Thursday, March 25, 2010

France ditches carbon tax as protests mount

France is facing its own 'spring of discontent' as strikes shut schools, courts, railways and metro services, and trade unions vowed mass protests across the country.

President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday scrapped the country's proposed carbon tax and reshuffled his cabinet in populist tilt after suffering a crushing electoral defeat over the weekend, when his Gaulliste UMP party lost every region other than in its bastion of Alsace and the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.

The vote saw a resurrection of both the Socialist Party and the far-Right National Front, showing how the delayed effects of rising unemployment can change the political landscape long after recession has passed. The jobless rate has risen to 10.1pc, up from 8.7pc a year ago. A quarter of those aged under 25 are out of work.

The government said its energy tax was being postponed indefinitely in order not to "damage the competitiveness of French companies", fearing that it would be too risky for France to go it alone without the rest of the EU. Brussels has announced plans for an EU-wide tax, but the initiative already looks doomed.

Chantal Jouanno, the environment secretary, said she was "devastated that eco-scepticism had prevailed". France's leading green groups wrote a joint letter to Mr Sarkozy saying they were "scandalised" by his decision, accusing him of tearing up a pledge to put climate change at the centre of his presidency.

Medef, France's business lobby, said the demise of the carbon levy was a "relief". The tax would have been €17 a tonne compared to around €100 in Sweden, but business feared that this would creep up over time.

The trade unions said half of all primary school teachers followed the call to strike on Tuesday, though officials said the figure was 30pc. Half the commuter trains were stopped. The CGT union federation said it planned 180 marches across France to protest pension reform. The retirement age in France is still 60, far short of North European levels around 67. The pension deficit will reach €50bn a year by 2020 without radical changes.

France has hardly begun to pair back the fiscal stimulus of the last year, though the car scrappage scheme is being phased out in steps. The budget deficit is expected to rise to 8.2pc of GDP this year, with no real austerity until 2011. The country faces the same risks as the UK in delaying retrenchment as public debt surges above 80pc of GDP this year. Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's have begun to mutter that France may endanger its AAA status if it fails to act soon, though the Paris clearly has more leeway than London for now.

France's rigid labour markets tend to delay full recovery from downturns and cause debt to keep rising for longer than in Anglo-Saxon states. Gilles Moec, from Deutsche Bank, said France came through the recession in better shape than most European nations in part because it has a low exposure to exports outside the eurozone. The flip-side is that it risks being left behind by Germany as the rebound in global trade gathers pace.

Le Figaro said Mr Sarkozy's travails reflect the schizophrenia of the public psyche. "The problem is that voters thought they had elected a French Churchill when in fact they were only ready for a MacMillan," it said.


Even soil feels the heat: Soils release more carbon dioxide as globe warms

The evidence below is weak but if it is correct it is yet more evidence that a climbing CO2 rate is the RESULT of warming, not the cause. There are two other apparent ramifications: 1). Results like this mean that the anthropogenic fraction must be readjusted. Is man's annual contribution 4%? 3%? Less? 2). This latest natural emission estimate shows that previous source/sink models have been inadequate, as usual

Twenty years of field studies reveal that as the Earth has gotten warmer, plants and microbes in the soil have given off more carbon dioxide. So-called soil respiration has increased about one-tenth of 1 percent per year since 1989, according to an analysis of past studies in today's issue of Nature.

The scientists also calculated the total amount of carbon dioxide flowing from soils, which is about 10-15 percent higher than previous measurements. That number -- about 98 petagrams of carbon a year (or 98 billion metric tons) -- will help scientists build a better overall model of how carbon in its many forms cycles throughout the Earth. Understanding soil respiration is central to understanding how the global carbon cycle affects climate.

"There's a big pulse of carbon dioxide coming off of the surface of the soil everywhere in the world," said ecologist Ben Bond-Lamberty of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "We weren't sure if we'd be able to measure it going into this analysis, but we did find a response to temperature."

The increase in carbon dioxide given off by soils -- about 0.1 petagram (100 million metric tons) per year since 1989 -- won't contribute to the greenhouse effect unless it comes from carbon that had been locked away out of the system for a long time, such as in Arctic tundra. This analysis could not distinguish whether the carbon was coming from old stores or from vegetation growing faster due to a warmer climate. But other lines of evidence suggest warming is unlocking old carbon, said Bond-Lamberty, so it will be important to determine the sources of extra carbon.

The Opposite of Photosynthesis

Plants are famous for photosynthesis, the process that stores energy in sugars built from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis produces the oxygen we breathe as a byproduct. But plants also use oxygen and release carbon dioxide in the same manner that people and animals do. Soil respiration includes carbon dioxide from both plants and soil microbes, and is a major component of the global carbon cycle.

Theoretically, the biochemical reactions that plants and soil microbes engage in to produce carbon dioxide suggest that higher temperatures should result in more carbon dioxide being released. But unlike the amount of sunlight reaching Earth, soil respiration can't be measured from space and can't yet be simulated effectively with computer models.

So, the researchers turned to previous studies to see if they could quantify changes in global soil respiration. PNNL's Bond-Lamberty and his colleague Allison Thomson, working at the Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Md., examined 439 soil respiration studies published between 1989 and 2008.

They compiled data about how much carbon dioxide has leaked from plants and microbes in soil in an openly available database. To maintain consistency, they selected only data that scientists collected via the now-standard methods of gas chromatography and infrared gas analysis. The duo compared 1,434 soil carbon data points from the studies with temperature and precipitation data in the geographic regions from other climate research databases.

After subjecting their comparisons to statistical analysis, the researchers found that the total amount of carbon dioxide being emitted from soil in 2008 was more than in 1989. In addition, the rise in global temperatures correlated with the rise in global carbon flux. However, they did not find a similar relation between precipitation and carbon.

Zooming In

Previous climate change research shows that Arctic zones have a lot more carbon locked away than other regions. Using the complete set of data collected from the studies, the team estimated that the carbon released in northern -- also called boreal -- and Arctic regions rose by about 7 percent; in temperate regions by about 2 percent; and in tropical regions by about 3 percent, showing a trend consistent with other work.

The researchers wanted to know if their data could provide more detailed information about each region. So they broke down the complete data set by regional climates and re-examined the smaller groups of data using different statistical methods. The regional data from the temperate and tropical climates produced results consistent with other results, such as more carbon being released at higher temperatures, but the boreal-Arctic climate data did not. In addition, removing only 10 percent of the boreal-Arctic data points was enough to invalidate the statistical significance of the boreal-Arctic result. Together, the results support the idea that more boreal data on regional climates is needed to reach statistical relevance.

"We identified an area where we need to do more work," said Thomson.

More information: Bond-Lamberty and Thomson, 2010. Temperature-associated increases in the global soil respiration record, Nature March 25, 2009, doi:10.1038/nature08930


Unbelievable irony‏

Incredibly, THIS is how Alarmists feel, that THEY are the ones being pressured and intimidated to change their views. Bullies feeling sorry for themselves, sorry that their well-funded tactics are failing... that's a new one on me.


Warmists are now "scared shitless"

The excerpt below is from a pastoral letter to Warmists from a Warmist publication but some of the admissions are interesting. The calls for more objectivity and openness are revealing in themselves. Note, as usual, that not one scientific fact in support of AGW is mentioned: No science in an allegedly scientific publication

The integrity of climate research has taken a very public battering in recent months. Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight.

Climate scientists are on the defensive, knocked off balance by a re-energized community of global-warming deniers who, by dominating the media agenda, are sowing doubts about the fundamental science. Most researchers find themselves completely out of their league in this kind of battle because it's only superficially about the science. The real goal is to stoke the angry fires of talk radio, cable news, the blogosphere and the like, all of which feed off of contrarian story lines and seldom make the time to assess facts and weigh evidence. Civility, honesty, fact and perspective are irrelevant.

Worse, the onslaught seems to be working: some polls in the United States and abroad suggest that it is eroding public confidence in climate science at a time when the fundamental understanding of the climate system, although far from complete, is stronger than ever. Ecologist Paul Ehrlich at Stanford University in California says that his climate colleagues are at a loss about how to counter the attacks. “Everyone is scared shitless, but they don't know what to do,” he says.

Scientists must not be so naive as to assume that the data speak for themselves.

Researchers should not despair. For all the public's confusion about climate science, polls consistently show that people trust scientists more than almost anybody else to give honest advice. Yes, scientists' reputations have taken a hit thanks to headlines about the leaked climate e-mails at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK, and an acknowledged mistake about the retreat of Himalayan glaciers in a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But these wounds are not necessarily fatal.

To make sure they are not, scientists must acknowledge that they are in a street fight, and that their relationship with the media really matters. Anything strategic that can be done on that front would be useful, be it media training for scientists or building links with credible public-relations firms. In this light, there are lessons to be learned from the current spate of controversies. For example, the IPCC error was originally caught by scientists, not sceptics. Had it been promptly corrected and openly explained to the media, in full context with the underlying science, the story would have lasted days, not weeks. The IPCC must establish a formal process for rapidly investigating and, when necessary, correcting such errors.

The unguarded exchanges in the UEA e-mails speak for themselves. Although the scientific process seems to have worked as it should have in the end, the e-mails do raise concerns about scientific behaviour and must be fully investigated. Public trust in scientists is based not just on their competence, but also on their perceived objectivity and openness. Researchers would be wise to remember this at all times, even when casually e-mailing colleagues.


More doubts about Warmist statistics

This is just too true to be good. An unassuming climate scientist from the Netherlands, Bart Verheggen, who specializes in studying the effects of aerosols on climate change, (and who has corresponded with me frequently in a very genteel fashion) has a well-mannered, even tempered weblog called My View on Climate Change. About half the posts are in Dutch. Bart is a polite member of the anthropogenic global warming consensus--he believes strongly that human emission of greenhouse gases have caused significant temperature rises and pose a threat to development going forward.

And what's going on on his website is one of the most signficant and unexpected happenings in all the debate on global warming. For three weeks now, a discussion on something as unlikely as statistics is coming close to rewriting climate change history. Because for just about the first time, scientists from all parts of the spectrum are engaging in almost real time on an issue of substance that can actually be resolved in front of the viewing audience. It has engaged the attention of physicists, statisticians, webloggers and an army of viewers. If you read through it you will never think of the term 'unit root' in the same way again.

What's at stake is the legitimacy of a large number of papers using one set of statistical procedures to correlate the rise of CO2 and temperatures that is not valid due to the properties of the data collected. Using the proper method, co-integration, does not appear to yield the same results. Your world and mine could change--policies, taxes, mileage standards and decisions on whether to support natural gas instead of wind power--based on this discussion about statistics. It's hugely important and I have joined countless others in trying to keep up with the discussion. It's like being on trial in an alien court with the proceedings conducted in a foreign language. And I understand quite a bit of the statistics--maybe even 10%.

Bart wrote a post on March 1 titled, 'Global average temperature increase, GISS HadCru and NCDC compared.' (That's not Dutch...). It now has over 735 comments on it.

The issue they are debating is whether the analysis performed by climate scientists on CO2 rises and temperature is seriously flawed. The conversation goes way past Dutch and into Greek, but the key point, as summarized by commenter whbabcock on March 17, is this:

"The issues being addressed in this thread relate to a single question, “Does available real world data support the hypothesis that increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases increase global temperature permanently?”

VS has clearly pointed out that, to properly test this hypothesis, one must use statistical techniques that are consistent with the underlying characteristics of the data. As noted in the B&R paper, “… the radiative forcings of greenhouse gases (C02, CH4 and N2O) are stationary in second differences (i.e. I(2)) while global temperature and solar irradiance are stationary in first differences (i.e. I(1)).” B&R refer to five papers that have the same findings – i.e., that radiative forcings and global temperature are non-stationary to the same order.

