UK government produces climate change mouse, fortunately

July 15, 2009

Yup, no doubt about it. The biggest threat the world faces today is international terrorism. Oh, sorry, no. The biggest threat the world faces today is from a pandemic of swine ‘flu. Nope, wrong again. The biggest threat, the moral issue of our time, is climate change. Ah, that’s more like it.

Please don’t call it global warming. The earth’s temperature has been a bitter disappointment to the climate pessimists over the last few years, because the planet has refused to follow the cook-until-done path they had mapped out when they started trying to scare us to death.

on Wednesday the UK government launched another displacement activity. To distract the population from the looming economic meltdown, it came up with legislative proposals designed to meet the self-imposed targets for reducing the amount of carbon Britain turns into carbon dioxide.

To say they are laughable rather overstates the humour content, but the proposals are an impressive cocktail of wishful thinking, trivial gestures and subsidised job creation. There is no realistic possibility of cutting Britain’s carbon burn by 40 percent by 2020. More to the point, the widespread misery which would result from trying to do so may turn out to be in vain.

So what’s Mili mi, the grandly-named Climate Change Secretary, actually proposing? Electric buses on the road “within two years” and new funding for electric cars. Well, golly gee. The world’s biggest carmakers, who know more about this subject than anyone else, are clearly struggling to make the economics work. Another bung from a struggling government is irrelevant.

Besides, the thermodynamics of electric cars is unconvincing. The fuel still has to be burnt, and the electricity transmitted to the car. To beat the overall thermal efficiency of the internal combustion engine this way is hard to do, and that only gets to the point of no increase in emissions.

Next come loans to reduce heat losses in houses, to be repaid through utility bills. Insulating the roof makes sense, although even here the payback is several years. Other measures are marginal, and for many householders the extra repayment on the bill will be more than the saving in energy for decades ahead. Perhaps the (additional) cost of adminstration is Mili’s method of creating jobs.

Still, we’ll be able to sell the extra electricity from the windmill on the roof to the local electricity company at a premium, before jumping into the electric car to go and admire the grown-up (similarly subsidised) windmills which will litter the more agreeable parts of the landscape. Good old mili, eh?

2 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Dear readers, this is the lead item in Australian Senator Steve Fielding which I think all of our politicians and environmentalists should see.

QUOTE:
Climate change is real. Yes that’s right, contrary to the misreporting in the media, I do believe in climate change. That might come as a shock to some of those on the left side of politics, but it’s the truth. The question that concerns me, however, is what is driving it? Is it increasing levels of human made carbon dioxide emissions, variations in solar radiation or something else?

Around three months ago one of my advisors pulled me aside and asked me what I thought was driving climate change. I smiled and said automatically that it was obviously a result of increasing carbon dioxide emissions. I had never really looked at the science and just assumed what was reported in the media to be true. Well wasn’t I in for an enormous shock. My advisor presented me with data and some comments from a number of scientists which suddenly had me asking many questions. This led me to do some further reading and I ultimately decided to head over to Washington on a self funded trip so I could find out more about the science behind climate change.

In the US I met with numerous scientists on both sides of the debate. Some media outlets would have you believe that I met only with climate skeptics who they accuse of being paid off by the fossil fuel industry. These claims are wholly inaccurate. Moreover, I strongly believe in giving everyone a fair hearing even if it isn’t the most popular view. I believe it’s my role as a a politician, to wade through all of the spin and come up with my own conclusions after hearing all of the facts. Some of the data led me to question whether the Rudd government had got the science right. I then took some of the information and questions I had to the White House where I met with one of President Obama’s senior climate change advisors. While these discussions were fruitful, I was left at the end with even more questions than when I had started.

In an effort to try to get to the bottom of the issue I started to talk to a number of scientists based in Australia to get a feel for what their views were on the subject. Amongst the many presentations, one item really stood out. I was presented with a graph based on data that IPCC use which showed carbon dioxide emissions sky rocketing over the last 15 years while global temperatures had remained steady. This graph left me nothing short of flabbergasted. Up until this point I had truly believed that human made carbon dioxide emissions were responsible for climate change. However, this graph basically said otherwise. I was left asking myself how I could vote for a carbon pollution reduction scheme if it appeared as though carbon dioxide emissions were not driving climate change. It is important to point out that the IPCC had predicted in their models that there would be a direct correlation between increasing carbon dioxide emissions and increasing global temperatures. However, if you look at the graph it is obvious to everyone that this correlation simply does not exist.

Armed with this information I sat down with Minister Wong, the Chief Scientist and Professor Will Steffen of the ANU to hear their explanation. After an hour and a half I left none the wiser. I received a written response to my questions from the Minister a few days later which had me even more uncertain. According to the Minister, air temperature, a measurement relied upon by the IPCC and the Rudd Government to justify its emissions trading scheme was irrelevant. Instead, I was told that I should really be concerned with the variability in ocean temperatures. Not only did this contradict all of the information which the Minister had provided me with only a few days earlier but I was also aware of an IPCC report which stated that the measuring of ocean temperatures was not reliable.

I went back to the government with this question but was met with a wall of silence. They had clearly decided it was safer not to engage with me because I had legitimate questions which they probably were unable to answer. I was left feeling that the only responsible thing to do was to vote against this legislation. At the end of the day, it would be a betrayal of my duty to the Australian people to put at risk the national economy and many thousands of jobs on what is clearly inconclusive science.

But then enter Al Gore. Here was a man who had a lot of power and went around the world preaching about climate change. I thought he might have the answer for me, the ones I couldn’t extract from the Rudd government. I briefly met Mr Gore at a breakfast in Melbourne attended by more than a thousand people. He was aware of the important role Family First plays in the senate and was keen to catch up. After a series of phone calls I was met with a stonewall of resistance. I offered to meet Mr Gore at any place at any time but had no luck. Here we had the former Vice President of the United States, a self proclaimed climate change preacher running away from me over a few simple questions. I could hardly believe it. I would have thought if Al Gore was really committed to the cause he would want to meet with all senators who had concerns about the science if it would help ensure that the CPRS legislation would pass. Obviously I was wrong.

I have written to every senator urging them to look at the graph and ask themselves the key question – what is driving climate change? If they can’t answer that simple question they shouldn’t be voting for a CPRS. This decision is the biggest economic decision in this country’s history, one which is too important to vote along party lines. I call on the government to answer my question with a straight answer. If they’re not prepared to do so, I’m happy to fight the lone battle in the senate until those senators who are honest with themselves break party lines.
UNQUOTE
Regards, Pete Ridley, Human-made Global Climate Change Agnostic

Posted by Pete Ridley | Report as abusive

I have followed the climate change arguement closely for some years now and I have not yet read a supposed explanation from the alarmists as to what made the little ice age go away. I may have missed it ,of course.Could someone tell me what the theory is. Thanks.

Posted by Chris Korvin | Report as abusive