Thursday, August 27, 2009


Excerpt from Australian Institute of Geoscientists, August 2009, pp. 20-24. Scroll down to p. 20

By Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain

Global warming alarmists have suggested that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica may collapse, causing disastrous sea level rise. This idea is based on the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming. In reality the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets occupy deep basins, and cannot slide down a plane. Furthermore glacial flow depends on stress (including the important yield stress) as well as temperature, and much of the ice sheets are well below melting point. The accumulation of kilometres of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica (the same ones that are sometimes used to fuel ideas of global warming) show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no melting or flow. Except around the edges, ice sheets flow at the base, and depend on geothermal heat, not the climate at the surface. It is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to 'collapse'.



The global warming doomsday writers claim the ice sheets are melting catastrophically, and will cause a sudden rise in sea level of many metres. This ignores the mechanism of glacier flow which is by creep: glaciers are not melting from the surface down, nor are they sliding down an inclined plane lubricated by meltwater. The existence of ice over 3 km thick preserving details of past snowfall and atmospheres, used to decipher past temperature and CO2 levels, shows that the ice sheets have accumulated for hundreds of thousands of years without melting. Variations in melting around the edges of ice sheets are no indication that they are collapsing. Indeed 'collapse' is impossible.



Discussing: McKay, J.L., de Vernal, A., Hillaire-Marcel, C., Not, C., Polyak, L. and Darby, D. 2008. Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chuckchi Sea. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 45: 1377-1397.


Writing about the Arctic Ocean, the authors say that over the past thirty years "there has been a rapid decline in the extent and thickness of sea-ice in summer and more recently in winter as well," but they state there is "debate on the relative influence of natural versus anthropogenic forcing on these recent changes." Hence, they decided "to investigate the natural variability of sea-ice cover in the western Arctic during the Holocene and thus provide a baseline to which recent changes can be compared," in order to help resolve the issue.

What was done

McKay et al. analyzed sediment cores obtained from a site on the Alaskan margin in the eastern Chukchi Sea for their "geochemical (organic carbon, δ13Corg, Corg/N, and CaCO3) and palynological (dinocyst, pollen, and spores) content to document oceanographic changes during the Holocene," while "the chronology of the cores was established from 210Pb dating of near-surface sediments and 14C dating of bivalve shells."

What was learned

Since the early Holocene, according to the findings of the six scientists, sea-ice cover in the eastern Chuckchi Sea appears to have exhibited a general decreasing trend, in contrast to the eastern Arctic, where sea-ice cover was substantially reduced during the early to mid-Holocene and has increased over the last 3000 years. Superimposed on both of these long-term changes, however, are what they describe as "millennial-scale variations that appear to be quasi-cyclic." And they write that "it is important to note that the amplitude of these millennial-scale changes in sea-surface conditions far exceed [our italics] those observed at the end of the 20th century."

What it means

Since the change in sea-ice cover observed at the end of the 20th century (which climate alarmists claim to be unnatural) was far exceeded by changes observed multiple times over the past several thousand years of relatively stable atmospheric CO2 concentrations (when values never strayed much below 250 ppm or much above 275 ppm), there is no compelling reason to believe that the increase in the air's CO2 content that has occurred since the start of the Industrial Revolution has had anything at all to do with the declining sea-ice cover of the recent past; for at a current concentration of 385 ppm, the recent rise in the air's CO2 content should have led to a decrease in sea-ice cover that far exceeds what has occurred multiple times in the past without any significant change in CO2.

CO2 Science Magazine, 12 August 2009

NOTE: the full paper discussed above is available online here (PDF)

'Cap and Trade' just another Leftist attempt to put us all under the heel of government

As "cap and trade" legislation (H.R. 2454) moves through Congress, policy analysts are sounding the alarm about the impact such legislation would have on the already troubled U.S. economy. Marlo Lewis, a global warming and energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, believes the bill is just one of many legislative and regulatory attempts by left-wing politicos to seize the U.S. and world financial system. "Basically, what they're trying to do is engineer a takeover of the U.S and global economies through regulation," Lewis told Newsmax.TV correspondent Kathleen Walter. "There are huge stakes here. Trillions of dollars are at stake."

Lewis said cap and trade would have a chilling effect on the U.S. economy by creating a cloud of uncertainty over all business investments relating to energy-intensive products. It would require a sharp reduction of energy use in the U.S. economy, which would drive up energy prices. The days of $4 gallons of gasoline would return, Lewis said. "The main thing to consider is that once you get a cap and trade system in place, you have an energy-rationing scheme locked into law, regulation, public policy," said Lewis. "From then on, the debate will only be over how much faster to tighten the cap, how much more stringent the restriction on fossil energy use will be."

Many government agencies and some on Wall Street stand to benefit from such legislation at the expense of the American people. The Environmental Protection Agency would see a huge increase in resources, funding and staff under a cap and trade program. Many big businesses also would stand to profit from energy-rationing schemes. "If you have cap and trade, what you have is an artificial government-created market for trading carbon futures, carbon derivatives, a multitrillion-dollar market," said Lewis. "Wall Street will get rich off this, because brokers make money whenever any commodity is bought or sold."

Still, Lewis isn't worried. Though H.R. 2454 has already passed the House, he doesn't believe it will pass the Senate. His biggest concern? A process the EPA is undertaking right now. "If the EPA makes what's called an 'endangerment finding' about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new motor vehicles which they will likely do that will start a regulatory chain reaction under the Clean Air Act, and we could get all kinds of draconian regulations that go way beyond anything congress would ever vote for." The EPA, Lewis noted, is not held responsible by the electorate.

The global warming debate, in recent weeks, has taken a particularly nasty turn. A far-left agenda-setting Web site suggested that global warming deniers should be executed. Lewis also was the target of a widely circulated e-mail in which he was called a liar by the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

"The global warming agenda is part of the hard edge of left-wing politics in the U.S. and the world," Lewis said. "They know if they don't win in the political arena [on this issue], they lose. So, they have to become more and more shrill. They have to marginalize and delegitimize their opponants. This is the aging of the new left."



This post is part of the BBC's Perfect Storm 2030 coverage, where correspondents explore the forecast by UK chief scientist John Beddington, of a "perfect storm" of food, water and energy shortages in 2030.

Ed Miliband says he is in "the persuasion business". So how do you persuade people when research suggests that many of them don't trust your message? The secretary of state for energy and climate change told the BBC recently that his job is to convince people "to make big changes" in their lives. Unless that happens, he warns, the planet and our way of life will be damaged for generations to come. But Whitehall research reveals that:

"[M]istrust is a critical issue which is potentially a major barrier to people becoming more pro-environmental".

Government is suspected of "using" the environment to increase taxes. What's more, people don't like politicians telling them how to lead their lives.

There is still deep scepticism. Despite virtually unanimous academic opinion, half of us still believe science is divided on whether mankind's activities contribute to climate change. And more than a quarter of us don't think our individual behaviour makes any difference to the environmental crisis.

So Mr Miliband needs a much more subtle approach. He hopes to "nudge" us into going green, to change the way we behave without ever realising that we are being coaxed and cajoled by central government. The starting point for the strategy is a document published at the beginning of last year entitled: A Framework for Pro-Environmental Behaviours (PDF). It advises ministers to:

"[U]se 'opinion leaders' and trusted intermediaries to reach your audience". If people won't listen to elected politicians, get someone more plausible to deliver the message.

The most convincing messengers are not boffins or journalists, local councillors or civil servants - we are most likely to believe our next door neighbour. So projects like Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) are held up as models of how to change behaviour. The scheme, inspired in part by the extraordinary summer floods which hit their neighbourhood in 2007, sees residents challenge each other to change their ways:

* homes are undergoing eco-makeovers
* solar panels are being fixed to roofs
* five families have given up their car and use a pool vehicle when they cannot walk ,cycle or use public transport
* some have agreed to give up foreign holidays
* others have pledged only to eat local, seasonal food

You can meet some of LCWO's recruits in this short film I made for the television news.

