Tracking the politics of fear....  

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31 January, 2006


The email that I added as an update to my leading post yesterday said of NASA that they "would rather kill astronauts than use Freon blown foam". That was not my wording but I think the substance of it is correct. It appears that the new "green" foam was not responsible for the Challenger disaster but it was involved in the near-disaster with Discovery.

As it says here (From August 3, 2005):

"Discovery's external fuel tank was the first to fly with a new insulating foam custom-made to satisfy environmental bans on chemicals suspected of depleting the Earth's ozone layer. NASA is investigating why a 1-pound chunk of the foam peeled off Discovery's tank two minutes after launch July 26, missing the shuttle's right wing as it climbed toward orbit. The incident prompted NASA to ground the shuttle fleet even as Discovery was on its way to the International Space Station. "We are treating this very seriously. We are going to fix this before we go fly," said John Shannon, a senior shuttle manager at Johnson Space Center.

Indeed, Discovery's tank shed four pieces of foam large enough to cripple the shuttle if the pieces had hit it, and NASA records show at least two of those pieces were applied manually using the new formula of foam.

NASA officials will not discuss any emerging theories about why the foam continues to come off the tank. A team of experts from NASA and tank-builder Lockheed Martin are studying possible reasons. The main focus is on a pillow-sized piece of foam that broke free from a ramp that runs next to fuel pipes and cables, protecting them from turbulent airflow on the violent ride to space. Alterations or repairs made to that ramp are being looked at as a possible contributor to the foam loss, as is is every other change made to the tank.

The change in the chemical make-up of the foam is unrelated to the redesign ordered by the Accident Investigation Board in the wake of the fatal 2003 Columbia accident. Instead, NASA made the change as part of an ongoing bid to meet U.S. and international environmental bans dating to the 1990s. That's when the federal government started trying to ban ozone-depleting types of freon present in the chemicals used to spray and mold plastic foam for everything from refrigerators to furniture to rockets.

Most of the inch-thick orange foam that covers the tank is sprayed on by robots at a sprawling factory east of New Orleans. A freon-based chemical is used in that process. For robot-sprayed portions of the tank, NASA's contractor originally used a formula called CFC-11, long since banned. By 1996, NASA had switched to a more acceptable chemical, HCFC-141b, for all but one of the four kinds of foam it was using on the tank at the time. Then, on three flights in the late 1990s, popcorn-sized bits of the new, environmentally safe foam flaked off in record amounts. A frightening number of dings and gouges on the orbiters' heat shields got NASA's attention.

The freon-free foam was blamed. NASA found a quick fix, changing the way the new foam was applied to the tank to reduce -- but not eliminate -- the popcorning. It's unclear whether the environmentally friendly foam remained a factor in the continuing loss of small fragments of foam on subsequent missions, but NASA records show the agency knew it did not stick to the tank as well as the original foam.

When Columbia disintegrated over Texas in 2003, some blamed the environmental change. That wasn't the case. The big piece of foam that smashed the hole in Columbia's wing was made from the old foam containing the long-banned freon blowing agent. The old substance was called BX-250. NASA and its contractors were trying to develop a freon-free version of that foam, which workers used to manually craft the aerodynamic ramps and hand-made patches of foam applied once the robots are done spraying that initial layer. The space agency was still flying the old foam because it had won exemptions to the EPA rules and was making only progressive steps in changing the foam.

In records obtained by FLORIDA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act, NASA told the EPA that it could not switch the foam formula faster "without jeopardizing the safety of NASA's human spaceflight program." Years of tests were needed on promising new formulas because "qualification testing must be performed to ensure that the material meets all of the requirements for mission success and human flight safety." The records note the agency's struggle with the initial change, and the resulting damage, as evidence it needed more time.

In 2003, as investigators were reviewing the Columbia accident, NASA did certify a replacement for the BX-250 foam that did not include the freon-based agent. The new foam, called BX-265, was ready for the fuel tanks for NASA's first two post-Columbia shuttle missions and is the foam under investigation.

So despite having record problems with the new foam, NASA still risked the lives of the Discovery crew with it and only good luck prevented another disaster.


Anybody who has ever heard of radiation hormesis will not be as surprised as these doctors were

Lung cancer patients were given new hope yesterday, thanks to an Australian breakthrough... The good news came in the form of a study published in the journal Cancer which found that low doses of radiation, given every weekday for one or two weeks, could improve outcomes for non-small-cell lung cancer. The cancer was one of the deadliest and most common forms of lung cancer, according to radiation oncologist Michael Mac Manus from Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Associate Prof Mac Manus and his colleagues were amazed to find that some patients with advanced tumours lived for as long as five years with the new treatment. Usually they would have been expected to live less than six months. "All experienced doctors will have come across an occasional case where a patient has survived for a long time when they shouldn't have, so we thought we would look at a very large database of patients with incurable lung cancer to see how many of them survived," Prof Mac Manus said. "We were surprised to find that 1.1 per cent survived for five years. Some of them survived for 10 years and (one of) the patients appears to have been cured. "The long-term survival was an unexpected effect of the radiotherapy. "We expected it to be virtually zero."

The study looked at more than 2000 patients diagnosed with lung cancer who were at such an advanced stage their illness was considered incurable. All had received low doses of radiation to relieve pain and other symptoms but the average survival for such patients was generally less than six months. Prof Mac Manus was "very surprised and amazed" to find about one-in-100 actually lived for five years or more after radiotherapy.

He was now hoping to extend the research by comparing the molecular biology and genetics of the tumours in a bid to identify in advance the patients most likely to survive with less intensive treatment. "If we can understand what the mechanism is, we might be able to develop some new treatments based on that," he said. Although more research was needed, he said cancer specialists might be reluctant to leave radiation out of the treatment package for late-stage lung cancer patients in future because of the findings. "The bottom line is that even patients generally considered as having incurable disease have some hope," Prof Mac Manus said.

More here


They would have nothing to say if they did

In a bid to restore popularity to the green movement, a coalition of British environmental groups declared this week that it was time for new attitudes and tactics. Speaking at the launch of an inaugural "Green-Engage" report, written by dozens of "key thinkers" in academia and politics, activists conceded they had achieved limited successes in winning over the general public or understanding how ordinary people think. Hence there was a need, they said, to move beyond a "doom and gloom" theme favored by their core audience, in order to bring about a mass swing in behavior world-wide.

Stephen Hounsham, a spokesman for Transport 2000 - a group working to reduce the environmental impact of transportation - explained that the green movement needed to retune its message, becoming more positive and more realistic in dealing with the public. On issues such as climate change, Hounsham said, groups like his had tended to be needlessly highhanded, or to relentlessly predict disaster resulting from global warming. While that approach may resonate with activists, it caused wider audiences to tune out or became apathetic. "We assume that everybody is like us, with a thirst for environmental disaster [A revealing confession!] and a thirst to do something about it before they go to bed at night," he said.

When dealing with an issue like reducing emissions from automobile use, Hounsham said activists focused on getting people out of their cars and onto public transportation. That failed to take into account how much people love their cars, valuing them for the freedom they offer and their boost to personal identity. "We're not appealing to their core values," Hounsham said. "We're asking them to drop their core values and adopt ours." The green movement should start adopting messages tailored for each issue, emphasizing how citizens can gain immediately from tackling a specific problem, he said. Activists could move away from the image of "lefty hippie people with beards."

Solitaire Townsend, managing director for Futerra, a London public relations agency that specializes in environmental issues, said much soul searching was going on among activists. A new generation of younger campaigners did not wish to be an alternative to the mainstream but part of the mainstream, she said. In the past, organizers had been comfortable with being in permanent "protest mode," constantly fighting those in power. Her generation was tired of being marginalized and wanted to be in power themselves. [Indeed!]

"We don't want to chain ourselves to things, we want to engage with our peers," she said. Adopting a negative attitude when dealing with the media often translated into unhelpful articles. When activists focused on bad news, reporters in turn produced depressing features. In a survey of 320 articles on climate change in British newspapers between August and November last year, Futerra found that 59 percent focused completely on the negative effects of global warming, and offered no possible solutions. As a result of going through this "meat grinder of guilt and recrimination," many people simply decided to ignore the whole issue, Townsend said.


Vigilantes let air out of Europe's SUV boom

European eco-vigilantes are fighting the popularity of four-wheel-drive vehicles - by deflating their tyres. They seem to be getting away with it. Having studied the law, the environmentalists concluded that it was legal if the vehicles were not damaged. The movement began in Paris late last year and has since spread to other cities in France, Belgium and Holland. However, Sian Berry, of the British Alliance Against Urban 4x4s, was worried about the tactic, saying: "If just one person needs to go to hospital in a hurry and their 4x4 has a flat tyre, the joke won't seem so funny. The campaign will be finished." The Association des Constructeurs Europeens d'Automobiles, Europe's leading motor trade association, says the number of 4WDs in the EU more than doubled between 1998 and 2004. The activists compete for who can let down the most tyres in a night. In December, 14 Belgians deflated tyres on 137 cars. To avoid the possibility of owners driving off with flat tyres and putting lives in danger, campaigners leave notes explaining what they have done.



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 January, 2006


There is a recent NYT article that has been getting a lot of play from the Left which says that a NASA man is being silenced by the Bush administration because of his views on global warming.

No doubt the administration will be replying to the accusation soon so I am not going to say much about it here other than to say that since the source of the story is the NYT, it is bound to be a distortion.


A reader has emailed me as follows:

NASA - that fine organization that came aboard for the proven dishonesty and plain bad science of "Nuclear Winter" and for the farcical "Ozone Hole over Kennebunkport" and that would rather kill astronauts than use Freon blown foam. That NASA.


Wind turbines have caused the deaths of four white-tailed eagles on isolated islands off the Norwegian coast. Thirty other eagles have failed to return to their nesting sites within the wind farm area on Smola, 9.6km (six miles) northwest of Norway, according to wildlife campaigners. The dead birds were found between August and December last year. Two had been sliced in half, apparently by a turbine blade. Post-mortem examinations, however, attributed the birds' deaths to multiple trauma caused by a heavy blow.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is concerned that wind farms in Britain could exact a similar toll on native and migrating wild birds, especially as the white-tailed eagle, the largest eagle species in Europe, is beginning to thrive at last in the Western Isles of Scotland after a 30-year reintroduction project. This area has also been earmarked by developers as prime land for the construction of wind farms. Campaigners are already lobbying against a proposed 234-turbine project on peatlands on north Lewis because of the threat it poses to eagles.

The effect of the wind turbines on white-tailed eagles has been revealed after research by the RSPB in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and the Norwegian Sea Eagle Project. Work concentrated on Smola because it is listed by BirdLife International as an important area and because it has one of the highest breeding figures for the bird in the world. It is possible that other deaths have gone undetected because much of the wind park is rarely visited. Mark Avery, conservation director at the RSPB, said: "These findings are shocking, yet may only be the tip of the iceberg. Research on Smola is being stepped up and, if more dead birds are found and even fewer are able to breed, we will be doubly determined to fight wind-farm plans that could cause similar destruction in the UK."

The 68-turbine wind farm on Smola was built by Norway between 2001 and 2005, despite an environmental assessment giving warning that it would pose a threat to the eagles. BirdLife International took the case to the Berne Convention, but the decision was upheld. Conservationists are to increase checks on the wind farm to determine the extent of the casualties and the numbers of birds being bred this spring. Researchers have not drawn up final conclusions on the impact on the birds because of a wide variation in their breeding numbers from year to year. There was also intensive construction work at the wind park during the past two years.

Arne Follestad, a research scientist at NINA, said: "Breeding results on Smola have been strikingly poor compared with the 30 years before the wind farm was built. We are only halfway through the research, yet, despite their site faithfulness, we are not confident that white-tailed eagles will adapt to the turbines. As older birds die, we do not know if new birds will occupy nest sites within the wind farm."

Stuart Housden, the director of RSPB Scotland, said: "The news from Norway is of great concern to us. If white-tailed eagles have died because of wind-turbine collisions, there are major implications for our own eagle populations here in Scotland. We are campaigning hard against the proposed 234- turbine wind farm on north Lewis partly because of the great danger it poses to Scotland's eagles." He said that the peatlands were an environmentally sensitive site protected under European law.

The Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement that it was aware of the Norway study but that there was no evidence that turbines in Britain have been responsible for any major adverse effect on birdlife. A spokesmann added: "Wind farms help to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate against climate change, which is an ever greater threat to birdlife."



The following phrases, frequently found in technical writings, are defined below for your enlightenment:

Phrase......................................... Translation

It has been long known............... I haven't bothered to check the references

It is known.................................... I believe

It is believed................................. I think

It is generally believed...................My colleagues and I think

There has been some discussion... Nobody agrees with me

It can be shown........................... Take my word for it

It is proven................................... It agrees with something mathematical

Of great theoretical importance...... I find it interesting

Of great practical importance........ This justifies my employment

Of great historical importance....... This ought to make me famous

Some samples were chosen for study... The others didn't make sense

Typical results are shown............ The best results are shown

Correct within order of magnitude.... Wrong

The values were obtained empirically. The values were obtained by accident

The results are inconclusive......... The results seem to disprove my hypothesis

Additional work is required.......... Someone else can work out the details

It might be argued that.............. I have a good answer to this objection

The investigations proved rewarding.. My grant has been renewed


Thanks to the Montreal talks, penalties have become discretionary and emissions reductions have become merely foreign aid

The worldwide press hailed the December negotiations in Montreal over the Kyoto Protocol for producing an "historic climate agreement." As the London Independent put it, "The fight against catastrophic global warming scored its greatest success to date yesterday, when negotiators from more than 180 nations unexpectedly agreed to develop far-reaching measures."

The agreement truly was historic as the greatest modification of Kyoto's terms since its inception in 1997 -- although not for the reasons The Independent and other hailers proclaimed. The agreement effectively guts Kyoto's claim to being "legally binding" and its potentially onerous provisions.

The touted achievements were, in fact, nothing more than already-agreed promises to meet again later. Less heralded, but the most substantively important development in Montreal, was adoption of the 2001 Marrakech Accord.

As drafted and originally agreed at the 2001 Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP-7), these sanctions, among other things, disqualify Kyoto parties that violate their 2008-12 quota from employing the mechanisms of "joint implementation" and trading emission credits in any subsequent round.

In Montreal, the Kyoto establishment, while congratulating itself for adopting Marrakech penalties, actually neutered them. They are now no more binding or enforceable than the voluntary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or the nascent alternative to Kyoto, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

Here is how, in brief detail. In the "Procedures" document (Section XIII), parties added an extra year, give or take, to avoid violation of their emission quota by purchasing or otherwise arranging for greenhouse-gas credits from others. This administrative ploy did not add another year to the period for mandatory reductions, but merely allowed the credits obtained after expiration of the five-year compliance period to be applied retroactively. Parties also established an intricate enforcement end-around neutering Marrakech's bold, plain language via a rhetorical web weaved in Sections V, VI, X and XV.

As a result of the latter, Kyoto's penalties are now in fact discretionary. A board of insiders may choose simply not to proceed against a violator, or may invoke an escape hatch for undefined de minimis violators. Other waiver and reinstatement provisions all ensure that the vaunted penalties will never be seriously invoked against any of Kyoto's growing queue of likely scofflaws.

Marrakech had actually constituted Kyoto's long-missing element -- something resembling an enforcement mechanism and "teeth." In Montreal, in addition to gutting this, delegates openly ignored Kyoto's requirement that these penalty procedures and mechanisms be formally adopted, in the form of an amendment requiring ratification.

This explains why the decision ("Procedures and mechanisms relating to compliance under the Kyoto Protocol") received little fanfare as compared with the heralded vows to talk again. This effort, with one other adopted item detailing the nature and scope of Kyoto's key "mechanisms," quietly weakened Kyoto's annual emission-reduction promises by 20% and eviscerated the touted enforcement provisions. On their face, these appear mandatory and costly, while in reality they have become, at best, mere discretionary incentives.

The final chapter in this coup d'etat ensuring that Kyoto will never be the "legally binding" pact its supporters tout is that, by design, technically even these ersatz enforcement provisions do not exist. Kyoto's Article 18 requires that any binding consequences, such as the "procedures and mechanisms" agreed in Marrakech, be adopted at the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP-1 in Montreal) and that in order to be binding they must be amendments to the protocol.

Noting this requirement, Saudi Arabia proffered such a plan. Canada hinted that this requirement threatened a two-track treaty; that is, ratification actually codifying lofty Kyoto rhetoric is no sure thing. In response, Europe cautioned that ratifying such enforcement provisions might take some time. Its curious solution, accepted by the MOP in the name of expediting things, was to put off consideration of whether to formally adopt these penalties for two more years until literally the eve of Kyoto taking effect.

The other much-ballyhooed accomplishment of the Montreal COP-MOP -- the humbling of the United States -- was also wildly off the mark. The United States did not, in fact, alter its long-standing position against seeking ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. It merely agreed with all other parties to the Rio UNFCCC treaty to continue discussing voluntary greenhouse-gas abatement. Kyoto parties agreed to agree later, as was previously agreed. This time, however, the parties expressly agreed that these talks could not lead to binding commitments.

Kyoto's ultimate truth is that after eight years, nine negotiations and scores of triumphalist press releases, the rest of the world remains wildly uninterested in joining its rationing scheme. Such a revealing fact is apparently not worthy of coverage, or concern. After all, the legacy of the Montreal COP-MOP is that no obstacle is too great to impede claims of victory in the Kyoto context.

Already, a proposal has been tabled to allow "voluntary" quotas for countries such as India and China, the exempt majority. The purpose would be to facilitate claims of Kyoto success by the covered few, who will, again, not need to actually reduce emissions, but can then, instead, buy the right of future growth from these dirtier states, in the form of emission credits. The progression is to merely redefine and merge Kyoto and foreign aid. This will prove Montreal's legacy as the beginning of the end for Kyoto, when its parties realized they could not and would not try to match rhetoric with action.

Financial Post, 26 January 2006


Readers might find the following correspondence interesting. The first email (one that I personally find most unconvincing) is from Oliver Morton ( of "Nature" and Benny Peiser's reply follows:

Dear Benny

In response to your idea that we sought deliberately to undermine a research letter in Nature by choosing to highlight one in GRL that said the opposite, it's worth bearing in mind how different the papers are, and how utterly they fail to contradict each other.

The Nature paper by Raper and Braithwaite deals specifically with contributions to sea level rise from two second-order sources, glaciers and icecaps, saying nothing about the rise that may be expected from the Greenland and Antarctic icesheets or from the thermal expansion of the oceans, which are likely to be the major sources of sea level rise.

The GRL paper which we wrote about on the News@Nature website looks not at the sources of sea level rise but at the historical trends, by using the period over which satellite data and tide gauge data can be compared to reassess the tide-gauge only era. The GRL paper was about new measurements of the global trend which seem to conform to model predictions that were made some time ago. We thought it was a pretty significant contribution to the debate.

The reality of constrained resources means that every week papers are published in Nature which, though excellent, we do not cover in the news pages or on our website. This time, as happens quite often, we chose to write about a paper elsewhere on a topic related to that of a paper in Nature that we weren't covering. To see this as a deliberate undermining suggests an overly cynical approach to life.

For what it's worth, I categorically deny it.

Best as ever,


Benny replies:


Thanks for your clarification. I accept your assurance that Nature did not deliberately try to undermine the paper by Raper and Braithwaite on their revised estimates for sea-level rise that you published on Jan 19. Nevertheless, by choosing to highlight the Church and White GRL paper instead, you did inadvertently prejudice the tenor in the coverage of the two papers. Just compare your Jan 19 headline ("Sea-level rise is quickening") with that of the MMU press release that Raper and Braithwaite issued on the same day ("Scientists play down rising seas").

Needless to say that, in spite of your rather alarmist news story, there remains a conspicuous lack of consensus about whether or not there is reliable evidence of accelerating global sea-levels. A more balanced and up-to-date summary of the current state of research and the lack of consensus on many sea-level-related research issues can be found here. I suggest it would have been wiser for Nature to provide unprejudiced coverage of the latest research papers in the context of these evident uncertainties.



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 January, 2006


Global warming advocate produces data to support global warming

I am sure there will be more expert comments than mine forthcoming but I just want to point out what seem to me to be some of the more obvious implausibilities in the latest Australian research (GRE 2006) that reports a study of sea-levels from 1870 on. I reproduce the Abstract hereunder:

Multi-century sea-level records and climate models indicate an acceleration of sea-level rise, but no 20th century acceleration has previously been detected. A reconstruction of global sea level using tide-gauge data from 1950 to 2000 indicates a larger rate of rise after 1993 and other periods of rapid sea-level rise but no significant acceleration over this period. Here, we extend the reconstruction of global mean sea level back to 1870 and find a sea-level rise from January 1870 to December 2004 of 195 mm, a 20th century rate of sea-level rise of 1.7 ñ 0.3 mm yr?1 and a significant acceleration of sea-level rise of 0.013 ñ 0.006 mm yr?2. This acceleration is an important confirmation of climate change simulations which show an acceleration not previously observed. If this acceleration remained constant then the 1990 to 2100 rise would range from 280 to 340 mm, consistent with projections in the IPCC TAR.

There is a popular summary of the research here. A few excerpts:

What we found is that sea levels are rising and increasing with time," the CSIRO study's co-author John Church said. "It means there will be increased flooding of low-lying areas when there are storm surges. "It means increased coastal erosion on sandy beaches. We're going to see increased flooding on island nations." ... Greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by 50 per cent by 2050, Mr Church said. "If not, climate change will continue and increase in magnitude," he said.

By examining tidal data, Mr Church said sea levels rose by 19.5cm between 1870 and 2004. The increases accelerated with time, averaging 1.7mm a year in the 20th century and 1.8mm in the past 50 years. Mr Church said sea increases were previously based on climate change models. He said his team's research was the first to document rises based on extensive historical tidal data, allowing predictions on sea-level increases to be made with greater precision.

Many island nations are already feeling the impact of rising seas. In Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, increased sea levels have forced hundreds of islanders to abandon vulnerable coastal homes for higher ground, according to the United Nations and news reports.

So they report that sea levels have risen nearly eight inches between 1870 and now! That for a start seems to me to be a nonsense. Such a large rise in relatively recent times would surely have led to worldwide comments about what was once land now being swamped and I know of no such widespead comments or examples of flooding. Land does rise and fall for various reasons (e.g. in coastal California and Eastern England and perhaps the Maldives) but flooding due to sea-level rise has just not happened as far as I can see. And while sea-levels in some Pacific islands may have risen (though the Vanuatu claim is a fraud), in others the levels have fallen! (See here and here).

And how do Church et al. reconcile their "reconstruction" of sea-levels with the actual evidence provided by John Daly's `Isle of the Dead' (Tasmania), tide gauge from 1841 -- which shows a sea-level that is HIGHER than today? No doubt the actual 1841 observation was "wrong" and the modern reconstruction is "right"

In view of Church's obvious enthusiasm for global warming theory, we should also perhaps keep in mind this report:

When a trial of 908 volunteers found that using anti-inflammatory drugs could reduce the risk of mouth cancer, it caused considerable excitement among cancer researchers. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine described the study as impressive, claiming it might lead to earlier identification of pre-cancerous cells. Conducted by Dr Jon Sudbo, a previously-published researcher and cancer expert from the well-respected Radium Hospital in Oslo, Norway, the study was published in The Lancet, one of the world's most respected medical journals. So it came as a shock when revealed earlier this month that Sudbo's study was fiction, based on 908 patients who did not exist.

To make matters worse, the fraud was not discovered by The Lancet or his colleagues, but by Camilla Stoltenberg, a director of epidemiology at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo. Sudbo said the study was based on information collated from a public health database. Stoltenberg, responsible for the database, knew it did not contain the sort of information Sudbo cited. Confronted, Sudbo admitted he falsified the data. He also admitted that other studies on oral cancer, in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004 and The Journal of Clinical Oncology in March last year, were also fake.

The scandal comes less than a month after the Science retracted two papers by leading stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk after it was revealed he faked most of his ground-breaking work on cloning. The scams are by no means the only examples of fabricated research (see next page). However, the breathtaking nature of Sudbo's actions has raised questions about the effectiveness of peer review and journal editors' ability to identify misleading research.....

Professor Judy Black, chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council's research committee, agrees peer review has limitations. "When you get an article to review, you go on the data in front of you. You can look at the researcher's methods and see if you can detect differences between your methodology and theirs, but if two people do the same experiments and get different results, it doesn't mean one is fraudulent."

Black believes fraudulent research may also go unnoticed because peer reviewers and colleagues are reluctant to "dob in" fellow researchers. "People don't necessarily speak up about it. There is research that people know is fabricated, and they haven't dobbed the person in because everyone knows what happens to whistleblowers." However, Black says reviewers have no choice but to assume researchers' work is legitimate. "The onus is on the researcher to be honest and not falsify research."

Initial results from what might be the largest study of the practice of peer review ever conducted shows this faith may be misplaced. Three medical journals, The Lancet, the British Medical Journal and the Annals of Internal Medicine, have allowed a team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, to attend editorial meetings, look at reviewer comments and follow the progress of more than 1000 articles from submission to rejection or publication. The team hasn't released its final report, but initial findings indicate authors frequently fail to disclose funding sources and potential conflicts of interest in submitted manuscripts, until asked to do so by journal editors.

Black says the pressure to have work published in a high profile journal may tempt some researchers to take shortcuts with their research. "There's no doubt that being published in a high profile journal has a big impact. More and more people are going to be judged on their productivity and the number of studies they have published, and that determines funding. "If you get a research grant and if you have a lot of publications in high impact journals out of that grant, then your likelihood of getting another grant is increased." As a result, the competition to be published is intense....

Last year Richard Smith, editor of the BMJ for 25 years, wrote an editorial saying he suspected fraud "is probably happening on quite a large scale, and we just have inadequate mechanisms for sorting this out." Last year the US Office of Research Integrity, a federal agency responsible for investigating scientific misconduct, received 265 allegations of falsified research.

Michael Callaham, vice-president of the World Association of Medical Editors, says there is little anyone can do to eliminate fraud: "Journals could ask for all sorts of corroborating materials, but reviewers, who are mostly unpaid, and editors, who are mostly underpaid, would not be able to confirm their authenticity, and would not have the time to review them." ....

Jefferson says there is very little evidence that peer review is effective - a fact editors are reluctant to consider.... Jefferson says the medical publishing industry requires "radical change." "The first thing that needs to happen is that editors who maintain that peer review is infallible need to understand that, at best, it's untested. There are also far too many journals and some of them are publishing irrelevant or misleading research.

And despite the angst, research is still coming out in some of the world's leading scientific journals that should never have passed even the limited barriers of peer review. Note the summary below of the latest gem from The Lancet:

"Eating your greens will do more than please your mother: new evidence shows five servings of fruit and vegetables a day can slash your risk of having a stroke by 26 per cent. A review of previous studies, conducted by British and Australian experts, found that even eating between three to five 80g servings a day cut strokes by 11per cent, compared with people who ate fewer than three servings a day. The authors said that while a reduction in stroke from fruit and vegetable consumption was already known, this was the first time researchers had been able to quantify the benefit. The findings suggested that heeding recommendations on fruit and vegetable intake could save lives and prevent thousands of strokes a year.... Their review, published yesterday in The Lancet, looked at the results of eight previous studies that together involved more than 250,000 people who were followed up for an average of 13 years....

The study authors conceded their results might be affected by observational bias. People who ate a lot of fruit and vegetables were probably likely to share other characteristics known to reduce stroke risk - being less likely to smoke or be overweight, and more likely to exercise and to have lower intakes of salt and saturated fat.

The second paragraph as excerpted above shows, of course, that the study proves precisely nothing.

And I suppose that it is just too curmudgeonly of me altogether to point out that one third of what is published in even the most prestigious journals subsequently turns out to be wrong.


There is a thoroughly dishonest and fact-free article here that uses accusations alone to support a claim that the "Gutted EPA fails to protect kids" from exposure to harmful pesticides. The author is Marc Lame, who teaches at Indiana University and is the author of "A Worm in the Teacher's Apple: Protecting America's School Children from Pests and Pesticides." I guess the main point of the article is to sell the book. The basic accusation in the article is that the EPA has been pressured by "the pesticide industry" not to enforce bans on pesticide. No evidence is offered for the accusation nor is it considered that the EPA could have rational reasons for its policies. The article is, in a word, just a run-of-the-mill Green/Left attempt to create a baseless scare. There are far too many such rubbishy screeches to take note of here but one of my readers has written a rejoinder so I reproduce that below.

Marc Lame should be ashamed of himself for putting his name to so much misinformation and mixing science issues with political shenanigans. Everything the general public knows about DDT is a lie and he has to know that. As for the "truth" of Rachel Carson's book Silent Springs, the word truth and Rachel Carson or her book should never appear in the same sentence unless that sentence notes the lack of it.

Rachel Carson's book is full of misinformation and in one case she deliberately misrepresented the facts. None of what she presented as "science" has stood the test of time and it is unfortunate that she did not live long enough to see real scientists using real science shred her information. There is a reason her book first appeared as excerpted installments in New Yorker Magazine rather than being peer reviewed by scientific journals.

This same pattern has been followed by every junk scientist every since. Write a book making broad unprovable claims. Get the public all worked up. Demand regulations to correct the problem and intimidate everyone into going along with the program. The facts of the matter regarding DDT is that there never was and still isn't any scientific information to prove any of the claims made by the Mother of Junk Science, Rachel Carson or her acolytes in the environmental movement. Tom DeLay isn't making "claims" that millions (currently believed to be in the neighborhood of 90 million since 1972) have died as a result of Bill Ruckelshaus (An environmental activist who was the first director of EPA) decision to ban DDT; he is making a statement of fact that is supported by real science. He even admitted it two years later saying that he made the decision based on political considerations because there was no science to support that decision -- even overriding the Federal Magistrate, Judge Sweeny who heard seven months of testimony and concluded that very same thing and ruled there was no reason to ban DDT.

It is true Tom DeLay was an exterminator and apparently a good one. He supported pesticide application industries because he is acutely aware of the tremendous pressure brought to bear by the environmental activists to promote blatantly unscientific programs. The Abramoff issue is merely a smear tactic that allows Marc to avoid having to present any science to prove his points. DeLay's position had nothing to do with any pro pesticide cabal of ideologues. If there was any ideologue in Marc Lame's article it was Marc himself.

Parents of children in the third world would be thankful to have their children be exposed to what Marc calls toxic substances because so many of them would not be dying as a result of a lack of them. Most of the victims of malaria in the third world are children. As for those that survive, a substantial number of them have permanent brain damage. This baloney spewed out by Marc Lame and all of the other environmental movement ideologues is nonsense. They claim to be so concerned about children's health, but consistently take stands against programs that would same millions of lives in the third world.

They even stand against basic issues such as genetically modified foods which would save millions from starvation and the diseases that go along with malnutrition. Golden Rice would save the eyesight of 500,000 children in the third world every year by adding much needed vitamin A to their diets. Environmental activists are fighting this with all their strength and have thrown up so many road blocks that it will take up to 5 years for this much needed product to come to the market place.

What I would like to know is this. If Marc and his allies are so concerned about children's health here in the developed world, why do they hate the third world children so badly? Marc, you should be ashamed.


After dropping for about 15 years, the amount of sunlight Earth reflects back into space, called albedo, has increased since 2000, a new study concludes. That means less energy is reaching the surface. Yet global temperatures have not cooled during the period. Increasing cloud cover seems to be the reason, but there must also be some other change in the clouds that's not yet understood. "The data also reveal that from 2000 to now the clouds have changed so that the Earth may continue warming, even with declining sunlight," said study leader Philip R. Goode of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. "These large and peculiar variabilities of the clouds, coupled with a resulting increasing albedo, presents a fundamental, unmet challenge for all scientists who wish to understand and predict the Earth's climate."

Earth's albedo is measured by noting how much reflected sunlight in turn bounces off the Moon, something scientists call earthshine. The observations were made at the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California. The findings will be published Jan. 24 in Eos, a weekly newspaper of the American Geophysical Union. On any given day, about half of Earth is covered by clouds, which reflect more sunlight than land and water. Clouds keep Earth cool by reflecting sunlight, but they can also serve as blankets to trap warmth. High thin clouds are better blankets, while low thick clouds make better coolers.

Separately, satellite data recently showed that while the difference between high and low clouds had long been steady at 7-8 percent, in the past five years, for some unknown reason, the difference has jumped to 13 percent. High, warming clouds have increased while low clouds have decreased. Research shows condensation trails, or contrails from jet airplanes, fuel more high-altitude clouds. But they have not been shown to account for all the observed change.

Earth's albedo appears to have experienced a similar reversal during a period running from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. Goode's team says there may be a large, unexplained variation in sunlight reaching the Earth that changes over the course of two decades or so, as well as a large effect of clouds re-arranging by altitude.

How do the findings play into arguments about global warming and the apparent contribution by industrial emissions? That's entirely unclear. "No doubt greenhouse gases are increasing," Goode said in a telephone interview. "No doubt that will cause a warming. The question is, 'Are there other things going on?'" What is clear is that scientists don't understand clouds very well, as a trio of studies last year also showed. "Clouds are even more uncertain than we thought," Goode said.



Full of baseless assertions, of course

One of Britain's leading environmentalists will today sound a doomsday warning to the world: humanity's very existence is under threat from climate change and, even if we survive, the population will crash to about a third of its current level. Sir Crispin Tickell, the man who convinced former prime minister Margaret Thatcher that global warming was a real problem, predicts that, in 200 years, there could be as few as 2.3 billion people because rising sea levels and temperatures will make some areas uninhabitable and, coupled with social factors, depress birth rates.

But he also says our survival is "not guaranteed" and that the presence of humans on the planet could be "no more than a somewhat messy episode in the history of the Earth". Advances in genetics, he believes, could possibly result in the creation of different sub-species of humans, conjuring up the HG Wells nightmare of the Eloi and the Morlocks.

Sir Crispin, a former British ambassador to the United Nations who is now chancellor of Kent University and director of the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy and Understanding, is the third major figure in the field this month to sound a warning of massive changes in the years ahead. The others were James Lovelock, who developed the Gaia theory of the planet as a living organism, and Chris Rapley, the director of the British Antarctic Survey.

Sir Crispin, who is due to give a lecture on this subject tonight, said: "The human impact on the Earth has slowly and then rapidly increased, most of all in the last 250 years. "The resulting transformation of the environment is unsustainable. The main factors are human population increase, degradation of land, consumption of resources, water pollution and supply, climate change, destruction of other species ... "Most of the solutions to the problems we have created, including the widening division between rich and poor, are well known but few want to confront them, singly or together. To do so we have to rethink our value system."

He pointed to recent droughts in Mediterranean countries and the increasing severity of hurricanes in the Caribbean - caused by a rise in sea temperature - as some of the signs that global warming is starting to get out of hand. Sir Crispin has tried to forecast what is in store for humanity "supposing we can cope with the natural hazards" over the next two centuries. But he warned: "Our survival in one form or another is not guaranteed."

If humanity survives, what could emerge will be far removed from the US-dominated world of today. "We will find the hubs of power, wealth and culture are very different with a greatly reduced human population," Sir Crispin said. "Sea levels will rise, meaning coastlines will be different. "I don't think climate change by itself is going to do anything [politically], but it is one of a number of factors that will alter the balance of power."

There are about 6.3 billion people on the planet and this is predicted to rise to nine billion this century. "I think we just cannot go on like that. Perhaps the ideal number would be 2.3 billion," he said. "Population growth has now stopped in parts of the world. Other parts are going to be affected by climate change. People's propensity to breed will be much less." ...

The report said there were 370 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this was growing at two parts per million towards the danger level of 400, giving 15 years to turn this around. It found changing lifestyles and travel patterns was more effective than concentrating on technological advances such as alternative fuels.

More here


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

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

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


28 January, 2006


I have been studying and writing about Greenies for over 30 years and the thing that stands out most in them to me is their hysterical tone -- usually accompanied by vast exaggeration and selective attention. They are constantly issuing declarations of imminent doom -- none of which, of course, ever come to pass. The bet between Simon and Ehrlich is of course the classic instance of that. At the moment, the chief Greenie doomster appears to be James Lovelock -- whose predictions are so extreme that you would have to have a religious need for panic in order to take them seriously. I have of course recorded quite a few potshots at Lovelock's absurdities on this blog in recent weeks.

It seems of interest, however, to point out that scaremongering is not confined to the Greenies. It is a trait general to Leftists. People of all political stripes support environmental causes. I support some myself (prevention of soil erosion, for instance). But there is no doubt that Greenie activists and Leftist activists have a lot in common these days and are often allied. So the following examples of extreme doom-mongering from a Leftist source should come as no surprise. It is excerpted from Taranto and the sting definitely is in the tail.

Moonbatting Back in Time

This Usenet posting, from one Moussaoui C. Abdenacer, will seem unremarkable, but bear with us (quoting verbatim):

George Bush's whole administration has all the earmarks of a well prepared nazi-type regime! They are working on it tooth and claw! The only thing they need now is an internal terrorist threat, or civil disorder growing from anti-war protests to justify declaring a National Emergency with its protests to justify declaring a National Emergency with its legally sanctioned suspension of Constitutionally protected rights. Concentration camps for hard-core anti-war activists will be supported by the stupidity silent majority with their brainless, moronic, imbecilic, blind and bigoted moral retardation. Hence idiotic flag-waving becomes a substitute for rational analysis, and Jerry Falwell Bible Thumping a means of conditioning the rah rah war crowd to perceive anti-war protestors as low-life scum and traitors who need to be locked up or shot by loyal, awesomely patriotic volunteers like Marino Sicki of Arch-hate-a, Calif. who has publicly proclaimed his desire to kill protestors.

So I have a feeling that by this Spring civil unrest and economic turmoil will exacerbate domestic problems sufficiently to permit administrative type detention policies to be implemented by the Tyrant Bush with the complete support of all war-loving red, white, and blue American zombies. This demented hard-hat mental disease was prevalent during the Vietnam war era and those that don't learn from history eventually get a rude awakening. The economy is going to be so bad: the whole situation is going to be so bad; more oppressive measures will be imposed. They're already establishing special camps for those deemed a threat to national determination of your subversive potential rather than on any overt acts you may have committed.

OK wait, one more and then we'll get to the point. This is from Rick Burgess:

Impeach George Bush! Call your Congressperson and demand it!

How much more blatant and obvious does the information have to be? We've got a President who very obviously came into power under very corrupt circumstances. . . . This is not just another Republican administration run amuck! Impeach George Bush Now!

