Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Faine and economic ignorance of the Left

December 9, 2010

Water tanks would cost nearly 200 times more…

Jon Faine, spruiking Green policies on the ABC yet again this week, promotes the mandating of rain tanks for Melburnians. This desire of his underlines the economic and mathematical illiteracy of the Left. They can’t do sums, and have no idea of real costs to real people, most of whom can simply not afford the luxuries they indulge in themselves.

From my reckoning [figures from official government websites]:

The average total cost of a 5,000 litre tank is around $3,137.

For a Melbourne population of 4,644,950, there are 1,667,687 households. Therefore, the total price for mandating rain tanks would be approximately $5 billion and they would store a potential 8,330 ML of water.

The dam that Labor has refused to build, the Mitchell Dam, would have had a capacity of 500,000 ML. That is, one dam, costing around $1.5 billion — that is a third of the cost of rain tanks and equivalent to just three years of operation of the $5 billion desal plant — would have stored 62 times more water. This is, dollar for dollar, nearly 200 times more water for the money spent. Or to put it another way, Faine’s planned mandated water tanks, if they were to do what this one dam could do for $1.5 billion, would cost individuals the equivalent of $180 billion.

In addition, the proposed mandated rain water tanks would, in a drought, last an average household — at 155 litres per person — only two or three weeks.   The one extra dam would supply water to Melbourne, at the same rate — for around two years.

Maybe households in Fitzroy can afford this nonsense but it would either hurt the poor, or if subsidized, overwhelm the taxpayer. Either way, it is crazy economics and utterly stupid as a way of waterproofing a city like Melbourne. But do the fanatical greens care at all ?

From Nopenhagen to Yes We Cancun

December 6, 2010

The IPCC and Perma-socialism

A very amusing communication from Christopher Monkton has appeared on What’s Up with That, documenting the stupidity and waste that is the UN Climate Change Conference.

Instead, the Martini Marxists dancing the night away doing the Cancun Can-Can with the 25 pneumatic bunny girls in the newly-opened Playboy Casino on the ocean-front strip in Cancun have decided to copy the bureaucrats of the European Union, whose crafty, crabwise coup d’etat over the last three or four decades has transferred all real political power, little by little, treaty by treaty, to the dismal dictatorship of Brussels.

Read on about how the “enviro zombs’” plan to destroy democracy world wide. If these buggers get purchase, it will be quite depressing, really.

I Love A Sunburnt Country

December 2, 2010

A gentle reminder from Dorothea Mackellar

A big thanks to Dorothea Mackellar for this rigorous historical documentation of climate change, written before any real increases in industrial atmospheric carbon di-oxide, and before our modern, scientific understanding of the Indian Ocean Dipole or the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

It is time that our Prime Minister, the Chief Scientist, ABC presenters — including Tony Jones, Robyn “100 metres” Williams and Jon Faine — and all those other soppy green environmentalists with weak or wishful memories, reread this wonderful poem. I should remind them that the poem was written in 1906, just in case they think it was written about our recent, inexplicable ‘extreme’ weather events caused, according to these fools, by global warming.

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded Lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies –
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me.

The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Chief Scientist Sackett obfuscates

December 1, 2010

A true bureaucratic

It is difficult to imagine how Penny Sackett earned her title as Chief Scientist for Australia. Last night she was interviewed on Lateline where Tony Jones predictably failed to get any interesting information out of her. Jones gave a half hearted attempt to question what I call the “Dorethea Mackellar” factor, whether or not the drought and now the flooding rains is not a natural cycle rather than a consequence of global warming.

TONY JONES: Do you believe then there is a connection between the extremes or the extreme events in the Southern Oscillation Index and overarching global warming, is there any proof of that?

PENNY SACKETT: The – what we do know is that we can expect an increase in the severity and the frequency of extreme events. What we cannot say is that any particular single event is related to global warming. It’s rather statistically the number and the severity of them.

Jones tried again:

TONY JONES: But do you have a report or scientific advice for those farmers in the Murray-Darling who are essentially being told they may have to pack up their farms and stop being farmers because of climate change and restrictions to water in the future, even though they’re looking at large volumes of water now?

PENNY SACKETT: I think that holistically Australia will have to ask questions about what sort of food it can grow, where it can grow and how it can increase productivity.

He asked and repeated the question in various forms at least five times.

On nuclear energy, Ms Sackett was just as unforthcoming. This was the fourth question Jones asked her on that topic. Her fourth answer of course was basically the same as the previous three.

TONY JONES: But if the Government asked for your advice as a chief scientist on whether nuclear power’s a viable option for Australia and whether it would be beneficial, what would you say?

PENNY SACKETT: I’d say that we would need to study it. We would need to get a series of experts in who would not only look at nuclear energy, but a whole suite of energy options and provide a report back. But I certainly wouldn’t be answering the question without looking carefully at the evidence.

On emission reductions, Ms Sackett was decisive.

TONY JONES: The Australian Government is currently promising a five per cent emissions reduction target. Do you regard that as a serious target that will achieve anything?

PENNY SACKETT: I regard any action that begins to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as serious – any reduction.

And so the dreary interview finally came to its end. This woman presumably gets paid a lot of money. Tax payers may ask what for?

And what about Tony Jones? With his token “hard” questions, he displayed absolutely no impatience, or insistence, that Sackett answer his questions. He, after all, is also on the global warming gravy trail.

A lesson in economics and optimism

November 10, 2010

On what principle is it, that when we see nothing but improvement  behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?

Thomas Macaulay

I have just reviewed an outstanding book that I consider the perfect foil for the pessimism of the Left, and an ideal primer for the economically illiterate. It would be an inspiring Christmas present for anyone floundering with notions of economic progress, who doubts man’s ability to respond to environmental problems, or for those worried by peak oil or climate change. It is the perfect response to silly books like Affluenza by Clive Hamilton,  or irresponsible alarmism Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, who so confidently predicted water shortages for Australian cities. But don’t expect this book being discussed in a literary festival or a “dangerous ideas’ talkfest. It is far too dangerous…

The Left’s fantasy of hatred and violence

October 22, 2010

No Pressure

Many have now commented on the sicko advertising campaign ‘No Pressure’ by Richard Curtis [pictured right] for a greener more caring environment, notably Andrew Bolt, and the way the Left seem to be attracted to hatred and violence.

The big thing that jarred for me was that Curtis was the director of Love Actually, one of my all time favourite films that is clearly the polar opposite of ‘No Pressure’. I defend Love Actually against all comers who prefer violent films, and films that obsess about unhappy dysfunctional and neurotic anti-heroes; the sort of film one critic called social worker porn. But that is another story.

I raise this issue tardively, as I have just read James Delingpole’s very eloquent essay in the lastest Spectator on just why the latest Curtis effort was truly not funny. It is well worth reading. He emphasises the Green Left’s contempt for humans, which is generally well known. That this is true, does explain, by extrapolation, why the Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s recent report on water allocation for the river left out any consideration for our farmers and riverine communities. Delingpole concludes:

After all, when your movement’s key influences, from Rachel Carson through Teddy Goldsmith to James Lovelock, are telling you that the human species is a ‘cancer’ on the planet, what better solution could there possibly be than a spot of radical surgery?

National hysteria on carbon warms up

September 16, 2010

BHP lemmings over the cliff, or self interest?

There seems to be an urgent rush towards the cliff of righteousness with everyone and his drover’s dog wanting to pay carbon taxes. Or is it clever strategic deals being made in the name of stupidity. Alan Moran looks closely at BHP Billiton’s Marius Kloppers’ intentions and crunches some numbers.

In seeking a price on carbon for Australia, Kloppers presumably is not advocating that BHP start to pay it immediately on the 103 million tonnes of coal a year it sells. If so, even with a tax set as low as $25 a tonne of CO2, he is advocating a payment from his shareholders of $5 billion a year.

The ABC does it again

September 16, 2010

Not a conspiracy, just wishful thinking and laziness

A few days ago there was an excellent analysis by Marc Hendrickx, a consulting geologist, of some of the problems that many have been raising about ABC bias in relation to climate change in The Australian. A more detailed version can be seen at his excellent and very valuable ABC News Watch site.

Hendrickx has had a close look at the ABC Online’s “A journey through climate history”, which purports to show “key events in the climatic history of the planet”. The problem is, according to Hendrickx, and unsurprisingly for us sceptics, is that it is riddled with mistakes.

Thirteen basic scientific errors were identified in the presentation, along with numerous mistakes that suggested a review of the content was warranted. ABC made seven corrections to the presentation. A subsequent Independent Complaints Review Panel report found against claims of bias on a number of the timeline pages. An independent review of the content was never undertaken and now 30 additional errors have been raised with the ABC, the most telling of these probably being the confusion between the chemical symbols for cobalt (Co) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Again I ask, when will the ABC treat the important topic of climate change impartially and with a modicum of objectivity. A recent post of mine showed the slipperiness of Robyn Williams with his unrepentant record of bias on the global warming industry. Jo Nova has a similar plea about Williams’ abdication of responsibility as a science journalist.

Robyn Williams is a good man who would be horrified to know that he is not defending the planet, but standing up for corrupt scientists, plundering bureaucrats, and profit-taking bankers. I make no suggestions that he is profiting from spreading such poor reasoning, or that he is corrupt. He is simply working from devastatingly mistaken assumptions: He assumes the modelers are right; he assumes the peer review system is working; he assumes that science will work properly if only one side of a theory is fully funded, and he assumes that UN bureaucrats will publish recommendations that don’t support an increase in their own power and status.

In short, he assumes people will be honest despite massive temptations of all kinds to do otherwise.

I assume people will be people.

Look at the evidence, Robyn. Please.

A change of belief for Robyn Williams

September 4, 2010

What exactly was “One hundred metres” Williams talking about?

There was a very interesting excerpt from the first ABC Science Show with Robyn Williams from 1975 to celebrate the programme’s 35 years. In it, Williams was interviewing Peter Ritchie-Calder, father of infamous Nigel Calder, the internationally renowned British global warming sceptic.  I got the impression that Williams was making the point that all that long ago he was on the money, already talking about carbon pollution and the dangers of global warming. But, in listening carefully to what they both said, there is a strange feeling that something was missing.

Robyn Williams: Hello, this is Robyn Williams in Vancouver with the very first edition of The Science Show.

Yes, we’re 35 this week, and so today a brief look back to 1975. And what is really striking in Science Show number one is that even then we were talking about climate and energy sources. What have we learned? Just listen.

Lord Ritchie-Calder came to Vancouver to talk about energy problems, a subject he knows all about having sat on countless advisory panels over the years.

Peter Ritchie-Calder: In the course of the last century we’ve put 360,000 million tonnes of fossil carbon into the atmosphere. On the present trends the accumulated requirements between now and 2000 AD will come out as something like 11,000 million tonnes of coal a year, 200,000 million tonnes of crude petroleum and liquid natural gas, and 50 million million cubic metres of natural gas. Remember, this is coming out of the bowels of the Earth, and now we are taking it out and we’re throwing it back into the atmosphere, and into the climatic machine, into the weather machine, where it is beginning to affect the climate itself. Now this is a very serious matter, and to me there is no question that our climate has changed.

Robyn Williams: Do you expect the limitation to this ever-expanding use of fossil fuels to be due to either running out of them, or to this second question of climate effect?

Peter Ritchie-Calder: I think definitely that environmental factors…that you will simply be confronted with a situation which will make life virtually intolerable.

Robyn Williams: We’ve got these different possible techniques, there’s a nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, solar power, tidal power and so on. What do you think will happen to determine which of these will become the satisfactory energy source?

Notice that the issue for the discussion is energy. You can see, in the last two responses from Williams there is scant regard to the climate that Ritchie-Calder thinks is urgent. The programme was, after all, made barely a year after the first big and very damaging oil crisis of 1974, and Williams was only concerned with how to find an alternative “satisfactory energy source”. There was certainly no Robyn “100 metres” Williams jumping on the climate band wagon. Indeed, at that time, almost everyone was talking about global cooling and the prospects of an ice age due to carbon emissions.

Significantly, just after that show, in November 1975, the US National Academy of Sciences published a report, Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action. In it was stated the fact that

we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate.

Indeed, at the time most people were spooked by doomsday announcements of a runaway cooling of the planet. This comes from Newsweek, April 28, 1975

The Cooling World

There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth …

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.

Of course, this alarmism sounds almost identical to what the media publishes today, except that it is for the opposite reason! The problem is that it is hard to know with the excerpt Williams gave on his Science Show promotion the other day, whether or not he and Ritchie-Calder were not referring to global cooling and the impending ice age, if indeed Williams was thinking much about climate change at all.

Maybe Williams could clarify that for us.

ABC spruiks carbon tax

July 22, 2010

One eyed Fran does it again

Fran Kelly was at it again this morning, spruiking global warming, carbon taxes and encouraging the Gillard government to take tough action, in spite of acknowledging that this “has already played a major role in the political downfall of two prime ministers, John Howard and Kevin Rudd, and two opposition leaders, Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull”.

So, to discuss the urgency of introducing something—anything—to stop global warming, Fran invited the “economist” Dr Richard Denniss, Executive Director of the Australia Institute onto the programme. Dr Denniss comes with good credentials. Not flagged in the introduction by Fran, is the fact that he is an activist [on the good side], that he has worked as Strategy Adviser to the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown and as Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja. To top it off, Dr Denniss is also the co-author of the best selling Affluenza with Dr Clive Hamilton [another darling of the ABC]. But, being ABC listeners, I presume we were supposed to know these things already.

Fran raised the issue of the Prime Minister’s Citizens Assembly. Her worry of course  is that it might come up with the wrong answer. But, how can that be, when the whole idea of such an Assembly is precisely to get the answer you wanted in the first place? It has been done before.

Dr Denniss found this an appalling policy, “a new excuse” to do nothing. It was time, he said …  “to move forward”. Ouch! He reminded us that in 2007 “the overwhelming majority of the population wanted action on climate change”. To her credit, Fran tried to explain to him that this had changed since then because of Copenhagen amongst others things. Presumably, Dr Denniss hasn’t read the recent Gallaxy poll that shows that two-thirds of Australians now doubt the scientific consensus on global warming and that they  are no longer confident they’re hearing all the facts.

Nevertheless, Dr Denniss called for a stop to “building coal fired power stations”. Recall that he was introduced to the programme as an economist. “It’s her [Gillard’s] job to tell people that they have to take it on the chin, and we have to move forward with her. It’s what the vaste majority of the population want”!!

Fran should invite Professor Bob Carter onto the programme to restore some balance and explain a few facts about the present situation on global warming. Professor Carter is certainly the most articulate and informed scientist in Australia to provide an alternative view, but unfortunately he has been effectively banned from the ABC.

We know that Fran would never want to break the picket-line however. Nor is she in the least interested in genuine balance.