Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Carbon Positive Campaign

Please join the fun, exciting, life-affirming, environment benefiting, life-creating campaign for carbon dioxide!

The Carbon Positive Campaign!

Within 50 years, in the time of our children and grand-children, we will have improved the environment and created a lush, green, productive, life-filled planet Earth with all of the beneficial green plant food carbon dioxide we are re-adding and giving back to the environment.

The carbon that is currently trapped in hydrocarbon fuels used to be life!  It used to be carbon circulating in the global biospheric process of life, and sustained a lush, green planet, that could support huge creatures like dinosaurs in the past.  Today, that carbon-based life has been trapped underground and has formed hydrocarbon fuels that humans can access.  Humans get to use that old carbon, which has turned into hydrocarbon fuel, for benefiting our standard of life and relieving poverty on a global scale, and enriching human livelihood in general with the energy it provides.  That hydrocarbon fuel has supported a tremendous and enriching transformation and development of human society in the last hundred years.

For the last few millions years, the carbon dioxide concentration in the air was getting so low that plant life was almost ready to stop being able to perform photosynthesis!  This would have spelled the extinction of almost all life on the planet, and this extinction would have been global and possibly permanent!  It was a very close call.  Luckily, by the grace of God, evolution, Gaia, or whatever you would like to be believe – even convenient and lucky happenstance – humans came along at just the right geological time-period to return that trapped life, carbon, back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide where it can then turn back into plants and sustain new and more life.  Isn’t it amazing?

It is the most wonderful win-win situation that nature could have provided for us.  We get cheap, beneficial, life-enriching energy, and the environment gets back its own source of fuel.  It is exactly like how animals and humans breathe out carbon dioxide, and then plants turn around and breathe it in as food and, then produce oxygen for us to breath again.  The circle of life.  Except now, we’ve industrialized that process and are returning much more food back to the environment where it is supposed to be, and where it can do some good in creating new life.  We’re giving back the breathe of life by using hydrocarbons and giving carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere, and this new carbon dioxide can now go back into real, living life, in the present and future.

We can use this wealth supplied by hydrocarbons and the time it gives us to develop new, future-oriented sources of power such as advanced nuclear, fusion, and whatever power generation technology science might invent, because eventually hydrocarbon fuels may become too limited to provide the energy requirements we desire.  And when we get to that point, we will be able to always look back and think of all the good that we did for the environment by reinvigorating it with its own carbon dioxide – carbon that had been trapped away from its use in creating and being life.

Please help spread the word of this fantastic news and fantastic science!


High quality proxy study confirms earlier warm periods

There have been a number of these Fenno-Scandinavian studies with similar conclusions.  This one is particularly notable for the careful validation of the measurements used.  It was of course the INVALIDITY of Michael Mann's "hockeystick" data that led to a need to "hide the decline" in his chosen proxies.  So, unlike Mann, the  authors below demonstrate that they really are measuring past temperatures.

Warmists dismiss Fenno-Scandinavian data with a wave of their hand, claiming that such data are local, not global.  The only problem is that such findings ARE global, ranging from Argentina to New Zealand to China

 Esper, J., Büntgen, U., Timonen, M. and Frank, D.C. 2012. "Variability and extremes of northern Scandinavian summer temperatures over the past two millennia". Global and Planetary Change 88-89: 1-9.


The authors developed 587 high-resolution wood density profiles from living and sub-fossil Pinus sylvestris trees of northern Sweden and Finland to form a long-term maximum latewood density (MXD) record stretching from 138 BC to AD 2006, wherein all MXD measurements were derived from high-precision X-ray radiodensitometry, and where biological age trends inherent to the MXD data were removed using regional curve standardization, after which the new MXD record was calibrated against mean June-August temperatures obtained from the long-term (1876-2006) instrumental records of three different monitoring stations.

And in comparing their results with the earlier temperature reconstructions of others, they say that their MXD-based summer temperature reconstruction "sets a new standard in high-resolution palaeoclimatology," as "the record explains about 60% of the variance of regional temperature data, and is based on more high-precision density series than any other previous reconstruction."

Finally, and most importantly, the four researchers state that their new temperature history "provides evidence for substantial warmth during Roman and Medieval times, larger in extent and longer in duration than 20th century warmth."

More specifically, they identify the Medieval Warm Period as occurring between approximately AD 700 and 1300; and they identify the warmest 30-year interval of this period as occurring from AD 918 to 947, during which time June-August temperatures were approximately 0.3°C warmer than those of the warmest 30-year interval of the Current Warm Period.

Northern Scandinavian JJA temperatures shown with 100-year filters of the reconstruction (red curve) and uncertainty estimates integrating standard and bootstrap errors (shaded area). Text indicates the Roman Warm, Dark Ages Cold, Medieval Warm, Little Ice Age, and Current Warm Periods. Temperatures are expressed as anomalies with respect to the 1951 1980 mean.


About Those Tobacco Connections…

Where’s the scholarly press release highlighting Al Gore’s “longstanding ties to tobacco companies?” Where’s the study announcing that WWF’s tobacco connections extend back to the 1960s?

There’s chatter in the climate blogosphere about a new paper that claims the fiscally conservative movement in America known as the Tea Party has links to Big Tobacco. For example, climatologist Michael Mann is (re)tweeting about it

The paper in question has been published in a journal titled Tobacco Control. You can purchase one day of access to it here if you’re willing to pay $30 US (or, since I’m in Canada, the price is 20 British pounds).

The author of the paper is a University of California San Francisco professor named Stanton Glantz. Since this is a discussion about who’s connected to whom behind the scenes, it’s worth noticing that Glantz happens to sit on the Editorial Advisory Board of this very journal.

In any case, climate activists have a long history of trying to discredit climate skepticism by claiming that skeptics are behaving like Big Tobacco by questioning the urgency of the climate crisis, that we’re employing a “tobacco strategy” to communicate our point-of-view, and so forth. In the comic-book world inhabited by such people, climate skepticism and the Tea Party are practically indistinguishable, hence the interest in this paper.

The University of California has issued a press release headlined: Study: Tea Party Organizations Have Ties To Tobacco Industry Dating Back To 1980s. It quotes Glantz:

    "Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party movement have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry’s anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda."

Let’s deal with the last half of that sentence first. The claim is that the Tea Party is promoting the tobacco industry’s agenda. Except that hostility toward excessive taxes and job-killing regulations is actually its own agenda. Those ideas are central to a fiscally conservative economic analysis.

Even if tobacco never existed, the Tea Party would still be against red tape. It would still be saying that ordinary people pay too much tax. Any professor who thinks the Tea Party’s opposition to taxes has been orchestrated by the tobacco industry needs to step outside his ivory tower and inhale some fresh air.

Which leaves the first part of the sentence. We’re told that Tea Party organizations “have longstanding ties to tobacco companies.” Well, if that is sufficient to discredit the Tea Party, it should be sufficient to discredit a wide swath of environmental activism as well.

Back in 1996, the New York Times reported that, six years after Al Gore’s sister had died of lung cancer, he himself “was still accepting campaign contributions from tobacco interests.” In 1999, it revealed that Gore’s “top media adviser,” Carter Eskew,

    "helped design a $40 million advertising blitz for the big tobacco companies during the Congressional fight over Federal anti-tobacco legislation…[Eskew] is not the only member of the Gore team with tobacco ties. Tina Flournoy, Mr. Gore’s finance director, is a former Philip Morris executive, and Jonathan Tisch, one of his top fund-raisers in New York, is a top executive at the Loews Corporation, the parent company of Lorillard Tobacco."

On the campaign trail back in 1988, Gore couldn’t boast loudly enough about the central role tobacco has played in his life:

    "Throughout most of my life, I’ve raised tobacco…I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I’ve hoed it. I’ve chopped it. I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it."

And let us not forget the World Wildlife Fund’s tobacco connections. The 2011 book, Saving the World’s Wildlife: WWF – the first 50 years was written with the cooperation of WWF officials. It says this organization extended a warm welcome to South African corporations during the apartheid era. According to page 120:

    "WWF-South Africa was in many ways a special branch of the [WWF]. Instead of appealing to the general public it derived its income from corporate members. Seventy-two companies joined within a year thanks to Anton Rupert’s active canvassing among the South African business community."

Rupert was one of the founders of the WWF and one of the richest men in the world. Where did his fortune come from? Tobacco. An obituary explains:

    "Calculating that there would always be a great demand for tobacco, regardless of what happened in the world, he developed a cigarette-making company named Voorbrand, soon to be renamed Rembrandt Ltd, whose overseas tobacco interests were eventually consolidated in Rothmans."

The WWF is the largest and wealthiest green lobby group on the planet. One of its founders was a tobacco baron.

Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change activism. He has been intimately linked to tobacco for most of his life.

Will Professor Glantz be writing a paper about these facts? Will he be declaring, in a press release, that both Al Gore and the WWF have “longstanding ties to tobacco companies”?

Will his university issue a press release that announces, in it’s title, that the WWF’s links to the tobacco industry extend back to the 1960s?

Finally, will the hired-gun, public relations professionals posing as activists over at DeSmogBlog tweet about how the WWF “was created by Big Tobacco and Billionaires”?


Obama's Green policies make him the enemy of the poor

A winter storm of epic proportions has pounded the northeast.  The president's solution: make it colder.  That's the message he sent during his second inaugural speech, and it's what we're going to hear in the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Not that the president's climate change proposals will actually work.  Closing down a few coal-powered plants is not going to alter global temperatures.  But it will please the environmental lobby and bring in contributions in advance of the 2014 congressional elections, which is more or less the point.

If the White House could alter the climate, the 2013 supersnow would argue for making it warmer, not colder.  The storm has killed at least four, shut down commerce in four states, and wrought havoc on air travel nationwide.

The recent cold spell in the eastern U.S. has been accompanied by record cold in China, Europe, and other regions.  Obviously, the earth's climate is not getting dramatically warmer, as climate alarmists claim.  While it is generally acknowledged that global temperatures have risen since 1850, more recent temperature readings have been less clear-cut, and future readings are unpredictable.  In the centuries-long period before 1850 known as the Little Ice Age, global temperatures were the coldest in millennia.

The next century may well revert to that pattern of cooling -- a prospect not to be desired.  On balance, periods of climate cooling result in devastating crop failures, higher death rates, and lower standards of living.  Warming, on the other hand, produces bumper crop yields, economic growth, improved health, and greater prosperity -- especially for the world's poor.

President Obama has never shown much concern for the world's poor.  Unlike President Bush, whose Millennium Project brought a measure of reform to developing nations, Obama has been willing to meet "without preconditions" with any corrupt tyrant, anytime and anywhere.  The result has been no improvement in living standards or human rights among the world's poorest citizens.  Obama is more interested in rewarding green energy investors who just happen to be major contributors to the Democratic Party than he is in relieving suffering among the poor.

The president's climate change policies certainly don't do much for anyone, poor or not.  After the failure of Solyndra and many other government-funded green energy companies, one would have thought that Obama had learned his lesson.  But his second inaugural proposal was to double down on green energy -- that is to say, continue shoveling out tens of billions of dollars to wealthy investors in exchange for campaign contributions.  Even with continuing trillion-dollar deficits, Obama insists that government does "not have a spending problem."  A trillion dollars is nothing to this president as long as he can wring a billion dollars of contributions out of it.

The fact that all of this spending comes at the expense of ordinary Americans seems not to matter.  At a point in the economic cycle when the economy should be expanding by more than 4%, estimates of GDP growth for 2013 are coming in at 2% or less.  That lack of growth, and the lack of job-creation that accompanies it, has devastated working Americans.  Proposed EPA regulations of existing coal-powered plants will, if implemented, result in a tax on all Americans, but one that disproportionately affects the poor and middle class.  The same thing can be said for Obama's radical plans to raise CAFE standards on passenger vehicles.  Likewise for EPA regulation of oil and gas drilling and all the other misguided climate-related policies coming out of this administration.  Ordinary citizens are paying a tax equal to 25% of their income -- the effect of compounding wage losses of 3% annually over eight years of the Obama administration -- just to fund the president's green energy pay-to-play schemes.

The effect on the world's poor is even greater.  It is, in fact, a matter of life and death.  Obama's continuing support for corn ethanol mandates has raised global grain prices beyond what the world's poorest citizens can afford.  Quite literally, Obama has caused billions of poor people to go to bed hungry each night and millions to starve.  Ironically, America's first African-American president would rather collect cash contributions from the green energy lobby than save the life of a child starving in east Africa.

Global hunger is already a crisis, but if Obama really could lower global temperatures, as he claims to be able to do, hunger would become a catastrophe, and not just in east Africa.  Fortunately, nothing any politician can do will change the course of the earth's climate.  Unfortunately, Obama doesn't see this, or he doesn't want to see it.  And his actions are going to cause great harm, especially to the poor the world over.

What is truly disturbing is this president's callousness toward the poor.  One stroke of the pen could eliminate corn ethanol mandates, end biofuel boondoggles, and block EPA regulation of fossil fuels.  As a result, the U.S. economy -- and the global economy with it -- would flourish, creating new wealth that would spread not just among America's people, but among human beings everywhere.

Real reform of this kind would lower food and fuel costs globally, thereby relieving suffering for the world's poor.  Obama's proposal to double down on green energy, on the other hand, will drive food and fuel costs even higher.  Tens of millions of desperate human beings will die as a result of the president's policies, and billions will suffer the agony of unending hunger.  Does the president even care?  Not as long as donations keep rolling in.


Tricks of the climate trade

by Michael Kile

Want to play the climate game? Make sure you cover all bases and potential outcomes. Discourage attempts to falsify your claims. Never give your critics criteria against which they could test the veracity of your pseudo-predictions and alleged attributions. Insist you know how to separate the “signal” (AGW “fingerprint”) from the “noise in the system” (random weather).

If your ensemble (multi-model) simulations produce a glaring anomaly when compared with real-world data, explain it away by saying: “in this case there must have been more natural variability than we assumed in our models.” Hide uncertainties under a facade of faux confidence. Never hint that an ensemble approach is a neat way to keep your colleagues in the game.

Be harsh with anyone who asks if there could be something awry with model methodologies. Distract attention from your claim that you can “identify” a local weather impact of a global mean temperature rise of less than 1C a century -- allegedly due to the presence of 0.0385 per cent of an atmospheric trace gas -- in a world where the daily range exceeds 80C (-45C to +45C), and so on.

Dismiss heretics who worry about the uncertainty monster, especially those who claim that “large uncertainties in both the observations and model simulations of the spectral amplitude of natural variability preclude a confident detection of anthropogenically-forced climate change against the background of natural internal climate variability.”

In June last year, The Guardian’s Leo Hickman asked some climate scientists whether it was now acceptable "to blame extreme weather on global warming". Was there a “distinctive [AGW] fingerprint” in extreme weather events (EWEs) unequivocally caused by human GHG emissions?

Some, like NOAA’s Harold Brooks, placed each-way bets: “Our understanding of how global scale atmospheric changes affect tornadoes and severe thunderstorms is that global warming will make some of the [atmospheric] ingredients for them more likely and others less likely. As a result, it appears that long-term trends in tornado occurrence or intensity are unlikely to be large. Even without the planet warming, we would expect to see some years with many tornadoes and others with few tornadoes.”