What's interesting is the dates on which these ravings were posted: Abdenacer's was on Feb.17, 1991, and Burgess's on April 19, 1991. Yes, they were talking about the first President Bush. Well, plus la change

Similar Bush=Nazi shrieks are of course regularly heard from Leftists all the time these days but it is amusing to look back and see that such shrieks have been with us for a long time. And if the past shrieks have been shown by events to have been false prophecies, it should be yet another reason to believe that the present shrieks are false prophecies too.


Below is a plain-English summary from "Science" magazine followed by the abstract of one of the two papers mentioned. It is impressive that even using the moronic corn-sugar route, ethanol production has a positive energy balance. With half a dozen co-authors of the paper, however, it is pretty amazing that none of them seem to be aware of the enormously cheaper and more environmentally friendly method of producing ethanol directly from sugarcane.


With fossil-fuel supplies steadily waning, recent research has focused on using plant-derived materials as a renewable substitute (see the Editorial by Koonin). Ragauskas et al. (p. 484) review progress in this area, ranging from plant genetics research for enhancing supply to enzymatic and other catalytic methods for breaking down the biomass into practical fuels and fine chemical precursors. Some of the economic challenges and benefits of changing the production infrastructure on such a large scale are also addressed. Ethanol is a renewable resource already in use as a liquid fuel, but its production from corn and cellulose is energy intensive, and some analyses have found that the overall process uses more energy than it creates. Farrell et al. (p. 506) rigorously analyzed a variety of relevant investigations, and found that the studies reporting negative net energy values are flawed. All of the studies show that current corn ethanol technologies reduce petroleum use significantly relative to gasoline. However, new production methods are needed if fuel ethanol is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly.


Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals

Alexander E. Farrell, Richard J. Plevin, Brian T. Turner, Andrew D. Jones, Michael O'Hare, Daniel M. Kammen

To study the potential effects of increased biofuel use, we evaluated six representative analyses of fuel ethanol. Studies that reported negative net energy incorrectly ignored coproducts and used some obsolete data. All studies indicated that current corn ethanol technologies are much less petroleum-intensive than gasoline but have greenhouse gas emissions similar to those of gasoline. However, many important environmental effects of biofuel production are poorly understood. New metrics that measure specific resource inputs are developed, but further research into environmental metrics is needed. Nonetheless, it is already clear that large-scale use of ethanol for fuel will almost certainly require cellulosic technology.

Silly Seattle's recycling: Exposing the facts about the High Church of Recycling

Elias Rohas is a garbage hauler in Seattle. He works for Rabanco/Allied Waste Industries and his beat is Magnolia, the city's tony westernmost neighborhood. According to the Seattle Times, Rohas has been on the job 14 years. He slowly cruises Magnolia streets, using his truck's mechanical arm to lift and dump curbside garbage bins. Since the first of the year Rohas has enjoyed a new responsibility, one shared by Seattle policemen: he can officially determine who is breaking the law, and issue a ticket.

On January 1, placing more than 10 percent recyclable materials into a garbage bin became illegal in Seattle. An offending bin is tagged with a bright yellow slip that announces, "Recycle. It's not garbage anymore." The un-emptied bin is then left at the curb in hopes that the homeowner will learn the lesson and remove the reusable material by next week's collection. Businesses that offend three times are fined $50.

Seattle's proudly progressive leaders were alarmed when, almost two decades after voluntary recycling programs were initiated in the city--recycling rates had stalled at about 40 percent of the total amount of waste. Too many bottles and too much paper were still finding their way to the eastern Oregon landfill that receives Seattle's garbage. So after a year-long $450,000 television, radio and newspaper education campaign, the mandatory recycling law went into effect at the first of the year. The goal is to raise the percentage of recyclables to sixty percent of total waste. Seattle is not alone, of course; many other cities, from Philadelphia to Honolulu, also have mandatory recycling programs. But these laws are based on myth and followed as faith.

RECYCLING FEELS RIGHT. Echoing widespread Seattle sentiment (85 percent of the city's citizens approve of curbside recycling), the Seattle Times editorial board has concluded that "Recycling is a good thing." After all, using a bottle twice must be better than using it once, saving resources and sparing the landfill.

The truth, though, is that recycling is an expense, not a savings, for a city. "Every community recycling program in America today costs more than the revenue it generates," says Dr. Jay Lehr of the Heartland Institute. A telling indicator is that cities often try to dump recycling programs when budgets are tight. As Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, points out in the Wall Street Journal, every New York City mayor has attempted to stop the city's recycling program since it was begun in 1989. Mayor David Dinkins tried, but changed his mind when met with noisy criticism. Rudy Giuliani tried, but was sued by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which won the case. Mayor Bloomberg has proposed temporarily ending the recycling program because, as Logomasini notes, it costs $240 per ton to recycle and only $130 per ton to send the material to a landfill. The numbers for other areas are roughly comparable. The net per-ton cost of recycling exceeds $180 in Rhode Island, while conventional garbage collection and disposal costs $120 to $160 per ton.

The funds go for trucks and collectors and inspectors and bureaucrats. Clemson professor Daniel K. Benjamin points out that Los Angeles has 800 trucks working the neighborhoods, instead of 400, due to recycling. Radley Balko at aBetterEarth.Org, a project of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, writes, "That means extra wear and tear on city streets, double the exhaust emissions into the atmosphere, double the man hours required for someone to drive and man those trucks, and double the costs of maintenance and upkeep of the trucks." Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute says costs include "the energy necessary to deliver the recyclables to the collection centers, process the post-consumer material into usable commodities for manufacturers, and deliver the processed post-consumer material to manufacturing plants." Franklin Associates, which provides consulting services for solid waste management, estimates that curbside recycling is 55 percent more expensive, pound for pound, than conventional garbage disposal.

City budgets aren't the only victims of recycling. Citizens also have a significant cost--their time. Seattle Public Utilities researchers (in collaboration with University of California, Davis) conducted a survey in 2005 that indicated 98 percent of Seattle households participate in the curbside recycling program, and that 16 minutes are spent recycling per household. The city contains 260,000 households, which means each week Seattleites spend almost 8,500 work days recycling. Working days lost in traffic jams are commonly cited by proponents of HOV lanes, bike paths, and light rail. Nary a word is heard about lost time when the topic is recycling.

And what are those 16 minutes spent doing? Sorting, extracting, rinsing, bundling, and stomping. In Seattle, household batteries can be put into the garbage, but not rechargeable batteries. Plastic soda bottles can be recycled, but not plastic flower pots. Plastic shopping bags go into the recycle bin (bundle them first), but not plastic produce bags or plastic freezer wrap bags. Plastic cottage cheese tubs, yes, but not plastic six-pack rings. Frozen food boxes go into the recycle bin, but not paper plates. Cardboard, sure, but not if a pizza came in it, and make sure to flatten the box. And remove any tape. Cereal boxes, yes, but pull out the liner. Typing paper, of course, but sort out the paper punch holes, as those little dots can't be recycled. Hardback books, okay, but wrestle off the covers. Metal hangers, yes: aluminum foil, no. Tin cans, you bet, but rinse them, and push the lid down into the can. No loose lids can go in the recycle bin. And no confetti.

So at least it's a fun 16 minutes. There are out-of-pocket expenses, too: Rod Kauffman, president of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Seattle and King County, says this sorting will add 10 percent to a building's janitorial bills.

IF WE WEREN'T RECYCLING, wouldn't the landfills soon overflow? Al Gore certainly thinks so, as he claimed we are "running out of ways to dispose of our waste in a manner that keeps it out of either sight or mind." Nonsense. Clemson Professor Daniel K. Benjamin notes that rather than running out of space, overall capacity is growing. "In fact," he says, "the United States today has more landfill capacity than ever before." He adds that the total land area required to contain every scrap of this country's garbage for the next 100 years would be only 10 miles square. The Nevada Policy Research Institute's numbers are even more dramatic: an area 44 miles square and 120 feet deep would handle all of America's garbage for the next millennium.

America's image of landfills was fixed decades ago, and is that of Staten Island's Fresh Kills, a vast swampy expanse of detritus, with huge Caterpillar tractors trundling over it, and clouds of seagulls obscuring everything above ground. Fresh Kills received New York's garbage for 53 years before it was closed in 2001. Modern landfills have nothing in common with the place. Benjamin says that new landfills are located far from groundwater supplies, and are built on thick clay beds that are covered with plastic liners, on top of which goes another layer of sand or gravel. Pipes remove leachate, which is then treated at wastewater plants. Escaping gas is burned or sold. A park or golf course or industrial development eventually goes over the landfill.

Fresh Kills also looked dangerous, a veritable soup of deadly poisons and nasty chemicals, seeping and dissolving and dispersing. But that's not the case with new landfills. Daniel Benjamin writes, "According to the EPA's own estimates, modern landfills can be expected to cause 5.7 cancer-related deaths over the next 300 years--just one death every 50 years. To put this in perspective, cancer kills over 560,000 people every year in the United States."

But what about saving precious resources by recycling? Almost 90 percent of this country's paper comes from renewable forests, and to say we will someday run out of trees is the same as saying we will some day run out of corn. According to Jerry Taylor, we are growing 22 million acres of new forest each year, and we harvest 15 million acres, for a net annual gain of 7 million acres. The United States has almost four times more forested land today than it did 80 years ago.

Are we running out of that other staple of recycle bins, glass? All those wine and beer bottles are manufactured from silica dioxide, the fancy term for sand, which Jay Lehr points out is the most abundant mineral in the earth's crust. Nor will we ever suffer a shortage of plastic, which is made from petroleum byproducts. Today more petroleum reserves are being discovered than are being used up. And plastics can now also be synthesized from farm products. Lehr concludes, "We are not running out of, nor will we ever run out of, any of the resources we recycle."

Why then do we go to all this trouble for so little--or no--reward? Lehr says it's because "we get a warm and fuzzy feeling when we recycle." Richard Sandbrook who was executive director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, said, "Environmentalists refuse to countenance any argument which undermines their sacred cow." The Seattle Times concludes, "Recycling is almost a religion in Seattle." An irrational religion, says Professor Frank Ackerman, who specializes in environment policy at Tufts University. But his arguments cut little weight here in the Northwest. We attend the church of recycling, where perfervid faith compensates for lack of factual support.

More here

Enviros' agenda is selfishness and greed: "In some cities, housing prices have actually declined as the housing supply has expanded. None of this is rocket science. It is supply and demand. Why then are there particular places where housing costs have skyrocketed? In those places, much of the land is prevented by law from being used to build housing. These land use restrictions are seldom called land use restrictions. They are called by much prettier names, like 'open space' laws, laws to 'preserve farmland' or prevent 'sprawl,' 'greenbelt' laws -- or whatever else will sell politically. People who already own their own homes don't worry about whether such laws will drive housing prices sky high. Somebody else will have to pay those prices while existing homeowners see the value of their property rise by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, land that might otherwise provide homes for others becomes in effect free park land for themselves, while such upscale communities use 'open space' laws to keep out the masses. The crowning touch is that such self-interest is depicted as idealism."


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 January, 2006


The Bush administration would allow some limited pesticide testing on children and pregnant women under controversial rules set to be made final as early as this week. After fielding some 50,000 public comments on its earlier human-testing proposals, the Environmental Protection Agency is setting out final rules that officials call tough and fair. But California Democrats and environmentalists are raising an outcry, and courts could remain busy sorting it all out. "The fact that EPA allows pesticide testing of any kind on the most vulnerable, including abused and neglected children, is simply astonishing," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said Monday.

The new rules would prohibit regulators from using so-called "intentional exposure" research that involved children or pregnant women. But under what regulators described as "narrowly defined circumstances," such research could still be used - if the researcher hadn't originally intended to submit the results to the EPA. The new rules require researchers to document their compliance with ethical guidelines, but exempt certain overseas tests. Testing on adults could proceed, following review by a new Human Studies Review Board that could "comment on" but not stop a proposed experiment. "EPA does not want to ignore potentially important information," the agency says in its final rule. "At the same time, the agency's conduct should encourage high ethical standards in research with human subjects."

On Monday, Boxer and several California colleagues were one step ahead of the EPA, which hadn't yet formally released the final rules protecting human subjects. But a leaked draft of the new rules, spanning some 100 pages, spells out both the new regulations and how they will be presented to the public. "Message: the ethics and scientific value of human studies are topics of high public interest, and the agency has been deliberating its position," the EPA's written "communications plan" states. EPA officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

The issue is particularly important in California, where farmers and others applied 644 million pounds of pesticides in 2003. It's also closely watched by church and environmental groups, which raise red flags over human testing, as well as by manufacturers, which can rely on testing to secure necessary approval permits. "Humans process some substances differently from animals," the EPA notes in its final rule, scheduled for publication in the Federal Register. "Studies of this kind can provide essential support for safety monitoring programs. Animal data alone can sometimes provide an incomplete or misleading picture of a substance's safety or risk."

The 50,000 comments received by the EPA since September showcase the level of public interest, although regulators noted that 99 percent of the comments were part of an e-mail or organized letter-writing campaign.

More here


Comment from Benny Peiser on the religious fanatics running "Nature" magazine:

I noticed the paper by Raper and Braithwaite in which the authors come to the conclusion that the projected "sea level rise due to melting of mountain glaciers and icecaps to be 0.046 and 0.051 m by 2100, about half that of previous projections."

Half as bad as predicted - well, that's good news to anyone concerned about the potential impact of rising sea levels. So what do the editors of Nature decide to do with this piece of good news? They decide to undermine the paper as much as they can. Instead of writing up a feature or news story about their own paper, they publish an online story about a paper published in GRL that essentially contradicts their own authors.

The GRL authors say "the acceleration they have detected since 1870 matches up nicely with model predictions: if the acceleration continues as expected, by 2100 the seas will lap the shore about 31 centimetres higher, on average, than they did in 1990. That matches what has been forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."

So, there you have it: An anti-alarmist paper published in Nature on Jan 19 estimates that global average sea-level rise due melting glaciers and icecaps by 2100 will be just 0.05 m (or half of what previous models have predicted) - accompanied by a news story on Nature's website that claims that sea-level rise is accelerating, a finding that "matches what has been forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." Nature's news service highlighted the IPCC-confirming GRL paper while it failed to even mention the model-revising paper in the same Jan 19 issue. It would have been prudent for Nature to provide a balanced report on the two conflicting papers. Needless to say that the claim of an accelerating global sea-level is highly contentious.


(From Proceedings of the Royal Society A, January 2006)

Empirical evidence for a nonlinear effect of galactic cosmic rays on clouds

By R. Giles Harrison and David B. Stephenson


Galactic cosmic ray (GCR) changes have been suggested to affect weather and climate, and new evidence is presented here directly linking GCRs with clouds. Clouds increase the diffuse solar radiation, measured continuously at UK surface meteorological sites since 1947. The ratio of diffuse to total solar radiation-the diffuse fraction (DF)-is used to infer cloud, and is compared with the daily mean neutron count rate measured at Climax, Colorado from 1951-2000, which provides a globally representative indicator of cosmic rays. Across the UK, on days of high cosmic ray flux (above 3600X10^2 neutron counts hK1, which occur 87% of the time on average) compared with low cosmic ray flux, (i) the chance of an overcast day increases by (19+/-4)%, and (ii) the diffuse fraction increases by (2+/-0.3)%. During sudden transient reductions in cosmic rays (e.g. Forbush events), simultaneous decreases occur in the diffuse fraction. The diffuse radiation changes are, therefore, unambiguously due to cosmic rays. Although the statistically significant nonlinear cosmic ray effect is small, it will have a considerably larger aggregate effect on longer timescale (e.g. centennial) climate variations when day-to-day variability averages out.


5. Discussion

This study has found a small yet statistically significant effect of cosmic rays on daily cloudiness regionally that supports the global results from satellite data (Marsh & Svensmark 2000). The method used is independent of the satellite results, and uses data from different surface sites extending over a longer period. Likely physical mechanisms have been previously hypothesized (Carslaw et al. 2002; Harrison & Carslaw 2003), firstly ion-induced formation of aerosol and cloud condensation nuclei (Yu & Turco 2001) and, secondly, electrically enhanced freezing of supercooled droplets (Tinsley et al. 2000; Tripathi & Harrison 2002).

In a previous detailed case study using data from Kew, increases in DF and Climax neutron data occurred simultaneously with ion growth, which was associated with the first physical mechanism (Harrison 2005). The nonlinear behaviour in figure 2a supports this, as, in the low aerosol limit (Harrison & Carslaw 2003), ion number concentration n varies with ion production rate q as nfq1/2. Assuming linear relationships between (i) X and q (Aplin et al. 2005), (ii) aerosol formed and n (Vohra et al. 1969) and (iii) DF and aerosol amount (Unsworth & Monteith 1972), DF in the non-overcast case would vary as X1/2. A power law fit to the Jersey data (for 3800X10^2 hK1 and DF!0.9) gave DFfX0.5G0.1. The transient DF response shown in figure 4 occurs within the daily timescale resolved: this is consistent with the modelling work of Yu & Turco (2001), who showed that the growth of ions to particles sufficiently large to act as cloud condensation nuclei had a timescale of about 8 h.

The possibility that rainfall influences particle formation was suggested in 3b. Aerosol and trace vapours are scavenged by precipitation and frequent precipitation events will prevent substantial aerosol populations forming (Carslaw et al. 2002). Charged aerosols are also preferentially removed over neutral aerosol (Tinsley et al. 2000; Tripathi & Harrison 2002). The effect of precipitation processes may be evident in the DF response to cosmic ray changes, as Eskdalemuir, where the effect is small (1.2%), has substantial annual rainfall, but the sites showing the biggest DF sensitivity have much lower rainfall (Cambridge 552 mm yrK1 and Jersey 860 mm yrK1).

Changes in DF and the frequency of overcast days represent changes in the weather and the atmospheric energy balance. The decrease in the proportion of direct solar radiation associated with an increase in DF will lead to a local reduction in daytime surface temperature. Further, because the net global effect of cloud is cooling (Hartman 1993), any widespread increase in the overcast days could also reduce temperature. At Reading, the measured sensitivity of daily average temperatures to DF for overcast days is K0.2 K per 0.01 change in DF (for 1997-2004). Consequently the inverse relationship between GCR and solar activity will lead to cooling at solar minimum. This might amplify the effect of the small solar cycle variation in total solar irradiance, believed to be underestimated by climate models (Stott et al. 2003), which neglect a cosmic ray effect.

In summary, our data analysis confirms the existence of a small, yet statistically robust, cosmic ray effect on clouds, that will emerge on long time scales with less variability than the considerable variability of daily cloudiness.


(From CO2 Science Magazine, 25 January 2006)

With this issue of CO2 Science, we launch our Medieval Warm Period Project, wherein each week we describe, analyze, tabulate and plot (on both graphs and maps) the findings of a different peer-reviewed scientific journal article that describes this multi-century period of significant warmth that occurred about a thousand years ago.

Why did we institute the project?

Climate alarmists claim that temperatures over the latter part of the 20th century were higher than those experienced at any other time over the past one to two millennia, based primarily on the work of (Mann et al. (1998, 1999) and Mann and Jones (2003). Their reason for doing so is to use this claim to support their related claim that anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have caused dramatic global warming, which if allowed to continue will produce a number of catastrophic consequences. We intend to disprove the first of these claims, so as to remove support for the second claim, by demonstrating that about 1000 years ago, when there was approximately 25% less CO2 in the atmosphere than there is currently, temperatures throughout the entire world were equally as high as (or even higher than) they were over the latter part of the 20th century. This real-world data-based fact should conclusively demonstrate that there is nothing unnatural about the planet's current level of warmth, and that it is likely caused by the recurrence of whatever cyclical phenomenon created the equal or even greater warmth of the Medieval Warm Period.

What elements comprise the project?

The first element of our Medieval Warm Period Project is a tabular listing of all Study Descriptions and Results, which are organized under separate subheadings for each of the world's seven continents. Within each of these subheadings there are (or ultimately will be) three tables: one for Level 1 Studies, one for Level 2 Studies, and one for Level 3 Studies. The first of these categories is comprised of studies where the scientists who conducted the work (not us) provide quantitative data that enable one to determine the degree by which the peak temperature of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) differed from the peak temperature of the Current Warm Period (CWP). The second category is comprised of studies where the scientists who conducted the work provide qualitative data that enable one to determine which of the two periods was warmer, but not by how much. The third category is comprised of studies where the MWP was evident in the study's data, but where the data did not provide a means by which the warmth of the MWP could be compared with that of the CWP.

The second element of our MWP Project is a graphical representation of the quantitative results of all Level 1 studies, where we present a plot of the frequency distribution of all MWP-CWP Temperature Differentials. The third element is an Interactive Map and Time Domain Plot of all of the studies' results. The map, which can be viewed at different degrees of magnification, pinpoints the locations of all studies in the project's database, identifies each study's level of sophistication (1, 2 or 3), and provides a link to each study's particulars in the Study Descriptions and Results part of the project, while just below the map is a graph of the frequency distribution of the time intervals over which the MWP was determined to have occurred. Last of all, the fourth and fifth elements of the project are simply enumerations of all of the scientists and research institutions involved with the work of the several studies, which comprise, respectively, our List of Participating Scientists and List of Participating Research Institutions.

What will be accomplished by the project?

Our Medieval Warm Period Project will ultimately host a readily-accessible collection of totally independent databases that far exceeds the number of databases employed in the long-term temperature reconstructions that are used by climate alarmists to promote their claim that the latter part of the 20th century was warmer than any other similar period of the past one to two millennia. And from what we already know, based on information currently in our possession, our Medieval Warm Period Project will clearly demonstrate the invalidity of this claim, as the evidence we present continues to accumulate ... week after week after week.


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 January, 2006


As Wok Hughes will tell you. Or see my post of 24 Dec. 05

Last year was the warmest in a century, nosing out 1998, a federal analysis concludes. Researchers calculated that 2005 produced the highest annual average surface temperature worldwide since instrument recordings began in the late 1800s, said James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The result confirms a prediction the institute made in December. In a telephone interview, Hansen said the analysis estimated temperatures in the Arctic from nearby weather stations because no direct data were available. Because of that, "we couldn't say with 100 percent certainty that it's the warmest year, but I'm reasonably confident that it was," Hansen said. More important, he said, is that 2005 reached the warmth of 1998 without help of the "El Nino of the century" that pushed temperatures up in 1998. Over the past 30 years, Earth has warmed a bit more than 1 degree in total, making it about the warmest it's been in 10,000 years, Hansen said. He blamed a buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Jay Lawrimore of the federal government's National Climatic Data Center said his own center's current data suggest 2005 came in a close second to 1998, in part because of how the Arctic was factored in. But he said a forthcoming analysis "will likely show that 2005 is slightly warmer than 1998."



A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a U.S. Forest Service logging project near Meadow Valley, handing the agency a crucial legal victory in its efforts to implement federal legislation designed to provide jobs and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. In a decision filed Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Forest Service properly evaluated the environmental impacts of logging more than 40 million board feet of timber around the community five miles west of Quincy. The ruling rejects an appeal filed by four environmental organizations seeking to force the Forest Service to study more fully the combined effects of the Meadow Valley and adjacent logging, much of it in the planning stages.

The judges said the Forest Service "took the requisite 'hard look'" at the cumulative effects of the logging - past, present and future. The agency's environmental study adequately analyzed the risks associated with logging debris, and the direct and indirect effects on the California spotted owl, the judges said. The appeals court also found that the Forest Service did not arbitrarily or capriciously restrict the scope of its cumulative impacts review.

The ruling affirms a May 9 decision by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. that found the agency's analysis of both specific and cumulative effects of the project adequate under federal regulations. England refused to halt logging during the appeal process.

Plumas Forest Supervisor Jim Pena said the recent ruling allows him to carry out the mandates of the 1998 Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act, inspired by a coalition of local timber industry, civic and environmental leaders. "Tremendous amounts of work and effort have been accomplished in the planning and implementation of the Meadow Valley project. We are pleased to be able to continue this important work," Pe¤a said.

Craig Thomas, director of the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, one of the plaintiffs, said he was disappointed by the decision. The Forest Service victory does not resolve the complex issues and the threat of environmental damage involved in the Quincy Library Group logging, he said....

The Meadow Valley project is part of the Quincy legislation's plan to log about 1.4 billion board feet of timber on the Plumas, Lassen and Tahoe national forests in the northern Sierra Nevada. At least six other projects are in the planning process, most of them employing a controversial tactic that removes all trees less then 30 inches in diameter within plots up to 2 acres.

The environmental plaintiffs have challenged three projects in addition to Meadow Valley. They forced the Forest Service to revamp two of them, one on an appeal that was upheld by the agency's regional office. The environmentalists lost a third appeal and are considering whether to file legal action, Thomas said Monday.

Plumas County Supervisor Rose Comstock called last week's appeals court decision "great news" for the Meadow Valley area, which she represents. "This decision is truly a win-win situation for our local economy, the environment and the communities who are surrounded by national forests in need of management," said Comstock, a member of the Quincy Library Group.


Snowstorm Closes Hawaii Volcano To Tourists: Rare Event Causes Concern, Surprise

It's all due to that global warming, I tell you

Officials closed the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano to the public after a snowstorm shut down access for the first time this winter season. Clouds blanketed Hawaii's tallest peak this weekend. A blanket of snow forced everyone to evacuate, including park rangers. "We've got to make sure and keep everybody healthy and safe on the summit. So, I'm closing it," Mauna Kea ranger Kimo Pihana said.

The heavy snowfall was a rare sight, even for those who are up there almost every day. The snow began to accumulate very quickly and we had to evacuate to prevent being trapped on the summit," telescope operator Paul Sears said. A California family was at the summit when the snow started falling, before the road was shut down. "Did you ever think you'd see snow in Hawaii?" a reporter asked. "Wasn't really expecting to see snow in Hawaii," said Bob Nyman. "So it's a nice treat on your vacation?" the reporter asked. "Oh absolutely. It was great," Nyman said.


(HT Mike Jericho)

Global "warming" now killing lots of people across Europe

Plummeting temperatures and icy winds have claimed up to 300 lives across Europe as Russia’s big freeze spreads westwards. The Arctic chill has closed schools, frozen out hospital wards, cracked railway lines and immobilised motorways, airports and river traffic. The worst-hit country is Poland where 161 people have died as a result of the weather. But the freezing temperatures have caused problems as far west as France. Even the Acropolis in Athens has been closed because of ice.

Northern and Central Europe are used to harsh winters, but even these weather-hardened regions were struggling yesterday to stave off chaos. Public transport has broken down in many parts of Poland, where some temperatures fell to minus 35C (-31F). Bus drivers clambered under their vehicles with blow torches in a vain attempt to defreeze their fuel tanks. From Moscow to Berlin, would-be motorists tried to thaw the frozen locks of their cars with cigarette lighters.

A surge in demand for heating fuel has distorted energy supplies. Russia is consuming so much gas that supplies to other Eastern European countries are being restricted. The cold is also causing problems in nuclear plants, where vital instruments are freezing over. One reactor block has been closed down in the Temelin power plant in the Czech Republic.

Coal, heating oil, petrol and even firewood are in short supply. In Cracow in southern Poland, the authorities have been piling up coal in parks to keep the population supplied. Moscow is experiencing its coldest winter since 1978. When temperatures plunged to minus 22C in Podolsk, a city outside Moscow, the district heating system collapsed. Pipes carrying heat to 26 high-rise buildings froze, leaving 12,000 people stuck in apartments that were colder than most refrigerators.

Rescue services are at breaking point in the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary as radiators crack and power cuts trap residents in lifts. Hypothermia is the biggest threat. More than 400 people have been treated in hospital in Ukraine. The death toll in Eastern Europe was climbing yesterday as quickly as the temperatures were dropping. More than eighty people have been reported dead in Russia, dozens in the Baltic republics and Ukraine, five in Germany and sixteen in Romania since the beginning of the cold spell. In France, a homeless man was found frozen to death in Joinville-le-Pont, southeast of Paris.

Countries used to gentle winter temperatures are reeling. Snow and high winds in northern Greece brought air traffic to a standstill. In Istanbul, car owners have been told to leave their vehicles at home as snow and ice have led to too many crashes.

Most of the victims are the homeless and the isolated elderly. Charity workers have been trawling the underground tunnels of Berlin and taking the homeless to shelters as temperatures dropped to the lowest for 64 years. Banks are turning a blind eye to tramps spending the night in their foyers.

City authorities in Warsaw have urged wealthier Poles to help the poor with food and clothing. Braziers are being set up at street corners. “The problem is, there is nowhere really warm to go,” Wojciech Brylski, the head of a Warsaw photo agency, said. “It is cold at work — people are sitting in fur hats and coats — it is cold at home, and those buses and trams still running are like ice boxes.” In Russia, a circus in Yaroslavl is warming elephants with vodka, rubbing brandy into the chest of a performing lion and spooning wine into monkeys. The authorities in Russia, Germany and Poland have warned humans against a similar remedy. “Many of the casualties in Eastern Europe so far have been drunks,” Frank Zander, a campaigner for the homeless in Berlin, said. “They are less sensitive to the cold — and then it suddenly hits them, with fatal effects.”



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 January, 2006


In true "Yes, Minister" style, a major tool of the British bureaucracy is to do its best to ignore anything that might upset its applecart. But at least the internet offers us the opportunity to see what it is trying to ignore. A good example is the letter below from David Holland about the scientific basis for global warming claims. Holland is an engineer who gave evidence last year to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs and to the recently-appointed Stern Review of the economics of climate change. The letter was sent on Thursday, 24 November 2005 to Mr Elliot Morley MP, Minister for Environment and Agri-Environment, but, two months later, it has yet to receive a reply. The letter:

Re: Surface Temperature Reconstructions

I first approached you by email on 31st October 2003 when McIntyre and McKitrick published their first paper disputing the validity of the paper, MBH98, of Prof. Mann et al., from which one graph has become, in effect, the IPCC logo. I asked the question "Can it really be the case that we ratified the Kyoto treaty without checking the sums upon which the key scientific findings were based?". Despite considerable correspondence with members of your department I received no answer to what I thought was a perfectly reasonable question and would like to ask again for an answer. Members of your department repeatedly stressed peer review as sufficient validation together with reference to a "spaghetti diagram".

Now some two years on McIntyre and McKitrick have published in the reputable peer reviewed journal of the AGU and others such as von Storch, who is a SO&P project member, have published peer reviewed criticism of Prof. Mann's method. Members of the public are repeatedly being told that the science of global warming is settled but this misses the point that much of the debate is centred on statistics and due diligence rather than basic science.

You have available to you some of the best statisticians in the world. Prof. Ian Jolliffe, for instance, whose personal notes are at, is accepted as a world expert on Principal Components Analysis (PCA) techniques. He has been cited by Prof. Mann as justification for the non standard and (and undisclosed) PCA that is one of the main areas of debate. I believe that nether Prof. Jolliffe or any other accepted statistician ever considered Prof. Mann's use of non centred PCA justifiable. In the light of the dispute in this area (it is referred to in the recent House of Lords report) has your department sought the advice of your experts on PCA?

The complaints of many of the so called sceptics or contrarians is not so much on scientific detail but on the almost complete lack of disclosure. Had Prof. Mann disclosed all that was necessary to replicate his results the arguments over the surface record would have been over in weeks. When the US House committee finally obliged Prof. Mann to reveal all it became clear that he had been refusing to do so because it proved that what McIntyre and McKitrick had said was right all along.

The "spaghetti diagram" which with peer review your staff thought sufficient has likewise become thoroughly discredited. This is the graph showing other reconstructions that are said to corroborate Prof. Mann's work. In fact taking the error bands into account they suggest we have little idea of past temperature trends. Tedious detective work by Steve McIntyre has revealed that these studies far from being independent share much of the basic data which in many cases is not available for inspection. The studies share some authors in common. In some cases it is now shown that undisclosed non peer reviewed pre-processing of raw data has taken place for which the authors have no detailed knowledge.

I am sure you will be aware that an important adjustment has just been made to the temperature record derived from satellites as a result of independent replication made possible by the full availability of all data and code. The originator of the satellite record has publicly thanked the researchers that discovered the error. Contrast this with what our own Prof. Phil Jones told Warwick Hughes when he asked for access to the unadjusted raw data from which CRU derive its surface temperature record. "Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it." (source

Warwick Hughes is not alone in being unable to access this important scientific data. Verification of the adjustments made by Prof. Jones to the raw station data is an entirely proper pursuit in a democratic society. The data is archived under password control in the SO&P database and would involve little expense to make available. It was collected entirely at the expense of UK and US taxpayers and ought to be freely available. Will you make this data available to Steve McIntyre who I now believe is accepted as a serious and respected researcher into data analysis?

If the scale of AGW (this is the only real area of debate) is as serious as you appear to think it must be in your interests to see doubts whether legitimate or not dispelled. In an increasingly free, informed and connected world secrecy and obfuscation is seen as likely to be concealing bias as a minimum and outright dishonesty in some cases. Climate Change policy is uniquely expensive and is the only major area of public expense where the access to underlying data is denied to any one that seeks to dispute official conclusions.


(From, 17 January 2006 )

Intercomparison of the northern hemisphere winter mid-latitude atmospheric variability of the IPCC models

By Valerio Lucarini et al.


We compare, for the overlapping time frame 1962-2000, the estimate of the northern hemisphere (NH) mid-latitude winter atmospheric variability within the XX century simulations of 17 global climate models (GCMs) included in the IPCC-4AR with the NCEP and ECMWF reanalyses. We compute the Hayashi spectra of the 500hPa geopotential height fields and introduce an integral measure of the variability observed in the NH on different spectral sub-domains. Only two high-resolution GCMs have a good agreement with reanalyses. Large biases, in most cases larger than 20%, are found between the wave climatologies of most GCMs and the reanalyses, with a relative span of around 50%. The travelling baroclinic waves are usually overestimated, while the planetary waves are usually underestimated, in agreement with previous studies performed on global weather forecasting models. When comparing the results of various versions of similar GCMs, it is clear that in some cases the vertical resolution of the atmosphere and, somewhat unexpectedly, of the adopted ocean model seem to be critical in determining the agreement with the reanalyses. The GCMs ensemble is biased with respect to the reanalyses but is comparable to the best 5 GCMs. This study suggests serious caveats with respect to the ability of most of the presently available GCMs in representing the statistics of the global scale atmospheric dynamics of the present climate and, a fortiori, in the perspective of modelling climate change.

[...] 4. Conclusions

The goal of this study is the evaluation of the degree of realism and of mutual coherence of some of the most well-known GCMs in the description of statistical properties of the atmospheric disturbances in the free atmosphere in the present climate. We maintain that such analysis is more insightful into the real performances of the GCMs than the comparison of essentially boundary properties such as surface temperature, because the internal mechanisms of the atmosphere are here taken into consideration. We have considered the variability of the 500hPa geopotential height field, as described in the NCEP and ERA40 reanalyses for the time frame 1962-2000 and in the XX century control run of the IPCC GCMs. We compute the Hayashi spectra of the 500hPa geopotential height fields and introduce an ad hoc integral measure of the variability observed in the Northern Hemisphere on different spectral subdomains. The total wave variability is taken as a global metrics describing the overall performance of each model, while the total variability pertaining to the eastward propagating baroclinic waves and to the standing planetary waves, respectively are taken as process-oriented metrics, aimed at measuring the model capability of describing the corresponding physical process.

In such a context, we obtain the striking result that large biases, in most cases larger than 10%, are found in all the considered metrics between the atmospheric waves climatology of most IPCC models and the reanalyses. The span of the climatologies of the various models is in all cases around 50% of the climatology of the reanalyses. In particular, when considering the total variability of the wave fields of the GCMs, we have that the biases on the intraseasonal and interannual variability are positively linearly correlated: for larger average signals the variability tend to be larger.

When considering the process-oriented metrics, we have that the baroclinic waves are typically overestimated by the climate models, while the planetary waves are usually underestimated. This closely resembles the results of many diagnostic studies performed in the past on global weather forecasting models (Tibaldi, 1986). The climatologies of the wave activity of only two models - GFDL-CM2.1 and MIROC(hires) - are statistically consistent with that of the reanalyses both for the global and process-oriented metrics.

This is a rather surprising result, given that all models are expected to provide very similar vertical temperature profiles, average surface temperature, precipitation and so on (see e.g. the results presented in the TAR). Nevertheless, the general pictures obtained with the global and with the processoriented metrics, are substantially different. In particular the apparent substantial improvement detected in the global metrics (as in the case of the CGCM3.1 model) may indeed mask the loss of performance in describing a specific process. Also, the INM-CM3.0 model, which seems rather close to observations with the global metrics, fails to describe correctly all regions of the spectrum of atmospheric variability at mid- latitudes.

On the other hand, the process-oriented metrics may suggest some of the priorities for planning strategies for model improvements. In this perspective, we found that the increase of horizontal resolution alone has no substantial effect on model performances while the increase of horizontal and vertical resolution brings the MIROC(hires) model into close agreement with observations. An increased vertical resolution could be useful to better mimic the vertical structure of the ultra-long waves, in particular the orographic baroclinic standing perturbations (Buzzi et al. 1984).

The improvement of numerical scheme has also a positive impact on model performances (GFDL models). In particular, the use of semi- lagrangian advection schemes for tracers seems to be an important requirement for model reliability. Somewhat unexpectedly, in the case of the GISSER and GISS-EH models, the characteristics of the adopted ocean model also seems to be critical in determining the agreement with the reanalyses. Among the three GISS models, the GISS-AOM seems to have superior performances. The models ensemble obtained by arithmetic averaging of the results of all models is biased with respect to the reanalyses but is comparable to the best 5 models.

This study suggests a serious caveat concerning the ability of most of the presently available climate models in describing the statistical properties of the global scale atmospheric dynamics of the present climate, and, a fortiori, in the perspective of climate change. One of the possible outcomes of this study may be the provision of quantitative information needed to weight model reliability when considering models ensemble results, e.g., in the context of the IPCC reports. On the other hand, the GFDL-CM2.1 and MIROC(hires) models, being able to reproduce with some degree of confidence the statistical properties of wave activity in the atmosphere, seem to be the best candidates for more detailed studies on atmospheric circulation regimes (Ruti et al., 2006), which will be the subject of future study.

Among the several other in-depth analyses which can follow up from the results presented here, we would like to mention two future paths. In the context of the global properties of the atmosphere, it seems relevant to study the links between the degree of the models mutual coherence and realism in the description of the mid- latitudes atmospheric variability and in the representation of ENSO (Van Oldenburg et al. 2005), which seems critical in the set-up of the regimes of the low25 frequency mid- latitudes planetary waves (Ruti el al., 2006). In the context of the understanding of climate change, it seems relevant to study the mutual coherence of the GCMs in their sensitivity to CO2 doubling of the statistics of the atmospheric waves cons idered in the present analysis.

