Friday, August 31, 2007

Global warming denialist scrambles for Bolt hole

It had to happen at some time. That people who make a living casting doubt about the scientific consensus of global warming realise the wheels are falling off their bandwagon. Witness this pitiful bleat that Andrew Bolt concludes with, in his latest carping, and tell me how moved you were.

Face facts: There’s no place now for my kind of petty carping. Just go to campaign central and read the inspiring words of Tim Flannery, Al Gore and others. Join today’s chat with Peter Garrett.

Be improved, and come back here to tell me how moved you were. And who might employ me now that I’ve done my dash.

My god, it's finally sinking in! Poor Bolt. Hope it was all worth it in terms of your children's education fund, if 'Still Not Sorry' flops. There, I plugged it for you, you have to relax the ban and post my comment now. It is going to be fascinating to follow up on how you survive your credibility self-immolation. Tell your sponsors there may still be a few more pennies in the Boltskeptics yet. Schadenfreude ain't pretty, but it can pay the bills. And, you know it makes sense, there are more of us than Boltstrokers when it comes to climate change.

On the other hand, you could strike out on your own (i.e., approach the fossil-fuel funded think-tanks to finance your own blog). Don't forget, you first read it here.

Technorati Tags

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Greens calls Government hypocrites over deforestation

Indeed they are...

clipped from

Prime Minister John Howard will be a hypocrite if he calls on
other countries to avoid deforestation while allowing further
logging in Tasmanian and Victorian native forests, the Australian
Greens say.

A leaked declaration on climate change, energy security and
clean development, prepared for the 21 leaders attending the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next month, calls
on the world's major polluters to set goals to cut greenhouse gas

It also calls for agreement on the importance of preserving and
managing forests.

But Greens leader Bob Brown said the authorised destruction of
Tasmanian and Victorian forests is one of the world's worst
examples of deliberate deforestation.

"Logging and burning Tasmanian and Victorian native forests is
up there amongst the world's worst examples of deliberate
deforestation and greenhouse gas pollution of the Earth's
atmosphere - the very thing the APEC declaration aims to stop.
 blog it

Amazon Deforestation down by 25%

For whatever reason this has happened, surely it is a good thing. Long may it continue.

Amazon Deforestation Drops 25 Percent, Brazil Says

The pace of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by 25 percent in a

recent 12-month period, according to recently released government figures.

Even so, some conservation groups claim the decrease is due to lower

demand for crops that grow on cleared forest land, and not successful

environmental policies.

Between July 2005 and July 2006, the amount of cleared forest fell to
about 5,400 square miles (14,000 square kilometers), as compared to
11,681 miles (18,800 kilometers) cut in the same period between 2004
and 2005, according to government figures. (Related: World's
Forests Rebounding, Study Suggests
[November 13, 2006].)
In his weekly radio address Monday, President Luiz Inácio da Silva said he
expected further declines for the 2006 to 2007 period—drops that he said will
not crimp economic growth, the Associated Press reported.
"I am plainly convinced that it is possible to grow while preserving the
environment," da Silva said
blog it

Thirteen die in the Land of The Hot Rising Sun

clipped from

A man takes rest on the grass at a park in Tokyo 01 August. The temperature hit a record high in Japan on Thursday with the extreme summer heat killing at least 13 people across the nation this week officials said.
A man takes rest on the grass at a park in Tokyo, 01 August. The temperature hit a record high in Japan on Thursday, with the extreme summer heat killing at least 13 people across the nation this week, officials said.

The temperature hit a record high in Japan on Thursday, with the extreme summer heat killing at least 13 people across the nation this week, officials said.

The mercury shot up to a record 40.9 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tajimi city in the central prefecture of Gifu on Thursday afternoon, according to the weather agency.
In one of the latest deaths, an 88-year-old man was found unconscious in his bed Thursday morning and rushed to a hospital where he died, Yamasaki said.

"He had a heart illness but heat stroke is suspected to have caused the death," he said.
 blog it

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thanks for global warming we didn't have to have

This caught my eye in a report recently tabled in the Australian parliament. It is the acknowledgements of a dissenting chapter. I pulled it out so your kids know who to thank for global warming when they grow up. Feel free to bookmark the page for them.

We wish to thank the following people for reviewing the scientific accuracy of this report:
1. Professor R.S. Lindzen (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT)
2. Professor J.R. Christy (University of Alabama, Huntsville)
3. Professor G.W. Paltridge (Director of the Antarctic CRC and IASOS, University of Tasmania)
4. Professor R.M. Carter (James Cook University)
5. Associate Professor C.R. de Freitas (University of Auckland)
6. W. Kininmonth (Retired Head of the National Climate Centre, Australia)

Would you trust a report based on the science being vetted by this panel of subject matter experts? Well let's find out who they are, and then I'll tell you what the report is about?

