Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Far-Left agenda hurts Greens in Tasmanian elections

The Greens were once very influential in Tasmania

The Greens thought themselves king-makers but instead suffered a king-hit likely to cost them at least one seat and official party status. The Greens, who had hoped to force their policy platform on a minority government, were yesterday rethinking policy and strategy instead. Kim Booth looked likely to lose in Bass, depriving the Greens of the four members needed for the extra parliamentary resources that go with official party status. Labor believes the Greens may yet lose a second of its four MPs, Tim Morris in rural Lyons, but this appears unlikely.

Greens leader Peg Putt blamed the drop in their vote -- from 22per cent in a poll four weeks ago to 16per cent on Saturday -- on the "grubbiest, most vicious" smear campaign in Tasmanian political history. "Despite coming into the poll looking like we could gain more seats, we just couldn't come back over the top of the negative fear and smear campaign that was run against us from so many quarters," she said. "Perhaps we need to take another look at the fact that negative campaigning has become the norm in Australian politics and that other parties are using that to drive where the electorate goes." She said the party would also take a look at its policy of refusing to guarantee support for budgets in a hung parliament and whether it had failed to focus sufficiently on core environmental issues. She accused both major parties, logging companies, big business and the evangelical Exclusive Brethren group of running smear advertisements against them.

Labor warned a minority government would deter investment and destroy the economy, with Premier Paul Lennon claiming house prices would fall if he failed to achieve majority government. A $100,000 advertising campaign funded by a mostly anonymous group of businessmen also pleaded for majority government. The Greens were also targeted by advertising paid for by forestry companies, while ads placed by the Liberals and Exclusive Brethren church members claimed Greens' policies would threaten the state's social fabric.



Stars, not greenhouse gases, are heating up the Earth. So says prominent University of Ottawa science professor Jan Veizer. He knows challenging the accepted climate-change theory may lead to a nasty fight. It's a politically and economically loaded topic. Yet, he is speaking out about his published research. "Look, maybe I'm wrong," he said. "But I'm saying, at least let's look at this and discuss it. "Every one of these things (parts of his theory) has its problems. But so does every other model" of how Earth's climate behaves.

Veizer says high-energy rays from distant parts of space are smashing into our atmosphere in ways that make our planet go through warm and cool cycles. Cosmic rays are hitting us all the time -- a well-known fact. What's new is that researchers are asking what cosmic rays do to our world and its weather.

- Last year, the British science journal Proceedings of the Royal Society published a theory that cosmic rays "unambiguously" form clouds and affect our climate.

- Florida Tech and the University of Florida are jointly investigating whether cosmic rays are the trigger that makes a charged thundercloud let rip with lightning.

- In 2003, scientists from NASA and the University of Kansas suggested that cosmic rays "influence cloud formation, can affect climate and harm live organisms directly via increase of radiation dose," an effect they claim to trace over millions of years of fossil history.

Veizer has published his theory in Geoscience Canada, the journal of the Geological Association of Canada. The article is called "Celestial Climate Driver: A Perspective from Four Billion Years of the Carbon Cycle". In his paper, he concludes: "Empirical observations on all time scales point to celestial phenomena as the principal driver of climate, with greenhouse gases acting only as potential amplifiers." The idea is that cosmic rays hit gas molecules in the atmosphere and form the nucleus of what becomes a water vapour droplet. These in turn form clouds, reflecting some of the sun's energy back to space and cooling the Earth.

Yet the numbers of cosmic rays vary. When there are more cosmic rays the Earth is colder. When there are fewer cosmic rays the Earth is warmer. "The question is, therefore, 'Where do we have lots of cosmic rays?' " Most rays come from younger stars, which are clustered at some regions in the galaxy through which our solar system has passed its 4.5-billion-year history. Our own sun deflects some of these rays away, but the sun's activity grows stronger and weaker. All of these factors can change the number of cosmic rays that hit us. The Earth's magnetic field also blocks some cosmic rays. Scientists can reconstruct records of that field for the past 200,000 years, and he argues there's an extremely close match between cold times in our climate and times when the magnetic field allowed more cosmic rays to hit us.

Even in recent times he argues that other cosmic factors can affect our climate as plausibly as carbon dioxide, or more so. The warming of Earth in the past 100 years -- about 0.6 degrees Celsius -- matches a time of the sun's growing intensity, he says.

Questioning the fundamentals of climate change -- the theory that man-made gases such as carbon dioxide are building up and warming our climate -- is a fast way to start a nasty, personal fight in the science world. But Veizer's credentials make it tough to challenge his findings.

The recently retired professor still holds a research chair and supervises grad students and postdoctoral fellows. A native of Bratislava, Veizer left because Russian troops entered Czechoslovakia in 1968. He's been building up honours ever since in the field of geochemistry -- learning about Earth's past by the chemistry preserved in rocks and sediments.

The Royal Society of Canada called him "one of the most creative, innovative and productive geoscientists of our times," and added: "He has generated entirely new concepts that have proven key in our understanding the geochemical history of Earth."

He won the 1992 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, worth $2.2 million Cdn, representing the German government's highest prize for research in any field. The prize ended up financing his research. The judges said he "has in front of his eyes the overall picture of the Earth during its entire 4.5 billion years of evolution," and he is "one of the most creative ... geologists of his time."

Yet, for years he held back on his climate doubts. "I was scared," he says.



(From Journal of Hydrology Vol. 319, No 1-4, pp. 83-95, March 15, 2006)

Evidence for intensification of the global water cycle: Review and synthesis.

By: Huntington, Thomas G.


One of the more important questions in hydrology is: if the climate warms in the future, will there be an intensification of the water cycle and, if so, the nature of that intensification? There is considerable interest in this question because an intensification of the water cycle may lead to changes in water-resource availability, an increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, floods, and droughts, and an amplification of warming through the water mapor feedback. Empirical evidence for ongoing intensification of the water cycle would provide additional support for the theoretical framework that links intensification with warming. This paper briefly reviews the current state of science regarding historical trends in hydrologic variables, including precipitation, runoff, tropospheric water vapor, soil moisture, glacier mass balance, evaporation, evapotranspiration, and growing season length. Data are often incomplete in spatial and temporal domains and regional analyses are variable and sometimes contradictory; however, the weight of evidence indicates an ongoing intensification of the water cycle. In contrast to these trends, the empirical evidence to date does not consistently support an increase in the frequency or intensity of tropical storms and floods.


4. Summary

Substantial uncertainty regarding trends in hydrolclimatic variables remains because of differences in responses among variables and among regions as well as major spatial and temporal limitations in data. There are large gaps in spatial coverage for some hydrologic indicators; therefore, trends in these areas are unknown. The risk in assuming that trends in these areas are comparable to those measured in other related areas is that the observed trends may simply represent regional redistribution rather than true global intensification. In spite of these uncertainties, the observed trends in most of the variables are consistent with an intensification of the water cycle during part or all of the 20th century at regional to continental scales (Table 1).

Consistency in response among multiple variables lends observational support for theoretical arguments and GCM predictions that warming will likely result in further increases in evaporation and precipitation. The theoretical hydrologic response to a warming-induced intensification as manifested in an increasing frequency and intensity of tropical storms and floods (Knutson and Tuleya, 1999; Tuleya and Knutson, 2002; Karl and Trenberth, 2003) is not supported by the preponderance of evidence to date. Because of the long-term return intervals and stochastic nature of the occurrence of extreme events, however, it may require substantially more time before a change in frequency can be detected (Free et al., 2004). The lack of detectable trends in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms during the 20th century should not be taken as evidence that further warming will not lead to such changes in the future, particularly as the rate of warming in the 21st century is expected to be several times greater than in the 20th century (Cubasch and Meehl, 2001).

On balance, the weight of evidence is consistent with an ongoing and future intensification of the hydrologic cycle and emphasizes the need for improving our capabilities to monitor and predict the consequences of changing hydrologic regimes. Future improvements in spatial resolution and longer periods of data collection, combined with enhanced process-level understanding of complex feedbacks involving water, will reduce our current levels of uncertainty. Primary hydrologic feedbacks include increases in atmospheric water vapor that result in more heat trapping, changes in cloudiness and the properties of clouds that can increase or decrease surface warming, changes in snow cover and snow or ice surface melt that influence albedo and therefore the radiative balance (Abdalati and Steffen, 1997; Karl and Trenberth, 2003).

(The Doi (permanent) address for the full article above is here)


(Governments usually manage to get the answers they want out of enquiries they set up. Britain's Stern review would appear to be a particularly egregious and unscholarly example of that -- as the following group of eminent signatories points out)

By: Ian Byatt, Ian Castles, David Henderson, Nigel Lawson, Ross McKitrick, Julian Morris, Alan Peacock, Colin Robinson and Robert Skidelsky

In this note we comment on the three related documents (the 'Oxonia papers') that were issued at the end of January 2006 as the first fruits of the Stern Review of the economics of climate change. These comprise a discussion paper entitled 'What is the Economics of Climate Change?', Sir Nicholas Stern's Oxonia Lecture with the same title, and a short Technical Annex on 'The science of climate change'. Except where otherwise indicated, the page references that follow are to the discussion paper.

We believe that these documents constitute a false start: they do not provide a sound basis for the further work of the Review team. If the Review exercise is to serve a useful purpose, its treatment of the issues has to be more inclusive, more informed, and less dominated and constrained by questionable or mistaken presumptions.

'The science': a misleading picture

Taking their cue from the Technical Annex, both lecture and discussion paper have opening sections that deal with scientific aspects. What is concluded under this heading forms the point of departure for what both documents have to say about economics: as Sir Nicholas puts it in his lecture (p. 5), 'the science... actually shapes all the economics that follows'.

From all three papers, one would gather that the main scientific issues relating to climate change are now substantially settled. Both lecture and discussion paper take as given the state of the world, and the prospects and possibilities for the future, that emerge from the work of climate scientists as summarised in the Annex. The picture of reality thus presented is accepted and reproduced unquestioningly.

This picture is sombre, even dramatic; and accordingly, far-reaching inferences are drawn for economic policy. Lecture and discussion paper take the view that the starting-point for economic analysis must be that 'climate change is a serious and urgent issue' (pp. 3 and 6), since 'the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion supports the view that climate change represents a real and growing threat' (p. 9). It is true that at one point (p. 18) the discussion paper notes that 'it is important to recognise and incorporate any benefits from climate change'; but aside from this passing observation, and understandably in view of what is presumed here about 'the science', the whole emphasis is on the risks and dangers arising from anthropogenic global warming.

As to what follows from this supposedly science-based diagnosis, Sir Nicholas holds (p. 5 of his lecture text) that 'strong action has to be taken quite soon'. The action in question chiefly comprises measures and programmes to curb greenhouse gas emissions - in a word, 'mitigation'. True, the discussion paper makes the point (p. 19) that 'promoting and managing adaptation is an essential policy response'; and in a recent talk that he gave in Delhi, Sir Nicholas has made the point that 'this is not a contest between mitigation and adaptation'. But in lecture and discussion paper alike it is asserted that 'we will have to go far beyond the actions currently agreed if we are to stabilise greenhouse gases at any acceptable level' (p. 3). A corollary, since such far-reaching actions, to be effective, must be world-wide in scope, is that 'Climate change should become a central element in the whole set of international engagements' (p. 27). An ambitious world-wide programme to limit greenhouse gas emissions is represented as a matter of urgency.

In our view, these various interrelated judgements are too confident and unqualified. What is said here about the scientific aspects gives insufficient weight to the pervasive uncertainties which still surround projections of climate change, largely because of the extraordinary complexity of the system under study. This complexity has been emphasised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) itself, in its Third Assessment Report, where the point is made that:.

'In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system's future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions.'

We think that these uncertainties are underplayed in the Technical Annex, and hence in the lecture and discussion paper: it is in fact misleading to speak of 'the science', as though it were virtually settled.

Although the Oxonia papers take it that there is a consensus among climate scientists, they offer no survey evidence. The only recent survey of climatologists of which we are aware, which was conducted by the highly-regarded Institute of Coastal Research (GKSS) in Germany, concluded that 'These results...seem to suggest that consensus is not all that strong and only 9.4% of the respondents "strongly agree" that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes.' The survey also found that fewer than a quarter of respondents strongly agreed that the IPCC reflects the consensus of thought in the climate science community.

The treatment of scientific aspects in these documents is unbalanced; and for this reason alone, it does not provide a firm basis for the radical policy recommendations that both the lecture and the discussion paper derive from it.


An issue which is likewise not touched on, in either the lecture or the discussion paper, is whether governments should continue to treat the IPCC as their sole permanent and virtually unchallenged source of information, evidence, analysis, interpretation and advice on the whole range of issues relating to climate change. Even if the IPCC process were less open to question professionally, there are grounds for concern about placing such heavy reliance, in matters of extraordinary complexity where huge uncertainties prevail, on a single source of analysis and advice and a single process of inquiry. Viewed in this light, the very notion of setting consensus as an aim appears as questionable if not ill-judged.

Implicitly, the lecture and discussion document treat the IPCC's role and conduct as above question. In so doing, they limit the scope and the potential usefulness of the whole Review, since such an exercise should consider, as a central question, how far, and in what ways, the treatment of climate change issues by the Panel and its member governments could be improved. In taking this restrictive stance, the Oxonia papers disregard, among other pertinent writings, the report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs. This is an extraordinary omission.

When the Stern Review was launched, the official press announcement said that the team 'will conduct a comprehensive review of the evidence'. Reading the Oxonia papers leaves the impression that such a treatment will not be attempted, still less achieved.


On the evidence of these three documents, the Stern Review appears as a misdirected exercise. By taking as given hypotheses that remain uncertain, assertions that are debatable or mistaken, and processes of inquiry that are at fault, the Review has put itself on a path that can lead to no useful outcome. Unless Sir Nicholas and his team think again, and redefine their task, their final report will serve only to illustrate, and to reinforce, the present mishandling by governments of issues relating to climate change.

More here


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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