Peter Walsh: The Australian Labor Party should ditch the Greenies

Peter Walsh was a senator and finance minister in the Hawke Labor government

Since the 1980s, Australian Labor Party policy has been incrementally hijacked by well-heeled, self-indulgent, morally vain and would-be authoritarian activists, whom the media often misdescribes as the intelligentsia. If language had been less debauched, they would have been more accurately described as secular religious fundamentalists, as contemptuous of the values and aspirations of mainstream Australians as Mao Zedong was of Chinese peasants.

The consequences for Labor have been four successive electoral defeats. Short of a self-destructive Coalition implosion, there is little chance of reversing this electoral trend in the near future. Some smart Labor people have been long aware of the poisoned chalice handed to Labor by green ideologues and their media cheer squad. Opposition resources spokesman Martin Ferguson is one person to have attacked their holy grail: global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. Writing on this page recently, Ferguson drew attention to the mutual exclusivity of green hostility to economic growth, the greens' self-proclaimed commitment to social justice, their Kyoto-inspired eagerness to export technically efficient Australian industry to Third World countries (thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions), and their secular religious veto of the only economically feasible alternative to fossil fuel for base load power: nuclear energy.

To secular religious fundamentalists - and others who should know better - global warming, induced by burning fossil fuels, is responsible for all disagreeable or dangerous climatic events: extreme high temperatures, extreme low temperatures, drought, floods, dying coral reefs and rising sea levels. Never mind that one of its high priests, Stephen Schneider, was predicting a catastrophic ice age only 35 years ago. The Kyoto hypothesis, so we are told, must be accepted without reservation. In several important respects empirical evidence does not confirm the climate model or models on which the Kyoto hypothesis is based. For example:

* Satellite temperature sensors - the most reliable source of global temperature data - show little if any increase in the lower tropospheric temperature.

* Precipitation on the Antarctic continent is increasing.

* Evidence, not yet conclusive, does suggest a small rise in surface temperature since 1970, but to fit the Kyoto models this should have happened 50 years ago. It didn't.

* Anyone who knows anything - including the authors associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - concedes their models are imprecise, even if they have not been designed to prop up favoured or predetermined conclusions. But Ian Castles and David Henderson's exposure of the fanciful economic statistics incorporated in IPCC models suggests they have been fiddled. If your case is immaculate, why feed lies into it?

* Authentic history is more reliable than models, doctored or otherwise. The Vikings, who settled Greenland early in the second millennium, grew barley crops for several centuries. To do that, the climate would have to be at least 2C warmer than now, but glaciers did not melt, sea levels did not rise, coral reefs did not disappear and atmospheric carbon dioxide remained stable. How come?

To divert attention from the enormous damage ratification of Kyoto would inflict on the Australian economy, the green cheer squad asserts we are forgoing a golden opportunity to make a fortune from carbon trading. That is another lie. At best, an honest international carbon trading system would reduce, to some extent, the losses of Kyoto compliance.

But who will regulate and audit an international market? Another misbegotten, self serving and corrupt offspring of a corrupt UN? Another IPCC? In the aftermath of the oil-for-food scandal, does anybody really believe the UN would run an honest chook raffle? Asserting that carbon trading will produce windfall gains for all is cargo cultism resurrected: the hoax of the decade, or perhaps century.

Planting forests for carbon sinks has become a fashionable stunt for populist politicians. Western Australia's populist Government announced it will plant enough trees to offset emissions from its proposed desalination plant. Recent research from Stamford University says that plants, including forests, produce 30per cent of the world's methane emissions. What about that?

Of one thing we can be certain. If rising atmospheric carbon dioxide really is a problem that threatens civilisation, Kyoto is not the answer. Nor is another populist stunt, renewable energy - unless we ignore the social and economic damage inflicted by an enormous increase in energy prices. Parasitic rent seekers who market windmills and solar panels (and would-be rent-seeking ethanol producers) are beneficiaries of the captive market already delivered to them by mandatory renewable energy targets, so they naturally demand those targets be increased. They may run into a political problem they have not anticipated.

A proposal to establish a wind farm in Denmark, Western Australia, an area much loved and populated by politically correct green nimbies, is being torpedoed by the residents. Consequently, federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has refused to allocate it any money from the federal renewable energy slush fund, because the green nimbies, including the local Green state parliamentarian, don't want it. Be alert for many repeats of this hypocrisy.

The only economically viable answer to the emissions problem, if indeed it is a problem, is nuclear power, as Ferguson points out. In recent years, Labor has stubbornly truckled for Green preferences, which have helped lower the party's primary vote. But if it wants to remain a major party, Labor should pay more attention to Ferguson and distance itself from a movement that alienates a large body of traditional Labor voters.



(Post lifted from John Brignell of Number Watch)

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting"
(Ernest Rutherford)

Ever since primitive man developed tools and found the leisure to conjecture upon such abstractions as purpose, cause and effect, there have been individuals who set themselves up to exploit the gullibility of their fellows by assuming a spurious expertise. As time goes on their kind develops an elaborate structure of bogus erudition by which they come to enslave their contemporaries. Few human societies have escaped this process. It should therefore come as no surprise that in various web forums a counter argument has begun to appear, taking the form "You are not an X scientist and are therefore not qualified to discuss X". X can be one of several subjects - environment, food, climate etc. As we have observed previously, the appearance of the X sciences is a modern phenomenon related to the general dumbing down of the educational system.

In most societies the priesthood strives to establish a monopoly, often by draconian means, such as torture and death, in order to preserve its status. The brief flourishing of the age of science in the last two or three centuries largely brought that process to a halt but, now that the scientific method and its inherent scepticism have fallen into disrepute among the powers that be of the new establishment, the new theologies are beginning to assert their authority. The journals that were once the great pillars of science and its methods now openly practice a crude censorship of anything that smacks of heresy, while committees of self-styled scientists brand dissenters and attempt to consign them to oblivion.

The peer review system, another fundamental pillar of science, has always been prone to corruption by the formation of dominant interest groups, but the present situation is orders of magnitude more serious than that. Dissenting arguments are not only excluded from peer review publications, but they are dismissed by dint of that very exclusion. Some of the high priests of the new order go to extraordinary lengths to prevent the publication of challenges to their own preachments. Then there is control of funding. Those who produce hard evidence embarrassing to the establishment (such as why 2003 was supposedly a year of record heat) are likely to find themselves bereft of cash.

Alas, poor science!


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 January, 2006

When greenies go nuts: tales of the eco-11 terrorists

Charges against individuals who reportedly formed a ring of ecoterrorists is good news for the Northwest and a validation for the FBI, whose agents persisted over long years to assemble evidence of arson and property destruction. At a news conference Friday, the feds disclosed 65 counts against 11 people for criminal behavior in acts linked to ALF and ELF - the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. Eight of the eco-11 are in custody. In the bucolic Pacific Northwest, where nature is an icon and tree-hugging is serious, the liberation-fronters perform the role of the Bad Seed. They take environmentalism to the point of dangerous absurdity. The indictments, if proven in court, tell a tale of berserk behavior, of careers and good work damaged, all in the name of the Earth. The Earth is a false god if it means concocting explosive gel with soap shavings as the stabilizer.

Three men and women, all in their 20s, were arrested this month in a Kmart parking lot in Sacramento, Calif., in possession of bleach, glass cleaner and other items useful in preparing a bomb. One of the men also had on him drawings of the U.S. Forest Service's Institute of Forest Genetics in nearby Placerville at the edge of the Eldorado National Forest, according to the Associated Press. Federal agents believe the 11 individuals may be responsible for 17 acts of ecoterrorism across a span of Western states. The damage includes felling high-tension wires, torching lumber-mill offices and a slaughterhouse, and firebombing a ski resort in Vail, Colo., causing a $12 million loss.

Closer to home, the arson of a horticulture center at the University of Washington by ecoterrorists made as much sense as driving long spikes into trees to make them safe. The liberation-fronters, bizarrely believing they do good work, are estimated by the FBI to be the country's No. 1 internal terrorist threat. The FBI said they caused about $100 million in damage since 1997, according to the AP.

They don't target or harm people, is the defense used by the ecoterrorists, but of course they do. They harm families and research, paychecks and public wealth. They stain environmentalism with their unbalanced fervor. The individuals appear as normal as the trees, but with secret lives of destruction - a firefighter, a Southwest bookstore owner and a health-care worker for the disabled are among those found and charged. One committed suicide in jail, others appeared at the courthouse in Eugene, Ore., smiling the smiles of the righteous.

There is a question about ecoterrorism that environmentalists from Eugene to Juneau should ask themselves. Is it not enough to decry the eco-11's violence but silently agree with their goals? Torching a horse slaughterhouse is still arson, and wrecking some SUVs or high tension wires is still about a violent means to an end. The person thought responsible for the Vail fire is also the prime suspect for the 2001 fire at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture. Much is said and written about the fragility of the wild, about the ocean currents and the melting ice. Those caught in California were thought to be targeting fish hatcheries next, and maybe a cell tower. There's a good way to get people of the Northwest on your side - kill fish and cut off cellphones. Ecoterrorism cannot be wrapped in justification any more than terrorism anywhere, for whatever crackpot dreams.



Post lifted from Cheat Seeking Missiles

Libs love big social programs that attack poverty (successfully or not), but they hate cars, so this one is going to muddle their clarity:

Portland State grad student Kerri Sullivan has found that car ownership is the key to escaping urban poverty. Her report found:
... car ownership improved the likelihood of being employed by 80 percent. The effect on average weekly wages was approximately $275, and the effect on weeks worked was approximately 8.5 weeks.
Brock Yates, writing in Car & Driver, reported more:
Steven Raphael and Michael Stoll of UC Berkeley and LA, respectively, found that "raising minority car ownership -- compared to the white car-ownership rate -- would eliminate 45 percent of the black-white emmployment-rate differential and 17 percent of the comparable Latino-white differential."
Yates suggests that big government proponents may want to get together with Detroit's struggling auto makers and devise a "car in every garage" program.

This will be fun. The dying-earth greenies are going to have to once again try to keep their big, fat slice of the pie away from poor blacks and Latinos. Greenies will drive their cars to hearings at which they'll protest government continuing to support gasoline engines, while the poor folks will ride mass transit to the hearing and beg for a break.

Ah, the elegant hypocrisy.


From Michael Phillips (, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Medway School of Science University of Greenwich UK:

In the article on James Lovelock from The Independent, the author writes: "Thirty years ago, the scientist James Lovelock worked out that the Earth possessed a planetary-scale control system which kept the environment fit for life. He called it Gaia, and the theory has become widely accepted"

As far as I am aware, the theory has not become 'widely accepted', certainly not in the world of Biologists and Neo-Darwinists (see Unweaving the Rainbow, Richard Dawkins). I understand also that Lovelock himself always felt he was mis-represented by interpretation of Gaia theory, an idea that is usually misinterpreted by Eco Warrior Fundamentalists and proponents of a living 'Mother Earth'. That was never Lovelock's intention.

From Roy Spencer (, The University of Alabama in Huntsville:

"The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia."

FINALLY! Now we can quit arguing about what should be done, since we are "past the point of no return" anyway!

From Michael Henlon ( of the Daily Mail:

It strikes me that something should be done about Lovelock. I have read his book, and even I, as a humble f***wit, can pull it to pieces. He is so fundamentally wrong about so many things it is hard to know where to start.

From Allan MacRae (

I was ready to dismiss James Lovelock as just another eco-nut/flake but decided to visit his website at Lovelock is on the right track about a few things:

1. Lovelock is correct about wind power - it is a mere enviro-token and is not a viable alternative means of generating significant amounts of electricity. The best proof is the excellent German report (see Fig.7 - Falling Substitution Capacity): "E.On Netz Wind Power Report 2005, Germany"

2. Lovelock is also correct about nuclear power, but with qualifications - IF you accept that greenhouse gases are causing catastrophic global warming, then one of the few viable current solutions is nuclear. However, the science of global warming suggests that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will not cause catastrophic global warming, but rather a warming of less than one degree C. An examination of Lower Troposphere (LT) temperature trends as measured since December 1978 by satellites shows no warming trend in LT from 12/1978 to 04/1997, just oscillation around zero - then the huge 1997-98 El Nino spike peaking in 04/1998 which quickly reversed itself; possibly 0.2 degree C warming from 2000 to 2005. The pattern of this data does not support CO2 as a significant driver of warming. LT temperatures are available at: So Lovelock's "end of life as we know it by humanmade global warming" scenario seems a bit farfetched. A more probable scenario is another ice age within 5000 years.

The following paragraphs are extracted from: "During the past two million years, the Earth has been as ice-age cold as it has ever been, experiencing more than 30 glaciations. In the past 800,000 years, the pattern has been approximately 100,000 years of extensive glaciation, interspersed with warmer interglacials of around 15,000 years. By studying climate changes through these previous cycles, we surmise that the next ice age is less than 5,000 years ahead. At that time, large portions of North America will be buried under kilometres of ice." A final note on the relatively minor role that CO2 plays in global warming, also from the above report: "Through most of the last 500 million years atmospheric CO2 content has been higher - up to 18 times higher - than at present. Strikingly, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today's value during the Ordovician glaciation, around 440 million years ago. CO2 is simply a minor driver in the many factors that influence climate."


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 January, 2006

Indur Goklany's Rejected "Nature" Letter

More abandonment of science by "Nature" magazine exposed. Post lifted from Roger Pielke -- which see for references

Indur Goklany, of the U.S. Department of Interior, shared with us the letter reproduced below which he submitted to Nature and had rejected for publication, as is of course their prerogative. However the letter is interesting enough that we thought it to be worth sharing, with his permission. It is a response to an article by Patz et al. which appeared in Nature last November. Patz et al. repeated WMO claims that human-caused climate change causes over 150,000 lives annually, which comes from McMichael et al. 2004 (here in PDF). Last year we commented on this WHO report, taking a somewhat different perspective than Goklany does below. Have a look, it is an interesting letter. Goklany has also had some smart things to say in his publications about adaptation and climate change.

Goklany Letter

Sir - It is astonishing to find a review article in Nature (Patz, J.A., et al., Nature 438, 310; 2005), henceforth "the Review", whose major conclusion is taken from an analysis whose authors themselves acknowledge did not "accord with the canons of empirical science". Specifically, its estimate, that anthropogenic climate change already claims over 150,000 lives annually, is based on the Review's reference 57 which notes (on p. 1546)(1) that:

"Empirical observation of the health consequences of long-term climate change, followed by formulation, testing and then modification of hypotheses would therefore require long time-series (probably several decades) of careful monitoring.While this process may accord with the canons of empirical science, it would not provide the timely information needed to inform current policy decisions on GHG emission abatement, so as to offset possible health consequences in the future." [Emphasis added.]

In other words, science was sacrificed in pursuit of a pre-determined policy objective. But, absent serendipity, one cannot base sound policy on poor science. Sound science is a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for sound policy.

Furthermore, the Review's policy pronouncement that "precautionary approaches to mitigating anthropogenic greenhouse gases will be necessary" (p. 315), even if ultimately proven sound, is not based on any policy analysis. As it notes, "the regions with the greatest burden of climate-sensitive diseases are also the regions with the lowest capacity to adapt to the new risks" (p. 315). Thus, another method of reducing this burden would be to enhance these regions' adaptive capacity to cope with these diseases. This can be accomplished by either specifically reducing their vulnerability to these diseases or by advancing the underlying determinants of adaptive capacity, namely, economic development, human and social capital, and the propensity for technological change (which is tantamount to advancing sustainable development). (2, 3)

Either adaptive approach would reduce both "new" health risks due to climate change and "pre-existing" risks occurring in the absence of climate change. By contrast, greenhouse gas reductions would only address new risks. Moreover, the burden of disease from new risks in 2000, which the Review itself estimates was a twentieth of the pre-existing burden (4), will-if projections of the global populations at risk of malaria (5) and hunger (6) are any guide-remain smaller, at least through most of this century. Secondly, either adaptive approach would reduce the total burden more rapidly than emission reductions because of the climate system's inertia. Therefore, by comparison with emission reduction efforts, either adaptive approach would for the next few decades reduce climate-sensitive risks faster, by a greater amount and, as shown elsewhere, more economically.(4)

For these reasons, the Review's policy fix-"precautionary approaches to mitigating anthropogenic greenhouse gases while research continues on the full range of climate-health mechanisms and potential future health impacts" (p. 315)-is inadequate to the "global ethical challenge" posed by climate change (p. 315). In the short-to-medium term, it would save more lives, and therefore be more precautionary and ethical, to reduce vulnerability to urgent climate-sensitive problems (e.g., malaria and hunger) which currently kill millions each year, promote sustainable economic development and implement "no-regret" emission reduction policies while undertaking the research and development necessary to expand the universe of "no-regret" technological options so that, in the long term, deeper emission reductions, when and if they become necessary, can be more reasonably afforded. (4) Such an approach would help solve current problems without compromising the ability to address future problems.


Below is a summary of "Sustainable Fossil Fuels: The Unusual Suspect in the Quest for Clean and Enduring Energy" by Mark Jaccard

More and more people believe we must quickly wean ourselves from fossil fuels - oil, natural gas and coal - to save the planet from environmental catastrophe, wars and economic collapse. Professor Jaccard argues that this view is misguided. We have the technological capability to use fossil fuels without emitting climate-threatening greenhouse gases or other pollutants. The transition from conventional oil and gas to their unconventional sources including coal for producing electricity, hydrogen and cleaner-burning fuels will decrease energy dependence on politically unstable regions. In addition, our vast fossil fuel resources will be the cheapest source of clean energy for the next century and perhaps longer, which is critical for the economic and social development of the world's poorer countries. By buying time for increasing energy efficiency, developing renewable energy technologies and making nuclear power more attractive, fossil fuels will play a key role in humanity's quest for a sustainable energy system.

Myths Challenged by "Sustainable Fossil Fuels"

1. Pundits, the public and even many politicians now believe that a peak in conventional oil production in the next few decades will be associated with enormous economic disruption. Chapter 5 explains why this is highly unlikely.

2. Some industrial leaders, economists and climate change cynics argue that greenhouse gas reduction will bankrupt us. But there are policies that, if put in place immediately, will give the correct long-run signal for innovation and investment at the margin without harming the viability of existing capital stocks - no sudden energy price increases, no sudden purging of the capital stocks. Chapter 8 shows how these policies are now being successfully applied in several jurisdictions, but often the lessons are not extended more widely.

3. Most environmentalists and even many independent experts believe that we must stop using fossil fuels in this century in order to save the planet from war, economic collapse and environmental catastrophe. As the book explains throughout, this is a confusion of means and ends. This is an important message that can help bring the warring parties together - realizing that we can have a much cleaner energy future but we do not need to punish specific regions and industries if they are willing to be part of the long-term solution. In the case of our fossil fuel industry, it means that the industry should be pushing right now for the rapid development of carbon capture and storage - which it currently is not - and environmentalists should be embracing fossil fuels as a potentially clean source of energy, as part of the sustainable energy future.

4. For 30 years, energy efficiency advocates have argued that energy efficiency is profitable and is the key solution to energy-related environmental problems. Yet careful research shows that it is extremely difficult to divert the economy from its normal rate of declining energy intensity - especially if one attempts to do this without forceful policies like price changes and / or regulations.

5. Renewables advocates have propagated the myth that with scale-up renewables can be cheaper than polluting uses of fossil fuels, and that this development of renewables will be will be consistent with a small-is-beautiful future. However, if we scale-up renewables, they will still have significant costs, largely because of the capital required to be address issues of low energy density, intermittent supply, and inconvenient location. And with high capital requirements, there are likely to be economies-of-scale. Denmark's first wind generators were single units of 300 kW. Today, the individual units are 3 MW, and these are being installed in 200 MW offshore windparks. Renewables can and will play a significantly growing role in the global energy system, but their arrival as the dominant energy source will take a long time and will depend on their ability to achieve specific breakthroughs to improve their competitive position with clean fossil fuels - photovoltaics integrated in building materials, genetic engineering improving the production of various biomass energy sources, developments in small hydro technology.

6. People in the nuclear industry are frustrated that the public in developed countries - and perhaps increasingly in crowded developing countries - are unwilling to accept the nearby siting of a new nuclear plant. But nuclear proponents need to understand that people do not estimate risk by multiplying the probability of an occurrence by its impact. They tend, instead, to focus on the impact and to want to avoid high impact events. Yet, people are willing to accept high impact risks in certain situations, such as flying in an airplane. The nuclear industry needs to learn to work with these realities of human decision making if it is to make any headway.


The reign of King Coal - and his royal cousins, crude oil and natural gas - is coming to an end, we are told, and the threat of climate change will finally terminate our on-off relationship with fossil fuels. It is a message that has become common currency nearly everywhere - but you write off fossil fuels at your peril, because there is life in the old king yet.

Today we burn coal. But we could gasify it instead, using decades-old technology deployed in South Africa, a legacy of apartheid-era restrictions on crude oil imports. Rather than making gasoline, however, we could add extra steam to produce a hydrogen-rich gas, and then scrub it with a solvent to extract its carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas we do not want to enter the atmosphere.

The resulting hydrogen could be burned to produce electricity, or piped to industrial plants, buildings and vehicles for use in fuel cells. Sulphur, mercury and other coal residuals could be captured and converted into useful products. The carbon dioxide could be injected into old oil and gas reservoirs, enhancing their output by 30 per cent, or into deep saline aquifers for permanent storage.

Because all these technologies are used commercially today we can confidently estimate their costs. Zero-emission conversion of coal into clean-burning electricity and hydrogen will increase the cost of delivered energy by 25 to 40 per cent over the next 50 years. That is an annual increase of less than 1 per cent. Thus, clean energy from fossil fuels might consume 8 per cent of the family budget of 2050 instead of today's 6 per cent.

And we are not about to run out of fossil fuels. While doomsayers decry the peaking production of "conventional" crude oil, experienced energy experts calmly assess the technical and economic potential of substitutes. They note that when the price of crude oil is above $35 (œ20) per barrel - Jand today it is $60 - alternatives such as oil sands from Canada, natural gas from Qatar, coal from South Africa and biomass from Brazilian sugar cane can profitably produce oil products such as gasoline and diesel. Even with growing consumption, fossil fuels could last hundreds of years, given the global resources of coal and unconventional natural gas deep in the earth and frozen below the oceans. This evidence contradicts the claims of doomsayers that every spike in oil prices portends imminent resource exhaustion.

Some argue that fossil fuels should be abandoned because there are superior alternatives - energy efficiency, nuclear power and renewables such as wind, solar and hydropower. The aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency is desirable. But around the world, humans continue to crave ever greater access to energy. The global energy system was 16 times larger in 2000 than in 1900. Two billion people today are without electricity and modern fuels, and by 2100 their offspring will be 4 billion. These people use less than one gigajoule of energy a year while a typical American uses more than 300.

Even with dramatic energy efficiency gains in wealthier countries, a subsistence level of 30 gigajoules for the planet's poorer people will still require a three-fold expansion of the energy system during this century. Scale-up is the major challenge for nuclear power and renewable energy. Fossil fuels account for 84 per cent of the global energy system. Nuclear power is at 2 per cent and renewables - mostly burning of wood and agricultural residues - at 14 per cent.

The wholesale replacement of fossil fuels in just one century will require a phenomenal expansion. The nuclear industry should grow, but its pace is limited by challenges in siting new facilities, storing radioactive waste and preventing nuclear weapons proliferation. Most renewable energy has low-energy density and variable production, which increases land-use conflicts and capital costs.

An essential effort in research and development will decrease the costs of renewables. But zero-emission fossil fuels will remain cost-competitive for at least this century. Acceptance of this economic reality means admitting that fossil fuels should not be regarded as a foe, but rather as humanity's best friend in its quest for a clean, enduring and affordable energy system. Long live the king!



Record high temperatures in some places are often paraded as proof of global warming so I guess this proves global cooling

Freezing air from Siberia sent temperatures across much of northern Europe diving on Friday and the death toll from the cold rose to more than 70 in Russia. Forecasters warned the cold snap - including minus 33 degrees in Finland and Estonia - would last several more days. Temperatures are expected to drop to minus 40 in Finland over the weekend. Sub-zero temperatures, sometimes accompanied by blizzards, drove people off the streets, closed schools, disrupted travel and led to power cuts, from Finland to eastern Turkey. Moscow's health services said five people died overnight on Friday in the capital, where temperatures hit minus 30 for a second day. The latest casualties take to at least 71 the number of deaths across Russia since the start of severe weather late last Monday, including 16 in the capital. In Latvia, the meteorological centre said Thursday's temperature of minus 27 in Riga was the coldest in the capital for that day in 100 years. Police said six people had died of the cold.

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.


22 January, 2006


The global warming religion seems to addle brains in a way exceeded only by Islam. Article lifted from Roger Pielke

In this week's Science magazine editor Donald Kennedy opines that "Not only is the New Orleans damage not an act of God; it shouldn't even be called a "natural" disaster." Could it be that he sees the significance of millions of people and trillions of dollars of property in locations exposed to repeated strikes from catastrophic storms? Unfortunately, not at all.

Prof. Kennedy is a Johnny-come-lately to exploiting Katrina for political advantage on climate change. He writes, "As Katrina and two other hurricanes crossed the warm Gulf of Mexico, we watched them gain dramatically in strength. . . We know with confidence what has made the Gulf and other oceans warmer than they had been before: the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human industrial activity, to which the United States has been a major contributor."

I suppose one could make the convoluted case that Prof. Kennedy is [just a bad writer/only talking about statistics/dumbing-down the science/anticipating inevitable future research results] and didn't really mean to link Katrina's damage (or Katrina) with global warming. But he did, clearly. The current state of science doesn't support such claims. Let's review:

From Kerry Emanuel's homepage:

"Q: I gather from this last discussion that it would be absurd to attribute the Katrina disaster to global warming?

A: Yes, it would be absurd."

From Webster et al.(2005) in Science (PDF):

". . . attribution of the 30-year trends [in hurricane intensity] to global warming would require a longer global data record and, especially, a deeper understanding of the role of hurricanes in the general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, even in the present climate state."

From RealClimate:

". . .there is no way to prove that Katrina either was, or was not, affected by global warming. For a single event, regardless of how extreme, such attribution is fundamentally impossible." (emphasis added)

From Rick Anthes at UCAR (who effectively used the "act of god" metaphor in his essay):

"Whatever the relationship between hurricanes and global warming turns out to be, it is not likely to be simple, and we will never be able to attribute a single event like Katrina to a changed climate."

If you want to read about Katrina not being an "act of God" I'd recommend this thoughtful essay by former national park service director Roger Kennedy. We criticized Donald Kennedy just last week for advocating policies related to extreme weather events that simply cannot work, and this week he backs that up with more of the same. If one actually cares about the impacts of hurricanes, it makes no sense to express concern about hurricane damage without at all mentioning coastal population growth and development. As I have written previously, our continuing focus on the issue of hurricanes and global warming is not simply about getting the science right. It is about advocating policies that can save lives and mitigate damage. Global warming is important, hurricanes are as well, but you can't kill those two birds with a single stone. You can't (PDF).

For an argument for policies that hold far more promise for dealing with hurricane impacts than those being advocated by Professor Kennedy, have a look at this op-ed (in PDF) that Dan Sarewitz and I had in the L.A. Times last fall. Reflecting upon Prof. Kennedy's recent editorials, I not sure what is worse - the repeated advocacy of really bad policy on the pages of the nation's leading scientific journal or the deafening silence of the relevant scientific community in the face of these arguments.


A environmental awareness concert featuring MANIC STREET PREACHERS, THE DARKNESS and THE STROKES has been postponed. The One Earth Concert was scheduled to take place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on 28 January (06), but organisers have mysteriously pulled the gig, promising to reschedule it later in the year. Rock fans who have bought tickets for the gig are entitled to a full refund. The concert was set to be broadcast internationally for charity Climate Change Now's campaign to save the earth.

Michael Mathres, of Climate Change Now, says, "We apologise wholeheartedly for any inconvenience caused by the change of date. "But we can assure those who have already purchased tickets that the event will still take place at the Millennium Stadium."



By Melanie Phillips

The 'progressive' ideas of the green movement are truly a wonder to behold. Consider this article on BBC OnLine by Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the British Antarctic Survey. Prof Rapley is very worried by the collective 'footprint' of humankind on our planet's life support systems. The world's population, he says, which currently stands at about 6.5 billion people, is heading towards eight billion or so by mid-century. The optimum number for sustainable life on the planet, he goes on, is 'perhaps 2-3 billion':

With that number and a timescale as targets, a path to reach 'Utopia' from where we are now is, in principle, a straightforward matter of identifying options, choosing the approach and then planning and navigating the route from source to destination.

The only way to reduce the world's population from 8 billion to 2-3 billion would appear to be by genocide, nuclear holocaust, famine or plague. Just which of these options might the Director of the British Antarctic Survey be recommending to navigate us to utopia? I think we should be told.

Note to Melanie from Benny Peiser: There is another green proposal which is being adopted quite successful in most European countries and even more so in Russia. It's called the "The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement" and its key objective is quite simple: "Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health" ( As Mark Steyn points out in his latest op-ed, "If the present rate [in the rise of sea level] continues, the Maldives will be under water by 2500. Of course, by then, if the present rate of demographic decline continues, most of Russia and Europe will be empty, and we could resettle the 350,000 residents of the Maldives on the Riviera."


It looks like the "global" in "global warming" does not include one of the world's largest countries

Arctic temperatures gripping most of Russia pushed the death toll across the frozen country towards 40 as weather forecasters warned that no significant thaw was expected before next month. In the capital, locked in a deep freeze since late Monday, seven people died overnight on Thursday, the Interfax news agency reported. That brought the toll in Moscow to 18 and nationwide to 38 - but the true number is likely to be higher, because many regions have not reported cold deaths....

Moscow yesterday was slightly warmer than Thursday, when -31C was recorded in the early hours - the lowest since 1927. In Moscow, 22 people were being treated in hospital for hypothermia, the report said, quoting the municipal health service. Cities and towns in western Russia have reported deaths and hypothermia since the cold wave set in on Tuesday. A weather service official told Ekho Moskvy radio that temperatures in the capital were unlikely to rise above -20C before February.

Schoolchildren stayed home, vendors at Moscow's outdoor food and clothing markets shuttered their booths, and outdoor automatic teller machines reportedly froze up, while traffic was uncharacteristically light as drivers were reluctant to venture out or unable to start their cars.

More here


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

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

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


21 January, 2006


40 hectares (100 acres) for private use and 1000 hectares for a park is still "too much" private use!

Green groups are furious the [Victorian] State Government will pay for a new 1000ha conservation park on the Mornington Peninsula by allowing development on an adjacent 40ha. The Government hopes to pay for the restoration of the Devilbend Reservoir park with up to $2 million raised by allowing rural housing, farming or commercial development on 40ha across the road. While welcoming the new park, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria secretary Julianne Bell warned: "If you introduce housing there you could very well kill the thing you are trying to preserve."



Get those Martians to stop using fossil fuels! Whoops! There are no Martians.

Large areas of the Red Planet were once turned white by heavy snowfalls that were common on Mars several million years ago, scientists say. A new model of the ancient Martian climate has revealed that the glacial deposits of the planet's tropics were laid down by snow carried to equatorial regions by monsoon winds. The findings, published today in Science, resolve the mystery about the source of the rocks and debris at the foot of Mars's tropical mountains and volcanoes spotted by Nasa's Viking mission in 1976. A team led by James Head, of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, has now established that the deposits are the remains of large glaciers that formed a few million years ago. "What we found was that the glaciers were formed from snow brought from the polar regions," Dr Head said.

At that time, Mars's axis was tilted so that its ice caps were pointed more towards the Sun than they are today. Solar energy hit the ice head on, evaporating large quantities of water, and monsoon-like winds carried the water vapour south. On the slopes of huge volcanoes, the vapour cooled, condensed and fell as snow. It turned to ice, forming glaciers that carried huge boulders down the mountainsides. That debris is what can be seen today. The researchers used a climate model that assumed the 45-degree tilt of Mars millions of years ago. "The findings are important because they tell us that Mars has experienced big climate changes," Dr Head said.



Using a mobile phone does not increase the risk of a deadly brain cancer, the biggest study so far has indicated. Although it is impossible to say that there is no risk at all, the authors say that the data they have gathered so far provide no evidence of one.

Fears about mobile phones have not discouraged the public from buying and using them, but have encouraged a wave of research and reports from advisory bodies. Little good scientific evidence exists to show that they are a threat.

The latest findings come from the British part of the European Interphone Study, a 13-nation investigation funded by the European Union and mobile phone manufacturers. The British end of this study also had funding from the Department of Health. Researchers from the universities of Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester and the Institute of Cancer Research in London interviewed 966 people who had had glioma diagnosed in Britain between the beginning of December 2000 and the end of February 2004. Their use of mobile phones - intensity, frequency and duration - was compared with that of 1,716 controls matched in other respects but not suffering from glioma. The results, published in the online version of the British Medical Journal, show no difference in mobile phone use between healthy people and those with gliomas. If there had been a link, glioma sufferers would, on average, have used the phones more often or more intensively than non-users. The team also found no link between the risk of glioma and the length of time since someone first started using a mobile phone or the number or length of calls that they made.

Anthony Swerdlow, of the Institute of Cancer Research, said that the results were in line with "numerous reviews" which had concluded that there was no raised risk. Only one researcher, Lennart Hardell, from Sweden, had found an apparent link, he said. "If you look at published reviews, you will see what the opinion is of Hardell's work," Professor Swerdlow said. Professor Hardell's most recent paper showed an apparent link for people living in rural areas, explained by the country base stations being farther apart and requiring phones to use more power. The new study finds no such difference between town and country.

But it does show an apparent increase in gliomas on the side of the head where people customarily hold the phone. The researchers say that this finding is probably due to bias: people who get gliomas are inclined afterwards to say that whichever side of the head the tumours appear was the side on which they used their phone. This interpretation is backed by there being a deficiency in gliomas on the other side of the head. So if mobile phones cause cancer on the side that they are used, they must also protect against it on the other side - an implausible interpretation.

Patricia McKinney, Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology at Leeds University, said that public concern about the effect of mobile phones and tumours was not backed up by their study. "Our study can only evaluate relatively short-term use, because the majority of people had used mobile phones for less than ten years," she said. "Future studies will be able to address the risks of longer-term use, but we found no evidence of increased risks in the short to medium term."

Critics may focus on how the mobile phone industry partly financed the study. But Professor Swerdlow said that the money was passed through an independent intermediary, the International Union against Cancer, and that "firewalls" prevented any improper influence being exerted.

Anxiety about mobile phones has been fostered by two official reports under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart, a former chief scientific adviser, now the chairman of the Health Protection Agency. In both cases the reports have said that there is no evidence of risk, before going on to advise parents against allowing their children to use mobile phones excessively.

Professor Swerdlow said that it was difficult to assess what the risks might be to children. "There are extremely few children who have used mobile phones for long enough to have data on whether brain tumours may be increased by mobile use," he said. Participants in the study were all aged 18 or over at the time. Caution would be warranted only if mobile phones had a different effect on children's brains than they do on those of adults. So far, there is no evidence of this. Gliomas have been increasing at 2 to 3 per cent a year, probably as a result of better ascertainment, over the past 30 years. There are between 4,000 and 4,500 diagnoses of glioma a year in Britain



It's that global warming, I tell you!

Record low temperatures were felt in western Siberia over the weekend, with temperatures in the Tomsk region reported at minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit and lower. "This morning people felt Arctic weather," a local meteorologist told the Interfax news agency Friday. A state of emergency was declared in the Tomsk region, where at least one man died because of the cold and hospitals treated dozens of people daily for cold-related health problems, while public transportation and electricity supplies were disrupted, The Moscow Times reported Monday. In the Novosibirsk region, temperatures fell to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit -- the lowest in 100 years. In the city of Krasnoyarsk, celebrations for the Russian holiday known as Old New Year's Eve were canceled Friday after temperatures were also predicted to fall to minus 40. In the Komi-Permyatsky autonomous district, where temperatures were as low as minus 49 Fahrenheit, 85 people -- mostly preschoolers -- were evacuated from a settlement after a heating system serving 600 residents failed, Interfax reported Saturday. There was some good news, however: Scientists in the Tyumen region said the thousands of school closures across Siberia would reduce the spread of an expected flu epidemic among schoolchildren.



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 January, 2006


Three people described as members of an "eco-terrorist" organization scouted Nimbus Dam, a nearby fish hatchery and a forest genetics facility as possible targets to bomb, according to an FBI affidavit filed Tuesday in federal court. Three days after visiting the sites, Eric Taylor McDavid, 28, Zachary O. Jenson, 20, and Lauren Weiner, 20, were arrested in Auburn as they emerged from a Kmart with materials that the FBI suspects were to be used to build explosive devices. The three are charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to use fire or explosives to damage property. They appeared in Sacramento federal court Tuesday and were ordered held pending bail hearings. There is no opportunity to enter a plea to a criminal complaint in federal court.

The case against the three is based on extensive electronic surveillance and an FBI "confidential source who is deeply embedded within the subjects' cell" of the Earth Liberation Front, according to the affidavit of FBI Special Agent Nasson Walker. According to the affidavit, McDavid told the confidential source that he was "introduced ... to anarchist thought" by Ryan Daniel Lewis, a 22-year-old Newcastle man who pleaded guilty in October in federal court to arson and attempted arson in a series of firebombings in Placer and Amador counties. Lewis has been identified by the FBI as an Earth Liberation Front member. The organization is described in Walker's affidavit as an "eco-terrorist group that advocates ... (i.e. criminal activity) against targets identified as contributing to the destruction/exploitation of the earth and its resources."

McDavid, Jenson and Weiner researched potential targets and visited Nimbus Dam, California Department of Fish and Game's fish hatchery in Rancho Cordova and the federal forest genetics facility Jan. 10, according to the affidavit. FBI agents followed the trio and the paid FBI informant working undercover to the three sites. At the U.S. Forest Service's Institute of Forest Genetics facility in Placerville, agents watched the four enter the property and walk around the grounds. Their movements were filmed by the agents with a video camera. After they departed, McDavid told the group that human casualties resulting from their planned bombings would be acceptable, according to a report from the FBI's confidential source.

At a Jan. 9 meeting with the source, according to the affidavit, agents learned that the group intended to obtain materials for a homemade explosive device from grocery and hardware stores, and to begin preparing the chemicals to be used in the device by following a recipe in a book titled "Poor Man's James Bond." As the three defendants moved around the Sacramento region last week they discussed and bought materials they would need to build explosive devices and agents captured some of those conversations on video and audio recordings, according to the affidavit. The three were arrested, the affidavit says, after leaving the Kmart store on Bell Road carrying bags containing respirator masks, rubber gloves, bleach, glass cleaner and glassware. McDavid was carrying a notebook with "a hand-drawn diagram of what appeared to be the grounds" of the forest genetics facility, the FBI affidavit says. The notebook also contained hand-drawn diagrams of "what appeared to be pipe bombs, as well as lists of ingredients for creating homemade explosives." ....

McDavid and the confidential source were in Philadelphia in June for a protest at the 2005 Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual trade conference, where McDavid offered training to others on how to construct and use Molotov cocktails, according to the affidavit. The affidavit says McDavid advocated violent protest and told the confidential source of his desire to kill a police officer, expressing regret that he was not involved in an altercation between protesters and police that resulted in one officer's death.

More here


There are increasing concerns about the future security of the UK's energy supplies and the inadequacy of the Government's current energy policy. Given the prospect of Britain becoming a major importer of Russian gas in the not-too-distant future, President Putin's recent decision to turn off the supply to the Ukraine vindicated these concerns.

There is currently a mix of energy sources for generating electricity. Nuclear provides about 20pc, coal-fired power stations 33pc, gas-fired 40pc, with the remainder met by a miscellany including oil-fired stations (1pc) and renewable sources (3pc-4pc). Most of the electricity from renewables is hydropower, though an increasing amount is from the costly and heavily subsidised wind farms. British North Sea fields still provide 90pc of gas supply but, reflecting the faster-than-expected decline in our reserves, 10pc is imported via the European gas network.

This relatively happy and secure situation will not persist. It is expected that most of our ageing nuclear stations will be decommissioned by 2020, and by early that decade will probably only account for a mere 3pc of total electricity generation. In addition, the DTI expects that coal-fired stations will account for around 16pc of electricity by 2020 (half of today's proportion) as EU directives to cut emissions force the closure of capacity. Taking the reductions in nuclear and coal together, this represents a loss of capacity of around one third.

The DTI's policy response to this huge loss of capacity was discussed in some detail in the 2003 Energy White Paper*. There were two strands to the proposed policies. Firstly, there was an emphasis on greater energy efficiency. But energy efficiency has been a policy priority for the past 30 years yet, with rising affluence and economic growth, electricity demand has risen relentlessly and it is currently around 60pc higher than 30 years ago. Moreover, the UK is already a relatively energy-efficient country. Short of raising prices to prohibitively expensive levels and/or introducing restrictions on use, the prospects for major energy savings seem fanciful.

Secondly, the White Paper suggested that the expected capacity loss should be replaced by very substantial capacity increases in both renewables and gas. New nuclear capacity was not an option. The DTI's optimistic, if not totally unrealistic, targets for the renewables' share of electricity supply were 10pc by 2010 and 20pc by 2020. (The DTI referred to the 2020 target as an "aspiration".) Much of the increase in supply was to come from wind - both offshore and onshore. But there are major problems with wind power. The turbines do not generate any electricity when the wind does not blow and when wind speeds exceed 55mph they are, apparently, shut down for fear of damage. A world of gently and steadily spinning blades is one restricted to the world of the Teletubbies. They need, therefore, back up from other sources because electricity cannot be stored in bulk. Moreover, the unpredictability of electricity generation from wind can cause "supply and demand balancing'' operating problems for the National Grid.

Much of this "dash for wind'' policy is driven by the Government's targets for the reduction in carbon emissions, firstly, as agreed under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change for a 12.5pc cut between 1990 and 2008/12 and, secondly, reflecting its self-imposed target of a 60pc cut by 2050. But, as the House of Lords** concluded last year, the agreements under the Kyoto Protocol, even if the targets were met, would have little effect on the rates of global warming. And it now looks as though most of the EU member states will miss their Kyoto targets. The Government's "dash for wind'' policy looks thoroughly flawed.

Even if the 20pc target for renewables is met in 2020, natural gas would still have to be the energy source for around 60pc of electricity generation. Moreover, because of the rapid depletion of the North Sea reserves, it is expected that about 80pc of the gas will have to be imported. In other words, about half of our electricity supply will rely on imported gas from countries including Russia and Algeria. This policy is not just complacent, it is downright reckless. The country's economy could be held to ransom at any time by Mr Putin and his friends.

This dreadful prospect can, of course, be averted by a new programme of advanced nuclear power stations. The Government does, at last, seem to recognise the problem and in November 2005 announced an energy review for a "clean and secure future''. And, yes nuclear power did get a mention. But, given the years needed to develop new nuclear capacity, time is running out.



We greens spend a lot of time obsessing about how life as we know it is likely to end: in a slow, painful miasma of greenhouse gases; in the violent cross fire of a nuclear gang war; in mass ignominy, dead and bug-eyed in our folding chairs after endless rounds of fruitless policy discussions. But what the heck do we really know? Before the car was invented, people worried that the whole world would eventually be knee-deep in horse manure. Really, they did.

Environmentalism, by definition, is about life and death. But what kind? Depends who you ask. I talked to a few people to identify the most common end-of-the-world, planet-busting scenarios. Then I talked to a few more to find out how likely it is that those things will happen. My point is not to make you throw in the towel, but to learn to accept the things we cannot change -- and continue to work at a frenzied but life-affirming pace to change the other ones, before they do us in.


Nanotechnology, the manipulation of wee things like molecules and atoms, may have enormous, positive implications for the planet. But big-frontal-lobes like nanotechie Eric Drexler and Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy have predicted that self-replicating nano-robots will eventually run amok, converting everything into "gray goo." You think it's funny? Try this on for size: Adidas has introduced a running shoe with a microprocessor capable of performing 5 million calculations per second so you can avoid shin splints. You're gonna be in deep goo indeed when your smelly trainers hack into NORAD from the bottom of your gym bag. The bad news: Some critics -- such as the Canadian nano-watchdog ETC Group, authors of the controversial paper The Big Down -- fear that we will goof and alter life irrevocably. Thus, they advocate putting the brakes on nanotech.

The good news: According to Christine Peterson, founder of the Foresight Nanotech Institute, nano-scientists are developing neato green stuff like cheaper, stronger solar cells, and are working toward earth-loving goals such as zero-waste manufacturing and new chemical-remediation techniques.

Big-Ass Impact

Something to think about during yoga: the earth resides in a swarm of 300,000 or so asteroids that travel around the sun with us like pesky gnats. The probability of a weighty asteroid hitting our planet is slight, but such an impact could be substantial. According to the B612 Foundation, a group of scientists aiming to alter the orbit of asteroids on humanity's behalf, a large (one-kilometer diameter) Near Earth Asteroid would explode with the energy of 70,000 megatons of TNT if it hit our planet. Holy vinyasa! While 65 percent of the one-km NEAs have been identified as non-threats, 35 percent remain an unnerving mystery.

The bad news: These kindly scientists need cash, international cooperation, and leadership. "No one is responsible for protecting earth from asteroid impacts," explains Rusty Schweickart, chair of the B612 Foundation (the name comes from the title character's asteroid home in The Little Prince).

The good news: According to the B612 folks, we now have the capability to anticipate and prevent an impact. They even designed a space tractor to tow or push away an NEA. And according to Near Earth Asteroid Tracking -- a celestial observatory funded by NASA to study asteroids and comets that goes by the happy acronym NEAT -- big asteroids impact the earth only once every 1,000 centuries on average.

Big-Ass Eruption

Krakatoa and Mount St. Helens are mere pimples compared to supervolcanoes -- biggy-sized pustules capable of spewing enough magma, dust, and chemicals into the atmosphere to alter life on a global scale. Yellowstone National Park, that suppurate land of wolves and geysers and snow machines, is the caldera of a supervolcano, a source of wild internet rumor and Pompeii-ish dread. According to the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, another catastrophic caldera-forming eruption would likely alter global weather patterns and, um, "human activity." Can you hear the distant drums? Oh my God, people, that's my heart beating!

The bad news: According to the U.S. Geological Survey, hazardous volcanic activity will continue, and because of increasing population, development, and air traffic, human exposure to it is increasing. Oh, and when it comes to preventing a volcanic eruption, we can't do diddly.

The good news: The ash from an eruption makes for one heck of a pretty sunset ... no, seriously: Programs like the USGS National Volcano Early Warning System can assess the hazards and alert those at risk. "It's not as if something is going to go kaboom in the middle of the night and nobody is going to know about it," says Tom Murray, a USGS scientist based in Anchorage. And although Yellowstone sits above a hotspot, YVO has not detected evidence of an imminent eruption.

Nukular Annihilation

Remember when Sting hoped the Russians loved their children too? Join me now in hoping that the uranium-enriching nations of France, China, Great Britain, India, and Pakistan (and possibly Israel, North Korea, and Iran) are all concerned with posterity. Oh, and speaking of generations, you're probably wondering what time it is on the Doomsday Clock created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947 as a symbol of nuclear danger. Answer: It has been seven minutes to midnight since 2002. The clock will be re-calibrated in 2006, taking into consideration not only nukes but also other threats to humankind, such as biological weapons.

The bad news: Some people out there are seeking the biggest, baddest weapons of mass destruction they can get, and may not be concerned with Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists-type publicity stunts. (Of course, there are those -- and I won't name names [IRAN] -- who claim they're just gathering the ingredients for civilian power.)

The good news: According to Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin, the U.S. and Europe could turn back the clock if they collectively spent a mere $10 billion in the next few years to secure the remaining bomb-making nuclear material still in Russia. "It's a doable thing," she says.

The Rapture

Some evangelical Christians believe that, at a conveniently unspecified moment -- perhaps during Nip/Tuck -- true Christians will be transported to heaven in an event known as The Rapture. According to the Rapture Index (a thinly disguised blog of superstition and hate as far as this reporter can tell), you'd better throw some extra granola bars in your heavenly go-box, because we're at "fasten your seatbelts." Among the Rapture Index's somewhat redundant categories are climate, wild weather, and floods, all top scorers at five points apiece. "Beast government," meanwhile, brings in a disappointing three points.

The bad news: End-timers tend to believe "things are getting worse and worse and there's nothing human beings can do about it," says Bruce David Forbes, a religious studies professor at Morningside College. "If you have that view, why would you try to improve anything in the world?"

The good news: Not only do many mainstream Christians not believe in the Rapture, it's also as likely to happen as, say, Pleistocene rewilding. As Forbes, coauthor of Rapture, Revelation, and The End Times: Exploring the Left Behind Series, points out, history is littered with people who thought they knew when the end was near.

Coming to a Boil

Last but not least is everyone's favorite: the death-by-carbon-emissions scenario. But exactly how does global warming kill? Will we get swept up in a swirl of chaotic weather, drown in a pool of melted ice sheets, or succumb to a bevy of hot-weather-loving diseases? All of the above. Maybe. According to Susan Joy Hassol, one of the lead authors of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, we're already committed to about another 1 degree Fahrenheit of global warming in this century, which our species could likely adapt to, albeit at some cost. But a worst-case scenario -- in which we lollygag on coming up with energy alternatives and instead burn all the oil and coal we can scrape out of the earth, thus raising average global temperatures 5 to 10 degrees F -- involves, at least by my interpretation, the following Rapture Index categories: floods, plague, wild weather, oil supply/price, global turmoil, beast government, and apostasy.

The bad news: While the rest of the world is trying to deal with this issue, the U.S. sorely needs a national policy that limits CO2 emissions. "We're still speeding in the wrong direction," says Hassol.

The good news: By taking the necessary measures to address global warming, the U.S. could also decrease our dependency on foreign oil, clean up our air, improve our health, and boost our economy. "We can slow the rate and magnitude of global warming," says Hassol. "We have the technologies and we know what we have to do."

The really good news: We might even do it.

From Grist Magazine, 10 January 2006


John Kerry and Al Gore both attended an Aspen, Colorado conference of 120 leaders in government, religion, media, and science over the weekend of October 6 to 8 with the goal of setting an agenda to address a perceived gap between the science on climate change and action on climate change. The conference was sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry and details can be found on pages 24-25 of the document here. The other participants were a who's who of the environmental community. Among the most controversial of the recommendations that I found from the conference was the following:

The Education group recommended incorporation of climate-change content into K-12 curricula and teacher-certification standards (using the occasion of the 2007 review of the National Science Education Standards), as well as into instructional technologies, devices, and software products, including video games and educational simulations such as SimCity.

I am concerned about how balanced the curricula approach to climate-change can be, given the general black-white treatment of "truth" in K-12 education. But I am even more concerned about what requirements would need to be met for teacher-certification on the issue. Would science teachers merely be required to attend educational seminars on the topic or would they be required to agree with portions of the climate change agenda that remain in question?

Finally, given that the conference is focussed on the gap between science and action, will the Education Group's recommended curricula also include "action" as part of the educational curricula? And will a variety of action agendas be included in such curricula or is the appropriate action list confined to accepting the Kyoto Protocol or an analogous international mechanism?

From the Commons Blog


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 January, 2006


Vitaly has tried being drunk and disorderly, disturbing the peace, even assaulting a friend — anything to get inside a Moscow police cell. Any other week, the 42-year-old vagrant would do anything to avoid the city’s notorious police. But with a cold front from Siberia pushing temperatures towards -40C – their lowest in more than half a century — getting arrested has become a matter of life or death. “At least it’s warm in a cell,” he said. “In this weather, if you can’t find a warm place to sleep, you die.”

On Monday two people froze to death and 14 were taken to hospital with hypothermia in the capital as temperatures plunged from zero to -28C. Russians are no strangers to harsh weather, but the cold snap has come as a shock after a series of relatively mild winters. The meteorological service told The Times that in the next few days it expected to register some of the coldest temperatures in the capital since 1940, when it hit -42C. The coldest temperature recorded in Russia was -71C (-96F) in the northern region of Yakutia in the 1950s.

Moscow authorities responded by ordering police to suspend their usual practice of turfing the homeless out of stairwells, metro stops and railway stations. Health officials also warned the elderly and infirm to stay at home and those with heart conditions to pause in their doorways to adjust to the cold before going outside.

But it is not just the homeless, old and sick who are at risk from the cold front that has wrought havoc across eastern and central Russia. Many Muscovites fear that the Siberian freeze will cut off their supplies of electricity and hot water, which is still pumped in massive pipes from Soviet-era heating stations....

Nestor Serebryannikov, the former head of the Moscow municipal power utility, said the cuts were unprecedented. “The capital for the first time has come up against a situation where, due to the cold, its demands for energy may well exceed supplies,” he said.... There were also heating problems in the western Siberian province of Tomsk when temperatures fell to -53C, the lowest in a century. So extreme is the cold that authorities in Moscow and St Petersburg have had to supply buses with special “Arctic” diesel fuel. Traffic policemen have also been issued with traditional Russian felt boots.

More here


An email from Louis Hissink (

NASA estimates Mars has ~2.5 x 10^16 Kg of atmosphere, of which 95% is CO2, so using very rough figures we have 0.95 x 2.5 x 10^16 Kg which equals ~2.375 x 10^16 Kg CO2. Earth's atmosphere has a mass of 5.3 x 10^18 kg of which 0.032% is CO2. This works out as 0.00032 x 5.3 x 10^18 kgs, which equals ~ 0.17 x 10^16 Kg CO2. Mars has from these figures approximately 14 times more CO2 by mass in its atmosphere than the earth, but it has no Greenhouse effect. Mars has a surface temperature of - 55 deg C. Say if we doubled the CO2 on earth - 0.34 x 10^ Kg CO2 then Mars still has more CO2 by mass in its atmosphere, 7 times as much. Arrant nonsense or our understanding of greenhouse gas theory is somewhat incomplete?


A reader writes:

"It is my impression that Mars has a greenhouse gas effect that increases the average surface temperature by about 2 C. (There is some variation in this temperature increase because at times of the Martian Year it gets so cold that a lot of the carbon dioxide solidifies, removing it from the atmosphere.). The 2 C temperature increase on Mars is fairly consistent with the contribution of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect on Earth. The greenhouse effect raises the average surface temperature of Earth by 60 F (33 C). About 95% of that effect is due to water vapor in the atmosphere. About 2.5-3% is due to carbon dioxide. If we do a simplistic first cut attempt to determine the contribution of carbon dioxide by multiplying 33C by 0.025 we get about 0.8 C. That is fairly consistent with the effect on Mars. (Thermal radiation is a function of absolute temperature raised to the fourth power, so considering it to be a linear function is a bit simplistic.)"


By WOLFGANG KASPER. Mr. Kasper is emeritus professor of economics of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and a contributor to "Carrots, Sticks and Climate Change" (IPN, 2005)

Just six months old, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate already has encountered venomous hostility from those who have spent the past 15 years lobbying for the Kyoto Protocol's "climate control" mandate.

The partnership among Australia, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China and India -- whose first summit is today in Sydney -- has infuriated activists and some bureaucrats. They insist, without conclusive scientific evidence, that so-called "greenhouse gases" are causing global warming and can only be curbed through compulsory emissions cuts.

Climate control is based on politically mandated quotas, the threat of penalties and other coercive means -- a system which resembles Soviet-style central planning. The United Nations' most recent climate meeting in Montreal demonstrated -- if any further proof was needed -- the inherent futility of this approach. It is clear that Kyoto-style emissions planning comes with grave dangers for the citizens of the poor countries. Indian Environment Minister Andimuthu Raja told the BBC that economic growth and the elimination of poverty must take precedence over mitigating the effects of climate change.

So, how does the approach of the Asia-Pacific Partnership differ from Kyoto's approach to "climate control"? First, the partnership is not based on the idea that energy use must be cut, whatever the consequences for human welfare. It acknowledges that economic progress is desirable and requires growing energy use. It is the only way for China, India and other poor countries to achieve a cleaner environment and higher standards of environmental protection. Citizens of poor countries have as much right to aspire to higher living standards, better education and longer, healthier lives as citizens of the affluent West do. Efforts by EU and U.N. climate bureaucrats to stop energy-driven growth in the backward parts of the world economy are simply unacceptable.

Second, the Kyoto Protocol begins by assuming that curbs on emissions are the only way forward. By contrast, the Asia-Pacific Partnership recognizes the need to investigate more innovative approaches based on the use of new technologies. Finding these will require protracted effort, massive funding and international cooperation -- all with the involvement of private industry. More technologically advanced countries can help emerging industrial economies to implement more efficient, cleaner technologies. Much can be achieved by voluntary cooperation, whereas the Kyoto protagonists imply that coercion is necessary for innovation.

History and economic theory have demonstrated that the only way of tackling any issue effectively is by respecting individual freedom of choice, decentralized knowledge search and individual aspirations to a better life. By now, the history of free societies inspires confidence that human creativity can be mobilized to facilitate adaptation and mitigation of undesirable climate change.

Market economies enable the coordination of change within complex systems of human interaction. They create voluntary, flexible and diverse responses to change, because they rely on decentralized, spontaneous effort by entrepreneurs who take ideas and test them in rivalry with competitors.

Markets are not just superior at delivering improved consumer goods and services. In the past two centuries, market economies have provided the know how for ever-improving environmental care. The hope for profit rewards induces entrepreneurs to deploy new technologies which provide better, more efficient, less costly products and processes that help us overcome scarcities and bottlenecks. In this way, we constantly adjust our behavior to changing circumstances. This engenders a virtuous cycle: Prosperity drives technological change, which leads to cleaner development, less waste and fewer environmental hazards. The rich countries have greatly improved environmental standards since the industrial revolution. Most poor countries have yet to make this important transition.

The underlying view of the Asia-Pacific Partnership is that there is no silver-bullet formula for tackling climate change. In contrast to Kyoto's arrogance, the humility of the partnership seems attractive and realistic. It is foolhardy to set quantitative plan targets before one even knows what countless, diverse innovations and adjustments will be required and what knowledge search and testing is possible under conditions of self-responsible decision making.

Innovation and economic growth must never be taken for granted. Powering future economic progress through cleaner energy sources will require the careful cultivation of the institutions and political rules that favor enterprise, reward entrepreneurs who find useful solutions, and leave room for diverse aspirations. Major challenges also require a good portion of can-do spirit, of the sort that has underpinned the sustained economic rise of America and Australia and that is now spreading in Asia. By contrast, the deep pessimism about the future displayed by Europe's eco-socialists and the U.N.'s technocratic planners seems uninspiring and defeatist.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership promises a more constructive, forward-looking and humane approach. And one that might just enable more people in poor countries to attain wealthier, healthier and cleaner lives.

Asian Wall Street Journal, 11 January 2006


Senior government officials debated how best to protect the Loch Ness monster from poachers. Newly-released files show that during the 1980s the government was in turmoil about how to deal with the monster should it ever surface. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the secretary of state for Scotland spent time contemplating whether Nessie should be protected.

Records released through the Freedom of Information Act show discussions about Nessie at the Scottish Office began in 1985. British officials reacted after the Swedish government was looking for advice on what to do about the country's mythical creature, the Storsjo monster. A letter was sent from the British embassy in Stockholm to the under-secretary at the Scottish Office. It began: "I am sorry to bother you with an inquiry which will no doubt be greeted at first glance with gales of laughter."

The letter sparked a flurry of memos between government departments. JB Barty, a rural group civil servant, wrote: "The protection of this putative denizen of the deep deserves serious consideration." JF Buckle, an official at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, wrote: "Unfortunately, Nessie is not a salmon and would not appear to qualify as a freshwater fish under the Salmon and Fisheries Protection (Scotland) Act 1951."

The Swedish Nessie equivalent did enjoy specific legal protection from 1986, but it was revoked two months ago. It was decided Nessie should be protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, rather than specialised legislation. This made it an offence to snare, shoot or blow it up.

The Herald, 9 January 2006


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

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

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


18 January, 2006


Nothing has come of his prophecies in the past 20 years so he is ratcheting up the shrillness

The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia - the Earth which keeps itself fit for life. In a profoundly pessimistic new assessment, published in today's Independent, Professor Lovelock suggests that efforts to counter global warming cannot succeed, and that, in effect, it is already too late. The world and human society face disaster to a worse extent, and on a faster timescale, than almost anybody realises, he believes. He writes: " Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable." [Nutty comment. The central Arctic is water. The central Antarctic, by comparison, is a huge continent that has supported a great efflorescence of life in past warmer eras. But I guess he did not want to mention that]

In making such a statement, far gloomier than any yet made by a scientist of comparable international standing, Professor Lovelock accepts he is going out on a limb. But as the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on Earth since Charles Darwin, he feels his own analysis of what is happening leaves him no choice. He believes that it is the self-regulating mechanism of Gaia itself - increasingly accepted by other scientists worldwide, although they prefer to term it the Earth System - which, perversely, will ensure that the warming cannot be mastered....

Professor Lovelock, who conceived the idea of Gaia in the 1970s while examining the possibility of life on Mars for Nasa in the US, has been warning of the dangers of climate change since major concerns about it first began nearly 20 years ago....

Two years ago he sparked a major controversy with an article in The Independent calling on environmentalists to drop their long-standing opposition to nuclear power, which does not produce the greenhouses gases of conventional power stations. Global warming was proceeding so fast that only a major expansion of nuclear power could bring it under control, he said. Most of the Green movement roundly rejected his call, and does so still.

Now his concerns have reached a peak - and have a new emphasis. Rather than calling for further ways of countering climate change, he is calling on governments in Britain and elsewhere to begin large-scale preparations for surviving what he now sees as inevitable - in his own phrase today, "a hell of a climate", likely to be in Europe up to 8C hotter than it is today. In his book's concluding chapter, he writes: "What should a sensible European government be doing now? I think we have little option but to prepare for the worst, and assume that we have passed the threshold."...

He goes on: "We have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act, and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can." He believes that the world's governments should plan to secure energy and food supplies in the global hothouse [Since huge expanses of Canada and Siberia would become breadbaskets with significant global warming, it is totally illogical to see food as a future problem. The man has obviously lost his marbles], and defences against the expected rise in sea levels. The scientist's vision of what human society may ultimately be reduced to through climate change is " a broken rabble led by brutal warlords."

Professor Lovelock draws attention to one aspect of the warming threat in particular, which is that the expected temperature rise is currently being held back artificially by a global aerosol - a layer of dust in the atmosphere right around the planet's northern hemisphere - which is the product of the world's industry. This shields us from some of the sun's radiation in a phenomenon which is known as "global dimming" and is thought to be holding the global temperature down by several degrees. But with a severe industrial downturn [He thinks India and China are going to give up modernization???], the aerosol could fall out of the atmosphere in a very short time, and the global temperature could take a sudden enormous leap upwards.

More here

Greenpeace co-founder praises global warming

Global warming and nuclear energy are good and the way to save forests is to use more wood. That was the message delivered to a biotechnology industry gathering yesterday in Waikiki. However, it wasn't the message that was unconventional, but the messenger - Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore. Moore said he broke with Greenpeace in the 1980s over the rise of what he called "environmental extremism," or stands by environmental groups against issues such as genetic crop research, genetically modified foods and nuclear energy that aren't supported by science or logic.

Hawai'i, which is one of the top locations nationwide for genetically modified crop research, has become a focal point in the debate about the risks and value of such work. Friction between environmentalists and other concerned groups and the biotech industry surfaced most recently in relation to the use of local crops to grow industrial and pharmaceutical compounds. Last year that opposition halted a Big Island project planning to use algae for trial production of pharmaceutical drugs.

Zero-tolerance standards against such research by environmental groups delay developments that could help those with unmet basic needs, Moore said. Instead Moore called for compromise rather than confrontation on the part of the environmentalists. "There's no getting away from the fact that over 6 billion people wake up each day on this planet with real needs for food, energy and materials," he told those attending a luncheon at a three-day Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.

The event was sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Sponsors included Dupont, Carghill and the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which spent $15,000 to support the conference. In direct opposition to common environmentalist positions, Moore contended that global warming and the melting of glaciers is positive because it creates more arable land and the use of forest products drives up demand for wood and spurs the planting of more trees. He added that any realistic plan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the emission of so-called greenhouse gases should include increased use of nuclear energy.

Among the 300 or so members in the audience yesterday was Henry Curtis, executive director for environmental group Life of the Land. Curtis said he found Moore's comments "interesting." "He's obviously thought about things," Curtis said. "But I don't buy a lot of his arguments. "I think the movement dealing with (genetically modified organisms) is very wide. You can't just say everybody that's against it is against it for this reason and they're totally against it. "Part of what we're doing in the environmental movement is safeguarding the downsides," Curtis added. "We don't want to see a downside that we don't anticipate overwhelming the system."

Source. (HT Commonsense & Wonder)


On 13th., I quoted the following statement:

"Does anyone remember the glaciers that once threatened Florida and caused white spruce trees to grow in Georgia? Archeological evidence proves that sub-Arctic forests grew 18,000 years ago where orange groves and pecan trees now flourish. How about that mini-Ice Age of 1100-1600 A.D.? History books recount the cold weather endured by the Northern Hemisphere during that period. More recently, 20th century weather records detail the paralyzing cold and snow that often visited Western Oregon to freeze the Willamette and Columbia rivers."

An Australian reader has amplified that with the following comment about remnant Antarctic species still growing in elevated areas of sub-tropical Queensland:

"Not to mention the very much still alive Antarctic Beech trees that are still hanging on at the southern end of Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Last time I was there is was a weird place: almost no birds; possibly because the trees have not flowered for possibly decades, hence no fruit, fewer insects etc."

There is a brief note on Antarctic beech here and there is more on the Antarctic origins of the nothofagus genus here


And it took someone outside the field -- the Prime Minister's sister! -- to blow the whistle. Reminiscent of McIntyre and McKitrick blowing the whistle on Michael Mann's "hockeystick"

A Norwegian cancer scientist has been exposed as a fake after falsifying a study on oral cancer published in the renowned medical journal The Lancet. Jon Sudboe, 44, invented more than 900 individuals as the basis for his research on the correlation between taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as paracetamol, and oral cancer. The article, published in October, concluded individuals who took anti-inflammatory drugs were less likely to develop the disease. "He faked everything: names, diagnosis, gender, weight, age, drug use," Stein Vaaler, director of strategy at Oslo's Radium hospital, said. "There is no real data whatsoever, just figures he made up himself. Every patient in this paper is a fake. "He was an outstanding scientist in our hospital. I feel shocked and depressed. We could not believe what happened or why he did it."

The Radium hospital is now investigating all research involving Dr Sudboe. An external commission, led by Anders Ekbom from Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, is to start work later this week. It will also examine 38 articles Dr Sudboe has published since 1997. The articles had turned Dr Sudboe into an internationally esteemed scientist.

Several people who have co-authored research with Dr Sudboe said they were stunned by the revelations. "This is as big a shock for me as for everyone else," colleague Dr Jon Mork told Norwegian newspaper VG. "I don't think any of the other co-writers were aware of this."

The Norwegian daily Dagbladet said Dr Sudboe's wife and twin brother were among scientists who have collaborated with him, and said his brother had co-written the Lancet article. There are no indications anyone else knew of the fraud. Dagbladet said 250 of Dr Sudboe's sample of 908 people had the same birthday.

The scandal came to light when the Norwegian prime minister's sister read the article at Christmas. Camilla Stoltenberg, who works at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, noticed claims that Dr Sudboe had gathered information from a national database. But the database in question had not been open until now.

Dr Sudboe is currently on sick leave. He could not be reached for comment and has not commented so far.

The scandal comes just days after an inquiry in South Korea found stem cell pioneer Hwang Woo-suk had faked almost all his research. On Friday, Dr Hwang asked for forgiveness, but said members of the research team at Mizmedi hospital, Seoul, had lied to him about growing stem cells from human embryos he had cloned.

The Guardian, 16 January 2006


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

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

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


17 January, 2006


This is just the usual brainless Greenie drivel that treats the amount of available resources as static. Earth's huge fields of bauxite were not a resource until Hall and Heroult discovered how to get aluminium from it. And look at the number of things we now use aluminium for! People CREATE resources. Something is not a resource until people make it available for use and people are always making more and more things available for use. There are now more than 7500 land-based desalination plants worldwide, including the US, Spain and India, that are making fresh water available on a large scale by extracting it from seawater. "Finite" resources are a lie

Earth lacks the water, energy and agricultural land to allow China and India to attain Western living standards, a US think-tank has warned. The Worldwatch Institute said the booming economies of China and India are "planetary powers that are shaping the global biosphere". Its State of the World 2006 report said the two countries' high economic growth hid a reality of severe pollution. It said the planet's resources could not keep pace with such growth. Important choices "The world's ecological capacity is simply insufficient to satisfy the ambitions of China, India, Japan, Europe and the United States as well as the aspirations of the rest of the world in a sustainable way," the report added. It said that if China and India were to consume as much resources per capita as Japan in 2030 "together they would require a full planet Earth to meet their needs", [No mention that China and India might PRODUCE huge resources too] it said.

The institute's report said that in the next few years the choices China and India made could lead to political and economic instability, or they could usher in an age of better stewardship of resources and more efficient technology. The reports said the US - which continues to consume more of the Earth's resources than any other country - needed to cooperate with China and India to help develop more environmentally friendly practices and technologies.

"China and India are positioned to leapfrog today's industrial powers and become world leaders in sustainable energy and agriculture within a decade," Worldwatch Institute president Christopher Flavin said [In his dreams]. "We were encouraged to find that a growing number of opinion leaders in China and India now recognise that the resource-intensive model for economic growth can't work in the 21st Century," he said. China already has a solar-powered heating system which supplies hot water to 35 million homes, while India has pioneered a system bringing clean water from rainfall [Clean water from rainfall! Wow! Who'd have thought of that! I drank plenty of tank water when I was a kid 50 years ago. But treated town water is safer and cheaper], the report said.

From BBC NEWS, 12 January 2006


They are just feelgood myths for the affluent

'What a long way the Soil Association has come', reflected TV and radio presenter Jonathan Dimbleby from the rostrum of the organic food association's sixtieth annual conference. Once the province of baggy-jumpered Greens and old-style farmers, the Soil Association now wins mainstream respect. Sponsors included Thames Water and Sainsbury's; BBC Radio 4 frontman and former organic farmer John Humphrys chaired the conference's 'Question Time' session, and the audience was peppered with journalists. Speakers included not just Green MEP Caroline Lucas, but Labour London Mayor Ken Livingstone and new Tory leader David Cameron. The conference was set not in some drafty provincial hall, but in the heart of the City of London. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, meanwhile, collaborated with the Soil Association for his high-profile TV campaign last year to improve school dinners....

The Soil Association's rise reflects not its own lobbying efforts, but a changing political culture. We live in times where anything manmade is seen as tainted, dangerous for our health and the environment; natural things tend to be seen as good. Organic products sell because of their 'natural' glow. They suggest an awareness of the environment and personal health, a desire to live within the limits of nature.

The growth of organic has been blithely immune to evidence about its pros or cons. Even the Soil Association, back in 2001, admitted that the 'perception that organic food is "good for you" appears to have been largely based on intuition rather than conclusive evidence'. There is no evidence that the tiny levels of synthetic pesticides in our food present any real threat to human health. Indeed, some academics, such as Anthony Trewavas of Edinburgh University, argue that consumers are potentially more at risk from natural chemicals in organic crops.

The speakers were coasting the wave of today's political sensibility, and so felt little need to justify their position, or engage with alternative arguments. Their views were 'hard for intelligent people not to share', opined Dimbleby. Jonathon Porritt, the green author who was appointed by Tony Blair to chair the Sustainable Development Commission in 2000, said that farmers had to 'wake up and smell the carbon'. There is no alternative, apparently, but to live within their vision of sustainability: 'Start getting to grips with the new world. This is your new reality', said Porritt.....

Much has changed since the Soil Association's founding 60 years ago, but one thing has not: its upper-crust appeal. From its founder, the landed Lady Eve Balfour, onwards, the organisation has often found its supporters among the upper-middle classes and landed aristocracy. The association's conference hall was awash with plummy accents and tweed jackets.

Organic food remains a luxury for those who don't mind paying extra for a warm glow, to feel that they are 'aware' and 'making a difference'. When money is no object, you can look down on the attempt to produce more, faster, cheaper as crude and uncouth. Romantic visions of harmony with nature are a dalliance, more than a practical reality. Prince Charles can wander around his pesticide-free estate, but when he comes back in he has personal assistants on hand to clean his shoes for him (or squeeze his toothpaste). Buyers of Spiezia organic beauty cream don't get their hands dirty; they just hand more cash over the counter.

This is why, although the organic market has grown enormously, it is still only one per cent of the total food and drink market. It has a public profile way above its real public clout. Yet the Soil Association argues that its way should be the way for everyone. 'All farming should be organic', one delegate told me. 'People who aren't so well off care about their health too.' London Mayor Ken Livingstone outlined a plan to roll out organic food in 'schools, hospitals, prisons', as well as trying to 'change people's attitudes'. Porritt warned euphemistically of 'shocks' that would be necessary to get people to stop their consuming ways and see the light.

But the Soil Association doesn't represent the interests of all. It criticises the food industry yet that industry has done much to make food healthier, tastier and more efficiently produced over the past century. Thanks to improvements in productivity, less and less land is required as farmland. This leaves old farmland as slack, which gives farmers room to play around with organic farming. Ironically, then, organic farming is really only a viable option because of the gains in agricultural productivity elsewhere in the economy.

The Soil Association's proposal for Britain would mean wasting efforts and resources, which could be better applied to different ends. Why would we want more workers on the land than was absolutely necessary? Why would we want to pay more for our food? Perhaps the Soil Association is the one who really needs to face up to reality.


Nuclear power ecologically crucial

Nuclear power is critical to tackling global air pollution and climate change, the US and Australia have warned as they prepare to unveil a multi-million-dollar investment in clean energy technology. The Asia-Pacific Clean Development and Climate Partnership, which held its inaugural meeting in Sydney yesterday, will today announce eight new taskforces embracing the member nations of China, India, Japan, South Korea, the US and Australia. US officials will also unveil a significant investment to match Australia's expected $100million commitment to a new fund that will be used to establish industry and government working groups on energy and climate issues.

One working group on "hybrid renewables" in the region will work towards linking solar, wind and hydro power. "Imagine bringing together in one project solar energy by day, wind at night and potentially linking it to hydro power," Environment Minister Ian Campbell told The Australian last night. "We've got some of the greatest minds from the biggest companies in the world ... If they don't do it, no one will."

But the call to embrace nuclear power came with a warning from the US that Australia must ensure appropriate safeguards are in place if it pursues plans to sell Australian uranium to China. "We don't object to that," US secretary of Energy Sam Bodman said of the proposal being negotiated between Australia and China. "But we would encourage both the Australians as well as the Chinese to make sure there are adequate safeguards in place. "The potential after 9/11 in our country, the threat of terrorists, is something we are taking very seriously and there is concern over the potential access of terrorists to nuclear material."

The talks brought together high-profile industry and government delegates from the six nations, with a view to encouraging the adoption of cleaner methods of generating power, such as renewable energy. Jim Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council of Environmental Quality, said nuclear energy was critical to developing cleaner energy sources. "You are not serious about cutting the harmful effects of air pollution and tackling climate change unless you have a serious discussion about the future of nuclear," he told The Australian.

Australia mines and exports uranium but, unlike many nations, does not use it to generate power, despite a growing debate on the merits of nuclear energy. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Industry and Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane backed the US push to debate the use of nuclear power. Mr Downer also confirmed work had begun to hold talks with China about safeguards for the potential sale of uranium. "Nuclear power is greenhouse-friendly and that needs to be taken into account," he said.

More here


Could it be that celebrities are planting the forests that are causing the global warming that is growing the bacteria that are wiping out the frogs? Global warming alarmists may be compelled to consider that chain of causation this week thanks to two new studies just published in the Jan. 12 issue of the journal "Nature". In the first study, Max Planck Institute researchers reported their discovery that living plants emit into the atmosphere methane (natural gas), the third most important greenhouse gas behind water vapor and carbon dioxide. Until this discovery, scientists thought the methane in the atmosphere was largely produced by bacterial processes not involving oxygen. But the Max Planck researchers report that living plants -- two-thirds of which are in tropical rainforest regions -- produce 10 to 30 percent of annual global methane production.

The implications of this study are stunning. Previously, it was thought that the net effect of growing plants was to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, therefore, to reduce global warming. But in the words of New Zealand climate researcher David Lowe, "We now have the specter that new forests might increase greenhouse warming through methane emissions rather than decrease it by being sinks for carbon dioxide." The discovery also implies that deforestation -- that is, cutting down trees -- slows methane accumulation in the atmosphere and, as a consequence, reduces global warming.

This is all bad news for the movie and rock stars -- including Leonardo DiCaprio, the Foo Fighters, Dido, and Simply Red to name a few -- who have decided to plant "All Celebrity Forests" in hopes of offsetting their personal carbon dioxide emissions in order to avoid contributing to global warming. And the news seems to get worse for these so-called "carbon neutral" celebrities. The other "Nature" study reported that global warming is promoting the growth of the chytrid fungus in parts of Central and South America that, as Reuters headlined on Jan. 11, is "wiping out frogs."

Since we now know that living plants emit lots of methane - which global warming alarmists maintain contributes to global warming - one could reason that all those celebrity-planted forests may be taking their toll in frog casualties.

Ironically, an analysis of the "Nature" frog study published in World Climate Report (WCR) -- a long-time nemesis of the global warming alarmist crowd -- would seem to let the stars off the hook. First, WCR points out that while humans may be to blame for the chytrid fungus thriving in areas where the alleged frog extinctions occurred, it's quite likely that the human activity in question is eco-tourism and field research, according to a 1999 study published in the journal Emerging and Infectious Diseases -- not the burning of fossil fuels.

But regardless of how the fungus got there, are man-made emissions of greenhouse gases promoting its growth so as to cause frog extinctions? To date, efforts to attribute the prevalence of the fungus to global warming have been stymied by the simple fact that higher temperatures are known to inhibit fungus growth -- it's a conundrum called the "climate-chytrid" paradox.

The researchers claim to have solved the paradox by speculating that increasing cloud cover moderates the warming effects of nearby temperate ocean water to produce conditions suitable for the fungus to thrive. Unfortunately for this theory, as WCR points out, cloud cover is negatively correlated with temperature, according to satellite records maintained by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project. The ISCCP data also indicate that no change in cloud cover occurred in the region of the alleged frog extinctions during the time period in question.

In addition to the climate-chytrid paradox not being resolved by the cloud cover hypothesis, it's not at all clear to what extent, if any, human activity has affected climactic conditions in the region of the frog extinctions. Therefore, it is inappropriate to jump to the conclusion that human activity is killing frogs.

Even allowing the researchers the benefit of the doubt that changing climactic conditions have promoted chytrid growth, WCR estimates that only about 12 percent more of the regional frog populations would have been at risk as a result of the change in local climate - an estimate not squaring with the researchers' allegation that the fungus has wiped out two-thirds of the frog species.

Finally, Cynthia Carey, a University of Colorado amphibian disease expert, told the New York Times in a Jan. 11 story that the Nature paper failed to offer anything beyond circumstantial evidence of links between warming and fungal illness. "It is difficult to prove cause and effect on the ground where multiple factors interact in complex ways," Dr. Carey told the Times.

Still, while the frog study is easily debunked and dismissed, the methane study's significant ramifications remain intact. If we are just discovering that plants are a significant greenhouse gas source -- something you might think we should have learned long ago -- it would appear that our understanding of global climate system is woefully insufficient to support the rush-to-judgment advocated by celebrity-backed global warming alarmists.



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 January, 2006

Green House Gasbags: Conspicuous conservation is a huge waste of energy

In North Carolina, the owners of a 4,600-square-foot home that cost $1.2 million wanted it to be as "green" as possible, so they spent $120,000 on solar power. In Colorado, using recycled materials, an architecture professor built a 4,700-square-foot home that uses geothermal heating and cooling and was on the market recently for $930,000. And in Southern California, a husband-and-wife architect team who say that they "came of age during the '60s and '70s at U.C. Berkeley" also relied on recycled materials--in building a second home six hours from their primary residence.

By now these environmentally conscious "green" houses are a staple of home design magazines, where they are presented as exemplars of both good taste and good intentions. The Colorado house, for instance, has won awards from the state and the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and has appeared in the Washington Post and on Home and Garden TV.

The question, of course, is what on earth are all these people thinking? How "green" can huge and, in many cases, isolated houses be? Wouldn't it be better to risk traumatizing the children by squeezing into a 3,000-square-foot home, especially one close to shopping, schools and work? How many less affluent, less guilt-ridden Americans can afford to build such environmental show houses?

These houses aren't just ridiculous; they're monuments to sanctimony. If architecture is frozen music, these places are congealed piety, demonstrating with embarrassing concreteness the glaring hypocrisy of upper-class environmentalism. The sad thing is that, by pouring so much money into ostentatious eco-design, the people who built homes like this have purchased status at the cost of doing some real environmental good. Bear in mind that merely building a gigantic house consumes an enormous amount of energy and other resources, which is why it costs so much to do so. Situating a home all by itself on a large piece of land, far from the pre-existing community infrastructure, does not make it a model of environmentally conscious design. And having a second home--which takes nearly a day of driving to reach--is unlikely to make a dent in global warming.

Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting a large house, lots of privacy or a vacation home, but how can we pretend that these places exemplify some standard of eco-design that others should aspire to? In the first place, most people can't remotely afford it. Consider that Sim Van der Ryn, a California architect who pioneered environmentally conscious building, once designed an astonishing 15,000-square-foot "green" residence--a home, in other words, the size of three NBA basketball courts. More recently, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described an "environmentally responsible" house in Pennsylvania that made ample use of recycled materials--but exceeds 4,000 square feet in size, boasts an in-ground pool and sits in a 4.3-acre "woodland setting," where it is presumably nuzzled by squirrels and other grateful wildlife. The house's salient feature: a 45-foot observation tower, which must be useful as a refuge from thinking about the utility bills.

As a regular reader of the design press, I am sadly accustomed to articles about someone who has decided to airlift Brazilian ipe wood onto a remote corner of Tasmania for the construction of an environmentally correct house perched on a hillside in what until that very moment was virgin forest. But I have never seen a story about such a house built for a family of 12. On the contrary, it appears that small families, childless couples or couples whose kids are grown are the main perpetrators of these bloated ecological vanities, whose primary "green" quality is the envy that they must induce in other affluent people who would like to claim that they too live lightly upon the earth.

To put all this in perspective, consider that the average home built last year was roughly 2,400 square feet--that number been increasing year after year even though average household size has been shrinking. In most places, these new homes are erected in accordance with building codes that have grown vastly more environmentally conscious in the past 30 years

Homeowners who want to do even better can spend a little more for thicker walls, high-efficiency appliances, stingy heating and cooling, and advanced windows with energy-saving coatings and argon gas between the panes. Computerized thermostats, compact fluorescent bulbs and fuel-efficient cars also make sense, whether your goal is to save money, save the planet or reduce our dependence on imported oil, with all its geopolitical consequences.

Similarly, in building a house you could decide to spend a lot of time and money on environmental busywork--in the Colorado house, according to the Denver Post, "the cabinets and wall panels are made from sunflower plants and soy adhesives, particleboard is made from wheat straw, and drywall is made from pressed wastepaper." Or you could decide instead to go to Home Depot, which in addition to offering low prices claims to know the provenance of every piece of wood on its shelves. The chain also says that it is America's biggest seller of lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

If you've taken these sensible steps toward living in a truly greenish house--or better yet, a condo, God forbid--you can use some of the ample money you saved in ways that are more likely to do some good. You could give it to a land conservancy, for instance, which will preserve open space by buying it outright. If you're worried about global warming, organizations such as will use your money to reduce carbon emissions, however modestly, by subsidizing wind power, methane capture from landfills and other such ventures. Or you could simply house another family; just take the cost difference between the 4,500-square-foot enviro-palace and a comfortable house half its size and give the savings to an outfit like Habitat for Humanity.

Or you can just forget the whole thing and add on to your own place. But if you do, make sure to harvest all the social approbation you can, like the architect in Venice, Calif., who is described as "a staunch proponent of green design" by Alanna Stang and Christopher Hawthorne in an excerpt from their book "The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture." Squeezed like sardines into a mere 2,500 square feet, the architect and his family expanded their home to 4,400. The sustainably harvested wood, solar panels and parabolic collector to focus the sun's rays must have cost a fortune, but perhaps that's why they call it "green."



Caused by a drought of subsidies

Wind farm projects worth billions of dollars are being scrapped by developers citing the federal Government's refusal to boost renewable energy targets. "We're quitting Australia," Energreen Wind business development director Alan Keller told The Weekend Australian yesterday. "That's the end of it for us." As the inaugural meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate wrapped up in Sydney, industry leaders claimed wind farm projects worth between $10billion and $12billion were being lost to overseas markets. Mr Keller said four Energreen wind farms worth a total of $1.5billion that had state and local government approvals - at Box Hill and Ben Lomond in NSW, Burra in South Australia and Crows Nest in Queensland - were unlikely to proceed. He said his company had slashed staff numbers by 80 per cent in the past four months and he believed the $10million it had invested in preliminary work would be wasted.

Instead, Energreen is expanding projects in China and India - two of Australia's partners in the climate change initiative. "Unlike Australia, these countries are looking at up to 30-fold increases in their use of wind power," Mr Keller said. He said Canberra's refusal to increase its "mandatory renewable energy target" from the current 9500 gigawatt hours of electricity by 2020 meant that there was no future for wind farms in Australia because the target had already been met. He and other renewable energy industry leaders were invited to the Sydney conference, but as observers only - unlike the representatives from coal and other mineral-based companies, who were active participants.

"It is disappointing that the Government does not recognise that renewable energy is a cost-effective, important way of addressing these issues," Mr Keller said. "In Sydney, they were interested only in finding technical ways to reduce emissions. That's important, but it's not enough." Australian Wind Energy Association president Andrew Richards said MRET had only marginally increased Australia's use of renewable energy, with wind farms accounting for less than half of 1 per cent of energy use. "We need a further 5 per cent increase in MRET as a bare minimum," Mr Richards said. He said his company, Pacific Hydro, was reviewing plans for $1billion worth of wind farm projects in Victoria and South Australia. "It is very frustrating that we had the foundations for a really good industry and now it is drying up," he said.

Federal Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane said MRET provided the incentive for the wind energy industry to build a solid foundation after the target was adopted in 2001, adding there had been substantial expansion in the industry since then, and the Government did not believe it was necessary to increase MRET. Instead, it was providing other incentives such as the $25million earmarked for renewable energy projects after the Sydney meeting. "We believe in looking forward, not backwards," Mr Macfarlane said. "We see renewables as every bit as important as fossil fuels in the energy mix."

Wind power critics say although it is cleaner than coal-fired power, it costs twice as much to generate - costs that would be passed on to consumers in power bills - and that its huge turbines are intrusive.


Climate change facts: This week's conference on global warming points to a practical way forward which will not wreck the economy

(An editorial from The Australian newspaper, Australia's national daily)

There was more theology than meteorology in the response of the environmental lobby to this week's inaugural meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Activists argued the meeting of ministers and business leaders was a talk-fest that will do nothing to force big polluting countries and companies to end their evil emissions of greenhouse gases. They did so in support of their old argument that Australia and the US should have signed the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on climate change and cut their energy use, or paid penalties.

The media coverage of the conference was something of a propaganda triumph for the environmental movement, mainly because much of it sounded like a Greenpeace press release. But some sensible voices have spoken out in favour of what in reality was a path breaking meeting. And what will puzzle the green lobby, and its mates in the media, who assume that anything involving government and business must be a capitalist conspiracy, is that the conference was endorsed by a Labor Party frontbencher -- a senior left-winger to boot! Yesterday The Australian exclusively reported Labor resources spokesman Martin Ferguson endorsing the Partnership. Demonstrating that at least some members of the Labor left do not take their ideological orders from Bob Brown, Mr Ferguson said the meeting had been a step towards developing cleaner, greener, energy technologies and properly involved business. He is quite right on all counts. The conference brought together Australia, the US, China, India, Japan and Korea. Between them, these countries account for around half the world's energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Australia is not a supporter of the Kyoto Pact because, as a major coal exporter Kyoto discriminates against us. Neither is the US. As developing countries China and India are exempt from its strictures and Japan and South Korea are major energy consumers. For anybody interested in global warming these are the essential six. And the outcome of the meeting, a commitment to invest in cleaner energy without crippling economic growth, makes sense.

But not according to the prophets of doom, for whom it is an article of green faith that the world's climate is changing for the worse, because coal-fired power plants pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Environmentalists blame Western consumers for this, especially Americans and Australians who they say are addicted to energy-intensive lifestyles. This is a bit rich given that while Australia's per capita production of greenhouse gasses is large, overall we are only responsible for 1.6 per cent of global emissions. And while environmental activists say science shows fossil fuels are responsible for a global warming crisis, which may be right, they could just as easily be wrong. It seems certain the world is warming, but no one knows how long the trend will continue, or why it is happening. Just this week scientists in Germany announced that plants, not power stations, emit anything up to 30 per cent of the world's methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Nor do green zealots explain how unilaterally reducing the right of nations to produce all the electricity they need from coal-fired power stations will do much overall good.

The skeptical environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg, argues global warming will continue, whatever humanity does, and for the world to comply with the cuts in greenhouse emissions required under Kyoto would cost $200 billion a year - enough to provide the most poor people on the planet with clean water and more education and health care than they have now. And it never appears to occur to those who denounce Australia for not adopting Kyoto that the green credentials of the agreement's European supporters are less doubtful than nonexistent. If there is anything environmental activists hate more than coal-fired power plants, it is nuclear energy. But Europe relies on nuclear power - France draws nearly 80 per cent of its electricity from 58 plants run on uranium. The Europeans like Kyoto because it flicked responsibility for greenhouse gas containment onto the developing world and coal-rich countries such as Australia.

Curiously, none of this is ever mentioned by environmental opportunists in organisations such as Greenpeace who make the running on the need to cut energy outlays. This is because they are in the catastrophe business and use science as a selective source for points to push in their fund raising. Kyoto also meets their ideological preference for bureaucratic solutions imposed on private enterprise. Nor do they offer an alternative, other than cutting power consumption - even though we will not know until 2012 whether the Kyoto protocols have had any effect in signatory countries. Despite all the windy optimism, alternative energy cannot compete with coal-fired power stations, on grounds of either efficiency or economy. The only energy source that comes close to coal is nuclear power.

The reactionary response to the Asia-Pacific Partnership meeting this week demonstrates that support for Kyoto cloaks the green movement's real desire - to see capitalism stop succeeding. Extreme greens cannot bear to accept that our best chance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will occur when free enterprise has incentives to implement solutions. While power providers and big electricity users will howl, we need a national carbon trading scheme, with permits bought and sold in the free market, as a means of meeting greenhouse reduction targets set by Canberra. And we need tax concessions for industries that develop new technologies to clean up power supplies. In the long term geo-sequestration, which buries carbon dioxide pumped from power plants, may be a solution. And research into technologies to clean the coal burned in electricity generators is already under way, including development of a power plant in Florida designed to deliver much lower emissions.

When the incentives exist business will use technology to find a way. For a century London was plagued by pollution that killed people. No longer. People now fish in the great lakes of North America which were once sludgy industrial swamps. And the idea that cars could emit much less pollution would have seemed impossible to environmental doomsayers 30 years ago. They would not have even conceived that commercial cars could run on batteries, with hydrogen power on the horizon. Whatever the extreme greens say, we can address global warming without adopting a medieval mindset that sees electricity as inimical to the environment. This week's meeting was a practical step forward by six nations whose legitimate energy requires continued use of coal - perhaps with more nuclear energy to follow. It worried environmental activists - because it showed up their messages of doom for what they are - hot air.


(Excerpts from World Climate Report, 11 January 2006)

I and my apparently few friends have been ragging the review process at Nature for some time, which was once the world's most prestigious science periodical for all subjects. While it still may be the best for certain biochemical and genetic topics, it surely has lost it on global warming.

My antennae went up on this one in 2003 when my colleague, Robert Davis, and I submitted a paper to Nature showing that, as our cities have warmed, heat-related mortality declined significantly as people adapted to the change. They declined to even send it out for review; but after it was accepted in International Journal of Biometeorology it was awarded "paper of the year" by the Climate Section of the Association of American Geographers. Something is clearly amiss.

Nowhere is that more clear than in a paper, "Widespread Amphibian Extinctions from Epidemic Disease Driven by Global Warming," by J. Alan Pounds, that appeared in their January 12 issue. We'll put it simply: with regard to global warming papers, the review process at Nature is dead. Gone. Kaput. As a concrete example, assume that Nature's editors had sent me this manuscript for peer-review. Here's what I would have responded.

"Thank you for asking for my professional opinion of the Pounds et al. manuscript. It suffers from a number of severe analytical problems, scientific overreaching, and clear political bias. Publishing this paper will severely harm the credibility of Nature.

The title of the manuscript, "Widespread Amphibian Extinctions from Epidemic Disease Driven by Global Warming" implies that the authors have proven a pervasive link between a large number of toad and frog extinctions and warming climate. They have done nothing of the sort.

The paper describes extinctions in Central and South America caused by fungal infection caused by a class of organism known as chytrids. The seminal paper describing these extinctions is from 2005, in another journal, Biotropica, published by La Marca et al. La Marca is the seventh author in the list of 14 listed on the Nature paper.

According to La Marca (2005), most of the toad and frog extinctions took place between 1984 and 1996 in the regions studied in the current paper by Pounds. This was shortly after the first discovery of the chytrid fungus in the region, which is described by Lips et al. in 2003 in the Journal of Herpetology. According to Daszak et al. (2003) in the journal Diversity and Distribution , the chytrid fungus was most likely introduced by humans, possibly by ecotourists and/or field researchers (Daszak et al., 1999).

It has been known nearly a half-century (see Charles Elton's 1958 book, The Ecology of Invasion by Animals and Plants) that the introduction of exotic species produces genetic pandemics over a broad range of climates. The concurrence of human introduction of the chytrid fungus and amphibian extinctions cannot be ignored.

Temperature changes observed over the period of disappearance (1984-1996) were on the order of a half-degree....

The climatic hypotheses in this paper are inconsistent, incomplete, and untested. (I presume that other reviewers have noticed this; if they have not, you need to question your selection of reviewers)....

In a previous Nature publication on amphibian extinction, Pounds et al. (1999) argued that warming was decreasing the frequency of mist, and that caused the species loss. They stated that it was a result of an increase in the elevation of the condensation level of local clouds. This would result in an increase in the daily temperature range (the opposite of what was documented in the recent manuscript) and is more likely to be associated with a decrease, rather than an increase, in total cloudiness. The current Pounds et al. (2006) explanation is seemingly in opposition to this initial explanation.

There are several other manifold problems with this manuscript, but I will finish with just one. The "Abstract" of a paper is supposed to succinctly summarize the scientific content of the paper. Here is the last sentence from Pounds et al.'s abstract: "With climate change promoting infections disease and eroding biodiversity, the urgency of reducing greenhouse-gas concentrations is now undeniable."

As you can see from the above, the current Pounds et al. manuscript produces no defense of that hypothesis. Further, there is no policy analysis whatsoever in the manuscript. There is clearly no way that this statement can remain in the abstract.

I presume that you will not publish this paper for the many reasons given above. If it does appear in Nature in anything close to its present form, the credibility of your journal may be damaged beyond repair."


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 January, 2006


A Congressman successfully stymies an arrogant Federal agency that was trying to remove a valuable stand of trees from private ownership. How did he do it? Just by releasing information that the agency would otherwise have withheld. The Feds could not stand the light of day on their trumped-up case. Corruption needs secrecy

Rep. Richard Pombo said Monday that his effort to scuttle a federal investigation of a Houston millionaire was meant to counteract environmentalists and officials in President Bill Clinton's administration who were trying to obtain thousands of acres of redwood trees the man's company owned. In a conference call with reporters, Pombo R-Tracy, said the attempt by federal regulators to procure land owned by Charles Hurwitz was orchestrated by environmental groups bent on denying Hurwitz his private property rights.

Pombo acknowledged publicizing documents related to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. investigation into a failed savings and loan association of which Hurwitz owned 24.9 percent. In a report inserted into the Congressional Record June 14, 2001, Pombo accused the FDIC and the Office of Thrift Supervision of being conspirators in a scheme to obtain thousands of acres of redwoods in Headwaters Forest in exchange for debt Hurwitz owed from the association's collapse. "This is a classic property rights case where you had the government coming in and trying to take away someone's property," Pombo said Monday. "That's what I'm about; that's what motivated me to run for Congress in the first place."

Hurwitz acquired Pacific Lumber in a hostile takeover in 1986, according to Pombo's report. Pacific Lumber owned about 6,000 acres of redwood trees in northern California's Headwaters Forest. Calling it a "story of political corruption," Pombo said a cabal of environmentalists, members of Congress and officials in the Clinton administration conspired to pursue baseless charges against Hurwitz in an attempt to extort his land. "There's no question it was a to-hell-with-them decision that was made," Pombo said, referring to his 14-page report that was criticized in 2002 by an FDIC spokesman as "a seamy abuse of the legislative process."

The FDIC claims documents that were released in Pombo's report - as well as a previous, 110-page filing from Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin - contained sensitive, privileged information that effectively sunk its chances of recovering $300 million from Hurwitz for his alleged role in the collapse of the United Savings Association of Texas, which cost taxpayers $1.6 billion......

Pombo and Doolittle subpoenaed the FDIC documents while they were part of a House Committee on Resources task force created in 2000 to probe the alleged debt-for-nature scheme.....

A Resources Committee spokesman, Brian Kennedy, cited a 2005 opinion from U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes that accused the FDIC of corruption and ruled in Hurwitz's favor as evidence that Pombo was in the right. "The only investigation that was going on was one by bureaucrats, activists and politicians trying to find a way to extort this man's land," Kennedy said. "And that's what the court concluded, and that's what the task force concluded."

More here


Martin Ferguson is an influential figure in the (Leftist) Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Is the greenhouse effect real? The answer to this question will profoundly influence the course of global energy policy throughout the 21st century. As one of the world's biggest exporters of coal, uranium and natural gas, the stakes are high for Australia. Even if there were no greenhouse effect, there are other imperatives for the world to get a lot smarter about energy consumption.

Unprecedented world economic growth is creating unprecedented global energy demand, rising energy prices and faster depletion of non-renewable energy resources. These are genuine threats to our future economic wellbeing. Maybe worse, the unequal distribution of energy resources across the world is a real threat to future geopolitical stability. International initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate have the potential to ease both these tensions. But although greenhouse gas reduction targets may be necessary, any frank review must conclude that the world's greenhouse emissions are not going down in the short term: they are simply being shifted from one country to another.

After all, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters are not bound by Kyoto. The US, as the world's biggest emitter, has refused to ratify the agreement. China and India, the second and fourth biggest emitters, are not required to reduce their emissions. And while we are often reminded by the Greens that Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions, let's not forget there are good reasons for that. Australia's relatively high energy intensity has to be considered in the context of the country's size and its relatively low population density, its climate, its heavy reliance on coal for power generation, and the presence of energy-intensive industries such as aluminium which form the backbone of the nation's wealth-generation capacity.

That is why it is a significant achievement of the Asia-Pacific Partnership's first meeting that the aluminium industry in the member countries reached an agreement on working together to reduce emissions. This is essential to overcome the problem of simply shifting emissions from one country to another and at the same time shifting Australian manufacturing jobs and prosperity offshore, to countries with lower environmental standards.

It is extraordinary that the Greens could place the economic security and jobs of their constituents at risk and at the same time advocate a worse greenhouse outcome by displacing Australian industry to countries with lower standards.

It's time to abandon the political correctness espoused by the green movement. Let's be real: without getting business on board we cannot achieve anything. The environmentalists are simply attacking the coal industry for the sake of it. Labor supports our aluminium and coal industries in their endeavours to develop lower emissions technologies. They are our big export earners, creating jobs and wealth for this country, and without economic prosperity no government can pay for the social and environmental welfare measures so vigorously demanded by the Greens.

The ALP knows full well that the key to a better Australia is jobs and economic prosperity and opportunity for all. To protect our economic future, we have to be part of the solution to the environmental impact of economic growth in our region, dominated by China and India. It is here that the Asia-Pacific Partnership really comes into its own. It offers Australia not only an opportunity for economic growth, but also allows us to be part of the solution to the environmental consequences of what is happening in our region, one of the most rapid economic expansions in world history.

Most rich countries have relied on coal, oil and gas to fuel their development. It's unreasonable and unrealistic to seek to deny emerging countries such as China and India the opportunity to expand their economies as rich countries have done. In the foreseeable future, they can do it only by relying heavily on fossil fuels and increasing their greenhouse gas emissions. Which is why cleaner technologies for the use of these fuels are the way forward. Those who hope to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and wave power need to come to terms with the reality that renewable energies, while they have an important and growing role to play, can't provide affordable and continuous base load energy.

Abandoning traditional base load power in favour of renewables would result in an indefinite global economic depression, condemning hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people to starvation.

Uranium is the other option for base load energy. Again, with nine out of 10 of the world's most polluted cities, no one can seriously deny China the right to pursue nuclear power as part of its energy mix, subject to the strictest non-proliferation safeguards. Similarly, no one can seriously suggest it is against the best interests of geopolitical stability for uranium to be supplied by responsible countries such as Australia, which take nuclear non-proliferation requirements seriously, and have a strict chain of custody procedures for uranium sales as well as bilateral agreements to deal with the safe and peaceful use of uranium and disposal of its waste products.

The failure of the UN conference last year to strengthen the non-proliferation treaty highlights the danger we face in driving the nuclear cycle underground and removing control of the nuclear materials trade from responsible nations.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership has a vital role to play in facilitating the development and use of clean technology, particularly in the fastest growing and biggest energy-using economies in the developing world that are not covered by Kyoto-style emissions targets. But it has to prove its value with concrete outcomes. Australia is pivotal in the partnership as a major supplier of clean energy resources to partnership countries and as a potential supplier of clean energy technologies. We can play a valuable part in achieving global security in both geopolitical and climate terms while securing our own economic future. But we must be part of the solution to the greenhouse challenge instead of just being part of the problem.



The "polluting trees" discovery has really highlighted the ignorance that underlies the "Kyoto" process and other ideas like it

Sceptics of the Kyoto protocol will seize on the [polluting trees] findings as evidence of the need for caution before instituting counter-measures. Environmentalists, sensing a backlash from the research, are already insisting that the findings are preliminary and should not detract from scientists' consensus view that global warming is a genuine threat.

There is no longer any serious debate about the reality of global warming. Some may still quibble about its causes, but the focus is on what nations should do to ameliorate the effects of climate change. And this is precisely what makes the new research so disturbing. For how could so basic a source of global warming have gone undetected until now?

In fact, evidence pointing to huge holes in the science of atmospheric methane has been circulating for years. In 1998, Nature carried a study showing global increases in methane were mysteriously levelling off. Now it seems that deforestation - that bete noire of the environmentalist movement - may have helped combat the rise of this greenhouse gas. While no one is suggesting chopping down the world's trees to save the planet, the new research highlights the astonishing complexity of environmental science. Measures to combat climate change that once seemed simple common sense are turning out to be anything but.

Everyone knows fossil fuel power stations are hefty producers of CO2 and need urgently to be replaced. Yet they are now also recognised as hefty producers of aerosols - tiny particles in the atmosphere that play a key role in reflecting the sun's heat back into space. The scientific consensus was that this is a minor benefit of fossil fuel burning. But last month Nature published new research showing aerosols may be twice as effective at keeping the earth cool as was thought. Suddenly, wholesale closure of power stations no longer seems such a good idea.

Even so, it surely makes sense to use renewable sources of energy whenever possible. Well, up to a point: new research suggests hydroelectric schemes can be worse than useless in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A study by the National Institute for Research in the Amazon in the current issue of the journal Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change shows that the vast lakes used to feed hydroelectric turbines are a rich source of rotting vegetation - and thus methane. One such scheme in Brazil is now believed to have emitted more than three times as much greenhouse gas as would have been produced by generating electricity by burning oil.

Climate scientists would have us believe there is no doubt about the basics of global warming and the time for action is now. The recent spate of large revisions of the facts tells a different story. Yet politicians are still being pressed to do the impossible: modify the huge, chaotic system that is the earth's climate in ways guaranteed to be beneficial for all.

We should count ourselves lucky that, for once, politicians do not share such delusions of omniscience.

More here


An editorial from Brisbane's "Courier Mail" of 13 January 2006

The Asia-Pacific Partnership's inaugural ministerial meeting in Sydney should not become the latest target or weapon in the tit-for-tat politicking dominating debate about climate change and global warming.

Too often the protagonists line up information, untested theory, supposition and rumour as ammunition for what looks to most people more like a theological contest than a rational discussion about science and our response to the challenges posed by meteorological variations in recent years.

It is clear there is climate change - last year was Australia's hottest on record - and there is too much carbon-based emission in the world.

Most countries have agreed to a mandatory reduction regimen which can at best be half-successful without the participation of big emitters including the US, and the whole-hearted and meaningful involvement of developing nations such as China and India.

This is where the Asia-Pacific group can play a role. The US-led group is looking for voluntary, outcomes-based practical responses, which accept the reality of medium-term dependence on coal and oil fossil fuel sources and look to technology for answers to minimising the harmful impact of using these resources.

The CSIRO cannot foresee any alternative, renewable energy source becoming commercially viable for at least a decade, although the organisation rightly presses the case for developing such strategies in order to reduce dependence on carbon-rich fuels. In looking at alternatives we should not dismiss any options, including the possibility of nuclear energy which is proving to be a clean source of power which is relatively safe.

To drive this process, Prime Minister John Howard pledged $100 million for a clean energy fund which will assist developing nations in the production of cleaner fossil fuels and the generation of renewable energies.

Backing Mr Howard's call for clean technologies is a Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics report which claims these strategies could cut greenhouse emissions by one-fifth more than would otherwise be the case over the next 45 years.

This appears modest against the Kyoto treaty demand for emission reductions of 60 per cent or more by 2050. But, as Mr Howard said yesterday, there are no quick fixes. While we accept climate change is here, the jury is still out on causes, consequences and action needed.

This was underscored by new scientific data suggesting that planting forests might do more harm than good in neutralising carbon emissions. And whereas a decade ago global warming could turn Brisbane into a dustbowl, these days it is warned that its climate will become more like that of Cairns. This imprecision makes it sensible to take the politicking out of the debate. We all know that something is happening to the climate and that we should work together to seek and implement solutions. To that end, the six nations - and their business representatives - meeting in Sydney have done good work.


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 January, 2006

Australia: Climate management 'must allow growth'

It is unrealistic to expect nations to sacrifice economic growth to halt global climate change, Prime Minister John Howard has said. Mr Howard told a conference of Asia-Pacific nations and corporations that growth was the only way many nations could reduce poverty levels among their populations. "The idea that we can address climate change matters successfully at the expense of economic growth is not only unrealistic but it also unacceptable to the population of Australia which I represent," he said. "(It's also) I'm sure unacceptable to the populations of all the other countries that are represented around this table."

Mr Howard, whose government has joined the US in refusing to sign the UN's Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, said economic growth and climate solutions need not be mutually exclusive. "Our societies require of us that we find solutions to these issues that maintain the momentum of economic growth," he said, adding that new technologies could find a solution to the problem. "New technologies are therefore a credible and essential part of any suite of measures needed to reduce global emissions growth," he said.

Mr Howard said private enterprise must perform the bulk of the work needed to deal with climate change, reiterating a position that has become a central theme of this week's Asia-Pacific Clean Development and Climate Partnership. "Without the active partnership with the business community we are not going to achieve our goal," he said, The partnership, known as AP6, brings together ministers from US, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia with corporate giants such as Exxon Mobil, Rio Tinto, Peabody Energy and American Electric Power. Mr Howard pledged an extra $100 million for environmental projects in the next five years.



It looks like Martin Ferguson is an old-fashioned Leftist who actually cares about the welfare of the workers

Labor's left-wing powerbroker Martin Ferguson has urged the party to renounce the Greens and support the Howard Government's Asia-Pacific climate partnership. The Opposition resources spokesman said it was time to abandon the "political correctness" of the environmental movement and recognise the role of Australian business in providing jobs. "It is extraordinary that the Greens could place the economic security and jobs of their constituents at risk," Mr Ferguson said. "Let's be real - without getting business on board we cannot achieve anything."

Mr Ferguson, who also reiterated his support for nuclear power, opened a split in the party and the Left after acting Labor leader Jenny Macklin yesterday criticised the six-nation Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate talks in Sydney.

Ms Macklin attacked the conference's failure to set emission reduction targets and called for Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, under which industrial nations agreed to collectively reduce their greenhouse gases by at least 5 per cent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2012....

Labor environment spokesman Anthony Albanese joined green groups yesterday in warning that the AP6 was no substitute for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

But after attending the talks yesterday, Mr Ferguson hailed the AP6 as "vital" to delivering cleaner, greener technologies and warned nothing could be achieved without getting business on board. "This is essential to overcome the problem of simply shifting emissions from one country to another and at the same time shifting Australian manufacturing jobs and prosperity offshore," Mr Ferguson said. "If the environmental movement got their way they'd close down the coal industry. It's time to abandon the political correctness espoused by the Green movement."

More here


There has been a huge flap as a result of this research report in "Nature", so I thought I might reproduce the Abstract of the original report:

Methane emissions from terrestrial plants under aerobic conditions

By Frank Keppler et al. (2005)

Methane is an important greenhouse gas and its atmospheric concentration has almost tripled since pre-industrial times. It plays a central role in atmospheric oxidation chemistry and affects stratospheric ozone and water vapour levels. Most of the methane from natural sources in Earth's atmosphere is thought to originate from biological processes in anoxic environments. Here we demonstrate using stable carbon isotopes that methane is readily formed in situ in terrestrial plants under oxic conditions by a hitherto unrecognized process. Significant methane emissions from both intact plants and detached leaves were observed during incubation experiments in the laboratory and in the field. If our measurements are typical for short-lived biomass and scaled on a global basis, we estimate a methane source strength of 62-236 Tg yr-1 for living plants and 1-7 Tg yr-1 for plant litter (1 Tg = 1012 g). We suggest that this newly identified source may have important implications for the global methane budget and may call for a reconsideration of the role of natural methane sources in past climate change.


Excerpts from David C. Lowe in "Nature" 439, 148-149 (12 January 2006)

The implications of Keppler and colleagues' work for the Kyoto Protocol include how reforestation and ruminant animals are treated in methane budgets. Under the Kyoto rules, reforestation since 1990 may be used as a CO2 sink to offset greenhouse-gas emissions from other sources; we now have the spectre that new forests might increase greenhouse warming through methane emissions rather than decrease it by sequestering CO2.

And in certain countries with large numbers of sheep, cattle and other ruminant livestock, methane constitutes a significant fraction of total greenhouse-gas emissions. In such countries - Ireland and New Zealand, for example - ruminant animals graze on pastures that were originally forested. Given the findings of Keppler et al., it is possible that the forests that once occupied pasture may have produced as much methane as ruminants and grasses on the same land.

The new work will also influence studies of the history of Earth's climate. Indications of past climate are often deduced from analyses of the concentration and isotopic composition of greenhouse gases in tiny air bubbles trapped in polar ice cores. Keppler and colleagues' study shows that, in pre-industrial times, the relative contribution of methane to the atmosphere by direct emissions from plants could have been much larger than it is today.

Measurements of isotopic values in methane derived from Antarctic ice cores show a signal between AD 0 and 1200 that is inconsistent with theories of methane budgets being dominated by wetland sources. A pre-industrial atmosphere containing large contributions of methane derived from vegetation can account for the observed isotopic signal. One of the further avenues of research will centre on the role of methane and vegetation in glacial- interglacial transitions.

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.


13 January, 2006


Scientists in Germany have discovered that ordinary plants produce significant amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which helps trap the sun's energy in the atmosphere. The findings, reported in the journal Nature, have been described as "startling", and may force a rethink of the role played by forests in holding back the pace of global warming.

And the BBC News Website has learned that the research, based on observations in the laboratory, appears to be corroborated by unpublished observations of methane levels in the Brazilian Amazon. Until now, it had been thought that natural sources of methane were mainly limited to environments where bacteria acted on vegetation in conditions of low oxygen levels, such as in swamps and rice paddies.

But a team led by Frank Keppler of the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, stumbled upon this new effect when studying emissions from the leaves of trees and grasses in conditions similar to those they would encounter in the open air. To their amazement, the scientists found that all the textbooks written on the biochemistry of plants had apparently overlooked the fact that methane is produced by a range of plants even when there is plenty of oxygen. The amount of the gas produced increased when the air was warmer, and when there was more sunlight. The paper estimates that this unexplained phenomenon could account for between 10 and 30 per cent of the world's methane emissions.

The possible implications are set out in Nature by David Lowe of New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, who writes, "We now have the spectre that new forests might increase greenhouse warming through methane emissions rather than decrease it by sequestering carbon dioxide." If this turned out to be true, it would have major implications for the rules of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which allows countries and companies to offset emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil by funding the planting of new forests or the restoration of deforested areas.

But some experts on climate change science and policy say it is far too early to come to this kind of conclusion. Dr Halldor Thorgeirsson, deputy executive secretary to the UN Climate Change Secretariat, told the BBC News Website that while the study was interesting, the overall impact of this newly-discovered source of methane was still speculative. "We need to look at this, but this study does not for example look at measurements of direct methane emissions from forests, and that is what is needed to get a better handle on what forests do for the climate," said Dr Thorgeirsson. He added that the system of calculating forestry "credits" under the Kyoto protocol allowed for updated scientific findings to be included in the assessment of the climate benefit of any particular project.

The authors of the study themselves recognise that it is very difficult to quantify the global impact of this discovery since it is so far confined to observations of plants grown in the laboratory. But it is already finding some corroboration from observations in the "real world". The BBC News website has learned that a study soon to be published in another scientific journal reports high levels of methane in measurements taken in the Brazilian Amazon, which can't be explained by conventional explanations for how the gas is produced.

Michael Keller of the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, who carried out the study, said the new process discovered by the German scientists provided a plausible solution to the puzzle. But he warned against making any assumptions at this stage about what it meant for the climate impact of forests until much more was known about the way this new phenomenon operates in different conditions and among different species.

Dr Keller said, "We know that when deforestation takes place we liberate large quantities of carbon dioxide, and indeed methane, into the atmosphere. We may be replacing that forest with vegetation which produces more methane. "Until we know how this process works it is really unwise to come to any conclusions."

It is tempting to conclude from this new study that in some way we have been conned into thinking that trees were great for the planet when it turns out they might be helping to cause global warming. In fact, of course, trees are neither good nor bad. They are just there, and if they are producing methane now they always have been in natural conditions.

The study highlights, however, the extreme complexity of the relationship between the biological processes of the Earth and the chemistry of our atmosphere - and how much there is yet to discover. [But let's act as if we already know it all!]



People who do not follow British TV may be unaware of a "war" that has been going on in recent months between a popular British TV presenter and Britain's Green/Left. To introduce the TV program concerned:

"Top Gear is a long-running BBC television series about cars and motorsports. The programme completed its seventh series in December 2005 under its current format and is expected to return in Spring 2006. Top Gear is estimated to have over 350 million viewers worldwide, 5 million of which view the programme each week in the UK. [1] There is also Top Gear magazine, a publication produced by the BBC in conjunction with the TV show and sharing some common editors and features between them. Top Gear is currently hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May".

So what has Clarkson done? Here is how The Guardian sees it:

"It started as a small petition against Oxford Brookes University offering the BBC's Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson an honorary degree in recognition of his support of British technology and his contribution to learning and society. But it has turned into a mass outpouring of objection to the man who ridicules cyclists, loathes health and safety experts, despises environmentalists, annoys mountaineers, rages at Guardian readers and questions climate scientists.

According to the student organisers of a protest against the university plan, 1,400 people have objected online to "motormouth Clarkson" - many in the kind of language that he would recognise. "He is a moron who spouts ignorant and antisocial rubbish;" "he is a dangerous philistine who displays an alarming lack of intelligence; "his public persona promotes wilful ignorance," said some of the politer contributors yesterday.

In the past year the intemperate Clarkson, who also has columns in the Sun and Sunday Times, has described ramblers as "urban communists", cyclists as "Lycra Nazis", and people working for transport pressure group Transport 2000 as "ugly". Women, ethnic minorities and others have all taken offence. Recently car workers blamed him in part for the collapse of MG Rover.

His attitude to nature is also eccentric. He has questioned why Britain has so many hills, proposed that great white sharks should be eaten to extinction, been excited at the thought of Birmingham being covered by a glacier, rammed a car into a tree and driven up Ben Tongue, a Scottish mountain, in a 4x4.

Much of this is seen as good entertainment but his seemingly jocular views on global warming are ignorant and dangerous, say his critics. "What's wrong with global warming? We might lose Holland but there are other places to go on holiday," he wrote recently in the Sun. On Top Gear, he has lauded naturalist David Bellamy, who has disputed that man-made warming exists.

"Clarkson is dangerous. His views are disastrous. The message he sends across is that it's OK to have a couldn't care less attitude to the environment," said Steve Hounsham of Transport 2000. But the university was yesterday backing its man. In a statement it said: "We are giving Jeremy Clarkson an honorary degree in recognition of his enthusiasm and contribution to engineering and motor sports." The original citation talked of Clarkson's "contribution to learning and society and as an exemplary role model for students".

Clarkson was unavailable for comment yesterday, but a BBC spokesman said: "He has something to say about almost everything. Humour and lively debate are the hallmarks of Top Gear.""

So there are various ways the Left are trying to get at Clarkson. Here is one:

Jeremy Clarkson faces yet another brickbat from the Liberal Democrat transport spokesman, Tom Brake. Not content with submitting an Early Day Motion against the Top Gear presenter, right, Brake is attempting to haul him before the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee. Yesterday, he circulated a dossier on Clarkson's 'anti-green' track record to journalists, quoting his comment: 'What's wrong with global warming? We might lose Holland but there are other places to go on holiday.' Elsewhere, it highlights the chubby controversialist's belief that environmentalists should 'take up something useful, like tearing their tongues out', and his threat to 'run down' cyclists who cross his path. Brake should watch his step. Clarkson's last public enemy, Piers Morgan, ended up with a black eye.

And, finally, a comment from Clarkson himself:

"Environmentalists, it seems, can't argue like normal people. You may remember, for instance, back in the summer that a vegetarian girl, who I'd never met before, leapt from some bushes and plunged a huge banoffee pie right into the middle of my face. Then a Liberal Democrat MP called Tom Brake, who has the silliest teeth in politics, said he was going to table an early-day motion and drag me to London to watch him doing it. Now look. I don't want to see anyone's early day motion, least of all a Liberal Democrat's, which would be full of leaf mulch. And I especially don't want to see it on a table.

Why can't these people write me a letter saying, "I don't agree with you"? Why do they have to pie me and make me stand around watching a Liberal with mad teeth doing his number twos? It's beyond comprehension.

But last week the environmental protest about my way of life took an altogether more sinister turn when a Labour MP called Colin Challen made a speech in which he said he wanted me to be killed. No more pies. No more early days motions. Executed. Maybe he was joking, maybe he wasn't. Strangely, he's on record as saying he doesn't believe in capital punishment, so he doesn't want Peter Sutcliffe dead. He doesn't want Ian Huntley dead. And he thinks Gary Glitter should evade the firing squad. But he does want to see me swinging from the rafters in Wormwood Scrubs. He wants to see the faces of my distraught children on the television news and laugh at my wife as they cut me down and feed my limp, lifeless body to the prison pigs.

Now presumably before calling for my death he'd have done some research, in which case he'd have noted the way I use sheep to keep the grass down on my land rather than driving around in a lawnmower, which uses fuel and minces all the beasties that so amaze us in David Attenborough's new programme. What's more, a man who charges the taxpayer o64,000 a year to pay for staff would surely have had the human resources to find out that this year I grew some totally organic, fertiliser-free barley. It didn't go well. Come autumn I had six acres of what looked like soggy grey drinking straws, which I sold for exactly o325 less than it cost to buy the seed and rent a combine harvester.

But no matter. I didn't do this out of the goodness of my heart, and nor did I do it to save the world or the whale. I did it because barley attracts lots of interesting birds that I like to look at. Selfish, I know, but ecologically speaking I like to think I achieved a little bit more than Colin Challen, who stomps round the Yorkshire Dales in a hideous purple cagoule dreaming up new and interesting people he'd like to kill. So is he mad? Well, he can't be a complete window-licker because he managed to convince 20,570 people in the last election that he should be a member of the governing party. But then again, he does have a beard, he is called Colin, and he is a member of something called the Socialist Environment Resources Association.

This is the key. On the face of it SERA sounds like a fairly benign organisation - it raises sponsorship, for instance, for people to host low-carbon-transport dinners. Mmmm. They sound like fun. But nothing with the word socialist in its name can ever be truly benign. You may remember the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for example, where people were sentenced to death for arguing with the leadership. That's what Beardy is doing here. Like that fellow member of the face hair owner's club, Stalin, he wants me dead for disagreeing with him.

I love arguing. I love filling my dining room with social workers and foxhunters so everyone can roll up their sleeves and have a damn good row. That's because I believe in freedom of speech. Plainly the honourable member for Morley & Rothwell does not. And nor does Tom Brake from the Liberal Democrats, and nor does that girl with the big bum who pushed a pie in my face. In fact no one from the environmental bandwagon has even half an inkling about the concept of debate.

I do not believe that man is responsible for global warming. There are many eminent scientists who would agree. And I believe that western governments are in the process of spending billions of pounds trying to stem something over which we have no control. I believe that this money could be used to make the world a fairer, more peaceful place. I would much rather bring clean drinking water to an impoverished village in Sudan than bring a wind farm to the shores of Scotland. You might not agree, but surely you can see it is a reasonable argument.

Tom Brake can't. That bird with the pie can't. And certainly Colin Challen can't. Plainly he doesn't mind if all the Africans die of disease and hunger, because like all socialists, he wants to help the poor only about half as much as he wants to hurt the rich. I respect that argument. I respect the people of Leeds who listened to it and voted him into office. And I'd love to chat to him about it. But that's hard when you've got a face full of banana pie, you're faced with a pile of Mr Brake's veggie droppings and you're dead."

There is a criticism of the Green/Left attacks on Clarkson here

Global-warming fears pointless

Does anyone remember the glaciers that once threatened Florida and caused white spruce trees to grow in Georgia? Archeological evidence proves that sub-Arctic forests grew 18,000 years ago where orange groves and pecan trees now flourish. How about that mini-Ice Age of 1100-1600 A.D.? History books recount the cold weather endured by the Northern Hemisphere during that period. More recently, 20th century weather records detail the paralyzing cold and snow that often visited Western Oregon to freeze the Willamette and Columbia rivers.

Had there been weathermen and climatologists 18,000 years ago or even 100 years ago, they would have been alarmed about global cooling as glaciers advanced and temperatures plummeted. They might have prescribed burning more fossil fuels to create greenhouse gases to raise atmospheric temperatures.

Is the glass of global weather half warm or half cold? Is the Homo sapiens with all his diesel engines and emissions causing global warming, or are we really in a cosmic cycle of planetary heating and cooling that we cannot control or even understand? There is no one on this Earth who can be 100 percent certain of the answer, regardless if it is former President Bill Clinton or some soothsayer in Saskatchewan.

We really don't know what controls the Earth's climate, and that ignorance frightens folks. There are predictions of melting ice caps, rising sea levels, droughts and erratic weather if we don't curtail all emissions. Some people have the arrogance and audacity to believe we can significantly influence and control global warming with more government regulation. They blindly ignore the fact that one St. Helens eruption, one meteor from outer space, or a magnetic shift of the North Pole could erase everything regulated by the Environmental Protectional Agency or Kyoto treaty.

As a species, we are naive to think we can start or stop the next global climate change. There are powers far beyond our understanding that influence this planet's well-being. We should use common sense to protect and conserve what we know -- plant a tree; walk instead of drive; recycle metals and plastics; feed the birds; smile at a stranger. Maybe the last two things won't save the planet, but at least they will improve our attitude about doomsday predictions.



(From CO2 Science Magazine, 11 January 2006)

"The Sahel," in the words of Anyamba and Tucker (2005), "is a semi-arid region stretching approximately 5000 km across northern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to near the Red Sea in the east and extending roughly from 12°N to 18°N," which "forms an ecological transition between the Sahara desert to the north and the humid tropical savanna to the south (Le Houerou, 1980)." It was recently featured in a special issue of the Journal of Arid Environments entitled "The 'Greening' of the Sahel," which describes its recovery from what Hutchinson et al. (2005) describe as a run of "several devastating droughts and famines between the late 1960s and early 1990s."

Working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data obtained from polar orbiting satellites, Anyamba and Tucker developed a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) history that stretches from 1981 to 2003. Comparing this history with the precipitation history of the Sahel developed by Nicholson (2005), they find that "the persistence and spatial coherence of drought conditions during the 1980s is well represented by the NDVI anomaly patterns and corresponds with the documented rainfall anomalies across the region during this time period." Thereafter, they also find that "the prevalence of greener than normal conditions during the 1990s to 2003 follows a similar increase in rainfall over the region during the last decade."

In another analysis of NDVI and rainfall data in the same issue of the Journal of Arid Environments, Olsson et al. (2005) also find "a consistent trend of increasing vegetation greenness in much of the region," which they describe as "remarkable," and they state that increasing rainfall over the last few years "is certainly one reason" for the greening phenomenon. However, they find that the increase in rainfall "does not fully explain" it. Why?

For one thing, the three Swedish scientists note that "only eight out of 40 rainfall observations showed a statistically significant (95%) increase of rainfall between 1982-1990 and 1991-1999." In addition, they report that "further analysis of this relationship does not indicate an overall relationship between rainfall increase and vegetation trend." So what else could be driving the increase in greenness?

Olsson et al. suggest that "another potential explanation could be improved land management, which has been shown to cause similar changes in vegetation response elsewhere (Runnstrom, 2003)." However, in more detailed analyses of Burkina Faso and Mali, where production of millet rose by 55% and 35%, respectively, since 1980, they could find "no clear relationship" between agricultural productivity and NDVI, which argues against the land management explanation.

A third speculation of Olsson et al. is that the greening of the Sahel could be caused by increasing rural-to-urban migration. In this scenario, widespread increases in vegetation occur as a result of "reduced area under cultivation," due to a shortage of rural laborers, and/or "increasing inputs on cropland," such as seeds, machinery and fertilizers made possible by an increase in money sent home to rural households by family members working in cities. However, Olsson et al. note that "more empirical research is needed to verify this [hypothesis]."

We also have speculated on the cause of Sahelian greening, suggesting that the aerial fertilization effect of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content, which greatly enhances vegetative productivity, and its anti-transpiration effect, which enhances plant water-use efficiency and enables plants to grow in areas that were once too dry to sustain them, may be playing prominent roles [see our reviews of Prince et al. (1998) and Nicholson et al. (1998)]. Be that as it may, whatever the reason for the greening of the Sahel over the past quarter-century, it is clear that in spite of what the world's climate alarmists claim were concomitant unprecedented increases in the "twin evils" of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and global warming, the Sahel experienced an increase in vegetative prowess that was truly, as Olsson et al. write, "remarkable."


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 January, 2006

Mark Steyn on the Climate change myth

Michael Crichton's environmental novel State Of Fear has many enjoyable moments, not least the deliciously apt fate he devises for a Martin Sheenesque Hollywood eco-poseur. But, along the way, his protagonist makes a quietly sensible point: that activist lobby groups ought to close down the office after 10 years. By that stage, regardless of the impact they've had on whatever cause they're hot for, they're chiefly invested in perpetuating their own indispensability.

That's what happened to the environmental movement. Denouncing this week's meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership, starting today in Sydney, the eco-tists sound more than a little squaresville: fossils running out of fuel. "Clearly, the short-term profits of the fossil fuel companies count for more in Canberra than the long-term health and welfare of ordinary Australians," says Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute, disregarding the fact that the "long-term health and welfare" that ordinary Australians enjoy is not unconnected to fossil fuels. "Relying solely on technology to deal with greenhouse emissions is like trying to empty a puddle while the tap is still running: you simply cannot do it," says Labor's environment spokesman Anthony Albanese. So Labor's policy is to turn off the tap?

Even if it wasn't driving the global environmental "consensus" bananas, the Asia-Pacific Partnership would still be worth doing. In environmental politics, the short-term interests of the eco-establishment count for more than the long-term health and welfare of ordinary Australians, or New Zealanders, or indeed Indians and Nigerians. They count for more than the long-term reputation of scientific institutions.

Hence, the famous "hockey stick" graph purporting to show climate over the past 1000 years, as a continuous, flat, millennium-long bungalow with a skyscraper tacked on for the 20th century. This graph was almost laughably fraudulent, not least because it used a formula that would generate a hockey stick shape no matter what data you input, even completely random, trendless, arbitrary computer-generated data. Yet such is the power of the eco-lobby that this fraud became the centrepiece of UN reports on global warming. If it's happening, why is it necessary to lie about it?

Well, the problem for the Kyoto cultists is that the end of the world's nighness is never quite as nigh as you'd like. Thirty years ago, Lowell Ponte had a huge bestseller called The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive? Answer: No, it hasn't. Yes, we can. So, when the new ice age predicted in the '70s failed to emerge, the eco-crowd moved on in the '80s to global warming, and then more recently to claiming as evidence of global warming every conceivable meteorological phenomenon: lack of global warmth is evidence of global warming; frost, ice, snow, glaciers, they're all signs of global warming, too. If you live in England, where it's 12C and partly cloudy all summer and 11.5C and overcast all winter, that dramatic climate change is also evidence of global warming.

That's the new buzz phrase these days: climate change. We've got to stop it, or change it back before it destroys the planet. And, if it doesn't destroy the planet, circa 2011 the Kyotocrats will be citing lack of climate change as evidence of climate change. They are, literally, a church, and under the Holy Book of Kyoto their bishops demand that the great industrial nations of the world tithe their incomes to them. So they're never going to take Crichton's advice.

That being so, the next best thing is the Asia-Pacific Partnership, or the "coalition of the emitting": Australia, the US, India, China, Japan, and South Korea. These nations are responsible for about half of greenhouse gas emissions and, by 2050, will account for roughly 75 per cent of global gross domestic product. In other words, these are the players that matter. And, unlike the Kyotophiles, their strategy isn't a form of cultural self-flagellation. America and Australia will be making Western technology available to developing nations to accelerate their development, so they don't have to spend a century and a half with belching smokestacks glowering over grimy cities the way the first industrialised nations did.

My only problem with this is that, in a government notable for its blunt, healthy disdain for the transnational pieties, Australia's Environment Minister seems to have been spending way too much time snorting the ol' CO2 at the eco-lobby parties. As Matt Price reported in these pages last year: "Emerging from a bushwalk through the Tarkine forest in northwest Tasmania, Environment Minister Ian Campbell told The Australian that argument about the causes and impact of global warming had effectively ended: 'I think the Australian Government owes it to the public to tell it like it is."' Oh, dear. By "telling it like it is", he means telling it like we've been told for the past 30 years: "Australia and other industrialised nations need to take urgent action to avert environmental disaster."

Really? You know, I don't like to complain but maybe that Tarkine forest is part of the problem. Here's a headline from the National Post of Canada last Friday: "Forests may contribute to global warming: study." This was at Stanford University. They developed a model that covered most of the Northern Hemisphere in forest and found that global temperature increased three degrees, which is several times more than the alleged CO2 emissions. Heat-wise, a forest is like a woman in a black burka in the middle of the Iraqi desert. In my state of New Hampshire, we've got far more forest than we did a century or two ago. Could reforestation be causing more global warming than my 700m-per-litre Chevrolet Resource-Depleter? Clearly I need several million dollars to investigate further.

I said above that any day the Kyotophiles will be citing lack of climate change as evidence of climate change. But, in essence, that's what they've been doing for years. For example, just before Christmas, Rutgers University put out a press release headed "Global Warming Doubles Rate of Ocean Rise". Whoa, sell that beachfront property now! If things keep up like this, Sydney's excitable "youths" will be having to rampage in diving suits. But hang on, what exactly do they mean by the "rate" "doubling"? Kenneth Miller claims to have proved that from 5000 years ago to about 200 years ago the global ocean rise was about 1mm a year.

But since 1850 it's been rising at 2mm a year. In other words, it doubled sometime in the early 19th century and has stayed the same ever since, apparently impervious to the industrialisation of Europe, China, India and much of the rest of Asia, as well as to the invention of the automobile, the aerosol deodorant and the private jet Barbra Streisand used when she flew in to Washington to discuss global warming with president Clinton. Yet nobody thought to headline the story "Rate of ocean rise unchanged for over a century and a half".

If the present rate continues, the Maldives will be under water by 2500. Of course, by then, if the present rate of demographic decline continues, most of Russia and Europe will be empty, and we could resettle the 350,000 residents of the Maldives on the Riviera.

Or we could cripple the global economy now. One day, the world will marvel at the environmental hysteria of our time, and the deeply damaging corruption of science in the cause of an alarmist cult. The best thing this week's conference could do is inculcate a certain modesty, not least in Senator Ian Campbell, about an issue that is almost entirely speculative. We don't know how or why climate changes. We do know it's changed dramatically throughout the planet's history, including the so-called "little Ice Age" beginning in 600, when I was still driving a Ford Oxcart, and that, by comparison, the industrial age has been a time of relative climate stability. But, of course, as with that "hockey stick", it depends how you draw the graph.

Question: Why do most global warming advocates begin their scare statistics with "since 1970"? As in, "since 1970" there's been global surface warming of half a degree or so. Because from 1940 to 1970, temperatures fell. Now why would that be? Who knows? Maybe it was Hitler. Maybe world wars are good for the planet. Or maybe we should all take a deep breath of CO2 and calm down.



Excerpts from Joe Kaplinsky's review of James Howard Kunstler's misanthropic and economically illiterate "The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century"

As recently as a decade ago it was unusual to encounter books predicting the imminent collapse of civilisation and probable extinction of the human race. . . . Today such works are common. The core elements of the litany are predictable: climate change, disease, terrorism, and an-out-of-control world economy. Other elements such as killer asteroids, nanotechnology or chemical pollution can be added according to taste.

James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century clearly fits the genre. While not neglecting any of the usual suspects, Kunstler builds his litany around the increasingly fashionable panic over oil depletion. The Long Emergency has received a warm welcome, featuring on the front covers of both the leftish British publication the New Statesman and Pat Buchanan's old-right American Conservative.

The picture of the future put forward in The Long Emergency is truly grim. The best-case scenario is a mass die-off followed by a forced move back to the land, complete with associated feudal relations. As the title implies, this is to be an ongoing state rather than a crisis to be overcome . . . .

The successes of science and the Enlightenment present a conundrum for green pessimists. How to explain away the failed predictions of collapse from Malthus on, through to Paul Ehrlich and the Club of Rome in the 1970s?

. . . Conceding that Malthus may have got his facts wrong here, Kunstler wants to rehabilitate Malthus' larger point: a focus on mechanisms of social restraint as a counterpoint against the claims of Enlightenment optimists such as Godwin and Condorcet. . . .

Kunstler also puts forward a second explanation for the successful economic growth of the twentieth century: oil. 'Malthus was certainly correct, but cheap oil has skewed the equation over the past hundred years', he says. He claims that oil, and fossil fuels more broadly, have been responsible for the gains of the twentieth century, from agriculture to medicine to transport.

Furthermore, Kunstler claims that this was a one-shot deal. Having used up our oil he thinks we are about to descend back into Malthusianism - for which we are worse prepared, because we have invested so much economically and psychologically in a modern world that is unsustainable. Our past progress, he thinks, is only setting ourselves up for a fall. He calls suburbia and the motorcar the 'greatest misallocation of resources in history'.

The deeper theme of The Long Emergency is not oil so much as human powerlessness. The projection of all the products of human resourcefulness on to fossil fuels is only one example of this. Another example is disease. . . .

Kunstler's discussion of emerging diseases is headed 'Nature Bites Back'. Such a notion endows Nature with intentions, interests, and intrinsic moral value. Yet without pausing to defend such implausible assumptions, Kunstler ploughs straight on: in 'response to unprecedented habitat destruction by humans and invasion of the wilderness, the Earth itself seems to be sending forth new and much more lethal diseases, as though it has a kind of protective immune system with antibody-like agents aimed with remarkable precision at the source of the problem: Homo Sapiens.'

Human beings are pushed to one side, as puppets or parasites, while nature is endowed with superhuman powers. It is this process which transforms any of the difficulties we face from problems to be solved into warnings of apocalypse to come.

The most striking example of the sense of powerlessness is as it applies to Kunstler himself. He has long argued against suburbia and the car, in favour of a 'New Urbanism'. In places it is perhaps possible to read The Long Emergency as a revenge fantasy. Embittered at his inability to convince others that they should change their ways, Kunstler takes refuge under the wing of Nature's avenging angel. He can be ignored (he attributes this to a psychological flaw in his detractors); the inhuman laws of nature cannot. . . .

The global economy, or perhaps even any economy based on monetary exchange, is apparently an 'hallucination'. Only a low-energy, local economy in which we are in touch with the land, claims Kunstler, can avoid the destructive effects of entropy. . . .

. . . But entropy doesn't have any mystical qualities. It is a thermodynamic variable like any other. There is no more reason to connect a breakdown of civilisation with an increase in entropy than with, say, an increase in atmospheric pressure or the Earth's magnetic field. Kunstler's discussion of this topic is plain and simple pseudoscience.

His underlying argument about human powerlessness also cannot stand. In abolishing old problems, progress brings new problems. How could it not? The new problems can sometimes appear larger than the old, existing on a global scale. But this just arises from human society operating on a global scale, which carries with it the benefits of global cooperation, trade and travel. History shows that exchanging older problems for newer, sometimes greater, ones has been a good bargain.

The capacity to solve problems expands faster than the problems themselves. It is harder to defend a modern city - with skyscrapers, highways, and energy infrastructure - against a flood or an earthquake. But alongside the technologies that enabled us to build modern cities we have created solutions that make them resilient to natural disasters. That is why life is better in the more developed parts of the world.

While it is always possible that we will stumble at the next hurdle, science confirms that we have a good chance of flourishing in the future, too. The core of The Long Emergency is the anxiety that problems will outweigh solutions. It is summed up by Kunstler's complaint that by following the path of progress humanity is continually setting itself an exam. Alienated from progress he has no answers himself and fears we are relying on a few techno-geeks to come up with a fix. He is haunted by the question, what if we fail?

This question assumes overwhelming significance for Kunstler because he seems to believe we must fail. A more reasoned approach balances it against two other questions. What if we succeed? Everything worthwhile in human culture and civilisation has come from such successes. What if we do not try?

Santa told to sack his gas-emitting team of reindeer

Reindeer-drawn sleds have been slammed as environmentally unfriendly, because the carrot-munching animals produce the greenhouse gas methane in their wind. Now Santa has been urged to ditch his sleigh team and start travelling on public transport to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. It has been calculated that Santa's team of nine reindeer would emit methane with a global warming impact equivalent to more than 40,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases on the 122 million mile Christmas Eve dash to deliver presents around the world. That would make his marathon sleigh ride almost as environmentally damaging as an aircraft, which would produce approximately 41,500 tonnes of on the Christmas Eve trip.

But Santa, making a personal appearance at the Glasgow branch of John Lewis, in the Buchanan Galleries, hit back at the untimely attack on his traditional Christmas means of transport. He said: "I am very conscious about the environment and conserve energy wherever possible. "However, it would be very difficult for me to get round all the children in the world on Christmas Eve on a bus due to the fact that, as far as I am aware, there isn't a route that goes past every house in the world."

The methane calculations were made by Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Tom Brake. He said the best Christmas present for the environment would be if Santa took the bus, which would keep his total emissions output down to just 10,980 tonnes of - although he admitted the annual trip might take a bit longer than usual. Mr Brake said: "Boys and girls up and down the country will be eagerly waiting for Father Christmas to arrive with their presents on Christmas morning. What they may not realise however is that Santa would be better off taking public transport." But he conceded: "At least he isn't taking the plane, which would be worse than the reindeer." He added: "We realise that it might be a bit late to change things for this year, but hope that Santa will take this research into account when he plans next year's trip."

Scientists warned earlier this year that the wind of large mammals like cows and reindeer was a major contributor to global warming. CO2 is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, but methane has 23 times its warming potential, so reducing methane emissions is also considered important by environmentalists. There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14 per cent of all emissions of the gas.

Known for his somewhat whimsical publicity stunts, earlier this week Mr Brake bought journalist and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson a Christmas present - a bicycle. After delivering the bike to Clarkson's home, he said: "It is important that someone who is as prominent and influential as Jeremy Clarkson should adopt greener modes of transport, such as cycling."



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 January, 2006


(From CO2 Science Magazine, 4 January 2006)

Many palaeoclimate records from earth's North Atlantic region depict a millennial-scale oscillation of climate, which during the last glacial period was highlighted by Dansgaard-Oeschger events that regularly recurred at approximately 1,470-year intervals (Rahmstorf, 2003). Because of the consistency of their occurrence, it was long believed that these well-tuned periodic events were orchestrated by similarly-paced solar activity; but a major problem with this idea was that no known solar process or orbital perturbation exhibited the periodicity of the Dansgaard-Oeschger events. Now, however, Braun et al. (2005) have performed an analysis that successfully explains this dichotomy.

Noting that the periods of the well-known DeVries-Suess and Gleissberg solar cycles (~210 and 87 years, respectively) are close to prime factors of 1,470 years, the team of eight German scientists opined that "the superposition of two such frequencies could result in variability that repeats with a 1,470-year period." In fact, they did more than opine about the matter; they proceeded to show, in their words, that "an intermediate-complexity climate model with glacial climate conditions simulates rapid climate shifts similar to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events with a spacing of 1,470 years when forced by periodic freshwater input into the North Atlantic ocean in cycles of ~86 and ~210 years." The researchers' goal in this exercise was "not aimed at suggesting a certain mechanism for solar influence on freshwater fluxes," as they describe it, but merely to demonstrate that "the glacial 1,470-year climate cycles could have been triggered by solar forcing despite the absence of a 1,470-year solar cycle," which objective they admirably achieved.

For the same reason, and also without specifying a particular mechanism, Braun et al.'s exercise suggests that the similarly-paced millennial-scale oscillation of climate that has reverberated throughout the Holocene (but with less perfect regularity) is also driven by the combinatorial effect of the DeVries-Suess and Gleissberg solar cycles. In fact, the German scientists say that the stimulus for their idea that "a multi-century climate cycle might be linked with century-scale solar variability comes from Holocene data," citing the work of Bond et al. (2001), who found that "over the last 12,000 years virtually every centennial time-scale increase in drift ice documented in our North Atlantic records was tied to a solar minimum," and who concluded that "a solar influence on climate of the magnitude and consistency implied by our evidence could not have been confined to the North Atlantic," suggesting that the cyclical climatic effects of the variable solar inferno are experienced throughout the entire world.

What are some of the better-known climatic manifestations of this cyclical solar-powered phenomenon? Bond et al. report that the climatic oscillation's most recent cold node and the warm node that preceded it were "broadly correlative with the so called 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period'." Likewise, Rahmstorf states that "the so-called 'little ice age' of the 16th-18th century may be the most recent cold phase of this cycle."

The final logical extension of these observations should be obvious to all: the global warming of the past century or so, which propelled the earth out of the Little Ice Age and into the Current Warm Period, was in all likelihood a result of the most recent upswing in this continuing cycle of solar-induced climate change. Hence, there is no longer any need to consider the historical rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration as being the primary driver of 20th-century warming. Like everything else climate alarmists lump along with it, the much-maligned greenhouse gas was merely "along for the ride" on earth's eternally-oscillating climatic roller coaster whose operator is the sun.


Cyclical Ice age gets hold of the earth - how severe will it be by 2012?

Ice ages come every 11,000 years. A mega ice age comes every 105,000 years. Both are due between now and 2012. The 11,000 year cycle happens because of increase and decrease of cyclical underwater volcanic eruption. The 105,000 mega ice age happens because of the changing shape of the orbit of the earth around the sun - circular to elliptical and then back to circular every 105,000 years.

Both the cycles are overdue. They have actually started. Europe right now is in deep freeze. Japan and South Korea are experiencing the worst snowfall ever. Even New Delhi is experiencing the worst ever fog and cold weather. Do not get surprised to see New Delhi experiencing the weather of Moscow, Miami experiencing the weather of Chicago.

Since the 105,000 cycle is overdue, the freeze can be real severe by 2012 and beyond. Some Geologists believe that global warming is causing the freeze because of manipulation of warm ocean currents and streams. The manipulation has occurred for many reasons. Global warming from human civilization is one reason. But much more serious is the cyclical increase in under ocean volcanoes and stretched geysers over miles. Such an eruption has recently been discovered in Indian Ocean stretching 45 miles releasing superheated steam to 750 degree F.

Because of this extra heat ocean is getting evaporated. The resulting precipitation is forming the snow and eventually ice. In the last ice age, Montreal in Canada was under two miles of ice. NY was less than 400 feet of ice. The southern US has no ice but had the weather of Canada with very often snow fall.

With our current technology, our civilization will survive the smaller cycle - the 11,000 year cycle that can produce a mini ice age. Food will be scarce and much of the northern hemisphere will be under deep ice with little life there. Serious migration of population will take place from north to south.

The terrestrial civilization cannot survive the mega ice age that comes every 105,000 years. In that case the ocean levels will fall by 500 feet on an average. The whole earth will be under deep ice. How do we know if the ice age that is engulfing the earth is smaller or the mega one?

Some geologists, astrophysicists and scientists believe if the mega ice age is starting then certain parts of the world will be very cold and under deep snow for a few years. At the same time many parts of the world will experience very mild winter. El Nino which is due in 2008-2009 can cause the mega ice age to come. A super volcano in Toba or Yellow Stone can also cause the mega ice age. Earth's current orbit around the Sun suggests that any of these will instantaneously ( two months for example) put the earth into deep freeze. A burst of cosmic dusts from the center of the galaxy can also cause the same. Severe weather patterns that is taking hold of the earth are not very good signs.


New forum for a clean future -- and the nuke option

By Leslie Kemeny -- the Australian foundation member of the International Nuclear Energy Academy and a consulting nuclear engineer and physicist

It has taken eight years for the proponents and the supporters of a massively flawed and hugely expensive Kyoto Protocol to be challenged by a new international partnership set up to combat global climate change. The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate comprises Australia, the US, China, India, Japan and South Korea. It represents over one half of the world's population and was established on July 28, 2005. The partnership will hold its first major conference and working party in Sydney this week. Prime Minister John Howard will be in attendance as well as senior ministers from all six countries. Industrial participation has been invited for tomorrow.

Australia's involvement in the Kyoto Protocol is now tenuous. As with the US, the country has ruled out any agreement that would set timetables and targets for greenhouse gas emission minimisation. Pragmatically and sensibly, Australia will not sign on to a treaty that is bad for sustainable development. Instead, the federal Government will seek to tackle global warming by using and developing low emission energy generation technologies. For these, a funding of $23 million will be provided. As well, a $500 million grant will be available for projects aimed at reducing emission from coal-fired power stations.

Astute observers of Kyoto consider that there is considerable merit in the Asia-Pacific Partnership model. Scientists and engineers believe that post 2012, the only way forward in the spirit of the Kyoto treaty will be the adoption of a "clean development" mechanism. This represents a mode of operation whereby members of the partnership assist each other in technology transfer appropriate to the needs, economies and development goals of the constituent countries.

They see an interesting partnership of two rapidly industrialising giants - China and India - and four developed countries. Of the six partners, five have extensive and growing nuclear power programs and the sixth, Australia, is the key supplier of clean, green nuclear fuel for such programs.

What impact would the implementation of the present form of the Kyoto Protocol have on climate change? The short answer to this is little, if any! Historically the protocol seems to be the product of coercive utopian green politics driven through the UN by segments of the European Union who have managed to outsource most of their heavy manufacturing projects and problems to other countries.

In contrast, the Asia-Pacific Partnership recognises the unique needs of both developing nations and resources supplying countries. It does not seek to mandate emission targets on disparate national jurisdictions and societies but seeks to promote clean energy technologies appropriate to them. And it proposes to allow a "clean development mechanism" and the workings of competitive clean energy source pricings to respond to national and international market forces. This ensures that climate change is minimised and sustainable development aspirations are maximised without heavy impacts on national economies.

Most energy experts now believe that the only effective solution to greenhouse gas minimisation and climate change is the global acceptance of nuclear power technology. In the UK in November 2005, British Prime Minister Tony Blair had backed plans to recommence building nuclear power stations in the UK, convinced that nuclear power is the only way to secure energy needs and to meet Britain's commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Studies prepared for Blair by David King, his chief scientific adviser and other advisers had shown that "renewable" energy forms such as wind had no hope of filling Britain's future energy needs nor of meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Earlier, a declaration stating that nuclear energy should play an increasingly central role in the global fight against climate change had been signed by 25 members of the European Parliament. The declaration called for EU leaders to recognise nuclear energy's contribution in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and called on politicians and decision-makers to back investment in low-carbon energy technologies, including nuclear power. The declaration also argues that nuclear energy's role in combating climate change should not be neglected on purely ideological or political beliefs.

Consider the immense contribution to greenhouse gas emission minimisation made by nuclear energy in 2003. In that year the global electricity produced by the world's 435 nuclear power stations was 2398TWh or 16 per cent of total primary energy production. The amount of avoided carbon dioxide emission because of the use of nuclear energy in 2003 was 2.4 billion tonnes. This is 10 per cent of total emissions. Japan's 54 nuclear power stations alone save the equivalent of Australia's total greenhouse emissions. And the secret of this success is uranium fuel imported from Australia.

Delegates from the developed countries attending Kyoto understood that behind the alarming growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the mechanism of population growth and energy usage in the developing countries. The UN anticipates that the present world population of 5.5 billion will rise to 8.5billion by 2025. Of this three billion increase some 2.8 billion will be in developing countries, which already account for 75 per cent of the world's population.

About this time it is estimated that China's greenhouse emission will be about four times greater than that of all industrial countries together in 1990! It is likely that even with a modest growth in its economy, by 2010 China's annual demand on primary energy will be equivalent to 1.8 billion tonnes of standard coal and 1600 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. China's present carbon dioxide emission per unit gross national product is around 6000 tonnes per US dollar - one of the worst in the world.

Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace and subsequently its president, recently berated those lobbying against clean nuclear energy. He says "activists abandoned science in favour of sensationalism", observing that "nuclear energy is the only non-greenhouse emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy global demand".

The 1997 Kyoto deliberations were ill-conceived and impractical. Delegates neglected the legitimate aspirations of the developing nations and seemed to be in denial as to the pivotal role of nuclear energy in greenhouse gas minimisation. It is to be hoped that the senior ministers and their staff attending the Sydney conference will be able to rectify these mistakes and signal a simple and transparent path ahead for both sustainable development and environmental conservation.



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 January, 2006

Asia suffers in worst cold for 70 years

More proof of global cooling: If record hot days prove global warming, what do record cold days prove?

Delhi woke up shivering to an unfamiliar sight yesterday - frost on the ground. India's second biggest city had its first winter frost and ice in more than 70 years as a cold snap, sweeping in from the Himalayas, reached the northern plains, killing a hundred people in 24 hours, most of them homeless street-dwellers. Officials in Delhi ordered schools to shut for three days as the temperature fell to -2C (28.4F), the lowest in the city since 1935, when -6 (21.2C) was reached. The Indian Meteorological Department said: "The normal temperature at this time is 7C. We predicted it would drop to 2C to 3C, not three times as much, as has happened."

Supriya Singh, a fashion designer from Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi, said: "I was born here and this is the first time I have seen ice on grass."

Across the capital homeless people huddled around bonfires lit by civic and voluntary groups. Premchand Upadhyay, a security guard who sleeps in the open with his wife and five-year-old daughter, said: "My family kept shivering all night as we don't have a heater. How could one sleep in this cold?" Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous and one of its poorest states, has had 104 confirmed deaths. For the first time in ten years parts of the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Indian Kashmir, were frozen. Authorities banned skating on it after one child fell through ice and drowned. Tourists, including Britons, received a taste of the unusual winter in the popular and usually warm desert resort of Pushkar.

The Indian Army announced it was evacuating troops from its insulated bunkers in the disputed Siachen glacier as temperatures fell below -40 in sectors of the Himalayas


An expert committee of the British House of Lords recently issued a report that pissed all over the global warming scare and its chief bastion of support -- the IPCC. The British government has now issued an official reponse to that report. Economic statistician David Henderson offers some remakably polite comments on the government response:

On behalf of the government, DEFRA gives unqualified endorsement to the IPCC's work, role and procedures, as also to the conduct of British policies. The Response 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. It evinces an unshakable confidence in the status quo; and this goes with a reluctance to face, to understand properly, or even to recognise, unwelcome arguments and facts. Indeed, the Response is itself an illustration of those features of the IPCC process and milieu which prompted the Select Committee's concerns.

The Response says that the IPCC `assesses available literature rigorously', through it's `two stage, fully documented peer review process'. There is no attempt to meet, or refer to, either of the twin concerns that critics have voiced about this process, namely: Peer review is no safeguard against dubious assumptions, arguments and conclusions if the peers are largely drawn from the same restricted professional milieu. The peer review process as such, here as elsewhere, may be insufficiently rigorous. 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'.

