Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NYT deserting the ship too

By Alan Caruba

“What’s in worse shape””, asked the Heartland Institute’s Director of Communications, Jim Lakely, in a January 11th blog post. “The state of the Earth’s climate? Or the state of the New York Times? Global temperatures are not rising all that quickly, so the Earth is doing fine. Meanwhile, the Old Gray Lady is shutting down its Environmental Desk.”

TheHeartland Institute has cause to celebrate because it has led the effort to debunk the global warming hoax, sponsoring international conferences that brought together the world’s leading scientists and others to demonstrate how specious the alleged “science” of global warming was and is. It did so in the face of a United Nations agenda to advance the hoax and a compliant and cooperative media that did nothing to dispute it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been an unpaid policy advisor to The Heartland Institute for many years, only once receiving a small grant many years ago to help fund research involving the global warming hoax. These days donations to my blog help sustain the effort.

As the planet enters its seventeenth year in which temperatures have been steadily falling in response to a natural cooling cycle, the result of reduced solar radiation, the global warming hoax is finally being revealed as an instrument of the United Nations and individual governments, including our own, to impose “carbon taxes” that would raise billions of dollars for everyone involved.

The New York Times with its vaunted reputation has been suffering the same fate as many daily newspapers in the U.S., as well as news magazines such as Newsweek and Time. The rise of the Internet has bled off advertising revenue, but I maintain that as alternative sources of information became available, the Times and the mainstream media has suffered a loss of credibility across the spectrum of news topics.

In the case of the Times, however, their journalistic sins were much worse than others because it led the global warming hoax from its beginning, never failing to fill its pages about rising sea levels (they’re not rising precipitously), declining polar bear populations (they’ve increased), and using every weather event from hurricanes to tornadoes to droughts (all cyclical and natural) to shout about a “global warming” caused by carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas emissions” that had nothing whatever to do with a non-existent threat to the nation and the planet.

Bluntly stated, the Times lied about global warming—now called “climate change”—on a daily basis.

The Times Environmental Desk had a team of editors and reporters that never lost an opportunity to further the greatest hoax of the modern era and one can only hope that reporters like Andrew Revkin will be reassigned to cover high school football and soccer games in the tri-state area. On his Facebook page, Revkin said he was never a fan of the desk even though he worked for it and lamented the elimination of an environmental editor. It is doubtful, however, that the Times will eliminate its editors and teams that cover the White House, Congress, and other activities of interest to readers, including sports.

Maybe it was just serendipitous—the Times has been cutting back on staff for quite some time now—but I believe the news that the poster boy of global warming, Al Gore, had sold his television channel, Current, to al Jazeera, a notably anti-American channel that gained fame broadcasting Osama bin Laden’s rants, was the “final straw” that led to the decision to shut down its Environmental Desk.

In a January 11th Wall Street Journal commentary, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., wrote that “Mr. Gore and his allies wore out their welcome with their exaggerations, their self-righteousness, and their perfectly foolish insistence that a plurality of voters could be morally bullied into giving up their self-interest if chastised long and loudly enough by Mr. Gore.” His commentary took to task the lies of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that extrapolated from 1.58% of the Earth surface—the lower 49 U.S. states—to suggest a global warming phenomenon.

The public did not rush to purchase electric cars, nor did they install expensive solar panels on the roofs of their homes. Instead they worried about the price of gasoline and the rising cost of electricity and other expenses whose costs have been increased by extraordinary bad “environmental” laws and regulations such as the requirement that ethanol be added to each gallon, increasing is cost while decreasing mileage, and destroying the engines under the hoods of millions of automobiles. As forty percent of the nation’s corn crop was siphoned off to make ethanol the cost of most food items at the supermarket increased as well.

The good news is that there will not be an environmental editor or deputy environmental editor at the Times, nor seven reporters whose sole job was to report lies intended to advance and bolster the agenda of the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, and the agendas of heavily funded environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and the World Wildlife Federation.

