Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Evidence points to a further global temperarure rise of just 1°C by 2100. The net effect on the planet may actually be beneficial

Matt Ridley has some interesting updates on the latest findings below, which coincide closely with what climate skeptic Pat Michaels found 10 years ago. Ridley then follows with a point I often make (see sidebar here):  That actual temperature trends give no cause for alarm.  It is entirely  theoretical ideas unrelated to known trends which are the basis for the Warmist scare

Forget the Doha climate jamboree that ended earlier this month. The theological discussions in Qatar of the arcana of climate treaties are irrelevant. By far the most important debate about climate change is taking place among scientists, on the issue of climate sensitivity: How much warming will a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide actually produce? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has to pronounce its answer to this question in its Fifth Assessment Report next year.

The general public is not privy to the IPCC debate. But I have been speaking to somebody who understands the issues: Nic Lewis. A semiretired successful financier from Bath, England, with a strong mathematics and physics background, Mr. Lewis has made significant contributions to the subject of climate change.

He first collaborated with others to expose major statistical errors in a 2009 study of Antarctic temperatures. In 2011 he discovered that the IPCC had, by an unjustified statistical manipulation, altered the results of a key 2006 paper by Piers Forster of Reading University and Jonathan Gregory of the Met Office (the United Kingdom's national weather service), to vastly increase the small risk that the paper showed of climate sensitivity being high. Mr. Lewis also found that the IPCC had misreported the results of another study, leading to the IPCC issuing an Erratum in 2011.

Mr. Lewis tells me that the latest observational estimates of the effect of aerosols (such as sulfurous particles from coal smoke) find that they have much less cooling effect than thought when the last IPCC report was written. The rate at which the ocean is absorbing greenhouse-gas-induced warming is also now known to be fairly modest. In other words, the two excuses used to explain away the slow, mild warming we have actually experienced—culminating in a standstill in which global temperatures are no higher than they were 16 years ago—no longer work.

In short: We can now estimate, based on observations, how sensitive the temperature is to carbon dioxide. We do not need to rely heavily on unproven models. Comparing the trend in global temperature over the past 100-150 years with the change in "radiative forcing" (heating or cooling power) from carbon dioxide, aerosols and other sources, minus ocean heat uptake, can now give a good estimate of climate sensitivity.

The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F).

This is much lower than the IPCC's current best estimate, 3°C (5.4°F).

Mr. Lewis is an expert reviewer of the recently leaked draft of the IPCC's WG1 Scientific Report. The IPCC forbids him to quote from it, but he is privy to all the observational best estimates and uncertainty ranges the draft report gives. What he has told me is dynamite.

Given what we know now, there is almost no way that the feared large temperature rise is going to happen. Mr. Lewis comments: "Taking the IPCC scenario that assumes a doubling of CO2, plus the equivalent of another 30% rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1°C."

A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland's ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.

Some of the best recent observationally based research also points to climate sensitivity being about 1.6°C for a doubling of CO2. An impressive study published this year by Magne Aldrin of the Norwegian Computing Center and colleagues gives a most-likely estimate of 1.6°C. Michael Ring and Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois, using the most trustworthy temperature record, also estimate 1.6°C.

The big question is this: Will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC's existing 2°-4.5°C "likely" range for climate sensitivity? Unfortunately, this seems unlikely—given the organization's record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.


How can there be such disagreement about climate sensitivity if the greenhouse properties of CO2 are well established? Most people assume that the theory of dangerous global warming is built entirely on carbon dioxide. It is not.

There is little dispute among scientists about how much warming CO2 alone can produce, all other things being equal: about 1.1°-1.2°C for a doubling from preindustrial levels. The way warming from CO2 becomes really dangerous is through amplification by positive feedbacks—principally from water vapor and the clouds this vapor produces.

It goes like this: A little warming (from whatever cause) heats up the sea, which makes the air more humid—and water vapor itself is a greenhouse gas. The resulting model-simulated changes in clouds generally increase warming further, so the warming is doubled, trebled or more.

That assumption lies at the heart of every model used by the IPCC, but not even the most zealous climate scientist would claim that this trebling is an established fact. For a start, water vapor may not be increasing. A recent paper from Colorado State University concluded that "we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data." And then, as one Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a senior role in combating climate change admitted to me the other day: "We don't even know the sign" of water vapor's effect—in other words, whether it speeds up or slows down a warming of the atmosphere.

Climate models are known to poorly simulate clouds, and given clouds' very strong effect on the climate system—some types cooling the Earth either by shading it or by transporting heat up and cold down in thunderstorms, and others warming the Earth by blocking outgoing radiation—it remains highly plausible that there is no net positive feedback from water vapor.

If this is indeed the case, then we would have seen about 0.6°C of warming so far, and our observational data would be pointing at about 1.2°C of warming for the end of the century. And this is, to repeat, roughly where we are.

The scientists at the IPCC next year have to choose whether they will admit—contrary to what complex, unverifiable computer models indicate—that the observational evidence now points toward lukewarm temperature change with no net harm. On behalf of all those poor people whose lives are being ruined by high food and energy prices caused by the diversion of corn to biofuel and the subsidizing of renewable energy driven by carboncrats and their crony-capitalist friends, one can only hope the scientists will do so.


The theological nature of Warmism shows its face

A prominent UC Berkeley professor recently linked ignoring global warming with watching people die during a guest seminar at Ohio State University.

Citing monsoons and other extreme weather phenomenon on the other side of the globe, Kirk Smith, a global environmental health professor, said climate change is “a moral issue.”

Smith told an anecdote to the audience of a professor who ignores a drowning child on campus as he rushes to teach a class. He then tells his students about ignoring the child, and they are aghast. Later at home, the hypothetical professor opens his mail and throws away a letter from the United Nation’s Children Fund.

“No one thinks that is immoral, and why not,” Smith said of throwing away the UNICEF letter.  “What’s the moral distinction? … Today climate change is a sin of omission.”

What’s more, Smith argued, those who ignore global warming and climate change are not just guilty of a sin of omission, they’re also teetering on the verge of a sin of commission.

“Every time I come back from a site in the Third World, and a $16 pizza would feed a family in Guatemala for an entire month … we’re not going and shooting kids in the head, but we are moving in the distinction a bit to the commission side,” he said.

Smith is a highly decorated professor who “serves on a number of national and international scientific advisory committees, including the Global Energy Assessment, National Research Council’s Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate, the Executive Committee for WHO Air Quality Guidelines, and the International Comparative Risk Assessment,” according to a biography posted on his website.


Current sea levels are LOW, not high, by historical standards

A paper published today in Quaternary Research finds sea levels on the island of Curaçao [southern Caribbean] during the last interglacial were up to 9 meters higher than the present, and that during another interglacial period 400,000 years ago sea levels were up to 20 meters higher than the present. According to the paper, these significantly higher sea levels during prior interglacials "require major ice sheet loss from Greenland and Antarctica." The authors determine sea levels by dating fossilized reefs that are presently located high above current sea levels [photo below]. The paper also shows sea levels in the Red Sea were up to ~8 meters higher than the present within the past 5,000 years of the current interglacial, and up to ~12 meters higher than the present during the last interglacial. This and many other papers debunk claims by climate alarmists that recent sea level rise is unprecedented, unnatural, or accelerated.
Sea-level history of past interglacial periods from uranium-series dating of corals, Curaçao, Leeward Antilles islands

By Daniel R. Muhsa et al.


Curaçao has reef terraces with the potential to provide sea-level histories of interglacial periods. Ages of the Hato (upper) unit of the “Lower Terrace” indicate that this reef dates to the last interglacial period, Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5.5. On Curaçao, this high sea stand lasted at least 8000 yr (~ 126 to ~ 118 ka). Elevations and age of this reef show that late Quaternary uplift rates on Curaçao are low, 0.026–0.054 m/ka, consistent with its tectonic setting. Ages of ~ 200 ka for corals from the older Cortalein unit of the Lower Terrace correlate this reef to MIS 7, with paleo-sea level estimates ranging from − 3.3 m to + 2.3 m. The estimates are in agreement with those for MIS 7 made from other localities and indicate that the penultimate interglacial period was a time of significant warmth, on a par with the present interglacial period. The ~ 400 ka (MIS 11) Middle Terrace I on Curaçao, dated by others, may have formed from a paleo-sea level of + 8.3 to + 10.0 m, or (less likely) + 17 m to + 20 m. The lower estimates are conservative compared to previous studies, but still require major ice sheet loss from Greenland and Antarctica

Coal set to overtake oil as biggest energy source

Unless FRACKING (shriek!) for gas becomes  more widely used

Coal will overtake oil as the world’s biggest energy source within a decade unless policies are changed, the International Energy Agency said yesterday.

Demand for the polluting fuel in China and India will continue to drive world usage, accounting for almost two-thirds of global coal demand by 2030, the agency said.

The relentless growth, which would imperil attempts to cut global carbon emissions, can only be stemmed if the coal is displaced by cheap gas, as seen with the US shale gas boom, the IEA said.

Electricity prices, which are affected by coal prices, could feel the ‘‘disproportionate impact of a few decisions taken in China and India’’, it warned.

Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA’s executive director, said: ‘‘Coal’s share of the global energy mix continues to grow each year, and if no changes are made to current policies, coal will catch oil within a decade.’’

The report, which predicts trends in the coal market to 2017, suggests coal demand will reach the energy equivalent of 4.32 billion tonnes of oil by that year - narrowly below 4.4 billion tonnes of demand for oil itself.

Global coal consumption, which is measured in in tonnes of coal equivalent - the industry standard to reflect energy content rather than physical weight - will reach 6.2 billion tonnes in 2017, up from 5.3 billion in 2011.

China’s share will rise to more than half of that, while India will become the world’s second-largest coal user.

‘‘With coal counting for more than 40pc of electricity generation globally it is clear that Chinese and Indian coal market decisions will have an impact on our electricity bills,’’ the IEA said.

With climate change policy low down international priorities, ‘‘neither climate policy nor a macroeconomic slowdown stops the relentless increase of coal - but cheap natural gas can’’, it said.

Highlighting the massive impact of the boom in shale gas in the US, the IEA said that coal demand would increase ‘‘in every region of the world except in the United States, where coal is being pushed out by natural gas’’.

But while cheap coal is currently fuelling demand in Europe, this trend is ‘‘close to peaking’’ due to environmental policies and by 2017 European coal demand will return to levels only slightly above those in 2011, the IEA said.


The federal wetlands war

In August 1993, the Clinton administration announced a new policy that tightened the federal noose over private lands. The White House Office on Environmental Policy (echoing a 1988 George H.W. Bush campaign promise) proclaimed a national goal of no net loss of wetlands, creating a presumption that any citizen whose land was labeled “wet” by a federal bureaucrat lost his right to use his land. Previous wetlands definitions specifically prohibited only activities such as dumping dirt on so-called wetlands or otherwise building on them.

The Clinton administration announced that it was banning any activities on so-called wetlands that “have environmental effects of concern.” A federal attorney told an appeals court that, under the new policy, the Army Corps “could require a permit to ride a bicycle across a wetland” — though the Corps was careful not to outrage the cycling lobby.  A White House press release suggested that “Congress should amend the Clean Water Act to make it consistent with the agencies’ rulemaking.” It was unusual for federal officials to declare openly that Congress should be a rubber stamp; usually, agencies expand their own power and assume either that no one in Congress will notice or that no one on the Hill will have the gumption to stop them.