Among the data and methods that have not been made fully open to scrutiny, and the results that have not been reproducible, are those that entered into the `hockey-stick' study and other temperature reconstructions that the IPCC has given currency to. Such failures in disclosure, which constitute a basic flaw in procedure, are not mentioned in the Response, and what it says about the state of the debate on this study is not accurate.

The Select Committee [of the House of Lords] was highly critical of the scenarios which yielded the projections of emissions that formed the starting point for the TAR, and which were published in 2000 in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). Here again the Response is dismissive. It twice makes the point, as though this was all that mattered, that the scenarios yield a wide range of possible outcomes. It conveys the misleading impression that the SRES scenarios are undergoing revision and improvement as part of the preparation of AR4, whereas in fact they are being used unchanged as the point of departure for this Assessment Report as for its predecessor.

In relation to emissions projections, the Response makes a glaring error. It says (p. 13) that: `Most commentators . would agree that any change in emissions due to changed economic assumptions will translate into a smaller effect on [CO2] concentrations and an even smaller effect on temperature. In other words [sic] the current IPCC scenarios are still fit for informing the climate change policy debate'

Even leaving aside the final non-sequitur, the initial statement is false. One has only to look at the opening pages of the report of TAR Working Group I, and in particular Figure 5 on page 14, to see that there are large differences for projected temperature changes shown in the Report which directly result from different projections of emissions. The last-minute decision to extend the upper range of projected temperature changes shown in the Report was the direct consequence of bringing into consideration the emissions-intensive A1FI scenario.

The Response makes other questionable or misleading statements about the scenarios and what has been said by way of criticism of them; and it passes over the key point that those who have questioned the IPCC's treatment of economic issues have not confined their criticisms to the SRES scenarios. The main case for the prosecution is that elements within the TAR contain what many economists and economic statisticians would regard as basic errors, showing a lack of awareness of relevant published sources, and that 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 Select Committee was critical of the limited part that has been played by HM Treasury in relation to issues of climate change. This line of thought is also rejected in the Response, which says (p. 4) that `Treasury has since the outset played an integral role in the development of UK climate change policy'. Such reassuring language is not consistent with the continued failure on the Treasury's part even to notice, still less to act on, the questionable treatment of economic issues within the IPCC process. From the Response it appears that, in this corner of Whitehall, Dr Pangloss is alive and well.


An email from Prof. S. Fred Singer (

I am surprised that no one has pointed to the real problem that's creating an energy crisis in Europe and Britain. It is not just Putin. It is of course this widely held fear of global warming that has distorted the energy supply situation, forcing a shift from coal to natural gas. In the US, electric power from gas grew from zero to 23% in a few years, raising the price from $2 per mcf to roughly $14. But at least coal still supplies over 50% of electric power. The answer for Europe is to forget about Kyoto and import cheap coal from So Africa, Australia, and US as quickly as possible to free up natural gas supplies for home heating. And build nuclear plants over the longer term. To a lesser extent, this shift on policy applies also to the US.


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 January, 2006


Given the pasting President Bush has taken over the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, one might have assumed the president's critics were in agreement about how to prevent such disasters. But for years now, the left has been deeply ambivalent about the most logical and time-tested mitigator against the threat of city-wide and regional floods: dams.

How could dams, embraced by everyone from beavers to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, be a source of contention? Ask the environmentalists. Their campaign against dams has gained influence and stalled, decommissioned, or otherwise limited the construction of many dams and levees, including one project that could have made a significant difference during Katrina's pounding of New Orleans. This animus against dams also continues to skew spending and construction priorities to make such disasters more likely in the future.

Until recently, dams were the pride of the left, and for good reason: They provide electricity, irrigation, and, of course, bulwarks against flooding. In 1964, presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was thought to have committed campaign suicide when he proposed privatizing the Tennessee Valley Authority, which had been built with New Deal dollars. Local voters, grateful to the TVA for providing power and controlling wild rivers, didn't much like Goldwater's argument.

Now a position far more radical has become respectable. In Deep Water: The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment, a new book receiving rave reviews from the mainstream press, Jacques Leslie assails all dams as "loaded weapons aimed down rivers" and calls for rivers to be allowed to return to their natural flows. Leslie, who was a Vietnam war correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and has written for magazines such as Harper's and the Washington Monthly, takes on what he calls the "Rooseveltian vision, arising out of the New Deal, built into the Hoover Dam and the Tennessee Valley Authority, enthralled with its seeming capacity to foster prosperity by subjugating nature." He concludes by inveighing against dams as "relics of the twentieth century, like Stalinism and gasoline-powered cars, symbols of the allure of technology and its transience . . . of the delusion that humans are exempt from nature's dominion."

Most New Deal programs are considered sacred on the left, as George Bush learned recently when he tried to reform Social Security. But liberals conveniently forget Roosevelt's no-nonsense views on dealing with nature. At the 1935 dedication of Hoover Dam, FDR hailed the taming of a "turbulent, dangerous river" and the "completion of the greatest dam in the world." He proudly noted that the dam on the Colorado River was "altering the geography of a whole region," calling what had existed before "cactus-covered waste" and "an unpeopled, forbidding desert." Roosevelt also defended public works such as dams on the now-discredited Keynesian ground that they create jobs (the New Deal did not bring down overall unemployment, which only returned to pre-Depression levels with World War II), but he was generally pragmatic about nature in its pristine state. About the river he said bluntly that "the Colorado added little of value to the region this dam serves." In the spring, he said, farmers "awaited with dread the coming of a flood, and at the end of nearly every summer they feared a shortage of water that would destroy their crops."

But to Leslie, damming the Colorado River was a damn shame, and he pushes for returning it "to its virgin state: tempestuous, fickle, and in some stretches astonishing." He acknowledges that if you took away the dams and the hydroelectric power they provide, you would also "take away modern Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix" as well as the nearby former desert outpost known as Las Vegas. But in exchange for this major subtraction from civilization as we know it, Americans would be able to marvel at a "free-flowing river" and "an unparalleled depository of marine life."

What does the left-wing website Salon, a consistent defender of New Deal programs, have to say about Leslie's savaging of Roosevelt's achievement? (And what does a West Coast webzine make of a book that proposes cutting off a major power source for Los Angeles?) Salon heaps praise on Leslie, stating in a September article that "the modern dam, in short, has come to signify both the majesty and folly of our age's drive to conquer nature."

Leslie and Salon aren't alone. Support for dam removal and opposition to new dams have become a staple among modern environmentalists, giving rise to organizations whose only agenda is to stop dams. American Rivers, for example, brags about how many dams have been decommissioned and has as its slogan "Rivers Unplugged." The Berkeley-based International Rivers Network does similar work in Third World countries, where dams are even more crucial for power and flood control. This sea change on dams illustrates a larger shift of the left concerning technology and the nature of man.

The same weekend that Salon ran its glowing notice for Jacques Leslie's rants against artificial barriers on natural rivers, it also ran an article about a recent antiwar protest in Washington under the headline "'Make Levees, Not War.'" This was a popular trope at the time, with leftie antiwar spokesmen charging that money for the war in Iraq could have gone to building levees as well as their favorite social programs. Yet one of the main obstacles, before Katrina, to building and fortifying levees, as well as creating more innovative flood barriers, was put up by environmentalists.

In 1977, the group Save Our Wetlands successfully sued the Army Corps of Engineers to halt the construction of large floodgates intended to prevent Gulf of Mexico storms from overwhelming Lake Pontchartrain and flooding New Orleans. The gates, the environmentalists said, would have hurt wetlands and marine life, although the Corps had already done an environmental assessment to the satisfaction of environmental regulators. Many experts believe the gates could have greatly reduced the impact of Katrina. "It probably would have given [the people of New Orleans] a better shot," says Daniel Canfield, a renowned professor of aquatic sciences at the University of Florida.

Then, in the 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers tried to upgrade 303 miles of levees along the Mississippi River, telling the Baton Rouge Advocate in 1996 that a levee "failure could wreak catastrophic consequences on Louisiana and Mississippi." But the anti-dam American Rivers, along with eco-groups such as the Sierra Club and state chapters of the National Wildlife Federation, sued, alleging harm to "bottomland hardwood wetlands."...

But to refute the claim that dams are "dinosaurs," all we have to do is look to Western Europe, usually a favorite reference point for liberal activists and the media. There has, however, been a good deal of silence about European efforts on flood control, while the few reports that have addressed this subject largely focused on the amount of money Europe spends. But what the countries spend it on is more important: dams, walls, and gates. After a North Sea storm in 1953, the Netherlands, half of which is below sea level, set out to dam every last major body of water. The last of these were ultramodern dams built in the 1980s.

In the United States, The Weekly Standard was virtually alone in suggesting that Lake Pontchartrain could be dammed along Dutch lines. (See James R. Stoner Jr., "Love in the Ruins," September 26, 2005.) London, which sits below the high tide of the Atlantic waterways, has also had severe problems with the flooding of the Thames River. So, in the '80s, gates were built that can rise as high as five stories. The Dutch and the British are sensitive to the environment, but only to a point. They try to regulate water levels to accommodate the native fish. But neither country is undertaking massive projects to restore swamps or, in the eco parlance, "wetlands."

The environmentalist crusade against dams is curious for other reasons. The same activists who campaign for hydrogen-powered cars, for example, rail against the hydroelectricity produced by dams. As environmental journalist Gregg Easterbrook pointed out in his 1995 book A Moment on the Earth, a dam "burns no fossil fuel and emits no greenhouse gases, smog or toxic or solid wastes." Take away dams, and folks will have to rely on other energy sources such as coal, which, as we know from the recent tragedy in West Virginia, has its own environmental and safety concerns.

Citing the Dutch and British experience, Canfield says the anti-dam movement is not mainly about science, but rather philosophy, or even theology. "It's a belief structure," he says. What motivates anti-dam activists is abstract talk about man not interfering in the "ecosystem" or leaving a "footprint" on the planet. But without humans asserting themselves, nature will leave plenty of its own footprints, like Katrina, as it stomps at will over human beings and wildlife alike.

More here

BBQs and climate change

Panic: 'Warm weather "to boost food bugs"' reports BBC News after comments from public health expert Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia. 'There's an interesting area around climate, that's how is it going to impact on human behaviour', said Hunter. 'People have more barbecues when it's hot.' In turn, this would lead to food being left out or undercooked more often with a resultant increase in illness. His comments were echoed by Gordon Nicholls from the UK Health Protection Agency who suggested that cases of malaria might appear in the UK, too.

Don't panic: It is still unclear what, if any, long-term impact global warming might have on the UK, but that won't stop the relentless speculation about how climate change is going to make life worse. Assuming that Professor Hunter is right and the UK does get warmer weather in future, it is interesting how he manages to turn this into a Bad Thing. Most Britons look enviously at Americans and Australians enjoying outdoor get-togethers with beer and grilled meat. In fact, if anything is likely to cause food poisoning, it is the fact that barbecues in the UK are so few and far between. Rushing outside with inadequately defrosted burgers and chicken to take advantage of the unexpected surprise of some weekend sun, the catchphrase at every British barbecue is, 'Does anybody know how to light it?' It's a miracle that there aren't more cases of food poisoning. If we could actually rely on there being good weather, we might barbecue more often, and learn how to do it properly.

The idea of malaria making a comeback because of rising temperatures seems implausible. Many parts of Western Europe have climates which are hotter than the UK will ever get, yet endemic malaria was officially eradicated 30 years ago (and much earlier in the majority of countries). As Paul Reiter points out, 'From 1564 to the 1730s - the coldest period of the Little Ice Age - malaria was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England'. The prevalence of malaria is related above all to economic development, not temperature. Better drainage, improved healthcare and the use of pesticides are among the main factors that have enabled developed countries to conquer the disease.

To suggest that an increase in average temperatures might have pros as well as cons is at odds with the consensus that the future is bleak because human beings damage or destroy everything they touch. But while the science of climate change is complex and provisional, 'manmade global warming' is a morality tale about the dangers of messing with nature. If islands drowning under rising sea levels or crops failing are too remote to scare you, perhaps the thought of uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea will make you reconsider that 4x4 you were going to purchase.

We should not take the ideas of 'experts' like Hunter at face value. It's not just those barbecue steaks that need a good grilling.


Tim Flannery: An Australian eco-nut

Next week the global debate on climate change comes to Sydney. Governments of the countries that consume most of the world's energy, dictate the world economy, house most of the world's people and which emit the largest share of greenhouse gases will meet to chart a new approach to climate change.

The meeting will be the first for the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate at a high level. Yet greens are hostile - they realise the partnership is a rival to the Kyoto agreement on climate control, which they prefer. Greenpeace says the partnership is a prescription for inaction. Paul Gilding, a former international director of Greenpeace, blames global warming for last week's record temperatures on our east coast. Anthony Albanese, Labor's shadow environment minister, has discovered the world's first global-warming refugees: fleeing from rising sea levels in Papua New Guinea.

WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) has finally decided to enter the science debate. Its president, Rob Purves, has had his own foundation fund a new book by scientist Tim Flannery, the Australian humanist of the year in 2004 and author of the best-selling The Future Eaters. The book is The Weather Makers, the History and Future Impact of Climate Change. Bill Bryson and Jared Diamond have endorsed it, the former declaring on the cover: "It would be difficult to imagine a better or more important book."

So what case does Flannery put? It is a tract. For those who want to believe things are worse than they thought, that global warming will eliminate one in five living things, cause oceans to rise, make weather worse, melt the Arctic and Antarctic ice and the glaciers and cause people to migrate in large numbers, and have 243 references to demonstrate this, then this is the book for them.

For those genuinely curious about the scientific debate about global warming, the message is buyer beware. At times Flannery's writing is lyrical. His account of flora and fauna in the valleys and mountains of PNG is a delight. But, like Diamond, he is attracted, fatally, to the grand lateral leap in thought.

In The Future Eaters, Flannery makes a superficially persuasive case that Australia is overpopulated. Our (we humans) environmental footprint is too large. We consume more of the natural environment than is available. His leap in thought is that we are like ruminant carnivores that overgraze when herds are too large. However, Flannery does not account for the one thing that separates us from other species - our capacity to develop and use technology. The world's population has doubled since 1950, yet we are feeding people from a smaller area of cultivated land because we have applied technology.

Flannery makes similar leaps in The Weather Makers. His frame of reference for understanding global warming is Gaia. This is the idea that the Earth is one integrated ecosystem. Conceptually it is like a pseudo-scientific Earth Mother. He expressly rejects "reductionism", that is trying to establish the causal relationship of how one action affects another, such as how increased levels of carbon dioxide actually cause the Earth to warm. To quote him: "Saying that something causes something is an unhelpful way of thinking. Instead, what we have are seemingly insignificant initial occurrences - such as an increase of atmospheric CO2 - that lead to runaway change."

This is a handy logical let-out given that "what is causing what" is the key question for those advocating measures that will reduce the capacity to eliminate poverty. Flannery's most astonishing point is that the Earth's biosphere is shaped by "telekinesis" (how Uri Geller used to bend spoons with apparently paranormal telepathic powers). Activity in one part of the system remotely causes changes in others.

Consider what Flannery is implying. Do these big-concept, if not other-worldly, ideas warrant the discarding of a normal test in science to prove claims that one thing causes another? Would a construction company employ Geller to use his paranormal powers to build a skyscraper instead of using cranes on the basis of the theory implied in an otherwise implausible event?

Flannery hews to the Greenpeace and WWF orthodoxies on global warming and provides what he regards as evidence to support their positions. Basically he has collected every piece of research in recent years that demonstrates the impact of global warming. He treats the work of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as establishing a probability that the Earth's temperature will rise.

His pro-Kyoto scientific colleagues have always been more careful. John Zillman, the former head of the Atmospheric Research Division of the CSIRO, is always careful to state that the UN just laid out scenarios for temperature increases (the range was between 1.8C and 5.8C by 2100 and no probability was attached to them).

Flannery seems to be fully integrated into the green policy stream. Even the title of his book, The Weather Makers, seems calculated to emphasise the most current claim by green groups that global warming is causing intemperate weather. Ian Plimer, a professor of geology at Adelaide University, says there is no basis for such a claim. If Flannery says global warming is causing sea levels to rise, maybe we can't blame Albanese for saying this is happening in PNG, despite the fact the IPCC itself concluded in 2001 that there was no evidence of increases in global sea levels in the 20th century.



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 January, 2006


(Now in print at Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Volume 230, 17 January 2006, Pages 155-164)

Temperature responses to quasi-100-yr solar variability during the past 6000 years based on ?18O of peat cellulose in Hongyuan, eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau, China

By Hai Xu et al.


During the past 6000 years, the temperature variation trend inferred from d18O of peat cellulose in a peat core from Hongyuan (eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau, southwestern China) is similar to the atmospheric 14C concentration trend and the modeled solar output trend. The general trend of Hongyuan d18O during the past millennium also coincides well with the atmospheric 14C concentration trend, the 10Be concentration trend in an ice core from the South Pole, the reconstructed total solar irradiance trend, as well as the modeled solar output trend. In addition, temperature events also correspond well to solar perturbations during the past 6000 years. Therefore, the driving force of Holocene temperature variations should be properly ascribed to solar activity. The spectrum analysis further illustrates that quasi-100-yr fluctuation of solar activity was probably responsible for temperature variations in northeast Qinghai-Tibet plateau during the past 6000 years.

The above article was previously covered here on 29th August when it went "In press"


Paul Ehrlich was at it in the 60's -- to say nothing of Malthus in the 19th century. They never learn from the abject wrongness of their predictions

Topping today’s Science/Nature section at BBC News, “Population size ‘green priority’”, by Richard Black. The article focuses on the thoughts of Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, who contends that the “current global population of six billion is unsustainably high.” This is to say nothing of the growth rate and future generations.

Based on a column Rapley wrote for a new BBC feature, The Green Room, the article presents the view that “humankind is consuming the Earth’s resources at an unsustainably fast rate,” based on “a number of studies.”

The basis for Rapley’s concern, as you might expect, is carbon emissions, but he writes, “Although reducing human emissions to the atmosphere is undoubtedly of critical importance, as are any and all measures to reduce the human environmental ‘footprint’, the truth is that the contribution of each individual cannot be reduced to zero.”

He concludes, “Only the lack of the individual can bring it down to nothing.”

Rapley laments that there is a paucity of opportunities to discuss population growth, since it is not often discussed at global environmental summits. “Rare indeed are the opportunities for religious leaders, philosophers, moralists, policymakers, politicians and indeed the ”global public“ to debate the trajectory of the world’s human population in the context of its stress on the Earth system, and to decide what might be done,” he writes.

Rapley does seem to overlook the UN’s World Population Day, which is little more than a campaign for population controls. And the myth of humanity as a plague species has been fodder for London’s “The Human Zoo,” as well as happening to be the view of Agent Smith in the Matrix movies.

As we saw in a recent commentary by Acton research fellow Jay Richards, Rapley is certainly not alone in his concern. A letter to Richards about his book on intelligent design from a prominent scientist read in part: “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!”

Perhaps some individuals have imbibed such a view, as birth rates in the developed world are not growing. A 2004 UN report showed that “because of its low and declining rate of population growth, the population of developed countries as a whole is expected to remain virtually unchanged between 2005 and 2050.” Most of the countries in the developed world which will account for the decline in birth rates belong to the EU. The US, on the other hand, is one of the eight nations that will ”account for half of the world’s projected population increase."

But part of the reason that Rapley’s concerns aren’t getting much attention beyond pop culture phenomena and some macabre colleagues is that the population explosion myth has been rather thoroughly debunked. The case of carbon emissions is simply the latest hook for population control advocates. For more on population and the environment, check out Acton’s policy section, which links to a number of helpful resources.


Ice cores show warming 'natural'

Hundreds of thousands of years worth of climate records in ice cores show there is nothing unusual in a global warming trend over the past 25 years. Marine geophysicist Bob Carter, a professor at Queensland's James Cook University and leading climate change sceptic, said the effects of human activity would barely register in the long-term history of climate change. He told The Weekend Australian that ice cores from Antarctica "tell us clearly that in the context of the meteorological records of 100 years, it is not unusual to have a period of warming like the one we are in at the moment".

Dr Carter disputed the theory that human activity was making a current - natural - warm period hotter: "Atmospheric CO2 is not a primary forcing agent for temperature change." He argues that "any cumulative human signal is so far undetectable at a global level and, if present, is buried deeply in the noise of natural variation".

Fellow sceptic William Kininmonth, a former director of the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre, agreed. He wrote in a 2004 book, Climate Change: A Natural Hazard that there was "every reason to believe that the variabilities in global temperature and other climate characteristics experienced over the past century are part of the natural variability of the climate system and are not a consequence of recent anthropogenic activities".

But other leading scientists, who blame human activity for climate change, say the "denialists" are a one-to-99 minority. Will Steffen, director of the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University, said: "There is no debate. The debate is over." The evidence that human activity had increased emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, adding to natural warming, was "overwhelming", he said...

More here

Technology, not Kyoto, seen as key

Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions three times greater than those in the Kyoto Protocol could result from next week's climate change talks, a federal minister has predicted. The Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, said the six countries at the talks will be asked to expedite technologies that will allow them to continue using large amounts of energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions. "While Kyoto puddles on, to put it nicely, the real reductions will come from technology," Mr Macfarlane said. "This is not a diplomatic love-in. It's a hard-edged business plan with targets and reporting duties." By cleaning up aluminium, coal and other energy-intensive industries, emissions could be cut globally by up to 3 per cent over the next five years, he said.

Under Kyoto, reductions are expected to be about 1 per cent in the same period. Ten companies have been invited to join the talks along with ministers from Australia, the US, Japan, India, China and South Korea, which have formed the Asia-Pacific Clean Development and Climate Partnership.

Mr Macfarlane suggested that non-binding targets could be used to measure how the use of new technologies was contributing to reducing emissions. But he shied away from saying that a specific timetable for the reductions - one of Australia's main problems with the Kyoto Protocol - would be used. "This meeting won't produce all the solutions but it will be a meaningful step," 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.


7 January, 2006


AND jobs for poor Indians

Indian police have detained around a dozen Greenpeace activists during a protest over plans to scrap in India a French aircraft carrier which they said contains tonnes of highly toxic material. Environmental group Greenpeace, which organised the protest outside the French Embassy in the Indian capital, urged Paris and New Delhi not to allow the Clemenceau to reach a scrapyard in the western Gujarat state next month without first being decontaminated in France. The group says that vulnerable scrapyard workers in countries like India risk developing serious health problems after handling toxic waste. "We call upon the Indian Ministry of Environment to scrap their decision to allow this ship to come to India," Greenpeace campaigner Ramapati Kumar said, adding India did not have the facilities to handle the ship safely, unlike France. "India is not a dumping ground for France," Kumar said.

The ship set sail from the French naval base of Toulon last week for the massive Alang ship breaking yard in Gujarat, despite similar protests in France. The French Embassy in New Delhi did not immediately comment on the Greenpeace allegations.

The environmental group says the decommissioned ship - which served in the 1991 Gulf War - is fitted with hundreds of tonnes of hazardous material, including 500 tonnes of asbestos. The French Government has said there are only 45-50 tonnes of toxic and non-biodegradable materials in the ship, according to media reports. "We don't want toxic scrap to come to our country," Greenpeace activist Vivek Sinha said as dozens of policemen surrounded protesters. Greenpeace said in a report published in December that thousands of workers involved in the shipbreaking industry in countries like India, Pakistan and China have probably died over the past two decades due to accidents or exposure to toxic waste.



Cool change on the way, but not for another decade

Scientific evidence is emerging to show the world's mean temperature will drop by 0.4 to 0.7 Celsius over the 25 years starting in 2015. This cooling will come about because the solar sunspot cycle will collapse sometime between 2011 and 2022 and remain subdued until the 2040s.

I know this is hard to believe, given the recent heatwave conditions. However, in the past 1000 years, on each occasion when the sunspot cycle has collapsed, the world's mean temperature decreased significantly. We should start preparing for these cooler temperatures.

Ian Wilson Toowoomba (Qld)


Three correspondents (Letters, January 3) claim that on the basis of a few recent hot days, global warming is now proved. Not so fast. That may be so, but the evidence is by no means set yet, if it ever will be, because there are plenty of reputable scientists who disagree.

Last month was Perth's coldest December on record, and while December here was on average very hot, it was made so by a few extreme days. If you cast your mind back, a lot of people remarked how mild the first part of December was and that Christmas Day was relatively pleasant.

Tasmania is experiencing cool weather while Europe is in the grip of one of the worst cold snaps for many years.

New Year's Day was reported as the hottest in 67 years, which suggests that there were very hot days more than half a century ago, too. I'm not opposed to the reduction of carbon dioxide and other pollutants but let's not make claims that are accepted only because the bandwagon is passing by.


The Carbon Dioxide Fear

A mocking article by Jason Katz Cooper, a biologist in Northern Virginia:

A new report in the prestigious British journal Nature shows how greenhouse gasses (normally associated with global warming) are now slated to cause global freezing as well. This has led me to throw in the towel and admit, as liberals have been arguing for the past 25 years, that CO2 really is the main problem confronting humanity. As Al Gore succinctly summed it up, "global warming is more serious than terrorism." After all, it causes so many calamitous things (whereas terrorism only kills people).

John Roach reporting for National Geographic News reports that the world's surface temperature has warmed 1øF (0.6øC) in the last 100 years. This is a calamity in and of itself to be sure. The Nature report adds to this tragedy that in addition to warming, greenhouse gasses will cause the earth to cool at the same time - quite a trick. But this is just the beginning of the horrors of greenhouse gasses. Let us take a quick look spanning the globe:

From Colorado, through National Geographic News we learn with remorse that swallows, are showing up to their U.S. breeding grounds about 12 days earlier than they were 30 years ago, according to Hector Galbraith at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Galbraith calls the results "worrying."

Miles away In the North Sea greenhouse gasses are busy destroying cold-water plankton and replacing them with - gasp -warm water plankton. But the National Geographic News shows us that this is only the beginning. The loss of specifically cold-water plankton causes decreases in the number of sand eels which causes many species of seabirds to fail to breed (out of empathy with the sand eels perhaps). The world is definitely falling apart.

But it gets more ominous still because the greenhouse gasses are not done. AOL News reports that in northern Russia, frogs have been spotted more often on the tundra and some birds are not even bothering to migrate. Simultaneously over in the North Pole CO2 is causing polar ice to contract to its smallest size in at least a century. But the situation is much graver still.

AOL News takes us to Norway where we learn that reindeer traditionally herded by Sami people-who evidently are a type of people who live in Norway-were vulnerable when winter snows did not fall as much as usual. The article quotes a Sami environmental activist named Prakhova as saying, "Snow is cold for us but for reindeer it is a soft winter bed." She goes on, "Lack of snow also makes it hard for reindeer to feed on lichen because the plants can get covered by sharp ice, which cuts their soft muzzles."

As an American I am embarrassed that my country sent 100,000 troops overseas to defend freedom in Iraq while ignoring the dangers of greenhouse gasses as they kill cold-water plankton, injure reindeer noses, and spread frogs across the great Russian tundra. The temperature right now in Fairfax, Va (from where I write) is 41øF. If we had concentrated our focus instead of Iraq on the CO2 terror it would be 40øF.

Interestingly, as it now turns out greenhouse gasses will cause cooling by the same mechanism as proposed in the movie hit of a summer ago, The Day After Tomorrow - a disruption in the conveyor-belt current that brings warm air northward. At the time environmental activists and intellectual elitists, demonstrating their neutrality, acknowledged that even their best computer models found it unlikely for disruptions in the conveyor-belt currents to cause thousand foot tidal waves to crash into Manhattan, instantly freeze, and cause the entire population of the northeast to move to Mexico. But their models do now predict disruptions of cold-water plankton populations. Which is I suppose, the perfect thing for big hearted liberals to worry about while the rest of us go about the business of fighting terrorism, spreading freedom, and making this planet safe for our children.


Despite the claims of its critics, Intelligent Design is indeed a scientific theory that can be-- indeed is--contradicted by evidence. Examples are the human appendix and the inverted construction of the human retina-bad design with good evolutionary explanations.

The real objection to Intelligent Design is not that it is not a theory, nor that it is a theory that we have reason to reject. The real objection is that its supporters are driven by religious, not scientific, motives. Somewhere in the world there must exist someone who was persuaded of its truth by scientific arguments-but looking at those arguments makes it clear that they were generated by people who knew what conclusion they wanted and were doing their best to fudge up reasons to believe it.

My first post in this blog discussed another example of faith based science--Nuclear Winter. Its scientific credentials were a good deal better than those of Intelligent Design. But it was clear from the sales campaign, at a point when the scientific basis was still very shaky, that it was a theory propounded by its supporters for a non-scientific motive. The campaign for nuclear disarmament had gotten a lot of mileage out of the claim, almost certainly false, that fallout from a nuclear war would wipe out life on earth, or at least human life. Nuclear Winter provided a new argument designed to reach the same conclusion-one that might even be true.

Quite a lot of environmentalism fits the same pattern. The economic, biological and climatological arguments--about global warming, species extinction, pollution, and the like--are sometimes right, sometimes wrong. But the driving force, for a lot of those making those arguments, is the essentially religious belief that natural is good.

As evidence, consider how few in the environmental movement are willing to support nuclear power. Nuclear reactors are the one source of power that provides a plausible alternative to fossil fuels-a way of generating electricity almost anywhere without producing CO2 or consuming fossil fuels, and doing it at a cost not wildly higher than the cost of coal fueled generators. They thus provide at least a partial solution to what environmentalists claim are two of the big problems-depletable resources and global warming.

A few environmentalists accept that argument-most, by casual observation, don't. The reason is clear. Nuclear reactors are as unnatural as you can get-a symbol of the evils of high technology, used as such for decades by many of the same people pushing environmentalism.

The risks of faith based science.



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 January, 2006


Forget planting trees to negate your SUV's contribution to global warming -- according to Stanford University atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira, forests in the wrong location can actually make the Earth hotter. Plants absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, so scientists and policy makers have long assumed new forest growth helps combat global warming. At an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco earlier this month, however, Caldeira rolled out a provocative new finding: Trees may be good at capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but their dark leaves are also very efficient at soaking up sunlight, which is later released as heat. At certain latitudes, the net effect of these two processes is warming, rather than cooling.

"Forests do store carbon, and as a result, the planet initially cools a little -- maybe tenths of degrees," Caldeira said. "But over the long term, trees' heat absorption warms things up more." Caldeira and colleagues at California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created a computer simulation [i.e. a piece of gusswork] showing that if most land areas in northern latitudes were covered with forests, the planet would be six degrees warmer than it is today. Forest growth in equatorial areas, on the other hand, reduced global temperatures in the simulation because the warmer air in these regions allows more moisture to evaporate from the leaves of trees. This produces substantial cooling that cancels out the effects of heat absorption.

These seemingly maverick ideas have met with serious interest among some climatologists. "Planting trees definitely sequesters carbon dioxide, which tends to lower temperatures," said Eric Adams, an ecologist in Massachusetts Institute of Technology's environmental engineering department. "But the trees also do absorb light that might otherwise be reflected, which causes warming." "It's very interesting that changing land use -- whether that means growing trees or cutting them down -- can have an effect on climate," added David Erickson, director of the Climate and Carbon Research Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. "That effect is working in conjunction with the impact of greenhouse gases."

If future studies confirm Caldeira's findings, his work could have a substantial impact on environmental policy. Currently, programs like Carbonfund and the Chicago Climate Exchange support the planting of temperate forests in various regions of the United States in order to reduce global warming. In the United Kingdom, for-profit Climate Care offers customers the chance to "cancel out" the carbon-dioxide emissions they produce by donating to a fund that supports reforestation efforts. Its Stratus package, which costs about $130, is billed as making one person "completely climate-neutral for the whole year."

Caldeira's research suggests efforts like these are off base. "Organizations should not be giving these kinds of credits," he said. "Planting forests in mid-latitudes should not be considered equivalent to using renewable resources." Carbonfund spokesman Craig Coulter, however, urged caution. "If scientific consensus shows that this study is valid, then of course we'd have to take that into account," he said. "But there's always been tit-for-tat among academics about different methods for calculating the impact of reducing carbon, and I'd want to see more studies along these lines before making policy changes." He also pointed out that planting trees has a variety of environmental benefits unrelated to global warming, such as restoring threatened animal habitats and preventing the erosion of topsoil.

Caldeira stressed that lawmakers shouldn't advocate chopping down swaths of forest in hopes of reducing global temperatures a few degrees. He thinks investing in new sources of clean energy, like hydrogen and biofuel, is a better way to address the global-warming problem. "Earth systems are very complicated -- you might be able to reduce warming by cutting down some trees, but that wouldn't be good for the environment overall," he said. "The less we interfere with the system, the more likely we are to have a healthy planet."


Asbestos regulation

Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog

A primary school in my area was looking forward to some much-needed roof repairs. However, when the workmen knocked down the old ceiling, they discovered asbestos – and promptly downed tools. Government regulations demand that asbestos in public buildings must be dealt with professionally. That meant spending tens of thousands of pounds for specialist crews, in protective suits and breathing apparatus, to remove and dispose of this supposedly lethal mineral.

I say 'supposedly' because most asbestos is actually harmless. It comes in three varieties. Crocidolite ('blue asbestos'), was used in specialist applications like steam engines. Amosite ('brown asbestos') is found in old lagging and insulation. These forms contain long fibres which, if inhaled, may trigger cancer and respiratory disease up to 60 years later.

Both blue and brown asbestos were banned in 1985. But some 90% of what we call 'asbestos' is crysotile ('white asbestos'). Its short round fibres disappear quickly if inhaled. It is commonly bonded in cement, where the fibres cannot escape into the air anyway. Everyday exposure to the asbestos on your garage roof, your ironing board, or the lagging round your water tank, is effectively harmless. Nobody born after 1940 seems to have developed disease triggered by crysotile fibres.

Thus a sensible householder might best deal with asbestos by spraying a coat of paint over it, or leaving it alone (as the Health and Safety Executive itself advises). So why is everyone petrified by the stuff?

The answer is that inept government regulations lumped all asbestos together. So now it all has to be treated as if it were as toxic as blue or brown. That's a nice earner for the contractors in their protective suits and gas-masks, but a pointless expense on taxpayers and worried householders.

Asbestos Watchdog claims to have saved companies up to £480,000 by saving them from the unnecessary specialist removal of asbestos. Unfortunately, though, there are still plenty of firms, householders, and government bodies being taken for huge sums without justification – thanks to our regulators and the 'zero risk' mentality that drives our regulatory system. Time for a re-think?

Ian Plimer excoriates the global warmers with the aid of historical facts

Ian Plimer is a professor of geology at the University of Adelaide and former head of the school of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne

Heat, bushfires. Just another Australian summer, some hotter, some wetter, some cooler, some drier. As per usual, the northern hemisphere freezes and the blame game is in overdrive. At the 2005 UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal, Greenpeace's Steven Guilbeault stated: "Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with."

It is that simple! If it's hot, it's global warming; if it's cold, it's global warming. Demonstrators in frigid temperatures in Montreal chanted: "It's hot in here! There's too much carbon in the atmosphere!" The same apocalyptic Guilbeault says: "Time is running out to deal with climate change. 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.

In 1992, Greenpeace's Henry Kendall gave us the Chicken Little quote, "Time is running out"; in 1994, The Irish Times tried to frighten the leprechauns with "Time running out for action on global warming, Greenpeace claims"; and in 1997 Chris Rose of Greenpeace maintained the religious mantra with "Time is running out for the climate". We've heard such failed catastrophist predictions before. The Club of Rome on resources, Paul Ehrlich on population, Y2K, and now Greenpeace on global warming.

During the past 30 years, the US economy grew by 50 per cent, car numbers grew by 143 per cent, energy consumption grew by 45 per cent and air pollutants 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. Most European signatories to the Kyoto Protocol had greenhouse gas emissions increase since 2001, whereas in the US emissions fell by nearly 1per cent. Furthermore, carbon credits rewarded Russia, (east) Germany and Britain, which had technically and economically backward energy production in 1990.

By the end of this century, the demographically doomed French, Italians and Spaniards may have too few environmentalists to fund Greenpeace's business. So what really does Greenpeace want? A habitable environment with no humans left to inhabit it? Destruction of the major economies for .07C change?

Does it matter if sea level rises a few metres or global temperatures rise a few degrees? No. Sea level changes by up to 400m, atmospheric temperatures by about 20C, carbon dioxide can vary from 20 per cent to 0.03 per cent, and our dynamic planet just keeps evolving. Greenpeace, contrary to scientific data, implies a static planet. Even if the sea level rises by metres, it is probably cheaper to address this change than reconstruct the world's economies.

For about 80 per cent of the time since its formation, Earth has been a warm, wet, greenhouse planet with no icecaps. When Earth had icecaps, the climate was far more variable, disease depopulated human settlements and extinction rates of other complex organisms were higher. Thriving of life and economic strength occurs during warm times. Could Greenpeace please explain why there was a pre-Industrial Revolution global warming from AD900 to 1300? Why was the sea level higher 6000 years ago than it is at present? Which part of the 120m sea-level rise over the past 15,000 years is human-induced? To attribute a multicomponent, variable natural process such as climate change to human-induced carbon emissions is pseudo-science.

There is no debate about climate change, only dogma and misinformation. For example, is there a link between hurricanes Katrina and Rita and global warming? Two hurricanes hit the US Gulf Coast six weeks apart in 1915, mimicking Katrina and Rita. If global warming caused recent storms, there should have been more hurricanes in the Pacific and Indian oceans since 1995. Instead, there has been a slight decrease at a time when China and India have increased greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of hurricanes might seem more severe because of the blanket instantaneous news coverage and because more people now live in hurricane-prone areas, hence there is more property damage and loss of life.

Only a strong economy can produce the well fed who have the luxury of espousing with religious fervour their uncosted, impractical, impoverishing policies. By such policies, Greenpeace continues to exacerbate grinding poverty in the Third World. The planet's best friend is human resourcefulness with a supportive, strong economy and reduced release of toxins. The greenhouse gases - nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane - have been recycled for billions of years without the intervention of human politics.


What you say when you are fresh out of ideas

A ludicrous apology for a serious political party policy: Pure political hot air

Australia must prepare to take in a new class of environmental refugees from the Pacific if the worst fears of climate change are realised, federal Labor says. Under its Pacific climate change plan, released today, Labor said a regional coalition should develop a strategy to relocate thousands of islanders when their island homes become uninhabitable. Low-lying Pacific island states such as Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu - which sit just a few metres above sea level - are at risk of being swamped as global warming forces sea levels to rise.

