Tuesday, December 12, 2006

England spend $2.5 Billion on Cars - Millions Starve

England will spend AU$2.5 Billion over the next four years replacing the governments 78,000 vehicles with cars that are much greener and slash carbon emissions by 15% according to TimesOnline.

What? a 15% decrease in carbon emissions and the are prepared to fork out $2.5 billion for this?

Ok, the average car produces about 6 tons of carbon dioxide a year. So 78,000 cars and we have 468,000 tons. A 15% decrease means that AU$2.5 billion will save the world from about 70,000 tons, which is of course a good effort.

In 2001, the world produced around 24,000,000,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This means that the 70,000 tons that the UK government is going to save will be about 1/300,000th of the carbon emissions saved. Basically, jack shit.

According to Wigley (1998), if we are to reduce our emissions by 43% this will result in a decrease in world temperature of 0.07 degrees C. Basically immeasurable by normal ground thermometers.

So lets do some more maths, and we find that England, in spending AU$2.5 billion in changing their cars over will reduce the world wide temperature of around 0.000000023 degrees Celsius.

Well done.

But wait there’s more. According to World Vision Australia. For just AU$468, one can sponsor a child in Africa or Bangladesh. They will receive education, medicine against diseases, and fresh drinkable running water. What we all take for granted, but is a luxury in some of these parts of the world. Essentially, the British government could have spent their AU$2.5 million on this, and sponsored 5.3 million people, but they obviously have other vote grabbing agendas.

Tell me which you would rather do. Reduce the world wide temperature by 0.000000023 degrees Celsius or give over 5 million starving malnourished children shelter, water and medicine?

There is no need to answer that question.


Dazza said...

Hello Jonathan,

Long time no post. I must say what a waste of money. My wife and I sponsor a little boy in Vietnam. I realise that this is really giving to the community but it is nice to have a face to put to when sending your money. I think I like your idea much better.

I must say your blogg has sparked an interest in stats which I never thought I would have...lol

Hope your trip was nice!


Jonathan Lowe said...

Cheers Dazza,
Good to see you are sponsouring a kid, even though as you said it's really a joint fund, but still the money is going in the right direction.

Stats is very underated. Both in science and in politics. And the worse of it is, that in climate science (where almost all are non qualified statisticians) the method is very unscientific.

Who would have thought, that despite the massive money pored into it all, that it's all based on average maximum and average minimum temperatures only. Nothing else. It's almost like they don't want to find anything else, just in case it goes aginst their theories.

Anonymous said...

Great blog -- simple and devastating.

Jonathan and Dazza, you should check out the following discussion of the near complete lack of statistical expertise in global warming studies and the errors that ensue. (see here: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=b201301b-6b23-41a9-9226-2e2bada56f6e)

It's an explanation of how Dr. Michael Mann's infamous "hockey stick" world temp graph claiming the current "global climate" is warmer than any time in the past 1,000 years (highlighted by the IPCC and Al Gore as PROOF we're harming planet earth) was spectacularly wrong and caused by lack of stats expertise.

It's a reminder how the basics are so critically important -- that and rigorously checking and double-checking this stuff because the politicians aren't going to do it.


Anonymous said...

The weird thing is that the post is structured in such a way as to imply that upgrading the cars will cause starvation elsewhere. They are in fact totally unrelated. The cars will have to be replaced anyway, due to normal wear and tear. My 1994 Honda Accord is a bit small for my family now, and maintenance is a bit higher than it used to be, but I think it has a few years left. At some point replacement will no longer be an option, at least if I like to eat and feed my family. Failing to do so at this point will just create another starving family, which hardly seems a solution to anything.

As for sending money to other countries, you're doing nothing to change the situation there, which is the root cause of the situation, and in fact this is very inflationary as the government will need to print at least as much money as is sent out or the economy will grind to a halt due to lack of money. Doing damage to your economy is not in your best interest.

Count Iblis said...

"It's an explanation of how Dr. Michael Mann's infamous "hockey stick" world temp graph claiming the current "global climate" is warmer than any time in the past 1,000 years (highlighted by the IPCC and Al Gore as PROOF we're harming planet earth) was spectacularly wrong and caused by lack of stats expertise."

Nonsense, see here

Dazza said...

Forgive me for my ignorance anonymous (please at least give yourself a name) but how does my small donation to a village for the purpose of purchasing medical supplies and assisting in the education of children destroy their economy?

Wouldn't that be the very reason to assist them? Educate them. Then they are able to help themselves.

I for one do not think that my small meager contribution to one family/village is going to save the world but in my own small way it allows my family to communicate and care for others less fortunate. I have a child that is the same age and they write letters to each other and send each other small gifts like pictures. It's a nice feeling to see your kids get excited about something so small.

Getting back to the subject I do not think that Jonathan for one moment thought that this would cease starvation across the globe. It is purely an example of the mindless 'Green Religion' doctrine and the hypocrital manner in which they operate.

Sorry for the rant Jonathan. By the way I tried the link in the previous post and it didn't work.


Anonymous said...

Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time. For instance, the Medieval Warm Period, from around 1000 to1200 AD (when the Vikings farmed on Greenland) was followed by a period known as the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the 17th Century the "average global temperature" has been rising at the low steady rate mentioned above; although from 1940 – 1970 temperatures actually dropped, leading to a Global Cooling scare.

The "hockey stick", a poster boy of both the UN's IPCC and Canada's Environment Department, ignores historical recorded climatic swings, and has now also been proven to be flawed and statistically unreliable as well. It is a computer construct and a faulty one at that.

Dazza said...

The ‘hockey stick’ curve challenges the existence of the
Medieval Warm Period and subsequent Little Ice Age, which followed the Roman Warm Period and Dark Ages Cold Period (McDermott et al., 2001), and have long been considered to be classic examples of the warm and cold phases of a millennial scale climate oscillation that occurred throughout glacial and interglacial periods (Oppo et al., 1998; McManus et al., 1999), as well as across the early Pleistocene (Raymo et al., 1998).
The interpretation by Mann et al. (1999) implies that the recent
warming is anomalous and thus must be linked to increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The ‘hockey stick’ is a compelling image when first seen, and the IPCC 2001 report goes to some lengths to promote it by including it among the few diagrams presented in the Summary
for Policymakers (SPM). And, nowhere in the SPM will one discover warnings on interpreting the graph. The IPCC has been severely criticized for this, for four reasons. First, the
‘hockey stick’ adds 100 years of oranges onto 900 years of
apples. The Mann et al. (1999) 900-year run of data for the
handle of the ‘hockey stick’ is mostly tree ring proxies from
high altitudes or high latitudes, and their 100-year blade is full-year thermometer measurements from climate stations. These thermometers are recording mainly Northern
Hemisphere urban-influenced warming, which is mostly in winter and in early spring. Tree rings are not necessarily reliable indicators of annual mean temperature as they are primarily responses to growth in the spring and early summer, so indicate temperatures for this time of year. Tree rings are also highly dependent on soil moisture availability in the growing season and solar variability that affects photosynthesis and thus growth rates of trees. The work by Mann et al. (1999) would have been more convincing if it had contrasted 900 years of tree ring proxies with like proxies for the past 100 years — i.e. apples plus apples. But even here, it is not safe to assume tree rings will provide a homogeneous record because of recent CO2 fertilization.

Jonathan Lowe said...

Count Iblis, in regards to the hocket stick graph:

Hans von Storch and colleagues claimed that the method used by Mann et al. probably underestimates the temperature fluctuations in the past by a factor of two or more.

Anders Moberg and his Swedish and Russian collaborators have also generated reconstructions with significantly more variability than the reconstructions of Mann et al. Link1 Link 2

The Geophysical Research Letters paper by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick Linkclaimed various errors in the methodology of Mann et al. (1998) claiming that the "Hockey Stick" shape was a result of collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components and other quality control defects. Link They claimed that using the same steps as Mann et al, they were able to obtain the Hockey Stick graph in 99 percent of cases even if red noise was used as input. Link

The Purple Scorpion said...

An intriguing but flawed post (in the second last paragraph there's a typo of "million" for "billion" by the way).

Superficial as The Times' report is, it does state that "the programme is expected to save departments £100 million". For instance, "The NHS expects to spend £420 million replacing its fleet with the new range of cars, £19.7 million less than it would have cost the department to replace its fleet with the same vehicles again."

So on the face of it, the deal is a moneysaver anyway.

ScienceDave said...

Stats is very underated. Both in science and in politics. And the worse of it is, that in climate science (where almost all are non qualified statisticians) the method is very unscientific.

Indeed. I'm a physical scientist, and past learning error estimation and least squares fitting, I learned exactly doodley squat about statistics through a PhD.

I've had to pick up more in industry, especially DOE, but I know damned well I am not qualified to endorse the kind of statistical operations done in climatology. Until I started watching the field closely, I was content to just assume climatologists were more or less correct (though I suspected that the most dire predictions were spin to get more funding, and that governments were happy to have an excuse to, well, govern stuff.)

I got pretty motivated to learn about principle components with the "hockey stick" controversy, though. I could still be misled, I suppose, but the McIntyre and Mcitrick work is pretty compelling.

Glad to find your blog. Good stuff.