Thursday, November 10, 2005


Gordon Brown and other senior cabinet ministers have been pushing for the Government to scrap its target for reducing emissions of the main pollutant that causes global warming, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

The Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Transport, Alastair Darling, and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alan Johnson, pressed at a meeting, chaired by Mr Blair, of the Environment and Energy Cabinet Committee for the abandonment of a promise to reduce emissions of CO2 by 20 per cent by 2010, even though this formed part of Labour's election manifesto just six months ago.

So far, the Prime Minister has said the Government will stick to its commitment, though he came under fire last week for casting doubt on whether to set new international targets to cut emissions in future. At a special meeting of rich and poor nations on the issue, at Lancaster House, he called for "a better and more sensitive set of mechanisms" than pollution-reduction targets.

So far, UK emissions are only 3 per cent below their level in 1990, the base year for comparison.



"Greenland's ice sheets tell a climate-change story of their own. A Norwegian-led team of scientists reports on an 11-year study of ice sheet growth in Greenland's vast interior. The findings, planned for publication in a leading scientific journal, reveal a strong relationship between Greenland's ice sheets and global warming.

Greenland, or more particularly its huge ice sheets, has been the focus of increasing attention of late. Elevation or melting of these sheets can tell scientists much about regional - and ultimately - global climate change.

An international team of climatologists and oceanographers, led by the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC) in Norway, estimates that Greenland's interior ice sheet has grown, on average, 6cm per year in areas above 1 500m between 1992 and 2003. This contradicts earlier reports of high-elevation balance. Below 1 500m, on the other hand, the team reports ice sheet thinning by 2cm a year.

The average overall increase is 5.4cm per year, or equivalent to approximately 60cm during the 11 years - but perhaps as low 54cm a year when 'isostatic uplift' (post-Ice Age phenomenon causing the land to rise) is taken into account. Ola M. Johannessen of NERSC says the sheet growth is due to increased snowfall brought about by variability in regional atmospheric circulation, or the so-called North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). As reported in Science, using Greenland's ice sheet figures and a special index, Johannessen and team confirm, for the first time, a direct relationship between the elevation change and the NAO. "The strong correlation between winter elevation changes and the NAO index suggests an underappreciated role of the winter season and the NAO for elevation changes - a wildcard in Greenland ice sheet mass-balance scenarios under global warming," notes the team.

But they caution about drawing hasty conclusions from this sort of finding. Recent evidence of ice sheet growth found by Johannessen and company "does not necessarily reflect a long-term or future trend", they say. "Natural variability in the high-latitude climate system, including the NAO, is very large," so even their 11-year-long study is still short in the grand scale of climate change.

This sort of research on "climate forcing" is far from straightforward, the scientists insist. Numerous variables, such as solar radiation and greenhouse gas levels, surface temperature, cloud cover, glacier-flow dynamics, precipitation and so on, can play into it. What's more, it is difficult to collect reliable ice-sheet readings of the vast high-altitude regions of Greenland.

There is a clear need for continued monitoring and further research using new satellite altimeters and other observations, together with numerical models, to calculate the Greenland ice sheet melt versus gain balance, they conclude. In fact, large sums have been set aside in the European Union's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) for research into climate change".


Another report of the same findings:

While the edges of the glaciers are melting, the ice sheets in Greenland's interior are getting thicker, according to satellite data collected over the last 11 years. On average the ice sheets have got thicker by about six centimetres each year, the researchers say. The researchers, based at Norway's Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC), say that this is probably because snowfall in the region has increased, due to a weather pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

The research was conducted using the European Space Agency's ERS satellites. These carry radar altimeters that send 1800 radar pulses to Earth each second, and record how long they take to return to the satellite. The sensor can time this journey down to the nanosecond, ESA says, meaning that the instrument is accurate to within two centimetres.

In total tens of millions of data points were collected. The results were then compared to the known fluctuations in the NAO over the period. The researchers found a strong relationship between changes in the height of the ice sheet and the strong positive and negative phases of the NAO.

Professor Ola Johannessen of NERSC says that the results suggest that the role of the NAO in ice thickness is more significant than previously thought, making it something of a wildcard in climate modelling. "There is clearly a need for continued monitoring using new satellite altimeters and other observations, together with numerical models to calculate the Greenland Ice Sheet mass budget," Johannessen commented. It is just the kind of work that the CryoSat mission would have taken on, had it not been lost during its launch.

The NAO was first identified in the 1920's, and is an imbalance in atmospheric masses between the high pressure of the subtropicals the low pressure of the northern polar regions. The size of the difference influences the weather across the whole of the northern hemisphere, and is much more important in the winter months.

Finding out whether or not the Greenland ice sheet is shrinking overall is important because it is so large. While plenty of data has been collected on the retreating glaciers and thinning edges of the ice sheets, much less in known about the interior.



(From Prof. Philip Stott)

Oh! I do like it when a tough, rough business 'person' punctures the PC platitudinousness of our more poncy PC environmentalists. And today's 'Quote of the Day' is a blinder in this respect.

Here is Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Europe's biggest low-cost airline, Ryanair [first half profits up to a record £160 million], on the environmentalists who are constantly whinging on about its low-fare structure increasing emissions:

"We will double our emissions in the next five years because we are doubling our traffic. But if preserving the environment means stopping poor people flying so only the rich can fly, then screw it."

And when you think about it, Mr. O'Leary has a good point. Scratch an environmentalist, and you will invariably find an elitist. First, as I have pointed out before on this blog, the leaders of the UK environmental movement are a particularly toffee-nosed bunch, Lord Snootys to a chap and gal, from Prince Charles to an Eton mafia.

Secondly, have you noticed? Environmentalists always want things "to cost more", from organic parsley to hemp underwear. It's hard cheese if you are on benefits, lass. Thirdly, they are forever hollering for more taxes on everything, and all of these proposed taxes are retrogressive on the poor. And finally, they just have to fly, my darlings, or drive spiffing cars, because what they do is so important, and, in any case, they will plant a few pretty trees on their estates to offset their 'naughtiness'.

The double standards are often breathtaking. I have never forgotten watching a television report of a 'Top People's Bash' in which a leading posh UK environmentalist stood blithely in front of a line of limousines delivering the great and the good of the environmental and PC worlds to the feast while lecturing the rest of us, 'the bedint', on environmentalist ethics. It really was the "We haves" and "You shall not haves"." If you don't do what we say, Nanny will be wery, wery cross."

To adapt a famous quotation: "Only the little people pay environmental taxes."

When you deconstruct so much of the environmentalist pieties, you will smell a class rat lurking beneath the garbage. And just watch the rich 'Green' farmers wriggle when you talk about the evils of subsidies and the need for free trade.

Class warfare? You bet. Thank goodness for the Michael O'Learys; we need them to blow away all this trustafarian tosh.

Yet, in the real world, despite all the nannying, they don't stand a chance. I also noticed that another low-cost airline, EasyJet, has just recorded a 13.7% increase in passenger numbers.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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