Ignoring the properties of the time series data used to test a theory (hypothesis) can easily suffer the “pitfall of spurious regression.” That is, you can’t look at the simple correlation between greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature (or simple transformations of these data) and accept the hypothesis that one is caused by the other. In the case before us (i.e., given the characteristics of the time series data being used), cointegration has been demonstrated as the appropriate statistical technique. This has nothing to do with the logic or correctness of the underlying theory being tested. Rather, it has to do with the statistical properties of the time series being used to test the theory – two separate issues.

The B&R paper finds that, when cointegration is applied to available data,” … greenhouse gas forcings do not polynominally cointegrate with global temperature and solar irradiance.” Hence, available data do not support the physics based hypothesis.

This type of statistical result simply demonstrates the relationship (or lack thereof) in available data. It is what is!! This result stands (unless there are problems in execution – e.g., the analysis was implemented incorrectly, or the data are faulty, etc.). No appeal to theory or to alternative analyses of different types of data that support the hypothesis changes this single analytical result. Again, it is what is! It is what the data are telling us. In this case the data are telling us that bumble bees can fly (i.e., real world data – observations — are inconsistent with the formulated, mathematically based hypothesis).

What does all this mean? It could mean that the theory is incorrect. Or, it could mean that the data are not “accurate” enough to exhibit the “theoretical relationship.” It certainly “raises a red flag” as VS has noted several times. And, it does mean that one can’t simply point to highly correlated time series data showing rising CO2 concentrations and rising temperatures and claim the data support the theory."

Just to be clear, this is not going to prove or disprove global warming. But a lot of the conjectural studies claiming to be able to project future scenarios based on the correlation between CO2 and temperatures may have to be completely rewritten with a much higher standard of investigation--or else they won't really be usable. And it will certainly bring up the point that this issue with the data should have been examined about 20 years ago, when all the hype started.

It would be like reading War and Peace to go over there now and start from the beginning. But if you really care about the debate on global warming, you should do so. If you can't, I'm really hoping that someone will summarize the entire debate in the very near future.


Bangladeshi Island Sinks "From Global Warming"

No mention that the land surface of Bangladesh has in fact been GROWING overall in recent years

New Moore Island has been sinking for 30 years. However, the island itself, known as New Moore, is no more. In fact, it's now completely submerged under water.

Scientists used satellite imagery to prove their point. Moreover, sea patrols have confirmed that New Moore Island has sunk. Now the Global Warming experts say it's because of Climate Change.

However, the fact is, the island has been sinking dramatically during the past decade. Global Warming experts claim that the sea level is rising in accordance with rising temperatures. The island is about two square miles.

The island itself could be the first of many islands to soon disappear. Reports say that around 10 other islands are at risk of being submerged by rising waters. It is either caused by rising sea levels or the island itself might be sinking in mud.

Bangladesh And India Fought Over The Land For Many Years

The land is actually named South Talpatti Island in Bangladesh. However, India called it "New Moore Island" because it was uninhabited. The land emerged in the Bay of Bengal in the aftermath of the Bhola cyclone in 1970.

Its sovereignty was disputed between Bangladesh and India for years until the island became submerged. There was never any permanent settlement on the land. The emergence of the island was first discovered by an American satellite in 1974.

The satellite image showed the island to have an area of 27,000 square-feet. Later, various remote sensing surveys showed that the island had expanded gradually to an area of about 110,000 square-feet at low tide. The highest elevation had never exceeded two meters above sea level.

The island was claimed by both Bangladesh and India. Neither country established any permanent settlement because of the island's geological instability. India had reportedly hoisted the Indian flag on the territory in 1981 and established a temporary base of Border Security Forces.

The location of the channel in 1947 may be more relevant than its later location. River channels often shift their locations from time to time.



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


No comments: