Tracking the politics of fear....  

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31 December 2005

Europe frozen in its tracks

if hot summers prove global warming, I guess this proves global cooling:

Europe shivered yesterday in the grip of an icy cold snap, with France hit hardest by blizzards that have cut rail and road links and left thousands of motorists stranded in subzero temperatures. Snowstorms caused hundreds of train cancellations in Britain and flight disruptions in Germany, Sweden and Portugal, and brought road chaos to Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Worst hit was northeastern France, where 5,000 to 10,000 people spent a chilly night behind the wheel after traffic ground to a halt on a stretch of road between the towns of Toul and Nancy, regional authorities said. Emergency services were called in to provide them with food and drink for the night, and nearby sports centers and town halls were turned into makeshift shelters. Traffic gradually resumed yesterday, although it was hampered by ice and snow.

Below-freezing conditions have gripped northern Europe for several days, with nighttime temperatures falling as low as 5 degrees in places. Snowfall in the eastern half of England forced hundreds of trains to be canceled, spelling hassle for Britons traveling to work on the first day after the Christmas break. Sports fixtures were disrupted with several soccer matches and horse races called off, and forecasters predicted that up to 10 inches of snow could fall in eastern Scotland and northeastern England overnight.

In Germany, flights were delayed by up to 30 minutes out of the Frankfurt and Stuttgart airports, as the country was blanketed almost entirely in white, with more heavy snowfall expected in the coming days.

Sweden is accustomed to seasonal temperatures well below freezing, but Sturup airport in the southern city of Malmo was closed for several hours because of snow on the runways, forcing flights to be diverted to Copenhagen. More blizzards and strong winds were expected overnight in both Sweden and Denmark.

In the Czech Republic, the highway linking Prague to the country's second-largest city, Brno, was closed for several hours yesterday morning after a collision involving four trucks in thick snow.


Environmentalists wreck small businesses--and do ecological damage while they're at it

My friend Jim Hurst auctioned his sawmill in August. Jim's decision to pack it in after 25 years of beating his head on the wall made big news here in northwest Montana but, alas, not a peep from this newspaper or the New York Times. That's too bad, because the loss of our family-owned mills also signals the loss of technologies and skills vital to our efforts to protect the West's great national forests from the ravages of increasingly fearsome wildfires.

I was in Jim's office a few days before the auction. He told me he was at peace with his decision, but Jim has a good game face, so I suspect the decision to terminate his remaining 70 employees tore his guts out. They were like family to him. Jim's outfit was the economic backbone of tiny Eureka, Mont., a sawmill town since the early 1900s. I have a photo of my schoolteacher great-aunt standing on the front steps of the town's one-room schoolhouse in 1909. Although the town has grown some since then, its rural charm is still very much intact.

Thanks to the nation's housing boom, business has been good for the West's sawmills for the past three years. But Jim faced an insurmountable problem: He couldn't buy enough logs to keep his mill running. This despite the fact that 10 times as many trees as Jim's mill needed die annually on the nearby Kootenai National Forest. From his office window, Jim could see the dead and dying standing on hillsides just west of the mill. They might as well have been standing on the moon, given the senseless environmental litigation that has engulfed the West's federal forests.

Thanks to Jim's resourcefulness, his mill survived its last five years on a steady diet of fire- and bug-killed trees salvaged from Alberta provincial forests. Such salvage work is unthinkable in our national forests, forests that, news reports to the contrary, remain under the thumb of radical environmental groups whose hatred for capitalism seems boundless. Americans are thus invited to believe that salvaging fire-killed timber is "like mugging a burn victim." Never mind that there is no peer-reviewed science that supports this ridiculous claim--or that many of the West's great forests, including Oregon's famed Tillamook Forest, are products of past salvage and reforestation projects.

Jim shared his good fortune with his employees. Each received an average $30,000 in severance and profit sharing: a tip of the hat from him to a crew that set a production record the day after he told them he was throwing in the towel. Such is the professionalism--and talent--found among the West's mill workers. A few Oregon mills tried to recruit them, but most don't want to leave Eureka. I haven't the faintest idea how they'll make a living, but in the 40-odd years I've spent observing forests and people who live in them, I've learned never to underestimate the power of roots.

Although he's still a young man filled with creative energy and enthusiasm, I suspect the government has seen the last of Jim Hurst. Three years ago, I called nearly 100 sawmill owners scattered across the West and asked them if they would invest $40 million in a new small-log sawmill on the government's promise of a timber supply sufficient to amortize the investment. The verdict was a unanimous "No."

The never-reported truth is that the family-owned sawmills that survived the decade-long collapse of the federal timber sale program no longer have much interest in doing business with a government they no longer trust. Most now get their timber from lands they've purchased in recent years, other private lands, tribal forests or state lands. Some even import logs from other countries, including Canada, New Zealand and Chile.

You would think environmentalists who campaigned against harvesting in the West's national forests for 30-some years would be dancing in the streets. And, in fact, some of them are. But many aren't. Railing against giant faceless corporations is easy, but facing the news cameras after small family-owned mills fold has turned out to be very difficult. Everyone loves the underdog, and across much of the West there is a gnawing sense that environmentalists have hurt a lot of underdogs in their lust for power.

Environmentalists also face a problem they never anticipated. Recent polling reveals some 80% percent of Americans approve of the kind of methodical thinning that would have produced small diameter logs in perpetuity for Jim's sawmill. We Americans seem to like thinning in overly dense forests because the end result is visually pleasing, and because it helps reduce the risk of horrific wildfire--a bonus for wildlife and millions of year-round recreation enthusiasts who worship clean air and water.

Many Westerners wonder why the government isn't doing more thinning in at-risk forests that are at the epicenter of our Internet-linked New West lifestyle. I don't. Until the public takes back the enormous power it has given radical environmentalists and their lawyers, the Jim Hursts of the world will continue to exit the stage, taking their hard-earned capital, their well-developed global markets and their technological genius with them.

Fifteen years ago, not long after the release of "Playing God in Yellowstone," his seminal work on environmentalism's philosophical underpinnings, I asked philosopher and environmentalist Alston Chase what he thought about this situation. I leave you to ponder his answer: "Environmentalism increasingly reflects urban perspectives. As people move to cities, they become infatuated with fantasies about land untouched by humans. This demographic shift is revealed through ongoing debates about endangered species, grazing, water rights, private property, mining and logging. And it is partly a healthy trend. But this urbanization of environmental values also signals the loss of a rural way of life and the disappearance of hands-on experience with nature. So the irony: As popular concern for preservation increases, public understanding about how to achieve it declines."



The same environmental groups that lobby and sue the government over protecting air, water and human health also are collecting federal grant money for research and technical work, documents show. More than 2,200 nonprofit groups have received grants from the Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade, including some of the Bush administration's toughest critics on environmental policy. "It may be confusing to the public that with the right hand we're accepting government money and with the left hand sometimes we're beating up the government," said Charles Miller, communications director for Environmental Defense. The group has received more than $1.8 million from the EPA since 1995. "But the government is a complicated beast. Some of the things they're doing we think are wrong. A lot of the things they're doing we think are right. We're using the grant money to further the environmental cause," Miller said.

One recipient, the Natural Resources Defense Council, recently was cited by auditors for failing to properly document more than one-third of the $3.3 million it received in three EPA grants. The group used the money to conduct research and education on storm water pollution, and to develop and encourage energy-efficient technology, according to the EPA's inspector general, the agency's internal watchdog. The council acknowledges record-keeping errors dealing with benefits, timesheets and indirect costs. It cited in part erroneous direction from the EPA about what was required. "We're not running away from that and that's why we've offered to pay back the money," amounting to some $75,000, once the documentation was corrected, said the council's lawyer, Mitch Bernard. He noted there was no criticism of NRDC's research. The case is not finalized.

Groups such as the council, with their stables of scientists and extensive monitoring of environmental policy, often are seen as helping shape opinion on important issues. Asked about potential conflicts between their watchdog role and their financial connections to EPA, the groups say grants for specific technical, research and education projects do not interfere with their advocacy, which they conduct with separate funds.

Others see such grants posing at least an appearance problem. "It raises the specter of a conflict of interest. It's an ethical question," said Roberta Baskin, executive director for the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, an investigative organization that accepts no government, union or corporate money. "They're supposed to be watchdogs. Does it make you a lap dog if they're funding you? Is your loyalty to - the environment _or is it to the bottom line?" Baskin said.

The grants have drawn fire in recent years from conservatives, including Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Last year, he said environmental groups were "simply Democrat political machines."

The EPA does not turn away grantees because of their criticism or lawsuits, spokesman Bob Zachariasiewicz said. A new policy requires competitive bidding for any grant over $15,000 and the money cannot be spent on lobbying, political or litigation work.

NRDC spokesman Jon Coifman said there has been no dilemma for his $65 million a year organization whose government grants were less than 1 percent of its budget. He said that is "far too small to have any effect one way or the other on NRDC's broader policy decisions." The council has sued the EPA 35 times the past two years, he said. "We don't feel that we've given up an inch of our integrity on this," Coifman said.

Other recipients made the same point, but acknowledged potential perception problems. "It's a legitimate question," said Ben McNitt, spokesman for the National Wildlife Federation, recipient of $292,620 from the EPA. He said government grants in 2004 accounted for less than 1 percent of the federation's annual revenues, and the group's suits and vigorous criticism of EPA policies on wetlands, mercury emissions and other issues prove it is not co-opted.

The Pesticide Action Network, which advocates for reduced pesticide use, received a $97,000 grant to develop online information on pesticide use and water pollution, co-director Steve Scholl-Buckwald said. "In every case we're asking the question: Is this money allowing us to do something we want to do and it or is it something someone else wants us to do?"

The EPA conducts about half of its work, or $4.3 billion in 2004, through grants, mostly to state, local and tribal governments. Nonprofit groups account for about 7 percent of the total. Besides the environmental groups, many recipients are agriculture and industry allies with keen interest in EPA regulatory policies, along with academic, civic and other groups that advocate on health, the elderly and consumer issues. Overall, the inspector general has cited grant oversight as an EPA weakness. In a September report, it said the EPA has improved but still needs to pursue greater accountability from project managers. Zachariasiewicz said that process is ongoing through new performance measurements.



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.


30 December 2005


By its own admission, Russia's electricity monopoly is the world's largest corporate producer of greenhouse gases, accounting - by itself - for nearly as much carbon dioxide as is emitted by Britain. From smokestacks across Russia's 11 time zones, the company, Unified Energy Systems, spews out 2 percent of all human-generated carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere. What will the utility get for being the world's largest greenhouse gas polluter? It is hoping for $1 billion.

It is one of the paradoxes ["paradoxes"? "idiocies" would be a franker term] of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that companies in Russia and other Eastern European countries, which are among the world's largest producers of greenhouse gases, are poised to earn hundreds of millions of dollars through trading their rights to release carbon dioxide into the air.

The Kyoto treaty, negotiated in 1997 and adopted by 36 industrial nations, established a mechanism aimed at finding the cheapest way to curb emissions of gases that contribute to global warming. The idea was that countries that produced more than their treaty-imposed limits could reach their goals by buying rights from producers in other countries where controlling output is easier and less expensive.

It is not clear how successful that approach will turn out to be. But because Russia's companies operate such outdated and inefficient equipment, they can easily and cheaply upgrade. As a result, the Kyoto process has already emerged as a potential source of earnings for the country's big energy and manufacturing companies, according to company executives and analysts. They have hired consultants, inventoried pollution sources to earn credits, and opened carbon-trading divisions. Unified Energy and Gazprom, Russia's natural gas monopoly, which together release more than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Russia, both have such trading units. "We're intensely interested in the carbon-trading market," [Something for nothing!] Andrey V. Gorkov, the head of the carbon-trading division at Unified Energy, said earlier this month in Montreal, where he was attending the United Nations climate conference. Member countries formally approved emissions-trading rules at the meeting.

The protocol requires the 36 industrial nations - with varying targets - to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases below their 1990 levels, in the five years from 2008 to 2012. For the European Union, the target is to reduce emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels. In an indication of how robust the demand for emissions credits may be, this year the European Union is 6 percent above its 1990 levels. The United States, which generates a fifth of greenhouse gases but has not joined the Kyoto Protocol, is 19 percent above its theoretical limits.

Russia, in contrast, suffered an economic collapse in the 1990's, and is 43 percent below its 1990 baseline in the Kyoto agreement. In fact, Russia does not expect to reach 1990's emissions levels until around 2020 - attesting to the severity of the economic setback from which it is still recovering. At the same time, Russian industry is generally wasteful with energy, so that a few cheap upgrades go a long way to reducing emissions. Thus, with both outdated equipment and a surplus of carbon emissions, Russian companies have become attractive to European, Canadian and Japanese companies that need emissions credits.

The pace is increasing at Mr. Gorkov's cluttered office in Unified Energy headquarters, a drab concrete building on the outskirts of Moscow. Analysts give credit to the company's forward-looking chief executive, Anatoly B. Chubais, for recognizing the potential for profits under Kyoto. Mr. Chubais, a former deputy prime minister, had helped negotiate the pact while in government.

Mr. Gorkov's 16 employees at the division, which is called the Energy Carbon Fund, scan the Internet for companies or countries in need of carbon dioxide emissions credits. They also study their own company to identify areas where they can reduce pollution. The company signed its first deal in June, with the environmental protection agency of Denmark. Denmark will pay an undisclosed sum for Unified Energy to replace coal-fired boilers at the Amurskaya power plant in Khabarovsk, near China in eastern Siberia, so that units will burn more efficient natural gas. It will also pay to upgrade an existing natural gas plant in the Orenburg region, in southern Russia near Kazakhstan, with a more efficient model. The conversion to gas at the Amurskaya plant will cut carbon dioxide emissions by a million tons a year, according to Unified Energy. The upgrading of the natural gas generator at the Mednogorskaya power plant in Orenburg will save 210,000 tons.

Under the deal, the Danish government will receive 1.2 million carbon credits (one carbon credit being equal to reducing one ton of carbon dioxide), to be applied toward meeting its emissions goal in 2012.

More here


Exactly the opposite "bomb" to the one the Greenies envisaged

The Russian economy is set to lose over $390 billion in the next two decades if the government, business and society do not take immediate action to reverse the demographic catastrophe already looming, a business lobby group said in a report Wednesday. Businesses are already struggling with a shortage in the work force as the country's falling birth rate and climbing mortality rate make the Russian population one of the world's most rapidly shrinking, Delovaya Rossia, a lobby group for small and medium-sized businesses, said. "Finding workers is getting more and more difficult for business," Boris Titov, chairman of Delovaya Rossia, said at a round table on demographic problems.

The Russian population has dropped by 10.4 million people over the last 14 years to 143.4 million, and the country is set to lose another 21.4 million by 2025. The economically active population will shrink by 3.6 million in the next five years alone if the demographic crisis is not tackled, the report said. The increasing economic and social marginalization of the male population and the widening gap in life expectancy between men and women risks turning Russia into a female-dominated country, the report said.

The lobby group slammed the government for its lack of a demographic policy, warning that the state could lose $390.8 billion in gross domestic product by 2025. Demographic policy "is not even part of the priority programs proclaimed by the state," Titov said.

More here

More guesswork: "Climate change could thaw the top 11 feet of permafrost in most areas of the Northern Hemisphere by 2100, altering ecosystems across Alaska, Canada and Russia, according to a federal study [and pigs might fly]. Using supercomputers in the United States and Japan, the study calculated how frozen soil would interact with air temperatures, snow, sea ice changes and other processes. The most extreme scenario involved the melting of the top 11 feet of permafrost, or earth that remains frozen year-round. 'If that much near-surface permafrost thaws, it could release considerable amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and that could amplify global warming,' said lead author David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 'We could be underestimating the rate of global temperature increase.'"


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 December 2005


From "The Times" of December 28th

Traffic chaos is expected today as millions of people struggle back to work in treacherous road conditions after the Christmas break. With many areas of the South East and Eastern England blanketed in up to 15cm (6in) of snow, heavy snowfalls are forecast again today and tomorrow. Motorists were warned by police not to travel “unless absolutely necessary” as strong northeasterly winds continue to bring in snow and icy conditions from Eastern Europe and western Russia....

Heavy snow across the South East closed main roads into Dover last night. The A20 and the A2 were among routes into the town closed after “heavy snow flurries”. The M20 remained open, but was down to one lane in places and a 50mph speed limit was imposed. Eurotunnel travellers who braved the roads to reach the terminal at Folkestone were frustrated when services were suspended at 6.45pm. A spokesman said snow-covered loading ramps had become too dangerous for cars to board the waiting trains. “It is absolute chaos,” said Graham Morse, 65, who was delayed for five hours on his way home to Switzerland. “There is no information and thousands of people are here and just don’t know what to do. There are just a couple of inches of snow outside and everything has ground to a halt, even though everyone knew this snow was on its way.”

Snowploughs were being brought from France through the tunnel to help the clearing effort and services were restored at 8pm, although the backlog of passengers was likely to take all night to clear. Hundreds of gritters and snowploughs were working round the clock to clear motorways and major roads, but drivers were being urged to be cautious in the conditions, which are expected to last until Friday. A Highways Agency spokesman said: “Drivers are advised to keep checking the forecast before they set out and during their journey. If conditions deteriorate, then delay your journey if you can until the weather improves.”

Motorists in the South East face an additional difficulty finding fuel as many petrol stations have run dry because of the fire at Buncefield oil terminal in Hertfordshire, which has disrupted supplies. Across East Anglia and Cambridgeshire, there were no reports of major accidents as many people stayed off the roads and council gritting lorries managed to keep routes passable.


The RAC advises motorists to stick to major routes and to inform someone of departure time, route, destination and estimated time of arrival

An ice scraper, de-icer, a torch, a first-aid kit, jump leads, a tow rope, a spade and a fully charged mobile phone are also essential

Take some high energy food, such as chocolate or boiled sweets, and a flask of soup

Take a blanket, waterproof clothing and sensible footwear

Do as I say, not as I do: Europe sets poor example on Kyoto

After repeatedly posing as global exemplars in the fight against global warming, the European Union's member-states need to take a long, hard look at the cold figures. According to a new study, 10 of the EU's 15 signatories to the Kyoto agreement are on course to miss their target to reduce greenhouse gases by five per cent of their 1990 figure by 2008-2012. Indeed, the Institute of Public Policy Research says that Britain is almost alone in Europe in making progress towards fulfilling its Kyoto commitments.

Indeed, looking at the wider world, Britain's performance – achieved largely through the contraction of the coal industry – stands out even more. Canada, for example, which played host to a major international climate-change conference in Montreal earlier this month, says it remains fully committed to its Kyoto obligations. However, by the end of 2003, its emissions were up 24.2 per cent on 1990 levels.

Meanwhile, since 2001, a period in which greenhouse-gas emissions across the EU have increased, those from the United States have fallen by almost one per cent. America may still be one of the world's worst polluters, but it is increasingly clear that those who seek to demonise Washington as the saboteur of Kyoto are hardly leading by example. Yet there has been as much hot air emitted by these countries' politicians, in their exhortations to the world to take action, as by their pollution-belching industries.

Kyoto was never meant to be an excuse for the self-righteous among nations to preen themselves on the global stage while doing nothing concrete to meet their own grandiose pledges. Yet, as the date nears by which action is supposed to have been taken, it is increasingly clear that this is the case. If Europe and Canada cannot back up their fine words with deeds, how can they ever hope to persuade the US of the worthiness of Kyoto? More to the point, how can they have any impact on China and the rapidly industrialising nations of Asia, whose projected emissions levels are likely to make the sacrifices made by countries such as Britain completely irrelevant?


Ditch Kyoto

Do you think manmade global warming threatens the planet? Or it's little more than an environmentalist sham? Either way it's time to realize the celebrated Kyoto Protocol -- long touted by the greens as essential to preventing ecological disaster -- isn't just dying, it's decomposing. It's time for something new.

The Kyoto Protocol was a 1997 pact to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, or otherwise reduce these gases in the atmosphere. Environmentalists and many scientists say gas-induced warming is already causing a cornucopia of ills including -- most recently -- polar bears drowning because of melting Arctic ice. More than 150 nations have now ratified the treaty, but the United States became a pariah for refusing to do so as did President Bush by abandoning it altogether.

Turns out, though, there's little distinction between those who ratified and those who didn't. Of the original 15 European Union ratifiers of Kyoto, at best four are on course to meet the treaty's target of an 8 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2008-2012 from the 1990 base-year level. "The truth is, no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem," British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted in September.

But this becomes less disappointing once you learn Kyoto's dirty little secret. Even supporters concede that if all countries complied the warming prevented by 2100 would be at most 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, except that 0.2 degrees is unmeasurable. Certainly it won't save a single polar bear. Kyoto's real purpose was to lead to stricter standards later, such as at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal this month. But conferees were forced to go home with little more than an agreement to negotiate some more, for essentially the reason Mr. Blair gave. It's silly to plan a Mars landing when your rocket can't get off the launching pad.

Of course, Europe could continue setting goals and failing to meet them; but the European Union is becoming irrelevant anyway. "By 2010, the net reduction in global emissions from Europe meeting the Kyoto Protocol will be only 0.1 percent," said Margo Thorning, senior vice president for the free-market American Council for Capital Formation, in recent congressional testimony. That's "because all the growth is coming in places like India, China and Brazil."

And bizarrely, while these countries have ratified the treaty they are exempt from its requirements because until fairly recently they weren't major greenhouse gas producers. "We need to focus on things like the [Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate], which are driven by long-term strategies to reduce emissions and boost growth," says Ms. Thorning. This is a U.S.-signed pact allowing participants to set goals for reducing emissions individually, but with no enforcement mechanism.

Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and a Clinton administration climate negotiator, says it can't work. "If you really want results, you have to do something that's mandatory," she told reporters. Right. That's why those 11 EU nations are falling out of compliance. That's also why Kyoto signatory Canada produces 24 percent more carbon dioxide than in 1990 while the U.S. produces only 13 percent more. None of this prevented Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin from emitting a noxious gaseous emission accusing his southern neighbor of lacking "a global conscience." Ultimately Kyoto has no more "teeth" than any voluntary agreement -- yet another explanation for why it's violated willy-nilly. "It is not that we should take these targets too literally,"as Italy's economic minister put it.

So if nations refuse to agree to real sanctions, we must offer them constructive approaches that emphasize maximum gain with minimum pain. That's the purpose of the first meeting of the Asia Pacific Partnership in January, at which innovation and technology will take center stage rather than top-down governmental controls. The conference should call for ramped-up production of nuclear power plants that produce no air emissions except steam. It will also probably advocate carbon sequestration, various artificial and natural processes for removing carbon from the biosphere.

But Kyoto? Ah, we hardly knew ye. Not that the effort's been a total waste. It's taught us massive international undertakings require just a bit more than making sanctimonious speeches and signing a sheet of paper.



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 December 2005

God and Man in the Environmental Debate

I recently received a letter from a leading botanist at a prominent scientific institution. The letter was mostly agreeable and even complimentary. But near the end, when humanity became the subject, its tone darkened. The scientist said he disagreed with me that human beings were part of the plan, as it were. On the contrary, he complained about "the devastation humans are currently imposing upon our planet":

Still, adding over seventy million new humans to the planet each year, the future looks pretty bleak to me. Surely, the Black Death was one of the best things that ever happened to Europe: elevating the worth of human labor, reducing environmental degradation, and, rather promptly, producing the Renaissance. From where I sit, Planet Earth could use another major human pandemic, and pronto!

Based on his public writings, I would expect this scientist to be personable and humane. Nevertheless, in his private correspondence, he casually wishes for the deaths of many millions of his fellow human beings. If he were merely offering an eccentric, private opinion, I wouldn't be writing about it. Unfortunately, his desire is all too common among some self-described "environmentalists." Our wellbeing, on this view, doesn't really enter into the calculation. We are, at best, an accident of cosmic history, and at worst, despoilers and destroyers. Adding more humans to the planet, then, is as bad as adding more parasites to an already ailing host.

Again, this would be merely academic, except that such ideas have real world consequences. Every environmental policy implemented by government authority, for instance, stems from someone's views about the nature of man and man's place in nature. If those views are anti-human, the policy probably will be anti-human as well. Consider the ban on DDT in the 1970s. The ban, which in hindsight we know was misguided, has resulted in the deaths of more than a million people a year. The vast majority of these deaths have been among the poor in developing countries.

Because environmental policies perpetuate certain notions about the human person, and because these notions have real world consequences, Christians have little choice but to engage the debate over the environment. In particular, we should strongly challenge the misanthropic strain in the modern environmental movement. Human beings aren't an accident. We are an intended part of God's good creation. And while God called everything he created "good," he only called human beings, whom He created in his own image, "very good."

That doesn't mean God has given us a free pass to do whatever we want. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that the Earth is the Lord's, and we are its stewards. We have a delegated responsibility over the Earth, for which we will be held accountable. And Scripture is hardly Pollyannaish about fallen humanity's destructive tendencies. So we should not be surprised to find that we sometimes abuse our stewardship over nature.

These truths provide a solid theological foundation for addressing environmental concerns while avoiding an anti-human bias. Unfortunately, these truths do not figure prominently in the contemporary debate. In fact, it's more fashionable to argue-incorrectly-that the Judeo-Christian tradition is the problem, not the solution. Even some Christians who have entered the fray have not been careful to separate the empirical evidence from the doubtful assumptions.

An organization called the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance has been launched to help Jews and Christians develop a positive environmental ethic that avoids such pitfalls. Announced this fall at a press conference at the Ugandan embassy in Washington D.C., the ISA is a coalition of individuals and institutions-including the Acton Institute-who share an interest in environmental stewardship. The ISA will focus on issues such as global warming, population, poverty, food, energy, clean water, endangered species, and habitats.

The ISA draws its inspiration from the Cornwall Declaration, published by the Acton Institute in 2000. As theologian Calvin Beisner explains, the Cornwall Declaration describes human beings not merely as consumers and polluters but also as producers and stewards. It challenges the popular assumption that "nature knows best," or that "the earth, untouched by human hands is the ideal." And it calls for thoughtful people to distinguish environmental concerns that "are well founded and serious," from others that "are without foundation or greatly exaggerated." In other words, it calls for a reasoned, humane environmental ethic. At a time when mistaken policies based on anti-human assumptions can lead to the deaths of millions of people, such an ethic cannot come soon enough.



In 1986, Gale Norton was 32 and working for the secretary of the interior on matters pertaining to the proposal to open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- area 1002 -- to drilling for oil and natural gas, a proposal that then had already been a bone of contention for several years. Today Norton is the secretary of the interior and is working on opening ANWR. But this interminable argument actually could end soon with Congress authorizing drilling. That would be good for energy policy and excellent for the nation's governance.

Area 1002 is 1.5 million of ANWR's 19 million acres. In 1980, a Democratic-controlled Congress at the behest of President Carter set area 1002 aside for possible energy exploration. Since then, although there are active oil and gas wells in at least 36 U.S. wildlife refuges, stopping drilling in ANWR has become sacramental for environmentalists who speak about it the way Wordsworth wrote about the Lake Country.

Few opponents of energy development in what they call ``pristine'' ANWR have visited it. Those who have and think it is ``pristine'' must have visited during the 56 days a year when it is without sunlight. They missed the roads, stores, houses, military installations, airstrip and school. They did not miss seeing the trees in area 1002. There are no trees.

Opponents worry that the caribou will be disconsolate about, and their reproduction disrupted by, this intrusion by man. The same was said 30 years ago by opponents of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that brings heated oil south from Prudhoe Bay. Since the oil began flowing, the caribou have increased from 5,000 to 31,000. Perhaps the pipeline's heat makes them amorous.

Ice roads and helicopter pads, which will melt each spring, will minimize man's footprint, which will be on a 2,000-acre plot about one-fifth the size of Washington's Dulles Airport. Nevertheless, opponents say the environmental cost is too high for what the ineffable John Kerry calls ``a few drops of oil.'' Some drops. The estimated 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- such estimates frequently underestimate actual yields -- could supply all the oil needs of Kerry's Massachusetts for 75 years.

Flowing at 1 million barrels a day -- equal to 20 percent of today's domestic oil production -- ANWR oil would almost equal America's daily imports from Saudi Arabia. And it would equal the supply loss that Katrina temporarily caused, and that caused so much histrionic distress among consumers. Lee Raymond, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, says that if the major oil companies decided that 10 billion barrels were an amount too small to justify exploration and development projects, many current and future projects around the world would be abandoned.

But for many opponents of drilling in ANWR, the debate is only secondarily about energy and the environment. Rather, it is a disguised debate about elemental political matters. For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society's politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end.

The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society's balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America -- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. This is done in the name of equality. People are to be conscripted into one large cohort, everyone equal (although not equal in status or power to the governing class) in their status as wards of a self-aggrandizing government. Government says the constant enlargement of its supervising power is necessary for the equitable or efficient allocation of scarce resources.

Therefore, one of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern -- the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.

A quarter of a century of this tactic applied to ANWR is about 24 years too many. If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002, there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism.


Global Warming Lies

Another demonstration that "Nature" has become a propaganda rag

The best way to garner headlines in the global warming game is to generate scary scenarios. While many people view climate change as some esoteric concern of environmentalists, they still raise their eyebrows when they hear a phrase like "global warming deaths." It's little surprise then that a recent article in Nature magazine has caught so much attention. Written by Jonathan Patz, an associate professor of environmental studies and population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin, and three of his colleagues, it is a selective culling of the scientific literature -- some recent, some not -- on climate change and possible health impacts across the planet. The article's claim: global warming kills 150,000 people each year.

Patz begins with the 2003 heat wave in Europe. First, it is not possible that any heat wave was caused by global warming, despite some climate modeling efforts that, according to Patz, demonstrates "a causal link." It is impossible, and in fact is irresponsible, for any climatologist to claim that any given weather event could not have happened if not for increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases. Yes, 2003 was a very warm summer in Europe, but the fact that similar conditions occurred there in the very distant past pretty much debunks the "global warming" hypothesis.

The more relevant question is why so many Europeans died in August 2003. Here culture conspires with climate. The month-long August vacation is a cherished European tradition. It's not unusual then for many countries to effectively shut down while the epicenter of the population shifts southward to Mediterranean beaches. This includes a reduction in medical staffing, less oversight of one's elderly parents, etc. The French government caught flak for the high death toll, and rightly so. Undoubtedly the same weather conditions in July would have produced substantially fewer deaths. But the cultural factor is never mentioned in Patz's global warming hook.

The "theory" that leads to such sloppy thinking about heat waves is that climate will be more variable with global warming. While the jury is still out on this, there is plenty of evidence in the United States that the opposite is true. In an extensive series of studies by Indiana University's Scott Robeson, he found that in U.S. cities where warming had taken place, most of the cities exhibited less temperature variability, not more. Regrettably, these and other key papers were not part of Patz' review.

Patz continues by talking about impacts that urban "heat islands" -- the heat trapping effects of buildings and paved surfaces combined with less vegetation -- result in most large cities being significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside. He is correct. In fact, the urbanization effect exceeds the background rate of global warming significantly, in some cases by an order of magnitude or more. If this is a problem, however, we should expect people living in cities to be dying in droves from heat exposure.

The graph below shows the aggregate heat-related death rate toll for 28 of the largest U.S. cities from 1964-1998. There is a statistically significant decline in heat-related mortality over the period. During the same time, temperature increased by an average of almost 1øC, partly and probably mostly, due to heat island effects. So why aren't more people, instead of less people, dying from heat exposure, as postulated by Patz?

It's simple. People, by and large, are not stupid. If it's too hot, they go into air conditioning. If it's too cold, they turn up the heat, go into the sun, put on a jacket, etc. The fact that Phoenix has a thriving population in a valley that is essentially inhospitable to human life speaks volumes for the adaptability of humans to overcome the limitation imposed by nature. In fact, most elderly people move to Phoenix or Miami thinking they might prolong their lives by living away from harsh winter weather -- not so they could die sooner. But global warming scaremongers depend upon the "stupid people" hypothesis to generate high mortality figures.

Later in the review, the authors discuss the potential health impacts of El Nino across the globe: epidemics of malaria and Rift Valley fever, Dengue hemorrhagic fever in Thailand, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the Desert Southwest, waterborne diseases in Peru, cholera in Bangladesh, etc. One teensy problem: El Nino is not related to global warming. The author admits this (sort of). He writes, "Although it is not clear whether and how [El Ni¤o] dynamics will change in a warmer world, regions that are currently strongly affected by ENSO [another name for El Nino].could experience heightened risks if ENSO variability, or the strength of events intensifies." Sure. An equally likely scenario is that the impact of all of these diseases will be reduced if global warming generates fewer and weaker El Ninos. But this was not discussed. It is not scientifically rigorous to write a paper about global warming impacts and to spend pages talking about impacts from something that is unrelated to global warming.

Finally, Patz refers to a three-year old World Health Organization study, suggesting that climate changes that have occurred in the last 30 years could have caused 150,000 deaths per year worldwide. However, rough calculations using current global population and mortality rate estimates show that "global warming" is responsible for 0.2 percent of all deaths. This is a remarkably small number based upon WHO estimates that are undoubtedly an exaggeration in the first place. Another way to look at this is that during the last century, primarily as a result of technologies developed in a world powered by fossil fuels (the emissions from burning them are the presumed culprit behind the 150,000 annual deaths), average human expectancy in the developed democracies roughly doubled. Posit that two billion people lived in these areas in the 20th century, doubling their life expectancy is the equivalent of saving a billion lives. While one could quibble about the specifics, it is clear that fossil fuels have been responsible for longer lives, not shorter ones.

The most interesting aspect of the Nature article is that Patz, whose primary expertise is in vector-borne diseases like malaria, has the least confidence about the global warming-malaria link. His discussions and review of the vector-borne disease literature is fairly balanced and contains many of the key caveats. Unfortunately, this balanced tone does not permeate most of the report.

There is no doubt that climate change will have some impacts, both positive and negative, on global health. One could just as easily write a review about how a warming planet is producing myriad health benefits. It would not be published in Nature magazine, however, and rightly so, because it would not represent a fair, accurate, and thorough overview of the scientific literature. But, after reading the Patz review, it's clear that this standard of objectivity is selectively applied.



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 December 2005


A comment from Sydney, Australia by Michael Duffy. Greenies love to criticise others for the indirect negative effects on the environment from car pollution etc., but don't bikes in high traffic areas also have an indirect effect in terms of congestion and indeed smog?

It's time to get bikes off our roads. As a mainstream form of transport, the bicycle has proved itself the equivalent of communism: a lovely idea that failed dismally in practice. Bikes are dangerous to ride and slow traffic, which creates more pollution. For the good of all of us, we need to ban the bike.

When Government started to encourage bike riding a few decades ago, it was like the balmy days after the Russian Revolution: the future looked golden. It was hoped that a significant proportion of all trips made in Sydney would soon be by bike. Where it all went wrong was that almost no one showed any enthusiasm to get on their bikes. Today, fewer than 1 per cent of all trips in Sydney are made by bike. The bike activists blame this on the paucity of bike lanes and tracks, but this is like Marxists excusing the failure of communism in the Soviet Union by blaming the nature of its regime. The sad truth is that in both cases a vanguard tried to impose a new form of behaviour on the populace and was rejected. The only difference is that the bike lobby hasn't accepted this.

Every week I travel 10 kilometres down a crowded, four-lane, inner-city road. Whenever it contains bikes, the traffic is frequently forced to slow to a crawl as drivers wait for a chance to pass them. This increases the pollution given off by the cars, as well as raising tempers all round. Many bike riders hog the centre of their lane, legally and perhaps wisely, but also slip between traffic when it stops. Where there are traffic lights, this means you can find yourself grinding along behind the same bike several times in the space of a journey. So thousands of cars are inconvenienced by two or three bikes, and the amount of greenhouse gas produced increases.

Bike riders tend to be unhappy and resentful people. They relish telling stories of narrow escapes from death at the hands of stupid car drivers. While glad the individuals involved survived, one has to wonder why they persist. We all know that significant proportions of the population are depressed, tense, on a vast range of attention-limiting prescription and non-prescription drugs, or like using their mobile phones while driving. For bike riders to launch into city traffic expecting everyone else to respond instantaneously to their unexpected appearance in the same lane, or when they flash through red lights at intersections, suggests a desire for self-harm. As does their preparedness to engage in sustained exercise where they breathe in large quantities of monoxide, with health consequences that can only be guessed at.

Possibly their thinking has been adversely affected by the smog. Consider some of the proposals the lobby group Bicycle NSW made at the last state election. These included "affirmative action" such as forcing people to stop driving by introducing parking restrictions and imposing a general urban speed limit of 50kmh for all of Sydney. Considering the tiny number of cyclists who would benefit from such a change, you wonder if the bike lobby is suffering from delusions of grandeur.

Given the threat bike riders pose to themselves and others, the big question is whether it is right to encourage them. Unfortunately, bike riding is one of those activities that has acquired an aura of virtue. Supporting it (with other people's money) is an easy way of demonstrating your moral stature. The new Westlink M7 has a 40-kilometre cycleway stretching from Prestons to Baulkham Hills. This was recommended in the tollway's environmental impact statement on the sole grounds (here quoting from the one-volume summary) that it "would improve cycling opportunities in the region". Now, almost no one rides bikes on roads in the western suburbs. According to a Westlink spokesman, there are not even any estimated usage figures for the new bike path. Very wise, that - but it makes you wonder just why building an unwanted 40-kilometre strip of concrete to be lit at night by coal-powered electricity should be considered environmentally beneficial. The Westlink spokesman refused to disclose how much the cycleway had added to the cost of the project - or to the toll that will be charged to road users.

Fortunately the State Government is less enthusiastic about spending its money on bike infrastructure and has recently halved such expenditure. But more needs to be done. A public campaign encouraging people not to ride bikes in traffic would be a responsible start.

More here


Sir Peter Crane, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, said the urban view of the natural world was often at odds with the issues facing people living in rural areas. Sir Peter made his comments in a speech to delegates at the International Media and Environment Summit (Imes) in Kuching, Malaysia. "Forests in and around cities are disproportionately important," he said. "They colour the view that city dwellers have on the natural world as more people live in cities, they set the agenda."

This was particularly evident in the US, he said, where states in the mid-West are currently suffering from what he termed a "plague of deer". Culling the deer was unpalatable to urban voters so the animals had been allowed to expand beyond their natural populations, Sir Peter argued. "Many of the ecological processes that sustained forests in the past... no longer function at all." He gave one example as being forest fires in North America that are routinely extinguished, despite being natural events that are needed to create new growth.

