Wednesday, February 10, 2010


By Andrew Bolt

Melbourne University alarmist David Karoly once claimed a rise in the Murray Darling Basin’s temperatures was “likely due to the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human acitivity” and: "This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd grabbed the scare and exploited it:
BRENDAN Nelson was yesterday accused of being “blissfully immune” to the effects of climate change after he said the crisis in the Murray-Darling Basin was not linked to global warming…

In parliament yesterday, Kevin Rudd attacked Dr Nelson, accusing him of ignoring scientific facts.

“You need to get with the science on this,” the Prime Minister said. “Look at the technical report put together by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.”

But now comes the latest evidence that Rudd and Karoly were wrong: in fact, there’s no evidence in the Murray Darling drought of man-made warming, says a new study in Geophysical Research Letters:
Previous studies of the recent drought in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) have noted that low rainfall totals have been accompanied by anomalously high air temperatures. Subsequent studies have interpreted an identified trend in the residual timeseries of non-rainfall related temperature variability as a signal of anthropogenic change, further speculating that increased air temperature has exacerbated the drought through increasing evapotranspiration rates. In this study, we explore an alternative explanation of the recent increases in air temperature. This study demonstrates that significant misunderstanding of known processes of land surface – atmosphere interactions has led to the incorrect attribution of the causes of the anomalous temperatures, as well as significant misunderstanding of their impact on evaporation within the Murray-Darling Basin…

However, to accept the correlation [between temperature and rainfall] as the sole basis for the attribution of cause to human emissions is to implicitly assume that the correlation represents an entirely correct model of the sole driver of maximum air temperature. This is clearly not the case.

What’s causing the evaporation and temperatures is not (man-made) warming. It’s kind of the other way around: more sunshine, through lack of cloud cover, and lack of rain and therefore evaporation is causing higher temperatures.

And guess which scandal-ridden and alarmist IPCC report relied on Karoly’s claims? Reader Baa Humbug:
Karoly was cited very extensively in the AR4 WG1 paper.e.g. Chapter 9 Studies Based on Indices of Temperature Change and Temperature-Precipitation Relationships."Studies based on indices of temperature change support the robust detection of human influence on continental-scale land areas. Observed trends in indices of North American continental scale temperature change, (including the regional mean, the mean land-ocean temperature contrast and the annual cycle) were found by Karoly et al. (2003) to be generally consistent with simulated trends under historical forcing from greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols during the second half of the 20th century. In contrast, they find only a small likelihood of agreement with trends driven by natural forcing only during this period.


"High" standards at an Australian public hospital

And a government that refuses to do anything about it

A SENIOR nurse was undergoing emergency surgery last night after slipping in a puddle caused by a leaking vent at the decaying Hornsby hospital. Her fall came two months after orders were given to hide the crumbling, water-damaged ceiling by painting over it.

Last year angry doctors called the rundown hospital "offensive and mediaeval", and complained of possum urine on the walls, dangerous cables across floors, and ceilings collapsing from rain damage. They have run a campaign to have the hospital rebuilt and say they were stunned to see a tradesman painting over the water damage in December.

In the latest incident, Andrea Walters, 54, who said staff had been mopping up water from leaking ceilings in her ward for 16 years, was finishing her shift in the operating theatres on Sunday night when she slid in the puddle. She landed heavily on her side, shattering her right arm. Doctors fear she will need a partial joint reconstruction and a nerve graft. She is expected to be off work for at least three months.

The head of the hospital's medical staff council, Richard Harris, said yesterday: "We are very cranky and upset about this, particularly as the rain marks were painted over … We haven't seen any evidence the state government is taking this issue seriously, and we now demand action."

Dr Harris said the Health Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, was shown several buckets under the vent during a visit in October. They were put in place after Sydney received 27 millimetres of rain in two days. She had asked how staff managed to move patients from the operating theatres to wards through open corridors in bad weather. "She was told it was a nightmare," Dr Harris said, "but nothing was done."

On Sunday two garbage bins and eight towels were put under the vent to catch the rain. They were removed when the leaking subsided, but another downpour about 9pm flooded the floor and caught Ms Walters unaware. "This was totally avoidable," she said. "The [leak] has been placed in the too-hard basket, and it should have been fixed. I haven't got a little bruise, I've got a life-changing injury."

A clinical nurse specialist who has worked at the hospital for 23 years, Ms Walters said she now feared she could lose her house because nurses do not receive penalty rates - which make up a large portion of their income - while on worker's compensation.

A spokesman for the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service said theatre staff reported the leak on October 26 and the ceiling was repaired two days later. Aesthetic repairs, including painting, were done on December 17. Maintenance staff were working to fix the leak, but there were no plans to replace the roof, she said.

An independent review, the sixth in 30 years, this week found the hospital to be unsafe. The review, part of a redevelopment master plan, found the theatres were a fire risk, surgical and medical wards were cramped and did not allow for effective clinical supervision; and bathrooms, nursing stations and storage areas were too small. It said the hospital needed painting, asbestos removed and its roofs repaired.


DNA backlog allows criminals to roam free

In a reasonable world there would be a 24 hour turnaround on this

Criminals are being left to roam the streets because of a backlog in DNA evidence waiting to be analysed, the NSW Auditor-General says. The demand for DNA analysis has increased by almost 40 per cent in the past five years, with little in the way of funding increases, a report by the Audit Office says. There is a backlog of 6400 cases waiting for the analysis of DNA evidence gathered - a backlog that would take a year to clear with current resources.

The Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, recommended that police should prioritise DNA samples to have the best evidence analysed first. He also suggested prioritising break-in and other property crimes and moving the most recent cases to the front of the queue to get criminals off the streets. Other states had overcome their DNA backlog with greater resources, he said.

"The safety of the people of NSW is of paramount importance. "Crimes need to be solved as quickly as possible and delays need to be eliminated. "The efficient use of forensic analysis is critical in the prevention of further crime and needs to be addressed immediately for the benefit of the public."

AAP reports: To reduce the backlog, Mr Achterstraat recommended a user-pays system for DNA analysis, and for police to better manage demand. "Firstly, we need a user-pays agreement for all DNA analysis," he said. "Secondly, police must manage demand by determining the best evidence in a case and analysing that first. "Thirdly, the great impact on reducing property crimes will be analysing DNA evidence for the most recent cases first by moving them to the front of the queue. This will give police a better chance of catching criminals and preventing further crimes."

Mr Achterstraat also recommended a review of the cost effectiveness of outsourced DNA analysis. While NSW Health's Division of Analytical Laboratories conducts the bulk of DNA testing, about 5500 cases a year have been outsourced to the private sector. Outsourced analysis costs $412 per item, almost twice as much as tests done by NSW Health, the report says.


Bank boss warns Rudd government against major regulatory reform

He's self-evidently right. Australian banks continued to make good profits while overseas banks were falling like ninepins. Disclosure: I am a CBA shareholder -- JR

Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief executive Ralph Norris has warned the Rudd government the Australian banking system does not need widespread regulatory reform based on the "poor practices" of overseas banks which sparked the global financial crisis.

The warning came as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) posted a cash net profit of $2.943 billion for the first half, up 54 per cent on the same time last year. The profit increase, which was slightly above the bank’s previous guidance, was attributed to a decline in bad debt and impairment charges and flat cost growth due to a wage freeze for senior executives. The bank declared an interim dividend of $1.20, up 6 per cent, which takes CBA’s payout ratio back to 63 per cent -- the same level as before the start of the financial crisis.

Mr Norris told analysts it was vital regulators in Australia did not duplicate the potential widespread regulatory changes that were under consideration for the global banking system. The CBA also warned that funding costs would remain high in the next year due to longer-term funding remaining expensive and competition in the market for retail deposits. "There are regulatory discussions covering a number of areas of capital, liquidity and provisioning," Mr Norris said.

"The view has been expressed that there is a need to address a major failure in the global banking system but in reality that failure was only in the US, the UK and parts of continental Europe. "Outside these markets, the banks have performed reasonably well but the flow-on effects are likely to be felt for some time. "The cost to banks to access wholesale funding will remain elevated. Australia has largely avoided the impact and the major banks are in a strong financial position."

Mr Norris said the government had to ensure the Australian banks were not "materially disadvantaged" by potential regulatory changes. The banks are concerned a proposed move to make them hold more capital and liquid assets would drive up their costs. "We must be careful that Australia, which has a healthy banking system, is not materially disadvantaged by changes driven by the poor practices of banks in the northern hemisphere," Mr Norris said.

"One of the reasons why the Australian economy has performed so well is that the banks have been able to support their customers. I don’t know of any strong economy that does not have a healthy banking system."

Mr Norris, who is also the chairman of the Australian Bankers' Association, said he had told the government and regulators that there was a risk of over-reacting and implementing too much regulation in Australia.

The CBA's chief financial officer David Craig said the bank's move to cut some fees had cost CBA $50million-$60 million in the first half, however, that could double in the second-half.


Motorist anger as cyclists flout rules

Many cyclists are testosterone junkies who are incapable of considering other people

ROGUE cyclists are routinely running red lights and flouting road rules in Queensland, fuelling a growing backlash from motorists. Fed up with cyclists treating the rules with contempt, members of Queensland's peak motoring group are demanding the growing packs of riders get off busy roads.

Police images obtained by The Courier-Mail show cyclists blatantly running red lights and even breaking the speed limit. One red light camera at the intersection of Logan and Broadwater roads at Mt Gravatt captured four cyclists in the wrong on three occasions in November. Cyclists also have been snapped by speed cameras at Mt Coot-tha travelling up to 18km over the 60km/h limit. But lack of identification means police are often powerless to prosecute the offenders.

Penalties for cyclists caught breaking the law are substantially lower than for motorists who commit the same offence. Cyclists face a $100 fine for running a red light, compared with $300 and three demerit points for drivers. In a 10-month period last year, 168 cyclists were fined for disobeying a red light and 187 booked for riding without proper lights.

Growing numbers of cyclists on congested roads have been blamed for increasing friction with motorists. RACQ spokeswoman Lynda Schekoske said a recent survey found 85 per cent of its 1.2 million members wanted harsher penalties for cyclists who broke the rules. Its members also wanted separate facilities for cyclists, particularly on roads with high speed limits.


NOTE: My Queensland police blog never seems to lack new reports lately.

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