Friday, April 30, 2010

An "Alternative" energy source?

It's just a more efficient fuel cell -- i.e. it converts gas into electricity directly -- an old idea. And at $800,000 each it's so far from economic viability as to be laughable. And you've still got to pump the gas from somewhere

Over the past several years, there’s been no shortage of talk about alternative energy, and its potential to change the world. The problem is that most of it is just that — talk. But tonight, a report that aired on 60 Minutes showed one alternative that is not only real, it’s already being tested by companies such as Google and eBay. You simply have to watch this.

Bloom Energy are producing tiny fuel cell boxes they call “Bloom Boxes.” Two of these can apparently power a U.S. home (and only one for homes in countries that use less power). So how small are they? Look at the picture above, each device isn’t much bigger than a standard brick. Of course, they need to be surrounded by a larger unit that takes in an energy source (such as natural gas). But still, these units look to be about the size of a refrigerator and can easily fit outside of a home, providing it with clean, cheap energy.

Currently, these boxes cost some $700,000-$800,000, but eventually, founder K.R. Sridhar envisions one in every home — and he thinks he can get the cost below $3,000 for a unit to make that happen. And he’s talking a 5 to 10 year timeframe for this.

Naturally, there are plenty who are skeptical of something like this ever working. There have been no shortage of fuel cell ideas over the years, but none get their own segment on 60 Minutes showing working units. And none get to highlight the fact that they’re already installed at companies like Google, eBay, FedEx and others. In fact, four of these Bloom Boxes have apparently been powering a Google datacenter for the past 18 months. eBay says their five boxes have saved them over $100,000 in electricity costs over the past nine months.

Bloom Energy also has former Secretary of State Colin Powell on its board of directors, and he talked up the Bloom Boxes on 60 minutes tonight also. And the company has something in the neighborhood of $400 million in funding from the likes of Kleiner Perkins and others. Kleiner’s John Doerr is also featured heavily in the 60 Minutes segment, talking about why he thinks this company can change the world perhaps even in a more profound way that another company he backed, Google, has. Bloom Energy was Kleiner’s first green tech investment.


Green or Not So Green?

By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

Ecologist Kenneth Watt made that statement on the inaugural Earth Day in 1970. The “peak oil” warning has been going on long before that, but here we are ten years after Watt’s deadline and we’re globally consuming 85 million barrels of oil per day with increasing amounts of proven reserves each year.

Three decades ago, proven oil reserves were 645 billion barrels; five years ago it was 1.28 trillion and in 2009 it was 1.34 trillion. Yet the push to transition to renewable, allegedly cleaner sources of energy has never been stronger. The question to ask is: why?

A large part of the answer, and the justification for subsidies, tax credits and mandates for renewables, is that they will help cool our planet’s fever. Setting aside the debate of whether our planet is in need of any remedy, the truth is what the government selects as green energy isn’t as green they promote. Robert Bryce, author of the new book, Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, explains:
Unfortunately, solar and wind technologies require huge amounts of land to deliver relatively small amounts of energy, disrupting natural habitats. Even an aging natural gas well producing 60,000 cubic feet per day generates more than 20 times the watts per square meter of a wind turbine. A nuclear power plant cranks out about 56 watts per square meter, eight times as much as is derived from solar photovoltaic installations.

The real estate that wind and solar energy demand led the Nature Conservancy to issue a report last year critical of “energy sprawl,” including tens of thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines needed to carry electricity from wind and solar installations to distant cities.

Nor does wind energy substantially reduce CO2 emissions. Since the wind doesn’t always blow, utilities must use gas- or coal-fired generators to offset wind’s unreliability. The result is minimal — or no — carbon dioxide reduction.”

But it’s actually worse than that. The intermittency of wind forces coal and gas-fired plants to operate inefficiently and actually increase emissions. This has proven to be the case in Colorado and Texas, two states that have adopted a renewable portfolio standard, which mandates that wind be included in the state’s electricity supply. A new study from the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States finds that:
Coal-fired power plants are designed to run most efficiently at stable rates and are not well-suited to accommodate the load variability imposed by the integration with wind generation. Cycling causes coal-fired power plants to operate less efficiently, and reduces the effectiveness of their environmental control equipment, which together drive up emissions.

Paradoxically, using wind energy in such a way that it forces utilities to cycle their coal generation often results in greater SO2, NOX and CO2 emissions than would have occurred if less wind energy were generated and coal generation was not cycled.”

Politicians can’t account for these unintended consequences that occur when trying to plan our nation’s energy future. And that’s reason enough not to do so.


German scientists suggest per-person carbon emission quotas

Everyone on globe allowed 5 tons of carbon per year...just 1/4 of avg. per-person emissions of a US citizen

German scientists called Tuesday for the world to accept per-person quotas for carbon dioxide emissions to kick-start a global trading scheme where poor nations will benefit.

The Potsdam Institute for Research on Climate Effects said everyone on the globe should be allowed 5 tons of carbon per year. That is just one quarter of the average per-person emissions for a US citizen, but still far above emissions in poor nations.

The government-funded institute said the current arrangement, in which some nations have made voluntary commitments to cut emissions, would not work. The institute says the world needs an effective way to hold global warming to no more than 2 degrees.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber [Schellnhuber is an oily character who has ooozed his way up the tree of German officialdom. His statements are just claims on praise], director of the Potsdam Institute said voluntary cuts agreed last year at the Copenhagen climate summit would still allow the global climate to become more than 3 degrees warmer by end of this century.

A scheme with worldwide per-person quotas would allow poor nations to sell part of their quotas to rich nations.

Nations such as the United States have very high per-person emissions partly because of high fuel use by industry and government services.


Natural, Man-Made and Imagined Disasters

Excerpt from an article by sea-level expert NILS-AXEL MÖRNER

We have to learn to live with natural disasters; earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, tsunamis, cyclones, floods, draughts, blizzards, wildfires, etc. They are all parts of terrestrial system and we cannot change them, but we can prepare for them in terms of warning systems, evacuation plans, aid organization, etc. We may also avoid habitation at spots that cannot be protected.

This seems less feasible, however, as humans, through history, have shown to chose even the most dangerous places for their living (like slopes of active volcanoes, fault zones, foots and slopes of active slides, tops of active coastal cliff erosion, repeatedly flooded areas, etc.). Sometimes we are able to make precautional work like coastal protection, dikes against flooding, bypasses for possible mudflows and other efforts to try to diminish the effects of a potential catastrophe. We also have to make careful risk assessments. This implies temporal and spatial cover of past events.....

Many disaster threats are just imagined, however. We are today living in a world where it unfortunately has become customary to obtain awareness by threaten us with disasters that are imagined. Some of those are of pseudo-scientific type. Others are products of inadequate computerization and modelling, not founded in facts and observations. Some may have political and economical grounds.

The idea of a “Global Warming” that will lead to disastrous effects in the near future is primarily a man-made issue. Climate has always gone up and down for a variety of reasons. In Mid-Holocene time some 8000-4000 BP, climate was significantly warmer. This was a fact over several millennia and may, hence, be called a long-wavelength effect.

We have also experienced short-wavelength episodes, not least in the Late Holocene. Those periods had a duration in the order of 50 years or so and were significantly warmer and drier than today. In Northern Europe and Canada, they are seen as thin black layers in the peat bogs recording short intervals when the peat stopped growing and started to decompose.

In the last 600 years we have had a number of “Little Ice Ages” with significantly colder conditions than today. Those events coincide with Solar Minima. The next Solar Minima is due at around 2040- 2050.

In the 20th century, we experienced warmer conditions around 1930-1940, colder conditions at around 1940-1970 and warmer conditions again in 1980-1998. In the last decade, the warming seems to have ceased.

Similarly, the threat of an ongoing sea level rise, soon to flood low-lying coasts and islands with disastrous effects, seems unfounded in observational facts. Our group have spent several years of painstaking work in the Maldives. We found no traces of any ongoing rise, rather a strong stability over the last 30 years. The same is true for the islands of Tuvalu and Vanuatu in the Pacific, both claimed to be in the process of becoming flooded.

Therefore, my personal believe is that all the talk of an approaching climatic disaster, including a catastrophic sea level rise, is an example of an imagined disaster. This means that we diverge our interest and efforts from real threats; natural as well as man-made. And this, in itself is a disaster.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has recently claimed (August 2009) that the natural disasters have increased drastically in the last 40 years as a function of Global Warming. This is certainly not the case; just another imagined disaster threat (in good timing for the December 2009 international climate meeting in Copenhagen).

