Friday, October 14, 2011

Ya gotta laugh!

There is in Physics Today an article by Steven Sherwood, a professor of climate change, no less, an article under the title "Science controversies past and present" which endeavours to deal with the sad fact (for him) that public belief in global warming is steadily receding.

His explanation is that the theories of Galileo, Copernicus and Einstein were not immediately accepted but eventually proved right (or more or less right). So he says that explains the present poor acceptance of global warming. We are just ignoramuses until a better understanding and vindication of science comes along.

But then, half way through the article we come across this amusing admission:
"The current theory of global climate change is hardly elegant or scientifically revolutionary, and in that respect it seems like no bedfellow to the others. Its prominence comes from its implications for the sustainability of current Western consumption patterns, not from reshaping physics; its many contributors would not claim to be Einsteins. What it shares with the others, however, is its origin in the worked-out consequences of evident physical principles rather than direct observation. That sort of bottom-up deduction is valued by physics perhaps more than by any other science."

In other words, gloibal warming is NOT like the theories of Galileo, Einsten et al. Its importance is only political and it's just a theory anyway!

I could say a lot more to disparage his article (e.g. Unlike Galileo and Einstein, global warming was first believed and then later disbelieved) but I think he himself has done a pretty good job of it so I will leave it at that.

I will however make one further observation: His article supporting global warming mentions not one scientific fact that supports global warming. If that is Physics Today, then physics is in a bad way.


Green Jobs Brown Out

How to spend $157,000 per job

The green jobs subsidy story gets more embarrassing by the day. Three years ago President Obama promised that by the end of the decade America would have five million green jobs, but so far some $90 billion in government spending has delivered very few.

A new report by the Labor Department's Office of Inspector General examined a $500 million grant under the stimulus program to the Employment and Training Administration to "train and prepare individuals for careers in 'green jobs.'" So far about $162.8 million has been spent. The program was supposed to train 125,000 workers, but only 53,000 have been "trained" so far, only 8,035 have found jobs, and only 1,033 were still in the job after six months.

Overall, "only 10% of participants entered employment." In the understatement of the year, the IG says the program failed to "assist those most impacted by the recession."

The jobs record is even more dismal when you consider that many of the jobs classified as green aren't even new jobs, much less green, according to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. They include positions that have been "relabeled as green jobs by the BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics]."

This means that bus drivers, Environmental Protection Agency regulators, university professors teaching ecology, and even the Washington lobbyists who secure energy loan guarantees count as green employees for the purposes of government counting. The Oversight Committee finds that even a charitable assessment of the Labor program puts the cost of each green job at $157,000.

The silver lining is that the IG found that as of "June 30, 2011, $327.3 million remained unexpended" from the Labor program's appropriation. The IG urges that all funds "determined not to be needed should be recouped as soon as practicable and to the extent permitted by law." That ought to be the deficit supercommittee's first $327 million in savings.


How Europe's Greens Will Be Taxing You

The gaga greenies of Europe are about to charge you for flying here in America.

In a stunning slap at the sovereignty of everyone on the other six continents, the European Court of Justice last week said it was just fine and dandy for the European Union to levy fees on planes flying elsewhere.

As the Europeans see it, global warming is so bad that they have to tax ... us.

Here's how it works: You take off from London for Los Angeles; your flight route runs north-northwest over Scotland and out of European air space pronto. You pay a tax for this, which, while annoying, isn't much different than a highway toll.

But as your flight continues on — clipping south of the North Pole, then swooping over the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Alberta and into the United States and LAX — the EU will tax you for each one of those miles, too.

Starting next year, the EU will tote up all the miles a plane flies to or from any European city, factor in the fuel usage and charge a "carbon levy" for all emissions that are more than 85 percent of 2002 levels. No airline is going to eat that cost, so you'll get the bill, perhaps listed as an "environmental surcharge."

Like most taxes, it starts out small, maybe $20 or so (no one really knows yet) — and then the fine folks in Brussels will start jacking up the price. By 2020, it could be $60 — the sky's the limit.

And the EU's not just planning to hike the tax — it's already mandated it. By 2020, it will tax planes for using more than half their 2002 fuel, and while newer planes are more fuel efficient, they're not making gains close to that level.

According to Fitch, United, Continental, Delta and American are likely to get hit the most, because about 20 percent of their revenue comes from European travel.

Things could get pretty ugly. China is already making noise about pulling its order for 10 double-decker A-380s from Europe's Airbus (probably pretty good news for Boeing). Other countries may jack up landing fees or inflict similar taxes on foreign carriers.

Until now, Europe and the United Kingdom have been content to go it alone with their silly climate taxes, smugly thinking (along with Chevrolet Volt drivers) that they are somehow saving the world. No more.

All of this seems downright silly. Here in America, the last (overwhelmingly Democratic) Congress refused to pass an anti-warming bill that would've ordered the country to cut carbon-dioxide emissions an impossible 83 percent by 2050.

The bill actually passed the House, with President Obama's support. But Obama's public approval plummeted, while Republican poll ratings jumped, so the Senate punted the business of impoverishing us over to the president and his Environmental Protection Agency.

One reason that the bill was so unpopular was that it demonstrably did nothing about climate change — even if Europe, Australia, Canada and other industrialized nations adopted the same policy. That's because the massive emissions from China, India and other developing nations will dwarf ours.

In 2009, the last year for which we have good data, China emitted 142 percent of the US total of "greenhouse gases" — up from just 51 percent 10 years earlier.

But the Europeans aren't willing to let futility stop them from launching a perfectly disastrous crusade — or even from exporting it to America.


Climate Liars Hurting Real People
A SELF-FUNDED retiree has been told he cannot develop his land at Marks Point because rising sea levels will inundate his property by 2100.

Lake Macquarie City Council staff have recommended refusing Rob Antill’s plan for four two-level dwellings on a 1300-square-metre site.

A council staff report said the development site would have ‘‘a small area permanently inundated by 2050’’. ‘The entire site may be permanently inundated by 2100,’’ it said.

A number of prominent sea level groups pay their bills by making up absurd numbers about current sea level rise. Others make up even more absurd numbers about future sea level rise.

Sea level is not rising significantly in Newcastle. That man’s property will not be underwater in 2050 or 2100. It is time to make dishonest scientists accountable for their actions, just like every other profession.

The entire city of Los Angeles is doomed due to earthquakes. Do they build houses there anyway?

Graph of Newcastle sea levels from here


Those Darn Skeptics And Their Communications Professionals

“All right, boys,” began James Hansen, “Listen up. Climate contrarians are winning the argument with the public over global warming. “This is so even though climate science itself is becoming ever clearer in showing that the earth is in increasing danger from rising temperatures.

“Why? I’ll tell you: the skeptics have sneaked behind our back and have employed your actual communications professionals to put forward their vile message that we—even we!—are too sure of ourselves. “We’re losing because we genuine scientists are just barely competent at communicating with the public and don’t have the wherewithal to do it.

“So let’s summarize our media contacts and see where we stand. Then we can formulate a plan of attack. Agreed?

“We have the paper of record, the New York Times, especially Krugman who properly calls anybody who disagrees with the science a traitor that should be strung up.

“The Washington Post is on our side, of course. The LA Times and those Chicago papers can always be counted on for a pro-warming view. Plus, there lots of the medium-sized papers that take their lead from their betters.

“And don’t forget England, where we at least have The Guardian and The Independent and so on. Pro-consensus views are always found there.

“We have the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, as is only proper. And that’s just the English-speaking world. Le Monde is magnificent. Asahi Shimbum toes the line, as do The Times of India and Korea’s The Joongang Ilbo. Heck, even Bild follows us a lot of the time.

Let’s face it: we have fighting our cause the major papers in every capitol, English-speaking or not. Am I right?”

New York Post“Right boss,” said G., his ever-faithful sidekick. “We have them all except for the New York Post and The Daily Mail. What about the blogs?”

“Huffington, naturally. Daily KOS, Salon, and several other of the largest always do what’s expected of them. And I’d never forget your own valiant efforts, nor those of hundreds, even thousands of other blogs who preach the word of doom.

But, sadly, those vile skeptics have blogs, too. All are born out of ignorance or are the results of the pens of hired communications professionals—they get their funding from energy companies, you know.”

“Only fools read those blogs, boss,” ventured G. “Why not talk about what really counts—television.”

“TV? Why, we have NBC, CSB, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and all the government-funded PBS affiliates.”

“CNN?” asked G.? “Right: CNN is a solid. But we musn’t forget HBO and Bill Maher. And these are just the stations in the USA. Looking abroad we find all the channels of the BBC, ABC in Australia, Al Jazeera, France 5 (and maybe the other four, too), Germany’s EarthTV and the Deutsche Welle. Then there’s the All-Nippon News Network‎ and NHK in Japan, CBC in Canada, RAI in Italy, and so forth.

Once more, we can count as allies nearly every major television and cable outlet in every country except China.”

“Oh, how I hate Fox and Sky News!” G. shook his fist at his invisible enemies.

“True, G. Those backward networks are more evidence of the pernicious influence of communications professionals. The only explanation of the success of these media outlets is that these recalcitrant, wayward broadcasters is that they employ communications professionals whereas the other networks do not.”

“They must be stopped!” G. was trembling with rage.

“Before we get to that, let me remind us of the magazines on the side of the consensus.”

“No need, boss,” said G., anxious to show off his knowledge. “We all know about Time, Newsweek, The Nation, The New Republic, Scientific American, New York Review of Books, Mother Jones and the many others in the US, plus the several major publications in every civilized country. Plus, we own Hollywood. What I really want to know about are the politicians, the source of real power.”

“That’s easy. We have the Democrats and, believe it or not, even a few Republicans in the USA. We have Labour in the UK, the Greens, the Left, and Christians of various stripes in Germany, the Greens, Left, and Liberal in France, all of the EU hierarchy, the Greens and Liberals of Canada, Brazil is ours. Then there’s the Greens, Labor, and even the Liberal in Australia. That enlightened country even, thank the Powers, voted in a new carbon tax!

I could go on, but any fair counting shows at least half, and in many countries most, of the politicians support our cause, or at least say they do publicly.”

“What’s the bottom line, boss?”

“It’s obvious! We must address the glaring discrepancy in media access, which weighs so heavily in the favor of our enemies. We must pass a law banning the use of communications professionals!”


Kyoto Protocol set to end in Durban

Durban is set to be the deathbed of the Kyoto Protocol as climate change negotiators are unlikely to renew it when they descend on South Africa next month for a meeting on its future.

However, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said parties to the UN's 17th annual Convention on Climate Change will most likely keep the protocol in place while they seek a new legally binding climate change agreement.

The Kyoto Protocol, which expires in December next year, is an international agreement binding the world's most industrialised nations to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 5% of their 1990 levels.

Addressing the media in Pretoria yesterday, Molewa said a second commitment to the protocol was not likely because countries such as China and India were reluctant to sign without the US, which was not party to the original Kyoto Protocol.

Alf Wills, head of South Africa's climate change negotiating team, said the parties had three options:

* To keep the protocol as it is or develop a new one which will be acceptable to the US and other developed countries;
* Negotiate a new protocol acceptable to everyone, including the US; or

* Reach a deadlock, which will imply the immediate end of the Kyoto Protocol.

"All three options are on the table, but we are likely to keep the Kyoto Protocol for a transitional period while we negotiate a new agreement," Wills said. "We need to respect every country's interest.



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