Sunday, November 30, 2008

Physicist says warming fears 'manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis'

Comments sent to EPA by research physicist John W. Brosnahan of Vanderpool, Texas, who develops remote-sensing instruments for atmospheric science for such clients as NOAA and NASA and who has published much peer-reviewed research. Brosnahan has given permission for public release of his statement

As a research physicist who has spent the past 30 years of my career in atmospheric science, I am surprised that government agencies, politicians, and much of the public have been manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis, which is the best way to describe the "non-link" between CO2 and global warming. There is virtually NO physical science to support any role of man's generation of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in climate change. All of this pseudo-science is driven by poorly conceived computer modeling and represents a political agenda that uses science and the public as pawns.

Carbon Dioxide is critical for plant life and therefore to animal life and to regulate it as a pollutant is a total misunderstanding of its role in life and the role that man plays in the environment. Rather than restating all of the scientific arguments I suggest that you contact Senator James Inhofe's EPW Committee staff member, Marc Morano, who has done an excellent job of collecting an overwhelming amount of peer-reviewed science (see: here) that clearly demonstrates that there is no basis for the EPA to regulate Carbon Dioxide.

Since Carbon Dioxide is such a minor greenhouse gas compared to water vapor it would make much more scientific sense for the EPA to regulate HUMIDITY! To regulate Carbon Dioxide empowers the creation of a carbon trading scheme that is, in essence, the trading of hot air. In fact, carbon trading makes even less sense than the trading of derivatives by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

As global temperatures continue to drop I would think that the last thing that the EPA would want to do is to be responsible for another trillion dollar economic disaster. From my perspective, there appear to be many more top scientists who do NOT believe in AGW and CO2 as a critical element in climate change and see that the SUN is the active determinant for climate.

'Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy'... CEO of 4th largest coal company unloads on Gore, Reid and Pelosi

Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth largest coal company in the country, blasted politics and the press, comparing Charleston Gazette Editor James. A. Haught to Osama Bin Laden Thursday evening when he addressed the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson. "It is as great a pleasure for me to be criticized by the communists and the atheists of the Charleston Gazette as to be applauded by my best friends," he said. "Because I know they are wrong. People are cowering away from being criticized by people that are our enemies. Would we be upset if Osama Bin Laden was critical of us?" he asked.

"Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy." Those are the words Blankenship used to describe Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as environmental groups. He said he felt simple terms were the only ones the country could understand, that more sophisticated language was over the head of the general public. "When we talk about it in more articulate ways, the American public doesn't get it," he said.

Blankenship told the crowd, which overflowed the room, spilling over to fill the Brass Tree Restaurant, that coal is getting a lot of undeserved bad press. The coal business, he said, needs to start standing up for itself in the face of the negative image being portrayed by politicians, special interests and the press.

Blankenship said the business community should put their business interests first, not environmental interests. "They can say what they want about climate change," he said. "But the only thing melting in this country that matters is our financial system and our economy." "The business community doesn't want to lose any skin," he said, referring to the skinned knees he sustained playing football as a boy. "Being scratched up is not so bad, but the political elite are so comfortable that they think their mission in life now is to save the world."

Many people would give support to groups who work to disprove global warming if it was not so politically incorrect, Blankenship said. "How many times have the people in this room heard, at the US Chamber of Commerce or at the National Mining Association, `I don't believe in climate change, but I'm afraid to say that because it is a political reality.' The greeniacs are taking over the world."

Blankenship said politicians misrepresent facts when it comes to the environment. "Politicians occasionally trip over the truth," he said, "but they get up and go on as if nothing happened." He said the amount of pollution produced by American coal is negligible compared to the environmental damage done by other countries. "It's nonsensical, its idiotic. And yet, we call it two different sides, partisan, Democrat or Republican," he said. "If Pelosi thinks that decreasing CO2 in this country is going to save the polar bears, she's crazy. If CO2 emissions are going to kill the polar bears, it's going to happen. What we do here [in the US] is not going to it."

Blankenship said he realizes the environment is a concern, but that it is only part of the picture. "I talk a lot about the total environment," he said. "Yes, we need to breathe clean air and have fresh water in the streams. We need to have trees and all that, but we need to be able to send out children to school. That's a total environment. "Most people wouldn't believe that coal is the most important thing to the environment."

But coal produces electricity, he argued, and that improves the quality of life. "Anywhere you go, low cost electricity, the creation of energy, of jobs, of an economy, ultimately leads to an improvement in the environment. There is no place in the world that has a good environment where people live on two dollars a day with no electricity," he said. "If you are really believe that the world is going to overheat from the use of carbon, then whatever you do in the United States to reduce carbon emissions is wrong, because all that it will do is increase CO2 emissions in China. All the things the environmentalists told us were important, sulfur and particulates, everything they have talked about and badgered this industry about are still being polluted throughout most of the world without any controls."

Blankenship said the industry needs to be as outspoken as those who oppose the use of carbon fuels. "Its not only important for the greeniacs and environmentalists to change their views, but there is also a real need for business people to change their views. We have to challenge everything, and we need to get more bold. When business people act like politicians instead of expressing what the truth is, we will have people making decisions on what they call political reality."

Blankenship said energy policies put forth by the government have not worked in the past, and they are not the answer to today's energy crisis. He shared a video clip of then President Jimmy Carter encouraging measures such as conserving heating fuel, carpooling, using public transportation and avoiding unnecessary car trips.

"Jimmy Carter understood that there was a risk if we increased our dependence on foreign oil," Blankenship said. "But did it not sound similar to Obama? Turn down your thermostats? Buy a smaller car? Conserve? I have spent quite a bit of time in Russia and China, and that's the first stage. You go from having your own car to carpooling to riding the bus to mass transit. You eventually get to where you're walking. You go from your own apartment and bathroom to sharing kitchens with four families. That's what socialism and the elimination of capitalism and free enterprise is all about."

"Massey is working hard to come up with soundbites or what sort of messages might resonate publicly. Unless we get people to think positively about coal, we are in trouble not only as an industry, but also as a country." "It doesn't take a genius to figure out that, if you have that much energy in the ground, you shouldn't have thousands of troops in Iraq, spending $10 billion a month, you shouldn't by trying to patrol the world. Let the world fight over the oil. Liquify the coal."

"Coal has to be important," Blankenship said. "We have to stand up for coal and for energy independence. Sooner or later, we are going to have to start saying something, because if we don't, the other side is going to start taking over."


UN says hundreds of billions more dollars likely needed to reduce emissions by 2030

Hundreds of billions more dollars are likely to be needed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a 2030 target, according to UN estimates published on Friday ahead of global talks on climate change. The report, to be presented at the December 1-12 conference in Poznan, Poland updates 2007 estimates that said investment to mitigate carbon emissions had to be ramped up in the coming years, reaching between 200-210 billion dollars annually in 2030.

The goal, in this benchmark scenario, is to reduce levels of global-warming pollution to 25 percent below 2000 levels in 2030. In the new report, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said the emissions goal was virtually unchanged. But it said the estimates of financial needs for mitigation had been revised sharply upwards -- by "about 170 percent." It cited "higher projected capital costs," especially in the energy sector, to introduce solar panels and fuel cells that had yet to become competitive with fossil fuels.

There was also the potential bill for implementing carbon storage, a technology that is still at the pilot stage, said the report. Under carbon storage, carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured from big polluting sources such as coal-fired power plants, rather than released into the atmosphere where it would add to the greenhouse-gas effect. Instead, the CO2 would be pumped deep below ground, in disused gas fields or other geological chambers and stored there indefinitely.

Most the funding needs will have to be focussed in developing countries, the UNFCCC report said. China has now outstripped the United States as the world's No. 1 carbon emitter, and India is set to become third largest, according to estimates released in September by the research consortium the Global Carbon Project.

The UNFCCC report said that its estimates for funding needs to help poor countries adapt to the impact of global warming were unchanged over 2007, "and remain in the tens of billions, possibly hundreds of billions of dollars, every year." The Poznan talks are a stepping stone towards a new pact, due to be sealed in Copenhagen in December 2009, for reducing emissions and boosting adaptation funds beyond 2012, when the current provisions of the UN's Kyoto Protocol expire.


British councils scrap paper recycling banks following slump in value of waste materials

Recycling banks are facing the scrapheap after a global slump in the price of waste materials. The credit crunch has seen demand for recyclable materials plummet. The market value of a ton of mixed paper has tumbled from 50 to less than 1 British pound. Some waste disposal firms say this makes running recycling banks uneconomical, since the end product is worthless.

In Somerset, Perry's Recycling - a company which supplies the county council's mixed paper recycling facilities - has cut 31 of its 117 banks. Similar firms across the UK could follow suit within weeks. The firm's managing director Chris Perry said: 'Economically, it just doesn't stack up any more. We've never seen a market crash this fast, so we're having to cut back where necessary and weather the storm.'

Somerset Waste Partnership, which manages waste and recycling across the county, said the recession has had a 'dramatic' effect on prices and led to the decision to axe the banks. Spokesman Mark Blaker said: 'They are being removed as a result of the credit crunch basically. 'Much of our paper goes to China, for example, to make cardboard boxes. But at the moment, those boxes are not being made and exported to America like they were, so what's happened here is a knock-on effect. 'Prices in the summer for recycled material were at an artificial high, which is why the drop seems so dramatic, but now the product's price is pretty much zero pounds.'

Recycling banks are worst affected by the drop in prices because their contents are ' contaminated' with other materials that are processed together. Other councils are having to make similar cuts in recycling. Derby City Council is reducing the number of large recycling points for bottles and glass from 27 sites to 17, though it said kerbside collections would be extended to compensate.

Households in Hertfordshire can no longer recycle food tubs and yogurt pots because the council's contractor cannot turn a profit on this kind of plastic. In Cambridge a waste-processing firm - unable to find any other market for it - has resorted to turning cardboard into compost for farmers. And in Oswestry, Shropshire, a mountain of recycled paper is sitting untouched because in the past month its sale value has fallen by 80 per cent.

More than half of Britain's eight million tons of mixed paper is exported to the Far East to be made into cardboard packaging for manufacturers. But demand has slumped and the Confederation of Paper Industries warns it is unlikely to pick up soon. Firms which run mixed paper recycling schemes say they have no choice but to axe some banks to save money.

Paul Bettison, of the Local Government Association's environment board, said Somerset was the first council to cut back on paper banks because of the global downturn. He added: 'Right now the credit crunch will certainly be a factor but it probably would have happened anyway because there people are relying more on kerbside collections.'


European ski resorts have best snowfall in decade

Ski resorts across Europe will open this weekend ahead of schedule after the biggest November snowfalls for at least a decade. The exceptional conditions, including 60cm (23in) of snow on Alpine slopes and even more in the Pyrenees, has given a much needed boost to the ski industry after claims that global warming could devastate its multibillion-pound business.

"This is nature's way of cocking a snook at the experts," said Christian Rochette, the director of Ski France International, the tourist body for French resorts.The industry was expecting a good season despite gloomy forecasts from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). "We've got excellent conditions for this time of year and very cold temperatures, which means we can use the snow cannons to make artificial snow as well," he said.

Reservations in France had risen by 20 per cent compared with last year, and Mr Rochette said there was no sign that Britons were being deterred by the falling pound or the economic outlook. "They don't seem to be prepared to sacrifice their winter holidays," he said. "They want to get away from all this talk of a crisis."

French resort officials backed his optimism, although some predicted a drop in revenue from British tourists. "Even if they still come, we expect that they'll spend a little less," said one. A spokeswoman for the tourist office in Meribel, an up-market Alpine resort and a favourite of British skiers, said that, with 30cm of snow at an altitude of 1,500 metres and up to 80cm at 2,000 metres, the ski lifts would start operating today, a week earlier than planned. "It's many, many years since we've had this much snow at this time of the year," she said.

Michael Broom Smith, of Purple Ski, said: "On the lower pistes, the snow is thigh deep and beautifully light and fluffy and more snow is forecast this weekend." Val d'Isere will also open today with snow two metres deep at 3,000 metres. "We've often had to put off the opening," a tourist office spokeswoman said. "Last year we opened a few slopes at the start of the season but this year we're opening them all."

The mood is equally upbeat in the Swiss Alps. The Ski Club of Great Britain said that snow in parts of Switzerland was 12 times deeper than average.

Pyrenean resorts are also enjoying snowfalls unseen for years. "Oh, what happiness!" said Herve Mairal, director of the Pyrenean Tourist Federation. "We've got 95cm at the foot of the slopes and 1.4m at the top. We've not had that for a decade."

Andorra, which has had some poor conditions in recent years, is enjoying its best start to a season for four decades and both the main areas of Grandvalira and Vallnord will be open fully from this weekend.

On the Spanish side Roberto Buil, the marketing manager of the Baqueira Beret resort, said that the slopes had opened on November 22 for the first time in 44 years. "All our 69 ski runs are open," he said. "We are having an amazing start."

The cold snap comes after an OECD report said that a two-degree rise in temperature could eliminate a third of all Europe's ski slopes over the next 40 years.


Heavy snow keeps children away from school in Spain

Heavy snowfalls are complicating traffic flow in the north of Spain as the rain there moves south to be replaced by colder temperatures and freezing.

Tyre chains are needed on nearly 40 mountain passes of the main road network because of the snow, 12 passes are closed completely, and five regions of the country remain on yellow alert for harsh weather this morning - Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid. Cataluna and the Baleraic Islands are also on alert for high winds and possible storms this morning.

The snow resulted in 1,200 pupils getting a day off school yesterday in Castilla y Leon, and 60 lorries heading for Cantabria came to a halt in Aguilar de Campoo, Palencia. 197 schoolchildren in Lugo were also without classes because of the snow.

The Spanish Meteorological Agency, AEMET, is forecasting snow tomorrow in the SE of the mainland above 700/900 metres and moderate freezing temperatures in the centre and north. Heavy rain is forecast for later in the south of Andalucia and in the area of the strait.



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


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unprecedented cold weather endangers sea turtles; many being rescued

Recent cold weather caught sea turtles off-guard before they could reach warmer Gulf Stream waters, and that has led to nearly 25 rescues along the North Carolina coast in the past week. Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Topsail Island has rescued numerous cold-stunned sea turtles since Thursday, said Jean Beasley, the hospital's executive director. "We're overwhelmed, this has never happened before -- at least not since the turtle hospital has been in existence," Beasley said. "We had 11 turtles come in last Thursday, 12 on Saturday and six (Sunday). We're frantically trying to make more space."

"Cold weather started it all -- with the precipitous drop in temperature, these guys can't regulate their body temperature," volunteer Karen Sota said, adding that most have been green turtles around 2 years old. There are also a few loggerheads.

Beasley expects that there could be more turtles in trouble. People can help by looking for turtles in the shallow waters -- particularly in marsh grasses, where they aren't easily spotted. Beasley said that turtles should be brought to a sheltered place and that they need to slowly warm up. "Those caught in shallow water are going to be in real trouble because they have no ability to produce any body heat," she said. "We've had some who came in with body temperatures in the 30s ... Normally they need to have body temperatures over 70."

Sota recommends taking any found turtles home and putting them on a towel in a utility room. "Do not put it in warm water," she said. "We're warming them up slowly, giving a course of antibiotics and trying to get them to eat."


Australia: Global cooling fails to cool protagonists of global warming

Europe is shivering through an extreme cold snap. One of the coldest winters in the US in more than 100 years is toppling meteorological records by the dozen, and the Arctic ice is expanding. Even Australia has been experiencing unseasonable snow. But the stories about global warming have not stopped, not for a second.

In May last year, The Sydney Morning Herald breathlessly reported that climate change had reduced the Southern Ocean's ability to soak up carbon dioxide, claiming that as a result global warming would accelerate even faster than previously thought. The story was picked up and repeated in a number of different journals around the region. But this week the CSIRO suggested the exact opposite. "The new study suggests that Southern Ocean currents, and therefore the Southern Ocean's ability to soak up carbon dioxide, have not changed in recent decades," it said. This time the story got no coverage in the SMH, and was run on the ABC's website as evidence the Southern Ocean was adapting to climate change.

CSIRO oceanographer Stuart Rintoul, a co-author of the study, said it did not disprove global warming and he did not believe its lack of an alarmist tone was responsible for the poor coverage. But the story is being pointed out as an example of media bias on global warming. Critics argue that the ABC and the Fairfax media are the worst offenders.

ABC board member Keith Windschuttle said yesterday the national broadcaster was in breach of its charter to provide a diversity of views. "The ABC and the Fairfax press rarely provide an opportunity for global warming sceptics to put their view," Mr Windschuttle said. "The science is not settled. "We are seeing an increasing number of people with impeccable scientific backgrounds questioning part or whole of the story. I don't believe the ABC has been reflecting the genuine diversity of the debate. Under its own act, the ABC is required to produce a diversity of views."

Bob Carter of James Cook University, one of the world's best-known climate change sceptics, said there was no doubt Windschuttle was correct. "With very few exceptions, press reporters commenting on global warming are either ignorant of the science matters involved, or wilfully determined to propagate warming hysteria because that fits their personal world view, or are under editorial direction to focus the story around the alarmist headline grab -- and often all three," Professor Carter said.

National Climate Centre former head William Kininmonth said coverage of global warming had been hysterical and was getting worse, with a large public relations effort inundating the media with information from the alarmist side.



