Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stupid dishonesty about Himalayan glaciers from the "Guardian"

They're not even clever liars. They attribute glacial melting in the Himalayas to global warming and then admit that the warming in the area is much faster than global warming -- which wouldn't be hard since even Warmist scientists now admit that there has been no global warming for 12 years now. So it all clearly means that local factors are at work in the Himalayas not global factors. Reinforcing that, we also read that one "problem" glacier is melting much faster than the others -- again indicating local variations rather anything global

In any case glacial growth is principally influenced by the amount of precipitation, not temperature. If the temperature of the glacial area remains below zero degrees Celsius, only more rain/snow can cause the glacier to grow. And many parts of the world HAVE been getting more rain and snow in recent years

It is strangely calming to watch the Imja glacier lake grow, as chunks of ice part from black cliffs and fall into the grey-green lake below.

But the lake is a high-altitude disaster in the making - one of dozens of danger zones emerging across the Himalayas as glaciers melt due to climate change. If the lake, at 5100 metres in Nepal's Everest region, breaks through its walls of glacial debris, known as moraine, it could release a deluge of water, mud and rock as far as 100 kilometres.

This would swamp homes and fields with a layer of rubble up to 15 metres thick, leading to the loss of the land for a generation. But the question is when, rather than if.

Mountain regions from the Andes to the Himalayas are warming faster than the global average under climate change. Ice turns to water; glaciers are slowly reduced to lakes.

When Sir Edmund Hillary made his successful expedition to the top of Everest in 1953, Lake Imja did not exist. But it is now the fastest-growing of some 1600 glacial lakes in Nepal, stretching down from the glacier for 2.5km and spawning three small ponds.

At its centre, the lake is about 600m wide and, according to government studies, up to 96.5m deep in some places. It is growing by 47m a year, nearly three times as fast as any other glacial lake in Nepal. "The expansion of Imja lake is not a casual one," said Pravin Raj Maskey, a hydrologist with Nepal's ministry of irrigation.

The extent of recent changes to Imja has taken glacier experts by surprise, including Teiji Watanabe, a geographer at Hokkaido University in Japan, who has done field research at the lake since the 1990s.

Watanabe returned to Imja in September, making the nine-day trek with 30 scientists and engineers on a US-funded expedition led by the Mountain Institute. He said he did not expect such rapid changes to the moraine holding back the lake. "We need action, and hopefully within five years," Watanabe said. "I feel our time is shorter than what I thought before. Ten years might be too late."

Unlike flash floods, a glacial lake outburst is a continuing catastrophe. "It's not just the one-time devastating effect," said Sharad Joshi, a glaciologist at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan University, who has worked on Imja. "Each year for the coming years it triggers landslides and reminds villagers that there could be a devastating impact that year, or every year. Some of the Tibetan lakes that have had outburst floods have flooded more than three times."

But mobilising engineering equipment and expertise to a lake 5100m up, and several days' hard walking from the nearest transport hub, is challenging in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. And scientists and engineers still cannot agree on whether to rate Imja as the most dangerous glacial lake in the Himalayas, or a more distant threat.

There are other contenders for immediate action, with some 20,000 glacial lakes across the Himalayas, although many are concentrated in the Everest region. Bhutan has nearly 2700.


The Navy’s elite fighting force is going green

This makes no sense at all. SEALs often work at night and to use solar power at night you need batteries (accumulators), and even the most modern of those will be HEAVY and bulky in order to store enough for all the applications mentioned and would therefore be very limiting to movement. And are they going to carry big solar panels on their backs? And what "flexible generators" are who knows? Steam-powered ones? I think this is just some Greenie's wet dream

A SEAL team deploying soon to Afghanistan will be net zero for energy and water, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced today at the service’s annual energy conference.

Not needing to operate noisy generators and not being reliant on water and fuel resupplies are battlefield benefits for the SEALS, who are known for under-the-radar, high-value missions like raiding Osama bin Laden’s compound this spring.

“We care a lot about our special operators,” Mabus said. “Allowing them to not have to be resupplied with fuel and water will make them even better at what they do.”

SEAL teams, which are often based in difficult-to-reach areas, need power for electronics, air conditioning and heating. For the green unit, those needs will be met with solar arrays, solar battery chargers and flexible generators, Mabus said. The unit will also deploy with portable water purification equipment.


Feel the hate

The Greenie below makes it clear that he hates practically everything about modern Western civilization and slavers over it being destroyed amid great suffering. His comment: "Yes, there is life after shopping" summarizes his contempt for us all. It would be nice if someone got a photograph of him in a shop

Paul Gilding (ex-Greenpeace thinker) anticipates that climate change and resource depletion will force us to cast away our old consumption based "American Dream" conception of the "good life" and embrace a more Berkeley lifestyle. Apparently, he believes that a silver lining of mass destruction caused by climate change is that a new culture will emerge that will drop "shopping" cold turkey. Here is a quote from his press people.
"It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints.

