Friday, January 03, 2014

David Suzuki, The Smiling Face of Fraud

Things haven’t gone well for David Suzuki recently. Suzuki is the long-time host of CBC Television’s popular The Nature of Things, leader of the Canadian environmental movement, and founder of a deep-pocketed philanthropic organization called the David Suzuki Foundation (which raises money by, among other things, warning children at Christmas that unless their parents donate, Santa’s workshop will sink into a melting North Pole). In 2011, he was named by a Reader’s Digest poll the “most trusted” Canadian. Lately, however, Suzuki has found himself on the defensive, reduced to ad hominen attacks in an attempt to camouflage what critics have been saying for years: that he has inadequate knowledge of the climate science about which he has spent many years pontificating and from which he has made a sizable personal profit.

Observers of Suzuki’s career have been crying foul for some time. David Solway has written numerous articles and a book, Global Warning, wittily exposing Suzuki’s record of faulty prediction and messianic failure. In a 2012 article for FrontPage Magazine, for example, he highlighted Suzuki’s dubious financial backers (which include corporations that invest in China), recent allegations of under-reporting of foreign funding, and engagement in political advocacy inconsistent with tax-free charitable status — conduct that, when brought to light in 2012, led Suzuki to step down as head of the foundation that still bears his star-quality name.

Sun News host Ezra Levant has produced a series of news shows lambasting Suzuki’s manifest hypocrisy. Typical of Levant’s attack strategy was a recent Toronto Sun newspaper piece called “The Two Suzukis,” in which Levant repeatedly counterpointed the public figure Suzuki has created — the “Saint Suzuki” who lectures Canadians on limiting their environmental footprint by reducing consumption (see here, for example) — with the “Secret Suzuki” few people know, the multi-millionaire capitalist who owns various energy-guzzling large properties, jets around to fundraising and media appearances, and demands lavish fees ($30,000 on average) for speaking engagements. This aging counterculture activist who once compared human beings to maggots and who spoke to encourage a particularly pointless “Occupy Vancouver” group in 2011 turns out to be — well, a comfortable member of the 1%.

But matters got a lot worse for Suzuki recently. On a jaunt to Australia to discuss his major subject — climate change and the need for drastic measures to combat it — Suzuki engaged in some uncharacteristically unscripted discussion, with disastrous results. Normally he is careful to vet questions from his audiences, and one can see why. In front of a group that failed to be awed by Suzuki’s demigod status, Suzuki floundered and looked foolish. In response to a question about the documented absence of climate warming over the past fifteen years — the major question any climate authority must be prepared to answer — Suzuki resorted to the typical strategies of radical environmentalism: flat-out fabrication (“… the warming continues!”) and counterattack claiming that data debunking the warming hypothesis comes from tainted sources (“… there may be a climate skeptic down in Huntsville, Alabama …”).

The problem, however, was that the data being cited actually came from the major data-gathering stations relied upon by the UN’s own International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which anyone who had devoted a decade to preventing “catastrophic warming” should have known. In other questioning, Suzuki was similarly off-balance and outrageous, reiterating his claim, for example, that climate-skeptic politicians should face criminal sanctions. The Australian debacle was a startling revelation that the environmentalist guru does not understand the basic elements of the science upon which he has made his reputation.


We live in a COOL era

The paper below shows that earth was much hotter in prehistoric times  -- despite CO2 levels being comparable

Pliocene Warmth, Polar Amplification, and Stepped Pleistocene Cooling Recorded in NE Arctic Russia

Julie Brigham-Grette et al.


Understanding the evolution of Arctic polar climate from the protracted warmth of the middle Pliocene into the earliest glacial cycles in the Northern Hemisphere has been hindered by the lack of continuous, highly resolved Arctic time series. Evidence from Lake El’gygytgyn, in northeast (NE) Arctic Russia, shows that 3.6 to 3.4 million years ago, summer temperatures were ~8°C warmer than today, when the partial pressure of CO2 was ~400 parts per million. Multiproxy evidence suggests extreme warmth and polar amplification during the middle Pliocene, sudden stepped cooling events during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition, and warmer than present Arctic summers until ~2.2 million years ago, after the onset of Northern Hemispheric glaciation. Our data are consistent with sea-level records and other proxies indicating that Arctic cooling was insufficient to support large-scale ice sheets u


Europe wants to block UK wind farm subsidies

EU does some good?

The European Commission is to order Britain to end wind farm subsidies.  Officials have told ministers that the current level of state support for renewable energy sources must be phased out by the end of the decade.  Taxpayer support for solar energy must also be cut, the commission will say.

The commission, which oversees the European single market, is preparing to argue that the onshore wind and solar power industries are “mature” and should be allowed to operate without support from taxpayers. Under the single market rules, European Union governments are forbidden from providing long-term “state aid” to domestic industries that can function without support.

A Government source said European officials have privately warned ministers that they must reduce public support for onshore wind and solar generators.

“The commission has been making pretty clear that it’s moving towards saying that these industries are mature and state aid won’t be allowed,” he said.

Although Conservative ministers sometimes criticise the EC for its interference in domestic matters, they are understood to be keen to cooperate in the case of renewable energy subsidies.

“I never thought I’d say this but the commission is absolutely right about this,” a Conservative minister said.  “It’s absurd that taxpayers are being made to subsidise wind technology.”

The operators of onshore wind turbines get subsidies that increase the price they are paid for the power they generate.

Wholesale energy prices are typically about £55 for a megawatt hour of power. But onshore wind generators are paid about £90. Ministers have started reducing those subsidies, cutting tariffs applied to household bills and slashing guaranteed prices for onshore wind.

But pressure from the EC is expected force the Coalition to introduce a less generous system of support for onshore wind and solar power.

That new regime, which could be in place in less than two years, will see wind farm operators competing with each other for a share of a reduced pool of public subsidies. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, said earlier this month he was preparing to announce that onshore wind and solar farm developers would be forced to compete to secure government subsidies.

The commission is expected to announce the results of a review of support for renewable energy as soon as later this month.

Despite British enthusiasm for reducing subsidies, politicians in other EU states may resist pressure to withdraw public support for renewables.

Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s climate action commissioner, said the eventual aim was the end of state aid for wind power. “One of the things Europe has to do better is how we subsidise renewables,” she said.

“That is why the commission is reviewing state aid guidelines for energy, including renewables.”

“My view is that if you have mature technologies, renewables or not, they should not have state aid. If they can manage themselves why have state aid?”

Policy Exchange, a think tank with close links to the Conservatives, has called for steep cuts in subsidies, which would eventually reduce household bills.


Millions of trees chopped down to make way for Scottish wind farms

Millions of trees have been chopped down to clear the way for wind farms in Scotland’s countryside since Alex Salmond came to power, according to official figures published today.

The Forestry Commission has disclosed that more than 6,200 acres (2,510 hectares) of trees north of the Border have been felled to allow the construction of wind farms since 2007.

With the commission estimating that on average 810 trees are planted per acre, this is the equivalent of more than five million being chopped down.

Over the same period, fewer than 2,000 acres of trees have been replanted within wind farm sites. This means there has been net loss of around 3.4 million trees to make way for turbines.

The cull has been implemented despite the Scottish Government previously insisting it expected energy companies to undertake “compensatory replanting” when trees are destroyed in this way.

The Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the figures under the Freedom of Information Act, said they demonstrated the “wanton destruction” Mr Salmond’s green energy targets are inflicting on the countryside.

The SNP administration has set a target of generating the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the majority expected to come from onshore wind.

This has prompted a rapid spread of turbines across rural Scotland, with research published last year finding there were almost as many turbines north of the Border as in all the rest of the UK.

The Daily Telegraph disclosed how Scottish Government officials were exerting unprecedented pressure on planning authorities to allow more wind farms even in the face of fierce local opposition.

Murdo Fraser MSP, the Scottish Tory energy spokesman, said: “The SNP is so blindly obsessed with renewable energy that it doesn’t mind destroying another important environmental attribute to make way for it.

“It’s quite astonishing to see almost as many trees have been destroyed as there are people in Scotland. The contribution of trees to our environment has been well established through the ages.

“I’m still waiting to see compelling evidence of the contribution wind farms make. If the Scottish Government cooled its ludicrous renewable energy targets, we wouldn’t see this kind of wanton destruction and intrusion on our landscape.”

Of the 6,202 acres of trees felled on Scotland’s national forest estate since 2007 to make way for wind farms, the figures said 1,957 acres (31.5 per cent) have been replanted.

A further 3,467 acres (56 per cent) had deliberately been “left open for environmental management”, while the remaining 778 acres (12.5 per cent) had not been replanted despite not being designated to be left open.

The Scottish Government said the Tories claims “misrepresent the full picture” as only the 778 acres were suitable for the planting of another rotation of trees.

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Environment Minister, said: “To put it in real context, in the same six year period, Forestry Commission Scotland has supported over 31,400 hectares of new planting – that's a staggering 62 million trees in the ground across Scotland.

“Scotland is also shouldering the vast majority of tree planting in Britain with nearly two and a half times more tree planting in Scotland compared to south of the Border.”

He said planning guidance had been tightened up to ensure tree felling is kept to a minimum and replanting undertaken “where suitable”.

Meanwhile, figures compiled by anti-wind farm campaigners suggest the number of turbines in the Scottish Borders is likely to increase beyond 600 in 2014.

Mark Rowley, chairman of Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus community council, has calculated there are 441 large-scale turbines in the area already constructed or given planning permission. This includes 373 in Berwickshire.

Planning applications for a further 185 have been submitted, while 47 were at the appeal stage of the process. In addition, wind farm companies are scoping and screening sites with the potential for a further 400 turbines.

Scottish Government officials have rejected complaints from individual councils that they should be able to declare a moratorium on building more wind farms because they have “done their share”.


Australian fishery folly

The Greenies are all for "renewable" resources  -- except when it comes to fish

The most interesting person at the table, for me, was a commercial fisherman, which meant he lived far outside my urban bubble. He loved what he did, and was a conservationist, but he felt besieged. Along with the rest of his industry, he believed Australia was engaging in what I term fish porn.

Thanks to the zeal of the environmental movement, personified by the Greens, Australia has shrunk its fishing industry by 90 per cent even though it is one of the most highly regulated and scientifically scrutinised in the world. In so doing, we are pushing demand to all the wrong places. As the fisherman said:

"If we are not using our own marine resources but are enjoying a seafood meal at the expense of someone else, it's an immoral position to be in."

He directed me to a documentary, Drawing the Line, financed by a Northern Territory mackerel fisherman, Bruce Davey, which put the case that Australia, by closing off 3 million square kilometres as marine reserves, would do more harm than good to global fish stocks.

"The irony is," Davey says, "as we have less and less domestic catch, the fish we import is more and more from less sustainable fisheries … places like China, Thailand, Africa." The documentary quotes Colin Buxton, of the University of Tasmania, warning: "The mere act of drawing a line doesn't confer any protection at all. All we are doing is eliminating fishing."

My fishing friend also loathed the carbon tax and thought it had been highly corrosive to business while achieving nothing. He even checked his electricity bill later and called me with the numbers: in December 2010, his monthly bill was $1617. Last month it was $2255, an increase of 40 per cent in three years, with no expansion in usage or equipment.

This increase, plus ever-increasing compliance costs, made him decide not to hire a part-time assistant, so he saw the tax as a job-killer and price-riser.


Stuck on a ship of (cold) fools

An editorial in "The Australian" newspaper.  The fact that the expedition was a Warmist one was blacked out in most U.S. news reports; Not so in Australia

YOU have to feel a touch of sympathy for the global warming scientists, journalists and other hangers-on aboard the Russian ship stuck in impenetrable ice in Antarctica, the mission they so confidently embarked on to establish solid evidence of melting ice caps resulting from climate change embarrassingly abandoned because the ice is, in fact, so impossibly thick.

The aim of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Chris Turney of the University of NSW, was to prove the East Antarctic ice sheet is melting. Its website spoke alarmingly of "an increasing body of evidence" showing "melting and collapse from ocean warming". Instead, rescue ships and a helicopter, all belching substantial carbon emissions, have had to be mobilised to pluck those aboard the icebreaker MV Akademik Schokalskiy from their plight, stuck in what appears to be, ironically, record amounts of ice for this time of year.

In that lies a hard lesson for those who persistently exaggerate the impact of global warming. We believe in man-made climate change and are no less concerned than others about it. But the cause of sensible policy is ill-served by exaggeration; there is a need for recognition of the science, which shows there are variations in how climate is changing and what the impact is, or will be.

Professor Turney's expedition was supposed to repeat scientific investigations made by Douglas Mawson a century ago and to compare then and now. Not unreasonably, it has been pointed out Mawson's ship was never icebound. Sea ice has been steadily increasing, despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's gloomy forecasts. Had the expedition found the slightest evidence to confirm its expectation of melting ice caps and thin ice, a major new scare about the plight of the planet would have followed. As they are transferred to sanctuary aboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis, Professor Turney and his fellow evacuees must accept the embarrassing failure of their mission shows how uncertain the science of climate change really is. They cannot reasonably do otherwise.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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