Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sea level fraud

The Washington Times' front-page story "Rising sea levels in Pacific create wave of migrants" (Page 1, Sunday) outrageously peddles a talking point circulated by activists such as former Vice President Al Gore. The article's claim that human-induced climate change and sea-level rise spawned a migration of refugees from South Pacific island nations was found unsupportable by the only court to examine its merits (Dimmock v. Secretary of State (UK) for Education and Skills, UK High Court, Oct. 10, 2007).

This claim is a rehash of assertions made in Mr. Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." In its Dimmock ruling, the High Court stated: "In scene 20, Mr. Gore states 'that's why the citizens of these Pacific nations have all had to evacuate to New Zealand.' There is no evidence of any such evacuation having yet happened." Even the defendant UK government admitted, "It is not clear that there is any evidence of evacuations in the Pacific due to human-induced climate change." Refugees seeking generous New Zealand and Canadian welfare regimes do exist, but they are not driven by sea-level rise.

This ruling came in late 2007. The rate of sea-level rise - which began after a period known as the Little Ice Age - proceeded steadily from about 1850 until then, without accelerating. Since then, satellite data have affirmed that the rate peaked in 2005 and that levels even have dipped slightly. Sea levels around the Maldives have dropped appreciably in recent decades. Nowhere did The Times acknowledge doubt, let alone these facts.

In short, this reportage perpetuated unsupportable claims made, as the UK High Court put it, "in the context of alarmism and exaggeration in support of [Mr. Gore's] political thesis." A retraction is warranted.


Save the Humans!

Get ready for a dazzling display of environmental alarmism this week as Washington takes up the evils of modern living.

When it comes to the Earth's demise, no one is innocent. Take, for instance, the recent story about a group of scientists who are wagging their scrawny fingers at our rotund brothers and sisters for contributing to the planet's demise by relentlessly stuffing their pudgy faces. (Eat green; be green!)

You see, eating more means humans must produce more food -- and more carbon dioxide. It means we must raise more soon-to-be juicy steaks that have a tendency to emit greenhouse gases that reek. You might find the thought of regulating food intake and livestock flatulence a bit bizarre, but hey, if it means saving the Earth, why not?

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency bravely moved forward by finding that things such as smokestacks and breathing, or things related to greenhouse gases, endanger public health and welfare. And because the EPA can regulate CO2, it can have a say in nearly everything we do, with little regard for silly distractions, such as economic trade-offs.

We're not talking about your cars or soon-to-be-extinct trucks; we're talking about your scooters and toasters, your dryers and pets (do you really need two dogs? Come to think of it, do you really need two children?), your coffeehouses and Subaru dealerships and organic-produce collectives.

It's not going to be easy. Climate change is the cause of -- and caused by -- everything. Reputable news pieces regularly allege, without any evidence, that climate change is the culprit in hundreds of dreadful events. From the decline of outdoor youth hockey to the scourge of teenage drinking to the massacre in Darfur, you guessed it; global warming is often the boogeyman.

Who knew that a shift of 0.04 degrees Celsius in a decade could be so terrible? [Or a shift of .6 of a degree over the entire 20th century?]

What's worse than the EPA grabbing power over CO2? Well, leading Luddite and congressman Henry Waxman is worse. His proposal sets carbon reduction goals of 20 percent by 2020, 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050 and, with cap and trade, effectively nationalizes energy.

This incremental destruction of prosperity is probably going to have to be modified as soon as citizens get a taste of reality. But how could any reasonable or responsible legislator suggest an 83 percent cut in emissions without any practical or wide-scale alternative to replace it or any plan to pay for it all?

When people are on a crusade, I guess, logic rarely plays a part. And when Waxman and friends hold climate change hearings this week, it will feature more than 50 witnesses, the majority, no doubt, prepared to spin some exceedingly (non) chilling tale to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

I suspect that few of them will mention the recent report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation on cap and trade policy that illustrates all American households would face an annual cost of nearly $144.8 billion per year -- "disproportionately borne by low-income households, those under age 25 and over 75 years … and single parents with dependent children."

Even fewer will mention the new Rasmussen poll that shows that only 1 in 3 voters now believes global warming is caused by human activity -- the lowest number ever. Forty-four percent of likely voters attribute climate change to long-term planetary trends, while 7 percent blame some other reason.

This shift in public opinion may be a blip, or it may be a trend. But if we're ever to enact energy policy that is both environmentally responsible and economically reasonable, we're going to need a rational discussion. We haven't come close yet.



