The Connecticut Flood Recovery Committee's final report declared, "Connecticut was the hardest hit victim of the worst flood in the history of the eastern United States." 1 The state endured Nature's fury in two major floods, one on August 19 and the second on October 16. Both were results of torrential rains.
On August 13 Hurricane Connie dropped four to six inches of rain on Connecticut. Five days later, another hurricane, Diane, dropped an additional fourteen inches of rain in a thirty-hour period between Thursday morning and Friday noon. The floods came on the 19th. The greatest loss of life and destruction to property occurred along the Mad and Still Rivers in Winsted, the Naugatuck, the Farmington, and the Quinebaug in the Putnam-Killingly region.
Governor Abraham Ribicoff personally visited the scenes of destruction. President Dwight Eisenhower declared Connecticut a disaster area. The survivors, however, hardly had time to recover when the second flood took place. From October 14 through the 16th, heavy rains once more saturated the state. Gale winds and high tides resulted in new destruction along the shore in towns such as Norwalk. Again Governor Ribicoff visited sites of destruction, and the President issued a second declaration designating Connecticut as a disaster area.2
On March 19, 1956, Governor Ribicoff made the following statement before the United States Senate Appropriations Committee listing "what the 1955 floods cost Connecticut:"
"91 persons dead and 12 others missing and presumed dead.
86,000 persons unemployed.
More than 1,100 families left homeless.
Another 2,300 families were at least temporarily without shelter.
Nearly 20,000 families suffered flood damage.
Sixty-seven of our 169 towns were affected by the floods.
The damage to individual property, to business, to industry, and to State and municipal facilities has been estimated at almost half a billion dollars."
Global warming in 1932
False claim of Antarctic heating
In 2004, NASA showed Antarctica in a long-term cooling trend. But Gavin Schmidt forecast the future:
"Antarctic cooling, global warming? …. the continent and in the interior appear to have cooled slightly …… we fully expect Antarctica to warm up in the future"
Sure enough, in 2007 NASA flipped the long-term trend from cooling to warming.
Did Antarctica suddenly heat up between 2004 and 2007? Not according to the satellite data:
German Researcher says Antarctic Ice Intact
And cooling, if anything. Part of an interview below
Q. Let’s begin with a key concern: What is your opinion about the Antarctic ice melting due to global warming and the threat it would pose in coming years.
A. I would the say the situation is not as critical as it is made out. But, at some places in the Antarctica, we do find the ice breaking away and falling but its only in isolated spots. At the German base, we don’t really see any rise in temperature, in fact, it might be the other way round. So at this base we don’t see any global warming effect at all. But, this is a big discussion because you never know how accurate the measurements taken much earlier were because technology was not as advanced as it is now. It’s too easy to say that Antarctica is warmed by 1-2 degrees but, I’d infer, that is not really true.”
Q. What was your mission at Antarctica?
I stayed for 14 months at the German research station, called Neumayer station after a German scientist. During the past thirty years a lot of research has been done at this station like ozone measurements, geophysics observations, etc. which are very important for climate research which has to be carried out over a long period of time. Every year, new teams with scientific backgrounds and technical skills are sent there to continue collecting data for a data collection series. I went to work at an air chemistry laboratory there to sample Antarctic air, which is very very clean. But, what you measure there is seen against a global background, like recording any increase/decrease in Co2 in the atmosphere.
The State of the IPCC’s Leadership
I’ve been blogging about the fact that Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), habitually links the good name of that organization to activist endeavours of various descriptions (see here, here, and here).
In one instance, he wrote an enthusiastic foreword to the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2009 report prior to delivering the keynote address at an event celebrating the release of that publication. This means that the IPCC, a body we’re told exists to provide an objective view of climate science, is now inextricably associated with an overtly activist screed.
What does this publication say, exactly? The first lines appearing on the Acknowledgments page are these:
In the 20 years since the historic testimony by Goddard Institute scientist James Hansen, the science of climate change has come a long way…Hansen’s work and courage has been a major inspiration in compiling this twenty-sixth edition of State of the World. [bold added; p. vii]
When Frontline interviewed Timothy Wirth, the man who orchestrated Hansen’s 1988 Congressional testimony, he described the sequence of events this way:
We knew there was this scientist at NASA, you know, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So we called him up and asked him if he would testify. [bold added]
One scientist. Who felt certain about his own theories. That’s what triggered the global warming frenzy. Hansen’s testimony transformed him into a media darling, a scientific superstar. So where, precisely, does courage come into it?
Hansen has hardly been toiling away in obscurity – or poverty. For decades he has been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize.
Hansen is the promoter of theories about our climate that, with the passage of time, may or may not be borne out. Rather than being persecuted for these theories, he has been fêted and financially rewarded. His prize money alone amounts to $683,000.
It ‘s not clear what part of this story the Worldwatch folks find so inspiring. What’s unmistakable is that they’re the sort of drama queens who believe we’re on the verge of an apocalypse. Here are some tidbits from the earliest pages of the book (bold added by me):
It is New Year’s Day, 2101. Somehow, humanity survived the worst of global warming…What did humanity do…to snatch a threatened world from the jaws of climate change catastrophe? (p. 3)
[This book] provides hope amidst the grim certainty that we are living in the early years of a vast unplanned change in the planet’s climate. (p. 3)
…we are privileged to live in a brief window of time when human beings can act decisively to stop the warming before its impacts become impossible to reverse or to tolerate. (p. 3)
It is now virtually certain that children born today will find their lives preoccupied with a host of hardships created by an inexorably warming world. (p. 5)
This would all be more stirring if it weren’t for a rather inconvenient fact. Over the past few hundred years there has been a parade of people who were all convinced the world had reached a tipping point and that they, too, were the anointed generation called upon to transform society and save us from disaster (see Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist and Dan Gardner’s Future Babble).
What cure do the Worldwatch folks propose for the disease they believe afflicts us? Small, pinched lives in which travel to foreign countries is no longer an opportunity enjoyed by the masses. Worldwatch, you see, has determined that travel isn’t a necessity. Moreover, these people think they’re entitled to decide what makes the rest of us happy:
Lifestyle changes will be needed, some of which seem unattractive today. But in the end, the things we may need to learn to live without – oversized cars and houses, status-based consumption, easy and cheap world travel, meat with every meal, disposable everything – are not necessities or in most cases what makes people happy. (p. 10)
They also appear to have a dubious fixation with bigger government and more taxation:
…it is not hard to imagine the climate problem driving a political evolution toward global governance over the long term…New institutions and new funds will be needed… (p. 10)
When these sentiments are added to their certainty that:
The global economy fundamentally drives climate change, and economic strategies will need to be revised if the climate is ever to be stabilized… (p. 12)
and their declaration that “an accurate examination of climate change” must include an “analysis of gender relations” (p.61) we end up with a full slate of readily-identifiable left-wing hobby horses.
The attention of these people isn’t focused on fixing one particular problem. Instead, they’re eager to redesign the economy, to re-jig the world’s political system, and to tell us how much meat we’re allowed to consume.
But instead of doing the hard work of selling each of those measures to the public on its own merits, the Worldwatch Institute is trying to sneak them in through the back door – by presenting them as necessary responses to human-caused climate change.
The problem with this argument is that lefty eco activists were pushing those same solutions long before global warming became the cause du jour. A while ago I wrote a blog post titled Global Disaster Is So 1976. I pointed out that people were talking about worldwide catastrophe back then, too. I noted that the answers being proposed included lifestyle changes such as eating less meat.
The bottom line? Rajendra Pachauri, as chairman of what is supposed to be a respectable science body, has – with deliberation and forethought – publicly linked that body to left-wing political analysis and activism.
In doing so he has single-handedly made it impossible for anyone who cares about scientific integrity, scholarly impartiality, or old-fashioned propriety to take the IPCC seriously.
A carbon illusion Australia can't afford
By Sinclair Davidson, a professor of economics
IN implementing its carbon tax the Gillard government is involved in a massive campaign of misinformation.
First there is the fiscal illusion. It is creating confusion about who will pay the tax in order to disguise the full cost of the policy.
Andrew Leigh -- first-term ALP backbencher and former professor of economics at the Australian National University -- recently said that the policy consisted of big polluters being taxed and money given to households, while the Coalition policy consisted of households being taxed and the money being given to polluters.
On the ABC's Insiders yesterday, Finance Minister Penny Wong said: "This is not a tax that people pay; this is a tax that polluters pay." That sounds all very reassuring, until we remember that Treasury thinks that household expenditure will go up by $860 per year for a $30 a tonne carbon tax.
What many people don't know is that the carbon tax will have to be much more than $30 a tonne to be effective.
As both Leigh and Wong know the argument that only the big polluters will pay is nonsense, some might say dishonest. There are two points to remember. It is household demand for goods and services that gives rise to carbon pollution. In any event big polluters will simply pass on the cost to their customers. So we know the carbon tax will be paid out of the household budget through higher prices and in some cases job losses.
The reality is that while big polluters will have to pay money to government , the burden will fall on people.
Then there is the notion that households will be compensated. Not all households, mind you; only low and middle-income households.
People should be worried that the government won't define what middle-income households are until late in the piece. Many households are going to be unpleasantly surprised.
The idea is to overcompensate low-income households. This will simply lead to them consuming more carbon intensive goods and services paid for by those higher in the income stakes.
How this would contribute to lowering total carbon emissions remains to be explained.
All sorts of anomalies and confusions are going to arise and this government hasn't shown itself capable of clear communication and explanation.
It is going to be very difficult to compensate households while also protecting trade-exposed industries. Wong knows this too. In Shitstorm, their excellent account of the Rudd government, Lenore Taylor and David Uren recount that Wong "had reached the conclusion the business executives filing through her office were not making ambit claims but were genuinely worried about the potential impact of the plan".
The government is hoping the introduction of the carbon tax will be similar to the introduction of the GST. When the GST was introduced there were compensating tax cuts and increased welfare payments. This compensation has been permanent. True, the GST raises more revenue than expected, but a whole raft of inefficiencies were eliminated and replaced by a more efficient revenue system.
Consumers very quickly got used to the GST and there is broad acceptance that the GST was a worthwhile and valuable reform. It is unlikely something similar will happen this time around. The GST is a tax designed to raise revenue. The carbon tax is designed to change behaviour: revenue is a secondary and, if the policy is successful, a temporary consideration.
Yet most of the discussion has revolved around how to spend the revenue.
The policy objective is to cause a substitution from low-cost but dirty energy production to higher-cost but cleaner energy production. In plain language the policy objective should lead to a permanent increase in household prices and fewer carbon emissions. But if successful, the revenue will decline, meaning there will be no money to pay compensation. There just isn't enough money to finance this scheme.
The government is planning to allocate revenue from a windfall gain to permanent spending. This is a recipe for structural deficits and fiscal irresponsibility. In the short run this policy isn't revenue neutral and in the long run it isn't budget neutral either. So rather than being reminiscent of the GST reforms, the notion of carbon tax compensation is more like Paul Keating's L-A-W reform. It is just not affordable.
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