Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Neville Chamberlain of Climate Change

Andrew "Neville" Bolt is preparing for his 7:00 am debate on global warming with David Koch:

By Andrew Bolt
Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 04:45pm

David Koch, host of Channel Seven’s popular Sunrise program, is apparently not pleased with my reference to him on Alan Jones’ show this morning.
And so we shall debate global warming, or so I’m told, on his show tomorrow just after the 7am news. Cover up well.

Among the commenters on his site are those known as the Boltstrokers. They have not been helpful contributors on the strategy development front:

Posted by Dan_W on Tue 27 Feb 07 at 06:54pm
Rug up, Andrew.

Posted by Alastair of Melbourne on Tue 27 Feb 07 at 06:58pm
I hope you take the opportunity to put him in his place once and for all!

Posted by Greg Williams of Perth on Tue 27 Feb 07 at 07:13pm
If they stay away from fluffing the subject you will absolutely annihilate him. Don’t let him lull you into an overly familiar friendly chat; this is a chance to burst this irrational bubble they are in on this show. Good luck!!

Posted by jenn of prahran on Tue 27 Feb 07 at 07:21pm
dont worry Andrew,

He is just a boring bald accountant on a show where he is laughed at, not with.
But he keeps the oldies amused I guess.
Your a rocket scientist next to him, but I think you will get ambushed or cut off. The show is “green” remember.

Posted by al gore on Tue 27 Feb 07 at 07:23pm
Koch is starting to take himself way too seriously. He is starting to sound arrogant.
Andrew he needs a dose of reality knock him down a few pegs.

So I tried to help him make sense of his recent positioning on the issue:


Have you a strategy? Which of your stances will you adopt?
  1. Climate change is not happening: “Vanuatu is not sinking!”.

  2. It is happening, but man does not cause it.

  3. Mitigating it is a waste of money.

  4. It is happening and mitigating it is not a waste of money, if we only spend our money on nuclear power, because, ........ of, of something to do with base-load power.

  5. It's happening, but alarmists have hijacked the show; along with climate scientists, people who understand science, big business, and messianic politicians, Aussies of the year, airline owners, private aeroplane owners, city building management, and 90% of the general public. And all my other targets for good measure (So because of this, I propose we do nothing).

  6. If we take alarmists seriously, alarming things will happen. Not that we’re alarmists, ja?

Hope I have been useful. Good luck.

AGW Fundy

Good luck indeed to the greatest appeaser of the denial lobby in Australia. Tune in for a Koch coshing - Andrew's words.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Best Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth

In a boon to PowerPoint, Al Gore picked up an unlikely Oscar for his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. This will bring his message to a wider audience. The more that see his engaging presentation about the current state of the science of global warming, and what it is telling us, the better the catalyses. By any measure this once obscure science being honoured with Hollywood's highest accolade is an astounding state of affairs, and is a reflection of the impact that global warming is having as it moves to the center stage of mainstream consciousness. It is the third highest grossing documentary of all time and has netted over $US24 million to date.

Read Grist.org for their review, still considered and insightful after 18 months, explaining why An Inconvenient Truth works as a cinematic experience.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Good Style Watch

One of the things I want to do with Global Warming Watch is to pick out any good writing style and expression that I come across in my reading. If it is expression that delights, or something that I disagree with but is argued well, it will make the cut.

With this in mind, I came across a new site for me, Conscious Earth, and the following:

The Washington Times -
"Global warming has become
the catechism of a new-age
religion, with Mr. Gore as its
topmost prelate, entitled to cassock,
miter, incense and hot holy water.
Anyone who dissents risks a session
on the rack, as we have lately seen in
calls for punishing 'deniers'.".

Deniers of global warming are likely screaming in glee at the quotes above, as a sense of vindication and affirmation sweep over their science battered souls.

A good line. Comes with a good headline, too. Read the rest of the post, The Environment - A Religion of Fact.

After exposing the attempts by Denialists to paint the climate change concerned as irrational neo-pagan green religists (doesn't sound so bad), the poster snapped at the logical Achilles Heel in this argument.

If Al Gore does represent a new religion, then it is one founded on rationality over hysteria, on hope for humanity, on care for the planet, and concern for those who will come after us. That is a moral compass worth following and one that can create a better world for us all.

More to the point Gore's message - unlike the religious zeal of the National Post - is grounded in fact.That single point gives him credibility that the Post can't hope for, and it is the most tangible reason why millions are willing to listen to his message.

If Denialists thinks they can get traction by painting global warming understanding as a new green religious hysteria, let's oblige and come out. Repeat after me:

Our Gaia,
who art spinning in the heavens,
say hellow as you circle thy Sun.

Thy green kingdom come,
may natural law be done,
on earth
as it is in heaven.

Spin us this day, to make our daily bread,
and allow us to trade our trespasses,
but tax those who trespass against Thee.

Lead us not into CO2 emissions.
and deliver us from Evil Fossil-Fuel.

For thine is the Katrina,
and the power
of Hurricane Glory.

Forever stay clever.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Whalers ram 30cm hole into side of pirate anti-whalers

It's the annual whale hunting season down in Australia's Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.

I know that sounds peculiar. It is. Long story.

In recent years, instead of your usual runaway slaughter (Japan - 990, Whales - 0), the blood-sport's scoreline differences have become smaller as the whales stage a comeback under the captaincy of
Captain Paul Watson, the totally lunatic with whale conservation vigilante group, Sea Shepherd. They are becoming progressively more of a pain in the side of the Japanese whaling fleet with every year.

Today the favour was returned and the pain in the side will have come for a 30cm hole that was created in the side of the anti-whaler, Robert Hunter, by the whaler Kaiko Maru ramming her after being intercepted hunting down a pod and chased into sea heavy with ice.

Undeterred, Captain Paul Watson has plans to be more of a pain, and not just in the whalers' side: :::[Daily Telegraph]

Watson said he intends to take drastic action, probably in the next 24 hours, to slam his vessel into the Nisshin Maru's slipway, preventing it from hunting more whales.

"We would probably be stuck into them. They would have to go back to Tokyo with us sticking out of their rear end,'' he said.

"Perhaps it's time to give these cruel whalers a steel enema they will never forget.''

That's for all the whales, mate. A steel enema? Ouch. The guy is feral, but he clearly lives his truth and that is admirable. The Japanese are illegal. The whales are protected by international law. Australia won't defend the whales. It's sad, but outlaws must.

Biodiversity rules.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Back to reeducation camp for global warming ex-skeptic

In September 22, 2006, Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine published his Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore. Reason Foundation had been in receipt of $250,000 of ExxonMobil's money since 2000 - to promote a contrarian media view to the scientific consensus on global warming.

Earlier in the week, Bob Ward, the British Royal Society's senior manager for policy communication, had sent a letter to the oil giant ExxonMobil accusing it of funding groups that misinform the public about the reality of man-made global warming, asking it to cease and desist.

It's safe to say that Ward may count the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason magazine and Reason Online as one of the 39 groups that he believes misleads the public on the issue of climate change. If that's the case, then at least some of the information that Ward says "misrepresents" climate change science may be past articles written by me. So the question is: Why did I do it? Did ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond hand me brown paper bags filled with stacks of unmarked bills in the back of taxis while whispering, "Ron, we're counting on your widely read and highly influential articles to help stave off the Green onslaught against our soaring profits"? Or was I a simple-minded dupe, passing along misinformation supplied to me during expensive lunches at the Palm by corrupt scientists who had been paid off by the oil giant? Or perhaps I am just generally skeptical of end-of-the-world scenarios and believe, as Carl Sagan famously did, that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"?

