Tracking the politics of fear....  

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30 April, 2006


China is going to be pumping oil out of the Gulf of Mexico - at the same time the United States cannot. What? How's that again? Here's how it works, information courtesy Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho who made a speech on the House floor about this Wednesday.

China is bidding on, and will win, rights to explore oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, which are offered for development by Cuba. By the way, Mexico just hit a huge offshore oil find in the Gulf of Mexico and expects to be frolicking in oil cash as a result. The United States will not be participating in these hot, new finds because offshore of Florida is off limits to oil exploration.

Why is that? Because enviros have managed to put such a stranglehold on Florida that even Gov. Jeb Bush is calling his brother, President George Bush, to say, "Just say no to oil off Florida." We have to save the everglades, the keys, the bone fishing, the manatee, the whatever. We certainly cannot give up precious environmental resources just to make certain someone gets another day of oil for their big, fat, piggish SUV and its oil-sucking V8 engine and it's bottomless tub of a gas tank.

So, the end result? We're paying through the nose for gas. Oil hit through the roof. Cuba is exploiting the situation. China is cashing in. Mexico is singing, "Happy days are here again." And the U.S. will be buying oil from those guys while forsaking its own untapped Florida oil fields. This same thing is happening offshore in California and in Alaska, ANWR in particular.

I've always said this makes no sense. The United States enforces the strictest oil production environmental regulations in the world. And for what? So we can say to the oil companies: "Don't worry, you won't have to obey these regulations anyway because we're not going to let you drill here. Instead, go drill in Azerbaijan and Nigeria where you will have to obey virtually no regulations at all." If you're a real environmentalist, don't you want oil development in places where real environmental regulations will be enforced? And if we really want to help ourselves out of our own oil problem, shouldn't we drill our own oil before China gets to it first?



Even primitive man coped well with climate change

(From Journal of Archaeological Science. Article in Press)

Climate deterioration and land-use change in the first millennium BC: perspectives from the British palynological record

By: Petra Dark

Department of Archaeology, University of Reading


Climate deterioration at around the time of the Bronze Age/Iron Age transition has for long been argued to have resulted in upland abandonment in northern and western Britain, and recent research has provided evidence that a major climate downturn from 850 cal BC caused settlement abandonment in western Europe and potentially worldwide. It is, however, unclear to what extent only 'marginal' sites were affected, due to the lack of any systematic attempt to view the evidence for settlement and land-use change across a range of landscape types with differing sensitivities to environmental change. This paper addresses this issue by an evaluation of 75 pollen sequences spanning the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age in Britain to assess whether climatic deterioration was sufficient to cause widespread land abandonment. The results provide no evidence for wholesale land-use change at this time; the overall picture is one of continuity of land use or even increased agricultural activity. There are, however, hints of regional variability, with a greater tendency to abandonment of upland areas in Wales, and signs of woodland regeneration in agriculturally productive areas of lowland central southern England. The latter pattern may reflect a combination of rising ground-water levels affecting local land-use in the immediate vicinity of the mires which provide the source of the pollen data, against a backdrop of regional-scale social and economic changes at the Bronze Age-Iron Age transition.

1. Introduction

The Bronze Age/Iron Age transition in north-west Europe has long been recognised as a period of climate deterioration, corresponding approximately to changes in peat sequences defining the Sub-Boreal/Sub-Atlantic transition of the Blytt-Sernander scheme for division of the Holocene [89], and the recurrence surface known as the Grenzhorizont [115], reflecting a shift from warm/dry to relatively cool/wet conditions. In his 1982 review of evidence for climate change from mires, Barber concluded that there was 'a catastrophic decline to a cooler and/or wetter climate around 2850-2550 BP' [3, p. 110]. Subsequent research on mires, and other sources of proxy climate data, has continued to provide evidence for a substantial downturn in climate at about this time (see below).

Climate deterioration has often played a role in explanations of settlement and land-use change apparent from the archaeological record of the late Bronze Age in Britain, especially in 'marginal' upland areas such as Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and parts of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. Burgess [28] and [29] argued the case particularly forcefully for settlement abandonment and population collapse ca. 1300-1000 BC, suggesting that 'evidence of this disaster is seen in upland and lowland alike in the abandonment of agricultural systems and a dislocation of settlement, cultural and burial traditions' [29, p. 195]. Subsequently a more 'catastrophic' explanation for upland settlement abandonment was suggested, linked to an eruption of the Icelandic volcano, Hekla [1] and [30]. Most recently, van Geel and co-workers have identified a period of rapid climatic deterioration at ca. 850 cal BC (2750 BP), apparently attributable to a decline in solar activity, argued to have triggered settlement abandonment in marginal areas in The Netherlands (at sites susceptible to water-table rise) and more widely [65], [108], [109], [110], [111], [112] and [113].

Despite the abundant evidence for widespread climate change in the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age, and archaeological indications of settlement abandonment at some sites, it is unclear how significant this change was for human settlement and land use. Were only 'marginal' sites affected, e.g. those prone to flooding or at the altitudinal limits of cultivation, or was climatic deterioration of sufficient magnitude to cause a wholesale shift in subsistence strategies across substantial areas of the landscape? The aim of this paper is to address this question by a systematic examination of pollen sequences for a large area (Britain), representing a range of 'marginal' and 'optimal' sites for settlement and agriculture.


7. Conclusions

* Climate deterioration in the late Bronze Age and Iron Age did not cause widespread settlement abandonment and long-term land-use change across Britain. More sites show an increase than decline of agricultural activity/woodland clearance in this period.

* 'Marginal' upland landscapes were not generally preferentially abandoned, and in some areas underwent increased levels of agricultural activity. In Wales, however, there may have been a shift away from the uplands.

* There is no evidence for a general shift from arable to pastoral agriculture as a response to climate deterioration, but more extensive agriculture, requiring additional woodland clearance, may have been practiced in some areas as a means of dealing with the increased risk of crop failure.

* In central southern England consistent evidence for woodland regeneration phases may reflect local land abandonment resulting from water-table rise and need not be indicative of major landscape-scale events away from sites prone to waterlogging.

* Pollen sequences provide no evidence that Icelandic volcanic eruptions had a significant impact on land use in Britain in the first millennium BC.


(By Licia Corbella in The Calgary Sun, 27 April 2006)

Exactly 31 years ago tomorrow Newsweek carried a story that predicted a rapidly cooling world that would result in a "drastic decline in food production -- with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth." Hmmmm? It's the same doom and gloom scenario we hear today except turned on its ear -- now, however, it's not about devastation caused by cooling but rather by global warming. Confused? Well, you need not be much longer.

Today, just one day prior to the anniversary of that April 28, 1975, Newsweek article about global cooling, Dr. Chris de Freitas, a world-renowned climatologist, geographer and environmentalist from the University of Auckland in New Zealand will help decipher all the hype and pseudo-science surrounding global warming during a lunchtime lecture at the Metropolitan Conference Centre, 333 4 Ave. S.W., ($40 tickets can be purchased at the door.) "Recently, media and politicians have virtually stopped talking about global warming and are now referring to climate change instead," states de Freitas. "That's because predictions of doom and gloom from warming just aren't coming true. But with 'climate change,' Kyoto advocates can now cite any change or phenomenon as proof that CO2 emissions have upset the global apple cart."

It's the old 'heads-I-win, tails-you-lose' trick played on a massive scale by "the global warming industry" who want to keep their hundreds of millions of research dollars flowing when their dire predictions of catastrophic warming are proven false, if not completely fraudulent. In the Newsweek piece about cooling it states: "In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually."

De Freitas points out that predicting the weather for the next two weeks, let alone the climate for the next 100 years or so, is impossible. What he can safely predict is the Earth will cool again one day and it will warm again, too. "There certainly isn't any evidence that there's going to be dramatic climate change because of human activity," says de Freitas over a glass of wine at a downtown restaurant. "The fear-mongering about more droughts and more floods is pure hype and pure speculation and is not based on science," he adds.

De Freitas says in the 1930s it was warmer in the Arctic than it is now -- before there was massive industrialization and man-made greenhouse gasses -- and between 1600-1800, Greenland actually lived up to its name -- it was green.

Currently, Greenland is losing ice on its southern margins but is gaining ice in its interior -- a measurable fact. Meanwhile, the Antarctic is cooling, with the exception of a small Antarctic peninsula as a result of currents. "There's been global cooling since 1998 because 1998 was the hottest year in the last 150 years," says de Freitas, adding "10,000 years ago it was much warmer than it is now." "From 1900 to 1940 there was global warming," he says, even though large scale industrialization didn't start until 1948. "Then, from 1940 to 1979 there was global cooling and that happened when we were putting heaps of carbon into the air."

De Freitas says today he will urge the Canadian government to scrap the Kyoto protocol and embrace the Asia-Pacific Partnership, something federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose announced on Tuesday the government is considering. "If you do consult the facts, have an unbiased, open mind and you don't have an agenda, you can't help but be at least an agnostic on this," he adds.

De Freitas then cracks a smile and challenges Canadians who believe the unsubstantiated hypothesis of human-created global warming by saying it's "environmentally irresponsible to live in Canada where it's cold and large amounts of energy are needed to survive." He facetiously suggests the pro global warming crowd all move to Florida. Then again, if the scientists quoted in that Newsweek piece were right, Florida would be downright chilly, too.


(By Dr. Roy Spencer)

As part of the current media frenzy over the imminent demise of the Earth from global warming, it has become fashionable to demonize global warming skeptics through a variety of tactics. This has recently been accomplished by comparing scientists who don't believe in a global climate catastrophe to those who deny the Holocaust, to those who denied cigarettes cause cancer, or to 'flat-Earthers'.

It is interesting that it is not the scientists who are making the comparisons to Holocaust-deniers, but members of the media. For instance, Scott Pelley, who recently interviewed NASA's James Hansen for CBS's '60 Minutes', has been quoted on the CBS News PublicEye blog: "There is virtually no disagreement in the scientific community any longer about 'global warming'....the science that has been done in the last three to five years has been conclusive."

Pelley posted this quote to the same blog: "If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?"

This comparison between global warming skeptics and Holocaust-deniers illustrates the upside-down worldview that makes the public increasingly distrustful of the media. The Holocaust has mounds of documented evidence: survivors, eye witnesses, photographs, movie footage, concentration camps, artifacts, death showers, ovens, human bones. What does manmade global warming have? The theory that mankind has caused the globally averaged temperature to be 1 degree F warmer than it was a century ago. (I'm sure holocaust survivors appreciate the minimization of their ordeal through use of this analogy.)

In stark contrast, what we do have as a direct result of the environmentalist-led restrictions on the use of DDT is tens of millions of deaths, and hundreds of millions of cases of severe illness, from malaria in Africa. The silence from scientists on this is remarkable. Thankfully, the trend against DDT bans is finally changing, with countries like South Africa virtually eliminating malaria with DDT. Is mankind really ready for another major policy catastrophe based upon environmentalist (and media) rhetoric?

Whenever you see any media statement that "the science is settled" on global warming, note that exactly what is settled about global warming goes unmentioned. If it were stated, the statement would either be false, or at least it would not convey the necessary urgency to 'do something about global warming'. Or maybe today's journalists can not deal with that level of complexity...but for the time being I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.

So, just what part of, "the science is settled on global warming", is really settled? Well, I would say that our current period of globally-averaged warmth is pretty indisputable, though possibly over-estimated. I say "globally-averaged" because some areas have actually cooled in the last 100 years. Furthermore, the majority of climate scientists would probably agree that some part of that warmth is manmade. But in contrast to the warmth itself, which has actually been measured with thermometers, its attribution to mankind's greenhouse gas emissions is only one possible explanation among many.

A minority of us would suggest that we really don't know how much of the current warmth is manmade versus natural. I suspect we are the Holocaust-denying, cancer-ignoring, flat-Earthers who still think the Moon landing was staged.

Marc Morano of Cybercast News Service recently reported on a curious teleconference where environmental group representatives, members of the media, and a Democratic congressional staffer joined in bashing those who would stand in the way of convincing the public that we should all "be afraid, be very afraid". One of those participating was Mark Hertsgaard, author of an article in the recent Earth Day issue of Vanity Fair, which had a (literally) green cover that included environmental experts such as Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Robert Kennedy, Jr., and (of course) Al Gore.

In his article, Morano related some of Hertsgaard's comments: "People in the American media in the last six weeks have begun to say 'the debate is over'. [There is] a lot more coverage than we have ever seen of 'global warming'; a lot more pointed coverage than we have ever seen. It is very striking that it is years behind the coverage in Europe," Hertsgaard said. "People in Europe talked about the 'the climate loonies in the United States.' The Brits do not understand why people pay attention [to skeptics]", he added.

So, once again, we apparently need to look to Europe for our cues on what we should believe about global warming and climate policy, just as we should rely on their judicial rulings.

Further, the teleconference group derided "free-market think tanks". Reporter Paul Thacker offered, "I have often felt that these think tanks are kinda there just to dissuade journalists from covering these issues effectively...". Yes, and you know it's a well kept secret that free-market advocates only exist to keep everyone from learning how well socialism has worked throughout history. (Note the free-market comfort from which a free speech-loving journalist in a free-market economy can so freely bite the invisible hand that feeds him.)

Even Dr. Global Warming himself, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies -- who participated in the same teleconference -- cautioned the others against pushing the rhetoric too far: "I am a little concerned about this, in the sense that we are still at a point where the natural fluctuations of climate are still large -- at least, the natural fluctuations of weather compared to long-term climate change." This is a much more moderate musing than some of his recent views, which include the warning that we might have only ten years left to turn things around, global warming-wise.

Dr. Hansen's advice might be too late. With upcoming movies, books, and the inevitable continuing stream of news stories about global warming science being settled, the tone of the debate does not appear to be ready to moderate any time soon. Despite the recent Gallup Poll results which indicated that, even though Americans believe that global warming will probably be worse than the media coverage suggests, on the environmental worries scale, global warming still only rates a 2.

Still, I'm left wondering...why does the global warming issue seem so much more important to the media than to the public -- to the point where they have do demonize skeptics with ad hominem attacks? Do they know something we don't know? I suspect it is more the reverse.

And how, exactly, do the media make the jump from "global warming being real", to the warming being entirely manmade, to the warming being catastrophic, to the faulting of the U.S. government for not implementing policy changes (Kyoto, Domenici-Bingaman) that won't help the problem anyway? That wasn't a rhetorical question...I really do want to know the answer. Send me an e-mail if you happen to know.

TCS Daily, 27 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


29 April, 2006


But Greenies might block this one too as it could involve the dreaded "Genetic engineering"

What happens to malaria parasites in their wild mosquito vector? Riehle et al. examined wild mosquitoes fed on the blood of naturally infected people in Mali and identified four genes that affect the insects' ability to resist the parasite. The genes act against at least three different species of malaria parasite. One of the genes, which causes parasite melanization in the lab, probably has little effect in natural systems. The three other genes, however closely resemble pattern-recognition resistance genes found in a many plants and animals. A large proportion of wild mosquitoes remained uninfected despite being fed malaria-infected blood.


Environmental Education: School of Crock

If there is anything worse than Americans' knowledge about the environment, it is their perception of it. Ask the experts. "Most Americans believe they know more about the environment than they actually do," the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation concluded from a Roper poll in 2003.

The poll found that:

120 million Americans think spray cans still have CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) in them. But CFCs were banned in 1978.

120 million think disposable diapers are the leading problem with landfills. They actually represent about 1 percent of the problem.

130 million believe that hydropower is America's top energy source. In fact, it accounts for just 10 percent of the total.

In spite of this, the foundation concluded that, "The pursuit of environmental literacy in America is widespread and popular." It should have added, "but not effective."

If Americans are confused, it's because they are spoonfed by sources with little information, but with alternative agendas. Consider where the average American gets that "information" on the environment. About 60 percent of respondents in Roper polls cited mostly television and newspapers; about 25 percent credited the government and 33 percent said radio or environmental groups. (More than one source could be chosen.)

Don't be duped into believing that governmental agencies given charge of the environment lack bias in what they share with the public. Consider these examples of selling an agenda:

The Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality in its 2001 Annual Report, "Driving a car is probably the most environmentally damaging activity a Connecticut resident will engage in."

From a journal article by staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "With their vast asphalt parking areas and treeless streets, these (sprawling) cities coddle the automobile while denying children the opportunity to experience the wonder and joy of the natural world."

The environment, like so many other topics, has become a vehicle for cultural and political agendas. Former Greenpeace director Patrick Moore told John Stossel in an ABC-TV program in 2001 that the environmental movement has been hijacked by political activists. "They're using environmental rhetoric to cloak agendas like class warfare and anti-corporatism that, in fact, have almost nothing to do with ecology."

The lack of objective and accurate views characterizes most reports by interest groups, government agencies and even educational enterprises. Visitors to a Duke University Web site on its environmental experts see this: ( "America's Environmental Outlook for 2006 Isn't Sunny. Global warming clouds our future. Pollution degrades our air, soil and water. Environmental toxins compromise the health of our children. Misuse threatens the sustainability of our forests, fisheries, wetlands and coasts, and the health of species that live there." Why such a dreary prospect, when our environment has improved dramatically in the last 30 or 40 years?

Students are often subjected to unwarranted indoctrination. The syllabus for Ecology 1000 at the University of Georgia says, "Finally we ask the students to make an environmentally defensible change in their life style, and to quantify its potential impact on creating a sustainable future." The report makes up 20 percent of the laboratory grade and is discussed in two lab periods. So, it is not enough to educate students about the environment; they must change their lives! Imagine the uproar from such a requirement in religion or political science.

Bias is also obvious in the choice of books for a required report in that course. Of the nine listed for Fall semester 2005, not one told of progress; all were pessimistic about the future. Among the titles: "And the Waters Turned to Blood," "Our Stolen Future," and "Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy." Another, "The Boiling Point," about global warming, says "Under the administration of George W. Bush, the White House has become the East Coast branch office of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal ..."

Students need contrasting viewpoints, but where is the contrast? Not in these books. This course is probably not typical, but it is safe to say that most are neither complimentary of environmental progress nor optimistic about future solutions. If professional environmentalists are so negative, how can the public get a balanced view?

Americans' need education about the environment, not distorted pessimism. A Yale University poll in 2005 found that 52 percent of Americans believe the environment in the United States is getting worse and only 15 percent think it is getting better. The majority in the Yale poll surely didn't know that the number of days of unhealthy air has decreased by 60 percent since 1980 (see graph), or that the federal ozone standard was not exceeded a single time in Illinois in 2004, down from thousands of times each year in the mid-1970s. They also couldn't have known that a 2000 EPA study of sewage treatment and restoration of rivers concluded, "tremendous progress has been made in improving water quality, restoring valuable fisheries and other biological resources, and creating extensive recreational opportunities in all nine case study sites."

It is fairly clear why Americans are so pessimistic and know so little of environmental progress. Environmental education in America is misdirected and failing.


Reducing Emissions Without Signing Treaties

Post lifted from Blogger News

If it was proposed that the United States reduce the following pollutants (based on 1970 levels)...

...would you consider that a reasonable proposal and ask the government to sign it? If we didn't sign it, would you consider it proof that we don't care about the environment? Do you believe that the free market or our own legislation couldn't possibly do this without an international treaty?

You'd be surprised. That's exactly what we have done, all without the Kyoto Protocol. The Wall St. Journal covered the "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators", which is published annually around Earth Day and it has its own web site as well.

The WSJ reminds us that the dire predictions of today are coming from the same people and groups that have a poor track record.
This year, for example, Vanity Fair has inaugurated an "Earth Issue," comprising 246 glossy, non-recycled pages of fashion ads, celebrity worship and environmental apocalypse. Highlights include computer-generated images of New York City underwater and the Washington mall as one big reflecting pool. The magazine also includes a breathless essay by U.S. environmental conscience-in-chief Al Gore. The message is that we are headed for an environmental catastrophe of the first order, and only drastic changes to the way we live can possibly prevent it.

If arguments were won through the use of italics, Mr. Gore would prevail in a knockout. But as Mr. Hayward notes in his "Index," the environmental movement as a whole has developed a credibility problem since the first Earth Day 36 years ago. In the 1970s, prominent greens were issuing dire predictions about mass starvation, overpopulation and--of all things--global cooling. Since then, population-growth estimates have come way down, biotechnology advances have found ways to feed more people than the doomsayers believed possible, and the global-cooling crisis has become the global-warming crisis without missing a beat.

The democratic process, the free market and scientific advancement really don't get enough credit in all of this. Treaties from on high that try to micromanage the process are a type of environmental socialism that has been shown not to work so many times in other ares of human behavior.


Feds going cold on windfarms (Hooray!)

Environment Minister Ian Campbell's campaign against unpopular wind farms will include a national code giving him new powers to veto any project facing community opposition. As Senator Campbell used the death of an endangered wedge-tail eagle to support claims that wind farms threatened birds, he vowed to defy threats of a constitutional challenge from Labor states to forge ahead with plans for the code. It would give him new powers to block any wind farm based on community opposition, not just on environmental grounds. Senator Campbell said he was close to securing a national agreement with the states, with the exception of Victoria and Western Australia. If he could not win their backing, he warned last night he would unilaterally extend federal powers as a "last resort". Senator Campbell last month infuriated the Victorian Government by stopping the Bald Hills wind farm project in Gippsland to "save" the endangered orange-bellied parrot. This week, he froze funding for a similar wind farm project on the south coast of Western Australia, which won state government approval but faced opposition from members of the local community. His hardline position came as it emerged yesterday that the rare wedge-tail eagle died after colliding with wind turbines at the Woolnorth Wind Farm in Tasmania's northwest in wind gusts of 140km/h. According to a report, it appears the eagle's wings were severed and the bird was decapitated by the turbines. Senator Campbell said the death sent a message to "those who sneer about me making a decision based on killing birds". "Wind farms kill birds very regularly," he said. "I think all those who snigger about environment ministers trying to protect threatened species - hopefully, this will be a bit of a wake-up call."

More here

Some Australian Greenies applaud Feds on windfarms

For a good part of his life, licensed surveyor Peter Mortimer has plied the waves of the pristine beaches around the idyllic West Australian town of Denmark. "It's one of those special places where you are isolated from anything man-made. It's a totally natural environment," he said. Mr Mortimer surfs one beach in the summer when the wind dies down and another, more sheltered, beach in winter when the fierce gusts blast their way over the southern Indian Ocean. Between the two beaches lies a local landmark, Wilson's Head, and it is there that a group of Denmark locals want to plant two or three turbines to harness the same strong winds. Mr Mortimer does not like the idea of having such machines, with their huge blades spinning away, overlooking him as he's trying to catch a wave. In Denmark, population 5000, it's the battle of who's greenest. Mr Mortimer say he is not against wind farms per se, he just thinks it is idiotic to put such an eyesore in one of the few spots on the state's southeast coast that has not been developed. He says that principle applies not just for locals, but for Perth types who go to Denmark to "wash away the pressures of the built environment". Mr Mortimer is outraged that the state Government overrode the views of the local council and rezoned Wilson's Head to accommodate the proposed wind farm. He is delighted that federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has said he will block any further federal funding of the project, which received $240,000 for a feasibility study.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


28 April, 2006


Riding a motorbike through the countryside is one way to enjoy it but that pleasure has now been just about extinguished in Britain -- by The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERCA 2006). One understands that motorbikes should be kept out of SOME environments but the near-total ban now in force in the British countryside seems excessive. Below is an email received from a motorcycling lover of the British countryside who now has just about nowhere legal to go on his rural motorcycle rambles

"Like baying hounds, anti vehicle movements have cajoled DEFRA Ministers, Lords and MP's into extinguishing rights of way to motorised vehicle users using claims of damage, noise intrusion, and turning the countryside into a mud-bath for motors. What utter nonsense!

Britain's countryside is criss-crossed with ancient highways that were bypassed by the developers concrete and tarmac, and remain as a small 5% of un-surfaced Right of Way with vehicular access. Some of these old roads were correctly reclassified as Byways Open to All Traffic - these are true roads, and require the same documentation as any other - as such they give enormous pleasure to those few who take to their ways on two wheels and four. But the landowners intent on capitalising on their estate wealth, the curtain twitching do-gooders of middle England, and the fanatical 'ramblers only' brigade have waged war on a legitimate few thousand, claiming roads conceived for horse and cart were not suitable for motors. Would that some of those people could step back in time to when the horse and cart were king - most roads of such type were virtual quagmires for much of each year. Would they also have the farmer, forester, and works engineers revert to the horse as motive power? No, field, furrow, and forest will still ring to the sound of the chain saw and 200+hp turning five foot wheels to churn the ground.

The passage of some type of vehicle benefits many lanes, and the activities of user group working parties ensure clearer passage for all. There are four times more obstacles encountered on pure footpaths for this very reason. Even DEFRA's independently commissioned report declared the system of byways fit for sustained use - ignored! It didn't suit their previously conceived plan to relieve local authorities the onerous burden of fulfilling their statute duty which had been left unfulfilled since 1968 - to correctly re-classify their Definitive Map and Statement and bring it up to date.

With a mountain of red tape, a few users of such byways (0.25% of the National population), and the squeals of selfish organisations demanding vehicle extermination from the countryside - agriculture, forestry and civil works, the three major contributors to real damage will be allowed to continue, while legitimate and considerate users are denied. Those who indulge in illegal 'off road' activities will be unaffected - just another law to break - so what?

Another nail in the coffin of responsible government. Is "live and let live" so bad? Who's next for the chop - horse riding, fishing, canoeing, hang gliding, mountain biking? If you enjoy the outdoors it could be you!"

Another Note on Global Warming

Post lifted from Cafe Hayek

MIT Professor of Atmospheric Science Richard Lindzen has this to say about global warming. I found the most intriguing paragraph to be this one:

"If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less--hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.
(Hat tip to Vernon Smith.)

I'm not an atmospheric scientist, a climatologist, a meteorologist, or any other kind of hard scientist you care to name. -- (By the way, I'll bet that the vast majority of people who opine on global warming are just like me.) -- but I do know a thing or two about economics and the economics of politics. Regardless of the scientific merits of claims of global warming and claims of humankinds' role (or not) in promoting global warming, it is unscientific in the extreme to assume that government can or will handle whatever problem there is wisely. Simply to assume that, if problem X exists, giving power to government to solve problem X will actually solve problem X, or will do so without creating even worse problems Y and Z, is to ignore history and our scientific knowledge of politics


Comment by Mick Hume in the UK. If you don't know who Ming Campbell is, don't worry -- but "mingis" is how the Scottish name "Menzies" is pronounced

This fashion for ethical politics is a desperate attempt to compensate for the melting away of principles. Politicians who have no distinctive vision of the future are reduced to standing on their personal record of ethical correctness. Instead of a battle between competing worldviews, we are left with a contest to see which party leader has the biggest windmill.

These "I'm a good girl, I am!" gestures are designed to demonstrate that one is a decent person. They are the modern equivalent of the affectations of the genteel mode of living in Victorian times. Ming Campbell has left his Jag in the garage in the way that some might leave the bottle alone for Lent. David Cameron's domestic windmill is the energy equivalent of wearing a charity wristband (and likely to have about as much impact in the real world).

Yet there is something more going on here than mere spin. The message behind the new ethical politics appears to be that it is almost unethical to be human today. Just about everything associated with the progress of humanity from the caves to the 21st century seems to be on the "bad" list. From blue/green Dave Cameron to Newsnight's own "ethical man", we are lectured to do less, give up more, leave a smaller "footprint" on the planet.

Michael Meacher, the former Labour Environment Minister, has described humanity as a "virus" on the Earth. And one prominent environmental writer thinks it is more ethical to be gay than straight, since having children is a crime against the planet. To live, it seems, is to be guilty of stomping on the face of Gaia.

Just asking, but who gave environmentalists a monopoly on the meaning of ethics? Why is the ethical option always to lower expectations, to impose restraints, to bash humanity? From the point of view of a more rational, human-centred morality, it ought to be perfectly ethical to experiment on animals, to build new nuclear power stations, to start a population boom or even (whisper it) to drive a dreaded 4x4. And there should surely be a moral right to reach for your gun any time a politician tries to play the ethical card.

More here


Pesky observations from India

The clamour over climate change the world over notwithstanding, the country's weather agency believes that variation in rain and temperatures over the country being experienced over the years fall within the "natural variability". "We are keeping a watch. We are not denying.... It (the variations) are still under the natural variability," Director General of the India Meteorological Department Dr B Lal told reporters here today. There has been no significant change in terms of temperature and rainfall on year-to-year basis, he said. Monsoon was bad in 2002 while prediction was perfect in 2003. In 2004, there was a little deviation from the predicted rainfall but July rainfall that year was perfect, he said.

Similarly there has been a change in temperature of only 0.4-0.5 degrees. But it has been in pockets - some pockets have undergone cooling, others have undergone warming, he said. "For example, when one enters Delhi from other areas, there is a general feeling of warming, but this is due to population (density)," he said. "Thus, there is no clear cut signal...We are keeping a watch over temperatures," he said.

Lal said there had also been no increase in intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones. Since October 1999, there had not been any super cyclone in the country. Last year there were only five disturbances, of which two became cyclones of marginal value, he said. Scientists in the country have been claiming that evidence of climate change is all too evident and the government should initiate studies in the area.

ZeeNews, 25 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


27 April, 2006


An article from Britain's "The Economist". Note: In Britain, gasoline is called "petrol"

In 1894 Le Petit Journal of Paris organised the world's first endurance race for "vehicles without horses". The race was held on the 78-mile (125km) route from Paris to Rouen, and the purse was a juicy 5,000 francs. The rivals used all manner of fuels, ranging from steam to electricity to compressed air. The winner was a car powered by a strange new fuel that had previously been used chiefly in illumination, as a substitute for whale blubber: petrol derived from oil.

Despite the victory, petrol's future seemed uncertain back then. Internal-combustion vehicles were seen as noisy, smelly and dangerous. By 1900 the market was still split equally among steam, electricity and petrol-and even Henry Ford's Model T ran on both grain-alcohol and petrol. In the decades after that great race petrol came to dominate the world's transportation system. Oil left its rivals in the dust not only because internal-combustion engines proved more robust and powerful than their rivals, but also because oil reserves proved to be abundant.

Now comes what appears to be the most powerful threat to oil's supremacy in a century: growing fears that the black gold is running dry. For years a small group of geologists has been claiming that the world has started to grow short of oil, that alternatives cannot possibly replace it and that an imminent peak in production will lead to economic disaster. In recent months this view has gained wider acceptance on Wall Street and in the media. Recent books on oil have bewailed the threat. Every few weeks, it seems, "Out of Gas", "The Empty Tank" and "The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel", are joined by yet more gloomy titles. Oil companies, which once dismissed the depletion argument out of hand, are now part of the debate. Chevron's splashy advertisements strike an ominous tone: "It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. We'll use the next trillion in 30." Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, believes "the debate has changed in the last two years from 'Can we afford oil?' to 'Is the oil there?'"

But is the world really starting to run out of oil? And would hitting a global peak of production necessarily spell economic ruin? Both questions are arguable. Despite today's obsession with the idea of "peak oil", what really matters to the world economy is not when conventional oil production peaks, but whether we have enough affordable and convenient fuel from any source to power our current fleet of cars, buses and aeroplanes. With that in mind, the global oil industry is on the verge of a dramatic transformation from a risky exploration business into a technology-intensive manufacturing business. And the product that big oil companies will soon be manufacturing, argues Shell's Mr Van der Veer, is "greener fossil fuels".

The race is on to manufacture such fuels for blending into petrol and diesel today, thus extending the useful life of the world's remaining oil reserves. This shift in emphasis from discovery to manufacturing opens the door to firms outside the oil industry (such as America's General Electric, Britain's Virgin Fuels and South Africa's Sasol) that are keen on alternative energy. It may even result in a breakthrough that replaces oil altogether. To see how that might happen, consider the first question: is the world really running out of oil? Colin Campbell, an Irish geologist, has been saying since the 1990s that the peak of global oil production is imminent. Kenneth Deffeyes, a respected geologist at Princeton, thought that the peak would arrive late last year.

It did not. In fact, oil production capacity might actually grow sharply over the next few years. Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), an energy consultancy, has scrutinised all of the oil projects now under way around the world. Though noting rising costs, the firm concludes that the world's oil-production capacity could increase by as much as 15m barrels per day (bpd) between 2005 and 2010-equivalent to almost 18% of today's output and the biggest surge in history. Since most of these projects are already budgeted and in development, there is no geological reason why this wave of supply will not become available (though politics or civil strife can always disrupt output).

Peak-oil advocates remain unconvinced. A sign of depletion, they argue, is that big Western oil firms are finding it increasingly difficult to replace the oil they produce, let alone build their reserves. Art Smith of Herold, a consultancy, points to rising "finding and development" costs at the big firms, and argues that the world is consuming two to three barrels of oil for every barrel of new oil found. Michael Rodgers of PFC Energy, another consultancy, says that the peak of new discoveries was long ago. "We're living off a lottery we won 30 years ago," he argues.

It is true that the big firms are struggling to replace reserves. But that does not mean the world is running out of oil, just that they do not have access to the vast deposits of cheap and easy oil that are left in Russia and members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). And as the great fields of the North Sea and Alaska mature, non-OPEC oil production will probably peak by 2010 or 2015. That is soon-but it says nothing of what really matters, which is the global picture.

When the United States Geological Survey (USGS) studied the matter closely, it concluded that the world had around 3 trillion barrels of recoverable conventional oil in the ground. Of that, only one-third has been produced. That, argued the USGS, puts the global peak beyond 2025. And if "unconventional" hydrocarbons such as tar sands and shale oil (which can be converted with greater effort to petrol) are included, the resource base grows dramatically-and the peak recedes much further into the future.

After Ghawar

It is also true that oilmen will probably discover no more "super-giant" fields like Saudi Arabia's Ghawar (which alone produces 5m bpd). But there are even bigger resources available right under their noses. Technological breakthroughs such as multi-lateral drilling helped defy predictions of decline in Britain's North Sea that have been made since the 1980s: the region is only now peaking.

Globally, the oil industry recovers only about one-third of the oil that is known to exist in any given reservoir. New technologies like 4-D seismic analysis and electromagnetic "direct detection" of hydrocarbons are lifting that "recovery rate", and even a rise of a few percentage points would provide more oil to the market than another discovery on the scale of those in the Caspian or North Sea.

Further, just because there are no more Ghawars does not mean an end to discovery altogether. Using ever fancier technologies, the oil business is drilling in deeper waters, more difficult terrain and even in the Arctic (which, as global warming melts the polar ice cap, will perversely become the next great prize in oil). Large parts of Siberia, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have not even been explored with modern kit.

The petro-pessimists' most forceful argument is that the Persian Gulf, officially home to most of the world's oil reserves, is overrated. Matthew Simmons, an American energy investment banker, argues in his book, "Twilight in the Desert", that Saudi Arabia's oil fields are in trouble. In recent weeks a scandal has engulfed Kuwait, too. Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW), a respected industry newsletter, got hold of government documents suggesting that Kuwait might have only half of the nearly 100 billion barrels in oil reserves that it claims (Saudi Arabia claims 260 billion barrels).

Tom Wallin, publisher of PIW, warns that "the lesson from Kuwait is that the reserves figures of national governments must be viewed with caution." But that still need not mean that a global peak is imminent. So vast are the remaining reserves, and so well distributed are today's producing areas, that a radical revision downwards-even in an OPEC country-does not mean a global peak is here.

For one thing, Kuwait's official numbers always looked dodgy. IHS Energy, an industry research outfit that constructs its reserve estimates from the bottom up rather than relying on official proclamations, had long been using a figure of 50 billion barrels for Kuwait. Ron Mobed, boss of IHS, sees no crisis today: "Even using our smaller number, Kuwait still has 50 years of production left at current rates." As for Saudi Arabia, most independent contractors and oil majors that have first-hand knowledge of its fields are convinced that the Saudis have all the oil they claim-and that more remains to be found.

Pessimists worry that Saudi Arabia's giant fields could decline rapidly before any new supply is brought online. In Jeremy Leggett's thoughtful, but gloomy, book, "The Empty Tank", Mr Simmons laments that "the only alternative right now is to shrink our economies." That poses a second big question: whenever the production peak comes, will it inevitably prompt a global economic crisis? The baleful thesis arises from concerns both that a cliff lies beyond any peak in production and that alternatives to oil will not be available. If the world oil supply peaked one day and then fell away sharply, prices would indeed rocket, shortages and panic buying would wreak havoc and a global recession would ensue. But there are good reasons to think that a global peak, whenever it comes, need not lead to a collapse in output.

For one thing, the nightmare scenario of Ghawar suddenly peaking is not as grim as it first seems. When it peaks, the whole "super-giant" will not drop from 5m bpd to zero, because it is actually a network of inter-linked fields, some old and some newer. Experts say a decline would probably be gentler and prolonged. That would allow, indeed encourage, the Saudis to develop new fields to replace lost output. Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Naimi, points to an unexplored area on the Iraqi-Saudi border the size of California, and argues that such untapped resources could add 200 billion barrels to his country's tally. This contains worries of its own-Saudi Arabia's market share will grow dramatically as non-OPEC oil peaks, and with it the potential for mischief. But it helps to debunk claims of a sudden change. The notion of a sharp global peak in production does not withstand scrutiny, either. CERA's Peter Jackson points out that the price signals that would surely foreshadow any "peak" would encourage efficiency, promote new oil discoveries and speed investments in alternatives to oil. That, he reckons, means the metaphor of a peak is misleading: "The right picture is of an undulating plateau."

What of the notion that oil scarcity will lead to economic disaster? Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute, an American think-tank, insist the key is to avoid the price controls and monetary-policy blunders of the sort that turned the 1970s oil shocks into economic disasters. Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard professor and the former chief economist of the IMF, thinks concerns about peak oil are greatly overblown: "The oil market is highly developed, with worldwide trading and long-dated futures going out five to seven years. As oil production slows, prices will rise up and down the futures curve, stimulating new technology and conservation. We might be running low on $20 oil, but for $60 we have adequate oil supplies for decades to come."

The other worry of pessimists is that alternatives to oil simply cannot be brought online fast enough to compensate for oil's imminent decline. If the peak were a cliff or if it arrived soon, this would certainly be true, since alternative fuels have only a tiny global market share today (though they are quite big in markets, such as ethanol-mad Brazil, that have favourable policies). But if the peak were to come after 2020 or 2030, as the International Energy Agency and other mainstream forecasters predict, then the rising tide of alternative fuels will help transform it into a plateau and ease the transition to life after oil.

The best reason to think so comes from the radical transformation now taking place among big oil firms. The global oil industry, argues Chevron, is changing from "an exploration business to a manufacturing business". To see what that means, consider the surprising outcome of another great motorcar race. In March, at the Sebring test track in Florida, a sleek Audi prototype R-10 became the first diesel-powered car to win an endurance race, pipping a field of petrol-powered rivals to the post. What makes this tale extraordinary is that the diesel used by the Audi was not made in the normal way, exclusively from petroleum. Instead, Shell blended conventional diesel with a super-clean and super-powerful new form of diesel made from natural gas (with the clunky name of gas-to-liquids, or GTL).

Several big GTL projects are under way in Qatar, where the North gas field is perhaps twice the size of even Ghawar when measured in terms of the energy it contains. Nigeria and others are also pursuing GTL. Since the world has far more natural gas left than oil-much of it outside the Middle East-making fuel in this way would greatly increase the world's remaining supplies of oil.

So, too, would blending petrol or diesel with ethanol and biodiesel made from agricultural crops, or with fuel made from Canada's "tar sands" or America's shale oil. Using technology invented in Nazi Germany and perfected by South Africa's Sasol when those countries were under oil embargoes, companies are now also investing furiously to convert not only natural gas but also coal into a liquid fuel. Daniel Yergin of CERA says "the very definition of oil is changing, since non-conventional oil becomes conventional over time."

Alternative fuels will not become common overnight, as one veteran oilman acknowledges: "Given the capital-intensity of manufacturing alternatives, it's now a race between hydrocarbon depletion and making fuel." But the recent rise in oil prices has given investors confidence. As Peter Robertson, vice-chairman of Chevron, puts it, "Price is our friend here, because it has encouraged investment in new hydrocarbons and also the alternatives." Unless the world sees another OPEC-engineered price collapse as it did in 1985 and 1998, GTL, tar sands, ethanol and other alternatives will become more economic by the day.

This is not to suggest that the big firms are retreating from their core business. They are pushing ahead with these investments mainly because they cannot get access to new oil in the Middle East: "We need all the molecules we can get our hands on," says one oilman. It cannot have escaped the attention of oilmen that blending alternative fuels into petrol and diesel will conveniently reinforce oil's grip on transport. But their work contains the risk that one of the upstart fuels could yet provide a radical breakthrough that sidelines oil altogether.

If you doubt the power of technology or the potential of unconventional fuels, visit the Kern River oil field near Bakersfield, California. This super-giant field is part of a cluster that has been pumping out oil for more than 100 years. It has already produced 2 billion barrels of oil, but has perhaps as much again left. The trouble is that it contains extremely heavy oil, which is very difficult and costly to extract. After other companies despaired of the field, Chevron brought Kern back from the brink. Applying a sophisticated steam-injection process, the firm has increased its output beyond the anticipated peak. Using a great deal of automation (each engineer looks after 1,000 small wells drilled into the reservoir), the firm has transformed a process of "flying blind" into one where wells "practically monitor themselves and call when they need help".

The good news is that this is not unique. China also has deposits of heavy oil that would benefit from such an advanced approach. America, Canada and Venezuela have deposits of heavy hydrocarbons that surpass even the Saudi oil reserves in size. The Saudis have invited Chevron to apply its steam-injection techniques to recover heavy oil in the neutral zone that the country shares with Kuwait. Mr Naimi, the oil minister, recently estimated that this new technology would lift the share of the reserve that could be recovered as useful oil from a pitiful 6% to above 40%.

All this explains why, in the words of Exxon Mobil, the oil production peak is unlikely "for decades to come". Governments may decide to shift away from petroleum because of its nasty geopolitics or its contribution to global warming. But it is wrong to imagine the world's addiction to oil will end soon, as a result of genuine scarcity. As Western oil companies seek to cope with being locked out of the Middle East, the new era of manufactured fuel will further delay the onset of peak production. The irony would be if manufactured fuel also did something far more dramatic-if it served as a bridge to whatever comes beyond the nexus of petrol and the internal combustion engine that for a century has held the world in its grip.



It is the fashion these days to apply the overused phrase the "tipping point" to just about everything, especially when it comes to bad news for the environment. And nowhere is the pessimism greater than when it comes to China, whose spectacular economic growth and voracious appetite for natural resources is said to be leading the region and perhaps the world toward irreversible ecological catastrophe.

This story line, played out in countless media headlines over the past few years, has it backwards. China has indeed reached a tipping point on the environment - the point at which it begins to make environmental improvements.

It's about time. China has some of the worst pollution problems in the world. Nearly two-thirds of China's 343 major cities currently fail to meet the nation's air quality standards. The World Health Organization seven of the ten most polluted cities in the world are in China. Pollution levels in China's major cities are 10 to 50 times higher than the worst smoggy day in Los Angeles.

The story is much the same with water pollution. China is desperately short of potable water. Groundwater has been badly depleted, and surface water sources are equally overused. The Yellow River, for example, has run dry every year since 1985 because of diversions; in 1997, it failed to reach the ocean for 226 days. Severe water pollution has led to shutdowns of major urban water systems, such as occurred last year in the city of Harbin following a chemical spill in the Songhua River. The city of 3.8 million people was without running water for nearly a week.

These and other environmental trends are supposedly going to get worse as China continues its headlong drive to become a modern industrial nation. "China's Next Big Boom Could Be the Foul Air," the New York Times reported last October. Yet these predictions are already out of date. A look at the data shows that China is on the curve that other modern industrialized nations followed in the mid-20th century, whereby pollution starts to fall even as the economy continues to grow. Sulfur dioxide and particulate levels have actually fallen in Beijing and other major cities over the last decade, at the same time as the number of motor vehicles China nearly quadrupled and total energy consumption increased by one-third.

China is slowly turning the corner on the environment for the same reason the U.S. and other advanced economies reversed course a generation ago - economic growth provides the means to implement better technology to reduce pollution. China has been enacting environmental laws that resemble the landmark legislation the U.S. and Europe enacted in the 1970s, and China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) reports that spending for environmental projects is increasing about 15 percent a year. China has adopted the European Union's automobile tailpipe standards, for example, and has even begun to emulate our Environmental Impact Review process for major construction projects.

China is working at breakneck speed to reverse its water pollution and supply problems as well. Industrial discharge of petroleum-related pollutants and heavy metals into rivers and oceans has been cut in half over the last decade. Wastewater treatment facilities are quickly being built; between 2000 and 2005, total wastewater capacity doubled. China's reforestation program appears to be taking flight; SEPA reports that 4.8 million hectares of forestland were planted in 2004, and that forestland has been growing at slightly more than 1 percent a year over the last decade.

China today is roughly where the United States was in 1950 terms of environmental performance. In those days the U.S. still poured raw sewage and chemicals directly into rivers and lakes and the ocean, and had little along the lines of air pollution controls. Like the U.S. 50 years ago, China has a long way to go. Some of the environmental news out of China is going to get worse before it gets better. The central point remains, however, that China's environmental news is going to start improving a lot sooner and a lot faster than people expect.

The most intriguing possibility from this story is how environmental reform might contribute to political reform and liberalization. Many of the changes in China's environmental performance are coming in response to large public protests - and frequent riots - over pollution. The environment, often an anti-democratic force in American governance, might prove to be a tipping point toward democracy in China.

National Review Online, 21 April 2006


An Editorial from "The Scotsman", 23 April 2006

The most bizarre sight of last week was that of David Cameron driving a team of huskies across the Norwegian snows. If it is hard to imagine how the ruddy-cheeked Tory leader could more blatantly illustrate his commitment to the environment, it was also difficult to take the scene entirely seriously.

The same cannot be said about the green agenda, however. Concern about the environment is no longer a minority preoccupation: it engages people across the whole spectrum of society, of all political opinions. To that extent, Cameron is right to address the issue. But it is an issue that needs to be examined closely, scientifically and dispassionately, not fuelled by hysteria. Apocalyptic alarmism from green activists has become the secular equivalent of those religious cults that regularly assemble on mountain tops in expectation of the imminent end of the world.

What are the facts about global warming? The only honest answer is: we do not know. Nor is our knowledge advanced by scientists who are not climatic experts issuing sensational pronouncements. Detailed temperature records date only from 1860. These show that between then and 1915 there was no change in the northern hemisphere. Between 1915 and 1945 there was a rise of 0.4C, countered in the following 20 years by a fall of 0.2C. During the remainder of the 20th century there was a rise of 0.4C, making an overall increase of 0.6C over the century.

That is hardly grounds for panic in the streets, especially when we recall that Britain had almost tropical temperatures in the Roman period and was at least as hot as today in the Middle Ages.

What casts further confusion on the issue is the supposition that our curbing sulphur dioxide emissions (which have a cooling effect) from 1965 allowed carbon dioxide full rein to heat up the planet. In that case, might China's planned 562 new coal-fired power stations, while emitting twice as much warming carbon dioxide as gas-fired stations, also restore cooling sulphur dioxide emissions to pre-1965 levels? The equation is unreadable.

The other major environmental issue is the sustainability of oil supplies. Is the oil supply about to dry up? Yes, in about a century from now - by which time science, advancing exponentially, will certainly have provided an alternative energy source. We already have such man-made fuels as ethanol, derived from plants, and diesel based on coal and gas. Greener fossil fuels are in the pipeline, with Britain's Virgin Fuels prominent in this development.

Meanwhile, it has been estimated by Cambridge Energy Research Associates that the world's oil-production capacity could increase by up to 15 million barrels per day. The United States Geological Survey has concluded that the world has about three trillion barrels of recoverable conventional oil underground, of which only one-third has been produced. The oilfields that look most likely to fail are in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Otherwise, there is no shortage.

Whatever the answer to environmental concerns may be, it most emphatically is not Kyoto - a cynical exercise in gesture politics. It is characteristic that the first country to sign the protocol was Romania, whose toxic emissions can be seen from outer space. America is vilified for having refused to endorse Kyoto (by a telling 95-0 vote in the Senate). But it has devoted $20bn to serious exploration of environmentally friendly alternative energy.

Science and the market are the twin pillars on which environmental recovery will be supported. Instead of fining firms for carbon emissions, they should be offered tax breaks to clean up their act. Incentive rather than coercion should be the motor of environmental improvement. If there is an urgent need for something, the market can react by producing it. We do not know the scale of the risk. But we must allow for the possibility that the more pessimistic forecasts are right. We need an insurance policy; but we should shop around discriminatingly and calmly. We are not a' doomed; but we need to research, to plan and to invest in a sensibly green future.

Australia: New dams at last

It looks like the water shortage in Queensland has finally trumped the dam-hating Greenies

The $1 billion the Queensland government expects to earn from the sale of its power retailers will be used to build two new dams and set up a special infrastructure fund. Premier Peter Beattie said today his government would sell the retail arms of its power suppliers Energex and Ergon Energy, in a trade sale expected to earn more than $1 billion. The sale will take place in several tranches before the end of the year, ensuring the state market is ready for full retail contestability from July 1 next year.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Anna Bligh said the sale would not influence the government's Budget, which was in good shape and expected to deliver a "very healthy surplus" when brought down on June 6. Instead, the expected $1 billion windfall would be ploughed into a Queensland Future Growth Fund, to be managed by Treasury, with legislation ensuring proceeds are spent solely on infrastructure needs. The fund's first projects include financing two new dams, located along the Mary and Logan rivers in south-east Queensland, to be built by 2011.

The Mary River dam, north of Brisbane, will service Gympie and the Sunshine Coast - it will rival the size of Brisbane's Wivenhoe Dam. A second dam would also be built along the upper reaches of the Logan River, either at the already-proposed Wyaralong Dam site or at Tilleys Bridge, near Rathdowney, providing water to western areas including Ipswich, Springfield and Beenleigh. Two new weirs will also be built in central Queensland and $300 million invested in clean coal technology.

Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg said while he approved of the decision in principle, the government's move was a "fire sale" to cover up black holes in its next budget



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


26 April, 2006


The 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident of April 26, 1986 is prompting a new wave of alarmist claims about its impact on human health and the environment. As has become a ritual on such commemorative occasions, the death toll is tallied in the hundreds of thousands, and fresh reports are made of elevated rates of cancer, birth defects, and overall mortality.

This picture is both badly distorted and harmful to the victims of the Chernobyl accident. All reputable scientific studies conducted so far have concluded that the impact of radiation has been less damaging than was feared. A few dozen emergency workers who battled the fire at the reactor succumbed to acute radiation sickness. Studies are still under way into elevated rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease among the "liquidators" who worked at the reactor site in the months following the accident. And some 5,000 cases of thyroid cancer, attributed to radioactive iodine absorbed through consumption of milk in the weeks immediately following the accident, have been detected among those who were children at the time.

There has been real suffering, particularly among the 330,000 people who were relocated after the accident. About that there is no doubt. But, for the five million people living in affected regions who are designated as Chernobyl "victims," radiation has had no discernable impact on physical health.

This is because these people were exposed to low radiation doses that in most cases were comparable to natural background levels. Two decades of natural decay and remediation measures mean that most territories originally deemed "contaminated" no longer merit that label. Aside from thyroid cancer, which has been successfully treated in 98.5 percent of cases, scientists have not been able to document any connection between radiation and any physical condition.

Where a clear impact has been found is mental health. Fear of radiation, it seems, poses a far more potent health threat than does radiation itself. Symptoms of stress are rampant, and many residents of affected areas firmly believe themselves to be condemned by radiation to ill health and early death.

In part, this is because the initial Soviet response was secretive: Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader at the time, addressed the issue on television only weeks later, on May 14, 1986. Myths and misconceptions have taken root, and these have outlasted subsequent efforts to provide reliable information. Combined with sweeping government benefit policies that classify millions of people living in Chernobyl-affected areas as invalids, such myths encouraged fatalistic and passive behaviors and created a "culture of dependency" among affected communities.

The United Nations Chernobyl Forum, a consortium of eight U.N. agencies and representatives of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, reinforced these findings. Chernobyl Forum was created to address the prevailing confusion concerning the impact of the accident, both among the public and government officials, by declaring a clear verdict on issues where a scientific consensus could be found. The Forum succeeded in this effort, and a fresh and reassuring message on the impact of radiation was made public in September.

The Chernobyl Forum findings should have brought relief, for they show that the specter haunting the region is not invincible radiation, but conquerable poverty. What the region needs are policies aimed at generating new livelihoods rather than reinforcing dependency; public-health campaigns that address the lifestyle issues (smoking and drinking) that undermine health across the former Soviet Union; and community development initiatives that promote self-reliance and a return to normalcy.

But the reception given to the Chernobyl Forum's message has been surprisingly mixed. Some officials have reverted to alarmist language on the number of fatalities attributed to Chernobyl. Some NGO's and Chernobyl charities have responded with disbelief, citing as evidence the general population's admittedly poor health. Opponents of nuclear power have suggested that self-interest has compromised the Chernobyl Forum's integrity.

Set against the impressive body of science underpinning the Chernobyl Forum, such responses reflect the tenacity not only of myths and misconceptions, but also of vested interests. The new view on Chernobyl threatens the existence of charities - such as those offering health "respites" abroad for children - that depend for their fund-raising on graphic footage of deformed babies.

The new understanding also deprives the region's officials of a routine way to seek international sympathy, even if the repetition of such appeals after two decades yields little financial aid. By misstating the problems, these approaches threaten to divert scarce resources into the wrong remedies.

The twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident is an ideal occasion for all actors to do some honest soul-searching. Governments are right to worry about the fate of Chernobyl-affected territories, but the way forward will require fresh thinking and bold decisions, particularly a shift in priorities from paying paltry benefits to millions to targeted spending that helps to promote jobs and economic growth. Similarly, charities are right to worry about the population's health, but they should focus on promoting healthy lifestyles in affected communities rather than whisking children abroad as if their homes were poisonous.

All parties are right to worry about the affected populations, but, more than any sophisticated diagnostic equipment, what is needed is credible information, presented in a digestible format, to counter Chernobyl's destructive legacy of fear. The children of Chernobyl are all grown up; their interests, and those of their own children, are best served not by continually evoking the nightmare of radiation, but by giving them the tools and authority they need to rebuild their own communities.



Greenpeace on Tuesday released a report claiming the death toll from Chernobyl is many times higher than a 2005 UN estimate. But is the report based on "bad science" as critics claim? Just how many people may ultimately die as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster two decades ago has long been one of the largest questions raised by the meltdown. Almost every year, a new study comes out on or near the catastrophe's late April anniversary with yet another estimate.

This year, it was the turn of Greenpeace, which on Tuesday released a controversial new report (pdf) that argues that the number of Chernobyl dead may be much higher than the 4,000 estimated in a 2005 report (pdf) issued by the United Nations group Chernobyl Forum. As many as 90,000 victims may eventually succumb to radiation-related illnesses, the Greenpeace report says.

The report relied on extrapolations from data on cancer incidence taken from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine -- all countries hit hard by the vast radiation cloud which spewed out of Reactor Four after it exploded in the early morning hours of April 26, 1986. Statistics from Belarus, for example, indicate that there are 270,000 cases of cancer attributable to the Chernobyl disaster in the hardest hit areas with 93,000 of those cases likely to be fatal, according to the report. Greenpeace also cited a report by Veniamin Khudolei of the Center for Independent Environmental Assessment of the Russian Academy of Sciences which found that the mortality rate in western Russia has sharply increased in the last 15 years, suggesting a possible connection with Chernobyl radiation.

Greenpeace used the report's release as an opportunity to blast the findings of the UN Chernobyl Forum. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is part of the Forum, came in for particular abuse during the presentation of the study in London with Greenpeace accusing it of playing down the dangers of nuclear energy. "The nuclear industry is the most dangerous in the world, and they (the IAEA) are definitely trying to minimize the results of the Chernobyl catastrophe," Ivan Blokov of Greenpeace's Russia office told the Associated Press. "We have a report showing the incredible damage caused to humans ... . Nearly every system of the organism is damaged."

The Chernobyl Forum firmly rejects the Greenpeace accusation. Its report, which said that fewer than 50 deaths can be conclusively linked to Chernobyl, argues that death by cancer among the some 5 million people who received low radiation doses would be almost statistically invisible. The report was put together by experts from a number of different agencies from within the UN including the IAEA and the World Health Organization (WHO). "Peer reviewed science only really started developing in Russia and the Soviet states after the Soviet Union collapsed," Mikhail Balonov, Scientific Secretary of the Chernobyl Forum, told SPIEGEL ONLINE in criticizing the Greenpeace results which relied entirely on locally produced studies. "If you want to get some serious conclusions from the data, it has to be in peer reviewed papers. Unfortunately none of the studies cited in the new report have been peer reviewed ... . It relies on bad science."

Gregory Haertl, a Geneva-based spokesman for WHO -- which was responsible for the health data used in the Forum report -- likewise warns against accepting the Greenpeace report at face value. "I would approach this study with care. One always has to remind people why people make such estimates," H„rtl told SPIEGEL ONLINE, in reference to Greenpeace's staunchly anti-nuclear stance.

Indeed, many scientists concede that determining where an individual health problem comes from is difficult, particularly in a part of the world characterized by poor economic conditions and unhealthy lifestyles including high rates of drinking and smoking. Haertl also says that the further one travels from the disaster zone, the more difficult it becomes to conclusively link illnesses to Chernobyl radiation.

More here

NASA Expert Tells Alarmists to Cool Down Climate Hype

NASA scientist James Hansen warned that environmental activists and the media better be more cautious with their rhetoric regarding "global warming." In addition, a CBS News "60 Minutes" reporter recently compared skeptics of "global warming" to Holocaust deniers. Hansen, who was responding to a question about the increased media coverage of "global warming" in recent months, issued the warning during a teleconference with a top Democratic congressional staff member, liberal environmental groups and journalists. "I am a little concerned about this, in the sense that we are still at a point where the natural fluctuations of climate are still large -- at least, the natural fluctuations of weather compared to long-term climate change," Hansen, director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the participants in the April 13 teleconference. "So we don't want the public to hang their hat on a recent storm, recent hurricanes for example, because those will fluctuate from year to year," he said.

Hansen, who alleged in January that the Bush administration has been suppressing science for political purposes, believes that humans must curb greenhouse gas emissions in order to avert a climate catastrophe.

Speakers who participated with Hansen during the teleconference called the GOP-controlled Congress "regressive," referred to U.S. scientists and policymakers skeptical of the catastrophic effects of possible temperature changes as "climate loonies," derided free-market think tanks and linked scientists skeptical of "global warming" to the past tobacco industry tactics of manipulating the science on the health effects of cigarette smoke. The National Environmental Trust hosted the teleconference, which featured Hansen, Phil Schiliro, the Democratic minority chief of staff of the House Government Reform Committee, and Mark Hertsgaard, who wrote a cover story on the environment for an issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine timed to coincide with Earth Day, April 22

Schiliro, who staffed Congressman Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) investigation and hearings on tobacco industry executives and cigarette smoking, blamed the GOP for the failure to address "global warming" issues. "There is a deep-seated, regressive view in the House on not dealing with these issues," Schiliro said. "Point well taken," responded Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust and moderator of the teleconference.

This is not the first time Hansen has aligned himself with officials from the Democratic Party. As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Hansen publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004 and received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by Kerry's wife. In addition, he acted as a consultant earlier this year to former Democratic Vice President Al Gore's slide-show presentations on "global warming." Hansen, who also complained about censorship during the administration of President George H. W. Bush in 1989, previously acknowledged that he supported the "emphasis on extreme scenarios" regarding climate change models in order to drive the public's attention to the issue.

'Climate loonies'

During the teleconference, the lack of perceived scientific consensus by some in the media and government was cited as the reason coverage has failed to inform the American people on the seriousness of "global warming," according to Hertsgaard, who wrote the April 2006 Vanity Fair cover story entitled "While Washington Slept." "People in the American media in the last six weeks have begun to say 'the debate is over.' [There is] a lot more coverage than we have ever seen of 'global warming;' a lot more pointed coverage than we have ever seen. It is very striking that it is years behind the coverage in Europe," Hertsgaard said. "People in Europe talked about the 'the climate loonies in the United States.' The Brits do not understand why people pay attention [to skeptics]," he added.

The teleconference was open to the media and fielded questions from New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin, CNN, U.S. News & World Report and other media outlets. Not a single question was posed to the panel during the teleconference challenging the panelists' views on climate change or the politics surrounding it. Some of the media questions even elaborated on the points made by the panel and offered helpful advice on strategy.

During reporter Paul Thacker's question to the panel, he helped them make one of their points regarding how D.C.-based free market think tanks are trying to cloud the "global warming" science. Thacker is associate editor at Environmental Science & Technology. "Don't forget that Steven Milloy is also the science columnist for Fox News. Give them credit," Thacker said after one panelist attempted to discredit Milloy. Milloy publishes the website, which takes a skeptical view of catastrophic climate change. Thacker then offered his own supportive thoughts to the panelists on the impact of free market think tanks. "I have often felt that these think tanks are kinda there just to dissuade journalists from covering these issues effectively and to do the sort of 'he said, she said' two-sides quote," Thacker said, referring to the free market think tanks that take a skeptical view of "global warming."

Cybercast News Service was not given the opportunity to ask a question during the teleconference despite having registered for the event. The moderator told panelists that there were no more questions from the media even though Cybercast News Service made repeated attempts to ask a question.

Skeptics compared to 'Holocaust denier'

Revkin, the reporter from the New York Times, has previously noted that industry-funded groups want "to dust the discourse with just enough uncertainty and confusion to make the public go 'never mind' and the[n] press snooze," and these efforts "have been extraordinarily effective." Revkin told the Spring 2006 issue of Society of Environmental Journalists that he hopes his upcoming climate change book, "The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles & Perils at the Top of the World," will educate politicians.

"There might even be some politicians who'll finally have a book on climate change they can understand. I haven't quite given up on grownups yet, but I'm getting close," Revkin said of his book, which is aimed at children 10 years of age and older. "Basically, my orientation as a reporter and a human being is to focus on avoiding or mitigating irreversible losses where they can be anticipated. Extinction and long-term climate change are the two biggies in the environment arena. And that shows no sign of changing," Revkin said.

CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley, who has done several high-profile reports for "60 Minutes" on climate change, also agrees that the science of "global warming" is settled. "There is virtually no disagreement in the scientific community any longer about 'global warming,'" he said. "The science that has been done in the last three to five years has been conclusive," Pelley told the CBS News's PublicEye blog in February. Pelley's profile of Hansen in a March "60 Minutes" segment failed to note any of Hansen's ties to the Democratic Party or his receipt of a $250,000 from Teresa Heinz Kerry's foundation. In addition, Pelley compared scientists skeptical of human-caused catastrophic climate change to Holocaust deniers. "If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel," Pelley asked, "am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?" he said in a separate interview on March 23 with CBS News's PublicEye blog. Pelley claims he attempted to find respected scientists who would contradict scientists like Hansen on "global warming" but could not locate any. "This isn't about politics or pseudo-science or conspiracy theory blogs," Pelley explained. "This is about sound science."

'Climate hysteria'

Milloy of blasted Hansen for appearing with Democratic Party officials and environmental groups. "It's disappointing to see someone who holds himself out to be an unbiased 'scientist' politicize himself by aligning with Democrat Party interests. On the other hand, at least he's publicly acknowledged that he's a 'political' scientist," Milloy, who is also the portfolio manager of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, told Cybercast News Service. Milloy also said he was glad to see Hansen attempt try to rein in the linkage of recent storm events like Hurricane Katrina to "global warming." "It's good to see Jim Hansen recognize that the global warmers have gone off the deep-end in terms of climate hysteria. I'm certain, though, that we'll have to remind him of his statement next time he takes his usual dive off that cliff," said Milloy.

Milloy said he was not surprised that many in the news media now believe the debate over climate change is over. "The 'global warming' lobby hopes to stop all dissent by shutting out, shouting down and intimidating any opposition," Milloy said, noting that Gore has refused the opportunity to debate climate skeptics on this issue. "The warmers apparently know that their hysteria doesn't hold up to scientific analysis, so silencing the opposition is their primary tactic," Milloy said.

During the April teleconference, Hansen did not back down from his belief that greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity are going to have dramatic negative impacts on the earth's climate. "But the reality to the scientists is that there are many signs now that things are going in the direction expected and at the rates expected and even in some cases" faster than expected, Hansen said.


Another Australian windfarm project bites the dust

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell infuriated another state government yesterday by overriding plans to build a wind farm. Less than a month after he blocked a wind farm in Victoria to "save" the orange-bellied parrot, Senator Campbell froze funding yesterday for a similar project near Denmark on the south coast of Western Australia. The minister said he had written to Regional Services Minister Warren Truss asking him to refuse further requests for funding for the project. "Senator Campbell strongly opposes further funding for the Denmark Community Windfarm group until the expressed wishes of the local community are taken into account through the introduction of a national wind farm code," Senator Campbell's spokeswoman said.

Earlier this month, the minister set off a war between Canberra and Victoria when he invoked rarely used federal powers to block the $220 million Bald Hills wind farm in Gippsland on the grounds it could kill one rare orange-bellied parrot a year. The Victorian Government has demanded he reconsider.

Last night, West Australian Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan described Senator Campbell's latest decision as tragic. "It is a joke that at a time when we have got some really hard issues to deal with, we've got an environment minister who has no interest in sustainability, that at a national level we are not only getting zero leadership, we're getting minus zero leadership," she said. "These are big issues. We need leadership at a national level and Campbell is as much a joke as (Denmark area MP) Wilson Tuckey is as an environment minister. Other than going around and doing a bit of bashing of the Japanese on whales, he hasn't shown any capacity to deal whatsoever with the big issues we are facing."

Ms MacTiernan has been accused of ignoring advice from a state government planning committee that voted three to two against the proposed wind farm. But she said a departmental report prepared on the project was "substandard and flawed". The report excluded information from Western Power recommending the wind farm site, and ignored advice from its own department that the farm was not visually obtrusive, she said. "This has got nothing to do with this report, because Campbell, well before he had ever seen this report, had been down there (at the proposed site) with Wilson Tuckey trying to stir the possum," she said. She said the project was formally opposed by only about 60 families, including many who did not live at Denmark.

Senator Campbell will also have the final say in the development of a new iron ore mine in northern Western Australia, which yesterday won state government approval despite the possible presence of a bird even rarer than the orange-bellied parrot - the night parrot. The West Australian Government gave its final environmental approval for Fortescue Metals Group's iron ore mine at Cloud Break in the Pilbara, part of a $1.8billion development stalled by sightings last year of three night parrots, which were once thought to have been extinct.

State Environment Minister Mark McGowan was critical yesterday of Senator Campbell's decision to block the Bald Hills wind farm on environmental grounds, saying it had been possible to approve the Pilbara mine by imposing strict conditions. "I would be surprised if Senator Campbell was to knock back this (iron ore mine). I'm positive he won't knock it back. His decision in Victoria was based on it being a marginal seat - it was not environmental," he said.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


25 April, 2006


After a few pink gins, perhaps

Mate, I live in Hong Kong. If you want an outlier for your global warming folks (and I reallly have no opinion either way vis-a-vis the rest of theplanet) but HK has added about 2 degrees Celsius in the last two decades, mainly through the building of an enormous amount of very tall buildings that block the normal wind patterns from cooling people as they should. A better heat island I dare you to find.

HK would tend, on a rather extreme scale, to suggest that readings from anywhere that tall buildings and bunches of concrete/heat-absorbing-bitumen exists cannot be taken as indicators of global warming; maybe global rapaciousness, but even that - as objectionable as it may be - is geographically confined.

The whole way this issue is being handled is completely wrong.

Sorry, BUT: Ask anyone if they give a rat's clitorus whether Tuvalu has any dry land in 100 years, even 10 years, and I would wager that unless it had direct access to the Chunnel you would hear a resounding 'Wha?!'

The bottom line is this: people don't care until it infringes upon their enjoyment of the planet.

Come to Hong Kong ... the place where Colonel Yang, one of the only bonafide Chinese astronauts, took a harbour cruise and had to have the view described to him. The harbour is only 1km wide in some places.

Don't argue about whether anthropogenic global warming is happening. That's a great topic for ologist barbecues. What about the fact that we can't see 3km? Isn't that infinitely worse? Why don't we concentrate on improving the view? Do that and everything flows from there.

(Name withheld to protect the guilty)



Long-term persistence in climate and the detection problem


We have analyzed six recently reconstructed records (Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1999; Briffa, 2000; Esper et al., 2002; McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003; and Moberg et al., 2005) of the Northern Hemisphere temperatures and found that all are governed by long-term persistence. Due to the long-term persistence, the mean temperature variations ?(m, L) between L years, obtained from moving averages over m years, are considerably larger than for uncorrelated or short-term correlated records. We compare the values for ?(m, L) with the most recent temperature changes ?T i (m, L) in the corresponding instrumental record and determine the year i c where ?T i (m, L)/?(m, L) exceeds a certain threshold and the first year i d when this could be detected. We find, for example, that for the climatologically relevant parameters m = 30, L = 100, and the threshold 2.5, the values (i c , i d ) range, for all records, between (1976, 1990) for Mann et al. (1999) and (1988, 2002) for Jones et al. (1998). Accordingly, the hypothesis that at least part of the recent warming cannot be solely related to natural factors, may be accepted with a very low risk, independently of the database used.

A spoof, of course


The Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of hypocrisy for lecturing politicians on global warming while the Church of England reaps millions of pounds from shares in oil firms. Rowan Williams warned last week that climate change was a "huge moral problem" that could cause billions of deaths. He said politicians who reject changes will face "a heavy responsibility before God". He added that the shortage of fuel supplies for high-fuel economies - "heavy-car-using economies to put it bluntly" - will be a factor in destabilising global politics in the next decade.

But an audit of the Church Commissioners' investments shows its oil shares increased in value by œ46.9m last year. Its portfolio includes more than 12 million pounds of shares in Exxon Mobil, the American oil group blamed for the world's biggest environmental disaster when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off Alaska in 1989. The firm, which has funded research groups that claim climate change is a "myth", is appealing against a 2.8 billion pound fine for the spillage in the American courts.

Williams is chairman of the commissioners, who also have investments in BP worth 140 million and shares in Shell totalling 80 million. Another investment is BAA, the airports group, which has been partly blamed for the rise in carbon emissions because of the way it has encouraged cheap air travel.

Dan Lewis, of the Economic Research Council, a think tank, said: "If anyone wanted proof that for some people global warming has become a religion this is it. It is hilarious that the church has shares in Exxon." But John Reynolds, chairman of the Church of England's ethical advisory group, said: "The investments we have allow us to have an active dialogue with the oil companies about the environment." A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said: "The archbishop's leadership has never been about micro-management and investment decisions. It is more about leading by example."

The Sunday Times


British Greens hate air travel

Britons are set to take more than half a billion flights a year by 2030, with thousands of homes across the country facing greater increases in noise and pollution than the government has forecast. The air transport White Paper just two years ago predicted that passenger numbers would double by 2030. Now at least 10 airports plan to handle a growth even higher than that.

Ministers will also reveal tomorrow that politicians and civil servants fly the equivalent of 100,000 trips to New York every year on business as they launch a new promise to offset the carbon emissions of all flights by paying for schemes to reduce emissions from other sources.

The new growth figures mean the government faces an even tougher battle to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change - less than a week after admitting it will miss its key target to tackle the problem. 'If people thought the airport growth forecasts in the White Paper were bad enough, they will be shocked to find out that even those can be exceeded so substantially and so quickly,' said Anthony Rae, a regional air campaigner for Friends of the Earth. 'If you go beyond the 480m to 500m-520m [passengers a year], we don't know what the upper limit would be, it simply makes the problems worse.'

The White Paper controversially set out dozens of schemes to expand and build new runways and terminals to accommodate a central forecast rise from 200m passengers a year to nearly 480m. The forecast included a range of 400m to 600m passengers, but the 480m figure has become the widely used benchmark. The report also acknowledged the environmental dangers of flying, but said aviation was 'essential' to the UK economy, and proposed expansion should be accompanied by measures to reduce air and noise pollution. The most high-profile and controversial proposal was to build another runway at Stansted Airport north of London, and another runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, but dozens more regional schemes were also given the go-ahead.

Since then, research by Friends of the Earth shows airports at Newcastle, Teesside, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, Blackpool, Southampton, Edinburgh and Glasgow have submitted 'master plans' for future growth which predict passenger numbers will rise beyond the White Paper projections. In addition, Doncaster Airport, which was excluded from the White Paper, now forecasts up to 14.5m passengers by 2030, and Coventry, which was a very small operation two years ago, is planning for 2m. Together, these airports are planning for an additional 39m passengers a year at least, which would take the government forecast over 500m.

Research by the Stop Stansted Expansion group also shows the government target to increase air travel from regional airports to 40 per cent of the national total by 2030 was already reached last year - largely driven by no-frills airlines.

Nationally the increase in aviation emissions would not be enormous, and currently aviation contributes less than 5 per cent of all UK greenhouse gas emissions. But the sector is already the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. Aviation emissions are nearly three times more potent as greenhouse gases because they take place high in the atmosphere. Because of this, one report suggests aviation alone will use up the entire UK pledged carbon allowance in the second half of this century. A Department for Transport spokesman said the government 'stands by' its own forecasts, which were in a range of 400m-600m by 2030, and stressed that the more ambitious plans had not yet been approved. The scheme to pay to off-set the carbon emissions of all government flights will be launched by environment minister Elliot Morley, and is expected to cost more than 1 million pounds a year.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


24 April, 2006


Britain's "Independent" newspaper is in fact Britain's no. 1 Greenie rag. But to save face, they do occasionally publish something that is not pro-Green. On April 1, they published a letter from Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. They published only the milder parts of the letter, however. Below is the full text of the original letter:

"Over the last few years your columns, and those of other leading British newspapers, have carried a steady stream of alarmist letters and articles on hypothetical, human-caused climate change. Similar articles in international magazines, such as the current issue of Time, have acted to exacerbate the propaganda barrage which faces the public. Each such alarmist article is liberally larded with words such as if, may, might, could, probably, perhaps, likely, expected, projected or modelled - and many involve such deep dreaming, or ignorance of scientific facts and principles, that they are akin to scientific nonsense.

The numerous letters that you have published so far in "Have your say on climate" exemplify the problem created by this alarmism, and by inadequate education systems, and it is not the problem of climate change. Almost without exception, your letter writers implicitly accept - as if they were articles of religious faith - that emissions of carbon dioxide are environmentally harmful, and that dangerous human-caused climate change is occurring.

The facts speak differently.

Carbon dioxide is a natural trace component of the atmosphere the presence of which carries many benefits. The two most important being that carbon dioxide encourages prolific plant growth, and probably also causes mild warming. ("Probably" because although the molecular properties of carbon dioxide make it one of a number of greenhouse gases, increasing its abundance causes both temperature positive and negative feedback loops, the balance of which remains unknown.) The latter fact notwithstanding, and despite a strong public impression otherwise, no simple or significant relationship has been established between the post-industrial increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide and increasing temperature.

Measurements from ground-based thermometers and independently from satellite and weather balloon sensors all agree (i) that a minor warming trend of a few tenths of a degree occurred during the last two decades of the 20th century, and (ii) that that trend has now flattened out. The warming occurred at a rate which is not known accurately but lies between 1 and 2 degrees C /century. Such rates fall comfortably within the multi-decadal warming and cooling rates of up to 3 degrees/century that occur commonly in the recent geological past. Ice core data from Greenland, and other geological data, show also that the magnitude of the late 20th century warming peak has been nearly matched or exceeded many times during climatic cycling in both the recent and deep geological past. Thus neither the rate nor the magnitude of late 20th century warming can yet be shown to be in any way unusual.

You are correct in identifying a huge problem with "climate change", but the problem is political, not environmental or scientific. The ineffectuality of the Kyoto Protocol now being apparent to all, climate policies in countries such as New Zealand (a Kyoto co-signatory with Britain) have descended to farce. One day a carbon tax is on, the next off. Politicians of all stripes reveal abysmal ignorance of the science of climate change on a daily basis. And that measures such as taxing farmers for farting cattle have been seriously entertained as public policy says it all.

A good place to start sorting out the mess would be to read again last year's House of Lords report on climate change, which contains much wise analysis, and at the same time to replace the government's evangelistic advisors on the matter with better versed persons."



Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom said on Wednesday, April 19, that if European Union countries continue to block its international ambitions it could redirect gas supplies to other markets. The move comes after the British Financial Times newspaper reported that the British government wanted to legislatively block Gazprom's acquisition of Britain's biggest gas supplier Centrica.

In a statement after a meeting between Alexei Miller, Gazprom's chief executive, and EU ambassadors, the company said: "It is necessary to note that attempts to limit Gazprom's activities in the European market and politicize questions of gas supply, which in fact are of an entirely economic nature, will not lead to good results."

As MosNews reported earlier this week, the Financial Times learned that the U.K. government had considered changing merger rules to block a potential takeover of Centrica, Britain's biggest gas supplier, by Gazprom.

Gazprom's CEO met ambassadors of the 25 EU states in Moscow on Tuesday, April 18, to discuss Gazprom's relations with Europe, and insisted the world's largest gas producer understood its responsibilities as supplier of a quarter of the EU's gas.

Wednesday's statement by Gazprom threatened to devote more of the company's supplies to fast-growing markets elsewhere if plans to expand in Europe - where it has ambitions to move into downstream gas distribution - were thwarted. "It should not be forgotten that we are actively familiarizing ourselves with new markets, such as North America and China. Gas producers in central Asia are also paying attention to the Chinese market. This is for a reason: competition for energy resources is growing," it said.

Gazprom said that, while it would fulfill its current contracts with European clients, any future relationship with these countries should take into account the Russian company's ambitions to move into the downstream markets. Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom, told the Financial Times: "We just want European countries to understand that we have other alternatives in terms of gas sales. We have a fast-growing Chinese market, and a market for liquefied natural gas in the U.S. If the European Union wants our gas, it has to consider our interests as well."

Gazprom's threats follow an outline agreement between Russia and China to supply the Chinese market with gas from Western Siberia, which is also the main source of gas for Europe. Given that Gazprom's reserves have been static for the past five years, the supply of gas to China will decrease the volume of gas available to European countries. Gazprom has made no secret of its ambition to supply up to 20 percent of the U.K.'s gas by 2015.

Other European countries have also expressed concerns about Gazprom's plans to take a share in their domestic markets. The EU earlier indicated it would be prepared to let Gazprom into its downstream market if Russia were to liberalize access to gas pipelines to other countries and independent producers - a prospect that Gazprom has ruled out.

MosNews, 20 April 2006

Report powers push for nuclear energy

A study by the West's energy watchdog is expected to show that expanding civil nuclear power offers the best hope of tackling global energy insecurity - a finding that would strengthen the hand of governments looking to build new reactors. The International Energy Agency, which represents 26 developed countries, is to support a study highly likely to make the case for greater reliance on nuclear power. The body is likely to conclude that nuclear power also offers the best solution for those governments wishing to meet emissions targets.

The agency's move comes as European concerns over the stability of Russian gas supplies intensify. This week Gazprom, the world's biggest gas producer, threatened to ship gas elsewhere if its European expansion plans were blocked. Earlier this year Moscow halted gas supplies to Ukraine in a price dispute, cutting the flow of gas to Europe for a brief period.

The industrialised developed world's energy watchdog is looking to nuclear power to guarantee security amid growing fears about the reliability of natural gas supplies, particularly out of Iran and Russia. IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said that security of supply and climate change were the main concerns in the years ahead: "We think security of supply will be a big problem." The decline of gas production in North America and in the North Sea would leave Europe and many other parts of the world hostage to a shrinking number of suppliers, reducing energy security, he warned.

Analysts said the IEA's study suggested backing for nuclear power was building up and could force an end to the decades of moratoriums and stalled reactor programs that followed the Chernobyl accident 20 years ago. One diplomat called the study a small step on the road to nuclear acceptance, while others noted that the de facto endorsement of nuclear by the IEA - which has never put its weight behind it - marked a major shift. All 26 members of the agency support the study, although their policies on nuclear power differ widely. Austria, Germany and Ireland oppose the use of nuclear fuel, while Spain, Britain, Italy and Sweden are reviewing whether to build new reactors. Britain is carrying out a review of energy needs that is expected to back building new nuclear power plants. The review is due to be completed by the northern summer.

The decision to allow the next World Energy Outlook, the IEA's flagship yearly publication, to analyse and probably support the use of nuclear power marks a big shift towards "the nuclear solution" by the world's developed countries. Andrew Wright, analyst at UBS, said: "The IEA is a respected, august body and when confronting opposition, national governments may well use the independent OECD agency (IEA) in support of their argument in favour of nuclear."

Europe has become increasingly reliant on gas from a few, increasingly distant suppliers as many of its nuclear reactors are near the end of their lives. Meanwhile, most of Iran's vast gas reserves remain untapped as its dispute with the West over Tehran's nuclear ambitions thwarts investment progress. The European Commission On Thursday urged Gazprom to stick to contractual commitments and warned it against threatening European supplies. The IEA, established after the 1970s oil shocks, is charged with advancing energy security and helping inform the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development on energy policy.


REQUIEM FOR ENVIRONMENTALISM (From a rather surprising source)

Environmentalism is dead; long live the environment!

This pronouncement might seem a touch premature, especially to the 500 million people who will celebrate the 37th Earth Day this weekend-a collective "not dead yet" wheeze. However, these numbers mask the growing irrelevance of the environmentalist movement. Having lost its credibility with alarmist rhetoric and obsolete ideological ballast, the movement must develop a moderate discourse while challenging its previous assumptions and outdated theories.

The contemporary environmentalist movement faces a stark choice: change tactics or fade into irrelevance. Over the past decade, environmentalists have achieved few political victories and utterly failed to influence the general public. As indicated by a recent MIT study, the public knows little about environmental problems, and cares less. Out of 21 national and international issues, Americans ranked environmental problems 13th, well below terrorism, taxes, crime, and drugs.

Alarmism - the environmental movement's basic strategy - has led to this dead end. Since Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," the movement has been dominated by doomsday scenarios. Even on the first Earth Day in 1970, biologist George Wald predicted that "civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken" while the New York Times warned that "man must stop pollution and conserve his save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction." Fortunately, such apocalyptic forecasts have repeatedly proven to be wrong.

Take biologist Paul Ehrlich's popular Malthusian broadside, "The Population Bomb." Farsighted Ehrlich predicted that a "population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," causing world-wide famine and the death of "hundreds of millions of people" annually from starvation. Oops-in the subsequent 35 years, increased agricultural productivity exceeded population growth and the total amount of cultivated land barely increased.

Ehrlich is hardly alone; the environmental movement has spawned a remarkable number of would-be Cassandras. Between 1970 and 2006, global cooling predictions mysteriously morphed into global warming fears. Concerns about rampant Dodo-ism proved baseless: the rate of animal extinction in the U.S. has been declining since the 1930s, and only seven species have gone extinct since 1973. And rather than running out of resources, the world has experienced a commodity glut, with the prices of most metals and minerals dropping by 30 to 50 percent. The litany of failed apocalypses goes on.

Not that this history of crying wolf has chastened contemporary environmentalists. Activists and researchers still issue dire warnings with mind-numbing regularity. Just three weeks ago, a panic-stricken Time magazine story on global warming shouted, "Be Worried, Be Very Worried." Harping on worst-case scenarios like a 220-foot rise in the ocean's water level, the article more closely resembled "The Day After Tomorrow" than a serious report.

Although such scare mongering persists, it has reached the point of diminishing returns. Knowing the movement's track record of false alarms, the American public dismiss dire environmental warnings out of hand. Moreover, these alarming reports attract a disproportionate amount of media attention, discrediting the environmentalist movement twice over: First when the sensational predictions drown out more plausible reports, then again when the highly-publicized disaster fails to occur.

Contrary to popular opinion, the U.S. environment is getting healthier. The U.S. population has more than doubled since 1970, yet forest coverage has increased. Measurements of major air pollutants-sulfur, suspended particulates, and carbon monoxide-have registered declines of 15 to 75 percent. Likewise, the number of healthy rivers and lakes has roughly doubled since the first Earth Day, and Lake Erie, declared "dead" in the 1970s, now supports a healthy fishing industry. There are exceptions to this positive trend, but the overall direction is unmistakable: The U.S. natural environment is improving.

Of course, environmentalists claim credit for this trend. Alarmists can't lose: either doomsday comes true, or their warnings averted disaster. Certainly, part of the positive trend is due to activism and government regulations, but much of the change is a result of increased technological efficiency as well as longstanding trends that predate the rise of environmentalism.

Although the impact of the movement's past achievements is uncertain, its future success clearly depends on a fundamental reevaluation of long-unquestioned theories and policies. Doomsday warnings no longer shock the public into action; instead, environmentalists need to develop moderate arguments that don't depend on the 'stick' of calamity. This means abandoning Soviet-style "command-and-control" regulation, epitomized by the Kyoto Treaty, and exploring ideas, like the use of DDT, that are currently considered heretical.

Thus, on the 37th anniversary of Earth Day, the environmental movement is looking increasingly long in the tooth. Alarmist environmentalists have overshadowed moderate, careful researchers, and undermined the credibility of the entire movement. Until environmentalists cease depending on nightmare scenarios, they will fail to influence the public at large. Let the next generation of environmentalists begin to reestablish the movement's credibility by exploring currently heretical ideas and producing moderate, nuanced reports, even if they do not make for good press.

The Harvard Crimson, 20 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


23 April, 2006

Scientists cool outlook on global warming

Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted. Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced yesterday that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions."

Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the Duke researchers noted that some observational studies predicted that the Earth's temperature could rise as much as 16 degrees in this century because of an increase in carbon dioxide or other so-called greenhouse gases. The Duke estimates show the chances that the planet's temperature will rise even by 11 degrees is only 5 percent, which falls in line with previous, less-alarming predictions that meteorologists made almost three decades ago.

In recent years, much academic research has indicated otherwise, often in colorful terms and citing the United States as the biggest contributor to global warming. This month, a University of Toronto scientist predicted that a quarter of the planet's plants and animals would be extinct by 2050 because of rising temperatures. On Wednesday, two geophysics professors at the University of Chicago warned those who eat red meat that their increased flatulence contributes to greenhouse gases. Last year, Oregon State University research linked future "societal disruptions" with global warming, while the Carnegie Institution reported that the insulating influence of northern forests alone would raise the Earth's temperature by 6 degrees. In 2004, Harvard University scientists informed Congress that warming had doomed the planet to climatic "shocks and surprises."

The Duke research, however, found substantial ups and downs in the Earth's temperature before modern times, countering other studies that confine noticeable temperature increases to the industrialized era. Marked climate change in other centuries resulted from "external forcing," said the Duke findings, citing volcanic eruptions and other influences. "Our reconstruction supports a lot of variability in the past," said research director Gabriele Hegerl of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

Although her study found that the Earth is, indeed, warming, Ms. Hegerl discounts dire predictions of skyrocketing temperatures. The probability that the climate's "sensitivity" to greenhouse-gas levels would result in drastically higher temperatures is "substantially" reduced, she said. Ms. Hegerl and her four-member team based their conclusions on thermometer readings over the past century, along with "ancient climate records," including tree-ring studies and ice-core samples that revealed hot and cold spells and airborne particulates over a 700-year period. In addition, they created 1,000 computer-based weather simulations for the past 1,000 years. "Ancient and modern evidence suggest limits to future global warming," the study concluded. It was published in the journal Nature.


Earth Day Information Center Cites Environmental Progress

Although many environmental organizations will strain to find the black lining in the silver cloud of environmental progress on the occasion of Earth Day, the Earth Day Information Center, a project of The National Center for Public Policy Research, is pleased to note environmental progress in many areas. Earth Day is Saturday, April 22.

"The air we breathe and the water we drink is substantially cleaner than it was at the time of the first Earth Day in 1970," said Peyton Knight, director of environmental and regulatory affairs for the National Center, adding, "Of course, good news on the environment, of which there is much, rarely makes the cut for the broadcast evening news."

The Earth Day Information Center notes that volatile organic compound emissions from cars and trucks, which are largely responsible for creating ground level ozone and smog, have declined 73.8 percent since 1970. In addition, between 1993 and 2002, aggregate emissions of the six principle air pollutants tracked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have declined 19 percent.

Cleaner air has made for good news on the acid rain front as well. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions - the main pollutants in the formation of acid rain - have been markedly reduced. Sulfur dioxide emissions in the electric power industry are down 38 percent from 1980 levels, and nitrogen oxide emissions for the entire power industry are 37 percent below 1990 levels according to the EPA.

The Center also notes that despite some claims to the contrary, the United States is gaining wetlands. "In 2002 and 2003, the United States gained a net average of 72,000 acres of wetlands each year," said Knight. The U.S. Department of Agriculture observes that net wetland acreage also grew at a rate of 26,000 acres per year between 1997 and 2001.

"The best way to ensure a healthier, cleaner world is to allow the power of human ingenuity to come to grips with environmental challenges confronting us," said National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen. "Technological innovation and well-protected property rights - not micro-management through bureaucratic fiat - will enable people the world over to live longer, healthier lives. Sadly, this message seems completely lost on an environmentalist establishment that is more concerned with fund-raising through fear-mongering than with providing common sense solutions," says Cohen, "The very things they attack, man-made chemicals, for example, have helped eradicate diseases, purify drinking water, create life-saving medicines and medical devices, and brought about countless other improvements in our daily lives."

Though progress has been made in clean air, water, and wetlands, there is at least one environmental issue area where advancement has been lacking: Endangered species recovery.

The House of Representatives approved the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act last year, which aims to remove some of the barriers to species recovery that are present in the current Endangered Species Act. However, this reform effort has been met with strong resistance from the environmental community. "In the 33-year history of the Endangered Species Act, less than one percent of species listed as endangered or threatened under the Act have been recovered," notes Knight. "While most would consider a less-than-one-percent recovery rate a failure, many environmentalists apparently consider it good enough to continue the status quo."



A climate model program downloaded by thousands of PC users had an internal error that meant it overstated how hot the world might get. Oops.

Researchers behind a much-hyped climate model downloaded by hundreds of thousands of home PC users have had to admit that many of their results are wrong because of errors in the program. And it's not just their software that's flawed.

The software, produced by Oxford University in conjunction with a consortium of research institutions, was launched with great fanfare in February by the BBC. Around 200,000 people downloaded the programme, which runs in the background on PCs, each one working on one of thousands of very slightly different scenarios about how the world's climate might change in the future.

However, after two months it's been discovered that there were errors in a data file which was supposed to take account of particles in the atmosphere that suppress rising temperatures. Consequently, the world was - virtually, at least - getting too hot, too quickly.

The project's principal investigator, Dr Myles Allen, found a silver lining to this climate-modelling cloud. 'What we've seen in the runs is the unadulterated impact of global warming which means that all of the models have warmed up too fast', he told BBC News. 'At some point in the future, we may have done an experiment like this anyway.'

The real problem is not an individual cock-up in one computer program, but the excessive reliance on models in the broader debate about global warming.

That is not to say models are completely without value. It is reasonable to put together our best guesses as regards future trends like gas emissions, population change, solar outputs and so on with what we know about climate physics to produce some broad estimates about what might happen next. But these are sophisticated guesstimates, no more. They allow us to think through what are the parameters of the discussion; they do not represent viable predictions of the future.

There are many good reasons why the models will be inadequate, not the least being the possibility of bias, conscious or unconscious, in the initial setup. For one thing, the data we have will always be incomplete. Satellite measurements are better than they were in the past, but they only go back to the late Seventies. Before that, weather records are based on stations that were unevenly spread, with relative high concentrations in developed countries and relatively few over the 70 per cent of the Earth covered by water.

