Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New geologic evidence of past periods of oscillating, abrupt warming, and cooling

Prof Easterbrook has emailed the following introduction to his recent paper. The email includes graphics which are not reproduced below but which can be obtained from the author at the email address given below or at dbunny14@yahoo.com

Two hundred years ago, Charles Lyell coined the phrase "The present is the key to the past." In today's highly contentious issues of global climate change, we might well add "The past is the key to the future, i.e., to forecast future geologic events, we must understand past climate changes. This paper documents past global climate changes in the geologic and historic past.

Recent laser imaging of the Earth's surface provides new evidence for abrupt, fluctuating, warm and cool climatic episodes that could not have been caused by changes in atmospheric CO2. In a paper presented at the national meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, OR, Professor Don J. Easterbrook, Professor of Geology at Western Washington University, presented new data from airborne laser imagery showing well-defined, previously unknown, multiple moraines deposited by glaciers 11,700 to 10,250 years ago.

At least 9 significant, abrupt periods of warming that resulted in retreat of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet are documented by moraines from successive glacial retreats in the Fraser Lowland of NW Washington l(Fig. 1). In addition, smaller multiple glacier recessions are found within the more prominent episodes of glacier retreat. As indicated by the amount of glacier recession between each of the successive moraines, the warming events were of greater magnitude than those observed in recent centuries....

What we can learn from this geologic climate changes is that the past is indeed the key to the future. In 1999, the year after the warmest year of recent times, I projected the climate pattern from the past century and past 500 years into the future and predicted that we would be due for 25-30 years of global cooling beginning about 2000. The PDO changed from its warm to cool mode in 1999 and since then we have had global cooling, quite moderate to flat (interrupted by two warm El Ninos) and intensifying since 2007.

Abstract of paper presented to Geological Society of America, Oct. 19, 2009:


EASTERBROOK, Don J., Dept. of Geology, Western Washington Univ, Bellingham, WA 98225, don.easterbrook@wwu.edu

Lidar imagery of the southern part of the Fraser Lowland in WA reveals previously unknown, multiple, latest Pleistocene (Sumas Stade) end moraines overlying Everson glaciomarine drift (gmd). Multiple marine shorelines extend from about 540' to about 100'above present sea level and are truncated by two of the oldest Sumas end moraines. These moraines are younger than the underlying Everson gmd, which is well dated at 11,700 14C yrs. B.P., and older than 11,400 14C yrs. B.P. basal bog dates behind the moraines. Recession of the ice from the outermost moraines was followed by building of at least nine end moraines, some of which clearly represent glacial readvances. Basal bog dates from a kettle in outwash from the youngest Sumas moraine has been dated at 10,250 14C yrs. B.P.

Isotope data from Greenland ice cores and historic atmospheric and oceanic temperature records show a consistent pattern of fluctuating 25-30-year warm and cool periods over the past 500 years. During the past century, five of these climate fluctuations can be tied to glacial oscillations, oceanic temperature changes, atmospheric temperature changes, and solar variation.

The question is-what drives these oscillations? The older fluctuations can be linked to changes in 14C and 10Be isotope production rates in the upper atmosphere, suggesting variation in cosmogenic radiation. Historic climatic and oceanic temperature fluctuations are associated with solar variations. The excellent correlation of glacial, climatic, oceanic, and solar variation strongly suggests cause and effect relationships. Past patterns of these variations allow projection into the future.


An email from hydrologist Will Alexander [alexwjr@iafrica.com]

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged negotiators at December's Copenhagen talks to reach some kind of agreement. We must seal a deal in Copenhagen for a global, equitable and comprehensive deal for the future of humanity and the future of planet earth. CCNet 03 September. Is this noble objective achievable? I fear not.

We are now witnessing the collapse of climate change theory. It is caused by two concurrent events. These are the global economic crisis and the expectation that all nations of the world will jointly and concurrently agree to pass irreversible legislation to limit emissions of undesirable greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The fundamental assumption is that the increasing concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere will result in increases in global temperatures. These will result in increases in hydrological extremes, floods and droughts. These in turn will cause a serious damage and pose threats to national water supplies. There are also a number of lesser concerns such as environmental damage.

How should we test this theory? We are told that the theory is sound because it is the consensus view of hundreds of scientists. It is only the dumb and ill-informed who dare challenge it. However, there are three powerful tests that can be applied to test the theory.

The first is whether or not global temperatures are rising in parallel with rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. All the evidence is to the contrary. Global temperatures are falling, not rising. Several scientists have contested the scientific basis for the linkage between carbon dioxide concentrations and global temperatures.

The second test is to examine long hydrological records and search for evidence of increases in the hydrological extremes. This is what I have been doing for the past 30 years. There is simply no scientifically believable evidence at all of increases that can be attributed to global warming.

There is a third and more difficult test. There are very clear periodic anomalies in long hydro-meteorological records that are well documented in the hydrological literature. These are the Joseph Effect (droughts), Noah Effect (floods), and the Hurst Phenomenon (water resources). There are also the well-known cyclical phenomena such as the El Niño - La Nina effect, the Southern Oscillation Index, and others.

Some of these observed anomalies are synchronous with the double (not single) sunspot cycle, which in turn is related to the sun's wobble caused by the orbiting planets as the solar system moves through Galactic space. Other cyclical climatic phenomena are undoubtedly present on a number of time scales. The most likely causal mechanisms are a combination of cyclicity in the driving mechanisms, amplified by oscillations in the responding mechanisms.

There are many misconceptions regarding the solar linkage. Here are a few. It is the linkage with the double sunspot cycles not the single cycles that is statistically significant. The evenly numbered cycles are associated with more variable climate than the quieter responses associated with the following, odd numbered cycles. We have just entered a quieter cycle.

High flood sequences are associated with the acceleration of solar activity associated with the occurrence of the sunspot minima, and not the occurrence of sunspot maxima. The changes from drought sequences to flood sequences are sudden, not gradual. This indicates the role of instability phenomena. There are other examples. These changes are not amenable to mathematical descriptions. Because they are undetectable by conventional mathematical analyses, climate change scientists assume that they do not exist! They then continue to postulate that changes are the consequence of global warming. Much research has still to be done in this field but the observations of the presence of cyclical periodicity in the climatic processes are unequivocal.

The basic issue is climate CHANGE. It is obvious that any research in this field should commence with studies of the drivers and consequent behaviour of natural climate variability on which the effects of human activity have to be superimposed. This has not been done. The basic assumption made by climate change scientists is that global climate is a steady state phenomenon. This is simply not so as the above tests and many other examples demonstrate. All the IPCC's reports based on this assumption are clearly erroneous.

Why then have virtually all the nations of the world accepted climate change theory? The answer is obvious. The developing nations now smell blood in the form of financial reparations on the scale of the Marshall Plan after World War II as one commentator remarked. This is well illustrated in the recent reaction of the African Union as reported in CCNet of 04 September.


It may seem strange that all nations have accepted climate change science with all its alarmist consequences without question. This is a fundamentally important political decision. The implication is that the affluent nations acknowledge that they are the major cause of climate-related damage up to this time. This is the basis for the African Union's claim for substantial, legally binding reparations from the developed countries for all climate-related damage.

They insist that there will be no compromises in principle although the amount as well as who pays and who receives have yet to be decided. This issue alone could potentially wreck the negotiations. Notice how Nicholas Stern supports this position. Notice also that this is quite apart from climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.


Mitigation involves the prevention or reduction of discharges of greenhouse gas emissions on a scale required to stabilise or diminish carbon dioxide concentrations in the global atmosphere. This can only be achieved on the required scale by not building new coal-fired power stations, or by capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired power stations, or building nuclear power stations. All the alternative measures, without exception, will result in substantial increases in the cost to consumers and thereby damage national prosperities unless these costs are recoverable from the affluent nations.


Adaptation is far more difficult to define. It will require a clear distinction between naturally occurring floods and droughts and those caused by climate change. As I demonstrate in my analyses there is no evidence at all of measurable effects of climate change on the hydro-meteorological processes.

We now have a situation where the affluent countries will have to pay threefold - reparation for damages already caused, as well as mitigation and adaptation costs to developing countries, and mitigation and adaptation costs in their own countries. Will their taxpayers be prepared to carry this additional burden? Will they start arguing about each claim? It cannot work.


What will be the basis for Africa's claims for reparation, mitigation and adaptation? These will have to be debated and defined at Copenhagen. This is a near impossible task. For the first time in history, the world's most powerful nations will be held to ransom by the developing nations. I am one of those who can recall how the bravery of the few saved the United Kingdom during World War II. It is my belief that the economically disadvantaged countries of the world will unwittingly bring about the downfall of this whole climate change charade.

There is a very strong likelihood that conflicts of interest between the East and the West and between the rich and the poor nations will cause far more damage than the postulated consequences of climate change. Hopefully all the negotiators at Copenhagen will be aware of this.


The French Statesman Talleyrand once said "that speech is given to man to disguise his thoughts". In today's mass media democracies it could be translated into "speeches are made by politicians to disguise their intentions."

Gordon Browns apocalyptical warnings about the future of the planet if Copenhagen should fail can be interpreted as cry for help: Please make sure that we get a face saving agreement that can be presented as a success. And this is what will come to pass. With or without Barack Obama's presence - Copenhagen will be presented as a great success, like all the other global environmental conferences before.

But the conflict between the West and the new industrial powers cannot and will not be resolved. What we are seeing in the remaining weeks before the conference is an desperate attempt of all major players not to be seen as the culprit who will be blamed for the failure.

The original EU strategy was, we will set an example and go for binding cuts in green house gas emissions and the world will follow - clearly a naive approach, reminiscent of other unilateral intentions in the past.

But now, especially after the financial and economic crisis, this sort of climate unilateralism is untenable - it would mean a dramatic financial transfer from the west to the advantage of our competitors China and India which our economies can ill afford and our populations won't accept. Public opinion in Europe and America, according to the latest research, published by the Financial Times, is further hardening against any financial transfers.

As far as the ambitious targets of the UK and other EU states are concerned, Professor Roger Pielke Jr. is right when he points out that setting "unachievable targets is not a policy, it is an act of wishful thinking". He calls it "a politics of symbolism with no impact on real world outcomes." Pielke adds that the focus on "magical solutions" is leaving little room for the practical.

Leading business figures agree with this damning verdict. The CEO of Eon, Bernotat, said that the British politicians need "to stop misleading the public about what is achievable." He is scathing about the target of 30% electricity coming from renewables in 2020 and refers particularly to the plan to build 33 gigawatts of off shore wind power up from the present 0.6 gigawatt, a plan he calls naïve and unachievable. Of a similar opinion is Tony Hayward, CEO of BP.

There are too many illusions propagated and circling around alternative and renewable technologies: about their promise and potential, about the time frame, in which they can be introduced and changes be realized, about the jobs, that a new green Keynisanism can create and about the political impact of a radical green policy. Centre left politicians in Britain and Germany, the new leader of the German social democrats, Sigmar Gabriel and the Labour Ministers David and Ed Miliband seem seriously to believe that climate change will be the new mass mobilizing topic and will help saving their parties too. A more likely outcome is that this strategy will neither save the centre left nor will it help to save the planet. Such a strategy seems to drive away voters fearful of loosing the lifestyle of mobility, warmth and comfort.

The arguments against the extensive use of wind are well known. Wind is intermittent and needs conventional backup, the electricity it delivers is extremely expensive, feasible only with high subsidies. It won't even deliver the promise of jobs: Wind turbines can and will be more cheaply built in China, the same goes for solar panels, as Germany recently found out. In the UK, the closure of the turbine factory on the Isle of Wight was another example of the same trend.

This does not stop business to be keen on wind power. It is attracted by huge subsidies, offered by governments, driven by "the pressure of fashionable, green ideology", as James Lovelock writes in his latest book "The vanishing face of Gaia". Lovelocks judgement could not be clearer: "Europes massive use of wind as a supplement to baseload electricity will be remembered as one of the great follies of the twenty first century".

What ever happens, if the folly is continued or not, the next twenty years could be called "the new age of carbon." If the UK really intends to cut CO 2 emissions by 34% till 2022, the UK would need to build in the next 6 years the equivalent of 30 new nuclear power stations. The telling comment of the (Labour) chairman of the "Climate Change Committee" of the House of Commons: "Well beyond our political capacity to deliver".

More oil, gas and coal will be burned than ever before - and carbon dioxide emissions will continue to rise. Renewables can't and won't deliver the scale of energy needed for a rising world population. For the time being only fossil fuels and nuclear power will be able to deliver the necessary energy. In the light of these facts it is especially sad that Britain and Germany, once leading nations in nuclear technology, have either neglected or given up on it completely and left the field to other, more farsighted nations like the French. 30 years ago Britain had 15 000 nuclear engineers, now the figure is just a tenth of that. Germany decided an atomic exit strategy which at least will be reverted now. But precious time has been lost.

We can call ourselves lucky that we have gained a bit of breathing space. The global warming trend has stopped, for the time being at least. Since 1998 global average temperatures have not risen. In fact, there has even been a slight fall - despite the fact that CO2 emissions have been rising relentlessly during this period, and in spite of the "binding" agreements in Kyoto to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The climate modellers of the IPCC did not foresee the halt in global warming. Professor Mojib Latif, one of the leading IPCC scientists, admitted to this inconvenient truth recently during a climate conference in Geneva and talked about "one or two decades more of cooling", before he expects the recommencement and continuation of the global warming trend.

One thing is clear. The belief in the accuracy of computer models has suffered. The science is not settled, as many climate researchers claimed in the past few years, a claim which goes against the essence of science and research and should never have been made in the first place.

We are faced with an awkward position. Nobody seems to know what the future holds; even if we are prepared to follow the lead of the IPCC, we are faced with huge, irreconcilable differences of opinion. Some school of thought predicts catastrophe, if not apocalypse, another forecasts at least a massive challenge to our usual way of life while some sceptics seem to suggest, that we will, in a few years time, wake up to the fact, that global warming was just another one of the many unfounded scares which modern mass media societies are prone to fall for.

What to do? Yes, we need more energy efficiency, we need to decarbonise our industries, we need to diversify our sources of energy as much as possible and we need new, clean technologies. We should start building nuclear power stations, at the moment the only effective way of producing carbon free electricity. At the same time we should avoid damaging our western economies, either by transferring too much money to our competitors or falling into the trap of the "green-industrial complex," about whose malign influence even James Lovelock, the founder of the Gaia theory, of earth and biosphere being a self-regulating super-organism, and convinced that it is too late to stop 'global heating,' is scathing.

We should in future be more sceptical of computer-based predictions of climate change and focus more on observing what is actually happening in reality: Is there any sign that the rise of global temperature or the sea level is accelerating, for instance. We need to prepare for adaptation and on top of it all we need an insurance policy in form of geo-engineering, in case the worst predictions should come true. Some of the technologies are already available and geo-engineering might prove to be a significantly cheaper solution than the desperate attempt to mitigate climate change, by cutting emissions and creating economic hardship for billions of people.



Will government solutions to global warming be worse than global warming itself? Remember that man-made global warming is a negative externality that occurs when burning fossil fuels release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Economists define negative externality as a spillover from an economic transaction that harms parties not directly involved in the transaction. In this case, the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is thought to be boosting temperatures, raising sea levels, and having other effects on the climate that people must involuntarily pay to adapt to (more air conditioning, switching crops, and so forth). Thus, goes the argument, the price of fossil fuels does not reflect the full cost of consuming them.

Ideally, once the full costs of man-made global warming are calculated, consumers, businesses, governments, and international agencies can adopt policies to take such costs into account. The two policy options generally discussed in this light are cap-and-trade carbon markets and carbon taxes. The idea behind carbon markets is that governments ration how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases may be emitted by setting an overall limit on emissions. Emitters are then required to have a government-issued permit for each ton of carbon dioxide they release into the air. The total amount of permits cannot exceed the cap. Emitters that need to increase their emission allowance must buy permits from those who emit less, creating a market for carbon dioxide emissions permits. The goal of such a rationing scheme is to create a market that sets a price on the negative externalities imposed by burning fossil fuels.

Similarly, imposing a tax on emissions aims to correct the negative climate externalities produced by burning fossil fuels. A carbon tax is a Pigouvian tax (after the economist Arthur Pigou) levied on a market activity to take into account the negative externalities of that activity. In Pigou's formulation, negative externalities occur when the social cost of a market activity exceeds the private cost of the activity, which is another way of saying that the activities of some people are imposing uncompensated harms on other people. The result is that markets over-supply a good—in this case, the energy produced from fossil fuels. The goal is to set a tax equal to the cost of the negative externality, thus nudging markets to produce efficient amounts of a good.

The laudable goal of both carbon markets and carbon taxes is basically the same: make polluters pay for the costs they involuntarily impose on others. So all that remains is to calculate the costs and let policy makers impose either the appropriate markets or taxes. The problem is that in the real world things are never as simple as economic theory would have it. Estimates of the potential damage caused by global warming range widely, depending on estimates of how the climate is likely to react to extra carbon dioxide, future economic growth, and, most crucially, the discount rate.

That term refers to the fact that most people prefer to have a dollar today than a dollar a year from now. This means that current dollars are worth more than future dollars; that people discount the value of future dollars. In other words, a person might be willing to forego a dollar now, but only in exchange for more than a dollar next year. From this insight, economists have developed the concept of discount rates. Let's say someone is willing to forgo a dollar today in exchange for $1.10 next year. The discount rate would be 10 percent. So here's the question that bedevils those trying to calculate the future damages caused by climate change: How much is a dollar in 2100 worth in terms of dollars foregone today? Let's just say that experts have a wide range of opinions on what the proper discount rate should be.

What about the damage we can expect from man-made global warming versus the costs of taking action? According to one calculation performed by Yale economist William Nordhaus, the optimum path toward cooling the climate using a carbon tax would cost $2.2 trillion and reduce climate change damage globally by $5.2 trillion over the next century. His calculation implies a globally harmonized carbon tax that rises in constant dollars from about $35 per ton in 2010, to $90 per ton in 2050, eventually reaching $200 per ton in 2100. In his recent comprehensive review of the literature on economic impacts of future climate change for the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Dutch economist Richard Tol calculated that the optimal policy would be imposing the equivalent of a $0.50 per ton carbon dioxide tax rising at 5 percent per year for the next 90 years. This policy would yield $3 in benefits for every $2 spent. "Available estimates suggest that the welfare loss induced by climate change in the year 2100 is in the same order as losing a few percent of income," notes Tol. "That is, a century worth of climate change is about as bad as losing one or two years of economic growth."

On the other hand, there are a few studies that suggest the benefits of early steep reductions in carbon emissions will far outweigh the costs. A 2006 study by British economist Nicholas Stern found that spending 1 percent of GDP annually to achieve massive early reductions in carbon dioxide emissions is justified. Stern has now upped his estimate to 2 percent per year. Many economists, however, argue that Stern used an unrealistically low discount rate of 0.1 percent to achieve his results. A 0.1 percent discount rate implies that someone would forego $100 today in order to obtain $100.10 a year from now.

Looking at recent reports by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the activist group the Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. GDP in 2100 is projected to be between 0.6 and 3.6 percent lower than it would otherwise have been. Assuming the $14 trillion U.S. economy grows at 2.5 percent per year, GDP in 2100 would be $130 trillion. If climate change damages push GDP 3.6 percent below what it would otherwise have been that means that GDP in 2100 would be about $125 trillion, or $5 trillion lower. That's not nothing, but the loss is more than double ($12 trillion) what would occur if U.S. economic growth were depressed from 2.5 to 2.4 percent per year between now and 2100.

Clearly, econometric models tell us that implementing smart policies could avoid some damage from climate change. But whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs depends entirely on the policies being optimally adopted. But will governments and international agencies be able to sustain smart policies over the next century? The tribulations of the European Union's cap-and-trade scheme and the current political jockeying over the 1,468-page Waxman-Markey climate change bill in the U.S. Congress are not promising. On the international level, rapidly developing countries like China, India, and Brazil are refusing to accept limits on their greenhouse gas emissions.

Along similar lines, numerous econometric models project that while climate change will have relatively minor effects on developed countries it will significantly harm poor countries. One proposed policy soluton is to have rich countries that emit a disproportionate share compensate poor countries. While this idea might seem appealing to some, one must also consider the sorry 50-year record of wealth transfers in the form of foreign development aid. As development economist William Easterly has argued, most of the $2.3 trillion in aid that rich countries have poured into developing countries over the past half century has been wasted. Is there any reason to think that trillions in climate change aid would be any more effectively managed?

Man-made global warming may simply be a negative externality for which the transaction costs are too high. In other words, any benefits achieved from trying to mitigate global warming will most likely be swamped by the costs of distributing the corporate welfare used to buy the political acquiescence of various industries. As much as one might hope to implement good public policy to deal with the problem, policy nihilism might be the only rational response to global warming.



Three current articles below

Prime Minister Rudd's Chilling Speech

In Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has given the most chilling speech (PDF here) with respect to open policy debate that I have ever heard from a leader of a democratic country. The focus of his speech is on "climate change deniers." Who are these people? They include people who are skeptical of climate change science, but remarkably, they also include people who believe that climate change is real and a problem, but disagree with the Prime Minister's preferred policy approach. Rudd states that "climate change deniers" fall into one of three categories:

· First, the climate science deniers.

· Second, those that pay lip service to the science and the need to act on climate change but oppose every practicable mechanism being proposed to bring about that action.

· Third, those in each country that believe their country should wait for others to act first.

He says of these groups: "As we approach the Copenhagen conference these groups of climate change deniers face a moment of truth, and the truth is this: we will need to work much harder to reach an agreement in Copenhagen because these advocates of inaction are holding back domestic commitments, and are in turn holding back global commitments on climate change."

Rudd uses extremely strong terms to characterize those who disagree with his policy prescriptions:
"Climate change deniers are small in number, but they are too dangerous to be ignored. They are well resourced and well represented by political conservatives in many, many countries.

And the danger they pose is this by collapsing political momentum towards national and global action on climate change, they collapse global political will to act at all. They are the stick that gets stuck in the wheel, that despite its size may yet bring the train to a complete stop.

And that is what they want, because they are driven by a narrowly defined self interest of the present and are utterly contemptuous towards our children's interest in the future.

This brigade of do nothing climate change skeptics are dangerous because if they succeed, then it is all of us who will suffer. Our children. And our grandchildren.

Rudd explains why it is that the Copenhagen meeting may fail:
If Copenhagen does not deliver the outcome we so urgently need, no individual climate change skeptic will be responsible, but each of them will have played their part.

Rudd explains that there is no place in government for people holding these views, a position seemingly reinforced this week when the CSIRO stands accused of censoring a paper critical of the Australian ETS:
Climate change skeptics in all their guises and disguises are not conservatives. They are radicals. They are reckless gamblers who are betting all our futures on their arrogant assumption that their intuitions should triumph over the evidence. The logic of these skeptics belongs in a casino, not a science lab, and not in the ranks of any responsible government.

Can witch trials and pogroms be far behind? What bothers me about the speech is not so much the criticism of people who reject mainstream science. Fine, criticism of them as rolling the dice on a minority view is fair and appropriate. What bothers me is the explicit equation of people who question a policy's effectiveness or desirability with the idea of being a "denier" and thus being "dangerous." Rudd is openly conflating views on science with views on politics. Not only does this further the politicization of science, but it also make a mockery of democratic governance. Imagine if George W. Bush had given this same speech in 2003 but about people who deny the merits of his desired policy of going to war in Iraq. There would have been national and international outrage, and rightfully so.

Rudd may be trying to set the stage for domestic failure of the CPRS and more generally that in Copenhagen. But he is doing so in a way that stomps on the notion of democracy and the fact that people have different values and perspectives that can only be reconciled through the democratic process. An observer at the Lowy Institute (where the speech was given) said afterward:
The implication was that these descriptions applied to anyone who opposed the Government's climate change agenda — the PM seemed to admit of no possibility that anyone of good will could be opposed to that agenda

That is a pretty good description of the climate debate. Demonizing one's opponents and calling their views "dangerous" is a first step down a path we don't want to go.


"Snouts in the Carbon Trough"

Mr Rudd accuses opponents of his Ration-N-Tax Scheme of “bowing to vested interests”. That is the pot calling the kettle black. The biggest vested interest is the ALP itself, hoping to harvest Green preference votes from their green posturing. Supporting the alarmists are the gaggle of green industries already reaping dividends from the Rudd subsidies and market protection rackets.

Mr Rudd also tells us that his big business mates want the “certainty” of Emissions Trading. A roll call of these people reveals domination by big firms of auditors and accountants, bankers and brokers, speculators and solicitors, touts and traders - all longing to get into the biggest trading lottery the world has ever seen - more snouts in the carbon trough. The rest of big business merely wants the “certainty” of free emission permits or other special exemptions denied to Joe the Plumber and Fred the Farmer.

Sceptics on the other hand do not have a mercenary army of academics, bureaucrats and publicists who can be bribed or bullied to produce scary climate forecasts or doomsdays ads on demand. Nor do sceptics have the power to silence or sack dissidents in their ranks. Nor do they have the pulpits and power of the UN which, having failed at “peace keeping”, sees “climate control” as its new business model.

The climate realists have only one big vested interest – the desire to live their lives free from the “certainty” of new taxes on everything they buy and new controls on everything they do. This is not about global pollution or global warming – it is about global energy taxes, global government and global redistribution.


Pervasive climate skepticism among Australian conservative politicians

LIBERAL Senate leader Nick Minchin's warning that a majority of the party does not believe in man-made climate change has emboldened Malcolm Turnbull's critics with fresh warnings today the partyroom may reject a deal on emissions trading.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong today challenged the Liberal leader to repudiate Senator Minchin's outspoken rejection of climate change science. She described Senator Minchin's comments as a “direct attack” on Mr Turnbull's leadership.

But today Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop joined the attack, backing Senator Minchin's outspoken comments on last night's Four Corners program, suggesting it was he and not Mr Turnbull who was speaking for the party. “I thought Nick Minchin put the position of the partyroom very well,” she told Sky News. “There is a belief that when we voted the legislation down last time that was the right thing to do. This is a tax that does not address the climate change problem one iota.”

The climate change stoush comes amid fresh speculation Joe Hockey is positioning himself for the leadership with a speech on God and religion. But the opposition Treasury spokesman today denied this was the case. “The leadership is not vacant,” he told ABC Radio today. “Malcolm has my very, very strong support.” Mr Hockey sidestepped questions about whether he wanted to be Liberal leader down the track. “I went into politics to serve my country, my party and my community, and Lord knows where that will take me,” he said. “If one day an opportunity came up then it would be up to others to determine that, not up to me.”

Earlier, Senator Wong conceded getting a deal through will be difficult with many in the Liberal Party convinced climate change is some sort of left-wing “conspiracy”. “It will be difficult. There are too many people in the Coalition who are not fair dinkum on climate change,” she said. “I think the question most Australians would have is who is speaking for the Liberal Party.”

Senator Wong also conceded what world leaders have been saying for weeks that a political agreement with goals and aspirations rather than a binding treaty to replace the Kyoto agreement on climate change is the most likely outcome of talks in Copenhagen. “What we need at Copenhagen is that effective political agreement,” she said. “Not every detail of the treaty is going to be sorted out by Copenhagen.”

Mr Turnbull said today that “good faith” negotiations were continuing with the Rudd government on emissions trading legislation ahead of the talks. “We are in good faith negotiations with the government. I'm not going to be deflected from those negotiations. They will have an outcome. At the end of that we will then decide whether we as a shadow cabinet agree with the outcome and then we will either recommend its acceptance or not to the partyroom,” he said.

“Now the fact of the matter is the Australian people expect us to take a constructive approach to this and that is exactly what we're doing. I mean the Prime Minister's outburst last week was not consistent with those good faith negotiations. But I can assure you we will not be deflected by him and the negotiations are continuing and they will have a conclusion and then we will consider it.”



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