Tuesday, 6 February 2007
Responding to a mother's worries about her child's education, Saddam Hussein offered to send "experts from the ministry of education." Putting his hand gently on the head of seven year old Stuart Lockwood, he remarked, "when he and his friends, and all those present here, have played their role in preventing war, then you will all be heroes of peace."
While the broadcast appeared on Iraqi television, the program seemed entirely aimed at a Western audience. Western media picked it up quickly and broadcast it around the world the next day. It drew instant and predictable official and media responses. The British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd called it the "most sickening thing I have seen for some time." Rupert Murdoch's English tabloid press dubbed Saddam Hussein the "Butcher of Butcher of Baghdad". The American State Department called this event "shameful theatricals". A "repulsive charade" said the British Foreign Office.
That's twelve-year-old Aroha Ireland from McGehan Close, above left. On the right is a politician. That's her below not being used for a political purpose.
UPDATE: In related news, the Kiwi Herald reports that after seeing John Boy's success, Madonna is to adopt a Kiwi child.
In fact, Gore is a Greenhouse Gasbag says an entertaining recent attack on the man who only last fortnight side-stepped a debate on his facts with skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg.
"[An Inconvenient Truth's] glossy production,' says [scientist Bob] Giegengack, 'is replete with inaccuracies and misrepresentations, and appeals to public fear as shamelessly as any other political statement that hopes to unite the public behind a particular ideology." This from a guy who voted for Gore in 2000 and says he'd probably vote for him again."So why is Bore's celluloid shocker going to be shown to unsuspecting schoolchildren? I guess for precisely the same reason that Stuart Lockwood had to hold still while Saddam stroked his hair: because they're held hostage. Sean Gabb of the UK's Libertarian Alliance is unequivocal on this outrage.
"This is political indoctrination lifted in all but its content from Soviet Russia. Children are to be taught the at best highly questionable claims of the global warming lobby as if they were facts. They are then to be marked up or down in their examinations according to how well they can parrot these alleged facts.Dr Sean Gabb, by the way is the Director of the UK Libertarian Alliance. He is also Deputy Director of the Truancy Unit at Buckingham University and author of 'Home Schooling: A British Perspective,' published in Homeschooling in Full View: A Reader (2005) by Bruce S. Cooper (Editor). He ascribes much of his success in life to systematic truancy at school.
"To environmentalism is to be added propaganda about racism and sexism, and every other politically correct obsession. Ten years into the creeping totalitarianism of New Labour, the final link is to be severed between state schooling and education of children in the values of their parents. From now on, the function of schooling will be to produce a new nation, created in the image of George Monbiot and Yasmin Alibhai Brown.
"Our ruling class has taken to heart the old Jesuit maxim: 'Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man'. The only difference is that raising the school leaving age will give them the child till he is eighteen.
"The Libertarian Alliance calls on all parents to resist the brainwashing of their children."
LINKS: Will Al Gore melt? - Bjorn Lomborg and Rose Flemming, Wall Street Journal [reprinted at Peter Gordon's blog]
Al Gore is a Greenhouse Gasbag - Philadelphia Magazine
A Skeptic's Guide to An Inconvenient Truth. by Marlo Lewis, Jr - Competitive Enterprise Institute
More in the global warming hoax: Political brainwashing of UK children - Dr Sean Gabb, UK Libertarian Alliance
RELATED: Global Warming, Education, Politics-UK, Science
The enemies of sprawl are the enemies of choice -- they simply use the power of government and the powers that the Resource Management Act gives local government to force people to live in the way that they prefer, rather than the way the people themselves wish to live. They're just another brand of interfering busybody who want to force their own predilections upon others.
The result in New Zealand is severe restrictions on building and development, and the result of that is some of the most unaffordable housing in the world.
The enmity of the anti-sprawlers is expressed in restrictions on building and development -- on where and how and how many houses, shops, offices, studios and workshops people can build on their own land -- and is is expressed in severe restrictions on the growth and expansion of New Zealand's cities -- including ring-fencing cities and prohibiting urban development beyond an artificially imposed 'urban fence.'
The result of all the planners' restrictions has been a severe dampening of housing supply at the very time that demand for those houses is going through the roof, so much so that New Zealand's cities now rank amongst the most unaffordable cities in the world in which to buy a home: as you might have heard, in a recent report released by Wendell Cox's Demographia and Hugh Pavletich [blogged here many times], Auckland was shown as the twenty-first most unaffordable city in the world in which to buy a home (as measured by the income of people in those cities) with NZ's other cities not far behind.
There are dickheads about who either don't think that it's restrictions on sprawl that raises costs, or they simply ignore the evidence; dickheads like Colin James for example who, writing in Tuesday's Herald, suggests the reason for the unaffordability of housing is due solely to lending policies.
But this just ignores the reality. The evidence is clear enough that where lending policies are equal -- across the continental US for example -- that the most unaffordable cities are those that have applied the so-called 'sustainable' solutions to growth; and it is the cities that have applied most restrictions on people's choices that are the most unaffordable in which to live. (The chart at left shows the western world's most unaffordable cities; the chart at right shows the cities following the anti-sprawlers' nostrums; this post discusses the correlation) It's no surprise that cities ranking highly in one chart generally rank rather highly in the other chart as well.
The difference between affordable cities and unaffordable cities is not in lending policies, which are the same across whole countries, it is in the level of restrictions placed on building new houses, which differ from city to city. This should not be rocket science. Restrict supply, and you increase prices. Thinking you can do otherwise is trying to refute a basic law of economics -- and even dictators can't do that, however much they like to try.
Notes a recent article in the Washington Post: sprawl, suburban living, and the cars that make the sprawling suburbs possible have been demonised in all sorts of ways.
They don't rate up there with cancer and al-Qaeda -- at least not yet -- but suburban sprawl and automobiles are rapidly acquiring a reputation as scourges of modern American society. Sprawl, goes the typical indictment, devours open space, exacerbates global warming and causes pollution, social alienation and even obesity. And cars are the evil co-conspirator -- the driving force, so to speak, behind sprawl.In objecting to sprawl and to the evidence adduced by Pavletich and Cox for the unaffordablility of cities with more restrictions on development, blogger and 'Smart Growth' advocate Tom Beard demonstrates the sneering mixture of envy and myth on which restrictions on turning bare land into new housing are based:
In reality, what actually concerns [Hugh Pavletich] and right-wing American lobby group Demographia is the ability of suburban property developers to make a quick profit from subdivisions while externalising the cost of infrastructure...Beard is representative of many anti-sprawlers; people who want to force others to live by the anti-sprawlers' own envy-ridden sensibilities. But ignoring the envy-ridden barbs, let's boil down his real objections to sprawl, the claim that suburbs are "unsustainable."
The price of a house is only part of the story: how "affordable" will it be to live in his sprawling, car-dependent suburbs when oil prices soar even higher? Meanwhile, the entire city shares the costs of roading, sewerage and water, as well as having to put up with increased pollution, road deaths and having motorways driven through our neighbourhoods.
Pavletich... can't wait to convert the country into a debased landscape of McMansions, megamalls and motorways, pocketing the profit while the rest of us pay for the physical and civic infrastructure required to turn it into some semblance of a city
- Anti-sprawlers argue that roads, sewage, water and "the physical and civic infrastructure required to turn it into some semblance of a city" are paid for by "the rest of us," so therefore the extension of infrastructure must be restricted. But what is their reaction when someone suggests that roads, sewage, water and "the physical and civic infrastructure required to turn it into some semblance of a city" are provided privately, and the real costs sheeted home to buyers? Apoplexy. Let infrastructure be provided privately, however, with costs sheeted home to users, and this objection dissolves.
- And "how affordable will it be to live in his sprawling, car-dependent suburbs when oil prices soar even higher?" Well, isn't the future affordability or unaffordability up to those who choose to live in these sprawling, car-dependent suburbs, and to invest in their own future?
After all, neither Tom Beard nor Dick Hubbard nor Al Bore nor any planner anywhere in the world has a direct line to the future. Freedom means we're each allowed to plan our own futures, with the full knowledge of our own context, our own lives, and our own hopes and dreams, and -- provided we don't initiate force against anyone else -- we should all be free to do so. In fact, when people have been left free to plan their own lives, and to react freely to price signals that indicate resources and lifestyles are or should be changing, the results have been vastly superior to those achieved in the planned societies and planned economies so beloved of Beard and Hubbard and Bore.
I suspect these people and others like them must at bottom believe that businesses don't deliver what's best for consumers unless the government forces them to. They hold this belief, or at least fail to examine it, even as businesses continue to supply them with what they actually want, as revealed by their purchase choices, rather than with what they say they want.As I've suggested, the idea that that sprawl is bad is essentially one of envy; what gets anti-sprawlers apoplectic is the idea that someone, somewhere, is being allowed to live their life in the way that they want too, rather than the way the anti-sprawler wants them to. Economic ignorance allows them to think they can get away with it.
Perhaps we need to define a new type of 'market failure.' Market failure occurs when businesses supply what people actually choose to buy, rather than what people claim they want to buy.
Ted Balaker and Sam Staley discuss five other envy-ridden myths of the anti-sprawlers in that Washington Post article mentioned above, myths they explode in the American context, and which are equally mythical here in NZ.
- Myth #1. Americans are addicted to driving.
Fact is, Americans are no more addicted to driving than Europeans. Europeans -- who live in the European cities that are so often cited by planners as being our ideal (that's a suburb near Paris on the right, by the way) -- they drive almost as much as we do. As Balaker and Staley point out: "The key factor that affects driving habits isn't population density, public transit availability, gasoline taxes or even different attitudes. It's wealth. Europe and the United States are relatively wealthy, but American incomes are 15 to 40 percent higher than those in Western Europe. And as nations such as China and India become wealthier, the portion of their populations that drive cars will grow."
- Myth #2. Public transit can reduce traffic congestion.
Public transportation still has an important role, concede the authors, but they say, "We have to be realistic about what transit can accomplish."
Suppose we could not only reverse transit's long slide but also triple the size of the nation's transit system and fill it with riders. Transportation guru Anthony Downs of the Brookings Institution notes that this enormous feat would be "extremely costly" and, even if it could be done, would not "notably reduce" rush-hour congestion, primarily because transit would continue to account for only a small percentage of commuting trips.In any case, public transportation use itself is generally declining, but like auto use, suburbanisation itself is driven not by use or non-use of public transportation, but by wealth. "Workers once left the fields to find better lives in the cities. Today more and more have decided that they can do so in the suburbs."
- Myth #3. We can cut air pollution only if we stop driving.
"Although driving is increasing by 1 to 3 percent each year, average vehicle emissions are dropping about 10 percent annually. Pollution will wane even more as motorists continue to replace older, dirtier cars with newer, cleaner models." Cleaner cars and better roads -- so those cars aren't sitting around in traffic jams all day -- between them, that's going to do more for pollution and greenhouse gas emissions than raising the price of houses by restricting growth.
- Myth #4. We're paving over America.
"How much of the United States is developed? Twenty-five percent? Fifty? Seventy-five? How about 5.4 percent? That's the Census Bureau's figure... In truth, housing in this country takes up less space than most people realize. If the nation were divided into four-person households and each household had an acre, everyone would fit in an area half the size of Texas."
The same sort of figures apply here in New Zealand, except even less so. According to the Landcover Database of Terralink, urban areas and urban open space in New Zealand account for less than 1 percent of total area, one quarter of that in the Auckland region. If all of NZ's 1,471,476 existing households were to be rebuilt on an acre of land (which was the sort of thing proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright in his Broadacre project, right), we'd all fit in an area less than one-quarter the size of the Waikato -- and think how easy it'd be to thumb a lift out to Raglan!
- Myth #5. We can't deal with global warming unless we stop driving.
Really? Does the myth-making of the anti-sprawlists depend solely on the myth-making of the warmists? Seems so.
But as Dr Vincent Gray notes, even the alarmists on the IPCC only suggest it is "very likely" that between 0.3ºC and 0.5ºC of the last century's warming is due to us humans, and only one-tenth of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions are due to "household transport." In fact, and if you believe the threats are real, then you will know that livestock are a greater 'threat' to the planet than our cars. Are we going to 'save the planet' by ploughing under our livestock and paving all the farms? Or by bulldozing all our existing housing just so we can pack ourselves all in within walking distance of each other?
And even if you take seriously the alarmism of the warmists, that's not going to stop everyone driving, particularly not the drivers in China and India who are just going to go right on getting rich and driving more -- the only thing to do is ensure that price signals here reflect the true realities, and leave people free to choose.
What the anti-sprawlists are doing with their restrictions on development is making housing unaffordable for every first-home buyer, and pushing up rent and mortage payments for everyone else.
And what they're also doing, ironically enough, by artificially ring-fencing our cities with restrictive zoning, is offering a great boon to the bigger developers they claim to despise -- the mega-developers who are the only ones to have the capacity and the political connections to buy up the ready-to-be-rezoned land that sits outside the ring-fence, encourage its rezoning, and then release it on to the market once the ring-fence is relaxed.
But that's another story ... one we'll talk about here very, very soon.
UPDATE: Tom Beard has responded here, to which I've responded briefly here.
LINK: Five myths about suburbia and our car-happy culture - Washington Post
Sustainable cities are unaffordable cities - (Peter Cresswell) Not PC
RELATED: Urban Design, Politics-NZ, Housing
Even without a full moon, Waitangi Day always produces any number of people intent on misunderstanding whatever anyone says, no matter how simple and however straightforward; there's always a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of talking very loudly past each other. I expect no less this year. I expect another Waitangi Day with another set of protests, a new bunch of people loudly proclaiming that the state owes them a living, and more claims for even more legal privilege.
Another Waitangi Day in which the the usual parade of politicians and protestors confront and avoid each other, and in which the professional grievance industry discuss and issue their demands for the taxpayer to give even more.
Partnership? The Treaty was not about partnership. In three short articles it simply offered the introduction of British law, and the rights and protections that were then protected by British law. It was not a Treaty offering permanent welfare, or a tax-paid gravy train into perpetuity.
Frankly, we don't need another tax-paid gravy train or another grievance industry or yet another charter for separatism or a forum in which to demand it; we simply need good law -- good colourblind law. We don't need more nationalisation of land, of seabed or of foreshore; we simply need a legal system in which what we own is protected, in which real injustices can be proven swiftly and without great expense, and where justice can be done and be seen to be done.
'He iwi tahi tatou.' We are now one people. So said Governor Hobson to Maori chieftains as they signed the Treaty that is now the source of so much division. But are we really 'one people'? Not really. No more than our ancestors were then. But nor are we two, three or fifty-four peoples -- do you have a people? -- and nor does it matter. What Governor Hobson brought to New Zealand with the Treaty was British law, which then meant something, and Western Culture, which makes it possible to see each one another not as 'peoples,' not as part of a tribe or a race, but as sovereign individuals in our own right.
That was a good thing.
But unfortunately, we still don't see each other that way, do we? And the myth-making about 'partnership' and 'biculturalism' is just one way to avoid seeing it.
To be fair, the Treaty itself isn't much to see. What Hobson brought was not the founding document for a country, but a hastily written document intended to forestall French attempts at dominion (and the Frank imposition of croissants and string bikinis), and which brought to New Zealand for the first time the concept of individualism, and the protection of property rights and of an objective rule of law.
But the Treaty itself was short, spare and to the point. What it relied upon was the context of British law as it then existed. It is that context that is no longer with us, and the understanding of British law as it then was that is missing.
The Treaty signed one-hundred sixty-seven years ago today was not intended as the charter for separatism and grievance and the welfare gravy train that it has become - it was intended no more and no less than to bring the protection of British law and the rights and privileges of British citizens to the residents of these islands -- residents of all colours. That was the context that three simple clauses were intended to enunciate. And one-hundred and sixty-seven years ago, the rights and privileges of British citizens actually meant something -- this was not a promise of unlimited tribally-based welfare (which is what the modern myth of 'partnership' underpins), but a promise to protect individuals from each other, and to protect what individuals own, and what they produce by their own efforts. That the promise is sometimes seen in the breach than in practice is no reason to spurn the attempt.
The Treaty helped to make New Zealand a better place for everyone.
Life in New Zealand before this advent of the rule of law recognised neither right, nor privilege, nor even the concept of ownership. It was not the paradise of Rousseau's noble savage; force was the recognised rule du jour and the source of much barbarity (see for example 'Property Rights: A Blessing for Maori New Zealand') -- indeed just a few short years before the Treaty was signed, savage inter-tribal warfare reigned, and much of New Zealand was found to be unpopulated following the fleeing of tribes before the muskets and savagery and cannibalism of other tribes.
Property in this war of all against all was not truly owned; instead, it was just something that was grabbed and held by one tribe, until it was later grabbed and held by another. To be blunt, life was brutish and it was short, just as it was in pre-Industrial Revolution Europe, and - let's face it -- it was largely due to the local culture. As Thomas Sowell reminds us: "Cultures are not museum pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives." Pre-European local culture was not working well for those within that culture.
Let's be really blunt (and here I paraphrase from this article):
In the many years before the Treaty was signed, the scattered tribes occupying New Zealand lived in abject poverty, ignorance, and superstition -- not due to any racial inferiority, but because that is how all mankind starts out (Europeans included). The transfer of Western civilization to these islands was one of the great cultural gifts in recorded history, affording Maori almost effortless access to centuries of European accomplishments in philosophy, science, technology, and government. As a result, today's Maori enjoy a capacity for generating health, wealth, and happiness that their Stone Age ancestors could never have conceived.
Harsh, but true. And note those words before you hyperventilate: "not due to any racial inferiority, but because that is how all mankind starts out (Europeans included)." The boon of Western Civilisation was being offered here in New Zealand for just a mess of pottage, and in return for the right of Westerners to settle here too. As Sir Apirana Ngata stated, "if you think these things are wrong, then blame your ancestors when they gave away their rights when they were strong" - giving the clue that 'right' to Ngata's ancestors, equated to 'strong' more than it did to 'right.'
In any case, did Maori even "own" New Zealand in the sense of exercising ownersip of sovereignty over all of it? No, they didn't.
First of all, they had no concept of ownership by right; 'ownership' was ownership by force; it represented taonga taken by force and held by force, just as long as they could be held by force (see again, for example 'Property Rights: A Blessing for Maori New Zealand').
Second, even if they had begun to develop the rudiments of such a concept (the concept of ownership by right being relatively new even to 1840 Europeans) they didn't own all the country -- they only 'owned' what they owned: that is, the lands and fisheries that were being occupied, farmed, fished and used. But note that this did not encompass all of New Zealand, nor even most of New Zealand. The rest lay unclaimed by anyone.
Third, Maori did not even see themselves as 'one people'; the word 'Maori' simply meant 'normal,' as opposed to the somewhat abnormal outsiders who had now appeared with their crosses and swords and strange written incantations. The tangata whenua saw themselves not as a homogeneous whole, but as members of various tribes - this was not a nation, it was a collection of warring tribes -- and there was no way a whole country could be ceded by those who had never yet laid claim to it.
So the British came, and saw, and hung about a bit. The truth is that some of the best places in the world in which to live are those where the British once came, and saw and then buggered off -- leaving behind them their (once) magnificent legal system, and the rudiments of Western Culture. See for example, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course (as noted in obituaries of former governor John Cowperthwaite) Hong Kong. We lucked out.
What the Treaty did do, for which we can all be thankful, was to bring British law to NZ at a time when British law was actually intended to protect the rights of British citizens, and it promised to extend that protection to all who lived here. That, for many and often differing reasons, was what the chieftains signed up to. But the Treaty itself was not a founding document. No, it wasn't. On its own, with just its three simple articles there was just not enough there to make it a founding document. As a document it simply pointed to the superstructure of British law as it then was and said, 'let's have that down here on these islands in the South Pacific.'
The treaty's greatest promise was really in its bringing to these islands those rights and privileges that British citizens enjoyed by virtue of their then superb legal system; the protection of Pax Britannia when those rights and that protection meant something, and when British law saw protection of rights as its sworn duty. The result of this blessing of relatively secure individual rights was the palpable blessing of relative peace, of increasing security, and of expanding prosperity.
Sadly, British jurisprudence no longer does see its duty that way, which means the legal context in which the Treaty was signed has changed, and the blessings themselves are sometimes difficult to see. Law, both in Britain and here in NZ, now places welfarism and need above individualism and rights. That's the changing context that has given steam and power to the treaty-based gravy train, and allowed the Treaty to say something other than what is written down.
The truly sad thing is that the Treaty relied on a context that no longer exists; that, in my view is the chief reason a new constitution is needed: to restore that legal context, and to improve upon it with a legal context that protects and reinforces an Objective rule of law -- as British law itself once did -- one that clarifies what in the Treaty was only vague or barely put. And in doing so, of course, such a constitution would make the Treaty obsolete. Thank goodness.
Waitangi Day comes just two weeks after Martin Luther King Day. It might be worthwhile to remind ourselves of King's dream:
"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character..."Perhaps we will one day celebrate the same dream? Perhaps we will one day celebrate our national day without the colour of a man's skin being more important than his character, and without what has become a charter for grievance continuing to poison discussion, and empower a gravy train of grievance.
Perhaps one day we will actually celebrate the birth of this great little country, instead of seeing this day as an annual source of conflict. Wouldn't that be something to celebrate?
Linked Articles: Unsure on foreshore: A Brash dismissal of Maori rights? - Not PC
Do you have a people? - Not PC
All hail the Industrial Revolution - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Rights - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Need - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Welfarism - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Government - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism:Constitution - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Property - Not PC
A Constitution for New Freeland - The Free Radical
More from the Archives: Maoritanga, Racism, History, Law, Constitution
Alden B. Dow's home and studio in Midland, Michigan. Begun in 1939, and like all good organic architecture, a building that was designed to integrate architecture and site.
Canada's Fraser Institute has released their own Independent Summary for Policymakers in London overnight.
Like the UN/IPCC's Summary for Policymakers released to great fanfare on Friday last, this report summarises the science behind the reports. Unlike the UN/IPCC's Summary however, the Fraser Institute's summary of the science is actually written by scientists.
"[The UN/IPCC] summary report does not come from the scientific community. Instead it is developed through political negotiations by unnamed bureaucrats from various governments. Critics of past summaries point out they downplay and gloss over areas of uncertainty and data limitations,” said Dr. Ross McKitrick, coordinator of the independent review and senior fellow with The Fraser Institute.
“The debate around climate change has become highly politicized and alarmist. So we asked a team of highly qualified scientists to look at the IPCC report and produce a summary that they felt communicates the real state of knowledge. Our intent with this document is to allow people to see for themselves what is known and what remains highly uncertain within climate change science.”
Delivered in London last night by Dr. Ross McKitrick (co-destroyer with Steve McIntyre of the UN's "hockey stick" fraud) as well as Andrei Illarionov (Ayn Rand enthusiast, and former advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin), David Henderson (former head of Economics and Statistics at the OECD), and noted environmentalist David Bellamy, who is also a member of New Zealand's Climate Science Coalition. The full Independent Summary for Policymakers is available here at the Fraser Institute's website. Here's a summary of what the report says:
• Data collected by weather satellites since 1979 continue to exhibit little evidence of atmospheric warming, with estimated trends ranging from nearly zero to the low end of past IPCC forecasts. There is no significant warming in the tropical troposphere (the lowest portion of the Earth’s atmosphere), which accounts for half the world’s atmosphere, despite model predictions that warming should be amplified there.
• Temperature data collected at the surface exhibits an upward trend from 1900 to 1940, and again from 1979 to the present. Trends in the Southern Hemisphere are small compared to those in the Northern Hemisphere.
• There is no compelling evidence that dangerous or unprecedented changes are underway. Perceptions of increased extreme weather events are potentially due to increased reporting. There is too little data to reliably confirm these perceptions.
• There is no globally-consistent pattern in long-term precipitation trends, snow-covered area, or snow depth. Arctic sea ice thickness showed an abrupt loss prior to the 1990s, and the loss stopped shortly thereafter. There is insufficient data to conclude that there are any trends in Antarctic sea ice thickness.
• Current data suggest a global mean sea level rise of between two and three millimeters per year. Models project an increase of roughly 20 centimeters over the next 100 years, if accompanied by a warming of 2.0 to 4.5 degrees Celsius.
• Natural climatic variability is now believed to be substantially larger than previously estimated, as is the uncertainty associated with historical temperature reconstructions.
• Attributing an observed climate change to a specific cause like greenhouse gas emissions is not formally possible, and therefore relies on computer model simulations. These attribution studies do not take into account the basic uncertainty about climate models, or all potentially important influences like aerosols, solar activity, and land use changes.
• Computer models project a range of future forecasts, which are inherently uncertain for the coming century, especially at the regional level. It is not possible to say which, if any, of today’s climate models are reliable for climate prediction and forecasting.
“There is no evidence provided by the IPCC report that the uncertainty around climate change can be formally resolved from first principles, statistical hypothesis testing or modeling exercises,” McKitrick said.
“What does this mean for the average person? It means that while scientific evidence shows the climate is naturally variable, we still don’t know the extent to which humans are contributing to future climate change and whether or not such change is a good or bad thing. People who are bewildered by the intense global warming alarmism of the past few years should read the Independent Summary for Policymakers to get a more accurate and balanced understanding of the real state of knowledge on this important subject.”LINK: Independent Summary for Policymakers: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report - Ross McKittrick et al, Fraser Institute
RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Politics-World
Monday, 5 February 2007
Labour Confused Over Doing the Right Thing
"There are reports that Labour MPs have been secretly encouraging NZ First to take court action against paying back illegal election spending," says Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton. "Isn't it ironic - I gave Labour MPs an opportunity to have the legality of their spending decided in the High Court and they chose to scuttle it by rushing through retrospective legislation to kill the case, the week before they were due in court."
"Earlier today, Labour Party president Mike Williams suggested that if NZ First's legal challenge to the Auditor General's report on election spending was successful then Labour might not repay the money they stole," Darnton said. "I am pleasantly surprised at the almost instant backpedalling that occurred when it became clear that the public wouldn't let the issue die."
"Helen Clark is said to have been infuriated at Williams' comments. Either she's discovered the difference between right and wrong or she's done a quick focus group to see what she can get away with. Well done to the New Zealand public for demanding honesty from their politicians."
RELATED: Darnton V Clark, Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Politics-Winston First, Libz
- "A Ngapuhi elder is adamant the Maori sovereignty flag will be flown on One Tree Hill in Auckland on Waitangi Day tomorrow" - Newstalk ZB
- "Flag won't fly on One Tree Hill" - TVNZ
It's certainly done that.
There's one thing about the flag controversy that I for one find ironic. It is Nga Puhi rather than local iwi Ngati Whatua who are primarily pushing to place the separatism flag on No Tree Hill, yet it is Nga Puhi led by Hongi Hika who invaded Auckland in the 1820s, slaughtering at least a third of the Ngati Whatua population, and forcing them to flee the isthmus -- but not from thier their pa at One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie), which had been empty since at least the late-1700s. Ngati Whatua themselves only returned to the isthmus in numbers once Hongi Hika had died, and the protection of British law was established -- law that the separatists regularly bewail.
UPDATE: The "Ngapuhi elder" told Newstalk ZB he's showing up at No Tree Hill at 8 o'clock tomorrow morning to wave his flag around "for a few hours." The flag is not the Maori separatism flag, but the 1835 Declaration of Independence flag (right).
LINK: Foreshore and Seabed and property rights - Not PC (Sept, 2006)
RELATED: Property Rights, Maoritanga, Politics-NZ, Common Law
"Communism is good in principle, but difficult to practice because human nature is flawed..." Really?
It is interesting that (so-called) intellectuals on our college campuses still defend communism and socialism even after the unbelievable human misery created by communist governments has been exposed... These 'intellectuals' say that communism is good in principle, but difficult to practice because human nature is flawed. The 'flaw' is that people tend to do what they are rewarded to do.
