Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Turnbull hands Rudd ETS early election trigger — Chk Chk Boom

IMHO, everything that has gone wrong with the Liberal party has to do with their inability to maintain the bipartisan approach to a carbon cap and trade system. Turnbull used to be the one who seemed to be across the issues, but what a flip-flop, opportunistic waverer he turned out to be. How's that holding Rudd accountable?

Now we got a damn election to get through. Liberals are going to get hit hard for this.

THE Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme is headed for defeat as a result of a Senate stand-off, handing Labor a trigger for an early, double dissolution election.

The scheme is set to be voted down by the Senate next month, despite the Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, announcing yesterday the Coalition wanted to delay a vote until early next year - after the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen.

The Coalition would then demand that the scheme be radically remodelled along the lines of the scheme proposed by the United States President, Barack Obama, which is now before Congress and is far more generous to heavy polluters.

Mr Turnbull said that Labor's scheme should meanwhile be subject to another inquiry, this time by the Productivity Commission. But the Government flatly rejected the call and said it would put its scheme to a vote in June as scheduled.

A double dissolution can only take place if a bill is rejected twice by the Senate, three months apart.

If the bill is defeated or deferred next month, it will count as the first rejection. Labor could put the bill up again in October, and if it were again defeated or deferred, the Government would have a trigger for an election.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, accused Mr Turnbull of a failure of leadership by constantly putting off a decision on whether to placate right-wing Liberals and the National Party .

"What we have here is a series of excuses to underpin the fact that the Leader of the Opposition has not had the courage to take on the climate change sceptics in his party," Mr Rudd said. The same attitude had cost Brendan Nelson the leadership of the Liberal Party, he said.

Too right. How ironic.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Australia coping best with global recession

Top 10 recession refuges:
The top countries best surviving the global recession, according to a survey of 7500 businesspeople from 24 nations.

1st - Australia
2nd - China
3rd - India and Singapore (equal)
5th - Hong Kong
6th - Canada
7th - Japan and Qatar (equal)
9th - New Zealand
10th - Malaysia, Sweden and Vietnam (equal)

Source: Servcorp International Business Confidence Survey.

Well, there you go, who would have thought it? It's not like we didn't binge out on credit like the rest of the world. One saving grace is our system of prudential banking regulations. Another, the four pillar policy, I dare say.

I don't know if it's too early to claim that Rudd's stimulus has worked or not, but there have been signs to encourage this thinking... retail figures are holding steady, the housing market is holding, and we have yet to experience mass sackings. Though my company they are trimming the sails here and there, so to speak.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Do future generations have rights to a stable climate?

Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice

High ambition deserves a lofty title. The paper is the product of the University of Iowa's Centre for Human Rights and the University of Vermont's Environmental Law Centre having jointly started an initiative to seek legal protection for future generations. If today's unborn have rights, why not tomorrow's? If the yet to be born have rights we have a duty to respect these rights.

The history of the politics of the theory of evolution

Darwinania: n. If your "interests include Darwin, politics involving Victorian-Era scientists, public perceptions of evolution, anti-evolution movements, and the history of paleontology, especially the presentations of dinosaurs in museums and scientific literature from the 1800s on", you have Darwinania.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama's Bush holdovers attack EPA co2 ruling

An interesting insight into how the Bush government used to play its cards in thwarting EPA global warming legislation is provided by Jim Tankersley of the L.A Times:

The agency's declaration that emissions pose a health danger could have 'serious economic consequences,' Bush-era holdovers in the Small Business Administration assert.

Reporting from Washington -- In ruling last month that greenhouse gases posed health and safety risks, the Environmental Protection Agency brushed aside warnings from Bush administration holdovers who said the move was "likely to have serious economic consequences" for small businesses and the economy overall, according to documents obtained Tuesday.

Obama administration officials said the warnings, contained in memos from the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, didn't reflect current White House policy. The office is still stocked with Bush appointees, the administration officials said.

Good sign that Obama's staff jumped on it.

The critique was the work of "someone who didn't get the memo that the old administration has come to an end," said David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center.