The French EU Presidency is "putting everything on the table" in a "desperate" bid to agree on the climate and energy package before the end of the year, sources close to the negotiations told EurActiv. As part of its push to reach an agreement, France is putting forward a compromise that includes free emission rights for coal plants, financial compensation for energy-intensive industries and extensive use of third country emissions reductions to meet CO2 'effort sharing' targets.

Countries that use coal for more than 30% of their power generation portfolio could receive free CO2 emissions permits for several years once the revised EU ETS is launched in 2013. This would cut in half the 60% threshold originally proposed by Poland, which remains highly dependent on coal for power generation. If adopted, coal plants in most EU member states would benefit from the scheme. Only Ireland, the UK and France would be excluded from the scheme due to their relatively low use of coal for power generation.

France, which holds the presidency of the European Council until the end of the year, is currently in 'trialogue' talks with representatives of the Commission and Parliament. The last trialogue on the EU ETS was held in Brussels on 25 November. Details of the behind-closed-doors talks, which were established in an effort to agree a deal on the package in advance of the 11-12 European summit, have been slow to emerge. Scattered reports from sources close to the negotiations, however, indicate that EU member states may dismantle some of the basic architecture of the Commission's original proposal in order to reach a deal before the end of 2008.

A financial compensation mechanism for energy-intensive industries that face higher electricity costs due to the EU ETS, for example, is on the table. The mechanism is allegedly being proposed by the French EU Presidency in response to pressure from the German delegation. Berlin has reportedly reacted with a large degree of 'disappointment' to Paris's apparent acquiescence to all manner of demands being put forward by the Polish delegation. The implication is that France's willingness to accept Polish requests has in turn led Germany to push for its own set of exemptions from a future EU CO2 reduction regime.

There is also some speculation that Paris has modelled the mechanism on the subsidy scheme that underpins the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), of which France is a main beneficiary.



Report from Denmark: Poland gives the thumbs down to plans for a European climate agreement this year, as Denmark prepares for the Climate Summit in 2009

The prime minister's hopes for a global climate agreement in Copenhagen next year appear to have been dashed by Poland. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has repeatedly said that a global agreement on CO2 reductions at next year's Climate Summit in Copenhagen is contingent on the European Union being able to reach its own compromise at this year's December EU summit.

But Poland has made it clear that under current circumstances it will not agree to EU targets and is close to giving up negotiations completely. "I see no flexibility at all from the rich countries," says Poland's Minister for Europe and Climate Delegation leader Mikolaj Dowgielewicz in an interview with Politiken and DR.

At its December summit, the 27 European Union countries are looking to agree on the practical aspects of burden-sharing in order to reach a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. That burden-sharing agreement is seen as vital in getting the United States, India and China, among others, to agree on a global climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. At the same time, it is hoped that the EU summit will confirm the Union's ambitious target that 20 percent of Europe's energy should come from sustainable energy sources by 2020.

But Dowgielewicz says that in reality, the goals are unattainable. "Poland is not France which has nuclear power. Poland is not Denmark, which is almost self-sufficient in its energy requirement," says Dowgielewicz. "We are 38 million people in the middle of Europe and we are behind the rest. We have to catch up with developments in your countries - and that is in everyone's interest. And if you say to us - a country that gets 95 percent of its energy from coal - that we have to change everything, it's just a dream. A nice dream, but a dream nonetheless," he adds.

Dowgielewicz arrives in Brussels today with an ultimatum for the Commission, the French Presidency and other EU countries. His government is adamant that the current negotiations are going nowhere, and that much more consideration must be given to less wealthy EU countries. The Polish government feels that the current status of the negotiations is impossible and that the French Presidency is only looking out for itself, Italy and Germany - all of whom are hiding behind Poland in a wish to postpone or scrap the European climate agreement.

Dowgielewicz says he finds it difficult to see a compromise. "There are no good signs for the negotiations of the coming weeks. And quite honestly I am sorry about that. But everyone is going to have to compromise if we are to reach agreement in December. At the moment, I cannot imagine how that is going to be possible," he concludes.



Barack Obama, who promised last week to write a "new chapter in America's leadership" on the environment, could find his hands tied by the economic crisis, a leading figure in global climate change negotiations said yesterday.

John Kerry, who will lead the US Senate's delegation to the UN's climate meeting in Poznan, Poland, next month, said his country was now in a position to play a leading role on global climate change negotiations. But he also said Obama's administration would be constrained by the economic crisis in offering incentives to countries such as India and China to commit themselves to lower greenhouse gas emissions. "We have to figure out what is achievable ... within one year, given our economic realities," Kerry said. "The bottom line is we are not going to be in the position we were two years ago in the short term to do as much technology transfer or economic assistance in terms of transitional issues that might have led other countries to participate."

The caution came amid rising expectations on the eve of the two-week UN meeting, which begins on Monday, about the prospects of negotiating a successor to the Kyoto protocol late next year. Kerry said there would be little negotiation on a treaty at the meeting but it would focus on setting out a timetable leading up to next year's international climate change summit at the Copenhagen meeting. "This is not a negotiation session," he said. "This is a negotiation to set up a glide path going into Copenhagen."

In a video appearance last week before a climate change conference hosted by California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Obama promised the US would lead the way on the environment. Kerry reaffirmed that pledge, even with the caveats. "It's a moment we've been waiting for, many of us, for some period of time - for eight years, to be blunt," he said. "And we intend to pick up the baton and really run with it here." Kerry said Obama had asked him to report back on the meeting in Poland.

The Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, Kerry is scheduled to take over as the chairman of the Senate's foreign relations committee in January. That puts him in pole position for lining up support in Congress behind a successor to Kyoto. "It's going to be one of the top priorities of the committee," Kerry said. "I know this playing field and I know this issue."

Kerry said Obama was making progress in filling the environmental portfolios in his administration, and in coordinating with working committees in Congress. Obama will not be in Poznan. His position since the election has been that America has only one sitting president at a time. But the focus has already shifted towards the potential actors in the next administration.

On the American side, Kerry is to be joined at Poznan by the Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, an early supporter of Obama, who has been active on the environment. George Bush will be sending his regular negotiators to Poland for the final climate change conference of his administration. The US delegation will be led by the undersecretary of state, Paula Dobriansky. Jim Connaughton, the White House adviser on the environment, will also attend. The US delegation was heckled at last December's climate conference in Bali.



Many elderly and poor people are struggling to afford heating, now that utilty bills are so high. And cold is deadly

Last winter 25,300 more people died in the winter months than in the summer, an increase of seven per cent on the previous year, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. Most of these are due to circulatory and respiratory diseases and the majority occur among the elderly in a situation which has been condemned by campaigners. There are fears the death toll will be higher this year as forecasters predict lower temperatures than last year, utility bills have risen and the credit crunch means many households are struggling to make ends meet.

The UK has traditionally had a worse record on so-called excess winter deaths even when compared with countries that have colder climates like Finland and Norway, according to the World Health Organisation, but the last comparison was carried out when there were unusually high deaths in the UK due to flu epidemics.

Help the Aged said the number of deaths were still at unacceptable levels. Mervyn Kohler, special adviser, said: "This year's winter deaths figures are a continuing disgrace to a Government who are there to protect the most vulnerable in our society. "Older people are struggling on a daily basis, with the rising cost of living leading to real hardship.

More here


Russian oil companies could soon begin searching for oil in deep Gulf of Mexico waters off Cuba, a top diplomat said just days before Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits the island. Russian oil companies have "concrete projects" for drilling in Cuba's part of the gulf, said Mijail Kamynin, Russia's ambassador to Cuba, to the state-run business magazine Opciones.

Kamynin also said Russian companies would like to help build storage tanks for crude oil and to modernize Cuban pipelines, as well as play a role in Venezuelan efforts to refurbish a Soviet-era refinery in the port city of Cienfuegos, according the article published this weekend.

Medvedev comes to former Cold War ally Cuba on Thursday, part of a tour of Latin America to strengthen his country's economic and political ties in the region. Kamynin said trade between Russia and the island would top 400 USD million this year.

Washington's nearly 50-year-old trade embargo prohibits US companies from investing on the island. But Cuba's state-run oil concern has signed joint operating agreements with companies from several countries to explore waters that Cuban scientists claim could contain reserves of up to 20 billion barrels of oil.

More here


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


Friday, November 28, 2008

Gore and the collapse of the Mayan civilisation

The just-written paper below is by statistician Dr. Richard Mackey []. It debunks Gore's Warmist linkage to the collapse of the Mayan civilisation

"The following appeared on Albert Gore's website of Nov 19, 2008:
"Looking Back to Look Forward November 19, 2008 : 3:04 PM

A new study suggests the Mayan civilization might have collapsed due to environmental disasters: "These models suggest that as ecosystems were destroyed by mismanagement or were transformed by global climatic shifts, the depletion of agricultural and wild foods eventually contributed to the failure of the Maya sociopolitical system,' writes environmental archaeologist Kitty Emery of the Florida Museum of Natural History in the current Human Ecology journal."