Federal agencies prosecuted private citizens on the basis of laws that had never been written, of memos that had never been made public, and of assumptions that could not stand the light of day. Nancy Cline, a mother of five young children, testified to Congress in 1995 that federal bureaucrats had hounded her and her husband for years. Her husband bought 350 acres of farmland in Sonoma County, California, to establish a winery. The fact that the land had been farmed for more than half a century did not stop the Army Corps from reclassifying it as a wetland. The Clines were threatened with fines of $25,000 per day and imprisonment up to one year if they continued farming.

When the Clines refused to bow to the Army Corps’s demands, the feds upped the ante and launched a criminal investigation. As Mrs. Cline told the House Judiciary Committee,
In January 1994, the FBI showed up. Obviously the Corps had no desire to discuss or resolve this issue. We were told to hire a criminal attorney…. Their issue was power and control. Their issue was an edict from the U.S. Attorney General demanding more criminal environmental convictions in the Ninth Circuit apparently short of the prescribed quotas.

The FBI and EPA interrogated neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers. They asked about our religion, whether we were intelligent, did we have tempers. They asked how we treat our children.

Our property was surveyed by military Blackhawk helicopters. Their cars monitored our home and our children’s school. They accused Fred of paying neighbors to lie. The FBI actually told one terrified neighbor that this investigation was top secret, with national-security implications. The community reeled, as did we.

We spent thousands of additional dollars to hire more attorneys. The Justice Department told our attorneys that unless we would plead guilty and surrender our land they would seek a criminal indictment of both Fred and me. According to one government attorney, I was to be included because I had written a letter to the editor of a local paper, in their opinion “publicly undermining the authority of the Army Corps.”
In December 1994, shortly after Republicans had recaptured Congress in part because of a “Contract with America” that called for greater respect for private-property rights, a Justice Department attorney informed the Clines’ attorney that the government had chosen not to proceed with criminal charges.

Other targets

Grace Heck, a 77-year old woman from Farmingdale, New Jersey, also submitted testimony to the House Judiciary Committee for its 1995 hearing on wetlands abuses. She related how she and her 82- year-old husband — who had had eight heart attacks — had been devastated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Hecks owned 25 acres of land which a local government had approved for building a 45-house subdivision. But after the Army Corps expanded the definition of “wetlands” in 1987, the project was blocked. The Army Corps claimed that the hardwood forest was actually a wetland. Moreover, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protested that the project should not be approved because a federally protected plant species was “within five miles of the proposed project site.”

The land was practically the only asset the Hecks possessed; after the Army Corps’s ruling, it became practically worthless. Instead of selling their property for $2 million, the Hecks were driven into near-destitution — forced to move into their daughter’s small house, no longer able to afford their family doctor, and not even able to afford hearing aids. Heck bitterly complained,
We have never asked our government for anything. We were proud to be Americans. Now we are ashamed of our country and a government that allows the bureaucrats to steal from its citizens under the false pretense that it is for the public good.

Ocie Mills, a Florida builder, and his son were sent to prison for two years for placing clean sand on a quarter-acre lot he owned. Mills had been a vocal critic of the EPA and was targeted for punishment by prosecutors and bureaucrats. As the Washington Legal Foundation noted,

The EPA did not file any civil- enforcement action and instead sought criminal indictments. If EPA’s goal was truly environmental protection, EPA would have filed a civil suit ordering the removal of the so-called pollutant. Instead, the sand remained on the property over two years while Mr. Mills and his son were in prison.

After Mills was released from the pen, he filed suit to have his felony conviction overturned. Federal Judge Roger Vinson, ruling on Mills’s suit in 1993, denounced the federal government’s wetlands interpretations as a “regulatory hydra … worthy of Alice in Wonderland.” Vinson concluded, “A jurisprudence which allows Congress to impliedly delegate its criminal lawmaking authority to a regulatory agency such as the Army Corps — so long as the Congress provides an ‘intelligible principle’ to guide that agency — is enough to make any judge pause and question what has happened.” Vinson denounced a bureaucratic interpretation that “a landowner who places clean fill dirt on a plot of subdivided dry land may be imprisoned for the statutory felony offense of discharging pollutants into the navigable waters of the United States.”

Gaston and Monique Roberge bought several acres of undeveloped land in Orchard Beach, Maine, in 1964. In 1976, they allowed the city government to dump some clean fill onto part of their lot. In 1986, a developer offered the couple $440,000 for their land — which the two of them considered their personal retirement fund. But the Army Corps announced that the land had miraculously become a wetland — largely because they had allowed the local government to place the clean dirt on the land. After Gaston Roberge publicly complained about what he considered an unfair decision, Army Corps field officer Jay Clement wrote a memo to his superiors stating, “Roberge would be a good one to squash and set an example.” The Roberges fought the feds in court, and the government paid the couple more than $300,000 in 1994 to settle their lawsuit alleging that the U.S. had “effectively and unjustifiably grabbed the property.”

Louise and Frederic Williams, saw their Little Compton, Rhode Island, property plummet in value by almost 90 percent — from $260,000 to less than $30,000 after federal agents declared the land a wetland. The Williamses, who in 1988 had started construction on a new home on the five-acre plot, were ordered by state environmental officials to tear down the partly built structure, and, at their own expense, follow a precise 13-point property-restoration plan. Mrs. Williams complained, “Not only did we have to plant what they dictated, but we had to make sure the trees were alive and well when they inspected them the next year.”

No plot too small

Even the smallest amount of alleged wetland can be sufficient to allow federal bureaucrats to seize control and paralyze owners. John Piazza, president of a construction company, received a permit from his local government to build a mini-storage facility on a seven-acre tract in Mount Vernon, Washington. But a federal agent claimed he had found three small wet areas on the land. Piazza redesigned his facility so that it would affect only 0.18 of an acre of wetland and resubmitted his proposal to the Army Corps. While Piazza’s revised application was gathering dust, the federal government redefined “wetlands” and, under the new   definition, the mini-storage project should have affected only 0.089 of an acre of wetland. Yet federal enforcers announced that Piazza would have to contribute $25,000 to a federal fund to buy wetlands elsewhere before he could build.

The Army Corps and the EPA were imposing controls over sections of a development as small as 26 square feet — roughly half the size of a Ping-Pong table. One Rhode Island town was forced to wait for almost two years to get federal permission to do mosquito-control work on 0.009 acres of wetlands. When federal bureaucrats assert control over a Ping-Pong-sized square in a plot of land, they can effectively prohibit the owner from building on a much greater portion of his property. And the legal costs of getting government permission to build on or near suspected wetlands can easily exceed $50,000 — a prohibitive cost for most individual landowners.

At the same time that federal officials were conducting vendettas against private citizens, a 1994 Interior Department report conceded that the federal government was the main culprit in the destruction of the nation’s wetlands. (The report had been mandated by Congress in 1985; in the time it took to complete the study, tens of thousands of jobs were lost and many lives were ruined because of arbitrary, absurd rulings against private landowners.) The 327-page report presented an alphabet soup of federal programs that undermined the American environment, ranging from the Army Corps of Engineers’ damming to the federal tax code. The report concluded that federal agricultural policy had played a key role in rewarding the conversion of more than 10 million acres of wetlands to cropland since the mid 1950s. The impact of agricultural policies dwarfed any other single factor in the loss of wetlands. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt declared, “Many of these programs are designed and financed in ways that violate the most basic principles of economics. Such programs distort market signals and provide subsidies that have both negative environmental and economic effects, wasting resources, and adding to the federal deficit.”

Unfortunately, this de facto federal confession did not stop bureaucratic vendettas against private property rights in the name of wetlands.



Three current articles below

Solar industry faces squeeze after review

Australia's nascent solar power industry is likely to face fresh obstacles after an independent federal agency backed further reductions in incentives for the sector although large-scale generators applauded the overall recommendations.

The Climate Change Authority today released its final report on its review of the Renewable Energy Target, which sets a goal for the electricity industry to draw 20 per cent of its power from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.

As expected the agency left the target for large-scale generators unchanged at 41,000 gigawatt hours per year by 2020, a goal that has fostered a surge in investment in renewable energy. As overall demand for power drops, the 41,000 GW-hour figure would amount to about 26 per cent of the sector by 2020.

Stability in the overall target would "provide a degree of certainty and predictability to investors in renewables", Bernie Fraser, chairman of the Authority, told a media conference.

Large generators of renewable energy applauded the recommendation to leave their target unchanged.

Securing investor certainty "has been the key problem of our industry," Miles George, chief executive of Infigen Energy, said. "The recommendations in the final report will help enormously to reduce that regulatory uncertainty."

The main changes - if adopted by the Gillard government - will come for the small-scale renewable energy scheme (SRES), such as roof-top solar photovoltaic panels.

Groups such as the Australian Solar Council say that proposed changes to how much roof-top solar can be installed on buildings such as shopping centres and school will only add to uncertainty for that segment of the market.

Household costs

The CCA recommended a number of measures to contain SRES costs. All up, the renewable energy scheme will add between $12 and $64 a year to household bills - or 1 per cent to 4 per cent of the total - between now and 2020, Mr Fraser said.

"One (change) is to lower the SRES eligibility threshold for small-scale solar photovoltaic units below its current level of 100 (kilowatts) to, say, 10kW to reduce the risk of a surge in solar PV installations on commercial buildings driving up costs," Mr Fraser said in a statement.

Generous feed-in tariffs offered by state governments and tumbling prices for PVs have seen almost 1 million Australian homes take up solar power. The roll-back of incentives, though, has seen the industry's growth slow and attention shift instead to potential commercial customers.

"The Authority recommends that the Australian government consult with stakeholders to determine an appropriate revised threshold; units above this threshold would be included in the capped large-scale scheme," the statement said.

“This is one step forward, one step back for solar” John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council, said.

“The proposal to move solar systems above 10 kilowatts into the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target will significantly undermine investor certainty and lead to business plans being ripped up," he said. "We need to encourage larger power users to invest in solar and this will be a backward step."

Not enough

The government and the Coalition have said they back the 20 per cent RET goal. The Greens and environmental groups have called for the target to be raised.

“I hope the Climate Change Authority stands firm in the face of fossil-fuel lobbying,” Greens leader Christine Milne said on Tuesday. “What we actually need is to shift to 100 per cent renewable energy as soon as possible, so we should set a minimum goal of 50 per cent by 2030.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation called on the government to reject the CCA's "weak recommendation" that Australia not set a 2030 renewable energy target until after a review in 2016.

“A business-as-usual response to the urgent problem of climate change is not good enough,” Claire Maries, ACF climate campaigner, said in a statement.

“In the last few weeks scientific authorities and famously conservative institutions like the World Bank, Bloomberg Businessweek and the International Energy Agency have confirmed that a status quo approach will see us heading for a world that is hotter and more dangerous by the end of this century," Ms Maries said.

“That’s a world where heat-related deaths are much more common, where there are more catastrophic bushfires, more floods and more frequent droughts."

The recommendation not to increase the RET target "is emblematic of a systemic failure to take the threat seriously."

Some nations are seeking more ambitious targets for renewable energy, such as Scotland’s goal of sourcing half its power by 2020 from renewable activities.

Germany aims for 35 per cent by then and a reduction in energy consumption by 10 per cent, although a report out overnight suggests current policies will see achievements fall short of those goals.


Lovers of complusion attack freedom from Green mandates

People can still install all the rainwater tanks they like.  The only difference is that it is now voluntary

KATTER'S Australian Party leader Ray Hopper said scrapping mandatory water tanks was short-sighted and showed the government had no plan for the future.

Mr Hopper, who defected from the Liberal National Party government a few weeks ago, said drought, rather than flood, was Queensland's natural state.

Laws needed to reflect that reality, he said.  "At a time when water storages in Queensland remain full, we should be looking at ways to protect our scarce resources so that they last into the future," he said.  "This government should be saving for the rainy day. Instead, it is flushing water security down the drain."

Earlier today, a sustainable housing lobby group attacked the Queensland government for scrapping green measures for new homes.

The government last week announced it would dump laws requiring all new homes to have rainwater tanks and gas, solar or heat pump hot water systems.

Housing Minister Tim Mander says the cost of building a new home could be reduced by more than $5000, and the initiatives are an unnecessary drag on the construction industry.

But the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) said the government had put the state in reverse with its "bizarre" decision.

Chief executive Rodger Hills said home sustainability measures were about keeping living costs down in the long term.

"They are consumer protection measures which stop people being locked into pain ... with homes that are not efficient, future-proof, and don't cater to cyclic drought conditions or energy price hikes," he said in a statement on Monday.

He said the policy to drop the sustainability measures guaranteed the average Queensland homeowner would be worse off.

"If the Newman government wants to see the voters who got them into office paying more for power and water in new homes, then scrapping these sustainability measures is the way to do it."


Qld. National parks to be unfrozen

Radical!  People will actually be able to use them!

THE State Government has stepped away from fundamental national park protection introduced by a conservative government more than 50 years ago.

It is set to ignore the cardinal principle, which determines that national parks have the highest protection of all land classes, by approving recreational activities and introducing 30-year leases for resort developments.

National Parks Association executive director Paul Donatiu said the cardinal principle was already being eroded by starting mountain biking in Conway National Park in north Queensland, quad bike tours in Woondum National Park on the Sunshine Coast and horse-riding in other parks.

This gave recreational enthusiasts free rein to damage parks, as had occurred with 4WD, horse and bike riders trashing Beenleigh's Plunkett Conservation Park.

Under the cardinal principle, introduced in 1959, outdoor recreation that is nature-based and ecologically sustainable is encouraged provided it does not conflict with or degrade other values such as the conservation of nature.

Mr Donatiu said the cardinal principle was embodied in the Queensland Biodiversity Strategy, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Master Plan and underpinned every management action.

"Queenslanders should be very concerned that anticipated changes to the Nature Conservation Act could remove, erode or lessen the application of this principle," he said.

Premier Campbell Newman did not respond to questions about the cardinal principle yesterday, saying the Government sought to encourage tourism.

"We want Queenslanders to enjoy national parks rather than be locked out," he said.

Mr Newman said the previous government's move to stop 4WDs using two small sections of Moreton Island beaches to allow safe pedestrian access was heavy-handed. "We are ending that sort of nonsense," he said.

Asked if National Parks Minister Steve Dickson would abandon the cardinal principle, a spokeswoman declined to answer but said the department was consulting with industry as part of a review of the Act.

"Part of this will include the option of 30-year leases for development of eco-tourism facilities," she said.

"For too long, eco-tourism has been choked by legislative red tape, while other naturally beautiful regions including Tasmania and New Zealand have forged ahead in creating multibillion-dollar industries."

Mr Donatiu said the comparison was incorrect because Queensland parks occupied less than 5 per cent of the state compared with Tasmania 24 per cent and NZ with 11.4 per cent.

Mr Donatiu said significant numbers of park-associated resorts had gone into receivership this year and many larger US parks were removing heavy tourism infrastructure.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


1 comment:

slkTAC said...

Coal is a tough one to fight. You can't light neighboring water supplies on fire, the output from the plants is visible, but often white (which means "non-toxic", you know) and any damage done is due to invisible particles. Sadly, those invisible particles don't even show up on geiger counters. You might be able to get Matt Damon to make a movie, but a movie would have to be about underground coal miners, which would be insensitive to those who have died in mines, or black lung, which is not really entertaining. Old guys die of black lung, not young, buxom women. It's very problematic.