Friday, July 04, 2008


Although their overall tone is one of climate panic, the Australian mass media do also give consistent coverage to skeptical viewpoints. Nonetheless, Australia's new centre-Left government is determined to burnish its Greenie credentials and is threatening very costly new policies. To try to pass the buck, they commissioned an "expert report" into what they should do. The report has now been released and makes proposals unlikely to be popular. The government has already said that it will not be bound by the recommendations of the report. Three articles below on what is happening at the moment

Climate scheme would cost plenty

Fuel prices would skyrocket under new plans to tackle climate change. However, poorer families would be cushioned from the full impact. The government's climate change guru, Professor Ross Garnaut has called for transport to be included in an emissions trading scheme, setting the stage for fuel prices to spiral far beyond those caused by the current oil crunch.

The distinguished economist today released a draft report he prepared for the federal and state Governments on climate change and the introductions of emissions trading. Prof Garnaut said low-income families should be compensated for higher fuel and power costs when the scheme was introduced. He also said the Government should make payments to emissions-intensive industries which could lose jobs overseas if they had to cope with higher costs.

Under emissions trading, a cap will be placed on the amount of carbon which can be emitted into the atmosphere. Companies will be able to purchase and trade permits which allow them to emit carbon gases. Prof Garnaut said as many industries should be included in the scheme as possible, including transport. He said the money the Government earned from the scheme should be spent on compensating low-income households and business.

``The direct price effects of the emissions trading scheme will be regressive,'' Prof Garnaut said. ``The effects will fall heavily on low-income households, so the credibility, stability, efficiency and longevity of the scheme require the correction of these regressive effects by other measures.'' Prof Garnaut said the coal industry should be given support to reduce carbon emissions and to develop technology which buried carbon gasses under ground.

He said international cooperation on fighting climate change was essential. ``The weight of scientific evidence tells us that Australians are facing risks of damaging climate change,'' Prof Garnaut said. ``The risk can be substantially reduced by strong and early action by all major economies. ``Without that action, it is probable that Australians, over the 21st century and beyond, will experience disruption in their prosperity and enjoyment of life, and to long-standing patterns in their lives.''


Greenie laws harming agriculture

Brooke Milini is the third generation of his family to work at the Tully sugar mill and wants his children to have the opportunity to become the next generation. But as a worker and a union shop steward, he is worried about the impact of new laws to fight greenhouse gas emissions on his children's future jobs, his job and the jobs of fellow union members.

On the eve of the release of the Garnaut report on greenhouse gas emissions and as cabinet considers how to include agriculture in an emissions trading scheme, the threat to Mr Milini already exists. The National Farmers Federation warned yesterday that rigid and short-sighted greenhouse gas emissions rules could place agriculture "in serious jeopardy".

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union shop steward agrees with the NFF that an over-emphasis on reforestation to combat greenhouse gases could lead to reduced food production just as the world faces shortages and rising commodity prices.

Tax breaks for forests grown as "carbon sinks" so that greenhouse gas emitters can buy credits to offset emissions are alienating agricultural land and have been blamed for reducing water flows into the Murray-Darling river system. "The forests are expanding because of tax breaks and there's less land now for growing cane," Mr Milini said yesterday. Investors could afford to pay high prices for land to grow forests because of the tax advantages and outbid cane farmers. "Other crops are affected around here, bananas and other food, but it's mainly a threat to cane growing," he said.

In the past 18 months, 12 per cent of the cane paddocks in the Cairns region have been lost to managed-investment forestry schemes. With new laws passed last week encouraging even more forestry investment, the alienation of arable land is a trend sugar millers and farmers fear will end their industry. It is estimated the new laws, proposed by the previous government as evidence of action on greenhouse gas emissions, would lead to 81,500ha being sown as new carbon sink forests by 2011 when the Howard ETS was to come into being. "I have three children and I'd like them to be able to think about getting a job in the mill, which supplies a lot of work for the locals," Mr Milini said. "I'm worried about them and my union members. It's something that's always in the back of your head."

Yesterday, the NFF warned that wider food production here could be threatened as agriculture is included in an ETS under the Kyoto Protocol provisions, which "emphasise reforestation as the primary tool for sequestering carbon". "As the need for food production grows expotentially, we must ensure farming is not hamstrung in the process," NFF president David Crombie said. "It is imperative the international rules dictating Australia's ETS - determining domestic climate change policy and carbon markets to ensure compliance with the international policy regime and a future global carbon market - take full and reasonable account of Australia's needs," hesaid.

Nationals senator Ron Boswell said yesterday the failed Howard government forestry proposals demonstrated the need to get an ETS right.


State government ignores Greenie hysteria

New $750 million coal-burning power station

Just two days before the Garnaut report on climate change is handed down, the Victorian Government has given the go-ahead to a new brown-coal power station in Latrobe Valley. Environmental campaigners said it was "complete madness" to approve the $750 million plant, but the Government said the station would use new technology that would slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is a joint venture between consortium HRL and Chinese power giant Harbin Power, and will receive funding of $100 million from the Federal Government and $50 million from the Victorian Government. Expected to begin operating in 2012/13, it will aim to boost Victoria's power capacity by just under 5 per cent.

"The $750 million HRL plant will use technology which has been developed right here in Victoria and is part of the new generation of clean coal power stations designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions," said the Energy Minister, Peter Batchelor. "The project uses a process called integrated drying gasification combined cycle (IDGCC) which can reduce emissions of CO2 from brown coal-fired power generation by 30 per cent and reduce water consumption by 50 per cent, compared to current best practice for brown coal power generation in the Latrobe Valley."

Greenpeace energy campaigner Simon Roz said investing in coal-fired power at this time was "complete madness" and a step back for Victoria. "It shows we have a long way to go before governments take the issue of climate change seriously," he said.


New Study Finds Greenland Ice Melt 'not changing' and may be dropping

This peer reviewed new study in the journal Science puts yet another fork into the man-made global warming fear machine. See also July 2007 U.S. Senate Report: Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt

I have a story coming tonight in print on a new paper tracking the impact over time of those iconic drainpipes for meltwater forming each summer on the warming flanks of the vast Greenland ice sheet. Here's the nub, with varied reactions coming from glaciologists later:

One of the most vivid symbols of global warming used by scientists and campaigners to spur society to curb climate-warming emissions is photography of gushing rivers of meltwater plunging from the surface of Greenland's ice sheet into the depths.

Recent studies have shown these natural drainpipes, called moulins, can speed up the slow seaward march of the grinding ice by lubricating the interface with bedrock below. The faster that ice flows, the faster seas rise. Now, though, a new Dutch study of 17 years of satellite measurements of ice movement in western Greenland concludes that the speedup of the ice is a transient summertime phenomenon, with the overall yearly movement of the grinding glaciers not changing, and actually dropping slightly in some places, when measured over longer time spans.

The work, the authors and other experts caution, does not mean that more widespread surface melting could not eventually destabilize vast areas of the world's second-largest ice storehouse. But for the moment, the study, which is being published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, throws into question the notion that abrupt ice losses in Greenland are nigh. "The positive-feedback mechanism between melt rate and ice velocity appears to be a seasonal process that may have only a limited effect on the response of the ice sheet to climate warming over the next decades," said the paper.

The study was led by Roderik S.W. van de Wal of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research of the University of Utrecht.


Journal abstract follows:

Large and Rapid Melt-Induced Velocity Changes in the Ablation Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet

By R. S. W. van de Wal et al.

Continuous Global Positioning System observations reveal rapid and large ice velocity fluctuations in the western ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Within days, ice velocity reacts to increased meltwater production and increases by a factor of 4. Such a response is much stronger and much faster than previously reported. Over a longer period of 17 years, annual ice velocities have decreased slightly, which suggests that the englacial hydraulic system adjusts constantly to the variable meltwater input, which results in a more or less constant ice flux over the years. The positive-feedback mechanism between melt rate and ice velocity appears to be a seasonal process that may have only a limited effect on the response of the ice sheet to climate warming over the next decades.

Science 4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 111 - 113

BIG GREEN: Conservation Nonprofit Revenue tops $22.5 billion between 1998-2005

It is the Greens who are the "well funded" advocacy industry. See also U.S. Senate August 2007 report on the monumental funding advantage promoters of man-made climate fears enjoy over skeptics here

This past week, I aggregated IRS tax data for the top 50 revenue producing conservation nonprofit organizations. I documented over $22.5 billion dollars in combined revenue between 1998 and 2005. The combined assets of these organizations were approximately $8 billion in 2005. To help understand where revenue is flowing, I used a simple classification system.

Of little surprise, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is the top revenue generating conservation nonprofit. In 2005, TNC accounted for 25.6% of the revenue generated by the top 50 organizations.

The distribution of financial resources can give insight into conservation priorities. Does the allocation of conservation dollars over the eight year per period align with the conservation challenges we face? Are there nonprofit sectors over or under attended to? What does the division of revenue tell us about donors? About nonprofits? About the costs of various nonprofit activities?


Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch: Global Warming Skeptic

While guest hosting Wednesday's "Morning Joe", former General Electric CEO Jack Welch condemned global warming, the very theory MSNBC has been peddling for years. GE, of course, owns MSNBC; the rebuke of MSNBC's favorite alarmist hypothesis came in a segment where hosts share noteworthy editorials. Welch decided to share an opinion piece from Tuesday's Wall Street Journal aptly titled "Global Warming As Mass Neurosis." Welch informed the audience that the article has "a lot of technical numbers here to show you that NASA overstated what's happening." Welch summarized the article by saying "And they got an argument that states that global warming is the attack on capitalism that socialism couldn't bring"

After Jack's synopsis, co-host Pat Buchanan interjects his belief that global warming is "a neo-Marxist idea for the transfer of wealth and power." Jack Welch jumps in to agree saying "Right" Pat Buchanan then decides to carry his rebuke even further by saying "And at the end global elites, and they're, you know they're gonna to dictate to all of us because of this phony idea that we're all in some imminent danger. I agree with that 100%." Welch, the former GE CEO enthusiastically jumped in to agree saying "Absolutely!"

Later in the segment Mika Brzezinski did her best to put pressure on her former boss by saying "Alright, but I just want to say at some point this [global warming] is going to come back and haunt us if we don't address it, Jack." However `Neutron Jack' refused to cede his ground and sarcastically responded "We'll see."

What makes this vivacious segment so amusing is that as the former Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, Jack Welch, was once the head of a company that owns MSNBC. MSNBC is a network that hawks global warming mythology on a regular basis. Just two months ago Newsbusters profiled how MSNBC firebrand Chris Matthews was shocked by global warming skepticism. Apparently, Matthews never talked to his old boss about the subject.

More here

South African Scientist: 'There is no evidence man-made CO2 causes climate change'

(Dr. Kelvin Kemm, formerly a scientist at South Africa's Atomic Energy Corporation)

During 2008, have we seen many stories in the newspapers about 2007 being particularly warm as a result of global warming? During 2006, the doomsters were predicting that 2007 would be the hottest year on record, so why have we seen no reports about this? The answer is simple - 2007 turned out to be the coolest year for 30 years. It is also the case that there has been no global warming since 1998. In fact, since 1998, there has been steady cooling.

Even more dramatic is the fact that the most recent computer model predictions indicate that there will be no more global warming for the next ten years. But the doomsters say that, after this ten-year period, global warming will come back with a vengeance. Why? Certainly, mankind's production of carbon dioxide (CO2) has continued to increase since 1998 and will continue to increase, particularly since countries such as China and India say that their economic growth comes first, so they do not intend worrying too much about CO2 production.

I have repeatedly pointed out that there is little or no link between CO2 production by mankind and a rise in global temperature. In fact, indications are that it is the opposite - an increased temperature causes more CO2 to be ejected into the atmosphere. In the time of the Viking settlements on Greenland, about 1000 years ago, there was a period of warming. That is why the Viking settlements flourished and they could grow grapes and maize, which puzzled the archaeologists. Then it cooled, and the last Viking supply ship arrived at the settlements in 1410, after which it all froze up.

The world then experienced the Little Ice Age, during the time of Shakespeare and Jan van Riebeeck. The Thames froze over, and there was a period of economic decline, in comparison to the economic boom during the Medieval period of global warming. There was also an earlier warming period, known as the Roman Warming, during the period of Roman economic prosperity. All of this warming and cooling happened without any contribution from any man-made CO2.

Indications in our modern times are that the warming observed up to the end of 2006 has been due to a natural cycle in the intensity of the sun. This was, by all indications, the same source of warming of the Medieval and Roman Warming periods. But now South Africa wants to impose a carbon tax aimed at cutting South Africa's emission of greenhouse gases. I think this is wrong. The proposal is for a 2c/kWh tax to be imposed from September. This is expected to generate R4-billion a year for the National Treasury.

But the economics folks point out that this 2c tax translates into a 10% increase in the electricity cost. One of the reasons why South Africa uses a large amount of electricity is that we have major exports whose production is energy intensive, such as gold, steel and aluminium. We do not export watches like the Swiss, or computer software like the Irish, so to quote our per capita production of CO2 is stupid.

The tax, I am told, is to incentivise the use of renewable sources of power, such as wind, solar and hydro. This is crazy too. I am all in favour of wind and solar, but only if such sources can stand on their own two feet in economic competition to our coal-fired power. To fake the economics is to do damage to our exports, and to the lifestyle of every citizen.

There is little or no indication that man-made CO2 is causing any climate change. There has been no global warming since 1998. The warming that did happen during the twentieth century happened mainly between 1920 and 1940. The year 2007 was the coolest year for 30 years. For us to go with the flow, or dive into a panic mode, is crazy. Let us look after the health and welfare of our people first. This does not mean being irresponsible about any sources of pollution from industrial operations or any other activities. It means using genuine science, and not the scare tactics of world political manipulators, to come to really sensible conclusions.



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