climate system will be well enough to advise policy makers on what specific course it will take, or well enough to help them know what they could possibly do to tweak it toward a direction deemed 'safe,' or even well enough to appear exceptionally prescient to those reading the future"

But this is not the end of Dr. Christy's magnificent short essay. He writes:"But I do believe that the accumulating economic development throughout the world will not be sidetracked by calls to 'stop global warming,' which are ultimately designed to inhibit access to affordable energy. As a result, I believe more and more people will experience better health and security and that this will be accompanied by the additional bonus of a better-preserved natural environment"

I do wonder about Dr. Christy's personal faith and life. I would love to meet him, either way. He is an optimist in a field dominated by pessimists, which stands him in stark contrast to so many of those who also write in this book. He concludes his essay with this amazingly hopeful perspective:"In other word, I envy those in 2058, including my grandchildren who will then be about fifty-ish, living amidst the astounding advancements to come to pass, including the enhancements to both the environment and human prosperity now only a dream to billions"

If you wanted a summary of my own view of the "big" environmental issue, and the year 2058, there you have it. And the man who holds it is clearly not some hack writing for a political Web site with a particular conservative agenda. Environmental alarmists please take careful note here. Truly good science is not on your side.

What these secular alarmists have is an apocalyptically-driven religious view of the world that is as bad as that held by some radical millennialists inside the church. Thank God for men like Dr. John Christy in Huntsville.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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