Vijay Vaitheeswaran, environment correspondent for the Economist magazine, suggested it may be possible that people moving to cities could help the situation by taking pressure off important rural ecosystems.

However, Philip Milne, a New Zealand lawyer specialising in the environment, vigorously attacked urban-based people having a say in the management of the environment and rural life. He said an important opportunity to study a model of how sustainable logging could work had been lost due to "one of the rare examples where the green point of view was more sexy than the scientists' view." A timber firm had proposed selective logging of beech trees on the west coast of New Zealand. But the plan was stopped by Prime Minister Helen Clark in 1998 after her centre-left coalition - which included the Green Party - came to power. Mr Milne said this was partially because people who had no knowledge of the west coast forests had become "emotionally attached to old trees." "Ten years of research into sustainable logging went down the river," he said.

The plan had included proposals to "pour millions" into fighting the invasive pest of Australian possums, which he described as "one of the huge threats" to the country's forests. Because the plan had failed, the beech forests were now controlled by the New Zealand Forestry Commission, which Mr Milne argued could only afford to control possums in the popular eco-tourism areas.

This view was backed by Alan Bernstein, the co-founder of the Sustainable Forestry Management company, who said that sometimes environmentalists "who have never seen the forests push things too far." However, the claim that scientists were in opposition to the green point of view was contradicted by Helen Clark herself, who has gone on record as saying scientific opinion was very divided at the time.


A reader comments: "City people love nature, they just don't want to live there. ...I remember hearing an interview with botanist David Bellamy who pointed out that the green agenda was essentially to depopulate the bush and turn it into national parks but this would not do the actual ecosystem much good. In order to protect Australia's vast land area from complete takeover by feral plants and animals, he said you really needed to have people on the land with economically viable businesses who cared about their landscape, which he believed most bushies did (otherwise they would adopt an easier life in the city). No society could ever afford to pay an army of rangers large enough to protect the 'pure' ecosystem of greenie myth"


"Environmental effectiveness and minimum cost are two core building blocks for any long term modern climate policy," declared Olivia Hartridge, a representative from the Environmental Directorate of the European Commission. She was speaking on a panel on the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) at the United Nations' Climate Change conference in Montreal. The problem is that it is not at all clear the EU ETS fulfills either goal.

The EU launched its new carbon dioxide trading scheme this past January as a way to begin to meet its commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent below what the EU emitted in 1990. The idea is to keep the earth's climate cool by cutting fossil fuel emissions that tend to warm the atmosphere. The EU ETS applies to 11,500 facilities that produce or use 20 megawatts of power, including electric power generation plants, refineries, metal foundries, and cement manufacturers. These facilities emit about 45 percent of the CO2 produced in Europe.

First, let's consider environmental effectiveness. The ETS has allocated 2.2 billion allowances to emit CO2 among the 11,500 facilities it covers. Speaking on the same panel, Abyd Karmali, an energy consultant with ICF Consulting, estimated that the allocations have lowered emissions by perhaps 50 million tons compared with what they would otherwise have been in a business-as-usual scenario. Even if all the cuts mandated by the Kyoto Protocol were achieved -- which Karmali estimates to be equal to a cut of 700 million tons of CO2 emitted per year -- they would spare the earth a negligible 0.02 to 0.28 degrees of warming by 2050. Reducing CO2 emissions by a mere 50 million tons clearly has no discernible impact whatsoever on the earth's climate.

And what about the core building block of minimum costs? Before CO2 trading began, models devised by consultants projected that the price of a ton of carbon would be under 10 Euros. Last January, the price for a metric ton of CO2 opened at around 5 to 7 Euros. However, the price rose steeply to nearly 30 Euros by September before settling back at around 22 Euros currently. Meanwhile European wholesale electricity prices have soared, rising from about 28 Euros per megawatt hour (mwh) to over 40 Euros per mwh during the past year.

Admittedly, a good bit of the increase is the result of the recent run up in natural gas and oil prices. But the high prices for CO2 allowances are also responsible for some of the increase. In order to meet their Kyoto Protocol commitments, Karmali estimates that European Union member states will have to cut their carbon emissions by 250 million metric tons per year between 2008 and 2012. This would clearly add even more upward pressure on the price of CO2 emissions allowances. Ultimately, Europe's experience with a CO2 market is sending the world a signal about just how hard and costly it will be to cut greenhouse gas emissions.



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 December 2005

Capitalism and Environmentalism

Political outlooks rarely get put into practice completely, without many compromises made in their principles. Even Soviet style socialism had a lot of free market elements interspersed with it when nearly 40% of farming was done on the black market. And there is no such thing as capitalism in America or anywhere else, not full blown, no-holds-barred laissez-faire capitalism.

Still these political visions can be test by way of thought experiments and some careful history, to see which would be best to try to achieve in practice. And one of the major challenges put before champions of a fully free, capitalist political economy comes from those worried about environmental degradation.

Often the worry is put in terms of "What about all the negative externalities that capitalism would create?" Which means, what about such things as pollution of the air mass, water ways, and so forth. The idea that's put forth in criticism of capitalism is that if we had full scale private property rights respected and protected, people could do whatever they wanted with what belongs to them and this would involve dumping all kinds of harmful stuff around their property-thus, negative externalities.

But the picture is utterly misconceived. Precisely because private property rights would have to be respected and would gain full, uncompromising legal protection, negative or harmful externalities would be prohibited. (Of course, if I dump a bunch of dollar bills on your property, you probably will not protest a lot, so positive externalities would probably not be widely criticized.) The widespread respect for private property implies that what is mine is under my jurisdiction but beyond my borders it is those who are in charge of those realms who get to call the shots. And no one at all gets to have the authority to invade other people's property.

Bringing this off in practice has its challenges of course-exactly where does one's property end, say, looking upward or on a beach front? Does property include ideas, such as a novel or computer software or musical arrangement? And what about images, such as photographs and paintings? These and similar issues would need to be hashed out in theory, as they arise, and sometimes even in the courts-where they would, supposedly, be debated in a civilized, orderly fashion and a sensible resolution-or as close to it as humanly possible-reached and then implemented.

Still, the idea of a system of political economy in which the institution of private property is of primary significance would by no means encourage environmental degradation, waste, lack of conservation and so forth, quite the opposite. As Aristotle already knew, when people need to heed their own stuff, they are more careful than when they deal with commonly owned resources. As he put the point, "That all persons call the same thing mine in the sense in which each does so may be a fine thing, but it is impracticable; or if the words are taken in the other sense, such a unity in no way conduces to harmony. And there is another objection to the proposal. For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few." (Politics, 1262a30-37). The ancient historian Thucydides also observed that "[People] devote a very small fraction of the time to the consideration of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of their own objects. Meanwhile, each fancies that no harm will come to his neglect, that it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays." (The History of the Peloponnesian War, bk. I, sec. 141).

And, of course, history bears out these reflections-near-enough-to-capitalist societies are cleaner, preserve and conserve resources more vigilantly than do near-enough-to-socialist ones where-like in the old USSR and even contemporary China-pollution and waste have been immense. So both on the basis of history and careful reflection, it makes much better sense of trust a free market, private property rights based political economy when it comes to environmental values than those that let the state manage it all


Why I Am Not an Environmentalist

A bit of insight from the Left:

Growing up in East Los Angeles as the son of Guatemalan immigrants, the everyday challenges faced by the people of my neighborhood seemed far removed from the American dream: the lack of good housing and jobs, money for groceries, failing schools and all-too-common police brutality. If you had asked us, we would have told you we were concerned about the days when the air pollution was especially thick, or when the smells coming from the incinerator directly south of our housing complex were particularly bad.

We would have told you we were concerned, but that these were not the greatest challenges facing us. That's not to say they were not important problems, but any agenda that did not speak to our economic and social needs seemed irrelevant.

For communities like mine, environmentalism has seemed to be about preserving places most of us will never see. Even when environmentalism has focused on problems that affect urban communities, such as air pollution or lead poisoning, it has pointedly avoided addressing our desperate need for economic development. Environmentalists do not talk about the importance of a living wage or affordable housing because, we are told, those are not environmental problems. Foundations feed this problem by failing to recognize minorities and urban city residents as prominent stakeholders in the environmental arena.

While many leaders of the environmental movement have a deep and abiding interest in social and economic equity, that concern is largely absent from their work because it is "not their job." The same mistake is made by every other progressive movement, including the civil-rights movement. We have become trapped in narrow categorical definitions of ourselves rather than a comprehensive understanding of what values we stand for in the world.

I experienced firsthand these narrow definitions when, in the late 1990s, my organization tried to pass legislation to make it easier to revitalize "brownfields" -- the thousands of idle and polluted lots in inner cities. Our legislation would have encouraged the development of brownfields by clarifying clean-up standards so that developers would know what was required of them, and then limiting liability for current owners when environmental pollution had occurred under previous owners. It also would have given cities and counties more power to go after owners of abandoned and potentially polluted inner-city sites.

Our legislation should have been an important priority for environmentalists because developing brownfields would take pressure off expanding construction to California's rapidly dwindling green spaces, farmlands and wilderness. And yet the Sierra Club opposed the bill, claiming that the legislation's flexibility could be abused by unscrupulous developers. We felt there were adequate safeguards, and that together, civil-rights and environmental groups would be able to protect inner-city residents from new risks while accelerating economic development.

We eventually compromised on a watered-down version of the bill that was signed into law. But because the new standards remained so inflexible, we haven't seen the kind of economic redevelopment of urban brownfields that low- income and mostly communities of color desperately need. Contaminated urban sites remain contaminated, economic development and affordable housing in the inner city hasn't occurred, and California's green spaces continue to be developed. The brownfields bill failed because we have failed to construct a vision for community and economic development that speaks to our shared aspirations -- from having more urban parks for kids to play in to having jobs that pay a livable wage to protecting California's natural beauty. Civil- rights groups, economic development advocates and environmentalists today find themselves divided by technical policy when we should be united by a common vision.

After last November's election, an essay called "The Death of Environmentalism" ignited a wide-ranging debate within the entire nonprofit community. Its East Bay authors, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, accused the environmental movement of failing to offer a compelling vision for America. Instead, they said, environmentalists give "I Have a Nightmare" speeches and offer technical proposals far removed from the lives of ordinary Americans.

Their essay was important not only for those of us who care about the environment, but also for those who care about any social progress. Consider this quote: "The environmental movement's incuriosity about the interests of potential allies depends on it never challenging the most basic assumptions about what does and does not get counted as environmental. Because we define environmental problems so narrowly, environmental leaders come up with very narrow solutions."

Remove the word "environmental" from the sentence and replace it with "civil rights," "women's rights," "environmental justice" or "social justice" and it makes just as much sense. For too long, progressives have created their identities according to the very specific problems we hope to solve. While I don't consider myself an environmentalist, I do care about many of the things that environmentalists work to protect and preserve. I care more deeply, however, about creating good jobs and affordable housing for my community. This means that the environmental or post-environmental movement that will speak to my community must first and foremost promise economic development and better quality of life.

While many feel sadness and anger that environmentalism is dead, I am optimistic that in dying, environmentalism might give birth to a new politics that offers a better future. Those environmentalists who are ready to be reborn will find many new allies like me ready to join them in building a new and more expansive movement on the other side.


Editorial from The Calgary Sun

Heads I win, tails you lose. That was a line a childhood friend of mine used on me a couple of times when I was about six or seven years old before I clued in to how it was a no-win scenario for me and a win-win for her.

I tried it on one of my eight-year-old twin boys more than a year ago and he figured it out within about 10 seconds. Somehow, much of the adult world has fallen for the ruse being used by so-called environmentalists with regard to the global warming debate.

During the 10-day United Nations Climate Change Conference that wrapped up on Friday in Montreal, a Greenpeace staffer said something so idiotic and implausible that not one of the 10,000 delegates called him on.

"Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with," said Steven Guilbeault, the director of the Greenpeace movement for Quebec.

So now that colder means warmer basically, anything goes. These folks can't lose their argument because they've covered all scenarios. If an ice age cometh -- blame global warming. If a glaciers melt, global warming is the cause. If droughts akin to the ones mentioned in the Bible happen, blame global warming.

The Dec. 3 Canadian Press story that quoted Guilbeault started with this ironic lead: "Tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures ... to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming" while chanting "it's hot in here," to the beat of drummers.

The quote by the Greenpeace director reminded me of a quote I read that was sent to me by Benny Peiser, a British university researcher and the editor of CCNet, a scholarly electronic newsletter on the pseudo-science behind global warming.

"By invoking the possibility of 'global warming causing an ice age,' the industry are now in the position of being able to point to each and every weather event, whether hot or cold, as being evidence of global warming," wrote John Daly, a renowned global warming skeptic, in the summer of 2004 just months before he died.

"Heads we win, tails you lose. It has become a closed logical system where the theory is now impervious to any external evidence that may contradict it."

Besides the fact that a growing number of the world's top climatologists disagree with the premise that human activity is the primary cause -- or even a significant cause -- of global warming, the science was not debated at all at the 11th annual UN gab fest that contributes enormous amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere owing to all of the jetting about done by the delegates.

Many of them remained warm in four-star hotels for the duration of the conference, thanks exclusively to fossil fuels.

Speaking of fossil fuels -- you know the stuff Alberta has plenty of and that came from the corpses of dinosaurs -- well, consider this.

Dinosaurs are cold blooded, oversized reptiles. Back in the time of the dinosaurs, Alberta had a tropical climate. Who knew SUVs existed so long ago?

The international treaty -- the Kyoto protocol -- which former Prime Minister Jean Chretien committed Canada to in 1997 and which came into effect in February 2005, requires Canada to reduce GHG emissions to six percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Paul Martin lambasted the United States for not having a "global conscience" by not signing onto the Kyoto protocol, which ticked off the Americans, but undoubtedly helped Martin in the polls by pandering to Canadians' inferiority complex with our biggest trading partner.

The only problem is, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change report titled: Key GHG Data, Canada's GHG emissions have gone up 24% over 1990 levels -- a whopping 30% above target. At the same time, U.S. emissions have increased at half the rate -- by just 13%, by using their made in the U.S. program to reduce emissions.

According to the feds' so-called plan to reduce emissions, called Moving Forward on Climate Change, our emissions in 1990 were 596 megatonnes. (A megatonne is one million tonnes.) That means we have to reduce our emissions to 560 megatonnes.

The feds claim that their plan could reduce emissions by 270 megatonnes annually by 2012. Martin claimed last Wednesday that "we're going to hit our Kyoto targets." But consider these numbers from Environment Canada. In 2002, Canada's entire manufacturing sector spewed out 62.9 megatonnes.

Then comes the transportation sector, which includes all those planes, trains and automobiles, pipelines and Paul Martin's tax-exempt Canada Steamship Lines freighters. Ground, park and dock them all and we would remove 190 mt of GHGs.

Combine those two sectors -- manufacturing and transportation -- and that adds up to 252.9 megatonnes, leaving us short by 17.1 megatonnes.

The only way Canada can meet its Kyoto target is by either shutting down our economy or buying carbon credits from places like Russia, that only met its targets because they weren't very ambitious to begin with.

Then, with the fall of the iron curtain and the dismantling of the former Soviet Union, all of those highly polluting and inefficient factories and plants were shut down. In other words, the corrupt Liberal government plans to send billions of your hard-earned money to a government even more corrupt than our own.

With this plan Canada's commitment to Kyoto is heads I lose, tails I lose. It will, of course, be spun the other way around.


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 December 2005

Greens Stump for a Treeless Christmas

Some environmentalists are expressing angst during the Christmas season instead of joy, worried about what they view as the negative environmental impact of both real and artificial Christmas trees. The Sierra Club, in its publication Sierra Magazine, recommends that people look for "a storm-felled branch, or a piece of driftwood" to decorate in their homes, instead of the traditional Christmas tree. Eric Antebi, the Sierra Club's national secretary, also suggested that people consider celebrating Hanukah instead of Christmas because Hanukah is a more earth-friendly celebration.

Environmental activists also appear to be struggling over which type of Christmas tree to condemn the most. "The choice between real and not real is especially painful for some environmentalists. Either they desecrate the Earth and chop down a tree or buy a fake one that's full of landfill-clogging polyvinyl chloride, which is kryptonite to greenies," stated an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 15, titled "Choosing a Christmas tree can be an ethical quagmire for environmentalists."

But critics of the environmental movement ridiculed what they saw as an unwarranted attack on Christmas trees. "Having tried to shame us for our 4th of July barbecues and fireworks because of air pollution, and our Thanksgiving turkeys because of hunting and farm issues, it's no surprise that some of our more egg-nogged environmentalist friends have now come a-carolin' over the outrage of Christmas trees," said David Rothbard, president of the Washington-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) in an interview with Cybercast News Service. "As for the Sierra Club's idea that we make our own trees out of storm-downed branches or driftwood, I think someone's been standing alone under the mistletoe for too long. I can't imagine what waking up to presents under that kind of tree would look like, but I think I'd rather try the mangy, forlorn tree from Charlie Brown's Christmas first." Rothbard said.

Rothbard's sarcasm notwithstanding, some environmentalists see a genuine ethical dilemma involving Christmas trees. San Francisco forest activist Kristi Chester Vance summed up her environmental concerns when she described how she had to warn her eco-friendly friends that there would be a "dead tree" at her Christmas party. "I'm a forest activist and there's a dead tree in the middle of my house," Vance told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month. "Geez, if I have a tree, why not nail the last snow leopard to the wall, too?" she said, referring to her concern for endangered species. Vance complained that there was a lack of earth friendly farming methods to grow Christmas trees. "It's kind of like corn," she told the Chronicle. "It would be best to get an organic one, of course."

To counter these negative consequences, the Sierra Club's Antebi recommended the celebration of Hanukkah as an alternative to Christmas. "You've got to love a holiday that's all about energy efficiency and eating potato pancakes," Antebi said, "with only the finest organic potatoes, of course."

While drawing attention to the environmental impact of Christmas trees, the Sierra Club, however, risks alienating even some of its own supporters, like Pamela Janas of Pennsylvania, who wrote a letter to the editor of Sierra Magazine. In the letter, Janas noted that the Sierra Club's "negativity about having a Christmas tree seems unrealistic and insensitive." She also scolded the organization for recommending that holiday revelers opt for "a storm-felled branch, or a piece of driftwood" instead of a Christmas tree. That suggestion, Janas wrote, is "ridiculous and insulting."

The city of San Francisco, attempting to show its sensitivity about the environment, is offering potted trees to homes in lieu of the traditional pine trees. Alternatives such as primrose, Brisbane box or fruitless olive trees are being offered for $90. After the holidays, the trees would be planted in cityscapes. The program was deemed a success after 100 alternative trees were scooped up by eco-conscious city residents, according to the Chronicle.

Rothbard of CFACT disagrees that Christmas trees, real or artificial, pose an ecological threat. Instead, he sees the whole debate as part of the environmental left's desire to make Americans feel guilty about their high standard of living. "Since environmentalists believe that artificial plastic trees are verboten because of their petrochemical roots, maybe the best way for us to celebrate a truly earth-friendly Yuletide would be to gather in the chilly corners of our solar-powered huts, feast on a meal of soy figgy pudding, and exchange nothing but resolutions about how we'll do more environmental penance in the year to come," Rothbard said. "Maybe it's no surprise the Grinch was colored green," he added, referring to the villain in children's Christmas classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Noting that an estimated 18 people can live off the amount of oxygen produced by one acre of Christmas trees, Rothbard touted the ecological benefits of the evergreens. "Christmas tree farmers, like virtually all other professional farmers, use agricultural chemicals in a careful and prudent manner and Christmas tree recycling has become the norm in virtually all American communities," Rothbard said. "Even the environmental publications like the San Diego Earth Times have pointed out that mulch from an abundance of recycled Christmas trees 'provide an aromatic ground cover that reduces soil erosion and deters weed growth,'" he added.

It is estimated that about 60 percent of U.S. homes displaying Christmas trees use the artificial variety. About 23 million real trees were sold in 2004, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.


In his new book, Jonathon Porritt dresses up a demand for austerity in the language of environmentalism

Review of Jonathon Porritt: "Capitalism: As If The World Matters", Earthscan, 2005

Porritt argues that humanity faces two conflicting imperatives: a biological imperative to limit consumption growth and a political imperative to raise living standards. But he does not see the two as equally valid. On the contrary, biology is a first order imperative, which is determined by laws of nature and non-negotiable. In contrast, the political imperative is only a 'second order aspiration'. For Porritt the protection of nature is more important than raising human living standards.

Yet as the book draws towards a conclusion it becomes clear why Porritt doesn't explicitly call for lower consumption. From a pragmatic perspective it is far easier to sell his approach, which is essentially austerity-lite, than to explicitly demand lower living standards. 'Rather than "consume less", the thrust of any new debate here is likely to be "consume wisely" for the foreseeable future. That may not be sufficient, but it's all that would appear to be manageable right now in terms of mainstream political responses to capitalist economies.' So he poses the argument in terms of the need for a better quality of growth that, at least implicitly, can mean reducing consumption for all but the poorest.

But is Porritt's initial premise, that there are natural limits on human activity, correct? He proudly proclaims that 'it's the science of sustainability that provides the rock-solid foundations upon which the structures of sustainable development are now being raised' (original emphasis). But the scientific arguments he marshals are far too skimpy to justify such a grandiose claim. They boil down to little more than that the Earth is a relatively small place. As a result, he argues, humans need to limit their activity to avoid using up resources or overloading it with waste.

His most sophisticated attempt to argue the point is based on the work of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, a Romanian-American twentieth-century economist. Georgescu-Roegen argued that, based on the laws of thermodynamics, the amount of energy in a closed system such as the Earth is finite. Therefore there must be limits on energy use in particular and economic growth in general. But as Porritt later concedes, the Earth is not a closed system since it receives energy from the Sun. In fact, about 10,000 times as much solar energy flows into the Earth every year as the total amount of energy used by the whole of humankind.

What is true of energy is also true of other resources. Humans have barely started to extract resources besides what is easily available in the Earth's crust. Other sources of resources - such as under the seabed or in Antarctica - are hardly touched. Yet Porritt cursorily dismisses the possibility of harnessing such resources as cornucopian optimism.

At root, the problem with Porritt's work is the conception of humanity it embodies. For him human beings are simply part of the natural world. The attempt to control nature is precisely why, in his view, human beings are so destructive. Yet human striving to master nature is a central element of progress. By taking control of the planet it is possible for human beings to reshape the environment in a way that best suits their needs.

Porritt starts with the assumption that there must be natural limits to human development, and then sets out to prove it - dismissing any contrary evidence or arguments as 'denial'. He assumes from the start that there are five types of capital - natural, human, social, manufactured and financial - and that natural capital is somehow primary. He then goes on to develop a theory to prove his premise. So he asserts that: 'The Five Capitals Framework unhesitatingly asserts the primacy (or "preconditionality") of natural capital: after nearly 4 billion years of life on Earth, of which we've been around for just a few tens of thousands of years, that has to be the right way of looking at things.'

But why does it have to be the case that the natural world should be considered primary? It makes no sense to assume that nature must take precedence over human beings just because it has been around for longer. Surely the rise of humanity changes everything. Before humans existed the Earth was essentially a lump of rock with plants and animals living on it. The rise of civilisation means that the environment can be reshaped to benefit humanity. In contrast, living in harmony with nature means in effect making peace with scarcity, disease, hunger and natural disasters.

Porritt pitches the case against the attempt to control nature in a way designed to appeal to as many people as possible. However, the fact that it appears so moderate, with its misanthropic message disguised as much as possible, makes it particularly pernicious.

More here


Post lifted from Philip Stott

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, seems to be exhausted, and he is currently fighting for his 'legacy' on many fronts, with both Old Europe and New Europe; with the anti-Iraq War brigade, who will never forgive him, whatever else he achieves; with the rumbling Left of his own Labour Party; with his Chancellor, Gordon Brown (whose vaulting ambition may well o'er leap itself); and with the great intractables and bottomless pits of education and the National Health Service (NHS). With respect to climate change, Blair has learned painfully the stark realities of international politics, a politics in which the US, Australia, and a group of fast-developing countries all take a different view from that of his ever-sanctimonious, but largely failing, EU partners. Despite the genial efforts of Margaret Beckett, his Secretary of State, Blair increasingly exhibits declining energy for this issue, and he is delaying, yet again, the vital (and urgent) decision on nuclear power, following a disastrously pusillanimous energy white paper issued during his last administration. Blair's leadership of the G8 and of the EU finish this year, and both are looking bedraggled, although Blair undoubtedly deserves credit for focusing the world's attention on the plight of Africa.

And the longer-term prognosis? I should expect little further of any real significance on climate change. The economics are, at last, receiving serious scrutiny. More importantly, the New Year will be absorbed (and absorbing) with bruising domestic encounters, especially on education, the NHS, civil rights, and a range of other proposals, many bitterly contended by his own Party - and not just by the usual suspects. In addition, Cabinet unity will be strained, John Prescott, his once loyal Deputy, having, only this morning, broken ranks over education policy. As 'President' Blair nears the end, intriguing and manoeuvering with respect to the next 'Court of 10 Downing Street' will become endemic among ministers, Brownites versus Blairites.

Secondly, David Cameron has risen to power in the Conservative Party largely by avoiding spelling-out any detailed policies. He has devolved the initial stages of policy-making to various policy groupings, the environment ('Quality of Life' issues) having been allotted (most short-sightedly many think) to the Kyoto-loving and burger-touting John Selwyn Gummer and to the nuclear-power-loathing 'eye candy', Zac Goldsmith. Superficially, this is depressing, but the party and press are already hinting at dissent. I do not see a Conservative Party opposing a return to nuclear power, and, if they support wind farms, for example, they will enrage much of their rural hinterland. I also think that the harsh truths of international climate-change politics will soon begin to constrain any 'Little Britain' tendencies that might be tempted to surface. Moreover, business, in the past a natural Conservative supporter, will take kindly neither to further carbon taxes, curbs, and red tape nor to a Conservative leader, however young and dynamic, who starts to espouse authoritarian, socialistic, 'command-and-control' measures.

Moreover, Cameron has already been caught out on air over the shallowness of his climate-change politics, and by Today's big beast, John Humphrys, too. When asked what kind of action he would support, Cameron limply came up with biofuels. Humphrys was swift to make a jibe about this, noting, quite correctly, that many environmentalists [including, I might add, souls at the Environment Agency] believe biofuels to be extremely bad for the environment (and for biodiversity). It was not a good start on the details, and Cameron lamely replied that this was why he was setting up a policy group. All this leads one to question Cameron's experience, not to mention the wisdom of basing 'policies' on liberal-elite, metropolitan dinner-table chat and on a rather crass attempt to win over the wetter, 'beards-and-sandals' supporters of the Liberal Democrats (Lib-Dems).

And then, thirdly, we have Charles Kennedy, the leader of the Lib-Dems, a man who appears increasingly to be a lame duck, one badly wounded politically. Inevitably, Kennedy is the burgeoning subject of media speculation and risible commentary and excoriating cartoons. This is not entirely his fault. Kennedy is, somewhat wearisomely one guesses, trying to hold together a 'party' which is visibly splitting between the authoritarian 'Green' lefties, mentioned above, and true Gladstonian liberals. The sense in Westminster is that Kennedy will not remain leader for much longer, and that, for him, it is very much the Season of "Look behind you!" On the environment, the Lib-Dems inhabit Toytown. They are charmingly utopian in their approach to climate change and to energy, but they can't be taken as a serious contender for government. Until the Lib-Dems learn to face up to harsh political facts (like nuclear power), they will make little serious progress. They are even split over issues like wind farms, glibly supporting them nationally, while often opposing them locally. The thought of the Lib-Dems in power is terrifying.

All other parties require no comment, as they mainly add to the gaity of the nation, but little else. The Green Party is rather like the Lib-Dems, but with even more Green wellies and flowers in the hair.

Many people to whom I talk thus feel disenfranchised. The wishy-washy political consensus over climate change is sapping adult, serious debate in the UK, especially with regard to the economics of the issue and to energy. The last thing we want is a cross-party agreement on the subject. We are crying out for some hard-headed politicians to take a tough, realistic look at climate change and energy. Kyoto isn't working, and, in truth, the Protocol has presided over a massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. The Montreal conference will make no change to this. There is even evidence that carbon trading is resulting in an increase in emissions. Yet, UK politicians feel bound to continue to mouth the rhetoric of Kyoto. Accordingly, the political gap between fact and rhetoric grows ever wider - a chasm of carbon claptrap. And this is a chasm eagerly exploited by all the big energy companies, who will happily play 'global warming' every which way, chasing the money wherever it politically pops up.

By contrast, in the real world, it is increasingly obvious to any objective observer that the focus of debate has already shifted to adaptation to inevitable climate change, to technological innovation and transfer, and to the countries of the Pacific Rim, from India and Indonesia, through China, to Brazil and Mexico.

Tony Blair knows this, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, he now lacks drive, being hog-tied by domestic battles and EU squabbles. The 'Little Britain Green' stance taken by David Cameron is potentially a disaster, and it does make one wonder about his inexperience and to question whether he is too enmeshed in thirties-year old, Notting Hill agenda-setting. Moreover, how does this stance square with his comments about needing more roads, about making the UK more competitive, and about cutting red tape for business? Meanwhile, back in Toytown, the Lib-Dems are plunging into pantomime, and, if they are not careful, they could well be blown away, along with with their utopian wind farms.

Thus, beyond a world-weary, but still driven, Mr. Blair, climate-change politics in the UK has something of the nursery about it. We are crying out for a brave, senior politician who can openly declare that the Kyoto Protocol is a disaster and that we must put our efforts into maintaining a viable and flexible economy, one that can support technological innovation and transfer, which can sustain economic growth, and which can adapt to climate change, whatever it throws at us [see: the following comment and economic critique, December 19]. We need a politician who can ignore the daily dose of doom served up by 'newspapers' like The Independent, with Britain, at one-and-the-same-time, one might add, turning into an Arctic tundra, a Mediterranean olive grove, a land of flood, a land of drought,and one with more species - er - or fewer species. We need a politician who truly cares for the environment sensu lato (including the urban environment), not one who is blown off course by every environmentalist whim, stunt, and shock-horror.

And the bottom line? We need a politician who will provide us, urgently, with an energy policy that will work and who will energise Britain for the 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.


24 December 2005


Warwick Hughes and others have been banging on for a long time about urban heat island effects as a distorting influence on global temperature measurements. They mostly exhibit the problem by comparing urban and non-urban records. A reader has however just sent in a much more direct comment on the problem -- as follows:

I'd like to relate a story that will confirm your observations regarding value of surface temperature variations. I went to the NOAA station open house in Oxnard Oct, 23, 2003. During the tour I asked if they are continually annoyed by having to move their sensor packages in response to encroaching urbanism. The reply absolutely floored me. They do not move the sensors, they "adjust" the data to reflect their best guess impacts. The specific case of the LA downtown "civic center" location was mentioned as being many degrees (F) to a dozen degrees more extreme (up and down) in absolute recorded temperatures (mostly hotter) than when the scientist telling us this first joined the NOAA. There you have it, any evidence of global warming from US surface temperature data is worthless.

I hope I don't need to point out how hopelesly unscientific the above NOAA procedure is. Given such careless procedures, the entire warming effect that is usually quoted could well be an a measurement artifact. And as urban centres expand, we would EXPECT average temperatures so recorded to go up year by year


An heroic attempt below to create a story out of nothing without actually lying. Note the bits highlighted in red. The scare is of course an old one which I have dealt with on a number of occasions previously. See for example here

Global warming may be forcing polar bears into cannibalism and suicidal swims as the temperature change melts away their home, some researchers claim. The reports, described in a news story this week's issue of the research journal Nature, are unproven, the article said. "Experts say it is too early to be sure, but that these are the kind of impacts expected as melting sea ice leaves the bears with longer distances to travel," the report added.

Some of the reports came from a biennial conference on the biology of sea mammals in San Diego, California, last week, the article said. At the meeting, marine biologists from the U.S. Minerals Management Service reported finding four bears drowned off the northern coast of Alaska last autumn, according to Nature.

They also spotted an unusually large number of bears swimming in the open sea, some as far as 95 kilometres offshore, the report claimed-types of swim for which they're poorly adapted. Twenty percent of bears seen in the area in September were in the water, Nature cited the scientists saying, while records from previous years show that 4 percnet of sighted bears were swimming.

Tonje Folkestad, climate-change officer at the World Wildlife Fund's Arctic programme in Oslo, Norway, told Nature that "We can't say at the moment that there is a trend for polar bears to drown. But we do expect to see more of this kind of event in the future." Spending more time in the open sea increases bears' exposure to the risks of the effect of cold, exhaustion or rough seas. "Common sense tells you that if they have to swim 60 miles instead of 20, drowning is more likely," Folkestad told the journal.

Folkestad added that melting Arctic ice, the main habitat for polar bears, presents major problems for them. The Arctic ice sheet is shrinking at a about 10 percent per decade, with Arctic summer temperatures climbing to around 2 degrees Celsius higher than they were 50 years ago. About 1.3 million square kilometres, an area equivalent to three times that of California, have been lost over the past four years.

Rangers in Yakutia, northeastern Russia, saw two incidents of one bear killing another, with some media reports claiming that starving bears were practicing "cannibalism," Nature noted. "These observations are not rare or extraordinary in themselves," Folkestad told Nature. "What was unusual was the lack of sea ice in the area."



Badly needed new road obstructed all the way

Queensland taxpayers will be forced to pay an extra $150 million for the Gold Coast Tugun bypass to protect endangered plants and animals, including a rare frog. Tough new conditions imposed by the NSW Government led to the huge extra cost. The 50 conditions and rising construction prices mean the cost of the bypass will rise from $360 million to as much as $510 million.

But the NSW Government has flatly refused to help fund the increased cost, despite Queensland Premier Peter Beattie blaming it for part of the cost blowout. But Mr Beattie vowed to push ahead with the road and said extra money would be borrowed if necessary to ensure work started in March. He joined NSW Premier Morris Iemma at Tweed Heads yesterday to announce NSW Government planning approval for the long-awaited road, which should halt the area's infamous gridlock.

The approval ends 18 months of interstate wrangling over the bypass, first proposed eight years ago. Only about 2km of the 7km bypass route is in NSW but the Iemma Government will own the road and Queensland taxpayers will have to foot the maintenance bill for the first 10 years.

Two years ago, the NSW Government blocked the so-called C4 bypass route because of fears for orchids, potoroos and the endangered wallum sedge frog.

Mr Iemma said yesterday his Government had given the bypass planning approval but with 50 "stringent environmental controls". They include building tunnels for endangered mammals and frogs, the preservation of an 80ha site to conserve threatened species including the common planigale native mouse and a cultural heritage management plan to protect ancient Aboriginal sites. There will also be a network of drains to allow unhindered groundwater movement. Mr Iemma defended the conditions as necessary to protect the area's "ecological and cultural heritage".

More here


Cleaning the air could accelerate global warming, according to a new study. The particles in the soot and haze from industrial and domestic fires, called aerosols, cause respiratory diseases and other health problems for people in polluted areas, including many Asian cities. But aerosols also dim the sky over land and sea, and so cool the planet. By scattering and absorbing sunlight - how much depends on the particles' size and optical properties - they prevent the Earth from heating up more than it already has owing to the greenhouse effect.

The balance between the two effects has been a wildcard in climate predictions. In its last report, published in 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could put only a broad range of possible values on aerosol cooling. Now researchers at the UK Met Office in Exeter and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey, have provided the first calculation based on observations, rather than models. The team concludes that the cooling effect of aerosols is probably at the high end of IPCC estimates. So cleaning the air will lead to substantial warming. Without aerosols for example, since 1900 the planet might have warmed at least an additional 0.3 °C above the 0.7 °C rise that actually happened.

The team, led by Met Office researcher Nicolas Bellouin, calculated the amount of aerosols in the air using data from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites and observations made from aircraft. The researchers then calculated how much light that material would absorb. They publish the results in Nature this week. The result is the most comprehensive measurement of soot so far. "This is a very timely addition to modellers' work," says Meinrat Andreae, an atmospheric scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. Recent models have pointed to a huge range of effects from aerosols, he says. Observations will help sort out the confusion.

In a recent model of his own, Andreae concluded that without aerosol cooling, global temperatures could rise between 6 and 10 °C by 2100 - well beyond current IPCC predictions. Aerosols partly disguise the sensitivity of our climate to rising levels of greenhouse gases, he says. Soot and haze could be even more cooling than Bellouin's team calculates, says Andreae. Aerosols affect other climate properties, such as cloud formation, the effects of which have yet to be measured.

Industrial aerosol emissions have dropped in the United States and Europe since 1990. Worldwide, however, Asia's economic growth is feeding a modest upward trend in their output. But Asian emissions are growing less sharply than was expected, thanks to policies such as a switch to clean energy in the industrial areas around Beijing and Shanghai.



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 December 2005


A first for a Kyoto signatory

The Government's decision to ditch the proposed carbon tax has been backed by the business community, but slammed by the Greens who called it a "capitulation" to vested interests. Climate Change Minister David Parker announced today that the tax, designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and due to come into effect in April 2007, would not go ahead. Officials are being asked to look at other options. It had been claimed that the tax would harm businesses and cost households between $4 and $10 a week.

Business leaders said today's decision was sensible. Simon Arnold, president of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce, said: "For some time we have been arguing that this was poor policy. "It would have increased the cost of energy and transport but would not achieve its stated aims of reducing carbon emissions." The Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) also threw its weight behind the move, calling it a pre-Christmas "fillip" to business confidence. Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive, added: "The carbon tax represented a huge hurdle detracting from New Zealand as a profitable place to invest." He called for a "150 per cent write off" of research and development costs on technology aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

The Green Party, however, said the ditching of the tax amounted to a cave-in to the "anti-Kyoto lobby", referring to opponents of the United Nations' Kyoto protocol on climate change. "They are putting the corporate pursuit of short-term profits ahead of the planet's and our grandchildren's future," said co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons. She feared a further three-year delay in action being taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

New Zealand First had been campaigning against the tax and an greement to see it scrapped formed part of the confidence and supply agreement which led to its leader Winston Peters becoming Foreign Minister. Mr Peters said: "The government's decision is a victory for the thousands of New Zealanders who were not well placed to carry the burden of another tax, particularly those on low and fixed incomes."



Below is an article from the Australian press followed by a letter that Australian climate scientist Warwick Hughes sent to the author of the arrticle. As always, the global warmers rely on temperature records contaminated by urban heat island effects

"Nation bakes in hottest year

Australians have sweltered through the hottest year on record, as the global temperature continues a warming trend begun in the 19th century. According to the World Meteorological Organisation's statement on the status of the global climate - released yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland - about 97 per cent of Australia experienced above average temperatures this year. In April, temperatures across the continent were 2.6C above average. "It was as if summer didn't stop," said climatologist Michael Coughlan of the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre in Melbourne. "It was not until we got into June that things turned around and we got some good rain across central Australia."

Planet-wide, June and October were the hottest months ever recorded. The heat coincided with continuing long-term drought in parts of the Greater Horn of Africa. Drought also affected much of western Europe during July, August and September, and from January to May almost half of Australia received rainfall in the lowest 10 per cent of recorded totals. The heat and drought came in a year also marked by record hurricanes in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean, exceptionally heavy rain, snow and flooding in the US's southwest, and the wettest year ever in Canada.

Geneva-based WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud said 2005 was set to be the second-warmest year on record, behind 1996. "It could well be that this ranking could be modified but we are very confident that it will end up in the four warmest years," he claimed. As of yesterday, the 2005 global temperature had risen an average 0.48C over the 1961-90 annual average surface temperature, the benchmark for climate change measurements.

Since the start of the 20th century, the global average surface temperature has risen between 0.6C and 0.7C. And the 1990s have emerged as the warmest decade since 1861, when reliable temperature recording began. Although 1996 has a slight edge on 2005, Dr Coughlan said it was like a horse race that was too close to call. That was because 1996 was "souped up" by extra heat from that year's El Nino, while 2005 ran on its own merits. "It's the Makybe Diva of climatology," Dr Coughlan said.

According to Australian National University climate change expert Will Steffen, this year's record temperatures are in stark contrast to temperatures over the millennia. "The last time the Earth was this warm was about 5000 to 6000 years ago, and the planet has been on a very slow cooling trend since then, until the very recent surge in temperature," Professor Steffen said. He added that observational data, circumstantial evidence and climate theory suggested that the rising temperatures were a result of increased atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, generated by burning fossil fuels for energy. "It's a no-brainer if you're a scientist that if you put more of these (gases) in the atmosphere you're going to warm the surface," said Professor Steffen, predicting global warming would soar unless greenhouse emissions were cut. "The future is notoriously hard to predict," he said. "But, climatically speaking, we are probably in for a rather wild ride.""


Warwick Hughes comments:

Your "Nation bakes in hottest year" article on page 7 of Dec 17-18, in "The Weekend Australian" and on has serious misprints where you refer to 1996 being the all time hottest year as in, "..Michel Jarraud said 2005 was set to be the second-warmest year on record, behind 1996." and; "Although 1996 has a slight edge on 2005, Dr Coughlan said it was like a horse race that was too close to call. That was because 1996 was "souped up" by extra heat from that year's El Nino, while 2005 ran on its own merits. "It's the Makybe Diva of climatology," Dr Coughlan said.

All these references to 1996 are wrong and should be 1998. Surely you have written enough on climate issues that you should have known that 1998 was a standout hot year due to the El Nino.

To a more substantive issue now:

It is ironic that Dr Coughlan is speaking up now but it was a different story in 1990 when Dr Coughlan and two other BoM co-authors wrote up a study of Australian city temperature data (Coughlan et al, 1990, "Trends in Australian Temperature Records". Paper at pointing out the magnitude of urban heat island (UHI) component in Australian city data and concluded as follows:

"Estimates of the trends in the annual average daily mean temperature also indicated warming at most of the non-urban sites except Brisbane Airport. The strongest warming over the periods examined was 0.26 C decade~1 Mean temperatures at Brisbane Airport cooled by approximately 0.03 C decade 1. Trends in urban-rural differences were all positive. These estimates are greater than those of the trends this century, reported by Jones et al. (1989), in annual mean Southern Hemisphere air temperature, over both land and sea, and sea surface temperature, which have all shown rises of approximately 0.06 C decade 1."

The Jones et al 1986 compilations of global warming trends used all the Australian capital cities data where Dr Coughlan and his co-authors established strong UHI contamination yet failed in the early 1990's to stand up for their taxpayer funded findings and put in a journal "Comment" on the obviously flawed Jones et al global trends -- Trends that are now in 2005 still badly affected by the UHI warming but are now touted by Dr Coughlan. One might say that if 2005 has to be related to a race horse as Dr Coughlan. does, then indeed "Fine Cotton" [A famous Australian horse-racing fraud] is alive and well.

Lastly, take a look at the coloured BoM map of contoured trends. Over 90% of the orange area of highest warming are from regions of Australia largely devoid of people and I would suggest devoid of meaningful long term temperature data too. Note how the orange contour skips around Alice Springs, Giles and the longer term data in SA. What a disgraceful example of BoM propaganda, a "dodgy brothers" of a map. What utter balderdash for The Australian to publish. Let's hope your future articles pay more attention to justifiable science


Hybrid electric cars are growing in popularity, with some 200,000 already on the road in the United States. The number is expected to grow to two million in the next five years. Consumers are attracted to them because of fuel economy and environmental benefits, but they present hazards for emergency responders. EMT's are trained to focus on their patients, but hybrid gas/electric cars are creating a new challenge: high voltage. Paramedic Dave Long says, "These cars are incredibly quiet, so we have to assume that the vehicle is always on and powered up." Long is leading the charge to train EMT's on how to rescue victims from hybrids without risking electrocution. "So we're dealing with anywhere from a 144 to over 500 volts. So we have to be very careful during rescue and extrication we don't cut into the high voltage orange cables."

Long fears the sheer silence of the hybrid engine could catch emergency workers off guard. "Because we can not hear the electric motor. And if we were walking in front during a rescue or emergency or trying to help someone out in the car, the car could roll forward and we would not hear it." Long's goal is to get responders up to speed on how to turn off the hybrids before the rescue begins, and how to locate the master disconnect switches for various models.

Recognizing a hybrid isn't always easy. The Ford Escape, for example, looks identical to its gas-powered counterpart. The same is true for the Toyota Highlander, so labeling is critical. At training seminars around the nation, EMT's are learning to look for those bright orange power cables. "We know it's an electric vehicle because I see these high voltage orange cables actually coming out of the vehicle." The demand for hybrid safety training will only rise considering the dealers can barely keep the cars on the lots these days.



Email from Oliver Manuel ( to Benny Peiser

Contrary to recent reports, the solar system is not getting crazier. New observations simply confirm how crazy astronomers and planetary scientists have been to cling to the idea that a cloud of hydrogen and helium formed the Sun and its planetary system - after four decades of experimental measurements that falsified this story. Many of the experimental findings are summarized in this paper: "Isotopes tell Sun's origin and operation."

The false promises of solar energy : "Ever since the Carter Administration the US government has spent billions on solar energy research, development, and demonstrations. Thousands of demonstrations have been constructed across the United States. Whether it's the Solar One Power Tower in the California desert or the Luz project there also, or the hundreds across the US, I am not aware of any successes. The exceptions might be for water heating (not electricity) in the southern latitudes. Most have been dismal engineering failures. Before spending billions more, this nation would do well to revisit these past projects to learn what went wrong."


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 December 2005


An email from Vincent Gray ( to Benny Peiser

The Hadley Climate Centre of the University of East Anglia has claimed that the year 2005 was the hottest year in the Northern Hemisphere since records began. They then claim that this can be attributed to increased human emissions of greenhouse gases. If this were so, you would expect that the temperature rise would be more or less uniform over the whole Hemisphere. The Hadley Centre website has published a world map at

showing the temperature rise for 2005, related to 1961-90, for each small box of the earth's surface. It shows that the temperature rise was very far from uniform. Most of the warming took place in North America and Northern Europe; in the winter months, and at night. Siberia, North Africa and the Middle East cooled, The Southern Ocean cooled and the other oceans hovered artound zero.. There were no measurements around the North Pole.

There is also a map for the winter months (December/January/February 2004) which shows that most of the warming in North America and North Europe took place then.

This pattern is incompatible with an influence from greenhouse gases. It is best explained by higher living standards around the weather stations in North America and Northern Europe whose temperature readings are used to calculate the average.

The "Hottest Year" maybe, but it could not be due to greenhouse gases.


The media reports today that 2005 is among the hottest years on record. This claim is based on the global average surface temperature record, which as discussed several times on this weblog is fraught with serious data quality issues. Our recent paper has even shown that a warm bias exists in the data. The media supports this claim of the hottest year (or nearly so) by stating: "Four separate temperature analyses released Thursday varied by a few hundredths of a degree but agreed it was either the hottest or second-hottest year since the start of record-keeping in the late 1880s."

This is a misleading statement. The "four separate temperature analyses" are mostly from all or a subset of the same raw data! While the statement is clarified later in the article: "The groups use the same temperature data but differ in how they analyze them, particularly in remote areas such as the Arctic, where there are few thermometers", this important caveat is missing in the earlier statement in the article (moreover, as we will show in a soon to be submitted paper, other areas also have a sparcity of data; for 20N to 20S, for example, 70% of the grid areas over land have 1 or less observation sites).

The raw surface temperature data from which the four analyses are derived are, therefore, essentially the same. That the four analyses produce similar trends should come as no surprise!

A question to the different groups which has been posed to several of them, but they have not answered, is what is the degree of overlap in the data sets? While some of the analyses use subsets of the raw data, the raw data is almost identical. To frame this question another way, what raw surface temperature data is used in each analysis that is not used in the other analyses? The best estimate we have seen is that 90-95% of the raw data is the same.

Not to highlight this important issue is an example of cherrypicking; this time by the analyses groups that are releasing the surface temperature data.



Hurricanes are caused by global warming but tornadoes are not?

Texas tornadoes barely topped 100 in 2005, making this the calmest count in almost 20 years for the spiraling storms. As of mid-December, there were 102 tornadoes statewide, two injuries and no deaths, according to reports submitted by the state's National Weather Service offices. That's the lowest number of tornadoes since 1988, when 89 twisters dropped down. In a year when weather tragedies - mostly from hurricanes Katrina and Rita - grabbed the public's attention, tornado totals were down nationwide as well.

Nationally, weather officials estimate 1,014 tornadoes in 2005, slightly lower than average, said Daniel McCarthy, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. There were have been 38 tornado-related deaths, which is slightly more than last year but lower than the 10-year average.

Not only were there fewer twisters this year, but they were mostly weak and did little damage, say federal weather officials. "The only substantial damage report we had was a TV antenna bent over and some tree limbs," said warning coordination meteorologist Gary Woodall with the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth. He referred to tornadoes that touched down in April near south Fort Worth and Mansfield. In North Texas, which averages about 26 tornadoes annually, only 10 were recorded this year. They were all F0 - the lowest level on the Fujita Tornado Scale - with wind speeds between 40 and 72 miles per hour.

The spring storm season spun out in North Texas primarily because cold, high-pressure fronts pushing through the Great Plains and into the Gulf of Mexico cut off the return of low-level warm, moist air into the area, Mr. Woodall said. Upper-level storm systems and strong winds passed through the region, but without that "rich, muggy, juicy air" from the gulf, they just kept on moving, he said.

Mr. Jones, a storm spotter for almost three decades, said his pager went off only about four times this year, whereas he's usually called up 10 to 12 times. The 69-year-old Sachse ham radio operator said the thunderstorms that passed through caused some minor damage but didn't have the right mix to produce tornadoes. "We did see some rotation at one time, but it soon dissipated," he said. He wasn't disappointed, though. "You hate to see tornadoes move through your community because nothing good comes from a tornado," he said. "I visited Wichita Falls the day after the tornado hit there in 1979, and I have never seen such destruction in my life."

The tornado that made headlines this year was an early-morning storm that hit Evansville, Ind., in November. It killed 24 people. Although that storm was severe, it was in the middle of the scale, an F3 on the Fujita Scale. According to preliminary data, not a single more devastating tornado, F4 or F5, touched down in 2005, Mr. McCarthy said. "We may have gone through a whole year" without any violent tornadoes," without any of the top-level tornadoes, he said. "That is extraordinary."

There were signs along the way that 2005 would be a quiet year, especially when there were only 155 tornadoes in May. The last two years have been closer to 500, Mr. McCarthy said.....

More here


The easiest way to make a climate expert flinch is to say: "So, all these really bad hurricanes must be caused by global climate warming, right?" Some will answer yes. Some no. And still others will say, well, maybe. Confusing? Absolutely. But that's the current state of climate science for you.

A cluster of studies over the past two years links the increasing number of violent hurricanes in our tropical oceans to warming water. (In fact, the possibility was first suggested, though not thoroughly studied, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987.) One such study emerged from Georgia Institute of Technology and the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research in mid-September, just after Hurricane Katrina hit. Like other hurricane forecasters, this team started with ocean temperatures. Hurricanes form only over warm water 28 C is about the minimum because they draw their energy from the water below, recycling it through convection into wind power. The warmer the water becomes, the more energy is available to the hurricane. And with Katrina, the surface water in the central Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea was about 31 C.

The Georgia Tech scientists went back through storm records, and concluded that bigger storms are already happening. But they do not conclude what some other scientists have predicted a greater number of tropical storms and hurricanes. Instead, they concluded, we're seeing the same number of storms, but a larger proportion of them are growing into monsters Categories 3, 4 and 5 on the hurricane scale. Katrina was a 5 over the Gulf of Mexico, weakening to a 4 just before landfall. In the 1970s, there was an average of 10 Category 4 and 5 hurricanes a year globally. Since 1990, the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled, averaging 18 a year globally.

This all seems to line up neatly with the theory that warmer water will breed bigger storms. But climate experts don't consider it conclusive. Even Peter Webster of Georgia Tech, a lead author of the study, has some unanswered questions. "Our work is consistent with the concept that there is a relationship between increasing sea-surface temperature and hurricane intensity," he says. "However, it's not a simple relationship. In fact, it's difficult to explain why the total number of hurricanes and their longevity has decreased during the last decade, when sea surface temperatures have risen the most."

Meanwhile there's a competing theory about this difficult link between global warming and storms. Some say it's purely a natural cycle. The current series of bad hurricane seasons is part of a long-term cycle predicted years ago, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It says the Atlantic is in its 11th year of bad storm activity, a trend expected to continue "for the the next decade or perhaps longer." Eight of the past 10 years have been above-average in the number of tropical storms and hurricanes, according to the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). However, in a long stretch through all the 1970s and 1980s and the early 1990s, there were only three above-average seasons. Reasons for this cycle remain unclear.

At Colorado State University, William Gray has reigned as the U.S. guru of hurricane forecasting for more than two decades. He retired this fall. Before he left, he wrote that he expects hurricanes to follow the multi-decade cycles in global weather, such as periods when El Nino effects in the Pacific are common and periods when they become rare. "This is a valid methodology provided the atmosphere continues to behave in the future as it has in the past. We have no reason for thinking that it will not," he wrote. And he concluded that the 2004 hurricane season (four major storms hit Florida) was indeed horrible for the Sunshine State, but not so bad worldwide. The number of tropical storms globally, he notes, was just about normal.

And do the average numbers really matter? The 1992 season was considered "below average" until Hurricane Andrew hit Florida and caused $30 billion in damage. In fact, the longer people study climate, the more they shake their heads at how events in one part of the globe have effects that seem impossibly remote on regions halfway around the world. Last year, for example, NASA announced it had solved the riddle of what made the "Dust Bowl" conditions on the Prairies in the 1930s.

The Goddard Space Flight Center used a computer model and modern satellite data, and found that cool water in the tropical Pacific and unusually warm water in the tropical Atlantic changed the atmosphere, which in turn caused the dust bowl. The changes in sea-surface temperatures created shifts in the large-scale weather patterns and low-level winds, NASA found. This reduced the normal supply of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and inhibited rainfall across the Prairies. Normally a low-level jet stream flows westward over the Gulf of Mexico and then turns north, pulling up moisture and dumping rain onto the Prairies, NASA says. In the 1930s, this jet stream weakened and failed to travel north. The Prairies dried up, and so did the farming economy.

But why did the Atlantic and Pacific act this way in the first place? And why did they then return to normal? No one knows. Canadian climatologist David Phillips says it shows the need to understand "teleconnections" massive connections of weather across great distances, such as El Nino and La Nina (contrasting currents in temperature in the Pacific), and a similar shift in currents in the Atlantic, called the North Atlantic Oscillation.

But how does man-made global warming affect hurricanes? Even after studying 35 years of records, Georgia Tech's Webster still can't tell. "We need a longer data record of hurricane statistics, and we need to understand more about the role hurricanes play in regulating the heat balance and circulation in the atmosphere and oceans," Webster says.

It is easier to blame global warming for other natural disasters: Melting of glaciers appears to be accelerating, causing mudslides and flash floods in the Himalayas, and the collapse probably of ice sheets in Antarctica. The two-week August heat wave of 2003 was the worst weather-related killer in modern European history. An estimated 14,800 French people, mostly seniors, died. But 2004 and 2005 brought no heat wave.

Arctic sea ice does seem to be melting more in summer. If it melts completely in 50 years, as many forecast, this deprives polar bears and Inuit of traditional hunting grounds, and lays open Canada's northern waters to foreign fishing fleets. The World Wildlife Fund says 2005 had the smallest arctic ice sheet on record, and the warmest Caribbean waters.

A quieter debate is taking place about global warming's effect on another part of our climate: The Gulf Stream. One theory, widely shared, says that a warmer climate will unbalance this current abruptly by upsetting the supply of dense, extra-salty air that makes it flow. No more Gulf Stream, the theory says, and Western Europe will cool by five to 10 degrees C, making Britain like Labrador. Eastern North America would cool, though not as much. It could even happen in a few decades. "Once considered incredible, the notion that climate can change rapidly is becoming respectable," a summary of Gulf Stream research from NASA says. "Global warming could plunge North America and Western Europe into a deep freeze, possibly within only a few decades," it says.

But here again, scientists are sharply divided. For every theory, every prediction, there's a counter-theory. In this case, it comes from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a leader in climate research. Its team says the Gulf Stream isn't that important after all. The warmth that flows north doesn't come from the ocean, it announced two years ago, but from a unique set of swirls in long-range wind patterns caused by the Rocky Mountains. Northern Europe should be safe from freezing no matter what happens to the Gulf Stream, they argue.

That's climate science in a nutshell. The ideas are all there, swirling like the eye of a hurricane. Some day we'll all find out who was right.



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 December 2005


An email from Wendell Krossa ( to Benny Peiser. For background on Prochlorococcus see here

Larry Seltzer in the Mar. 1/05 issue of CCNet said, "The Y2K [scare] taught the opposite lesson from what the extremists propounded: far from being vulnerable because they are interconnected, our systems are robust because of their redundancy and interconnectedness."

An important element in this interconnectedness is the fact that positive feedback amplifies an effect while negative feedback dampens it. Just over a decade ago, an organism was discovered that may produce a significant negative feedback and dampen the effect of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

Bob Brinsmead has noted the following regarding this organism: "I suggest a major issue generally overlooked is the part played by micro-organisms in regulating the CO2 factor. To illustrate here, there has been talk of planting forests to gain some carbon credits because forests (especially young growing ones) absorb and sequester atmospheric carbon.

But fifteen years ago, American researcher Sally Chisolm, discovered a heretofore undetected single-celled organism in the oceans which she has called prochlorococcus. There are about 20 million of these little critters in every liter of ocean in the first 200 meters depth. They absorb CO2 and put carbon in a form that feeds plankton which then feeds fish and supports marine life in general. These micro-organisms absorb more carbon than all the forests in the world, and make our forest planting endeavors seems like mere breaking of wind in a thunderstorm. Ocean organisms moreover, produce 80% of the world's oxygen- a fact that puts to rest the claim that cutting trees will starve the world of oxygen. Micro-organisms make up more than two thirds of the world's biomass. They also clean up human pollution, including oil spills and chemical waste sites" (post to JBAS, Dec. 11/05).

It appears such organisms may function in a negative feedback role that may dampen the impact from CO2 shifts in the atmosphere. Complex life is replete with such feedback interconnections that make systems and life in general robust and resilient.


Post lifted from Prof. Philip Stott

I have already commented on the manic-depressive tendencies presented by participants and camp followers at major 'global-warming' meetings, such as those held in The Hague (2000), in Marrakesh, Morocco (2001), in Edinburgh around the G8 Summit (2005), and in Montreal (this month).

The 'meeting' is first reported to be 'failing drastically', with participants walking out or raising 'impossible' issues. The 'meeting' then extends into the early hours of the morning after the day on which it is meant to have closed, the host nation using every trick in the moral-blackmail book to achieve 'something' for home consumption. A bland agreement is cobbled together at the very last minute. Thousands of participants and journalists emerge from their fierce-small-world 'euphoric', tears are shed, and the 'success' of the meeting is overhyped and over-spun - "the world can breathe again". Then, inevitably, in the cold light of day, the euphoria turns quickly to angst and to bitterness as it becomes increasingly obvious that little-to-nothing has been achieved. The high is followed by a long depression.

If you examine carefully the symptoms exhibited following these repeated 'meeting patterns', while analysing in detail the changing media language involved, it becomes obvious that 'global warming' hype is leading to clinically-identifiable symptoms closely associated with those presented in 'mass psychogenic illness', or 'mass sociogenic illness'.

The following two excellent medical papers explain these syndromes, with detailed examples: (a) 'Mass psychogenic illness: role of the individual physician' [Am. Fam. Physician (2000) 62: 2649-53,2655-6], and (b) 'Mass psychogenic illness: a case report and overview' [Psychiatric Times, April 2000, XVII, 4]. Here is a key passage from (a):

"Mass psychogenic illness is characterized by symptoms, occurring among a group of persons with shared beliefs regarding those symptoms, that suggest organic illness but have no identifiable environmental cause and little clinical or laboratory evidence of disease. Mass psychogenic illness typically affects adolescents or children, groups under stress and females disproportionately more than males. Symptoms often follow an environmental trigger or illness in an index case. They can spread rapidly by apparent visual transmission, may be aggravated by a prominent emergency or media response, and frequently resolve after patients are separated from each other and removed from the environment in which the outbreak began. Physicians should consider this diagnosis when faced with a cluster of unexplained acute illness."

Both medical papers mention the effects of a high-school teacher, who noticed a gasoline-like odour in her classroom, on her class. The teacher developed headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Her students soon began complaining of similar symptoms. The school was evacuated, and emergency personnel from several counties responded. On the first day, 100 people ended up going to a local emergency department with symptoms reportedly related to exposure at the school. Five days later, the outbreak re-occurred. The school was closed on that day, and approximately 70 people sought emergency care.

Yet, physical examination and laboratory testing revealed no evidence whatsoever of a toxic cause for the symptoms. Even more interestingly, such mass hysteria can spread rapidly to those who are distant from any original 'event'; in such cases, the response is known as 'mass hysteria by proxy'. One outbreak of 'mass hysteria by proxy', for example, has been documented, in which anxiety transmitted among parents led to reports of serious symptoms in students.

'Global warming' hysteria appears to be a classic example of 'mass psychogenic illness', which is triggered and fed by the regular world meetings mentioned above, but which is then transmitted globally through the media and Green pressure groups as 'mass hysteria by proxy'.

This is hardly surprising, as taking the temperature of the Earth every second of every day, and then reporting it uncritically and apocalyptically via 24-hour rolling news, constitutes the perfect trigger for folk with a predisposition to hypochondria, or, in this case, to 'ecochondria'. Manic-depression, or bipolar-disorder, then begins to exhibit itself, both in the individual and in the media.

The truth is, therefore, a serious one: 'global warming' hype is bad for your health. Yes, Green hype can be clinically damaging. Of course, as the author of the above studies cleverly reminds us, the essence of all this was said by Jonathan Swift a long time ago (in 1710):

"Falsehood flies and the truth comes limping after; so that when men come to be undeceived it is too late: the jest is over and the tale has had its effect."


An email from John A. ( to Benny Peiser

Something caught my eye that I couldn't resist replying to. In the article in New Scientist that you quoted we read:

Many environmental groups were pleased with the outcomes. Steve Sawyer of Greenpeace International called the meeting "historic" and said it had delivered "just about everything" the pressure group wanted.

But others were more sceptical, saying the meeting had done nothing more than agree to keep talking. They point out that the US signed up for talks only after a clause was added stipulating that the dialogue "will not open any negotiations leading to new commitments". For many, this made the dialogue pointless.

"In Kyoto in 1997, Greenpeace argued that the world could emit at most another 270 billion tonnes of carbon before we hit dangerous and even chaotic rates of climate change. Since then we have travelled a quarter of the way to that figure," points out Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute in London, UK. "This agreement does not change anything, so to call it a triumph is crazy. We are still on a one-way trip to disaster."

As a admirer of Orwell, I appreciate the twisting of language like the use of "sceptical" to mean "disbelieving because its not pessimistic enough"

I have a little more information about this Aubrey Meyer. I've just recently wasted some money on Amazon (well, more than usually just wasted it on more books than I actually need). I bought a book on the basis of an Amazon Recommendation because I genuinely wanted to find out what this particular doctrine meant. The book is called "Contraction & Convergence - The Global Solution to Climate Change" by Aubrey Meyer. The Amazon reviews are equally glowing. See here

Here is the first three paragraphs of the Author's Note:

I've never anything other than a musician. How I ended up devising a global policy concept at UN climate negotiations for the last ten years is a bit of a mystery to me. [JA - you're not the only one] But a clue is that both writing and playing music are largely about wholeness and the principled distribution of 'effort' or practice. Responding to the climate challenge seems much like writing or playing music, where balance on the axes of reason and feeling, time and space, can only come from internal consistency. If practice is unprincipled there is no coordination and there is discord. When it is principled, there is balance, harmony and union. Perhaps all life aspires to the condition of music.

Ten years ago, I was feeling crushed and frightened by the realisation that humanity's pollution was destroying the future by changing the global climate. A sympathetic friend told me I wasn' being 'Zen' enough. I didn't know what he meant, had a good laugh and decided he must be right.

So I went to the UN just as the negotiations began to create the climate convention. There I discovered tensions between Taoists, Marxists, economists, musicians and other human beings. This was only just funny enough, often enough, to rescue me from the powerlessness and despair that otherwise captures those who are not Zen enough at the UN, or anywhere else. 'Being Zen' probably means caring, but enough to grasp reality by letting go of 'duality'....

OK Aubrey, I'm going to back away very very slowly....

The book is full of Aubrey's beliefs on Taoism and Zen Buddhism with complicated diagrams on greenhouse emissions that, to my amateur scientific eye, look pretty unreadable, interspersed with Taoist pictograms and exortations on Zen and New Age spirituality. On these occasions, you've got to wonder if the reviewers on Amazon are reading the same book, or smoking something that isn't from the tobacconists and reading Aubrey's aura remotely.

Now it appears that Aubrey is speaking on behalf of the "Global Commons Institute", the well known environmentalist group and jazz combo. It's truly an amazing academic path that Aubrey has managed to get himself quoted as an environmental authority in "New Scientist". Clearly the publishers have expanded the definition of scientist quite a lot more than the Oxford English Dictionary takes account of.

So for all you budding scientists out there, the message is clear: Don't sweat the math stuff with all of that hard grind of calculus and statistics.

Use the "Aubrey Meyer Musical Zen Method". All you have to do is learn your instrument and turn up at the UN.


Scientists who set up a wind farm next to the Houses of Parliament were surprised to discover that the four wind turbines installed produce more than enough electricity to end the British energy crisis.

Greg Mullet, project manager, said: "Wind turbines are a very efficient method of generating electricity but are usually powered by cold air in most locations i.e. the wind. With the amount of hot air that passes over these particular turbines their spin rate and efficiency has increased by several million percent, thus solving the British energy crisis overnight. Unfortunately, when first switched on the turbines span so fast that they moved Britain south by about 496 metres, which means we will have to spend millions updating all of our GPS linked systems such as route finders. We have now overcome this problem by facing two turbines south and two north."

"The only remaining problem is that this increased efficiency mysteriously disappears at certain times of the year - coincidentally, when the House of Commons is in recess. We are currently negotiating a deal with France to export our excess electricity to them, in return for cheaper electricity from them when our turbines are off-line."

Professor Douglas Ramsbottom, an energy expert based at Bootle University, said: "This is excellent news and means we don't have to go through all the old arguments over going nuclear. We have also done some research of our own and hope to set up another electricity generation project next to this wind farm."

"However, this project will be based on new technologies that allow farmers to turn animal waste into useful energy, as we have been assured there is an unending supply of bullshit in the same area."

(Satire from Deadbrain)


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 December 2005


There are good reasons to query the claims to authority and representative status that are made by and on behalf of the IPCC, and hence to be concerned about the monopoly that it now holds.

To begin with, the principle of creating a single would-be authoritative fount of wisdom is itself open to doubt. Even if the IPCC process were indisputably and consistently rigorous, objective and professionally watertight, it is imprudent for governments to place exclusive reliance, in matters of great complexity where huge uncertainties prevail, on a single source of analysis and advice and a single process of inquiry. Viewed in this light, the very notion of setting consensus as an aim appears as questionable if not ill-judged.

In any case, the ideal conditions have not been realised. The IPCC process is far from being a model of rigour, inclusiveness and objectivity. In particular:

* Its treatment of economic issues is flawed. Writings that feature in the Panel's Third Assessment Report contain what many economists and economic statisticians would regard as basic errors, showing a lack of awareness of relevant published sources; and the same is true of more recent IPCC-related writings, as also of material published by the United Nations Environment Programme which is one of the Panel's two parent agencies. In this area, the IPCC milieu is neither fully competent nor adequately representative.

* The built-in process of peer review, which the IPCC (and the British government with it) view as a guarantee of quality, does not adequately serve this purpose, for two reasons. First, providing for peer review is no safeguard against dubious assumptions, arguments and conclusions if the peers are largely drawn from the same restricted professional milieu. Second, the peer review process as such, here as elsewhere, may be insufficiently searching. As Ross McKitrick has pointed out, its main purpose is to elicit expert advice on whether a paper is worth publishing in a particular journal. Because it does not normally go beyond this, `.peer review does not typically guarantee that data and methods are open to scrutiny or that results are reproducible.'

* In response to criticisms that have been made of published and peer-reviewed work that the IPCC has drawn on, the authors concerned have failed to make full and voluntary disclosure of data and sources. A leading instance of this, referred to in Ross McKitrick's evidence to the Select Committee, is the much-publicised `hockey-stick' study which featured in the IPCC's Third Assessment Report. The issue has been raised, with reference also to another case, in evidence which David Holland has submitted to the Review. In evidence to the Select Committee, Holland pointed to the need `to elevate auditing or replication above peer review and reputation'.

* The response of the Panel's directing circle and milieu to informed criticism has typically been inadequate or dismissive, a fact that was noted by the Select Committee and is well illustrated by the hockey-stick affair. The Response itself provides an up-to-date and conspicuous example: it does not so much address the arguments made by the House of Lords Select Committee as restate, reflex-like, the Whitehall and IPCC party line.

For all these reasons, we hope that the Review will look closely at the claims to objectivity and authoritative status of IPCC reports, and the claims to inclusiveness of its procedures.

More here


U.S. States that are moving forward with legislation to address climate change through mandatory carbon emissions reductions and mandatory emission trading regimes will pay a high economic price for their policies, according Dr. Margo Thorning, senior vice president and chief economist with the American Council for Capital Formation.

The New England Governor/Eastern Canadian premier's agreement (CCAP) which would cap greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2010, reduce the cap to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and then reduce emissions to between 75% to 85% below 2000 levels by about 2050 would have negative impacts on households, workers and state budget receipts according to two analyses prepared by CRA International.

CCAP Impact on Economy:

* Loss of industrial production due to relocating of industries to other states where no emission limits exist;
* Increased energy costs; * Reduction in overall household buying power;
* Loss of state tax revenues; and
* Unfair burden falls to poor and elderly.

A region-wide carbon trading program (in effect a tax) ensures that the marginal cost of abatement is equalized among the 9 states but the cost of buying a permit is high: $244 per tonne of carbon in 2010, rising to $288 per tonne by 2020. Consumers in the 9 states would pay a "tax" of 61 cents in 2010 and 72 cents per gallon of gasoline in 2020 due to the requirement that businesses must buy the right to emit carbon.

In Senator Snowe's state, Maine, the results would be dramatic:

* Job losses of 2,772 by 2010 and 3,229 by 2020;
* Household annual consumption falls by $2,303 in 2010 and by $2039 in 2020;
* State budget receipts decline by $71 million in 2010;
* Poor households pay an additional 3.8% of total expenditures on energy goods;
* Citizens over 65 years old pay out an additional 3.7% of total expenditures on energy; and
* Gross State Production declines by 1.6% by 2020.

While some states may now be contemplating adopting RGGI, which has less arduous targets then the CCAP, the negative economic effects on the states economies would still be significant. "Instead of striking out on their own to purse restrictive policies that harm their economies states should embrace current U.S. climate policies which focus on advanced technology and increasing energy intensity," said Thorning.

The CRA International analysis can be found at the ACCF website



An email to Benny Peiser from Madhav Khandekar ( -- Retd. Scientist, Environment Canada with 48 years in weather & climate science

I would like to comment on the news item "Snow memories will melt away":

It seems Dr David Stevenson of School of Geosciences, Edinburgh has too much faith in the unverified computer models which project future climate for 2050 and beyond. Allow me to give an example of such a simplistic global warming projection made in an Environment Canada report published in early 1980s which categorically stated that in the next 20/25 years, by early 2000, ski activity in southern and central Ontario will vanish due to lack of snow as a result of global warming!

Let us look at the reality: snow accumulation in central and parts of southern Ontario has increased in last few years. This year, ski season opened in some areas of central Ontario by mid-November, almost one full month ahead of official/astronomical winter season date, December 22. There is plenty of snow at present in snow-belt areas of southern and central Ontario and more snow is being forecast for the next couple of days. Elsewhere, in eastern Canada, lots of snow has already piled up in cities like Halifax, Nova Scotia and more snow is on the way!

Climate models' projections made 25 years ago have no resemblance to reality. Climate models' projections made even five years ago do not resemble present reality. As I have pointed out in my Letter to Editor, Toronto Star, it is time to abandon the global warming projections of climate models. The models have NO CREDIBILITY!


The definition of insanity, it has frequently been said, is to keep trying something that clearly doesn't work - like the Kyoto Protocol, for instance. The international treaty is supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus reduce global warming, but it doesn't and won't - a fact that hardly prevented most participants at a recent U.N. conference in Montreal from urging more of the same.

Maybe they should have considered this: Even if Kyoto's assumptions all are true and that all industrialized nations fulfilled its goals, climate change would be affected by about one-tenth of a Celsius degree by mid-century. As one scientist emphasizing the point has said, that is simply insignificant.

Maybe they should have puzzled over reports showing that most signatories to that treaty have so far fallen well short of those goals while the United States, which was not a signatory, has performed better than a number of them. Signing a treaty can sometimes be a grand moral gesture - and only that, a gesture.

Maybe they should have granted that many of the scare stories about global warming have been successfully debunked. Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia, for instance, showed what foolishness it was to claim tens of thousands of deaths from global warming each year - a piece of academic hysteria that makes you think the authors of a paper on the subject should start writing headlines for grocery-store tabloids. Michaels notes, among other things, how technologies reliant on gas-emitting fossil fuels have vastly increased life expectancy, in effect "saving a billion lives."

Maybe the Montreal conferees should have acknowledged that the costs of Kyoto would be enormous, despite what former President Bill Clinton said in a speech - that it would not hurt the U.S. economy. Experts from his own administration have said the economic consequences could be dire, but you don't have to be an expert to know you don't get something for nothing. For the sake of trivial results, Kyoto could inflict misery on hundreds of thousands of people. For the most part, those doing the suffering would be the most vulnerable among us, the poorest and least educated. Commentator James Glassman tells us of a study showing that one proposal for cutting emissions in four European countries could put 1.5 million people out of work.

Is there a better way? Yes, and the United States has found it. The Bush administration wants more study of global warming. Despite absolutist-like assurances from any number of newspaper stories, much remains highly arguable about the long-term rate of warming, the amount attributable to human causes and the environmental impact. The more we know, the likelier our solutions are to be the right ones.

The solution most favored by the administration is to develop ways of making fossil-fuel emissions cleaner and energy sources that do not send heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. Its commitment for research is $3 billion a year. Among the countries it is working with along these lines are China and India, neither of which has signed on to Kyoto and both of which will consume whopping amounts of energy as their fast-paced development continues.

The bet here is that the U.S. approach - which is nowhere as dependent on governmental command-and-control as Kyoto - will be successful in ways that will far exceed any Kyoto accomplishments. The holier-than-thou Kyoto crowd doesn't see it that way, of course. They speak of the United States as isolated on the issue. OK. Fine. The United States is isolated, but sane.



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 December 2005


Imagine that an emergency made the need for blood transfusions especially urgent but Jehovah Witnesses were in charge. That's what we are experiencing now, only not with blood but oil supply. In that case the Jehovah Witnesses are the environmentalists....

The country has been terribly dependent on imported oil and that would not be so bad if the oil were owned by reasonable people abroad, people who, like reason would guide one to do, wished to earn a decent living off their good fortune and hard work. That would make for healthy trade between, say, the oil rich Saudi Arabians or Venezuelans and the rest of the world.

Sadly, however, as things are, the oil abroad is under the control of a bunch of rouge states that (a) use it to make the population addicted to free lunches that can only last so long and (b) play geopolitical games instead of conduct trade with people outside their borders. This makes is especially crucial that the rest of the world institute rational economic policies when it comes to oil exploration, extraction and refinement.

No, of course oil will not last forever. But it could do us a lot more good without irrational restraint of production and trade that's often brought about by the irrational exuberance of too many environmentalists who haven't found an oil rig they didn't hate or an oil refinery they didn't want to ban.

Even in a time of emergency, such as many Americans had and are still reeling from involving the hurricanes, instead of retreating in shame of how little they care about human well-being, both the environmentalists and their political pawns in Washington prefer dragging a bunch of oil company executives in front of pontificating Congressional committees and subjecting them to various attempts to humiliation, as if their duties were first to appease the politicos rather than enrich all those who own oil stocks (which, by the way, includes millions of people who are far from "fat cats," whoever that insulting term is supposed to refer to).

Oh, yes, about that gauging issue-no doubt some folks love to exploit other people's dire needs, but it is simply impossible to know from afar who is doing this as opposed to taking reasonable advantage of having prudently saved up (horded) resources while others gave not a fig about a rainy day. If one thinks charging high prices for goods and services in short supply is a bad thing, we might as well shut down all labor unions which flourish by advocating that policy, or doctors who actually live by it (given how they are mostly needed and diligently charge for this when their patients are in dire need of their expertise).

Anyway, I look at environmental opposition to oil exploration in, say, Alaska, or offshore, or anywhere, as rank obstructionism and the cause of much misery, especially to those who can least afford or cope with it.

This is just what you get when people's value systems have become so warped that they are willing to put trees, snail darters, and rare frogs ahead of human lives and well-being on their list of priorities. But, like the Jehovah Witnesses or Christian Scientists, if they do it to themselves, that can only be argued with in a free country. But if they inflict their perverse notions on us all, they should be stopped.

More here


Which could go a long way to explain the recent slight warming, despite the denials

Sunspots have been more common in the past seven decades than at any time in the last 8,000 years, according to a new historic reconstruction of solar activity. Many researchers have tried to link sunspot activity to climate change, but the new results cannot be used to explain global warming, according to the scientists who did the study.

Sunspots are areas of intense magnetic energy. They act like temporary caps on upwelling matter, and they are the sites of occasional ferocious eruptions of light and electrified gas. More sunspots generally means increased solar activity. Sunspots have been studied directly for about four centuries, and these direct observations provide the most reliable historic record of solar activity. Previous studies have suggested cooler periods on Earth were related to long stretches with low sunspot counts. From the 1400s to the 1700s, for example, Europe and North America experienced a "Little Ice Age." For a period of about 50 years during that time, there were almost no sunspots. But a firm connection between sunspot numbers and climate remains elusive, many scientists say.

The new study, led by Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, employed a novel approach to pinning down sunspot activity going back 11,400 years: Cosmic rays constantly bombard Earth's atmosphere. Chemical interactions create a fairly constant source of stuff called carbon-14, which falls to Earth and is absorbed and retained by trees. But charged particles hurled at Earth by active sunspots deflect cosmic rays. So when the Sun gets wild, trees record less carbon-14. While trees don't typically live more than a few hundred years or perhaps a couple thousand, dead and buried trees, if preserved, carry a longer record, "as long as tree rings can be identified," said Manfred Schuessler, another Max Planck Institute researcher who worked on the study.

The study's finding: Sunspot activity has been more intense and lasted longer during the past 60 to 70 years than at anytime in more than eight millennia. Sunspot activity is known to ebb and flow in two cycles lasting 11 and 88 years (activity is currently headed toward a short-term minimum). Astronomers think that longer cycles -- or at least long-term variations -- also occur. Scientists in other fields have shown that during the past 11,000 years, Earth's climate has had many dramatic shifts. "Whether solar activity is a dominant influence in these [climate] changes is a subject of intense debate," says Paula Reimer, a researcher at Queen's University Belfast who wrote an analysis of the new study for Nature. Why? Because "the exact relationship of solar irradiance to sunspot number is still uncertain."

In general, studies indicate changes in solar output affect climate during periods lasting decades or centuries, "but this interpretation is controversial because it is not based on any understanding of the relevant physical processes," study member Schuessler told Translation: Scientists have a lot to learn about the Sun-Earth connection.

More here

Unsustainable Climate Research

"The environmental debate in recent years has centered on the concept of `sustainability'. The basic idea is that our use of natural resources (or the production of greenhouse gases that are infamously blamed for global warming) should be at a slower rate, one that is sustainable. There are two main shortcomings I see with `sustainability' arguments. First, for a truly irreplaceable resource (lets say petroleum) for which there is only a finite supply, any rate of use will be unsustainable. Eventually, we will run out. Similarly, if indeed global warming turns out to be a real problem, no rate of increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases is sustainable. Second, the sustainability argument neglects the proven role of technological advances that, historically, make sustainability a moot point.

Nevertheless, there are a few areas where sustainability looks like a useful concept. For instance, assuming humans will always need food, the organic matter that is removed from the ground to make food should be replaced with compost, to rebuild the soil. This practice is now widespread, especially in the U.S. But quite often, worries over sustainability end up being unfounded. At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States had a major pollution problem in its cities -- horse manure. An estimated 175,000 horses in New York City caused such a stinking mess (especially in summer) and threat to human health that even the daily removal and disposal of hundreds of tons of manure could not fix the problem. I'm sure that, if the government had funded research into the horse manure problem back then, environmental researchers would have predicted that by the year 1930, New York City streets would be covered to a depth of six feet in manure on a daily basis. For a very real problem that citizens actually experienced on a daily basis, this must have seemed like an inescapable fate for society. Yet, the automobile came along, solving the horse manure problem.

Fifty years ago we had enough known petroleum reserves to last about another thirty years. I remember in the early 1970's there was widespread concern, made worse by the oil embargo, that the world was running out of oil. Yet, fifty years later, we still have thirty years supply left. How can this be? The reason, of course, is that it costs money to discover new oil, and there is no economic incentive for the petroleum industry to find more than is necessary. Surely there is only so much oil left to be found, though, and so our use of petroleum is, ultimately, unsustainable. But does this mean we should worry about running out of oil?

It is more than a little ironic in this era of environmental sustainability issues that environmental researchers in the United Kingdom have recently found their jobs to be unsustainable. The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is slated to close four research centers, consolidating operations at four remaining centers, with up to 200 of 600 researchers losing their jobs. A spokeswoman for the Centre explained, "The council has recognized for some time that the current structure of the center is unsustainable..". While I'm sure that this development holds no humor for those affected, couching the problem in terms of sustainability sure brought a smile to my face.

The United States government has spent over $18 billion since 1990 on climate change research. Since zero research dollars would have led to zero environmental problems to report in scientific journals, it is easy to see that the number of sustainability issues we face is roughly proportional to how much money we put into finding them. Not that I'm against climate research, since that's how I make a living. I sure don't want my job to be declared unsustainable.

And yet, some day my job will be gone, and a new societal issue will arise that requires different research skills to tackle. Global warming is the current fashion, leading to dire predictions about what will happen 50 or 100 years down the road. In science, it is a truism that it is dangerous to extrapolate a current trend far into the future. Similarly, we continue to ignore the historical evidence that beyond 20 or 30 years, we really can't know what the future holds, simply because we can't predict the technological advances that will eventually make the old problems evaporate.

But lessons from history don't keep professional hand-wringers from predicting gloom and doom, and the media from reporting the same. (I sometimes wonder, if there were no bad news to report, would the media still exist in order to report good news? Or would their jobs be found unsustainable as well?)

Entire organizations have been renamed to include `Sustainable' as part of their title. For instance, the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development; the Sustainable Development Networking Programme; the U.S. Department of Energy's Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development; the International Institute for Sustainable Development; and so on. I predict that the use of the word `sustainable' in the names of organizations will soon be found to be unsustainable.

Just as the deepening horse manure crisis was alleviated by the introduction of the automobile over a century ago, I suspect that our current worries over global warming will evaporate in the coming decades. Of course, it will be in part the concern over global warming that will help to usher in new energy technologies, and so the tension created by environmental problems helps to motivate eventual solutions.

But current policy proposals that create economic harm and do little to solve the problem (for instance, the Kyoto Protocol) don't help to facilitate this process. Even though the United States' position that technological advancement should be the focus of global warming solutions, much of the rest of the world considers the U.S. to be obstructing progress on the global warming issue. The insistence that command-and-control approaches like Kyoto must be adopted are starting to sound suspiciously like excuses for wealth redistribution, increasing control over countries by the UN, and increased tax rates.

Even though it is fashionable for now, `sustainability' is not a very useful concept. In the final analysis, only change is sustainable. I just hope that, in the climate research arena, my job remains sustainable until I retire".


Ethical quagmire for environmentalists: Choosing a tree: "The cultural minefield of December has another politically loaded question to tiptoe around: Will you purchase a real tree or an artificial one? And then, what will you call it? Your answer will speak to your commitment to protecting American jobs, reducing the trade deficit, preventing environmental destruction, helping us breathe and, of course, showing where you stand on the Rev. Jerry Falwell's efforts to counter what he calls the anti-Christian 'war on Christmas.' The choice between real and not real is especially painful for some environmentalists. Either they desecrate the Earth and chop down a tree or buy a fake one that's full of landfill-clogging polyvinyl chloride, which is kryptonite to greenies. Salting a tree with pesticides, then chopping it down for a mere two weeks of display time isn't a great option."


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 December 2005


Before he'd even touched back on home soil this week, Ian Campbell had a triumphant message for Australian industry - the Kyoto Protocol is dead. So too was any suggestion that Australia had erred by choosing not to ratify the global greenhouse reduction treaty. The fact that Australia remained outside Kyoto was "just such a non-issue", the federal Environment Minister said, fresh from the latest international climate conference in Montreal....

The Australian Industry Greenhouse Network, which represents carbon-intensive industries such as electricity, petroleum, aluminium and coal, supports the Government's policy of developing clean technology to reduce greenhouse emissions, most specifically through the Asia Pacific partnership which meets for the first time next month. The network also maintains that the Government's resistance to the protocol, which sets binding emission reduction targets for developed countries but allows them to mitigate the cost through mechanisms such as carbon trading, has saved the Australian economy from certain decline. AIGN chief John Daley says resisting Kyoto has freed Australian industry to capitalise on rising demand from India and China for our coal, uranium, LNG and aluminium - all products that create carbon emissions during extraction or manufacturing. "That side is going to be important for Australia because we are uniquely dominated by energy-intensive industries," Daley says.

Coal exports to China in 2004 were worth $400 million - twice the value of just two years earlier. BHP is ramping up its uranium production as Europe turns back to the less carbon-intensive nuclear power, and demand for LNG has never been higher. The Australian economy would be in a much sadder state were it not for the demand for our natural resources, Daley says. Economist Warwick McKibbin agrees that China's demand for coal has added "perhaps a percentage point to Australia's annual growth".....

But the federal Government rejects the notion of any sort of domestic carbon tax, arguing it would push up electricity prices and make Australia uncompetitive. Daley agrees. "Everyone accepts that there will be price signals for carbon and we will eventually join an international carbon trading market (that will likely exclude the poorest nations)," he says. "But the appropriate policy action is not to impose a tax now. It wouldn't hurry industry up. It would just get them offside and encourage them to migrate to countries which don't care about that stuff like the Middle East and Russia."

That's not how Australia's largest coal and uranium producer, BHP Billiton, sees it. In a statement to The Weekend Australian it said: "We support the development of market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading which will establish carbon prices provided that the measures are broad-based, efficient and are phased in such that industry has time to adjust."

AIGN and the Australian Aluminium Industry - a vocal member which relies heavily on cheap coal-fired power - say it is senseless to place an impost on fossil fuels if commercially viable alternative technologies do not yet exist to replace them. Clean coal technologies are still at least 20 years away from commercial application.

The article excerpted above goes on further to discuss nebulous future problems for Australia's policy

Keeping Kyoto on life support

The Montreal conference on climate change ended in agreement - much to everybody's surprise

The nature of the agreement has been heavily spun. UK environment secretary Margaret Beckett described it as 'a diplomatic triumph'. In truth, all that was agreed was that there would be more talks in the future with no deadlines, no targets and no obligations. The real reason for the triumphalism is that the Americans didn't walk out altogether. The Kyoto process is not dead, but it may be in a permanent vegetative state.

One of the many strange things about the Kyoto protocol is that its biggest defenders are also its biggest breachers. The treaty demands that global emissions of six greenhouse gases fall by 5.2 per cent compared with 1990 levels over the period from 2008-2012. Yet its biggest supporters are failing miserably in this effort. Emissions for the EU are supposed to fall by eight per cent but the 15 longest-standing members of the Union will manage cuts of only 2.5 per cent by 2012. Canada, supposed to achieve a six per cent decrease in that period, is currently producing 24 per cent more emissions than in 1990.

That world leaders will still pay lip service to Kyoto, even as they fail to live up to its demands, demonstrate the extent to which environmentalism has become about moral posturing more than practical measures.

The failure of some nations to fulfil Kyoto hasn't stopped them from lecturing the US on its failure to sign up. Canadian prime minister Paul Martin said in his speech to open the talks at Montreal: 'The time is past to pretend that any nation can stand alone, isolated from the global community, for there is but one Earth and we share it, and there can be no hiding on any island, in any city, within any country, no matter how prosperous, from the consequences of inaction.' (Martin raps US over Kyoto accord (Globe and Mail, 8 December 2005)

Despite the rhetoric, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the terms of the Kyoto protocol won't be met because they are unacceptably expensive, particularly in economies that are already floundering. Even then, Kyoto is pointless for two reasons: firstly, the emissions cuts are by common consensus too small to have any noticeable effect on climate change, even if the USA were involved; secondly, because Kyoto excludes fast-developing countries like China. China's rapid development of coal-fired power stations would wipe out the Kyoto cuts in months.

So, why all the fuss about the Montreal agreement? From the point of view of the environmental lobby that has been pushing for a souped-up 'Son of Kyoto' with even bigger emissions cuts, it means they are still in the game. As long as politicians still talk about climate change as a major problem, they have the potential to wield influence.

To that end, the new Tory leader's decision to set up a 'Quality of Life' commission under the leadership of former environment minister John Gummer (and including eco-luminaries such as Zac Goldsmith) illustrates that politicians still think there's something useful to be achieved by pushing an environmentalist agenda.

However, the goals seem to be more political and moral than practical. Environmental awareness is about learning the lesson that the planet has been screwed up by human beings. In an era where economic and social progress has slowed to a crawl, the notion that reining in growth is actually a positive thing, not a failure, is very attractive to a political class in search of a mission.

It is attractive at a diplomatic level, too. For the EU in particular, setting itself up as the polar opposite of the USA on just about every issue is important as a means of creating a sense of unity and purpose. In this particular fable, America is the bogeyman, not just on Iraq, but also on its insistence in striving for increased wealth at the expense of the planet. The irony is that the US record on emissions is, if anything, better than Europe's despite refusing to ratify Kyoto.

This moral message might suit the leaders of Europe and Canada, but its effect is ultimately destructive. It calls into question the ability of humanity to do anything useful to make society in the future better than it is now, and it acts a huge diversion from dealing with much more pressing problems.

The Montreal agreement kept Kyoto on life-support but, if we are to focus the energies of society effectively, it would be better if someone pulled the plug.



They just dither instead

Nine Northeastern U.S. states that have attempted to break with the Bush Administration and form a regional greenhouse gas market have failed to agree on how the plan would work. New York Gov. George Pataki, like Bush a Republican, founded the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which seeks to create a carbon market similar to the European Union's carbon market that was created by the Kyoto Protocol.

But late on Wednesday Massachusetts and Rhode Island balked on agreeing to a deadline on December 15 on how the program would work and Connecticut also wavered, a spokesman for Pataki said. The Northeastern states hope their initiative and one being planned in West Coast states could lead to a federal program. The Bush administration favors voluntary means of reducing greenhouse gases over mandatory measures.

RGGI seeks to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the gases most scientists believe are warming the planet, at power plants by 10 percent by 2020. "We are greatly disappointed that after two and a half years of productive work, we have been unable to reach a final agreement with all the states that have participated in RGGI," said Pataki spokesman Peter Constantakes. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had already delayed a public agreement on the plan from December 1, when 10,000 delegates were gathered in Montreal to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol, to December 15.

Last week, Romney, also a Republican, proposed rules for his state alone that would cap the price that companies would have to pay for carbon dioxide credits. While Pataki does not oppose the idea of such a "safety-valve" on the price of carbon credits, he did not support Romney's proposed price in the regional plan.

Business groups including the New England Council and the American Council for Capital Formation have said that if RGGI is ever enacted it would boost electricity costs. They also say plants in RGGI states would be tempted to relocate to other states that would not have carbon dioxide limits.

But Pataki has said RGGI could lead to only a modest increase at first and that it would save customers money down the road as power plants get more efficient.

President George W. Bush withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, saying it was bad for the economy and unfairly left big developing nations like China and India without mandatory caps.

Though the split between the Northeastern governors has been growing wider, no state is officially out of the program yet.



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 December, 2005


The arrest of six animal rights activists and environmental radicals last week is the clearest sign in years that law-enforcement authorities now are able to infiltrate the shadowy world of "ecoterrorism." But the apprehension of four men and two women in five states around the country - all charged with firebombings and other criminal acts committed years ago in the Pacific Northwest - also indicates how hard it is to do that.

While the arrests are significant, many more crimes carried out in the name of protecting animals and the environment remain unsolved. The FBI reports 1,200 such incidents in recent years, ranging from vandalism and the freeing of lab rats to the torching of housing developments and auto dealerships that sell sport utility vehicles. Property damage has totaled more than $200 million, according to members of Congress sponsoring legislation intended to hamper the trend.

Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) usually claim credit for such acts. But as far as law-enforcement officials can tell, there is little organization or structure to the groups. Attackers act alone or in small numbers, adhere to strict security measures in communications and operations, and make use of accessible, unsophisticated equipment like cheap timers.

"Preventing such criminal activity has become increasingly difficult, in large part because extremists in these movements are very knowledgeable about the letter of the law and the limits of law enforcement," said John Lewis, a counterterrorism FBI official, at a congressional hearing. "Moreover, they are highly autonomous."

Among other things, the activists arrested last week are charged with attacks on a lumber company, a meat plant, an electrical transmission tower, and a US Department of Agriculture animal research facility, all taking place between 1998 and 2001. Over the years, none of the attacks has caused fatalities or major injuries. Environmental and animal rights activists typically say their "direct actions" are meant to avoid harming people and animals. But threats and other forms of aggressive intimidation directed at researchers, company officials, their families, and others have been escalating. Jerry Vlasak, a California physician opposed to the use of animals in medical research, is a spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office. At a recent congressional hearing, Dr. Vlasak insisted that "using any means necessary" to stop people from hurting animals "would be a morally justifiable solution to the problem." When asked if that included killing people, he didn't deny it.

US lawmakers recently proposed legislation targeted at what Sen. James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma calls "ecoterror groups." It increases penalties for anyone convicted of causing economic disruption or damage, or for placing a person "in reasonable fear of death or bodily harm ... because of their relationship with an animal enterprise." Meanwhile, courts have not hesitated to impose stiff sentences in such cases. One environmental activist was sentenced to 22 years in prison for burning three SUVs at a car dealership in Eugene, Ore. Two of those arrested last week could face life in prison if convicted of arson and using an incendiary device.

Though attacks by some radical activists continue, officials believe they are better able to prevent or prosecute them. "We are making progress," the FBI's Lewis told a Senate committee in October.


Environmentalism as a Cover for Collectivism

In 1986, Gale Norton was 32 and working for the secretary of the interior on matters pertaining to the proposal to open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- area 1002 -- to drilling for oil and natural gas, a proposal that then had already been a bone of contention for several years. Today Norton is the secretary of the interior and is working on opening ANWR. But this interminable argument actually could end soon with Congress authorizing drilling. That would be good for energy policy and excellent for the nation's governance.

Area 1002 is 1.5 million of ANWR's 19 million acres. In 1980, a Democratic-controlled Congress at the behest of President Carter set area 1002 aside for possible energy exploration. Since then, although there are active oil and gas wells in at least 36 U.S. wildlife refuges, stopping drilling in ANWR has become sacramental for environmentalists who speak about it the way Wordsworth wrote about the Lake Country.

Few opponents of energy development in what they call ``pristine'' ANWR have visited it. Those who have and think it is ``pristine'' must have visited during the 56 days a year when it is without sunlight. They missed the roads, stores, houses, military installations, airstrip and school. They did not miss seeing the trees in area 1002. There are no trees. Opponents worry that the caribou will be disconsolate about, and their reproduction disrupted by, this intrusion by man. The same was said 30 years ago by opponents of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that brings heated oil south from Prudhoe Bay. Since the oil began flowing, the caribou have increased from 5,000 to 31,000. Perhaps the pipeline's heat makes them amorous.

Ice roads and helicopter pads, which will melt each spring, will minimize man's footprint, which will be on a 2,000-acre plot about one-fifth the size of Washington's Dulles Airport. Nevertheless, opponents say the environmental cost is too high for what the ineffable John Kerry calls ``a few drops of oil.'' Some drops. The estimated 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- such estimates frequently underestimate actual yields -- could supply all the oil needs of Kerry's Massachusetts for 75 years.

Flowing at 1 million barrels a day -- equal to 20 percent of today's domestic oil production -- ANWR oil would almost equal America's daily imports from Saudi Arabia. And it would equal the supply loss that Katrina temporarily caused, and that caused so much histrionic distress among consumers. Lee Raymond, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, says that if the major oil companies decided that 10 billion barrels were an amount too small to justify exploration and development projects, many current and future projects around the world would be abandoned.

But for many opponents of drilling in ANWR, the debate is only secondarily about energy and the environment. Rather, it is a disguised debate about elemental political matters. For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society's politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end. The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society's balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America -- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. This is done in the name of equality. People are to be conscripted into one large cohort, everyone equal (although not equal in status or power to the governing class) in their status as wards of a self-aggrandizing government. Government says the constant enlargement of its supervising power is necessary for the equitable or efficient allocation of scarce resources.

Therefore, one of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern -- the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.

A quarter of a century of this tactic applied to ANWR is about 24 years too many. If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002, there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism

(From George Will)


Yesterday Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced an Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform bill that he claims will offer "incentives" to property owners to help recover endangered species. However, according to The National Center for Public Policy Research, the "Collaboration and Recovery of Endangered Species Act" (CRESA) offers perks to large landowners and developers at the expense of small property owners and rare species. "Senator Crapo's contribution to property rights is like Britain's contribution to fine cuisine - a contribution best not made," said David Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research.

According to the Liberty Matters News Service, just three years ago, in defense of his position on another property rights issue, Senator Crapo wrote: "My record in Congress includes attempts to get direct financial payments to private property owners who suffer a loss in property valuation due to threats from federal agencies over endangered species or other wildlife issues." Yet Senator Crapo's ESA bill does not offer any direct payments to American landowners whose land values are harmed due to endangered species regulations. Instead, CRESA establishes a system whereby landowners are forced to sign away property rights in return for tax credits.

"The House of Representatives recently passed an ESA reform bill that promises to give property owners 100 percent direct compensation for their lost rights. Incredibly, Senator Crapo's bill seeks to undo this," said Peyton Knight, director of environmental and regulatory affairs for The National Center. "For property rights advocates, CRESA snatches defeat from the jaws of victory."

Since its enactment in 1973, the ESA has penalized landowners for good stewardship. Farmers, ranchers, tree farmers, homeowners and others who harbor endangered species or habitat on their property are subjected to severe land-use restrictions that can lead to economic ruin. In much of rural America, the ESA has unnecessarily turned landowners and endangered species into enemies. In order to prevent their property from falling under the ESA's land-use controls, landowners have preemptively "sterilized" their land to rid it of species and habitat. "Unfortunately, Senator Crapo's ESA bill fails to fix this disastrous law," said National Center Senior Fellow R.J. Smith. "It would remain bad for people and bad for species. Rather than creating a win-win situation by ending the taking of property of good stewards, he tries to make a broken Act work by adorning it with gimmicks - much like the futile efforts of Ptolemaic astronomy to save an Earth-centered universe. It will fail, until Congress creates an ESA built on the use of property rights as the basis for species recovery. Ten years ago Rep. Crapo cosponsored the Shadegg bill, which would have worked voluntarily with private landowners. What happened? It's time to save America's small landowners and homeowners as well as species and their habitat."

CRESA would offer tax incentives for approved conservation efforts, but for property owners to receive tax credits equal to their full costs (lost fair market value plus out-of-pocket conservation program expenses), they must enter binding agreements of not less than 99 years. And, as this is only a tax credit, even a 99-year commitment wouldn't be enough for property owners to get back all of their costs. "This scheme would make even Charles Ponzi blush," said David Ridenour. "It promises only a partial return on investment, yet saddles a future generation with regulatory requirements."

CRESA also includes a provision that would establish an ill-defined conservation credit trading mechanism to permit landowners to earn credits for conservation efforts that could either be applied toward other development projects or sold on the open market.

The National Center believes such a mechanism poses risks to both species and property owners. "Landowners who earn credits would have a vested interest in increasing the value of their credits," said Knight. "The value can be increased by either more stringent regulation or reduced species populations that require a reduction in the number of credits available."

Ridenour adds: "In the classic film 'It's a Wonderful Life,' George Bailey asks Mr. Potter if it is too much to have people 'work, pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath' of their own. Judging from Senator Crapo's ESA bill, he apparently thinks it is too much to ask." "Furthermore," said Ridenour, "In 'It's a Wonderful Life' George Bailey is given the opportunity to see what life would have been like had he never been born. After seeing his old boss a penniless drunk, his mother destitute, his uncle in an insane asylum, his wife a hopeless spinster, his brother's tombstone and his quaint hometown a place of decadence, he begs God to allow him to 'live again.' We've had a chance to see what the ESA would be without property rights. Let species and property rights live again."


Criticisms of "hockeystick" claim supported

(Post lifted from Climate Audit)

Obviously one of the major themes of the M&M ["hockeystick"] articles is the remarkable lack of robustness of MBH98. Buerger and Cubasch, hot off the press at GRL, asks the following question:

whether or not the MBH98 and relative approaches are robust, including the predictor selection issues as argued by McIntyre and McKitrick [2005a], is the subject of the current study.

They conclude:
Without a model error estimate and without techniques to keep it small, it is not clear how these methods can be salvaged to become robust.

They cite both our 2005 articles approvingly.

They introduce the issue as follows:

a number of methodological issues [were] left unsettled in the original version [of MBH98], and which after several critical remarks [cf. McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003] led to the publication of a corrigendum. The discussion, nevertheless, continued [von Storch et al., 2004, McIntyre and McKitrick, 2005a, 2005b; Rutherford et al., 2005; Buerger et al., 2005], indicating that several issues are still unsettled, all related to the problem of reproducibility and robustness. For instance, assertions made by MBH98 and later about certain steps (such as rescaling) being ``insensitive'' to the method were hard to quantify and thus of little help. Buerger et al. [2005] showed that the method is, on the contrary, highly sensitive to the variation of 5 independent standard criteria (as we call the steps here), resulting in an entire spectrum of possible climate histories.

They conclude as follows:

Any robust, regression-based method of deriving past climatic variations from proxies is therefore inherently trapped by variations seen at the training stage, that is, in the instrumental period. The more one leaves that scale and the farther the estimated regression laws are extrapolated the less robust the method is. The described error growth is particularly critical for parameter-intensive, multi-proxy climate field reconstructions of the MBH98 type. Here, for example, colinearity and overfitting induce considerable error already in the estimation phase. To salvage such methods, two things are required: First, a sound mathematical derivation of the model error and, second, perhaps more sophisticated regularization schemes that can keep this error small. This might help to select the best among the 64, and certainly many more possible variants. In view of the relatively short verifiable period not much room is left.

I wonder how long it will take realclimate to break the bad news?

Reference: Buerger, G., and U. Cubasch (2005), Are multiproxy climate reconstructions robust?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L23711.


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 December, 2005


A woman charged with damaging a transmission tower also is suspected in half a dozen other ecoterror crimes, including a firebombing at a Colorado ski resort, one of the costliest such crimes in the U.S. Chelsea Gerlach was ordered held without bail after Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Engdahl made the allegations against her.

Federal public defender Craig Weinerman argued that the evidence against Gerlach was meager. Gerlach, 28, was among six people arrested in five states last week on indictments alleging they set fires and damaged property between 1998 and 2001 in Oregon and Washington. The Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front took responsibility for most of the crimes. Gerlach, of Portland, is charged with helping two others topple a Bonneville Power Administration high-tension line 25 miles east of Bend in 1999.

Engdahl said he will present evidence to a grand jury Wednesday seeking indictments against Gerlach in a 1999 meatpacking fire in Eugene and a 2001 firebombing at a tree farm in Clatskanie. The prosecutor also said Gerlach is suspected in the 1998 firebombing of the ski resort at Vail, Colo. Four buildings and four chairlifts at the top of the mountain were damaged or destroyed, and damages were set at $12 million. No one has been arrested in the case, despite a reward offer of $50,000. Engdahl said she is suspected as well in a 1998 attempted arson at Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals in Rock Springs, Wyo.; a 1999 the arson at a Boise Cascade office in Monmouth, Ore.; and a 2001 firebombing of a University of Washington horticultural research center in Seattle.

Weinerman said the evidence against Gerlach so far amounted only to statements from two informants involved in the meatpacking plant arson.

More here

"Save the World" Enviros Are Killing Millions of African Kids

They've been at it again. In Montreal, a bunch of politicians and activists just finished another round of negotiations among themselves about just how much of our freedom to take away in pursuit of a greener planet. That's "green," as in "envious" -- of the people who were able to invent, build industries and develop economies in generations past, before the environmentalists convinced world "leaders" that products that improve human life, and the factories that make those products, must be limited in the name of the Earth.

Meanwhile, in Ntinda, Uganda, that country's vice president was calling on world leaders to help save human lives -- by supporting Uganda's use of a chemical the fear of which galvanized the environmental movement decades ago. On the surface, these are two different environmental stories: one about chemicals that supposedly might raise temperatures, and one about a chemical that can damage eggshells. But the underlying issue is the same: Should the law promote human life, or should it sacrifice human beings and their quality of life on the altar of Gaia?

Two to three million people die of malaria every year, Uganda's health minister has said, because the U.S. government is afraid of a chemical called DDT. The United States does spend your tax dollars trying to fight malaria in Africa, but it won't fund DDT. The money goes for things like mosquito netting over beds (even though not everyone in Africa even has a bed). The office that dispenses those funds, the Agency for International Development, acknowledges DDT is safe, but it will not spend a penny on it. Why? Fifty years ago, Americans sprayed tons of DDT everywhere. Farmers used it to repel bugs, and health officials to fight mosquitoes that carry malaria. Nobody worried much about chemicals then. People really did just sit there and eat in clouds of DDT. When the trucks came to spray, people often acted as if the ice cream truck had come. They were so happy to have mosquitoes repelled. Huge amounts of DDT were sprayed on food and people, who just breathed it in. Did they all get cancer and die? Nope.

Amazingly, there's no evidence that all this spraying hurt people. It killed mosquitoes. (DDT also kills bedbugs, which are now making a comeback.) It did cause some harm, however. It threatened bird populations by thinning eggshells. In 1962, the book "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson made the damage famous and helped create our fear of chemicals. The book raised some serious questions about the use of DDT, but the legitimate nature of those questions was lost in the media feeding frenzy that followed. DDT was a "Killer Chemical," and the press was off on another fear campaign. DDT was banned.

But fear campaigns kill people, too. DDT is a great pesticide. The amount was the reason for the DDT problems. We sprayed far more than is needed to prevent the spread of malaria. It's sprayed on walls, and one spraying will keep mosquitoes at bay for half a year. It's a very efficient malaria fighter. But today, DDT is rarely used. America's demonization of it caused others to shun it. And while the U.S. government spends tax money fighting malaria in Africa, it refuses to put that money into DDT. It might save lives, but it might offend environmentalist zealots and create political fallout.

DDT was banned in America after we started celebrating Earth Day. Environmentalists made a lot of claims then -- I have an amusing clip of an environmentalist exclaiming, "You are breathing probably the last of the oxygen!" Soon after that the environmentalists mounted their campaign against DDT. The result? A huge resurgence of malaria, more than 50 million dead, mostly children. "If it's a chemical, it must be bad," said scientist Amir Attaran. "If it's DDT, it must be awful. And that's fine if you're a rich, white environmentalist. It's not so fine if you're a poor black kid who is about to lose his life from malaria."

Attaran is leading a campaign of hundreds of scientists urging the use of DDT to combat malaria. It's needed especially in Africa, he says, because malaria kills thousands there every day. "If I were to characterize what USAID does on malaria," he said, "I'd call it medical malpractice, I would call it murderous."



The leader of a manufacturing pressure group is calling on the Government to lift a 'green' tax which he claims could destroy thousands of businesses. Stan Hardy, the projects director of the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM), will tomorrow urge Environment Minister Elliot Morley to impose a moratorium on the Climate Change Levy.

The levy was introduced in April 2001, as part of the Government's strategy to cut the UK's greenhouse emissions by 12 per cent by 2010. It taxes companies' energy use, and partly offsets this through a reduction in employers' National Insurance contributions. Mr Hardy said the moratorium was vital, because his 400 members were already reeling from massive increases in energy costs. He claimed that the Government, having failed to meet environmental targets set by the Kyoto Protocol, was hitting the easiest industries first. The Kyoto agreement aims to curb gas emissions which are believed to be partly responsible for global warming.

Mr Hardy added: "Perhaps it (the Government) should look at its beloved service sector industries which use far more energy than manufacturing, or do they believe that the service sector is powered by Tinkerbell or Father Christmas? We want to see this relaxation of emission targets continued through to the original target date and certainly until 2010. We also want to see an early resolution of the long-running bizarre situation whereby heat treatment and the use of lasers are not permitted activities for levy rebate."

Mr Hardy will raise the issue when he meets Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in January. "My meeting with John Prescott is opportune in that we have a shared interest in promoting UK sales and business in and with China," he said. "But there may well be a massive attrition of UK companies thanks to the energy and Climate Change Levy situation and an increase in offshoring and joint ventures which will export UK jobs and skills overseas. "This isn't what Mr Prescott wants, nor can the country afford it. Mr Prescott was intimately involved in the Kyoto agreement and I believe that if we are able to have a full and frank debate, we can achieve an agreement which meets the needs of both the Government and industry."

Mr Hardy said the Climate Change Levy was having a particularly damaging impact in Yorkshire, where the CBM has 100 members. Mr Hardy was also concerned about the UK's loss of "strategic control" over its energy supply, with many utilities owned by foreign companies. He added: "The UK's coal powered electricity generating power stations are almost entirely reliant on coal imported from Australia, South Africa, Poland and South America. The UK is now a net importer of gas...On any given day up to 16 per cent of the electricity we need is purchased from the French nuclear power industry."

More here


A weather expert says December 2005 is on pace to become one of the 10 coldest in more than 100 years, despite claims at a global conference on climate change this week that the Earth is getting warmer. Joe Bastardi, senior meteorologist with, says present weather patterns across the country show below-normal temperatures in the single digits, with still colder air forecast in the coming weeks. All told, he said, "the current look and pace may bring December 2005 in as a top 10 month for cold Decembers nationwide since the late 1800s."

Some examples of the abnormally cold temps include: Omaha, Neb., (17.5 degrees below normal); Indianapolis, Ind., (14.1 degrees below normal); Chicago, Ill., (13.9 degrees below normal); and Denver, Colo., (11.9 degrees below normal). "The cold is widespread, with below-normal temperatures recorded from eastern Washington and Oregon south into Texas and into the Northeast," said the weather service. And it could get worse. "is forecasting another week of unseasonably cold weather, with the potential for another major snowstorm developing on Wednesday."

While the current weather pattern may be considered anecdotal by some, it is timely nonetheless, as it comes on the heels of a United Nations-sponsored event in which most of the more than 150 nations participating claimed the world is getting warmer - a phenomenon most blamed on the United States....

State climatologist George Taylor of Oregon told the Washington Post recent data suggesting the Earth could warm from 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 are "mighty preliminary." "I just don't trust it," he said.

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.


15 December, 2005


Your best guarantee that they will fall

The Energy Department yesterday significantly increased its projection for oil prices in 20 years to about $54 a barrel after concluding that Middle Eastern oil-producing countries are spending less than previously expected on expanding production. That price is about $21 higher than had been predicted last year by the department's Energy Information Administration. "It has to do with a reassessment of the willingness of oil-rich countries to expand their oil-production capacity," said G. Daniel Butler, an analyst with the Energy Information Administration. "We're not as bullish on expansion of production capacity, especially from OPEC members."

Oil prices have soared as worldwide demand has increased faster than production. The report, updated annually, said the United States and "emerging Asia -- notably, China -- are expected to lead the increase in demand for world oil supplies, keeping pressure on prices though 2030."

The projections often change year by year, though officials said the gap between last year's estimates and this year's projections is unusually large. As prices have become volatile, analysts have had difficulty in accurately projecting them.

Oil-producing countries lack the ability to significantly increase production in response to a supply disruption elsewhere. Oil traders have pushed up prices, fearing that terrorist attacks or other disruptions could lead to shortages. Prices rose after hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged oil production in the Gulf of Mexico this fall.

More here


Reliapundit has a good tease. He notes this report:

"Trees in the Amazon tropical forests are old. Really old, in fact, which comes as a surprise to a team of American and Brazilian researchers studying tree growth in the world's largest tropical region.

Using radiocarbon dating methods, the team, which includes UC Irvine's Susan Trumbore, found that up to half of all trees greater than 10 centimeters in diameter are more than 300 years old. Some of the trees, Trumbore said, are as much as 750 to 1,000 years old. Study results appear in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Because their trees are old and slow-growing, the Amazon forests, which contain about a third of all carbon found in land vegetation, have less capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon than previous studies have predicted. Although some of the largest trees also grow the fastest and can take up carbon quickly, the vast majority of the Amazon trees grow slowly.

"In the Central Amazon, where we found the slowest growing trees, the rates of carbon uptake are roughly half what is predicted by current global carbon cycle models," Trumbore said. "As a result, those models - which are used by scientists to understand how carbon flows through the Earth system - may be overestimating the forests' capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

And concludes:

If this is true, then as the Amazon forest has been allowed to AGE, it has become less efficient at absorbing atmospheric CO2 - at CO2 uptake, and this means more CO2 stays in the atmosphere every year as a result. The increase of atmosphreric CO2 over the last 100 years might be a result of this - the aging of the Amazon - and NOT INDUSTRIALIZATION OR ANYTHING "MAN-MADE."

HERE'S AN IDEA: If we CUT DOWN MORE TREES WITHIN THE AMAZON - AND REPLANTED THESE AREAS WITH YOUNG TREES - (like EVERY good forestry corporation routinely does everywhere) - then we would actually BE REDUCING GREENHOUSES GASES. Here's our slogan:

"Save the Atmosphere! Cut Down the Amazon!"

Somehow, I don't think Sting, or any other member of the chic glitterati or anyone on the Left or in the Green Movement will get behind this BRILLIANT idea. It's too pro-growth. PUN INTENDED!


(From Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 32, L05813, 2005 )

Possible association between Indian monsoon rainfall and solar activity S. Bhattacharyya Jawaharlal Nehru Centre For Advanced Scientific Research, Jakkur, Bangalore, India R. Narasimha Jawaharlal Nehru Centre For Advanced Scientific Research, Jakkur, Bangalore, India Abstract Over the 120 y period (1871-1990) for which reliable Indian rainfall statistics are available, solar activity parameters exhibit nonstationarity. Taking this fact into account, we present here the results of an analysis of four solar activity indices and seven major Indian monsoon rainfall time series, over two distinct test periods respectively of low and high solar activity, each comprising three complete solar cycles. It is found that the average rainfall is higher in all seven rainfall indices during periods of greater solar activity, at confidence levels varying from 75% to 99%, being 95% or greater in three of them. Using wavelet techniques it is also found that the power in the 8-16 y band during the period of higher solar activity is higher in 6 of the 7 rainfall time series, at confidence levels exceeding 99.99%. These results support existence of connections between Indian rainfall and solar activity.

California: Judge clears way for border fence: "A federal judge on Monday lifted the final legal barrier to completing a border fence meant to thwart illegal immigrants in the southwestern corner of the U.S. The project comprises 14 miles of additional fencing in San Diego. In September, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived all laws and legal challenges to building the final 3 1/2-mile leg through coastal wetlands to the Pacific Ocean. The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had argued that Chertoff lacked the authority to do what he did. But U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said Congress delegated such authority to Chertoff in June. He noted that the executive branch already had significant jurisdiction over national security and immigration."


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 December, 2005


Everybody knows some things about sprawl: It's a recent, and largely American phenomenon; it encourages wasteful use of resources; it's aesthetically unpleasant; and it benefits the rich at the expense of the poor. We also know that it could be conquered if Americans just gave up their "love affair with the automobile" and favored mass transit. Everybody knows these things, but Robert Bruegmann's new book, Sprawl: A Compact History, argues that they're untrue.

Sprawl isn't recent, says Bruegmann. Rich people have always wanted to sprawl: "Ancient, medieval, and early modern literature is filled with stories of the elegant life of a privileged aristocracy living for large parts of the year in villas and hunting lodges at the periphery of large cities. . . . High density, from the time of Babylon until recently, was the great urban evil, and many of the wealthiest or most powerful citizens found ways to escape it at least temporarily."

Sprawl didn't become a problem until the wealthy and powerful were joined by the hoi polloi. Thanks to greater wealth and improvements in transportation, they were able to move from teeming tenements to less-urban settings. Once this started to happen -- before the automobile hit the scene, and beginning outside the United States -- social critics began to complain that sprawl was ruining pristine landscapes, and destroying the charm of urban life. (Ironically, as Bruegmann also points out, some of the very aspects of sprawl criticized by earlier generations -- like the miles of brick terrace row houses built in South London during the 19th century -- are now regarded as quaintly charming: "Most urban change, no matter how wrenching for one generation, tends to be the accepted norm of the next and the cherished heritage of the one after that.")

Bruegmann also notes that sprawl is not, in fact, a particularly American phenomenon, and illustrates his book with pictures of strip malls and low density housing from places as diverse as Bangalore and Paris. He also notes, in reports that remind me of similar discussions in James Scott's Seeing Like A State, that most efforts on the part of urban planners to reduce sprawl seem to make things worse, and to enrich incumbent landowners at the expense of the poor and the middle class.

Bruegmann's analysis seems to echo my own experience. I live in Knoxville, a sprawling community indeed. (Metropolitan Knoxville covers nine counties, and has a population of about 600,000). Knoxville sprawls because it's easy to build new homes and businesses here. That also makes housing very cheap. People who could barely afford a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, or a row house in Brooklyn, can easily afford a very nice home here. Yes, it sprawls -- but I spoke this morning to a producer in New York who took 45 minutes to get to her Manhattan office from Brooklyn by subway; it took me 20 minutes to drive to work.

The biggest complaint against sprawl, as Bruegmann repeatedly points out, seems at core to be that some people are getting above themselves. Nobody, he writes, complained about sprawl when it involved the spectacular country estates of the rich: "Sprawl is subdivisions and strip malls intended for middle- and lower-middle-class families." He notes the irony of Pete Seeger's condemning "little boxes made of ticky-tacky" when they represented working people's hope for a better life, and compounds the irony by noting that those same houses are now "being reappraised by hip, young urbanites who see them as charming period pieces."

There's much more to Bruegmann's book, both in terms of numerous statistics, charts, and graphs, and interesting arguments (among other things, he suggests that low-density living may be more environmentally friendly, and may encourage its occupants to be more interested in the environment than they would be if they lived in urban warrens, since people move to suburbia and exurbia in order to be close to nature).

As Artemus Ward famously observed, "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we do know that just ain't so." Bruegmann's book makes a strong case that a lot of the things we think we know about sprawl just ain't so. I hope that it gets the attention it deserves.



The Montreal conference on climate change has been an eye-opener. It has demonstrated a truth which for a long time has been only partially apparent: namely that, for many delegates and Green 'hangers on', punishing America for electing George W. Bush is far more rewarding and important than tackling climate change. Listening to the commentators on this morning's Today programme (BBC Radio 4), it was abundantly clear that their totally misplaced 'satisfaction' lay in humiliating America. Moreover, the Today programme itself appeared to be encouraging this agenda. By contrast, yesterday, I participated in two long and truly excellent discussions on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 5 Live, both of which were far more balanced and analytical than those on Radio 4. This surely tells us a great deal about the liberal elite agenda in the UK.

The obsession with America is ridiculous, and, as Margaret Beckett herself, the UK Secretary of State for the Environment, wisely commented yesterday: "... it is a big mistake for people to focus only on the United States as the obstacle in negotiations like this. There are plenty of other people around with their own particular concerns, not all of whom are as positive as one would like."

For anybody genuinely worried about climate change, Montreal is bleak. First, many countries which take the 'moral high ground' in public are quietly the very worst offenders. Hypocritical Canada (Paul Martin was unbelievable in his attack on the US) has seen its emissions rise by 24% (on the Kyoto-base 1990-levels); Japan, which gave the name to the original Kyoto Protocol, by 18%; and the statistics for some of the ever-pious European countries take the breath away - Spain up by 42%, Portugal up by 37%, and merry Ireland and Greece up by 26%. In contrast, the US - the non-ratifier of Kyoto, note - has seen its emissions rise by only 13% (and they have fallen 2% under Bush!). So who is the bad boy?

'Talking-the-talk' is quite different from 'walking-the-walk', witness rock-n'-rollin' Bill Clinton - remember that, under Clinton and Gore, the Senate vote on Kyoto was 95 to 0 against, with five not voting [see: Byrd-Hagel (S. Res 98)].

Secondly, while everybody is snidely berating the US, Brazil, China and India, for example, can blithely state that there is no way they will accept binding targets, and the Australian Environment Minister declares unsullied: "The concept of binding targets and timetables is just about finished." Many less-developed countries also rightly argue that, for them, poverty alleviation comes first. And then there are those true rogue countries, like Saudi Arabia and Russia, whose tactics are completely opaque and sui generis.

Thirdly, the key to any future lies with the big countries of the developing world, especially China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and their ilk. The peak demand in the UK is 65 GWe on a cold day in January between 5 and 7 pm. China alone is now adding 80 GWe per year to its energy arsenal, and this is primarily generated from coal-powered plants. China is already the second largest emitter in the world, and it will soon achieve the world premiership title.

The Montreal conference has thus been a remarkable exercise in post-modern politics, in which the death of the author has been starklingly demonstrated.

In the end, for those poor souls who are desperately worried about climate change, there can be only one measure of success - dramatically declining emissions. But there is no evidence whatsoever that this conference will lead to any such thing. Indeed, the myths of carbon trading are likely to increase overall emissions, while binding targets are now off the agenda.

Bashing America may be fun (for some), but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the deeper realities. Indeed, Mr. Bush may have done far better politically to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol - and then to ignore it, just like everyone else. That would have been yet another triumph of PR over substance. 'Talking-the-talk' is cheap - in every sense.

In summary, the Montreal conference has been little more than a Carrollian 'Caucus-race', fascinating to observe, but largely pointless...

(Excerpt from here)


(From Advances in Space Research. Volume 35, Issue 3 , 2005, Pages 484-490)

Long-term variations of the surface pressure in the North Atlantic and possible association with solar activity and galactic cosmic rays

By: S.V. Veretenenko, V.A. Dergachev and P.B. Dmitriyev Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Politekhnicheskaya Street 26, St. Petersburg 194021, Russia


Long-term variations of the surface pressure in the North Atlantic for the period 1874-1995 (Mean Sea Level Pressure archive, Climatic Research Unit, UK) were compared with indices of solar and geomagnetic activity and the galactic cosmic ray (GCR) variations characterized by the concentration of the cosmogenic isotope 10Be. A periodicity of 80 yrs close to the Gleissberg cycle in the intensity of the 11-yr solar cycles was found in the pressure variations at middle latitudes (45-65øN) in the cold half of the year, which is the period of intensive cyclogenesis. It was shown that a long-term increase of pressure in this region coincided with a secular rise of solar/geomagnetic activity which was accompanied by a decrease in GCR intensity. Long-term decreases of pressure were observed during the periods of low (or decreasing) intensities of sunspot cycles. Similar features were also found in the spectral characteristics of geomagnetic activity indices, GCR intensity and pressure at middle latitudes on the quasi-decadal time scale. Effects of solar activity/GCR variations on the surface pressure seem to be more pronounced in the North Atlantic zone of intensive cyclogenesis (near the eastern coasts of North America). The results obtained suggest possible links between long-term variations in cyclonic activity at extratropical latitudes of the North Atlantic and solar activity/GCR variations on the time scales from 10 to 100 yrs.


3. Conclusions:

The data presented reveal cyclic variations in surface pressure and cyclonic activity in the North Atlantic on the time scales 10-100 yrs, the found periodicities being the most pronounced at middle latitudes in the cold half of the year (the period of more intensive cyclogenesis). It is suggested that these variations may be associated with corresponding long-term periodicities of solar activity and of galactic cosmic rays. An increase of pressure at middle latitudes was found to coincide with a secular rise of solar/geomagnetic activity accompanied by a decrease in GCR intensity, whereas long-term decreases of pressure were observed during the periods of low (or decreasing) solar activity. Similar features in spectral characteristics of geomagnetic activity indices, GCR intensity and pressure at middle latitudes also suggest possible relations between cyclonic processes in the North Atlantic and GCR variations on the quasi-decadal time scale. Solar activity/GCR effects on the intensity of cyclonic processes seem to be most appreciable in the North Atlantic zone of intensive cyclogenesis (near the eastern coasts of North America) in the cold half of the year. A possible mechanism of GCR effects on the cyclone development may involve long-term changes in the frontal zone characteristics resulting from radiative forcing and/or latent heat release related to cloudiness variations.

(The Doi (permanent) address for the full article above is here)


(From World Climate Report, 9 December 2005 )

"Below are some observations found in a couple of recent journal articles that have received little attention-- hmm.... we wonder why? The first observation was made by a team of paleoclimatologists led by Jan Esper in a viewpoint paper entitled "Climate: past ranges and future changes," published in Quaternary Science Reviews. Esper and colleagues examined the amplitude of the temperature variations that have been reported for earth's temperature during the past millennium. These include studies from the by-now familiar names of Mann, Moberg, Jones, Esper and Briffa. Esper et al. summarize their effort:

Comparison of large-scale temperature reconstructions over the past millennium reveals agreement on major climatic episodes, but substantial divergence in the reconstructed (absolute) temperature amplitude. We here detail several research priorities to overcome this 'amplitude desideratum', and discuss the relevance of this effort for the prediction of future temperature changes and the meaning of the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, they conclude: So, what would it mean, if the reconstructions indicate a larger (Esper et al., 2002; Pollack and Smerdon, 2004; Moberg et al., 2005) or smaller (Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1999) temperature amplitude? We suggest that the former situation, i.e. enhanced variability during pre-industrial times, would result in a redistribution of weight towards the role on natural factors in forcing temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact on anthropogenic emissions and affecting future predicted scenarios. If that turns out to be the case, agreements such as the Kyoto protocol that intend to reduce emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, would be less effective than thought.

Well, since we already know that the Kyoto protocol is ineffective as it is, Esper doesn't add much insight there. But, it sure seems that Esper and colleagues are making the case that natural variability may have had a larger impact (and thus the human impact has been smaller) on the temperature trends during the past century or so than is generally realized.

The second observation on the relative impact of man vs. nature on temperature is given by United States Geological Survey scientists Timothy Cohn and Harry Lins in a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters, entitled "Nature's style: Naturally trendy." In this rather technical and mathematical work, the authors examine the role of long-term persistence in the temperature record and how it affects the significance of the temporal trend often drawn through the earth's recent temperature history. Cohn and Lins conclude that the very real possibility that the natural climate system contains a high degree of long-term persistence means that the degree to which the temperature rise during the past century is of a natural vs. anthropogenic cause cannot clearly be determined. Specifically, they wrote:

These findings have implications for both science and public policy. For example, with respect to temperature data, there is overwhelming evidence that the planet has warmed during the past century. But could this warming be due to natural dynamics? Given what we know about the complexity, long-term persistence, and non-linearity of the climate system, it seems the answer might be yes.

Finally, that reported trends are real yet insignificant indicates a worrisome possibility: Natural climate excursions may be much larger than we imagine. So large, perhaps, that they render insignificant the changes, human-induced or otherwise, observed during the past century.

Apparently, the existence of such scientists with such opinions is lost on all those folks proclaiming the "science is settled," such as Bill Clinton, who, in his remarks made to rally the troops at the closing of the U. N. climate meetings in Montreal said, "There's no longer any serious doubt that climate change is real, accelerating and caused by human activities."

Bill, read the literature."


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 December, 2005


It's just face-saving. Government and diplomats would talk until kingdom come to avoid doing anything

Australia helped draw big greenhouse polluters such as the US, China and India back into climate negotiations by championing a new round of global talks to run in parallel with the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Australia and the US continue to reject Kyoto and its emphasis on binding targets for emissions reduction, but they have agreed to join new talks that will include 189 developed and developing countries.

On his way home from the 11th international climate change conference in Montreal yesterday, after all-night negotiations sealed the agreement, federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell said the meeting recognised what Australia has consistently argued. "The Beyond Kyoto policy we wrote last September was aimed at getting a deal ... that faces up to the fact that unless we get 65 per cent of the emissions not represented within Kyoto on track for some action, we would fail to address climate change," he said. "The greatest achievement of this conference is the multiple-track approach and the recognition that the one size fits all approach is not the way to go."

More here


UK Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett has dismissed suggestions the UN climate control deal achieved in Montreal has been "over-hyped". Mrs Beckett said she achieved all she set out to at the conference, which ended in agreement on two key issues. Talks can now begin on new targets to reduce carbon emissions when the Kyoto treaty ends in 2012, and the US has agreed to non-binding talks on climate. Forging agreement between 189 countries was "a diplomatic triumph", she said. ... The Tories, however, have been sceptical of the deal. Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth said: "It's better than nothing, but it isn't much. We need a great deal more than talk if we are going to stop the descent towards rapid and irreversible climate change."

More here


After nearly two weeks of intensive talks aimed at drawing up international plans to curb global warming, ministers and diplomats will today offer an agreement with no firm timetable for action. ... But even those countries who are taking part in the Montreal talks are considering a watered-down successor to Kyoto. The original accord was itself regarded - even by some of its authors - as half-hearted.

The best the 12-day talks look like producing is a negotiating plan that would set the terms for the talks to create the new climate-change treaty. And drafts of the final agreement circulating yesterday didn't even set a firm timetable for the end of talks about quite when the new emissions-cut period would begin. That means months or even years could pass between the expiry of Kyoto and the start of the next treaty. But whatever the deal that finally emerges from those discussions, officials say it will not be as rigid as Kyoto, instead giving signatories much more leeway in how to comply. "It is fair to say that a Kyoto-style agreement is very unlikely to be achieved from the negotiations," Ian Campbell, the Australian environment minister, said yesterday. "The concept of binding targets and timetables is just about finished," he said......

More here


The 189 nations and 8,000 delegates gathered last week in Montreal at the Climate Change Conference faced an ugly reality: most of the countries that promised to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to meet their Kyoto treaty obligations have failed to do so. It seems that job-creating economic growth trumps environmental concerns, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the presence and causes of global warming. Besides, developing countries such as India, China, South Africa and Brazil have shown no inclination to join, although richer countries agreed in Montreal to increase their incentives to cut emissions.

Indeed, when the energy crunches come, politicians quickly shed their green clothes. This week the Opec oil cartel hinted that its members might cut production to keep the price of crude oil above $60 a barrel. That sent consuming countries' policymakers into a spin. They want Opec to pump more, not less, oil to feed their thirsty cars, trucks and factories, and to heat the homes of those who have not switched to natural gas. Oh yes, that oil will produce more greenhouse-gas emissions - but that's a problem for another international conference.

Then there is natural gas. Suddenly the politicians are less concerned about the emissions resulting from the burning of natural gas than about shortages that might force some factories to shut down during periods of peak use of that relatively - but only relatively - clean fuel. Hell hath no fury like that of a workman (read, voter) laid off because his government's energy policy has resulted in a supply shortage.....

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.


12 December, 2005

TCS COP 11 Coverage: Culture Shock in Montreal

Excerpt from Roy Spencer

As one of the very few scientists at the UN's eleventh Conference of the Parties climate meeting (COP-11), I feel like an outsider. That's because I am. The army of thousands in attendance (international delegates, NGOs, and all manner of stakeholders in the climate change issue), have little interest in knowing how certain or uncertain the science of global warming is. All these people know - or need to know - is that the "glaciers are melting," it's getting "hotter every year", and "climate change is killing people now" (all of these are direct quotes from presenters).

For example, I learned at a Pew Center briefing that anyone (like me) who is skeptical of climate change is a "Flat-Earther." While I thought that had a nice ring to it, it was pointed out to me the term wasn't intended as a compliment. I also learned that the term "climate change" no longer needs the qualifier of "human-caused," because it has apparently been decided that all purported climate change is caused by the activity of mankind. (Attention: henceforth, all unusual weather events will be due to our burning of fossil fuels.) Natural climate variability has been relegated to the status of quaint myth. Mother Nature wouldn't cause a Category 4 hurricane to hit Louisiana unless mankind forced her hand.

I reflected on this new information during my four-block walk from the hotel to the conference center this morning. I was wearing a sweater, but no coat (big mistake). It was 16 degrees F, with a stiff head wind, and my hands were just about popsicles by the time I got there. "Darn global warming" I thought to myself. I remembered what I'd already learned at COP-11, that unusually cold as well as unusually warm weather can be explained by global warming. "I should try to catch the Inuit event this afternoon," I reminded myself. The event is appropriately titled "The Right to be Cold."

Safely inside the comfortably heated convention center, I marveled at this massive, UN-guided, international effort to avert global catastrophe. The effort has been gathering momentum for about fifteen years, and now has taken on a life of its own. Entire careers have been born due to this effort, I mused. There are many young people here just starting out -- learning what is important in life from UN mentors and their procedures. What better way to help humanity than to tell everyone else in the world how they should live?

I wonder whether this is where all Miss America contestants end up, following through on their collective desire to make the world a better place? There are also so many Ph.D.'s here -- speakers citing their credentials in order to push nostra that are little more than good intentions wrapped in a surfeit of economic ignorance (garnished with a touch of elitism). If only everyone in the world would follow the advice of these experts, our problems would obviously be solved.

Unwilling to give up on sanity, the US and various market-oriented organizations are also being represented here at COP-11 -- trying to get the word out that technological progress is the only way to meet such ambitious goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by mid-Century. But they are clearly in the minority. The prevailing view is that mandatory reductions, starting now, are absolutely necessary.

While hundreds of people milled around, comfortably sipping beverages, visiting kiosks designed around various global warming themes, I observed two fellows at the US booth. They had no visitors and looked pretty lonely. Fortunately, though, a number of speakers - apparently realizing that policies that stunt economic growth are going to be politically unpopular - are now including market-based buzzwords in their presentations. While I'm not sure these folks understand what 'free market' means, but I take is as a step in the right direction.

Still an anti-development and anti-technology undercurrent frequently bubbles to the surface as presenters and their questioners phrase their statements in a way that belies their contempt for modern life and affluence. While the speakers are too polite to mention the names of countries who would subvert their plans for saving the earth, a wink or a smile is sufficient to get their meaning across (hint: the lonely guys at the booth). The idea that we can grow our way out of a global warming problem with technological progress is not acceptable to the throngs here at COP-11. By their lights, technology is ultimately the source of our problems. At least that's the gist of what I saw one young lady typing into her late-model Dell. "Nice laptop", I said. "Thanks, I like it," she replied with a smile.

The people at COP-11 are well-fed, well-dressed, have been transported half way around the world by fossil-fueled aircraft, and are totally dependent upon myriad goods and services that require access to affordable energy. But that hasn't seemed to cross their minds. If it has, they are under the illusion that the world can live on a whole lot less energy than it is right now. I look around and wonder how all of these people would contribute to life on Earth if they were not so busy trying to save it.....

Americans Told to Bypass Govt. in 'Global Warming' Fight

As many industrialized nations continue struggling to comply with the greenhouse-gas-limiting Kyoto Protocol, American citizens are being told to bypass the Bush administration and support a grassroots "ratification" of the treaty. This will prevent the earth's "environment and its people and our children [from being] destroyed by greed, selfish profit and stupidity," said the liberal group Indymedia Climate. "Governments rarely reflect what their citizens want. People from the U.S ... have created their own 'People's Ratification of Kyoto' to send a message to George W Bush ... and the rest of the world that it is our duty to respond," a statement from Indymedia Climate read.

Supporters of a petition called "The People's Ratification of the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty" were among those attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal on Dec. 3, which was designated an International Day of Action to Stop Global Warming. The petition includes a pledge " to support subsequent phases of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce worldwide greenhouse emissions by 70 percent." It was created by a U.S. group called The Climate Crisis Coalition, which has the support of Environmental Defense, Greenpeace, Energy Action and "other really great, really dedicated groups," including celebrity activists like actor Ed Asner and singer Pete Seeger, according to Indymedia Climate.

The coalition, which says it is made up of "good global citizens," claims to have at least 650,000 signatures on the petition against "global warming." Ross Gelbspan, the author of two books on "global warming" -- "The Heat is On" and "Boiling Point" -- wrote the text of the petition.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, many organizations attending the Climate Change Conference have declared the Kyoto Protocol "dead" because of the signatories' lack of compliance. The treaty establishes a 2012 goal of having top industrialized nations cut their industrial emissions 5.2 percent below the level that was produced in 1990. Canada, Japan and at least 11 of the 15 European Union nations that ratified Kyoto are struggling to meet their emission targets. In addition to the numerous problems with its implementation, the Kyoto Protocol is not expected to impact any potential "global warming" even if fully implemented. At the 2004 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, environmentalists conceded to Cybercast News Service that the Kyoto Protocol would not affect climate change and would instead be a "symbolic" gesture.

Even the "People's Ratification" petition acknowledges that Kyoto will not halt what some consider to be the coming man-made climate crisis. "We recognize the current goals of the Protocol are too low and its timetable too long to effectively halt the escalating instability of the global climate," the petition stated. But the supporters of "The People's Ratification" still believe that Kyoto is vital to saving the planet. "The ability of our earth to sustain life is deteriorating. If we do nothing the collapse will accelerate and intensify each season. As difficult to believe and emotionally debilitating as it is, these events are happening," the unsigned author of the Indymedia Climate statement read. "My experience has been that after a wavering denial period was over and the shocking realization of impending climate catastrophe sank in, it was agonizing to create anything. Art pieces seemed insignificant, useless or just sad," the Indymedia Climate statement continued.

The group explained that bypassing the U.S. government's opposition to Kyoto is necessary to protect future generations. "Many of us have been feeling very worried, and sad and angry that the Bush Administration and Congress and our Representatives have been putting our childrens [sic] lives and future at risk. The Bush Administration does not want to stop Global Warming, and in fact, has debilitated the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife, deceiving us and under the White House's rule, the very government agencies entrusted to protect our children from polluters have destroyed environmental laws," the Indymedia Climate statement asserted.

But a Washington, D.C.-based group that opposes the Kyoto Protocol and rejects claims of catastrophic human caused "global warming" dismissed the necessity of the "People's Ratification." "In the U.S., we have a constitution, we have a representative government. If people don't like the way their congressman or senators are behaving, they should throw them out of office," said William O'Keefe of the Marshall Institute in an interview with Cybercast News Service. O'Keefe rejected the need for the Kyoto Protocol and reiterated that the agreement is "dead." "Kyoto is not going to work. It implies that there is a total disconnect between energy use and economic growth," O'Keefe said. "It simply is not going to happen. There is no available technology that is going to make it happen," he added.


Kyoto's Dead Hand: Even signatories are giving up on their emissions targets

Global gabfests can be fun, which may explain the paradox of the 12-day U.N. conference on climate change that ended yesterday in Montreal. On the one hand, the conferees spelled out the fine print that will make the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which has been ratified by 156 countries, "fully operational," according to conference chairman Stephane Dion.

On the other hand, even those who support radical cuts in carbon-dioxide emissions are realizing that the Kyoto Protocol is a failed instrument for achieving their goals. "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge," says British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He can say that again. India and China, which are exempt from Kyoto's emissions cuts, have no plans to submit to those mandates any time soon, though China is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The U.S. has also consistently rejected Kyoto. This has been true throughout the Bush years, but it was equally so during the Clinton ones. In 1997, the U.S. Senate adopted the Byrd-Hagel Resolution by 95-0, urging the Clinton Administration not to sign any climate-change protocol that "would result in serious harm to the economy." In 1998 Al Gore signed the Protocol. Yet President Clinton, who was in Montreal yesterday to scold the Bush Administration for its inaction, never submitted it to the Senate.

And then there is the performance of Kyoto's signatories in meeting their own targets. Kyoto requires developed nations to bring their total greenhouse-gas emissions to 5% below their 1990 levels by 2012. Yet in 2003, emissions were above the 1990 baseline by more than 10% in Italy and Japan, more than 20% in Ireland and Canada, and more than 40% in Spain.

Germany and Britain have met their Kyoto targets, but this is the result of one-time events: the collapse of British coal and the shuttering of much of the former East Germany's industrial base. Given Germany's anemic economy and Britain's reduced growth forecasts, the appetite in either country for costly environmental virtue is not likely to increase. Nor should it. For even as the Montreal crowd treats man-made global warming as established fact, the science behind the long-term forecasts remains ambiguous and sketchy, while the benefits of "doing something about it" are by no means clear.

Consider a few recent developments. In 2003, Canadian researchers Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick demonstrated that the "hockey-stick" analysis--a key element of global-warming dogma that purports to demonstrate that global temperatures held steady for centuries until rising sharply in the last 100 years--was riddled with "collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data," and so on. The Canadians found that the Medieval warm period had indeed occurred, suggesting that periods of warming and cooling were natural trends unrelated to the number of SUVs on the road.

In 2004, a conference of leading economists met in Copenhagen to prioritize the world's environmental needs, and they put global warming at the bottom of the list. "The benefits [of dealing with climate change] are far into the future and the substantial costs are up front and immediate," wrote Nobelist Douglass North. "Given the uncertainties associated with both the projections and the consequences, climate change cannot compete with other urgent issues we confront."

More recently, scientists have been grappling with data distortions caused by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. That eruption initially caused ocean temperatures to cool; now temperatures are rising as the "Pinatubo Effect" unwinds and distorts the long-term trend data. Scientists have also noted weakenings in Atlantic currents that move cold waters south and warm waters north, leading to predictions that Britain may experience Siberia-like temperatures in the coming decades. Whatever else that is, it isn't "warming."

The lesson we draw from all of this is that the uncertainties in climate forecasting remain huge. And given the costly and fraudulent scares we have just lived through--mad-cow disease, genetically modified foods--the End Is Nigh crowd should be held to a higher standard of proof than it has been before. The needs of the world's poor and sick are too pressing to squander limited economic resources on what could be another false alarm.

Fortunately, there's another game in another town. Next month, the U.S., Japan, China, South Korea, India and Australia--collectively accounting for nearly half the world's population--will meet in Sydney to launch the Asia-Pacific partnership. Unlike Kyoto, which pits developing countries against developed ones, the Partnership is a collaboration to develop cleaner energy resources.

Unlike Kyoto, too, it is a voluntary partnership that seeks to address environmental issues through economic growth and technology, and not by targets and command-and-control mechanisms. Some of the technological fixes--zero-emissions power plants, efficient hydrogen fuel cells--may be decades away. Then again, so are the real-world consequences of global warming, if they materialize at all.

So many politicians and activists have committed so much to their faith in man-made global warming that events like Montreal will continue regardless of the evidence. But anyone who cares seriously about the needs of the poor--and of the environment--needs to get out from under Kyoto's dead hand.



Post lifted from SOS Forests:

We will be getting back to forest history next post, but I couldn't let this bizarre bit of daily news pass by without comment.

Protest Targets Climate Change: Activists Worldwide Rally Against Big Polluters, Global Warming Issues

Montreal - Associated Press - Sunday, Dec. 4, 2005 - Thousands of protestors took to the streets in cities worldwide Saturday to demand urgent action on global warming .

Police said about 7,000 people marched in downtown Montreal - some dressed up as polar bears. Five environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the Climate Crisis Coalition, delivered a petition signed by 600,000 Americans to the U.S. Consulate in Montreal urging President Bush and Congress to help slow global warming.

The AP neglected to report that the temperature peaked Saturday in Montreal at -3 degrees C and a light snow was falling. Humidity was 83 percent. It was bone-chillingly cold, which might explain the polar bear suits. The protestors chanted, "It's too hot." No, I made that part up. I don't know what they chanted, but I bet the steam rose like frozen fog when they did. Much love was expressed for tundra and frozen wastelands.

"We're worried about climate change, about ways of life in the Canadian Arctic disappearing," said Sarah Binder of Montreal's Urban Ecology Center.

Canadian Inuit traveled to Montreal from the isolated Arctic north to join the protest there. Indian leader Jose Kusugak told The Associated Press that he brought along hunters, trappers and elders to reassure them that people from the south were not indifferent to their plight. "It was important to show there are a lot of people in the world who care," he said.

Canada's Environment Minister Stephane Dion, who is presiding over the 10-day U.N. Climate Change Conference in Montreal, also took part in the march and said final negotiations next week involving some 120 environment ministers and other government leaders would be crucial to improving the Kyoto agreement.

Care? Is it an expression of goodwill toward humanity, anywhere, to promote an Ice Age stadial? Are tundra and desert so wonderful that we need more of them. Tundra is a treeless vegetation characteristic of polar regions, with sun-less winters and a growing season of 6 to 12 weeks. The wind rages over the tundra, and the permafrost ices the soil from below. Biodiversity is low. Most tundra plants are invaders frequently found in more southerly climes, where they grow much better.

Tundra includes polar deserts where precipitation is less than in American Southwest deserts. Plant cover ranges from 1 to 5 percent in the ice free areas. It is a nearly lifeless landscape. Tundra currently covers 20 percent of North America north of Mexico. One out of five acres is tundra. However, only a handful of NA residents live on tundra, if you could call it living. Those folks are totally dependent on the warmer 80 percent of the continent supplying them with everything they need for survival, except ice. Nobody "lives off the land" on tundra, anymore. Nobody. And there never were many folks who did that in the past, either.

If the planet warms up so much that tundra disappears, I, for one, will be happy to see it go. Tundra is totally useless. That's not likely to happen, though. What is more likely is that the Earth will continue along on its Malinkovitch Cycle and a new Ice Age stadial will reappear, just as a stadial has, 19 or 20 times in a row, following short interstadials like the current one. That is what is written in the paleontological record. Why would it not happen again? Has the Earth's orbit been altered recently from its multi-billion-year-old pattern?

If the frozen protestors in Montreal get their wish, Montreal will cease to be. Even Canada's vast oil reserves will not be able to melt the mile-thick ice sheet that will crush Montreal, and the rest of Canada, into oblivion.


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 December, 2005


If Arnie has got just half of a political brain, this idea will die a death

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's climate advisers issued ambitious recommendations Thursday for reducing gases linked to global warming, including a new fee on gasoline and diesel. The draft proposals fill in the blanks of an executive order Schwarzenegger issued in June, giving California the most aggressive goals in the world for fighting global warming. He commanded the state to reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The state Climate Action Team's proposals reflect the growing commitment of California's leaders to control greenhouse gases despite opposition within the federal government to mandatory limits on the heat-trapping pollutants. In a speech in June, Schwarzenegger declared: "I say the debate is over. We know the science. We see the threat. And we know the time for action is now."

The draft plan will give ideas to the Legislature and governor for meeting the targets, said Michael Wintemute, spokesman for the California Environmental Protection Agency. "What it does (is) it shows in detail that the targets can be met." Besides offering ideas for cutting emissions - ranging from planting trees to finding alternative refrigerants - the plan urges the governor and lawmakers to:

* Establish a "public goods charge" on petroleum products, which probably would appear at the pump. The fee is modeled after a charge on utility bills introduced in 1998 in which consumers pay into a fund for alternative energy research and efficiency programs. A fee on petroleum to cut climate-changing emissions would be a first in the nation.....

Michael Hanemann, an environmental economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who contributed to the report, said taxing petroleum is a bold idea, but not new. "The notion that using transportation fuels creates what are considered harmful effects is well-established in economics," Hanemann said. "So is the notion of introducing that into the cost of gasoline." However, he said he knows of no such fees or taxes in any other states. The climate team did not say how much the fee should be, but noted that a charge of 2.57 cents per gallon would be comparable to the existing public-goods charge on electricity....

Members knew it was sensitive. One member, Energy Commissioner James Boyd, spoke passionately of the need for a petroleum surcharge during a climate-change conference in September. When asked for details, he said, "I have to be careful how I talk about it. The campaign will begin against it before it's proposed."

More here

Kyoto very close to being buried, Australian representative says

The Kyoto Protocol was "almost buried" and Australia's decision not to ratify it had been vindicated, said Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell, who is in Montreal observing the latest round of international negotiations to tackle greenhouse gases and climate change. Speaking at the United Nations summit on climate change, he said other countries had realised that Australia and the US were right not to ratify the protocol, and he predicted the system for setting targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reductions could be scrapped after 2012, when most industrialised countries have agreed to reduce their emissions. "A number of [countries] are saying 'Look, we made a mistake. We don't think that it's worth opening up a new negotiation about a future commitment when the commitments we have today are looking so unreasonable'," Senator Campbell said. "Trying to squeeze everyone into the Kyoto style approach is simply not going to work."

However, his comments were not supported by statements made by other parties to the international agreement and have been described by environmental groups at the Montreal negotiations as mischievous and nothing more than political spin.

Senator Campbell said that last year he had met a number of ministers from other countries who had told him: "Australia made the right decision. This thing is not going to work." He said that sentiment had become "like a chorus", at the Montreal meeting. "You have a number of countries inside the Kyoto Protocol who were resisting doing even what's required under the protocol which is to have a new negotiation." He predicted that those countries would nevertheless begin discussing what would happen beyond 2012, because they were obliged to do so under the Kyoto Protocol. "I think it shows that this style of agreement is very close to being buried. That's not a bad thing. It shows that there's a recognition that we need more flexibility; we need to recognise national circumstances."

The executive director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Don Henry, who is also at the talks, said Senator Campbell's comments were "entirely inaccurate". "Wow. He is spinning it," Mr Henry said. "I think that he is just mischievously tipping a bucket over future negotiations," he said, adding that the Montreal meeting had already adopted the rules for the implementation of the protocol and was devising a global carbon trading mechanism. "Country after country [is] strongly supportive of the protocol, and they are urging that a Kyoto plus be developed for after 2012 to strengthen it."

Australia has agreed to take part in the next phase of talks on climate change - although not discussions that would lead to further targets and timetables for reductions in emission - diverging from the stance of the US, which has indicated it does not believe that it should even begin negotiations.


Warm Homes Causing Arctic Ice Melt, Eskimo Charges

An Arctic Inuit representative said the lower 48 states have a mild climate, and therefore Americans should have no problem turning down their thermostats in the winter to stop Arctic ice from melting. "I don't know what [Americans are] doing to create all of this [greenhouse] gas emissions," said Meeka Mike of the Inuit Tapirit Kanatami, the national organization representing the Inuit peoples of Canada at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Montreal. "I know it's [emissions] from cars. I know it's fuel. But you (Americans) live in a very hot climate. You don't need as much heating like we do," Mike said when Cybercast News Service asked what she would like average Americans to do to curtail the alleged "global warming" that some people link to melting Arctic ice.

Mike is part of a group that filed a "global warming" legal petition against the United States. At this week's climate change conference, she took part in a panel discussion called "The Right to Be Cold: Inuit Defend Their Human Rights in the Face of Climate Change." The Canadian-based Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) has petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, demanding that the U.S. limit its greenhouse gas emissions or "Inuit hunting culture will be destroyed in the next 100 years" because of rising temperatures.

Even though Mike believes her way of life is being threatened by U.S. lifestyles and government policies, she said she wants Americans to act voluntarily to correct the problem. "I can't control you. It doesn't work that way, [it's] not in the spirit of the people and the earth," she said.

This is not the first time Americans have been told to turn down the heat in their homes. In a televised address during the energy crisis in 1979, then President Jimmy Carter implored Americans to turn down their thermostats and wear sweaters in order to conserve fuel.

Most of the Inuit peoples of the Arctic no longer live in Igloos, but rather in homes with running water and electricity. Some Arctic residents complain that their snowmobiles are more prone to break through Arctic ice, which is thinner, they say, because of human-caused "global warming." "If people don't start lobbying their political leaders or [start] taking action" it will be too late, Mike said, referring to the international battle to restrict greenhouse gases through agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. .

'A right to be warm'

The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, dismissed the notion that Americans are melting Arctic ice by enjoying overly warm homes. "Inuit representatives have asserted their right to be cold at the U.N. conference. They called it a human right. If so, there's a right to be warm, too. Americans owe no one an apology for exercising it," said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center.

The group takes a skeptical view of the manmade catastrophic climate change. "Given that much of the U.S. is currently experiencing record cold temperatures which are believed to be responsible for at least one man's death, I find [Mike's] comments extremely ill-timed and insensitive," Ridenour said....

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A founding member of Greenpeace, who left the organization because he viewed it as too radical, praised the United States for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. "At least the [United] States is honest. [The U.S.] said, 'No we are not going to sign that thing (Kyoto) because we can't do that,'" said Patrick Moore, who is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. Moore noted that many of the industrialized nations that ratified the treaty limiting greenhouse gas emissions are now failing to comply with those emission limits. Moore, who currently heads the Canadian-based environmental advocacy group Greenspirit Strategies helped found both Greenpeace in 1971 and Greenpeace International in 1979.

"Canada signed [Kyoto] and said, 'Oh yeah, we can do that,' and then it merrily goes on its way to increase CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by even more than the U.S.," Moore told Cybercast News Service. Other industrialized nations -- including Japan and at least 11 of the 15 European Union nations that ratified Kyoto -- are struggling to meet their emission targets.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, many organizations attending the Climate Change Conference have declared the Kyoto Protocol "dead" because of the signatories' lack of compliance. The treaty establishes a 2012 goal of having top industrialized nations cut their industrial emissions 5.2 percent below the level that was produced in 1990. "I think this whole Kyoto process is a colossal waste of time and money," said Moore, who rejects alarmist predictions of human-caused 'global warming."

The U.N.'s 11th Annual Climate Change Conference in Montreal failed to impress Moore, who is there to promote nuclear energy. "There is nothing concrete going on here. There is nothing good happening here as far as I can see. [The participants at the U.N. conference are] just spending a whole pile of money and auguring and talking," he added. Moore also slammed the movement he helped found, accusing today's environmental groups of being co-opted by the political Left. "The Left figures it owns the environmental movement and that has corrupted the movement greatly," Moore said. "The [left-wing] influence has brought great dysfunction into the environmental movement. [It's turned it into] an elitist movement."

Moore said he decided to leave Greenpeace in 1986 after the group became too radical and he could "no longer agree with the policies that were being espoused." The final straw, according to Moore, came when he failed to persuade Greenpeace to abandon its campaign to ban chlorine worldwide. "I pointed out that chlorine was the main element used in our medicine and adding it to drinking water was the biggest advance in public health in human history," Moore said. "[My argument] just fell on deaf ears. [Greenpeace] didn't care about any of that because a global chlorine ban was a good campaign [for them]."

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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 December, 2005

Costly harvest of ignorant GM campaign

By Jennifer Marohasy. Jennifer's blog is here

The organic food market is growing and according to some studies this demand is being driven by increasing consumer resistance to genetically modified foods. This resistance in turn is driven by anti-GM campaigning. In Australia, state government bans on GM food crops prevent the planting of GM corn, soybeans and canola, varieties grown overseas, including in the US.

During the past two weeks the Australian organics industry has sponsored a lecture tour by anti-GM advocate and US-based consultant Charles Benbrook. As part of this tour, Benbrook has made several claims, such as GM crops have been a failure in the US and herbicide use, particularly for GM soybeans, is at record levels. This story was picked up and run by numerous media outlets, including ABC radio. The only problem is that what Benbrook has said is not supported by the available evidence.

Information on herbicide use is available at the US Department of Agriculture website. This data shows that during the past 10 years the area planted with GM soy has increased and that overall herbicide use has remained steady. Last year 87 per cent of the total area planted to soybeans in the US was planted with GM varieties. Yield was a record high, at 42.5 bushels per acre, while herbicide use was equivalent to 1996 levels, the year the first GM variety was planted. In fact soybean production in 2004 totalled 3.14 billion bushels, making it the largest soybean crop in US history. It is difficult to reconcile these statistics with an out-of-control weed problem as claimed by Benbrook. While the statistics indicate that herbicide use has not declined in soybeans, there has been an almost complete shift to the more environmentally friendly herbicide glyphosate. In this regard the GM technology has been spectacularly successful.

Earlier this week a report from the US National Centre for Food and Agricultural Policy sang the praises of GM technologies, claiming that GM varieties increased yields, decreased production costs, and provided $2.3 billion in additional revenue to US farmers.

Interestingly Australia was the first country to release a GM organism, the crown gall bacterium, in 1988. Since then we have made only one other release, GM cotton, first planted in 1996. Now grown on 90 per cent of cotton farms, the latest GM varieties have reduced pesticide use by an average 88 per cent, allowing beneficial insects to return to fields and reducing the risk of pollution.

About 35 per cent of the vegetable oil we consume in Australia is from cotton seed. Most of the rest of our vegetable oil is from canola. A Greenpeace anti-GM campaign deceptively targeted GM canola as the first GM food crop and ignored GM cotton as an existing source of vegetable oil. This campaign led to the state bans on GM food crops, with only cotton exempt on the basis it is grown primarily for fibre.

Incredibly, in Australia we have banned GM varieties that could help us reduce our ecological footprint, through the use of more environmentally friendly herbicides in the case of soybeans and canola. Ironically, while the Victorian Government has banned GM food crops, Victorian farmers import large quantities of GM soybeans from the US to feed their dairy cows. Europe is supposedly GM free but imported $858 million worth of GM soy last year, also from the US.

Benbrook's tour has added to the confusion and fear and included claims at odds with the official statistics. The misapprehension is likely to reinforce opposition to GM technologies and increase market share for organic farmers. The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics has reported that failure to commercialise GM crops will cost Australian agriculture $3 billion by 2015. Executive director Brian Fisher has said growth in GM crops overseas will disadvantage Australian grain and oilseed producers as non-GM varieties are more expensive to produce. Furthermore, he has said present bans are harming innovation and research in Australian agriculture.

Misinformation from anti-GM campaigning comes at a significant economic and environmental cost. Benbrook and the organic food industry may unintentionally be playing an expensive game with Australian agriculture.


Nuclear Energy Debate Turns Radioactive at Climate Conference

Nuclear energy would reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels and help cut greenhouse gas emissions, said advocates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. "Expanding nuclear energy is one way that we can actually [reduce] reliance on fossil fuels in a big way," said Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace. Moore left the group in the 1980s after becoming disillusioned with what he considered the group's radical approach to environmental concerns. He currently heads the Canadian-based environmental advocacy group Greenspirit Strategies, and he blames liberal green groups for halting the expansion of nuclear energy. "It is the environmental movement itself that is the primary impediment to the reduction of CO2 emission and fossil fuel consumption because they refuse to support the obvious alternatives" (nuclear power and hydro power), Moore told Cybercast News Service. Moore's pro-nuclear discussion at the U.N. conference on Monday evening drew skepticism and jeers from his former environmental colleagues. Moore, who rejects alarmist predictions of human-caused "global warming," also praised the United States for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, calling the treaty "a colossal waste of time and money."

But it was Moore's promotion of nuclear energy that met swift resistance by the movement he helped to found. "History has shown [nuclear energy] is a problematic technology," said Kaisa Kosonen, an energy campaigner for Greenpeace Nordic, told Cybercast News Service. Kosonen wants to see existing nuclear power phased out. She warned that creating more nuclear material creates attractive targets for terrorists. "I would not take that risk," she said. Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) shared Greenpeace's anti-nuclear position. "We don't support it. [Nuclear] represents a massive challenge, not only economically, but radioactive waste still represents a massive problem and quite frankly it's not particularly popular with the public," said Catherine Pearce, an international climate campaigner for FOEI. Both Greenpeace and FOEI want to encourage the world to turn to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Fossil fuels currently make up about 85 percent of the world's energy consumption, followed by nuclear and hydro power at seven percent each. Only one percent of energy consumption comes from sources such as solar, wind and geothermal, according to Moore. "We don't see any scenario where windmills and solar panels alone can solve the problem [of fossil fuel dependence,]" Moore said. Moore praised nuclear energy for its reactor safety record and waste storage methods. He also dismissed concerns about two high-profile nuclear reactor accidents in the past. "[Pennsylvania's] Three Mile Island was a success story," he said. "Radiation did not escape from Three Mile Island [in 1979]," Moore said, because a containment structure prevented radioactive leakage. "[The Soviet Union's] Chernobyl [accident] was a sad accident waiting to happen because of the Soviet design and bad management," Moore said of the 1986 incident that killed 56 people.

Moore also dismissed fears of a nuclear plant being the target of terrorism. "Sure there is a possibility of nuclear terrorism, but all technology can be used for harm," he said. "You don't ban technologies that are being used for good purposes just because they can also be used for evil," he added. Anti-nuclear movies such as the Jane Fonda's "The China Syndrome" in 1979 further raised public fears about nuclear energy, Moore said. "We have a population that is more afraid of nuclear when its record is far safer than many other technologies that we have," he said. "There is no basis for this fear. Nuclear is safe."



Post excerpted from Prof Stott

At Prime Minister's Question Time yesterday (December 7), the new, fresh-faced Leader of the Opposition, the Right Honourable David William Donald Cameron, MP, Eton and Brasenose College, Oxford, might have wounded Mr. Blair over education policy, but he was lamentably naive over climate change and the Kyoto Protocol, allowing Mr. Blair ample opportunity to present him with a seminar on the realities of international climate-change negotiations (a seminar which frankly could have been found on 'EnviroSpin'). Cameron's limp questions demonstrated a worrying lack of experience with respect to the hard facts and knocks of foreign policy.

Here is the Hansard transcript of the parliamentary exchange taken from the official '10 Downing Street' Web Site:

"Mr. David Cameron: The Montreal climate change conference is taking place this week. We support the goal of a new Kyoto-style treaty that will tackle carbon emissions. Earlier this year the Prime Minister said that he had been changing his thinking on the issue. Can he set out his new thinking? In particular, is he still committed to a proper successor to Kyoto based on clear targets and including all the major carbon-producing countries of the world?

The Prime Minister: Yes, I most certainly am committed to that. The reason it is important that we change our thinking on the matter is that I do not believe that the successor to Kyoto can work unless it has not just the United States involved in such targets and such a framework, but India and China, because they are the major emerging economies of the world. In China, for example, one power station is being built every week or every two weeks. Therefore, unless we manage to get a comprehensive framework that also involves India and China, it will not be of much use to us. I entirely agree that the issue is immensely important. That is one of the reasons, of course, why we passed the climate change levy. I hope the Hon. Gentleman's question indicates that he will support us on that, too.

Mr. Cameron: I am grateful for the Prime Minister's answer. His Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in advance of Montreal: 'Without mechanisms in the form of compulsory action, such as targets to cut emissions, existing and new technologies will never be rolled out on the scale we need', and I agree with that. The Prime Minister said last month that people get 'very nervous and very worried' about this approach, and that we need a 'better, more sensitive set of mechanisms'. Will he confirm that he still genuinely agrees with what his Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said?

The Prime Minister: I just said in answer to the previous question that it is important that we get binding targets. Emerging economies will want those to be sensitive to the needs of their economic growth, but one of the important issues that was not part of Kyoto but needs to be part of a new protocol is technology transfer. As we develop the research that allows us to have clean energy, we need to share that research and that technology with others. I am sorry? - I was pointing my finger; I would not want that to break up the new consensus. It is important not merely that we say how much we care about climate change, but that we take the action necessary. Therefore, it will be no use the Hon. Gentleman's saying that he supports the aim unless he also supports the climate change levy, the renewables obligation and the extra investment that we put into energy efficiency. If he is prepared to have a consensus on that basis, I welcome it."

As I have written on many occasions before, Mr. Blair's climate-change stance has been honed by real-world politics, and it may be summarized as follows:

(a) a clear recognition that no country in the world, and most certainly not a UK under Mr. Blair (nor, for that matter, one under Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer), will ever contemplate sacrificing economic growth. Blair knows that this is especially the case in the US, as well as in the emerging giants of China and India. What he is actually saying is: "Hey, you Greens; get real!" The recent politics and economics of Germany stand as a stark warning in this respect;

(b) a full understanding that any moves on climate-change political policy (for which read 'energy policy') must be truly international, for any unilateral action will leave an economy weak and exposed;

(c) the promotion of dialogue, especially with the countries of the developing world, not the neo-colonial imposition of European ecohype;

(d) a carefully-orchestrated set of moves to facilitate the inevitable re-introduction of nuclear power in the UK;

(e) a balanced approach which leaves no scientific option out of consideration, from the deep geological storage of carbon to every possible alternative technological source of energy. He has no time whatsoever for the utopian brigade who demand dramatic 'back-to-nature' life-style changes. There will be no turning the clock back;

(f) a clear rejection of the environmentalist and extreme 'Green' agendas of 'contract and converge' and hair-shirt politics; and,

(g) a recognition that technology transfer to the developing world has to be the way forward.

Despite, therefore, Mr. Blair's seeming focus on climate change, the agenda is not in the least environmentalist. It is, at heart, about future energy needs. In UK political terms, Blair is proving, yet again, to be as astute as ever.

In stark contrast, Mr. Cameron appears to be deeply naive and to be adopting a 'socialistic' and unilateral climate-change policy that is sheer madness for the Conservative Party. By 2020, the UK will be consuming less than 1.5% of world energy (not, of course, because of reductions in the UK, but because of the phenomenal growth in energy use in the developing world, especially in Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia). Any unilateral actions in the UK of the type seemingly envisaged by Cameron will therefore be totally meaningless in both energy and emission terms; but worse, if they add significant costs and restrictions to industry and commerce, they could prove devastating for British competitiveness. This is not the Conservative way. As we have already seen, Blair is all too aware of the problem.

Mr. Cameron still has much to learn and to think through. He cannot deliver such naive stuff on climate change, while at the same time declaring that he will build more roads and focus on increasing UK competitiveness. I fear Mr. Cameron has been listening far too much for his own good to a small group of trendy Notting Hill ecotoffs.

Six Arrested for Ecoterrorism Attacks : "Six people were arrested in a string of ecoterrorism attacks in the Pacific Northwest dating to 1998 -- four fires that caused millions in damage and the toppling of an 80-foot power transmission tower, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The arrests were made Wednesday in Arizona, New York, Oregon and Virginia. The radical groups Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front had claimed responsibility for most of the acts. In the transmission tower attack, bolts were removed from guy wires near Bend, Ore., on the eve of the millennium. The fires were set at a federal agricultural research facility in Olympia, a logging company's headquarters in Medford, Ore., a lumber company in Glendale, Ore., and a tree farm in Clatskanie, Ore".


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 December, 2005

Climatologist Rejects 'Global Warming' As Cause for Island Evacuation

A climatologist has dismissed a Reuters news report claiming that residents of the Pacific Island of Vanuatu had to move to escape "global warming." The article, published Tuesday, cited United Nations officials' claims that the effects of "global warming" caused rising sea levels and more storms, forcing islanders to flee inland. The article's publication coincided with the 11th annual U.N. Climate Change Conference in Montreal.

"That is a shame, quite frankly, that this issue is being played like this at the [U.N.] climate change conference. It demeans the issue when it's so easy to counter a strident assertion with facts," said Patrick J. Michaels, the author of several books on climate change, including a new one that will be released next week entitled "Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming." Michaels, who believes claims of catastrophic human-caused "global warming" are scientifically unfounded, is an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "It would seem that [the Reuters article] about the combination of sea level rise and increased storminess causing people to evacuate (to the island's interior) isn't based upon much real data," Michaels told Cybercast News Service on Tuesday.

The Dec. 6 Reuters article by environmental correspondent Alister Doyle claimed that about 100 residents in the Lateu settlement on Tegua island in Vanuatu were forced to move inland because of cyclone-enhanced "king tides" that caused flooding and made the island uninhabitable. The Reuters article included a statement from the U.N.'s Environment Program claiming that the residents of Vanuatu had "become one of, if not the first, to be formally moved out of harm's way as a result of climate change." However, the report did not feature any scientists or experts questioning the conclusion that human-caused "global warming" was to blame for the residents' coastal retreat.

Michaels said the scientific data does not back up the claims in the Reuters article about the evacuation of Vanuatu being linked to the U.N.'s projections of melting icecaps and rising sea levels. "The island in question has experienced no net sea level rise in the last half century, according to the combined satellite and submarine data," Michaels said. "In fact, areas to the west such as [the island of] Tuvalu show substantial declines in sea level over that period," he added. Michaels added that "the United Nations intergovernmental panel notes a decline in the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes in the South Pacific in recent decades. "With sea level not showing a rise and the decline in the frequency of tropical cyclones, it's very hard to make the strident statements that were made in the [Reuters article,]" he added.

The fact that Reuters published the article without quoting experts who question the science behind the "global warming" claim did not surprise Michaels. "Reuters has generally been very radical on 'global warming.' This is nothing new for them," he said, noting that in much of the media, "the appropriate level of journalistic cynicism does not apply to 'global warming.'" ....

Michaels challenged the accuracy of computer-generated models that project an alarming rise in sea levels to the melting of icecaps. "There is a lot of recent research showing that Antarctica has been gaining ice, in other words is contributing negatively to sea level rise. Research published just two months ago in Science Magazine shows that Greenland is still gaining ice at two inches per year, average, over the island," Michaels said. "I expect that the estimates of sea level rise are going to have to be revised downward. That's a prediction that you just heard from me based upon reality. Computer models eventually have to come in line with reality," he added.

More here

Wealthy Nations Owe 'Climate Debt' to Poor, Greens Say

Environmental groups attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference have demanded that the U.S. and the other industrialized nations pay a "climate debt" to the poor nations for contributing to catastrophic, human-caused "global warming." "Let's face it, [the developing countries] are not responsible for the problem and yet they are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change," said Catherine Pearce, international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth International (FOEI). Pearce spoke with Cybercast News Service at the 11th annual U.N. Climate Change Conference in Montreal. "It is total over-exploitation by the North[ern Hemisphere] and the North is just using up the natural resources of the world for its own gain and its own benefit," Pearce said. She noted that "people are being thrown off their land (in developing countries) to grow mono-culture plantations" that are used by industrialized countries. "What Northern countries can be doing is to repay some of [their climate] debt in terms of resources, financing, [and] technology to countries of the South[ern Hemisphere]," she added.

Friends of the Earth International sponsored a panel discussion on "climate justice" at the U.N. conference on Monday. FOEI demanded that "a fair share of the earth's resources" be shared by all nations and declared, "Everybody has a right to an equal share of the available capacity of the atmosphere." The U.S. was singled out by FOEI as the one nation that owes the largest "climate debt" to the poorer nations of the world. "The average American emits seven tons of carbon a day and that's in comparison to much, much lower levels in India," Pearce asserted. To achieve climate justice, the industrialized nations must make dramatic reductions in their emissions and undertake a "massive rethinking in terms of the financial support that these countries are getting," according to Pearce.

But Chris Horner, senior fellow with the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), ridiculed the notion of "climate debt." "This movement seeks to impede poor countries from capitalizing on their greatest natural assets and in return locks them into welfare dependency. This is another name and excuse for increasing foreign aid to what are, in large part, failed governments," Horner told Cybercast News Service. CEI takes a skeptical view on the theory of human caused catastrophic climate change.

Spending time and resources worrying about "climate justice" takes away from "addressing the real reasons for [developing nations'] poverty, including corrupt governments that provide inadequate respect for property rights and the need for a transparent judiciary," Horner said. "Pretty soon, we're going to run out of new names for wealth redistribution, and maybe even new rationales," he added.


Global Warming Blues

The 11th annual meeting of global warming enthusiasts in Montreal isn't turning out to be a very happy event. Even though this is the first opportunity for the burgeoning global climate bureaucracy to celebrate the full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, the realities of science, economics and politics are raining on its parade.

First, a new study published this week in the journal Nature (Dec. 1) turns global warming alarmism on its head. British researchers reported that the ocean current responsible for the tropical winds that warm Europe's climate has decreased by an estimated 30 percent since 1957. The headline of the New Scientist report (Nov. 30) on the study nicely captured its import, "Failing ocean current raises fear of mini ice age."

That conclusion, however, doesn't jibe at all with the reality of European climate, which began warming 200 years ago and is now setting the modern records for warm temperatures that the pro-Kyoto crowd likes to hyperventilate about. The European Environment Agency, in fact, claimed on Nov. 29 that Europe is currently facing the "worst" warming in 5,000 years with 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004 being the four hottest years on record.

While temperatures can only go up or down at any given moment, global warmers seem to want to have it both ways so that any change in climate, regardless of direction, can be attributed to human activity.

The British newspaper The Independent, for example, reported in its Nov. 30 article about the Nature study that "the real evidence does point to a possible one degree Centigrade cooling over the next two decades." But the newspaper reported in another same-day article that, "the [record hot] summer of 2003 was triggered by global warming caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases." Such contradictory reporting casually ignores the reality that greenhouse gas emissions can't simultaneously cool and warm Europe.

The second paragraph of The Independent's article on the Nature study stated, "Disruption to the conveyor-belt mechanism that carries warm water to Britain's shores was the basis of the Hollywood disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow." But two paragraphs later, however, the paper noted "Scientists say such predictions are fantasy."

It's cooling. It's warming. It's disaster. It's fantasy. Whatever "it" is, it can't be comforting to the Kyoto believers in Montreal who seem to think they know for certain whether and how human activity impacts global climate.

A more sober reality, though, is that whatever slight impact humans might have on the climate, it is too small to measure - a point made in a study just published by Swiss researchers in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews (November 2005). The study reviewed prior efforts to reconstruct global temperatures of the last 1,000 years. It concluded that natural temperature variations over the last millenium may have been so significant that they would "result in a redistribution of weight towards the role of natural factors in [causing] temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact of [manmade] emissions and affecting future predicted [global climate] scenarios." "If that turns out to be the case," the researchers stated, "agreements such as the Kyoto protocol that intend to reduce emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, would be less effective than thought."

So senior U.S. climate negotiator Harlan Watson was on very firm ground when he stated this week in Montreal that, "I reject the premise that the Kyoto-like agreement is necessary to address the issue."

The U.S. stance angered the Montreal revelers. "When you walk around the conference hall here, delegates are saying there are lots of issues on the agenda, but there's only one real problem, and that's the United States," a Greenpeace International spokesman told the Associated Press.

But the U.S. isn't the "real problem" for global warmers - reality is. First, the available scientific data simply don't add up to their desired conclusion that humans are harming global climate. Next, even if we were to forsake science and consider a position of "erring on the side of caution," the economic cost - 2 percent or more of global economic productivity - is a steep and certain price to pay for extremely uncertain, and potentially negative, consequences.

Finally, the Kyoto protocol itself has been a colossal flop. European signatories to the treaty aren't meeting their current emissions reduction targets, aren't likely to in the future, and are looking for ways out of their commitments. Even Kyoto's knight-in-shining armor, UK prime minister Tony Blair, in what has been dubbed the "Blair Switch," has embraced the latter two points. In September, Blair announced that he had given up on climate change treaties because, "The truth is, no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in light of a long-term environmental problem." Especially if that "problem," so far as we can tell after several decades and many billions of dollars of research, is entirely unproven.


Senator Bingaman's bogus climate proposal: "U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is scheduled to deliver a speech at the UN global warming meeting in Montr‚al this afternoon on his plan for mandatory carbon dioxide emissions controls in the United States. If similar to proposals Sen. Bingaman intended to offer earlier this year in the Senate, the plan would represent significant economic sacrifice without measurably reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. 'While Sen. Bingaman's approach has been presented as a moderate and sensible response to the possibility of global warming, it clearly is neither,' said Competitive Enterprise Institute Director of Global Warming Policy Myron Ebell."


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 December, 2005

What planet are the eco-cultists on?

Comment by Mark Steyn

Is it just me or are the global warming headlines starting to overheat a little? The Independent on Sunday gave its report on the Montreal climate conference the somewhat overwrought title: "What planet are you on, Mr Bush? (And do you care, Mr Blair?)" Nothing in the rather dull article underneath justified the hectoring hysteria. And, to be honest, I've no real idea what it means. Is the IoS asking whether Mr Blair cares what planet Mr Bush is on? Well, no doubt he'd be startled to hear the President's moving to Pluto, but I expect he'd take it in his stride.

As to what planet Mr Bush is on, he's not on Pluto but on planet Goofy, a strange lost world where it's perfectly normal for apparently sane people to walk around protesting about global warming in sub-zero temperatures. Or, as the Canadian Press reported: "Montreal - tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures Saturday to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming." Unfortunately, no one had supplied an updated weather forecast to the fellow who writes the protesters' chants. So, to the accompaniment of the obligatory pseudo-ethnic drummers, the shivering eco-warriors sang: "It's hot in here! There's too much carbon in the atmosphere!" Is this the first sign of the "New Ice Age" the media warned us about last week?

The story originated in Nature, the hitherto distinguished scientific periodical whose environmental coverage increasingly resembles that celebrated Sunday Sport scoop about the London double-decker bus found frozen in the deepest ice of the Antarctic. That, of course, is absurd - in reality, as the trained scientists at Nature would be the first to point out, the Clapham omnibus would be lucky to make it as far as Tulse Hill before being embedded in a glacier. The eco-doom-mongers were speculating on possible changes in thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic - or, as the Daily Mail put it: "Is Britain on the brink of a New Ice Age?" Europe could get so chilly that shivering Muslim rioters might burn the entire Peugeot fleet on the first night. Which would be good for the environment, presumably. After that, they'd be reduced to huddling round the nearest fire-breathing imam for warmth.

But the point is, as Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace puts it: "Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with." Got that? If it's hot, that's a sign of global warming, and, if it's cold, that's a sign of global warming. And if it's just kind of average - say, 48F and partially cloudy, as it will be in Llandudno today - that's a sign that global warming is accelerating out of control and you need to flee immediately because time is running out ! "Time is running out to deal with climate change," says Mr Guilbeault. "Ten years ago, we thought we had a lot of time, five years ago we thought we had a lot of time, but now science is telling us that we don't have a lot of time."

Really? Ten years ago, we had a lot of time? That's not the way I recall it: "Time is running out for the climate" - Chris Rose of Greenpeace, 1997; "Time running out for action on global warming Greenpeace claims" - Irish Times, 1994; "Time is running out" - scientist Henry Kendall, speaking on behalf of Greenpeace, 1992. Admirably, Mr Guilbeault's commitment to the environment extends to recycling last decade's scare-mongering press releases. "Stop worrying about your money, take care of our planet," advised one of the protesters' placards. Au contraire, take care of your money and the planet will follow. For anywhere other than Antarctica and a few sparsely inhabited islands, the first condition for a healthy environment is a strong economy. In the past third of a century, the American economy has swollen by 150 per cent, automobile traffic has increased by 143 per cent, and energy consumption has grown

45 per cent. During this same period, air pollutants have declined by 29 per cent, toxic emissions by 48.5 per cent, sulphur dioxide levels by 65.3 per cent, and airborne lead by 97.3 per cent. Despite signing on to Kyoto, European greenhouse gas emissions have increased since 2001, whereas America's emissions have fallen by nearly one per cent, despite the Toxic Texan's best efforts to destroy the planet.

Had America and Australia ratified Kyoto, and had the Europeans complied with it instead of just pretending to, by 2050 the treaty would have reduced global warming by 0.07C - a figure that would be statistically undectectable within annual climate variation. In return for this meaningless gesture, American GDP in 2010 would be lower by $97 billion to $397 billion - and those are the US Energy Information Administration's somewhat optimistic models.

I've mentioned before the environmentalists' ceaseless fretting for the prospect of every species but their own. By the end of this century, the demographically doomed French, Italians and Spaniards will be so shrivelled in number they may have too few environmentalists to man their local Greenpeace office. Is that part of the plan? To create a habitable environment with no humans left to inhabit it? If so, destroying the global economy for 0.07C is a swell idea.

But even the poseurs of the European chancelleries are having second thoughts. Which is why, in their efforts to flog some life back into the dead Kyoto horse, the eco-cultists have to come up with ever scarier horrors, such as that "New Ice Age". Meanwhile, the Bush Administration's Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate brings together the key economic colossi of this new century - America, China and India - plus Australia, Japan and South Korea, in a relationship that acknowledges, unlike Kyoto, the speed of Chinese and Indian economic growth, provides for the sharing of cleaner energy technology and recognises that the best friend of the planet's natural resources is the natural resourcefulness of a dynamic economy. It's a practical and results-oriented approach, which is why the eco-cultists will never be marching through globally warmed, snow-choked streets on its behalf. It lacks the requisite component of civilisational self-loathing. Wake up and smell the CO2, guys. Sayonara, Kyoto. Hello, coalition of the emitting.


What will these desperates come up with next?

The debate over climate change evolved nto a battle of the sexes Monday at the 11th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. The spokesman for a feminist-based environmental group accused men of being the biggest contributors to human-caused "global warming" and lamented that women are bearing the brunt of the negative climate consequences created by men. "Women and men are differently affected by climate change and they contribute differently to climate change," said Ulrike Rohr, director of the German-based group called "Genanet-Focal point gender, Environment, Sustainability."

Rohr, who is demanding "climate gender justice," left no doubt as to which gender she believes was the chief culprit in emitting greenhouse gasses. "To give you an example from Germany, it is mostly men who are going by car. Women are going by public transport mostly," Rohr told Cybercast News Service . Rohr was standing in front of her booth, which featured a banner calling for "creative gender strategies" from "rural households to global scientific bodies." "In most parts of the world, women are contributing less [to greenhouse gasses]," Rohr continued. But it is the women of the world who will feel the most heat from catastrophic global warming, she said. "At least in the developing countries, it is women who are more affected because they are more vulnerable, so they don't have access to money to go outside the country or go somewhere else to earn money and they have to care for their families," she said. "What we are calling for is to take into account more of the social aspects of climate change," Rohr added.

When Cybercast News Service asked Rohr if men should feel guilty for allegedly producing negative climate consequences for women, she responded, "No, they should change. I think [men do not] have to feel guilty, but it might help to take these [gender] issues a little bit more into account." A spokesman for a conservative group attending the conference mocked the linking of gender to any potential climate change. "Nature does not discriminate between the sexes. The issue is absurd on its face," Peyton Knight, the director of environmental and regulatory affairs at the Washington D.C., based conservative group, National Center for Public Policy Research, told Cybercast News Service . The National Center takes a skeptical view regarding the scientific basis behind the theory of catastrophic human caused climate change. "It's hardly surprising that in the same year liberals tried to inject race into natural disasters and hurricane issues that they are now trying to inject gender into global warming issues," Knight said, referring to the politically charged racial fallout surrounding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. "Feminists must be running out of arenas in which to stage their issues," he added.

But the United Nations has already begun to take the issue of "global warming" -- and the roles men and women play in it -- seriously, according to the "Gender and Climate Change" website. It is important for the U.N. "to integrate gender sensitivity into all mechanisms, policies and measures, and tools and guidelines within the climate debate," according to the website. "In general, the Climate Change policy process tends to be driven by a masculine view of the problem and its solutions," the website explained.

More here


The Kyoto Protocol on climate change was declared "dead" by several organizations attending the 11th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference this week in Montreal. "It's dead, but no one wants to pull the life support system," Bill O'Keefe of the Washington-based George Marshall Institute told Cybercast News Service on Monday while attending the conference. "Kyoto is flawed, it is not going anywhere. It simply is not going to happen. There is no available technology that is going to make [the size of greenhouse gas emissions required by the protocol,]" O'Keefe said of the protocol's 2012 goal of getting top industrialized nations to cut their industrial emissions by 5.2 percent from the level that was produced in 1990. The United States has not signed on to the treaty.

The Marshall Institute, which "encourages the use of sound science in making public policy," takes a skeptical view of alarmist global warming. "The developing countries that have signed up for it are going to miss their [greenhouse gas emission] targets," O'Keefe explained.

Several of the nations that ratified Kyoto, including the United Kingdom and Canada, either have expressed reservations about their ability to meet the emission goals set in the protocol or are struggling to meet emission reductions. More than 8,000 government leaders, environmentalists and scientists, are attending the U.N. conference to discuss what steps to take to further limit greenhouse gases beyond the Kyoto provisions.

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair conceded in September that Kyoto would never succeed. Blair said, "No country is going to cut its growth or consumption" because of the fear of climate change and predicted that disputes regarding its execution will "never be resolved."

According to a report from the International Council for Capital Formation, a European-based think tank, adherence to the emission limits of the Kyoto protocol will severely restrict European economic growth. In addition, many of the industrialized nations that ratified the protocol are not only failing to reduce emissions, but also are instead facing increases in their emissions. For example, Canada's emissions are up 24 percent, according to a 2003 U.N. report.

In addition to the numerous problems with its implementation, the Kyoto Protocol is not expected to impact any potential climate change. At the 2004 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, environmentalists conceded to Cybercast News Service that the Kyoto Protocol would not affect climate change and would instead be a "symbolic" gesture.

Another U.S.-based group attending the U.N. conference echoed the sentiment that the Kyoto protocol was doomed. "Kyoto is absolutely dead," said David Ridenour, vice president of the D.C.-based conservative group, National Center for Public Policy Research. Ridenour, who questions the alarmist scientific basis behind Kyoto, accused the industrialized nations that ratified the protocol of hypocrisy, for only verbally supporting the emission reduction goals. "They're hypocrites, those countries who say 'we have to have the [Kyoto emission] targets, but we are not going to meet them.' You have 11 out of 15 of the E.U. (European Union) nations that had increases in CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. So whether they admit it or not, Kyoto is dead," Ridenour said.

More here

See here for an "Oldie but Goldie" post about government regulation of dam building.


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 December, 2005

U.S. Called 'Only Real Problem' At UN Climate Conference

The U.S. delegation attending the 11th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference this week in Montreal is being labeled the "only real problem" at the conference by liberal environmental groups. "When you walk around the conference hall here, delegates are saying there are lots of issues on the agenda, but there's only one real problem, and that's the United States," said Bill Hare of Greenpeace International, who was attending the early stages of the conference in Montreal last week. Hare and other liberal environmentalists charge that the U.S. is trying to undercut the U.N. conference.

The Climate Change Conference, which runs until Dec. 9, is the first meeting since the greenhouse gas limiting Kyoto Protocol was put into effect in February 2005 with Russia's ratification. Russia became the 156th country to ratify the pact -- the necessary number for it to take effect, but the U.S. is not part of the group. It has long-standing objections to the protocol's 2012 goal of getting top industrialized nations to cut their industrial emissions by 5.2 percent from the level that was produced in 1990.

Senior U.S. climate negotiator Harlan Watson showed no signs of backing down when he addressed the delegation in Montreal last week. "I reject the premise that the Kyoto-like agreement is necessary to address this issue," Watson said.

Several of the nations that ratified Kyoto, including the United Kingdom and Canada, either have expressed reservations about their ability to meet the emission goals set in the protocol or are struggling to meet emission reductions. The conference, being held in French-speaking Montreal, is being attended by more than 8,000 government leaders, environmentalists and scientists. Organizers are calling the conference the largest meeting since the Kyoto Climate Conference in 1997.

At the 2004 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aries, Argentina, environmentalists conceded to Cybercast News Service that the Kyoto Protocol would not affect climate change and would instead be a "symbolic" gesture.

Despite the insistence by liberal environmentalists that the scientific debate surrounding human-caused "global warming" is settled, many scientists and a new report call into question any such consensus. The journal Quaternary Science Reviews in November published a study by Swiss researchers, stating that human impact on the climate may be minimal compared to natural climate variations. The study noted that natural temperature variations over the past 1,000 years were so large that they would "result in a redistribution of weight towards the role of natural factors in [causing] temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact of [man-made] emissions and affecting future predicted [global climate] scenarios." The study also noted that if natural factors played such a significant role in rising temperatures, then "agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol that intend to reduce emissions of anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gases would be less effective than thought."

Skeptics of the science behind "global warming" were quick to seize on study published by Quaternary Science Reviews to refute the claims made by many in the scientific community and the worldwide environmental lobby. Steven Milloy, the publisher of, noted in a Dec. 1 column, titled "Global Warming Blues," that, "the available scientific data simply don't add up to their desired conclusion that humans are harming the global climate. "Even if we were to forsake science and consider a position of 'erring on the side of caution,' the economic cost - two percent or more of global economic productivity - is a steep and certain price to pay for extremely uncertain and potentially negative consequences," Milloy, said of the greenhouse gas limiting Kyoto Protocol. Milloy is also an adjunct fellow at the Cato Institute.

More here


In the December 1st issue of Nature magazine, Harry Bryden and colleagues at Britain's National Oceanography Centre report that the Atlantic meridional circulation (also known as the thermohaline circulation (THC) -- the density driven current that carries warm surface water northward and returns colder deep water southward -- has slowed by 30 percent between 1957 and 2004. The significance of this finding is difficult to assess in light of other recent observations.

Climate model simulations estimate that a complete shutdown of the THC would result in a cooling of Europe of 4§C or more. So, shouldn't a 30% slowdown have some noticeable impacts, such as a pretty sharp cooling trend?

Just two days before the Bryden results were published, a report from the European Environment Agency detailed all of the ills that Europe has been facing recently because of how warm it has been, and prominently proclaimed that Europe's four hottest years on record were 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004. And yet, how many breathless news stories, like the one in London's Guardian, played the Bryden paper as reflecting a long-term (read: anthropogenic influenced) trend in the THC?

A close read, however, shows that the THC changes have really only taken place sometime since 1992. Since 1957, the characteristics of the Atlantic Ocean that Bryden et al. used in making their calculations were sampled 4 more times -- in 1981, 1992, 1998, and 2004. No remarkable changes were detected between 1957 and 1992, but since then, Bryden found indications that the THC had slowed a bit by 1998, and further in the 2004 data.

A large-scale, arguably "natural" event took place during that same time. Karcher et. al. recently reported a large freshwater release from the Arctic Ocean into the North Atlantic Ocean in the mid-1990s as a result of atmospheric circulation patterns resulting from an extremely intense North Atlantic Oscillation (or NAO, a measure of the pressure distribution over the North Atlantic Ocean basin). Since the early to mid-1990s, the NAO has returned to more normal values indicating that the trend from low NAO values characteristic of the 1960s to the historically high values in the early 1990s has ended. The return to normal NAO conditions has also, according to Karcher et. al., resulted in a more normal degree of freshwater input to the subpolar North Atlantic. Addition of a pulse of freshwater to the North Atlantic is one mechanism for slowing the THC, and so it is possible that the freshwater release in the mid-1990s identified by Karcher could have acted to slow, temporarily, the THC -- perhaps an effect picked up in Bryden's analysis.

