6th & 22nd March 2005



Analysis of the latest Anthropology digs indicates are that the human race has been evolved in it's present form for at least 200,000 years.  In that time it has survived several ice ages, the last of which ended around 20,000 years ago.  A few decades ago climate scientists were concerned that a new ice age was imminent, and that the ice sheets were already advancing and would reach the tropics within a few hundred years, or at most within a couple of millennia.

American entrepreneurs together with Arab oil sheiks rose to the challenge, and popularized the newly devised automobile.  This had the effect of efficiently increasing the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere, thus producing a "greenhouse effect" which canceled the looming danger.

Reactionary liberals who have a "frozen in amber" attitude to our planet are never backwards in selling a new "cause" to the credulous public.  The most successful brand is "Greenpeace" who have championed the reactionary forces against fossil fuel consumption.  Greenpeace has an army of telephonists who, operating from "lists" do cold calls around the world, selling "membership" to gullible members of the public.  This money is spent by the central cadre on expensive hotels and first class air travel, (which is, of course, the most intensive per capita pollutant source on the planet).

What amazes me is that nobody seems to have speculated which option is likely to be more favorable to the human race.  Perhaps global warming would increase the biomass of the planet?  Might that not be a good thing?  Maybe another ice age would have been worse for the human race?

During an ice age, rainfall worldwide decreases, weather patterns stabilize, the colder regions of the planet become colder as glaciers advance from the poles, and the sea level falls.  The climate bands (presumably) advance towards the equator.  Tropical forests turn into plains, plains turn into tundra.  Eventually the "roaring 40's" might become the "breezy 35's".

In interglacial (i.e. global warming) periods those indices are reversed.  Atmospheric phenomena become more energetic, rainfall increases.  Glaciers shrink as weather patterns (Deserts, plains, tropical rain forests) move away from the equator.  The sea level rises, and might eventually swamp low lying plains.  The "roaring 40's" probably get renamed as the "howling 45's".

The UN has formed a council of economic advisers, and those advisers recently released a report that specified that the greatest cost benefit ratio (dollar investment to produce a human benefit for the population of the world) would be had by expenditure directed to eradicating Malaria, eradicating AIDS and freeing up world trade.  Expenditure intended to reduce global warming were assessed as less than the value of the benefit.

A recent show on Australia's "Four Corners" TV (21st March) was concerned with the cooling effect of aeroplane pollution in the atmosphere, (global brownout).  They reported the claims of a scientist who had been making a study of the atmosphere when aircraft were "grounded" over the USA for two days following 9/11.   The air became clearer, and ambient temperatures rose by two degrees.  More comprehensive longitudinal studies have reportedly shown that the quantity of sunlight falling on the USA has diminished by 10% since 1950.  In Europe the energy decrease was 16%, and in Siberia it was around 20%.  It was theorized that minute particles exhausted from aeroplane engines caused a change in the reflectivity of atmospheric water clouds.  The speculated mechanism was that the increased nucleation (centered on the pollution particles) increased the count of water droplets composing the clouds, which increased their reflectivity.

The authors speculated that this effect was masking the greenhouse effect, and speculated that if the atmosphere was cleaned up, then global warming would accelerate.


Australian Diarist speculates that global warming will cause existing weather patterns to migrate towards the poles and will increase the energy of those weather patterns.

This will happen because weather patterns are primarily a function of the available radiant and internal energy, the available moisture, the specific heat capacity of the atmosphere and geography.   By increasing the available radiant energy (by e.g. reducing aircraft pollution) and, given the current high level of greenhouse gases, the atmospheric temperature will increase.  Where moisture is available the increased temperature will cause increased evaporation, thus increasing the specific heat capacity and hence the internal energy of the atmosphere.  This will result in a greater quantity of air being heated and rising into the stratosphere from the tropics.  The existing easterly "Trade Winds" results from Coriolis forces acting on air masses that are migrating from the temperate zone towards the equator, replacing heated air in the tropics that has risen into the stratosphere.  Because the region of warming in the tropics has increased, the temperate zone from which cold air flows towards the tropics will have moved to higher latitudes, and trade winds will therefore blow from higher latitudes than at present into an enlarged tropical region.  This movement will propagate, changing the "roaring forties" into the "howling forty-fives".


