Gillard: addicted to tax and spend

Old fashioned socialist

We all appreciate that those who have suffered from the floods in Queensland and Victoria deserve financial help from the federal government to help them rebuild their lives and their homes. However, why is it that Julia Gillard’s immediate reaction is to consider a one-off “levy” (translation: tax) rather than the many alternatives? Tax ‘n’ spend is good old fashioned socialism, of course, which Julia with her crypto-communist past would be well aware of.

How about one of these instead:

  • postpone or abandon the pointless National Broadband Network, which will be out of date before it’s even completed. By the time our “state of the art” network is operational, having dug up every street in Australia to lay fibre cables, the rest of the world will have moved on to n-th generation wireless at a fraction of the cost;
  • postpone or abandon the pointless price on carbon, which will do nothing for the climate, nothing to “encouragize” China or India to cut their emissions, and will add massive costs to businesses trying to rebuild and huge increases for those struggling to pay their energy bills;
  • abandon the political posturing about returning the budget to surplus by the artificial deadline Labor itself has set. Vanity is the only thing preventing flexibility here;
  • stop wasting money on rubbish policies like cash-for-clunkers or the Pink Batts fiasco;
  • cut rafts of other wasteful government spending;
  • [readers are invited to fill in the blanks – Ed]

Of course, the federal government should contribute to this tragedy, but not via yet another slug on the poor Australian public.

Wivenhoe role in Brisbane floods

Spillway at Wivenhoe

An article in The Australian today highlights the role of the Wivenhoe Dam in the flooding that affected Brisbane:

The official records from SEQWater show that, at 6am on Friday, January 7, Wivenhoe Dam, Brisbane’s insurance policy to protect the city and surrounding suburbs from a massive rainfall and flood event, was at about 106 per cent capacity. This means that Wivenhoe had filled to 100 per cent of its capacity for water supply with a total 1.15 million megalitres, and it was 6 per cent into its additional 1.45ML of storage for flood mitigation.

On Saturday, January 8, it is understood to have let about 100,000ML go; on Sunday, when Mr Goodwin’s family was there, a further 116,000ML were released.

By 9am on Monday, the levels in the dam had soared to just over 148 per cent, and it was reported that managers at the dam had “scrambled”.

That afternoon, the extreme rainfall over Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley unleashed a maelstrom that the Bureau of Meteorology had not predicted. While the run-off from this event did not fall into Wivenhoe’s catchment of about 7000 sq km, the dam’s operators were caught by surprise and released 172,000ML as the capacity went past 150 per cent.

Through Tuesday, as Wivenhoe continued to rise past 175 per cent and then 190 per cent, the situation was becoming critical as the available buffer for more rain had been almost fully taken up. Nobody wanted the dam to go to 200 per cent, and the theoretical maximum of 225 per cent needed to be avoided at all costs.

One of the crucial questions that will be asked in a commission of inquiry, called late yesterday by Premier Anna Bligh, is whether the releases from the flood storage compartment of a little over 200,000ML on the weekend were too little, too late, necessitating a huge outpouring to get levels down quickly.

The operators of the dam gave the order on Tuesday, cranking up the release to a staggering peak rate of 645,000ML a day. At that point the Brisbane River flood was not a case of if but when: the computer modelling showed major flooding from this Wivenhoe discharge was inevitable and would peak in the 36 hours the water would take to reach the city gauge.

The release from Wivenhoe at a peak rate of 645,000ML a day represented up to 30 per cent of the dam’s total capacity. Nobody was under any misapprehension about the consequences. It was this release from Wivenhoe that represented about 80 per cent and perhaps more of the volume in the Brisbane River.

A rainfall event that could have been comfortably managed by the dam if its flood compartment had been lower had turned into a major flood that would devastate thousands of homes. (source)

So the question to be asked is, was it an oversight not to release water earlier, and at a more controlled rate, in anticipation of the floods, or was it to preserve water in the dam due to some diktat from the climate change department? Hopefully the inquiry will answer that question.

Will Steffen to report on Queensland floods

Impartiality personified

Yes, you read that right – the same Will Steffen who is the Labor government’s Chief Alarmist, and who has already made up his mind and linked the Queensland floods to climate change (see here). Kind of like the University of East Anglia investigating Climategate – no, wait, they did. What hope is there for an impartial, balanced report? None. The people of Queensland deserve better.

A report on the flood disaster and climate change will be undertaken by an expert on the federal government’s multi-party committee which is investigating ways to price carbon.

Professor Will Steffen, a member of the climate change committee set up by the Gillard government in September last year, told AAP he was working on a report covering the floods.

And just in case you missed the bias, here it is again:

Prof Steffen said there was evidence that extreme weather events appear to be increasing.

“We are getting more intense rainfall events as the earth warms, but it’s difficult to pin down any individual event,” he told AAP. [Oh, but how I wish I could, he thought – Ed]

“Rainfall events like the type we’ve seen in Queensland are becoming more likely as the earth warms.

“There is a long-term warming trend with or without La Nina.”

And lastly, so that you’re all thoroughly reassured about this process.

Prof Steffen said he would produce an update on the science for the committee, as part of the Garnaut climate change review update, as well as write his own independent report. (source)

Phew that’s OK then. Seriously, this guy is so compromised he shouldn’t be let anywhere near an “independent” enquiry.

Bob Brown: cynical, insensitive opportunist

Bunch of cynical ecotards

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” could have been written for Bob Brown. No depths are too low for the Greens’ leader, exposing his “party” as a bunch of hysterical ecotards, more concerned with using the Queensland floods to push their extremist environmental agenda than for the suffering of so many people as a result of this tragedy. Fortunately, he has been criticised for his comments by all sides:

GREENS leader Bob Brown is facing mounting condemnation after calling on coal companies to foot the bill for the Queensland flood recovery.

Senator Brown said coal companies, as major climate change contributors, should pay a 40 per cent resources super profits tax to pay for the clean-up.

Minerals Council of Australia deputy chief Brendan Pearson accused Senator Brown of “rank opportunism”, unworthy of a serious political leader.

And Australian Coal Association director Ralph Hillman said domestically-mined coal made a tiny contribution to global carbon emissions.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said the Greens leader should apologise for his “insensitive” comments.

“Senator Brown’s comments expose the Greens and his leadership as shallow and cynical; willing to peddle political propaganda in the face of a natural disaster,” Senator Abetz said. (source)

The Greens are hardly worthy of the title “political party”, just a rag-tag bunch of Marxist environmental fruitcakes.

Queensland floods: a local's perspective

Regular ACM contributor Bruce (brc) wrote a lengthy comment on an earlier item which I believe rightly deserves a post of its own. I would like to thank Bruce for his thorough and down to earth assessment of the current Queensland floods which commentators on all sides would do well to imitate:

Look, as a 3rd generation lifelong South East Queensland (“SEQ”) resident, all this
 world wide attention and theories are starting to irk me as talking
 heads start to spout off things of which they appear to have little
 understanding. SEQ (and Queensland in general) is periodically subject to 
intense widespread rain events: 1893, 1974, 2011. They happen. Even
 smaller intense rain events occur at least once a decade. The 1893 
floods were larger, and peaked on 3 separate occasions. Does anyone
 care to tell me how AGW could have done that, given that horseback 
was the primary transportation method at the time, and electricity
 was something played with in laboratories?

If anything, the lower 
levels in 1974 and 2011 is proof that AGW makes the flooding less 
worse (I say with tongue in cheek). There’s also a popular meme 
going around (James Delingpole and Andrew Bolt) that somehow green 
interfering caused the death and destruction. Nothing could be 
further from the truth. And believe me, I love a good outing of
 ridiculous green policy as much as the next person.

Here are the facts:

  • The 
majority of loss of life was caused by flash-flooding in and around
 Toowoomba (700m above sea level) and the Lockyer valley below the 
Toowoomba range. The streams that caused the devastation in
 Toowoomba are normally babbling brooks one can leap with a vigorous 
jump. While some warning may have helped, many deaths were caused 
by people undertaking risky actions like trying to drive across 
flooded bridges.
  • The scrapped Traveston Crossing dam project on 
the Mary river would not have saved Gympie from flooding. It would
 have been 100% full (like every other dam in the region) prior to 
the large rain events – it has been raining steadily for two 
months. In any case, it was the residents of Gympie that campaigned 
the most against the dam. Not because of lungfish (the figleaf that
 the environment minister used) but because it was a bad idea. A 
flat alluvial sandy plain is not the ideal location for a dam. It
 would have been wide and shallow on porous soil. And it would have 
subsumed a huge area of productive farmland. It was correct for the
 dam to be scrapped, and many engineers publicly stated this. That 
it was scrapped under environmental reasons was just the out for an 
embarrassed Federal government saddled with the plans after the 
former premier announced it to save his political hide (Brisbane
 was under severe water restrictions at the time) but then scarpered
 anyway. It was chosen because the area had never, and would never, 
vote for Labor anyway, so it was the best place to put it, safely
away from Brisbane voters. It would have been full, and would not
 have saved Gympie from flooding. And the townspeople in Gympie are 
used to flooding anyway, and go about moving out of the way with a 
cheery disposition.
  • Wivenhoe dam – conceived and built after the 
1974 floods – has done a very good job in extremely difficult
 circumstances. It has managed to keep the peak level of floods 
1m lower than predicted, by delicately balancing the inflows and
 outflows and timing with the low tide in the Brisbane river. It was 
already at 150% (and releasing continually, as it has been for
 months) when this large rainfall event hit. SEQ Water are to be 
commended with the way they handled this, with the Dam balanced 
within 1m of the peak level allowable before dam-protection levees
 give way to protect the wall (with devastating consequences for 
those downstream).

It’s difficult for people who don’t live in 
Queensland to understand the volumes of water we’re talking about
 here. This is not some drizzling Victorian rain or misty English 
weather. This is a proper, tropical summer monsoon rainfall a bit
 further south than it normally is. The written history of Queensland is
 only about 200 years long, but it is peppered with tales of huge
 floods that astound new observers. People see the 1974 markers on
 buildings around Brisbane and think it can’t possibly have 
happened. The puny infrastructure put in the way of these periodic 
deluges is nothing compared with the water volumes. It will happen 
again, at least once per lifetime of the average person. There’s 
nothing that can be done. After all, it’s just weather.

Queensland Floods: Bureau of Meteorology blames climate change

Bureau's David Jones

The floodgates are open. The unfalsifiable hypothesis of dangerous man-made global warming comes to the rescue and provides the answer to the terrible Queensland floods. We can all now self-flagellate, wailing that driving our SUVs is to blame. Over a quarter of a million Google hits for +queensland +flood +”climate change” in the last week alone. But hang on a minute, when there was a drought in Australia, climate change caused that too. Referring here to New South Wales and the Murray-Darling Basin, where there have also been recent flooding rains:

IT MAY be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent, one of the nation’s most senior weather experts warned yesterday.

“Perhaps we should call it our new climate,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate analysis, David Jones.

It was the 11th year in a row NSW and the Murray-Darling Basin had experienced above normal temperatures. Sydney’s nights were its warmest since records were first kept 149 years ago.

“There is absolutely no debate that Australia is warming,” said Dr Jones. “It is very easy to see … it is happening before our eyes.” [There is debate about the cause, however – Ed]

The only uncertainty now was whether the changing pattern was “85 per cent, 95 per cent or 100 per cent the result of the enhanced greenhouse effect”. [Apparently not according to Jones – Ed]

“There is a debate in the climate community, after … close to 12 years of drought, whether this is something permanent. Certainly, in terms of temperature, that seems to be our reality, and that there is no turning back. (source)

But now that Queensland is under water, Jones has another story:

“We’ve always had El Ninos and we’ve had natural variability but the background which is now operating is different,” head of climate monitoring and prediction at the Australia Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne David Jones said.

“The first thing we can say with La Nina and El Nino is it is now happening in a hotter world,” he told Reuters, adding that meant more evaporation from land and oceans, more moisture in the atmosphere and stronger weather patterns.

“So the El Nino droughts would be expected to be exacerbated and also La Nina floods because rainfall would be exacerbated,” he said, though adding it would be some years before any climate change impact on both phenomena might become clear.

Everyone’s a winner, ignoring the pointless weasel-word caveat at the end. Droughts: climate change. Floods: climate change. I’ve said it before, but will say it again: what evidence would show that climate change was not taking place? In other words, what conditions would falsify the hypothesis? I won’t wait for an answer, because there isn’t one. Everything strengthens the case for AGW, in the alarmists’ view.

And Keith “Travesty” Trenberth chimes in as well:

Prominent US climate scientist Kevin Trenberth said the floods and the intense La Nina were a combination of factors.

He pointed to high ocean temperatures in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia early last year as well as the rapid onset of La Nina after the last El Nino ended in May.

“The rapid onset of La Nina meant the Asian monsoon was enhanced and the over 1 degree Celsius anomalies in sea surface temperatures led to the flooding in India and China in July and Pakistan in August,” he told Reuters in an email.

He said a portion, about 0.5C, of the ocean temperatures around northern Australia, which are more than 1.5C above pre-1970 levels, could be attributed to global warming.

“The extra water vapor fuels the monsoon and thus alters the winds and the monsoon itself and so this likely increases the rainfall further,” Mr Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, said.

“So it is easy to argue that one degree Celsius sea surface temperature anomalies gives 10 to 15 per cent increase in rainfall,” he added.

Yep, dead easy if you can just pick and choose a model to fit whatever weather phenomenon is currently occurring. Even the token scientist drafted in to say that there’s no link to climate change manages to link it to climate change:

It’s a natural phenomena. We have no strong reason at the moment for saying this La Nina is any stronger than it would be even without humans,” said Neville Nicholls of Monash University in Melbourne and president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

But he said global atmospheric warming of about 0.75C over the past half century had to be having some impact.

“It has to be affecting the climate, regionally and globally. It has to be affecting things like La Nina. But can you find a credible argument which says it’s made it worse? I can’t at the moment.” (source)

Well, it has to be one or the other. Either the warming is affecting La Niña or it isn’t. And of course, none of this says anything about the cause of the warming.

And we here in Australia are all deeply honoured that the Mighty Goracle has used “our” floods as “evidence of climate change.” If Big Al thinks so, it must be true. (source)

(H/t Bishop Hill)

Queensland floods: Alarmist-in-Chief's weasel words

Never lets a good disaster go to waste

Linking the tragic Queensland floods to climate change in 3..2..1… Who cares about the dead, injured and missing? Never let a good disaster go to waste, right? Such is the utter, disgraceful, jawdropping callousness of the warmists, they manage to link weather events to climate change by expressly not linking weather events to climate change, but just by chance happening to talk about the subjects at the same time – brilliant! Will Steffen (link to ANU page – search here for email), Gillard’s Alarmist-in-Chief does exactly that, in a typically sickening soundbite:

Climate change committee member Professor Will Steffen, the executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, said there was no direct link between global warming and the tragic flash flooding in Toowoomba which has killed at least nine people in southeast Queensland.

But he told The Australian Online that climate change would lead to heavier, more frequent rain.

“As the climate warms, there is more water vapour in the atmosphere,” he told The Australian Online.

“This means that there is a probability that there will more intense rainfall events around the world.

There is some evidence that we can see them now. I think the place where the best data is the US.” (source)

We have a term at ACM for people like Steffen. It’s [censored].

UPDATE: Marc at ABC NewsWatch usefully summarises the flood history of SE Queensland here. Guess what, there have been less severe floods and more severe floods and no floods at all… and nothing has changed. Did anthropogenic CO2 cause the floods in 1893 perhaps? Hang on, let’s get the script right [clears throat]: “No direct link between global warming and the 1893 floods, but climate change would lead to heavier, more frequent rain.” Unspoken conclusion: leading to more floods like the one we just happen by chance to be talking about right now… That’s the sneaky thing about flood plains, they flood… duh.

News just in: Queensland floods blamed on George Bush, John Howard, Sarah Palin…

%d bloggers like this: