Open thread weekend

It’s your turn to introduce topics for discussion.

158 responses to “Open thread weekend

  1. Ice extent is catching up to 2012, only about 300K behind and closing fast.

    • what exactly were you expecting?

      • A continuation of the trend to an ice free arctic this decade.

        And sanity trending upwards on this site.

      • It’s just the way you said it, like you had made some profound discovery

      • Lets just check what we were led to expect

        “Arctic Sea Ice Area Back To Normal! Dramatic Record Refreeze Wipes Out “Dramatic” Melt Of August!”

        “Arctic sea ice has staged a strong recovery in the last few weeks, reaching levels not far from normal for this time of the year.”

        “Arctic Sea Ice Continues To Recover”
        “Every year since 2007 has had more ice than 2007”

        “Arctic Sea Ice about to hit ‘normal’ – what will the news say?”
        “WUWT is predicting a recovery again this year, which we started mentioning as a prediction last fall”

        (compare this to the prediction by the “alarmist” World Wildlife Fund:
        “Thinner than Normal Arctic Sea Ice Poised for a Rapid Decline in 2010….Climate change contrarians, exploited the ephemeral surge in new ice to misleadingly suggest that the Arctic was back to normal and that climate change concerns were overblown.”)

        Sea Ice Extent Now Normal in Arctic

        “Arctic sea ice back to its previous level, bears safe; film at 11”
        “Sea ice area approaching the edge of normal standard deviation”
        <a href=

    • What, no link ?

      Are you sticking with your previous (extreme) prediction ?

    • Bob, sarc on/ CO2 is magical when it comes to sea ice. It allegedly cause Arctic sea ice to melt excessively, while at the same time causes Antarctic sea ice to go the other way, and freeze to the same extent; so total sea ice remains approximately constant. Then while it is causing this massice melt in the Arctic, temperatures north of 80 remain below average. How it does this I am not sure. sarc off/

      Seriously Bob, where you get your closing in on 2012, I have no idea. From what I can see, the melt in the Arctic this year is rougly parallel to last year.

      • Jim Cripwell | July 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm |

        Is someone telling you there’s more ice freezing in the Antarctic than is melting, year by year, lately?

        Well, they’ve pulled the wool over your eyes.

        There’s some regions of some greater extent some times of year.

        There’s some regions of greater ice depth some times of some years.

        Overall, the Antarctic is losing ice mass and volume, is shedding ice in new and different patterns than in the past, and is just more support for GHE, AGW, and UCK.

        Why would anyone who’s experienced a winter in Ottawa expect there to be less snow over a continent just because the temperature shot up from 40 below to 32 below?

        You ought know to not expect your ice to melt until 0C.

      • Bart, you write “Is someone telling you there’s more ice freezing in the Antarctic than is melting, year by year, lately?”

        I am not sure if you have misread what I wrote. I deliberately wrote “sea ice”, not “ice”. The question of whether or not the ice on the Antarctic land mass is increasing or decreasing, is, indeed, contentious. I am ONLY referring to sea ice. And yes, sea ice in the Antarctic has been increasing ever since records began in 1979.

      • Jim Cripwell | July 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

        Yes, the transport of ice off the Antarctic continent to open sea where it melts has been increasing in every year since measurement began in 1979.

        The ice being shed by the continent and lost to heat from the GHE is increasing, like rats fleeing a sinking ship. So there’s more of a glut of the stuff. It’s more proof of UNK, no matter how you spin it.

      • When the southern oceans are warm and the sea ice extent is low the snow falls on the continent and becomes multi-year ice. When the southern sea ice extent is large snow falls on the shelf and does not become multi-year ice. This is influenced by the Arctic Ice Cycle but it does not stay in lock step phase with the Arctic Ice Cycle.

      • So, multi-year snow is added when needed and not added when not needed. In the cold periods of an ice age, Multi-year snow is not needed and not added. In a warm period, Multi-Year snow is needed and is added.

      • Warmer water, exposed to atmosphere, causes more snowfall and colder winters. We are going to have warm ocean for a lot of years so open ocean with low sea ice extent in September and high sea ice extent in March will be the new normal while the ice on earth is replenished. Ice volume increase on land occurs when oceans are warm and wet. Ice volume decrease on land occurs when oceans are cold and frozen.

        LOOK AT NOAA’s DATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The oceans will stay warm a long time. The Sea Ice in the Arctic will get low by every September and reform in winter for years to come. This rebuilds the land ice on earth to prepare for the next ice advance and little ice age. This happens during every warm time in the past ten thousand years. What has happened every time will happen again.

    • Bounding Temperature

      I am going to propose a question. The question is for all of you?
      Read the rest of this and think about it before you answer.

      How can you put ice on Land?

      There is Milankovitch Theory and CO2 Theories and Solar cycle Theories and Ewing and Donn Theory and more. Milankovitch and CO2 seem to dominate most of the debates. Solar Cycle Theories would likely come next.

      You can make earth cold to make ice or you can make ice to make the earth cold.

      Ewing and Donn take water from warm wet oceans and pile it on land and they pile so much ice on land that it advances and cools the Earth.

      Milankovitch makes the Earth cold and then makes the ice grow.

      Here is my question. How does Milankovitch get water from cold frozen oceans to make snow?

      Milankovitch and CO2 seem to dominate most of the debates.

      Radiation cooling has bounded the temperature of the Earth Forever. It works, but the bounds are very large by modern standards. It has no set point.

      Only Water changes state in our comfort zone with a set point. The Polar Ice Cycle developed and tightened the bounds of Earth Temperature.

      Water Vapor and clouds most likely account for ninety some percent of the Radiation Cooling.

      Water was put on earth to regulate temperature and help living things. Water, Water Vapor, Ice, and Clouds, that is: Water, in all of its states, does control the temperature of earth.

      CO2 was put on earth to help a trace amount with the cooling and to help a huge amount with the living things.

      The drift of the continents and the evolution of the ocean currents and the development of the polar ice cycle perfected the bounding of earth temperature. Look at the data from long ago until the most recent ten thousand years.

      The Most Recent Ten Thousand Years has had temperatures bounded within plus and minus two degrees C for all the time. The Most Recent Ten Thousand Years has had temperatures bounded within plus and minus one degrees C for most of the time. We are inside the plus one now and not headed up. What is different that could have caused this?

      The major thing that has changed is the development of the Polar Ice Cycles.

      What else has changed that could have caused the tight bounding of the temperature? There is no forcing with a set point, other than the temperature that water melts and freezes. More greenhouse gas does not suddenly develop a set point. In fact, we have less CO2 now than we have had for millions of years.

      ICE and Water has a set point. When oceans get warm, sea ice melts and Huge Snowfalls Occur. This builds ice volume on land which advances after some many years of snowfall. When the Polar water gets cold and frozen the huge snowfalls stop. The ice volume is like a huge charged capacitor and the ice advance continues, but without snowfall, ice volume starts to decrease immediately. More ice melts every summer than gets replaced. The ice advance continues and runs out of capacity after a good number of years. Clouds are used in this process. When the ice is building it is protected by many clouds. When the ice is being removed, the clouds are not there.

      The experts think the ice volume increases right up to the ice extent max, but it really cannot happen that way. They build ice because something external caused earth to get cold. They take away ice because something external caused earth to get hot. They start taking away the ice when earth is still cold. They don’t have an external forcing that has a set point. Their basic theory cannot work.

      We need the Cycles. We do not have one fixed temperature that can be maintained. We have a cycle with powerful bounds. Ice and Water has a set point and does maintain the bounds.

      Radiation can bound temperature in wide bounds with no set point and the bounds can change a lot with changes in external forcing. This is how earth was. Radiation Bounds have no Fixed Set Point.

      Ice and Water have a fixed set point and the bounds stay the same with large changes in external forcing. This is where we have been for the 800k years of large cycles of ice age and warming. The modern ten thousand year cycle is even more tightly bounded. Earth evolved to this state and it will continue. This is how Earth is now:

      The Sun melts Ice every Summer. The Sun melts Land Ice and Sea Ice every Summer. Snow falls and replaces Land Ice and the cold freezes Sea Ice every Winter. When there is more water exposed in the Summer, it Snows more in the Winter. When there is less water exposed in the Summer, it Snows less in the Winter. This is the SET POINT that puts the tight bounds on Temperature.

      A trace of CO2 cannot kick us out of this modern paradise; it can only help green things grow better using less water.

      Start in a warming phase, such as the past 130 years, since we had thermometers and could measure and record temperature. The land ice has been receding and the oceans have been warming and rising and sea ice has been receding. With the warming of the polar oceans, the snowfall has been increasing. The snow falls on bare ground and on glaciers and ice fields. The snow that falls on bare ground at the edges of ice fields and around the tails of glaciers mostly melts every summer. Much of the snow that falls on glaciers and ice fields becomes multi-year ice. This multi-year ice builds and gains weight and after some years the multi-year ice starts to advance. As the multi-year ice advances, earth cools and the oceans cool. Ice volume is still increasing. At some point the oceans get cold enough and the water freezes and the snowfall stops or greatly reduces and the ice volume stops increasing and starts decreasing. The Piled up ice is still heavy and continues to advance. The Piled up ice gradually runs out of capacity to continue pushing the ice and the advance stops. The cooling stops. The sun has been melting more ice than was replaced, but now the ice starts to recede and the earth starts to warm again. Land ice is receding and the edges of the sea ice start to recede. At this point you can go start at the beginning of his paragraph again, and again.

