Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And these are the people who think that they can control the world's climate

They are just clueless blowhards pumped up with excessive self-esteem

COPENHAGEN DIARY: THERE was a touch of excitement when a group of African delegates stormed out of a working group at the start of the all-important second week of climate change talks, but at that moment I had more important things to worry about.

As the Africans were walking out, I was desperately trying to walk in. Along with more than 1000 other registered attendants at the conference, I was trapped outside in sub-zero temperatures waiting for the remarkably incompetent UN machinery to let us into Copenhagen's Bella convention centre. We were not exactly blow-ins. Registration had ended weeks earlier so the organisers would know exactly who was coming, and the queues were dotted with officials from government delegations who were supposed to be inside taking part in the talks.

When I joined the queue to pick up my credentials just after 9.30am, I found myself standing near two women who represented one sixth of Iceland's delegation. Like me, they had already lost one full day's work because they had flown in on the weekend only to find the UN organisers had changed their plans and refused to issue accreditations on Sunday.

People queuing started out cheerfully because everybody thought the exercise would be reasonably quick. By 11.30am, and with the queue hardly moving, I began to wonder how the geniuses managing this process could possibly oversee not just the complicated science and politics of this final week's climate change negotiations but the logistics of overseeing any actual climate deal for decades to come.

A deal to combat climate change is likely to include the organisation of trillions of dollars of financial transfers to developing countries and the sophisticated monitoring and reviewing of carbon emissions around the globe. That will take complicated calculations and this was a pretty easy test in simple logistics and arithmetic: what happens when you register 45,215 attendants for a conference that is being held in a convention centre that has a maximum capacity of 15,000 people?

The obvious solution was to have a serious cull of the 22,387 lobbyists and activists registered by non-government organisations so some work could be done by the 192 governments which are parties to the conference, and by the 3547 media representatives who are in Denmark to tell the world what is going on in the talks. Obvious, but not obvious enough for the UN.

At noon, as the first light sprinkling of snow appeared overhead, it became apparent the organisers had come up with the temporary solution of refusing to issue any new credentials at all. By 3pm, the lack of food and toilets was making things uncomfortable and the temperature was sliding towards -2C. At 4pm, the UN officials announced they were curbing the number of NGO members to be admitted to the conference.

A UN official emerged at 5pm to say everybody had to leave because officials were to stop doing accreditations at 6pm. Overtime was obviously out of the question.


Soot warming 'maybe bigger than greenhouse gases' - NASA

Researchers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, also the home of famous carbopocalypse doom-prophet James Hansen, have repeated earlier assertions that atmospheric soot may be as important as greenhouse gases in driving global warming.

This could be good news for humanity, as atmospheric soot levels would be much easier to reduce. Filtering soot out of exhausts from diesel engines and coal burners is simple compared to removing and sequestering CO2, and as an added benefit the effects would be rapid: soot doesn't persist in the atmosphere for long periods the way greenhouse gases do, as it is washed out by rain or snow. However, many environmental campaigners would resist the idea of soot taking centre stage, fearing that this could lead to a reduced emphasis on greenhouse-gas emissions reductions.

Earlier investigations including the effect of soot had focused on the Arctic, where Goddard scientists have previously suggested that "the impact of aerosols is just as strong as that of the greenhouse gases". Aerosols include soot, which tends to heat the atmosphere, plus sulphates and others which cool it. Unfortunately sulphates also cause acid rain, and clean-air regs in the US and Europe have seen them massively reduced - and the Arctic warm up.

Now, Goddard researchers have carried out new investigations into the effects of sooty aerosols on the glaciers of the Himalayas - sometimes known as the planet's "Third Pole". Glacial melting in the Himalayas has received a lot of play in the greenly-inclined media lately against the background of the COP15 international climate talks underway in Copenhagen; it is widely felt that the mountain ice is disappearing much faster even than CO2-alarmist climate models predict, and that this is a reason to suggest that the Copenhagen talks - focused entirely on greenhouse-gas emissions - may be the last chance for humanity to save itself from a disastrous climate apocalypse.

But according to NASA this week: "The new research, by NASA’s William Lau and collaborators, reinforces with detailed numerical analysis what earlier studies suggest: that soot and dust contribute as much (or more) to atmospheric warming in the Himalayas as greenhouse gases."

"We need to add another topic to the climate dialogue," says Lau. Hal Maring of NASA headquarters goes further, though he cautions that more field results from the "roof of the world" are necessary to validate Lau's modelling. "Even at this stage we should be compelled to take notice," says Maring. “Airborne particles have a much shorter atmospheric lifespan than greenhouse gases, so reducing particle emissions can have much more rapid impact on warming.”

One of the most troublesome types of aerosol is "black carbon", dark particulate soot emitted when fuel is incompletely burned. Diesel engines are a particular villain here, but coal burning and primitive cooking are also big contributors. If the new research is right, huge reductions in warming are on offer from comparatively easy initiatives such as better stoves, more efficient modernised diesel engines and cleaner coal powerplants, boilers etc. These measures would also take effect much more quickly than comparatively difficult, expensive and unpopular cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2 or methane.

Even Lau's Goddard colleague Dr James Hansen, who has spent the last several decades relentlessly bigging-up the greenhouse gas threat and pushing for emissions cuts, now admits that soot is a major issue - though he can't bear to suggest it might actually be bigger than greenhouse gases. "Black soot is probably responsible for as much as half of the glacial melt," he says.

It seems that the assembled, warring delegates at the Copenhagen greenhouse-gas talks - trying to prevent global temperature rises in the next few decades, ie in the fairly short term - may be arguing over the wrong things. According to the latest NASA research the human race might achieve more by sorting out its soot emissions first, a thing which would be comparatively easy to do, and get to the much more difficult, unpopular and less effective greenhouse gas cuts afterwards.


U.S. government lawyers wary of document destruction by Warmists

The following DOE Litigation Hold Notice was widely circulated to offices concerned with climate

DOE-SR has received a “Litigation Hold Notice” from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Council and the DOE Office of Inspector General regarding the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. Accordingly, they are requesting that SRNS, SRR and other Site contractors locate and preserve all documents, records, data, correspondence, notes, and other materials, whether official or unofficial, original or duplicative, drafts or final versions, partial or complete that may relate to the global warming, including, but not limited to, the contract files, any related correspondence files, and any records, including emails or other correspondence, notes, documents, or other material related to this contract, regardless of its location or medium on which it is stored. In other words, please preserve any and all documents relevant to “global warming, the Climate Research Unit at he University of East Anglia In England, and/or climate change science.”

As a reminder, this Litigation Hold preservation obligation supersedes any existing statutory or regulatory document retention period or destructive schedule. The determination of what information may be potentially relevant is based upon content and substance and generally does not depend on the type of medium on which the information exists. The information requested may exist in various forms, including paper records, hand-written notes, telephone log entries, email, and other electronic communication (including voicemail), word processing documents (including drafts, spreadsheets, databases, and calendars), telephone logs, electronic address books, PDAs (like Palm Pilots and Blackberries), internet usage files, systems manuals, and network access information in their original format. All ESI should be preserved in its originally-created, or “native” format, along with related metadata. Relevant backup tapes and all indexes for those tapes should also be preserved. Further, information that is reasonably accessible must nonetheless be preserved, because such sources will, at the very least, need to be identified and, under compelling circumstances, may need to be produced.

If you have any doubts as to whether specific information is responsive, err on the side of preserving that information.

Any employee who has information covered by this Litigation Hold is requested to contact Madeline Screven, Paralegal, SRNS Office of General Council, 5-4634, for additional instructions.


UN Security Stops Journalist’s Questions About ClimateGate

A Stanford Professor has used United Nation security officers to silence a journalist asking him “inconvenient questions” during a press briefing at the climate change conference in Copenhagen. Professor Stephen Schneider’s assistant requested armed UN security officers who held film maker Phelim McAleer, ordered him to stop filming and prevented further questioning after the press conference where the Stanford academic was launching a book.

McAleer, a veteran journalist and film maker, has recently made a documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong’ which takes a sceptical look at the science and politics behind Global Warming concerns. He asked Professor Schneider about his opinions on Climategate – where leaked emails have revealed that a senior British professor deleted data and encouraged colleagues to do likewise if it contradicted their belief in Global Warming. Professor Phil Jones, the head of Britain’s Climate Research Unit, has temporarily stood down pending an investigation into the scandal.

Professor Schneider, who is a senior member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said he would not comment on emails that may have been incomplete or edited. During some testy exchanges with McAleer, UN officials and Professor Schneider’s assistants twice tried to cut short McAleer’s question.

However as the press conference drew to a close Professor Schneider’s assistant called armed UN security guards to the room. They held McAleer and aggressively ordered cameraman Ian Foster to stop filming. The guard threatened to take away the camera and expel the film crew from the conference if they did not obey his instructions to stop filming Professor Schneider. The guard demanded to look at the film crews press credentials and refused to allow them to film until Professor Schneider left the room.

McAleer said he was disappointed by Professor Schneider’s behaviour. “It was a press conference. Climategate is a major story – it goes to the heart of the Global Warming debate by calling into question the scientific data and the integrity of many scientists involved.” “These questions should be answered. The attempts by UN officials and Professor Schneider’s assistant to remove my microphone were hamfisted but events took a more sinister turn when they called an armed UN security officer to silence a journalist.”

Two officers corralled the film crew and one officer can be seen on tape threatening the cameraman. The Guard can also be heard warning that if the crew did not stop filming their would seize the equipment and the journalists expelled from the conference.

McAleer says he has made an official complaint about the incident. “I have met Mr Christopher Ankerson the UN’s head of security for the conference and he has confirmed it was Professor Schneider’s staff who asked the security guards to come corral us at the press conference. Mr Ankerson could not say what grounds the security guard had for ordering us to stop filming.” “This is a blatant attempt to stop journalists doing journalism and asking hard questions. It is not the job of armed UN security officers to stop legitimate journalists asking legitimate questions of senior members of the UN’s IPCC.”

Professor Schneider was interviewed for McAleer’s “Not Evil Just Wrong” documentary but lawyers later wrote to McAleer saying he was withdrawing permission for the interview to be used.

McAleer, who is from Ireland, has gained quite a reputation for asking difficult questions of those who have been promoting the idea of man-made Global Warming. His microphone was cut off after he asked former vice-president Al Gore about the British court case which found that An Inconvenient Truth had a nine significant errors and exaggerations. Almost 500,000 people have watched the incident on youtube.



Three current articles below

Greens take moral high road - and finish last

By Peter Costello a former Liberal Party federal treasurer and the outgoing member for the Higgins electorate

Two days out from the Higgins byelection Malcolm Mackerras, Australia's leading psephologist, predicted a Greens victory. Mackerras not only knew the result, he knew the reason for it, forecasting the Liberal candidate would be defeated because of the "arrogance" of the resigning MP and the elevation of Tony Abbott.

When the poll was declared on Monday, the Liberal vote had in fact increased. Mackerras has moved on to other predictions. But the forecast excited the Greens leader, Bob Brown, enough for him to make a whistlestop tour before the ballot, hoping to associate himself with the victory. He appeared in the Melbourne suburbs to tell the media about the concerns of local voters. Surprisingly, they were all his pet policy projects.

I was with the Liberal candidate, Kelly O'Dwyer, that day. The press smelled a rat. "Haven't you been forced into the electorate to counter Bob Brown?" one journalist asked me. I pointed to my former office nearby, explained I had lived in the area for 20 years and that we were in my local shopping centre. "I don't travel here, I have to travel to get out of here," I replied. It was clear the media momentum was on the side of Brown.

It is hard to think of circumstances more propitious for the Greens: a sympathetic press, no Labor candidate, a Liberal leadership spill, parliamentary debate on the emissions trading legislation and the media focus on Copenhagen. And Abbott, as new Liberal leader, didn't get time for a visit. Still the Greens fluffed it. This did not stop Brown declaring a great triumph. As usual, there has been little critical appraisal of his performance. So what went wrong?

In contrast to the Liberal candidate, who was outstanding, the Greens chose a bad candidate. Their central command overrode local supporters to impose someone who lived in Canberra. Most people think an MP should represent locals to Canberra. The Greens had the idea they could represent Canberra back to the locals. And what a representative. When it comes to alarmism, Clive Hamilton is almost without peer.

These days he preaches destruction from climate change. In 2000 Hamilton forecast the GST would kill people on the roads - 65 a year - because it would lead to increased motor vehicle use and pollution. That means the GST has caused well over 500 deaths by now, which is nothing like the body count Hamilton is forecasting from global warming. But it is still a decent set of fatalities he can lay at the feet of the Liberal Party.

Secondly, some Labor voters - particularly among lower-income earners - will not vote for the Greens. To maximise their joint position, the Greens and Labor need to run three-cornered contests, like the Liberals and Nationals do in regional electorates. The Liberal campaign was assisted mightily by Labor's decision not to run.

Thirdly, the Greens have to scale down the sanctimony. They thrive on a message of impending doom. These days the cataclysm is global warming. Previously it was logging, or nuclear annihilation. Only by repentance and obedience to their doctrine can we escape the wrath to come.

But educated people are a little less credulous than that. They know in political policy, outcomes rarely match the promises, particularly the overblown promises of zealous activists. They know that moral absolutists rarely deliver what they promise.

The Greens have a moral superiority complex. In their mind they are not only right but virtuous, which makes their opponents not only wrong but immoral. This is why Hamilton has compared climate sceptics with Holocaust deniers - if you disagree with his policies you are complicit in, or covering, up mass murder. Robert Manne, who launched the campaign for Hamilton, put it this way: "If the Greens can achieve a breakthrough in the byelections … [this] might come to be seen as a turning point in the moral history of this country."

In Melbourne on December 5 electors could have turned to good from evil, to Green from Liberal. Instead, by voting Liberal out of concern for their children's education, or for the lack of aged care, or for their job or business, they demonstrated moral inferiority. One day it might dawn on Brown, Manne and Hamilton that voters do not like moral condescension. Sanctimony can make you feel good, but it rarely appeals to those listening.


Politicians talk green, drive fuel guzzlers

The usual Greenie hypocrisy. It's other people who have to make changes or do without

FEDERAL politicians are using a taxpayer-funded perk to pay for gas-guzzling SUVs, with more than 90 percent of them driving six or eight cylinder cars. A staggering 225 out of the 243 private-plated cars chosen by MPs and Senators have six or eight-cylinder engines, in contrast to the national trend towards smaller, more fuel efficient models. Only a handful of MPs drive low-emission hybrids.

The list, published today on The Punch, shows the most popular car among federal politicians is the Ford Territory, Australia’s answer to the SUV and possibly the heaviest Aussie-built passenger car ever made. It was chosen by 81 MPs, including many who live in suburban electorates. The Federal Government’s own Green Vehicle Guide gives the Territory a woeful 2.5 stars out of five.

The details, released under Freedom of Information laws and current as of March 1 this year, show only 10 MPs drive low-emission hybrids.

All MPs and Senators are entitled to at least one private-plated vehicle for personal use as part of their salary package. They can choose from a list of 35 cars valued at up to $48,990 or with approval from the Special Minister of State, select a “non-standard vehicle”. Apart from the Territory, other popular vehicles include the Holden Berlina and Calais vehicles or the Toyota Aurion V6. Some of the Toyota Landcrusiers, preferred among some country-based MPs, are diesel or in the case of one or two six cylinder cars, dual fuel LPG operated.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was embarrassed into swapping his private-plate Territory for a hybrid Toyota Prius in 2007 when, as Opposition Leader, it was revealed he was calling for action on greenhouse while driving a Territory.

Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig, a Territory driver, said the government was examining “cleaning up” the parliamentary entitlements framework, including the private-plated vehicle scheme. An independent committee would report to him next year with some recommendations intended to “reduce cost and increase transparency”.


The Quixotic war against carbon to add a third to power bills, which will cost $1000 more over three years

AUSTRALIANS will have to pay up to an extra $1000 over the next three years for power, with about a third of the extra cost directly attributable to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The NSW regulator yesterday issued a draft ruling allowing the state's three electricity companies to raise their charges over the next three years, and it is the first such ruling where the cost of a CPRS can be exactly determined. The federal government has estimated that an ETS would add $1100 a year to the average family's bills, with gas, fuel and groceries set to rise along with electricity.

Power prices in Australia are set by each state within a national framework, and the Australian Energy Regulator recently issued guidelines for South Australia and Queensland, with those for Victoria due to be released in the new year. But these rulings allow only for increased charges for network costs and not a CPRS, making yesterday's ruling by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal the first on what it sees as the potential cost to consumers of a CPRS.

While NSW is the first state to make such a call, its figures would be a guide for other state regulatory bodies when they issue their rulings for possible rises. Under the NSW body's draft ruling issued yesterday, the three main energy companies would be able to start charging for a CPRS from the middle of next year, even though the scheme was not due to start until the middle of 2011.

Notes issued with the ruling show that customers of Energy Australia would pay an extra $288 over three years for a CPRS, while those with Integral Energy would pay an extra $314, and those with Country Energy an extra $302. This represents a rise in cost between now and 2012-13 of 23 per cent for Energy Australia, 25 per cent for Integral Energy, and 21 per cent for Country Energy. In the case of all three distributors, the cost of a CPRS is about half the overall increase recommended by the independent regulator, with most of the extra cost to consumers coming from the need to replace ageing infrastructure.

The overall costs allowed by the NSW pricing tribunal would see rises over three years of $554, or 44 per cent, for customers of Integral Energy, $727, or 58 per cent, for those of Energy Australia, and $893, or 62 per cent, for those signed to Country Energy.

Tony Abbott seized on the last figure as evidence of how the CPRS would hit ordinary consumers. He claimed that "those massive increases are due in significant measure to Mr Rudd's emissions tax". "There is a real problem here. Mr Rudd is trying to tell us that there is a painless way to tackle climate change," the Opposition Leader said. "There isn't. And we have learnt today from the NSW authorities that Mr Rudd's emissions tax is likely to impact massively on Australian families." But the federal government planned to allow full or partial compensation for electricity consumers who earned less than $160,000.

The NSW opposition said the planned increases showed the extent that basic infrastructure such as powerlines had been allowed to run down under the Labor government.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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