Reducing Arctic Ice Field(ing)

One of the meme’s that some (like Bolt) continue to use is that the ice area in the Arctic is not getting smaller. But it is not just the area that is important, but the volume – that is, the total amount of ice. And now we have some new data from NASA that says that the ice in the Arctic has “dramatically thinned’.

Arctic sea ice thinned dramatically between the winters of 2004 and 2008, with thick older ice shrinking by the equivalent of Alaska’s land area, a study using data from a NASA satellite showed.

But what is important for people like Bolt and Fielding is that their questions (loaded?) must be answered before they will consider that AGW is taking place. By the time they accept the science it might be too late to do anything. To me it is all about risk management – we should act now to prevent what the climate scientists say could happen.

Alternative ETS Policy

This is a guest post from Scaper..

“GREEN groups want emissions trading ditched in favour of direct and immediate action to tackle climate change.”

I believe Wong’s ETS is badly designed, it will subsidise big polluters and the citizens will bare the brunt although the government will compensate us to a certain degree which indicates a tax churn!

Lets try to move beyond the usual debate of if there is or is not AGW and look at the alternative policy outlined in the link…”Plan B.”

Green Groups have outlined eight points to their plan.

1- phasing out coal-fired power stations during the coming decade;

2- green makeovers for millions of homes;

3- mandatory fuel efficiency standards for cars;

4- more and cheaper public transport;

5- more cycle paths, more car pooling;

6- an end to urban sprawl;

7- generating 40 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020;

8- ending the logging of old-growth forests.

Lets concentrate on just a couple of points in this post as there is too much to cover in one thread.

2- I believe green makeovers for millions of homes would be the starting point but how could this be achieved? Obviously new housing should include solar hot water, panels, water harvesting and storage, insulation and design to make better use of the northerly aspect to reduce heating in winter.

But for any marked improvement there has to be a retrograde fitout of existing buildings which will involve serious dollars and should the government be solely responsible for covering the cost or should there be a somewhat sharing of costs in the form of tax credits redeemed say over a five year period?

This is a sticking point, in the foreseeable future the government has less room to move fiscally because of incurred debt so the revenue stream is limited, maybe some form of tax is required opposed to an ETS that will be totally dedicated to subsidisation of retrograding of houses opposed to going into general revenue which usually is utilised for other policy decisions, this has to be a stand alone fund.

Maybe a rollback of middle class welfare might just fill the revenue gap to achieve this end?

7-Generating 40 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 is possible if point 2 is successful but there will be a substantial requirement for base load electricity to run industry and the like so the alternatives are wind, tidal, nuclear and geothermal.

Wind turbines are expensive to produce, a visual eyesore and produce electricity in variable quantities depending on conditions.

Tidal is still in its infancy but has potential in the future.

Nuclear due to its reputation is political suicide and the waste is an issue in itself.

Geothermal seems to be the best long term option but the optimum hot rock zones are in remote locations in South Australia and the Northern Territory which presents logistical problems to hook into respective power grids.

I’ve omitted clean coal technology as I’m very sceptical that this can be achieved at this juncture but if it is worthy of discussion then include it.

I believe we have to clean up our act and work towards sustainability regardless if there was global warming or not so this is not an issue on this thread.

Climate Change Rally – photos

Better late than never. 😀

Climate Change in the US

As our senate is preparing to vote on the CPRS, the White House has released a new report that says that “[g]lobal warming has already caused more heavy downpours, the rise of temperatures and sea levels, rapidly retreating glaciers and altered river flows.”

Jane Lubchenco said:

“This report provides the concrete scientific information that says unequivocally that climate change is happening now and it’s happening in our own backyards and it affects the kind of things people care about.”

From reading the story, it seems that the Bush administration held back these sort of reports, and only issued a draft after it was forced to by a lawsuit.

Federal law requires comprehensive reports on global warming’s effects every four years. An environmental group sued to force the Bush administration to issue an early draft of this report last summer because one had not been written since 2000.

I wonder if Senator Fielding will read the report, or is he still denying that there could be a problem that needs addressing?

Please read more, Senator Fielding

Steve Fielding has returned from Washington and he says that he has some questions for the government:

“I heard views which challenged the Rudd government’s set of ‘facts'”

And one of these is on solar activity and the influence on climate change.

“The idea that climate change is a result of the variation in solar activity and not related to the increase of CO2 into the atmosphere is not something that I can remember ever being discussed in the media.”

You think that he might actually read some of the material itself. Does he only get his information from the media? Let’s look at some of the published literature.

The IPCC discussed the influence of solar activity in 1992, 1994, 2001 and 2007. For example, from the 2007 Summary for Policymakers we have:

During the past 50 years, the sum of solar and volcanic forcings would likely have produced cooling.

The summary then goes on to discuss how solar and volcanic activity was used in the models.

Our own CSIRO has produced a pamphlet titled “The science of climate change” which says:

Natural variability such as the El Nino cycle and variations in solar activity can affect the temperature, while large volcanic eruptions can lead to cooling.

These are just a couple of references to solar that I have found. Maybe the senator should do a little more reading of the science, and not just the media reports.

Here is a video that covers some of the facts on solar activity and climate change.

Coalition Project for Re-election Scheme (CPRS)

I am confused. The coalition have stated that they support the CPRS, but just that they wanted it delayed until after the Copenhagen conference. But then Malcolm Turnbull got up last night and said that the scheme would “destroy jobs” and was wrong. I will try and get the transcript from Hansard up later today (someone remind me if I forget).

And the coalition does not seem to be united on this, and that is why Turnbull is trying to have a bet each way.

So – is the plan of the coalition to support and not support the CPRS just a scheme to get them through the next election?

Hockey one, Hockey two, Hockey three….

Barry Brook over at has a ground breaking report on an existing hockey graph that we have all seen and has now been discredited.

For decades, school students and the general public have been taught that world human population size has exploded into exponential growth over the last few centuries (see left), with ‘demographic models’ being used to predict that this trend will be ongoing for at least the next 50 years.

It turns out that research has shown that the graph could not possibly be right. As Barry notes, one of the professors involved in dicrediting the graph uses some historical stories in his effort to get to the real data:

Xerxes managed to muster an army of a million men at Plataea — on one tiny field of battle! Now I ask you, how is that possible if world population size at the time was mere 50 million? It just didn’t make any sense to us.

Exactly – how can we be so arrogant to think that scientists know the answers!