The “newspaper of record” has debased itself and the profession of journalism for too long as a leading participant in the progressive movement’s effort to impose socialism on the greatest example of the power of capitalism and the free market—the United States—the world has ever known.


Wind farm contracts to increase energy bills for British families

Millions of families face higher energy bills because of a "shocking" catalogue of errors made by the Government when it awarded contracts for expensive offshore wind farms, MPs will disclose today.

Consumers could see bills rise in the coming years after "generous" deals worth £17 billion were agreed with energy firms delivering wind-generated power to homes, a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned.

Under a scheme agreed by Labour leader Ed Miliband during the last Labour government, but implemented by Coalition ministers, the contracts guarantee that the power firms will be paid even if they fail to deliver energy to households.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the PAC, described the contracts as a "licence for the private sector to print money at the expense of hard-pressed consumers".

The warning on energy price hikes comes as temperatures across the UK are set to plummet in the coming days.

The Met Office has issued warnings of ice and severe cold weather, with snowfall predicted across central, northern and south-east England as well as parts of Wales and Scotland.

Heathrow Airport could face severe disruption, with forecasters warning there could be up to 5cm of snow in some parts of the country.

Energy bills have more than doubled since 2004 to more than £1,300 a year per household, largely due to rising gas prices.

Bills are set to go up by hundreds of pounds a year under all the Government's green and fuel poverty policies.

Following the MPs damning report into the wind farm contracts, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now said it will "re-examine some of the terms" of the lucrative deals.

The sharp criticism of the Government came in a report on the "elaborate" new system that licences companies to operate assets bringing wind-generated power onshore.

Energy ministers want controversial offshore wind farms to provide up to 15 per cent of the country's electricity needs by 2020.

That will require around £8 billion of investment in infrastructure such as platforms, cables and substations.

The committee said that long-term licences awarded to energy companies so far "appear heavily skewed towards attracting investors rather than securing a good deal for consumers".

Under the terms of the contracts the companies are guaranteed an RPI inflation linked income for 20 years regardless of how much the infrastructure is used.

The estimated returns of 10-11 per cent on the initial licences "look extremely generous given the limited risks", the MPs said.

Ministers stand accused of failing to learn lessons from failed Private Finance Initiatives, with the committee warning that costs from the wind farm schemes will now be passed on to taxpayers.

Mrs Hodge, the MP for Barking, described the way the contracts had been awarded as "shocking".   "[The energy companies] are guaranteed income even if we don't use the electricity and if the transmission cables fail they can only get fined up to 10 per cent of the total income coming in," she said.   "It's like another PFI. If you create such generous terms people would be mad not to get involved in the market."

The contracts were awarded to the energy firms in March 2011 but the policy was decided by the last Labour Government, the committee confirmed.

"Not only is it unlikely that this new licensing system for bringing electricity from offshore wind farms onto the national grid will deliver any savings for consumers, it could well lead to higher prices," Mrs Hodge added.   "Indeed the terms of the transmission licences appear to have been designed almost entirely to attract investors at the expense of securing a good deal for consumers.

"Licensees and their investors are provided with a guaranteed income, increasing annually in line with RPI, for 20 years regardless of the extent to which the assets are used.   "Future payments to licensees are estimated at around £17 billion, and this will ultimately be funded by customers who could well end up paying higher electricity prices."

The Labour MP said DECC and the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority had wanted to create a "competitive market" for offshore transmission, but the first six licences were awarded to just two firms - Transmission Capital Partners and Macquarie.

"In setting up this new market the Department and Authority ignored vital lessons from previous government experience of PFI, such as the need to share refinancing gains, and it is shocking that the Treasury allowed it to proceed," the Labour MP said.

Christopher Heaton-Harris, the Conservative MP for Daventry, warned that consumers could be left paying for "redundant" wind farm technology because of the deals.

"This is going to be a sizable chunk of money in the future on top of our bills," Mr Heaton-Harris said.

"There is every chance that in 15 years you could be seeing huge numbers of redundant offshore wind farms that we will still be paying for."