In Australia there might be some benefit, some harm from global warming.  (That is of course a big "might", because various geographical features such as mountains rarely run north-south to provide a linear transform).  People like Janet Holmes A'Court, (who owns large stretches of near desert in Northern Australia) might benefit from an expanded monsoon season, and farms in east Australia might benefit as the trade winds move south and formerly quasi-desert grazing country becomes rich cropland.  The southwestern tip of Australia (South of Perth and around Adelaide) might turn to desert as the northern limit of the prevailing westerly (the "Freemantle doctor") moves south.  The areas lost to new desert in the south would hopefully be exceeded several times by the areas in the north and east of Australia that would benefit from the south-moving monsoon & trade winds.   Tasmania will warm up.


I anticipate that most of the USA would become warmer.  The desert around LA & San Diego might advance north to as far as San Francisco.  The rising sea (1 - 2 meters by 2040) might make it necessary to build some sort of dikes around New Orleans and parts of Florida.  Oregon and Washington would become a little warmer and suffer more severe winds, Southern Canada would move from being a mostly uninhabitable waste to having a climate similar to that in Illinois/Minnesota as the weather patterns moved towards the pole.

The North African desert could migrate north across the Mediterranean as the equatorial jungle expands into the Sahara.  Spain, France Italy & Greece might suffer diminished rainfall.  The climate in the northern countries (Germany, Poland, Benelux, UK) might improve (warmer and wetter).  However there is a big caveat: the warm transatlantic current might change.  If that happens, the climate in northern Europe might not alter much, or might get colder.

The fertile region around Yemen would move around 500 Km north, turning the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia into a fertile land.

Russia would become a warmer & more fertile land.  The tropics would become wetter, hotter and more humid.  Greenland and parts of Antarctica might become habitable.

In general the weather worldwide would become more extreme.  The increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere would produce more vigorous plant growth.  Caveats here are the various toxic poisons that are being manufactured, and that already seem to be affecting the fertility of the various animal species, including Homo Sap.


In Australia our government is mindful of the "green" vote, which is basically another offshoot of the "liberal" end of the political spectrum.  (In Australia, our "Labour" (blue) party is the party of liberal values, and our "Liberal" (red) party has the Republican end of the spectrum.  Americans should not be surprised,   In Australia everything is backwards. e.g. the further south you go, the colder it gets. Water swirls backwards (clockwise) down the bath plughole.).

As a consequence our various state and Federal governments are enacting various legislations that prohibit farmers from clearing land.  I understand that we are not even allowed to clear regrowth on formerly cleared land.  As well, they pay farmers to build waterfowl sanctuaries.  All well and good, but I understand that the culprits for spreading the disease "bird flu" (H5N1) are waterfowl, and I am concerned that ducks etc. not be attracted to Barvennon.  Bird Flu has a reported fatality rate among humans of around 75%.

Many farmers argue that compensation should be paid to farmers for these legislated restrictions on land use.  For instance if 10% of a farmer's land must be set aside for native forest, then the disadvantaged farmer should be paid a 10% of land value lump sum payment for the diminished farming value of the land.  Or if 20% of my grass is being eaten by migrating kangaroos, (a pest which I am forbidden to eradicate) then I should be compensated for the reduced carrying capacity of my land.  Not unexpectedly, the (blue) state governments in Australia do not see such compensation as urgent as, for instance, expenditure on their own pension schemes, or the purchase of votes by featherbedding public service unions.


Various sources on the www seem to concur that proven world oil reserves are around one trillion (1,000,000,000) barrels.  Current usage (in 2005) is around 73 million barrels per day, and now that the Chinese and Indians have started using oil, it can be anticipated that world demand will increase.

Dividing world proven reserves (about 1,000 billion barrels, see e.g. NPR ) by average daily consumption (about 73 million b/d, from
NPR) gives 13,700 days supply.  That means that there are 13,700 days, or about 37.5 years worth of oil reserves left at current consumption.  It is anybody's guess how quickly consumption is increasing, however a middle of the road guess is 3%, and that would mean that the period before exhaustion to somewhere around 25 years.

Reflecting this anticipated scarcity the price of oil has recently been hovering around $US50/barrel.  There are of course many possible alternative hydrocarbon mineral deposits around the world (e.g. coal, shale, LNG) so any move away from hydrocarbons will be motivated by either discovery of a new & economically exploitable technology (photo-electricity is one option) or by success by the lunatic fringe in forcing governments to impose voluntary restraints.In the meantime it can be anticipated that the Sheiks of Arabia will keep the price of oil marginally below the production cost of any competing fuel.

Postscript 13th April 2005 - NUCLEAR POWER

Helen Caldicott is an anti-nuclear campaigner who reportedly has an MB-BS  degree (Bachelor Medicine/Bachelor Surgery).  She carries a reputation as an alarmist.

