Sunday, April 30, 2006

What would you do with $500 billion?

If you feel like winning $50 USD and telling us all what America could have done with the $500 billion that they are likely to spend on the war in Iraq then put on yer tinking cap and wroite up a storm and send it to

Link :::[]
Here is my submission.

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Push Irans's buttons for one helluva blast.

Call me old fashioned, but this has got to be the most logical thing I have read about concerning the Iran nuclear stance. :::[SMH]

Australian peace activists say threatening Iran with a nuclear strike is the quickest way to ensure it develops its own nuclear weapons.

I am working on a theory that GW Bush was so protected from kindergarden onwards that he has not even the rudimentary notions of how playground psychology works, let alone that of the international scene. He has also been protected from a half decent education, and this explains why he is so misunderestimated by those of us who learnt something at school.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

The phoney science in State of Fear

James Hansen, directors of the Columbia University Earth Institute and Goddard Institute for Space Studies responds to allegations by Michael Crichton that he made predictions about global warming that turned out to 300% too high:

Michael Crichton's latest fictional novel, "State of Fear", designed to discredit concerns about global warming, purports to use the scientific method. The book is sprinkled with references to scientific papers, and Crichton intones in the introduction that his "footnotes are real". But does Crichton really use the scientific method? Or is it something closer to scientific fraud?

Hanson neatly dispatches Crichton and concludes with the following grave warning about the seperation between science and the state:

So how did Crichton conclude that our prediction was in error 300%? Beats me. Crichton writes fiction and seems to make up things as he goes along. He doesn't seem to have the foggiest notion about the science that he writes about. Perhaps that is o.k. for a science fiction writer.

However, I recently heard that, in considering the global warming issue, a United States Senator is treating words from Crichton as if they had scientific or practical validity. If so, wow -- Houston, we have a problem!

Source :::[Michael Crichton's "Scientific Method"] by James E. Hansen
Discussion of Crichton's science fiction by real climate scientists :::[]

Other posts on Michael Crichton or the "global warming debate"
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nuclear power is just not an option.

"Chernobyl opened my eyes like nothing else. It showed the horrible consequences of nuclear power, even when used for non-military purposes."
Michael Gorbachev
April 2006.

Australia is set to become the world's leading exporter of uranium to China based on a promise by the Chinese leadership to never, ever use Australian uranium in nuclear weapons (and presumably to never use such a weapon on us or our interests). John Howard has not even ruled out Australia using nuclear power:

"My philosophy is that if it became economically attractive, I would not oppose [nuclear power] any more than I oppose the export of uranium."

While we brace ourselves for a nuclear future, it is worth considering the past. It was 20 years ago that the Chernobyl nuclear reactor melted down, and Russian authorities are still trying to contain the fallout. There is a 30 kilometer security radius around the site. The IAEA believe that radiation exposure will lead to the deaths of 4000 people. There have been 4000 cases of thyroid cancer, mostly in children. Over 350,000 people were displaced.

After more than 50 years we still do not have an answer to the vexing issues of nuclear proliferation, or nuclear waste.

It is also expensive. Those who champion nuclear power as an alternative to fossil-fuel emissions may not know just how much:

On March 30 Britain estimated it will cost $170 billion to clean up its 20 [decomissioned] nuclear sites. In the US, direct subsidies to nuclear energy totalled $115 billion between 1947 and 1999, with a further $145 billion in indirect subsidies. In contrast, subsidies to wind and solar energy combined during the same period totalled only $5.5 billion. Those costs don't include the black hole of nuclear waste - because there is no solution.

There is enough civil plutonium reprocessed worldwide, about 250,000 kilograms, to generate 60,000 nuclear weapons. Clandestine nuclear weapons are easier to make. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA warns about this potential for proliferation, "Our fears of a deadly nuclear detonation...have been reawakened...driven by new realities. The rise in terrorism. The discovery of clandestine nuclear programs. The emergence of a nuclear black market."

Anthony Albanese, the federal Opposition environment spokesman is urging us to consider these realities in holding the nuclear debate. His conclusion is that we should instead be leading the world in the adoption of clean energy, and be part of the $1 trillion industry that is emerging globally in carbon-friendly technologies. ::: [SMH]

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Cost of gasoline will be peanuts.

With rising petrol prices one Australian scientist, Peter Gresshoff, is looking at peanuts, soyabeans and other legumes high in oil in order to produce and efficient biodiesel.

Professor Gresshoff, the director of the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence for Integrative Legume Research believes gain legumes offer bigger environmental rewards than cane sugar based ethanol. He said a pilot plant making soyabean biodiesel could be operating in five to eight years. Peanuts, with a slightly lower oil content, will be next. ::: [Sydney Morning Herald].

It is not quite a new idea, over 100 years ago, at the Paris World Expo, the inventor of the diesel engine's Rudolph Diesel first demonstrated his internal combustion engine running on peanut oil.

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Now Michael Crichton sueing Dan Brown.

Came across this clever quip:

[2006.04.08 - 10:00 A.M.]

So the guy who accused Dan Brown of stealing the idea for the DaVinci Code lost his court case. Brown might not be in the clear yet, however. I hear Michael Crichton is suing him next. It appears that Crichton holds a patent on the business methodology of "formulaic, linear plots populated by two-dimensional characters". I know, you wouldn't think they'd let you patent something like that, but there you go

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

In defense of global warming 'alarmism'.