"We should be part of an international coalition which is prepared to do our fair share," Opposition environment spokesman Anthony Albanese said. "The alternative to that is to say, and I don't think any Australian would accept this, that we're going to sit by while people literally drown."

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.


5 January, 2006


Russian natural gas surged through Ukraine to countries across Europe on Tuesday, banishing the specter of immediate and prolonged shortages because of Moscow's price dispute with Kiev. But relief was tempered by the realization that the continent's dependence on Russian natural gas means it is vulnerable to future energy crises. About one-quarter of Europe's gas comes from Russia -- 80 percent of that via Ukraine -- and the standoff raised fears of serious gas shortages during a cold winter.

European officials sought to dispel anxieties left after some countries saw gas supplies from Russia transiting Ukraine cut by as much as 50 percent -- a result of Moscow's decision to halt deliveries to Kiev -- before Russia pumped extra gas and deliveries returned to normal. European Union spokesman Johannes Laitenberger suggested the standoff between Ukraine and Russia was little more than a business disagreement, describing it as "first and foremost a dispute between a gas supplier and (a) transit operator." "There is no immediate crisis of supply in the European Union," he said in Brussels.

But EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs touched on the Europe-wide insecurity left by a day of energy fears. "The situation has shown how vulnerable the Union is to shortages of gas supply," he said. He said a Wednesday meeting of representatives of the 25 EU member states and the gas industry would discuss how they would react to the current crisis and deal with future threats to Europe's gas supply. "We should be always prepared," he said. "We should be able to supply our citizens with energy resources.".....

While expressing the relief common to all European countries affected that the crisis was over -- for now -- Milos Tomic, general manager of Serbia's Srbijagas distributor voiced shared worries about the future, saying: "I cannot guarantee that gas deliveries will be normal in the coming days." In Italy, the dispute rekindled a debate over the use of nuclear power with Industry Minister Claudio telling the daily Corriere della Sera that without that alternative, "we can't ... be safe from energy emergencies."....

Even with full deliveries restored, Europe's gas scare reawakened fears over Russia's reliability and potential for belligerence -- criticism that comes as the country assumes the chairmanship of the Group of Eight, a position it wants to use to boost its international prestige. "Ukraine is being punished for its decision to become a European, fully democratic country," wrote The Czech Republic's daily "Lidove Noviny." Criticizing what it said was past European "obedience" to Russia, Italy's "Il Messagero" said, "it would be shortsighted and dangerous if Europe would continue to act this way considering the events of present days."

More here


China, already enduring its coldest winter in 20 years, is preparing for a cold snap that will see temperatures drop by as much as 16 degrees Centigrade (29 degrees Fahrenheit). Northern China, where temperatures are already as low as minus 15-20 degrees Celsius, will feel the strongest effects of the cold front, which is sweeping in from Mongolia and western Siberia, the China Daily reported.

In the capital of Beijing, which enjoyed a relatively warm start to the New Year with temperatures just above freezing, the thermometer is expected to plunge 10 degrees on Monday night, according to the paper. The Beijing News advised the city's residents to return home from New Year holidays early on Monday to avoid expected overnight snowfalls.

Even in the warmer southern regions, the temperatures are expected to drop sharply. "Upon the heels of the cold front ... more snowfall can be expected in the north with rain or snow flurries possible in the south," the paper quoted Yang Guiming, a senior official with the Central Meteorological Office, as saying.

Wang Bangzhong, a deputy director with the China Meteorological Administration, said temperatures across China had already been 1.5 degrees lower than the historical average throughout December. "China is experiencing the coldest winter in 20 years," Wang told the paper. He said three more successive "winter freezes" were expected to affect China during January, usually the coldest month of the year.


Sydney hot, but no more than usual

A heatwave in the nation's southeast was a regular new year event and could not be linked to global warming, senior weather experts said yesterday. Former director of the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre Bill Kininmonth said the temperature spike in Sydney on Sunday to 44.2C was "just one of those sorts of things we have" every summer. "It was not extensive - although it was intense - and it was not unprecedented," he said.

National Climate Centre climatologist Blair Trewin said that while no single event could be linked to global warming, the heatwave was "part of an overall warming trend in which the risk of certain events is changed". World Meteorological Organisation records show that since the start of the 20th century, the global average surface temperature has risen by between 0.6C and 0.7C. Dr Trewin warned that 44C-plus days in Sydney, which had happened only twice in 140 years of records, could become a one-in-10-year event.

But figures for New South Wales show the number of extremely hot days has declined since the 1940s. Sydney weather consultant Don White said heatwaves were becoming less frequent and anybody who believed the heatwave was linked to global warming should "go back and look at the records", which would show hotter days in the past. In the 1940s, Sydney had 10 days of 40C or higher. From 1955 to 1980 there were seven such days, and from 1981 to 2005 there were five. Between 1939 and 1964, Sydney recorded 37.8C, the old 100 Fahrenheit, on 18 days, but registered the mark only nine times, including on Sunday, since 1965.

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 January, 2006


German climate scientist Hans von Storch has a BIG article in Der Spiegel -- a major German newsmagazine -- showing that the global warming scare is more a drama performance than anything else. Below is an excerpt from the article

The polar ice caps are disappearing! The Gulf Stream is soon to reverse! Right? Well, maybe. But calling such apocalyptic theories into question is becoming more and more difficult for skeptical scientists. Meanwhile, the public is getting tired of being fed a diet of fear....

The pattern is always the same. The significance of individual events is turned into material suitable for media presentation and is then cleverly dramatized. When the outlook for the future is discussed, the scenario that predicts the highest growth rates for greenhouse gas emissions -- which, of course, comes with the most dramatic climatic consequences -- is always selected from among all possible scenarios. Those predicting significantly smaller increases in greenhouse gas levels are not mentioned.

Who benefits from this? The assumption is made that fear compels people to act, but we forget that it also produces a rather short-lived reaction. Climate change, on the other hand, requires a long-term response. The impact on the public may be "better" in the short term, thereby also positively affecting reputations and research funding. But to ensure that the entire system continues to function in the long term, each new claim about the future of our climate and of the planet must be just a little more dramatic than the last. It's difficult to attract the public's attention to the climate-related extinction of animal species following reports on apocalyptic heat waves. The only kind of news that can trump these kinds of reports would be something on the order of a reversal of the Gulf Stream.

All of this leads to a spiral of exaggeration. Each individual step in this process may seem harmless, but on the whole, the knowledge imparted to the public about climate, climatic fluctuations, climate shift and climatic effects is dramatically distorted.

Unfortunately, the corrective mechanisms in science are failing. Public reservations with regard to the standard evidence of climate catastrophe are often viewed as unfortunate within the scientific community, since they harm the "worthy cause," especially because, as scientists claim, they could be "misused by skeptics." Dramatization on a small scale is considered acceptable, whereas correcting exaggeration is viewed as dangerous because it is politically inopportune. This means that doubts are not voiced publicly. Instead, the scientific community creates the impression that the scientific underpinnings of climate change research are solid and only require minor additions and adjustments.

This self-censorship in the minds of scientists ultimately leads to a sort of deafness toward new, surprising insights that compete with or even contradict the conventional explanatory models. Science is deteriorating into a repair shop for conventional, politically opportune scientific claims. Not only does science become impotent; it also loses its ability to objectively inform the public.

An example of this phenomenon is the discussion surrounding the so-called hockey stick, a temperature curve that supposedly portrays developments of the last 1,000 years. The curve derives its name from its hockey stick-like shape. In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a panel of climate researchers established by the United Nations, rashly institutionalized the hockey stick curve as an iconic symbol of human-induced climate change. In the curve, the upward-tilting blade of the hockey stick that follows decades of stable temperatures represents human influence.

In an article we published in the professional journal "Science" in October 2004, we were able to demonstrate that the underlying methodology that led to this hockey stick curve is flawed. Our intention was to turn back the spiral of exaggerations somewhat, but without calling the core statement into question, which is that human-induced climate change does exist. Prominent members of the climate research community did not respond to the article by engaging use in a dispute over the facts. Instead, they were concerned that the worthy cause of climate protection had been harmed.

Other scientists are succumbing to a form of fanaticism almost reminiscent of the McCarthy era. In their minds, criticism of methodology is nothing but the monstrous product of "conservative think-tanks and misinformation campaigns by the oil and coal lobby," which they believe is their duty to expose. In contrast, dramatization of climate shift is defended as being useful from the standpoint of educating the public.

The principle that drives other branches of science should be equally applicable to climate research: dissent drives continued development, and differences of opinion are not unfortunate matters to be kept within the community. Silencing dissent and uncertainty for the benefit of a politically worthy cause reduces credibility, because the public is more well-informed than generally assumed. In the long term, the supposedly useful dramatizations achieve exactly the opposite of what they are intended to achieve. If this happens, both science and society will have missed an opportunity.


But they are still being built in Queensland

Where a pretty stream flowed and vehicles were once driven, boats now motor as the newly commissioned Paradise Dam starts to fill. The dam is already at 30 per cent capacity, having captured about 70,000 megalitres from the Burnett River system. But conservationists fear the big dam might be the straw that breaks the camel's back as far as the Burnett is concerned. It is believed to be the 32nd water harvesting scheme in the catchment.

Queensland Conservation Council spokesman Henry Boer said scientific advice was that the dam would cause irreversible damage to the Burnett and called on the Government to make the Paradise the state's last publicly-funded agricultural storage. "This should be the last dam in Queensland funded by taxpayers for the benefit of a few select rural industries," Mr Boer said. "The Burnett River (is) a system already stressed from too much water extraction."

Premier Peter Beattie has said the dam has the potential to increase the region's net wealth by up to $800 million a year and create more than 7000 new jobs. It incorporates a state-of-the-art fishway and tough environmental conditions that would see river quality and lungfish habitat monitored during the next decade. Mr Boer said water needs could be met by improving the efficiency of irrigation systems and introducing demand management technology.



Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Dec. 16 made a significant move that will benefit the pocketbooks of his state's consumers and perhaps boost his own Republican presidential prospects. He pulled Massachusetts out of the compact of Northeastern states requiring a reduction in power plant emissions of carbon dioxide. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) would cut the emissions by 10 percent by 2019, forcing up electricity prices because of greater dependence on increasingly expensive natural gas. This Northeastern initiative, spearheaded by a Republican, New York Gov. George Pataki, is viewed by environmentalists as foreshadowing national limits. It is an end run around President Bush's opposition to mandatory reductions. During early December negotiations in Montreal on the Kyoto pact, European Greens praised RGGI as a repudiation of President Bush's dismissal of global warming alarmists.

The defection of Romney, originally inclined to support RGGI, represents a major setback for the Greens. Sen. John McCain, an advocate of national carbon limits, runs far ahead of Romney in early Republican presidential polls. But on this as on tax policy, McCain conflicts with not only Bush but also the Republican consensus. McCain's proposal for national mandatory carbon limits has been rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate, most recently, 60 to 38, in June. In contrast, Romney may have a leg up in coal-producing states. He also is attracting interest from automakers and other industries that oppose mandatory CO2 limits.

The ungreening of Mitt Romney has provoked screams of protest in blue-state Massachusetts. "For those in Congress who have fought the Bush administration," said Democratic Rep. Martin Meehan, "it was heartbreaking to watch the Romney administration attempt to dismantle efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the Northeast." While Meehan called it a "national embarrassment for Massachusetts," both industrial and consumer interests in the state stand to benefit from Romney's apostasy. The governor grew skeptical of RGGI after first showing interest in the compact, and late in September he convened a high-level meeting with industrial and environmental interests in Boston. The industrial representatives told the governor he would face continued economic decline in Massachusetts if he did not reject the compact. The Greens told Romney that RGGI was just the first part of a national plan to fight global warming.

Carbon limits necessarily force greater reliance on natural gas for electric power, applying further pressure to boost prices. The per million BTU price soared to an astronomical $14.80 in Dec. 14 trading, though the price since then has dropped to $11.10 on Dec. 30. Everybody agrees that carbon limits will force up electricity prices steadily far into the future. The disagreement is over how much the costs will go up. A study done for RGGI shows the cost per consumer rising $34 a year every year for 20 years, but business groups call that number laughable in view of how much CO2 caps really will cost. That is unnerving for Massachusetts, which now has the nation's highest electric power bills. However, the bigger impact could be on the cost to industries that threatens the loss of jobs.

Romney's concern over carbon caps is shared by other Northeastern governors. Republican Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island, Republican Robert Ehrlich of Maryland and Democrat Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania also took their states out of RGGI conformity. But the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont are still in the compact, ready to impose a heavy economic burden on their citizens. Outside the Northeast, the states of California, Oregon and Washington also are moving toward carbon caps.

Green pressure can lead politicians to make promises that they would regret. It happened to George W. Bush at Saginaw, Mich., in September 2000 when he took a position hardly noticed at the time. "We will require all power plants to meet clean air standards in order to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide," he said. That never really was Bush's position, but it led to a misunderstanding between the president and his first Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Christine Whitman, that haunts him to this day. It appears Mitt Romney will avoid that pitfall on his long uphill climb to the White House.



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 January, 2006

Palm oil is killing off the orang-utan

The article below ignores the fact that if the forests are not cleared to grow one crop, they will be cleared to grow some other crop. But blaming the Western consumer is a lot more satisfying than blaming poor countries. But for a real laugh see the story immediately following the article below:

The orang-utan is facing extinction and our weekly shop is partly to blame. The culprit is palm oil, a versatile vegetable oil, which is found in around one in ten products on our supermarket shelves. Demand for palm oil is driving the conversion of South-East Asia's remaining rainforests into palm-oil plantations, destroying the last remaining habitat for the orang-utan. Ninety per cent of the world's palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, the only home of the orang-utan. Experts say it is now the primary cause of its decline and it could drive the species to extinction within just 12 years.

Stories from the front-line, the orang-utan rescue centres of Borneo and Sumatra, are heartbreaking. They are overflowing with orang-utan orphans, brought in from oil-palm plantations after their mothers had been killed by the workers. It is estimated that some 5000 orang-utans are lost each year.

Palm oil production is not just damaging the orang-utan. Workers on oil-palm plantations are often paid poverty wages of less than $1 dollar a day and many of the plantations have been set up on land stolen by the state from indigenous peoples. The resulting conflict has led to more than 500 cases of torture as the police and military move in to back up the palm oil companies. It is an unpalatable truth for the animal-loving public but our consumer lifestyles are part of the problem.

Most of us eat palm oil with every meal - whether in bread, in margarine, in biscuits, crisps or processed foods. It is also used in hundreds of household products such as soaps, washing powder, lipsticks and shampoo. It would be hard for even the most ethical shopper to avoid buying palm oil. That is why Friends of the Earth believes there is an urgent need to clean up the palm oil trade....

The response of the UK's supermarkets has been particularly galling. Despite repeated calls on them to join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an international initiative to solve the palm oil crisis, not one of them has agreed to do so.... Failure to take decisive action will not only cause the extinction of Asia's only great ape, it will cause the extinction of thousands of other rainforest species and fuel the human rights abuse. The orang-utan shares 99 per cent of its DNA with humans and is one of our closest animal relatives. If we lose the orang-utan, we lose part of our history.

More here


A lot of the demand for that Orang-killing palm oil is caused by the Greenies themselves!

Palm oil prices are set to end the year on a high as Europe's green fuel sector takes its first big consignments from top grower Malaysia to convert into diesel at a time when crude oil prices are soaring. But much will depend on the performance of palm-based fuels, industry officials have said, which are relatively untested compared with renewable energy sources developed decades ago such as rapeseed oil and ethanol derived from sugar cane.

Dutch firm Biox will build four power plants that will run on palm oil by-products, which it says are cheaper than other renewable energy sources used by European Union countries as they try to cut greenhouse gas emissions and crude oil import bills. "It's a trend we hope will extend to the whole of the EU biofuels sector," said Azizi Meor Ngah, chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Association.

Europe is short of diesel as it has underinvested in refinery production in recent decades while motorists are increasingly switching to the fuel instead of gasoline. The EU has set a non-binding target of 5.75 percent biofuel content by 2010. Biox agreed last week to buy palm oil by-products, mainly distillates, from Malaysian plantation IOI Group Bhd from 10 years starting from 2007. This followed an agreement in early October to buy 100,000 tonnes a year from Golden Hope Plantations Bhd over the same 10-year period. "We chose palm oil products because they are the most efficient in terms of energy efficiency and cost of production," said Edgare Kerkwijk, group finance director for Biox, which is also considering building plants in Italy, Portugal and Greece....

"The future plans of biofuel industries are not based just on rapeseed," said Pascal Cogels, director general of Fediol, the European vegetable oil producers' and processors' federation. "People are including more palm oil and soy oil into the mix." Fediol expects palm oil and its products will make up 20 percent of the EU's biodiesel in the next five years. To do so, it would have to claw away some of the market share of rape oil, which now accounts for about 85 percent of the EU's biodiesel.

The EU now imports about 3.5 million tonnes of refined and crude palm oil a year, mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia. This is set to rise by about 1 million tonnes next year as two new Malaysian-owned palm oil refineries come on stream in Rotterdam. Palm oil imports for electricity generation in the Netherlands were around 200,000 tonnes in the first eight months of 2005, EU oilseed traders said. For the whole year, Dutch power plants could consume up to 400,000 tonnes of palm oil, industry officials estimated.

In a report last month, the US Department of Agriculture said biodiesel had the potential to boost palm oil imports by more than 1 million tonnes a year. In Britain, green start-up Biofuels Co. is set to run its new 250,000-tonne plant in northeast England on cheaper feedstock than rape oil, including palm oil. A 100,000-tonne biodiesel plant, partly owned by British supermarket giant Tesco, is expected to come on stream by 2006. (US$1=1.208 euros)

More here

All of which goes again to show that there is no such thing as a happy Greenie

Extreme Winter weather claims 23 lives in Europe

They must be wishing global warming was real

Wild winter weather across Europe has killed dozens of people, with the homeless freezing to death and others dying in huge traffic pile-ups on icy roads. Polish police said 23 people, many of them homeless, had died of cold in that country since December 20.

Swirling snow and thick fog enveloped most of Italy, and Florence recorded 25cm of snow, the most it has seen in two decades. As temperatures in northern Italy dropped as low as -17C, a homeless man, 22, was found dead, apparently of exposure, in Rome's main railway station.

Forty vehicles piled up on icy asphalt on Hungary's busiest motorway, killing an eight-year-old boy and injuring 11 other people, one of several mass crashes involving a total of about 60 cars. A 40-vehicle accident on a highway in neighbouring Slovakia killed one person and left 22 injured.

Blizzards, ice and high winds prompted a nation-wide weather warning in the Netherlands. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, Europe's fourth-largest, was preparing to shut down some of its runways as thick cloud cover blew in.

Wind-driven snow in Austria piled high drifts on to railway tracks and left motorways a treacherous option. Two people also died in France, apparently of exposure. Authorities in the city of Le Mans reported the death of a 52-year-old woman who slept in a garden shed, and a homeless man was reported dead in Lyon. With snow falling steadily in France, the national weather service issued road and weather warnings for 70 of the country's 80 regions. Some highways were closed and temperatures of -26C were recorded in the eastern town of Mouthe.

In Berlin, most streets were buried in snow, leaving residents picking their way though drifts and snow banks. Trains across much of Germany were running irregularly, if at all. In Switzerland, skies were clear, and temperatures icy. The mercury plummeted to -36C overnight in the town of La Brevine. In Britain, the mercury moved upward after days of sub-freezing weather with temperatures as low as -12C, and heavy snow was forecast to turn into rain.


Sydney's hottest day suddenly cools

I wonder which temperature the Greenies will quote? And the Perth temperature will not suit the Greenies either!

Sydney revellers awoke to a scorching start to the year yesterday, with the city suffering its hottest day since 1939. The mercury hit 45.2C at Sydney airport, while a high of 44.2C was recorded at Observatory Hill in the city centre. In the state's west, Ivanhoe recorded the highest temperature of the day, reaching 47C. At a surf competition on Sydney's northern beaches, the MC used a loudspeaker to say what everyone was thinking: "It's stinking hot, extremely stinking hot."

Shortly after 9pm, Sydney was hit by a southerly change, with gusts of 94km/h. Within an hour of the change, temperatures had plummeted from 40C to 24C at Sydney airport and 26C in the city.

Canberra residents also endured 40C, a hazy Brisbane sweated through a sticky 30C and Melburnians enjoyed a cool respite from their hottest New Year's Eve. But Hobart was a chilly 16C and rain in Adelaide brought temperatures down to 23C.

Despite fears that race riots would again break out in Sydney, the nation enjoyed a peaceful New Year's Eve, with millions of people turning out in all state capitals for fireworks....

Unseasonally cool weather in Perth ensured festivities passed without any major incidents, with 262 arrests, police 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.


2 January, 2006

Every Man's Land: Who really owns ANWR?

Maybe the fact that it is government owned is part of the problem. It is now just a political football

ANWR is "a symbol for both sides," the executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League recently told the Washington Post, and as symbols go, it's perhaps not the one environmentalists would have hoped for. Cold, remote, hostile, and housed in the superfluous state of Alaska, it's enough out of sight to put out of mind. Then again, it may be exactly what greens would have wanted, perfectly attuned to the sensitivities of blue-state aesthetic purity: a pristine white canvas, uniquely vulnerable to exploitation by overfed, cigar-wielding oil barons who will smear it with black gold like a kid laying into finger paint.

The showdown reflects decades of public anxiety about the slope; established as a refuge in 1960, locked away by President Carter in 1980, and the site of numerous torturous legislative battles ever since. President Clinton vetoed a drilling proposal in 1995, and President Bush has been trying to poke holes in the tundra since before he was waging war. Explained Senator John Kerry in the last election: Big Oil now calls "the White House their home."

That characterization might be plausible if the oil executives were nearly as excited about tearing up the tundra as the White House. No one knows how much oil lies beneath the slope; this is a faith-based debate from every side, and there is evidence that oil executives themselves aren't true believers. In February, a former engineer for Halliburton told the New York Times: "The enthusiasm of government officials about ANWR exceeds that of industry because oil companies are driven by market forces...and the evidence so far about ANWR is not promising." In December of 2004, Lee R. Raymond, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, said simply, "I don't know if there is anything in ANWR or not." Said Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in an interview last weekend: "[oil companies] can produce energy in any place in the world. They are not the strong proponents of opening ANWR."

Norton, in talking point mode, calls ANWR a "national security" issue. But even the optimistic estimates of what lies beneath aren't exciting enough to support fantasies of oil independence. The Department of Energy estimates that, when ANWR oil first comes to market a decade after drilling operations start, Alaska's new bounty will reduce America's oil imports by a grand total of four percentage points.

ANWR has also been pitched as a deficit saving measure, a suggestion promoted by Sen. Stevens, whose recent belt-tightening efforts include bringing Alaska over $1 billion in pork, and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) of $230 million Bridge to Nowhere fame. ("I won't jump off of a bridge if we don't win [on ANWR]" Young recently remarked, days before he was officially deprived of an eponymous bridge to jump off.) For a party known to be bad with numbers, the numbers here are particularly suspect— a supposed $2.5 billion in leases, an extremely optimistic projection that represents over 60 times the historic average for land leases in the area.

Once you're over the idea that ANWR is a security issue, it's hard to justify contentious collective ownership of the place—unless you're an environmentalist, and firmly convinced that the fate of every stripmall-free acre in America rests upon its inviolate preservation. "If we reverse the protection for ANWR, then the protection of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and all other public spaces becomes meaningless," Rep. Charles Bass(R-N.H.) panicked in a press release last week.

Being places that people actually visit, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon aren't going to get torn up anytime soon. But whether or not the lower 48 states become a vast oil field, the greens' obsession with ANWR belies an ugly shortsightedness—an L.L. Bean vision of environmental purity, in which Northeasterners rally to protect nice places they might just hike someday. ("Has anyone ever been to ANWR?" fake presidential candidate Alan Alda asked on a recent episode of The West Wing.) While greens pour resources into keeping Alaska postcard-pretty, real problems exist in decidedly less remote Louisiana, where hurricanes Katrina and Rita left the coast stained with oil spills.

ANWR itself, if only a symbol, is a symbol of something more complex than greedy executives or green extremists; it's indicative of an irresolvable tension over publicly held land, uselessly locked away and yet uniquely vulnerable to special interests. An ANWR owned by greens would be used to further environmental interests (possibly by selling oil and channeling the profits toward more pressing concerns); an ANWR owned by Exxon Mobil would be efficiently leveraged to produce oil; an ANWR owned by everybody is just a question mark waiting for the next administration that needs to prove it's serious about something.


DDT Is the Only Real Weapon for Combating Malaria

During the few minutes you spend reading this article, malaria will kill six Africans and sicken about 3,000 more, mostly children and pregnant women--a rate of more than one million deaths annually and 500 million illnesses overall among the 2.2 billion people who live in malarial regions, such as much of Africa. There's legislation moving through the U.S. Senate right now intended to reduce this tragic toll.

U.S. taxpayers spend about $200 million annually on malaria control efforts. Ironically, almost none of this money is spent to kill or repel the mosquitoes that spread disease. The money is instead spent on anti-malarial drugs and insecticide-treated bed nets that aren't very effective. Bed nets are often torn. They are uncomfortable on hot African nights and may get kicked off. Anti-malarial drugs are in short supply. The U.S. Agency for International Development hopes to have 55 million pediatric doses for 2006--leaving the other 445 million people on their own to battle against malaria without any drugs. Although researchers are working to develop an anti-malarial vaccine, there is little prospect for one in the next 10 years.

It's a grim reality, but it doesn't have to be. We have the technology to make a large dent in this tragedy, if only we could rid ourselves of the most infamous environmentalist myth of all time, our irrational fear of the insecticide DDT. "Getting rid of malaria in Africa is just as critical to [the continent's] future as eradicating malaria, yellow fever, and hookworm was vital to economic progress in the Southern United States," Paul Driessen, senior policy advisor at the Congress of Racial Equality, said. "If people are sick, they can't work, attend school, or cultivate their crops and certainly can't be at 100 percent. If other people have to stay home to care for them, they can't be productive, either."

As discussed in's "100 Things You Should Know About DDT," the Rachel Carson-Silent Spring-inspired campaign against DDT was utterly detached from reality. Contrary to Carson's claims, DDT did not cause declines in populations of great birds such as the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon. These bird populations were threatened before DDT had even been invented, thanks to over-hunting, habitat destruction, and egg collectors. The bird populations rebounded, in fact, during the period of the greatest use of DDT.

No scientific experiment has ever shown that typical levels of DDT found in the environment cause the thinning of bird egg shells--a mechanism by which DDT was alleged to have harmed birds. While a host of natural and artificial factors have been scientifically identified as potentially contributing to egg shell-thinning, typical environmental levels of pesticide residues aren't among them.

DDT also has never been credibly linked with cancer or non-cancer health effects in humans. What really drove that point home to me was a recent visit to the Imperial War Museum in London, where I saw a display about the DDT delousing that was done to liberated World War II concentration camp victims. DDT was used to save their lives, and despite the extremely fragile state of their health during such use, no ill effects among the survivors have been attributed to DDT in the medical literature.

DDT was ultimately banned in the United States in 1972 because of politics, not science. For no stated reason, EPA Administrator William Ruckleshaus overruled a finding of DDT's safety by an EPA administrative law judge. Evidence was later discovered identifying Ruckleshaus as a fundraiser for the Environmental Defense Fund--the activist group spearheading the anti-DDT campaign. Of course, by the time Ruckleshaus banned DDT, malaria in the United States and Europe had essentially been eradicated, so the insecticide was no longer needed. Although DDT also was used--some say overused--in U.S. agriculture, economical substitutes could be had.

But there is no economical substitute for DDT when it comes to preventing malaria in poorer regions of the world. Other chemicals are too expensive and don't work as well for the sort of widespread spraying needed to control mosquitoes in Africa. While DDT has not been officially banned in Africa, its use is discouraged by limited production and cumbersome environmentalist-designed rules on use and handling. The European Union, which environmentalists often lead by the nose, has even threatened a ban on agricultural imports from countries that use DDT.

But when DDT is available, the results are nothing short of spectacular. Indoor spraying with DDT, for example, reduced malaria cases and deaths by nearly 75 percent in Zambia over a two-year period and by 80 percent in South Africa in just one year. DDT works like nothing else--there's simply no doubt about it.

A bill in Congress (currently it's known as the Senate version of H.R. 3057) would reform the U.S. Agency for International Development so that insecticides like DDT could be added to the arsenal for fighting malaria. President Bush announced in July that U.S. taxpayers would spend $1.2 billion for world malaria control over the next five years. Rather than wasting that money on ineffective bed nets and anti-malaria drugs, and then repeating such futility in another five years, let's spend it on DDT and get the job done now.


Kentucky: Greenies oppose flat land!: "The towering mountains that frame this Appalachian town have been a hindrance to growth, forcing homes and businesses to crowd together side by side on precious little flat land. That could change under a plan by Pikeville leaders who recruited a coal company to flatten two mountaintops to make room for the town of about 6,300 to expand. Appalachian towns like Pikeville that have exhausted all usable land have no choice but to look to the mountaintops, City Manager Donovan Blackburn said. 'If you look at the amount of land that is developable right now, there is virtually none,' Mr. Blackburn said. 'This will be a tremendous benefit.' However, in mountaintop-removal coal mining, hilltops are blasted away to uncover coal seams, and the leftover rock and dirt are dumped into adjacent valleys, burying streams. Environmentalists say the process destroys wildlife habitat and contaminates water. "


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 January, 2006


A large coal-fired power plant at the center of a dispute a few years ago will close at the end of the year rather than violate a court-ordered deadline to install an estimated $1.1 billion in pollution-control measures. Southern California Edison said Thursday the Mohave Generating Station near Laughlin would close. The plant has provided the utility with 7 percent of its electricity, but the company said its 13 million customers would not be immediately affected because of other power sources. Under a 1999 consent decree won by environmental groups, the aging Mohave plant was required to upgrade its pollution controls or close by Jan. 1, 2006.

The groups had argued the 1,580-megawatt plant, about 100 miles south of Las Vegas, had repeatedly violated the Clean Air Act, emitting high amounts of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and fine particles and contributing to haze at the Grand Canyon. The utility, majority owner and operator of the coal plant, had hoped to keep it open as natural gas prices have continued to rise. In a filing Thursday with the California Public Utilities Commission, Edison said it planned to continue negotiations aimed at keeping the plant open but expected to close it for at least a few months. The environmental groups have said they would not agree to a deadline extension.

The plant is the only customer of the nearby Black Mesa mine, which provides about 160 jobs to members of the Navajo Nation. The mine, run by Peabody Energy Corp., will likely be forced to close. "It was the environmental groups that helped bring this about - for altruistic reasons of course - but the result is that a lot of breadwinners are going to be out of work," said George Hardeen, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation. "We will lose about 160 jobs, and these are some of the best jobs on the Navajo Nation, paying upwards of $70,000. It will undoubtedly impact an already weak Navajo Nation economy."

Environmentalists said they sympathized with the tribes, but argued Edison had plenty of time to fix the plant's pollution problems. They suggested Edison invest in renewable energy sources on tribal land. "It's a smart investment for California ratepayers to take income from a dirty power plant and reinvest it in clean energy, in a way that benefits the people who have been exploited all of these years by the greater metropolitan centers of the West," said Roger Clark, director of the Grand Canyon Trust's air and energy program.



The year was 2001, and George Bush, reflecting a 95-0 U.S. Senate vote against the Kyoto Protocol during former president Bill Clinton's last term in office, definitively rejected U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol. As a result, global warming alarmists in the United States and Europe called Bush and the United States an "outlaw" and a "rogue nation." Now, just four years later, an amazing thing has happened. The United States has not changed its position, yet it has become the consensus builder for a more forward-looking approach to climate change.

The resolution that unanimously passed the Senate in 1997 stated the United States would oppose any treaty that would impose serious economic harm on the U.S. economy and would place binding limits on industrial nations but would not apply to developing nations such as China and India. As Kyoto contained both of the shortcomings feared by the Senate, Bush held firm and outlined a different U.S. approach to addressing climate change. Among global warming alarmists on both sides of the Atlantic, the reaction was vitriolic.

Time magazine, for example, called the U.S. a "rogue" nation whose "dangerous unilateralism" would end our role as world leader in international affairs. Alarmists in Europe became downright ugly. The London Guardian called the U.S. rejection of Kyoto a "Taliban-style act of wanton destruction." Conveniently forgetting that other nations, including Australia, also opted out of Kyoto, and that nations such as Russia signed on only after publicly challenging the scientific and economic justifications for it, activists portrayed the United States as an outlaw nation that, like a disgraced gunfighter in the Wild West, would be forced to "go it alone."

But, much as an unjustly maligned cowboy on the silver screen inevitably returns with a large posse and truth on his side, our "rogue" nation has slowly but inexorably become the world's leading consensus builder on climate change. In July 2005, the United States led Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea in forming an international partnership to address climate change in a scientifically based and economically sustainable manner.

The transformation in U.S. global leadership was punctuated in November 2005, when British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared Kyoto and any other treaty demanding mandatory emissions cuts dead. According to Blair, mandatory emissions cuts are implausible unless technology is developed to make emissions reductions economically sustainable and until mandatory cuts apply to such nations as China and India.

Why did this dramatic transformation occur? There are many reasons. Despite the self-righteous statements of European Union leaders, the EU is failing miserably in its attempt to cut greenhouse gas emissions and is far short of its Kyoto goals. At the same time, through public- and private-sector cooperation exemplified by a $100 million grant from ExxonMobil to the Stanford University-led Global Climate and Energy Project, the United States has cut its greenhouse gas emissions every year since its 2001 rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. Over the past three years, EU carbon dioxide emissions have risen (despite a tumbling economy), while U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen (during a period of steady economic growth).

While the EU scores public relations points by vowing carbon dioxide cuts that never reach fruition, the U.S. has invested in and reaped the benefits of new technologies that, for example, dramatically reduce emissions of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

As the European economy stumbles under its Kyoto burden, energy-intensive industry is relocating to China, where the government refuses to cut greenhouse gas emissions and where the economy sizzles. As Blair and others have come to realize, all the promised cuts in European greenhouse gas emissions will fail to make any dent in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels if cuts in Western emissions are outweighed by corresponding increases in Chinese emissions.

The final blow to Europe's Kyoto delusions may have been the November 7 release of an international study predicting substantial harm to European economies that abide by their Kyoto promises. Putting still more pressure on the already-reeling European economy, Kyoto would spark an approximately 25 percent jump in electricity prices and a roughly 2 percent reduction in gross domestic product if Europe were to meet its reduction targets, which it has yet to do. Any additional cuts required after Kyoto expires in 2012 would be even more punitive economically. Tony Blair and other world leaders have come to realize that if you love "That 70s Show," wait until you see a rerun of "That 70s Economy" throughout Europe if the EU fails to follow Bush's lead on global warming.



Two recent events underscore the predictability of global warming distortion by those who gain from exaggeration. The events were the Montreal Conference of the Parties that signed the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. Both took place in early December.

The sheer volume of hype was impressive. Following are the headlines, along with sources, generated on the afternoon of Dec. 7, first from the Montreal U.N. conference. (University news sources are those eventually picked up in other stories). These were obtained from Google's news search page:

Global warming to halt ocean circulation (University of Illinois).
Warming trend adds to hazard of Arctic trek (Salem, Ore., News).
Pacific islanders move to escape global warming (Reuters).
Tuvalu: That sinking feeling (PBS).
World weather disasters spell record losses in 2005 (Malaysia Star).
Arctic peoples urge U.N. aid to protect cultures (Reuters).
Threatened by warming, Arctic people sue U.S. (Agence France Presse).
Next, from San Francisco:
Ozone layer may take a decade longer to recover (New York Times).
Earth is all out of new farmland (London Guardian).
Forests could worsen global warming (UPI).
Warming could free far more carbon from high arctic soil than earlier thought (University of Washington).
Rain will take greater toll on reindeer, climate change model shows (University of Washington).
Methane's effects on climate change may be twice previous estimates (NASA).
Average temperatures climbing faster than thought in North America (Oregon State University).

How can things be so bad? Each story carries an "it's worse than we thought" subtext. There was a single additional story to the contrary, carried by AP, which indicated plants may store more carbon dioxide than previously thought, which would help limit warming. That gives us a score of "it's worse than we thought" winning by 14-1. What's the chance this is really true?

Start with a prediction about climate change. For example, perhaps some computer model predicts the next 50 years will see about three-quarters of a degree (Celsius) of warming (actually the most likely value). Now, given new information, what's the chance this forecast will be raised rather than lowered, i.e. that "it's worse than we thought" rather than "it's not as bad as we thought it was."

Fifty-fifty. Unless the world is a very strange place, each new piece of information that causes us to change an estimate of some future quantity has an equal probability of raising or lowering that forecast. That's the same probability as in a coin toss. The odds of two successive "heads" are 1 in 4. So what's the chance of only one "head" in 15 successive coin tosses? One in 2,000.

The most casual observer would have to remark on this prima facie evidence for rampant bias in climate science, but the most casual social scientist might find it quite predictable. Scientists compete with each other for finite resources, just like bankers and corporations. In this case, successful competitors are those rewarded by their universities or institutions. In all science, this means publishing research articles in the refereed scientific literature. That research costs tremendous amounts of money and there really is only one provider: Uncle Sam (i.e. you and me).

No one gets much of this pie by claiming his or her issue may, in fact, be no big deal. Instead, any issue -- take global warming, acid rain and obesity as examples, must be portrayed in the starkest of terms. Everything is a crisis, and all the crises compete with each other. Similar logic applies in the policy arena. Remember that the job of policymakers is precisely that: to make policy, which does not get made unless whatever policy "absolutely necessary" to avoid certain doom.

Then, finally, what gets played on TV and in the papers? More crises. Near-death experiences sell newspapers and attract viewers. Those who question this need only look at ratings for The Weather Channel. Some people may remember it once was the station you turned to for round-the-clock national and local weather. The ratings were in the tank.

Now, in prime time, you are likelier to see the 20th rerun of how this tornado went over that house and how everyone almost died, usually with some pretty snappy home video. Or, just to get your attention for sure, a re-enactment of the sinking of an oil rig in a howling cyclone -- re-enacted because everyone on board drowned. Ratings have boomed.

Perhaps it is dismaying that science has become as blatantly biased toward tragedy as television. But, given how we fund and reward science and scientists, it was inevitable, and global warming is only one of science's many predictable distortions.



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.