Monday, 11 July 2011

RECAP: Carbon Taxes and Climate Fraud (The Australian Carbon Tax Debate)

The "Australian Carbon Tax" is completely unnecessary. Most significantly there are huge contradictions between the global warming claims being made in the media, in support of the tax, and the hard science that is used to support the position. The problem for those advocating the human induced warming hypothesis is the long-term temperature record shows much hotter global temperatures during the last two thousand years and undistorted recent monitoring shows a cooling during the last decade. The correlation between human carbon producing activity and climate change is not at all established.

Unfortunately, in today's society, people tend to overlook the fact that science is often "misinterpreted" due to political and ideological positions, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes deliberately, and sometimes by scientists themselves. Whether we like it or not, there is ALWAYS a human bias to contend with when we are dealing with science, especially when it comes to emotionally charged issues. Therefore, when things are contentious, one should not simply accept any claim, scientific or otherwise, at face value. Rigorous open debate should be the order of the day.

Putting aside the science for a minute, when it comes to the carbon tax itself and the promotion of less polluting technology, as opposed to "temperature neutral" technology, in practice, an approach that favours direct action actually works. There is no need to slug the general population with more costs when past experience shows it is unnecessary.

Think about it. The nuclear industry did not come about solely from private research and development. The Western world's partial switch to nuclear power generation was a co-operative effort involving government scientists and direct financial assistance. Similarly we should also expect some level of direct action in making a shift toward renewable energy sources. However, in lieu of a massive organised effort, encouragement of innovative private investment would be a good idea. Rather than a tax on the polluters, it would be prudent to offer substantial tax breaks, perhaps for up to 20 years, to any company engaged in developing and commercialising clean, sustainable technology.

However, although we most certainly have the capacity to make a tax free switch to renewables at any time (if we choose) there is still something that must be understood about the "global warming science" - and it must be emphasised. The preponderance of data shows our planet is almost certainly not in any danger of a catastrophic temperature change brought about by our activities.

For starters, there is no scientific consensus on man-made global warming. A peer review of 928 research papers dealing with climate shows that rather than 75% of them supporting a human influence on the Earth's temperatures, as had been reported, only around a dozen explicitly expressed this concern. Indeed, a rigorous look into the climate warming data itself reveals no correlation between our carbon output and rising temperatures which is underlined by the recorded fall in the average global temperature over the last decade. [1]

Therefore, any move away from carbon dioxide gas producing industries should not be enacted because of the carbon output but because of the pollution generated from the burning of coal and oil. The burning of coal releases arsenic, lead, mercury and many different kinds of radioactive particles into the atmosphere whilst the combustion of petroleum products in motor vehicles contributes to smog. Unless these contaminant releases can be nullified the present situation cannot be allowed to stand. [2]

In terms of atmospheric carbon's role in regulating the Earth's temperature recent research from the University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico, has indicated that carbon dioxide gas does not act to fuel the Greenhouse Effect as it is unable retain heat as was previously believed. Consequently it is more scientifically sound to regard water vapor and fluctuations of the Sun's output as the primary driver of world wide temperatures. [3]

Also, if history is any guide, we must consider our present level of industrial activity on Earth against various warming periods and the Ice Ages that have come and gone over time. There is no way that human activity influenced any of these climatic episodes.

In regard to past heating, we have most recently seen the Medieval Warming Period (MWP), from around 950 to 1300, in which global temperatures substantially exceeded today's levels. Scientific studies clearly show that the MWP was worldwide. Warmer temperatures allowed farming on Greenland, it pushed back glaciers in Europe (further than they are today), and caused drought in North America and China. Our present level of carbon production and deforestation did not contribute to these conditions which leaves the Sun as the most likely driver of this phenomena. [4,5,6]

Today a plethora of scientists and politicians are now fixated on the idea that our carbon output is regulating the planet's temperature. In the 1970's, after a series of harsh winters, the fixation was directed towards the notion that the Earth, without our help, was entering a new Ice Age. Unfortunately, this time around, during the course of the present debate, a number of individuals, in positions of trust, have tried to prove that the Earth is heating beyond its natural range by skewing scientific data in order to support such a contention.

At the UN, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - a political body - rather than acting forthrightly, has manipulated or has used manipulated climate data to help justify their position and existence (which includes monetary funding). Of particular note are their unsubstantiated claims that scientific studies predicted the disappearance of the Himalayan Glaciers by 2035 and their insistence that sea levels are set to rise by over half a meter by 2100. However, their original source on the destruction of the Glaciers put this event at 2335, a three hundred year discrepancy, while their position on sea levels rising by 18-59cm by 2100 has been strongly challenged by observational data. Expert analysis on the sea levels indicates unchanged or even falling levels whilst a recent study that supported the IPCC's rising sea level position has been retracted. [7,8,9]

Some of the worst and most widely disseminated climate misinformation used by the IPCC and Governments worldwide has come out of leading scientific institutions in the UK and USA.

The most notable contributor to climate misrepresentation comes from the famed Climate Research Unit (CRU) operating out of the University of East Anglia, UK. Thanks to the "Climategate" email releases we are aware that the CRU was engaged in fraudulent activity intended to quote, "hide the decline", in global temperatures occurring over the last ten years. Most disturbingly rather than seeing the individuals involved in this deception punished, political forces swung into play so that the CRU was cleared of any misconduct by three subsequent "show-pony" inquiries. [10,11]

Alas, the misrepresentation problems do not end with the CRU. The other major data sets, used repeatedly to show temperature increases, are also corrupted.

For instance we know the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite data, showing an overall global temperature rise in recent years, is almost certainly due to equipment malfunction- on at least five of their satellites. Dubbed "Satellitegate", the errors were first pointed out by an anonymous visitor to a skeptic blog who pointed to thousands of impossible readings, of over 200 degrees Celsius, published on a government website. Subsequently it was admitted by the NOAA that their data could not be deemed reliable. [12,13]

Moreover, the situation in the US goes further than just consisting of erroneous readings. There is a pattern of manipulation at major institutions that shows a deliberate attempt to indicate warming where none existed. The fraud here extends beyond NOAA's errors and includes NASA where their computer modelling data has been altered to conform to the warming hypothesis. Periods at the end of the 19th century have been made cooler while temperatures after 1990 have been tweeked upwards so as to get a warming trend. [14,15]

It is also a fact that many thousands of land-based thermometers, used to gauge global temperatures, have been removed from the temperature data record. In the 1970s scientists were able to incorporate data from 15,094 stations compared with only 5,265 in the year 2000- a deficit of 65 percent. For "reasons unknown" those in charge excluded many stations in isolated colder regions (the Russians complained about this in regard to their own data in 2009) while retaining stations in urban areas known to act as heat sinks. Now locations with no data in cold areas are covered by a "homogenized" guess that includes averages from the remaining warmer stations. [16,17]

Unsurprisingly even Wikipedia has been the target of unscrupulous activity in which a global warming protagonist spent years making 5000 revisions to information on the Medieval Warming Period in order to obfuscate the fact that there then existed warmer temperatures than today. [18]

As a result of this manipulation a great number of our political leaders and many scientists, people not directly linked to the skewed data, falsely assume that the evidence for rising global temperatures is solid.

And for those honest researchers engaged in climate, or climate related, studies they now have to overcome a "scientific" warming bias when reviewing their own data, making them perhaps believe their results confirm a carbon warming hypothesis rather than anything else. Take the recent melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet - an event that has been linked to rising global temperatures. It is very probable that the melt may in actuality be due to altered ocean currents (the Pacific decadal oscillations) and undersea volcanism. Note: there is an undersea volcano situated under part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Look it up. [19,20]

So, when take into account all of the above material it is evident that the carbon tax being pushed on the Australian public, by many misguided but well meaning people, is not urgently required to stave off an environmental catastrophe. In all likelihood this kind of taxation will have a low impact on efforts to switch out of coal and oil. A more specific approach, using direct action, would be needed. As things stand, those who are set to benefit the most from this tax on energy -a tax on everything- will be the bankers who collect fees in the process of trading carbon credits.

We do not need a carbon tax to make a change to a less polluting and more sustainable society. What we require is some imagination, research and an uncorrupted "can do" approach from our politicians and scientists while keeping the big corporations (including bankers) at arms length.
























[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, July 11th, 2011.]


Karmakaze said...

One question for you:

In the last few years, the price of Australian coal on the open market has dropped nearly 50%, in fact it has dropped nearly $20USD per metric ton in the last YEAR.

So, how could the Carbon Tax do to the economy what the price of coal itself didn't?

In 2008 it hit a peak nearly twice its current price - why did THAT not destroy the economy?

SpookyOne said...


Good question.

If the price of coal and oil permanently stayed high then energy costs would rise. Electricity costs in Australia have gone up in recent years, same for the price of imported oil despite the strength in the Aussie Dollar.

The economy in Australia has room to absorb cost increases (it is a wealthy country), but there is a bigger impact on low income individuals + families first.

A Carbon Tax would not destroy the economy but would make life harder until some form of cheap energy can take the place of the taxed industry.

I believe that a switch out of "fossil" fuels can be achieved without a tax. I personally don't like vehicle pollution- never have- and hate the idea that we are spreading toxins via coal burning.

Most troubling is the idea we are being sold the Tax on a lie which I believe is being pushed simultaneously by one sector of the corporate establishment, and championed by misinformed "green-thinking" people and scientists.

What is being overlooked is the Climategate fraud scandal and the issue of "hiding the decline". According to the science we are likely experiencing an overall fall in global temperatures. Yes, we are getting unusal heat waves in places but we are also getting unusal cold also.

Regardless, I'd like to see clean technology because of the pollution factor not because of a Carbon Dioxide threat. I'd also like to see less deforestation and more fishing controls- notice all the jelly fish blooms out there ? I'd prefer to see our planetary resource base maintained rather than depleted.

Anyhow, the climate will change no matter what we do.

Natural cycles in times past have lead to dought, floods and other catastrophes. Just because we live in the 21st century does not mean we should never experience "once in 300 or 500 year" climatic episodes.

The planet will knock off a great many of us humans, who rely heavily on agriculture, once in a while. It's something we can expect. As for ourselves, intellectually it would be nice to see open debates on these issues and discussion of the science and what we might do to head towards a really idealistic "Star Trek" future without all the nonsense.

We can have our cake and eat it. We are smart enough but I don't know if some of the people pulling the strings at the top are wise or selfless enough. Elites in positions of power would not like to see us all become independent of the oil they control.

No the Tax would not destory the Australian economy but it seems like a very one dimensional and unnecessary scheme to me which will be used to suck wealth out of the Australian economy when hooked into an international Carbon Trading Scheme.

Thanks again for the question.