It's extraordinary that he didn't look at the extraordinary body of evidence that had been accumulating since before the first IPCC conference in 1988. Extraordinary he chose to base his skepticism on the discrepancy between ground temperatures, and atmospheric temperatures measured by satellites and by balloons. That's it.

Ronald Bailey's conversion was sudden. The day the scientific peer-review process established that satellites and weather balloons had not be measuring temperatures correctly, and that in fact the atmosphere is indeed experiencing upward trends in warming rates, as predicted by earlier climate models, he publicly recanted.

In August 2005, Science magazine published three papers that went a long way toward resolving the issue. One paper found that Christy and Spencer had failed to take proper account of satellite drift, which produced a spurious cooling trend to their dataset. Another found that the operation of weather balloons also tended to add spurious cooling to their data. When the corrections were made the satellite and weather balloon datasets were in better agreement with the surface thermometer datasets that showed higher warming trends. On the day that the studies were released I wrote a column for Reason in which I declared that my skepticism of man-made global warming was at an end. The column was titled, "We're All Global Warmers Now." The first line read: "Anyone still holding onto the idea that there is no global warming ought to hang it up."

The Committee for Reeducation note that the conversion is not total, and recommends further rigorous attention in this matter.

In the column, I quote Christy saying, "The new warming trend is still well below ideas of dramatic or catastrophic warming."


I reviewed former vice-president Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth for Reason. I agreed that Gore has "won the climate debate" and that "on balance Gore gets it more right than wrong on the science" though I argued he exaggerates just how bad future global warming is likely to be.

We further note that he has tried to deny that he is nought but a 'corporate shill', employing the same scant logic that makes the Reason Magazine masthead a major misnomer, and which fuels the media 'debate' on the scientific consensus.

ExxonMobil has been a supporter of the Reason Foundation. Folks at the foundation confirmed when I called yesterday that the company has donated a little over $250,000 since 2000. The company's latest contributions were $10,000 in 2003 and $20,000 this past January. The last contribution poses a possible conundrum for hard-line corporate conspiracy theorists because it arrived about five months after I declared, "We're All Global Warmers Now." I would suggest that ExxonMobil supports the Reason Foundation because my colleagues robustly defend the free enterprise system.

Er, ExxonMobil has given Reason Foundation $230,000 since 2000 to deny global warming, and then five months after the public conversion of Bailey, Reason's science correspondent for nearly eight years, they get another $20,000 in the post. And he uses this to deny he is a shill? There's a lesson for you in speed if you were the ship-jumping rat type.

Good Members of the Committee for The Global Warming Apocalypse Reeducation Unit of the One World Government, come on? You can bet your bottom carbon trading offset investments that, if Reason was so far off the money on the science and so slow on the evidence, their invoicing of ExxonMobil wouldn't be any quicker.

Our constitution allows us to accept conversions-in-full only. My recommendation to the Committee is for further reeducation - Ronald Bailey is to be subject to 500 hours of watching An Inconvenient Truth, and a further 25 hours of Al Gore's live PowerPoint presentations.

He'll have plenty of time to look at ALL that science that he got so wrong for so long. And to think about how much carbon dioxide was actually emitted into the atmosphere on his watch, and during his long career working for ExxonMobil funded think tanks. For penance he will write an insiders tell-all about big fossil-fuel's long and hard campaigning to sow public confusion about the global warming scientific consensus. Upon doing so, the Committee should determine his conversion as complete, and reset Ronald Bailey's status to good chap, and action all consequent privileges under the Single Government of the Global Carbon Economy.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cheney's money talks of an inconvenient truth

Dick Cheney is a scary guy to boldly express dissent to — no matter who your are.

If you are swarthy and have a beard, you run the risk of being rendered by the bloke's private army. Even if you are a CIA agent, you're not safe . A newly discovered hazard of the job — like you need more problems in that role — is that you risk being outed on his instruction for something you didn't do.

Like Valerie Plame was.

So if you were his investment funds manager you would pretty much tell him what he wants to hear, right?

Not, it seems, if your name is Jeremy Grantham, who is basically Cheney's money - talking - and the topic is global warming. :::[AOL News]

Step forward, Jeremy Grantham -- Cheney's own investment manager. "What were we thinking?' Grantham demands in a four-page assault on U.S. energy policy mailed last week to all his clients, including the vice president.

Titled "While America Slept, 1982-2006: A Rant on Oil Dependency, Global Warming, and a Love of Feel-Good Data," Grantham's philippic* adds up to an extraordinary critique of U.S. energy policy over the past two decades.

What Cheney makes of it can only be imagined.

"Successive U.S. administrations have taken little interest in either oil substitution or climate change," he writes, "and the current one has even seemed to have a vested interest in the idea that the science of climate change is uncertain."

Yet "there is now nearly universal scientific agreement that fossil fuel use is causing a rise in global temperatures," he writes. "The U.S. is the only country in which environmental data is steadily attacked in a well-funded campaign of disinformation (funded mainly by one large oil company)."

That's Exxon Mobil.

As for Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Richard Lindzen, who appears everywhere to question global warming, Grantham mocks him as "the solitary plausible academic [the skeptics] can dig up, out of hundreds working in the field."

And for those nonscientists who are still undecided about the issue, Grantham reminds them of an old logical principle known as Pascal's Paradox. It may be better known as the "what if we're wrong?" argument. If we act to stop global warming and we're wrong, well, we could waste some money. If we don't act, and we're wrong ... you get the picture.

As for the alleged economic costs of going "green," Grantham says that industrialized countries with better fuel efficiency have, on average, enjoyed faster economic growth over the past 50 years than the U.S.

Grantham says that other industrialized countries have far better energy productivity than the U.S. The GDP produced per unit of energy in Italy is 50% higher. Fifty percent. Japan: 60%.

And China "already has auto fuel efficiency standards well ahead of the U.S.!" he adds. You've probably heard about China's slow economic growth.

Grantham adds that past U.S. steps in this area, like sulfur dioxide caps adopted by the late President Gerald Ford, have done far more and cost far less than predicted. "Ingenuity sprung out of the woodwork when it was correctly motivated," he writes.

There is also a political and economic cost to our oil dependency, Grantham notes. Yet America could have eliminated its oil dependency on the Middle East years ago with just a "reasonable set of increased efficiencies." All it would take is 10% fewer vehicles, each driving 10% fewer miles and getting 50% more miles per gallon. Under that "sensible but still only moderately aggressive policy," he writes, "not one single barrel would have been needed from the Middle East." Not one.

I repeat: This is not some rainbow coalition. This is not even Al Gore. Grantham is the chairman of Boston-based fund management company Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo. He is British-born but has lived here since the early 1960s.

I love this bit: "What Cheney makes of it can only be imagined." Apoplexy anyone?


*Global Warming Word Watch: Phi·lip·pic
1. Any of the orations of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon in the fourth century b.c.
2. Any of the orations of Cicero against Antony in 44 b.c.
3. philippic A verbal denunciation characterized by harsh, often insulting language; a tirade.


