Monday, November 18, 2019

Italy: Venice ‘on its knees’ after second-worst flood ever recorded

The worst flooding in Venice in more than 50 years prompted calls Wednesday to better protect the historic city from rising sea levels as officials calculated hundreds of millions of euros in damage.

The water reached 1.87 meters (6.14 feet) above average sea level Tuesday, the second-highest level ever recorded in the city and just 7 centimeters (2½ inches) lower than the historic 1966 flood. Another wave of exceptionally high water followed Wednesday.

The flooding was caused by southerly winds that pushed a high tide, exacerbated a full moon, into the city.

Rising sea levels because of climate change coupled with Venice’s well-documented sinking make the city built amid a system of canals particularly vulnerable. The sea level in Venice is 10 centimeters (4 inches) higher than it was 50 years ago, according to the city’s tide office.

Brugnaro blamed climate change for the “dramatic situation” and called for a speedy completion of a long-delayed project to construct offshore barriers.

Called “Moses,” the moveable undersea barriers are meant to limit flooding. But the project, which has been opposed by environmentalists concerned about damaging the delicate lagoon ecosystem, has been delayed by cost overruns and corruption scandals, with no launch date in site.

Across the Adriatic Sea, an intense storm with powerful winds caused floods in towns in Croatia and Slovenia.

In the Croatian town of Split, authorities said the flooding submerged the basement area of the Roman-era Diocletian’s Palace, where emergency crews battled to pump out the water.

Hydrographic Institute Croatia said sea levels on Wednesday in Split and Ploce were the highest since 1955, when monitoring started.


Last year, global warming made Venice canals run dry

It's versatile stuff, that global warming

Venice's iconic waterways have run dry after no rain has fallen in weeks. A combination of high atmospheric pressure in the upper Adriatic, cold weather and low tides left the famous canals dry.

Water levels have been reported to be up to 60cm lower than normal levels.

The retreating waters mean gondolas and water taxis have been unable to navigate the city’s elegant canals.

It is the second year in a row that Venice's canals have been left without water despite being prone to heavy flooding several times a year.

A mix of high pressure, low rainful and low tides that are common this time of year have cause Veince to run dry
The Venice canals are running 70 cm below it's normal water level

The low water levels in Venice has caused transport and navigation problems

Studies have indicated the city is sinking at a rate of 1-2mm a year.

In 2015 water levels were as much as 28 inches below normal levels.

Tourists were shocked by the lack of water in the famous city.

Venice’s record low was set in 1934, when the tide was four feet below average.


Steel and concrete are naughty too

“DANGER. No unauthorized entry. Hot rolling in progress.” If anything, the sign beneath the dirty hunk of industrial machinery underplays things. When the 11-tonne slab of metal I’ve been watching emerges from the furnace, heated to 1300°C, it glows incandescent white. Then it zips along a conveyor belt, hissing and steaming as it is cooled by water jets, before a line of rolling cylinders press it into the final product: a sheet of gleaming steel.

For all that we live in the digital age, we still rely on hot and dirty processes like this to construct our cities, homes and vehicles. Walking around the steelworks in Newport, UK, I get a sense of the immense energy required – and this is only the stage at which the steel is worked. Making it from raw iron ore is even more intensive. In fact, the production of steel and that other construction staple, concrete, accounts for as much as 16 per cent of humanity’s annual carbon dioxide emissions. That is equivalent to the carbon footprint of the US.

In the fight against climate change, heavy industries are the final frontier. Decarbonising transport and energy is the easy part. Steel and concrete are different beasts. It is much harder to produce them without releasing enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. And yet if we want to reach net-zero carbon targets, we can no longer ignore them.


Climategate – The whitewash continues

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Climategate — the biggest scandal in the brief, ignominious history of “climate science”. So naturally, the left-wing media has commemorated the occasion with a series of articles and a documentary which could all have been titled: ‘Move along, nothing to see here.’
The most egregious offender was a BBC4 documentary, Climategate: Science of a Scandal.

This examined the evidence with about the same diligence and objectivity of Stalin’s formal investigations into the massacre of Polish officers by his NKVD at Katyn in 1940 and reached much the same conclusion: the perpetrators were completely innocent.

Not only were they innocent but, furthermore, they were heroic, wronged, and martyrly.

It began with Michael ‘Hockey Stick’ Mann describing his shock and upset on being sent a package of mysterious white powder in the post and went downhill from there.

The take-home points of this shoddy, dishonest propaganda exercise were:

The Climategate scientists were just decent, hardworking, nice professionals doing an honest job

Climategate was a last ditch act of sabotage by a tiny minority of nasty, devious, anti-science climate deniers. A “rearguard assault on climate science” as Mann described it

The document dump was definitely not a leak but a criminal hack — an act of theft against a reputable and blameless scientific institution (the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia)

Any nefarious conclusions reached by sceptics were based on a few cherry-picked emails which they deliberately misrepresented to make them sound worse than they actually were, notably the ‘Hide the Decline’ email.

The Climategate scientists were really nice — oh, did we mention that already?

The Climategate scientists shed tears, real tears, not only at the time but also looking back, ten years on, when remembering how they felt at all those death threats they (allegedly) received from evil, vicious, hateful deniers.

Michael Mann’s ‘Hockey Stick’ chart, far from being just about the most widely discredited artefact in the history of junk science, was in fact an “iconic” image

The notorious Mike’s Nature Trick email was not, in fact, an extremely dodgy and unscientific “apples and oranges” attempt to fudge the results of inconvenient proxy data by splicing on real temperature data. It was – Mann again – “an entirely innocent and appropriate conversation between three scientists”.

Climate science is entirely trustworthy and in no wise did Climategate demonstrate anything to the contrary.

“The modern period was likely the warmest in the last 1,000 years” (Tim Osborn of the CRU). So take that, Medieval Warming Period! Just like Mann’s Hockey Team had always hoped you’ve finally been written out of history…

George Monbiot never wrote this in the Guardian after Climategate: “No-one has been as badly let down by the revelations in the emails as those of us who have championed the science”.

He can’t have done because he appeared on this documentary as one of the star witnesses, explaining how totally undamning and innocuous those emails in fact were.

The Climate Industrial Complex, as we know, operates like a giant tag team. Which is why a compliant media was ready and waiting to give this complacent piece of tosh the favourable attention it didn’t deserve.

Here is Guardian reviewer Lucy Mangan. (I love Lucy: she is my touchstone of wrong. If ever she writes favourably about something — be it the wokefest travesty that is the BBC’s His Dark Materials, or the PC atrocity that is Watchmen — you just know it’s going to suck, big time.)

She begins:

Is it pure arrogance that makes laypeople think they know better than scientists who have spent their lives painstakingly researching an issue? Or a desperate insecurity that makes them unable to stand the respect accorded to experts?

Yes, Lucy. Amateur psychoanalysis of your ideological enemies is so much easier than doing basic journalism, like, say, asking: “Do the claims in this TV documentary stand up?”

Unsurprisingly, Lucy can’t even get her basic facts right.

She dismisses Steve McIntyre, probably the most rigorous and scrupulous investigator of climate science shenanigans, as “Steve McIntyre, who worked in the fossil fuel industry.”

Not quite, but I can understand why young Lucy made this mistake. The documentary heavy-hinted that this was the case by captioning him — in order, of course, to slyly to discredit his testimony — “former minerals exploration executive”.

Here’s a bit more Lucy, just because I think it’s quite helpful to see how the left are busily spinning Climategate:

It is a story we are now depressingly familiar with, and it induces the same incredulous rage. Beyond the trolls, who have their own revolting pathology, who are these people who feel justified to try to undo a life’s work? Who feel able to set themselves up in judgment? What have they added to the sum of human knowledge?

Yeah — denying deniers with their wicked denialism! How dare they criticise such giants of intellect and integrity as Michael Mann and Phil Jones!

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard — a London freesheet read mainly as a last resort by desperate commuters when their mobile phones have run out of juice — went one further, by attempting to discredit one of the true heroes of the Climategate story, the guy who actually broke it in the mainstream media.

The mainstream media ran with the story just ahead of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen that December. James Delingpole published a piece in the Daily Telegraph, headed “Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’?” —  “climategate” being a  term he had picked up from an Australian blogger.

Hmm. I like the sound of that Delingpole guy. So much so that I’m going to tell you more about his side of the story in a Climategate special article tomorrow.

Finally, the Financial Times — a rampantly Europhile rag, highly favourable to the crony capitalism which gorges, leech-like, on the Potemkin industry of greenery. So, naturally enough, it too had kind words to say about the BBC’s Climategate whitewash.

Measured, circumspect, cautious, these were unlikely men to be at the heart of a global storm of controversy and invective. Although in a sense, global storms were their métier. 10 years ago, the scientists of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were accused of withholding and manipulating data after more than a thousand emails were hacked in a malicious attempt to deny their findings on climate change. Police investigating the breach classed it as a Category A crime, as serious as terrorism: the perpetrator was attempting to sway the decisions of nations on an issue of global concern.

The hacker was never caught, but this documentary rounds up other key players to lay out the instructive tale of “Climategate”. It did indeed derail the 15th UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, convening just a fortnight after the leak. Even more significantly, it sowed doubt in the minds of the public about the reality of global warming. And it all began with a simple, elegant image.

Actually, that claim about Climategate derailing the UN’s Copenhagen conference isn’t true: it’s a misleading claim made by the documentary in order to muddy the waters. In fact, Copenhagen fell to pieces because the Western nations (led by then U.S. President Obama) could not find an accommodation — and vice versa — with the emerging BRIC nations.

Correlation is not causation; anyway, it ought to be obvious that all the delegates at a UN climate conference are fully on board with the environmentalist programme. It’s hardly as though the release of a few emails, however discrediting of the alarmist cause, were ever going to derail the climate gravy train or deter those travelling on it.

At the beginning I mentioned Stalin. I’m going to end with him too by recalling this habit he had of airbrushing inconvenient people and events out of history.


Australia: Sacked Captain Creek fire brigade sits idle as state burns

Bureaucratic nastiness at work.  The brigade commander used his own initiative to fight a fire.  How Awful! The fact that the fire was defeated does not matter to the fire service top brass.  Their control was threatened and their own pathetic power is what really matters to them

While two states burn, most of the 49 volunteer firefighters of the rural brigade at Captain Creek, Queensland, twiddle their thumbs, seething that the well-performed unit was disbanded just when it was needed most.

As he tells the story, first officer John Massurit shakes his head: “Mate, you couldn’t make this up. We are ready, willing and able to go but they have taken away our vehicles, cancelled our membership and deregistered the brigade. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

By rights Mr Massurit’s team should be out there with their weary colleagues, holding the line against the dozens of bushfires that continue to threaten life and property from the tip of Cape York Peninsula to the Shoal­haven region south of Sydney.

But the brigade’s celebrated ­effort a year ago to help save Agnes Water, on the central Queensland coast, led to a bitter dispute ­between the outspoken Mr Massurit, 53, and Rural Fire Service command. It came to a head when its headquarters at Captain Creek was padlocked on November 2.

Fourteen homes have gone up in the Cobraball blaze near Yeppoon, less than two hours away. How sorely the RFS could use the skills and experience languishing at Captain Creek.

Venting her frustration, veteran firefighter Gail Jacobsen, 58, said she was so disgusted she would never again serve in the RFS after more than 20 years as a volunteer: “We are not perfect but we are bloody good at what we do. I think their problem is that John is loud. He is very passionate. He says what he thinks and I don’t think they like it.”

The brigade’s second officer, Jim Greer, 57, said the RFS had been so determined to drive out Mr Massurit it was prepared to sacrifice the rest of the unit.

“Why they would want to get rid of John Massurit, I have got no idea. He knows more about bushfires than those pencil-pushers ever will,” he said.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services command overseeing the RFS is standing its ground, insisting on Friday that an audit of the brigade had ­revealed “poor behaviour, misuse of brigade equipment and poor ­financial management”.

The unit was deregistered ­because it could no longer provide “an effective, safe and sustainable fire and emergency service ­response”, QFES said.

The finding was rejected by Mr Massurit and his supporters at Captain Creek, a hamlet of 100.

At the height of the Agnes Water drama a bulldozer broke down, leaving its driver and a two-person repair crew stranded in the path of the flames. Mr Massurit damaged an RFS 4WD while getting to them. He then boarded a QFES chopper to direct waterbombing operations credited with halting the fire before it could break into Agnes Water.

Last December, Mr Massurit was advised by QFES that he faced a long list of misconduct ­allegations including causing unnecessary damage to an RFS ­vehicle, improperly commandeering a helicopter, lighting unauthorised fires for backburning, unnecessarily calling in “expensive” aerial tankers and historic misuse of the brigade’s finances.

He was disqualified from his leadership role as first officer. Eventually, most of the adverse claims were downgraded or dropped. After Mr Massurit challenged the fairness of the QFES process, independent workplace investigators reported in July that only three allegations had been sustained: the vehicle damage, that he “went up in an operational helicopter without appropriate authority” and that he failed to comply with a direction to leave a fire ground for fatigue management, namely his own property.

On November 2 a site meeting of the brigade’s angry members was told by a delegation of brass headed by QFES Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Johnstone that they were being disbanded.

Police and other personnel were waiting around the corner to clear out the shed and drive away the two fire trucks. The gates were then locked.

Mr Massurit said he still had not received an explanation for the brigade’s axing at such a critical juncture, an issue taken up by Liberal National Party MP Stephen Bennett in state parliament and directly with Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford and the QFES leadership.

Mr Crawford said he had been assured by QFES that neighbouring brigades had been reinforced to cover Captain Creek. A spokesman for the agency said former members could apply to join other units in the area.



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.  

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