October 10th 2015

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Will drought and falling dollar spike food prices?

CANBERRA OBSERVED Nationals extract good deal in Turnbull takeover

EDITORIAL Obama's climate gambit: do as I say, not as I do!

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Senate committee says no to marriage plebiscite

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Turnbull divides party in Cabinet reshuffle

RURAL AFFAIRS FTAs eat away at our food and agriculture surpluses

RELIGION IN RUSSIA Byzantine Catholics driven underground

FINANCE Hidden by a metaphor: the secret life of money

EDUCATION Proliferation of screens making kids no smarter

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cabinet door must be open to public service

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Child-support program under the microscope

PUBLIC POLICY Prohibition of drugs has the evidence on its side

CINEMA Kids will love pixelated Aussie classic: Blinky Bill: The Movie

BOOK REVIEW Hope for the Land of the Southern Cross

BOOK REVIEW Evaluating arguments against free will


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Obama's climate gambit: do as I say, not as I do!

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, October 10, 2015

Early in September, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Alaska to highlight the dangers of climate change, and to aggressively push his agenda that unless the world implements immediate cuts to CO2 emissions, it will face the consequences of uncontrolled global warming.

U.S. President Barack Obama in Alaska

Perhaps coincidentally, September is the time of year of maximum Arctic melting, as the days grow longer.

The New York Times, a cheerleader for climate alarmism in the United States, said: “President Obama will travel to Alaska on Monday to call for urgent and aggressive action to tackle climate change, capitalising on a poignant tableau of melting glaciers, crumbling permafrost and rising sea levels to illustrate the immediacy of an issue he hopes to make a central element of his legacy.”

The U.S. President was emphasising what he had earlier stated: that climate change – not poverty, terrorism or war – is the central challenge facing the human race.

Last November, he signed an agreement with China’s President, Xi Jinping, to work for legally enforceable emissions targets, and committing the U.S. to cut CO2 emissions by 2025 by at least 26 per cent, although China’s emissions will continue until 2030.

Credibility gap

Since Obama will remain U.S. President for only another 16 months, he is committing future U.S. administrations to his climate agenda.

What is most interesting about all this is that he has not attempted to put legislation to this effect before the U.S. Congress. Under U.S. law, no foreign treaty can be enacted without congressional approval.

In this respect, Obama’s actions are similar to those of his Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton, who signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998. The protocol committed those countries which ratified it to specific legally binding reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.

However, the Clinton Administration did not submit the protocol to the Senate for ratification, meaning that the U.S. did not accept its obligations. When President Bush came to office in 2001, he specifically rejected the Kyoto Protocol.

When Obama became President in 2008, he had a Democrat majority in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; but even then, he did not submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification – much to the disgust of the environmental movement. And when he signed an agreement with China last November, he did not submit the agreement to the Senate for ratification, meaning that it has no legal force.

Yet he is will attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, arguing that the rest of the world should accept binding emission reductions … when he is not prepared to do the same in the United States!

(It is generally agreed that if he tried to get such a treaty through the U.S. Senate, he would fail because the Republicans now control the Senate. But that is not the point. If this were an issue of such gravity, as he has said repeatedly, he would seek a congressional mandate as a matter of principle.)

These issues go to the heart of the U.S. President’s credibility. An entirely separate issue is whether his assertions of imminent environmental catastrophe are correct.

Tim Ball, former University of Winnipeg climatology professor, rejects them completely. He said recently that contrary to alarmist claims, overall both the Antarctic and Arctic ice caps were increasing in size, year on year.

He told WND Radio, an American online network, that reliable climate models suggested a cooling period that could well last and deepen over the next 25 years. He said it was all predicated on a noticeable decrease in solar activity.

“When there are lots of sunspots, the earth is warm. When there are very few, it’s colder,” he said.

“The sunspots are not actually causing the temperature to change. They’re a manifestation of changes in the magnetic field of the sun. As the magnetic field of the sun varies, it controls the amount of cosmic radiation reaching the lower atmosphere.

“That determines the amount of cloud cover we’ve got, which then, in turn, controls the temperatures.”

Other climate scientists have come to similar conclusions, but using different evidence. One of these is Dr Roy Spencer, who has released satellite temperature data showing that there has been almost no net rise in the global temperature since the late 1990s.

Dr Spencer points out that rising temperatures in Alaska over recent years have been the result of shifts in long-term weather patterns, particularly what is known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, “a 60-year cycle which affects the atmospheric steering currents in Alaska, determining whether cold polar air or warm Pacific air tends to win out as the two air masses continually battle for control over Alaska weather”.

He said: “President Obama will no doubt wax eloquent about how all weather and glacier changes in Alaska (1) have been brought on by humans, and (2) are bad. I’m sure this is what’s taught in schools now, and many will believe it.

“But don’t you believe it.”

Peter Westmore is national president of the National Civic Council.

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