Monday, August 17, 2009


Four current articles below

Warmists still stuck in the past

Ever since the tiny degree of global warming stopped at the end of the 20th century, Warmists have been looking longingly at the past, even though the present is very different. Their latest claim is that snowfalls in the high-country ski fields of Southern Australia are down by 40 per cent over the last 50 years. That we had exceptionally GOOD snowfalls this year and also last year is ignored. Does CO2 work only in some years and not in others? The Scots still remember battles that took place in the 13th century. Will Warmists still be blathering on during the ice age that seems to be the biggest threat now?

AUSTRALIAN skiers may have to look overseas in search of suitable snowfalls, thanks to global warming. The average snow cover at Australia's highest altitude snow course, Spencer's Creek in the Snowy Mountains, has declined by 30 per cent to 40 per cent in the last 50 years, a conference in Brisbane will be told today. The cost of man-made snow is also likely to increase as more water and electricity are required.

Unlike skiers, specialised plants that have learnt to survive in the Australian highlands don't have the option of seeking out higher ground and may face extinction, Associate Professor Catherine Pickering of Griffith University said. "Some of these plants are found only on the lee side of mountain ridges, where snow lies late into the summer months, long after snow in the surrounding landscape has melted," Prof Pickering said. "We are about to lose two of our rarest plant communities, right before our eyes." "We need to co-ordinate the ad hoc research that is happening on our limited snow country."

Prof Pickering will attend the The 10th International Congress of Ecology, INTECOL conference in Brisbane this week. INTECOL is hosted by the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society. This is the first time the congress is being held in the southern hemisphere.


Temperature readings in isolated Australian locations show no increases for 100 years

Weather observatories in Australia, dating back 100 years or more show cities getting hotter as they get bigger but country towns have generally NOT been warming up. Some have actually been cooling down.

Most scientists recognise that temperature measurements in cities are influenced by non-climate things such as air-conditioners. The cities in Australia also show the same trend as cities in the northern hemisphere with the rate of warming here being less than 1 degree centigrade per century. So the countryside has NOT been warming up whereas cities are getting hotter.

Substantial increases in Carbon Dioxide levels have been observed over this period, so if CO2 really was driving temperature upwards, we would expect a general rise in temperature in the bush and an even bigger rise in cities due to the combined effect of CO2 and non-climatic heating. In many parts of the world it's hard to separate these two effects, so we are lucky here in Australia to have records from isolated country locations that are `un-contaminated' by the big city effect (heat island effect).

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) provides historical weather data on the internet here. The average of the peak temperatures for each month is available and this has been plotted in the attached graphs. Graphs for the mean daily peak temperatures in January are shown for Echuca, Deniliquin and Bathurst - as examples of country sites.

The last graph is for Sydney and shows evidence of the `big city warming effect'. In Deniliquin and Bathurst, there has actually been a fall in temperatures over the last 100 years but in many other regional places there was just no trend, up or down. EM Smith reports a similar pattern of `no warming' based on a large number of world-wide locations used by IPCC. See here

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics)

Food prices to surge under Warmist laws

SHOPPERS face a jump in grocery prices of up to 7 per cent under Labor's scheme to reduce carbon emissions, prompting calls for the Rudd government to come up with a compensation package to help low- and middle-income families. Big retailers have warned the government that the proposed emissions trading scheme would add between 4 and 7 per cent to shopping bills in what would be a de facto tax on food.

Although the government has revealed plans to compensate households for increased energy prices when the ETS is expected to be introduced in 2011, it has yet to announce how it will cover the rise in grocery prices.

Reserve Bank assistant governor Philip Lowe last week told the House of Representatives economics committee that the ETS would add 0.4 percentage points to the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation in its first year of operation. However, the Food and Grocery Council believes the increase in grocery prices would be much higher, about 5 per cent.

As food and grocery shopping is estimated to take up to 20 per cent of the weekly household budget, the council's chief executive, Kate Carnell, says the price rise will amount to a GST on food - the area the Howard government exempted from the tax after a prolonged campaign by Labor and the Australian Democrats. Large retailers are understood to have also done modelling showing similar results, including a rise in food prices of as much as 7 per cent should Australia adopt the 25 per cent target on emissions reductions by 2020.

Large retailers, while privately concerned, are believed to be hesitant to voice their objections to the ETS for fear of tarnishing their reputation among environmentally conscious consumers. Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the ETS would lead to a sharp increase in grocery shelf prices as costs increased at every stage of the production and distribution process. "It's going to be a high cost to the consumer - the food manufacturer gets an ETS charge, then there's delivery, and the retailers use refrigeration and lighting, and the cost of that is all going to be handed on," Mr Zimmerman said. "Retail is a very competitive business. There's not a lot of margin in grocery retailing, so these costs can't be absorbed."

The ARA has set out its concerns in a submission to the government's green paper on carbon reduction but Mr Zimmerman said he had little hope the government would shield consumers from higher costs. "The government has said it will cost consumers $1 a day, but that fails to accurately calculate the retail price impact on consumers, and there's no real handle on what it's going to cost consumers in the end," he said.

Retailers' anxiety is matched in the US, amid growing fears about the impact of carbon trading plans. US agriculture companies including grain giant Cargill, meat processor Tyson Foods and food-maker General Mills, have expressed concern they will bear an unfair proportion of the costs resulting from carbon-reduction legislation and warned this would lead to higher food prices. Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce has warned that the ETS, once in place, would raise the retail price of a leg of lamb to almost $100.

The revelations on food prices come as a split emerges in the business community over the ETS. The peak group, the Business Council of Australia, is divided over its position on the plan to reduce carbon emissions. The BCA is torn, with finance sector elements backing the ETS and the mining industry vehemently opposed. The split has led to the circulation of an anti-ETS paper from within the BCA that concludes 67 of its 109 members will not have a carbon permit liability under the government's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The overwhelming majority of the 67 are in the finance, legal or legal services sector, which the analysis says are expected to make huge profits out of the ETS.

The paper's author, who does not wish to be named, concludes: "While the BCA is held up as the voice of industry on the carbon scheme, the vast bulk of its members have no skin in the game. That is, they won't have to buy permits. In fact, the bankers and finance consultants like KPMG stand to make a fortune out of it."

The paper's author also names at least 12 senior Labor figures - seven of them frontbenchers, including three cabinet ministers - who they say have expressed doubts about the government's ETS privately to either BCA member companies or their industry group representatives.


Plans for Australian Poverty

The Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, today claimed that both the Turnbull and the Wong Decarbonisation plans were “Plans for Poverty”. Forbes explains:

“The Turnbull plan aims to reduce 2020 emissions to 90% of the 2000 level. “But we have moved on from the year 2000. To get back to 90% of 2000 would require a 20% cut on today’s activities. Moreover, the population by 2020 will be at least 30% above that in 2000. So the Turnbull carbon cuts will need to be more than 33% per capita.

“Emissions are produced by everything we do – if we use electricity, steel, cement, timber, cars, trucks, planes, ships, trains or food from farms, we will always produce emissions. Even people sleeping on the beach burn carbon food energy and emit carbon dioxide. How is each Australian going to trim carbon usage by 33%?

“2020 is just a decade away. There is no chance that wind, solar, geothermal or carbon burial will overcome their technical, engineering, infrastructure, environmental, transmission, economic and stability problems quickly enough to generate significant quantities of emissions-free base load electricity in that time. “That leaves only three ways to achieve the Turnbull cuts – the Green Option, the Secret Plan or the Unspeakable Option.

“The Green Option requires less use of modern technology - a return to candles and chip heaters, wood stoves and wind pumps, charcoal burners and steam engines, sulkies and bicycles, horse power and sailing clippers, possum stew and kangaroo tail soup, mud bricks, shingle roofs and cement floors made from ant bed and cow manure. Some things will disappear unless Malcolm has plans for airships lifted by political hot air, for night-time power generated from moonbeams using lunar panels, or for vegie-steak produced from algae growing in backyard ponds of poo.

“Reducing population will definitely achieve cuts in emissions without cuts in living standards. Is that the Secret Plan? “Or of course we always have the Unspeakable Option – a crash program to build nuclear power plants in the Latrobe, the Hunter, the Barossa, the Fitzroy and the Pilbara.

“Compared to these options, maybe a bit more harmless carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not so bad after all? "The Wong plan and the Turnbull plan are Plans for Poverty. “Both should be rejected.”

The above is a press release of 12 August 2009 from Mr Viv Forbes, Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition, Australia. Email:

High-speed broadband: Another classic Australian boondoggle?

We've had the Snowy, the Ord and the Alice to Darwin railway as vastly expensive but uneconomic feelgood schemes -- now we are getting fibre broadband. It's been Kevvy's pet project for years: The only idea he ever seems to have had

The first national broadband network rollout, in Tasmania, will cost an estimated $20,000 for each premises that takes up the superfast internet connection -- and business leaders say its impact may be minimal. The Rudd and Bartlett governments, which are jointly undertaking the rollout, refuse to reveal the taxpayer-funded plan's cost, business plan or an estimate of the take-up.

However industry sources told The Australian that the take-up rate had been estimated at 17 per cent of the 200,000 target premises -- homes and businesses. Aurora Energy, the state-owned power company undertaking the rollout via overhead cabling, would not confirm or deny this estimate, claiming it was "commercial in confidence". A trial of high-speed internet in Tasmania had a take-up rate of 14-15 per cent, which other industry sources said was more realistic a target for the NBN. With the rollout in Tasmania expected to cost $700 million, a 17per cent take-up (34,000 premises) would mean a unit cost of $20,588 [per household].

Tasmania's peak body for information and communication technology industry, TASICT, said without a take-up rate of 80-90 per cent, NBN would lack the "critical mass" needed to become the focus of service and information delivery. TASICT president Peter Gartlan said even a take-up rate of 20-40 per cent would not "make a big enough difference". "It needs a very good percentage of take-up to make sure you have the benefits of a high-speed connection and for government and industry to leverage it effectively," Mr Gartlan said. "For critical mass it has to be pretty high: up to 80 to 90 per cent. If it is not the focus of delivery, it is just another communications means." He said government might need to step in to offer incentives to increase the take-up, potentially adding to the already unprecedented cost of the project.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry managing director Andrew Scobie said he was "challenged" to see how the plan would deliver greater, justifiable benefits than wireless options. "It's very much about marginal rates of return for additional investment," Mr Scobie said. "I am challenged to understand, and our organisation is challenged to understand, what additional utility will come from it." Most businesses did not require the 100 megabits per second speed promised by fibre-optic connection, he said. And the expenditure of $700m-plus was a questionable ordering of priorities, when 12Mbps, delivered more cheaply and easily by wireless technologies, would suit most households and businesses.

"The innovators in the Tasmanian business community will find things to do with it (100Mbps)," Mr Scobie said. "But to me the most significant question is: in the state with the lowest level of productivity, based on the lowest level of education and the lowest levels of infrastructure investment, is this the right priority against all of those? "Is this the right priority for us? Because we don't even have a fully functioning road between Launceston and Hobart."

Premier David Bartlett said the take-up rate "doesn't matter". "I'm not making predictions about what the initial take-up will be and in lots of ways it doesn't much matter," Mr Bartlett said. "This is a project as important to Tasmania's future as the poles and dams and wires of hydro-industrialisation were to the last century. "It's small-minded to consider this project only in terms of who might get a faster internet connection out of it and when they might pay to take that up."

A spokesman for federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said it was inappropriate to reveal take-up projections because a business model was still the subject of negotiations with the Bartlett government.


Australia's Leftist government simply hates private health insurance

The idea that those who work and save get better treatment than those who blow all their money on beer and cigarettes is just anathema to them

Make no mistake about it. The battle to preserve Australia’s mix of public and private health care will be joined in earnest this week. At stake is a worsening of the shaky health of our public hospitals. At stake also is a direct cost impact for almost half the population who have private health insurance and an indirect, or delayed, impact on those who rely on public hospitals for treatment.

Labor’s attack on private health insurance through this year’s Budget will force substantial numbers of people to drop or downgrade their insurance coverage meaning many, many more people will be seeking treatment at public hospitals. Longer waits in Accident and Emergency Departments, longer waits on lists for surgery lay ahead if this attack succeeds.

Nothing holds the potential to increase the stresses and strains on our hospitals more than the changes to private health insurance rebates contained in the erroneously named Fairer Private Health Insurance Incentives Bills, which are expected to be debated in the Senate this week. Every decision Kevin Rudd has taken since coming to Government will make our public health system worse – making a mockery of his oft-repeated promise that he had a plan to “fix” the nation’s public hospitals.

There is no doubt that the health sector is paying a high price for Labor’s reckless spending over the past nine months which has the nation spinning into massive debt. The Government has targeted many areas of health to claw-back savings, but the targeting of private health insurance rebates carries the added factor of ideology – Labor hates private health insurance - and this is a serious direct attack upon it.

It is also a trashing of numerous promises both Mr Rudd and his now Health Minister Nicola Roxon made before the last election - to both the public and the insurance sector - that Labor would not change these rebates paid to those who take out private health insurance and in so doing relieve the call on public hospitals.

The phasing down of the universal 30 per cent rebate, in three stages, to 20 per cent, 10 per cent and eventually to zero for those earning over $75,000 (singles) and $150,000 (families or couples) will mean 1.7 million Australians will immediately face private health insurance premium increases of between 14 and 43 per cent. One million people are likely to drop or downgrade their insurance cover forcing premium increases for all who maintain insurance.

In seeking to cut the rebate to so-called higher income earners the Rudd Government will hammer low and middle income earners with higher prices. It’s worth noting that a million people – one million Australians, probably many of them elderly – earning less than $26,000 a year make the struggle to pay for private health insurance. Does it want them to also opt out of private insurance and join the queue at our public hospitals? If so what impact could all this have?

The private health sector estimates it could transfer 75,000 treatment episodes from private to public health care. Public hospitals will have to accommodate an extra 190,000 bed days at a cost of $200 million. Four million allied health services would no longer be covered by insurance costing another $200 million. Two million dental care treatments for which private insurance would have paid $100 million would also no longer be covered.

If those estimates even partially come to pass, it creates a huge hole in the $1.9 billion in savings Rudd Labor estimates it will make by changing the rebates. It will also push our public hospitals further toward breaking point.

Reductions in Medicare rebates for cataract surgery and various other treatments, caps on the Extended Medicare Safety Net and the 2008 Budget changes to the Medicare Levy threshold all have implications for adding to pressures on the hospital system – the one that Kevin Rudd said he would “fix” by June this year.

The Coalition will oppose the private health insurance rebate cuts when they come before the Senate this week. The savings needed by this Government to the nation’s bottom-line can be achieved in other ways. The Coalition has proposed an increase in the excise on cigarettes that would more than cover the $1.9 billion in savings projected from the rebate changes. Rudd Labor does not have to further threaten our public hospitals which its State Labor Governments have so dramatically mismanaged for far too many years.


Coverup after negligent public hospital causes two deaths

A HOSPITAL patient, who was discharged and allowed to drive home despite pleas from his family, died minutes later in a car crash that also killed another driver. Rodney Knowles rang his son and brother from Shoalhaven District Hospital in NSW on October 25 last year after having routine dialysis and sounded "delusional". Both separately begged the nurse on the phone not to let him drive home, but he got behind the wheel and had a head-on crash, killing himself and another driver aged in his 50s.

The Health Care Complaints Commission declined to investigate and the NSW Medical Board dismissed a complaint made after the incident. The hospital's doctor, Shanka Karunarathne, acknowledged to the HCCC that he amended Mr Knowles' medical records after Mr Knowles' death to say he offered to admit him, but Mr Knowles declined. Dr Karunarathne said he was the only medical registrar at the hospital at the time and did not have time to complete his notes. "As I was required elsewhere in the hospital at that time, I later made a retrospective entry to confirm the discussion," he wrote in answer to questions from the Health Care Complaints Commission.

Shoalhaven Hospital said Mr Knowles, 71, was medically assessed as competent the day of his death, despite him reporting feeling unwell and skipping some meals. They gave him juice and food which boosted his blood sugar levels prior to him leaving.

The HCCC said an investigation was not warranted because it was unlikely to lead to disciplinary action against the nurse involved, Julie Owen, or any recommendations to Shoalhaven Hospital. The NSW Medical Board also dismissed the complaint against Dr Karunarathne.

Mr Knowles' son Brendan said: "He had kidney failure, we expected at some point he would go, but to happen so tragically and in the circumstances which it happened when we begged them not to let him drive, I just can't fathom how they can turn around and say they couldn't do anything. "We want some answers. We don't want it to happen again. As well as dad being killed there was another gentleman killed, an innocent party. We want some answers for his family too."

Rodney Knowles had been admitted to the emergency department three days before his death with chest pains and was discharged on October 24. He returned the next day for dialysis. Police believe he blacked out and veered onto the wrong side of the road. The coroner said he died "nearly immediately" from traumatic injuries.

Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said the family deserved an explanation. "This family has been through hell and deserve a full explanation from Health Minister John Della Bosca," she said. Mr Della Bosca said while he felt for the family, he would not comment on the case until all inquiries had been completed.



Anonymous said...

He's a dialysis patient, thus an out-patient. If the family knew him so well did they offer to came and collect him? I see no mention of that. If the Nurse had physically tried to stop him would the story be one of unlawful incarceration instead? Its all so easy to judge it all when looking down the retrospectoscope.

Anonymous said...

Yes we did offer to collect him and that is what we told the nurse. His eldest son hopped into the car with his three young children to go and pick him up and on the way to do so, he came across the accident scene and all three children witnessed their grandfathers body in the car. All of this happened because there is no legal responsibility in NSW for nurses to stop people from driving when they dont think they are fit to drive. A publican can take a drunk patrons keys from them but a nurse or dr cant do the same to a hospital patient. Does that really sound right to you??

Furthermore, the nurse was never interviewed on this matter as she hid behind the union and refused to answer questions. If she had nothing to hide, why not give the family some closure and at least put on record what happened? I can tell you why, because she knows the truth will come out.