Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Plastic bags and buying cheese

My city recently passed a law making it illegal for stores to provide plastic bags for free at the checkout stand. Now we have the option of paying ten cents for a paper bag or bringing our own. If one looks at this new law in isolation, it seems reasonable enough. People will adjust to the change and the environment will be better for it.

That's how it looks if you view the bag law in isolation. But allow me to put it in context and explain how I feel when I go to my local grocery store, Safeway.

When I walk into the store, and realize I didn't bring my reusable bags, I feel like an absent-minded moron. This is how I usually feel during the day, so it's no big deal.

Then I start looking for cheese, only to discover that some genius in Safeway's marketing department thinks that cheese should be spread out over about seven different locations throughout the store. You have your cottage cheese here, your artisanal cheeses there, your shredded cheeses somewhere else, and so on. There is no logical order to any of it. Five minutes into my shopping, I am filled with rage and I feel manipulated. I assume someone at Safeway decided that inconveniencing me would somehow make me buy more shit because I end up walking down every frickin' aisle in the store looking for my cheese. It's not the inconvenience that bugs me so much as the feeling of manipulation.

When I'm ready to pay, I see long lines at the human checkout stands and short lines at the self-checkout. I know from experience that using the self-checkout, which was designed by a crack team of practical jokers, sadists, and monkeys that have been abused by their trainers, will bring me to frustration. I know I will inadvertently move my bag before the system believes I should and it will proclaim to all nearby shoppers that I might be a shoplifter. I will feel humiliated, incompetent, stupid, and shamed.

So I skip the self-checkout and look for the shortest line with a human checker. The 15 Items or Less line looks good, but I'm never confident in how they do that calculation. Is a six-pack one item or two? What about two identical items for which only one needs to be scanned and the cashier can hit the "times two" button? Will the people behind me think I cheated? Will the cashier give me an angry look and call the manager? What exactly is the process for dealing with express line cheats?

I can't stand the ambiguity so I head for the regular checkout stand and its longer line. When it's my turn to pay I am faced with the choice of proving I have a loyalty card or paying a penalty if I can't. I don't carry loyalty cards with me because I would need a wheelbarrow for all of them. Instead, I rely on using one of our phone numbers at the checkout. But which one? The people behind me glare at me and my time-wasting hesitation, or at least it feels that way. I know some of those folks were just looking for cheese so they can't be happy.

Is the loyalty card registered under the landline number for our house? Or might it be the phone number we had at our old home when we first got the card? Is it under my wife's cell phone number or do I have my own Safeway loyalty card? I can't remember. I peck at the point-of-sale terminal until one of those numbers works.

Now I have to decide on debit versus credit. I choose credit because of the airline miles associated with the card, which is another cesspool of complexity. I get mad just thinking about my airline miles.

Now the point-of-sale terminal asks if I want to donate a dollar to some worthwhile charity. I approve of the charity, but it pisses me off that they ask me in this particular situation. It's manipulative. I JUST WANT MY DAMN CHEESE!!!!

The cashier informs me that my credit card is blocked. I must have recently purchased a few things that match the pattern of credit card thieves. I switch to my emergency backup credit card while the people behind me wonder if I am a credit card thief, a pauper, or an idiot who forgot to pay his bills. I feel belittled and frustrated and angry.

I am also aware that there was probably some sort of coupon or discount for the stuff I am trying to buy that I didn't know about. So I feel a little ripped off too.

Now I have to figure out the bag situation. I have too many items to hand-carry because my search for cheese caused me to buy several items I didn't even know I needed. It only got worse as I got hungrier and hungrier over the course of my cheese safari. Damn you, Safeway marketing department! Damn you!

The cashier asks, as law requires, whether I want to pay ten cents for a paper bag. I would happily pay the ten cents if the cost were baked into the total price, but something about being asked in front of witnesses makes it feel wrong. And I know that if I do buy the bag I will be destroying the planet for future generations. I will feel guilty buying it, guilty loading it into my car, and guilty recycling it later. I decide to buy a reusable bag that is offered at the checkout. At this point, for reasons I still don't understand, the cashier gives me a death stare and moves in slow motion toward the reusable bags, as if to signal to me that I have done something wrong, but I'm not sure what.