Other responses were dicey. Princeton University’s Professor Michael Oppenheimer is a dice-man. The alleged link between recent EWEs and increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was, for him, “best represented by a 'loading the dice' analogy – as the world warms, the likelihood of occurrence (frequency), intensity, and/or geographic extent of many types of extreme events is increasing.”

Professor Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann of Penn State also was keen on “the analogy of loaded dice”. There had been, he said, a doubling in the frequency of record-breaking heat in the US, “relative to what we would expect from chance alone.” Records were being broken at “nearly 10 times the rate we would expect without global warming. So there is no question in my mind that the 'signal' of climate change has now emerged in our day-to-day weather. We are seeing the loading of the random weather dice toward more 'sixes'. We are seeing and feeling climate change in the more extreme heat we are witnessing this summer.”

But how confident are they about detecting a climate change signal [DACC] in the “chaotic noise” of near-term weather patterns? One person who appeared to have doubts -– at least three years ago -- was Gavin Schmidt, a meteorologist with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

In a 2009 interview, Schmidt said the problem with climate “predictions” to 2030 and 2050 was that they cannot be tested “in the way you can test a weather forecast”. The reason is that long-term trends take

“...about twenty years to evaluate because there is so much unforced (“natural”) variability in the system that we can’t predict – the chaotic component of the climate system – which is not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically. That is something that we really can’t get a handle on. We can only look at the climate problem once we have had a long enough time for that chaotic noise to be washed out so that we can see that there is a full signal that is significantly larger than the inter-annual or the inter-decadal variability. This is a real problem because society wants answers from us and won't wait 20 years.”

There was a more fundamental problem, too. Climate variables are “horribly non-linear” and “horribly complex”.

“There is never going to be a theory of climate. People have tried, but they all fall pretty much at the very first hurdle. It is 'irreducibly complex'. And you can't get away from that.”

Yet researchers claim today they can make meaningful model simulations “with and without forcing due to climate change” (DACC) and “compute differences in the probabilities of particular events.”

While Hickman’s other contributors all sang from the ACE song-sheet, some seemed more cautious. Was it because they had doubts about specifying EWE probabilities with and without DACC? Several emphasised the difficulty “in calculating the contribution of climate change to an individual extreme event”. (author’s italics).

For Michael Wehner, staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the “relevant question” was: how has the risk of an individual EWE changed because of climate change (DACC)?

In Wehner’s view, the risk of EWEs, particularly very severe heatwaves, “has already changed significantly due to AGW. He claimed the chances of the 2003 European summer heatwave, was “responsible for as many as 70 000 additional deaths, at least doubled and likely increased by a factor of 4 to 10.” The chances of the 2010 Russian and 2011 Texas events had “undoubtedly increased,” yet apparently “these events could have occurred without the human changes to the climate.” By 2100, he predicted, today’s most EWEs will seem “relatively normal.”

Some, like MIT’s Kerry Emanuel, felt the orthodoxy could say something like “the annual probability of a heatwave of magnitude A and duration B before DACC was X, but as a result of DACC has increased to Y and is expected to further increase to between Z1 and Z2”. It would take, of course, some work to actually fill in the numbers X, Y, Z1, and Z2......Any statement that went “appreciably” further probably would involve “spin of one kind or another.”

Harold Brooks admitted attribution of EWEs was challenging. “We’re faced with two separate, but related, questions. How much did the planet’s warming contribute directly to the extreme event? The second more challenging question: how much more likely was the event because of a warmer planet?”

But is it possible to determine how any low-probability event (EWE) changes with changes in “average conditions”? The orthodoxy is not only asserting it can do so, but also claims weighted-coin or loaded-dice outcomes are analogous to probabilities in the EWE-space. But is this the case?

“If you flip a fair coin 100 times,” Brooks explained, “on average you get 50 heads, but 95% of the time you’ll get between 40 and 60 heads and, two or three times you’ll get 65 heads. If you get a weighted coin [or loaded dice] that is 55 per cent likely to be heads, it will be 10 times as likely that you’ll get 65 heads. The small change in the average chance means the chance of an extreme [EWE] becomes much more likely.”

Brooks claims this approach can be applied to temperature extremes. But how to determine whether any change in average temperature made it more likely atmospheric flows would be even more likely to occur than just by chance? How, indeed!

UEA’s Dr Clare Goodess did “not believe that it will ever be possible to look at a single event and say definitively if it would or would not have occurred in the absence of human influence. Paradoxically, however, she felt it was possible “to estimate the extent to which human activity has increased the risk of such events occurring. It has, for example, been demonstrated that human influence has more than doubled the risk of a hot European summer like that of 2003 occurring, and substantially increased the risk of flooding which occurred in England and Wales in autumn 2000.”

DACC attribution was, she admitted, “a more challenging task for rainfall and other weather variables than for temperature, and for areas smaller than continents.”

We soon enter the realm of the “seamless prediction paradigm” -- and EWE-climate pseudo-prediction. (For those interested in more detail, read this critique by Dr Henk Tennekes, a past director of research at the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute.)

As for EWE risk analysis, any statement that describes the likelihood of a future climate or weather event occurring in terms of estimated “probabilities” is defined here as a pseudo-prediction.

Example: “Calculating how the odds of a particular extreme event have changed provides a means of quantifying the influence of climate change on the event. The heatwave that affected Texas has become distinctly more likely than 40 years ago. In the same vein, the likelihood of very warm November temperatures in the UK has increased substantially since the 1960s.”

The state of climate science today resembles in some ways that of seismology. No seismologist has ever predicted the location and timing of any major earthquake, nor a climatologist a (DAGW-induced) EWE. Unlike the latter, seismologists not only admit they do not know how to do it, most do not expect they will ever know how to do it. Most seismologists therefore resist the temptation to make precise short-term predictions. Some, however, release probability statements, as climatologists are now doing for near-term EWE attribution. Mark Quigley, Senior Lecturer in Active Tectonics and Geomorphology at NZ’s Canterbury University, is one of them.

It is doubtful, however, that this kind of “probabilistic” risk approach will ever protect any community - be it in an active earthquake zone, a cyclonic belt or bushfire region.

Hence even if one accepts the validity of Team ACE’s EWE attribution ambitions, it is difficult to see how “authoritative assessments of EWE risk” would be useful; especially when they are to be “produced shortly after the EWEs in question when interest is at its height.”

ACE’s work has been useful for DACC alarmists, such as Christian Figueres, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary. “It doesn’t take a scientist to connect the dots,” she said late last year. “While none of these events can be exclusively linked to climate change, taken together they indicate we’re already in the midst of climate unpredictability, of a profound disruption of the Earth’s hydrological cycle the effect of which is still unknown.” Climate “certainty” is within reach, apparently, but only if UNFCCC is given the power and money to sort things out.

Everyone who’s anyone is now playing the EWE-climate game: loading dice, yet ignoring the uncertainties (see Part III).

Economist Paul Krugman did it in an op-ed column last July. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, did it in Hobart on 15th January this year, when he kicked off the EWE conga line. President Obama did it to “rapturous applause” in his Inauguration speech, vowing to “preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God”, in a burst of rhetoric reminiscent of Al Gore’s Noah period.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change”, Obama promised, “knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations”. (Even more than dumping on them the formidable task of repaying trillions of dollars of national debt?)

Inspired by the decarbonising vibes now radiating from Capitol Hill, our prime minister did it hours later. Singing from the same song-sheet as Figueres et al, she reportedly said that while Australia’s summer EWEs could not be directly attributed to climate change, “the science indicated very clearly climate change means more EWEs.”

Let’s play it again, PM. While EWEs could not be directly attributed to “climate change” -- presumably code for DAGW or DACC -- the science “indicated very clearly climate change means more EWEs.” Down at the track, this would be a scratched horse. [Climate change, strictly speaking, merely describes a natural process – the changing climate. How could it be a cause of anything?]

Fortunately, not everyone has been duped by the new EWE-speak. When Bill Leak rolled his dice, he came up with this cartoon: “A Combet Nation of Fact and Fiction” (The Weekend Australian, 19-20 January, 2013). A perspiring Combet presents the national weather forecast against the backdrop of a continent in flames. “Our satellite picture shows,” he says unconvincingly, “the carbon tax bringing relief from the sweltering conditions we’ve all been....”

Professor Ross Garnaut, the Canberra Carbon Cargo Cult Club’s former climate change guru, also did it in a recent speech to China’s National Development and Reform Commission. “Climate change,” he warned, “takes us into unknown territory for human civilisation”. Australia’s extreme January heat and bushfires were the “latest of the increasingly common extreme weather events that carry a climate change [DACC] footprint.” (How does a fingerprint become a footprint?)

Garnaut is a dice-man, too. He also likes an each-way bet. He was on-message in Beijing. “The association of EWEs with climate change is complicated and can be confusing, because natural climate variability would anyway have introduced damaging extreme weather events from time to time.” Nevertheless, he claimed “we can characterise the way that global warming has affected weather in probabilistic terms by thinking of outcomes as being the result of the throwing of a standard dice with six faces” and so on. But can we?

This was, he said “the probabilistic sense in which climate scientists should be understood when they say that [while] no particular EWE can be said to be caused by global warming [DAGW], [nevertheless] EWEs will happen more often and the worst will be more extreme than before” [because of it.]

But can statistical probability be used in this way? Is the dice a legitimate analogy? Is EWE frequency comparable to a dice throw? To answer these questions, we must venture further into Garnaut’s “unknown territory” -- and into the belly of the beast.


Shale mining coming to Australia

A BAN on shale oil mining in Queensland will be lifted, creating potentially thousands of jobs and providing the cash-strapped State Government with a new revenue stream.

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps will today announce plans to lift the ban, placing the Newman Government on a collision course with environmentalists.

The decision will mean the Government can count on new royalty revenue from shale oil, liquefied natural gas and uranium in the future.

The shale oil industry has been in limbo since 2008 after a 20-year moratorium was placed over a major deposit in north Queensland and the industry told it must prove its technology before the Government would give the green light to proceed.

Shale oil is a sedimentary rock that can be mined, crushed, heated and processed or heated in place to produce petroleum and other fuels.

The Newman Government's decision will allow one operator, Queensland Energy Resources, to progress its trial plant at Gladstone and seek approval for a full commercial operation.

Other potential operators are likely to kickstart the approvals process for their own operations in coming years, with 90 per cent of Australia's known oil shale reserves in Queensland.

However, the Government will maintain until 2028 the moratorium on the controversial deposit near Proserpine in north Queensland, which critics claim is too close to the coastline and sensitive wetlands.

Mr Cripps said the industry could provide huge economic benefits to Queensland, with the current resource considered capable of producing 22 billion barrels of oil.

"As the world supply of conventional crude oil diminishes, there are strong prospects for oil shale to become the next major source of liquid fuel supplies in Australia, and Queensland is well placed to lead that charge," he said.

Under the new shale oil policy, the Newman Government promised project proponents would have to demonstrate how they would meet high environmental standards.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell stressed approvals would be made on a "case-by-case" basis.

QER chief executive Pearce Bowman said the Government's decision recognised the potential importance of oil shale to Australia's transport fuel future, and QER's achievements in constructing and operating a clean and quiet technology demonstration plant




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


No comments: