Tuesday, December 06, 2005


"Planning" is almost 100% fads. What's right today can be wrong tomorrow -- as the following story from Queensland (published in the "Sunday Mail" on Dec. 4th, 2005) shows:

The suburban cul-de-sac - a mainstay of urban design for more than 20 years - is heading up a dead end, according to a new State Government report. A transport policy discussion paper, Smart Travel Choices for Southeast Queensland, unveiled by Premier Peter Beattie this week, suggests opening up cul-de-sacs, popular with families because they are considered safer for children.

The paper has come up with initiatives "enabling people to live closer to the goods, services and facilities they need and get around more easily in their local communities". One initiative includes street connectivity.' It said: "Connective streets provide more direct access to the places people need to go."

Western Australia introduced a Liveable Neighbourhoods Code in 1996, which helped developers plan and design connective street networks for new developments. Town planners found street connectivity significantly improved in new subdivisions where the code was applied.

Mr Beattie called for public input on this and other suggestions in the paper and said if the Government did not act to reduce traffic, road congestion and air quality would get worse.


When the United Nations held its second meeting of the "Conference of the Parties" (COP-2) in Geneva in July 1996, the big question was whether or not our models of climate change were good enough to support eventual restrictions on the combustion of fossil fuel. Four days before the meeting began, the prestigious journal Nature published a bombshell paper by federal scientist Ben Santer purporting to show that the newest breed of climate models-which combined greenhouse effect warming and sulfate cooling-indeed tracked the climate over a long period, from 1963 through 1987.

At that meeting, Santer's paper was everywhere. Anyone who objected was heckled down. The official U.S. representative to COP-2, Timothy Wirth (now head of Ted Turner's global warming foundation), took the impolite step of slamming U.S. citizens who disagreed with him from an international podium.

Six months later, Nature published a paper showing that if Santer had used all the available data, his results would have fallen apart. And now, history repeats itself.

As the COP-6 meetings got underway November 20 at the Hague, the question on the table was whether the United States should be permitted to meet its treaty obligation by planting trees instead of stopping traffic and turning off the lights. It has long been held that trees will take up excess carbon dioxide in the form of wood and leaves. Further, thousands of experiments in the refereed scientific literature show that added carbon dioxide itself makes trees grow faster. (For proof, you need click no further than the Greening Earth Society's Web site, www.greeningearthsociety.org, to find "The Greening of the American West.")

Readers won't have a difficult time guessing what's in the latest issue of Nature: Forests pollute! According to British scientist Peter Cox, the more vegetation there is, the more carbon dioxide gets released into the atmosphere, because the trees become "saturated" with CO2 and then the forest soils give up more and more. Don't question the logic, which is that every time carbon dioxide is elevated above today's levels (i.e., 95 percent of the last 100 million years), forests would have to put CO2 in the air, which makes it warmer, which grows more trees, which . . . eventually must result is something akin to spontaneous combustion.

One article in Nature is not enough. In the same issue, we find that planting trees in northern latitudes-the huge boreal forest of spruce, fir, and birch that completely circles the planet (except for minor lacunae in the Bering Strait and the North Atlantic)-will make it warmer, not cooler. That's because these trees, especially the coniferous spruce and fir, are relatively "black" and are designed to shed snow. As a result, they absorb more radiation than a reflective, snow-covered tundra (which reflects it) and therefore warm the surface. Gee, that's too bad! The last we heard, it only snows in the winter. Even dreaded global warming will not change that one. So the warming effect of the boreal forest results in a slight amelioration of the ugly winter temperatures that make life miserable in Siberia and Canada.

This notion isn't new. University of Virginia vegetation modeler Herman Shugart and colleagues have written about this a number of times. Nor is it new that Nature is plumping for those who would impose cost and hardship on the people of this country. This looks an awful lot like what happened in 1996.

The latest issue of Science, Nature's competitor, also carries a big article on forest uptake of carbon dioxide, by John Caspersen and five co-authors. It starts off with the well-known fact that North American forests are a huge "sink" (capturing repository) for carbon dioxide. It then asks how much of this is due to the well-known reforestation of North America, and how much is because of direct stimulation of forests by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

According to Caspersen and colleagues, estimates of the fraction of North American green-matter increase due to CO2 alone range between 25 percent and 75 percent-a substantial amount, to say the least, and apparently consistent with the aforementioned "Greening of the American West." But they estimate that the maximum amount of direct growth stimulation, based upon results from five Eastern states, is 7 percent. We'll hazard that the national (or North American) number has to be bigger than that because of what's happening out in the sagebrush.