The 'intellectuals' however believe that people should be self-sacrificial. They must also believe that Mother Nature herself is flawed or they fail to recognize an immutable fact of nature, which is that everything that is alive must act in its self-interest or die. A lion must hunt or starve. A deer must run from the hunter or be eaten. Man must obtain food or perish.
Our most basic choice is either to act in our self-interest or die (or to barely survive in abject poverty in a hell-hole like North Korea).
The comment comes from the CEO of one of America's ten largest banks, John Allison, in his introduction to Edwin Locke's book The Prime Movers. (I've edited it slightly.)
Naturally, astute Not PC readers will realise that Allison's observation relates to our recent discussion on the starting point on morality. Like me, and like Ayn Rand, Allison places the starting point of morality on an"immutable fact of nature, which is that everything that is alive must act in its self-interest or die." With this starting point -- that is to say, with a morality in which life is the standard -- it's entirely correct to point out that communism and socialism are neither good in principle nor in practice:they aren't good in practice precisely because they are immoral in principle.
LINKS: Introduction to The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators - John Allison, Capitalism Magazine
The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators, by Edwin Locke - Amazon.Com
Is-ought? Not a problem. - Not PC
RELATED: Ethics, Politics, Socialism, Objectivism, History
- Sources at the center of the drafting [of the IPCC's report on global warming] say that, though the now- traditional efforts are being made to sound alarmist and scientific at the same time, key projections are being quietly cut.
- One says: "Stern is dead. The figures in the final draft of the UN's Fourth Assessment Report makes the recent report of [the British] Treasury's chief economist on the cost of climate change look like childish panic."
- The Summary for Policymakers was issued February 2, 2007, but the report on which the Summary is based will not be published until May. This strange separation of the publication dates has raised in some minds the possibility that the Summary (written by political representatives of governments) will be taken as a basis for altering the science chapters (written by scientists, and supposedly finalized and closed in December 2006).
- Figures in the final draft of the UN’s fourth five-year report on climate change show that the previous report, in 2001, had overestimated the human influence on the climate since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.
- Also, the UN, in its 2007 report, has more than halved its high-end best estimate of the rise in sea level by 2100 from 3 feet to just 17 inches. It suggests that the rate of sea-level rise is up from 2mm/yr to 3mm/year – no more than one foot in a century.
- UN scientists faced several problems their computer models had not predicted. Globally, temperature is not rising at all, and sea level is not rising anything like as fast as had been forecast. Concentrations of methane in the air are actually falling.
- The draft of the science chapters, now being circulated to governments for last-minute comments, reveals that the tendency of computers to over-predict rises in temperature and sea level has forced a major rethink.
- The report’s generally more cautiously-expressed projections confirm scientists’ warnings that the UN’s heavy reliance on computer models had exaggerated the temperature effect of greenhouse-gas emissions.
- Previous reports in 1990, 1995 and 2001 had been progressively more alarmist. In the final draft of the new report there is a change in tone. Though carbon dioxide in the air is increasing, global temperature is not.
- The 2007 draft concludes that it is very likely that we caused most of the rise in temperatures since 1940. It does not point out that for half that period, from 1940 to 1975, temperature actually fell even though carbon dioxide rose monotonically – higher every year than the previous year.
- Of the UN’s six modeled scenarios, three are extreme exaggerations. Two assume that population will reach 15bn by 2100, though demographers say population will peak at 10bn in 40 years and then plummet. The UN’s high-end temperature projection to 2100, up from 5.8C to 6C, is based on these extreme and unrealistic scenarios.
- The new report confirms the finding of the 2001 report that global warming will have little effect on the number of typhoons or hurricanes, though it may increase the intensity of some storms a little.
- The UN’s models ... did not predict the timing or size of the El Nino which hiked temperature in 1998. Without it, the satellite record shows little or no greenhouse warming. Land-based temperature records may accordingly overstate the problem.
- Even if a country the size of Britain were to shut down and cease using energy or cars altogether, the growth in carbon emissions in China would more than make up for our sacrifice long before the Kyoto agreement expires in 2012.
- Even if the US were to shut down its entire economy, growth in emissions from fast-emerging new polluters such as China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil would replace the US emissions within the next quarter of a century.
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the UN will approve the complete report for publication at its 36th session, in Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2007. In the meantime, there will be continuing pressure from a small but vociferous body of politicized
scientists, bureaucrats, and lobby groups to suggest that the 2007 report is more alarming than its predecessors. However, the sharp downward revisions in the values of the two central variables – the human contribution to warming compared with 1750 and the projected rise in sea level to 2100 – indicates that the UN has come to appreciate the dangers that would have arisen if it were to have persisted in its former exaggerations.
- The “consensus” clique are displeased at the UN’s new-found moderation, particularly in its halving of its upper-bound projection of the rise in sea level to 2100. But it was they who formerly insisted that the UN, with 2,000 participating scientists, represented the very heart of the “consensus”. Accordingly they find themselves unable convincingly to repudiate the findings of a body whose work they have hitherto represented to us as sacrosanct.
- Though the mass media are now well-programmed to focus on the more alarmist aspects of the report, the halving of the sea-level projection is in effect a declaration, from the heart of the “consensus”, that the consequences of warmer worldwide weather will be minor and may be beneficial, that the worst scenarios are no longer probable, and that the panic is officially over.
RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Politics-World
Sunday, 4 February 2007
Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 1 Timothy 2: 11-12As the man said, the more people who read their Bibles -- I mean really read their damn Bibles -- the more atheists we're likely to have. [Image from Russell's Teapot.] And here's some related links from the Skeptic's Annotated Bible:
- Can women be church leaders?
- Should women have the same rights as men?
- What the Bible says about women's rights
The Museum Dome (left) is, in a word, spectacular. The dome itself hovers over one of New Zealand's great public spaces (I don't mean the atrium, which is a mess, but the top floor Events Centre itself).The very good news is that the Museum directors have decided, against initial plans, that they'll be opening up the space to the public as and when they can, but but will almost always on Sunday afternoons between 1 and 4pm. Says director Rodney Wilson:
Standing within emulates the feeling of standing atop one of Auckland's volcanic cones; the dome hovering overhead is perfectly scaled to hold the room full of celebrating seated diners (one of its spendidly intended functions); and shaped to thrust the view out to the landscape beyond -- and it must have one of the most thrilling views of Auckland's high-rises in all Auckland! As a convention centre it is already booked out until 2008 - such a shame, however, if it isn't made more widely available to the public. You owe it to yourself to visit if you can get the chance.
Because interest in the Dome has been so great, following the recent opening of the Museum's 'Grand Atrium' [which is really not so grand], we have decided to give patrons who visit the 'Vaka Moana' exhibition access to it on tours held from time to time each day (subject to availability of space. We have also introduced weekly tours (again subject to availability) for other Museum visitors who make an entry donation. These weekly tours will be held between 1 and 4pm each Sunday.Essentially, this means that most days you'll have to buy a ticket to the exhibition, and then wait around for a guide to be available to take you up there. And on Sundays, you can be virtually assured of getting a look-see.
You're probably a little late for this Sunday, but do keep it in mind.
RELATED: Auckland, Architecture
Saturday, 3 February 2007
IPCC Summary for Policymakers: "Isn't it just a bit odd to see the Readers Digest version of a book before the book itself is even finished?"
Although the IPCC 'Summary for Policymakers' now calls it “very likely” that most of the warming since the mid-20th century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions [on which see Dr Vincent Gray's comments here], some of the assertions in the Summary are remarkable in their lack of alarm.You don't need to look far for that. Anyway, here's the second piece of commentary, some of which is repeating what's already been reported here and elsewhere:
True, there is a good deal of overly alarmist garbage in the Summary, but some of the information I just cited will drive alarmists into frothing-at-the-mouth fits of denial.
- For example, on page 11 of the Summary, 3 of the 6 climate scenarios predict less than 2.5 degrees C of warming in the 21st century. 4 of the 6 predict less 2.8 C or less.
- Also on page 11, projected sea level rise during the 21st century is likely to be merely 1 foot or so in 4 of the 6 scenarios. All 6 scenarios anticipate a sea level rise of less than 1 ½ feet.
- On page 13, the Summary projects that there will be no net loss of Antarctic ice mass during the entire 21st century.
- On page 20, projected precipitation in North America is likely to remain stable in summer months, and become more prevalent in winter months.
Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the first volume ("The Physical Science Basis") of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4 - also known as "Climate Change 2007").It's a legitimate question, isn't it? They've had five years to pull this all together, and since they're all supposed to be in agreement -- they've all reached 'consensus' -- you'd think the science and the summary could conceivably be released together, wouldn't you?
Tonight, I'm confident it will lead every network newscast and it will be headline news in all the newspapers and magazines around the world over the next few months. One thing that will be missing from virtually all of the news reports that I'd like to make you all aware of. That is, the actual report itself is NOT available and will not be available until May. The FULL AR4 consists of 3 "volumes" produced by 3 Working Groups (Working Group I, II, and III). The full Working Group I report (Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis) will NOT be the subject of the news accounts. I'm confident the full report IS scientifically produced and represents good science, as were the prior three assessment reports.
What the news reports will use as their "source" is the Summary for Policymakers released today...
The question I have to ask is this: Why is the Summary for Policymakers available BEFORE the content that it claims to summarize?
Isn't it just a bit odd to see the Readers Digest version of a book before the book itself is even finished? This makes it impossible for legitimate inquiry to occur at all, since the basis of the summary is not available to read and study. For more than 3 months, the ONLY data available will be the policymaker's summary, NOT the scientific content.
Yet this will lead the news and be the basis of debate and, potentially, action. By the time anyone can raise legitimate questions about the underlying science, public opinion will have already been shaped.
In the meantime, Junk Science has broken embargo and posted the draft scientific reports.
Under the circumstances we feel we have no choice but to publicly release the second-order draft report documents so that everyone has at least the chance to compare the summary statements with the underlying documentation. It should not be necessary for us to break embargo and post raw drafts for you to verify a summary of publicly funded documentation (tax payers around the world have paid billions of dollars for this effort -- you own it and you should be able to access it).
Reluctantly then, here is the link to our archive copy of the second-order draft of IPCC Working Group I Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. The second-order draft was distributed in 2006, 5 years into what has so far been a 6 year process and these copies were archived last May.
LINKS: "New report says global warming is negligible, short-lived, and now ended" - Dr Vincent Gray - Not PC
IPCC Working Group I Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. - Junk Science
RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Politics-World
I don't normally post entire press releases here at Not PC, but I'm reposting below a press release from Dr Vincent Gray because of its importance and incisiveness on a subject in which statists are looking to warmists to justify an increase in their power. Dr Gray is, in effect, saying, "Now hold on just a moment..." -- PC
NEW REPORT SAYS GLOBAL WARMING IS NEGLIGIBLE, SHORT-LIVED, AND NOW ENDED -- Dr Vincent Gray
The draft “Summary for Policymakers of the Fourth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been widely leaked to the Press. Its crucial conclusion is as follows:
“It is very likely that anthropogenic greenhouse gas increases caused most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century.”The widely available graph of the globally averaged annual temperature anomalies between 1857 and 2005 shows, for the period since the mid-20th century:
The above statement considers that it is very likely that most of this 0.53ºC was caused by anthropogenic (human-induced) greenhouse gas increases. “Most” of this would be between 0.3ºC and 0.5ºC, the amount that the statement considers to be due to human influence.
- No warming between 1950 and 1978.
- No warming between 1998 and 2005.
- The only ”observed” warming over the period is from 1978 to 1998, 20 years only, out of the 55 years.
- The actual warming involved over this short period of 1978 to 1998 was 0.53ºC.
This temperature rise is negligible. None of us would notice if it happened instantly, let alone over 50 years.. It is below the amount considered in the weather forecasts. Yet this small temperature rise over 55 years is routinely blamed for all manner of climate disasters.
The IPCC pronouncement is not a certain one. The term “very likely” is defined as amounting to a probability above 90%. In other words, there is one chance in ten that they are wrong. Also, the probability is based on the opinion (or guess) of “experts” who are financially dependent on an expectation of positive results.
Finally, there has been no “warming” at all since 1998, now eight years. “Global Warming” seems to have come to an end.
This temperature record is quite incompatible with the computer climate models [which are now the only place in which warming exists], so why should we believe their pessimistic forecasts for the future?
It should also be noted that there has been negligible warming in New Zealand since 1950. The mean temperature for 2006 was 0.7ºC below that for 2005. According to the temperature record for Christchurch, there was no warming since 1910, with a maximum temperature in 1917.
RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Politics-World
Friday, 2 February 2007
However, as he's happily waylaid by the Sevens on another gorgeous Wellington day, we'll dip instead into the fabled Real Beer Archives to bring excerpts from his first ever Internet Beer Column:
Let’s start with a confession: I’m not a guy who has always appreciated good beer.
In many ways, the development of my beer taste has paralleled the welcome development of a genuine beer culture in New Zealand.
I’ve gone from a single-brand mainstream drinker to one who appreciates a wide variety of beers from around the world.
Three years ago, I was a solid, loyal Tui drinker. I confess. I still have the hat, Hawaiian shirt and matching couch to prove it. A dozen Tui (pronounced “two-aye” of course) sufficed for every occasion, and was thought to perfectly match every type of food known to man. Pies. Sausages. Chips. Wedges. All the important food groups.
But then things began to change.
For a number of years, a very good friend of mine known as Dr. G (no relation to Ali, by the way) had been trying to tempt me with any number of fine local and international beers.
When others around him had a dozen Tui or a dozen Rheineck (or worse), Dr. G could be relied upon to have a veritable cornucopia of pilsners, ales and double-chocolate stouts. And he would always exhort me to “try a bit of this, sir, instead of your bog standard New Zealand lager” -- and thank God he did.
It took me a long time to be convinced – but two events finally converted me.
I was finally convinced that mainstream New Zealand beers did indeed all taste very, very similar when my friend Bok completely failed a blind taste test between DB Draught (which he claimed to love) and Lion Brown (which he claimed to hate). Strike One.
And just at that happy moment, I was introduced to Pink Elephant Mammoth. Roger Pink’s magnificent flavoursome (and strong) beer drew me into literally a whole new world of quality beer.
Whole new vistas of beer were opened up to me, in which I’ve been frolicking happily ever since.
Do you have a moment when the scales fell from your eyes and you began drinking real beer instead of flavoured water? What was your Damascene beer? Let the other readers know in the comments section below.
LINKS: Pink Elephant Mammoth - Rate Beer
RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere
She said "Maori have been in the minority ever since they were outnumbered."
Should you be lost in the forest, here's what you do:
"You do not panic. You do not walk aimlessly. You find a shady spot with a fine view, you sit down, you take out the cocktail shaker, the gin, the vermouth, and the olives from your back pack (which every sophisticated trekker carries) and mix yourself a martini. If there is a glacier somewhere nearby you chip off some ice to chill everything down.By the way, our story-teller got it very wrong -- he should have been carrying vodka, not gin. ;^)
You will not be lost for long. Within a few minutes someone will come from nowhere, tap your arm and say, excuse me, you are not doing that right -- that is not the way to make a proper martini."
RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere, Humour, Books
the purpose of the three-month delay between the publication of the Summary for Policy-Makers and the release of the actual WG1 is to enable them to make any “necessary” adjustments to the technical report to match the policy summary.David Schnare has a good hard look at this at his blog The Hard Look, and here's some of what he sees:
Unbelievable. Can you imagine what securities commissions would say if business promoters issued a big promotion and then the promoters made the “necessary” adjustments to the qualifying reports and financial statements so that they matched the promotion. Words fail me.
R.K. Pachauri, the IPCC Chairman admits up front that he is openly seeking alarmism with this report, stating to Reuters “I hope this report will shock people!” Surely politicians around the world will use the report to push for immediate action on global warming, just as Pachauri seeks. All this would seem the actions of a reasonable scientist, except for one thing. The IPCC refuses to release the actual science behind the report and won’t until May at the earliest. Result? Honest scientists will be unable to validate or challenge the openly political overstatements known to be in the summary because they won’t be able to read the scientific basis for the intended alarmism...Is he right? Keep watching. And stay alert. The planet needs more lerts.
Here’s why the late release of the full report is a problem. As we learned from Galileo, it only takes one solid fact to upend a theory. Because global warming alarm builds from complex prognostications that stand on the shoulders of incredibly uncertain observations, even one contradictory observation could throw the whole model into the dustbin. That, by the way, is one of the reasons the full report is not coming out until later. The scientists who did the ocean level research found out that the IPCC was misusing their work and demanded changes in both the final report and the executive summary. The IPCC doesn’t want that to happen again, so it is slowing review and publication of its final report to avoid any more “scientist unrest”. Naturally, the IPCC will also benefit because late release of the full report will ensure the debate about the actual science will have little impact on global climate politics.
LINKS: IPCC Schedule: WG1 Report available only to insiders until May 2007 - Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit
Global spin alert - The Hard Look
RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Politics-World