Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The latest nonsense: Flowers losing scent due to climate change

Since there has been no global warming for over 10 years, warming is not the cause of whatever has been observed below. And if there is an in principle claim that warming deodorises flowers, all those fragrant blossoms I encountered during my years in the tropics must have been a figment of my imagination

A rose may stop smelling like a rose. This is the concern of environmentalists as flowers are losing their scent due to climate change and air pollution. And their fragrance may be lost forever. Science and Technology Professor Emeritus at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad, said genetically modified flowers might be the way out.

Climate change is also the reason Kuala Lumpur City Hall is increasingly turning to shady trees, because flowers which previously formed the centrepiece of its beautification programme have been wilting fast.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said City Hall used to spend RM1.5 million ($635,100) a month to plant and maintain flowers in the city, but the contractor's services were terminated in March last year. City Hall has taken over the planting, opting for bougainvillea and the tropical shrubs, Ixora, for their durability and cheaper cost. Under the previous arrangement, some of the small flowers cost RM3.50 per seedling.

"It was getting too costly to beautify the city. Flowers were dying fast," he said, adding that City Hall would continue to plant shady trees more suited for soaking up the increasing pollution and coping with global warming.

Latif said UKM might have offered plausible reasons as to why some pollinators were not spreading flower seeds, a pattern caused by the missing "scent trail" with scent tissues burning easily due to global warming. "The aroma producing chemical compounds in flowers dry up faster now compared with before."

The only way out, he said, was to genetically modify the flowers so that the effects would not be permanent and the future generation would not be robbed of nature's beauty. "The act is almost like producing essential oils. Scientists add on certain chemicals for stronger scent." He said scents in flowers last longer in colder climate as plants can hold on to their essential oils longer. "The flowers may still have strong scents in colder climate. But locally, we fear this might be lost forever."

With flowers emitting lesser scent, the insects and butterflies are travelling further and longer to get a share of nectar. Latif said birds and insects were heading towards hilly areas and deeper into the jungles where the weather is cooler.


Cutting out meat won't fight climate change: expert

EATING less meat will not reduce global warming and reports that claim it will help are distracting society from finding real ways to beat climate change, a leading air quality expert has said. "We certainly can reduce our greenhouse gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk," Frank Mitloehner has said as he presented a report on meat-eating and climate change at a conference of the American Chemical Society in California.

Associate Professor Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California-Davis, has said blaming cows and pigs for climate change was scientifically inaccurate. He has also dismissed several reports, including one issued in 2006 by the United Nations, which he has said overstate the role that livestock play in global warming.

The UN report - Livestock's Long Shadow - which said livestock cause more anthropogenic greenhouse gases than all global transportation combined, merely distract from the real issues involved in climate change and was a distraction in the quest for true solutions to global warming, he has said.

The notion that eating less meat will help to combat climate change has spawned campaigns for "meatless Mondays" and a European campaign launched late last year, called "Less Meat, Less Heat". Former Beatle Paul McCartney, one of the world's best-known vegetarians, was a driving force behind "Less Meat, Less Heat".

"McCartney and others seem to be well-intentioned but not well-schooled in the complex relationships among human activities, animal digestion, food production and atmospheric chemistry," Prof Mitloehner said. "Smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat ... Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries." Developing countries "should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices, to make more food with less greenhouse gas production" and developed countries "should focus on cutting our use of oil and coal for electricity, heating and vehicle fuels".

In the United States, transportation creates an estimated 26 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, whereas raising cattle and pigs for food accounts for about three per cent, he said.

The UN report, issued in 2006, said global livestock rearing was responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in carbon dioxide equivalents. The UN report said that was more than the greenhouse gases produced by transport.


Solar insanity in Britain

Since when do Brits even SEE the sun?

Moonbat's spat over feed-in tariffs continues with a repost from his nemesis, Jeremy Leggett, defender of the solar industry. For once, though, we are completely on Moonbat's side. Only now is the enormity of the government's proposal beginning to sink in, with its intention to have a full two percent of UK electricity supplied from micro-generation by 2020. This will largely be delivered by solar panels, the most profitable option for small installations.

Actually, solar panels are one of the least cost-effective ways of producing electricity, costing £4,000-6,000 per kilowatt of installed capacity. Without massive government support, payback times (with interest) could be a hundred years or more to recoup the typical installation costs of between £3,000 and £20,000. Given that the devices have a maximum lifetime of 30 years, that would never have happened.