Disaster Advances, our International Journal for Researches in Disasters and Related Fields, undoubtedly has a great mission to fulfill in the field of natural, man-made and imagined disasters; that is to drive and enlightening us in the understanding of disastrous events, in the discrimination of real and imagined threats, in the assessment of risks and in the preparation of effective warning systems and precautional handling. It is a privilege to serve in striving to fulfill those goals.


Nails in the Global Warming Coffin

Comment from Professor Philip Stott in Britain

I have to confess that I have become increasingly wearied and bored by the fatuous lack of reality exhibited on this topic by many UK politicians. It is so glaringly obvious that, since the debacle in Copenhagen, ‘global warming’ is dying as a major political trope that I find it less and less exercising as an issue. Indeed, I do not want to waste too much energy in flogging a fundamentally dead corpse.

This last week, however, the nails in the global warming coffin have been driven in so thick and so fast that I thought it might be worth bringing attention once again to what is happening around the world - “You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Global Warming is as dead as a door-nail,” although I suspect that the Global Warming Ghost will hang around moaning and wailing for quite a while yet.

Germany Gets Cold Feet

First, in that paragon of so-called Green virtues, Germany, Spiegel Online reports that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, ‘Abandons Aim of Binding Climate Agreement’:

“Frustrated by the climate change conference in December, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is quietly moving away from her goal of a binding agreement on limiting climate change to 2 degrees Celsius. She has also sent out signals at the EU level that she no longer supports the idea of Europe going it alone.”

Spiegel goes on to comment: “... now it’s time for realpolitik. Merkel and Röttgen [have] had to admit that countries like China and India will not submit to a mandatory target that others have contrived.” Precisely so.

The Emissions Billycan Waltzes Off Indefinitely

Meanwhile, ‘Down Under’, The Sydney Morning Herald reports: ‘Emissions put on back burner’:
“A Senate vote on the trading scheme legislation, which was due next month, has now been dropped by the government for the May and June sittings of Parliament. A government source said yesterday the fate of the Senate vote on the legislation beyond June was unclear.

The source said the decision to park the legislation indefinitely reflected the political reality that the opposition, under leader Tony Abbott, and the Greens had vowed to reject the scheme in the Senate.

Unless the Coalition or the Greens change their positions the government will now have to wait until July 1 next year for the Senate to change over after this year's federal election to negotiate with a potentially less hostile Parliament - unless a double-dissolution election is called.

The government will now concentrate on passing other matters in the Senate including its national health reform package and the national broadband network. ‘Obviously there are a lot of pressures in the Senate, so the government has to prioritise the reforms that are most likely to be passed,’ the source said.”

Indeed. Most wise. “Good On Yer, Mate!”

Different Priorities In US Too

Then, in the US, as The New York Times reports:
“The Senate climate bill sits on the brink of collapse today after the lead Republican ally threatened to abandon negotiations because of a White House push to simultaneously overhaul the nation's immigration policies.”

Moreover, President Obama has far more pressing worries and priorities as ‘US Republicans block debate of finance rules reform’ - Mr Obama has made reining in Wall Street a cornerstone of his Presidency.

Quite so.

Finally, Elusive Pay-Offs And Not Such A Green-Blue

Further, somewhat unsurprisingly given all of the above, the monies so happily and so readily promised to help developing nations to fight ‘global warming’ are proving remarkably elusive. Only the most politically- and economically-naive of souls could have expected otherwise.

Lastly, even in our ever-Utopian UK, ‘global warming’ has, thank goodness, hardly featured in the election to date, being confined to brief comments hidden in the deepest inner recesses of a few newspapers, although it is worth stating that the energy policies of the newly-resurgent Liberal Democrats would probably do for Britain as a serious economic power.

By contrast, as The Times points out this morning about the Conservatives:
“Despite Mr Cameron’s slogan of ‘vote blue go green’, a recent survey found that only 22 per cent of Conservative candidates in winnable seats strongly supported Britain’s target of generating 15 per cent of Britain’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.

David Davis, the former Shadow Home Secretary, recently warned that the policy of tough targets to cut carbon emissions, supported by Mr Cameron, was ‘destined to collapse’.”

Just so.

Indeed, the complete collapse of the Great Global Warming Grand Narrative continues apace.

It will surely be fascinating to observe precisely the moment when UK politicians begin to stop mouthing pious platitudes about the political significance of ‘global warming’.


Australian PM commits $2.4bn to 'non-feasible' carbon emissions storage

AUSTRALIA'S focus for slowing climate change - the planned storage of power-station carbon dioxide emissions - has been dismissed by a US study as "profoundly non-feasible".

The Rudd and Bligh governments have made carbon capture and storage (CCS) - under which planet-warming emissions from power stations would be removed and stored underground permanently - their biggest single direct investment in new technologies to fight global warming.

The Rudd government is spending $2.4 billion on CCS projects and is putting $100 million a year into the Global CCS Institute it created last year. The Bligh government is spending $102.5 million on the ZeroGen CCS project near Rockhampton and other CCS projects.

Michael Economides and Christine Ehlig-Economides, in a study published in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, found that for one commercial-scale coal-fired power station, the underground storage area for the removed CO2 emissions would have to be "enormous, the size of a small US state".

"The findings clearly suggest (geological CO2 sequestration) is not a practical means to provide any substantive reduction in CO2 emissions, although it has been repeatedly presented as such by others," they wrote.

"(Storing CO2 in a closed system) will require from five to 20 times more underground reservoir volume than has been envisioned by many, and it renders geologic sequestration of CO2 a profoundly non-feasible option for the management of CO2 emissions."

Michael Economides, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Houston University, said official figures showed the Sleipner reservoir - which is offshore Norway and often held up as an example of carbon storage - injected only a third of the CO2 that one modestly sized power plant would produce.

"Also, our information is that the CO2 injected at Sleipner is a lot less than 1 million tons per year and is closer to 1 million per three years. The whole thing is preposterous," he told The Courier-Mail by email.

Scientists say annual global carbon emissions - mainly from using coal, oil and gas - must peak about 2015 then fall away quickly to give a decent chance of keeping average temperature and sea-level rises manageable for most countries.

In Adelaide this month, University College London professor of chemical engineering and director of UCL's Centre for CO2 Technology, Stefaan Simons, called on Australian policymakers to rethink their pursuit of CCS.

In a lecture event co-sponsored by oil and gas firm Santos, Prof Simons said shifting the world's electricity reliance to coal and gas plants equipped with CCS may take so long that devastating levels of climate change would be locked in.

"(CCS) is potentially a dangerous diversion - soaking up time, resources and funding that could be better and more readily applied to achieving a low carbon future.

"I challenge our energy policymakers to reassess whether ... we should continue to use fossil fuels as our primary energy source. We could replace fossil fuel electricity production with that from renewable sources," Prof Simons said.

The Global CCS Institute said it was considering the US study findings.

A spokesman for the Queensland Government said it didn't know if any of its CCS research partners would be looking at the US findings.

State energy minister Stephen Robertson last week said Queensland had taken the next step to establishing "safe, long-term underground storage of greenhouse gases from coal-fired power stations".

He released a tender for proponents to explore land in central and southwest Queensland that may be suitable for underground storage of CO2.

Mr Robertson said Queensland and Australia would continue to rely on coal as a major source of power generation.



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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who's worried about sea level rise? Gore buys $8.8 million ocean-view villa with 6 fireplaces and 9 bathrooms

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.


Five myths about green energy

"Green" energy has great emotional and political appeal. However, before we wrap all our hopes -- and subsidies -- in it, let us take a hard look at some common misconceptions about what "green" mean, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute.

Solar and wind power are the greenest of them all:

* Solar and wind technologies require huge amounts of land to deliver relatively small amounts of energy, disrupting natural habitats.

* The Nature Conservancy issued a report last year critical of "energy sprawl," including tens of thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines needed to carry electricity from wind and solar installations to distant cities.

Going green will reduce our dependence on imports from unsavory regimes:

* The United States will be increasingly reliant on just one supplier, China, for elements known as lanthanides.

* Lanthanum, neodymium, dysprosium and other rare earth elements are used in products from high-capacity batteries and hybrid-electric vehicles to wind turbines and oil refinery catalysts; China controls between 95 and 100 percent of the global market in these elements.

A green American economy will create green American jobs:

* In a global market, American wind turbine manufacturers face the same problem as American shoe manufacturers: high domestic labor costs.

* If U.S. companies want to make turbines, they will have to compete with China, which not only controls the market for neodymium, a critical ingredient in turbine magnets, but also has access to very cheap employees.

Electric cars will substantially reduce demand for oil:

* Gasoline contains about 80 times as much energy, by weight, as the best lithium-ion battery.

* The Government Accountability Office reported that about 40 percent of consumers do not have access to an outlet near their vehicle at home.

The United States lags behind other rich countries in going green:

* According to data from the Energy Information Administration, average per capita energy consumption in the United States fell by 2.5 percent from 1980 through 2006.

* That reduction was greater than in any other developed country except Switzerland and Denmark; the United States achieved it without participating in the Kyoto Protocol or creating an emissions trading system like the one employed in Europe.


Earth Day predictions of 1970. A reason you shouldn’t believe the latest ones

Here are some of the hilarious, spectacularly wrong predictions made on the occasion of Earth Day 1970.

“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
• Kenneth Watt, ecologist

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
• Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
• New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
• Life Magazine, January 1970

“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones.”
• Martin Litton, Sierra Club director

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Keep these predictions in mind when you hear the same predictions made today. They’ve been making the same predictions for 39 years. And they’re going to continue making them until…well…forever.


How loony can you get?

"Green Screen: A Living, Carbon-Capturing Face Mask That Filters Bacteria". I hope it is satire but I fear not -- JR

From color-shifting swine-flu masks to vegetation-filled breathing filters, we’ve seen some wacky mouth sheaths in our time. (And that goes double for accessories made from living plants.) Made with pulp derived from fungal spores, along with seeds that eventually sprout, this concept face mask blows its high-concept competition clear away. Not only does “Green Screen” filter airborne bacteria away from delicate nasal passages, but it also sequesters carbon dioxide from every exhalation.

Besides creating a barrier against germy invaders, the reusable face mask also acts as a miniature ecosystem for the embedded seeds. With every breath exhaled, carbon dioxide and moisture facilitate the germination and growth of the budding flora.

With every breath exhaled, carbon dioxide and moisture facilitate the germination of the embedded seeds.

“An average adult weighing 154 pounds exhausts 456 liters of carbon dioxide a day,” notes designer Robert Ortega. “Encapsulating this from the breath can have a significant effect on the total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” Bonus: As the mask takes root, it can be planted directly into soil.


Australia's Department of Hot Air costing taxpayers $90m

TAXPAYERS will fork out $90 million a year to keep more than 400 public servants employed within the Federal Climate Change Department - despite most of them now having nothing to do until 2013.

More than 60 of them are classified as senior executive staff on salaries between $168,000 and $298,000 a year. Their salary bill alone will cost an estimated $12 million every year.

A further $8 million will also be paid in rent for plush offices at Canberra's Constitution Place until 2012, where it is believed 500 new computers will be delivered this week.

It can be revealed that despite Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's decision on Tuesday to suspend the failed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until at least 2013, the department has ruled out plans to cut back staff.

A formal response by department secretary Martin Parkinson to a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday - the same day as the scheme's suspension - claimed the department would not offer redundancies.

The formal response, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, said there were no plans for "the immediate future" of any scaling back of staff, despite the agency losing its core function.

According to official figures, the number of top-paid bureaucrats being paid up to $298,000 a year has almost doubled since January this year from 39 to 61. That was to gear up for establishment of the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority, which will also now have no function.

Overall agency staff has also been ramped up since last year with total climate change employees having risen from an initial 246 to 408.

Of the 61 senior agency officials, only nine have been inherited from the scrapped home insulation scheme. The majority, 38, were employed on the CPRS and a further 19 were employed on the renewable energy scheme which has also been axed.

But none of the 408 staff within the department will be shed even though the department's key function, the CPRS, has been axed.

Its own tender documents reveal a lease contract of $16 million for its offices which expires in 2012.

"The hundreds of public servants who have been beavering away on this policy, the 114 public servants who they took to Copenhagen for that matter in support of this policy . . . none of that's changed," Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said yesterday.

"Which is why I think that Mr Rudd for political reasons doesn't want to talk about his great big new tax on everything but as sure as night follows day, if he gets re-elected, we'll be stuck with it."


Why scepticism is still ‘the highest of duties’

Scepticism is widely denounced as a poison and a disease today, just as it was in the Dark Ages. We urgently need to rescue its reputation.

Over Easter, the official Greenpeace website carried a blog written by Gene Hashmi, communications director of its affiliate in India. Hashmi launched an attack on sceptics, whom he accused of fuelling ‘spurious debates around false solutions’, and concluded with the not-too-subtle threat: ‘We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many but you be few.’

Welcome to a world where the term ‘sceptic’ has acquired the kind of meaning usually associated with Dark Age heresy.

Fearing a backlash against a statement which most normal readers would interpret as an incitement to violence, Greenpeace pulled the blog from its site. It defensively justified its act of self-censorship on the grounds that it was ‘easy to misconstrue’ Hashmi’s statement.

However, the use of highly charged, intemperate rhetoric has become the hallmark of the present-day crusade against scepticism. Some contend that the arguments of climate-change sceptics bear an uncanny resemblance to the statements made by pro-slavery reactionaries in the nineteenth century and by Holocaust deniers. More imaginative environmental activists have proposed establishing Nuremberg-style trials for climate-change sceptics.

It is truly astonishing that in an era that claims to uphold the pursuit of knowledge, freedom of speech and scientific inquiry, the term ‘sceptic’ is frequently used to denote immoral and corrupt behaviour. Moreover, today the practice of stigmatising scepticism is not confined to a small minority of dogmatic true believers. It is quite common for scientists, policymakers and campaigners to denounce those who do not share their beliefs as vile and contemptible sceptics.

Self-help guru Deepak Chopra writes of the ‘perils of scepticism’. John Houghton, former head of the UK Meteorological Office, warns of a ‘dangerous mood of scepticism’. Economist Jeffrey Sachs has condemned climate sceptics as ‘recycled critics of controls on tobacco and acid rain’.

Typically in the debate on climate change, sceptics are characterised as dishonest, malevolent, greedy and corrupt. ‘Environmental scepticism is a blunt weapon wielded by desperate and self-interested apologists to perpetuate an archaic system predicated on the destruction of the Earth and her communities’, says New Zealand academic William Hipwell. Scepticism today, as in the past, has a bad name because for the dogmatic believer any sign of doubt, hesitation, uncertainty, questioning and even indifference is interpreted as disbelief.

In recent centuries, disbelief was seen as being synonymous with atheism, and so the sceptic was portrayed as a moral outcast. A wide range of attitudes – ‘denial’, ‘unbelief’, ‘overly questioning’ – were often associated with the morally corrupt, and as a result the term sceptic had a highly charged, pejorative feel to it.

In reality, though, it was some individuals’ insistence on questioning received wisdom which was perceived as the real heresy by the moral crusaders targeting scepticism. The fifteenth-century witch-hunters’ manual Malleus Maleficarum claimed that those who denied the existence of witches were no less guilty of heresy than the active practitioners of witchcraft.

In the centuries to follow, scepticism was frequently treated as a particularly dangerous form of anti-Christian heresy. Thomas Edwards’s Gangraena was one of the most influential works of heresiography in the seventeenth century. Published in 1644, it warned ‘first bring in Scepticism in Doctrine and loosenesse of life, and afterwards all Atheism!’. George Hickes, in his Two Treatises on the Christian Priesthood (1707), wrote scathingly about the heretic who regales ‘his atheist-ridden, or theist-ridden, or sceptic-ridden… or devil-ridden mind’.

The idea that scepticism was the precursor to the spread of moral depravity was frequently promoted by nineteenth-century Christian thinkers who felt beleaguered by the spread of secular culture. ‘A vague kind of scepticism or agnosticism is one of the commonest spiritual diseases in this generation’, wrote John Ryle, Anglican bishop of Liverpool, in 1884.

The metaphor of moral pollution through poison and disease was frequently used to diagnose the threat of scepticism. ‘In listening to the arguments of a sceptic, you are breathing a poisonous atmosphere’, said Christian author Robert Baker Girdlestone in 1863. This was an age where the uncertainties brought on by rapid change created widespread anxieties about the future. John Stuart Mill characterised Victorian England as an ‘age devoid of faith, yet terrified of scepticism’ in his famous essay On Liberty.

Yet by the end of the nineteenth century, the moral crusade against scepticism failed to capture the public imagination. On the contrary, the nineteenth-century scientific and technological revolution created conditions that were unusually hospitable to sceptical thought. English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who coined the term ‘agnostic’, argued that the ‘improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority as such’, and added that ‘for him scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the unpardonable sin’. Liberal American philosopher and educator John Dewey depicted scepticism as the ‘first step on the road to philosophy’.

Twentieth-century Western societies were no less committed to science than was Huxley’s Victorian England. So how do today’s moral entrepreneurs reconcile their anti-sceptical inquisition with their idealisation of climate science?

Good sceptics and evil sceptics

Recently, Justin Rowlatt, who runs the BBC News ‘Ethical Man’ blog, wrote of his concern that the word sceptic was in danger of becoming a term of abuse. He noted that, since it was ‘the foundation of good science’, scepticism should be praised.

