Home' Greymouth Star : November 13th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, November 13, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1093 - Malcolm III of Scotland, son of King
Duncan, dies during his fifth attempt to invade
England at Alnwick, Northumberland.
1511 - Britain’s King Henry VIII joins Holy
League and enters European politics.
1789 - Benjamin Franklin writes a letter to a
friend in which he says: “In this world nothing
can be said to be certain, except death and
1887 - Socialist demonstrators riot at
London’s Trafalgar Square in what is the first
1893 - Britain agrees to annexation
of Swaziland by the Transvaal.
1909 - Some 250 miners die in a
fire and explosion at the St Paul Mine
at Cherry, Illinois.
1941 - British aircraft carrier Ark
Royal is hit by a torpedo off Gibraltar
in World War Two and sinks early
the following day.
1945 - Sukarno becomes president of
Indonesia. General Charles De Gaulle is
elected president of the French provisional
1954 - Australia’s first automatic telephone
time ser vice begins operating, in Sydney.
1970 - Hafez Assad seizes power in a
bloodless coup in Syria.
1973 - State of emergency declared in Britain
after power workers and coal miners begin
industrial action. “Cod war” between Britain
and Iceland subsides when the Icelandic
parliament approves terms of settlement.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edward III of England (1312-1377); Robert
Louis Stevenson, Scottish writer (1850-1894);
Jack Elam, US actor (1916-2003); Oskar
Werner, Austrian-born actor-
director (1922-1984); Madeleine
Sher wood, US actress (1922-);
Don Lane, US-born Australian
television personality (1933-2009);
Garry Marshall, US actor-director-
producer (1934-); Kamahl,
Australian singer (1934-); Chris
Noth, US actor (1954-); Whoopi Goldberg,
US actress (1955-); Jimmy Kimmel, American
comedian and talk-show host (1967-); Gerard
Butler, Scottish actor (1969-); Samantha Riley,
Australian swimmer (1972-).
“ History is simply a piece of paper covered
with print; the main thing is still to make
history, not to write it.” — Otto von Bismarck,
German statesman (1815-1898).
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these
three; and the greatest of these is love.”
— I Corinthians 13:13
miner was hurt
yesterday in an
accident in the State
colliery and admitted to the Greymouth
Hospital. He is Mr Patrick John Mackel, 44, of
13 Litchfield Street, Kaiata. In the mishap his
left leg was fractured. However, his condition
was described by the hospital this afternoon as
On Wednesday, Mr Morris Gray was hurt in
Strongman, suffering a dislocated hip and scalp
abrasions. Originally his condition was only
fair, but has improved today to satisfactory.
As in many places throughout the world, a
number of Greymouth’s young ‘reformists’ are
purchasing dress styles similar to those worn
by women. O ver the past 12 months there has
been a small but marked craze here by young
men for high heel shoes.
The shoes sold to a number of this group
have heels which rise from two to three inches.
“ Most of them want higher heels built on but
this usually costs them an extra 15 shillings and
consequently they change their minds,” said
one local retailer today. It appears there is a
certain element of vanity or self-consciousness
attached, for the majority of the purchasers
were found to be of short stature.
Exploding .303 bullets in the basement
awakened a Greymouth family in the early
hours of this morning, as smoke billowed
through the floor of their home and fire raged
below. The husband and wife, Mr and Mrs
F G Eason picked up their three young
children and carried them from the dwelling
before ringing the Greymouth Fire Brigade.
uFood for thought
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The unbearable lightness of Chinese emissions data
hard it is to measure
greenhouse gas emissions
in China, it pays to visit the
Deqingyuan poultry farm
on the outskirts of Beijing,
where streams of chicken manure are
piped from wooden sheds to an industrial
gas digester that rises above the ground
like a tethered balloon.
Turning waste into kilowatts qualifies
Deqingyuan for valuable carbon credits
under a United Nations-backed scheme
known as the clean development
mechanism. The digester turns all that
chicken slurry into natural gas, powering
a nearby electricity station and supplying
fuel to 39 surrounding villages.
Yet calculating those emissions requires
a 54-page, UN-certified rulebook, a
methodology that factors everything
from the amount of methane removed
from the manure to local temperatures
and animal weight to come up with a
That cumbersome process can mean
Deqingyuan’s emissions savings vary
wildly — sometimes by as much as 20%.
“I don’t know how they calculate the
figure but there were many researchers
from universities who came to assess it,”
Vincent Wei, a marketing manager at
Helee Bio-Energy Technology, which
built the plant, said.
Precise data collection is a tricky business
everywhere, as the Volkswagen scandal
over discrepancies between the German
auto company ’s emissions claims and the
real world performance of its engines has
But getting accurate emissions data is
crucial for governments seeking a global
climate accord in Paris next month.
Negotiators say that, to succeed, any
agreement must be built upon “measurable,
reportable and verifiable” statistics in order
to assess whether countries are on track to
meet their emissions targets.
Getting a better grasp of the right
numbers is particularly crucial in the
case of China, which is widely assumed
to be the world’s largest carbon emitter.
China’s energy use is so great that even
minute errors in data can translate into
a difference of millions of tonnes of
No one currently knows how many
tonnes of carbon China emits each year.
Its emissions are estimates based on
how much raw energy is consumed, and
calculations are derived from proxy data
consisting mostly of energy consumption
as well as industry, agriculture, land use
changes and waste.
Many outside obser vers view the
accuracy of those figures with skepticism.
“China’s contribution (to the global
climate plan in Paris) is based on CO2
emissions but China doesn’t publish CO2
emissions,” Glen Peters, senior researcher
at the Centre for International Climate
and Environmental Research in Oslo, said.
“ You’re left in the wilderness, really.”
Demands for better data played a major
role in the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen
conference, when China and several
developing nations baulked at providing
the rest of the world with detailed data,
claiming it would be an intrusion on their
The last time Beijing produced an
official figure was in 2005, when it said its
emissions stood at “approximately” 7.47
billion tonnes. While it has promised that
emissions will peak by 2030 at the latest,
experts say the statistical uncertainty is
so great that forecasts on what that peak
means can vary from 11 to 20 billion
tonnes a year.
That margin is greater than the entire
annual carbon footprint of Europe.
At the moment, no country has the
technology or the budget to completely
track exact greenhouse gas emissions in
The International Energy Agency and
other energy organizations operate a
centralised reporting and analysis system
using unified statistical methodologies and
The European Union’s emissions
trading market, for example, also
operates mainly on estimates based on
the amount of carbon in energy burned.
But the Europeans say monitoring and
measurement of the roughly 11,000
power stations and industrial plants in 31
countries that comprise the system are
stricter than what occurs in developing
“Every single source that could have
emissions connected to it has to be
identified and controlled,” Halvor
Molland, director of information at
Nor wegian aluminium producer Norsk
Hydro which also follows UN guidelines
and says its numbers are verified by
“Even if we have a fire drill and we
use diesel to set a small fire we have to
calculate the amounts,” he said. “ These are
chemical reactions so we know that if you
set fire to one litre of diesel you know how
much carbon will come out.”
China’s data reporting is managed
by hundreds of organisations, and the
methodologies and data at the local
government and industry level often
conflict with the country’s National
Bureau of Statistics. For example, coal
production data accumulated from 26
provincial governments in 2013 was 500
million tonnes more than the NBS report
of 3.65 billion tonnes.
There are different understandings about
which firms should be monitored. Small-
scale businesses that fall below the NBS
threshold are routinely excluded from
calculations, and many small, illegal coal
mines conceal their production in order to
China is the only country apart from
Russia to use raw coal production
rather than sales to calculate overall
output, which fails to account for the
losses that accrue during processing and
transportation and also ignores waste
products like gangue, which could account
for around 18% of raw coal output.
These gaps could mean that China’s
emissions are actually being overestimated,
a government researcher said.
All this riddles the system with
imperfections. A study published last
month by the magazine Nature suggested
China’s emissions could have actually been
exaggerated by as much as 14% because
of faulty assumptions about the quality of
Bureaucratic rivalries also lead to
clashing data. Climate negotiations
are run from the National Reform and
Development Commission, which
determines what data to publish.
“All the emission estimates officially
come from the NDRC rather than from
the statistics bureau,” Dabo Guan, a
professor of climate change economics at
the University of East Anglia, said. “ The
NDRC is in charge of the whole climate
change negotiations and they have to fight
for the best position for China, so they
have their concerns about what can and
cannot be published.”
“The Chinese government likes to hold
authority over data for fear that different
numbers than those from official sources
could lead to social unrest,” says Angel
Hsu, a professor with the Yale School of
Forestry And Environmental Studies, who
has researched the poor quality of Chinese
“China claims they don’t have the
human capacity to maintain and run
the monitors,” she says. “ But they were
monitoring air quality for over a decade;
they just didn’t release it because they were
worried that it would lead to social unrest.”
Officially, China says it recognises the
need to produce better data. It promised
the UN in June to train auditors to collect
better data and to produce “regular”
national carbon numbers.
“The Chinese government has been
funding studies into the carbon inventory
— it needs to know its real level of
emissions in order to reduce it,” Xi
Fengming, a researcher with the China
Academy of Sciences (CASS) who has
spent the last six years researching the
country’s total carbon levels, said.
Xi said China had made great strides
since 2012 to improve the way its numbers
are collected, including crackdowns on
illegal coal production and the statistical
fraud by energy-intensive enterprises. It
has been experimenting with drones to
detect carbon dioxide build-ups in urban
areas, and has launched pilot projects to
measure energy consumption levels in
real-time at industrial facilities.
Researchers say that measuring emissions
from the energy sector, which amount to
around 70-80% of China’s total, is critical
to getting a good overall picture of the
country’s overall emissions.
“ If China’s energy data is good, then the
carbon data will be more or less accurate,”
Another impetus for improvement is
China’s impending cap and trade carbon
market, which the country has promised to
create by the end of 2017: markets require
accurate baselines and data to operate
properly. Some obser vers blame the failure
of China’s attempt a decade ago to create
an emissions market — this one in sulphur
permits models on the US sulphur market
— on the lack of accurate acid rain data.
Getting there remains a daunting task.
“There are more than 30 provinces and
2000 cities and we need more companies
to do third-party work and more specialist
staff at companies who know how to
report the data,” Xi said.
Real-time emissions monitoring is
unlikely — in even the medium-term.
“So far there is no regulation to force
companies to install direct GHG
monitoring devices on site and I don’t
think that will be the trend any time soon,”
Richard Mao with the Environomist
carbon consultancy in Beijing, said.
In that regard, China faces the same
constraints as the world’s leading
economies in the west.
“ It may,” Mao says of the technology
needed to get it right, “just be too costly.”
A bio gas storage container at the Deqingyuan ecological farm on the outskirts of Beijing
Maths genius scores $11.7m
World Series of Poker win
For Joe McKeehen, the 24-year-old
newly minted World Series of Poker
champion from a Philadelphia suburb, it is
all about the numbers.
The unassuming “average Joe” poker pro
as he has referred to himself wore sports
jerseys and sweat pants, surrounded by
players dressed in tailored suits or wearing
trendy scar ves, before winning $US7.68
million ($NZ11.7 million), after outlasting
6419 others who entered and risked
$US10,000 for the chance.
The numbers turned out to be in his
favour as he sat comfortably with an
over whelming lead and went head-to-
head with 25-year-old Joshua Beckley of
New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Beckley had a pair of fours and better
odds at sur viving to live another hand, but
luck was on McKeehen’s side.
McKeehen started with an ace-10,
securing another 10 on the flop. The game
His victory came after he had earlier
knocked out six of the eight other Main
Event finalists in three days.
“I love seeing a dominating force come
in with the chip lead, hold the chip
lead, continue to play well, continue to
overcome obstacles and win,” Jack Effel,
the World Series of Poker’s tournament
“That shows the true skill of the game.”
For three days, McKeehen maintained
a lead in the tournament ’s no limit Texas
Hold ‘em main event — a game requiring
deliberate thought about when to bluff,
how much to raise, when to fold, and
when to go all-in based on what you have
and what you think your foes may hold.
“He’s always been smart, he’s always been
competitive,” his mother Gina McKeehen
said. “ My God, has he been competitive,”
his father Brent McKeehen chimed in.
And numbers obsessed.
It started with number hunts around the
neighbourhood to search out addresses on
the sides of houses with his dad, a quest
that had the added benefit of tiring the
Drives to day care or school involved
Joe screaming out the numbers he saw on
passing buses, Gina said.
“This was a thing to do, every bus we
saw,” she said.
When he got food poisoning as a child
and had to get an IV, Brent said he was
drawn to the digital readout because the
numbers kept changing.
“As soon as he thought about the numbers,
he forgot about the pain,” Brent said.
It translated to board games. A much
younger McKeehen once won a Risk
world championship, a feat he has
downplayed in the lead-up to his World
Series of Poker run.
Eventually McKeehen found himself
majoring in mathematics at Arcadia
University in Pennsylvania, graduating in
2013. When his senior year professor Ned
Wolff asked the class what they wanted to
do with their degrees, he heard the usual:
engineering, actuarial science, secondary
education — until he got to McKeehen.
“ I want to play poker,” Wolff said he
announced to laughs.
“ But they’re not laughing now,” Wolff
After winning this week, McKeehen said
he had always been confident he could
make a living at this.
“This is definitely the greatest
accomplishment anyone can do,” he said.
“ I’m very happy to have done it.”
He does not yet know what he’ll do
with his new winnings. But he already
spent some money to keep a promise to
his late cousin, 25-year-old Alicia Jayne
Rougeux, who died in 2013 from an illness
before she could meet him in Las Vegas
to see him play. McKeehen brought her
mother Theresa Wood, to the Main Event,
where she sat in the stands directly behind
McKeehen with his parents.
“S he would be thrilled for him,” Wood
said. — AP
Joseph McKeehen holds up the bracelet for winning the World Series of Poker.
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