Then the cashier asks if I need help to my car with my half-a-bag of groceries. I know her company requires her to ask, but it calls into question my manhood. I feel insulted because I know I can lift as much as five pounds and carry it across an entire parking lot without stopping more than twice.  I try to ignore the insult. . . until the bagger asks the same question.

By the time I reach my car I feel frustrated, angry, guilty, stupid, incompetent, belittled, weak, humiliated, ripped off, and inconvenienced. The feeling lasts until I get home and my wife says, "That's the wrong cheese." That feeling pretty much replaces all the other ones.

My point is that the new bag law in California is entirely reasonable when viewed in isolation. Likewise, loyalty cards, self-checkout, and all the other annoyances make complete sense when viewed in isolation. But we don't live in a world in which anything can exist in isolation. Safeway and my city government have made the simple act of food shopping so complicated that I'd rather scrounge in the dumpster behind the store than endure the pain of shopping inside the store.

This is an interesting issue because every business decision that causes inconvenience for customers is viewed in isolation. When you take that perspective, eventually the entire process becomes so complicated it is barely competitive with dumpster diving.

What we need is some sort of system in which any proposed complication is viewed as more bothersome than earlier complications. The first complication usually doesn't cause much problem. The tenth complication - no matter how well-meaning - destroys the system.

But here's my big gripe. Yes, I saved the best for last. You see, brains are like muscles in the sense that they have a limited capacity during any given day. If you lift too many heavy objects, your muscles will fail. Likewise, if you use up all of your brain cycles on nonsense, you have nothing left for the important things in life, such as making Dilbert comics and writing blog posts.

Seriously though, I think society is blind to the hidden cost of complexity in daily life. The ever-worsening complexity isn't simply annoying; it is hijacking your brain. Every minute you spend trying to find cheese, and trying to pay for it without getting arrested, is time you aren't thinking about solutions to real problems.

If this seems like no big deal, you might be wrong. Consider that everything good about modern civilization was invented by people who really needed to focus to get the job done. What happens to a world-class engineer or entrepreneur when he or she has to syphon off more brain energy to satisfying Safeway's marketing strategy instead of designing new products? Now multiply that times a hundred because every retailer, website, and business is trying to complicate your life too.

Complexity sneaks up on you because every individual decision - such as the bag laws in my city - make sense when viewed in isolation. But if that trend continues, complexity will be a huge drag on civilization.


Ten good reasons not to worry about polar bears

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting. The devastating decades of uncontrolled slaughter across the Arctic, including the Bering Sea, finally came to an end. And so in honor of International Polar Bear Day (Wed. February 27) – and because some activists are calling 2013 The Year of the Polar Bear – I’ve made a summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, with links to supporting data. I hope you find it a useful resource for tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears and celebrating their current success.

1) Polar bears are a conservation success story. Their numbers have rebounded remarkably since 1973 and we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago. Although we cannot state the precise amount that populations have increased (which is true for many species – counts are usually undertaken only after a major decline is noticeable), polar bears join a long list of other marine mammals whose populations rebounded spectacularly after unregulated hunting stopped: sea otters, all eight species of fur seals, walrus, both species of elephant seal, and whales of all kinds (including grey, right, bowhead, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales). Once surveys have been completed for the four subpopulations  of polar bears whose numbers are currently listed as zero (how about funding that, WWF?), the total world population will almost certainly rise to well above the current official estimate of 20,000-25,000 (perhaps to 27,000-32,000?).

2) The only polar bear subpopulation that has had a statistically significant decline in recent years is the one in Western Hudson Bay (WH)(Fig. 1). A few others have been presumed to be decreasing, based on suspicions of over-harvesting, assumed repercussions of reduced sea ice and/or statistically insignificant declines in body condition (see 3, below) – not actual population declines.

3) Polar bears in the US portion of the Chukchi Sea are in good condition and reproducing well, while sea ice in the Bering Sea has rebounded from record lows over the last ten years – good reasons not to be worried about polar bears in the Chukchi. The Chukchi subpopulation (which includes bears in the Bering Sea) was formerly assumed to be decreasing due to suspected over-harvesting and past declines in sea ice – even though no population survey had ever been done (see 2, above) – but preliminary reports about a recent survey suggest that Chukchi polar bears are doing very well. While there is still no official population estimate for the Chukchi (currently listed as zero), sea ice coverage in the Bering Sea has been higher than average over the last ten years and 2012 didn’t just break the satellite-era record set in 1999, it exceeded it by almost 100,000 square kilometers.

4) A survey by the Nunavut government in 2011 showed that polar bear numbers in Western Hudson Bay have not declined since 2004 as predicted and all available evidence indicates that Hudson Bay sea ice is not on a steadily precipitous decline – good reasons not to be worried about Hudson Bay bears. While polar bear biologists Ian Stirling and Andrew Derocher continue to insist that the modest decline in numbers of Western Hudson Bay polar bears recorded between 1998 and 2004 was due to earlier breakup of sea ice – and continues on that trend to this day – it turns out that much of the data used to support that claim is either unpublished, woefully out of date, or both. Although Stirling and colleagues have not yet published comparable dates of sea ice breakup since 2007 (they use a particular computation of satellite data), Canadian Ice Service data suggests that over the last 10 years we have not seen another very early breakup in Hudson Bay like the one that occurred in 2003. Surprisingly, 2009 was a late breakup year: the Port of Churchill experienced the latest breakup of sea ice since 1974 (three weeks later than average). All of which suggests that in Western Hudson Bay, some years have been good for polar bears and others have been not so good, but there has not been a relentless decline in sea ice breakup dates over the last thirty years.

5) Population decreases in polar bear numbers attributed to earlier sea ice breakup in Western Hudson Bay (see 4, above) have not been anywhere near as severe as the catastrophic decline that took place in 1974 in the eastern Beaufort Sea, which was associated with exceptionally thick sea ice. The modest decline in the Western Hudson Bay population that took place between 1998 and 2004 (down 22%) pales in comparison to the 1974 Beaufort event, when ringed seals numbers (i.e. polar bear food) dropped by 80% or more and numbers of polar bears plummeted. Similar events took place in 1984 and 1992, which means that three precipitous population declines due to heavy ice have taken place in this polar bear population over the last 40 years – but each time, numbers rebounded a few years later. In other words, due to entirely natural causes, polar bear numbers can fluctuate quite dramatically over relatively short periods because of the highly variable sea ice habitat they live in.

6) Polar bears need spring and early summer ice (March through June) for gorging on young, fat seals and documented declines in sea ice have rarely impinged on that critical feeding period (except for a few isolated years in Hudson Bay, see 4, above). A new study suggests that while some Western Hudson Bay bears will likely perish if the ice-free period extends to six months (from its current four-to-four+), many will survive because of their exceptional fat storage abilities.

7) There is no plausible evidence that regulated subsistence hunting is causing polar bear numbers to decline, despite suspicions harbored by the Polar Bear Specialist Group.

8) Global temperatures have not risen in a statistically-significant way in the last 16 years (see Fig. 2) – a standstill not predicted by climate models and a phenomenon even the chairman of the IPCC has acknowledged – which suggests that the record sea ice lows of the last few years are probably not primarily due to CO2-caused increases in global temperatures. Such changes in Arctic sea ice appear to be normal habitat variations that polar bears have survived before (see 9, below) and are likely due to natural processes we do not yet fully understand.

9) Survival of polar bears over a hundred thousand years (at least) of highly variable sea ice coverage indicates that those biologists who portend a doomed future for the polar bear have grossly underestimated its ability to survive vastly different conditions than those that existed in the late 1970s when Ian Stirling began his polar bear research. Sea ice has varied – countless dozens of times – over the short term (decades-long climate oscillations) and the long term (glacial-to-interglacial cycles of thousands of years). Over the last 100,000 years, there have been periods of much less ice than today, but also much, much more. Polar bear population numbers probably fluctuated up and down in conjunction with some of these sea ice changes but the polar bear as a species survived – and so did all of the Arctic seal species it depends on for food. Such survival indicates that these Arctic species, in an evolutionary sense, are very well-adapted to their highly-variable habitat.

10) Polar bears today are well distributed throughout their available territory, which is a recognized characteristic of a healthy species.

These are all good reasons to feel good about the current status of the polar bear. It is plain to see that these ice-dwelling bears are not currently threatened with extinction due to declining sea ice, despite the hue and cry from activist scientists and environmental organizations. Indeed, because the polar bear is doing so well, those who would like to see polar bears listed as “threatened” depend entirely upon dramatic declines in sea ice prophesied to occur decades from now to make their case.


