Thursday, December 27, 2012

Severe weather events

It is one of the great perceived truths of today, that severe weather events are on the increase.

If this were so, one would expect more and more people to be dying as a result of floods, hurricanes, typhoons, lightning, snow and all the rest.  There are, after all, many more people than there used to be, so even if the severity of the weather were not on the increase, one would expect more to lose their lives.  Add more people to a hypothetical greater severity, and you would expect many more fatalities - right?

Wrong! Very wrong.  Not only has the risk of being killed fallen, but the absolute numbers dying from extreme events has also fallen:
The average dying each year from extreme weather has fallen from nearly half-a-million a year in the 1920's to about 30 000 a year today.  Extreme events may indeed be getting more frequent, but we engineers have become better at coping with the forces of nature.  So do not be panicked into striving unnecessarily for a low-carbon world - we engineers have already taken the essential precautions!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Something missing!!

The Second Order Draft of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report has now been published ( 

There is definitely something missing.  The IPCC is supposed to assess the latest peer-reviewed literature and provide a reasoned and balanced review of any differences of opinion.  In the Fourth Assessment, they made much of a prediction that the temperature in the upper troposphere (around 10-12km above the surface) would rise faster than the surface.  Indeed, their models suggested the upper troposphere between about 30 deg N and 30 deg S could warm as  much as 0.6 deg C per decade.  

However, we have been flying weather balloons with thermometers into this region for over 60 years. The measurements show no such warming.  The temperature can also be inferred from some satellite records, extending about 30 years back. These inferred measurements show slight warming, but nothing like 0.6 deg C per decade (and there is also quite a debate about the reliability of the models used to infer temperatures from satellite data).

So all the experimental evidence is against the IPCC's models.  This is particularly surprising, because the physical reasons for a more rapid warming seem sound. 

I would have expected the IPCC to consider this problem in depth.  There are recent publications drawing attention to the problem. For instance, Singer, S Fred, (2011). "Lack of Consistency Between Modeled and Observed Temperature Trends," Energy & Environment, 22, 375-406 stressed the fact that "The US Climate Change Science Program [CCSP, 2006] reported, and Douglass et al. [2007] and NIPCC [2008] confirmed, a 'potentially serious inconsistency' between modeled and observed trends in tropical surface and tropospheric temperatures." He noted further that "Santer's key graph --- misleadingly suggests an overlap between observations and modeled trends. His 'new observational estimates' conflict with satellite data. His modeled trends are an artifact, merely reflecting chaotic and structural model uncertainties that had been overlooked. Thus the conclusion of 'consistency' is not supportable and accordingly does not validate model-derived projections of dangerous anthropogenic global warming." 

Similarly Douglass, D. H., Christy, J. R., Pearson, B. D. and Singer, S. F. (2008), "A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions". Int. J. Climatol., 28: 1693–1701 noted "Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean." 

Neither of these critical references are quoted in the Second Order Draft.  Section starting on page 36 of the Draft considers 'Intercomparisons of Various Long-Term Radiosonde and MSU Products.' It concludes that "the differences among the data sets, all of which are uncertain, means there can only be low confidence in the details of the upper air temperature trends."  In other words, because there are differences in the data, the discrepancy with the model predictions can be ignored.

This is not science as I know it.  The models represent a theory.  In my science, observations in conflict with the model show that the model is wrong and must be abandoned.  Here, the observations are being questioned and the model is assumed to be right.  

In a nutshell, at its present stage of development, the Second Order Draft is not to be trusted.  The politicians of this world seem far wiser than normal, in refusing to believe the IPCC's so-called "scientific assessment." These COP bun-fights, such as that just concluded in Doha, are clearly going nowhere while the advisers to the process (namely the IPCC) miss the absolute need to provide unbiased assessments.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


So the gathering of climate politicians in Doha, also known as COP19, has come to an end with a whimper. Some will cheer the renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, hoping no-one will notice that less than a quarter of all nations have signed up.  It means some bureaucrats will remain employed for a few more years - which is probably a good thing, because otherwise they would have to return to their native land where, no doubt, they would regurgitate all the nonsense about global warming that has been keeping them employed since 1992.

