Saturday, June 23, 2007


An email from noted British science writer, David Whitehouse []

The new report by the BBC Trust is to be welcomed very much by all those who care for the practical expression of the highest journalistic standards and the fair reporting of climate change and not just the illustration of the consensus viewpoint, as has been happening at the BBC.

Part of the BBC Trust report states: "Climate change is another subject where dissenters can be unpopular. There may be now a broad scientific consensus that climate change is definitely happening, and that it is at least predominantly man-made. But the second part of that consensus still has some intelligent and articulate opponents, even if a small minority."

It's easy to over interpret words but pay attention to the phrase "there MAY be a broad scientific consensus." It will be interesting if this viewpoint by the BBC's ultimate governing body reaches the news bulletins.

The next section of the report is also interesting. "Jana Bennett, Director of Television, argued at the seminar that 'as journalists, we have the duty to understand where the weight of the evidence has got to. And that is an incredibly important thing in terms of public understanding - equipping citizens, informing the public as to what's going to happen or not happen possibly over the next couple of hundred years.'

Roger Mosey, Director of Sport, said that in his former job as head of TV News, he had been lobbied by scientists 'about what they thought was a disproportionate number of people denying climate change getting on our airwaves and being part of a balanced discussion - because they believe, absolutely sincerely, that climate change is now scientific fact."

I don't think anyone would argue that climate change was not a scientific fact or that it is always happening, for one reason or another. But behind those comments one can see that some scientists, or groups of them, have clearly learned the techniques of lobbying the media from political parties in order to get their own viewpoint expressed and limit the viewpoint of those whom they disagree with....

It seems that such lobbying had an effect on BBC News climate change coverage, as they admitted in their own words. In November 2005 the BBC had already decided that the science of global warming was established and that because in their view the number of sceptics was 'dwindling' the contrary viewpoint was irrelevant so that they did not have to report it.....

But now that has changed. The Trust has recognised that the climate change coverage on BBC News was not impartial news coverage but a de facto campaign. The BBC Trust report again:

"The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC's role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as 'flat-earthers' or 'deniers', who 'should not be given a platform' by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.

'Bias by elimination' is even more offensive today than it was in 1926. The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit - but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them. The BBC's best contribution is to increase public awareness of the issues and possible solutions through impartial and accurate programming."

Personally it is heartening that the BBC Trust recognise what has been going on as I have previously argued that what was happening was bias by elimination. I also hope that the BBC will decide not to use the phrase 'climate change deniers' as it is inaccurate and pejorative.

The BBC Trust report continues: "Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution. It remains important that programme-makers relish the full range of debate that such a central and absorbing subject offers, scientifically, politically and ethically, and avoid being misrepresented as standard-bearers."

These are wise words and not before time. The only standard the BBC should be bearing is good journalism and it is good that, in the case of climate change, the BBC Trust has reminded them of that.

Climate change: don't spoil a good story with facts

Gore's film, telecast last year, declared that it is now certain that increased greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2, would lead to melting ice-caps, more hurricanes, more droughts and deserts, rising sea-levels which would make some countries uninhabitable, disastrous food shortages, increasing numbers of heat-related deaths, widespread species extinction, and other calamities.

But is it true? Many highly respected meteorologists and climate scientists do not agree.

In a recent address, Professor Bob Carter, from the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University of North Queensland, highlighted the reality as opposed to the propaganda of climate change.

He said that much of the public discussion on global warming was underpinned by two partly self-contradictory assumptions. The first is that there is a "consensus" of qualified scientists that dangerous human-induced global warming is upon us; and the second is that although there are "two sides to the debate", the dangerous-warming side is overwhelmingly the stronger.

He said, "Both assertions are unsustainable. The first because science is not, nor ever has been, about consensus, but about experimental and observational data and testable hypotheses.

"Second, regarding the number of sides to the debate, the reality is that small parts of the immensely complex climate system are better or less understood - depending upon the subject - by many different groups of experts."

He added, "Some key questions and answers that are relevant to the climate-change debate include the following. Is there an established Theory of Climate? Answer: no.

"Do we understand fully how climate works? No. Is carbon dioxide demonstrated to be a dangerous atmospheric pollutant? No. Can deterministic computer models predict future climate? Another no.