A DECC spokesman insisted that the contracts had been designed to "drive value for money" for consumers.  "The offshore electricity transmission regime harnesses competitive forces to drive value for money for consumers," the spokesman said. "Potential licence holders bid against each other on price in the context of the licence terms.

"With six licences now granted, now is the right time to re-examine some of the terms. We therefore welcome Ofgem's current consultation on them."

The disclosure that consumers' energy bills could increase came as a poll showed that the majority of MPs do not trust energy companies to offer genuine competition and provide customers with choices so they can choose between suppliers.

The survey of 92 MPs by pollsters Ipsos MORI found that 86 per cent distrust the companies to "provide clear information so customers can choose between suppliers".

Of the surveyed MPs, just 10 per cent said they believe energy companies will try to offer "genuine competition" in energy supply.


Trampling on People, Environment and Ethics

 Paul Driessen
Policy integrity. Ethical culture. Environmental protection. Environmental defense. Friends of earth. Defenders of wildlife. Not just their names, but their charter, culture and policies – their very being – represent a commitment to these profound values. Or so we are supposed to believe.

The activist groups and government agencies certainly talk a good game. They’ve certainly got the “mainstream” media and a lot of legislators and regulators on their side, while many who question their claims and agendas lack the greens’ money, influence, connections and firepower.

All that notwithstanding, these supposed “white hats” are often all hat and no cattle – or worse.

In truth, the very foundation for many of their policies is built on sand, worthless computer models or outright deception. A movement begun to curtail serious environmental abuses won most of those battles, but then evolved (regressed?) into organizations fixated on eradicating hydrocarbon and nuclear power, acquiring more money and power, and using environmental rules to control people’s lives, restrict or roll back modern technology and living standards, and perpetuate poverty, misery and disease in poor countries – in the name of precaution, biodiversity, sustainable development and climate stabilization.

Organizations and agencies ill-funded and on the periphery 40 years ago now share tens of billions of dollars annually – courtesy of taxpayer payments and tax code largesse – and dictate decision-making. Companies are created, establish divisions and hire $50,000-a-month lobbyists to turn environmental policies and programs into billion-dollar cash cows that have more lives than Freddy Krueger.

Climategate, doctored data, new theories about solar forces – and the stubborn refusal of climate reality to cooperate with computer models, carbon dioxide theorizing and climate cataclysm headlines – have turned the Kyoto Protocol into a toothless laughingstock that stands for little more than wealth redistribution. By unlocking another century of oil and gas, 3-D seismic and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have eviscerated Club of Rome and Sierra Club assertions that we are rapidly running out of petroleum.

One would think these paradigm shifts would alter environmentalist thinking and government programs designed to replace “disappearing” oil and gas with wind, solar and biofuel energy. But hell hath no fury like an environmentalist scorned. Any attempt to revise laws, regulations or subsidies is met with derision, outrage, expanded rules and funding, and new allegations, grievances and justifications.

Petroleum depletion and dangerous manmade climate change continue to drive public policy. This is so even when outdated programs that supposedly advance health and ecological goals are found to do just the opposite. A few energy sector examples illustrate the harsh reality that common citizens face.

* Congress enacted automobile mileage standards as an energy conservation mandate. The Environmental Protection Agency unilaterally raised the requirement to 54.5 mpg, based mainly on global warming concerns. The result has been more cars that are smaller, lighter and less crashworthy – and thus thousands of additional fatalities, and tens of thousands of serious extra injuries, every year.

EPA routinely justifies onerous, job-killing regulations by claiming they will save thousands of lives, which the agency values at $8.9 million each. But it obstinately ignores the injuries, deaths and billions of dollars in healthcare and mortality costs that its mileage standards are exacting on America every year.

