Wednesday 16th of April 2014

the poor are due to the windmills...



Maybe Maurice Newman was dizzy from the schadenfreude of seeing a climate scientist getting stuck in Antarctic sea ice?

Perhaps the unnatural heat from Australia's warmest year on record was playing tricks on the brain of Tony Abbott's top business adviser?

Maybe the documented CWM effect – the high prevalence of climate change denialism among conservative white males - is especially strong in the 75-year-old former stockbroker, banker and chair of the ABC and the ASX?

Whatever the cause, Newman has turned his conspiracy theory dial well passed 11 with his latest outburst.

In a column published in The Australian newspaper he wrote that the "climate change establishment" (whatever that is) is intent only on "exploiting the masses and extracting more money".

Newman wrote that the United Nations "has applied mass psychology through a compliant media" (he really did write that) to fool the world into thinking  the activities of industrialised countries have changed the climate.

"The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling," wrote Newman, before citing Dr Roy Spencer, a research scientist at the University of Alabama.

Maybe the juxtaposition of Dr Spencer with Newman's claim that the climate crusade is a "religion" was accidental, given that Dr Spencer himself believes that the universe, the earth and everything on it was probably created by a god.

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Now we know the uncomfortable inconvenient truth: poverty is due to windmills, not due to the rich exploiting the poor, nor by the poor being too dumb to become rich... 


of group-think...

As Maurice tells us that global warming is crap — with the confidence of a superb stockbroker and investment banker, with the decorum of a Chairman of the Deutsche Bank Asia Pacific Advisory Board and the clout of the chairman of a number of Asian business alliances, plus the impressive qualification of the Chairman of the Federal Treasurer's Financial Sector Advisory Council, notwithstanding being the Chancellor of Macquarie University and a grandiose Advisor to Marsh Group of Companies and a director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation — we can only accept the verdict... Either Maurice is a scientific ignoramus, a singular genius who knows better than 97 per cent of the scientific brigades or is a religious cash-priest who has told us in the past that "climate change was an example of "group-think""...

As a prominent leader and creator of "group-think" himself, I believe he knows what a group-think is... if a consensus of scientific observations is a "group-think", then a group-think is not a bad thing. Religionism can be deemed also a "group think" but despite being well adhered to by many followers, religionism is a furphy of monumental proportion...

But I am not about to argue with Maurice who seems to ignore the facts of scientific value. It is possible that he has invested too much cash in coal and gas — and that he is trying to protect the value of his stocks, who knows — but one thing is for sure he is wrong about the climate.


In his testimony, Dessler also addressed the myth of the 'lack of warming.' In addition to being a result of cherry picking and largely an artifact of a lack of Arctic temperature station coverage, Dessler pointed to:

"...the continued accumulation of heat in the bulk of the ocean, which is a clear marker of continued warming. And because heat can be stored in places other than at the surface, a lack of surface warming for a decade tells you almost nothing about the underlying long-term warming trends ... I judge that there is virtually no merit to suggestions that the "hiatus" poses a serious challenge to the standard model [of human-caused global warming]."

Regarding the sensitivity of the climate to the increased greenhouse effect, Dessler pointed out that the 2014 IPCC report matched the 2001, 1995, and 1990 reports, estimating an eventual global surface warming of 1.5–4.5°C in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Only the 2007 IPCC report slightly changed the estimated range to 2–4.5°C. Additionally, recent research has suggested that the true climate sensitivity lies on the high end of that range.

Regarding Antarctic sea ice, it's a complex issue, influenced by factors like ozone depletion and recovery and associated changes in wind patterns. However, the rapid loss of Arctic sea ice has been much largerthan the small increase in Antarctic sea ice. Moreover, the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has warmed. Thus changes in Antarctic sea ice tell us very little about global warming.

Overall, Dessler was correct that the evidence for human-caused global warming is now stronger than ever. His testimony presented a compelling case for the threat of human-caused global warming, which he considers "a clear and present danger." Dessler and Curry agreed on one key point: that our actions can't alter the path of climate change over the next several decades (though Curry sounded like the Borg, calling emissions reductions efforts "futile"). It's true that we're locked in for significant additional global warming from the greenhouse gases we've already emitted.

When considering all the factors — including that 2013 was the fourth warmest year on record for the whole planet and the warmest year on record for Australia, considering the violence of storms such as Sandy and that of the "Polar Vortex" this year (noted the warmer climes further north), plus numerous recent unusual floods in Europe and the destruction of a big swab of the Philippines by a typhoon late last year, plus other nasty little cyclones that are not mentioned in the English hegemony press because it can't be bothered with some languages, considering the warming of the oceans which absorbs about 90 per cent of climate change "heat", the acidification of the oceans — one has also to look at the arctic dwellers who have noted the place is warming up so fast they have a major problem of dividing the spoils as they can't keep up with digging for oil and other resources in that  "melting" region...

GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL. It demands understanding of complex scientific data and analysis, contrarily to the quite simple religion of cash, of which Maurice is a clever high priest. Good for him to be so, but a scientist he is not.

sun cycling ...


PEOPLE WHO ARGUE that global warming has stopped and the Earth's average temperature has not risen this century should perhaps read no further, because scientists from the United States say 2013 was the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880.

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), part of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says in its Global Analysis of the last year that 2013 ties with 2003 as globally the fourth warmest year on record.

The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.62°C above the 20th century average of 13.9°C, marking the 37th consecutive year (since 1976) that the yearly global temperature was above average.

The warmest year on record was 2010, which was 0.66°C above average. Including 2013, nine of the 10 warmest years in the 134-year period recorded have occurred in the 21st century. Only one year during the 20th century ‒ 1998 ‒ was warmer than 2013.,6091

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Gus: please note as mentioned before on this site, that according to my own estimates, 2015 should show a very noticeable warming spike for the entire world. 2014 should show some warming trend as well. This estimate being based on sun cycle activity. For the denialists out there, yes the sun has an influence on "climate change". But this is the point — even when the sun cycle was "quiet", the temperature of the surface of the planet was still rising or stayed "stationary". With El Nino still setting up, we're also due for some more heat...

There is a climate phenomenon known as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) that can impact on weather events across the planet.

Meteorologists and climatologists describe ENSO as being in three states – neutral, negative (El Niño) or positive (La Niña).

In simple terms, when ocean temperatures in the central and eastern parts of the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean are unusually high, that's an El Niño.

It increases the chances of drought in eastern Australia and it tends to deliver hotter years globally.

Please note that no matter how much crap the denialists bankers, industrialists, shock jocks and CEOs tell you, the PRESENT global warming is driven by the EXTRA CO2 added into the gaseous mix of the atmosphere, by human activity. 



global learning crisis...


It will be more than 70 years before all children have access to primary school, says a report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

World leaders had pledged that this would be achieved by 2015.

The report says 57 million remain without schools and at the current rate it will be 2086 before access is reached for poor, rural African girls.

Report author Pauline Rose describes these as "shocking figures".

The lack of education for all and the poor quality of many schools in poorer countries is described as a "global learning crisis".

In poor countries, one in four young people is unable to read a single sentence.

Greatest need

The study from Unesco, published on Wednesday in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, is an annual monitoring report on the millennium pledges for education made by the international community.

But it warns that promises such as providing a primary school place for all children and increasing the adult literacy rate by 50% are increasingly unlikely be kept.


tony quixote...


The Abbott Government has announced yet another pointless inquiry into the health impacts of windfarms. Dr Michael Vagg from The Conversation says it's a colossal waste of time and taxpayers' money.

SO IT APPEARS we are to be treated to another pointless examination of a manufactured controversy in the name of health science. One can only guess at the motivations for the Federal Government announcing a NHMRC-led review of the science around the purported health effects of wind farms, but you can be sure it’s not being driven by scientific curiosity.

In fact this review is probably the most futile bit of spending yet announced in the term of the Abbott administration and is exactly the sort of tomfoolery you might expect of a cabinet which has no room for science. Why? Because there is no controversy about the so-called Wind Turbine Syndrome. It doesn’t exist as a thing. It has not, as the philosophers might say, been reified.

Wind turbines have no health effects on the surrounding populations. That’s not just my personal opinion. It’s the overwhelming scientific consensus. The book is closed, the story is written, the circus has folded its tents and moved on.

It would, however, potentially suit the Abbott Government politically to keep this manufactroversy going. The conservative side of politics in this country has a well-documented preference for fossil fuel production, largely based on economic arguments and the hope of carbon capture technology to reduce carbon emissions from current coal-fired power stations. Using fringe science to advance political ends is nothing new, but this is not a political comment column so I don’t propose to stray too far from discussing that science.

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tony abbott lied, lies and will lie...


Tony Abbott pretended to support the renewable energy industry before the election but is now “launching a full-frontal attack” according to Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler.

The Coalition went to the election promising to keep the renewable energy target (RET), which underpins investment in energy sources such as wind and solar.

But the prime minister has now taken control of a scheduled review in his own department and says the RET may have outlived its initial purpose and needs to be reassessed because it increases power prices.

“The Liberals went to the election saying there was no difference between the parties on renewable energy, but they weren’t being straight with the Australian people because now they are launching a full-frontal attack,” Butler said.

Butler said Labor would stick with its opposition to the repeal of the carbon tax when parliament resumes this month, but was now also preparing “to ramp up a community campaign in support of renewable energy”.


abbott about to kill off renewable energy...


A major review into the impact of clean energy on retail power prices is expected to clear the way for the Government to make significant changes to the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The study of the RET will be headed by former Reserve Bank board member Dick Warburton and will report back to the Government by the middle of the year.

It will feed into the Energy White Paper process, and a senior Liberal has told the ABC it will provide the Government "cover" for "let's kill the RET"

Speaking after a meeting of Cabinet in Canberra, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the review was always due to occur this year under legislation.

"There are no surprises," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Macfarlane said the actual cost of renewable energy needed to be made clear to householders paying their electricity bills every quarter.

"It will be an extensive review. It won't be a desktop audit. It will be a complete review," he said.

"One of the things we want to do with this review is establish the actual cost of renewable energy and of the other schemes that the states have put in place - there is at the moment a blurring of what costs what.

"The role of panel will be to clearly enunciate what renewable scheme is contributing how many dollars to each individual and each industry's bill.

"Renewable energy has a role to play and it's now time to look at where this scheme is going."

Industry and environmental groups knew this review was coming, the ABC's national environment reporter Jake Sturmer says:
The feeling from both sides is 'bring it on'.
The Renewable Energy Target was introduced in 2001 by then prime minister John Howard.
Its aim was to create an extra 9,500 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power by 2020.
In 2009, the Labor government increased the figure to ensure renewable energy made up the equivalent of 20 per cent of Australia's electricity (41,000 GWh).
The Climate Change Authority (CCA) reviewed the policy in 2012.
It found the Government should keep its target, despite changing demand forecasts and some electricity generators saying it would drive the cost of power up by billions of dollars.
Given the CCA is in the process of being disbanded by the Government, it's now up to the expert panel to test those claims.
And according to the Clean Energy Council there's not a moment to waste – with $18 billion worth of investments claimed to be in the pipeline.



hidden cost of carbon energy supply...


The Morwell open cut coal mine fire means that any further talk of coal being the cheapest practical source of power now needs to be qualified by the words ― 'as long as it doesn't catch fire'. Lachlan Barker does the sums.

I WAS TALKING WITH A FRIEND this week and I told him I was doing a piece on the fire at Morwell.

He replied:

"Yes, I've been quite busy lately, but every night when I caught a bit of the news, I seemed to see the fire at Morwell and I kept wondering — 'why don't they put it out?'"

Fair question.

ABC Science Online has an excellent article explaining why coal fires burn for so long.

Essentially, whenever you pile up a large amount of coal you create the risk of spontaneous ignition, due to compression and trapped heat. And, of course, the reason we dig coal up in the first place is that it burns.

What's more, it burns for a long, long time.

But consider this: when was the last time you heard of a solar panel going up in flames?

Thus we have a rather nasty situation going on at Morwell — and its similarities to Fukushima are rather frightening.

Fukushima is, of course, a nuclear power station in Japan that was hit with a tsunami which lead to the destruction of the plant and the radioactive poisoning of the surrounding area.

Morwell, most sources agree at this time, was hit by an arsonist, who set fire to the brown coal in an abandoned part of the Hazelwood mine.

From that start, we now have a situation where due to high winds and hot summer temperatures in Victoria, the coal is still burning and, with each passing day, the chances of putting it out diminish.,6253

See toon at top...