The physics of individual climate elements is not fully understood, particularly in relation to clouds; we don't know how much cloud will be produced in a warming world and what the net effect of that cloud will be. In addition, new announcements from research teams are made regularly about factors that hadn't been fully appreciated before.

Also, models are, by their very nature, simplifications of the real world. Consider a non-climate example: the Millennium Bridge in London. This was a relatively simple system to model. But when the bridge opened in June 2000 it had to be quickly closed again because the effect of people actually walking on it caused the whole thing to 'wobble'. So even engineers with far less complex problems than world climate to solve can get things badly wrong.

Which brings us to the bottom line in climate modelling. How can we test that the models actually work? Attempts to see how the models replicate the known temperature from the past are problematic because we know, given the inadequate coverage and mixed standard of ground-based weather stations in previous decades, that this temperature record is incomplete and almost certainly inaccurate. We could wait a few decades to see how real temperatures pan out, but that rather defeats the object of the exercise, especially if you believe we'll all be parched or drowned in a century's time.

So, we should accept the conclusions of climate models critically, and look into how other sources of experience agree or disagree with them. But unfortunately, this is not what happens. Instead, for reasons quite unrelated to climate science, each new set of results and each new report is leapt upon by one side or the other as confirmation of their own position.

Take the recent comments by Britain's chief scientific adviser to the government, Sir David King. On BBC Radio 4's Today programme he said, 'If you ask me where do we feel the temperature is likely to end up if we move to a level of carbon dioxide roughly twice the pre-industrial level - and the level at which we would be optimistically hoping we could settle - the temperature rise could well be in excess of three degrees celsius.'

This immediately sparked fevered discussion about how many millions - or billions - of people would be effected. In fact, the effect of that rise in carbon dioxide in isolation from other factors would be about one degree celsius. Whether the temperature would rise more than this depends on feedback effects that are still not properly understood. Plucking one figure out from a report as if there were any certainty about it is unhelpful.

The discussion, driven by excessive enthusiasm for one particular form of research, is one-sided and perverse. It is one-sided because it very often ignores the fact that societies adapt to changing circumstances. If the world did see a significant rise in temperature overnight, it is quite likely that there would be dramatic and negative consequences for many people - although equally, warmer weather would benefit other areas, too. However, over the course of the next century it is perfectly possible to change how land is used, to build flood defences and create proper water supply infrastructure, especially if societies become wealthier in the meantime. So anything that holds back development would cause far more problems than it would solve.

And the discussion is perverse because it ignores very major problems in the here and now in favour of flagging up some potential medium-term apocalypse. These are not just technical or scientific problems, either. Why is it, in the twenty-first century, that so much of the world lives such a marginal existence that changing weather patterns could prove disastrous for them? That is a political problem that has slipped a long way down the agenda in popular debate.

Most perversely of all, the discussion of climate science has become a political clash between, in the main, environmentalists on one side and free marketeers on the other - while political debate about the best future direction of society is left in the hands of climate modellers.

Spiked Online, 20 April 2006

Australia: Wind energy drops off the perch

Never mind the orange-bellied parrot. Wind energy, one of the ethical investment sector's great success stories over the past decade, has passed its peak. "It's not only peaked, it's stopped," says Garry Weaven, Australia's biggest wind farmer. Weaven chairs Industry Funds Management, which last year paid a hefty $788 million for the formerly-listed Pacific Hydro energy company. Weaven blames the federal Government, "so clearly operating at the behest of the aluminium and coal lobbies".

Wind currently supplies about 2 per cent of our annual electricity generation. That share was growing until late 2004, when the federal Government rejected calls to extend the national mandatory renewable energy (MRET) subsidy scheme beyond 2020. According to Babcock & Brown wind executive Miles George, it takes two years to build a wind farm and the 12 years left until 2020 simply aren't enough to make a return on investment. The climate change debate has shifted dramatically, with the focus now on nuclear rather than renewable energy.

Former NSW premier Bob Carr commented darkly last year: "You could have a wind farm across all of outback NSW that would kill every kookaburra but it wouldn't provide the base-load power we need." A fortnight ago federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell sparked a media frenzy when he blocked a proposed $220 million wind farm at Bald Hills in Victoria's Gippsland - ostensibly because it threatened the endangered orange-bellied parrot. That decision has called into question a $12 billion pipeline of wind projects proposed by companies including ANZ, Alinta, AGL, Pacific Hydro and various state utilities including the Tasmanian Government's Roaring 40s wind business.

You can almost hear John Howard laughing as greenies are forced to choose between climate change and protection of endangered species. But it's a false opposition. Weaven contrasts the destruction of 25 per cent of all species over the next 50 years under current climate change scenarios, with "killing the odd bird". He says there have been no endangered birds killed at Pacific Hydro wind farms and there are ways to reduce birdkill, like removing animal carcasses where birds of prey are present. The Australian Greens environment spokesman, WA Senator Rachel Siewert, cautiously agrees. "My understanding is it's not as much of an issue as was first thought."

Investors can still do well out of wind energy but all the growth is offshore. Babcock's $830 million Wind Partners vehicle has risen 31.6 per cent since it listed on 27 October 2005, from its $1.40 issue price per cent to $1.68 yesterday. Not a bad return, although the stock is well off its December $1.93 peak. Weaven says Pacific Hydro is also trading profitably and will deliver a return to its owner, the $1.9 billion IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund - in turn owned by about 2.5 million industry super fund members. He denies it overpaid: "Not one dollar in our valuation was based on new projects in Australia." But since the sale, according to AMP Capital Investors sustainability research manager Ian Woods, there is "no growth story" for investors looking for an Australian wind play. State governments - especially Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania - are promising support but that will be irrelevant if the federal Government steps in to block new wind farms, on whatever grounds.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


22 April, 2006

Time to consult a prophet, rather than profits

Comment by Andrew Bolt on recent pontifications from trendy Australian business leaders

When six business bosses lecture you piously on climate change, mind your wallet. Last Friday the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change warned -- repent! -- that "climate change is real". It had asked someone in the CSIRO, joined with the Australian Conservation Foundation, and settled what even the world's climate experts can't agree on. We face doom. A small rise in temperature will mean "97 per cent of the (Great Barrier) Reef could be bleached". We'll lose nearly half our cattle and other livestock through pests, heat and diseases. Rain won't fall yet storms will devastate forests, because "the tendency to more extreme weather events is well established in the scientific literature". We now had to slash our gas emissions, and even give cows vaccines to stop farting, so "we will have more time to adapt to a harder and more varied climate".

Naturally The Age, which has got green religion, reported all these claims as facts from impartial authorities. But now for real story. As I reported last week, the Great Barrier Reef will probably increase with warmer seas, say scientists from the CSIRO and Australian Institute of Marine Science. And if warmer weather indeed causes more pests, scientists are sure to find yet more cures -- the real secret to healthier stock. As for warming causing more extreme weather, a British House of Lords committee, which grilled 40 experts last year, concluded: "There is uncertainty and controversy about the underlying data required to substantiate this claim". Certainly hurricane centres, such as the World Meteorological Organisation, insist hurricanes are not getting worse through warming.

What's more, there is fierce argument over how much warming is even caused by man. Only last week, 60 top experts in climate science and related disciplines sent a letter to the Canadian PM saying "global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural 'noise' ".

Even if climate change is man-made, there is nothing Australia can do to change it in any way we could measure. Our emissions will be dwarfed by India's and China's for a start. So we're being sold snake oil that won't solve a problem that might well not be our fault. It might not even be a problem. The House of Lords report even suggested we might not be worse off with warming, on the whole, given how much better plants will grow.

So why might the six businesses say such wild things? Well, they include IAG and Swiss Re, two insurance groups who sure have a policy for nervous you. Then there's the paper recycler Visy, the gas (rather than dirty coal) power company Origin, the gimme-cash Westpac and BP, which changed its name from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum to make you think you're actually filling your car with flowers. Still want to believe we're doomed? At least consult a prophet, rather than profits.


Post lifted from Attack Machine

Liberals fancy themselves rationalists, free-thinkers unimpeded by religious doctrine. Which is amusing when you watch them get strident over environmental issues. I had a friend instantly reach a boil when I dared question the dogma of human-created global warming. And that was all I was doing, questioning.

Jonah Goldberg writes about Al Gore and his new film, An Inconvenient Truth::

Now, it's true that Earth has gotten warmer -- one degree since the 19th century -- and it will probably get warmer still. And it's probably true that human activity plays a significant part in all that. But it's also true that we don't have a clear picture of what's happening now, never mind what will happen. Just ask the 60 climatologists from around the world who wrote Canada's prime minister that "observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future." But that's all beside the point to Gore & Co., who say the time for debate is over. And if you disagree, get ready for the witch hunt. Major news media have gone after scientists who argue there's still time to study global warming rather than plunge into some half-baked environmental jihad that could waste possibly trillions of dollars.

As Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, recently lamented in the Wall Street Journal: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science."

And dissenters pay a heavy price.

In Vanity Fair, writer Mark Hertsgaard alleges that Frederick Seitz, the former president of the National Academy of Sciences and the former president of the prestigious Rockefeller University, was a shill for, of all things, the tobacco industry. A press release by the National Environmental Trust proclaims: "Scientist Who Spearheaded Attacks on Global Warming Also Directed $45M Tobacco Industry Effort to Hide Health Impacts of Smoking". Seitz, a giant in American science, says this is all "ridiculous, completely wrong." Now 94, Seitz explained to that R.J. Reynolds had given Rockefeller University $5 million a year for basic research. Seitz says he directed the money toward non-tobacco-related efforts in the study of prions (the virus-like proteins that cause mad cow disease), tuberculosis and other diseases. Prion researcher Stanley Prusiner thanked both R.J. Reynolds and Seitz in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

But Gore & Co. aren't troubled by such details because the smears are all for a good cause. That's why Gore saw nothing wrong in bullying dissident climate change scientists when he was a senator or waging a mean-spirited campaign to discredit the work of his old mentor, Harvard oceanographer Roger Revelle, because Revelle thought alarmism was unwarranted.

Hence the irony of the title An Inconvenient Truth. It is the GREEN scare that has no patience for inconvenient truths. For example, Gore blames the disappearing snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro on global warming, but a 2003 study in Nature identified the clear-cutting of surrounding moisture-rich forests as the culprit.

In the famously fact-checked New Yorker, Editor David Remnick pens a love letter to Gore in which he laments that Earth will "likely be an uninhabitable planet" if we don't heed Gore's jeremiads. Oh ... come ... on!

April 22 will be "Earth Day" and Chicken Little Marxists Have The Platform

Post lifted from Alain's newsletter

This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of left-of-center environmental activists will gather in parks around the U.S. to hear Earth Day speakers rail against capitalism and President Bush for failing to sign the Kyoto Treaty on the environment. Unfortunately, the Chicken Little brigade will undoubtedly monopolize media coverage this weekend.

The Earth Day speakers will do what they have done every year since 1970 when the first Earth Day was held: They will trash America as the fountain of all pollution; call for more government regulation of businesses; and continue fighting against energy independence for our nation. Ironically, on the first Earth Day, radical environmentalists were ranting about the alleged coming dangers of "global cooling." Today, they're ranting about global warming. So, which is it? As we will see, the jury is still out on how to interpret complex and incomplete scientific data on global climate changes.

To understand what will happen this Saturday, it is important to know the history of Earth Day. One of the founders of Earth Day was anti-Vietnam War activist John McConnell who proposed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969 that a day be set aside in the spring for Earth Day. His fellow anti-Vietnam War and environmental activists chose April 22nd as Earth Day.

Maybe it was pure coincidence that April 22, 1970, was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lenin, the first brutal dictator of the Soviet Union. But anti-Vietnam War activists at the time were more aligned with North Vietnam and the Soviet Union than they were concerned about American soldiers dying overseas. It is quite possible that this day was set for April 22 to honor their Marxist icon.

One of the leaders of Earth Day was David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth. Brower was described by one biographer as an "Archdruid," who treated the environment as a religion. In later years, Brower traveled to Nicaragua to show support for the Sandinistas, a Fidel Castro-aligned terrorist movement. The current head of Earth Day is Denis Hayes, who was the national coordinator for the first Earth Day in 1970. Hayes was interviewed by the National Resources Defense Council and told the organization that his greatest concern is "Human population growth ... we are squeezing other species into extinction at a catastrophic rate. But because the population issue is inextricably linked to such political third rails as immigration, abortion, racism, religious objections to contraception, and Social Security, our politicians resolutely ignore it."

Hayes' Earth Day efforts have been recently joined by a so-called "moderate" evangelical group called the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), which is calling upon Congress to pass legislation to reduce carbon monoxide emissions in the atmosphere. The far-left "evangelical" Pastor Jim Wallis, has also joined the ranks of the Chicken Little brigade.

However, an alternative Christian group, the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA), (of which Traditional Values Coalition is a member) has risen up to challenge the "Chicken Little" predictions being made by Earth Day advocates and the poorly advised EEN. The ISA urges that such Chicken Little scenarios be rejected in favor of factual analyses of climate change and whether or not global warming is actually harmful or helpful to the environment.

In a research paper published by the ISA, one scientist argues convincingly that global warming or increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may enhance agricultural productivity throughout the world! In short, climate change may actually help reduce world hunger. Another environmental expert, Paul Driessen, argues that if America signs the Kyoto treaty, the poor and needy will be needlessly harmed. Why? Because by increasing the cost of doing business due to environmental restrictions, many companies will raise prices-thus harming the poor. In addition, many low-paying jobs could be lost due to high production costs-and these quite often impact minorities. (Driessen is a policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death.)

In fact, more than 17,000 scientists have signed the Oregon Petition, a statement that challenges the belief that man-made emissions have contributed to overall global warming. They urged the United States to reject the Kyoto Protocol!

The Earth Day Chicken Little brigade will have the public platform this Saturday to rant against capitalism and humans "squeezing other species into extinction," but science is not on their side. And, fortunately, more and more voices of reason are being heard in the debate over world climate change-and what really needs to be done to solve whatever real environmental problems the world may face. The answer is certainly not to be found in the Marxist-driven proposals of Earth Day activists. Individuals truly concerned about the environment would be wise to read materials produced by the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, the Heartland Institute, and the Acton Institute.


A "major error" has been discovered in the world's biggest online climate prediction project, backed by the BBC. The fault in a model launched in February causes temperatures in past climates to rise quicker than seen in real observations. The program, which runs on users' computers when they are idle, aims to generate forecasts of climate change.

The project scientists have now fixed the fault and say the data collected so far is still useful. "At some point in the future, we may have done an experiment like this anyway," Myles Allen, principal investigator of the project told the BBC News website. "People have not been wasting their time." was established more than two years ago, but a new computer model was launched in February this year in collaboration with BBC Four TV. The simulation is more sophisticated than previous versions and provides the scientists, they say, with a more accurate representation of the real world, including an ocean that interacts with the atmosphere. The experiment uses "distributed computing", in which the combined power of numerous PCs is tapped rather than using a single supercomputer. Each participant downloads a program that runs unique climatic simulations from 1920 to 2080 to build a picture of the possible range of outcomes.

The error in the climate models has been traced to a file that is responsible for introducing man-made sulphate emissions into the atmosphere. Sulphate particles reflect sunlight back into space causing a cooling of the atmosphere, in a phenomenon known as "global dimming". "What we've seen in the runs is the unadulterated impact of global warming which means that all of the models have warmed up too fast," Dr Allen said.

The problem was picked up by scientists when a handful of the 200,000 people that have downloaded the program reached the end of the simulation. An announcement by Nick Faull, project coordinator of, was posted on the website's message board as soon as the scientists realised that the experiment would have to be started again. "I regret to announce that we've recently discovered a major error in one of the files used by the climate model," it read.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


21 April, 2006


An email from Vincent Gray ( to Benny Peiser:

From March 2nd to March 15th I was a Visiting Scholar at the Beijing Climate Center. It is situated in the midst of a vast complex comprising the Chinese Meteorological Service in the North West of Beijing, just North of the zoo. The buildings are large, modern and impressive, and it is evident that the whole service commands considerable prestige both locally and internationally..

I and my wife were supplied with a comfortable two-bedroom flat with new furniture and furnishings, which included fridge, phone, TV, microwave and kitchen, An exceedingly inexpensive restaurant and local shops were close.

I was welcomed by the Director General of the Beijing Climate Center, Dr Wenjie Dong, who had evidently been reading my material. I was asked to give three lectures over the fortnight which were received by an appreciative audience of fifty (for the first) to twenty five (for the third). The final banquet was chaired by the Vice-Director of the Beijing Meteorological Administration, Mr Xu Xiaofeng, who subsequently appeared on TV on behalf of World Meteorological Day.

I was introduced to several staff members and two of them gave me their recent reprints, in English, from Acta Meteorologica Sinica.

The most interesting of these serves to indicate how their opinions are evolving.. It was:

ZHOU Zongci, DING Yihui, LUO Yong, and WANG Shaowu, "Recent Studies on Attributions of Climate Change in China" , Acta Meteorologica Sinica 2005, Vol 19, 389-400.

You may be aware that when annual mean surface temperatures for the continental USA are subjected to a comprehensive correction procedure called "Homogeneity Adjustment" the resulting sequence shows only very modest overall warming (less than 1°C) for the period 1900 to 2000. They point out that such a comprehensive adjustment is not possible anywhere else in the world because nobody else has the large number of stations and reliable records for comparison purposes.

We also know (apart from people like Kevin Trenberth) that the published global surface record is biased upwards, as shown by recent statistical studies by McKitrick and Michaels ( Climate Research 2004 26 159-173, for land-based data) and Christy, Parker et al (Geophysical Research Letters 2001 28, 183-186, for sea-surface temperatures)

Now, Zhou et al have carried out a "homogeneity adjustment" on weather station measurements for China from 1900 to 1998.for temperature and precipitation. The corrected temperature showed a fluctuating behaviour with a peak in 1943 and a similar figure in 1998. No evidence of significant "global warming". Please note that this adjusted record has been endorsed by Phil Jones of the UK Hadley Centre.

On top of that, they have identified a large number of natural events which have influenced annual fluctuations. They conclude: "The signals produced by the human activities such as greenhouse gases and "brown clouds" likely play the role for the patterns. But the physical feedbacks and mechanisms still keep ambiguous and vague. More researches should be carried out in future to solve this issue"

It is evident that if comprehensive "homogeneity adjustment" could be carried out for the whole of the global surface record there would be little remaining "global warming" which could be attributed to the influence of greenhouse gas increases.

It might also be noted that the second author of this paper, DING Yihui, was one of the eight Chief Editors of "Climate Change 2001, and he is Co-Chair of Working Group I of the IPCC.


Unsurprising for the exhibitionists of Greenpeace, though

Two U.S. explorers plan to start a four-month summer expedition to the North Pole next month to gather information on the habitat of an animal they believe could be the first victim of global warming -- the polar bear. Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen plan to travel 1,100 miles by foot and canoe over the Arctic Ocean to test the depth and density of the ice in summer in a mission sponsored by Greenpeace, the environmental group said on Thursday. According to some scientific predictions, the Arctic Ocean could become ice-free in the summer within a hundred years. Polar bears cannot survive without sea ice and the U.S. government said in February it would consider whether the bears should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Unusually heavy snow and ice last year forced Dupre and Larsen to call off a similar mission, but they now plan to launch Project Thin Ice 2006 -- Saving the Polar Bear on May 1 from Canada, traveling to the North Pole and then back to Greenland.

"Last year I came face to face with a polar bear and while I was scared, I also felt a deep respect for the fact that I was in this bear's territory and that it was global warming that was forcing this magnificent creature toward the brink of extinction," Dupre said in a statement. Polar bears are losing weight as their hunting grounds melt away, making it harder for them to hunt seals, experts say. The polar bear population fell 14 percent to just 950 in the 10 years to 2004, according to Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Source. The vanishing bear myth is of course an old one which I have reported about on a number of occasions previously. See for example here and here


Article by Cathy Young:

It started early in March when Eric Pianka, an ecologist at the University of Texas who was named Texas Distinguished Scientist of 2006, gave a speech at a meeting of the Texas Academy of Sciences, filled with dire warnings about the fate of humanity and the earth. About a month later, Forrest M. Mims III, chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, posted an article about the event in a Web magazine called The Citizen Scientist. He asserted that Pianka advocated the death of more than 5 billion people from a virus for the cause of saving the planet -- to enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Mims's allegation, picked up by a local Texas newspaper, The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise, caused quite a stir on the Internet and a flood of angry e-mails to the Texas Academy of Sciences and the University of Texas. Meanwhile, William Dembski, a philosophy professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a leading champion of intelligent design, proudly announced that he had alerted the Department of Homeland Security to a possible Pianka plot to infect people with a deadly virus.

Meanwhile, many scientists, academics, and liberal bloggers have rallied to the defense of Pianka, who, they say, was not advocating apocalypse but simply delivering a warning about the disastrous consequences of humanity's profligate ways. They see him as a victim of a smear by creationists (Mims is also an intelligent design proponent) who want to portray mainstream science as evil and by right-wingers who want to portray liberal academics as loony extremists.

But while Pianka's critics may be seriously biased and lacking in credibility, this does not quite get Pianka himself off the hook. No, there is no reason to believe that he advocated actively bringing about an epidemic that would kill billions of people. Rather, he asserts that because of overpopulation, we are on the brink of a major epidemic that will wipe out 80 to 90 percent of humanity. And he seems to regard this as a good thing.

Texas Lutheran University senior and biology major Brenna McConnell, who was present at Pianka's speech, corroborated this on her (now-deleted) blog, where she expressed agreement with Pianka: ''He's a radical thinker, that one! I mean, he's basically advocating for the death of all but 10 percent of the current population! And at the risk of sounding just as radical, I think he's right."

And here is an excerpt from another recent Pianka speech, the transcript of which was made public by the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise: ''I think that right now has got to be just about the most interesting time ever and you get to see it, and, hopefully, a few are gonna live through it. . . . Things are gonna get better after the collapse because we won't be able to decimate the earth so much. And, I actually think the world will be much better when there's only 10 or 20 percent of us left."

It would be tempting to dismiss Pianka as an isolated crank. Unfortunately, an apocalyptic, human-hating mentality is a strain that has long been present in environmentalism. In 1989, David Graber, a research biologist with the National Park Service, wrote in the Los Angeles Times: ''We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the earth. . . . Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

Most Americans are environmentalists in the sense that they like clean air, clean water, and the preservation of wilderness areas. But for many, environmentalism has become a secular religion with its own fanatics. Some speak of nature's wrath in transparently religious terms. Vanity Fair essayist James Wolcott has rhapsodized on his website about the destructive power of hurricanes as payback for ''the havoc mankind has wreaked upon nature," concluding, ''The gods are not pleased."

It's quite true that mistrust of science is all too common in American society, and the flames of this hostility are fanned by the religious right. But we should also beware of zealots in scientific garb who can only give ammunition to the enemies of science and reason.

Green/Left dam-phobia costs Queenslanders

But even the costly alternative does not please the unpleasable Greenies

Water authorities have begun planning for a second desalination plant as the long-running drought tightens its grip on southeast Queensland. The proposal, which would complement the Gold Coast's plans for a desalination plant, is being described as a "contingency option" in SEQWater's regional drought strategy. The plans were revealed as the Beattie Government battled Opposition attacks over its failure to construct any new dams to bring relief to the state's parched southeast.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg yesterday vowed to begin building the proposed Wyaralong Dam near Beaudesert in his first year in government if he won the next election. The Government is investigating two new dam sites in the southeast corner, but the Premier's office would not comment on the matter last night. Officially, the Government continues to focus on conserving water, relying on tighter restrictions, recycled water pipelines, a water grid, water main repairs and pressure reductions to ensure dams remain above 10 per cent. Water Minister Henry Palaszczuk's spokesman said the desalination issue remained under review. SEQWater said a decision about the second plant was due in June.

The Gold Coast City Council plans to build a desalination plant at Tugun to supply 110 million litres of water a day. The plant is expected to cost about $1 billion to build and operate. The second plant, generating 120 million litres a day, would be one of the largest in Australia. But there is no detail yet on where it could be constructed. The first plant is slated for completion by June 2008; the second by March 2009.

Queensland Conservation Council officer Henry Boer said greater community consultation was needed because the plants had environmental impacts and were costly. "These plants use a lot of electricity and have high greenhouse gas emissions," he said. "They are by far the most expensive supply option and the public will have to pay through their water bills." Redlands Mayor Don Seccombe said he was also opposed to the plants, citing cost and premature timing.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


20 April, 2006


Part of the mercury phobia. I have got plenty of dental amalgam in my mouth and at age 62 I still seem to be doing OK! Maybe having mercury in your head makes you disbelieve hysterical claims! That conclusion is as logical as many other claims you see in this field

Two long-awaited, government-funded studies found no evidence that dental fillings containing mercury can cause IQ-lowering brain damage or other neurological problems in children. Children with such fillings were no more likely than other youngsters to suffer such problems, the researchers found. Some experts found the findings powerfully reassuring. But the studies are unlikely to end the fierce debate over the long-term effects of what are known as amalgam fillings, and some advocates bitterly accused the researchers of conducting unethical experiments on children.

Amalgam fillings, also called silver fillings, are made of mercury and other metals and have been used by dentists for more than a century. But their use has dropped in recent years as more and more doctors switch to resin composite fillings, which are considered more appealing because they are white. Some advocacy groups and dentists have long contended that the mercury in fillings can leach into the body and cause harmful neurological effects, including autism.

The latest studies were published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. "We didn't see any indications of harm to these kids," said Dr. Timothy DeRouen, a University of Washington professor of biostatistics and dental public health sciences, who led a study of 507 children, ages 8 to 10, in Portugal to determine if mercury fillings had any neurological effects. "And we tested them repeatedly over seven years."

The other study, led by Dr. Sonja McKinlay of the New England Research Institutes, looked at the effect on intelligence, memory and other mental functions, and kidney function. It involved 534 children in New England, ages 6 to 10. McKinlay said she is confident that such fillings are safe for children in this age group, in large part because the youngsters were given far more amalgam than the average American child gets. "If there was no sign of any health problems from this study in these kids with all this amalgam in their mouths ... you know it is going to be safe for kids in the same age group in the rest of the country because they are getting much less exposure," she said. McKinlay also said that while the study revealed children with the mercury fillings had higher mercury levels in their urine, there was no evidence they had a higher incidence of kidney damage.

Neither study examined autism. Dr. David Bellinger, an author of the New England study, said that autism so rare that it wouldn't be expected to be found among the number of children studied. Also, any children with autism would have been eliminated from the study, as would other children with prior neurological disorders.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research funded the studies. "From a scientific point of view, it gives us the confidence that these findings are not equivocal and the similarity suggests that the results are real," said Dushanka Kleinman, the institute's deputy director. An American Dental Association official said the studies offer convincing confirmation of what previous studies have said. "This will give patients the reassurance they are making a safe and good choice," said Dr. Frederick Eichmiller, director of the ADA's Paffenbarger Research Center.....

Charlie Brown, counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice, an advocacy group pushing to end the use of mercury in dental fillings, said both studies ignore research that indicates mercury causes a host of physical and mental problems. Brown blasted both studies as unethical, saying that children or their guardians were never told of the potential risks of the mercury fillings. [Proving mercury harmless is unethical!]

More here

Confronting the New Misanthropy

The big question today is not whether humans will survive the twenty-first century, but whether our faith in humanity will survive it, says former Marxist Frank Furedi

Discussions about the future increasingly tend to focus on whether humans will survive. According to green author and Gaia theorist James Lovelock, 'before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be kept in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable'.

More and more books predict there will be an unavoidable global catastrophe; there is James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, and Eugene Linden's The Winds of Change: Weather and the Destruction of Civilisations. Kunstler's book warns that 'this is a much darker time than 1938, the eve of World War II'. In the media there are alarming stories about a mass 'die-off' in the near future and of cities engulfed by rising oceans as a consequence of climate change.

Today we don't just have Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse but an entire cavalry regiment of doom-mongers. It is like a secular version of St John's Revelations, except it is even worse - apparently there is no future for humanity after this predicted apocalypse. Instead of being redeemed, human beings will, it seems, disappear without a trace.

Anxieties about human survival are as old as human history itself. Through catastrophes such as the Deluge or Sodom and Gomorrah, the religious imagination fantasised about the end of the world. More recently, apocalyptic ideas once rooted in magic and theology have been recast as allegedly scientific statements about human destructiveness and irresponsibility. Elbowing aside the mystical St John, Lovelock poses as a prophet-scientist when he states: 'I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news..' Today, the future of the Earth is said to be jeopardised by human consumption, technological development or by 'man playing God'. And instead of original sin leading to the Fall of Man, we fear the degradation of Nature by an apparently malevolent human species.

All of today's various doomsday scenarios - whether it's the millennium bug, oil depletion, global warming, avian flu or the destruction of biodiversity - emphasise human culpability. Their premise is that the human species is essentially destructive and morally bankrupt. 'With breathtaking insolence', warns Lovelock in his book The Revenge of Gaia, 'humans have taken the stores of carbon that Gaia buried to keep oxygen at its proper level and burnt them'.

Human activity is continually blamed for threatening the Earth's existence. Scare stories about the scale of human destruction appear in the media and are promoted by advocacy groups and politicians. For example, it was recently claimed that human activity has reduced the number of birds and fish species by 35 per cent over the past 30 years. That story was circulated by the environmentalist news service Planet Ark and picked up by the mainstream media, and widely cited as evidence that human action causes ecological destruction. Our engagement with nature is frequently described as 'ecocide', the heedless and deliberate destruction of the environment. In short, humanity's attempt to domesticate nature is discussed as something akin to genocide or the Holocaust. The title of Franz Broswimmer's polemic Ecocide: A Short History of the Mass Extinction of Species captures this sense of loathing towards humanity. According to Jared Diamond, 'ecocide has now come to overshadow nuclear war and emerging diseases as the threat to global civilisations'.

Increasingly, the term 'human impact' is associated with pollution, wanton destruction and the stripping bare of the Earth's assets. Former US vice president Al Gore is concerned that the 'power of technologies now at our disposal vastly magnifies the impact each individual can have on the natural world', causing a 'violent destructive collision between our civilisation and the Earth'. Over the past 400 years, the human impact on the world, which led to the humanisation of nature, was celebrated by Western culture - these days, human ingenuity is regarded ambiguously or even suspiciously.

Indeed, the very idea of civilisation is presented as a force for ecological destruction. 'Civilisations have been destroying the living systems of the Earth for at least 5,000 years', says one misanthrophic account. According to some environmentalists, humans are a 'foreign negative element', even a 'cancer on the environment'. For radical environmentalists, the degradation of nature stems from our species' belief in its unique qualities. Such a belief - dubbed 'anthropocentrism' - is openly denounced for endangering the planet. Human-centred ideology, which views nature from the perspective of its utility for people, is said to be destroying the environment. And this tendency to depict humans as parasites on the planet is not confined to any small circle of cultural pessimists. Michael Meacher, Britain's former minister for the environment, has referred to humans as 'the virus' infecting the Earth's body.

Western culture's estrangement from its humanity

The rising popularity of a term like 'ecological footprint' shows how much resonance the association of normal human activity with destruction has today. This term, which implies that having an impact on the environment is necessarily a bad thing, is rarely criticised for its misanthropic assumptions. On TV and in film and popular culture, the development of civilisation, and particularly the advance of science and technology, is depicted as the source of environmental destruction and social disintegration. The idea that civilisation is responsible for the perils we face today depicts the human species as the problem, rather than as the maker of solutions. And the most striking manifestation of this anti-humanism is the belief that, if the Earth is to survive, there will have to be a significant reduction in the number of human beings.

The Malthusian objective of reducing populations is alive and kicking. For deep ecologists, the issue is straightforward - their starting point, as spelled out by leading ecologists Arne Naess and George Sessions in 1984, is that a 'substantial reduction in human population is needed for the flourishing of non-human life'. Numerous commentators embrace these Malthusian sentiments. 'The current world population of 6.5 billion has no hope whatsoever of sustaining itself at current levels, and the fundamental conditions of life on Earth are about to force the issue', warns Kunstler. The Australian academic David McNight has tried to reconcile neo-Malthusianism with his version of 'new humanism', arguing that 'creating a sustainable society based on human values will necessitate stopping the growth of human population and accepting limits on human material desire'.

If anything, today's neo-Malthusian thinking is far more dismal and misanthropic than the original thing. For all his intellectual pessimism and lack of imagination, Thomas Malthus believed in humanity far more than his contemporary followers do. He argued, in his book On The Principle of Population, that although 'our future prospects respecting the mitigation of the evils arising from the principle of population may not be so bright as we could wish.they are far from being entirely disheartening, and by no means preclude that gradual and progressive improvement in human society, which before the late wild speculations on this subject, was the object of rational expectation'. Malthus' reservations about the human potential were influenced by a hostility to the optimistic humanism of his intellectual opponents, including Condorcet and Godwin. Nevertheless, despite his pessimistic account of population growth, he said 'it is hoped that the general result of the inquiry is not such as not to make us give up the improvement of human society in despair'.

Over the past two centuries, Malthus' followers often disparaged people who came from the 'wrong classes' or the 'wrong races' - but despite their prejudices they affirmed the special status of the human species. In some instances, such as the eugenic movement, rabid prejudice against so-called racial inferiors combined with a belief in human progress. Today's neo-Malthusians share the old prejudices, but in addition they harbour a powerful sense of loathing against the human species itself.

It's worth recalling that Malthus justified ringing the alarm bells about demographic growth on the basis that the human race lacked the capacity and ingenuity to feed itself. Today, the anti-natalist lobby decries the fact that humanity has become all too successful at reproducing itself - and human ingenuity and development are depicted as the greatest threat to the wellbeing of the planet.

The loss of faith in humanity is strikingly expressed in the stigma attached to speciesism. Speciesism is the sin of elevating humanity above other species. Those who invented this Orwellian-sounding word think humans do not possess any morally unique qualities and people are no better than other lifeforms. They argue that those who claim a special or a higher status for humans are no better than those who talk about racial or male superiority. Animal rights activist Peter Singer defines speciesism as 'a prejudice or attitude of bias towards the interests of members of one's own species and against those of members of other species'. Although speciesism has not yet entered the vernacular, the assumption that it is wrong to prioritise humans over animals has become mainstream. Animal experimentation is increasingly seen as a crime and the boundary dividing humans from animals has become more and more porous. As Josie Appleton has pointed out on spiked, many people take DNA as 'their measure of moral value'. And since studies indicate that people share some 98.4 per cent of their DNA with chimpanzees, they claim that as proof of moral equivalence between humans and apes.

The new misanthropy

Our declining faith in humanity might be most clearly expressed in apocalyptic thinking about the environment, but it pervades everyday life. So it is frequently assumed that people have emotional deficits. We are described as having addictive personalities, or we're seen as 'damaged' or 'scarred for life'. Human relations come with health warnings. We don't simply pollute the environment, it seems, but also one another. We talk about 'toxic relationships', 'toxic parents' and 'toxic families'. Indeed, scare stories about the risks of human relationships are often very similar to discussions about the environment.

Susan Forward, author of Toxic Parents, compares the effects of bad parenting to 'invisible weeds that invaded your life in ways you never dreamed of'. Apparently parents emit poisonous substances which contaminate their kids in much the same way that humans pollute the environment. There is virtually a new genre of literature on the apparently poisonous nature of human relationships. There are books titled Toxic Bachelors, Toxic People: 10 Ways of Dealing with People Who Make Your Life Miserable, Toxic Relationships And How To Change Them, Toxic Friends, Toxic Coworkers: How To Deal With Dysfunctional People On The Job and Toxic Stress - all of which send the same misanthropic message about relationships as neo-Malthusians spread about population and the environment. And the metaphor is not confined to relationships. Public institutions also come with the toxic-warning label; consider these book titles: Toxic Churches: Restoration from Spiritual Abuse, Toxic Work, The Allure of Toxic Leaders and Toxic Psychiatry.

This reinterpretation of human relations as toxic is driven by a moralising impulse. Pollution traditionally involved an act of defilement and desecration; in previous times, to pollute was to profane, to stain, to sully, to corrupt. But when moral defilement is anticipated and depicted as being normal, pollution becomes a routine form of behaviour - with important implications for how we view humans.

Misanthropy has a profound influence on public policy and political debate. Back in the Fifties sociological research found that there was a clear correlation between how society viewed people and the prevailing political attitudes. One study of individuals' views of human nature suggested they were shaped by political attitudes in general. So attitudes towards the democratic ideal of free speech are directly influenced by whether we believe people are capable of making an intelligent choice between competing views. 'The advocate of freedom of speech is likely to believe that most men are not easily deceived, are not swayed by uncontrolled emotions, and are capable of sound judgement', noted this 1950s study. This implied a high level of faith in humanity. In contrast, 'the individual with low faith in people tends to believe in suppression of weak, deviant, or dangerous groups'. The study concluded that the 'individual's view of human nature would appear to have significant implications for the doctrine of political liberty'. People who viewed human nature positively tended to be more tolerant towards free speech and social experimentation. People who saw humans as being driven by narrow self-interest, greed and other destructive passions were inclined to support measures that curbed freedom.

Today, the growth of censorship, the criminalisation of thought by the enactment of so-called hate crimes legislation and speech codes, and the widespread frowning upon causing offence to individuals and groups is underpinned by the idea that people cannot be trusted to make up their minds about controversial subjects. Today's censorious imperative is driven by a paternalistic and negative view of human nature, and by a lack of faith in people's capacity to discriminate between right and wrong.

Not since the Dark Ages has there been so much concern about the malevolent passions that afflict humanity. Panics about Satanic abuse have erupted on both sides of the Atlantic, and throughout the Western world there is a morbid expectation that virtually every home contains a potential abuser. Predatory monsters are seen everywhere. People regard others with a suspicion that would have been rare just a few decades ago. Parents wonder whether the daycare centre workers looking after their children can be trusted; in schools, children with bruises arouse teachers' suspicion about their parents' behaviour, while parents wonder whether any physical contact between their child and his or her teacher is permissible. In Britain, any adult employee who might come into contact with children has to undergo a police check, and sections of the child protection industry believe this police vetting should be extended to the university sector, too.

The obsession with abuse is not confined to relationships between adults and children. All interactions that involve emotions, physicality or sexuality are labelled as potentially abusive. 'Peer abuse' is seen as one of the key problems of our time; others demand action against 'elder abuse'; and for good measure alarms have been raised about 'pet abuse' and 'chicken abuse'.

Renewing our faith in people

How we view humanity really matters. If we insist on seeing humans as morally degraded parasites, then every significant technical problem from the millennium bug to the avian flu will be feared as a potential catastrophe beyond our control. Today's intellectual pessimism and cultural disorientation distracts the human imagination from confronting challenges that lie ahead. All the talk about human survival expresses a crisis of belief in humanity - and that is why the real question today is not whether humanity will survive the twenty-first century, but whether our belief in humanity can survive it.

Despite Western culture's profound sense of estrangement from its human sensibilities, individuals possess an unprecedented potential for influencing the way they live their lives. It is only now that significant sections of the public have real, meaningful choice and control. We must reinvigorate the belief in autonomy and self-determination, and recognise that we have moved from the Stone Age to a time when people's transformative potential is a remarkable force.

We also know that history does not issue any guarantees. Purposeful change is a risky enterprise. But whether we like it or not, taking risks in order to transform our lives and ourselves is one of our most distinct human qualities. That is why, instead of worrying about our 'ecological footprint', we should take all the steps necessary for moving towards a better future.

Misanthropy threatens to envelop us in a new Dark Age of prejudice where we become scared of ourselves. In such conditions, we have two choices: we can renounce the human qualities that have helped to transform the world and resign ourselves to the culture of fatalism that prevails; or we can do the opposite. Instead of abandoning faith in humanity we can turn our creative energies towards taking control of our futures. Instead of being preoccupied with 'what will happen to us' we should search for answers to the question: 'What needs to be done to humanise the future?'

Human beings are not angels; on a bad day they are capable of evil deeds. But the very fact that we can designate certain acts as evil shows that we are capable of rectifying acts of injustice. And on balance we aspire to do good. Contrary to the fantasies of romantic primitivism, civilisation and development have made our species more knowledgeable and sensitive about the workings of nature. The aspiration to improve the conditions of life - the most basic motive of people throughout the ages - is one that has driven humanity from the Stone Age through to the twenty-first century.

If believing in the human potential is today labelled 'anthropocentrism' and 'speciesism', then I wholeheartedly plead guilty to subscribing to both of those views.

Running Out of Oil? History, Technology and Abundance

Are we running out of oil? That's what the doomsayers say. We are past our (Hubbert's) peak and it's downhill from here. War, famine, pestilence, perhaps even extinction - those are the apocalyptic scenarios posited by folks predicting the oil age is over and the era of stringency is nigh. Whether we are running out of oil or not, one thing we're certainly not short of is people who claim that we are.

The good news about this bad news is that, historically, the doomsayers have always been wrong. Almost since the first discoveries of oil in the U.S. in 1859, people have been saying we're running out. In 1874, the state geologist of the nation's leading oil producer, Pennsylvania, warned the U.S. had enough oil to last just four years. In 1914, the federal government said we had a ten-year supply. The government announced in 1940 that reserves would be depleted within a decade and a half. The Club of Rome made similar claims in the 1970s. President Carter famously predicted in 1977 that unless we made drastic cuts in our oil consumption, "Within ten years we would not be able to import enough oil - from any country, at any acceptable price." And so it goes today, where a slew of books and Web sites make fantastic claims about dwindling supplies of crude.

The chief problem with those who say the world is running out is that they have always looked at the issue the wrong way. Questions about energy supply shouldn't be thought of in terms of how much is available, but in terms of how good mankind is at finding and extracting it. In the years after Col. Drake discovered oil at Titusville, Pennsylvania, on the eve of the Civil War, wildcatters could only drill down several hundred feet. If we were confined to relying solely upon the technology available in the 19th century - or, for that matter, the tools available just three decades ago - then yes, quite possibly we could be looking at the end of oil.

But we don't use those outmoded technologies. Advances in seismology and engineering have placed well within our grasp supplies of oil previously considered inaccessible. Today they are easily and economically recoverable. Today's drills don't stop at a couple hundred feet. They bore miles into the earth. They travel laterally as well, so that a well dug in one spot might recover oil underneath locations miles away. Because of directional drilling, today one derrick can do the work that once took dozens, reducing the surface footprint of oil extraction. Energy companies today can drill far offshore, too, in very deep water. They recover deposits that doomsayers of the past thought would be impossible to get at.

Other technologies and advanced processes have boosted the recovery rates of fields thought to be tapped out. The Kern River Field near Bakersfield, California, for instance, pumped nearly 30,000 barrels per day throughout much of the first decade of the 20th century. After 1910, production declined for the next 40 years. The field was nearly abandoned. Innovations like pressurized steam and hot water injections changed that. Production at the Kern River field steadily ramped up after 1960, and the field has produced more than 125,000 barrels of oil per day since 1980. Recent estimates suggest Kern River still holds an additional one billion barrels of recoverable reserves.

That example mirrors the larger trend about oil. In 1970, experts believed the world had 612 billion barrels of proved reserves. Over the next three decades, more than 767 billion barrels would be pumped. Did we use up all the world's oil and then some? Hardly. Conservative estimates today place the world's provable oil reserves at 1.2 trillion barrels. New deposits of oil haven't been created. It's just that human ingenuity has come up with ways to get hard-to-reach deposits.

Expect that trend of increasing reserves to continue. Earlier this month the Department of Energy released a set of reports suggesting that enhanced 21st century oil recovery techniques might quadruple the amount of recoverable oil in the United States. DOE predicted that carbon sequestration technologies that inject carbon dioxide into oil reservoirs could soon add perhaps 89 billion barrels to the 21.4 billion barrels of proven reserves. More fantastically, government researchers found that "in the longer term, multiple advances in technology and widespread sequestration of industrial carbon dioxide could eventually add as much as 430 billion new barrels."

The same goes for Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer. The Saudis have 261 billion barrels of proven reserves. A year and a half ago, the Saudi energy minister suggested that number was way too small. "There are big chances to increase the kingdom's producible reserves by 200 billion barrels," he said. "This will come either through new discoveries or through increasing production from known deposits."

Questions about global oil supplies also must take into account unconventional sources of oil, like Canada's tar sands or shale oil in Colorado. These offer the promise of many hundreds of billions of additional barrels of oil that are currently extractable using today's technology. Processes for shale and tar sand oil generally are more expensive than conventional oil drilling. If crude oil were trading at $20 per barrel, investment in such extraction would not be viable. With the global price of crude trading above $60, however, they are attractive economically.

None of this is to suggest the world won't run out of oil one day. That could happen. It just isn't going to happen anytime soon.



The notion that mangroves offered some protection from the deadly force of tsunamis was wrong, and such a mistaken belief could lead to a greater loss of life in coastal villages, researchers say.

The results of a study published in this month's Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science journal disputes claim the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami's toll was lower in villages surrounded by mangroves when the earthquake-spawned waves struck.

The study re-analysed data from Indian research and said it was the height and distance of a village from the shore which protected it, rather than its surrounding vegetation. It found that mangroves offered little or no protection from a tsunami.

The Courier Mail, 5 April 2006

Benny Peiser comments:

"Wait a second. Whatever happened to the scientific consensus?

"As the clear-up from the Asian tsunami starts and the full damage is assessed, there is growing consensus among scientists, environmentalists and Asian fishing communities that the impact was considerably worsened by tourist, shrimp farm and other industrial developments which have destroyed or degraded mangrove forests and other natural sea defences. Reports this week from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia suggest the worst damage has been in places with no natural protection from the sea and that communities living behind intact mangrove forests in particular were largely spared."

(From The Guardian, 6 January 2005)"


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


19 April, 2006

Media Darling on 'Global Warming' Assailed by Colleagues

NASA scientist James Hansen, profiled by the New York Times, "60 Minutes" and other media titans as a renowned scientist with unassailable credibility on the issue of "global warming" and a victim of White House censorship, is actually a loose cannon at NASA who lied about the alleged censorship, according to one of Hansen's former colleagues as well as a current co-worker.

George Deutsch, a former NASA public relations employee who resigned his job in February, told Cybercast News Service that he was warned about Hansen shortly after joining the space agency. "The only thing I was ever told -- more so from civil servants and non political people -- is, 'You gotta watch that guy. He is a loose cannon; he is kind of crazy. He is difficult to work with; he is an alarmist; he exaggerates,'" Deutsch said.

Deutsch provided Cybercast News Service with agency internal documents and e-mails detailing the frustration among NASA public affairs officials over Hansen's refusal to follow protocol when it came to granting media interviews. (See internal NASA Memo here (PDF))

On Dec. 14, 2005, Hansen released to ABC News a letter to the editor, which he had originally sent to the research journal Science. Hansen was also featured in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," during which he declared that 2005 had tied 1998 as the warmest year on record. But according to an internal memo provided by Deutsch, Hansen failed to clear his scientific data or his ABC News media appearance with NASA headquarters in Washington. Hansen, director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told ABC News his scientific conclusions before he told his fellow NASA scientists and the NASA public affairs department, according to a memo dated Dec. 15, 2005, and entitled "PAO (Public Affairs Officer) Point Paper."

Hansen's release of the temperature information "was not properly coordinated with Headquarters and was disseminated without our knowledge or approval," read the PAO Point Paper written by Deutsch and fellow NASA public relations official Dwayne Brown. Brown, currently a senior public affairs officer with NASA headquarters, confirmed the memo's authenticity in a telephone interview on April 13. "NASA has not officially released any data declaring 2005 tied with 1998 for the warmest year on record, only Dr. Hansen has. Dr. Hansen acted independently of Headquarters and approved PAO channels when he spoke with ABC News and gave them his letter to the editor," the Deutsch/Brown memo stated.

During an interview earlier this month with Cybercast News Service, Deutsch elaborated on the agency's frustrations with the high-profile Hansen. "When you are as big a name as Dr. Hansen is, and you make a proclamation like that, it is really NASA policy."

Hansen's appearance on ABC News and his release of unapproved data caused internal anxiety at NASA, Deutsch said. "None of his [scientific] peers had agreed with [2005] being the warmest year on record yet, and knew about the findings saying that it was. "Why don't you tell the rest of NASA it is the warmest year on record before you tell ABC?" Deutsch asked. "This is one of those things that really, if you do it enough, it is a fire-able offense."

It was the subsequent effort by the NASA public affairs office to require Hansen to follow proper protocol when talking to the media that led the scientist to tell the New York Times in January that he was being "censored," according to Deutsch. "I don't think Hansen has ever really been censored," said Brown, a career civil servant with over 20 years' service at NASA. "We at public affairs have been very supportive of all our scientists. [Hansen] has always been welcome to talk about this data. I mean, we encourage our scientists to talk about the data. That is what they get paid to do."

Hansen's subsequent complaints to the media that he was being censored prompted an incredulous reaction at a NASA public affairs staff meeting, Deutsch said. "Someone said James Hansen is making claims of political censorship. And everyone in the meeting just groaned -- groaned, like 'What a joke,'" Deutsch said. "When you cry censorship and there isn't any, I mean you are crying wolf," Deutsch said. "So, [Hansen] wanted to do it his way. He's got a big ego, he's a control freak guy, and he wanted to do it his way, so he did. And he knows that there is not going to be any real crackdown on him. If someone is going to say something, it's not going to be a political appointee," Deutsch said.

The 24-year-old Deutsch was a political appointee at NASA after working for the committee that coordinated President Bush's second inauguration in January 2005. Deutsch eventually resigned from NASA when it was revealed that he had falsely indicated on his resume that he had graduated from Texas A&M University. Deutsch, who provided his university transcript to Cybercast News Service, was one class short of fulfilling the requirements for graduation at the time he took the job with NASA in 2005. "I had more credits than are required to graduate, but I needed one math class," Deutsch said, noting that he participated in the class of 2004's graduation ceremony. He also attracted controversy for recommending that the word "theory" be added to each reference of the "Big Bang" on NASA 's website. Deutsch said he was simply making recommendations to comply with Associated Press style.

He also denied published reports that he sought to prevent Hansen from appearing on National Public Radio last December. In January, Hansen's public affairs spokeswoman Leslie McCarthy told the New York Times that Deutsch had refused to allow Hansen to be interviewed by NPR because Deutsch considered the radio network "the most liberal" in the country.

Deutsch provided Cybercast News Service an internal NASA e-mail dated Dec. 9, 2005, which he claims shows that the December 2005 NPR interview request was treated fairly. Hansen's claims of censorship were a result of senior NASA managers wanting to allow scientists with more seniority than Hansen to do the interview, according to Deutsch. "His bosses expressed interest in doing the [NPR] interview. [The e-mail] proves we took the NPR interview request very seriously. We didn't brush it under the rug. We didn't do anything like that," Deutsch explained, adding that Hansen ended up doing a later NPR interview.

Deutsch said the NASA public affairs staff met with senior leaders at the agency to discuss the problems with Hansen, and the topic of firing Hansen was raised, but the conclusion from the meeting was that such an action would have "huge political fallout," so the idea was rejected. "Your first reaction is how can we stop this problem completely, and so that was one of the ideas going around," Deutsch said. "But it's never anything that people got too serious with or too far with because they realized it would be just way too dangerous. He would become a global warming martyr, and that is what he wants." Hansen sees himself as "this global warming guy fighting the big mean Republican bureaucracy," Deutsch added.

NASA established new media guidelines for its employees in March, but in retrospect, Brown acknowledged that miscommunication from all sides contributed to the Hansen controversy. "I regret that this played itself out. But the agency has always been open, will be open."

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Hansen publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004 and received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by Kerry's wife. In addition, he has acted as a consultant to former Democratic Vice President Al Gore's slide-show presentations on "global warming." Hansen, who also complained about censorship during the administration of President George H. W. Bush in 1989, previously acknowledged that he supported the "emphasis on extreme scenarios" regarding climate change models in order to drive the public's attention to the issue.

Several phone calls to Hansen's office seeking comment were not returned. But Hansen in February referred to Deutsch as "only a bit player" in the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's alleged censoring of science.


Climate and socio-political culture

Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog

There are interesting developments in the climate warming war. Channel 4 news on 13 April reported a systematic suppression of renewables in favour of nuclear at the core of Government, with overt support just "a pretense." They certainly fooled me, with Wales wasted with windmills and Scotland exposed to pollution with pylons to transport windpower. And Sir David King now says a 3 degree temperature rise is "inevitable." As inevitable perhaps as his predisposition to utter alarmist statements unsupported by science or evidence, but sure of coverage by a gullible media?

Meanwhile UK media bias is more endemic than bird flu. In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the National Post [copied to the Minister of the Environment, and the Minister of Natural Resources] sixty scientists call on Harper to revisit the science of global warming. I was happy to sign myself; there were few other Brits. Philip Stott complains justifiably

Except for the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail, the silence in the UK has been deafening .. there has been nothing from the Guardian, from the Independent, nor, sadly, even from yhe Times, and certainly not from the BBC. Yet, there can be no excuses. For one, I personally alerted relevant correspondents at The Guardian, at The Times, and at the BBC about the story.

And, just imagine the headlines if 60 senior scientists had written to encourage the new Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to act at once on 'global warming' and to support vigorously the Kyoto Protocol. The story would have been everywhere.

Richard Lindzen in a trenchant critique on reported climate science says [12 April]

Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.

He details the failure of formerly reputable science journals to publish papers which do not support the IPCC consensus. The loss of respect for science research will be hard to regain. The cost to society misled into mistaken energy policy will be crippling, as cheap energy is linked to economic growth. But I doubt that a propensity to exaggerate alarm is driven solely by funds and fondness for fame. The scientists I meet in Cambridge are all verdant green and mostly impeccable. They are not driven by money or they would not be here.

There is a deeper and more dangerous mood in society, and society produces the science it deserves. Most of my colleagues have no faith in markets, hate big business, multilaterals, executive reward, privatization, international trade - the whole panoply of capitalism. I daresay the same applies to schoolteachers and most government employees. And not all Guardian and Independent readers are social workers. Many are intelligentsia, PC executives and grand bourgeois in the shires. Were scientists to turn pure overnight another peg would be found in Europe on which to hang hatred of America and capitalism.


Canada's new environment minister, Rona Ambrose, declared the Kyoto accord's pollution targets unattainable yesterday as the country's own emissions continue to head in the wrong direction. Ambrose said the country's rising output of global-warming greenhouse gases is approaching 30% more than the 1990 benchmark identified in the international agreement ratified under the former Liberal government. "My departmental officials and the department officials from Natural Resources have indicated that it is impossible -- impossible for Canada to reach its Kyoto target," she said after question period.

Ambrose said the Conservative government will continue talking with other countries about reducing emissions, but said they, too, are coming to the conclusion that Kyoto can't be achieved. The Conservatives have vowed to create a made-in-Canada solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions rather than abide by the accord. "The next step is to start to talk about action and solutions long term."

Calgary Sun, 8 April 2006


A journalist agonizes:

In dramatic fashion - "Be Worried. Be Very Worried," read the cover line - a Time magazine story last week pronounced the debate on global warming over: ''Environmentalists and lawmakers spent years shouting at one another . . . but in the past five years or so, the serious debate has quietly ended." Worse, the magazine declared, environmental catastrophe is already upon us. Cyclones pound Australia, ''drought-fueled blazes" ravage Indonesia, and ''the sodden wreckage of New Orleans continues to molder while the waters of the Atlantic gather themselves for a new hurricane season." When disasters ''hit this hard and come this fast-when the emergency becomes commonplace-something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warming."

Unfortunately, there's one small problem with the claim that environmentalists and lawmakers, at long last, have come together on the once-divisive issue of global warming: They're still yelling at each other. Senator James Inhofe enraged greenies in 2003 by terming global warming a "hoax," a statement he has not retracted, while last summer the Republican chairman of the House energy committee demanded an accounting of the data and funding sources of three top climate scientists-implying their studies were cooked. As if to prove the point that Americans aren't on the same page, all manner of conservative pundits mocked the Time piece: George Will said we should be less worried about big oil and big coal than "big crusading journalism."

Yet in ignoring the likes of Inhofe and Will -and by shunning the small number of scientists who depart from the conventional view on warming- Time did exactly what many scientists have been begging journalists to do: It eschewed on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand reporting and threw its institutional weight behind the view of most scientists. "The Time magazine statement is a fair representation of the vast consensus of the scientific community," writes Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, in an e-mail.

As it happens, more and more environmentalists and climate scientists have been making the point that "objective" journalists are doing as much as anyone (except maybe Hummer enthusiasts) to forestall action on global warming. And journalists are struggling to figure out whether that's a fair charge.

Al Gore, for instance, includes some trenchant journalism criticism in his forthcoming documentary on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore cites work by the UC-San Diego science historian Naomi Oreskes, who examined 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles on global warming published from 1993 to 2003. Oreskes found that precisely none of those articles questioned either that global warming exists or that humans contribute to it. Nevertheless, Gore laments, most news stories about global warming quote a skeptic.

And on the website - a resource for journalists and the public run by several prominent climate researchers- Penn State's Mann has argued that given how few dissenters there are among scientists on the global warming question, it makes as much sense to quote one of them as it would to grant "the Flat Earth Society an equal say with NASA in the design of a new space satellite." also lays out the views its contributors say make up the foundation of modern climate science: First, the globe has warmed by 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years (0.3 degrees Fahrenheit per decade over the past three decades). Second, people are causing "at least the majority of this" increase. Third, the trend will continue if we keep pumping out greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide. Fourth, it's a problem and we should do something about it. (These are also more or less the positions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of scientists created to summarize work in that field; the National Academy of Sciences; and the American Geophysical Union.)

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Time's sciences editor, said the magazine listened to the arguments of people like Gore and Mann in deciding how to present its case. A Time/ABC News/Stanford University poll, he points out, found that 64 percent of Americans believe there is, among scientists, a lot of disagreement on this issue. Journalists share some of the blame for that, Elmer-DeWitt thinks. "We are all trained to tell both 'sides,"' he says.

Those who defend the consensus view imply (or say outright) that anyone who departs from it is either a shill or a crank. But making things a bit dicey for us journalists who want to report the story in a nonideological way is the fact that a few evidently honest scientists still buck the consensus.

One is Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. He accepts the view that temperatures, and the carbon dioxide gas presence in the atmosphere, have risen. But he argues that correlation is not causation, and in a paper delivered at Yale last fall, he made the case that most climatologists "fail to note that there are many sources of climate change, and that profound climate change occurred many times both before and after man appeared on the earth." The "signal to noise" ratio is too low for us to know how big a role human-driven change plays in the recent warming trend, he thinks, and he finds no cause for alarm.

Of course, to some, I have just done humanity a disservice by quoting Lindzen. (I admit that's possible.) Indeed, science editors at different publications split on the question of how much space to give to such views. Scientific American seems to give especially short shrift to them; in an interview, editor John Rennie referred to dissenters as "denialists" and said that to give them even one paragraph in a 10-paragraph article would be to exaggerate their importance.

Others, like Donald Kennedy, the editor of Science, offer more wiggle room. "There ought to be some effort to report where the majority opinion lies," he says, "but certainly the guys who have a different view ought not to be ignored completely." Lindzen, he adds, "is a smart guy: He ought to be pressed with hard questions and listened to."

Yet citing both the consensus and the outlier critics can still sow confusion, as Discover magazine learned last fall. In the September issue, Discover ran one feature that opened by stating, "few scientists of any political persuasion question the reality of human-induced global warming." In a separate interview, a senior meteorologist at Colorado State, William Gray, noted that he was "skeptical as hell." Several readers wrote in to ask what they were supposed to make of the contradiction-or they charged Discover with exaggerating the degree of consensus. (The editor replied that Gray was part of a tiny minority.)

Time didn't quote any dissenters. That may be defensible, but the magazine then hurt its credibility by lumping together global warming trends (on which there is near-unanimous scientific consensus), human contributions to those trends (very high consensus), and the implications of these trends (much more of an open field). Last month, in dueling articles in Science, for example, researchers fought over whether global warming has led to an increase in the number of intense cyclones worldwide. Time skipped the debate and let readers think we've doomed ourselves to be hammered by more and more Katrinas.

In the end, the consensus that Time invokes seems like too much to hope for-on almost any subject. Which is a depressing thought, if the apocalyptic scenarios are right. For as the global-warming dissenters stick to their guns, vested interests sow confusion, and journalists try to figure out how to write about it all, the mercury rises. And as Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton geoscientist, told Science last month: ''This is not an experiment you get to run twice."

The Boston Globe, 9 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


18 April, 2006


From a chronic attention-seeker

One of the country's leading climate scientists says there is "a good chance" for a "super El Nino" next winter, a powerful warming in the Pacific Ocean linked to wet winters in the Southwest. In a draft paper circulated to colleagues, NASA climate researcher James Hansen blames global warming for increasing the chance of extreme El Ninos. When they happen, such extreme El Ninos can wreak weather havoc worldwide, from deep drought in Australia to flooding in California.

Hansen's new paper drew a flurry of attention among scientists because of his standing as one of the nation's most prominent climate scientists. But the most common reaction was caution. "The graveyard is filled with missed El Nino forecasts," said Mickey Glantz at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. Scientists also questioned Hansen's El Nino-global warming link, noting researchers' predictions on the subject vary widely. "There is no consensus," said University of New Mexico climate researcher Dave Gutzler.

One of the strongest reactions came from Mark Cane, at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. "I strongly believe that most of what Jim Hansen writes about El Nino there is incorrect," Cane said in a phone interview Friday.

Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, sent a March 29 e-mail to a list of colleagues describing "a draft paper that I intend to submit for publication within a few days" and including a link to the paper on a public Web site. University of Colorado science policy researcher Roger Pielke Jr. made it public late Thursday afternoon on his blog. Hansen could not be reached for comment Friday.

El Nino and its counterpart, La Nina, act like a global climate seesaw, tipping back and forth every few years as temperatures and winds across the equatorial Pacific shift. When the seesaw tips to the warm side- El Nino- New Mexico and the Southwest generally have wet winters. When the seesaw tips to the cool side- La Nina, which we are experiencing now- things here tend to be dry. Similar patterns of extreme wet weather or drought follow La Nina and El Nino over large parts of the globe, which makes forecasting the phenomena of critical importance. "Predicting El Nino ... both on the seasonal time scale and for the next century is a key societal need," French climate researcher Eric Guilyardi recently wrote.

In his draft paper, Hansen argues that ocean conditions now, including a significant warming off the coast of Peru, are similar to those that preceded the extreme El Nino in the winter 1997-98- the strongest in the 20th century.

The 1997-98 event brought, in Cane's words, "worldwide notoriety" to El Nino, including a famous "Saturday Night Live" sketch in which the late Chris Farley played a bombastic professional wrestler known as "El Nino." In the United States, California felt the brunt of El Nino's wrath, suffering massive flooding. New Mexico received above-average precipitation.

Hansen's prediction is at odds with a forecast issued Thursday by the federal government's Climate Prediction Center, which noted significant uncertainty in the computer climate models used to forecast what will happen next winter. None of the 20 models surveyed by federal forecasters are predicting as strong an El Nino as Hansen suggests.

Gutzler urged patience, saying that there is no need for a 2006-07 El Nino forecast now anyway, and by September the forecast will be more clear. "Let's wait till the end of summer," he said.


A Greenie archbishop with a remarkably non-Christian agenda

The Easter sermon of His Grace, as reported below, shows no awareness that the man he claims to follow declared: "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36)

The Anglican primate, Brisbane archbishop Phillip Aspinall, said the significance of Jesus rising from the dead had been reduced to "an other-worldly concern to do with going to heaven when you die". He told the congregation at Brisbane's St John's Cathedral the resurrection was instead a call to be involved in "the re-creation of the Earth, and human society being put to rights".

Archbishop Aspinall said among issues modern society should address were acid rain, global warming, salination, water conservation, poverty, personal, corporate and sexual ethics, and the obsession with affluence. "What we do to support the people of Innisfail in the wake of Cyclone Larry matters," he said. "Making peace in our world matters. The Christian view doesn't see this life as something to escape from, that the material world is bad, that real existence is a spiritual one divorced from this world. That kind of thinking leads to abandoning the Earth to its dismal fate because the material world, in the end, doesn't matter. "The New Testament pictures the end not as us going up to heaven, but a new Jerusalem coming out of heaven because the home of God is among mortals."

So, according to the Church of England, you no longer go to Heaven when you die. Remarkable! I think most of his flock would be surprised. But I guess they weren't listening.

More here


April 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Anti-nuclear activists are still trying to turn Chernobyl into a bigger disaster than it really was. Although the Number Four nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded just before dawn on April 26, 1986, Soviet secrecy prevented the world from learning about the accident for days. Once details began to emerge, however, the anti-nuclear scare machine swung into action. Three days after the accident Greenpeace "scientists" predicted the accident would cause 10,000 people to get cancer over a 20-year period within a 625-mile radius of the plant. Greenpeace also estimated that 2,000 to 4,000 people in Sweden would develop cancer over a 30-year period from the radioactive fallout.

At the same time, Helen Caldicott, president emeritus of the anti-nuclear Physicians for Social Responsibility, predicted the accident would cause almost 300,000 cancers in 5 to 50 years and cause almost 1 million people either to be rendered sterile or mentally retarded, or to develop radiation sickness, menstrual problems and other health problems. University of California-Berkeley medical physicist and nuclear power critic Dr. John Gofman made the most dire forecast. He predicted at an American Chemical Society meeting that the Chernobyl accident would cause 1 million cancers worldwide, half of them fatal.

But the reality of the health consequences of the Chernobyl accident seems to be quite different than predicted by the anti-nuke crowd. As of mid-2005, fewer than 50 deaths were attributed to radiation from the accident - that's according to a report, entitled "Chernobyl's Legacy: Health Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts," produced by an international team of 100 scientists working under the auspices of the United Nations. Almost all of those 50 deaths were rescue workers who were highly exposed to radiation and died within months of the accident. So far, there have been about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer, mainly in children. But except for nine deaths, all of those with thyroid cancer have recovered, according to the report.

Despite the UN report, the anti-nuclear mob hasn't given up on Chernobyl scaremongering. According to a March 25 report in The Guardian (UK), Greenpeace and others are set to issue a report around the 20th anniversary of the accident claiming that at least 500,000 people may have already died as a result of the accident. Ukraine's government appears to be on board with the casualty inflation game, perhaps looking for more international aid for the economically-struggling former Soviet republic. The Guardian article quoted the deputy head of the Ukraine National Commission for Radiation Protection as touting the 500,000-deaths figure. A spokesman for the Ukraine government's Scientific Center for Radiation Medicine told The Guardian, "We're overwhelmed by thyroid cancers, leukemias and genetic mutations that are not recorded in the [UN] data and which were practically unknown 20 years ago."

Putting aside the anti-nuclear movement's track record of making wild claims and predictions in order advance its political agenda, I put more credence in the UN's estimates because it squares with what we know about real-life exposures to high levels of radiation. Among the more than 86,000 survivors of the atomic bomb blasts that ended World War II, for example, "only" about 500 or so "extra" cancers have occurred since 1950. Exposure to high-levels of radiation does increase cancer risk, but only slightly.

There is no doubt that Chernobyl was a disaster, but it was not one of mythical proportions. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island - the U.S. nuclear plant that accidentally released a small amount radiation in 1979 - are examples of how the anti-nuclear lobby takes every available opportunity to scare the public about nuclear power. But no one was harmed by the incident at Three Mile Island. The Chernobyl accident can be chalked up to deficiencies in its Soviet-era design and operation. Neither reflect poorly on the track record of safety demonstrated by nuclear power plants designed, built and operated in countries like the U.S., U.K., France and Japan.

It's quite ironic that while Greenpeace squawks about the need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in order to avert the much-dreaded global warming, the group continues spreading fear about greenhouse gas-free nuclear power plants - the only practical alternative to burning fossil fuels for producing electricity. Apparently, Greenpeace's solution to our energy problems is simply to turn the lights off - for good.



From Science Notes


What is the contribution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide to global warming? This question has been the subject of many heated arguments. In this article, we will consider a simple calculation, based on well-accepted facts, that shows that the expected global temperature increase caused by doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is bounded by an upper limit of 1.4-2.7 degrees centigrade. This result contrasts with the results of the IPCC's climate models, whose projections are shown to be unrealistically high.



Although carbon dioxide is capable of raising the Earth's overall temperature, the IPCC's predictions of catastrophic temperature increases produced by carbon dioxide have been challenged by many scientists. In particular, the importance of water vapor is frequently overlooked by environmental activists and by the media. The above discussion shows that the large temperature increases predicted by many computer models are unphysical and inconsistent with results obtained by basic measurements. Skepticism is warranted when considering computer-generated projections of global warming that cannot even predict existing observations.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


17 April, 2006

Top Ten Junk Science Stories of the Past Decade

By Steven J. Milloy. See the original for links

My web site celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 1, 2006. To mark the event, this column spotlights 10 big junk science stories of the last 10 years. In no particular order, they are:

1. The most toxic manmade chemical? That's what some called dioxin, a by-product of natural and industrial combustion processes and the "contaminant of concern" in the Vietnam-era defoliant known as Agent Orange. Billions of dollars have been spent studying and regulating dioxin, but debunking the scare only cost a few thousand dollars. Keying off Ben & Jerry's claim on its ice cream packages that "there is no safe exposure to dioxin," we tested Ben & Jerry's ice cream and found that a single serving contained about 200 times the dioxin that the Environmental Protection Agency says is "safe" - and who's afraid of Ben & Jerry's? Read more.

2. Dial "F" for Fear. Since the 1993 Larry King Live broadcast featuring a man suing a cell phone maker claiming his wife died from a cell phone-induced brain cancer, many cell phone users have worried about phone safety. But studies failed to identify any risk. The final blow to the scare came in 2002 when notorious trial lawyer Peter Angelos' $800 million lawsuit - alleging a Maryland physician's brain cancer was caused by cell phone use - was dismissed (like the 1993 suit) for lack of evidence. Read more.

3. Powerline scare unplugged. Fears that electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) created by power lines and appliances caused cancer started in 1978. Parents worried about power lines over schools. Consumers worried about electric blankets. Power companies worried about burying power lines. The National Academy of Sciences finally unplugged the scare in October 1996, concluding that no evidence showed EMFs presented a health hazard. Read more.

4. Hormone Hysterics. Tulane University researchers published a 1996 study claiming that combinations of manmade chemicals (pesticides and PCBs) disrupted normal hormonal processes, causing everything from cancer to infertility to attention deficit disorder. Media, regulators and environmentalists hailed the study as "astonishing." Indeed it was as it turned out to be fraud, according to an October 2001 report by federal investigators. Though the study was retracted from publication, the law it spawned wasn't and continues to be enforced by the EPA. Read more.

5. Secret Science? EPA air pollution rules issued in 1997 governing airborne particulate matter (soot) are estimated to cost $10 billion annually. The EPA claimed soot in ambient air causes tens of thousands of premature deaths every year. Congress asked the EPA to disclose the scientific data underlying the claims. EPA refused. A subsequently enacted law requiring that taxpayer-funded scientific data used to support regulation be made available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act has yet to be enforced. The EPA is preparing to make those very same rules even more stringent. Read more.

6. Obesity statistics lose weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added to our bodyweight panic in 2004 by announcing that obesity kills 400,000 people annually, a number approaching the death toll attributed to smoking (440,000). Criticism of the estimate from CDC's own statisticians caused the agency in 2005 to back-off the estimate - adjusting it downward by 93 percent to 25,814 annual deaths. Read more.

7. `Ear-ie' biotech scare. "Who plays God in the 21st century?" captioned an Oct. 11, 1999 full-page ad in the New York Times attacking genetic engineering. Placed by a coalition including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, the ad featured a photo of a shaved laboratory mouse with what looks like a human ear attached to its back. The caption stated, "This is an actual photo of a genetically engineered mouse with a human ear on its back." As it turned out, it wasn't a real ear and it had nothing to do with genetic engineering. A template in the shape of a human ear was seeded with human cartilage cells and surgically implanted on the back of a mouse. The cartilage cells grew into the ear-like structure. The technology's purpose is to help children who are either born without ears or who lose their ears through injury. Read more.

8. PETA: Milk drinking makes for future felons. With its web site repeatedly alluding to acts of animal cruelty committed in childhood as being predictors of adult criminality, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sponsored an in-school curricula teaching children that eating meat and drinking milk constitutes "animal cruelty. PETA's "Milk-Stealing Ming," for example, was depicted with his mouth attached to an unhappy cow's udder, alongside a "wanted poster" describing his crimes and exclaiming, "cows make milk for their babies, not for maniacs like Ming." Read more.

9. Choking on chips. Swedish scientists alarmed us in April 2002 that cooking high-carbohydrate foods - like potatoes and bread - formed acrylamide, a substance linked with cancer in lab animals. But even if lab animals were reasonable predictors of cancer risk in humans - a notion yet to be validated - someone of average bodyweight would have to eat 35,000 potato chips (about 62.5 pounds) per day for life to get an equivalent dose of acrylamide as the lab animals. Read more.

10. The Mother of all junk science controversies. The most important junk science story of the last 10 years is global warming. Though climate varies naturally and ongoing climate change is within that natural variation, the global warming lobby seems bent on railroading us into economy-killing regulation.

The Kyoto Protocol is being ignored by its EU signatories. Global warmers admit that the drastic and impossible step of halting all greenhouse gas emissions would have no impact on climate. Sky-high energy prices threaten our economy. Yet many yearn for global warming regulation. Read more.

Many other important junk science stories could have been mentioned here, but this column is too long already. When I launched, I never imagined there'd still be a need for it in 2006. After 10 years in the junk science trenches, however, I suppose it's possible that we'll be raising our champagne glasses again in 2016.


With warnings about global warming reaching a fever pitch in recent weeks--Vanity Fair is about to come out with a story featuring George Clooney and Julia Roberts on its cover--Americans are more convinced than ever that the Earth is being affected, but they have still not grown urgently concerned about it, according to a Gallup poll released today. Only one in three predict global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetimes.

Contrary to what one might expect, Gallup found that while public concern is higher than in 2004, they are "no higher than it has been at several points in the past." In fact, Americans are more worried about water pollution, air pollution, and toxic waste than global warming. This comes despite the fact that a record number of Americans, 58%, believe climate change as a result of global warming has already begun, and is the result of man-made operations, not natural cycles.

Gallup found that only 36% of Americans say they worry a great deal about "the greenhouse effect" or global warming. The percentage saying global warming will "pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime" is now 35%; 62% think it will not. The current percentage expecting to experience serious problems is similar to the 33% recorded in 2002. "Since 1999, Republicans' level of worry about the issue has dipped noticeably," Gallup reports, "while worry among Democrats has shown less change."

And Gallup observes: "Despite the increased concern about global warming this year, the issue still has a low ranking relative to other environmental problems, many of which also rose as public concerns since 2004. Since Gallup started measuring public concern about global warming in 1989, the issue has always placed near the bottom of a list of 10 environmental issues rated. Water pollution and toxic waste contamination lead the list this year, with more than 50% of Americans highly concerned about these. Air pollution and loss of tropical rain forests also rank higher than global warming. Acid rain ranks lower."

These results are based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,000 adults, conducted March 13-16, 2006.

Editor and Publisher, 7 April 2006



* The Kyoto Protocol is an ineffective instrument to face the challenge of climate change

* The European Union will unable to meet its targets under Kyoto

* More attention must be given to fast-growing, emerging economies

* A sensible climate agreement needs to be based on co-operation between developed and developing countries

* The issue lies not in curbing development, as insead in encouraging a cleaner development

* Climate policies are closely linked to energy and foreign policy

* The weakness of the European energy policy calls for the search of alternatives compatible with a stable geopolitical scene

* The proper course is the one outlined in Gleneagles and implemented in the Asia and Pacific Partnership on Clean Development

* Italy should leave the fruitless European course to joun the US-led Partnership

While assessing trends and projections of greenhouse gas emissions, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) warns that the 15 "core" EU countries will be unable to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Against a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 per cent below 1990's levels, "Existing domestic policies and measures will reduce total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions by only 1.6 % from base-year levels by 2010."

However, further states the EEA, achieving the desired goal is still possible: "When the additional domestic policies and measures being planned by Member States are taken into account, an EU-15 emissions reduction of 6.8 % is projected. However, this relies on several Member States cutting emissions by more than is required to meet their national targets, which cannot be taken for granted. The projected use of Kyoto mechanisms by nine Member States will reduce emissions by 2010 by a further 2.5 %." (emphasis added) The current circumstances, the unfavourable economic predicament, the fuzziness of the required "additional measures," and the inherent awkwardness of a strategy predicated on a generous and undue effort by some countries to offset the failings of the laggards make quite unlikely that Europe can even begin to come close to its commitments under Kyoto.


Climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity. The current state of scientific knowledge cannot satisfactorily explain what is happening in the Earth's atmosphere, let alone identify the its causes with any degree of certainty. Moreover, the rising temperatures will have a different impact from place to place. If, as it seems likely, warming is going to be stronger in the colder regions of the planet, it might produce benefits as well as costs.

In view of the complexity of the climate scenarios, the Kyoto Protocol-underpinned by unproven scientific assumptions and by a strategy that is in all likelihood ineffective and most certainly costly-is unlikely to be equal to the task of capturing the many facet of the problem. Further, by diverting resources to different uses, Kyoto threatens to close off the most promising technologies' developmental paths.

Under this respect, the Asia & Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate is based on a completely different-albeit not incompatible - paradigm (Japan, for instance, participates in the Partnership, but is also committed to Kyoto). Innovation, international co-operation and free market are the keywords for a proper understand of the new initiative. Moreover, the geopolitical events suggest the advisability for the developed countries to devise common energy policies that cannot disregard the development of shared and sensible climate policies.

Italy, in common with the rest of Europe, is bound to Kyoto. Unfortunately the making of our energy system makes meeting the targets set by the protocol an unlikely-not to say impossible-goal. Nuclear energy - the only emission-free and competitive energy source-was unaccountably rejected in a referendum held in 1987: Italy's energy mix is thus heavily biased towards fossil fuels. The traditionally high level of energy taxes contributed to make consumption unusually efficient, which in its turn makes the unit cost of emissions reduction among the highest in the Continent.

If Italy is the part of Europe that most feels the impact of Kyoto, it is likewise the country that-for a number of different reasons-is more in tune with America. In the recent years Washington found in Rome an attentive and often responsive partner. This might enable Italy to start a domino capable of breaking the spell that keeps all the EU's Member States - even against their interests-in thrall of Kyoto, often for sheer political ornery (although more concrete interests also play a role). The road from Gleneagles to Sydney makes more sense for Italy than the one leading from Brussels to Kyoto. In applying for admission to the Washington-led Partnership, Italy might trigger a shake-up of environmental policies, encouraging a shift from a ideological and statist approach to a pragmatic and market-oriented one.

Such a choice could not be charged of being senseless or devoid of economic and environmental benefits, but it would require boldness and steadfastness to face down the inevitable opposition, particularly within the European Union. In the long-term, however, the other EU countries might be thankful if Italy succeeded to cause a quantum jump in the quality and rationality of climate policies.

The forthcoming government will be at a crossroads: on one hand, it will have the opportunity to revolutionize European climate policies, on the other it might supinely accept to walk the easy but treacherous road to Kyoto. For sure, it is unclear where the narrow way that started in Sydney may ultimately lead, but we all know where the road paved with good intentions ends.



So smog makes us cooler!

"In the "You Can't Win For Losing" department, an article on the BBC web site is reporting that reduced air pollution and increased water evaporation appears to be adding to man-made global warming. Research presented at a major European science meeting adds to other evidence that cleaner air is letting more solar energy through to the Earth's surface. Burn fossil fuels, you make things worse. Clean up your act, and you make things worse. Is it time to set off a few nukes and see if nuclear winter can cool things down?"

Slashdot, 7 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


16 April, 2006

Good News Swept Under Rug on "Earth Day"

April 22 marks the activist-styled "Earth Day," when every environmental Chicken Little with an axe to grind takes to the media and proclaims the ecological sky is falling. Like carnival shysters on the media midway, a cacophony of scaremongers champions every conceivable allegation of a deteriorating environment, asking you to empty the public coffers in the hope of winning illusory ecological prizes. To gain insight into the unfounded environmental scares the Chicken Littles will be pronouncing on Earth Day, all we need do is reexamine some of the environmental scares trumpeted in the past.

The human overpopulation scare of the 1960s has been ongoing for 40 years. Global human population is expected to continue growing until the middle of the century before declining. Yet the alleged overpopulation apocalypse has yet to occur.

The pollution-will-cause-a-new-ice-age scare of the 1970s failed miserably but has now been resuscitated, nearly word-for-word, into a pollution-will-turn-the-Earth-into-a-furnace scare. We were told in the 1980s that climatic calamity was imminent and would be catastrophic by the early 1990s, yet here we are in 2006 and all predictions of gloom and doom remain hypothetical ... and always "imminent."

In the 1980s, the hole-in-the-ozone calamity came and went, and nobody was harmed. The Alar apples scare of the 1990s was thoroughly debunked, and a decade later the Starlink biotech corn alarm was proven completely unfounded.

The fact is, every year environmental extremists trumpet new Chicken Little fears on Earth Day, and history repeatedly proves the allegations to be pure fancy, contradicted by science. What are the true environmental facts the Chicken Littles will conveniently fail to mention this Earth Day?

* In 2005, the federal government implemented its first regulations on mercury emissions. Environmental mercury levels will decline by 69 percent by 2018. Scientific studies show environmental mercury at current levels poses no threat to humans.

* Although global warming theory is contradicted by leading climatologists and has yet to have any appreciable impact on the Earth or our lives, the United States has nevertheless demonstrated leadership in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past three years, European Union carbon dioxide emissions have risen, while U.S. emissions have fallen. The U.S. government spends more money on global warming research than the rest of the world combined and has taken dramatic steps to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas far more powerful than carbon dioxide.

* According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air we breathe today bears little resemblance to the air quality of 30, 20, 10, or even just five years ago. Over the past three decades air pollution has fallen by 29 percent, while our economy has grown nearly 160 percent. Politicians now bicker about such things as whether we should adopt President George W. Bush's Clear Skies Initiative, which proposes an additional 70 percent cut in air pollution, or insist on even greater cuts. Either way, the air is cleaner than it has ever been in our lifetimes and is growing appreciably cleaner every year.

* Despite the weakness of data connecting arsenic in water to human health concerns, new federal standards will require communities to eliminate vast quantities of naturally occurring arsenic from drinking water--in effect making our tap water more pure than spring water completely untouched by human influence.

* Biotechnology advances allow farmers to sow crops that require fewer pesticides, fewer herbicides, fewer fungicides, less irrigation, and less acreage. More food is being grown on less land, allowing forests and prairies to reestablish themselves. The resulting crops, moreover, are significantly safer for human and animal consumption.

What does all this mean on Earth Day? We should always be concerned about our environment, but we should not be duped by incessant cries that the environmental sky is falling.


Bobos in Priuses

It is indeed a sad day when peasants in Russia have so much to teach us peasants in California about social activism. But look what's happened in Moscow, where average folk got fed up with priority access to the road system: in a textbook nonviolent protest, the trigger point came when commoner Oleg Scherbinksy was sentenced to four years in prison for causing an accident by not getting out of the way fast enough when a government official, commandeering the road, sped by. In response, a thousand citizens in 500 cars took a Sunday drive, moving slowly through the streets favored by the big shots. Silently, they demonstrated -- as authorities looked on to squelch any unauthorized "rally" -- that the elites have no special claim on the roadways.

Here too in Southern California, the elites have been hampered by slow moving traffic -- but a pesky two centuries of egalitarianism has prevented them from doing anything about it. Those Muscovite flashing blue roof lights and special license plates signifying "out of the way -- serf!" just won't cut it in a culture where tomorrow the guy cleaning your pool just might be cast as the next James Bond. Over here, a more sensitive, greener, and ideal-laden power grab was in order.

Call me Charlie Brown. Like that pathetic cartoon optimist repeatedly eying a teed-up football, I tend to believe that Western Civilization is always only one beau jeste away from repair. Poor Charlie: he alone is convinced that this time Lucy will actually let him kick the ball. And so, just a few months ago, when traffic had gone from bad to terminal, I knew for sure that we had reached the tipping point: this time, common citizens would restore a sense of freedom, commerce, and caprice to the Golden State. Like every other chump in recorded history, I followed my heart and bet against the house.

Every California social revolution needs a crisis, and now, with perpetual traffic gridlock, we had ours. The Prop 13 tax revolution was the result of a tax-the-middle-class flashpoint. The Davis recall and Arnold election were a response to a scary state fiscal meltdown. (Arguably, Gov. Schwarzenegger's failure last November to pass his ballot propositions was the residue of the fact that he is doing too good a job, and hence the public was no longer fearful and radicalized.)

As an un-appointed evangelist of rational allocation, I started treating any social encounter as an opportunity to expand minds. "We do not have a freeway shortage any more than we have a prime rib shortage," I would softly suggest. "Isn't the problem really that we are giving away something at a price [free] that attracts too many willing buyers?"

It worked. Traffic nightmares had driven even congenital tax-and-spend statists to wits end -- there's just so much NPR you can enjoy each day. Desperate and testy, they warily heard me out as I discussed the magic of the price mechanism.

Sure, I was mean -- but only when I had to be. Isn't the first rule of persuasion to eviscerate your target's existing assumptions? It was fun, too, asking questions like "how is society served when three undocumented gardeners with no license and no insurance are able to blow past a neurosurgeon late to rescue an aneurism victim?" Inevitably, someone would bring up the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David hires a prostitute sit in his Prius in order to get to Dodger Stadium in the car pool lane. They were getting it.

By my calculations, we were just months -- weeks, maybe -- away from turning the choked San Diego Freeway into the wide-open Ayn Rand Tollway. Thanks to other gas, parking and access situations, the California public was now familiar with transponder technology. They would be quite capable of wrapping themselves around the idea of time-based variable entrance fees to the freeway system metered by a device on their sun visor.

Even casual readers of the funny pages know what comes next: Lucy snatched the football. The state government -- in cahoots with the Feds -- came up with an exquisite way of rescuing the NPR Nomenklatura from pesky stop and go driving while keeping the rest of us crawling along like beetles. All you had to do was think like they did -- and be rich.

Their idea was both delicious and healthful-seeming -- sort of like when you trade in your Mr. Goodbars for carob-covered raisins. Henceforth, the State declared, solo drivers in preferred vehicles would be allowed access to the speedy, uncluttered carpool lane. And by preferred vehicles, did we mean neurosurgeons rushing to the hospital? Perhaps single moms dashing between childcare responsibilities and work? Or maybe the perennial government favorite, the actuarially challenged with diminished faculties who need the extra navigational room and have less absolute time to waste?

No. The government determined that the most entitled users of scarce freeway lane space were those driving a specific few "environmentally friendly" hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape. Like the dwarf movie producers who suddenly morph into alpha males when Lifetime Network picks up their next 13 episodes, these ugly, underpowered, rolling scotch tape dispensers instantly became the new desirable car. Suddenly, people would stop at nothing -- nothing -- to possess them.

Make no mistake -- California's designated Prius Lane is indeed a market solution. But even if you named Karl Marx as commissioner of the Franchise Tax Board, he could not have concocted a more punitive, confiscatory formula. The automotive authority recently calculated that, for a Prius to make economic sense, gasoline would have to cost $10/gallon. So, for the privilege, every time he fills up, the Prius owner is paying in effect a more than seven dollar per gallon tax premium. In addition, the consumer must absorb that hard to quantify but tangible "cost" associated with leaving the comfort of one's previous fossil fuel Lexus.

Despite the hype and misinformation, consumers have, as usual, reacted rationally. Sure, there are those rich or stupid enough who choose to accessorize their life with this kind of mobile demonstration of awareness and humility. But the Prius market growth has come among the cash rich but time-starved elite, making a devil's bargain that they find about as bitter as devil's food cake. For someone shaving twenty minutes of each commute in the Prius lane, the price premium is easy to monetize and even easier to justify.

Though the idea is already spreading, please avoid the temptation to write off the Prius Perk as simply one more California affectation. The program exists to do far more than simply spiff those among the fortunate affluent minority who think correctly; this kind of obscene, un-democratic scam is actually essential to the continuity of big government.

Statism cannot exist without targeted, adjunct programs that opiate the elite from feeling the generalized pain of government meddling. Perks for the noisy, pushy, and sometimes influential elite are an essential component of preserving enveloping control of everyone else. The cycle goes like this: first government programs meddle with the market, creating either scarcity, poor quality, or high prices. At some threshold, the public is "outraged" with (you pick it) the high cost of health care, schools that don't teach, vagrancy, retirement savings, or traffic. That's where the opiating kicks in. Without threatening the ongoing government program, the powers-that-be gingerly carve out a special situation for the elites.

Thus, the lifestyle of the haves is enriched at the expense of the have-nots through resource-transfer programs with virtuous names: "livable environment" (curtailed homebuilding), "affordable housing" (the highly-regressive mortgage interest deduction), "quality public schools" (publicly financed charter schools for the elite), "quality broadcasting" (burger flippers' tax dollars used to produce Masterpiece Theater), "affordable healthcare" (where the haves "pay" for their healthcare with after-tax dollars, and the middle class does not).

Last Sunday, before the Oscar Ceremonies, Hollywood celebrated the fourth year of "Red Carpet, Green Cars" where Toyota Motors provided hybrids to a gaggle of arriving VIPs, including Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Aniston, and George Clooney. This pomposity is an extension of behavior that Michel Medved has written about regarding other pathologies: celebrities promoting lifestyles onto the rest of us where they alone through wealth and fame are insulated from any derivative negative outcome.

Nonetheless, the peasants ogled the cars, cheered the actors and blew kisses. Shortly thereafter, these same common citizens returned to their beat-up Oldsmobiles and Camrys, ascended the onramp, and prayed.



"The environmentalist's dream is an egalitarian society, based on rejection of economic growth, a smaller population, eating lower on the food chain, consuming a lot less, and sharing a much lower level of resources much more equally."

Aaron Wildavsky, political scientist and professor.
[Environmentalism equals making everybody equal; that is, it's communism.]

"No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits... [C]limate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world."

Christine Stewart, Canadian Environment Minister.
[Environmentalism equals changing the world.]

"We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists, and their projects... We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers, and return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres of presently settled land."

David Foreman, EarthFirst! member.
[Environmentalism equals a return to primitive living.]

"We've got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."

Timothy Wirth, Clinton Administration U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, and one of a number of politicians (including Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank, Al Gore, John Kerry, Christopher Shays, and others) who were designated as "Green Leadership for the '90s."
[Environmentalism equals changing policy by claiming - even without substantiation - it's necessary to save the world's environment.]

"[W]e have to offer up scary scenarios [about global warming and destruction of the environment], make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts one might have... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

Stephen Schneider, Stanford University environmentalist.
[Environmentalism equals lies "if necessary."]

"We routinely wrote scare stories about the hazards of chemicals, employing words like "cancer," and "birth defects" to splash a little cold water in reporters' faces... Our press reports were more or less true... Few handouts, however, can be completely honest, and ours were no exception... We were out to whip the public into a frenzy about the environment."

Jim Sibbison, former EPA press officer.
[Environmentalism equals government-sponsored deception.]

"Not only do journalists not have a responsibility to report what skeptical scientists have to say about global warming, they have a responsibility not to report what these scientists say."

Ross Gelbspan, former editor of The Boston Globe.
[Environmentalism equals silencing debate, and stifling contrary opinions.]

"I would freely admit that on [global warming] we have crossed the boundary from news reporting to advocacy."

Charles Alexander, Time magazine science editor.
[Environmentalism equals indoctrination.]


The high cost of Greenie dam-hatred

Back to the high-cost technology of 100 years ago

Rainwater tanks are on the increase in Brisbane on the back of a hefty council rebate and lower retail prices. Rebates were given for about 870 tanks last month, up from 660 tanks in February. That brings the number of rebates from the Brisbane City Council for the installation of rainwater tanks to about 3700. Cr Helen Abrahams, who chairs the environment and sustainability committee, said the council expected to hand out 4500 rebates by the end of the financial year. They ranged from a $500 rebate for tanks holding 1000 litres or more, and $750 rebate for tanks with a 3000 litre capacity or greater.

Cr Abrahams said some retailers had lowered the price of a tank to match the $750 rebate. "It looks as though that is not going to be the end of it because we actually have a dedicated Drought Information Hotline, and of the 800 phone calls to that, 300 were asking about rainwater tanks," she said. Many of those calls were from unit owners looking to put tanks in complexes. Cr Abrahams said the council would investigate ways to expand the rebates to home units.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


15 April, 2006


There's good news, more good news and then, unfortunately, some bad news, on the subject of climate change. What would you like first? Right, the good news it is then.

In all of the arguments about climate change the two questions that have always loomed largest for me are: how much of it is there likely to be? and what are we going to do about it? If it all ends up being 0.1 degrees Celsius in a century then obviously we don't do much about it and if it's going to be 10 degrees Celsius next week then we'd better get a move on.

The Kyoto Protocol was never going to be one of the things I thought we should do as it does not very much at great expense. I'm also on record here as stating that I think technology will save us, for my day job involves some contact with certain parts of the alternative energy research world and things are moving a great deal faster than the wider world seems to recognize.

Having said that (revealing my prejudices as it were) the question of how much change we're likely to see is obviously the most important. We have a number of different estimates, using different methods, and some of them push some very scary numbers indeed. I don't mean just the usual alarmists (those who say we should all be dead already from the pesticides in our baby milk, we've already drowned from the ice caps melting and so on) but even some of the more sober scientific studies say that they can't rule out 6-degree C rises, higher even. Which is why this paper is so cheering. It looks like we can rule out runaway warming purely as a result of CO2 emissions. For an easier to understand explanation try this at the blog of one of the authors.

We have a number of different ways of trying to work out the "climate sensitivity," that is, what sort of temperature change would we expect to see from a doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere? The International Panel on Climate Change (the UN's offshoot looking into all of this on our behalf) has in the past given a range of 1.5-4.5 degrees C. Various other methods have also been used and these are the ones that don't rule out those very large changes that the alarmists tell us about in the newspapers all the time. Which leads to the interesting thing noted in the new paper:

We made the rather elementary observation that these above estimates are based on essentially independent observational evidence, and therefore can (indeed must) be combined by Bayes' Theorem to generate an overall estimate of climate sensitivity.

So instead of wondering which of our estimates might be correct we look at all of them and come to the correct answer. This pretty much rules out the extreme outcomes and gives us, as they say, a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees C. There's still a range there but the researchers are quite clear about the fact that they didn't think that the scientific community is ready for such a low number to be announced. All of which is of course extremely good news. Even if everything else said about climate change is true, if every Friends of the Earth pamphlet is spot on in every detail, we're still not going to have runaway global warming as a result of CO2 emissions.

Excellent, the second piece of good news also shows that estimates of how much of a rise in CO2 emissions we are going to see are also too high. Ian Castles and David Henderson made the point (explained here at TCS in 2004) that there was something decidedly odd about the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). This is the series of economic models that tries to look at how the world is going to develop over the next century and then give the tonnages of CO2, methane and so on that will be pumped out into the atmosphere. There were several substantial criticisms (the way the use of regional growth figures would have made North Korea richer than the US in 2100 was a particular delight) but perhaps the most important was the one about the use of exchange rates.

It's well known that if you use market exchange rates to compare relative levels of wealth between rich and poor countries that you'll end up overstating the differences. Things made locally and consumed locally (so called non-traded goods) will be cheaper in the poor countries for, it being a poor place, people get paid less, amongst other factors. So when we try to make such international comparisons we are supposed to use Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) exchange rates (which take account of these differences in prices) so that we measure the true gap in wealth correctly. This shouldn't have made much difference to the SRES except for the fact that most of the models assumed "convergence". That is, that most of the poor countries would end up becoming not just less poor in absolute terms but also less poor in relative terms. Well, if you measure that poverty in the first place using market exchange rates (which the SRES did) then obviously you will overstate the amount of growth that will happen to get to that convergence. That's part of the Castles/Henderson case, that the SRES assumes too much growth in the economy over the next century. This, of course, means that they're overstating the increase in emissions that the scientists then plug into their climate models.

Many were not all that taken with this argument, amongst them the Australian economist John Quiggin, and he's continued to work away at the problem, including making submissions to The Stern Review (the UK Government's look at the economics of climate change). In the course of this he's received a paper (not peer reviewed, this is a working paper) from a colleague, a W. Erwin Diewert, which tells us that there is indeed substance to the Castles/Henderson critique. Not quite as much as was originally claimed (but then they've already dialed back from their very large first claims) but large enough for this to be the conclusion:

What conclusions can we draw from the above algebra? It seems possible to draw the following tentative conclusions:

Castles and Henderson are right to criticize the first part of the SRES modeling strategy, which relies on market exchange rates to calculate per capita real income differences between countries. It would be much better to use ICP PPP's for this first part of the SRES modeling strategy. The differences between PPP's and market exchange rates can be very large so their criticism is not a negligible one.

Quiggin is right to implicitly criticize the entire SRES modeling strategy. It would be simpler to abandon the two stage modeling strategy and make direct comparisons of energy intensities across countries and assume energy convergence rather than real income convergence.

Either way, the SRES model should be reestimated.

Now I'll have to take what these four gentlemen, Castles, Henderson, Diewert and Quiggin tell me is their conclusion slightly on trust. But they do all agree, that the end result of their collective two-year ponder over this question is that the SRES is using the wrong numbers and or methods and that the calculations need to be done again. There are differences about how much they think things will change if these sums are done again but they are (like the good academics they are) telling the IPCC that it needs to do its homework over.

But don't you think that's two pieces of good news? That climate sensitivity is less than previously thought and also that the models everyone's been using for the past five years over-estimate (to a still argued over degree) the likely emissions over the next century?

Want the bad news? The IPCC isn't going to take any notice:

In 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a set of scenarios in the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES). These scenarios have been developed in a four year process with many scientists involved in the writing and the review process. The SRES scenarios played an important role in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the IPCC and will be used in the upcoming Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The 21st IPCC plenary session (November 2003) decided that no new baseline scenario would be prepared for the AR4, in view of the time it takes before new scenarios are taken up by the research community and used in publications.

AR4 is to be published in 2007. AR5, the fifth assessment report is presumably due in 2013 or thereabouts and that's the first time that the SRES models will be looked at again. Now I don't know about you but I don't think that's all that acceptable. We are (depending upon which side of the argument you are on) either facing the greatest threat to the health of the planet or we're about to spend trillions upon trillions of dollars on fixing something that doesn't actually need fixing.

Don't you think having a few guys cranking through some spreadsheets to find out which might be a good idea? Soonish?

TCS Daily, 11 April 2006


Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer took George Stephanopoulos for a ride Sunday over Glacier National Park, and not just in a helicopter. Thanks to his proposal to mine eastern Montana's coal beds and gasify the coal into synthetic fuel, Schweitzer is enjoying steady national press. Consider that he's a newly elected, red-state Democrat, with homespun charm and bolo tie, and you can understand the media's crush.

Pursuing creative, cost effective uses of our natural resources is fine by me, but now the governor's gone too far. He's exploiting the specter of global warming as a justification for his "synfuel" plan. That was the point of Schweitzer's helicopter ride with Stephanopoulos: to display Glacier National Park's shrinking glaciers which are, as Stephanopoulos put it, "dramatic evidence that global warming is not, as some argue, a hoax. The glaciers that gave this park its name are melting." In touting the segment, ABC News billed the park as "a national treasure [that] is melting away from global warming." Hard hitting, critical journalism was on the way.

The helicopter ride accomplished little more than provide nice scenery. In March, the park's 1 million acres are blanketed in snow. The governor and the Clintonista flew over Jackson Glacier and imagined its shrinkage. If the men were truly environmentally conscious, they would have used hang gliders -- that one helicopter joy ride likely emitted a great deal of exhaust and wasted a considerable amount of fuel, not to mention possibly causing avalanches or disturbing wildlife.

Without any pesky, challenging questions from Stephanopoulos, who so far from Washington was clearly out of his element, Schweitzer could make his case unchallenged: There were once over a hundred glaciers in the park. Now there are fewer than 30. Measurements of "temperature and precipitation from around the world" show global warming is real. Ergo, Glacier National Park is the "canary in the mine."

I've heard this story many times. In fact I've told a version of it myself more than once. As a boat captain for three summers on St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park, I would point out Sexton Glacier and explain that it's only one of about 30 glaciers left in the park. At one count, there were once over a hundred. Usually, a hand would shoot up: "Because of global warming?" No, not at all.

If Schweitzer and Stephanopoulos took the boat tour (summer only), they'd understand Glacier makes poor anecdotal evidence for global warming. Passengers learn that the small alpine glaciers in the park today were formed in a "Little Ice Age" that began only several hundred years ago. A better name for Glacier, as many will tell you, would be "Glaciated" National Park. Its most dramatic beauty comes not from the spits of ice which are rarely seen without considerable trouble, but from the dramatic peaks and bathtub-shaped valleys which were carved out by glaciers thousands of feet thick.

Yep, thousands. These enormous valley glaciers formed and melted, perhaps multiple times, well before man began even imagining the industrial revolution. And now, the disappearance of fairly insignificant alpine glaciers is the result of man-made global warming? Sorry, but for a place where I've been snowed on in June, July, and August, I'm not buying.

Since George Stephanopoulos didn't bother the governor for any evidence of his claims, I thought I would. His office was ready to send a 24-page file of information. Two-thirds were generic global warming briefs from the National Resources Defense Council -- a group known to be in the tank for global warming. In the stack, the only information pertaining to global warming's effects in Glacier was a two-page fact sheet from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and a one-page summary of the glacial recession.

No one disputes they're shrinking. But skeptics will want data to support Schweitzer's claims. It should be easy enough: show that local increased temperatures correspond to glacial shrinkage. The Montana DEQ memo cites generic warming talking points: global average temps, snow pack, polar ice cover, and the like. The most the governor's office could give on Glacier National Park was that glaciers are rapidly reducing in number and size: "Since the mid-18th century, reduction in area of the park's glaciers ranges from 46%-77%." If they've been shrinking since before the industrial revolution, what's man got to do with it?

Pressed for better evidence, Schweitzer's office sent a couple links: one to a study detailing the park's susceptibility to long-term climate change, and another to a United States Geological Survey study. The USGS estimates that glaciers began receding around 1850. While the USGS points vaguely to "above average summer temperatures and below average annual precipitation" from 1920 to 1940, the specifics aren't very convincing. The finished USGS study assumes that global temperatures are rising, based on the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's estimate of less than one-half degree Celsius. More specifically, the authors point to another study which found that "in alpine regions the warming is even more pronounced."

How about looking at western Montana and Glacier National Park? The USGS authors cite annual summer mean temperatures from nearby weather stations at Kalispell, West Glacier, and Babb. (I'll grant them their choice of locations, even though the first two are in climate zones vastly different -- and much warmer -- than the Continental Divide, where most glaciers are located.) Though data from the latter two stations are sporadic, the authors claim a temperature increase of 1.66 degrees Celsius from 1910 to 1980. That's it. No details on fluctuations, statistical significance, or r-squared values. As Virginia climatologist Patrick J. Michaels wrote for Cato in 2001, "With climate data, it's easy to play the standard game of picking a starting point in the record to prove a point. Precisely, one can come up with 3 1/2 degrees of warming by looking at data beginning in 1950, rather than considering the entire history."

More here

New fuel standards unnecessary

Once again, the government has issued what it claims is a "win-win" fuel economy mandate— yes, it will raise the prices of new SUVs and vans by forcing their redesign, but the resulting gas savings will pay for those higher prices in only a few short years. But if that's really true, then why do we need a law to force these new vehicle designs on us? After all, it's not as if we've been ignorant of gasoline price trends in recent months. The post-Katrina price hikes receded for a while, but prices have been rising again in recent weeks, and it's hard to escape predictions of still-higher prices in the future.

But the public has clearly responded, changing its new-car buying habits to the point where several carmakers are in deep financial distress. Now, as in the past, rising gas prices are leading to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Politicians may love to appear proactive, but this is a problem that solves itself.

The CAFE increases are being decried by environmentalists as too little, too late. Their stance is curious. For years, they've charged that Americans drive too much. Higher fuel economy standards, however, might well make us drive even more. If your new SUV gets five more miles per gallon than your old one, then driving has gotten cheaper and you're apt to do more of it.

There is one good thing about the new CAFE program — it may no longer be as lethal as it once was. Previous CAFE standards encouraged the production of small, lighter cars. This improved fuel economy, but it also reduced crashworthiness. According to a 2002 National Academy of Sciences report, CAFE contributed to about 2,000 traffic fatalities per year. The new CAFE program has been reformed to reduce this downsizing incentive by introducing an MPG standard tied to vehicle size. Larger vehicles will no longer have to meet the same across-the-board standard as small ones. As a result, consumer choices won't be as restricted.

But CAFE is still, at heart, a lethal program. Those who push for higher standards should acknowledge that. Until they do, the debate over fuel economy regulation is a dishonest one.


Scientist urges switch to thorium

Supporters of an alternative energy source say it has the potential to revolutionise the nuclear power industry and is a safer alternative to uranium. Thorium oxide, which is three times more abundant than uranium, is also a radioactive material. But senior research scientist Dr Hashemi-Nezhad, from Sydney University, says it is safe to hold in your hand. "This is the future of the energy in the world - energy without green, without greenhouse gas production," he said. Dr Hashemi-Nezhad says thorium has all of the benefits of uranium as a nuclear fuel but none of the drawbacks. It can generate power without emitting greenhouse gases and it can be used to incinerate the world's stockpiles of plutonium. Dr Hashemi-Nezhad says thorium waste would only remain radioactive for 500 years, not the tens of thousands that uranium by-products remain active. "In fact, the green movement must come behind this project because we are moving in a direction to destroy all these existing nuclear wastes, to prevent nuclear weapons production, to [prevent] Chernobyl accident happening again," Dr Hashemi-Nezhad said. Unlike uranium, thorium is not fissile, meaning it must be coaxed into a chain reaction.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


14 April, 2006

Climate of Fear: Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence

By Richard Lindzen (Lindzen is Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT)

There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?

The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science--whether for AIDS, or space, or climate--where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred.

In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.

If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less--hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.

So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested--a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences--as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union--formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of intimidation.

All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists--a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry.

Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.

And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest. However, even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an "Iris Effect," wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2.

Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as "discredited."

Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming--not whether it would actually happen.

Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.



Genetic engineering! Horrors! To bad about poor people dying.

A cheap and effective treatment for malaria could be available within a decade after scientists genetically engineered a form of yeast to make the key ingredient of the drug best able to fight the disease. The advance by a research team in the United States should reduce greatly the cost of manufacturing artemisinin, the most effective therapy for the world's second-most deadly infectious disease.

Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), in which the drug is given in combination with older anti-malarial treatments, are recommended by the World Health Organisation as the best way of fighting malaria. But the cost places them beyond the means of many of the developing countries where malaria is most prevalent.

At present, artemisinin can be made only by using an acid extracted from the sweet wormwood plant, Artemisia annua, which is grown in China. The raw material is expensive, raising the cost of a dose of ACT to about œ1.35 per person. By producing artemisinic acid, the key precursor of artemisinin, artifically from genetically modified yeast or bacteria, the researchers hope that they will eventually be able to reduce the cost to as little as 14p per dose, making it more widely available in poor countries.

Malaria kills more people than any infection other than HIV/Aids, with an annual death toll estimated at between 1 million and 2.7 million. It infects between 300 million and 500 million a year, chiefly in Africa.

The new strain of yeast has been engineered by a team led by Jay Keasling, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, which discovered two years ago that it was possible to modify microbes to make artemisinic acid. The yeast, details of which are published today in the journal Nature, is an efficient producer of the acid and should allow scientists to sidestep expensive laboratory processes needed at present to synthesise artemisinin...

It will probably take five to ten years to develop the yeast as a large-scale producer of artemisinic acid. The work, which also involves Amyris Biotechnologies, a California-based company, is supported by a $43 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

More here


The European Commission has opened the process necessary to fine Spain for not fulfilling two of the commitments it acquired when it signed the Kyoto protocol. Spain promised to inform Brussels before January 15 about the amount of greenhouse gases it emitted in 2004, and about the amount of emissions it will be permitted between 2008 and 2012; it has not done so. The environmental ministry chalked up the delay to "exceptional difficulties" in gathering the data.

Spain, Luxembourg, Italy, and Germany have not turned over their emissions data for 2004 to the EC. The EU had promised to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 8% between 1990 and 2004, with different requirements for each of its member countries. Spain had permission to increase its carbon dioxide emissions by 15%. However, as of 2003, Spain's emissions had increased by almost 41% compared with 1990.

In a report filed with the United Nations, the Spanish environmental ministry predicted that in 2010, Spain's carbon dioxide emissions would have increased by 49% over 1990. The Kyoto protocol is supposedly to go into effect between 2008 and 2012, and Spain will be unable to meet its commitments. Doing so would cost at least EUR20 billion, at least 600,000 jobs, and two percentage points of inflation, not counting the companies that would move to countries where environmental restrictions are less costly.

Spain Herald, 11 April 2006


I guess the 60 climate experts who wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week imploring him to "examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans" hadn't read Time magazine's declaration in last week's special edition that "the debate over climate change is over." Instead of debate, Time (and many other media heavyweights including ABC, USA Today and CNN) is advising us to "Be Worried, Be Very Worried."

Personally, I am worried. Like the 60 scientists who signed the letter to Mr. Harper, I am worried that, "much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the [Kyoto] Protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science." That fear is well-founded, given that our own bureaucrats admitted that the $4 billion spent between 1998 and 2003 on climate change and our plan to meet our commitments outlined in the Kyoto accord was wasted.

Before you think of adding to the 327 hate mails I've received for stating on numerous occasions that Kyoto was a farce, consider that a couple of weeks ago Tom Axworthy, co-chair of a Liberal party renewal commission, summed up the government's climate-change plan by saying it was difficult to understand, but that didn't matter because his party's Kyoto plan "wasn't real anyways." Last September, one of Kyoto's main proponents, Tony Blair, declared that for all practical purposes the accord was dead because "no country was going to cut its growth." The Canadian record lends credence to that observation given that, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, we are 30-per-cent away from meeting our Kyoto commitments.

By exempting both the auto and petroleum industries from its Kyoto plans, the government was clearly not interested in implementing a plan that the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation estimated would cost the average Canadian household $3,000 a year for what even proponents of Kyoto admit would yield little progress.

I have no idea whether I should file my concerns over global warming beside my Y2K survival kit, my SARS epidemic face mask, and my avian flu pamphlet. But I do know that there is no scientific consensus as to humanity's impact on climate change. I don't need to be a climate expert to notice the thousands of signatories from the scientific community who declared in the Oregon Petition that "there is no convincing evidence" of the impact of human activities on climate change.

Last year, I noted that the vice-president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Yury Izrael, was quoted in the online Media Monitor that "there is no proven link between human activity and global warming." I'm also aware that the data behind the famous hockey-stick graph used by so many global warming proponents has now been shown to be deeply flawed, and more importantly was never properly checked by members of the peer-review panels.

I admit that I smiled last week when I read syndicated columnist George Wills reminder that in 1975 the New York Times declared that "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable" as he recited the conventional wisdom of the time. It's hardly a surprise -- given that I've been skeptical of the one-sided coverage the topic has received -- that I would welcome the federal government "convening open, unbiased consultations [so that] Canadians will be permitted to hear from experts on both sides of the debate," as the 60 signatories of the open letter to Mr. Harper suggest, before billions of dollars more are wasted.

Vancouver Sun, 8 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


13 April, 2006


David Cameron faced criticism from his own shadow team last night for planning a trip to see a glacier in Norway in the middle of the local election campaign. The Conservative leader has scheduled a three-day visit to Norway later this month so he can see the impact of climate change first hand. Television cameras will join Mr Cameron on the trip which takes place just two weeks before next month's local elections, the new Tory leader's first big electoral test. The tour will include a visit to a research station at Ny-Alesund on the Island of Svalbard. He will also see a glacier at Longyearbyen that has retreated in recent years as a result of climate change.

Last night a senior member of Mr Cameron's shadow cabinet voiced concern about the choice and timing of his first big overseas visit. The shadow minister said: "I think it really is barmy to be jetting off to do this in the middle of the local election campaign. There will be Conservatives all over the country knocking on doors, and where is he? He's off looking at glaciers in Norway. I'm afraid he's missing the target - it just has the feel of a gimmick. "If he's worried about climate change, why isn't he looking at the problem of flooding on his doorstep. People have been saying to him that they're not sure he's going in exactly the right direction but he's not for changing. He made that quite clear in Manchester."....

The Daily Telegraph, 10 April 2006

Benny Peiser comments:

"Let's forget local elections and the political shenanigans for a moment. Isn't it rather comical that Mr Cameron has chosen to visit a glacier in Norway - of all places! Just how green behind his ears is this ecotoff? Doesn't he know that glaciers in the western part of Norway have been advancing for much of the last two decades? See: Bjorn Wangensteen et al., Geografiska Annaler 88 A (2006).

I guess the White House is still out of bounds for the Tory leader. However, if I were a Labour spin doctor or a tabloid journalist, I would make mincemeat out of Mr Cameron's rather bizarre choice. Perhaps someone should ask Mr Cameron to visit the Nigardsbreen glacier that has actually advanced some 280 meters during the last few decades".


New York City's refusal to burn its garbage is not just a waste of money - it's an environmental hazard. The city instead trucks its municipal waste to landfills in Pennsylvania and Virginia. But health studies consistently show that such landfills emit trace levels of toxins, as well as large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Yes, modern waste-to-energy (WTE) plants also produce some greenhouse-gas emissions - but only about 1 percent as much as landfills. Indeed, the European Union has banned trash landfills over global-warming concerns. The EU, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and 15 U.S. states recognize WTE as clean, reliable and renewable power.

New York City is not only NOT deriving those benefits - it's burning more than 5 million gallons of fuel oil a year to truck its garbage to those polluting landfills, thus adding toxic diesel emissions far beyond what comes from controlled WTE facilities. The city pays about a million dollars a day for long-distance waste disposal, when it could earn about $150 million a year by cleanly burning that trash, generating electricity.

Part of New York's phobia dates to problems at a Hempstead plant back in 1980. That facility was poorly controlled, and emitted high levels of dioxin. But it's been replaced by an efficient, clean plant - indeed, one of the cleanest in the country.

Activists are sometimes wrong, sometimes right. In the battle over the Brooklyn Naval Yard WTE project back in the '80s, they distorted facts to scare locals about dioxins. But I must confess that it took years to get my former agency, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, to adopt Best Available Control Technology air-emission standards for WTE. In fact, my own work with Aaron Teller, formerly the dean of engineering and science at Cooper Union, proved long ago that dry-scrubbing air-cleaning controls can effectively control dioxin emissions. Plants around the country and the world now do so year in, year out.

The federal EPA's maximum-available-control-technology rules encouraged four-stage air-pollution controls at WTE plants. The result is negligible emissions - the equivalent to the exhaust from a few modern cars. And emissions from WTE plants account for less than a fraction of a percent of the dioxin released into America's air. It's a non-issue. Idealists promote "zero waste" as a solution - when it can only ever be a target. Yes, we should recycle as much as possible, but zero waste is a practical impossibility. Zero disposal should be our goal.

More than 600 successful WTE facilities now operate worldwide, including 89 in America. The electricity those U.S. plants generate saves about 1.4 billion gallons of fuel oil a year. On site, these plants also remove for recycling about 800,000 tons of ferrous metals and more than 900,000 tons of glass, metal, plastics, batteries, ash and yard waste. Ash is processed to be environmentally safe, to be used as an aggregate material in roads, etc. Bricks or floor tiles can also be made as recycled products. Thanks to WTE, Palm Beach County, Fla., spends only $28 per ton to dispose of municipal waste. New York City spends about $125 per ton for long-range transport and landfilling. Thus, the city could save about $300 million a year. We should protect our environment for future generations, reduce our dependence on Middle East oil and improve our balance of payments.


The unending Greenie moans about Australia's vast coral reefs

How many times must the experts be wrong about Barrier Reef devastation before we disbelieve their scares? How many times must the Great Barrier Reef "survive" before we figure it's not really dying? Actually, the real question is a bit ruder. As in: How many times can global-warming alarmists such as Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg be wrong about the reef's "devastation" before we learn to ignore their scares?

The trouble is our reef is so well-loved that green militants, desperate that we back their theory of man-made global warming, consider it the perfect hostage. No month goes by without one screaming: "Freeze! Out of the car, or the reef gets it!" And Hoegh-Guldberg, head of Queensland University's Centre for Marine Studies, has threatened us more often than most. Just three months ago he was at it again, issuing a press release with a grim warning: High temperatures meant "between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef could die within a month". Just four paragraphs on he upped the ante, warning that the warm seas "may result in greater damage" still -- to more than 60 per cent of the reef -- and we "have to rapidly reduce the rate of global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions." You heard him, jerk. Get out of your car.

But as anyone who's seen the reef lately knows, it's still there and still beautiful. Ask -- hey! -- Hoegh-Guldberg himself. He's just back from a trip out to the outer reef and reports that, um, the bleaching, er, has had, well, "quite a minimal impact", after all. In fact, just 1 per cent was affected. And history tells us even that little bit will recover. What history? The history of an earlier Hoegh-Guldberg scare. In 1999, Hoegh-Guldberg was commissioned by Greenpeace -- warning -- to find out why bits of the reef had just turned white. Global warming was to blame, he concluded, which pleased Greenpeace awfully. More, it moaned, and the professor obliged: Warming seas meant "coral reefs could be eliminated from most areas of the world by 2100". Our own reef "looks to be under pressure within, say, the next 30 years".

Note well: I'm certain Hoegh-Guldberg believed this booga booga, based on his understanding of the science. Yet how lucky for him that he did. He was promptly awarded the Eureka Prize for scientific research by the green-worshipping Australian Museum, and journalists who'd credulously reported his claims were shortlisted for top media awards. Soon the ABC's 7.30 Report, to name one of many, was claiming the "once-spectacular reef" was being "bleached bone white" -- proving host Kerry O'Brien hadn't bought goggles and Speedos to check this unlikely claim with his own eyes. Actually, I can't resist naming a second offender: The ABC's Four Corners added that "across the world, coral reefs are turning into marine deserts".

Except, of course, our reef (and others) recovered from the bleaching of 1998, something which Hoegh-Guldberg conceded was "surprising". It recovered from the bleaching of 2002, as well, just as it's done after other bleachings in its immense life. Not that this has stopped Hoegh-Guldberg from issuing yet more death notices. Last November, for instance, he claimed the reef's coral could disappear within just 20 years. Last month he warned: "The climate is changing so quickly that coral reefs don't keep up."

I repeat: I'd agree Hoegh-Guldberg is honest and says all this because that's what the science tells him, and other scientists back him. But again he's found this doom-preaching has its perks. He now chairs a $20 million global warming study funded by the World Bank. I asked another scientist, Dr Peter Ridd of James Cook University's department of physical sciences, if he'd noticed how the big institutional money seemed to go to the ones who say the scariest stuff on global warming. "Yes," he said shortly.

But silly Ridd, formerly with the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, won't play by those rules. He instead points out the "most of the supposed threats to the reef, whether from global warming or agricultural run-off, have in fact been grossly overstated". Most of the reef does not get bleached, and almost every bit that does recovers. Boring, Peter. Boring.

Speaking about global warming preachers generally rather than Hoegh-Guldberg, Ridd even warns: "I think the media have been manipulated . . . and scientists are rapidly getting the same reputation as used-car salesmen and real estate agents." Actually, Ridd is far too easy on the media. I suspect many journalists much prefer green hype to sober hope.

Ask Dr Ben McNeil, an oceanographer of the University of New South Wales, who with colleagues from CSIRO and AIMS calculated that global warming could in fact be good for coral reefs, because warmer water helped red algae calcify faster. Even allowing for more acidic seas, says McNeil, "our analysis suggests that ocean warming will foster considerably faster future rates of coral reef growth". Fancy that. Not dying reefs, but growing. But only if we keep pumping out gas. Such good news, yet only one daily newspaper in the country published it -- and then in just four paragraphs.

Still, I'm sure you've learned by now not to trust one more global warming scare. You need only take a Captain Cook at the reef to see why you're right to question even a professor as admired as Hoegh-Guldberg. Speaking of the greater man, Prof Bob Carter of James Cook University's Marine Geophysical Laboratory, points out: "Should the ghost of Captain Cook sail north along the shelf again today . . . equipped with modern measuring equipment, he would be unable to detect any changes to the reef from when he first observed it in 1770." Time the global warming scaremongers found some other hostage. They've squeezed this reef dry.


Snails face relocation for mine development

A colony of snails that has been holding up a controversial coal mine development in New Zealand will be removed by hand to allow the project to go ahead. Conservationists and coal miners have been at loggerheads over the mine's environmental impact. New Zealand's state-owned coal miner Solid Energy has been keen to develop a deposit near Westport on the South Island, but they have been stymied by a small colony of rare powelliphanta snails and their supporters. Conservation Minister Chris Carter has now agreed to a controversial plan to relocate the snails - all 250 of them - by hand, despite claims by the Royal Forest and Bird Society that the move could kill them. Civic leaders and businesses say the local economy would have been hard hit if the $A330 million project was stopped because of the snails.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


12 April, 2006

There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate.

Does something not strike you as odd here? That industrial carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of earth's recent decadal-scale temperature changes doesn't seem at all odd to many thousands of independent scientists. They have long appreciated - ever since the early 1990s, when the global warming bandwagon first started to roll behind the gravy train of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. Yet the public appears to be largely convinced otherwise. How is this possible?

Since the early 1990s, the columns of many leading newspapers and magazines, worldwide, have carried an increasing stream of alarmist letters and articles on hypothetical, human-caused climate change. Each such alarmist article is larded with words such as "if", "might", "could", "probably", "perhaps", "expected", "projected" or "modelled" - and many involve such deep dreaming, or ignorance of scientific facts and principles, that they are akin to nonsense.

The problem here is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike. Governments generally choose not to receive policy advice on climate from independent scientists. Rather, they seek guidance from their own self-interested science bureaucracies and senior advisers, or from the IPCC itself. No matter how accurate it may be, cautious and politically non-correct science advice is not welcomed in Westminster, and nor is it widely reported.

Marketed under the imprimatur of the IPCC, the bladder-trembling and now infamous hockey-stick diagram that shows accelerating warming during the 20th century - a statistical construct by scientist Michael Mann and co-workers from mostly tree ring records - has been a seminal image of the climate scaremongering campaign. Thanks to the work of a Canadian statistician, Stephen McIntyre, and others, this graph is now known to be deeply flawed.

There are other reasons, too, why the public hears so little in detail from those scientists who approach climate change issues rationally, the so-called climate sceptics. Most are to do with intimidation against speaking out, which operates intensely on several parallel fronts.

First, most government scientists are gagged from making public comment on contentious issues, their employing organisations instead making use of public relations experts to craft carefully tailored, frisbee-science press releases. Second, scientists are under intense pressure to conform with the prevailing paradigm of climate alarmism if they wish to receive funding for their research. Third, members of the Establishment have spoken declamatory words on the issue, and the kingdom's subjects are expected to listen.

On the alarmist campaign trail, the UK's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, is thus reported as saying that global warming is so bad that Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century. Warming devotee and former Chairman of Shell, Lord [Ron] Oxburgh, reportedly agrees with another rash statement of King's, that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism. And goodly Archbishop Rowan Williams, who self-evidently understands little about the science, has warned of "millions, billions" of deaths as a result of global warming and threatened Mr Blair with the wrath of the climate God unless he acts. By betraying the public's trust in their positions of influence, so do the great and good become the small and silly.

Two simple graphs provide needed context, and exemplify the dynamic, fluctuating nature of climate change. The first is a temperature curve for the last six million years, which shows a three-million year period when it was several degrees warmer than today, followed by a three-million year cooling trend which was accompanied by an increase in the magnitude of the pervasive, higher frequency, cold and warm climate cycles. During the last three such warm (interglacial) periods, temperatures at high latitudes were as much as 5 degrees warmer than today's. The second graph shows the average global temperature over the last eight years, which has proved to be a period of stasis.

The essence of the issue is this. Climate changes naturally all the time, partly in predictable cycles, and partly in unpredictable shorter rhythms and rapid episodic shifts, some of the causes of which remain unknown. We are fortunate that our modern societies have developed during the last 10,000 years of benignly warm, interglacial climate. But for more than 90 per cent of the last two million years, the climate has been colder, and generally much colder, than today. The reality of the climate record is that a sudden natural cooling is far more to be feared, and will do infinitely more social and economic damage, than the late 20th century phase of gentle warming.

The British Government urgently needs to recast the sources from which it draws its climate advice. The shrill alarmism of its public advisers, and the often eco-fundamentalist policy initiatives that bubble up from the depths of the Civil Service, have all long since been detached from science reality. Internationally, the IPCC is a deeply flawed organisation, as acknowledged in a recent House of Lords report, and the Kyoto Protocol has proved a costly flop. Clearly, the wrong horses have been backed.

As mooted recently by Tony Blair, perhaps the time has come for Britain to join instead the new Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), whose six member countries are committed to the development of new technologies to improve environmental outcomes. There, at least, some real solutions are likely to emerge for improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution. Informal discussions have already begun about a new AP6 audit body, designed to vet rigorously the science advice that the Partnership receives, including from the IPCC. Can Britain afford not to be there?



(Post lifted from California Republican activist Stephen Frank)

The media is gullible--it believes all that it is told by leftists and automatically disbelieves the facts. In my life time, history will show three great scams of the leftist scientific community.

1. Rachel Carson and her "Silent Spring" scam against pesticides. She claimed that DDT was bad for health. Yet the facts are, that Leftists wanted to stop the use of DDT, a pesticide, in order to control the "wrong" population. Just like Marget Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) used abortion to promote the killing of non-whites (she was a KKK type racist) Carson and her ilk were targeting the "over-population: of Africa by blacks.

From The Leftists knew that stopping the use of DDT would cause an epidemic of malaria--a "simple" way of killing blacks. So, we ended the use of DDT and an epidemic of malaria hit Africa, killing millions--just as planned. Sanger and the KKK would be proud. "Population control advocates blamed DDT for increasing third world population. In the 1960s, World Health Organization authorities believed there was no alternative to the overpopulation problem but to assure than up to 40 percent of the children in poor nations would die of malaria. As an official of the Agency for International Development stated, "Rather dead than alive and riotously reproducing." But the media refused to report the facts:

* A committee of the National Academy of Sciences wrote in 1970, "To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT... Indeed, it is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable."

* DDT was not banned because there was evidence it harmed wildlife or humans. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency administrative law judge who listened to 9,000 pages of testimony over seven months concluded, ""DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man... DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man... The use of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife."

* Despite the findings of the EPA judge, EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus banned DDT in 1972. Ruckelshaus never attended a single hour of the seven months of EPA hearings on DDT. His aides reported he did not even read the transcript of the EPA hearings on DDT. Ruckleshaus was a member and fundraiser for the Environmental Defense Fund -- a group who -- according to a deposition in a federal lawsuit -- conspired to discredit the scientists who defended DDT.

2. Then we have the "over population" scam. Paul Ehrlich in his 1968 book, "Population Bomb" thought that by the beginning of the twenty-first century hundreds of millions would starve to death. "Ehrlich penetrated the American consciousness with his 1968 book, The Population Bomb. Given the economic stagflation that struck the world in the 1970s, books with pessimistic outlooks claiming humanity had enormous problems to solve were to be expected.

Ehrlich went way beyond this and instead predicted famine and disaster on a scale unprecedented in world history. In the prologue to The Population Bomb he wrote, "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate..." (See here)

Not only was the world headed for catastrophe, but there was little that could be done to avoid it. Some parts of the world might see some minor and temporary recovery, but "a minimum of ten million people, most of them children, will starve to death during each year of the 1970s. But this is a mere handful compared to the numbers that will be starving before the end of the century" (emphasis in the original). (See here)"

Indeed, tens of millions did starve to death --due to government polices, like in Rwanda and the Sudan, and regulations in most of Africa due to non use of pesticides, causing fewer crops to feed an exploding population. Government, not nature, caused the human tragedy of Africa and the poorer nations of the world. White people, like Sanger, Carson and Ehrlich promoted "sensitive" policies that harmed people of color--as if this was an effort by the KKK (of the Left) to destroy minorities world wide. Yes, I am accusing Ehrlich, Carson, Sanger and their "kool-aid" drinking followers of racism and destruction of human beings. While it may not be their intention, it is the unintended consequence of their values.

3. The third scam history will note from our unenlightened, politically correct era, will be that of "global warming". The very same folks who thirty years ago said we were moving into an "Ice Age" have now concluded we are quickly burning up the Earth.

Some of these radicals, the PETA crowd, is working hard to outlaw cows (meat) by claiming that cow farts cause global warming. Any excuse or lie to promote a cause that will send the world back before the Industrial Revolution and quality foods. Yet, the facts show differently:

"Scientist: Let cows be cows":

"Meteorologist Augie Auer says farmers needn't beat themselves up about the possibility their animals are contributing to global warming. The former professor of atmospheric science at the University of Wyoming told an audience of dairy farmers at the Waimate West Demonstration Farm last week that the contribution cows make to the greenhouse gas layer with their emissions of methane is infinitesimal and that New Zealand's support for the Kyoto Protocol is misguided. In an absorbing address delivered in a manner he described as "kitchen physics", he advanced a plausible case for sunspots - explosions on the sun's surface - being a more likely contributor to global warming than greenhouse gases." (Taranaki Daily News)

The real first question is whether is not we have permanent temperature changes or if the changes we now notice are just cyclical. For documentation that "global warming" is nothing new, go here

Some want political gain, at the expense of our economy. Which is why the United States and Britain are the biggest losers of the Kyoto Treaty, while third world nations and China would be allowed to "pollute" all they want. Kill the economic stability of the free world by killing two capitalistic nations, and tyranny and dictatorship will flourish in the chaos created.

In California, Governor Schwarzenegger created a "California Climate Action Team" comprised of mostly his Administration appointees. In December, they recommended $7.9 billion in mandated retro-fitting of California businesses and a "public goods service charge" (a new tax, to real people) on oil products (gasoline). See here

Yet, the "final" report was vague on the costs, fee's and tax increases. When will we know? My best guess is sometime after mid-November, 2006. The bad news is that Nunez and Perata are trying to make it even more expensive! The bottom line is that both the Governor and the Democrats are headed the same way, on the same road, buying into the scam, that will if the Guv or Dems get their way, will dramatically cut jobs and further harm the California economy.

Todays San Diego Union Tribune brings reality into this issue:

But some scientists and businesses advise caution. If California reaches too far, industry could relocate to less-demanding states or countries. That would reverse any gains in California, they warn. "What California does could be sacrificial for no purpose," said Dorothy Rothrock of the influential California Manufacturers and Technology Association.

"The net gain would be nothing," argued Andy O'Hare, vice president of a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of 30 cement makers. It's not just industry representatives who question whether one state can accomplish much. (Editors note: the Governors proposal would close down all California cement manufacturers, and cause cement to be driven into the state, causing higher construction costs and more vehicle pollution)

Economic growth in China is expected to make that country the world's largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions by midcentury -- eclipsing cuts made by the Unites States and other industrialized countries.

"We can decide to go to zero and there still could be no net improvement," said Walter Oechel, a climate researcher at San Diego State University.

(Editor's note: China is exempt from most of the Kyoto treaty. In other words, the Treaty would transfer manufacturing jobs from the United States to China, as would the Governors proposal)

If you think businesses, big businesses are not looking to leave California, read this from Dan Weintraub, Apple Computer is about to go to Nevada because of our taxation and regulatory policies--another example of what is wrong in Sacramento:

All the way to Reno (From Daniel Weintraub's California Insider):

"Apple Computer has been a pioneer in computer hardware and software and in design. If it proves to be a leader in cash management as well, California's treasury could be in trouble. Business Week reports this morning that the growing electronics firm has created a Nevada subsidiary to manage its cash reserves, with the intent of getting more favorable tax treatment. The story is here.

Imagine California without any cows, cement or manufacturing --maybe then someone will speak up. The losers in the global warming scam, just like the DDT and population scam, will be minorities...those that stay behind in California will be relegated to low paying jobs--because that will be all available to those with limited, poor quality education and those that barely (if at all) speak English.

Feel free to give your own stories about the abuse of science, misuse of facts and statistics to promote radical political causes. This debate is one that will decide if California becomes a third world state and loses its ability to compete. Let your voices be heard on this, let the Governor and the legislature understand jobs and families before radical political agendas. In other words, liberals using "science" always find a way to harm minorities--I wonder why that is?


This week a European spacecraft will arrive for a date with Venus, our closest planetary neighbour. Scientists hope the mission, made on a shoestring budget, will reveal vital lessons on how unchecked greenhouse gases can turn a world into a blistering Hades. Robin McKie reports on a journey to the Forgotten Planet

On Tuesday morning, mission controllers in the European Space Agency's operations centre in Darmstadt will put the finishing touches to an international bid to study the ultimate neighbour from hell.

They will transmit a series of radio commands to a robot spacecraft currently hurtling towards the Sun. Its rocket engine will fire for 50 minutes as it passes Venus, slowing the craft down so that it can be captured by the planet's gravitational field. Once in orbit, the wardrobe-sized probe - Venus Express - will then study the planet's acid clouds, searing heat, crushingly dense atmosphere and hurricanes to find out why Earth's nearest neighbour has become a place of insufferable heat and poison. "Venus is very like Earth in that it is the same size and has an orbit round the Sun close to ours", said David Southwood, head of science at the ESA. "Yet Venus went wrong. We did not. We want to find out why Venus became our evil twin".

Venus and Earth are almost identical in size. In addition, both orbit the Sun in 'the Goldilocks zone', a swath of space in which conditions are considered by astronomers as being not too hot and not too cold to prevent the evolution of life. Venus should make ideal planetary real estate, in other words. Yet it is the solar system's most inhospitable planet. "It's very disturbing that we do not understand the climate on a planet that is so much like the Earth", said Professor Fred Taylor, a planetary scientist based at Oxford University and one of the ESA's chief advisers for the Venus Express mission. "It is telling us that we really don't understand the Earth. We have ended up with a lot of mysteries".

Such puzzles are recent, however. Throughout history, Venus has simply been seen as the heavenly embodiment of a deity. Intriguingly, this was invariably a female one. For example, the Babylonians, Ancient Greeks and Romans all linked it with their goddesses of love.

Venus was later revealed to be a planet, one that was assumed to be more or less the same as Earth. Only its permanent cloud covering prevented astronomers from working out the details of these similarities. Even in the Fifties, popular science books depicted a mist-shrouded world either of deserts or of swamps and ferns. A few more fanciful versions had dinosaur-like creatures lumbering about in the background.

Then the first robot spacecraft - built by Russia and the US - reached Venus and sent back data that astounded astro-nomers. The planet was unbelievably hot, dense, and had virtually no oxygen. Russia tried landing probes on the surface. All were crushed flat by the atmosphere's incredible pressure. 'On Earth, atmospheric pressure is one ton per square foot,' said Taylor. 'On Venus, it is 100 tons.'

Earth's sister was also found to have a surface temperature of 450C and a covering of thick clouds of sulphuric acid. As a vision of Hades, it could hardly be beaten. On top of these disturbing discoveries, scientists also found that a day on Venus - the time the planet takes to make one full rotation - is the equivalent of 243 days on Earth. By contrast, a Venusian year - the time it takes to make one revolution of the Sun - is a mere 225 days. Thus, on Venus a day is longer than a year. The planet also rotates on its axis in the opposite direction to the Earth, so the Sun - if it could be seen through the Stygian gloom beneath its thick cloud - would appear to rise in the west and set in the east.

However, the planet's principal problem - from a human point of view - lies with its greenhouse effect, scientists now realise. Venus's thick atmosphere traps solar radiation and heats the world to boiling point. Prospects of finding life here have since been rated - not surprisingly - as vanishingly low, and astronomers' keenness to study Venus has waned.

Yet several tantalising questions remain unanswered about our strange planetary neighbour and, as technology has progressed, instruments that can probe the planet through its thick cloud veil have been developed. So the ESA decided to send Europe's first probe to the planet. The decision followed the agency's triumph - in 2003 - with Mars Express, a spacecraft that is still returning reams of key data about the Red Planet. The probe showed that Mars was once awash with water and has raised hopes, shared by many scientists, that primitive life forms could still survive deep below the surface of Mars in buried lakes and springs.

The success of Mars Express has been matched by other European missions. It currently has a probe, Smart-1, in orbit around the Moon; it was responsible for building the Huygens probe that landed on Saturn's giant moon, Titan, last year; and it has launched a probe which will land on a comet and study its structure. Adding Venus to its list of destinations proved irresistible for its scientists. 'We had enough spare parts to go back to Mars with a second probe, but our scientists decided the time was ripe to investigate Venus,' said Don McCoy, project manager for Venus Express.

The result was the ultimate low-cost space mission. Venus Express was put together from old instruments left over from previous missions and in the end cost a mere 150 million pounds. 'It was cheaper to produce than Kevin Costner's Waterworld,' said Taylor. 'Ours is the better investment, however.'

Venus Express was blasted into space from Baikonur in Kazakhstan in November on a Soyuz launcher and has been hurtling on its 260,000,000-mile journey towards Venus ever since. Tuesday's rocket firing will be its most crucial manoeuvre, however. Nearly all the fuel on the 1.3-tonne probe will be used up to decelerate as it hurtles towards the Sun. Should something go wrong, Venus Express will sweep past its target. 'Without doubt this is the hardest part of the mission,' added Taylor. 'Everything depends on a successful burn of Venus Express's rocket engine on Tuesday.'

After the probe has reached Venus, it will swing into a highly elliptical orbit, ranging from 200,000 miles at its highest to 250 at its lowest point. Further firing of its rocket engine will stabilise this into a regular orbit over the poles. By June the craft will be in position, with its instruments ready to begin its survey of Venus.

'You can think of this mission as the Return to the Forgotten Planet,' added McCoy. 'We are going back to find answers to questions that are a lot more important to Earth today than they were 30 years ago.'

In particular, scientists want to understand how Venus became the victim of its greenhouse effect. 'Venus is the queen of the greenhouse,' said Dimitri Titov, a mission scientist for Venus Express. 'On Earth our atmosphere traps a little heat, and keeps us nice and warm. Morning on on Earth would be freezing cold if it was not for our greenhouse warming, which adds about 40C to average temperatures. But on Venus it adds several hundred degrees.'

It is not simply that our wayward sister gets more solar radiation than Earth, scientists stress. Yes, it is closer to the Sun, but the energy differential is not that great. Something else is involved - and the obvious candidate is carbon dioxide. Venus's thick atmosphere is almost entirely made of CO2, which is known to be highly effectively at trapping and holding the Sun's heat. Hence Earth's impending climate crisis as man-made emissions build up in our atmosphere.

But why has Venus got so much carbon dioxide? 'The answer may be that it lost its water some time in the remote past,' said Taylor. 'On Earth, carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans, where it forms carbonate minerals and over the millennia is deposited as rock. That process was arrested early on Venus when it lost its oceans.'

In other words, it was Earth - not Venus - that changed. Billions of years ago both had thick atmospheres of carbon dioxide but, thanks to our oceans, which continue to absorb the gas, we lost ours. Venus - with no oceans - kept its carbon dioxide. 'We should not be too complacent,' added Taylor. 'As temperatures rise, seas become less and less able to hold on to carbon dioxide. Soon they will absorb less of the gas and may eventually start to give it off. That will have a very serious impact on our planet.'

As to the cause of the disappearance of Venus's water, a key theory - to be tested by Venus Express - centres on the idea that the planet's upper atmosphere is battered by solar storms. Without a magnetic field like Earth's to protect it from these solar particles, water vapour was lost to space. Essentially the planet's oceans boiled dry.

And there is the question of those sulphuric acid clouds. Accounting for these takes more effort, though again scientists believe they have answers. Venus is assumed to be highly volcanic and is frequently racked by massive eruptions that vent vast amounts of material into the atmosphere, with sulphur a key component. Mixed with other gases, this falls as gentle sulphuric acid drizzle.

'We can see volcanoes on Venus from the radar images sent back by previous probes,' said Taylor. 'But these do not show if there are plumes of ash coming out or if molten lava is streaming down the sides of their calderas, so we don't know if the volcanoes of Venus are active. However, the infra-red detectors on Venus Express will show up features like that. Then we can start to understand Venusian volcanoes and the planet's internal structure.' In the end, however, it will be Venus Express's studies of the planet's runaway greenhouse effect that will dominate the probe's research activities.

'The Apollo mission had a huge impact on people in the Sixties,' said Taylor. 'For the first time, we could see Earth from distant space. You could see how small and finite it was. That affected people's thinking about the world. 'Venus should now have a similar impact on the public imagination,' he added. 'We are going to see - graphically - what happens when greenhouse heating runs out of control on a planet. That should concentrate a lot of minds.'

The Observer, 9 April 2006


So they're not native. But anywhere else they would be highly valued and carefully managed for profit

A local council in Adelaide's south is considering new ways to battle the spread of feral olive trees. Mitcham Council says it may allow olive harvesting on its reserves and promote olive wood as a firewood. But contrary to earlier media reports, people will not be permitted to cut down olive trees on council reserves. Mitcham's Mayor Ivan Brooks says private property owners are encouraged to clear their own wild olive trees and poison the remaining stumps. He says the feral olive trees are a pest and a fire hazard. "The native grasses are choked out by olives, they provide a step up for bushfires," he said. "On a horrific bad day the grass can set alight to the olives and they actually explode under certain conditions and burn the vapours that come out of them."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


11 April, 2006


An email from F. James Cripwell ( to Benny Peiser

First thank you very much for posting my original query on the Internet. I understand from Albert Jacobs that it caused something of a stir, and you will be addressing the question on CCNet in the future. If this is true, maybe you might be interested in my observations.

To recap, what I asked for, were any graphs showing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere as the independent variable, and some quantitative measure of greenhouse effectiveness as the dependent variable. I suggested that two candidates for the latter could be the percentage of the earth's radiation absorbed by CO2, and radiative forcing.

I received no replies with respect to the earth's radiation absorbed; I myself am retired and have no access to scientific libraries. I am surprised that no-one has calculated the percentage of the earth's radiation absorbed by carbon dioxide, as a function of it's concentration in the atmosphere. The fundamental data must be readily available. One can only assume that this has not been presented because, if it were to be presented, it would show that increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are a most unlikely candidate as the cause of global warming.

I did some work on surface-to-air guided missiles, and the concept of "red spike blue spike" shows conclusively that the 4.2 micron absorption band of CO2 is completely saturated. For anyone unfamiliar with this concept, it relates to the complete absorption of the CO2 radiation at 4.2 microns, emitted by jet aircraft flying in combat, before it reaches the ground. Other absorption bands of CO2 must be nearly saturated, so there is not enough radiation absorbed by increased levels of CO2 to act as a way of increasing the warming of the earth.

With respect to radiative forcing, I did hear from NASA. It took some time to get the exact question to which I required an answer, but I finally asked the question "What is the change in radiative forcing when the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases from zero ppm to 200 ppm". My idea was that if I could find the way of calculating one point of the required curve, I could get the rest. It would seem that NASA cannot answer the question, as I have had no reply.

The only relationship that there appears to be between concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and radiative forcing, is the claim in IPCC 2001 - The Scientific Basis that a doubling of the concentration of CO2 increases the radiative forcing by a constant amount. There are many problems with this claim.

In the first place it is most unusual for these sorts of natural phenomena to follow nice neat scientific principles, unless there is good reason for this to happen. Several plants, for example, grow in accordance with the Golden Ratio, in order to maximize the amount of sunlight each leaf receives.

In IPCC 2001, on pages 356 and 357, at paragraphs 6.3.1 there is a long discussion of what the value is of the increase in radiative forcing for a doubling of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Despite there being some 400 references in this chapter alone, there is no reference that establishes the physics behind the assertion that doubling the concentration of CO2 results in a linear addition to the radiative forcing.

On page 93, of IPCC 2001, we find in the fourth paragraph, "If the amount of carbon dioxide were doubled instantaneously, with everything else remaining the same, the outgoing infrared radiation would be reduced by 4 Wm-2. In other words, the radiative forcing corresponding to a doubling of the CO2 concentration would be 4 Wm-2". This statement is unreferenced and unsubstantiated. Similarly three paragraphs later we find "It is because of these effects of partial saturation that the radiative forcing is not proportional to the increase in carbon dioxide concentration but shows a logrithmatic dependence. Every further doubling adds an additional 4 Wm-2 to the radiative forcing". Again this statement is unreferenced and unsubstantiated. It would appear that there is no sound scientific basis for the claim that a doubling of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere results in a linear addition to the radiative forcing. If there is, where is it?

Throughout the discussion of doubling the concentration of CO2, there is absolutely no reference to the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere over which the increased amount of radiative forcing is supposed to increase linearly when the concentration of CO2 doubles. Presumably if you halved the concentration of CO2, you would decrease the radiative forcing by some linear amount. If you go on halving the CO2 concentration, then as the concentration of CO2 approached zero, it would appear that the CO2 was rapidly cooling the earth!! Clearly any claim that the doubling of the CO2 concentration results in a linear increase in the level of radiative forcing, can have no credibility unless the range of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere over which the relationship is claimed to exist, is clearly established from sound scientific principles.

If there is no scientific basis for the claim that doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases the radiative forcing linearly, then any claim to put a numerical value on this increase has no basis in science. Such a number, e.g. 4 Wm-2, is irrelevant and meaningless. I am reminded of a discussion I had many years ago on the differences between astronomy and astrology. Both use the same data of the relative positions and motions of the earth, sun, moon, planets and stars; both have long complex calculations; both result in numerical answers. In the case of astronomy, the numbers have a scientific meaning; in the case of astrology, they do not. It seems to me that this claim of doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere resulting in a linear addition to the radiative forcing, is more akin to astrology than it is to astronomy.

I am reminded of a quite well known commercial in North America from Wendy's "Where's the beef?". When it comes to the IPCC claim that the increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere is the cause of global warming, where's the science?


Mark Fischer is glad he plunked down $2 million for 144 solar-power systems last year. He beat the Germans to them - and largely defied the ruthless law of supply and demand shadowing the solar market just as it's poised to break out across sunny California. Fischer, vice president of Stockton-based Grupe Development Co., oversees the Sacramento region's largest all-solar subdivision, now rising in Rocklin. It marks the firm's first venture into a solar-energy market that increasingly has found itself squeezed at the same time it has high hopes of becoming a serious option for homeowners.

The problem: There isn't enough polysilicon being manufactured for both the global semiconductor industry that has traditionally been its biggest user and an upstart solar cell industry that's experiencing unprecedented demand. The result is a supply shortage that's unexpectedly driving up prices for an already expensive home addition. Generous new German government subsidies for solar installations in that country have especially pressured supplies just as California has approved its own 10-year, $2.9 billion program giving residents a $7,000 subsidy to add the units to their homes. With developments like Grupe's Carsten Crossings, the state aims to spur thousands more systems that can halve energy demand for an average home and add thousands of megawatts into the energy grid.

For years, solar cell prices gradually fell as demand grew and efficiency improved. But the tug of war between the huge chip industry and the growing solar cell manufacturing sector has pushed costs of solar systems up at least 10 percent, said Howard Wenger, executive vice president of Berkeley-based PowerLight Corp., which calls itself the nation's largest buyer of solar cells. A typical installation of a system that is integrated into the roof now averages about $21,000.

The polysilicon in the cells is the raw material that receives and stores sunlight to convert to electricity. Wenger said that just four years ago, the industry "consumed less than 5 percent of the silicon material" worldwide. But today, said Dick Swanson, founder of SunPower, a Sunnyvale-based solar cell manufacturer, the solar industry "is using as much silicon as the microelectronics industry. There is a shortage and prices have gone up dramatically."

What's not going up is the rate of installations. In California, which boasts 80 percent of the nation's solar energy production, installations, which surged almost 40 percent in each of 2003 and 2004, slowed last year to 22 percent, according to California Energy Commission statistics. The commission has subsidized up to 90 percent of the solar installations statewide since 1998.

Roseville homeowner Anita Mathis bought a new solar-powered home during the recent rush. She typifies homeowners who like the idea of saving money - typically solar systems can pay for themselves in about seven years - as well as the notion of being part of the energy solution. "We lucked into this," she said. "We didn't mean to buy a solar home. But it's nice to know we're not contributing to the energy problem."

Some industry analysts say price increases and shortages are likely temporary. Polysilicon supply shortages may continue until 2008 or 2009, according to Chicago-based Navigant Consulting Inc. "We believe the situation will reverse itself in two years," said PowerLight's Wenger. Solar advocates such as SunPower's Swanson contend that solar cells will become thinner by half each decade and use less silicon raw material to generate the same amount of power. They also point to a rapid expansion in manufacturing capacity in China, Russia and other nations that will ease the polysilicon shortage.

More here


"What's a few niggers less?" seems to be their heartless attitude

Uganda will proceed with the use of the pesticide DDT to control malaria, despite threats by the European Union that it could lead to its agricultural exports being locked out. The head of the Economic, Trade and Social sectors desk at the EU delegation to Uganda, Tom Vens told The EastAfrican that the EU had warned the government against the use of DDT, which scientists claim, can cause cancer among humans if ingested. "We have advised the government that they are taking a risk if they go ahead with this DDT use, he said. "We, however, leave it to the government, of course, to decide. But nothing will happen, at least on the official side, if they decide to use DDT in strict compliance with the Stockholm Convention," he said. The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants.

The EU official, however, said that they would have no control over the consumer organisations in Europe which could pressure supermarkets to stop selling agricultural products from Uganda. Mr Vens said, "If the strict controls that should be put in place when DDT is used are not fully adhered to, and there is a risk of contamination of the food chain. It would not automatically lead to a ban of food products, but it will mean that that particular consignment cannot be sent to Europe."

However, Uganda's Health Minister Jim Muhwezi told The EastAfrican that the government was going ahead with plans to use DDT to control malaria. "What we plan to do is within the agreed framework of the World Health Organisation and there is nothing new in this," said Mr Muhwezi. "We shall use Indoors Residual Spraying and this means it will not come into contact with the exports." He said the government does not plan massive spraying outside buildings and was educating the public on the use of the pesticide, which kills mosquitoes that transmit malaria. "We have to kill malaria using DDT and the matter has been settled that DDT is not harmful to humans and if used for indoor-insecticide spraying. It's the most effective and cheapest way to fight malaria," Mr Muhwezi said. He said a study released in November 2005 found no link between DDT and conditions such as impotence, infertility, neurological damage, congenital abnormalities and cancer.

Malaria kills more people than any other disease in Uganda each year and is responsible for 21 per cent of hospital deaths and 40 per cent of illness in the country's health facilities. The minister said the government will scrap taxes on mosquito nets starting next financial year and make treated mosquito nets available to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children below five years and people living with HIV/Aids.

The EU concerns are likely to cause some fears in Uganda's agricultural sector, which contributes about 36 per cent of the growth domestic product, and for which Europe is an important export destination for fish, coffee, fresh flowers, bananas and cotton. A few years ago, the EU banned fish imports from Uganda citing poor sanitation and substandard processing methods. The ban was later lifted after reforms in the fish sector.

DDT was used extensively in the 1950s and early 1960s to fight malaria and other pests across the world but was stopped after scientists raised questions about its effects on humans - although no fatalities have been reported. A 2001 World Health Organisation report put hospital deaths due to malaria in Uganda at 38 per cent and the percentage of households using insecticide-treated mosquito nets at 6 per cent.



N.B. What the British call a hosepipe, Australians would call a "garden hose". I don't know what Americans call it but it's what you use to water your garden. Though why damp Britain needs its gardens watered is something of a mystery

Britain appears to be suffering from an outbreak of water on the brain. A shower of wet greens are apparently attacking golf-course greens in an attempt to make the clubs cut their water use. Such rabid hydrophobia is little wonder, really, when the dry sticks who run the Environment Agency and water companies are telling consumers to grass up our neighbours for daring to water the grass.

We are being deluged with demands to spy on one another. The Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorism adverts ask: "Are you suspicious of your tenants or neighbours?" A television campaign tells us to turn in any dodgy-looking tradesmen who might not be paying enough income tax. Leaflets advise Edinburgh householders how to inform on "rogue" pubs that flout Scotland's smoking ban. When the ban comes to England, the Government plans to plaster the shop-a-smoker phoneline number on public buildings and bus stops.

Now seven water companies in southern England are encouraging customers to report any of their 13 million consumers suspected of breaking hosepipe bans. Neighbourhood-watchers who have spotted a gardener armed with a hose can leave an anonymous telephone message for Thames Water or e-mail an anonymous "Report a Waterhog!" form to Three Valleys Water.

There are good arguments that hosepipe bans are ineffective and would be unnecessary if more investment had been made in building reservoirs, replacing pipes and desalination.

But then these campaigns are less about saving water than changing behaviour. They are backyard moral crusades to make us renounce our prodigal ways, with the hosepipe cast as the serpent in the garden. The companies are even asking consumers to sign "the pledge" to use less water - something traditionally associated with temperance campaigns against alcohol. As with all re-education programmes, we are expected to police one another's deviant behaviour.

Who wants to be a water rat or part of a nation of narks? These shop-a-neighbour campaigns feed the climate of suspicion already corroding trust. Civil liberties campaigners invoke the "Big Brother nightmare" at the drop of an ID card. But let's not forget the more insidious aspects of surveillance in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which meant that "everyone could be surrounded day and night by informers who knew him intimately".

This week Harraj Mann, a salesman from Hartlepool, was reportedly taken off a plane by anti-terrorist police and grilled for three hours because a sharp-eared taxi driver heard him play an old Clash song with the lyrics "war is declared and battle come down" en route to Teesside airport. You can't be too careful. He might have had a hosepipe in his bag.

The Times, 7 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


10 April, 2006

Al Gore: The End is Near

The world's greatest sore loser is still trying to justify the nonsensical Kyoto treaty that he negotiated

Former vice president Al Gore is predicting the end of all human life on the Planet Earth if Washington doesn't do something to stop Americans from causing global warming. "If we allow this to happen, we will destroy the habitability of the planet," Gore told a group of environmentally minded corporate executives in California on Thursday. "We can't do that, and I am confident we won't do that," he added, according to Oakland's Bay Area Argus. But the former VP warned: "We have been blind to the fact that the human species is now having a crushing impact on the ecological system of the planet."

Gore said global warming "is really not a political issue, [but] it's disguised as a political issue. It's a moral issue, it's an ethical issue." The former number two Clinton official pointed to last year's devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita, saying: "This is the first foretaste of a cup that will be offered to us again and again and again until we regain our moral authority."


Want Clean Air? Try This

Environmentalists gained an important victory last month when a federal appeals court rejected a Bush administration effort to amend key provisions of the Clean Air Act. The administration sought to rewrite the "New Source Review" program, which requires power plants and other industrial polluters to install state-of-the-art air pollution control equipment whenever they build a new plant or modify an existing one.

The current law provides no clear explanation of what constitutes a modification, creating both uncertainty and the opportunity for regulatory mischief. The Bush administration wanted to create a bright-line rule that the a modification would be considered major only if it cost at least 20 percent of the plant's original cost. Environmentalists justifiably opposed the rule as being too broad -- industry could break up major renovation and expansion projects into stages that individually would not cross the 20 percent threshold, and old plants would never become subject to the Clean Air Act's equipment mandates.

The environmentalists -- both environmental organizations and state attorneys general -- should be pleased with their victory, but they should not ignore the fundamental problem with New Source Review. The problem is not that the modification threshold is unclear or that it could be construed too broadly -- the problem is that the exemption exists at all.

The 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments "grandfathered" plants that were built before August 7, 1977 and allowed those plants to replace equipment and undergo minor modifications without triggering the new pollution control requirements. While this seems like a fair approach, it is actually grossly unfair in that it creates a two-tier regulatory environment that disadvantages the owners of new plants. It also is environmentally disastrous because it creates an enormous incentive for industry to keep old plants up and running. Grandfathering slows the turnover of polluting capital, locking in archaic technologies and keeping alive power plants built during Herbert Hoover's presidency. Old, patched-up, grandfathered plants account for an enormous percentage of U.S. air pollution.

Environmentalists display an unfortunate stubbornness when they remain committed to fighting the modification battle. Last month's decision was only the latest (and not the last) round in a decades-long legal fight over New Source Review. Thousands of work-hours have been spent litigating the issue of how significant a modification must be before it triggers pollution control requirements.

There is a better way to fight air pollution. For decades, economists have argued for the levy of pollution taxes to provide economic incentives to reduce pollution. If set stringently enough, pollution taxes can accomplish all of the environmental objectives that pollution control requirements are meant to accomplish. Moreover, by not forcing industry to employ the specific (and often extremely expensive) pollution control equipment designated state-of-the-art, a pollution tax would encourage industry to explore and develop new technologies that could be more effective and less expensive.

Perhaps most importantly, a pollution tax would be much easier politically to apply to all sources, old or new, thereby doing away with grandfathering. Because of the presumptive universality of taxes, people expect them to apply to everybody, not just new polluting sources. By contrast, the U.S. has never really embraced the notion that equipment regulations should apply to all pollution sources. That is why, for example, the nation has a relatively small number of old cars on the road that account for a large portion of our vehicle pollution problem, and why we allow a large number of old, outdated industrial pollution sources to enjoy a huge regulatory advantage over new plants.

The expensive and talent-consuming litigation over New Source Review has gone on long enough. Wholly apart from economic efficiency concerns, there are the thousands of people who die prematurely from air pollution annually who deserve better than the fruitless legal wrangling. The public, as well as the environmental movement and industry, would be better served by less fighting and more thinking about reducing air pollution.


The Best Way to Reform CAFE is to End It

While the Department of Transportation touts higher fuel economy standards for light trucks, including SUVs, a fuel economy expert with the Competitive Enterprise Institute says the increase makes zero sense at a time of rising gasoline prices. "The public has responded far more effectively than the government ever could to the recent gasoline price hikes, by changing their driving habits and their car-buying decisions," says Sam Kazman, CEI's general counsel and a fuel economy standards expert. "Environmentalists, on the other hand, are engaging in knee-jerk complaints that the standards should be raised even more. Higher standards would make driving even cheaper, a goal directly at odds with environmentalist complaints that we already drive too much."

CEI has long contended that the CAFE program (for Corporate Average Fuel Economy) is lethal because it has forced the downsizing of passenger cars, which makes them less crashworthy.

A National Research Council study in 2001 found that CAFE's downsizing incentive contributes to 2,000 deaths annually. In 1992, CEI won a federal appeals court ruling that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had illegally concealed the lethal effects on highway safety of its auto fuel economy standards. The decision marked the first judicial overturning of a fuel economy standard in the program's history



British climate wackiness

Not being native to these isles, I used to have trouble understanding what people meant by the word drought. "It's terribly worrying, isn't it, the drought?" they would say. Perhaps, I thought to myself, they're talking about some obscure livestock ailment, or maybe they just pronounce "draft" funny. But I know they can't be talking about that other thing, the not having enough water thing, because it's raining frigging sideways.

Even today when people say, "It's been so dry these last two winters, hasn't it?", I nod in vague agreement, but I think, "What are you talking about? Compared with where?" This week, hosepipe bans came into effect across the south-east, making it illegal for 10 million people to water their gardens or wash their cars with a hose. I have more or less accepted that England is a country where adequate water supplies are maintained only through unrelenting, round-the-clock rain, and that any gap in the clouds spells doom, followed by standpipes in the streets. I also know it's no use pointing out that it's raining right now. I know it's the wrong kind of rain. It's too wet, or something.

This is nevertheless my first official hosepipe ban, and in a panic at the prospect of it I rushed out and spent a hundred quid on a giant water butt made out of an old whisky barrel. After I installed it I got a bit worried because I read that if you let a barrel dry out it will collapse into a pile of staves and hoops. Even my precaution seemed like a form of moronic optimism. Why didn't I just get the ugly green plastic kind of water butt? Didn't I realise there was a drought on?

Well here it is, the first week in April, and my barrel runneth over. The lid is floating on its brimming surface. I've got more water than I know what to do with, presuming I can attach a hose to my barrel without breaking the law. But I still have many questions about the details of the ban. For example, can I wash my car with the water that flows under its wheels from the broken main up the road? It's been running like a babbling brook all winter, excepting the day the men from Thames Water came to fix it, when it exploded like a geyser and shot mud and gravel into the neighbour's open third-storey window, after which the men ran away. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a standpipe instead, so we could at least turn it off.

This is of course just a small part of the 915,000 litres a day - 17 Olympic swimming pools an hour - that Thames Water loses through leaks, representing a third of the total supply. They say they're currently spending o500,000 a day repairing London's network of 150-year-old Victorian pipes, but I am not very impressed with them leaving it so long. I blame their complacency on the relative harmlessness of water. You don't see the gas people letting a third of their product leak away in transit. If you want any water this summer, see me. I'll be giving it away, and mine tastes faintly of whisky.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


9 April, 2006


This guy sounds dangerous enough to lock up. But I suppose that all we can hope for is that Ebola gets him first

A University of Texas biology professor has been targeted by talk radio, bloggers and vitriolic e-mails - including a death threat - after a published report that he advocated death for most of the population as a means of saving the Earth. But Dr. Eric Pianka said Monday his remarks about what he believes is an impending pandemic were taken out of context. "What we really need to do is start thinking about controlling our population before it's too late," he said. "It's already too late, but we're not even thinking about it. We're just mindlessly rushing ahead breeding our brains out."

The public furor began when The Gazette-Enterprise of Seguin, Texas, reported Sunday on two speeches Pianka made last month to groups of scientists and students about vanishing animal habitats and the explosion of the human population. The newspaper's Jamie Mobley attended one of those speeches and also interviewed Forrest Mims, an amateur scientist and author who heard Pianka speak early last month before the Texas Academy of Science. After the newspaper's report appeared, it was circulated widely and posted on "The Drudge Report." It quickly became talk-radio fodder.

The Gazette-Enterprise quoted Pianka as saying disease "will control the scourge of humanity. We're looking forward to a huge collapse." The professor weighed the killing power of various diseases such as bird flu and HIV, insisting neither would yield the needed results. "HIV is too slow. It's no good," he said. He went on to discuss how an Ebola pandemic could wipe out a significant chunk of the human population.

Pianka said he was only trying to warn his audience that disease epidemics have happened before and will happen again if the human population growth isn't contained. He said he believes the Earth would be better off if the human population were smaller because fewer natural resources would be consumed and humans wouldn't continue to destroy animal habitats. But he said that doesn't mean he wants most humans to die.

But Mims, chairman of the academy's environmental science section, told The Associated Press there was no mistaking Pianka's disdain for humans and desire for their elimination. "He wishes for it. He hopes for it. He laughs about it. He jokes about it," Mims said. "It's got to happen because we are the scourge of humanity."

David Marsh, president of the Texas Academy of Science, did not return telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment. No recording or transcript of either that speech or another delivered last Friday at St. Edward's University in Austin was available for review by the AP. The Gazette-Enterprise said it reviewed a transcript of the original speech, which was provided on the condition that it not be distributed.

Allan Hook, a St. Edward's biology professor who heard both speeches, said Pianka "wasn't so perhaps adamant in his own personal views of what he thinks might happen" in his second lecture. But Hook declined to elaborate on what Pianka said in the earlier speech, which Pianka delivered while being honored as the academy's 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.

University of Texas officials don't plan to take any action against Pianka, university spokesman Don Hale said. "Dr. Pianka has First Amendment rights to express his point of view," Hale said. "We have plenty of faculty with a lot of different points of view and they have the right to express that point of view, but they're expressing their personal point of view."



Special to the Financial Post, 6 April 2006

An open letter to [Canada's] Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Dear Prime Minister:

As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans. This would be entirely consistent with your recent commitment to conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol. Although many of us made the same suggestion to then-prime ministers Martin and Chretien, neither responded, and, to date, no formal, independent climate-science review has been conducted in Canada. Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science.

Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada's climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.

While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formulation. The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an "emerging science," one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.

We appreciate the difficulty any government has formulating sensible science-based policy when the loudest voices always seem to be pushing in the opposite direction. However, by convening open, unbiased consultations, Canadians will be permitted to hear from experts on both sides of the debate in the climate-science community. When the public comes to understand that there is no "consensus" among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change, the government will be in a far better position to develop plans that reflect reality and so benefit both the environment and the economy.

"Climate change is real" is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural "noise." The new Canadian government's commitment to reducing air, land and water pollution is commendable, but allocating funds to "stopping climate change" would be irrational. We need to continue intensive research into the real causes of climate change and help our most vulnerable citizens adapt to whatever nature throws at us next.

We believe the Canadian public and government decision-makers need and deserve to hear the whole story concerning this very complex issue. It was only 30 years ago that many of today's global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe. But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas.

We hope that you will examine our proposal carefully and we stand willing and able to furnish you with more information on this crucially important topic.


Since one or two bristlecone pine trees is about all Michael "hockeystick" Mann has to hang his hat on these days, this paper should in a reality-focused world blow him out of the water. It won't of course

(From Paleobiology; September 2005; v. 31; no. 3; p. 434-444)

Global climate analysis of growth rings in woods, and its implications for deep-time paleoclimate studies

By Howard J. Falcon-Lang

Quantitative analysis of growth rings in pre-Quaternary fossil woods is commonly used as a paleoclimatic indicator. In this paper, a global analysis of the relationship between climate and growth ring parameters in modern trees is presented that, in part, invalidates the use of fossil woods in this way. Data reprocessed from the International Tree-Ring Data Bank are used to analyze three parameters, mean ring width, mean sensitivity, and percentage latewood, from 727 sites across a global climatic range. Results allow the complex relationship between climate and growth ring parameters to be quantified at the global scale for the first time. They reveal the enormous variability in tree response to climate-forcing, which is influenced by disparate factors such as taxonomy, ontogeny, ecology, and environment. Quantitative analysis of fossil growth ring data in light of the modern results indicates that even the largest and most detailed fossil studies conducted to date are probably inadequate in distinguishing a paleoclimate signal from the background noise of variability. The validity of using quantitative growth ring parameters as indicators of Pre-Quaternary climates is therefore questionable. Only in well-constrained studies where paleoclimatic, ontogenetic, and taxonomic sources of variability can be controlled, and data sets are very large, may fossil growth ring analysis provide useful paleoecological data. The findings of this paper do not invalidate in any way the use of growth rings in fossil woods as qualitative paleoclimatic indicators.


1. Quantitative climate analysis of growth ring characteristics (mean ring width, mean sensitivity, percentage latewood) of modern trees was undertaken at the global scale. Results help quantify, for the first time, the enormous variability in tree growth response to present-day climatic forcing.

2. Modern data allow the quality of growth ring data in pre-Quaternary fossil wood to be assessed. In light of such analyses fossil data are found to be inadequate in distinguishing paleoclimate signals from the background noise of variability.

3. Quantitative growth ring analysis of fossil woods may be used only in well-constrained paleoecological studies where taxonomic and climatic sources of variability can be controlled, and additionally, of course, as a qualitative tool in paleoclimatic and paleoecological analyses. [...]


Forty per cent of this year's budget for climate change programs has been slashed from the departments of Natural Resources and Environment, CBC News has learned. The cuts include the much-advertised One Tonne Challenge, 40 public information offices across the country and several scientific and research programs on climate change. "If it's not in the taxpayers' interest to fund programs that are not effective, then we are not going to," said Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn. Lunn would only confirm funding has been cut to some environmental groups, but did not provide details.

David Layzell, who runs BIOCAP, a research program that looks at how agricultural and forest waste can be turned into fuel, said the program gets 80 per cent of its money from the federal government. He said it's now in limbo with millions of dollars in research at stake. "We will lose researchers, we will lose funding partners, we will lose a number of industries that have been looking at opportunities to move to, for example, new energy sources," said Layzell.

Environmental groups are furious at the cuts, pointing out the longer Canada takes to form a climate change plan the less likely Canada will keep its Kyoto promises. "We're the only country that's ratified Kyoto that's cutting back on its spending on climate change," said John Bennett of the Sierra Club of Canada.

The government said it will come up with its own new climate change plan within the next few months.

CBC News, 5 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


8 April, 2006


And they accuse OTHER people of meddling with nature!

Despite bombs, boats and rubber bullets, dozens of sea lions are continuing to kill salmon near the Bonneville Dam. This month, biologists are trying one last time to scare off the problem sea lions, but if that doesn't work, they may try to kill them. Sea lions could kill as much as 10 percent of this spring's salmon run and biologists say if they cannot get the problem solved soon, the situation could get ugly. The sea lions are just doing what comes naturally - finding a way to keep their bellies full.

The problem is that the salmon are disappearing. An estimated 8,000 salmon will be lost this spring at Bonneville Dam. State wildlife officials are mounting an aggressive effort to scare the sea lions away from the dam. The effort is their last stab at solving the problem before they will have to consider killing the sea lions. "The difficult part about it is we're trying to save the endangered salmon as they are going up past the dam, but you've got the Marine Mammal Protection Act that protects these marine mammals," says Bob Stansell, a Biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The biggest violator is sea lion C-404. He has managed to penetrate the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam. Biologists say there are nearly 1,000 other sea lions hunting salmon in the Columbia River and they could conceivably kill 10 percent of the fish that come through the dam. If the sea lions cannot be scared off, Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission has already applied for a permit to kill some of the problem sea lions, like C-404. Killing the sea lions would be a last resort, but the idea is certainly a controversial one. "Because they're so cute," says tourist Kristin Zubel. "They're not hurting anybody and there should be plenty of fish to go around." The efforts to harass the sea lions enough to scare them away from Bonneville Dam will last through May.



This article uses "postmodernist" language -- presumably in an attempt to "communicate" with the fruitcakes -- but in plain English what it says is that the alleged "science" underlying global warming theory must be judged on the facts, not on the authoritativeness or number of scientists who support it -- as scientists depend for their prestige on their devotion to the facts

The philosopher Alvin Gouldner entitled Chapter 13 of his classic study The Two Marxisms, "Nightmare Marxism," observing that every discourse contains within it alternatives that suborn its expressed intent -- its nightmare side. For Marxism, there were two nightmares: the first that Marx's theory was, despite its claim to scientific legitimacy, just another utopian project; the second that, despite his theoretical analysis, it would turn out that the bourgeoisie were right all along, and that private property was, indeed, the basis of civilization. Should these nightmares be right, Marxism would not be the path to an enlightened future, but to despotism -- as, in fact, it was in practice.

What, then, are the nightmares of the scientific discourse or, more precisely, the environmental science discourse? Surely a major one is that, despite the claim of the scientific discourse to primacy in creating a valid understanding of the world, the reality is that the postmodernist critique is right, and science is no more than another normative discourse, of no greater ontological value than any other.

Evaluating the potential for this nightmare science scenario is tricky, but a few observations are possible. To begin with, it is useful to recall perhaps the principal way science distinguishes itself from other discourses: the reliance on discovery of facts through observation, and validation of theory through test and falsification - in short, the scientific method. This procedure evolved in Western Europe in contrast to the medieval mechanism for establishing truth, which was reference to authority, in the form of the Church Fathers, Aristotle, or other accepted texts. The seismic shift in worldview that a change from authority to observation as source of truth induces is difficult to appreciate in hindsight, but there is little question that it was a seminal step in the rise of the West and the creation of modernity.

But it is precisely the strength of this core characteristic of the scientific discourse that creates the potential for nightmare science. The nightmare arises in this way. We have, as scientists, established the validity of science through adoption of a process that institutionalizes observation, and thus grants us privileged access to truth, at least within the domains of physical reality. In doing so, we have destroyed authority as the source of privileged knowledge -- and, concomitantly, assumed much of the power that used to reside in the old elite (e.g., the Church).

But now suppose that scientists become increasingly concerned with certain environmental phenomenon -- say, loss of biodiversity, or climate change. They thus not only report the results of the practice of the scientific method, but, in part doubting the ability of the public to recognize the potential severity of the issues as scientists see them, become active as scientists in crafting and demanding particular responses, such as the Kyoto Treaty. These responses, notably, extend significantly beyond the purely environmental domain, into policies involving economic development, technology deployment, quality of life in many countries, and the like.

In short, the elite that has been created by practice of the scientific method uses the concomitant power not just to express the results of particular research initiatives, but to create, support, and implement policy responses affecting many non-scientific communities and intellectual domains in myriad ways. In doing so, they are not exercising expertise in these non-scientific domains, but rather transforming their privilege in the scientific domains into authority in non-scientific domains.

Science is, in other words, segueing back into a structure where once again authority, not observation, is the basis of the exercise of power and establishment of truth by the elite. But the authority in this new model is not derived from sacred texts; rather it is derived from legitimate practice of scientific method in the scientific domain, extended into non-scientific domains. Note that this does not imply that scientists cannot, or should not, as individuals participate in public debate; only that if they do so cloaked in the privilege that the scientific discourse gives them they raise from the dead the specter of authority as truth.

Why is this nightmare science? Precisely because it raises an internal contradiction with which science cannot cope. In an age defined by the scientific worldview, which is the source of the primacy of the scientific discourse, science cannot demand privilege outside its domain based not on method, but on authority, for in doing so it undermines the zeitgeist that gives it validity. When demanding the Kyoto Treaty as scientists, it is themselves, not their opponents, that they attack.



Scientists have established a link between agrarian productivity in Africa and weather patterns in the Atlantic: they claim that climate change could cut the food supply by 20-50%. This might make sense if climate were the only factor in production but it is not-as shown by dry, rich Australia and wet, fertile, shattered Zimbabwe.

It is no surprise that weather and harvests are connected but, especially in the case of African agriculture, it is unreasonable to assume that climate is the dominant, let alone the only, factor. Yet this is what these scientists seem to believe. Let us be clear: there is no need to doubt the evidence about current correlations between climate and harvests. It is wrong, however, to suggest that the climate alone determines whether Africa's agriculture will thrive or fail. That will be is a matter of economics, management and economic freedom. Although more than 70% of Africans work on the land, they produce only 16,5% of the continent's gross domestic product (GDP) or 29% in sub-Saharan Africa.

To put agriculture and its dependence on climate into perspective, let us look at history. In the late 19th and early 20th century there was a country that was heavily dependent on agriculture. It was the main export and the agricultural share of GDP reached more than 30%. Consequently, this country was vulnerable to any event that affected agriculture: droughts were dreaded and a decline in world market prices for wool, for example, led to a severe economic depression in the 1890s. That country is Australia. Today agriculture contributes less than 4% to the country's economy and employs only a tiny share of the workforce. In absolute terms, however, its agriculture produces more than ever - yet it is one of the driest places on Earth.

There is no imminent disaster in Australia from potential climate change. With irrigation, improved seeds, machinery and pesticides, it has made their agriculture not only less weather-dependent but also much more productive. This increased productivity enabled many Australians to follow pursuits other than growing wheat or herding cattle and sheep. These people were then working in manufacturing or services and it was in this way that Australia became a "weatherproof economy" with a GDP per capita of more than US$30 000 a year. Were Australia to suffer more droughts in the future, it could still import its food from neighbouring New Zealand, which has a much wetter climate.

There is much to be learned from Australia's agricultural history. It started off in a position not too dissimilar to that of many African countries today but now it produces far more with far less and is no longer dependent on agriculture. Furthermore, Australia is now far richer than Africa and thus much better prepared to adapt to possible climate changes.

What actually drove Australia's transformation from a mainly agricultural country to a weatherproof economy? It would be easy to point to the technological advances such as irrigation systems, tractors or pesticides. But behind these there is a more fundamental factor at work. When Australia was settled by the British, it received the institutions that had developed in Britain over many centuries, the most important of which was the rule of law. This made it possible to define, defend and transfer property rights-the basis of a wealth-creating market economy. It is these institutions that allowed many other wealth-enhancing factors such as better health, education and research and development to thrive.

The World Bank recently tried to measure the wealth created in economies around the globe. The absolute differences between rich and poor countries were not too high when it came to the available cropland per head. What really made the difference was the so-called intangible capital: human skills and know-how as well as good governance. It is in this field that it was most obvious which countries were poor and which were rich. Australia, for example, had built up an intangible capital of almost US$300 000 per capita whereas many African countries did not even reach 10% of this figure. Most strikingly, the World Bank experts estimated that the rule of law explained almost 60% of the formation of intangible capital.

We have seen that Australia no longer fears changes in the climate. Yet this is not because it has a comparatively small agricultural sector but because it had a legal and economic system that made it more and more independent of the weather and ultimately of its agriculture. This means that climate change need not be disastrous for Africa. But to deal with it when it occurs, Africans need the institutions of the free society on which their agriculture and their economies can grow. Just like Australians did, with the rule of law, property rights and free markets, Africans too could build weatherproof economies.

MoneyWeb, 5 April 2006


Forget France. In the future, wine buffs may be praising the merits of a fine Canadian pinot noir, the subtleties of English chardonnay, or even the complexity of a world-class Pennsylvania cabernet sauvignon. The cause: climate change.

Some scientists believe that rising temperatures and longer growing seasons are already affecting wine, making vintages sweeter and stronger, and changing where grapes can be grown around the world. Previously unheralded German wines have gotten surprisingly better in the last two decades. The alcohol in California wine has risen - which can be both a good and bad thing - along with the temperatures.

There have even been instances where English bubbly has thumped its French counterparts in blind taste tests conducted by the magazine Which?, the English equivalent of Consumer Reports.

Not everyone swallows the warming theory. Many in the wine industry believe other factors - such as improvements in agriculture and wine-making - have followed consumer demand and given birth to the current generation of potent, full-bodied "trophy" wines.

The influential wine critic Robert M. Parker turns up his nose at the idea of global warming leading to sweeter and more alcoholic wines. Parker said that the warming influence was "inconclusive" and that the trend toward more alcoholic wine was a result of vintners worldwide picking grapes later in the season as they aim for more robust flavors.

Researchers studying the world's wine industry are scheduled to meet later this month in Barcelona, Spain, at the first global meeting on the impact of climate change. Climatologist Gregory Jones of Southern Oregon University maintains that global warming is at least in part responsible for recent wine trends. He said that the climate influenced anywhere from 10 to 60 percent of a wine's profile, from sweetness to alcoholic content. "With growing grapes, climate is the No. 1 factor," said Jones, who thinks that it would be impossible to ascribe all of the changes that have occurred to new technology and better growing techniques. Jones, a speaker at the Barcelona summit, said that California's Napa Valley was a clear example of a wine region influenced by the warming trend. Wine there has increased in strength since the 1970s, when the average alcohol content was 12.5 percent. By 2001, the average had reached 14.8 percent, according to a 2004 study published in the trade publication Wine Business Monthly. Jones suspects that the increase is due to the region's higher average growing-season temperatures, which Jones found to have jumped by nearly two degrees in northern California since 1948.

The increased strength of their wine has led many Napa Valley growers to explore methods to remove the alcohol, from watering it down to reverse osmosis. "Fifty years ago, removing alcohol was not an issue," Jones said, "because the climate of that time ripened fruit in a more balanced way." Longer periods of sunlight and warm weather allow grapes to stay on the vine longer and produce more sugar, leading to wines with more vivid flavors and the sometimes harsh effect of higher alcohol content, Jones said.

Jones cited numerous examples of how climate change is reshaping the world of wine. In southern England, temperatures are approaching those of warmer climes, and the total acreage of vineyards has exploded, with some buyers coming from France's far more expensive Champagne region. In the classic French wine-growing region of Burgundy, vintners traditionally added sugar to their wines to bring up the alcohol. But in the last 10 to 15 years, that has been the exception, he said.

Increased temperatures could also force some regions to grow new varieties and change growing practices, Jones said. "If you are in a cool-climate region like the Rhine, and the climate warms, you have to consider warmer varieties of grapes," he said. "But if you are in a climate that is already warm, there aren't any other varieties that can be grown."

Researchers in Australia say that quality growing regions for cabernet sauvignon will continue to creep southward over the next 50 years and that growers will have to adapt.

Although he is critical of the climate-change hypothesis, Parker said extremely hot and dry summers like that of 2003 are changing winery practices. European vintners are reconsidering tradition-bound rules against irrigation, a topic likely to be discussed at the Barcelona summit. "The old practice of not irrigating is going to have to stop if there are more years like 2003 and these vineyards are drying up," Parker said.

Knight Ridder Newspapers, 5 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


7 April, 2006

The Media and Reporting on the Environment

Post lifted from Real Clear Politics

Next time you read a magazine cover story like the one Time just published ("Be Worried. Be VERY Worried. Polar Ice Caps Are Melting ... More And More Land Is Being Devastated ... Rising Waters Are Drowning Low-Lying Communities... The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame") you should remember one little fact: U.S. media companies, including Time Warner, donate more to the environmental movement than any other industry. Companies like The New York Times, Gannett, Tribune, ABC, CBS and NBC have donated more than a half-billion worth of ad space since the 1990s to raise money for some of the nation's most extreme environmental groups. And yes, that was billion with a B.

To put that number in perspective, America's media companies donate more to environmental groups every year than the much-feared Olin Foundation's spent annually in its effort to build the institutional foundation of the conservative movement.

The deal works like this: The Ad Council endorses and distributes ads that encourage people to give money to "Earth Share," a fundraising front group whose members include dozens of groups from the moderate Nature Conservancy to the radical Friends of the Earth. Media companies donate vast amounts of air time and ad space, assuming that Ad Council campaigns follow the charity's standards such as the rule that campaigns must be "non-commercial, non-denominational, non-partisan, and not be designated to influence legislation." (

That rule may be important to our non-partisan media, but the Ad Council treats it like a joke. Earth Share's Fall 2005 newsletter, released at the same time as the latest round of Ad Council ads, brags that its members helped "defeat numerous efforts to pass legislation." (

Environmental ads' dubious facts

And the ads sponsored by Earth Share, endorsed by the Ad Council and fueled by media donations are not exactly examples of truth in advertising. Here's the text of one radio ad released last fall:

"Place your hand on your heart ... measure the beats ... 1...2...3...4...5... That's how long it takes to protect your child's life. Five heart beats. That's how long it takes to learn about the dangers of pesticides that could be in your child's classroom. Asthma, lower IQ scores and cancer have all been linked to prolonged exposure to these toxins ..."

Want to know the number of national medical and public health organizations that consider classroom chemical exposure a significant cause of cancer. Z-E-R-O. Want to know the number of scientific groups that blame classroom chemical exposure for asthma and low IQs? Yep, zilch. (Indeed, if you take the time to look it up, average IQ scores are rising.)

An agenda bigger than environmentalism

By giving free space to environmentalists' fundraising campaign, the press is not just broadcasting deceptive messages that stoke public anxiety, they're also laundering the image of environmentalism. The Ad Council name gives the fundraising a patina of non-partisanship. The Earth Share name gives the campaign a soft-focus that hides the full agenda of its member groups.

If you've given money to Earth Share, you might believe, as Harrison Ford says in some of Earth Share's Ad Council sponsored ads, there's "one environment and one simple way to care for it" - give some cash to Earth Share.

The reality is less simple. There may be one environment, but there are many other causes that can hijack your money: Efforts to stop missile defense testing (Union of Concerned Scientists), running attack ads against Senators who opposed campaign finance reform (Sierra Club) and derailing global trade negotiations or trying to give Bill Bradley the Democratic presidential nod instead of Al Gore (Friends of the Earth) are all causes supported by Earth Share members.

