The headline above is the dishonest original. What actually happened was that the unfortunate fish were artificially reared in a tank that was pumped full of CO2. And that did harm them.
Any proposal that the experiment models any real-world probability, however, is absurd. If the oceans really DID warm, they would outgas CO2, thus REDUCING acidity (CO2 plus water gives carbonic acid). If you doubt that warmer water holds less CO2, just open a can of coke warm instead of cold. You will be showered with CO2-bearing froth
Ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel emissions may be turning fish deaf. Clownfish reared in seawater acidified by carbon dioxide grow up with impaired hearing, a study has found.
This could have "devastating" consequences for the colourful star of the 2003 animated movie Finding Nemo, say scientists. Not only would it leave the coral reef fish vulnerable to predators, but it could impact on their early development and survival.
For the experiment, researchers reared newly hatched clownfish in water with different levels of acidity. After 17 to 20 days, the juvenile fish had their hearing tested by being played the sounds of a predator-rich coral reef.
"We kept some of the baby clownfish in today's conditions, bubbling in air, and then had three other treatments where we added extra CO2 based on the predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for 2050 and 2100," said Dr Steve Simpson, from the University of Bristol.
"We designed a totally new kind of experimental choice chamber that allowed us to play reef noise through an underwater speaker to fish in the lab, and watch how they responded.
"Fish reared in today's conditions swam away from the predator noise, but those reared in the CO2 conditions of 2050 and 2100 showed no response."
The findings were published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
Why Germany said no to nuclear power
This spells out in more detail some observations I made yesterday
'Politics is the art of the possible," said Bismarck, the first German Chancellor. His present-day successor, Angela Merkel, knows perfectly well that her decision to phase out all nuclear power stations by 2022 makes no scientific or economic sense. In fact, she said so herself as recently as two months ago, when she promised that Germany would not let itself be rushed into abandoning nuclear power by the Fukushima accident in Japan. "I am against shutting down our nuclear power plants only to have atomic power imported into Germany from other countries," she told the Bundestag in March. "That won't happen on my watch."
Well, as so often happens to politicians, she has been forced to eat her words by political necessity. An irrational fear of nuclear energy runs deep in Germany, and electoral defeats for Chancellor Merkel's conservative coalition at the hands of the Greens have convinced her that it is no longer politically possible to hold the line. As Bismarck might also have said: saying no to nuclear technology may be unreal, but in Germany it is realpolitik.
The nuclear debate in Germany has always been about much more than the relative merits of different forms of power generation. The enduring influence of romanticism, the love of forests and the worship of nature all contribute to the highly charged atmosphere in which the issue is discussed. The Nazis knew how to tap into this nature mysticism, yet they also secretly pursued nuclear weapons – despite publicly dismissing the "Jewish" physics on which the technology was based.
Unlike Japan, Germany surrendered before atom bombs could be used against its cities, but during the Cold War the nation was divided by the Berlin Wall and Germans knew that their country was a potential nuclear battleground. American, British and French forces on German soil were equipped with nuclear weapons to deter a Warsaw Pact invasion. While Konrad Adenauer, West Germany's postwar leader, was desperate to join this nuclear club, his Nato allies only permitted Germany to possess nuclear power, on which the resurgent German economy rapidly became dependent for cheap energy.
At first, nuclear power was seen as peaceful, in contrast to nuclear weapons. But as anti-Americanism emerged on the German Left as a by-product of the 1968 student rebellions, so too did resistance to nuclear power as a symbol of capitalism, which was now equated with militarism.
In the mid-1970s, so-called citizens' initiatives began to organise protests at nuclear plants. Their symbol, a laughing sun with the slogan Atomkraft? Nein Danke ("Nuclear power? No thanks!"), appeared on stickers and T-shirts everywhere. Anti-nuclear protest was suddenly cool.
Hence by the late 1970s, German public opinion was turning against nuclear power. Belatedly, the far-Left leaders of the student movement capitalised on this popular cause to create the Greens, the world's first major environmentalist political party. The terrorism of the Baader Meinhof gang had turned out to be a dead end, but the politics of anti-nuclear protest had a lasting appeal to middle-class Germans. In the propaganda of the Greens, Nato Cruise and Pershing missiles stationed in Germany were indistinguishable from the plants that produced cheap electricity.
Then came Chernobyl. The meltdown of an antiquated Soviet reactor in 1986 caused such hysteria in Germany that the nuclear industry has never recovered, despite the fact that fears of radioactive clouds proved greatly exaggerated. Green politics gained new momentum: "Red-Green" coalitions of Social Democrats and Greens began to be formed in the German states and eventually, in 1998, Greens took office at federal level, too.
By this time climate change had taken over as the fashionable new cause for environmentalists, bringing with it the problem of how, without fossil fuels or nuclear power, energy supplies could be maintained. Despite its promise to close down all nuclear plants, the coalition of Social Democrats and Greens had no alternative policy, because "renewables" simply could not provide sufficient cheap, reliable energy. After Merkel took over in 2005 as leader of a coalition with the Social Democrats, she quietly reversed plans to phase out nuclear power. Even today, domestic nuclear plants supply about a quarter of all electricity in Germany.
Now, however, she has taken an irreversible decision to distance her Christian Democrats from a political association that is far more toxic than any nuclear fallout. In doing so, she has succumbed yet again to the hypocrisy that surrounds this issue in Germany.
Take Iran. For decades, German industry has assisted Iran's "peaceful" pursuit of nuclear power, even though it has been obvious that the Islamic Republic's aim was to develop nuclear weapons. The computers that ran the Iranian nuclear facilities until they were sabotaged by the Stuxnet virus were supplied by Siemens. At international conferences, Germany adopts a high-minded stance on nuclear proliferation as well as nuclear power, but in practice German exports take priority over the security of Israel and other neighbours of Iran.
Or take France. In public, President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel are diametrically opposed on the nuclear power issue. But in reality, her decision to get out of the nuclear power business means that France will be supplying a growing proportion of German energy needs over coming decades. Most Germans are either unaware of the fact that much of their energy is imported from French, Swiss or Polish nuclear plants, or they just don't care, as long as the reactors are sited far from their own back yards. Germany has become a nation of nuclear nimbys.
So should it matter to us if Germany chooses to impose unnecessary costs on its own industrial and domestic energy consumption? Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the European Union has a habit of imposing German prejudices on the rest of its member states. Enemies of nuclear energy will be emboldened to pressurise other governments, including our own, to follow the German lead.
Ironically, not all Greens share the conclusion the German government drew from Fukushima. Our own George Monbiot, a Green fundamentalist if ever there was one, has been persuaded to drop his opposition to nuclear power by the facts of the case. This is his logic: if an ageing nuclear plant, incompetently managed and with obsolete safeguards, is hit by one of the worst earthquakes in recent history, yet hardly anybody is killed, then we must conclude that nuclear power has a lot to be said for it.
Logic, however, had little to do with yesterday's announcement: realpolitik dictated the decision. The grandchildren of the Nazis, born long after the war, have made the fatal mistake of identifying evil with a particular technology, rather than with the human beings who make use of it.
Germany is one of the most admirable countries in the world, but Germans, like other nationalities, are not immune to irrational attitudes. Decent Germans have reason to worry about the fact that, according to a recent poll, nearly half of their compatriots express anti-Semitic opinions, such as that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against Palestinians, or that "Jews try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era".
But Germans have no reason to fear nuclear power. Mrs Merkel's appeasement of nuclear hysteria is disturbing far beyond Germany's borders because it represents a capitulation to irrationalism by the leader of a nation that once led the world in science and technology. The land of Leibniz and Humboldt, of Goethe and Gauss, is now indulging the fantasies of cynical scaremongers.
I don’t fit their narrative
Wendy McElroy encounters the dogmatism of NPR
Over the last several months I've seen several climate-alarmist articles trying to tackle the question of "why aren't people accepting our [alarmist] message?" It has been suggested that the "framing" is wrong, that skeptics are better funded (ha!), that pessimism doesn't sell, the oil companies buy big P.R., that Christianity is opposed to science, that Republicans are opposed to government control (ha!), or just that the message has not been competently delivered.
But never, in all these articles, is there the tiniest mention of one other possible explanation: "we're wrong." They assume, with a subliminal rectitude quite apparent to the skeptic, that their beliefs are the absolute Truth, and that anyone who doesn't share those beliefs must be somehow flawed.
So, when NPR posted an article "What Motivates Climate Change Deniers?", I felt impelled to help out the author by posting a reply, even though I've never denied that the climate changes. Yet while several comments about hoaxes and liberal big-government agendas were permitted on that thread, my comment got killed by the moderator . Here it is, in full, with my academic credits elided for modesty:
You would probably classify me as a "denier," though I'm not sure what you mean by that term. I've identified six different propositions* that make up the global-warming theory, and questioning any of them earns one the "denier" tag.
As to what motivates me? A passion for science, and a skepticism towards bogeymen. Yes, a passion *for* science and the scientific method. I've been trained in science and engineering, and I am appalled at the pseudo-science and the unscientific methods that underlie AGW theory. I'm not motivated by sirens or scary pictures or fear; I'm motivated by a desire to know how the universe really works. And, I admit, I'm also motivated by a desire to make the world a better place in which to live; a goal which also prompts me to look askance at the prescriptions of climate-change alarmists.
Just for the record: I'm not a Christian, or a Republican, nor do I work for or receive any compensation from the energy industry. I have [college degrees], so I'm not what you would call "uneducated." Sorry if that ruins any illusions.
* See here and here for my list.
I think that was reasonably civil, and it was certainly on point. But it conflicts with their narrative. They want to believe that their opposition is uneducated, or religious, or anti-science, or receiving payola. The idea that someone would oppose them for reasons of science -- that an educated, semi-liberal, atheist could, after evaluating their methods, conclude that they are wrong -- is, apparently, too disturbing to contemplate.
Update, 8:40 am: I successfully put a link to this blog post as a new comment to the article. And now, I am unable to post ANYTHING at npr.org!
A Record To Celebrate!
Someone alert the Guinness Book of World Records! In 2010, humans set a new all-time high for global greenhouse gas emissions, according to an International Energy Agency analysis released yesterday.
If you are an alarmist, then this is one of your many causes for concern. If, however, you are a global warming “denier” like me, then this is a cause for celebration, because more emissions translate into more wealth creation!
Allow me to explain. About 85 percent of the world’s energy is derived from the combustion of fossil fuels, which is also the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions. Because every act of economic production requires an energy input, economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions increase together in lockstep. Reports Reuters:
Global emissions of carbon dioxide hit their highest level ever in 2010, with the growth driven mainly by booming coal-reliant emerging economies, the International Energy Agency’s chief economist said on Monday.
…“It’s a very strong rebound in CO2 emissions, driven mainly by the non-OECD countries,” [Faith] Birol [IEA’s chief economist] told Reuters in an interview, adding three quarters of the growth came from emerging economies such as China or India.
Poor people are getting less poor. To me, that’s a great thing. Any warmer winters are merely a bonus.
GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA
Four current articles below
Climate report an assault on democracy, says Abbott
TONY Abbott has rejected the latest climate change report from economist Ross Garnaut as an assault on democracy, warning that it proposes to give a committee of unelected appointees the power to set tax rates.
As the Opposition Leader yesterday complained of a "democratic deficit" over Labor's proposed carbon tax, Julia Gillard noted the report rejected Mr Abbott's proposal to tackle climate change through direct action measures such as planting trees.
Delivering his final climate change update report at the National Press Club yesterday, Professor Garnaut said the direct action approach risked entrenching the political culture of vested interests that had resisted economic reform for eight decades.
"The big rewards in low-emissions investments in regulatory approaches would go to those who persuaded the minister or the bureaucrat that their idea was worthy of being included in the direct action plan," he said.
"If not under the government that introduced the direct action policies then under the governments that followed."
In his report, Professor Garnaut proposed the establishment of an independent committee to set Australia's carbon emission reduction levels -- a proposal that could break the deadlock preventing Labor from winning Greens' support for the tax.
Mr Abbott seized on the proposal, warning it would put the power to set tax rates out of the hands of accountable politicians.
"There is a developing democratic deficit here," he said. "First of all the Prime Minister wasn't upfront with the Australian public before the election. Now the idea that taxes in this country should effectively be set by people who are outside the parliament, and who are not accountable to the people, I think, is just odd.
"This just goes to show how out of control the government is on this whole climate change question."
Later, the Opposition Leader continued his attack in question time, noting that the report said: "Australian households will ultimately bear the full cost of a carbon price".
"So how can (the Prime Minister) continue to maintain that her tax only makes big polluters pay?" Mr Abbott asked parliament. "Who pays? Big polluters or households? The truth is: households."
Ms Gillard accused Mr Abbott of misrepresenting the report, and hit back by pointing out that the report criticised Mr Abbott's direct action policy.
No pain, no gain: compensation vitiates carbon tax
"Compensation" means that the tax will not have the effect that is its only justification!
ANYONE who thinks the proposed carbon tax is mainly about the environment is mistaken. That may have been where the debate started. But due to political pressure on the minority government, it has morphed into an exercise in wealth redistribution, not environmental action. And Labor has many environmental groups and advocates fooled.
Because Labor can't afford to lose seats at the next election (in fact, it needs to win seats to gain a majority), but also has to be seen to be doing something as a government, it is trying to convince voters it is acting on the environment while also compensating them for that action to a point where the action itself becomes meaningless.
Cate Blanchett is a fine actor, and as Coalition MPs have said -- before launching scathing attacks on her -- she is certainly entitled to her opinion. Blanchett is also entitled to use her hard-earned fame to spruik ideas and policy positions that matter to her. And the third parties that have funded the pro-carbon-tax campaign Blanchett is part of -- GetUp, the ACTU and the Australian Conservation Foundation -- are entitled to approach her to help.
There is nothing wrong with such campaigns. After all, the miners campaigned against the super-profits tax, and retailers and the tobacco industry are campaigning against plain packaging of cigarettes. What's wrong with individuals doing the same?
What I question, however, is the value of Blanchett taking part in a campaign aimed at convincing ordinary voters of the carbon tax's merits. I am not sure an actor of her international standing is the best person to front a campaign that affects the cost of living. It contrasts sharply with the very impressive campaign against Work Choices the union movement organised with voices from real workers under threat from the Howard government's laws in the lead-up to the 2007 election.
For that matter, I wonder whether Blanchett has thought things through. Blanchett is no dummy. She completed a degree in economics before deciding acting was her calling. However, the logical thinking necessary for an economics degree seems to have deserted Blanchett on this matter.
She has been blinded by her passion for environmental action on climate change. Consider the interview she gave yesterday to a rival newspaper.
Blanchett said "everyone will benefit if we protect the environment". Yes, but does a carbon tax do that? It won't if it causes no fiscal pain to consumers, because the whole point of a carbon tax is that it creates a price pressure on the use of dirty energy, thereby encouraging consumers and businesses to change their ways.
But Blanchett also wants to be the people's princess -- in the interview she said her support for a carbon tax was conditional on "generous assistance" for low- and middle-income earners. She has fallen for the trickery of the carbon tax and her own attempt to stay popular when advocating it.
Take with one hand (carbon tax), give with the other (compensation). The result? No price pressure or incentive for people to change their energy use.
Make no mistake, when the carbon tax is applied to businesses, they will pass on that cost to consumers to maintain their profitability. Consumers will tolerate that price rise if they are rich, and go on burning energy but simply pay more. Mainstream voters and the disadvantaged will secure generous compensation from the government (don't believe Tony Abbott when he says otherwise), which will allow them to keep consuming dirty energy without changing their ways.
The government may claim there is pricing pressure, regardless of compensation, because polluting companies will have to raise prices, but the carbon tax would have to be much higher to have a real effect.
What does all of this add up to: wealth redistribution with little impact on the environment unless the compensation is rescinded and consumers are thereby forced to change their ways -- or unless the price on carbon goes up quickly and the compensation packages don't.
"Eco" resort bombs
It got all sorts of awards -- from everybody except paying customers. Nice when Green/Left elitists feel in their hip pocket how out of touch they are
THE Gold Coast's embattled tourism industry has copped another blow with multi-award-winning eco-tourism retreat Couran Cove Island Resort closing its doors.
Hailed as a benchmark tourism facility when it opened 13 years ago, the South Stradbroke Island resort is to be placed into voluntary liquidation. Its owner, InterPacific Group, yesterday announced that it was putting the resort up for sale after a "sustained period of low occupancy" and years of operating at a "considerable loss".
Staff have been laid off, with those eligible provided with redundancy payments and full entitlements. It is understood a skeleton crew has been retained to maintain the sporting and eco-friendly resort's facilities.
In a statement, InterPacific said that, although Couran Cove had stopped operating as a resort, its facilities would remain accessible to owners of the private residences within the resort.
"Over the past 13 years, considerable time, energy and money has been invested to create the premium resort Couran Cove is today," it said. "However, this hasn't been enough to combat a volatile global economy, weak local tourism conditions, a lack of industry support and rising operating and infrastructure costs.
"The resort has been operating at a considerable loss for a number of years and, sadly, despite our best efforts, this is an unsustainable position for any business operation. "This is the most sensible course of action for the business and its shareholders."
Couran Cove's development on a 151ha site was spearheaded by former Olympic runner Ron Clarke before he was elected Gold Coast mayor. Billionaire American philanthropist Chuck Feeney, who bankrolled the project but later had a falling-out with Cr Clarke, reportedly has been propping up the resort - pouring $283 million into it since 1998.
InterPacific is owned by Mr Feeney's Bermuda-based charity foundation Atlantic Philanthropies.
Corporate doctors Ferrier Hodgson will be appointed liquidators today to facilitate its sale.
Industry sources said InterPacific had been unsuccessfully trying to offload the South Stradbroke Island resort for several years.
The resort has won more than 50 domestic and international awards for excellence.
Global cooling hits South Australia
ANYONE shivering in Adelaide this morning had good reason to do so it is the coldest start to June on record. Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Vince Rowlands said the minimum temperature was a chilly 3.7C at 7.24am at Kent Town on the first day of winter. "I think it's the coldest start to a June that we've ever had at Kent Town," Mr Rowlands said.
Elsewhere around the state the mercury dropped to -2.7C in Yunta, -1.3C in Renmark, -1C in Clare and Coonawarra was -0.6C.
"Around Adelaide itself, Elizabeth got down to 4C, as far as the Hills go, Mt Lofty stayed a touch warmer because of the winds but I'd certainly expect the back of the Ranges to be pretty cold Murray Bridge got down to 1C," he said.
Mr Rowlands said the cold was to be expected with winter. "Obviously the atmosphere is a lot colder and then we get the really clear nights like we've had over the last couple of days, there's nothing stopping the heat from escaping into the atmosphere and we get these really cold conditions."
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