1. Professor R.S. Lindzen

"the solitary plausible academic [the skeptics] can dig up, out of hundreds working in the field."

Dick Cheney's investment manager -- Jeremy Grantham

Other posts on exposing Lindzen's interests:

This post is a work in progress... more reason to come back later!

Technorati Tags

Monday, August 13, 2007

Government splits climate change message

Today was the day that the Australian Government, notorious for dragging its feet on climate change, tabled its carbon trading system recommendations by the House of Representative’s Standing Committee on Science and Innovation. For a moment it looked like the Government was finally coming clean; The report begins with the statement “there is now compelling evidence that human activity is changing the global climate". There must be an election on. It appears Howard has minimised damage of his abrupt change from years of neglect, and encouraging activities that aggravate the problem.

But then the nutters of Flat-Earth Society of the Liberal Party broke ranks.
FOUR Coalition MPs have questioned the consensus that humans are causing climate change.

The four backbenchers have questioned the link between human activity and global warming, saying Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune are also warming up.

Nuclear physicist and West Australian MP Denis Jensen, former ministers and NSW backbenchers Jackie Kelly and Danna Vale, and Northern Territory MP Dave Tollner say the hypothesis of “anthropogenic" or human created global warming was based on theoretical models and unproven economic assumptions.

In a dissenting chapter to a parliamentary report, the four labelled as fanatics those who believe humans are causing climate change.

"The science related to anthropogenic global warming is not, despite the assurances of some, settled in the scientific community,'' they wrote.

"Another problem with the view that it is anthropogenic greenhouse gases that have caused warming is that warming has also been observed on Mars, Jupiter, Triton, Pluto, Neptune and others.

In this day and age, hey? My immediate instinct is that Howard is up to his old and mean tricks again. Mars, Jupiter.

MP Peter Garrett, Labor environment spokesman: "Mr Howard which planet are these backbenchers on?"

John Howard, Liberal Australian Prime Minister: "On the planet inhabited by people who hate the Australian coal industry."

Huh? Howard's nutters are equivalent to people who recognise that we have to cut our emissions? And he ties them, us, to alleged hatred of the coal industry. That's clever Johnny for you. But, he's not stupid either.

Peter Garrett: "Mr Prime Minister, do you agree with their views?"

John Howard: "No I don’t agree with their views,"

He's not going out of his way to censure them, though.

Technorati Tags

Newsweek exposé: Global Warming Is A Hoax*

*So say the folks funded by fossil-fuel lobby groups.

I've said it often enough, so it was great to read Dave Sag of Carbon Planet saying it:

Newsweek is running a fascinating history of coordinated climate change denial in a story The Truth About Denial.

It’s been the dirty secret of the dinosaur industries who see their immediate bottom line about to be hit by actions to mitigate against climate change that they know global warming is real, they know we humans have caused it, and they have been doing everything in their path to coverup those facts. But no amount of bullshit pseudo-documentaries, hack-science and well funded rhetoric can keep the basic, inconvenient truths contained. For those of us who care about the planet, our time is surely now. — DS, Carbon Planet

It's even more gratifying that the respected Newsweek isNewsweek Cover: Global warming is a Hoax exposing the confected "hoax" of the fossil-fuel funded global warming denialist industry. The article by Sharon Begley is accurate, well researched and well written. It lays bare the mechanics behind a decades-long orchestrated, concerted attack on the public's understanding of the crystal-clear message coming out of the climate sciences.

The outcome is that we are still fiddling around the edges of mitigation while ExxonMobil — the largest patron of the denialist industry — continues making record profits. By now we should have rolled up our sleeves, got stuck into the problem, and be well down the road of serious progress. You see, climate change is racing to head us off at Tipping Point pass.

All the blame for the opportunity-cost lies at the feet of ExxonMobil, the think-tanks and lobby-groups they funded, and the media shills and blatantly scientifically illiterate opinion journalists who faithfully relayed the big lies of big coal and oil.

Technorati Tags

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fine ceramic tubes cut carbon dioxide out of coal-fired power

If this works out, I'm putting my money (ha) into advanced ceramic material...

Science Daily Greenhouse gas emissions from power stations could be cut to almost zero by controlling the combustion process with tiny tubes made from an advanced ceramic material, claim engineers on August 3, 2007.