The paradox of demonising scepticism in an age when science enjoys significant cultural status has not escaped the attention of some of the advocates of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consensus on climate change. Recently David Marsh, style-guide editor of British newspaper the Guardian, wrote that he and some of his colleagues were not sure whether to call critics of this consensus sceptics or deniers. His article appeared to suggest that perhaps a new word that could convey a sense of moral condemnation was needed.

But most supporters of the IPCC consensus are wedded to a language that stigmatises precisely the sort of questioning associated with scepticism. Some of them use the word scepticism in a way that exposes a tension between the aspiration to demonise the sceptic while appearing to uphold the convention of openness that is usually associated with scientific inquiry. Writing in this vein, Bob Ward, of the London School of Economics-based Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, notes that despite all the ‘compelling evidence… there are some who reject or deny the scientific evidence on the grounds of so-called scepticism’.

More specifically, his anger is directed at the refusal of Britain’s Science Museum to take a position on the climate-change debate. Since scepticism is usually associated with the act of suspending judgment – precisely what characterises the response of the Science Museum – Ward’s use of the prefix ‘so-called’ before scepticism suggests that he regards anything other than the acceptance of his ‘compelling evidence’ as morally reprehensible.

Johann Hari, a columnist for the UK Independent, wrote that he would not ‘use the word sceptic to describe the people who deny the link between releasing warming gases and the planet getting warmer’. Why? Because he considers himself to be a sceptic who has been convinced by the evidence offered by the science of climate change. ‘Any properly sceptical analysis leads to the conclusion that manmade global warming is real’, he writes.

From this standpoint, a critic of the IPCC consensus cannot be a real or good sceptic, but a charlatan. James Lovelock, the well-known environmentalist, also makes a distinction between good and bad sceptics. While claiming to value the sceptical ideal, he denounces the bad ones. ‘The good sceptics have done a good service, but some of the mad ones, I think, have not done anyone favours’, he says. Continuing in this vein, Lovelock insists that some of the ‘mad ones’ are of course ‘corrupted and employed by oil companies and things like that’. Moreover, ‘some even work for governments’, he warns.

For Lovelock and his colleagues, a good sceptic is someone who accepts the consensus of environmental science. Questioning such a consensus is deemed irresponsible and dangerous. In truth, Lovelock’s praise for ‘good sceptics’ is entirely rhetorical. Which is why, in a typical anti-sceptical fashion, he calls for a ‘more authoritative world’, where a few people ‘with authority who you trust’ can get on with the job of implementing science-led policies. His lament that ‘of course’ this ‘can’t happen in a modern democracy’ sounds even more ominous than the threat issued by Greenpeace’s Indian communication director.

Even the author of a book titled Empires of Belief: Why We Need More Scepticism and Doubt in the Twentieth Century is committed to routing the bad sceptics. Author Stuart Sim insists that ‘there are many so-called scepticisms around at present which do not deserve our support’. His ‘Who’s Who’ of bad sceptics includes ‘Euroscepticism, global warming scepticism and the scepticism towards modern science that goes under the heading of intelligent design’. Apparently such ‘scepticism is not really scepticism’ since ‘it is in the service of an authoritarian cause’.

A question worth posing is: why denounce individuals for their scepticism if they are not really sceptics? The confusion that surrounds the rhetorical strategy adopted by the moral crusade against critics of the IPCC consensus should not obscure the fact that it is motivated by a genuine hatred for the spirit of scepticism. To understand this process, it is necessary to go beyond the opportunist distinction that is made today between good and bad sceptics, and establish the actual meaning of the term scepticism.

What is scepticism?

Although there are numerous variants of scepticism, as a philosophical orientation it represents a challenge to the all-too human proclivity for embracing dogma. For the Ancient Greeks, scepticism was not about not believing or denying a particular proposition. The genuine sceptic rarely claims to know that a particular proposition is wrong and therefore could not counsel disbelief. No, to the Ancient Greeks, scepticism meant inquiry. Scepticism is motivated by a complex range of motives, but it is underpinned by a belief that the truth is difficult to discover.

When Socrates explained that he was the wisest man in Athens because he knew he was ignorant, he pointed to the need to understand that one’s ignorance is the point of departure for a rigorous search for the truth. The defining attitude of the sceptic is the suspension of judgment. A sceptic is someone who has not decided or is not in a position to decide.

The act of suspending judgment need not mean a commitment not to judge. It can mean the postponement of judgment while the sceptic continues to inquire into the problem. Unlike doubt, which involves a negative judgment, scepticism represents a form of prejudgment. It is opposed to dogma and the attitude of unquestioned certainty.

In some cases, of course, the suspension of judgment can be an act of evasion. But the suspension of judgment also can be a prelude to a commitment to explore further in pursuit of clarity and truth. This is important for the development of science – and it is essential for the flourishing of a democratic public life. There can be no freedom of thought without the right to be sceptical. Which is why the demonisation of the sceptic today does not simply reflect a tendency towards polemical excess – it is also an attack on human inquiry itself.



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mann Lawsuit: 'This Just Goes to Show You How the Mighty Have Fallen'

In case you missed it, expressing dissent about an issue that has become more and more politicized could warrant a lawsuit - even if it's just satire.

Michael Mann, a Penn State professor and a central figure in the Climategate scandal, but is best known for his "hockey stick graph" doesn't like being criticized. He has threatened to sue the creators of a video that has gone viral on YouTube mocking him. The creators of the video are a group called Minnesotans for Global Warming.

The possibility of a suit was the topic on Fox News April 27 "America Live," hosted by Megyn Kelly. Kelly asked executive editor Marc Morano if Mann would be able to prove that this so-called YouTube spoof wasn't true and therefore win his lawsuit.

"I don't think he can," Morano replied. "I mean, this just goes to show you how the mighty have fallen. Michael Mann was a top U.N. scientist who is now in 2010 spending his time worrying about YouTube videos. This video is absolutely accurate. Michael Mann is the inventor of the temperature hockey stick which even recently the Royal U.K. statistical society said was exaggerated. Other German scientists have called it statistical rubbish. He's been called a statistical charlatan. He has had report after report attacking the foundation - the idea that 20th century temperatures are unprecedented is what Michael Mann is peddling through the U.N."

According to Morano, such a lawsuit would likely have the opposite effect on what Mann desires - for the video not to get attention. "He's been shown to have been wrong repeatedly and he's also been shown to be thin-skinned," Morano continued. "If you don't do attention, don't do a lawsuit. Now, this video is going to be immortalized forever now."

Kelly asked Morano if recent finding in the United Kingdom and by Penn State officials that cleared Mann of some wrongdoing exonerated him and his work. Morano explained that was not the case.

"No, in the case of Penn State, it was actually just a local group of Penn State officials, and they actually referred it to further investigation," Morano said. "They cleared him on a few charges but said he needed further investigation. In the case of the U.K., it was run by a fellow named Lord Oxburgh who actually had tied, vested interests in the green climate industry. People said it's like Dracula guarding the blood bank. That investigation has been trashed even by U.N. sympathizers as a whitewash. Michael Mann is facing serious, serious credibility problems and this is a man who's had problems going back almost a decade now."

Specifically, Morano explained that Mann based his assertion that the temperature of the globe was increasing on data from tree rings. However, when he found that temperatures were declining based on this method, he hid that data.

"This hide-the-decline by the way, he used tree rings to reconstruct historical temperatures to show 20th century, you know, unprecedented warmth," Morano explained. "But what he failed to do, he compared apples and oranges. He then -- the tree rings showed a decline in temperatures after 1960. He hid that decline. And that's what this is all about. He compared -- he used temperature data with tree rings. It's very technical, and that's where the phrase came from. But he's been exposed as the best science politics can manufacture. That's what Climategate has done to the global warming movement."


Kiwigate is a Carbon Copy of Climategate

New Zealand climate scientists embroil themselves in as much of a climate data fraud scandal as Climategate and with eerily similar methods and results

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) in its article ‘NIWA Challenged to Show Why and How Temperature Records Were Adjusted’ (February 7, 2010) provides its readers with an insight into the climate scandal dubbed 'Kiwigate.'

NIWA is New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and is accused of repeatedly frustrating NZCSC in its attempts to get government climatologists to explain how they managed to create a warming trend for their nation’s climate that is not borne out by the actual temperature record.

According to NZCSC, climate boffins cooked the books by using the same alleged ‘trick’ employed by British and American doomsaying scientists. This involves subtly imposing a warming bias during what is known as the ‘homogenisation’ process that occurs when climate data needs to be adjusted.