Nonetheless, Todays "Australian" carried an article "Nuclear Power is the Problem, not a solution" that detailed the problems associated with Nuclear power, and the reasons why it was mostly abandoned as a power source for the past five decades. Some of the details Ms Caldicott wrote were alarmist, some just wrong (e.g. "Tritium is composed of three atoms of hydrogen, .."sic) and some overstated the issues, however sufficient apparently accurate information was present. ("plutonium 239... is so toxic that one millionth of a gram is carcinogenic", & "plutonium lasts for 500,000 years".).

From recent studies on frog populations etc; it appears that planet earth might already be suffering fertility problems possibly due to residues of toxic herbicides and pesticides.  In our age, toxic waste dumps are terrorist targets.

On balance,  I believe that we should be more concerned with toxic wastes than with global warming.


In the Australian (23rd February 2005) a Professor of gender studies at the University of Sydney (Elspeth Probyn) gives a rather stark assessment of trends in university education
as interpreted by Carey Nelson of the University of Illinois.

Tenured academic staff numbers are trending downwards while academic salaries are not commensurate to perceived effort, part time staff is employed to supplement tenured hours.  On top of that there are problems with finding publishers and the reviewer system is a closed club.

Apart from education, universities are failing in their other main purpose, which is research.  Professor Probyn quotes   "Only disciplines that pay their way will earn the right to survive in the University of the future", and further predicts management censorship of academic output.

I have argued (1) (2) that our academic system is failing.  That failure is brought about by bureaucracy, and the answer is dissolution of universities.  (not that they need it, they will have collapsed within a few decades). The new educational system will probably be a few, (perhaps two or three worldwide) examining institutions, and multiple options for gaining the skills and knowledge that will enable a student to pass the open examinations and attain the qualifications.  As for research papers and books, the answer is the internet.  Nowadays anybody who can access the internet can publish a paper.  Before too long, academic papers will be published on the internet, and those documents will be accessible by reference to a subject index.  Albert Einstein was not a professor when he wrote his historic papers.  Our present day Professors are mostly clever bureaucrats who (to misquote Newton) "stand on the shoulders of their own graduate students."


To the mind of Joe Average, Justice should be fair.  I do not want to be the one to disillusion anybody, so ask any lawyer if Justice is fair, then come back and continue reading.

One of the sources of unfairness in our judicial system is the algorithm that Judges use to settle disputes.  They loathe just saying "OK, you are in the right, so you win.  The other guy is being unreasonable & has no case so loses & pays damages & all expenses."  Instead they will try to find a middle position between the two plaints, give each side their own expenses, and call that "justice".

That might be a good method with honest & naive applicants, if the facts were not clear.  However, even when the facts are clear, counsel are sophisticated.  They abuse the system, each side attempts to overbid their claim, and whichever side overbids most wins the greatest benefits.

Take our industrial arbitration system.  Workers claim and are granted huge increases, consisting of "cost of living" increases and "productivity" increases.  Well, "fair enough", you might say, "why should the employer get all of the benefits of improved technology?".  The employers, of course, argue that there should be no increase, if they argued for diminution of pay on the grounds that people weren't working as hard (because of technology improvements), they would probably be laughed out of court.  So the workers get their CPI increase, and a proportion (or all) of the increases brought about by improved productivity.  The employer probably gets enough to cover the increased expenses associated with introduction of the new technology.  Consequently, the item does not diminish in cost, and the workers in that industry are the only beneficiaries.

There are several negative flow on effects from productivity increases that are paid in that way.  Firstly, there are not just two parties having an interest in the wages negotiations; three parties have an interest.  The third party is the consumer.  Why should not the consumer get the benefit of technologically improved production?  Secondly, what has the worker done to earn the benefit, apart from being fortunate enough to be in a unionized labour force in an industry that is benefiting from technology?  Thirdly, by granting that increase, what happens to those workers who are in industries that are not obtaining a productivity improvement?

What we need is a method that permits we the people to review judicial decisions.  Of course our learned judges would object (who wouldn't in their position) with arguments such as "we do not want decisions made by mob rule in the heat of the moment".

Ha ha ha.  I am not an elitist.  I tend to put more trust in my fellow man to make decisions that are fair.  I do not trust elitist judges who think that only they are intelligent enough to make decisions which affect our well being (and on $250,000 pa!)  In defamation I much preferred the Jury decision to the Judicial decision.  I suspect that all the objections by our High Court justices are so much self serving waffle.

Further Reading.
A Skeptic's Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism