Herald’s editor ducks the issue

duck assassination

This post is not directly about climate, but concerns our relationship with reason and science, in which there are parallels with the conduct of the climate debate.

Shrill cries of alarm

Shortly after the momentous earthquake and tsunami wreaked such terrible havoc in Japan on March 11, the press and broadcast media began a chorus of shrill, poorly-informed warnings about the nuclear crisis developing at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Sober description of fail-safes

Then a blog posting appeared on March 13, describing the operation of those 40-year-old reactors and their numerous fail-safe systems. It was written by one Dr Josef Oehmen, a mechanical engineer and scientist, and concluded there was no reason to be alarmed and very little possibility of a meltdown. Even if a meltdown occurred, he said, the plant’s systems and trained engineers would handle the event safely. The article was quickly picked up and widely distributed around the Internet.

It was published here as Nuclear reactor: blast impossible, meltdown no sweat.

Maladroit attack on public peace of mind

On March 15 one Justin Elliott published Debunking a viral blog post on the nuke threat which tried to pour cold water on Oehmen’s analysis. Elliott didn’t do this by refuting what Oehmen had said or by disagreeing with his analysis; instead, he ripped into Oehmen’s reputation.

Oehmen’s article begins with a candid admission:

I am a mechanical engineer and research scientist at MIT. I am not a nuclear engineer or scientist, or affiliated with Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, so please feel free to question my competence.

But in a supremely bungling introduction, Elliott swaggers right on past this clear, honest disclaimer and arrogantly reports, as his own words, that Oehmen has no special expertise in nuclear power. Hmm. The cautious would note that and read on with care. Continue Reading →

When does an adjustment become a replacement?

axe in block

UPDATE: March 27, 8:50 p.m.

A reader points out that a replacement requires the virtual death of the previous version. As the traditional British announcement on the death of the sovereign (“The King is dead; long live the King!”) makes clear, you cannot have two of them. He’s reminded of Barry Brill’s recent post here 7SS – R.I.P. about the Monty Python parrot, whose death proved in the end impossible to ignore. Thanks, Australis.


NIWA’s minister has made a bizarre assertion to the Parliament which signals NIWA’s inability to admit its mistakes.

Last December, NIWA published a report reviewing the NZ Temperature Record which was based on its 18-year-old Seven-station Series (7SS). The 169-page report included a new spreadsheet and graph (which NIWA called the NZT7) and stated, on page 3, that “the revised temperature series supersedes the previous version posted in February 2010.”

When it was published, the previous 7SS was taken off NIWA’s temperature web page and the NZT7 was posted in its place.

But there’s some deception going on, because here’s the thing: NIWA’s web site describes the new graph as a replacement, but a few days ago Parliament was officially told the very opposite — that the NZT7 is not a replacement. As Hansard shows: Continue Reading →

Fallen snow

a glacier, showing the firn it's made from

Here’s a thread to discuss the migration of gases (or not!) through firn, or old snow, and the ramifications for past levels of atmospheric gases. When I discover how to move comments between threads, I’ll add the relevant comments from other threads.

Nuclear reactor: blast impossible, meltdown no sweat

Here are the facts

Andrew Bolt today posted this excellent comment plus the originating article. Some have already blamed this earthquake on global warming, but we shall ignore that nonsense. This objective and expert summary opinion of the real situation is urgently needed because all we’re getting from our green press corps is nuclear fear-mongering (h/t Bob Carter for the link). This is reassuring, but it’s very long — get yourself a coffee, put your feet up…

nuclear explosion

From: The Courier Mail / Herald Sun

Before you give in to the media’s nuclear meltdown…

Andrew Bolt – Monday, March 14, 11 (12:15 pm)

Newspapers

This is an adopted article.

Via our friend Professor Barry Brook, comes this marvellously sane and cool explanation of the emergency at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT, in Boston.

Read the fascinating and reassuring article in its entirety. But if you have time only for Oehmen’s bottom line, it’s this:

– The plant is safe now and will stay safe.

– Japan is looking at an INES Level 4 Accident: Nuclear accident with local consequences. That is bad for the company that owns the plant, but not for anyone else.

– Some radiation was released when the pressure vessel was vented. All radioactive isotopes from the activated steam have gone (decayed). A very small amount of Cesium was released, as well as Iodine. If you were sitting on top of the plants’ chimney when they were venting, you should probably give up smoking to return to your former life expectancy. The Cesium and Iodine isotopes were carried out to sea and will never be seen again.

Continue Reading →

It’s not warming, you nitwit — it’s cooling

icicles in Germany

All right, so it might not be getting down to out-of-the-ordinary freezing temperatures, but it’s certainly not unduly warm, which is the claim we’re constantly hearing in the mainstream media, even now. Even after all the contrary evidence. Here’s more.

To show that there is scientific data backing up the refutation of strong, even dangerous, warming brought on by our over-indulgence in the famous capitalist mind-altering industrial pollutant, carbon dioxide, the NZ Climate Science Coalition just issued a press release. The 2009 paper from McLean, de Freitas and Carter shows the uncanny correlation between the Southern Oscillation Index and global temperature several months later. The press release shows how the paper “predicts” the current temperature plunge.

And I really mean plunge, because McLean et al speculate this year could be the coldest since 1956. Brrr!

Now be my guest: show how wrong it is! Show us how the correlation is not really a correlation. It’s a free world!

Oh — and you’ll also have to demonstrate, of course, that global temperatures are NOT following the SOI graph from about seven months ago (please don’t forget that part). The press release is next. Continue Reading →

NZ ETS review under way

Barry Brill, OBE, chairman of the NZ Climate Science Coalition, former Minister of Science and Technology and former Minister of Energy, thoughtfully offered the ETS Review Panel some assistance in sorting out the issues. He sent the following letter on 28 February to David Caygill, chairman of the ETS Review Panel. Seeing the sharp Brill intellect delineate the economic and political issues with his usual surgical accuracy we await the panel’s Issues Statement with keen interest. Let’s hope the panel approaches its duties with the larger portion of at least one mind still open.

almost — they just want to decide describe the issues

Dear David

I understand that the Review Panel intends to publish an “Issues Statement” prior to undertaking its proposed consultation process on the ETS Review 2011. This will presumably provide a summary of the key issues seen to be raised by the Review’s terms of reference – and might also present the Panel’s preliminary views on some or all of those key issues.

I would like to put forward some suggestions regarding 10 matters the Panel might consider appropriate for inclusion in the Issues Statement.

HELPING NEW ZEALAND TO DELIVER ITS ‘FAIR SHARE’ OF INTERNATIONAL ACTION TO REDUCE EMISSIONS, INCLUDING MEETING ANY INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS

Expectations of international negotiations have changed enormously since the ETS legislation was before Parliament in November 2009. In particular:

• USA, Canada, Japan and Australia have all rejected their proposed ETS mechanisms.
• No other country has enacted any form of ETS since the EU in 2004.
• No other country has sought to suppress emissions by ‘putting a price on’ motor spirits; or on any greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide.
• There is now little prospect of any ‘second commitment period’ under the Kyoto Protocol.
• No legally binding international treaty is likely to be agreed within the next few years. Continue Reading →

Epicentre of kinship

the beginning of the Christchurch earthquakes

In ordinary times, that people gather and lend their hand to help those in need is a comforting cliché. Then, when people remain during a time of earthquakes, tunnel into moving rubble to pull out survivors, from their own goodness bring hot drinks and food and treat the injured and raise an army of their fellows to help out people they’ve never met, they make an extraordinary tale that can nourish a nation for generations to come.

The Christchurch earthquakes raise in us a rare gamut of raw emotion. Seldom are we witness to events of such outrageous, capricious cruelty and it has been hard to watch as each day delves deeper into the city’s tragedies. Some of us have learned of surprising, unforeseen effects of earthquakes.

We knew of buildings shaking and toppling and the earth opening up to engulf the unlucky, but who imagined mud spurting from the solid ground, spewing like volcanoes or suddenly undermining the foundations of buildings or swallowing vehicles?

Then, after that misfortunate marvel, who suspected the black mud could set like concrete in just a few hours? What miseries it has caused.

The focus has been on the urban catastrophe. In surrounding farmland, the earthquake induced maybe a mild crease in the pasture, or caused perhaps the northern half of a shelter belt to be forever two metres east of the rest, or gave a railway track an alarming twist.

But in the city, similar minor movements of the earth created havoc with our puny buildings, roads and bridges. People were trapped or killed outright as their familiar, everyday buildings betrayed and crushed them.

We hear now tales of courage, kindness and steady compassion which inspire us with new zeal as New Zealanders. Fresh new zeal is just what the world needs, and New Zealand is just the place to find it. We’re a naturally retiring people, but when we treat each other like this, we cannot conceal from a watching world what’s truly in our hearts. Continue Reading →