Monday, December 02, 2013

U.N. climate change talks: it’s really all about the money

“Rich countries are still not pledging enough money to begin financing a shift to a cleaner global economy,” reports the Financial Times (FT) in its coverage of the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw that ended with little more than a “vague road map on how to prepare for a global climate pact they’re supposed to adopt in two years.”

Leading into what has now been called an “unsatisfactory summit,” predictions suggested the “talks could collapse because of a lack of financial support from rich nations.” Delegates from developing countries, such as Ecuador’s lead negotiator Daniel Ortega, believe “an effective 2015 emissions reduction agreement has to be based on a clear financial package.”

Ortega stated: “I’m not personally expecting any commitment by Warsaw. What we need to have is a clear roadmap of how the discussions of financing will allow us to have a clear idea of commitments by 2015.”

Even low expectations like Ortega’s were dashed when, on the opening day of the climate talks, November 11, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government produced a document, outlining its position at the Warsaw conference, which boldly stated: “Federal cabinet has ruled that Australia will not sign up to any new contributions, taxes or charges at this week’s global summit on climate change.” The Australian points out: “This rules out Australia playing any role in a wealth transfer from rich countries to developing nations to pay them to decrease their carbon emissions.” But, perhaps, the most dramatic line in the government document is: Australia “will not support any measures which are socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”

A few days later, November 15, Japan announced that “its emissions would increase slightly rather than fall 25 per cent as promised in 2009.” Japan was struggling to meet its previous emissions promises—which were the most aggressive of any big developed country—even before the Fukushima accident prompted the shutdown of its 50 still-operable nuclear reactors and its corresponding rise in the supplemental use of fossil fuels.

Then on November 20, news came out of England stating that Prime Minister Cameron is telling everyone: “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.”

All of this is on the foundation of Todd Stern, the Obama Administration’s chief climate diplomat, dialing back expectations when, during an October 22 speech in London, he addressed U.S. involvement: “an international agreement is by no means the whole answer.” He pointed out “the need to be creative and flexible” and acknowledged the “hard reality” that “no step change in overall levels of public funding from developed countries is likely to come anytime soon.” Stern added: “The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it.”

Toward the end of the conference, “six environment and development groups walked out, saying the annual round of talks had delivered little more than hot air.” A statement from Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Oxfam, ActionAid, the International Trade Union Confederation and Friends of the Earth said: “The Warsaw climate conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing.” Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF’s climate and energy initiative called the meeting a “farce.” She told the FT: “Finance is one of the big reasons we walked out. Expectations were that developed countries were going to put money on the table, but what happened when we got here was exactly the opposite.”

In a statement, Smith blamed: “Japan's announcement that it would not reduce emissions as promised, Australia’s decision to end its carbon tax and Canada’s congratulating the latter on its new climate policy.”

Just as it looked like predictions of collapse would come true, a last-minute compromise came through in overtime: the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage (IMLD). Stern led the 36 straight hours of “bad-tempered negotiations”—including a standoff between the US and developing nations—in which “countries of the South … finally won.”

Addressing the IMLD, the Associated Press (AP) reports: “agreements were watered down to a point where no country was promising anything concrete.” While the IMLD was agreed upon, according to The Hindu, “deciding how this mechanism would get the funds in future” remained unresolved. And, bemoans: “the vague wording fell short of the kind of detailed commitments on additional funding and avoided a commitment to compensation that many developing nations had been seeking.”

So, while a deal was reached that allows “just enough to keep things moving,” little is really expected. The AP states: “In two-decades, the U.N. talks have failed to provide a cure to the world’s fever.” Even Connie Hedegaard, European climate commissioner, acknowledges: “the process needs to provide a ‘substantive answer’ to global warming in two years to remain relevant.”

Fortunately, Mother Nature can’t be bought. Despite the billions the world’s wealthy nations have provided to poorer countries, global CO2 emissions have continued to rise. As the Washington Post reports, from 2010-2012 only about $5 billion of the $35 billion actually went toward helping poor countries prepare for actual climate change impacts. $100 billion per year is expected by 2020 but “most developed countries are failing to demonstrate promised increases.”

