Sunday, December 20, 2009

The world is COOLING not warming says scientist Peter Taylor ... and we're not prepared

Natural scientist Peter Taylor is afraid we are not preparing for a global cool-down that could be part of a long-term cycle. In his provocative book Chill, he warns that the world is cooling not warming and that solutions proposed at Copenhagen ignore the risks of a possible return of the Ice Age...

Like a magician who fools themselves but not audience, the Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW) lobby have identified the wrong problem and the wrong solution. Global cooling threatens disaster for humanity in the developed and developing world alike, yet the media and the scientific consensus ignores this peril.

The Climategate controversy revolves around whether warming has been real and why it has not persisted – but it misses the point. Cycles are involved, not short-term trends, and many respected scientists, especially those in Russia and China, think that a cooling cycle is coming.

The AGW brigade have mistaken the current warm period for a trend caused by carbon emissions. But the detailed science says it could be natural and part of a cycle. Behind the scenes at the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change there is no consensus – the dissenting views have been covered over in the summary documents for policy makers – and among UK and EU politicians it’s even worse, and criminally expensive for the British taxpayer.

The real science points to the sun’s magnetic cycle as the key driver by unknown mechanisms. Right now, Nasa is throwing its hands up and saying ‘we’ve never seen anything like it and can’t tell what it is going to do next’. Many scientists expect a repeat of the Maunder Minimum of the 17th century when the Thames froze every winter – and famine spread through Europe and China.

Natural climate change, especially cooling, is already dangerous for very large numbers of people who are vulnerable to climate changing - the urban poor in the developed world, including the UK, plus the poor nations currently dependent on food aid. Cooling reduces food surpluses upon which we all depend. The biofuels programmes aimed at preventing climate change will expose them to greater risk by decreasing the amount of land available and raising costs of food, while this problem coupled with peak oil will affect everyone worldwide and drive up transport and manufacturing costs to levels even the super rich will struggle to afford. These threats are real and here now, not in 50 years time.

Some dramatic changes are needed but not those proposed the EU, IPCC and UK politicians as they try to hunt down the will-of-the-wisp that is CO2 emissions. Business as usual is not an option since cooling actually does put humanity at risk. The apocalyptic scaremongering has made us weary and casual about such threats but we need to act if we are to maintain our humanity.... Food not energy will be the big issue we urgently need to address in the next few years.

Climategate does not just demonstrate the corruption of science and peer-review; it also demonstrates the incompetence of specialists who do not understand planetary ecology, especially its cycles. We’re being fatally led up the wrong garden path by green businesses, politicians, the IPCC and their computer geeks with their doctored spreadsheets and forecasts. They need to get out more and study the real world – not their virtual reality – because, like the asset bubbles of the financial crisis, the global warming bubble is about to burst…


Unprecedented breakdown of channel tunnel trains due to exceptionally cold weather

Another sign of global cooling

MORE than 2000 passengers spent a chilly and hungry night stranded in the Channel Tunnel linking France and Britain after cold weather caused five trains to break down. The trains failed as they moved from the freezing air of northern France into the warmer temperatures of the tunnel on Friday evening, operator Eurostar said. All Eurostar services were suspended until today.

Some passengers complained they were left to fend for themselves when the trains were halted under the English Channel during one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Lee Godfrey, who was travelling back to London from Disneyland Paris with his family, said: "We were without power. We ran out of water, we ran out of food and there was very very poor communication from the staff. "We lost air-conditioning when we lost the power. We had to open the emergency doors ourselves.

Eurostar said all the passengers had been evacuated from the affected trains, which were all travelling from France to Britain. It said the cold weather had forced the suspension of services until Sunday, adding to the chaos for travellers trying to reach their families for Christmas. "We have not had a situation like this in 15 years," Eurostar executive Nicolas Petrovic said.

The problems with the Eurostar trains added to an already difficult situation on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year in Europe as temperatures dropped as low as minus seven degrees Celsius.


Blizzard blasts United States, one of the worst in a decade

Another sign of global cooling

A deadly storm described as one of the worst in a decade blanketed much of the eastern United States overnight, grounding flights and bringing traffic to a standstill on the last weekend of the holiday shopping season. In the bullseye of the historic storm, the cities of Baltimore and Washington - in a snow emergency - were on track to topple December snowfall records, with about 30 to 60 centimetres forecast by dawn this morning. That would eclipse Washington's 30 centimetre December record set in 1932, and Baltimore's record 35.8cm from December 1960.

President Barack Obama, attending a heated UN summit in Copenhagen where world leaders struggled to hash out a plan to battle global warming, raced home to avoid the worst of the storm that hammered the East Coast two days before the official beginning of winter.

After snow ploughs cleared the runway at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington for the presidential jet, Obama stepped off Air Force One and into a heavy snowfall shortly after 1am (5pm AEDT). In a rare move he was whisked to the White House by motorcade rather than his traditional Marine 1 helicopter due to the treacherous weather....

"This is a very serious storm," said Maryland Emergency Management chief Richard Muth. "The next 12-to-15 hours are going to be very hazardous," Muth added, warning people not to drive unless in an emergency. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine earlier declared a state of emergency, urging people to stay home, while Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley followed suit.

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty declared a snow emergency.


NYT edits out cold weather

In a perfect end to a perfect global warming conference, Barack Obama has left Copenhagen “in order to return to Washington before a major snowstorm hits.” It might be only the 12th white Christmas for Washington in weather-recording history. The beauty of this moment was too much for the New York Times, which initially reported, accurately enough: "Aides said he left to get to Washington ahead of a major snowstorm headed toward the capital".

But that piece has since been re-written, omitting a certain word: "Mr. Obama, who left before the conference considered the accord because of a major storm descending on Washington …"


Warmist scientists 'crying wolf' over coral reefs

At last some logic and common-sense. I notice that alarmist Hoagy is not saying much these days after some of his own research showed great resilience in coral. It's just amazing how Warmists routinely ignore the fact that corals survived much warmer episodes in the prehistoric past

A SENIOR marine researcher has accused Australian scientists of "crying wolf" over the threat of climate change to the Great Barrier Reef, exposing deep division about its vulnerability.

Peter Ridd's rejection of the consensus position that the reef is doomed unless greenhouse emissions are checked comes as new research on the Keppel group, hugging Queensland's central coast, reveals its resilience after coral bleaching. Professor Ridd, a physicist with Townsville's James Cook University who has spent 25 years investigating the impact of coastal runoff and other problems for the reef, challenged the widely accepted notion that coral bleaching would wipe it out if climate change continued to increase sea surface temperatures. Instead of dying, the reef could expand south towards Brisbane as waters below it became warmer and more tolerable for corals, he said.

His suggestion is backed up by an Australian Institute of Marine Science research team headed by veteran reef scientist Ray Berkelmans, which has documented astonishing levels of recovery on the Keppel outcrops devastated by bleaching in 2006.

Professor Ridd said scientists who predicted corals would be mostly extinct by mid-century had a credibility problem because the Great Barrier Reef was in "bloody brilliant shape". He said the reef had defied predictions that it would be overwhelmed by crown of thorns starfish, smothered in sediment from river runoff or poisoned by sediment and chemicals washed on to corals from the mainland. He accepted that ocean acidification associated with climate change was a genuine danger because it could impede the process of coral calcification, destroying the reef's building block. Scientists responsible for "crying wolf" over lesser threats had done the research community a disservice, he said.

"Ten years ago, I was told that the coral was going to die from sediment, and we have proved that is complete rubbish," Professor Ridd told The Weekend Australian. "They are saying that pesticides are a problem, but when you look at the latest data, that is a load of rubbish. They are saying bleaching is the end of the world, but when you look into it, that is a highly dubious proposition. "So when something comes along like the calcification problem, you are sort of left with this wolf story . . . they are crying wolf all the time."

Leading scientists including former AIMS chief scientist Charlie Veron and reef research pioneer Ove Hoegh-Gulberg, who attended the Copenhagen talks on climate change, have warned that the Great Barrier Reef will be destroyed by the middle of the century if ocean temperatures continue to rise, unleashing more frequent and lethal bleaching. Mass bleaching was recorded on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 and 2002, affecting up to 60 per cent of all corals. The last severe outbreak, in which stressed corals eject the symbiotic algae that provide them with nutrients, causing many to die, was localised on the Keppel reefs three years ago.

More than 95 per cent of the corals were affected, of which about a third died. The corals became stressed after the water temperature topped 28.5C and began to die when it hit 30C and stayed at that level for a week or more, with limited wind or cloud cover to ease the heating.

Scientists have found the tolerance level of corals varies. Reefs around Magnetic Island, off Townsville, can withstand water temperatures in the low 30s, while those off Yemen, at the foot of the Arabian peninsula, live in temperatures that can reach 34C.

As The Weekend Australian reports today, some of the corals on the Keppel outcrops are more thickly covered in coral than before bleaching in 2006, raising hope the living heart of the reef can acclimatise to spikes in water temperature through a remarkable process of algal shuffling. "That was a real surprise," Dr Berkelmans said, conducting us on an underwater tour of what he calls his "lab rat" reefs at the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef.

He said the findings made him more optimistic about the ability of corals to adapt to climate change, especially on inshore reefs such as those in the Keppels. "People say the reef is dying," Dr Berkelmans said. "The Great Barrier Reef is 2000km long, with 3000 reefs. Are you telling me all of it is going to die?

"I don't think so. There are some areas that are naturally more resilient than others, there are some areas that see warmer temperatures less frequently because of favourable oceanography or other factors . . . We might lose species, and we might lose them at many reefs. The Great Barrier Reef would look vastly different, but the reef would still be there."

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt, a former AIMS scientist who worked on crown of thorns outbreaks, said Professor Ridd had cherrypicked data to support his thesis that the threat to the reef was exaggerated. "I would liken it to the medical debate around `Does smoking cause cancer?'," Dr Reichelt said. [No facts. Just abuse. Typical Warmist]


Australia: Greenies think that libel is free speech -- when they do the libelling

A Greenie MP's costly outburst raises questions about free speech. Must we watch what we say in the tea room? Might we be taped? Note however that the offender is a notorious extremist

The politician who said too much will return to the scene of the crime tonight. There'll be music and comedians at a fund-raiser for Ian Cohen at the Suffolk Park Progress Association hall, just south of Byron Bay. "And I might walk around with a gag on," says Cohen, a NSW Greens upper house MP. "The less I say, the better."

It was in this same hall in April 2001 that Cohen now admits he was unwise to speak out about a local developer, Jerry Lee Bennette, during two benefit concerts for Bill Mackay, a school teacher. Bennette had been suing Mackay for defamation over a letter to a newspaper criticising an environmental award to the developer for his gated community. Cohen was helping to raise funds to cover Mackay's legal costs. Little did Cohen know that Bennette had sent in private investigators who secretly taped his address. As three courts have heard, Cohen called Bennette a thug and a bully who was suing to stop criticism and stifle public debate - a so-called SLAPP suit (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation).

For that outburst, which was found to be untrue, Bennette sued Cohen, too. The MP now owes the developer more than $1 million, only $15,000 of which is the damages for the defamation. The rest is legal costs. "It is not as though he called him a pedophile or a wife-beater or something," Cohen's barrister, Clive Evatt, told the High Court last month. To no avail. Tonight's show will make a small dent in Cohen's bill. He is selling his Tamarama flat, which might cover half of it. He has raised another $45,000 in donations. He's been offered loans.

But this case is about much more than Ian Cohen, Evatt says. It has "very big" implications for freedom of speech, he claims. The barrister says the NSW Court of Appeal has significantly narrowed the common law defence of qualified privilege for defamation. Evatt warns this should alarm anyone inclined to speak their mind in a small forum, or anyone who dares to make robust comments about their boss or the strata manager.

"That's rubbish," says Bruce McClintock, SC, who represented Bennette. "The defence of qualified privilege has never protected gossip, backstabbing or abuse." McClintock says it has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with a long-term malicious vendetta against his client by green groups in Byron Bay.

While a jury had found in 2007 that Cohen did indeed defame the developer, Justice Ian Harrison accepted Cohen's defence of qualified privilege. To rely on this defence, a person must have an interest or a duty - legal, social or moral - to make the statement to the people receiving it, and they must have a reciprocal interest or duty to hear it. Those who attended the hall had paid an entry fee in support of Bill Mackay. Justice Harrison suggested it was contrary to society's interest that people's rights should be hampered "by constant fear of actions for slander".

The judge ruled there was no malice in Cohen's remarks, at least in those inside the hall. But Justice Harrison said Cohen did demonstrate malice when, in November 1999, he called a local surf club and suggested, without foundation, that Bennette had assaulted a junior member.

