The Carbon Flame War
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George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: like two dogs barking on 08/31/2010 18:42:02 MDT Print View

Read this recently...

http://www.economist.com/node/16889029

Australia now faces an unstable, raucous and barren politics—“like two dogs barking”, as one of the independents put it. Sometimes countries get along just fine without a strong central government. But the states in federal Australia have increasingly seen the centre sap their power on issues such as health care. Moreover, Australia needs sooner or later to address several vital areas of policy.

One is climate change, where the majority’s wish for a bill is being blocked by the minority (including Mr Abbott). Another is immigration, where a debate about the economy’s need for skills and its capacity for a “big Australia” is obscured by scaremongering about refugees on boats. And a third is economics, where Australia needs to work out how to tax its abundant resources and deploy the revenues to build infrastructure and human capital in the rest of the economy.

Sadly, the politicians are not tackling these questions, and voters are duly unimpressed. Australia can muddle through for a bit. But unless its politicians take off their hats and get to work within the next 12 months, another poll beckons.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/01/2010 00:20:37 MDT Print View

"Didn't the Melbourne hills just get their biggest August snowfall in 50 years?

Any comment from the Aussies?"

In terms of rainfall we've had what the long-term average is supposed to be. A cold front also blew up from the south - you'll recall that I said that's where our winter weather used to come from? - and so we had some good snow (because rain + cold weather = snow).

I went up home on the train last Saturday and the country between Geelong and Ararat is the wettest I've seen it for at least 10 years, probably more like 15 or 20. There was running water and Lake Burrumbeet is full again after being completely dry for the last 6 years.

The area around Horsham is green, which is good to see, but nothing like the area north-west of Geelong.

@ Tony

"Thanks for that information, but I am not sure what the snow depth at Spencer's Creek has to do with the weather in Melbourne as Spencer's Creek is many hundreds of kilometers north of Melbourne and not even in the same state."

ROFL - sorry, I missed that. Yes, not exactly my neck of the woods. But since Rog mentioned Spencer's Creek here's an interesting table:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spencers_Creek_Snow_Depths.png

Edited by Arapiles on 09/01/2010 01:03:43 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Re: Re: like two dogs barking on 09/01/2010 00:56:14 MDT Print View

"Australia now faces an unstable, raucous and barren politics—“like two dogs barking”, as one of the independents put it. Sometimes countries get along just fine without a strong central government."

Interestingly, as was the case with Westminster, it was always expected that the Australian federal parliament would operate as alliances of independents. What was not foreseen was the rise of the large parties (the ALP and later the Liberals) and their rigid party discipline which meant that once a government was elected there was little prospect of any vote along conscience lines or anyone crossing the floor. Even now the UK's backbenchers are more independent than their Australian equivalents. So I'm not terribly concerned about the current situation. As I heard someone saying the other day, we don't have a government [that's not strictly true, the ALP is in power until the new government is formed) but the country seems to be doing fine. Interestingly a number of the conservative independents want a kinder refugee policy ...

"One is climate change, where the majority’s wish for a bill is being blocked by the minority (including Mr Abbott). Another is immigration, where a debate about the economy’s need for skills and its capacity for a “big Australia” is obscured by scaremongering about refugees on boats. And a third is economics, where Australia needs to work out how to tax its abundant resources and deploy the revenues to build infrastructure and human capital in the rest of the economy."

There are some pretty complex issues in all this, but the key one is that poll-driven politics has failed. According to the ALP's polls the carbon scheme was electoral poison, which is why they suddenly dropped it - but what actually killed the ALP was them walking away from their commitments to dealing with climate change. Even where people didn't agree with the ETS they had contempt for the ALP for not sticking to what Rudd described as the "greatest moral issue of our time".

But there's much more trouble ahead for the ALP - I live in the safest ALP seat in the country and at the next election, if the preference deals work out in the right way, the Greens could come close to winning this seat. That's for several reasons: the Greens are locals and involved in the hot button local issues like planning (we have apartment blocks going up everywhere and even if the ALP-dominated local council rejects a development the ALP state minister over-rides them) whereas the ALP members are parachuted in for the benefit of a safe seat; the emphasis on party discipline means that the ALP members don't stick up for their constituents even when they're being screwed and we get nothing in terms of services because they figure it doesn't matter what we think and their majority is so large they can ignore us. So it's the marginal seats that get new public transport, proper policing, etc etc. But the demography in this seat is changing rapidly and people are fed up with the ALP - and the Liberals - so they're voting Green. Pity the Democrats self-destructed a few years ago.

