Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A sane moonbat?

A good email from a British reader:

I thought you'd like to take a look at these two articles. The first, by George "moonbat" Monbiot in The Guardian acknowledges that the recent floods in England cannot be attributed to global warming.

The second in The Daily Telegraph by Charles Clover asserts that the floods are evidence of global warming.

To be honest, I can't be bothered to read them in full. It does make me wonder though, that if the science is settled and climate catastrophe is almost upon us, why aren't the warm-mongers singing from the same hymn sheet?

There's something else that puzzles me. If, when it's hot it's global warming (the heatwave in France a few summers ago) and when it's cold it's global warming (Peru this year) and to prevent global warming we've to cut CO2 emissions, how will anyone know that the measures taken have had the desired effect?

Philosopher Keith Burgess Jackson makes a similar point to the above

Weatherman John Kettley isn't surprised by the current British floods

This year's apparently extraordinary weather is no more sinister than a typical British summer of old and a reminder of why Mediterranean holidays first became so attractive to us more than 40 years ago. Because, while we are being drenched, a heatwave has brought temperatures of 40C (104F) or more across other parts of Europe. To many people the disparity may seem to indicate some seismic and sinister shift in our climate.

In fact, temperatures are exceptional only in eastern Europe, where a band of air has been moving westwards from Asia Minor. Central Europe is experiencing temperatures of 30-35C (85-95F) - just what you'd expect for this time of year, along with the blue skies and light winds.

The weather patterns across Europe are all linked in such a way that the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean never enjoy, or suffer, the same weather at the same time. And now we are feeling the full force of two extreme fronts from the West and East that are usually modified by a third from the South.

While central Europe feels the heat from the East, we have always been influenced by weather systems generated over the Atlantic, picking up energy from this huge pool of water.

We also feel the power of the strong ribbon of winds known as the Gulf Stream - a highly energetic jet, fluctuating several miles above our heads and hugely important in determining our weather. As the summer evolves, the jetstream and rainbands above us are normally gradually pushed to the north-west of Scotland by a third weather system, a milder pocket of high pressure blowing up from the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. Ultimately, this more friendly system plants itself across the rest of the country.

But this year that modifying weather pattern has yet to arrive. So the cold of the West has collided with the intense heat of the East. The result is flash floods and torrential downpours.

There is no particular reason for the sluggish movement of the Azores front. It's just one of those things. But a similar situation worked in reverse in 1976 when we enjoyed a fantastic hot summer and it was cool and wet in central Europe - such are the mechanisms of our complex weather machine....

In my view, none of the severe weather we have experienced is proof of 'climate change.' It is just a poor summer - nothing more, nothing less - something that was the norm throughout most of the Sixties and has been repeated on several occasions more recently. Going further back, history also shows that 1912 was an atrocious summer. It was so bad, in fact, that we are still some way short of the torrential downpours that happened that year. It seemed particularly bad at the time because 1911 had been such an exceptionally good summer.

So, taking a long view, there is a pattern of warming and cooling. The Edwardians were experiencing a period of significant warming (much like now) following a cold Victorian spell. There was a period of warming from the Twenties through to the end of the Fifties and, after a cooler period, there has been a further significant warming over the past 20 years.

In the final analysis, this summer may be just such a 'blip' in the charts. But we still have plenty of summer to go and it takes only one slight shift in the jetstream to change rain into sun and bring a late renaissance for holidaymakers here in Britain.

More here

WE are to blame for China's pollution

The article below embodies the hatred of modern Western society that largely underpins the Greenie movement. Note the superior look on the face of John Vidal, the author of the article, below. We are so lucky to have such an all-seeing headmaster to impart wisdom to us

We've just had the first really big look at the environmental catastrophe now unfolding in China. Courtesy of the OECD, the club of 30 rich nations which was called in by the Beijing government to assess the environmental situation, a monster 260-page report has just been published, which draws together the work of China's leading scientists, the World Bank, and central and local government.

What we are witnessing is the mass poisoning of a people and the ecological devastation of a nation. If this were a war by one people against another, we would call on the UN to step in. But it's a war against nature so we turn away.

Yet it raises ugly questions for us, too. How much of this pollution and the destruction of nature is actually being done in our name? The rich west has moved its manufacturing base to China and all those smoking factories and bright green rivers reflect not just China's dash for development, but the face of western consumerism. Can we really blame the Chinese for all the pollutants being emitted to keep us in cheap goods? Should we step in immediately with better technology?

On the other hand, this is a tacit arrangement. This is not the 18th century European industrial revolution when the technology to limit pollution was undeveloped. The Chinese authorities may have great environmental laws, they have the world's largest current account of credit, they have access to the best pollution abatement equipment in the world, yet they have totally failed to protect their people from harm. We must assume the authorities know what is going on and do nothing because they are powerless.

There are truly brave people at every level of government desperately trying to clean up China, and there are enormous schemes to improve the environment. But the sheer speed and momentum of the dash for growth means no city or administration can keep up with the urbanisation and industrial developments taking place.

The official line is that the pollution will be tackled when enough wealth has been created. Funny that. Isn't that exactly what rightwing American thinktanks and western politicians say when asked why they do not try to protect people? But it just doesn't wash anymore. Let's hear it straight. The Chinese catastrophe is quite simply the product of greed. Ours and theirs.


Three cheers for China's `economic miracle'

Ignore the Yellow Peril view of Chinese economic growth as dirty and dangerous. There are good reasons to welcome China's leaps forward

Each week, the West's charge sheet against China grows longer and more vehement (1). Last week, the denunciations reached fever pitch. China's levels of pollution, we were told, have made it a danger to itself and the rest of the world.

On Tuesday, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris published a review of China's environmental performance. The 336-page document contained 51 recommendations on air pollution, water pollution and waste management, which China has been `encouraged' to implement (2). Launching the review at China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) in Beijing, Lorents Lorentsen, chief of the OECD's environment directorate, berated China for polluting not just the environment, but also its own international brand image. He said that once a country is associated in the public mind with pollution, `then you have a bad trademark abroad': `It's very hard to sell pharmaceuticals, to sell food and feed from a country that has a reputation for being polluted.'

In the US, China's exports have lately been singled out for venom (3). And now, in US circles, Chinese economic growth has been made synonymous with contamination. For months, the right-wing Wall Street Journal has assailed China's exports of seafood, toothpaste, medicines and pet-foods, which apparently are tainted with nasty ingredients. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House of Representatives financial services committee, has demanded that the World Bank release estimates of the number of premature deaths caused by pollution in China. And now, the OECD has added a more international, official tone to this campaign against Chinese growth.

By growing in an unchecked manner, China is a threat to everyone's health, says the OECD. Mario Amano, deputy secretary-general of the OECD, declared at the launch of the review in Beijing that, `A healthy economy needs a healthy environment'. His statement completely misses out the possibility that a stronger Chinese economy might lead to a better environment rather than having to be based on one.

Each year, China racks up a double-digit percentage increase in GDP. That fact is now very much feared in the West. Thus, China is being made to take the rap for the truly cardinal sin of our times: sullying the world's environment. China's economic expansion is now widely referred to as a `poisoning' of the planet, a process which is making Chinese people, and the Earth itself, sick and diseased. Through its coal-fired power plants and its greenhouse gas emissions, China is accused of being a major perpetrator of global warming. And according to the OECD and others, through its geographical size and worldwide exports, China is contaminating not only its own people's lives, but the lives of people in Asia and around the world, too.

That growth on this scale can be denounced as `dirty' and `polluting', that the export of goods can be discussed as `contamination', provides a shocking insight into the anti-development and misanthropic outlook that dominates in the current period. China is being made into the fall guy for today's lack of faith in growth and progress.

The West has opened a fresh chapter in the vilification of China, and in what Daniel Ben-Ami calls `growth scepticism' (4). The West is targeting China for failing to recognise that impetuous growth brings a terrible cost. The OECD intones that, in China, `Economic priorities have overridden environmental concerns'. China's growth is not judged by how it benefits Chinese people but only by how it damages the environment. There is no mention, for instance, of how transport brings benefits to China's rural areas; instead, the OECD recommends that China recognise the downsides, the `environmental externalities', of new modes of transport.

There is no mention of how increased availability of energy has made Chinese people's daily lives more pleasant. Instead, the OECD tells China to make energy, water and other natural resources more expensive, `so as to better reflect their scarcity value and internalise externalities'. The OECD also calls on China to adopt clean (and preferably foreign) technologies to deal with coal and waste management, and says China's environmental policymakers should focus on protecting human health, rivers, lakes, forests and animals.

Here, China's limited but important economic successes in combating mass poverty are obliterated (5). Instead, China's growth is described as being bad for health and bad for nature. Once the West makes China the subject of its scepticism about growth, there can be only one consequence: an insistence that China slow down development and direct it along `sustainable' patterns laid down by the West.

China seems to be learning the lesson. A senior SEPA official said two years ago that China's environment and energy situation `makes it bound to develop a recyclable economy and discard its traditional development mode characterised by high consumption of energy and resources, heavy pollution and low economic returns' (6). Official Chinese policy on foreign investment is now to turn down `high-pollution and low-efficiency ventures' (7). Yet even the obtuse regime in Beijing is not yet so wedded to Western sustainababble that it misses the logic of the West's outcry over Chinese pollution. It can see what lies at the root of the accusations that China is polluting the world: a desire by foreigners to boss China around (8).

We are witnessing the return of `Yellow Peril' arguments: a view of the East as threatening and polluting. In his milestone epic War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, American historian John W Dower noted how, in the nineteenth century, Chinese immigrants to America were met with unremitting racial antagonism. After Chinese immigration was prohibited in 1892, Japanese immigration became the focus of America's fears (9). From the interwar Depression to the postwar years, there was in the West: hysteria about Japanese militarism; outright hostility toward Maoist China, the backer of communism in Korea; and in the 1970s concerns about an emerging Japanese `superstate' (10).

In all of these earlier phases of Western delirium about Asia, worries about the growth or the militarisation of the East actually expressed the West's own sense of economic and political uncertainty. Yet today, the West suffers from an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy and unprecedented doubts about the benefits of growth. And it is this collapse of belief in progress, even along capitalist lines, that has made China's apparently unswerving commitment to growth a nightmare in the Western imagination. The West may salivate over the economic opportunities available to it in China - but since it is fearful of economic development and frightened of the very idea of more than a billion people, the Western psyche tips over towards nasty premonitions and an uneasy sense of foreboding about the Chinese.

Where earlier expressions of `Yellow Peril' fears discussed the Chinese (and the Japanese) as racial inferiors who might corrupt the world with their strange value systems, today's view of the East as perilous sees China as rampant and out of control, and a threat to the world through its smoke and smog and apparently contaminated exports.

The criticism of China is becoming increasingly shrill and hysterical. The London Guardian's environment editor John Vidal says China is guilty of the `mass poisoning of a people' (11). He says China's smoke and algae reflect not just its `dash' for development, but also the face of Western consumerism. Pollution in the East is apparently a reflection of Western investment in horrid Chinese manufacturing, and the fact that we in the West just can't get enough material things. China's environmental `catastrophe' is, says Vidal, `quite simply the product of greed. Ours and theirs.' (12)

We are seeing the rise, in political and commentary circles in the West, of a one-sided diatribe addressed to the Chinese masses. This is imperialist arrogance. China's physical problems with pollution are real enough; but a hatred for man and his works, both in China and back here, now pollutes the Western intellect. China's steps forward should be welcomed by all those who believe in progress, rather than being written off as `footprints' that are damaging the planet.


Australia: The market is the solution to water shortages

Water restrictions can be lifted within five years in all capital cities - and it does not require drought-breaking rain to do it. Charging more for water for non-essential purposes, using private investment to expand supplies through desalination and recycling projects, and allowing trading between country and city can deliver all the water needed. That is the conclusion of a report on the nation's infrastructure needs, released to The Australian. Prepared by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which represents government as well as industry bodies, the report includes a list of more than 100 priority projects ranging from road and rail links to water and energy schemes and schools, hospitals and affordable housing plans. The goal is to refurbish Australia's capital stock within the next 10 years and set up the nation for continued strong economic growth over the next 20 years.

The report recommends the appointment of a federal minister for infrastructure, as well as an office of national infrastructure co-ordination. IPA head and former Kennett government minister Mark Birrell said that, surprisingly, no broadly agreed list of infrastructure requirements existed. "This decade we have the opportunity to deliver on age-old plans like a four-lane highway linking Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, an efficient freight rail link up the east coast of Australia, the completion of the ring roads around our largest capital cities, renewing the stock of government schools across the country and replacing super-specialist public hospitals in every capital city," he said. Mr Birrell said a combination of healthy state and federal budgets, the scope to increase government debt levels and superannuation funds that were looking for investments opened the way for large-scale infrastructure funding.

The report suggests a two-tier system for residential water. Current prices would be charged for consumption for essential needs -- say 150 kilolitres a year. Discretionary use above this level for purposes such as lawns and pools would attract the full market price, which could be as much as double the present Sydney rate of $1.42/KL. Average water use around Australia is now 376KL a household, although many families who do not water lawns or have a pool use much less.

The report suggests expanding the market in water to allow trading between rural and urban uses, thus allowing water to flow to its highest value uses. Tradeable entitlements also could be assigned to large commercial users and competing retail water businesses.

The energy sector will require $30 billion-$35 billion in investment by 2020. A true national energy market should be established, starting with a comprehensive restructuring in NSW where the industry remains in government hands. A meaningful debate of the nuclear option is premature without fundamental reforms to create a national market. Government decisions are needed to allow a fibre-to-the-node broadband rollout within two to three years, the report says.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


No comments: