For the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol to come into effect it must be ratified by signatories emitting 55% of the fossil fuel emissions in the year 1990. Since the USA and Australia have refused to sign, it needs ratification by Russia to exceed the magic number.
It has always been believed that Russia would benefit so much from the Treaty that its signature would be automatic. This is because much of Russia's emissions in 1990 were from obsolete plant since dismantled, so the Russians would receive large amounts of emission credits from those nations reluctant to give up their own habits.
But the Russian economy is booming, and so are its emissions. The credits might not arrive. Also perhaps they will not like to lose their chance to catch up. Anyway, it seems that they are far from eager to sign up.
Then Europe is having a hard time achieving its targets, and is finding the commitments a burden on stagnant economies. Perhaps they may back out?
New Zealand's commitment to Kyoto depends on receiving emission credits for planting forests. If Kyoto is not ratified these will not appear
A major argument of the last Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a composite graph in the shape of a hockey stick compiled by Michael Mann and others which purported to show that current global temperatures are "unprecedented", and that they are set to rise even further.
The graph juxtaposed three graphs, supposedly showing the mean temperature over time for the Northern Hemisphere. The first gave average figures from the year 1000 AD to 1900 AD  based on "proxy" temperature measurements from tree rings, corals, and  ice cores. The second was the compilation from weather station records and sea surface measurements published by Jones et al, for 1900 to 2000 and the third gave "projections" made by the IPCC, involving "scenarios" for the future, combined with computer models of the climate and greenhouse gas increases.
The three graphs  were so different in origin  and reliability that they should never have been considered as representing a similar property. "Proxy" temperature measurements are supposed averages of annual summer temperature. Weather station measurements are based on daily temperature readings in sites predominantly close to human habitation, and the IPCC "projections" are in the extreme cases based on absurd assumptions about the future.
All three of these graphs have recently had a battering. Soon and Baliunas, in two papers for "Climate Change" and "Energy and Environment" have compiled a much greater collection of "proxy" measurements than Mann et al with  conclusions.
* The sites are so unrepresentative of the earth's surface that a fair average is impossible by combining them
* A majority of the records confirmed the existence of s "Medieval Warm Period" from about 900 to 1300 AD, and a "Little Ice Age" from about 1550 and 1700 AD, periods not identified by Mann et al.
* The Medieval Warm Period" was generally warmer than the alleged current global temperatures of Jones et al.
McIntyre and McKittrick in a paper in "Energy and Environment  have re-examined the data used by Mann et al for the proxy graph and have  found  "collation errors, unjustified truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components and other quality control defects". When these errors were corrected the "Medieval Warm Period" turned out to be warmer than any temperature shown today. One strange discovery was that for this "Northern Hemisphere" series, Antarctic ice cores had been included.
The second graph, the surface record from weather stations has recently been shown to have huge uncertainties in a paper by Richard Courtney, rejected by Nature. The IPCC accepts the validity of every climate model. but it accepts only one of the three published global surface temperature records, that of Jones et al. The two US series, that put out by the Global Historic Climate Network (GHCN) from NOAA , and by Hansen et al of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, are ignored. Courtney shows why. He compares the global temperature record from Jones et al with that of GHCN from 1972 to 2000. The Jones record has a slope of 0.192 deg. C/ decade and the GHCN record shows a slope of 0.273 deg.C/ decade over the same period, a difference of 42% between them.
In a recent Email discussion it was admitted by Peterson and Vose of GHCN that both series used essentially the same data, and the differences were due to different methods of processing. On top of this, of course, the data in both cases are unrepresentative of the earth's surface, and are inadequately corrected for urbanization effects.
Finally, the IPCC "projections". These have been roundly attacked by two senior economists Ian Castle and David Henderson who have shown that the maximum temperature rise, the 5.8 deg.C by 2100, implies an assumption that by then, South Africans, Algerians, Argentines, Libyans, Turks, and North Koreans will be richer than Americans. Belief in the one implies a belief in the other.
Our last newsletter gave the figures that showed that carbon dioxide emissions from solids (i.e. coal) had fallen for the fifteen years from 1985 to 2000. The latest BP  Statistical Review of World Energy announced that "coal was the fastest growing fuel in 2002", and this was repeated in the current "Consumer" to imply that we were about to have a rapid increase in coal usage. The BP figure was a one-off for 2002 alone, based on a reputed increase in usage in China of 28%. Looks like a sudden change in measurement technology? Will it go back to its long term trend in 2003? Watch this space.
Today's "Dominion Post" reports that the Australian CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology in Tasmania have made the amazing discovery that the build-up of methane in the atmosphere has halted. The fact that the atmospheric concentration of methane has not only halted, but has been  falling since 1998, has been on the NOAA website since then, and has been pointed out by this Newsletter several times. Perhaps we will next find that the Australians have invented the wheel.
The true explanation for the fall in methane may, however not be mentioned. It is almost certainly due to the draining of wetlands, worldwide.
Vincent Gray
75 Silverstream Road
Crofton Downs
Wellington 6004
New Zealand
Phone/Fax (064) 4 9735939
"It's not the things you don't know that fool you.
It's the things you do know that ain't so"
Josh Billings