It’s a trial described as potentially “bigger than Mabo”
Peter Spencer’s story is one I didn’t think could happen in Australia. He is the farmer in New South Wales who bought a farm and then lost 80% of it when rules changed to stop people clearing native vegetation. Unable to use most of his property, he was slowly bankrupted. Though he broke no law, he lost his life’s work and his beloved farm in late 2010. There was no way out. He couldn’t sell the property — who would buy a piece of land that could not be used? Farmers all around Australia lost billions of dollars in assets as the value of their land and produce declined. The legality of this is finally being tested in the Federal Court in Sydney starting this Monday, November 24, and continuing for the next three weeks. Hold your breath. This could be an enormous case, with implications for land holders across the continent.
Much of his farm was native forest. This is the northern edge of Spencer’s property (Saarahnlee)
The Federal Government can’t take your assets without paying, but the state governments can
The Native Vegetation Acts were brought in by the states to stop farmers clearing native plants — but no compensation was ever paid to farmers. The Federal Government used the carbon credits contained in that vegetation to meet Australia’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, yet the burden of supplying these credits fell on some farmers and not on other Australians.
The Commonwealth is not allowed to confiscate assets without due compensation — it’s in the Australian Constitution. But states can do it. So what if the Federal Government makes an arrangement with the states for the states to make the confiscatory laws instead — does that get around the Constitution, is that ok?
Carbon credits stored on farms are worth a lot of money
If Australia had emitted more than it was allowed to under the Kyoto Treaty then the Federal Government would supposedly have had to purchase carbon credits from overseas. As it happens Australia did meet its Kyoto obligations — our average emissions during 2008 through 2012 did not exceed 108% of the emissions in 1990 (the base year). In the event, after 2012, the countries that failed to meet their Kyoto obligations did not actually purchase credits, but when the Treaty was signed and when the Native Vegetation Acts were passed it was widely thought that they would have to. Some of the touted carbon credit prices were quite high– the recent Carbon Tax was $24.15 per tonne, for instance — and national emissions are measured in billions of tonnes.
Australia met its Kyoto obligations by stopping land clearing, but otherwise pretty much pursuing business-as-usual. The cost of meeting Australia’s obligations thus fell almost entirely on those farmers who were prevented from land clearing, and it was the Native Vegetation Acts of the states that did the preventing. In the 1990 base year, about 23% of Australia’s emissions were due to land clearing. By stopping land clearing, Australia could emit about 31% (= 8% + 23% ) more in the average year in 2008 to 2012 than in 1990, in all other sectors combined.
The Native Vegetation Act also has the perverse incentive of discouraging farmers from planting native plants. It now makes more sense to plant foreign species. What farmer could afford to let Australian trees grow?
Peter Spencer is doing this on behalf of all property owners in Australia and is determined not to give in
The funding ran out mid year, so he is representing himself. Spencer applied to the judge in October for more time to raise funds and find a lawyer to represent him, but the judge decided that the case was of public importance, had been delayed far too long already and he should go ahead without a lawyer. Spencer feels he has no choice but to make the most of it.
A satellite image of Saarahnlee It is almost all mountainous native bushland. Yellow markers show significant points on his farm. (Click to enlarge).
Peter Spencer’s fight has been going on for years. Remarkably, he soldiers on, undaunted, long after most men would have given up. Read this ABC interview from 2005 for a little background.
His farm, Saarahnlee, was possibly the highest altitude working farm in Australia, near Adaminaby at 1,500m. Spencer was involved in research and development toward high altitude projects like Merino breeding programs with CSIRO, trout farming, Korean Ginseng, and forest harvesting of Mountain Gum and Mountain Ash. At the highest point of his property a study on wind farming with a hydro pump system was under development with the ANZ Bank. The aim was to make it profitable without government subsidies. Spencer was pursuing creative and experimental projects related high altitude farming in Australia.
Should Australia be a country where honest work and personal assets can be randomly destroyed without compensation by the government? Should a few citizens be forced to bear the costs of the many, or do we share the load fairly?
If we want Australia to be a free and fair land, we need to do something: to draw the line — and stand up for what we know is right. The creeping power of capricious bureaucrats must be halted.
What kind of country do we want to live in?
He needs our help.
Saarahnlee is just south of the ACT (Click to enlarge).
Peter Spencer’s new blog: (add your voice)
Support Peter Spencer on Facebook.
Details of the Federal Court Case in Sydney Please go if you can!
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Fossils show those dang mammals lived in all the spots they weren’t supposed to live in. Climate models don’t predict the climate, and animal distribution models don’t predict (or in this case hindcast) animal distribution either. How little we know, and how adaptable is biology?
This calls into question all the headline prophecies about the extinction of cute furry critters due to climate change.
The modelers were sure that animals would be unable to cope with temperature changes and would not have lived in the same places as they do now during a climate so different. By crikey, it was an ice age! Yet those small mammals, whose defining biology is that regulate their own temperature, flummoxed the models by living nearer the glacier sheets where the models predicted they would not live.
All the alarming forecasts of local extinctions of mammals come from assumptions built into modern models that fail in multiple ways. The temperature changes from the last 20,000 years show that these mammals have already survived massive shifts, both colder and warmer, and that anything we face in the next century is but a flea on a hippo.
In the graph, the dots are the fossils, the blue marks the hypothesis — the zone where they were supposed to be confined. The stripes mark the ominous ice-cap-from-hell. (Where will those Canadians go?)
Figure 1. Paleodistribution maps for the five mammal species under consideration. Points highlight fossil occurrences, blue-shaded areas indicate ENM hindcasts, hashed area indicates extent of glacial ice. Red points are from the high confidence window (both maximum and minimum ages within 40–17 ka) and yellow points are added in the inclusive window (only maximum age estimate within 40–17 ka).
Panel (A) shows the distribution of all LGM fossil sites in the conterminous USA from the FAUNMAP II database.
How devastating are these results?
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So much for momentum on climate change. Reality bites. Without nuclear power, Japans emissions have hit a new record high. At the same time, even with 17% of its energy from Nuclear power, and with 23,000 wind turbines, Germany stands no chance of reaching its emissions targets. The rich, technologically advanced nation that has spent more than any other on green energy admits they’ve failed.
Those who want to stop producing CO2 have billions of dollars to spend on advertising and pointless windmills, but in the end, chemistry and physics can’t be bought. If renewables could provide cheap reliable power, they wouldn’t need subsidies. Everyone would buy them.
Germany to Abandon “Strict” 2020 Target – 40% cut not possible
Germany’s Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has indicated that the country will abandon its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020, from a 1990 base level. In doing so he has won the ongoing clash with his own environmental minister Barbara Hendricks over energy policy, telling her that he will tolerate no further resistance to the change of direction, according to Der Speigel.
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Let’s all jump on the ghost of a bandwagon!
The front page of The West Australian declared “Barnett backs Obama’s climate plans”
The dead-horse is getting flayed a bit longer and the spectators are cheering louder than when it had legs. A foreign, lame duck President, who just suffered a major defeat in the midterm elections has managed the “feat” of getting the Chinese to shake his hand and solemnly promise to keep doing what they are doing for another 16 years. (After that, they agree to change what was probably changing anyway.) Those who spent millions on climate-scare in the US election are licking their wounds. Gallup polls show the public just don’t care — ranking it 13th out of 13.
Despite those hard numbers, those who forecast the horoscopes on herd movements are getting very excited. Andrew Probyn, political editor of The West, exclaimed “The politics of climate change are again in the ascendancy”. It’s political astrology.
As I keep saying, the media IS the problem. With journalists like that, we get politicians like this.
Colin Barnett, conservative leader of my home state, is mimicking the David-Cameron style unconservative, big spending, non-leader and dutifully joining the chorus. In 2100, how historians will mock the song and marvel that state leaders seriously fell for the idea that wind-mills would turn back the tide, and solar panels could stop the floods. Look out. Global warming causes global cooling, and a tax can change the weather! Hey but it’s just as likely as the Chinese volunteering to curb their economy because we asked them nicely.
Colin Barnett has “embraced Obama’s demand for stronger climate change action, saying Australia needs to be bolder in its emission reduction targets”. He thinks we should phase out of coal and into gas. Mr Barnett runs a state with lots of gas and not much coal. Did anyone notice? Not so much. Political editors saw the “momentum” they were hoping to see, aligned the planets, and proclaimed the mood is shifting. Any excuse will do in the rush to follow the herd.
My letter to The West Australian today:
To the Editor
Let’s get serious about the climate and start talking numbers. How much does that insurance cost, and how many degrees, exactly, will it cool the planet? The cost is measured in trillions, and the degrees are measured in one hundredths. If Colin Barnett is serious about the climate he needs to be serious about the decimal places. If it doesn’t have the numbers that matter, it isn’t science.
Buying insurance for insurance sake is something a salesman would push. Has Barnett been fooled by the advertising? There’s a word for people who are not sceptical — and it’s “gullible”.
Global Carbon markets were worth $176 billion a year at their peak and almost a billion dollars a day, globally, was invested in renewables. There are billions of reasons to try to control the weather, but they are all dollars, not satellite measurements, ice core results, or data from weather balloons.
And since we are doing the maths, lets talk about the numbers Obama has in the US Congress. This is a lame duck President freely offering other people’s money to stop storms and hold back the tide. How about some healthy scepticism?
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No nation has been more successful at reducing their carbon emissions than North Korea. Over the space of a few years, the carbon footprint of the entire nation was reduced by a massive two-thirds, thanks mostly to centralized planning with some help from famine, disease and the odd gulag. Anyone for Pine-bark cake? — Jo
Decarbonizing an economy – North Korea
Guest Post by Tom Quirk
The North Korean famine and general economic crisis from 1994 to 1998 is an extraordinary example of the failure of central planning and management. The results of what is called the Arduous March are best illustrated by this image the Korean peninsula at night taken in 2014 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Night image of the Korean Peninsula in 2014 shows that North Korea is almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea and China (source NASA).
The North Korean disaster led to the estimated death of between 220,000 and 2,000,000 people, 1% to 10% of the population. The famine, which continues to this day, has led to food rationing, black markets and a government keen to get foreign currency by any means — including drug smuggling and nuclear technology sales. The disaster has led to a decarbonizing of the economy, which can be seen from the estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels shown in Figure 2.
figure 2: Estimated fossil fuel emissions of CO2 for North and South Korea, per capita (left) and total (right) (source CDIAC).
North Korean per capita CO2 emissions fell by more than two thirds from 1990 to 2000.
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Showing off by sending warships near the G20? Not at all, Vladimir Putin cares about the climate, don’tcha know?
He is having fun, pushing politically correct buttons; teasing the West for its infatuation with climate-goblins.
Climate Research anyone?
What kind of climate research will a Guided Missile Cruiser do?
RUSSIA has for the first time explained the presence of a fleet of warships off north-eastern Australia, saying that the ships are testing their range capability, in case they have to do climate change research in the Antarctic.
The Russian embassy also said the fleet could, if necessary, provide security for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrives in Brisbane for the G20 tonight.
The four Russian warships are conducting exercises in international waters around the Coral Sea in a move that has been interpreted as a show of force by Mr Putin.
Russia finally explains why it has dispatched four warships to Australia:
Daily Mail: Most leaders bring gifts for their hosts. Mr Putin brings a guided missile cruiser and three attendant ships. That show of unnecessary naval presence is what might be called an intended power display of swinging decks.
What a circus: three Australian ships deployed to watch, plus some planes, HMAS Sydney on backup, and Americans are following the Russians too. Fleets of warships on the rove, and Putin pretends it’s about “the climate”. It’s not even climate research, it’s research to see if they could do climate research. Can their boats go that far? Golly. Maybe they could test that Antarctic sea ice like one Russian charter boat did last year? They could make a few polynyas in the ice, the ballistic way. (And then count the dead whales…)
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After nine months of secret negotiations President Obama managed to get the Chinese to agree to stop their emissions rising after 2030. But look what else is peaking in 2030.
China: Projections of population growth
Did Obama do his homework? Seems President Xi did.
h/t to Andrew V
Just another survey that takes useful results, interprets with false assumptions, and produces mostly meaningless conclusions. Vale academia.
Farmers are a skeptical bunch, who watch the weather very closely– only 8% buy the whole article-of-faith that man-made climate is the dominant factor, compared to 50 – 66% of climate scientists.
Prokopy et al start from the unspoken assumption that climate scientists know what they are talking about (even though their models are abjectly failing) and try to figure out why farmers aren’t worried about climate change. At no point do they question that inbuilt paradigm and ask the opposite question — are climate scientists failing to convince farmers because the climate scientists are doing bad work? So they miss the obvious recommendation that climate scientists need to figure out the climate before they start the communications cycle. It’s a lesson in how important it is for all scientists to define their terms and state all their assumptions.
When Prokopyu et al manage to come up with a useful suggestion it’s largely by accident. They recommend two-way dialogues between stakeholders and climate scientists (what a wild idea). Can I suggest that climate scientists start by using English, instead of namecalling — “climate deniers”.
Their assumption is that the climate experts need to send their wisdom across the table from left to right (from computer modelers to farmers). My hypothesis is that the closer people are to reality and the further they are from government monopolistic funding, the better their scientific judgement is. The wisdom needs to flow from the right hand side of this table.
Instead of worrying about threatening the “world view” of farmers, Prokopyu could notice how threatening skepticism is to the “world view” of climate believers.
|Survey Question: There is increasing discussion about climate change and its potential impacts. Please select the statement that best reflects your beliefs about climate change.
||CSCAP 2011 team survey (n=121) 86% response rate
||2012 U2U team survey (n=33) 56% response rate
||Climatologist survey (n=19) 2012 100% response rate 2012
||U2U Extension educators survey across 12 Corn Belt States (n=239) 35% response rate
||2012 U2U Ag advisors Survey (n=1605) 26% overall response rate
||Farmer survey m(n=4778) 2012 26% response rate
|Climate change is occurring, and it is caused mostly by human activities
|Climate change is occurring, and it is caused more or less equally by natural changes in the environment and human activities
|Climate change is occurring, and it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment
|There is not sufficient evidence to know with certainty whether climate change is occurring or not
|Climate change is not occurring
There is no discussion in the paper of the qualifications of agricultural advisors or of farmers. In the UK, to be an agricultural advisor requires a degree in horticulture or soils or biology. In the US about 30% of farmers have attended college. In Australia more than 30% of farmers have a diploma or bachelors degree. So this survey probably just reflects the big divide between the tiny club of certified climate scientists and the rest of the scientific profession. Which scientist would have more influence on a farmer — a city-based climate scientist who produces bad forecasts, or a farm-based science trained colleague who produces real food?
(See also the Big Myth About The Worlds Scientists — which explains why more scientists are probably skeptics, though no one has surveyed them en masse. The media misreports a consensus among a few climate specialists as if it was a “scientific consensus” when climate scientists are failing to convince other professional scientists because they don’t have the evidence).
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