...along with the kitchen science that informed them.

AGW denier says peer-review is a public enemy

James Dellingpole plumbs the depth of his intellect in The Spectator:

I don’t bait greens only for fun. I do it because they’re public enemy number one

How so?

Here is what’s so terrifying about the modern green movement: its complete refusal to accept that anyone who disagrees with it can be anything other than wilfully perverse, certifiably insane or secretly in the pay of Big Oil.

Or stupid and easily influenced. Even if, for arguments sake, this really is what the MGM thinks, why would that make them public enemy number one unless you were perverse, certifiably insane or secretly in the pay of Big Oil? Deep down Dellingpole declares the fear that drives him to bait greens.

Indeed, it doesn’t even think of its ideological position as an ideological position any more, but as a scientific truth so comprehensively proven that there is no longer need for any debate.

There isn't any need for a debate about whether mankind's emissions cause global warming an will cause climate change. It's over. Dellingpole just does not like the inescapable conclusions of the body of peer-reviewed science. He wants a second opinion... from sources used by those secretly in the pay of Big Oil.

But what if they’re wrong? What if climate change is normal? What if the new hair-shirt chic is holding back economic recovery? What about the Kenyan green-bean growers — don’t they deserve to make a living too? What if the billions and billions of pounds being stolen from our wallets by our governments to ‘combat climate change’ are being squandered to no useful purpose? What if instead of alleviating the problem, misguided eco-zealots are actually making things worse?

That’s what I believe, anyway, and if there were space I’d be more than happy to explain why in lavish detail using all sorts of highly convincing evidence provided by top-notch scientists. Unfortunately, there isn’t, so you’ll have to go somewhere like, or the hilarious Planet Gore at National Review Online or the Watts Up With That blog for your ammo.

Climate science by fossil-fuel funded public relations, as opposed to peer-review publication, that's what Dellingpole roots for. And this is a guy who wants to believe he is rational. Truly:

...that the vast majority of so-called ‘deniers’ are motivated by a love of the planet every bit as intense as that of the ‘warmists’. It’s just that our love is maybe tempered with a touch more rationalism, that’s all.

As rational as deriving joy from baiting people because you don't like them facing realities that science informs about?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth a sell-out?

Well yes, considering he challenges the fundamentals of the spectrum of multidisciplinary sciences making up the body of climate science. Problem is, he won't do this in the peer-reviewed literature.

But has it really sold out of its 25,000 print run, as claimed by Andrew Bolt? Not according to Tim Lambert of Deltoid, whose mate reckons it's more like probably around~3700.

Reduced emissions with increased productivity

In the search for every-day global warming solutions, Eli of Rabett Run suggests that cheap is good. Think low-tech solutions for everyday tasks.

Consider where the costs and problems associated with reducing carbon emissions comes from, from having to transform a dispersed, costless source of energy such as wind or solar or geothermal, into a form which can be centrally distributed to cover all needs. For that we need efficient and elegant. On the other hand there are applications where cheap by itself would do the job, such as an inefficient small windmill or a solar array you could hang out the window which would generate enough electricity to recharge all your Ipod, Iphone, Inks (a very old device made by Apple for taking memos), etc. and run the standby power for your TV. Eli remembers some awkward windmills that used to pump well water on farms. Same sort of thing. The ultimate example is drying clothes on a clothesline.

Dave Sag of Carbon Planet has turned this into a fetish.

HowTo: Make a simple hand-cranked device recharger

And Get Energy Smart Now looks at carbon-friendly approaches to Lighting up the Developing World.

PowerMundo seeks to create a global business network, marketing products that might represent an upfront capital investment for sustainability but long-term efficiency and cost-effectiveness by either drastically cutting polluting energy use or a total reliance on renewable power. Their products include solar powered lighting, efficient wood stoves, and renewable energy radios.

D-Light design focuses quite specifically on the lighting arena and has received serious start-up money. Their target is quite explicitly the 1 in 4 people on earth who do not have reliable access to electricity and who rely on kerosene for lighting at night. The concept is to set up micro-loans, enabling people to buy their solar energy, battery, light combinations (ranging in price from $12 to $30) that will then be paid back due to no longer having to pay for that kerosene. D-Light is focusing on India and has, in fact, lit up an entire (even if small) village with renewable systems

With the world saved for another day, sometime in the future, I'm off to bed.

Government ETS delay: A back-flip to the future

I don't know what to think about the Australian Government's 2011 back-flip on the starting date of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

The economy is going sideways. This means fewer carbon emissions caused by lower productivity. A delayed introduction will help businesses by delaying compliance costs, but it is only a delay. And, we miss the chance to go to Copenhagen and negotiate with more leverage. I do think this is a big-picture mistake because Australia's (or any country's) best shot at mitigation is as part of a global effort.

In what's becoming a knack of this government, it's a back-flip with a twist. In the following case, for the greater good:

The government has delayed its emissions trading scheme (ETS) a year to July 2011, citing the global economic crisis.

But Labor has also pushed up its emissions reduction target to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 - up from a maximum of 15 per cent - depending on the strength of an international agreement. The bottom end of the target range is still five per cent.

They sneaked that in without much protest. Wong and Co also neutralised one of the criticisms of the pollution reduction scheme — that carbon emissions savings by conscientious households would allow business more ceiling to pollute in. Well, Rudd's mob seem to have thought about that.

Concerned householders will be able to calculate their carbon output and buy permits to pollute, effectively taking these permits out of circulation.

Because the scheme will have a set number of permits for trading, permits bought in this way will not be available to polluting industries, thus reducing the amount of pollution able to be pumped into the atmosphere.

These permits will be bought by a new Australian Carbon Trust – Energy Efficiency Savings Pledge Fund, which will pool donations to buy the permits.

Seems like they have been consultative, which is a good sign. If I could say anything to them, my echo in the blogiverse would be to take heart from the British Colombian government's recent victory.

The only government in North America to implement a carbon tax to fight climate change has been re-elected handily in British Columbia.

And to take heed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

AGW deniers deny World Vision children

By day Andrew Bolt pumps out AGW denial propaganda that has its genesis in a handful of Exxon-Mobil supported think-tank workshops. By any measure it's distasteful stuff, with Andrew regularly branding 9 out of 10 Australians as alarmist, pagan, lefty, earth-worshipping, green-fascists who have fallen for the great global warming hoax.

Then he takes his work home with him, teaching his ten year old child to teach his classmates the cheap tricks of the AGW denial trade.

ANOTHER week, and another student tells me of a teacher who’s turned preacher instead.

This student, a very honest boy, tells me he was asked on Tuesday to give a summary on global warming.

Naturally, he included one plain fact: the planet hadn’t warmed since 1998, according to satellite measurements.

Check with Britain’s Hadley Centre. Or with Dr Roy Spencer, US head of the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

No, no, no, said the teacher, brought in by the school to give a few lessons on learning techniques. You mustn’t believe such a thing. That was just put out by that Andrew Bolt, and, ha!, he was in a room of his own.

“Really?” replied my son.

If that not enough of a cynical use of children, starting with his own son, to peddle fossil-fuelled climate-change denial, then today's effort sets his high water mark:

I’ve been a donor to World Vision for more than a decade. I’ve helped to publicise its work and urged you to support it, praising above all its commitment to giving the poor the direct help they need.

That’s now over. When my current sponsorships end, I will not renew. I will not donate a dollar more than I’ve already promised. An organisation I once admired for pragmatism has now fallen for the giddiest ideology of all. Under Tim Costello, so ignorant and alarmist that he blames global warming even for tsunamis, donors’ money is now being wasted on a great sham. A once-Christian organisation is now switching its focus from saving people to saving Nature, as it follows a neo-pagan gospel.

The latest evidence? From World Vision’s jobs page:

What are these offending job vacancies that would cause Bolt to preach that more poverty-struck children must not be helped now? Strategic Technical Advisor (Carbon and Poverty Reduction Facility - Asia Pacific), Campaigns Leader - Climate Change, and Project Manager.