* In their determination to make more oil and gas prospects off limits, promote renewable energy, and slash emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollution, EPA and the Interior Department promote highly exaggerated health and welfare benefits, and statistical lives theoretically saved. They routinely ignore the adverse health and welfare impacts caused by regulations and other actions that increase heating, food and transportation costs, cause numerous layoffs, and hurt poor and minority families most of all. EPA even employs illegal human experiments to advance its anti-hydrocarbon agenda.

Study after study has shown that unemployment results in reduced nutrition, increased stress, and higher rates of heart attacks and strokes, spousal and child abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and premature death. This is especially true for older Americans who have been laid off, are scraping by on welfare and unemployment, have limited prospects for finding new full-time work, or may be forced to hold several jobs below their skill level and at sharply reduced wages. But the agencies refuse to consider these facts.

* Corn ethanol and myriad other heavily subsidized biofuel programs are supposedly clean, green, better for planetary climate and biodiversity, and vital for replacing oil imports and rapidly depleting petroleum reserves. In reality, US and global oil and gas reserves are increasing, thanks to modern technology and despite the Obama Administration’s best efforts to further shackle leasing and drilling.

Millions of acres of farmland and algae ponds are needed to produce the same Btu output that could come from oil and gas fields that impact far less land temporarily with drilling rigs and minimally with wellheads and pipelines. With 40% of US corn production dedicated to meeting ethanol mandates, an area larger than subsidy-hungry Iowa must be planted in corn just to meet those quotas.

Especially in drought years, this takes a lot of water – several hundred to over a thousand gallons of water to grow corn and process it into one gallon of ethanol, depending on where the corn is grown and who does the calculations – plus fertilizer, insecticides and fuel for tractors, distilling and truck transport. This water cannot be the brackish variety that is often used in fracking, which increasingly recycles its water.

Demand for ethanol has driven corn prices from $2.80 a bushel in 2005 to $8.50 per bushel this year. That’s great for corn growers, but devastating for poultry, egg, beef, pork and catfish producers, whose feed costs have gone through the roof. Skyrocketing corn prices have raised family food prices, made it harder for aid agencies to buy enough corn to feed starving people, increased malnutrition, misery, disease and premature death for millions of children, and contributed to agricultural land shortages.

Now the United States is actually importing corn from Brazil, to produce a fuel that gets 35% fewer miles per gallon than gasoline, and achieves virtually no overall reduction in CO2 emissions.

* To generate expensive, subsidized, unreliable electricity from “eco-friendly” wind, we must build and operate both wind turbines and fossil-fuel-powered “backup” power plants that actually generate over 75% of the electricity generally attributed to wind power. That means we must more than double raw materials requirements for power generation and transmission, fossil energy input (to mine, manufacture, transport, build and operate wind and fossil power plants), and impacts on habitats and wildlife.

Essential rare earth metals and turbine components come mostly from China which, along with India and other developing countries, is emitting far more CO2 than all 39,000 US wind turbines combined can possibly remove from the United States’ emission streams.

Worst of all, those turbines are killing an estimated 13,000,000 to 39,000,000 ecologically vital birds and bats every year – including thousands of bald and golden eagles, falcons, hawks and whooping cranes. The EPA, Defenders of Wildlife and US Fish and Wildlife Service go ballistic over any bird deaths caused by oil and gas operations. But they are AWOL when it comes to wind turbines’ destructive power, and complicit in helping Big Wind bury the gruesome statistics, both literally and figuratively.

As energy analyst and author Indur Goklany has noted, fossil fuels have saved and enhanced lives for countless millions. They have saved humanity from nature’s recurring wrath – and nature from humanity’s need to turn forests and grasslands into fuel.

Real policy integrity, ethical culture and environmental protection acknowledge these realities – and change opinions and policies to reflect reality. That today’s environmentalist industry refuses to do so underscores how abysmal its ethics actually are.


So Fake It’s Real: Global Warming is Reality TV for the Media Elite

Here’s my challenge to all the global warming apologists:  Explain to me why the “settled science” of global warming has to manipulate headlines to make information appear scarier and more threatening than the actual data shows.

