Monday, December 22, 2008

Rumors of the Death of Arctic Sea Ice Greatly Exaggerated

Even if polar bears really are drowning, the melt is likely a natural, not man-made, phenomenon

Mark Twain, ever the wry observer of human nature, once famously quipped that "everybody complains about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it." (Actually, Twain was quoting the essayist and novelist Charles Dudley Warner, but the colorful humorist gets credit for the line.) Whoever deserves the credit, the point was that there is a folly to human arrogance and some things cannot be "fixed," are outside of the powers of man. The weather, for example, is governed by forces beyond human control.

But the arrogance of the race is boundless, and there are those who actually believe that man is in the process of destroying the Earth's weather, or at least climate. Al Gore, the leader of the Gang Green, tramps about the planet in his fuel-guzzling, greenhouse gas-spewing jets to tell people that the world is burning - his speeches are usually given on days of bitter cold - because they are living too extravagantly by, well, heating their homes when cold and driving their cars to work. James Hansen of NASA gives hysterical lectures to Congress and the news media, claiming we face fire and brimstone. Repeatedly we have been told we have ten years left, starting in the 1980s; much like those old end-of-the-world preachers, the date for the end time keeps extending.

In short, there are people who believe that, yes indeedy, we can do something about the weather, or at least the climate. If we just live more frugally, share our wealth, eat lots of natural foods like tofu and pine nuts, and hold hands while visualizing world peace, we can bring carbon dioxide and methane levels down and the world will become a pastoral paradise.

The Gang Green - those who believe that man is destroying the planet via our release of industrial emissions - have struggled to convince the populace that their viewpoint, based almost entirely on computer simulations and not on actual recorded data, is correct. (I often refer to global warming as the Goldilocks theory; if it is too hot, too cold, or just right it must be global warming!) Every time Al Gore gives a speech the temperature drops into single digits. We haven't had any real planetary warming since 1998, and this year has been unseasonably cool, a likely result of an anemic sunspot cycle and reversals in wind and wave oscillations in the Pacific. So the alarmists are forced to making desperate pronouncements designed to panic the average Joe.

One issue that they've employed to good advantage is the loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Just run a quick Google search on "Arctic sea ice vanishing" and you will find a series of breathless warnings of coming doom and pictures of drowning polar bears. The alarmist will triumphantly point to the opening of the Northwest Passage and the unusually low ice levels of 2007 and 2008, claiming this is absolute proof that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW) is wrecking the planet. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for example, recently released a dire warning that "between 1.5 and 2 trillion tons of ice have melted in Greenland, Antarctica, and Alaska" and that this proves that we are in the throes of a man-made crisis, one that will trigger massive sea level rise as polar ice melts away. Clearly human greenhouse gas emissions are becoming a planetary emergency.

But are they? Climate Science, the weblog of climatologist Roger Pielke Sr., discusses the issue of Arctic sea ice melt and explains why the freeze and thaw dates are important to establishing whether ice loss/gain is related to greenhouse gases. The upshot of his argument is that the start of the freeze-up should come later in the fall, as the melt should likewise begin earlier. It's not simply a matter of how much ice is lost, but when it is lost. Dr. Pielke Sr. quotes from a recent paper on the matter:
Indeed, this is what is claimed in a recent talk by Mark C. Serreze of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences/National Snow and Ice Data Center (CIRES/NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder (November 10, 2008, titled "The Emergence of Arctic Amplification") . The abstract includes the statement "As the climate warms, the summer melt season lengthens."

So, we should be able to discern if the season is actually lengthening by examining the melt/thaw dates. Which is precisely what William Chapman, author of the Cryosphere Today blog, has done. Here is a table showing the melt and thaw periods with the minimum and maximum ice level dates starting in 1979; you will note that this year's maximum was equal to 1981 (at .1943), and the minimum at .6876 is likewise equal to 1981. So, does that mean we are in a greenhouse warming cycle reminiscent of 27 years prior?

Actually, the chart shows no discernible pattern whatsoever, with 1985 representing the high for the maximum and 2005 representing the nadir of the minimum, a close second to 1985. In short, there is no evidence for an increase in warming - at least not in regards to when sea ice freezes and melts.

This is interesting because it logically ties in with sea level rise. Sea levels have been rising for the last 10,000 years - since the end of the last ice age - and an increase in ice melt should coincide with an increase in the rate that the sea level is rising. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report from 2001: "No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected." And in 2007 the IPCC reported: "Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear."

According to the University of Colorado, the short-term rate of sea level rise has been leveling off. Yet Jay Zwally from NASA claims that Greenland has lost 150 gigatons of water - enough to raise sea levels by 5 mm per year. So, either NASA is right and the IPCC wrong, or the IPCC is right and NASA has blown the data. It should be pointed out that GISS has made serious errors before, including proclaiming 1998 the hottest year on record (they quietly corrected it to 1934 without announcing their error) and releasing September temperature records this year in October, proclaiming it the warmest October on record (until they were caught). I'll put my money on the IPCC in this instance.

Furthermore, the loss of sea ice that we have witnessed in the Arctic can be explained by natural forces. During the summer, the doomsayers - particularly the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado - and their minions in the mainstream media were breathlessly proclaiming an ice-free Arctic, with hysterical reports that the ice was melting at an unprecedented rate. Arctic sea ice did drop dramatically in August, which is hardly surprising since this was new, uncompacted ice left over from 2007, which was a record low year. As of October it was up 27% from the previous October.

It must be understood that the Arctic is subject to the effects of the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, the El Nino Southern Oscillation, etc. These oscillations move air masses and water into and out of the Arctic Ocean, and during their warm phases sea ice melts. There is every reason to believe that these cycles were warming the Arctic and that the recent reversal of these cycles will eventually lead to more ice. It is also reasonable to conclude that much of the warming we have witnessed - especially in the Northern Hemisphere - during the 20th century is at least partly attributable to these same oscillations.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center had this to say about the current slow growth of Arctic sea ice: "Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean stayed well above average during November, partly because of continued heat release from the ocean to the atmosphere and partly because of a pattern of atmospheric circulation transporting warm air into the region." So, the Arctic has been experiencing warm air patterns, which help to explain the loss of ice over the last couple of years.

It appears that wind and atmospheric circulation of sea ice is a critical influence on the Arctic ice cap and the loss of ice in Greenland was accelerated by warm ocean currents. Bear in mind that 2.85 million cubic kilometers of ice will take a long time to melt at an annual mean temperature between -24 and -4 degrees F.

A guest post at Anthony Watts' website illustrates that this claim of massive ice melt isn't so well founded when the Arctic basin is looked at as a whole - and depending on how the raw data is processed. Here is a graph showing that overall ice area has not changed much outside of the summer drop-off. And here is the thirty-year anomaly (variation from the norm) graph; note the year-end high is almost as high as in 2000. A 2006 survey by the same Jay Zwally showed that Greenland had gained ice mass between 1992 and 2002:

When the scientists added up the gains and losses of ice from the Greenland and Antarctic sheets, there was a net loss of ice to the sea. The Greenland ice sheet annually gained approximately 11 billion tons of water, while Antarctica lost about 31 billion tons per year. Yet now Antarctica is gaining ice (see graph) and Greenland losing it. Fickle behavior, that! Oh, and glaciers in Norway were making a dandy recovery until someone tampered with the graph and the Varangians [The Byzantine word for Norsemen] lost 500,000 square miles of sea ice!

It should also be pointed out that there were huge undersea volcanic eruptions earlier in the year along the Gakkel ridge, which may be at least partly responsible for the loss of sea ice and glacial ice along land's end.

So, what does this tell us? It appears that the melting of Arctic ice is a natural phenomenon, likely related to non-anthropogenic causes. Couple this with the other failures of AGW theory - the non-warming of the oceans; the lack of predicted warming at the tropical tropopause; the fact that methane was released simultaneously in both hemispheres in contradiction to AGW theory; that, as of 2004, there has been no net worldwide increase in precipitation, contrary to AGW theory; that we haven't had any global warming since 1998; etc. - all contribute to what should be the end of this generation-long War of the Worlds scare. But this thing has a life of its own, with a religious force to some and promises of lots and lots of money to others. Climatology was a sleepy backwater before global warming - now it is a well-funded science. Green gang-bangers like Al Gore are making fortunes off carbon offsets for guilt-ridden people across the globe. Children are being taught to believe more in Gaia than in God.

The more we learn, the more it seems that we really can't do anything about the weather! But the doomsayers continue to ignore the reality around them, clinging to the dogma of their beliefs. "We not only can do something, but we will, whether our actions are of any benefit or not!" It bears keeping in mind that people - many people - die from serious economic downturns, while nobody has ever been documented to have died from global warming, except maybe a crackpot from the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. The disastrous economic policies of cap and trade will kill many in the Third World, and millions will suffer hunger and deprivation to satisfy our Western egos. To paraphrase another famous quip from the great Mr. Clemens, "Rumors of the death of Arctic sea ice are greatly exaggerated!"

Source (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Britain facing blackouts because of Greenie harassment of power provision

Britain could face regular blackouts within seven years if the Government does not intervene in the energy market to ensure that more power stations are built, the head of National Grid says today. In an interview with The Times, Steve Holliday, chief executive of the company that operates the power and gas transmission network, said that Britain was facing an acute shortage of generating capacity because a string of ageing nuclear and coal-fired plants were due to be retired from service. The warning came after Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, said on Friday that it was to consider fresh incentives to encourage the development of renewable energy schemes in Britain.

Mr Holliday said that National Grid's own analysis indicated that, under a business-as-usual scenario, Britain would fail to attract enough investment in new plants and would lack sufficient generating capacity to meet peak demand around 2015. "We are OK for a period of time . . . but when you go out to the medium term you can begin to see there is not enough collective generation being built in the UK. "We will need to watch that very carefully over the next 18 months to ensure that window gets shut," Mr Holliday said.

He said that the Government would need to introduce fresh incentives to guarantee that 100 billion pounds of investment is made over the next decade to ensure the stability of the power grid. This could include placing a floor on the price of carbon - a measure that would help to boost investment in new nuclear reactors and offshore windfarms. "What is happening that people are not wanting to build enough power stations? The Government has an obligation to make sure that the markets are delivering," Mr Holliday said. "You can't afford for it to fail."

Mr Holliday's comments reflected similar remarks recently from Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of Ofgem, and Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary. Last week Mr Buchanan said that the falling price of oil and carbon had dealt a "punch in the stomach" to Britain's energy markets. On Friday, Ofgem revealed fresh details of a consultation designed to boost investment in Britain's renewable energy industry. National Grid is investing 3 billion per year in the power and gas transmission network to replace ageing wires and pipes and tie in new power plants and windfarms. Critics say National Grid is being too slow in connecting many of these projects to the grid, as many renewable projects face long delays in obtaining planning consent. Ofgem's proposals include offering electricity transmission companies better returns to build grid connections that anticipate future demand and to invest in the expansion of networks, particularly to remote areas.

Britain has committed itself to ambitious new European Union targets to generate 20 per cent of all energy from renewable energy such as wind and solar power by 2020. The European Commission is expected to report today on whether to allow the proposed 12.4 billion pounds takeover of Britain's nuclear industry by EDF, the French state-controlled energy company, or whether to recommend a detailed competition inquiry. EDF wants to use its acquisition of British Energy as a platform to build a new generation of nuclear reactors in Britain to replace the current fleet, which are old and unreliable. Critics say that the deal would discourage competition in Britain's heavily consolidated, wholesale electricity markets.


BOOK REVIEW of Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey By William Tucker. Review by Max Schulz

ONE CLEAR MEASURE OF of nuclear power's rising fortunes is that both presidential candidates this year came out in favor of harnessing the power of the atom to address our nation's energy and environmental challenges. It wasn't too long ago that politicians avoided talking about nuclear energy, or if they did, it was to call for shutting down the nation's fleet of reactors. Times are certainly changing. John McCain called for building 45 new reactors. Barack Obama claimed to be for nuclear power as well, though he did say he doesn't "think it's our optimal energy source." Still, that's a big concession from the nominee of a party that largely takes its cues from decidedly anti-nuke environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace.

Someone who does think nuclear power is our optimal energy source, and the answer to all our energy and environmental problems, is veteran journalist (and American Spectator contributor) William Tucker. Tucker has emerged as a true evangelist with his book Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey. The book's premise is simple: "The only way we are ever going to supply ourselves with enough energy while reducing our carbon emission is through a revival of nuclear power." Addressing longtime fears about this strange technology, he notes, "Nuclear power is a perfectly natural phenomenon, as natural as the warmth in the ground beneath our feet."

Powerfully written, Terrestrial Energy is a remarkably accessible book that should convert any number of skeptics with its pro-nuclear sermon. However, its strength lies not in the zeal this preacher brings, but in the dispassionate way he makes the case for nuclear in the context of all our energy options. More than just filing a brief for nuclear power, Terrestrial Energy really offers a first-rate primer on energy.

Almost all the conventional energy sources we employ are forms of solar power, Tucker notes, including fossil fuels. When we burn coal and oil, we unlock stored solar energy that originally rained down from the sun. Or we can "turn to a variety of technologies that tap the sun's rays directly or draw on physical processes driven by the sun's heat," like solar panels and windmills.

Nuclear power is different. The energy source comes not from the sun, but from deep within the earth (hence the title). "There is one great difference between terrestrial energy and solar energy," writes Tucker, "and that is the energy density. Terrestrial energy is far more concentrated--by a factor of about two million." This can have dangerous possibilities--just one gram of matter was turned into the energy that annihilated Hiroshima. But it also offers an almost boundless opportunity to provide the energy humanity needs at a time when we are accustomed to think of our resources as limited. Tiny amounts of material and land can generate enormous volumes of power, without pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.

Compare that to the environmental footprint of other "clean" technologies. Tucker describes one cutting-edge thermal solar project in Spain as "a remarkably futuristic 30-story structure that looks like a giant carpenter's level stuck the ground after arriving from outer space. The facility uses 136 acres to generate 11 MW." That's not much power for a lot of land. Extrapolate from that, and "to get 1,000 MW--an average commercial plant--it would have to cover twenty square miles." Photovoltaic solar panels are worse; they would need 50 square miles. For all those Greens who talk of the virtually limitless resources of the sun, Tucker points out that "land, after all, is also a limited resource."

Wind is hardly better, similarly requiring large tracts of land. Plus, it doesn't always blow, meaning that windmills generate electricity no more than 30 percent of the time. You couldn't power the grid solely on wind, writes Tucker. Wind may be able to play a marginal role in our energy economy--energy expert and Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens says that, in a perfect world, wind might supply as much as 20 percent of our electricity. But that's an optimistic assessment, and no one thinks wind is anything more than a partial contributor to our energy solutions. At bottom, writes Tucker, wind "remains a medieval technology."

Tucker ably dispatches the fuzzy thinking that has muddied our energy and environmental debates for decades. A particular target is environmental guru Amory Lovins, father of the "soft energy" movement, who thinks we can jettison fossil fuels and nukes and instead power the economy on efficiency and windmills and solar panels. Lovins's influence is outsized; he is almost singularly responsible for California's refusal to build any new power plants during the 1990s, even though demand kept rising. Result? The rolling blackouts in 2000 and 2001 that made California a laughingstock and helped bounce governor Gray Davis. Tucker eviscerates Lovins for peddling a doctrine that conveniently ignores elemental facts about where we get our energy from and what we use it for.

A THOROUGH JOURNALIST, Tucker travels the globe to get to the bottom of the 21st-century energy story. He visits coal plants in Ohio as well as nuclear reactors in France (a country that produces 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power). His journalistic sense of fairness leads him to seek an interview with Lovins. This is where Terrestrial Energy takes on a "Roger and Me" quality, as Lovins won't talk to him and is conveniently absent when Tucker treks all the way to his Snowmass, Colorado home. The account is hilarious, as is Tucker's chance meeting with celebrity New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. The author of several bestselling books on global economic trends, Friedman holds considerable sway on energy and environmental topics. Yet Tucker exposes Friedman as fundamentally unserious for his abrupt dismissal of nuclear power.

Despite the evident benefits of nuclear power, it's the downside that has made Americans hesitant since Three Mile Island (TMI) and Chernobyl. Tucker addresses those worries, noting the heroic reforms undertaken by the nuclear industry to instill a culture of safety after TMI (a not-very-serious accident that served as a dramatic wake-up call). He also calls out extremist environmentalist claims that any amount of radiation is dangerous. "If swallowing 100 aspirins will kill 100 out of 100 people," Tucker notes, "that does not mean taking 2 aspirin will kill 2 people. Clearly there are thresholds below which the body's defenses can deal with an environmental insult."

The public (and our politicians) is slowly coming to the conclusion that we should build new nuclear power plants to address our energy and climate change challenges. Kudos to Tucker for showing why we can, and why we should.


Diverse landscapes are better: Policymakers urged to think broadly about biofuel crops

Diversity is valuable socially, economically and now environmentally. Research by Michigan State University scientists has found that growing more corn to produce ethanol - creating less diverse landscapes - reduces the ability of beneficial insects to control pests, a loss valued at about $58 million per year in the four states studied (Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin).

"Corn is a less favorable habitat for many ladybird beetles (ladybugs) and other beneficial insects that feed on pests such as the soybean aphid," said Doug Landis, MSU professor of entomology. "As we plant more corn, we reduce the ability of that landscape to supply beneficial predators to control pests in soybeans and other crops. This results in increased pesticide use and yield losses. This research estimates the value of this biological pest control service in soybeans (in the four states) to be about $240 million each year." The research was published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

From 2006 to 2007, corn acreage increased by 19 percent in the United States, reducing landscape diversity in many areas, according to the scientists. "Over-reliance on any one crop is likely to reduce the value of natural control of pest insects by beneficial insects," said Scott Swinton, MSU professor of agricultural, food and resource economics and paper co-author. "If we look at farmers who grow only corn and soybeans, increasing corn acreage and reducing soybean acreage will probably mean higher costs for soybean pest control. Beneficial insects help control pests so growers have lower pest control costs."

Both Landis and Swinton are members of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, a partnership between Michigan State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct basic research aimed at solving complex problems in converting natural materials to energy.

The researchers say achieving the biofuel production levels mandated by Congress will take millions of acres to provide the necessary raw materials and will change agricultural landscapes. Understanding how these landscape changes affect the sustainability of biofuel production is the overall goal of the research.

"Ultimately, we hope this helps policymakers think about which and how much of any biofuel crop, as well as the location of the crop, makes sense for a particular landscape," Landis said. "We could choose to create monocultures of a single biofuel crop or have diverse mixtures of many biomass sources including perennial trees and grasses as well as corn. Diverse landscapes often support higher levels of vital ecosystems services such as pest suppression and pollination. Our goal is to provide information so people can make more informed decisions."


The Global Warming Gospel

The Lausanne Movement was founded by evangelist Billy Graham, starting with the Berlin Congress on Evangelism in1966, to host periodic mass gatherings of global evangelical leaders. The next one, scheduled for Cape Town, South Africa in 2010, evidently will highlight the urgency of Global Warming. "Climate change is the biggest threat on the planet - it's bigger than global terrorism," claimed Lindsay Brown, international director of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He was speaking at a recent organizational meeting for evangelicals in Sydney, Australia who are preparing for Cape Town. Brown is British and formerly headed an international group for evangelical students.

Typically these Lausanne gatherings have attracted thousands of evangelicals to deliberate over strategies for evangelism. Four thousand are expected in Cape Town. Evidently Brown said that climate change, urbanization and the moral failures of evangelicals will rank as top topics for the jamboree. Most of the attendees will come from the Global South, where they struggle with extreme poverty, epidemics, child mortality, and lack of clean drinking water, not to mention persecution by socialist or Islamist regimes. For these preachers representing hundreds of millions of evangelicals in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Global Warming is probably not the major issue.

But for wealthy and sometimes self-absorbed evangelicals in the West, climate change is a convenient issue with which to showcase global empathy and compassion at minimal cost to themselves. For most in the materially comfortable West, the activist Global Warming agenda calls for reduced consumption and ostensibly "sustainable" living. They envision such sacrifices as more bike riding, avoiding Styrofoam and paying a little more for electricity generated by earth friendly renewables rather than sinister carbon producing fossil fuels.

A thoroughly enacted Global Warming agenda for the impoverished billions of the Global South would carry a more dramatically severe cost. It would preclude any hope of electricity, refrigeration, central heating, air conditioning, or personal vehicles. So that wealthy Westerners could feel smug in their climate consciousness, hundreds of millions of Asians and Africans and Latins would have continue to live primitively in huts and shacks, with dung as their fuel source for heat and cooking, with mules and carts as their primary transportation, and with uninhibited exposure to the raw elements, virtually unimproved from a hundred generations before.

Such a grim future is hardly appealing for most of the world's population. This miserly message could hardly be successful for evangelicals aiming to share their Gospel with several billion people who have not yet heard it. Historically, evangelicals have proclaimed a message of economic and political progress. They traditionally saw Western Civilization as a product of Christianity, and they believed that technology and economic prosperity, if founded upon virtue and law, were the rightful companions of true religion. In other words, they offered hope.

The grim Malthusians who dominate the Global Warming movement, which now includes the Evangelical Left, believe that Western Civilization is a blight upon the planet. Its industries and engines for wealth creation are causes for remorse, not celebration. Atonement for the West's sins shall include sparing the rest of the world the benefits of Western, carbon-producing prosperity and technology. The world's poor would prefer to remain in their ostensible natural habitats, living organically, uncorrupted by the ease of running water or the nuisance of long life spans.

Global Warming's fervent adherents base all their demands on "science." A leading voice for persuading British and American evangelicals has been John Theodore Houghton, who has served with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and who teaches atmospheric physics at the University of Oxford. Himself a Christian, he spoke to the National Association of Evangelicals in the U.S. in 2005, where he preached the usual apocalyptic demand that the West must repent of its carbon producing sins.

"We, in the developed countries, have already benefited over many generations from abundant fossil fuel energy," Houghton told the American evangelicals. "There is already a strong tendency in the world for the rich to get even richer while the poor get poorer. The impacts of human induced climate change will tend to further bolster that trend." Global Warming alarmists like to broadcast concern for poor nations by claiming that Western fuel extravagance will precipitate famine, flood and disease in the Global South. Such alarmists never explain that their agenda demands that the world's poor largely abandon any hope of economic betterment, which the planet's atmosphere ostensibly cannot afford. Houghton naturally talked of transitioning to energy generated by tides, the sun, rivers and the wind, all very exciting prospects for Western environmentalists. But wind farms and solar panels, so appealing to green suburbanites in Colorado or Connecticut, probably will not meaningfully help many energy starved Congolese, Brazilians, Bangladeshis, or Chinese.

One of Houghton's chief disciples is Richard Cizik, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals, who recently told a Council on Foreign Relations conference call that climate change is possibly a "love letter" from God to awaken wicked humanity from the consequences of its "greed."

"I sort of think it's [climate change is] a love letter from God that says that if you're going to continue to live this way-pride, apathy, and greed-then you're going to have consequences," he discerned, prophetically. Enthusiastic about evangelicals embracing the Global Warming agenda, Cizik claimed: "[W]hat's happening in the religious community is nothing less than a renaissance; a spiritual transformation, I think, of significant proportions that's cutting across all faiths and denominations."

Cizik, like other true believers, sees Global Warming activism as a panacea. It "connects with everything else. Even the crash on Wall Street-I don't see how to solve some of these problems, economic and otherwise, without also bringing in the green issue. One of the ways saving the financial system is to. restore the climate and expand the green industry."

For the Evangelical Left, what used to be good news has become grim news. Perhaps at the 2010 gathering in Cape Town, more realistic Global South evangelicals will let their Western colleagues know about more pressing human concerns than the environmental hobbies of wealthy environmentalists in America and Europe.


