Friday, March 31, 2006

It's the Solar System's movements, stupid.

Solar system's movements causes cyclic mass extinctions.

Just as it takes one day for the earth to spin on it's axis, 28 days for the moon to travel around the Earth, one year for the Earth to travel around our Sun, it takes 64 million years for our solar system to travel around the galaxy.

Earth's biodiversity dips every 62 million years.

Astrobiologists have put the two facts together leading to theories that our solar sytem's merry-go-round path though the disc of the galaxy is the cause of the regular cyclical mass extinctions that the fossil records show.

One theory has it that our Solar Systems experiences higher exposure to life harming extragalactic cosmic ray flux as it passes through the most northerly aspect of our galactic plane.

NewScientistTech reports:
Most of Earth's biggest extinctions occurred when the solar system was at its most northerly point in its cycle, which stretches about 230 light years above the galactic plane. Medvedev says that more cosmic rays enter the Earth's atmosphere at that point, killing off species.

Cosmic shield

He says the effect is similar to the compression of the solar system's protective solar wind when it passes through a giant hydrogen cloud. The Milky Way's stars produce a wind of charged particles whose magnetic fields deflect incoming cosmic rays from beyond the galaxy.

But the entire Milky Way is moving due north at 200 kilometres per second towards a giant grouping of galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. This movement compresses the galactic wind on the galaxy's north side, allowing in higher levels of potentially life-harming extragalactic cosmic rays, says Medvedev.

"When the Sun is moving up through the galactic plane, the cosmic ray flux is increasing, and when it goes down through the plane, it's decreasing," he told the conference. He said the periods of high extragalactic cosmic ray influxes match observed lows in biodiversity so well that the alignment has just a one in 10 million chance of being a coincidence.
If this theory holds out it may be all the more reason why we should not put more cosmic ray trapping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

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Bush to California: More greenhouse, not less.

Why in dickens would the feds undermine a state government that is trying to help moderate the climate, and to conserve gas during a time of war and high oil prices?
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Federal officials said Wednesday that new national mileage standards would pre-empt state rules on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, a move that takes aim at California's first-in-the-nation limits on such pollution.

State air regulators voted unanimously in September 2004 to approve rules that would cut exhaust from California's cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from larger trucks and sport utility vehicles by 18 percent.

The Bush administration said Wednesday that such regulations were "expressly pre-empted" by the new federal standards.

My name is George W Bush and I am an addict.

Before coming out I would blame America. I used to say "America is addicted to oil, most of it coming from the middle-east ..." but ... when California wanted to approve rules that would cut exhaust from California's cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from larger trucks and sport utility vehicles by 18 percent ... then I realised that it was I who had the addiction and I pre-emptively attacked California because ... well because my name is George W Bush and I am an addict.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kiribati protects biodiversity.
Biodiversity protects Kiribati.

The tiny atoll nation of Kiribati, halfway between Fiji and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, has annouced at the UN Convention of Biodiversity that they are setting up the world's third largest marine-reserve, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Nice name, especially when associated with protecting biodiversity.

The reason why protecting biodiversity is so vitally important is that it has a vital stabilising effect on the climate. The biosphere is one great big carbon pump, cooling the atmosphere by pulling heat trapping CO2 out, sequestering some for self perpetuation and recycling the rest. When any species dies off carbon stops flowing though the carbon cycle. So does that species' role in the food chain, and all it's dependent species in the ecosystem. The result is that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, building up and heating up, and/or being absorbed into the oceans at a rate that turns them acidic.

Biodiversity guarantees the biosphere is in full working order as a giant carbon sink thus moderating global climate and perpetuating the conditions for life on our rock in space. Full marks to the Kiribatians for playing their part as global citizens, and for looking after themselves:
"If the coral and reefs are protected, then the fish will grow and bring us benefit," Mr Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, said. "In this way all species of fish can be protected so none become depleted or extinct."
What are you waiting for? Start packing your cossie, masks, snorkles and flippers for Kiribati, support their economy, and your environment. Another reason why throwing a marine reserve around the area is that scientists are still discovering new species on the healthy reefs of the Phoenix Islands as this as this National Geographic article explains.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The end of our epoch? All in good Time.

The buzz on Time's "Be Worried. Be Very Worried".

It's good to see the latest Time Magazine cover story get web traction on day one, as these Google searches on recent Time Magazine covers show. At this rate the story could get 109,200 hits. This is quite respectable. Soon there will be more authoritative media outlets 'breaking the news' about global warming, i.e. telling it like it is.

Mar. 28, 2006
Results 1 - 50 of about 15,600 over the past 3 months for Time Magazine "be worried. be very worried". (0.49 seconds)

Results 1 - 43 of about 69,600 over the past 3 months for allintext: Time Magazine cover "too wired for their own good". (0.56 seconds)

Results 1 - 50 of about 550,000 over the past 3 months for allintext: Time Magazine cover "what's next!". (0.62 seconds)

Results 1 - 50 of about 550,000 over the past 3 months for allintext: Time Magazine cover "what's next!". (0.62 seconds)
In the blogosphere pickup has been slow from Technorati's perspective:

34 English posts contain:

Time Magazine "be worried. be very worried"

Bloggers take note, this one goes to the MSM.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blair: Australia must also fight global warming.

Today's SMH reports that the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has called for action on minimising climate change as part of a broader global agenda that also includes promoting shared democratic values, fighting terrorism and countering trade protectionism.

He was forthright, yet diplomatic, in putting his case forward for observing the Kyoto Protocol:

Another important challenge on the global agenda was the threat of climate change and concerns about energy supply.

Mr Blair acknowledged disagreements with the Howard Government on climate change, saying "we strongly support Kyoto, you do not". But he urged consensus in the future and conceded Australia's argument against Kyoto: "There will be no agreement worth having that does not involve the US, China and India as well as the rest of us."

However he strongly pushed the thrust of the Kyoto Protocol for measurable benchmarks, saying: "There will be no resolution without a clear disciplined framework for action with measurable outcomes."

I am pleased to see that a world leader who engenders respect and controversy from all around the political spectrum is making a clear case for supporting Kyoto to the Australian Parliament. By the time the US comes around, those who have set their baselines and frameworks, and developed their renewable energy infrastructure and carbon trading markets will have leadership. Australia could well be caught on the back foot at current indications.

On the point of India and China being included I know that both countries do not have their head in the sand like Australia and the US do. In India, 69 percent endorse the view that all countries have a responsibility to limit emissions.

The Chinese government has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but are not bound by emissions targets, yet are aiming to meet targets, and hope that Australia and the US participate. Here is what China's Australian Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan's had to say in his press conference on 17 February 2005, the day after the Protocol became effective..

Q: The Kyoto Protocol came into effect yesterday. As a country with the second largest carbon dioxide emission , what measures will China take?

A: We are pleasant to see the Kyoto Protocol became effective yesterday. I think your question should be considered comprehensively. The change of the global climate is the outcome of the long-term industrialization of developed countries and the price paid in their accumulation process of industrialization. That's why in the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, all sides reached a consensus that although both the developed countries and the developing countries are responsible, their responsibilities are different due to the history and process of industrialization. The Kyoto Protocol demands that the developed countries reduce or limit the emission of green house gases from 2008 to 2012. The Protocol, as an important document to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the legal basis for the international community to take concrete measures to cope with climate changes, should be put into action as early as possible.

It's true that China, as the largest developing countries, ranks second in terms of carbon dioxide emission. On the other hand, our per capita emission of carbon dioxide is low in the world due to a 1.3 billion population. Nevertheless, China is also taking active measures to prevent our common home and the global climate from further deteriorating. Yesterday, China held a special ceremony to celebrate the entry into force of the Kyoto protocol. In the ceremony, Liu Jiang, Vice Minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission and head of the Chinese delegation to negotiation of convention on climate change, briefed on some measures taken by China to reduce the impacts on the climate in the process of economic development and industrialization. Besides the organization of a national coordination institution on climate change and active participation in international negotiation on climate change, all departments of the Chinese Governments adopted a series of policies and measures to slow down the emission of greenhouse gases, including increasing the efficiency of utilizing energy, improving energy structure, promoting the utilization of new energy and reproducible energy and etc. China's positive measures proved that we attached great importance to the issue of climate change and we took a positive attitude towards the issue.

Q: With regard to the Kyoto Protocol, what message does china want to send to those countries that have not signed the Protocol yet?

A: China appeals for and hopes those developed countries sign the protocol as soon as possible.

Q: Just then you emphasized that, although China is the world second largest producer of greenhouse gases, from the people average angle, China is not that bad. Australia said, since the U.S. and China didn't participate in the Kyoto Protocol, it will also not participate. What's China's reaction to this?

A: we do not feel satisfied or self-consoled for the low emission per person. We have fully realized that we are facing a global problem, a problem which will influence the offspring of the whole human being. Just from this angle, although Kyoto protocol doesn't have a clear limit to its emissions, Chinese government still adopted a series of measures to reduce the green house emission in the process of our nation's fast economic development, and paid attention to the other environmental problems. Just then I have introduced the seven main measures that the Chinese government has taken. Actually, there are some others, such as planting trees to form forests. China's efforts and contributions to the protocol is widely recognized by the international community. The Chinese government will reinforce its efforts in this respect. As to the attitudes of some developed countries, we appeal these developed countries will sign the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, thus making the measures dealing with the climate changes by international society take concrete effect globally.

Follow-up: Although China doesn't have the duty to make commitment, Australia said it didn't participate in the Kyoto Protocol because China didn't take on its commitment. What's China's reaction to this?

A: I haven't heard the relevant remarks of Australia. I think China's effort to carry out the Kyoto Protocol is realized by the international society. I've made a specific introduction to you just then, that China has been actively participated in the negotiations. After the Kyoto Protocol took effect from February 16, China will reinforce the implementation of the Protocol. We will continue to explore new ways to deal with the climate changes which are suitable to different countries through international cooperation. Our final aim is to keep our earth and living environment well protected.

If no more questions are to be raised, let's call it a day.

Thank you for your coming!
I'll follow up on what China is doing to limit emissions. It should also be kept in mind that since the oil lobby were lobbying the Indian government to not participate in the Kyoto Protocol, they have queered the pitch for those who argue there is no point in the US joining until India does., and this in turn undermines the legitimacy of those who argue in Australia that there is no use in joining until the US does.

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68% think global warming is our biggest threat.

Interim results of my first blogpoll, "Your Biggest Fear", are in. Of course there are only 22 respondents so far, but that is your fault, not mine, as I have voted. If you personally need a bigger sample to achieve more statistical relevence, then answer the poll yourself. In my sidebar. Thanks :)

Quick question ...Which is your biggest fear?
Global warming68.2%15
Global terror18.2%4
Global pandemic13.6%3
total votes: 22
powered by blogpoll

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Monday, March 27, 2006

It takes Time to acknowledge climate change.

TIME Magazine has finally got around to reporting the deplorable state of the globe with it's new issue on global warming, called "BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED".

If TIME Magazine is this worried, then it may convince other conservative mainstream media that we need to put more effort into mitigating the extreme effects of global warming, and definitely more than simply relying on yet-to-be-developed technologies to save the planet.

The first time I took notice of TIME Magazine was an article on the decoding of DNA by Watson and Crick 20 years ago or more. I loved the layout of that article, and savoured every fact and graphic. It was exciting news, the helix-structure, but this latest edition will not be exciting, other than for the fact that awareness it starting to take root. For those who had their doubts about the seriousness of global warming I imagine it will be alarming.

So I set off to my newsagent and discovered that TIME Australia is not running the article in their March 27 edition. Bugger. It had better be in the next edition or they should be worried. Very worried.

The blurb is interesting.
Eighty-five percent (85%) of Americans say global warming is probably happening, according to a new TIME magazine/ABC News/Stanford University poll, out Sunday, March 26th. A vast majority of respondents (88%) think global warming threatens future generations. More than half (60%) say it threatens them a great deal. About four-in-ten (38%) feel that global warming is already a serious problem, 47% feel that it will be in the future. TIME's special 26-page cover story, 'Be Worried. Be Very Worried,' hits newsstands Monday, March 27th.
I had assumed that most Americans did not think it was probably happening, given their government's lack of participation in emissions programmes. I am even more confused now. If 88% think it threatens future generations, where are the groundswell of popular effort to kick their presidentially declared oil addiction? Remember 72% of of Americans thought Saddam was involved in 9/11 and they invaded, where is the war footing against this threat to their future generations?

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Global warming seachange for Aussie mossie

As Sydneysiders migrate north in increased numbers, they are crossing paths with tropical disease carrying mosquitoes traveling south as warmer global temperatures expandtheir range. This not just happening on the east coast of Australia; it is happening wordwide.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

White House cooks global warming warnings.

If the Office of Special Plans handling of intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion was like the White House's treatment of the science of global warming, would the US have gone to war?

What if, instead of the now famous 16 words, Bush had had two more words inserted into his State of the Union Address in 2003? And he had dropped the adjective "significant" that he used to describe quantities of uranium?
"... Saddam Hussein may recently have sought uranium from Africa."
Would the American people have let him sacrifice 2,319 soldiers lives, so far, solely on 'may have sought uranium', or would there have been a demand to find out more instead? And if Bush had said the following...
"Saddam Hussein might aid and possibly protects terrorists, including, potentially, members of al-Qaeda."
....would the American people have invaded Iraq, or would they preferred to have diverted their resources to really catching Osama Bin Laden - really the person responsible for the 9/11 attack?

What if Vice President Cheney stated the following on March 17, 2002?
"We think it's possible they might have biological and chemical weapons."
Would the American people have felt this merited the disabilities of 16,653 wounded US soldiers?

Even after the invasion, on January 22, 2004, Vice President Cheney insisted that,"there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government." What if he instead had insisted the following?
"the uncertainties remain so great as to preclude meaningfully informed decision making with respect to the evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government."
Would you have considered $249,336,128,723 worth the taxpayer cost so far?

Specifically, the stated justification for the invasion included Iraqi production and use of weapons of mass destruction, alleged links with terrorist organizations, and human rights violations in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein government. (From Wikipedia).

It was the certainty of their evidence with which the neo-cons took these casus belli to the US public, and it was with the same certainty that the US public endorsed the invasion. The language used to sell the invasion helped. Rumsfeld described his evidence that Iraq was harbouring al-Qaeda terrorists as "bulletproof" (as "bulletproof" as an Iraqi Humvee) in a 2002 Defense Department briefing. Bush used "clear evidence of peril" to argue we must not wait for the final proof in the form of a mushroom cloud.

I make this point because the US government continues to alter the facts to fit them into pre-fabricated policy. America's leading global warming scientist, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute, has described to 60 minutes how this is happening. It seems that the White House now controls 100% of what the tax-paying public hears about climate change from it's leading scientific institute:
Restrictions like this e-mail Hansen's institute received from NASA in 2004. "there is a new review process" the e-mail read. "The White House (is) now reviewing all climate related press releases," it continued.
All climate related press releases and research findings are edited with what has been described as a 'heavy hand'. One heavy hand belonged to the chief-of-staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality", Phil Cooney, according Rick Piltz who part produces a report for Congress every year entitled "Our Changing Planet".

Piltz told 60 minutes Cooney edited climate reports in his own hand. In one report, a line that said earth is undergoing rapid change becomes "may be undergoing change." Note the dropping of the adjective rapid to describe change.
"Uncertainty" becomes "significant remaining uncertainty." One line that says energy production contributes to warming was just crossed out.
Just crossed out.

Just like that.

Much like the CIA report that warned that was no relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda which was 'just crossed out' while 72 percent of the American public believed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. Osama Been Laughing.

So why is he so cautious about the climate findings? What are the qualifications of this great uber-scientist, Phil Cooney? As a scientist, it seems he makes a great lawyer. Oh, and a former oil industry lobbyist according to 60 minutes . So I went to the Exxon Secrets database to see what I could find out about him. It was down at the time of writing, and I will come back with the data, but suffice to say at this point Phil Cooney is an ExxonMobil stooge.

In October 2003, the Pentagon issued it's worse case scenario on global warming and climate change, called, "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and It?s Implications for United States National Security". It talks of the rapidly reduced life carrying capacity of the environment, massive famines, 400 million environmental refugees, nuclear arms proliferation and the nuclear wars that would result when different country's compete for natural resources. It predicts what could happen to North America if the Thermohaline System (also known as Gulf Stream or Atlantic Conveyor or North Atlantic Thermohaline System), a current that circulates seasonal heat around the northern hemisphere, transporting moderate climates to the continents it touches.
Colder, windier, and drier weather makes growing seasons shorter and less productive throughout the northeastern United States, and longer and drier in the southwest. Desert areas face increasing windstorms, while agricultural areas suffer from soil loss due to higher wind speeds and reduced soil moisture. The change toward a drier climate is especially pronounced in the southern states.

Coastal areas that were at risk during the warming period remain at risk, as rising ocean levels continues along the shores. The United States turns inward, committing its resources to feeding its own population, shoring-up its borders, and managing the increasing global tension.
If Iraq has proved anything, it has proved that you just can't change the facts to fit your wish list. But how I would have loved to have read, instead, these words issuing from the mouth of the President of the world's largest CO2 emitting country:
"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a Collapsed Atlantic Heat Conveyor." Bush said in an October speech in Cincinnati, Ohio.
People, it is time to think for yourselves. Rapid climate change is happening. The Atlantic Conveyor is now slowing down.

And the resulting quagmire is going to make the Iraq war look like it was a cakewalk.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Exxon lobby watch

If global warming is anthropogenic, then it really is ignorance that is killing off climatic stability. So who traffics in this petrocarbon ignorance? The same company that made record profits in 2004 and 2005; Exxon-Mobil, also known as Esso, Exxon and Mobil around the world:
Between 1998 and 2004, ExxonMobil gave more than $US15 million to organizations working to undermine domestic and international efforts to cut global warming pollution.
It is worth keeping in mind that the same year that saw a US corporate record profit for ExxonMobil at $US36.2 billion, we also had the globe's hottest year on record, and the second greatest global CO2 emissions rate increase in 2005.

Are these three facts connected? Well here is a chunky resource that references the fruits of ExxonMobil's exxtreme efforts to make sure the three remain unrelated for the general public: Exxon Secrets is a well researched project that identifies the Exxon funded pro fossil fuel lobby and their orchestrated assaults on science and truth. Some Sydney Morning Herald Newsblog commenters are classic examples of how well this assault is working:
i love reading all these storie's about polution and all the crap that the greens and gov are feeding us meanwill the real problem does not get a meantion .planet earth is warming up from the inside and wether we reduce polution or not won't make any difference the only way is to find a other planet to live on.

* Posted by: john
In my humble view, the real problem is this pervasive ignorance. We will start to mitigate global warming induced climate-change when we mitigate this ignorance. For many spending their hard-earned on petrol (gas)is not practically avoidable.

But you are indeed a mug if you also buy their bullshit.

Other links: Global Warming Watch: Exxpose Exxon. This is a bit of fun.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Global warming bloggers and virtual marchers.

Curious about the blogging buzz around global warming I checked the Blog Trend Tool at Icerocket and discovered the Kyoto treaty is not dead. Especially when you look at the competition, the AP6. Click on the graphs for a clearer representation.
Kyoto Protocol not dead for bloggers
I am interested in how bloggers write about global warming so I also compared the terms global warming vs climate change vs emissions. They are remarkably closely linked in bloggers' minds:

I also discovered this compelling video (while signing up for the virtual march on Washington) by BLUE MAN GROUP, who are marchers at I really commend the organisers of the global warming virtual march for their success so far (almost half a million marchers), and I joined in on their virtual touring march to Washington because many readers of Global Warming Watch are American, and I was hoping some would sign up and be heard. Click on this link for further information, or you can join up directly from the sidebar.

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Highest CO2 emissions bring hottest years.

The CO2 mean levels are in for 2005 at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, and they are, well, mean. 2005 saw the third largest increase in the Annual CO2 Mean Growth Rate since records began in 1959. The year's rate of increase was 2.53 parts per million (ppm) of CO2, and the only larger increases were in 1998 (2.95 ppm), and 2002 (2.55 ppm).

All too close, in years, for comfort.

Doesn't 2005 also have the distinction of being the hottest year yet? And wasn't 1998 the second hottest? I wrote a few posts about the rising mercury last year. Atmospheric CO2 levels and global mean temperature seem so obviously linked but I would like to see a graph comparing the two over a few decades. It seems James Hansen, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies director has recently made the correlation.
Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases. Climate models show that the rate of warming is consistent with expectations. The observed rapid warming thus gives urgency to
discussions about how to slow greenhouse gas emissions.
Unmistakably strong wording. Must be why that Bushite 24 year old punk allegedly tried to censor Hansen. Good on him for staying true to science. The NASA report has more:
Global warming is now 0.6°C in the past three decades and 0.8°C in the past century. It is no longer correct to say that "most global warming occurred before 1940". More specifically, there was slow global warming, with large fluctuations, over the century up to 1975 and subsequent rapid warming of almost 0.2°C per decade.
It is time to act. To live a life that aims at achieving carbon neutrality. To teach our kids about how this planet works, and to either hand the planet on to them in a better shape than it is now, or hand our kids on to the planet having taught them a better attitude to long-term survival than we have now.

More links: NOAA ESRL: Recent Global Monthly Mean CO2

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Oil bites, Wal-Mart barks.

Business is feeling the pinch if Wal-Mart, always figuratively run on the smell of an oily rag, is now literally doing so.
Wal-Mart's chief executive is set to announce on Tuesday a set of sweeping, specific environmental goals to reduce energy use in its stores, double its trucks' fuel efficiency, minimize its use of packaging and pressure thousands of companies in its worldwide supply chain to follow its lead.
So speculates Carl Pope, Sierra Club member and Huffington Post blogger. Watch Wal-Mart yank the supply chain and watch it come to heel.

Petrol hits $A1.25, and leather hits pavement.

Australians are responding to high oil prices by driving less. Hey, it is not only me.We bought 8 per cent less petrol last year, yet our economic growth continues to be respectable. Nominal GDP is forecast to grow by 7½ per cent in 2005-06.

This shows up the oil industry claim that reducing emissions will damage economic growth as rubbish. People adapt, markets adapt to people, and economies keep growing.

As petrol ate more of the family budget up we found cheaper ways to go work to bring home more bacon. Eight per cent of us switched to more fuel-efficient cars, small car sales jumped 18.8 per cent and large car sales fell 15.6 per cent and growth in four-wheel-drives slowed to 4.1 per cent.

Eight per cent fewer greenhouse emissions can be regarded a win of tropospheric magnitude, if the anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report due for release next month holds the heralded line:
The BBC has learnt the report will state that greenhouse gas emissions are the only explanation for changing patterns of weather across the world.

It will say rising concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must be the cause of simultaneous freak patterns in sea ice, glaciers, droughts, floods, ecosystems, ocean acidification and wildlife migrations.

A source said: "The measurements from the natural world on all parts of the globe have been anomalous over the past decade.

"If a few were out of kilter we wouldn't be too worried because the Earth changes naturally. But the fact that they are virtually all out of kilter makes us very concerned."

Gaia's vital signs all out of kilter? That doesn't sound too good. But the good news is the admission of the only possible conclusion that the cause of global warming is man-made greenhouse gas by the IPCC. The fossil fuel folk have a habit of lobbying hard and there still is a month to go before the report is released. Is this all related to the column inches for cachet scandal where I have recently exposed Miranda Devine's growing dedication to promulgating the big oil message that one can't believe global warming is anthropogenic?
Every time I write an article pointing out there is no scientific consensus on the extent of man-made - as opposed to natural - climate change, or that attacks on genetically modified food are flawed, I am accused, quite seriously, of being on the payroll of Monsanto or Western Mining.
There is the rub - how much is us, how much is natural? If handy hacks like Devine are pushing this then it possibly is the clag that big oil are going to use to muddy the water in their attempts to influence the latest IPCC report.

Their agruement really is not good. It would be much smarter to turn around and say, "Hey you know what? Global warming IS real and anthropogenic, look we have all this research, and so to save the planet for the future and still move forward we are going to set the oil price at a premium. Recent events have shown that your economy will still grow by 4 per cent even if we jack up the price of petrol up by 8. Pay up at the pump, or punish your great-grandkids."

They work less for the money (don't worry, if there really is a Gaia the bastards will spend purgatory planting rainforests for arboreal hippies) and we get healthier, and richer.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Fresh from her drubbing the entire science of computer climate modeling Miranda Devine is at it again - this time complaining about the dumbing down of society on the one hand, and all the while sewing distrust of science and scientists on the other. In her ominously titled Geeks in white coats shall inherit the earth.

The same goes for all the high-tech gadgets we use to erase boredom and make our daily lives work so smoothly. Never before in the history of the world have so many people known so little about how stuff works.

There is a consequence of this ignorance. Somebody does know how stuff works, and knowledge is power. Thus, as we become enslaved by our ever-more sophisticated technology, we are at the mercy of those with The Knowledge, and their arrogance is growing. Beware geeks bearing gifts.

Poor geeks. Persecuted just because they know stuff. Just when they were becoming cool too.

At the same time as we become more gullible, we also become more cynical about government, corporations and Big Media.

Every time I write an article pointing out there is no scientific consensus on the extent of man-made - as opposed to natural - climate change, or that attacks on genetically modified food are flawed, I am accused, quite seriously, of being on the payroll of Monsanto or Western Mining.

Maybe if her proclamations didn't sound like fossil-fuel industry media talking points? Among the 76 listings for "scientific consensus" "global warming" "Miranda Devine" I googled up is a litany of rehashed and debunked pr initiatives by the fossil-fuel industry that Devine seems to have adopted as causes. She has been challenged on scientific accuracy before;Tim Lambert dissects an earlier article of Devine attacking Mann's hocky stick graph: Miranda Devine vs The Hockey Stick
The violent, incoherent, mouth-frothing fury from greenies to such columns puts me in mind of the insane reaction in the Islamic world to the Danish Muhammad cartoons.
So greenies are incapable of non-violent, coherent and rational constructs? OK, show them how it is done Miranda:
Environmentalism is the powerful new secular religion and politically correct scientists are its high priests, rescuing the planet from the apocalypse of climate change, as the Doomsday clock ticks down. Kyoto is the Promised Land and Bush/Howard/capitalism /industry/farmers are Satan.
Yes, well. Moving along. Devine makes a reference to Louis Hissick. He is a regular commenter on Tim Lambert's Deltoid. His commenters are rough if you don't know your stuff. But here is a curious connection, last week Devine gave the Lavosier Group a plug, this week Hissick. It seems Tim Lamburt believes he is a Lavosier group member.
Deltoid » Worst argument against global warming, ever.Louis Hissink Says: December 18th, 2004 at 1:19 am. Tim, one other problem for you - ?Lavoisier group member Louis Hissink has a response to my post and ... - 63k - Cached - Similar pages
Could mean nothing about being on any industry "payroll" though. She could just likes hanging out with the Lavosier crowd.

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Day after tomorrow? It's a wrap.

News that Antartica is melting faster than snow is falling has me wondering what do we do after all the ice has gone? We paint like mad. Roadways, buildings, rooftops, airports, everything must be white. And we wrap the world up in white material, especially around the poles, like earth was a global Christo installation.

The snow and ice covering the earth's surface area help to cool the earth by reflecting energy from the sun - up to 80% - straight back out into space. It has the highest albedo, or reflectivity, of the earth's surfaces. While it will be sad to see all those gigamegatonnes of fresh water, normally held in polar ice sheets, dumped into the oceans to ruin the world's waterfront property markets and bring oceanviews to the poor, it will be this other function of reflecting 80% the sun's heat straight back into space that I will miss the most.

So with the colour white having the highest albedo (which must be why snow is white) we must put on a drive to paint the cities of the world white and the interconnecting roads. Everything must look like a Greek Mediterranean village or the Sydney Opera House gleaming white in the sun. And we, the people, must all wear white, and possibly even turbans or sombreros, white ones.

Because with the snow 'n ice all gone, the artic and antartic polar sheets, the glaciers and snowfields and ice lakes, there will be be nothing efficient left to reflect the sun's energy back out to space.

Except we, the people.

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Fossil-fuel plants shut down.

This has to be challenged for the hot air it is:
Scientists sceptical of climate change are silenced and consensus is feigned, says Miranda Devine.
An opinion writer at the SMH, Miranda Devine falls firmly on the side of the global warming skeptics. But after reading her article one is left wondering why? Based on what facts?
A CONTROVERSIAL climate change advertisement made by Dr Tim Flannery for a solar company finally made its official debut yesterday on Adelaide television after a much-publicised "censorship" row.
I missed that row. Let's see what Google says about it: "Tim Flannery" censorship "Free+TV" Adelaide
Results 1 - 4 of about 6 for "Tim Flannery" censorship "Free TV" adelaide. (0.33 seconds)

Media Release
... feature in a new television advertisement for the Solar Shop in Adelaide. ... "Banning Tim Flannery's comments is censorship of the worst kind and is ... - 4k - 1 Mar 2006 - Cached - Similar pages

ABC Asia Pacific - News - South Australian scientist's commercial ...

The move has led to claims of censorship and political interference. The television advertisement for the Solar Shop in Adelaide featuring Dr Tim Flannery ... - 39k - Cached - Similar pages -- Steven Milloy, Publisher

The advertisement for the Solar Shop in Adelaide featured Dr Tim Flannery. ... Free TV defends Flannery ad ban (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) ... - 101k - 28 Feb 2006 - Cached - Similar pages

Politicised science | Webdiary - Founded and Inspired by Margo ...
A television advertisement for Adelaide's Solar Shop featuring Tim Flannery has been prevented from being screened by Free TV Australia's "Commercials ... - 64k - Cached - Similar pages

Only four references: The SA Greens media release, An ABC report five paragraphs short, something by far-flung US obfuscationist Steve Milloy, who seems to have it in for Dr Tim Flannery, and Webdiary by Margo Kingston, the original blogger for the Sydney Morning Herald. If that really is the extent of the much-publicised "censorship" row Devine could be accused of a tendency to exaggeration.

This hyperbole then is the prism through which to assess any unsubstantiated claims she goes on to make.
It was a marketing dream for the Solar Shop and a textbook example of the sort of intimidation and media boosterism that enables exaggerated green fear-mongering to run unchallenged.
Media-boosterism? Devine's article is 1,033 words long. The Greens media release is 224 words (and the ABC report, an economical 115 words). An interesting charge this, media-boosterism. And "intimidation", and "fear-mongering".

After claiming the box-office The Day After Tomorrow will backfire on the environmental movement she then moves on to try and discredit global warming science by picking on computers.

Of course, in an era in which most people haven't a clue how most of the high-tech equipment they use every day works, it is easy to bamboozle them with science.

But anyone with the barest undergraduate knowledge knows that computer modelling, on which climate change science relies, is anything but a perfect science, no matter how powerful the computer. A computer model is a simulation of reality, which begins life as a line drawing of inputs and outputs.

The outputs are totally dependent on the quality and accuracy of the inputs. At university we had a name for what often happens: GIGO - garbage in garbage out.

Is the author suggesting we don't use computers to nut this thing out? Or in saying GIGO is she saying she don't trust the work of no climate scientists? Maybe she is.
The misconception is fuelled by an unhealthy development in the scientific community: instead of engaging in open discovery, scientists who express scepticism about the extent of human-caused climate change are pilloried as despicable outcasts, and agents of oil companies. To survive they fall into line or keep quiet while their more ideologically pure peers are feted as super-heroes saving the world from catastrophe.
Proof for these allegations is not offered, so to put it in perspective think of much-publicised "censorship" row, and then think of only 4 Google entries on the subject. Finally she gets to where her article is leading, a plug for Nine Lies About Global Warming by Ray Evans of the Lavosier Group, a fossil-fuel industry attack dog formed around bringing the Kyoto Protocol down in 2000.

FYI. The first "lie" Lavosier fauxposes is that "CO2 is a pollutant". If they think we don't know the difference between carbon dioxide and carbonised suspended particulate matter then the next eight "lies" promise to be really tedious.

Getting back to the bird-in-the-hand; hot on the tail of serious allegations on scientific censorhip in our CSIRO aired by Four Corners last month, essentially we have the fossil fuel industry "screaming", using Miranda's word, that AGW skeptical climate scientists are not taken seriously by mainstream science.
... pilloried as despicable outcasts, and agents of oil companies.
Miranda, and fossil fuel industry, that is what you get when you prosecute truth through science and the scientific method. Any independently demonstrable scientific hypothesis open to peer-review that survives the vigorous, almost Darwinian contest of ideas can join the scientific consensus, sometimes to alter it.

But otherwise ... GIGO.

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