Who was James Delingpole quoting when he said (in yesterday's posts): "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
I recognized the source immediately but I am a literary bod too. Delingpole read English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, so it is rather amazing the diverse backgrounds that we skeptics come from. I abandoned my literary career (but not my literary interests) shortly after I gained the highest mark (out of about 1,000 students) in the poetry paper of my first-year English exam at the University of Queensland, one of Australia's "sandstone" universities (not quite "Russell group" or "Ivy League" but top tier in Australia anyway).
Because most journalists seem to come from some sort of literary background, I constantly recognize allusions in what I read. But I wonder how many others do? Given how dumbed-down education is these days, I think that allusions should always be followed or preceded by something along the lines of: "As xyx put it". Who for instance these days recognizes references to "the wine-dark sea" and "cloud cuckoo land"? (Homer and Aristophanes). Much culture has been lost now that Leftists run education.
The Comments facility awaits
Incidentally, Delingpole conveys quite a lot of youthful exuberance in his writings. Now that he is in his mid-40s, do we thing that he should have more "bottom"?
What Happened To The Climate Refugees?
In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production.
The UNEP even provided a handy map. The map shows us the places most at risk including the very sensitive low lying islands of the Pacific and Caribbean.
It so happens that just a few of these islands and other places most at risk have since had censuses, so it should be possible for us now to get some idea of the devastating impact climate change is having on their populations. Let’s have a look at the evidence:
Nassau, The Bahamas – The 2010 national statistics recorded that the population growth increased to 353,658 persons in The Bahamas. The population change figure increased by 50,047 persons during the last 10 years.
The island-nation of Saint Lucia recorded an overall household population increase of 5 percent from May 2001 to May 2010 based on estimates derived from a complete enumeration of the population of Saint Lucia during the conduct of the recently completed 2010 Population and Housing Census.
Population 2002, 81755
Population 2010, 88311
The latest Solomon Islands population has surpassed half a million – that’s according to the latest census results.
It’s been a decade since the last census report, and in that time the population has leaped 100-thousand.
Meanwhile, far from being places where people are fleeing, no fewer than the top six of the very fastest growing cities in China, Shenzzen, Dongguan, Foshan, Zhuhai, Puning and Jinjiang, are absolutely smack bang within the shaded areas identified as being likely sources of climate refugees.
Similarly, many of the fastest growing cities in the United States also appear within or close to the areas identified by the UNEP as at risk of having climate refugees.
More censuses are due to come in this year, and we await the results for Bangladesh and the Maldives - said to be places most at risk - with interest.
However, a very cursory look at the first available evidence seems to show that the places identified by the UNEP as most at risk of having climate refugees are not only not losing people, they are actually among the fastest growing regions in the world.
Climate models go cold
The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools out of our politicians.
Let's set a few things straight. The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.
Let's be perfectly clear. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and other things being equal, the more carbon dioxide in the air, the warmer the planet. Every bit of carbon dioxide that we emit warms the planet. But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.
Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet's temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.
The disagreement comes about what happens next.
The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas.
This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three -so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.
That's the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.
Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, '80s and '90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.
This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.
At this point, official "climate science" stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory -that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.
There are now several independent pieces of evidence showing that the earth responds to the warming due to extra carbon dioxide by dampening the warming. Every long-lived natural system behaves this way, counteracting any disturbance. Otherwise the system would be unstable. The climate system is no exception, and now we can prove it.
But the alarmists say the exact opposite, that the climate system amplifies any warming due to extra carbon dioxide, and is potentially unstable. It is no surprise that their predictions of planetary temperature made in 1988 to the U.S. Congress, and again in 1990, 1995, and 2001, have all proved much higher than reality.
They keep lowering the temperature increases they expect, from 0.30C per decade in 1990, to 0.20C per decade in 2001, and now 0.15C per decade -yet they have the gall to tell us "it's worse than expected." These people are not scientists. They overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide, selectively deny evidence, and now they conceal the truth.
One way they conceal is in the way they measure temperature.
The official thermometers are often located in the warm exhaust of air conditioning outlets, over hot tarmac at airports where they get blasts of hot air from jet engines, at waste-water plants where they get warmth from decomposing sewage, or in hot cities choked with cars and buildings. Global warming is measured in 10ths of a degree, so any extra heating nudge is important. In the United States, nearly 90% of official thermometers surveyed by volunteers violate official siting requirements that they not be too close to an artificial heating source.
Global temperature is also measured by satellites, which measure nearly the whole planet 24/7 without bias. The satellites say the hottest recent year was 1998, and that since 2001 the global temperature has levelled off. Why does official science track only the surface thermometer results and not mention the satellite results?
