Mankind 'can't influence' climate says Australian expert
MANKIND is naive to think it can influence climate change, according to a prize-winning Australian geologist. Solar activity is a greater driver of climate change than man-made carbon dioxide, argues Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and winner of several notable science prizes. "When meteorologists can change the weather then we can start to think about humans changing climate," Prof Plimer said. "I think we really are a little bit naive to think we can change astronomical and solar processes."
Speaking last night after presenting his theory for the first time, to the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in Sydney, Prof Plimer said he had researched the history of the sun, solar and supernovae activity and had been able to correlate global climates with solar activity. "But correlations don't mean anything, you really need a causation," Prof Plimer said. So he then examined how cosmic radiation builds up clouds. A very active sun blows away the cosmic radiation, while a less active sun allows radiation to build up, he said. "So you can very much tie in temperature, cloud formation, cosmic radiation and the sun," he said.
The next part of Prof Plimer's research was to examine the sources of carbon dioxide. He said he found that about 0.1 per cent of the atmospheric carbon dioxide was due to human activity and much of the rest due to little-understood geological phenomena.
Prof Plimer also argued El Nino and La Nina were caused by major processes of earthquake activity and volcanic activity in the mid-ocean ridges, rather than any increase in greenhouse gases. Nor does the melting of polar ice have anything to do with man-made carbon dioxide, he said. "Great icebergs come off, not due to temperature change but due to the physics of ice and the flow of ice," Prof Plimer said. "There's a lag, so that if temperature rises, carbon dioxide rises 800 years later. "If ice falls into the ocean in icebergs that's due to processes thousands of years ago."
On the same basis, changes to sea level and temperature are also unrelated to anything happening today, he said. "It is extraordinarily difficult to argue that human-induced carbon dioxide has any effect at all," he said.
Prof Plimer added that as the planet was already at the maximum absorbance of energy of carbon dioxide, any more would have no greater effect. There had even been periods in history with hundreds of times more atmospheric carbon dioxide than now with "no problem", he said.
The professor, a member of the Australian Skeptics, an organisation devoted to debunking pseudo-scientific claims, denied his was a minority view. "You'd be very hard pushed to find a geologist that would differ from my view," he said. He said bad news was more fashionable now than good and that people had an innate tendency to want to be a little frightened. But Prof Plimer conceded the politics of greenhouse gas emissions meant that attention was being given to energy efficiency, which he supported. The professor, who is writing a book on the subject, said he only used validated scientific data, published in reputable peer-reviewed refereed journals, as the basis of his theories.
Alan Jones was right about the rioters
If ever there was an example of how skewed our values have become, it was revealed in radio broadcaster Alan Jones's reprimand. Jones was found guilty of breaching Australia's broadcasting code for these comments from a listener prior to the Cronulla riots in 2005: "It would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back on to the train for the return trip to their lairs," he said, a reference to the call-to-arms text messages that were circulating Sydney at the time. "And wouldn't it be brilliant," he also read, "if the whole event was captured on TV cameras and featured on the evening news so that we, their parents, family and friends can see who these bastards are."
Instead of a bollocking, Jones should have been given a standing ovation. His comments were spot on. He was one of the few with the courage to call it for what it was. What got lost in the revisiting of Jones's comments are the circumstances surrounding what happened before the riots, which take on a wholly different complexion if you take religion out of it. Some junior lifesavers patrolling Cronulla the beach got bashed by a group of older men. Rather than just a one-off incident, locals revealed it was the latest in a long line of fights and they were so sick of it, they said, they were going to do something about it. They were going to stand up for their mates. They were going to find the bullies that like to outnumber young kids and square up. Good on them.
Bullies are cowards turned inside out. Ill-equipped to finesse their way through life, they resort to muscle. It is the only currency they understand, but the irony is you only need to chip away a small piece to find the coward inside. Power, you see, bows only to more power. Given this mindset it is appropriate to believe the only language they understood was a good smack in the mouth and maybe that was what was needed to make them think twice about flexing their muscles on the beach again.
But the whole thing got ugly and twisted because racial lines were drawn. The bullies were Muslims, and of Middle Eastern appearance, and instead of the whole issue being treated as a stand against the kind of bullying we all condemn it was turned into a racial issue. Here's where the rioters erred. They failed to distinguish the difference between bullies and Muslims and when they attributed the whole sorry saga to Muslims - a careless point of identification -- all Muslims were naturally affronted.
If they had steered away from the racial stereotypes and explained it for what it was, a square-up against bullies, then they would have got overwhelming public support. Instead they resorted to racial stereotyping and it got ugly, and then it got even worse when they attacked other innocent Middle Eastern men, for no other reason than their ethnicity. But here is also where Muslim leaders erred. They should have clarified the difference. They should have condemned those who attacked the lifesavers and, given the difficulty police have infiltrating youth gangs, helped find them and bring them to justice.
Instead they let racial tensions fester, and cried racism when it spun out of control. For a community allegedly well-mannered, no explanation was ever given for the actions of the hooligans who beat up the lifesavers. If the racial overtones were removed, and the incident played for what it was, it would never have escalated.
By condemning Jones, the broadcasting authority is just perpetuating the racial tensions in Sydney. Muslims can feel justified in what happened, non-Muslims feel resentful. Jones got it right, and the sooner we confront the issues for what they are, and drop the political posturing, the pointscoring in the religion battle, the quicker the road to harmony. Truth is, it would have been good to see these bullies scurry back on the train. It would have been good if their faces had been captured on TV, exposing them for what they were. It shouldn't have mattered whether they were black, white or brindle, Muslim or Christian. Bullies don't deserve sympathy or false outrage to hide behind. They should get what they deserve.
Source The radio station proprietor has also hit out at the injustice of the proceedings. See here
Buckpassing government medicine kills
A DOCTOR told to give anti-seizure medication to a teenage patient with a fractured skull told a Sydney inquest today she did not believe the instruction was too urgent or important. Vanessa Anderson, 16, died at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital in November 2005 after being hit on the head by a golf ball during a tournament. Glebe Coroners' Court has been told Vanessa was not given any anti-convulsant medication before she suffered a seizure and died.
The inquest into her death today heard evidence from Dr Nicole Williams, who had been the neurosurgical senior resident at the hospital for two weeks when Vanessa died on November 8. Dr Williams told the hearing that on November 7, consultant neurosurgeon Nicholas Little had told her to give the patient the anti-convulsant drug Phenytoin. Dr Williams said Dr Little appeared to waver over the decision and she formed the opinion that "we could write some up, but it probably wasn't that urgent and wasn't that important".
After Vanessa's family raised concerns that she could be allergic to Phenytoin, Dr Williams asked a more senior doctor, neurosurgical registrar Azizi Bakar, whether the drug should be administered. Dr Bakar nodded "to acknowledge what I said and made a comment like `it's OK'," she told the court. Dr Williams said she believed Dr Bakar was experienced enough to decide whether Vanessa should be given the drug or an alternative medication. It was the end of her shift and she thought the matter had become Dr Bakar's responsibility, she told the court.
Asked whether she thought she no longer had a role to play regarding the anti-convulsant medication, Dr Williams said: "That's the way I saw it."
Anzac Day 'may offend' says politically correct report
This is an attack on Australia's most hallowed tradition. Anzac day is Australia's national day of commemoration for our war-dead and is treated with great seriousness by young and old -- with commemorative services and parades through the streets of most towns and cities
ANZAC Day commemorations may offend some religious and ethnic minorities, a new report has claimed. The study commissioned by Multicultural Affairs Queensland found some immigrants associated Anzac Day with the "increased nationalism" expressed most graphically at the Cronulla riots in 2005. The report also claimed a "climate of fear" has seized Queensland's Muslim community, which it blamed on federal immigration and anti-terrorist policies and the media. The situation is so dire that some Brisbane Muslims suspect they might be sent to concentration camps, while others live in fear of bomb attacks. Some refugees even told researchers they felt safer in their countries of origin than in Australia.
But RSL state president Doug Formby said they were wrong to associate Anzac Day with racism. "Anzac Day is purely to recognise the deeds of our servicemen and women," Mr Formby said. "No one is forced to attend and no one should take offence at a long-standing tradition in this country."
Dr Mohamad Abdalla, an imam at Brisbane's Kuraby Mosque and head of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University, agreed. "Embracing events such as Anzac Day does not contradict Islamic teaching," Dr Abdalla said. "Muslims have joined the Australian armed forces and received medals. Anzac Day events are not factors in inciting hatred. In fact, they can help Muslims and non-Muslims interact positively."
The report, carried out by Victoria's Monash University and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, was based on interviews with 183 people in Queensland and Victoria. Its aim was to assess the impact of events such as the September 11 attacks, Bali bombings and the Darfur crisis on multiculturalism in Australia. The study, which received two grants of $35,000 from Victoria and Queensland, praised Premier Peter Beattie and his Victorian counterpart Steve Bracks for "upholding the principles of multiculturalism".
However, Dr Abdalla was unenthusiastic about some of the suggestions in the report, such as legislation "to prevent the media from inciting violence", compelling schools to teach Islamic history and the scheduling of exams around the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "It's not sufficient for Muslims to say others have to take action," he said. "The onus is also on them to go out and engage with non-Muslims."