`Stop Press' Stories

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For stories September to December 2002, see below

Wind Power    (24 Dec 02)
The Know-Nothing `Genius'   (20 Dec 02)
Greenhouse Jargon Explained  (21 Dec 02)
Grass Science   (15 Dec 02)
Canada Ratifies Kyoto    (11 Dec 02)
"The  Greenhouse  Delusion"    (8 Dec 02)
Energy Conservation    (7 Dec 02)
The Cost of Wind Power  (30 Npv 02)
Flying High (30 Nov 02)
Perverse Incentive    (24 Nov 02)
Pan Evaporation   (19 Nov 02)
The Wind or the Willows     (12 Nov 02)
The First - and Last - Step    (4 Nov 02)
His Master's Voice   (2 Nov 02)
Cold October in U.S.    (2 Nov 02)
Russia Goes Cool on Kyoto    (28 Oct 02)
Greenland Melting?  (27 Oct 02)
Drought in Australia   (26 Oct 02)
Shishmaref, Alaska     (20 Oct 02)
Wet and Dry - Simultaneously  (26 Oct 02)
New Zealand  Targets Kids    (12 Oct 02)
Scandal !  (12 Oct 02)
New Zealand to Ratify Kyoto (12 Oct 02)
Wind Farms Threat to Critics     (1 Oct 02)
Methane on the Wane     (30 Sep 02)

Wind Power    (24 Dec 02)

The Greens invest `renewable energy' with almost magical powers to cure all environmental and economic ills.  In particular, they have tied their flag to the mast of wind power - those ugly 3-bladed turbines which are blighting an increasing proportion of the most spectacular landscapes.

In many cases, these monsters get more `wind power' than they bargained for.  These series of photos show why - (Click your `back' button to return from each photo to this page).  Enjoy.

Photo 1      Photo 2      Photo 3      Photo 4      Photo 5      Photo 6      Photo 7      Photo 8      Photo 9      Photo 10

Plus,      a set of 5 photos here

The Know-Nothing `Genius' (20 Dec 02)

Canadian politics has just taken a turn for pure comedy (or perhaps tragedy) with the publication in the Ottawa Citizen (19 Dec) of statements by Prime Minister Chrétien and Environment Minister David Anderson [ story here ].  In end-of-year interviews, they both justified their ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty which will wreak enormous damage to the Canadian economy and taxpayers - that is, if its terms are actually implemented.

Anderson now tells us that Chrétien's decision to ratify the protocol was based on a `gut feeling', and not on any detailed knowledge of the treaty itself.  It is not common knowledge that international treaties take precedence not only over ordinary law, but also over national constitutions.  In other words, this prime minister, sworn to protect his country's interests, signs a far-reaching treaty which is superior even to the country's constitution, and he doesn't even know what he is signing.  

Chrétien even described the Kyoto Protocol as part of his prime ministerial legacy.  This is a common ego trip of many politicians with delusions of adequacy - their need to be judged by history as visionary leaders of destiny.

It gets worse.  Anderson further stated "His (Chrétien's) critics, who frequently denounce this (the protocol), fail to realize it is one of the signs of his genius that he doesn't want to know too much about certain things."

So there we have it.  In Environmental politics, ignorance is not only bliss, but is even taken as a sign of genius.

Perhaps both Chrétien and Anderson have gotten religion - the new religion of environmentalism.  That's not my word for it, but how it is eloquently described by one Angela Padilla writing on 16th December in the Globe and Mail. She describes her `conversion to environmentalism' in this letter.  It makes for scary reading, especially as climate skeptics are characterised by her as `heretics'. 

Greenhouse Jargon Explained  (21 Dec 02)
mainly) by D'Arcy Russell

The following list of phrases and definitions might help you to understand the language of "Greenhouse".

Greenhouse Jargon

"Aerosol sulphates"
"Carbon credits"
"Computer enhanced"
"Climate change"

"Change of climate"
"Correct within an order of magnitude"
"A discernable human influence"
"General circulation model"

"Greenhouse effect"
"Greenhouse friendly"
"A highly significant area for study"
"It has long been known"

"It is believed"
"It is generally accepted"
"Planet Earth"
"Precautionary Principle"
"According to statistical analysis"

"The Sun"
"Three examples are presented"
"Worse than previously thought"
"Not inconsistent with ..."
"Kyoto Protocol"

English Translation

Environmentally friendly acid rain
Crop waste grown where the forest used to be.
What you get from chopping down old forests to grow new trees
What humans do to the climate

What nature does to the climate
Can't be modelled accurately so are therefore irrelevant
.... in writing the climate computer model and interpreting the results
A model to take as much money out of general circulation as possible

A theory that says trace gases have similar properties to solid glass
Expensive, unreliable or inefficient
A totally useless topic for which funding is available
"I couldn't find the original reference"

"I think so"
"A couple of others think so too"
A virtual simulation of real climate models
Chopping your leg off so your scratched toe won't get gangrene
"Rumour has it"

 Something that could not possibly affect climate
(The others contradicted the hypothesis)
"My research funding is beginning to dry up"
Pretentious double negative to impress peers
A wish list for Santa

Grass Science   (15 Dec 02)

It is now widely understood that enhanced levels of atmospheric CO2 will have beneficial effects on all plants, enabling them to grow faster, with greater  vegetable mass, and use less water in doing so.