The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal is devoting a fair few column inches to global warming skeptics lately. A few weeks ago Dr Richard Lindzen claimed that scientists are persecuted for dissenting from the scientific mainstream view that the global warming we are experiencing now is man made. And on Earth Day a hatchet piece called Breathe Easier told us not to believe global warming claims because, well, the past dire predictions of the greens in the 70s have not come to pass:

In the 1970s, prominent greens were issuing dire predictions about mass starvation, overpopulation and--of all things--global cooling. Since then, population-growth estimates have come way down, biotechnology advances have found ways to feed more people than the doomsayers believed possible, and the global-cooling crisis has become the global-warming crisis without missing a beat.

There's no doubt the greens have succeeded in promoting higher environmental standards, which in turn have contributed to cleaner air, water and land almost everywhere you look...........But environmental activists don't want to believe their own success, much less advertise it. They need another looming catastrophe to stay relevant, not to mention to keep raising money.

Much of the article is a vilification of those concerned about the environment. My first response is to laugh at how stupid the unknown author must think his audience is and move along, but when you remember that insidious pieces like these are funded by the fossil-fuel lobby to successfully sow confusion about global warming science, it is worth pars or two of effort to respond.

Name: Wadard
City/State: Sydney, Australia
Date: Sun, April 23rd, 2006

Re: Breathe Easier

How do you congratulate them for the gains they have helped make - like enormous CFC reduction - but criticise environmentalists for that which did not come to pass, like total ozone depletion?

Surely it is more rational to take their warnings even more seriously?

Global warming 'alarmists', such as myself, are simply saying that if we keep putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we will suffer dire consequences to the ecosystems that we depend on. Unfortunately the scientific consensus agrees.

Accusing us of alarmism is misrepresenting us though exaggeration. Our 'alarmism' makes as much common sense as pointing out that if one jumps off a big enough cliff that person is going to die a really unpleasant death. There is nothing scary in that, unless you think someone is planning to jump.

That's because, in my simile, we are all tied together by a rope at the edge of that cliff.

Global Warming Watch
Other posts about global warming skeptics and how they work:
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Monday, April 24, 2006

When your time is up, your time is up.

Off topic, but the bizareness of it caught my attention: Twenty seven year old Californian man, at home with wife, doing his own thing. Ground opens up right beneath him and swallows him whole. Wife unharmed.

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Global warming state of the debate: Skeptics vs 'Alarmists'

If you come across a stubborn skeptic, direct them to this enlightening graphic from The Age which outlines where the debate is at. Those for or against recognising man-made global warming will have to agree the report is clinical, factual and unbiased. What it shows is that there is a scientific consensus that global warming is happening, and that most of the 'debate' is happening outside of the scientific establishment, and therefore isn't a scientific debate. In response to media reporting the latest science, the opinion pages of newspapers and policy making think tanks run hot with a generalised retort that either rehashes existing GW-skeptic talking points, or comes up with the newest hatchling from the fossil-fuel lobby's propaganda battery.

A good example is the attack on 'greenies' and environmentalists for their past dire warmings that did not come to pass (usually because action was taken to avert the crises of the time, such as CFC reduction contributing to a thickening of the ozone layer hole).

When the critics actually want to stop heckling from the audience and get into the ring to slog it out in peer reviewed science journals, then I am interested. Until then it is not a real debate about the science or the causes or effects, but a really debate about what we should or shouldn't do in response, with the skeptics implying that doing something is going to cost economic growth.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

ExxonMobil fingered on global warming emissions.

A funny thing happened on the way to the thinktank. All that money ExxonMobil pours into generating global warming doubts is backfiring like an old exhaust according to graphs I generated on IceRocket's search term trends tool. The correlations between the terms "global warming", "climate change", "emissions" and "Exxon" are extraordinary. Here is a graph showing three of the terms over the last month. You are going to have to click on the graph for a much clearer image.

I have omitted "global warming" as a search term here because it Global warming search terms over 1 monthhas about twice the incidence of climate change and such a scale renders the graph less useful when looking at terms of lower incidence, such as "Exxon". But the correlation is extremely high, as one would expect (see yesterday's post). People think "global warming" and they think "climate change", simple as that. global warming search terms - 3 monthsThe graph also shows that when bloggers write about climate change, and they write about emissions - not too much of a surprise. But they also seem to associate ExxonMobil with those emissions and that climate change. Coincidence? Let's look at longer periods to see how the correlations hold up. The next three graphs are forglobal warming search terms - 9 months the last three, four and nine months of search terms.

They hold up.

Why does ExxonMobil have this association in peoples minds? (I also tested the term "Shell Oil" for similar correlation and there was none apparent).

My theory is that all the millions and millions of dollars that ExxonMobil pours into confusing the public has resulted in an enormous miscalculation. While it is financially good for their shareholders (Exxon made $36.2 billion profit last year) to deny any connection between fossil-fuels and global warming the public are not being gulled. As I reported yesterday 71% of Australians, a non-Kyoto Protocol country, believe that it is time to start fighting global warming. This is a similar percentage to those in the US (76%) and in India (71%) who believe that steps must be taken even if there is an economic cost. The public knows there is global warming, and it seems bloggers know who to blame. When governments finally come around to reflecting the common will, there will be one record profit posting oil company on the nose for destroying the climate while lying about not destroying it.

ExxonMobil is winning the war, but losing the battle.
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Friday, April 21, 2006

71% of Australians want to fight global warming

If 71 percent of Australians believe it is time to start addressing the consequence of global warming, and if we are growing at .8 percent per month there will be a political consequence for politicians uncommitted to action. By January 2007, the start of a federal election year, we will have 75.8 percent of Australians saying we should be taking actions to fight global warming at this rate.

So expect a lot of activity by the fossil-fuel lobby groups. Expect our opinion pages to be saturated with the sentiments of climate 'scientists' venturing that 'global warming is natural', but don't call then scientists unless they have also had their claims peer-reviewed and published in respected scientific journals. Disregard any opinion maker's suggestion of hubris, that it is an arrogance to imagine that mankind can affect our global climate, for it is a parched earth that the meek shall inherit.

Expect economists to opine that reducing emissions will damage economic growth. Expect evidence lite economics. Point out that the smart side of the business side of town has calculated that Australia can reduce emissions by the magic 60% of 1990 levels by 2005 without sacrificing the economy. Maybe just a few politicians, and an oil company exec or two, that's all.

And expect Wadard to be taking the fight to these global warming skeptics, renting their myths apart like cheap fabric to expose their fallacies and threadbare logic.

Other posts on global warming skepticism
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Global warming bloggers hard at it

Ice Rocket has a great search term trend tracker, and it has charted an average of 492 posts per day for the last three months that contain the term "global warming". And about half that number for "climate change". Keep up the good work. (click graph to enlarge).

Note the high degree of correlation of the two search terms.

By the way, if you want to know a little secret I discovered about Ice Rocket; you can manually manipulate the "days=" section of the URL generated after a search-terms graph has been created to look at any number of days up to 270. Don't abuse it if it slows their servers down. I pick low traffic times.

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They don't drought global warming in Goulburn.

The current drought has claimed it's first dam, the Pejar Dam, which services the NSW city of Goulburn, which is now officially empty for the first time in its 25 year old history.

After six consecutive years of below average rainfall, the Pejar Dam, which when full has a capacity of 9,000 megalitres, is now down to just 3 megalitres, the Goulburn Mulwaree Council said.

Now with the water supply coming from Sooley Dam and Rossi Weir, which are both about 90 per cent full, Goulburn had enough water for just 17 months.

Water supply for Goulburn is now only at 30.5 per cent of total capacity. Only 18.5 per cent of this water is of usable quality.

Get used to it.

Other posts about the drought in Australia

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How to recover quickly from lost blog code

...and only suffer mild side effects.

While I was editing my template last night I inadvertently lost all my sidebar html and code. Typically I didn't have a back-up. It took me a few hours of kicking myself to realise that I do have many copies in Google's cache - which is why I am posting - hopefully to save others time and bruised thighs (don't kick youself if you know karate). No worries mate, she'll be right. I searched for Google for a recent pre-disaster post and clicked on the cached option. There it was, with search terms highlighted. I converted to source code, and easily found my sidebar text. It was useful that I had documented the code with comments, and so does Blogger. I cut and paste into my Blogger template, and I am back to normal.

Almost normal. My original Google search terms are highlighted wherever they appear in the sidebar, and my most recent posts were from the month old source code, over which I cut and pasted up-to-date code. My scripts worked fine.

I am leaving those sidebar terms highlighted as a reminder to back up my blog locally. A lucky escape.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Study: Global warming greatest threat to species

Loss of biodiversity is bad because it weakens the biosphere which is what stabilises our climate. Less biodiversity means less carbon is cycling through the ecosystem. More is left backing up in the atmosphere as heat trapping carbon dioxide in a nasty positive feedback cycle, accelerating the global warming. It is never good news; when a single species dies off the effect cascades up and down the food-chain ultimately clogging up nature's carbon sink and leading to further loss.

Now a new study says that a rise of just 2 degrees over the next 50 years could wipe out tens of thousands of plants and animal species.

So pervasive would this wave of extinction be, that the study, co-authored by CI's Lee Hannah - says that by the end of this century, climate change will represent a greater threat to biodiversity than deforestation, with important implication to the long-term endurance of our conservation gains. "Climate change is one of the most serious threats to Earth's biodiversity," says Jay Malcolm, the study's lead author and assistant forestry professor at the University of Toronto. "We now have strong scientific evidence that global warming will result in catastrophic species loss across the planet."

The study, supported by the CI, the World Wildlife Fund, and the David Suzuki Foundation researched plants and animals in 25 to 34 biodiversity hotspots. The most vulnerable biodiversity hotspots are the Cape Floristic, Caribbean, Indo-Burma, Southwestern Australia, Mediterranean Basin and Tropical Andes hotspots, where extinctions of plant and animal species in each region could exceed 2,000.

The new study also corroborates controversial findings published two years ago in the journal Natureby scientists from the University of Leeds and CI, that claimed global warming from increased atmospheric greenhouse gasses could drive species to seek cooler latitudes or higher altitudes. But for many specialized creatures already living on mountaintops or islands, there may be nowhere else to go, resulting, the Leeds study said, in the extinction of over a million animal species by 2050.
Source: Conservation Org

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NSW now spending to reduce greenhouse emissions

While the Australian Federal Government is against reducing CO2 emissions, $300,000 is to be spent over two years on reducing greenhouse gases by the State and Local Governments and Shires Associations of NSW. It is interesting and saddening that part of the funding is to help us adapt to climate change. If the funding had been delivered, say, 10 years ago it could have gone towards helping us prevent more climate change, rather than adapt to it. Unfortunately our emissions friendly Federal Government has put us and our kids on a path where we, and our descendents, will be spending a lot more than $150,000 per year adapting to the climate change happening right now.

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American image abroad needs green makeover

Rather than prescribing travel etiquette for the 'ugly American', those in the US Government worried about image should agitate for a green makeover. A genuine one, spin without substance will be short lived.

Before I post this link I want to say that we all have 'em - loud obnoxious fellow citizens who seemingly see it as their duty to evangelise on their travels about the worldview from their suburban lawn. And others who expect things to 'work the same way as back home' so loudly you sometimes cringe. Watching a bunch of Aussies clinging to lamppost and anything else that sways in Earls Court after all the pubs shut can help you see why the 18th Century Londoners banished their Antipodean ancestors to a land Down Under. Unless you are one of them, in which case the chunder Up Top is as much a part of the ritual avenging of our (in a few cases) wrongfully transported forbearer as is the ritual beating Australia meter out when we fight them on the 'beaches', and fight them on the rugby fields, and stomp them on the cricket pitches. I was only kidding about the beaches, a low blow, our surfers get their best competition from those countries whose South African, Kiwi, or American ancestors left their pathetic English beaches centuries ago for bigger waves, and better breaks.

But the American traveler can't travel a lightly as, say, the spewing Aussie playing up the larrikin. He or she has to lug their country's baggage around on their world trips the moment they open their mouths, or quite some time before depending on attire. An American barfs anywhere overseas and it is imperialism. If they barf at home but the patriotic yawn is shown on overseas television it is American cultural imperialism.

One reason why the bar is higher for the poor Yank is that the world does look to America for some sort of leadership. I can't really understand it any other way. I will always judge any American I encounter as an individual first, but if they are the type who takes photographs and leaves nothing but conspicuous carbon footprints then this only serves to reinforce my anti anti Kyoto Protocol prejudice, which you don't want me to get started on. Two stark facts stand against them; that they comprise 4.6% of the earth's population yet produce 25% of the planet's man-made greenhouse gases, and that they and Australia in a shameful carbon dioxide Coalition of the Unwilling are alone in the world in refusing to ratify Kyoto and constrain global warming emissions.

Here is the promised link: A quiet word to loud Americans.

The reputation of the ugly American abroad is not just some cruel stereotype. Rather, says the United States Government, it is worryingly accurate.

Now the State Department in Washington has joined forces with US industry to plan an image makeover by issuing guides on how to behave for Americans traveling overseas.

Under a program starting next month, several big US companies will give employees going abroad a "world citizen's guide" featuring 16 etiquette tips on how they can help improve their country's battered international image.

Business for Diplomatic Action, a non-profit group funded by large US companies, has met State Department officials to discuss issuing the guide with every newly issued American passport. The guide offers a series of "simple suggestions" under the slogan, "Help your country while you travel for your company".

Uncle Sam needs you ... to behave properly? So here is my call. If the American government took a leadership role and concentrated on achieving sustainable energy independence rather than illegally invading oil rich countries whose unsavoury regimes have fallen foul of favour, or threatening others into acquiring nuclear weapons, then they wouldn't need to implore it's citizenry to smooth things over as they leave the country. America then could experience a New American millennium, rather than just one bloody hot century.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

ExxonMobil links to Dr Richard Lindzen.

Climate change deniers are having a ball lately. Dr Richard Lindzen does another opinion piece claiming that dissenting scientists are intimidated into silence: Climate of Fear: Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence.

So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by

So why is Dr Richard Lindzen, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT, being so brave and noble in his dissent? It turns out he has a dossier on which documents foundations he works for that receive funding from ExxonMobil. Ten years ago the guy was getting paid $2,500 a day to consult to the oil and coal industry. They got what they paid for, it is reported that he is a good climate scientist: Spinwatch: The global warming sceptics: Climate Change

In some cases, scepticism has been good for climate science. US scientist Richard Lindzen, regarded as an outstanding climatologist, has forced his colleagues to address issues such as the role of convection, cloud and water vapour. But most of the handful of scientists around the world that could be called sceptics - and they are mostly not climatologists - do not, as Lindzen does, publish in the recognised peer-reviewed literature, science's method of fact-checking and filtering out bad science.

However, Climate of Fear is not about Dr Richard Lindzen's scientific works, it is about policy, which is why it lands in the OpinionJournal of the WSJ. a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in
alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes.

Therefore it is reasonable to ask who may be behind Dr Lindzen's words while we consider them.


Richard Lindzen
Professor of Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Member, Annapolis Center Science and Economic Advisory Council.Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Lindzen was a member of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but takes issue with the general conclusions drawn from the IPCC's report. His prolific writings assert that climate change science is inconclusive, and has testified multiple times before Congress.

Ross Gelbspan reported in 1995 that Lindzen "charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled 'Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,' was underwritten by OPEC." ("The Heat is On: The warming of the world's climate sparks a blaze of denial," Harper's magazine, December 1995.) Lindzen signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration.

The Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy
Member, Science and Economic Advisory Council
Source: Annapolis Center website 3/04

Tech Central Science Foundation or Tech Central Station
Contributing Writer
Source: Tech Central Bio Lindzen

Cato Institute
Contributing Writer, Reason Magazine
Source: Cato Institute website 4/04

The Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy receives funding from ExxonMobil:

Total funding to The Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy from Exxon corporations since 1998: $US NaN

1998 - $183,500 ExxonMobil Corporate Giving
Source: ExxonMobil 1998 grants list

2000 - $190,000 ExxonMobil Foundation40K project support 50K 'policy conferences'.100K 'discussion making light of scientific uncertainty'
Source: ExxonMobil Foundation 2000 IRS 990

2001 - $27,500 ExxonMobil Corporate Giving
Source: ExxonMobil 2001 Annual Report

2001 - $35,000 ExxonMobil Foundation
Source: ExxonMobil 2001 Annual Report

2002 - $50,000 ExxonMobil Corporate Giving children's asthma
: ExxonMobil 2002 Annual Report

2002 - $70,000 ExxonMobil Foundation general support
Source: ExxonMobil 2002 Annual Report

2003 - $27,500 ExxonMobil Corporate GivingGeneral Operating Support/Annual Dinner
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report

2003 - $75,000 ExxonMobil Corporate GivingProject Support
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report

2004 - $75, 000 ExxonMobil Foundation
Source: Exxon Giving Report 2004

Tech Central Science Foundation gets their bit:

2003 - $95,000 ExxonMobil FoundationClimate Change Support
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report

As does the Cato Institute.

2001 - $20,000 ExxonMobil Foundation
Source: ExxonMobil 2001 Annual Report

2002 - $25,000 ExxonMobil Foundationgeneral support
Source: ExxonMobil 2002 Annual Report

2002 - $5,000 ExxonMobil Corporate Givingannual gala dinner
Source: ExxonMobil 2002 Annual Report

2003 - $25,000 ExxonMobil Foundation
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report

2004 - $15,000 ExxonMobil FoundationEnvironmental Education and Outreach
Source: Exxon Giving Report 2004

He is very strong in his condemnation of global warming alarmism.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

One is left feeling Climate of Fear would have been more balanced if he also acknowledged that the top climate scientist in the US, James Hansen, speaks out strongly of White House censorship of climate science. How could he miss that when his charge is so similar. Methinks a campaign of climate science obfuscation is underway.

More articles on the global warming skeptics and how they operate.
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Thursday, April 13, 2006

On Earth spin and God spin.

This Spinwatch article by Melissa Fyfe charts the climate science debate and how it has taken place in Australia and the rest of the world. I was interested to read a little more explanation than is usually given to the charge that global warming-ism is the latest religion:

The global-warming doomsayers, says (ex-Labor Senator Ray)Evans, are anti-development. Moreover, they stem from an environmentalism that has taken the place of Christianity, particularly in Europe. "To put it in its bluntest terms, when you don't believe in God you don't believe in nothing. You believe in whatever is the fashion of the day, and environmentalism has scooped the pool."

Right. So I guess it is not possible for someone to simultaneously not believe in God, and not 'believe in' anything else?

I guess from the perspective of a faith-based believer it is inconceivable that some one may want to rely on the evidence of their senses, or the evidence gleaned from experimenting or observing under empirical before they decide what to believe.

But perhaps religious believers do feel a threat (to their religion) from those they perceive as Gaia worshipers? Hey, why not? At least one can see, feel, hear, touch and taste Gaia. For the uninitiated it's easier to understand that the Earth supports all life than it is to understand that God who we can't see gives us our life.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Global warming denial funded by ExxonMobil

Thank you Glitch for directing my attention to the UK Sunday Telegraph opinion piece, by Australian geologist, Bob Carter who asserts, "There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998".

Skeptipundit accuses Carter of being narrowly selective in choosing the two time scales upon which to base his case. He says that Carter's short scale is too short, the last 8 years, to draw conclusions, and his longer paleoclimatic scale is not useful analysing the here and now human experience of climate change.

Skeptipundit: Global Warming Denial - Spinning the Scales

So Dr Bob Carter tells us global warming is over. Well, he is a geologist. They do look for coal and oil for a living. I entered his name in the database to see if Greenpeace knew of him as an ExxonMobil funded climate change skeptic but didn't hold out hope. Bob Carter is an Aussie at the James Cook University and I believed the ExxonSecrets database to be US centric. But, bingo, there he was...

Bob Carter
Professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University

former Director, Australian Secretariat for the Ocean Drilling Program
Contributing Writer, Tech Central Station

"The first thing to be clear about is that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant."
5 May, 2004
Source: Tech Central Station Article - Carter

"contrary to strong public belief, the effects of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are generally beneficial. Enhanced plant growth has many obvious benefits, amongst them increased natural vegetation growth in general, and increased agricultural production in particular. And to maintain or slightly increase planetary temperature is also very much a global good if -- as Ruddiman and other scientists assert -- the human production of greenhouse gases is helping to hold our planetary environment in its historic, benignly warm, interglacial mode."
5 May, 2004
Source: Tech Central Station Article - Carter

Tech Central Science Foundation or Tech Central Station
Contributing Writer
Source: Tech Central Station Article - Carter
1133 21st St NW Suite M100c/o Ralph R BrownWashington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-546-4242
Tech Central Science Foundation was formed in late November 2002 (Form 990). The Foundation appears to be a funding arm of the free-market news site,
ExxonMobil gave the Foundation $95,000 in 2003 for "Climate Change Support." According to, a nonprofit research tool, the Foundation had 2003 income of $150,000 and $110,903 in assets.The Foundation commissioned a study by Charles River Associates alleging that the costs of the McCain-Lieberman bill of 2003 would be a minimum of $350 annually per household through 2010, rising to $530 per household by 2020, and could rise to as high as $1,300 per year per household. Related information: Tech Central Station was launched in 1999 as "a cross between a journal of Internet opinion and a cyber think tank open to the public" (TCS news release). According to Washington Monthly, TCS is published by the DCI Group, "a prominent Washington public affairs firm specializing in P.R., lobbying, and so-called 'Astroturf' organizing, generally on behalf of corporations, GOP politicians, and the occasional Third-World despot." TCS shares office space, staff and ownership with DCI Group. ("Meet the Press" Washington Monthly, December 2003. Corporate funders of Tech Central Station include AT&T, Avue Technologies, The Coca-Cola Company, General Motors Corporation, Intel, McDonalds, Merck, Microsoft, Nasdaq, PhRMA, and Qualcomm (Tech Central Station website).
Total funding to Tech Central Science Foundation or Tech Central Station from Exxon corporations since 1998: $US 95,000

$95,000 ExxonMobil FoundationClimate Change Support
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report
"The core issue underlying all climate policy debates is whether politicians and bureaucrats should have the power to regulate America into a condition of energy poverty. The Edison Electric Institute surely believes government should not have such power, which is why it opposes Kyoto and other carbon cap-and-trade schemes. Yet EEI, beguiled by the prospect of turning "voluntary" reductions into easy cash, is leading the charge for transferable credits -- a political force multiplier for the Kyoto agenda of climate alarmism and energy suppression. This is about as sensible as selling the rope by which one will be hanged. The nation's premier electric industry lobby can and should do better."
27 April, 2004
Source: "Et Tu, Edison?" TCS 4/27/04

"There is also enough scientific doubt about the nature and pace of climate change to avoid committing to blueprints like Kyoto that have little effect, except to reduce economic growth. The practicable approach to climate change is research and development of technologies which will contribute positively to reduction of greenhouse gases. They will not have the dramatic effect hoped for by the designers of the Kyoto blueprint. Just as well. But they will be more effective. Poor countries can't afford fancy research and development, but wealthier countries can. Making Asia prosperous is a surer bet."
29 April, 2004
Source: "Prosperity First," TCS 4/29/04

Letter to Sen. McCain November 16, 2004 on Arctic Climate Impacts Assessment Press Release Source: Tech Central Station Climate Experts Respond to Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Tuesday November 16, 10:41 am ET
Recent Warming Trend is Unexceptional Compared to Natural Variability in Centuries PastWASHINGTON, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Today 11 climate experts sent a letter(please see below) to Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who is the Chairman of theSenate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee and is holding a full committee hearing this morning to hear testimony on the Arctic ClimateImpact Assessment (ACIA).In the letter, the climate experts respond to statements made in the ACIA that temperature changes in the Arctic provide an early indication of global warming. The signers of the letter point out that sediment and ice core samples show that the arctic has experienced past warming that can not be attributed to greenhouse gas concentrations. There is also a history o fstrong year-to-year variability of Arctic temperatures. The letter also calls for the need for advances in Arctic climate science in both models and measurements in order to assess a more complete picture of Arctic climate understanding.

It is enlightening to know whom you really are dealing with when reading climate change opinion piece. I like visiting for that. It is a wonderful tool for filtering out the ExxonMobil propaganda and has a groovy flash program where you can draw linkages between different oil lobby institutes, foundations and people. In the case of Bob Carter's opinion piece, where he trades on being a scientist, I don't think it was his real opinion or one very scientific.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

$500 billion is a lot to reflect on

Oh good, a writing competition: What Could America Do With $500 Billion?

Each month, the best alternative option to Iraq war spending will receive $50 USD.

At the end of the Iraq war, by vote, the best entry will receive $500 USD.

Ideas must be PG-rated and legal. Send me your ideas. They can be left-wing, right-wing, thoughtful, kookie, weird, peace type, and/or military type. Entries will be judged on thoughtfulness, clarity, and creativity. If you cut and past information from other people's web sites, take no more than a paragraph and ensure you include a link to where you got the content.

Without further ado, here is my entry:

$500 billion is a lot to reflect on.

$500 billion would be just perfect for what I want to do!