If global warming is so settled, why do you and your friends take the opportunity to exaggerate, obfuscate and slant every piece of news that comes out to make it seem relevant to today?      

You can see an example of this in the headlines below:

“Climate Change Main Contributor to Corn Volatility, Study Says” writes Bloomberg-BusinessWeek.

“Climate Change Has Outsize Effect On Corn Price Volatility,” trumpets Climate Central.

“Warming set to make corn prices pop,” says Agence France Presse.

“Climate Change to Affect Corn Prices, Study Says,” echoes the New York Times.

Nature Climate Change, a journal for the care and feeding of the climate change industry that masquerades as a peer-reviewed science rag, has published a new study that warns that “US corn price volatility to increase sharply in response to global warming projected to occur over the next three decades.”

Projected to occur over the next three decades.

The study does not say that global warming is affecting the corn prices that are making today’s news, but rather corn prices that will be news in ten years or so.

But in another attempt to scare people into believing that a crisis has burst upon us, the media is using a self-serving expert study-  a study that is expert mostly at arguing propositions that are self-evident- to ratchet up the fear that global warming is out of control and to blame for high corn prices today.

You don’t have to be a grammarian to catch the tense and other tricks that the MSM is using to hype the results of the study.

The study says that if the climate change model predicted by global warming alarmists comes to pass, that the warming will have a bigger effect on corn prices than say, federal ethanol policies.

So in other words, the same dynamic- namely, crop yield derived from weather conditions- will continue to drive the price of corn in the same way crop prices have been affected for thousands of years.    

Yet if you were to read the headlines, you’d think the current trend of high corn prices are the result of global warming, not the real culprit: mismanagement of monetary policy by Obama and the central banks which has had an inflationary affect on many commodities including corn, oil, gold and silver.

Certainly if temperatures in the corn-belt go up by an average of ten degrees by the end of the century, as predicated in the study, I can confidently say that, yes, corn prices will be affected more by warming than any other factor.

But the summary of the Nature report come with a lot of ifs, and, buts that add up to a great deal of uncertainty: “Closer integration of agriculture and energy markets moderates the effects of climate change, unless the biofuels mandate becomes binding, in which case corn price volatility is instead exacerbated.”

Got it? Integrate agriculture and energy, whatever that means, and you moderate volatility. Use agriculture as energy and you get more volatility.

It’s this kind of reporting by the MSM that has climate change skeptics like me increasingly convinced that much of the data is being intentionally manipulated by a media elite that can not tolerate debate, especially when they are really, really, really wrong.

We saw the same type of reporting lead to widespread predictions that killer hurricanes were becoming more commonplace, as a result of global warming. We had farfetched predictions every year of a dozen or so tropical cyclones bearing down on humans who refused to stop messing with Mother Nature. This continued until the results failed to materialize and the adults in hurricane science finally put and end to the farce with a report showing that no, global warming has had no affect on hurricanes.

We saw this same type of reporting lead to the hypothesis that polar bear cannibalism was on the rise as a result of global warming by the same discredited fools who predicted that polar bear populations were declining, when in fact, the polar bear populations are growing.

Lately every weather event from a drought in Texas, to cold weather in Europe, to hurricane flooding has been blamed on global warming. This despite, um, little or no scientific evidence: “"This is not the new normal in terms of drought. Texas knows drought. Texas has been toughened on the anvil of droughts that have come and gone. This is not a climate change drought. What we do anticipate from climate change is a situation where temperatures progressively increase," said Dr. Robert Hoerling, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research meteorologist, who was a lead author of the U.S. Climate Change Science Plan Synthesis and Assessment Report and definitely a supporter of warming models.

We are at the point that we could have a record cold  snap around the world for several years in a row and global warming acolytes would work furiously on models to blame it on…global warming.

That ain’t science folks. That’s reality TV.

And while the clown college that makes up the dwindling media elite in this country continues to exaggerate, obfuscate and slant every piece of news that comes out to make it seem relevant to today, expect the folks at home to one day give them the Donald Trump treatment.


Welcome To Green Europe: Greeks Raid Forests In Search Of Wood To Heat Homes

Economic bungling has an environmental price

Illegal logging has surged in Greece as households suffering through three years of recession hoard wood to burn during cold winter days.

While patrolling on a recent cold night, environmentalist Grigoris Gourdomichalis caught a young man illegally chopping down a tree on public land in the mountains above Athens.

When confronted, the man broke down in tears, saying he was unemployed and needed the wood to warm the home he shares with his wife and four small children, because he could no longer afford heating oil.

“It was a tough choice, but I decided just to let him go” with the wood, said Mr. Gourdomichalis, head of the locally financed Environmental Association of Municipalities of Athens, which works to protect forests around Egaleo, a western suburb of the capital.

Tens of thousands of trees have disappeared from parks and woodlands this winter across Greece, authorities said, in a worsening problem that has had tragic consequences as the crisis-hit country’s impoverished residents, too broke to pay for electricity or fuel, turn to fireplaces and wood stoves for heat.

As winter temperatures bite, that trend is dealing a serious blow to the environment, as hillsides are denuded of timber and smog from fires clouds the air in Athens and other cities, posing risks to public health.

The number of illegal logging cases jumped in 2012, said forestry groups, while the environment ministry has lodged more than 3,000 lawsuits and seized more than 13,000 tons of illegally cut trees.

Such woodcutting was last common in Greece during Germany’s brutal occupation in the 1940s, underscoring how five years of recession and waves of austerity measures have spawned drastic measures.

Smog, on some days visible to the naked eye and carrying the distinct smell of burning wood, has prompted local officials in Athens to discuss mitigation strategies, including proposals to restore heating-oil subsidies.

On Christmas Day, Greece’s environment ministry said, particulate in the air over one of Athens’s biggest suburbs, Maroussi, was so bad that it was more than two times the European Union’s acceptable air-pollution standards.

“The average Greek will throw anything into the fireplace that can be burned, ranging from old furniture with lacquer, to old books with ink, in order to get warm,” said Stefanos Sapatakis, an environmental-health officer at the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

He said the smog could affect vulnerable groups, including the elderly, children and people with asthma. He likened the air conditions in Athens to an instance in postwar London where smog from wood fires blanketed the city for five days in December 1953, contributing to the deaths of more than 4,000 people and leading British authorities to ban the use of fireplaces in the city.In northern Greece, where climatic conditions in winter are closer to those in continental Europe than the Mediterranean, the struggle to stay warm amid government cutbacks is forcing tough choices on local municipalities. In late December, one of Greece’s teachers’ associations warned that many schools, particularly in the north, could soon be forced to suspend lessons because there was no money to heat classrooms.


Australia: Stop telling forest-fire victims to shut up

Greenies have blood on their hands

WHENEVER a major bushfire catastrophe occurs in Australia, the victims are essentially told to shut up.

It happened after Victoria’s Black Saturday fires in 2009. It happened after the Canberra bushfires, 10 years ago on Friday. And it’s happening now in Tasmania.

“Now is not the time for that conversation,” says the Tasmanian Minister for Emergency Management, David O’Byrne, avoiding questions about why adequate hazard reduction burns were not done in cooler months to remove fuel from the path of inevitable summer fires.

It’s just too early, claims Premier Lara Giddings, presiding over Tasmania’s ALP-Greens coalition.

But the residents of Dunalley, whose town was overrun, and the farmers whose properties and livestock have been wiped out, want that conversation right now.

Now is the time for farmers to complain that they could never get a permit to burn off excessive ground fuel on their properties.

Now, while public attention is focused, and before the truth can be buried for years.

Now is the time to point out, perhaps, that a fire which begins in a national park carrying negligently heavy loads of ground fuel can become an unstoppable inferno which will eventually burst out into the Canberra suburbs and kill four people and consume 500 homes.

Now is the time for people who understand the bush to tell the rest of Australia what fools we are.

