Open Thread

I’m going to take a few days break from blogging to recharge the batteries.

Discuss any current climate issues here. Play nicely!

NOTE: Please can I ask Facebook users to comment on the blog rather than on the Facebook page? Comments on the FB page will be removed to avoid duplication.


Draconian powers of new "carbon cop"

Knocking on your door?

The idea of carbon cops has been around for a while (see here), but now it is set out formally in the draft carbon tax legislation. The powers are draconian and intimidating, with previously sacred rights, such as that of avoiding self-incrimination, being swept away:

A NEW carbon cop will be given sweeping powers to enter company premises, compel individuals to give self-incriminating evidence and copy sensitive records under a carbon tax package that will force about 60,000 businesses to pay 6c a litre extra for fuel.

The tough new powers of the Clean Energy Regulator were included in the fine detail of the carbon tax package released yesterday, which enshrines national emissions cuts of 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year after 2016, if the government of the day rejects targets proposed by its Climate Change Authority.

The package, which shows that the government will cement in law the body of its carbon tax structure in a bid to force Tony Abbott to win the approval of both houses of parliament to complete his promise to scrap it, also tasks the Productivity Commission with inquiries into assistance to trade-exposed industries, international climate change action and the future of fuel taxes.

As it released the exposure draft of the 14-bill package — which will set up the $23-a-tonne carbon tax, the mechanisms to pay compensation for households, the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Regulator — the government said it planned to introduce the bills in September and plan to have them passed by November. The schedule raised hackles with some interest groups for allowing only three weeks of consultation.

The exposure draft of the legislation gives sweeping powers to the Clean Energy Regulator, which will police the scheme, and the climate change minister will have the power to demand information from corporations covered by the scheme.

Fraud or attempts to subvert the scheme can be punished by up to 10 years in jail or fines of $1.1 million for corporations.

Inspectors working for the regulator will be able to obtain warrants to search premises of companies covered by the act and search or examine any activity on site as well as copy documents.

The regulator will have the authority to demand information from company officers even if it could incriminate them. (source)

Welcome to the new world of the carbon police state.

Polar bear alarmist investigated for "scientific misconduct"

Doing OK

Charles Monnett has been one of the leading voices in the claim that “global warming” is causing increased polar bear drownings, in particular this paper here. But, as CBS News reports:

A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Charles Monnett is an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

He has not been informed by the inspector general’s office of any charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, according to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Monnett was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into “integrity issues.” (source)

H/t to Luboš Motl who has more here. His conclusion:

“It seems increasingly likely that the research backing the global warming doctrine is corrupt at every conceivable level.”

Up to 44% of warming due to Urban Heat Island effect

UHI effects

A new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research reveals that as much as 44% of recent warming may be due to the Urban Heat Island effect, caused by increasing urbanisation around temperature measuring stations. The study looked at over 460 individual stations in East China:

The trends of urban heat island (UHI) effects, determined using OMR [observation minus reanalysis] and UMR [urban minus regional] approaches, are generally consistent and indicate that rapid urbanization has a significant influence on surface warming over east China. Overall, UHI effects contribute 24.2% to regional average warming trends. The strongest effect of urbanization on annual mean surface air temperature trends occurs over the metropolis and large city stations, with corresponding contributions of about 44% and 35% to total warming, respectively. The UHI trends are 0.398°C and 0.26°C decade−1. (source – abstract only)

There is no reason to doubt the fact that similar contamination of the surface record would be occurring elsewhere. Which helps to explain why the surface record diverges so noticeably from the satellite record, and why the satellite record should always be favoured.

[Also little Jimmy Hansen doesn't get to carry out his special kind of "data cleansing" either - Ed]

h/t Hockey Schtick

Will ACMA investigate carbon tax ads as well?

Targeted by GetUp!

The totalitarian instincts of the Left to shut down debate are on display for all to see – people of Australia, observe closely. GetUp! has filed a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority about statements made by Alan Jones on 2GB about climate change, as the Sydney Morning Herald gleefully reports:

THE Australian Communications and Media Authority is investigating a complaint about alleged inaccuracies in statements on climate change by broadcaster Alan Jones.

GetUp! had made a complaint, which it believed was not being pursued by the broadcasting regulator, but Fairfax Media has learned ACMA is investigating the GetUp! complaint, and some others, concerning Mr Jones.

If the complaint is upheld, Mr Jones may be asked to acknowledge the statement was wrong and promise not to repeat it. (source)

So I assume the ACMA will also be investigating the outright lies and falsehoods in the carbon dioxide adverts? No, because political advertising is exempt from regulation and they can say what they like. Will they be investigating the ABC for not providing enough balance on the climate debate, and broadcasting Tim Flannery’s apocalyptic nonsense? Will Flannery be required to acknowledge his statements about Australia running out of water were wrong and promise not to repeat them? Where were GetUp! then, hmm?

Aren’t double standards wonderful?


Greens aren't harmless tree-huggers, but closet communists

Closet communists

Miranda Devine on the danger posed by the Greens:

IN a serendipitous coincidence of timing, in the space of two hours this week, Australians were afforded a sharp, momentary insight into the two opposing ideological mindsets that are competing for the soul of our nation.

In a Sydney hotel on Monday night, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an economist who fought against communism, was warning of the new threats to our freedom he recognises in the doctrine of global warming.

Almost simultaneously, in a Hobart casino, Greens senator Christine Milne was unilaterally announcing, on ABC-TV’s Q&A show, that the Government would be conducting an inquiry into the section of the Australian media that she finds “extreme(ly) bias(ed) against action on climate change”.

Milne’s every illiberal pronouncement was greeted with applause by an audience that seemed full of tree huggers, bearded public servants and other recipients of government largesse, about the only growth industry left in Tasmania.

Klaus, on the other hand, was speaking to an audience of economic liberals and climate change realists invited by the Institute of Public Affairs, the Melbourne-based free-market think tank.

“Twenty years ago we still felt threatened by the remnants of communism. This is really over,” Klaus said.

“I feel threatened now, not by global warming — I don’t see any — (but) by the global warming doctrine, which I consider a new dangerous attempt to control and mastermind my life and our lives, in the name of controlling the climate or temperature.”

Klaus, 70, who has twice been elected as Czech President and is its former prime minister, is one of the most important figures in post-communist Europe. His experiences under totalitarian rule have made him exquisitely alert to the erosion of democratic freedoms.

He said environmentalists had been arguing for decades that we should reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, using various farcical ploys from the exhaustion of natural resources to the threat of “imminent mass poverty and starvation for billions”.

Those same environmentalists shamelessly talk now about dangerous global warming.

“They don’t care about resources or poverty or pollution.

“They hate us, the humans. They consider us dangerous and sinful creatures who must be controlled by them.

“I used to live in a similar world called communism. And I know it led to the worst environmental damage the world has ever experienced.”

Read it here.

Climate sensitivity clouded with doubt

Deciphering feedbacks and forcings

From “The Science is Settled” Department. Climate sensitivity is the biggest unknown in climate research. If climate sensitivity is low, then increasing CO2 levels are a non-problem. The IPCC claims that sensitivity is high and that therefore regulating emissions is necessary.

However, a new paper by Dr Roy Spencer and William Braswell, based on real world observations rather than incomplete models, claims that determination of sensitivity is as yet unsolved, because of the difficulty in distinguishing forcings and feedbacks:

“While the satellite-based metrics for the period 2000–2010 depart substantially in the direction of lower climate sensitivity from those similarly computed from coupled climate models, we find that, with traditional methods, it is not possible to accurately quantify this discrepancy in terms of the feedbacks which determine climate sensitivity. It is concluded that atmospheric feedback diagnosis of the climate system remains an unsolved problem, due primarily to the inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in satellite radiative budget observations.”

The paper is technical, but its conclusion shows that anyone who says “the science is settled” is either ignorant or wilfully deceptive.

Download it here (PDF).

Greens want to control our media

Dangerous totalitarians

Australia, that former democratic state, is heading towards a totalitarian regime, or it will be if the Greens have anything to do with it. Now they are a party of government, they are suddenly surprised that not everyone shares the same extremist environmental (Marxist) aims, so their immediate reaction is to shut down dissent and control the message. And unfortunately, the News of the World hacking scandal in the UK has proved the ideal excuse.

Senator Milne:

“The Murdoch press has been running a very strong campaign against action on climate change.

“The bias is extreme, in The Australian in particular.

“You’ll see column inch after column inch of every climate sceptic in the country … You’ll find day after day a real attempt at regime change…

“And one of the useful things about the hacking scandal in the UK is that it will lead to an inquiry into the media in Australia.

“We are at least going to see some real discussion … around issues such as the level of ownership and dominance of the Murdoch press in several capital cities in Australia.

“We’ll also have a look at a range of other issues, including who are fit and proper people into whether we need that test into people to be running media outlets. It’s time we had a good inquiry and certainly bias is certainly going to be one of the things that’s certainly to be looked at.” (source)

Of course, this allegation of “bias” only goes one way. You don’t see Milne complaining about the ABC or Fairfax because they pander to the Green/Left agenda, and you never hear the Right making the same demands for “media control”. Next they will be demanding the right to censor the opinion pages to make sure only views consistent with the “regime” are published. Scared yet?

It’s called a free press and it’s a cornerstone of a free society. And the Greens can’t abide it. If Brown and Milne get their way, living in Australia will soon be like living in the Soviet Union.

With luck, this will appal all decent members of society, and will further alienate the government from the people.

Australia's coldest Autumn "since at least 1950"

Autumn 2011 mean anomaly

From the Bureau of Meteorology (Weather Isn’t Climate Except When We Say It Is Department):

Australia has experienced its coldest autumn since at least 1950 for mean temperatures (average of maximum and minimum temperatures across the nation) with an Australian average of 20.9oC. This was 1.15oC below the historical average, and 0.2oC below the previous coolest autumn in 1960. It was also the coldest autumn since at least 1950 for Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Large parts of the country recorded temperatures more than 2oC below the autumn average (figure 1) with about half the country ranking in the coldest 10% of years (figure 2 – pictured right). The season was marked by consistent below-normal temperatures in most areas, with only a few individual areas recording their coldest autumn on record. These areas were in northern and central Australia including the east Kimberley, the central Northern Territory and small parts of northern Queensland.

The cool conditions experienced in autumn 2011 are largely a result of the strong 2010/11 La Niña event which brought heavy rainfall and cool daytime temperatures to Australia, before decaying in late autumn. Of particular significance was March 2011 – Australia’s coldest and wettest March on record for maximum temperatures and third wettest month on record (for any calendar month).

Read it here (PDF).

(h/t Hockey Schtick)

Václav Klaus in Sydney

Alan Jones, Václav Klaus and Ian Plimer (click for full size)

I was fortunate enough to attend the reception at the Wentworth Sofitel in Sydney last night, where the president of the Czech republic, Václav Klaus, spoke on “Climate Change: the dangerous faith”. Drawing comparisons between the totalitarian instincts of the Greens and the Communism of Europe, President Klaus spoke of the erosion of freedom in pursuit of environmental ends.

Professor Ian Plimer also spoke, and President Klaus was introduced by Alan Jones.

There were a number of high profile audience members, including Associate Professor Stewart Franks, Tom Switzer, editor of the Spectator magainze in Australia and Miranda Devine of the Daily Telegraph. Australian politics was also represented with Bronwyn Bishop, Craig Kelly and Senator Nick Minchin and his wife Kerry:

The author with Kerry and Nick Minchin (click for full size)


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