Saturday, January 01, 2011

Croatian ice-age expert warns new ice age could start as soon as five years from now

A leading scientist has revealed that Europe could be just five years away from the start of a new Ice Age.

While climate change campaigners say global warming is the planet's biggest danger, renowned physicist Vladimir Paar says most of central Europe will soon be covered in ice. The freeze will be so complete that people will be able to walk from England to Ireland or across the North Sea from Scotland to northern Europe.

Professor Paar, from Croatia's Zagreb University, has spent decades analysing previous ice ages in Europe and what caused them. "Most of Europe will be under ice, including Germany, Poland, France, Austria, Slovakia and a part of Slovenia," said the professor in an interview with the

"Previous ice ages lasted about 70,000 years. That's a fact and the new ice age can't be avoided.

"The big question is what will happen to the people of the Central European countries which will be under ice? "They might migrate to the south, or might stay, but with a huge increase in energy use," he warned. "This could happen in five, 10, 50 or 100 years, or even later. We can't predict it precisely, but it will come," he added.

And the professor said that scientists think global warming is simply a natural part of the planet. "What I mean is that global warming is natural. Some 130,000 years ago the earth's temperature was the same as now, the level of CO2 was almost the same and the level of the sea was four metres higher. "They keep warning people about global warming, but half of America no longer believes it as they keep freezing," he said.

And he added: "The reality is that mankind needs to start preparing for the ice age. We are at the end of the global warming period. The ice age is to follow. The global warming period should have ended a few thousands of years ago, we should have already been in the ice age. Therefore we do not know precisely when it could start – but soon."

The Zagreb based scientist says it will still be possible for man to survive in the ice age, but the spending on energy will be enormous. "Food production also might be a problem. It would need to be produced in greenhouses with a lot of energy spent to heat it", commented the professor, who remains optimistic despite his predictions.

He said: "The nuclear energy we know today will not last longer than 100 years as we simply do not have enough uranium in the world to match the needs in an ice age. But I'm still optimistic. There is the process of nuclear fusion happening on the Sun. The fuel for that process is hydrogen and such a power plant is already worked on in France as a consortium involving firms from Marseille and the European Union, the US, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea. The head of the project is a Japanese expert, and former Japanese ambassador in Croatia", Vladimir Paar revealed.

He said the building of the new technology power plant will take at least another 10 years. "In 40 years we'll know how it functions. That would be a solution that could last for thousands of years. We have a lot of hydrogen and the method is an ecological one", the professor concluded.


The crooked Michael Oppenheimer again

Dr Michael Oppenheimer of the Environmental Defense Fund was interviewed by the New York times in January 2000 as part of an article on the recent run of mild winters. As the article about the ‘absence of snow’ in New York reported:
Dr. Oppenheimer, among other ecologists, points to global warming as perhaps the most significant long-term factor.
Oppenheimer even had a tear-jerking personal angle on the ‘absence of snow’ in modern winters. The New York Times writer mournfully announced that snow-balls fights are now as outdated as hoop-rolling, and quoted Oppenheimer on the pathetic spectacle of the unused sled in his stairwell, symbol of a warming world:
But it does not take a scientist to size up the effects of snowless winters on the children too young to remember the record-setting blizzards of 1996. For them, the pleasures of sledding and snowball fights are as out-of-date as hoop-rolling, and the delight of a snow day off from school is unknown.

‘I bought a sled in ’96 for my daughter,” said Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, a scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. ”It’s been sitting in the stairwell, and hasn’t been used. I used to go sledding all the time. It’s one of my most vivid and pleasant memories as a kid, hauling the sled out to Cunningham Park in Queens.”

If you see Dr Oppenheimer out sledding this winter, lend a hand, and give him a push.


Deceitful claim: 97% of climate scientists think humans contribute to global warming

How do we know there’s a scientific consensus on climate change? Pundits and the press tell us so. And how do the pundits and the press know? Until recently, they typically pointed to the number 2500 – that’s the number of scientists associated with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those 2500, the pundits and the press believed, had endorsed the IPCC position.

To their embarrassment, most of the pundits and press discovered that they were mistaken – those 2500 scientists hadn’t endorsed the IPCC’s conclusions, they had merely reviewed some part or other of the IPCC’s mammoth studies. To add to their embarrassment, many of those reviewers from within the IPCC establishment actually disagreed with the IPCC’s conclusions, sometimes vehemently.

The upshot? The punditry looked for and recently found an alternate number to tout — “97% of the world’s climate scientists” accept the consensus, articles in the Washington Post and elsewhere have begun to claim.

This number will prove a new embarrassment to the pundits and press who use it. The number stems from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers – in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produces the 97% figure that pundits now tout.

The two researchers started by altogether excluding from their survey the thousands of scientists most likely to think that the Sun, or planetary movements, might have something to do with climate on Earth – out were the solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers. That left the 10,257 scientists in disciplines like geology, oceanography, paleontology, and geochemistry that were somehow deemed more worthy of being included in the consensus. The two researchers also decided that scientific accomplishment should not be a factor in who could answer – those surveyed were determined by their place of employment (an academic or a governmental institution). Neither was academic qualification a factor – about 1,000 of those surveyed did not have a PhD, some didn’t even have a master’s diploma.

To encourage a high participation among these remaining disciplines, the two researchers decided on a quickie survey that would take less than two minutes to complete, and would be done online, saving the respondents the hassle of mailing a reply. Nevertheless, most didn’t consider the quickie survey worthy of response –just 3146, or 30.7%, answered the two questions on the survey:

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

The questions were actually non-questions. From my discussions with literally hundreds of skeptical scientists over the past few years, I know of none who claims that the planet hasn’t warmed since the 1700s, and almost none who think that humans haven’t contributed in some way to the recent warming – quite apart from carbon dioxide emissions, few would doubt that the creation of cities and the clearing of forests for agricultural lands have affected the climate. When pressed for a figure, global warming skeptics might say that human are responsible for 10% or 15% of the warming; some skeptics place the upper bound of man’s contribution at 35%. The skeptics only deny that humans played a dominant role in Earth’s warming.

Surprisingly, just 90% of those who responded to the first question believed that temperatures had risen – I would have expected a figure closer to 100%, since Earth was in the Little Ice Age in the centuries immediately preceding 1800. But perhaps some of the responders interpreted the question to include the past 1000 years, when Earth was in the Medieval Warm Period, generally thought to be warmer than today.

As for the second question, 82% of the earth scientists replied that that human activity had significantly contributed to the warming. Here the vagueness of the question comes into play. Since skeptics believe that human activity been a contributing factor, their answer would have turned on whether they consider a 10% or 15% or 35% increase to be a significant contributing factor. Some would, some wouldn’t.

In any case, the two researchers must have feared that an 82% figure would fall short of a convincing consensus – almost one in five wasn’t blaming humans for global warming — so they looked for subsets that would yield a higher percentage. They found it – almost — in those whose recent published peer-reviewed research fell primarily in the climate change field. But the percentage still fell short of the researchers’ ideal. So they made another cut, allowing only the research conducted by those earth scientists who identified themselves as climate scientists.

Once all these cuts were made, 75 out of 77 scientists of unknown qualifications were left endorsing the global warming orthodoxy. The two researchers were then satisfied with their findings. Are you?


EPA Rules Will Trump Your Rights

Ignoring both Congress and the voters, the Environmental Protection Agency starts the new year governing by decree with job-killing regulations. Take a deep breath, but if you exhale you're a polluter.

Cap-and-trade is dead, long live cap-and-trade in the form of regulations promulgated in the coming year by what George Orwell might call the Ministry of Environment. It claims that the Clean Air Act and a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 let the EPA regulate carbon dioxide as a planet-warming pollutant.

We recently commented on the EPA's recent commandeering of the permitting process from Texas, with which it is in a legal tussle over federalism, states' rights and the Constitution's enumeration of powers and who may exercise them.

The federal agency also plans to issue greenhouse gas permits in seven other states — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon and Wyoming.

The EPA held its fire, hoping a Democratic Congress would get cap-and-trade legislation through both houses. In April, 2009, Time magazine ran a piece titled "EPA'S CO2 Finding: Putting A Gun To Congress' Head." Last year the New York Times said that if Congress fails to ram through cap-and-trade legislation, the EPA should ram it down our throats. And so it did.

With Barack Obama's election, liberal hopes for cap-and-trade rose. But neither businessmen nor homeowners were buying it, especially after the data manipulation and fraud perpetrated by the U.N.'s IPCC, Britain's Climate Research Unit and even our own NASA.

So now just as rationing and death panels return under regulations written "as the secretary shall determine," a phrase rapidly replacing "we the people" under this administration, the EPA plans to propose so-called performance standards for oil- and coal-fired power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2022.

"We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce (greenhouse gas) pollution that threatens the health and welfare or American and contributes to climate change," says EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. Perhaps she appreciates the irony of the people of Cowlitz, Wash., as columnist George Will points out, approving construction of a coal export terminal to send energy-hungry Beijing coal we won't burn here. The transporters? Ships that themselves burn fossil fuels.

Oh, and remember those high-speed electric trains in China that have people like the New York Times' Tom Friedman cooing over how green China is? James Fallows, writing in the Atlantic, quotes a Chinese official as saying they are being built to move passenger trains out of the way of coal trains.


Massachusetts enthusiastically joins the madness

True to form: Feelgood strutting that will have zero benefits for the Massachusetts public and zero effect on the climate

Governor Deval Patrick’s administration set an ambitious limit yesterday on statewide greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved by 2020, through a suite of new and existing policies that balance energy efficiency and reduced fossil fuel use with cost savings.

Over the next decade, the plan aims to bring greenhouse gas emissions to levels that are 25 percent below those in 1990, the maximum possible limit allowed under the state Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. That legislation mandates an 80 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Massachusetts, through existing caps and an initiative that increases utilities’ use of renewable energy sources, is already on track to cut its emissions to 18 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Under the new plan, the state would cut at least an additional 7 percent through new initiatives and incentives, including a pilot program to make auto insurance cheaper for people who drive fewer miles.

Yesterday’s move was expected, as the administration had sent signals that it might take an aggressive step toward limiting greenhouse gases and was required by law to set the limit by the end of the year.

But the announcement sets Massachusetts apart from other states, according to one leading environmental organization. “I’m not aware of anything else that comes close to this,’’ said Sue Reid, a senior attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation.

According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, at least nine other states have adopted statewide greenhouse gas emission limits, and Massachusetts appears to have the most aggressive reduction target.

More here

Political agonies over Warmism in Australia

Climate change policy has already played a critical role in the demise of four political leaders.

John Howard's failure to ratify the Kyoto protocol was used to characterise him as yesterday's man. Brendan Nelson's instinct to tighten the rein on climate policy was a pivotal reason the Liberals switched to Malcolm Turnbull. Paradoxically, little more than a year later, the same party room narrowly toppled Turnbull to overturn his climate policy.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd lost his confidence when Copenhagen failed, and then lost the confidence of the public and finally his party when he abandoned his emissions trading crusade.

It is clear climate change looms large, it's a known unknown, and it's on track to claim a fifth Australian political scalp. But whose?

For Gillard the issue offers an opportunity to salvage her almost stillborn government. On the other hand, it could deliver Tony Abbott the keys to the lodge.

At one level there is more policy common ground here than either side of politics likes to pretend.

Both main parties are committed to the same 10-year target they took to the election, reaffirmed recently at Cancun; a reduction of 5 per cent on 2001 emissions levels by 2020. What differs is how they'll get there, and the rhetoric and emphasis employed along the way.

It suits Labor to argue it is crusading to save the planet and protect the economy while the conservatives are sitting on their hands and jeopardising our children's future.

It suits the Liberals to argue that Labor is rushing headlong with the tide of political fashion, imposing a heavy cost on the economy when the science is, at best, uncertain.

Neither of these rhetorical lines sits very well with the fact that both sides have plausible plans to reduce emissions by the same amount over the next decade.

Business, especially big business, craves certainty and leans towards an emissions trading system, mainly because it considers a market mechanism inevitable. In short it has been saying we might as well get the system in place so investment decisions can be made.

The Liberals' direct-action alternative might be immediately attractive to industry except that it would worry a change of government or a breakthrough in international talks could suddenly see a market mechanism re-emerge.

Yet Labor no longer has any certainty about what it proposes. Its carbon pollution reduction scheme remains on the shelf; a trading scheme endorsed for a week by the Turnbull Coalition and rejected, in the end, by the Greens for not going far enough.

Gillard must be tempted to dust it off and run it by the parliament again, invite a Liberal or two to cross the floor, and dare the Greens to reject progress on a carbon price agenda for a second time. Surely this would call Brown's bluff.

But Gillard has now outsourced her climate policy, at least to some degree, to a multi-sided (Labor, Greens, independents) parliamentary committee, a Productivity Commission inquiry, a new Ross Garnaut review and two non-government round tables.

Imagine if Labor were confronted with research or recommendations that bolster Abbott's argument that a direct-action approach is advisable in the short term before international commitments become clearer.

Nonetheless, Labor is committed to deliver some kind of price on carbon and it must. To retreat again on climate change would be suicide. This won't be easy. Labor's scheme will be shaped in a tug'o'war between the lower house independents and the Greens. Anything could happen, up to a parliamentary stand-off that would be fatal for Gillard.

But from this distance out, let's assume the stakes are so high that Gillard can carry the day and get her carbon price in place.

She could then claim a victory of sorts and, importantly, show Labor has made good on a pledge that has been pivotal to its agenda for at least five years.

But where the climate alarmists from Al Gore to Tim Flannery once had an unchallenged run, there is now a more realistic and multi-faceted debate. Labor's crusade to save the planet is no longer the political sure bet. The situation is much more nuanced.

Polls tell us most Australians are worried about climate change and believe human activity is a contributing factor. But when asked if they are prepared to pay for a solution through a tax or trading scheme, opinion is more divided.

There is a greater awareness of the international developments that put our actions in the shade. For instance, Chinese coal-fired generation will double in the next decade. Increasingly, the public is also aware of other ways to skin the cat, such as the Coalition's abatement purchasing plan.

For all the debates about models, schemes and costs, the public messages are pretty clear. Labor is promising fervent, enthusiastic and passionate action, while the Coalition is promising prudent, reluctant and cautious action. This is a fascinating contrast when they are both committed to the same target.

In fact one of the greatest ironies in all of this has been pointed out by the Liberals' climate spokesman Greg Hunt. He says if the Coalition had won government, it would already be negotiating with large polluters to purchase carbon abatement. Abbott can also attack Labor's carbon price as a step too far, a case of ideological overreach imperilling the economy, especially given the lack of carbon price progress in the US, China and Japan.

He will, however, be presented with a difficult dilemma himself. Will he go to the next election pledging to repeal whatever scheme Labor puts in place?

Clearly Labor will make life difficult for the Coalition if it can establish a scheme and have it operational before the election. If business leaders accept the new regime and argue for it to remain in place in the interests of certainty, Abbott will rankle them by campaigning to repeal it.

But if he has characterised it as a dangerous and unnecessary "great big new tax", he will have no option. Make no mistake. This decision will create some consternation inside the Liberal Party.

All sides of politics have trying times ahead. Gillard is caught between the need to shield voters from higher costs and the extreme demands of the Greens, all fuelled by the high expectations Labor has set itself on climate change action.

Abbott is torn between the election campaign gift of running against a new tax and the challenge of pledging to overturn a scheme agreed to by business to tackle a problem worrying most Australians.

Gillard has the much tougher challenge. Cobbling a carbon price together will go close to tearing her rainbow coalition apart. The country independents will be asked to turn their back on rural abatement schemes that would be lucrative for their constituents and endorse higher power prices at the same time. The Greens will be asked to climb down from their extreme targets and agree to a pragmatic compromise that is perhaps inferior, in their eyes, to the scheme they rejected last year.

If the Gillard can pass through the eye of that needle, she'll have to sell a deliberate cost-of-living increase to all Australians. For Abbott, running a campaign against that shouldn't be too taxing.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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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