It all fits neatly with the government's aims for behaviour change.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


At the turn of the 20th century, a period famous for its Robber Barons, John D. Rockefeller was making his fortune in oil, Andrew Carnegie in steel, Cornelius Vanderbilt in railroads and J.P Morgan in finance. Many predict that the history books of the future, when listing the legendary fortunes made at the turn of the 21st century, will place Al Gore at the top of the list, as the first great Carbon Baron.

In 2000, when Al Gore lost his bid to become president of the United States, he had less than US$2-million in assets. Neither was Gore known for his financial acumen - annual White House disclosures of his and Tipper Gore's joint tax filings showed little income beyond the $175,000 he earned as vice-president.

To the contrary, Gore was a laughing stock in investment circles for his lack of financial sophistication, which, the press said, explained why Gore's net worth had been declining during the booming 1990s. Gore had failed to understand the significance of the new Internet economy that had so transformed the world. Instead "most of his money was in checking and passbook accounts or tied up in property," The New York Times reported, in an article entitled "Gore Has Not Bought Stocks for Decades." In an article entitled "Gore flunks investor test," Dow Jones' SmartMoney.Com mocked Gore for being irrationally risk averse, saying, "Al Gore's assets look more like 1899 than 1999. As things stand, the vice-president is without anything with a P/E, let alone an IPO: no stocks, no funds, not even a bond. What does he have? Land - as far as the eye can see. Oh, and a zinc mine he's leasing out to an Australian mining company." Fortune magazine went so far as to headline a 1998 story, "The Vice President's Financial Acumen 'Ain't Worth a Bucket of Warm Spit'" Its verdict: "This is a family in dire need of a money manager."

Nobody doubts Gore's financial acumen now. Within eight years of leaving politics, Gore had reportedly become worth well in excess of US$100-million. Many expect him to become a billionaire through his stakes in a global warming hedge fund, a carbon-offset business, a renewable energy investment business and other global warming related ventures. He is now money manager to institutional investors and the super rich through Generation Investment Management, a firm that he co-founded in 2004.

Neither does anyone anywhere any longer regard Gore as a timid investor, bereft of ambition. His goal for Generation Investment Management, as he described in 2008 to Fortune magazine, is to help drive a societal transformation that will be "bigger than the Industrial Revolution and significantly faster."

The Fortune interview explained his firm's intention to help orchestrate "a makeover of the US$6-trillion global energy business," from coal plants and the internal-combustion engine to petrochemicals and even bottled water. "What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo project and the Marshall Plan, and scale it globally," Gore continued. "It'd be promising too much to say we can do it on our own, but we intend to do our part."

Gore's societal plan and his investment plan are indistinguishable and straightforward: He wants to make fossil fuels uncompetitive and renewable energy competitive by convincing governments to punishingly tax fossil-fuel technologies through mechanisms such as cap and trade. In the process, Gore intends to make money at every stage of this transformation - through his stake in the carbon trading markets being created, through his portfolio of renewable energy and other so-called clean-tech investments and by acting as a broker.

In amassing his fortune, Gore has not been operating in an unfamiliar business environment, as the early detractors of his investment acumen might imagine. Rather, he has been operating entirely in his element. He has always been a lobbyist for climate change legislation, whether as a senator or as vice-president, and he remains so in his new capacities. And in his capacity as a politician, he always needed to raise funds. This is the essential skill he brings to Generation Investment Management, where he today approaches old political allies for support: Gore asks well-heeled charitable foundations, endowments, corporations and pension funds to place their assets under the management of his firm. To do their bit for the environment, and for him, they oblige.

To date, Gore has done well for himself. As for the others, they know not to expect quick profits: Gore is clear in explaining that his focus is on long-term sustainable investments.

And as for Gore's prospects of becoming a billionaire, they rest entirely on one big bet: That government legislation will create the mandates that his businesses need to boom. Without those mandates, his businesses - few of which are viable in a traditional free market economy - will go bust. As will the funds entrusted to him by the charities, endowments and pension funds seeking sustainable investments.

There is nothing unusual in furthering business interests through government mandates: Many of the Robber Barons of a century ago also relied on their ability to lobby for favourable government legislation. Where Gore departs from the Robber Barons of yesteryear is in the nature of the product being produced. Whatever else might be said of the Robber Barons, there was no disputing the value of the railroads, steel, oil and other commodities that they were producing. In the case of carbon dioxide, the basis of Gore's economy, rather than there being no dispute, there is no consensus that he isn't selling vapourware.



Non-Native Species as Allies of Diversity. This is an old article now but the points in it are still generally neglected so need restating in my view. Greenies as Canute-like enemies of evolution really is hilarious if you think about it -- JR

There is an idea, popular in some circles, that 'non-native' species are somehow harmful, that 'aggressive exotics' can invade ecosystems and destroy 'native species'. It surprises me to see the public and biologists alike uncritically accept this absurd notion.

"But the Emperor has no clothes!"—Folktale.

In this spirit I would like to point out that there is absolutely no biological validity to the concepts of 'native' and 'exotic' species, nor is there evidence that man's introduction of species into new habitats has any negative impact on global biological diversity. On the contrary, the aid we have given species in their movement around the world has served to increase both global and local diversity. It is one of the few human activities which is beneficial to the non-human creation. It cannot be distinguished from the movement of species by wind or ocean currents, or the aid other species give to their fellows, such as the distribution of seeds by migrating birds.

"All living beings have the right to engage in the struggle for existence."—L. H. Bailey.

There are no adequate definitions of 'native' and 'exotic', since there has been constant movement of species since the beginning of life. Witness the migration of species across the Bering Straits and the Isthmus of Panama. Great exchange of species has occurred between both oceanic and continental biota in these areas as they have been repeatedly submerged and exposed, alternately being corridors for aquatic and terrestrial life. In response to the Ice Ages, great movement of species has occurred. Even now, I understand that the armadillo is extending his range north from his native México. Is he an exotic invader? If we naturalize elephants in the tropical Americas, will they be exotics, or will this simply be the return of the Proboscidea to their pre-glacial range?

Apparent cases of destructive invasion by 'exotics' are usually examples of the beginning of an outbreak-crash population sequence occurring as a species moves into the niche provided by a heavily man-disturbed habitat, to be followed by the inevitable crash and subsequent adaptation and integration of the 'exotic' into the local ecosystem.

Intact ecosystems are highly resistant to invasion, and there are also many cases of 'exotics' acting as nurse-plants and revegetators, helping the native ecosystem to reclaim its man-destroyed habitat. I have seen a grassy meadow and a field of star thistles side by side, with only barbed wire separating them. The fence can't stop the thistle seed, yet it does not invade the intact meadow, showing the thistle to be an antibody-like response of the prairie ecosystem to overgrazing by cattle.

New species create niches for more species, further increasing potential diversity. Many species are extinct in their original habitat, existing only where they have been introduced to new areas by man. We are changing the world through our destruction, pollution, and now possible climate change. Local ecosystems need the infusion of new species to help their adaptation to a changed environment.

"You stay, I go."—Ishi, last of the Yana.

It is ironic to me to hear people of European ancestry accuse other organisms of being 'invasive exotics, displacing native species'.

Even the wildest unfounded claims of invasion by 'exotics' pale in comparison to the land area occupied by technological man's monoculture crops. These crop-deserts and modern man's extractive land-domination economy are the threat to biodiversity, not 'escaped exotics'.

There are documented cases in which attempts to exterminate 'exotics' have in fact pushed native species to the brink of extinction!

Attempts to eradicate so-called non-native species are impossible, absurd, and destructive to the very habitats they hope to preserve. As an alternative, I propose: The protection of all intact ecosystems from human destruction, and the deliberate introduction of species into the areas we have already damaged. Introduction priorities should be based on phylogenetic relationships - non-represented groups and taxa of restricted distribution should be given priority. Threatened and endangered species should be given full protection and introduced into new habitats whenever possible.

"Migrants of ape in gasoline crack of history."—William Burroughs.

We have only a brief moment in history when fossil fuels will continue to allow us rapid worldwide travel. Let us use this time wisely, to the benefit of all species.—J.L.H. & S.L.C., 11/89.

Natives vs. Exotics Update, November 1994.

The 'anti-exotics' movement is a growing threat to biodiversity conservation efforts. In the past 10 years, the mythology of 'invasive non-native species' has spread from a minor pseudoscience indulged in by the gullible fringe, to a growing extremist movement uncritically embraced by otherwise responsible environmental groups.

Our natural areas, from bio-preserves to National Parks are daily attacked by these extremists, using herbicide, chainsaws and bulldozers. Dozens of native plants have been falsely labeled invaders and are being exterminated. The process is driven in part by hysteria, and in part by greed- tremendous sums of money are being made on these extermination projects. For example, Monsanto, a major herbicide manufacturer was a sponsor of the 1994 California Exotic Pest Plant Council meeting, has an employee on the Council's board of directors, and was hawking their herbicides at a prominent booth. During breaks there was open discussion of ways to circumvent environmental laws restricting herbicide use in sensitive natural areas.

'Exotic Pest Plant Councils' are cropping up around the country, promoting heavy use of herbicides in our parks, and lobbying for extremist legislation, including a federal law which will prohibit any movement of any species unless the government determines it will 'cause no harm'. Only species on so called 'clean lists' will be allowed to be distributed or imported. Any species not on the 'clean list' will require expensive testing and approval before distribution. This is the final thrust towards the total corporate control of biodiversity- only they will be able to afford testing.

This will eliminate our single most effective biodiversity preservation strategy. The only effective long-term method of preserving biodiversity is the naturalization of species in new regions, where they may thrive and spread without human protection. While bio-preserves, parks, botanic gardens and zoos are important and needed, these are only temporary measures- what park will be able to withstand the future's starving billions?

Two forces are causing rapid destructive change- the rapid increase in human population, and the rapid spread of technological/industrial society. These forces are working together to cause a worldwide biological holocaust similar to past extinction events. The techno/industrial society expands, destroying indigenous, biologically-derived human cultures, replacing them with a homogenous, machine-derived pseudoculture of production and consumption. A vicious circle is created when the survival drives of an ever-expanding population force humanity to adopt the short-term resource extractive methods and values of the techno/industrial pseudoculture. Although theoretically, simple methods exist for opening this circle and exiting with minimal human and biological suffering, this is likely precluded by our biological imperatives, as well as the overpowering machine-imperatives of industrial consumption. Whether this vicious circle will reach critical mass and crash in a single, precipitous de-populating, de-industrializing event, or will unravel in a series of stepwise crashes over the next thousand years or so is anyone's guess. However, it seems likely that high rates of extinction will prevail over the next 1000 to 10,000 years or so.

It has been demonstrated that the human transport of organisms may establish new populations of species in safe refuges, preventing extinction & increasing local biodiversity. In the short term, this directly protects the naturalized species from extinction in its homeland, and the enriched diversity provides a buffer against the effects of human-induced extinctions on the local ecosystem, increasing its resiliency, helping its adaptation to change and promoting the healing of damaged areas. In the long term, this promotes evolutionary processes, since the interaction among unlike organisms is a powerful driving force of evolution. The diversifying evolutionary cascades which will result offer the chance that our species will leave the world with the potential for increased diversity, somewhat offsetting our current shameful irresponsibility.