Australia's proposed Warmist laws a big pain for little gain

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model of dangerous, human-caused climate change has failed. Independent science relevant to supposed human-caused global warming is clear, and can be summarised in four briefpoints.

* First, global temperature warmed slightly in the late 20th century and has been cooling since 2002. Neither the warming nor the cooling were of unusual rate or magnitude.

* Second, humans have an effect on local climate but, despite the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($70 billion) looking for it since 1990, no globally summed human effect has ever been measured. Therefore, any human signal must lie buried in the variability of the natural climate system.

* Third, we live on a dynamic planet; change occurs in Earth's geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans all the time and all over the world. No substantive evidence exists that modern rates of global environmental change (ice volume; sea level) lie outside historic natural bounds.

* Last, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, be it in Australia or worldwide, will likely result in no measurable change in future climate, because extra increments of atmospheric CO2 cause diminishing warming for each unit of increase; at most, a few tenths of a degree of extra warming would result from a completion of doubling of CO2 since pre-industrial times.

These facts notwithstanding, the Rudd Government is poised to introduce a CO2 taxation bill on doubly spurious grounds. It presumes, first, that dangerous warming caused by human emissions is occurring, or will shortly occur. And, second, that cuts to emissions will prevent significant amounts of future warming. There is, therefore, now a dramatic disjunction between scientific reality and the stranglehold that global warming alarmism has on planned Australian climate policy. Today's public views about climate change are based upon 20 years of promulgation of dangerous global warming by what has become a hugely powerful coalition of self-interested groups and agencies.

Beneficiaries of warming alarmism include individual scientists, managers of research centres, morally pretentious environmental non-government organisations, prestigious science academies and societies, bureaucrats from government greenhouse and climate agencies, big businesses poised for carbon trading (think Enron and Lehman Brothers), alternative energy providers, those in the media who remorselessly promulgate environmental alarm stories, and, last but not least, those uninformed politicians who seek political advantage from cynical exploitation of the public's fear of global warming.

The Australian Government does not possess a national climate policy; instead, it has an imaginary global warming policy, based on sub-prime science, sub-prime economics and sub-prime politics. In dealing with the certainties and uncertainties of real climate change, the key issues are prudent risk assessment and adaptive response. As is the case for other unpredictable and unpreventable natural planetary hazards, policy to deal with climate change should be based on adaptation to change as it happens, including the appropriate mitigation of undesirable socioeconomic and environmental effects. We therefore need, first, to monitor climate change accurately in an ongoing way; and, second, to respond and adapt to any changes -- including long-term warmings, the likely more damaging coolings, and severe weather or climatic events such as cyclones -- in the same way that government and voluntary disaster services now deal with hazardous natural events such as bushfires, droughts and floods.

The main certainty is that natural climate change and variation are going to continue, and that some manifestations -- droughts, storms and sea-level change, for example -- will be expensive to adapt to. Adaptation will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of Australia's energy economy in pursuit of the chimera of "stopping" an alleged dangerous human-caused global warming that can neither be demonstrated nor measured. In reality, too, our lack of understanding of all the climatic feedback loops is such that cutting CO2 emissions is as likely to "harm" as to "help" future climate.

New Zealand already has a national monitoring and response system in place for earthquake, volcanic and flood disasters (GeoNet). This is linked, appropriately, to a parallel compensation and insurance system that recompenses victims of natural disaster (the Earthquake Commission). Even if generous funding were to be provided in Australia towards a similar preparation for climatic disasters (of which drought and flood relief are part), the net cost would still be orders of magnitude less than will be engendered by a fundamentally misconceived emissions trading scheme. To boot, contingent damage to the economy, the standard of living and the world food supply would be avoided.

Attempting to "stop global warming" by limiting CO2 emissions is simply an arcadian fantasy, since making deep cuts to Australia's emissions would at best help to avert or delay warming by about a miniscule one-thousandth of a degree. Australia needs a national climate policy that is rooted in sound science, sensible precaution, prudent risk assessment, and efficient and effective disaster relief. Lacking all such elements, the Australian Government's global warming policy fails the basic test of duty to care for the citizenry.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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.


1 comment:

Bhuvan Chand said...

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