Edited by Arapiles on 09/02/2010 18:27:25 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/01/2010 01:19:04 MDT Print View

> Didn't the Melbourne hills just get their biggest August snowfall in 50 years?

Yeah - and a day later it became sheet ice. Bl**dy murder to ski on except around midday, when it goes soft and squooshy.

Cheers

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/01/2010 03:28:26 MDT Print View

"Yeah - and a day later it became sheet ice. Bl**dy murder to ski on except around midday, when it goes soft and squooshy"

I remember skiing at Mt Sterling one time, when the snow melting off the gum branches over the trail had formed ice marbles - it was literally like skiing on ball bearings.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Imminent severe cold hit NZ on 09/01/2010 16:18:23 MDT Print View

Well we've had an absolute bumper year of high snowfalls of nice dry powder ;) best skiing/riding in over a decade. And yes, very cold and wet at lower elevations. They're predicting a wet spring too.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
RE: carbon flame war on 09/01/2010 18:33:18 MDT Print View

This is sad. It is not news, but it sums up why we are probably doomed as species, and a lot of other species (those that aren't a;ready extinct) are doomed too. Sigh.

"The world’s inability to face up to the reality of the growing environmental crisis has become even more palpable. Every major goal that international bodies have established for global environmental policy as of 2010 has been postponed, ignored or defeated. Sadly, this year will quite possibly become the warmest on record, yet another testimony to human-induced environmental catastrophes running out of control.

This was to be the year of biodiversity. In 2002 nations pledged, under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, to slow significantly the planetary loss of biodiversity by 2010. This goal was not even remotely achieved. Indeed, it was barely even noticed by Americans: the U.S. signed the convention in 1992 but never ratified it. Ratifi­cation fell victim to the uniquely American delusion that virtually all of nature should be subdivided into parcels of private property, within which owners should have their way.

This year was also to be the start of a new post-Kyoto treaty, but that effort was stillborn by the continuing paralysis of U.S. policy making. President Barack Obama came empty-handed to the Copenhagen climate change negotiations, and the U.S., China and other powers settled for a nonbinding declaration of sentiments and goals rather than an operational strategy and process of implementation.

According to Obama’s 2008 election campaign, this was to be the first year of a new climate and energy policy for the U.S., too, and the second year of a “green recovery.” We’ve had neither. The recovery has sputtered: Obama bet on “stimulating” exhausted consumers rather than on a long-term program of public investments in sustainable infrastructure. The Senate, true to form, sustained its 18th year of inaction on global warming since ratifying the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.

This year was ushered in by the phony “Climategate” controversy, which involved leaked e-mails of a British climate research unit; the political right wing depicted some ill-considered language in the messages as proof of a vast global plot. Independent reviews have since rejected the charges of scientific conspiracy, but the damage is done: the U.S. public once again swings toward disbelief in the basic science of human-induced climate change.

We are losing not just time but the margin of planetary safety, as the world approaches or trespasses on various thresholds of environmental risk. With the human population continuing to rise by 75 million or more per year and with torrid economic growth in much of the developing world, the burdens of deforestation, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, species extinction, ocean acidification and other massive threats intensify.

What deep features of our national and global socioeconomic processes cause these repeated failures? First, the risks to sustainability are truly unprecedented in their global scale and have come upon society rather suddenly in the past two generations. Second, the problems are scientifically complex and involve enormous uncertainties. Not only must public opinion catch up with reality, but key sciences must also scramble to measure, assess and address the new challenges.

Third, although the problems are global, politics is notoriously local, which impairs timely, coordinated international action. Fourth, the problems are unfolding over decades, whereas politicians’ attention spans reach only to the next election and much of the public’s to the next meal or paycheck. Fifth, vested corporate interests have mastered the dark arts of propaganda, and they can use their deep pockets to purchase a sea of deliberate misinformation to deceive the public."

------
Should give source too.
Scientific American, Sep 2010, p 17 Jeffrey Sachs 'The Deepening Crisis'

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 09/02/2010 23:25:50 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: RE: carbon flame war on 09/01/2010 20:43:38 MDT Print View

"This is sad. It is not news, but it sums up why we are probably doomed as species, and a lot of other species (those that aren't a;ready extinct) are doomed too. Sigh."

The summation that follows is excellent, Lynn. Thanks for posting it. Not that it'll do much good. SIGH...

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/02/2010 01:31:16 MDT Print View

Hi Tony,

I just chucked the Spencers creek graph in to see what you guy's had to say about snow generally, not just Melbourne.

Regarding the snow depths graph posted by Arapiles: I noticed it was compiled from information supplied by GISS, which is junk, and a company called Snowy Hydro, who are diversifying into gas generated electricity:

The scheme also diverts water for irrigation from the Snowy Mountains Catchment west to the Murray and Murrumbidgee River systems.

In addition to owning the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the company owns an electricity and gas retailer, Red Energy which operates in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, a 300MW gas-fired peaking power station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley and a 320MW gas-fired peaking power station at Laverton North near Melbourne.

In December 2005, the NSW Government announced it would sell its 58% share in Snowy Hydro. The Federal and Victorian governments had followed suit, announcing the intent to sell their 13% and 29% respectively. Pre-registration for shares in Snowy Hydro opened in mid May and it was expected that the float would take place some time in July.

On 2 June 2006, the Federal Government announced that it would no longer sell its 13% stake in the project, effectively forcing the hands of the New South Wales and Victorian governments to follow suit. The aborted sale followed strong opposition from the public, including government MPs and prominent Australians. [2] Despite this, over 200,000 people pre-registered to purchase shares in the company over two weeks.

Despite the privatisation of the company being cancelled, the company has continued to grow with investment into Snowy Scheme modernisation projects, cloud seeding, development of mini hydro opportunities such as the 14MW Jounama mini hydro and growth of its retailer, Red Energy.

In addition Snowy Hydro is seeking to expand its gas-fired power station portfolio. This strategy is aimed at reducing risks to the business due to its reliance on water as an energy source, and due to the Snowy Mountains Scheme's geographical isolation on the electricity grid making it subject to transmission constraints in some circumstances.


Regarding your inflow graph, I note the following:
1)In the first half of the decade, the inflow was above average.
2)In the second half of the decade, the inflow was below average.
3)Snowy Hydro and other companies are busy diverting meltwater. I don't know if or how much this affects inflow to the particular reservoirs covered by your graph, but if so it needs to be factored in.
4)Snowy Hydro are engaged in modern activities like 'cloud seeding'. I don't know if or how much this affects inflow into the particular reservoirs covered by your graph either.

Do you? Do they? I suspect these local geoengineering efforts may backfire.

"150 years ago they used to get deeper snow at much lower levels"

150 years ago, we hadn't recovered from the 'Little Ice Age' as much as we have now.

I'm still not seeing any evidence that 'global warming' is anything other than part of a natural cycle. This is the null hypothesis. It is up to proponents of the 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' hypothesis to provide proper evidence that human additions of co2 to the atmosphere causes significant warming. To date, they have not done so.

Edited by tallbloke on 09/02/2010 02:21:20 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: RE: carbon flame war on 09/02/2010 02:03:40 MDT Print View

Hi Lynn,
It's a long quote, but you don't give a reference, so I'll refrain from comment for now, except to correct a fairly important (in propaganda terms) factual error:

"Sadly, this year will quite possibly become the warmest on record, yet another testimony to human-induced environmental catastrophes running out of control."

There is no way this is going to be the warmest year on record, except possibly according to the alarmist propaganda pumped out by Jim Hansen at NASA GISS. The man who likens those who disagree with his cock-eyed world view to 'holocaust deniers' and coal distribution to 'Nazi death trains'.

Here is a comparison of the temperature trend from 1998 (the previous 'hottest year evah!') to 2010 from the four main global temperature providers via the excellent woodfortrees.org:

.trend 1998-2010

As you can see, GIStemp is a bit of an outlier. Why is that? Well, two reasons: Jim Hansen demoted 1998 peak el nino temp in his records after it had served it propaganda purpose. This steepens the '98-2010 trend. Also, he says the Arctic is heating up drasticly and includes data he 'extrapolates' from 'nearby' stations. How many temperatures sensors in the arctic does GISS use?

None.

Is the Arctic heating up drasticly? Well, it's looking like this years ice extent will be a bit bigger than last years, which was bigger than the year before, which was bigger then the year before that...

Is the Arctic any hotter than it was in the 1940's? Well, according to the Greenland ice cores:

No.

One last point, if 1998 was the hottest year, how come nobody farms on Greenland like the Vikings did for several hundred years?

Edited by tallbloke on 09/02/2010 02:43:02 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/02/2010 03:38:19 MDT Print View

"Regarding your inflow graph, I note the following:
1)In the first half of the decade, the inflow was above average.
2)In the second half of the decade, the inflow was below average."

Rog

The average is the green line, not the red one: the red one is just an average over the surveyed years. The point is that over that period the BEST inflow was only 62% of the long-term average.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/02/2010 04:47:35 MDT Print View

Thanks for the clarification Arapiles. So the long term average is since 1871.

So, back to the sorts of questions you guys never answer, or even acknowledge the legitimacy of:

How much has modern agricultural drainage practice changed the inflow?
How much has 'cloud seeding' elsewhere changed the inflow?
How much has the diversion of meltwater changed the inflow?
How much has increased evaporation due to stronger late C20th sun changed the inflow?
How much has the reduction in cloud from ~1980-~1998 changed the inflow?
How is inflow measured?
Could losses due to decrepit dam linings be misconstrued as reduced inflow?

Maybe these contribute to the reason why inflow has fallen while according to the Bureau of Meteorology Australian rainfall on the whole has increased over the C20th?

Edited by tallbloke on 09/02/2010 04:58:25 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/02/2010 07:12:12 MDT Print View

"So, back to the sorts of questions you guys never answer, or even acknowledge the legitimacy of:"

Well let's give it a shot then, hey?

"How much has modern agricultural drainage practice changed the inflow?"

Modern since 2000? No effect at all, particularly given that it would be odd for there to be any agriculture in a mountainous national park catchment area.

"How much has 'cloud seeding' elsewhere changed the inflow?"

I'm not aware of any serious cloud-seeding since the 1970s - and they stopped doing it because it didn't work. Ergo sum, no effect on inflow.

"How much has the diversion of meltwater changed the inflow?"

What diversion? Where do you imagine that they are allowing water to be diverted to?

Edit: a quick squiz at the ACTewAFL website suggests that they are not collecting water from the area that Snowy Hydro does, so, no, Snowy Hydro isn't pinching Canberra's water.

"How much has increased evaporation due to stronger late C20th sun changed the inflow?"

Unlikely to be an issue - unless you have specific evidence that evaporation has increased in the ACT since 2000?

"How much has the reduction in cloud from ~1980-~1998 changed the inflow?"

See response above.

"How is inflow measured?"

I would imagine by measuring the amount of water in the dam - if there's 1000 litres more, then the inflow would be 1000 litres. That's not exactly rocket science.

"Could losses due to decrepit dam linings be misconstrued as reduced inflow?"

No.

Rog, the reduced inflow is due to less precipitation in catchment areas. Arising from long-term drought.

"Maybe these contribute to the reason why inflow has fallen while according to the Bureau of Meteorology Australian rainfall on the whole has increased over the C20th?"

As has been pointed out before, an increase generally across the world's fifth largest country does not mean that rainfall has increased equally across the whole country - as the BOM's website also demonstrates, the south-east of Australia has been in drought for the last 13 years with significant rainfall anomalies.

Edited by Arapiles on 09/02/2010 07:29:14 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/02/2010 07:26:11 MDT Print View

"a company called Snowy Hydro,"

Rog

I appreciate that as a non-Australian you may not be aware of recent Australian history but to explain, Snowy Hydro is the corporate successor to the Snowy mountains hydro scheme which was intended to divert water from the Snowy River into the Murray and Murrumbidgee and to also generate electricity.

And they are diversifying into gas-fired power stations because the lack of rainfall means that they don't have the same potential generating capacity.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/02/2010 08:27:16 MDT Print View

Arapiles says:
the south-east of Australia has been in drought for the last 13 years with significant rainfall anomalies.


Quite so. But why do polly's try to make political capital out of this cyclic natural occurrence by trying to blame regional problems with low reservoir levels on 'man made global warming'? Actually, don't bother answering that, we all know why.

Arapiles says:
- if there's 1000 litres more, then the inflow would be 1000 litres. That's not exactly rocket science.

"Could losses due to decrepit dam linings be misconstrued as reduced inflow?"

No.


You are contradicting yourself. If inflow is measured by assessing dam level, then losses due to decrepit dam linings would indeed affect the measurement. What if inflow was 1500Gl but 500Gl was lost through a leaky dam? The inflow would be measured as 1000Gl and the assumption would be that inflow was 30% down on 'the good old days' when the dam was newer and the dam lining less leaky.

Arapiles says:
And they are diversifying into gas-fired power stations because the lack of rainfall means that they don't have the same potential generating capacity.


If you believe that you'll believe anything. The real reason is that the price of liquid natural gas has gone way down worldwide. Big profits for electric companies to be made out of the gullible public.

I've told my gas company where to get off, and I've just acquired a nice condition Morso woodburner which I'm fitting a backboiler to.

Edited by tallbloke on 09/02/2010 08:44:24 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: RE: carbon flame war on 09/02/2010 14:26:15 MDT Print View

"There is no way this is going to be the warmest year on record"

Maybe, maybe not. The point of the article, for me, was the unbelievable damage humans have done, and are continuing to do, to the environment. Global warming aside (as this is the contentious issue with you), the loss of species and pollution of just about every corner of the world, the lack of adequate clean water due to too much humanity sucking fresh water sources dry, and the shear inhumanity of overpopulation are all things we should have been acting on decades ago, yet we are still in denial. And whether or not you believe the climate is warming, and whether or not you believe the alleged warming is anthropogenic, the fact seems to me that the same things we need to do to correct these environmental nightmares are also things that would reduce CO2 emissions. So why are we waiting and arguing over such trivial stuff?

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: RE: carbon flame war on 09/02/2010 15:48:14 MDT Print View

+ 1
one vote for Lynn to be the new UN environmental Tsar.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
RE: carbon flame war on 09/02/2010 16:15:46 MDT Print View

The quote was from Jeffrey D. Sachs, full article here:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-deepening-crisis

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: RE: carbon flame war on 09/02/2010 16:55:56 MDT Print View

Lynn says:
"the lack of adequate clean water due to too much humanity sucking fresh water sources dry, and the shear inhumanity of overpopulation"

Ah, the politics of scarcity.

Did you know that you could stand the entire human population of the world shoulder to shoulder on an island just 30 miles long by 30 miles wide? That's around 0.005% of the planet's surface.

We represent a tiny fraction of the biomass on this planet, but our self importance and homocentric focus make us think we are bigger than we are.

There is no shortage of water, just a shortage of will to organise our use of it better.

I agree with you that we need to deal with pollution issues and improve water resource use. I've been saying it regularly throughout this thread. If the money which has been poured down the climate hole had been used intelligently, major inroads could have been made into these real and important issues. It's nothing to do with fossil fuels, it's everything to do with due care and attention, and accountability. It's up to us as citizens to gently INSIST on better management by those WE PAY to govern.

But I disagree that the level of population is 'inhuman', just the opposite. Reproduction is the basis of humanity, as with all species, and instead of wringing our hands worrying about it, we should just let mother nature decide when the time is right for a reduction. That is what will happen anyway, so why bother about it?

In the C14th, a third of the population of Europe was wiped out by the BLACK DEATH. It wasn't bubonic plague, which doesn't spread that fast. No-one knows what it was.

Be thankful we live in better times, with a warmer climate and cleaner living conditions, and enjoy life instead of falling victim to the guilt complex the ruling class tries to keep us subjugated with.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
-H. L. Mencken-

Edited by tallbloke on 09/02/2010 17:14:16 MDT.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Imminent severe cold to hit Australia? on 09/02/2010 18:17:19 MDT Print View

"Quite so. But why do polly's try to make political capital out of this cyclic natural occurrence by trying to blame regional problems with low reservoir levels on 'man made global warming'? Actually, don't bother answering that, we all know why."

Actually, the politicians on both sides of politics in Australia mostly deny the effect of global climate change on Australia's climate - and both main parties were unable to form government because the electorate, conservatives included, rejected them for it. The Greens, who do want to deal with climate change, received massive swings.

"What if inflow was 1500Gl but 500Gl was lost through a leaky dam? The inflow would be measured as 1000Gl and the assumption would be that inflow was 30% down on 'the good old days' when the dam was newer and the dam lining less leaky."

So, given that inflow is 30% of the long-term average, are you going to argue that leaks make up the other 70%? And every other dam in the south-east of Australia has the same leaking problem? And coincidentally rainfall is also down by the same amount over the same time period?

"Arapiles says:
And they are diversifying into gas-fired power stations because the lack of rainfall means that they don't have the same potential generating capacity.

If you believe that you'll believe anything. The real reason is that the price of liquid natural gas has gone way down worldwide. Big profits for electric companies to be made out of the gullible public."

Rog - I'm not aware of any general collapse in world LNG prices - what's your evidence for that? I worked in Japan as an oil and gas lawyer doing investments into Australia's north-west shelf and most of those schemes have just passed FID and if prices had dropped so much they wouldn't be economic.