      Consensus Theory uses orbit parameters and solar cycles and CO2 to make earth colder and then builds ice by letting the snow that fell on bare ground survive the summers and grow the ice at the tails of glaciers and edges of ice fields. There is no evidence that supports this method. The glaciers advance and drop stuff they picked up on the way. They do not develop at the edges and tails. They develop at the tops and then when they are big enough they advance.

      IPCC says they are 97% sure that in the next hundred years or less, Climate will do what it has never done and it will not do what it has always done for the past ten thousand years.

      Alarmist Warnings like this are 99.9% wrong. Look at History.

  2. “We all know oil production in Texas has soared in recent years. But putting the rise in graphic form shows just how phenomenal the energy turnaround has been: The surge looks exponential.

    In March, Texas oil production reached its highest level since 1984. That month, the Lone Star State pumped more than 74 million barrels of crude from the ground, which means if Texas were a country, it would be one of the 15 largest oil producers in the world.

    Saudi Texas: Oil’s new reign in Texas draws comparisons to the Kingdom

    Texas’ oil output has doubled in less than three years, putting it in the ranks of OPEC heavy-hitters like Venezuela, Kuwait and Nigeria.”

  3. So, the argument that the Arctic Sea Ice extent decline lowers the albedo and increases warming should also apply to the total Nothern Sea and Lake ice, correct? If so, 2013 is sporting a high albedo.

    We can expect cooling it would appear.

    • Except that extent doesn’t correlate very well with albedo, since a spot with 100% ice and 15% ice count the same for extent but have very different albedos.

      You would want to use ice area for that argument.

      • Less so at high latitudes due to the shallow angle (and weakness) of the sun

  4. “The results show that the Earth albedo has gradually fallen up to 1997, likely causing most of the global warming through 1998. Since 2001 the albedo increased rapidly, which has stopped the warming and resulted in the current global cooling. The recent dimming of the Earth is likely due to increased low cloud cover. The albedo is shown below.”

    From the web site:

    • Might make sense if temperatures had fallen back to 1980s levels

      • So, the climate is complex. We already know that.

      • jim2 | July 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm |

        No. We know the climate is complex.

        You know if you throw phrases around like “the climate is complex” you can confuse people and obscure the issue.

        Two entirely different things.

        When lolwot argues “Might make sense if temperatures had fallen back to 1980s levels,” that’s a linear argument on a linear timescale, and valid as the timescale he uses demonstrates no complex nature.

      • Iolwot

        Our temperatures in the UK are back to the 1730’s. Does that count?


      • Prolonged assymetry in the hemisphericality of sunspots may might maunder count.

      • climatereason | July 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm |

        Have you ever checked the trends in daily extremes in your little triangle of Europe back to the start of records?

        You know, from lowest daily minimum to highest adjacent daily maximum?

        Counted the rates of large vs small jumps and changes over time?

        Because you’re sure not back to 1730 by the measure of extremes.

      • bartr

        I’ve checked every day every month and every year of the CET record where available (monthly prior to 1772) to 1659 in our little corner of Europe which seems to have reasonable correlation with ‘global’ temperatures and paleo proxy records. I”ve also checked out the extremes. Thank you for asking.

      • climatereason | July 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

        So you’re intentionally under-reporting the results that defeat your claims?

      • BartR

        Claim? I merely said the temperature was back to that of the 1730’s.

        As a matter of interest, in 2010 the annual temperature was identical to the first year of the record in 1659. Its much too early to know if this is significant or merely a decade long downturn-according to the met office figures- that will reverse itself and revert to the 350 year long warming trend I have posted on before.

      • Yeah, well, Bart – lolwot doesn’t get to choose if the climate is linear or not, I dont’ care if his argument is linear – whatever that means.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      That’s an old graph from Enric Palle – Jim – it is out by at least a factor of 200%.

  5. David Wojick

    ICSC has published the first of a series of K-12 lesson plans on the climate debate. The lessons take no position, rather they show the debate and the science in action, via Google and Google Scholar search results. I am involved in this project, so happy to answer questions. We use what is called the inquiry method.

    This lesson is on solar activity as it may relate to GW.

    • David Wojick | July 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm |

      David, first question: what does the ICSC tell the kindergarten-age children of the victims of Lac-Megantic about the safety of shipping Bakken tarsand crude?

      Second question: if a child in grade four in Calgary tries to find his former home on Google Maps, does it show the new river where he once lived?

      • Naturally, Bart, you blithely ignore the benefits of shipping crude oil. Why don’t you lobby governments for more pipelines? They are safer, you know. Are you doing that, Bart? Think of the children.

      • David Wojick

        The funny thing Bart is that so far as I can tell you are not kidding. You have no concept of education.

      • D, C ‘Childhood’s End’. Lern mo.

    • jim2 | July 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm | is woefully incomplete and inadequate. shows almost two million non-unique hits, to get a better sense of what you’re calling ‘safe’, with no evidence that more pipelines leads to less trains.

      What leads to more trains is more favors from governments shirking their duty.

    • Steven Mosher

      david that’s a pretty pitiful lesson plan and approach.

    • David Wojick | July 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

      It doesn’t take a great educator to recognize someone who has no business being let near children at all.

      Teaching that science is a matter of debating better than rivals is ludicrously dangerous and wrong-headed. We know from the example of history countless examples of persuasive debate leading to nonsense disguised as science. This lesson plan is just another example of that practice.

      Science by Google search? You know of course that Google search results are readily manipulated by marketers. You ought to know this, many of the principles of the group promoting this material are professional marketers. Is this meant to be persuasion by authority? Argumentum ad populam? Teaching fallacious methods right out the starting gate is not going to engender fond feelings from sensible rationalists.

      As few children have the means to defend themselves from abuses of reasoning, and most children are forced by law to endure the barrage of any lesson plan under many forms of pressure, I find this attack on children you are part of to be particularly odious.

    • David –

      I am a fan of teaching about the debate – but there are some very problematic aspects of your curriculum, IMO. For example:

      …However, the Google search results also include political material, which may be unsuitable for classroom use.

      This seems very strange to me. Your document states that (with bold from the original):

      The goal is for them to understand that the debate is real.


      ??? You want them to understand that the debate is real, yet you are trying to avoid having them understand that politics are inextricable from the debate? You want them to understand that the debate is real, yet you want them to have a distorted and artificial perspective of the debate?

      Teaching about the debate, accurately, necessitates that you teach about the political influences on the debate. You need to place the debate in full context. The curriculum merely says that there is a debate, but there is no mention, at all, about the context. How could you possibly think that this curriculum treats the debate thoroughly without even mentioning the prevalence of opinion among scientists that are debating?

      You need to have more respect for your students as independent learners rather than as empty vessels to be filled with only a slanted or truncated or manipulated version of information controlled to eliminate the politics. Along similar lines:

      Also, the Google search results may still be too technical for the students’ level of learning.

      Are you trying to protect students from seeing information that might be more technical than they’re ready for? Do you think that you can perfectly match in information to each students’ level of sophistication? Do you think you somehow need to protect them against seeing information that might be slightly beyond their technical capabilities? This is a distorted viewpoint of education. You want students to be stronger as independent learners – which means you need to teach them what to do with information that may be more technical than what they’re ready for – not somehow try to determine exactly what level each student is at (or, as you seem to want to do, treat all the students as if they’re at the same level), and they keep them from seeing anything that doesn’t match your judgement of precisely what they should or shouldn’t be exposed to.

      After all, in the document itself, we see:

      The critical thinking that drives the debate results in scie
      ntifically healthy controversy, as competing hypotheses are proposed, criticized, and defended.

      It seems to me that the authors of this curriculum would benefit from studying more how to design curriculum so as to promote critical thinking.

      I will note, however, that on page 16 the assignments offered do ask students to conduct research that will help them to understand the debate in the full context. Similarly, Kudos for linking websites representing a variety of views. Demerits, however, for selectively warning against the potential for “unpleasant” comments at Skeptical Science. Seriously? You are going to ask students to conduct open research related to the debate about climate change and you’re going to selectively single out Skeptical Science for being “unpleasant?”

      I think that the authors of this curriculum should go back consider altering the curriculum to be less propagandistic. I know that you and your buds think that you need to level the playing field – but didn’t your momma ever teach you that two wrongs don’t make a right?

      • Oh, and one more thing –

        We see this syntax throughout the document:

        However, sometimes that correlation has not been strong, so the data is inconclusive

        You might also suggest to the authors that particularly since these are educational materials, they should edit for grammar more carefully.

      • in the Nautilus article, Firestein asks: “What can we depend on? Facts change, authority is unreliable, viewpoints are modified, consensus dissipates.” That is what we can depend on – change and uncertainty are constants. Attempting to deny or ignore that creates obstacles to progress and understanding.

        Or so I thought yesterday.

      • David Wojick

        How it is done is up to the teacher. We think the warnings are appropriate. Some might want to focus on the political aspects, or even the nastiness.

      • David –

        How it is done is up to the teacher. We think the warnings are appropriate.

        That’s a duck. Why are you “warning” teachers in that manner? Why are you recommending a distorted view on the debate?

        Again, I agree that “teaching the controversy” is entirely appropriate. I am offering criticisms related to pedagogy and accuracy. Don’t duck.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua, before you suggest people should “edit for grammar more carefully,” you should try learning grammar yourself. The syntax you claim is wrong is actually completely correct.

        Nitpicking is one thing. Nitpicking nits that exist only in your ignorance is quite another.

    • Steven Mosher

      David lets start with the basics

      Your first sentence

      “”At the frontier, science is a body of debate, not a body of established facts.”

      That view of the frontier of science is not an established fact. There is no “debate” in science, and at the frontier there is no lack of established facts. But from the first sentence of your lesson plan to the last you make this fundamental error. You mistake the mere fact of disagreement by anyone anywhere for the existence of a debate and you think that science is a debate. Its not.

      “Thus, we recommend that the students focus on the titles, not the content. Opening any specific item is likely to be a time consuming diversion. Many of the titles make clear that there is a question here; in fact, some titles are questions. These are good to focus on. Other titles assert opposite sides in the debate. All the students are expected to learn at this point is that there is a debate over an open question. The specific scientific issues are not part of the lesson, as many are quite technical. The students are seeing science in action.”

      1. you are teaching students that they can learn something from the title. I guess you belong to the John Cook school of understanding articles by reading abstracts.

      2. You are teaching that science is articles. It is not.

      Using google was a hilarious approach.

      you know at the frontier of science there is debate. Using google I found out that there is a debate about whether bush caused 9-11, about whether the buildings fell at free fall speeds. Lots of debate, lots of theories.

      • On this topic, can i recommend the following article Certainly Not!

        How should we convey these ideas to middle and high schoolers?

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Dr. Curry,

        Thanks for the link to that excellent essay. Perhaps a better title would be, “Certainty? Not!”

      • curryja | July 15, 2013 at 12:15 am |

        Of course, uncertainty in science can be abused and twisted to nefarious purposes. In his recent book, Golden Holocaust, Stanford historian Robert Proctor showed that tobacco companies willfully used claims of insufficient data and incomplete knowledge to block regulation of the sales of tobacco products. Indeed, most of the research showing that tobacco was harmful was paid for by the tobacco companies, with the knowledge that it would be very difficult to find a conclusive (that word again) causal effect between tobacco and cancer. Scientists still don’t know exactly how tobacco products cause cancer, merely that there is an overwhelming and highly predictable correlation between the two. As Proctor showed, tobacco companies persistently strove to keep the public in a state of uncertainty with the claim that more research was necessary.

        Parallels with the current debate over the effects of human activity on the world’s climate are obvious. There is little question that human activity is causing the earth’s atmosphere to warm up and that this will lead to changes in climate patterns. The precise nature of those changes, the level of warming that may be acceptable, and the ability to reverse the changes remain unsettled. There are conflicting models, but none of them suggest that anthropogenic warming is not occurring—only what the results of this warming will be and when precisely they will take effect. This uncertainty has given some industry leaders and politicians, with their own special interests, an opening to declare that global warming is not anthropogenic. This is not only disingenuous, it is damaging in the worst way because it creates a wrongheaded notion about science in the public mind.

        An interesting choice.. but I take issue with one unstated assumption (I take issue with a lot of the premise of the overall article, but since these paragraphs are on point, I’ll try to maintain some focus here): that there is some ‘we’ who have the right to impose the equivalent of second-hand tobacco smoke on the whole world, without obtaining consent to light up, without compensating the victims, without the least debate over that implicit assumption, when on every foundation of custom, law, sense and reason the assumption is invalid.

        So Stuart Firestein has doomed himself to not go far enough in his cases, to limit himself to the wrong side of the glass.

      • David Wojick

        You have a strange view of science, Steve, which is often reflected in your comments. As for Google, note the progression from Google, to Google Images of data, to Google Scholar to see the research. I think it is elegant.

      • m., much gas, the pearl is the google irony. Future Firefighters of America will be dispatched posthaste to ceremonially torch illegal search engines.

        Celsius Infiniti and Beyond!

      • Steven Mosher

        “You have a strange view of science,”

        Really, you think science is a debate. I think science is understanding world.
        You think there is a “frontier” of science where the is debate but no body of facts. I think science is always and everywhere connected to facts and at the frontier our understandings of the world are highly interchangeable. AT the frontier there are sometimes many ways of explaining the same facts. You misconstrue this as debate. It’s not.

        Second I followed your suggestion to google scholar. Number one item suggests george bush caused 911. There must be a debate. We should teach that debate in our history classes.

      • David Wojick

        Steve, the debates at the frontier are typically between alternative hypotheses, as well as regarding the interpretation of data. Some last a long time. Climate science is awash with these debates.

        We nowhere say there are no facts, that is another strange idea of yours. However there is considerable debate over what are in fact facts? The global temperature for example, or ice core based global CO2 levels.

        I am curious how you would teach the debate? The constraints are that you have just 35 minutes and you cannot use science beyond the grade level of the class (unless you first teach it which counts against your time limit). It is a real challenge. What is your approach?

      • David Wojick

        Steve, one other constraint is that the lesson has to be neutral among the contending parties. Teachers are being beat on by parents from both sides.

      • David Wojick | July 15, 2013 at 9:45 am |

        ..the debates at the frontier are typically between alternative hypotheses, as well as regarding the interpretation of data. Some last a long time. Climate science is awash with these debates.

        You have this very wrong. Alternative hypotheses are answered by Isaac Newton with the principle, Hypotheses Non Fingo. At the frontier of Science is data collection and inference, ideally without the bias of a preconceived hypothesis of any sort at all.

        There is no frontier otherwise, as all through Science there is space for inference and explanation, clarification and innovation and entertainment of new paradigms. That will happen taught or not. But to stress these holes as if they were the whole thing, these foibles as if they were the method? To give them equal footing with actual doing of Science?

        That is a gross assault on the integrity of the field, and ought be considered a nasty, low abuse of children in the education system.

      • David Wojick

        Steve, I do not understand how you are getting that 911 hit out of Google Scholar. The search string is . This link may work:

        The titles clearly reflect the issue.

  6. A reaction to extreme climate trends:

    Not quite $100 billion, but amazing how the hens come home to roost. Calgary, home of tarsand boosters has to write off substantial tracts of territory. New York and New Jersey, home of refineries, get hit by Sandy. New Orleans, sinking because so much oil has been pumped from beneath it, hit by Katrina.

    Sure, you could argue there’s little proof some of this is the directly attributable outcome of drill, baby, baby, drill and burn, baby, burn.. But who believes your invalid claims anymore?

    And what of the claims about where a US train run by a criminally negligent US company carrying US oil blew up one percent of the population of a Quebec town?

    That’s right. One in a hundred people just north of the border, incinerated by a deregulated Bakken tarsand train. The Pope held a mass about it. The president of France made a speech about it. And Barack Obama? Ignored it studiously as if killing fifty Quebeckers in one night wasn’t a US problem. The principle US response? The invalid claim that more pipelines would lead to fewer trains.

    Well, that’s totally false. The rate of rise of transport by train of dangerous volatiles coincides with the rate of building of pipelines. More pipelines builds more demand and facilitates more trains, while funding more lobbying to deprive the populace of protections.

    See, as a _min_archist, I loath excess government. But where deregulators remove the protections of simple common sense, and industries flagrantly leave almost 100 cars of Bakken crude on top of a mountain above a population center with no brakes and no crew as a matter of routine practice? That level of psychopathy demands governance, because it leads only to more litigation and hospitals, cemeteries and morgues, which is more government, not less.

    Burn, baby, burn? Drill, baby, drill?

    The ground in Lac-Megantic is so oil-soaked now that it’s uninhabitable by the remaining 5,940 citizens who weren’t cremated by US oil where they slept in their beds, under the same rules and deregulated practices that could affect anyone who lives or works within a quarter mile of a train track anywhere in the USA.

    And if you don’t think pipelines explode? When a train does this, the aftermath is compared to a war zone. When a pipeline explodes, they compare the melted-to-glass ground zero to the gates of hell.

    How much more dementedly indifferent to the value of human life does the fossil industry have to get before America gets even a little ashamed?

    • Milk the tragedy, Bart. It’s what leftist greenies do.

      • jim2 | July 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

        The first news stories milking the tragedy of Lac-Megantic were calls for more pipelines.

        See, I’ve lived in the Eastern Townships. I know people from this region. I’m speaking for their grief and loss, and I gain nothing from it, unlike those exploiters of their sorrows who seek to push more pipeline down our throats.

      • I’ve read Alinlsky’s Rules for Radicals. You may or may not know it, and it doesn’t matter either way, but leveraging tragedies is right out of his playbook. That would be Obama’s buddy who thinks it’s just fine to kill his own innocent countrymen in the name of politics.

      • Amazing how the ‘Progressive’s’ motivated reasoning works.

        They pretend to be concerned about the tiny land area disturbed by mining and don’t mention the huge land area that would be required for the renewable energy schemes they advocate: solar, biomass, wind, etc.

        And notice how biased an irrational is their use of fatalities to beat up their ‘doomsday cause:

        Chernobyl caused 28 immediate fatalities (i.e. died within 30 days of the accident) due to radiation (plus 2 killed in the explosion and one heart attack). Fukushima and Three Mile Island caused no immediate fatalities. yet these accidents are being continually held up by the anti-nuke ‘Progressives’ as reasons why nuclear power is “deadly dangerous”.

        Meanwhile the same number of fatalities (28) caused by the Quebec fossil fuel train derailment gets relatively little mention (compared with nuclear accidents) and will probably be off the radar in a short time.

        Just another example about how irrational are the anti-nuke ‘Progressives’.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘There is a lot of confusion about how many excess cancer deaths will likely result from the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine. There are two main sources of confusion: information that is confusing—and in some cases misleading—put out by authoritative sources, and large inherent uncertainties in estimates of the effects of the accident. Because of these inherent uncertainties, it is perhaps most appropriate to only cite order-of-magnitude results: the numbers of excess cancers and cancer deaths worldwide will be in the tens of thousands.

        However, based on the data given below, 53,000 and 27,000 are reasonable estimates of the number of excess cancers and cancer deaths that will be attributable to the accident, excluding thyroid cancers. (The 95% confidence levels are 27,000 to 108,000 cancers and 12,000 to 57,000 deaths.) In addition, as of 2005, some 6,000 thyroid cancers and 15 thyroid cancer deaths have been attributed to Chernobyl. That number will grow with time.

        Much lower numbers of cancers and deaths are often cited, but these are misleading because they only apply to those populations with the highest radiation exposures, and don’t take into account the larger numbers of people who were exposed to less radiation.’

        The 2005 UN report estimates 4,000 eventual deaths.

        Meanwhile the cancer cluster quandary continues.

    • My congratulations on your writing a wonderful piece of propaganda. Not science, but very effective. Of course, if there was no oil at all, then we would be back to the horse and buggy era. Oil provides the energy we need to preserve the standard of living I have learned to enjoy. Oil produces immense benefits as well as causing tragedies. I suggest more people would suffer if we did not drill, baby, drill, than if we did.

      A couple of comments. With respect to floods, our Federal Government, many years ago, analysed the Canadian topography, and designated certain lands to be flood plains. The government did not forbid building in flood plains; They merely made it clear that if anyone builds in a flood plain, they need to carry their own insurance. So the people who lost large amounts in the Alberta floods simply ignored what had been specified. I am afraid one cannot legislate people into not being stupid.

      The accident at Lac Megantic is indeed a tragedy. I do not have the figure for how much oil is lost in transit, but it is very small. We will learn lessons from this tragedy, and hopefully, the likelihood of a similar accident occurring in the future will be decreased. On a minor point, you seem to think the oil originated in the USA. I dont think so. At Estovan, Saskatchewan, we are extracting about 100,000 barrels of oil per day by frakking the Bakken field. I am pretty sure this was Canadian oil.

      • Jim Cripwell | July 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

        No oil at all? Horse, buggy, smartphone, internet, satellite, radio, electric car, compressed air car, LNG car, H2 car, carbamide car.. Oil provides many non-burning benefits: plastics, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, and all of them wasted by burning, made more expensive by using for fuel. Burning oil deprives the world of the measure of these better benefits that could be obtained. Your suggestion therefore of more suffering is therefore simply wrong. Drilling to excess, burning instead of building, deprives the future of these treasures.

        And you appear to be plentifully ignorant of Canadian laws and regulations about floods and insurance. Canadian law specifically exempts “overland flood damage”, no one in Canada can insure against it. It’s not available. The Canadian taxpayer backstops it all in federal flood relief by direct act of the Canadian Cabinet.. without vote in parliament.

        “Lac Megantic is indeed a tragedy. I do not have the figure for how much oil is lost in transit..”

        This is your concern? How much oil was lost in transit, and quibbling about whose oil each drop was? Not the human lives and suffering and permanent loss of habitability? Not that the ‘accident’ by US trainmen carrying US oil (Bakken straddles North Dakota and Saskatchewan, and is drilled by US oil companies and carried on US trains) that killed ONE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE was entirely avoidable by the application of brakes before they left their train on top of a mountain above the town entirely unattended for the night?

        I can tell you, the people of Quebec are blaming the USA.

    • steven mosher

      Its not just the oil industry. Its the meat industry. Those damn meat lovers and milk lovers its cows dammit.

      June 6, nr. Mansi, India: driver of train carrying over 500 passengers braked to avoid hitting a cow, causing train to plunge off a bridge into the Baghmati River; 268 passengers were reported killed, but at least 300 more were missing.

      And the damn cooking stove people

      Feb. 20, nr. Ayyat, Egypt: 361 killed in fire after gas cylinder used for cooking exploded aboard crowded passenger train. Egypt’s worst train disaster.

      its those damn bosses who demand that people be on time. let people be late to work!! procrastinators unite!

      April 25, Osaka, Japan: commuter train derailed and hit an apartment building near Osaka, killing at least 107 and injuring 460. It was the worst Japanese train accident since 1963. The accident was allegedly caused by the driver trying to get the train back on schedule

      Its the damn school bus drivers

      Nov. 17, Egypt: a train collides with a school bus near Manfalut and at least 50 children and the school bus driver are killed. More than a dozen people are injured.

      Ambulance chasing is a gruesome sport. You should try golf


      • steven mosher | July 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

        Ghoulish. Specious, but ghoulish.

        Accidents, especially due human foible, are accidents.

        A pattern of neglect and depraved indifference? That’s something else entirely.

        That you can’t tell the difference? What does that say?

      • Focus on the depraved indifference, Bart, and forget about the payback. It’s where your heart is anyway.

    • Pipeline exposions have mostly been gas pipelines or pipelines that have been compromised by theives. Pipelines are much safer transport for oil than trains. I might also add that trains carry cargo this is hundreds times more hazardous than crude oil.

      • jim2 | July 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm |

        Pipelines don’t only explode. Though, technically, the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill was an explosion in a pipeline, the Kalamazoo spill didn’t blow up at all. It just leaked and leaked, while the operators raised the pressure in the pipeline to compensate for the lack of flow.

        So while you assert that pipelines are much safer transport for oil than trains, by some cherry-picked standard that illustrates no knowledge of the engineering issues, we can look closer at your assertion of what may be more dangerous than oil by hundreds of times that also is carried by trains.. and why, while adding a thousand times as much flammable oil into the pre-existing dangerous mix as a mere two decades ago, the train industry has lobbied for relaxation of regulations on safety.

        It’s true, trains are coming off rather badly, even compared to pipelines. But since more pipelines leads to both more pipeline risk, and to more demand for shipping hazardous materials by rail, that’s a positive feedback that tells us less pipelines reduces the risk of rail by promoting safer alternatives to fossil fuels.

      • Bart – your fear mongering over crude oil is so touching. There are natural petroleum seeps in the ocean and on land. The environment already has means to deal with it – so should you.

      • jim2 | July 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm |

        Mongering fear?

        No, no. I’m furnishing yet again the evidence I continue to be challenged to produce of a cost of GHE.

        You can be as unafraid or as afraid as you like.

        Risk costs me money. Imposing risk on me takes money from my pocket.

        I want my money back from the pickpocket fossil industry.

      • So, Bart, when will you address the risk posed by militant Islamists? What about auto accidents? Falls from ladders? There is a lot of there there.

      • Bart – criminals kill, maim, traumatize, and rob tens of thousands of people a year. They yearn for you to act, Bart. Lean forward Bart.

      • Then, Bart, there are child molesters. What are you doing about them?

        There are so many ills in the world that you could address and the harm they do is much better characterized than two or three hundred parts per million man-converted CO2. You can’t attribute the climate to the CO2 or natural variability, yet you go on about it as if you could prove any of it.

        You’re a puzzle, Bart.

      • Not to himself, heh.

        I get a kick out of telling people that I always know what is in a wrapped package. After general scoffing, I’m quizzed, but with the ready answer: It’s a puzzle.

      • jim2 | July 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm |

        Was going to keep arguing against you, but you’re doing so much better a job of making your arguments look bad than I ever could, I’ll stop now.

    • “New Orleans, sinking because so much oil has been pumped from beneath it, hit by Katrina.”

      You have no shame, Bart. You will say anything, it appears.

      “Scientists have proposed several causes for subsidence in New Orleans. These causes range from natural ones, such as settling of coastal sediments and movement of the Michoud fault, to human ones such as draining wetlands, diverting sediment-bearing floodwaters from the Mississippi River, and pumping ground water.”

      “To make more room, engineers drained swamplands around the area so they could continue expansion. This drainage led to subsidence.”

      “A study by Roy Dokka of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Louisiana State University and submitted as testimony to the Subcommittee on Water Resources, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, places significant blame for recent subsidence on the Michould Fault, a normal fault that trends beneath the eastern portion of New Orleans. ”

      Wow! No mention of pumping oil. What will come around to you for saying things like this, Bart? I’m thinking no one will believe anything you say.

  7. Australia’s recycled Prime Minister “Rudd the Dudd” has announced he will dump the carbon tax and move quickly to an Emission Trading Scheme linked to the EU ETS.

    But a trading scheme cannot succeed for reasons explained here:

    No gain and lots of pain with the ETS

    • Peter congrats on the publication of your article in the Quadrant

    • Kevin Rudd’s record …a ‘Headline a Day’ as he leapt from iissue
      ter issue as a result of poorly judged policy decisions, here’s his
      record, and niw he’s back!

      • Beth,

        That excellent article by Professor Henry Ergas is behind a paywall, so I’ll post it (hope this is not a breach of etiquette). All of what follows is a quote:

        Kevin Rudd’s real record as PM speaks for itself

        ON April 20, 2008, 1000 of the “nation’s best and brightest thinkers” rose in stage-managed unison to give a triumphant Kevin Rudd a standing ovation. With the delegates to the 2020 Summit having agreed that 1 per cent of all public spending should be devoted to the arts and that every employer should be obliged to provide 30 minutes of free fitness training a day, the imagination had seized power. And Rudd, who had guided Labor out of the wilderness, was its messiah.

        Two years, two months and three days later, the Rudd prime ministership was no more. If his colleagues turned so spectacularly against the man they had hailed as their saviour, it was not in a fit of pique. Rather, it was because everything he touched turned to dust. And his mistakes not only doomed him but cursed his successor, leaving the nation with a trail of broken policies, unrealistic promises and crippling financial commitments.

        That Rudd would come unstuck was inherent in his approach, which was an imitation of Peter Beattie’s in Queensland: a headline a day, the impression of a problem fixed, and then rapidly move on before appearance and reality could collide.

        But what may succeed, at least for a while, in state government is hardly sufficient to cope with the challenges of running the country; and the problems were compounded by Rudd’s inability to work with his colleagues, his chaotic approach to decision-making and his lack of any stable, internally coherent, intellectual framework.

        He would demand advice and then ignore it; refusing to set priorities, he would leap from issue to issue, resolving none; and veering between indecision and excess, he could never steer a moderate course that allowed for adaptation as circumstances changed. Unwilling to rise above partisanship, his constant attempts to wedge opponents precluded building consensus on difficult issues, depriving him of political cover when it was most needed; insecure in his convictions, his preferred strategy was invariably the ambush, undermining the prospects of gaining agreement.

        The result was a sequence of ever more poorly judged decisions interlaced with erratic, poorly explained changes in stance.

        Although no single policy could possibly capture all of Rudd’s flaws, the response to illegal boat arrivals must come close. It is impossible to say what, if anything, he now believes, or has ever believed, about this issue. Alternating between hawk and dove, he campaigned in 2007 on a tough, “turn back the boats” line; but once in office, he made a virtue of dismantling the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, describing it as “just wrong” and inconsistent with “the humanity of the situation”.

        As boat arrivals picked up, he disregarded departmental advice and repeatedly denied there was any relation whatsoever between that increase and his scrapping of Howard’s policies. With detention centres overflowing, a de facto toughening was under way; but Rudd nonetheless went into the 2010 leadership challenge vowing that he would not “be lurching to the Right” on asylum-seekers.

        Lost in those U-turns was any understanding of why Howard’s approach had succeeded: his steadfast commitment to its implementation, which signalled to the people-smugglers that the government would do whatever it legitimately could to undermine their trade. Indeed, the most careful academic study of boat arrivals, by migration specialist Tim Hatton of the Australian National University, attributes more than half the fall in boat arrivals to the staunchness of Howard’s resolve and the clarity of the message it sent.

        But, craving approval, Rudd needed to be all things to all people: a humanitarian for those who advocated for refugees; tough-minded for the swinging voters in western Sydney. With their fine antennas, the people-smugglers saw through his inconsistencies; and by 2010, immense damage had been done. As the report of Julia Gillard’s expert panel on asylum-seekers noted, the people-smuggling networks had become deeply entrenched in the region. Gillard’s efforts were hardly up to the task of reversing that harm, which has imposed more than $10 billion in unnecessary public spending and will plague any future government.

        The same alternation between lofty rhetoric and indecisive, confused implementation destroyed Rudd’s climate change policy. Central to his 2007 campaign, it should have brought out the best in the man; instead, it brought out the worst.

        He could easily have secured broad-ranging agreement with Malcolm Turnbull on an emissions trading system early in 2009; his prolonged refusal to do so helped destroy Turnbull’s leadership and made Rudd dependent on the ever-intransigent Greens for Senate approval. But having insisted that an ETS had to be legislated before the December 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference, he then suddenly resiled from his commitment to press ahead with the scheme.

        Faced with a double dissolution he would likely have won, he clearly lacked the courage to push “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time” to the electoral test. As well as casting doubt on the sincerity of what he repeatedly portrayed as his most deeply held conviction, that meant postponing the issue’s resolution until long after the window of opportunity to build a consensus had shut; Gillard’s ham-fisted attempts to cope with that legacy contributed greatly to her eventual demise.

        But the fallout from the reversal on the ETS went further than that. For, having abandoned his flagship policy, Rudd tried to divert public attention by pledging to solve, once and for all, the funding of public hospitals.

        The proposed policy, which stripped the states of one-third of their GST revenues and of their primary role in channelling funds to hospitals, had been sprung on the premiers with little warning and even less consultation; it bore only the loosest relation to the analysis Rudd had commissioned from the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, and had never been mentioned in the discussions that followed the release of the commission’s final report.

        Yet Rudd gave the premiers merely five weeks to agree to his proposals, which entailed a fundamental change in the allocation of responsibilities in the Federation and a drastic revision to the GST. In the chaos that followed, neither Rudd nor any of his ministers had even bothered to speak to Colin Barnett; that failure, combined with the inherent deficiencies of the Rudd scheme, doomed the proposal, which required the unanimous approval of the states.

        This area too was therefore left almost completely bereft of achievements. Rudd had placed improved healthcare at the heart of his 2007 commitments; and he had even promised a constitutional amendment to “take over” the state systems if his proposals were rejected. As it turned out, however, he ignored the NHHRC’s sensible recommendations about long-term funding structures, while the ill-conceived spending programs he implemented proved inefficient and ineffectual, with waiting times for elective surgery actually rising.

        As a result, the task of securing an outcome with the states on health reform also fell into Gillard’s lap, leading to an agreement whose steps forward were bought at the cost of commonwealth financial obligations so large and open-ended as to be potentially ruinous.

        But the collapse of Rudd’s hospital funding proposal was trifling compared to the debacle of the resource super-profits tax.

        Rudd had wanted to go to the 2010 election with solid credentials on tax reform; additionally, the RSPT had the potential to wedge the Coalition while delivering a large revenue stream that could fund election promises. And coming a mere fortnight after the failure of his hospital reforms, the RSPT yet again served to shift the focus of attention from the latest fiasco.

        However, every aspect of the process that led to the RSPT was comprehensively mismanaged. Instead of releasing the Henry tax report for public discussion, thus giving time for its proposals to gain community acceptance and for glitches to be identified and addressed, Rudd sat on it for four months, unable to decide which of its recommendations would be worth pursuing.

        He did hold some discussion with the miners, who had been broadly supportive of a move towards a profits-based tax, assuring them no decisions would be taken without full consultation; but those assurances proved entirely false.

        Rather, in the worst error of political judgment since when Ben Chifley, without having adequately consulted his colleagues or worked through the consequences, told the press he would nationalise the banks, Rudd announced the RSPT as a fait accompli. But the mining tax he announced was little more than a theorist’s concept sketch; it was entirely unclear how it would be implemented.

        What was clear, however, was that it threatened to expropriate existing assets, bankrupt the industry’s more heavily indebted players and do serious damage to future investment. And it was also clear that Rudd didn’t understand the tax, was incapable of explaining it and was hopelessly confused about its implications. Faced with the predictable onslaught, his days were numbered, while the cause of tax reform was durably set back.

        Any account of Rudd’s record, however, would be incomplete without consideration of national defence. This area, too, had been central to the conservative image he sought to project in 2007; and yet again, promises that were barely credible when they were made were soon reduced to rubble.

        That is not to deny the valuable work done by the audit of the defence budget, which the Rudd government commissioned from George Pappas and McKinsey in 2008. And the goals of the defence Strategic Reform Program that came out of that review were feasible and desirable.

        But Rudd injected into the 2009 defence white paper future equipment purchases that dwarfed previous defence build-ups: the RAN alone was to acquire 12 conventional submarines, eight frigates and 20 multi-role offshore patrol vessels during the next 20 years. In each instance, the vessels were to be substantially larger and more sophisticated than those they replaced, and in the case of the submarines more numerous by a factor of two. Even if defence expenditure had increased as programmed in the white paper, the promised acquisitions would have been underfunded by close to 60 per cent.

        That programmed funding, however, never materialised. Merely eight days after seizing the headlines with the release of his “think big” defence strategy, Rudd slashed defence outlays in the 2009-10 budget, deferring 80 per cent of the much-touted increases into the never-never land beyond forward estimates.

        It is inconceivable that Rudd, when he appeared on talk shows promoting a “massive boost for Australian defence industry”, was unaware of the expenditure cuts that would be announced within a week. But even putting questions of simple honesty aside, the result was to throw defence planning into the complete disarray from which it is still struggling to recover.

        By most standards, failure in all these areas, which were the core of his 2007 campaign, would be a damning indictment. In Rudd’s mind, however, they are minor caveats on his success in responding to the global financial crisis: the froth, in Lenin’s phrase, on the tidal wave of history. And there can be no doubt that the GFC, which began in mid-2007 but only reached a crescendo in late 2008 and early 2009, posed significant risks to the Australian economy.

        Yet it was also apparent that we were relatively well placed to weather the storm: the banking system was fundamentally sound; labour market flexibility had not yet been undermined by the Fair Work Act; and China seemed likely to ensure its rapid growth continued, fuelling strong demand for our resource exports. Moreover, a flexible exchange rate, the very considerable scope for monetary easing provided by high real interest rates and the strength of the commonwealth’s fiscal position meant that should conditions deteriorate, there was every capacity to respond.

        All that ought to have encouraged an approach that was cautious and incremental, allowing policy adjustments as circumstances changed. Strengthening the case for such an approach were the risks highlighted in the recessions of the 1970s and 80s, when stimulus packages undermined the quality of public expenditure, locked in wasteful programs that proved difficult to eliminate and led to spiralling public debt.

        But a careful, deliberate response was not in Rudd’s DNA, much less in his perceived political interests. And, perhaps mindful of the long history of conflicts between prime ministers and treasurers, Rudd had chosen in Wayne Swan an adviser who was unlikely to displace his master, but whose understanding of economic policy was scarcely better than Rudd’s.

        After mounting the scare campaign to end all scare campaigns as to the severity of the crisis the economy faced, the second stimulus package Rudd and Swan devised committed public spending of unparalleled scale and duration. Filled with programs whose design would have disgraced a Third World government, the flaws in measures such as the home insulation scheme and Building the Education Revolution were obvious from the start. And the excuse of the GFC was used to justify a growing list of questionable interventions, stretching from Rudd’s $500 million Green Car fund to the infamous “Rudd bank” (with its potential liabilities of up to $26bn).

        It was not only the quality of public spending that suffered in the rush to distribute taxpayers’ money; it was also the integrity of public processes. The decision to bypass the Productivity Commission and instead rely on handpicked panels to recommend assistance to the car and textiles industries, and the spectacular rise in the number of exemptions granted from the requirement to file regulation impact statements, were symptoms of Rudd’s contempt for accountability mechanisms that had been respected by both sides of politics. But that disregard for proper process reached a peak with the $43bn National Broadband Network. In 2008, Rudd had solemnly promised “infrastructure decision-making based on rigorous cost-benefit analysis”. But the decision to proceed with the NBN, the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history, was made on the back of an envelope during a flight between Melbourne and Brisbane, with technical information gleaned from Wikipedia and costings based on rough (and seriously inaccurate) estimates for Britain.

        Given the failure to undertake even the most elementary of assessments, the missed milestones and cost blowouts that have plagued the NBN’s deployment could hardly be surprising.

        The process that led to the NBN was itself emblematic of Rudd’s style. In the lead-up to the 2007 election, Rudd and communications minister Stephen Conroy, in talks with Telstra, had given firm assurances, on a confidential basis, that Labor would proceed with Telstra’s planned fibre-to-the-node network; and Labor in fact campaigned on the basis of delivering such a network, at a cost to taxpayers of $4.7bn. Once in office, however, all bets were off, and a bungled tender process led to Telstra’s bid being disqualified and the other proposals judged inadequate.

        Good sense at that point would have suggested going back to basics; but incapable of admitting mistakes, much less correcting them, Rudd and Conroy chose to square the error, covering up the fiasco by mandating the most grandiose option available, imposing costs on taxpayers up to 10 times those of the FTTN.

        The excuse Rudd and Conroy gave was that building a government-owned NBN would avoid the need to make up to $20bn in payments to Telstra, which an FTTN, they claimed, would have required. But it was obvious that the alternative they had chosen did not avoid those payments, which ultimately have proved nearly as large as those envisaged for the FTTN (and which Telstra’s initial bid would have avoided entirely).

        Australia therefore was burdened with a venture that, whatever its technical attractions, competed with more worthwhile private-sector projects for scarce capital and skilled labour and was poorly planned, badly managed and massively costly.

        It would consequently be an understatement to say Rudd wasted a good crisis; rather, he used the crisis to wreak further harm. Quantifying the losses that has imposed on future taxpayers is not easy, but even ignoring the NBN, it is clear that stimulus-related expenditure decisions worth about $64bn since the 2008-09 budget were completely unnecessary, as they involved outlays after the economy had returned to trend growth.

        Taking account of the inefficiencies caused by the taxes needed to ultimately finance that amount, the reduction in private sector income is between $76.5bn and $95.6bn, while even with interest rates of 3 to 5 per cent the debt-servicing cost approaches $3bn a year.

        Adding just the predictable losses on the NBN, which are in the order of $18bn, those costs rise to between $94.5bn and $113.6bn, yielding an average reduction in private income under Rudd of about $785m for each and every week he was in office.

        Those costs will weigh on the Australian economy for years to come. Already unemployment is higher than it was during the worst period of the GFC; but the fiscal hole Rudd left means there is far less scope for boosting public spending than there was five years ago. And with interest rates at historic lows, so that monetary policy has little room to move, we are more vulnerable to global economic risks than at any time since the late 90s.

        The messiah of the 2020 Summit therefore proved a very inferior prophet. And most of all, he failed dismally as a leader.

        That is not because of any shortage of ability; on the contrary, his resources of energy, endurance and determination are second to none. But leadership requires more than an unusually elevated dose of political vitamins: it requires a disciplined intellectual framework that can shape an understanding of the past, underpin mastery of the present and guide the search to enlarge the future. Lacking that, no number of resurrections can transform persistent failure into enduring success. To believe otherwise is to court ultimate disaster, with nothing but disappointment along the way.”

      • Peter – “etiquette”? News Com’s lawyers letter is in the mail ;-)

        I think that Ergas’ article should be available to all Australian voters. It is astounding how he is reviled by almost everyone who has worked with him or knows him well, yet is beloved of electors without that knowledge. And very few electors would, unfortunately, aware of what Ergas describes. You are performing a public service here, though I expect that few Ruddites will read it.

        Question of the day: if Australia were a boat, would it sail best if it were Rudderless?

      • Thx Peter,
        It ‘s an excellent article. And thx fer yr paper in 3rd edishun
        Serf Under_ground.

    • Except Peter, that yout quoted experts say exactly the opposite – that it can work.

      What your point actually seems to be is this – please don’t let it work.

      Your hide-bound ideology is right at home in the minsicule libertarian echo-chamber that is Quadrant. Long may it remain Australia’s most pitiful and dogmatic political journal.

  8. Time to call it while it can still go wrong.
    1 maximum antarctic sea ice extent in 30 years coming up in next 2 months [guaranteed] making 2 years in a row of record highs.
    2 arctic Sea ice extent to follow an in between course this year with the average ice loss dropping to well under a million this year and improving over the next 3 years
    3 total sea ice to stay mainly positive for at least a year and then stay more on the positive side for the next 3 years.

    “Bart R | July 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm | ”
    If it is so cold that the ice is going out further in Antarctica it is not coming from the non melting continent. What 30 years of above average extents means is that there must be more ice forming on and around the Antarctic. When crude attempts are made to compare new gravity based ice assessments with past eyeball assessments of the volume of ice over Antarctica one should at least get the baseline to match.
    When the result goes against commonsense check your calibrations. The error is in the machine not the volume. Antarctic ice volume is up on the land as well[has to be]

    • angech | July 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm |

      Yeah. “Commonsense” in your case appears to be begging the question. Deciding based on your preconceived ideas that the Antarctic is doing what you hope for it to do that the measurements are wrong?

      That’s not any sort of sense at all.

      It’s very early days to call what’s happening in the Antarctic. The best explanation, the most universal, parsimonious, and simple explanation? Global warming.

  9. Open thread … opportunity. There’s an article in today’s Australian on “hate speech,” part of a long-running debate on freedom of speech, and limits to it. My response, which includes quotes of some points made:

    “Hatred is hatred, abuse is abuse. The first to suffer is the hater: you can be truly happy only with a calm, peaceful, harmonious mind, and a mind filled with hatred is far from peaceful. Similarly, you can suffer from abuse only if you accept it. By not accepting it, by “turning the other cheek,” your own mind can be filled with compassion for the unhappy abuser, you will not suffer.

    “This is not “growing a thick skin.” It is taking control of your own mind, your own reactions. The world will never be as we wish it, we can never have everything we want nor be free from unwanted happenings. When we accept this with equanimity, we can be happy; otherwise we will continue to make ourselves unhappy. (“Defend those who are bullied,” 15/7)”

    I noted to the editors that I’ve always defended those who are bullied or attacked, but I’ve done so without aggression, without fear or hatred. On many occasions, attackers have initially turned on me, then desisted from violence as I do nothing to feed it. No law can change this, only individuals can do so.

    I’ve mentioned Vipassana meditation on CE occasionally, in response to particular posts rather than proselytising. I recently came across an excellent talk given to Harvard Medical School’s Department of Continuing Education in 2007. The author, Paul Fleischman, is an eminent US psychiatrist and writer who has practised Vipassana since 1974. Paul and his wife were appointed as teachers by my teacher S N Goenka, with a focus on addressing academic and professional audiences about the technique. The talk is at .

    On occasion kind CE posters have expressed appreciation for my comments. This talk is of far more value than anything I have contributed here.

    • +100.97

      • Peter, today is not a day to be nice to those of the English persuasion.

      • I Agree. I’ll deduct 1. Therefore:

        + 99.97

      • Considering the ongoing debate, controversy and lack of consensus about the fact Australia lost the 1st test with just 15 runs left to score (is that statistically significant?), and the unresolved issues raised by mosomoso about being nice to those of English persuasion, I think it is appropriate that I deduct a further 0.03 from the revised mark of 99.97 I awarded Faustino for his comment. That makes the rfevised score 99.94 which, just by chance, happens to be the same as Donald Bradman’s life time batting average.

        Bradman’s career Test batting average of 99.94 is often cited as statistically the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport.

    • The ideas of Vipassana are valid and valuable and I for one can appreciate what practictioners are trying to achieve, but I also believe that all individual are unique and their experiences are coloured by the lenses of their perception.

      Gandhi exemplifies how the power of mind over matter can not only bring about lasting and positive change in one’s personal life but also contribute significantly to the advancement of societies.

      • Peter D, it’s true that we are unique and that our experiences are coloured by the lenses of our perception. It is also true that all living beings are the same in being composed of phenomena, sub-atomic particles, which arise and pass away with great rapidity, and that the mind and body are closely interrelated – everything that arises in the mind gives rise to a sensation on the body.

        Vipassana trains you to observe the sensations which constantly arise on the body as they are, not through our personal lenses, and to understand their true nature, which is the same for all beings – impermanent, essenceless and giving rise to suffering. The suffering arises through our reactions to the sensations, and the process of choiceless observation of the sensations, without reaction, gradually frees us from the habit pattern of reaction.

        This is not “the power of mind over matter,” it is a process of observing nature and leaving the results to it. This is not about “the ideas of Vipassana,” Vipassana is a technique, a process, the words/ideas are a way of communicating it but are not Vipassana. Vipassana “contributes significantly to the advancement of societies” as the process frees practitioners from ego and selfishness and naturally leads to people serving others harmoniously and with increased productivity.

        But this can be known only through practice, not through the intellect.

      • Faustino, I agree with everything you have said and the training in the Vipassana process will undoubtedly will be of inestimable value.

        As a deaf person (over 90 decibel loss) I enjoy the silence when not using my hearing aids and my wife envies this, especially during the child raising period of our lives.

        Vipassana will pass on such an ability to be “deaf” to any serious practitioner.

        The present generation has far too much “noise” to contend with and generally don’t have time to reflect properly at all.

    • In saying “Hatred is hatred,” I was opposing the tendency of many (including the author of the article to which I responded) to classify “hatred” in terms of particular manifestations of it, e.g. “race hate crimes.” The origin is in the hater’s psyche, the object is secondary, and trying to distinguish and grade objects is meaningless. It’s like addiction, it’s pointless to focus on the manifestation, alcohol, drugs, gambling or whatever, addiction is addiction, the object is secondary, and we are better to treat addiction or hate holistically rather than via the particular object of focus. In all cases, what is needed is to change the habit pattern of the mind. Vipassana is the only technique I know which does this via the deep unconscious from which harmful volition arises, rather than solely via the surface level of the mind, which is ineffective.

    • mosomoso, here I am with a post aimed at promoting peace and harmony, on a day when Englishman Chris Froome and Australian Richie Porte combined to great effect to increase Froome’s Tour de France lead, and you say that it “is not a day to be nice to those of the English persuasion.” I don’t understand your beef, though I’m sure it doesn’t come with Yorkshire pudding. I can only put it down to your broad sense of humour. ;-) Or to the fat lady and ‘er son singing a different tune. Stop swanning about, let me cook you a placatory meal.

      • Faustino

        I am sure that great peace and harmony is prevalent in both our great countries. In England we are celebrating our win in the Ashes. In Australia they will surely be raising a glass to our cricketers and saying cheerily ‘well done lads’ the better team won’ in that spirit of aussie magnaminity we have come to expect…

        They should of course also be toasting their own teams future prospects as they contemplate their fine young players that are coming of age on this tour.

      • Tony,

        It’s a little early fer me to raise a glass but an hour
        from now I shall toast the Enclish Cricket Team and
        say ‘Well done!’

        Beth a -churl – eshewing – churlishnes,

      • Wasn’t it the Buddha who said if you meet Chris Broad in the road you must punch him out? He said something like that.

        There’s another saying: the tail wags the dog – twice!

      • mosomoso

        I thought Broad behaved badly but having then seen a montage of Aussies who didn’t walk….

        On something blatant like that I think not walking sets a bad example but sadly it seems to be endemic in the ‘professional’ game. And as with footballers what the professionals do today the kids will surely follow tomorrow.

      • Interesting game and the better team won. The Aussie batsmen need to work harder if they are going to cut the mustard this (English) summer!

      • Wouldn’t it be good if cricket was like climate, and you could just abolish the past. Then we could all get along nicely with one another. If someone mentioned Bodyline or Underarm, you could just say there was no satellite record that they ever happened. (Not that Underarm matters. We were only bowling at Kiwis. But Bodyline!)

      • mosomoso, “the past is another country.” Probably New Zealand.

      • F, can’t plumb the depths, still struggling on the surface, clinging to the wreckage.

  10. I like to follow figures on monthly extremes where they are available. Not that anything we say about about climate goes much beyond factoid and speculation – that word “extreme” gives acres of play for those who like to play! – but provable sustained extremes are going to be more interesting than brief ones.

    Here’s an interesting fact, which reminds us of how awkward a place Eastern Oz was in the half century between the Federation drought and the big wets of the 1950s:

    In my part of NSW, every single month except one set its record average max between 1910 and 1919. The exception is August, which was hottest in 1947. Our record dry months all occurred between the 1880s and 1950s. It’s just as well we were relying on a timber industry, which can be made easier by constant dry conditions.

    Well, as you can guess, the climate changed. After we had experienced three serial inundation years in the 1890s, floods, while still happening, went out of the main picture. Then our dry half-century ended with the massive floods of 1949 and 1950, though our wettest year was to come in 1963.

    Of course the “extreme” and “super” El Nino conditions of 1982-1983 were near the start of drier years (with dramatic exceptions, this being Oz), and oceanic winds lost dominance. Then some climate worm turned after 2007, bringing back the 50s pattern of cooler summers and wetter winters, with oceanic winds dominant again. But then we had that short but nasty heat wave and drought at the end of 2012….

    Bloody climate change. If they could slow the rise of oceans after the 1860s, surely they can fix the rest. Tax something! Elect someone! Fund someone or something! It’s about the children!

  11. OK, who stole Bart’s meds? It is morally wrong to prank the mentally unstable.

  12. Just ask yourself what an emissions trading scheme is all about. It’s a so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one

    • Girma, the chief economist of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted in Thursday’s Australian that “Those who portray the Emissions Trading Scheme as a market mechanism should take a closer look at it. In practice it is no more than an artificial construct of government, which sets all the rules about permit allocation and coverage and can change them at any time. It raises the question what part of the European economic model, with all its rigidities and regulation, has been so successful that it should be copied in Australia?”

  13. Judith recommended this article:

    Certainly Not!
    Philosophy: Good science requires cultivating doubt and finding pleasure in mystery.

    This article is excellent. It demonstrates how poles apart are science and policy development.

    Science continues asking questions indefinitely. There is no project. There are no constraints such as: requirements, time limits, or budget.

    Policy, on the other hand, has to be practicable. It has to achieve a result. Policy development has to develop and implement a policy that will, hopefully, survive until it achieves the benefits it was claimed it would achieve.

    “Did you ask any good questions today?”

    OK. I have some questions:

    1. What are the quantifiable, measurable benefits of the Australian ETS?

    2. How much difference will the Australian ETS make to the climate?

    3. How much difference will the Australian ETS make to sea level?

    4. What is the probability that the world will implement a global ETS?

  14. Delingpole has articles on UK AGW/energy policy in the DT and Daily Mail. From the latter:

    Thousands of dirty diesel generators are being secretly prepared all over Britain to provide emergency back-up to prevent the National Grid collapsing when wind power fails. And under the hugely costly scheme, the National Grid is set to pay up to 12 times the normal wholesale market rate for the electricity they generate.
    … The scheme is expected to cost £1 billion a year by 2015, adding five per cent to energy bills.

    This scheme is a direct consequence of the renewable energy policy adopted by the Coalition but first developed by Tony Blair in response to EU renewables directives to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
    As more and more wind turbines are built to replace fossil fuels, so the National Grid will become increasingly unstable because wind power is intermittent, unpredictable and unreliable.–insane-true-eco-scandals.html

    • What we need is a UK wide power failure lasting a couple of days. That’ll show em. And wake up the whole developed world to the stupidity of wind power, solar power, carbon pricing and all irrational ‘Green’ policies.


      Why don’t they clean up those generators. Give ’em a good scrubbing.

      Seriously, what the hell is Delingpole talking about? Doesn’t he know the country has millions of diesel-powered vehicles on its roadways. What difference will a relatively small number of back-up diesel-powered generators make?

      • Max_OK, you write “Seriously, what the hell is Delingpole talking about? ”

        You are missing Delingpole’s point. The UK government has committed itself to “green” power, particularly wind turbines. As a result there looks like there is going to be a shortage of electricity when, over the next few years, old coal plants and the like, are decommissioned. What will replace them to fill the gap? What Delingpole is saying is that the plan is to fill the gap with diesel power. Which is considerably dirtier that coal fired plants using the latest clean technology.

      • max_ok, the diesel engines he’s talking about don’t drive trucks, they’re the size of trucks, which will be running at full power, 24/7 while the wind isn’t blowing. And we’re not talking about a few, we’re talking about tens of thousands.

      • Of course the back-up diesel-powered generators are larger than those used in cars and trucks. How much more diesel fuel will these back-up generators use per year than is now being used in the UK in all diesel applications?

      • Max, as Jim pointed out, you’re missing the point. What’s the point in shutting down gas and coal power stations, only to replace them with ‘dirtier’ diesel generators?

      • Jim, I’m not missing Delingpole’s point. I believe his point is overblown.

        I believe you are mistaken about diesel power being considerably dirtier that coal fired plants using the latest clean technology. Where did yo get that idea?

      • Max_OK, you write “Where did you get that idea?”

        From what I have read (I have no personal information), new clean technology for coal produces almost nothing else, other than CO2. Diesel is internal combustion, which produces all sorts of pollutants.

        As to Delingpole’s being overblown. This is a political issue. The UK government promised “clean” electricity. They seem to be delivering “dirtier” technology. Can a broken political promise be overblown?

      • Jim and Max

        My graph below sums up the problem here in the UK

        Temperatures have been falling sharply for a decade at exactly the time prices have risen sharply partly as a result of retiring our coal fired power stations in order to pursue the govt clean energy policy that relies on medieval windmills and solar farms, quite unsuited to the UK climate.

        We are therefore being hit by a quadruple whammy, increased cold, increased costs, increased need for energy to keep warm and decreased availability of supply that the official energy watchdog believes means we will have power cuts within three years.

        Personally I would be perfectly happy with more coal fired power stations plus nuclear. The diesel generators are very much an emergency stop gap..

      • Jim Cripwell said on July 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

        “From what I have read (I have no personal information), new clean technology for coal produces almost nothing else, other than CO2. Diesel is internal combustion, which produces all sorts of pollutants.”

        Sorry, Jim, but I’m not buying that without evidence.

      • Re climatereason’s post on July 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

        Toni, the diesel back-up generators for wind power are just peaker power plants. In the U.S. peaker power plants are run when there is a temporary surge in the demand for electricity, such as that caused by the need for more AC on a very hot day. I don’t know if conditions in the UK call for the use of peaker power plants, but if so, you may have them. My point is peaker power is nothing new.

        BTW, isn’t the UK currently experiencing warmer than usual weather?

      • Max_OK, as we speak, wind is producing a shade over 1GW out of an installed wind capacity of 8GW, and the total power demand is just on 40GW. And this is a fairly average day, windwise.
        And BTW, at the moment we’re having decent summer weather – which makes a welcome change from the wet, grey and chilly summers we’ve grown accustomed to – so I suppose you could call it warmer than usual, for the wrong reasons.

      • Max

        ‘Peaker’ power on this scale is new to us as we have a sophisticated national grid system and until the last decade sufficient power to supply it.. Its an insurance policy for when the power runs low.

        Here is the Energy watchdog report.;

        One of the problems is an increasing reliance on renewables and belief that an attempt to convert our largest coal fired power station to run on wood chips imported from America is any sort of sensible energy policy. Even WWF are aghast at this misguided attempt to go green at any price.

        Yes, we are having a warmer than usual spell. Our warmest since…..2006!!!

        Which just illustrates how bad our weather is and the idea of running solar parks in a country with some 1100 hours of sun in the north and 1700 hours here in the ‘sunny’ south west is misguided and expensive


      • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist, etc.

        Tony said (regarding the plite of the Brits):

        “We are therefore being hit by a quadruple whammy, increased cold, increased costs, increased need for energy to keep warm and decreased availability of supply…”

        Maybe England will become on of the first countries to be largely abandoned becasue of climate change. Only the heartiest and most self-reliant will stay behind to carry on the great tradition of English tenacity and dogged determination. Afterall, they never give in:

      • R Gates

        New topic-‘Britain-the first nation of climate change refugees?’

        I’m still offering promoting the chance to participate the ‘swap energy bills with a British buddy’ scheme.

        I reckon Mosh will be a certainty to join and I have great hopes for MaxOk too.. Should I pencil you in?

      • R Gates, Churchill also said, “We will fight them on the beaches,” the thought of being on those English beaches in mid-“summer” is probably what led the Germans to abort their invasion plans in 1940.

    • Faustino quoting Delingpole:

      “Thousands of dirty diesel generators are being secretly prepared all over Britain to provide emergency back-up to prevent the National Grid collapsing when wind power fails …”

      The fact wind-power needs back-up generators is no secret, so I’m not sure what kind of secrecy Delingpole is talking about. Maybe he means there is a conspiracy to provide generator back-up with oil-burning diesel engines rather than coal- or gas- fired turbines. But that would be silly secrecy since the diesels are obviously better for back-up ( you don’t have to wait for water to heat). Of course some types of turbines can be fired directly with gas (no need to heat water) but so can diesel engines.

      But Delingpole could mean something else. He could mean the diesel generators will be secretly hidden so the public won’t know these machines exist or where they are located.
      Well, that will no longer be a secret when they start-up.

      Does anyone else care to speculate on what Delingpole means by “diesel generators are being secretly prepared” ?

      • The big secret is them hiding this and other little details from the public – like what it’s actually going to end up costing them.

      • The UK government has a secret plan to harm UK citizens? Damn !

      • You have an uncanny ability to twist words around. You should go into politics

  15. From traditional physics:

    Temperature of the Earth with full atmosphere: 15°C
    Temperature of the Earth without any atmosphere at all: -18°C
    Compare with the Moon without atmosphere: -23°C

    Temperature of the Earth with full atmosphere, mainly nitrogen and oxygen, but without water, think deserts: 67°C

    Where is the AGW Greenhouse Effect of “without greenhouse gases, radiant heat absorbers, the Earth would be -18°C, these warm the Earth 33°C to 15°C”

  16. David Wojick

    I have a recent blog article on my science of complex issues that may be of some interest.

    The climate debate is one of the most complex ever seen, due in part to the complexity of the climate itself. Then too the policy implications are so great that every aspect gets probed in depth.

  17. Do any readers have experience with geothermal energy for homes?

  18. Re climatereason’s post on July 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Toni, thanks for the link to the report.

    The Guardian had an article on wind farms complaining to OFGEM about being treated unfairly because transmission charges are based on distance. I’m not sure why they think it’s unfair, since there’s some loss of energy through transmission, but maybe the charge is greater than the value of the lost energy.

    • Max, transmission costs are a major part of electricity prices – about 40-50% in Australia, where companies have “gold-plated” new lines in response to government requiring compensation for loss of power. The system here is built to cope with a few hours of peak demand in hot weather, the high costs of providing that security of supply are met through higher prices. The location of many wind farms means that they will require new transmission lines, cost recovery will be related to the length of the lines. This is likely to be much more significant than any energy losses.

    • Windmills turning in
      the breeze, cold front comes, wind drops,
      powers off, plebs freeze.

    • Two amusing things about the newscientlist article are 1. It concedes that the Little Ice Age was caused by the Maunder Minimum sunspots, something that I suspect but am unready to concede, and 2. They talk of sunspots without mentioning Livingston and Penn.

      The ironies are quite uproarious. Even better, B Gates was pushing that article recently, too.

      Pay attention to the prolonged hemispherical asymmetry of the sunspots during the Maunder Minimum.

  19. Oh dear, what has happened the Slate?
    Did the Koch brothers buy it?

    The Gas Is Greener
    “Britain’s shale gas can provide energy security and jobs, and it’s cheaper than offshore wind. ”
    “This is just one example of current climate policy’s utter remove from reality—and not just in the U.K. We are focusing on insignificant—but very costly—green policies that make us feel good, while ignoring or actively discouraging policies that would dramatically reduce emissions and make economic sense.”

    Linked from:

    It’s like some article from Forbes, but even less lefty crazy.
    Was it some kind of mistake, or has Slate somehow lost it’s

  20. “Last week, the Arizona Public Service Company, the largest electric utility in Arizona, asked state utility regulators to raise electric rates for residential customers who install solar photovoltaic systems at their homes.

    Stated in more technical jargon, APS, a privately-owned subsidiary of Pinnacle West, filed a request with the Arizona State Commission to modify the rules for net metering for its residential electricity customers.

    Under the amended tariff, APS customers who install solar systems at their homes would either agree to pay an additional $50 to $100 for grid supplied electric power or agree would charge residential customers or accept a substantially reduced credit for any electricity they sell back to the power grid.

    Currently, APS’s customers with grid-tied solar PV systems receive the full retail rate for any power they sell back to the grid. Under the new rules, they would be paid only about one third of the retail rate – or, $0.04/kWh.”