Britain was one of the “wealthier nations” to promise billions in aid, but it is balking, too. Ed Davey, energy and climate secretary, believes that paying additional compensation to poorer nations is “not fair or sensible.” The Telegraph states: “Growing numbers of Tory backbenchers are now calling for the government to withdraw from expensive climate change and carbon commitments.”

Douglas Carswell, Tory MP, sums up the so-called climate compensations: “We’re spending money that we don’t have to solve a problem that doesn’t exist at the behest of people we didn’t elect.”

Canada, Australia, Britain, and even Japan—home of the landmark Kyoto climate talks two decades ago—are coming to their senses. The US held out until the very last minute—and then capitulated by agreeing to the IMLD.

It really is all about the money. The Abbott Administration has stated: Australia’s efforts on greenhouse gases will be conditioned by “fiscal circumstances.” Japan, acknowledges its need for energy: “Although Japan’s economy is one of the world’s most energy efficient, the country is still the fifth-biggest CO2 emitter, owing to its large-scale concentration of manufacturing industries.” Britain’s Carswell says: “The rethinks that have happened in Japan and Australia and elsewhere desperately need to happen here as well.” Ditto for America. After all, they’ve had their way for twenty years—CO2 emissions have gone up, the economy has gone down, and global warming has stalled.



History falsifies climate alarmist sea level claims

Seas have been rising and falling for thousands of years – without help from the EPA or IPCC

Robert W. Endlich

Sea levels are rising rapidly! Coastal communities are becoming more vulnerable to storms and storm surges! Small island nations are going to disappear beneath the waves!

Climate alarmists have been making these claims for years, trying to tie them to events like “Superstorm” Sandy, which was below Category 1 hurricane strength when it struck New York City in October 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan, which plowed into the low-lying central Philippines in November 2013.

For alarmists, it does not seem to matter that the strength and frequency of tropical storms have been decreasing in recent years, while the rate of sea level rise has fallen to about seven inches per century. Nor does it seem to matter that the lost lives and property have little to do with the storms’ sheer power. Their destructive impact was caused by their hitting heavily populated areas, where governments had not adequately informed citizens of the size and ferocity of imminent storm surges, too few people had evacuated – and people, buildings and emergency equipment were insufficiently prepared to withstand the furious storm onslaughts.

The alarmist cries are not meant to be honest or factual. They are intended to generate hysterical headlines, public anxiety about climate change, and demands for changes in energy policies and use.

China is rapidly becoming one of the richest nations on Earth. It is by far the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide, which alarmists claim is causing “unprecedented” storms and sea level rise. And yet at the recent UN-sponsored climate talks in Warsaw, China led a walkout of 132 Third World countries that claim First World nations owe them hundreds of billions of dollars in “reparations” for “losses and damages” allegedly resulting from CO2 emissions.

The Obama Administration brought (perhaps “bought” is more apt) them back to the negotiating table, by promising as-yet-unspecified US taxpayer money for those supposed losses. Details for this unprecedented giveaway will be hammered out at the 2015 UN-sponsored climate confab in Paris, safely after the 2014 US mid-term elections. Meanwhile, a little history will be instructive.

In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama proclaimed, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.” He was actually right. Sea level rise has slowed, but not because of CO2 emissions, which are still increasing. Mother Nature cannot be bought.

Sea level changes over relatively recent geologic and human history demonstrate that alarmist claims do not withstand scrutiny. Sea levels rose significantly after the last ice age, fell during the Little Ice Age, and have been rising again since the LIA ended around 1850. In fact, Roman Empire and Medieval port cities are now miles from the Mediterranean, because sea levels actually fell during the Little Ice Age.

During the deepest part of the last ice age, known as the Wisconsin, sea levels were about 400 feet lower than at present. As Earth emerged from the Wisconsin some 18,000 years ago and the massive ice sheets started to melt, sea levels began rising. Rapid sea level rise during the “meltwater pulse phase,
” about 15,000 years ago, was roughly five meters (16 feet) per century – but then slowed significantly since the Holocene Climate Optimum, about 8,000 years ago.

Those rising oceans created new ports for Greek and Roman naval and trade vessels. But today many of those structures and ruins are inland, out in the open, making them popular tourist destinations. How did that happen? The Little Ice Age once again turned substantial ocean water into ice, lowering sea levels, and leaving former ports stranded. Not enough ice has melted since 1850 to make them harbors again.

The ancient city of Ephesus was an important port city and commercial hub from the Bronze Age to the Minoan Warm period, and continuing through the Roman Empire. An historic map shows its location right on the sea. But today, in modern-day Turkey, Ephesus is 5 km from the Mediterranean. Some historians erroneously claim “river silting” caused the change, but the real “culprit” was sea level change.

Ruins of the old Roman port Ostia Antica, are extremely well preserved – with intact frescoes, maps and plans. Maps from the time show the port located at the mouth of the Tiber River, where it emptied into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Battle of Ostia in 849, depicted in a painting attributed to Raphael, shows sea level high enough for warships to assemble at the mouth of the Tiber. However, today this modern-day tourist destination is two miles up-river from the mouth of the Tiber. Sea level was significantly higher in the Roman Warm Period than today.

An important turning point in British history occurred in 1066, when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. Less well-known is that, when William landed, he occupied an old Roman fort now known as Pevensey Castle, which at the time was located on a small island in a harbor on England’s south coast. A draw bridge connected it to the mainland. Pevensey is infamous because unfortunate prisoners were thrown into this “Sea Gate,” so that their bodies would be washed away by the tide. Pevensey Castle is now a mile from the coast – further proof of a much higher sea level fewer than 1000 years ago.

Before modern Italy, the region was dominated by the famous City States of the Mediterranean, among which is Pisa, with its picturesque Cathedral Square and famous Leaning Tower. Located near the mouth of the Arno River, Pisa was a powerful city, because maritime trade brought goods from sailing ships right into the port. Its reign ended after 1300 AD, the onset of the Little Ice Age, when sea levels fell and ships could no longer sail to her port. Once again, some say “river silting” was the cause.

However, Pisa is now seven miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea, with large meanders upstream from Pisa and little meandering downstream. When a river is “at grade,” the downstream gradient is as low as possible, as with the meandering Mississippi River and delta in Louisiana. Rivers with a strong downstream gradient flow to the sea in a direct route, with few meanders, as with the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

The facts of history are clear. Sea level was 400 feet lower at the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age, 18,000 years ago. Sea levels rose rapidly until 8,000 years ago. As recently as 1066, when the Normans conquered England, sea levels were quite a bit higher than today.

During the Little Ice Age, 1300 to 1850 – when temperatures were the coldest during any time in the past 10,000 years – snow and ice accumulated in Greenland, Antarctica, Europe and glaciers worldwide. As a consequence, sea levels fell so much that important Roman Era and Medieval port cities (like Ephesus, Ostia Antica and Pisa) were left miles from the Mediterranean.

Since the Little Ice Age ended about 160 years ago, tide gauges show that sea level has risen at a steady rate – with no correlation to the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Sea level is a dynamic property in our planet’s climate cycles, which are closely linked to changes in solar energy output and other natural factors. It is unlikely to change in response to tax policies that make energy more expensive and economies less robust – no matter what politicians in Washington, Brussels or the United Nations might say.

Much to their chagrin, Mother Nature doesn’t listen to them. She has a mind of her own.

Via email

Carbon Dioxide & Water Vapor COOL Earth's Atmosphere

A Mexican study affirms a 1951 finding by top American scientists that carbon dioxide (CO2) cannot cause global warming. Applying known scientific values, more eminent scientists are coming forward to confirm that atmospheric CO2 mixes with clouds and water vapor to cause only cooling. As such, the credibility of "consensus science" claims about man-made global warming being caused by rises in CO2 levels are left in serious doubt.

Professor Nasif Nahle (Monterrey, Mexico) provides a peer-reviewed paper, 'Determining the Total Emissivity of a Mixture of Gases Containing Overlapping Absorption Bands,' that uses known and well-established values from the results of experiments performed previously by H. C. Hottel, B. Leckner, M. Lapp, C. B. Ludwig, A. F. Sarofim, et al, showing that the combined effect of overlapping absorption bands of water vapor with CO2 causes a reduction on the total absorptivity of the mixture of those gases in earth's atmosphere. As such, water vapor and CO2 are proven to combine to cause global cooling, not warming.clouds

Nahle's paper affirms the long-forgotten findings of the eminent former head of Britain's Met Office, CEP Brooks, and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) that also revealed that CO2 in the atmosphere could not cause warming. Brooks, Britain's top climatologist at the time, along with America's best meteorologists agreed that the idea that CO2 could warm the climate:

“was never widely accepted and was abandoned when it was found that all the long-wave radiation [that would be] absorbed by CO2 is [already] absorbed by water vapor.”

[see:“Geological and Historical Aspects of Climatic Change.” In Compendium of Meteorology, edited by Thomas F. Malone, pp. 1004-18 (at 1016). Boston: American Meteorological Association]

Scientists at Principia Scientific International (PSI), who peer-reviewed Nahle's paper, are currently advising colleagues that the most reliable data available now confirms that CO2 is shown to act as a coolant in earth's climate. As such, the notion of a so-called 'greenhouse gas' warming effect may be regarded as refuted, while environmental measures by governments and individuals to reduce “carbon emissions”  to combat climate change are, in turn, rendered pointless.

For those interested in reading Professor Nahle's full paper (revised April 2011), we publish it below:


According to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory, carbon dioxide increases the potential of water vapor to absorb and emit IR radiation as a consequence of the overlapping absorption/emission spectral bands. I have determined the total emissivity of a mixture of gases containing 5% of water vapor and 0.039% of carbon dioxide in all spectral bands where their absorptivities/emissivities overlap. The result of my calculations is that carbon dioxide reduces the total absorptivity/emissivity of the water vapor, working like a coolant, not a warmer of the atmosphere and the surface.

Much more HERE

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall Dramatically, Again, in 2013

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined by 3.7 percent in 2013, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (U.K.) reports. The decline in U.S. emissions continues a dramatic drop in U.S. emissions this century, even as global emissions rapidly rise.

The new Tyndall Centre report says there is enough data regarding 2013 carbon dioxide emissions to accurately project emissions for the final two months of the year and for 2013 as a whole. Global emissions will rise by 2.1 percent during 2013, powered mainly by a 5.9 percent increase in China and a 7.7 percent increase in India.

U.S. emissions have declined 14 percent since the year 2000. The decline is even more dramatic since 2007, with U.S. emissions down 16 percent in that short time.

Global emissions continue to rise despite the ongoing decline in U.S. emissions. Global emissions are up 45 percent since 2000, and up 16 percent since 2007.

China now emits approximately double the emissions of the second largest emitter, with China accounting for 27 percent of global emissions and the United States accounting for 14 percent of global emissions. Since the year 2000, China alone is responsible for two-thirds of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

The new emissions data confirm the success of free-market emissions reduction programs relative to government-centered restrictions. Environmental activists routinely criticize the United States for being one of the few nations never to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which sought to impose emissions quotas on the United States while imposing no such quotas on China, India, and other developing nations. Nevertheless, emissions data show the United States has reduced more carbon dioxide emissions this century than any other nation. The U.S. emissions decline is due in large part to technological advances in natural gas production and power plant operations.


Germany plans to scrap air passenger tax

Germany’s next government is set to scrap the country’s air passenger duty which could make flights up to €40 cheaper. The move follows pressure from the airline lobby but has upset environmental groups.

Members of the transport group decided on Thursday during coalition talks between Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) to abolish air passenger duty, which applies to departures from German airports, the Bild newspaper reported.

The tax was introduced in Germany two years ago but the parties believe that it is costing the country more money than it brings in as passengers are put off flying from German airports by the high cost of travel.

If the duty is abolished, ticket prices would be reduced by €7.50 on short-haul journeys, €23.43 on medium-haul and slashed on long-haul flights by €42.18, the Bild said.

Air passenger duty is higher in other European countries such as Britain which, behind Chad, is the world’s second most expensive country to fly from, according to research by the World Economic Forum published in March this year.

In the US, international flyers are charged $13.40, the State Department’s website shows.

When Germany’s tax was introduced in 2011 CDU Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble bore the brunt of considerable criticism from the CDU’s then coalition partners the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

But the mark-up on ticket prices helped shore up the budget and contributed almost €1 billion to the treasury every year, according to Bild.

The tax was also seen as an important move by environmental groups to make flying more expensive.

