Thursday, February 19, 2009


An email from Stephen Ashworth []

If the opinions of a biologist (Prof Chris Field) and an Apollo astronaut (Dr Harrison Schmitt) are of interest, then it will certainly be relevant to quote the long-sighted view of an expert on human evolution and its interaction with the variable climate of the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. His speciality is in synthesising evidence from genetics, archaeology, linguistics, geology and climate. Note the concluding sentence of this quoted paragraph:

"For most of the last 2 million years, humans have shivered in the grip of the Pleistocene ice epoch, so the brief but marked warming of our planet's surface, which opens up the gates of Eden [i.e. the Sinai route between Africa and the Levant], is known to geologists as an interglacial optimum. These short lush spells contrast with the normally cold and dry glacial conditions of the Pleistocene. We modern humans have had only two such glimpses of paradise during our time on Earth. The most recent interglacial optimum was only about 8,000 years ago, and we are lucky to be still basking in the after-effects of its autumnal glow. For perhaps a couple of thousand years the Sahara was grassland, and all kinds of game from the south spread throughout North Africa and across into the Levant. Ironically, today's pollution-driven global warming is actually helping to stave off the inevitable relapse into the cooler, drier, more unstable conditions that have characterized most of our time on Earth."

-- Professor Stephen Oppenheimer (Green College, Oxford), "Out of Eden" (Constable, London, 2003), p.51-52.

The Climate Change Fraud

Global Warming may well be one of the cruelest-and most costly-frauds perpetrated upon mankind in human history. But it is starting to unravel, thanks to some brave scientists-not the least of which is one of the men on the moon.

More than three dozen PhD scientists will join numerous public policy leaders in early March to address the issue of climate change and the alarmism that has come to be associated with it at the annual International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC). And now, it has just been reported that, in addition to highly respected world leaders such as former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Anzar and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, attendees will likely hear some unequivocated straight-talk from former Senator and Apollo 17 moonwalker Dr. Harrison Schmitt.

Dr. Schmitt, who received his PhD in geology from Harvard University, recently came out swinging against those who promote global warming as absolute truth. Schmitt denies that the "human effect is significant compared to the natural effect," and states that political and financial pressure has caused scientists to endorse anthropogenic global warming or simply be silent. "They've seen too many of their colleagues lose grant funding when they haven't gone along with the so-called political consensus that we're in a human-caused global warming," he said. "It's one of the few times you've seen a sizable portion of scientists who ought to be objective take a political position and it's coloring their objectivity."

The former astronaut recently withdrew his membership in The Planetary Society, a group dedicated to interplanetary travel, citing disagreements over Mars travel and various other society stances. One of them referenced "accelerating research into global climate change through more comprehensive Earth observations." In his withdrawal letter, he took issue with that statement, saying:
"As a geologist, I love Earth observations. But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a "consensus" that humans are causing global warming in when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. "Consensus", as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the "global warming scare" is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities."

Dr. Schmitt is not alone in his wholesale rejection of the global warming mantra. Joining him on center stage will be Dr. Richard Lindzen, current MIT professor and former panel-member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN's climate control advisory group. Dr. Lindzen has been outspoken in his skepticism of anthropogenic global warming, and has strongly resisted the concept of a "consensus," calling it "shrill alarmism."

Speaking of those who are unsure of the matter, he wrote that "their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template-namely, shrill alarmism." Dr. Lindzen further stated that "given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam." Strong words from a high-ranking scientist. Another scientist sharing the stage, Dr. Willie Soon, had these words to say on the "pernicious" scientific consensus:
"Scientific agreement, though, differs distinctly from consensus wrought by social-political pressures. Efforts to force a consensus are pernicious to science. The body of evidence and facts on which scientists agree-as currently known-must always be challengeable by new information. That is the basis of the scientific method."

Dr. Soon, a physicist at a division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, helped compile over 200 climate studies that, together, covered climate change over a millennium. The findings revealed that the temperature change experienced during the 20th century was not abnormal-in fact, the 20th century was cooler than the Medieval Warm Period, which covered 800-1300 A.D. Too bad that Al Gore decided to cut that fact from his movie.

Despite all the alarmist rhetoric on the fabricated "consequences" of global warming inaction...despite the claims of "consensus" and "settled debate" used to goad politicians into immediate action...despite the risk of being 'ostracized' by the political elite-several dozen scientists and policy experts stand ready to show the world that there is not consensus, and that scientists exist who are still willing to offer objective alternatives.

And they, together with the keynote speakers profiled above, will attack the global warming lie that has been perpetuated by those who wish to, in the words of Dr. Schmitt, use it "as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes, and decision-making." In short, the debate (at least) is heating up.



Switch on the light. Is the filament glowing because of a heavy gust of wind, or is it nuclear fission? If you flick a switch today, the light goes on because of coal. Almost half the power generated in Britain on Tuesday came from coal and a bit more than a third from natural gas. Nuclear power stations were contributing 17 per cent and windmills provided 0.6 per cent.

It's a day's work in the power industry and it is 16 years since the Kyoto conference on climate change, when this country signed up to a process that would seek to avert global warming by weaning the world off the combustion of oil, gas and coal. Since then we have had two Energy White Papers, one Energy Review, the launch of European carbon trading, the decline of North Sea gas, the promotion of wind farms and the eleventh-hour rescue of Britain's nuclear industry. After all the politics, we are breathless as our bright new whirligigs stand motionless on a beach horizon.

The wind has failed, as it does during periods of intense heat and cold, and although we have built, with enormous subsidy, enough wind turbines to generate 5 per cent of our electricity, no more than 1 per cent is operational when we need it. Like Coleridge's ancient mariner, the nation is becalmed, a painted ship on a painted ocean and we have gone back a century, hewing the same coal that first put Britain on the fast track to the Industrial Revolution.

The reason why we are still stuffing black lumps of carbon into furnaces is simple: it makes economic sense and the financial markets are shouting this message louder than ever before. Everyone loves to hate financial markets - casinos operated by spivs, jungles filled with rapacious speculators - but they provide warnings when things are about to go wrong and the carbon market is no exception. The price of European Union allowances to emit carbon dioxide has collapsed and it has reached a level where even the greenest of utilities might be tempted to flirt with a hod of dirty brown coal.

If you believe that to be cynical or just pragmatic, consider the behaviour of the Government of Japan, which is doing a carbon trade with Ukraine. Under the Kyoto Protocol, governments are able to sell surplus rights to emit carbon to other nations. Like emissions trading between companies, it means that governments that succeed in reducing carbon emissions can sell "surplus" carbon to struggling nations.

No one thought that the whole process might go backwards. The benchmark against which Kyoto's carbon world was pegged was 1990 and since then the former Soviet satellite has struggled to stay upright. Desperate for cash and with its economy in freefall, Ukraine, too, has found some certificates in the bottom drawer. Japan is offering to buy Ukraine's "surplus" carbon for E300 million. Should we begrudge Ukraine the opportunity to pledge the planet's future to a Japanese pawnbroker? If Ukrainians are lucky, the money earned will not be squandered and might help to pay the bill for imported Russian gas over the rest of the winter.

We should not be too critical, because Europe is about to face a big decision over coal. The fuel is abundant and at present very cheap, the main reason why power stations love it. The margin earned from burning coal, according to Societe Generale, is about E15 per megawatt hour, compared with E7 from natural gas - and those figures include the cost of the EUAs.

Meanwhile, the UK must make a huge decision. We have promised to shut down seven old coal plants by 2015 because they emit too much sulphur. These can supply 12 gigawatts, or a sixth of UK capacity. Ideally, we would fill the gap with nuclear power, but EDF has made it clear that the first new British nuke won't be ready until 2017, supplying less than 2 gigawatts. It is self-evident that we must carry on burning coal for the time being and politicians must stop telling lies about energy. They must begin to set plausible targets, explain their true cost and how they will be achieved. The impact of recession on industrial demand is one reason why the carbon price is weak. The other reason is credibility.



If they can't pay for routine services, how are they going to pay for all the "Green" jobs that they are pledged to "create"?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has sent redundancy notices to 20,000 government employees and shut down California's last remaining public works projects yesterday, as state politicians failed to pass a budget that will prevent his administration from running out of money.

The Governor of California, who is spending billions more each month than he can raise in taxes, has insufficient funds left to settle outstanding bills and is days away from being forced to start issuing "IOU" notes to creditors and civil servants.

The state senate has been unable to agree on a package of tax increases that will stave off bankruptcy. The administration is currently operating at a loss of $12bn a year - a figure that is rising exponentially and will hit $42bn next year.

Late on Monday night, with a proposed budget one vote short of the two-thirds majority it needs to pass, exhausted senators were sent home to sleep. They were ordered back to the chamber at 10am yesterday, and told that no one would be allowed to leave before a deal was reached. "Bring a toothbrush," the senate president Darrell Steinberg advised them. "I will not allow anyone to go home to resume their lives, or any other kind of normal business."

Politicians had already spent the entire weekend in Sacramento trying to break the gridlock, with sometimes surreal results: at one point on Saturday, they were forced to surrender car keys to security guards, to ensure that no one took advantage of a short toilet break to run away. The tortured nature of proceedings, in the face of looming crisis, leaves California, one of the world's wealthiest regions, on the brink of becoming the first state in US history to be declared insolvent.

Civil servants are already being forced to take two unpaid days off a month, while billions of dollars in income tax repayments have been frozen. State prisons are so underfunded that a court last week ordered the release of 55,000 inmates to ease overcrowding.

More here

The U.S. Government's War on Coal!

While President Obama was eagerly signing new legislation to keep unqualified borrowers in their homes by doling out billions of our dollars, over at the Environmental Protection Agency they were leaking plans to use the Clean Air Act as a subterfuge to regulate the second most essential gas, other than oxygen, for all life on planet Earth, carbon dioxide (C02). Cheering from the sidelines is every demented environmental group in America including the Sierra Club which, if it had its way, would ban the building of a single new coal-fired plant anywhere and shut down the existing ones. This is madness on a scale we have not seen since the mid-point of the last century. Over at Friends of the Earth, they are breaking out the prayer beads, worried to death that upgrading and improving the nation's infrastructure means building new roads, bridges and tunnels where they are needed.

All the while, the most deceitful President to have ever occupied the Oval Office keeps telling everyone that global warming is real when, in fact, the Earth has been cooling for the past decade. Obama is trying to transform the United States of America into a nation where science means nothing and lies mean everything.

We now have the spectacle of a government employee, Dr. James Hansen, shilling for Capitol Climate Action, saying on a YouTube video that everyone should come to Washington, D.C. on March 2 for what is described as "the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in U.S. history." The event is a protest of the Capitol Power Plant that uses-gasp-coal to produce electricity.

By the way, that white stuff coming out of the stacks of power plants, including nuclear, is excess steam used to turn the huge turbines that generate electricity. In other words, water vapor.

Dr. Hansen is the Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who lately has been writing to the leaders of the United Kingdom and Europe saying that coal-fired plants are the moral equivalent of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz during WWII. He's the fellow who, in 1988, told a congressional committee that global warming was going to destroy the Earth. Al Gore uses him as a footstool.

The immediate question is why someone drawing a government check should also be advocating civil disobedience on behalf of a non-governmental organization or group?

The larger question is whether the government is going to make it impossible to provide the growing needs for electricity that all Americans will require by 2030 or sooner? The U.S. has vast deposits of coal with which to generate electricity. To claim that coal is responsible for a global warming that is not occurring and that we must abandon the source of 50% of all the electricity we use every day is insane.

First let's fire Dr. Hansen. He is making a mockery of NASA and engaging in behavior that is irrational and quite possibly illegal. Then let's bury the White House in emails, letters and faxes to say "Lay off coal!"

In an astonishing few weeks, the Obama administration has initiated legislation that will further bankrupt the nation, saddle future generations with debt, interfered with the normal action of the housing market, and now wants to leave us without enough electricity to turn on the lights!


Greenies lying about their responsibility for the big fires in Australia

One of the biggest furphies in the supercharged debate in the wake of Victoria's bushfires is the claim by green groups that they are great supporters of hazard reduction burning. Also known as prescribed burning, this scientific regime creates a mosaic of lightly burned land at regular intervals of five to seven years, thus reducing surface fuel loads by varying amounts within the mosaic. This reduction of fuel loads is expensive, but Australia's pre-eminent bushfire researchers, such as the CSIRO's Phil Cheney and Monash University's David Packam, say it has been proven to reduce the power and intensity of fire. Every bushfire inquiry since the 1939 Stretton royal commission has recommended increased prescribed burning to mitigate the effects of inevitable wildfire.

It is a matter of public record that green groups have long opposed such systematic prescribed burning, as is evident in their submissions to bushfire inquiries from as far back as 1992. They complain of a threat to biodiversity, including to fungi, from "frequent burning" regimes and urge resources be spent on water bombers and early detection, as well as on stopping climate change - good luck with that.

Yet last week, Jonathan La Nauze of Friends of the Earth, Melbourne, in a letter to this newspaper claimed: ".not one Australian environmental organisation is opposed to prescribed burning . Environment groups are engaged in a sophisticated debate about where and how prescribed burning can be most effective." Yes, it's sophisticated, all right. It just depends how you define "prescribed burning".

On the other side of the country, one Peter Robertson, the West Australian co-ordinator of the Wilderness Society, was singing from a different song sheet. His letter last week to The West Australian stated: "Experience and risk analysis show that repeatedly burning tens of thousands of hectares of remote bushland and forest will do little to address the threat of bushfires to human communities . It would be a huge mistake if the community was led to believe that a massive, expensive and environmentally destructive prescribed burning program was going to protect them when it could make matters worse." Robertson is no lone ranger among greens in opposition to prescribed burning.

The WA Forest Alliance, for instance, lodged a submission to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the 2001-02 bushfires, claiming: "Frequent fires have a disastrous effect on many species of flora and fauna and their habitat structure." WWF Australia's submission claimed: "Inappropriate fire hazard regimes can damage biodiversity leading to the loss of native species, communities and ecosystems."

The NSW Greens state on their website as part of their bushfire risk management policy: "There is an urgent need to correct the common misconception that responsible fire management always involves burning or clearing to reduce moderate and high fuel loads."

In 2003, lightning strikes in fuel-rich national parks in NSW and the ACT sparked bushfires which swept into Canberra, killing four people. Days later, the NSW Nature Conservation Council's then chairman, Rob Pallin, described calls for increased prescribed burning as "futile" and a "knee-jerk reaction". "People who claim that hazard reduction burning is a cure-all for bushfire risk are either fooling themselves or deliberately trying to fool the public." It is another clever tactic of those who oppose broadscale prescribed burning to claim that it is not a "cure-all" for bushfire risk. No one has ever claimed it is.

As Cheney repeatedly has said, wildfires will occur, but prescribed burning reduces the intensity of a fire burning "under any set of meteorological conditions", and it reduces the spread of the fire, allowing firefighters to construct effective control lines. And yet there have been recent moves to have controlled burning listed as a "key threatening process" under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Such a submission has reportedly been received by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee. In NSW, already, the Department of Environment and Conservation has listed "too frequent fire" as a "key threatening process to biodiversity".

But the real threatening process is the holocaust we have just seen in Victoria. Last week angry fire survivors in Victoria pointed the finger at local authorities who prevented clearing of vegetation. At a public meeting in Arthurs Creek, Warwick Spooner, who lost his mother and brother in the Strathewen fire, stood up criticise the Nillumbik council. "We've lost two people in my family because you dickheads won't cut trees down." Then of course, there is Liam Sheahan, the Reedy Creek home owner whose house is the only one in a two-kilometre area which survived the fires. In 2004 he was fined $50,000 for removing 247 trees around his hilltop house to protect it from fire. His two-year court battle against the Mitchell Shire Council cost him $50,000 in legal fees.

It is a rich irony that Slidders Lawyers last week launched a class action on behalf of fire victims at Kinglake, against the Singapore-owned electricity company SP AusNet, alleging the fire was caused by a fallen power line. After all, it was only in 2001 that Transgrid bulldozed a 60-metre wide firebreak under its high-voltage lines in the Snowy Mountains. For that it was prosecuted by four government agencies, blasted for "environmental vandalism" by the then NSW premier Bob Carr, and fined $500,000.

Two years later, during the disastrous firestorm that engulfed the mountains, the offending firebreak became the only safe haven for kangaroos and workers constructing a fire trail. The sad truth of such holocausts is that the environmental toll ends up worse than the most vigorous prescribed burning regime ever could be.

Victoria's bushfires have spewed millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - more than a third of Australia's entire output for a year, according to Sydney University's Professor Mark Adams. No doubt the royal commission will recommend, like previous inquiries, that prescribed burning should be increased. After so many deaths will anyone listen this time?



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.


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