But probably the greatest win will be the demise of a number of NGO's.   They have been an enormous force in the global warming debate.  They achieved their power by a form of blackmail.  Companies confessing to emitting carbon dioxide found it was cheaper to pay the NGO's than to make large cuts in their emissions.  Small cuts, by improving their efficiency for example, brought them some relief from the blackmail and actually improved the bottom line slightly.  But, of course, the NGO's kept asking for ever larger cuts, so the blackmail increased.  It was disguised as "social payments", which reduced the company's bottom line but looked good in the annual report. Overall the shareholders were impoverished but the NGO's got richer and richer.

The net result, however, was that the only people who could afford to go to meetings like the gathering in Doha were the NGO's.  I saw this in Durban two years ago. There were a few businesses, but they were relegated to 'side events'.  Municipalities gathered round the fringe, countries had stalls close to the heat of action, and the NGO's were there in the thick of things, usually as official delegates.

Not surprisingly, the real decision makers have become fed up with this charade.  They jet in for the last few days of such meetings, almost expected to rubber stamp the NGO's decisions reached in dark rooms.  They refuse to play ball; the meeting breaks up acrimoniously and late, and achieves nothing, zilch, nada. This has been the pattern of the last four meetings, and the only result has been ever shriller cries from the NGO's.  A few wimpish countries have made hand-waving promises, which has partly mollified the shrill, but achieving a lower carbon world is far removed.

The US has been mercifully sane in much of this.  It refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.  It stuck to business-as-usual.  And guess what - it has achieved what Western Europe and Australia, with all their carbon taxes and Clean Development Mechanisms and carbon trading and you-know-what have failed to do.  It has reduced its emissions to below 1992 levels by the simple application of appropriate technology.  As a result, it now has some of the cheapest energy in the world, and Western Europe is screaming that it can no longer compete on world markets.

So if we tend to laugh at Dohaha, it is with a strong sense of schadenfreude. Lower carbon emissions are not achievable.  Development has trumped ecological scaremongering.  Breathe deeply - CO2 is good for you!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How green can you be?

Last night I gave a talk to the SA Academy of Engineering on "The opportunities for low-carbon energy technology for power generation." This was to present preliminary findings on some work an international team and I had been doing for the International Council of Academies of Engineering.  Suppose you desired a lower carbon world.  What could be done to keep the lights on and not see the cost of doing so spiral out of control?

We concluded that, by 2050, it was probably technically feasible to double our use of electricity and yet emit a third less carbon than we currently do. It would mean taking about half our coal-fired power plants out of service, and replacing them by hydropower, nuclear power and some renewable energy. 

At question time there were some sensible questions.  Gratifyingly, my bit of kite flying was not completely shot down in flames.  

And then my heart sank.  A student started to spout the usual collection of green beliefs.  It didn't matter that I had carefully analysed the possibilities, that I had presented a wide range of facts which taken in their totality indicated that it should be possible to reduce carbon emissions without running out of either energy or money. 

I didn't realize, he claimed, what a disaster the world was facing; how it was not enough to start talking about 2050, action was needed now if the world was to survive. We were facing increasing climate disasters that might lead to starvation at the very least.  The Government of Australia and the IPCC had spoken! I should have listened. Instead, what I was proposing was too little, too late.

It was question time, so I hoped he would forgive me if I forgave him for not asking a question, but making a series of statements.  However, it meant I should be allowed to ask him a question.  If things were so desperate, why was it that the world's leaders had failed to reach a decision at Copenhagen four years ago; failed again at Cancun a year later; and decided last year in Durban to wait until 2015 before deciding on actions to be followed from 2020 onwards?  Were the world's leaders wrong? He spluttered something about the world's leaders being nothing but a collection of politicians, which seemed to me a lame response.

But still, the incident rankled.  For once, I had tried to make a positive contribution to what some see as the world's greatest problem.  I don't see climate change that way - I think there are far more present dangers, here and now - but I needed to get to grips with the problem, such as it was.  And here was a True Believer, saying in effect that I had failed miserably, and lecturing me and the hundred or so other members of the audience about his beliefs, his fears, his questionable view of the world.

There comes a time when being green seems to mean that you no longer have to listen to any other point of view - shout loudly enough, and the conversation will be one way, your way. Debate promptly dies, and our world is the poorer.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

How many more must UNEP kill?

Dr Andrew Wakefield caused widespread alarm when he claimed that his research showed that the childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella could cause autism.  In May 2010, he was banned from practicing medicine in Britain for ethical lapses, including conducting invasive medical procedures on children that they did not need. Part of the cost of Dr. Wakefield’s research was paid by lawyers acting for parents seeking to sue vaccine makers for damages.

His claimed link caused the use of the vaccine in Britain and elsewhere in the world to plummet, a development that has contributed to a sharp rise in childhood diseases in countries where the vaccine was in use. Measles alone killed over 150 000 worldwide in 2008. It took more than a decade and intensive research to prove that the vaccine was indeed safe. There are still parents who refuse to have their children inoculated. Being banned from practice in Britain seems a mild punishment indeed.

But what do you do about an international body that does something very similar? What do you do if it makes wild, unsubstantiated claims, which seem calculated to cause a less-than-expert public to forego real benefits for fear of harm? 

In September 2012, the UN Environment Program [UNEP] released a report “Global Chemicals Report – Towards the sound management of chemicals.” The report itself is not yet available, but the Synthesis Report for Policy Makers can be downloaded from  It is, of course, a major question why the synthesis should precede the report itself, but that is not the real problem.

The real problem is that the Synthesis Report makes a lot of serious claims that lack any form of substantiation.  What is one to make of a claim such as “The Global Chemicals Outlook states that of the 5.7 million metric tonnes of pollutants released in North America (United States, Canada and Mexico), close to two million were chemicals that are persistent, able to accumulate in humans and animals and are toxic. The report also deemed toxic a further million tonnes of substances that are linked with or have suspected links with cancer.” 

Guess what gives cancers? Car tyres! Yes, they contain “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and 1,3-butadiene. Some PAHs are carcinogenic, and 1,3-butadiene is a known human carcinogen.” Indeed, tyres contain carbon black, and that has traces of PAH’s in it; and 1,3-butadiene is used in the manufacture of tyres.  However, during manufacture it is polymerised into polybutadiene. Polybutadiene is harmless and widely used for drinking water piping.

Agricultural chemicals come in for particularly strong condemnation. “Total pesticide expenditures in South Africa rose 59% over the period 1999 to 2009, and are projected to rise another 55% in the period 2009 to 2019.” “World consumption of fertilizers is estimated to grow 2.6% per year in the period 2010 to 2014.” So, if UNEP is to be believed, it is better to feed insects than to feed ourselves, and better to starve than to fertilize our crops.

When you dig a little further, you find, horror of horrors, “Products such as cell phones and laptops are being purchased and used in regions of the world recently thought to be too remote.” Ecopaternalism is rife.

But far rifer are the stories of gloom and disaster. “Despite ubiquitous exposure to chemicals in both developed and developing nations, little is known about the total disease burden attributable to chemicals. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that globally, 4.9 million deaths
(8.3% of total) and 86 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) (5.7% of total) were attributable to environmental exposure and management of selected chemicals in 2004 for which data were available.” 

Now for the good news – “This figure includes indoor smoke from solid fuel use, outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke, with 2.0, 1.2 and 0.6 million deaths/year. These are followed by occupational particulates, chemicals involved in acute poisonings, and pesticides involved in self-poisonings, with 375,000, 240,000 and 186,000 deaths/year respectively.” So of the 4.9 million deaths, most had causes other than what most would consider chemicals – smoke, air pollution and suicide.

Driving the message home are graphics straight out of the Greenpeace book of environmental photojournalism:
Nowhere is there any mention of the huge benefits chemicals have brought mankind. We enjoy clean water due to the chemical destruction of a wide range of pathogens – that in itself is worth tens of millions of lives annually.  We feed ourselves, we clothe ourselves, and our homes are warm and dry, thanks to the wonders of modern chemistry.  Yet UNEP would have us believe that all chemicals are bad, evil and to be avoided – particularly if you happen to be a developing nation. Forego the benefits, is the message – you don’t want to suffer as we in the developed world must, do you?

UNEP is the body behind the ban on the use of DDT. The ban may thicken the shells of the eggs of a few seabirds; but it causes the deaths of over one million Africans each year from that preventable disease, malaria.  

How many must UNEP kill before reason sets in and its leaders are charged with crimes against humanity?

Monday, September 10, 2012

There's something rotten in the State - - -

Recently there have been a couple of judicial decisions that have made my flesh creep. 

First, there was a few billion dollars (many billions of Rand) at stake over the award of a tender to administer social benefits to South Africa's poor on behalf of the South African Social Security Agency.

One of the banks, ABSA, had set up a company called AllPay that had successfully developed safe, secure systems for delivering social grants to some 13 million deserving citizens. After a few years, their contract came up for renewal.  Enter a company called Cash Paymaster Services, whose parent is a United States-listed Net1 UEPS.  Voila! It won the contract.

AllPay went to court.  Mr Justice Elias Matojane found that the Agency had:
  •  "Irrationally and unfairly" lowered the scores of the losing bidder, AllPay;
  • "Irrationally" over­looked the fact that Cash Pay­master Services had failed to follow the bid specifications;
  • Not included a supply chain management expert on its bid evaluations committee as it was required to do; and
  • "Unlawfully" made no assessment of Cash Paymaster's black economic empowerment partners.
Any sentient person would have concluded that Cash Paymasters should be given the boot.  But no! Mr Justice Matojane ruled that the tender should not be set aside. The contract was signed, expensive infrastructure was being rolled out and that could not be undone without prejudicing Cash Paymaster. Reissuing the tender might interrupt grant payments, which would be unacceptable.

Hang on!  "Without prejudicing Cash Paymaster"? The Agency had prejudiced AllPay, and then some. In my books, justice is balanced, and the question the good judge should have addressed is not whether Cash Paymaster might be prejudiced, but whether AllPAy had been! On his own findings, there is no doubt that there was no hypothetical prejudice, there was real, blatant, out-in-the-open prejudice, and the Agency had a case to answer to AllPay.

 Mr Justice Elias Matojane features again in the matter of Esorfranki. In 2010, the Mopani district municipality awarded a tender for a R217m pipeline contract to the Tlong Rea Trading SMN joint venture.  One of the partners in the joint venture, Tango Consultants CC was only registered two weeks after the tender was first advertised.  None of the parties in the joint venture had a Construction Industries Development Board rating of 9, which was one of the key conditions of the tender.  The CIDB is a statutory body established by Parliament to stimulate sustainable growth, reform and improve the construction sector. The joint venture's bid was also higher than Esorfranki's.

On August 29 this year, Judge Elias Matojane found in favour of Esorfranki, and ruled that the municipality and the joint venture had colluded unlawfully. He found the municipality had been biased; that there had been fraud in the awarding of the tender; and that the awarding of the tender had been unlawful. He declared the tender process had been illegal and invalid and set the process aside. 

However, despite the unequivocal findings, neither the Joint Venture nor the Municipality received any sanction. The Joint Venture was permitted to retain the tender while Esorfranki was to pay its own costs.

Such a result sends the most appalling signals.  Corruption is okay.  Even if you get caught, you won't be rapped over the knuckles - or sanctioned in any other way.  Taxpayers money can be squandered at will. Construction quality is of no concern. Oh, the list goes on and on.  

Ultimately, we rely upon the law to see that wrongs are righted.  When the law fails us, that is the time to get worried, very worried.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Welcome to once great Britain!

I was shaken as the Gautrain pulled into Sandton terminus. Yes, the engineering was wonderful – but what was wrong?  The track levelling felt as if the London Underground gremlins had had a hand in the construction.  We were going quite slowly, but still we shook, rattled and rolled.

And that got me thinking about the gremlins.  London Transport has one of the world’s first underground railways, and it shows.  The track needs levelling. They provide grab handles for the standing multitude.  Are they necessary? Yeeess! I don’t know why there isn’t a mass revolt, but perhaps it is that the Brits don’t like making a fuss. 

It is all the more surprising when you think how many of them nip over to France for the weekend. Paris has two Metros, one riding on steel wheels and the other on rubber. The steel-wheeled one is good, smooth and quite fast as a result.  The rubber-shod one is smoother still, and you wonder why no-one else seems to have thought of this sooner.

But Britain seems convinced that she knows best. If her commuters can be thrown around without complaint, well then, throw them around!  The same lack of leadership seems to have pervaded the Olympic Games.  I was persuaded to watch the opening ceremony.  I nearly threw up when an assortment of children in varicoloured nightdresses appeared, and shrilled the National Anthem! Where were the massed bands of the Royal Marines? Where were the choirs that can fill the Albert Hall with sound?  Where was the thrill?  Instead, there was unmitigated schmaltz – “Aren’t they cute?  And did you see Tommy Jenkins? He wet his pants it was so exciting!”

Then we were treated to dancing nurses and more children in hospital beds, in celebration of Britain’s greatest achievement, the National Health Service.  What a real thrill! (Sarc.) I suppose Health and Safety ruled against one thousand pipers blasting away, on grounds of possible ear damage.

Il Trovatore was clearly the ‘inspiration’ for the British worker at the forges, making the rings that are the Olympic trademark.  It was somewhat more inspired and inspiring than what was supposed to be Britain’s greatest musical achievement, Tubular Bells. Purlees! The parents of my grandchildren were still in their cradles when Oldfield burst on the scene, then disappeared, we thought for good.

Ceremonies in Britain used to be pageants to remember.  It was one thing they used to be able to do really well.  The great State occasions, with Her Majesty smiling benignly from her gilded coach.  This time she was allowed what I think is referred to as a ‘cameo appearance’, a walk-on, walk-off part of minimal importance. Oh yes, and her effigy was dropped from her incoming helicopter. Shall I be kind, and say she looked decidedly underwhelmed?

Great, Britain may have been – but the Olympic opening showed that she has well and truly lost it.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beware jail!

I was the last aboard the shuttle.  The big guy on the end moved up, and I squeezed in.  "Where you all going?" asked the driver.  The big guy next to me said "The **** golf course." "Lucky you," I said "It must be nice to have a job that lets you play golf during the week!" "No!" he replied "It's part of our destressing programme."

And he slowly opened up.  He was a jailer at **** Prison.  Built for 1800 prisoners, currently housing over 9000.  As many as 60 prisoners to a single toilet and wash basin. No discipline.  When he started 30 years ago, there were work gangs, and good-behaviour prisoners could be let out to do social work like cleaning the streets.  Today, they all have rights, and sit watching television all day and enjoying three free meals. When they feel like a real rest, they say they are sick, and are rushed off to hospital. Life is better in prison than outside.

And then there were the gangs.  The 26ers would rob you blind, the 27ers would turn you into a woman, the 28ers would make a knife from anything and stab you without a thought.  Woe betide the jailer who went against any one gang - all three would turn on him. 

And the thing that made him really mad was the poor innocents who couldn't find even R50 for bail, and had sat there for a year, while murderous thieves were in and out in a day. There were miscreant husbands, who had fallen behind on child support, and were now locked up while the children suffered.  Eventually the children grew old enough to join a gang, and were soon locked up with their still-jailed father.  In the country village where he had grown up, you knew who the baddies were - now your next-door neighbour could suddenly land up under your care. There was something very wrong with the justice system.

Finally he turned to golf.  It was the one thing that kept him human.  He had grown quite good at it, and was a Correctional Services champion in his age group.  As such he had toured the world, and I was amazed to find myself discussing the seventh  hole at a Melbourne course we had both played! Put a whole new complexion on the jailer's life!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Here's a toast to Her Majesty!

Sixty five years ago, my parents bundled me into the car and we set off on a long trek - my first big traffic jam. 

The event was the arrival in Cape Town of HMS Vanguard, carrying King George VI and Queen Mary, and their two Princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret.  After an hour and about 5km of travel, the car overheated, so we gave up, parked on the single-carriageway de Waal Drive where we had a view, and saw the mighty battleship tie up in Duncan Dock, right at the end of Adderley Street (the Foreshore was a recently reclaimed wasteland in those days, and the Heerengracht did not exist).

A few nights later we went to town again, this time because my father had wangled an invitation to a reception on the ship.  As the sun set, I stood on the foredeck and looked up at the mighty 15" guns in wonder.  However, our visit was cut short - my mother was a notoriously bad sailor, and the motion even in the dock proved too much for her.

A month or so after that we were dragged off to the Rosebank Show Grounds (now the University of Cape Town's Lower Campus), where the Royals were to speak.  I think the occasion was Princess Elizabeth's 21st birthday, but I recall little of the day other than a struggle to see their Majesties between the legs of the crowds.

Six years later, and I, as a Sea Cadet Chief Petty Officer,  found myself sent off to the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  Clad in my Royal Navy uniform, with bell-bottomed trousers carefully ironed with the seven horizontal creases that represented the seven seas, and my seaman's cap whitened with the best Blanco, I marched  in a squad of twenty Commonwealth Sea Cadets across Westminster Bridge, round Parliament Square, to take position in Victoria Street right outside the Abbey. It was a grey morning, with occasional showers, and before long the Blanco had run from my cap and left white streaks down my serge jerkin.

Though I was cold and rather wet, it became exciting as the guests started to arrive.  Many were richly robed and carrying coronets.  One old chap, laden down with ermine, was being henpecked by his wife - "Yes, of course I've got my sandwiches and my potty!" and he raised his robes to reveal package and pot hanging from his belt - and a wonderful line in purple stockings, held up by some rather natty suspenders.

Finally we were all called to attention, and Queen Elizabeth swept up in her carriage.  She emerged with a long train behind her, and a bevy of ladies-in-waiting dashed forward to pick it up before it fell to the damp pavement. There was thunderous music from the Abbey, then long silences, more music, then all the bells began to peal and Her Majesty emerged, beaming, climbed into her gilded carriage, and was off in a flash, surrounded by the Horseguards.  All the other distinguished visitors joined the great procession, and were followed by the various armed forces, each with their bands, and finally we were dismissed and told to find our own way down to Buckingham Palace, and to meet up at Victoria Station later that afternoon.

This year was the jubilee of Her Majesty's accession to the Throne and 59 years since the Coronation.  It all seemed so long ago.  Most of the travel to Britain was by ship - by air you used flying boats and it took eight days. Much of London looked a little toothless - the gaps where bombs had fallen were still there.  Right opposite the Abbey was a blank wall with a row of fireplaces up it, and on one mantelpiece you could just see what looked like a clock.  

There was rationing of food and clothing and petrol and - - oh, the list went on and on. And black-and-white television had just arrived, so visits to my family meant being ushered into a darkened room, staring at a flickering picture of the day's football matches until supper was served, when the lights went on and they suddenly saw me for the first time.  "Ooer! Cousin Philip!  Well I never!  Where have you been, lad? Really?  Is it nice out there?" and then it was time to leave.

In spite of it all, I felt a certain pang of nostalgia over the Jubilee.  So off we went to Cape Town's celebration, the performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Yeoman of the Guard.  Much of their work now seems a little dated, but this production was fresh and full of fun.  There was a host of details I had never noticed before - the echoes of Shakespear in the chats between the jester and the jailor;  the send-up of the madrigal; the touches of Rigoletto; the patter songs a la Donizetti; but above all the killer song, I have a song to sing, oh! What a memorable tune, and what splendid words.  The only thing that I missed was standing up at the end of the performance and waiting while the band played God save the Queen!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Ice Age approaches!

A well-known book store has recently held a sale. To my surprise there, in the midst of a pile of overruns and remainders, was that environmentalists’ bible, An Inconvenient Truth.  Could Al Gore really have been so reduced in price and stature?

Piqued by memory, I browsed through it.  There were all those images – himself riding the lift upwards to follow the graph of carbon in the air; the dead polar bears adrift in an Arctic sea; the oceans rising inexorably – even the great collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

When I got home, I travelled south by Google Earth, to mourn the remains of the Dear Departed Shelf, testimony to the horrors of global warming. But I had an awful shock – the Shelf had returned! Zooming in to 65.7S, 60.7W, plumb in the middle of what was open sea only a few years ago, was as good a sheet of ice as you could wish for! Solid for miles around – a few cracks, to be sure, but basically wall-to-wall Shelf. 

Global warming may have caused the demise of the shelves, so global cooling must account for their return.  I think there is a conspiracy to hide the truth from us. The Global Warming industry knows that the world is actually cooling, that we are drifting back into an Ice Age. They are hiding this fact from us, to preserve their sinecures.

Why have we not been warned?  The Western Cape was facing heat waves and drought. Is our future now one of freezing floods? Is this not the ultimate perversion of science, that the Global Warming scientists are silent on the awful fate we face as our world becomes glacial?

Fortunately there is a solution.  We believe that carbon emissions cause global warming.  Now is the moment to stave off the threat of an icy future.  Let us burn all the fossil fuels we can; we must delay building windmills or solar cells until we are certain that the ice has been turned back and Mother Earth likely to remain habitable. Let us set up a special global warming fund, to reward those who can boost the carbon in the air.

I estimate that if we can raise the carbon dioxide levels to about 600ppm by 2030, we will have a reasonable prospect of avoiding the return to the Ice Ages. It will take some doing, but surely the futures of our children and grandchildren depend on it? And the plant kingdom will love us.