"Is there a consensus amongst qualified scientists that dangerous, human-caused climate change is upon us? Absolutely not. Did late 20th-century temperature rise at a dangerous rate, or to a dangerous level? No, in either case.

"Is global temperature currently rising? Surprisingly, no. And finally, is the IPCC [the International Panel on Climate Change] a scientific or a political advisory body? Answer: it is both."

Despite this, much of the media, together with outgoing UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Al Gore, British economist Nicholas Stern and others without scientific credentials, have attempted to close off discussion by asserting that the debate is over.

Professor Carter said, "Human-caused global warming has become the environmental cause celebre of the early 21st century. The strong-warming alarmist camp currently includes the United Nations, most Western governments, most of the free press, many large corporations (including Enron, before it failed), the major churches, most scientific organisations and a large portion of general public opinion.

"This phalanx of support notwithstanding, there is no scientific consensus as to the danger of human-induced climate change. There is, therefore, a strong conflict between the level of public alarm and its scientific justification. How can this be?"

He added, "In a democracy, the media serve to convey to the public the facts and hypotheses of climate change as provided by individual scientists, governmental and international research agencies, and NGO and other lobby groups. "In general, the media have promulgated an alarmist cause for climate change; they have certainly failed to convey the degree of uncertainty that is characteristic of climate science, or a balanced summary of the many essential facts that are relevant to human causation."


Winnipeg River: Better than Ever

There is little doubt that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will generally cause the Earth to warm and alter precipitation patterns in various parts of the globe. Changes in precipitation and temperature will thereby impact hydrological systems, and the global warming alarmists love to show images of floods or dried-up streams to make the threat of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect look as bad as possible. Indeed, the global warming scare has deep roots in the drought of 1988 over the southeastern United States that created an anomalous low flow on the Mississippi River (recall headlines about the Mississippi River drying up?). If you have forgotten, the summer of 1988 also gave us the huge wildfires of the West (Yellowstone Park burned in that summer and fall) as well as Hurricane Gilbert, and those images of how global warming will impact us have lived on powerfully ever since.

The literature on how the enhanced greenhouse effect will alter streams and rivers shows us everything from floods to record-breaking low flows, and of course, both will be bad for humans and natural ecosystems. Floods are definitely bad, but in low flow situations, agriculture will be severely impacted, direct human use of water would need to be curtailed, and if the stream provides hydropower, the impacts can be severe in the energy sector.

Canada is a mid-to-high latitude, northern hemispheric land mass where global warming is expected to be far greater than in other parts of the world, and this warming will surely be felt by the streams across their country. An article has appeared in a recent issue of Journal of Hydrology entitled "Streamflow in the Winnipeg River Basin, Canada: Trends, Extremes and Climate Linkages" by Scott St. George of the Geological Survey of Canada and the University of Arizona. The final sentence of the abstract caught our eye as he wrote "the potential threats to water supply faced by the Canadian Prairie provinces over the next few decades will not include decreasing streamflow in the Winnipeg River basin." We knew immediately that we had a Winnipeg winner on the line! Let the world know that funding for his work was provided by Manitoba Hydro, the Manitoba Geological Survey, the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

St. George explains that "Several Canadian provinces rely heavily on hydroelectric energy, and generate substantial revenue from the sale of electricity to other provinces and the United States. In Manitoba, hydropower provides nearly 95% of total electricity production." The Winnipeg River (Figure 1) is a major player in the hydropower game, and for a variety of reasons, this river is the focus of his research. St. George collected flow gauge, temperature, and precipitation data from throughout the basin from 1924 to 2003 and performed extensive statistical analyses on trends in the data as well as on the relationship through time between streamflow and climate.

Well, contrary to what the global warming crusade would lead you to believe, there is good news from the Great White North. St. George states "Trend analysis indicates that mean annual flows of the Winnipeg River have increased substantially since 1924." As seen in the figure below of monthly flow levels, six meet the "statistically significant" criterion, all six show an increase in flow, and the six months with substantial increases in discharge all occur in the winter season. St. George notes "the presence of similar trends at upstream gauges demonstrates that direct anthropogenic interference in the hydrological system is not the primary cause of these changes." These trends are real, robust, and statistically significant.

