Friday, June 19, 2009


An email from Mark Lawson [], Journalist/Reports Editor, The Australian Financial Review

The national science academies, which have been in the forefront of warning us about global warming will not hesitate to warn of impending disaster over almost anything. From the way in which the warnings on so called "ocean acidification" have been endorsed by a host of academies, and repeated and even embellished by senior scientists, one suspects that many of the scientists concerned have not looked in any detail at the material behind the warnings, or thought sceptically about them.

Most readers will have seen something recently on ocean acidifcation where researchers point to the increase in CO2 causing a shift in the chemical composition of the topmost level - top metre or so - of the oceans. Some media reports have given the impression that the fish will be swimming in sulphuric acid very soon, but the shift requires precise measurements to detect.

Although the changes are comparatively slight, research at the Antarctic Climate Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart, Tasmania, and elsewhere indicates that the shift may causes changes in the calcite-secreting planktonic foraminifera. Further, those changes can be linked to increases in atmospheric CO2.

There is a lot more about changes in various species, including results from tests taken in lab conditions and some field sampling that may give cause of concern and speculations/projections about what may happen to the food chain, and to coral reefs on a site dedicated to the issue. Different articles on the issue usually includes a statement that the effects on the ecosystem are difficult to predict and that more work has to be done.

Ian Plimer, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide and author of the book Heaven+Earth debunking greenhouse science points out that the ocean's acid-alkaline balance varies considerably, depending on, say, whether the measurement is taken near the coast or near a volcanic vent. He also says that CO2 levels have been much higher in the geological past with no noticeable gap of shelly creatures, so he regards the whole issues as "a complete furphy" (a furphy is a wild tale).

Besides nothing dramatic really showing in the fossil record there is, as yet, no measurable affect on fish population stocks or on marine production. In any case, over fishing is a major problem the world over. Changes in human activity can greatly affect stocks in a given fishing ground, and those variations may completely overshadow any changes these researchers are talking about. Cray and abalone fishing in Australia, for example, are strictly controlled.

If politicians decide to spend a few millions to keep an eye on the changes, as there may be damage to a commercial breed of fish that response would probably fit the evidence gathered to date.

However, the InterAcademy Panel On International Issues (IAP) decided to release an extraordinary statement saying in part, ``we could be looking at fundamental and immutable changes in the makeup of our marine biodiversity. The effects will be worldwide, threatening food security, reducing coastal protection and damaging the local economies that may be least able to tolerate it''.

This statement was endorsed, seemingly without question, by 70 national science academies, including the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences and the academies of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Netherlands. In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald (June 2, 2009 Scientists warn acid is killing oceans) Royal Society president Martin Rees, an astronomer, was quoted as saying we faced an "underwater catastrophe."

This is not scientists behaving responsibly; this is scientists behaving oddly. The existing material does not justify these over-the-top warnings. Why did the IAP decide to issue this warning and why was it endorsed so easily?

Lies, Damned Lies and BBC Climate Reports

When the global warming alarmist house of cards finally collapses, exposing the pseudo-science/scare-journalism axis that has perpetrated the world's greatest mass delusion, among the first led out into the public square for ritual humiliation ought to be BBC ‘science' and ‘environment' correspondents.

Firstly, for submitting fraudulent CV's to BBC Human Resources claiming they actually knew something about science. Secondly, for asserting, as public service (public-paid) broadcasters, that they were only reporting ‘what scientists were saying.'

No doubt they will also adopt the same mitigation Scoop's William Boot called upon - that they were really only Gardening Correspondents who took a wrong turn in the BBC corridor one day. They will claim that their news editors ‘water-boarded' destroying their ‘testicular fortitude' thereby forcing them to concoct a veritable cornucopia of journalistic drivel to feed the public angst. That resulting in warnings of global apocalypse via everything -- everything from swine flu to SARS to the Mad Cow Disease (not to mention their ‘toxic' farts) -- but, mainly by employing the daddy of all scare scams: warm-mongering.

So science is turned on its head. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is reported by the BBC as a ‘pollutant' and thus all exhaling humans are ‘toxic'. Faith, not science, now prophesies that ‘higher CO2 emissions cause global warming' - even though the actual data reveals global warming ended in 1998, while CO2 emissions continued to rise. Planet Gore-ism propaganda finds a ready home displaying its wares via the ‘world's broadcaster'. Next an epidemic of teenage sleep-denying stress is brought on by viewing science-fiction horror flicks entitled ‘An Inconvenient Bunch of Statistical Crap', as media-induced hysteria invades our schoolrooms. And the evening news presents us with a steady procession of reports warn us that if we don't sell our SUV's and buy dull light-bulbs, dire prognostications will befall us. We will see the end of the Gulf Stream, the demise of islands (various), the loss of both polar ice caps and the bulk of the world's population - not to mention the nightly re-showing of those cuddly polar bears floating about on a chunk of ice.

This June, in the wake of Japanese scientists disputing the UN IPCC's anthropogenic warming orthodoxy (which, needless to say, the BBC didn't report), the Japanese Government put forward what the BBC's Environment Correspondent Richard Black called "weak" carbon targets. Writer/blogger Maurizio Morabito helpfully provides us with stark ‘numerical evidence' of Black's - thus the BBC's - biased reporting. Morabito says: "The article is made up of 469 words. Of those, 249 make up "neutral" sentences (54%). Negative comments are made of 156 words (34%). Only 58 words (13%...a mere three sentences!!) are left to explain the reasons for the Japanese government's decision."

It wasn't so long ago - April 2008 to be precise - that the actions of the BBC's environment reporter Roger Harrabin epitomised the lack of integrity in the BBC news reporting. Having confirmed (for once) that global warming appeared to have peaked in 1998 Harrabin went as far ‘change the news' to accommodate the anger of a climate activist.

Then there is Susan Watts, BBC TV's Newsnight's science editor, who informed the British public that "Scientists calculate that President Obama has just four years to save the world". It was unclear whether she meant from climate catastrophe or a prospective Palin White House. (I assume the former, liberal hand-wringing angst over Sarah Palin will come soon enough.) Watts later confirmed, via her blog, that she was referring to comments by Dr James Hansen. For the uninitiated Hansen is the resident alarmist nut-job at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies - a man whose ‘science' his more serious NASA colleagues are queuing up to skewer publicly.

In ‘BBC Abandons "impartiality" on warming' Chris Booker provides other examples of Watts' "bizarre" reporting, including editing Obama's inaugural speech "to convey a considerably stronger impression of what Obama has said on global warming than his careful wording justified." Booker also reminds us that, "as late as August 28, 2008, it [the BBC] was still predicting the Arctic ice might soon disappear". By the end of the year, the Arctic ice was reported as having grown by 30 percent. Needless to say, those reports too were frozen out of BBC reports. Then there was the controversy over an ‘impartial' BBC devoting 15 hours of airtime to the Live Earth/Al Gore Propaganda Show in 2007. It featured at one point a giant poster of Michael Mann's famous computer modelled "hockey stick" temperature graph. As Booker points out, "one of the most discredited artefacts in the history of science".

Okay, so why pick on the BBC? Haven't they enough troubles playing down internal reports that confirm their ideologically leftwing and liberal biases? True enough. But the BBC loves to call itself, as we have noted, the ‘world's broadcaster'. Fair enough. But its scientifically-challenged science/enviro correspondents, as Dr Richard North's excellent 2006 report ‘The BBC's Climate Change Meltdown' notes concerning those that know more science than they (mentioning Harrabin and Watts by name), they "give us every sign that they think sceptics are fools or knaves or both". Cometh the time then, only the highest profile ritual humiliation will do.

The BBC, replete with its increasingly shabby values, is now a growing player in the American and Canadian markets too, with shows including Dancing With The Stars - a programme, by the way, that cause celebrities to rush around expelling enormous quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. If I sound a tad peevish, it's with good reason. As a British citizen I am forced annually to subsidize the BBC (British Bias Corporation) via Britain's iniquitous TV licence fee ‘tax'. Fact is, there was a time in Britain when ‘end is nigh' placarders and other much-loved eccentrics, operated at the margins of society. Sadly, today they have moved indoors, gained a degree in journalism and become proficient at state of the art graphics. Novelist Graham Greene once wrote, "A petty reason...why novelists more and more try to keep a distance from journalists is that novelists are trying to write the truth and journalists are trying to write fiction". We might add, given the BBC's appalling reporting record on climate issues, "mostly science-fiction, too".


A libertarian comment on Obama's Climate Change Report

This morning I woke to a lengthy report by NASA showing alleged imminent disaster from climate changes. The report states unequivocally that some huge percentage of the change is human induced, although nothing shown demonstrates or supports this claim. The time line of many of the videos showing erosion and melting of snow is not clear and there are no comparisons to earlier changes in the earth’s climate, no indication of whether other periods of the earth’s history have had changes similar in size or frequency.

But the report has one clear feature. It is scary and anyone not in the know about these matters cannot but be worried from what it contains. And I am not in the know—I am no expert, that's for sure, nor are most American citizens.

So why should it be distrusted? Well, pretty much for the reason that virtually all government reports need to be distrusted —remember those WMDs—especially when their policy implications are the accrual to government of massive powers to control the lives of the citizenry. All of the recommendations broadcast in this report would, if followed, require massive transfer of resources from the private sector to the government, in addition to the imposition of aggressive regulations and controls, i.e., violaitons of our rights.

The bottom line here is, not at all surprisingly to anyone who has focused on how governments everywhere tend to function, that governments must have more power to deal with a crisis, with no clear proof of the need for any government intervention —no one’s rights are being violated other than by some externalities (which is nothing new).

But even if something needed to be addressed, there is no reason to believe that the government is competent or suited to be the agent of remedy. That is not what governments are about. When, however, they are entrusted with —or simply grab—a job unsuited to their competence and mission, the results will be highly regrettable.

One need not attribute ill will to those who propose these massive government “solutions” to problems facing us, including at the global environmental level. The conceit that "we are the government, and we are here to help" is an old one, all the way from ancient Sparta to modern Washington, D.C.

Folks with power tend to imagine themselves wise, as well, but that is a grave mistake. It has gotten many societies into terrible trouble, when government is taken to be the master who will deal with all the problems. Invariably the citizens become servants of the master.

The way the report came across from NASA, by the way, fully confirms such worries. There was no mention of any skepticism about global human induced climate change —specifically, global warming—despite the fact that world wide the number of highly educated skeptics is growing. The computer models, on which predictions are made which, then, supposedly justify various coercive precautionary measures governments, are to undertake are now in considerable dispute. (Oddly, the recent economic fiasco is being blamed by some of the analysts on the flawed models used to estimate the significance of various types of risks but no one seems to be considering that this should be a warning about trusting such models in other areas.)

For me, personally, there is virtually no excuse for increasing the power governments wield over citizens, none. The most general but also persuasive reason is simple: governments are but other people and these other people have no credible authority to control the rest of us no matter what the excuse that’s invoked this time—with numerous others, equally suspect, having been invoked before.

But the governmental habit is very difficult to extinguish and people haven’t begun to work on that task until rather recently, with the American Founders having given a major but by no means necessarily lasting impetus for such extinction. If anything, the current political leadership across the U.S.A. has all be abandoned that brilliant legacy of Jefferson, Madison, Jay and Co., that began to demote government from its pretense at superiority. President Obama seems to be entirely unaware of —or resistant to—their teachings.


Global Warming Bill Is A Job-Killer

Environment: Democrats failed to create jobs with their unnecessary, pork-laden stimulus bill. Now they want to kill even more of them with an equally unnecessary global warming bill.

The party that cares so much about jobs for "working families" sure has a funny way of saving them. Amid pre-summer frosts and hailstorms, the White House this week released a sky-is-falling report on global warming that outdoes even Al Gore in predicting doomsday scenarios.

"Heat waves will become more frequent and intense," the report warns, unleashing an apocalypse of "major insect outbreaks" and herbicide-resistant, garden-choking . . . "weeds" (horrors!). "Heat waves" in the Midwest and "extreme heat" in the Northeast will lead to "increases in heat-related deaths."

Really? Tell that to berry farmers in Michigan, whose crops have been delayed by a cold snap for the second spring in a row. Or New Englanders, who have seen temperatures drop four degrees below normal.

It's all a set-up for a painful government fix. The public duly alarmed, the White House embraces a House bill to control industrial carbon emissions through a punishing cap-and-trade scheme. The Democrats' energy bill would have the effect of de-industrializing America and cost millions of jobs — something its authors, Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, indirectly acknowledge. Buried in the fine print of their jobs-killing bill is a provision to provide relief against massive dislocations.

"The Democrats' bill has an unemployment provision that provides 70% of your job benefit for at least three years — in addition to any other unemployment benefits — if you lose your job because of that bill," Rep. Joe Barton, D-Texas, said. "They, at least tacitly, recognize that their bill is going to cost millions and millions of jobs." In other words, the cap on emissions requires a cap on job losses.

Even a top White House official concedes cap-and-trade regulations would cause severe job losses. "Job losses could occur throughout the economy but would probably be especially large in industries associated with high-carbon fuels," said White House Budget Director Peter Orszag — but he said it in 2007, when he was congressional budget director.

Democrats argue the bill will create jobs "in the long run" by creating a green economy. They cite "green jobs" like making parts for windmills and growing grass on building rooftops. Luddites unite! "I think the creation of jobs by this bill far outstrip any losses," Gore recently testified before Markey's panel. "There would be potentially massive job losses if we did not adopt this legislation."

Gore also insisted that global warming is "accelerating" — ignoring reports to the contrary, including one by NASA that notes the sun is the coolest and calmest it has been in 100 years. In other words, the solar cycle that led to minor increases in average temps is over, and we are entering a cooling phase.

Apparently, Gore includes NASA scientists among the "outlier quacks" he thinks are conspiring with the "carbon polluters" in "a massive fraud" and cover-up about "man-made global warming."

The former vice president has a vested interest in continuing to emit such hot air — beyond books and films and prizes. He's a partner in a capital firm called Kleiner Perkins, which has invested some $1 billion in 40 companies that stand to benefit from cap-and-trade regs. Gore would also benefit.

Meanwhile, America's unemployment rate is heading to double-digit territory — a level not seen in a generation. Besides being wholly unnecessary, such draconian environmental regulation risks making higher unemployment in America permanent, a la Europe.



India is planning to raise its coal production target, and the new government is committed to the reform of the sector, including divestment in coal-mining monopoly Coal India Ltd., the country's coal minister said Wednesday. Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal said reforms will be pursued, but meanwhile state-run coal miners including Coal India will likely raise their production targets to match increases in local demand. "It is imperative that coal production should be increased beyond the set target ...We want to set strict targets for our companies to make sure our production grows quickly," he said.

However, he added, "Raising production in the next three months will be difficult because of rains. We'll at least try to maintain output."

Faced with rising imports, India has been desperately trying to raise production, but successive governments have failed to introduce reforms that would open the sector to private investment. An industry regulator is also needed to shepherd through gradual reforms.



Angered by White House decisions on everything from greenhouse gases to car dealerships, congressional Democrats from rural districts are threatening to revolt against parts of President Barack Obama's ambitious first-year agenda. "They don't get rural America," said Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represents California's agriculture-rich Central Valley. "They form their views of the world in large cities."

Cardoza's critique was aimed at Obama's Environmental Protection Agency, but it echoes complaints rural-district Democrats have about a number of Obama administration decisions. "I wouldn't say it's a complete strikeout, but they've just got a few more bases to it when it comes to the rural community," said Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

A rural revolt could hamper the administration's ability to pass climate change and health care legislation before the August recess. Democrats from farm states are some of the same moderate members Obama must win to get almost any piece of his agenda through the Senate: Landrieu and Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Without their votes, Democrats can't move legislation over Republican filibusters. In the House, rural Democrats threaten to marshal nearly 50 votes against the climate and energy bill backed by the administration. [...]

While these issues play out most dramatically in farm states, they could have an impact that spreads much further. Forcing rural Democrats to vote for climate change legislation could create problems for the Democrats nationally in 2010 and 2012. "If Collin Peterson and these rural and conservative Democrats in the House are unable to work out some arrangement with [Henry] Waxman and [Ed] Markey, it could resonate beyond the Beltway," said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and a veteran Kentucky political reporter.

Cross noted that 80 percent of the electricity that rural cooperatives generate comes from coal-fired power plants - the same ones that would take a hit under the current legislation. And many of these regions that run on coal also happen to be electoral swing states, leaving Republicans licking their chops.



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.


No comments: