Fart tax lacks facts

Here are the facts that find the “fart tax” lax. Let’s get physical. With physics.

To northern hemispherites, climate-centred farming taxes mean little, since they affect only farmers and who cares about farmers? It’s not as though they’re important to the economy or anything.

But Kiwis knowing the abiding value of farming to their prosperous way of life say, you toucha my farmer, I breaka you face.

Here are more reasons for our politicians not to toucha my farmer. This will keepa them safe. Continue Reading →

More Antarctic melting threats

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A five-year study just published says methane hydrates buried under kilometres of Antarctic ice and sediment could accelerate global warming if released into the atmosphere. This has given the warmists much grist for their mills of alarm.

The paper, Potential methane reservoirs beneath Antarctica, published on 30 August as a letter in Nature, is behind a paywall, so I’ve only seen the abstract and Supplementary Information (pdf).

The paper contains some interesting information. The sediments are in surprisingly deep basins – down to 10 km or even 14 km in rifts (measured from the earth surface, not the top of the ice), although most are between 0.3 km and 3 km deep. That’s a lot of silt. The amount of overlying ice is similar, from 1 km to 3.5 km. That must all melt before the sediment has any hope of warming enough to release the methane clathrates. Chance would be a fine thing. Continue Reading →

Frame on methane GWP

Here’s good news for all those who despair at the defects and sheer incompetence (it seems) in the calculation of the Global Warming Potential of methane: it’s about to get a high-level airing. I emailed Professor David Frame a few days ago. Prof Frame is Director of the NZ Climate Change Research Institute at the Victoria University of Wellington, taking over from Martin Manning in October last year. He’s given us a prompt and encouraging response. – h/t Barry Brill

30/06/2012 12:21 pm

Dear Professor Frame,

Your opinion piece in the Dominion of 22 June makes good reading, thank you. I was especially struck by Tom Schelling’s remark describing the EU’s emissions targets as indicating its insincerity.

But I write concerning your comment following the post. There’s been much discussion at the Climate Conversation Group about the calculation of GWP for methane, what it should be and what might be done to make it more reasonable. Set too high, it is a considerable impost on NZ farming, which as you know is among the world’s most efficient. You say:

Shorter-lived gases (such as methane) are not obviously as important for the overall properties of climate change as is commonly thought, and the way we count them – or rather the way the folks who came up with Kyoto ended up counting them – masks this by giving them high emphasis. [Unwarrantedly high emphasis in my view, but that would be another article, which is a bit more technical to write.]

Now, Dave, this is like the aroma of frying bacon to a hungry man. Continue Reading →

Real Climate smashes methane disaster theory

David Archer, contributor at Real Climate, gives much reassurance today about the dangers of methane clathrates. Interesting article, with lots of things I hadn’t heard of. Nice of him, too, to put our minds at rest.

I wonder why he didn’t explain all this long before now, about ten years ago or more? Why he let all the wild, alarming speculation continue in the world’s press and in the blogs for quite so long. Why he let us worry for so long. Why, especially, he now calls us “friend” (see the end).

He says the ocean hydrates are “mostly so deep in the sediment column that it would take thousands of years for anthropogenic warming to reach them.” Well, that’s a good piece of sense, David; thanks for bringing it up. I’m sure some of us have said so already, but good of you to confirm it. Continue Reading →

Gas or coal? The quandary, the indecision!

coal protest

It’s hard to know what to say about Tom Wigley’s new paper on the climatic repercussions of replacing coal with natural gas: he says gas and coal are both good, and they’re both bad, but the truly remarkable thing is that, where for years the greens have been telling us to hate coal and everyone who uses it, now it’s hard to choose between coal and gas.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe mankind is warming the planet dangerously or not, Wigley tells us that it makes hardly any difference to the warming whether you use gas or coal. So why switch to gas? There’s no advantage in it. Continue Reading →

Methane, m’thane: methinks it stinks

The methane molecule

In July last year, and after more than a year’s absence, NIWA got around to publishing another issue of their “flagship” publication, Water & Atmosphere. It’s an attractive magazine, but it contains some curious information which deserves comment.

First, we notice a helpful comment by NIWA Chief Executive, John Morgan:

NIWA has a responsibility as a Crown Research Institute to share the results of publicly-funded science.

Hmm. Morgan should compare that statement with the conclusion of the methane article in the same issue:

if any real solution [to agricultural emissions] is on the horizon it’s likely to be a closely kept secret.

The article has some gems:

methane levels have grown by 150 per cent since organised animal farming began in the early 1700s.

They tell us methane’s a problem

Was farming disorganised until the 18th century? That’s not what the history books say. Continue Reading →