Homogenisation Explained

When such data adjustments (homogenisations) are made, scientists must keep their working calculations so that other scientists can test the reasonableness of those adjustments. According to an article in Mathematical Geosciences (April 2009) homogenisation of climate data needs to be done because “non-climatic factors make data unrepresentative of the actual climate variation.”

The article tells us that if the raw data is not homogenised (or, in this case, “fudged” according to sceptics) the “conclusions of climatic and hydrological studies are potentially biased.”

According to the independent inquiry into Climategate chaired by Lord Oxburgh, it was found that it was the homogenisation process itself that became flawed because climatologists were overly guided by “subjective” bias.

Andrew Bolt, writing for Australia’s Herald Sun (November 26, 2009) commented that the Kiwigate scandal was not so much about “hide the decline” but “ramp up the rise.”

Jim Salinger: Another 'Phil Jones'?

Bolt goes on to report, “Those adjustments were made by New Zealand climate scientist Jim Salinger, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." Salinger was dismissed by NIWA this year for speaking without authorisation to the media.

Salinger once worked at Britain’s CRU, the institution at the centre of the Climategate scandal.

Salinger became part of the inner circle of climate scientists whose leaked emails precipitated the original climate controversy in November 2009. In an email (August 4, 2003) to fellow disgraced American climate professor, Michael Mann, Salinger stated he was “extremely concerned about academic standards” among climate sceptics.

Circling The Bandwagons?

NZCSC made a joint press release with the Climate Science Conversation Group (December 18, 2009) accusing NIWA of publishing, “misleading material.” The two organisations claim that NIWA had been “defensive and obstructive” in requests to see New Zealand climate scientists’ data.

NZCSC goes on to report, “The main objective of our temperature study was not to show that the raw data has been tampered with, even though that opinion was emphasised and cannot yet be excluded.”

On January 29, 2010, in what seemed like a reprise of the Phil Jones debacle at Britain’s Climate Research Unit, the Kiwi government finally owned up that 'NIWA does not hold copies of the original worksheets.”

Kiwigate Mimics Climategate

Kiwigate appears to match Climategate in three essential characteristics. First, climate scientists declined to submit their data for independent analysis. Second, when backed into a corner the scientists claimed their adjustments had been ‘lost’. Third, the raw data itself proves no warming trend. Thus we may reasonably infer a 'carbon copy' of Climategate.

NZCSC explained their frustrations in trying to get to actual truth about what had happened with New Zealand’s climate history, "NIWA did everything they possibly could to help us, except hand over the adjustments. It has turned out that there was actually nothing more they could have done - because they never had the adjustments.... None of the scientific papers that NIWA cited in their impressive-sounding press releases contained the actual adjustments....”

After a protracted delay NIWA was forced to admit it has no record of why and when any adjustments were made to the nation’s climate data.

Independent auditors have shown that older data was fudged to make past temperature appear cooler, while modern data was inexplicably ramped up to portray a warming trend that is not backed up by the actual thermometer numbers.

Sceptics are asking how can it be that climate scientists in different countries at the opposite side of the world are facing extraordinarily similar data fraud allegations?

Unsatisfactory Outcome

The world is left with more questions than answers. Website,‘Scoop’ echoed the sentiments of other climate sceptics by arguing that because New Zealand’s climate data adjustments cannot be verified (peer-reviewed) like CRU's, then they are thus just as worthless.

With so many climatologists having ‘lost’ their calculations, no one can now replicate their methods and confidence in climate science has evaporated.

In addition, further scandalous revelations with Glaciergate and other 'gates' have mired the IPCC in an alleged international data fraud conspiracy that undermines the entire theory of man made climate change.

The knock-on effect worldwide is a fall away in voters' concerns about ‘global warming’ issues so that international governments are losing their mandate for cap and trade taxes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.


The Laws of Physics Ably Defeat the Global Warming Theory

Another scientist finds further evidence that our oceans and sub-surface material, not greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, control Earth's climate.

Among a steady groundswell of scientists eager to contradict the faltering greenhouse gas theory of man-made global warming, comes 'Induced Emission and Heat Stored by Air, Water and Dry Clay Soil' by Professor Nasif Nahle.

Oceans Drive Climate, Not Trace Gasses

The internationally-acclaimed professor, from Monterrey, Mexico, exposes the weakness of the greenhouse gas theory for its failure to consider that other processes are important in the atmospheric radiative heat transfer event. A former Harvard and UCLA graduate with degrees in science and mathematics, Nahle confidently states, "I demonstrate that the climate of Earth is driven by the oceans, the ground surface and the subsurface materials of the ground."

Warmists Miscalculate Heat

A dwindling band of supporters of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) still cling to the discredited notion that 50% of the energy absorbed by atmospheric gases (especially carbon dioxide) is re-emitted back towards Earth’s surface, heating it up.

Nahle, whose areas of expertise ranges from Physics to Biology, Ecology, Bioeconomy and Biophysics, attacks this flawed assumption, “The problem with the AGW idea is that its proponents think that the Earth is isolated and that the heat engine only works on the surface of the ground.”

Instead, Nahle's robust calculations prove that photon streams from oceans, the ground and other subsurface materials, both day and night, succeed in overwhelming the emission of photons from the atmosphere, returning them to space.

Laws of Thermodynamics Held Firm

Nahle, like many other respected analysts, insists that a scientific law is exactly that and cannot be ignored. While theories, like AGW, come and go dependent on their ability to withstand scrutiny.

The harshest criticism made by Professor Nahle is that global warmists have absurdly discarded the accepted laws of thermodynamics to prop up their improbable theory.

The professor reminds us that, “at night time, the heat stored by the subsurface materials is transferred by conduction towards the surface, which is colder than the unexposed materials below the surface. The heat transferred from the subsurface layers to the surface is then transported by the air by means of convection and warms up.”

Thereafter, the direction of the radiation emitted by the atmosphere can only go upwards into the upper atmosphere and then out into deep space.

Nahle says we are then forced to conclude that, “atmospheric gases do not cause any warming of the surface given that induced emission prevails over spontaneous emission.”

No Sustained Rises in Global Temperatures

Nahle's findings are supported by the failure of greenhouse gas theorists to evince from global thermometer records any sustained rise in world temperatures other than the short blip of 1975-95.

This failure, plus the ongoing data handling scandals that have mired climatologists in accusations that they falsified temperature records, has seen respected scientific publications, such as 'New Scientist' retreat from the tarnished theory.

Indeed, warmist doomsayer and controversial Climategate scientist, Kevin Trenberth recently was compelled to concede he had 'lost' 50% of the warming that his colleagues had predicted. The leaked Climategate emails reveal Trenberth lamenting that it was a "travesty" that the Earth had failed to show any signs of "catastrophic" warming as the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had warned.

Scientists Misled By Poor Data Handling Skills

Moreover, a recent independent British report into the Climategate scandal found that an elite clique of UN climate scientists who had championed the AGW theory had poor statistical-handling skills and had cherry-picked data to bolster their "subjective" claims.

Nahle neatly sums it up, “The warming effect (misnamed "the greenhouse effect") of Earth is due to the oceans, the ground surface and subsurface materials. Atmospheric gases act only as conveyors of heat.”


Meltdown of U.S. climate-change bill

Democrats recalibrate their agenda for Election Day

Supporters of climate-change legislation veered into the path of another liberal Senate priority during the weekend. The collision has left the strategy of the global-warming theocracy in pieces, at least for the moment.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who collaborated with Democrats in crafting the energy-tax bill, bolted for the tall grass on Saturday just before yesterday's planned unveiling of the long-anticipated climate-change measure, which had been dubbed the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill. The South Carolina Republican claimed to be upset at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for pushing ahead with plans for an equally unpopular immigration bill. Mr. Graham called Mr. Reid's sudden decision to advance a bill that would grant legal status to millions of illegals a "cynical political ploy."

The same can be said of Mr. Graham's cooperation on dubious climate-change legislation, but Americans nonetheless can be grateful for the senator's sudden ethical epiphany. Or perhaps he has simply awakened to the unpopularity of his handiwork. The ostensible purpose of the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill is to cut emissions of so-called greenhouse gases to clean the air, but the only likely outcome would be a reduction in the prosperity of the nation.

A new poll released by American Solutions, a grass-roots organization advocating more homegrown energy, last week revealed that 71 percent of Americans oppose the higher gas taxes that the climate-change bill would impose. Another 84 percent said they have very little confidence that the fuel tax would result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.

If these numbers aren't enough to make members of Congress nervous, the poll also found that 64 percent of respondents are less likely to vote for a congressional candidate who backs a climate-change gas tax. At a projected cost of trillions of dollars, it's easy to understand why Americans don't want it, especially during the worst economy in generations.

The climate-change bill, which contains a version of the despised cap-and-trade mechanism for taxing carbon, aims to cut emissions of pollution-causing greenhouse gases 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. It also purports to expand domestic production of oil, natural gas and nuclear power. Those provisions sound nice, but recent delaying tactics by the Obama administration on the future of offshore drilling and the storage of nuclear waste cast doubt on prospects for more domestic energy production.

For his part, Mr. Reid apparently has decided that immigration reform, not climate change, is critical for survival - his own, that is. In the aftermath of Obamacare, the Senate majority leader's poll numbers expose that he's as overwhelmingly unpopular at home in Nevada as he is in the rest of the country. Bringing immigration reform front and center in the Senate is an attempt to galvanize the Hispanic vote in time to save his job on Election Day.

Over the past 15 months, taxpayers have become adept at finding the pea in the Democrats' legislative shell game, and the climate bill has fooled no one. Many voters rightly have concluded that no matter what it's called, the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill would simply mean higher energy costs. Steadfast opposition has sent Mr. Graham and Mr. Reid scampering in different directions.

As November looms, the president and his liberal cronies in Congress are left scrambling to pick up the pieces of their scheme to load new taxes onto the backs of hardworking Americans.


Meltdown of Australian climate-change bill

THE great fraud has been found out, and his country saved - for now - from the greatest of his follies.

Here's the worst lie that Kevin Rudd, perhaps our most deceitful Prime Minister, once told about global warming and his Emissions Trading Scheme: "The biggest challenge the world faces in the decades ahead is climate change. "It is the great moral and economic challenge of our time."

But on Tuesday Rudd decided "the great moral challenge" of our time wasn't, after all. It was just "a" challenge, he said.

And with public trust falling in his ETS "solution" - a great green tax on gases - he cut and ran. His ETS would be shelved until at least 2013. Two elections away. Yet only last year this same Government claimed "delay was denial", and we could not wait to save "our jobs, our houses, our farms, our reefs, our economy and our future". To stop "700,000 homes and businesses" on our coast from drowning. (Another lie.)

Rudd had his excuses, of course. The naughty Opposition now opposed the ETS in the Senate, and other countries were "slower to act" on global warming themselves. But it was just more Rudd spin.

For years he's mocked warnings from sceptics and some Liberals that it was reckless for small Australia to make cuts that almost no other country would make. As I've often argued, we'd just export jobs overseas without making a scrap of difference to any warming, which seems to have halted since 2001 anyway.

Rudd pretended then that such arguments were mad. Almost criminal. "The clock is ticking for the planet," he said six months ago. "The resolve of the Australian Government is clear - we choose action, and we do so because Australia's fundamental economic and environmental interests lie in action. Action now. Not action delayed." The costs of delay would be "severe".

So why does Rudd only this week agree that waiting for the world is not mad, after all, but responsible? Was he spinning then, or is he spinning now?

Almost as empty is Rudd's excuse that his hand was forced by the Opposition's rejection of the ETS since the accidental rise of Tony Abbott to the Liberal leadership by a single vote.

IF Rudd truly believed his ETS was so desperately needed to meet the world's "biggest challenge", why didn't he fight like sin to get it through the Senate, as President Barack Obama fought to get his health reforms through his Senate?

Why didn't he throw everything into cutting a deal with the Greens and the two independent Senators to vote through an ETS to "save" the planet?

That deal may yet come, of course. Rudd's ETS is not yet a corpse but a zombie, and with an election looming, Rudd wants that zombie down in the crypt, so timid voters won't tremble.

You may think I'm harsh on Rudd, but I say little that he hasn't said himself - and of delayers just like him.

I remember his speech last November to the Lowy Institute in which he vilified me and a few other sceptics he named: "The third group of climate deniers are those who pretend to accept the science but then urge delay because they don't want their country to be the first to act. "What absolute political cowardice. What an absolute failure of leadership. What an absolute failure of logic."

You said it, Prime Minister. Or were you just spinning then, too?


Pressure to publish may bias scientists

This is a well-known process but it is nice to see it convincingly documented. It does help explain the way papers on all sorts of subjects uncritically assume global warming. A much more extensive treatment of the subject here

The qual­ity of sci­en­tif­ic re­search may be suf­fer­ing be­cause scholars are un­der pres­sure to get their work pub­lished in scientif­ic jour­nals, a new anal­y­sis sug­gests.

The study found that the frac­tion of U.S.-pub­lished re­search papers claim­ing “pos­i­tive” re­sults—those that may in­di­cate an actu­al dis­cov­ery—is im­mensely high­er when the au­thors are from states whose aca­demics pub­lish more of­ten. The dif­fer­ence ranged from less than half, to over 95 per­cent.

The find­ings were re­ported in the on­line re­search jour­nal PLoS One on April 21, by Dan­iele Fan­elli of the Uni­vers­ity of Ed­in­burgh in Scot­land.

“Pub­lish or per­ish,” an aphor­ism widely known in ac­a­dem­ia, ex­presses the very real fact that sci­en­tists must pub­lish their work con­tin­u­ously to se­cure jobs and fund­ing, Fan­elli not­ed. Ca­reers are judged based on the sheer num­ber of pa­pers some­one has pub­lished, and on how many times these are cit­ed in lat­er pa­pers—though this is a hotly de­bat­ed meas­ure of sci­en­tif­ic qual­ity.

But pa­pers are more or less likely to be ac­cept­ed by jour­nals, and to be cit­ed, de­pend­ing on the re­sults they re­port. Like a hit song, more in­ter­est­ing re­sults tend to make fur­ther head­way. Thus sci­en­tists are “torn be­tween the need to be ac­cu­rate and ob­jec­tive and the need to keep their ca­reers alive,” Fan­elli said.

Fanelli an­a­lysed over 1,300 pa­pers claim­ing to have tested a hypoth­e­sis in all dis­ci­plines, from phys­ics to so­ci­ol­o­gy, from U.S.-based main au­thors. Us­ing da­ta from the Na­tional Sci­ence Founda­t­ion, he then checked wheth­er the pa­pers’ con­clu­sions were linked to the states’ pro­duc­ti­vity, meas­ured by the num­ber of pa­pers pub­lished on av­er­age by each ac­a­dem­ic.

Re­sults were more likely to “sup­port” the hy­poth­e­sis un­der investi­ga­t­ion, Fan­elli found, when the pa­per was from a “productive” state. That sug­gests, he said, that sci­en­tists working in more com­pet­i­tive and pro­duc­tive en­vi­ron­ments are more likely to make their re­sults look pos­i­tive. It’s un­clear wheth­er they do this by writ­ing the pa­pers dif­fer­ently or by tweak­ing the un­der­ly­ing da­ta, Fan­elli said.

“The out­come of an ex­pe­ri­ment de­pends on many fac­tors, but the pro­duc­ti­vity of the U.S. state of the re­searcher should not, in the­o­ry, be one of them,” ex­plained Fan­elli. “We can­not ex­clude that re­search­ers in the more pro­duc­tive states are smarter and bet­ter equipped, and thus more suc­cess­ful, but this is un­likely to fully ex­plain the marked trend ob­served.” The study re­sults were in­de­pend­ent of fund­ing avail­abil­ity, he said.

Pos­i­tive re­sults were less than half the to­tal in Ne­vada, North Da­ko­ta and Mis­sis­sip­pi. At the oth­er ex­treme, states in­clud­ing Mich­i­gan, Ohio, Dis­trict of Co­lum­bia and Ne­bras­ka had be­tween 95 per­cent and 100 per­cent pos­i­tive re­sults, a rate that seems unrealistic even for the most out­stand­ing in­sti­tu­tions, Fan­elli said.

These con­clu­sions could apply to all sci­en­tif­ic­ally ad­vanced countries, he added. “Aca­demic com­pe­ti­tion for fund­ing and positions is in­creas­ing ev­ery­where,” said Fan­elli. “Poli­cies that rely too much on cold meas­ures of pro­duc­ti­vity might be low­er­ing the qual­ity of sci­ence it­self.”



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Induced Emission and Heat Stored by Air, Water and Dry Clay Soil

By Nasif Nahle, Scientific Research Director of Biology Cabinet Organization. Residencial El Roble, San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. CP 66414


In this paper, I have resorted to basic formulas obtained from experimentation and observation by several scientists for calculating the heat stored by any substance and the subsequent change of temperature caused on a determined system. I demonstrate that the climate of Earth is driven by the oceans, the ground surface and the subsurface materials of the ground. I explain also how the photon streams from oceans, ground and subsurface materials of ground overwhelm the emission of photons from the atmosphere to the ground during both daytime and nighttime.


Throughout the last decade, supporters of the idea of an anthropogenic global warming (AGW) or the impact of an anthropogenic "greenhouse" effect on climate (IAGEC) have been insisting on an erroneous concept of the emission of energy from the atmosphere towards the surface. The AGW-IAGEC assumption states that 50% of the energy absorbed by atmospheric gases, especially carbon dioxide, is reemitted back towards the surface heating it up.

This solitary AGW-IAGEC assumption is fallacious when considered in light of real natural processes. AGW-IAGEC states that if the atmosphere absorbs 240 W/m^2 of energy, 50% of that energy is emitted towards deep space and 50% is emitted back to the surface. However, the proponents of AGW-IAGEC are neglecting other processes which take place in every atmospheric radiative heat transfer event.

On the other hand, since the publication of my article on Heat Stored by Greenhouse Gases, many proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) have pronounced themselves against the science of heat transfer. There are common criticisms made against the theory, even though it is founded on indisputable data derived from scientific research accomplished by scientists from all around the world over the last two centuries.

The algorithms that I use to calculate heat transfer by substances are quite ordinary and basic; you can verify them in any scientific book or article on heat transfer or thermodynamics. AGW proponents who have criticized my paper have resorted to pseudoscientific arguments; for example, that heat is not stored, that the atmosphere is a blackbody, that I have not considered feedbacks, etc. Despite many references demonstrating that the algorithms and results are the uncorrupted product of observations and experimentation, AGW proponents continue trying to confound those readers who have understood that carbon dioxide is an ineffective causative agent of climate change or global warming.

The most frequent counterargument used by AGW proponents against the science of heat transfer is that heat cannot be stored by any system. This argument is admissible in science because heat is energy in transit which is transferred from hot systems to colder systems, so heat cannot be stored by any system. However, as heat is energy and energy can be stored by matter, the energy in transit (heat) consequently can be stored by systems.

A second argument from the AGW side is that carbon dioxide behaves like a blackbody, which is absolutely incorrect because carbon dioxide absorbs but a small amount of the energy in transit and emits only a small amount from the energy stored by the molecules. To be a blackbody, carbon dioxide would have to be able to absorb electromagnetic energy from all frequency bands and all existing wavelengths, which is incongruent with reality.

On the other hand, carbon dioxide has a limited absorbency because its concentration in the atmosphere is excessively low. The partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the terrestrial atmosphere is 0.00034 atm m, which allows it to exhibit an absorbency-emissivity of 0.001. For example, if the air stores 100 Joules of energy, then carbon dioxide would have absorbed only 0.1 Joules; from this quantity of absorbed energy, carbon dioxide would only emit 0.0001 Joules by radiation. The remaining absorbed energy (0.0999 J) would be transferred by convection, radiation and to a lesser extent by conduction to other systems, or would be stored as potential energy.


More Global Warming Profiteering by Obama Energy Official

Surprising documents made available to this author reveal that Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi has a huge financial stake in companies likely to profit from the Obama administration’s “green” policies.

Zoi, who left her position as CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection — founded by Al Gore — to serve as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, now manages billions in “green jobs” funding. But the disclosure documents show that Zoi not only is in a position to affect the fortunes of her previous employer, ex-Vice President Al Gore, but that she herself has large holdings in two firms that could directly profit from policies proposed by the Department of Energy.

Among Zoi’s holdings are shares in Serious Materials, Inc., the previously sleepy, now bustling, friend of the Obama White House whose public policy operation is headed by her husband. Between them, Zoi and her husband hold 120,000 shares in Serious Materials, as well as stock options. Reporter John Stossel has already explored what he sees as the “crony capitalism” implied by Zoi being so able to influence the fortunes of a company to which she is so closely associated.

In addition, the disclosure forms reflect that Zoi holds between $250,000 and $500,000 in “founders shares” in Landis+Gyr, a Swiss “smart meter” firm. She also still owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in ordinary shares.

“Smart meters,” put simply, are electric meters that return information about customer power usage to the power company immediately and allow a power company to control the amount of power a customer can consume. These smart meters are a central component of the Obama administration’s plans to reduce electricity consumption as part of the “smart grid.”

In a rare moment of candor, Obama “Energy Czar” Carol Browner said to US News & World Report last year: “We need to make sure that …[e]ventually, we can get to a system where an electric company will be able [sic] to hold back some of the power so that maybe your air conditioner won’t operate at its peak, you’ll still be able to cool your house, but that’ll be a savings to the consumer.” (emphasis added)

Clearly, DoE funding to encourage the adoption of “smart meters” would very likely lead to much increased sales by Landis+Gyr — and a potential windfall for Zoi. But surely Zoi doesn’t participate in the relevant “energy efficiency” policy?


"Climate Deniers are Polluting the Blogosphere"

Note that despite its huffing and puffing about science, the Warmist article below mentions not one scientific fact. It's just solid dogmatism and "ad hominem" abuse

Humans have put too many heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, and now the Earth is running a fever. But there's also an increasingly toxic atmosphere in the blogosphere, where climate deniers strategically confuse the issue, delay meaningful government action, and harass scientists and authors.

For decades, the media presented the climate "debate" as two sides that were evenly or closely matched. Then a few years ago, around the time Hurricane Katrina struck and Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar and he and the IPCC were awarded a Nobel Prize, the media began to realize that climate science is real and has consequences, and the "other side" is almost all empty rhetoric.

But in late 2009 the deniers had a public relations breakthrough when some unprofessional internal emails from a British scientist were leaked to the public. Deniers, including Sarah Palin and Fox News, named it "ClimateGate" and claimed, more or less, that a few emails could call into question decades of peer-reviewed rigorous research by thousands of scientists from all over the world. The media picked up on the catchy name and returned to their "he said, she said" coverage of climate change. The timing could not have been worse for the Earth, or better for the deniers: the story dominated the news cycle during the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. Nations failed to reach any substantive agreement in Copenhagen, and triumphant deniers proceeded to launch campaigns to block progress on a climate bill in the U.S. Senate and to roll back climate laws in California.

With climate denial resurgent, and linking into the nebulous populist Tea Party movement, the blogosphere has become even more polluted by deniers. Deniers often pile up comments on climate change-related articles, most of which may be grouped into the following categories:

1. Humor (i.e. "What's next, cow farts?" or "Since carbonated beverages release CO2 into the atmosphere, will CalEPA be outlawing beer and sodas in California?")

2. Political (making fun of Al Gore, partisan name calling)

3. Bullying, name calling, threats

4. Despair (i.e. "we're all doomed, humans will go extinct anyway")

5. Junk science -- quoting disreputed sources that reinforce denier preconceptions, or using simple but wrong aphorisms (confusing weather and climate, or saying the climate is always changing)

6. Obfuscation - burying your opposition under a mountain of obscure but usually irrelevant statistics

7. Economic fear -- (i.e. "if we take action on climate, all businesses will leave CA, and we'll lose jobs")

California's Climate Delayers

The California version of deniers, "delayers," are trying to suspend AB32 until unemployment goes down below 5%, which many economists say could take years or even decades. Anti-AB32 efforts argue that AB32 is a good idea, but the timing is wrong with the economy so bad (i.e. great concept, but we just can't afford it). This lets delayers claim it's not their fault. Something like, "We'd like to help, but the State is broke."

The "outsiders messing with our stuff" argument has a California version too. In opposing an international climate treaty, deniers claim the evil Al Gore and the communists at the United Nations are stealing our country's sovereignty. In California, some members of the League of California Cities turn the State into an intruder, arguing that the unfunded mandates for better regional transportation planning in the State's SB375 law infringes on the cities' sacred cow, local land use authority.

More sophisticated denier methods often appeal to:

* Free speech (as if achieving consensus on climate science somehow takes away their Constitutional rights) or

* The nature of scientific inquiry means always questioning your assumptions (ironically, the people who question the science of climate change, are likely those who question all science).

Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute (the Blogosphere)

Deniers can't win on the facts, and it is tempting to just tell deniers, "Turn off the talk radio and go read a book." Pretty much any book on climate, even a children's book, would do. But no, a pile of pages with Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin on the cover does not count.

But the problem is not just the deniers' lack of facts. The problem is that deniers don't want to change their lifestyles or worldview. Cognitive scientist George Lakoff notes that people will block out facts that conflict with their existing worldview. In Lakoff's framework, many conservatives have a strict father frame that places humans above nature. On the surface, climate change would seem to reinforce this. We are dominating the earth? Great! But if the climate goes out of control, and begins to threaten our current way of life and civilization itself, then this puts humans in a subjugated, reactive mode, which is unacceptable to the strict father mindset.

The real ClimateGate is that we are doing nothing about the greatest threat to the planet and civilization, and we're running out of time. "If there's no action before 2012," says Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel peace-prize-winning IPCC, "that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment." If you are a denier, it's not too late to change your ways...yet. Do some research, but more importantly, open your mind. If you are already working to stop climate change, decisionmakers and the public need your help navigating through the polluted blogosphere and towards real climate solutions. Working together, we can leave a cleaner, more sustainable blogosphere for our children.


Leading U.S. Science Groups Endorsed the Global Warming Fraud

By Alan Caruba

Americans, from the earliest days of the Republic, have always been fascinated by science and its potential to improve our lives. Benjamin Franklin was as much famed for his early experiments with electricity and his inventions as for his diplomacy to secure funding for the Revolution.

The tragedy of the global warming fraud will be a generation whose faith in climate science will have been severely shaken. They will have witnessed the deliberate distortion of climate data for a political objective.

Consider a letter dated October 21, 2009 and signed by the presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Association of Ecosystem Research Center, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the American Society of Agronomy, the American Statistical Association,

And the Botanical Society of America, the Crop Science Society of America, the Natural Science Collections Alliance, the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Soil Science Society of America, the Ecological Society of America, the Organization of Biological Field Stations, the Society of Systematic Biologists, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Together, they asserted that “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.” It went on to repeat all the usual scary scenarios of rising sea levels, urban heat weaves, wildfires, and other climate-related events.

In a footnote, the letter to U.S. Senators said, “The conclusions in this paragraph reflect the scientific consensus represented by, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.”

We now know that the “science” being cited by these two entities was, at least in the case of the IPCC, totally rigged, but the presidents of these alleged science-based organizations took it on face value despite ample scientific evidence it was false. The revelations of emails exchanged between the perpetrators of the hoax have demonstrated the deceptions.

Ivan Kenneally, an assistant professor of political science at the Rochester Institute of Technology recent wrote in The New Atlantis that “Those who disagree with the scientific and policy orthodoxy (of global warming) have been maligned as greedy capitalists bent on rapid the earth of its natural resources for cheap material gain; they have been cast as the benighted enemies of reason itself.”

Referring to the vast store of emails between the cabal that has provided the IPCC with “scientific” justifications for global warming, Kenneally wrote that, “There can be little doubt after even a casual perusal that the scientific case for global warming and the policy that springs from it are based upon a volatile combination of political ideology, unapologetic mendacity, and simmering contempt for even the best-intentioned disagreement.”

The political ideology is socialism. The objective is power over the lives of Americans, Europeans, and others worldwide, all of whom have been falsely led to believe that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a “pollutant” and responsible for a non-existent rise in the Earth’s average temperature. In point of fact, the Earth has been cooling for a decade and is likely to do so for several decades to come.

In light of this, who can trust these organizations? And who can trust the “science” produced by NASA and other U.S. agencies that have benefited from billions in grants directed at so-called climate, i.e. global warming research?

These organizations must now publicly admit to their role in advancing this international fraud and must take steps to correct the record, to examine the data of those courageous climatologists, meteorologists and others who, while barred from having their work appear in the IPCC reports, did not shrink from sharing it with the public.

It won’t be easy. The President of the United States, despite lofty statements in support of science, is totally committed to the fraudulent “science” of “global warming.” He has surrounded himself with people associated with the fraud, from his “Science Czar” to his “Climate Czar”, as well as appointments such as the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

President Obama has repeated every global warming lie that has been around for far too long and will shortly bless the December UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen with a visit before picking up a now worthless Nobel Peace Prize.

All of this is a national disgrace and remains, in the form of the Cap-and-Trade legislation awaiting a vote in the Senate, a threat to the nation’s economic recovery and to the faith that Americans have always had in legitimate science.


‘Solastalgia’ the Next Liberal Buzzword

Bob McCarty makes an interesting point below but the idea that people dislike a warmer climate and move away from it is rather laughable. All the former New Yorkers in Boca Raton must be confused. I myself was born and bred in the tropics -- as were all four of my grandparents -- and I can heartily recommend the relaxed life of the tropics

Remember when the word, gravitas, entered the public conversation for the first time? Well, stay tuned, because solastalgia is next.

A rarely-used 131-year-old word at the time, according to Merriam-Webster, gravitas was introduced en masse to the American vocabulary by members of the liberal media within 24 hours of President George W. Bush’s selection of Dick Cheney to be his vice presidential running mate in July 2000. Almost always used with negative connotations, it was used to describe what “W” was said to lack in terms of experience and what he needed in a running mate. Rush Limbaugh even devoted a segment of his radio show to the mainstream media’s “discovery” of the word.

Eight years after its introduction, gravitas was declared dead and, for almost two years, nothing had surfaced to take its place in the American vocabulary. Then solastalgia arrived just in time for heated debate to begin on Capitol Hill about the so-called “Cap and Trade” legislation.

Solastalgia is a new word that appears in a recently-released report (see Sec. 1, page 38) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Interagency Working Group on Climate Change and Health. It’s defined as “place-based distress caused by the effects of climate change due to involuntary migration or the loss of connection to one’s home environment.”

Despite the fact that, according to Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), climate change is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”, I predict members of the mainstream media will begin using it soon — and with fervor — as if it has existed since the beginning of time.

Despite the fact that Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary doesn’t even list the word, I predict it will become as mainstream as gravitas during the next few years.

Stay tuned for solastalgia.


Warmist laws postponed in Australia

Labor's thwarted emissions trading scheme has become an inconvenience for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the federal opposition says.

The government has shelved plans to push ahead with plans to begin operating its carbon pollution reduction scheme by July 2011, The Sydney Morning Herald said today.

The scheme will not start before 2013 at the earliest following a decision by cabinet's priorities and budget committee, the newspaper said.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong would not confirm the report. "The blocking of the CPRS legislation by the opposition has caused delays and created uncertainties which will of course affect the budget treatment of the CPRS," a spokeswoman for the minister told AAP. "The government remains committed to the CPRS as the best and lowest cost way to reduce carbon pollution."

Small Business Minister Craig Emerson also refused to confirm the report, saying it was the Coalition that was thwarting efforts to address climate change. "We will take the climate change issues to the next election and the people will have another opportunity to determine their position," he told Sky News. "I know what position they will adopt, and that is that their must be decisive action on climate change."

Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said the decision would save the government $2.5 billion, and was contrary to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's past claim that climate change was "the greatest moral challenge of our generation". "Now it is an inconvenience for him," Mr Hunt told ABC Radio.

The decision means the government is likely to take its ETS legislation off the table until after an election, expected later this year.

It also means Labor will not use its latest legislation as a double-dissolution trigger, nor its original bills twice rejected by the upper house last year. The Senate was expected to vote on the legislation when parliament resumes sitting in May.

"The Prime Minister clearly has no commitment to climate change," Mr Hunt said, adding the ETS was a tool to get Mr Rudd through an election. "And he's dropped it the moment it's become inconvenient."

Non-government senators have thwarted Labor's bid to win parliamentary approval for its scheme.

The opposition backed away from supporting amended legislation that a Malcolm Turnbull led Coalition negotiated with Labor late last year. Now under Tony Abbott, the Coalition is pushing what it calls "direct action" to address climate change.

"The Prime Minister is not willing to take his emissions trading scheme to the electorate, to the election because he didn't want to put it up against the idea of direct action to reduce emissions," Mr Hunt said.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said he had not seen the Senate program for the coming weeks, but believed there was little hope for the scheme with the Coalition and Australian Greens both opposed to it.

It was disappointing if it had been shelved, but there were other issues to think about ahead of the election, he said. "There are plenty of issues around," he told ABC Radio on Tuesday. "The issue of healthcare is going to occupy a lot of people's minds, I might also say, so is the question of economic management.

"We've come out of this global financial crisis in a stronger position than most economies, they are the type of issues that are going to be in people's minds. "Even if we don't get a price on carbon there's still a lot to be done."

Mr Ferguson said energy efficiency and new technologies were still government priorities.

The latest development comes as a poll showed trust in Mr Rudd to manage climate change had dropped to 36 per cent. The result in the Auspoll survey was a fall from 46 per cent in February 2009.

Advocacy group GetUp!, which commissioned the poll in conjunction with the Climate Institute and four other non-profit groups, says the result reflects voter frustration with stalling climate change action.

However, 35 per cent of voters would be more likely to vote for the Rudd government if it took stronger action on climate change, and only 16 per cent would be less likely.

Mr Rudd, as late as last week, was maintaining support for an ETS. "Our policy hasn't changed," he told The Sydney Morning Herald. "We maintain our position that this is part of the most efficient and the most effective means by which we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions with least cost to the economy."



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