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.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A REALLY inconvenient truth!

I get REALLY cross when my trust is broken.  For over 50 years, I have subscribed to Scientific American. It used to be a reliable source, reporting science by scientists.

About 10 years ago, it started to lose my trust when it treated the Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg, with contempt. Having given four environmentalists the freedom to trash Lomborg's book (and to do so very badly, I might add), they then refused to allow Lomborg to respond. I was very glad to see the last of that particular editor.

In the latest issue, July 2012, Scientific American has gone wildly wrong again. "Witness to an Antarctic meltdown - as glaciers collapse toward the sea, scientists struggle to figure out how fast the southern continent is melting and what that means for sea level rise" is a piece by a freelance journalist, Douglas Fox.

Strike One - the piece was not about the continent, but about the Antarctic Peninsula, that finger which points north from the continent towards South America. It is not typical of the continent, because nowhere on it are you more than about 20km from the sea.  This means, of course, that it is naturally warmer than the continent proper.

Strike Two - there was a graphic showing how glaciers were supposed to be accelerating towards the sea, and to my surprise there was an arrow showing the sea providing a "Bracing force that resists creep." Now my comparatively brief close encounters with glaciers has convinced me of one thing - they will overcome! Nothing can ultimately withstand them. The resistance offered by the sea can be nothing, nada, niks.

By now my hackles were truly up, for the piece was all about the collapse of the Larsen ice shelves.  Who can forget La Gore, emoting over their collapse in An Inconvenient Truth? So I went to check the evidence on Google Earth - it is a really useful source of ground truth, made all the better by the fact that you can get historical images as well as current ones.

Indeed, back in 1999, all was looking fine:
 You can see the Larsen B Ice Shelf on the left and Larsen A on the right quite clearly. 

By 2002, Larsen A had done the disappearing act, and Larsen B was looking much the worse for wear.

By 2006, Larsen B had joined its brother, and gone to the great iceberg in the sky! 

And then came 2010!! Voila, they had reappeared! If global warming had made them disappear, had global cooling now made them reappear?? 

The ice shelf isn't perfect - it's repair still shows a few cracks - but back it is. (Imagery Date 30 Sept 2010, location Lat.65.59, Lon. -60.81 Altitude 14km)

Strike 3 - Fox was well and truly out, and Scientific American with him.  What gets into these people, that Global Climate Change has to be The Phenomenon That Changes All?? Do the glaciologists really have nothing to say about the movement of sheets of ice? 

Back I went into the article.  It got worse. "The disappearance of the heavy glaciers is allowing the earth's crust below to rebound."  Now look at the 2006 view.  Where the ice shelves had been, there was now open sea.  So the shelves were floating - the crust was not bearing their weight!

And then the article's map - "Former Larsen A Ice Shelf", "Former Larsen B Ice Shelf."  Hubris? Spelling mistake - should have been "Reformed"? You be the judge.

But whatever way you look at it, science has really lost the plot, and Scientific American with it, when the political correctness of  Global Warming distorts the truth to this extent.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Give our MP's something to do!

Recently I have had interesting chats with some friends who happen to be members of our judiciary.  They have had a host of complaints, including such things as the fact that the Johannesburg courts have been under jackhammers and dust for something like three years.  The imposition of incompetent senior judges hasn't hloped helped either.

But their greatest gripe is reserved for the plethora of laws that are being passed.  Our legislature sits, and its members have nothing better to do than to pass laws. To while away the time, they do just that.  Law follows law, often badly drafted, often in conflict with earlier laws, often in conflict with our own Constitution, an unending flood of poor legislation.

Then, of course, the civil service has its work cut out to draw up the regulations required to implement the laws. The regulations suffer from the same flaws as the laws themselves. We land up with a morass in which everything is regulated and nothing is accomplished.

The origin of this state of affairs is not difficult to find.  We have proportional representation in Parliament. This means that obeying the party whips is far more important than anything else.  In days gone by, you needed to pay attention to your constituency.  It was they who got you elected. Most of your time was spent away from Parliament and its work of passing laws. 

Now you merely need to fight your way up a list, and all the benefits of being a legislator are yours. So of course you legislate diligently - that way you will progress up the list, and be more secure in your sinecure.

One of the best bits of political advice I ever received was that democracy was great, but the Westminster system missed the greatest democratic opportunity. It lacked giving people the right to vote for what they were going to vote for.  When your choice is merely a party, and you have to live with the chosen party for at least four years, politics is damned dull.  When you have to decide how much you are prepared to pay the street cleaner or your children's teachers or for the street lights to stay on after midnight, then you become much more involved.  

And when you are involved, then anyone who hopes to represent you is also involved - with you! He or she doesn't have time to waste drawing up bad laws. What bliss it must be!