When the German parliament took the decision to introduce the tax in November 2010, a statement from Bund, Germany’s branch of Friends of the Earth, called it “one of the few measures for more climate protection in the transport industry.”

In response to plans to abolish the tax, the organization issued a statement urging the coalition to maintain and increase the duty.

“The air passenger duty does not lead to the exodus of passengers to foreign airports or to the loss of jobs in airlines as the Federal Association of the Air Travel Industry (BDL) claims," it said.

“In order to develop a guiding impact and generate additional income for the financing of environmental protection in developing countries, air passenger duty must be increased further,” the NGO argued.

But the BDL, which has campaigned against passenger duty since its introduction, stands fully behind the tax cut.

It claimed that in 2012 Germany’s five biggest airline companies lost €513m to the government through the tax.

The body’s president Klaus Peter Siegloch said on Tuesday the increase in ticket prices was “a considerable burden for the German flight industry and airports,” Bild reported.

The association points to the fact that air traffic has increased faster in neighbouring countries than it has in Germany, despite the fact that these states have weaker economies.



Tim Blair

Australian pride is restored.  This is no small accomplishment, considering the depths to which we sank in 2009, when then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered this wince-making speech to that year’s United Nations climate conference in Denmark:

    “Before I left Australia, I was presented with a book of handwritten letters from a group of six-year-olds. One of the letters is from Gracie. Gracie is six. ‘Hi,’ she wrote. ‘My name is Gracie. How old are you?’ Gracie continues, ‘I am writing to you because I want you all to be strong in Copenhagen. Please listen to us as it is our future.’ I fear that at this conference, we are on the verge of letting little Gracie down.”

We were a different country back then, outsourcing economic policy to babies and actually admitting it to the world. Happily, things have changed. For this year’s UN climatefest in Warsaw, Poland, Tony Abbott’s government didn’t even bother to send the environment minister, much less the Prime Minister and his pre-teen fan mail.

Instead we sent some delegates who quite properly treated the whole exercise as a lark, much to the consternation of Gaia’s little Gracies. “They wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation,” fumed Ria Voorhaar, a spokeswoman for the Climate Action Network. “That gives some indication of the manner they are behaving in.”

Back in 2009, Rudd negotiated pointlessly for 40 hours, grabbing just one hour of sleep. This year’s Australian delegates don’t go for that sort of nonsense. “They made an intervention that late-night negotiations were bad for health and should be stopped,” complained Voorhaar.

And the meetings were indeed halted, with many blaming the snack-chomping Aussies and their t-shirts. “Their behaviour caused over 130 developing nations to abandon discussions on the controversial issue of climate compensation at 4am,” seethed Sophie Yeo of the activist group Responding to Climate Change. “It is one thing to be tired in a negotiation meeting, another to turn up in pyjamas,” huffed EU negotiator Paul Watkinson on Twitter. “Respect matters.”

With all due respect, the EU and the UN can shove it.

The Australians’ fine performance in Warsaw recalls the great Ipswich Meat Battle, when Queensland abattoir workers set a new global standard for environmental negotiations. One April morning in 2006, the workers arrived at their abattoir to find animal activists had chained themselves to the facility’s killing area.

Rather than give up and go home, however, the industrious workers advanced on the chained idiots. As the ABC reported: “The 12 protesters got a fright when meatworkers took matters into their own hands and used angle grinders to cut the chains off the activists so they could get back to work.”

Police are usually called to deal with protesters. In this case, the protesters actually called police. “The workers, they were standing around cheering and whooping and yelling and making lewd comments,” protester Angie Stephenson wailed. “We had to call the police and tell them to get out here straight away.”

“We begged for the police,” confirmed another protester, Patty Mark, who said that the abattoir owner joined about 40 of his workers in removing the stupid activists.

“They were yelling and screaming, and he got the angle grinder himself and started to cut right near where we were chained,” pity Patty pleaded.

“It was terrifying. We didn’t have protection on our eyes. The sparks were flying.”

If ever we send any further delegations to UN climate talks, these boys should lead the way. “Like, this guy was basically coming at us with an angle grinder, so there were people shaking, there were people in tears,” said protester Noah Hannibal. “And he was just saying, you know, ‘I’m enjoying this.’ “

That’s the spirit. The UN better get used to it.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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