Northern Gateway toll road no picnic

  • Based on a letter sent to the NZ Transport Agency on 24th June, 2009.
  • Sunday, May 3rd, 2009, was a clear, sunny day in the East Coast Bays. In the afternoon I drove north with my wife and son to see the new motorway extension and have a nice picnic at Puhoi.

    There was moderate traffic and the drive through the lovely bush-clad hills was a pleasant experience. We passed beneath the gantry and saw the cameras that photograph each vehicle. What a technological marvel they are. The computer software recognises number plates on every kind of vehicle, from the front and the back, at all speeds, in all weather conditions and identifies the registered owners, then matches them up with one payment among thousands; all this without human intervention. Marvellous.

    Nice road, but to pay you must stop

    We spent a mere ten minutes driving along a section of motorway that took over four years to construct, emerging from the northern end of the twin tunnels at two self-service kiosks where one can pay the road toll of $2.00. Travelling north, the kiosks are on the other side of the road and we were unable to stop, but we noticed that only one kiosk was in use and some dozen people stood in the queue, so it was probably taking between five and ten minutes to pay. Paying the toll doubles the journey time. Isn’t technology helpful? Continue Reading →

    Lord Monckton gloomy about democracy

    Christopher Monckton, at the Science and Public Policy Institute, is despondent about the uses being made of the global warming “crisis”. He fumes about the supranational aspirations of the United Nations and speaks darkly of a “fledgling World Government”. I recommend you download the pdf and read him directly; it’s not only a demonstration of excellent writing but also illuminates the situation.

    Does he exaggerate in referring to international arrangements, through treaties, which aim to control our emissions of greenhouse gases, as “this constitutional monstrosity, [this] abnegation of life, this repudiation of liberty, this cancellation of the pursuit of happiness”? Continue Reading →

    Obama — more ignorant than we thought

    President Obama is charming, credible and he fronts well, but he just revealed some of what truly lies within. It was a disturbing insight and I hope his advisors can amend his ignorance.

    It was just last Tuesday — Barack Obama, at a White House press conference, was urging the House of Representatives to pass the Waxman-Markey bill, properly known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, when he let slip that he doesn’t know what carbon dioxide is. Continue Reading →

    Science loses out to hyperbole

    It’s the end of a long day and I lack inclination to read. Warren Meyer at Climate Skeptic has started looking at the Global Climate Change Impacts report released by the Obama administration amid much fanfare. Meyer’s first analysis looks interesting, since he has isolated some of the hyperbole and exaggeration in the report.

    Richard Treadgold

    Obama diminished by association

    President Obama has been promising firm action against global warming, his tone strengthening. Watch out! I think he’s serious… Right — now he’s done it!

    So the Obama administration releases a hard-hitting report on the effects of global warming in America today. It says Americans have been living with the heavy downpours, rising sea levels and blistering summer heat waves produced by man-made climate change for 30 years.

    Oh. Have they, really?

    Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, the first Director of Meteorology at The Weather Channel: “This is not a work of science but an embarrassing episode for the authors and NOAA.”

    Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder: “Imagine if an industry-funded government contractor had a hand in writing a major federal report on climate change. And imagine if that person used his position to misrepresent the science, to cite his own non-peer reviewed work, and to ignore relevant work in the peer-reviewed literature. There would be an outrage, surely…”

    “ So, to summarize: sentence one is not supported by the citations provided, which lead in both cases to selectively chosen non-peer reviewed sources, and the citations that are peer reviewed on this subject come to an opposite conclusion and are ignored.”

    Have a look at some contrary views to this major new report intended to form popular opinion from Climate Depot. Or this one from Climate Skeptic.

    A dreadful trend

    There was a recent post by Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit that was difficult for some of us to understand. Fortunately, there’s an exposition of it at Climate Skeptic called “How to manufacture the trend you want” that makes it all clear. It’s regrettable, but please have a look.

    It has to do with rates of calcification in Great Barrier Reef coral growth over the past 400 years. On January 2, 2009, in Science, De’ath et al reported an ‘unprecedented’ decline. But it seems aimed more to alarm than inform us. They showed a graph to support their claims. Steve revealed a graph of a longer time series that tells quite a different story.

    Then we got to see the actual data followed by the deficiencies in the data; well, what a trend! It turned out that ‘unprecedented’ referred only to the last 153 years.

    Richard Treadgold

    Global thermostat — too good to be true?

    This is a stunning piece of work. Have a look. I hope to say more later.

    Who knew that the sun has increased its output by 30% since the far geological past, and yet the earth did not heat up as it did so? It’s called the Faint Early Sun Paradox and it was always a bit tricky to explain, until now…

    The stability of the earth’s temperature over time has been a long-standing climatological puzzle. The globe has maintained a temperature of ± ~ 3% (including ice ages) for at least the last half a billion years during which we can estimate the temperature. During the Holocene, temperatures have not varied by ±1%. And during the ice ages, the temperature was generally similarly stable as well.

    Willis Eschenbach has proposed a thermostat for the control of global temperature. His clear exposition of it has just appeared on Watts Up With That. Will it survive scrutiny? Read it through, have a think, let us know.

    Richard Treadgold

    Clouding the issue

    Clouds are the issue in more than one facet of global warming. Apart from causing rain, clouds have two important effects: cooling and warming. Dr Roy Spencer, one of few scientists studying clouds, has said that a sustained change in cloud cover of just 1%, up or down, can cause a Medieval Warm Period or a Little Ice Age.

    Cooling is achieved by reflecting back the heat from the sun; warming is done by keeping that heat in, like a blanket. I’m not an expert on clouds, but from my reading I’ve got the impression that low-level clouds usually cause cooling and high-level clouds usually keep the warmth in. I also think they might do both, at different times of the day.

    For example, low clouds at night keep things warm — a clear sky means a cold night — while low clouds during the day reduce temperatures. We’ve all experienced the sudden cooling as a cloud moves across the sun on a hot day.

    It’s a current and vexed question to discover just how these conflicting effects are influenced by increasing humidity, whether that acts to raise or to lower air temperatures and what the balance of the effects is around the world. As the global temperature rises (though I’m not suggesting that it is right now) more water evaporates. Where does the resulting water vapour go? What does it do? Are more clouds created, or fewer clouds? Do they warm or cool?

    This post on Watts Up With That introduces and enhances a recent post on Climate Audit describing strong negative cloud feedbacks found by the Climate Process Team on Low-Latitude Cloud Feedbacks on Climate Sensitivity.

    I especially like, as does Anthony Watts, the remarks of the first of Steve’s commenters, Willis Eschenbach:

    Cloud positive feedback is one of the most foolish and anti-common sense claims of the models.

    This is particularly true of cumulus and cumulonimbus, which increase with the temperature during the day, move huge amounts of energy from the surface aloft, reflect huge amounts of energy to space, and fade away and disappear at night.

    I love the stunning picture of cumulonimbus on WUWT and the clarifying diagrams he gives to help us understand. Who can fail to notice that a cloud is not simply a cloud, but an ever-changing expression of shifting forces?

    Richard Treadgold

    Nuclear-free, are we?

    We know of only one large, proven, dependable source of energy that won’t add to our emissions of greenhouse gases. It’s not just large — it’s monumental, and it could provide almost all of our energy needs for thousands of years.

    But to allow us to tap into this inconvenient solution, environmental activists must step aside. The Australian, venturing the other day where few mainstream media providers dare to go, ran some numbers courtesy of a rational climate scientist, who also reveals some of the outdated myths modern greenies still cling to.

    Is this relevant to New Zealand? Perhaps, for we, too, cling to a myth: that Parliament can actually ban from the nation the process of extracting energy from the stuff we’re made of. Nuclear-free: are we, indeed? I mean, how could we ever be? Anyone for a physics lesson?

    Now, anyone for legislating the value of pi?

    Richard Treadgold

    Nobody really wants a new climate treaty

    So, it’s official: the possibility of a replacement being hammered out for the Kyoto Treaty now appears remote.

    It will be “physically impossible” to have a detailed deal to tackle climate change by this December’s summit in Copenhagen, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said on Wednesday in Bonn.

    The “four tough nuts”, as he termed them, were proving extremely difficult to crack because, he said, the “delivery on four political essentials”, on which success in Copenhagen would depend, was turning out to be “impossible”. Continue Reading →

    Greenpeace alarmism unfounded

    Yesterday, Greenpeace set off a siren outside climate talks in Bonn, trying to stir governments negotiating a climate change treaty. They’re not moving fast enough to save the world. They need a hurry-up. Surprisingly, even New Zealand earned a mention.

    According to 7thSpace Interactive: “There is a group of countries who clearly have absolutely no intention of saving the planet from dangerous climate change,” said Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace International. “The US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada are acting as if there is no climate crisis at all, and are putting their own short term political self-interest ahead of this global emergency.”

    Of course, they’re trying to persuade us to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, which they claim contribute to dangerous warming. Such claims are quite unfounded. Continue Reading →

    Bester knows best, uh?

    The Herald let Denise Bester loose on us the other day. She made me feel I’d been mugged by a cuddly toy. Not rigorously scientific, just echoing allegations from the global warming orthodoxy, and so naively confident in proposing ineffective, feel-good solutions incapable of affecting the climate that she must have a vested interest in the solutions. Right at the end we find out she does. She sells them. Continue Reading →