Other unflattering things I've said about Cheney


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Friday, February 09, 2007

Turnbull vs. Garrett in the great climate change clash

The 7:30 Report is the setting: Kerry O'Brien the referee. I'm expect a good clean bout by two high profile political newcomers. With science, economics, and politics for weapons there promises to be interesting jousting on hand, for a public newly engaged with global warming issues: :::[7:30 Report transcript]

Kerry O'Brien lays down the rules and terms.

KERRY O’BRIEN: This is the third decade we've been hearing about scientific fears of a climate change phenomenon described as a greenhouse effect, caused largely by greenhouse gas emissions, with carbon dioxide as the main culprit. But for governments, for big business, in some cases for whole populations, the stakes have been high. For a long time, an army of sceptics disputed the warnings. Today, the doubters’ ranks have thinned dramatically and the first tentative warnings are now a clarion call. Last Friday's exhaustive report from the UN's International Panel on Climate Change, involving hundreds of the world's top scientists, predicted potentially alarming changes ahead in temperatures, storm patterns, sea levels. The fact that politicians spent most of this week in Canberra debating global warming is testimony enough that Australians are now well and truly engaged and will probably remain so until election day. Malcolm Turnbull, the recently appointed Minister for Environment and Water Resources, and Peter Garrett, Labor's equally recently promoted shadow spokesman for the environment and climate change, have locked horns throughout the week and they're about to do so again tonight.

And in fact, Malcolm Turnbull, you've just come from the water summit with the Prime Minister and four of the states - Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia my understanding, listening to the Prime Minister a short time ago, there's been progress, but not actually much to talk about. Is that right?

Ding! Out he comes, moving easily.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: Oh no, I think there is a great deal to talk about. The Prime Minister's water plan, this $10 billion, 10-point plan is determined or destined to, in a very historic way, to change forever the way water is managed outside of the big cities in Australia. It will make our irrigation industries the most efficient in the world. It will mean that we use water efficiently, make every drop count in rural Australia. And it will also mean that for the first time a great anomaly in our Constitution will be dealt with, which is that the Murray-Darling Basin will cease to be managed by four States, all of whom, of course, compete with each other and, instead, be managed, as many people have said even before we became a nation, it will be managed by the Commonwealth in the national interest. Now, it was a very good meeting with the premiers. The Prime Minister, as you know, has asked them to refer their powers over the Murray-Darling Basin, water management in the basin. It was a good meeting. We've agreed to meet in two weeks from tomorrow, 23rd February, and in the meantime the officials will be working and indeed I'll be working with them on a lot of the details, so that when we get to the 23rd we'll be able to have a substantive agreement.

KERRY O’BRIEN: And, very quickly, you're confident of a positive outcome?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I am confident. It was a very good meeting. I think everybody there was very confident and the Premiers went out of their way to say that they believed a deal could be done and that they were supportive. But they obviously have issues they want to deal with and, look, we look forward to working with them, because once we're committed to this national project of managing this enormous area of Australia, which has 80 per cent of our irrigated agriculture and produces nearly half of all of our agricultural production, once we have that national commitment to run this in the nation's interest, then I believe the officials and the experts and the politicians can work together collaboratively. Anyway, Kerry, we'll see, we'll see.

Garrett prods out a long arm, getting a feeling for his reach, and then, bang, a nice sharp reminder us all what the real contest is about.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Peter Garrett, your leader, Kevin Rudd, has been cautiously supportive of Mr Howard's water plan. Are you confident that this can be a bipartisan outcome?

PETER GARRETT, OPPOSITION ENVIRONMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, Kerry, I guess it depends on the sort of details that Mr Turnbull's talking about and I don't have the benefit of having had any discussion or know what the discussions with the premiers have resulted in. My understanding is that they're going to set up a working group. I think there's no doubt that the public wants to see politicians cooperate on water. And that's absolutely understandable, and that's as it should be. But we've been asking some serious questions about the way this is going to operate, and also I know Kevin Rudd had a request in for some detailed briefing from the Prime Minister beforehand, in a sense, to lend some weight to that bipartisan support. And I guess the only other comment I'd make is, in the light of climate change, we've been saying that if you want to have a real solution for dealing with the problems that we have in our inland river systems, particularly going forward, then we need to have some decent climate change policy as well.

Kerry saw it too. Straight into it. This audience is loving it.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Okay, well, that's the cue to move on to precisely that. Malcolm Turnbull, when did you become a convert to the broad body of science warnings about greenhouse emissions and, before we start looking at solutions, how do you define the problem? In your view, how big a crisis do we all face?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I think it's a very large challenge. I don't like using words like 'crisis' because I don't think it's helpful and, with respect to Peter there, I think Peter's strategy this week has been to try to create a sense of panic, almost of hysteria, over this issue. We do have a very serious challenge over the years ahead. We know that our climate is going to get warmer and it will continue to get warmer for many decades regardless of what is done by way of mitigating the emission of greenhouse gases. So, it's going to get warmer. In southern Australia, it will get drier - it's very likely to get drier, and there are other consequences. Now, the biggest manifestation of climate change in Australia is likely to be water scarcity. So everything we have been doing for a long time now in terms of managing our rivers and managing our water resources - and this goes back long before this agreement.

Turnbull goes straight into the clinch - straight to water - looking for Garretts kidneys. Kerry separates them, signals to touch gloves and recommence. Turnbull defines the problem smartly, then goes the watery clinch again. The Federal Government's strategy is to focus on water-management, not the context of the global hydrological cycle. To keep our mind on the drought, not global warming. The tree, not the forest.

KERRY O’BRIEN: We'll come to the solutions later in the debate. At the moment I want to define the problem.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: The problem is a hotter, a warmer planet and that has changes to climate and rainfall availability, water availability, because, you see, Kerry, it's not just a question of having less rainfall in an area. If you can have a 10 per cent decline in rainfall but if the climate is hotter or if it's a particularly warm part of the country anyway you might get a 30 per cent decline in stream flow. So small changes in rainfall or precipitation can result in very large changes in stream flow. So you have the case of Perth, where you have a city, a growing city, which in the last 10 or 15 years has seen its surface water stream flow decline by nearly two thirds, even though rainfall only declined by about 20 per cent.
Kerry set up Garrett's credibility, who steps forward and lands a good scoring blow. The crowd is thrilled.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Okay. We're of course dealing with a global problem. Peter Garrett, when did you become a convert to the main body of science warning about greenhouse? How do you define the extent of the problems? How big a crisis do you believe we face?

PETER GARRETT: Well, Kerry I've had a strong interest and campaigned on it for a number of years and, certainly, in my time as ACF President, we were aware that climate change and the sort of reports we were getting from the scientists about the prospects of a warming world were becoming increasingly validated. Look, we're not trying to panic people. We're just trying to recognise what the actual situation is when you have a report by the world's best scientists collecting the data, now, over a number of years about the kind of impact that we're having as we put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the prospects for a warming world and the sorts of impacts and effects that that most likely will have going forward. It is a crisis. There's unanimity amongst the scientific community, for the most part all of those people who worked on putting these reports together, that global warming, climate change, is real and that we can't be complacent about it in any way. What we really need to do is recognise that if we're going to slow down and abate this prospect of the world warming up over time - and we certainly can't stop the warming that's begun but what we've got to do act resolutely to make sure it doesn't continue to spiral. And the only way to do that is to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and, you know what? The Prime Minister's been a sceptic on climate change since day one. We have not been a part of the international community response on Kyoto. Our greenhouse gas emissions are due to rocket out of control. And the Government doesn't have credibility on this issue, and I think people know it.