Earth Share members also tend to take a knee-jerk anti-technology stance, even when the new technology may benefit the environment. For instance, Earth Share's membership is almost universally opposed to biotechnology because "Frankenfood" genes may contaminate the environment or harm someone, somewhere, somehow. Who knows, they may be right. But while they raise these hypothetical concerns, they ignore concrete environmental benefits. Genetic engineering has significantly raised crop yields, allowing farmers to feed more people with less land. That leaves more room for wildlife. Genetic engineering also increases resistance to plant pests allowing farmers to slash their use of chemicals.

And now onto global warming

Which brings us to the latest news from the nexus between extreme environmentalism and the "non-partisan" Ad Council: The launch of a new campaign aimed at raising public awareness of our global warming crisis. The web site for the campaign ( makes things pretty clear: "Global warming is the most serious environmental issue of our time."

If those are the stakes, then the Ad Council would surely want the most persuasive messenger to bring this important information to the public, right?

And since "most respected scientific organizations have stated unequivocally that global warming is happening, and people are causing it ...," it should be easy for the Ad Council to find a non-partisan scientific messenger, then right?

Well, for some reason, no. The Ad Council has given us exactly the opposite: Their messenger is Environmental Defense (formerly known as the Environmental Defense Fund), a group with a reputation for crying wolf. Right now on their web page, ED asks parents to click to find out whether their children are in "danger" from dirty air. Nowhere can parents find the more comforting fact that, no matter where they live, kids today are breathing cleaner air than they did 50 years ago.

Just to add to their credibility, ED also has a reputation for partisanship, regularly adding its name to anti-Bush administration attacks ads and featuring the wife of the last Democratic presidential aspirant on its board.

And true to form, Environmental Defense takes a reasonable case - we should do something about global warming - and turns it into a joke: "While the world itself will not end, the world as we know it may disappear," ED intones in a Q & A on the site.

Saving the climate by stopping wind power

And that's where this whole Ad Council/Earth Share/Environmental Defense tangle gets impossible to follow.

We know, because the Ad Council tells us so, that "global warming is the most serious environmental issue of our time." The world as we know it is at stake. We also know, because the Ad Council tells us so, that there is "one simple way" to care for the environment - give money to Earth Share.

We also know, that in the short term, there are four kinds of energy society can use that are a) widely available and b) will lower our impact on the global climate: Hydro-electric, wind power, nuclear energy and natural gas.

Yet in every case, the Ad Council is using its vast resources to raise money that makes turning to those sources of power harder, not easier.

Earth Share members, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have filed complaints asking the government to shutter dozens of nuclear power plants across the U.S., they're standing in the way of opening a central repository for nuclear waste and they're opposing regulatory changes that would streamline the permitting process so that the United States could add new zero-climate impact nuclear power for the first time in a generation.

Today, the United States is among the top three nations in the world in producing climate-friendly hydro-electric power. It might not stay that way. In an effort to protect endangered trout and salmon, Earth Share members, such as Defenders of Wildlife, have pushed repeatedly - and in some cases successfully -- to "breach" hydro-electric dams as a way to restore fish habitat.

Of fossil fuel power sources, natural gas is the cleanest and, because it is also the most efficient, it has the least impact on climate. Yet all over the United States environmental groups both local and national are fighting to stop its use. In the mountain West, Earth share members are fighting to stop exploration for and production of natural gas. If we can't produce natural gas in the United States, then we'll need to import it. That can't happen either because Ad Council-funded groups such as the U.S. PIRG, People for the Narragansett Bay and Save the Sound, are fighting to stop the infrastructure projects that would allow that.

Which brings us to the most bizarre case of all - wind power. If there's one thing you'd think would be mom and apple pie for environmentalists, wind power would be it, but its not.

For the most part, environmentalists are embarrassed by the fact that they can't even stomach the development of wind turbines. For that reason, environmentalists are letting the local NIMBY's do most of the heavy lifting, while national environmental groups such as Earth Share's Audubon Society quietly push for greater regulations under the cover of protection for endangered bats and birds. If you talk to wind power executives, they'll tell you that one-two punch of angry locals and quietly influential national groups have stalled and scaled bank wind farms from Vermont to California.

It may be true that every single one of the environmental concerns raised to block hydro-power, wind energy, nuclear plants and natural gas development are all valid. But if global warming is really, really the "most serious environmental issue of our time," shouldn't environmentalists be willing to put their other concerns aside until we deal with the dangers of runaway climate change?

Maybe if our largest television networks, newspapers and magazines weren't the largest fundraisers for these same environmental groups, they'd be in a position to ask.


Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog

The planning process on the Penicuik wind farm project began last week. This involves balancing local objection based on adverse environmental impact against national advantage of supposedly clean energy. Appeasing the Greens must also attract marginal votes.

Sadly the climate debate is dirtied by a sensationalist press. The notion that climate warming means Armageddon is upon us has gained such momentum that even the Archbishop of Canterbury has offered his scientific pennyworth. Charles Moore says in the Telegraph:

the politics of climate change are bad. They attract the self-righteous and the self-flagellating, the controlling, the life-denying, the people who don't like people, the people who, like Private Fraser in Dad's Army, think we're "all DOOMED".

Coincidentally Matthew Parris notes in the Times that Eco-apocalypticism is the new religion. Windpower attracts unusual agreement among experts revealing mutual derision on wind farms.

David Bellamy thinks wind farms are a scam:

They kill bats and birds and need 1,000 tonnes of concrete as well as a road infrastructure. It beggars belief that some environmental groups can say they are 'green'."

James Lovelock of Gaia fame, first guru of the Greens, now says wind-farms won't cut CO2 emissions at all. John Etherington says:

If each UK household replaced the conventional electric bulb most used with a low energy bulb, the energy saved would equal the entire output of all existing and proposed onshore wind-farms.

Ireland has given up trying to integrate windpower in the grid. Denmark dumps surge surplus free on neighbours, displacing clean energy. Even California suffers regular breakdown, reports Richard Courtney.

The only lobby for windfarms is the Greens, who won't have them in their own back yard. The only beneficiaries are local farmers renting land at incalculable cost for the environment.

I nearly forgot the sponsors applying for planning approval at Penecuik. Guess who? E.ON the biggest wind energy provider in the EU. With BP, the energy giants cannot get into clean energy fast enough, seduced by the massive subsidies. These are the oil and energy companies said by the eco-apocalypse NGOs to be financing those skeptical on catastrophic climate warming and against Kyoto!


Post dated April 1, 2006 lifted from "A Place to Stand"

Environmental experts have issued new scientific studies that prove that if we do not take immediate and very strong action the human race is doomed. They have found:

1). A minimum of ten million people, most of them children, will starve to death during each year. But this is a mere handful compared to the numbers that will be starving within 3 decades.

2). The battle to feed all of humanity is over. Hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.

3). To prevent overpopulation we must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.

4). Known world supplies of zinc, gold, tin, copper, oil, and natural gas would be completely exhausted in 20 years

5). If we continue our present rate of growth in electrical energy consumption it will simply take, very shortly, all our freshwater streams to cool the generators and reactors.

6). The period of global food security is over. As the demand for food continues to press against supply, inevitably real food prices will rise. The question no longer seems to be whether they will rise, but how much.

7). 40,000 species per year are going extinct and that 1 million species will be gone in 20 years.

8). the world is going to run out of oil soon if we do not conserve our resources.

9). A nuclear reactor accident could be blamed for the deaths of some 2,500 people.

OK clearly this was an April fool's joke, however it differs from other April fool stories in being true - only the dates have been removed to protect the guilty.

(1), (2) & (3) were said by Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb & numerous other ridiculous claims, in 1971 so that starvation catastrophe that wiped out so much of the 3rd world peaked in 2001. He remains an environmentalist guru. See here

(4) Comes from the enormously influential Club of Rome report of 1973. Again the date of catastrophe has been passed without any bother (or apology).

(5) Comes from a David Bower who seems like a typical twit. From Brainy Quotes

(6) Is Lester Brown in 1981 another environmental guru. see here

(7) Is Thomas Lovejoy 1979 here. He originally said "by 2000" which I changed to in 20 years - since that was about 1/4 of all species believed to exist at the time it seems he was somehat in error.

(8) Was the common expectation in the 1850s when they believed they were passing peak oil, eventually they found it was possible to obtain oil from sources other than dead whales.

(9) Was a statement from Greenpeace in 1996 referring to Chernobyl & thus has the unique virtue of being a prophesy made long after the event which was still wrong. Current official estimates are 53, which assume there will be another deaths some time in the future from radiation. See here

This last was a bit of a rush since I know much higher estimates were made. I remember reading a UK newspaper the next day in which they stated as fact that 10,000 people had already died & that the estimates of 28 from the Soviet politicians & media, as it was then, proved that they don't have the sort of trustworthy free press that we do

Wotta Laugh!

Greenie versus Greenie again

The potential death of one orange-bellied parrot a year has killed off a $220 million wind farm project and sparked a state rights brawl between Canberra and Victoria. Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell yesterday invoked extraordinary commonwealth powers to stop the proposed Gippsland wind farm, 580 days after the facility was approved by the Bracks Government. Senator Campbell said a government-commissioned report found the wind farm at Bald Hills would have threatened the existence of the orange-bellied parrot. The report found only one additional orange-bellied parrot would die each year as a result of projected wind turbine collisions. There are between 99 and 200 orange-bellied parrots left in Australia and the report said the bird risked becoming extinct within 50 years without taking into account the effect of wind farms. It said any negative impact could be enough to tip the balance against its continued existence and "it may be argued that any avoidable deleterious effect - even the very minor predicted impacts of turbine collisions - should be prevented".

The project operator, Wind Power, attacked the decision and was considering what action, if any, could be taken. "Clearly this process sends a strong message to businesses considering investing in regional and rural Australia and that message is 'you are not welcome'," the company said. It said it had been more than 580 days since the state Government approved a permit for the facility, which had also been the subject of two environmental effects statements and an independent planning panel report that included six weeks of hearings. The report found orange-bellied parrots lived within 2km of the coastline, but the nearest proposed turbine was just over 2km from the coast. "The delay by the minister is completely unreasonable and will act as a deterrent to businesses that want to invest in infrastructure projects in rural and regional areas," it said. "It is highly coincidental that the minister is making a decision two days before the Federal Court was due to consider forcing him to make a decision as a result of the company's court actions."

Victorian Planning Minister Rob Hulls said Senator Campbell had jeopardised the future of renewable energy to garner votes in Gippsland and appease the oil and coal industries. "His blatantly political decision is not only inappropriate but will call into question future investment in renewable energy right around the country," Mr Hulls said. "This is about the federal Government forsaking renewable energy to look after its fossil-fuel mates. "There's been no scientific evidence of the orange-bellied parrot on the Bald Hills wind farm site. "What there has been is some historical sightings, and also some potential foraging sites, between 10 and 35 kilometres from the Bald Hills wind farm site that may or may not have been used by the orange-bellied parrot. "What he has really done is, for purely political purposes, stopped a $220-million investment going ahead in Victoria."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


6 April, 2006

Global Warming Hysteria Has Arrived

The latest issue of "Time" magazine has a cover story on global warming entitled "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid". (I wonder if this is meant to provide some balance for stories about the coming ice age that Time published as recently as 1994?)

One of the new Public Service Commission's TV ads uses a freight train about to hit a little girl as a metaphor for the horrible impact of global warming on our children's future in just thirty years. (Even if the recent warming trend, since the 1970's, continues for another thirty years, global temperatures will only rise another 1 degree F.)

For those of us who are visual learners, Al Gore has a new global warming movie coming out in May entitled "An Inconvenient Truth" which no doubt will be met by critical acclaim, Oscar nominations (probably not for best actor, though), and a possible Nobel Prize.

Science magazine recently stuffed as many articles as it could find on the world's melting ice sheets, even though the bulk of the published temperature evidence shows no warming over Greenland or most of Antarctica in recent decades.

One wonders, what in the world is going on here? It seems an undercurrent of anti-technology, anti-progress, anti-humanity sentiment is beginning to grip our culture. Al Gore has been giving very effective, impassioned speeches on the ecological destruction that mankind is unleashing upon Mother Earth. With a mixture of science half-truths and religious zeal, Gore is very successfully rallying thousands of people to his cause.

In an age where many of us believe that science has all the answers, while others believe that religion has all the answers, a clever mixture of science and religion can be very powerful. Even some of our scientists are joining in the chorus: NASA's Jim Hansen thinks we might have only ten years left before irreversible harm is done.

For any of these fears to have an objective basis in fact, one has to believe that the climate system is very sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I have read recent statements, even from the World Meteorological Organization, that CO2 is the "most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere," which is blatantly false. The warming effect of Earth's most abundant greenhouse gas, water vapor, is about ten times that of carbon dioxide. Water vapor amounts, even globally averaged, go through large fluctuations, with particularly large upward excursions during warm El Ni¤o events. Yet, the climate system never spins out of control. Why is this?

The answer might reside in the fact that about 75 percent of the warming potential of greenhouse gases is never allowed to occur. Weather processes, in the form of clouds and precipitation, cool the climate to temperatures well below what they would otherwise be from Earth's natural greenhouse effect. To believe in catastrophic warming, one would need good knowledge of how clouds, and especially precipitation processes (which is how water vapor is continuously removed from the atmosphere), change with warming. I do not believe we yet have this knowledge.

Yet, the feeling persists that "we need to do something," even if the science isn't settled yet (indeed, the science might never be 'settled'). I would agree whole-heartedly with the sentiment if it were easy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is not. Until major technological advances are made, or people start embracing nuclear power again, carbon dioxide emissions will continue to rise, especially in India and China.... more scientists who don't believe in predictions of climate catastrophe need to rise above their fears of losing funding and speak out. Otherwise, this growing storm of global warming hysteria could do some real damage.


Foes in 'Global Warming' Debate Fuss Over Witness List

Neither side in the "global warming" debate is happy over the witness list compiled by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as the panel plans to convene a one-day climate conference Tuesday. Liberal environmental groups are concerned about what they see as a "roster of speakers heavily weighted toward economic interests over the environment."

Meanwhile, a free market environmental think tank skeptical of predictions that human-caused climate change will produce a catastrophe, also accuses the Senate committee of stacking the deck. "This doesn't look like a public spirited discussion. It looks like the pirates all gathered around the table figuring out how to split up the booty," said Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming at the free market based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman - New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici - and the committee's ranking Democrat - Jeff Bingaman, also from New Mexico - are hosting the climate conference in order to "address the challenge of how Congress might go about creating a mandatory [emission] trading program to control U.S. greenhouse gas emissions."

But Ebell sees the proposed emissions trading program "as an undeclared tax on energy" that will benefit a few select corporations. Ebell also said environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense, energy companies and other non-governmental organizations will attend the climate conference to leverage the best deal for their agendas. "Every special interest that hopes to make money form higher energy prices is there to present how they can benefit the most at the expense of American consumers. I would call it a conspiracy except that it is right out there in the open," Ebell told Cybercast News Service. "Enforcing arbitrary limits on energy use throughout the economy would have a disproportionate effect on small and medium sized businesses and likely force a significant portion of U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas, where such restrictions are not in effect," he added.

Ebell also warned that there would be an absence of groups that do not view "global warming" as a crisis. "Without a significant voice for critics of a greenhouse gas emissions scheme, the [Senate] hearing amounts to little more than cheerleading for the senators' pet policies rather than an attempt to educate or enlighten," Ebell said.

Environmental groups have also expressed frustration over the Senate climate conference. On Monday, a coalition of more than a dozen environmental groups released a letter urging Sens. Bingaman and Domenici "to focus upcoming discussions on designing a mandatory [emission] program that guarantees today's levels of global warming pollution will be stopped soon enough to prevent irreversible harm to the environment." The environmental groups, pointing to the presence of such corporations as General Electric Co. and Wal-Mart, lamented that the Senate's "roster of speakers heavily weighted toward economic interests over the environment."

David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council warned that the Senate must act immediately to "protect the planet" from human greenhouse gas emissions. "The earlier you start, the less expensive this can be," Doniger told reporters during a teleconference on Monday with representatives from several environmental groups including Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Environmental Trust. Doniger and the other green group spokesmen urged the Senate to heed what they considered to be the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to catastrophic human influence on the climate.

But Ebell rejected the notion that there is scientific consensus on human caused climate change and instead offered another reason for the recent media reports about impending "global warming." "We should be much more worried about what [the Senate is] proposing than a little bit of global warming. I think that all the things that are going on right now look to me to be coordinated and one of the climaxes is going to be [former Vice President] Al Gore's book and movie," Ebell said.

Gore's new documentary entitled "An Inconvenient Truth," is set for national release on May 26 by Paramount Pictures. Gore's book of the same name is set to be released on May 16. Both the movie and the book take an alarmist view of what he sees as human caused "global warming." Both endeavors are based on a slide show lecture that Gore has been presenting around the country.

Ebell shrugged off the impact of climate change alarmists, claiming that those groups and individuals have "been trying to move the political ball for several years now but haven't gotten anywhere." Ebell noted that many of the countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol such as Canada, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Austria, have all seen their emissions go up more than the U.S. which did not sign Kyoto.



California would become the first state to require power plants and other heavy industry to reduce emissions linked to global warming under bipartisan plans released Monday. Recommendations from Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's environmental advisers and a companion bill introduced by Democratic legislators would require a 10 percent cut in current levels of climate-altering gases by 2020.

California industries are leery of, if not outright opposed to, a mandatory emissions cap. The state Chamber of Commerce argues that such action should be taken at the federal level rather than state by state.

But on Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he hopes to sign legislation this year, and will host discussions in six cities statewide to examine proposals designed to reduce greenhouse gases. "The federal government has so far fallen short in showing leadership when it comes to the environment," Schwarzenegger said. "I think that I, as governor, don't want to wait for the federal government or any other states, as far as that goes, to see what they're doing. I think it is important that California has always been very innovative and very bold about those things." Schwarzenegger in particular said he would not support a new tax on gasoline, an idea that was once recommended but dropped by the Climate Action Team.

The proposals, applauded by environmentalists, would require power companies, fuel refineries, oil and gas miners, cement manufacturers and owners of landfills to regularly report emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal "greenhouse gas," so named because of its heat-trapping effect in the atmosphere. The measures do not prescribe precisely how industries should make the cuts.

The governor's advisers recommended a cap-and-trade approach that would allow companies that more than meet the ceilings on global warming pollution to sell emission credits to those that underperform. Such an incentive-based strategy, combined with the energy savings from cleaner-burning engines, would ensure that the targets would be met, said Alan C. Lloyd, chairman of the 18-member Climate Action Team. "What's good for the environment has been good for the bottom line," said Lloyd, a former secretary of environmental protection under Schwarzenegger.

The advisory group dropped an earlier recommendation that the state levy a tax on gasoline and diesel to finance research into fossil fuel alternatives - an idea Schwarzenegger rejected.

The emissions cap is the strongest and most controversial of the advisory group's 46 recommendations, contained in a 1,300-page report, available at Terry Tamminen, the governor's special adviser on energy and the environment, called the strategies to combat global warming the "boldest and most aggressive" of any state or nation. Part of the reduction would come from measures already adopted, including California's pioneering law requiring auto manufacturers to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Automakers are seeking a court order blocking the law, and the Bush administration is trying to pre-empt the restriction through proposed federal fuel economy standards.

Release of the climate action report was timed to coincide with introduction of legislation that would mandate a limit on carbon dioxide emissions. Assembly Bill 32 and the climate action report are designed to carry out the first step of Schwarzenegger's pledge last June to set firm targets to reduce the state's contribution to climate change, beginning in 2010.

Many scientists say some of the effects of global climate change already are occurring in California, including earlier snowmelts, shifts in wildlife habitat and more frequent episodes of extreme weather and wildfire. Awareness on the issue is rising at all levels of government. Today, the Sacramento City Council is scheduled to consider its own climate action plan, including uses of alternative fuels such as vegetable-based biodiesel and ethanol

More here


Plans by US billionaire Donald Trump to build a world class golfing centre in Aberdeenshire could be threatened by an offshore wind farm. The 300 million pound golf development for the Menie Estate could bring 150 million to the local economy and create 400 jobs. Mr Trump is said to be unhappy about plans for a wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen which would affect the view.

Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) said it now hoped for a meeting on its plans with the Trump organisation. Mr Trump searched Europe for a location for his new venture, and confirmed his plans on Friday. He said: "I have never seen such an unspoilt and dramatic sea side landscape and the location makes it perfect for our development."

AREG hopes to build several wind turbines off the coast in a 100 million pound project, south of the planned golf development. Planners will now have to assess the best way forward for the golf and offshore wind farm developments. Iain Todd, of AREG, told BBC Scotland: "I do not think the problem is possibly as great as Mr Trump believes. "What we would like to do is meet the Trump organisation and discuss our programme with them. "Our design and layout are evolving all the time."

First Minister Jack McConnell has welcomed the golf plans, but Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) stressed the local countryside would have to be protected. The centre would include two championship courses, a hotel and a holiday home complex. The developers hope the planned course will one day host the sport's biggest competitions, including the Open.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


5 April, 2006


The Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP), a Washington, D.C. based think tank, announces the release of three new papers dealing with energy and climate change issues. "The release of these papers comes at an opportune time," says Robert Ferguson, executive director. "The current issue of TIME offers a series of essays reputedly about climate science, carrying the ominous head line: 'Be Worried, Be Very Worried'. If viewed through a prism of current science, it should read: 'Be Skeptical, Be Very Skeptical'. The entire series is ill- informed, biased and unacceptable for serious public policy decisions. It is, in short, nearly hysterical advocacy designed to frighten readers toward supporting far-reaching policy decisions that would be both harmful and useless."

Concludes Ferguson, "For too long, Scientists who challenge alarming claims are rarely given voice by the media, and are often labeled as "skeptics" and dishonest fronts for "corporate polluters." TIME has an explicit policy not to print anything contrary to the 'end-of-the-world' warming orthodoxy. What is truly ironic is that the purveyors of alarm are the real skeptics who cling to virtual alarm against widely accepted empirical findings."

The first paper, "Issues in the Current State of Climate Science" is a guide for policy makers and opinion leaders. It explores the constantly shifting scientific literature of climate change, discussing what is and what is not known about such issues as melting polar caps, species migration and extinction, coral reefs, mosquito-borne diseases, extreme weather events, sea level rise, polar bears, great white sharks and butterflies. The paper concludes with a reprint of MIT Professor Richard Lindzen's recent testimony to the UK House of Lords on the nature of the present climate debate, what is trivial and what is not. (see here PDF )

The second paper, "Wind Farms Provide Negligible Useful Electricity" by Richard Courtney explains why wind farms for power generation can only provide negligible electricity to grid supply systems, make no significant reduction in pollution, cause significant environmental damage, increase the costs of electricity and create risks of power failures. (see here PDF)

The third paper, "An Assessment of Montreal COP/MOP 1" by Chris Horner explores the looking-glass legal world that is the Kyoto Protocol. It shows with pole-star clarity that Kyoto's own long and tortured path toward approval manifests that enthusiastic support for its regime is not matched by a desire to codify it. (see here PDF )

Explains Ferguson, "Sadly, alarmists exploit the observation that few laymen understand what global warming is all about. And most people (including scientists) can rarely follow 15 minute discussions of somewhat complex science; the conclusion of the listeners is that the objections are too obscure to challenge their basic prejudice. We trust that these papers will help develop an antidote to that malady."


Let Cooler Heads Prevail: The Media Heat Up Over Global Warming

By George Will

So, "the debate is over." Time magazine says so. Last week's cover story exhorted readers to "Be Worried. Be Very Worried," and ABC News concurred in several stories. So did Montana's governor, speaking on ABC. And there was polling about global warming, gathered by Time and ABC in collaboration.

Eighty-five percent of Americans say warming is probably happening, and 62 percent say it threatens them personally. The National Academy of Sciences says the rise in the Earth's surface temperature has been about one degree Fahrenheit in the past century. Did 85 percent of Americans notice? Of course not. They got their anxiety from journalism calculated to produce it. Never mind that one degree might be the margin of error when measuring the planet's temperature. To take a person's temperature, you put a thermometer in an orifice or under an arm. Taking the temperature of our churning planet, with its tectonic plates sliding around over a molten core, involves limited precision.

Why have Americans been dilatory about becoming as worried -- as very worried -- as Time and ABC think proper? An article on ABC's Web site wonders ominously, "Was Confusion Over Global Warming a Con Job?" It suggests there has been a misinformation campaign implying that scientists might not be unanimous, a campaign by -- how did you guess? -- big oil. And the coal industry. But speaking of coal . . .

Recently, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer flew with ABC's George Stephanopoulos over Glacier National Park's receding glaciers. But Schweitzer offered hope: Everyone, buy Montana coal. New technologies can, he said, burn it while removing carbon causes of global warming. Stephanopoulos noted that such technologies are at least four years away and "all the scientists" say something must be done "right now." Schweitzer, quickly recovering from hopefulness and returning to the "be worried, be very worried" message, said "it's even more critical than that" because China and India are going to "put more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with conventional coal-fired generators than all of the rest of the planet has during the last 150 years."

That is one reason why the Clinton administration never submitted the Kyoto accord on global warming for Senate ratification. In 1997 the Senate voted 95 to 0 that the accord would disproportionately burden America while being too permissive toward major polluters that are America's trade competitors.

While worrying about Montana's receding glaciers, Schweitzer, who is 50, should also worry about the fact that when he was 20 he was told to be worried, very worried, about global cooling. Science magazine (Dec. 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation." Science Digest (February 1973) reported that "the world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age." The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster Than Even Experts Expect," Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance," "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter" and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool." Newsweek agreed ("The Cooling World," April 28, 1975) that meteorologists "are almost unanimous" that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that the New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age." The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable" now that it is "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950."

In fact, the Earth is always experiencing either warming or cooling. But suppose the scientists and their journalistic conduits, who today say they were so spectacularly wrong so recently, are now correct. Suppose the Earth is warming and suppose the warming is caused by human activity. Are we sure there will be proportionate benefits from whatever climate change can be purchased at the cost of slowing economic growth and spending trillions? Are we sure the consequences of climate change -- remember, a thick sheet of ice once covered the Midwest -- must be bad? Or has the science-journalism complex decided that debate about these questions, too, is "over"?

About the mystery that vexes ABC -- Why have Americans been slow to get in lock step concerning global warming? -- perhaps the "problem" is not big oil or big coal, both of which have discovered there is big money to be made from tax breaks and other subsidies justified in the name of combating carbon. Perhaps the problem is big crusading journalism.


CHANGE AND DECAY in all around we see. The End of the World is Nigh. "I didna' ken," protests the Scotsman to a thunder-faced St Peter. "Well, y'ken noo," replies Heaven's gatekeeper. How we relish those gleeful lines in John Newton's hymn: "Fading is the worldling's pleasure/ All his boasted pomp and show." Says the Book of Revelation: "Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the Earth will mourn because of Him." Running like a silver thread through the history of the world's religions you will find the same refrain. Apocalypse. We have erred and strayed like lost sheep. We have been worshipping false gods. We shall be punished for it. We are doomed.

We are doomed because we are living not as we should, but too much in the material world. Jesus kicks over the tables of the money-changers. Moses reproaches the Israelites as they feast before a golden calf. The Buddha counsels us to transcend the material world. And time and again the people of the Book are enjoined to turn our eyes from lives of pleasure and ease, and in our spirits head toward the desert.

The desert. Ah, that other Eden for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Here is the closest geographical metaphor human poetry and divine prophecy can find for the healing power of austerity. Here, wand'ring in the wild, sunbeams scorching all the day, chilly dewdrops nightly shed, prowling beasts about our way, stones our pillow, earth our bed, we shall be tempted - and yet undefiled. In every text the lesson is clear. Our age is not living as it should. The pursuit of riches has distracted us. Lives have been corrupted by lust, vanity, wastefulness and greed. We have become lazy and selfish. Our spirits are sick. And - count upon it - we shall be punished. One way or another we shall have to pay.

Well maybe. I cannot speak for God. Perhaps His prophets are right. These judgments are founded upon theology, and if you accept the theology then other claims will follow. I cite them neither to defend nor to deny them, but to remind you how deep they run in the history of belief.

Religion in this case is probably only the messenger. So rooted and insistent is the nagging fear (and secret pleasure) we take in seeing signs in the stars, the weather and the natural world, that sinful man is heading for apocalypse, that I suspect there is something buried in the collective unconscious of every age, feeding the glee and the gloom. Perhaps the world's religions tap into this, using it as a recruiting sergeant.

In the still of the night everyone knows what it is to fear that we are heading for some half-sensed and ill-defined disaster. In the still of the night everyone knows the vague guilt that comes with a recognition that we are selfish. In the still of the night we know the gnawing resentment that there are others more selfish than we - yet who do not seem to be punished.

Guilt, resentment and apocalypse. Prophets have since the dawn of history recognised the power they can unleash by linking these three. Elijah told of earthquake, wind and fire; Jeremiah of disasters unnumbered. Ignatius Loyola, Luther, Calvin, the Wesleys, Moses, Mohammad . . . and countless other seers, ayatollahs and divines, have called upon us to bail out of whatever version of Sodom and Gomorrah it has pleased them to paint, before those cities burn.

The prophets of climate change are their inheritors, reclothing new belief in the metaphor of the old, reconnecting it to those ancient drives. The Archbishop of Canterbury has sensed as much. Dr Rowan Williams told politicians this week that they would face "a heavy responsibility before God" if they failed to act to control climate change. He described the lifestyle of those who contribute most to global warming as "profoundly immoral". Asked how God would judge our age if we fail to act, Dr Williams said: "If you look at the language of the Bible on this, you very often come across situations where people are judged for not responding to warnings."

So there you have it. The Friends of the Earth are Elijah's latest recruits. Eco-apocalypticism is the new religion.At once I hear you protest: "But climate change is true." And it may be. So may the Book of Revelation. Accept, please, that I am not urging upon you the truth or otherwise of any of these claims, religious or scientific. I am simply pointing out that as a belief system - scientific or otherwise - eco-apocalypticism runs powerfully with the grain of the collective human unconscious. It has its sheet-anchor down into a powerful current in the history of belief.

Between science, religion and fashion there exist no impermeable divides - and for two reasons. First, scientists are human beings: they share the drives, hunches and unconscious preconceptions of the rest of us. True, they have learnt not to fabricate or falsify, but they are not immune from the human tendency to screen in what tends to support a favoured line of reasoning, and screen out such doubts and uncertainties as might weaken it.

Secondly, research will follow funding. It is the familiar refrain of the green movement that "climate-change denial" finds funding from the pockets of carbon-producing or carbon-hungry big business, especially in America. That is a fair point, and a reason for scepticism, but it is sauce for both goose and gander. Eco-alarmism has a ready market of its own among politicians, journalists and moralists. They have deep pockets too.

Groupthink is everywhere, even in science. Some data is beyond refutation: sea levels are surely rising; carbon dioxide levels are up; and the climate is changing. There are likely to be linkages of some sort. Around these rocks of hard fact, however, swirls a sea of guesswork and speculation. It is here where - as we observe philosophical currents at work that are not so much scientific as driven by guilts, envies and yearnings - we need to observe particular caution.

I'll tell you how we can know this. Buttonhole a passionate eco-apocalypticist and tell him a way has been found for us to cut carbon emissions perfectly painlessly, and carry on living as we do. Observe the involuntary anger cross his face. Or tell him it's anyway too late and we'll never stop China polluting. Observe that his objections remain: to how his own countrymen live. He may talk science but his underlying motives are of a different kind.

Near what is today the Bolivian shore of Lake Titicaca, a pre-Inca civilisation once dwelt among temples whose ruins are now called Tiahuanaco. They held that the wellspring of their divinity was located on an offshsore island later named the Isla del Sol. When the Incas overthrew them and wanted to win local loyalty they had the good sense to discover that in fact their god, the Sun King, had come to Earth on the Isla del Sol. When the Catholic Conquistadores overthrew the Incas - behold! A new miracle occurred. The Virgin Mary appeared by the lake, at a place called Copacabana. A magnificent church has been built there. Truckers come from afar to wash their lorries in the holy waters, affording them protection from road accidents. The Virgin of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia.

The gauleiters of today's green consciousness would be well advised to visit Lake Titicaca and, with the ruins of the Temple of Tiahuanaco across the plain behind them, the Church of the Virgin of Copacabana at their back and the sacred Isla del Sol at their feet, await the arrival at this holy place of some new and terrifying intimation that we are all doomed. Then there could be founded on the shores of the lake a new institute for the study of climate change.

"The Times" of London, 1 April 2006


The new Conservative government in Ottawa has abruptly stopped funding groups across the country that have been promoting the One Tonne Challenge, the quirky program to persuade Canadians to do their bit to help the environment by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. The Conservatives are also reviewing about 100 other climate-change programs set up by the previous Liberal government.

The One Tonne Challenge is likely the best known of the dozens of federal government efforts to fight global warming. It has been heavily publicized through television ads featuring comedian Rick Mercer as pitch man for a program that urged people to drive less, turn down their thermostats and take other steps to forestall climate change.

Environmental groups that received contracts to urge people in local communities to participate in the challenge were hastily contacted by Environment Canada officials earlier this week, and told that as of this morning , their efforts were no longer being funded. "I received a call [Thursday] from Environment Canada that indicated that as of April 1st, they have no budget or directives to continue funding" local activities for the challenge program, said Stephane Thorson with Toronto's Clean Air Foundation.

The story was similar in Quebec. "We got clear indications from the Ministry of Environment that we cannot publicize the One Tonne Challenge, so all the material we had printed, all the advertisements we had, had to be put on hold," said Hugo S‚guin, a member of Equiterre, an environmental group overseeing the program in Quebec. He said the program hadn't been given a budget for the government's new financial year, which begins today, "so all the projects that are ongoing are stopping on March 31. Nobody knows across the country what is going to happen after that." The group wrote to Environment Minister Rona Ambrose this week asking for clarification about future funding, but hasn't received a reply.

Officials at Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada, the two government departments that share responsibility for climate change, say they are reviewing all of the approximately 100 different programs run by Ottawa to combat global warming. "The review hasn't been completed yet and decisions on funding for climate-change programs have not been finalized," said Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for Ms. Ambrose.

Environmentalists are worried that the new government, which they perceive as being hostile toward actions on climate change, is poised to slash global warming projects set up by the Liberals. The Liberals pledged about $1.1-billion to fight climate change from 2000 to early 2006. John Bennett, a spokesman for the Sierra Club of Canada, accused the new government of beginning "a campaign of stealth destruction" of the programs by allowing funding to lapse.

Public servants working on climate-change programs are being audited by the Environment Commissioner for a report that is expected in September. There is speculation inside government that the audit's release will provide the Conservatives with the political justification to cut spending in that area. But Mr. Sparrow said the decision on funding will depend on amounts earmarked to fight global warming in the spring budget. Most of the climate programs were directed to industries. The One Tonne Challenge was different because it tried to engage individuals in cutting emissions because of their personal activities.

The Globe and Mail, 1 April 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


4 April, 2006


Pure evil reported below -- evil that makes even Hitler look humane -- and evil that is arguably even more dangerous. This is merely the most recent and most extreme example of Greenie misanthropy. The slogan of the ZPG movement in the '60s and '70s was "people are pollution"

There is always something special about science meetings. The 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Lamar University in Beaumont on 3-5 March 2006 was especially exciting for me, because a student and his professor presented the results of a DNA study I suggested to them last year... But there was a gravely disturbing side to that otherwise scientifically significant meeting, for I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka, the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.

Something curious occurred a minute before Pianka began speaking. An official of the Academy approached a video camera operator at the front of the auditorium and engaged him in animated conversation. The camera operator did not look pleased as he pointed the lens of the big camera to the ceiling and slowly walked away. This curious incident came to mind a few minutes later when Professor Pianka began his speech by explaining that the general public is not yet ready to hear what he was about to tell us. Because of many years of experience as a writer and editor, Pianka's strange introduction and the TV camera incident raised a red flag in my mind. Suddenly I forgot that I was a member of the Texas Academy of Science and chairman of its Environmental Science Section. Instead, I grabbed a notepad so I could take on the role of science reporter.

One of Pianka's earliest points was a condemnation of anthropocentrism, or the idea that humankind occupies a privileged position in the Universe. He told a story about how a neighbor asked him what good the lizards are that he studies. He answered, "What good are you?" Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, "We're no better than bacteria!" Pianka then began laying out his concerns about how human overpopulation is ruining the Earth. He presented a doomsday scenario in which he claimed that the sharp increase in human population since the beginning of the industrial age is devastating the planet. He warned that quick steps must be taken to restore the planet before it's too late.

Professor Pianka said the Earth as we know it will not survive without drastic measures. Then, and without presenting any data to justify this number, he asserted that the only feasible solution to saving the Earth is to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number. He then showed solutions for reducing the world's population in the form of a slide depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War and famine would not do, he explained. Instead, disease offered the most efficient and fastest way to kill the billions that must soon die if the population crisis is to be solved. Pianka then displayed a slide showing rows of human skulls, one of which had red lights flashing from its eye sockets.

AIDS is not an efficient killer, he explained, because it is too slow. His favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world's population is airborne Ebola ( Ebola Reston ), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days, instead of years. However, Professor Pianka did not mention that Ebola victims die a slow and torturous death as the virus initiates a cascade of biological calamities inside the victim that eventually liquefy the internal organs. After praising the Ebola virus for its efficiency at killing, Pianka paused, leaned over the lectern, looked at us and carefully said, "We've got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans. Killing humans. Think about that."

With his slide of human skulls towering on the screen behind him, Professor Pianka was deadly serious. The audience that had been applauding some of his statements now sat silent. After a dramatic pause, Pianka returned to politics and environmentalism. But he revisited his call for mass death when he reflected on the oil situation. "And the fossil fuels are running out," he said, "so I think we may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third as many people." So the oil crisis alone may require eliminating two-third's of the world's population.

How soon must the mass dying begin if Earth is to be saved? Apparently fairly soon, for Pianka suggested he might be around when the killer disease goes to work. He was born in 1939, and his lengthy obituary appears on his web site. When Pianka finished his remarks, the audience applauded. It wasn't merely a smattering of polite clapping that audiences diplomatically reserve for poor or boring speakers. It was a loud, vigorous and enthusiastic applause.

Questions for Dr. Doom

Then came the question and answer session, in which Professor Pianka stated that other diseases are also efficient killers. The audience laughed when he said, "You know, the bird flu's good, too." They laughed again when he proposed, with a discernable note of glee in his voice that, "We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth."

After noting that the audience did not represent the general population, a questioner asked, "What kind of reception have you received as you have presented these ideas to other audiences that are not representative of us?" Pianka replied, "I speak to the converted!"

Pianka responded to more questions by condemning politicians in general and Al Gore by name, because they do not address the population problem and "...because they deceive the public in every way they can to stay in power." He spoke glowingly of the police state in China that enforces their one-child policy. He said, "Smarter people have fewer kids." He said those who don't have a conscience about the Earth will inherit the Earth, "...because those who care make fewer babies and those that didn't care made more babies." He said we will evolve as uncaring people, and "I think IQs are falling for the same reason, too."

With this, the questioning was over. Immediately almost every scientist, professor and college student present stood to their feet and vigorously applauded the man who had enthusiastically endorsed the elimination of 90 percent of the human population. Some even cheered. Dozens then mobbed the professor at the lectern to extend greetings and ask questions. It was necessary to wait a while before I could get close enough to take some photographs.

I was assigned to judge a paper in a grad student competition after the speech. On the way, three professors dismissed Pianka as a crank. While waiting to enter the competition room, a group of a dozen Lamar University students expressed outrage over the Pianka speech. Yet five hours later, the distinguished leaders of the Texas Academy of Science presented Pianka with a plaque in recognition of his being named 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist. When the banquet hall filled with more than 400 people responded with enthusiastic applause, I walked out in protest.

Corresponding with Dr. Doom

Recently I exchanged a number of e-mails with Pianka. I pointed out to him that one might infer his death wish was really aimed at Africans, for Ebola is found only in Central Africa. He replied that Ebola does not discriminate, kills everyone and could spread to Europe and the the Americas by a single infected airplane passenger.

In his last e-mail, Pianka wrote that I completely fail to understand his arguments. So I did a check and found verification of my interpretation of his remarks on his own web site. In a student evaluation of a 2004 course he taught, one of Professor Pianka's students wrote, "Though I agree that convervation [sic] biology is of utmost importance to the world, I do not think that preaching that 90% of the human population should die of ebola [sic] is the most effective means of encouraging conservation awareness." (Go here and scroll down to just before the Fall 2005 evaluation section near the end.)

Yet the majority of his student reviews were favorable, with one even saying, " I worship Dr. Pianka." The 45-minute lecture before the Texas Academy of Science converted a university biology senior into a Pianka disciple, who then published a blog that seriously supports Pianka's mass death wish.

Dangerous Times

Let me now remove my reporter's hat for a moment and tell you what I think. We live in dangerous times. The national security of many countries is at risk. Science has become tainted by highly publicized cases of misconduct and fraud.

Must now we worry that a Pianka-worshipping former student might someday become a professional biologist or physician with access to the most deadly strains of viruses and bacteria? I believe that airborne Ebola is unlikely to threaten the world outside of Central Africa. But scientists have regenerated the 1918 Spanish flu virus that killed 50 million people. There is concern that smallpox might someday return. And what other terrible plagues are waiting out there in the natural world to cross the species barrier and to which scientists will one day have access?

Meanwhile, I still can't get out of my mind the pleasant spring day in Texas when a few hundred scientists of the Texas Academy of Science gave a standing ovation for a speaker who they heard advocate for the slow and torturous death of over five billion human beings.



In our student days, a few of us used to get together, rather self-consciously, to debate philosophical questions. One topic that interested us was how language could mean something and yet, at the same time, mean nothing. Thus, you could frame an English sentence in which the grammar was correct, and every word made sense, but the whole thing was nonsense. A well-known example was the sentence "Green ideas sleep furiously". At that time the word "green" referred solely to the colour: "Green" meaning ecological came a bit later, so the sentence was perfectly meaningless.

Today, though, it has acquired significance. It seems to me an almost precise description of the mental attitudes of large parts of the Green movement. Tremendous rage is combined with tremendous lack of inquiry: Green ideas do indeed sleep furiously. In New Zealand this week, in remarks which, in some respects, showed signs of mental life (and were therefore immediately attacked by Greens), Tony Blair began with the great piety of current Green thought. "In terms of the long-term future," he said, "there is no issue more important than climate change."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, went further. He told the BBC's Today programme that we must support government "coercion" over enforcing "international protocols" and speed limits on motorways "if we want the global economy not to collapse and millions, billions of people to die".

The evidence for claims like the above is based on one or two generally accepted facts. One is that average temperatures since the 1860s have risen by 0.6 degrees centigrade. Another is that some of this change (though how much is disputed) is man-made. Upon these rather modest foundations is erected a whole edifice of theory which purports to show not only that change is happening, but also that such change will be disastrous, and that life as we know it will be all but destroyed in the coming century unless we do something dramatic now.

I am not a scientist, so I do not know whether any of the arguments about climate change are sound, but then nor does Mr Blair or Dr Williams, although obviously they are more expensively briefed by experts than I am.

This article can therefore form no judgment on the relative importance of the factors in climate change. Is it true, for example, that the "albedo" of the surface of the Earth is a more vital factor than carbon emissions because of the way the Earth reflects incoming solar radiation? I don't know. What about the changing cycles of the Sun, the Milankovitch cycles of the Earth, volcanoes? Again, I don't know, and nor do they.

What one can ask, though, is why it is so important for so many people to believe that this disaster is coming upon us.

Once upon a time, pollution was something the Left almost approved of. New dams and factories and mines gave more power to the organised working class, and had to be rushed forward to replace the feudal societies which socialism overthrew. Worker control of the means of production was good; therefore production itself was good, and pollution was ignored on the you-can't-make-an-omelette-without-breaking-eggs principle.

In the Eighties, it was Margaret Thatcher, of all people, who was attracted to the theory of global warming. She saw it as a justification for the development of nuclear power. Her experience with the oil crises of the 1970s and the coal strikes of the 1970s and 1980s made her keen to get away from fossil fuels.

But with the end of the Cold War, and therefore the collapse of heavy-industry-for-socialism, the Left began to find in Green issues a new unifying theme. If the workers were not going to get their hands on the means of production, the theory had to shift. Now those means themselves were wicked. Capitalist greed, especially American greed, was destroying the planet, they decided.

Once this wickedness was established, the Left could advance another of its causes - the need for the government to take control of the private and the international to squash the national. And the beauty of it is that everything can come under the rubric of "saving the planet". Whether it's speed limits or disposable nappies or second homes or cheap flights or old fridges or how many babies you have, you can be told not to do whatever it is you are doing. And if you complain, you can be marked out as a selfish pig, one who has what the archbishop calls a "lifestyle that doesn't consider those people who don't happen to share the present moment with us".

To those who like the idea that the state can control everything, it must have been a constant source of irritation that the weather could not be subject to five-year plans and government targets. If you accept climate change theories, it can be, indeed it must be. Without global governmental action, the doctrine teaches, we shall all perish.

At this point, the religious impulse forms an unholy - or rather, a holier-than-thou - alliance with the political. In every age, religions have tended to relate extremes of climate to sin. It was because the people were bad that God sent floods upon the earth, and it was because Noah was a just man that he was allowed to build the Ark, and put the leading representatives of creation into it.

Today, rising sea levels threaten to punish our greed and selfishness, say the Greens. Frightened by this sort of thing, rich men with uneasy consciences who, in the Middle Ages, would have endowed monasteries, today spend fortunes on sacrifices to the goddess Gaia. Johan Eliasch, whose success in life (selling sporting equipment) has been all to do with activity, movement, velocity, has just bought 400,000 acres of rainforest with the intention of doing nothing with it. The modern equivalent of the Ark is the Kyoto Conference.

If you do not accept this, you cannot be part of what in Genesis is called the covenant of the rainbow. You are Bad. Today's servile interviewer asked Dr Williams: "President Bush is a Christian; are his actions compatible with Christian ethics?" Dr Williams thought not.

Under this huge moral blackmail, the prudent politician, particularly the politician who does not have to make actual decisions, bows the knee. David Cameron sticks a solar panel on his roof, just as a New York mayoral candidate wears a shamrock on St Patrick's Day. It is presumably only because Mr Blair knows that he is leaving his job that he dares to point out that China, India and Brazil, which are not bound by the Kyoto targets, are committing sins of emission beside which our modest transgressions hardly trouble the scorer. (China has 30,000 coal mines and car sales are rising by 80 per cent a year.)

If I am right, the politics of climate change are bad. They attract the self-righteous and the self-flagellating, the controlling, the life-denying, the people who don't like people, the people who, like Private Fraser in Dad's Army, think we're "all DOOMED". And when I listen to many of the scientists who join in the argument, I often hear in what they say not the voice of science itself, but of the bad politics, thinly disguised by a white coat. When people talk about "saving the planet", I think of the old graffito: "Jesus saves, but Moses invests." Salvation is not within human gift, but modest improvement is.

The Daily Telegraph, 1 April 2006


Dyson is a physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum mechanics and nuclear weapons design

The first of my heresies says that all the fluff about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of twilight model experts and the crowd of diluted citizens that believe the numbers predicted by their models.

Of course they say I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied their climate models and know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics and do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields, farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in.

The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That's why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

There's no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global. The warming happens in places and times where it is cold, in the arctic more than the tropics, in the winter more than the summer, at night more than the daytime.

I'm not saying the warming doesn't cause problems, obviously it does. Obviously we should be trying to understand it. I'm saying that the problems are being grossly exaggerated. They take away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent and important. Poverty, infectious diseases, public education and public health. Not to mention the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans.


Trends of 20th-Century River Flow

Analysing: Svensson, C., Kundzewicz, Z.W. and Maurer, T. 2005. Trend detection in river flow series: 2. Flood and low-flow index series. Hydrological Sciences Journal 50: 811-824.


Climate models predict that one of the potential consequences of CO2-induced global warming is an enhancement of the world's hydrologic cycle, which is projected to result in increased precipitation and floods. At the same time, however, the models also predict longer and more severe droughts due to increased evapotranspiration driven by rising temperatures. Given such predictions, recent major floods and droughts in Europe and North America have led climate alarmists to proclaim they are due to global warming. But is this attribution correct?

What was done

In an effort to evaluate model projections of increased floods and droughts as a result of global warming, the authors examined 20th-century river flow data for a group of 21 stations distributed about the globe that they obtained from the Global Runoff Data Centre in Koblenz, Germany. Individual record lengths of the 21 stations varied from 44 to 100 years, with an average of 68 years. Analyses of the data consisted of computing trends in flood magnitude, flood frequency, and low-flow index series using Mann-Kendall and linear regression methods.

What was learned

In terms of flood magnitude and frequency, the analysis revealed there were slightly more stations exhibiting significant negative trends (reduced flooding) than significant positive trends (increased flooding). With respect to low-flow trends, nearly all stations showed increasing trends, approximately half of which were significant at the 90% level.

What it means

The results of this analysis, according to Svensson et al., indicate "there is no general pattern of increasing or decreasing numbers or magnitudes of floods, but there are significant increases in half of the low-flow series." These real-world observations are not consistent with model predictions of river flow response to global warming, since the world's climate alarmists claim that the planet experienced a warming over the latter part of the 20th century that was unprecedented over the past two millennia. If anything, therefore, and if the warming was truly as great as they claim, the data tend to support just the opposite relationship between warming and flood and drought occurrences.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


3 April, 2006


Article from the deep Green "Independent", 2 April 2006

Tony Blair personally frustrated measures to cut Britain's emissions of the pollution that causes global warming, despite repeatedly calling for action, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The Prime Minister did not back proposals from his Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, that aimed to get the Government's strategy to fight climate change back on track. As a result, ministers had to admit last week that they would not meet a target, which was set in three election manifestos, for cutting pollution.

The revelation comes as new official statistics show that Britain's carbon dioxide emissions - the main cause of global warming - have risen for the third year in a row. This means that emissions have risen, by 2 per cent, instead of falling since Mr Blair came to power nine years ago.

Labour has promised in its manifestos since 1997 to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent, from their 1990 level, by 2010. With just four years to go, the latest rise means that emissions are down only 5.3 per cent since 1990.

Mr Blair told a climate change conference in New Zealand last week that failure to take action on global warming would be "absolutely disastrous". He added: "I don't want it on the conscience of me, or my generation, that we were told what this problem was and did nothing about it."

The Government's new programme, announced on Tuesday, makes little progress, though. Work began in a panic after ministers realised that their previous plans would probably reduce emissions by only 14 per cent by the target date. This new policy review, however, contains almost no new measures and, even by ministers' estimates, may only increase the reduction to 15 per cent. Downing Street sources privately concede that even this may be optimistic.

Mr Blair chaired the committee that conducted the review and failed to back a 58-point plan put forward by Mrs Beckett. The plan included a measure that aimed to enforce speed limits to save fuel. Privately the Prime Minister shows little interest in measures to cut pollution, preferring international talks, where he increasingly mirrors the position of President George Bush.


This week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was interviewed in prime time on the BBC. The subject was the threat of global warming, which, as Dr. Williams explained, is "a vast moral question." "Unless there is a real change in attitude, we have to contemplate these very unwelcome possibilities [of governmental coercion] if we want the global economy not to collapse and millions, billions of people to die."

The archbishop offered no evidence to support this apocalyptic vision, but he gave his sermon an anti-American twist. "I don't think it's compatible with a Christian ethic to ignore climate change," he said. For a Christian, President Bush had been "very slow" to recognize the "profoundly immoral" consequences of our lifestyle. The president, he implied, was not merely selfish but a hypocrite, too.

Why was the BBC so eager to hear an Oxford-trained theologian pronounce on an essentially scientific issue? The environment now occupies the place in public discourse once occupied by theology: Where you stand determines your moral status. Consumers are polluters, and polluters are sinners. Our lifestyles are killing the poor. Global warming is a fundamentalist faith, and its adherents believe in justification by faith alone. The fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury may emit more greenhouse gases on the subject than a Boeing 747 is beside the point.

How does a discussion of climatology turn into an excuse for anti-Americanism? As it happens, the archbishop was in the United States at the time, but this is not why he singled out Americans for criticism. He did so because anti-Americanism, too, has become an article of faith - the faith of the liberal intellectual. Dr. Williams was merely doing what is expected of any member of his class.

One of the few people to challenge this consensus is the prime minister. This week, Tony Blair flew to Australia to castigate anti-Americanism. Mr. Blair is not a global warming skeptic. Yet he also knows that climate change, like Islamist terrorism, cannot "be resolved or even contemplated without [the United States]." He continued: "The strain of anti-American feeling in parts of European and world politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in."

This message went down well in Australia. Nobody in Europe was listening, though. The "madness" is too ubiquitous. But Mr. Blair is right. The greatest threat to our civilization is not global warming. It is not even Islamist terrorism. It is anti-Americanism. For if the West is divided against itself, it cannot stand.

More here. (Rambling introduction omitted)


Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane has confirmed that Australia will sign a safeguard agreement with China which will clear the way for the sale of uranium potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Mr Macfarlane is confident the agreement to be signed tomorrow governing Australian uranium exports to China will ensure its peaceful use. "In terms of the arrangement and what will be signed tomorrow, it is definitely a safeguard agreement," he said. "It is the same agreement that has been signed, as I say, with 36 other countries around the world."

Mr Macfarlane is in Perth to provide a resources briefing to visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who spent today touring key West Australian industrial and energy research facilities. Premier Wen flies to Canberra this afternoon and will meet the Prime Minister John Howard on Monday.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says it remains fundamentally opposed to any deal to export uranium to China. ACF president Ian Lowe says such a move would further regional insecurity and increase nuclear risks. "No matter how strong and how valid the assurances that China or any other country gives us, once we export uranium it's outside of our control, so we're making the world a dirtier and more dangerous place by exporting uranium," he said. Professor Lowe is also not convinced by the argument that it would be environmentally better for power-hungry China to seek nuclear, rather than coal-fired, energy. "Nuclear might be better than coal but it's not nearly as good as renewables," he said. "Renewables are our real economic opportunity and the real environmental opportunity. In fact China's planning to get 15 per cent of its energy from renewables and only 6 per cent from nuclear."


Solar-thermal power touted as energy solution

Australian scientists have developed a new way of producing electricity, which could provide all of Australia's electricity needs in 2020. It has been developed by mixing solar energy, heat and natural gas.

In the search to find a cleaner, more efficient form of power, scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have developed what is called solar-thermal energy. Two hundred mirrors track the sun, and focus the sun's rays towards a tower. The heat can reach temperatures of more than 1000 degrees Celsius, producing 500 kilowatts of power. This is then mixed with natural gas and water to produce a renewable energy.

Wes Stein from the CSIRO says the new development could provide for Australia's future energy needs. "It would only require about 50 kilometres by 50 kilometres in the centre of Australia somewhere to provide all of Australia's electricity needs in 2020," he said. "That's not very much of Australia."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


2 April, 2006


The Green/Left are of course only interested in those bits of history that suit their preconceptions and prejudices. Below is a bit of history that will NOT suit them. From Progress In Oceanography, Article in Press, Corrected Proof

The regime shift of the 1920s and 1930s in the North Atlantic

By Kenneth F. Drinkwater

Institute of Marine Research and Bjerknes Center for Climate Research, P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes, N-5817 Bergen, Norway


During the 1920s and 1930s, there was a dramatic warming of the northern North Atlantic Ocean. Warmer-than-normal sea temperatures, reduced sea ice conditions and enhanced Atlantic inflow in northern regions continued through to the 1950s and 1960s, with the timing of the decline to colder temperatures varying with location. Ecosystem changes associated with the warm period included a general northward movement of fish. Boreal species of fish such as cod, haddock and herring expanded farther north while colder-water species such as capelin and polar cod retreated northward. The maximum recorded movement involved cod, which spread approximately 1200 km northward along West Greenland. Migration patterns of "warmer water" species also changed with earlier arrivals and later departures. New spawning sites were observed farther north for several species or stocks while for others the relative contribution from northern spawning sites increased. Some southern species of fish that were unknown in northern areas prior to the warming event became occasional, and in some cases, frequent visitors. Higher recruitment and growth led to increased biomass of important commercial species such as cod and herring in many regions of the northern North Atlantic. Benthos associated with Atlantic waters spread northward off Western Svalbard and eastward into the eastern Barents Sea. Based on increased phytoplankton and zooplankton production in several areas, it is argued that bottom-up processes were the primary cause of these changes. The warming in the 1920s and 1930s is considered to constitute the most significant regime shift experienced in the North Atlantic in the 20th century.

1. Introduction

A regime shift in marine ecology is "a persistent radical shift in typical levels of abundance or productivity of multiple important components of the marine biological community structure, occurring at multiple trophic levels and on a geographical scale that is at least regional in extent"; distributional shifts are also often a characteristic of regime shifts (Bakun, 2004). The concept gained prominence in its application to the dramatic abundance changes in sardines and anchovies across the globe (Lluch-Belda et al., 1989 and Lluch-Belda et al., 1992) and to salmon and groundfish populations in the North Pacific during the mid-1970s (Venrick et al., 1987, Francis and Hare, 1994, Hare and Francis, 1995 and Hare and Mantua, 2000). As Bakun (2004) points out, ecosystem regime shifts are often linked to climate forcing but can also occur due to anthropogenic forcing, such as heavy fishing or pollution (e.g. Steele, 2004).

In the North Atlantic, scientists generally have been much slower to adopt the idea of regime shifts compared to their colleagues working in the North Pacific, however, this appears to be changing. The majority of papers identifying Atlantic regime shifts are associated with changes during the 1970s to 1990s in or around the North Sea (Reid et al., 2001, Beaugrand, 2004 and DeYoung et al., 2004). I would argue, however, that the largest and most significant climate-induced regime shift of the last century in the North Atlantic occurred earlier in the century and was much greater in geographical extent.

In the 1920s and 1930s, there was a dramatic warming of the air and ocean temperatures in the northern North Atlantic and the high Arctic, with the largest changes occurring north of 60oN (Rogers, 1985, Polyakov et al., 2003 and Johannessen et al., 2004). This led to reduced ice cover in the Arctic and subarctic regions and higher sea temperatures. Jensen and Hansen (1931) and later Jensen, 1939 and Jensen, 1949 documented the expansion of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) along the west coast of Greenland in response to the changes in the ocean climate. Other species were also observed to have undergone significant abundance and distributional changes. This was a clear case of an environmentally driven ecosystem response that became of paramount interest for fishery researchers at the time. This interest lead to the first scientific meeting by ICES on climate change held in 1948 at Copenhagen (ICES, 1949) entitled Climate Changes in the Arctic in Relation to Plants and Animals. Ahlmann (1949), in his introductory address, noted that the warming had broad geographic extent with significant effects in the region: increasing air temperatures, receding glaciers, decreasing Arctic ice extent and thickness, decreasing water levels in lakes through increased evaporation, and high sea-level elevations due to melting ice.

This warming event was associated with atmospheric changes causing increased transfer of heat from low to high latitudes (Brooks, 1938, Ahlmann, 1949 and Rogers, 1985). Indeed, increased southerly winds pumped warm air into the northern North Atlantic and also into the Arctic. Overland et al. (2004) showed that the Icelandic Low was located farther to the east than usual in the 1930s with the result that Northern Europe was subsequently warmed by winds from the southeast. This is in strong contrast to its normal warming from the southwest associated with a positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) phase. In the Northwest Atlantic, a high-pressure system over Greenland caused warm southerly flow over Baffin Bay (Overland et al., 2004). Bengtsson et al. (2004) proposed that the temperature increase was related to enhanced wind-driven oceanic inflow into the Barents Sea with an associated sea-ice retreat. Through feedback mechanisms, this in turn generated and enhanced the cyclonic low pressure in the region and created a strong surface heat flux over the ice-free areas, a mechanism previously proposed by dlandsvik and Loeng (1991). Modelling studies suggest that these changes might be caused by internal, non-linear dynamics of the atmosphere (Delworth and Knutson, 2000 and Bengtsson et al., 2004).

Large and significant changes in marine ecosystems occurred as a result of this warming and many of these changes were discussed at the 1948 Symposium (ICES, 1949) and in later papers (Beverton and Lee, 1965, Cushing and Dickson, 1976 and Cushing, 1982). The objective of the present paper is to provide a review of the changes to the marine ecosystems of the northern North Atlantic during the 1920s and 1930s and to discuss them in the light of contemporary ideas of regime shifts. Following a brief review of the changes to the climate, and in conjunction with the topic of this special issue, I will attempt to assess whether the ecosystem changes were primarily a top-down or bottom-up response. The description of the ecosystem responses during the warm period is presented by region and relies heavily upon information from fisheries, although not exclusively so.

Given the earlier reviews noted above, why is a new review needed? First, new information has become available, most noticeably on phytoplankton and zooplankton, as well as on the response of fish stocks such as capelin (Mallotus villotus) and herring (Clupea harengus). Second, our understanding and knowledge of some of the physical and biological processes have increased so we are in a better position to determine what likely happened. Finally, while many fisheries scientists working during that era were familiar with the event, many of today's marine ecologists and fisheries scientists have either forgotten or do not know about it. This needs to be rectified given the important lessons it can teach us about what to expect under future climate change.


4. Discussion

This review, the results of which are summarized in Table 1, describes the significant changes in the marine ecosystem in the northern North Atlantic that occurred during the 1920s and 1930s and how these were linked to a general warming of the oceans. This warming was not due to the large rise in air temperatures alone, but to an apparent change in ocean circulation that brought more warm water northward. This intensification of northward flowing ocean currents is believed to be linked to changes in the atmospheric wind pattern. The sea-ice edge shifted northward as a result of the warming. The ecosystem changes included significant northward shifts in distribution and changes in the timing and extent of the migration patterns of numerous species of fish, marine mammals and some seabirds. The northward movement of many boreal and subtropical species occurred concurrently with a retraction in the distribution of Arctic species. Spawning shifted northward and in some areas, such as West Greenland and Iceland, new spawning sites were established farther north than previously observed. Large increases in the biomass of several commercially important species, such as cod and herring, occurred, driven by increased recruitment and improved growth. The changes in fish populations had significant economic impacts, especially in West Greenland where there was a shift from a seal-dominated economy to one dependent upon cod. Where warm Atlantic waters replaced the cold Arctic waters or became relatively more important, primary and secondary production appears to have increased. Also, the benthos changed with the increased influence of the warm-water currents. It is clear, based on the definition of Bakun (2004), that this represents a large and important climate-forced "regime shift" in the northern North Atlantic. This new regime lasted for approximately 30-40 years and covered a geographical distribution extending several million square kilometres.


As temperatures declined in the northern North Atlantic during the 1960s, ecological conditions often returned to their previous state. In some regions, however, new regimes became established, e.g. off West Greenland where shrimp biomass increased and became the dominant economic fishery, replacing cod. This appears to be a new stable state. By the time of the change in the environmental conditions in the 1960s, expanding fisheries due to more extensive use of trawlers, the development of large long-distance foreign fishing fleets, and the general increase in the number of fishermen after the last world war, lead to significant impacts on fish populations. Thus, there has been much debate as to whether the observed decline in several fish species, such as cod in the 1960s, was mostly due to fishing or to climate. It is clear that both played a significant role.

The last question to ask, and of particular relevance to this volume, is: Were the observed changes driven by bottom-up process through increased production or was it dominated by top-down processes through predation from higher to lower trophic levels? A third possibility is a "wasp-waist" control when a forage species such as capelin might determine the overall changes to the system. While it is probably true that all three processes were operating during the warming event of the 1920s and 1930s, the increases in phytoplankton and zooplankton production observed off West Greenland and Iceland, which are consistent with recent studies in the Barents Sea, leads me to think that the primary response during the warm regime was driven by bottom-up processes. It has become clear that the increased presence of Atlantic waters contributed to higher primary and secondary production. In addition, with the reduced extent of ice-covered waters, more open water allows for higher production than in the colder periods. Modelling studies in the Barents Sea (Slagstad and Wassmann, 1996) suggests that primary production levels are as much as 400% higher in ice-free regions in a warm year (1984) compared to when these same areas are ice-covered during a cold year (1981). Relative to the entire Barents Sea region, reduced ice cover resulted in an approximately 30% increase in primary production. This occurred due to a combination of higher light levels in areas of decreased ice extent, higher nutrient levels in the Atlantic waters where they extended northward and eastward, and faster turn-over times due to the higher temperatures. Similar increases in primary and secondary production during the warm period of the 1920s to at least the late 1950s off Iceland (as suggested by the findings of Astthorsson and Vilhjálmsson, 2002) and off West Greenland (by Pedersen and Rice, 2002) were also a result of higher light levels (in areas affected by seasonal ice coverage), higher nutrient concentrations and faster turn-over times.

Studying the response to the early 20th century warming is of practical significance, in that this information may provide clues about what to expect under future climate scenarios. We are presently experiencing a warming trend, not only in the northern North Atlantic but globally. Several of the ecosystem changes observed during the 1920s and 1930s in the northern North Atlantic appear to be repeating themselves, a detailed analysis of which will be the topic of a future paper.

Kyoto and a climate of moralism

The debate about global warming has become a moral crusade against our allegedly 'excessive' lifestyles -- says Rob Lyons

'Climate change means that business as usual is dead. It means that economic growth as usual is dead. But the politics of economic growth and business as usual live on.... Our economic model is not so different in the cold light of day to that of the Third Reich - which knew it could only expand by grabbing what it needed from its neighbours. Genocide followed.'

Comparing Britain's failure to miss its carbon emission targets with the Nazi attempt to conquer Europe seems melodramatic, bordering on distasteful. But this crankish quote isn't from some member of the lunatic green fringe; it was uttered by backbench Labour MP Colin Challen, who is also chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group.

Of course, there have always been people on the back benches who could best be described as 'crankish'. But Challen is not alone in his emotive outburst at Britain's failure to provide leadership on global warming. Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, stuck his worshipful oar in this week, too.

'Nobody likes talking about governmental coercion in this respect, whether it's speed limits or anything else. Nobody for that matter likes talking about enforceable international protocols... [U]nless there's a real change in attitude we have to contemplate those very unwelcome possibilities if we want the global economy not to collapse and millions, billions of people to die.'

In other words, slowing down when you drive, turning the lights off and not leaving your telly on stand-by is the will of the Lord. And if the government launches a crackdown to make sure we do it, it's only doing God's good work.

Still, this is better than some of the views generated by the Independent's eight-page pullout of readers' letters on climate change, published on Wednesday. This was largely a collection of emotional spasms about how we are doomed and how the only answer is to restrict our lifestyles. 'It is so obvious that the planet cannot support the human population without disastrous consequences for all other creatures and resources', said one writer. Another was more forthright: 'Destroying America is the only chance the world has of buying time to save the world; if I had the means I would do it, albeit with a great sense of moral ambiguity.' Well, at least he'd be conflicted about it.

Such outpourings might make you think that Britain had suddenly become a carbon-emitting monster, throwing our futures on to some kind of ecological funeral pyre. In fact, the angst is a result of the report of a government policy review, which revealed that rather than achieving a 20 per cent cut in emissions by 2010, Britain would probably only cut emissions by 15 to 18 per cent. Despite this, Britain will probably still meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

This is all a major embarrassment for Tony Blair. Having spent much of his premiership berating the world for failing to follow Britain's lead on climate change, he is receiving an unpleasant dose of moralising whup-ass himself. Given that Blair has been only too happy to highlight worst-case scenarios (such as the slim possibility that the world will warm by six degrees celsius over the next century) while professing that climate change is 'probably the greatest long-term challenge facing the human race', it is not hard to see why people now think he's a bit of a hypocrite.

None the less, we should be grateful for Britain's failure on this one. Environment secretary Margaret Beckett, presenting the report's findings, blamed economic growth for missing the target. If even government ministers are now guiltily confessing that the UK's anaemic growth rates are too high, we should all be concerned. It is the increased productivity of our society which holds open the potential for solving many of the problems we will face in the future, including environmental ones. Restricting growth will do little to affect the climate but a lot to reduce our capacity to respond to change, whatever form it takes.

The truth about climate change is that the world is likely to get a bit warmer in the future but whether things will get a lot warmer is really not known - and there are plenty of legitimate criticisms that can be made of the way the science has been distorted to present a particular political message.

But even if we took the more alarming figures for climate change at face value, there is nothing to suggest the world is about to end. Human beings have managed to adapt to an incredible variety of regional climates to develop successful societies, as science writer Robert Matthews notes: 'Yet despite this long history of successful adaptation, the climate change debate remains doggedly focused on mitigation strategies, such as the Kyoto Protocol, that seek to compel the whole atmosphere to do our bidding.'

When scare stories are presented about the effects of climate change, human beings are treated as passive victims rather than active subjects who will not only adapt to change, as Matthews suggests, but will actually innovate through adversity. Some of history's darkest hours have generated many of humanity's most creative impulses.

Still, such a discussion of human adaptability is at odds with the spirit of the age. The environment debate has become increasingly moralistic: restraint is good, production and consumption are bad. At a time when the decision to live a 'green' lifestyle is recast as 'ethical living', the ability to debate alternatives is closed down. As long as the debate about climate change is cast in such terms, we can expect more attacks on the notion of economic growth - and we will all be, literally, poorer for it.


Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue

This is a blatant example of bandwagon hopping. Now even rice research has to be shown as good for dealing with climate change. What they fail to mention is that rice LOVES warm weather -- so any warming would make rice grow better and in more places anyway

New evidence is emerging that climate change could reduce not only the world's ability to produce food but also international efforts to cut poverty. However, the recent sequencing of the rice genome is already providing researchers with some of the tools they need to help poor rice farmers and consumers avoid the worst effects of the problem.

The new knowledge generated by the sequencing effort is allowing scientists to both develop new rice varieties faster and with the specific characteristics needed to deal with climate change, such as tolerance of higher temperatures. However, scientists are calling for more research to fully understand the impact of climate change - especially the extreme weather it may cause - on international efforts to reduce poverty and ensure food security.

A "Climate Change and Rice" planning workshop this month at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines was told that climate change is already affecting Asia's ability to produce rice, and that this could eventually slow efforts to reduce poverty in the region, where most of the world's poor live.

The workshop was informed that, to overcome many of the climate change-related problems facing rice production in Asia - and continue to meet the demand for rice in the region - yields will have to double over the next 50 years. Research has confirmed that global warming will make rice crops less productive with increasing temperatures decreasing yields. "Clearly, climate change is going to have a major impact on our ability to grow rice," Robert S. Zeigler, IRRI director general, said. "We can't afford to sit back and be complacent about this because rice production feeds almost half the world's population while providing vital employment to millions as well, with most of them being very poor and vulnerable."

For these reasons, Dr. Zeigler announced at the workshop that IRRI - in an unprecedented move - was ready to put up US$2 million of its own research funds as part of an effort to raise $20-25 million for a major five-year project to mitigate the effects of climate change on rice production. "We need to start developing rice varieties that can tolerate higher temperatures and other aspects of climate change right now," he said. "Fortunately, the recent sequencing of the rice genome will allow us to do this much faster than we could have in the past," Dr. Zeigler added. "But, in addition to new rice varieties, we must develop other technologies that will help poor rice farmers deal with climate change."

In one of several examples presented to last week's climate workshop, researchers mentioned El Nio weather phenomena that hit the Philippines in 1996-97 and caused a severe drought, resulting in a sharp drop in national rice production. Other examples focused on the impact of climate change and variability on gross domestic product, generally causing it to slip by several percentage points. "One of the main problems with climate change is that the effects are felt mostly in poor, underdeveloped countries because of their reliance on agriculture as one of the main drivers for national development," Dr. Zeigler said. "In turn, agriculture is very dependent on climate. "Another more insidious effect may be more frequent extreme weather events such as typhoons, floods and droughts," Dr. Zeigler warned. "IRRI's research has shown that even one drought year can push millions of rice farmers back below the poverty line. This affects the whole family for many years after the drought year, as they will have sold their livestock and withdrawn their children from school just to survive."

IRRI's senior climate change researcher, John Sheehy, told the workshop that poor farmers need help in several challenging new areas. "We need to develop rice varieties tolerant of higher temperatures that can maintain yield and quality when extreme temperatures occur," Dr. Sheehy said. "We also need rice varieties that can take advantage of higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, rice that is vigorous enough to recover quickly from extreme weather events and disasters, and very high yielding rice that will provide a supply buffer for poor communities during periods of change. "We need to be able to protect poor people from the harmful effects of climate change, and rice is especially important because most of the world's poor depend on it," he added. "We also need to ensure that the world community is not adversely affected by greenhouse gas emissions from rice production systems."

Dr. Sheehy said researchers need to acquire knowledge and develop technologies critical to ensuring that rice production systems are sustainable in the face of climate change and do not adversely contribute to climate change.


Another scare fades

Warming does not kill coral

The Great Barrier Reef is far more resilient to rising water temperatures than scientists feared, with less than 1 per cent of its coral affected by bleaching after the hot summer. Scientists had predicted that as much as 60 per cent of the reef's coral might suffer bleaching, which occurs when warm temperatures rob the living coral of nutrition. But professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, from the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Studies, said yesterday that samples he had collected from the various parts of the reef showed the fears were unfounded. Professor Hoegh-Guldberg's survey showed coral north of the Keppel Islands near Rockhampton had escaped bleaching, and less than 1 per cent of the outer reef had been affected. "I was surprised about the fact that we had some bleaching within the coastal regions, but it wasn't as bad as we'd seen in the Keppel Islands (previously)," he told ABC TV. "Probably about 1000sqkm of reef has experienced moderate to severe bleaching but, given the size of the Great Barrier Reef, this is quite a minimal impact."

In January, the professor's team at the University of Queensland had initially been concerned that the 2005-06 summer could be a repeat of 2001-02, when more than half the reef was bleached and between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of the coral died. The concern had arisen after above-average sea temperatures had been recorded through the summer months. "This year we are worried because we have higher (temperature) anomalies which may result in greater damage," Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said at the time.

But their concerns proved unfounded, confirming the views last month of scientist Peter Ridd, who said the Great Barrier Reef was one of the world's most resilient ecosystems. "The only place that's probably better is Antarctica," said Dr Ridd, from Townsville's James Cook University.

A spokesman for conservation organisation WWF, Richard Leck, still offered a warning if ocean temperatures rose. "By 2050, unless we build the resistance of the reef, we will be faced with a pretty diminished resource," Mr Leck said. [cheerfully ignoring the evidence]

Any damage to the reef would hurt the economies of Queensland and Australia. The reef is worth $5.8 billion to the national economy, employs more than 60,000 people and is visited by more than two million tourists each year. Scientists are urging state and federal governments to reduce greenhouse emissions to avoid the bleaching that hit east Africa in 1998, when 50 per cent of its reefs were lost. [NOT due to global warming]



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 April, 2006


Is that reasoning an April Fool's joke? It should be but it is not. ANY finding whatever will be fitted to the global warming theory -- even when you think that the opposite conclusion was most warranted. The latest data from the Antarctic are a good example of that. The article from "The Times" excerpted immediately below has no hesitation in linking a finding that Antarctic warming is anomalous to a conclusion that warming is global.

Aside from that, how odd it is that the Antarctic air is so much warmer but the ice is not melting!

Also reproduced below are the original journal abstract and the plain English summary of the findings offered by the journal in which the article appeared. Note that only the newspaper links the findings to global warming. The science reports were completely non-committal. Since the findings upset all their "models", that is the least they could do.

"Air temperatures above the entire frozen continent of Antarctica have risen three times faster than the rest of the world during the past 30 years. While it is well established that temperatures are increasing rapidly in the Antarctic Peninsula, the land tongue that protrudes towards South America, the trend has been harder to confirm over the continent as a whole. Now analysis of weather balloon data by scientists at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has shown that not only are the lower reaches of the Antarctic atmosphere warming, but that they are doing so at the fastest rate observed anywhere on Earth. Temperatures in the troposphere - the lowest 8km (5 miles) of the atmosphere - have increased by between 0.5C and 0.7 C (0.9F and 1.3F) per decade over the past 30 years.

This signature of climate change is three times stronger than the average observed around the world, suggesting that global warming is having an uneven impact and that it could be greater for Antarctica....

Although the Antarctic peninsula has warmed by more than 2.5C during the past 50 years, most surface measurements suggest that there have been no pronounced temperature changes elsewhere on the continent, while some have indicated a small cooling effect....

The new research, led by John Turner, of the BAS, shows that the air above the surface of Antarctica is definitely warming, in ways that are not predicted by climate models and that cannot yet be explained. The results are published today in the journal Science. "The rapid surface warming of the Antarctic Peninsula and the enhanced global warming signal over the whole continent shows the complexity of climate change," Dr Turner said....

There is increasing evidence that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are creating a blanket about the Earth that traps heat at lower levels, warming the troposphere and surface, while cooling the stratosphere above. The study is the third to be published this month to suggest that the effects of global warming on Antarctica are likely to be more pronounced than has often been predicted."

More here

Significant Warming of the Antarctic Winter Troposphere

J. Turner, T. A. Lachlan-Cope, S. Colwell, G. J. Marshall, W. M. Connolley

We report an undocumented major warming of the Antarctic winter troposphere that is larger than any previously identified regional tropospheric warming on Earth. This result has come to light through an analysis of recently digitized and rigorously quality controlled Antarctic radiosonde observations. The data show that regional midtropospheric temperatures have increased at a statistically significant rate of 0.5 to 0.7 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 30 years. Analysis of the time series of radiosonde temperatures indicates that the data are temporally homogeneous. The available data do not allow us to unambiguously assign a cause to the tropospheric warming at this stage.


Up in the middle

Meteorological observations show that surface temperature of the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula has increased at a rate faster than that of any other region on Earth in the last 50 years. However, there have been few statistically significant surface temperature changes across the rest of Antarctica, which may even have cooled slightly in some places during recent decades. In order to help provide a more complete picture of how temperatures in the Antarctic troposphere have changed, Turner et al. (p. 1914) examined recently released radiosonde data from 1971 to 2003. The Antarctic middle troposphere has warmed by 0.5øC or more per decade during the winters during that time. Although this rise has been detected, its cause is still unknown.


Highly Over-Hyped: Greenland's and Antarctica's Impacts on Sea Level

In the 24 March 2006 issue of Science, a number of commentaries heralded accelerating discharges of glacial ice from Greenland and Antarctica, while dispensing dire warnings of an imminent large, rapid and accelerating sea-level rise (Bindschadler, 2006; Joughin, 2006; Kerr, 2006; Kennedy and Hanson, 2006). This distressing news was based largely on three reports published in the same issue (Ekstrom et al., 2006; Otto-Bliesner et al., 2006; Overpeck et al., 2006), wherein the unnerving phenomena were attributed to anthropogenic-induced global warming, which is widely claimed to be due primarily to increases in the air's CO2 content that are believed to be driven by the burning of ever increasing quantities of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. But does all of this make any sense?

Consider the report of Ekstrom et al., who studied "glacial earthquakes" caused by sudden sliding motions of glaciers on Greenland. Over the period Jan 1993 to Oct 2005, they determined that (1) all of the best-recorded quakes were associated with major outlet glaciers on the east and west coasts of Greenland between approximately 65 and 76oN latitude, (2) "a clear increase in the number of events is seen starting in 2002," and (3) "to date in 2005, twice as many events have been detected as in any year before 2002."

With respect to the reason for the recent increase in glacial activity on Greenland, Clayton Sandell of ABC News (23 March 2006) quotes Ekstrom as saying "I think it is very hard not to associate this with global warming," which sentiment appears to be shared by almost all of the authors of the seven Science articles. Unwilling to join in that conclusion, however, was Joughin, who in the very same issue presented histories of summer temperature at four Greenland coastal stations located within the same latitude range as the sites of the glacial earthquakes, which histories suggest that it was warmer in this region back in the 1930s than it was over the period of Ekstrom et al.'s analysis. Based on these data, Joughin concluded that "the recent warming is too short to determine whether it is an anthropogenic effect or natural variability," a position that is supported -- and in some cases even more rigorously -- by numerous scientists who have researched the issue, as noted in the following brief synopses of some of their studies.

Hanna and Cappelen (2003), determined the air temperature history of coastal southern Greenland from 1958-2001, based on data from eight Danish Meteorological Institute stations in coastal and near-coastal southern Greenland, as well as the concomitant sea surface temperature (SST) history of the Labrador Sea off southwest Greenland, based on three previously published and subsequently extended SST data sets (Parker et al., 1995; Rayner et al., 1996; Kalnay et al., 1996). Their analyses revealed that the coastal temperature data showed a cooling of 1.29oC over the period of study, while two of the three SST databases also depicted cooling: by 0.44oC in one case and by 0.80oC in the other. In addition, it was determined that the cooling was "significantly inversely correlated with an increased phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) over the past few decades."

In an even broader study based on mean monthly temperatures of 37 Arctic and 7 sub-Arctic stations, as well as temperature anomalies of 30 grid-boxes from the updated data set of Jones, Przybylak (2000) found that (1) "in the Arctic, the highest temperatures since the beginning of instrumental observation occurred clearly in the 1930s," (2) "even in the 1950s the temperature was higher than in the last 10 years," (3) "since the mid-1970s, the annual temperature shows no clear trend," and (4) "the level of temperature in Greenland in the last 10-20 years is similar to that observed in the 19th century." These findings led him to conclude that the meteorological record "shows that the observed variations in air temperature in the real Arctic are in many aspects not consistent with the projected climatic changes computed by climatic models for the enhanced greenhouse effect," because, in his words, "the temperature predictions produced by numerical climate models significantly differ from those actually observed."

In a study that utilized satellite imagery of the Odden ice tongue (a winter ice cover that occurs in the Greenland Sea with a length of about 1300 km and an aerial coverage of as much as 330,000 square kilometers) plus surface air temperature data from adjacent Jan Mayen Island, Comiso et al. (2001) determined that the ice phenomenon was "a relatively smaller feature several decades ago," due to the warmer temperatures that were prevalent at that time. In fact, they report that observational evidence from Jan Mayen Island indicates that temperatures there actually cooled at a rate of 0.15  0.03oC per decade throughout the prior 75 years.

More recently, in a study of three coastal stations in southern and central Greenland that possess almost uninterrupted temperature records between 1950 and 2000, Chylek et al. (2004) discovered that "summer temperatures, which are most relevant to Greenland ice sheet melting rates, do not show any persistent increase during the last fifty years." In fact, working with the two stations with the longest records (both over a century in length), they determined that coastal Greenland's peak temperatures occurred between 1930 and 1940, and that the subsequent decrease in temperature was so substantial and sustained that then-current coastal temperatures were "about 1oC below their 1940 values." Furthermore, they note that "at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2oC per decade since the beginning of the measurements in 1987."

At the start of the 20th century, however, Greenland was warming, as it emerged, along with the rest of the world, from the depths of the Little Ice Age. What is more, between 1920 and 1930, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration rose by a mere 3 to 4 ppm, there was a phenomenal warming at all five coastal locations for which contemporary temperature records are available. In fact, in the words of Chylek et al., "average annual temperature rose between 2 and 4oC [and by as much as 6oC in the winter] in less than ten years." And this warming, as they note, "is also seen in the 18O/16O record of the Summit ice core (Steig et al., 1994; Stuiver et al., 1995; White et al., 1997)."

In commenting on this dramatic temperature rise, which they call the great Greenland warming of the 1920s, Chylek et al. conclude that "since there was no significant increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration during that time, the Greenland warming of the 1920s demonstrates that a large and rapid temperature increase can occur over Greenland, and perhaps in other regions of the Arctic, due to internal climate variability such as the NAM/NAO [Northern Annular Mode/North Atlantic Oscillation], without a significant anthropogenic influence."

In light of these several real-world observations, it is clear that the recent upswing in glacial activity on Greenland likely has had nothing to do with anthropogenic-induced global warming, as temperatures there have yet to rise either as fast or as high as they did during the great warming of the 1920s, which was clearly a natural phenomenon.

It is also important to recognize the fact that coastal glacial discharge represents only half of the equation relating to sea level change, the other half being inland ice accumulation derived from precipitation; and when the mass balance of the entire Greenland ice sheet was most recently assessed via satellite radar altimetry, quite a different result was obtained than that suggested by the seven Science papers of 24 March. Zwally et al. (2005), for example, found that although "the Greenland ice sheet is thinning at the margins," it is "growing inland with a small overall mass gain." In fact, for the 11-year period 1992-2003, Johannessen et al. (2005) found that "below 1500 meters, the elevation-change rate is -2.0  0.9 cm/year, in qualitative agreement with reported thinning in the ice-sheet margins," but that "an increase of 6.4  0.2 cm/year is found in the vast interior areas above 1500 meters." Spatially averaged over the bulk of the ice sheet, the net result, according to the latter researchers, was a mean increase of 5.4  0.2 cm/year, "or ~60 cm over 11 years, or ~54 cm when corrected for isostatic uplift." Consequently, the Greenland ice sheet experienced no net loss of mass over the last decade for which data are available. Quite to the contrary, in fact, it was host to a net accumulation of ice, which Zwally et al. found to be producing a 0.03  0.01 mm/year decline in sea-level.

In an attempt to downplay the significance of these inconvenient findings, Kerr quotes Zwally as saying he believes that "right now" the Greenland ice sheet is experiencing a net loss of mass. Why? Kerr says Zwally's belief is "based on his gut feeling about the most recent radar and laser observations." Fair enough. But gut feelings are a poor substitute for comprehensive real-world measurements; and even if the things that Zwally's intestines are telling him are ultimately proven to be correct, their confirmation would only demonstrate just how rapidly the Greenland environment can change. Also, we would have to wait and see how long the mass losses prevailed in order to assess their significance within the context of the CO2-induced global warming debate. For the present and immediate future, therefore, we have no choice but to stick with what the existent data and analyses suggest, i.e., that cumulatively since the early 1990s, and conservatively (since the balance is likely still positive), there has been no net loss of mass from the Greenland ice sheet.

The set of Science papers and associated news reports also make much of recent ice discharges from Antarctica, particularly along the Antarctic Peninsula, which has warmed more than any other place on earth over the past fifty years. Little to nothing, however, is said about the fact that the great bulk of the continent has actually cooled over this period, which as in the case of Greenland has also been demonstrated by numerous researchers, as outlined below.

In a study of the entire continent, Comiso (2000) assembled and analyzed Antarctic temperature data from 21 surface stations and from infrared satellites operating from 1979 to 1998. The temperature trend derived from the satellite data was a cooling of 0.42oC per decade, while the trend derived from the station data was a cooling of 0.08oC per decade, which led Comiso to state that these negative temperature trends were "intriguing, since during the same time period a general warming is being observed globally," and to note that "the slight cooling detected in the entire Antarctic region is compatible with a slightly positive trend in the sea ice extent that has been observed from passive microwave data."

Doran et al. (2002) measured a number of meteorological parameters in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica between 1986 and 2000, comparing what they learned with what happened concurrently over the rest of the continent, the climatic record of which stretches two additional decades back in time. Over the 14 years of their intensive measurements, the McMurdo Dry valleys cooled at the phenomenal rate of 0.7oC per decade. This dramatic cooling, in the researchers' words, "reflects longer term continental Antarctic cooling between 1966 and 2000." In addition to sharing the same cooling trend, most of the 14-year cooling in the dry valleys occurred in the summer and autumn, just as most of the 35-year cooling over the continent as a whole (which did not include any data from the dry valleys) also occurred in the summer and autumn; and Doran et al. note that this multi-faceted "compatibility with the dry valley data increases the validity of the analysis."

As for the significance of their findings, Doran et al. say that the continental Antarctic cooling documented in their paper "poses challenges to models of climate and ecosystem change." Climate models, as they note, not only predict that global warming should have been occurring over the period of their study, but that there should have been "amplified warming in polar regions." To instead find dramatic cooling (which is about as different from amplified warming as one can get) especially in one of the two places on earth where the climate models are thought to be most correct, represents about as clear-cut a refutation of the predictions of the climate models as one can imagine.

Taking a slightly longer view of the subject, Turner et al. (2005) used a "new and improved" set of Antarctic climate data -- which is described in detail by Turner et al. (2004) -- to examine "the temporal variability and change in some of the key meteorological parameters at Antarctic stations." In doing so, they found the warming at low elevations on the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula to have been "as large as any increase observed on Earth over the last 50 years," which at the Faraday (now Vernadsky) station amounted to about 2.5oC. However, they say that "the region of marked warming is quite limited and is restricted to an arc from the southwestern part of the peninsula, through Faraday to a little beyond the tip of the peninsula."

With respect to the bigger picture of the vast bulk of the continent, the nine climate scientists remark that "of the 19 stations examined in this study for which annual trends could be computed, 11 stations have experienced warming over their whole length, seven stations have cooled, and one station had too little data to allow an annual trend to be computed." Considering that four of the stations that warmed are associated with the Antarctic Peninsula, however, there is little that can be said about the temperature trend of the entire continent, which issue they skillfully skirt. However, they do report "there has been a broad-scale change in the nature of the temperature trends between 1961-90 and 1971-2000." Specifically, they report that of the ten coastal stations that have long enough records to allow 30-year temperature trends to be computed for both of these periods, "eight had a larger warming trend (or a smaller cooling trend) in the earlier [our italics] period." In fact, four of them changed from warming to cooling, as did the interior Vostok site; and at the South Pole the rate of cooling intensified by a factor of six.

These observations reveal that over the latter part of the 20th century, i.e., the period of time that according to climate alarmists experienced the most dramatic global warming of the entire past two millennia, fully 80% of the Antarctic coastal stations with sufficiently long temperature records experienced either an intensification of cooling or a reduced rate of warming; while four coastal sites and one interior site actually shifted from warming to cooling.

In light of these facts, it is clear there is a serious disconnect between reality and the virtual world of climate modeling; and since everything else in the 24 March 2006 set of glacial ice Science papers pertains to climate modeling, there is not much else that need be said about them ... except, perhaps, to note that the modeling pertains primarily to the prior interglacial, which makes it essentially meaningless for two additional reasons. First, if the models can't replicate what happened in earth's polar regions over the past few decades, there's surely no reason to give any credence to what they tell us about something that occurred 130,000 years ago. And second, one can easily get the right answer to a computational problem for any number of compensating wrong reasons, so that even a "correct" replication does not imply that the mechanics of the modeled phenomenon are correctly understood.

More here


Governments around the world are struggling to meet their commitments under the Kyoto protocol on climate change, writes Fiona Harvey. However, even countries that have rejected the protocol, such as the US and Australia, or are not covered by its requirements - rapidly developing countries such as China and Brazil - are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gases

*US: Energy efficiency and a diversification of energy sources have both become desirable independently of concerns over the climate owing to rising oil and gas prices and these are having a knock-on effect on greenhouse gas emissions. George W. Bush's new-found interest in biofuels - alternatives to petrol derived from plants - has spurred the take-up of ethanol, to the extent that the US will soon look ready to rival Brazil as a source of the fuel. Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions because the plants from which it is made take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow and it displaces fossil fuels. But US emissions continue to rise

*Europe: The UK is one of only three countries in the EU-15 that is expected to meet its targets under the Kyoto protocol. The other members of the European Union's greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme will rely to a large extent on second phase of the scheme, from 2008 to 2012, to help them meet their targets

*China: China has taken steps to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases with its regulations on the fuel efficiency of vehicles. Use of wind power has also accelerated, thanks in large part to investment from overseas companies under the mechanisms of the Kyoto protocol, which allow developed countries to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets by funding the development of low-carbon technologies in poorer countries. But unless it steps up its efforts China will become the biggest emitter within two decades

*Japan: Japan has been one of the keenest proponents of funding projects in developing countries under the Kyoto protocol, as reducing emissions at home has proved difficult to achieve while the government encourages manufacturing to boost the economy. However, it has introduced a broad range of measures to curb emissions

*Canada: The previous Canadian government was keen to encourage the funding of overseas developments in place of reducing emissions at home. But the new Conservative government that campaigned in the run-up to the elections against the Kyoto protocol has reduced the likelihood of such arrangements in the near future



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.