Thursday, November 30, 2006


Mr Davis is one of several people who write to me from email addresses that do not seem to accept replies. If I reply, the reply "bounces". I would like such people to know that the problem lies with their email account, not with any discourtesy on my part. The only emails I normally ignore are abusive ones.


But about Britain only

The days of empire may be gone but global warming will make Britain the centre of the civilised world once again, according to James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia theory, which views the world as a self-sustaining organic system. In a bleak prophecy he says that global warming will become so intense within a century that much of the world will become uninhabitable. The British Isles, however, is perfectly placed to become the most desirable location in the world in which to live and one of the few areas able to feed itself. It will be able to survive the devastating consequences of global heating, as he now terms it.

Professor Lovelock was one of the first scientists to give warning of the dangers of global warming, which he believes is here for 200,000 years. It will wreak so much havoc that the Earth wil be able to support only 500 million people, just one in six of today's population. Adaptation, Professor Lovelock said yesterday, is the only choice left as the world warms up and there is a rapid northwards shift of its population. Equatorial regions will become so hot that they can no longer sustain agriculture and will turn into deserts. Much of Europe will dry out so extensively that millions of people will be forced to make a new life closer to the Arctic.

The British Isles, small and surrounded by water, will remain cool enough to sustain a modern, technologically advanced nation, despite being 8C (14F) hotter on average. "The British Isles may be a very desirable bit of real estate because we are surrounded by the sea," he said. "The summer of 2003 will be typical of conditions by 2100." Displaced millions will settle in Britain and Ireland and will have to be accommodated in skyscrapers that will make cities resemble the Hong Kong of today - which by 2100 will be uninhabitable, he said.

Speaking to the media before a speech to the Institution of Chemical Engineers yesterday, Professor Lovelock said that agricultural land would be at a premium and rationing would have to be reintroduced. Among the countries forecast by Professor Lovelock to face agricultural collapse is China. A warming world will open up Siberia as a potential grainbelt but he doubts that Russia will welcome a billion Chinese immigrants. Island nations such as New Zealand may remain habitable but large land masses, including most of the USA and Asia, will become too hot to grow sufficient food, with the possible exception of some coastal regions.

His Gaia theory suggests that rather than temperatures continuing to rise indefinitely until emissions are controlled, the increase will be limited to 8C. He likens it to a human suffering a fever - but one from which it will take the planet 200,000 years to recover from. Despite his bleak prophecy he remains optimistic for the species if not for individuals: "We are not all doomed," he said. "An awful lot of people will die, but I don't see the species dying out."



Negotiators in Nairobi, Kenya, are preparing to wrap up two weeks of discussions about the future of international cooperation on climate change. The conference -- officially the second meeting of parties to the Kyoto Protocol -- gathered to discuss what comes after Kyoto, which will not be in force after 2012. Central to the discussions have been questions about gaining U.S. participation in the treaty, winning emissions-reductions commitments from major developing countries (such as China and India), and determining the strength of the international community's commitment to drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The talks in Nairobi also have revealed the new role that a diverse group of companies will play in the future of the climate change debate. These companies come from many industries, but they share a common interest in finding ways to profit from global concerns about climate change -- particularly the provisions in the Kyoto treaty intended to better control greenhouse gas emissions. This industry bloc includes the major innovators in the cleantech sector, but it also includes older industries that are finding ways to make small adjustments in their business processes in ways that, due to Kyoto's market mechanisms, now yield significant revenues.

Because of the way the Kyoto enforcement mechanisms are established, the developing countries of Asia -- particularly China and India -- are the key areas of concern for cleantech companies and commercial opportunists. Both India and China have vast energy needs and are dedicated to transforming their power systems. Kyoto rewards companies that help developing countries to build energy infrastructure in more efficient, less polluting ways. As a result, the vast majority of the investment and profit-making in what could be called the "climate change industry" has come from these two countries.

The emergence of the climate change industry has significant implications -- not only for environmental and economic reasons, but for the future of the climate change debate itself. Many companies -- including a wide range of power generators, chemical companies, high-tech manufacturers and venture capitalists -- spent years battling against constraints on carbon emissions or viewing the climate change issue as a source of business risk. Now, having found ways to make money from the Kyoto system, some industry sectors have a vested interest in the uninterrupted perpetuation of the controls the treaty established. These business opportunists and energy innovators likely will emerge as powerful and increasingly vocal partners for environmental activists, as the clock winds down on Kyoto.

CDM and Emissions Trading

To understand exactly how these businesses profit, and the arguments they are likely to make as the termination for Kyoto approaches, it is necessary to review the terms of the treaty itself.

Though it was signed in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was not ratified by many countries until its signatories had put mechanisms into place that added flexibility to the treaty's demands. Key mechanisms in this regard include a fund that lends money to new, greenhouse-gas-reducing industrial projects in developing states, a system to reward states for preserving forests and other "carbon sinks," and an emissions trading system that rewards countries that reduce emissions more quickly than the protocol demands. The new "climate change industry" is finding ways to profit from each of these -- the funding mechanism and the emissions trading system in particular.

The emissions trading regime follows the model that the U.S. Clean Air Act established in 1990. In this system, the United States has an established ceiling of annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SOx). Every major emitter is allotted a certain level of permissible emissions of NOx and SOx, using a complex formula for determining the facility's base level of emissions. Those who emit less than their allotment can sell their extra "credits" on the open market to companies that exceed their allotment. Thus, better environmental performers can build a new revenue stream, while poorer performers have to spend money.

In Kyoto's emissions trading regime, countries can win credits either by making cuts in emissions domestically or by building facilities overseas that reduce the foreign country's total greenhouse gas emissions. It follows, then, that Western countries have an incentive to help developing countries build relatively cleaner, more efficient industrial bases. The idea is to encourage richer countries to help poorer ones bypass the stages of "dirty" development that they themselves experienced.

It would be tempting for industrialized countries to sponsor development projects in poorer countries, where there is significant demand for new technologies anyway, even without Kyoto incentives. But the creation of a Kyoto funding mechanism has added further to the appeal: Under this system, industrialized countries donate money to a fund, held by the World Bank, that loans to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This fund, called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), will lend more than $3 billion to projects this year, up from $2.5 billion in 2005.

Greening Development

While this may appear to be an ideal way of helping poorer countries develop in cleaner, more efficient ways than industrialized nations managed to, the image can be deceptive.

Because China and India are viewed as "developing" countries under Kyoto's definition, clean development loans have piggybacked on the predominant trend in foreign direct investment. China has received 73 percent and 60 percent of the CDM loans in 2005 and 2006, mostly for projects that would have been built anyway. India, another major recipient of corporate direct investments, received 15 percent.

This is a crucial point for the climate change industry. Three-quarters of the money being lent for climate change purposes is going to two of the world's hottest markets for foreign direct investment. Much of the FDI headed to those countries likely would have gone there even without subsidized loans, and to projects that would have incorporated energy efficiency regardless.

The gaming of the system is perhaps most clearly evident in a series of deals involving two Chinese chemical companies, Meilan Jiangsu Chemical and Changshu 3F Zhonghao New Chemicals Material Co. Both companies manufacture the refrigerant HCFC-22, and produce the chemical HFC-23 as a byproduct. HFC-23 is the most potent greenhouse gas regulated under the Kyoto Protocol, and -- all other things being equal -- the plants likely would be headed for the scrap heap as the phase-out deadlines agreed under the Montreal Protocol of 1987 approach. However, under Kyoto's CDM and emissions trading mechanism, a ton of HFC-23 eliminated in a developing country is worth 11,000 times more than a ton of CO2 (approximately $920,000 per ton). Thus, the chemical companies applied for -- and received -- a loan of nearly $1 billion from the CDM to retrofit their facilities, using technologies that capture and destroy the HFCs. The revenues they make from producing a pollutant that is strictly regulated by the Kyoto treaty itself is, ironically, what keeps these plants open and profitable.

According to the World Bank, 64 percent of the emissions traded under the Kyoto system this year are related to the refrigerant industry, and the majority of these come from facilities that are manufacturing products that will soon be phased out. Only 36 percent of the world's emissions credits are being granted because of innovations in power generation or manufacturing efficiency. In other words, the reductions being credited to the developing world frequently do not conform to the "cleaner, more efficient technologies" ideal. Importantly, however, the 64 percent figure actually does represent a reduction from 75 percent measured in developing countries two years ago -- and with the phaseout of HCFCs approaching, the period of hefty profits from trading emissions in refrigerants is coming to a close.

Case Studies: China and India

With most of the low-hanging profits having been claimed already, there is a new surge of investment going to industries that seek profits from emissions reductions and emissions trading. The most obvious candidate for investors is the cleantech industry. The industry is particularly active in India and China, as well as other emerging Asian economies. In both cases, cleantech products are being tailored to the specific political, economic and environmental needs of the country.

China's energy needs are multiplying too rapidly for the electricity-generating industry to keep pace. Beijing has set a goal of reducing the energy-intensiveness of China's economy, pledging in its most recent five-year plan to halve the amount of energy needed per unit of gross domestic product. In keeping with this goal, China's long-term plan relies heavily on nuclear power. Beijing is planning for the construction of 30 new pebble-bed power plants around the country by 2020, using new technologies that allow for safer, less expensive reactors.

For now, however, China's electricity needs are growing far faster than nuclear facilities can be built. Thus, coal-fired power plants will supplement, with more than 300 new ones to be built during the next five years. Many of these facilities are likely to represent the most advanced technologies (especially if -- as Canada, the European Union and others hope -- carbon capture and sequestration are included in the clean development mechanism), but the bulk of them will pollute more, rather than less.

Given all of these factors -- and particularly the goal of reducing energy intensiveness without hurting production -- the opportunities for cleantech companies in China leap into view.

In India, the dynamic is altogether different.

In many ways, India's energy infrastructure is even less suited for rapid industrial growth than China's. The system cannot be called a "grid" so much as a series of isolated power stations, scattered in seemingly haphazard fashion around the country. Due to limited central planning and poor investment and infrastructure, extremely long power lines are needed to distribute electricity through the subcontinent. These lines are often tapped by individuals or communities -- much like cable lines in the United States or gasoline pipelines in Nigeria -- rendering power distribution on the whole both highly inefficient and irregular.

When a technologically advanced manufacturer moves into India, it cannot rely on the local power system; consequently, many build their own systems to meet their needs. Major chemical and high-tech companies -- including Intel Corp. and DuPont -- have built stations to serve primarily as reliable sources of routine, reliable power to their facilities. These plants supply some power to the national "grid" but -- because of the underlying transmission difficulties -- the benefits to the country as a whole are quite limited.

Reflecting this pattern of development, India increasingly is turning to a decentralized power system -- often referred to as "distributed power" -- that relies on low-output generators to serve a small area and put any extra power into the larger "grid." These power systems run on natural gas, gasoline or diesel fuel, or they can be waste-to-energy facilities or solar-powered. Western companies that specialize in smaller power facilities, such as Cummins Inc. and Ingersoll Rand Co., are beginning to notice this trend and are appealing to the CDM to lend money for the creation of distributed power networks.

The Future of Kyoto

Given the market opportunities that emission trading and the CDM open, it is no wonder that major companies like General Electric Co., DuPont and Alcoa Inc. are champions of climate change policy and that investors like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are funding cleantech startups.

The debate in Nairobi will conclude Nov. 17, but it likely will not produce an agreement on commitments that will follow after 2012. This is a significant problem for the climate change industry. If Kyoto dissolves before another system is in place, the emissions market would fall apart -- endangering investments that were made with emissions credits as the critical determinant of profitability. Recent moves in California and the northeastern United States to establish greenhouse gas emissions trading systems likely will evolve to provide a small market for the foreign emissions credits, but these efforts probably will not be effective (either as a money-maker or as a greenhouse gas emissions-reduction scheme) unless projects in China and India are tied into the regime.

Ultimately, the role of activists and some business communities will merge in the next two years. Industries that are looking at China and India as engines of revenue growth will lobby strenuously to keep commitments to the emissions-reduction scheme from lapsing.



Three Democratic senators poised to head committees grappling with global warming pressed President George W. Bush for mandatory U.S. limits on greenhouse gases. In a letter to Bush on Wednesday, Sens. Barbara Boxer, Jeff Bingaman and Joe Lieberman said voters in the election last week demanded that the government reduce America's heat-trapping greenhouse gases that are contributing to the Earth's warming. "The recent elections have signaled a need to change direction in many areas, including global warming," the senators wrote. Boxer, Bingaman and Lieberman will, respectively, head the Senate's environment, energy and homeland security committees when Democrats take control in January.

The White House, however, sent signals that the new Democratic Congress should not expect Bush to budge from his opposition to regulating industrial carbon dioxide. That position he took in March 2001 was a reversal of his campaign stance. James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, told reporters Tuesday that the administration has not budged from its belief that regulating carbon emissions would undermine the U.S. economy. "We still have very strong reservations about an overarching, one-size-fits-all mandate about carbon," he said. Connaughton added that most bills in Congress aimed at cutting emissions of carbon dioxide probably would raise energy prices. But he said the White House was willing to work with Congress toward raising mileage standards for passenger cars.

The Energy Department reported this week that the United States' greenhouse gases, already a quarter of the world's output, rose again in 2005 by 0.6 percent above 2004 levels. That was a slight improvement when compared with the average annual growth rate of 1 percent since 1990.

Boxer has said her committee's first hearing next year will focus on global warming. One task will be reconciling several competing approaches to global warming. "We pledge to work to pass an effective system of mandatory limits on greenhouse gases," the three senators wrote Bush. "We urge you to work with us to reach this result and to signal to the world that global warming legislation is on the way."

Kristen Hellmer, a spokeswoman for the White House environmental council, said Wednesday that Congress should approve Bush's plan for more federal research into alternative fuels for motor vehicles, nuclear, solar and wind energy and cleaner coal technologies. "The president already has in place an aggressive climate change strategy that is realizing results," Hellmer said.

The departing chairman of the Senate environment committee, Republican James Inhofe, promised to lead the opposition to climate bills that pose big economic costs in next year's Senate. Democrats will enjoy a 51-49 majority, but 60 votes are often needed to overcome minority opposition. "Many of you might be thinking that the Democrats' razor-thin majority means that global warming-inspired carbon cap legislation is somehow now going to sail through the next Congress," said Inhofe, who has called global warming an hysteria-driven hoax. "Well, I can assure you that will not happen."


And now a word from our critics

A conference report

Balance is an important conceit of American journalism. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, previously partisan newspapers edged toward respectability and larger profits by telling "both sides of the story" and that convention carried over into broadcast journalism. It's a constraint that still chafes at working journalists with Something To Say.

"And Now a Word from Our Critics..." is the title of the final panel of the night at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Burlington. It's in the third Emerald Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center. I get in early on a hunch that the place is going to fill up. Just after 5:30 moderator Christy George, a producer for an Oregon Public Broadcasting Station, calls us to order. She announces the time constraints and ground rules: "No personal attacks. No outbursts. No speechifying when it is your turn to ask a question." I'm surprised that she doesn't add "no spitting, biting, or scratching."

George introduces the first speaker Marc Morano. He's director of communications for the Senate's Environment and Public Woks Committee and a former correspondent for Rush Limbaugh's television program "and other advocacy news outlets on the right." She says that Morano's boss, Chairman James Inhofe, "has famously called climate change 'a hoax.'" And, with that, "take it away Marc."

Morano begins by reminding the audience of what Senator Inhofe actually said. He called "fears of catastrophic manmade global warming 'a hoax' and the alarmism, referring to the media. He did not call climate change 'a hoax'... [T]he senator has also acknowledged global warming." So there. Then he works to frame the issue in a way that is certain to infuriate this audience. "I'm not here to try to convince anyone about the science... We're here to talk about the media and the way they've treated us, the media labeling, the media's objectivity, balance," he says.

He was invited to speak to the SEJ because in July Senator Inhofe alleged in a long floor speech that something has gone wrong with how journalists have covered the issue of global warming. Morano gives some highlights from the last year's worth of coverage:

* A correspondent for 60 Minutes called global warming skeptics the equivalent of Holocaust deniers.

* The environmental journal Grist called for Nuremburg style trials for climate skeptics.

* CNN's Miles O'Brien said all the skeptics are in the payroll of oil interests.

* Tom Brokaw hosted a global warming two-hour special on the Discovery Channel so one-sided that the Bloomberg television writer called it "akin to a North Korean political rally."

* On the Brokaw program, Michael Oppenheimer said that there are no skeptics that deserve to be listened to because, again, "they're all bought and paid for by oil and gas interests."

* Morano made much of the fact that Oppenheimer gets about $200,000 a year from the Environmental Defense Fund, "an environmental special interest."

* When fellow panelist ABC reporter Bill Blakemore did a story about NASA scientist James Hansen's allegations of Bush administration censorship, "he failed to tell ABC World News Tonight viewers that Hansen had endorsed John Kerry and received money from Kerry's wife's foundation."

Morano then flips the bias card over. He asked us to imagine that skeptical climatologist Pat Michaels was the NASA scientist who alleged censorship (wait for it) by the Clinton administration. If Michaels "claimed that Bill Clinton had censored him but he had endorsed Bob Dole and got money from Bob Dole's wife, do you think that [Blakemore] would have left out that 'inconvenient fact?'" Morano asks. He says that he isn't trying to impugn the integrity of decent scientists. Rather, "I'm saying if you want to label, label fairly."

DAN FAGIN -- I'M SORRY, "THE ESTEEMED DAN FAGIN" -- is introduced as a "former SEJ president, former Newsday reporter and currently a professor of journalism at NYU and associate director of the science health and reporting program." Fagin claims to speak for science. He insists the science on catastrophic global warming is firmly established and affects annoyance that anyone would question this. He insists, "These are facts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts."