We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources.The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message.

The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability. Gilding tells us how to fight-and win-what he calls The One Degree War to prevent catastrophic warming of the earth, and how to start today.

The crisis represents a rare chance to replace our addiction to growth with an ethic of sustainability, and it’s already happening. It’s also an unmatched business opportunity: Old industries will collapse while new companies will literally reshape our economy. In the aftermath of the Great Disruption, we will measure “growth” in a new way. It will mean not quantity of stuff but quality and happiness of life. Yes, there is life after shopping."


Big British U-turn: Nuclear power is vital to our future, says Green/Leftist minister

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne yesterday completed a dramatic personal U-turn and declared: ‘We need nuclear.’ Mr Huhne said the technology was vital in ensuring Britain could keep the lights on while tackling climate change. But he pledged that energy firms would have to deal with contaminated waste themselves – the huge cost of which has previously landed on the taxpayer.

Despite widespread opposition from his Liberal Democrat colleagues, he confirmed plans to press ahead with eight new nuclear power stations as all but one of the UK’s current reactors will be decommissioned by 2023.

In the most pro-nuclear speech by a Cabinet minister for years, Mr Huhne, who campaigned against nuclear power before taking office, told the Royal Society: ‘Nuclear energy has risks, but we face the greater risk of accelerating climate change if we do not embark on another generation of nuclear power. Time is running out. ‘Nuclear can be a vital and affordable means of providing low-carbon electricity. I believe nuclear electricity can and should play a part in our energy future, provided that new nuclear is built without public subsidy.’

Mr Huhne’s new gung-ho approach leaves him open to charges of hypocrisy.

Before last year’s election the Lib Dems’ manifesto pledged to veto the proposals for a new generation of nuclear power. And just last month the Lib Dem conference voted to impose a windfall tax on companies that are operating the UK’s existing nuclear power stations.

Mr Huhne was previously one of the fiercest critics of the industry. In 2007 he wrote: ‘Nuclear is a tried, tested and failed technology, and the Government must stop putting time, effort and subsidies into reviving this out-dated industry.’

He has since claimed these comments were ‘misunderstood’ and that he was not opposed to nuclear power provided it did not involve large state subsidies.

In his speech, Mr Huhne insisted ministers had learned from ‘past mistakes’ on nuclear, and that energy companies would be required to set aside cash to pay for dealing with nuclear waste, which currently costs his department £2billion a year.

Paul Steedman, of Friends of the Earth, said Mr Huhne appeared to have been seduced by the ‘fantasy economics’ of the nuclear industry.


Polar bear fraud gradually becoming unglued

Federal officials continue to probe allegations of misconduct related to a famous report on dead polar bears that raised concerns about climate change. Later this month, officials plan to re-interview one of the two government scientists who wrote that report.

The new development suggests that scientific integrity remains a focus of the investigation, which recently detoured into allegations that the other researcher under scrutiny broke rules related to federal funding of research. Both scientists work for agencies of the Department of the Interior.

Critics of the investigation say it is a witch hunt into scientists who made observations of apparently drowned dead bears that became a potent public symbol of the danger of melting ice.

Agents from the department's Office of Inspector General, or OIG, will question biologist Jeffrey Gleason on Oct. 26, according to a new letter to Gleason. The letter states that the office is investigating the dead polar bear report, published by the journal Polar Biology in 2006, which Gleason authored with his colleague Charles Monnett.

During Gleason's previous interview, in January, investigators wanted to know how the researchers recorded their wildlife sightings into a data system. They asked why a photo taken of a dead bear floating in the water looked so unclear, and what the scientists had done to try to enhance the image. They also asked why the 2006 report did not put more focus on how a windstorm could have affected the bears.

The interview included comments and questions about how the influential paper has been linked to global warming in the media. For example, special agent Eric May asked Gleason what he thought of Al Gore's reference to the dead bear sightings in the movie An Inconvenient Truth and later noted that car commercials have used drowning polar bears to encourage the purchase of hybrid vehicles.

The tone and the depth of the questioning astounded Gleason, says attorney Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a group that has been representing Monnett and now also represents Gleason.

"He couldn't imagine what the investigation of the paper was about. He figured there would be a couple of questions and that would be it," says Ruch, who adds that Gleason "was really shaken by the whole thing and I think is still not over it."


Australian conservative leader tells firms: don't buy carbon permits

Thus destroying the "certainty" that the carbon tax legislation was claimed to offer

TONY Abbott has warned businesses not to buy future carbon emissions permits, in the light of his plan to scrap the carbon tax, while industry is lobbying every federal MP for changes to the government's scheme to protect companies' competitiveness.

In an address to the Menzies Research Centre taxation roundtable in Sydney yesterday, the Opposition Leader said the repeal of the carbon tax legislation, which passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, would be the "first order" of parliamentary business under a Coalition government.

"We will repeal this legislation," Mr Abbott said, a day after his refusal to back Julia Gillard's Malaysia Solution legislation forced the government to effectively abandon offshore processing of asylum-seekers.

"We will dismantle the bureaucracies it has spawned. We would take the upward pressure off people's cost of living and the threat to workers' jobs. And we give businesses fair warning not to buy forward permits under a tax regime that will be closed down."

The electricity industry said Mr Abbott's hardline position presented a risk, and any policy that reduced the use of forward contracts would fuel higher prices.

The industry warning came as a leading financial analyst told The Weekend Australian that ongoing uncertainty over the future of carbon pricing policy could continue an investment strike that has prevented the addition of new baseload generating capacity. It would complicate writing new long-term electricity supply contracts, which would also push up prices.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet attacked Mr Abbott's comments as a continuation of a "hysterical, negative scare campaign". "Business needs certainty over carbon pricing to underpin investments in the clean energy sources of the future," he said.

The row over Mr Abbott's speech came as Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout and Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, in a letter to all 226 federal MPs, said amendments to the Clean Energy Future Bill were essential to include safeguards to protect Australia's competitiveness. "It is not economically sensible for Australia to see industries that would be competitive in the context of a global price on greenhouse gas emissions go into premature decline," the letter says.

"Ahead of that eventuality, policies are required to maintain the relative competitiveness of Australian industries in the absence of global action."

Under the government's package, a fixed carbon price of $23 a tonne will be imposed from July 1 next year, rising at 2.5 per cent a year in real terms for three years. In 2015, the package will convert to an emissions trading scheme with a floating price.

When the floating price starts, a floor price of $15 will be imposed and a ceiling price, $20 above the expected international price, will also be imposed to prevent volatility.

The business groups' letter called for a lower starting price in the fixed-price period and improvements in arrangements for trade-exposed industries to ensure they did not face additional costs their competitors did not.

It also called for the replacement of the 80 per cent emissions reduction target by 2050 with a clause outlining the evaluation process to determine the target and a requirement that parliament agree to the target.

The business groups called for the Climate Change Authority's remit to be expanded to allow it to consider all Australian emissions reduction policies - such as solar feed-in tariffs - and for it to recommend whether these be wound back.

In the wake of Mr Abbott's call for business to stop buying future carbon emissions permits, National Generators Forum executive director Malcolm Roberts said forward contracts allowed generators and customers to manage the risk of volatile spot prices. "Policies which reduced the use of forward contracts would fuel higher prices," he said.

He was also concerned about the opposition's intention to abolish forward permits with the carbon price. "As generators write post-2014 contracts, they will have to protect themselves against the risk of losses on any forward permits they hold; this is another risk to manage," he said.

Electricity generators have already been critical of the policy to limit the number of forward permits on offer and the demand for upfront payments.

"This could raise prices by 10 to 15 per cent," Mr Roberts said. "Generators are urging changes to the Clean Energy Future Package to prevent this problem."

Deutsche Bank analyst Tim Jordan said ongoing carbon policy uncertainty had two effects on the electricity sector. "It prevents generators from hedging their costs, which means more risk, higher prices and more price volatility for consumers," he said.

He warned uncertainty also weakened the signal for investment in new capacity.

"If the carbon price isn't locked in to support investment in new lower carbon baseload generators, then investors will hold off, putting pressure on existing high-carbon plants to meet growing electricity demand. Both of those mean higher costs for electricity customers in the long term," he said.


How to scrap Australia's carbon tax

Here’s what Richard Denniss, head of the leftist Australia Institute, said on The Drum on Wednesday night. Declaring that Tony Abbott could not unwind the carbon tax if he becomes prime minister, Denniss declared:
Richard Denniss: …Even if there’s a 2013 election, the new Senate doesn’t take office until 2014. And you can’t use your double dissolution triggers until the new Senate arrives, you’re not going to have a double dissolution before 2015. The idea that we introduce a carbon price, scrap it in 2015 or 2016, even Greg Hunt says the direct action scheme is an interim measure and by 2020 the Liberals might support a carbon tax. It’s good politics, it’s good theatre. But we’re putting politics ahead of democracy and politics ahead of the economy here.

What a load of tripe. Richard Denniss reckons it is putting politics ahead of democracy to respond to the wishes of a majority of electors. Fancy that. And his political calculations are simply incorrect. If, say, a Coalition government won an election in August 2013 it could put legislation through both the House of Representatives and the Senate by the end of the year. If the legislation is defeated, it could be re-submitted after three months. A further defeat would set up a double dissolution trigger – which could be held by mid-2014.

And Richard Denniss reckons that double dissolution triggers do not apply until a new Senate is in place. Can you bear it?


Gerard Henderson is right above (though you need to understand the complexities of Australian Senate elections to get that) but he omits that Abbott also has other options. He could simply refuse to collect the tax, for instance, or remit to the payer as ex gratia payment any taxes paid


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