BREAKING NEWS: Crude oil is natural

Oil spill

But wait, there’s more: it’s biodegradable too

Let us remind ourselves that the crude oil we recover from under our feet is neither foreign nor man-made, nor is it artificial. It is produced entirely by Mother Nature who occasionally spills it. Frequently spills it.

Ecosystems around the world have been dealing with these spills for millions of years. Certain bacteria rise to the occasion by eating it, although creatures poorly equipped to handle the oil can be killed.

The Earth looks after itself remarkably well no matter how we might frighten ourselves by imagining that it doesn’t.

The web site of Greenpeace UK summarises their opposition to petroleum fuels on the grounds of the carbon dioxide “pollution”: Continue Reading →

Russia, China want UN to run internet

From WUWT, the Washington Times says:

Imagine if everything you did online was subject to monitoring and control by the United Nations. Powerful authoritarian states, including China and Russia, are spearheading an effort to place the most potent information system in the world under centralized international control. They want the Internet to work with the same efficiency, speed and reliability as the U.N.

The UN can’t stop wars, can’t agree on fighting climate change, appoints despots to its Human Rights Committee and lacks the initiative to cut the mould off old cheese. They’d sit on the Internet and kill it. Continue Reading →

Gases, gases everywhere, nor any stop to think

Emissions of greenhouse gases are quoted everywhere to illustrate how humanity is sending the world to hell in a hand basket.

The articles make much of “emissions” from various countries, from the developed and the developing worlds. How many know that these vast, hugely important quantities are not even measured?

They’re only calculated from reported energy use — and they are far from reliable. That’s the first point. The second point is that emissions lead, presumably, to a global temperature increase. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a problem, would there?

But emissions don’t automatically mean higher temperatures. For a start, about 45% of human emissions — regardless how they increase — are absorbed somewhere in the gigantic natural system. Nobody knows where it all goes. It’s immensely complicated to track our puny emissions of carbon dioxide as they mix with the truly gargantuan streams out of and into forests and the oceans.

So most authors make no attempt to convert the net emissions into a temperature increase, but why not, actually?

The main reason would be that nobody — and I mean nobody, from the IPCC, NASA, the CRU at East Anglia and Al Gore all the way down to me — has the foggiest idea of the temperature that will result from these emissions.

Amazing, eh? There’s no knowledge or evidence of the inconvenient disaster we’re supposed to be creating with our selfish lifestyles. This gives rise to two questions:

  • Why does nobody demand some evidence?
  • What has persuaded everyone, without evidence, that there’s a problem?

Grand climate deal dead

The Star-Tribune, published somewhere in the United States, ran an article by Peter Passell, economics editor of Foreign Policy’s “Democracy Lab” and a Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute.

He comes to a radical conclusion:

The idea of a global grand bargain, in which emerging market countries would join the West in an ambitious, cost-minimizing containment program, is dead. The best hope, at least for now, is a pragmatic search for common ground, one that appeals to the angels but relies on self-interest.

A decade late and a trillion dollars short, you say? To paraphrase a former secretary of defense, you go to war with the army you’ve got, not the one you’d like to have.

I’d say the army the warmists actually have is past its best and anyway it has no weapons.

Propaganda watch

Activists are everywhere, particularly in our public service, those Wellington gnomes who crawl about the city each working day living from the taxes we pay them and steadily arranging our futures.

Their various agendas continue to creep, to slither, to insinuate themselves into every crevice of our civic existence. I’ll try to post examples as I see them and please send in your own. I’d be very happy to post them.

Here’s my first sample of the secret activists’ tireless, surreptitious toil. Continue Reading →

Mokihinui River saved, renewable energy lost

mokihinui river

What do the Greens want?

On the surface, this is an example of the extreme green position. Don’t touch the earth, don’t change it for any reason, never mind the benefits. Never mind that we have no other resources (there’s just the one planet, you know), but we can’t use these resources, because we’ll kill a few snails.

The Green Party is crowing about this victory, which is fair enough, but it says all rivers should be protected. This is wrong. The Mokihinui might have special qualities that deserve protection, but it would be anti-human to deny access to all rivers. Continue Reading →

Ross Ice Shelf melt and other cool fables

Ross Ice Shelf

Rob Fenwick, in Accelerating melt reason to worry (The Press, 21 May 2012), launches into a worry-fest about all the fabulous calamities said to be on the way with “continued” man-made global warming.

The astute reader will know that the word “fabulous” is derived from “fable”. It means unreal or imagined more than it means magnificent. I chose that word because all the disasters Mr Fenwick briefly catalogues are fantastic (cf. “fantasy”). But I should begin at the beginning of his niggle-gala. He says:

When the world’s polar scientists gathered in Montreal last month – all 3000 of them – it seemed like a case of preaching to the choir.

After 20 years of intense study of the effects of changing climate conditions at the poles, there is certainly no longer any debate over what is going on. Continue Reading →

May 2012 petrol and diesel prices

From AA Petrol Watch, 21 May 2012

Pump prices have finally fallen – after the AA first called for prices to drop a month ago – with Z cutting the price of petrol 4 cents per litre, and diesel 3c. It’s the first price change in 10 weeks, and the first price drop since early February. It’s also the longest period that motorists have ever paid so much – $2.20/litre – for petrol. While petrol prices peaked at $2.22/litre in May 2011, that lasted less than a week – the previous longest run was a month on $2.19/litre in early 2011. The highest diesel price was $1.92/litre for 10 days in 2008.

View full post.

Letters to the Editor

The Soda Water scare

quill pen

To the Editor
Climate Conversation

22nd May 2012

The climatists have a new alarm – the soda water scare.

We are told that the oceans, which weigh 300 times more than all the gases in the atmosphere, are being turned acidic by the 0.0012% (12 parts per million) of man-made additions to the carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere.

CO2 is a natural gas that dissolves in water. The amount absorbed depends upon how much CO2 there is in the air, and the temperature of the water. CO2 dissolves best in cold water and is expelled as the water warms. And far more would be absorbed if there was 100% CO2 in the atmosphere above.

When concentrated CO2 gas is bubbled under high pressure into ice-cold water much CO2 dissolves, producing acidic soda water whose pH (acidity) could be as low as 4. This is 1,000 times more acidic than pure water whose pH is a neutral 7.

But oceans are much warmer than that and atmospheric CO2 is at much lower pressure. Therefore in the open ocean, pH seldom gets below 8, ten times more alkaline than pure water.

This weak soda water could only be described as “acidic” by someone pushing an alarmist agenda. Continue Reading →

Our water use raises sea levels

A new article in Nature Geoscience attributes 42% of recent sea level rise to discharge of groundwater to the oceans by human activities.

Pokhrel, Y.N. et al., 2012. Model estimates of sea-level change due to anthropogenic impacts on terrestrial water storage. Nature Geoscience, advance online publication.

Abstract

Global sea level has been rising over the past half century, according to tide-gauge data. Thermal expansion of oceans, melting of glaciers and loss of the ice masses in Greenland and Antarctica are commonly considered as the largest contributors, but these contributions do not entirely explain the observed sea-level rise. Continue Reading →

Cabinet ETS paper makes my toes curl

I have received a copy of a confidential Cabinet briefing paper obtained under an Official Information Act request. It was prepared by Nick Smith as Minister for Climate Change Issues before his resignation.

The paper sets out proposed amendments to the Climate Change Response Act 2002 and the ETS.

It begins by stating the Minister’s key motives. I could scarcely believe them — they so strongly exclude each other they make my toes curl, yet the language makes me feel good! I trust them, I really do! I’m sure I do. No matter what self-contradictory aims the government expresses, I’m full of faith that a) it means well and b) it can do exactly what it says. Continue Reading →

No treaty, no ETS

Treaty of Versailles

The NZ Climate Science Coalition has lodged its submission on the government’s proposed amendments to the Emissions Trading Scheme. The submission is unemotional, even subdued, yet it makes compelling reading.

Readers of the Climate Conversation Group will not be surprised to hear that the Coalition thinks New Zealand’s response to so-called Anthropogenic Global Warming should strictly follow international agreements.

The Coalition does not like the extreme green idea that we should be an inspiration to the rest of the world — light some kind of beacon, stick our necks out.

So, it recommends that at the end of this year, when the Kyoto Protocol expires, our involvement should expire with it. Continue Reading →

Retirement of Huntly power generator

Energy News has announced an inaugural survey of the electricity industry. The headline promised to test the market on “renewables, smart grid, Huntly retirement, Brownlee reforms”.

Some folk saw “Huntly retirement” and took it to mean the station was about to be closed. Understandable, but that’s not the case. The first clue was in the description of the survey:

Key topics covered in the inaugural survey include the options to replace Genesis Energy’s coal-fired Huntly units

So the unadorned “Huntly retirement” becomes “replacement of Huntly coal generation” – not the whole plant, just the coal-fired parts of it! Big difference. It’s covered in the first survey question:

1. With the impending retirement of the Huntly coal-fired units (1000MW) this raises some questions around generation fuel mix. What should replace it? Taking an NZ Inc view and thinking about transmission capacity, dry-year risk, fuel diversity, smart grids and fuel availability what do you think Huntly should be replaced with as it’s phased out?

  • One new mainframe gas-fired generator (assume gas availability)
  • Lots of small sub-25MW generation
  • 8 mid-sized, geographically positioned gas-fired peakers (assume gas availability)
  • Demand response and energy efficiency
  • Solar PV and battery storage at a residential level
  • Scale renewables

Industry insiders wouldn’t have been confused but this clears things up for the rest of us. When they’re filling out their survey, let’s hope those insiders aren’t persuaded that avoiding about 1 °C of warming is better than the multifarious benefits brought to us by public power reticulation. In other words, let’s hope they choose a properly reliable source of base-load power generation like gas, oil, coal or nuclear. Oh, that’s right, nuclear’s verboten in God’s Own. – h/t Robin Pittwood

Oil prices down as Europe staggers

Oil prices have been falling for six days [see oil price widgets in right margin]. The dire European economic crisis is part of the reason, since economies in trouble buy less oil. In addition, oil production has been raised to bring the price down a bit in a controlled fashion. AFP reports:

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in June, dropped 51 cents to $96.50 a barrel, two days after hitting a near-five month low at $95.34.

Brent North Sea crude for June shed 63 cents to $112.10 a barrel in London midday deals, one day after striking a four-month low at $110.53.

Continue Reading →

… is sauce for the gander

The Heartland billboard in Chicago

What an amazing experiment.

But the alarmists don’t like this. No, they don’t like this at all. Well, many sceptics don’t like it either — it’s the raw, bleeding, white-knuckled edge of hostility. It simply points out what is true: that some loathsome people believe in dangerous man-made global warming. But it sets an objectionable context and tars its opponents with a distastefully black brush.

Of course, it just turns the warmists’ own arguments back on them. They started it, and they’ve been at it for years. The sceptics have been immensely patient. The warmists are the ones with the shredded moral fibre.

For a sample of their complaints about this detestable sceptical tactic, a reader referred me to Stephan Lewandowsky’s article Are Heartland billboards the beginning of the end for climate denial? at The Conversation, Continue Reading →

The end of scepticism

Tui billboard proxy

Read about the Heartland Institute’s brief experiment with provocative marketing.

UPDATE Thursday 10 May

At five to nine this morning I received an email from Nick Downes, who works for Federation Media (“We specialise in doing the web right”) whose web site displays some spectacular work for some spectacular clients.

After taking some advice, I removed the Tui billboard facsimile above. Continue Reading →

State of the science

Many of us want to know the science behind global warming.

It would be reasonable to assume that the international experts would tell us what we need to know. Problem is that, strangely, they don’t make it easy for honest seekers after truth.

The UNFCCC has a page on their web site called “The Science”. But stupidly for a page with such a title, there’s not a single statement that tells us how greenhouse gases warm the earth.

This is the governing body of the IPCC, yet it can’t tell us how global warming works.

The IPCC takes a different approach: it simply swamps us with documentation without saying what we’ll find in it. It has no link to anything resembling “the science simplified” or even “science”.

Of course, it’s all science, but who wants to wade through hundreds of pages of an Assessment Report for a summary of the greenhouse effect?

They’re either really thick or they’re not the slightest bit interested in helping us.

Or perhaps they’re hiding something?

Reflections on a changing climate

Was Villach the start of global warming?

Among the many climate science meetings I have attended, the most significant, at least as far as climate change is concerned, was my involvement in the UN-sponsored international conference held in the beautiful Austrian town of Villach in October 1985.

One hundred experts from 30 countries attended the meeting (in contrast to ten to twenty thousand who now attend such meetings), and I was privileged to be the only New Zealander invited. We were all there as experts – not representing our respective organisations – in various fields of science, endeavouring to do the best we could in looking at the complexities of climate science.

One of the principal findings of this conference was that

“while other factors, such as aerosol concentration, changes in solar energy input, and changes in vegetation, may also influence climate, the greenhouse gases are likely to be the most important cause of climate change over the next century.”

Continue Reading →

The real climate deniers

Paul Mulshine says it well:

This guy nails it.

The movement to use a theoretical threat from atmospheric CO2 to control other humans is a religion, not a science.

He says the issue is the role of CO2 versus cosmic rays in cloud formation, and “it can be resolved only by physicists, not the crowd I like to call ‘climate scientologists’.” He cites an article about Henrik Svensmark by Robert Tracinski.

Henrik Svensmark

Svensmark, says Tracinski, “has already broken the claim of the man-made global warming “consensus” to be the only scientific explanation of the climate.”

He says:

Ignoring the past is precisely what [the alarmists] have done. Continue Reading →

Let us destroy those myths

Modern climate misapprehensions spread like dandelion seeds on the wind and have become intricately tangled in our everyday lives. Rampant repetition converts these empty myths into eternal truths. Refuting them with observations and reason risks mockery and scorn but it is reasonable to try.

The West Coast Environmental Network (WCEN) opposes coal mining operations on the grounds, among other things, that burning coal will destroy the earth. The following statements about coal and climate change are published on their web site. Let’s see if they’re right.

Burning and mining coal is the most efficient and fastest way to bring about disastrous climate change.

Well, some people need a rhetoric licence. This breaches several principles of logic. First, there’s surely no connection between mining anything and any kind of climate change, either disastrous or benign. Second, burning coal produces some CO2, which probably causes a little warming, but such warming is so far undetectable. Thirdly, there’s absolutely no difference between the CO2 from coal and the CO2 from any other source, so there’s no reason to put coal at the top of some demon list of dangerous fuels. Continue Reading →

Our world-leading ETS actually hikes hydro

Bluff aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point

The Bluff aluminium smelter has won an award from a xenophobe group for milking the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme). That’s interesting by itself, however the award draws our attention for the unexpected proof it provides of a little-known, hidden effect of the ETS: instead of penalising carbon dioxide “polluters” at source while making wind and solar seem cheaper, it actually increases the cost of all generators by creating windfall profits for them.

It’s a testament to years of calculated deception of the electorate and a recipe for ruin. Continue Reading →