Thursday, July 31, 2008

Added to blogroll: Jules' Klimaatblog

If I was Dutch* and living below sea level, I would be informing myself about AGW and climate change, big time. And voting for bigger dykes. Jules' Klimaatblog is me, if I were Dutch*. And funnier...

But is he really that funny? He sounds serious.

Deze blog om wat meer achtergrond te geven over klimaatverandering, en tevens over het lobbywerk dat het wetenschappelijk debat tracht te contamineren met als bedoeling de wetenschappelijke conclusies op deze wijze bij het grote publiek af te doen als onbeslist en of onbetrouwbaar.

Let's ask Bablefish...

These blog to what more context to give concerning climate change, and tevens concerning the entrance hall work which tries the scientific debate at contamineren with the intention the scientific taking off conclusions this way at the general public as outstanding and or onbetrouwbaar.

Yes funny. Ignoring 'onbetrouwbaar' and Zen translating from bablefish to zEnglish I get...This blog seeks to provide context and background to climate change concerns, and to expose the lobbies that have contaminated the public airing of the scientific debate with the intention of confusing the general public's understanding of the scientific conclusions.

Check it out: good blogroll, lot's on AGW denialism, global warming primers, great visuals, half of it is in English, and between the English and the graphs, etc, you can roughly get a sense of what Jules is saying. Bablefish helps some. Well, you can see how much. But the point is that you know what Jules is saying because it is what every other scientific realist has been saying for 20 years — there are these freaks called Big Fossil Fuel who fund propaganda outfits to run interference on the public understanding of what climate science is telling us. The intention is to keep selling cheap oil and coal for as long as possible, disinformation is big money for as long as they don't have to factor in the cost of their pollution.

*A Dutch-speaking Belgian, in fact.

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AGL green paper briefing notes

The Rudd Green Paper Carbon Policy Briefing Note of the first Australian company to trade on the Chicago Climate Exchange, AGL, is accessible from their website.

Carbon Policy Briefing Note

Date: 16 July 2008
Subject: Commonwealth Green Paper
The Commonwealth Government has released a Green Paper outlining preferred positions for the introduction of an emissions trading scheme called the “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme”.

Key Considerations for your Business
› Are you a liable party under the scheme (do you emit more than 25,000 tonnes)?
› If you are trade exposed, are you likely to be compensated?
› Will your energy bill increase?
› What can you do to reduce emissions and take advantage of
opportunities under the scheme?
› Are there cashflow issues associated with your participation in this scheme?
› What are the taxation implications of this scheme for your business?

So, what are the key considerations for your business?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Genetic scientist ages L. Ron Bolt

Michael James is a Senior Research Fellow and Director for the Genome Variation Laboratory at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. The way he fisked L. Ron Bolt's now famous 7 graphs will fray the telomeres of The Great Denier.

He does a great job debunking Bolt, and explains why. Top and tail:

This communication concerns some misinformation that Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt has been publicising since late last week. Bolt claims his "seven graphs" from reputable sources prove conclusively that the world is cooling not warming and Arctic ice is not thinning.

He first presented it in his blog last Thursday and then on Insiders on ABC on Sunday he heavily promoted it and aggressively challenged Annabel Crabb to dispute these findings, all, of course, to attack the government’s Green Paper and Garnaut Report. Then on Monday he ran another related story as a follow up (Arctic Ice) and Tuesday another follow up. Being something of an agnostic on the topic myself I thought it was worth looking at, but was then appalled at how he has totally misinterpreted the graphs he presents.


I think it is important that loud polemicists like Bolt spouting distorted nonsense need a counterbalance in the media.

And here's the guts. L. Ron Bolt's first graph: "World is cooling"

Andrew Bolt apparently is basing his argument -- that the world really is cooling rather than warming -- on a short blip in the data around January 2008. But the logical comparison is shown by the blue ovals which very roughly centre on the average for the time periods (note the ovals are identical in size); it is obvious the recent period is up to 0.3 degrees warmer. In his graph 2, the same data is plotted but now extending back to 1979 -- it shows even more clearly the average warming over the period 1999-2007.

L.Ron Bolt's forth graph: "Arctic sea ice is thickening"

Andrew Bolt bases his erroneous claim that Arctic sea ice is not thinning on two weeks of the most recent data for 2008 (highlighted in red on graph) and only in comparison to the same period in 2007; in fact the data confirm it is thinning. The US laboratory that provided this graph also claims: "According to scientific measurements, Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically over at least the past thirty years, with the most extreme decline seen in the summer melt season." So, should we make broad sweeping conclusions from 2 weeks’ data or from yearly, or 20 years (1979-2000) or 30 years of data?

I posted a comment in response to Bolt's article (mine is one amongst over 500 comments from mostly appallingly ignorant ranters) -- but of course I couldn't post the graphs.

I had a look for the comment but couldn't find it. Guess it was Boltmoderated out.


You can just hear L. Ron Bolt's telomeres unravelling as he composed this response.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

L. Ron Bolt denies AGW thrice (today)

L. Ron Bolt bashes his pulpit, berating anyone who prints politically on climate change:

Global warming believer Tim Colebatch in The Age today tries to bat away an inconvenient truth - that the world hasn’t actually warmed for a decade. But more fervent than informed, he simply proves he doesn’t understand the argument, and probably doesn’t want to.

AS THE Liberal Party turns into a battleground between those who believe Australia should do its share to tackle global warming and those who deny that global warming exists....

Actually, that’s not the line of battle at all, Tim. For instance, you can believe global warming exists, but still think it crazy to try to stop it (the Bjorn Lomborg line until recently). Or, as in my case, you can think global warming indeed existed, at least until 1998, and may well resume - yet still think it’s important to consider the fact that there hasn’t been any warming for a decade, against all predictions. And then doubt, therefore, that man caused what warming has occured.

That, in fact, is the real argument that you so crassly define and try to dismiss.

...the graph at right is worth seeing.

I don’t have access to your graph as it appeared in The Age, Tim, but it is essentially this one below, and from exactly the same source:


But there is one modification. See that predicted spike in temperature for 2007, Tim? Didn’t happen, did it? Compare that prediction to the real data of 2007 in your own graph, Tim. Turned out to be a colder year, as is this one. Yet the organisation that produced this graph, and that prediction, is the one you rely on to assure us the great global warming apocalypse continues its relentless course. Still trust them, Tim?

That organisation that produced that graph turns out not to be the UK Meteorological Office and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia that Tim says he sourced his graph from:
The data comes from the UK Meteorological Office and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia… It’s one of just three data sources on global temperatures, but the one deniers like to use.
It happens to be a BBC produced graph L. Ron. If you click on the link, you will find this nugget that you withheld from your readers:
The 60% probability that 2007 would set a new record meant that it "was more likely than not", he concluded.

So the BBC editorialised the graph, it was not produced by the Met, as L. Ron unhappily thunders on about. There were no predictions offered by them, just probabilities.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Royal Society gives Great Global Warming swindler a Right Royal Bollocking

From DeSmogBlog:

The UK's Royal Society, one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific bodies in the world has released this statement today on the Ofcom ruling that the "Great Global Warming Swindle" television movie misrepresented the views of some of the world's most distinguished scientists:
clipped from

Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society said: "TV companies occasionally commission programmes just to court controversy, but to misrepresent the evidence on an issue as important as global warming was surely irresponsible. 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' was itself a swindle. The programme makers misrepresented the science, the views of some of the scientists featured in the programme and the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"The science of climate change is complex; however the weight of scientific evidence shows that global warming caused by human actions is happening now, and is set to continue. There is certainly a need for ongoing debate on climate change and on what we are going to do to tackle it but this programme made little or no contribution to that debate."

 blog it

Very funny Fuel Watch spoof from Get Up

The bowser wowsers in Parliament House want to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic rather than address the real long-term solutions to rising petrol prices.

View this new ad we've made to cut through the oil slick - and chip in to put it on the air!

Well done! We've reached our first target of $50,000 - but let's keep going!!

If we raise $75,000 we can reach an extra one million viewers, and get our ads to air even sooner.

TARGET: $75,000 - Let's get this ad on air!

$072,886 raised already!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Al Gore rails America for a Clean Energy "Moon Shot"

Watthead have the good oil.

By Alisha Fowler and Jesse Jenkins

Today, Al Gore became a major ally in the ongoing effort to build consensus around an investment-centered approach to solving our energy crisis and inspiring our nation to tackle the energy challenge as the defining task of our era.

Gore issued a truly ambitious challenge for America "to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years." The organization he leads, the Alliance for Climate Protection, estimates the cost of making such a "moon shot call" a reality at 1.5 to 3 trillion dollars of public and private investment over 30 years. He issued this call to "all Americans - in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and every citizen."

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Rocket scientist brought back to earth

In the comments section of the blog of L. Ron Bolt, a cry of dissent. Or was it a straight-out diss?

Ezzthetic replied to Alan of Sydney
Mon 21 Jul 08 (06:20pm)

I would have asked asked her to address the statement Dr. David Evans posed in last Friday’s The Australian

She might have asked you why you are relying on the views of someone who is just a computer programmer.

Evans was a “consultant” a the Australian Greenhouse Office, but not as an environmental expert (which he isn’t). He was merely writing a Windows desktop application for them.

Google cache will get you every time. What a poseur "rocket scientist" this Dr Evans is.

Now what I just is did is called argumentum ad hominem, and this is perfectly legitimate — but only when used against specific denialists, like AGW deniers.

On the other hand, Tim Lambert has chosen to reply to the argument itself, and the not attack the person making the argument.

Desmogblog clear the air: Evans is a self-promoting computer geek, not a science geek.

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People to Rudd: Grow spine, show climate leadership


Australia said it when we recently voted, and we are saying it now in response to the opposition abandoning bipartisanship on climate change, and the government politically neutralising the issue by adopting Howard's old Shergold Report recommendations.

Reproduced in full. Phillp Coorey reports:

Don't fiddle a world burns

AN OVERWHELMING majority of voters support Kevin Rudd's drive to tackle climate change and 77 per cent believe Australia should press ahead and cut its greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do.

The latest Herald/Nielsen poll, the first since last week's green paper on a proposed emissions trading scheme, finds that Australians are willing to pay the price for cutting carbon emissions, even though most do not understanding how the scheme
will work.

When informed that greenhouse gas abatement would cause the price of goods and services to increase, 68 per cent said they were prepared to pay more while 24 per cent were opposed.

The poll coincides with another bleak assessment of the Murray-Darling River system, handed to federal and state ministers, saying there may not be enough water to guarantee supply to regional towns by 2010. It recommends that available water be used only for human consumption in towns of the lower Murray-Darling.

As the Government started a multimillion-dollar "awareness" campaign on its climate action last night, the poll found six of every 10 voters either slightly understood or had no understanding at all of the emissions trading scheme. However, two-thirds still supported introducing a scheme.

The poll of 1400 voters was taken from Thursday to Saturday. On Wednesday, the Government released its green paper outlining how a domestic emissions trading scheme would work.

In the preceding week, the Coalition was split over climate change. Its leader, Brendan Nelson, contradicted senior colleagues by saying Australia should do nothing until other big polluting countries acted. Only 19 per cent of respondents to the poll agreed with this course of action.

The poll finds the Government about as popular now as it was at the election. On a two-party-preferred basis, Labor leads by 54 to46 per cent and, on primary votes, by 43 to 40 per cent. Both show small shifts to the Opposition since last month's poll but the movements are within the margin of error and not enough to give the Opposition great heart.

Mr Rudd's approval rating remains relatively unchanged at 66 per cent compared with 36 per cent for Dr Nelson. Mr Rudd leads Dr Nelson as preferred prime minister by 65 to 20 per cent, a 3-percentage point drop.

With climate change policy full of political risk, 54 per cent are satisfied with the way Mr Rudd is handling the matter while 38 per cent are unhappy. The Government will welcome the findings as it is battling an increasingly hostile Opposition and corporate

"These findings suggest clear support for the Government's climate change policy," the Nielsen research director, John Stirton, said. However, last month's poll showed 78 per cent wanted the Government to intervene over petrol prices and Mr Stirton said this gave "food for thought about the real depth of support for a
tough policy on climate change".

Last night the Government launched its taxpayer-funded advertising campaign to promote awareness of the proposed trading scheme. Labor had been critical of the Howard government's political advertising but the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, said this campaign would adhere to new guidelines that require the
auditor-general's approval.

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said: "We want to have a very mature conversation with the Australian people about this because big economic reforms like this are not cost-free."

The shadow treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull, said Labor was rushing when "great care and deliberation" were needed to protect industry and households. He suggested the Coalition would oppose gradually reducing total emissions allowed under the scheme until other countries cut theirs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thoughts on Rudd's Petrol Excise Cut 'n Run

Considered thoughts on the green paper on emissions trading from Oikos. He has approximately the same take on the petrol excise offset as I have, though is more eloquent in expressing it.

There are two ways to look at this – from a practical perspective or from a principle perspective. Either way, my view is that cutting the petrol excise isn’t good but isn’t really all that bad either.

The practical implication of cutting excise and therefore neutralising the impact that the scheme has on the petrol price is that...

Oikos also prefers for the review of the excise cut after a three year period to be a permanent cut instead, — why defer uncertainty for three years. I agree, it also makes Labor a political target, by keeping open the notion among industry lobby groups they can keep getting exemptions. The opposition has already signalled they could break from bipartisanship.

I don't know what configuration of emissions trading scheme is best for Australia, but surely political courage is an enabling ingredient.

Green paper tinged with blue hue

In the wake of the release of the Green paper, Michelle Grattan pings the electorate to see if they are still awake:

NO WONDER the Opposition is struggling in its efforts to pick a fight with the Government over its emissions trading scheme. The green paper model differs only marginally from the one John Howard endorsed last year.

The main variation is in timing. The Howard scheme, based on a report from a task group headed by then Prime Minister's department secretary Peter Shergold, was to start in 2011 or 2012. The Rudd plan is due to kick off in 2010.

For the rest, the similarities are great, including compensation in each scheme for the trade exposed sector and for other badly affected industries, notably electricity generators (although the green paper is rather tougher on both, as well as focusing on the household sector, brushed over in Shergold).

Notably, Howard had petrol in. As he boasted, "this emissions trading scheme will be world class in its coverage and governance" and would avoid "political fixes".

He did not propose any "fix", as the Rudd scheme does, to neutralise petrol's inclusion. Of course oil prices have shot up in the past year. The Coalition has shifted ground: it urged, and Labor adopted, an offset to ensure petrol prices don't rise as a result of the scheme.

In light of its history, it is a bit rich for the Opposition to be jumping up and down about the Government's plan to review this offset after three years' operation — which means five years from now.

There is continuity even in the bureaucratic work behind the two schemes. The Coalition's task group was serviced by a secretariat headed by Martin Parkinson, then a senior Treasury officer. Parkinson drafted the group's document. Now he is secretary of Penny Wong's Climate Change Department, established by this Government, and the most important bureaucrat in putting together the green paper.

In preparing the Shergold report, the challenge for the task group was to come up with something acceptable to Howard, at heart a climate change doubter, whatever his latter-day conversion under political pressure. Howard personally wrote the terms of reference, which inevitably made the report conservative.

The task group was successful: Howard adopted the report, more or less holus-bolus, although his government didn't last long enough to implement its measures.

The green paper is a statement of Rudd Government policy. In this case, the challenge has been to err on the side of caution and a slow start for reasons of political necessity, despite Labor's rhetoric about the imminent threat from climate change.

Approaching the task from different perspectives, the two exercises converged on a common centre.

I blame the Liberal opposition partisanship in the issue, in all but name. They are not really presenting as a party that is serious, rather as a ratbag collection of interest groups and factions. I would like to see an opposition that holds the Government to their election promises, asking why Garnaut is being swept aside for Shergold, for instance.

The rest of Grattan's piece sketches out the political landscape that new legislation will have to chart a course through.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Green Paper is cautious politics

The great Emissions Trading Scheme Sell begins, and the Rudd Government opens by signalling that they ease the pain of introducing the EMT, or whatever they will call it.

HOUSEHOLDS earning up to $150,000 and the nation's heaviest polluters will be helped to cope with the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in 2010 that the Government says will be "calm and measured".

Sounds a bit soft to me. A price signal should function as a price signal. But I don't have to stay in power, and it looks as if the Liberals have decided against a bipartizan approach. That makes me grumpy.

Labor have to position themselves for a hasty implementation, be seen to do so, yet not expose themselves to the Opposition canard that it makes no sense moving before China, India and the US. Someone should blow that damn meme out the water.

So what's the damage?

Releasing the green paper outlining the shape of the scheme, the Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, confirmed that increases in petrol prices would be neutralised by corresponding reductions in fuel excise.

She refused to guarantee that this would continue beyond 2013 and said motorists should start considering what types of cars they would be driving by then.

On first impression, I have doubt that market behaviour would change much by watering down the medicine. Economically, it misses the point. But, there is satisfying logic in weaning the Government of this revenue and reducing their conflict of interest with the oil lobby. I believe the revenue is about $2 billion a years, and Rudd's 'fiscally conservative' government is sure to fund the shortfall from revenue raised from issuing carbon permits to industry.

In addition, horrible hikes in the cost of oil are predicted anyway. I've been reading suggestion that market pressures going to have more of an impact on the cost of fuel, than a carbon tax.

Back to the question of damage:

When the scheme begins, electricity and gas prices will rise immediately. Under a $20-a-unit carbon price, electricity bills would increase by 16 per cent, gas bills by 8 per cent and the overall cost of living by 0.9 per cent.

Using some of the billions in revenue the scheme will generate, low-income households - those earning up to $53,000 a year - will receive full compensation through either the tax or family payments system.

Middle-income households - earning up to $150,000 - will receive partial compensation. Pensioners, carers, the elderly and others will have their pensions increased to compensate fully.

The payments will start either when or before the scheme begins and will help insulate Labor against expected electoral fallout.

So how are they going to fund this electoral fire-break?

A cap will be put on the amount of carbon that can be emitted. Within this cap, 1000 of the nation's biggest polluters will have to buy permits for each tonne of carbon they produce. The costs will be passed on to consumers and companies can trade unwanted permits. These are designed to act as incentives to reduce emissions.

The carbon price - the cost of each permit - will depend on the level of emissions.


Reaction (and a growing round-up of of reactions) from Not a Hedgehog: "Piss.Weak."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pell: AGW Science Is Papal Bull

My one question to Cardinal George: If current global warming isn't man-made, then is it God's fault?

Then there is that other question. The one that stands out like The Dog Bollocks.

Is Pell exercising his Primacy of Conscience?

In stating that he is a climate change skeptic, is Cardinal Pell exercising the Primacy of Conscience in defiance of Papal Infallibility and the authority of Benedict XVI’s warning that climate change and abuse of the environment is against God’s will?

Or is he just indulging in a bit of the old secular relativism?

blog it

Monday, July 14, 2008

ASX preparing to trade carbon

Greed is good, but green greed is best.

The ASX has their eyes on their share of the $46.5 trillion investment market that the International Energy Agency says is required to reduce the world's CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030, 21.5 years away.

Robert Elstone | July 14, 2008

AS record high prices for coal, gas and oil - together with speculation as to the impact of the forthcoming emissions trading scheme on the Australian economy - dominate the headlines, the existing infrastructure of the Australian Securities Exchange remains a conduit to help firms raise and allocate capital as well as manage the risks associated with fluctuating energy and environmental product prices.

The International Energy Agency estimates that a $US45 trillion ($46.5 trillion) investment would be required to reduce the world's carbon dioxide emissions by 50 per cent by the year 2030.

Domestically, the National Generators Forum estimates that $150 billion is required to meet a 60 per cent reduction on year 2000 emissions by 2050.

While these estimates appear staggering, a well-designed ETS will generate an acceptable rate of return on the investment required. In other words, superannuants and other investors will be beneficiaries of the transformation process.

To put in context what needs to be achieved over the 42 years until 2050, one only has to look back over the same duration since 1966 to see how far that investment in new technologies and the sophistication of financial markets have advanced.

In 1966, we did not have personal computers or futures contracts on financial instruments such as equity indices and interest rate securities, let alone active derivative markets for compliance instruments such as emission permits and renewable energy certificates.

This is good news for prescient Australian companies who are already trading overseas, like AGL trading abatements on the Chicago Climate Exchange.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

George Bush proud to lead world's biggest polluter

Just how embarrassing is it to be an American these days?

On average, they are seriously and sadly thick: firstly for having bought the line that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, and secondly, for re-electing George Bush.

But even more stupid than that is their pathetic excuse for a president, himself. I don't care that he comes from a wealthy family, that does not hide their lack of class. You ain't met flashier trailer trash than George Dubya Bush.

Oh George Bush is having quite a grand time at the annual G8 conference in Japan. He’s not molesting Angela Merkel this time, but he is embarrassing everyone: “The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: ‘Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.’ He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.” Punched the air? Best George W. Bush imagery ever.

Good riddance. H/t: Wonkette

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Winds of (climate) change blow

The hilarious Annabel Crabb succumbs to the denialist notion that climate science is a religion.

It used to be that anybody advocating unilateral Australian action on climate change, unmatched by corresponding efforts in the developing world, was immediately set upon, denounced, beaten, and cast out into the wilderness.

Just ask the Environment Minister, Peter the Exile, who was nearly stoned to death during last year's election campaign when he said that a Rudd Government would sign up to emissions reductions with or without the rest of the world

The Australian political scene is positioned for an upheaval over our response to climate change. Rising petrol prices are pressuring the bipartizan approach to an EMT. The opposition Liberal party is considering abandoning a long term approach to play short term petrol politics.

This week, Bendy Nelson back-flipped his party's official position, without telling his front bench. Or Doubting Brendan, as Annabel dubs him.

At home, Doubting Brendan piped up with something of a contemporary heresy, insisting that there is no use being pure of heart when the rest of the world is still yet to repent.

Why rush to install an emissions trading scheme, he argued on the steps of the temple, before other nations have done the same?

Doubting Brendan's disciples were quick to claim that he had meant nothing of the kind.

Several people - Malcolm the Inevitable, Greg the Usurped and Julie the Long-Suffering - lined up to explain that Brendan had actually been massively misreported, and was now resting quietly in his tent.

But Doubting Brendan could not be silenced; he kept sneaking out to do press conferences and to confer with his Senate leader, Nick Minchin, the Desert State Denialist.

Minchin is a pale-eyed David Koresh type, a rogue prophet who lives and preaches amid the parched rubble that used to be known as South Australia.

He is not the official environment spokesman for the Coalition - a fact of which we were reedily reminded on Wednesday by Greg the Usurped, who is.

But Minchin bought Doubting Brendan for a fair price late last year - three crucial votes - and he is determined to make his investment work.

This relationship may account for the circularity and tortuousness for which the teachings of Doubting Brendan have quickly become known. To the goat-herders, he says one thing, to the money-changers another.

Read her whole piece.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

G8 negotiations on track for 2009 climate deal

G8 nations have committed to working towards a target of at least halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in a summit in Tokyo, Japan.

They are pleased with their effort.

"This is a strong signal to citizens around the world," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said, adding that the EU's benchmark for success had been achieved.

Others aren't.

"The G8 are responsible for 62 per cent of the carbon dioxide accumulated in the Earth's atmosphere, which makes them the main culprit of climate change and the biggest part of the problem," WWF said shortly after the communique was issued.

"WWF finds it pathetic that they still duck their historic responsibility...," the campaign group said.

The last and final hold-out is the US.

But US President George W. Bush has insisted that Washington cannot agree to binding targets unless big polluters such as China and India rein in their emissions as well.

That's what you get when your president used to be an oil man.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Whereis tells me where to go. Frankly, I love it

It's just the kind of out-there relationship you can have with a brand now-a-days. Especially one offering to plan my car journey, then offset the fuel emissions.

Whereis® (Sensis) are working with Greenfleet (who do good work restoring the Murray) on a project called GreenRoad to plant trees to offset the combined ghg emissions of their membership.

They're in the unique position to easily carbon neutralise your extra-habitual trips, you don't have to. So join up, now.

You'll love it when Whereis clears the air with you.

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Developing world won't take lead in climate fight

On page 2 of the Draft Garnaut Climate Change Review he cuts to the chase:

The work of this Review is directed at nurturing the slender chance that Australia and the world will manage to develop a position that strikes a good balanced between the costs of dangerous climate change and the costs of mitigation.

A slender chance that needs nurturing?

Australian emissions reductions are not going to make a big difference, on a world scale. But without them, we are not going to convince the developing world to cap theirs. As they told us a month ago:

Berlin June 8 The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and leaders of four other emerging economies, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, took the offensive in the debate on climate change asking the developed world first to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Greenhouse gas mitigation in developed countries is the key to address climate change given their responsibilities in causing it," noted a joint policy paper that was presented to the leaders of the G-8, the group of eight top industrialised nations: the US, UK, Japan, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada.

This was a response to the assertion of the G-8 that cutbacks in emissions by only the developed countries would not be adequate; the emerging economies too have to do their bit. "We invite notably the emerging economies to address the increase in their emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of their economic development," the declaration of the G-8 had said.

The key to bringing them on board is their cheap access to renewable energy technology.

The emerging countries said that access to adequate technology was a key enabling condition. "We need an agreement on transfer of technologies at affordable costs," they noted in their joint paper.

Aware of the constraints that patents imposed on transfer of technologies, they said, "Rewards for innovators needs to be balanced with common good for humankind."

Like the man said... a slender chance.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Frequent Extreme Weather Events scenario for 20 years

Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke has likened a scientific study into links between climate change and drought to the final chapters of a disaster novel.

We live in strange times.

Mr Burke on Sunday released a joint assessment by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, which found that what are now considered to be one in 25 year climate events could become as frequent as once every one to two years.

In particular, the study found exceptionally high temperatures would occur almost yearly, while low rainfall would almost double in frequency from current figures.

The report found about 50 per cent of the rainfall decrease in south-western Australia since the 1950s was likely due to greenhouse gases.

The reports are inputs into agricultural policy development. It's gratifying to see a Government allow science to inform policy development, at last.

"While this is a scientific report, parts of these high level projections read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report," Mr Burke told reporters.

"What's clear is that the cycle of drought is going to be more regular and deeper than ever."

Mr Burke said events of extreme temperature, which currently occurred once every 20 to 25 years, were forecast to happen once every one to two years coming up to 2030.

The area of Australia declared to be in drought would double and the likelihood of drought would also double, Mr Burke said.

"What this means is that in terms of government policy, we now know what would happen if we did nothing," he said.

"If we fail to review drought policy, if we were to continue the neglect and pretend that the climate wasn't changing we would be leaving our farmers out to dry well and truly."

The CSIRO report is the first in the federal government's three stage review of drought policy with the scientific findings to be fed into an analysis of social policy and economic review being undertaken by the Productivity Commission.

The release of the report follows the announcement for drought figures in NSW, which put 65 per cent of the state in drought, an increase of more than two per cent on last month.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Garnaut Draft: Critic discounts it by 33%

The 537 page Garnaut CLIMATE CHANGE REVIEW DRAFT REPORT is out today, and already we know it's hurting Australians.

We know exactly who, too. L. Ron Bolt is already clawing at the report, and he hasn't even got to the Table of Contents:

Garnaut goes for the scare


Ross Garnaut’s 360-page blueprint for tackling the urgent crisis of the end of the warming world is printed on paper. But, says Garnaut on page 2, it’s environmentally kind paper:

9Lives80, composed of 80 percent post-consumer fibre....

Pity that this is paper that’s actually made in Italy, requiring lots of gassy transport to bring here. What hope of purity for the rest of us, then, when the gurus set this example?

(Thanks to reader Owen.)

Or should that be reader Pwn?

Don't it jest drive you nuts when deniers spear us well-meaning non-deniers with such sharp shards of perspicacity? Here is the whole statement that Andrew's playing Gotcha Garnaut with.

This report is printed on 9Lives 80, a paper composed of 80% post-consumer fibre and 20% totally chlorine-free pulp? 9Lives 80 is a Forest Stewardship Council mixed-source certified paper identifying that all virgin pulp is derived from well-managed forests and manufactured by ISO 14001 certified mills?
All inks used in the printing of this report are vegetable based.

Of course Andrew knows that ISO 14001 is the environmental management planning ISO certification? The Italian paper company, Burgo Group, must have strict compliance and reporting standards. In a trice I was downloading their Paper Field 2007 Environmental Report for an statement on their transport, logistics and distribution.


The path towards sustainable growth also includes responsible logistics and transport management: moving and storing goods, in fact, produces noise, consumes energy and creates traffic, therefore, emissions into the environment. We have organised an approach to tackle these problems that leads to benefits in terms of savings, efficiency, safety and less pollution. Movement of materials arriving at and leaving our mills, production planning and warehouse management is controlled at Group level.

Thanks to precise coordination of goods and raw material flows we have managed to limit movements, so reducing the noise this creates, emissions from vehicles (fork-lifters and trucks) and risks of damage to finished products.

As far as possible we at the Burgo Group try to reduce road transport by resorting to alternative methods. We use railways, the multimode system that consists in a combination of truck, ship and rail transport, and short-range coastal sea transport, also encouraged by the European Commission. During the year the PM9 was installed at Verzuolo we expanded rail facilities from 6,500 to 19,000 wagons per year, both arriving and departing.

Our Duino mill has an internal railway line to handle arrival of raw materials and is linked directly to already organised major European printing centres and those that will be connected in the future.

So Andrew's caught out again, and rightly so. If a company bothers enough about customers and the environment enough to implement costly ISO 14001 compliance, is it too much to ask newspaper opinion journalists to implement simple research before snidely sniping from the sidelines?

I note he didn't even download the Garnaut Draft before criticising: It's a 537 page blueprint, not a 360 page blueprint. Andrew's discount is by 33% — before even reading the table of contents.

What hope of an honest debate for the rest of us, then, when the L. Ron Bolt sets this example?

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cap 'n Trade on US election menu

Hot on the heels of Australia's green election (Rudd signed the Kyoto Protocol as his first act of government), follows the second US climate change election. Bush tore up the Kyoto Protocol after the first one. Waste of good lead-time.

Obama and McCain have both stated that climate change requires decisive action. Both support cap-and-trade, putting a limit (cap) on greenhouse gases and enabling the market to work by allowing the trading of permits.

Click for more on Cleantechblog's take on how it would work.

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Climate Change: A plot to breed new Masters Race

Brett Stephens of the WSJ somehow got the masses onto his couch to listen to it's global warming neurosis. Then he wrote a 450 word thesis explaining there is no such thing as global warming, only the mass belief in it.

It's true. He wrote it. He's serious. And the Wall Street Journal published it.

Three explanations are offered for free, by Brett. Brett Stephens of the WSJ. (G'day Rupert. Those 'ud be your fingerprints. I see you got to the WSJ, finally.)

One. Belief in AGW is engineered by socialist plotters with UN sympathies seeking to restrict breeding to college educated women. I kid you not. Brett Stephens spotted this first.

Two. Belief in AGW is theologically explained because there's a flood involved. Er,... and... Because James Hansen sounds like this: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."

Three. There is a psychological explanation. People are psychologically predisposed to paying penance. At the secular level. Instead of enjoying prosperity we are looking for something to be guilty about, so we invented global warming and the carbon tax / carbon sink indulgence.

So those our beliefs, apparently. He didn't offer up a recommendation, choose the neurosis that fits you best.

But, before you freak-out, here is reality by Brett Stephens. The reasons why AGW ain't real:

NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954.

It's global warming we are talking about. You seem to think the continental 48 constitutes the globe. A trap for young players, and fast-ageing Presidents; 1998 was the hottest for the rest of us 5.97 billion people living outside the continental 48 thank you very much.

Anyway, it's not about the extremes or short term variations. The need to be removed with moving averages to reveal the underlying trend, as Skeptical Science soberly tells us in Did global warming stop in 1998?

Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.

It's an interesting report, read it. It doesn't say global warming has stopped as Brett claims. It says that we thought the heat measured above sea level and on land was going into the oceans. But the National Center for Atmospheric Research's diving robots aren't measuring that, opening up some interesting questions.

This is enough to conclude AGW is not real. For Brett Stephens. As for the explanations he offers us for our beliefs, I can relieve him of his delusions:

One. Socialist are not plotting to use global warming to breed the Masters Race from swotty women.

Two. James Hansen does not sound like Genesis. Or Black Sabbath.

Affluenza guilt? Why didn't we first latch onto global warming back in 1988 then?

our. You've lost the right to credibly use the word alarmist to describe anyone but yourself. And of your ilk.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ACCI input into The Garnaut Report

In two days the guiding document that kicks off the Australian Government's policy review process gets tabled. The Garnaut report on climate change will input into a white paper, and then a green paper, and I'll be blogging more about these.

I came across the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) SUBMISSION TO THE GARNAUT CLIMATE CHANGE REVIEW [25pg PDF] the other day. The ACCI open strongly in favour of an Emissions Trading System in their executive summary.

ACCI supports an ETS that is efficient, maximises participation across all industry sectors and, will include major world emitters, when possible. Furthermore, a domestic ETS must minimise compliance costs and provide measures to ensure the international competitiveness of trade exposed energy intensive businesses. This should also recognise some SME’s will face energy and transport cost increases with variable, and in some cases limited, opportunities to pass such costs onto final consumers. ACCI has previously endorsed a series of policy priorities, which form the high-level policy position of our response to climate change. This includes objectives relating to environmental outcomes, economic efficiency, Australia’s
welfare (underpinned by job security and maintaining competitiveness) and assuming a fair share of the burden.

These issues were further expanded into more detailed
policy guidelines which include:

  • Australia’s largest contribution to climate change will be through indirect measures such as technology development, rather than though direct reductions in emissions;
  • Australia can reduce its own direct emissions, however, it’s contribution to global climate change will be marginal;
  • all technologies and fuel sources must be available for abatement and not regulated out of consideration – including nuclear;
  • the broadest range of sectors must be included in an ETS;
  • all six Kyoto greenhouse gases must be included in an ETS; and
  • Australia’s high per capita emissions profile does not reflect our contribution to the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Back to the exec summ..

ACCI agreed with the Government that the arrangements
applying post-2012 must include commitments from large
emitters including India, China and the USA.
Any ETS should be national rather than based on multiple state schemes, this includes complimentary measures such as the Renewable Energy Target and taxation liabilities such as stamp duties.