“Fuel reduction burns make it possible to fight and control a fire; what happened here was uncontrollable,” Dunalley farmer Leigh Arnold told The Australian.

Greenies who oppose such burnoffs, “care more about birds and wildlife than they do about people and farms,” he said.

“But what’s the point of that now when the hills and trees they told me I couldn’t burn off, because there were protected eagles and swift parrots there, are now all burned and the fire it created was so hot we had dead swans dropping out of the sky?”

No, the only permissible comment on a bushfire catastrophe is to say it was caused by “climate change” - that convenient get-out-of-jail free card for greenies, governments and the obstructive bureaucracies they jointly create.

But we’ve heard it all before, and we’re not buying it.

“It’s really simple,” says Brian Williams, captain of the Kurrajong Heights bushfire brigade, a veteran of 44 years of firefighting, in one of the most extreme fire risk areas of Australia, on a ridge surrounded by 0.75 million hectares of overgrown national park between the Blue Mountains and Wollemi.

“Fires run on fuel. Limited fuel means limited fire.”

Green tape and heavy-handed bureaucracy has made his job harder today than in 28 years as captain. Rather than needing six people to perform a controlled burn in the cooler months, now 40 are involved, to oversee biodiversity and so on.

Williams managed to conduct just two of the five hazard reduction burns he planned before this fire season.

But don’t blame greenies. All week they have been claiming they support hazard reduction. Really?

No matter what legalistic and linguistic ploys are now used to rewrite history, green hostility to proper bushfire management is on the record, from the light-green NIMBYs who object to smoke, to green lobbyists who infiltrate government decision-making, taxpayer-funded green activists who embed themselves in government agencies, the bureaucratic green tape which makes the job of volunteer firefighters so difficult, the green NGOs who strongarm politicians, right up to the political arm of green ideology, The Greens.

It is true The Greens have developed a new set of “aims” including a caveat-studded “effective and sustainable strategy for fuel-reduction management”.

In practice, on the ground, it amounts to covert opposition. Williams scoffs at the Orwellian sophistry: “They publicly say they support it. The reality of how it pans out is nothing like that. Greens have two faces and underneath they are undermining everything.”

While there have been improvements under a new state government, Williams says hazard reduction is still inadequate across NSW, reaching just 1 per cent rather than the 5 per cent minimum recommended by the Victorian bushfire inquiry.

At least in the hard-won patch of Volunteer Fire Fighter Association president Peter Cannon, around Dubbo, Parkes and Forbes, hazard reduction is complete this year and he is confident any fires will be controllable.

He says it is a credit to hard-working firefighters that Tasmania-scale destruction has not occurred in NSW despite extreme fire conditions.

Another bright spot is the latest Rural Fire Service annual report which says more than 80 per cent of planned hazard reduction was achieved, and the area treated should increase by 45 per cent over three years.

It’s not enough but it’s a welcome change from the dark days of 2003, eight months before the Canberra inferno, when former RFS Commissioner Phil Koperberg told a NSW parliamentary inquiry that widespread hazard reduction was “an exercise in futility”.

Fast forward to last month and blame for that fire has finally been laid where it belongs, at the feet of Koperberg’s RFS and the green-influenced National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Brinadabella farmer Wayne West, whose property was wiped out in the fires, sued the two agencies. Last month in the ACT Supreme Court, Chief Justice Terrence Higgins found them negligent.

The episode demonstrated how green pressure on decision-makers filters down into a cascade of subtle bureaucratic obstructions which disempower firefighters on the ground and disregard their expertise.

The result in 2003 was that a small fire at McIntyre’s Hut in the Brindabella ranges was allowed to rage out of control through the national park to emerge 10 days later, and burn lethally through Canberra’s suburbs.

Unfortunately for West and his insurance company, the government agencies are protected by statute and don’t have to pay compensation.

But West won a moral victory. We all are in his debt because he fought for the truth and refused to shut up.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


1 comment:

Joseph said...

"Blood on their hands"? Shouldn't that be "Charcoal on their hands"?