Gillard's flood disaster


"Tax and spend, tax and spend!"

The flood levy is turning into a disaster in its own right for Julia Gillard and Labor. People who have given generously of their own free will over the last few weeks to the flood appeals are now furious at being slugged with a compulsory donation via a new tax, when all they have seen over the past four years from Labor is reckless spending and waste. This will stick in the craw of many (including me). Why should we pay more in tax when Labor already manage to waste so much, is the question people should, and no doubt will, be asking.

Wayne Swan on ABC News Radio this morning was particularly nauseating, urging the crossbench MPs to wave the new tax through without a pause for breath because its “what the Australian people want”, and playing emotional blackmail by claiming that the Opposition, by not supporting the levy, were heartlessly abandoning Queenslanders who have suffered in the floods. The reality is the opposite, of course. The Opposition in fact cares more, because it treats taxpayer’s money with respect, ensuring that it is spent wisely and with value for money as a priority, not simply wasted or spent recklessly. Labor on the other hand splash it around like its going out of fashion – they are the ones that don’t care.

Rarely has a government been so out of touch with what the public want, except perhaps in New South Wales, but that’s a whole other story…

From The Australian:

COMPELLING people to do that which you refuse to do yourself goes beyond hypocrisy: it’s plain nasty. That’s why Julia Gillard’s flood levy is likely to sink her as being a viable Prime Minister.

The levy is based on the rationale that the rich (those on more than $100,000 annually) have enough fat in their family budget to cut 1 per cent of their spending to give to flood rebuilding.

The levy will raise $1.8 billion. The government’s annual budget is $350bn. So why can’t the government that gave us the pink batts debacle, that mailed out $900 cheques (now apparently loans) and is going to splash $36bn to give us quicker internet, cut a measly 0.5 per cent of its mega-budget to fix the flood damage?

The answer has nothing to do with capacity.

It has everything to do with misplaced ideology. In times of crisis, people and institutions revert to their default position. And for Labor, problem-solving option A is always tax the rich.

Read it all.

UK Met Office has some explaining to do


Explanation, please…

A Freedom of Information request to the UK Met Office has revealed that there was no “secret” forecast of extreme cold given to the UK government, as claimed in the second report here. Autonomous Mind takes up the story:

A look at the information makes clear there is nowhere left for the Met Office to hide.  The Met Office has been caught ‘cold’ lying about its winter forecast in a disgraceful attempt to salvage its reputation.  Its claim that it forecast the cold start to the winter lays in tatters thanks to an exchange of emails between the department and the Cabinet Office.

As a result the Met Office is completely discredited.  Also utterly discredited is the BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin, who on the Met Office’s behalf used a column in the Radio Times (later carried in the Telegraph and the Daily Mail) to state that:

In October the forecaster privately warned the Government – with whom it has a contract – that Britain was likely to face an extremely cold winter.

It kept the prediction secret, however, after facing severe criticism over the accuracy of its long-term forecasts.

(My emphasis in bold italic above and below) Harrabin went on to say in his piece that:

Why didn’t the Met Office tell us that Greenland was about to swap weather with Godalming? The truth is it [The Met Office] did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October. But we weren’t let in on the secret. “The reason? The Met Office no longer publishes its seasonal forecasts because of the ridicule it suffered for predicting a barbecue summer in 2009 – the summer that campers floated around in their tents.

The email exchange in the screenshot below [not shown here - Ed] proves this is a lie. The Cabinet Office civil servant (bottom message) confirms the weather outlook supplied by the Met Office earlier that day is what the government will use in its ‘Forward Look’.  The Met Office employee (top message) agrees with it.

The all important sentence is the first.  ‘The Met Office seasonal outlook for the period November to January is showing no clear signals for the winter’.  The Met Office knew this was the case when it sent Harrabin scurrying off to spin its lie that the Met Office did suspect we were in for an exceptionally cold early winter, and told the Cabinet Office so in October ‘.  The briefing to the Cabinet Office contains no such warning – and vindicates the parliamentary answer given by Francis Maude when questioned about the forecast the government received from the Met Office. (source)

“No clear signals for the winter” means that they aren’t predicting either a colder one or a warmer, which is hardly a forecast of “extreme cold”… Time for an explanation from the Met Office and Harrabin, I think.

Climate madness and climate sense


Moon(-bat)

A few articles caught my eye this morning – more madness than sanity, as usual. Firstly a truly extraordinary rant by Paddy Manning in Fairfax, which I show just for amusement, really:

HOW pathetic watching sceptics squirm over the link between the recent floods and climate change. How much more risk do they want us to tolerate while we wait for the proof that might satisfy them?

Way too much. For decades we’ve been told that global warming will lead to more extreme weather events. Now it’s happening before our eyes. (source)

The rest’s the same. What’s even more pathetic, however, is watching pig-ignorant journalists and politicians with the memory span of a goldfish use the floods to make cheap political points, when there have been worse floods before, even in the microscopic 150 year flood record, with no evidence of increasing frequency or severity. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, right?

Now, on to the UN. Whenever a sceptic dares mention that there may be an ulterior motive behind climate change action, like anti-globalisation, or anti-capitalism, or scaling back western economies, the Fairfax-reading, ABC-watching lefty heads can’t wait to pop. So isn’t it odd that Ban Ki-Moon(bat) is advocating precisely that:

The world’s current economic model is an environmental “global suicide pact” that will result in disaster if it isn’t reformed, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, warned today.

Ban said that political and business leaders need to embrace economic innovation in order to save the planet.

“We need a revolution,” he told a panel at the World Economic Forum inDavos, Switzerland, on how best to make the global economy sustainable. “Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete.”

He called the current economic model a recipe for “national disaster” and said: “We are running out of time. Time to tackle climate change, time to ensure sustainable … growth.” The Guardian revealed yesterday that Ban is ending his hands-on efforts to reach a global climate deal through UN negotiations, and move to focus on a broader sustainability agenda. (source)

“Sustainability” being a codeword for massive wealth redistribution, abandoning capitalism and its replacement with socialism and Marxism, of course.

But amongst all the madness, a glimmer of hope. Remember that the basis of science is scepticism and that “Question everything” should be the mantra… except in climate science, however, where the mantra is “climate models trump empirical evidence”. The opposite of sceptical is “gullible”, and more and more people are abandoning gullibility for scepticism:

The number of climate change sceptics has almost doubled in four years, official research showed yesterday.

A quarter of Britons are unconvinced that the world is warming following successive freezing winters and a series of scandals over the credibility of climate science.

The figures suggest that a growing proportion of the public do not share the belief of all three major political parties and Whitehall – that climate change is a major and urgent challenge requiring radical and expensive policies.

The survey, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, has plotted levels of acceptance of the theory of man-made global warming since 2006.

In that year it found that 87 per cent of people were at least ‘fairly convinced’ that climate change was happening.

Last year that share had dropped to 75 per cent. Numbers who say they are unconvinced went up from 12 to 23 per cent. (source)

Greenland ice sheet: rumours of death exaggerated


A few cubes for my Gin & Tonic, please

UPDATE: Almost two years ago to the day, this story: Reports of Greenland Ice Sheet’s demise premature

Another inconvenient result from the Science is Settled Department. Great scare story this one. Evil SUVs warm climate, Greenland ice sheet slips gently below the waves, global sea levels rise 7 metres, millions inundated. Unfortunately for the alarmists, it probably won’t happen for several thousand years, if at all. As you read this, if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the Lefty heads popping in the Guardian’s environment desk as they type out the story, as another favourite of the catastrophists bites the dust:

The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers has been ruled out by a scientific study.

Until now, it was thought that increased melting could lubricate the ice sheet, causing it to sink ever faster into the sea. The issue was a key unknown in the landmark 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pinned the blame for climate change firmly on greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

However, the impact of rising sea temperatures on melting ice sheets is still uncertain, meaning it remains difficult to put an upper limit on potential sea level rises. Understanding the risk is crucial because about 70% of the world’s population live in coastal regions, which host many of the world’s biggest cities, such as London, New York and Bangkok.

“The Greenland ice sheet is safer than we thought,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, who led the research published tomorrow in Nature.

Shepherd’s team used satellite imagery to track the progress of the west Greenland ice sheet as it slipped towards the sea each summer, over five years.

Researchers had feared that more melting from the surface of the ice in hotter years would in turn provide more meltwater for a slippery film at the sheet’s base. More melting would mean more slippage and a greater rise in the sea level.

But they discovered that, above a certain threshold, the slipping began to slow. On-the-ground studies and work done on alpine glaciers suggest that higher volumes of meltwater form distinct channels under the ice, draining the water more efficiently and reducing the formation of a lubricating film. (source)

Yeah, this stuff really is all settled science, isn’t it? If they can’t tell whether a gigantic block of ice is going anywhere or not, what hope is there for the complexities of the climate system…?

Daily Bayonet GW Hoax Weekly Roundup


Skewering the clueless

As always, a great read!

Green gimmicks axed to pay for floods


… has a silver lining

Every cloud…

GREEN programs have been hit hard by spending cuts to help pay for rebuilding in flood-devastated parts of Australia.

They include Julia Gillard’s much derided $394 million “cash for clunkers” program, an election promise designed to get older cars off Australian roads.

Other programs axed include the green car innovation fund and the green start fund.

Savings have also been found across the forward estimates in the solar hot water program and the solar homes and communities program, and in funding for the global carbon capture and storage institute.

The Greens are apoplectic:

“It beggars belief that the government would choose to cut climate change programs like solar flagships, energy efficiency and the solar hot water rebate to fund disaster relief when such disasters will be made worse by climate change,” Senator Milne said. (source)

Double joy.

News Corp should "set example" by silencing sceptics


Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is the presenter of the ABC’s Media Watch, and a well-known true believer in man-made climate change (see here, here and particularly here, where he implies that anyone who is sceptical is just plain stupid). So it’s little surprise that he has a go at News Corp on ABC’s The Drum today for their alleged hypocrisy in trying to become “carbon neutral” whilst at the same time allowing balance on the climate debate to appear in the pages of The Australian. You see, Holmes is from the brand of journalism, sorry, environmental totalitarianism, that believes that only the acceptable view on any issue should ever be published. Acceptable to whom, you may ask? Why, the liberal intellectual elite, of course – like Holmes – that’s who!

Matthew England (another well known climate alarmist, see here, here, here and here) had made some dubious points about 2010’s record temperatures in a telephone interview with Debbie Guest for a piece in The Australian, and in particular about the transition from El Niño to La Niña. England claimed that there was “very strong La Niña for about eight months of the year”, so therefore 2010 should have been relatively cool, when in fact it was hot, hot, hot! And of course it was all the work of the Green Climate Monster. Holmes uncritically accepts all of this. But England doesn’t qualify that statement by explaining that temperature doesn’t respond to the El Niño/La Niña phase switch immediately – there’s a time lag of a few months. The satellite record shows that global temperatures only even began to cool (after a very strong El Niño) in October (see here for a text file of global temperatures). Which means at least 10 months of the year was influenced by a very strong El Niño, and as a result, 2010 was warm.

Holmes complains that whilst England’s on-message alarmism was cut from the Australian article, it managed to find space for Christopher Monckton’s scepticism, and to the propaganda merchants and the eco-totalitarians, this is completely unacceptable:

The Oz had carried an AFP wire story about the WMO announcement [that 2010 was the "hottest year on record - see here - Ed] on the Friday, discreetly placed on an inside page. Debbie Guest’s piece for the Saturday dealt with the apparent paradox that a cool year in Australia was the hottest on record globally. But her story didn’t make it into most editions of the Weekend Oz the next morning. A severely truncated version did appear in early editions, and online, but the quotes from Professor England were conspicuously absent.

When he asked her why, Ms Guest told him that her story had had to be shortened for space reasons – though why that should have affected the online story, she didn’t explain.

Professor England says he’s satisfied Debbie Guest was genuinely trying to do a good job. The shortening was done by someone above her in the hierarchy.

So what did appear in The Weekend Australian that day? Well, nothing in the newspaper (as far as I can see) about the WMO’s announcementalthough this alarming story from AFP was posted on The Australian’s website that day.

But The Weekend Oz did find room on its opinion pages for this piece by the ineffable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. If you can’t understand its tortured mathematics, don’t worry. You’re not intended to. You are intended to think, “Well, I don’t really follow it all, but this bloke seems to be impressively learned, and he says it’s not worth doing anything about climate change”.

That, of course, is precisely the opposite message to the one Rupert Murdoch was trying to send his own troops back in 2007. The evidence for climate change, since then, has only got stronger. The reasons for taking precautionary action have only become more compelling. Of course News Ltd can’t, on its own, affect the global climate by reducing its carbon footprint, and nor can Australia. But if every company, and every nation, acted – or refrained from acting – on the basis of that logic, the chances of eventually stabilising global temperatures at less than catastrophic levels would be reduced to zero.

And here’s the money quote:

Well, you may argue, but doesn’t Christopher Monckton have a right to be heard? Don’t news stories get shortened every day? What does all this prove?

Nothing, in itself. You have to be an alert and habitual reader to notice that week after week, year after year, The Australian and The Weekend Australian massage their news coverage and grossly unbalance their opinion pages so as to send the message that the existence of human-induced climate change is highly debatable, and that any action by Australia to reduce its emissions would be economically ruinous and politically foolish.

As one of the world’s great media companies, News Corporation has the power to do far more to counter the risk of catastrophic climate change than merely to reduce its own emissions.

The unwritten conclusion being that News Corporation should silence anyone who questions the Holy consensus, and The Australian should not give space to sceptics on its op-ed pages. Holmes seems to overlook the fact that Fairfax and ABC are fully on message, rarely if ever giving space to filthy “deniers”, and The Australian is the only paper that gives even a small hearing to sceptics.

None of this should surprise us. What I always find myself asking is this: if the case for man-made global warming is so strong, why the need to silence dissent? Surely they will simply make fools of themselves? But unfortunately, the eco-totalitarians in the liberal intelligentsia want to control the media, and therefore the message, so the proletariat will be kept in the dark on the true uncertainties in the climate change consensus.

Read it here (if you must)

Alarmist of the Year


Alarmist of the Year

Having awarded the Australian of the Year to alarmist Tim Flannery in 2007, whose wild predictions concerning the effects of the Green Climate Monster are well known, and almost always wrong, they have this year awarded the honour to another climate evangelist, Simon McKeon. McKeon was given the role of CSIRO chairman… despite not being a scientist, but it seems that being a warmist makes him even better qualified for the job. Miranda Devine does the business:

YOU don’t want to rain on the parade of a man who is so highly regarded that he has just been named Australian of the Year.

Nor do you want to detract from the charitable works for which Simon McKeon has been so honoured.

But the former Macquarie banker deserves censure for his pronouncements on climate change on ABC radio yesterday in which he enthusiastically described himself as a “100 percent believer” who wants to push Australia into a carbon trading scheme by stealth.

He deserves censure not least because last year he was appointed chairman of the CSIRO, despite having no background in science.

Asked by Melbourne radio host Jon Faine if he saw his role at the CSIRO as an opportunity to “shape and influence” its work on climate change, the 55-year-old lawyer said: “Oh, absolutely – it doesn’t need any encouragement from me.”

Why a non-scientist should be considered a suitable chairman of our pre-eminent scientific body is anyone’s guess, but it is another indication of the decline of a once great institution.

It is a tragedy that the CSIRO is a shadow of its former self, reduced by to a mouthpiece for climate alarmism.

McKeon, 55, should be careful about sullying his philanthropic name with warmist politics. More importantly, he should refrain from using his new platform to further damage the credibility of the CSIRO. (source)

Pakistani floods: no link to "climate change"


Just weather…

Of course there’s no link to “climate change” – it’s the Green Climate Monster at work, as we all know. Seriously, however, every alarmist and his dog (on a string, probably) rushed to cite the Pakistani floods as “evidence of climate change”, as did many politicians, Hillary Clinton included.

Now, however, a new peer reviewed paper reaches the boringly predictable conclusion that it was all “just weather”. Those of us in the sceptic blogosphere are not in the least bit amazed by this, since this is the proper, default position to adopt, in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary (which there never is). There is no mention of climate in the paper… From Watts Up With That:

Last summer’s disastrous Pakistan floods that killed more than 2,000 people and left more than 20 million injured or homeless were caused by a rogue weather system that wandered hundreds of miles farther west than is normal for such systems, new research shows.

Storm systems that bring widespread, long-lasting rain over eastern India and Bangladesh form over the Bay of Bengal, at the east edge of India, said Robert Houze, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor. But Pakistan, on the Arabian Sea west of India, is substantially more arid and its storms typically produce only locally heavy rainfall.

The flooding began in July and at one point it was estimated that 20 percent of Pakistan’s total land area was under water. Structural damage was estimated at more than $4 billion, and the World Health Organization estimated that as many as 10 million people had to drink unsafe water.

Houze and colleagues examined radar data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite and were able to see that the rainfall that caused the Indus River in Pakistan to overflow was triggered over the Himalayas, within a storm system that had formed over the Bay of Bengal in late July and moved unusually far to the west. Because the rain clouds were within the moisture-laden storm from the east, they were able to pour abnormal amounts of rain on the barren mountainsides, which then ran into the Indus.

The progress of the storm system stood out in the satellite radar data, Houze said.

“We looked through 10 years of data from the satellite and we just never saw anything like this,” he said. “The satellite only passes over the area a couple of times a day, but it just happened to see these systems at a time when they were well developed.” (source)

But even ten years of satellite data is virtually nothing. What does that tell us about historical rainfall patterns? Square root of sweet FA, that’s what. And even they have concluded it’s just weather. Wonder what they would have said if they had had 1000 years of satellite data to consider…

Australia Day reading


Holiday reading

A few links for your enjoyment:

  • Poll Shows Vast Majority of Australians Couldn’t Give a XXXX About Global Warming – Haunting the Library
  • Flawed ‘Climategate’ Inquiries Failed to Restore Confidence in UK Climate Science – Watts Up With That
  • Five Reasons the Planet May Not Be Its Hottest Ever – Fox News
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