The distance of academia, Fagin says, allows him to speak more freely than he could as a reporter. He charges that Senator Inhofe lied over a fairly technical point of climate history. And he says that if reporters allow the wrong voices in the climate debate to be heard, "that is telling a different kind of lie." And besides, the climate non-doomsdayers "represent an overwhelming minority." "Consensus [in science] is hard won. It's hard won. It means something when it occurs," Fagin insists. Journalists are obliged to bow down and worship that consensus.

As to the charges of bias, he says, "I agree that there is a bias but it is a fundamentally different bias than one that Senator Inhofe thinks exists." It is a bias in favor of "fairness" and "conflict" (i.e., balance). Both journalists and academics, in Fagin's view, advance their careers by "going against the grain" and basically making stuff up. So why aren't there ten times the number of climate skeptics and young journalists hyping their findings to the heavens, I wonder.

He has an answer for that too. The problem is that "we" journalists and academics "are reality constrained. We are constrained by the facts." And making a case against climate alarmism on its merits is just "not possible in this case." Fagin compares Senator Inhofe to Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace, and the leaders of the People's Republic of China. They all embrace the "Big Lie" strategy of public relations, you see, and they'll all fall down in the end. The audience hoots and claps.

ANDREW REVKIN IS AN ENVIRONMENT REPORTER for the New York Times and so his words are surprising for their utter lack of condescension. He tells his colleagues "frankly, we've handed a lot of red meat to Senator Inhofe." Revkin says that one of the problems is the basic disagreement over what people mean when they speak of "global warming." It can mean anything from the greenhouse effect to imminent climatological disaster. He tells the reporters that they should be very careful in their use of language, so that they don't accidentally make absurdly far reaching claims.

To explain, he draws a bell curve on a large notepad and uses that curve to represent scientific debate. Every idea starts out as a big, sloppy curve, with people arguing violently on both sides. The curve narrows, or "spikes," over time as more evidence comes in most people migrate in from the margins to the center. Revkin says that in the global warming debate, there isn't just one curve. Some things are far less contested than others, but there's still an awful lot of debate. Rightly so. There's much that we still don't know about how the climate works.

Likewise, many so-called global warming skeptics agree on those issues where scientific opinion has spiked. Revkin points out that MIT's Richard Lindzen agrees that manmade global warming is a real issue. And "even Pat Michaels" predicts that we'll have about three degrees of warming over the next hundred years, which Revkin reminds us, "is well within the IPCC estimates."

When new findings are offered, he says, the tendency of journalists has been to seize on "every one of those little punctuation marks and make it into God's truth." However, the plural of anecdote is not data. "[T]he mousetrap is all ready for us to screw up," Revkin warns the audience. It is "very important" for good environmental journalists to also be global warming skeptics of a sort. If they want readers to take them seriously, they should report on the clashes and conflicts that make science so entertaining



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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Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Scientists are peering into the clouds near the top of the world, trying to solve a mystery and learn something new about global warming. The mystery is the droplets of water in the clouds. With the North Pole just 685 miles away, they should be frozen, yet more of them are liquid than anyone expected. So the scientists working out of a converted blue cargo container are trying to determine whether the clouds are one of the causes - or effects - of Earth's warming atmosphere.

"Much to our surprise, we found that Arctic clouds have got lots of super-cooled liquid water in them. Liquid water has even been detected in clouds at temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 F)," said Taneil Uttal, chief of the Clouds and Arctic Research Group at the Earth Systems Research Laboratory of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "If a cloud is composed of liquid water droplets in the Arctic, instead of ice crystals, then that changes how they will interact with the earth's surface and the atmosphere to reflect, absorb and transmit radiation," said Uttal. "It's a new science, driven by the fact that everybody doing climate predictions says that clouds are perhaps the single greatest unknown factor in understanding global warming." ....

Uttal, Drummond and other American and Canadian scientists recently visited Eureka, an outpost established jointly by Canada and the United States in 1947 and now equipped with instruments that sound like sci-fi inventions - the ozone spectrophotometer, for instance, or the tropospheric lidar. (A lidar, an amalgamation of "light" and "radar," uses laser light to detect atmospheric particles.) The new technology helps to better understand the impact of clouds on Earth's surface temperature. The clouds being studied here range from six miles high to almost touching the ground.

"For a couple of decades we have known that super-cooled liquid water droplets could exist in clouds," Uttal said. "But the prevalence of it in Arctic clouds was not really known until these specialized sensors starting operating in the Arctic about eight years ago." "The really exciting thing," she said, will be the ability to track an aerosol layer or an Asian dust cloud from their source and measure their effect on a cloud.

Uttal noted that water clouds are more likely to warm the Arctic atmosphere than ice clouds, since the liquid clouds retain more heat radiated by the Earth's surface. "This means that the ice-to-water ratios in clouds may be very important in controlling the Arctic surface temperatures and how it melts," she said....

More here


Economist William Nordhaus has published a critique of the Stern Report (PDF here) Here is his summary...

"How much and how fast should the globe reduce greenhouse-gas emissions? How should nations balance the costs of the reductions against the damages and dangers of climate change? The Stern Review answers these questions clearly and unambiguously: we need urgent, sharp, and immediate reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions."

I am reminded here of President Harry Truman's complaint that his economists would always say, on the one hand this and on the other hand that. He wanted a one-handed economist. The Stern Review is a Prime Minister's dream come true. It provides decisive and compelling answers instead of the dreaded conjectures, contingencies, and qualifications.

However, a closer look reveals that there is indeed another hand to these answers. The radical revision of the economics of climate change proposed by the Review does not arise from any new economics, science, or modeling. Rather, it depends decisively on the assumption of a near-zero social discount rate. The Review's unambiguous conclusions about the need for extreme immediate action will not survive the substitution of discounting assumptions that are consistent with today's market place. So the central questions about global-warming policy - how much, how fast, and how costly - remain open. The Review informs but does not answer these fundamental questions."

Nordhaus's paper is fairly technical but he does make an amusing aside imagining what would happen if Stern-like zero discount rate reasoning were applied to other areas of public policy....

"While this feature of low discounting might appear benign in climate change policy, we could imagine other areas where the implications could themselves be dangerous. Imagine the preventive war strategies that might be devised with low social discount rates. Countries might start wars today because of the possibility of nuclear proliferation a century ahead; or because of a potential adverse shift in the balance of power two centuries ahead; or because of speculative futuristic technologies three centuries ahead. It is not clear how long the globe could long survive the calculations and machinations of zero-discount-rate military powers. This is yet a final example of a surprising implication of a low discount rate."

(William D. Nordhaus is Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA)


Sometimes we don't pay a lot attention to things that are right in front of our own eyes. The biggest, most obvious things are often ignored. Consider for instance the sun. It is a massive nuclear reactor that mainly takes hydrogen and turns it into energy. It is also a magnetically active star with a magnetic field that is strong and in constant flux and this produces things like sunspots, solar flares and solar wind.

Every second the sun coverts 4 million tonnes of matter into energy and sends solar radiation through the galaxy. Now what role might this giant furnace play in global warming? Of course we know that all heat on the planet comes directly, or indirectly, from the energy of the sun. But the sun changes global weather in other ways as well. Recently two scientific papers dealt with this impact. And here we find two interesting stories. The first is about the science itself and how this discovery points to solar activity as a major contributor to global warming. The second story is the fact that these new science papers were ignored by the media.

First, we should cover what the papers said. Two physicists from Duke University, produced a report entitled "Phenomenological solar signature in 400 years of reconstructed Northern Hemisphere temperature record." Not exactly the sort of title to attract much attention. Nothing dire in the title at all. They studied the global surface temperature for the last 400 years. They say: "We find good correspondence between global temperature and solar induced temperature curves during the pre-industrial period such as the cooling periods occurring during the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) and the Dalton Minimum (1795-1825). The sun might have contributed approximately 50% of the observed global warming since 1900."

Whoa, back that up for a second. "The sun might have contributed approximately 50% of the observed global warming since 1900." So this one natural factor, totally beyond human control, could be responsible for half of the small amount of warming we've seen in the last century. They also note that for the last century solar activity and global warming corresponded. "During the 20th century one continues to observe a significant correlation between the solar and temperature patterns: both records show an increase from 1900 to 1950, a decrease from 1950 to 1970, and again an increase from 1970 to 2000."

They do find that there is some surplus warming not explained in their theory. This may, or may not, be anthropogenic in origin. In others words it might be man-made or not. They say the difference they observe could be partially due to "spurious non-climatic contamination of the surface observations such as heat-island and land-use effects. Some authors suggest that the recent surface warming is overestimated... but other authors would disagree." Basically they are saying that the way we take the global temperature might have some problems and that some of the temperature increase is due to problems with estimating global temperatures.

In conclusion they say that "solar change might significantly alter climate" and "trigger several climate feedbacks". "Most of the sun-climate coupling mechanisms are probably still unknown. However they should be incorporated into the climate models to better understand the real impact of the sun on climate because they might strongly amplify the effects of small solar activity increases." In essence they think that about half of all observable warming can be attributed to solar activity. And they concede that most the ways in which the sun effects global temperatures are still unknown and not being included in the global models on which the global warming hysteria is based.

Apparently one way in which solar activity impacts climate is no longer a mystery. The Danish National Space Center did some studies to see how solar activity might impact climate and they discovered a process heretofore unknown. Basically they find that as stars explode in the galaxy they change cloud patterns on Earth. Hard to believe that things so distant could impact us directly. The press release from the Danish agency said: "It is already well-established that when cosmic rays, which are high-speed atomic particles originating in exploded stars far away in the Milky Way, penetrate Earth's atmosphere they produce substantial amounts of ions and release free electrons. Now, results from the Danish experiment show that the released electrons significantly promote the formation of building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei on which water vapour condenses to make clouds. Hence, a causal mechanism by which cosmic rays can facilitate the production of clouds in Earth's atmosphere has been experimentally identified for the first time. "

The agency created a reaction chamber and created inside it a duplicate of the lower atmosphere. They used ultraviolet light to heat the chamber duplicating the sun's rays and then they hit the chamber with cosmic rays. They found that the cosmic rays produces electrons which accelerate "the formation of stable, ultra-small clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules which are building blocks for the cloud condensation nuclei. A vast numbers of such microscopic droplets appeared, floating in the air in the reaction chamber." These droplets are basically what produce clouds. Low-altitude clouds cool the Earth. "Hence, variations in cloud cover caused by cosmic rays can change the surface temperature. The existence of such a cosmic connection to Earth's climate might thus help to explain past and present variations in Earth's climate."

For the first time these researchers now know how cosmic rays form clouds can change global temperature. Henrik Svensmark, the Director for Sun-Climate Science at the Space Center says: "This is a completely new result within climate science." Remember if this is a completely new resultthat means it has not been used in the computer models upon which global warming theory relies. The head of the Space Center said these studies answer those who dismissed this theory. "Some said there was no conceivable way in which cosmic rays could influence cloud cover. [This] experiment now shows how they do so, and should help to put the cosmic-ray connection firmly onto the agenda of international climate research."

So exploding stars in distant galaxies bombard us with cosmic rays which help produce clouds which induce cooling. "Cloud cover increases when the intensity of cosmic rays grows and decreases when the intensity declines." And over the last century, the century of global warming, our "Sun's magnetic field which shields Earth from cosmic rays more than doubled, thereby reducing the average influx of cosmic rays. The resulting reduction in cloudiness, especially of low-altitude clouds, may be a significant factor in the global warming Earth has undergone during the last century. However, until now, there has been no experimental evidence of how the causal mechanism linking cosmic rays and cloud formation may work."

This is a mechanism which has been ignored until now. What percentage of global warming is due to the reduction of clouds caused by the reduction of cosmic rays hitting the Earth? The computer models used to estimate man's role in global warming have simply not had this information in the past. So how accurate is their estimate that what we are seeing is anthropogenic?

And now for the story within the story. Or more accurately the story that didn't materialize. Recently in the UK the government issued a report by Sir Nicholas Stern which claimed that global warming is anthropogenic and dangerous and that severe measures must be taken now to avoid disaster. Did Stern know that up to half of global warming is due to solar activity? Does he know that cosmic rays change cloud formation impacting on global temperatures? Considering his report came out about the same time these two new papers came out it unlikely he took them into consideration. His report is of tree gobbling size, over 700 pages. But is it worth the large amounts of paper upon which it is written? Or was it outdate before it was released?

Stern's report is scary predicting major catastrophes and disasters. And according to Google news this one report has generated more than 2,000 stories in the major publications of the world. If you claim disaster is nigh and man is responsible you get lots of press.

But what about these two important scientific papers? How much press coverage did they get? Using the same Google news they got virtually none. The experiments from Danish National Space Center got some coverage by Fox News and MSNBC. A few small conservative sites mentioned the experiment but otherwise no major newspapers are listed in Google News as having reported on the matter. And that other report, which said that up to half of all global warming is directly caused by the sun, it got even less. Just to be sure I went to the New York Times, the major US newspaper of record, and the BBC, England's premier news source. I couldn't find anything about these reports at either site. I guess it is fair to say you have a "consensus" on global warming when important evidence to the contrary is simply ignored.



The reconstruction of Earth's climate history is important because it contextualizes the recent global climate for which we have direct evidence through instrumental observation. Therefore, reconstructions are an important component of the climate change debate, as they speak to alarmists' claims that Earth's climate has warmed to a level that is unprecedented within the last two millennia, and therefore unnatural. The natural proxies used for reconstructing climate (e.g., ice and sediment cores) must be verified through comparison with an overlapping instrumental record, and obviously, the longer the instrumental record, the better.

Contextualizing the recent climate in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is especially important, as it is across this region that the largest increase in surface air temperature has been both observed during the 20th century and predicted for the 21st century. These ideas highlight the importance of snow cover, its sensitivity to temperature, and its positive feedback to the overlying atmosphere. Higher temperatures in typically snow covered regions may lead to a reduction in snow cover, and in turn, a reduction in the refrigeration of Earth's atmosphere from beneath, and even greater atmospheric warming. The vision of out-of-control warming in Earth's frozen regions makes the leap toward a breakdown of the global oceanic circulation system and global sea level rise an easy one.

Until recently, the instrumental air temperature record for Greenland, an epicenter of glacial study and climate reconstruction, was confined to the period 1873 to present. However, recent collaboration between the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) has resulted in the compilation of instrumental data for 13 stations along the southern and western coasts of Greenland that date back to 1784. The data represent the addition of 74 complete winters and 52 complete summers to the previous record along roughly the southern two-thirds of the western Greenland coastline.

The extended surface air temperature record was constructed and analyzed by a group of researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and the aforementioned CRU (United Kingdom) and DMI (Denmark) (Vinther et al. 2006). In satisfying a major priority of the work, the temperature record clearly verifies ice core records for Greenland. A second priority of contextualizing the recent climate of Greenland has resulted in further complication of the global warming debate. As the popularized side of the debate has led us to expect, the authors found that the coldest year (1863) and the coldest decade (1810s) are early in the record, well before the ballyhooed warming of the 20th century. Problematic from a climate change standpoint is the fact that the two distinct cold periods that made the 1810s the coldest decade followed an 1809 "unidentified" volcanic eruption and the eruption of Tambora in 1815 - unusual geologic events that defined the climate.

However, of greater importance is the fact that the researchers found the warmest year on record to be 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s are the warmest decades on record. This represents very bad news for climate change alarmists, since the warmest period was NOT the last quarter of the 20th century. In fact, the last two decades of the 20th century (1981-1990 and 1991-2000) were colder across the study area than any of the previous six decades, dating back to the 1900s and 1910s (Table 1). When examining the instrumental records of the stations it is apparent that no net warming has occurred since the warm period of the 1930s and 1940s (Figure 1).

In a region of the world where climate models indicate that the greatest impacts of CO2-induced global warming will be most rapid and most evident, this recent extension of instrumental surface air temperature records produces a climate history that seems to suggest otherwise. If global climate models are correct, the increase in CO2 concentration since 1930 should be evidenced rather dramatically in air temperature across a high-latitude region of the Northern Hemisphere such as Greenland. The evidence provided by the instrumental record of air temperature along the western and southern coasts of Greenland produces doubt in the degree to which increased CO2 concentrations impact high latitude climate as represented by the climate models upon which climate change alarmists are hanging their hats.



In Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", the only facts and studies considered are those convenient to Gore's scare-them-green agenda. And in many instances, he distorts the evidence he cites. In fact, nearly every significant statement Gore makes regarding climate science and climate policy is either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong.

In the following book, videos, and Powerpoint presentation, CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr. reveals the inconvenient truths that Al Gore ignored in the book and movie versions of his global warming presentation, An Inconvenient Truth.



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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Environmental scares more likely to PRODUCE disasters than prevent them

A new report by the World Wildlife Fund says if current trends continue, the Earth will be too small to sustain humanity. "Pressures on the Earth's natural systems are both predictable and dire," says the Living Planet Report 2006. But if current trends continue, such environmentalist predictions will continue to be wrong-and dangerous.

Environmentalists have been making such wrongheaded-anti-growth, anti-technology-predictions since Rachel Carson launched the movement with her 1962 book "Silent Spring." She warned of an impending cancer epidemic unless we stopped using many manmade chemicals- particularly the pesticide DDT. It didn't happen. Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich warned in 1969 that American life expectancy could be reduced to only 42 years by the 1980s because of an epidemic of cancer caused by modern chemicals and pesticides. It didn't happen. In the 1970s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors published the book "Limits to Growth" warning that if policymakers didn't limit growth, the world would run out of resources and suffer economic collapse. They even developed an elaborate computer model to prove their point. But it didn't happen.

In the real world, resources increased and economies expanded, particularly in places that allowed the most economic freedom. There, human ingenuity produced wealth, discovered new resources and developed technologies that improved human well-being. Unfortunately, growth has not been as great as possible because it is limited by at least one thing-foolish anti-growth policies advocated by environmentalists. We could see greater growth if commerce was not limited by government impediments to free trade, bans on vital chemicals and other technologies, regulation on energy sources and campaigns against agricultural biotechnology.

Consider a few examples, starting with the most obvious. Beginning in the 1970s, regulators around the world followed Rachel Carson's suggestion that lawmakers ban the pesticide DDT, once used to control malaria, because they figured bed nets and other measures were enough. After millions of deaths and hundreds of millions of people falling sick every year for a couple decades, World Health Organization regulators and officials finally decided DDT should be used to curb the death toll. Tragically, millions had to die before officials realized the Greens were wrong.

In his book, "The Green Wave," environmental policy expert Bonner Cohen highlights yet another tragedy produced by policymakers following the Greens' advice. This time, they heeded the activists' fearmongering related to genetically modified food rather than listen to scientific experts around the world that have deemed such food safe. In 2002, Zambia and Zimbabwe's governments locked up warehouses full of U.S. genetically modified corn donated by the U.S. government to help feed people during a famine in these two nations. The reason? "We would rather starve than get something toxic," exclaimed Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa at the World Summit on Sustainable Development that same year. But the starving citizens at home didn't agree; they eventually broke into the warehouses and seized the corn. Unfortunately, fear generated about the safety of biotech food promises to hinder its development and undermine efforts to increase food production in nations where many people starve.

Other examples hit closer to home. New York Times science writer Gina Kolata detailed another case in which lawmakers followed dangerous environmentalist advice. U.S. officials banned use of mercury in blood pressure equipment because environmentalists claimed the mercury was dangerous to public health. Activists and regulators assumed substitute technology would work just as well. Yet, it doesn't. There are cases in which faulty equipment led to faulty readings and improper administration of medication. People have needlessly suffered strokes as a result. Yet regulators have not backed away from those policies.

The WWF says the American way of life is unsustainable. In reality, it's the WWF advice and that of many other anti-growth, anti-technology groups that should be considered unsustainable. After all, if any of the WWF dire predictions come true, it's likely to be a result of their foolish anti-growth policies.



The European commission has effectively admitted exaggerating environmental impacts on human health in an action plan launched two years ago. In a new paper evaluating the 2004 "Scale" environmental and health action plan it concludes that negative impacts are "relatively limited" in the context of overall health risks.

The decision to use this phrase was politically sensitive, officials have told ENDS. Scale was the brainchild of former environment commissioner Margot Wallstroem, now responsible for communications in the EU executive. Insiders say that the initiative lost much of its political momentum almost as soon as she was replaced by Stavros Dimas. When the action plan was launched, the commission insisted there was a "strong link between poor health and environmental problems" and estimated that one-sixth of all childhood deaths and diseases were due to environmental factors

Two months later, in the run-up to a ministerial conference, the World health organisation estimated that one-third of child deaths in Europe were caused by environmental factors. A commission official told ENDS that this latest analysis shows that environment-health issues are "less alarming than we thought when Scale was first launched". The official admitted that the extent of the problem "may have been exaggerated" under Margot Wallstroem.

More here


Meeting Kyoto targets will cost the Canadian economy a third of its output or force Ottawa to spend $20-billion by 2012 to buy international credits, says one of the country's leading business groups. Jayson Myers, chief economist for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, will lay out this scenario today before the House of Commons environment committee.

His appearance comes as the all-party committee studies a Liberal MP's private member's bill aimed at compelling the Conservative government to adhere to Canada's obligations under the Kyoto climate-change accord. "It is a reality check, yes, and it is for all parties," Mr. Myers said in an interview. "If governments continue to develop policy based on targets that cannot be met, the experience shows that leads to counterproductive policies."

Under Kyoto, Canada agreed to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, which stood at 599 megatonnes, during the 2008-to-2012 period. Canada was 27% above 1990 levels in 2004, and Mr. Myers expects the country to be 30% above 1990 levels once 2005 data are calculated.

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has been criticized for saying Canada cannot meet its Kyoto obligations. The NDP, for instance, has said the government must adhere to the Kyoto targets in exchange for its support for the Conservative environmental legislation. The government's Clean Air Act, which the three opposition parties oppose, is set to go to a special all-party committee. It is expected the opposition will attempt to rewrite the legislation.

Mr. Myers said that since 1990, Canada's carbon output has increased by an average of 1% less than the rate of economic growth. He has calculated that technological progress in reducing emission intensity would have to accelerate by eight times, or 700%, during the next five years to meet Kyoto targets. "You would have to have widespread replacement of energy sources, widespread improvement in vehicles currently on the road, and widespread replacement of existing industrial machinery. It's not going to happen in five years," Mr. Myers said. As a result, only two options remain for legislators: Reduce economic output by 30%, or roughly $300-billion, by shutting down factories and taking vehicles off the road; or purchase the equivalent of about $5-billion a year, between 2008 to 2012, of emission credits as allowed under Kyoto, for a total of $20-billion. The $20-billion figure is based on buying enough credits for each year between 2008 and 2012 to make up Canada's expected shortfall, of 215.7 megatonnes, at an estimated cost of $20 per tonne.

Under the former Liberal government's environment plan, up to $5-billion was set aside to purchase credits for the 2008 to 2012 period. Mr. Myers warned the $20 per tonne figure -- used by the Auditor General's environment watchdog in her recent report -- may be low. "Canada is not on alone in being unable to meet the Kyoto targets," he said. "So if everybody is serious about this, everybody will be buying emission credits. So the demand for these credits is going to be much higher than supply and prices will go up."

Mr. Myers and others have backed Ms. Ambrose's claim that Canada cannot meet Kyoto. Federal documents prepared this year indicated Canada could not meet the targets and it was up to the government to determine "whether or when to acknowledge" this fact. He said he expects to be attacked by pro-Kyoto MPs. "But I hope the MPs realize that if we are not going to jeopardize economic growth, the only way we are going to realize emissions reductions is by the accelerating technological process -- either through better energy efficiency or by developing alternative sources of energy.

More here


Despite the fact that global temperature has been stable since 1998. Correlation does not prove causation but lack of correlation does DISprove causation

Global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have had little impact with the rate of emissions more than doubling since the 1990s. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research scientist, Mike Raupach, said that from 2000 to 2005, the growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions was more than 2.5 per cent per year. "In the 1990s it was less than one per cent per year." In 2005, 7.9 billion tonnes of carbon were emitted into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This was near the high end of the fossil fuel use scenarios considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said Dr Raupach, who is also co-chair of the Global Carbon Project, an international scientific collaboration to study the carbon cycle. "On our current path, it will be difficult to reign in carbon emissions enough to stabilise the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at 450 ppm," he said.

While China had the highest current growth rate in emissions, its emissions per person were still below the global average and its accumulated contribution since the start of the industrial revolution more than 200 years ago was only five per cent of the global total. By comparison, the US and Europe have each contributed more than 25 per cent of accumulated global emissions.

Paul Fraser, also from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, said the findings were supported by measurements of carbon dioxide levels in the air, which grew by two parts per million in 2005. This was the fourth year in a row of above-average growth, Dr Fraser said. "To have four years in a row of above-average carbon dioxide growth is unprecedented." The two scientists presented their latest findings at a meeting at Tasmania's Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station, which is run by CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Dr Fraser said the 30-year record of air collected at Cape Grim, showed growth rates of carbon dioxide were slightly more than one part per million in the early 1980s, but in recent years carbon dioxide levels has increased at almost twice this rate. "The trend over recent years suggests the growth rate is accelerating, signifying that fossil fuels are having an impact on greenhouse gas concentrations in a way we haven't seen in the past."



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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, November 27, 2006


Spring in Malaysia is even more silent than it was when I reported how the indigenous jungle is being destroyed to provide palm oil for the Soil Association's "environmentally-friendly" pesticide soft soap. More great swathes of the eco-system are being replaced by oil palms to supply Europe with the biodiesel it must have by next year to comply with Directive 2003/30/EC requiring 5 per cent of road fuel to come from biological sources.

Both outcomes are typical results of green intervention in the market. They have not grasped that, to succeed, intervention must be complete and global - anything less merely creates a distortion used by shrewd businessmen to exploit the public purse, usually with further damage to the environment.

Locally, nationally or internationally, green policies are a dreary saga of intervention, unforeseen consequences and further intervention, with the environmental balance sheet always in the red.

A bit like the Red Queen, in the lexicon of green speak, words mean whatever they want them to mean so the temporary, short-term generation of landfill gas in rubbish dumps is deemed to be "sustainable" and electricity generated by burning it qualifies for Renewables Obligation subsidies, currently standing at about Ao48 per megawatt hour.

Curiously, nuclear - based on an estimated 4,000 years' supply of uranium - is not sustainable. This encouragement to create landfill sites conflicts with the EU directive requiring less rubbish to go to landfill and more to composting or incineration. But both these operations require extensive transporting of waste to central facilities.

Burning chicken dung to generate subsidised electricity and replacing it with artificial manure with a carbon price of 5.7 tonnes of per tonne of fertiliser is another dismal entry in the environmental ledger, but the ultimate in "double speak" - less is more - is reserved for hydroelectricity.

Prior to 2002, hydroelectric stations of over 20MW capacity were excluded from Renewables Obligation subsidies. However, on 1 April, a date that made many people wonder if it really was a prank, the government quietly announced that stations above that level could be deliberately reduced in capacity to qualify.

Generating companies, among them Scottish & Southern Energy, promptly decommissioned alternator windings by between 18 and 47 per cent to reduce hydro capacity by a total of 59MW, achieving their goal of less renewable electricity but more profits at the expense of the environment.

Overall, I reckon green policies in Scotland have considerably increased emissions and I'm not including the extra given off by peat disturbed during wind power station construction. Nothing convinces me that it is any different.

Taking a global outlook, the recommendation in the Stern report for international carbon trading will simply become another mechanism for taking money from poor Europeans and giving it to a very few, very wealthy Third World dictators who will sell their countries' carbon entitlement to line their own pockets. Carbon dioxide is the same whoever emits it and carbon trading will make no overall difference.

Already, national morale is wilting under the relentless green propaganda message that our lifestyle is "trashing the planet" and creating "climate chaos". It will take more than a few thousands spent on Glasgow's happiness centre to offset that and who in their right mind would chose to have children in a collapsing, chaotic world?

We will never achieve anything in response to climate change until we return to hard science, free-market economics, evidence-based policies and democratic accountability.



Immediate steep global reductions in the emissions of the chief greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, turn out to be a fantasy. This was made plain by a panel discussion today which featured the release of a report by the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies. The panel aimed to outline the "economic case for action on climate change," but the realities of global poverty overwhelmed it.

First, the CEPS report itself with the fetching title, Revisiting EU Policy Options for Tackling Climate Change, was a kind of Stern Review-lite. The Stern Review released by the British government the week before the Nairobi climate conference convened argued that avoiding climate change must begin now and was surprisingly affordable. It achieved that conclusion by among other things positing a very low discount rate so that investments made now to avoid climate change look cheap when compared to the costs of adapting in the future to climate change. The CEPS report also applied a relatively low discount rate and included measures for the "social costs" of externalities and for valuing energy security. The CEPS report amounted to interesting intellectual exercise that focused on the sorts of expensive actions that already rich countries can afford to take even if they turn out to be economic dead ends.

The CEPS report made the magnitude of the proposed reductions clear. In order to make sure that the CO2 concentrations do not rise beyond 550 parts per million in the atmosphere by 2050, the current annual level of global emissions of 33 billion tons of CO2 would have to be slashed by 25 billion tons by 2050. A drop of around 70-80 percent. However, if no emissions reductions policies are put in place, the CEPS report notes that global emissions would rise from 33 billion tons of CO2 today to 51 billion tons by 2050. For comparison, the European Union's Kyoto Protocol reductions amount to 400 million tons of CO2 by 2012.

Next, Surya P. Sethi, the principal energy policy advisor to the Indian government, showed that the CEPS study is basically an exercise in climate change policy whimsy. Sethi began by reviewing the development challenges faced by India. He pointed out that 50 percent of its people have no access to electricity; cooking was the largest use of energy for 75 percent of households; and 70 percent of cooking was done using traditional biomass, wood and dung. In addition, 35 percent of India's people live on less than $1 per day and 80 percent live on less than $2 per day. He pointed out that lack of access to modern energy supplies correlates with high infant mortality, low life expectancies, high gender inequality, and low literacy rates.

Sethi then noted that India's economy must grow at 8 percent per year for the next 25 years in order to lift the bottom 40 percent of its people to a decent standard of living. He pointed out that India was falling behind in achieving it Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty due to persistent energy shortages. "Energy is central for development. Our energy consumption must go up," declared Sethi. Today India uses 471 million tons oil equivalent (MTOE) of energy each year of which 327 MTOE is primary commercial energy. The rest comes from burning traditional biomass. In order to achieve its poverty reduction goals, Sethi asserted that India needs to grow its energy supplies by 4.3 to 5.1 percent per year and to consume 1536 to 1887 MTOE by 2031. (For comparison the US consumes around 2300 MTOE annually now.) "India will need to tap all available energy supplies and pursue all available energy efficiency technologies. For India it is not a choice between energy supply and energy efficiency. It is both." said Sethi.

Sethi contrasted India's current total primary energy supply (TPES) per capita energy use with other countries. TPES per capita is calculated as the energy equivalent of the amount of oil in kilograms (kgoe) a person consumes per year. In China the amount is 1090 kgoe, Brazil 1094, Denmark 3852, UK 3906, US 7835, Japan 4052, and the world average per capita energy use is 1688. Where does India stand? The average Indian consumes the equivalent of 439 kilograms of oil. The eight percent annual economic growth that Sethi hopes India will experience over the quarter century would mean that the average Indian would be consuming between 1065 and 1279 kgoe in 2031. That's about what the average Chinese uses now and is only 70 percent of world's current per capita average.

Sethi said that India could cut projected CO2 emissions between 2012 and 2017 by 550 million tons at an additional cost of $25 billion for more energy efficient technologies. However, he pointed out that the Indian government spent that amount on its social and poverty reduction goals in the last five years. He then pointedly added, "I do not have the funds for both. My choice is to improve the lot of India's poor or reduce CO2 emissions so the developed world can breathe easier." Paying for the new energy efficiency technologies would also raise the price of power and thereby delay its delivery to the poor. Besides, Sethi observed, Indians already pay the highest rate in purchasing power parity terms for energy in the world. In fact, the average household spends one and a half times more on energy than it does on food. Finally, Sethi told me that even after implementing the most efficient energy conservation technologies over the next 25 years, India will still be emitting 4 times more CO2 in 2031 than it does today.

A Swede in the audience reminded Sethi that the Stern Review had declared that urgent action toward reducing CO2 emissions is needed now. Sethi's response made it clear that restricting the access to energy by world's poor was unacceptable. "You cannot tackle climate change unless you make dramatic lifestyle changes in the West," replied Sethi. I think it is a safe bet that few Westerners will decide for the sake of the climate to live like poor Indians. So humanity will have little choice but to adapt to any future climate change. Fortunately, economic growth makes that easier to do.

Tomorrow-the environment ministers finally gather here in Nairobi to ratify and complete what their underlings have been negotiating for the past week which, as far as I can tell right now, isn't much. A couple of side events intrigue me so I may cover sessions on climate and forests, the role of policies the enable adaptation to climate change once the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end in 2012, and another that asks if it is time to set a long-term global climate. The last is basically asking where humanity wants to set the planet's thermostat.



MILLIONS of families were facing a new wave of taxes on their holidays last night. Chancellor Gordon Brown will announce his latest cash raid in the run-up to Christmas. Middle Britain will be hammered by a series of stealth taxes which will be disguised as green measures. Holiday and business flights along with family cars are set to be the target of the new squeeze. Mr Brown, who has devised more than 80 ways of increasing tax since taking over at the Treasury, will say the higher levies are vital to save the planet from global warming.

Last night critics warned that the green agenda will be merely an excuse to wring yet more cash out of Britain's hard-working families, with questionable benefits for the environment. James Frayne, of the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group, said: "This confirms what we have suspected: Politicians are going to start raising taxes massively in the name of the environment. "It's a convenient excuse. All they are interested in is extra revenue. These tax rises will penalise millions of ordinary middle class families."

Mr Brown is expected to unveil plans in his Pre-Budget Report on December 6 for an increase in air passenger duty, which is paid by every traveller leaving a UK airport. Tax on bigger family cars is also expected to rise in a bid to outflank David Cameron, who has put the environment at the heart of his Tory policy agenda.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said last night: "I want to see a shift to green taxes but they have to pay for tax reductions elsewhere. "My motto is pay as you burn, not pay as you earn. My fear about Gordon Brown is that he will use this as an excuse for a stealthy increase in the tax burden for families." Radical action to stave off disaster for the Earth was demanded by the recent Stern review, which was commissioned by the Treasury.

Mr Brown was said yesterday to have been persuaded that higher air passenger duty, which was frozen in the spring Budget, could have a part to play in tackling the damage done by aviation. There are currently four rates: 5 or 10 pounds for European destinations, and 20 or 40 for long-haul flights. An indication of Government thinking on the issue was revealed in a leaked memo from Environment Secretary David Miliband. He said air travel was "lightly taxed". Slapping 5 on air passenger duty would bring in 400 million a year, he said, adding that there was also a case for levying VAT on flights.

James Fremantle, of the Air Transport Users Council, said: "We do not shut our eyes to environmental concerns, and passengers have those concerns too. "But we are not convinced that raising air passenger duty would be the way to go. We are not convinced that higher taxes would stop people flying.''

Mr Brown is also poised to pile more pressure on the owners of family cars, believing that raising indirect taxation could help to persuade motorists to switch to less polluting vehicles. Since March, vehicle excise duty has included a top band of 210 pounds a year for new cars which emit the most carbon dioxide. Vehicles likely to be targeted include Land Rover Freelanders and Discoveries, and also Jeeps. But any new tax would also hit Mondeo Man, long seen as a political barometer, by affecting 2.5-litre models as well as owners of Vauxhall Astra 2L Twin Tops and Vauxhall Vectra 2.8Ls.

But critics say the 20 pound increase has not done enough to dissuade people from buying the most polluting models. Mr Miliband called for tough measures to combat car use and ownership, with a substantial increase in road tax to force people to switch to smaller vehicles.

Edmund King of the RAC Foundation stressed the Government must ensure that any duty rises are announced several years in advance of taking effect. "We have no problem with higher tax for the more polluting vehicles, it's about giving people time to adapt," he said. Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne said official figures this week showed that green taxes on fuel, vehicles, energy and landfill fell last year to 2.9 per cent of national income, the lowest since 1989. He added: "Reports about raising vehicle excise duty and air passenger duty would ring rather less hollow if Gordon Brown did not have such an embarrassing record on environmental taxes."

Mr Brown's Pre-Budget report is also expected to support an international market in carbon trading in which companies can buy and sell emission quotas to keep the overall level within a set limit. The Treasury last night described as "speculation" reports that Mr Brown was poised to raise taxes on air travel and large cars.


Sydney: A Greenie-created water crisis

Everyone agrees Sydney faces a water crisis, but the city seems incapable of significant action. Today I want to celebrate a Turramurra couple who have accepted responsibility for their water use. It's a story of triumph, but also of frustration in dealing with government. To understand this, you need to see why the State Government's management of water is so deeply dysfunctional.

I have a copy of the Sydney Water Board's 1991 water supply strategy review, and have confirmed with former senior staff that it represents informed opinion at the time. It pointed out that the city's population had doubled since 1960 but its water storage capacity had increased by only 2 per cent. It said: "If measures are not taken to provide Sydney with additional storage, early in the next century there will be a real risk of serious water restrictions being necessary." The reason for this did not involve apocalyptic events such as climate change or a one-in-a-thousand-year drought. It was mundane: you cannot increase a city's population without increasing its water supply. The prediction was accurate: no steps were taken to increase storage, and water restrictions were introduced in 2003.

The review recommended that a dam be built on the upper Shoalhaven River. This was accepted but Bob Carr cancelled it when he became premier. But don't think the Shoalhaven was saved. On October 24 Shelley Hancock, the Liberal member for South Coast, told State Parliament that enormous amounts of water were being pumped from the river anyway. "In August, 78 per cent of Sydney's water supply was pumped from the Shoalhaven," she said. "In the following week [it was] 82 per cent." This had produced an "alarming drop in the water levels in the river".

The review considered large-scale recycling, which Carr also rejected. Indeed, the Government spent almost $1.6 million on lawyers to try to stop a private company, Sydney Services, getting access to its waste water. It was finally forced by the National Competition Council to negotiate with Sydney Services. In response, last week it brought in a shabby piece of legislation called the Water Industry Competition Bill. This appoints as umpire for access disputes the Government's Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, rather than the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which the industry wanted. The tribunal will ultimately determine the terms on which Sydney Water has to offer access to private companies. The industry does not believe the tribunal will be sufficiently independent.

Why is the Government so opposed to large-scale recycling, whether done by itself or private companies? Because Sydney Water pays a massive "dividend" each year to the Government, which it doesn't want to lose by recycling. (Recycled water costs more than dam water.) Last year the dividend was $193 million, an increase of $73 million over the previous year. To put this in some sort of perspective, the increase in Sydney Water's cash flow from normal operating activities over the year was only $26.7 million. Some of that dividend - many would say a lot of it - is money that ought to have been spent on serious recycling. But with the exception of the Rouse Hill recycling scheme, the Government has largely ignored, even discouraged, recycling, by companies and individuals.

In Turramurra, Alicia Campbell and Jason Young have taken matters into their own hands. Last year they moved into a standard two-storey house, which they had helped design. Under the Government's BASIX regulations they were required to have a 5000-litre rainwater tank. Says Alicia: "We thought, if we were going to do it, why not do it properly?" So they installed a 25,000-litre tank underground, "double-U" gutters to stop leaves getting in and first flush devices on the downpipes so when it rains the roof is washed clean before water goes into the tank. In the past year they have used 91,000 litres from the tank; the house is not connected to mains water.

Jason and Alicia, who have two small children, have also installed a system that allows them to recycle all their waste water, including sewage. This will produce about 100,000 litres of water a year. Ku-ring-gai Council has insisted they pay about $3000 for a series of tests before they can use this water for non-potable purposes, at which point they will disconnect from the sewer mains.

Michael Mobbs is the guru of Sydney's sustainability movement. He says 17,000 people have been through his sustainable house in Chippendale in the past eight years. An environmental lawyer, he advises people like Alicia and Jason, and has helped them deal with the regulatory thickets set up to discourage people from becoming self-sufficient. Mobbs says he knows of about 30 households in Sydney that have gone off the water grid. Sydney Water guesses 50 have disconnected from the sewer mains. As well as this, 27,500 residences, businesses and schools have received up to $800 from Sydney Water, for installing rain tanks with a capacity of more than 7000 litres that are connected to a toilet or washing machine.

These figures are modest in a city of so many residences. Expense is a big issue. Jason and Alicia paid about $25,000 for their independence, funded partly by savings elsewhere in the home (for example, concrete instead of wooden floors). The home builder AV Jennings has tried to sell houses with environmental features, but a company spokesman says few are prepared to pay the additional cost. Which makes Alicia and Jason's achievement all the more remarkable. She was the driving force, and at first he was concerned about costs. "But now we've done it," he says, "I'm overjoyed."



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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

A new experiment to test the role of cosmic rays in global warming

SIR WILLIAM HERSCHEL, an 18th-century astronomer, is credited with being the first person to notice the effect of variations in the sun's activity on the Earth. In 1801 he observed that when the sun had many spots on its surface, the price of wheat fell-a connection he attributed to the weather being more temperate. Over the next 200 years scientists tried, without much success, to understand exactly how these transient sunspots might affect the climate. Now an experiment has begun that could explain what is going on.

The Earth is continually bombarded by streams of particles that come from outside the solar system. These cosmic rays, as they are called, consist mostly of protons. They strike the gases of the Earth's atmosphere at great speeds, creating showers of debris including streams of electron-like particles called muons. An international team of physicists led by Jasper Kirkby, who works at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, has devised an experiment to find out how this process might affect the climate.

When scientists first turned their attention to subatomic particles, including cosmic rays, they used a device called a cloud chamber to study them. These are boxes containing air that is super-saturated with water vapour. When a charged particle zips through the chamber, the vapour condenses into a trail of droplets showing the particle's path and, if the box is placed in a magnetic field, its electrical charge.

In an updated version of a cloud chamber the researchers are recreating the Earth's atmosphere. They fill the container with pure air made by evaporating liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen, and add water vapour and some trace gases. They adjust the temperature and pressure of the mix to mimic conditions at various heights above sea level. Then they zap the results with a stream of particles from the laboratory's elderly proton synchrotron. Ideally, they would use muons but, in practice, they are using a close cousin, the pion.

The theory is that when a muon encounters a gas molecule, it can knock off an electron, leaving a positively charged ion in its wake. The electron soon attaches itself to another molecule, making a negatively charged ion. These ions are thought to help create new particles called aerosols and, when aerosols grow above a certain size, they become the seeds around which cloud droplets form.

The experiment is testing this theory. If it is correct, then cosmic rays may create clouds with more small droplets than would otherwise be the case. Such clouds would persist for an unusually long time because small water droplets are less likely than big ones to turn into rain. Physicists also think that such clouds would be brighter and more reflective than normal clouds. So they would cool the Earth by hanging around and by reflecting more heat from the sun back into space.

The link between the sun's activity and climate involves another lot of particles streaming past the Earth. The planet and its neighbours are bathed in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. The magnetic field associated with these particles helps protect the Earth from cosmic rays by deflecting them from the planet.

When the sun is at its most active, which is when it is spotty, the solar wind is stronger and fewer cosmic rays penetrate. Conversely, when solar activity is less intense, more cosmic rays get through. A study using data on cloud cover taken from satellite images dating from 1979 found that 65% of the world's skies were covered by cloud when cosmic rays were weakest and 68% when they were strongest.

Scientists modelling climate change have ignored cosmic rays up to now because there was not enough evidence about how they might work. However, the results of this experiment, expected by summer 2007, could show how nature periodically sticks her oar in.



Europe is damaging its competitiveness by moving faster than the rest of the world to tackle climate change, the European Union's industry commissioner has warned. In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Guenter Verheugen says: "We have to recognise that ... our environmental leadership could significantly undermine the international competitiveness of part of Europe's energy-intensive industries and worsen global environmental performance by redirecting production to parts of the world with lower environmental standards." His comments are understood to be aimed in particular at the economic threat from China, India and other Asian nations.

The industry commissioner wrote to Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, calling for special exemptions for such sectors to state aid rules and backing the introduction of a levy on imports from developed countries that have yet to implement the Kyoto treaty, which has been floated in Brussels. However, he also believes that European business could benefit if the market-friendly emissions trading scheme is extended to cars and airlines by encouraging it to invest in new technology and reducing emissions in the developing world.

His distress call reflects the increasing priority Mr Barroso is putting on green issues since the publication of the Stern report by the UK and the US debate sparked by Al Gore, the former vice-president. Brussels is set next week to reject several of its members' emissions trading plans for the 2008-12 period as too weak. Mr Verheugen suggests a 10-point plan to form the basis of a review of energy and climate policy expected in January.



"We just haven't been doing the hard work of getting across to the public just how serious the situation is!" The speaker was one of 48 American climate experts gathered from around the country and crowded into a small second-floor hotel meeting room for an all-day closed-door strategy session. All day, the midtown Manhattan traffic swirled unnoticed beneath the windows as these men and women - which included not only a number of America's pre-eminent climate scientists but two psychologists and other experts too - wrestled with what they call a crisis.

Convened by Yale's Project on Climate Change at the Yale School of Forestry and Environment Studies, its purpose was not to debate global warming science but to figure out how to convey its most important findings to the public "with appropriate urgency and sustained for the long haul."

It is a goal these scientists see constantly thwarted by what they dubbed "the forces of darkness" - a persistent disinformation campaign, waged by some fossil fuel companies and cooperating politicians that downplays the gravity of global warming. "We will leave our children and grandchildren a ruined world if we don't dramatically change our behavior, and soon," said Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, after the meeting broke up.

To encourage frank discussion, Yale imposed what are called Chatham House Rules: No one attending, including the four invited journalists, could attribute quotes to specific people.

The assembled scientists pondered how they might create some sort of new "bridging institution" between scientists and the public. They reviewed the tactics of naysayers who persistently "trick" journalists into thinking they have to present "the other side" on basic aspects of climate change, even though virtually all the world's thousands of professional climatologists now agree on them.

Several in the room sensed a recent shift in the media, but many still worried that too many editors remained susceptible to reporting what these experts see as junk controversy.



Mocking comment from Harvard by Lubos Motl

Eastern Australia hasn't seen this November cold for 100+ years: it was the coldest November day in a century. Recall that "November" in Australian can be translated as "May" in the U.S. Nevertheless, they have had mushy snow in Canberra, a blast of Antarctic magic. A goosepimply, teeth-chattering Sydney has another reason to shake its collective head at the weather gods today.

Nevertheless, intelligent journalists immediately explain us that cooler weather and fewer hurricanes do not lessen global warming trends because weather is not climate, just like religion is not faith. The climate and the climate change are not only independent of the weather but they are independent of all other things that can be measured, too.

More precisely, weather is only climate when it's getting warmer and when the hurricane frequency increases. When the weather is getting cooler and the hurricane rate is decreasing, weather is no longer climate. It follows that the climate is always getting warmer - QED Amen. That's why Kofi Annan can tell us that we, the skeptics, are out of step, out of time, and out of arguments. He is out of tune, out of touch, and out of mind, trying to build the 1984-style global government.

Australian PM using nukes to spike the Green/Left

Only very foolish people doubt John Howard's political instincts

John Howard has recast the political debate on nuclear power, with Ziggy Switkowski's report saying that if you take global warming seriously then nuclear must be assessed as part of the solution. Either Howard or Kim Beazley has made a blunder as they seize opposing positions in the energy debate. Beazley says Howard "is developing some of the characteristics of a fanatic" on nuclear power. He says there is a clear-cut distinction between Labor and Liberal, and that Howard must answer a simple question: Where will his 25 nuclear reactors be located?

The more Beazley fumes, the more moderate Howard sounds. "I think public opinion is shifting," Howard says. "I want to take the public with me. I'm not trying to force it down the throat of the public. We're talking about a debate that is going to go on for some time. We can't expect instant policy gratification." You bet. Howard has no intention of committing Australia to nuclear power before the next election. His real purpose is to redefine the politics of energy in Australia and to destroy the moral and practical superiority Labor has enjoyed for so long courtesy of the global warming debate.

While the issue was about belief or disbelief in global warming, Howard was the loser. Climate, science and popular sentiment united against him. Howard's answer is to declare himself a believer and begin a new debate about solutions. This is a debate about markets, costs and economics, where the key ideological factor is no longer Howard's scepticism about global warming but Labor's rejection of nuclear power.

As a politician, Howard specialises in eroding Labor's symbolic ideas. This term he has assaulted Labor's industrial orthodoxy with his Work Choices package and now assaults its anti-nuclear orthodoxy. Such positions are assumed to be highly unpopular. So why does Howard embrace them? Because he thinks the election winner will be the leader propounding positive ideas for the nation's future. "I think the public will listen to the debate," he says of the nuclear issue. "I don't think they have the prejudice about nuclear power that Mr Beazley and Senator Brown have. I mean, Senator Brown and Mr Beazley have a prejudice about nuclear power. I'm open-minded about nuclear power." This is Howard tying Labor into green ideology as opposed to his rationalism.

Switkowski's report is designed to make nuclear power respectable. But it cannot make the nuclear option financially viable. The report's key is the nexus between global warming and nuclear power. Switkowski spelt it out at the National Press Club: you only think nuclear if you believe in climate change. In Australia, nuclear power is hopelessly uncompetitive, about 20 per cent to 50 per cent costlier than coal and gas-based electricity on which Australia relies. So there is no investment appetite for nuclear power, as Australia enjoys the fourth cheapest electricity among the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

While Switkowski finds that nuclear is a "practical option" for Australia, the assumptions underpinning this conclusion reveal the remoteness of the nuclear pathway. Consider the list. The report asserts at the start that Australia's best option is clean coal. Frankly, it is a no-brainer. This technology is a joint Howard-Beazley aspiration of deep import for Australia and the world economy. Beyond this, nuclear would only be viable if fossil fuels begin to pay for their emissions. A price of $15-$40 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent would be necessary to make nuclear electricity competitive.

But complications abound. The period for planning, building and commissioning Australia's first nuclear power plant would be 10 to 20 years. Australia lacks the expertise and skills in nuclear research. Nuclear engineering and nuclear physics are degraded and a national mobilisation would be required to generate such expertise. Australia has no regulatory framework for the industry and it would need to establish a single national regulator to cover all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, drawing heavily on overseas expertise. The report says that if Australia is serious about nuclear power, it is essential that this regulatory framework be "established at an early stage".

Australia's existing laws ban the establishment of nuclear fuel cycle facilities, from power plants to enrichment plants. This inhibition, significantly, is on Howard's mind. "If we are to have a nuclear power industry in this country, we need to change the law, because the law doesn't permit it at the present time," he says. Such laws would need passage through the federal parliament. Might Howard contemplate this before the election as part of a showdown with Labor and the Greens over putting the nuclear option on a commercial evaluation basis? Australia is locked into an anti-nuclear power administrative and legislative system. Freeing up this system may become part of any genuine debate. Howard's message is that he wants the nuclear option decided on commercial factors. Yet Switkowski's report contains even more warnings on this score.

Overseas experience suggests "the first plants may need additional measures to kick-start the industry". Sure. The report says the US Government is providing a subsidy for the first six nuclear plants based on next-generation technology. Given this history, can you imagine commercial operators launching a nuclear industry in Australia without subsidies? And imagine further just how popular such subsidies would prove!

The test for Howard is whether he moves towards a carbon-pricing policy. If he does, he risks prejudicing Australia's comparative advantage in cheap electricity based on fossil fuels. Yet if he doesn't, he undermines the necessary condition Switkowski outlines that would make nuclear competitive, thereby compromising his nuclear initiative. Howard's view is that no single technology can meet Australia's future energy demands. He wants nuclear assessed as part of the mix and the report's philosophy is that all options should be examined on a market basis and all technologies should "compete on an equal footing". This may eventually rule out nuclear power for Australia. But Beazley is not interested in such evaluations.

Labor has an ideological objection to nuclear power and a political conviction that a scare campaign will be effective against Howard. It would be an advertising agency's delight: depicting Australia's cities as the next Chernobyl. The immediate response of Labor's premiers betrayed their faith in such a scare at state and local level. These premiers, most of whom have singularly failed to manage infrastructure and water policy properly, now purport to veto a comprehensive debate on Australia's energy future. They don't deserve to be taken seriously and few people will take them seriously. Having being routed before the High Court in their totally counterproductive challenge to Howard's industrial laws, the premiers have neither the power nor the authority to take this decision about the Australian nation.

The real difference is that Howard wants to open the door to a nuclear debate and Beazley wants to keep it shut. It is a division not between nuclear policies but between political positions. It repeats the patterm since 1996 of Howard as the agent of initiative and Labor as the agent of resistance.



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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.