Is global warming causing snow to melt thereby increasing the flow in the winter season? Absolutely not. St. George discovers that "Streamflow between October and March is most strongly related to precipitation between August and October, with significant relationships observed using lags up to 6 months." Sure enough, he finds that "Rising winter discharge across the basin has coincided with increasing annual and seasonal precipitation" and that "This change largely reflects increases in summer (May-July) and autumn (August-October) precipitation, as no significant trends were observed for winter (November to January) precipitation."

Recall that the author collected temperature data for the study area, and if you are not a sworn believer in global warming, please have a look at this sentence "No significant trends were identified in annual, monthly or seasonalised temperature records." This alone is an astounding finding and very little comment about it appears in the paper. Recall that climate models predict the greatest warming to occur in interior portions of large landmasses of the Northern Hemisphere. St. George collects temperature data for this area in interior Canada from 1924 to 2003 and finds no warming - amazing. Can you believe that you didn't see this on the front pages of newspapers worldwide?

If you think drought and low flows might be an ever-increasing problem in the Winnipeg River Basin, St. George found that the year of lowest flow was 1977 (back in the hey-day of the global cooling scare). The next lowest flow in his 1924-2003 study period was in 1931, followed by 1988, 1932, 1940, 2003, 1911, 1941, 1930, and 1981 (you do the math)! Years of highest river discharge, from record high to lower, are 1974, 1966, 2001, 1927, 1969, 1950, 1970, 1965, 1971, and 1997.

St. George gathers the data, finds an increase in summer precipitation (we are sure the agricultural community is disappointed in having more summer rain), no change in temperature (not likely going over well in the climate alarmist camp), more discharge in the Winnipeg River (and we presume an increase in hydropower production), and no changes in flooding or low flows. In the final sentence he writes again "it seems likely that the potential threats to water supply faced by the Canadian Prairie provinces over the next few decades will not include decreasing streamflow in the Winnipeg River basin." Enough said!



You have probably heard that China is building new coal-fired power plants at the rate of one every week to 10 days. In late 2004, the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reported that three countries-the United States, China, and India-are planning to build nearly 850 new coal plants, "which would pump up to five times as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the Kyoto Protocol aims to reduce." These new plants will "bury" Kyoto.

CSM elaborated: "By 2012, the plants in three key countries - China, India, and the United States - are expected to emit as much as an extra 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to a Monitor analysis of power-plant construction data. In contrast, Kyoto countries by that year are supposed to have cut their CO2 emissions by some 483 million tons."

These numbers don't tell the whole story, because coal is surging all around the world, not just in the Big Three countries. As CSM observes: "With natural gas prices expected to continue rising, 58 other nations have 340 new coal-fired plants in various stages of development. They are expected to go online in a decade or so. Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and Turkey are all planning significant new coal-fired power additions. Germany also plans to build eight coal plants with 6,000 megawatts capacity."

A more recent article reports that Germany-yes, oh-so-green, bullish-on-Kyoto Germany-is planning to build 26 new coal-fired power plants. And now comes a report that demand for thermal coal in Russia is expected to triple by 2020, with coal-based generation doubling its share of Russian power production from about 20 percent to 38-40 percent. The upshot of all this should be, but isn't, obvious to folks on Capitol Hill. Kyoto-style regulation is at best a costly exercise in futility.


Greenie toilet stupidity comes to Australia

As usual, all it achieves is to inconvenience people

With mounting horror, customers at the Candana Designs fancy bathroom shop in Woollahra read the large sign erected in the toilet section: "To comply with Australian Standards all toilets are required to flush with a maximum of six litres of water. In order to comply with this regulation, manufacturers have reduced the size of the 'throat' inside the toilet pan. In most cases this necessitates using a toilet brush after flushing and flushing a second time." In other words, to flush a toilet properly, you'll need to flush twice and use 12 litres of water - which is more than the amount used by the old nine-litre toilets with wider "throats", which are better at ingesting potential blockages.

Thousands of years of sanitation and a drought have brought us to this point: toilets that don't do what toilets are supposed to do. That famous 19th-century British pioneer of sanitary plumbing, Thomas Crapper, would be rolling in his grave. Thanks to new federal regulations which came into force on January 1, it is now illegal to install a toilet that does not have a six-star water efficiency rating.

According to Marc Reed, managing director of Candana Designs, the feeble flush of the new eco-friendly toilet has made a lot of customers hopping mad. "We've had numerous complaints from people who . are paying $2000 for a toilet . and say it's not flushing. The old toilets used to flush everything away. But with the six-litre, it only takes 80 per cent of the waste away and you have to flush it again - which means you're using more water than you used to." As a result, Reed says, there is now a growing market for second-hand toilets.

While six-litre/three-litre flush toilets have been the norm for new houses for years, to the average consumer, new water-efficient toilets mean a lot more action with the toilet brush and the constant threat of blockages. It's not a matter often referred to in polite company, but the toilet is nonetheless something Australians use, on average, five times a day, accounting for one quarter of household water use. As those who have experienced a new eco toilet know, having to flush several times is not the worst of it. There is also the problem of what is known in the trade as "marking", as the water sits lower down the bowl, leaving exposed vast expanses of vitreous china.

A narrower throat also means more blockages. If you happen to have an over-zealous user of toilet paper in your family, colloquially known as the "scruncher", this is inclined to happen regularly.

Often children will continually flush the toilet in an attempt to hide the evidence of their profligacy. The inevitable result is water that rises and rises and rises as you stare transfixed, feet stuck to the floor as it reaches the rim, and then subsides, or doesn't, in which case your feet are stuck to the floor in more ways than one. You can find yourself channelling Peter Sellers's character Hrundi V. Bakshi from The Party. The water-conscious are fond of saying "if it's yellow, let it mellow", but if it's brown it's supposed to flush down, not erupt all over your bathroom floor.

Australia's foremost toilet expert is Dr Steve Cummings, head of research and development at Australian manufacturer Caroma, inventor of the dual flush toilet. In an interview this week that would make Kenny proud, he explained that Caroma has spent "hundreds of thousands of hours" designing its eco-friendly toilets, test-driving new designs at its Wetherill Park laboratory, where artificial materials are used to monitor the flush.

Unlike many imported brands, Caroma has not sacrificed throat size to increase suction. "We've put a lot of effort into fine-tuning the design of the pan and the cistern," he says. "If you design a toilet properly . if the toilet seat, the water surface area and the user are ergonomically aligned . the target area [should be hit]." He does point out that much "depends on the diet" of the user, which may account for some of the "enormous problems" with blockages that occur in America.

Caroma's sales in the US have doubled in the past year, as water consciousness takes hold, and the old super-sized 20-litre American models are outlawed. Cummings says he has had just a handful of complaints about Caroma's eco-friendly toilets. "The toilet brush has been around since the 19th century," he says, not very sympathetically. "Some people just don't want to clean the toilet." In the US, he warns, "they have plungers".

And there's much more to come. Caroma's Smartflush uses just 4.5 litres/three litres. Its new waterless urinal, the H2Zero Cube, last month won the Australian Design Awards' inaugural sustainability prize. Its secret is a one-way airtight valve that would save 2 million litres of water a year in the average office building. Worried about the smell without water? There is a built-in deodoriser, activated by the heat of the urine. Hmmm.

As the rain pours down on Sydney this week, we are left with these absurd legacies of the drought, from small-throated toilets to dribbling showers to Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull's latest discussion paper about putting recycled sewage into our drinking water. But no new dam for Sydney has emerged for discussion, as the population continues to grow.

Meanwhile, on the South Coast, at Braidwood and Hillview and Nerriga, near where the Welcome Reef Dam would have been built on the Shoalhaven River, rainfall recorded in the past 20 days was 150 millimetres, 181 millimetres and 274 millimetres respectively. That would have been a nice start for a dam, not to mention saving wear and tear on the toilet brushes of the future.



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 generally 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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.



Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the water-saving toilets, which help you "save" water, as humorist Dave Barry once wrote, "by forcing you to flush enough times to drain Lake Erie on an hourly basis." I don't think I could say it better.

Anonymous said...

Related news:

"Ball Bails on Johnson Lawsuit"
14 June, 2007

The self-styled Canadian climate change expert, Dr. Tim Ball, has abandoned his libel suit against University of Lethbridge Professor of Environmental Science Dan Johnson. Ball dropped the suit without conditions, but also without acknowledging that Johnson’s original comments were accurate and were reported in good faith.