And further, a recent paper by Knight et. al. reconstructed the history of the THC in the Atlantic for the past 125 years or so based upon a combination of climate model simulations and sea surface temperature observations. They concluded that the THC had increased substantially since the 1970s -- a finding in opposition to that of Bryden et. al. Squaring these disparate findings is not a simple matter and indicates that the situation is much more complex than perhaps realized.

Science magazine's Richard Kerr covers the Bryden et. al. findings in the December 2nd issue of the magazine with an article titled "The Atlantic Conveyor May Have Slowed, But Don't Panic Yet." Kerr's look at the issue is a bit more critical than most other mainstream press reports. He notes that the trend reported by Bryden et. al. is hardly bigger than the uncertainty in the calculations, and even quoted Bryden as telling him "we don't know enough about the ocean to know whether [our result] represents a trend" that will persist. Here is how Kerr concludes his look into the issue:

The picture is still fuzzy, however. "It would be dangerous to jump to the conclusion that there's a persistent weakening" of the conveyor circulation, says ocean and climate modeler Richard Wood of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Exeter, U.K. Wood, Rhines, and Bryden all worry that the near-instantaneous snapshots taken by the ocean surveys might have been misleading. Like any part of the complex climate system, the conveyor is bound to slow down at times and speed up at others. The two latest surveys, Wood says, may have happened to catch the Atlantic as the conveyor slowed temporarily, giving the impression that a permanent change had taken place.

On the other hand, the [Bryden's] analysis may not have even captured what happened in the past decade or so. Climate models simulating the conveyor in a warming world don't call for such a large slowdown until sometime in the next century, Wood notes. In fact, climate researcher Jeff Knight of the Hadley Centre and colleagues recently reported that changing sea surface temperatures suggest that the conveyor has speeded up a bit since the 1970s (Science, 1 July, p. 41). And physical oceanographers Carl Wunsch and Patrick Heimbach of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have just crunched far more oceanographic data from a variety of sources over the interval of dramatic change (1993 to 2004) in the NOC analysis. In a paper submitted for publication, they report a small slowdown, a quarter the size of the NOC group's. The change in heat transported northward is negligible, they calculate.

So has the conveyor slowed? Might it continue to slow? "We don't know," says Wunsch. And it may take a decade or two more of watching and waiting to know for sure.

Together, all of this points to a far less clear picture about the state of the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean than is generally being reported. On the other hand, if Bryden et. al. have discovered a real long-term change in the THC, then this will in turn change the paradigm as to how the THC relates to a huge host of climate parameters -- parameters that, at present, don't seem to be behaving like they should if the THC is indeed slowing dramatically. Not often does one anomaly break a paradigm. It happens -- but rarely.



"Today, in the middle of new global warming talks in Montreal, there is a sense that the whole idea of global agreements to cut greenhouse gases won't work. A major reason the optimism over Kyoto has eroded so rapidly is that its major requirement - that 38 participating industrialized countries cut their greenhouse emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2012 - was seen as just a first step toward increasingly aggressive cuts. But in the years after the protocol was announced, developing countries, including the fast-growing giants China and India, have held firm on their insistence that they would accept no emissions cuts, even though they are likely to be the world's dominant source of greenhouse gases in coming years. Their refusal helped fuel strong opposition to the treaty in the United States Senate and its eventual rejection by President Bush. [Actually, the U.S. Senate]

But the current stalemate is not just because of the inadequacies of the protocol. It is also a response to the world's ballooning energy appetite, which, largely because of economic growth in China, has exceeded almost everyone's expectations. And there are still no viable alternatives to fossil fuels, the main source of greenhouse gases. Then, too, there is a growing recognition of the economic costs incurred by signing on to the Kyoto Protocol.

As Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, a proponent of emissions targets, said in a statement on Nov. 1: "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge." This is as true, in different ways, in developed nations with high unemployment, like Germany and France, as it is in Russia, which said last week that it may have spot energy shortages this winter.

Some veterans of climate diplomacy and science now say that perhaps the entire architecture of the climate treaty process might be flawed. The basic template came out of the first international pact intended to protect the atmosphere, the 1987 Montreal Protocol for eliminating chemicals that harmed the ozone layer, said Richard A. Benedick, the Reagan administration's chief representative in the talks leading to that agreement. That agreement was a success, but a misleading one in the context of climate. It led, Mr. Benedick now says, to "years wasted in these annual shindigs designed to generate sound bites instead of sober contemplation of difficult issues."

While it was relatively easy to phase out ozone-harming chemicals, called chlorofluorocarbons, which were made by a handful of companies in a few countries, taking on carbon dioxide, the main climate threat, was a completely different matter, he said. Carbon dioxide is generated by activities as varied as surfing the Web, driving a car, burning wood or flying to Montreal. Its production is woven into the fabric of an industrial society, and, for now, economic growth is inconceivable without it. Developing countries - China and India being only the most dramatic examples - want to burn whatever energy they need, in whatever form available, to grow their economies and raise the living standard of their people.

And the United States - by far the world's largest producer [and absorber!] of greenhouse gases - continues to say that emissions targets or requirements would stunt economic growth in both rich and poor nations. All this has turned the Montreal meeting, many participants have conceded, into, at best, a preliminary meeting on how to start over in addressing the threat of global warming.

Indeed, from here on, progress on climate is less likely to come from megaconferences like the one in Montreal and more likely from focused initiatives by clusters of countries with common interests, said Mr. Benedick, who is now a consultant and president of the National Council on Science and the Environment, a private group promoting science-based environmental policies. The only real answer at the moment is still far out on the horizon: nonpolluting energy sources. But the amount of money being devoted to research and develop such technologies, much less install them, is nowhere near the scale of the problem, many experts on energy technology said.

Enormous investments in basic research have to be made promptly, even with the knowledge that most of the research is likely to fail, if there is to be any chance of creating options for the world's vastly increased energy thirst in a few decades, said Richard G. Richels, an economist at the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit center for energy and environment research. "The train is not leaving the station, and it needs to leave the station," Mr. Richels said. "If we don't have the technologies available at that time, it's going to be a mess.""




By David Whitehouse (Science Editor of BBC News Online) -- in BBC Focus, Issue 158

The fact is that we don't know very much about the natural cycles of ice growth and decline in the Artic. Detailed measurements only stretch back barely two decades and that is just too short to tell what is really happening. The ice on our world is always changing, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. When we look at glaciers and become worried that they may be shrinking and what it might mean, bear in mind that only 2000 years ago there were no glaciers at all in the Alps and hardly any in Norway. Their spectacular growth since then has had nothing to do with human influence. It has been due to natural cycles of climate change that we have lived through successfully.

The media are also not telling the whole story, but rather are 'cherry-picking' the news that fits the credo that the world is warming and the ice is retreating because of human influence. It must be noted that for every glacier in the Alps or Greenland that shows signs of shrinking, there are others elsewhere in the world that show signs of growing.

While the headlines blaze that the Arctic is declining we should take a look at the ice at the other end of the planet. By far, most of the world's ice is held in Antarctica and the evidence there is, by and large, that the amount of ice there is growing.

Many scientists know this, but the mantra of 'global warming happening due to humanity's flagrant release of greenhouse gases' is now an established political correctness. Many of them realise there are significant areas of doubt but if they voice that doubt they run the risk of losing research funds. When scientists are afraid to express doubts we are all in trouble, human-made global warming or not.


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 December, 2005


"Planning" is almost 100% fads. What's right today can be wrong tomorrow -- as the following story from Queensland (published in the "Sunday Mail" on Dec. 4th, 2005) shows:

The suburban cul-de-sac - a mainstay of urban design for more than 20 years - is heading up a dead end, according to a new State Government report. A transport policy discussion paper, Smart Travel Choices for Southeast Queensland, unveiled by Premier Peter Beattie this week, suggests opening up cul-de-sacs, popular with families because they are considered safer for children.

The paper has come up with initiatives "enabling people to live closer to the goods, services and facilities they need and get around more easily in their local communities". One initiative includes street connectivity.' It said: "Connective streets provide more direct access to the places people need to go."

Western Australia introduced a Liveable Neighbourhoods Code in 1996, which helped developers plan and design connective street networks for new developments. Town planners found street connectivity significantly improved in new subdivisions where the code was applied.

Mr Beattie called for public input on this and other suggestions in the paper and said if the Government did not act to reduce traffic, road congestion and air quality would get worse.


When the United Nations held its second meeting of the "Conference of the Parties" (COP-2) in Geneva in July 1996, the big question was whether or not our models of climate change were good enough to support eventual restrictions on the combustion of fossil fuel. Four days before the meeting began, the prestigious journal Nature published a bombshell paper by federal scientist Ben Santer purporting to show that the newest breed of climate models-which combined greenhouse effect warming and sulfate cooling-indeed tracked the climate over a long period, from 1963 through 1987.

At that meeting, Santer's paper was everywhere. Anyone who objected was heckled down. The official U.S. representative to COP-2, Timothy Wirth (now head of Ted Turner's global warming foundation), took the impolite step of slamming U.S. citizens who disagreed with him from an international podium.

Six months later, Nature published a paper showing that if Santer had used all the available data, his results would have fallen apart. And now, history repeats itself.

As the COP-6 meetings got underway November 20 at the Hague, the question on the table was whether the United States should be permitted to meet its treaty obligation by planting trees instead of stopping traffic and turning off the lights. It has long been held that trees will take up excess carbon dioxide in the form of wood and leaves. Further, thousands of experiments in the refereed scientific literature show that added carbon dioxide itself makes trees grow faster. (For proof, you need click no further than the Greening Earth Society's Web site,, to find "The Greening of the American West.")

Readers won't have a difficult time guessing what's in the latest issue of Nature: Forests pollute! According to British scientist Peter Cox, the more vegetation there is, the more carbon dioxide gets released into the atmosphere, because the trees become "saturated" with CO2 and then the forest soils give up more and more. Don't question the logic, which is that every time carbon dioxide is elevated above today's levels (i.e., 95 percent of the last 100 million years), forests would have to put CO2 in the air, which makes it warmer, which grows more trees, which . . . eventually must result is something akin to spontaneous combustion.

One article in Nature is not enough. In the same issue, we find that planting trees in northern latitudes-the huge boreal forest of spruce, fir, and birch that completely circles the planet (except for minor lacunae in the Bering Strait and the North Atlantic)-will make it warmer, not cooler. That's because these trees, especially the coniferous spruce and fir, are relatively "black" and are designed to shed snow. As a result, they absorb more radiation than a reflective, snow-covered tundra (which reflects it) and therefore warm the surface. Gee, that's too bad! The last we heard, it only snows in the winter. Even dreaded global warming will not change that one. So the warming effect of the boreal forest results in a slight amelioration of the ugly winter temperatures that make life miserable in Siberia and Canada.

This notion isn't new. University of Virginia vegetation modeler Herman Shugart and colleagues have written about this a number of times. Nor is it new that Nature is plumping for those who would impose cost and hardship on the people of this country. This looks an awful lot like what happened in 1996.

The latest issue of Science, Nature's competitor, also carries a big article on forest uptake of carbon dioxide, by John Caspersen and five co-authors. It starts off with the well-known fact that North American forests are a huge "sink" (capturing repository) for carbon dioxide. It then asks how much of this is due to the well-known reforestation of North America, and how much is because of direct stimulation of forests by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

According to Caspersen and colleagues, estimates of the fraction of North American green-matter increase due to CO2 alone range between 25 percent and 75 percent-a substantial amount, to say the least, and apparently consistent with the aforementioned "Greening of the American West." But they estimate that the maximum amount of direct growth stimulation, based upon results from five Eastern states, is 7 percent. We'll hazard that the national (or North American) number has to be bigger than that because of what's happening out in the sagebrush.

When the editors of Nature came out with Santer's paper four days before the 1996 COP, some naive people argued the timing was pure chance. Lightning does not strike twice in the same place, at the same time, very often...



The article below is quite correct in saying that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas but omits to mention at least four things: 1). ALL animals produce methane, not only cows. Sheep are big "offenders" too. 2). It is not only animals that produce methane. The BIG source of methane is Asian rice paddies, which Asians need to survive. 3). Methane concentrations in the atmosphere have nearly trebled in the industrial era but the rise in average global temperature has been marginal, indicating that the "problem" is a theoretical one only. 4). Bovine gas emissions comprise both methane and nitrous oxide and nitrous oxide is 310 times more effective than CO2 at trapping solar heat, so methane (23 times) is trivial compared to nitrous oxide

British scientists are fighting climate change by reducing the harmful greenhouse gases produced by flatulent cows. Researchers claim that by altering the diet of cows they can cut the animals' emissions of methane - a contributor to global warming - by up to 70%. Scientists and green groups concerned about climate change have traditionally focused their efforts on cars, lorries, power stations and factories that burn fossil fuels and produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide.

But a study by French scientists published this year warned that flatulent farm animals must shoulder some of the blame. There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14% of all emissions of the gas.

Carbon dioxide is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, but methane has 23 times the warming potential of CO2 so reducing its emission is also considered important. In Scotland, where there is a greater concentration of agriculture than in other countries, cows produce 46% of all methane emissions. Now scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen say they have developed a diet that has done the most to reduce the amount of methane produced by cows.

They introduced a food additive, a mixture of organic sugars and a bacterium developed at the institute, into the cows' diet. It is based on fumaric acid, a naturally occurring chemical essential to respiration of animal and vegetable tissues. "In some experiments we got a 70% decrease in methane emissions, which is quite staggering," said John Wallace, a biochemist at the institute who is leading the research team. In total about 14% of global methane comes from the guts of farm animals. It is worth doing something about."

The study has received œ150,000 funding from Scottish Enterprise, the government agency, and a 12-month commercial and scientific evaluation of the additive is under way. Wallace said if the tests were successful, the treatment would have a significant impact on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Cows need to ferment their low-grade food, such as hay and grass, to get any energy from it and the main by-product is methane. Between 9% and 12% of the energy that a cow consumes is converted into methane, depending on diet, barn conditions and whether the cow is producing milk. The problem of wind is an expensive one for farmers - producing methane instead of milk or beef means that 10% of cattle feed is wasted



Climate change has passed Through the Looking Glass with Alice. The Red Queen is berating us to believe "six impossible things before breakfast".

This week a group of scientists from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton gave a warning that a weakening Gulf Stream will make Britain like Canada, with a cooling of 1C over the next couple of decades, leading to a deeper freeze later. Global warming, of course, is to blame, as melting ice caps reduce the salinity of Arctic waters, preventing them from sinking and driving the ocean conveyor belt.

Clearly researchers in Southampton need to talk to each other. In October a different lot, writing in the Journal of Applied Ecology, were busy employing computer models to calculate that fly and bluebottle populations would rise by nearly 250 per cent as Britain warmed some 2-3C, leading to more dire infections transmitted by insects.

In June we were informed by experts at a Royal Horticultural Society conference that vast swaths of Britain would turn into a Van Gogh landscape, our native woods replaced by Mediterranean horrors such as walnuts, sweet chestnuts, kiwi fruit, olives and sunflowers as temperatures soar by 3-6C. "It's already happening - you can see fields of sunflowers," Professor Jeff Burley of Oxford University announced.

Likewise in June, the redoubtable Baroness Young of Old Scone, chief executive of the Eeyore-like Environment Agency, ever in its boggy place, intoned: "Climate change and the issues that surround it are the biggest challenge - and that flows through to some real pressure points for people in the future in terms of their water supply and their risk of flooding" - basing everything, inevitably, on warming.

In reality, nobody has a fog what will happen. This is Virtualia, not the UK. During the last year, global warming has been predicted to lead to wetter winters, drier winters, another ice age, blazing-hot Mediterranean summers killing thousands, greater biodiversity and less biodiversity.



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 December 2005


At the halfway point of the UN climate change talks in Montreal, environmental groups are struggling a bit to work out who the latest villain is in this long-running drama. Usually it is very straightforward. The US is generally a dead cert for the award of 'Fossil of the Day', reviled by green groups for its rejection of the Kyoto protocol, closely followed by Saudi Arabia for what are regarded as obstructive tactics.

After some opening salvos refusing any involvement in talks about future global climate change action, the American delegation here has been fairly quiet in recent days, largely because the discussions have mainly been about the detail of the protocol itself, from which the US has excluded itself. So it was with some surprise that delegates saw that the award, announced each afternoon in a small ceremony in the Palais des Congres, had been given to Japan.

After inquiries with some of the green activists, the BBC News website learned that the sin of the Japanese delegation was to table a conference paper entitled, "Proposal for criteria for cases of failure to submit information relating to estimates of greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks from activities under Article 3.3 and 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol". That must be bad, probably worse than clubbing baby seals on the head.

But somehow the activists who immerse themselves in the jargon and procedural labyrinths of the climate change process seem to have lost sight of how to communicate their message to the other six billion people on the planet. Another example came earlier in the week when community leaders were brought all the way from Africa to stand in the freezing Montreal winter to back a proposal to protect the world's forests. The catchy slogan on the posters read "Support Agenda Item Six Now!" It has a certain ring to it, but it is not quite "Save the Whale" or "No Nukes".

To be fair, it is not just the green activists who speak another language in these conferences - the same is true of the government delegates themselves, the business lobbyists and even sometimes the journalists who have spent too long covering the issue. I am told that the process has been going on so long that there are now second-generation climate change junkies who have been brought up knowing exactly what is meant by certified emissions reductions, joint implementation and the Marrakech Accords.

For the record, the Marrakech Accords are the series of agreements signed in Morocco in 2001, after years of painful negotiation, on the rules of meeting the targets set by the Kyoto protocol. Because Kyoto only came into force earlier this year, it is at this conference that the accords have finally passed into international law, in a series of unopposed decisions hailed immediately as historic by the conference organisers. This may have simply been a rubber-stamping of decisions made four years ago, but in a process as troubled as this one, navigating any stretch of water without hitting a rock is understandably a cause for great celebration.

And in fact the bringing into force of the Kyoto system is not out of the rapids yet. A procedural objection by Saudi Arabia means that the system of enforcing the rules has not yet been agreed. The suspicion is that this is being held as a bargaining tool to gain other concessions later in the conference. The great challenge at the end of this conference will be to judge whether it has been a success or failure in terms of ensuring the long-term future of global action on climate change

The even greater challenge will be to find any of the 8,000 or so participants who can explain to the rest of the world what on earth has been going on.

(From BBC News Online, 3 December 2005)


It's just Greenie religion: That greater cost implies that MORE energy will be used in building the house. Story from Queensland, Australia, where the (moderate Leftist) Premier of Queensland is standing up for existing practices:

New energy-efficiency laws could spell the end of the iconic Queenslander home. Changes to the building code to be adopted next year mean wooden houses and timber floors could be a thing of the past, Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane told The Sunday Mail yesterday. The "five-star" energy-efficiency measures to be introduced from May are also tipped to increase the cost of building an average house by up to $15,000.

Mr Macfarlane called the decision a "terrible mistake" and warned it would be the death of elevated homes built with timber floors on stilts. "The ordinary house on stumps - that is the finish of them because everything will have to be concrete," he said. "And it is the end of the use of natural timber - unless you are prepared to substantially increase the cost of houses." Under the system, concrete is more energy efficient than timber.

The National Association of Forest Industries also warned the changes could signal the end of timber homes. Chief executive Catherine Murphy said there had already been a 40 per cent decline in the suspended-timber-flooring industry in Victoria since the introduction of five-star standards three years ago.

Australian Building Codes Board chairman Peter Laver said the states and territories had unanimously supported boosting the four-star requirement up to five-star, in line with Victoria. He denied it would mean the end of timber floors and wooden homes - but conceded it would increase the cost of building a house. "There are a couple of little problems with how you treat Queenslander-type houses up on stilts," he said. "That isn't adequately handled in the existing home energy-rating scheme. But there is a new scheme that will be a launched early next year." Mr Laver said timber homes and floors would require additional insulation to meet the standard.

The Housing Industry Association estimates the change will add up to $15,000 to the cost of building an average $200,000 home. HIA senior executive director business services Malcolm Roberts said the environmental benefits were not proven - with the estimated reductions of greenhouse gas emissions being just 0.8 per cent.

But Mr Laver said three independent studies suggested the cost increase would be closer to $2000. "Where the cost impost is going to be higher is the million-dollar houses sitting on cliff tops," he said.

Premier Peter Beattie said he would intervene to ensure the legislation did not apply to Queenslanders in their Queenslanders. "We are not going to give up the very essence of Queensland," said Mr Beattie, who owns a Queenslander in Brisbane's inner-north. "I am not going to give up my Queenslander for something that suits Sydney or Melbourne."


Population as a resource, not a bomb

In 1968 the best-selling book "The Population Bomb" by Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich was published. In it Ehrlich predicted that in the 1970s hundreds of millions of people would die of starvation, because population growth would outpace the world's ability to supply food. Ehrlich's predictions were accepted as gospel by many and he became a media darling. In 1974 "The End of Affluence" appeared, a book Ehrlich had co-written with his wife Anne. Here the Ehrlichs increased their death-toll predictions, saying that by the middle of the 1980s a billion or more people could die of starvation and that the world would enter an era of scarcity by 1985.

In April 1968, a group known as The Club of Rome was founded by Italian scholar and industrialist Aurelio Peccei and Scottish scientist Alexander King. This group issued numerous warnings and dire predictions about the future of mankind based on the view that economic and technological growth and resource use could not be sustained and that food and resource shortages and environmental degradation were inevitable unless human attitudes and governmental policies were changed. The Club's most influential work was a book, "The Limits to Growth," subtitled "A report for the Club of Rome's project on the predicament of mankind" and published in London in 1972. It was full of complex graphs that predicted, if global policy changes weren't changed by 2000, "Population and industrial capital reach levels high enough to create food and resource shortages before the year 2100." The book "stated that if the world's consumption patterns and population growth continued at the same high rates of the time, the earth would strike its limits within a century." It got enormous attention, selling some thirty million copies in more than thirty languages.

No one did a more thorough, sustained, and effective study and refutation of the neo-Malthusians such as Ehrlich and the Club of Rome than the late Julian Simon (1932-1998), a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland in College Park. As he reported in his book "The Ultimate Resource 2" (1996), which is the second edition of "The Ultimate Resource" (1981), Simon began by "assuming that the accepted view was sound. I aimed to help the world contain its 'exploding' population, which I believed to be one of the two main threats to humankind (war being the other). But my reading and research led me into confusion. Though the then-standard economic theory of population (...hardly changed since Malthus) asserted that a higher population growth implies a lower standard of living, the available empirical data did not support this theory."

The real population and resource problems, Simon wrote, "is not that there are too many people or that too many babies are being born. The problem is that others must support each additional person before that person contributes in turn to the well-being of others." A few lines later he wrote, "From the economic point of view an additional child is like a laying chicken, a cacao tree, a computer factory, or a new house. A baby is a durable good in which someone must invest heavily long before the grown adult begins to provide returns on the investment. But whereas 'Travel now, pay later' is inherently attractive because the pleasure is immediate and the piper will wait, 'Pay now, benefit from the child later' is inherently problematic because the sacrifice comes first."

Simon presented a great deal of data and evidence to show that his conclusions, rather than those of the Malthusians, were the correct ones. We do have resource problems, as we always did; these resources "are scarce, in the sense that it costs us labor and capital to get them, though we would prefer to get them for free." Instead of our entering an age of scarcity, the data show that "natural resources have been becoming less scarce over the long run, right up to the present." In terms of pollution, there is a problem as there always has been because people have to dispose of their waste products, "but we now live in a more healthy and less dirty environment than in earlier centuries."

Is there a population problem? Yes, just as always, because when a couple is about to have a child, they must prepare a place for it, and then after it is born they must feed and clothe it; it must also be educated - all of which require expense and effort, not just from the parents alone. "When a baby is born or a migrant arrives, the community must increase its municipal services - schooling, fire and police protection, and garbage collection. None of these are free." These costs and others are born by the parents, siblings, neighbors, community, and taxpayers. In addition, when this child "grows up and first goes to work, jobs are squeezed a bit, and the output and pay per working person go down. All this clearly is an economic loss for other people."

The upside, however, is that "an additional person is also a boon. The child or immigrant will pay taxes later on, contribute energy and resources to the community, produce goods and services for the consumption of others, and make efforts to beautify the environment. Perhaps most significant for the more-developed countries is the contribution that the average person makes to increasing the efficiency of production through new ideas and improved methods."

This comment about new ideas and improved methods is the key to Simon's view. He understood that human ingenuity, creativity, and the ever-increasing stock of useful knowledge - knowledge that is created and discovered and held by humans - is the greatest resource of all. He wrote, "Minds matter economically as much as, or more than, hands or mouths. Progress is limited largely by the availability of trained workers." A bit later he wrote, "Wealth is far more than assets such as houses and cars. The essence of wealth is the capacity to control the forces of nature, and the extent of wealth depends on the level of technology and the ability to create new knowledge."

Simon's view of technology was cornucopian; he thought that human problems of scarcity, resource depletion, disease, and environmental pollution would be solved by new technology. Moreover, new technology is created through human inventiveness and ingenuity and the growing stock of useful knowledge.

Simon showed through analysis of many historical examples that the optimistic cornucopian view he advocated is true, whereas the Malthusian view and the gloomy predictions of Ehrlich and the Club of Rome have not come true. He looked at a whole range of human concerns - food, land, natural resources, energy, pollution, the standard of living, human fertility, immigration, and others -- and showed that things are, in fact, getting better. There is in the world today more food, more agricultural land, more natural resources, more energy, less pollution, and a worldwide rising standard of living. He favored immigration: "The migration of people from poor to rich countries is as close to an everybody-wins government policy as can be." This happens because through receiving immigrants, countries in North America and Western Europe gain higher productivity, a higher standard of living, and "an easing of the heavy social burdens caused by growing proportions of aged dependents." .....

Besides Simon, numerous other people have questioned the methods, conclusions, and predictions of the Malthusian doomsayers such as Ehrlich, and many have pointed out that the gloomy predictions of Ehrlich and the Club of Rome have not come true. It has been noted that, though world population has grown by more 50 percent since 1968, food production has grown at an even faster rate due to technological advances. But, for his effort and pains, Simon received a great deal of ad hominem attacks, epithets, and ridicule, as well as attacks on his integrity. Paul Ehrlich especially directed a lot of such language at him; among other things he accused Simon of a combination of stupidity and scientific ignorance.

In 1980 Simon did get Ehrlich to agree to a celebrated bet. Based on his Malthusian views, Ehrlich had "been predicting massive shortages in various natural resources for decades, while Simon claimed natural resources were infinite. Simon offered Ehrlich a bet centered on the market price of metals. Ehrlich would pick a quantity of any five metals he liked worth $1,000 in 1980. If the 1990 price of the metals, after adjusting for inflation, was more than $1,000 (i.e. the metals became more scarce), Ehrlich would win. If, however, the value of the metals after inflation was less than $1,000 (i.e. the metals became less scare), Simon would win. The loser would mail the winner a check for the change in price.

Ehrlich agreed to the bet, and chose copper, chrome, nickel, tin and tungsten. By 1990, all five metal were below their inflation-adjusted price level in 1980. Ehrlich lost the bet and sent Simon a check for $576.07. Prices of the metals chosen by Ehrlich fell so much that Simon would have won the bet even if the prices hadn't been adjusted for inflation." (

Simon offered the bet to Ehrlich and any other takers again, with the proceeds if he won to go to charity. No one else accepted the bet, and, although Ehrlich claimed that he had made a good bet and the outcome didn't prove that Simon was right, Ehrlich too declined the new bet. It seems clear that his decline of any further bets was a strong signal that, whatever he said or wrote to the contrary, Ehrlich knew that his Malthusian pessimism does not fit the empirical facts, while Simon's optimism, cornucopianism, and belief that humans are the ultimate resource are supported by the actual empirical facts and data, and that predictions of coming doom, resource depletion, and environmental degradation are mistaken.

(Excerpt from World Peace Herald)


Scientists from across Canada have endorsed a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin, warning Canada faces more drastic weather conditions due to climate change and calling on the government to take urgent action to curb greenhouse gases. The letter, signed by 41 leading climate scientists, states there is "unambiguous evidence of a changing climate in Canada and around the world'' due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. The scientists, who are members of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, said "there is increasing urgency to act on the threat of climate change.''

Far from decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions, Canada has actually increased them by 25 per cent since 1990. "Significant steps are needed to stop the growth in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations by reducing emissions," the letter states. "The scientific community is saying the case for climate change is real and there is need for urgent action," Dr. Gordon McBean, chairman of the science foundation, said in an interview.

The federal government gave the foundation a mandate and $110 million in 2000 to study climate change. Now the research is showing that the situation is worse than first imagined and our climate systems are more sensitive than people realized. [...] Meanwhile, the government has not given any more funding for scientific research into climate change, McBean said.

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.


4 December 2005


Dustbin men have been given a police escort around an estate to protect them from ''recycling rage''. The binmen have been abused by residents on the Abbey estate in Thetford, Norfolk, who are frustrated and confused about how to sort their rubbish for recycling. Breckland district council has said it will no longer collect recycling bins that have other household waste mixed in.

Police were first called to provide escorts after a resident threw his bin into the back of the refuse truck, furious that it had not been emptied. Residents have been given three bins, one for green waste, one for recyclable materials and one for general rubbish.

Insp Tim Peacock, of Norfolk police, said: "The council asked us to be there for support. We will endeavour to be there for as long as it takes for the problem to be solved."

Sarah Edwards, of Breckland district council, said: "It is not fair for people to take it out on binmen. They are just doing their job. It is a major problem when people mix up their waste because it means that items for recycling get contaminated.''


Dioxin: death for objectivity

Compensation schemes for vets exposed to Agent Orange fly in the face of the evidence.

Shortly before hurricane Katrina struck Mississippi, a devastating jury decision there struck the company DuPont, awarding a man $15million because of his scientifically groundless claim to have been injured by the chemical dioxin.

This was only the latest in a long line of bogus assaults on dioxin. Greenpeace and other environmental organisations damn the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for moving too slowly to eliminate dioxin from meat and dairy products, air and water, and, most poignantly, from mothers' milk. Greenpeace says that dioxin causes cancer, miscarriages and birth defects, developmental disorders and lasting mental impairment. Despite moving too slowly for Greenpeace, however, EPA agrees that dioxin must be carefully regulated. And the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays millions of dollars to thousands of veterans each year as compensation for the diseases ostensibly caused by the dioxin that contaminated Agent Orange.

Greenpeace, EPA and VA cite the results of hundreds of animal tests to bolster their claims about dioxin's deadliness. But they ignore or downplay the absence of human evidence for harmful effects.

That absence is not from lack of trying to find human effects. EPA, VA, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the United States Air Force, state agencies, and industry, have all spent millions studying populations of people who have been or might have been exposed to dioxin.

Sifting through the results of studies of workers exposed to high levels of dioxin reveals scattered reports of a particular cancer or disease being found at above-expected levels in one study or another. It also reveals that some cancers or diseases are found at below-expected levels in some studies. There's little consistency - cancers elevated in some studies are decreased in others.

The results support the conclusion that dioxin exposures to human populations are without effect, and that the sporadically found higher and lower disease rates are the result of random fluctuations in disease occurrence. Even the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) widely proclaimed assessment that dioxin causes cancer in humans relies on animal test results; IARC concedes the evidence from studies of humans is less than convincing.

What the dioxin studies really tell us

There are fewer studies of 'environmentally exposed' people, primarily because there are few populations that have been exposed to higher than 'background' levels. The two most studied populations are those that lived around a chemical plant in Seveso, Italy, which blew up in 1976; and the residents of Times Beach, Missouri, which was exposed to dioxin-contaminated oil. These studies find that there are no increases in overall disease rates or cancers. It is possible to associate dioxin exposures with elevated occurrence of a specific cancer or disease in some studies, but the occurrence of other cancers and diseases is lower than expected, and there is little consistency among studies' results. This suggests that the varying disease rates result from fluctuations of occurrence observed whenever small populations are studied.

The most publicised dioxin-exposed group is Vietnam veterans. Agent Orange, a mixture of two herbicides, was used to defoliate trees in the jungles of Vietnam. It was always contaminated with traces of dioxin, present at levels from less than one part per million to perhaps 50 parts per million, so anyone exposed to Agent Orange was exposed to dioxin. Dioxin persists for years in the fatty tissues of animals, and measuring current levels of dioxin in those tissues provides information about past exposures to dioxin and dioxin-containing substances, such as Agent Orange.

The two active ingredients of Agent Orange are far less toxic than dioxin in animal tests, but one was removed from the market because it was always contaminated with dioxin. The other is still available in any hardware store.

The ranch hands

Two groups of Vietnam veterans have been intensely studied. The 'Ranch Hands' are the 1,200 Air Force personnel who serviced and flew the airplanes that sprayed 90 percent of the Agent Orange used in Vietnam. Along with 1,200 other Air Force personnel - a control group referred to as 'Comparisons', who were not exposed to Agent Orange - they were subjected to a week-long physical and psychological examination every five years between 1982 and 2002. This finds no difference in overall disease or mortality rates between the Ranch Hands and Comparisons

More here


When the European Commission proposed the new European Union (EU) chemicals legislation, REACH, two years ago, it was an easy news story. Meddling Brussels bureaucrats were interfering with the workings of a massive EU industry, with no science behind them and without being asked.

REACH (a convenient abbreviation of the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) has since been analysed and worried over by countless politicians, civil servants, consultants and pressure groups. It has just emerged from a lengthy debate and vote by Europe's MEPs, and could finally be agreed upon by government ministers next month.

The debate over the past two years has failed to throw up much. Sure, the arguments over REACH have been detailed. At one point the European Parliament was faced with the prospect of voting on 5000 amendments to the chemicals law. Thanks to some diligent work from the MEP with primary responsibility for REACH, who spent his summer holiday in the Italian mountains sorting through the dossier, this was reduced to a slightly more manageable 1000. Unfortunately, too many of that thousand were along the lines of 'Paragraphs two and three shall apply to substances, contained in articles, that fulfil the criteria of Article 54 three months after the date these substances are listed in Annex XIIIa'.

There are dozens of wildly differing studies predicting the cost of implementing REACH. There have also been endless assessments of the legislation's impact on productivity, on innovation, on health or on the environment, each bursting to prove the point of the person who paid for it.

There has been very little questioning of the original thinking behind the law, which the Commission summarised as 'to improve protection of human health and the environment from the hazards of chemicals and enhance the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. Following this month's environment vote on REACH, green groups 'condemned the decision to severely weaken crucial safety testing requirements for all chemicals covered by REACH. A REACH adopted on this basis will not deliver the health and environment protection the public needs'. Meanwhile, industry representatives Unice said: 'The outcome of the vote today by the European Parliament is not good enough to make REACH workable for industry as a whole.'

Nobody is happy, but nobody dares wonder out loud whether we weren't better off with the old (albeit imperfect) system. The reason for this is the unshakeable hold of environmentalism on European thinking - which is due to broader doubts about the value of science and technology.

Despite the remaining list of Green worries, and despite Commission president Jos, Manuel Barroso's recent efforts to present the proposed law as a way of streamlining industry regulations, REACH represents a further shift towards environmentalism in the EU. The woman behind REACH was the then environment commissioner Margot Wallstr"m. Although she shared responsibility for its official Commission launch with the enterprise department, and has since moved on to become communication commissioner, Wallstr"m remains the person most closely associated with the proposal.

More importantly, as is proudly proclaimed by Commission background documents, the legislation is 'underpinned by the precautionary principle'. This 'better-safe-than-sorry' principle has become the guiding light of environmentalism.

But REACH's opponents have not helped themselves. Individual industries and their large-scale representatives have generally contented themselves with occasional diplomatically worded press releases, which don't spell out the problems of burdening a sector that has improved our lives immeasurably over the past century.

By contrast, environmentalist arguments have been heard loud and clear. Indeed, probably the only element of the REACH saga most Europeans are aware of is the series of blood tests carried out by environmental lobbyists. Yet nobody has exposed this poor science. In fact, in the quantities of trace elements found, 'toxic' substances are not toxic at all. These reports have millions of people in Europe thinking it is right to base legislation on tiny amounts of chemicals - found not just in people, but also in polar bears and, most recently, in eels. These arguments have been made graphically, too - with huge banners showing the Commission president and enterprise commissioner feeding poison to a baby.

Back in 2001, when new chemicals legislation was at the early stage of being published as a White Paper, the Commission organised a cross-sector conference in Brussels. According to a report published by the Commission soon after the event, 'All stakeholders agreed with the political objectives of the strategy, ie, the objective of improving chemicals legislation, the foundation of risk management on sound science and risk assessment, and the search for a simple, coherent and workable system'.

Sound science and a workable system look like the sort of ideas worth talking about. Unfortunately, there's little sturdy thinking behind REACH.


The relative unimportance of trying to stop global warming

Bjorn Lomborg says that instead of spending enormous amounts of money on the Kyoto strategy, which focuses on early cuts that will do little good, we should be concentrating on research into cheaper and cleaner energy

Global warming has become the pre-eminent concern of our time. Many governments and most campaigners meeting in Montreal now through next Friday tell us that dealing with global warming should be our first priority. Negotiating a follow-up treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, they argue, requires that we seek even deeper cuts in the pollution that causes global warming. But they are wrong about our priorities, and they are advocating an inefficient remedy. As a result, we risk losing sight of tackling the world's most important problems first, as well as missing the best long-term approach to global warming.

To be sure, global warming is real, and it is caused by carbon dioxide. The trouble is that today's best climate models show that immediate action will do little good. The Kyoto Protocol will cut carbon dioxide emissions from industrialized countries by 30 percent below what it would have been in 2010 and by 50 percent in 2050. Yet, even if everyone (including the US) lived up to the protocol's rules, and stuck to it throughout the century, the change would be almost immeasurable, postponing warming for just six years in 2100.

Likewise, the economic models tell us that the cost would be substantial -- at least US$150 billion a year. In comparison, the UN estimates that half that amount could permanently solve all of the world's major problems: It could ensure clean drinking water, sanitation, basic health care, and education for every single person in the world, now. Global warming will mainly harm developing countries, because they are poorer and therefore more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. However, even the most pessimistic forecasts from the UN project that by 2100 the average person in developing countries will be richer than the average person in developed countries is now. So early action on global warming is basically a costly way of doing very little for much richer people far in the future. We need to ask ourselves if this should, in fact, be our first priority.

Of course, in the best of all worlds, we would not need to prioritize. We could do all good things. We would have enough resources to win the war against hunger, end conflicts, stop communicable diseases, provide clean drinking water, broaden educational access, and halt climate change. But we don't. So we have to ask the hard question: If we can't do it all, what should we do first? Some of the world's top economists -- including four Nobel laureates -- answered this question at the Copenhagen Consensus last year, listing all major policies for improving the world according to priority. They found that dealing with HIV/AIDS, hunger, free trade and malaria were the world's top priorities. This was where we could do the most good for our money.

On the other hand, the experts rated immediate responses to climate change at the bottom of the world's priorities. Indeed, the panel called these ventures -- including the Kyoto Protocol -- "bad projects," simply because they cost more than the good that they do. The Copenhagen Consensus gives us great hope because it shows us that there are so many good things that we can do. For US$27 billion, we could prevent 28 million people from getting HIV. For US$12 billion we could cut malaria cases by more than 1 billion a year. Instead of helping richer people inefficiently far into the future, we can do immense good right now.

This does not mean losing sight of the need to tackle climate change. But the Kyoto approach focuses on early cuts, which are expensive and do little good. Instead, we should be concentrating on investments in making energy without carbon dioxide emissions viable for our descendants. This would be much cheaper and ultimately much more effective in dealing with global warming. The US and UK have begun to tout this message.

The parties in Montreal should rule out more Kyoto-style immediate cuts, which would be prohibitively expensive, do little good, and cause many nations to abandon the entire process. Rather, they should suggest a treaty binding every nation to spend, say, 0.1 percent of GDP on research and development of non-carbon-emitting energy technologies. This approach would be five times cheaper than Kyoto and many more times cheaper than a Kyoto II. It would involve all nations, with richer nations naturally paying the larger share, and perhaps developing nations being phased in. It would let each country focus on its own future vision of energy needs, whether that means concentrating on renewable sources, nuclear energy, fusion, carbon storage, or searching for new and more exotic opportunities.

Such a massive global research effort would also have potentially huge innovation spin-offs. In the long run, such actions are likely to make a much greater impact on global warming than Kyoto-style responses. In a world with limited resources, where we struggle to solve just some of the challenges that we face, caring more about some issues means caring less about others. We have a moral obligation to do the most good that we possibly can with what we spend, so we must focus our resources where we can accomplish the most first.

By this standard, global warming doesn't come close. Rather than investing hundreds of billions of dollars in short-term, ineffective cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, we should be investing tens of billions in research, leaving our children and grandchildren with cheaper and cleaner energy.



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 December 2005


Pulsar Advanced Technologies has announced will next week launch its lead product, the Vulcanus MK4, a water heater USING microwave technology to heat water on demand. This technology with super-heating capabilities will drastically cut energy costs and totally eliminate the need to store hot water. The Vulcanus MK4 is making its world premier at Construct Canada in Toronto between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.

The tankless system uses microwave technology to heat water on demand, saving energy and providing an endless supply of hot water for residential and commercial usage. The technology is designed to eliminate the deadly Legionella Pneumophila, since water will not stagnate, as it does with conventional hot water heaters.

Powered by electricity and unaffected by the volatile gas markets, the Vulcanus MK4 can heat water from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in seconds and can source multiple applications at once: showers, dishwasher, sink usages and more. The Vulcanus MK4 is the size of a stereo speaker with a sleek modern look, making it ideal for condos and apartments, while powerful enough to serve the needs of any size family.



(From Nature 428, 601, April 8, 2004)

Sir - Your News story "Gulf Stream probed for early warnings of system failure" (Nature 427, 769 (2004)) discusses what the climate in the south of England would be like "without the Gulf Stream." Sadly, this phrase has been seen far too often, usually in newspapers concerned with the unlikely possibility of a new ice-age in Britain triggered by the loss of the Gulf Stream.

European readers should be reassured that the Gulf Stream's existence is a consequence of the large-scale wind system over the North Atlantic Ocean, and of the nature of fluid motion on a rotating planet. The only way to produce an ocean circulation without a Gulf Stream is either to turn off the wind system, or to stop the Earth's rotation, or both.

Real questions exist about conceivable changes in the ocean circulation and its climate consequences. However, such discussions are not helped by hyperbole and alarmism. The occurrence of a climate state without the Gulf Stream anytime soon - within tens of millions of years - has a probability of little more than zero.

Carl Wunsch
(Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


(From Geoscience Canada, June, 2004)

By Andrew J. Weaver and Claude Hillaire-Marcel


The recent IPCC (2001) assessment stated that

"Most models show weakening of the Northern Hemisphere Thermohaline Circulation (THC), which contributes to a reduction of surface warming in the northern North Atlantic. Even in models where the THC weakens, there is still a warming over Europe due to increased greenhouse gases."

However, there is still a widespread misunderstanding of the possible consequence of climate change on the Atlantic Ocean Meridional Overturning. In particular, it is often touted, especially in the media, that a possible consequence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is: "the onset of the next ice age". Here we document the history of this misconception and quantitatively show how it is impossible for an ice age to ensue as a consequence of global warming. Through analysis of the paleoclimate record as well as a number of climate model simulations, we also suggest that it is very unlikely that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning will cease to be active in the near future. We further suggest that a region where intermediate water formation may shut down is in the Labrador Sea, although this has more minor consequences for climate than if deep water formation in the Nordic Seas were to cease.



While much has been made in the media of global warming potentially leading to the onset of the next ice age, we believe we have shown that this is simply not possible. A more relevant question is what will happen to the AMO during the course of the next century. Some models assessed in IPCC (2001) find no reduction of the AMO during the 21st century while others find a slight reduction in its strength. Such a reduction leads to a negative feedback to anthropogenic warming in and around the North Atlantic. That is, through reducing the transport of heat from low to high latitudes, SSTs are cooler than they would otherwise be if the AMO was left unchanged. As such, warming is reduced over and downstream of the North Atlantic. It is important to note that in all models where the AMO weakens, warming still occurs downstream over Europe. While admittedly model-dependent, even in the case where we added an additional external freshwater perturbation to the North Atlantic for 500 years, whose magnitude was chosen to account for the upper estimate of the observed rate of global sea level rise this past century, we still do not get a cessation of the AMO and cooling down stream over Europe.

Worth mentioning here is the fact that the most sophisticated non flux-adjusted model of Wood et al. (1999) suggests that the freshening of North Atlantic surface waters presently observed (Curry et al., 2003) could be associated with an increasing AMO (Wu et al., 2004). This same model, praised by Rahmstorf (1999) as giving "for the first time a realistic simulation of the large scale ocean currents", also suggests that eventually it is only Labrador Sea Water formation that is susceptible to a collapse as it did during the most recent warmer episodes of the Earth Climate history (Hillaire-Marcel et al., 2001).

Climate change is offering decision makers and society as a whole many important challenges that need to be assessed and addressed, including the possibility of a reduction in the strength of the AMO or the very remote possibility of its cessation this century. One thing that they need not concern themselves with is Global Warming causing the onset of the next ice age. Unfortunately, such a conclusion is far less newsworthy than the one warning of the occurrence of an impending ice agc.


(From CO2 Science Magazine, 18 February 2004)

Summary of:
Wu, P., Wood, R. and Stott, P. 2004. Does the recent freshening trend in the North Atlantic indicate a weakening thermohaline circulation? Geophysical Research Letters 31.

"It is widely expected," according to the authors of this new model study, "that global warming would intensify the hydrological cycle, with more evaporation in the tropics and more rainfall in polar regions," and that "such a changed freshwater balance will impose a fresh water flux forcing to the ocean's surface and alter the large scale ocean density structure, which consequently cause the THC [thermohaline circulation] in the global oceans to slow down." As a result of this hypothetical scenario, many climate alarmists are claiming that CO2-induced global warming will slow the flow of the Gulf Stream, causing it to provide less heat to Europe and plunging the continent into a new Little Ice Age that ultimately leads to all sorts of political tensions around the globe. In fact, the purveyors of this scare scenario have become so strident in promoting it that even the U.S. Pentagon's strategic planners are said to be grappling with its implications (Stipp, 2004).

What was done:
Noting that a freshening of the North Atlantic Ocean has in fact been observed by Dickson et al. (2002) and Curry et al. (2003), the trio of scientists from the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research "analyzed a set of four model simulations under historical natural (solar irradiance and volcanic aerosol changes) and anthropogenic (greenhouse gases, sulphate aerosol and ozone changes) forcings," which they say "have successfully simulated 20th century global mean temperature variations."

What was learned:
An ensemble of four simulations carried out with the Hadley Centre's coupled climate model HadCM3 successfully reproduced the systematic freshening of the deep North Atlantic Ocean that has been observed over the past four decades. "However," as Wu et al. report, they "do not find a decreasing trend of the North Atlantic THC." Quite to the contrary, they say that "accompanying the freshening trend, the THC unexpectedly shows an upward trend, rather than a downward trend."

What it means:
As a result of their analysis, the Hadley Centre scientists conclude that the observed freshening trend of the North Atlantic Ocean "does not seem to be consistent with an anthropogenically forced climate change scenario." And to be sure we get the import of their message, they reiterate a few sentences later that their analysis "does not seem to support an interpretation of the observed freshening trend as an early signal of climate change due to human activities." In addition, we would further note that with no slowdown of the THC, and maybe even an increase in its flow rate, the Gulf Stream should continue to keep Europe significantly warmer than what its latitude would suggest as far into the future as we can reasonably claim to see.


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 December 2005


Now 30% weaker but average temperature changes have been minuscule. Another Greenie doom scenario looking absurd

The North Atlantic's natural heating system, which brings clement weather to western Europe, is showing signs of decline. Scientists report that warm Atlantic Ocean currents, which carry heat from the tropics to high latitudes, have substantially weakened over the past 50 years.

Oceanographers surveying the 'Atlantic meridional overturning circulation', the current system that includes the warm Gulf Stream current, report that it seems to be 30% weaker than half a century ago.

Failures of the Atlantic Ocean's circulation system are thought to have been responsible for abrupt and extreme climate changes during the ice age that lasted from 110,000 to 23,000 years ago. More recently, a fictional shutdown of the Gulf Stream inspired the 2004 Hollywood blockbuster The Day after Tomorrow.

The climate shifts depicted in the movie, in which New York is engulfed by an instant ice age, are mere fancy. But scientists are worried about the real changes measured in the North Atlantic. Both salinity and water density, which influence the transport of warm waters, have previously been found to be decreasing.

More here


The controversial idea that global warming could trigger a sudden drop in temperatures - maybe not in a matter of days as portrayed in the recent disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow, but possibly within a century - has finally been put to rest. The latest ice core drilled from northern Greenland is showing that the last interglacial period, despite being warmer than today, did not end in a sudden freeze. Rather, it took thousands of years for the warm temperatures to give way to the next ice age.

The Greenland ice sheet is made from layers of snow that have compacted into ice over millennia. By drilling a core of ice, researchers can look back in time and determine the temperature when the snow fell by analysing the ratio of oxygen isotopes in the ice. Two previous Greenland ice cores, one known as GRIP extracted by European scientists in 1992, and another called GISP2 retrieved by Americans a year later, gave climatologists their best ever records of temperatures going far back in time.

The two cores agreed almost perfectly all the way back to 113,000 years ago, but then diverged dramatically. GRIP showed that temperatures in Greenland, and presumably worldwide, underwent many sudden fluctuations between 113,000 to 125,000 years ago. In one instance, temperatures appeared to plummet by up to 14 degrees C within 70 years. This sparked alarm because the last interglacial period, known as the Eemian, lasted from about 130,000 to 115,000 years ago, and conditions then are thought to closely parallel today's climate. Scientists worried that warm temperatures during the Eemian could have shut down the Gulf Stream, which keeps the north-eastern US and northern Europe relatively warm for their latitudes.

But controversy erupted when GISP2 found no record of such fluctuations. It soon became clear that at least one team, and possibly both, had drilled in a region where the underlying rock is very hilly, potentially jumbling the bottom 10 per cent of the ice. To resolve the debate, European researchers went back to northern Greenland in 1996 and started drilling in a region with flat bedrock, which they reached in July 2003. The new core, known as NGRIP, goes back 123,000 years, and at roughly 3085 metres it is the longest ice core recovered from Greenland.

Besides analysing the oxygen isotopes in the ice, the Europeans also looked at levels of methane trapped in air bubbles. Methane levels rise during warm periods and fall when it gets cold, and the variations back up the oxygen-isotope data. "This time we are 100 per cent certain that the ice core is reliable:' says team member Jurgen Peder Steffensen of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. "The new analysis also shows that the two older ice cores are only reliable to 105,000 years."

The NGRIP core reaches into the final 8000 years of the Eemian. The team found that Greenland was then about five degrees warmer on average than today, and that the climate was stable. The warm period ended with a slow cooling over 5000 years (Nature, vol 1431, p 147). "This is important information," says Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge.

"The Eemian may not be a perfect analogue of a future warmer world, but it is the best we've got. A crucial point is that this part of the Greenland ice sheet apparently did not melt substantially in spite of the high temperatures." NGRIP contains nearly a centimetre of ice for each year towards the end of the Eemian and the inception of the ice age, enough to reveal air temperature and atmospheric chemistry for each year during that period. Such data will be invaluable for understanding how an ice age starts. "The NGRIP ice core gives us a climate record of unsurpassed detail from high latitudes where the ice sheets start to grow," says Wolff.

More here


(Excerpts from Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 24, Issues 20-21 , November 2005, Pages 2164-2166)

Climate: past ranges and future changes

By Jan Esper et al.


Comparison of large-scale temperature reconstructions over the past millennium reveals agreement on major climatic episodes, but substantial divergence in reconstructed (absolute) temperature amplitude. We here detail several research priorities to overcome this 'amplitude desideratum', and discuss the relevance of this effort for the prediction of future temperature changes and the meaning of the Kyoto protocol.

Persisting controversy (Regalado, 2005) surrounding a pioneering northern hemisphere temperature reconstruction (Mann et al., 1999) indicates the importance of such records to understand our changing climate. Such reconstructions, combining data from tree rings, documentary evidence and other proxy sources are key to evaluate natural forcing mechanisms, such as the sun's irradiance or volcanic eruptions, along with those from the widespread release of anthropogenic greenhouse gases since about 1850 during the industrial (and instrumental) period. We here demonstrate that our understanding of the shape of long-term climate fluctuations is better than commonly perceived, but that the absolute amplitude of temperature variations is poorly understood. We argue that the knowledge of this amplitude is critical for predicting future trends, and detail four research priorities to solve this incertitude: (i) reduce calibration uncertainty, (ii) preserve 'colour' in proxy data, (iii) utilize accurate instrumental data, and (iv) update old and develop new proxy data.

When matching existing temperature reconstructions (Jones et al., 1999; Mann et al., 1999; Briffa, 2000; Esper et al., 2002; Moberg, et al., 2005) over the past 1000 years, although substantial divergences exist during certain periods, the timeseries display a reasonably coherent picture of major climatic episodes: 'Medieval Warm Period', 'Little Ice Age' and 'Recent Warming' (Fig. 1). However, when calibrated against instrumental temperature records, these same reconstructions splay outwards with temperature amplitudes ranging from 0.4 to 1.0 °C for decadal means (Moberg et al., 2005). Further, a comparison of commonly used regression and scaling approaches shows that the reconstructed absolute amplitudes easily vary by over 0.5 °C, depending on the method and instrumental target chosen (Esper et al., 2005). Overall, amplitude discrepancies are in the order of the total variability estimated over the past millennium, and undoubtedly confuse future modelled temperature trends via parameterisation uncertainties related to inadequately simulated behaviour of past variability......

Solutions to reduce calibration uncertainty include the use of pseudo-proxy experiments (Osborn and Briffa, 2004; von Storch et al., 2004) derived from ensemble simulations of different models (Knutti et al., 2002; Stainforth et al., 2005) to test statistical calibration methods, e.g. principal component (Cook et al., 1994) and timescale-dependent (Osborn and Briffa, 2000) regression. Such analyses, however, should mimic the character of empirical proxy data, e.g. the decline of replication (numbers of sites, quality per site) back in time, and the addition of noise typical to empirical proxy data (i.e., not just white; Mann and Rutherford, 2002). Further, reconstructions from areas such as Europe (Luterbacher et al., 2004; Xoplaki et al., 2005), where long instrumental series and high densities of proxy records exist, allow extended calibration periods and increased degrees of freedom enabling the assessment of robust relationships at all timescales (i.e., low and high frequency), both critical to reduce calibration uncertainty. Subsequent comparison of such regional records with hemispheric reconstructions that can be downscaled should provide greater understanding of reconstructed amplitudes at larger spatial scales.....

The instrumental target data chosen (Esper et al., 2005), and adjustments made to these data are also vital to the reconstructed amplitude. A recent analysis of a carefully homogenised instrumental network from the Alps and surrounding areas (Boehm et al., 2001), for example, shows the annual temperature trend over the last ca 110 years to be 1.1 °C-twice that observed over the same alpine gridboxes in the global dataset provided by the Climatic Research Unit (Jones et al., 1999). Such changes in the character of observational data, resulting from homogeneity adjustments and methodology differences (Moberg et al., 2003), directly affect the temperature amplitude in proxy-based reconstructions, since instrumental calibration sets the pulse in these paleorecords (Büntgen et al., 2005). Accurate instrumental data are therefore crucial to the reconstructed amplitude, and this again argues for regional studies where mutual verification between proxy and instrumental records is viable (Frank and Esper, 2005; Wilson et al., 2005).

Finally, more proxy data covering the full millennium and representing the same spatial domain as the instrumental target data (e.g., hemisphere) are required to solve the amplitude puzzle. The current pool of 1000-year long annually resolved temperature proxies is limited to a handful of timeseries, with some of them also portraying differing seasonal (e.g., summer or annual) responses. Furthermore, the strength of many of these local records and literally all tree ring chronologies varies and almost always declines back in time (Cook et al., 2004). The reasons are manifold and include dating uncertainty, loss of signal fidelity in the recent period, assumptions about signal stationarity, reduction of sample replication, etc., and are generally not considered in the uncertainty estimates of combined large-scale reconstructions. Also, data from the most recent decades, absent in many regional proxy records, limits the calibration period length and hinders tests of the behaviour of the proxies under the present 'extreme' temperature conditions. Calibration including the exceptional conditions since the 1990s would, however, be necessary to estimate the robustness of a reconstruction during earlier warm episodes, such as the Medieval Warm Period, and would avoid the need to splice proxy and instrumental records together to derive conclusions about recent warmth.

So, what would it mean, if the reconstructions indicate a larger (Esper et al., 2002; Pollack and Smerdon, 2004; Moberg et al., 2005) or smaller (Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1999) temperature amplitude? We suggest that the former situation, i.e. enhanced variability during pre-industrial times, would result in a redistribution of weight towards the role of natural factors in forcing temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact of anthropogenic emissions and affecting future predicted scenarios. If that turns out to be the case, agreements such as the Kyoto protocol that intend to reduce emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, would be less effective than thought. This scenario, however, does not question the general mechanism established within the protocol, which we believe is a breakthrough.

(The Doi (permanent) address for the full article above is here)


Mooney fails to address past and present liberal manipulations of science. While it is true that most climate scientists believe the Earth is warming, Mooney ignores arguments over the extent and implications of any warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has suggested that the Earth's temperature will rise anywhere between 0.5 and 6.5 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years, but there is little consensus on the precise figure (2). This is important, since a change of less than two degrees Celsius is likely to have negligible or even benign effects, while a change of three degrees Celsius and beyond is likely to be much more destructive.

An obvious reason why there is so little consensus is because modelling climate change is very difficult. Most computer climate simulations, for example, suggest a sharp warming in the low troposphere (the layer of air from just above the Earth's surface to about eight kilometres up) but measurements of the troposphere find less warming than predicted. Such inconsistencies are not unusual and reflect the vast number of variables that can enter a model - clouds, ground temperatures, air pressures, soil moisture, ocean currents, vegetation, population changes, energy consumption, to name a few - and the high degree of uncertainty in the prediction and measurement of these factors. Consequently different models can provide for radically different predictions of future warming, with variable implications for policy.

In the past, scientists might have hedged their predictions and provided caveats that were reasonable if infuriating to their political sponsors. A phenomenon that Mooney does not comment on is the apparent increasing willingness of scientists to abandon uncertainty in pursuit of policy changes that they see as desirable. Promoting environmental protection is seen by many scientists as a necessity that trumps any doubts they may have about their data. Even worse, scientists may engage in alarmism to promote their own field of research - attracting funding, media attention and political influence.

While Mooney is quick to denounce the pernicious influence of the fossil fuel industry he does not consider the financial, ideological and personal interests that may promote opportunism by scientists and their activist or media supporters. There have been multiple examples of scientists and their supporters peddling outlandish theories of disease and disaster (AIDS, SARS, mad cow disease, grey goo destruction, death by sugar and fat, terrorist threats, and so on) that Mooney either ignores or mentions with approval....

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.


1 December 2005


By Bob Foster -- -- Paper given at the AGM of the Royal Society of Victoria, 10 March 2005

Climate-change contention is "history in the making" - as PR people might correctly say. We don't yet know who will be proven 'right', of course; but we do know that today's most-publicised scientific hypothesis (ie. a people-driven climate) will not be replaced, piecemeal, from within by its own custodians. It must be overthrown.

Look at the past. Galileo found by observation that, contrary to mainstream opinion, Earth did not occupy a privileged location at the centre of the celestial sphere. Famously, he was forced to recant (in 1633): "I abjure, curse and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies." But in the end, that new-fangled telescope did for the geocentric universe. The dominant hypothesis of its millennium was changed by revolution, not evolution.

Early in the 20th Century, Wegener noted the fit between coastlines on either side of the Atlantic, and the separation of the plants/animals of Gondwana from the rest at Wallace's Line; and his followers subsequently identified similarities in the lithology and structure of continental segments now on opposite sides of oceans. Correlation is not proof; but as contrary evidence grew to a flood, the mainstream had to proffer up increasingly baroque explanations (US Geological Survey's intermittent land-bridges, for instance) of how animals and plants could spread - while continents kept their stations.

When I did geology at Adelaide in the 1950s, continental drift was dismissed by our faculty as "nice theory; shame it isn't true". Had we students persisted, we might have failed. The vehemence shows in a quote from Baily Willis: "... the hypothesis should, in my judgement, be placed in the discard, since further discussion of it merely incumbers the literature and befogs the minds of fellow scientists". Geologists fought like tigers to prevent this huge advance of scientific understanding, on the grounds that no causal mechanism for drifting continents could be shown. By 1963, the game was up; because deep-ocean drilling found observational evidence supporting Wegener - revolution again. The uniformitarianism of Hutton and Lyell (and the flood-geology which preceded it) is now forgotten. Sea-floor spreading and plate tectonics dominate.

End-points in the latest 'Battle of the Hypotheses'

* Earth's stable pre-industrial climate is only now disturbed by humans burning fossil fuels. The Mediaeval Warm Period, and subsequent series of Little Ice Age cold periods, didn't exist; and we can regain the climatic stability of a pre-industrial Arcadia by 'doing the right thing' about fossil-fuel use. All it will cost is money.

Or, to the contrary:

* Magnetised plasma from the Sun drives our ever-changing climate; and not even King Canute can keep it stable. Solar eruptive activity was greater in the 20th Century than for 9,000 years; and its variability can be calculated. A Little-Ice-Age-like 'quiet Sun' will return before 2030 - within any responsible government's planning horizon.

Wealthy-few-driven climate

The hypothesis of a 'people-driven climate' has powerful friends. British PM Tony Blair has declared: "We can defeat climate change if we want to"; and UK Chief Scientist Sir David King (recently awarded a second 5-year term) predicts that: "Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked". Science has gone neurotic.

But this hypothesis has mainstream support. For instance, the submission of 1 September 2000 to Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties by Research School of Earth Sciences at Australian National University, Canberra, asserts: "The statements to the JSCT Inquiry which follow are 'authoritative' in the sense that they are made by well-established scientists active in leading edge research on the natural variability of climate." And it concludes in authoritative vein: "... we are of the firm view that 20th Century global warming and sea-level rise are observed and, on scientific grounds, attributable to changes in the Earth's atmospheric composition caused by human activities."

The Oslo Statement of 7 December 2001, signed by 108 Nobel Laureates (Late President Arafat didn't sign), is just as dogmatic; and it goes much further: "The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most ..."

Hence, ours is a 'wealthy-few-driven climate'. It is good to know that decarbonising the world economy, in order to regain pre-industrial stability, will only hurt those 'few'. But do Nobel Laureates bring anything special when outside their specialties?

In 1990, China and India used 10.8% of the world's commercially-traded primary energy (BP Statistical Review); and their share has grown to 17.2% in 2004 - of which a massive 66% is carbon-rich coal. By contrast, the share of North America plus Europe and the Former Soviet Union, was 68.1% and 56.2% in 1990 and 2004, respectively. But how much of theirs was coal? It was just under 20% in 2004. China/India coal consumption grew 75% in 1990-2004, while in NA/E/FSU it was static; and in 2004, China/India out-consumed them coalwise. China and India are not "the wealthy few".

Sun-Earth connection

When the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten came to power in 1352BC, he dismissed Amun, Ra, and their ilk, and the priestly class serving them. Instead, he proclaimed the Sun as the dominant influence on the well-being of Egypt; and only he and Nefertiti were permitted to deal directly with the solar disc - the Aten. When that pair died, 9-year-old recidivist Tutankhamun reinstated the pantheon; and its priests tried to erase all record of them and the heresy of a connection between Earth and Sun. A long wait then ensued.

Copernicus had already reported in his 1543 "book that nobody read", On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, that mundanely, Earth orbits the Sun. But flowering of the contrarian hypothesis had to await Galileo's telescope. In the second half of the 1600s, when observatories could study the Sun, sunspots were only rarely seen. However, in the following century they became more abundant, as did Aurora Borealis. It was not long before these phenomena were thought to be related.

Lacking weather records, the first positive correlation of sunspot activity with earthly climate (ca. 1800) had to be made via the proxy of English wheat prices. It was not until the 1850s that a Sun-Earth correlation was well demonstrated - between sunspots and terrestrial magnetic storms (Soon and Yaskell 2003, "The Maunder Minimum and the variable Sun-Earth connection"). An eminently-plausible hypothesis was born.

This hypothesis has always had powerful enemies. In his 1892 presidential address to the Royal Society, Lord Kelvin discussed his calculations showing that the Sun could not influence Earth. In Nature that year, he asserted: "This result, it seems to me is absolutely conclusive against the supposition that terrestrial magnetic storms are due to magnetic action of the Sun; or any kind of dynamical action taking place within the Sun, or in connection with hurricanes in his atmosphere, or anywhere near the Sun outside ... [W]e may also be forced to conclude that the supposed connection between magnetic storms and sun-spots is unreal and that the seeming agreement between the periods has been mere coincidence."

In April 2005, the Society sent to the House of Lords inquiry, The Economics of Climate Change, "A guide to facts and fictions about climate change", saying: "This document examines twelve misleading arguments put forward by the opponents of urgent action on climate change and highlights the scientific evidence that exposes their flaws. It has been prepared by a group led by Sir David Wallace FRS, Treasurer of the Royal Society and Sir John Houghton FRS, former chair of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This document has been endorsed by the Council of the Royal Society ..."

The Society stands by Lord Kelvin - and, as it chances, Shakespeare's Juliet: who pleads "pay no worship to the garish sun" - by identifying one 'misleading argument' as: "The Earth is getting hotter, but not because of emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. ... Variations in the sun are more likely to be the cause of climate changing than increases in greenhouse gases."

Sir David warned journalists that "there are some individuals on the fringes, sometimes with financial support from the oil industry, who have been attempting to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change". Science-author John Gribbin (The Sunday Times, 7 August 2005) concurs: "What made the Royal Society special was its scepticism. Its motto, Nullius in verba, loosely translates as 'take nobody's word for granted'. ... Some people don't 'believe' that adding gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere makes the world warmer..."

"But the evidence for this has been clear since the 19th century. I gave up writing about the greenhouse effect 25 years ago because the scientific case was so overwhelming that there was nothing new to say ...." Do I detect here the Shade of Sir Harold Jeffreys? Half a century ago, he disposed of continental drift as "an explanation which explains nothing which we wish to explain". But 'scientific consensus' is only that. History tells us that the advancement of scientific understanding has never been a matter of voting.

Last resort - look at the evidence

The Working Group 1 Summary for Policymakers of IPCC's Third Assessment Report "Climate change 2001: the scientific basis" (Houghton, J.T. et al, Eds) tells us: "The global-averaged surface temperature has increased since 1861. ... The record shows a great deal of variability; for example, most of the warming (ie. about 0.6 0C) occurred during the 20th century, during two periods, 1910 to 1945 and 1976 to 2000."

It goes on to show, in Figure 4 (a), that more than all the warming between the late 1800s and 2000 is human-caused - without us, the world would have cooled. But sky-rocketing fossil-fuel consumption did not take off until after WW2 - just in time for 30 years of slight global cooling. Furthermore, the second of the two roughly-equal tranches of warming during the 20th Century began with the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976/77; and this abrupt curtailment of cold-water upwelling had no counterpart in abrupt change of atmospheric composition at that time. Popper might well have called this lack of correlation "empirical disproof" of the 'people-driven climate' hypothesis. Warming in the 20th Century better correlates with geomagnetic variability - which (already noted by Sabine in 1852) correlates in turn with variable solar eruptive activity.

Come the revolution!

The contrarian hypothesis invokes two natural drivers; and both may have solar/planetary pacemakers. Primarily, variable solar eruptive activity modulates cloudiness, albedo, and amount of little-varying solar heat output reaching the surface; Earth is brighter now than during the dim Maunder Minimum 'quiet Sun' of 300 years ago. Theodor Landscheidt's ground-breaker (, "New Little Ice Age instead of Global Warming?" of 2003, explains. At a 50/70-year period, cyclic upwelling in the equatorial eastern Pacific represents inertial events, exchanging angular momentum between lithosphere and ocean/atmosphere; and implications are explored in Gary D. Sharp's 2003 FAO fisheries technical paper "Future climate change and regional fisheries" (

Nelson-like, IPCC has clapped Galileo's glass to its blind eye. Its outline for the Fourth Assessment Report volume "Climate Change 2007: the Physical Science Basis", eschews the solar wind. Section 2 Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing, does mention Sun in the subsection Variability in Solar and Volcanic Radiative Forcing. Volcanoes influence weather, of course, but seldom to the multi-decadal extent implicit in the term "climate". Solar radiative forcing fluctuates by only fractions of a percent. But solar mass ejections vary by orders of magnitude - and yet, IPCC still ignores them. But don't worry; evidence-based revolution must surely come.


(Owned by IPCC and its consensus of 2,500 of the world's top climate scientists.)

1. The Mediaeval Warm Period and subsequent Little Ice Age cold periods didn't exist.

2. Our unchanging past climate is now warmed by people burning of fossil fuels.

3. Unless we massively decarbonise the world economy, further warming is inevitable.

4. Humanity can regain the benign stability of its pre-industrial Arcadia if it wants to - by 'doing the right thing' about its use of carbon-based fuels.


(Owned by contrarians like me.)

1. Our ever-changing climate is driven primarily by the Sun's variable eruptive activity.

2. The 300-yr warming-trend since the Maunder Minimum "quiet Sun" is one outcome.

3. Climate change in the 20th Century included two roughly-equal tranches of warming.

4. The first anticipated the sharp growth in fossil-fuel use said to be their cause.

5. Instead, the post-WW2 jump in usage marked the start of 30 year's cooling.

6. This warming/fuel-use mismatch is empirical disproof of IPCC's hypothesis.

7. Natural drivers (solar/inertial) do explain the timing of observed 20th C warming.

8. Because it is driven by planetary motions, solar variability can be calculated.

9. If the Sun keeps playing by the rules, cooling will be detectable by decade-end.

10. The next Little Ice Age cold period (Landscheidt Minimum) will be here by 2030.

11. Twenty-five years is within the planning horizon of responsible governments.

12. How might we feed the World during the Landscheidt Minimum?


A sudden winter freeze gripped parts of northern Europe, with heavy snowfalls cutting power, cancelling football matches and spreading air and road traffic chaos. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was shut for most of the day as ice made its staircases treacherous, while heavy snowfalls meant thousands of people in France and Germany faced plummeting temperatures without electricity. "We hope power will be restored tonight. Our teams are out there working on it," a spokeswoman for Electricite de France said. Some 7,000 homes out of 17,000 that suffered power failures in France's western Vendee region overnight were still without electricity by nightfall, she added.

A quarter of a million people were also without electricity in Germany's most populous state of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), authorities there said. Soccer fans in the Belgian city of Liege were disappointed when a keenly awaited clash between Anderlecht and Standard, two giants of the premier division, was postponed because of the cold. A German league match between MSV Duisburg and Cologne was also postponed because of heavy snow.

Air traffic also suffered from the snow and ice. Flights in and out of airports in Paris, Brussels and the north German city of Duesseldorf, the NRW state capital, were all affected. A Duesseldorf airport spokesman said 36 flights had to be redirected and 25 were cancelled. "I have been working at the airport for 11 years and I cannot remember something like this ever happening before," spokesman Torsten Hiermann said. Brussels airport said it, too, had experienced cancellations and delays, while a spokesman for France's Aeroports de Paris said 23 flights from Charles de Gaulle airport were grounded. "It's mostly because of snow on the runways," he said.

The Paris region saw about 5 cm of snow and in northwest France there was up to 10 cm. The climatic conditions also threw the northern half of Spain under a bad weather alert, and closed several mountain passes. Officials said the real danger, however, was extreme cold. The French government declared a level two state of alert - decreed when daytime temperatures remain negative and sink to between minus 5 and minus 10 celsius at night - under its so-called Winter Plan to protect the homeless, for just over a third of the country. That came after two homeless people died in France during the past 48 hours due to the intense cold.

Traffic snarled across France, with 120 semi-trailers still blocked at midday on the road from the coast to the Breton capital of Rennes in France's north-west. About 200 semi-trailers had been stuck there earlier in the day.

Heavy snowfall and biting Arctic winds also prompted travel chaos in parts of Britain as people struggled with the cold snap that stranded motorists overnight, caused short-term power cuts and stretched the emergency services. In south-west England, up to 500 people were forced to spend the night in temporary shelters after they were rescued from their vehicles stuck on exposed Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. By mid-morning slightly higher temperatures had triggered a thaw, raising the risk of flash flooding. Britain's Met Office said more snow was forecast for the extreme north, while most of the country will face rain and sleet showers.


Anti-nuclear lobby 'holding back fight on climate change'

Lord May is aiming his fire at a more reasonable target this time

Green lobby groups that oppose nuclear energy were accused of "fundamentalism" yesterday as the Government announced a review of whether to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Lord May of Oxford, the outgoing president of the Royal Society, said that environmental campaigners risked holding back the fight against climate change with an absolutist approach that refused to consider nuclear power. "I recognise there are huge problems with nuclear, but these have to be weighed against other problems," Lord May said. "This has to be recognised as a problem by what you might call a fundamentalist belief system. "Fundamentalism doesn't necessarily derive from a sacred text. There are also NGOs [non-governmental organisations] that are reluctant to weigh one problem against another, but have a subset of problems that are absolute and undiscussable."

He will go further in a valedictory speech today, linking such opposition to a resurgent fundamentalism, more often displayed by religious extremists, that threatens free scientific inquiry.

His warning came as Tony Blair announced to the CBI conference his long-awaited energy review, which will recommend next summer whether to start building new nuclear power stations in readiness for when the present nuclear plants are due to be decommissioned in about 2020. Mr Blair was prevented from making his speech in the main conference hall by two Greenpeace demonstrators who climbed up an inside roof overlooking the stage. Instead Mr Blair spoke in improvised form in a crowded side meeting room.

The Prime Minister said that Britain and other countries would have to diversify into several sources of energy and predicted that the Kyoto Protocol governing carbon emissions, which expires in 2012, would be followed by a binding international agreement covering all leading economies. "Energy prices have risen. Energy supply is under threat. Climate change is producing a sense of urgency," Mr Blair said. "The future is clean energy and nations will look to diversify out of energy dependence on one source."

In 15 years Britain would have decommissioned both coal and nuclear plants that between them accounted for 30 per cent of today's electricity supply, he said. "Some of this will be replaced by renewables but not all of it can."

The CBI ordered an immediate review of its security after it was discovered that the two Greenpeace protesters, who posed as conference delegates, had paid for delegate passes through a bogus company, E-Lingo, before scaling girders to reach the roof. The pair, Huw Williams and Nyls Verhauelt, were later arrested. Two legitimate passes were issued to Greenpeace delegates, although the campaign group was refused permission to erect an exhibition stand in the hall.

Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, who will head the Government's review, said that it would consider ways of speeding up any planning inquiries should new nuclear power stations be proposed. These would require private investment but would need "some special relationship between the market and the state in this area". The review would also look at renewable energy, coal, gas and new technologies, plus transport systems and energy efficiency, Mr Wicks said. Its aim was to identify clean, reliable, affordable energy supplies for the long term


Germany: Arrogant Greenies halt nuclear convoy: "Anti-nuclear protestors repeatedly halted a controversial shipment of highly radioactive nuclear waste from France bound for a temporary storage facility in northern Germany. The activists said the train with 12 containers carrying more than 170 tonnes of treated nuclear power plant waste was stopped in the city of Goettingen for about 30 minutes and then later in the village of Bienenbuettel en route to the Gorleben site. Eighteen demonstrators were briefly detained in Goettingen. In the town of Harlingen, police removed 150 activists staging a sit-in on the tracks and detained 23. Demonstrators later set fire to bales of hay placed next to the tracks and police had to move in with water cannon. Thick plumes of smoke were still rising when the train rolled by at a snail's pace. Police also cleared a blockade of 160 tractors near the town of Klein Gusborn late Sunday, on the last leg of the 600-kilometer (370-mile) trip, where more than 600 people joined the protest following demonstrations throughout the weekend. Authorities had to forcibly clear the blockade, with more than 70 of the tractors seized and taken to a nearby field."


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

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