An email below from Mark Duchamp [firstname.lastname@example.org], Director, Climate Change and Alternative Energies, Iberica 2000
The oceans' acidity scare is back, embodied in the Monaco Declaration:
"...more than 150 leading experts warned that the world's oceans are becoming more acidic as a result of absorbing ever-increasing amounts of CO2."
"Surface ocean pH has already dropped by 0.1 units since the beginning of the Industrial revolution, exposing marine organisms to a rate of acidification that scientists believe has not been seen for many millions of years."
Dear me! Didn't corals appear in the oceans over 500 millions years ago, when there was 10 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere than there is today, and global temperature was 8 or 9 degrees warmer?
And if the world's climate were to resume its warming, aren't the oceans supposed to RELEASE more CO2 than they absorb?
Some Greenie rage
Horror that a major publisher of scientific journals supports Sen. Inhofe financially. Amusing that the writer below identifies himself as a "Questionable authority" (It's the name of his blog). Who am I to disagree? His rundown of Inhofe's sins certainly displays questionable authority. That "blasting Tom Brokaw's objectivity on the climate change issue" is a sin is certainly questionable. I think I would have called it an unquestionable truth!
There is little doubt that if there is any one person serving in the United States Senate who can be identified as anti-science, it is Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe. He's called global warming a "hoax", tried to pass a novelist off as a climate-change expert at a Senate hearing, and referred to the work of the IPCC as a "corruption of science". He had Senate committee staffers issue a press release blasting Tom Brokaw's objectivity on the climate change issue. We're talking about a sitting Senator who has been such a consistent and vocal opponent of science that the president of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science once referred to him - in an editorial in the journal Science - as a "conspiracy theorist".
Reed Elsevier is one of the leading - if not the leading - publishers of scientific journals. They make profits on the scale of thousands of dollars a minute selling these journals to libraries so that scientists can read them. They have, I'd suggest, some motivation to keep from pissing scientists off any more than necessary.
Which is why I was almost surprised to discover that Reed Elsevier Inc. gave Senator Inhofe $16,500 in 2008, with $3,000 of that coming right from their own Political Action Committee. It's nice to know that Reed Elsevier is always ready to stand behind scientists. With a knife in their hand.
IS OBAMA FOLLOWING BUSH'S CLIMATE POLICY?
Canadians going gaga over Barack Obama need to get a grip. He is not going to change the world. He is not going to right all wrongs. Indeed, his whirlwind visit to Ottawa this week underlines the new U.S. president's innate conservatism.
Take the one concrete measure that came out of his Thursday meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper - a Canada-U.S. decision to look into carbon capture as a solution to global warming. This does not signify Harper's willingness to endorse an Obama-sponsored get-tough approach to climate change. Rather, it represents the opposite - Obama's willingness to sign on to Harper's search (much criticized by Canadian environmentalists) for a miraculous new technology that would allow oil refineries and coal plants to keep polluting and then permanently store the resultant carbon emissions underground.
The U.S. president, in a veiled criticism of the Kyoto Accord on climate change, also noted that no solution to global warming can be found unless China and India are drawn in. This has been Harper's position all along. It was also that of former U.S. president George W. Bush.
None of this is to say that Obama is Bush redux. He isn't. But the differences between the two have been greatly overdrawn.
UK CLIMATE POLICY: BETWEEN GREEN SPIN AND ECONOMIC REALPOLITIK
Britain's efforts to cut carbon emissions have been hampered by government infighting and a reluctance to stand up to industry, according to the UK's former climate change minister. Elliot Morley, head of the new energy and climate change select committee, said tensions between different government departments had undermined moves to cut greenhouse gas pollution. Policies to cut carbon and help the environment were dismissed inside Whitehall as "idealistic and not giving enough attention to the pragmatic needs of industry", he said.
In an interview with the Guardian, Morley, a minister in the environment department Defra from 2003 to 2006, said: "I think there has been a failure to get complete cross-government buy-in." He added: "Defra did its best, but unless you get action from all the other ministries including the Treasury, you're never going to get anywhere." Crucial changes to building standards to make homes more energy efficient were delayed because of industry lobbying, he said.
Last year's government restructure to form a new Department of Energy and Climate Change will make a "huge difference" but will not solve the problem. "No one department is going to be able to deliver the kind of change that we need."
He said government squabbling had derailed efforts to reduce UK carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010 - a key Labour target from the 1997 manifesto which ministers have admitted they will miss. Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 0.3% since Labour came to power, though Britain remains on track to meet a separate greenhouse gas target under the Kyoto protocol.
"It came down to this argument about the costs to industry, which is what the energy people thought was their priority," Morley said. "Defra would sometimes be presented as a department that was too idealistic and not giving enough attention to the pragmatic needs of industry."
Morley praised the UK's "ground breaking" climate change bill, which commits the government to binding carbon reduction targets, but said there had been significant failures elsewhere. "Why on earth are we still building hospitals without combined heat and power? The answer is the tendering process and the private finance initiative."
He said it was "impossible to say" if he lost his ministerial role because of his doubts over on nuclear power. He is "sceptical" that nuclear can deliver more power than renewables for the same cost.
REVIEW: James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning
Until recently, we were told that the scientific community was in broad agreement about climate change. But, in the last few weeks, open warfare has broken out between experts presenting serious, evidence-based research and hysterical alarmists like James Hansen, who seem hell-bent on destroying the global economy through eye-wateringly expensive and totally unnecessary "emergency measures".
Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, recently called on scientists and journalists to stop misleading the public with "claim and counter-claim". Pope says there is little evidence to support claims that Arctic ice has reached a tipping point and could disappear within a decade or so, as some reports have suggested: "The record-breaking losses in the past couple of years could easily be due to natural fluctuations in the weather, with summer ice increasing again over the next few years."
In a recent wide-eyed rant in the Guardian last week, James Hansen branded coal-fired power plants "factories of death". But Hansen, the global warming lobby's most celebrated cheerleader, has now been called "an embarrassment to NASA". His work has been branded "unscientific". Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., former director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, recently accused him of "megalomania" and of "scientific authoritarianism". Others say he has "lost the plot".
In fact, as long ago as June 2008, Dr. Nicholas Drapela from Oregon State University Chemistry Department wrote: "My dear colleague Professor Hansen, I believe, has finally gone off the deep end. When you have dedicated the bulk of your career to a cause, and it turns out the cause has been proven false, most people cannot bring themselves to admit the truth. [His claims] contain neither reason nor truth."
But there is a greater, more sacred cow that even the most strident climate sceptics seem reluctant to attack: James Lovelock. Lovelock is responsible for the now-famous Gaia hypothesis, which is predicated on the idea that each of the planet's systems exist in intricate symbiosis with one another. Or, in his words, Gaia is "a complex entity involving the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet".
Sounds nice, doesn't it? But this isn't really a "hypothesis" at all: it's just a highfalutin' way of saying we shouldn't cut down so many trees and we shouldn't burn so much coal. The problem with Lovelock's theory is that he presents it as a scientific position, when really it's not even cargo cult stuff: Gaia is a perfectly pleasant metaphor for the dangers of abusing the natural world, but to posit his "cybernetic system" as a serious theory is to invite ridicule.
Perhaps realising - as James Hansen surely now does, if only privately - that the planet might just make it through the twenty-first century intact after all, Lovelock has switched focus in his new book. Now it's only humanity that's at risk. The planet will look after itself. All that saving the planet stuff was just a sales pitch: what we really need to be doing is saving the human race.
Controversially, Lovelock says nuclear power is the only viable way of generating enough energy to meet future demand. But in doing so, he overlooks - or ignores - the fact that even sustainable power is unsustainable. According to New Scientist, "The most advanced 'renewable' technologies are too often based upon non-renewable resources." In other words, the green lobby could be about to rob the planet of irreplaceable natural assets.
After close reading of this slender volume, I can offer no sensible summary of it, save to say that the climate lobby is clearly struggling to come up with new and inventive ways to keep the "industry" going. But I can offer some advice. Do not purchase The Vanishing Face of Gaia. Do not read it. Do not tell your friends about it. Do not, in short, do anything to attract further attention to this silly - though I'm sure lucrative - drivel. "Future generations" will thank you. The publishers tell me this is Lovelock's "final word" on the environmental problems humanity will face in the twenty-first century. We can be grateful, at least, for that.
Tasmanian health fear if climate heats up
This would be a most amusing article if it were not so dishonest and stupid. Quite aside from the basic fact that warm weather is better for you than cold weather (a lot more people die in winter than die in summer), the article is about Tasmania, which has a cool climate. And even under pessimistic assumptions, Tasmania would warm up only to the point where its climate is like Queensland today. And, writing as I do from Queensland, I can assure you that Queensland is flourishing in every way! We are not even suffering from bushfires
TASMANIA faces an ominous and burgeoning epidemic of chronic disease in its climate change future, the State's Director of Public Health said yesterday. Dr Roscoe Taylor said the spectre of an influenza pandemic was also very real. The foreseeable risks to health worldwide had been documented, he said, but Tasmania faced its share of public health concerns brought about after events that could only be attributed to climate change.
He said the increased frequency of extreme weather would cause physical injury and psychological instability, as the population became anxious about storm, drought or extreme heat events. "With changes in Tasmania's weather patterns, we will see more severe weather events," he said. "An ageing population of people living with chronic medical conditions might not readily cope with heat stress."
Longer term, Dr Taylor said drought would threaten reliable, nutritious food sources and water supply. "There are significant threats to public health and nutrition when our natural food sources are affected with seasonal interruptions," he said.
The extreme weather would also bring social isolation and anxiety. "There will be community anxiety about the future. We have to be careful not to transfer our own fears on to our children. "We have to give them a sense that they can minimise the risks and do something about the future."
Very real evidence of climate change across Tasmania's water supply was already playing itself out, he said. "We are seeing the impact of climate change on our water supply with increased and longer algal blooms," he said. "At Ross the population has had to seek alternative water supplies because of an ongoing blue-green algae outbreak, and on King Island blooms are appearing in the water catchment dams. "There are marine coastal blooms in the Huon and Statewide they are extending and lasting longer.
"These are subtle but definite effects of climate change. "It would appear that water scarcity is likely to persist, and a range of adaptation measures will be required to ensure the viability of communities and food supplies in the longer term."
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