The last thing the `global warming' proponents want is for any perceived benefit arising from CO2 emissions to be admitted to publicly.  Consequently, we see several "It's a benefit to plants, but..." type papers, where the authors dig up obscure and unlikely reasons why the benefit might be less than anticipated.

The latest published paper in that genre (Science, v.298, p.1987, 6 Dec 2002), titled `Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2' by Shaw et al., engages in a series of speculations leaving the reader no wiser as to the point the authors are trying to make.

They even assert "Thousands of published papers describe plant or ecosystem responses to elevated CO2."  (p.1989). With that many papers on such an esoteric subject, (along with the massive funding spent in the preparation of those studies), one would be justified in wondering why yet another paper is even needed.  Clearly this issue has been the subject of scientific overkill - funded by the taxpayer who has had little or no value in return.

Indicative of the lack of clear reasoning in so many papers inspired by `global warming' is this verbose closing summary of the Shaw et al paper, a gem of modern `science-speak' - or how to avoid using two words when twenty will do.

"Ecosystem responses to realistic combinations of global changes are not necessarily simple combinations of the responses to the individual factors.  Accurate predictions of ecosystem responses to suites of global changes depend on successful integration across a range of processes and time scales.  Multifactor experiments on ecosystems that are easy to manipulate can provide a rich source of examples as well as test beds for exploring hypotheses with the potential to explain the responses of a wide range of ecosystems.  Future experiments should develop theoretical and empirical frameworks for integrating information from these model ecosystems with information from less easily studied ecosystems that play important roles in the carbon cycle." 

Where's George Orwell now that we need him?  

Canada Ratifies Kyoto    (11 Dec 02)

So they finally did it. As expected, the Canadian federal parliament voted 195-77 for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The opposition parties opposed the treaty and they now stand to gain electoral support at the expense of the governing Liberals once the full cost of Kyoto sinks into the voting public.

Down the political track, some Canadian politicians might attempt to hide behind the excuse that he/she had not been warned that this would be a costly exercise in futility for the Canadian taxpayer. There has been warning aplenty, and now they have to confront something much more difficult than merely signing a piece of paper.

They now have to come up with the complex technical solutions and enabling legislation needed to fulfil the demands of the protocol, that Canada reduce its emissions by 6% on 1990 levels - and do so within the next 10 years. Canada's emissions are already around 20% above 1990 levels, so a cut of 20 - 30% on current levels will involve nothing short of a dramatic retraction of the Canadian economy to see those targets fulfilled.

And the climatic impact will be nil.

Mere media propaganda, so successful in selling the protocol to parliament, will be of no help in securing practical compliance of the whole of Canadian industry and society. It's one thing for politicians to sign an ill-conceived contract - the small print and implications of which they have shown little understanding of - but it will be quite something else to force every citizen, every provincial government, every company, every driver of a car, every home-owner heating their home, every worker worried about their job, every taxpayer, to comply with the draconian measures which are now required to fulfil the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. It will take a lot more than government exhortations, pleadings, or propaganda.

The initial effect of implementing Kyoto measures on business will be for many of them to close their operations in Canada and move across the border to the U.S., leaving behind unemployed Canadians. 

There is but one comfort for Canada - this contract expires in 10 years.

"The Greenhouse Delusion"    (8 Dec 02)

Book Review - "The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of `Climate Change 2001' " by Dr Vincent Gray (New Zealand), Multi-Science Publishing, Brentwood, Essex, UK 2002

Dr Vincent Gray is a research scientist who has specialised in climate science for the past 12 years. He is an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and has written extensively on climate change issues.  He has become a noted critic of the IPCC scenarios of `global warming' and his latest book is a detailed critique of the IPCC's latest report.

The Greenhouse Delusion is certainly detailed in respect of climate science, but is also highly readable for the scientifically literate lay reader.  The book begins with a history and description of the so-called `Greenhouse Effect' (the phenomenon held responsible for global warming), and shows how the IPCC has been playing definition games with phrases and clichés like `climate change', `change of climate, and `climate variability'.

Dr Gray then goes to question the evidence surrounding claims of recent `global warming', drawing attention to the warming biases introduced by city and airport weather records, the lack of warming at the polar regions, and the inappropriate - and often misleading - statistical techniques frequently used by promoters of `global warming'.

And what exactly is a greenhouse gas?  Most people instantly think carbon dioxide, a gas which is essential for all plant life on the planet.  But Dr Gray shows that it is water vapour which is the dominant greenhouse gas, keeping our planet from freezing over. It represents 88% of the greenhouse effect.  And there are other players in the climate system - clouds, aerosols, methane, ozone, nitrous oxides, and of  course carbon dioxide, which collectively make up the other 12% of the greenhouse effect.

Dr Gray reserves his strongest criticism for the computer climate models, which are not properly validated, and are instead `evaluated' according to highly subjective criteria, which are themselves defined in very vague and semantically loose terms.

When it comes to forecasting the future, Dr Gray demonstrates the degree to which so many assumptions which underpin these forecasts are themselves patently wrong.  Forecasts of population growth, carbon dioxide growth, methane growth - are all shown to be grossly wide of the mark.

Each chapter of the book is thoroughly referenced, the vast majority of citations being from refereed papers published in scientific journals.  It makes for highly informative reading for both the lay reader and the professional.

The official launch of his book in New Zealand will take place at 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday December 11th in the Beehive Foyer, Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand, and is open to the public.

The book is also available direct from the UK publishers website, price £11.50

Energy Conservation    (7 Dec 02)

During my trip this year to the US, I participated in a public debate with three pro-warming advocates at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.    During the debate, I suggested to the audience that if they were serious about conserving energy, they would campaign to turn out the lights of Las Vegas (see photo above).  They were not amused.  The advocates of energy conservation expect other people to do the conserving, not themselves.

Now a leading citizen of Las Vegas, Dr Herbert Inhaber, has published a new book in the US to explain exactly why energy conservation always fails as a public policy.  Here is an edited version of a book review on Dr Inhaber's book by Jay Lehr as published in Environnment & Climate News, November 1, 2002

Why Energy Conservation Fails
Herbert Inhaber, PhD
Quorum Books, paperback, 237 pages

"Why Energy Conservation Fails is, in many ways, the most readable book on economics you will ever read. It is so innovative and fascinating in its approach that it is a page-turner.  Dr. Inhaber uses basic economic theory coupled with our well-known human nature to prove in dozens of ways that no artificial coercive strategy aimed at conserving anything can ever succeed. Through simple prose, supplemented with detailed illustrations and ample calculations, he makes his premise as certain as the law of gravity.

In making his case, Inhaber stands on the shoulders of giants of the past. These truths have been illustrated and handed down for centuries ... and yet the folly of coercive conservation runs rampant even today. 

Sadly, those who do not study the failures of the past are destined to repeat them, and that we do again and again.  Over the past two decades, Americans have been subjected to an unprecedented barrage of government edicts telling them to save energy, water, natural resources, and many other substances.

If we trade in a large car for a small one, surely we use less gasoline ... or do we? If cars are smaller and driving is cheaper, families may own two cars instead of one, and they will drive more miles with their cars. The counterproductive end result is that people will ultimately use more gasoline. Simple economic reasoning makes it clear: When the price of a commodity falls, more of it will be used than if its price had remained

Conservation on a national scale does not and cannot exist. In the case of gasoline, its use has risen, not fallen, since the imposition of strict mileage standards in the late 1970s.  According to those who advocated those laws, gasoline use should have declined.

In our homes, when we attempt to save electricity through improved insulation, our electric bill goes down ... so we tend to use more electricity in other ways, such as by raising our indoor temperature in the winter or lowering our indoor temperature in the summer.

Inhaber explains clearly how conservationists have always assumed that man would run out of this or that resource, though it never happens.  Why? Because brain-power followed by improved technology leads to better ways to find and refine everything or to replace it with even better substitute materials in even greater abundance. Fiber-glass, for instance, is formed from silica dioxide, the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust.

While many of us try to save energy at home, we may imagine waste occurs frequently at the industrial level. At home we replace light bulbs when they burn out. In a factory, bulbs are replaced on a timed schedule to coincide with the average life of a bulb. Many perfectly good bulbs are discarded in this way ... but a tremendous amount of labor, and thus cost, is saved. Waste is in the eye of the beholder. For a manufacturing company, labor is too valuable to be wasted.

These examples are but a small illustration of the meticulous and comprehensive manner in which Dr. Inhaber dissembles the ill-fated do-gooders’ desire to conserve a wide variety of resources that never were, are not now, and never will be in short supply. They overlook at every turn man’s indomitable intellectual creativity, which allows him to expand or replace every imaginable resource."

Dr. Jay Lehr is Science Director for The Heartland Institute

The Cost of Wind Power  (30 Npv 02)

Wind turbines, tens of thousands of them, are being installed on exposed hilltops, passes, and coastlines all over the world - all in a costly effort to indulge the fantasies of environmental lobbies.  The deficiencies of wind power are now all too clear.   Without massive government subsidies, they would never be built, such is their inherent energy inefficiency.  No wind, no power - no society can run on such an unreliable and inefficient source.

But it is claimed they are `greenhouse friendly' and `renewable', and that it seems is the sole justification for them.  Yet large dams are also greenhouse friendly and renewable, but with the added advantage that they provide continuous, uninterrupted power.  Strange then, that the environmental lobby attacks the building of hydro projects all over the world, and yet passionately promotes the use of wind power.

Economics aside, what of the environmental costs?  Hydro replaces one ecosystem (a valley) with another (an expanse of fresh water).  In Tasmania, this has worked to the benefit of species like the Platypus and water birds with no disadvantage to other species.  Hydro is both environmentally sound and a reliable power source.

By comparison, the environmental costs of wind power are more far reaching.  Firstly there is the visible blight on the landscape.  Who in their right mind would want to mount wind turbines on the peaks of the Welsh mountains?  Or line the cliff-tops of the spectacular Welsh Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with thousands of these monstrosities, looking more like upturned 747's than the romantic Dutch windmills of old.  But this is exactly what the British government wants to do - and with the full blessing of the environmental lobby.  

One major environmental cost of wind power is the killing of wild birds by the massive blades.  Although these seem to rotate slowly and sedately when viewed from a distance, it should be remembered that they trace a very wide circle, and that the speed of the blades at the tips in a moderate wind can exceed 100 mph.  What animal can survive an impact of 100 mph plus?

In Navarra, Spain, the turbine farm there (top left) stands atop a prominent ridge, with the inevitable result (middle left) that large birds end up being killed and maimed by the giant blades.

There are even wind farms in southern Spain near the Strait of Gibraltar, the very place where millions of migratory birds gather before making the crossing across the narrow strait to Africa.  Another major wind farm, Altamont Pass in California, also has its share of bird kills as shown by this photo of a beheaded golden eagle (bottom left).

There is no such thing as a cost-free option when it comes to energy - or any kind of development for that matter.  A price, economic or environmental is always paid.  But the least we can expect and demand is that the benefits outweigh the costs.

This is where wind power fails.  It has major economic and environmental costs - the insatiable need for subsidies, the ruin of the visual landscape, the slaughter of wild birds - and yet we get so little in return.  A tiny return of energy, and a sporadic and unreliable one at that.  It does not result in lower CO2 emissions  because the very unreliability of wind as a power source means that most electricity authorities are obliged to keep backup fossil fuel power stations fired up on standby to meet the expected demand in the event of the wind dropping for extended periods.  

California learned this lesson the hard way through extensive power cuts - that wind power is no substitute for normal power sources and can therefore neither deliver the expected savings in CO2 emissions nor replace conventional power sources.

The only question is - how many more magnificent birds must die, or coastlines ruined, before the environmental lobby abandons their Faustian pact with wind power?

Flying High (30 Nov 02)

According to the BBC (29 Nov), an `independent UK environment advisory group' says the contribution of aircraft to climate change is `deeply worrying'.  (Since when are environmental bodies `independent'?).  That aside, this report comes from the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, who warns that civil aircraft are likely to contribute to 6-10% of `climate change' by 2050.

And their solution? They say the British government should restrain airport expansion plans, restrict the use of air freight to strictly high-value or perishable goods, and - wait for it - increase air ticket prices by imposing `climate protection charges' for aircraft taking off and landing within Europe, and pressing for them to be adopted elsewhere (presumably by those countries foolish enough to sign onto Kyoto).

Europe has a comprehensive system of surface travel, rail, roads, ferries etc., so that increased prices for air travel will simply result in greater loading of the surface travel system, quite apart from the increased traveller inconvenience and travel times.  But the USA, Canada, and Australia?  These latter countries are heavily dependent on aviation for their internal travel needs and would hardly welcome a European push to squeeze out mass air travel through raised prices.

But the USA and Australia need not worry - they have decided to stay out of the European-inspired Kyoto Protocol. Which leaves only Canada.  Canada is in the throes of a major debate on whether to ratify the protocol or not.  In doing so, Canadians would do well to take into account the designs the Europeans now have on the domestic use of mass air travel within Canada. 

It seems ironic that these new self-appointed `independent' guardians of our living habits should themselves call for restraint on air travel when they themselves show no restraint whatever - witness the recent circus (Earth conference) in Johannesburg with a cast of tens of thousands - all flown in for a fruitless talkfest.  `Do as we say, not as we do'.  If the greenhouse industry demonstrated the same restraint on air travel that they demand of the rest of us, their advice could be seen more credibly, but they have shown no signs of passing up on their lavish taxpayer-funded conferences, held in exotic far-away places.

They will continue to fly high - the rest of us can take the bus.

Perverse Incentive    (24 Nov 02)

An article in the 28th October edition of New Scientist draws attention to one major flaw in the Kyoto Protocol, one which creates a perverse incentive for participating countries to wantonly destroy their own natural forests.

New plantation forests are net sinks of CO2, that much is known.  But what of mature natural forests?  They release as much CO2 as they absorb and so are not net sinks.  As such, they cannot be used to claim lucrative carbon credits (The Canadian taxpayer is likely to be the primary source of those funds - if Canada ratifies the protocol).

For any country to claim carbon credits against forest sinks, it needs to lay down plantations which are net sinks of CO2.  However, this provides a curious and perverse incentive for those countries which have mature natural or wilderness forests to cut down those forests and replace them with monoculture plantations.  They would be able to claim carbon credits for the new planting, while the destruction of the old forest would release vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and ruin possibly pristine wilderness areas.  Nothing in the protocol would act to prevent this outcome.  Vast forested regions in Russia and Canada would be at risk in this scenario.  Industrial countries which fail to meet their targets would also be sorely tempted to trade in their own natural forests in exchange for carbon credits to avoid the penalties which would otherwise be applied.

For example, the Canadian government has no idea how to meet their intended targets, seemingly trusting the problem to luck and some naive idea that all Canadians will actively participate in all the economic pain which will be part and parcel of fulfilling the protocol (history abounds with failed governments entertaining similar delusions about eager mass participation in social experiments).  If, as seems likely, Canada fails to meet those targets, plundering the natural forests there could provide a way out from the dilemma.

It would be an environmentalist's nightmare created by the very legal instrument they are so passionately promoting.  They should remember an old Spanish proverb - "The more you grasp, the less you hold".

Pan Evaporation   (19 Nov 02)

At many weather stations in the world, the usual temperature and rainfall measurements are supplemented by `pan evaporation’ measurements. Simple water filled open pans are used, and the loss of water to evaporation over a specified period of time provides a measure of the evaporation rate.

Evaporation is important in predicting climate change because if the atmosphere warms as claimed by the global warming theory, then the rate of evaporation should increase. The evaporated water vapour is itself a powerful greenhouse gas, and so any greenhouse warming from CO2 would then be supplemented by further warming from the evaporated water vapour. This knock-on effect, or `positive feedback’, is then claimed to warm the atmosphere much more than CO2 on its own could do. In fact, current theory promoted by the greenhouse industry suggests that CO2 alone can manage about 0.8°C of warming if it’s atmospheric concentration is doubled from its pre-industrial level. At recent rates of increase, it will take about 130 years or so from now to reach that doubling point.

A warming of 0.8°C by the year 2130 does not sound like too much to get excited over, but the theory all along has claimed that added water vapour to the atmosphere, plus a few other minor feedbacks will blow out that warming to many degrees celsius, as much as 5°C or so.

A new study by Roderick and Farquhar (Science, v.298, p.1410, 15 Nov 02) appears to blow that idea out the window. They show that 50 years of pan evaporation data reveals a steady decrease in the evaporation rate over the northern hemisphere - this in spite of industry claims that the world has warmed over the same period. The authors are a bit uncertain about the reason for this decline, citing cloudiness, pollution, and aerosols as possible contributors, but the bottom line is the observed decline in the evaporation rate, whatever the reasons.

With declining evaporation, there is no possibility of the expected `positive feedback’ from water vapour to add to the small theorised warming from CO2. Indeed, the reverse may be the case, a fall in water vapour in the atmosphere would actually reverse what little warming was exacted by CO2, a conclusion consistent with what we see from the global atmospheric temperature record measured by satellites.

The Wind or the Willows     (12 Nov 02)

The Sunday Times (UK, 10th Nov) reports that hundreds of thousands of CO2-eating trees are to be felled in Scotland.

But don't worry - it's all for a good green cause.  They will be cut down to make way for 40 wind farms.  Species such as scots pine, sitka spruce and lodgepole pine will all be sacrificed to the new false god of `wind power'.

It seems ironic that the only rationale behind wind turbines is their supposed CO2-free status, but where is the gain if whole forests, CO2 sinks, are cut down to make way for these ugly wind towers?

The First - and Last - Step    (4 Nov 02)

It is well known among climate scientists that the Kyoto Protocol as presently formulated only lasts until 2012, and will have zero, repeat, zero effect on global climate.   As presently formulated, it will however cause immense damage to those western countries which ratify it, estimated to increase unemployment in Canada alone by nearly half a million.

But there is one justification presented by the greenhouse industry used to persuade countries like Canada and Russia that the Protocol is worth all the economic pain it would cause.  This is the `first step' argument.  It is claimed that Kyoto is merely the `first step' in a series of more far-reaching steps in the future, beginning when Kyoto expires in 2012, the ultimate aim of which is to reduce fossil fuel usage, not by a few percent, but by over 60% or more.

The latest climate conference, COP8, held recently in New Delhi, India, has sunk that idea.  Cuts of over 60% could only ever be accomplished with the active participation of developing countries like China, India, and whole regions like Africa and Latin America. `No deal' has been their blunt response at COP8.  The developing countries have made it very clear at New Delhi that western countries will have to bear the full burden not only of the existing Protocol (a key reason why the US and Australia have bailed out of it), but of any future extensions to the Protocol beyond 2012.   This would render the whole exercise entirely symbolic with no climatic impact whatever.

Meanwhile, for Canada to ratify the existing Protocol will expose that country to all the economic pain - which will be very real - and provide zero climatic effect, either up to 2012 or beyond. That would make Canada's ratification of the Protocol now an exercise in economic self-flagellation with absolutely no climatic benefit to show for it.

Canadians will soon have to decide if they are to be led over the economic cliff by the green pied piper himself, David Suzuki, his softly modulated voice and CBC media charisma persuading Canadians that all will be well if they would but follow him, or to begin assessing this vital - and very down-to-earth - issue for themselves.

His Master's Voice   (2 Nov 02)

The Canadian celebrity environmentalist, David Suzuki, is currently visiting Australia and was interviewed on ABC Radio on Friday 1st November by radio host Phillip Adams.  During the conversation it was disclosed that Canada's prime minister Chrétien had attempted to contact Suzuki by phone in Australia.  A bit later in the interview Adams announced to Suzuki that  Chrétien had indeed contacted the ABC to reassure Suzuki that the bill to ratify the Kyoto Protocol would still be presented to the Canadian parliament in December in spite of the rejection at the COP8 conference in New Delhi of Canada's attempt to have its clean energy exports to the US included in its Kyoto targets (which would have represented about one third of Canada's commitments).

Many Canadians denied any say or input into this matter would dearly envy Suzuki's favoured position.  Not only does he obviously have the ear of the prime minister, he is even sought out by the P.M.  This raises the issue as to who is really making public policy in this area - the democratically elected Chrétien or the self-elected Suzuki?

Cold October in U.S.    (2 Nov 02)

October and now November 2002 is proving to be one of the coldest on record in the USA. 

On the morning of 1st Nov the lowest recorded November temperature ever in the Western US occurred.

Another record was shattered on the morning of October 30 in Williston, North Dakota.  A new state record was established with an official low of -9°F (-22.8°C), an all-time record low for the month of October.

Meanwhile, temperatures in the Rockies and the Great Plains regions have been nearly 30°F below normal.

On 29th October, a trace of snow was recorded at both LaGuardia Airport in New York City and at Newark Airport in nearby New Jersey.  This is significant because it means snow was now recorded on 29th October twice in the last 3 years,  the first October snows in this area of any kind in 21 years. Prior to that, the only other time snow fell on Oct. 29 was in 1952.

This October was among the top five coldest Octobers on record at many cities in the central USA, including Duluth, Minnesota (3rd coldest), Goodland Kansas (4th coldest), Rapid City South Dakota (no.1 coldest), and several others.

Several cities in the northern and north-western USA set records for the coldest temperatures ever in October.

Denver, Colorado had high temperatures in the teens (F) on two consecutive days. That was the first time they ever had a high colder than 20°F in October. Some of the low temperature records in Denver were shattered by twenty degrees and more.

From New York to the mid-west, to the Rockies, west to Oregon, and even into western Canada, the story is the same - near-record cold temperatures and early snow.

`Global warming' is theorised to have its greatest impact in the colder months. 

(thanks to several correspondents for the intel.)

Russia Goes Cool on Kyoto    (28 Oct 02)

A media report from India, suggests that Russia may not ratify the Kyoto Protocol this November after all.

The First Secretary of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nikolai Pomoshnikov, is quoted as saying "We have sent the Protocol documents to different ministries for their assessment and if we decide to ratify it, various domestic laws too would have to be amended and so it will take at least three months to one year to decide over ratification".

With some reports that Canada is also seeking to re-negotiate some of its Kyoto terms, it seems the Protocol is not likely to be up and running this year - if ever.

Greenland Melting?  (27 Oct 02)
(Item contributed by Miceal O'Ronain)

On October 24, 2002, the National Geographic Channel and the National Geographic News, ran a story titled "Greenland Melting? Satellite to Help Find Answer". After an overview of a new NASA satellite named ICESat to be launched in December 2002 and tasked to the study of ice and how it moves, the report goes on to examine the impact of `global warming' on the Greenland ice cap. The focus of the story was the Greenland fishing village of Ilulissat, on the west coast of Greenland at (69.23°N, 51.07°W), The National Geographic reports that 10% of all Greenland's icebergs come from Ilulissat (which means "place by the icebergs") and that the residents of the town say the ice is changing and not for the better, or so says the National Geographic.

An obvious question is: has the temperature in and about Ilulissat changed as would be expected under conditions of global warming? While there is no temperature history for Ilulissat available, there are two nearby GISS Stations which can be used as a proxy for the temperature conditions in the vicinity of Ilulissat.  The two stations are Jakobshavn (69.25°N, 51.07°W) which is a mere 2km (1.24 miles) north of Ilulissat and Egedesminde (68.70°N, 52.75°W) 89km (55.30 miles) south-west. 

The histories for the two stations overlap for the period from 1950 to 1980 and show surprisingly good correlation, with Egedesminde being 0.41°C (0.74°F) cooler on average than Jakobshavn, which is in a more sheltered location. Current temperature conditions in the vicinity of Ilulissat are cooler than they were during the period from the 1930's to the 1940's. Lest climate alarmists gain false hopes from the increasing temperatures for Egedesminde since 1993, it should be pointed out that if current trends continue for 2002, Egedesminde will be a bit colder when the seasonal year ends in November 2002, as GISS data for Egedesminde is already showing. Given a 136 year temperature history for the area about Ilulissat Greenland, three observations can be made:

      1.     The area about Ilulissat Greenland is subject to frequent and extreme temperature changes.
      2.     From the 1860's to the 1930's the temperature in the vicinity of Ilulissat was increasing,
      3.     Since the 1940's the temperature in the vicinity of Ilulissat has been decreasing. 
              Other then the National Geographic, one has to wonder where all the hot air is.
              It is certainly not in Ilulissat Greenland.

Drought in Australia   (26 Oct 02)

The current El Niño which began early this year has had its expected result.  Most of eastern Australia now finds itself in the grip of drought, the worst since the big El Niño of 1982-83.  This is not `global warming' in action, but merely another round in the natural cycle of Australian climate which swings between crippling drought and flooding rains.  My home island of Tasmania has however been spared the ravages of the drought as we have had good rainfall all Spring (the coming southern summer will probably see the big dry spreading here too).

El Niño always brings us drought. Always.

But this present El Niño was predicted three years ago by Dr Theodor Landscheidt in a landmark paper on this website (his 1999 paper here), and was thoroughly reviewed on this site by numerous experts in an `open review'.  The wider scientific establishment would not support his analysis, and so we are now paying the price for their smug obstinacy.   However, some farmers or users of the land may have taken precautions against drought based on reading Dr Landschiedt's prediction.  If so, I would like to hear from them to hear their story.

Shishmaref, Alaska     (20 Oct 02)

"The First Global Warming Refugees" is the title of an article that was syndicated in a number of newspapers including The Scotsman (20 Sept 02), The Independent in the UK, and on cnn.com Science and Space titled "Alaskan island falls victim to global warming". The article describes the plight of the village of Shishmaref which is located on the Bering Strait about 100 miles north of Nome.

In a new guest paper, Dr Wilson Flood exposes the falsehood promoted by the public media about Shishmaref.

See his paper here 

Wet and Dry - Simultaneously  (26 Oct 02)

The discredited U.S. `National Assessment' distinguished itself by abandoning any pretence to science, and instead presented a strident partisan view of future climate, one dominated by every possible imaginable disaster, with not a single optimistic page in the entire document.  Climate change does not benefit everyone, it always has and always will create winners and losers, but the NAS saw everyone as losers.

They used the two worst climate models they could find - the Hadley model (British) and the Canadian model, both these models being notable for putting the worst possible view on future climate.  The more moderate and better resolved American models were passed over, even though this was an American report.  The report writers clearly targeted the most extreme models they could find in the preparation of their report.

I can thank my U.S. colleague Dr David Wojick for this rainfall analysis of the Hadley and Canadian models

Remember the U.S. National Assessment was intended to project climate change for the next 100 years and from the above we can see that the two non-American models used in the report completely disagree about future rainfall over the USA (with the exception of California).  If the two models cannot agree over a limited region of the world like the continental USA, what use are they in forecasting any kind of future climate?

The two models employ the same laws of physics, the same number-crunching techniques, so how can they produce such wildly differing results? On something as important as rainfall?

This difference at the regional level is not confined to just these two models.  All the models differ markedly on regional, hemispheric, and global scales.  That being the case, they cannot be considered a basis for formulating major public policy where massive economic dislocations are involved, such as with the Kyoto Protocol.

A scary thought for Canadians is that their government's rush to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by the end of this year might be based on predictions made by just about the worst model of the lot - the Canadian model.

New Zealand Targets Kids    (12 Oct 02)

The latest propaganda effort from the New Zealand greenhouse industry is to target young children with `educational' kits (the cover page from one of them is shown below). Peddling propaganda through government schools to children under the guise of `education' is a very insidious form of child abuse.

Notice the `politically correct' use of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic imagery even though the white anglo-celtic population makes up the large majority of the population. 

In particular, the brochure targets private cars as the primary source of greenhouse gases in New Zealand.  By far the majority of prospective young drivers would be white males, yet they are not represented in this `happy families' graphic at all, the very target group who would be most able to make an impact on vehicle emissions.

Last week, two New Zealand weather stations were featured in `Station of the Week' and it seems temperatures in New Zealand are at an all-time average.  But the `education' kit for the NZ kids omits that little detail.

Scandal !  (12 Oct 02)

A scientific scandal has become public involving one Hendrik Schön, a rising star (but now fallen) in electronics research from the Bell Labs in New Jersey, USA.

New Scientist reports (5 Oct 02) that the breathtaking advances made by Schön were more fiction than fact, including the `single molecule transistor' and warm-temperature superconductivity which were touted to revolutionise the electronics industry.

But it was not the prestigious scientific journals which exposed Schön, but Paul McEuen of Cornell University and Lydia Sohn of Princeton University who took the extraordinary step of doing something which the numerous peer reviewers seem to have neglected to do - actually read Schön's papers.

Upon reading them, they found Schön had been repeating the same graph with different materials and experiments and basically fabricating data.

We are told that anonymous peer review is a guarantee of scientific quality, but it clearly failed dismally in Schön's case.

In all, Schön published 17 papers which have attracted allegations of scientific misconduct by a special panel set up to investigate the affair. Four of them were published in Applied Physics Letters, the other 13 published in Nature and Science.

If peer review and Science and Nature can be so easily taken in by such bad science, what does this say about the mountain of climate science they publish? Science does not have to be fraudulent as in Schön's case to still be bad science. 

New Zealand to Ratify Kyoto (12 Oct 02)

The New Zealand government is set to ratify the Kyoto Protocol - and for good reason.  They expect to be one of the few beneficiary countries able to sell `carbon credits' to other countries which exceed the arbitrary CO2 emission targets. At least the US and Australia will not be among them.

But the NZ government has adopted a `moral high ground' over the issue, claiming to be acting for the planet etc. etc.  But being in line for hundreds of millions of dollars in carbon credits is one powerful incentive for them.

Wind Farms Threat to Critics  (1 Oct 02)

Cover Page

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is heavily promoting the use of wind turbines as Britain's primary supplier of renewable energy.  This has particular relevance for Wales, whose coasts face the prevailing westerly winds.  Many parts of the Welsh coast are spectacular, and would be clearly spoiled by such ugly machines.

Amid mounting criticism of the burgeoning use of wind farms, the reaction of BWEA has been to publish this PR brochure using selective statistics to convince the public that wind farms enjoy overwhelming (80%) public support. 

But on page 24 we find this.  They presume to claim that their critics are really small in number after all.  That's ok in itself, it's all politics after all, and claims like this in PR publications are nothing new.  One simply reads past the PR-speak and takes the statistics with a pinch of salt.

If the number of critics were so small as BWEA claim, then why the need for a brochure anyway?

Some of these critics are not merely professional letter writers, but leading members of their communities.


On page 25 BWEA publish this implied threat to their critics. "We know where you live ..." is the standard threat of violence to opponents made by criminals and standover thugs everywhere.

That the BWEA should use this threat to their critics is both deplorable and possibly criminal. It is a direct attack on free speech itself.

One of the named critics, Ioan M. Richard, is a local city councillor from Swansea, Wales, and he has complained about this threat to the safety of himself, his family and his property to the South Wales Police.

It is to be hoped that this tactic by the BWEA is not the start of a new trend or an attempt to suppress free speech in the interests of the Kyoto Protocol.

Methane on the Wane (30 Sep 02)

Atmospheric methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas, has risen at a higher rate than carbon dioxide in the past.  However, in recent years its concentration has levelled off and even started a slight decline, as shown by this graph of CH4 plotted from data from Mauna Loa. Of course you did not hear this from the mainstream media as it is unwelcome good news.

The IPCC predictions of global warming were based not only on continuing increases in carbon dioxide, but also in methane.  However, the levelling out of the methane concentration happened without treaties, protocols, or hand-wringing by green journalists.   As for CO2, that is and has been increasing at at only 40% the rate assumed by the climate models which were integral to the 2001 IPCC report.



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