When will our bloody journalists wake up?

An eye

How obvious must the lack of credibility in AGW become before New Zealand’s so-called journalists wake up to it?

Their disconnection from reality now transcends mere embarrassment for the onlookers; it has become actually humiliating, because the only remaining reason for our nation’s professional journalists to hold to the IPCC line on dangerous man-made global warming is an intentional neglect of the facts.

It is bad enough that our public scientists issue mendacious statements; but it is far worse when journalists ignore their professional devotion to truth and conspire to confirm the lies. For defects in public policy are thus guaranteed.

Matt Ridley is a former editor of The Economist and author of best-selling science books. He has heavily defended the science and pronouncements of the global warming establishment, but in his new book, The Rational Optimist, according to reviewer George Gilder, he suddenly reverses course.

The cause of his sudden and violent disillusionment is the collapse of global warming science, which he and the Economist have long gullibly accepted but which Ridley has now discovered to be so deeply flawed as to rise to the level of fraud.

But just as he says that, we hear NZ Herald Economics Editor, Brian Fallow, global warming enthusiast and regular promoter of the ETS, announce today:

On July 1 something that has always been free, the right to emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, starts to cost money.

He says this without a hint of shame. The ETS, which seems to thinking people an obscenity, has the sole supporting reason of making money for those willing to become traders. Overseas experience shows that those making the most from an ETS, and especially from the issue of “free” carbon certificates, are oil companies, power generators and huge users of hydrocarbons.

Overseas experience shows that those losing the most from an ETS are publicly-owned, honest organisations such as hospitals and schools.

It is six weeks since the Herald reported “Australia has dumped plans for a greenhouse emissions trading scheme.”

It is three months since France reversed course and refused to introduce a carbon tax and now Germany’s Angela Merkel says they cannot even afford personal tax cuts, so they’re hardly likely to add to their financial burdens with carbon taxes instead.

Fallow raises a point about our ETS that must be challenged. He mentions correctly that forestry owners get to receive money because they own immature trees. These so-called “carbon credits” are issued to forest owners because:

while they grow, [they] absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and so provide an offset to emissions elsewhere. The units are allocated annually.

But nobody knows how much net carbon dioxide a particular block of trees will absorb or even emit (for that is possible!). It depends on many variables, such as temperature, rainfall, soil type, microbial influences, type of tree and atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

None of these factors influences the uptake of carbon dioxide in simple or well-understood ways. Please note that, the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the quicker the tree grows and the more carbon dioxide it absorbs — by attempting to reduce the amount in the atmosphere, we’re attempting to reduce the growth of all plant life.

So how will the bureaucrats determine the amount of CO2 absorbed each year for specific blocks? It’s basically a guess, from theoretical calculations. But the whole exercise is a minefield that will bring lawyers out of the woodwork to challenge the official assessment of a forester’s liability or entitlement in every year in which temperature or rainfall or some other factor varies from “normal”. Which is almost every year.

Note that the possibility of a forest block being a net emitter of carbon dioxide is officially excluded. But it is scientifically possible, depending on the age of the trees and other factors.

Next, Fallow says:

The flipside is that when the trees are harvested most of that carbon is deemed to be emitted then and there, so those receiving units also accept a liability for the corresponding emissions upon harvest.

That is like saying that trees vanish when we cut them down, or that we don’t use wood for anything except burning. There is, then, no reason to plant forests except to harvest Kyoto credits from the extremely gullible.

This is institutionalised blindness for the sake of perpetuating the establishment madness induced by the fear that carbon dioxide will destroy the world.

Bear in mind that the gas inducing such fear is so scarce in the atmosphere that it must be measured in parts per million to avoid a string of noughts before the number. Remember, too, that the portion of that gas that we have “generated” by burning our wonderful fossil fuels is about three parts per hundred — 3%. Three per cent of 400 parts per million is 12 parts per million. By “we” I don’t mean New Zealand, but the whole of mankind.

We should save the world? From what — it doesn’t need saving!

Humanity needs saving, though — from the carbon traders who will profit from the poor paying more for petrol and electricity and everything that depends on petrol and electricity in its production, distribution and storage.

Let the government know the depth of feeling against their ETS. Go to the anti-ETS protest march in Wellington on 22 June. Take a placard. Be early.

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12 Thoughts on “When will our bloody journalists wake up?

  1. Andy on 12/06/2010 at 3:33 pm said:

    I’m trying to make sense of some of the numbers on the MFE website

    Electricity production only accounts for 10% of emissions, with agricultural emissions at 48% being our biggest emitter.

    Overall, gross emissions have increased 22% from 1990 to 2007. The large numbers quoted in the press (90%–120% range) only apply to the power generation sector.

    The government’s stated targets for emissions are 10–20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

    Clearly, we cannot achieve this by moving to renewable energy alone, as this only accounts for 10% of emissions.

    Strangely, also, are the projection graphs on the same webpage, that all show projected increases with and without measures (i.e. an ETS).

    So, if the government is projecting increases in emissions, why are they also stating a goal of 10–20% reduction?

    If I were a farmer, I’d be getting concerned. This from the same page:
    At present there are limited methods for reducing nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural pastures, and no practical methods for mitigating methane from enteric fermentation in ruminants grazed on pastures.

    In other words, there are no practical ways for farmers to effectively reduce methane emissions, but as they are the largest sector of emitters, they will be hit hardest, and with no easy way out, unless they plant vast tracts of forest to offset these emissions.

    On forestry:
    In 2007, New Zealand had 1.8 million hectares of plantation forest and 8.2 million hectares of native forest.

    So we have approx 10 million hectares of forest. We could halve our net emissions but this would mean doubling or trebling our forest cover — i.e., plant 10-20 million hectares of forest over the next few decades.

    According to the carbon calculator here
    20 million hectares of radiata pine of 10 years of age would attract NZ$7.5 billion in carbon credits annually, paid for of course by yours truly.

    The somewhat more scary bits are lines like these
    For example, the “with measures” projection assumes a carbon price of NZ$25/tonne CO2-e, rising to $50/tonne from 2013.

    We are being introduced into the ETS at $12.50 a tonne, and it will at least double after the transition phase.

    The doomsayers would say that the cost of adaptation is greater than the cost of mitigation, but with China increasing its emissions by the equivalent of NZ’s entire emissions very three weeks or so, and showing no sign of slowing down for the next ten years at least, I think it is fair to say any practical effect from the ETS is non-existent.

    It is a massively expensive fantasy.

    • You’ve given us some interesting figures, Andy. You’ve uncovered a contradiction in what the government is telling us and highlighted the spit our farmers are being skewered with. You’re right — they’ve got nowhere to go.

      I think you let the government off a little lightly, however, by saying there will be no effects from the ETS. Because of course there will be an enormous effect. It will move money from consumers to the carbon traders, principally at first the power generators, oil companies and large emitters, as they take advantage of their free allocations.

    • Andy on 13/06/2010 at 9:33 pm said:

      I meant practical benefit in terms of reducing global or even local emissions.

      I take it as a given that we are being ripped off. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear.

    • It’s all right, Andy, I was pulling your leg a bit but also speaking to bystanders.

  2. Andy on 12/06/2010 at 8:32 pm said:

    By the way, in response to your original question “When will our bloody journalists wake up?”, I think it’s time to give up on MSM. The blogosphere is where I get my news from these days.

    I have presented a few number on the ETS above in a fairly rushed manner, but there are some serious questions to be asked here regardless of whether you think manbearpig is the greatest threat to humankind. I have asked questions to government staff of the above and will continue to do so until I understand why the NZ government is pressing ahead with the ETS.

    In times gone past, journalists used to do this kind of thing. Now it is up to bloggers to do the work. This, sadly, is the state of the media and their political claque throughout the western world.

    • I completely agree with your comments. However, although we might “give up” on the MSM to the extent of not relying on them just now for the complete picture, I nourish the hope that things will change. It will only take a couple of good journalists to wake up and show the way for others to join in.

      I hope you keep pushing the bureaucrats for answers. If you want to write a piece describing what you’ve been doing in that regard, I’d love to publish it. It doesn’t have to be long, just informative.

    • Andy on 13/06/2010 at 10:13 pm said:

      Hi RIchard,
      I’d be happy to contribute material on this. I need to do some more research first.

      In terms of NZ’s MSM, I am not quite sure what to make of them. In the UK, there are a number of papers who realise that AGW is essentially a tool of the left, and science has taken the back seat.

      The AGW propaganda machine has been very effective in that sceptics are marginalised as “deniers” and lumped in with creationists, AIDS deniers, pro-smoking etc etc

      When I first encountered this attitude I was gobsmacked and soon realised that this was not science we were talking about.

      Margaret Thatcher is often quoted as the “founder” of the AGW movement, and Christopher Booker published an interesting article yesterday:
      Was Margaret Thatcher the first climate sceptic?


      This is really well worth a read.

      These are some salient quotes:

      Mrs Thatcher was the first world leader to voice alarm over global warming, back in 1988, With her scientific background, she had fallen under the spell of Sir Crispin Tickell, then our man at the UN. In the 1970s, he had written a book warning that the world was cooling, but he had since become an ardent convert to the belief that it was warming,
      Under his influence, as she recorded in her memoirs, she made a series of speeches, in Britain and to world bodies, calling for urgent international action, and citing evidence given to the US Senate by the arch-alarmist Jim Hansen, head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

      But then comes the generally untold story:

      In 2003, towards the end of her last book, Statecraft, in a passage headed “Hot Air and Global Warming”, she issued what amounts to an almost complete recantation of her earlier views.

      She voiced precisely the fundamental doubts about the warming scare that have since become familiar to us. Pouring scorn on the “doomsters”, she questioned the main scientific assumptions used to drive the scare, from the conviction that the chief force shaping world climate is CO2, rather than natural factors such as solar activity, to exaggerated claims about rising sea levels. She mocked Al Gore and the futility of “costly and economically damaging” schemes to reduce CO2 emissions. She cited the 2.5C rise in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period as having had almost entirely beneficial effects. She pointed out that the dangers of a world getting colder are far worse than those of a CO2-enriched world growing warmer. She recognised how distortions of the science had been used to mask an anti-capitalist, Left-wing political agenda which posed a serious threat to the progress and prosperity of mankind.

      We should remember that Margaret Thatcher was one of the few world leaders in recent times with a background in scientific research.

  3. ralph hayburn on 12/06/2010 at 11:22 pm said:

    You’re quite right. I’m writing this from the UK, aware that the European newspapers have long since ditched the IPCC’s extreme claims. But in Dunedin, where I live, nothing I was able to do before coming away would persuade the ODT to publish any of the articles I am reading daily which offer alternative hypotheses to AGW. The local population is kept in ignorance as a result, at least by this newspaper. But it seems that few of NZ’s dailies are any different, and we have an appalling state broadcaster. So unless people read for themselves on the Net, they will remain unaware of all but the politically correct ‘line’.

    • You’re right, Ralph. Despondency is a strong temptation!

      The NZ CSC is making a little headway, though. Yesterday, Terry Dunleavy’s piece calling on John Key to discipline or dismiss Peter Gluckman was broadcast on both 1ZB and TV1.

      We must keep talking, here and in our own circles. We all have our lives to live and duties to fulfil, but any sacrifice we make of time or effort will mean a little less ignorance, a slightly more correct policy or a few more people with better knowledge of their situation. We can treasure that.

  4. Ron on 13/06/2010 at 2:06 pm said:

    I live in Dunedin too and despair at our media’s dereliction of duty.
    Thank you Richard for the work you do here, and hope you can make headway with your questions Andy. It is incredible to see the refusal of the political establishment in NZ (and UK) to face the reality. Thank heavens for so many intelligent blogs.

    • Thanks, Ron. Although I believe we’re right to oppose AGW, it’s encouraging remarks like these that make the hours of effort worthwhile.

  5. Hi guys,
    I really needed to read things on this site. The MSM and politicians are driving me crazy.
    Thanks for reminding me that there are sane people in this world.

    And thanks to Andy for the Thatcher link, very interesting.

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