It's a big story in Australia at the moment. Four current articles below

Another nasty one for the Greenies

SEA ice around Antarctica has been increasing since the 1970s. Yet more explaining away to do but the best the Warmist can do is hark back to the failed "ozone hole" theory. And whatever explanation you put on it, there is clearly no danger of a sea level rise emanating from the Antarctic. And since the Antarctic contains 91% of the earth's ice, we can kiss the disastrous sea-level rise scares goodbye

SEA ice around Antarctica has been increasing at a rate of 100,000sq km a decade since the 1970s, according to a landmark study to be published today. The study by the British Antarctic Survey, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says rather than melting as a result of global warming, Antarctica continues to expand.

The fact that Antarctic ice is still growing does not in itself prove that global warming is not happening. But the BAS says increased ice formation can be explained by another environmental concern, the hole in the ozone layer, which is affecting local weather conditions.

But the absence of an ice melt overall does put a further question mark over extreme claims that the world faces precipitous rises in sea levels because of the melting polar ice caps.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has been under fire for suggesting sea levels could rise by 6m as a result of the melting of the Antarctic ice. Antarctica has 90 per cent of the Earth's ice and extensive melting of its ice sheet would be required to raise sea levels substantially.

The Weekend Australian reported on Saturday that the results of ice-core drilling and sea ice monitoring indicated there was no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica. Drilling in the fast ice, a type of sea ice, off Australia's Davis Station last year showed the ice was 1.9m thick, its densest in 10 years.

The BAS, which discovered the ozone hole in the mid-1980s, has drawn on data from international agencies, including Australia's three Antarctic bases. BAS project leader John Turner told The Australian yesterday that cooling had been recorded at the Australian bases and elsewhere in east Antarctica. He said satellite images indicated the ozone layer had strengthened surface winds around Antarctica, deepening storms in the South Pacific area of the Southern Ocean. This had resulted in a greater flow of cold air over the Ross Sea, leading to more ice production. [But the ozone hole should be gone by now after CFCs were banned 20 years ago, shouldn't it? Surely we are not admitting the now obvious fact that banning CFCs had no effect! Look at the bottom right-hand graph by NASA here and you will see clearly that there has been no trend in the size of the ozone hole since 1989. What a laugh!] While sea ice had been lost to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula, sea ice cover over the Ross Sea had increased.

Dr Turner said the research results indicated why the extensive melting of ice in the Arctic was not occurring in Antarctica [Rubbish! Arctic warming is a purely local effect, probably due to the fact that the ice there sits on top of a chain of volcanoes (the Gakkel ridge). Warming episodes in the Arctic have been very uneven and much greater than anywhere else, indicating that their cause is NOT global] "While there is increasing evidence that the loss of sea ice in the Arctic has occurred due to human activity, in the Antarctic, human influence through the ozone hole has had the reverse effect and resulted in more ice," he said. As the ozone hole repaired itself as a result of measures in place to reduce chlorofluorocarbons in the stratosphere [When's that going to happen? There has been no trend in that direction so far], the cooling in Antactica was expected to be reversed. [One day, over the rainbow ...] "We expect ozone levels to recover by the end of the century, and by then there is likely to be around one-third less Antarctic sea ice," Dr Turner said. [A prophet!]

He said that while the expansion of sea ice, the relatively thin ice in Antarctic coastal waters, had been established, debate continued about whether the main mass of the Antarctic ice sheet was growing or shrinking.


Warmists answer facts with abuse and an appeal to authority again

And they call conservatives "authoritarian"! That good old projection again

THERE'S nothing like healthy academic combat. In the corridors of Adelaide University, two respected professors on opposite sides of the climate change debate are pushing their theories on the subject, sparked by a new book that has sceptics rubbing their hands with glee.

Outspoken academic geologist Ian Plimer [above] yesterday launched Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science, concluding that scientific modelling had placed too much emphasis on the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global warming should not be blamed on increased human activity.

Speaking after the launch yesterday, Professor Plimer accused high-profile climate change advocates such as former US vice-president Al Gore of "scaring people witless" with theories about the world ending. He also said 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery pushed a "political line" and had considered only a "small body of evidence" when studying global warming.

Many scientists, he said, had not considered the history of the earth when discussing climate change, or factors including the earth's rotation, changing tides and solar winds. "When you look at the selective evidence, then there's a chance that you might be frightened about the end of the world," Professor Plimer said. "When you look at the comprehensive evidence, it just says the planet changes all the time."

Defending climatologists and thousands of other scientists, Barry Brook, who heads Adelaide University's Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, poured cold water on Professor Plimer's book and said his colleague had only used "selective evidence" when quoting more than 200 scientists and from peer-reviewed papers. [More than 200? There are more than 2,000 scientific references in Plimer's book]

Professor Plimer's "stated view of climate science is that a vast number of extremely well respected scientists and a whole range of specialist disciplines have fallen prey to delusional self-interest and become nothing more than unthinking ideologues", he said. "Plausible to conspiracy theorists, perhaps, but hardly a sane world view, and insulting to all those genuinely committed to real science." Professor Brook, whose office is literally metres from Professor Plimer's base, said his colleague's research was "confusing" because he failed to argue one specific point, and that it was a case study "in how not to be objective". [Mere abuse!]

With the international debate on climate change raging, Professor Plimer yesterday said people were embracing his book because they were frustrated with the one-sided debate on global warming. The presses have started printing the third run of 5000 copies, after the first 10,000 sold in two days. "The average punter out there feels helpless and disenfranchised," he said.



FORD Australia has warned that the Government's emissions trading scheme could add millions of dollars a year to its costs and threaten jobs, six months after Canberra pledged $6.2 billion to rescue the local auto industry. The carmaker's entry into the politically charged debate over the timing and shape of the Government's response to climate change comes amid intense lobbying for a review of next year's start date for the scheme. BlueScope, OneSteel, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Chevron, Woodside Energy and Visy have long pushed for changes or delays to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, citing its impact on jobs at a time of economic crisis.

But Ford Australia's submission to a Senate inquiry into the ETS marks its strongest call yet for caution on the scheme. "It is difficult to precisely quantify the impact, but it would well be in the annual order of many millions of dollars via increased energy costs," it said. "There will be extremely limited opportunity for domestic manufacturers to offset these increased costs with higher prices, particularly as the proposed introduction of the scheme in 2010 will coincide with a drop in the passenger car import tariff from 10 per cent to 5 per cent." Strong competition from imports and dwindling local demand cost 1400 local jobs at Ford's Australian operations over the 15 months to October last year.

The Government's ETS, initiated during an economic boom, is encountering growing resistance from business as their margins shrink. BlueScope Steel and OneSteel, which are reeling from falling sales and prices, said in their submission the damage wrought by the Government's emissions trading model would be second only to the impact of the global recession. The iron and steelmakers have already cut at least 1000 full-time equivalent staff from their combined 20,000-strong workforce. "In the context of the deep economic downturn - globally and in Australia - the cumulative costs of the carbon pollution reduction scheme are intolerable and are very likely to cause a fall in profitability, investment and jobs," their joint submission to the Senate inquiry said.

The 415 submissions to the parliamentary inquiry published so far highlight the difficulties Labor will face in pushing its emissions trading laws through the upper house, where it lacks a majority. The Coalition has slammed the scheme as "reckless" while balance-of-power senators consider it environmentally and economically damaging.

Business, too, is speaking with more than one voice on the issue. Companies such as BP Australia and Shell used the inquiry process to call on the Government to stick with its market-based approach to cutting greenhouse gases and its early implementation plan. "We believe the carbon pollution reduction scheme green paper largely got it right with respect to many of the emissions trading design issue," BP Australia's submission tells the inquiry.

Conservationists also oppose the proposal, but for different reasons. The Australian Conservation Foundation told the Senate inquiry the Government's targets for greenhouse gas cuts were too low and its permits for polluters were too generous.



The National Farmers' Federation has thrown its backing behind controversial climate change dissenter, Professor Ian Plimer, whose new book aims to debunk the theories and dire predictions of some within the scientific fraternity. In Heaven and Earth: Climate change - the real science, Prof Plimer, from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide, notes that climatic change is "the norm", sea levels rise and fall all the time, and that climate cycles are driven by massive forces completely unrelated to carbon emissions.

"Climate changes in the past have been far greater and far more rapid than anything measured in the present," he writes. "Not one previous climate change has ever been driven by carbon dioxide. "To talk of carbon pollution shows an appalling ignorance of basic school science. "Carbon dioxide is plant food, without it humans could not exist."

Prof Plimer will be a keynote speaker at the NFF's upcoming National Congress in Brisbane in June. While not explicitly supporting the position Prof Plimer takes, NFF president David Crombie said it was time the climate change debate heard more from those with dissenting opinions. "We've heard ad nauseam from those scientists convinced that climate change will ruin us all and, seemingly, hell-bent on making grim doomsday predictions," Mr Crombie said. "But we've heard precious little from those experts for whom the jury is still out, or, in the case of Professor Plimer, say their research shows extreme climate change predictions are over-stated.

"Now, before I'm carted to a stake for public torching, I'm not saying Professor Plimer is right, nor that his colleagues with differing views are wrong. "Just that it's about time we had a balanced, informed discussion and debate... free from vilification of those who dare to question conventional wisdom."

In his book, Prof Plimer claims that every scientific argument ever used to show that humans change climate is wrong and cites over 2300 scientific references in support of his claims.



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