Archive for September, 2007

Planet’s tipping point upon us, NASA
September 29, 2007

NASA may have been warning us of an approaching tipping point, like everyone else, but this is the first time they say it may be upon us:

Arctic thaw critical: NASA
September 28, 2007 – 11:24PM
A record melt of Arctic summer sea ice this month may be a sign that global warming is reaching a critical trigger point that could accelerate the northern thaw, some scientists say.
“The reason so much (of the Arctic ice) went suddenly is that it is hitting a tipping point that we have been warning about for the past few years,” James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told Reuters.
The Arctic summer sea ice shrank by more than 20 per cent below the previous 2005 record low in mid-September to 4.13 million sq km, according to a 30-year satellite record. It has now frozen out to 4.2 million sq km.
The idea of climate tipping points – like a see-saw that suddenly flips over when enough weight gets onto one side – is controversial because it is little understood and dismissed by some as scaremongering about runaway effects.
The polar thaw may herald a self-sustaining acceleration that could threaten indigenous peoples and creatures such as polar bears – as Arctic sea ice shrinks, the darker ocean soaks up ever more heat than reflective snow and ice.
In Germany, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research says Arctic sea ice has “already tipped”.
Among potential “tipping elements” that are still stable, it lists on its website a melt of Siberian permafrost, a slowdown of the Gulf Stream and disruptions to the Indian monsoon.
“I’d say we are reaching a tipping point or are past it for the ice. This is a strong indication that there is an amplifying mechanism here,” said Paal Prestrud of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.
“But that’s more or less speculation. There isn’t scientific documentation other than the observations,” he said.
Many experts now reckon Arctic ice may disappear in summer before mid-century, decades before earlier forecasts. The thaw would open the region to oil and gas exploration or shipping.
Reuters will host a summit of leading newsmakers on Oct 1-3 to review the state of the environment. Speakers will include Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN Climate Panel and Michael Morris, chief executive of American Electric Power.
“All models seem to underestimate the speed at which the ice is melting,” said Anders Levermann, a Potsdam professor.
“I do not believe that this is alarmist … not all tipping points are irreversible,” he said. And societies can weigh up remote risks, such as planes crashing or nuclear meltdowns.
Hansen said he is seeking more study of causes of the melt, widely blamed on greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels but perhaps slightly stoked by soot from forest fires or industries in Russia and China. Ice darkened by soot melts faster.
“It is a very good lesson, because the ice sheets (on Greenland and Antarctica) have their own tipping points, somewhat harder to get started but far more dangerous for humanity around the globe,” he said.
A melt of floating Arctic sea ice does not affect sea levels but Greenland has enough ice to raise oceans by seven metres and Antarctica by about 57 metres, according to UN estimates.
Pachauri’s authoritative climate panel, in a summary report due for release in November, does not use the phrase “tipping point” but does say: “Climate change could lead to abrupt or irreversible climate changes and impacts.”
It says, for instance, that it is “very unlikely” that the Gulf Stream bringing warm water north to Europe will switch off this century. That could bring a big regional cooling.
And it says that a melt of ice sheets could lead to big sea level rises over thousands of years. “Rapid sea level rise on century time scales cannot be excluded,” it adds.
© 2007 Reuters

We’ve triggered the planet’s tipping point claims expedition leader
September 27, 2007

I’m wanting to believe that climate change has several triggers, like a double-barelled shotgun. The first trigger has been pulled. This is from Earl de Blonville, a five time expedition leader to the Arctic and the leader of Australia’s first Arctic expedition. (This involved expedition members kayaking around Greenland until stopped by ice.) He claims the tipping point of the planet has passed us by. I’m hoping that there are other triggers and we can prevent ourselves from pulling them.

Problem is our present leaders are behaving as if we have years of opportunity to save our present lifestyle. We don’t. Two months ago scientists believed that the ice in the Arctic wouldn’t all disappear until 2050; then it was 2030; and now scientists are claiming (unofficially, but soon to be revealed) that it will be gone in 2020. So, no ice white shield to prevent the sun’s rays heating the earth.

In an interview soon to be posted on You Tube he gives his evidence.

Next year Earl is leading the Arctic Climate Change Expedition 2008 (www.arcticexplorer.net). The reason for the expedition is to educate possible leaders for the time when we are living with extreme weather conditions.

My prophetic claim on nuclear waste for Australia
September 27, 2007

Evidence of my assertion that Australia will be the planet’s nuclear waste dump is now supported by growing evidence. Remember when George Bush visited Australia for APEC and we were warned (advised) Australia would become a member of GNEP (the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) but we would not be taking waste. However the signing of the GNEP by Australia in Vienna means we are totally ruled by that body. Oh, and as The Age’s Katharine Murphy points out today, we will be a member, “in a way that provides for safe operations of nuclear power plants and management of wastes.”*

She also reports that Australia’s agreement was slightly different to that signed by the others.

However as I’ve previously stated the defence agreement Australia signed with America also contained nuclear provisions.

The nuclear strategy is unfolding in exactly the way I claimed in my highly researched novel, The Devil’s Trap .. set to catch friends. See how agriculture is being downgraded in the way I prophesised. The next part of the spin is that we will be told, “seeing how we’re losing one industry (agriculture) we should take another (nuclear waste).”

* These are the words contained in the agreement we signed.

Bland press releases maketh a leader
September 24, 2007

It’s amazing as I trawl through a time of my life when I met serious leaders with vision, that I’m now living in a world where leaders are judged on the speed of their press releases and the blandness of their comments.

It’s not as if the change has come about because the world has become a better and less violent place, it’s come about because we have a media who judges leaders not on their moral or visionary stands but on their professionalism in handling vaguely embarassing “revelations,” and how they can spin the latest unemployment figures, or lack of climate change committment. Nowadays leaders think they will be forgiven if they wholeheartedly support carbon trading, or some similar sop, after years of not only ignoring the cc figures but ridiculing them.

The most absurd aspect of this is that although we’re crying out for real leaders on issues like terrorism, climate change, war, education, health, all we are served up are those skilled in the timing of press releases and the self-denigrating grin.

They may have all been innovative once but they have been trained by self-serving bureaucrats to assume the sensitivity of a frightened public service.

Blackwater and Catch 22
September 21, 2007

The Blackwater fiasco – the firm breaking an Iraqi minister out of jail who had embezzled 2.5 billion – is straight out of Heller’s Catch 22. Is it being studied by mercenary corporates? Is it the new self-help text?

Then there’s the other fiasco. I wonder who hired them to look after American dignitaries? Wonder how much money they received from the firm? Wonder who is going to chase it all up?

Media and police have been criminally negligent
September 20, 2007

The media and the New Zealand police are at fault for not examining Nai Yin Xue’s car earlier. Have reporters lost their intuition? Didn’t they ask the police if they had searched the car? The body in the boot stories have been around for decades. Several times police have stopped cars only to discover bodies in boots. How are bodies transported? In the boot. Didn’t they even suspect there might be evidence in the boot?

Knowing the father’s action in abandoning his three year old daughter was tantamount to ultimate abuse didn’t they even suspect the mother may be dead?

Being first to the first Mafia Vic Market murder in Melbourne in the sixties, I walked around the scene noting that it had to have been performed by a professional killer. The best the Painters and Docker members could do to kill in those days was knock on the victim’s door and shoot them when they answered. Oh yes, and they did place a body in a boot and push the car off a wharf.

From the following evidence I deducted the Mafia had come to town. The shot had been made through the back window of a station wagon as it had driven into the victim’s garage. The engine was still running when I reached the scene and the lights were still on. The head had been blasted off, although some skin from the face hung from the steering wheel.

To make the accurate shot ball bearings had been loaded into a shotgun shell so their was a mass of lead through the back window. The killer had been so certain he had only fired once.

The police ridiculed me for my Mafia deduction. Five years later they admitted they were wrong.

Problem is the state of police investigation is so slack the crime reporter was usually way ahead. Our press cars were loaded with radios: police, ambulance and firebrigade. Our press rooms had the same links. We often beat the police to the scene. Why has it changed?

Perhaps the media is so used to being fed these days they have lost initiative. Or is it simply that the only crime they regard highly these days is terrorism? This fear has given police terrible powers. Powers that trample our human rights. Is power all they’re interested in maintaining?

A three year old has lost her parents because New Zealand police lacked common sense. They even gave the father back his martial arts blade despite a restraining order by the wife. I hope she wasn’d killed with the weapon. But it would be worse for police if she suffocated in the car boot, given their tardiness in opening it.

Media muzzling
September 19, 2007

Asked by a publisher to write a memoir, I’m working on a chapter that shows how the Australian media is manipulated by the country’s wealthiest players. At a time when the late Kerry Packer was attempting to take over Fairfax (The Age, Sydney Morning Herald etc.) there was a toxic, three day blaze at the chemical storage depot, Coode Island. For five days the toxic smoke was lifted above the city by an upward thermal. A downward thermal would have killed thousands for the smoke contained cyanide gas. Having been told by the foreman of the depot (well, he left me in the boardroom with the depot’s manifest) that Packer owned all the chemicals that burned over those days, I attempted to alert the major news organisations.

They weren’t having any. I organised for a Member of Parliament to release a press statement claiming exactly that. There was no response in the media and no calls to the MP’s office.

The MP then anounced it in Parliament which allowed the media to report the information without legal ramifications. Nothing.

Later, passing Big John Hindle in the street, I mentioned it to him. He was then running a 3AW afternoon program. He agreed to run it after I faxed him the Hansard report of the MP stating the factual material in Parliament. He announced it and was taken off air.

This was the second incident of media muzzling by the infuential and powerful that I’ve been involved in. Of course there are many more indirect ways of keeping real news from the “hounds” but these two incidents don’t allow the media any fallback position.

The country chosen as the planet’s nuclear waste dump is Australia
September 14, 2007

Australia is joining the US led Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. John Howard (who has never fought a serious issue in his life despite his claim of fighter status) told Bush last week that Australia is in. He’s already signed a defence agreement which affects the dumping of nuclear waste in the country.

We’ve been chosen as the planet’s nuclear dumping ground because we’re geologically stable and politically passive, and many are thrilled about it as we appear to no longer have a solid agricultural industry, courtesy of global warming. Problem is we have to look after the waste for 500,000 years. The oldest man made structures on the planet are the pyramids (10,000? years) and we’ve only known what the function of pyramids for 200 years – since British archaeologists entered them. Imagine if they had contained nuclear waste. You see, things change and people forget.

Pyramids were supposedly hard to forget but underdesert nuclear waste dumps will be forgotten the moment everyone believes they’re secure. Of course the spin will be that we lease uranium to nuclear nations and then be morally bound to take it back when they’ve finished with it. Are they joking? What perverse negotiations allowed that? How were they carried out?

The answer is, over a lengthy period of time. First the federal government had to regain the rights over the land of the aborigines, and then they had to inspire companies to begin researching how the waste is to be contained. All of America’s waste in Washington state is leaking into the Columbia river and no matter what they do they can’t contain it. Washington state has 80% of America’s nuclear waste.

Spin was designed to have no content
September 13, 2007

No one gets it any more. Political spin is really spin and has no real content. The media used to alert us to what spin was about (fooling the public for a day or two) but no one ever believed that spin was used for anything but to avoid embarrassment or unsuccessfully place emphasis on the best of news.

Now we have politicans who think that spin is better than content and that if their spin is reported as significant that they have had a successful event. Apec is the case in point. Nothing was achieved for the environment but everyone patted themselves on the head for agreeing that that everyone was concerned for the environment. Meanwhile the storms are getting bigger, droughts lasting longer (if ever finishing) and nothing was activated. The best that was decided was that another get together was necessary – naturally for more spin for those who need the political weight at home.

For the Australian government to also claim that the they had sold $30 billion worth of natural gas to the Chinese at Opec was farcical. Sure they sold it but as far as the evironment was concerned it would have been better left in the ground. And it wasn’t really the government who peddled it but the company that owned it.

No one has realised yet that the deteriorating environment is going to first cause economic disaster, and then social dysfunction on a grand scale.We’re not even talking about it, just hiding behind our own personal spin

Australian troops use fake attack film as government promotional material
September 10, 2007

Australian soldiers in Afghanistan have been used in a government promotional movie. It purports to show Australian soldiers under attack. They move with all the authenticity of school cadets on an exercise. If they were genuinely under attack why didn’t they take cover or move to cover? They ran around necessary ground cover without taking into account incoming fire. To top it all off their officer had a script for his interview, referring to to his troops efforts as being like (yeah, but we lost that one and had to retreat). What spin. I recognise spin having been a press secretary to a dpm. I also spent several years in a specialist platoon at school and I would have taken more care in finding cover for hunting rabbits.

Gee, and no one was apparently injured, on either side. The narrator said however that the enemy was given a bloody nose. If they were taking ground – as they reported – they would know who and how many they injured.