Kerry want policies, not pandering to Labor's market research. So does the crowd .

KERRY O’BRIEN: But what definable benefits do you believe that Kyoto has delivered? What cuts in greenhouse do you believe Australia should be targeting? And over what timeframe?

Garrett shows off a nice combination punch, ducking details, disappointing, but still, an inspiring finish. He's a good media player.

PETER GARRETT: Well, it'll deliver about a 5 per cent greenhouse gas emissions across the board in terms of the countries involved. But it's also a very big carbon market that's developing out there, Kerry, and you've got the existence of clean development mechanisms in countries where Australian businesses who could export, for example, their solar energy or their wind power to other countries in the world, who are part of Kyoto, don't get to take the benefit and can't get in on the action. So Australian businesses have actually been sacrificed on the altar of the Howard Government's very, very strong rejections of Kyoto. The second thing is that, in order for us to build a sustainable economy into the future, including looking after the environment and addressing greenhouse gas emissions, we need to have a significant investment in renewables, in energy efficiency the kinds of things which we can employ people in, whether young scientists coming out of our universities - it's an education and knowledge challenge for us as well, and we need to get stuck into it right away

Turnbull comes out jabbing,ducking Kyoto and with fancy footwork ties rates of emissions growth to economic growth. This duplicious weapon that the government's been sharpening for a while promises to be double-edged.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Malcolm Turnbull, the Government has consistently refused to sign Kyoto. Do you believe that the Kyoto treaty has delivered any benefits at all?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I think Peter almost put his finger on it there when he said it's resulted in a 5 per cent reduction in emissions. Now, let's just put that in context. Most of the countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol in Europe that have reduced their emissions - and remember, the benchmark was 1990 - were countries whose emissions were reduced not because of any environmental awareness, but because, in the case of the Eastern Bloc, the Soviet Union and their satellites, their old sort of rust belt industries, defence industries, collapsed. That's why they've got so many credits, is because they're not building tanks any more. If you look at Britain, the reason Britain's emissions dropped was because Margaret Thatcher basically shut down Britain’s coal industry and moved to gas, North Sea gas, which is running out. So Britain is now importing coal, so you actually are importing coal to England in Newcastle in England, it's amazing. But the point I'm making, Kerry - let me just go on - the reduction in emissions that's occurred because of sorry, growth in emissions. The reduction in global growth in emissions that's occurred because of Kyoto is only 1 per cent. So it has not made a material impact. Why is that? Because the largest emitters are not party to it. The United States and, most importantly, the fastest growing emitters - China and India and other countries. China will overtake the United States within a couple of years as the world's largest emitter. You see, the best way to reduce emissions is to have no economic growth. If your economy collapses, then your emissions will reduce. And I'm afraid to say that Peter is on the record as favouring low economic growth.

PETER GARRETT: Oh, Malcolm, come on.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Let me just quote this.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Better be quick, Malcolm, in the interest of fairness.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: You said in 1987, Peter, in a book you wrote about politics, "The higher the standard of living, the greater burden on future generations to repair the damage by those living it up in the present." You said only a few years ago in 2004, let me finish, "Economic growth is always accompanied by a commensurate increase in environmental degradation." You see, your answer is to cut economic growth, okay? Good.
Garrett put us his shield and takes the blow. And then he rains down his attack.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Okay. I'm going to go to Peter Garrett now.

PETER GARRETT: Oh look, Kerry, there's only two developed countries that are outside of Kyoto, and that's Australia and America, and I think everybody watching this program who's taken an interest in this issue will know that Australia actually got a very good deal on its targets, the kind of targets we may just meet, but the Government continues to bag Kyoto even though it talks about reaching the targets. But, more importantly, what we're interested in is sustainable economic growth and the point about the challenge and the risk of climate change is that unless we actually now energetically and vigorously pursue the kinds of policies that are needed to reduce emissions and build industries as we go forward which, by the way, Labor and I are entirely committed to, then we will continue, ten years from this point in time, in facing an even more difficult problem. And that's simply this. We took a benefit in the Kyoto Protocol ratification process when we didn't sign on. But we took the benefit in those targets, because of the land clearing that we agreed to stop. Now, that land clearing benefit has gone. Australia's emissions are due to go up consistently over the next 10 or 20 years. 22 per cent by 2020, they'll go up. Now, that is an indictment of the Howard Government. But even more than that is the fact that we actually have industries who want a signal in the marketplace. We have industries who want to build sustainability - the solar, the wind, the geothermal. Our gas industry is ready to go forward. All of them still on the leash because of the Howard Government's position on Kyoto, and the fact that it’s sat on it hands for ten years and done nothing about climate change. I mean, the word "climate change" - there isn't even a climate change in the major environmental legislation in the Federal Parliament. They're allergic to climate change. They won't even have an environment trigger in their legislation to deal with it

Malcolm decides to go for a wrestle and spin.
KERRY O’BRIEN: If we can now move on, naturally and logically, to the actions. Malcolm Turnbull, what is the core Howard Government response to tackle the root causes of greenhouse emissions? Not the symptoms, but the root causes?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Sure. OK, the Howard Government has spent $2 billion over the last ten years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet its Kyoto target. We will meet our Kyoto target. Many countries Canada being a classic case - who ratified the protocol will miss that target, and by a long way. Now we will meet it and we will meet it because of investments made by the Howard Government in renewable energies, in the mandatory renewable energy target - MRET - and a whole range of measures, and that is a result of Government policy. Now, 10 years, more than 10 years ago, the Howard Government set up the Australian Greenhouse Office, which has been publishing data about greenhouse. It's been promoting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and to say, as Peter did, that we are not part of the international work on combatting greenhouse is ridiculous. Howard Bamsey, who is head of the Australian Greenhouse Office, is the co chair of the new international talks on the post Kyoto approaches. So we're not only at the table, we're at the head of the table. Now, this proposition --

KERRY O’BRIEN: You've got 20 seconds to finish, Malcolm Turnbull. You're yielding - Peter Garrett?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Let Peter Garrett go on.

Garretts not yielding, he's going on the front foot.
PETER GARRETT: The team that was set to look at national emissions trading was disbanded. The AGO has been folded back into the department. The rhetoric and the actions of Mr Howard and his Government for ten years on climate change have been hostile. There's no question whatsoever that Australia's record in this area is a dismal one. Not only that, but we've missed the opportunity that countries that Malcolm talks about, like Germany and Japan, actually undertook when they started to develop alternative energy industries like solar, where they now are amongst the world's leaders and our solar engineers and solar businesses are going offshore. But even more than that, they have set about trying to reduce their emissions. We're not reducing ours and, Kerry, what the science tells us from this climate change report is that our entire economy, as well as our ecology, is at risk. I mean, it's tourism, it's agriculture, it's the likely impact that the sort of higher temperatures and less rainfall will make on drought. Those are the sort of effects that will be seen as we go forward, and when Nicholas Stern, who was commissioned by the UK to address this issue, said, "This is an issue of a scale of, terms of economic cost, two world wars and a Depression", he pretty much had it right.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Labor's core responses in Government to tackle the root causes of greenhouse emissions, what are Labor's core responses, briefly?

