Tuesday, February 03, 2009


NOTE from Benny Peiser: "The political intervention by Rajendra Pachauri, the Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, is likely to undermine the already minute chances of an agreement at the Copenhagen climate conference in December. Not even EU member states, let alone the U.S., are willing to agree to any future climate deal without binding emissions reduction targets by the developing countries. By giving much of the world an implicit guarantee of exemption, the IPCC has essentially killed any hope for a breakthrough in Copenhagen. Also shattered beyond repair: the IPCC's claim to be policy-neutral. A thorough demolition job, Mr Pachauri"

The Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009, is likely to conclude on a strict regulatory regime on emissions for developed countries rather than for the developing countries, nobel laureate R K Pachauri said here today. "The negotiations are going on for the conference of parties at the Copenhagen where we will have a multilateral worldwide agreement, let's see what the implications of that would be," Pachauri, who is Chairman of UN's Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said on the sidelines of fifth convocation of DAIICT. "Of course, the developing countries will be exempted from any such restrictions but the developed countries will certainly have to cut down on emission," Pachauri said, adding, "some strict regulations are going to be there."

At the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, scheduled in 2009, the parties will meet for the last time on government-level before the climate agreement is renewed, the conference portal stated. The conference is expected to end with Copenhagen protocol for preventing global warming and climate changes, it added.

Referring to assessment about climate change in India, Pachauri said, "We have covered South Asia all in the report. We have assessed the impact of climate change on India which is going to be very serious, we all have to be concerned about it."


Facts leave global warming proponents out in the cold

When dealing with the latest hysterical claims about global warming, it's essential to keep in mind a fundamental principle of science: Theories must be testable. A scientific theory describes a predicted outcome and one or more means by which the theory can be tested. Far from supporting a sound scientific theory that humans are creating a global warming crisis, last week's assertion by prominent global warming alarmists that Antarctica is getting warmer illustrates the unscientific, flip-flopping nature of global warming predictions.

Antarctica was first inserted into the debate when Al Gore, in his movie An Inconvenient Truth, referred to Antarctica as a "canary in the coal mine" indicating human-induced climate change. After Gore asserted icebergs breaking off the West Antarctic ice sheet proved Antarctica was feeling the effects of human-induced global warming, real scientists pointed out that most of Antarctica has been getting colder for decades. Although a small portion of West Antarctica is warming, scientists noted this was the exception to an overall Antarctic cooling pattern.

Embarrassed that their most high-profile spokesperson had been caught cherry-picking the data and misrepresenting temperature trends, the global warming crowd rolled out Plan B. In February 2008 a Web site administered by prominent global warming alarmist Michael Mann featured an article acknowledging that Antarctica has been getting colder, but asserting, "a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict ... and have predicted for the past quarter century. ... Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that."

So the new party line was, "Of course Antarctica is cooling. This is what our global warming theory predicts. This is what our global warming theory has always predicted. A cooling Antarctica is therefore more evidence that humans are causing a global warming crisis." This new party line was weak, and the American public knew it. Importantly, the alarmists could not point to previously published predictions of human-induced global warming causing Antarctica to cool.

Enter, once again, Michael Mann. Disregarding his Web site's 2008 assertion that human- induced global warming would cause Antarctica to cool, Mann and colleagues on January 22 published an article in Nature claiming Antarctica is warming. Mann's Web site now speculates that humans may be causing Antarctic warming.

Despite the claims of Mann and company in their Nature article, NASA satellite instruments and most Antarctic ground temperature stations show Antarctica has been cooling. Mann and his colleagues rely on highly subjective, controversial, and self-serving "data-smoothing" to assert that all the other temperature reports are wrong.

Beyond the dispute over the alarmists' blatant manipulation of data, the larger and more important issue is that global warming theory is no longer a testable scientific theory-assuming it ever was one. The alarmists claimed Antarctica was warming because of a human-induced climate crisis. When it was shown Antarctica is cooling, the alarmists flip-flopped and claimed Antarctic cooling indicated a human-induced climate crisis. When that party line was no longer convenient, they flip-flopped again.

Sound science dictates that a theory be testable and conform to known facts. When it is asserted that anything and everything that could possibly happen is consistent with, and indeed affirmative evidence for, a certain set of beliefs, that is not science. That is dogma, and nothing more.


Global cooling hits Europe again

A BLANKET of snow covered large parts of western Europe after some of the heaviest falls in two decades, causing widespread transport chaos. The worst snowstorms to hit the UK in nearly two decades caused 3000 schools and several airports to close as well as halted mail deliveries, court hearings and theatre performances. Flurries also brought chaos to parts of Paris and Spain, while three people died in Italy amid adverse weather conditions as the snow reached northern Morocco.

London and southeast England were the worst affected areas, with about 30cm of snow falling by last night. London's 7000 bus services were suspended for most of the day, while the city's Underground and overground train services suffering severe delays and cancellations. Major airports were badly affected, with Heathrow cancelling hundreds of flights while London City and Luton airports were closed. Gatwick remained open but more than 20 flights were cancelled. Passengers on board a Cyprus Airways jet had a scare when their plane came off a taxiway at Heathrow shortly after landing in the snowy conditions. No one was injured.

Hospitals were forced to call in extra staff to cope with an increase in emergency calls and motoring authorities struggled to keep up with demands from stranded motorists. The sheer amount of snow stunned many Londoners as they took to local parks to make snowmen and throw snowballs. "I've never seen it snow so consistently in the 10 years I've been here," former Sydneysider Stephanie McNamara said.

Weather forecasters issued an extreme weather warning for England, Wales and parts of eastern Scotland, with more snow and icy conditions along with freezing temperatures predicted for the rest of the week. The Federation of Small Businesses estimated 20 per cent of British employees failed to turn up at work because of the snow, at a cost of about 1.2 billion pounds to Britain's ailing economy.

France's road traffic agency urged motorists to cancel non-essential journeys, with roads difficult and in a small number of some cases impassable around Paris and in the east near Strasbourg. The snow and icy conditions caused a dozen accidents in the Paris region without causing injuries, officials said.

In Italy, three people died and 500 people had to be evacuated from their homes amid bad weather in parts of the country, while Milan woke today to a dusting of snow.

Up to 20cm fell in parts of Switzerland, while part of the road around the San Bernardino tunnel was closed.

One to 3cm of snow fell in Belgium, where around 400km of traffic jams accumulated during the morning peak hour.



The UK Met Office forecast last Autumn "the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average." We have now passed the 2/3 mark of the meteorological winter, and it is time for another report card to send home. Yesterday's press release was titled "Wintry start to February" which stated "So far, the UK winter has been the coldest for over a decade" and "Met Office forecasters expect the cold theme to the weather to continue well into next week with the chance of further snow."

The UK is expecting the heaviest snow in about 20 years tomorrow. "Snow and freezing weather threaten to shut down Britain Arctic blizzards are set to cause a national shutdown on Monday as forecasters warn of the most widespread snowfall for almost 20 years." "Now is the time you'd expect to see the daffodils coming out but we're not expecting them for two or three weeks at best if it warms up." So why is this important? Climate is not weather, after all. The Met Office is one of the most vocal advocates of human induced global warming, and they have gotten into a consistent pattern of warm seasonal forecasts which seemingly fall in line with that belief system. Is it possible that their forecasts are unduly influenced by preconceived notions about the climate? It is worth remembering that London had it's first October snow in 70 years this past autumn.

Or perhaps they know exactly what they are doing, and are just having a several year run of extremely bad luck with their long term forecasting.


Transit Is No Solution for Global Warming

The economic stimulus bill that recently passed the House included $12 billion in spending on public transit. When Republican Rep. Jeff Flake attempted to cut nearly a billion going to Amtrak and intercity-rail service, House Democrats quashed the effort and condemned opponents of transit spending. According to the Wall Street Journal, "They have been urging a big boost in spending after the number of riders on Amtrak and many mass-transit lines surged to record levels last year. They have argued that bolstering rail and bus service helps create `green' jobs and gives consumers environmentally friendly transportation choices."

Transit is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, or more accurately hype. We have been reminded, most recently by Democrats in the House, that as gas prices were rising and driving declining, that transit ridership was growing strongly. Yet, the reality is that transit captured no more than 3 percent of the decline in urban driving. Strong growth rates on an insignificant base produce insignificant increases (barely 1.5 percent of urban travel in the United States is on transit) and outside New York, the number is below 1.0 percent. Record ridership of this kind shouldn't be rewarded with new spending, nor should we fall for the canard that it's an effective way to have an environmental impact.

I was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission by the late Mayor Tom Bradley. I came to the Commission as an advocate of transit and urban rail, and indeed, my spontaneous amendment to the 1980 sales tax ordinance produced the fund that made construction of the Long Beach light rail line (the Blue Line) and the Los Angeles to North Hollywood subway (the Red Line) possible. My passion for rail was a belief, not unusual, that it would reduce traffic congestion. I was wrong.

In the years that followed, I regrettably was to learn that both transit and urban rail had been grossly oversold. It has not, anywhere, materially or sustainably reduced traffic congestion. Its cost structure is so out of control that the average mile traveled by a passenger in the United States has risen to about four times as much in public and private expenditure as every mile traveled by car. It wasn't always so. Before the coming of federal subsidies in the 1970s, transit expenditures per mile traveled were less than that of cars.

In recent years, transit advocates have also assumed that transit is an obvious way that greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions can be reduced. As concern about reliance on foreign oil has increased, the drive to move people from cars to transit has gotten stronger. Despite the negligible shift in numbers of riders, this idea been accepted for the most part by the public.

In reality, transit faces two barriers to achieving the dream of being a popular, green alternative. The first is the more fundamental. No one is going to forsake their car to get on a bus or train that is not going where they are going. The overwhelming majority of urban trips cannot be made in any reasonable amount of time by transit. Moreover, the trips that can be made take longer. On average, people using transit to commute to work spend twice as much time as those who drive. Some may think that expanding transit service would solve this problem, but, in fact, attempting to replicate the mobility of the automobile in an American or European urban area would cost near the gross annual income of any urban area attempting it, every year.

Further, it is a mistake to think that all transit service is more GHG friendly than all cars. The best hybrids produce less in GHG emissions per passenger mile than the best transit systems. For example, we have estimated that a 2009 Toyota Prius produces an average of less than 150 grams of GHGs in city driving per passenger mile, based upon EPA mileage figures. Data in the 2007 National Transit Database indicates that transit produces more than 250 grams of GHG emissions per passenger mile, though New York does much better at 160 (all figures include upstream emissions such as power generation and refining). It is true that, overall, transit produces fewer GHGs per passenger mile than cars and SUVs.

However, the spectacular advances on the way in automobile fuel economy seem certain to erode away transit's advantage. But there is more than the fact that transit is not quite so green and getting comparatively less green every day.

The second and bigger point is costs. It seems a foregone conclusion that the United States will adopt a GHG emissions reduction objective. In the end, it may be a reduction of 50 percent by 2050, as proposed by the G-8 (and rejected by China, India and other developing nations). Or, it could be the 80 percent reduction that the President reaffirmed as his intention last week.

There is considerable concern that GHG emission reduction be accomplished without sacrificing economic growth. The International Panel on Climate Change says that sufficient GHG emission reductions can be achieved at $50 per ton or less. The consulting firm, McKinsey has published research saying that the United States can achieve GHG reductions of up to 4.5 billion tons annually by 2030 at $50 per ton or less and an average of $17.

This is where it gets difficult for transit. It cannot compete with costs per GHG emission ton removed of $50, much less $17. If every American were to climb out of his or her car tomorrow and somehow ride transit instead (forget for a moment that it's not there), the costs would be enormous. The total expenditures on the new transit travel would be at least four times that of the rejected automobile trip. The cost per ton of GHG emissions removed would be approximately $5,000 annually, 100 times the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change ceiling. This is so expensive that if the nation were to implement President Obama's 80 percent GHG emission reduction at the same cost per ton, the bill would be approximately $25 trillion annually --- about $10 trillion more than the annual Gross Domestic Product. Obviously, that is extravagance even a nation of TARP and bailouts cannot afford.

None of this is to suggest that transit is not valuable or does not have its place. For many low income citizens, transit is their principal mobility and it is, in my view, appropriate to subsidize their rides. Transit is also indispensible in the high frequency service and high volume traffic that is delivers to a few large downtown areas, such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington. I would ride transit if I worked in Manhattan, just as I rode transit when I worked in downtown Los Angeles and just as when I travel around Paris.

But a bit of reality is in order. Transit has its place and it is an important place. But for most people and most trips, there is simply no way that transit can compete in travel time or convenience. Worst of all, its high costs make significant expansion unaffordable and thus out of the question and hopeless with respect to any material role in achieving whatever GHG emission reduction objective is finally adopted.


Why do Green zealots think they can dictate how many children we are allowed to have?

So the deepest green of them all turns out to be not so much a friend of the earth as an enemy of the human race. Jonathon Porritt, the Government's 'green' adviser, has said that couples who have more than two children are being 'irresponsible' by creating an unbearable burden on the environment. Curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must therefore be at the heart of policies to fight man-made global warming. Apparently this is all because people have to accept responsibility 'for their total environmental footprint'. That's what having children amounts to, apparently, in his mind.

The blessings of a large family and the contribution this makes to prosperity and progress don't figure at all. Instead, children are to be measured solely by their burdensome impact on the planet. What kind of sinister and dehumanised mindset is this? It is no coincidence that the country which comes nearest to Jonathon's ideal society is Communist China, which imposed a murderously cruel policy of restricting families to one child apiece. For the desire to reduce the number of children that parents produce is innately totalitarian.

Reproduction is humanity's strongest instinct. To seek to curb it is to interfere with one of our most fundamental freedoms and desires. To do so on the basis that Jonathon Porritt possesses unique insight into the needs of our world which is denied to the lesser mortals who inhabit it is not just monumental arrogance - it is also the delusion of totalitarian tyrants from Stalin to Hitler to Mao.

But then the green movement is essentially totalitarian in outlook. It sees people as a nuisance which has to be controlled. Accordingly, green interference in our lives now stretches from turning the ordinary lightbulb into an endangered species, telling hospitals to stop serving meat on patients' menus, and sending round the garbage police if someone commits the crime of putting a tin can or plastic bottle into the receptacle designated for paper.

Now, by pointing out what he says is the population 'ghost at the table', Porritt has blown environmentalism's cover. For he is not some maverick sounding off. These views are mainstream within the green movement, and they are growing. This month, an international campaign is being launched called 'Global Population Speak Out' to publicise the link between 'the size and growth of the human population and environmental degradation'. A green GP, Dr Pippa Hayes, says she will actually refuse to offer fertility treatment to women who want to have more than four children, because she believes that this places an 'insupportable burden' on the earth's resources.

It is shocking that a GP should not only have such anti-human views, but seek to impose them upon her patients - refusing to act in their interests, which she subordinates to an ideology. Doctors have a duty to support life. That's why some doctors refuse to have anything to do with abortion. For a doctor to regard herself as a 'conscientious objector' for wanting to reduce human life is to turn not just medical ethics but also the foundation of our common humanity inside out.

It's a short step from that to seeing human beings as some kind of disease. Indeed, another prominent establishment green, the former diplomat Sir Crispin Tickell - who has said we should be pursuing policies that would reduce our population to 20 million, or one-third of its current level - remarked: 'Someone has said that constantly increasing growth is the doctrine of the cancer cell. You just get out of control.'

From this revolting attitude it is again but a short step to seeing people as mere objects to be disposed of. When coupled with the unspoken but implicit subtext that the populations that need most to be controlled in the world are black and brown, it turns into outright racism. Accordingly, it results in a blind eye to genocide. When mass slaughter took place in Rwanda in 1994 and the world stood by and did nothing, there was much talk about how this was inevitable because of the high population density that was causing land shortages and poverty. It was no accident that Hitler was a green.

There is in fact a direct line running between the modern environmental movement and the anti-human mindset of population control. Fundamental to green thinking is the belief that human consumption is innately bad. Human life itself is seen as a pollutant, not merely by producing too much carbon and thus contributing to global warming but by generally consuming and producing too much and thus eating up the planet like locusts.

The roots of this thinking go back to the 18th century, when it was first thought that population growth would outstrip the earth's resources and would lead to famine, starvation and death. Despite the fact that the world's population massively increased and resources expanded to sustain it, the belief persisted in progressive circles and led to eugenics and thence to fascism.

Of course there are places in the world where people are starving. Yet that isn't because natural resources have a limit but the result of the tyrannies, ignorance or cultural restrictions which prevent the poor of the world from harnessing the resources of the earth.

What's more, Porritt's two-child limit is particularly neuralgic when it comes to Britain, where many people are indeed having no more than one or two children - with the result that the indigenous population is not replicating itself. The rise in Britain's population is made up almost entirely of immigrants, at the cost of its identity.

The green movement has provided a respectable camouflage for the population control movement, which went underground after the Nazi era. That's why Porritt is a patron of the Optimum Population Trust, which moans that every baby born in Britain will burn carbon equivalent in quantity to an area of woodland the size of Trafalgar Square. Another of the Trust's patrons, the environmental guru Paul R. Ehrlich, predicted in his seminal 1968 book The Population Bomb that during the Seventies and Eighties hundreds of millions of people would starve to death - about 65 million of them in the U.S. - and that by the year 2000 'England will not exist'.

But then the whole man-made global warming theory has turned out to be just as absurd. As Britain shivers in its harshest winter for 13 years, atmospheric data shows that the earth is getting colder, not hotter, the ice caps are increasing not disappearing and the rise in sea level has slowed and is nothing out of the ordinary.

Yet despite the patent absurdity of these predictions of environmental doom, this thinking now dominates political life. The reason is undoubtedly the grip upon politics of those who want to control our lives in order to reshape society. In all corners of everyday life, from state interference in parenting to telling people what to eat or what not to drink, from council snoopers to idiotic health and safety rules, the aim is to control and change the way we behave.

The green movement camouflages this sinister tendency under cover of the urgent necessity of saving the planet. But with people like Jonathon Porritt apparently believing that the only thing wrong with the planet is the human race, the big question must be just who he will be saving it for.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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