Thursday, October 23, 2008


The EU has made further carbon restrictions conditional on India and China coming to the party -- thus finally catching up with that old American guy -- what's his name? Ah! Yes. G.W. Bush. And that is the end of the game. Because India and China will NOT cut their own throats. Only tokenism is now on the cards -- just enough to save face and make the retreat respectable

EU environment ministers want advanced developing states like China and India to "contribute adequately" to emissions reductions as part of a global climate change agreement next year. Meanwhile, a deal on the EU's own climate and energy package remains elusive following opposition from Italy. In addition to comparable CO2 reduction commitments by developed states like the US, rapidly developing countries "would have to reduce their emissions by 15 to 30% below business as usual" by 2020 in order for the EU to sign up to a global emissions reductions regime in Copenhagen in December 2009, according to conclusions adopted by EU environment ministers yesterday (20 October) in Luxembourg.

Such mitigation efforts by rapidly growing developing states, notably China, would produce significant "co-benefits in terms of reduced air pollution, protection of biodiversity and energy security," and emissions reduction credits obtained through afforestation or anti-deforestation efforts could provide a "major contribution" to reaching the targets, the conclusions state.

Least-developed states could be exempt from any constraints on emissions, while obligations on more advanced developing countries could be met through a variety of mechanisms, including sectoral industry agreements, according to the text.

The conclusions set the stage for discussions during the next major UN climate meeting, scheduled for 1 to 12 December in Poznan, Poland. The talks could become acrimonious, since rapidly developing countries like China, India and Brazil are likely to resist any calls for significant and binding emissions reductions on the grounds that developed states have not only got more financing and technological capacity to cut CO2 emissions, but also assume historical responsibility for the lion's share of existing greenhouse gas emissions.

EU states, meanhwile, have dug their heels in on several divisive points of the climate and energy package, and environment ministers failed to produce any major breakthrough during their talks in Luxembourg. Italy and Poland remain wary that the package will be too costly for their already ailing industrial sectors, in particular given the current squeeze on financing. And Germany is at loggerheads with the Commission over the issue of when and how certain industry sectors should be identified and singled out for exemptions from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

More here


Meltdown watch, continued. Capital is quickly drying up for new clean-energy projects, and what is available costs more, throwing a wrench into companies' plans to expand renewable energy.

General Electric is the latest to throw in the towel, after the abrupt departure of Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. The conglomerate, which makes energy gear like wind and gas turbines as well as underwriting renewable-energy projects, says it is bailing out of the clean-tech investment game for now, once it finishes with existing projects. From Dow Jones Clean Tech Insight:

"Right now we can't price a deal," said [GE Financial Services managing director Timothy] Howell in an interview with Clean Technology Insight on the sidelines of the Solar Power International conference in San Diego, Calif. "We can't go out and borrow. So we can't commit to a deal today."

GE Financial Services, like GE's energy-infrastructure unit, was very bullish on the sector's prospects just a few months ago. Most clean-energy projects like wind and solar power depend on investments by companies like GE or big banks, which put up development capital to get their mitts on years of tax breaks. That's the main way that tax credits help fuel the growth of alternative energy.

But while the financial bailout bill extended tax credits for clean energy, the bill hasn't yet goosed the credit markets into lending freely. That-not uncertainty over federal subsidies-has now become clean-energy's bogeyman.


Spain's ex-prime minister blasts 'new religion' of climate change

Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar Wednesday dismissed climate change as a "new religion" that is drawing hundreds of billions of euros at a time of economic crisis.

Aznar made the remarks at the presentation of a book by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, "Blue Planet in Green Shackles", in which he also questions the widely held theories about climate change.

"In these times of global cooling of the international economy ... the standard bearers of the climatic apocalypse demand hundreds of billions of euros" to combat global warming, said Aznar, who was conservative prime minister from 1996 to 2004.

"They want to throw onto the bonfire anyone who, like Vaclav Klaus, questions the new religion," he said.

"The slightest doubt on the man-made origin of climate change is cause of automatic ex-communication."The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said global warming is "unequivocal" and "most of the observed increases in temperatures over the last 60 years is very likely due to increases in human-generated greenhouse gas concentrations."



Some strange results in the study below but to people of Greenie faith it is all clear. The results below make no sense at all if you think pollution has anything to do with premature birth. Which suggests that pollution had nothing to do with it and we are looking at a random result. If pollution caused premature delivery, such deliveries should have been rarest after the pollution was all gone. Instead they find that such births were rarest in an intermediate state of pollution! The wonders of faith!

Preterm Birth After the Utah Valley Steel Mill Closure: A Natural Experiment

By Parker, Jennifer D. et al.


Background: Prior studies have linked the Utah Valley Steel Mill closure that took place between August 1986 and September 1987 to improvements in several health outcomes. So-called natural experiments ease concerns over confounding and exposure misclassification, concerns that are common in studies of air pollution and pregnancy outcome.

Methods: We compare birth outcomes for Utah mothers within and outside the Utah Valley, before, during, and after the mill closure.

Results: Mothers who were pregnant around the time of the closure of the mill were less likely to deliver prematurely than mothers who were pregnant before or after; effects were strongest for exposure during the second trimester. Preterm birth within the Utah Valley did not change during the time of mill closure. No patterns for birth weight were observed.

Conclusions: These results support other studies that have found effects on preterm birth of air pollution exposure early in pregnancy.

Epidemiology. 19(6):820-823, November 2008

Global cooling hits Australia again

Brisbane has its coldest October morning since 1976. I must say I was surprised at how nippy it was when I opened my door this morning

COLD southerly winds blowing up from the snow-capped Blue Mountains have given Brisbane its coldest October morning in 32 years. The mercury fell to 10.6 degrees in the City just before 5am, more than five degrees below average for this time of year. The previous lowest for October was 7.3 degrees in 1976, although Brisbane also recorded 6.3 degrees in October in 1899 at a now-disused weather station. Amberley had an even colder start waking up to 6 degrees and Stanthorpe shivered on just two degrees.

But senior forecaster Vikash Prasad said Stanthorpe's previous coldest October day was -2 in 1966. "It's certainly our coldest day since winter. The lowest temperature in September was 11 so it is unusual for Spring," Mr Prasad said. He said the trough that caused the storms had moved off the coast and was being replaced by dry air and southerly winds coming up from interstate. "There was snow on the Blue Mountains yesterday which is very unusual for this time of year and Sydney had a very cold day," Mr Prasad said.


A sudden spasm of realism from Harvard

As a former Harvard faculty member, Lubos Motl received the email below. Its first sentence may in the future go down as Harvard's first admission of global cooling. Lubos has MUCH more to say on the matter

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

Although today's weather will hardly remind us of the serious problem that is global warming, today's event - the Harvard Sustainability Celebration, with a keynote address by former Vice President Al Gore - will go on, as scheduled, in Tercentenary Theatre with a program beginning at 4 p.m. We very much hope that you will attend and enjoy the festivities.

Starting at 3 p.m., we will be serving hot cider and soup to keep everyone warm; please dress for our changeable New England weather. Henry Longfellow, onetime Harvard professor and longtime Cantabrigian, once remarked, "The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." We sincerely hope that, this afternoon, it won't rain. But even if it does, Harvard celebrates Sustainability with spirits undampened.


The Sustainability Celebration Committee

Office of the President



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