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The Carbon Tax and Other Threats

The start of the carbon tax and its implications has naturally attracted most media attention. But some commentators are now also focussing on the policy adopted by both major parties to provide 20 per cent of energy from so-called renewables by 2020. My letter below draws attention to the absurdity of such policies, as does Andrew Bolt in a commentary in today’s Herald Sun.

Taxpayer funds are also being extensively used (wasted) in grants for research on supposed potential problems arising from the claim that we face dangerous global warming. Thus we continue to see regular publications by groups of scientists who receive such grants and who contrive to identify threats of various kinds. SBS TV has given extensive coverage in the last two night’s news (sic) to the supposed threat identified by a group of scientists (apparently in the US) resulting from an increase in extreme events such as droughts and hurricanes and floods. As pointed out in the weekly letter distributed by Heartland in the US, the very hot weather recently experienced there reflects a natural occurrence.

We have also experienced coverage in The Australian and on ABC TV of the supposed identification by a group of expert (sic) scientists here that we face an enormous increase in coastal flooding. This conclusion is reached even though the group says it assumes only a relatively small increase in sea levels by 2100. My colleague Bill Kininmonth (a real expert) took up the issue and managed to obtain some coverage in the letters columns of The Australian (see below). Apart from questioning the conclusion, Bill refers to the grants system that keeps these scientists going.

I should also mention the excellent lecture I attended (sponsored by the IPA) by visiting Canadian analyst Donna Laframboise. She has done very extensive research on the various claims by the IPCC, such as that its analysis is all peer-reviewed by expert scientists, and she shows that these claims are either false or grossly exaggerated. I hope to circulate the script of this lecture.

Finally, the non-outcome of RIO+20 has prompted the IPCC Chair to say that governments can no longer be relied upon to agree on the right policies: instead we must appeal to people power! Here is what he has said.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri: Time to forget governments and use people power to fight climate change ( Ed King (RTCC, 2 July 2012).

Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that the experience of Rio proves that the political will to take action simply isn’t there – and argues that a new form of activism is the only answer.

“I would submit that the time has come that we shouldn’t really wait for governments,” he said.

“Governments will of course have to play their own role – but what we really need to rely on is creating awareness among the people, so that each one of us in our own way should start treating this problem as serious – and meeting the challenge that confronts us today.

“Climate change was officially not on the agenda for Rio, but there is no getting away from the fact that everything that is being discussed [in Rio] is intimately connected with climate change.

“So I think it would be totally unrealistic to believe that we can talk about a green economy, sustainable development or the problem of poverty without dealing with the issues connected with climate change.

“Climate change is in a sense the 10-tonne gorilla which is in the room and you’re not going to get rid of him easily.”

The IPCC will publish its 5th Assessment Report in 2013.

Des Moore

Shelve RET policies
(letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 12 July 2012.)

Why has Prime Minister Julia Gillard asked the Climate Change Authority to review the bipartisan policy to reduce emissions of CO2 by aiming to supply 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources (RET) by 2020 (“Green power under scrutiny”, July 11)?

It is already well established that wind and solar power provide a grossly inefficient source of energy as their intermittent nature requires extensive duplication from coal or gas-fired power.

Indeed, as indicated in an analysis in Quadrant for July-August, the decision by South Australia to spend $3 billion on wind power (which now supplies 17 per cent of electricity) and to supplement it via gas turbines is already imposing considerable additional costs on the state’s economy and households.

If continued Australia-wide, such policies will add further to the already large increase in household electricity prices (40 per cent since 2007).

While the much quoted Treasury modelling suggests there will be only a one-off increase in household prices of 0.7 per cent from the carbon tax, this takes no account of price increases that will come from renewable energy target-generated increases.

Given that other major emitters of CO2 are not signing any international reduction agreement, it is surely common sense for both major parties to minimise further price increases and maintain efficient energy supplies by abandoning RET policies until such agreement is reached.

Des Moore, Institute for Private Enterprise South Yarra Vic

Abbott a hypocrite in carbon debate

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, July 12, 2012

TONY Abbott is finally making the killer point about the carbon dioxide tax.

Trouble is, it's the same point that makes his global warming policy seem crazy, too.

"It will raise every family's cost of living, it will make every job less secure, but it won't help the environment," the Opposition Leader said two weeks ago.

And to prove this was a rehearsed attack, his deputy, Julie Bishop, repeated it twice this week.

"The terrible hoax in all of this is that it will have no environmental gain. So, it's all economic pain, no environmental gain."

Spot on, sister. But, er, right back at you..

Yes, Labor's tax on carbon dioxide emissions, green power and $10 billion "clean energy" slush fund will do almost zero to the climate.

At the most, it will lower the world's expected temperature by just 0.0038C - essentially nothing - by 2100. And that's provided we keep spending these billions every year for a century.

That isn't my figure, but that of warmist Professor Roger Jones, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, using the most generous assumptions to work out the gain from the pain of Labor's plan to cut emissions by 5 per cent by 2020.

This is one of the three facts about this tax that makes it so toxic to Labor. The tax isn't just a lie ("there will be no carbon tax") and a pain. It is also completely, utterly useless.

Many Australians seem to have suddenly worked this out, too, yet the Opposition has been too scared until now to exploit it.

Reason? Because guess which other party also promises a 5 per cent cut? Guess which party also plans to spend billions to make zero difference?

In fact, Bishop's attack on Labor's policy applies precisely to the Liberals': "The terrible hoax in all of this is that it will have no environmental gain."

True, the Opposition says it will cap spending on its "direct action" policies to "just" $10.5 billion by the end of the decade.

That's less than Labor's splurge, but it's as wasted and ripe for rorting, with big grants to be thrown at mad emissions-cutting schemes, from burying carbon to turning farmland into forests.

Nor is that the full measure of the Opposition's stupid waste, since it still backs the renewable energy targets that have us paying billions extra for solar and wind power.

And what difference will all this make to the temperature? Like Labor's scheme, zero.

So why is the Opposition now attacking the uselessness of the Government's carbon tax when it's as guilty?

Well, Abbott is pretending he's making a different point - that the Government's scheme won't actually cut Australia's emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, but raise them by eight.

The reason is that of the 160 million tonnes a year of emissions Labor plans to cut by 2020, up to 100 million tonnes will be emissions we'll pay foreign companies to cut on our behalf, while we gas on.

So we'll send $3.5 billion a year (and rising after 2020) to companies in places like China, India and - bet on it - Nigeria, which offer you-beaut emissions-cutting schemes such as closing down old power stations they swear they'd have probably kept going otherwise, or saving forests they claim they were about to chop down. Wink.

No one yet knows how all this dodgy trading will happen and how it could ever be policed but, if it did work, Labor could rightly claim we are, indeed, cutting emissions, if not exactly our own. Doesn't matter to the planet who actually makes the cuts.

What's more, Labor can boast that paying the Third World to (pretend to) make the cuts for us will

probably be cheaper than paying Australian carpetbaggers instead, as the Coalition intends.

So Abbott's claim that Labor won't actually cut emissions is trickery, much like the Coalition's entire global warming policy, really.

If you think I'm too hard, try asking Abbott the question - I can't get Labor to answer, either: by how much will

your billions of dollars cut the temperature?

A refusal to tell will say all you need to know. Abbott's scheme is as pointless as Labor's.

Still, at least he seems to know it, which is our best hope.

Coastal Flooding & Grants for Climate Research

LAST POST (The Australian)

John Hunter’s clarification about how predictions of future flooding are made (Letters, 9/7) does not inspire confidence. The predictions are made using inferences, not models. Is this science at its best?

William Kininmonth, Kew, Vic

Peer-reviewed flooding

The Australian, July 06, 2012

IT'S strange that John McLean should claim (Letters, 5/7) that the statements about coastal flooding in our recent research report have not been peer reviewed ("Coastal flooding may rise 2000-fold", 4/7).

The headline was based on our report which clearly references the source document. This paper appeared online last year and in print earlier this year in the respected peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change. Also this result was based on observations, not models.

John Hunter, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Hobart, Tas

From: William Kininmonth []
Sent: Friday, 6 July 2012 6:17 PM
To: 'Des Moore'
Subject: RE: Coastal Flooding


The Co-operative Research Centre is one of the about 50 CRCs in Australian universities that receive special government funding for an area of research that is supposed to have particular significance and importance to Australia and its economy. Each CRC receives initial funding from government and an outside organisation(s) as seed money for a few years after which they should be self-supporting from industry grants. From what I can see most are established with a fanfare, often the ‘outside organisation’ is another government agency or CSIRO and the CRC folds once the government funding is withdrawn.

I saw mention of the report elsewhere but had not registered the essential low projected rise that would give such ‘flooding’. My response continues to be that the historical rate of sea level rise is less than 2mm per year giving an elevation of 20cm over the next century; we coped with that in the past and likely will cope in the future. There is no evidence that sea level rise is accelerating.

I saw the letter from Hunter in today’s Australian. I sent in the following response:

Climate Scientist’s new skills - observing the future!

John Hunter’s assertion (Letters 6/7) that his predicted 2000-fold increase in coastal flooding is ‘based on observations, not models’ invites a question. What instruments are used to observe these future floods?

Coastal flooding may rise 2000-fold

Matthew Denholm, Tasmania correspondent, The Australian, July 04, 2012 12:00AM

Source: The Australian

MANY Australian cities can expect regular coastal floods by the end of the century because of rising sea levels, with Sydney facing a 2000-fold increase in such events, a report suggests.

The projections are revealed in a new stocktake of global knowledge on rising sea levels released yesterday by Australia's Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre.

As well as concluding that melting ice has replaced warming seas as the main contributor to rises, the study meshes tide and storm-surge data with sea-level projections to predict the frequency of coastal floods.

In Australia, this work suggests that the most severe increase will be along the eastern seaboard, where waters have warmed because of changes in the east Australian current.

Based on what the authors describe as conservative interpretations of the International Panel on Climate Change sea-level projections, it suggests that Sydney could expect a 2200-fold increase in coastal flooding by 2100. Other population centres projected to be hardest hit include Melbourne (140-fold increase), Bundaberg (260-fold), Hobart (240-fold), Burnie (200-fold), Darwin (260-fold), and Townsville (95-fold).

Co-author of Report Card: Sea Level Rise 2012 and ACECRC sea-level rise expert John Hunter said there would be an average 300-fold increase in coastal flooding nationally by 2100. "This means that a (coastal flooding) event which presently only happens on average once every 100 years . . . will happen several times a year," he said.

This was based on sea levels rising 50cm by 2100 rather than the 80cm some studies suggested after factoring in potential additional ice-sheet melt. Dr Hunter said the 50cm projection was applied to historic data on tides and storm surges collected at 26 tide gauges around the country.

Australia was close to the global average for projected coastal flooding, while some regions, such as parts of the Baltic and Alaska, would not be vulnerable to rising sea levels this century due to the compensating effect of upwards movement of land.

The study concludes that since about 2000, the melting of glaciers and ice sheets has replaced the warming of water as the chief cause of sea-level rise. Melting of glaciers and ice caps had contributed 91mm to sea-level rise between 1850 and 2005, while the glacial melt had increased since the 1990s. "The most recent assessment shows a sea-level rise contribution from glaciers and ice caps, including those surrounding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, of 1.2mm per year for 2001-05," the study says.

Melting of the Greenland ice sheet contributed 0.2 to 0.4 of a millimetre a year to sea-level rise from 1992 to 2009, rising to 0.4 to 0.7mm a year from 2002 to 2009. Ice loss from Antarctica had contributed 0.1 to 0.3mm a year of sea-level rise since 1992, increasing to 0.2mm to 0.5mm a year since 2002.

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