The oxygen-depleted air, which consists mainly of nitrogen, can be returned to the atmosphere with no harmful effects on the environment, while the carbon dioxide can be collected separately from the inside of the tubes after combustion.

An alternative would be to control the flow of air and methane so that only partial combustion took place. This would result in a flow of 'synthesis gas', a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which can easily be converted into a variety of useful hydrocarbon chemicals.

 blog it

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Alexander downs Alexander Downer

There were atmospherics over climate when Alexander Meekin, 17 years old, from Canberra's Narrabundah College took Alexander Downer to task over the Government's logic behind its climate change/energy policy in a panel debate.

Reprinted in full from the new-look SMH:

Alex v Alex: verbal joust has Downer hot under collar

By Craig Skehan

THE Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, may have taken a cue from the Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch yesterday when a 17-year-old got under his skin on a live panel interview dealing with climate change.

Alexander Meekin, from Canberra's Narrabundah College, was one of four high school students participating in a filmed session sponsored by the National Australia Museum and the Parliamentary Education Office.

He asked if Mr Downer was a climate change sceptic. Mr Downer calmly acknowledged that scientists did "tend to favour" the view that greenhouse gases were a contributing factor.

The persistent student asked whether it was "appropriate" that Government figures such as the Finance Minister, Nick Minchin, did not believe humans were to blame. Mr Downer shot back that people should "escape from intolerance" about others' views.

But Alexander wanted to know if Mr Downer saw a moral comparison between tackling climate change and the recent 200th anniversary of the British Government outlawing slavery.

"No," Mr Downer replied curtly.

But was not climate change enslaving future generations to today's conspicuous consumption, queried Alexander. His peer audience signalled its approval at that inquisitorial strike.

The minister hit back with "Not too many people I know support slavery."

Yes, agreed Alexander, but slavery was abolished by the British only after a long, bitter debate about whether or not it was justified.

As the jousts continued, Mr Downer's temper frayed.

His tormentor asked why a regional program to reduce greenhouse gases was only worth about $20 million a year for five years - less than the Government was spending on political advertising to get re-elected.

His interjection as Mr Downer was answering another student was too much. "I am trying to answer her question and you are trying to make some sort of cheap shot about the Liberal Party," he said, later implying some questions were Labor Party plants.

Alexander later made a point of shaking Mr Downer's hand and denied being affiliated with any political party. He said he thought the minister was being a "bit paranoid".

The slavery argument is a doozy. The parallel holds under scrutiny. Slave-labour powered past economies just as cheap fossil-fuels powers our modern economy. The transition out of slavery to a free labour market didn't hurt the economy in the long run, back then , and made the society we inherited much better. The transition out of our carbon-slavery powered economies won't hurt us anywhere as much as not transitioning out will hurt.

That Downer could not respond in a civil manner to straight-forward questions from a bright 17 year old says volumes about the Government's inability to defend its climate change policy and, being kind, nothing about Downer. I'll make a prediction. Note this as the first face-off of many to come between an older generation addicted to preserving power in all its trappings — at the ultimate expense of the very climate stability they enjoyed all their lives — and the younger generation who will have to live with the devastating consequences of a global climate thrown out of kilter.

If people 25-45 are whinging now about home ownership or mortgages now, they should think about trying to chase the great Australian dream when the climate keeps changing on you. That is what today's teenager will face when he or she starts to think about partying less and making babies more — if the 10-year window that we have to get our global-warming act together is correct. That 10-year prediction comes from James Hansen, chief scientist at NASA.

Alexander Meekin can proudly claim to have won the opening salvo in this intergenerational contest that must happen. Tomorrow's voters must wrest the control over their future from the status-quo now — if they are to have a half-decent one. Clearly some don't want to wait until they vote to start the good fight. Good on 'em: They either fight hard now, or spend the rest of their lives fighting much, much harder just to survive. We need more Alexander Meekins to stand up, speak out and stake their claim on their futures.

In the sixties the younger generation challenged a self-serving status-quo with peace, love-ins and flower-power, rock 'n roll and pot. This time there is far more at stake, and Meekin just showed how today's young people can challenge far more effectively with unforgiving logic, and a handshake. That was a deft touch.

Technorati Tags

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Don't waste energy going to work

Two MIT graduate student dynamo inventors, James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk, have developed an idea for "crowd farm" whereby the lost energy from the impact of a footfall is captured and converted into electricity. Now that's thinking on your feet.

clipped from

ENERGY from humans walking through cities would be harvested and converted into electricity as part of an extraordinary renewable energy scheme put forward in the US.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) propose paving major urban areas with blocks that would move slightly under the weight of pedestrians' footfalls, driving
dynamos that would then produce power.

When a human walks, energy is used to drive muscles and overcome inertia and gravity. When the foot hits an unyielding surface, such as a road, energy can be lost through sound and reabsorption by the leg muscles. The MIT pair propose capturing the energy that would
otherwise be wasted. They calculate a single footfall contains enough energy, if harvested, to power two 60 watt light bulbs for one second.

The power from 28,527 footfalls, generated by, say, the crowd at a football match, would have enough energy to power a train for one second.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bush pushes for international inaction on global warming

President Bush is organising a September conference and inviting the world's major polluters to develop strategies to hold onto business as usual for as long as possible.

I'll eat my Grand PooBah hat, Freemasons Apron, and publish the secret handshake on my blog, if they actually agree to reduce emissions.

In theory they should — they claim to want to contribute.

"The United States is committed to collaborating with other major economies to agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework by the end of 2008, which would contribute to a global agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change by 2009," Bush said in his invitation.

But here's the rub.

"In addition, we expect to place special emphasis on how major economies can, in close cooperation with the private sector, accelerate the development and deployment of clean technologies, a critical component of an effective global approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

It's about investing more into yet-to-be-developed 'clean coal' technology, or more tax-subsidised, long-term nuclear projects. Not about reducing emissions in the here-and-now at all. In other words, business-as-usual, for the polluters. Viewed against their record profits, it's galling.

clipped from

US President George Bush has invited the world's major polluters, including Australia, to a September 27-28 conference to set long-term goals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental groups have called the plan, which Bush proposed in a speech on May 31, a diversion from other global efforts to combat global warming, while Washington says it complements UN-driven talks on the issue.

Bush has asked Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and South Korea in separate letters to send representatives to Washington for the
meeting, officials said today.

Like Australia, the United States - the world's number one emitter of greenhouse gases - has refused to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which mandates cuts in the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. It expires in 2012.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Solar cost-prohibitive? Buckyballs to that

clipped from
Researchers develop "paint-on" solar cells

The quest to builder a better, cheaper solar cell continues on, as researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have developed a new type of solar cell that can be printed or painted onto flexible plastic sheets. Unlike traditional silicon cells, the print-on cells are composed of carbon nanotubes and buckyballs, which results in substantially cheaper manufacturing costs and greater efficiency, since apparently carbon nanotubes are terrific conductors. The scientists seem pretty pumped about the potential for their tech, with lead researcher Somenath Mitra quite confidently proclaiming that we'll all soon be printing "
sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers." Yeah, we're sure there won't be any shenanigans going on in that ink cartridge market.

Royal Society: Hurricanes doubled over century

The dearly held tenants that the global warming denialists cling onto so tenaciously are disappearing faster than the Arctic ice-shelf.

The latest one to crumble is the notion that global warming does not increase the number and frequency of hurricanes.

clipped from
A new analysis of Atlantic hurricanes says their numbers have doubled over the last century.

This new study, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in London, looks at the frequency of these storms from 1900 to the present and it says about twice as many form each year now compared to 100 years ago.

The authors say that man-made climate change, which has increased the temperature of the sea surface, is the major factor behind the increase in numbers.

"Over the period we've had natural variability in the frequency of storms, which has contributed less than 50% of the actual increase in our view," said Dr Greg Holland from the United States National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, who authored the report.

"Approximately 60%, and possibly even 70% of what we are seeing in the last decade can be attributed directly to greenhouse warming," he said.

Torres Strait Islands drowning

This is going to disappoint those denialists who make money mocking predictions of rising sea levels swallowing up low lying islands.

clipped from

GLOBAL warming is not just a theory in Torres Strait – it is lapping at people's doorsteps.

The phenomenon is a visible reality as rising sea levels threaten to erase centuries-old island communities.

Roads have been swallowed whole, buildings washed out, graveyards swamped and houses flooded in six of the most vulnerable low-lying island communities.

Yorke Island / Brian Cassey
Swamped ... Helen Mosby and her son Josiah walk along what used to be
a road on Yorke Island / Brian Cassey
Authorities have ordered evacuation and relocation plans for more than 2000 people who face losing their land and livelihood from the invading sea.
Some parts of the most vulnerable islands – Masig (Yorke), Poruma (Coconut), Warraber, Yam, Saibai and Boigu – are today less than 1m above sea level.
The Yorke Island church – more than 50m inland from the high-tide mark –was last year inundated while more than 60m of land on Coconut Island has been consumed since 2000.