When the editors of Nature came out with Santer's paper four days before the 1996 COP, some naive people argued the timing was pure chance. Lightning does not strike twice in the same place, at the same time, very often...



The article below is quite correct in saying that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas but omits to mention at least four things: 1). ALL animals produce methane, not only cows. Sheep are big "offenders" too. 2). It is not only animals that produce methane. The BIG source of methane is Asian rice paddies, which Asians need to survive. 3). Methane concentrations in the atmosphere have nearly trebled in the industrial era but the rise in average global temperature has been marginal, indicating that the "problem" is a theoretical one only. 4). Bovine gas emissions comprise both methane and nitrous oxide and nitrous oxide is 310 times more effective than CO2 at trapping solar heat, so methane (23 times) is trivial compared to nitrous oxide

British scientists are fighting climate change by reducing the harmful greenhouse gases produced by flatulent cows. Researchers claim that by altering the diet of cows they can cut the animals' emissions of methane - a contributor to global warming - by up to 70%. Scientists and green groups concerned about climate change have traditionally focused their efforts on cars, lorries, power stations and factories that burn fossil fuels and produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide.

But a study by French scientists published this year warned that flatulent farm animals must shoulder some of the blame. There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14% of all emissions of the gas.

Carbon dioxide is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, but methane has 23 times the warming potential of CO2 so reducing its emission is also considered important. In Scotland, where there is a greater concentration of agriculture than in other countries, cows produce 46% of all methane emissions. Now scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen say they have developed a diet that has done the most to reduce the amount of methane produced by cows.

They introduced a food additive, a mixture of organic sugars and a bacterium developed at the institute, into the cows' diet. It is based on fumaric acid, a naturally occurring chemical essential to respiration of animal and vegetable tissues. "In some experiments we got a 70% decrease in methane emissions, which is quite staggering," said John Wallace, a biochemist at the institute who is leading the research team. In total about 14% of global methane comes from the guts of farm animals. It is worth doing something about."

The study has received œ150,000 funding from Scottish Enterprise, the government agency, and a 12-month commercial and scientific evaluation of the additive is under way. Wallace said if the tests were successful, the treatment would have a significant impact on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Cows need to ferment their low-grade food, such as hay and grass, to get any energy from it and the main by-product is methane. Between 9% and 12% of the energy that a cow consumes is converted into methane, depending on diet, barn conditions and whether the cow is producing milk. The problem of wind is an expensive one for farmers - producing methane instead of milk or beef means that 10% of cattle feed is wasted



Climate change has passed Through the Looking Glass with Alice. The Red Queen is berating us to believe "six impossible things before breakfast".

This week a group of scientists from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton gave a warning that a weakening Gulf Stream will make Britain like Canada, with a cooling of 1C over the next couple of decades, leading to a deeper freeze later. Global warming, of course, is to blame, as melting ice caps reduce the salinity of Arctic waters, preventing them from sinking and driving the ocean conveyor belt.

Clearly researchers in Southampton need to talk to each other. In October a different lot, writing in the Journal of Applied Ecology, were busy employing computer models to calculate that fly and bluebottle populations would rise by nearly 250 per cent as Britain warmed some 2-3C, leading to more dire infections transmitted by insects.

In June we were informed by experts at a Royal Horticultural Society conference that vast swaths of Britain would turn into a Van Gogh landscape, our native woods replaced by Mediterranean horrors such as walnuts, sweet chestnuts, kiwi fruit, olives and sunflowers as temperatures soar by 3-6C. "It's already happening - you can see fields of sunflowers," Professor Jeff Burley of Oxford University announced.

Likewise in June, the redoubtable Baroness Young of Old Scone, chief executive of the Eeyore-like Environment Agency, ever in its boggy place, intoned: "Climate change and the issues that surround it are the biggest challenge - and that flows through to some real pressure points for people in the future in terms of their water supply and their risk of flooding" - basing everything, inevitably, on warming.

In reality, nobody has a fog what will happen. This is Virtualia, not the UK. During the last year, global warming has been predicted to lead to wetter winters, drier winters, another ice age, blazing-hot Mediterranean summers killing thousands, greater biodiversity and less biodiversity.



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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