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November 17th, 2011:

HK minimum wage law brought more benefits than problems — so far

Clear the Air says:

Maybe, someone should ask Tommy Cheung ($20 Cheung) when we can expect his predicted  demise to hit the catering industry ? – and why do they continue to elect him to oppose their best interests since his decisions always oppose their interests ?

The same way Cheung predicted doom and gloom for the catering industry when the anti smoking laws in the workplace were finally passed that he had opposed for 6 years ?  Since then the restaurant and catering industry has never been better – FACT. Check the Census and Statistics Department figures.

It’s time the  riff raff were voted out from Legco and replaced with people who are actually interested in serving the best interests of the people of Hong Kong rather than the political party funders from big business that pull their puppet strings in return for the undisclosed and hidden secret funding.

HK minimum wage law brought more benefits than problems — so far

By Elmer W. Cagape Nov 19, 2011 12:13PM UTC

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Contrary to what some business owners fear, the introduction of minimum wage law in Hong Kong didn’t seem to hit hard the industries mostly affected by the standardization of wage floor. Minimum hourly wage was set at HK$28 since May and employers have expressed fears it could bring more unemployment and business closures.

Instead, lowest paid workers have the wage law to thank for. That’s because since the new hourly rate was implemented in May, those who belong in the bottom end of the payscale enjoyed increases in their monthly paychecks. This is not really surprising if they used to get paid much lower before.

The findings come from a survey conducted by the People’s Alliance for Minimum Wage, which asked 519 workers in September about their wages. The survey found out that workers in the catering industry benefited the most. Caterings and Hotels Industries Employees Union president Lee Wan-lung said that a dish washer in Hong Kong can earn up to HK$8,500 a month. Before the minimum wage low, its salary is not expected to go beyond HK$5,000.

However, it seems that wage hike is not enough. The survey also found out that some workers in the said industry preferred to move into other jobs that were perceived easier to carry out such as cleaners or security personnel. Being in the catering industry requires working at unusual hours; one to start early in the morning or leave work past midnight. Restaurants in the city needed 200,000 workers to function and with some employees leaving the industry, bringing in qualified workers often required higher salary offers.

While the increase benefited mostly those who were the lowest paid, workers who belong to the middle payscale barely had any positive salary adjustment. That said, claims by employers of a widespread unemployment should minimum wage be implemented is largely unfounded; Hong Kong’s jobless rate currently stands at 3.2 per cent, a 13-year low.

Somehow, the introduction of minimum wage law boosts the buying power of those who earn a little now that the city is facing inflation rates at unprecedented levels. For instance, cleaners’ salary rose by 23.7 per cent and security guards had pay rise of 7.8 per cent to meet the mandatory wage standard.

Although rising wages becomes an increasing concern, employers still think higher prices of ingredients and soaring rents are still the primary concerns.

Whether It Is Warming or Climate Change, It Cannot Be the CO2

Recently a Japanese Research Institute published a satellite map of sources of CO2 emissions. It was virtually ignored by the mainstream media, but that has become an inverse measure of its significance to the climate debate. It showed a pattern that most would not expect because of the misleading information presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) amplified by most media. Producers of the research illustrate the problem.

“The head of the research institute, Yasuhiro Sasano, says he hopes the map will help display how much each region needs to reduce its CO2 emissions in the future.”

This is only a politically correct comment because the map illustrates the exact opposite, CO2 emission reduction is not required where the IPCC recommend. John O’Sullivan correctly drew attention to this dilemma, however, the results are logical if known science is applied.

NHK World
Figure 1: Red is for high CO2 emission: Green (absorbers) no emissions: White is low or neutral emissions.

The information in the article is not surprising if you know anything about CO2 and don’t buy the ‘official’ nonsense. The oceans are the main control of atmospheric CO2 as one of the atmospheric gases in constant flux between the water and the atmosphere. The ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 is a function of its temperature – cold water absorbs more CO2 than warm water. The boundary between the warm polar water and warm tropical water is very clearly defined in most parts of the world and the map generally reflects this pattern. The map is only surprising if you believe that humans are the primary source of CO2.