Putting morality aside for a sec, the Iraq war really is turning out to be terribly inconvenient at this juncture in homo sapiens sapiens evolution. It is entrenching the oil addiction the President of the United States owned up to, driving the hook in deeper, reinforcing the dependency.

That oil that was going to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq but no doubt is not laying idle given what motorists will stump up for nowadays at the fuel pump, especially at Easter, that oil is the very carbon dioxide that was sucked out of the atmosphere by majestic plants millennia ago and safely sequestered to give us sapiens sapiens a rather liveable biosphere and a pretty stable climate.

Pretty stable climate, we grew from 6 million to 6 billion in 20,000 years. It's no wonder we think we rule.

We were smart enough to harness that ancient sequestered atmospheric carbon dioxide, turning it into petrocarbons to fuel the economies that financed our exponential population growth. It has been good, we have the iPod now, but we are at a crossroad and now we have to be smart enough to seize that $500 billion, and paintbrushes, and starting with the crossroad, paint it white.

News that Antarctica is melting faster than snow is falling did have me wondering what we do after all the ice has gone.

It has to be considered; what do we do?

Well, now with $500 billion in the kitty we have a chance, so we paint like mad. From our crossroads in all directions: White highways, byways and dual carriage motorways. Link roads, ring roads and perimeter roads - all snow white. Then rooftops and buildings, and the tarmac of airports, everything must be white. And when we run out of roads then we wrap the world up in white material, especially around the poles, as if 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 all the earth's surface types. 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 generally unwanted ocean views to the poor, it will be this other function of reflecting 80% the sun's heat back into space that we will miss the most.

We can't really get away with water-based paints - one hurricane and your roads are back to boring black, nor could you in good conscience use petro-chemical oil based paints. Fifteen percent of the $500 billion will go towards research and rollout of organic oil based white paint. Happily the plant yield needed to meet the scale of paint required globally will also serve to act as a gigantic carbon sink, sucking heat-absorbing, ice-melting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and providing us with our second prong in our plan of attack on the global warming problem.

To summarise. We revitalise earth's flagging albedo by replacing the world's shrinking snow covered surface area with a white coat of paint over the world's road network, and we make the paint base from carbon dioxide sucking plant oils. More sunlight energy is reflected back out to space, and there is less carbon dioxide on the way out to space to trap this reflected energy and convert it to heat. Cool, huh?

At $500 billion this solution is cost effective; we get to be able to bequeath a functioning planet to our children and grandchildren. What have we got for the money spent on Iraq so far?

(Adapted from an earlier idea by Global Warming Watch)

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Global warming: Bush stands on fast thinning ice

I know I am behind the times but the sober speech given recently by US Senator Barack Obama bears reading if you haven't already: The Coming Storm: Energy Independence and the Safety of Our Planet (Chicago, IL. April 3rd, 2006). It's great to see some leadership taken on global warming for a change...

"The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much we're contributing to the warming of the earth's atmosphere and how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe."

...and to read these gems...

"And yet, when it comes to finding a way to end our dependence on fossil fuels, the greatest vacuum in leadership, the biggest failure of imagination, and the most stubborn refusal to admit the need for change is coming from the very people who are running the country."


"This is not a serious effort. Saying that America is addicted to oil without following a real plan for energy independence is like admitting alcoholism and then skipping out on the 12-step program. It's not enough to identify the challenge - we have to meet it."

He talks of Shishmaref, the first village to reluctantly up and move because of global warming, harbinger for the 40% of the world's population who live within 60 km of the coast.* They are harbingers in every sense as the word derives from Middle English herbengar, or person sent ahead to arrange lodgings.

Fellow harbingers and Arctic and Antarctic photographers, Brian and Cherry Alexander have been to the Inuit village in Alaska to snap the ice before it melts.

Shishmaref - A Casualty of Global Warming (photo essay)
Artic Meltdown (photo essay)

Planet Ark reports that it is going to be expensive to relocate the village of 600 people to a new spot 22kms (13.5 miles) away.

The cost of moving Shishmaref is currently estimated at $150 million to $180 million, said Bruce Sexauer, a senior planner for the Corps' Alaska district.

The pro rata cost of relocating Sydney's 5 million strong population then is a silly $1,250,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000. While strictly an apples with oranges comparison, it does show that the cheapest option is to do all we can to fight global warming now to mitigate extreme climate change. The alternative is to keep investing big in cheap energy now to save enough of an inheritance to pay for your children and grandchildren's global warming induced relocation costs, currently estimated at $250,000 to $300,000 per child or grandchild by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Don't forget to adjust for inflation.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

How to Free Iraq, by George Bush

I know it is off-topic but I think this is clever: Free Iraq in Flash. Anyway, how can oil ever be off-topic in a blog about global warming? Ta Pip Wilson.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

ExxonMobil Aust: Climate science not proven

Global warming jobs loss uncool for business

one billion dollars!Big business reports that business-as-usual will cost an averge 12,500 Australian jobs per year over the next 20. That's 250,000 jobs. The message is to no longer disregard global warming.

At an average income of say, $80k per year that is a cool one billions dollars worth of hard wrought Aussie income for our esteemed government to tax annualy. I guess it is because of our government has amongst the highest tax takes in the OECD that they are now backflipping on their previous hands-washing.

From the SMH:

But Environment Minister Ian Campbell said few countries were on target to reach that figure and what the federal government was doing was the right approach.

"One of the reasons we've taken early action as a government is we would rather be ahead of the climate change game than behind, I think for the very good reasons we've identified," he said.

"We're spending upwards of $2 billion on what we would consider early actions and it's incredibly important that we do engage business."

What are they spending the $2 billion on anyway? All I have seen is the further killing off of prospects of Australian participation in the Kyoto Protocol with the set-up of the AP6 group.

The researchwas commissioned by companies such as BP Australia, Insurance Australia Group, Origin Energy, Swiss Re, Visy Industries and Westpac, and by the Australian Conservation Foundation. It was undertaken by the CSIRO and the Allen Consulting Group.

You can't accuse this as being the fringe green scene and I assume the job losses extrapolated from the research were from these companies and industries, as they were paying for the research. We have oil represented (well, peak oil theory would have them being gone sometime soonish anyway), insurance companies (I was hoping they would have to put more people on to process more weather devastation claims), reinsurance companies (ditto), packaging and banking.

These companies now calculate that we not only can reduce our emissions by the magic 60% of 1990 levels within 44 years, but we can do it maintaining economic growth.

"That number, while it sounds large, is the number that's needed to push the world on a path to ultimately stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations.

"Having said that, all the modelling done by Allen Consulting shows that, even with early action to set us on a path to 60 per cent reduction, we'll still have a very strong economy, with real GDP averaging around 2.1 per cent and creating an additional 3.5 million jobs."

A bit different to Howard's claims of emissions' reductions harming the economy but I had always believed that was a dead duck in carnard's clothing waiting for the hunting season to begin. Indeed, we have kicked CFC addiction, stabilised the ozone hole, yet still enjoyed growth, refrigeration and underarm deodourant. But, thankfully, there is less hairspray around as it has slowly dawned that the sixties beehive was an environmental disaster as much as a fashion one.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Death by a thousand phantom cuts

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg of sustainablog is somewhat discombobulated as he tries to make sense of the draft polluter-friendly EPA proposal that helps polluters avoid having to use "the maximum achievable technology controls to lower their pollution" if their emissions drop to below "10 tons or more of a single air pollutant or 25 tons or more of a group of pollutants..."
So, let me see if I get this right: you have to cut your pollution a lot, unless, of course, you choose to reduce it a little? Then you won't have to cut it a lot? And this is good news?
Reference: ENN article.

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The end of our epoch? All in good Time #2

Post a blog entry on how successfully Time Magazine's cover "Be Worried. Be Very Worried" gets picked up by the Internet, and the skeptics swarm in, armed with ad hominem attacks and familiar arguments.

And, lately, loaded with links to the works of Messrs. Harrison Hieb and Monte Hieb.

The following comment is a classic denialist-in-service attack:

At 9:46 AM EST, E L Frederick reckons this...

In the mean time, I suggest you get yourself an education and stop listening to the celebrities and the junk science.

At 11:57 AM EST, Wadard reckons this...

Education? OK, I'll play. Who the hell are Monte Hieb and Harrison Hieb and what is their background in the field of climate science? Why does their site link to a whole bunch of fossil-fuel info links?

If I am looking for an 'education' on mining engineering, I would possibly consult Monte Hieb, since he worked as chief engineer for the West Virginia Office of Miner’s Safety. If I were an fossil hobbyist I would probably look at his amateur fossil website.

But he is not a climate scientist, which is why he has not published any scientific papers on causes of global warming. A search through the peer-review scientific journals where all new claims are tested and confirmed by scientists specialising in the field shows no ground-breaking advances in understanding by Monte Hieb or Harrison Hieb.

However he has published a lot of opinion pieces on global cooling, and the role of water vapour in global warming. On the latter makes this colourful claim:

Water Vapor Rules

By Monte Hieb

Just how much of the "Greenhouse Effect" is caused by human activity?

It is about 0.28%, if water vapor is taken into account-- about 5.53%, if not.

I won't take you through it because, until it is verified by peers, it is opinion masquerading as science, targeted to a gullible public. If I was looking for a real education on the role of water vapour I would get it from the horses mouths' themselves; the scientific discussion at is a good place to start, and is positively swimming with references to peer-reviewed science.

If Hieb is not interested in advancing scientific understanding via the time-honoured peer-review method, it's most likely that his agenda is to create the impression that there is scientific doubt about global warming. A conspiracy? Who benefits - well, his employer - the coal industry. While the public believes there is doubt among scientists, there is less political will for a carbon tax. So people like Hieb publish junk science to create the public conditions that help the fossil-fuel industry stall the inevitable tax on carbon emissions.

But at what cost to us? An impost so large, it is intergenerational one.Climbing temperatures. Melting glaciers. Rising seas. All over the earth we're feeling the heat. Why isn't Washington? It is worth noting that this is the second occasion that Time Magazine has written a cover story on global warming.

On April 9, 2001 their cover read "GLOBAL WARMING. Climbing temperatures. Melting glaciers. Rising seas. All over the earth we're feeling the heat. Why isn't Washington?"

Almost exactly five years later this question remains utterly unanswered. No progress has been made by either the Australian and US governments to reduce our emissions today.

That is a frying shame.

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