As we move towards solving the climate crisis, we need to remember the consequences to civilizations that refused to take environmental concerns seriously. If you haven't read already read it, take a look at Jared Diamond's book, Collapse."

This is a most curious reference. It means that Gore is advocating the abandonment of the IPCC doctrine and barracking for the study and understanding of climate dynamics that ignores totally the IPCC/AWG doctrine and focuses on all the other variables, especially how climate dynamics are driven by atmospheric/oceanic oscillations, the natural internal dynamics of the climate system and the role of the Sun in climate dynamics.

Brian Fagan in Floods, Famines and Emperors, El Nino and the fate of civilisations (Basic Books 1999), shows that the Maya collapse, whilst having complex political, sociological, technological and ecological factors, was largely driven by the natural atmospheric/oceanic oscillations of ENSO and NAO. The book is one of three by Brian Fagan, Prof of Anthropology UC Santa Barbara, that documents how natural climate variations, ultimately driven by solar activity, have given rise to the catastrophic collapse of civilisations. The book has a chapter on the Mayan civilisation which collapsed around 800 to 900 AD. Here are some quotes from his book:
"The "Classic Maya collapse" is one of the great controversies of archaeology, but there is little doubt that droughts, fuelled in part by El Nino, played an important role." "The droughts that afflicted the Maya in the eighth and ninth centuries resulted from complex, still little understood atmosphere- ocean interactions, including El Nino events and major decadal shifts in the North Atlantic Oscillation, as well as two or three decade-long variations in rainfall over many centuries."

"Why did the Maya civilisation suddenly come apart? Everyone who studies the Classic Maya collapse agrees that it was brought on by a combination of ecological, political, and sociological factors." "When the great droughts of the eighth and ninth centuries came, Maya civilisation everywhere was under increasing stress." "The drought was the final straw." "The collapse did not come without turmoil and war."

Brian Fagan describes how the ruling class (the kings had divine powers, they were also shamans and there was a vast aristocracy and their fellow-travellers that the tightly regulated workers toiled to maintain) encouraged population growth beyond what the land could carry; how the rulers enforced rigid farming practices which were supposed to increase food production and the ruler's incomes but had the effect of undermining farm productivity and diminishing the quality of the poor soils of the area. When there were heavy rains the soil was washed away. In times of drought the soil blew away. More quotes from Brian Fagan:
"The Maya collapse is a cautionary tale in the dangers of using technology and people power to expand the carrying capacity of tropical environments." "Atmospheric circulation changes far from the Maya homeland delivered the coup de grace to rulers no longer able to control their own destinies because they had exhausted their environmental options in an endless quest for power and prestige."

Gore says that we should use our understanding of the Maya collapse help us solve the climate crisis, noting that "we need to remember the consequences to civilizations that refused to take environmental concerns seriously". Given what we know of the Maya collapse, what is Gore really saying? He is saying that we should take all the IPCC/AWG publications and related papers to the tip and bury them there and put all our efforts into the study and understanding of the reasons for climate dynamics that address every theory except that of IPCC/AWG doctrine.

Specifically, we should understand as well as we can how climate dynamics are driven by atmospheric/oceanic oscillations, the natural internal dynamics of the climate system and the role of the Sun in climate dynamics.

In an overview of his work Brian Fagan concluded: "The whole course of civilisation . may be seen as a process of trading up on the scale of vulnerability". (Fagan (2004, page xv)). We are now, as a global community, very high up on that scale. Allow me to quote a little from my Rhodes Fairbridge paper because of its relevance to Brian Fagan's work and what Gore is really trying to say, but can't quite find the right words.
"In his many publications (for example, NORTH (2005)), Douglass North stresses that if the issues with which we are concerned, such as global warming and the global commons, belong in a world of continuous change (that is, a non-ergodic world), then we face a set of problems that become exceedingly complex. North stresses that our capacity to deal effectively with uncertainty is essential to our succeeding in a non-ergodic world.

History shows that regional effects of climate change are highly variable and that the pattern of change is highly variable. An extremely cold (or hot) year can be followed by extremely hot (or cold) year. Warming and cooling will be beneficial for some regions and catastrophic for others.

Brian Fagan has documented in detail relationships between the large-scale and generally periodic changes in climate and the rise and fall of civilisations, cultures and societies since the dawn of history. The thesis to which Rhodes Fairbridge devoted much of his life is that the sun, through its relationships with the solar system, is largely responsible for these changes and that we are now on the cusp of one of the major changes that feature in the planet's history.

As Douglass North showed, the main responsibility of governments in managing the impact of the potentially catastrophic events that arise in a non-ergodic world is to mange society's response to them so as to enable the society to adapt as efficiently as possible to them. Amongst other things, this would mean being better able to anticipate and manage our response to climate change, to minimise suffering and maximise benefits and the efficiency of our adaptation to a climate that is ever-changing - sometimes catastrophically - but generally predictable within bounds of uncertainty that statisticians can estimate.

At the very least, this requires that the scientific community acts on the wise counsel of Rhodes W Fairbridge and presents governments with advice that has regard to the entire field of planetary-lunar-solar dynamics, including gravitational dynamics. This field has to be understood so that the dynamics of terrestrial climate can be understood."


North, D. C., 2005. Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.

Fagan, B., 2004. The Long Summer. How Climate Changed Civilization. Basic Books."


Abstract only below. Full paper at link given. It shows that advice given to the EPA was grossly unscientific

Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit

By J. Scott Armstrong et al.

Calls to list polar bears as a threatened species under the United States Endangered Species Act are based on forecasts of substantial long-term declines in their population. Nine government reports were written to help US Fish and Wildlife Service managers decide whether or not to list polar bears as a threatened species. We assessed these reports based on evidence-based (scientific) forecasting principles. None of the reports referred to sources of scientific forecasting methodology. Of the nine, Amstrup et al. [Amstrup, S. C., B. G. Marcot, D. C. Douglas. 2007. "Forecasting the rangewide status of polar bears at selected times in the 21st century". Administrative Report, USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK.] and Hunter et al. [Hunter, C. M., H. Caswell, M. C. Runge, S. C. Amstrup, E. V. Regehr, I. Stirling. 2007. "Polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea II: Demography and population growth in relation to sea ice conditions". Administrative Report, USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK.] were the most relevant to the listing decision, and we devoted our attention to them.

Their forecasting procedures depended on a complex set of assumptions, including the erroneous assumption that general circulation models provide valid forecasts of summer sea ice in the regions that polar bears inhabit. Nevertheless, we audited their conditional forecasts of what would happen to the polar bear population assuming, as the authors did, that the extent of summer sea ice would decrease substantially during the coming decades.

We found that Amstrup et al. properly applied 15 percent of relevant forecasting principles and Hunter et al. 10 percent. Averaging across the two papers, 46 percent of the principles were clearly contravened and 23 percent were apparently contravened. Consequently, their forecasts are unscientific and inconsequential to decision makers. We recommend that researchers apply all relevant principles properly when important public-policy decisions depend on their forecasts.

Interfaces. Vol. 38, No. 5, September-October 2008, pp. 382-405

Glaciers in Norway Growing Again

After years of decline, glaciers in Norway are again growing, reports the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). The actual magnitude of the growth, which appears to have begun over the last two years, has not yet been quantified, says NVE Senior Engineer Hallgeir Elvehoy. The flow rate of many glaciers has also declined. Glacier flow ultimately acts to reduce accumulation, as the ice moves to lower, warmer elevations.

The original trend had been fairly rapid decline since the year 2000. The developments were originally reported by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). DailyTech has previously reported on the growth in Alaskan glaciers, reversing a 250-year trend of loss. Some glaciers in Canada, California, and New Zealand are also growing, as the result of both colder temperatures and increased snowfall.

Ed Josberger, a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says the growth is "a bit of an anomaly", but not to be unexpected. Despite the recent growth, most glaciers in the nation are still smaller than they were in 1982. However, Elvehoy says that the glaciers were even smaller during the 'Medieval Warm Period' of the Viking Era, prior to around the year 1350.

Not all Norwegian glaciers appear to be affected, most notably those in the Jotenheimen region of Southern Norway.


Why Scientists Sometimes Lie Or "Never trust a man trying to sell you a horse"

The problem with the "scientific consensus" on global warming is that participants in the debate are not objective. In other areas of science, it is assumed without question that researchers will follow the evidence wherever it leads with an open mind that is neutral as to the outcome. That is not the case with global warming.

Unlike other scientific questions, the answer to whether humans are causing dangerous global warming has massive political implications for economic and social policy. Scientists are human beings with political and ideological preferences just like the rest of us. If a scientist has a strong preference for a certain political ideology, and that ideology will either be advanced or inhibited based on the results of his research, it is reasonable to view his interpretation of the data with an increased level of skepticism.

If anthropogenic global warming is accepted as real, it will produce wide-ranging political and economic changes that have been long advocated by the political left. There will be massive tax increases and much stricter regulation of business. It should therefore be no surprise that almost all non-scientists who are on the political left insist that global warming is real and use it as an indictment of free market capitalism and the traditional American lifestyle based on consumerism.

In the same way, almost all non-scientists who are on the political right insist that global warming is nothing more than liberal hysteria. On both sides, their conclusions are not based on an impartial evaluation of the data. Neither Al Gore nor Rush Limbaugh are competent to assess the accuracy of a sophisticated computer climate model. Yet they both believe with absolute certainty.

Flawed human beings will always tend to interpret information in such a way that it reinforces our pre-existing ideological preferences or self interest. Given the huge amounts of funding involved, professional standing in academia and personal political preferences, it would be foolish to assume that scientists are not subject to the same failing.

I do not claim that scientists who support anthropogenic global warming are wrong, merely that it is unwise to massively reorder our society based on interpretations of extraordinarily complex data conducted by people who are not neutral as to the result.

When scientists who believe in global warming stop calling colleagues who disagree with them "Flat Earthers" and "Neanderthals", or insist that "the debate is over" and therefore it is illegitimate to question them, then I may be willing to listen to their arguments. Not until then.


International poll: 'Growing public reluctance' to support global warming efforts

There is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change, according to findings of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, including Canada.Results of the poll were released this week in advance of the start of a major international conference in Poland where delegates are considering steps toward a new international climate-change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

There already are reports emerging that some countries, such as coal-dependent Poland, are pushing for special treatment to avoid making major commitments to slash carbon emissions during a global economic downturn.

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the effort, an eight-point drop.And only one in five respondents - or 20 per cent - said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 per cent a year ago. The Canadian results, from a poll of 1,000 respondents conducted in September, were virtually identical to the overall figures. There are no comparative figures for Canada because Canadians weren't included in the global study in 2007.

The 11 countries surveyed were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. There were 2,000 respondents surveyed in China, including 1,000 in Hong Kong. The survey was conducted as part of a joint collaboration between the financial institution HSBC and environmental groups, such as the Earthwatch Institute.

"There's consumer reluctance that's creeping in, and we've seen that some are being stunned into inaction by the enormity of the task," said Earthwatch executive vice-president Nigel Winser.

Results of the poll suggested that 55 per cent of respondents in the 11 countries said their governments should be doing more by investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and wave power. That's more than double the 27 per cent who wanted their governments to participate in Kyoto-style international agreements to reduce emissions. In Canada, the same portion favoured renewable-energy options, while 32 per cent supported collective international efforts.

"People believe governments are focusing too much attention on indirect actions that pass responsibility for climate change onto others, such as increasing taxes on fossil fuels, encouraging individual environmentally friendly activities and participating in international negotiations, such as the Kyoto Protocol," the report said."More needs to be done to inform consumers about measures such as green taxation or carbon trading to help them understand how tangible these can be.

"The poll helps explain why outgoing Liberal Leader Stephane Dion had so much difficulty during the election campaign trying to sell his Green Shift platform that proposed a carbon tax in order to encourage emission reductions.

Earthwatch's Winser said the silver lining in the poll was that it stresses public dissatisfaction with the performance of all governments."We welcome this survey because it shows that individuals want their governments to do more."


Bravo New Zealand
The government has also suggested a possible review of the science behind climate change, a move that has outraged environmental groups, who say New Zealand's reputation will be damaged if the concept of global warming is questioned.

Have you ever heard such unadulterated nonsense in a single sentence? Did I read that correctly? A possible review has "outraged environmental groups"? Sorry, is this science we're talking about, or the dogma of religion? Perish the thought that the divine words of the IPCC, as spoken through the prophet Al Gore, should ever be questioned. Quick, throw another heretic on the fire.

As for their reputation being damaged, in my book, it's quite the reverse. Bravo New Zealand.



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


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Beware the church of climate alarm

As the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, an economist, anti-totalitarian and climate change sceptic, prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year, climate alarmists are doing their best to traduce him. The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent's report, claiming he behaves like a "rejected genius", and asserts there is "palpable fear" he will "embarrass" the EU.

But the real fear driving climate alarmists wild is that a more rational approach to the fundamentalist religion of global warming may be in the ascendancy - whether in the parliamentary offices of the world's largest trading bloc or in the living rooms of Blacktown. As the global financial crisis takes hold, perhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it. In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will."

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year. Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

Another slide charts the alternating periods of cooling and warming on Earth, with the Pleistocene Ice Age starting 110,000 years ago and giving way, 14,700 years ago, to the Bolling warm period for 800 years. This in turn gave way to the Older Dryas cooling for 300 years, then the Allerod warming for 700 years, and so on, until the cooling of the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850. Since 1850, we have lived through the "Modern Warming", one of the most stable climate periods in history. Plimer said some astronomers predict we are headed for a new cooling period.

Plimer said there is a division between those scientists who sit in front of super computers and push piles of data into the mathematical models that drive the theory of climate change, and those who take measurements in the field. We are not sceptical enough about the data. For instance, Plimer cited differences between results from temperature measuring stations in urban and rural areas. Those in urbanised Chicago, Berkeley, New York, and so on, show temperature rises over the past 150 years, whereas those in the rural US, in Houlton, Albany and Harrisburg (though not Death Valley, California) show equally consistent cooling. "What we're measuring is urbanisation," Plimer said. To understand the chaotic nature of climate change, we need to consider all the inputs - cosmic radiation, sun, clouds and so on, he said.

There was much more but essentially Plimer's message is that the idea humans cause climate change has become a fundamentalist religion which is corrupting science. It is embedded with a fear of nature and embraced principally by city people who have lost touch with nature. He likens the debate to the famous 1990s battle he had in the Federal Court, where he accused an elder of The Hills Bible Church in Baulkham Hills of breaching Australia's Trade Practices Act by claiming to have found scientific evidence of Noah's Ark in Turkey. Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that "we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational".

Human-caused climate change is being "promoted with religious zeal . there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance." It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by sceptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate."

In any case, ordinary people already have suspicions. The zealotry and one-sidedness of the debate alarmed an 81-year-old Seven Hills pensioner, Denys Clarke, so much that last month, at his own expense, he hired the ballroom at the Blacktown Workers Club for two public forums, titled The Truth About Climate Change. He invited a climate sceptic, the James Cook University professor Bob Carter, a geologist, to speak. More than 300 people attended, some from as far away as Nowra. Carter, like Plimer and Klaus, has come in for his fair share of vilification. But as Clarke proves, you can't stop people thinking. Yet.


When Warming Ideologues Attack

It's still uncertain whether Heidi Cullen, who once wrote that the American Meteorological Society should pull the certification of any weatherperson daring to question AGW, will be a casualty of last week's Weather Channel employee purge. But yesterday's rabid multi-front name-calling attack on an energy and environment reporter who dared question greenhouse gas canons quashed any doubt that the choir of green-snobbery has many voices.

Two pieces by Erika Lovley were published at The Politico Tuesday, one serious, the other -- mostly for laughs. But the Big Green Scare Machine was amused by neither. [Her article] "Scientists urge caution on global warming" opened by getting right down to business:
"Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.

The article attempted to present a rational examination of the impact recent cooling -- an alarmist conundrum -- may have on emissions trading schemes Democrats promise to pass through Congress next year. But what should have been seen as a moment of MSM balance was instead seen by the usual suspects as a philosophical punching bag. Indeed, it didn't take long for Think Progress -- the George Soros-backed liberal propaganda machine -- to label it as "toxic stupidity about global warming," containing what they call "zombie lies" about sun-cycles and dissenting scientists.

Or for Joe Romm at Climate Progress to accuse Lovely of "pimp[ing] global cooling for Hill deniers," demean her work as "laughable," and demand she be either fired or pulled "from the environmental/energy beat." But it's unlikely the latter would satisfy his green zeal, given this attack on her overall journalistic skills:
"Even as pure political reporting, the piece is beneath rank amateurish -- as if climate change deniers on the Hill are `quietly' doing anything."

Ouch!When he felt he'd pumped enough lead into Lovley, Romm then turned his sights on the dissenting scientists she mentions, including Weather Channel co-founder and IceCap editor, meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo, who he branded as "a well-debunked denier."

And get a load of this little bit of green reason. Romm called "balancing stories on the reality of accelerating human-caused global warming with a quote or two from deniers" a "mistake." Then, in the same paragraph, complained that Lovley "manages to cite multiple deniers, including Patrick Michaels from the right-wing Cato Insitute and a staffer [Marc Morano] from lead Senate denier James Inhofe (R-OK), but then doesn't bother to quote a single climate scientist in opposition." Wow.

Still, the Xanax moment award goes hands down to David Roberts, the Grist reporter who once suggested that the "bastards" denying AGW be subjected to Nuremburg style trials for their "war crimes." Referring to Politico's journalist malpractice in his title, he blasts Lovley's as "two of the dumbest stories of the decade on climate science," and the author as the "most dimwitted, gullible reporter in D.C."

Jumping on the dissenting scientists denigration wagon, Roberts calls Lovley's "worse" than "those articles you'd see five years ago, `balanced' stories on global warming science quoting the same small group of deniers, citing the same debunked myths." What is it about balance that gets these "experts" into such a tizzy?

But Roberts' reaction to the second article was perhaps the more curious. "Tracking 'The Gore Effect'" takes a blatantly (to anyone with even the most diminutive of funny-bones) comical look at the phenomenon of extreme winter-like weather befalling global warming related events. Lovely cites some great ones, like in March, 2007, when "a Capitol Hill media briefing on the Senate's new climate bill was cancelled due to a snowstorm." And when "Gore's global warming speech at Harvard University coincided with near 125-year record-breaking low temperatures." What - not funny?The point is, the reporter made clear her lampooning intent right from the jump:
"For several years now, skeptics have amusedly eyed a phenomenon known as `The Gore Effect' to half-seriously argue their case against global warming."

Apparently missing the joke entirely, Roberts nominated this "the single stupidest sentence written by any journalist this year, possibly this century:"
"While there's no scientific proof that The Gore Effect is anything more than a humorous coincidence, some climate skeptics say it may offer a snapshot of proof that the planet isn't warming as quickly as some climate change advocates say."

Lighten up, Dave. Most readers managed to visualize the tongue in her cheek.You've got to wonder -- If these guys are so convinced of their position's immutability, then why does the slightest challenge to it unleash such frenzied behavior?


Regular blackouts to hit Britain within three years because there is a shortage of new power stations

Families face regular blackouts within three years because Britain has not built enough new power stations, it has been claimed. Consumers will be hit by an 'energy gap' when a number of existing stations are shut down, a study suggests. Nine oil and coal-fired power plants are to close by 2015 because of an EU directive designed to limit pollution and associated acid rain. At the same time, four ageing nuclear power plants will be shut, further reducing the electricity available to homes and businesses.

Analysts Capgemini warn that we will not have new nuclear power plants until around 2018. And they are concerned that the rush to build wind farms will not deliver the power needed to ensure the lights stay on. Energy consultant for Capgemini UK, Alistair Green, said: 'An energy gap is looming, which could lead to black-outs or so-called brown-outs.' Brown-outs occur when the voltage in the system needs to be turned down because of a lack of electricity in the system, effectively dimming the lights.

Mr Green said: 'We are looking at the possibility of black-outs and brownouts within three to four years. 'We might get to a situation of rota disconnections, where all the domestic homes and businesses are cut off in an area of a town on a rota basis.' He added: 'Electricity is key to homeowners and businesses. This is a pretty frightening prospect.'

Mr Green said the problem had occurred because Britain's privatised power industry has not taken the decision to build more stations sooner, largely because they could not be sure of making a profit from them. The first application to build new plants will not be made until next year, which will trigger a public consultation that is expected to take more than a year. Even if permission is granted in 2010, it would take at least seven years to build stations and upgrade the National Grid wires network to cope.

Mr Green said the National Grid might have to commission its own new power stations if there are any further delays. Similar measures have been taken by the authorities in Ireland, Greece and South Africa to ensure the lights stay on.

Dr Jon Gibbins, of Imperial College, recently issued a similar warning of black-outs because of a failure to replace ageing power plants. 'You can't guarantee that the lights will stay on,' he said. 'You are just taking a tremendous risk. People die when you lose electricity supplies.' Dr Gibbins and many other industry experts are concerned the UK is becoming increasingly reliant on imported gas. This puts us at the mercy of gas-rich states in the Middle East and Russia, which is flexing its muscles as the world's first energy superpower. Dr Gibbins said it is vital that Britain takes its electricity from diverse sources.

Energy minister Michael O'Brien insisted that the UK is building enough power stations. He pointed to the fact that French company EDF is committed to spending 12.5billion pounds on new nuclear power stations. 'It is the case that National Grid has said total power station capacity is predicted to rise by 37 per cent by 2015. Not only will the lights not go out, but actually they will be brighter,' he said. 'In the long term, there will be new nuclear. In the shorter term there will be gas, renewables and the oil industry has the flexibility to deal with supply emergencies.' He said that new North Sea exploration licences are being granted to firms that aim to recover an additional 20billion barrels of oil.



He makes Communists seem wishy washy

James Gustave "Gus" Speth is the consummate environmental insider. For over thirty years he has played a key role in the development of environmentalist organizations and agendas. He was present at the founding of the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970 and later launched the World Resources Institute, a $27 million enterprise that may be the most influential environmental think tank in the world. He served on, and eventually chaired, President Carter's Council on Environmental Quality, where he oversaw production of the apocalyptic Global 2000 report. During the 1990s he worked on President Clinton's transition team and headed up the United Nations Development Program, and he is now dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

His prominence within the environmental establishment means that when Gus Speth speaks, environmentalists listen. He is not only an academic dean but, in many respects, the dean of contemporary environmental thinkers. Like others, he advocates ambitious and far-reaching environmental programs; unlike many, he has held positions in which to make such things happen. Few with his green bona fides have his currency in the halls of power or connections with global leaders. Yet like so many celebrated environmental thinkers, he lacks a clear or compelling vision of how to reconcile contemporary civilization with the need for environmental protection.

In The Bridge at the Edge of the World, Speth argues that all the environmental progress of the past thirty to forty years may be for naught, as an environmental crisis of global proportions is still with us. The resource shortfalls and ecological ruin predicted by the Global 2000 report may not have come to pass on schedule, but they are imminent nonetheless. Thus, he seeks radical change to our economic, political, and social systems. "The end of the world as we have known it" is inevitable; the only question is whether we will suffer planetary ruin or a radically transformed civilization. Speth's hope is to point the way to the latter course.

Speth's eco-pessimism is not particularly new or original, but his critique of the modern environmental movement could be. In his view, the modern environmental establishment has proven itself impotent. It has accomplished much, but not nearly enough. Working within the system failed, he maintains, because it did not seek sufficiently radical change. Saving human civilization from collapse requires more than minor adjustments, he warns, as environmental degradation is but a symptom of broader social problems, and is "linked powerfully with other social realities, including growing social inequality and neglect and the erosion of democratic governance and popular control."

Reversing course will require a "transformative change in the system itself," including an "assault on the citadel of consumption" and the remaking of corporations. "Our duty," Speth proclaims, is "to struggle against the contempocentrism and anthropocentrism that dominate modern life." A "bridge" to a sustainable society requires revisiting democratic capitalism, remaking industrial civilization, and reorienting human consciousness; "we must return to fundamentals and seek to understand both the underlying forces driving such destructive trends and the economic and political system that gives these forces free rein." Nothing less will do.

Environmental writers have made a cottage industry from warning of ecological Armageddon and calling for greener forms of economic growth. Yet it is rare to hear so radical a charge from someone with Speth’s influence, and unusual to hear someone with his experience offer an ecological assessment that is so misguided. He purports to offer “a deeper critique of what is going on,” but his principal complaints echo familiar ones we have heard from other environmental thinkers, his “new approach on the environment” seems quite like the old, and his analysis is ultimately shallow. Speth wants to offer “impractical answers”—but the problem is not so much their impracticality as their wrong-headedness.

Speth catalogues an ever-growing list of environmental insults inflicted upon the Earth by human civilization to document the “great collision” between the human economy and our fragile planet. He tries to shock with numbers and graphs illustrating dramatic increases in population or industrial activity of one sort or another. Such data is easy to find, but trends by themselves do not substitute for a complete diagnosis. It takes more than identifying recent exponential trends to demonstrate unsustainability. Exponential growth rarely (if ever) continues indefinitely, and the same factors that cause growth spurts can cause them to level off. Nor do negative environmental trends necessarily translate into harmful effects on human well-being. I share his concern for conserving biological diversity, but merely asserting that biological diversity is important for economic well-being does not make it so.

Climate change plays a central role in Speth’s account, as one might expect. The threat of anthropogenic contributions to climatic warming is real, and the policy challenge immense. Yet so eager is he to impress upon the reader the severity of the problem that he embraces the flimsiest of evidence to support his claims. For instance, he cites a largely discredited World Health Organization report concluding climate change already causes 150,000 deaths per year, and could reach 300,000 by 2030. Climate change is a serious concern—sufficiently so that there is no need for such hyperbole to demonstrate its importance. Overstating the threat is part of Speth’s method, all the better to promote the radical changes he seeks.

The first item on his agenda is the replacement of modern capitalism with some undefined “non-socialist” alternative. “The planet cannot sustain capitalism as we know it,” he warns, calling for a fundamental transformation. But he does not understand the system he wants to reform, let alone what he would substitute in its place.

According to Speth, “most environmental deterioration is a result of systemic failures of capitalism.” This is an odd claim, as the least capitalist nations of the world also have the worst environmental records. The ecological costs of economic statism are far worse than those of economic liberty. The environmental record of the various Soviet regimes amply bears this out: The West’s ecological nightmares were the Soviet bloc’s environmental realities. This is not due to any anomaly of the Soviet system. Nations with greater commitment to capitalist institutions experience greater environmental performance.

While Speth occasionally acknowledges pockets of environmental progress, he hardly stops to consider the reasons why some environmental resources have been conserved more effectively than others. Fisheries are certainly declining throughout much of the world—some 75 percent of fisheries are fully or over-exploited—but not everywhere. It is worth asking why. Tropical forests in less-developed nations are declining even as most temperate forests in industrialized nations are rebounding. Recognizing these different trends and identifying the key variables is essential to diagnosing the real causes of environmental deterioration and prescribing a treatment that will work. Speth acknowledges that much of the world is undergoing “dematerialization,” such that economic growth far outpaces increases in resource demand, but seems not to appreciate how the capitalist system he decries creates the incentives that drive this trend.

More here


The EU has failed to reach agreement on new rules to cut car emissions after a day of talks foundered over the issue of penalties to be levied on non-complying automakers, officials said on Tuesday. Talks between the EU French Presidency, the European Commission and the European Parliament on the package were brought to a close overnight without a compromise plan being agreed, German conservative euro MP Werner Langen said.

A fifth such "triologue" on the issue has been scheduled for December 3. "We still need to discuss the amount of fines to be levied and also the long-term objective for 2020 on CO2 reduction," Langen said.

More here

Survey: 'You're much more likely to be sceptical about global warming the older you get'

We old guys have seen too much media sensationalism all our lives to be much impressed by new scares!

90 per cent of motorists say they don't feel guilty about driving their cars, just one of the survey findings conducted by Despite being taxed increasingly punitively by the government and indoctrinated otherwise by much of the mainstream media the survey respondents feel that cars are here to stay and to be used....

There's plenty of optimism left for the average British motorist, it seems: nearly 90 per cent of respondents expect the car ownership experience in 20 years time to be broadly similar to how it is now.

And finally, it seems that you're much more likely to be sceptical about global warming the older you get; 54 per cent of respondents over the age of 54 said they don't believe in the link between carbon dioxide emissions and rising planetary temperatures, compared with only 15.4 per cent for those under 25.



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


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greenhouse gas levels hit record high as temperature falls

Greenhouse gas levels rose to record highs in 2007, leading to a 1 per cent increase in the overall global warming effect, the World Meteorological Organisation says. Carbon dioxide rose 0.5 per cent from 2006 to reach 383.1 parts per million, while nitrous oxide levels were up 0.25 per cent, according to latest WMO statistics. Methane, meanwhile, increased 0.34 per cent, surpassing the highest level recorded in 2003.

``Using the NOAA Annual greenhouse gas index, the total warming effect of all long-lived greenhouse gases was calculated to have increased by 1.06 per cent from the previous year and by 24.2 per cent since 1990,'' said the WMO. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have risen 37 per cent since the 18th century, the WMO said.


A new satellite predicts at least 23 years of global cooling

Several Canadian environmental scientists agree that the new Jason satellite indicates at least a 23-year cycle of global cooling ahead. Count me in! This oceanographic satellite shows a much larger than normal persistent Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Cooler PDO phases usually last 21 to 25 years, so we should be quite chilly as a planet until at least 2030, maybe longer.

Remember, I have another cycle of intense global warming, as I mentioned at our March 2, 2007 climate seminar at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, due by 2031 to 2038, when all of my major cycles 'collide in chaos.' These alternating natural climatic cycles defy the so-called "climate consensus" that human-emitted carbon dioxide was responsible totally for the recent cycle of global warming that began in the late 1970s and peaked in 1998.

The Earth's previous warming phase from 1915 through 1939, which peaked in 1936 during the infamous Dust Bowl Days, was almost as warm as the recent cycle of global warming. Yes, I said, global warming. I'm a firm believer in frequent climate changes. I also favor cutting down sharply on air pollution, particularly in the urban 'heat islands.'

The last cooler cycle of global temperatures occurred from late 1939 to early 1976, peaking (or bottoming) in 1973. The harsh winters during World War II helped the U.S. and its allies defeat the Germans and later assisted our G.I.s in the Korean War due to extremely heavy snows and subzero temperatures north of the 38th Parallel.

In the past 10 years, especially the past couple of years, the Earth's climate has begun to cool, even though CO2 emissions have soared on a worldwide scale. How many years of declining temperatures will it take to finally break up Al Gore's 'global warming consensus'? Only time will tell -- probably when all the money runs out.

As we expected, a parade of Pacific storms marched across North Idaho and the rest of the Inland Empire during the first 13 days of this November. As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, a whopping 2.49 inches of precipitation had been gauged this month compared to just 0.57 inches in all of October and only 1.48 inches total since late August. A record 0.83 inches fell Nov. 7, breaking the record rainfall total for the date of .81 inches in 1980.

The normal rainfall during an entire November is 2.97 inches, when averaged over the past 113 years of daily weather record-keeping that began in 1895. In November 2007, we gauged 2.61 inches of moisture at my station on Player Drive in the northwestern corner of Coeur d'Alene, along with a slightly below normal 6.3 inches of snow, all of which fell after Thanksgiving.

But, as I stated last week, between the end of November 2007 and the end of the snowfall season on June 30, 2008, we received an all-time record 172.9 inches of snow in town, some four feet more than the previous record of 124.2 inches in 1915-16, nearly a century ago.

More here

Scientists urge caution on global warming

Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation. While the new Obama administration promises aggressive, forward-thinking environmental policies, Weather Channel co-founder Joseph D'Aleo and other scientists are organizing lobbying efforts to take aim at the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats plan to unveil in January.

So far, members of Congress have not been keen to publicly back the global cooling theory. But both senators from Oklahoma, Republicans Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, have often expressed doubts about how much of a role man-made emissions play. "We want the debate to be about science, not fear and hypocrisy. We hope next year's wave of new politics means a return to science," said Coburn aide John Hart. "It's the old kind of politics that doesn't consider any dissenting opinions."

The global cooling lobby's challenge is enormous. Next year could be the unfriendliest yet for climate skeptics. Already, House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) has lost his gavel, in part because his peers felt he was less than serious about tackling global warming.

The National Academy of Sciences and most major scientific bodies agree that global warming is caused by man-made carbon emissions. But a small, growing number of scientists, including D'Aleo, are questioning how quickly the warming is happening and whether humans are actually the leading cause. Armed with statistics from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center, D'Aleo reported in the 2009 Old Farmer's Almanac that the U.S. annual mean temperature has fluctuated for decades and has only risen 0.21 degrees since 1930 - which he says is caused by fluctuating solar activity levels and ocean temperatures, not carbon emissions.

Data from the same source shows that during five of the past seven decades, including this one, average U.S. temperatures have gone down. And the almanac predicted that the next year will see a period of cooling. "We're worried that people are too focused on carbon dioxide as the culprit," D'Aleo said. "Recent warming has stopped since 1998, and we want to stop draconian measures that will hurt already spiraling downward economics. We're environmentalists and conservationists at heart, but we don't think that carbon is responsible for hurricanes."

D'Aleo's organization, the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, is collaborating on the campaign with the Cooler Heads Coalition, a subgroup of the National Consumer Coalition with members including Americans for Tax Reform, the National Center for Policy Analysis and Citizens for a Sound Economy.

More than 31,000 scientists across the world have signed the Global Warming Petition Project, a declaration started by a group of American scientists that states man's impact on climate change can't be reasonably proven. If the project gains traction, it might give skeptical lawmakers an additional weapon to fight cap-and-trade legislation to curtail greenhouse gases - a move they worry could damage the already fragile economy. At the least, congressional aides say, it could caution additional lawmakers from rushing into a hasty piece of legislation.

Many Hill skeptics have varying opinions on whether the earth's temperature is warming more slowly than some environmentalists predict and how much man is actually contributing to it. Inhofe's staff has been steadily compiling a list of global cooling findings. And aides report that they have received countless e-mails from scientists worldwide supporting the theory. While Inhofe hasn't indicated that he will move forward with the information anytime soon, his aides continue to compile it.

Republicans aren't the only ones who are wary of hastily passing a greenhouse gas bill. Ten Democrats wrote to Senate leaders earlier this year, citing economic concerns as a key reason why they didn't vote for the Senate's cap-and-trade bill. And despite Democrats' pickups in the Senate this fall, several of the new Democrats are from conservative, energy-producing states and may not be supportive, either.

But congressional aides say it could be a long wait before lawmakers are comfortable pushing science that contradicts the global warming theory. And until the lobby gains traction, skeptics plan to continue pushing their ideas by arguing for protection of the economy, where they hope to meet middle ground with global warming supporters. "Never underestimate the ability of Congress to offer nonsolutions to problems that do not exist," said Marc Morano, communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "We could spend weeks arguing the mounting scientific evidence refuting man-made warming fears," he added, "but it's the economic arguments that have the most immediate impact."

At the Cato Institute, senior fellow Patrick Michaels, a contributing author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said most of Washington is already too deeply entrenched in the global warming mantra to turn back. "You can't expect the scientific community to now come to Washington and say this isn't a problem. Once the apocalypse begins to deliver research dollars, you don't want to reverse it," said Michaels. "Washington works by lurching from crisis to crisis."

Despite the growing science, the world's leading crusader on climate change, Al Gore, is unconcerned. "Climate deniers fall into the same camp as people who still don't believe we landed on the moon," said the former vice president's spokeswoman, Kalee Kreider. "We don't think this should distract us from the reality."



A former state premier who was a prominent minister at federal level quit Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) on Tuesday after receiving a reprimand over critical remarks that "breached party solidarity. "Wolfgang Clement ended 38 years of membership in the centre-left party that co-rules in Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives after calling the rebuke "inappropriate and wrong."

The outspoken former minister, had outraged many within the party by publicly questioning the energy policies of the SPD leader in the state of Hesse, Andrea Ypsilanti, just days before a closely-fought election in January. Ypsilanti narrowly lost to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), leading to criticism that Clement's remarks had cost her victory.

Clement, who as economics and labour minister under former SPD chancellor Gerhard Schroeder helped pushed through unpopular pro-market reforms, initially offered an apology for the strong emotions his comments had raised, but stood his ground on the issue.

The SPD in his home state of North Rhine-Westphalia instituted measures to expel him for breaching party solidarity, but the party's mediation committee on Monday issued an admonishment instead. Clement said in a statement Tuesday that the party's action violated the principle of free of expression.

In earlier remarks, the former premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and "super minister" in the Schroeder cabinet in the years 2002-05 said he had not sought to undermine the Hesse SPD. But he insisted Germany could not renounce nuclear and coal-fired power stations, as called for by Ypsilanti.

Clement left politics when Schroeder lost office at the end of 2005, taking a senior post with power generation company RWE. He is closely associated with Schroeder's Agenda 2010 programme, which was never popular with the SPD's left-wing.



The UK's Climate Change Bill, which commits future governments to cut CO2 emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050, is about to receive Royal Assent but at what cost? Peter Lilley MP asks why ministers failed to mention that the legislation could cost each family in the UK up to 10,000 pounds

Can you spare 10,000 pounds for a good cause? The government thinks you can - despite the recession. Parliament passed the Climate Change Bill, which is set to receive Royal Assent in the coming days, which will force you to cough up.

This legislation binds future British governments to introduce unilaterally, even if other countries do not follow suit, massive spending programmes which could cost up to 200bn pounds; that's 10,000 from every family in the country.

I'm not talking about rescuing the banks. That involved loans which we should eventually get back. This is real money in taxes and lost incomes - money you will never see again.

Hold on! I hear you exclaim. No-one asked us if we could afford 10,000. We haven't heard anything about a 200 billion package. That's enormous. That's right; it is enormous and you didn't hear anything about it. That is the scandal. Neither Parliament nor most of the media bothered to discuss the cost of one of the most immense projects ever adopted in this country. Indeed, Parliament wafted it through without even discussing its cost and with only five votes against.

In my experience, our biggest mistakes are made when Parliament and the media are virtually unanimous and MPs switch off their critical faculties in a spasm of moral self-congratulation. That is what happened with this Bill.

We all want to save the planet from overheating, just as we all want to save the financial system from meltdown. We accept that both rescues may cost us a lot. But a healthy democracy should at least debate the cost, compare it with the likely benefits (or costs of doing nothing) and consider whether we can achieve the same ends at less cost.

Had MPs or commentators bothered to read the government's own estimates of the potential costs and benefits of the Climate Change Bill - the Impact Assessment - they would have found some extraordinary things. Admittedly, on this occasion government failed to publish copies of the assessment in the normal way so it took a little effort to obtain. Apparently, I was the only MP to obtain a copy.

The contents of the Impact Assessment are astounding. Whereas it puts the Bill's potential cost as up to 205bn, it says the maximum benefits of this massive expenditure is 110bn pounds.

I am all in favour of taking out an insurance policy, as the government describes it, against the threat of global warming. But would you insure your home with a company if they charged premiums which could be double the value of your house? There must be a better insurance policy than this.

Moreover, the government admits that their estimate of the "maximum" cost is far from being the real maximum since it omits three huge items. First, the Impact Assessment admits that it is "unable to capture transition costs which could be 1.3% to 2% of GDP in 2020". Second, they make the fantastically optimistic assumption that all businesses will know and instantly adopt the most cost efficient technologies to achieve carbon savings. Third, the assessment "cannot capture trade and competitiveness impacts"; in particular, the "relatively high risks of the transfer of productive capital to countries without carbon policies".

In other words, if we pursue the policies in the Climate Change Bill unilaterally, without others doing the same, we could end up driving UK business abroad without reducing carbon emissions because they will still be spewing forth carbon.

Yet this bill legally binds future British governments unilaterally to spend billions of pounds on trying to prevent climate change even if other countries do not follow our lead. There is a case for Britain taking the lead, but the bill should surely only become binding if a critical mass of other countries follow our lead; we cannot save the planet single-handed....

The oddest thing about the government's cost/benefit analysis is that it contradicts the Stern Review. Sir Nicholas Stern concluded that the cost of preventing climate change would be small relative to the benefits. Yet the Impact Assessment reveals that the costs could dwarf the potential benefits. The Stern Review was much criticised for resorting to unprecedented means to inflate the benefits artificially. In particular, he used an astonishingly low discount rate thereby giving a huge weight to benefits that will not accrue until centuries ahead. In fact, half the benefits he expects will not occur until after the year 2800!

Ministers have admitted to me that their Impact Assessment rejected Stern's dubious figures and used conventional discount rates. Yet they still quote Stern's conclusions to justify their Bill and never mention their own more recent calculations.

More here


A controversial United Nations report claiming "atmospheric brown clouds" generated by Asia are harming the world's climate, agriculture and health has created a storm of controversy in India, which has slammed it as part of Western pressure on Asia's efforts to counter global warming. The brown cloud was more pointedly called the "Asian brown cloud" in an earlier United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report in 2002, before protests from India and China led it to be changed to the politically-correct "atmospheric brown cloud".

The updated version of the 2002 UN report, released on November 13, says three kilometer-thick brown clouds of soot, particles and toxic cancer-causing chemicals, primarily hovering over the Persian Gulf and Asia, are the latest major threat to global health, food supplies and the environment. "I expect the atmospheric brown cloud to be now firmly on the international community's radar as a result of the report," declared Achim Steiner, under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP.

Steiner can revise his expectations, as so far the report has only raised controversy. India's scientific community have said the atmospheric brown clouds over Asia are a seasonal, temporary phenomena which may look bad, but have none of the catastrophic implications mentioned in the UN report.

The Indian government has also unceremoniously trashed the UN report, pointing fingers at UNEP's credibility, with India's Science and Technology minister Kapil Sibal describing the latest brown cloud report as "propaganda," according to a Press Trust of India news agency article from November 21. Sibal said India's scientists have examined the issue and have dismissed the report's claims that burning of fossil fuels in Asia has caused the brown haze. He pointed out that India's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are 1.2 tonnes compared to 23 tonnes in the US and 10 tonnes in European countries. Sibal, also one of India's senior lawyers, said, "For anybody who says India and China are responsible for this, I can only say, we certainly are not."

The Indian government even attributed motives to the UN report. "It is a way of getting at India and China," an unnamed environment ministry official was quoted as saying in the Times of India, India's largest-circulated English daily. "We say that the developed world is primarily responsible for global warming, so the West has latched on to the brown cloud formation to target us on traditional fuels. But these fuels are not the only reason why brown clouds are formed," the official said.

More here


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