International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

TED Talks – How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change

I was listening to some podcasts a few weeks back, and I heard this guy speak.

I’ve now watched the video and I have to say, in terms of political issues of the day, this has got to be one of the most important talks ever given.

I say this for 3 reasons.

1) There is currently massive efforts going into stopping climate change. If this guy is right, that effort, even if the science behind it is 100% correct, is a waste of time because desertification is going to wipe out any potential gains from getting rid of carbon emissions.

2) There are efforts going on in the world to stop land degrading. Those efforts are actually making the problem worse.

3) The actual solution is a win-win. But it goes against what the green lobby have been pushing for years.

4) And finally: This is not theory. This is not modeling. This is not dubious science backed up by bluster. This is a  dramatic demonstration of a simple theory that actually works – and goes against accepted thinking.

In short, if you watch no other video on this blog ever, please watch this one. (And the one with Clarkson and the tiny car – that is some funny stuff!)

Set nets

I was curious to read this on Idiot’s blog.

Maui’s dolphin is the world’s most endangered dolphin species, with only 55 existing in the world. The biggest threat to their survival is fishermen, who have killed five of them in the past decade. But despite the loss of 10% of this critically endangered population, the government has refused to act, and has refused to ban set netting in the dolphin’s habitat.

When just the other day, I read this:

Mr Chiles is among 21 people who have been made redundant by Port Taranaki-based Ocean Pearl Fisheries, which in the winter catches almost all of its quota of blue warehou and rig within the two-nautical mile limit – and the fish species can only be caught using set nets.

He said he felt really sorry for Ocean Pearl owner Robert Ansley when he had to tell him and his fellow workers they had lost their jobs.

“All he could say was that he was sorry, but he couldn’t do anything about it because the Government’s announcement was ruining his business.

Mr Chiles said that in the more than 20 years he’s been fishing off Taranaki, he has never seen a Maui’s or a Hector’s dolphin, and never seen one caught in a gill net.

“I’ve seen heaps and heaps of common dolphins, but I’ve never seen one of them caught in a net either. That’s because dolphins swim on or near the surface, and set nets are placed along the sea bottom a bit like a fence.

So which is it? Is the government banning set nets (where it doesn’t need to) and costing jobs, or is it refusing to do anything and costing dolphins?

Oh, and least we forget, Idiot also loves telling us that John Key isn’t doing anything for jobs either.

Greenpeace Exploits the dead

Flicked over to The Standard this morning and this appeared in the header.

Sort of sick, isn’t it?

Greenpeace is of course making the point that we should ban offshore drilling.

Apparently abusing the corpse of a penguin who died in oil from the results of an incompetent ship’s crew demonstrates that we should ignore the fact that there are thousands of offshore oil platforms, only one of which has caused a major spill in recent years.


But while I’m on the topic, there’s a couple of points about the Rena which have been refuted by time itself.

1. The salvage was delayed, and those delays meant that oil was allowed to leak.

We now know that getting oil from the Rena was always going to be a very long and technically difficult task. So the chances of getting enough off within the first few days to prevent leakage was always zero.

In fact from early on salvage experts marveled at how quick the response was.

2. The boat was badly maintained

The boat has not broken up, even now. That is a pretty good sign it was not a rustbucket riddled with holes.

It seems that the major issue with it was that the maps of the south china sea were out of date.



Climate change – we have a deal!

Idiot has his analysis of the climate change deal:

In other words, our governments at Durban have just decided to let the planet burn, so they can continue to live in artificial, unsustainable comfort for another decade. This isn’t just a matter of them ruining the world for their children and grandchildren; they’re also ruining it for you and me. I expect to live for another forty or fifty years, barring accidents. And these rich, polluting <expletive deleted > have just decided that the world I’m going to be living in will be much worse than the one I live in now. As you might be able to tell, I’m pretty <expletive deleted >about that.

Sounds promising  😀

Of course, the silly thing is that this treaty was about CO2, not about pollution.

CO2 makes plants grow.


Update: Lest we forget, we were pretty much stuffed 4 years ago. If the c

Good Post on Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants

Saw this post via twitter. It goes through what has happened, the safety measures, why they failed etc etc.

The plant came close to a core meltdown. Here is the worst-case scenario that was avoided: If the seawater could not have been used for treatment, the operators would have continued to vent the water steam to avoid pressure buildup. The third containment would then have been completely sealed to allow the core meltdown to happen without releasing radioactive material. After the meltdown, there would have been a waiting period for the intermediate radioactive materials to decay inside the reactor, and all radioactive particles to settle on a surface inside the containment. The cooling system would have been restored eventually, and the molten core cooled to a manageable temperature. The containment would have been cleaned up on the inside. Then a messy job of removing the molten core from the containment would have begun, packing the (now solid again) fuel bit by bit into transportation containers to be shipped to processing plants. Depending on the damage, the block of the plant would then either be repaired or dismantled.

The explosion was apparently caused by an abundance of caution.

At some stage during this venting, the explosion occurred. The explosion took place outside of the third containment (our “last line of defense”), and the reactor building. Remember that the reactor building has no function in keeping the radioactivity contained. It is not entirely clear yet what has happened, but this is the likely scenario: The operators decided to vent the steam from the pressure vessel not directly into the environment, but into the space between the third containment and the reactor building (to give the radioactivity in the steam more time to subside). The problem is that at the high temperatures that the core had reached at this stage, water molecules can “disassociate” into oxygen and hydrogen – an explosive mixture. And it did explode, outside the third containment, damaging the reactor building around. It was that sort of explosion, but inside the pressure vessel (because it was badly designed and not managed properly by the operators) that lead to the explosion of Chernobyl. This was never a risk at Fukushima.

Worth a read.

Update: For some balance: Rob at The Standard keeps it classy.

On top of the quake and tsunami aftermath, Japan is already dealing with evacuations and the effects of the radiation leaked so far. If the last ditch efforts (using sea water for cooling) fail then:

If the temperature inside the reactor continues to rise and reaches roughly 2200C, the uranium fuel pellets will start to melt. From there, melted fuel will eat through the bottom of the reactor vessel, then the floor of the damaged containment building. At that point, the uranium and radioactive byproducts of the nuclear reactions will start escaping into the environment.

At some point, the walls of the reactor vessel will melt into a lava-like pile, slump into any remaining water on the floor, and could cause an explosion much bigger than the one caused by the hydrogen, enhancing the spread of radioactive contaminants. …

In Auckland, Dr Krofcheck said that if the Fukushima Daiichi accident became a meltdown and released large amounts of radiation, “I’m sure it would not be a major problem for New Zealand. Most of it would be confined to the Northern Hemisphere, and most certainly, Japan itself.”

We’re looking at a second Chernobyl.

Could go either way I guess…

Shock – Something *not* caused by Global Warming

I feel a little faint.

“The United States and New Zealand are both delighted to see the extent of the sea ice breakout this year because it does mean that we are dealing with much cleaner ice, much shallower ice in terms of ice-breaking channels, and new sea ice that freezes for the runways,” Mr Sanson said.

He said the break-up of the sea ice could not be put down to climate change.

“We’ve had a cooling trend in the Ross Sea region related to the ozone hole, so no, we wouldn’t relate this to global warming.”

Nice to see some balance in a world where everything from seasonal storms to riots in Egypt (not to mention Jellyfish Plagues) are blamed on climate change.

Climate Change

A little unfair in places, but mostly right on the money.

How to get your point across

The video below is scary on several levels.

Watching it, I decided that there is no way on earth that an organisation like Greenpeace could produce a video like this. To me, whoever produced this was on a clear mission to portray Greenpeace as a fascist organisation, who would use violent threats to change environmental policy.

I was quite certain it must be fake. I decided to search the internet and see if I could confirm that. I’ve discovered too many extreme statements don’t stack up once you start digging. So I dug.

Well, it took about 10 seconds to discover it’s real.


Well, they got their point across. Next time a Greenpeace collector comes to my house, I shall show them this video and ask them what they think. If they don’t resign their position (or seriously question it) I shall not be polite in my suggestions.

Hat Tip Crusader Rabbit. Apparently someone once said they were “run by violent nut jobs who promote war and the weapons of war with relish”. I wonder if those people support Greenpeace?

Obama’s emphasis on “Green” energy may have contributed to the oil spill

DRJ at Patterico explains here.

Birnbaum came in for heavy criticism of MMS’ handling of the Deepwater Horizon/BP Gulf oil project. The general tone of the critique was that MMS had not paid enough attention to regulating such environmentally sensitive undertakings. What received less attention was why that attention wasn’t paid, and that was because Interior and MMS were busy pushing offshore renewable energy projects.


Why the ETS will (and must) go forward

TVHE explains.

The ETS is a scheme to raise the funds to pay for our Kyoto Liability.  Even if you don’t believe in global warming, we have a liability that is based on carbon emissions.  As a nation, either people who produce the carbon pay for it – or everyone pays for it through higher taxes.

So here in lies the question – do we want higher prices for carbon goods or lower incomes because of higher taxes?  Given that the liability is a function of the amount of carbon we produce, it follows that pricing carbon on the basis of this will lead to the “best” solution – no matter what political party you support.  I know that National, Labour, and the Greens all understand this – so if you guys could like, explain it to the ACT party, and then like, explain it to the public, I’ll be very happy :D

Unfortunately, even if Global Warming is completely and utterly false in every way, we have still signed up to Kyoto.

So we have to either pay our dues under that scheme, or we have to renege on our international oblations.

The ETS means that (in theory at least) those who cause those obligations pay the bill.

I don’t like it, but the problem is not the ETS, it’s the fact we signed up to Kyoto. That was clearly a mistake, but this is real life and we as a country have to pay for that mistake made by our politicians, same as everywhere else (including Greece).

The upside is that Kyoto is only for a few years. Once that period is up, we can toss the thing.

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