I was criticized for participating in the book Slaying the Sky Dragon but did so because they were tackling a question that few, including most of the skeptics, ignore; the actual role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. As a climatologist I know all the variables must fit together and interact with each other. The evidence for CO2 as a greenhouse gas simply doesn’t fit. The Slayers had serious problems with the physics and it was essential to put that information into the debate. The map makes it time to revisit why, besides the physics, CO2 doesn’t fit.

There are several misconceptions about CO2, most created because proponents tried to prove the hypothesis rather than the normal scientific practice of disproof. It helped them if the misinformation created unfounded fears. An early IPCC claim said atmospheric residency time of CO2 was at least 100 years. Done, ostensibly, for the political point that even if we stopped production immediately the damage was done. We now know the actual time is at most 5 to 6 years.

The major assumption of the hypothesis says a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase. After publication in 1999 of Petit et al., Antarctic ice core records were presented as evidence. Just four years later proof that the major assumption of the hypothesis was wrong appeared. Somehow it was shuffled aside, probably because of the diversionary claim that the lag was between 80 and 800 years. It doesn’t matter, it still contradicts the basic assumption. Temperature change before CO2 change is the case in every record for any period or duration is studiously ignored by proponent and skeptic. A shorter record showing the relationship is shown in Figure 2.

Lag Time for Short Record 1958 to 2009
Figure 2 Lag Time for Short Record 1958 to 2009

It is logical to assume that if CO2 change follows temperature change in every record then CO2 cannot be a greenhouse gas.

Another misrepresentation is the claim that CO2 is evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere and levels don’t vary much over time. The measuring techniques developed by Keeling for the Mauna Loa site were patented and is the standard measuring technique for the world. It is a questionable technique including the ‘adjustments’ made to the readings. Ernst Georg Beck demonstrated the problems (Figure 3) and the lengths taken to blend the ice core record to the 19th. Century data to the Mauna Loa record. He also shows a lag of five years eliminated by the 70 year smoothing applied to the ice core data that eliminates or masks most diagnostic information.

Diagram and Caption by Ernst Beck
Figure 3 Diagram and Caption by Ernst Beck

Beck’s work confirms the findings that compares ice core CO2 levels with stomata measures. Figure 4 shows 2000 years of record from 6500 to 8500 years BP. Similarities of stomata readings with Beck’s record include higher atmospheric levels and much greater variability.

The map and the accompanying article create a distortion in its speculation about the amount of human produced CO2 as a fraction of natural production. According to the IPCC, who produce the original numbers, humans produce approximately 9 gigatons of CO2 per year. This is within the error factor for the amount of CO2 from at least two natural sources. Estimates of CO2 from natural sources are very crude as evidenced by the large error factors. Reports with headlines like, “Forests soak up more CO2 than thought” and “Old-growth forests absorb CO2 too: study” keep appearing. In 2010 humans produced 9 gigatons, but ocean output was between 90 and 100 gigatons and ground bacteria and rotting vegetation was between 50 and 60 gigatons according to Dr Dietrich Koelle. Spread the human annual production across the planet and it doesn’t even show on the world map. The pattern confirms this because it reflects natural sources.

With Original Caption and Source
Figure 4 With Original Caption and Source

Few, including skeptics, want to confront the problem that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase in absolute contradiction to the major assumption of the AGW hypothesis. It is increasingly obvious that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas and the only group challenging that scientifically are the Slayers, which is why I joined them. Science must be about skepticism, otherwise the science is settled, but then it isn’t science.

November 19, 2011

Dr. Tim Ball [send him mail] is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. Dr. Ball employs his extensive background in climatology and other fields as an advisor to the International Climate Science CoalitionFriends of Science, and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Copyright © 2011 Tim Ball

Access to full smog data still out of sight

South China Morning Post – 17 Nov. 2011

Environment minister says monitoring standards are being revised and won’t be improved overnight

The heated debate over public access to key smog-monitoring data has taken another turn, with the mainland’s top environment official putting a damper on hopes that more complete standards are imminent.

The remarks by Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian at an international seminar on Tuesday are the clearest sign to date explaining why the central government is dragging its heels on a commitment it has made repeatedly since the 2008 Olympics to improve transparency and outdated pollution standards.

Analysts say Zhou’s disappointing remarks also underscore the wide expectation gap between mainland authorities and a public that is increasingly worried about air quality.

“We are still studying and revising [pollution monitoring] standards concerning air quality, in a bid to bring them in line with international standards,” the China Business News quoted Zhou as saying. “But it will have to be a step-by-step process and cannot be accomplished overnight.”

The minister admitted that the conspicuous absence of smog-related fine particles, known as PM2.5 (airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter), in the outdated pollution standards was largely to blame for discrepancies between public unease and official statistics.

The ministry yesterday announced revised draft rules for public consultation that add PM2.5 to measure air quality nationwide, among other revisions. An official from its standards department said the new rules would be implemented in 2016, but may be adopted sooner in some regions, according to a statement on the ministry website. It would also urge local governments to voluntarily bring in the new rules earlier.

Major mainland cities have frequently been hit by thick, choking smog in recent months, prompting public anger at the government’s inability to curb pollution and widespread scepticism over official pollution data which shows positive air-quality figures even on smoggy days.

In the capital, which was shrouded in a thick blanket of smog yet again yesterday – with a popular pollution reading from the US embassy describing air quality as “dangerous” to the entire population – the local environmental watchdog said air quality was only “slightly polluted” by national standards. Both Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang also made rare admissions at the same seminar that the mainland’s decade-old air pollution standards need an urgent overhaul to meet public expectations.

PM2.5 is believed to pose greater health risks than bigger particles from dust and soot and can cause serious respiratory problems and even lung cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.

Peking University expert Zhang Yuanhang said that the inclusion of PM2.5 would mean a drop of up to 80 per cent in the number of “blue-sky” days recorded for many mainland cities, which would fuel public dissatisfaction, the Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday.

It is no secret that many mainland cities are technically capable of monitoring PM2.5 and have been doing so for years, but the public is yet to get access to such data.

Additional reporting by Staff Reporter

Honda Clarity

Clear the Air says: this is the future of emissions’ free motoring – and it exists NOW !

someone please tell Hong Kong Government which is chasing old tech rechargeable battery electric vehicles that need fossil fuel energy generation to recharge them !

Functional five named and shamed

Hong Kong Standard

Samson Lee

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five of six pro-establishment lawmakers escaped disciplinary action, despite being named and shamed for lack of due diligence in reporting their financial interests.

According to a report released yesterday by the Committee on Members’ Interests, chairwoman Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun and Andrew Leung Kwan- yuen both of Economic Synergy, Philip Wong Yu- hong of Business and Professionals Alliance, and their allies Chim Pui-chung and Timothy Fok Tsun-ting made mistakes in reporting their financial interests.

All five admitted their failings.

Only the complaint against Ip Kwok-him of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong was unsubstantiated.

The panel investigated complaints – arising from media reports in April – about the failure of lawmakers to furnish their registrable interests, comprising their directorships or shareholdings in several companies.

Ip is the only lawmaker not from a functional constituency.

As Sophie Leung is chairwoman of the committee, the investigation was led by vice chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing of the Democratic Party.

Ip was cleared because he resigned as director of a funeral company on August 14, 2007, before his current legislative term commenced in October 2008. The committee named and shamed the other five lawmakers for breaching Rule 83 of the Rules of Procedure that members of the Legislative Council should provide the legislature with details of their registrable interests, not later than the first meeting of each term.

However, it did not recommend any disciplinary action. Emily Lau said the six did not take part in the deliberations.

“We have no evidence to prove that. Also we did not find any conflict of interests,” said Lau, demanding that Legco study overseas cases on how to monitor the personal interests of lawmakers.

Ip welcomed the findings but said he was shocked by the complaint as he had already resigned as director before his current Legco term.