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Jul 28, 2008

Doubtful GW figures and 'remedies'.

A couple of interesting articles in the ‘Australian,’ the first ‘Temperature rising over dodgy greenhouse statistics” by Christopher Booker, from Britain's The Sunday Telegraph, on the so-called incontrovertible evidence of global warming.

THERE are four internationally recognised sources of data on world temperatures, but the one most often cited by supporters of global warming is that run by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen has been for 20 years the world's leading scientific advocate of global warming (and Al Gore's closest ally). But in the past year a number of expert US scientists have been conducting a public investigation which (raises) large question marks over the methods used to arrive at his figures.

First they noted the increasingly glaring discrepancy between the figures given by GISS, which show temperatures continuing to race upwards, and those given by the other three main data sources, which all show temperatures having fallen since 1998, dropping dramatically in the past year to levels around the average of the past 30 years.

Even more searching questions have been raised over Hansen's figures by two expert blogs. One is Climate Audit, run by Steve McIntyre, the computer analyst who exposed the notorious hockey-stick graph that was shamelessly exploited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore.

He has now shown that Hansen had been adjusting almost all his pre-1970 global temperature figures downwards, by as much as 0.5 degrees, and his post-1970 figures upwards.
It is still too early to suggest that the recent drop in temperatures shown by everyone but him is proof that global warming has stopped. But the fact is that not one of those vaunted computer models predicted what has happened to temperatures in recent years.

The second is “Feed the undergrad snake oil to Mr. Percival, Garnaut,” by Frank Devine.

For the uninitiated, Ross Garnaut is the government’s guru on on the likely economic impacts of climate change, and the costs and benefits of mitigation strategies. Garnaut has come up with a carbon-trading scheme to create a new tax burden on all Australian business and individuals some of which will be redistributed to those the left approves of, and the rest blown on ‘research.’

WHO is Ross Garnaut: economic adviser to the Government on climate change or bible salesman?

His interim report on the Government's proposed emissions trading scheme usefully alerts us to its drastic, if not catastrophic, possible effects on Australian employment, power generation and cost and standard of living.

But Garnaut's fervent promotion of an ETS and of the need for Australia to act urgently and unilaterally to reduce carbon emissions is unconventional behavior for a narrowly expert consultant.

His confident prediction that failure to act immediately will lead to the loss of the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Murray-Darling Basin not only falls strangely from the lips of an economist but has the cadences of rote recitation: the Reef, Kakadu, the Murray-Darling, holy lands of the green religion.

Perhaps fortunately for his earned professional reputation, Garnaut is a really crook salesman. Though usually reluctant to surrender much of this space to other people's words, it seems a worthy sacrifice to quote Garnaut's paean to the Murray-Darling in a speech he made to the National Press Club.

"The Murray-Darling Basin is the heartland of old Australia. It produced Australia's defining identity, the Australian legend around the nomad shearer, the bush ballad and the doctrine of mateship. It generated the subsequent Australian military legend, with the formation of the Australian Light Horse for the Boer War and the transformation into the First Light Horse for World War I.…

After this, (which is not strictly true, the Murray-Darling played a part but was not exclusive) he goes on about famous people and ‘Percy the Pelican’ as a call to arms.

Frank Devine makes the point: -

When Private Eye was young this was the kind of semi-literate tosh that appeared in the magazine's Pseud's Corner, whose entries were sometimes selected by another product of the Murray-Darling basin, Barry Humphries.

Pretentious and extravagant sales blather from an eminent person to whom one looks for objective analysis is an ill omen for climate change policy. No proposition can succeed without public understanding and acceptance. This won't be achieved through brow-beating.

With the Government's green paper now out, carriage of the argument for Australia introducing a cap on carbon emissions by 2010 will fall to Kevin Rudd. His addiction to loop-holed and evasive bureaucratese is too vividly established for us to expect that he will address us solely in English. Although not confident enough yet to tackle the specifics of what Garnaut reverently calls the science, I believe there is much substance to the comment by Christopher Booker in London's Daily Telegraph.

"The orthodox global warming thesis that as CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, so too should global temperatures, (is) accepted by pretty well every politician in the Western world, but not by a growing number of scientists."

Booker also claims that through the forced closing of nine of Britain's largest oil and coal-fuelled power stations under EU anti-pollution rules, the nation will lose 40 per cent of its generating capacity and has no plausible plan to replace it.

It is hard to think of an issue for which Australia has been in greater need of aggressive scrutiny of government actions than that of climate change. Yet the mood among the aspirant new ruling classes, abetted by an incomprehensibly passive federal political Opposition, seems to be for suppression of dissent.

This was shown by Garnaut's use of the pejorative "climate change deniers" to put down critics of his interim report. It is a loathsome phrase concocted by "warmists" to smear their opponents as the same kind of criminal loonies who deny the Holocaust.

Michael Costa was a dissenter Garnaut dismissed as a "well-known" denier. This is pretty uppity sneering, Costa being Treasurer of NSW and Garnaut, well, I'm blowed if I know what.

"The science" aside, before assenting to an ETS we need answers in the plainest English to three primary questions:

What's in it for Australia for capping its carbon emissions before China, the world's heaviest emitter and reported builder of two new coal-fired plants a week, agrees to take any action at all?

Why is it in the national interest to give the Government billions of dollars in emission permit fees to dispose of as it pleases, largely as compensation for people earning less than $100,000 a year who are "disdavantaged" by carbon capping?

How many people will be needed, and at what cost, to administer an ETS?

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