PETER GARRETT: Well, look, the first thing is, you need targets. If you don't know where you're going, then how are you going to get there? You need targets, and we are committed to a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Our mandatory renewable energy target is at a miserable 2 per cent. We would expand it. We believe and support the idea of ratifying Kyoto and getting in with the other countries that are doing that good work as well. We would establish a national emissions trading system. The Government has been sitting on three or four reports about a national emissions trading system. Now we've got yet another report issued, and it's a discussion paper. People are anxious about this issue, Kerry, and I think we really feel that. I certainly do, I know Kevin does. They want to know that we're prepared to respond with solutions. We've got a very, very clear set of identified policies which we've put in place and at least, at the very least, we know we'd be setting ourselves on the path of building economy and sustaining environment as we go forward by reducing emissions.

Kerry starts asking hard questions.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Okay. We’ll talk about emissions trading in a moment, but Malcolm Turnbull, can we start by looking at the issue of cleaning up the coal that Australia burns for electricity, which for you is one of the front line issues to address?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: It absolutely is.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Is it a front-rank response by Government doesn't it concern you in that context that the IPCC has warned that it's too late to undo the damage and the effects of the damage we're going to see over the next 20 to 30 years, but that we should be taking action right now to try to limit the damage beyond that? But finding the right technology for clean coal is likely to take 10, 15 years and we don't know what the outcomes are going to be. Is that enough?

Back to clinching.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Kerry, we have to make sure that as we deal with greenhouse and as we reduce our emissions, and we are committed to reducing our emissions and will continue to do so - there's a Kyoto target, which we're going to meet - we have to remember that there is an economic cost. However you do it, whether you do it through taxes, whether you do it through subsidies which are funded by taxes, whether you do it through carbon trading, when you put a price on carbon, you impose a cost on the economy, and the higher that cost, the more impact that has. Now, Peter argues, Peter says all the Kyoto work has reduced the growth of emissions by 5 per cent by the countries involved. I gave some reasons as to why that growth is masked by collapses in economic activity in Europe. But just think of this. Peter is proposing that by 2050 and the Labor Party's policy is, in fact, 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – and that is a very, very big reduction; now, if we do that by ourselves it will make no difference to global warming, unless the rest of the world plays a part. Because this is a global problem. We can deal with water ourselves, within our own country. But global warming has to have a global solution. It's obvious, isn't it? A tonne of carbon put into the atmosphere in Sydney has as much impact on the atmosphere as one put into the atmosphere in Shanghai. So everybody's got to be in it together.

Kerry steps in to break them apart. Turnbull goes back in.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Hang on a second.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, hang on. If you impose a massive cost on the Australian economy you will do enormous damage to jobs. And that's why all this week interviewers have been saying to Peter, "What is it going to cost?" Three times on another channel he was asked and he would not say and, finally, the interviewer in frustration said, "Does this mean that consumers will have to pay more?" Peter said, "I don't know what ‘pay more’ means." Really, is that the sort of recklessness we can expect?

Garrett is lining up his target. Setting up the issues in focus for the crowd.
PETER GARRETT: Kerry, I'm not going to start responding to Malcolm's selective sort of viewing of hypotheticals that were put to me in an interview. What I would say is this. Arnie Schwarzenegger has showed us the way. He set clear targets - an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050. He's put California on the road to a greenhouse gas reducing, but industry building, future. Why can't we do the same? Is the argument here that simply because other countries are producing greenhouse gas emissions, Australia, which actually does produce a fair bit of greenhouse gas, shouldn't? And why is Malcolm framing this debate always in terms of costs and scares? I mean, the CFMEU, the coal mining union, are totally in favour of ratifying Kyoto, are totally in favour of supporting renewable energy, are totally in favour of the Labor position and that's not only because of the association with Labor. They recognise that's the only way forward. And finally, and I think most importantly, let's look as a country at the opportunities. I mean, here we are with a wonderful inheritance of gas, a wonderful inheritance of solar, the capacity to build energy which can be delivered more cheaply than things like nuclear. Not as cheap as coal, certainly, but certainly more cheaper than nuclear, which is Mr Turnbull and Mr Howard's final solution to this issue and, at the same time, build industries which would employ young Australians, export that good technology to other parts of the world. I mean, that’s really, it’s, do we have a portfolio of energies which are greenhouse gas friendly? Or do we have a couple of energy sources, including nuclear, which are very expensive into the long term, have other additional problems that we need to manage?

Kerry points out the obvious flaw in the Government's strategy.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Malcolm Turnbull, like the Prime Minister, you have nominated nuclear power as part of the solution to the greenhouse problems but, again, like clean coal, the technology you're looking for for clean coal, if you embraced it tomorrow, if you embraced nuclear power tomorrow for Australia, and you're certainly not quite ready for that step yet, nuclear stations for Australia in sufficient numbers to make a difference are a long way into the future and, even if they're greenhouse friendly, it'll be years again before the positives of that kick in. Isn't that so?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, that's right, Kerry. But the ways in which you reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and this is the International Energy Agency's opinion, not mine, is firstly by fuel efficiency, or energy efficiency, and that could be anything from better light bulbs to hybrid cars to all of the measures that are being promoted and used, deployed around our society. The second one is clean coal. Now, clean coal is actually not all years away. You're talking about carbon sequestration that has a way to go. But you can have power stations that are much more thermally efficient, and the more efficient they are, the less coal they need to burn, the less carbon they need to emit to generate a unit of power. That is, it may not be clean coal, but it is much cleaner coal. Now, that technology may well be the most important thing Australia does in terms of greenhouse, because we are working through the AP6, with the big emitters America, China, Japan and so forth and directly with China, to develop clean coal technologies. Why is that so important? Because China consumes 2,200 million tonnes of coal. We consume 125 million tonnes of coal. They are heavily coal dependent. That's not going to change. They are increasing their generation capacity every five or six months by an amount that's equal to ours. So unless they clean up their act and unless we can help them get the technology to do it, anything we do in Australia, any of the sacrifices to living standards, to jobs, that Peter is prepared to make, will not only hurt us, but be completely in vain.

Kerry sets off Labor's supposed weakness on nuclear.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Labor stands accused of having a closed mind on the benefits of nuclear power, regardless of how strong the scientific arguments may be to use it. Times change, technology changes. Even some environmentalists, a few environmentalists, are arguing that nuclear power is now safer than it once was, poses less risk than climate change does without nuclear as part of the armoury. Yet your party is about, at the same time that you oppose nuclear power, you're about to embrace, it would seem, increased mining and exports of uranium. You won't have nuclear power here but you'll sell uranium around the world to feed other people's nuclear power?

PETER GARRETT: That debate has got a little way to run. I just want to respond to something Malcolm said, though, and that's this. There's no doubt at all that one of the fastest growing areas of employment and economy in the world now is dealing with the carbon economy and constraining the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that we produce, and it is that particular part of, if you like, the Howard Government's approach that I find so bewildering because it's very clear that there's a huge market out there for energy efficiency, for renewables, for solar, for wind, for geothermal, for solar thermal where our CSIRO scientists reckon we could actually start to get baseload happening here over the next 8, 10, 15 years if we were prepared to invest in it and if the Government actually took it seriously. Now, it hasn't. The point here is a simple one. What that IPCC panel climate change report really said was, an enormous amount of damage has already been done because of the amount of CO2s that have gone into the atmosphere. We're about, what, 360, 370 parts per million. If we get over 500, 550, then we get into that 2, 3, 4 degree range. They are saying to us as scientists, you, as policy makers and politicians, need to act now in order to make sure it doesn't go too far. I think that's what people are really feeling and understanding. A lot of the people that went to the Al Gore film. Prime Minister Howard wouldn't see Al Gore, Al Gore was sort of lambasted by members of government. But a lot of people went to see that film and it was strongly factually based and he laid out the case very clearly. I think for Australians it's this idea they're not prepared to set targets. They keep on bagging Kyoto even though they use it as a reference point. They talk about nuclear down the track, but they never want to talk about what we can do now and what we need to do now to actually address this problem.

Turnbull's turn.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Malcolm Turnbull, are you embarrassed that a country like China that you quote as one of the great emitters, the great polluters, that China has a bigger target for using renewable energy resources than Australia does?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I'm not embarrassed by it at all. China uses a lot of wind power, more than we do, and the reason for that is they don't have a national electricity grid. So they can't zap power from one end of the country to the other like we can. If you are a Chinese community and you're generating, might be a village or a small town, and you're generating power from a diesel generator, which will be the typical source in most parts of China, you're not connected to the grid, putting a windmill there is very helpful because it enables you to deliver localised power. Wind, particularly in China, is very useful in localised communities and the same in India, separated from the grid. The economics differ from place to place. You shouldn't be prescriptive about particular types of energy source. That's why it's critical to have, ultimately, a price on carbon. Now, ideally, that should be a global emissions trading system. You'll get enormous distortions always if you've got some countries that are obligated by a trading system, and others that aren't. So a global system, everyone agrees, is the goal. What is the Howard Government doing? It is working now on a global emissions trading policy. That's what - the discussion paper that Peter referred to today is the precursor or the beginning of the inquiry into that. By May we'll have a report on which we can make policy decisions about emissions trading in the future.

He wriggles out of that. Not long before the bell, now. Garrett steps in landing some nice blows, tying Labor's fortunes to a US Democrat ascendency. He makes the idea of global warming consequences real by using examples involving our natural treasures.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Okay. Peter Garrett?

PETER GARRETT: Kerry, I suspect that when the Bush Administration's period passes through, that the Americans may, in fact, have a different position in terms of engaging with the world community on issues like climate change and Kyoto. There's certainly strong indication among the Democrats, particularly, in the United States, and a number of American states that want to get into the European trading system, that that's what will happen. And it's extraordinary that we in Australia have missed ten years, knowing that this problem was real and that we haven't acted upon it. And it's extraordinary that we've seen our businesses, whether they're solar business or wind businesses, go offshore. It's extraordinary that we actually don't have an absolutely up in your face profound energy policy which is driven at the national level which says, we will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by this amount within this amount of time. We will invest in these following industries, because we know by using the best of Australian brains and brain power we can actually bring our emissions down. We can actually start to look after nature and the planet, which doesn't really have a set of accounts other than, as Tim Flannery said, the amount of CO2 that's in the atmosphere, and do it in a way that actually guarantees jobs into the future but also looks after the environment. The environment, like the Great Barrier Reef, terribly at risk from climate change; Kakadu National Park, again, terribly at risk. But if we act now we can actually do something.

The bell goes. I score it Garrett's way. Kerry sets up the next contest.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Gentlemen, we're actually out of time. I know one thing we haven't touched on in any sort of detail at all is the whole issue of emissions trading. But it seems to me that that's something that's still got some way to go before we get a clear picture of where Australia is headed on that score. I hope that and other things will be the subject of our next debate, which I look forward to. I hope both of you do. Peter Garrett and Malcolm Turnbull, thanks, both of you, for joining us tonight.

That's the program for tonight. A reminder that Stateline returns tomorrow night. Join us again on Monday, and John Clarke and Bryan Dawe will be back in their usual Thursday slot next week. For now, good night.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Climate change heavyweights duke it out

Here is one contest I am going to enjoy big-time: Garrett vs. Turnbull.

Garrett vs. Turnbull
Photo SMH     
Malcolm Turnbull, to the right, is a self-made millionaire, seemingly an independent thinker, ex-journalist, and until I moved he was my local federal member of parliament. The amount of money he spent to get the gig was exciting and instructive. He is the type of guy you naturally like, however it's early days for him in politics - he has plenty of time to be disliked. One way that is going to be hastened is by his unblinking support for nuclear energy and Howard's 'clean-coal' energy. Prime Minister Howard first whetted him on the water ministry, and then quickly combined this portfolio with climate change. He did this to neutralise Labour's obvious strength in Peter Garrett as federal opposition minister for the environment.

Peter Garret. If you need an introduction there is not much help for you. In the '80's he was the lead singer for Midnight Oil, one of Australia's biggest rock bands. Social justice never rocked like it did with "The Oils"; they even made some my Jesuit-inculcated values seem cool to a late teen. He was a committed environmentalist in the 90's and early noughties, becoming the president of WWF Australia. Now he is a star Labor recruit, front and center on the issue of climate change.

Parliament resumed yesterday and Labor came out attacking the government on their ten years of neglect facing up to the reality of climate change. They scored an early hit when Howard, despite a claimed recent 'conversion', could not push past the legacy idee fixe that has always dominated his thinking on global warming - "the jury is still out" on the link between fossil-fuel emission and global warming. He later recanted, saying he thought the opposition was talking about the link between the drought and climate change. As a particular Jesuit used to sing out when he saw it... "Bullshit!". But this did not happen until way after Turnbull had come out of the gates fast, determined to take it to the opposition. Unfortunately, he came across as too try-hard, painting the opposition as global warming "fundamentalists", and "purists". The big, scary bald ex-rocker was made to seem eminently reasonable, without trying. That is not to say that there wasn't something to admire in Turnbull's effort and eloquence.

The battle continued today: :::[SMH]

Garrett vs. Turnbull. Round Two

The way I am scoring this is 1 point for a blow landed, 3 points for a heavy blow, and minus 2 points for spin (I'm really sick of it). And or course I will also give 1 point if a contestant is realy clever or funny regardless of content. I'll also give a point for good use of pathos.

1 point to Garrett
Mr Garrett, Labor's climate change and environment spokesman, said the government's scepticism and inaction on climate change was risking Australia's environment.
3 points to Garrett
He said China was doing more than Australia to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
3 points to Garrett
Lack of government support had forced Australia's top solar energy scientists to go overseas.
3 points to Garrett, plus 1 more for the laugh
The government's report on emissions trading, which was released today, was a mere nine pages.
1 point to Garrett for wry humour and 3 points for the combination jab and uppercut.
Mr Garrett said the government was uneasy and confused when dealing with the issue.

The problem was Prime Minister John Howard's own misconceptions about climate change, which were highlighted by his remark that a four to six degree temperature rise would leave some people less comfortable.
1 point to Garrett for the laugh and 3 points for the combination jab and uppercut.
The prime minister called Labor climate change purists and fanatics, Mr Garrett said.

He should include the Australian Medical Association, big business, the National Farmers' Federation and security experts.

"The jury is in and the science is clear," Mr Garrett said.

"The planet is heating. The time for action is now. Our children and grandchildren deserve no less."
I can't bring myself to score Turnbull's dissappointing reply blow-by-blow. I am picking an arbitary -7 points for spin, opaque logic and common-garden mendacity unworthy of the man's intellect. Here are some samples:
Mr Turnbull said Labor had promised to impose a 60 per cent cut in emissions by 2050, but wouldn't say what the economic costs and consequences of the policy would be.
Care to tell us what the consequences are of not achieving those cuts, you cheeky old silver-tongued silvertail? According to the ex-World Bank economist and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Nicholas Stern, the economic cost of not achieving the emissions reductions will be a fifth of total global economic GDP by 2050. Turnbull should know this. He must.
Mr Turnbull said Labor's solution was for Australia to impose on itself a target that would have massive economic consequences, but would have no effect on global warming unless it was matched overseas.

Solutions had to involve China, India and the United States.
That hoary old chestnut is why Australia has not already made the change to its economy that it should have 10 years ago. The logic is pathetic and mean... we are going to keep littering because everyone else is - how grown-up? That's why I scored him minus seven.

I know that Turnbull can do much better. I want him to. I like him. I find him refreshing compared to our other pollies, especially the Libs. I want him to put up a contest, but based on the facts. Based on real solutions and not spin and cheap point-scoring.

Garrett: 19 points. Turnbull: -7 points. Not a good start for Mal. C'on baby - make it interesting.


Jakarta flooding blamed on global warming

A deputy minister for the environment for the Indonesian government has claimed that global warming is the cause of floods that have submerged huge areas in Jakarta and its surroundings since last week have killed 50 people and displaced hundreds of thousands: :::[SMH]

"It's a natural phenomenon affected by climate change. It's been made worse by negligent behaviour," said Masnellyarty Hilman, a deputy environment minister in charge of drafting a national strategy to deal with climate change.

She said warmer seas had heated up monsoon winds that carry moisture from the ocean to the land, leading to extra heavy rain.

"According the meteorology agency, rainfall was at up to 250 millimetres on Thursday and Friday. It was an extreme phenomenon."

Indonesia is developing a strategy to deal with climate change and will submit the draft to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) this month.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Get your greenhouse confusion here

Andrew Bolt is useful for collating the ragtag bunch of sorry-arsed denialists who are still left standing after the 2007 IPCC report tsunamied out of Paris across the globe:


IPCC warming shock. Dissent not crushed!

Shooting back are:

Professor Steve McIntyre’s blog
Lord Monckton
Senator Inhofe
Fred Singer
Jake Young
Professor Philip Stott

How proud he must be, facilitating such ignorance.

Stern view of global warming deniers after IPCC report

Sir Nicholas Stern take a dim view of the remaining global warming denial objections in the wake of the IPCC report. :::[SMH]

"I have heard three kinds of argument claiming that it is not necessary to combat climate change," Sir Nicholas told a conference in Paris on Friday."

Myth 1: The scientist are wrong about global warming

The assessment by the IPCC said global warming was almost certainly caused by humans, and carbon pollution disgorged this century would disrupt the climate system for a thousand years.

Myth Busted: The scientist are wrong about global warming

"After the report of the IPCC [UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] released today, this position is untenable," the former World Bank chief economist said."

Myth 2: We needn't change because Science (clean-coal, saviour technology) will save us

The familiar logic of the favourite rationalisation of the adolescent smoker, that advances in medicine will save them from cancer in time, is recruited to carry this argument by such esteemed notables as our own prime minister, John Winston Howard. It's ironic that such science-defying thinking can place such faith in future science.

Myth Busted: We needn't change because Science (clean-coal, saviour technology) will save us

"That is an irresponsible position, because it does not take into account the real risks linked to a very high rise in temperatures, for example in the case of a world where temperatures rise by five or six degrees.", said Sir Nicholas. Five or six degrees Celsius is nine to 10.8 Fahrenheit.

Myth 3: Global warming is not our problem - it's a long way away

This is similar to the related 'global warming as plant fertiliser' myth that increased carbon dioxide will fuel increased crop growth. It also feeds myth 2.

Myth Busted:
Global warming is not our problem - it's a long way away

Those who dismissed the consequences of global warming as a remote, long-term problem were "indefensible from an ethical point of view," he said.

In a report commissioned by the British government last year, Stern warned that without urgent action, the fallout of climate change could be on the scale of the two world wars and the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Singling out current and rising economic powerhouses the United States, China and India, he said the world must be prepared to pay now -- in the form of green taxes or emissions trading schemes -- to prevent economic disaster.

Florida tornado kills 19 - withdraw emissions now

When I hear of a suicide bombing that kills a big number in Iraq straight after the Iraq Study Group withdrawal recommendations, I think, "C'on Bushy, surely this prompts you into taking the recommendations more soberly, and spurs you into a frenzy of remedial action?".

So the day after the release of the 2007 IPCC report telling us there is only a less than ten percent chance we are wrong about global warming, when I read of a tornado killing 19 in Florida, I think same.

Except now I can't stomach using the jovial "Bushy" to mask the depths of my feelings towards his incompetence - I am forced to see him as more defoliated and dumber in the light of reality, "C'on Twiggy*, surely this prompts you into taking the recommendations more soberly, and spurs you into a frenzy of remedial action?": :::[SMH]

I am cautious attributing a single extreme weather event to global warming - one swallow doth not a summer make - but come on people, if you look up you can see entire gulps of swallows passing. We are way into the season.

Here is a summary of what the IPCC report has to say about extreme weather: :::[The Age: Key points in the UN experts' report]


■ The report says it is "more likely than not" that a trend of increasing intense tropical cyclones and hurricanes has a human cause. It expects tropical cyclones to become more intense in the future. "There may not be an increase in number, there may be a redistribution to more intense events — which is what has been observed in the Atlantic since 1970," Mr Stott said

*With apologies to Twiggy Lawson.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

2007 IPCC report released to the world

The much awaited 2007 IPPC Report was delivered in Paris last night: :::[SMH]

A turbulent future of violent storms, devastating drought, higher temperatures and rising sea levels is inevitable, according to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which released its 1200-page report in Paris last night. The work of 2500 scientists over six years, it is considered the most authoritative evaluation of climate change ever produced.

Great solemnity had marked it's release European cities. The 20,000 light bulbs on the Eiffel Tower were turned off for five minutes the night before, and blackouts were staged in the Colosseum in Rome and the Greek Parliament in Athens. The Spanish were not to be outdone and the Puerta de Alcal in Madrid, the Giralda Tower in Seville and landmarks in the ancient Mediterranean city of Valencia were plunged into darkness. There has been a sea-change in the general public awareness of global warming since the 2001 IPPC Report, boosted by the worldwide success of An Inconvenient Truth, and the conversions of big business to the need for a carbon price signal, and of the powerful Murdoch press to the cause. The release of the Stern Report knocked out the denialists argument that changing the status quo would send our economies into tailspin. It turns to the opposite is true - the cost of not reducing emissions is estimates to be 20 times the cost of not doing anything.

Six scenarios depicting temperature rises from 1.1 degrees to potentially 6.4 degrees Celsius are presented, along with the claim that it is 90 per cent certainty that we who burn fossil-fuels are the cause of the global warming of the last 50 years. The anthropogenic cause is now defined as "very likely" , whereas in the previous IPCC report it was defined as "likely", or a 65 per cent certainty.

The scientists have finished their job. Only fool waits for 100 per cent certainty of an impending and irreversible disaster.

The rest is up to us. The situation requires immediate and urgent and lasting action.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Another trick of the dark: The Tuvalu canard

Professional global warming denier, Andrew Bolt, floats a favourite from his box of tricks - the Tuvalu strawman: :::[Andrew Bolt Blog]

So when he speaks on global warming, it is with the voice of outstanding authority. Observe his latest pronouncement:

“In fact, there is an island called Tuvalu, which was completely evacuated and New Zealand accepted all the residents because of sea level rising."

Tuvalu completely evacuated? Because of rising sea levels? I’m afraid the Professor has watched Al Gore’s deceitful film just once too often.

A challenge:

Professor Dore, please pack right now and take a cruise to Tuvalu. Check in at the lovely (for Tuvalu) Vaiaku Lagi Hotel...

You get the picture.

He's used the Tuvalu strawman before, to yell at Al Gore during a media conference. I am curious about why Andrew must think that Tuvalu is the high ground in global warming denialism, so I did some research to clear up the myths that he latches onto.

Dear Andrew,

Before you go on attacking the man with such zeal - it's only as grave a error of geography as a Swede getting Adelaide and Darwin mixed up when taking about Australian beaches. Flooding and evacuation to New Zealand did happen.

What Dore seems to be referring to has happened in Manihiki in the Cook-islands, 2,840km east of Tuvalu. The atoll was hit by a hurricane (Martin) in 1997 or 1998, and 12-meter high waves swept across the coral islands and washed the islanders to the ocean. They were very lucky, only 19 people died. The survivors were evacuated to Rarotonga, and many went on to New Zealand and most of these are living there today.

The population decline went from 19,000 to 16,500 and the rest went into overdrive to plan adaption strategies, including the building of anti-surge sea walls.

The confusion with Tuvalu may be because one of it's islands HAS been rendered unihabitable. In 1997 Tuvalu was hit by three cyclones. One island one of it's nine islands was left uninhabitable. In 2001 the Tuvalu government saw the writing on the wall, so it went to neighboring countries to find a new homeland. Australia turned them down, but New Zealand said yes. So starting in 2002, the plan was that a quota of residents will move from Tuvalu to New Zealand each year for the next 30 to 50 years. Even if the Kyoto Protocol helps put the brakes on greenhouse gases, it's not likely to save Tuvalu. Generations from now, the country may be remembered only as a modern Atlantis, the first nation to be swallowed whole by the sea.

(That last bit courtesy of The Weather Notebook - but, it's not the 'sinking' that is the immediate cause for evacuation, it is the contamination of the fresh groundwater with saltwater from the combination of rising sea levels and storm surges).

I know you won't publish my comment because it sinks your strawman. But I do have the satisfaction of knowing that you now know the inconvenient truth about Tuvalu.


When we stop denying, we get the chance to learn from the real facts and events on the ground, and then make a plan. Like, how does a community recover from an extreme weather event? This traumatology paper is fascinating:



A.J.W.Taylor, Ph. D.

Others were critical of the local clergy and others in positions of authority in Rarotonga who publicly attributed the cyclone to Divine intervention for the transgressions of the community (individually and collectively), to the over-utilisation of pearl farming, failure to attend church, and working on Sundays. But although they did not refute the arguments openly for fear of causing social disruption, between themselves they declared that a) because the changing weather pattern was world-wide it was not a matter for which Cook Islanders could be held responsible, b) the politicians had changed their stance, because previously they had praised the same local pearl-farming industry for its contribution to the national economy, c) church attendance should not be obligatory and enforced by fear of disasters, and d) among those who worked on Sundays there might have been Seventh Day Adventists who worshipped on Saturdays and could not therefore be said to deserve the punishment.

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Planet to Earth. SOS.

The Greens are advertising: :::[SMH]

A new Australian Greens' advertising campaign on climate change will see the letters SOS loom over Australia's major cities for the next 30 days.

Billboards, depicting the international distress signal SOS with a satellite image of the earth as the middle letter, are part of the Greens' campaign ahead of this year's federal election.

Greens leader Bob Brown launched the campaign in Hobart on Thursday and warned the future of the planet was at stake.

"Prime Minister John Howard has failed Australia on climate change, the most important issue the nation faces," Senator Brown said.

"If we want to rescue the climate we have to rescue the Senate from coalition control and put more Greens MPs in the federal parliament."

Nice simple idea! A three letter headline - like "wow". You can't really get more to the point than that. Will it work?

Senator Brown also cited a Morgan Poll from late last year which found 48.1 per cent of Australians saw the Greens as the optimum party to govern climate change policy.

So I predict people like Andrew Bolt will jump on "Save our Souls" as proof that global warming is the new altar of the green religion. This will be a good sign the campaign is working.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Still the Lucky Country

Somewhere along the way over these last ten years, I lost that feeling that comes with buying into to the sentiment that Australia is the Lucky Country. I felt we had surrendered the title in Kyoto. But c'mon ozzy, how spoilt rotten am I? It's not like we're the really unlucky country.

I looked up how much we had worth in energy resources:


We have 73 billion tonnes of identified in situ black coal resources, enough to last over 200 years at current rates of export, according to the Australian Coal Association. That is $A4.9 trillion worth. A tidy nest-egg.

In 2005 we exported 30% of the world's coal. And 30% of the global resultant carbon dioxide emissions. Not so cool. It's a bit like crapping in your nest.


Before returning to upbeat, I do want to point out that it is this externalised cost that we have to factor in - the coal we export today that comes back to us in debilitated climate in our 50th annual reporting cycle. The Stern Report reckons that unchecked rates of carbon dioxide emissions will set our global economy back by 25% by then.

Using this measure our coal nest-egg is really only worth $3.6 trillion.

Still. That's good. Maybe not quite up there with the big swinging dicks, but certainly "relaxed and comfortable". Mission accomplished down under.


Call me old fashioned... I think we should be keeping all our uranium reserves our own bloody secret, not telling India and China how much we have! Indian army: 890,000 active troops, ranking at #3. Chinese army: 1.7 million active troops, ranking at #1. Australian army: 54,000 active troops, ranking #68. Think I am chicken, punk? No. of countries in this picture that posess nuclear weapons: 2. Do you think one of those two is us?

Shhhhh.Walk around quietly, hide the size of your stick. Don't sell sticks.

Not a fair treatment of the subject of uranium? Ok, here are more serious estimates:

Australia boasts something like 40% of the world's uranium, or 28% of recoverable reserves depending whose statistics you read.

Coal will last us 200 years. Australia has enough uranium to last... well, one global newclear war, really. In economics this is known as a trade externality, and in the military, as blowback.

Solar energy

All I can find on Google is this quote, which I believe to be accurate since Dr Davis Mills told it to Kerry O'Brien on the 7:30 Report tonight:

The amount of solar energy hitting Australia in one summer day is about half the total annual global energy use! Prof. Martin Green

In 2004 the worldwide energy consumption of the human race was estimated as 15 TW by the United States Energy Information Administration.[1](TW=1012 Watts). We export 30% of the the world's coal at $24.5 billion per annum. Coal provides 3.5 TW annual energy globally. Extrapolating out, the world's coal market is worth $81.7 billion p.a., and the world's total energy bill (minus externalities) is worth four times that at $326.8 billion in coal terms.

My rock-climbing logic gets me to this heady summit -- the amount of solar energy hitting Australia is worth about $163.4 billion, with no externalities, in one summer day!

Ah, that lucky country feeling is starting to come back again. As if we couldn't harness the solar energy if we set our minds to it? We are so bloody ingenious a nation that we give away our best civilising innovations and innovators, mainly to California. Like the blackbox flight recorder, the car-radio, and the refrigerator.

And, Dr David Mills.

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