Landowners '£1 billion wind farm boom'

Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners are on course to earn around £1 billion in rental fees from wind farm companies

Struan Stevenson, a Conservative MEP, estimated the sum will be paid over the next eight years to at least a dozen landowners willing to allow turbines on their estates and farms.

He suggested the wealthiest Scots are benefiting from the spread of wind farms at the expense of consumers, who have to heavily subsidise the technology in their energy bills.

Among the landowners named in the book is the Duke of Roxburghe, who, he estimated, could earn £1.5 million a year from turbines erected in the Lammermuir Hills.

Titled So Much Wind – The Myth of Green Energy, the book also claims that the spread of wind farms is leading to a new wave of Clearances as families are forced to move away by the construction of industrial turbines.

It was published as MSPs debated Alex Salmond’s plan to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Mr Stevenson estimated that the target would require the construction of around 5,000 wind farms in Scotland of which around 1,900 have already been built.

“We’re seeing in Scotland the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that we’ve ever seen in our history,” he told a press conference in Edinburgh.

“In parts of the Highlands now tourism is being effectively destroyed and people are leaving the Highlands because tourists no longer want to go there with the landscape bristling with wind factories and industrial wind turbines.

“It’s a catastrophic policy that could lead to the lights going out in Scotland and power cuts in the years ahead. It’s time this was exposed.”

His book argued that “money is the driver” behind landowners’ willingness to allow the construction of wind farms on their estates and farms.

“Rental payments vary and are top secret but it is estimated that a dozen or more of Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners will pocket around £1 billion in rental fees over the next eight years,” he wrote.

Mr Stevenson estimated the Duke of Roxburghe’s income based on 48 120-metre high turbines at Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills.

He wrote that Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming, a seventh baronet, could be earning £435,000 a year for allowing 29 turbines on his Altyre Estate near Forres in Moray.

Meanwhile, he estimated the Earl of Seafield could get £120,000 a year from eight turbines on his estate near Banff.

The Earl of Moray is estimated to receive around £2 million annually in rent for 49 turbines at Braes O’Doune, which Mr Stevenson wrote are “clearly visible from the iconic Stirling Castle”.

The Earl of Glasgow, a Liberal Democrat peer, has 14 turbines on his Kelburn estate in Ayrshire that could generate £300,000 of income per year.

Mr Stevenson highlighted how the Crown Estate, will controls large tracts of land and the seabed around Scotland, is on course to net billions of pounds from offshore wind farms. The revenue will be split between the Treasury and the Queen.

The Tory MEP argued wind farms are extremely inefficient and erratic, saying National Grid figures showed they produced only 0.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs on Tuesday morning this week.

In a debate at Holyrood, opposition MSPs complained about SNP ministers overturning local planning authorities’ decisions to reject wind farm applications.

However, Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister, insisted he would only approve “the right developments in the right places”.

Scottish Land and Estates, the body that represents landowners, and the Roxburghe Estate declined to comment on Mr Stevenson's claims.


British Member of Parliament Admits Climate Change Act ‘A Mistake’

by John O'Sullivan

Britain’s deeply unpopular Climate Change Act (2008) may be set for repeal as another politician joins the growing number of MP’s aghast at the damage it is having on the nation’s ailing economy.

Conservative Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell’s mea culpa today (February 25, 2013) shows dignity and acceptance of the weight of evidence conflicting with the already scientifically dubious notion of human-caused global warming.  “My biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry,” said Carswell on his blog.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of last week’s surprise admission by Rajendra Pachuari, the UN’s head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Pachauri conceded that we are now into a 17-year pause in global temperature rises, as confirmed recently by Britain's Met Office. Even NASA’s most strident climate doomsayer, Dr. James Hansen concedes there has been "a pause” in any temperature rise.

The 2008 rush to enact the UK’s "carbon tax" is now dismissed by Carswell as “gesture legislation” and like other politicians he admits “this law has turned out to have real consequences.”  Like others Carswell has woken up to the stark reality of just how much the UK’s Climate Change Act has pushed up energy prices and is “squeezing households and making economic recovery ever more elusive,” says the MP.  Under the Act the government is currently legally committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. In contrast, the EU is only committed to cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020.Skyrocketing energy bills have forced 6 million households in fuel poverty and the proposed Carbon Floor Price will increase this number to 12 million - that is 1 in 4 households

Ironically, Carswell is a graduate of the UEA, made infamous by the Climategate scandal of 2009. He is also regarded widely as among the more principled politicians in Westminster hoping to turn the tide on this folly. Carswell was voted in 2009 by ‘Spectator’ readers as ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ while ‘The Daily Telegraph’ nominated him a ‘Briton of the Year.’  He now takes his place among that fast growing band of dissenting Conservative politicians speaking out about the damage misguided ‘green’ policies have had on our economies.


Yes! We Should Defund The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change

It seems that along with 17 years of flat global temperatures there is some evidence that we are witnessing some cooling on global warming hype and hysteria in Washington as well. Following President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double down on his frenetic “green” war to prevent climate change, U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has introduced legislation to discontinue any more taxpayer green from being used to advance the U.N.’s economy-ravaging agendas. The proposed bill would prohibit future U.S. funding for the alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and also for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a scam devoted to redistributing American wealth in penance for our unfair capitalist free market prosperity.

Congressman Luetkemeyer strongly objects to the UNFCC’s use of IPCC’s suggestions and faulty data to implement a job-killing agenda here in America. He argues: “The American people should not have to foot the bill for an international organization that is fraught with waste, engaged in dubious science, and is promoting an agenda that will destroy jobs and drive up the cost of energy in the United States. Unfortunately, the president appears to be ready to fund these groups, revive harmful policies like cap and trade, and further empower out of control federal regulators at a time when we should be doing everything possible to cut wasteful spending, reduce regulatory red tape, and promote economic growth.”

While the amount we give to the UNFCC and IPCC may seem like a tiny pittance in the realm of government spending largesse, it’s important to realize that true costs of that folly amount to countless billions in disastrous policy and regulatory impacts. Under the Obama administration, the two organizations together have received a total average of $10.25 million annually, which will be upped to $13 million under a FY 13 budget request. The George W. Bush administration previously provided about $5.7 million each year.

Representative Luetkemeyer’s defunding proposal cites unsupportable IPCC claims based upon irresponsible science practices which were revealed in e-mail exchanges between climate researchers in the U.K.’s East Anglia University network. These communications provide clear evidence that leading global scientists intentionally manipulated data and suppressed legitimate opposing arguments in peer-reviewed journals. In some instances, collaborators were asked to delete and destroy incriminating e-mails rather than comply with legally-binding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

It may be instructive to remember that all of this global warming crisis frenzy really got heated up in the late 1980s, less than two decades after many scientists had warned during the mid-1970s that the next Ice Age was rapidly approaching. Even the National Academy of Sciences predicted in 1975 that there was a “finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years.”

But guess what? Climate actually does change, and the planet then experienced a warming spell. Attributing this “crisis” to influences of man-made carbon emissions, a presumption based upon theoretical climate models, the U.N. established its FCCC in 1992, began to organize conferences, and created the  IPCC to conduct scientific reviews.

The central FCCC strategy to fight what was promoted as “anthropogenic” (man-made) climate change was brilliant…to put a value credit on cutbacks in the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by fossil-burning industries, and then let other industries that produced amounts of CO2 emissions in excess of their allocations, purchase credits from them. In other words, they would create a trading market to buy and sell air.

This carbon “cap-and-trade” program would be accomplished on a country-to-country international scale through the Kyoto Protocol treaty, penalizing developed countries that produce lots of CO2 emissions by forcing them to purchase credits from less developed countries (amounting to free money for them). Incidentally, China and India, which emit huge amounts of CO2, were given a pass because of their developing country status.

Although IPCC is broadly represented to the public as the top authority on climate matters, the organization doesn’t actually carry out any original climate research at all. Instead, it simply issues assessments based upon supposedly independent surveys of published research. However, some of the most influential conclusions summarized in its reports have neither been based upon truly independent research, nor properly vetted through accepted peer- review processes.

The IPCC asserted in its 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would likely melt by 2035 due to global warming, prompting great alarm across southern and eastern Asia, where glaciers feed major rivers. As it turned out, that prediction was traced to a speculative magazine article authored by an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, which had absolutely no supporting science behind it. Hasnain worked for a research company headed by the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri.  IPCC’s report author, Marari Lai, later admitted to the London Mail, “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take action.”

