Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NZ to ease back on emissions trading scheme

AS Julia Gillard urged Australia to follow the "gutsy Kiwi" lead on carbon pricing, Prime Minister John Key has declared New Zealand will be slowing its expansion of emissions trading and doesn't want to "lead the world".

Mr Key refused to offer advice to Australian politicians embroiled in the carbon tax debate and signed an agreement with the Australian Prime Minister for a joint working party on trans-Tasman carbon emissions trading.

But he warned that New Zealand would be delaying the inclusion of agricultural emissions in its system for at least four years and was unlikely to double the carbon price from 2013, as previously planned, because of pressure on consumers.

Ms Gillard said Australia and New Zealand would work closely together to link emissions trading schemes in each country. "Of course New Zealand prices carbon, has an emissions trading scheme which is working successfully," Ms Gillard said at a joint press conference with Mr Key.

"New Zealand's in front, we will catch up, we'll show the same determination they have and we will have officials working together on linking the two schemes. "I think Australians would be asking themselves: if the Kiwis have had the guts to go and price carbon, why can't we? Well my answer is we can, we can catch up with our Kiwi friends."

Earlier, Mr Key said in an interview with The Australian his government was reviewing the ETS he inherited from the former Labour government and there would be changes to the "quite expensive system".

Mr Key said the New Zealand system, which prices carbon at $NZ12.50 ($9.55) a tonne and includes all gases and emitters, was costing consumers about $NZ150 a year but the price was due to double to $NZ25 a tonne from 2013 and include agriculture, which accounts for 50 per cent of New Zealand's emissions.

Mr Key told The Australian the review would mean "the government is likely to move a bit more slowly because of the global financial crisis and other countries are moving more slowly". He said the move to include agriculture would be later than 2013. "We are saying not before 2015 and only then if we think we see progress around the world -- and we are seeing little progress on that issue," Mr Key said.

"What Australia does is a matter for Australia. "We think we don't lead the world in climate change," he said.

Mr Key said New Zealand's profile made attacking climate change quite challenging because half of its emissions come from agriculture. "The global demand for food is great and we want to supply that," he said.

"We are always conscious of the fact that in the end, climate change will only be resolved when the really big emitters -- China, India and the US -- are at the table.

"We are not overly confident of what will happen with Kyoto (Protocol). "I think, in the end, we will see a far more voluntary global agreement."

At the press conference, Mr Key said it was not for him "to determine what's the right approach for Australia". "That's a matter for Australian politicians, but what I can tell you about the emissions trading scheme in New Zealand is it has worked, so that's the first point," he said.

"I think we're all conscious of the impact on consumers. "By pricing ours with a cap at $NZ12.50, about $10 at the moment, we anticipated we'd have an impact of about $150 per household per year. "We're about a year on in terms of the anniversary of that and the indications are that it's coming in at about $150 a year."


Solar Physicist predicts Grand Solar Minimum will last until 2100

Dr. Cornelis de Jager is a renowned Netherlands solar physicist, past General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union, and author of several peer-reviewed studies examining the solar influence upon climate. In response to the recent press release of three US studies indicating the Sun is entering a period of exceptionally low activity, Dr. de Jager references his publications of 2010 and prior indicating that this Grand Solar Minimum will be similar to the Maunder Minimum which caused the Little Ice Age, and prediction that this "deep minimum" will last until approximately the year 2100:

"The new episode is a deep minimum. It will look similar to the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1620 to 1720...This new Grand Minimum will last until approximately 2100."

A lecture by Dr. de Jager at UCAR shows that solar activity during the 20th century was at the highest levels of the past 900 years:

and shows solar UV activity (bottom graph below) was at the highest levels of the past 400 years in the latter portion of the 20th century: (UV is the most energetic portion of the solar spectrum, and varies much more than the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). The IPCC and computer models only consider changes in TSI, ignoring the much more significant changes in UV)

and shows the amplication of solar variation via the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al:

leading to two possible mechanisms accounting for amplified solar effects upon the climate, neither of which is considered by the IPCC:

Recommended: Dr. de Jager's peer-reviewed paper Solar Activity and Its Influence on the Climate


The usual Green/Left disregard for human life

Too bad if Africans die providing Germans with their "organic" food

Children are dying in Africa - just so that German organic food shops can keep their store shelves well-stocked. This is what author Laura Koch writes in Der Spiegel Online in a story titled "How the Malaria Wonder-Weapon Drives Farmers Into Poverty". In the Spiegel report's introduction, the author writes:

"Malaria transmitted by mosquitoes kills hundreds of people in Uganda daily - that's why the government there uses the insecticide DDT. But the use of the pesticide has grave consequences for people living out in the countryside: Suppliers of organic foods are no longer able to sell their products, and now they are threatened by abject poverty."

These introductory words alone bring up 2 fundamental questions. Firstly: Is the planting of organic foods the only possibility that Ugandan farmers have in providing for their livelihoods? Secondly: Since hundreds of people can be saved from death by DDT daily, how many Ugandans are we willing to sacrifice in order to allow a few farmers to produce crops that meet the directives of some European and US-American organic food associations? Just one note on the side: Half of the malaria-caused deaths are small children.

The eco-movement's downfall

Within enlightened circles, the ban of DDT pushed by environmental groups and government bodies since the early 1960s has become known as the eco-movement's downfall. Already in the early 1970s it was clear that the horror stories connected to the use of DDT were scientifically unfounded. Nonetheless, efforts were made to ban the substance globally. Eventually bans were enacted through various instruments involving political and economic pressure.

One can rightly criticize the massive agricultural use of DDT that took place in the 1960s. From this time it was possible to detect traces in the fat tissue of animals in the Arctic and Antarctic. But these times are long gone. Substitute substances have been found for use in agriculture and are much more effective, and they break down and dissipate much more quickly.

Wonder weapon DDT

When combating the anopheles mosquito, the main transmitter of malaria, the case is different though. Here DDT remains by far the most effective and the most economical weapon against the disease. And only very small amounts are needed compared to the amounts used for crop protection. Here it is already enough to spray the walls of homes located in risk areas with a trace amount of DDT only twice a year. Mosquitoes that remain on the wall die promptly.

Of course there also exist alternatives to DDT when combating malaria. But none are as effective, and, what is particularly crucial in the impoverished countries of Africa, none is as cost-effective. Mosquito nets, which are always propagated by aid organisations and environmental groups, function poorly and only when one sleeps under one. Anyone who goes outside during twilight hours still gets exposed to the lethal infection. Carbamates are also as effective as DDT, but are 4 to 6 times more expensive and must be sprayed many times more often. Organo-phosphates cannot be sprayed inside homes and apartments because of their hazard. And the often-mentioned wonder weapon of synthetic pyrethroide against malaria has been shown to be considerably less effective.

Eco-imperialism and western arrogance

Let's emphasize yet one more time: When using DDT for combating malaria, the substance is no longer sprayed over large land areas. Rather, it is used in small amounts in a targeted manner. In all countries that have used DDT, the number of of people falling ill or dying from malaria has decreased significantly. Many countries that have bent to the will of aid organisations and governments of western countries have once again experienced explosions in the number of those who have fallen ill or died.

Taking all this into account, it is especially reprehensible to call for a ban of DDT just so that western countries can eat organic food that does not contain DDT also in the ultra-trace amounts. Sadly in our prosperity some among us are obviously prepared to accept the otherwise avoidable death of millions of people - all in the name of protecting ourselves from an extremely hypothetical risk. That is eco-imperialism in its purest and worst form.


The Shame of the American Meteorological Society

Bill Gray, a professor emeritus at Colorado State, has been a member of the American Meteorological Society for more than 50 years. In a lengthy post at Watts Up With That, he expresses his dismay at the manner in which AMS has sold out science in the interest of politics:

I am very disappointed at the downward path the AMS has been following for the last 10-15 years in its advocacy of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis. The society has officially taken a position many of us AMS members do not agree with. We believe that humans are having little or no significant influence on the global climate and that the many Global Circulation Climate Model (GCMs) results and the four IPCC reports do not realistically give accurate future projections. To take this position which so many of its members do not necessarily agree with shows that the AMS is following more of a political than a scientific agenda. ...

We AMS members have allowed a small group of AMS administrators, climate modelers, and CO2 warming sympathizers to maneuver the internal workings of our society to support AGW policies irrespective of what our rank-and-file members might think. This small organized group of AGW sympathizers has indeed hijacked our society. ...

James Hansen's predictions of global warming made before the Senate in 1988 are turning out to be very much less than he had projected. He cannot explain why there has been no significant global warming over the last 10-12 years.

Many of us AMS members believe that the modest global warming we have observed is of natural origin and due to multi-decadal and multi-century changes in the globe's deep ocean circulation resulting from salinity variations. These changes are not associated with CO2 increases. Most of the GCM modelers have little experience in practical meteorology. They do not realize that the strongly chaotic nature of the atmosphere-ocean climate system does not allow for skillful initial value numerical climate prediction. The GCM simulations are badly flawed in at least two fundamental ways:

1. Their upper tropospheric water vapor feedback loop is grossly wrong. They assume that increases in atmospheric CO2 will cause large upper-tropospheric water vapor increases which are very unrealistic. Most of their model warming follows from these invalid water vapor assumptions. Their handlings of rainfall processes are quite inadequate.

2. They lack an understanding and treatment of the fundamental role of the deep ocean circulation (i.e. Meridional Overturning Circulation - MOC) and how the changing ocean circulation (driven by salinity variations) can bring about wind, rainfall, and surface temperature changes independent of radiation and greenhouse gas changes. These ocean processes are not properly incorporated in their models. They assume the physics of global warming is entirely a product of radiation changes and radiation feedback processes. They neglect variations in global evaporation which is more related to surface wind speed and ocean minus surface and air temperature differences. These are major deficiencies.

It is surprising that GCMs have been able to get away with their unrealistic modeling efforts for so long. One explanation is that they have received strong support from Senator/Vice President Al Gore and other politicians who for over three decades have attempted to make political capital out of increasing CO2 measurements. Another reason is the many environmental and political groups (including the mainstream media) have been eager to use the GCM climate results as justification to push their own special interests that are able to fly under the global warming banner.

To put it less delicately, an enormous amount of money has flowed into the global warming movement. It is lavishly funded, mostly by governments. For an AGW enthusiast to admit that his models are patently wrong would mean an end to the gravy train. Hence the ongoing frauds that are perpetrated in the name of climate change.


Scientists put out call for (unearned) respect

Respect for the facts? No. Respect for them is the underlying agenda. Who do they think they are? Clergy? I would be happy if THEY would show respect: The respect that all scientists are supposed to show: Respect for the facts. I'll happily respect the science but Warmism is prophecy, not science

AUSTRALIA'S scientific community will launch a campaign tonight aimed at redressing what it says is the damage to science which is being caused by climate change denial.

At its annual gathering in Canberra today, the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies will tell politicians that the campaign being run against scientific evidence of man-made climate change "is undermining the national building work of all scientists".

Its own campaign, respect the science, will seek to broaden the understanding of how science works. "The valuable and credible work of all scientists is under attack as a result of a noisy misinformation campaign by climate denialists. It's in the nation's interests that our political leaders now lead the community forward on this critical issue," the federation's chief executive officer, Anna-Maria Arabia, said.


A Deep Sea Mystery

Ben Pile has been doing some digging about a "report" that has got a lot of press lately:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…
World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline

Warns Richard Black at the BBC.
The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. In a new report, they warn that ocean life is “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”. They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised. The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists.

Call me a cynic, but I no longer take claims about ‘expert panel of scientists’ at face value. Sadly, Richard Black of the BBC does.

Who are the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) anyway? A visit to their website barely gives any information about itself at all. It doesn’t appear even to have an email address, let alone a postal address. There is no mention of who is running it, or what organisations are involved. Isn’t that a bit odd, for ‘an expert panel of scientists’.

Looking at the final report [PDF] produced by IPSO, there is similarly little mention of the organisation’s relationship to the rest of the world, such that we can see for ourselves what kind of a panel of experts they really are. However, at the top of the report is the following text:
The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) is a coalition of over 60 organizations worldwide promoting fisheries conservation and the protection of biodiversity on the high seas. The DSCC has been actively involved in the international debate and negotiations concerning the adverse impacts on deep-sea biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction from bottom trawling and other methods of bottom fishing on the high seas since 2003/2004.

Ok. So who the hell are the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition? Surprise, surprise…
A coordination team works together with a Steering Group that currently consists of the Ecology Action Centre, Greenpeace International, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Environment Group and Seas at Risk. The DSCC has developed a formidable international team of scientists, policy and communication experts, lawyers and political activists who on behalf of the deep sea have established a strong reputation and profile on the issue at the UN and in other fora.

The ‘panel of experts’ — IPSO — may well be expert. But, look, again, we see Greenpeace’s name up there, steering the research — in its own words — alongside the Pew group, and Friends of the Earth.

I don’t believe a word of it. This is not scientific research, it’s ‘grey literature’, put out by yet another grey institution, the true nature of which is concealed from first appearances. Not far behind, the agenda is revealed.


I’ve been browsing the IPSO site, which is very poorly designed. The most charitable thing I can say about IPSO is that it is a project by Dr Alex Rogers, to pass himself off as an international research programme. Here he is, talking about the end of the world, like all good zoologists should.

I made a bit of a mistake above. I thought that the front page would list its most recent research. It turns out that the research I was looking at, which was sponsored by DSCC was last year’s. This year’s project was sponsored by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). So who are the IUCN?
[The IUCN] helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network – a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries.

IUCN's work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland.

So, yeah, another NGO lobbying outfit, in cahoots with government and businesses, blurring the lines between activism, scientific research, and so on.

Back to IPSO. Here’s the web-page that relates to the new report. It describes the background to the report:
The 3 day workshop, co-sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), looked at the latest science across different disciplines.

The 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries produced a grave assessment of current threats - and a stark conclusion about future risks to marine and human life if the current trajectory of damage continues: that the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

So it turns out that this report took the scientists just three days of chin-wagging. Says the report:
The workshop provided a rare opportunity to interact with other disciplines to determine the net effect of what is already happening to the ocean and is projected to do so in the future. Over the three days 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries (Annex 1) assessed the latest information on impacts and stresses, and the synergistic effects these are having on the global ocean.

Through presentations, discussions and recommendations the workshop documented and described the cumulative effects of such impacts, how these commonly act in a negatively synergistic way, and why therefore concerted action is now needed to address the consequences set out in this report.

Now, this is being presented as the product of a scientific process. But it turns out that it’s a little conference of self-selecting individuals, clearly given to a particular agenda.
The scientific outcomes from this workshop will be used first and foremost to strengthen the case for greater action to reduce anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide related to climate change and ocean acidification while also reducing other stressors. The findings underscore the need for more effective management of fisheries and pollution and for strengthening protection of the 64% of the ocean that lies beyond the zones of national jurisdiction. They thereby form a major contribution to implementation of the major IPSO report on the Global State of the Ocean. This event follows on from the IPSO/Royal Society event in 2009 that focussed on the future for coral reefs.

But in what way is the product of the 3-day gloom-fest a ‘scientific outcome’? No doubt, with a fancy name like ‘International Programme on the State of the Ocean’, citations to the report it produces will impress people. Indeed, it sounds like an expensive, exhaustive survey of the world. But it was just a couple of dozen eco-warriors in a single room, chatting about their fears.


Barry Woods has emailed me with a bit more on the profiles of some of the attendees of this ‘expert panel’ — the 27 people behind the “World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline” report.

The attendees are listed on page 10 of the report. [PDF]

Barry Gardiner is Labour MP for Brent North, and Vice President Globe UK, the Global Legislators Organisation. Globe’s about pages say,
there exists a strategic opportunity to coordinate a legislative response to key global environmental challenges in advance of Rio +20. This response recognises and seeks to strengthen the central role of legislators and parliaments in tackling the major global environmental challenges, as well as placing a much greater emphasis on the role of legislators in holding governments more effectively to account for the implementation of international commitments.

I wonder what Barry Gardiner knows about marine ecology. He has a degree in philosophy, apparently, so not much then. So much for this panel of experts…

Dan Laffoley is Marine Vice Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which seems to be the current sponsor, and is discussed above. Joining him is his colleague Aurelie Spadone.

Kelly Rigg - Executive Director, Global Campaign for Climate Action. No obvious expertise in marine biology, it says here,
Kelly Rigg is the Executive Director of the GCCA, a global alliance of 250 organizations cooperating under the banner of the tcktcktck campaign. She has been leading international campaigns for nearly 30 years on climate, energy, oceans, Antarctica and other issues. She was a senior campaign director for Greenpeace International during 20 years with the organization. After leaving Greenpeace she went on to found the Varda Group consultancy providing campaign and strategic advice to a wide range of NGOs, and led the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition's campaign to protect the high seas from destructive bottom fishing.

Josh Reichert is Managing Director of the Pew Environment Group. They say of themselves,
In 1998, the Trusts established the Pew Center on Global Climate Change for the purpose of providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions to address global climate change. At the inception, the Business Environmental Leadership Council was created to engage the businesses community in the climate debate. The council included 46 companies, mainly Fortune 500 firms with combined revenue of more than $2 trillion and over 4 million employees. In 2007, the Pew Center played a major role in launching the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an unprecedented alliance of nonprofit organizations and leading businesses-including General Electric and all three major U.S. automobile manufacturers-in support of federal emissions-reduction legislation

Although Reichart “he has written more than 60 publications and co-produced films on the plight of fisheries and marine ecosystems“, it’s hard to see what expertise he has in marine ecology… “Mr. Reichert holds an undergraduate degree in applied behavioral sciences from the University of California, Davis, and master's and doctoral degrees in social anthropology from Princeton University”.

Conn Nugent is Executive Director of the JM Kaplan Fund
The Environment Program concentrates on marine conservation, especially in ocean waters that lie beyond the jurisdiction of a single national government. The program currently supports grantees working to: create international protections for species and ecoregions of the High Seas; educate scientists and the public about the value and vulnerability of the ocean as a world system; and foment civil society movements to protect Arctic waters and Arctic coastal communities.

Conn Nugent’s blog profile gives no indication of his or her qualifications in marine science:
Highlights: Exec Dir, JM Kaplan Fund (2000-present). Programs in environment, historic preservation, immigration: US, Mexico, Cuba, worldwide. Exec Dir, Intl Physicians for Prevention Nuclear War. 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. Founder/editor, LibertyTree.org, GothamGazette.org, WeLoveTheIraqiInformationMinister.org. Freelance writer, editor, graphic designer. Harvard College, Harvard Law School. Peace Corps. Teacher. Exec Dir: Planned Parenthood California; Bay State Charitable Trust; New Alchemy Inst; Five Colleges; Citizens Union. Prog Dir, Nathan Cummings Foundation. Articles on land use, architecture, defense, fiscal policy, medicine, sports.

So, not much evidence of the scientific expertise that is being claimed of this team. Yet there are a number of agendas at the table. And some well-funded agendas, at that.



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1 comment:

slktac said...

The DDT mess reminds me of wind turbines. Recently there was an article of mining mountain tops in Pennsylvania and how a waitress-turned-activist wanted her darling children to have mountain top views. She could care less rare earth refining poisoned thousands of Chinese children and that someone's children get to live next to mines and refineries for aluminum, copper, iron, etc. and next to manufacturing plants and chemicals for the mines to be replaced by turbines. Just as long as it's not her darling children. We are selfish Americans.