This submission provides some detailed responses to design aspects of a proposed ETS (see section 2). In providing this response we do howerver maintain concerns about the wider impact of an ETS on the Australian Economy. In large part this concern relate to the potential economic and compliance costs that will be faced by business,
especially smaller enterprises which are less able to pass
through costs. These costs will be exacerbated where an ETS operates with very restrictive emissions targets and competitor
nations remain outside these arrangements. ACCI considers that Australia’s fuel mix can only change over a long period and irrespective of the operation of an ETS unrealistic expectations of a shift from fossil fuels to renewables or the adoption of lower emissions technologies need to be tempered.

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Tacky fuel tactic creates hostile climate

A new financial year finds The Australian columnist Philip Adams depressed about our response to climate change. He takes it out on us: Add warming to list of failures

WHY do we have such a rotten national anthem? It's because the only words that rhyme with Australia are dahlia and failure. Even Les Murray couldn't do much with them. Mind you, a sort of mulga-wood version of the Marsellaise, emphasising Australian failure rather than French triumphalism would fit the local psyche like a shroud. Because were into failure in a big way. Think of all the films weve made about our failures. Even before Gallipoli and Burke & Wills there was Sunday Too Far Away where Jack Thompson failed to be the gun shearer, Petersen where Thompson failed to succeed at Melbourne Uni and Picnic at Hanging Rock where almost the entire cast failed to return from a picnic. Not to mention the two McKenzie films wherein despite his desperate efforts Bazza, that archetypal Australian hero, failed to lose his virginity.

Ouch, Phil. He's pissed off because the opposition are bailing out of the bipartisan approach to an all inclusive emissions trading system, in favour of short term politics over petrol pricing. And because the Government are not quite delivering on their election pitch.

Before the federal election this column called on the presumptive PM to proffer the Opposition, along with the premiers, full representation in a war cabinet. To at least pretend we were tackling a problem that makes the Cold War look penny ante, let alone that trivial war on terror. Rudd made a few moves in the bipartisan direction, on a number of issues, but having shown reluctant interest (on Sorry Day and 2020 for example), Brendan's switched to giving Kev the finger. He's reduced this vast issue to populist posturing about the price of petrol. Let's fix this week's polls rather than the terminal pollution. And for the Libs and the Nats it's more urgent to get a Gippslandslide against Rudd at the weekend.

I'm pissed off too. A pox on both their houses. We voted for a new kind of politics Kev, Brendo; to tackle serious problems that playing poll politics won't solve.

Adam's notes that the importance of the issue isn't lost on Rudd though, nor is his dilemma.

The only war cabinet seems to be Kevin's as his comrades quarrel over emission trading, ever responsive to the people they really represent. The various interests of the vested variety.

Rudd knows he must crash through or crash on climate change. The issue is producing a predictable range of reactions. As well as ongoing denial there's already boredom and fatalism. Then there's let's-buy-a-Hummer hedonism. But worst of all will be the Opposition's opportunism. Reduce the scale of the argument to the price of petrol.

Nelson's mob don't deserve anything good for that short term tacky tactic. Poetic justice would have them experience blow-back and, unlike Adams, I'm glass half-full about that.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Arctic sea ice extent running close to record

There is a bet on amongst the climate scientist blogging community, and Stoat is keeping an eye on his investment. He's the one who reckons the record won't be broken this season.

mt called me a "polyanna" (presumably by analogy to "polynyas") for betting on the high side. So let me clarify: my "prediction" was based purely on my reading of the statistics of the time series to-date: a record is rarely followed by another. If we have entered a new regime, then my reasonning is invalid. At the moment, I don't know. The extent is barely above last years, but the ice is thinner, as as NB points out you can see the cracks. Bets are still (formally) open, especially to anyone so confident of low ice that they are prepared to offer 2-1 odds :-), or even odds on extent substnatially (sic or hic?) lower than last year.

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Public's conflicting attitudes to climate action

The most interesting part of that Ipsos Mori poll on British attitudes to climate change, 2008 (concerned but still unconvinced) [7 page PDF], was that while no man is an island, the public is.

Almost two thirds (61%) say they personally find the subject of climate change interesting, yet over three quarters (77%)are pessimistic about the likelihood of others responding.

I am fairly sure they are reflective of our attitudes Down Undah, so the poll would be instructive for Australia government policy makers. I wonder whether it is because concern about climate change is a private one. Most are concerned, but the nature of CC seems so out of our control that we internalise. If we don't hear about people talking about climate change or global warming, and how to fight it, then we assume people don't share our concerns.

Looks like there is a big demand that Facebook type social networking sites can facilitate for the climate-change concerned. Another project for GWW to research: I wonder how many such online groups exist?

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Climate denial getting traction

One fossil-fuel fraud peddler is nonchalant about the apparent Ground Gained by deniers in the public debate on climate change. Yet, another affects an air of smugness.

I would have thought that if they honestly believed in their work, then an expression of joy would not be out of order. The source of the elusive joy is an Ipsos Mori poll for Britain's Observer.

Says in Blairsplog,

If Ipsos Mori is right, the deniers are gaining ground. Its polls show the proportion of Britons who are unconcerned has risen from 15% to 23% in the past year.

The Great Global Warming Swindle is fingered, as are "internet blogs arguing all the world’s scientists are party to a Marxist conspiracy bent on destroying western civilisation."

If Ipsos Mori is right. I'm going to check it out.

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