Can we count upon objective conclusions from scientists who feel “called to action”? Consider commentary by the late Stephen Schneider who served as a lead author for important parts of three sequential IPCC reports. In a 1989 interview he told Discover magazine: “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, on the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that, we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

Oh, by the way… while “climate” is generally associated with periods spanning at least three decades, Schneider’s alarmist global warming position completely reversed a view he championed little more than a decade earlier. His 1976 book, The Genesis Strategy, warned that global cooling risks posed a threat to humanity.

While it should be recognized that most of the many scientific reviewers are indeed dedicated and competent people who take their work very seriously, few of them have much if any influence over final conclusions that the public hears about. Instead, the huge compilations they prepare go through international bureaucratic reviews, where political appointees dissect them, line by line, to glean the best stuff that typically supports what IPCC wanted to say in the first place. These cherry-picked items are then assembled, condensed and highlighted in the Summaries for Policymakers which are calibrated to get prime-time and front page attention.

Political summary editing processes usually progress through a series of drafts that become increasingly media-worthy. For example, the original text of an April 2000 Third Assessment Report (TAR) draft stated: “There has been a discernible human influence on global climate.” That was followed by an October version that concluded: “It is likely that increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases have contributed significantly to observed warming over the past 50 years.” Then in the final official summary, the language was toughened up even more: “Most of the observed warming over the past 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

When the U.N. Environment Programme’s spokesman, Tim Higham, was asked by New Scientist about the scientific background for this change, his answer was honest: “There was no new science, but the scientists wanted to present a clear and strong message to policymakers.”

Sometimes IPCC report statements directly contradict conclusions published by the same authors during the same time period. Regarding any “discernible human influence on global climate”, a 1996 IPCC report summary written by B.D. Santer, T.M.L Wigley, T.P. Barnett, and E. Anyamba states: “…there is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcings by greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols…from geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change…These results point towards human influence on climate.”

However,  another 1996 publication, “The Holocene”, by T.P. Barnett, B.D. Santer, P.D. Jones, R.S. Bradley and K.R. Briffa, says: “Estimates of…natural variability are critical to the problem of detecting an anthropogenic [human] signal…We have estimated the spectrum…from paleo-temperature proxies and compared it with…general [climate] circulation models…none of the three estimates of the natural variability spectrum agree with each other…Until…resolved, it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.”

Go figure!


Identifying Global Warming Snow And Global Cooling Snow

Heavy snow during the 1970s was caused by global cooling, but equally heavy snow in recent years is caused by global warming.

Global warming snow can be differentiated from global cooling snow, based on the current funding scam of the climate seance community.


Australia:  Queensland State Government plans to allow logging in areas earmarked for national parks

THE State Government is about to reopen logging in about two million hectares of environmentally sensitive land put aside by the previous government.

The move will see timber felled in prime conservation areas that were earmarked for national parks.

Logging will resume in southeast Queensland, the western hardwoods area, cypress regions in the west, central Queensland and north Queensland.

A leaked email from Agriculture Department director-general Jack Noye to National Parks Department director-general John Glaister says Agriculture Minister John McVeigh has approved the logging.

The email also notes that it is proposed that logging be conducted without Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service approval for codes or harvest plans.

It sparked a vicious response from Greens environment spokeswoman Larissa Waters, who said the letter confirmed Premier Campbell Newman was an environmental vandal.

"The reopening of native forest logging will trash invaluable habitat for native wildlife, destroy carbon stores and is an economic risk, given plantation forestry is more sustainable and provides reliable employment into the future," Senator Waters said.

Mr McVeigh said the areas being reopened were not World Heritage-listed forests.

"They are areas that have been previously available and they will ... meet the highest forest sustainability management standards," he said.

"Many of these robust, former state forests had been sustainably harvested for a century and more, supporting regional towns before being locked up by Labor in its dirty preference deals with the Greens."

He said the Greens wanted to shut down local forest industries, which forced greater reliance on imports.

It is expected about 30,000ha per year will be logged on a 30 to 40-year cycle.

In 1999, the state government signed the South East Queensland Forests Agreement with the Queensland Timber Board and conservationists.

Its aim - and other agreements that followed - was to end disputes over what areas should be logged or conserved and for producing plantations such as between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to gradually replace native forest logging over 25 years.

But logging companies in country towns such as Monto and Mundubbera, often major local employers, complained that the agreements starved them of logs.

Senator Waters said Mr Newman was determined to repeal all environmental protection.




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


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