However, from 1 April, the government is offering 41.3p per kWh produced – a supposed "feed-in" tariff although it is paid even if the owner uses all the electricity produced. From this, it estimates that a typical 2.5kW well sited installation could earn £900 a year and save £140 a year on the electricity not used – the subsidies calculated to give a 5-8 percent return on investment.

The income from the electricity sales is not taxed so, for a higher bracket taxpayer – who would have to pay for the electricity out of earned income, the payback time can be reduced to as little as 15 years. By 2020, however, the government estimates that the subsidy – paid by electricity users – will be costing £8.6 billion annually. Since only the better off will be able to afford the installation costs, this amounts to a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to those fortunate enough to be able to buy the equipment.

To get to this state, the number of installations, currently approximately 100,000 and, up from an estimated 82,000 at the end of 2004, will need to increase to something like 7-10 million. And, as a rough estimate, the capital cost could be in the region of £100 billion – for two percent of our electricity production – with which we could buy 100 percent of our requirement in the form of brand new nuclear power stations.

It is this capital expenditure which will be defrayed by the feed-in tariff, replacing a composite scheme which included installation grants.

There was an inkling of how profitable solar was becoming last year when Guardian journalist Ashley Seager spent £8,500 on solar roof panels (having got a 50 percent grant for a system that cost £17,500) and claimed the experience to be financially rewarding.

That was before the government's feed-in tariff came into force and, when it does the owners will be able to sell all the electricity they produce at 41.3p per kWh, even if they use it all themselves.

Just how insane this really is can be seen from a similar scheme introduced in Germany in 2004 – with a 57.4 euro cent/kWh subsidy for domestic users. This pushed solar power capacity to about 9GW, delivering about 1.35 GW, or about one percent of total German production - including some massive industrial installations, which get a slightly lower subsidy rate.

But the cost has been massive. German electricity consumers last year paid more than £10 billion in subsidies, forcing chancellor Merkel to cut the tariff by 15 percent this month, with more cuts in the pipeline.

With the UK feed-in tariff – and other tax incentives – solar panels are now a good investment for anyone who can afford them, which means that there will almost certainly be a massive uptake. The government may well reach its 2020 target of two percent but the rest of us will be paying dearly for the privilege.

Even allowing for a low end installation cost of £4,000 per kW installed, the load capacity of domestic panels in the UK rarely exceeds 10 percent. This means that the 2GW needed by 2020 to make up 2 percent of our electrical production would still cost in the region of £80 billion. At this rate, no wonder Merkel finds the subsidies unaffordable. And yet, David Cameron wants not 2 but 15 percent, jacking up capital costs to a potential £600 billion.

If the current scheme is already insane, what the Tories are proposing is a multiple of insanity. And we can afford neither.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Pesky Arctic ice won’t melt

The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in 2007 warns the Arctic ice could vanish: "The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the North Pole is covered with extensive first-year ice—ice that formed last autumn and winter. I’d say it’s even-odds whether the North Pole melts out [this year]."

The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in 2010 concedes the Arctic ice has grown: "A report from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado finds that Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Attention BBC: which of Australia's cities is almost dry?

By Andrew Bolt

A word to the BBC’s Sydney reporter Nick Bryant. Mate, Australians now have the Internet and can read and check the bizarre reports you file back home, like this one:
Australia is in the grip of “the Big Dry”, one of the worst droughts in a century.

Major cities confront the major possibility of running out of water daily, and some are building desalination plants that draw from the sea.

Here’s the rain anomalies for this summer, showing above average rainfall for most of the country:


And here are the current storage levels on these cities that “confront the major possibility of running out of water daily”:

Sydney: 59%

Melbourne: 34.3% with desalination plant to come online next year.

Brisbane: 97.7%

Perth: 39.6% with desalination plant online.

Adelaide: 62% plus water piped from the Murray.

Your correction should be a beauty. Claiming you simply consulted Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery is no excuse.


New book

An email from Steve Goreham of climatism.net

My name is Steve Goreham. I'm an engineer, a former business executive, and a Yank. I've just published (ink not yet dry) the book: Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century's Hottest Topic to add weight against climate change alarmism and for sound science and energy policy.

Climatism! covers the science, politics, and energy policy impacts of global climate mania. It's written in a down-to-earth manner for world citizens to accelerate the demise of Climatism.

You can order from Steve's site


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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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