Monday, April 02, 2007

Labor party 'fanatical about climate change'

Labor is treating climate change as a near religious issue while the government is working to reduce its effects by practical measures, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull says. "We are about substance, we're about real achievement, practical achievement, things that work," Mr Turnbull told Network Ten today.

Conversely, Labor is looking at climate change in a religious sense, he said. "For Labor it's a religious issue," Mr Turnbull said. "Labor is verging on becoming fanatical about this issue in the sense that they do not care how poor we have to become as long as we become pure. "I think religion is a very poor guide to public policy."

Mr Turnbull said ratifying the Kyoto protocol has become a symbolic issue for Labor, even though it is not a practical solution to climate change. "Kyoto is a failed mechanism," he said. "It's not just failed because most of the world's biggest emitters are not part of it, it's not just failed because it would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions growth by one per cent. "It's also failed because it doesn't address the second biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions which is global deforestation."

Australia's richest politician also denied he has ambitions to take over from John Howard as prime minister. Asked whether he would succeed Mr Howard in the top job, Mr Turnbull said he had no plans of that nature. "I wouldn't even begin to think about that or speculate about that - I'll leave that to you guys," he told Network Ten.

Mr Turnbull's comments came as a new opinion poll shows the federal Labor Party holds a comfortable 14 point lead over the coalition on a two-party preferred basis. The poll of 504 voters, by Queensland's Sunday Mail newspaper, found support for Labor to be at 57 per cent compared to the coalition's 43 per cent. The result comes amid a popularity surge for Labor leader Kevin Rudd, the controversial resignation of ageing minister and Queensland senator Santo Santoro over a shares scandal and a series of clashes within the state Liberal party....


Climate doomsayers all at sea

Around 18,000 years ago, what is now Sydney Harbour was about 15km inshore of the coastline, and the sea level was at its lowest point, about 120m below the present sea level. The site of the Opera House, on Bennelong Point, was almost midway between the beach and Homebush, and South Head was midway between the Opera House and the coast. According to the Australian Museum, the sea reached its present level about 6000 years ago.

So, the sea level rose one metre every 100 years from its low point to the current level during that period. Not evenly, on a couple of occasions the sea rose several metres in very short periods - over a few decades. At other times, things stalled. But the worst-case scenario posed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which now has the worry warts twisting their knickers so anxiously, has sea level rising about 0.3m per 100 years, about a third of the rise known to have occurred in the relatively recent past. And they blame it all on Man!

There is an old joke about the smartest invention in the world, and one fellow says he believes it is the thermos flask because in winter it keeps hot food hot and in summer it keeps cold drinks cold. "Now, how does it know that?" he asks. Well, how do the experts know that Man is responsible for the current changes in climate?

Answer: they don't. They're guessing, and they are dressing up their guesses with computer modelling which is so unreliable that it can't even predict with any great success what the weather will be next year.

It's a jolly good thing there were no computer modellers around to scare the pants off the Sydney locals (had they been wearing pants) 16,000 years ago, and warn them to stop cooking their fish and goannas over carbon-emitting campfires, to throw away their fire sticks and eat their possum raw and like it. As for the pollution caused by the so-called science of fire-stick farming, forget it! Those bushfires every year must have sent the CO2 levels rocketing.

Or wasn't global warming responsible for the rising sea levels? If it wasn't, what was? And why were the sea levels sinking the beachside suburbs of the period three times faster than anything we face today ? It is easy to be afraid listening to Al Gore, Nicholas Stern and Tim Flannery, but it is difficult not to be concerned once their theories are questioned. The IPCC has long predicted that climate change was going to bring about more violent weather events than we have experienced, but that ignores the record in both hemispheres.

In our neighbourhood, however, the IPCC is quite specific. It says Australia will be hit by more frequent and intense heatwaves, bushfires, floods, drought and landslides as global warming sends temperatures soaring this century. Oh yeah? Temperatures in the southern hemisphere haven't altered in 25 years and, according to the records, the global temperature has been stationary since 1998.

What the scaremongers don't explain is that the temperature is measured on the Earth's surface, by balloons rising through the atmosphere and from satellites which look at particular molecular structures as they circle the globe. The purest of these is the satellite measurement because it is least affected by incidental events, but all of the above show that southern hemisphere temperatures haven't altered significantly over the past 25 years, despite the computer modelling which shows that the less polluted hemisphere should have become warmer than the northern hemisphere, which is shielded by particulate matter.

In fact, the compilers of the most recent IPCC report had to slash estimates of global temperature rises by nearly one third. Sane scientists, who are not chasing the climate-change dollar, joke that if this trend continues, the IPCC will be predicting another ice age within 10 years. Whoops! There were scientists pandering to the market for gloom and doom 30 years ago who were predicting a coming ice age. Lesson: hang on to that heavy overcoat.

The Great Barrier Reef is also under threat, and even though the greatest damage done in recent times was caused by an inundation of fresh water from a cloud burst, this dire warning ignores the reality that corals have lived in warmer seas than we now have, and overlooks the fact that they adjust. OK, the fossil coral outcrops metres above sea level didn't make the cut but, then again, the Great Barrier Reef was once a plain with no coral at all.

Those running around with their petticoats pulled firmly over their heads don't want to know that the Romans grew wine grapes in Britain, that Greenland got its name because it used to be warm enough for farmers, or that the Earth's climate has always been changeable. But they claim to have science on their side. Then so, too, did all those who thought Y2K - the Millennium Bug - was going to wipe out civilisation as we know it. There is a debate to be had, but it serves no one if those promoting fear are resorting to pseudo-science and questionable modelling to make their case.


Fatal ambulance delay in Victoria

A young Australian soldier is heartbroken following the death of his fiancee and unborn baby, after a wait of more than 20 minutes for an ambulance. Trooper Sean Graham, who has seen active service for his country overseas, says his cherished partner and baby might still be alive if paramedics reached them more quickly. Mikaela Meagher, 22, died in Austin Hospital on March 21 after losing consciousness two days earlier during an epileptic seizure in the bath at her sister's home in the central Victorian town of Maryborough.

Mikaela was pregnant with Cohen Thomas Graham, who was due to have been born on the day of her seizure. Mr Graham, 23, told how he and Mikaela were looking after her sister's three children on the evening of March 19 when the double tragedy unfolded. "Mikaela's nephew went into the bathroom to tell her to hurry up because he wanted to play with his frisbee, then ran out saying she was playing under the water," Mr Graham said. He found Mikaela unconscious, began performing CPR and phoned the emergency services.

"They kept saying 'It's not going to be long, not long now'," he said. It was at least 20 minutes between the call being made and the first paramedics arriving, he said. According to Mr Graham, paramedics had to leave a man who had suffered a heart attack with a doctor in Dunolly and travelled the 22km distance to the Maryborough emergency at 160km/h.

Paramedics said Maryborough and the surrounding towns had one vehicle on duty. Sources said the team, when called to the Dunolly job, warned the Rural Ambulance Victoria control centre in Ballarat to find cover in case of another emergency, but that no action was taken. "If the paramedics had been able to get there within five minutes they were confident the outcome could have been different," one ambulance officer said. Cohen was pronounced dead when Mikaela reached Maryborough Hospital.

Mikaela, whose heart had been revived, was flown to the Austin, but with minuscule activity in her brain, her life-support machine was switched off on March 21. Many of her organs were donated to help save others.

Mr Graham has called for an investigation into resourcing and management procedures relating to the tragedy and a wider probe of the service. "If they had been there in just a few minutes I believe it might have been different," he said. "The paramedics were fantastic, but the ambulance service needs more resources. "I cannot bring Mikaela and Cohen back, but I don't want anything like this to happen to anyone else," Mr Graham said.

The RAV was restructured this year after being plagued by claims of inadequate resourcing, mismanagement, bullying, sexual harassment and cronyism. Though the target for metropolitan ambulances is to attend within nine minutes for most cases, there is no target response time for rural ambulances.


Damn Cars and all hail Solar Power

Post lifted from Gust of Hot Air

Kevin Rudd, leader of the opposition in Australia has promised to spend $50 million on household solar panels in an attempt to stem global warming.

"We believe that renewable energy is a key part of Australia's future response to the challenge of climate change," Mr Rudd told reporters.

"We believe that solar power is a key part of Australia's future response to climate change.

"It also helps families to do their bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

He says that the money would be equivalent to taking 4000 cars of the road. It could also be the equivalent to buying 4000 second hand cars and passing them free of charge to the public, but that's another matter.

Even though, the rebate is only for 25%, so I guess in this case, the government are only taking 1000 cars off the road.

But anyway, we've kind of heard these do good do nothing stories before. Banning ordinary light globes and banning screen savers we found do absolutely nothing, but make people feel good - about doing nothing. Aint life easy?

So lets do the sums. Considering that a car generates around 3.5 tonnes of deadly greenhouse gas a year, 1000 cars is equivalent to saving 3500 tonnes per year. Awesome. Good work.

Now lets assume that 100% of recent warming is caused by the deadly gas (extremely unlikely), and given that Australia's greenhouse gas output is 1.5% of the worlds, and that we have seen an increase in 0.6 degrees in the last century we can work out how much we will save.

In fact considering that Australia produces 356,342,000 tonnes a year, we will save a staggering 1/100,000th of our greenhouse gas.

This means that the solar panel scheme of opposition leader Kevin Rudd will cool the world by:

0.0000000009 degrees each year.

Thank goodness the heater works in my car.

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