Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Home » World Events » Ireland

Category Archives: Ireland

Some thoughts about mooted changes to Media ownership law in Australia



People are creatures of habit and it is only that so many people are habituated to buying the news papers that any are still being sold at all. Just take any kind of commute on public transport and consider how many people are reading a paper and how many are staring at a screen instead. Some certainly may be playing games or even watching video but I expect that they will be out numbering those who are still reading dead tree editions of the MSM.

Then there is the things in the paper that people buy them for, most papers are not exclusively about politics and current affairs anyway, so some readers will be buying the paper for its coverage of sport, lifestyle or even just for the crossword puzzles.  My point is that the political classes (in particular those from the left ) just look at the raw sales figured and they think that every reader of the Herald Sun is in the thrall of Rupert Murdoch and that the owners dictate to their readers directing their opinions. The reality is that all media entities write to their audience. If they don’t their audience wither away quite quickly.  With the coming of the internet this is even more how things work Online entities are even more in an endless quest for readers so you have to play to what your readers want rather than thinking that you can manipulate their thinking. I have been writing a blog for nearly a decade now and I have noticed just how quickly particular readers flit in and out its the same now with the way that people read things online from the likes of Murdoch, Fairfax or even the Guardian People don’t just get their news from one source any more no matter what the subject is they will read what several sources say about it and then make up their mind. This behaviour is the same when it comes to broadcast TV people flit form one channel to another seeking different perspectives. My argument is simple, if the media  consumers have changed their habits then perhaps there is something in the notion that media diversity laws from the last century should perhaps reflect those changes as well.

Cheers Comrades


Guest post by Dr. Hans Labohm nicked from Anthony Watts

This Post is unashamedly nicked from Anthony Watts because I liked it and I’d like to consider what it is saying about the Warminista faith. I some how don’t think that either Anthony or the Dr Hans Labohm will mind if I help spread the good word by putting it up in the Sandpit.


WWF scare tactic ad, not working

The upcoming climate change (and wealth redistribution) summit in Cancun – coupled with Bjorn Lomborg’s ongoing publicity campaign for his new film – makes one thing painfully obvious. The fight against the delusion of dangerous man-made global warming remains an uphill struggle.

For decades the climate debate has been obfuscated by cherry-picking, spin-doctoring and scare-mongering by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climate alarmists, including the environmental movement and mainstream media. Their massive effort to overstate the threat of man-made warming has left its imprint on public opinion.

But the tide seems to be turning. The Climate Conference fiasco in Copenhagen, Climategate scandal and stabilization of worldwide temperatures since 1995 have given rise to growing doubts about the putative threat of “dangerous global warming” or “global climate disruption.” Indeed, even Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and one of the main players in Climategate, now acknowledges that there has been no measurable warming since 1995, despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide.

People are paying attention, and opinion polls in many countries show a dramatic fall in the ranking of climate change among people’s major concerns. They are also beginning to understand that major rain and snow storms, hurricanes and other weather extremes are caused by solar-driven changes in global jet streams and warm-cold fronts, not by CO2, and that claims about recent years being the “warmest ever” are based on false or falsified temperature data.

In various parts of the world, the climate debate displays different features. The US and other parts of the non-European Anglo-Saxon world feature highly polarized and politicized debates along the left/right divide. In Europe, all major political parties are still toeing the “official” IPCC line. In both arenas, with a few notable exceptions, skeptical views – even from well-known scientists with impeccable credentials – tend to be ignored and/or actively suppressed by governments, academia and the media.

However, skepticism about manmade climate disasters is gradually gaining ground nevertheless.

In my own country, The Netherlands, for instance, it has even received some official recognition, thus dissolving the information monopoly of climate alarmists. The Standing Committee on Environment of the Lower House even organized a one-day hearing, where both climate chaos adherents and disaster skeptics could freely discuss their different views before key parliamentarians who decide climate policy.

This hearing was followed by a special seminar organized by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, using the same format but focusing on scientific topics. The Academy will soon publish a report about this seminar.

Europe often brags about its emission trading scheme (ETS), regarding itself as the vanguard of an international climate policy. In the European view, the Copenhagen climate summit should have produced a worldwide extension and sharpening of its ETS. But the vast majority of countries in the world refused to follow Europe’s example, so the meeting turned into a fiasco. Its follow-up in Cancun at year’s end will surely produce a similar result. And for good reason.

Contrary to official claims, Europe’s experience with ETS is dismally bad. The system is expensive and prone to massive fraud. More importantly, it serves no useful purpose.

The European Environmental Agency tracks Europe’s performance regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions. Its latest report states: “The European Union’s greenhouse gas inventory report … shows that emissions have not only continued their downward trend in 2008, but have also picked up pace. The EU-27’s emissions stood 11.3% below their 1990 levels, while EU-15 achieved a reduction of 6.9% compared to Kyoto base-year levels.”

On the face of it, the scheme seems to be pretty successful. However, much of the downward trend was due to the global economic recession, not to the ETS. Moreover, both climate chaos proponents and climate disaster skeptics agree that the scheme will have no detectable impact whatsoever on worldwide temperatures – perhaps 0.1 degrees – though this crucial piece of information has been carefully and deliberately shielded from the public eye.

What about renewable energy as an alternative? Consider these EU costs for various sources of electricity in cents per kilowatt-hour: nuclear 4, coal 4, natural gas 5, onshore wind 13, biomass 16 … solar 56!

Obviously, the price tag for renewables is extremely high, compared to hydrocarbons. The additional costs can be justified either by imminent fossil fuel scarcity (the “oil peak”), which would send petroleum and coal prices through the roof, or by the threat of man-made global warming. But on closer inspection neither argument is tenable.

The authoritative International Energy Agency does not foresee any substantial scarcity of oil and gas in the near to medium future, and coal reserves remain sufficient for centuries to come. As to global warming, the absence of a statistically significant increase in average worldwide temperatures since 1995 obliterates that assertion.

Meanwhile, recent peer-reviewed studies indicate that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere (natural or man-made) have minimal effects on climate change – while others demonstrate that, on balance, this plant-fertilizing gas is beneficial, rather than harmful, for mankind and the biosphere.

All this argues for a closer look at the cost/benefit relationship of investing in renewable energy projects, to prevent a massive waste of financial and natural resources on unreliable and thus uncompetitive forms of energy. Since every cloud has a silver lining, the ongoing economic crisis might give extra impetus toward that end.


Hans Labohm is a former professor at the Dutch Institute of International Relations and guest teacher at the Netherlands Institute for Defense Studies. He has been an IPCC reviewer and has written extensively on global warming, petroleum economics and other topics.

Cheers Comrades

(there you go JM now we can get back to arguing about our favourite topic 😉 )

Half a million page views at the Sandpit

I know that statistical miles stones are really meaningless but that does not stop you feeling pretty good when you reach them. Well if you keep an eye on the hit counter at the bottom of the page some time today I expect that you will see the counter tick over t0 the magical “500,000” mark . That is pretty good for a modest blog written as a bit of fun .

Thanks very much to all of those who take the time to read what I and my friends put up  here and a special thanks to all of those who take the time to comment and argue with what is on this web-page. Commentary and argument is the life blood of blogging and long may it keep pumping at the Sandpit.

Cheers Comrades

The Aussie way is the best way, UK election outcome TBA

Regular readers will no doubt realise that I am hoping that David Cameron gets over the line with a workable majority when the poll result of the election is known sometime later today. As I write the polls are yet to close in the UK and unlike here in the antipodes the UK count will not be broadcast. Brits have to wait until the count is done and the winners in each seat is declared.

DAVID Cameron was on the verge of becoming Britain’s prime minister this morning as he battled to convert a final opinion poll lead into a governing majority after the most remarkable British election campaign in decades.

Votes were cast overnight (AEST) following a round of election-day polls that suggested Mr Cameron’s Conservatives would replace Labour as the largest party, while falling short of a majority.

Conservatives claimed their big-spending campaign in marginal seats would push them over the top and avoid the need to form a formal or informal coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the star performers of the campaign.

Thanks to the new popularity of leader Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems seemed certain to record the strongest third-party performance in Britain for more than 80 years.


The stakes of the election were unusually high because Mr Clegg promised that if he won the balance of power, he would push for electoral reforms, which could bring an end to the era of single-party governments in Britain.

Mr Clegg has demanded proportional representation, which would allow each party’s support among voters to be more accurately reflected in the number of seats it wins in parliament, making it impossible for a single party to win a mandate in an increasingly fractured multi-party contest.

That would usher in a new era of European-style coalition governments, with the centrist Lib Dems well placed to rule in coalition with either the Labour or Conservative parties.

Mr Cameron faces a daunting challenge if he has to rule with a slim majority or even a minority in parliament because the next government will have to impose huge spending cuts and tax rises to bring the budget deficit under control.

While I think that preferential voting has some clear merit I have become much less supportive of proportional representation for the primary chamber of a parliament, and I think that Neck Clegg’s desire for that will be a disaster, and you only have to look to the democratic meltdown in Greece to see the ultimate fate of that kind of electoral system. We have the right idea here, a house of Reps elected by single member electorates and a house of review elected by proportional representation.

The Aussie way is the best way, even for the old country.

Bewdy Comrades


Keenan, who admits he has no expertise in tree-ring analysis, says that whatever the data may or may not reveal, the university has no right to keep the data secret.

Well this is a good news story for the integrity of science vs the the deceitfulness of some of its practitioners. Because no matter what blood sweat at tears a man of science may put into his research the veracity of that research has to be predicated on other people being able to examine the data and to critique the interpretations of that data.

The case goes back to April 2007, when Keenan asked Queen’s University for all data from tree-ring studies by Baillie and others. The data covers more than 7,000 years. They contain upwards of 1m measurements from 11,000 tree samples, mostly of oak. The university turned down Keenan’s request, citing a range of exemptions allowed under both the Freedom of Information Act and the European Union’s environmental information regulations. Keenan appealed to the information commissioner.

Over the subsequent three years, the university has claimed that it did not have to supply the data because it would be too time-consuming; because the data does not amount to environmental information; because the research is unfinished; because the data is private property, commercially confidential and of “negligible” public interest – and because Keenan would not understand them.

But Smith says the university, one of the world’s leading centres for tree-ring research, is wrong on each count. His judgment notes that rather than taking 12 months to collate the data, as the university at first claimed, it would take 12 hours. Smith chastised the university for failing to comply with a number of regulations in assessing Keenan’s original request. The university has until 3 May to provide the data to Keenan, unless it appeals. The university says it is “considering its position.”

Keenan says he believes the Irish tree rings could bolster the case that there was a widespread medieval warm period on Earth 1,000 years ago. This is contentious because it would question the suggestion that warming in the 20th century was unique in recent history.

Baillie says his data won’t help either way in this argument. Last year he and his Belfast colleague Ana Garcia-Suarez, published a study showing that Irish oaks record summer rainfall well, but not temperature. “Keenan is the only person in the world claiming that our oak-ring patterns are temperature records,” Baillie told the Guardian.

Keenan, who admits he has no expertise in tree-ring analysis, says that whatever the data may or may not reveal, the university has no right to keep the data secret. The deputy information commissioner agrees.

The finding, combined with Smith’s earlier strictures against the University of East Anglia, could have widespread repercussions for academic research. Baillie calls the ruling “a direct, and unpleasant, off-shoot of the information revolution. It now appears that research data can be demanded, and indeed obtained, by anyone.”

Keenan, meanwhile, has upped the ante. Following the ruling, he this week asked the university to supply emails between Baillie and the head of the university’s centre for climate, environment and chronology, Paula Reimer over the past three years. He told the Guardian they could reveal a conspiracy to prevent him getting Baillie’s data. “The university has obviously not understood how things changed in the wake of climategate,” he said. “They still think they can act with impunity.”

My bold added

This ruling is a victory for the scientific method over the religious mania of the anthropogenic warming  true believers and that is a good result that can be celebrated by all.
Cheers Comrades

%d bloggers like this: