Climate clippings 20

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Nicholas Stern: Climate inaction risks a “global war”

Climate Progress has the story:

The temperature increases, the temperature changes of this kind, transform where people can be. In the upwards direction, you’re going to get some areas that become deserts, probably most of southern Europe. Others that are inundated: Florida, Bangladesh, and so on.

What we’re talking about here — this the cost of inaction, the cost of not doing much — is a transformation of where we can be. Over a hundred, 120 years, we can’t be that precise, a serious risk of global war, really, because you’ve got hundreds of millions of people, perhaps billions of people moving. That’s the cost of inaction. It’s potentially immense.

It should be noted that Stern is not a security analyst, but Gwynne Dyer who is told us three years ago that security establishments were gaming scenarios where they saw mass migration due to climate change. And troubles over major river systems, like the Nile, the Mekong, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the numerous rivers on which Pakistan depends.

On polls and media disinformation campaigns

There are several stories in this post at Climate Progress. First there’s this:

A new Gallup poll finds Americans (accurately) believe global warming is due more to human activities than natural changes by 52% to 43%, up from 50 to 46 last year. Only 36% of Republicans acknowledge this.

Secondly, a Stanford poll came up with remarkably different results.


a remarkable 60% of those who watched Fox News almost daily believe that “Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring,” whereas only 30% who never watch it believe that.

This could be the reason:

as of December 2009, Fox News managing editor Bill Sammon had required reporters and producers that report on even the most unequivocal scientific facts about global warming to dispute those facts ” IMMEDIATELY.”

This article gives some more detail.

Casting a critical eye on climate models

The New Scientist takes a look at climate models.

Towards the end we are told that if we want to predict the weather a decade ahead the greatest uncertainty will be natural variation in major climate systems.

If we are concerned about 50 years hence, decadal variations will even out and differences in climate models become an important factor.

If our focus is a century ahead the important variable is us, and what we will do about emissions.

Natural gas might not be so green friendly

For the second time in two days natural gas has been challenged as being more environmentally friendly than coal on a life-cycle basis.

Apart from leaking and intentional venting for safety reasons, it seems older power plants may only save 25% of emissions compared to coal.

Coal is not so cheap

According to Skeptical Science:

the externalities are sufficient to triple the cost of coal power, if they were reflected in its price. If we include the coal externalities, it increases the levalized costs to approximately 28 cents per kWh, which is more than hydroelectric, wind (onshore and offshore), geothermal, biomass, nuclear, natural gas, solar photovoltaic, and on par with solar thermal (whose costs are falling rapidly). Suddenly coal doesn’t look like such a good deal. (Emphasis added)

Sea level rise: coming to a place near you

This article has a series of links showing a one-metre rise (red) and a six-metre rise (tan). Many experts are now forecasting a midpoint result of a metre or a little more by 2100. Check out Brisbane, Sydney and Singapore.

Data from crop trials underline the threat climate change poses to farmers

Climate change denialists/sceptics/contrarians often say that CO2 is life and the more the better for plant growth, neglecting other factors such as temperature and water availability.

A study on maize (corn, to Americans) in Africa shows the adverse effects of temperature:

…peak, rather than average, temperatures are what matter most to maize.

Days above 30°C are particularly damaging. In otherwise normal conditions, every day the temperature is over this threshold diminishes yields by at least 1%. Moreover, days where the temperature exceeds 32°C do twice the harm of those at 31°C. And during a drought, things are worse still. Then, yields take a hit of 1.7% per day over 30°C.

The research predicts that a 1°C rise in average temperature will reduce yields across two-thirds of the maize-growing region of Africa, even in the absence of drought. Add drought and that effect spreads over the entire area.

An earlier study

was based on actual harvest data rather than crop trials and suggested yield losses of 20% or more for African maize by the middle of the century.

New Commission Confronts Threats To Food Security From Climate Change

Experts from 6 continents are set to produce policy recommendations for boosting food production in face of harsher climates, increasing populations, scarce resources.

Recent droughts and floods have contributed to increases in food prices. These are pushing millions more people into poverty and hunger, and are contributing to political instability and civil unrest. Climate change is predicted to increase these threats to food security and stability. Responding to this, the world’s largest agriculture research consortium today announced the creation of a new Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change.

Chaired by the United Kingdom’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, the Commission will in the next ten months seek to build international consensus on a clear set of policy actions to help global agriculture adapt to climate change, achieve food security and reduce poverty and greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. Navy prepares for climate change

While republicans in Congress deny climate change and try to knacker the EPA the military gets on with practical planning. The US navy has commissioned a study from the National Research Council on the implications of climate change for there operations. Press release here and stories here and here.

Concerns include more operations in the Arctic to protect US interests, more demands for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in response to a range of predicted crises created by climate change, including floods, droughts, intense storms, and geopolitical unrest, plus an estimated $100 billion of Navy installations would be at risk from sea-level rise of 1 meter or more.

57 thoughts on “Climate clippings 20”

  1. Brian, thankyou for putting these clippings together.
    I have been wondering about the protests going on in Qld regarding coal seam gas. Is this the same as what is termed ‘fracking’ in the US, with all its major environmental issues?

  2. Yes, I understand what he’s saying. I get frustrated as well and you wish the Abetz’s, Joyces and Lennons of this world would put away their schemings and end the looting for long enough to open their minds.

  3. Wow, that study of temperature effects on maize really surprised me. This is a summer crop and I would not have considered 32 hot let alone 30.

    Here’s an interesting article on the doubling of solar power every 2 years for the last 20 years and that solar will power the world in 16 years.

  4. Debbianne, by coincidence this edition of Climate clippings was a day late because on Thursday I went to this meeting.

    If I get time I’ll do a post on it.

    “Fracking” is a process whereby water and chemicals are injected under high pressure into a coal bearing seam of rocks and stuff to fracture the tightly packed material, thus enabling the gas to be extracted. I gather some of this toxic mess is left behind where there is a chance that through fracturing and changes in pressure there is a risk it leaks into aquifers that are used for human consumption, stock watering and agriculture.

    In the Surat Basin currently 8% of drill holes are fracked. This will expand to 10-14% as time goes by. They claim they do it carefully, but how would you trust them?

    I get the impression that the percentage of holes fracked is much higher in the US.

    What was truly impressive was the number of factors that are simply not monitored in Australia. The attitude is pretty much third world.

    An even worse problem was the health side-effects of open cut coal mining on nearby populations, leading to a whole raft of health problems. IQ of young children is adversely affected, for example, to a degree that is scandalous. The incidence of autism is as high as 1 in 15 as compared with 1 in 15,000 normally.

    Again it’s a scandal that the authorities only measure the larger particles which do little damage.

    There should be at least a 5km buffer zone. At the XStrata mine near Wandoan they will be mining 2km from the centre of town.

  5. I find the sea-level-rise maps highly dubious. Looking at Sydney, just one metre’s rise is supposed to wipe out all the eastern suburbs, despite Randwick for example being between 20m and 80m above sea level. How is that possible?

  6. paul w @ 2, are you on the right thread with that comment?

    Jarrah @ 5, sadly I think you are right. I’ve checked Brisbane, Sydney and Singapore at this site. It’s not loading well for me, but I got there eventually. The Skeptical Science maps are about 30m out, but even then don’t make sense in relation to the actual topography.

  7. @Jarrah, that map’s got all of Newtown and St Peters-Sydenham underwater too, despite that nice 50-100m high ridge running through the middle of it. A lot of Leichardt/Annandale is also on a ridge, same for Petersham/Stanmore and much of Marrickville/Dulwich Hill.

    There are large parts of the coastal and riverside suburbs of Sydney which will definitely be affected by a sea level rise. But because Sydney is so hilly, there’ll be large ridges and small hilly pockets throughout that red-shaded area which will simply not be affected at all other than by the problems with major roads through low-lying areas being cut, which will definitely be a problem.

  8. Brian,

    Who are what is the “westerly sun”? Not up to your usual standard of sources.

    It is certainly plausible that fugitive emissions mean that gas is not much cleaner than coal, but it seems a bit unlikely to me. Either way, it shows how important it is that fugitive emissions are included in any carbon pricing scheme. I would think that there is considerable scope to reduce fugitive emissions – for example, by flaring most gas that is vented for safety reasons.

    Having said that, I’m not sure what the proposed policy is on fugitive emissions. Do you know?

  9. Jarrah, the firetree site I linked to @ 6 turned out to be highly accurate on a street by street basis when I checked it against what happened in the Brisbane flood in an inner city suburb where Mark lives, where the flood levels, being in a tidal area, would have related to sea level. So it’s a mystery, but no-one has picked up the problem in the comments thread at SS.

  10. Does the data on sea level rise answer the question I ask myself when I walk daily along the beach here in Fremantle and notice how every year the walls of a decade ago are increasingly useless in holding back beach sand from the dunes? What were once green lawns and paved pathways are now in many places piled with grey sand. Or is this the result of more than a decade of drought and strong winds which will right itself when the rain finally comes?

  11. IU @ 9, that link came out of a regular feed where there is no quality control. I posted it because there may be an issue that needs watching and it’s possible the usual assumption about gas may be incorrect.

    I can’t give a definitive answer about “fugitive emissions” I think they are fairly high in Australia because of our large mining industry, but <5%. And hard to measure. Coal mining has fugitive emissions also and I would expect much of that is methane.

    It seems that home for The Westerly Sun might be Pawcatuck if not Westerly itself (see here), that is southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. I assumed that stories like this one would come from a news service, rather than be sourced locally. On a closer look it seems it might come from Earthtalk: The Environmental Magazine which I’ve never heard of before.

    The second reference to this issue was at the meeting I attended (see @ 4) where the quote was from a Princeton University source, from memory.

    An issue to note and wait for further evidence, I think.

  12. Patricia, I wouldn’t know. Sea level changes do vary from place to place, but there is a lot of other stuff going on in specific locations.

    I’ve heard it said the there was a distinct step down in Perth’s annual rainfall in the early 70s, from memory and perhaps another in the late 90s.

    Will Steffen’s 2009 report indicated that there was a climate change imprint in what was happening in southern Australia, including Victoria up to about the border, again from memory. Further north it’s too soon to say. So the rains may never return like the ‘good old days’.

  13. On the story about the US Navy preparing for climate change, there’s an article in New Scientist that to change someone’s mind, they must hear the information from a source that they trust, and that has the same mind-set. Let’s hope Obama is lining up lots of Admirals to talk to the Republicans.

  14. Kevin, impressive photos.

    It should be noted that we have had a La Nina in conjunction with an negative Indian Ocean dipole, which together have brought rain to most of the continent except the SW corner. I think the conjunction of these two influences has only happened about 5 times since WW2 and the current one seems to have yielded more dramatic effects than any of the others.

    So we’ll just have to wait and see how exceptional the recent summer has been.

  15. Impressive photos indeed, but also depressing!

    Another thing I ponder is that if I, a non-scientist, can feel the climate changing and the environment with it, surely other ordinary people must be doing so too? Or are too many of us isolated and insulated within air conditioned walls and cars?

    Kevin, I didn’t leave a comment for you ‘cos I couldn’t answer the question on how to prove myself human!

  16. I believe that a large majority of the AGW “skeptics” are Creationists or Catholic conservatives. This would help to explain why the U.S. has a greater proportion of skeptics than Australia.

    There might not seem a logical connection between Creationism and denialism, but a great proportion of leaders in the denialist movement are Creationist. Anthony Watts, who runs perhaps the best known denialist site, WUWT, has argued that Creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science classes.

    Roy Spencer, who has served as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where he famously screwed up the satellite temperature measurements of the troposphere (probably deliberately), is a Creationist. Incidentally, when you google “roy spencer,” Google automatically brings up suggestions in the drop-down search bar, and “roy spencer creationist” is the second suggestion brought up.

    Besides dabbling in AGW denial, Spencer also dabbles in denial of evolution, and he has written several very [ableist slur redacted] anti-evolution pro-ID screeds. Creationism not only predisposes the person against science generally. In Spencer’s case, his Creationist beliefs are the driving force behind his AGW denial. Spencer is listed as a former “scientific advisor” for an organization called the “Interfaith Stewardship Alliance” (ISA), which states that climate policy should be based upon the religious prophecies of the Bible (although, to be fair, he has also worked with organizations that are funded by Exxon-Mobil).

    In an article in 2006 for the ISA (which changed its name in 2007 to Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation) seemed to take exception to the fact that other Christians are taking their stewardship role seriously. The first statement of belief of the Cornwall Alliance shows how Creationism underscores their “scientific” outlook on global warming:

    We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

    Last week Nick Minchin was in the news for rejecting a recent government report about climate change, because, he claimed, “the globe is more likely to be cooling than warming.” Minchin went on to cite the work of Roy Spencer. If it had been pointed out at the time that Minchin was relying on the work of a Creationist, how do you think Minchin would have responded?

  17. I&U @9: Agree about Western Sun. Once you start confusing the picture by including old gas fired figures the whole thing came across as a anti gas beat-up. Never the less it is important to look at total emissions including those generated during building, mining etc.
    While methane has much higher greenhouse effects than CO2 my recollection is that the half life of methane in the atmosphere is less than 20 years.
    My personal view is that the gas transition makes sense as long as there is a clear understanding that the lifetime output will be the equivalent to flat out operation till a shutdown by 2030. It can happen now without any arguments about reliability of supply and provides the back-up required for sources such as wind and solar. It also gives time for some of the more speculative sources for clean power to develop.

  18. Brian: The frightening thing is that three nuclear powers with very large populations depend on weather patterns around the Himalayas for much of their food.

  19. John D @ 20, yes.

    @ 19, see here, especially Figure 3.

    Methane is 75 times more powerful than CO2 after 20 years, and 23 times more powerful after 100 years, which is the equivalence usually quoted.

    I wondered how coal-fired power stations converted to gas would perform.

  20. John D,

    I agree about the gas transition. New CCGT baseload can be built ,today, and will be once the carbon price is in place. You are right, they do need a life of 20 years to be economic. Your 2030 date might be too soon, implying that a CCGT built in 2020 would have only 10 years to recover its costs. As the carbon price ramps up, and renewable technology develops, CCGT will be increasingly replaced by renewables anyway. It is not necessary to force the pace with an arbitrary cut-off date.


    Off the top of my head, I think thermal efficiencies of coal-fired stations are around mid- to high-thirties percent and would be similar if converted to gas (that is for black coal; I am less familiar with brown coal). CCGT efficiencies are mid- to high-fifties.

    In any case, there are several old coal-fired stations which are due for closure anyway. Might as well replace them when converting to gas-fired power. Also, many coal-fired stations (eg Hunter Valley) are nowhere near a bulk gas supply.

  21. #18 Silkworm

    What I’ve never understood is why Christian fundamentalists and creationists aren’t environmentalists to a person. If you believe that God created every species personally, then wouldn’t you think he might get a teeny-weeny bit annoyed when we start wiping them out?

    I may be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve heard of many Christian fundamentalists lying in front of bulldozers.

  22. DI(NR),

    You are missing the point. Abetz has discovered incontrovertible, photographic evidence that Kermit the Frog was leading the press conference announcing the carbon tax.

    I am surprised that none of the MSM picked this up.

  23. mod @ 18

    Thank you for redacting my ableist slur. I should have used the word “weak” instead, although as a member of the disabled community who suffers from chronic fatigue, the use of the term “weak” also has ableist connotations for me. 🙂

    calyptorhynchus @24

    What I’ve never understood is why Christian fundamentalists and creationists aren’t environmentalists to a person.

    There is a split in the evangelical movement in the States over climate change, just as there is over evolution. The more conservative, right-wing evangelicals are anti-evolution and AGW-denialist, but interestingly open to financial support from the fossil fuel industry. The more liberal evangelicals are inspired by “creation care.” They see themselves as proper stewards of God’s creation and follow Jesus’ command to “care for the least of these.” They accept the science of climate change as outlined by the IPCC. The most prominent group in this Christian movement is the Evangelical Climate Initiative which began in 2006.

    At the end of 2006, the religious community in Australia issued an inter-faith document called Common Belief in which they stated that “for most of us, the fate of the planet as a result of global warming is really a moral issue.”

    John @ 22

    You have proved my point about Creationists and AGW-denialism. Senator Abetz, whose opinion you rely on as fact, is well-known as a member of the fundamentalist Christian right.

    Abetz is closely associated with the Salt Shakers, which agitates against action on climate change. At the very end of their 2007 article Climate Change? Global Warming? And God, the Salt Shakers stated:

    We cannot ‘save’ the planet. Only God can. This world will not be wiped out until Christ returns.

    However, they hold contradictory theological beliefs on this issue (although I think it’s more like one view being given in public and a different view being held in private). Like the creationists in the U.S., instead of believing that God commanded humans to take care of creation, they believe that God commanded us to have dominion over it; and yet like the more liberal evangelicals, they say we have a responsibility to maintain good stewardship of the earth. They say, “We are to care for the earth but also develop it.”

    Another of the contradictions that flows from their theological position is that although God is supposed to have bestowed the earth with oil for human development, God has placed most of the easily accessible oil under land ruled by Arabs.

    Their main theological departure from the more liberal Christians is that they subscribe to the fundamentalist belief that God will not allow the earth to undergo a second global flood.

    They also say, “There is no particular ‘Christian’ view on the topic of ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’,” but in reality they rely on the denialist pseudo-science of Spencer, Christy, Plimer, etc. Although the fundamentalist-denialist position is a minority Christian viewpoint, the Salt Shakers disingenuously portray it as “a proper and balanced Biblical view of stewardship.” There’s the use of that post-modern term “balanced” again.

  24. That’s an interesting take on denialism Silkworm.

    I think the correlation between hard-right Christians and climate-change denialism really stems from their reluctance to examine one’s own life and the rapidity with which such people accept any statement which supports their worldview. When you’ve spent your entire (spiritual) life ignoring (rather than questioning) the most important parts of your faith (i.e. love your neighbour), then ignoring pesky scientists is pretty simple.

    Most Christians I know are far more environmentally active then I am myself. As an example family friend has just finished his PhD on Christianity and the care of creation – it’s quite interesting to chat about this stuff with him (he wrote an article in this issue of their student magazine about Christianity/environmentalism). He’s done a fair bit of work with the Presbyterian church in NZ to crystallise their (pro-environment) view on environmental issues.

    I’m not sure there’s a direct link between Christianity (or any other religion) and denialism per se.

  25. Brian,

    another good set of links. I do take issue with the New Scientist article though. I think they (the scientists who informed them) are wrong. Atmospheric warming is non-linear and the uncertainty is in the anthropogenic signal, not decadal variability. Climatology over-uses trend analysis.

    I have put up a long post, describing how it may be possible to attribute a level of climate change (or not!) to the recent floods. The science is complex, so interested in responses to improve its communication (if anyone makes it through).

  26. Thanks, Roger. I look for about 8 articles with the main criterion the urge to share. John D who has I think more time in front of the computer than I do also feeds me interesting items.

    On the New Scientist article, personally I was a bit underwhelmed. Your comment is salutary. We all like nice curves. I remember you telling us the same thing a couple of years ago.

    The link is a bit daunting and it’s only Part 1. I’m sitting here trying to write something on a completely different topic for another part of my life, so I’ll need to take a longer run at it.

  27. Brian,

    yes, put too much in (a curse of mine). Might have to pull the hydrometerology stuff out and put it elsewhere – it’s such a powerful idea, though, once it’s understood a lot of other stuff falls into place.

  28. Silkworm,

    There is no mention – as far as I know – of AGW or the greenhouse effect in the bible, so I guess it would be difficult for fundamentalists to take it too seriously.

  29. Brian @21: I have heard of power plants in the US that can run on gas or coal but have no details. It should be possible to convert pulverized coal furnaces to gas but I not sure to what extent the furnace would need to be modified. I seem to remember that simply replacing coal with gas would halve emissions assuming that efficiency remained the same.
    In theory you might be able to convert to a CCGT without the need for a new steam turbine circuit by running gas turbine exhaust to the boiler. You would need to ask someone who knows more about power plants whether this is practical.
    Existing coal fired power plants are logical places to set up CCGT. There is the possibility of using existing switchgear, transformers etc as well as reducing any hassles getting environmental approval.

  30. I&U @23: I wrote about the gas transition in an earlier post and did a number of cost calculations as part of the preparations. A couple of points:
    1. An important part of the justification is based on the need for back-up for wind and solar when there are extended periods of wind drought or extensive cloud cover. In this context I would see gas running at full capacity of a number of years followed by an extended period where the plant would run part of the time as more and more clean electricity came on line.
    2. The calculations compared options for a specified reduction in total power related emissions over the next 40 years.
    3. As you would expect, reducing the equivalent life of the plant increased the price increases required but figures below 15 years were not unthinkable. (2 years running at half capacity=one year full life equivalent.)
    4. The economics of the gas transition are strongly favored by getting the plants on line as soon as practical. The economically logical thing would be to aim at installing enough CCGT to at least provide for long term back-up requirements by the end of 2015.

    The best way to make this happen is to use competitive tendering to set up long term contracts for the supply of cleaner electricity. CCGT would be very competitive if it is acceptable. There is no need to wait for a carbon price before calling for tenders.

  31. Silky @29

    Nice to see you represent a more nuanced view of Christian Fundamentalists and Climate Change than in the past.

    The factors still missing from your analysis are demography and political allegiance. You are still pretty determined to present a single factor analysis ‘Fundamentalism => Climate Change Denialism’ as a supporting piece to your aggressive Atheist equation ‘Fundamentalist == Creationist == Idiot’

    Older Fundamentalists (55 yrs plus, the Lib/Nat core constituency) are accustomed to viewing the Left as an essentially Atheist collective with companion views on Gay Marriage, sexual libertarianism and abortion. Consequently any leftist viewpoint is regarded a priori as deeply suspicious.

    Climate Change suffers from this same ad-hominem reductionism among the older Fundy. Consequently the Bible is pressed into service to provide a theological justification for Climate Change Denalism. So its not that the Bible rejects AGW, its that the older Fundies would like it to.

    In addition its the older members of an organisation (like the Assemblies Of God or the Southern Baptists) that generally have control over its official positions and pronouncements. The grass roots or younger members can and do see things differently on Climate Change. You may like to acknowledge that fact about the older members generally ccontrolling official pronouncements. In the US, of course, the older members are the ones that have forged the extant political alliance with the Republican Party, the home of Climate Change denialism.

    Many Atheists, such as yourself perhaps, would also prefer the Bible to reject AGW as it provides another stone to throw at Jesus, God and Fundies. So those don’t try very hard to find out what the Bible says on Green topics.

    In the same way that dedicated Lib/Nats here would rather eat their own livers than say the Greens are correct about anything, so its is the same for the older Fundies. They reject Climate Change simply to retain a coherent set of political beliefs. (Poor) Theology becomes the servant of political ideology and/or political identity

    Great to see you acknowledge that ‘the fundamentalist-denialist position is a minority Christian viewpoint’. Looking forward to seeing you ackhowledge that the denialist position within Fundamentalists is driven by political allegiance and demographic factors rather than ‘what the Bible says’, or at least that political and demographic factors pre-dispose a denialist position on a reading of Scripture.

    Would also like to see you acknowledge that younger Fundies support AGW in significant numbers. i.e. that Fundamentalists do not comprise a monolithic denialist bloc.

    Jess @30

    Not sure where you’re getting that view that Fundies ignore the most important aspects of their own faith such as loving their neighbour. Is that something to do with rejection of Gay Marriage or something ?

  32. There is no mention – as far as I know – of AGW or the greenhouse effect in the bible, so I guess it would be difficult for fundamentalists to take it too seriously.

    I&U, if you read my post @ 29 carefully, you will see that there are many Christians, whom I call “liberal evangelicals,” who are inspired by their faith to take global warming seriously. So, what point are you trying to make? Are you telling us you agree with the fundies? Or perhaps you are just being contrarian?

  33. Baraholka @ 37 Well, perhaps we’re working off different definitions of fundamentalism.

    When I see people like Brian Tamaki professing to speak for fundamental Christianity and promoting prosperity doctrine at the expense of his (predominantly working class and poor) congregation, and people like George Pell labelling homosexuals as evil, well, that doesn’t look like loving your neighbour, that looks like greed and judgement respectively. And that’s the sort of ‘fundamentalism’ that I thought Silkworm was talking about. Maybe it’s an abuse of terminology.

    However I think we’re on the same page by and large. The examples I give above are ‘fundamental’ in name but based on _bad_ & inconsistent theology. My point was that if you’re prepared to accept completely inconsistent theories of ethics, then ignoring a few scientists who don’t back up your world view is easy, not really that fundamentalists as a block fall into this category (although they certainly seem to be over-represented in my experience).

    For the record, I don’t really care whether Christians motivate their care for the earth from biblical teaching, as long as they do it! But this just sounds like sour grapes:

    Many Atheists, such as yourself perhaps, would also prefer the Bible to reject AGW as it provides another stone to throw at Jesus, God and Fundies. So those don’t try very hard to find out what the Bible says on Green topics.

    I’m sure that may atheists don’t actually give a shit about what the bible says about anything.

  34. Sorry! I forgot to close the blockquote tag – the last line in that post was mine, not Baraholka’s.

    [Fixed – ed]

  35. Silkworm @38,

    Sorry, I hadn’t read your comments properly. My comment was just a lame attempt at being facetious.

    To be honest, I really have no idea what fundamentalists believe or why they believe it. Or even what a “fundamentalist” actually is.

  36. @I&U, the one belief that all Christian fundamentalists share is in absolute biblical inerrancy. All other fundamentalist positions arise from that basic plank (eta: and different groups find different directions thereby).

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to go into too much further detail on this thread – too off-topic. But in a former online role I was moderator for a now-moribund discussion group on the doctrine of biblical inerrancy – you can read the FAQ here.

  37. Roger @ 33, I’d say leave the hydrometeorology stuff in there for those who have the knowledge to follow it, but include a plain English summary for those who don’t.

    Mark was working on a report that had to go to ministers last year. The last job was to recast the whole thing for a reading age of about 11. I’d say, have two audiences in mind, one that can understand and appreciate the complex science and one that can skip the hard bits and still get the sense of what you are saying.

  38. Brian and John D,

    You might be interested in this report for AEMO (the Australian energy market operator). It includes tables (tables 18-23) setting out thermal efficiency, fugitive emissions and carbon intensity for every power station in the NEM.

    AEMO has recently developed a new procedure for reporting carbon intensity in the NEM and this commences operation in July. The numbers will be inclusive of fugitive emissions.

    For gas-fired plant, fugitive emissions account for between 5% and 30% of total emissions. I don’t understand why there is such a spread of numbers. It may relate to the gas field that they purchase from.

  39. Jess @39

    Doctrinaire (Dawkins-like) atheists care a great deal about what the Bible says.

    There are many Atheist web sites that dissect the Bible in minute detail seeking to blacken Jesus, God and scripture with whatever they can find (mis)use and/or distort to support an anti-God/Jesus/Bible polemic.

    Such sites have a mixture of good Bible critique, reasoned logical deduction, horrendously misinformed theological gibberish and crazed bias. Reading them is much like reading Bolt on anything the Greens/ALP do. Silky’s ‘oil contradiction’ above is a good example of a doctrinaire Atheist critique gone loony.

  40. Barah, when you go all defensive and launch into personal attacks on me or atheists generally, you tend to drag the thread off topic. This thread is about climate change. Reread my posts and see what I have to say about the theology that the Salt Shakers are using to deny AGW.

  41. Brian @43,

    funnily enough, some of the post was taken from material that was reworked, massively simplified and has a very similar destination to what you mention.

    Where I feel most comfortable is in front of an audience explaining stuff. Did a talk last year on sea level rise, complex system behaviour and why adopting a risk focus was better than waiting for predictions. And how science and local knowledge could be combined in adapting. That was in front of 200 people, locals in Gippsland and was really well received.

    Writing, where different levels of technical expertise can be combined in an explanation is trickier. Levels of scientific communication can be summarised as:
    1. Soundbite
    2. Simple pamphlet
    3. Ministerial
    4. Popular summary
    5. Scientific summary for decision-makers
    6. Technical explanation
    7. Scientific explanation with theory
    8. Scientific paper

    I’ve left news reporting off that. It’s worth thinking more on, and dovetails into some online debates about scientific communication going on elsewhere.

  42. Hi Silky,

    I have read your posts on the Salt Shakers and AGW denialism and responded to it in this thread as well as the other thread in which you posted that information.

    What is it precisely you wanted to draw my attention to ?

  43. We need to get you in front of the cameras then, Roger. Your bright yellow complexion might be a bit of a problem, maybe some fake tan lotion can look after that. It might be helpfull to put your actual image on your website so that we can see the damage.

    It is a good start to go to the ABC recording sessions in Ultimo, and start to develop a profile for your self. If you phone the ABC and let them know of your speciality interest you might be called upon for the occaisional Q&A type session.

  44. BilB – re damage. Despite being a camera-slut, I’ve got a good head for radio. (Did quite a bit during the 80s – natural history on community radio)

  45. I&U: Interesting data set. Not sure why fugitive emissions vary so much. However, it obvious from the number of stations with the same fugitive emissions that some arbitrary groupings were made.

  46. Roger @ 47, I think newspapers aim for a reading age of about 11, don’t they, which I think is the average adult reading age.

  47. Roger,

    I think the story to start to tell clearly is the 3d nature of weather, as well as the relationship between ocean temperature, rainfall, and high/low pressure systems (from the vertical viewpoint).

  48. Heads up, those that have missed it on LNL last night

    Infrastructure, planning and climate change adaptation.

    A very informative and widespread discussion on a extremely complex issue with Professor Brian Collins, Chief Scientific Advisor, UK Department of Transport and Dept of Business Innovation and Skills. Professor of Information Systems at Cranfield University. Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

  49. Update on electic powered transport (flight).

    This vehicle offers high speed transport for .9 cents per kilometre (6.5 Kwhr times 22 cents per Kwhr per 160 klms range 2.5 hrs) in a robust compact form. That would be $7 per passenger Sydney to Melbourne. There is a 2 seater and a 4 seater in planning. Think of what that means to the bush in terms of mustering, fence survey, shopping trips, etc. This is about not just what is possible, but what is becoming a today reality.

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