The judge also said Bennette had been "prepared to dish it out when it suited him" and had "dedicated much of his life to putting people offside". He considered Bennette's 1996 conviction for assaulting the filmmaker David Bradbury, altercations with neighbours and an often "poisonous" relationship with Cohen. This included Bennette's apprehended violence order against Cohen, later dropped, in 2000. Bennette told the Herald he had been subjected to a malicious campaign, and he disputed Justice Harrison's remarks.

In March this year, the Court of Appeal overturned Justice Harrison's finding. Declaring Bennette was "a thug and a bully does not advance the cause of free speech, the environment or justice", Justice David Ipp said. The High Court refused Cohen leave to appeal last month.

McClintock said: "It is simply ridiculous to say that this case has any freedom of speech implications whatever. What sort of society would we live in if people could purvey … false gossip to their friends under the protection of the law?"

Cohen accepts the right to seek legal redress for defamation. After all, he sued Channel Seven and The Daily Telegraph. But he says there is a key difference: his own remarks, secretly taped, were never meant for wide consumption. Nevertheless, Cohen says: "The damages against me of $15,000 - I can cop that. But when you have a bill for costs from the plaintiff for $1,015,000, there's quite a discrepancy." He now self-censors his remarks.

"That is no good for democracy," says Bob Brown, the federal Greens leader, who believes others will be hushed. Brown was one of the so-called Gunns 20 - the 17 individuals and three organisations that the forestry company sued in 2004 for $6.4 million for activities ranging from protest to public statements. Five years and $2.8 million later, Gunns has dropped its case against 16 of the defendants, including Brown. Its claims against the remaining four amount to just $184,000.

The ACT has adopted the Greens' anti-SLAPP legislation. Brown wants the rest of Australia to follow its lead and that of some US states and introduce the legislation to ensure cases are thrown out if they are designed to prevent protest or debate.

But McClintock rejects the notion that Bennette's cases were SLAPP suits. They were "quite different from Gunns' misguided case … It was not started to shut Cohen up but to vindicate the plaintiff from a false (as the judge found), defamatory (as the jury found), public attack on him."

Cohen will retire in March 2011. Before he goes, he is considering a private member's bill seeking to ensure costs in such cases are commensurate with any damages.

The debate on freedom of speech is far from settled, but there are two certainties: a considerably poorer politician and an aggrieved small-time developer.

Cohen had been planning, in retirement, to do volunteer work in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. "I had big plans but they've been cast astray." He will have to see, but he is not crying poor. He has one property and a stake in another, both with mortgages, around Byron Bay. He knows others do it much tougher. He works with the disabled. Cohen recalls a Buddhist saying: "If they burn down your house, the better you can see the moon."

Jerry Lee Bennette is not so sanguine. "It is not possible to put into a few words the hurt to my family and myself caused by Mr Ian Cohen MP in what I regard as a malicious campaign to destroy my reputation and business."


Australian conservative leader slams Leftist Prime Minister over Copenhagen 'failure'

THE Copenhagen conference on climate change has been a "comprehensive failure" for the prime minister, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says. After 13 days of tortuous talks the representatives of 192 nations have set a goal of limiting warming to 2C and earmarked $US10 billion ($A11.28 billion) in early funding for poor countries most at risk from climate change.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd threw his support behind the deal as "a significant global agreement on climate change action", but said much more remained to be done. "Some will be disappointed by the amount of progress, the alternative was frankly catastrophic collapse," he told reporters at the troubled summit.

However, Mr Abbott said the result was a rebuff to the prime minister. "Intentions are better than nothing, but Mr Rudd has failed his own test," Mr Abbott told Sky News today. "He said a few years ago that what we wanted to get were real targets against real time lines ... and certainly by that standard it's been a comprehensive failure."

He said such agreement as was reached by world leaders was too unspecific to be of value. "We can all say let's get temperature increases down, but they haven't said what they would do to bring that about ... They've said let's not let the temperature go up by more than two degrees but they haven't said how they're going to achieve it. "No country at Copenhagen has committed to any particular way forward. That's why I think it's very disappointing and that's why I think it's very hard for the prime minister, who always said real progress meant real targets against real time lines, it's very hard for him to claim any kind of a victory."

Mr Abbott added: "What this shows is that Kevin Rudd was very unwise to rush Australia into prematurely adopting a commitment in the absence of similar commitments from the rest of the world, and I think it certainly entirely vindicates the opposition's stance in rejecting Mr Rudd's great big new tax on everything when parliament was sitting earlier this month."



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