The Earth has been in a warming trend since the depth of the Little Ice Age around 1680. Human emissions of carbon dioxide were negligible before 1850 and have nearly all come after the Second World War, so human carbon dioxide cannot possibly have caused the trend. Within the trend, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation causes alternating global warming and cooling for 25 to 30 years at a go in each direction. We have just finished a warming phase, so expect mild global cooling for the next two decades.
We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government -how exciting for the political class!
Even if we stopped emitting all carbon dioxide tomorrow, completely shut up shop and went back to the Stone Age, according to the official government climate models it would be cooler in 2050 by about 0.015 degrees. But their models exaggerate 10-fold -in fact our sacrifices would make the planet in 2050 a mere 0.0015 degrees cooler!
Finally, to those who still believe the planet is in danger from our carbon dioxide emissions: Sorry, but you've been had. Yes, carbon dioxide is a cause of global warming, but it's so minor it's not worth doing much about.
Wind on the Water: Climate models shown to be wrong
The world's oceans represent the major source of stored heat energy that helps to mediate Earth's climate. The ocean surface boundary layer, where the ocean and atmosphere meet, heat is exchanged, as are gasses like CO2. The rate at which these exchanges take place has major implications for the mechanisms controlling climate change. A soon to be published paper in the journal Science documents a new study of the ocean surface boundary layer and, to the investigators' surprise, reveals that the rate of energy dissipation within the boundary layer to be enhanced by 10 to 20 times. This indicates that the atmosphere does not supply the energy for the boundary turbulence, the ocean does. This contradicts the prevailing scientific wisdom and shows once again that computer climate models are constructed using false assumptions.
In the classical paradigm and in current climate models, turbulence at the ocean surface boundary layer is driven by atmospheric forcing. Using observations from a 1-km-wide front within the Kuroshio, a strong western boundary current in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, Eric D’Asaro et al. found the rate of energy dissipation within the boundary layer to be enhanced by 10-20 times. According to their paper, “Enhanced Turbulence and Energy Dissipation at Ocean Fronts,” this suggests that the front not the atmospheric forcing supplied the energy for the turbulence. The authors describe the situation in the paper's introduction:
Although the basic characteristics of the ocean circulation have been well known for many decades, a detailed understanding of its energetics has only emerged recently. The energy sources are well understood: wind stress acting on surface currents or “wind-work,” particularly in the Southern Ocean, is the dominant energy source, with little net input from heating/cooling or precipitation/evaporation. The energy sinks, however, are less well understood. Energy dissipation necessarily requires a cascade of energy through 9 orders of magnitude, from the size of the ocean to the centimeter scales of viscous dissipation. A cascade of processes supports this flux. Instabilities of the large-scale circulation lead to the generation of a rich field of eddies with typical scales of 100 km at mid-latitudes. The dynamics of these eddies is highly constrained by the Earth’s rotation such that their currents are nearly geostrophic (i.e., the flow is governed by a balance between Coriolis and horizontal pressure forces). A turbulent, geostrophic eddy field tends to flux energy to larger, rather than smaller scales, thus providing no obvious path to dissipation. Recent simulations with very high-resolution models suggest a new path from the eddy field toward dissipation through the formation of “submesocale” fronts, regions of strong lateral gradient in the upper ocean, with horizontal scales of 1-10 km. Instabilities of these fronts could then cascade energy from the frontal scale to dissipation.
The paper then goes on to explain that the boundary layer is stratified, not mixed, and deepens by the action of turbulent motions. These motions get at least part of their energy from the frontal circulation as opposed to atmospheric forcing, as commonly thought. “This is a shift from the classical paradigm of a surface boundary layer driven by the atmosphere, with implications for climate dynamics,” the authors state.
The surface boundary layer is the mediator for air-sea interaction and greatly influences “processes that play an integral role in the climate system such as the oceanic sequestration of carbon and the subduction, or transfer, of heat, salt, and dissolved gasses from the ocean’s surface to its interior.” Furthermore, sequestration of carbon and subduction occurs to a large degree in the proximity of the ocean’s main currents: the Gulf Stream, Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and Kuroshio, the subject of this study. This could, in part, help explain why ocean uptake of CO2 is not shrinking as predicted.
Diagram showing the forces affecting boundary layer turbulence.
The study found that a number of previously unexpected mechanisms were at work moving energy among layers in the ocean. These have significant, previously unsuspected impact on the upper ocean boundary layer. The authors conclude: “The observations presented here break from this paradigm by suggesting that lateral density gradients and their geostrophic currents can also play a role in boundary layer dynamics by supplying energy to turbulence at the expense of the circulation and permitting stratification and turbulence to coexist.”
While this finding is of interest for oceanographers there are wider implications for those trying to predict Earth's future climate. Modelers will say that the total amount of energy transferred to and from the Earth system isn't altered by these findings. Perhaps not, but having the transfer mechanism wrong means any prediction of change in that system cannot be relied upon to be accurate. And the Science paper claims that current estimates are off by a factor of 10 or 20 fold. Here are the authors' final conclusions:
[T]hese results are consistent with recent theory on submesoscale processes and thus encourage incorporation of this theory into boundary layer models. Such physics is not accounted for in present-day climate models. Fronts associated with the Kuroshio, Gulf Stream, and Antarctic Circumpolar Current are key players in the ocean-atmosphere climate system. Inaccurate representation of the boundary layer and flow energetics in frontal regions could thus significantly affect the predictive skill of climate models.
That is science speak for the models are wrong—they do not represent an accurate picture of how nature works. This means that the models' predictions are suspect. The study's findings affect both energy transfer and the sequestration and release of CO2, the climate lobby's favorite smoking gun. This bears repeating because, despite many such revelations, climate change catastrophists and ecological prophets of doom continue to base their case on outdated, disproven models. This is just the latest in a number of such findings, highlighting the inadequacy of climate models. Science moves on, the climate alarmists have not.
The Political Insanity Of Climate Change
A definition of political insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Based on that, politicians supporting the so-called "solutions" to man-made global warming -- Kyoto accord, cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, renewable energy -- are insane.
That's because none of these things has worked in the real world -- assuming the goal is to lower man-made carbon dioxide emissions -- and yet they keep promoting them.
The UN's Kyoto accord is a fiasco, falsely billed as a global treaty to combat global warming.
In fact, Kyoto was ratified by a few dozen industrialized countries who are a small part of the problem -- including (under Jean Chretien) Canada, with 2% of global emissions.
The accord places no demands on China, the world's largest emitter, or on the entire developing world, where emissions are now rising the fastest.
It doesn't impact the U.S., the world's second-largest emitter, which never ratified Kyoto.
Since China and the U.S. are responsible for 40% of global emissions, Kyoto, or any successor treaty which doesn't include them, obviously won't work.
Cap-and-trade, now recklessly advocated by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff even in the absence of a bilateral agreement with the U.S., is another fiasco.
Europe's had cap-and-trade since 2005. From its inception, the Emissions Trading Scheme failed to lower emissions -- in fact, they rose -- until 2008, when the global recession, not carbon trading, cut them.
Instead, the ETS drove up prices for such necessities as electricity and provided windfall profits to utility companies and speculators.
The international carbon credit system on which the ETS is built, is riddled with multi-billion-dollar frauds.
As for a carbon tax, advocated by former Liberal leader Stephane Dion in 2008, Norway's had one since 1991. In 2002, Statistics Norway concluded it had little impact on emissions.
Real-world experience with renewable energy -- such as utility-scale wind turbines and solar panels -- has shown that not only are these technologies impractical at present without huge public subsidies, they also fail to deliver promised emission reductions.
Meanwhile, they create other environmental problems due to the large amount of land they require and some of the materials needed to manufacture them.
But what if the purpose of these failed policies isn't to lower emissions, but something else?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who, sadly, no longer talks as honestly about these matters as he once did, was attacked in opposition for describing Kyoto as a "socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations."
But an official of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said much the same thing last year, prior to a major climate meeting in Cancun, albeit more positively.
As German economist Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the IPCC's Working Group III, explained:
"Basically, it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War, one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."
To Edenhofer, this was desirable because developed countries "having basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community" would now use a portion of the wealth this generated to assist developing countries in growing their economies in environmentally responsible ways.
Of course, if none of these programs reduce emissions, then the exercise simply becomes a permanent "sin tax" imposed on developed countries like Canada for using fossil fuels to produce energy, a portion of which will be paid in perpetuity to the developing world.
If that's the goal -- plus providing governments in the developed world with a massive new revenue stream paid for by ordinary citizens -- then all these failed policies make perfect sense.
GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA
Four current articles below
Carbon tax may never happen, says key independent
He has rightly twigged that it "does nothing"
ONE of the independents Julia Gillard will rely on to get her carbon tax across the line has warned it may never become a reality.
New England MP Tony Windsor today said he would not vote for a package of climate change measures “that does nothing”. “There is no carbon tax, there may not be a carbon tax,” Mr Windsor told ABC radio this morning.
Mr Windsor said people in his rural NSW electorate were concerned about the lack of detail around the proposed carbon tax.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet released more details of the government's proposed carbon price yesterday, pledging more than 50 per cent of revenue from the tax would be returned to millions of households and reassuring businesses on the impact of the scheme.
The Prime Minister played down Mr Windsor's comments this morning, describing them as “perfectly consistent with everything he has ever said about pricing carbon”. “He has said consistently, and I very much respect this, that he would wait to the end and judge the full package,” she said.
Ahead of a visit to his electorate by the government's chief climate change adviser Ross Garnaut today, Mr Windsor said he was happy to work with other members of the multi-party climate change committee, but wouldn't guarantee his support for the carbon tax. “The Prime Minister doesn't have the numbers as I understand it,” he said. “When things get into the parliament people have a vote; I have a vote, others do as well. You can never get anything until it gets through a minority parliament,” he said.
“I'm not inclined to vote for something that does nothing if we can get something that does something I'm more than happy to vote for it.”
Ms Gillard said consultations with business, community and environment groups and unions would ensure a balanced package, which the government would present to parliament in the second half of this year.
“What Tony Windsor has said to me and said publicly is that he does believe climate change is real and that we need to tackle it, he does believe that pricing carbon is the best way, an important way of tackling climate change,” she said. “But for an individual legislative package he's going to look at the package and wait to the end and then judge.”
Working families to pay for the gesture
By Senator Barnaby Joyce
Minister Combet’s announcement that they are going to compensate working families for the cost of carbon tax should confirm one thing; a carbon tax is going to cost working families.
The fundamental issue here is that a carbon tax is not going to change the temperature of the globe or change the climate in any shape or form. It is merely a gesture. A gesture that means that those who are already finding it extremely difficult to get by are going to have that difficulty exacerbated by a pointless tax with a deceitful inference that it will the change global climatic conditions.
What is the point of taking money off people, spinning it around a bureaucracy and giving people back a bit of their own money and expecting be thanked for it? Why don’t you just let people keep their own money and go away?
In the meantime you put up the price of the fundamental mechanism of commerce, power, so what is now our competitive advantage? Obviously we don’t want lower wages so ultimately there will be fewer jobs.
Is Australia going to be reduced to a country that digs up red rocks and black rocks, iron and coal and sends them over to where they don’t have a carbon tax so they can produce the things we used to produce?
Doesn’t the government get it? The people don’t want this tax and surely the have some right in being respected on this decision.
Even on the CFMEU website, the majority of the workers don’t want a carbon tax. I’m sure that this is not a National Party stronghold, so my advice to the Labor party is, listen to your own people otherwise it will end up in tears, like the NSW election.
Marrickville council to boycott HP, others at $3.7m cost
Independent Marrickville councillor Victor Macri described the boycott as ludicrous. Picture: Jane Dempster Source: The Australian
A MOVE by a Greens-controlled council in Sydney's inner west to boycott goods and services from Israel will cost ratepayers at least $3.7 million and force the council to abandon Holden cars and Hewlett-Packard computers, among many other disruptions.
The stark warning on the cost of the council's decision to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign earlier this year is contained in a paper by the council's manager of services, Gary Moore, which is due for discussion next week and has been obtained by The Australian.
Marrickville, the only council in Australia that has approved an Israel boycott, has been a hotbed of political controversy since its Greens Mayor Fiona Byrne said she would push for a statewide version of the Israel boycott if elected to the NSW lower house at last month's election.
During the election campaign, Ms Byrne made contradictory remarks about the boycott, which was a factor in her failure to wrest the seat of Marrickville from Labor MP and former deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt.
Ms Byrne could have the casting vote next Tuesday on whether to continue with the campaign and slug ratepayers with the added cost, when a motion to repeal the boycott is put forward.
Mr Moore's paper details goods and services the council would have to forgo in order to comply with its directive, such as Hewlett Packard computers, Holden and Volvo cars, telephones and other equipment from Motorola and concrete from Fulton Hogan.
These companies, according to the council's original motion to join the global BDS movement, "support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine".
The report estimates the cost of replacing certain IT assets at $3.5m, and the annual cost of using a different concrete supplier at $250,000. It does not attempt to estimate the cost of replacing vehicles, and says changing waste-disposal service providers may not even be possible.
Mr Moore's paper admits staff have been unable to fully research ties between companies providing goods to the council and Israel and have largely relied on www.whoprofits.org - an anti-Israel website.
Independent councillor Victor Macri described the boycott plan as ludicrous. "We weren't elected to do this; we were elected to look after the streets and trees and pick up garbage," Mr Macri said.
"People vote federally to direct foreign policy. A boycott of Israel will hurt Marrickville ratepayers far more than it will Israel."
The costs will likely be exacerbated after Randwick council in Sydney's east passed a motion last month that excluded Marrickville from collective purchasing agreements because its boycott would limit other councils' ability to negotiate for the best price.
Mr Moore's report found the boycott measure would lead to "substantial" impacts on council's operations. "Significant change would have to be planned for and managed to enable council operations to be maintained whilst new sets of providers of computer hardware, concrete, waste services, some vehicles and some other construction materials and consumables are obtained and existing contracts are completed/suspended," the report said.
It noted the council might need to spend $5000 to $10,000 in legal fees just to determine whether the original motion on the boycott was lawful under anti-discrimination laws. A council source said a "conservative approach" had been used in determining the cost of implementing a boycott.
"It's fair to say that the report is measured - built around realistically what the council is able to look at replacing," the source said. For example, the costs of breaking existing contracts or finding a replacement water supply to the Kurnell desalination plant, which is operated by Veolia, another company on the global BDS blacklist, are not included.
Mr Macri said if a complete divestment campaign were implemented, the council might as well "shut its doors".
Spread over Marrickville's roughly 40,000 homes, the costs estimated work out at about $100 a household. The council has an annual budget of about $72m.
Mr Macri said contrary to council policy, the BDS motion was not attended by detailed costings when passed in December.
Mr Moore's report described the cheaper option of phasing out goods and services as they expired, rather than divesting them completely, but found such a decision would "still have significant impacts on council's operations".
A council source told The Australian the cheaper option would cost at least $1m. Labor councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias said the costs associated with both options were "outrageous".
Mr Tsardoulias, who initially supported the boycott but later changed his mind, said he and others had had hundreds of complaints since the council's motion began getting attention.
Council is said to have received a petition of 4600 signatures.
Of Marrickville's 12 councillors, four Labor and two independents are expected to support Tuesday's motion to repeal the boycott; one independent is set to side with the five Greens in opposing the motion, although The Australian understands one Green is having second thoughts.
Commission slams desal plants
More Greenie waste of resources. Greenies hate dams
PROLONGED water restrictions and expensive desalination plants are the least efficient way of providing water security, the government's key economic advisory body has found.
In a scathing draft report, the Productivity Commission yesterday called for an urgent overhaul of the urban water sector, declaring consumers were paying more than necessary for their water as a result of poor government decision-making.
The 600-page report is highly critical of decisions by state governments across the country to overinvest in expensive and inefficient desalination plants, with economic modelling indicating desalination plants in Melbourne and Perth alone could cost consumers between $3.1 billion and $4.2bn more than cheaper water-saving measures over 20 years.
The commission also criticised the federal government for "distorting investment decisions" by offering generous subsidies for the construction of desalination plants. But a spokesman for Parliamentary Secretary for Urban Water Don Farrell last night hit back, saying the federal government contributed to only two of the six major desalination plants in Australia, and this made up "only a portion" of the $1.5bn the government had spent on urban water security.
In a recommendation that will probably draw criticism, the commission also declared state governments and water bodies should be open to returning highly treated recycled wastewater to waterways for drinking.
The report says governments have been too quick to discount recycled wastewater for political, rather than economic, reasons: "Negative community perceptions have become entrenched in the absence of good evidence about the costs and benefits."
The Productivity Commission is the latest in a chorus of voices calling for the urgent reform of Australia's urban water sector, with the National Water Initiative last week declaring new consideration needed to be given to the use of recycled water, as well as the construction of new dams.
The commission wants to open up the market for urban water trading and remove all remaining bans on trading between urban and rural areas that would allow water to be purchased at its highest value. It also recommends that state and territory governments should move away from setting water prices to monitoring how utilities price water and whether they abuse their market power.
The Productivity Commission found water restrictions imposed by state governments were likely to cost the nation about a $1bn in lost production, and governments would be better off charging consumers extra for different tiers of water packages and allow the market to regulate water use.
A spokesman for Senator Farrell said the government welcomed the draft report, including the recommendation that recycled wastewater should be considered as a more effective way to manage water shortages.
Opposition water spokesman Barnaby Joyce said the Productivity Commission was correct to criticise investment in desalination plants, saying they should be any government's "absolutely last-ditch alternative".
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