Knowingly or unknowingly, gardeners participate in this process. Through their lifeways, all organisms modify their environment and participate in the creation of the landscapes in which they live. Corals build reefs, plants create soil, and animals transport seeds & nutrients long distances. Part of the lifeways of bluejays & squirrels is to plant acorns far from the oak, helping the forest migrate or heal burned or cleared areas. Our own lifeways of traveling about and admiring beauty cause us to gather useful and beautiful plants to grow around our homes, initiating the process of diversification. Many primates are key seed dispersal vectors in tropical ecosystems, and this is part of our evolutionary heritage.

The reintroduction of diminished or exterminated species is diversity restoration, restoration gardening or restoration ecology. We call the introduction of endangered species 'rescue gardening' or 'rescue ecology'. The study of the diversity-enhancing introduction of new species we call 'enrichment ecology'; the practice, 'ecological enrichment'.—J.L.H., 11/94.

Natives vs. Exotics Update, November 1995.

The extremist anti-exotic movement continues to grow. At the 1995 meeting of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council, an agreement was reached among existing state Councils to create a national umbrella Council to push their herbicide agenda nationwide. These Pest Plant Councils are merely front-groups for the multi-billion dollar herbicide industry; they are funded by, and have internal connections with Monsanto and other herbicide manufacturers. Like other pseudo-environmental front groups, they push destructive corporate interests in the guise of ecological concern.

The USDA is undergoing a major, cost-cutting downsizing, with the closure of many offices and loss of many jobs. Perhaps in a effort to head off future budget-cuts, they are joining forces with the anti-exotics movement, calling for sweeping new powers and regulations. Randy Westbrooks, USDA, APHIS, addressed the meeting, calling for passage of the 'clean list' law, which will prevent all new importations, and even interstate movement of plants and animals without expensive testing. Under the guise of a 'Plant Protection Act' Westbrooks said the new testing would be similar to the 30 to 40 million dollar safety testing needed to market a new toxic chemical. The New York City-based Natural Resources Defense Council supports this; their attorney, Faith Campbell has been propagandizing for such a law for several years. This clearly mis-named organization has also been accused of working with Conoco to open up indigenous Amazonian Huaorani territory to oil development.

This agenda turns environmentalism on its head; it is the direct opposite of everything we environmentalists stand for. Imagine a nation in which this industry-backed program is successful- the wholesale poisoning of our natural areas by ecosystem-destroying chemicals will be mandatory government policy profiting corporate giants, yet wild plants and animals, the very components of the natural world and basis of all biological diversity will require multi-million dollar testing for "safety"!

Also ominous is the fact that during Adolf Hitler's 'Third Reich', the National Socialists (Nazi Party) had an identical program to rid the landscape of 'foreign' plants. An interesting paper, "Some Notes on the Mania for Native Plants in Germany", by Gert Groening and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn (Landscape Journal, Vol. II, No. 2, 1992) details this history. The extension of the Nazi pseudoscience of racial purity to the natural world is chillingly identical to the modern anti-exotics agenda, down to the details of 'genetic contamination'. With the current rise of racism, immigrant-scapegoating, & other noxious, un-American ideologies, we must be prepared to hold all those who are promoting the anti-exotics frenzy personally responsible for their part in legitimizing a pseudoscience which leads directly to the horrors we saw in the 1940's. Clearly, 'eco-fascist' is not too strong a term to describe these people.

As I have stated before, the tenets of the anti-exotics movement are entirely without scientific merit. All unbiased studies prove that man-aided migration of organisms increases biological diversity, and these newcomers are frequently highly beneficial to local ecosystems. The anti-exotics extremists disregard the mountains of research which refute their claims, and the most fundamental questions that would be addressed by basic ecological research are discarded in favor of a propagandistic presentation of anecdotal evidence....

As constructed, alien-invader theory is founded on non-operational constructs, is immune to testing, cannot be falsified, and has no predictive capacity. Its structure & conceptual elements are identical in all particulars with those of racism, fascistic nationalism, and other conspiracy theories. Instantly recognizable is the "ultimate attribution error" of Pettigrew's cognitive analysis of prejudice. Circular reasoning, low standards of evidence, self-sealing arguments, unsupported causal attribution and resistance to contradictory evidence are frequent.



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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