activism

Three steps forward

I write about a lot of big causes on this site, so it’s nice to see a few of them making progress. There are three breakthroughs to celebrate this week:

1) The European Union is due to suggest changes to the Common Fisheries Policy today, making a new set of recommendations that could see an end to discards and the start of sustainable fishing. It’s just proposals and not the victory declared by the front page of the Metro yesterday, but it’s still a big step forward. If you haven’t signed the Fish Fight petition yet, .

2) Members of the European Parliament voted this week on plans to , and rejected amendments from financial interests that sought to water down the proposals. We’re a long way from controlling commodity speculators (expect plenty of squealing from the City), but it’s a positive move towards the end of profiting from hunger.

3) The proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation never was in the public interest. It’s taken a major media scandal to slow it down and get the politicians to pay attention, but it’s now looking increasingly unlikely. Britain’s democracy is severely weakened by media monopolies, Murdoch’s in particular, and this week has gone some way to putting that right.

14 comments

  1. And the Australian government has released a plan to price carbon that has the pledged support of a majority of both houses. It’s not a wonderful, beautiful plan, but it is better than the nothing that preceded it and when it is implemented without the sky falling down, there may be a little more room in Australian politics for something a little more ambitious.

    Or the Gillard minority government might fall and the opposition sweep into power with a massive majority and nothing get done for the next decade…

    1. Yes, I’ve noticed that. Great news for a country with such high carbon footprints. I’d have added it here, except that I need to read up on how it works first. I might make it a separate post.

      1. I’ve put up a with links both to the original plan (which is very long) and to various other summaries and analyses that I think are on the money. Hope it helps.

  2. A Paper on fish populations and climate changes.

    “Or the Gillard minority government might fall and the opposition sweep into power with a massive majority and nothing get done for the next decade…”

    Exporting emissions and jobs to nations offshore, nations with far lower polution and efficiency standards has worked so well for the UK. They just were hit with increases in both natural gas by 18% and for electricity by 16%.

    British Columbia has a new leader over just this sort of tax. While it was the HST that was the big nail in the coffin for him, those seeking to replace him in his party are talking of repealing the carbon tax. After only a few years this tax has become so toxic. The tide of opinion turns very fast. I think Byrons take on a Gillard minority government fall is highly likely.

    “Just eight months ago, Mr. Campbell seemed to be riding out the unhappiness over the HST, with the Winter Olympics bolstering his popularity. But in the spring, as the anti-HST movement picked up momentum, his party’s support – and even more, his personal approval ratings – were in freefall. A provincewide petition received certification in August and triggered a 2011 non-binding plebiscite on the future of the unloved tax. Mr. Campbell, seeking to defuse anti-HST anger, promised last month to abide by that vote. But the petition backers continued to threaten his MLAs with recall under a B.C. law that allows voters to fire their MLAs.”

    In the 2008 Canadian federal election a carbon tax proposed by Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion, known as the Green Shift, became a central issue in the campaign.

    It proved to be unpopular and contributed to the defeat of Liberal Party with its worst share of the popular vote since Confederation

    1. The Russian paper on fish and climate loses me very quickly, even though I am not a technical expert. Here is why:

      (a) They de-trend the global temperature signal, and then seem to act as though climate responds only to the cycles that they can then detect once they have removed the warming signal. This would be a little like de-trending the temperature signal of Edinburgh between January and June (removing the warming) and noting that there was a fairly regular wave-shaped fluctuation on a 24 hour frequency, and so assuming that this is all that needs to be observed. Maybe I’m missing the point, but I don’t understand why de-trending in this case adds clarity to the situation.

      (b) As far as I can understand (and I admit I haven’t spent a huge amount of time trying to read the whole thing) they justify this by saying that they are focused on temperatures in the Arctic, making this claim on p.10: “The specific feature of the long-period temperature dynamics in the Arctic zone is the absence of secular, linearly increasing temperature trend observed for Global dT (see Fig. 1.1). Comparison of detrended Global dT and Arctic dT fluctuation dynamics demonstrates almost complete coincidence in behavior of these two indices during the last 100 years.” As far as I am aware, this is simply not true. Warming in the Arctic has been the most dramatic of anywhere on earth, and all kinds of records are being broken on a regular basis there. They make no effort to address the multitude of studies that show Arctic sea ice shrinking to an extent and volume unmatched for a very, very long time (don’t have time to find the specific references for this, but they are there. is an example, though I haven’t chased up the original reference).

      (c) When they get to paleoclimatic data, a quick search reveals no interactions with the widely acknowledged major figures in this discussion. Now maybe Russian science is very insular, but taking three proxies and building a climate reconstruction on them seems pretty thin compared with the huge breadth and depth of data that has been becoming available over the last few years.

      I could go on, but getting thus far into the document has not won my trust or further interest.

      1. ” Now maybe Russian science is very insular, but taking three proxies and building a climate reconstruction on them seems pretty thin.” As opposed to the discredited MB98 based on a few trees?

        ” They make no effort to address the multitude of studies that show Arctic sea ice shrinking to an extent and volume unmatched for a very, very long time.”

        If for a very, very long time you mean since 1979 when the satelite era began sure. Sediment cores going back 5000 years plus say otherwise.

        ..10D “Most strikingly, the alkenone record reveals warm lake water temperatures beginning ~800 AD and persisting until ~1200 AD, with temperatures up to 2-3 deg C warmer than the mean temperature for the past 100 years.

        This dramatic medieval warm period on Ellesmere Island interrupted a distinct (neoglacial) cooling trend that had begun approximately 2000 years earlier. Furthermore, the three warmest intervals seen in the alkenone record during the past 5,000 years correspond to the periods during which the area was occupied by Paleo-Eskimo groups, providing evidence that local climate conditions played a significant role in determining migration patterns of people of the Arctic Small Tools tradition.”

        “It is important to note that the amplitude of
        these millennial-scale changes in sea-surface conditions far
        exceed those observed at the end of the 20th century.”

        1. Amirlach, you’ve posted a link to a 223 page book on climate change and fish stocks, which I don’t believe for one second that you’ve read. Considering how upset you were just last week at the thought of data being ‘normalised’, it’s odd that you’re now recommending a study that does just that. It’s also based on a model, which you’re also against.

          Do you actually know what you’re linking to?

          1. The study links the cycles of climate and fish production over long time scales. They detrended data better show the correlation with climate cycles.

            “At the background of the secular linear trend, Global dT undergoes longperiod,
            up to 60-year long, fluctuations. These fluctuations can be detected
            by detrending with the help of a standard statistical operation [Statgraphics,
            1988]. After detrending, the long-period fluctuations of Global dT with the
            maxima at about 1870s, 1930s and, apparently, at 1990s are clearly observed
            (Fig. 1.2). Global dT detrending allows detection of 2.5 cycles of approximately
            60-year Global dT fluctuations.”

            “International meteorological conferences
            held in 1935 in Warsaw and in 1957 in Washington to determine characteristics
            of the modern climate recommended 30-year averaging periods
            [Monin, Shishkov, 2000]. In actual practice, climatic
            variability is usually described by 10–30-year averaging for aquatic
            areas of million square kilometers.”

            They fully explain the detrending method and the reason for it. They do not hide it like the Hockey Stick team.

            The so Called “Normalised Data” has been adjusted downwards in the past and upwards in the present to exagerate a warming trend. “We observe that the data has been consistently adjusted towards a bias of greater warming. The years prior to the 1970s have again been adjusted to lower temperatures, and recent years have been adjusted towards higher temperatures.”

          2. “Do you actually know what you’re linking to?” Yes actually. I have read this paper several times. The part that was most interesting to me was on page 53. The part where they discuss how badly correlated Global temperatures are with mans Co2 emissions. See Table 2.

            The claim they only used three proxies to build a climate reconstruction on is patently false. They used data from all over the globe and drawn from Peer Reviewed Papers. The References start on page 205 and end on 218.

            The records date back 8000 years and clearly show how the cycles correlated to each other and to fish populations across many records from all over the Globe. These correlated records have value for predicting the natural variation of fish populations. Knowing the natural variation is the first step in quantifying mans effect on populations through harvesting.

            The big question they aimed to answer?

            “The results obtained clear up an old question under discussion about the
            reason for the long-period fluctuations of the resources of the main commercial
            species: climate or the large-scale fishery.”

            I thought this information might be relevant to your first bullet point.

            “1) The European Union is due to suggest changes to the Common Fisheries Policy today, making a new set of recommendations that could see an end to discards and the start of sustainable fishing.”

            Looking at a broad spectrum of empirical data going back 8000 years has given alot of predictive weight to the next few decades. Mainly there are several cycles converging on a 30 year cooling trend. See fig 2.23 Then compare with this.

            “Basing on the increasing dynamics of the 55–70-year
            periodicity intensity for the last 1000 years, it may be suggested that this
            periodicity will be preserved, at least over the next 100 years, and that likely
            increases reliability of the progressive prediction of the climate and biota
            dynamics in the current century.”

            I’ll admit my initial interest in this paper was not the fish population data. It was the climate cycle data and non-correlation with man’s Co2 emisions. The data presented in this paper fits exactly with other sources like the solar orbital data. That these solar driven climate cycle signals are visible in so many diverse global records is as telling as the lack of correlation with Co2 levels.

          3. I believe you’ve read page 53, but even that shows air temperatures and fuel use, not co2. For a paper on the oceans,why not use sea temperature?
            The 8000 year record is the tree ring record, not fish. For the long term trends, it is very dependent on three datasets – historical Swedish herring catches, Japanese sardine records, and sediment analysis of Pacific anchovies.

            If you have read it, which I still doubt, then I suggest you withdraw your previous comments about processing data and using models. You can’t condemn the practice when some scientists do it and then accept it when it’s scientists you agree with.

  3. While I agree with the precariousness of the political situation in Australia, it is notable that the government has gone ahead with the plan nonetheless. This indeed can be attributed to the very precariousness of the government’s position, needing the Greens in both upper and lower houses to maintain a minority government. The Greens have ensured that the plan has reached the table (which was the key condition of their support for Gillard’s minority govt), and with the help of a few independents who have pledged their support, the plan has a majority in both houses (though in the lower house, only a majority of 1) and may very well get voted into law. Although the opposition leader has pledged to roll it back if elected, it could prove more difficult than many people think, especially because of the very clever inclusion of significant tax breaks for the vast majority of Australians. Rolling back the carbon price would either mean rolling back these tax breaks, electoral poison for the Liberal/National Coalition, or finding some other way of covering the consequent very large budgetary hole. If the plan is voted in without major changes (I am sure there will be more fiddling round the edges), and the minority government survives through this election cycle, then the fact that the sky won’t have fallen in as a result may well temper national opinion on the plan. Of course, there are plenty of other things that could well mean they lose power anyway (not least the threat of a further global recession if Italy or the US defaults, both are possible at the moment, even if the US is a distant chance, though the game of chicken could well lead to a crash when both sides have so much at stake in not blinking first).

    As for UK power prices, can you provide any evidence that the rise has been linked to the UK’s climate plan (as you seem to imply – apologies if I’m misreading your comment) rather than primarily being about the decline of North Sea oil and gas?

  4. “As for UK power prices, can you provide any evidence that the rise has been linked to the UK’s climate plan (as you seem to imply – apologies if I’m misreading your comment) rather than primarily being about the decline of North Sea oil and gas?”

    Renewables cost more than conventional power sources despite rising oil and gas prices. The costs get passed on to consumers. Either directly or through higher taxes and subsidy schemes.

    There is hope though.

    ” I was told in 2003 the New South Wales power generation industry used 28 million tons of coal that produced about seven million tonnes of ash. If they converted to using refined coal, the ash would yield 4.2 millions of silica, 1.75 million tonnes of alumina, and 70,000 tonnes of titanium – with a total value of $760 million.”

    This would reduce the amount of strip mining required for the metals we use for every day products. They are also able to extract various rare earth elements used in electronic devices.

  5. “If you have read it, which I still doubt,[So your saying i;m a liar?] then I suggest you withdraw your previous comments about processing data and using models. You can’t condemn the practice when some scientists do it and then accept it when it’s scientists you agree with.”

    You keep claiming your not a Socialist which i still doubt, so i guess we are even.

    Actually i can condem the practice. The “Scientists” who fraudulently manipulate data then attempt to hide it are in no way comparable to what was done in this paper. In every instance they fully explained how and why they did the smoothing and any detrended data was clearly marked as such.

    The so called “Homoginised” data used by GISS and NOAA is always adjusted downwards in the past and upwards in the present. The rural data is adjusted upwards to match urban readings. No where do they explain why or how they “Adjusted” the data.

    ” For a paper on the oceans,why not use sea temperature?”

    Well actually they did. See page 67. With references to several Peer Reviewed papers.

    “So far as concerns climatic changes in Northeastern Atlantic, air temperature
    in Iceland, Jan Mayen Island and Spitsbergen, as well as the average
    temperature in the 200-meter water column of the Kola meridian demonstrates
    dynamics close to the detrended Global dT (Fig. 3.14).

    All curves
    show a maxima at 1940s, minima in the 1970s, and rise again in the 1980s–
    1990s. The most serious difference between the Arctic dT curve and Global
    dT is that for the Arctic region in the recent 75 years no increasing temperature
    trend was observed [Alexeev et al., 2000; Alexandrov et al., 2003; Alexeev,
    2003],

    i.e. not a sign of global warming is observed. In fact, the temperatures
    were higher in the mid 1940 and early 1950s than at present. The
    absence of an increasing trend is also typical of secular dynamics of the surface
    temperatures in Scandinavian countries [Nordklim data set, 2001].

    1. I personally find it hard to believe that you’ve had time to read an entire book on fish stocks, something you admit you’re not actually that interested in, let alone read it several times. But that’s not really for me to say and there’s no point in arguing about it – apologies for casting doubt on your honesty.

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